Khaki’s Bomb Balm Skin Care Giveaway

Khaki's Bomb Balm Giveaway - Under the Monkey Bars blog

I’m super excited to share with you the most AMAZING organic skin care products for Under the Monkey Bars first GIVEAWAY! Just in time for Mother’s Day, we’re giving away a set of Khaki’s Bomb Balm ANTI-AGING skin care products.

I know. It’s so exciting I can barely contain myself. Can you tell by all the caps?!?

I’ve been using 10 of Khaki’s Bomb Balm products for 6 months now and my skin has never looked better. I actually got a compliment the other day that I’m “glowing” — and I’m not even pregnant.

I went in to see Khaki at her Face Food Skin Care Studio here in Newburyport for a complimentary consolation back in November. I was having a heat induced reaction to the antibiotics I was taking to treat Lyme. After trying at least 5 products without any improvement (including prescriptions), I was shocked at how quickly Khaki’s handcrafted products cleared up my skin.

Khaki's Bomb Balm Giveaway - Under the Monkey Bars blog

The giveaway features Khaki’s anti-aging skin care set, which retails for $85. I use all 4 of these products daily and absolutely love them: Grapeseed & Grapefruit Cleansing Milk, Anti-aging Rosehip Lavender CreamDusk Radiance Treatment Serum, and Raw Honey Almond Exfoliant. Wait till you open the cream! I can no longer buy skin care products without pressed flowers. It’s just so luxurious!!

Khaki’s Bomb Balm is a completely natural, vegan friendly line of products that you can feel good about using. She’s an esthetician who creates small batch skin care products out of real food right here in Newburyport! Plus, it warms my heart that I’m supporting a local Momma of two little monkeys.

I love winning stuff. Seriously. Did you know that about me? And I actually do win things. But you have to enter the giveaway to win! So fill out the entry form below and cross your fingers. Someone is going to win these luxurious products just in time for Mother’s Day!! The winner will be announced on May 4th.

 a Rafflecopter giveaway.

In my bag

In My Bag - Under the Monkey Bars Blog

In My Bag- Under the Monkey Bars blog

Classic tote :: Cuyana 
Wallet :: LODIS (mine’s 4 years old and still looks new)
Pouches :: One Truffle

Now that I’m tidying up my life, I need to decide which bags spark joy. This classic gray Cuyana tote I got for Christmas definitely does! It’s light as a feather, super soft, and sustainable. The company’s mission aligns with mine: fewer, better things. As I pare down what I own, I’m choosing quality over quantity. This timeless bag without flashy hardware goes with everything. It’s perfect for every day, and a great size for this busy Mom.

I’m totally in love with these pouches from One Truffle. I’ve had my eye on them for months. Everything in my bag goes into the clear pouches except my wallet, keys, phone, and sanitizer, making it super easy to grab what I need in a flash. My bag stays neat and organized with this system. 

Like most Moms, I manage to pack a lot in my bag so I'm always prepared!

Like most Moms, I manage to pack a lot in my bag so I’m always prepared!

In my Small Clarity Clutch
– The best cure for chapped lips: WAXALENE.
– Two kinds of LIP GLOSS so I always have just the right one.
– My favorite intensely thick HAND CREME.
SUNGLASSES won’t scratch in the pouch; no case necessary!
– Reusable COFFEE CUP SLEEVE because I’m super green and proud of it.

In my Large Clarity Clutch
– My bag hasn’t been without EPI-PENs since 2005.
– A REUSABLE BAG is an absolute must!
– My Great Aunt Flo’s pink leather CHECKBOOK stays close to my heart.
– Organic MINTS for the monkeys in case of emergency (you know the ones!).

What essentials do you carry in your bag?

Cleanse Virgin

Cleanse Virgin - Under the Monkey Bars blog

I’ve watched many friends go through cleanses. Not once have I been interested in jumping on the bandwagon — until now. I’m happy to report that I’m longer a cleanse virgin!

