All posts by Angelika Arroyo

5 Tips For Eco-Friendly Grocery Shopping

A Guide To Eco-Friendly Grocery Shopping In A Plastic-Filled World

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If you’re like me, then lately you’ve been wanting to become a more mindful consumer when it comes to grocery shopping. And it’s absolutely doable for anyone.

One thing that I won’t give advice on within this article is how much food you should buy. And that’s because I don’t know the size of your household or whether or not you have kids. And that’s because it seems like many articles that I come across always seem to say: “if you want to be an eco conscious consumer, you need to buy less food”.

Well, it may work for the author because they don’t have kids to feed, but in my case, I do—therefore I must buy quite a bit of food (luckily my kids are like vacuums and eat everything).

I will however, give 5 great tips on how to buy your groceries in a more eco-friendly manner. These tips involve plastic swaps that are very easy to make—even at the deli counter.

Bring Reusable Shopping Bags

Even on my biggest grocery hauls I still bring my reusable grocery bags with me, even if they’re an inconvenience to the cashier, bagger, and the massive line behind me.

That’s because in-store plastic bags are neatly hung and ready to go. Places like Walmart, for example, have those carousel things for plastic bags which helps cashiers bag more efficiently.

When you give them reusable grocery bags, it disrupts the process. A Walmart employee told me that it actually does inconvenience her when she is given reusable bags. At least she was honest. But hey, we’re trying to avoid plastic, so deal with it.

If you need recommendations for some great reusable shopping bags, check out my list of best reusable grocery bags of 2021.

Use Reusable Produce Bags

A lot of grocery stores have incorporated “biodegradable” produce bags. But just how “biodegradable” are they? How fast can they break down in a land fill? Sadly, not fast enough.

Unless a biodegradable plastic bag is buried in a microbe rich environment—in other words, unless you take the time to compost it properly—these biodegradable bags that stores put out for you in the produce section will be around for months, if not years in a landfill.

That’s why it’s a very good idea to purchase a few reusable mesh produce bags. They’re eco-friendly, zero-waste and sustainable. And you can find some really great reusable produce bags made from organic material like hemp or organic cotton. Plus, just like reusable shopping bags, you can sanitize them with a wash.

Earth Hero

Earth Hero carries an awesome grocer kit, which consists of a grocery tote and 3 mesh produce bags made from cotton and other recycled materials to help you shop in a more eco-friendly manner.

Bring A Silicone Container To The Deli Counter

This may sound a little unorthodox when it comes to purchasing sandwhich meat at the deli counter, but I have started taking my Stasher bags to the grocery store with me and I successfully avoid having my deli meat packaged in plastic.

Personally, I love ordering deli meat in lieu of packaged sandwhich meat that sits on the shelf next to the hot dogs. It just tastes fresher, my kids enjoy it, and I don’t have to buy it in a plastic container.

Stasher

A while ago, I bought some of those silicone Stasher bags you’ve probably seen all over the Internet, and I figured that I can take it with me, to the store, have the deli guy weigh the meat, and then just stick it in the Stasher with the price sticker on top. And yea, they’re perfectly fine with it.

Buy Reusable Bread Bags For Bakery Bread

Even in the bakery section, a majority of grocery stores still make you put baguettes into plastic bags—which can be avoided. So, if if you’re someone who loves their bread, then consider bringing your own reusable bread bags to the grocery store with you.

Augshy

Reusable bread bags have become very popular in the last couple of years. They’re great for grocery trips, and excellent for bread storage at home. Some sets even come with reusable wine bags as well.

Opt For Products In Sustainable Packaging

I have kids, so believe me, I KNOW the struggle of buying anything that doesn’t come in plastic containers when it comes to food. Yogurt is probably the toughest one. With that said, some things you just can’t go plastic-free on. But, when I can, I do buy items that are packaged in boxes or glass as opposed to plastic.

For example, instead of buying my kids the ready made jell-o in the refrigerated section (which are packaged in plastic), I opt for the powder mix that’s sold in cardboard boxes, and just make it by hand at home. Afterwards, I dump the cardboard in the recycling bin. Small swaps like that can really make a difference.

These Sustainable Baby Clothes Grow With Your Baby

A Sustainable And Stain-Proof Clothing Line For Babies And Toddlers For Minimalist Parents!

Snug Bub

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When it comes to babies, two things are certain: they grow super fast, and they manage to get stains on their clothing very easily.

When my children were infants, I had laundry going on a daily basis. From diaper leaks to spit up, my kid’s rompers and onesies were always soiled with some type of surprise—and a lot of them were very hard to clean. Some of the stains were so bad, that I couldn’t even donate them.

Baby’s also grow extremely fast. From the newborn stage to three months is quite a phenomenal difference in size. And that means that they outgrow clothing at a super fast rate. Unfortunately for parents, that means you’re constantly spending money on baby apparel that will only be used for a couple of months within that first year of baby’s life.

Wouldn’t it be amazing if baby clothing were expandable and stain-proof? Oh, and might I add organic to the list? Well, such a clothing line does exist! And it has all of that criteria.

Snug Bub USA Expandable Sleeper


Snug Bub USA is an innovative sustainable clothing line, and the only online shop that sells expandable and stain-proof baby and toddler clothing made from organic cotton. With Snug Bub USA, you can use a romper/sleeper on a newborn, and watch it expand all the way to your baby’s first birthday!

The Snug Bub USA clothing line was inspired by the designer’s own children. So they know what it’s like to constantly have to buy the next size up, while worrying about stain removal. Thus, Snug Bub USA became a solution to these everyday problems that parents, just like you, face. They even have expandable baby socks that grow with your little one’s tiny feet!

Snug Bub USA Expandable Socks

Snug Bub USA clothing is organic, non-toxic and breathable—all important essentials for sensitive newborn skin. The family-owned company also has a 30 day money back guarantee just in case you’re not satisfied with your purchase!

