My New Year's Eve Nails - Beautifully Non-Toxic

New Year's Eve has arrived and many of us women are scrambling to get ourselves dolled up for the big celebration.  Thanks to Mr. Recession, I am skipping the nail salon and giving myself a manicure.  While the experience may not be as fun, it will certainly be better for my health. 

I am one of those curious people that loves offensive smells like paint and smoke.  At a nail salon I may as well be in heaven.  The pungeant aroma of acetone and formaldehyde fills my nostrils, causing a slight tingly burning sensation that I quite like.  But wait, did I say formaldehyde?  Yes, I did.

And you thought formaldehyde was just for embalming bodies.  Nope.  Modern ingenuity has ensured this toxic carcinogen endless avenues into our lungs.  Pressed wood products (including much modern furniture), tobacco smoke, textiles, insulation, glues and even our nail polish and polish remover serve as vessels, ferrying this toxin to port in our homes and other indoor environments to be inhaled and absorbed.

It has been shown to cause cancer in lab animals and is suspected to do the same in humans.  In addition to agravating the respiratory system and triggering asthma, the EPA tells us that it can also bring on severe allergic reaction symptoms as well as wheezing, coughing, fatigue, and skin rash.

You can reduce your exposure immediately by purging your home of formaldehyde carriers.  One immediate change you can make is your nail polish and nail polish remover.  I have found a fantastic spa brand of nail care products that are free of chemicals and toxins, including formaldehyde, and are 100% natural and cruelty free. 

Karma Organics is the the natural product line of Karma Organic Day Spa in New Jersey.  They offer an all natural nail polish remover that works and smells great as well as a mix of 50 trendy and classic colors of nail polish.  I chose their Twinkle Twinkle Periwinkle for my manicure today and am so happy with the results.  I layered it over their fast drying 2 in 1 Base Coat for a beautiful, long-lasting finish.  Now my nails are an adorable shade of lavendar that will go great with my little black dress, shiney clutch and large right hand ring.

Win It!

Karma Organic is giving one lucky winner a bottle of their lavendar scented Organic Nail Polish Remover, one bottle of their 2 in One Base Coat and one bottle of Twinkle Twinkle Periwinkle Nail Polish!  To enter, simply visit their online store and look over their fabulous collection of nail colors and then leave a comment on this post telling which color, aside from the one being given away, that you like.  This must be done before any additional entries are accepted.

Additional Entries

For each additional entry, please leave an additional comment.  1 comment = 1 entry  Please tell me what you did in your comment to earn the additional entry.  Here are a few ways you can get additional entries:

1.  Follow my blog
2.  Subscribe to my blog
3.  Post about this giveaway on your own blog with a direct link back to this post.  Be sure to leave the link in your comment!
4.  Tell someone about this giveaway through Facebook, Twitter or email! 
5.  Enter another one of my giveaways.  Be sure to tell me which one you entered in your comment!

This giveaway ends on January 25th at 11:59 PM CST and is open to all US Residents.

Good Luck!

4 Ways to Eat Healthy & Get Fit While Helping Out the Planet

1. Eat Seasonally

Around Thanksgiving I was entertaining and decided to make a special “winter comfort” recipe from one of my holiday cookbooks. The recipe called for red plums. I scurried on down to Kroger to grab a bag. Imagine the shock and horror I felt when the kind little produce man told me that plums were out of season- everywhere- and would not begin to come in from South America for at least two more weeks. What?! The spoiled American consumer in me reared its ugly head. Oh the humanity! Not being able to get the fresh fruit I wanted when I wanted it!? This is America for God sakes!

Silly isn’t it? But this is how most of us are accustomed to thinking. Many of us probably wouldn’t know a winter vegetable from a spring vegetable if it hopped off our plate and slapped us. Mores the pity. Eating out of season fruits and vegetables takes a hefty toll on our environment as they are either grown in hot houses that consume more energy or (as is most often the case) they are shipped in from exotic destinations like… Mexico.

Now a quick word about Mexico. I love Mexico. I spent a lot of time there when I was growing up and even had the privilege of celebrating my quinceaƱera there. (A quinceaƱera is a coming of age ceremony in Latin cultures and occurs on a girl’s 15th birthday. It’s a celebration that welcomes her into womanhood.) The people are open and warm and the culture is spirited and almost magical.

