Category Archives: Low Impact Living

Green Your Life – One Period at a Time!! Bella Menstrual Cup

I apologize that I’ve gotten a little behind on these reviews, I’ve just had a lot going on.

I was given the opportunity to review the Bella Cup.  I received one of each size for review purposes.

It comes with a color brochure in English…


Bella Cup Facts

Website: www.bellacup.co.kr
Made by:  TS International
Country of origin: Korea
Lifespan: website just states “Lasts for years”
Composition:  Medical Grade Silicone
Sizes:  small and large
Dimensions:  Small: 41mm x 23.8mm, Large: 45.5mm x 53.1mm
Stem:  20.3mm
Capacity: Small: 20 mL, Large: 30 mL
Measuring Lines:  None
Cost (USD): $29.70 usd
Guarantee: None that I can find.
Other: Comes with a sturdy velvet pouch
Company: FAQs

ANATOMY OF BELLA CUP

I really like the smooth texture of the Bella Cup, and I think it’s rather pretty too as far as a menstrual product goes.

The design of the stem really makes it easy to grab hold of for removal, as does the slightly textured stripes around the base of the cup.

The logo is on the inside just under the rim.  There are a total of four vent holes to help release the suction.

To show you the difference in the two sizes.

Sorry for the blurry shot, but this one is to show you how soft the Bella Cup is compared to the Ruby Cup – Bella squished down slightly more.

Here’s a side-by-side comparison of all the cups I’ve reviewed so far:

MY EXPERIENCE

Well, the small one was definitely too small for me!  It literally wouldn’t stay in when I stood up.  I did have slight problems with the large one, but managed to get some small successes before it would slip.

I really like the design and the smooth texture helped with ease of inserting it.

The velvet bags are very well made and the draw strings hold well.

I tried two different folds with this one (above and below) and found the one below to be the easiest to work with.  (Hint: it’s the fold I’ve been most successful with when using every cup so far, your results may vary.)

 

Over-all my experience with the Bella Cup was hit or miss.  Sometimes it would stay in place, then sometimes it seemed super slippery and would just slide out.  I think the mixture of it being super smooth and pretty soft was causing my slippage problems.  I think strengthening my pelvic floor will help with this.


 

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Guest Post: That field of Greens May Also Be Your Dinner

UltimateSurvivalBundle.com

 

Will Forage for Soup: Gourmet Soup From Wild Greens, is one of the eBooks included in the Ultimate Survival Bundle.  Amanda Rose (co-author) has been so kind to write up a guest post for me to share with you all.  I was given the opportunity to review her eBook last week and below is just a teaser of the great recipes that are included in it.

Order the Ultimate Survival Bundle here, before it’s gone!

~~~

Lamb's Quarters Foraging for Greens SoupAs foodies, many of us are looking for a meal satisfying in flavor and nutrition, but most of us want more than that: an entire lifestyle with the flavor, nutrition, and satisfaction that the food we are eating is fantastic. In our household, we began our food foraging as a way to disconnect from the hustle and bustle of the typical food-sourcing experience. Instead of navigating parking lots and cereal aisles, we hiked and climbed rocks. We were stung by nettle and scratched by wild blackberry vines in the process but it was all good. Fresh air, exercise, and exquisite food have a way of making up for bruises, scratches, and welts. Admittedly until the spring of 2012, our foraging was limited to batches of wild berry jam and springtime collections of chamomile and nettle for tea. In April of 2012, I set out to collect two bags of nettle from a field I had my eye on. As I looked more closely at the field, gloves, clippers, and bags in hand, I discovered that for every nettle plant, there were about one hundred lamb’s quarters plants in the same field. I looked at my bags and at the lamb’s quarters. I wondered, “Shouldn’t I pick some of this other green? What would I do with a mountain of lamb’s quarters?” I filled by bags with lamb’s quarters and threw in some nettle stems for good measure. I took the greens home intent on trying a greens soup. Soup is a great way to consume a pile of greens. At home, I described the field full of lamb’s quarters to my mom as we worked together on the soup — sautéed onion and garlic, spices, boiled and drained lamb’s quarters in a base of broth, all pureed into a dense pot of greenness. We were taken a back by just how green the soup was, but we ladled it out and sat down together to try it, albeit a bit hesitantly. I ate four bowls of greens soup that night. We laughed as I finished the fourth: Clearly my body needed this extra-green bowl of foraged goodness. We made plans to harvest more lamb’s quarters from that field and spent Mother’s Day of 2012 doing just that. We loaded the back of my station wagon with lamb’s quarters and processed it for the freezer. We had greens soup for months. This is one of our recipes from the 2012 season, using some foraged greens and some cabbage from our garden, but any greens that you like will do.

Greens Soup Ingredients

Greens Soup from Foraged Greens

  • 1/2 gallon green cabbage leaves, cleaned and torn or chopped
  • 1/2 gallon lambs quarter leaves, torn from the stems and cleaned
  • 2 large onions, chopped
  • 7 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • Coconut oil or oil of your choice
  • 8 cups bone broth (or vegetable broth)
  • 1/4 cup tapioca flour or thickening of your choice (optional)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 heaping tablespoon dried tarragon

Greens Soup Steps

  1. In a large soup pot sauté the onion, garlic and pepper flakes in oil until the onion begins to brown.
  2. Add the tarragon and sauté for a couple more minutes. The oil wakes up the flavor of the tarragon.
  3. Pour in the bone broth and bring to a simmer.
  4. Add the cabbage greens, put on a lid, and simmer for 30 minutes.
  5. In the meantime, bring a pot of water to boil, add the lambs quarters, and boil for about five minutes. Discard the boiling water.
  6. Once the cabbage is cooked, add the boiled lambs quarters, stir, and allow the mixed greens to simmer for a couple of minutes.
  7. Carefully pull the greens from the broth and puree in a food processor.
  8. Return the pureed greens to the soup pot and stir to blend. The soup will already be thick. If you would like it thicker, then blend the tapioca flour with a cup of water and slowly add to the soup, stirring the whole time. The soup will be thickened in about 2 minutes.
  9. Check for salt and pepper and make adjustments.

After falling in love with this soup completely in 2012, we found ourselves disappointed that the drier season here in 2013 would affect the lamb’s quarters crop. What would we do without our lamb’s quarters soup? One mid-winter morning as my mom and I drove down the same road we’ve traveled on for 30 years, she said, “Honey! Stop the car!” At the nearest turnout we walked back to examine a field of green that caught my mom’s eye. It was stinging nettle, a green that makes an exceptionally silky soup. We filled our freezer with 30 quarts of blanched nettle leaf within weeks of our discovery. We had so much nettle that our small small lamb’s quarters harvest later in the spring was of no consequence. The freezer was stocked and greens soup makes regular appearances on our menu. As you travel in your local area, take a second look at fields of green. Your next dinner may be looking back at you.

