Friday, October 30, 2009

Day-Timer Review

In the age of iPhones, Blackberries, and Palm Pres, it is odd to be excited about a pen and paper planner. I am one of those people though that likes to see my whole week and month planned out right in front of me without having to turn on an electronic device. Among other things, I also get migraines from wireless devices - so no iPhone for me. I even find that I'm not comfortable with a calendar displayed on a computer screen, I just need it all on paper. It is because of people like me (well, and teachers, lawyers, professionals, etc...) that Day-Timer is still in business. Sometimes you just need something bigger than a 2 x 4 inch screen to envision your plans for the month or week.

Day-Timer was generous enough to send me a Schedule Master Monthly/Weekly Wall Calendar and the Biscayne Bonded Leather Zippered Journal Cover with a 2-page-per-week refill. These are for 2010, but I played around with it to get a feel for how I will use it. I also read all the reference pages in the zippered planner ;)Schedule Master Monthly/Weekly Wall Calendar: This is a neat calendar for keeping your household organized. It can be either hung on the wall with the metal grommet or on the fridge since it has a magnetic back. Since I am at the fridge twenty times a day anyway - that works perfectly! The neat thing is that you can track multiple schedules for each person in the household. While we only have three people (plus an occasional kitchen centipede), this can be very helpful for households with multiple school age children. That way you can see all the appointments, practices, and sleepovers in one place. Everything is color coded, so each person gets one color, you can even give one to your dog. It has sticky notes of the same color that you can put on the calendar to designate chores. It also has two loops for pens and pencils so you would not have to go hunting for one like I always do. The big board is 16 x 16.5 inches and the calendar itself is about 7 x 12, the detailed weekly calendar is 4 x 12. It sells for $29.99.

Constructive criticism: The board broke at one corner. I am not sure if it cracked in transit or when I was exploring it. But in any case, maybe it wouldn't hurt to have cardboard corner protectors to keep it from cracking in shipping. Even better, perhaps some permanent metal corners, like the grommet.

Biscayne Bonded Leather Zippered Journal Cover: This is not your average journal cover. What is bonded leather? It is composed of 75% recycled leather fibers and is mixed with a natural latex bonding agent. So why does that matter? Because otherwise these leather scraps would end up in a landfill, that's why. Latex comes from the rubber tree, so that is a great way to bond the scraps without using some toxic gluing agent. The bonded leather is actually made in a tannery in Spain, it really does look and smell like real leather.

This Journal Cover makes me look very professional. Moms take note - it is not purse or diaper bag size, but Day-Timer does carry a lot of smaller organizers. I like that it is zippered, so it can keep my organized mess in. There is also a 'leather' pocket inside as well as some nylon ones for loose papers and concept sketches on napkins, great for interior designers and architects! It is 1" thick and 7.5 x 10 inches big. The Biscayne Bonded Leather Cover in journal size is $39.99.

The Journal Refill I chose is the two-page-per-week format. It reminds me of school agendas and for me personally is the easiest way to keep track of things. It has a whole month page as well so you can see the big picture. My favorite feature, though very simple, is the perforated corners that you rip off so you always know exactly where you are in the year. There are also pages for taking notes and keeping numbered lists within each month. There are three separate booklets as well for addresses and phones, a monthly advance planning calendar through the year 2016, and a memo work organizer for more lists. This particular set costs $23.99. They do have the same thing in recycled paper that is only $2 more, next time I would opt for that.

The Verdict:
If it wasn't for three part time jobs, I would do fine without this. But I need to keep track of my interior design job, to do list, and blogging ventures (oh the reviews to write and the giveaways to host!). If you are a busy mom or just busy, these Day-Timer products are great for keeping you sane and putting all your plans on paper. It is really relieving to see everything written out in front of you and not have to keep it all in your head. These are high quality products and a very good investment for a smooth year ahead. Great gift as well!

Check out the Day-Timer Website
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I did not receive payment in any form for this review.

I did receive a sample of the product or service for testing and review purposes. This will in no way sway my opinion of the product or service. The review is in my own words and is my own opinion. Your results and opinion may differ.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Mythic Paint Review

My affair with Mythic Paint goes back about a year and a half ago. I was pregnant with our first child and browsing through a pregnancy magazine I spotted an eye catching advertisement. Naturally I went online to find out more about them. I was excited to find non-toxic paint to say the least. In January of 2009, being nine months pregnant, I invited Mythic to host a Lunch 'n Learn in our office at Rob Bramhall Architects. I was more than impressed and decided that I will never paint with anything else in my life, period.

After our daughter was born we put off painting our living room for a long time because of finances. This past August though Mythic was kind enough to send us some paint to try and I present to you my account of the truly legendary Mythic Paint.



The Buzz: So what makes Mythic so special and how come it stands apart from other paints? If you are new to the 'indoor air quality' scene, I'll fill you in. Your average paint contains a multitude of VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds). Yes, they also contain known carcinogens. Why would anyone make paint that causes cancer you ask? I honestly don't know - but the same question can be applied to everything these days. Like why do they use pesticides on our food if it causes cancer? Or why are most cleaning supplies cancerous as well?

Anyhow, VOCs off-gas for years after you paint your walls. I am sure you are all familiar with that 'new paint' smell as well. It can be a trigger for asthma and other ailments. With Mythic you don't need to worry about any of that. My daughter was contently watching daddy paint in her highchair. I was nearby working on my laptop, no headaches involved. Safe for pets, save for babies, and good for the Earth as a bonus. It is a major step toward better indoor air quality - which at the moment the EPA labels as one of the top five health risks in the US.

and After

If you don't believe me that it performs better than SW and BM paint, you can try it yourself! They now sell 4 oz sample jars to feed your curiosity. I wasn't the one painting, my husband was, but he said that it is better than other paint he used before and has much better coverage. For me though, I was sold at the non-toxic part and would have used it even if the performance was average. Not sure if you want to commit? Two words for you: sample jar.

You see, Mythic Paint doesn't just take out the toxic stuff out of regular paint, which is what other 'green paint' manufacturers do. It is the result of over six years of intensive polymer research conducted by the University of Southern Mississippi. It is completely redesigned in its makeup from the ground up, resulting in something you will not find on the market.

As a latex paint it is very easy to deal with. It washes off tools nicely (if you don't let it dry of course!). We had a drop or two on our laminate flooring, it just peeled off with no issues. Third party performance testing? Sure:
"In 2007 an industry leading independent consulting and testing laboratory service, performed side-by-side comparative tests between Mythic Paint and all other leading paint brands – both their Eco-friendly and premium lines. Tests focused on subjective performance including thickness, sheen, sag resistance, flow and leveling and gloss. Mythic Paint proved to be equal if not better than all competitors. Resistance and durability was analyzed through the industry‟s gold standard in paint performance testing – the „scrub test‟. Mythic Paint substantially outperformed by 1.5 to 8 times the durability of their competitors."

Value: I know what you are thinking, if this paint is so great, am I going to pay more for it too? Yes, it does cost more than your average toxic paint (about $50 a gallon for interior paint). Here is the deal though, in my experience and that of other people who have used it, the coverage of Mythic is superior to that of other paints. This means that you will need less to cover more. For most colors, even one coat is sufficient. You can't put a price on your health though, so this beats the value of all other paints in that aspect. They also have exterior paint. In which case you will be doing the Earth a favor by having one less house painted with toxic exterior paint.

Love their commercials, take a look!


I did not receive payment in any form for this review.

I did receive a sample of the product or service for testing and review purposes. This will in no way sway my opinion of the product or service. The review is in my own words and is my own opinion. Your results and opinion may differ.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Emerson Creek Pottery Review

What do you bake with? Let me guess... It has a non-stick coating? If you are familiar with how 'responsible' the FDA and EPA are with consumer safety, you have every reason to be concerned about your non-stick cookware and bakeware. PFOA is a chemical used to manufacture non-stick coatings and its fumes, emitted at high temperatures, are actually toxic to living organisms. Studies show that an estimated 95% of the population have PFOA in their blood. In rat studies it was shown to cause cancer with high exposure. Don't take my word for it, do your own research :)

With that being said, one of the alternatives to non-stick bakeware is ceramic pottery. It has been used in baking for centuries and is naturally non-toxic. It has great thermal properties and helps in even baking. Emerson Creek Pottery was kind enough to send me the Go Green Loaf Pan to test.

My Homemade Bread in an Emerson Creek Go Green Large Loaf Pan

Emerson Creek Pottery is located in Virginia and all their pieces are U.S. made. You are also guaranteed that the products are lead-free, non-toxic, made by humans - not machines, packed in Eco-friendly corn starch peanuts and recycled fiber boxes, their catalogs are never mass mailed, and your piece of pottery will last you a lifetime with good care. I made bread in this beautiful loaf pan about 10 times already, comes out perfect every time. Cleaning is a breeze, I just rinse it in warm soapy water. I highly recommend it to anyone looking for healthier baking alternatives for their home and family!


Below is a short video of their Virginia store.