Joshua’s Bookshelf!: Curious George Plants a Tree, by Monica Perez

[This review is based on the hardcover edition published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt in 2009.]

So what’s it about?
The Man With the Yellow Hat and Curious George take a field trip to their local science museum. They check out the day’s special exhibit entitled, “How YOU Can Take Care of Our Planet”, and learn about the environment and what we can do to keep it strong and healthy. On their way out, George literally runs into Dr. Lee, the museum director, who tells them about the next day’s Green Day rally, during which participants can plant trees and recycle paper. Upon their return home, George sets about collecting lots of paper, including books from his own bookshelf that aren’t ready to be recycled; the next morning he collects more paper items en route to the rally, not realizing that these items were actually being used by other people. Everyone follows him to the rally, angry that George has stolen their things, but The Man With the Yellow Hat explains George’s good intentions and all is forgiven. Everyone plants trees and recycles together, and then they celebrate the overwhelming success of Green Day!

What did we think of the book?
I pulled this book from Joshua’s shelf in honor of Earth Day, which fell on Tuesday. He’s a huge fan of Curious George — we watch the cartoon on PBS Kids almost daily — so the characters were already familiar to him, and he knows that George is a bit of an accidental troublemaker as well. We got a good laugh out of George’s overzealous recycling efforts and clapped when the whole neighborhood came together to do good things for the Earth at the end of the story. Joshua may be too young to understand the relationship between trees and clean oxygen, but he’s definitely old enough to comprehend the concept of recycling. We don’t currently recycle paper in our house (boo on us!), but we do recycle plastic and aluminum — and Joshua LOVES to help. Right now, all of our recyclables go in one bin; however, after reading this book I may start having him sort them by material into separate bins. (Yay for developing math concepts!)

Would we add it to Joshua’s bookshelf?
Curious George Plants a Tree was already on Joshua’s shelf (I had it from an Earth Day lesson I did as a preschool teacher), and it’s staying right where it is. We love this book and will continue to read it every Earth Day! This is a great book for any young or school-age child, and there are tons of science and math activities (planting trees/flowers/herbs/whatever and sorting recyclable materials being just the tip of the iceberg) to do in conjunction with it. We love it and it’s a keeper!

Cyber Monday at The Honest Company

Here comes Santa Claus, here comes Santa Claus, right down Santa Claus Lane…

So today I’ve been sharing some special sales provided to me by my lovely affiliates. I’ve already written about sales at Melissa & Doug, and now I’d like to tell you about what’s going on at…

For anyone who doesn’t already know, actress Jessica Alba recently opened her own healthy-alternative shop online after breaking out in hives while using her unborn daughter’s “special” laundry detergent. The Honest Company has taken off, providing their customers with safer personal-care and cleaning products at reasonable prices. The products I’ve tried are very high-quality, and I recommend them to all of you! My favorite thing about Honest, though, is their customer service — their reps are friendly and understanding, and they will do everything they can to help you. Also, be sure to check out The Collective, which is all about products developed through designer partnerships!

So how about some sales?
1. Today ONLY, get $5 for every $25 you spend! Maybe purchase some things you need for your home, and then put the $5 toward something for yourself! (No code necessary.)
2. Take up to $150 off gift bundles! Choose from Diapers and Wipes or Home Essentials…or go ahead and do both! Bundles are available in 1-month, 3-month, 6-month, and 12-month increments, with free shipping available on all but the 1-month packages. (No code necessary. Packaging incurs an extra cost, unless you send it as an e-card for the recipient.)

3. As usual, FREE SHIPPING is available for orders over $50! (No code necessary.)

Click below to shop The Honest Company, and tell them I sent you!
The Honest Company Vitamins - Health and Wellness

Product Review!: The Lollacup

[Disclaimer: The product reviewed below was not provided to me as a press sample, nor was I in any way compensated for my review.]

