Goddess Provisions Spirit-Enhancing Subscription Unboxing & Review: March 2016

Crunchy Parent-Goddess Provisions March 2016

About Goddess Provisions

Goddess Provisions is a subscription service, created by the owners of Vegan Cuts. Goddess Provisions is a monthly lifestyle box for women. They send products to nourish your inner goddess and grow your spiritual practice. Boxes feature a mix of 4-6 full size items, spanning across the categorizes of aromatherapy, apothecary beauty products, superfood snacks, teas, crystals, books and more. All items are 100% vegan and cruelty-free.

Boxes cost $33 per month, which includes shipping. There are discounts for multi-month subscriptions. I purchased this box and was not compensated in any way for this review, although review may contain affiliate links. All opinions are my own. For my other Goddess Provisions unboxing and reviews, starting with their very first box, look here.

Goddess Provisions: March Unboxed

If you would like to see the live-action unboxing of the March Goddess Provisions box, please enjoy the video unboxing below. If you prefer to skip right to the product close-ups and details, scroll down past the video.

The box came well-packaged, and everything was received intact. As always, I loved the bright and informative enclosure card. Goddess Provisions does an exceptional job of highlighting their featured brands and products, as well as weaving the theme into the box. This month’s theme was “Self Awakening” and focused on the crown chakra. Goddess Provisions included products to help awaken the goddess within each of us.

Crunchy Parent Goddess Provisions March 2016 unboxing review-house of good juju & nicobella organics

The box was jam packed with items to support this month’s theme. The first item that I snapped out of the box was a House Blessing/Cleansing Herb Kit http://www.houseofgoodjuju.com/shop/house-blessingcleansing-herb-kit from House of Good Juju (2 oz., $7.00). I found this tin of botanicals, resins, stones, and wood to be intriguing. At first I thought that perhaps it was to be burned like incense or smudging herbs. Looking more closely at the House of Good Juju description, the tin is to be used as part of a multi-step ritual to cleanse or bless a home or space. During the ritual, the contents of the skin are scattered and tossed around the space. This is a way of blessing a space that is new to me. It was an interesting discovery in the box.

I couldn’t help but grab the next item with excitement (as evidenced by my tearing it open before even remembering to take the photo of the complete box-oops!). The Nicobella Organics Omega Munch looked like a bag full of brownie chunks (2 oz., $5.95). In truth, the bag held delicious crunchy chunks of organic chocolate, walnuts, and flax seeds. The week that the Goddess Provisions box arrived, I had been logging a lot of hours at the hospital with an ill family member and the Omega Munch was the perfect snack to toss in my bag to have with me. It was rich, chocolaty, satisfying, and completely delicious. The Omega Munch is organic, gluten free, and as the name suggests, it is packed with Omega-3s.

Crunchy Parent-Goddess Provisions March 2016 review chakra love, purple frog patches, your joyologist journal

The next item that I found in the box was a continuation of a new trend for Goddess Provisions. For the first several boxes, Goddess Provisions had included a small crystal in each box. These last two months, there seems to have been an evolution to incorporate crystals in the box in new ways. This month Goddess Provisions sent a beautiful necklace from Chakra Love.

Chakra Love necklace closeup

Chakra Love necklace closeup

I received a blue lapis stone necklace, representing the heart chakra (value $25.00). I could not find the exact necklace online, so it may have been exclusive to the box. Other necklaces from the Chakra Love line can be found here.

I loved the next discovery in the box, in large part because it was completely unlike anything that I have seen before. The Air Awakening air fresheners from Purple Frog Patches offer an easy alternative to chemicals (12 patches, $15.00). One of the founders of Purple Frog Patches was diagnosed with a rare cancer at age seventeen. The experience enhanced his appreciation for the role that environmental toxins play in our over health and well-being; motivating him to find an alternative to chemical air fresheners. As a rare cancer survivor myself, the desire to decrease the toxic burden on one’s body resonated strongly with me. I do not use any artificially fragranced air fresheners or candles in my home, yet I had never seen anything like the Purple Frog Patches before. These personal air fresheners come on a pad of 12 self-adhesive discs. To use, a circle is removed from the pad and bent to pop the aromatherapy capsule and release the essential oils into the air. The pads can then be stuck anywhere that needs some freshening. The Air Awakening patches blend peppermint and eucalyptus to give a bright, fresh scent to any area that needs a pick-me-up.

The final item in the box was a mini gratitude journal from Your Joyologist (value $10.00). The bright red color is a mood-boost on its own, but the “Gratitude is My Attitude” emblazoned on the front is a great reminder to reflect on life’s blessings. The lightweight journal is perfect for tucking into a pocket or purse. The simple, lined pages are ready for any thoughts that you my wish to explore or reflections that you want to hold onto.

Goddess Provisions: Overall Impression

Goddess Provisions March 2016 whole box

I am always excited to discover new products through subscription boxes, and this month’s Goddess Provisions box was packed with items that were new to me. The Nicobella Organics Omega Munch was undoubtedly the most delicious, but the house blessing kit and aromatherapy air freshening pads may be tied for the most novel products for March. The items in this month’s box have a total value of $62.95. I think that the value is great for the $33.00 purchase price. The curation stayed true to the self-awakening theme, with items to lift one’s spirit and environment.

What do you think of Goddess Provisions? Do you like the changes to the crystals in the box? If you want to get your hands on your very own Goddess Provisions box, sign up at Goddess Provisions. I’m also looking for some new boxes to review in the months ahead. If you have a request for a specific box or a type of box (e.g., kids, food, beauty) that you would like to see me review, please let me know.

As a reminder, there is still time to enter the Crunchy Parent MommyCon ticket giveaway. MommyCon is another great way to discover natural, crunchy products as well as to learn about natural parenting topics and to meet like-minded people.

If you would like to see the most recent Crunchy Parent List of Crunchy-Friendly Subscription Boxes for other great crunchy-friendly subscription or gift ideas, you can find that here. To see other crunchy subscription box video unboxings, look here on the Crunchy Parent You Tube channel. If you have any suggestions or requests for future videos or reviews, please let me know in the comments, and be sure to subscribe to CrunchyParent.com and the Crunchy Parent YouTube channel!

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MommyCon Chicago 2016 Review

mommycon chicago 2016

It’s such a great experience when you find yourself among like-minded people, discussing topics from a shared perspective. It was a big moment for me in my earlier parenting years when I attended the La Leche League 50th anniversary conference, and for the first time found myself surrounded on a large scale by experts, vendors, and parents who shared and supported many of my parenting values.

I was so excited to attend the MommyCon Conference in Chicago earlier this month to see if I could capture some of that same magic, and to consider if such events were still relevant to me as a parent of older children. I am happy to say that I thoroughly enjoyed the experience.

