Eco-Friendly Household Products Review: The Honest Company

I had heard about The Honest Company for a while now since Jessica Alba started promoting it a few years ago (upon her starting it). I spotted a few Honest Company items on a shelf in a Sprout’s grocery store several weeks ago and decided to give their hair conditioner a try. I then decided to check out their website and tried out their customizable 5 products bundle (to which you can have a monthly subscription to). This is what I decided to get:

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Items #1, 2: Conditioner (My rating: A+)

Since I go through hair conditioner fairly quickly, I decided to order two bottles of it. And I am personally a fan of the thick-necked pump feature the lids of the bottles come in because it won’t break off easily and you can retract it to lay back flat if you want to with ease. This is what obviously got me interested in the rest of The Honest Company’s products and still ranks as my favorite.
Click here to buy Honest Conditioner

If my hair was finer I may need more intense conditioning (The Honest Company does have a detangling conditioner too) but their regular one works just fine for my hair.

Item #3: Laundry Detergent (My rating: A)

I also do laundry everyday because I need to launder supplies for my business so I wanted to try their laundry detergent. Prior to this, I’ve used Method as well as Seventh Generation and I definitely think Honest Laundry Detergent was better than Seventh Generation’s because a.) The laundry does appear to come out cleaner and b.) the amount I have to use to achieve the effect is considerably less.

Like a lot of their products, Method’s laundry detergent does come in a pump bottle which does make it easier to not have to measure out into a cup and is more compact. However, I’ve had a few accidents BECAUSE of the bottle being a pump since I walk over to a laundry room with it so it would probably be more ideal if I had a landry room where I could keep the pump bottle there. So for now, I would go with The Honest Company again though I’ve also gotten recommendations for Molly’s Suds laundry detergent so I’ll have to try that out and come out with another verdict.

Item #4: All Purpose Balm (My Rating: A)

The organic all purpose balm reminded me of the Burt’s Bees Coconut Foot Cream I’ve been using and decided to swap it in for the time being since my foot cream supply in its tube was nearing its end. For people that prefer something unscented, the All Purpose Balm is preferable to the Coconut Foot Cream. As a bonus, the All Purpose Balm also meets the 3.4 oz. or less requirement for carrying liquids on airplanes which makes it a great travel companion too (though the thickness of it makes me wonder if it would even be categorized as “liquids”). So this one is a keeper.

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Item #5: Dish Soap (My Rating: C-) 

The first thing I noticed about the Honest Lemon Verbena Dish Soap is that it’s very runny compared to Method’s Ginger Yuzu dish soap I’ve been using. It does make it feel like the soap gets diluted faster (and if you’re not careful enough, you can easily pour out a lot since it comes out more liquidy). And in referring back to my review for their conditioner, I wish that The Honest Company would use a pump container also for their dish soap which is also something I do like about Method’s dish soap. So in the future, the Honest dish soap is not my first choice.

~Bonus Items I Purchased Outside of the Bundle~

The Lotion (My Rating: B+) 

Although I did not have it in my bundle order, I have started using the Honest Face + Body Lotion(also in apricot) as well. The scent is very subtle and the consistency is slightly on the runnier side compared to the Burt’s Bees one I’ve been using which does make it easier to apply but maybe a bit more runnier than my personal preference. Like most lotions, I add in a few drops of body oil (I’ve been using Trader Joe’s Argan oil) when I apply it on. The Honest Company does have their own body oil too, so I will most likely give that a try in one of my bundles order in the near future as well. IMG_3184.JPG

The Shampoo/Body Wash (My Rating: B)

I know it makes me sound like a hater of runny items, but this was similar to my experience with their dish soap. Perhaps as a body wash this is a more normal consistency but it’s definitely one of the runniest shampoos I’ve ever used.

In comparison to the shampoo I’ve been using (Yes to Carrots) the container it comes in is a lot more preferable since it’s in the same style thick-neck pump bottle their conditioner comes in. I actually really don’t like the lids of the bottles the Yes to Carrots conditioner or shampoo come in because they don’t work very well so I always leave them standing upside down (lid side down) to make sure I can get product to come out. And the scents for both Yes to Carrots and the Honest shampoos are thankfully very subtle as I’m not a fan of heavy perfumes.

But the runny consistency may be bad enough for me to want to go back to the Yes to Carrots shampoo after I’m done using this one (and I may just fill the empty Honest Company pump bottle with the Yes to Carrots shampoo).