There are, however, some things I do not like about Mexico, primarily their lax if not non-existent agricultural regulations. Dangerous pesticides and unsustainable practices that would never be allowed in the United States are prevalent on many Mexican farms, yet we still allow their produce to make its way to our dinner tables and into the mouths of our children.

Eating seasonally promises many nutritional benefits. A seasonal diet ensures that you are able to consume only produce grown in the United States which carries a, somewhat, higher standard. Produce that has a long journey to market is picked prematurely and then ripened with chemicals. Choosing produce that is allowed to mature naturally “on the vine” ensures that you’ll be receiving maximum nutritional value.

2. Be a Local Consumer

Comitting to consume only locally grown produce will turn you into a seasonal eater overnight. It will also offers you the luxury of choosing exactly who you purchase your food from. Use sites like to find farms in your area whose growing practices are in line with your own personal values. In addition to participating in farmers markets, smaller family farms often foster personal relationships with their consumers by opening up the farm for visits a few days a month. This can make for a fun outing with the family and also give you an inside look at where your dinners come from!

Being a local consumer allows you to invest your money back into your area by supporting the family owned establishments that make up the heart of your community. It is an easy and fun way to reduce your household’s carbon footprint (even if the store’s produce is American grown, it still likely had a very long journey on a semi) and empowers you to chose fruits and vegetables that are fresh and nutritionally superior.

3. Plant Your Own Vegetable Garden

Growing some of your own vegetables is not as hard as people imagine and its benefits are far reaching. You don’t need a large plot or even a backyard. Many people find that a container garden is plenty to keep them stocked in their basic veggies and herbs for a full season. If you are limited with space and time or are not yet confident of your gardening skills, start out with a salad garden. For help and ideas in planning your garden, check out these helpful articles and site:

4. Legs: God’s Plan for Reducing Our Dependency on Oil

All joking aside, how often do you hop in the car when you could walk or ride your bike? True, it’s not always feasible, especially if you have young ones to tote around with you. However, there are some great strollers and bike carriages that make for a better work out for mom, an exciting adventure for the kids, and a much needed respite for Mother Nature. Is your grocery store within biking distance? There are some cute and trendy baskets that fit easily onto a bike to carry your bags. Turn your errand into a workout while also helping to reduce emissions and improve your city’s air quality.

Our bodies are made for the outdoors, yet we modern day humans spend more than 90% of our time inside! The results are often excess weight and a deficiency in vitamin D which our bodies naturally soak up through the sun’s rays. Studies show that the air quality inside many offices and homes is significantly poorer than that of a metropolitan city! The next time you have an errand to run or a nearby friend to visit, go natural and use the legs your mother gave ya.

Gardener's Supply Company

Another NaturOli Giveaway!


I have already posted a fabulous giveaway for NaturOli Soap Nuts that is still going on (if you haven't entered yet you can do so here) and now I have the privilege of posting another! The kind people at NaturOli are offering up two bottles of their Extreme 18x laundry detergent. You can read my review of this fabulous detergent here. It is a very strong concentrate of soap nuts and a very powerful, yet gentle cleaner. I love it and I know you will too!

TWO lucky winners will receive their very own 8 oz. bottle (enough for 96 loads) of Extreme 18x!

Entering Is Easy

To enter, just visit NaturOli's site and read over the information on Extreme 18x. Then come back to this giveaway post and leave a comment telling one thing you read about this fabulous detergent that you liked. Easy! This first step must be completed before any additional entries are counted.

Additional Entries

You can receive additional entries for doing any or all of the following. Please leave a separate comment for each entry.

1. Follow my blog.

2. Subscribe to my blog.

3. Join the NaturOli Revolution. It's free and comes with loads of great perks!

4. Blog about this giveaway. Be sure to leave a link to your post in your entry comment.

5. Tell someone about this giveaway. You can spread the word via Twitter or Facebook or simply tell a friend in passing. Doesn't matter! Just be sure to leave a link directly back to this giveaway post if possible and tell me about it in your entry comment.

6. Enter another of my giveaways. Be sure to tell me in your entry comment which giveaway you entered.

This giveaway will run until January 15th 11:59 PM CST and is open to all US Residents.