If you’ve been following my blog for the short time I’ve been live, you know that one of the things I promised to do was to review household and children’s products. The last time I did that was early on, when I reviewed a haul of products from the Honest Company. That was just over a month ago…it’s been a while! But I recently came across a sale for a product I’ve been drooling over for a long time, and that sale came courtesy of Tory Johnson’s “Deals and Steals” segment on Good Morning America! (Thanks, Tory!!)

So what product am I referring to?

Friends, please allow me to introduce you to our friend, the Lollacup.

Isn’t it cute?!

So a little backstory on how the Lollacup came into our lives….

The Hubby and I like to watch TV together after one of our favorites times of the day — a most glorious time, to be sure — has arrived. That time, of course, is Joshua Bear’s bedtime! (Because I love my child with all of my being, but let’s face it, every parent looks forward to breathing a sigh of relief when their children are sound asleep!) We’re total homebodies, so plopping ourselves in front of the TV to relax and unwind together is a huge pleasure for us. Friday nights are no exception, when one of our favorite shows, ABC’s Shark Tank, airs. It may sound crazy, but we enjoy discussing whether we’d use the products and services being pitched to the “Sharks” (who are six of America’s biggest investors/millionaires) and how we’d change the pitches to score a deal.

Anyway, in April 2012 (see, I told you I’ve wanted this product for a long time!), Hanna and Mark Lim entered the Shark Tank seeking a $100,000 investment for a 15% stake in their company, Lollacup. After quite a bit of back-and-forth with the Sharks and several offers and counteroffers, the Lims made a deal with Mark Cuban and Robert Herjavec for $100,000 in exchange for 40% equity in the company. You can read a more complete recap of the pitch (as video is unavailable, unfortunately) here.

The Hubby and I heard Hanna Lim mention that the cups were being sold for $18 a pop and immediately said no way. We can’t afford an $18 sippy cup….who can? But the Lollacup stuck with me for well over a year and I waited for a sale to happen. Sales are inevitable, right? I checked Amazon over and over again, and the price sat squarely at $16 each. I found myself hoping that someone could do better…and then, last month, Tory Johnson appeared on GMA to do her “Steals and Deals” segment (as she does weekly).

And that day, Tory’s sales focused on products made successful by Shark Tank, as a means of celebrating the show’s return to the fall primetime schedule.

I cranked up the volume on the TV, crossed my fingers, and waited.

Would the Lollacup be among the products featured? And how much would they be advertising them for?

YES!!!!! And $8 each!!!


I was so excited that they were $8 each that I ordered three! And I paid $3 for shipping, so in total I spent $27 on Lollacups (which, given the usual $16 price tag, was truly a steal)!

I waited, rather impatiently, for the cups to arrive at the house and when they did, I photographed them in their absolutely adorable packaging —

— and opened the red one, at Joshua Bear’s request, to wash and fill for him to test-drive!

The first thing I noticed was that the “bird” actually acts as a cap/cover for the straw, as it slides back to reveal the straw and then forward to hide it. Joshua loved practicing “opening” and “closing” his new cup!

The next thing I noticed was the straw cleaning brush contained inside the cup. What a smart idea!! (And, after opening my other two cups, I noticed that each cup comes with its own. Very smart thinking — cleaning the insides of sippy cup straws can be really difficult!)

The major selling point for me, though, was the weighted straw. Kids like to tilt sippy cups when they drink, and most straws (which are not weighted) don’t tilt with the cup and the liquid inside. This, of course, leads to the issue of leftover water/juice/milk/whatever inside the cup that the child couldn’t finish because the straw didn’t reach it. Lollacup straws are weighted and, therefore, tilt with the cup so the child can drink everything that’s inside!

So here’s what the straw itself looks like:

And here’s how it works inside the cup:

Finally, I realized that the handle is actually removable from the cup itself! It unscrews from the bottom and, when screwed back on, clicks into place!

