Product review: Gro-Via prefolds

15 10 2012

Recently Gro-Via called for people to test a new mystery product. The first 400 people to answer to the Facebook call would be the lucky testers. For a change, I found myself available instead of taking care of the baby or the house, so I could snatch one of these new mystery products!

I was sent a prefold diaper made of a blend of organic cotton and bamboo. Lucky me! Not only I’ve always wanted to try prefolds but I’ve also been itching to try bamboo. My diapers are either Thirsties with the duo system (cotton/hemp+synthetic) or synthetic pockets. So this was lucky indeed! The diaper I received was already prewashed and ready to use, this means I did not have to strip it, but of course I washed it before using it on Ignacio’s skin.

So, what I think about this new prefolds?

When I started the test, Ignacio was 16 months, he turned 17 right before I submitted the answers to Gro-Via, he weights 22 pounds and is a very active toddler.

Gro-Via perfold, as you can see they printed the label so there would not be a scratchy label against the baby’s skin (genius!). You can see the way I folded them in the last photo.

The diaper is on the bulky side, I use my Gro-Via shells with Gro-Via biosoakers and I had to unsnap them to one size larger to fit the prefold. I should add that I used the prefold as a soaker and not as a diaper per se (you can see the different ways of folding it in the Gro-Via webpage) because Ignacio is a heavy wetter. I find they made a bubble butt effect and that there was some space left around the legs of the baby, making it not fit as well as the biosoakers. I used them in as many circumstances I could, day time, nap time, bed time, with different shells, and this is how they performed:

For normal daytime use there were no leaks, this would be up to four hours of use, I used it with both Gro-Via and Thirsties shells and I had no problem, the double leg gussets in Thirsties made the area around the legs fit closer to the baby’s skin (I just love that feature in Thirsties!). Naptime worked just fine too. For night time I had leaking around the waist with Thirsties shells, after 12 hours, but no problem with Gro-Via shells after 10 hours. I guess the prefolds go too wet and moisture wicked up to the waist band with my Thirsties, but it was not a problem with the snugger fit around the waist with Gro-Via.

My baby honored the new prefold by pooping in them right away the first two times we used them, so I was lucky to be able to test how it washes. The prefold laundered very well, I got no stains left behind, and dried as fast as any other natural fiber diaper I have (cotton/hemp). It did stay soft after being washed repeatedly.

We’ve been using these Gro-Via shells since Ignacio was born. He is now 17 months (5 months in this photo) and they still fit. I love how that color looks on him!

As per request of Gro-Via we had to consider what we liked most and less of these new diapers. What I liked the least of it is that the moisture is not wicked away from the baby’s skin and he feels wet, because of this his skin showed irritation after overnight use. I normally put him to sleep in his Thirsties, I do a double cotton/hemp insert and snap a synthetic pad, so his butt is not in touch with as much fluid and they are very absorbent and the same time. I shouldn’t neglect to mention that he is teething and when he teethes his bum skin gets irritated, so I would like to keep trying these after he is done with his… oh, I don’t know… like a hundred teeth coming in at the same time? But I also would like to test these within a pocket diaper that would wick moisture away from his skin and see how that performs.

What I like the best I think is the affordability of these diapers. They come in three packs for $8 to $16 depending on size, so they are a serious easy way of getting started.

As usual, Gro-Via delivers great quality, I am very pleased with this new product. Too bad I have too many diapers as to justify buying more!
Have you ever use prefolds? If so, what do you think of them? Would you be willing to give these Gro-Via ones a try? You can get them for free! Enter the Gro-Via Giveaway and choose which of their new products you would like to win!





Review and Giveaway: Bennu T-shirt

26 03 2012

One of the things I am always impressed about is when young talent turns into enterprise. This is the case of Bennu, a young environment geared company that was founded by three young graduate students wanting to do something about the huge amount of waste that we produce, especially plastics. Bennu makes promotional products (T-shirts, backpacks), works as a consultant for companies seeking to lower their footprint, and has expanded into social media marketing services, their interest kept on sustainability, they are firm believers that a green lifestyle is possible, and after you read more about them in their web page, you will agree with them!

I was sent a T-shirt to review and organize a giveaway. This T-shirt is 100%recycled: 65% recycled cotton and 35% recycled PET bottles. I have to say that just the idea pf wearing recycled bottles thrills me! This T-shirt would prevent 1/3 pound of agricultural chemicals from being released and it is made in the USA, providing not only jobs but also lowering the Carbon footprint due to less shipping.