Winner will be chosen by using the random number generator at and will be announced on January 16th. I will also email the winner so be sure to have my email address ( as a trusted sender in your email! The winner must respond to my email within 48 hours or another winner will be chosen.

Good luck!

Alabu Giveaway Winner!

Using the number generator, the winner of the Alabu giveaway has been chosen. And the lucky winner is.....

Comment #11 - DebK!

Congratulations Deb and best of lucky next time to the rest of you! Don't forget to stop by my giveaway page and enter my other giveaways!

**Deb- please make sure you respond to my email coming from to claim your gift certificate!

NaturOli Soap Nuts Giveaway - Win a 4 oz. Bag of Soap Nuts!


Over the past two weeks I have shared with you my experiences with NaturOli and their amazing soap nuts, soap bar and Extreme 18x detergent. When I received my NaturOli products in the mail, I thought I was about to discover some fabulous new green products. I didn't realize that I would actually discover a whole world of possibility revolving around this little dried berry. NaturOli's passion for consumer education is evident as soon as you visit their website. If you are interested in learning more, here are some of their articles that I would recommend:

It's Time for Change

The Power of Marketing

Soap Nuts and Soap Nuts Making

Win NaturOli Soap Nuts!

And now for the fun part! NaturOli is generously offering TWO lucky winners a 4 oz. bag of soap nuts. This bag will wash 40 loads of laundry!

To Enter:

Visit NaturOli's site and take a look around. Then come back here and tell me one thing that you learned about soap nuts or NaturOli that you like. This first step is mandatory and must be done before any additional entries are accepted.

For Additional Entries:

1. Join the NaturOli Revolution here and then leave a comment on this post telling me you did. Joining is free and painless and will give you access to their newsletter, special promotions and offers, bulletins and site updates. As a member you'll also be the first to know about special closeouts and discounts!

2. Become a follower of Spots On My Apples and then leave a comment telling me!

3. Subscribe to my blog, then leave a comment telling me you did!

4. Blog about this giveaway and leave a comment with your link.

5. Tell someone about this giveaway then leave a comment telling me!

6. Enter another one of my giveaways then leave a comment telling me which one you entered.

This giveaway is open to US residents and will close on January 16th at 11:59 PM CST. The winner will be announced on January 17th and will also receive an email from me that they must reply to by January 19th 11:59 PM CST or another winner will be chosen.

Good luck!

NaturOli Extreme 18X Laundry Detergent Review


Last week I posted about my exciting discovery of soap nuts and NaturOli, the company who has turned them into the rock stars of the green household industry. Since that review I have had the chance to try NaturOli's Extreme 18x laundry detergent. It's a super concentrated solution made from soap nuts and its list of ingredients is not only short but 100% natural. I was so taken by the idea of the soap nut, nature's perfectly packaged laundry detergent, that I was reluctant to try 18x. However, I also realized that not having a more "conventional" form of laundry detergent available in my house would give my husband the perfect excuse to leave that household chore all to me.

After reading the instructions and tips I was a bit skeptical. It called for only 1 teaspoon of the solution for a medium to large laundry load! "Yeah right" was my initial reaction, but then I reminded myself that these are the soap nut missionaries. If they say it only takes a teaspoon then who am I to doubt? I poured the solution into my empty washer and filled it halfway, allowing the solution to mix with the water, before tossing in my load of towels.

An hour or so later my towels were dried and ready for inspection. They were clean, soft and smelled amazingly fresh without having any real scent or perfume. The 18x had done its job! I have used it on three loads since then (we crank out a lot of laundry in this house) and have had wonderful results each time! True the solution is not as green as the nuts in their natural form but it is certainly more eco-friendly than any other laundry detergent I know of. The tiny sample sized bottle seen in the picture is enough to wash 12 HE loads or 6 standards loads! The bottle is 100% recyclable as is all packaging.

What I Love About This Stuff

  • It's made with only a few simple, all natural ingredients which are given in plain view on the label and on the website
  • It is super concentrated so one large bottle will last me a long time, reducing the amount of plastic I have to send to the recycling plant and thus reducing my carbon footprint
  • It does not stink, it does not smell like anything. It just smells clean. This is important as my daughter has respiratory issues that can be aggravated by perfumed detergents.
  • No need for fabric softener! It softened my laundry naturally.
  • It works! My white towels even came out brighter.
  • Competitive price. You can purchase an 8 ounce bottle from NaturOli's site for $16.95. That is enough to wash at least 96 high efficiency (HE) loads and 48 standard loads! It will likely go even further than that as you can get away with using as little as 1/2 a teaspoon with low soil loads!
  • Easy on your fabrics and on your skin! NaturOli started out initially as a natural skincare company, so they have a strong understanding of how certain ingredients interact with skin. This knowledge was also applied to their Extreme 18x formula. (See my recent review of their soap bar!)
  • It's a product I can trust. My experience with NaturOli and it's president over the last month have instilled in me a trust in the integrity of their company and the products they offer. They are committed to educating consumers and this is evident in their literature, their website and in all communications I have had with them. Though they are quickly growing into a major contender in the green market, they continue to run the company as they started it- with that personal, hands on approach that demonstrates their commitment to quality and their respect for their customers, products, employees and, above all, our environment.

A Few Tips On Using Extreme 18x
  • Once you've filled and loaded your washer, leave the laundry to soak for 15 minutes before beginning the cycle. This is not necessary but does allow the detergent to be even more effective. I did this every time with fantastic results. I set my kitchen timer so that I wouldn't forget about it.
  • Pour the liquid into the water while it's running into your machine. This mixes it up well and even produces a little sudsing. Keep in mind that the presence or absence of suds means nothing. It's just something that we have been trained to look for by conventional soaps and detergents that contain nasty chemical sudsing agents. 18x is low sudsing but very effective.
  • Don't over pack your machine. The laundry should have room to move around during the cycle. (This is recommended with any detergent.)
  • Play around with your measurements. As I mentioned earlier, it is not always necessary to use a full teaspoon. Some loads will come out perfectly clean and fresh with only 1/2 a teaspoon! After a few loads you'll be able to judge for yourself how much is needed.

This detergent was a hit with me. I plan on keeping my laundry room well stocked with Extreme 18x and soap nuts.
If you want to give NaturOli this Christmas, visit their site and check out their adorable seasonal gift sets! But hurry. They only have so many of their seasonal soaps left and they won't last long!

Extra Giveaway Entry Today Because I'm Feeling Jolly...


If you've already entered the $25 Alabu Gift Certificate Giveaway, today you can get one extra entry without having to do a thing! Just leave a comment saying Merry Christmas along with your email address on the giveaway post here. That's it! No work at all.

If you have not already entered the giveaway, what are you waiting for?! Enter here- it only takes a couple of minutes and you could win $25 worth of Alabu products of your choice!

**In order to get the extra Merry Christmas entry you must first complete the initial entry by visiting Alabu's site, picking out a product you really like and leaving it in a comment on the giveaway post. This is required before any additional entries are valid.

Have a wonderful day and, in honor of the season, do something nice for someone!

NaturOli Soap Nuts Soap Bar

Last week I told you a bit about NaturOli and the little wonders called soap nuts. Until recently I had only used soap nuts to wash my clothes, but yesterday I took them into the shower with me in the form of a soap bar.

NaturOli has a wide range of beautiful, all natural soap bars, but the Soap Nuts Soap Bar is their newest. In addition to ground up soap nuts, the bars contain high quality natural ingredients like almond oil, coconut oil, mango butter and vitamin E. They are proud of their all natural ingredients and list them on the label in plain language for the consumer to see.
The rosemary and tea tree mix with the other ingredients to form a very fresh herbal smell that was vaguely familiar to me. As I lathered the soap bar onto my washcloth I racked my brain trying to put my finger on it. While marveling at the exfoliating effect of the soap nut grains it came to me. Thanksgiving turkey! Boy have I spent too much time in the kitchen lately or what? I'm a foodie, so it is natural that I link aromas to cuisine. Unfortunately it made for an odd shower experience. I enjoyed the soap. It lathered up nicely even without chemical sudsing agents and gave my a gentle exfoliation while infusing it with natural oils. But I couldn't help but feel like a turkey getting rubbed down for the oven.

