Top 7 First Trimester Pregnancy Essentials

Top 7 First Trimester Pregnancy Essentials! Morning sickness remedies & more! // MeredithTested.wordpress.comI am so thrilled to be pregnant with my first baby! My husband and I can’t wait to meet her this fall.

I had a pretty really rough first trimester and basically became a nauseated hermit. Morning sickness? Try all-day-all-night-all-the-time-omg sickness. Lovely. I know everyone is different but wow I had no idea one option was to feel like I was stuck on a ship on the rough seas with nothing but my toilet to keep me company for days on end. I’ll just leave the description at that to avoid making you queasy. The really rough stuff lasted about 4 weeks. But, I pulled through thanks to some very important essentials.

While every pregnancy is different, here’s what I recommend having on hand to get through the 1st trimester!

  1. Comfy leggings and loose shirts
    Especially a few weeks in, this was a major necessity. Everything felt sore – especially the “ladies” (…I’m talking about boobs) and loose clothing made it bearable. I pulled myself into “real” pants (stretchy jeans, let’s be honest) a handful of times. The rest of the days were spent in leggings, dresses and loose tops.
  2. Hydration
    I kept a water bottle by my side 24/7. When water was hard to keep down, my midwife suggested trying everything from flavored sparkling water to sports drinks. Even watery fruits and soups can be good. Staying super hydrated helped me feel better, or at least made the tolerable times last longer between awful ones. What really truly worked for me, though? Coconut water, friends. My favorite brand is Amy & Brian Coconut Juice. It’s well worth the cost, trust me. If you don’t like the flavor of coconut water, you can add a little juice (though pregnant women should avoid pineapple juice, apparently.) I just know that compared with any other liquid, I perked up and felt way more like myself after downing some liquified coconuts. Is that what coconut water is? Who cares, it was a miracle for me.
  3. Peppermint
    Purely PeppermintPeppermint tea, candies and mints (VerMints are a favorite) always went down easy. Mmmm. I’m not sure they actually soothed my tumultuous stomach but it seemed like they had a positive effect on my mood. I kept on going back time and time again, so that says something. For reference, almost *everything else* I ate went on the “oh god I never want to eat that again ever” list.
  4. B6 and Unisom
    Yup. Check with your doctor or midwife but this is a tried-and-true (and safe) treatment for nausea. My husband found this morning sickness remedy by consulting Dr. Google, and then we consulted a real medical professional to confirm. We could only find 100mg tablets of B6 so I was advised to cut them in quarters. Again, consult your doc but most sources say that 25 – 50 mg of B6 is the max you should take. This “cocktail” gave me some relief, so I give it an A+. I wish I’d known about this from the start, but it definitely helped me through the last couple weeks of pukey-land.
  5. Toothbrush
    Oral health is really important when you’re pregnant so a good toothbrush is a MUST. I am in love (yeah, it’s a strong relationship) with my Preserve soft toothbrush. Even when it was hard for me to get to the bathroom to do anything besides stand over the toilet, I forced myself to brush my teeth a few times a day. This brush is shaped perfectly to reach all of your teeth and the bristles are the right amount of soft. Some women can get really sore gums during pregnancy. Even if you’re not pregnant but you’ve been known to “over brush” to the detriment of your gums, I highly recommend this brush. 
  6. Moisturizer
    NovaKera creamMaybe it’s just me, but my face/body started to get really dry during the first trimester so I needed to slather on the moisture! Perhaps this goes along with the “hydration” point listed above. I love this “Just Right Daily Moisturizer” from VeriaID for all over my face and neck. I added a bit of this uber-thick Jason Vitamin E cream to super-dry spots on my face. Weird dry patches showed up around my eyebrows and under my eyes. And I thankfully had a sample of NovaKera cream on hand, which was incredible (I mean, wowza) for keeping my hands and feet super lovely and soft. 
  7. Supportive significant other (and family/friends)
    This is key. My husband was lovely about grabbing miscellaneous stuff (read: totally random food I thought I might be able to stomach) for me from the store every day and digging out stacks of old movies for me to half-watch in my miserable-ness. He was also good at just being there for me, talking with me, and listening to me b*tch about my symptoms. My family and close friends (ones that I told I was pregnant early on) were so great about checking in on me and making me feel loved. A good support system is super important when you have a new baby, I hear, so I hope this was a nice little glimpse at my future ;)

Also, a note on food: I typically eat a mostly paleo, grain-free diet but I added in rice and corn (and gluten-free bread), and some dairy (cheese and greek yogurt) during this time. Eating a little bit of something usually made me feel better, but after a while pretty much only brown rice cakes and certain fruits were on the “yes” list. Veggies and protein (besides cheese on occasion) were out. Go ahead and try whatever comes to mind during your morning sickness – random stuff, junk food, comfort food (grilled cheese, hello!) – but what ended up working for me was to keep it simple. Fruit (melons, strawberries, and oh so many bananas), Nut Thins (crackers made from almonds and some rice flour), and rice cakes were bo-ring, yes, but I kept them down and they perked me up.