Investing in expandable and stain resistant baby clothing is also great if you’re going the minimalism route—which many parents are doing. A minimalist wardrobe saves money, closet space and a headache; because after your baby outgrows their clothing, you’re stuck with a pile of stained, ripped and unmanageable pile of baby clothing that nobody wants to take off of your hands. True story. Been there. Done that.

So, if you’re expecting a baby, or if you’re a new mom wanting to switch to sustainable baby clothing, give the Snub Bub USA clothing line a try. You might really enjoy the sustainable simplicity that’s healthy, functional and so darn cute!

Best Plant-Based Multi-Purpose Cleaners For Your Home

Non-Toxic Cleaning Sprays Made With Plant-Based Ingredients

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Everyone wants to have a nice clean home—minus the chemicals that come with most “big brand” all-purpose cleaners.

That’s why many people are making a conscious switch to all-natural and non-toxic cleaning solutions that are healthy for everyone in the family—including pets.

Traditional cleaning sprays work extremely well. It’s why certain brands are very successful—they get the job done. On the other hand, the chemicals and lingering odors they leave behind aren’t so healthy…for anyone.

Perhaps that’s why an increasing number of people are replacing their traditional household cleaners with plant-based cleaning sprays that work just as hard as mainstream solutions—only they smell way better and are much healthier.

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Plant-based all-purpose cleaners are pretty amazing. They’re void of phthalates, parabens and other unhealthy synthetic chemicals; and they’re biodegradable and cruelty free.

When you use plant-based cleaning solutions, you never have to worry about touching or inhaling dangerous toxins. And that’s important if you have children and or pets in your household.

Below are 5 amazing plant-powered all-purpose cleaning sprays that are not only healthy, but are ethically made and packaged in eco-friendly recyclable bottles.

Hi They’re also perfect for any area of your home: kitchen, bathroom and any other room that needs a good thorough cleaning!

Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day Multi-Purpose Cleaning Spray

Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day Multi-Surface Everyday Cleaners feature hard-working yet gentle multi purpose cleaning agents, while also providing a special, singular scent for your entire home. I started using this particular formula this year and grab a bottle every time I am at the store so that I never run out! This all-purpose non-toxic cleaning spray is great on all non-porous surfaces such as finished wood and tile floors, countertops, walls, porcelain, bathroom fixtures, sealed natural and synthetic stone, and even the car dashboard. 

Method All Purpose Cleaner

I absolutely love the Method All-Purpose cleaner and have been using the pink grapefruit formula for 2 years now. It does a fabulous job on my glass stove top, and it’s my go-to for wiping down the bathroom sink. If you’ve ever tried the pink grapefruit body spray from GAP, it’s almost identical—the scent is pleasantly strong, but not overpowering.

Puracy Multi-Purpose Cleaner

The Puracy Natural All-Purpose cleaner is a non-toxic, effective, and versatile cleaning formula made from plants, water, and a dab of organic lemongrass which results in streak free shine. The food-grade, plant and mineral-based ingredients within this non-toxic cleaner are gentle enough to wipe down a high chair, kitchen table, counters and glass windows!

Better Life All-Purpose Cleaner

If you are sensitive to certain smells, and prefer an unscented cleaning formula, the Better Life all-purpose cleaning spray is a great option for you to try. This non-toxic plant-derived cleaning formula is free of any perfumes, dyes and alcohol; and does a fantastic job at cutting through grease and other filth.

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ECOS Orange All-Purpose Cleaner

The plant-powered ECOS all purpose cleaner does an excellent job at removing grease and grime thanks to it’s tough botanical citrus formula. ECOS has been perfecting their formula for over 50 years, hence they are a trusted brand when it comes to non-toxic cleaning.

Seventh Generation All-Purpose Cleaner

Seventh Generation is a certified B corporation and I’ve used many of their cleaning products, to include laundry detergent. This formula is completely plant powered and infused with essential oils that many people absolutely adore. It’s tough on dirt yet gentle enough to wipe down a highchair!

9 Elements All-Purpose Cleaner

The 9 Elements All Purpose Cleaner contains only 9 ingredients, one of which is vinegar, that easily clean grease, dirt, grime and hard water stains that like to make themselves visible on your sink and other kitchen appliances.

Aunt Fannie’s Cleaning Vinegar

Aunt Fannie’s all-purpose cleaner is infused with essential oils and powered by vinegar. This non-toxic cleaning formula does a fantastic job at wiping away grease and dirt from all areas of the house. It’s also Leaping Bunny Certified for being cruelty free!

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This Solar Powered Robot Weeds Your Garden Everyday

An Effective And Chemical Free Way To Keep Weeds Out Of Your Garden

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Summer is in full swing, and so are weeds. And each year, home owners and landscapers find themselves struggling with the daunting task of weed removal.


There are two main ways to kill weeds: you can either get on your hands and knees and pluck each one out of the ground, or you can purchase a heavy duty liquid spray that’s full of toxic ingredients. Sure, both methods get the job done—but one is extremely time consuming, and the other isn’t very healthy for humans or the environment.

There are literally ingredients in weed killers like Roundup, that can kill human cells, cause birth defects and even lead to cancer. According to Scientific American, “researchers have found that one of Roundup’s inert ingredients can kill human cells, particularly embryonic, placental and umbilical cord cells”.

That’s a pretty scary wake up call.

But even if you ditch the toxic chemical spray (which you should), you still need an alternative method for weed removal. And no, “homemade” weed sprays do not work—they may kill the top growth, but to truly kill a perennial weed, you need the spray to be absorbed by the roots, and DIY vinegar sprays don’t accomplish this. So you’re stuck with manual removal.

However, not everyone is capable of pulling weeds out of the ground. In addition to age, some people have health complications and simply can’t be on their hands and knees all day pulling weeds out of garden soil. But, a robotic weeder can.

