Archive | September 2013

Road ID: Identification for Athletes

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Road ID

Overall Rating: 

After seeing several individuals in the F3 Community wearing Road ID bracelets during their workouts, I finally made it a point to get my own! It’s a smart, comfortable, safe and stylish way to display identification on your body in case you are ever in a situation where someone needs to access it. They are very reasonably priced and will last virtually forever-I recommend them to all of my fellow athletes and outdoor fitness enthusiasts.

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The Honest Kitchen Dog Food Review

The Honest Kitchen Dog Food

Overall Rating: 

In our house, filling our kitchen with organic food & products is something that we make a priority. This is also the case for how we feed our black labrador, Kona. Just like us humans, she will not reach her potential health-wise if she does not eat good food. We enjoy and feel good about feeding her well, and it shows! She is an energetic and beautiful almost 8-month old puppy.

The Honest Company is one of the few brands of dog food that I have felt confident in feeding Kona. They appear to truly use great ingredients in their products. The Honest Kitchen provides this information regarding ingredients on their website:

“We taste every single ingredient that goes into our foods to make sure it’s just right

We’re proud of every ingredient we source for our natural pet food. We choose many ingredients from as close to home as possible, to help reduce our carbon paw print. We also choose ingredients from their native lands around the world and select vendors based on the quality of their ingredients, not cost.

All our dog and cat foods are 100% human-grade and are held to exactly the same quality standards as the food you feed to your human family.

  • We never buy GMO or genetically engineered produce.
  • Several of our ingredients are certified organic and we’re working to add more organic ingredients whenever we can.
  • We require certification to verify that every lot of raw ingredients we buy has been tested clear of salmonella, E-coli, listeria, lead, arsenic, mercury, melamine, yeast and mold & pesticide residues, before it’s even allowed inside our plant.”

Here are the products we tried with her:

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Embark Dog Food

The Honest Kitchen’s Description:

“Embark™ is a gluten-free dog food recipe made with cage-free turkey and produce like celery, spinach and apples. It is a higher protein, higher fat natural human grade dog food, that’s perfect for all life stages, including puppies, pregnancy and nursing as well as active adults dogs, who need a performance dog food.

Because Embark is gluten-free, it’s great for dogs who need a diet without gluten, or those who need a low carbohydrate dog food. It’s also perfect for dogs who do better without beef or fish.

Ingredients

All ingredients dehydrated: Turkey, organic flaxseed, potatoes, celery, spinach, carrots, organic coconut, apples, organic kelp, eggs, bananas, cranberries, rosemary extract, tricalcium phosphate, choline chloride, zinc amino acid chelate, vitamin D3 supplement, vitamin E supplement, potassium iodide, potassium chloride, iron amino acid chelate, copper amino acid chelate.

Guaranteed Analysis

  • Protein, 29.00%
  • Fat, 18.00%
  • Fiber, 9.60%
  • Moisture, 7.80%
  • 488 calories per cup.”

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Thrive Dog Food

The Honest Kitchen’s Description:

“Thrive™ is a gluten-free dog food recipe made with free-range chicken, organic fair-trade quinoa and produce like sweet potatoes and spinach. Thrive is a natural dehydrated dog food that’s designed for dogs of all life stages including adults, puppies, pregnancy and nursing, as well as active adult dogs who need a performance dog food.

Thrive is a naturally low carbohydrate diet. It is well-suited to dogs who need a limited ingredient food since it contains no fruit and is also free of eggs, beef, fish, white potatoes, flax and alfalfa.

Ingredients

All ingredients dehydrated: Chicken, organic quinoa, sweet potatoes, spinach, parsley, organic kelp, rosemary extract, tricalcium phosphate, choline chloride, zinc amino acid chelate, vitamin D3 supplement, vitamin E supplement, potassium iodide, potassium chloride, iron amino acid chelate, copper amino acid chelate.