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If I were to be completely “honest” about ordering products via The Honest Company’s website, it’s been trying. I’ve done it twice now and both times I’ve had to go through customer service to make corrections. And unfortunately, the second time around the order was placed over the weekend and no one was able to get back to me until Tuesday. So I am now waiting for an incorrect order to arrive so that I can go through their return/exchange process. Though their 5 items for $25 bundle deal for first time bundle orders is a pretty darn good deal.

The thing with The Honest Company products is that it’s very much marketed towards households with babies. I finally stumbled across them at a local CVS store recently. But again, they were in the baby products aisle. As a result, I feel like those who are childless end up missing the chance of noticing them. With or without a baby, there are people like myself out there who want to use household products without harsh chemicals and toxins.

Here’s to healthy living,

M
(Now an affiliate of The Honest Company)

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Live, Laugh, GLOVE ~ My New Method for Storing Gloves~

It’s no secret that I have quite the extensive collection of gloves. Up until now, I had been using shoe boxes (and cupcake boxes that I would put inside the shoe boxes to separate the gloves by color). However, with my collection of white gloves and black gloves alone they take up a whole shoe box each and many of the other colored gloves I have multiple varieties in each cupcake box.

So I decided to come up with a new method and crafted my very own gloves storage box. This first one I made is solely for black gloves, which will be easy to tell from the outer appearance of the box:

As you may have figured, the box did originally have the slogan “LIVE, LAUGH, LOVE” but I added the ‘G’ to make “LOVE” into “GLOVE.”

I took some Elmer’s foam boards and cut them with an exacto knife to make the rectangular sections inside the box which I glued together with a glue gun. To sum, I used these materials + a plastic black clipboard (not photographed) + a mechanical pencil for tracing lines onto the foam board to make my box:

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You can also use a ruler if you want to be super precise. But I found that the little piece of label paper of the Elmer’s foam boards to be a perfectly fine substitute for using as a straight edge and the glue from the glue gun would fill in any small gaps of imperfections there may be for the edges cut by the exacto knife (which I also used for the first time with this project).

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I often get asked now how many pairs of gloves I actually have…. Like socks, I admit that there are a few pairs that I have where one of the pairs is missing. But according to my most recent count it looks to be approximately 60 pairs as of now (and growing!) Needless to say, utilizing this new organization system for my gloves collection will make my life so much easier…

It’s not my first time these decorative boxes have come in handy for me as I did a whole posting back in May on my different usages for them. Though the one I used for this project is not as deep and are typically used as photo storage boxes.

Live, laugh, GLOVE!

-M

My Love for Life-Like Inanimate Objects

I’ve done a few “Look Like a Princess But Don’t Act Like One” segments now. And this month, I’ve concluded that I would be Belle from Beauty and the Beast if I had to choose a “Disney princess” to be. I admittedly do a good number of my postings on book reviews too. And who doesn’t want a sexy beast?

Click here to read the film review I wrote on Beauty and the Beast in April

I’ve been raving to my friends about my recent purchase of forks and knives after I realized that I was down to just one fork (I only started out with two when I moved into my current apartment to start a new life two and a half years ago). And the one and only fork left had a bent tip. Voila, the fork and knives I got from Paris at Pylones (where I stumbled upon during my Paris trip in 2015):

The knives are male and the forks are female. If you take a closer look they all have faces (and booties when you flip them over on the back!) And the knives have a slight bulge for a package. Gosh, it all made me laugh so much!

As some of you also may recall, from that first visit to Pylones I also fell in love with the 58Products Tassen collection and have their tea set and bowls. I mentioned in my book that I would like to eventually collect all of them! This is a portion of my growing collection:

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As you can see from the photo above, I’m also a big fan of having silicone lids for my tea cups. Pylones does usually have a number of choices in stock but I’ve also been fortunate enough to stumble upon on them in other places now too:

Click here to buy the Bumble Bee, the Kitty Cat, or the Bunny Rabbit ones I found!

Eating and tea time should be a joyous time and it certainly has become so for me. As cliché as it sounds, sometimes it’s the small things that make all the difference.

-M

Usage for Decorative Boxes

You may often come across these types of decorative storage boxes that are sold when you go into a store. And I personally have become quite fond of finding different uses for them so I would like to share:

1. Wine Boxes for flowers

I first did this for my mother’s birthday when I had bought some tulips for her at the farmers market and brought them into a restaurant with me. At the time, I had double layered plastic bags and filled it with a bit of water for the flowers, securing the hem of the bags onto the edge of the box opening with a rubber band. But as you can see above, you can also place a glass bottle en lieu of that as well.