Tertill can be the safe solution to your weed problem.

Tertill

Tertill is a solar-powered weeding robot that lives in your garden and weeds intermittently for a total of 1-2 hours every day. Its specially designed wheels churn up the top layer of soil preventing most weeds from sprouting. If any weeds do grow, Tertill chops them down with its string trimmer.” -Tertill.com

To put it simply, the repeated “hacking” of the same weed, over and over again, will cause the entire root system to eventually give up and shrivel away—never to return again.

Another cool feature of this robotic weeder is that it runs on solar power, has 4 wheel drive and roams your lawn or garden chopping down weeds—so you don’t have to. And because it uses free energy, you never have to charge it. It’s also weather proof, and works just as hard in the rain!

The only con to this innovative outdoor gadget is that it must be within an enclosure so that it doesn’t go rogue and roll off into the woods, street or ditch somewhere—all technology has its limits.

Utilizing Tertill truly is an environmentally friendly way to maintain your lawn or garden without utilizing unnecessary harmful chemicals.

Tertill also comes with guards to protect plants, herbs and veggies that you don’t want cut down—so no worries!

Image: Tertill

Tertill Features

  • Solar-Powered & weatherproof – Stays in garden from spring through fall
  • Kills pre-emergent weeds with specially designed wheels
  • Chops down sprouted weeds with string trimmer
  • Easy set up – No Programming or mapping – just push the button
  • Proven as effective as hand weeding by the Cornell School of Agriculture
  • Uses height to tell plants from weeds – comes with guards to protect small plants
  • Weeds in 2-5 minute intervals for 1-2 hours a day
  • Maintains up to a 200 square foot garden
  • From the inventor of Roomba

So, if you want to avoid unnecessary labor, and clear out weeds in a safe and environmentally friendly manner, then I think you should give this innovative weed removal method a try!

Best DIY Mosquito Repellants

Natural DIY Recipes And Hacks To Repel Mosquitos And Take Your Yard Back!

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When you live in the south, you’re plagued with some of the meanest mosquitoes in the country. And these little demons can be extremely active well into the month of December—which is no fun if you’re trying to enjoy the crisp outdoor air with some hot cocoa in the evening.

Aside from being a nuisance, mosquitoes can carry deadly viruses like West Nile, Zika, Malaria and Dengue. Mosquito bites can also spark allergic reactions in both children and adults called Skeeter Syndrome, which is similar in appearance to cellulitis. The bitten area can swell to a concerning size and cause intense itching.

With that said, it’s very important to protect yourself from mosquitoes—whether you’re outside or in your home. I can’t tell you how many times my children have woken up with mosquito bites in the past, because these pesky bugs have somehow made their way into our house. Needless to say, I did a lot of research to find preventable solutions.

Fortunately, there are several ways to deter mosquitoes naturally without having to resort to store bought products (like sprays), which may be effective in repelling these bugs, but aren’t so great for your health because they contain harmful chemicals like DEET, which has unfortunately been linked to neurotoxicity.

Hence, in this article, I’m going to share some natural tips, tricks and DIY recipes with you that will help repel mosquitoes safely, and allow you to enjoy the outdoors—because you shouldn’t have to be bullied by a bug.

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Homemade Mosquito Repellants And Hacks!

Mosquito Repellant #1

Catnip

Catnip—yes, catnip! Catnip happens to be 10 times more powerful than any store bought mosquito solution because it contains nepetalactone, an essential oil that’s more effective than DEET! In short, catnip triggers a pain receptor in mosquitoes and they flee.

Simply place several catnip sachets around your home (especially near entryways and windows) to deter them from entering your home. You can also make catnip tea, pour it into a spray bottle, and unleash this powerful solution anywhere in your home or even on your clothing and camping tent. I spritz catnip tea on my outdoor patio furniture and indoor curtains.

Mosquito Repellant #2

DIY Mosquito Sprays

Catnip Essential Oil For Mosquito Sprays

You can create your own homemade mosquito sprays using Witch Hazel, alcohol, vinegar and essential oils that mosquitoes absolutely hate. I find that even flies steer clear of my patio after I spray a good amount onto myself. Here are a couple of different recipes that you can try out:

Combo #1

1 Cup of witch hazel, 1 tbsp of apple cider vinegar and 20 drops of lemongrass, tea tree, or cat nip essential oil.

Combo #2

1 cup of isopropyl alcohol, 1 cup of water, 1/2 tsp of catnip essential oil or any other essential oil such as lemongrass, lavender, or tea tree.

Mosquito Repellant #3

Bounce Dryer Sheets

Bounce dryer sheets are a staple mosquito repellant here in Florida. Wether you’re outdoors working on your garden, or out in the woods camping, stick a Bounce dryer sheet or two into your pockets (exposing them a little) and watch how mosquitoes steer clear.

Mosquito Repellant #4

Burn Some Sage & Rosemary

The next time you’re out on the patio BBQing, remember to throw some fresh sage or rosemary onto the coals (or metal grill if using a gas grill) and watch the mosquitoes steer clear of the area.

Mosquito Repellant #5

DIY Anti-Mosquito Lotion

You can create your own mosquito repelling lotion with one simple pantry ingredient and an essential oil. Simply mix the ingredients together in a small bowl and rub onto exposed body parts. This mosquito repellant is an all-natural recipe and can be used on children, but please do a small test area first to make sure that no irritation occurs. For this recipe, you will need:

  • 1/3 cup coconut oil
  • 15 drops peppermint, eucalyptus, lavendar, lemongrass or tea tree essential oil

Mosquito Repellant #6

Hang Some Herbs

Hang some herbs around your home and patio in cheese cloths or muslin bags. Flying insects (especially mosquitoes) absolutely hate the smell of basil and will avoid the area. You can hang either fresh basil leaves, or crush some dried ones which will also emit a strong scent. Roaches cannot stand basil as well!