Guaranteed Analysis

  • Protein, 26.13%
  • Fat, 19.00%
  • Fiber, 6.30%
  • Moisture, 7.26%
  • 516 calories per cup.”

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Love Dog Food

The Honest Kitchen’s Description:

“Love™ is a gluten-free dog food recipe made with dehydrated Midwestern beef and produce like sweet potatoes, dandelion greens and papaya. Love is a higher-protein, higher-fat, natural human-grade dog food, that’s perfect for all life stages, including puppies, pregnancy and nursing as well as active adults dogs, who need a performance dog food.

Because Love is gluten free, it’s great for dogs who need a diet without gluten, or those who need a low carbohydrate dog food. It’s also ideal for dogs who need to avoid egg or poultry.

Ingredients

All ingredients dehydrated: Beef, sweet potatoes, potatoes, organic flaxseed, organic coconut, parsley, dandelion greens, papaya, cranberries, pumpkin, honey, rosemary extract, tricalcium phosphate, choline chloride, zinc amino acid chelate, vitamin D3 supplement, vitamin E supplement, potassium iodide, potassium chloride, iron amino acid chelate, copper amino acid chelate.

Guaranteed Analysis

  • Protein, 31%
  • Fat, 16%
  • Fiber, 7%
  • Moisture, 7.8%
  • 514 calories per cup.”

My Description & Thoughts:

Kona did not seem to differentiate in between the Embark, Thrive and Love dog food blends, as she gobbled up all of them. As dog owners, my husband and I can feel good about this because of the great ingredients.

All 3 of these blends come in powder form, as it is dehydrated form. To serve it to Kona, I sprinkle a half serving onto the dry food I feed her along with a few tablespoons (approximately) of water, which helps make The Honest Kitchen food more digestible for her. The Honest Kitchen provides more description of how they recommend you feed their food to your dog, as well.

I would rate these dog foods 4.5 stars-I admire their usage of some certified organic ingredients and their guarantee to never buy GMO ingredients. They are striving to include more and more organic ingredients and when that day comes, I won’t hesitate to give this food a flat-out 5 star rating. In comparison to other common store-bought dog foods, this product line is light years ahead-there is merely no comparison. I recommend this very much to pet owners who are looking for one of the best natural dog food lines available, as this is one of a few brands that is worth the money.

*These complimentary products have been generously provided to me for the purpose of trying them in order to write a review on my experience.

Homemade “Mana Bars” by Susie of LongRunergy.com

Through blogging, I have had the joy of working with and sharing similar passions with Susie Stephen of LongRunergy.com. This blog was recently revamped and relaunched. It looks amazing and is full of great links and information about all things yoga, running, nutrition and environmental concerns.

Susie sent me a little bundle of her homemade  “Mana Bars” to give them a taste test. I couldn’t eat them quick enough!

This informal “review” will be just a conglomeration of my random thoughts…

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When you look at Susie and read her blog posts, it takes you no time at all to realize that she is the real deal. She is a gifted, dedicated, passionate, enthusiastic, smart, beautiful woman & athlete who spreads her joy for life to others.

For a lack of a better way to say it, she has it all figured out.

People like Susie are individuals who I look to for advice and inspiration because they lead by example. Those are the best examples of all, to me.

Stopping by her blog will instantly boost your mood and get your motivational gears turning.

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In regards to these “Mana Bars,” Susie describes them like this:

“Mana Bars are founded on renowned traditions of both endurance and strength among ancient Hawaiians. The main ingredient is poi, a traditional Polynesian food (made from the taro plant, known in Hawaiian as kalo) and a carbohydrate source that is both sugar & fat free, as well as easily digestible.

But there’s a twist. The English have a traditional treat for people on the go, baked bars called‘Flapjacks’, made from a staple carbohydrate (oats) and loaded with nuts and fruit. Raised in England but now living and running in Hawaiʻi I wanted to make something similar, so by experimenting with the fabled qualities of poi and inspired by my own Mum’s Flapjack recipe the Mana Bar was born.

