Shopping

Disclosure: I participated in an Influencer Activation on behalf of Influence Central for Fashion Project. I received a promotional item to thank me for my participation.

Over the last few years, I’ve become a bit obsessed with with fashion: The trends, the brands, how to incorporate both of those into my personal style (and budget), etc. I use fashion as a tool to help me feel my best, and I bet a lot of other women out there feel the same way. Unfortunately, I also I know a lot more about cancer than I would like, thanks to my daughter’s battle with leukemia when she was just 4 years old. I saw firsthand how the side-effects of cancer — severe bloating from steroids, pale skin, hair loss — can weigh on a person’s self confidence. So when I learned of a project that aims to do something about that through fashion, I couldn’t wait to share their cause with you.

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The mission of the Look Good Feel Better program is to help people who are fighting cancer also fight back against the changes to their appearance by offering free workshops that include lessons on cosmetics, skin and nail care, wigs, turbans, accessories and wardrobe. Well, they have partnered with Fashion Project, a new “thrift store” option that donates a portion of the profits from every item they sell to the donor’s charity of choice. So for example, if you had a designer handbag you wanted to donate to a regular thrift store, that handbag might end up on the shelf for only a few dollars. Great for the customer who finds it, but Fashion Project allows you to put that bag to greater use by reselling it for a price closer to what it’s worth, then donating up to 55% of the proceeds charity.

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So how exactly do these two organizations work together? Well, you can now shop the Look Good Feel Better boutique at FashionProject.com, which features clothing and accessories donated by members of the Look Good Feel Better and Fashion Project communities, along with celebrities and designers. So you can shop and donate women’s designer clothing and accessories in like-new condition to the boutique through June 7. More than 850 items have already been donated, and more than $4,000 has been raised for the Look Good Feel Better program.

What that means is you can find gorgeous clothing, shoes and accessories from brands like Vince Camuto, BCBGMAXAZRIA, Alice + Olivia and even Givenchy for up to 90% off, and your purchase will help women with cancer feel better about themselves throughout their battle. You can also donate clothes to the sale.

I genuinely cannot think of a more worthy cause or a better excuse to shop.

When my husband and I got married almost 12 years ago, we were young and broke. Which means that a lot of the fancy add-ons that usually come with weddings just didn’t happen for us — including a wedding photographer and expensive custom invitations. Thankfully, even back then, I had some graphic design skills, so I used a pre-made, print-at-home invitation kit to make our invitations. They turned out nice, but I still wish we could’ve gotten something more custom. Thanks to Walmart Stationery, now brides and grooms who are in a similar situation can create their own beautiful stationery without breaking their pockets.

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Walmart has partnered with Gartner Studios to offer a beautiful selection of wedding and bridal event invitations, along with a free online wedding planning tool. The collection includes everything from Save the Date cards to bachelorette party invitations and menu cards, and trust me when I say the designs are absolutely gorgeous! Plus, you can get a free sample kit so you can see the quality of the paper and printing firsthand.

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When you’re ready to place your order, the process is really easy to follow. Each template allows you to change the text, fonts and colors with a live preview of your changes. You can also choose from two types of paper: Signature Smooth Stock paper for $.99 per invitation, or Deluxe Eggshell Stock paper at $1.29 per invitation. Envelopes are included in the prices, and if you choose Deluxe Eggshell Stock Paper, you can choose to have rounded corners and the return address information printed on the envelopes.

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I got to walk through the customization process and receive some invitations of my own. I chose to customize a bachelorette party invitation to make it a birthday party invitation for my daughter. They turned out beautifully, and the paper is a great weight and quality. The colors are vivid and clear, and the design is gorgeous! Of course, I realized after the fact that I failed to catch an error when I was proofing the invites. The date reads “August 2th” instead of “August 2nd.”

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That is absolutely my fault and I should’ve caught it when I was proofing. So learn from my mistake: Check your invitations carefully before you have them printed.