Mosquito Repellant #7

Spray Listerine

Believe it or not, mosquitos absolutely hate mouthwash. I’ve only tried this with Listerine, but I encourage you to try any mouthwash that has a strong mint/peppermint scent. Just fill up a spray bottle with as much Listerine as you’d like (DO NOT DILUTE IT), and spray your entire yard with it—I’m talking picnic table, playground equipment and even grass. Mosquitos will flee immediately! It’s even great for keeping ticks away!

More Interesting Mosquito Prevention Hacks

Avoid Leaving Out Water

Avoid having water sitting around anywhere on your property (pet bowls, birdbaths, etc). Mosquitoes need water in order to reproduce, and even as little as 1 pint is sufficient to nurture as many as five-hundred larvae.

Break Open Some Egg Yolks


If you happen to have a small pond in your yard, you can break open a few egg yolks and let them spread over the surface of the water. This solution suffocates the mosquito larvae and can be repeated every few days.



Stock Your Pond With Mosquito Eating Fish!

You can even stock your pond with mosquito-eating fish called Gambusia Affinis! These mosquito eating fish love to feast on mosquito larvae and are an excellent mosquito prevention source. If you can’t find them in your local fish store, you can surprisingly find a few retailers selling them on Amazon for a reasonable price!

Citronella Plants

Grow some citronella plants in your garden, or in plant pots around your front porch and patio. Mosquitoes despise citronella plants, and will stay away from the area. You can purchase citronella plants at your local nursery, or grow your own from seeds.

Dragonflies

Attract some dragonflies to your property by growing bamboo plants. Dragonflies love to live among bamboo and enjoy feasting on mosquitoes! In fact, they can eat around 100 mosquitoes in as little as 30 minutes!

Septoplasty Recovery Tips

My Septoplasty Experience With Latera Implants


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I have recently undergone Septoplasty surgery to correct a deviated septum. Due to trauma, it had basically shifted into my right nostril at age 13 and obstructed my breathing ever since. Needless to say I was tired of getting adult ear infections and having a difficult time breathing during exercise—particularly running. So I decided to finally correct it.

My primary care doctor referred me to an ENT specialist (ear nose and throat) and when the ENT doc examined me, he noticed a couple more things besides a crooked septum that needed to be taken care of.

In addition to enlarged turbinates that needed to be shrunk, my nasal valve was collapsing every time I sniffed or took a breath through my nose—so I needed an implant on both sides called a Latera implant.

Image source: Latera.com

Latera implants are polymers and get injected on each side of your nose and keep your nose stabilized when you breathe in—allowing you to get a full breath of air. And the cool thing about these implants is that after a year, they get absorbed by your body and create scar tissue that acts on behalf of the implant.

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Day Of Surgery

I arrive at the surgery center a week after my Septoplasty consult and I was pretty nervous. I’ve had quite a few surgeries before but never on my face—especially a delicate part like my nose. I was so nervous that I asked the nurse for a vomit bin and they ended up putting Zofran into my IV to keep me from throwing up.

Basically I had two huge fears while I was waiting on my hospital bed: the first was that I would wake up extremely stuffed up due to blood and the splints that they put up your nose to stabilize it, and therefore choke or suffocate, and the second fear had to do with pain—because let’s face it—even plucking one nose hair makes your eyes water, and in this case, they’d be taking out small chunks of cartilage.

POST SURGERY (Day 1)

After my Septoplasty surgery, I woke up actually being able to breathe through my nose—silicone tubes and all. And I wasn’t in any pain because of the local anesthetic that the doctor injected all throughout my nose—in addition to whatever was going through my IV line. So no worries, you won’t be in any pain at all.

However, when I stood up to get ready to go home, my nose began to drain blood and I instantly felt congested. I definitely had to go full mouth-breather. The nurse showed me how to tape gauze underneath my nose to catch the blood, and told me to begin using saline the next day to keep all the blood from crusting over—which also makes nasal splint removal more difficult later on (they removed mine 4 days later).

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At home I laid down and drifted in and out of sleep from the anesthesia. I used a reusable compress mask that went around my nose and not directly on it—trust me, any pressure on your nose is painful. And the ones that they give you at the hospital are awful because they leak, so I’m glad I preordered my own after reading about this in a facebook Septoplasty Recovery group.

I tried to eat, but my front teeth were sore, so I stuck to liquids and yogurt. I definitely used the pain meds that were prescribed to me when the local anesthetic wore off. I also took a capsule of turmeric/curcumin which is an anti inflammatory supplement known to reduce swelling.

That night was pretty rough. Not due to pain because the medication kept it under control, but because of the congestion. I had to sleep propped up, which wasn’t comfortable, and I kept waking due to dry mouth and a dry throat. I’m also pretty sure I stopped breathing a couple of times while I slept because I would jerk awake gasping for air. I’m pretty sure many people have experienced the same thing while recovering from Septoplasty surgery.

Day 2

I woke up tired and was pretty frustrated throughout the entire day. I wanted my nose to clear out, but that’s not possible. I used my saline nasal spray (very gently), but all that seemed to do was make my nose stuffier (I did that about 3-4 times that day). My nose still bled so I had to continue wearing gauze underneath my nose.

I also caved today and got a humidifier to help me sleep better at night and to keep my mouth and throat less dry. Prior to bed I took my first hot shower since the night prior to my surgery with the shower head turned away and it felt great! I had to have the shower head turned slightly away though.

Day 3

I’m having panick attacks from time to time because i can barely get air in through my tubes and it’s making me feel claustrophobic. Saline solution clears it out for a little while but then it begins to dry and crust over all over again. I tell myself to hang in there as I’m getting my splints out tomorrow.