T-shirt I was sent to review. Loved it!

I am not going to post a photo of myself wearing the T-shirt because I am no model, so you will just have to trust me when I say that this T-shirt is a lot like a regular good quality T-shirt. I tested it for a couple of months to see how it would react to the wash and wear, and it has not lost the jet black color at all nor the green letters have come out. Also, it has endured the teeth of my baby just fine, not giving into the sharp incisives. Furthermore, I have tested it by going jog, and though it is by no means a performance T-shirt, nor I would expect to behave as a synthetic sports wicking fabric, it did well enough as for me to be all sweaty when I passed by the market after the park jog, and it did not smell bad at all.

You can buy T-shirts and other products at the Bennushop, or you can win an Ocean Aid T-shirt by entering the

Ocean Aid T-shirt for the giveaway. The artist in me loves the way the living beings form the planet!

giveaway on Sensibly Green’s Facebook.





Review and Giveaway: Raw Crunch energy bars

27 02 2012

If you are a little bit like me you are concerned about what you eat, what materials are put in your food, if there are insecticides galore, chemicals that will hurt you and your family… Also, if you are a bit like me you are either on the go or on the go, which makes you feel tired and low energy… or maybe you are the kind that I would like to be, that exercises and stays fit. That is why I contacted Kathy and Ross, creators of Raw Crunch, to review their energy bars and organize a giveaway. The bars arrived when my dad was still here so we all had a good time reviewing the box that included all the four flavors: Chocolate, Blueberries, Cranberries and Goji Berries.

These bars are hand made! raw and organic, packed with high quality seeds that carry a load of fiber and good for you oils. The flavor is just delicious and I enjoyed greatly the raw honey, which tasted incredibly good and lingered around my mouth for a while. We all liked them, though probably I was the biggest fan (not too surprising, given that I was also the only woman). My dad commented that they are a little on the hard side for senior citizen’s that don’t have the best teeth, and we all think that the packaging, though gorgeous, is hard to open especially if you are jogging or hiking when you need a snack.

Raw Crunch Chocolate bar. The texture is just to die for!

I find that the seed combination was great to give a nicely balanced flavor, and though the base is the same for the four varieties, I enjoyed the most the blueberries and the chocolate ones. These two were sweeter and complemented the seeds better. The chocolate… the chocolate was just fantastic, very high quality, dark but not bitter… just perfect!

You can buy these snacks at the store, and if you apply the code BLOG1 you will obtain a 10% discount! Thank you so much Kathy! Also, you can learn more about them in Raw Crunch’s blog or Facebook page

…Or you can win a delicious sample box entering our giveaway in our Facebook page.





Peeled Snacks: Review and Giveaway

6 02 2012

Variety pack: apple, banana, mango, apricot, pineapple, and cherry. You can win these by entering the giveaway!

Sometimes we just want a snack, something sweet and small… but at the same time we want to keep it healthy and natural. Fruit is many times my snack of choice, and I absolutely love dry fruit! It was great to get to review dry fruit by Peeled Snacks. This dry fruit is organic so if you need a sweet fix, you need not to worry about the effects on you.

I was sent a variety pack containing six different bags, each with a different fruit. The packaging is lovely, attractive and vibrant, very attractive for a visual person like me! and it has a window through which you can see the fruit you are about to eat. I really like how each bag is one serving, so you do not have to be guessing how much you ate, you don’t need to count pieces of fruit and you just can focus on enjoying the fruit you are eating. They were very sweet, especially the tropical varieties, as mango and pineapple, which was perfect for a late afternoon snack when my sweet attack comes around!

Dried apples by Peeled Snacks.

Follow Peeled Snacks in Facebook to learn about news, specials of the month and tips.

Buy it! Where? You can buy them in Starbucks in Canada and United States, among other retailers. You don’t live in either country? No worries, they have an online store too!

Or win an Organic Fruit Picks Variety Pack by entering the giveaway by filling the rafflecopter in Sensibly Green’s Facebook!

Mangoes and pineapples were my favourite!





