Friday, July 8, 2011

No More Dirty Looks

Cameron turned me on to their blog, and let me know when NuboNau had it as a free gift with purchase. I started reading it in the tub, so when they started in on contaminants and byproducts, I grabbed the Johnson's moisture care baby wash I had been using on Evelyn before we switched to California Baby products. Here is their ingredient list and some concerns based on the Environmental Working Group's Skin Deep Cosmetics Database. Keep in mind that the closer the ingredient is to the top, the more of it is in the product.

Cocamidopropyl Betaine
PEG-80 Sorbitan Laurate Violation of industry recommendations - Restricted in cosmetics; use, concentration, or manufacturing restrictions - Not safe for use on injured or damaged skin
Sodium Trideceth Sulfate
Acrylates Copolymer
Glycol Distearate
Fragrance The word fragrance...represents an undisclosed mixture of various scent chemicals and ingredients used as fragrance dispersants such as diethyl phthalate. Fragrance mixes have been associated with allergies, dermatitis, respiratory distress and potential effects on the reproductive system.
Lauryl Methyl Gluceth-10 Hydroxypropyldimonium Chloride
Laureth-4 Due to the presence of PEG, this ingredient may contain potentially toxic manufacturing impurities such as 1,4-dioxane.
Phenoxyethanol high concerns for eye, skin, and lung irritation; moderate concerns for organ system toxicity
Methylparaben Methylparaben is in the paraben family of preservatives used by the food, pharmaceutical, and personal care product industries. Parabens mimic estrogen and can act as potential hormone (endocrine) system disruptors.
Propylparaben ibid
Tetrasodium EDTA
Mineral Oil
Tocopheryl Acetate One or more animal studies show tumor formation at high doses. Suspected to be an environmental toxin and be persistent or bioaccumulative (uncertainty in environmental toxicity or persistence/bioaccumulation).
Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice
Red 33
May Also Contain: Sodium Hydroxide

So the no-nos it contains include instances of PEG, fragrance, parabens. I am mortified that I have been putting this on my baby girl!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Winter Madness

I'm one of those people who should hibernate--or perhaps move to a tropical location--during the winter. Around this time of year, I am desperate for a little warmth, a little sun, a little color, open-toed stilettos. I become lax in my already gentle self-discipline. I buy a few more coffees. Or bagels. New office tools. (The Sharpie liquid pencil? It sucks.) A new lipstick. (Maybelline's Super Stay 24 Color in All Day Cherry? So far, so good.) It becomes harder to concentrate, harder to work. I hate fighting endless colds, but I'm ready for Spring Fever.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Spoon Fed

I admire Severson's approach to food writing, a mix of social, political, cultural, and economic reporting, all of the things I'm interested in when it comes to food. I also like what she has to say about professional food tasting early in the book, how it is all about setting a baseline, eating things side by side so you can really tell the differences (yet respecting that sometimes, it's what you had at home that always tastes good. I'm that way about peanut butter. I've tried lots of fancy brands but always end up back at Skippy and Jif.).
The subtitle of the book is "How Eight Cooks Saved My Life" although I think it would have been more accurate if it referred to how they taught her or exemplified for her some life lessons, as Kim had already saved herself from substance abuse, and most the lessons she learned (patience, perserverance, being yourself) aren't exactly earth-shattering. But in her career as a food writer, she's been exposed to some of the biggest names in food, and she certainly has learned from them.

Marion Cunningham, James Beard's longtime assistant and the author of Fannie Farmer Cookbook, The Breakfast Cookbook, and Cooking with Children taught her that in food and in life, it's never too late to start over.

Alice Waters (who everyone knows I'm crazy about, despite being obsessive at best and perhaps self-rightous at worst) taught her perserverance and patience.

Ruth Reichl, the somewhat infamous editor of the now defunct Gourmet magazine inadvertantly taught her to compete only with herself.

Marcella Hazan, the author of several Italian cookbook taught her to accept what comes her way.

Rachael Ray (who I'd like if only I could get past the cutesiness) taught her to be true to herself.

Edna Lewis, the grand dame of southern cooking, taught her to cherish the family of her own making.

Leah Chase, the famous cook from Dookie Chase in NOLA taught her the power of prayer.

Finally, Kim's own mom taught her that what's done is done.

The only thing I disliked was that 240 pages of widely leaded lines didn't seem like enough to give much detail about the cooks Severson profiled (and you KNOW she has to have some more juicy tales to tell) as well as her own story, so both seemed a little thin.

The blessing and curse of reading this is that it makes me want to get back in the kitchen, spatulas a-blazing. But as the mother of a demanding one-year old and the wife of a semi-employed thirty-something, I have neither the time nor the money to cook the way I'd like. A new mother herself, Kim wrote about having a similar problem. But if I were to write about what Kim Severson taught me, it's food's power of connecting families and creating memories. And I know that's what, one day, Evelyn will say I taught her.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010


Here's another good Iconowatch microtrend. I told C this reminds me of how I feel about her...and I imagine I'm not the only one!!

Scared cookless: Foodiephobia takes shape


•In a recent blog post for, Lesley Freeman Riva wrote about a phenomenon she calls Foodiephobia: When Friends Fear Feeding You (5.26.10).

•Freeman Riva describes how she happily entertains (and cooks for) friends at her house, but then she began to notice that people rarely reciprocate. Finally, some of them started to admit things like, "Oh, I'd be too nervous to cook for you."
•Because people think of her as a talented and breezy cook, they're hesitant to open themselves up to possible judgment.


•As foodies proliferate but some consumers stay behind in the skill and interest department, watch for heightened sensitivity in the home-entertaining space.

•Many consumers lack (but seek) the tools to keep up with the foodies, and they want any attempts to appear effortless.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Post from Iconowatch...So very true

By Charlotte Beal, Lead Editor

I love food, but I hate my lifestage when it comes to food. I have a job, a picky preschooler, a Bjorn-saddled infant and a husband who doesn’t get home from work until late evening. The dinner ritual pretty much consists of me doctoring something in a mad dash, only to find a kid who refuses to eat and a baby who refuses to let me eat. Delicious, freshly prepared, leisurely meals? Maybe in about 18 years.

We’ve been talking to bigger circles of moms recently, and they all echo similar challenges. Some choice quotes, often said with a sigh: “I love to cook, but at this point in my life I’m lucky to throw stuff together. If you can call that cooking.” “Dinnertime is my least favorite part of the day.” “My only hope is to make a few big pots of soup over the weekend to eat throughout the week.” The moms vent to each other, but they also share strategies and recipes — anything to make them feel less alone and stumped.

For many parents, especially foodies, planning the meals and doing the shopping feels a bit like torture. We want to be creative, but there’s no time. We want to cook wholesomely, but not everyone will eat it. We want to cook conveniently, but many time-saving products are unhealthy and expensive.

Food makers and retailers, we’ll strike a deal with you: Offer the holy grail of easy, tasty, nutritious and cheap meals. And we’ll hold out for adjectives like “transcendent” and “peaceful” until the kids go to college.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Cute Freecycle posting

Someone in my Freecycle group just sent the following post:

Offer: Snow
Located in Rosedale. You haul. I have tons, so don't worry about someone beating you out. You'll be thanking me for this come summer! :)