I also went out today and absolutely had to wear sunglasses because it’s so bright out but, they hurt my nose due to the Latera implants which have become swollen and are poking out through my skin. Luckily, someone online told me about a headband that lifts the glasses off of your nasal bridge and I ordered a pair because I really need to wear my sunglasses when I drive.

Day 4

I went to get my splints removed today and it REALLY hurt. There’s really no subtle way to yank splints out, so having them taken out with force is pretty painful. I can honestly say that I was in more pain having splints taken out than the day I had surgery. The doctor also told me that I will have dissolvable stitches in there for a while, and to not tug on them.

Below are my before and after photos. You can definitely see how bad the septum was and how great of a difference Septoplasty made. It even changed the shape of my nose tip—making it more symmetrical.

Before & After

Even though Septoplasty splint removal was super painful, I was able to take in a huge whiff of fresh air, and it was wonderful.

The only concern were the Latera implants, which were looking too superficial, but the ENT doctor told me to wait it out and see if the swelling goes down. If it doesn’t, and the implants are still poking through, then I will have to go back and have them removed in-office. The removal might create a tiny scar, but makeup does wonders these days.

Day 5

Last night I slept great! My nose still feels tender and slightly congested, but nothing compared to the previous days. I barely have to use my saline solution, and there is only a tiny amount of blood tinged mucus when I blow my nose. It still kind of hurts to blow, but it’s getting much better.

Moving Forward

The next two weeks of Septoplasty recovery, I noticed my nose going back to a normal slim shape. The nostrils aren’t perfectly symmetrical, but it’s a huge improvement aesthetically. My nose also isn’t tender anymore. If my child accidently bumps it with their head I’m not crying in pain—I barely feel it.

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Overall, having Septoplasty surgery was a great decision. I am able to breathe freely without any obstruction and my sense of smell has improved also.

If you’re having Septoplasty surgery, or considering having a Septoplasty, just remember that the first 3 days are the worst, but after the splints are removed, it’s smooth sailing, and you’ll have a life changing new nose.

Below are the items I’ve used to help aid my recovery and to be more comfortable during the healing process—I call it my “recovery tool kit”. Hopefully, these items will help you as well!

My Septoplasty Recovery Toolkit

Reusable Heating/Cooling Pad

MyCare Cooling Pad

Pro-Optics Nose Guard

Pro-Optics

Cool Mist Humidifier

AquaOasis

How To Avoid Shopping Cart Germs With Baby

Do You Know What’s Really Lurking On Your Shopping Cart Handle?

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Let’s have a serious conversation about germs. Not only because of COVID-19, but because even prior to the outbreak, people still got sick from being in contact with unsanitary shopping carts.

When you think about it, we latch onto a shopping cart with a death grip for a good length of time. Sometimes we’re in that grocery store for a good 30-45 minutes—and the entire time, we’re clutching that shopping cart handle like it’s a safety bar on a crazy amusement park ride.

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Meanwhile, our exposed skin is coming into contact with some really nasty stuff. And if you have kids, it becomes even more problematic because kids like to rub their eyes, stick fingers in their mouth and noses, and sometimes even gnaw on the cart handle. It’s enough to give any parent anxiety.

A study conducted by the University of Arizona showed the following bacteria lurking on shopping cart handles:

Courtesy of Foodprotection.org

Why Are Shopping Carts So Dirty?

In a nutshell–they never get cleaned! If you think about it, aside from the handles being swiped with an anti-bacterial wipe from time to time, the rest of the shopping cart frame remains dirtier than a toilet seat. This is due to:

  1. Being used by multiple people throughout the day, everyday for 365 days a year.
  2. Being filled up with groceries consisting of packaged meat that ooze blood.
  3. Being sneezed on.
  4. Transfer of fecal matter from improper hand-washing.
  5. Children drooling and gnawing on the handles

How To Avoid Shopping Cart Germs

Use A Shopping Cart Cover

When I was pregnant with my first-born, one of my baby-shower gifts consisted of a shopping cart cover. I still have that little cover and use it with my second-born child. My daughter is 3 and I still use it. When I return home, I simply throw it into the washing machine and wash it in hot water. Simple.

Lumiere

Sanitize The Handles

This is a no brainer. Whenever I enter the grocery store, I grab a couple of sanitizing wipes (complimentary of the store) and wipe the handle. You should also bring your own supply of anti-bacterial wipes and sanitizer just in case the store runs out.

You can even buy a shopping cart handle cover that can also be used on shopping baskets, like the one below by Shopexzone. It’s incredibly convenient and can be stored in your car or tote bag when not in use.

Clip’N Shop

Don’t Let Your Kids Sit In The Back Of Shopping Carts

I often see a lot of parents allow their children to ride in the back of the shopping cart. And I didn’t think much of it until I read an article about all the bacteria that lurks in that part of the cart.

Packaged meat like pork and poultry products, are often placed into that area, sometimes leaking blood. This exposure leads to Salmonella and Campylobacter infections.

What does all this mean? It means that parents are literally pushing their kids around in a metal biohazard on wheels. To avoid contamination, it’s best to seat your child in the front and have the older ones walk beside you.

Fussy Toddler? Bring A Toy From Home

If you have a child who isn’t a very patient shopper and wants to tug at your shopping cart cover or reach for products in the back of the cart, give her something clean to hold; like a toy or object from home that they have great interest in.

My daughter enjoys holding a pair of my sunglasses or those silicone poppits. Knowing that she’s distracted allows me to concentrate on the items that I need to get. This makes our shopping trip quick and easy.

Wash Hands When You Get Home

When we return home, I have both my children get up on their little step stool and wash their hands with soap and water—myself included. They quite enjoy it. They love lathering and squishing the soap bubbles and it’s become a fun activity.

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The Best Eco-Friendly Dolls For Kids

Organic And Ethically Made Nontoxic Dolls For Sustainable Play

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Are you striving to be a more sustainable parent and making a switch to more natural and nontoxic toys for your little ones? You are not alone!

