Product Review: ECO SWIM by AQUA GREEN

*Disclosure: I was not paid for this post but I was given a swimsuit to review. Read disclaimer for more information.*

A couple of years ago my husband and I joined the local gym, which happens to have a swimming pool. I don’t use the gym that much but I really enjoy swimming. It’s my favorite form of exercise because I enjoy it, it’s good for asthmatics, and it’s easy on my muscles.

When I started swimming I knew I wanted some eco-friendly swimsuits and the best I have found are by ECO SWIM by AQUA GREEN. They are cute, made in the USA, use recycled material and work to reduce their carbon footprint. It doesn’t get much better than that.

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The kind people at ECO SWIM by AQUA GREEN offered to let me try one of their swimsuits awhile ago and I still love it! So when they contacted me to see if I wanted to try one from the new line of course I said yes!

This year’s line is even better than last year’s! Many of the swimsuits have a retro flare, which I love. I also love that they have some suits that offer more coverage than many swimsuits out there. The one I chose is a black and white tankini with little black shorts.

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Another thing they added this year is waterless dyeing. This allows them to save even more resources and make the brand even more sustainable. They also host community beach cleanups around the country. To date, ECO SWIM by AQUA GREEN has removed over 4 tons of ocean pollution from oceans and waterways in the United States.

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It’s very high quality and I’ve enjoyed using it a lot. I love the style and the company’s values, doesn’t get much better. I highly recommend checking out their swimwear line.

You can find where to buy their suits on their website- http://www.ecoswim.com  Also check them out on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

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Product Review: Bestowed Subscription Box

Subscription boxes are extremely popular. They are a fun way to try new products without spending a lot of money. Many of the boxes are far from eco-friendly but there are some out there for those wanting to live a greener and more natural lifestyle. One of those boxes is the Bestowed box.

Bestowed was founded by Registered Dietitian and author, Heather Bauer. She has been on CNN, Good Morning America, The Talk, CBS, and more. She is the author of two top selling books;  The Wall Street Diet and Bread is the Devil.

Heather hand-picks great, healthy, and natural snacks for each box. Unlike many food subscription boxes, Bestowed contains food you can feel good about eating.

Bestowed Box

Bestowed sent me a box to try out this month. It was fun to try all of the products. While not all were my cup of tea, it was great to find out which I like and which I didn’t. Some that I didn’t like were ones I had almost bought before so the box saved me money because now I know they aren’t really my thing. And I of course found somethings I want to buy more of! That’s what is so great about the boxes.

Bestowed boxes are packed full of products to try and they are only $19 a month. If you enjoy trying new, healthy snacks this box could be a lot of fun for you. And Bestowed has been kind enough to offer $5 off of your first box. Just use the code: 5OFFBESTOWED03 

If you have tried Bestowed or decide to now, let me know what you thought of it. Share in the comments below or on the Facebook page.

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. Bestowed sent me a box to try out, this doesn’t impact my views. Read my full disclaimer for more. 

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Green Travel: Home2 Suites

This past week my husband and I went to Frisco Texas, a suburb of Dallas, to celebrate our anniversary. We decided to try a new hotel called Home2 Suites, owned by Hilton. I was pretty excited to try this hotel because they have many green features. Here are some of the green features you will find at Home2 Suites.

(c) Home2 Suites by Hilton® Dallas/Frisco, Texas

(c) Home2 Suites by Hilton® Dallas/Frisco, Texas

  • Saline-based swimming pools
  • Recycling stations
  • Recycling containers in the rooms
  • Energy Star rated appliances
  • Carpets made from at least 60% recycled materials and featuring Green Label certification
  • CFL lighting in all lighting fixtures
  • Tamper-proof bulk shampoos and soaps in bathrooms
  • Dual flush toilets
  • Real dishes and utensils
  • And many other great green features

We have stayed at many different Hilton and non-Hilton hotels and this is a new favorite. Here are my pros and cons.

home2 suites

Pros

  • All the eco-friendly features, I especially loved the saline pool.
  • Rooms aren’t fancy but are very comfortable.
  • The staff was very friendly.
  • The lobby featured many great seating areas and computers.
  • Free wifi.

Cons

  • The cleaners they were using were very strong smelling and didn’t seem to be terribly eco-friendly.
  • I could never figure out where to put the recycling in the room, this wasn’t a huge deal as there was a bin down the hall but it didn’t state what they recycled.
  • Check out time is at 11 a.m. instead of noon. However the staff didn’t complain when we were late because we didn’t know this.

Overall the pros very much outweigh the cons. We will definitely stay at Home2 Suites again in the future. So far there are 23 Home2 Suites in the US, so check to see if their is one near you or at your next vacation site.