My body has gone through a lot fighting Lyme over the past 6 months. I’ve taken more medicine and supplements than I ever thought I would at age 38. I started looking for a way to detoxify my body without depriving it.

Cleanses clear out toxins from your body, like pesticides on produce and automobile fumes. They often involve limiting your food intake to different concoctions of pressed juice that can remove these harmful toxins from your body so it can focus on healing. A typical juice only cleanse helps shift your intestines away from digestion and absorption and towards ridding the body of toxins.

This makes sense to me, but I’m a firm believer in feeding your body and soul. In my mind, traditional juice cleanses do just the opposite. I don’t have time to sit around feeling exhausted and hungry all day. These two monkeys need their Mama! So I assumed cleanses just weren’t for me.

But what about a cleanse that’s more than just juice? As soon as I heard about Jubali’s nourishing cleanse, I knew it was just what I needed. Have you heard of Jubali? It’s is a certified organic juice, dairy-free smoothie, and herbal tea company based in Boston. They use only whole food ingredients, mostly sourced locally, with no added sugars or preservatives. All products are gluten free and vegan — my kind of company! I’ve been drinking their yummy smoothies for a while now but never realized I could use them as a cleanse.

Jubali’s whole foods smoothies keep fiber, healthy fats, protein, and sugar together. With this nourishing cleanse, you won’t get the massive sugar spikes and hunger pains of a mainstream juice cleanse. Plus, their super herb infusion teas help balance and heal throughout the cleanse process. 

I was able to really customize my cleanse, and I loved that flexibility. I kept a dairy so you could see what the cleanse was really like, minus what happened in the bathroom of course. I’m not ready to talk about poop on the blog yet, guys!

Cleanse Diary :: Day 1
6:30am :: 14 ounces of water
7:30am :: 10 ounce bowl of raw chocolate buckwheat parfait with berries
9:00am :: 14 ounces of water
11:00am :: Jubali Greena Colada smoothie: great flavor combination. Didn’t waste a drop – licked the cap!
12:30pm :: 16 ounces of Jubali Reishi Revive super-herb infusion tea, cold.
2:20pm :: Jubali LaLa Berry smoothie: loved the raspberry seeds. Didn’t need to chew them but I was happy to chew something!
3:30pm :: 14 ounces of water. Feeling a little cranky. Craving black tea.
5:15pm :: 14 ounces of water. I’m normal hungry for dinner. Not going to fall over surprisingly.
5:45pm :: Homemade potato leek soup with a small bowl of kale salad.
6:15pm :: I actually feel really good! Thought I’d be dragging.
6:30pm :: 14 ounces of water
8:00pm :: 4 ounces Jubali almond milk with 1/4 cup of homemade applesauce (apples + lemon). Feeling less tired than usual with balanced energy.

Cleanse Virgin - Under the Monkey Bars

Cleanse Diary :: Day 2
6:00am :: 14 ounces of water. Woke up feeling great. Not hungry at all.
7:30am :: 8 ounces of hot Jubali Clover Cleanse tea. This tea flavor was tough to get used to.
9:00am :: 16 ounces of homemade dinosaur smoothie
9:15am :: Gentle yoga. Felt so great to move slowly and massage my organs with twists and stretching. Not dizzy.
10:30am :: 14 ounces of water after yoga
11:15am :: 10 ounces of hot Jubali Deep Mineral tea: my favorite!
12:00pm :: Orange Jubali smoothie: made with bee pollen, which is apparently the single richest source of vitamins found in nature. Delicious flavor and great texture. Yum!
1:30pm :: 14 ounces of water
2:00pm :: Small sweet potato with avocado oil and salt
2:30pm :: 8 ounces of hot Jubali Clover Cleanse tea
3:00pm :: Slight headache.
4:00pm :: Jubali Mocha Bliss smoothie: totally cleared my headache.
4:45pm :: 14 ounces of water. Feeling zen. Would be a good time to curl up with a good book! Finished mine yesterday 🙁
5:15pm :: 14 ounces of water
6:00pm :: Homemade carrot soup with a small bowl of roasted cabbage.
7:15pm :: 6 ounces of hot Jubali Deep Mineral tea
8:00pm :: 4 ounces of Jubali almond milk with 1/4 cup of homemade applesauce. More energy than usual again at this time of night.