Many health-conscious parents are coming to the realization that kids spend a lot of time cuddling and sleeping with their toys—teething babies in particular enjoy biting them.

Now, most parents don’t think that those are big concerns, but, mainstream dolls have potential to be filled with hazardous material like flame retardants, BPA and PVC—all of which are considered to be hormone disrupting chemicals.

Because of these concerns, parents are opting for healthier alternatives when it comes to toys, especially dolls. And luckily, many eco-friendly brands are creating nontoxic and sustainable dolls that children can enjoy safely, without sacrificing any fun. Because let’s face it, aesthetics are important as well.

Though they may be more expensive than regular dolls, eco-friendly dolls are worth the investment. They are ethically made out of nontoxic and organic material, are void of synthetic chemicals, and are typically hand-made, which means there’s more attention to detail.

Dolls also help foster emotional development and teach empathy, which is an important trait. Hence, it’s a great toy for both genders to play with.

Below are several hand-picked eco-friendly dolls that were ethically manufactured, are nontoxic and completely safe for play and nighttime snuggles!

Best Non-Toxic Dolls For Sustainable Play

Hearts Of Yarn Hand-Made Plush Dolls

These charming eco-friendly plush dolls are hand-made and contain a cotton canvas body. Each doll also comes with a branded reusable cotton canvas bag that contains the doll’s name—which your child will love! You can find a variety of these beautiful dolls on Amazon!

Wise & Wonder Cotton Doll

Wonder & Wise

The Wise and Wonder cotton doll is made from cotton and comes complete with a removable knit cap, diaper and swaddle blanket. It’s a sweet little doll that little girls love to play with, and because it resembles a newborn, it’s perfect to use with a doll pram.

Gloveleya Non-Toxic Plush Dolls

Gloveleya

These super soft non-toxic dolls are great starter dolls for babies as well as older girls. These eco-friendly dolls are made of high quality safety environmental soft plush fabric and contain super-squishy material filler. They are machine washable and meet and pass CPSIA and CCPSA Standards.

Ogh Organic Stuffed Dolls

The eco-friendly plush Ogh dolls are handmade with organic yarn and stuffed with hypoallergenic polyfill. They are super soft to the touch and make a sweet non-toxic first doll for little ones.

Cuddle + Kind Cotton Yarn Dolls

Cuddle + Kind dolls are hand-knit from 100% yarn, and are stuffed with hypoallergenic polyfill for the softest snuggles. These super soft dolls are sewn in Peru using fair trade practice and are available in two different sizes. The brand also donates 10 meals to children in need with every sale, which is really amazing!

Apple Park Organic Cotton Plush Dolls

These adorable non toxic and eco-friendly plush dolls by Apple Park are perfect companions for toddlers and big kids. They’re made from soft GOTS Certified organic cotton and filled with hypoallergenic corn fiber. The clothing is also removable and washable! These sustainable dolls are available at EarthHero, and you can take 10 percent off of your purchase using code ECOMOMDIARIES at checkout!

Playdate Friends

These adorable fabric Playdate Friends dolls by Manhattan Toys come with a small little animal companion and are completely machine washable and dryer friendly. They can also be undressed when playing dress up! We love all the varieties that these dolls come in and they’re perfect for both genders!

Tikiri Organic Baby Dolls

These eco friendly and ethically made plush dolls are handmade in Sri Lanka and made from 100% organic cotton fabric and recycled polyester for stuffing. These dolls are absolutely beautiful and come in so many different variations! They’re also more budget friendly than other environmentally friendly dolls on the market!

Under The Nile Organic Cotton Dress Up Doll

These 13 inch eco-friendly baby dolls for toddlers by Under The Nile are handmade from 100% organic Egyptian cotton. They make the perfect first dolls for toddlers, and your little one will have a blast dressing them up since they come with an extra set of non-toxic clothing!

Zubels Woven Dolls

These sustainable dancing ballerina dolls by Zubels are environmentally friendly and made from 100% cotton—they also come in various sizes. Zubels dolls also contain environmentally safe low-impact dyes and have minimal packaging to reduce environmental waste.

EcoBaby Dolls

EcoBaby Doll

EcoBaby dolls by GaiaTree are made from all-natural rubber (which is biodegradable) and come dressed in organic cotton clothing. The eco-friendly doll featured in the image above is baby Cora, and she’s available on Amazon!

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Must-Have Eco-Friendly Breastfeeding Essentials

Non-Toxic Breastfeeding Supplies For New Moms

Updated February 10, 2022

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Breastfeeding aids are constantly evolving, and luckily, more breastfeeding accessories are becoming eco-friendly—resulting in safer, non-toxic products for both you, baby and the environment.

With my first born, I 100% didn’t know what I was doing and I wasn’t prepared for all the painful aftermath associated with breastfeeding. It was quite a shock how much work was involved. And it is especially hard if your baby doesn’t latch correctly.

In fact, it wasn’t until a few days after we brought our son home that I sent my husband out to get breastfeeding supplies which would help me breastfeed more comfortably. Things that I initially didn’t think I would need, but ended up needing.

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And that’s ok, because breastfeeding takes practice and you won’t know what you need until you and baby begin the journey. But, whatever you choose, strive for organic, non-toxic, and eco-friendly breastfeeding products. Not only are green nursing products healthier—they’re also kind on the environment.

Below, you’ll find my personal hand-picked list of environmentally friendly nursing supplies that you can add to your Amazon Baby Registry!

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Conscious And Non-Toxic Breastfeeding Essentials Guide

Rechargeable Milk Duct Massager

One major issue with breastfeeding that many new moms experience, especially in the first couple of weeks, is clogged milk ducts. That’s where a massager comes in handy. This milk duct massager by LaVie is made of hospital grade silicone, is USB rechargeable, waterproof, and is more effective than hand massage. It’s definitely a must-have item for breastfeeding moms.

