Thursday, July 23, 2015

Product Junkie Review: The Honest Company (1 Year Review)

Almost a year ago, I checked out The Honest Company at the recommendation of one of my readers.  I went to the site and got the Free Trial which included 5 trial size products and all I had to pay was $5.95 shipping.  Click here to read my first review of The Honest Company Products including Lemongrass Handsoap, Face + Body Lotion, Healing Balm, Shampoo + Body Wash, Laundry Detergent, Multi-Surface Cleanser, Fruit & Veggie Wash, and Toothpaste.

I've received a few more bundles from them with different products since then and enjoyed more of them.  The following products were received and used at some point during the last year.

Honest Deodorant (4 fl. oz/$8.95) I've heard so many people concerned about deodorants and the chemicals in them being linked to Cancer.  I honestly don't know what I think about that, but it isn't the main reason I chose to try Honest Company Deodorant.  I have found that most popular deodorants cause me to develop painful lumps in my underarms. These lumps eventually go away, but I've used the same clinical strength formula deodorant for nearly a decade because it doesn't cause that painful reaction.  I've tried salt crystals and sprays in the past with little or no success, but because I've been so thrilled with Honest Company products I decided to try one of the three scents Honest offers.  It is a clear spray in a pump bottle made with aloe, and an essential oil blend that includes oils commonly known for being antibacterial to neutralize odors with the zinc salts and aluminum.  So far, I'm in love.  While it doesn't provide 14-18 hours of odor protection with a single application like the deodorant I'm used to, application is fast and I have not experienced a reaction.  I also enjoy not worrying about white marks or stains on my clothes or stickiness.  I purchased the Bergamot Sage and I'm loving the scent as well.

Organic Shave Oil (2.25 fl. oz/$15.95) Touted as a shave oil allowing you to get super close while helping to protect skin against nicks and cuts, the Organic Shave Oil also claims to soothe irritation and calm sensitive skin.  The oil itself is thick and I loved the scent from all of the different oils which include sesame, argan, calendula, rosehip, lavender, bergamot, clary sage, tea tree, tamanu, jojoba and rosemary.  The ingredients also include menthol crystals, which some find pleasant but I find incredibly irritating especially in more sensitive areas.  I was worried that it would be slippery or oily and I didn't noticed much of a problem from that.  I wish I could say whether or not it made a difference in how often I have to clean my tub (as oils often do) but I simply could not bring myself to use it more than a few times.  While my legs felt great and were incredibly soft and moisturized after using, I found myself incredibly displeased.  The oil gunked up my razor pretty bad and rinsing was a bit of a struggle especially when you're in the shower dealing with a hairy, oily mess on the back of a sharp razor.  It did seem to work well with skin scalding water but makes in unusable in the bath (which is also not an option for me personally due to the menthol).  I'm still on the fence because it leaves my legs feeling amazing after, but the price, gunk and the menthol make me think twice. I'm going to see if someone will review it for their face because I bet it would be an amazing shave for that.

Organic Belly Balm (3.65 oz/$15.95)  If you're a regular reader, you know that my sister recently had twins!  After she found out she was having twins, I bought her this because I knew her belly was going to be pushed to it's limits.   Reading the ingredients and reviews, I hoped this would help.  The belly balm contains calendula, which is known as a skin lightener and I recently used in a underarm lightening product I'd used successfully and I hoped it would help with stretch marks.  My sister seemed pretty thrilled with it overall, she said it worked and was surprised her stretch marks weren't worse.  Her only real complaint was that she felt like it smell like licorice.  After hearing how much she liked it, I bought some for myself.  Not because I'm pregnant, but because I'm just overweight.  When using large amounts (full body application) it does kind of smell like licorice sometimes, but it does fade.  Very pleasant.  I'm going to continue to use this in the hopes that it lightens already present stretch marks, but even if it doesn't I might use this as an alternative moisturizer to the healing balm.

Dish Soap (26.5 fl. oz/$3.95) I'm in love with the White Grapefruit scented products.  While I wasn't in desperate need of dish soap, I use dish soap for a variety of things in my home and the natural alternative was very pleasing to me.  I use dish soap to clean my C-Pap supplies and this might not be for everyone because the scent of grapefruit is supposed to be stimulating but I much prefer it over the scent of Dawn. It seems to clean well, though it seems I've used it on everything from greasy stuff on my hands to pacifiers dropped on the floor.  They've recently change the formula, and I haven't tried the latest but I'm sure it is just as good.