Now that I’ve done a cleanse, I can definitely see myself doing something similar seasonally. Besides detoxing, it’s a great way to give your body a kick start and change your habits. I was a little cold the first day. I realized on day 2 of the cleanse that I could warm the tea, which was a total game changer.

After the cleanse, I didn’t have a sip of caffeine for almost 2 weeks. I have more energy. I’m not craving sugar. I’m not as hungry. I truly feel more balanced. Next time I cleanse, I’ll clear my calendar and treat myself to a few days off with gentle yoga classes, a good book, and maybe get a massage. We all need more self care. A cleanse is a great way to start.

Every body is different. It’s really important to listen to your body, which is the number one way you can evaluate whether or not a cleanse would work for you. You can’t do a cleanse and expect to be healthy. Health is a journey. It needs to be a part of your daily life — not just a few days where you starve yourself. For me, this nourishing cleanse helped my body heal. It removed toxins from my body and gave me a fresh start for 2016.

If you’d like to check out Jubali’s products, head over to the Natural Grocer in Newburyport or look for them at Whole Foods Market. Jubali delivers in Boston by bike!

The Pits

The Pits: What's in your deodorant? - Under the Monkey Bars Blog

You read that right. We’re talking about your armpits today, a.k.a. the pits! October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, so it’s only fitting that we talk about the pits and what you’re putting on them. Everything you put on your skin gets absorbed into your blood stream, including deodorant.

There is a debate as to whether chemicals in antiperspirants and deodorants can cause breast cancer. Scientists have suggested that aluminum-based compounds in antiperspirants may be a risk factor for the development of breast cancer. But no one has officially said that these chemicals cause breast cancer. Why take the risk? I don’t know about you, but I’d rather be safe than sorry.

Approximately 1 in 8 women in the United States will develop breast cancer; that’s 12% of us. Definitely schedule your mammogram for screening…but what if you could do something every day preventatively? You could consider switching to a natural deodorant. Hear me out…

What do you use: antiperspirant or deodorant? There’s actually a difference.
– Antiperspirants prevent you from sweating, which is completely unnatural and not good for you. Can you imagine the amount of chemicals needed to pull this off? Yeah, you can. Buckets of chemicals.
– Deodorant lets you sweat but blocks odor by killing bacteria.

From a purely natural standpoint, it makes more sense for us to use deodorant, as it makes the process more natural. But even some deodorants contain really bad stuff like triclosan, propylene glycol (endocrine disruptors) and aluminum (which could be linked to breast cancer, alzheimer’s disease, bone disorders, and kidney problems). So why are we putting it directly on the lymph nodes of our pits?

It’s because we sweat and no one wants to stink. Am I right?

I tried and tossed many brands of natural deodorant before finding one that works for me. For the past seven years, I’ve used Lavanila’s Healthy Deodorant. Am I stinky? Sometimes. There are days when I reapply. But overall I smell pretty good. I’ve had no issue with the Lavanila deodorant staining my clothing, probably because it’s made of good stuff including essential oils.

The chillier months of Fall and Winter are the best time to switch to a natural deodorant because you sweat less. Put yourself on a 2 year plan. Buy some new deodorant this week. Use it every day all winter long —except for those days you might need a little extra protection (big meeting, massive workout, etc). When late spring comes around, pull out your old deodorant and see how it feels. It might hurt, or it might feel fine. I actually used my old chemical-laden deodorant that first summer in fear of being too stinky. Then I went back to Lavanila’s Healthy Deodorant in the Fall. The next summer was a different story. My pits completely rejected the old deodorant. I got a rash and it really hurt. I also found I wasn’t as stinky that summer using just the Lavanila deodorant. This may sound weird, but you almost need to detox your armpits!