Review: Mate Factor

30 01 2012

Yerba Mate, this is one of the things I really miss from home. In Argentina mate has a prominent place, it is a companion during long sleepless study nights, a ritual of friendship and good will and it is just plain awesome. Yerba mate is a bush whose leaves are used to prepare a beverage similar to tea, but with a very unique flavor. It contains a chemical similar to caffeine, called mateine, and though it has been argued that mateine does not exist and that mate contains caffeine, other studies show that the caffeine content is low and that there are different xantines in mate. Those from the south of South America, especially Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay and south of Brazil, are very well acquainted with all the wonderful health benefits and energy loads that you can get from mate!

Selecting the right cup for each occasion is of importance for mate lovers!

Joshua, from Mate Factor sent me some samples to try and give my opinion. I got the original Fresh Mate, Dark roast and Chai. I took advantage of Christmas day since my friend Eduardo (also from Argentina) and my dad were here, because mate is meant to be shared. Edu was in charge of preparing the mate.

Eduardo opening the pack. Oh, the anticipation!

Upon opening the vacuum packed leaves we noticed that the leaves were very finely ground, and there were no sticks and very little powder (that is good, for mate connoisseurs), the very finely ground leaves can be a mild annoyance if you are planning to take the mate the traditional way, in a gourd and with a straw, because the leaves can go through the holes of the mate straw, however, it is irrelevant if you are planning to prepare it in any of the other many ways suggested by Mate Factor (I really liked that the package suggests how to prepare it in so many different ways!).

Unique vacuum sealed packaging.

Please, appreciate the grinding of these leaves! No sticks and low powder!

You can also see that once the water is added the mate still looks low in powder and has no sticks

This mate is not processed the traditional way, it is different than other brands because it is not aged and non smoke cured, preserving the antioxidants and keeping a flavor that I find more herbal. The aroma is sweet and mild, and the flavor is accessible, sweet and very mild. It would be the perfect mate for those that are interested in this beverage but are not quite fond of the traditional bitter flavor. The after taste is sweet and pleasant, and the leaves last many rounds of water not loosing their flavor (this is for those using a mate gourd).

Out of courtesy, the person preparing the mate takes the first one. This ensures that the "worse" mate is not given to any friend.

Dad appreciating the mate falvor.

We all agreed that it would be an ideal introductory mate for an American public, given that traditional mate is really an acquired taste and most American people frown their noses after trying it the way we like it back home. It might be like wine, you’ll start with a sweet, mildly fragrant leaf and end up with a strong and bitter one ๐Ÿ™‚ Another crowd that will find this mate agreeable is the white tea people, especially with the flavored varieties. The Mate Chai reminded me strongly of white tea, the spices were very nicely balanced and flavorful! Finally, the Dark roast had a bolder flavor and more body than the fresh loose leaves, it is suggested for people that want the coffee boost but not the crash. Whatever the reason, mate is a great treat, give it a try and let me know that you loved it!

Also in tea bags, the preparation is just like for tea, except you must not boil the water.





EcoLips

20 01 2012

One of the things I am always concerned about is what I get on my baby’s skin and mouth… and everything ends up in his mouth, so I have to be careful with what I use myself. I do not want to use cosmetics that could harm him in any way, so I was quite excited when EcoLips founder Jen sent me a few samples to try.

Why would I want to use organic lip balm? Well, if you take a look at your regular balm you might find that there are a lot of chemicals on them that can lead to allergies and immunotoxicity, developmental and reproductive toxicity, and also be related to ecological and occupational hazards… yes, this coming from the top cosmetic brands too (oh, and some of them have the word “Naturals” in the name!). So given that I take health quite seriously and I think a developing baby should be protected from as many risks as possible, I have decided that I do not want to kiss his little mouth with a balm that is full of chemicals that I would not want on me in the first place!

Eco Lips makes lip balms that are just want I want! Jen sent me the balms just in time for the dry Pittsburgh winter, for what I am very grateful!

Ecolips are made with ebe wax. For those that rather go vegan they have an option too!

The company:

In the early 90’s Andrea started making lip balms using all natural ingredients, she would then give these balms away as gifts to friends and family. She gave a sample to Steve who, like in a romantic movie, fell in love with the product, then fell in love with Andrea, and encouraged and coached her to build up a company! The company was successful and their sales representative Jim completed the team by helping develop a unique lip balm that would be organic, and sellable.