4-in-1 Laundry Detergent Packs (50 packs/$15.95) They're quick.  They're easy.  They have no scent.  They don't look like candy unlike some popular brands.  They don't leave blue marks on my laundry from the dye in the detergent.  How well do they clean?  Well, most of my stuff goes in with something dribbled on the front and it comes out without it, and we all know I'm too lazy to pretreat so I'm going to have to say I'm pretty pleased with this.  I wish they were lightly scented, but if you're not into that kind of thing then I guess they're great.

Bathroom Cleaner (26 fl. oz/$5.95)  I don't think anything from the Honest Company is as good as the Multipurpose spray.  While I like that it smells like eucalyptus, mint and tea tree oil.... I'm not sure how effective I think it is on the kinds of messes you can find in my bathroom.  I know the oils in it are anti-microbial/bacterial but I just don't see it cutting through soap scum and yuck the way I wish it would.  Overall, I think it is just a so-so product.

Floor Cleaner (26 fl. oz/$5.95)  It's great for quickly wiping up a mess on the floor or a fast spot mop, but I just can't bring myself to do the whole floor with it yet.  I tried once at work with this product and while it did a number on the stains, the time I spent hunched over was just weird.  I'm definitely going to use the rest of this bottle, I just wish there was an alternative for those of us who don't mind actually mopping... you know, with a bucket.  The smell is really great too.

Glass + Window Cleaner (26 fl. oz/$5.95)  This is awesome.  It smells vinegary, but it cleans my windows and glass to an absolutely sparkling shine with fast dry time and little to no effort.  I was so glad to kick the Windex to the curb. This stuff is amazing, even on window crayons.  It just cuts right through everything that gets on bathroom mirrors.  I'm in love.

Toilet Cleaner (27 fl. oz/$5.95)  The scent makes cleaning the bowl much more pleasant than those other, chemical laden products on the market.  One interesting thing that I noticed is that I still get some moldy type stuff (I've always gotten it) but there seems to be less staining since I started using this product. 

Dishwasher Packs (32 packs/$10.95)  I wanted them to work well, but sadly these were set to the side as a product I just could not love.  They left all of my dishes filmy.  I tried adding vinegar as a rinse aid.  I tried cleaning the dishwasher.  They just didn't cut it.  What is worse is that after trying to use these for about a month, I started finding standing water in my dishwasher.  This has never happened in the nearly 10 years I've had it.  I know that things do break down, however after scrubbing the dishwasher and returning to my normal Finish tabs, everything has been fine and my dishes look clean again.  I will not be buying these again.

Dish Towels (2 towels/$7.95)  I am ashamed to say that I bought the dishtowels and ended up using them as burp rags.  When you have twins in the house, sometimes you just have to grab what's available and sadly these got caught in the crossfire.  I am happy to say that they absorb incredibly well, and despite being white, wash really well too.  I have yet to have a towel be stained beyond what the washer can get out, which is a challenge especially with formula in the house.  These are strong, super absorbent and work amazingly well.  My next bundle already has a pack of towels on the list.

Organic Baby Powder (4 oz/$11.95)  Now that we have baby girls in the house, we have to be worried about harmful talc.  So when I saw this, I knew I had to get some for my sister.  I wasn't expecting to love it myself, but I really, really do.  I was so confused as to how a powder could be infused with natural probiotics, but then I noticed that it has Lactobacillus Bulgaricus Lysate Extract derived from Yogurt!  While I bought some that ended up in my sister's diaper bag, this is also a product I will be ordering more of just for me.  I love the way it takes care of excess moisture without leaving my skin feeling dry like traditional baby powder.  The scent is awesome, and I will totally admit to powdering the babies a little just because of the smell. 

Kids Toothpaste (6 oz. (170 g)/$5.95)  I had to try it before giving it to my nephew to use.  I love the packaging, it tastes great and does the job without the fluoride (it's in our water anyway, but at least I know I'm limiting some of it from ending up in our bodies).  It doesn't make my nephew any more eager to brush his teeth, but I'm glad that when he finally stops fighting me over it he is doing it with a great product.

Bug Spray (4 fl. oz/$12.95)  I am a magnet for bugs.  There is just something about me that attracts them, and I have very nasty reactions to the bites when all is said and done.  I don't use bug spray because I would have to apply it all the time to really get any relief for myself and while I'm not concerned about the use of DEET were it limited to once or twice a year, that just isn't the case with me.  So I decided to give it a try for those nights where I stay late at the Farmer's Market listening to music.  The upside is that the can is lightweight, study and can be carried easily.  It was in my purse for a week before I tried it and it's been in my Farmer's Market bag since then.  It seems fairly effective, but I haven't tried it in the dark yet.  My only dislike is the citronella oil, because I feel like I smell like an OFF! Brand candle.

