Eco-Friday REVIEW: Aetrex sandals offer style and comfort for moms-to-be

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It’s been awhile since we’ve had an Eco-Friday post sharing our latest finds, news and information about living an eco-friendly, holistic and natural lifestyle.


Today, I would like to share my experience testing out one of Aetrex‘s family of comfy, orthopedic friendly yet stylish athletic shoes,  sandals, thongs, slippers and other feet support products for men, women, children and families.

Moms-to-be get swollen feet,  and often times, they go up a shoe size. Another side-effect of pregnancy for many women is achy joints and muscles having to balance their new re-distribution of weight so they are grounded and balanced.

Having comfortable shoes are a MUST! This brand’s shoes indeed could help out in that department.

The pair I checked out, The Emily Rose Flip Flop (complimentary) retails for $99.95 and felt like butter on my feet.

I got them in the mail after a couple of marathon days at the gym, running on the treadmill. My heels needed a break! So these puppies were perfect. They are light and offer plenty of give. I literally felt like I was walking on air wearing them.

Since 1946, the company has specialized in comfort and wellness footwear. The makers seemingly have perfected the art and skill of manufacturing a quality comfort shoe.

The Emily thong sandal is a classic warm weather shoe and it is fully adjustable for the ultimate fit.

Highly recommend and the brand sells a variety of styles as well for different tastes and style palates. Check them out and find a store near you that sells them HERE!

Review: Sophie La Girafe makes baby skincare now!

sophie the girafe

For 53 years, the French originated Sophie La Girafe has been a tried and trusted teether that generations of mom have given their babies with much success.  This Spring, the brand is branching into the organic skincare for baby business.

The line of products, formulated for baby’s with sensitive skin, include face creams, body lotions, baby oil, bubble bath and hair and body wash, and a starter kit in travel size.  Sophie La Girafe skincare is not just organic but also free of GMO (genetically -modified organisms), allergens, gluten or nut. It’s 100% vegan product and ranges in price from $18 to $22, depending on the product.


We were sent the $24 starter kit to review and here is what our reviewer, mom of 10-month old cutie pie named Teddy had to say:

Product Review: Sophie La Girafe Baby – Starter Kit

We love our Sophie La Girafe teether. We’ve had one since my three year old was a baby and a family friend in Canada sent it as a gift. “All my grandkids have one,” she said. “And Teddy is like another one of my grandkids.” So I was really happy to see that Sophie has branched out into baby products. Here is my review of the samples.

Face Cream – Unscented. It was nice and thick. Makes me wonder if there was SPF in it because it was definitely formulated for a baby’s dry skin.

Body Lotion – Unscented. Medium texture and consistency. Not as thick as the face cream. Went on smoothly and a little went a long way, surprising since it was not as thick as the face cream.

Baby Oil – Unscented. a bit runny and messy. Now that a number of manufacturers are making baby oil gel, I’m surprised that Sophie had such a messy product in its collection.

Hair and Body Wash – Slow to lather which meant I was able to get it on a squirmy 10 month old in the bath tub. Also, there wasn’t much foam and suds, which means no worries about it getting into his eyes. Really like this compared to other baby hair and body washes.

Our ratings:
Buy – Sophie’s Hair and Body Wash and Face Cream
Gift – Body Lotion
Passing up – Baby Oil

The product launched at that fab store for eclectic, unique and different finds, Anthropolgie.com.You can get it there!

Hosting a Baby Shower this Spring? Check out these tips, recipes, links and more!

fun baby shower

If you plan to host a baby shower this Spring or Summer, you are fortunate to have more options and flexibility than in the Fall or Winter.  Backyards, rooftops and patios become options for a venue. You can save money too by hosting it at a park or making your own favors with outdoorsy themes versus buying them like the super cute tutu nail polishes and the “Ready to Pop” favors above.

Shower hosts can serve cool and refreshing mocktails too like the “Summer Is Coming Mocktail” created by Zico brand ambassador and celebrity nutritionist, Tanya Zuckerbrot, of the renowned F-Factor Diet.

It’s made with Zico‘s newest flavor: watermelon raspberry coconut water. I mixed up a batch using a sampling of complimentary stock Zico provided me. I thoroughly enjoyed it and because there is no alcohol in it, I shared some with the kids and they loved it too. The lime and mint garnishes give it the perfect kick at the end. Yummy. Here is the recipe for the Summer Is Coming Mocktail recipe:

 

mocktails

 


Serves 8

Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups ZICO watermelon raspberry coconut water
1 small seedless watermelon, flesh removed and diced (about 4 cups total)
2 limes
2 cans zero-calorie lemon-lime soda
mint, for garnish

  1. In a blender, puree the coconut water, diced watermelon and juice from the limes.
  2. Pour the mixture into a pitcher over ice.
  3. Serve by pouring 2 oz. of the pureed mixture into a glass. Fill to the top with lemon-lime soda and mix lightly to combine.
  4. Garnish with mint.