MommyCon gives a lot of focus and attention to topics of interest to parents of young children, such as breastfeeding, babywearing, and cloth diapering. It was evident that they also emphasize issues pertaining to older children, in addition to the well-being of parents themselves.

Before I dig in to all of the nitty gritty, here is a breakdown of the MommyCon basics

MommyCon is a conference and expo aimed at “forward thinking parents with a natural flair.” The conferences are held on multiple dates throughout the year at different venues around the country. Tickets for upcoming MommyCon events can still be purchased, and the code CRUNCHY16 will knock $5.00 off of the ticket price. ***BONUS Spoiler*** Tomorrow I will be posting Part 2 of the MommyCon Review, which will include a giveaway for 2 free tickets to an upcoming MommyCon 2016 event of the winner’s choosing.

Chicago was the second stop of the 2016 schedule. Parents from near and far converged upon the convention center, many wearing their babies with them at the one-day event. Tremendous effort was put forth to make sure that babies and young children were comfortable throughout the day.

Caring for the Big and Little MommyCon Conference-Goers

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MommyCon had play areas set up in the back of many of the large lecture spaces so that children could remain entertained while the adults listened to speakers.

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There were also craft stations in the hallways for older children to flex their artistic muscles when they were in need of a creative outlet. New this year, MommyCon offered a drop-off care option at the Chicago location for children ages three and up, although this is not available at all of the conference locations this year.

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In addition to keeping children active, MommyCon catered to their other needs as well. The conference provided fully-stocked changing stations where babies could be diapered in complementary (healthier) sposies. Wipes were also provided free for all the mini conference attendees.

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Stonyfield sponsored an eating area where babies and children (and parents) could enjoy a snack of yogurt. MommyCon also had water stations in the hallways where reusable water bottles could be refilled, and where cups and cold water were available as needed.

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Mystery bags hanging out in the hallway

MommyCon provided snack bags on several tables in various hallways, free to anyone who had the munchies. These bags were not labeled in any way though and they went quickly, so you needed to be made aware of their presence and act fast if you wanted one.

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Revealed! Snacks for those in the know.

Nurslings could of course snack wherever and whenever they wanted. For those benefiting from a quieter, less stimulating environment, MommyCon had a “ladies & babies only” nursing lounge for some private snuggle time, as well as a Quiet Room for a good long nap.

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MommyCon Talks & Topics

MommyCon had packed the day’s schedule with presentations covering topics of interest to parents with children of all ages. They had four larger conference rooms in addition to three smaller, topic-specific rooms exclusively targeting sleeping, feeding, and woman-centered issues. At any given moment, conference attendees could select from among 3-6 different presentations on topics ranging from cloth diapering 101, breastfeeding for the working mom, infant massage, car seat safety, toddler wearing, picky eaters, body positive images, baby led weaning, and more. It was sometimes difficult to choose between subject areas, but I tended to stick with parent, older-child, and family-oriented discussions since they were most relevant to me.

Vagina Village at MommyCon 2016

Vagina Village draws a crowd

The talks held in the larger conference rooms had plenty of seating available, as well as the aforementioned child play areas in the back. New to 2016, MommyCon introduced “Vagina Village,” a smaller room hosting presentations specific to women, such as intimacy post-children, talking to young girls about their periods, and supporting care of mothers postpartum and beyond. Many of the talks here were standing room only as listeners sat on the floor and spilled out into the adjacent hallway. With such an enthusiastic response, I hope that MommyCon will give some of these topics more premium space at other venues, and in future years. It was clear to me that in addition to learning about their babies and children, MommyCon visitors really want to learn about mommy too.

As a parent of older children (ages almost six through thirteen,) a standout session was “The Period Talk Unraveled” by Meg Eldridge from generationMe. Meg gave parents thoughtful tools for helping their daughters feel comfortable, prepared, and knowledgeable enough about their periods to respond to their cycles from an empowered position; without fear or embarrassment. She encouraged ways to normalize and acknowledge this milestone, and to create a positive culture around this aspect of womanhood that is often complained and joked about in our society, rather than honored or respected. Meg spoke about the many reusable menstrual products available today.

Meg from GenerationMe MommyCon 2016

Meg of generationMe shows some of the reusable products in the exhibitor area. Photo Credit: Katie Hovland www.katiehovland.com

I was rather intrigued by “period panties” that have an absorbent panel to catch any leaks and avoid embarrassing middle school moments or unnecessary laundry challenges. During the Q&A session following Meg’s presentation, moms shared some of their experiences with reusable menstrual cups, and discussed how to talk to their young children about menstruation (since moms never seem to have a moment alone in the bathroom and the topic has a way of coming up). Meg also handed out a mommy-specific tip; informing us that the Soft Cup menstrual cup is even safe and tidy to wear during intercourse (who knew?).

In a session focused on natural products for the whole family, Jenny Duranski of Chicago’s Noktivo natural nail salon spoke about the lack of regulation in the United States with respect to the ingredients in personal care and beauty products. She encouraged parents in attendance to become more aware, and to make simple changes in the products that they use to help maintain safer healthier homes, and safer healthier families. She highlighted two of my favorite resources, the EWG Skin Deep Database and the Think Dirty app as starting points to become more conscious of what is in the products that we buy and put on our bodies.

As many of you know, I am rather passionate about making healthy choices that support wellness. I am likewise always in support of products that are effective, affordable, and allow people to feel nurtured and beautiful. I was delighted to see this topic presented at MommyCon, and I hope to see healthy home products and green beauty explored even more at future MommyCon events.

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I also very much enjoyed the presentation about positive body image by photographer Jade Beall of A Beautiful Body Project. Beall showed dozens of her powerful images, capturing women’s bodies as they really appear in all stages of their adult lives; from pregnancy, nursing, postpartum, and on through to grand-motherhood.

Beall focused on the liberating, educational, and cumulative effects of projecting real images out into our society, rather than accepting mainstream photoshopped “celebreality” pictures as truth. To highlight the assertion that honesty in images can change society’s views of beauty, Beall demonstrated that a Goggle image search for the term “beautiful body” is now peppered with Beall’s “true beauty” images amongst the scantily-clad photos of starlets and swimsuit models (warning: link contains nudity). This concrete example showed that grassroots efforts to promote realistic images of women and beauty, change the definition of beauty over time.

Stay Tuned….

Tomorrow I will continue my review of MommyCon’s Chicago stop, talking about the Vendor Expo, giveaways, and gift bag. I’ll also have a giveaway of my own to share; two free tickets to the MommyCon 2016 event of the winner’s choice (enter here).