Still, the process itself was relatively quick and easy, and the product is well worth the price, which is a mere fraction of what you’d pay a designer and custom printer to create unique invitations. If you’re looking for a budget-friendly solution for your wedding day, be sure to check out Walmart Stationery.

Disclosure: As a participant in the Walmart Moms Program, I’ve received product samples and compensation for my time and efforts in creating this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Affiliate links have been used.

Shopping for Baby, Part 2

A few weeks ago, I shared that I was trying to break out of my habit of buying the same products over and over again by trying a few new baby products, courtesy of Walmart. There is beauty in being able to go to one store and get pretty much everything I need for baby Juliza, but I never know if I’m missing out on something just because I’d never thought to try it.

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Like these three:

Pull-Ups Learning Designs

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I didn’t think Juliza was quite ready for potty training, but it can’t hurt to start early, right? Pull-Ups were an invaluable tool in my husband’s and my arsenal when we were potty training our oldest daughter, but we hadn’t really thought about using them for Juliza yet. We got the Pull-Ups Learning Designs training pants in size 2T-3T, and they’re still a bit big on her. Which means that though they didn’t leak when she was wet, they did when she pooped. I’m sure this won’t be the case once she grows into them. Juliza was really captivated by the idea of pulling up her own diaper. She’s not quite effective at it yet, but it’s easy to see that she’s going to enjoy being able to take matters into her own hands — literally. These are going in the closet until she’s a little older, but I imagine they’ll be invaluable yet again.

Johnson & Johnson Baby Bedtime Wash and Lotion

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Though I hadn’t used their products in years, when I think of baby products, Johnson & Johnson is still one of the first brands that come to mind. I usually don’t personally buy them because I’m not a big fan of the ingredients list, but I know a lot of parents do. And I tried their baby bedtime lotion and wash a few times just so I could give an accurate review. The good? They work. They work well. The soap and lotion both smell ah-mazing, the lavender fragrance really does help calm baby at bedtime and they are really moisturizing. Still, in the future, I’ll stick with products with fewer, more natural ingredients.

Gerber Graduates Grabbers Pouches

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Juliza is at the stage when she really likes to feed herself. As in she’ll throw a tantrum if we try to feed her instead of giving her spoon. This is fun for her, but tends to be messy for me. For those days when I’m not in the mood for a mess, these Gerber Graduates Grabbers pouches are great. They are available in fun flavor combinations like Banana Blueberry and Apple, Pear & Peach, and while messes are possible, Juliza already has gotten the hang of squeezing the pouch into her mouth, and so everywhere else. I’m still leery of pouches with contents that I can’t see, so I’ll always, always check the expiration date. Still, she really likes these, so I’ll let her have her fun sometimes.

I’m really thankful for this little product testing experiment. I learned some things. For example, Huggies diapers really are great and worth the money. And they’ve spoiled me for using any other kind. Aveeno has a pretty safe ingredients list and it’s an effective moisturizer. And Juliza will likely be ready to potty train sooner than we thought. So going out of my shopping comfort zone has its perks. I may have to try this again for other types of products too.

Disclosure: As a participant in the Walmart Moms Program, I’ve received product samples and compensation for my time and efforts in creating this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Affiliate links have been used.

I’d be the first person to tell you that the green movement isn’t where it was a few years ago. “Eco-friendly” this and “organic” that was once on the forefront of many people’s minds, but the conversations have shifted a bit. I’d like to think it’s because so many people are now aware of the need for sustainability that it’s become a habit that they don’t talk about often (that’s definitely the case for my family). Still, for some people, the relative quiet nature of sustainability makes it somewhat invisible.

Walmart is working to change that.

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For several years now, the company has been actively working toward making the entire operation more sustainable, and a big part of that has been a push to get the companies that supply their products to do the same via their Sustainability Index. To find the companies that are acting on that push, look no further than the Walmart Sustainability Leaders Shop.

When you’re shopping at Walmart.com, this page makes it easier to find products made by companies that have scored as “best in class” in the Walmart Sustainability Index. Here’s a quick video that better explains the way it works.

