Monday, January 30, 2012

Inside my first Eco-Emi

Hi everyone! If you follow me on Twitter, you might have caught my tweet about receiving my first Eco-Emi Box late Friday afternoon. I was so excited to announce its arrival and anxious to open it. I can't believe I was able to wait until the next day to see what was inside, so I could capture my true initial reaction in this video for you.

Unfortunately, I had a lot of trouble uploading the video to YouTube on Saturday, and therefore, ran out of time to post about it. Thank goodness I found a moment today to review what was inside.

First of all, let me tell you a bit about Eco-Emi for those of you who don't already have a subscription. I'm a little late signing up, as the service has been available for nearly a year (I believe it will be a year old next month), but that's okay, as it seems to just keep getting better.

A woman named Christine created Eco-Emi (named for her dog, Emilia; you can find the whole story in the About section on the Eco-Emi site) as a way to inform others about organic, natural, eco-friendly products on the market and provide a fun way to try them. Basically, you pay $15 per month (which includes shipping) to receive a "mystery box" full of 5 to 10 samples of natural, organic, green, eco-friendly or Fair Trade products, mainly beauty related, but also including food and cleaning products. Some are just small samples, but others are actually full-size products.

The best part is getting the surprise box in the mail. You have no idea what products are inside until you open it (unless someone else posted their box contents online first, and you couldn't resist watching it; I know I've viewed my fair share of videos showing what was sent in past months).

So what did I receive in my January Eco-Emi Box?

If you watched our video at the top of this post, you already know, but for those of you who didn't, here's an overview, as quoted from the note card from Christine inside, and followed by my personal thoughts:

Lip Tint by JR Watkins: "We are pleased to feature 6 shades of Lip Tints by JR Watkins. Each person will receive one lip balm in a surprise shade from the following colors, Stardust, Scarlet Sunset, Tickled Pink, Strike-a-Rose, Simply Mauve-Laus and Berry Charming. These lip tints are packed with awesome ingredients and are naturally flavored with pure peppermint oil!"

This lip tint reminded me of the ones by Burt's Bees and has similar ingredients. I was taken back to my childhood visits to see family in Minnesota and bringing home JR Watkins products like their vanilla extract (the company is located in Minnesota). I received Scarlet Sunset, which is the perfect burnt orange glow for my skin tone.

Endangered Species lip balm by Merry Hempsters: "Endangered Wildlife Lip Balm is simply the finest certified organic herbal lip therapy on the market. Eco-friendly and healthy, USDA certified organic lip balm in concert with philanthropy make a winning combination. Merry Hempsters hope is to nourish lips, as well as educate. We are featuring 3 different balms featuring an endangered animal. You will receive one surprise balm about either the Right Whale in peppermint, Monk Seal in lavender orange or the Polar Bear in vanilla."

We received the Monk Seal in lavender orange. I happened to really like the scent, but Hayden's reaction was priceless in our video. She really wanted the lip tint instead, but now she's claimed this one as her own.

Sprouted Organic Quinoa by Tru Roots: "TruRoots produces the finest quality quinoa in partnership with organic family farmers on the high plains of the Andes in Bolivia. This tiny seed is one of nature's most healthful and rejuvenating foods - delightfully sweet, fluffy and moist. TruRoots Organic Sprouted Quinoa is the perfect blend of traditional ancient wisdom and modern technology and convenience. Rich in nutrition and taste, quinoa has it all and is great paired with stir-fried veggies!"

I don't really eat a lot of grains, but when I do, I prefer gluten-free options, such as quinoa. I especially like the fact that it's a good source of vegan protein. This quinoa is already sprouted, which really compliments my high raw diet.

Herbal tea by TeaGschwendner Acerola Fruit Tea - no caffeine & Herbal tea by TeaGschwendner Marani Green Tea: "The Marani tea has been a popular flavored green tea for many years in Europe and the US. This is a tropical paradise of fruit flavors spiked with pineapple and green tea from Japan and China. The Acerola Fruit Tea features a tart hibiscus joined by the cherry-like acerola fruit. This sweet, sour flavor is enhanced by candied pineapple and papaya pieces. Excellent iced and incredible hot. We have included two empty tea bags for you to make your tea in."