If you don’t want to leave anything to chance, you can still get a $5.00 discount off of your ticket purchase for any remaining MommyCon 2016 dates with the code CRUNCHY16. If you are feeling lucky, be sure to check back tomorrow to enter the ticket giveaway. Subscribe to Crunchy Parent and you’ll even receive an email reminder when the giveaway opens so that you won’t forget.

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Vitacost Haul Video: Gluten-Free food, supplements, natural home care & personal care items

*I purchased all of these items and receive no compensation from Vitacost for this post, although affiliate links may be included. What follows are my honest opinions*

If you read my post about Barganic Alerts you know that I am really passionate about making natural, green-living choices accessible to anyone who desires to make them. Throughout my evolution as a parent and as a person, one of my goals has been to seek out healthier foods, which for us includes prioritizing organic foods, avoiding GMOs, and respecting our gluten and dairy sensitivities. This can add a lot to our food cost bottom line, but it is well worth it to me; better health is priceless.

In addition to what we put in our bodies, I am also mindful of what we put into our home environment via cleaning and household products, and what we put on our bodies through cosmetic and personal care items. This week, research out of University of California-Berkeley demonstrated that by swapping out just a few personal care products for ones with safer ingredients, the chemical body burden of teen girls decreased significantly within a period of a few days. This powerful finding only serves to reinforce for me the importance of prioritizing healthy products for my family.

The desire to buy the best food, supplements, home, and personal care products that we can afford has moved me to research the resources available to us in our community and through the interwebs to stretch our dollars. There are a few online retailers that I have found who offer very competitive pricing on high-quality natural, organic, and food allergy-friendly food items. Vitacost is a retailer that I shop with often for supplements, personal and home care items, and nonperishable foods. Not only is the value very good, but they offer an extensive range of products that are not always available to me locally.

Recently I got an email from Vitacost promoting a 15% off any order of $100 or more. This was the motivation that I needed to place an order. I also went through ebates and earned an additional 4% off of my purchase. You can see the complete haul video above. A select few of the items that I ordered were excluded from the promotional offer, but I still found the Vitacost price to be better that what I could find elsewhere.

I encourage you to do your own research to see how pricing compares to what is available near you. To give a sense of the prices during this deal, I have provided a sample of my purchase prices below. The promotion is no longer active, but Vitacost frequently offers various deals. You can sign up for their emails to be alerted of sales.

Prices are before tax and do not reflect the additional rebate received through ebates. For ease of comparison, I have converted pricing for “bulk” items into price per ounce or per pound as appropriate.

Xlear Spry gum 600 count: $33.99
Herbatint Permanent Haircolour Gel: $6.79
Ancient Secrets Bath Salts-2 lbs.: $7.51
Biokleen Automatic Dish Powder-32 oz.: $6.54
Ener-G GF pretzels: $2.16/bag (8 oz.)
Kinnikinnick GF graham crackers $3.29/box (8 oz.)

So what do you think, are these prices a good value for your area? Do you have any healthy food and personal care resources to share?

If you are new to Vitacost, this link will save you $10 off of your first order.

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Goddess Provisions Spirit-Enhancing Subscription Unboxing & Review: February 2016

Crunchy Parent Goddess Provisions Subscription Box Unboxing & Review February 2016

Goddess Provisions is a subscription service, created by the owners of Vegan Cuts. Goddess Provisions is a monthly lifestyle box for women. They send products to nourish your inner goddess and grow your spiritual practice. Boxes feature a mix of 4-6 full size items, spanning across the categorizes of aromatherapy, apothecary beauty products, superfood snacks, teas, crystals, books and more. All items are 100% vegan and cruelty-free.

Boxes cost $33 per month, which includes shipping. There are discounts for multi-month subscriptions. I purchased this box and was not compensated in any way for this review, although review may contain affiliate links. All opinions are my own. For my other Goddess Provisions unboxing and reviews, starting with their very first box, look here.

If you would like to see the live-action unboxing of the February Goddess Provisions box, please enjoy the video unboxing below. If you prefer to skip right to the product close-ups and details, scroll down past the video.

The box came well-packaged, and everything was received intact. As always, I loved the bright and informative enclosure card. Goddess Provisions does an exceptional job of highlighting their featured brands and products, as well as weaving the theme into the box. This month’s theme was “Self Love” and focused on the heart chakra. Valentine’s Day can be a less-than-positive trigger for some. I thought the theme a great one for February and appreciated that the love was centered on one’s self.

Goddess Provisions February 2016 box Self Love-heart chakra

The box was packed full of colorful and intriguing goodies. The first item that I plucked out of the box was a heart chakra candle from In Light and Love Candles (6 oz., $12.00). I have received a different chakra candle from this line in the past from another subscription box service. I love the idea of writing one’s intention on a candle before lighting it; it brings substance to the ritual. I also think that the tiny piece of chalk that is included for writing an intention on the candle is adorable, and I appreciate that the chalk lets you erase and write new intentions as your mood and desires change. I think that the tin is just beautiful and makes the candle practical for travel as well. I personally find the fragrance of the candle to be a bit too strong for my preferences, but I know that many people love candles with a robust scent throw.

Chocolita Strawberry Passion bar close-up...Yum!

Chocolita Strawberry Passion bar close-up…Yum!

The next item was another one that I have received in some form in the past. Goddess Provisions sent a bar from Chocolita in their first ever box, and I was excited to see them once again. The raw, dark chocolate, Chocolate Strawberry Passion Bar (1.25 oz., $4.86) is enhanced with aphrodisiac herbs and strawberries to, “ignite your passion and open your heart.” I have been savoring the rich chocolate bar, and I really like the brightness that the strawberries lend to the flavor.

Goddess Provisions February 2016 unboxing & review

I was a bit taken aback when I saw a twist on a theme from Goddess Provisions. Historically, Goddess Provisions has included a precious bag with a small crystal in every box. This month, they sent a bag of three Self Love Stones from Energy Muse (value $15.00). I could not find this exact set online so I defer to GP’s stated value. The bag contains a single polished stone of rose quartz for unconditional love; rhodonite for compassion; and aventurine for opening the heart. I loved the beauty of the stones and the meaning behind them.

I think that my favorite discovery in this month’s box may have been the “grace” bracelet from Mudlove ($8.00). I love the minimal, earthy design of the stamped pottery bracelet. As someone with larger-than-average wrists I also really appreciate when bracelets are adjustable. After I took some time to explore Mudlove’s website I was even more impressed. The company began with a mission to provide clean, potable water to communities in Africa where this life-giving resource was scarce. For every item purchased, Mudlove makes a donation to Water for Good that provides for a week’s worth of clean water for one person. I was also blown away by the extensive selection of bracelet words and phrases that could be ordered in any of a rainbow of band colors. They also offer gorgeous pottery mugs (I have a pottery mug collection that adds beauty to my herbal tea drinking experience). Goddess Provisions included a coupon for 30% off a Mudlove purchase for subscribers. I think I’ll be grabbing some bracelets and a mug for me, as well as some bracelets for the girls to give to friends as gifts.