Long story short, while you’re shopping at Walmart.com, look for products with this badge:

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There are more than 10,000 products available that are made by companies that meet the sustainability standards, and the badge makes it easier to find them. Plus, this is Walmart, so the prices will be affordable.

I’m really excited about this new badge, because I’m the type of shopper who looks for this type of information about the products I buy, especially online. I want to know if it’s organic, or recycled, or at least made by a company that is making sustainability goals a priority, and actually achieving them.

What about you? Do you look for eco-friendly products when you’re shopping online? Will the badge help make that easier?

Disclosure: As a participant in the Walmart Moms Program, I’ve received product samples and compensation for my time and efforts in creating this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Affiliate links have been used.

Shopping for Baby, Part 1

I am a creature of habit. When it comes to shopping, that means I tend to be very brand loyal. Once I find a product that I really like, I stick with it, shopping trip after shopping trip. This is great for the brands that I love, but it means that I rarely try new products or find out if there’s something I like better than what I’ve already got. So when Walmart gave me the opportunity to try a bunch of different baby products, I was only to happy to oblige. After all, having a baby in the house does create some unique buying opportunities, and I wanted to make sure I wasn’t missing out.

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The great thing about Walmart is that I can get everything I need for Juliza in one place, from her diapers to her clothes, bath products and food. In spite of that, I had never bought any of these products before.

Huggies Little Movers Diapers

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Price often dictates which diapers I purchase, because they all work pretty much the same, right? Well, they all function the same, but I wouldn’t say they all work the same. Some are definitely better than others. And I have to say, Huggies Little Movers definitely goes on the list of better diapers.

Even when I unfold the diaper to put it on Juliza, I can tell the difference. The material feels sturdier than other brands I’ve tried, and the fit is really great for an active toddler. Juliza rarely keeps still, and we’ve started to see some shift in her diaper throughout the day. Huggies Little Movers are designed to accommodate all this activity.

The waistband and leg openings have great stretch, and in addition to the regular tabs that close the diaper, there are strips on the front that also adhere to keep it closed. Plus, they’ve proven to be very absorbent and keep her skin dry even when her diaper is wet.

They’re on the higher end of the price scale, but the features make them worth the money.

Aveeno Baby Wash & Lotion

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I’m very particular about what I put on Juliza’s skin, in part because she’s my baby and I’m protective, but also because she’s prone to dryness and I have to be vigilant to keep her skin well-moisturized. This means that she only gets baths every other night so we don’t dry out her skin, and I put lotion on her several times a day.

The Aveeno Baby Wash & Shampoo is very lightly scented and it’s not drying at all. After a bath, when I towel Juliza off, her skin already seems to be absorbing moisture really well when I use this. But the lotion is the real find.

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I like putting lotion on her immediately after a bath when her skin will best absorb moisture. But by morning, I usually have to apply it again, and then once more during the day. The Aveeno Daily Moisture baby lotion kept her skin well moisturized all day long. I only had to apply it one time. That’s it. It really did work better than anything else I’ve tried on her skin.

My only objection is that I’m not a fan of some of the ingredients. Aveeno has natural ingredients, but it’s not all natural. Still, both products score a 2 in the Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep database — low scores that indicate they are pretty safe.

Gerber 2nd Foods

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Juliza already has 10 teeth, with a couple more coming in, so she’s a bit past the stage of eating pureed baby food any more. However, we still give her cereal and oatmeal, and she loves fruit, so we like to mix a little pureed fruit in with those. The Gerber 2nd Foods products include a lot of mixed fruit options. We tried the Apples & Cherries, and Banana Mixed Berries.

Juliza loved the Banana Mixed Berries by itself, which I predicted because she loves bananas. The Apples & Cherries she preferred mixed with her cereal. At just $1.08 for a pack of two, they’re worth keeping on hand for moments when we want to give her a little snack.

