7

Going Organic? My Skin Says Yes!

I haven’t always been conscious of things that said “all natural” or “organic”. In fact, being the lazy cheap person I am means I would usually purchase whatever product was on sale for the cheapest price at the store. I have never been loyal to a specific brand. In fact, I would go so far as to label myself a “brand hopper”. I’d go from product to product without ever really feeling like there was one particular thing I couldn’t live without. To me, shampoo was shampoo, face wash was face wash, and they all did relatively the same thing.

Then my little L was born. I got so many products for her at her baby shower, that I hadn’t really had to put much thought into purchasing items. That is until everything changed. L had very sensitive skin. The wrong kind of cream would have her break out in little hives. She got small patches of what I was told “looked like eczema” (by a doctor and a pharmacist) on the top of her shoulder, on one leg, and on her belly. Something wasn’t working for her, so I made some changes.

Johnson & Johnson products were out. They may work for some kiddos, but weren’t working for mine. I switched to Live Clean products for her bath, her lotion, and her bum and her supposed “eczema” went away within two weeks. That’s pretty telling.

That is what started my research into more natural and organic skin products for L and for myself. Yes, myself as well. I have had awful skin ever since I became pregnant. I’m acne prone, have pores that to me seem to be the size of craters, and ankles that are crazy dry and was told by a dermatologist resembled a “knuckle pad”. Gross. L’s changed skin by switching to less chemically-laden product was my motivation. If it worked for her, surely it couldn’t hurt to try for myself!

So after doing research, I came across a local woman who makes natural, organic products from her home. Her company is called “Homemade Organics by Jen“.

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Everything in her product is not just natural, it’s orgnanic. Every single ingredient is organic. It’s so natural, in fact, you could eat it. I figured it couldn’t HURT me to try it out, so I contacted her. I purchased a lip balm and a deodorant, and got samples of the facial scrub, body scrub, toner, whipped shea face and body cream, whipped cooca face and body cream and a hair pomade for my fiance to try.

I have tried organic products in the past, and had so-so results. Lip balms I’ve tried have either been so hard they crumble on contact, or so liquidy that they literally spill everywhere. Same goes with deodorant. These weren’t like that. The lip balm was a tasty lemon scent, and was firm enough to glide on but not liquidy. Kind of right in the middle and perfect. It is also long lasting, so I don’t have to apply a bazillion times a day, which is great! The deodorant was coconut-lemon and smells delicious! Since giving birth two years ago, I’ve become crazy sweaty. Must be the hormones I guess, but I need a good deodorant or else I’m left smelling gross. This scent was very long lasting, non-offensive and effective! It is less firm than a commercial deodorant stick, and somewhat melted into my armpits as I applied it, but it worked and that’s the main thing I was concerned about.

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The next thing I tried was the facial scrub. My face breaks out faster than you can say “Effin’ pimples!” so I was hoping for a miracle here. The ingredients listed are: Organic, Unrefined Coconut Oil, Organic Honey Powder, Pure powdered Nahcolite, Vitamin E, and Lavender Essential Oil. She told me I wouldn’t need moisturizer after using this, and I was honestly a little skeptical. So I went home, wet my face, took a small amount into my fingers and got ready to wash. I could instantly feel it almost melt in my fingers, and as I scrubbed it almost felt like a waxy coating. It was much different than any facial scrub I’ve ever used in the past. I took that to be because of the oils in the product. I went to rinse off and it felt like it wouldn’t completely rinse. Again, I think that was the oils in the product, so I just gave up and patted my face dry. That’s when I noticed the difference. My face was glowing. I know that sounds cheesy, but it’s true. It was soft and smooth and glowing. I couldn’t believe it! The sample she gave me was enough to last about 5 days and after 5 days of using the facial scrub once a day (at night), and the toner once a day (in the morning), my acne has cleared up about 80%. How crazy is that? It feels really different when I use it, but the results speak for themselves. I think it is tied for my favourite product she makes.

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So what is my other favourite? I think its another combination of the body scrub and whipped cocoa face and body cream. The body scrub smells delicious, and I really focused on using that on my crummy ankles. It is again full of natural oils, and guess what? While it didn’t cure my skin in that area (yet), it did take the crusty look away from them! That is something that expensive creams from dermatologists haven’t been able to manage yet, so I’m hooked. After the shower I hopped out and put on the whipped cocoa cream and I ended up smelling like chocolate chip cookies for the day, with skin as smooth as silk. It was light-weight and soaked right into my skin without feeling heavy or greasy. A co-worker actually asked me what cream I had on, because she said I smelled “delicious and edible”. Seriously, who doesn’t want to smell delicious and edible, while remaining chemical free? I’m sold, and my skin has never felt better.

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I could go on and on, but I’d end up writing a novel rather than a review, and honestly nothing could explain the results better than trying it for yourself. I know if you’re local to her, she will give you samples to try of her products, and she ships throughout Canada.