And now for the test drive!! I put iced tea, one of Joshua’s favorites, into the Lollacup not only because I knew colored liquid would be easily visible through the cup, but also because I knew that he would keep drinking long enough for me to take some pictures!

(Blatant sharing of adorable child drinking from Lollacup pictures ahead! You have been warned.)

So I handed him the cup, he looked at it for a second and then started drinking.

Moments later, as I knew would happen, he started tilting the cup…

I think someone likes his Lollacup!

And by the time he finished the tea, the cup and straw were tilted. See how much liquid is still in there?

None. That’s right. NONE. That alone makes this $8 well spent!

But, of course, there was one more thing to check for. Would the Lollacup be leak-proof? The Lollacup site says nothing about the cups being leak-proof and, as a parent who has tested out several brands and styles of cups, I doubted that even the Lollacup would be immune to leaks. Even the ones that promise to be “100% leak-proof” never — I repeat, never — are.

And this was the one respect in which Lollacup was no different.

When I flipped the cup over and liquid started dripping out, I noticed that there was a small space between the straw and the plastic lid. Obviously, this is because of the straw being bent or “folded” under the closed lid. However, I must mention that liquid did not drip out of the straw itself, so that was good news! As I said, I didn’t really expect this cup to be leak-proof, so I was neither surprised nor disappointed in that respect. If you’re absolutely hell-bent on finding or creating THE leak-proof cup, keep trying — and good luck. Toddlers will find a way to make even the most “leak-proof” cup on Earth, leak. They’re just evil geniuses like that.

So, would I recommend this product? COMPLETELY. WHOLEHEARTEDLY. ABSOLUTELY!! The cups are both aesthetically pleasing and durable, and you can always purchase a replacement pack of straws at Lollaland (the official website for Lollacup), Amazon, or a number of other retail sites for $5, if you need them. They’re free of BPA and all that other crap we find in our plastics nowadays. They’re made in the USA. They’re top-rack dishwasher safe and can withstand being thrown, dropped, kicked, you name it. (But my sweet little angel would never subject them to that kind of abuse! …..Or would he??) I may even purchase one as a Christmas gift for my nephew, since he and Joshua Bear wound up fighting over the cup at one point during the test drive —


What, you don’t believe me?

Say hello to Landosaurus, otherwise known as the Sippy Cup Thief! Isn’t he precious?

As I was saying, Lollacups are not “cheap”, but they cost more for several reasons. They’re made here, from high-quality materials, and they actually WORK. I strongly suggest paying a visit to Lollaland and giving one a shot! You won’t regret it!

Visit Hanna and Mark Lim’s blog here.
Follow Lollacup on Twitter here.
Like Lollacup on Facebook here.
Follow Mark Cuban on Twitter here.
Follow Robert Herjavec on Twitter here.

Purchase a Lollacup on Lollaland here.

An Honest Review of an Honest Haul!

A real-life Honest haul!

So yesterday I posted a review of Jessica Alba’s with the promise — twice, I believe — that today I would share my thoughts on the products I ordered from her company. I like keeping my promises, so here we are! The not-so-great photo above depicts everything I ordered. I took the picture before RAHM launched; if I hadn’t been so excited and had my wits about me, I would have remembered to photograph the items against a prettier backdrop…so sorry about that. (But look! An action shot of Joshua Bear zooming through the background! Welcome to my life…)

But anyway, I’m just going to go through the “haul”, item by item, and offer my real-mom opinion on each thing. Sound good?

Here we go!