2. Photo boxes for toiletries 

The bathroom sink I have does not come with drawers so this is how I store my toiletry items. Since I have an nautical anchor theme going on in this room, I keep decorative boxes on shelves that go well with the theme.  I also prefer keeping the tissue box design to also look oceanic for that reason!

3. Parties and Special Occasions 

Parties too often have some sort of theme to them and I recently helped chip in for a friend’s baby shower by providing party favors that coincidentally also went well with my ongoing anchor and nautical theme I had going on in my bathroom. So I went and got another larger photo box that had the nautical look to it and customized the lid with the baby’s name in hopes of it becoming useful for the nursery since I kept with the look the parents-to-be came up with for the room. I stuffed it with heating/cryotherapy pads I had made to go with the “relaxing” beach theme that was requested for the shower (for which I also used nautical anchor printed fabric to stay consistent).

4. Hat storage 

When people discover my love for hats and gloves and realize how much of it I own, one of the questions that usually come up is how/where I store them. Since most of my clothing shopping is done online, my hats do not come with a hat box like they might if I were to purchase them at a fancy hat store. The deeper rectangular shaped ones are great for storing some stacked sideways (this works for hats that do not have wide brims) and the smaller, rounder shaped ones make for great use in traveling with relatively compact-sized fascinators and hats that you don’t want to have be crushed inside your suitcase by the rest of your items.

These decorative boxes are typically categorized as nesting boxes. Though the wine boxes might be a bit more difficult to find online they can also be called nesting boxes.

Though there’s the phrase “think outside the box”  —- I would like to think that I am thinking about what to put inside the box.

-M

Journaling with Self Kindness

I journal every night without fail before going to bed.

This past week I had a very emotional moment as I kept going back and forth in my journal entry that night between how I was really feeling vs how I thought I “should” be feeling. I think in the self-improvement/self-motivating culture that sort of mentality is common. You want to remain positive and grateful so you try to shut down your negative feelings and emotions.

I finally couldn’t take it anymore, driving myself insane, and Skyped with a very good friend in Germany. She then proceeded to make me a gift that I have since then printed out to paste on my journal cover:

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I want to be that kind of friend/person who is there for someone when they really need me, the one that makes you feel like you matter. So that is why I choose to be kind and thoughtful as much as possible —- Because one person can make the difference.

And as I refer to myself as my “twin bestie” in my book, my friend in Germany gifted this book cover to remind me to be kind to my twin bestie too.

-M

On Figuring Out What We Really Want When You Feel “Stuck”

In about a week we will be welcoming a new year again and it’s that time of the year when a lot of people start to think of New Year’s resolutions and goals. If you’re reading this you might sometimes feel like you’re the only person in the world who doesn’t seem to know what your calling is, whether you ever want to get married or have kids, or just that feeling of being “stuck.”

Your rational side knows that you are not the only one who feels these things, as alone as you may feel in the moment. That thought alone was enough to comfort me recently when I was having a moment.

I was having a conversation with a girlfriend who decided to make the very brave decision of temporarily living in a foreign country where she knows no one and does not speak the language in order to take time to figure out what she would like to do with her career upon returning to her home country. Understandably, she too was feeling very “alone” and needed someone to talk to.

In talking to my friend, it related back to all these other things in life that often seem uncertain. I said that I agreed with Steve Jobs’ school of thought on how people don’t know what they really want until they are shown what they want. I think a lot of us – even many of those who claim they know what they want – have ideas of what we want/don’t want.

Like when we make lists of qualities we look for in a mate – I’ve done it too, and I’ve written a whole book on lists! And when we do meet someone we end up falling in love with, that person may possess some of or many of the qualities we thought we would like. But then he/she may have all these other things about them that we didn’t even think to put on our list. Or if we thought we never wanted a mate – but then someone wonderful came along and changed our mind about the whole thing …

You might have to  go through several career changes before we find something we truly love to do. Or date and kiss a lot of frogs before we find a prince. Or move thirty times before we find a place where we truly feel at home. Even then, some people never get there. But I think the important thing is that we keep trying and believing that we just might get there at some point. At the end of our lives, isn’t better to know we at least did something or anything about it?

So if you feel stuck even after all the trying, give yourself a break. Giving yourself a break doesn’t mean to stop trying. But things often take time and patience which can be trying. Even if you’re feeling frustrated because you feel like you’re not getting any solutions as you’re thinking about what you should do, you’re still doing something. There are many people in this world who never even stop to think or question these things, ignoring their gut feelings or not even acknowledge them.