One year later and I'm still a huge fan of The Honest Company.  The products come straight to my door in attractive packaging.  I have yet to need to contact Customer Service for any issues (my favorite Customer Service is the kind I never have to contact).  While there are some products that I just don't love, overall I've been very, very pleased with the scent and quality of the products.  I will admit, I know there are other natural products out there that I could purchase.  I know that The Honest Company falls on the "so-so" lists of people who do the research into the ingredients in their products.  However, I've been very happy with the company and their products and I love that the scented products all seem to compliment each other.  I think I am definitely going to stay an Honest Company Customer for awhile.

*All photos courtesy of The Honest Company

**I did not receive any monetary compensation to review these products; All products were purchased and tested by me (with the exception of the Free Trial which is available to everyone).  The Honest Company offers a $20 bonus credit to your account for each friend who signs up and makes a shop or a subscription order using your link; I DO earn a $20 credit towards my next purchase if any of the links posted above are used, just like anyone else would.  I pick and choose what products appear on based on products I use or would consider using in my own home.  Receiving product samples does not influence the final review.  Period.  All opinions and experiences are my own and there is no guarantee with my review and I will not be held responsible if you decide to purchase an item and you are dissatisfied with it.  My opinion is just that... my opinion.**

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

My Craptacular Crafts

I'm a terrible adult.

If you would have asked me what kind of adult I was going to be when I was 8, I'm almost positive I wouldn't have told you that I'd be the kind of adult who wears Christmas socks at random times throughout the year because she wont do laundry until she's worn all of her clothes.  I also probably wasn't anticipating that I would forget to register the plates on my car almost every year or that I'd be eating cereal out of the mixing bowls instead of doing the dishes (you can judge me, but we all know they're bigger anyway).  In spite of these things, I'm still independent and functioning - though some days it depends on your definition of "functioning" especially on days when I really don't want to wear pants

When I was growing up, my mom did fun, craft activities with us all the time and as an "adult" I  still find a certain level of enjoyment from expressing my creativity through what I call "Martha Stewart Craft Shit" (because I like to drink while I do it, just like Martha).  As a single introvert, I also find that doing crafts is a great way to spend my time instead of bemoaning my dislike for meeting new people while pity partying at not having a boyfriend to binge-watch Netflix with. Unfortunately it seems that while I'm independent and "functioning" in other areas of my life, I've never outgrown the need for adult supervision when I engage in arts and crafts.

This is why I avoid Pinterest.

As someone who comes from a family history of hoarding, it's also just not a good idea for me to be active on a website that promotes crafts that involve stockpiling crap like toilet paper rolls so I can re-purpose them by creating wall art in the shape of flowers.

But I digress.

Recently, after noticing the large pile of perfectly good pallets we've managed to collect at work while feeling particularly bored and single, I found myself perusing Pinterest for a pallet project; I'm still not sure how long I sat at my desk while visions of Pallet Gardens danced in my head.

Just as I was starting to make a list of the things I would need to pick up at the Home and Garden store, I had a flashback of the last time I started a project that involved making a list: a coworker had some really cute polymer clay coated pens, and when I complimented them she boasted about how easy they were to make before rattling off some directions.

I left work that day and went to the craft store for clay where I managed to find some on clearance; The little blocks felt a little hard, but I lied to myself that they wouldn't still be trying to sell them if they weren't any good.  I made another stop to pick up two packages my coworker said I needed before I headed home. 

Once home, I attempted to make a flower pattern which ended up looking more like mutated pink marijuana leaves.  I ended up rolling out the clay until it resembled pink camo (because I liked pink camo before it was an overpriced fad). The clay was so rough I only had enough energy to make three pens, which I then put in the pre-heated oven as directed.

I'm still not sure what went wrong.

Before I knew it, I was asking myself the dreaded question, "What is that smell?"

While the clay had baked exactly as it was supposed to, the pens had melted and then burned to the bottom of the pan.  To this day, I wonder what the consequences will be for breathing in the more-than-likely toxic fumes released from the burning plastic pens. I also occasionally miss the cake pan I ended up throwing away because I was convinced anything I ever made would be tainted by the taste of burning plastic and polymer clay.

As the memory of the acrid smoke cleared, I returned to my "pinning" and removed every single pallet project that could end with me nailing myself to something, accidentally removing a body part, or asphyxiating on fumes.  While some might see this as quitting before I start, I choose to believe it is an act of self-preservation.  Either way, I think I'm going to just stick with things I know for now and the next time I find myself hankering for

Then again, I can totally see the value in a situation where I have to call a fireman.