First of all, I’d like to tell you about their Discovery Kits. The company currently offers three free trials: diapers and wipes (7 diapers in the size and design of your choice, plus a travel pack of 10 wipes), health and wellness (choose a one-day sample of prenatal vitamins AND DHA/Omega-3 supplement OR the baby/toddler multivitamin powder AND kid’s multivitamin), and family essentials (sample sizes of their combo shampoo and body wash, face and body lotion, laundry detergent, healing balm, and hand soap). You can order any single discovery kit or any combination of the three (I ordered all three!) and you’ll pay only $5.95 for shipping. Just be careful — when the kits arrive at your house, you’ll have 7 days to cancel a subscription to the full-size bundles (which are fully customizable depending on which products you want, by the way); if you don’t, you’ll be charged a monthly fee of $79.95 for the and $35.95 each for the and bundles. Fortunately, the customer service reps at The Honest Company are ridiculously nice and will cancel a subscription, pretty much no questions asked, if you choose to do so.

Looking up at the photo, I’ll just shoot straight across and tell you what everything is. Forming “endcaps” are the diapers and wipes discovery kit, as well as the 4-pack of travel wipes (4 packages, 10 wipes each). In the back row you’ll find the full-size shampoo/body wash and conditioner, along with multi-surface cleaner and fruit and veggie wash. In front of those you’ll see the full-size healing balm, their tangerine vanilla bar soap, organic lip balm trio, and adult’s and kid’s toothpastes. Finally, sitting in the brown box in the front, you’ll see the healing balm, hand soap, face and body lotion, laundry detergent, and shampoo/body wash combo. The prenatal and DHA/Omega-3 discovery kit is hanging out behind the shampoo and conditioner…I was so excited to try them that I forgot to photograph them first!

Yeah, it’s a lot of stuff. But if you sign up on The Honest Company’s website through an invitation, you’ll receive a code to take $10 off your first purchase. Plus, if you spend $50, standard shipping is free! How could you say no?

In fact, I’m encouraging you to say yes. If you’re interested, I’d like to invite you to go ahead and sign up with the Honest Company Be sure to let me know what you order and how you like your items!

So now, for my honest review of Honest products!

The Prenatal Vitamin and DHA/Omega-3 discovery kit: Frankly, I was a little scared when I opened the prenatals. I’ve always had trouble swallowing large pills and these guys were pretty sizable! I read the packaging and you have to take 3 of these a day, which scared me further — how am I going to force down three of these humongous pills every. single. day??? But then I tried them and they went down remarkably easy! They also didn’t leave a bad taste in my mouth or induce nausea as some prenatals tend to do. The pills are green and they’re made from all-organic whole foods and grains, so they’re seriously good for you. The DHA supplement is a squishy yellow softgel that, fortunately, does NOT smell like fish oil. It went down smoothly and, like its prenatal counterpart, didn’t leave a yucky aftertaste. After allowing these supplements to digest, I actually felt better inside. I felt the way you should feel when you’re putting healthy, minimally-processed things into your body.
Would I use it again? Absolutely, sign me up!!

The Diapers and Wipes discovery kit: When I ordered the trial online, I couldn’t get over the fact that I could choose my own designs!! If you’ve ever purchased diapers before, you know that while the major diaper manufacturers have cute designs on their diapers, you only get different “fun” designs in limited-edition packaging (such as Huggies’ Hawaiian-print diapers, which Joshua lived in during summer 2012, and their Santa print, which obviously only comes out during the holiday season). Basically, you’re pretty much stuck with whatever design the manufacturer chooses to put on the diapers. When you order this discovery kit, however, you get to choose from some really fun designs! Aside from plain white, you can order diapers with skulls, flowers, anchors, hearts, ABCs….and there are a bunch more! If you choose to subscribe or order a one-off package of diapers later, you can only choose one design, but still! The discovery kit allows you to see what different patterns look like on their diapers, and they’re really fun! Now, as for performance: these seem to work as well as any other brand of diapers — I don’t think the Honest Company was necessarily trying to outperform everyone else, but instead hoped to provide a more eco-friendly option to regular disposables. They sat nicely on Joshua Bear’s tushy, and they started to leak at around the same time as all the other diapers we’ve used (right around the equivalent of 16 ounces of fluid, or one full bottle of water). The only thing I wasn’t crazy about was the adhesive tabs; they had to be placed side-by-side on the diaper and couldn’t overlap, or else they wouldn’t stick. Joshua is very tall and thin, so I like to overlap the diaper tabs a little to make sure the diaper stays closed and doesn’t leak out the front easily. Other than that, these are some pretty good diapers! As for the wipes, the packs are thin and therefore very convenient to carry around (hence the extra order of 4 travel packs), and they reseal nicely. The wipes themselves are thick, soft, and moist but not soaking wet. The best part is, they’re nontoxic so you can use them on any body part without worry! The only issue I had was with the fact that the wipes sometimes stuck together, but I understand they’ve since improved them so that they are now interlocking and not just laid one on top of another. I haven’t had an opportunity to try them out yet, but I have a feeling I’ll like them.
Would I use them again? Certainly!