One of the reasons why I am a prolific journal writer is because it is one of the ways I process my emotions and thoughts. So if you haven’t tried it yet perhaps write it all out, whatever it is that is on your mind and see how your thoughts flow out. I believe sometimes solutions become more evident when you write out the problems because you are also able to examine things like the cause(s) of the problem(s) and organize your thoughts. This is why some people go the route of writing a love letter to profess their feelings to someone because it gives them a chance to think about how they want to say what during the process of scribing it.

If it’s of any consolation, I have many times over written about the same darn things over and over in my journals. You don’t have to show anyone else what you have written so don’t be so judgmental of yourself. Just let yourself write, cry, laugh, smile, and then write some more.

As Ellen DeGeneres would say, “Be kind to one another.” And if I may add, be kind to yourself too.

-M

 

Whole Foods Market vs Sprouts Farmers Market

Up until recently I was primarily a Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s gal when it came to grocery shopping for items that I did not get at the farmers market. However, I had begun to go to Sprouts Farmers Market in the last few months ever since I started making my own protein bars as I was told that the ingredient I was interested in purchasing was sold at that store. It turns out that Whole Foods sells the item too for the same price.

However, I started looking at and comparing price tags between Whole Foods and Sprouts and here were my findings:

1.) Water  refill

Winner: Sprouts (hands down)

I used to go to Whole Foods so frequently because I would go there to go refill my water jugs at the refilling station. Consequently, this is now the reason why I go to Sprouts so often now. Sprouts costs only $0.25/gallon vs Whole Foods is nearly twice as much at $0.49 per gallon

2.) Laundry detergent

Winner: Whole Foods

The laundry detergent I use was on sale at both stores the same week. And even with the sale price Whole Foods beat out Sprouts by $2 (the non-sale price difference was $3).

3.) Oatmeal (in bulk)

Winner: Sprouts

This is another item I used to get primarily at Whole Foods but have now switched over to getting at Sprouts. Like Whole Foods, Sprouts does carry all 3 varieties of oats (steel cut, regular, quick) and even with sale prices, the price tag at Whole Foods is over $1 vs the regular non-sales price at Sprouts is $0.99 per pound.

4.) Facial care products

Winner: Sprouts

I’ve been using the brand Andalou for my facial care. Again, they were on sale the same week at both stores and the sales price tag at Sprouts was slightly lower than Whole Foods. And I did also find that at Sprouts the store clerks were less particular about which coupon you were using for applying towards getting a discount on the product.

5.) Alternative fat spreads

Winner: It’s a tie

At both stores, the regular price for these Earth Balance coconut butter spreads is at $4.99 and was on sale for $4.49.

6.) Paper Products

Winner: It depends

I do a lot of baking so this is a section I would go to for aluminum foil, parchment paper and cupcake tin liner paper.

With the cupcake tin liner paper, Whole Foods wins for the same exact brand I get as their non-sale prices are at $1.79 vs the $1.99 at Sprouts (note: in the photo taken below Whole Foods has it on sale for $1.39.

Sprouts won for better aluminum foil price and parchment paper for the same brand with the If You Care brand of parchment paper priced at $5.49 vs $5.99 at Whole Foods. BUT Sprouts did not carry the parchment paper in the brand Paper Chef, which I tried for the first time today after seeing it on sale at Whole Foods and the quality was superior to what I’ve been using.

7.) Tea

Winner: Whole Foods 

Again, both stores had a sale on the Yogi Tea brand. If you were to compare the prices of the sale prices of this particular popular brand, then Whole Foods won as each box was $3 compared to the sale price $4.49 at Sprouts.

However, both stores have tea brands that the other store does not carry. So in that situation, you can’t really compare. I previously did a blog entry on chocolate rooibos tea and at Whole Foods they have it in the Numi brand whereas at Sprouts they have it in Zhena’s Gypsytea brand.

With the exception of the water refilling stations and the oats in the bulk stations, these comparisons are juxtapositions of prices on the same brand items. So when it comes to other items such as deli, bakery, meat or produce items the quality can obviously differ. In terms of quality and variety, I would say that Whole Foods definitely ranks superior when it comes to their bakery, hot food bar, and selection of cheeses.

It might seem exhausting to some to go to different stores for different items. Luckily, I’ve become better about decreasing the frequency in which I go to all the stores with better planning. And when it comes to clothing and I am still primarily an online shopper. If you do go to either of these stores and shop for these items, I hope I was able to provide some helpful insight.

One thing I will note is that depending on the store location, things vary and I am basing my comparison notes on stores that were local to me.

-M