LaVie

Reusable Non-Toxic Gel Compress Pads

Every new mom needs a hot/cold compress—especially if they’re breastfeeding. Breasts become sore and painful, and in some instances milk ducts become clogged. Applying a compress can relieve pain and get milk flowing.

These luxury reusable breastfeeding gel pads by Magic Gel can be used both ways: cold and warm. They’re non toxic and can be microwaved up to 300 times. Perfect for sore nipples, engorged breasts, mastitis, swelling and inflammation.

Magic Gel

Electric Breast Pump

A large majority of moms use high quality electric breast pumps—even those who breastfeed exclusively. It’s a great way to relieve engorged breasts and create an extra supply of milk if you’re away from baby and someone else must feed them via bottle.

I used Medela with both of my babies. Medela parts are non-toxic and BPA and DEH-P free.

Great quality electric breast pumps will cost you around $150-$200, but that’s also the amount that formula feeding moms spend in a month—so it’s quite an excellent investment. And you’ll also be happy to hear that most health insurance companies cover most or all of the breast pump cost.

Medela

Wearable Breast Pump

Some new moms don’t want to be confined to a chair and a loud breast pump with wires dangling from their chest. So a great alternative to a conventional electric pump is a wearable one—like Willow wearable breast pump.

Compared to other wearable pumps, Willow is the only one that offers complete mobility—360 degrees of motion enabled by their patented, continuous latch and Spill-Proof Milk Bags. That means you can pump in any position, even doing yoga or lying down!

Willow

Haaka Silicone Breast Pump

New moms absolutely love the silicone Haakaa breast pump. Haakaa is a hands—free silicone breast pump that uses natural suction to draw out that extra breast milk in-between pumping, or during a feed so that you’re not dripping valuable milk while baby is drinking from the other breast. It’s a really handy nursing tool to have on hand, and you won’t regret the buy!

Haakaa

Eco-Friendly Baby Bottles

You’ve spent so much time pumping and when the time comes, you, dad or another family member will be able to feed baby via bottle. And don’t worry, there are such things as breastfeeding baby bottles, which are specially designed to help baby transition between breast and bottle—and it won’t effect breastfeeding. 

Dr. Brown’s wide-neck glass bottles are one such variety with a very good reputation. I have used these with my babies and it did not discourage them from going back and forth. Plus, they’re glass and can be recycled!

Dr. Brown’s

You can also opt for stainless steel baby bottles, like this one by ThinkBaby, which parents are loving, not only for feedings, but for scalding frozen breast milk!

One Amazon reviewer wrote:

Bought this to use in our bottle warmer to scald breast milk due to high lipase. It works perfectly for that – the stainless steel heats up quickly and evenly and seems much more sanitary/safe than plastic.”

Think Baby

Silicone Breastmilk Storage Bags

After pumping your liquid gold, you’ll want to store it short-term in the refrigerator or long term in the freezer. And the best way to store your milk and save the environment is by ditching the reusable bags.

Go with silicone and save your breast milk over and over and over again in the same container without adding to the plastic waste crisis. Zip Top reusable storage bags are a great buy, and come in packs of two or more!

ZipTop

Silicone Sterilizer Steam Bags

Should you decide to purchase a breastpump, you’ll want to sanitize the parts on a regular basis. Now a days, you can purchase convenient eco-friendly, silicone steam bags that sanitize everything in minutes, like the Evenflo Steam Sanitizing Bag. You can also throw in a bottle or pacifier and simultaneously remove up to 99.9% of germs!

The Evenflo Feeding Silicone Steam Sanitizing Bag is designed to help eliminate harmful germs and bacteria from most pump parts, bottles, pacifiers, and more. Made from 100% FDA food-grade silicone, this eco-friendly bag is more durable than plastic alternatives and can be used over and over again, creating less waste for the environment.

EvenFlo

Organic Nursing Pillow

Unless you have arms of steel, holding a baby in a fixed position for 15-20 minutes is not a lot of fun! Breastfeeding support pillows helped me tremendously by allowing me to sit in a comfortable position while my baby chowed down.

Currently, the Nook Organic Breastfeeding Pillow is a great buy if you want to go the organic route. It’s made of organic cotton and comes with a washable slip cover.

Organic Nursing Bras

Nursing bras are essential for easy access. And it’s best to go with non-toxic fabric such as organic cotton or bamboo. Wearing organic fibers benefits both you, baby and the environment.

Organic cotton is free of pesticides, insecticides, and other harmful chemicals. It also requires less water to produce. Kindred Bravely manufactures ultra soft organic cotton nursing bras with wireless support.

Kindred Bravely

Another eco-friendly online store that sells organic breastfeeding bras made from cotton as well as bamboo is Our Green House, and they have quite a cute collection of non-toxic nursing bras and tank tops that are functional, comfortable and stylish.

Our Green House

Reusable Nursing Pads

These are not only a necessity—they’re a must-have. Your nipples will leak a lot, especially during a feed (when one isn’t in use) and will leave embarrassing and uncomfortable splatter marks that crust over when dried.

Plus, what no one will tell you, is that leaked milk that’s absorbed into your bra or shirt stinks. You’re going to smell like old, sour milk. And you will need to buy a few pairs because you will have to change them out throughout the day. Go with organic bamboo, like Eco Nursing Pads, as they are reusable, eco-friendly, and highly absorbent.

Eco Nursing Pads

Breathable Nursing Cover

Whether you choose to use a nursing cover or are brave enough to go ‘au naturale’, you should know that nursing covers now-a-days are multi-purpose. In fact, some are so versatile, that when you buy a “nursing cover”, you’re also buying: a car seat canopy, a shopping cart cover, a blanket, a scarf, a newborn swaddle—you name it. Talk about a great investment. And you can find beautiful nursing covers that are breathable, non-toxic and gentle for both mom and baby like this one by Cooper Pearl.