The Family Essentials discovery kit: I love that all of these samples came in little travel-size bottles. Now, if the Honest Company would sell their products in travel-size packaging for regular purchase, I imagine they’d make a TON of money from families looking to use Honest products on road trips and vacations. I certainly would. (Hint, hint, Honest Company!) Anyway, I’m going to hold off on reviewing the shampoo/body wash and healing balm until I get to the full-size stuff, but that still leaves us with three products! First up, I tested the face and body lotion on myself, and I felt kind of “ehhh” about it. It didn’t carry an overwhelming scent, which I was happy with, but at the same time I felt like I never had enough on any one body part. I ended up using just about the entire bottle in one sitting, and I still didn’t feel moisturized enough. I have very dry skin and my regular product gives me enough moisture without making me feel like I’d taken a dive in a vat of oil, but Honest’s lotion didn’t quite get there for me. As for the laundry detergent, it got nice and sudsy in my washing/ machine and (again) didn’t overwhelm me with a super-strong scent, all while making my clothes as clean as they’d be with my regular product. The hand soap did exactly what it was supposed to do as well: it lathered and rinsed off nicely, and my hands felt clean afterward.
Would I use them again? The laundry detergent and hand soap, sure. The hand and body lotion, not so much. (But again, that’s just me. You may love it!)

Shampoo and body wash combo and Conditioner: The first thing I noticed about these two bottles was their size — they’re tall and skinny, and therefore easy for even smaller hands to hold. The second thing I noticed was the scent: I’ve heard from friends that the sweet orange vanilla scent is reminiscent of an orange creamsicle, and they weren’t kidding. These products smell wonderful! I used them on myself first and then tried them out on Joshua Bear, and we both came out of the bath smelling like frozen treats. The “tear-free” formula also held true, as Joshua got the shampoo in his eyes while having it washed out and he never cried. The shampoo lathered beautifully in our fine hair and washed out well; when we used it as a body wash, I noticed that it lathered remarkably well on our skin, too, and left it feeling soft when washed off. The conditioner also has the orange-vanilla smell, and the formula isn’t too heavy. I massaged it into Joshua’s hair and then ran a comb over it, and it slid straight through the knots (which means we don’t need a separate detangler now!). Both of us had rather silky-feeling hair upon washing the conditioner out.
Would I use them again? SOLD!!

Multi-surface cleaner: This is one of the products I was worried about, simply because I doubted the ability of a plant-based cleaner to, well, clean. I tried it out on my countertop, my stainless steel appliances, my polished-wood TV stand, and the flatscreen TV itself. And guess what? It cleaned all of them pretty well! The TV was the only place where I experienced any trouble, and that was because Joshua Bear is constantly replacing his grimy handprints on the screen every single time I clean the darn thing, and if I don’t get there right away the prints go sticky and then dry out and they’re harder to remove! (He and the TV must carry opposite charges — they’re drawn together like magnets, I swear!)
Would I use it again? Sure. 🙂

Fruit and veggie wash: This was an unexpected find on the Honest Company site. I’d heard of fruit and veggie wash, and I’d seen it on the grocery store shelf, but I’d never actually used it before. I figured the best way to see if this stuff actually worked would be to try it on a potato, as their skins tend to feel dry and “dirty”. The wash comes in a spray bottle and you basically spray the fruit or veggie really well, let it sit for a minute or two, rub it down with your hands or a veggie brush, wash it off, and eat. It’s that simple. This stuff did a pretty good job of cleaning my potatoes. I’ve since heard about using vinegar and water as a cleaning agent, so I’ll probably try that next time.
Would I use it again? Maybe, if vinegar and water don’t work.