There are lots more aluminum-free deodorant brands on the market now than when I made the switch. Ask some friends and do some research, or just cheat and order Lavanila’s Healthy Deoderant. I’ve tried almost all of their scents but find that the Vanilla Coconut works best with my body chemistry. Lavanila now offers a Fragrance Free deodorant as well as Sport, which recently won Allure’s 2015 Best of Beauty Award. When your monkeys get stinky pits, try this kids deodorant. The roll-on is more exciting than I anticipated, and it comes in trendy packaging.

So what do you think? A little healthy attention for the pits this Fall?

Monkeys Favorite Things: SoCozy

So Cozy Products - Monkey's Favorite Things

The monkeys are always on the look out for fun girly things. They especially love chapstick, lotion, and hair stuff. But their choices are limited due to their allergies (gluten and peanut) and my list of harmful ingredients that I don’t want on our skin.

Healthy skin and hair care products for kids are few and far between. Elementary school age girls are too old for products with a baby on the label. Just like princesses, it’s not cool anymore. We’ve been on the hunt for a new shampoo and conditioner for years. We tried a number of hair care products from Whole Foods but nothing has made us do cartwheels…or even voluntarily get in the shower.

And then two months ago, we found SoCozy. I can’t even tell you how much the monkeys love these products. And I love SoCozy even more!

Here’s why…
– Little monkeys can open the shampoo and conditioner bottles themselves.
– The product comes out slowly, making it easy to use a small amount.
– All of the SoCozy products smell amazing but aren’t too girly. I don’t love when products have “fragrance” in their ingredients, but SoCozy seems really committed to honest ingredients so I’m letting this one go.
– We love the packaging — so colorful and fun.
– The Cinch 2 in 1 Shampoo + Body Wash really does the job with just one bottle. Lather up the hair first and then wash that little body with the extra suds.
– With the Cinch Detangler + Leave in Spray Conditioner, Bean can take a five minute shower as opposed to her usual 20 minutes before we started using the products. Miraculous!
– Sweet Pea’s curls are softer and more manageable with the super rich Cinch Super Hydrating Conditioner.
– The monkeys can successfully rinse the SoCozy products out of their hair themselves…for the first time ever! Definitely a solid reason to continue using these products.

After years of groans and moans at tubby time, my monkeys are practically skipping to take a shower. I can even stay downstairs to wash the dishes while they take their own showers. Gasp! I know. It’s been a huge time saver during the bed time routine — and we’ve enjoyed every minute. They are so proud of themselves!

I would be lying if I said I haven’t run downstairs in a towel before my shower to grab their SoCozy shampoo and conditioner…more than once. And I’ve found myself in their bathroom smoothing my curls with Behave Styling Cream too. I may even like SoCozy products better than the salon products I’m using. I might just make the switch! It would definitely make summer travel easier if we’re all using the same products.

Last night I asked the monkeys: What’s your favorite SoCozy product?

Sweet Pea: My favorite is the mousse. Sometimes my hair gets crazy and it keeps it under control. I also like the cream. It smells really good and makes my hair smooth.
Bean: I like the spray conditioner! I can take a faster shower and get back to reading my book.

Did I mention that you can buy SoCozy at Target? YES! I love when I have the option to buy something online or at a store. Because you know there’s always a “I ran out of _____” emergency. 

I noticed that SoCozy has lice prevention products as well. Right now we are using these products with success (knock wood!). When we run out, we’ll give the SoCozy Boo! line a try. Are you itching your head yet? Sorry! We’ll have to talk about our least favorite bugs another day…

Thank you to SoCozy for creating products that kids want to use with safe ingredients! SoCozy products are non-toxic, gluten free, nut free and are formulated without parabens, sulfates, phthalates, synthetic color, and propylene glycol. And it says it right on the label: No Nasties Here. Love that!