Mudlove bracelet

The beautiful colors of the Dive in Deck (value $20.00) are what first caught my eye when I noticed this item. This standard sized deck of cards pairs captivating pictures with provocative questions or thoughts designed to stimulate conversation or introspection. The deck consists of 33 cards with prompts such as, “How do you explore and expand the edges of your comfort zone?” and “When do you feel most empowered?” I love the intention of these cards to help people tune into and connect with what is important to them and to those around them. I had brought a comparable product more specifically geared to family on a trip with my mother and sister several years back. The prompts helped us start many meaningful conversations that gave us all a better appreciation for one another’s perspectives and experiences. I can think of many uses for these cards with my own kids, therapeutically, or otherwise. I had mentioned in the video that I would show close-up photos of some of the cards, but I decided not to open it; I think that it is the perfect item to have on-hand for a spur-of-the-moment gift to brighten someone’s day or to show appreciation.

Dive in Deck details

Dive in Deck details

I am really impressed with the curation and theme of this month’s box. Love is a significant focus during the month of February as partner and “Galentine’s Day” celebrations abound. I appreciated the thought that went into centering this box around love for self. I liked the balance of items, and think that a gift of chocolate, jewelry, a candle, crystals, and an interactive gift focused on introspection makes a wonderful package to receive. The value of this month’s box totals $60.00 and pays forward by providing someone in Central Africa with a week’s worth of fresh water. I think that is an incredible value. I continue to appreciate all of the boxes that I have received from Goddess Provisions. It has quickly become a favorite subscription that matches my lifestyle and values very well.

What do you think of Goddess Provisions? If you want to get your hands on your very own box sign up at Goddess Provisions. I’m also looking for some new boxes to review in the months ahead. If you have a request for a specific box or a type of box (e.g., kids, food, beauty) that you would like to see me review, please let me know.

If you would like to see the most recent Crunchy Parent List of Crunchy-Friendly Subscription Boxes for other great crunchy-friendly subscription or gift ideas, you can find that here. To see other crunchy subscription box video unboxings, look here on the Crunchy Parent You Tube channel. If you have any suggestions or requests for future videos or reviews, please let me know in the comments, and be sure to subscribe to CrunchyParent.com and the Crunchy Parent YouTube channel and visit me on Facebook Pinterest and Twitter!

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100% Natural Does Not Mean 100% Safe: A Cautionary Tale

I love natural, green beauty products. I have dabbled in crafting lotions and potions, and have explored products from hundreds of natural beauty brands for decades. Needless to say, seeing words like, “100% natural,” “organic,” and “no artificial ingredients” on products excites me. On occasion, I need to remind myself that while such terms suggest that a product might be gentler and more natural than a conventional counterpart, they are not guarantees that the product is beneficial, effective, healthy, or even safe.

Yesterday I was lamenting my sore back due to some new exercises that I’ve been doing at the gym. I decided that a nice hot bath would be a great way to soothe my aching muscles. I ran the water into the tub and went exploring my shelves for the perfect bath product to enhance my soak. Initially I was thinking that a bath salt might be nice, but then I spied an unopened bottle of a liquid bath soak. I had received it before we had moved into the house (i.e., before we had a bath tub) and thus it had languished in a box of bath goodies, neglected until now.

The bottle had the words “100% natural” and “vegan” splashed across the label, and the ingredients were simple; a naturally fermented liquid base, high grade essential oil, and some natural preservative. The label explained that it was normal for the product to separate in the bottle since it contained no emulsifiers, and the essential oil and the “water” base do not mix. I followed the instructions to shake the bottle to mix well, and to add a tablespoon to the bath. The label also indicated that the product ingredients would relax my muscles and ease tension in addition to uplifting my spirit (perfect!). I was struck by the beautiful vibrant color of the liquid as I poured the directed amount into the bath.

After I finished running the water, I eased myself into the tub, preparing to be uplifted and soothed. The bath smelled beautiful; fresh and citrusy. The water felt warm though, too warm, hot really. I turned on the cool water to adjust the temperature. Something was really hurting on my side. I looked at my left side along my ribcage. I didn’t see anything, just the faint lines from the workout top that I had been wearing moments earlier. It really hurt though. It was distracting. I was not relaxing, I was in pain. I looked again. There appeared to be two very faint scratches on my side, probably made by the tag from my top when I took it off. As I watched, the lines grew redder and angrier. Now the underside of my legs were burning. Really burning. Something was wrong. I looked around the tub and there was a vibrant colorful ring all along the edges at the water line.

My brain clicked, and I immediately stood up and started draining the tub. I grabbed a bath pouffy and some soap and began washing off my skin. This did little to stop the burning sensation that had now consumed my side, back, and legs. I spied a sponge and some tub cleanser, grateful that I use chemical-free cleaning products as I stood cold, wet, and naked in the tub spraying and scrubbing the colorful stripe off the bathtub all around me. The tub had drained now and I used the handheld sprayer to rinse off every inch. I began to refill the tub with fresh water, but my skin was still burning. I knew that I needed oil, but I didn’t have any within arm’s reach. I went for the next best thing; a jar of body scrub made with a host of nut and plant oils. Fortunately, it too separates into layers, so I poured some of the top layer of oil off into my palm, taking care to avoid any of the scrubbing grains which would have likely decimated my tender, burning skin. I started rubbing the oils onto my skin. The burning began to subside. I sat back down into the fresh water, digesting what had just happened.

I wondered if this was a fluke. As is probably natural, I assumed that with a mass-marketed product made by a well-respected company the problem must have been due to user error on my part. They couldn’t possibly be selling a product that was unsafe, right? Especially not one labeled as 100% natural. It was not an inexpensive product either; costing over $25.00 for the small bottle. I must not have shaken it up enough. Maybe I used more than a tablespoon (although I do not think that I did). It had to be me. The problem had to be with me.

When I got out of the tub and dried off, I decided to do a little sleuthing. Some quick online searches led me to the answers. I was able to find product ratings and reviews on two sites; the brand’s own website and Amazon. In total there were over a dozen reviews. Approximately 95% of these reviews were one star and contained words like, “warning,” “worst experience,” “burns like crazy,” “horrible burning sensation,” “hurt for hours,” and “severe prickly burning.” I felt reassured that this was not user error. More importantly, I was pleased to see that the product has recently been discontinued.