Healing balm: When I first read about this item, I thought, “Oh, it’s just a fancy diaper rash cream.” No, my friends, it’s more than that. Not only is this good for diaper rash, but you can also use it for sunburn, minor cuts and scrapes, extra-dry skin, and more! I didn’t think I’d care one way or the other about this item, but it’s already proven its worth in the short time I’ve had it. It works in place of Neosporin when Joshua falls down (which happens often), helps my elbows, heels, and knees when the skin cracks (I think this will be especially helpful over the colder, drier winter months), and has calmed down the sting on a few sunburned shoulders. “Healing” is definitely a good word for this product.
Would I use it again? In a heartbeat!

Tangerine-vanilla bar soap: I’m typically a body wash user, but once in a while I’ll try out a bar soap if I like its packaging, its promises or its scent. This bar soap gave me all three, so I had to give it a shot. Closed or opened, the bar is beautiful in appearance (the company’s butterfly logo is stamped on the soap itself) and smells wonderful (and by the way, the bar soap also comes in lavender and juniper sage scents). It lathers nicely and rinses off well, leaving soft scented skin behind.
Would I use it again? Sure! Besides, I like the look of a bar soap sitting in my bathroom once in a while. 🙂

Organic lip balm trio: I will admit that I lurked around this site for quite a while before actually signing up and placing an order. The item I kept hearing about was this lip balm trio, mainly because it was frequently selling out. Luckily, I was able to get my hands on it and I’m so happy that I did! You get three balms in a cute little box: purely simple (unscented), sweet orange vanilla (as in the shampoo and conditioner!), and lavender mint. I’ve tried all three on myself and on Joshua Bear and we keep coming back to lavender mint. All of the balms add moisture to our lips, but we prefer the scent (and taste, to a degree) of the lavender mint. Frankly, I wish they’d offer more of their products with this scent — I can personally see how lavender mint could work in the shampoo and conditioner as a “bedtime” option for children. It would also be nice if you could customize your three-pack of balms, or just purchase them as singles. (Fingers crossed they’re considering that idea!)
Would I use it again? Absolutely!!! Especially the lavender mint! 🙂

Adult’s and kid’s toothpastes: We’ve reached the final items in my haul, yay! Let’s go over the adult’s toothpaste first, shall we? Well, over the years, one toothpaste after another has carried such strong smells and flavors that frankly, I’ve gagged on most of them. I think I’ve finally met my match with Honest!! The tube itself is a really cool silver and aqua color (my favorite!), and the product inside is just fantastic. There’s no fancy dye — it’s just plain white — and the mint flavor is gentle, not overpowering. Baking soda, calcium, organic aloe, and green tea are among the ingredients in this toothpaste, while fluoride is not (so if your water isn’t fluoridated, this may not be a good choice for you). I actually enjoy brushing my teeth with this stuff, and I love how smooth and clean my mouth feels after I rinse. I couldn’t wait to try out the kid’s toothpaste with Joshua Bear, because lately he’s been fighting toothbrushing time and I’ve wondered if it had anything to do with the flavors of training toothpastes we’ve been using. The kid’s toothpaste comes in a white and pink tube, and the paste itself is white in color and strawberry-flavored (which was a concern initially, as Joshua doesn’t seem to be a fan of strawberries). He saw the brush in my hand and started fighting, but once the brush was in his mouth and he caught the flavor, he immediately calmed down. I honestly (ha-ha) couldn’t believe what was happening! Since that first night, he’s let me brush his teeth with few to no issues, and his teeth look clean and bright when we’re done. I give him a Dixie cup of water to drink afterward to help rinse away any excess toothpaste, and it works nicely. (This toothpaste is also fluoride-free, so again, if your children aren’t drinking fluoridated water you may want to explore other fluoridated options.)
Would I use them again? Most definitely — I think we may be Honest toothpaste users for life!!

