product review

Okabashi LOVE

If you haven’t discovered Okabashi shoes yet, you NEED to. Go HERE now. They are made in the USA, anti-microbial, recyclable, and crazy durable. They make lots of styles but we are particularly in love with the flip-flops. Best. EVER.

This last weekend we went in search for a replacement pair for Don because he LOST his extra pair. (*GASP* They were completely new too! We kept hoping they would turn up but no such luck. 😦 ) His first pair below was bought in June 2011. They are in relatively good shape still but he did manage to rip one, just a little bit.

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We can buy them online but sometimes we just want instant gratification. So, we headed out to scour the town. I found my first pair in the summer of 2010 at a CVS drugstore so we headed out, hopeful. Honestly, I was skeptical we would find anything because I looked a couple of weeks ago and didn’t see any. But the summer stock clearly has come in and the CVS and Walgreens stores do have them again! (Why they are at drug stores, I couldn’t tell you. LOL)

We scored a replacement pair for Don (Surf style) and he talked me into buying two new pair for me – a black in my usual style (Maui) and a black with pink straps in a new style (Ocean). Yay!

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Apparently it is past time to retire my original pink pair from 2010. 😉 In my defense, I thought they were only 3 years old, not 4 and I didn’t realize how faded and dirty they are until I held them next to a new pink pair in the store.

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This is how they looked at 1 year

Pink flops

YIKES!

(I still have an older white pair I won in a giveaway that I’m not ready to give up yet. LOL)

But I’m shipping off my old pink ones and Don’s black torn pair for Okabashi’s recycling program. It will be the first time we’ve done so. Their site says that they will email a discount for new shoes in exchange for the recycling return. Bonus. More shoes later. 🙂

There is no such thing as “away”. When we throw anything away, it must go somewhere. 
~ Annie Leonard

**Please note, I have not been compensated in any way for this post; I simply like to share my product experiences with others in the hopes of exposing people to new ideas and products.

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Organic Hair Oil Review and Giveaway

**UPDATE** This giveaway has ended. The winner has been notified. 

I jumped at the chance to try another Tropical Traditions product recently. I selected their unscented organic hair oil. (I don’t really like fragrances in my skin and body care products but they do carry the oil in lavender and rosemary scent as well.) The bottle is the same size as TT’s Moisturizing Lotion (which I still LOVE btw!) Hands down, best lotion I’ve ever had.

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The suggested uses for the hair oil include: (from TT’s website)

For dry scalp: Rub into hair and scalp at least 30 minutes before showering, or before bed at night. Wear a shower cap or towel to protect bedding.

As a conditioner: As a deep conditioner, work through scalp and hair before washing. Leave in for 15 minutes to overnight. For a leave-in conditioner, work a small amount through wet hair before styling and drying.

Shine Serum: Rub a small amount in the palms of your hands and gently run over dry hair. Scrunch for curly hair or rake for straight hair.

I’ve primarily experimented with option #2. I’ve rubbed some through my hair 15-30 minutes before showering and washing it out. Once, I left it in overnight as a leave-in conditioner and washed it out in the morning. I also have used a small amount on wet hair after showering/washing, and then letting my hair air dry, which gives it a slightly windblown, natural look.

I can’t say that I’ve noticed any drastic changes but I am pleased with the results. I feel like my hair feels softer and looks healthier. I don’t use it every day and I would not recommend it as it might make your hair too oily, especially if you have naturally oily hair. I tend to wash my hair every 2-4 days depending on my activity and so in turn, I only use the oil periodically, not even every time I wash my hair. I’ve had the bottle pictured above for about two months and I’ve probably used it less than a dozen times. A little goes a long way; I don’t think I’ll need to replace my supply for quite some time.

And now it is time to pay it forward to one lucky reader! See below for giveaway rules and entry details. But first, if you are new to Tropical Traditions, I highly recommend you stop over to their website to learn more. Tropical Traditions is America’s source for coconut oil. Their Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil is hand crafted in small batches by family producers, and it is the highest quality coconut oil they offer. You can read more about how virgin coconut oil is different from other coconut oils here:  What is Virgin Coconut Oil?