I wasn’t asked to review her product, and I wasn’t paid for this review. I just felt so strongly about what it has done for my skin (my facial acne, and gross ankles in particular) that I was compelled to share it with other Moms who may have had hormonal skin changes since pregnancy, and are as desperate as I was to find something that works, is organic and completely chemical free. I know I probably sound more like an infomercial than a Mommy blogger right now, but it’s the truth and I feel like a new, fresh-faced version of myself. If you’ve had bad skin for a while, you know that finding something that actually works can feel life-changing.

Check out her facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/#!/homemadeorganicsbyjen

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10

Review – Icon Wall Stickers

Let me start this off by stating that I told myself I would never agree to review a product unless it was something I actually saw myself potentially using in my real life. I’m a Mom who is short on time, short on creative and artistic ability, but with a huge desire to have interesting looking artistic pieces in my home. So when I was contacted by Icon Wall stickers to review their product, I jumped on it. I’ve used wall stickers in my daughter’s room before and love the idea of them. What I loved most about the wall stickers from this particular company is that they are completely non-toxic, which to me is of particular importance with a little one running around. I also loved that for each design, you could somewhat customize it by choosing the size and colour you like. It is much more customizable than simply picking one up at a store. They are also priced very reasonably, which means when my little L decides she doesn’t like the design I’ve picked for her anymore, it is easy to simply peel off and replace the sticker without having to completely redecorate her entire room.

You can check out the vast array of wall art they have on their website, here: http://www.iconwallstickers.co.uk/

It took me nearly an hour to choose the designs I’d like. I ended up choosing two: A clock for my dining room wall, and a design for my daughter’s room. These are how they were pictured on their website.

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The wall stickers came in a long cardboard tube. It honestly took me a long time to write this review because my little L cried every time I tried to take the cardboard tube from her to open it. She loved playing with it! I had to wait until she was asleep one night to open it without her seeing me.
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I started with the clock. I was surprised when I opened the tube to discover that the design was actually cut in half and was in two pieces. I presume that this was because I had ordered size large (which in hindsight was probably a mistake). It came with a sheet of instructions which were clear and easy to understand. Because I had the clock in two pieces, I had to tape each piece to my wall held together along the seam with masking tape (I used painters tape as it was all I had on hand). The first side went on easily enough, though I did notice that because of its large size, it was more difficult to smooth it out evenly. If you are ordering size large or extra large, I do highly recommend that you have a second person on hand to help you out.
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It is because I didn’t have a second person to help me, that I bungled up my clock. When I went to apply the second side, it was not lined up properly with the first. It is off by about 1/2 to 1cm. If you’re far away, you can’t tell, but up close it bothers me that I messed it up. I don’t think this is any fault on the company or their instructions. It is simply my fault for being overly ambitious and insisting I could do it by myself. I do think it would make things much easier to apply if the wall stickers came on one sheet rather than cut in half, though I understand that would likely make shipping costs extraordinarily high.
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When I went to peel off the application paper on the clock, it
was more difficult than I had anticipated. The decal didn’t want to stick to my wall (despite following all instructions and waiting the amount of time suggested to allow the adhesive to stick), so I had to peel back centimeter by centimeter and oftentimes use my finger to gently pick the design off of the application paper and coax it on the wall. Once coaxed on, the rest went on easily, but it ended up being very time consuming, and took nearly 30 minutes to simply peel the paper off of the sticker. I noticed afterwards that there was a spot I didn’t smooth out properly so it was wrinkled, and another spot in the word “Rio deJaneiro”, where the “d” didn’t stick to my wall. I hadn’t noticed at the time, so now that part says “Rio e Janeiro”. Woops!
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I learned my lesson, however, and applying the one in my daughters room went much better! I think it helped that it wasn’t a set pattern like the clock, so if it didn’t line up perfectly, it didn’t REALLY matter. We got a size large for her as well, and in a dark purple to go on her light purple walls. She loves it, but stands in front of it when I try to take a picture. I think she feels it is for her and her alone. I actually love that she loves it enough to not want to share it with a “picshure”. I guess it is for her, her doggies and her babies to enjoy only. I can tell you that this one looks pretty well identical to the one in the photo! It was much easier to apply, much less stressful, and came out perfectly! That really changed my tune about the product after my clock fiasco. I just have to learn to be less stubborn, I suppose.

I think the main difference between the application of the clock not being so easy, and the application of my daughter’s decal being much easier is that my daughter’s room has “fresher” paint on the walls. Her paint has been on her walls for only a year and a half, whereas the paint on my dining room wall has been there for who knows how long. I think perhaps that since the paint was fresher, the application process was made loads easier!

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My little L loved helping with the tape!

All in all, I would definitely recommend the Icon Wall Stickers. If you have more than one set of hands, the larger sizes would be much easier to manage, and I imagine the smaller sized ones would be quite simple to apply. I really love that they are non-toxic, and love that my L loves hers so much. I also love that it makes a lazy, non-artistic Mama like me look as though she’s got it all together in her house. Plus, if I decide to redecorate or need a change, peeling and sticking is much easier (and less messy!) than a whole new paint job.

Have you ever used removable wall sticker art in your home? How did you find it? Would anyone be interested in a potential giveaway for an Icon Wall Sticker of their choice?