In hindsight, I’m disappointed in myself that I didn’t know better. The product was attractive due to its simple ingredients, but they were too simple. Something very important was missing. There was no carrier oil in the product to dilute the high percentage of essential oil. Even though the bottle instructed me to shake the product to combine the essential oil with the fluid, this does not dilute the essential oil because the essential oil and “water” never really mix; the essential oil just breaks down into smaller, undiluted droplets. These droplets then drift back together over time, where they can settle onto the skin in these concentrated amounts (and make really vibrant rings around the tub). This is why carrier oils are always needed to dilute the strength and intensity of essential oils before they come in contact with your skin. You can read more about the phenomenon in this article.

When I looked at the bottle (which had once again separated out into two distinct layers,) I could see that the formulation contained a ratio of about one part essential oil to six parts of fluid. I did some quick math to determine that the tablespoon of product had added about a half teaspoon, or approximately 50 drops of undiluted essential oil to my bath. It is no wonder that my skin felt like it was on fire and the superficial abrasion on my skin had quickly become inflamed. In truth, this product really was unsafe as formulated, despite being all-natural, vegan, cruelty-free and from a reputable company.

I have chosen not to name the specific product or company because the product has been discontinued and is no longer on shelves. I have used many other wonderful products from this brand without incident. This was clearly a misstep and a shining example of why natural does not always mean gentle, healthy, or safe. It is still the responsibility of the consumer to determine what is natural, healthy, and safe for them. It is always best to educate one’s self about product ingredients and to read labels. When in doubt, a quick Google search before jumping in the tub might help to prevent a very unpleasant experience.

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Immune Boosting Spiced Elderberry Syrup-Deliciously Fight Cold & Flu

Crunchy Parent Spiced Elderberry Syrup picture
Photo credit: cobaltfish via Foter.com / CC BY-SA

Goodness, I’ve missed being around. In addition to the gremlin infestation, we seem to have gotten caught up in an endless cycle of illness around here. It reminds me of the importance of warm clothing, adequate sleep, and nutritious food even in the midst of holidays, schedule changes, and celebrations. I’ve been searching for other ways to fortify our health. One of my preferred ways at the moment is a delicious spiced elderberry syrup.

**As a reminder I am not a doctor and you should seek advice from your own health practitioner before changing your health regimen.**

Elderberries get a lot of attention for their immune-boosting properties. The elder flowers are also excellent for supporting the immune system, so I use a blend of both in this syrup. However, if you only have the berries on-hand you can use a cup of berries and skip the flowers.

A blend of cardamom, cloves, star anise, cinnamon, and ginger all lend a delicious spiced flavor to the syrup. In addition, many of these herbs and spices are warming and drying, which can be helpful if there is an illness that causes chills and runny, congested gunk. Ginger is also beloved for its anti-viral and anti-nausea properties which can come in very handy when fighting a bug. Star anise is anti-viral and anti-bacterial as well as being an antioxidant-packed expectorant.

Echinacea an osha root are both included as optional ingredients. Echinacea is popular as an immune-booster, but there are some differing opinions as to whether echinacea is appropriate for longer-term preventative use, or is if should be reserved for acute illness only. Accordingly, you may want to include the echinacea if you plan to use the syrup during illness only, and skip it if you want to use the syrup preventatively.

Osha has an affiliation for the lungs. It has historically been used for respiratory illness, especially in Native American medicinal tradition. Osha root has suffered losses more recently due to over harvesting and is really not commercially available. If you happen to be fortunate enough to have access to osha root through mindful and sustainable wild harvesting, a small piece of osha root can be a nice addition to this syrup.

The directions for making the syrup are pretty straightforward, and I like the almost instant-gratification of the process. It seems that the first colds of the season always catch me off guard; before I have had the proper time to steep a tincture or elixir. This syrup can be made and used the same day when I sense that it is needed.

Please use my photos as illustrations of the steps in the process. Pay no mind to the quantities shown. I took some of the photos when I was making small, experimental batches and others when I was making large batches of the favorite recipe.

Spiced Elder Syrup (yield approximately 3 cups)
All plant materials used are dried unless otherwise specified. I highly recommend Mountain Rose Herbs or Frontier Co-Op as resources for dried organic herbs (learn more about establishing a Frontier wholesale buying club here).

Herbs and spices awaiting their big moment.

Herbs and spices awaiting their big moment.

Ingredients:
1 qt. water
3/4 c. elderberries
1/4 c. elder flowers
10 cardamom pods
5 whole cloves
4 whole star anise “stars”
2 cinnamon sticks
1” chunk of fresh ginger, thinly sliced
2 T. echinacea (optional)
2” piece of osha root (optional)
1 c. honey, raw and organic preferred

Instructions:

1. Place water and herbs into a sauce pan and bring to boil over medium heat.

Crunchy Parent spiced elder syrup herbs in pot 1-12-2016

2. Lower heat and simmer uncovered for 30-40 minutes, until liquid is reduced by approximately half and syrup is slightly thickened.

Crunchy Parent spiced elder syrup simmering 1-12-2015

3. Strain the liquid from the spent herbs into a glass jar, being sure to press the herbs to extract the most liquid. A nut milk bag, jelly bag, or fine mesh sieve can be helpful for this step.

crunchy parent spiced elder syrup strain 1-12-2016

pressing herbs in sieve to extract elderberry syrup

4. Allow the liquid to cool to approximately 105 degrees fahrenheit and add the honey, stirring gently to dissolve. Tip: this is a great way to use raw honey that has become more solid and grainy over time as it will dissolve well in the liquid.

IMG_3541

5. Cover, date, and label syrup. Store in refrigerator.

We enjoy this syrup during times of illness or preventatively. I take a Tablespoon every day when there seems to be some illness brewing in the house, or 2-3 times per day if I am feeling under the weather myself. So far the kids have refused to take it, but if they were willing, I’d say a teaspoon dose for them. It tastes delicious, and I could probably add it to a chai tea without the kids noticing, but I haven’t attempted that yet.

The syrup requires refrigeration. I have found it has lasted for at least a month or so. I usually have used it up by then.

I hope that you enjoy the syrup and lots of good health. What are some ways that you support you health during the cold, dark days of winter?

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Goddess Provisions Spirit Enhancing Subscription Unboxing & Review: November 2015

Crunchy Parent Goddess Provisions Spirit Enhancing Subscription Unboxing & Review November 2015

Goddess Provisions is a new subscription service, just added to the recent fall update of the Crunchy Parent Ultimate List of Crunchy-Friendly Subscription Boxes. Created by the owners of Vegan Cuts, Goddess Provisions is a monthly lifestyle box for women. They send products to nourish your inner goddess and grow your spiritual practice. Boxes feature a mix of 4-6 full size items, spanning across the categorizes of aromatherapy, apothecary beauty products, superfood snacks, teas, crystals, books and more. All items are 100% vegan and cruelty-free.