*I was not paid to review this hotel, I just figured it would be nice to do so since I was already staying there. Please excuse the poor photo quality of my photos, couldn’t find my camera for the trip so they were taken on my phone. They were also taken on the second day of the trip so the room is messy.

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Product Review: Twist

*This post contains affiliate links. I was not paid for this post and all thoughts are my own.*

I have another eco-friendly company to add to my list of favorites! Twist was founded in 2006 by Egil Wigert and Brian Ross. They saw that while almost every other product in the cleaning aisle had changed, sponges had not.

Sponges are made from cellulose sheets which are 100% tree fiber and then they mix it with cotton. All of this leads to lots of waste. Twist has changed this by making sure 99.97% of the waste they make is reused in production. They get their cellulose from renewable tree farms in Norway.

Here is the info and my thoughts and the products they make-


Euro Sponge #10
This sponge is awesome, I’m not a big sponge user but this one is a shape I like better, it’s a bit more like a cloth. It’s very strong but biodegradable! It’s great for spills. It is dishwasher safe so you can use it over and over. You can also boil it to sterilize it.


European Sponge Cloth #20
I love these! They are like a sponge got it on with a paper towel and had an awesome love child. They wipe like a paper towel but absorb like a sponge. One Euro Sponge Cloth outlasts 17 rolls of paper towels! That is a lot of waste and money saved. They also can be put in the dishwasher or boiled so you can use them over and over. And of course they are biodegradable. I have put mine in the dishwasher and they came out great. Another neat fact is that they disappear after 7 weeks when buried in soil!


Loofah Sponge #50
These are really cool. They have a cellulose sponge on one side and a loofah on the other. The loofah is great for scrubbing. I liked cleaning my counter with this sponge because if something was stuck on I could just turn it over to scrub. As all Twist products these are also biodegradable. They also don’t scratch things as easily as other heavy duty sponges. I meant to link to another bloggers post about how they really are biodegradable because she tested it but for the life of me I can’t remember which of the green blogs I read it was on. If you are reading please post the link.

Naked Sponge #55
This sponge works like a normal sponge but is 100% cellulose and biodegradable of course! They are also dye-free which is another plus for the environment. They are great for day to day cleaning.


Bamboo Cloth #35
This is the favorite thing I got to try! I told my friend the other day I wish I could have a shirt made of this fabric! It’s so soft!!! These are my new dusting cloths, never will I go back to a t-shirt rag for dusting again. Those have been demoted to bathroom cleaning.

They are made of bamboo (duh!) and corn. They are a great size for dusting and pick up more dust than your normal cloth, seem to work even better than microfiber on dust! And of course best of all when you can’t use them anymore they are 100% biodegradable. When they are dirty throw them in the washer and they are ready to use again. I have washed mine a few times and they hold up great.

Another neat thing about Twist is on all their product packaging there are little crafts. Like bird feeders and a bird mobile. I don’t have kids but I may still have to make a bird feeder or two.

Twist will be making more products soon including a plant based dish soap and biodegradable brooms! There will be a total of 12 different cleaning products. I can’t wait to see all of it!!

And for all my frugal readers, they are very affordable. The Euro Sponge (1-pack) is $1.99, European Sponge Cloth (3-pack) is $3.99, Loofah Sponge (2-pack) is $4.99, Naked Sponge (2-pack) is $2.79, and Bamboo Cloth (3-pack) is $3.99.

Twist products are sold at Whole Foods and other grocery stores around the US and Canada. Check out there website for local stores and online stores that carry their products.

Be sure to check out their site because I couldn’t begin to include all the wonderful things about them in this review. I very highly recommend these products. If you only plan to try one, my favorite was the bamboo cloths. They are amazing! Feel free to share your thoughts on these products as well.

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Thrifty Green Thursday- Skip the sandwich bag

My husband just started his first teaching job and it’s 25 minutes from our house. He of course is not going to come home for lunch so I send him his lunch each day. For his sandwiches we use Wrap-N-Mats. These things are awesome. I just throw them in the washer after he uses them. They keep the sandwich fresh and the liner is food safe PEVA liner.

While you will pay $18.95 up front for a set of 3 you will end up saving a ton on sandwich bags and save lots of trash (plastic trash at that!).

I got mine from ReuseIt.com a favorite eco site of mine.

Now while I put my in the washer they say to hand wash, I have a front loader with a hand wash cycle and that is what I use. I of course don’t put them in the dryer.

They are PEVA plastic which from what I have read is safe but if you are worried about it you can use wax paper then the wrap (will stay fresher than just the wax paper). The plastic is lead free as well.