Mana Bars are a natural source of slow burning energy, ideal for any endurance athlete or active person. They are easy to transport, simple to eat, and always ready to go! They are ideal for hiking, trail running, cycling, and much more – apart from maybe snorkeling…”

These bars are delicious, and aside from that, they are chock full of plants and ideals native to Hawaii. They are rich with flavors of coconut, pineapple and the rich, earthy flavor of taro. I would recommend these Mana Bars to anyone! Those enthusiastic about endurance sports and outdoor activities would especially love these.

You can purchase them from Susie using this link:

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You will be experiencing a yummy bar and also getting to interact with a fantastic individual in Susie!

Erbaviva Organic Skin Care Review

Erbaviva Organic Skin Care

Overall Rating: 

About Erbaviva:

“Robin Brown and his wife Anna Cirronis, started Erbaviva in 1996 as a way to offer mommies-to-be and babies upscale products completely free from all harsh detergents, chemical fragrances, and other unhealthy additives.

Erbaviva’s first product was our unique, soap-less Baby Washbag - an unbleached cotton sachet, filled with organic oatmeal, organic milk and organic lavender flowers. Shortly after, we added a complete line of baby care products including an extra mild Baby Soap and Organic Baby Oil to create a complete authentically herbal and organic baby care collection.

Line Additions
Following the success of our baby care line, Erbaviva created an organic pregnancy collection that included everything a mommy-to-be could wish for during the nine months of pre-natal body care. Today we offer a wide range of products for the entire family with bath, body and true aromatherapy. Using the highest quality organic and wildcrafted essential oils, our products are freshly made with loving care through all stages of production at our own facility in Southern California.

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Organic Ingredients
For us, being organic should be the conscious consumer’s expectation and the conscientious manufacturer’s doctrine. We only label our products “organic” on the front label if they contain more than 99% certified organic ingredients. Please look at our back labels where we list all of the ingredients and state which ones are organic. When we use botanical extracts we do so in therapeutic proportions. So much so that you will see that they affect the product color as their inclusion increases product efficacy. We are very proud of our ingredients labels; we encourage you to read them! more about organic or more about our ingredients.”

Jasmine Grapefruit Organic Deodorant Spray

Erbaviva’s Description:

“This award winning product was made after an over-whelming result from our Original Organic Deodorant we have launched JASMINE GRAPEFRUIT, soft, feminine and subtle. You will love it! Aluminum & Chemical Free.

INGREDIENTS: *Alcohol, *citrus grandis (grapefruit) peel oil, *cupressus semperivirens (cypress) oil, *zingiber officinalis (ginger) root extract, *santalum spicatum (sandalwood) oil, *citrus aurantium dulcis (orange) oil, *citrus medica limonum (lemon) oil, *jasminum officinalis (jasmine) flower extract, *salvia officinalis (sage) oil, **benzyl benzoate, **citral, **eugenol, **geraniol, **limonene, **linalool.

*denotes certified organic ingredient. **denotes component of certified organic ingredient.”

Lemon Sage Organic Deodorant Spray

Erbaviva’s Description:

“If you’re one who loves to feel fresh but recoils after a quick scan of the content label on most conventional deodorants, then our award winning Organic Deodorant is just the product for you. By blending organic extracts of Sage, Lemon, Patchouli, and Tea Tree Oils with organic grain alcohol, we’ve created a sweet smelling product that counteracts the growth of bacteria but doesn’t clog pores. Aluminum & Chemical Free!

*Alcohol, *citrus medica limonum (lemon) peel oil, *salvia officinalis (sage) oil, *pogostemon cablin (patchouli) oil, *melaleuca alternifolia (tea tree) leaf oil, **citral, **geraniol, **limonene, **linalool.

*denotes certified organic ingredient. **denotes component of certified organic ingredient.”

My Description & Thoughts:

When products are this good, I feel that I do not need to write much, because I basically only have applause and no scrutiny. This deodorant smells wonderful-I wouldn’t think to put jasmine & grapefruit together, but they make for a flowery and zesty scent.