The quality of this bar was really evident after the shower. I have reviewed many soaps and body washes lately, many of them very gentle and nurturing to my dry skin.
But I have to say hands down that this is the most moisturizing soap I have ever
I honestly did not feel the need to moisturize at all! Knowing the effects that blown heat has on my severely dry skin, I still chose to moisturize. But the soap nuts soap bar had already done the job! It reminded me of how my skin feels after having a massage and then washing off the oil.

Despite the roast turkey association, I used the soap again this morning and will again tomorrow. I love it! The rosemary is the culprit here. Though wonderfully fresh and fragrant, I will always connect this herb with dinner. I would love to try one of these bars with some of their other scents like the candy cane mint or the cinnamon, but until that can happen I will definitely continue to use this one. It will also make a perfect stocking stuffer for the man in my life who appreciates good soaps but is a bit burned out on lavender.

Check out NaturOli's complete line of soaps here if you are looking for green gifts this Christmas. Also, NaturOli's founder has a blog dedicated to the amazing soap nut that you may be interested in visiting. It's packed full of information and tips for harnessing the powers of this little wonder! He has also posted an article on the NaturOli site that will blow your mind. Read about the greatest marketing scam of the 20th century here! It will completely change the way you see your personal care products.

Organic Animals Dolls Giveaway at Organic Girl


Organic Girl is hosting this adorable green giveaway! I just entered it and, even though it means more competition for me, I thought I'd share it with you. These giant huggable dolls are so cute and 100% organic. The art is adorable (classic child drawings, over sized features and buggy mismatched eyes) and come with funny little notes that sound like my own daughter's messages when she dictates letters to people. Enter here for your chance to win one Animals plush doll of your choice.
Good luck!

Free Recipe eBook from Food & Water Watch!


Earlier this year, Food and Water Watch held a fish recipe competition. Recipes were judged not just by taste, but also affordability, ease of preparation, and sustainability of ingredients! They assembled the winning recipes into a wonderful recipe book that they have called Fish & Tips on a Budget: The Frugal Fish Edition. All of the recipes look and sound delicious and none of them will cost more than $25 to prepare!

I love fish and appreciate the health benefits they offer, but I only really know one way to prepare it- under the grill. I always end up using simple pepper and lemon because that's all I know to use for seasoning! With this recipe book I can start spicing things up a bit. I can't wait to try the grand prize winning recipe, Spicy BBQ Tilapia with Herb-Roasted Potatoes and Southern Creamy Cole Slaw! Yum.

In addition to the fabulous recipes, this book also offers great tips on choosing the best fish and even offers alternatives if you cannot find a certain type of fish in your area. Download your FREE copy here and get cookin'!

Did you know that less than 2% of seafood in the US are inspected for contamination even though a large portion of fish on our market our harvested in foreign waters where health and environmental standards are low to non-existent? Luckily, Food and Water Watch has also assembled a handy guide to help us make the best decisions when purchasing our seafood. I was surprised at some of the fish that show up on their Dirty Dozen list- many of them I buy often like Orange Roughy, Atlantic Cod and Farm Raised Salmon! You can view or download The Smart Seafood Guide here.

Save $5 on any Weil Baby Purchase of $15 or More!


If you haven't seen the fantastic baby line by naturopath Dr. Weil, you should check them out. Not only are they specially designed for your baby's mouth and hands, they are also all BPA free, nontoxic, pediatrician recommended and made in the USA!
They are the only major baby bottle brand that is 100% made in America.
This ensures high quality and standards, affordable prices and a smaller carbon footprint. They are now available online and at Babies 'R Us. Print out this high value coupon to save $5 off any Weil Baby purchase of $15 or more! The coupon does not expire until December of 2010 so you have a while to use it! You can also print out lots if you need them!

Organic Printable Coupons at


Coupons for organic grocery items are rare, but lately I've been seeing more and more pop up. This month on you can print coupons for Muir Organics (canned organic tomatoes and pasta sauces), So Delicious coconut milk and deserts, Steaz Organic Iced Tea, Pure & Natural Hand & Body Soap, Burts Bees Skincare and Imagine Organic Soups and Broths! Remember that you are limited in how many you are allowed to print, but if you use your browser's back button you will be able to print off two of each coupon per computer. Once you have reached your limit for a coupon it will not allow to print it again until the site is reset, which I believe happens every month. Check it out! Coupons vary by region so you may even have more than what I have listed!