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In a few weeks, I’ll share a couple more baby products from Walmart that we’re trying, but I’d love to hear about your shopping habits:

Are you a habitual shopper like me, or do you like to try new things or buy what’s on sale?

Disclosure: As a participant in the Walmart Moms Program, I’ve received product samples and compensation for my time and efforts in creating this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Affiliate links have been used.

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When I was growing up, I was fortunate to have strong women in my life to look up to, including my mother. So when the time came for me to start my own business, it never crossed my mind that I couldn’t because I’d had so many examples of women doing big things. I was empowered by those women, and it is my duty to provide the same example for my daughters. Running my own business is part of it, but really, it’s just about providing an environment in which they believe in themselves enough to do whatever they set their minds to.

So needless to say, I am a huge fan of Walmart‘s global Women’s Economic Empowerment initiative, which aims to improve the lives of women around the world in a variety of ways, not the least of which is their commitment to source $20 billion (that’s BILLION) worth of products from companies owned by women by 2016. To clarify, Walmart defines a woman-owned company as on that is at least 51% owned by women and also run by a woman.

Patricia Wallwork, CEO of Milo's Tea Company

Patricia Wallwork, CEO of Milo’s Tea Company

Well, March is Women’s History Month, and Walmart is featuring six of those items manufactured by woman-owned companies:

  • Milo’s Sweet Tea
  • Budget Saver Popsicles
  • CLR Remover
  • Smart & Sexy Bra
  • Carter’s Infant Shoes
  • Hefty Trashcan

Though I recognized almost all the brands, I had no idea that these companies were run by women. I’m sure I’m not alone in that. But these are just 6 of more than 10,000 items that can be found both in Walmart stores and online that come from companies owned by women. This page will help you find them, along with the Women Owned badge like the one shown below.

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But why does any of this matter? Well, aside from the fact that it’s just a great idea to let girls see women being successful, there is the fact that women are responsible for more than 80% of consumer decisions globally, and it’s great to be able to support other women with our dollars. Plus initiatives like this one can, and very likely will, help those companies grow by leaps and bounds.

That sounds like money well spent to me.

Disclosure: As a participant in the Walmart Moms Program, I’ve received compensation for my time and effort in creating this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Affiliate links may have been used.

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If there’s one thing I wish I had done, it’s stock up on diapers before we brought baby Juliza home from the hospital. Of course, she was born unexpectedly three weeks early, and we initially planned to do cloth diapering (let’s just say that didn’t work out), but still. I would’ve saved myself a lot of stress by having diapers in a variety of sizes on hand instead of buying them one or two packs at a time.

If you have a baby, or one on the way, now is a great time to do just that during Walmart‘s Stock up and Save event featuring brands like Huggies, Pull-ups and Goodnites. During this promotion, diaper packs will include free FROZEN wipes, and you can print digital coupons from Walmart.com for all the products.

You can get:

  • HUGGIES Diapers for $34.47
  • Pull-Ups for $24.94
  • HUGGIES wipes for $11.97
  • Goodnites Youth Pants for $24.94

The available coupons are pretty nice too:

  • $2 off any 1 pack of Huggies Diapers
  • $2 off any 1 pack of Huggies Wipes
  • $2 off any 1 pack of Pull-Ups training pants
  • $3.50 off any 2 packs of Pull-Ups training pants
  • $2 off any GoodNites product, including bedmats, underwear and Tru-Fit

Juliza has been wearing the same diaper size for a while, so we’re going to stock up on her current size as well as the next size up.

What about you? Do you stock up on diapers? Would you take advantage of these deals?

Disclosure: As a participant in the Walmart Moms Program, I’ve received product samples and compensation for my time and efforts in creating this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Affiliate links have been used.

I wish I could say my Christmas shopping was complete, but alas, it is not. I still have a few people to shop for, and I still have to get a few more items for our stockings. If you’ve procrastinated this year, like me, not to worry. You can still shop your conscience. Just head to your nearest Whole Foods Market and pick up a gift that will woo the recipient and make you feel great about wooing the Earth. Even if you did buy it just days before Christmas.