Tropical Traditions also carries other varieties of affordable high quality coconut oil. (We cook with it almost every day!) Visit their website to check on current sales, to learn about the many uses of coconut oil, and to read about all the advantages of buying coconut oil online. You can also check out TT’s FAQ page here.

Since the FDA does not want us to discuss the health benefits of coconut oil on a page where it is being sold or given away, you can read about the health benefits of coconut oil here.

Giveaway Rules: 

You must 18+ to enter and the contest is open to US and Canadian residents. (Sorry international readers!)

To enter, simply subscribe to the Tropical Traditions newsletter here (which will keep you in the know on sales and promotions so you can buy products when they are discounted) AND leave a comment below telling me which fragrance you would prefer to sample – unscented, lavender, or rosemary. (If you are already a subscriber, just say so in your comment.)

This giveaway will close at midnight on October 31st. I will use random.org to choose the winner and will notify the winner via email. If the winner does not respond within 48 hours, I will choose a new winner.

Cheers!

What you do today can improve all your tomorrows.
~ Ralph Marston

Important Disclaimer: Tropical Traditions provided me with a free sample of this product to review, and I was under no obligation to review it if I so chose. Nor was I under any obligation to write a positive review or sponsor a product giveaway in return for the free product.

Full Disclosure: If you order by clicking on any of my links and have never ordered from Tropical Traditions in the past, you will receive a free book on Virgin Coconut Oil, and I will receive a discount coupon for referring you.

Tropical Traditions Lotion Review and GIVEAWAY!

**UPDATE** This giveaway has ended. The winner has been notified. 

Due to the success of my previous posts on Tropical Traditions coconut oil, TT offered to let me try another product. What a pleasant surprise! Since I’ve already tried and use their coconut flour, coconut oil, and coconut concentrate (all wonderful products BTW), I asked to try their moisturizing lotion.  I switched to a safety razor and adopted the old school shaving style a few months ago, which provides for a much closer shave than disposables, and my legs have been in need of a natural lotion solution. Until now, I had simply been using coconut oil on them, which works great, but having a dedicated lotion lets me save that coconut oil for many other uses.

I selected their Baby Silk scent, for a couple of reasons. One, it’s listed as their most popular scent. I figure it’s best to go with what’s popular. And two, their list of essential oils in Baby Silk were the most appealing to me.

Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil - gallon.

Ingredients: purified water, organic virgin coconut oil, organic jojoba, emulsifying wax (plant based, no soy), grapefruit seed extract, organic virgin palm oil, and organic essential oils of lavender, ylang ylang, geranium, roman chamomile, and rose.

My impressions:

The bottle is larger than I expected! I didn’t have a good frame of reference for recognizing how much 8 ounces would be. Honestly, it sounded kind of small to me. But in-hand, it feels perfectly reasonable, a good size in fact. In case anyone else suffers from the same inability to imagine size from an abstract number…here’s a look at how it compares to a couple of other things in my bathroom.

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Does that help? I don’t know. Still seems small in the photo.

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How’s this? Any better? Well, hopefully you get the idea. 🙂

The fragrance is just right IMO. If you like your lotion to be a pseudo-perfume, it might be too subtle for you. I don’t like my products to be overpoweringly fragrant. The Baby Silk combination is perfect for me.

The feel of the lotion is excellent. It is exactly the kind of product I was looking for. Natural. No alcohols, no artificial fragrances, and no petroleum products. It goes on smooth and dries fairly quickly. The bottle cautions that due to the lack of alcohol you may need to allow additional time for the lotion to be absorbed. I haven’t noticed a difference in that respect.

If you are new to Tropical Traditions, here’s a bit of background about them and the coconut oil that is used in their products.

Tropical Traditions is America’s source for coconut oil. Their Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil is hand crafted in small batches by family producers, and it is the highest quality coconut oil they offer. You can read more about how virgin coconut oil is different from other coconut oils on their website:  What is Virgin Coconut Oil?