Boiron Coupon for Homeopathic Children's Cold, Cough and Flu Medicine


Boiron has a coupon available for print through their website for $1.00 off any one item from their line of homeopathic Children's cold, cough and flu medicines. You can print as many as you need and they don't expire until 2012! Click on the picture above or go here.

Boiron Homeopathic Medicine for Children Review & Deal


This year has been a difficult one with my toddler. In August she began her first year in "school" which exposed her to every cold and flu virus out there. Her immune system was still untested and weak, so the poor little thing picked up everything that came her way. I try not to give her drugs if I can avoid it and there is little you can give a toddler for colds anyway. Coughs during the night were the worse because the hacking would wake her up repeatedly. One night at 3:30 am she awoke coughing and I climbed into bed next to her to try to soothe her back to sleep. She snuggled into my arms and whimpered, "Mommy please make the coughs not be here anymore." It was like a dagger through my heart. She was miserable and there was little I could do for her. Even so, I had my husband take my place and I headed up to Walgreens on a hunt for something to ease her cough.

I was quite a sight in my sweat pants and bed matted hair as I scoured the shelves for a cough syrup labeled 3 yrs. and up. Of course there were none. No homeopathic medicine either. I went home defeated with a bag of natural honey throat lozenges which she of course would not keep in her mouth. I gave her some honey on a spoon hoping that it would help and thanked God when she finally fell back to sleep at sunrise.

Two weeks after later I received a line of homeopathic cold medicines for children made by French company Boiron. I received Coldcalm Pellets for multi-symptom cold relief, Oscillococcinum for the treatment of flu-like symptoms, and Children's Chestal for coughs. It was a relief just knowing I had them and three weeks later when my daughter developed another nasty cough and cold I was ready.

At the onset of her cold symptoms I began her dosage of Coldcalm. I gave her the recommended 5 pellets to melt in her mouth every twenty minutes for the first hour. The pellets are small and sugary sweet. I had to continually remind her that they were not candy and not to crunch them. The process quickly turned into a game that, combined with the powers of Scooby Doo, distracted her from her stuffy head and sore throat. After the first hour we spread the dosage out to 5 pellets every two hours. Her cold didn't clear up immediately, but it did make a difference in the symptoms and she complained less about her throat and nose hurting. The cold was gone in a matter of days and never became too severe, which I credit to the Coldcalm and regular doses of vitamin C.

At nights I was also prepared should the hacking begin. On the second night it did. She woke up around midnight and couldn't stop coughing long enough to fall back asleep. I swooped in with a dose of Children's Chestal cough syrup. Its honey based formula contains only homeopathic ingredients and is completely safe for children 3 and older. It immediately coated and soothed her throat and she slept the rest of the night through with no interruptions.

From their humble beginnings in 1932 in Lyon, France Boiron has grown into the world leader of homeopathy with a presence in major countries around the world. They are one the main suppliers of homeopathic medicine to American consumers and physicians today. Their US headquarters in Pennsylvania also houses a state of the art manufacturing laboratory, fulfillment center and large warehouse and shipping operations.

Boiron sees their commitment to scientific homeopathy as the most "compassionate, ecological and comprehensive approach" and aim to teach physicians how to integrate it into their every day practice. They have received numerous recognitions and awards including the Vity Award which they won in 2009 for the 8th consecutive year.

It is reassuring to have innovative companies like them striving for natural solutions and as a mom I am glad to have them in my arsenal. I look forward to trying more of their products and highly recommend them!

Unlike other homeopathic brands, Boiron's products are very competitively priced. I have found them to be comparable to major over-the-counter cold and flue drugs like Vicks and Tylenol. Go here to find a store near you that carries the Boiron brand.

At those prices you may want to stock up. With more cold and flu months ahead of us you'll only be glad you did.

Alabu Goats Milk Body Products Review & Giveaway


During these cold months you don't have to have sensitive skin to need gentle soaps. Cold air, blown heat, strong winds- everything is against us. The last thing you need is a soap that dries your skin out and leaves it feeling tight and flaky!