The spray feature is convenient prevent application from being messy. I find that two sprays under each arm is sufficient for all-day long. To maintain a pungent fresh smell, I would reapply once later in the day if I was a bit sweatier that day.

My husband uses the lemon & sage version of this product and has been very happy with it-and that it rare, as a lot of natural and/or organic deodorants I have asked him to try have not been sufficient in regards to longevity and effectiveness. I see us restocking these products when we are out! I recommend the “Jasmine & Grapefruit” to active gals and the “Lemon & Sage” for active guys. I believe even heavy sweaters will be pleased.

Breathe Body Lotion

Erbaviva’s Description:

“Use this wonderful potion throughout the day on hands and arms for a charge of fresh air. Used in conjunction with our Breathe Room & Body Spray the combination of pines, herbs, and leaves is the perfect antidote to indoor air conditioning, pollen season, and colds.

Water, *aloe barbadensis leaf juice, helianthus annuus (sunflower) seed oil, glyceryl stearate, cetyl alcohol, stearyl alcohol, glycerin, *beeswax, xanthan gum, algin, *rosmarinus officinalis (rosemary) leaf extract, *theobroma cacao (cocoa) seed butter, glyceryl stearate citrate, *simmondsia chinensis (jojoba) seed oil, tocopherol, sodium benzoate, potassium sorbate, *picea excelsa (spruce) leaf oil, *cedrus deodara (cedar) wood oil, *eucalyptus globulus (eucalyptus) leaf oil, *thymus vulgaris (thyme) oil , *melaleuca alternifolia (tea tree) leaf oil, *citrus medica limonum (lemon) peel oil.

*denotes certified organic ingredient.”

My Description & Thoughts:

Exceptional ingredients and nourishing components make this lotion awesome. What makes it even more awesome is the fact that I would describe the scent as unisex-making it perfect to put in a family bathroom for everyone to use.

One application on fresh, clean after showering keeps my skin hydrated all day long-with no goopy-ness or oiliness. I would recommend this to any lotion-seeking individual who wants a product that will suit the whole family.

Refreshing Organic Foot Balm

Erbaviva’s Description:

“NEW - Our new Refreshing Foot Balm doesn’t just smell great and warm the skin, it has essential oils of grapefruit and cypress to help stimulate circulation while relieving swollen feet with Ginger, Cypress and Lavender. Petroleum free and almost 100% organic, Mommy can rub in this Foot Balm several times a day.

Organic shea butter, organic sunflower seed oil, organic beeswax, organic grapefruit peel oil, organic cypress oil, organic lavander flower oil, organic sandalwood, organic ginger root extract, organic geranium flower oil, organic rosemary leaf extract.”

My Description & Thoughts:

This was the one product that was a new idea to me. I typically neglect my feet-which is a bit ironic as much as I run. My feet certainly needed some tender love. I started applying this in the evenings before bed (putting on socks after applying, so my feet could absorb it and I would make the carpet messy).

It moisturizes my dry, calloused feet, but it also feels to affect my whole body. Feet, just like the rest of our skin, absorbs what is on it. I’m sure the powerful essential oils in this balm benefit the rest of my body as well.

The scent of this balm is soothing, relaxing, and perfect for pre-bedtime. I see myself continuing this routine in the future.

I would recommend this product to anyone like me who neglects their feet and would benefit from some pampering.

*These complimentary products have been generously provided to me for the purpose of trying them in order to write a review on my experience.

Purelement Naturals Facial Oils Review

Purelement Naturals

Overall Rating: 

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Organic Argan Oil

Purelement Naturals’ Description:

“Auric is 100% certified organic argan oil that’s multipurpose and can be used for your face, body, hair, and nails.  Argan oil is extremely rich in Vitamin E, antioxidants, and essential fatty acids making it a mega moisturizer.

Our argan oil is certified organic through EcoCert.