And before you start planning for a Spring or Summer shower,  you must head over to Pinterest and there you will discover links to many websites and blogs choc full of fab ideas. Here is a select few to start you off:

 

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Pretty Providence

 

baby shower

Mommy Mania

baby shower2

Crafty Morning

Pistachio Macaroons

Crystal and Comp

NUK® is the Only true Orthodontic pacifier (GET $1 OFF to TRY)

Sponsored Post

 

For first time moms (and dads) of newborn babies, a pacifier can be a saving grace. It’s the perfect aide to soothe baby during those times in the day when fussy, cranky, tired or simply hungry and anxious for a feeding.
Well-known pacifier brand has updated its popular pacifiers for the first time in 55 years to incorporate a new advanced nipple that naturally fits in baby’s mouth for oral development.
The new design has integrated channels that apply less palate pressure. There is also a scoop nipple cavity to  maximize tongue movement. A heart-shaped shield  prevents irritation and the thin neck to this new pacifier lessens jaw pressure. And for the eco-conscious moms out there, it is also BPA free.
Best yet, it’s the only true orthodontic pacifier!

 

Recipe 1


Give NUK® a try! NUK® is offering a $1 off NUK® pacifier coupon.

All you have to do is take the Pacifier ABC Quiz HERE and receive the coupon!

Try it out! And come back here and let us know how they work out!

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Download Todd Parr’s ‘We’re Pregnant’ for FREE & A Charity Benefits

I love Todd Parr books! My eldest son loved them when he was a kid.

The award-winning popular author has expanded his subject area and has penned a super fun eBook called “We’re Pregnant”.

And the best part is that the book is FREE and with each download, the publisher, The First Years, will make a $1 donation to Project Night Night (up to $10,000). Project Night Night is a nonprofit organization that provides more than 25,000 free “night night” packages each year to homeless babies, toddler and children.


So you can get a cute fun book while making a difference to less fortunate children. Win Win!

Download your FREE book HERE!

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Sol Republic’s Shadow Wireless Earphones are great for a Multi-tasking mom (WIN IT $99)

As an active mompreneur who is constantly fighting the
battle of the bulge, I try to squeeze working out regularly into my very busy
and hectic schedule.  I usually mix it up
with Zumba or Barre classes, outdoor and treadmill running, spinning and doing
exercise Apps or DVDs when the gym is closed and it’s too late to go out for a
run.
For most of my activities, I don’t need much equipment to
get moving other than exercise clothes and a comfy pair of sneakers. The only
other must-have is a powerful headphones because the pulsating bass and beats
of music help the time working out go faster. And nothing can ruin a good work
out than being stuck with mediocre earbuds that deliver poor sound quality.
I usually stick with Sol Republic buds and was geeked when
offered a chance to check out that brands new Shadow wireless headphones.
I’ve seen others on people that appear heavy and bulky. No
thanks. But surprisingly these were very lightweight and fit comfortably on the
base of the back of my neck.
To test them out, I used them while running outdoors, on a
treadmill, while doing jumping jacks and while spinning. The collar stayed put during
those rigorous movements. I like the freedom of not having wires to get in the
way and tangled up while running and breaking my stride.
A few times when not balanced they did slip but I chalk that
up to user error.  All other times they barely
shifted. They could be worn all day around the office and used in lieu of those
wireless blue tooth ear pods that have one looking douche bag’ish.
It has a mic because it also operates as a phone.
I imagine these headphones could be used also by a new
mother who may not want to wander too far away from her baby to answer the
phone. With her smartphone within range, when paired with Shadow, her hands are
free and baby doesn’t get tangled in the wires of a traditional ear buds. Sweet!
I  tested out the
range while spinning at the gym. I was able to stream music from my iPhone
sitting which on a table across the room plugged in and charging.  That was a lifesaver because otherwise the
smartphone’s battery would have died and I’d be music less for the rest of the
work out session.
Each side has a section that houses either the battery and
volume and controls. Press on a tiny dot and when you see the flashing blue
light, you know it is on and ready to pair with any device that picks up Bluetooth
objects. When the batter is low, a guy tells you in your ear that the battery
is low to charge.
The manufacturers, based in San Francisco, California,  claim the buds are rain & sweat resistant and they fold neatly up and can be carried in a pocket or in your purse, wristlet or sports fanny pack.
Even after hearing that guy, I was able to use the headphones
for another hour for a total of about 6-8 hours before having to recharge it.
And as I’ve come to expect from this brand, the sound
quality was superb.
I think Sol Republic’s Shadow is worth the $99 investment
and you can pick one up  in Steel Black and Rich Grey at Best Buy which is the only retailer offering it now. Others will beginning in June. 
But you don’t have to wait that long if there is no Best Buy near you. Sol Republic is letting us give away one of these Shadow wireless earbuds to one lucky Bellyitch reader.
Simply enter below now thru midnight next week Wednesday, May 20. Open to US entrants only. 