In November I had the chance to try out a line of goats milk products from a wonderful, family run company called Alabu. They offer a wide selection of soaps, lotions, balms, scrubs and even shaving products that are all natural.

Because of their moisturizing ingredients and absence of harsh chemicals and
detergents, they are the perfect choice for babies, people with sensitive
skin or simply anyone who hates coming out of the shower feeling tight skinned
and itchy!

I fell in love with their lavender soap bar. The scent is fabulous- subtle wafts of lavender softened by a clean, milky aroma. It leaves my skin literally squeaky clean without drying it out. My husband, who actually has oily skin, also loved it. He had never realized how harsh commercial soaps were until using Alabu! He began using the tea tree soap on his face and likes how it gives him a deep cleanse while still leaving his skin moisturized. The soap bars come beautifully wrapped and have a long "shower life." They will make excellent gifts for the holidays.

I also liked their shea butter and tea tree lotion sticks. While battling a nasty cold, the skin under my nose began to get dry and cracked from all the blowing. I used the tea tree and my skin was instantly soothed. I reapplied several times a day, relieving the chapped skin without causing a breakout! The scent was also soothing, similar to eucalyptus, and seemed to even help clear my congestion! The shea butter stick goes with me everywhere. It's so handy to apply- like a giant lip balm. I like to use it on my knees when I am wearing dresses or skirts. They get so ashy in the winter- not attractive. I can just give them a quick rub with the lotion stick and they're good to go!

I recommend Alabu for anyone, but if you have sensitive skin and are having trouble finding a natural product that works you definitely want to give them a try!

Win Alabu!
The nice family of Alabu are offering one lucky winner a $25 gift certificate redeemable at their website! This is such a generous giveaway and just in time for Christmas!

How to Enter

Entering to win is easy. Simply head over to Alabu's website and check out all of their fantastic products! Then come back to this post and leave a comment telling what you would buy with your gift certificate. Be sure to leave me your email so I can contact you if you win!

Additional Entries

You can increase your chances of winning by doing any of the following for additional entries:
  • Follow my blog and leave me a comment telling me!

  • Subscribe to my blog and leave me a comment telling me!

  • Subscribe to the Alabu Blog and leave a comment here telling me!

  • Blog about this giveaway and leave a comment with a link to your post!

  • Spread the word about this giveaway (complete with link) through Twitter or Facebook and leave a comment telling me about it!

  • Tell someone about this giveaway and leave me a comment telling me you did!

  • Enter another one of my giveaways and leave a comment telling me! (Keep checking back as I will be posting a lot of giveaways over the next two weeks!)

**Please remember to post a separate comment for each entry. 1 comment = 1 entry!

This giveaway ends December 19th at 11:59 PM and is open to US residents only.

Good luck!

Say Yes to Carrots Lip Balm Deal at Walgreens!


If you've been wanting to try some of the Say Yes to Carrots products now is the perfect time! Walgreens has their lip balm on sale this week for only $.99! That is a great deal. These are completely organic and very cute. They'll make perfect stocking stuffers for my toddler as she loves "makeup" but I cringe when I see her putting chemical laden brands on her mouth!! It is also rumored that Walgreens have $1 off coupons which would make this free. Try asking for one at their cosmetics counter!

Thanks to Collin at Hip2Save and Susan over at Organic Deals and Coupons for sharing this great green deal!

Save 20% on Your Green Baby Gifts Today!


Giggle has some adorable organic and eco-friendly baby gifts and gear to fit any budget. If you have some babies or toddlers on your Christmas list this is definitely a promotion worth checking out!

$2 OFF ANY Method Product!


Method has just posted a new coupon on their website and it's a great one. $2 off any Method product! If you can find any on discount you could easily score a free Method product! Go here to print yours, and don't forget that you are allowed to print 2 per computer! These coupons are good until January 2, 2010.

NaturOli Soap Nuts Review


I always cringe when my husband does the laundry. I have to leave the room before he measures out the detergent, otherwise I’ll catch myself sounding just like my mother. “That stuff doesn’t grow on trees ya know…” Well, now I can relax because apparently- it does!