Boxes cost $33 per month, which includes shipping. There are discounts for multi-month subscriptions. I purchased this box and was not compensated in any way for this review, although review may contain affiliate links. All opinions are my own. If you want to see my unboxing of the first-ever Goddess Provisions box from October, look here.

If you would like to see the live-action unboxing of the November Goddess Provisions box, please enjoy the video unboxing below. If you prefer to skip right to the product close-ups and details, scroll down past the video.

The box came well-packaged, and everything was received intact.
Goddess Provisions November subscription box review

As with last month, I loved the bright and informative enclosure card. Goddess Provisions does an exceptional job of highlighting their featured brands and products, as well as weaving the theme into the box. This month’s theme was passion and creativity, and their association with the sacral chakra. The card was a vibrant orange, the color of the sacral chakra.

The box was packed full of goodies. The first item that I spied was a Kishu charcoal filter (value $9.99). This all-natural water filter is designed to be dropped into a reusable water bottle and used for up to four months of water filtration. The filters are made from sustainably harvested oak branches that are kiln heated to transform them into naturally detoxifying charcoal. The brand makes their filters in several sizes to use in pitchers, jugs, carafes, and even a pet’s water dish. I think that the concept of a natural and plastic-free water filter is a great one. I have never seen anything like this product before and am excited to give it a try.

I was also excited to see the next item in the box, 100% Pure’s Maraca Oil Mascara (value $25.00). As with all items in Goddess Provisions boxes, the mascara is vegan, and it also happens to be gluten free and colored naturally with a blend of black tea, berry, and cocoa pigments. I had kind of written off mascara for about ten years due to the toxic ingredients that they generally contain, but in more recent years as the green beauty industry and options have grown, I have been experimenting with the more natural mascaras available. I was very happy to receive this. I like the 100% Pure brand and was eager to give this a try. I was surprised by the chocolaty scent of the mascara. I’m not sure if I like the smell or not, but if fades pretty quickly so it isn’t much of an issue. I found that the mascara added a length and thickness to my lashes that looked natural and not clumpy. It was not as dramatic a change as other formulations that I have used, but I kind of liked the more natural looking “enhancement” for an everyday option or times when I want to look fresh but not too heavily made up.

Goddess Provisions vegan spirit box Noveber review

My sweet tooth was all excited about the heart-shaped cranberry pecan raw cookie from Rawxies (value $1.99). The ingredients include oats, nuts, seeds, coconut, dates, vanilla, cinnamon, and more. The cookies are raw, vegan, and free of gluten, dairy, and soy, which is perfect for us. I couldn’t wait to give this cookie bar a try. I think that my expectations may have been too high. I was not a fan. I have eaten a lot of date and nut bars in my day so perhaps I was expecting something sweeter. Maybe a more dedicated raw foodist would have developed a different palette and greater appreciation for the cookie’s flavor.

The next item had been released as a sneak peek item by Goddess Provisions earlier and I was eager to give it a closer look. The Healing Crystals Information Card and Oracle Deck (value $6.95) was even more awesome that I expected it to be. The deck included several cards with information about crystals, their form structures, and the Mohs hardness scale for rating crystals, as well as several cards with information about the seven chakras. The deck also included 47 additional cards, each highlighting a unique crystal with a photo, chakra association, attributes, affirmation, Mohs rating, and more. I even noticed a card for the Vera Cruz amethyst crystal included in last month’s Goddess Provisions box.

I know that I would have loved this deck as a kid and would have poured over it learning about all of the crystals. I think that it would make an excellent homeschooling tool when teaching about crystals, or a gift for any science or spiritually-inclined child or adult. The cards can also be used as an oracle deck for a more metaphysical application.

Goddess Provisions 21 drops essential oil rollerball and red quartz crystal November box unboxing & review

The fifth item had also been released in the earlier spoiler, an essential oil mini rollerball from 21 Drops (.3 ml, value $7.00). The Passion rollerball is a blend of jasmine, rose, cardamom, and sandalwood essential oils is a jojoba oil base. The rollerball is designed to be applied to wrists, temples, or neck and inhaled to bring about a release of inhibitions, and to heighten magnetism and sensuality (oh my!). I found the scent to be feminine and beautiful. On initial application, I smelled the jasmine and rose primarily, but when going back for a second sniff, I could sense the cardamom especially shining through. Cardamom is such a warming herb, and I cannot ever get enough of it in autumn. I think that I will use get lot of use out of this rollerball as a natural perfume option.

Just like last month’s unboxing, I ended with the opening of a tiny drawstring bag. This month I discovered a small crystal point of red quartz, also known as hematite quartz (value $5.00). The crystal features a unique burnt orange color and is associated with the sacral chakra. I am really enjoying building up my collection of crystals large and small through subscription boxes.

Goddess Provisions included a final bonus item that I did not notice until after I completed the unboxing video. The enclosure card listed a code for an online yoga class with instructor Michelle Shea Walker. The yoga sequence was specifically designed to balance the sacral chakra, and had a listed value of $22.00. In the past of couple months I have been increasing my yoga practice at home through online video options such as these. I appreciate this bonus item and cannot wait to give it a try. I am curious to see if it incorporates the crystal in any way.

Goddess Provisions November box unboxing & review organic, natural, vegan goodness

The overall value of the box was $55.93 which does not include the $22.00 value of the online yoga class, since Goddess Provisions designated it as a bonus item. I think that this value is very strong for the purchase price and high for the “spiritual lifestyle” genre of subscription boxes. I loved the mix of items in the box, with food, beauty, body, home, and spirit all represented. With the exception of the one snack item that I just didn’t personally care for, every item will be put to get use by me, by my family, and in our home. I was introduced to a number of new brands or received products from brands that I had been hoping to try. I am very impressed with the two boxes that Goddess Provisions has put together thus far, and am already looking forward to my next month’s box.

As a reminder, you can see my unboxing and review of the first Goddess Provisions box here, and you can go to Goddess Provisions to get your hands on your very own box. Will you be getting in on the December box? I think it would make a great centering gift-to-self during the heightened energy that surrounds holiday time.

If you would like to see the most recent Crunchy Parent List of Crunchy-Friendly Subscription Boxes for other great crunchy-friendly subscription or gift deas, you can find that here. To see other crunchy subscription box video unboxings, look here on the Crunchy Parent You Tube channel. If you have any suggestions or requests for future videos or reviews, please let me know in the comments, and be sure to subscribe!

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Lemon Compress: Natural Remedy for Chest Congestion, Sore Throat & Cold Symptoms

Photo credit: Vanilla and lace / Foter.com / CC BY

Photo credit: Vanilla and lace / Foter.com / CC BY

I do not know how the colder weather and darker days are impacting the members of your family, but we here are a seemingly endless chorus of *cough* *cough* and *sniffle.* Once upon a time we did not get sick very often, but with children getting older and branching out into the world more it means increased exposure to germs. With all three of them in school full days for the first time we are also battling increased stress, decreased outdoor and play time, and less sleep. In combination, it is no wonder that we are succumbing to illness more often.