You will find more great tips here at Green Baby Guide

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Product Review: Dryer Balls

Nellie's Dryer Balls

Nellie’s All Natural dryer balls are a great way to not just save the environment but some money as well. I still buy some natural dryer sheets but I don’t use them in every load now. And dryer balls work GREAT for pillows and bulky items. They help get rid of wrinkles and do really make clothes softer.

I feel like the dryer balls from Nellie’s All Natural are much nicer than the cheap ones I got. They are bigger for one which seems to work better.

Also dryer balls reduce drying time by making sure clothes get moved around better. I have found this with my sheets for sure! Once again good for money and the environment!

Dryer balls also come in handy when you dryer stops spinning because the belt broke because you hear your dryer balls aren’t making noise, haha. I hope that is never something they help you with but it was nice for me when it happened.

So go check out Nellie’s All Natural, they have other cool products as well. And the next post will have a set of dryer balls for you to win!

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Product Review: ReJavanate Shopping Bag

 

I was excited to be offered this product to try because I happen to love shopping bags. First off because they cut out the need for plastic bags, which I hate. but also because they are just fun to me.

bag
This bag is not the prettiest but it’s special! It’s upcycled from a burlap coffee bag. I have used it a few times and it seems really strong. I also loved the packing it came in, it’s also upcycled! A company wins me over with the packing.

What makes these even better is you can get them custom printed (with min. order)! I would love to do that someday for my business. These bags help stop more than just plastic bag waste, which makes them even better than most shopping bags. So be sure to check out these bags at ReJavanate.

You can win the “Large Bag with the ReJavanate logo.”

*Giveaway is now closed*
The Rules-
Go to ReJavanate and tell me one fact that makes you really like these bags.

Make sure you leave your e-mail so I can contact you, don’t leave one can’t win.

Only US shipping addresses.

This will end on July 31st, 2008 at 11:59 p.m.

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Green Interviews: Katherine from Ladybug

Former Skirt

Tell us about yourself.
I started sewing with my grandmother, Ladybug, and my shop is named after her. She died when I was fifteen, but I sometimes feel when a project turns out particularly well that she has been guiding my hand. At home, I have all kinds of projects going from reupholstering or refinishing furniture to sewing comforters or curtains for our little San Francisco condo. But, at Etsy, I have my main shop, LadybugSF, which sells handbags of recycled materials and I have a second shop for recycled material pillows and household goods, called KaliaHome, that I just opened. And, to pay the mortgage, I teach English at a local college.
When did you start to live more “green”?
I grew up in the Bay Area, and my family taught me to recycle and compost, so I have always
done those things. But, I really began to pay attention to re-use when, at a second hand shop, I found a silk evening gown made of the most amazing fabric. Even though it was three sizes too small, I bought it, and made it into two of my first bags. They have both sold, but you can see one here:
http://www.etsy.com/view_transaction.php?transaction_id=9084483What made you want to make the change?
Although it’s a given that most people in the Bay Area recycle and compost, we are also huge consumers. We’re a wealthy community on the whole, and people just buy and buy. I wanted to be creative, and even to sell my creations, but I didn’t want to add to that wasteful consumerism.

Antique Lace found at Katherine’s Aunt’s house.
Why do you feel it’s important to use recycled products in your purses?
For me, using recycled materials is first a way to keep consumerism down. But, it also means each of my bags is unique. That is just as important. No bag is exactly like any other, because each piece of material had a former life. And, I believe we buy to find out who we are–and I wanted to buy and sell fashion with a conscience.
How do you find the recycled products?
I have lots of great sources for recycled fabrics and other materials. First, I love thrift stores, because you can take any beautiful fabric and make it into something new. My favorite right now is Crossroads Trading Company  I also purchase upholstery samples when fabric stores are getting rid of them. It’s a great way to find heavy-duty fabric that is high quality, but has been used. And, I even go to my closet sometimes! If I love a shirt, but it has a hole, into the “create something new” pile it goes.
Have you run in to problems using recycled products over non-recycled in your purses?
Well… Amy Butler makes it REALLY hard for me to use all recycled materials sometimes. As she says, “love what you love, and don’t apologize for it.” So–I do sometimes give in to the fabulous new fabrics and make bags with new exterior fabric, but I always use at least fifty percent recycled fabric–usually on the lining. And, the hardware parts–zippers, base cardboards, snaps, are all used or re-purposed as well.Do you live eco-friendly in most aspects of your life?
I try to live an eco-lifestyle. My husband and I bought our condo two years ago, and we made sure that all of our upgrades have been with used or eco-friendly materials. Some of my favorite products are Yolo Colorhouse Eco-paint and cork flooring . Our house is all Yolo painted, and our new floors are cork. And, for everything else from mirrors to windows, I go to salvage yards. In the Bay Area, the best is Urban Ore *out of business*.

