Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Oh May! Oh My!

So we have officially survived our first camping adventure as a family!

Duane and I have spent the last 9 May Long's rain or shine in a tent (except for last year while I was sporting a baby belly and we visited the lovely Morgan Camille in Vancouver). For me this weekend marks the true start of summer...or at least the camping season. Over the years we have certainly seen some varied weather. But perhaps none quite like this year!

We managed to only make it out for one night this year. But what a night it was! Our good friends have some land out in Waiparous upon which they have started building their dream home. It's a beautiful location. Not quite in the Rocky Mountains, but certainly with that feel. It was their first time meeting our baby girl and we absolutely enjoyed our visit with our old friends.

We made it out there Sunday afternoon and spent a glorious day enjoying the outdoors. This play included a trip to the river where Eavan had a chance to feel the open water on her toes for the first time :)

The sun was shining and beaming a glorious 24 degrees of love onto us and despite hearing numerous forecasts calling for snow the following day we simply couldn't believe it.

Well, the weather man didn't lie. That evening sitting around the campfire (our 1st for the season, yay!) it was warm, but the clouds began to spit a little. So we trekked back to bed and I curled up with my little girl in my arms and the rain really began to pour..and pour...and pour! And sometime during the night the temperature dwindled lower, and lower. And the rain turned to snow. And I shivered. And tucked my baby girl closer to me under the covers, trying to make sure she was warm enough.

And so throughout the night, the snow fell and fell in the thick, sticky substance that a May snowstorm brings. Som etime during the night, the vestibule on our tent decided it had had enough and it caved to the pressure of it's heavy intruder. Of course when this happened, the entire family woke (if we ever did really fall asleep).
And as I tried to comfort my (teething) baby back to sleep, my wonderful husband slipped out to right our toppled structure of a "home".

We spent the next morning huddled in the trailer of our friend's trying to warm up, and eventually made it out to the warmth of a campfire (which I am still trying to rid from my hair!). But alas, we survived camping yet another May long weekend in Alberta. Where you never really know what you are going to get. And this time we did it with a teething baby by our side. So, if anything, I now have confidence that this is the first of many fun adventures into the outdoors for our little family.

And in the meantime...it's still snowing here. This has got to be the LONGEST winter I have ever seen. And I have to admit...I visited the Westjet site this morning. Just in case there were any sales to Phoenix :) There weren't...so I guess I'm stuck here for a while!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Natural Ain't Natural

I'm annoyed. The other day I went into Shoppers to pick up some eye makeup remover. There was a nice girl working at the cosmetics counter who helped me out.

I asked for a recommendation. Specifically I asked for something that was more "natural". She recommended a product called "Boots Botanics". Saying it was one of their most "natural products". I was in a bit of a hurry, so I thanked her and proceeded to the check out.

When I got home I took a look at the ingredients. Now obviously, you would have thought I would have looked while still IN the store but at the time, I just took the sales lady's advice and went on my merry way. These ingredients are far from the "natural" ingredients the company claims to use. Although, really, there is no control over how the term is used.

Which got me thinking. Marketers today can really say whatever they want to get people to purchase their products. Shoppers' website says of this particular brand "Boots Botanics collection is a unique combination of high performance yet indulgent products that bring together the power of plants, modern science and technologies. Luxury that cares for your well-being beautifully. Another Shoppers Drug Mart exclusive."

This morning I headed to my online product guru "Skin Deep" and checked up on this particular "indulgent product". I was pretty disappointed with what I saw.

For those not familiar with this website, I highly suggest you become acquainted. It's an independent research council that tests the safety of various cosmetic products from makeup, soap, lotions, toothpaste, baby products, etc. It ranks products and ingredients safety on a scale of 0 to 10. 0 being considered safe, and 10 being considered toxic. Generally I try and stick to products with a rating of 3 or less.

This "natural" product had an overall rating of 6. Ouch, that's high. But perhaps more concerning is the breakdown of the individual ingredients. One of the ingredients, 2-BROMO-2-NITROPROPANE-1,3-DIOL is particularly daunting. Just look at that name! That doesn't sound "natural" to me. This ingredient has a toxicity rating of 10. Citing the following concerns "Violations, restrictions & warnings, Neurotoxicity, Allergies/immunotoxicity, Organ system toxicity (non-reproductive), Irritation (skin, eyes, or lungs), Contamination concerns (FORMALDEHYDE, NITROSAMINES), Occupational hazards". (For a complete description of this ingredient click here.)

Okay, so I admit, I am not completely sure what all that means...but it can't be good can it? Organ system toxicity?! Yikes!!

So, it's in my eye makeup remover. Great. But that's not the worst of it. I've seen that ingredient before. In baby wipes. That's right. An ingredient considered "toxic in very low doses" hidden away in the Life brand "sensitive skin - perfect for newborn baby" wipes. A couple months back, I was suckered into purchasing some of these wipes to use on my baby's most sensitive skin, drawn in by their claims of "natural" ingredients.

Don't worry. I returned the wipes. And I let Shoppers know about this dangerous chemical addition to their baby products. But of course it's still on the shelves.

But what about all the people that ARE using these wipes? What about their babies? How is it that companies are able to sell these types of products to people?

Is it an ethical issue? Legal? I don't know. But I am bothered by it to say the least.

So now, marketers are capitalizing on passing off unnatural "natural" products to meet the demands of consumers. At the expense of our children?

I guess the old adage rings true. You CAN'T judge a book by its cover. It's buyer beware, or buyer be poisoned.