~~~

Amanda Rose, Ph.D. is the coauthor of Will Forage for Soup: Gourmet Soup From Wild Greens, written with her mother in California’s Sequoia National Forest. Find them both at the FreshBitesDaily.com website.

Green Your Life ~ One Period at a Time!! Domino Cloth Pads

Karin at Domino Pads was so kind to send me these 2 lovely pads to review.  She started making pads because she needed a better choice for herself after having her first child.  You can read her story here.

I received on petite medium and a petite liner.  The petite medium is the beautifully hand-dyed in the Raspberry Pop color option.  It’s 8 1/2” long and 2 1/2” wide.  It’s made of organic bamboo velour ~ OH SO SOFT!

The petite liner is also hand-dyed and the color is called Still Waters.  The fabric is minkee, which is actually a little softer than the bamboo velour.  This liner is 7” long and 2 1/2” wide.

As you can see both have a snap closure.

They came with a nice fold out brochure to show you all the size options and how to care for your new pads.

The tag on each pad also has care instructions printed on it.

 

You can read all the details on their pads here as well as on their FAQ page.

My Experience

I found these pads to be quite comfortable.  I had plenty of potential for leaks since I was using these alongside the FemmyCycle and the Sea Sponges, but I experienced zero leaks through the pads.  I tend to use the longer pads more often just because I find them more comfortable.

And she even sent me a yummy organic lollypop!  mmmm, thanks Karin! 


A Giveaway on Facebook

This week on the Domino Pads Facebook Page, they have a giveaway, so go check that out and sign up.  The prize, in addition to a Domino panty liner starter set, includes a Lunette menstrual cup and a beautiful artisan glass try.

 

Disclaimer: I was not paid to write this review and my opinions are my own.  When reviewing a product I will let you know if I purchased the item or was provided a sample from the company for review purposes. My opinion of the products I review is for information purposes only.

Green Your Life ~ One Period at a Time!! Natural Sea Sponge Tampons

This month I reviewed something completely different from any of the other reusable menstrual product options.  Jade &  Pearl Sea Pearls Natural Sea Sponge Tampons.  That’s right ~ sea sponges!

Believe it or not, women have been using them all throughout history.  We’ve also used rags, grass, cattail fluff, moss, seaweed and many other absorbent materials.  Cleopatra is even said to have used sea sponges!

The package insert states:

“Sponges are plant-like creatures that grow in colonies on the ocean floor.  With over 4,500 varieties, sea sponges have the ability to regenerate from even the tiniest fragments left from the original sponge.  As sponges are harvested, millions of eggs and sperm cells  are released into the surrounding water, making the sponge a renewable resource that provides an ecologically sound product for menstrual use.”

What I Received

Jade & Pearl graciously agreed to send me a set of sponges to review for this series!  I received 2 reusable sponges with a cotton bag in a package just like you would receive from any retailer. 

The insert opens up to reveal lots of information like how to insert them, how to keep clean and care for them and a few facts about them.

I also received a full brochure showing all their products and some specific products card info sheets.

The Sponges

Sea Pearl Sponges don’t really look any different from any natural sponges you can buy for household or cleaning purposes.  The only real difference is their size, how they are handled and how thoroughly they are cleaned before you buy them.

They come in small, medium or large sizes.  If you need to you can trim them down a little with a pair of scissors.  Right out of the package they are a bit hard, like any natural sponge is when dry.