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So what kind of great green gifts can you really get at Whole Foods? Well, whether you’re shopping for a fashionista, a beauty maven, your husband or the kids, there’s something for everyone. Here are some of my favorites:

Threads 4 Thought Fleece Leggings, $30

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I love Threads 4 Thought because they’re committed to using sustainable materials like organic cotton and recycled polyester, the latter of which turns plastic bottles that otherwise would’ve gone into the waste stream into fashion. Cute fashion, at that. These fleece leggings are the perfect complement to a winter outfit and a great way to make all those summer dresses work during the colder months. Also, Threads 4 Thought gives portion of their proceeds to the International Rescue Committee (IRC) and the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC).

Yellow 108 Infinity Scarf, $24.00

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I have one niece who is a scarf fanatic, and I know she’d love these. Yellow 108 is a Los Angeles-based company that makes sustainable accessories and hats made of salvaged materials from eco textile factories. These infinity scarves are made of 100% salvaged cotton, and the nature of the materials means that every run is “limited edition”.

Chavez for Charity Bracelets, $11.99

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What girl (or boy) wouldn’t love some gorgeous, stackable bracelets on Christmas morning? Plus, in this case, for each green bracelet purchased, Chavez for Charity will donate 25% of the profits to the Whole Plant Foundation, whose mission is to alleviate poverty through microlending programs in communities throughout the world. And you can only get them at Whole Foods Market this holiday season.

Pacifica Wanderlust Trio Roll-On Perfume Set, $18.99

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Though I always give cologne as a gift, I’ve never been a big perfume person myself, in part because it’s too hard to tell what’s in them these days. Well, these perfume roll-ons from Pacifica would be right up my alley. They’re 100% vegan and free of phthalates, nitro-musks and benzene, made with natural grain alcohol and essential oils. The scents included in the set: Indian Coconut Nectar, Tuscan Blood Orange and Island Vanilla. Don’t they sound amazing?

Mineral Fusion Sheer Moisture Lip Tints, $19.99

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I may not be into perfume very much, but one thing I have been loving of late is lipstick. This three-pack contains Mineral Fusion’s most popular lip tint crayons, and you can only get them at Whole Foods. The colors included are Flicker (sheer berry), Smolder (bright cherry red) and Glisten (nude caramel shimmer). And unlike your favorite matte lipstick, these tints will hydrate your lips with cocoa butter and botanical oils, and they even taste sweet because of their natural vanilla-mint fragrance.

Every Man Jack Body Kit Sandalwood Pail, $17.99

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Let me just say, my husband LOVES Every Man Jack. The fragrances are musky and manly, and they last all day. This all-in-one grooming kit comes with a hydrating body wash, aluminum-free deodorant, soothing face lotion and bonus SPF lip balm in a refreshing Sandalwood fragrance. Neatly packed in a unique, reusable pail, the items in this set use naturally derived ingredients from coconut, jojoba oil and aloe to soothe, hydrate and protect skin. No parabens, no phthalates, no dyes, no sodium lauryl sulfate, and never tested on animals. All products meet Whole Foods Market’s strict Premium Body Care™ standards.

PBS KIDS x Whole Foods Market Produce Pick Up Shape Sorter, $22.99

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PBS KIDS and Whole Foods Market have joined forces on a line of eco-friendly toys this year. Whole Foods Market will donate a portion of their proceeds to support the Whole Kids Foundation, and 100% of PBS proceeds will support its mission of educating all children. The Produce Pick-Up Shape Sorter is a great toy for kids who are learning their shapes and colors. It’s made with FSC-certified pinewood, printed with vegetable inks and packaged in recycled materials, plus it comes with 13 pieces, including a detachable crate to store the produce pieces. Made for kids ages 3 and up.

What about you? Are you still shopping for a few gifts? Do you consider buying green when you’re in a hurry?

Disclosure: I was provided with compensation for my time and effort in creating this post. As usual, all opinions are my own and completely authentic.