Eco Lips is successfully growing and still handcrafted! They are also concerned about the environment and besides using organic ingredients they donate 1% of their sales to organizations that take care of it. Besides that they have the “cause balm” which donates $1 of each sale to the cause of choice. I love companies that give back to the community!

My impressions:

Jen sent me a bunch of balms to try, which was incredibly generous from her: Eco Lips Gold, which is an all around balm; Medical, especially formulated for lip sores; two Eco Tints, which are colored; and Orange and Spice, to revitalize and neutralize free radicals. I don’t think I can explain the incredible variety they have, it is truly overwhelming when you look at their catalog and have to choose from it! This means that you will surely find one balm that perfectly matches your needs!

Because my husband is always suffering from dry, breaking lips, especially when he goes run at 6:30 AM in the freezing temperatures of Pittsburgh’s winter, I handed him the Gold and Medical balms. He is really happy with them, so far his lips have stayed hydrated and soft, and he has been using the Gold balm every day. When I gave him the Medical one, he looked at me as if I was giving him poison, but when he started to read the ingredients he said “Oh, it’s all natural!” and was pleased to get to try it. It smells like spearmint really nicely too!

I kept one of the Ecotintand gave the other one to my friend Hope, much younger and modest than I. We both liked these because they have a mild color to them, and this color is given by Iron oxides, which are

All organic and FDA approved!

harmless for you (unlike Lead, for example) and even the darkest colors are attractive and subdued, enough for them to be noticeable but fit a modest type of girl too.

Finally, the Orange and Spice has a delicious smell and taste! You can seriously taste the orange oils! I made the mistake of using it before going to bed and I was tasting and smelling oranges for many hours! ๐Ÿ™‚ I still love it during the day, though.

All these are super creamy and rich. Both my husband and I agree that they are creamier than regular balm and that they are really good to keep your lips hydrated.

The giveaway:

Enter the Rafflecopter on Facebook for your chance to wine one (1) Eco Lips Gold Balm with an Ecoclip (100% recycled materials!).

Visit Eco Lips on Facebook today for promotions and great information!

Follow Sensibly Green on Facebook to be updated about our reviews, giveaways and new posts and to get exclusive content!





Review: Nature’s Hand Granola

13 01 2012

French Vanilla and Almonds.

Granola. This is one of the words that I hear all the time as defining of healthy-eating people (and hippies) and with reason. Granola is one of those really good for you foods: it has grains galore, some natural sweeteners and it is just so good! But not all granola is created equal! Some of them have been turned into unhealthy HFCS and trans fats packed foods!

Nature’s Hand has released recently a new granola in six varieties, and I was really happy to get to try two of them! They sent me French Vanilla Almond and Maple Pecan. Nom!

The company:

Nature’s Hand was born from the passion of two people in Minnesota for the flavor of the old world. Being Bavarian immigrants they started to blend and bake their own granola mixes and, as many times happens, friends and family started to show a real interest for their recipe. This is when they started to think of commercialize it and they became locally successful. Years later they decided to retire and transfer the company to new owners that would respect the original recipe and market it to a wider public.

Nature’s Hand aims to make health conscious products and donates more than 10K pounds of granola to local shelters each year! They seriously have my interest!

The review:

I really like the packaging of Nature’s Hand. It is resealable and elegant, with a transparent window that lets you peak inside and see what you are about to eat. Natureโ€™s Hand uses only premium

Wonderful texture, the way they are baked makes the oats cluster just right!

all-natural ingredients, which are full of fiber, protein and antioxidants.ย  The brand is low in sugar and contains no artificial colors or flavors, preservatives, cholesterol, trans fats or sodium.

These are pleasantly crunchy and tasty. The taste is nicely balanced, I really like how mildly sweet they are and the different flavor that they have to the other brands because of the soy oil and little sesame seeds (a very nice underlying flavor!) They are high in calories, since 1/4 cup gives you 140 calories, but as a healthy food in the middle of a hike in the forest, this is exactly what you need.

I have tried these alone and they are great, with milk for breakfast and I love the flavor they give to the milk, and they are also great with yogurt. Need ideas? Nature’s Hand has a recipes page to inspire you! French Vanilla is sweet and goes great with yogurt and bananas, Maple pecan has a drier smokier flavor, just delicious!

Good morning! Start your day with a nutritive breakfast ๐Ÿ™‚