Copper Pearl

Non-Toxic Silicone Nipple Shields

Nipple shields are primarily used to help with latching. There are situations where a woman might have very flat nipples, inverted nipples or an improper latch has led to painful blisters and mom needs to heal—a nipple shield can help with such dilemmas.

The Yiyee Nipple Shield has a HUGE amount of great reviews on Amazon compared to other brands. It’s 100% thin silicone, BPA free and non-toxic. Moms seem to love how easy it is for their baby to latch and suck from a comfortable distance without putting painful pressure on the sore nipple.

Vegan And Non-Toxic Nipple Cooling Gel Pads

Nipple cooling pads—I literally love this invention. These were lifesavers for me when I breastfed. My nipples were so sore that slapping some cooling gel pads on them after a painful feed was the best feeling in the world. Imagine having a sunburn and then relieving it with some nice cool aloe vera gel—that’s the effect that gel pads have. Choose gel pads that are vegan and made from glycerin, which is non-toxic to human health and the environment—such as the Lansinoh Soothies Breast Gel Pads.

Lansinoh

Organic Nipple Balms And Creams

All that breastfeeding causes your nipples to become dry and cracked—much like chapped lips. And what do you do about chapped lips? You rub some lip balm on them to provide soothing relief and healing. The same goes with nipples. An investment in really good nipple balm or cream will make all the difference.

And because you’re basically sharing your nipples with another human being, you want to make sure that the product is baby friendly: organic and nontoxic, like Boob Ease Organic Nipple Balm and Earth Mama Organic Nipple Butter.

Organic Breastmilk Supplements And Teas

I personally needed supplements to help with my milk production. In the first month, I wasn’t producing a sufficient amount of milk, and my baby wasn’t gaining weight. It wasn’t until after I began taking supplements that my milk supply began to increase. The only drawback was that I smelled like pancake syrup—which is something that all moms who take supplements with milk thistle and fenugreek experience (the two herbs responsible for the magic).

But, I won’t lie, some of them (the best ones that actually work) are a little expensive—but they do their job. I took MotherLove More Milk Plus. They are liquid capsules and have a really good reputation. And if you don’t like taking pills, lactation support supplements come in many other forms such as: cookies, teas (Traditional Medicinals Organic Mother’s Milk Tea), chews, drink mixes and gummies. It really just comes down to personal preference.

Greenguard Gold Certified Recliner

Million Dollar Baby

One of my most favorite breastfeeding essentials has been a recliner; and it was literally a life saver during all of those middle of the night feedings. And if you’re going to invest in one, please make sure that it is Greenguard Gold Certified, which means that it was tested for over 10,000 different types of toxins, and is certified non-toxic (just like cribs should be). Many recliners like the one by Million Dollar Baby, have built in charging ports for your electronics as well, and are excellent quality!

Breastmilk Jewelry Kit

Lackto

One of the sweetest ways to commemorate your breastfeeding journey is to preserve your breastmilk, and you can do so right in your own home with a DIY breastmilk jewelry kit! And Lackto is the leading breastmilk preservation brand when it comes to home kits!

The LACKTO kit comes with all the essential tools that you need to create your breastmilk keepsake, and comes with easy to follow instructions. Their website also contains a FAQ’s page where you can read all the frequently asked questions regarding the entire process and sustainably of the preserved breastmilk.

Breastfeeding Tracker Phone Apps

There are many wonderful and convenient phone apps for tracking your breastfeeding, and a large majority are free. They are a useful tool because you can record and track the duration of your baby’s feed and which breast they used last—because trust me, when you’re nursing a newborn, you’re EXHAUSTED and lack of sleep messes with your memory. Thanks to the app, you’ll know which breast has more milk supply and begin with that one! The MyMedela Breastfeeding Companion app is a great place to start with tracking your feeds.

Medela

Love Bottle: The Recycled Glass Water Bottle With A Mission

All About The Partially Recycled Water Bottle And How Each Purchase Makes A Difference


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Channel: Love Bottle

Water seems to taste a lot better out of glass. Unlike metal drinking vessels, glass leaves flavor untouched—pure and natural. So I may be biased when I say this, but reusable glass water bottles are the healthiest to drink out of.

If you agree, and are searching for a new reusable glass water bottle to keep you hydrated throughout the day, then check out this beautiful water bottle brand called Love Bottle.

Meet Love Bottle!

Love Bottle is a partially recycled reusable glass water bottle with a hand-crafted ceramic swing top lid and beautiful artwork that represents love, kindness, humanity and the environment.

Love Bottle is made completely from nontoxic glass, safe to drink out of, leakproof, and scratch-resistant.

Ever since I laid eyes on this water bottle, I knew immediately that I had to share it with my readers, and secondly, that I had to buy one for myself.

Giving back

In addition sustainably and ethically manufacturing their beautiful reusable glass water bottles right here in the USA, Love Bottle donates 5% of its entire revenue to a great cause!


“We believe in giving back and helping people who need it. That is why we donate 5% of our revenue back into the world, both in monetary donations and in kind donations. Our monetary donations go to charity: water, helping to get clean water to people who need it” -Love Bottle

Take a look at the video below if you’d like to learn how Love Bottles are manufactured.

An inside look at how Love Bottles are Made in the USA with our glass manufacturer, Owens-Illinois

Love Bottles are available on Earth Hero, and as a special thank you, please take 10% off of your purchase with code: ECOMOMDIARIES at check out.

When you purchase a Love Bottle, you’re helping donate to a really great cause! Below are just a few of the many designs available for purchase.

Love Bottle

Love Bottle

Mandala

Mandala

Honey Water

Love Water Honey Water


Animal Love

Love Bottle Animal Love

Power Of Words

Love Bottle Power Of Words