So there you have it, my Honest haul!! I’m hoping to order from them again sometime in the near future, and if I purchase anything new I’ll be sure to tell you about it!

If you’d like to sign up and place an order of your own through the Honest Company, I invite you to do so

Have a great day, everyone!

Book Review! The Honest Life, by Jessica Alba

[This review is based on the Nook Book Enhanced Edition from Barnes and Noble, published by Rodale Books in 2013.]

So here’s the deal:
Before I begin, let me just take a moment to say that most of my book reviews will probably not be this long. I just wanted to be as thorough as possible and cover each section of the book.

So! Jessica Alba, whom you’re most likely to remember from her acting roles in The Fantastic Four, Honey, and the TV series Dark Angel, is now a married mom of two beautiful girls, Honor and Haven. She grew up with lots of allergies and other health issues, and as a result was constantly seeking out healthier and more eco-friendly alternatives to mainstream cleaning and personal-care products. While pregnant with her first daughter, she discovered some alarming practices happening within the baby care industry. She starts the book with an anecdote about washing a load of unborn Honor’s laundry (because, of course, a baby needs clean clothes the day they are born!). Her mother had told her to wash the clothes in a special detergent marketed for babies; one would presume that since the detergent was meant for babies, that it would be gentle, right? Apparently not: Alba started sneezing uncontrollably upon smelling the stuff, and when she went to fold the first load her hands broke out in welts. If that was happening to an adult, how much worse would it be on a newborn’s delicate skin?

One other particularly astounding factoid concerns babies’ and children’s eyes; you know that “no more tears” shampoo? Do you know how it prevents tears? Guess what – the chemicals in the shampoo that sting children’s eyes have been masked by another chemical that numbs the eyes so the sting can’t be felt!

Ex-cuse me????

The book focuses on other aspects of what Alba calls “the honest life”, aside from baby care. These include food, personal care, beauty, style, home, and inspiration. I’m going to admit right off the bat that, while I read the entire book, I didn’t care much for the style and beauty sections. I know I probably should care more, but those topics just aren’t really my thing. (So I’m indifferent to designer handbags and eyelash curlers. My apologies in advance.) Every other section of this book, however, I found myself glued to. As I mentioned in my inaugural post, I’m overweight and my home is about to undergo a major renovation. For those reasons alone, the book became a sort of healthier-living-for-beginners bible for me. It also served as a huge advertisement for Alba’s new Honest Company line of personal-care and cleaning products. I ordered quite a bit from the company, and will review those things in a separate post.

But back to the book! Like I said, it’s broken down into six sections. The first, Honest Food, talks about why it’s important to eat a plant-based diet and to try letting go of “fast” and processed foods that currently comprise many of our daily diets (mine included). Alba offers tips for eating “honestly”, from shopping at farmer’s markets and choosing organic meats to what to keep in the pantry. She even offers recipes for stocks, baby food, and homemade pizza, among other things.

Section two, Honest Clean, offers a view into “greenwashing”, or words that manufacturers use to put a positive spin on some negative chemistry. The “no more tears” example I gave earlier applies here! This is also the section where the “Dishonest Ingredients” blurbs begin appearing: SLS, which can be either sodium lauryl or sodium laureth sulfate, is a sudsing agent found in shampoos, bubble bath, and soaps. When SLS is made, it “releases a toxic by-product…that easily penetrates our skin and may cause cancer and birth defects” (Alba, 69). Lovely, right? This section is basically a reminder to read labels when purchasing your personal care products!