I recently stumbled across this amazing product online called soap nuts. They are the dried shells of soapberries that grow on the Sapindus tree in locations around the world. What makes these husks so special is their unique and natural soaping agent called saponin. For thousands of years this substance has been used for laundry detergent and body soaps. As a consumer always on the search for sustainable products, soap nuts definitely rang my bell.

I found a fantastic company called NaturOli that has embraced the soap nut in their line of home and personal care products. Their website is chock full of information that I happily lost myself in for the better part of an hour. When I emerged, it was with a new passion for this tiny nut that is boldly slinging stones at the chemically fueled giants of the home care industry. I had caught the soap nut fever. I couldn't wait to try them and the kind people at NaturOli were happy to send some my way.

Before trying them out on my first load, I made sure to read through the literature. While soap nuts are just as handy (if not more so) than typical detergent, they are a completely different product, so it makes sense that the method of usage would also be quite different. After reviewing the instructions and tips I got started.

I am a cold water washer. I almost NEVER use warm or hot water. I know from experience that not all detergents work well with cold water. I worried that this would put a halt to my soap nut madness as I tied five soap nuts up in the muslin drawstring bag that came with them. I soaked the bag of nuts in a cup of hot water for five minutes as advised in the literature. (This step is only necessary when washing with cold water.) This made a soap nut “tea” that I then poured, along with the bagged nuts, into my washer and filled it with cold water as normal.

The first wash was a load of lightly soiled dark clothes. They came out clean and fresh just as they would have with the other detergents I use.

I decided to test the powers of soap nuts a little further with a load of heavily soiled kitchen towels. My husband has this dreadful habit of using the kitchen towels to wipe up spills on the counter- any spills including the most common, coffee. This does not bode well for our white towels.

I made more tea and started the wash. Thirty minutes later I was eager to see how the soap nuts had done. The towel came out much cleaner. The coffee spills were still visible but it is important to note that 1) no detergent I have ever tried has been able to get them any cleaner 2) I did not use any stain treatment as I would typically have done.

I kept using the soap nuts. They were equally effective on my daughter’s clothes (toddlers create a whole different level of dirty), my clothes, delicate blankets and lightly soiled to medium soiled towels. Out of six loads of laundry I only had one that came out less than clean.

I had opted for warm water on this load as well as a more vigorous wash cycle because it contained a heavily soiled bath mat and towels. Since I was using warm water, I skipped the soaking process and just through the bag of soap nuts into the wash with the towels and mat.

Many of the towels came out fine, but one particularly soiled washcloth (it’s just makeup people) and bath mat (my dog likes to sleep on it when I’m in the shower) were slightly cleaner but not enough to make me want to use them again. This could be because I had already used the soap nuts five times and they had lost some of their effectiveness, or because I did not use the tea method. (This method seems to be most effective with heavily soiled loads.)
Overall, my experience with soap nuts has a positive one. I will definitely be using them more! They are the purest, most natural and earth friendly form of detergent available.

Here’s what I like most about soap nuts:

They are gentle on fabrics and completely fragrance free.

My laundry comes out simply smelling fresh and clean.

There is also no need for fabric softener with soap nuts as they naturally condition and soften fabrics.

They are also hypoallergenic, making them the ideal choice for homes with babies, people with sensitive skin, allergies or asthma.

They are naturally anti-fungal and anti-microbial.

They are a natural odor remover.

They have multiple uses around the house. Make the soap nut tea or grind them into a powder to incorporate them into all your household chores. They are even reported to be effective on your windows!

Are not harmful to pets and are 100% free of animal testing or cruelty!

Endless shelf life

Come from a sustainable resource and require little energy to harvest and process.They are 100% natural, chemical free and biodegradable! They come in reusable bags and are shipped in recyclable packaging.

They are also very affordable. You can purchase an 8 oz. bag of soap nuts online from NaturOli for only $12.75! If you stick to the recommended five loads per five nuts that comes to 80 loads, making it the most affordable natural detergent I have been able to find!

NaturOli’s soap nuts have received the prestigious Green Dot Award and continue to be recognized for their quality and positive impact on the environment. I highly recommend them and will be ordering these cute bags to give with my some of my Christmas presents this year. Visit NaturOli’s site if you’re looking for unique gifts that carry a positive impact this season.

Have you found other uses for soap nuts? If so please share them in a comment below!

Weleda Giveaway Results

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