Benefits:
  • wrinkle reduction
  • helps prevent stretch marks
  • softens skin, and reduces age spots
  • has a wide range of uses from skin to hair and is very effective against skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis
  • stimulates intracellular oxygenation, neutralizes free radicals, and protects the soft tissue
  • when applied on the skin, it restores and increases the nutrient content of skin cells.
  • known as a complete anti-aging product, which regenerates and restructures the skin
  • very rich in proteins that tighten skin and protect elasticity
  • undoes damage caused by harmful UV rays
  • helps prevent stretch marks, reduce wrinkles, fine lines, and age spots
  • doesn’t clog pores
  • improves the tone of your skin and gives you a glowy, brighter look
  • softens your skin quickly
  • extremely rich in natural antioxidants, essential fatty acids, carotenoids, ferulic acid, sterols, and polyphenols
  • has extremely high levels of vitamin E and squalene

Ingredients:

Argania Spinosa Kernel (Argan) Oil* *Certified organic, EcoCert.”

Defend Argan Oil Moisturizer

Purelement Naturals’ Description:

Clarify, hydrate, regenerate, tighten, soften.

Are you ready for a toxin-free, natural wonder that smells like pure bliss? Defend is the miracle worker your skin has been waiting for. This amazing liquid gold from Morocco tightens, clarifies, hydrates, regenerates, and softens skin like no other. Apply this blend of argan oil and essential oils anywhere your face, body, or hair needs it. This is simplistic and effective skincare at its best.

What makes defend work so well?

  • Argan oil* – 100% certified organic oil high in EFAs, squalene, Vitamin E
  • Lavender* – Cell regenerator, combats wrinkles, effective against acne
  • Frankincense** – Balances oily skin, smoothes and defends against wrinkles
  • Bergamot* – Clears skin infections
  • Carrot Seed* – Revitalizes and moisturizes dry skin
  • Myrrh** – Cleanses, tightens, and rejuvenates the skin
  • Geranium* – Anti-inflammatory, helps control redness and uneven skin tone

*Organic Ingredient **Wild harvested

Argan Oil Profile

Botanical Name – Argania spinosa

Botanical Family – Sapotaceae
Plant Origin – Morocco
Cosmetic Use – Acne, oily complexions, eczema, psoriasis, dry skin, wrinkles, age spots, scars
Skin Types – Suitable for all skin types.

Key Components – Vitamin E, carotenes, essential fatty acids, squalene, ferulic acid, sterols, polyphenols, natural antioxidants, triterpene alcohols, prostaglandin

Ingredients:

  • Argan oil* - 100% certified organic oil high in EFAs, squalene, Vitamin E
  • Lavender* - Cell regenerator, combats wrinkles, effective against acne
  • Frankincense** - Balances oily skin, smoothes and defends against wrinkles
  • Bergamot* - Clears skin infections
  • Carrot Seed* - Revitalizes and moisturizes dry skin
  • Myrrh** - Cleanses, tightens, and rejuvenates the skin
  • Geranium* - Anti-inflammatory, helps control redness and uneven skin tone

*Organic Ingredient **Wild harvested.”

My Description & Thoughts:

When searching for a facial serum, the most important thing to me is quality of ingredients. In the spectrum of face products, I see serum as the healer, as we apply it to skin and it is left on, thus our body absorbs virtually all of it. Because of this, the standards for serums are perhaps even higher than for cleansers.

I am thoroughly impressed with both of these oil blends. I see myself using the “Defend” oil when I am having skin issues like dryness, breakouts and irritation. Whereas I see the pure Argan oil as a great any-time moisturizing and nourishing force for my skin.

Also, in a brief manner, I want to address the misconception with the masses believing that they should search for  “Oil Free” face product. The oil (sebum) that our skin secretes (one of our body’s ways of eliminating toxins and waste), that can cause build up and breakouts on our skin, is NOT the same oil that many organic facial products contains. These are plant derived oils and are healers. These oils won’t make your skin more oily. On the contrary, they will help your skin achieve an optimal moisture and oil (sebum) secretion balance. Just like the inside of our body needs oils to maintain healthy function, so does our skin. 