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Eco-Friday REVIEW: BlueAir ‘Sense’ air purifier for baby’s nursery

 

I am a big believer in minimalist home design and having as little furniture in the house as possible, partially because it limits the amount of surfaces that can accumulate in-home allergens.  Also, I live in a designated “Tree City” which means my town is full of very old historic trees that are great to look and live around but make for a horrible Fall and Spring allergy season when tree pollen becomes a problem.
I have used in-home air purifiers to also limit the irritants that trigger allergies.  Everyone in my home suffers from  allergies, unfortunately.
Given my family’s history with allergies, I was elated to be sent a unit and get an opportunity to test out BlueAir‘s innovative and award-winning air purifier “Sense.”  (retail: $450). Sense filters the air and has an ion particle-charging process that is said to remove 99.97% of harmful airborne pollutants from the room faster.  I tested it out in different sized rooms in my home.
Controls
I could control the level of filtration with a wave of my hand over the black motion-sensor control top. That was neat! With other systems, you may forget when it is time to change the filter, but this unit has a red alert that you can’t miss when passing by. To change, I will need to flip it on its side and remove the filter and change it every 6 months.

 

Eco-Friendly
It’s also eco-friendly and is built with 100% recyclable materials and the makers say it uses less energy than a light bulb to run. With a family of five, our energy bill can get up there so knowing this unit won’t add too much to that cost was great!
Design
It comes in an assortment of soft colors (white, brown, pink, blue, gray) to match any room or baby’s nursery design.  The feet is soft so it won’t damage the hardwood floors in my home. I also loved the fact that the system looked attractive and would not stand out in the room but was attractive and blended in perfectly. I’ve read on the manufacturer’s website that the wraparound grill design also helps create 90% open area to maximize airflow. Aaaah! Perfect.
Maneuverability of the Unit
 It was easy to carry from room to room because of the handles on the side. It wasn’t too heavy to lift either. My 10 and 12 year old could lift it and help me move it from room to room.
Does it work?
 
To me, each room the unit was in felt cleaner and even smelled cleaner. The kids noticed it too. You could breathe easier in the room and it was less stuffy. You could definitely tell the difference and that’s why after testing it out in different rooms in the house, we decided to leave it permanently in the children’s room.
I know it is hard to tell if a baby is suffering from a little cold or allergies, but one thing parents can do to limit allergens is to use little linen and reduce the amount of stuffed animals just sitting around. If you must use them, regularly clean them and put the stuffed animals in the freezer to kill bacteria and dust mites. The other thing they can do is have an air purifier unit like BlueAir‘s The Sense in their baby’s nursery.
The Price
The unit costs $450 which is lower than this brand’s older and previolusly models but is in the middle range of other units of this quality  that also claim to purify, clean and circulate air in a 150 sq ft room 5 times per hour. The replacement filters run about $100 and I wish that price would come down a bit because that can be a bit hefty twice a year cost. It’s a good investment if you have allergy sufferers in your home. You cannot put a price on their comfort.
You can also check out a product video here:


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Review: Kwena’s crocodile oil is great cure all for a pregnant belly,babies and entire family

I believe in the power of a massage. For babies, a gentle massage after a shower is great for several reasons: 1. It feels good and can calm a baby; 2. It reinforces a bond through the touching aspect of a massage connects the parent with the baby and works on strengthening connections; and 3. It lifts and enhances mood through the aromatherapy aspect of the massage if it is done with a fragrant emolient infused with calming scents like lavender, jasmine, mint, lemon or chamomile.
There are various products out there but I recommend going with an all natural balm with minimum chemicals.
I was sent all the way from the Nile in South Africa a few vials of some wonderful crocodile oil in a salve made by Kwena.
Used by the ancient Egyptians, crocodile oil is extracted from the fatty tissues of crocodiles and has been used as a preventative and treatment for a number of human ailments.
The mixture of the oil with grapeseed oil, beeswax  and tea tree oil is the perfect blend and texture for moisturizing hands and other body parts. It was mildly fragrant but not too overwhelming and the absence of excess chemicals means it likely wouldn’t irritate baby’s skin.
The moisturizer was not sticky but silky to the touch and could easily be incorporated into a daily moisturizing routine by a pregnant woman who is fighting stretch marks or trying to prevent new ones form forming in her second pregnancy.
It is said this ancient oil can heal several other skin conditions including burns, cuts, sores, sunburn, lacerations and lesions, ulcers, blisters, irritated skin, diaper rash, insect bites, razor burns, sports injuries, sore muscles, arthritis, sprains, stiffness, joint pain, gout and can help with rapid healing of viral and fungal infections like ring worm and athletes foot, warts, dandruff, rosacea, psoriasis and eczema!
Phew!
The name Kwena  is Sotho-Tswana for crocodile in Southern  Africa. No testing is done on animals and the oil comes from crocodiles farmed for other purposes.
Kerns sells their salve for $32 a 30 ml vial and all orders over $55 are free an shipped internationally.
And it only takes a little bit to do the trick which is good given it’s a bit costly.  You can certainly nurse it. I did with my one 15 ml sample jar which is lasting me several weeks and I still have plenty left over. Good stuff. Highly recommend!
If you can afford to get your hands on this exotic and rare find, you should.