Tropical Traditions also carries other varieties of affordable high quality coconut oil. Visit their website to check on current sales, to learn about the many uses of coconut oil, and to read about all the advantages of buying coconut oil online. Since the FDA does not want us to discuss the health benefits of coconut oil on a page where it is being sold or given away, here is the best website to read about the health benefits of coconut oil.

Giveaway Rules: 

You must 18+ to enter and the contest is open to US and Canadian residents. (Sorry international readers!)

To enter, simply subscribe to the Tropical Traditions newsletter here (which will keep you in the know on sales and promotions so you can buy products when they are discounted) AND leave a comment below telling me which variety/fragrance you would prefer.

This giveaway will close at midnight on Saturday, August 10th. I will use random.org to choose the winner and will notify the winner via email. If the winner does not respond within 48 hours, I will choose a new winner.

Good luck! 🙂

Important Disclaimer: Tropical Traditions provided me with a free sample of this product to review, and I was under no obligation to review it if I so chose. Nor was I under any obligation to write a positive review or sponsor a product giveaway in return for the free product.

Full Disclosure: If you order by clicking on any of my links and have never ordered from Tropical Traditions in the past, you will receive a free book on Virgin Coconut Oil, and I will receive a discount coupon for referring you.

Once you make a decision, the universe conspires to make it happen.
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson 

And then there was 1…

We took a fancy to this inventive glassware by Bodum about three years ago.

We found them at an outlet center. They come in sets of two, and so do we, so we bought one set. They are wondrous little things. They are double-walled so they don’t sweat and the liquid looks like it is floating. They are simple but elegant. And they are the perfect size for a small glass of wine or a mixed drink.

At the time we lived in a house with ceramic tile floors. Yep, you guessed it. About a year later, we learned first hand that ceramic and glass don’t go so well together.

We headed back to outlet center and bought another set. Now we had three.

I’m sure you can guess where this is going.

About three or four months ago, I was unloading the dishwasher and one of them slipped out of my hand. It barely fell a few inches, back into the dishwasher. But that was enough. They are delicate. At least we still had two, I said. Two was good. Two was all we really needed.

Flash forward to this weekend.

We had finished dinner and were watching a little tv. Our kitchen is open to the living room. Don had finished his drink and left the empty glass sitting, alone and exposed, on the kitchen island. (See illustration.)

I noticed it and thought about moving it or saying something but didn’t. I guess I thought I was over-thinking things or that Don would think I was being a pest. What harm can come to it? Our island is huge – 45″ by 57″. (Makes for great quilt working space.) There’s really little chance it could get knocked off or anything. But, the island is a little bouncy – it’s not solidly attached to the cabinets underneath. So it moves a little when you put pressure on it. It’s annoying but never really been a problem before.

For those that don’t know, we have two cats. One is fat. One is thin. We’ve worried off and on, since fatty (Olli) joined our home three years ago, that he eats all the food before the thin one (Milo) gets any. As a solution, we keep a small bowl for Milo above the upper cupboards in the kitchen. So Milo must jump up on the island, jump to the top of the fridge, and on up to the top of the cupboards, to get to his food.

(I know, people are cringing at the thought that we allow our cats to walk around on the island. It’s a battle I choose not to fight. I use bleach to clean it frequently and console myself that at least they don’t get on the other counters.)

So, there we were, quietly enjoying our evening. Milo was up top enjoying some dinner, and Olli was lounging on the island. (Yes, I know. Sorry folks. It happens.) And then, cosmic forces aligned in our disfavor – out of the corner of my eye I saw it all. Milo jumped down. The island bounced. The glass jumped into the air. Both cats were startled and jumped as well, while the glass was still hovering. Then the glass and the cats all came down in the same instant. The glass shattered and both cats whizzed from the island like torpedoes. Glass everywhere. It was a glorious dance of destruction, an epic failure, that took mere seconds, and left us both stunned by the bizarre feat of physics.

And then there was 1.

All I could think was, “why the hell didn’t I move the damn glass?”