I was tempted like everyone to seek comfort food as a way to find some damn pleasure, but I found more happiness watching fun old movies/tv shows, talking with my husband/friends and of course, the best freakin’ thing ever … taking naps.



Hope this is helpful to someone! Feel free to leave questions in the comments or email me (

June Goodebox Review (Subscription Box)

Goodebox Natural Wellness Products Subscription Box REVIEW by

Goodebox is a subscription service that ships you a small box of “expertly curated, trial sized healthy, eco-sensitive & effective beauty and personal care products, along with occasional samples of natural & organic health and wellness products.” If you completely fill out your online profile, they’ll customize the contents even more. Right now I’m signed up to receive a box every other month. So far, I’m pretty pleased. Like all subscription box services, every box isn’t **amazing**, but I’ve gotten to try some green/clean products I’ve been eye-ing for a while, and I’ve been introduced to new brands and products. Which is the point, right?

The number one reason I like subscription services is that you get sample sizes of a lot of different products that you might otherwise never try. Since I’m transitioning all of my products to green/clean/non-toxic ones, sample sizes for trial are ideal.

My June Goodebox contained some fantastic samples. My review of each is below.

Blum naturals Daily Cleansing and Makeup Remover Towelettes
I’m no stranger to cleansing wipes, so I was excited to see these. My favorite part was the individual packaging. Not super environmentally friendly but very convenient – throw them in your purse, makeup bag, gym bag. I found the texture of the towelettes a little on the rough side for my sensitive skin so I wouldn’t use them every day. However, the formula was great – it removed my makeup and wasn’t too drying. Use a moisturizer right after and you’re good to go!

Beauty Without Cruelty Fragrance Free Hand and Body Lotion
Super basic, you might even think “boring” but this lightweight lotion is divine. Absorbs quickly and makes my skin super soft, ahhhhh.

Goddess Garden Natural Sunscreen SPF 30
I’m so excited about this – I have fair, Scandinavian skin and need sunscreen year-round. I so far really love this sunscreen – it applies just like the sunscreen you’ve always used, just toxin-free! I also LOVE the little card that Goddess Garden sent that gives ingredients from bad to good so you can check the sunscreen already in your medicine cabinet.

Jillian Wright Complexion Perfection Booster Powder
There’s definitely a learning curve and I can’t necessarily speak to the efficacy of this product but I appreciate the versatility and hope to see results soon. You can mix this powder into your moisturizer or serum. According to the brand, “Just a pea-size amount firms, illuminates and strengthens while super fruit antioxidants ward off free-radical damage to give your skin that luminous – ‘I’ve been on sailboat off the coast of Italy all day ‘- glow.”

Primal Pit Paste Natural Deodorant (Regular)
This has been on my “deodorants to try” list for SO long, I was thrilled to see it in my box. My small sample lasted 4+ days and I love it so far. I am ordering a full size for sure! I think I’ll try the stick instead of the jar, just to make application easier.

Waxelene (The Petroleum Jelly Alternative)
Another product I’ve been meaning to try for a while. All of the hype is for good reason. This stuff is amazing on your lips or anywhere you feel dryness. I immediately threw this in my purse and use it all the time. Will repurchase as soon as my tube is out.

Do you like subscription boxes? Why or why not?

Meredith Tested: MyChelle Skincare Review

I’ve been using several items from MyChelle for a few months now. The verdict is in! Here are my reactions to some of their best sellers.

MyChelle products are typically very clean and green but double check the ingredient list and the EWG Skin Deep site as some products aren’t as “natural” as I’d like. I had a gift card (full disclosure: I won a contest via their Facebook page) so I ordered my products from the MyChelle website, but you can also find their stuff online via Vitacost and you might find them in some local stores.

MyChelle Fruit Enzyme Cleanser face wash review // MeredithTested.wordpress.comWill definitely repurchase:

  1. Fruit Enzyme Cleanser, $10-$18 (EWG: 1) … The smell is nice and it goes to work on my makeup and dirt/grime without making my skin feel like I did anything to it. It’s not “creamy” but it still feels nice going on. I put a dime-sized amount in my palm and then mix with warm water before applying in small circles all over my face and neck. My husband also loves it. When we ran out we switched to a different cleanser (an organic Body Shop one) and we both had small breakouts pretty much immediately. Back to Fruit Enzyme Cleanser we go!