Even though Jade & Pearl thoroughly washes, sanitizes, dries and inspects all the sponges, it is still recommended that you still disinfect them before use.   You can do this by soaking them for about 10 minutes in 1 cup of warm water with one of the following items added in:

  • 2 drops Tea Tree Oil – a very effective germicide that has been proven to inhibit up to 60 strains of bacteria, including s. aureus.  This will also eliminate any odor on your sponge.
  • 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon of sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon of baking soda
  • 1/8 cup of hydrogen peroxide – this will also remove any discoloration occurring during use.
  • 1 teaspoon colloidal silver – there is no pathogenic organism known that is not killed by colloidal silver in 6 minutes or less.  It’s use is also beneficial to women who suffer from recurrent candida yeast infections.

I chose the apple cider vinegar method to disinfect mine since that’s what I had on hand.

As I said above, Jade & Pearl sponges are thoroughly washed, sanitized, dried and inspected before they sell them.  They carefully package all the sponges by hand, but they do recommend that you check and clean them before use.

You can even add a string to them for easier removal if you would like.  Make sure to use un-dyed and organic material for the string though.  The whole reason for going natural is to keep chemical laden products away from that area.

MY EXPERIENCE

In the disinfecting process, I noticed they soften up quite nicely when wet.  In fact, you have to wet them to use them.  It seems odd that wet sponges would be absorbent enough to catch menstrual flow, but it works I promise!

To use simply wet, squeeze out most of the water and insert them just as you would any non-applicator tampon.  Removal is not that difficult ~ reach in with your thumb and index finger to get hold of it and pull it out, much like you would a menstrual cup.  Yes, you have to actually touch yourself to insert and remove.  On particularly heavy-flow days you can even use two at a time for extra absorbency.

Although they are just as absorbent, in my experience, as a regular tampon ~ they will leak when over full.  I know, so do tampons if you have them in for too long, but these are squishier than tampons and when full any strenuous movement will, well, squeeze the fluid out of them quite easily.  This is not a problem if you don’t have super heavy flow.  Definitely wearing a cloth pad for protection helps a lot.  And just not going for too long before rinsing it out is really the key here.

The interesting thing is, when you remove them to rinse them out, they don’t look like much.  It’s not at all like you would imagine a blood-soaked sponge would be.  It looks like there’s some blood on them for sure, but not usually dripping with it.  However, when you are rinsing it out you will notice just how much they can hold.  Most all of the blood stays on the inside of the sponge.

When out and about it’s a good idea to have the 2nd sponge or two with you in a wet-proof reusable bag since you can’t always easily get to a sink in public restrooms.  Simply place the used sponge into the bag and clean it later when you get home.  In the public stall you’ve got plenty of toilet paper to wipe up your hand with so you can get over to the sink to wash your hands.  You might even consider carrying a wet wash cloth with you for this purpose.  You can also use the larger stall that has a sink in it.  Simply put, being out and about while using these sponges was not the hassle I expected it to be.

Rinsing the sponges is a bit messy on your hand(s).  You WILL be touching blood, but at the same time your hand is under running water while touching it.  No big deal!  Your hand is being rinsed at the same time the sponge is.  But honestly ladies, who hasn’t gotten a little blood on their hands (or clothing now that I think about it) during their cycle?  It happens, we’re women!  Haven’t you ever leaked through any product you’ve used, even just once?  We deal with blood every month and none of us has an excuse to be squeamish about blood.  It’s natural, it’s part of our body and it’s just something we have to deal with.

The draw-string bag that comes with the sea sponges reminds me of all the reusable cotton produce bags I carry to the store with me ~ only smaller with looser weave!  The two sponges just fit inside with not much room to spare.  At this point I actually have 4 sponges, because I bought some from GladRags as well when they were having a sale plus free shipping.  So I’ve chosen to set aside one of my small produce bags for storing my sponges in between cycles.  It just has a bit more room.

To sum up here ~ these are great!!  They are easier to get used to than the cups since you don’t have to get them positioned just right.  They are perfect for someone who wants ease into using reusable menstrual products but is a little intimidated by the cups. 

Oh and I almost forgot to add that you can even have intercourse while using sponges!  Here’s what Jade & Pearl has to say on this topic:

“It is perfectly safe to use your Sea Pearls during intercourse as long as you rinse and clean your sponge thoroughly afterwards.  If you have trouble removing a sponge after intercourse, we recommend relaxing your muscles, squatting or sitting in a warm bath.  Some women use sponges as a form of contraception along with a spermicide of their choice.”

BONUS!!!!

  


Disclaimer:
   I was not paid to write this review and my opinions are my own. When reviewing a product I will let you know if I purchased the item or was provided a sample from the company for review purposes. My opinion of the products I review is for information purposes only. 

Many of my blog posts contain affiliate links.  Purchasing through an affiliate link allows me to keep blogging and sharing what I learn with you.  It won’t make me rich for sure, but is a bit like buying me a cup of coffee or leaving a tip.  And if it’s products you would be purchasing anyway ~ then why not help me out too, it costs you nothing extra.  Thanks for your wonderful support and for following me!