I am always trying to incorporate more ways to bring fresh air, healthy food, and positive wellness practices into our lives. Over the years, I have also tried to gather ideas to address illness and manage symptoms in many ways and representing different schools of thought. This helps me to draw from a great big bag of tricks when a child gets sick.

The idea of a lemon compress to help alleviate sore throat and chest congestion was introduced to me by an anthroposophical doctor who gave a talk at the kids’ Waldorf school over nine years ago. I have used it countless times since, and we have found it to be a gentle and low intervention method that provides symptom relief for the kids. It is also quick and easy to prepare, and one of the many reasons why I always keep fresh lemons in the house.

As a reminder, I am not a medical doctor. I am sharing this information but advise you to consult your own medical practitioner and make your own decision before adopting any new health practice.

For your lemon compress you will need:

a lemon, organic preferred
hot water, approximately 2 cups
bowl or dish with high sides
natural fiber cloth, rag, or wash cloth
wool flannel or felt (I used part of an old felted sweater)
sick child (an adult would work too)

1. Heat your water until just below a simmer. You can do this directly from the sink if your tap can get quite hot. You can use a pot on the stove, an electric tea kettle, etc. Please avoid using a microwave for this step. I used my stove top and heated the water until I just started to see little bubbles at the bottom of the pot, which is technically a saucepan, but I still call it a pot.

making a lemon compress for cough and colds natural remedy

2. Next, you will want to cut your lemon in half width-wise. Take this half and place it cut side up.

Hello little lemon. You smell nice.

Hello little lemon. You smell nice.

Then, taking your knife, cut across the lemon’s face to divide the lemon into eight sections. Try to cut through the lemon flesh and peel, avoiding the divisions between the segments. Extend the cuts about 1/3 to 1/2 of the way down the height of the lemon so that the pieces remain attached. That sounds complicated, right? It’s not. A picture will make this much clearer.

crunchy parent lemon compress tutorial

3. Okay, now that we’ve cleared that up, pour the water into a bowl or better yet a high-sided, shallow dish. Then place the lemon face down in the water and smoosh it down using your hand or the back of a spoon if it is too hot to tolerate doing with your hand. The lemon should splay out like a flower. Really squash it to release the juice and the volatile essential oils from the peel.

lemon compress for natural cough and cold relief

4. Take your natural fiber cloth or rag and soak it in the lemon water.

rag soaking in lemon water for compress

Wring out the cloth until it is no longer dripping wet. Check the temperature of the cloth to make sure that it will not be too hot for your child’s skin. If it is too hot, wave it around gently in the air for a few seconds until it has cooled enough. It will cool pretty quickly.

lemon compress

5. Fold cloth to a manageable size and place it on the child’s chest and throat area, avoiding their nipples. I folded my wash cloth into thirds lengthwise and then folded up the length a bit. I placed this in the center of the chest in between the nipples to avoid irritation. Then, cover the wet cloth with the wool flannel or piece of felted wool. This will contain the moisture and help hold in warmth. Whenever we get holes in a wool sweater, I felt the sweaters and cut lengths to use with compresses.

Placement of lemon compress and wool cover.

Placement of lemon compress and wool cover.

You can then reposition the child’s shirt back over the wool to help hold everything in place. I cover the child with a warm blanket (unless they are feverish and uncomfortably hot) and encourage the child to engage in a restful activity like reading a book. They usually opt to watch TV, which I let them do because they’re sick and crabby.

6. After five minutes, check the cloth. If it has grown cold, apply a new compress (you can reheat the water a bit and wet the same rag again). Continue to check and refresh the compress for a total of approximately fifteen minutes. This process can be repeated several times throughout the day as needed.

When doing the compress, you may find that the skin shows a bit of redness or a slight rash. This is usually not cause for concern, rather it may indicate action beneath the skin, which is good. However if significant irritation, burning, or general discomfort arises, discontinue use and wash the area to remove the acidulated water. Likewise, avoid applying the compress to skin that is cracked, chapped, broken, or otherwise compromised.

For more information about anthroposophy as it relates to health and wellness, the doctor who taught me about this compress recommended the book, Practical Home Care Medicine. I personally am not an anthroposophist nor have not read the book. I cannot comment with respect to the suggestions that it makes. Since the anthroposophic perspective is a relatively esoteric one however, I wanted to provide the resource for those who may be interested in learning more.

What are some of your favorite natural remedies to help support health during the cold and dark months ahead?

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Barganic Alert! Wildcraft Cooperative Board Game for Kids on Sale through Saturday

Once each spring, LearningHerbs, the online herbal learning resource, opens up its Herb Fairies book series and learning program. The children and I signed up this past April and have been thoroughly enjoying reading the story of each month’s herb fairy. Asher in particular loves the books and I marvel at how well he remembers the names, stories, and herbal benefits associated with each herb fairy.

Asher's coloring sheet of Arc, the Burdock Fairy. We completed reading the story yesterday.

Asher’s coloring sheet of Arc, the Burdock Fairy. We completed reading the story yesterday.

The kids delight in being able to identify herbs growing wild all around us as we walk through our neighborhood, play in the back yard, or look around at their school. It has been such a nice way to instill an awareness, appreciation, and reverence for plant medicine that is abundant in our environment.

Wildcraft cooperative board game from LearningHerbs

Although the Herb Fairies program will not be available again until next spring, LearningHerbs is currently offering a limited time sale on Wildcraft, their Herbal Adventure cooperative board game for kids. Like the Herb Fairies books, the board game focuses on herbs and combines fun, cooperation, and education to teach children about herbs and their medicinal uses as well as ethical wildcrating, all while working together to achieve a goal (in this case, gathering huckleberries and returning to grandmother’s house before nightfall so that she can bake a pie).

Our family has always preferred cooperative games to competitive “winner” and “loser” games, especially for young children so this is a great fit for us. The artwork on the game looks beautiful and the game had great reviews on Amazon as well. I know that the kids will love playing it. I actually purchased it back in July when LearningHerbs was promoting a similar sale on the game. I have been keeping it tucked away for the fast-approaching holidays. I imagine that the kids will be excited to receive a game that will continue to expand their understanding and appreciation of herbs, and it will be nice for them to have a cooperative game to play during the break when we all have more time at home together.

The current promotion runs through Friday November 20th. The game price is reduced to $19.99 plus shipping and adds a bunch of fantastic bonuses to sweeten the deal, including a webinar with Aviva Romm, How to Make Rootbeer video (which Alina is super excited about), Herbal Roots Zine Kids Activity Magazine, Mentoring Kids & Nature Connection with Jon Young (mp3), and the Herb Fairies Activity Pack, and an e-book from herbalist Rosalee de la Forêt to support children’s health during cold & flu season

So, are you going to grab one? I can’t wait for ours to open ours and start playing.