Section three focuses on Honest Beauty. Full disclosure, I didn’t care much for this chapter; that being said, if beauty was an interest of mine, this chapter would be very informative! There’s a whole lot of name-dropping going on in here, from which tinted moisturizers are “cleanest” (those would be by 100% Pure and Hourglass) to which manufacturers make the most eco-friendly (read: containing low to no levels of lead) red lipstick (Alba says Hourglass, 100% Pure, and Tarte are the best). Haircare and nail polish are discussed briefly in this section; she also mentions more “Dishonest Ingredients” here, including phthalates and mercury, and the reasons to avoid them. In my Nook’s Enhanced Edition, I found a video of Alba demonstrating her “10-minute face”.

Honest Style can be found in section four. As someone almost completely uninterested in fashion trends, this section didn’t do much to pique my curiosity. However, again, if style is your thing, this is a chapter you’ll want to read! A tutorial on finding your style is described in the chapter, including creating an inspiration board (either a physical one or virtually, on Pinterest) and figuring out which basics should be in your closet (like a little black dress, a denim jacket, and a fitted blazer – I have none of these. Oops.) Alba goes on to talk about vintage clothing, maternity style, and what she calls “new mommy style”. There’s also another video of Alba talking about how to organize a closet on the Nook Enhanced Edition of the book, as well.

I’ll be “honest” for a second (ha-ha). I didn’t think I was going to care for section five, Honest Home, either. I was surprised by how much I learned, though! As I’ve said, we’re going to be remodeling several rooms in our house over the next year or so, and I pulled some useful information from this chapter! I had no idea that there was a company called FLOR that makes modular carpet tiles, or that IKEA (one of my faaaavorite stores) is among the most eco-friendly home furnishings stores! I can afford IKEA and was planning to use their stuff all over my house, so that was great news for me. Also recommended: buying used or vintage furniture and cleaning it up yourself on the cheap; scouring flea markets; using nontoxic cleaning products; and using indoor plants to keep the air clean. There are also recipes for DIY cleaning solutions, including all-purpose cleaner, window cleaner, tile cleaner, and oven cleaner.

Section six is all about Honest Baby. Alba starts out talking about how to survive pregnancy (and let me just say that “survival” is the perfect word to describe how I got through my pregnancy) and how to deal with “pregnancy paranoia”. She goes on to tell us how to design the “honest nursery” and, later, the “honest kid’s room” (read: eco-friendly and nontoxic), and throws in her two cents regarding the breastfeeding vs. formula and cloth vs. disposable diaper debates. There’s a brief discussion about how to get babies on a sleep schedule (it’s too late for me to try it out with Joshua now – he’s too old for it – so I can’t personally speak to its success rate) and what to pack in a diaper bag. It’s mainly common sense.

Finally, you’ll find Honest Inspiration in section seven. This is basically a collection of recipes and sets of instructions for various things described in previous chapters, including recipes for homemade pizza and coffee facial scrub, how to build a treehouse, and how to restore vintage furniture (among other things). She closes the book with a list of every single resource she mentions throughout the book – it’s quite lengthy!

My thoughts:
At times, I felt like I was being preached at about why I should go completely green and organic; I felt a bit of pressure to throw out every conventional product in my bathroom and every non-organic package of meat in my freezer. Of course, I didn’t – that would just be wasteful – but at the same time, it did make me think about how I live, what I feed my family, and what touches my skin (and my family’s). I’ve slowly started making some changes around the house, and I also ordered a bunch of stuff from the Honest Company. I’ve been road-testing the products and will share my review of my haul tomorrow. If you care about making changes and leading a healthier life, this is a good book for you to read.

So would I recommend this book?
Oh, yeah – especially if you’re thinking about going “green” at home. Happy reading!

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