Thursday, October 7, 2010

Winner - Fairhaven Health Natural Deodorant!

Drum roll....and the winner is:Congrats! I'll be in touch.

Keep an eye out for another fantastic giveaway from Fairhaven Health coming up next week. I'll be reviewing and hosting a giveaway for Fairhaven Health's Dream Belly Stretch Mark Cream! Can't wait to tell you about it and give one lucky reader the chance to win.

Meanwhile, do enter my Tropical Traditions Oxygen Bleach giveaway that is on now.

And a little heads up about Sibu Beauty - remember my review a little while back? - they have a special offer on now that I wanted to let you know about. It's for a three-pack of products (two of which I reviewed) at a reduced price. Click here for details!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Tropical Traditions Oxygen Bleach - Review and Giveaway!

We seem to go through a lot of laundry in our house, despite it just being the two of us (and the dog, of course). When the baby gets here I can only imagine that the laundry room is going to become a much more frequent destination, especially since we're planning to cloth diaper!

So, anything that makes laundry easier is great. Even better if it's a natural and/or environmentally friendly product. I've tried soap nuts, laundry & dryer balls, and various green detergents. The one thing I find with natural products is that sometimes they don't clean quite as well as the chemical ones. They're great overall, but the occasional stain doesn't come out. Now, I'm not a pre-treater, so maybe that's my fault. And we don't have a laundry line (yet?), so I'm not getting the natural bleaching benefit of sun-drying - with Canadian winters, we don't get much sun for more than half the year, anyway.

I had the opportunity to test out Tropical Traditions Oxygen Bleach. This is made with just two ingredients: Sodium percarbonate (essentially a dry, crystallized version of hydrogen peroxide) and soda ash (aka washing soda, which softens water). Sodium percarbonate breaks down into oxygen, water, and soda ash, which is found naturally in mineral deposits. So you're not sending nasty chemicals into the water system when you use it!

Using it for laundry: You simply add 1-2 ounces into your wash load (it comes with a little measuring scoop). I have a front loader, so there's an extra step. I dissolve an ounce of the oxygen bleach into about 2/3 cup of hot water, just using an old jam jar to mix it in, and then pour it into the liquid bleach dispenser in the washer's tray.

It has lots of other uses, which I haven't tried out yet - from scrubbing grout to cleaning carpets and lots of other household applications. You can see a whole bunch of uses (with instructions) here! I have a feeling this is the kind of cleaning tool that becomes invaluable once you start seeing what it can do!

For my laundry, I find it works well in the front loader and does improve the look of fabrics. It can remove sweat stains from shirts, organic stains from clothing (like grass and dirt) and even did a good job cleaning a white tea towel that I'd just about given up on (food stains can be so difficult to get out!). Our towels come out nice and white. It is also colour-safe (pre-test first, if you're worried - I use it on our light and medium coloured loads but not on the darks).

I was really impressed by the size of the product for the price. For $23.99 (USD), you get 6 lbs (or, 96 oz). That's enough for 96 (lightly soiled) wash loads. Of course, you can always increase the amount you're using for dirtier clothes - and I LOVE that it has instructions right on the package for use with cloth diapers and even cloth feminine pads!

Tropical Traditions has generously offered one of my readers the chance to try the Oxygen Bleach for free!

The giveaway:
A 96 oz. tub of Tropical Traditions Oxygen Bleach!

How to enter: Head over to Tropical Traditions and let me know one other thing you'd like to try, OR one thing that you learned there. Make sure I've got a way to contact you if you're the winner!

Extra entries (please leave an extra comment for each. If you already do any of these things, leave the comment - you do get the entry for it!):
  • Subscribe via email to the Tropical Traditions newsletter
  • Follow @troptraditions on Twitter (leave your Twitter name!)
  • Follow me on Twitter (leave your Twitter name!)
  • Tweet about this giveaway for ONE entry, this is not a daily! You can use this if you like:
    Win non-chlorine Oxygen Bleach from @TropTraditions at Emily's Latest @emilyisland US/CAN 10/20 -great 4 #clothdiapers!
  • Follow my blog (publicly) – 2 entries, leave 2 comments
  • Add my blog button to your blog– 2 entries, leave 2 comments (please leave a link to your blog)
  • Blog about this giveaway, linking back to this post and to Tropical Traditions – 2 entries, leave 2 comments and please include a link to your post
I will be verifying comments so please actually do the things you say you do ☺ If you already do any of these things, it still counts for entries!

Please be sure to include your email address if it’s not public in your blogger profile! Anonymous comments without a way to contact you will be rejected. Canadian or US mailing addresses only, please. Giveaway ends October 20th at 11:59 EST. A winner will be drawn the next day, announced here, in a separate post and emailed!

Prize will be shipped by sponsor. Note for Canadian entrants: Tropical Traditions is not responsible for customs or duties that Canada may charge if you decide to participate in this Tropical Traditions sponsored blog giveaway. (FYI - it's unlikely to have a charge, being well under the $60 that incurs duty charges. There was no extra charge on my bottle, which came to Canada quickly and packaged well.)

Monday, October 4, 2010

The Alphabet (I need your input!).

I'm desperate to start playing nursery - but am feeling kind of stuck, as we still need a lot of stuff (glider, bookcase, rug, crib mattress are the big things). Meanwhile, I've been assuaging the nesting instinct by crocheting a baby blanket and a cute hat and infant mittens.

I've seen some really nice alphabet collections on nursery design websites - where people have collected letters from different places and made a very eclectic grouping on the wall. I love that.

Here's an example of what I mean, from the great site Project Nursery:Isn't that awesome? I love how colourful it is. BUT - I'm not sure I have the time (or budget) to go that route - imagine, if each letter costs between $5 and $10, that's $130-260, and if it ends up being hard to find, say, a Q and a Z, I'm left with an incomplete alphabet. If I go with eBay or other online shopping for letters, add 26 x shipping to that cost and it really gets prohibitive.

So my big idea was to do the alphabet in cursive, in wire. I picked up some galvanized wire at the hardware store (a whopping $3.47) and spent some time watching tv and bending wire. Here's how it turned out:

I left the switchplate in the photo for scale - it's pretty big! Don't mind the tape; I'd like to make sure my husband's with me on this one (he liked the collected alphabet idea, not so keen on the wire one going by my description) before I hang it - after all, he has to live with it, too. You really can't get a sense of the colour on the wall by this photo, either - it's not a greyish pinky yellow at all. It's Behr's Tiddley Pom (from their Disney collection), and it's a very, very pale and almost neutral yellowy-green.

The other thing I was thinking of doing was getting my husband to spray paint it. I was thinking bright, shiny red, but could go with another colour (it would be fun to do the rainbow colours, one for each row, but I'm not sure I really want to buy 5 cans of spray paint just for this).

What do you think -
  • Spray paint (colour ideas?) or leave it?
  • Should I abandon the wire idea, and - sucks to the budget - try for a collection?
  • Should I give up on both and pick up an alphabet print from some Etsy seller (like FancyPrints or Ink Tree Press) and frame it Ikea style? (again, a pricier option)
update: see the finished alphabet & nursery here!

4 months

According to my due date, four months from today we will welcome a new member of our family. Someone we've waited and wished for for years. Someone who's had a name since we first started dating. Someone who's already loved.

I can't wait to meet her and find out who she is.