**Barganic Alerts are an effort to spread awareness about affordable crunchy goods and services (and here’s why). They are not endorsements, nor am I compensated in any way. They tend to be time-limited, and often go quickly. To make sure that you are always in the know, subscribe to CrunchyParent.com to receive emails of all Barganic Alerts as soon as they are posted**

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Mindfulness Box Zen Lifestyle Subscription Unboxing & Review: November 2015

Mindfulness Box

Mindfulness Box is a lifestyle subscription service aimed at promoting mindfulness, inner peace and balance by giving people the tools to live with more intention and in the present moment. This lifestyle box includes holistic and homeopathic, essential oil, and mineral based health care products, handcrafted jewelry, delicious biodynamic treats, natural minerals/crystals and more. Each box contains 4-5 items accompanied with guided dialogue to enrich the recipient’s journey to balance and inner peace. Boxes cost $29.00 per month, which includes shipping, and are less with multi-month subscriptions. Use code CRUNCHY10 for 10% off of your order.

Mindfulness Box graciously sent me this box to review. I received no additional compensation, and all opinions are my own. See more of my Mindfulness Box reviews here.

Asher and Alina have become my regular Mindfulness Box unboxing sidekicks. They love to see what interesting, useful, and tasty items will be included in the box. You can watch us unbox and discover, or if you prefer to skip right to the product close-ups and details, scroll down past the video.

The box came with the sunny, smiling Mindfulness Box symbol and “Present Moment. Beautiful Moment” message to set the tone to best appreciate the contents. Everything arrived to me safely and intact.

Mindfulness Box November unboxign & review

As always, Mindfulness Box included an enclosure card listing the contents along with descriptions and values, as well as suggestions for how to integrate the items into our life in a way that would promote mindfulness. We set the card aside so that we could discover the items on our own, but referenced it at the end to help us learn about what Mindfulness Box had curated for this month. This month’s theme was focused on gratitude, a perfect message for November when we shift our intention more mindfully to giving thanks.

Mindfulness box serpentine palm stone & heart chakra meditation

Alina had asked to be the first to unwrap an item from the box. She discovered a smooth, polished green stone. In reading the enclosure, we discovered that the stone was a serpentine palm crystal; perfect for carrying in a pocket or holding in one’s hand during meditation (value, $7.50). Mindfulness Box described serpentine as being excellent for meditation and associated with the heart chakra. They also included a heart chakra guided meditation activity.

Mindfulness box custom grateful tea towel

Asher wanted to find the next item in the box, and chose to take out a white tea towel that had been embellished with a stamped mandala design and the word “grateful” as well as the Mindfulness Box logo (value, $14.00). I really liked the unique design of this Mindfulness Box custom item. I do a lot of fermenting and culturing and often need to cover jars with a tea towel to protect my ferments from dust or critters while allowing air to circulate freely.

kombucha infusing with gratitude-mindfulness box

This tea towel was perfect for covering my most recent batch of kombucha. It made me think of Marasu Emoto’s work investigating the relationship between focused intention and water crystal formation. Although the science is dubious, I figure that it cannot hurt to infuse my kombucha and other ferments with a little positive energy and gratitude while they culture.

Mindfulness box gratitude pocket journal

Building on the theme of gratitude, Mindfulness Box sent a pocket-sized, softcover, gratitude journal; custom made as an exclusive for this box (value, $6.00). The journal included a number of writing prompts to reflect on gratitude and blessings, as well as inspiring quotes about gratitude.

Mindfulness box gratitude journal sample page November box

I look forward to using this journal for my own reflections as well as using the prompts to serve as conversation starters during dinner or discussion times with the kids this month. Rich and I often talk about gratitude and how to practice gratefulness in our life as a way to bring about greater happiness. This journal will be a welcomed addition to our practice.

Mindfulness Box Zenbunni chocolate & yo soy candle Grateful

Alina showed off the Zenbunni Spirit Weavers Chocolate Bar as her next selection (value, $3.00). We have gotten to sample several Zenbunni bars through subscription boxes and have become familiar with their high-quality, full-bodied chocolates. The Spirit Weavers bar commemorates the Spirit Weavers gathering that brings together women from around the world annually to practice and share skills that support the body and spirit such as fermenting, dyeing, and herbal medicine making. The biodynamic bar blends hibiscus, elder flowers, and blood orange with cacao and cane jaggery to give a delicious boost to the immune system. I enjoyed the hint of fruitiness balanced by the rich and slightly bitter chocolate.

Zenbunni Spirit Weavers chocolate bar Mindfulness Box

The final item, uncovered by Asher, was a Yo Soy “I am Grateful” soy candle in a sweet orange and chili pepper fragrance (4 oz., value, $8.00) I did not see this scent on the Yo Soy site, but they had many other tempting fragrances available. As is obvious in the video, my kids are very used to having little glass jars of homemade salves all around the house, which is why Asher kept trying to dig his finger into the candle (fortunately without success). As much as I love salves, I was happy that this was in fact a candle. I find that with the darker days in the fall and winter months, I am lighting candles more for meditation, during a relaxing bath, or to create a quiet tone within the house. I was delighted to have this candle to add into the mix, and I loved the fresh orange scent that was balanced with just a hint of spice from the pepper. According to Mindfulness Box, the candle is meant to align you with your intention of gratitude.

Mindfulness full November Box Unboxing & review; zen meditation, chocolate, crystals, gratitude

The overall value of this month’s box according to the retail values provided was $38.50. This is a good value relative to the box price, and a significant increase over last month’s box value. I know that I will use every item in the box, as well as the meditation and gratitude practices. I find that the longer that I have been receiving subscription boxes, the more I have come to appreciate item utility and goodness of fit with my lifestyle over straight retail price. After all, the ultimate value is in the perceived utility to me, not a theoretical number. I very much liked the gratefulness theme; it is one that is not just popular at this time of year, but is very much in keeping with Mindfulness Box’s year-round mission. I like that Mindfulness Box consistently sends a nice balance of items for home, for self, and for emotional and spiritual wellness.

What are your thoughts about Mindfulness Box? Do you appreciate reminders and practices to promote gratitude in your life?

To see other crunchy subscription box video unboxings, look here on the Crunchy Parent You Tube channel. If you are interested in finding “crunchy-friendly” subscription boxes to enhance the way you live, eat, craft, play, care for you home and body, etc. you can find them on my ULTIMATE list, recently updated for fall. If you have any suggestions or requests for future videos, please let me know in the comments, and be sure to subscribe to CrunchyParent!

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