I was so excited to see this loose tea in my Eco-Emi box, because I'm a huge fan of loose tea. I have a special tea pot for brewing it, as well as tea infuser mesh pincer spoon for making individual cups. I thought it was nice to find the empty tea bags included, which reminded me of this blog post Kelli of Animal-Friendly Eating did as a gift-giving idea.

Organic Fair Trade Coconut Oil by Kelapo: "Harvested from exclusive coconut palms in Sri Lanka, this 100% organic, trans fat free oil can be used as an all-natural, flavorful and energy-packed, butter alternative. Coconut oil is fantastic to cook with or bake with, it's ideal for taking off waterproof mascara and is a wonderful moisturizer for your body and face. Coconut oil is also a fantastic conditioner for your hair. Just rub a pea-sized amount in your hands and apply to dry hair, combing it through with your fingers for super soft, shiny hair!"

It's no surprise that I'm already a big fan of coconut oil, as I used it in my rawified Cupcake Wars recipes from my last couple posts. I also use it to remove makeup, moisturize my skin, deep condition my hair and make my own natural beauty products, like this fresh beet lip stain and these lip balms. This sample packet makes it convenient to take this coconut oil with me anywhere.

Honeydew Spearmint Lotion by Deep Steep: "Deep Steep's Body Lotion provides a light, everyday moisturizer while boosting your skin's natural ability to rehydrate. A detoxifying infusion of organic herbal extracts blended with organic oils, butters, and vitamins, makes this light lotion the perfect anytime moisturizer of choice."

This time of year, my hands get so dry. I can't wait to try this cruelty-free, vegan lotion. I think I'll keep it in my purse for some emergency moisturizing on the go.

Organic Eyeliner in black brown by Lauren Brooke Cosmetiques: "Made of 100% organic oils and butters, including jojoba oil, caster oil and shea butter. This eyeliner pencil has been specifically formulated with all vegan-friendly ingredients and application is quick and easy with the convenience of a pencil! I LOVE this product!"

I was in need of a new eyeliner pencil, and this one was just right. It's organic, natural, vegan and is the perfect shade. I'm so happy to have found this in my Eco-Emi box.

Grapefruit Seed & Orange Peel Liquid Laundry Detergent by Biokleen: "Biokleen products are 3X concentrated for the best value and smallest environmental footprint. Experience superior cleaning results from natural ingredients including extracts of lime, orange, grapefruit seed, essential oils and soy."

This product was not new to me, as I've received samples of it in the past. I'll probably hold on to this one for a trip. While I'm mentioning Biokleen on my site, I have to add that the company's all-purpose cleaner is a staple in this house. It comes in a very concentrated bottle, which lasts a long time. I just add a little to a spray bottle, filled with water. Talk about saving a lot of packaging.

Organic Hand Purifier by Dr. Clean Green: "Dr. Clean Green's Instant Hand Purifier is one of a kind. A unique blend of purifying essential oils eliminated the need for excessive alcohol, hazardous chemicals or artificial colors and fragrances. Simply a naturally sweet-smelling, germ-killing lotion that goes on smoothly and works quickly, gently and effectively."

As a busy mom, its nice to carry this germ-killing product with me in my purse. I feel much better about applying this to my kids' skin (as well as my own) when we are out and about this cold season. It's a creamy, moisturizing lotion that's scent and texture reminds me of some of Pangea Organics products (have loved that company for years). Recently, I found some great recipes for making natural hand sanitizer, but this is even easier to have on hand.

*Just to let you know, I paid for my subscription to Eco-Emi. I did not receive any compensation for the review. I thanked Christine in the video, because I was satisfied with my purchase and what she selected for this month's box.

In case you missed it: