Wednesday, January 28, 2009

What's your girl putting on her face? A chat with Good for You Girls. Part II


My chat with Good For You Girls founders, Kim and Grace, continues below. If you missed Part One, check it out here.


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Me: I noticed that some of the ingredients on the bad list, like formaldehyde and acrylamides are actually BANNED in other countries, yet they’re still used in many of the US products. Why the lack of response from US companies?


GFYG:
Currently federal health statues do not require companies to test products or ingredients for safety before they are sold. As a result, companies have no restrictions on incorporating potentially toxic chemicals and untested ingredients in their products.

The natural products industry, however is doing many wonderful things to self govern. Many stores have their own strict criteria and only carry brands that meet strict natural guidelines.
Until consumers start to demand change, products will not be reformulated. Until then, it is best to arm yourself with knowledge and shop at a trusted health food store with high standards for personal care products.


Me: Have you encountered any reluctance from retailers who are not quite ready to stock natural products for the tween market?

GFYG:
The response to our products has been phenomenal. If a retailer has a tween or personal care consumer they are more than welcoming to our line. In many cases, we are finding that the smaller the retailer, the more they care about their customers and want the natural [products]. If they don’t necessarily have a complete natural focus in their stores, they feel good about also offering the natural solution. We are quite impressed so far with the retailers that have ordered from us.


Me: How did you go about choosing the ingredients that are used in the Good for You Girls products?


GFYG: We did a lot of research on the ingredients that would be effective but gentle enough for young skin, and of course were not considered harmful. This age group simply needs to clean their skin from the day's activities, balance the skin's pH and protect with moisturizer. There is no need for extra ingredients such as anti-aging or exfoliation ingredients found in adult skin care.

Our formulation has only the purest ingredients. The combination of natural surfactants that clean, botanicals that nourish and protect, and preservatives that are safe to use, was achieved through our extensive research and our highly skilled manufacturer. We are excited to add more products to the Good for you Girls line, and you can be assured that they too will be of the highest quality.

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Honestly, learning about all the harmful chemicals that manufacturers add into the beauty products we use every day was a bit shocking for me. I guess slowly poisoning your customers is just par for the course when you're raking in billions off the back, arms, legs and faces of women and girls. Thankfully, companies like Good for You Girls are working to educate consumers and provide safe alternatives. Thanks so much, ladies!


One lucky Mama is just three simple steps from winning a Good for You Girls skincare kit (shown at right).

1) Head on over to Good for You Girls and do some exploring.

2) Pop back here to Reign and in the comment area, list 3 harmful chemicals found in popular beauty products
(not including those mentioned in the above interview.)

3) Hurry! First to comment with the ingredients gets the kit!


What's your girl putting on her face? A chat with Good for You Girls! Part I

Those of us with preteen daughters know that now is the time when girls begin to get interested in beauty and skin care products. Of course, there are loads of choices. But as we move toward a greener, more toxin-free way of living, we have to wonder…what exactly is IN all of those beauty products?

As moms, keeping track of the food that our kids eat is second nature, but what about the products that they're putting on their skin? If it's not something you've thought about, it probably should be. With new reports coming out everyday
about unsafe food and tainted drugs, how secure can we be about beauty products...especially products marketed to our kids?

Once again, leave it to a couple of Smart Mamas to tackle a problem and find a solution. Good For You Girls is a natural skincare line created especially for young skin. Kim and Grace, the creators of GFYG, were fed up with trying to find skincare products for their daughters that was safe and natural, so they made it themselves! But these ladies are about so much more than beauty. They're adamant about educating their young customers on the harmful ingredients found in most mainstream beauty products:


We believe health should never be sacrificed for beauty. We also believe good habits start at a young age. It is our responsibility to educate our children to the dangers of chemicals in the world and in the products they use. -- GoodForYouGirls.com

I got a chance to ask the ladies a few questions and boy, did I get schooled on some of the questionable stuff I've been slathering on my skin for years. Get your holy-crow hats on Mamas (as in "HOLY CROW! How can they get away with that!?) and while you're at it, fix yourself a glass of ice water, because what you're about to learn is going to have steam coming out of your ears.

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Me: I love the Good for You Girls site! It’s absolutely adorable, and yet you ladies pull NO punches when it comes to informing your visitors on some of the harmful ingredients used in mainstream beauty products -- ingredients that are downright scary! Can you tell the moms here at Reign a little about some of the more
popular ingredients that are used in common beauty products?

GFYG: While every manufacturer has their own formula for each of their products depending on function, there are several ingredients found in formulas that we at Good For You Girls find totally unacceptable. For example: In cleansers there are chemicals called Sodium Laurel/ Laureth Sulfate. These ingredients are used in many soaps, cleansers, shampoos and household cleansers to enhance the foaming action of the product. It is a common skin irritant and is rapidly absorbed into the heart, liver, brain, and eyes, which can cause long- term effects. It has been linked to cataracts in adults and inhibiting proper development of children’s eyes.

Another ingredient of concern is 1,4-dioxane. It is found in popular baby soaps, bubble baths and shampoos. Often found in the product it may not listed on the label. 1,4-dioxane is a known animal carcinogen and probable human carcinogen, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Companies do not disagree that this chemical is toxic, however they argue that they use “just a little bit”. Our issue is that because it is found in so many products used daily, the chemical exposures add up.


Me: It’s infuriating that companies would even use this stuff in the products that we use on our skin and our children’s skin. So of course that leads to my next question …WHY do they use them?


GFYG: All of these chemical concoctions most likely started in the test tube as a fast/inexpensive way to formulate products. Most companies had no real way to test long-term effects of these chemicals. Nor did they really know how they would affect the body immediately and over a lifetime. But with everything they do know today, it is hard to accept these conscious bad decisions made by personal care companies. Profit has much to do with it as well because natural formulas are much more expensive to formulate. And consumer demand also plays a roll. If consumers don’t demand better and educate themselves on what they should look for on a label than manufacturers won’t change anything. Consumers have a huge opportunity to bring about change with the choices they make.


Me: Do you find that most people are really surprised when you inform them about the dangers of some of these ingredients? Or even that people are a bit in denial and don’t want to believe it, because that would mean that these manufacturers just don’t care?

GFYG: We think many people are just not aware that what we put on our bodies is just as important as what we put into it. Your skin is the largest organ of your body. It only makes sense that we need to take better care of the outside. As more people take better care of themselves and the media reports on these issues more frequently, the general public will start to demand better products from manufacturers.
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Oh there's SO much more.

Check back in tomorrow for
Part 2 of this interview and to find out how you can win a free Good for You Girls skincare kit for your own girl-child!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

"Feel Good, Girl!" Book Winners Announced!

I'm VERY excited to announce we have our three winners for the free copies of Feel Good Girl!. A big congratulations to:

Tracie from Good Enough Mother

Denise from Good Enough Mother and Note 2 School (When you visit her blog, I bet you'll have one of those "Now, why didn't I think of that!" moments.)

Tanyetta of Days Like These and Write and Wrong Signs Warning: do not click either of Tanyetta's links if you are eating, chewing gum, or drinking because you are guaranteed to end up choking from laughing so hard with food in your mouth.

The books are on the way, ladies. Enjoy and thanks so much for entering!

Felicia

Saturday, January 24, 2009

From girdles to Wordles in a single click!

So I'm over at MamaLaw today, yukkin' it up over Justice Ny's run-in with some temperamental lingerie, and I notice something interesting in the nav bar. One of the law ladies (Justice Fergie, I believe) had posted a "Wordle" for the blog.

Of course I-- in my sad fog of technological ignorance-- had absolutely no idea what a Wordle was, so I clicked on the little image to find out more. Definitely one of my best clicks all week!

Wordle.net is a site that generates a word cloud (a really cool customizable word cloud!) based on the most popular words on a blog, a website, or any other text entered. I made a Wordle for Reign and got the image you see over in the nav bar. It turned the words that I use most often here on the blog into a fairly impressive little piece of poetic artwork... if I do say so myself.

The best part is that you can wordle any text; and there's a huge gallery of other people's Wordles that you can browse. Here's one someone did for the word Mother.

In light of our Inaugaration extravaganza last week, here's one for "America The Beautiful"

And here's one for Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have A Dream" speech {gasp} goosebumps!

I'm off to play on the site some more. Check it out yourself if you're like me and had no clue what it was until 5 minutes ago. It'll make your day.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Cast your vote for Worst Toy of the Year!


Speaking of toys that promote limited gender roles, narrow values and snuff out all forms of child-like innocence and free-style imagination, it's time for the TOADYS!

What the heck is a TOADY? Read on…

On February 15, the Toy Industry Association will gather to present their TOTY (Toy Of The Year) Awards. But first, in honor of the industry that has led the way in commercializing childhood, the Campaign for Commercial Free Childhood (CCFC) will present its inaugural TOADY (Toys Oppressive And Destructive to Young Children) Award for the worst toy of the year. From thousands of toys that promote violence and/or precocious sexuality to children and push branded entertainment at the expense of children’s play, CCFC has selected five exceptional finalists. Who will win the dreaded TOADY? --CCFC.com


Click here to see the nominees and cast your ballot!

Saturday, January 17, 2009

FREE stuff for cool girls (and Mamas)

Who doesn't loves free stuff?

Right now, if you head on over to Tracee Sioux's new site The Girl Revolution, you'll find more free stuff than you can shake a stick at. (What is up with that saying--who goes around shaking sticks at things?)

Some of you are probably familiar with Tracee's old blog, Empowering Girls: So Sioux Me, where she tackled the issues that impact and effect our daughters. Now Tracee has transformed the blog into a new web site where she's doing even more to bring about change by "revolutioniz[ing] the way we think about, treat, and raise girls".

One only has to Google the word “girl” to realize that the very word we use to identify young females of the human species, our precious daughters, has tragically become a four-letter word synonymous with porn. This tragedy is a result of a consumer culture that says it’s not only okay, but quite profitable, to consume girls.We’re fed up and we’re doing something about it.--Tracee Sioux

Whooo! Goosebumps!

Not only is she whip smart, but the woman knows how to throw a launch party. Right now she has no less that 25 giveaways going at The Girl Revolution. That's right...TWENTY FIVE!!! From stationery to lip balm to artwork to room decorations to books (Feel Good,Girl included!) there's no end to the goodies you can get.

Check it out, Mamas. Get informed...and get some stuff.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Girl Ambition is here! Let's chat with the CEO!

Most of us with computers at home are very familiar with the struggle that develops when children want to start spending time online. Scary issues with the incalculable bevy of kooks who hang out online have put so many parents on edge that some won't even allow their kids to use the computer. When kids are online, constant monitoring of their activities can make it a headache for both them and us. (NNnooooo!!! Don't ever type the word "girl" into Google!!!!)

Well, FINALLY someone has seen the problem and done something about it. Leave it to a group of smart Mamas to come up with the perfect way for girls to enjoy a real online experience --everything from email to chat to video sharing!-- without the standard safety concerns.

How you ask?

With the launch of a brand new website for girls called Girl Ambition! This is SO beyond a simple website. It's the e-answer that concerned parents have been waiting for. But you don't have to take my word for it. I got the chance to chat with the CEO of Girl Ambition, Hilary DeCesare. Check out the interview below…

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Me: When I received the e-mail telling me about this new site I was very excited. It's a concept that's long overdue. Can you explain to my readers, exactly what is Girl Ambition.com?

HD: Girl Ambition is a fun, interactive online community for tween girls that empowers them through online and offline activities, videos, contests, communication tools like IM and email and an original Web series made just for them. The icing on the cake is that parents love Girl Ambition because we have integrated internet safety tips as well as self esteem and life skills throughout the site.


Me: What made you realize that something like this was needed, and how did you go about gathering the support necessary to make it a reality?

HD: The three co-founders, myself included, really started to see the types of things our girls could find on the Internet by typing simple keywords into a search engine. We were shocked and a bit horrified by the types of information they could easily stumble across. It became a growing concern and passion for us as we started to research this problem more and we set out to do something about it. Today, it is not if our girls are going to get involved in video sharing and communication tools, it’s when; and our thought was we better step in and give parents a safe solution.

Because we all have previous related work experience in the fields of site development, marketing, sales, etc. we were able to collectively leverage our contacts and resources to build Girl Ambition. Once people learn about the mission of the site and see what we are doing, they want to help.


Me: There are lots of unique features and content on the site that make it more than just a communication tool (email / IM). A girl could literally hang out at the site all day. Can you tell us a bit more about the extra features?

HD: The site really incorporates communication and social networking elements, videos, games and all the other tools girls crave. Features of Girl Ambition include:

- GabLiveTV: A weekly video segment hosted by Dani-Girl that encourages girls to try something new. Segment focuses range from an interview with pro skateboarder Tony Hawk, indoor skydiving and an inside view into the animal care profession. Girls can also submit their own videos and vote for their favorites.


- The Closet: An area where girls can dress up their own 2D avatars in different looks, including stylish clothing, imaginative costumes or even design their own unique fashions.

- Activity Studio: Girl Ambition’s Activity Studio gets girls off the computer to learn about the world around them. Each week new activities are added, such as how to tune up your bike or how to make creative picture frames.

Most importantly, throughout the site we highlight the 5 levels of self esteem and Internet safety fundamentals. We do it in such a creative way that the girls don’t even realize they are learning. With teen suicide at its highest ever and predators targeting our girls, this becomes the essence of the entire site. Today’s parents can’t keep up, and Girl Ambition is there to help.

· Parent Resources: Moms and dads can find information and advice on raising tween girls, conversation starters and activity ideas. Additionally, parents can opt for a monthly email that outlines their daughter’s activities on the site.


Me: Here at Reign, we're big believers in the idea that parents have true control when it comes to what their children are exposed to. I was pleased to see that parental control is a big part of Girl Ambition. Can you tell us a bit more about that?

HD: Yes, that was a huge focus of the site. Girls may not sign up on Girlambition.com without their parents’ consent. Parents must also approve their child’s email and IM buddy lists so they know who their daughter is talking to on the site. We have incorporated the latest, most secure versions of communication tools that tweens want to use such as email, instant messaging and video sharing. We also enable parents to see the kinds of activities their daughters are doing on the site.

Me: I remember that once my daughter hit a certain age, her privacy became very important to her. How do you manage the parent and girl sections of the site so that the girls don't feel like "mom or dad is reading my e-mails / spying on me"?

HD: We really put a lot of thought into this piece of the site and we have a completely separate login page for both the girls and their parents. Parents cannot access their children’s email or IM communication, but they do approve the friends their daughters are corresponding with, alleviating a lot of the concerns around cyberbullying and Internet predators.
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So there you have it. How amazing is that? Girls not only get the chance to learn the Internet ropes in a fun, age-appropriate environment, but they also get real-deal lessons on online safety while they're at it. What more can an Informed Mama ask for ??!!!

Head on over the GirlAmbition.com and check it out!

Monday, January 12, 2009

Get a FREE copy of "Feel Good, Girl!"

I told you it was time for change here at Reign. And to prove it, I'm kicking things off with a giveaway. Whooooo!!!

I've got 3 copies of Feel Good, Girl! sitting here looking very shiny and new. It's a great little book to share with the preteen girls (8 to 13) in your life. I've even had a few post-teen girls tell me they've enjoyed it also.

In order to avoid shamelessly blathering on about my own book ('cause I'm a humble Mama at heart), I'll just give you the synopsis from the back cover…

Acne, boys, periods, cliques, cattiness, parents … the list of things that girls have to deal with could go on forever. Sometimes, you can skate through these issues with no problem. Other times, they can really get you down.

Truth is, you can’t change all of the stuff that’s going to be happening to you in the next few years. What you can change is how you deal with it. A big factor in how you feel (physically, mentally, and emotionally) is how you handle stress. And let’s face it… at your age… stress may as well be your middle name.

That’s where this book comes in.

You can look at things in one of two ways: you can let all the crap get you down and affect how you look, act and feel … OR … you can learn how to take the stuff that’s on your back and twist it, tweak it and untangle it to fit your life the way you want!

Inside this book, you’ll find:

  • 15 real-deal tips to help you tackle the tough stuff and take control.
  • Fun ways to move your body, feed your belly, and exercise your brain.
  • Projects to help you relax and to set your imagination free
  • Power Pills of wisdom from woman and older girls who have “been there, done that” and may be able to offer something you can take away from their experiences.

So cop a seat, kick back ... and get ready to FEEL GOOD!



If it sounds like fun (it's a great activity book for mothers and daughters to read together, btw) just shoot an email to felicia@myfeelgoodgirl.com with FREE FGG! in the subject line.

First three Mama's to reply get a free copy!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Let the reign begin!

It's time for a few changes around here.

Since releasing Feel Good, Girl, I've been busy learning all I can about organizations, initiatives and smart people who are also interested in empowering girls. Throughout this, I've discovered that one of my most powerful tools for reaching out is right here at Reign. (Whoooo!)

I like to refer to Reign as the place where moms can "chat, rant and freak-out in privacy" (and we do a lot of that here. don't we Mamas?). But, my #1 initiative for the 09 is to become a forum for the positive things that are happening in the culture. There are lots of smart people out there who have decided that our girls' well being is worth fighting for. Let's give them some love!

Be on the look out for interviews, give-aways, expert advice and other special features that will highlight the people who are making moves, fostering change, and doing everything in their power to usher in the reign of the girl child! (Yeah, that last line is a little corny. So? It's cool to be corny when you're excited!!!)

Squeeeeeeeee!


Wednesday, January 7, 2009

What a lovely vajayjay you have!


Forgive me for this post, Mamas. It's not going to be pretty. It is however, long overdue. The '09 is supposed to be my year to loose my self-censor and start saying what's really on my mind. Plus, if I have to be subjected to the bizarre freestyle musings of my brain, then dammit, so do you.

So let's talk about the vagina. Whatever you call it -- vajayjay, cooter, vadge, noni, monkey, Miss Lily or, as my daughter referred to it after discovering it tucked away in her Pull-Up, "bajinoe" (she doesn't call it that anymore, thank goodness) -- it's the source of much wonder and mystery. Or at least it used to be.

It seems that ever since Sharon Stone purposely flashed hers in that ice pick movie, the ginny has come out of the closet…and not in a good way. What was once the beautiful giver of pleasure and life is now imperfect, ugly and very much in need of improvment. How else do you explain these bajinal bizzarities…

Got floppy lips (or "flips", if you prefer)? Get 'em trimmed to porn star perfection.

Bikini waxes are more popular than ever… especially among the tween set.

Need a change? Put the mystery back in your pants with a pubic wig (yeah, you read that right)

Rinse away the gray with dye for "down there"

And let's not forget to keep it fresh, girls.

What the hell? Are we inviting it over for tea? It’s not supposed to be pretty. It's got work to do! Right off the top of my head, I can think of at least 4 heavy-duty functions that this little powerhouse handles on a regular basis. There may be more, but hey… that's your business.

So what if it's bushy or flappy or going gray? Give it the dignity of doing its job unhampered by wigs, dyes, deodorants or hot wax. And let's not forget who these "improvements" are really being made for. When's the last time you saw a man getting anything down there trimmed so it was prettier?

Let the bajinoes be free!

Saturday, January 3, 2009

New Year, same old Mama. Or maybe not.

So 2009 is off and running. Whee!

In light of the fact that I'm starting the new year with no job , I'm surprisingly upbeat. Well, technically I have a job until the 30th but then I'll be letting the doorknob hit me you know where. But I'm keeping it all in perspective. This is a great chance for me to work on some of my own projects that have been sitting patiently on the sidelines while I've been slaving like a Clydesdale at the 9 to 5.

So I'm starting the New Year off with some very nice prospects for freelance work, a pending reunion with an old friend I haven't seen for 15 years (damn I'm old!), and - just this past weekend- a nice lunch with one of my fellow Disney Mixer Mamas, Renee. Let me just say that the woman is a friggin' blog genius! Seriously, I wish I had dusted off the mini recorder and stowed in my bag for our lunch at Houston's. She is a wealth of bloggy advice! Thanks again, Renee!

On another note, Michele over at The Integrated Mother, had a pre-New Year's post that officially schooled me in the priorities department. In it, she introduces The Wheel of Life, or the “Assessment Wheel,” which she learned about while training at the Coaches Training Institute in 2003.

She explains,"The wheel allows me to quickly gauge my level of satisfaction in eight primary areas of my life - Career, Personal Growth, Fun & Recreation, Health & Well-being, Money & Finances, Friendships & Family, Physical Environment, Love & Romance. The wheel helps to clarify the areas in my life that need some attention."

Okay. Sounds safe enough. So, of course I had to try it. I mean, the link was right there. Why not? Well..... LOOK at my wheel, Mamas!

It's a sad, sorry-looking, lopsided, off-balance mess!! I'm not even going to get into what the colors of the wheel stand for. It's just too damn embarrassing. Plus, you can try it yourself here.

The thing about this wheel is, it's really accurate. At least it is for me it is. It's sort of forced me to look at where I've been putting my efforts, and what I've been neglecting. I've got my work cut out for me.

Try the wheel out yourself and see what you think.
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