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Review: The ‘Kid Lid’ protects your laptop from baby and toddler users

In this digital era we live in, chances are most babies will find themselves in front of a laptop viewing an educational  DVD or cartoon while resting on her tummy on a play mat before the age of one. By the time an infant gets to toddlerhood, he would have become a pro at online games. It’s just the world we are living in now.

But babies and kids’ love for laptop videos can be costly if they bang on the keys or spill food or drink inside of it.

Enter the Kid Lid. This innovative product, which retails for $29.99, is essentially a cover for the keyboard portion of the laptop.


The latest iteration of the invention which launched and got funded on Kickstarter last year folds up easily for storage and portable carriage. It also comes in Black. That was the color of our complimentary review copy ($39.99).

Created by a company called Mogolo, The KidLid can be wiped cleaned or placed in the dishwasher even, and is made up of BPA-Free Poly Carbonate plastic. It covers laptops that are 13 or 15 inches in sizes and comes in white, but the black and watermelon colors are also available in the fold up variety. An elastic velcro strap helps keep the lid in place.

I love it and found it to be perfect and functional! Check out a video on the product:

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GRACO Modes Stroller Travel System Review & GIVEAWAY)

Baby and children’s product manufacturer Graco
sent Bellyitch to review one of its newest stroller systems, the Modes Click Connect 3 in 1 Stroller Travel System  (valued $482) which can
accommodate a newborn to a toddler. It’s versatile, grows with baby and literally can be the only stroller you’d
ever need.
First
off, we start off with a pretty good base product.  Over 12 years ago, I got my first Graco infant car seat and it was
wonderfully constructed, safe and durable and lasted me through several years. It truly is the industry standard
for those seats.  It appears Graco has improved upon older models and taken the best part of stroller systems to come up with this latest product. Here is my review:
·        It took me about 5 minutes to take out all the parts in the box
the stroller shipped in and within 15 minutes I had assembled all the parts
myself with no tools whatsoever.  It was super easy! Most of the parts snapped in easily and the instructions
were quite intuitive.·      From the hospital, a baby will spend most of its time inside the
infant seat. No need to disturb baby when you are going from car to the mall.
Simply snap the stroller into the buggy part of the stroller and go. If it will
be used as a buggy for a brisk walk out in the neighborhood, simply lay baby inside
the carriage part and you’re off. As baby grows out of the infant seat, the
back part easily adjusts and can be used as a toddler and pre-schooler
stroller. The back reclines for those moments when a small kid falls asleep. No
more toppling over or neck strains as with traditional umbrella strollers.·
The stroller easily collapsed with a pull of a lever in the back
and quickly snaps into place with one hand. It can be removed and added into
the trunk with one arm. This is important for when out alone with baby and not spare hands to help you out. The front wheels easily swivel for taking tight corners which is good for maneuvering around crowded and cramped areas.

·      The canopy was made of pretty durable material, not flimsy at all so it looks like it could withstand the test of time. I liked the fact
that my sample was a dark navy because it made it unisex and can be used or
gifted to a mom expecting a baby or either gender.

·
The height is perfect for me who is just 5 foot 3 and my husband
who is 6 foot 3 to push and not have his shins hit up on the base.

·
The boot is very spacious and ample. I was able to stuff into it an
entire diaper bag, a spare blanket, a jacket and had room to spare.


·
The wheels were sufficient though they could’ve been a bit more
rugged so to withstand the test of time or being pushed through dirt, gravel, sidewalks
with cracks in them and other gritty terrain, occasionally.

It’s
a perfect gift for a soon to be or brand new mom because it would be all they’d
need for baby for a very long time.
And this year, we’re giving away our review edition to a deserving mom-to-be or new mom.
Check the blog tomorrow morning for details on the giveaway!

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