Former upholstery fabric

What is your favorite “green” tip?
Go veggie! Becoming a vegetarian can help curb Co2 levels much more than driving a hybrid or even planting trees. My husband and I are both vegetarians, and although going veggie is not for everyone, even making two meat-free meals a week can decrease your carbon footprint.

What made you decide to start selling purses on Etsy.com?
When friends saw the bags I made for myself, they all said I should sell them, but I didn’t know how. Then I heard about Etsy, and thought… hey, that might work. And, you know, the purses were taking over the house… they had to go!

For the readers of this blog that have thought about selling on Etsy.com what would you say to them?
Selling on Etsy is lots of fun, but it takes awhile to get going. Give yourself six months to a year before you evaluate “how you’re doing.” It can take that long to see how it’s all working together. And, you have control over how much action your shop sees. I sew as a hobby, and am content with three or four sales a month. But, you can work harder, publicize more, and sell bigger. It’s all in your approach.

Katherine’s Favorite Vegetarian Recipe

Spicy Rice Casserole
1 C cooked rice
3 Medium zucchini
1 7oz can chopped chilies or two fresh jalapenos
3 oz grated cheddar
3 oz grated jack
2 tomatoes sliced thin,
2 C sour cream
1 tsp salt
1/4 C chopped green peppers
1/4 C chopped green onions
parsley, oregano, salt and pepper to taste
Place cooked rice in the bottom of a large casserole dish with a cover. Top with chilies and half the cheese.
Steam the zucchini until crisp (three to four minutes) then arrange over cheese, add tomatoes, and salt. Then combine pepper, onion, spices and sour cream. Layer over tomatoes and top with cheese. Bake at 350 for 45 minutes. Sprinkle with more parsley to finish. Can serve hot–or cold!

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You can see more of Katherine’s beautiful work on her site, LadybugSF.

Her bags are wonderful! I own a custom one she made for me. It’s beautiful and very well made and it was awesome working with her to get my bag made. I love it so much.

She has also very kindly offered to any reader that puts “Retro Housewife Goes Green ” in the notes to seller box a free gift with your purchase. So this is a great time to buy! *expired*

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Eco-Friendly Trash Bags *giveaway closed*

*I was given free products in exchange for a post. I was not paid for this post and all thoughts are my own. The giveaway prize comes from the store.*

LetsGoGreen.biz let me try out Ecosafe trash bags. They sent me the 13-gallon and 33-gallon bags to try out. I have used two so far and so far so good. They seem a little less strong than what I was using but I was using Hefty Ultra Flex so not being that strong isn’t an issue. They haven’t ripped even when very full!

They feel and look just like normal trash bags. Also you can buy in bulk which is a big plus for me! And I just saw they have some with draw strings. Another thing that is a big deal to me is they are made in the USA. I don’t want my money going to China if I can help it. Also I love ordering from totally eco-friendly stores. LetsGoGreen.biz has other wonderful products as well. There is only so much you can say about a trash bag but I would for sure give this product a 5 star rating.

*This giveaway is closed*

Not only did I get to try these awesome bags out, one of you has the chance as well! You could win a 200ct Ecosafe tall kitchen trashbags valued at $30!


Rules-
You must have a US address.
Leave your e-mail or you can’t win. (if it’s on your profile that’s fine just make sure I can view your profile)

Also please got to www.letsgogreen.biz and tell me which product is your favorite. If you want to order look on the side bar (to the left) and there is a coupon code. This giveaway will end at 11:59 p.m. July 29th, 2008.

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My Favorite Places To Shop

I do a lot of online shopping since I live in a small town with few eco-products. I try and build up a big shopping list first to save on the number of times I order. Here are my favorite stores to order from-

GreenFeet *Out of business*
I love this store! I have ordered a lot of products from them. I have a box on the way right now. They sell many brands and have good prices.

Planet Natural
My husband found this site. Shipping isn’t cheap but like I said we try and wait until we have a lot of stuff we need before ordering. We get our lawn and garden stuff from them. I also get Biokleen products from them. I will most likely order lots of gardening items when we have a house.

Amazon
Great for cheap bulk organic. Not the greenest place in the world but not too bad. They also have eco paper products and more.

Everyday Minerals
This is where I get all my makeup. I love it! It’s the best makeup, eco or not. They also are very eco-friendly, the ingredients are better than even most “natural” makeup, and some ingredients are even organic.

Aubrey Organics
Where the perfume I gave away came from. I have a perfume and some awesome lotion from them. I plan to buy more.

Do you have favorite eco online stores, post them up for us!

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