As you can see with both oil blends, all of the oils are organic. Consider me sold! I would recommend these oils to anyone, male or female, looking to improve the health and look of their complexion.

*These complimentary products have been generously provided to me for the purpose of trying them in order to write a review on my experience.

Kaia Naturals: Juicy Bamboo Facial Cleansing Cloths Review

Kaia Naturals: Juicy Bamboo Cleansing Cloths

Overall Rating: 

Finding organic makeup removal cloths is a rare thing, as most that you’ll find are absolutely chemical ridden. Kaia Naturals is a company I’m glad I came across. Amy at Kaia Naturals was a joy to communicate with and she was gracious enough to provide me with samples in order to try these cleansing cloths for the first time.

Kaia Naturals’ Description:

“The natural cleanser, toner, eye makeup remover that doesn’t fry your skin.  we promise! oh and…it naturally removes waterproof mascara without the torture!”

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My Description & Thoughts:

These little, individually wrapped towelettes couldn’t be any more portable and practical for daily use. I traveled with these recently and they fit easily in my makeup bag and took up virtually no room.

They truly remove all makeup-thoroughly, while somehow still feeling gentle on skin (the good ingredients that the cloths are soaked in are to thank). They even do a great job tackling thick and stubborn eye makeup like eyeliner and mascara. In regards to effectiveness, these could not improve-they are ideal.

It is a real treat for skin to come into contact with organic honey-it is wonderfully and naturally nourishing and also helps maintain an adequate level of moisture on skin. Because of this, these cloths won’t dry out your skin. I would love to see the rest of the ingredients in organic form as well, though I realize organic essential oils are significantly more expensive than non-organic, which would make these cloths pricier, I’d imagine. It would be worth it to me, though, in order to have the peace of mind in knowing I am using the very best on my skin.

It is always nice to see a product that has a list of harmful components that they do not use. This tells me that they are ingredient conscious and see the harm in using those items.

Not having entirely organic ingredients is the only reason that I would not give these Kaia Naturals cleansing cloths “5 stars.” It is worth mentioning, though, that the quality of these cloths is light years better than makeup-removing cloths you’d find in your neighborhood market or drug store. Because of this, and because of the presence of organic honey and gentle bamboo material, I’d definitely recommend these to family and friends who are looking for a natural way to take off makeup.

*These complimentary products have been generously provided to me for the purpose of trying them in order to write a review on my experience.

4 Things That Your Dog Can Teach You

Patience

We leave for hours to run errands, go to work, etc. and our dogs have no choice but to be patient and wait for us to get home. They wait and wait and wait. They are professional patience practicers, making them a perfect reminder that we too should be diligent in being patient and not pushy.

Don’t Overeat

When I am in the kitchen grabbing a snack, I often look down at our Kona, who always follows me in there, and think about how she only eats when we feed her, essentially. That is the ultimate disciplined diet, in which you only eat specific portions that are given to you, versus roaming freely all day. Silly as it sounds, I even feel a “guilt” that I am eating and she is eagerly looking on. Needless to say, I quickly ditch the guilt tied with that, but I do ponder that it could be helpful to adopt the same similar discipline that dogs portray.

Gratitude

You won’t see a dog more eager to eat her bowl of food than our sweet Kona. She never fails to be excited and grateful for every last morsel of food. It’s so easy to slip into a pattern of taking little things for granted, like the food we eat.

Unconditional Love

It doesn’t seem to matter what each new day brings, your dog(s) are always happy to see you and are eager to show affection and love. This is perhaps the best lesson of all that I have learned from my dogs growing up and especially our dog Kona, who inspired me to write this.

Always having love in your heart and expressing it is so paramount, regardless of the times-regardless of any negative situation you’ve endured that day.