Since it seems that glass isn’t our style, we are happy to have also found Tervis Tumblers. They also employ the double-walled technique to insulate your drink and prevent condensation. They are plastic and have a lifetime guarantee. We only have two. I think we’ll be buying more.

People are always telling me that change is good. But all that means is that something you didn’t want to happen has happened.
~ Meg Ryan

Flip Flop Fun

So, last night Don tells me his flip flops are about done and he needs a new pair. I’m thinking, are you kidding me? Every time I turn around this guy needs something replaced, or wants something new. I don’t have enough shirts, I want more shorts like this one particular pair that we bought at Ross randomly one day and we can’t possibly seem to find anywhere else, we need this new gun to add to our arsenal because it’s got these qualities that our many other firearms don’t offer, I want more free weights for strength training, I need this new scope for such and such rifle because I don’t have this magnification level (ok, I made that last one up but you get the idea)…I need new flip flops.

Did I mention he’s got two or three other pairs that are still good? But see, the ones that need replacing are plastic, not fabric or leather, great for getting wet, taking kayaking or to the beach. His other flip flops are “dressier” and not meant for the everyday beating this pair gets. Ok. I can relate to that.

So we hop in the car in search for flip flops that are hardy, but not cheap, plastic but durable. Good luck.

And then it hits me. He needs to get a pair like mine! I found them by accident one day last summer at a CVS Pharmacy. They are made by Okabashi. And they kick ass.

They are 100% recyclable, made in the USA, contain 25% recycled material, are anti-microbial, dishwasher safe, and guaranteed for two years.

They had me at “recyclable”. Wash them in the dishwasher? Heck yeah! Done it. Works like a charm. Anti-microbial? You betcha. I’ve had many a stinky flip flop made of cloth or leather and I’m in heaven with my odorless Okabashi. Made in the USA! Halleluiah! Made with recycled materials? Are you kidding me? It just gets better and better.

AND, they are ridiculously reasonably priced – $9.99 – $17.99 depending on style or sale.

These are my awesome Maui Okabashi. On top of everything else, the plastic is incredibly soft but firm, and unbelievably comfortable on my footsies.

Let’s take another look at Don’s dilapidated flip flops. We bought the two vastly different pairs at about the same time last summer. My Okabashi look like they did the day I bought them; Don’s are separating.

See how the band is tearing away from the sole of the shoe? It’s barely hanging on at this point.

Notice that on mine, it’s all one solid piece?

I really don’t think there’s any chance of that tearing away or breaking without straight up cutting it with scissors. (Not that I care to test that theory.)

Think about this too. When we find Don’s replacements, his old pair will sadly go in the trash bin to join the hundreds of thousands of other shoes in our landfills. Ugh. When my Okabashi finally wear out or I tire of wearing them (I can’t imagine it but I guess it’s possible), I can mail them back to the Okabashi factory in Buford, GA for recycling – and receive a discount for my next purchase! (They can also be recycled at local recycling centers but you have to check with your local area to be sure they accept them and I’m fairly certain that since Lake Charles is still in the dark ages of recycling that I’d be better off just sending them to the factory.)

Last night’s search for flip flops was unfortunately unsuccessful. We stopped by the closest CVS and I was pleased to see they still carried Okabashi, but they did not have flip flops for men, only slides. We tried Ross too since, despite the randomness of the store, it is one of our favorite places to shop. It was disappointing, but not surprising, that all the flip flops styles had cloth components. Boo.

I stopped by another CVS this afternoon and still no luck. They only seem to carry the slide style for men currently.

But…I scored this great new style, called Aspire, for ME!

I like the little heel. It’s fun.

And we just ordered the Surf style for Don on their website. Yay!

Now I’ve got to run because we are headed out the door to see Kung Fu Panda 2. 🙂

*I’ve not been asked to promote this product. As with the ThermaCELL, it’s simply something we’ve encountered on our journey that I’m excited about and wanted to share with others.

“You must be the change you wish to see in the world.”
~ Mahatma Gandhi

**Update 1/14/2012 – check out this great video on Okabashi!