Might repurchase:

  1. Honeydew Unscented Cleanser $10-$18 (EWG: 1) … There is a slight smell but after getting used to the enzyme cleanser this one just didn’t hold up. I have the small container (2.1 oz) so I’ll definitely keep it in my travel kit but it’s not a go-to.
  2. Oil Free Grapefruit Cream $31 (EWG: 2) … First let me say that this lotion is definitely not for the Winter and/or anyone with even slightly dry skin. I eventually started to like this but at first I was not a fan of the scent and the slightly tacky/sticky way my skin felt after applying. It does absorb after a few minutes. I think this might be good for someone with very acne-prone skin, not someone like me with normal-to-combination skin. I always ended up applying more of this lotion or a different lotion to get a bit more moisture.
  3.  Apple Brightening Skin Cleanser $14.25 (EWG: 3 due to fragrance) … I like this cleanser and while I don’t think it’s had a huge effect on my pigmentation trouble spots (mostly due to acne from my teen years), I loved the smooth texture of my skin after using this product. I also tried the serum and spray in this line but will not repurchase due to heavy scent, some iffy ingredients (and therefore high EWG ratings.)
  4. Cream Foundation $27.25 … This almost went into my “won’t repurchase ever” pile until I figured out that it applies pretty well with a buffing brush (I use the one in this set from Real Techniques.) It did not apply well for me with fingers, a beauty blender or other sponges – I ended up very splotchy every time. It almost separated on my skin and floated around, if that makes sense. It is definitely not a good fit for me for summer as the finish is quite shiny and sweats almost immediately off. However, I liked it for winter months when my skin could handle a bit more moisture. I did end up popping powder on top almost every time I used it, though, for better staying power and to remove some of the sheen. Smells great. Weirdly great.

Probably won’t repurchase:

  1. Concealer $13.50 … This smells nice (probably due to the guava extract) but just never gave me the coverage or texture/finish I wanted. I typically use concealer for two reasons: darkness/pigmentation around my eyes and nose and some very old acne scars, and on blemishes. Even with a powder to set, this did not work for blemishes for me. It worked a little better around my nose and under my eyes, but again I felt I had to set with a lot of powder and it didn’t last very long. I know other bloggers/reviews rave about this little stick, but my experience was lack-luster.
  2. So Clean $17.50 … This is a men’s product meant as “a cleanser, beard softener, shaving foam, and all-over body shampoo in one,” which is cool, but my husband rarely reaches for it and it tends to sit on the shelf of our shower instead of getting used. There’s nothing really wrong with this product, but it just wasn’t a favorite
  3. Apple Brightening line … see above.


American-Made Stationery

I know, we all love smartphones and computers to connect with family and friends. Duh. Click, click, click, done!

But, whether it’s a “thank you” or “just because,” a card is fun to write and fun to receive. Sure, texts, emails and phone calls work for most things, but there’s a freedom and spontaneity that comes with writing on a piece of paper. Maybe that scares you (what do I write?? ahh!) but I find it’s best to let it flow. My tips: try writing in your speaking voice (talk aloud if you want!), start off by transcribing a quote or poem, or start with a story (a memory or recent event).

I look for fun Made in America cards everywhere – online, in local shops, bookstores, Tjmaxx, even the natural grocery store! Inspired to get pen to paper and let your friends and family know you’re thinking of them? Check out these designs!


Tattly – Send an unexpected surprise with your card, a temporary tattoo! My pick: Oh, hello.

Antoinette Social Stationery Set

Rifle Paper Co. – Printed in the USA, Anne’s card designs (like the above card set) are whimsical and high-quality.

Lemon Yellow Bordered Note

Crane & Co. – You’ll find timeless, high-end designs from Crane & Co. I love the cheerful yellow border on these.

Turquoise Spin Floral Card

Happy Cactus Designs – Bright colors, fun drawings and unique designs abound! These turquoise floral cards could work for lots of different occasions.

Do you like sending (or receiving) cards in the mail?

Interview with the Creator of the Economic Impact Rating

If you’re interested in ethical manufacturing and the Made in America movement (like I am), you may have heard that some organizations are trying to dig a little deeper into the impact that manufacturing can have on communities. I was lucky to be able to interview Anthony Comito, founder of the Economic Information Exchange Company and creator of the Economic Impact Rating to get more information about this particular organization’s mission.

(Please note that this interview is being published without edit and answers reflect the opinion of Anthony Comito, EIEC and EIR.)

Meredith Tested: “Who founded Economic Impact Rating (EIR)?

An interview with the creator of Economic Impact Rating #buylocal #localvore #madeinusa // blog“My name is Anthony Comito and I am the founder of the Economic Information Exchange Company and creator of the Economic Impact Rating. First, I would like to say thank you for taking time for this interview. I hope your readers will find interest in what we offer.

I am an accountant by trade, a CPA candidate and an alumnus of both the University of New Hampshire and Southern New Hampshire University. I studied accounting, business and communications; and am versed in cost accounting, consulting and business and personal tax preparation. My focus on accounting, finance, business and communications is what allowed me to conceive the Economic Impact Rating.

Who’s involved now?

On the analysis-side of things, we work with leading supply chain researchers, fortune 500 accountants, and experts in the areas of economic development and microfinance. These experts include professors from several universities that have provided guidance and resources during the creation of the rating system.

Your site says “Economic Impact Rating is a patent-pending technology for consumers to see where their money is going.” What kinds of things do you do to promote your site with consumers?

In short, using our patent-pending and proprietary techniques, we perform our ImpactAudit™ on products to determine the product’s economic impact to a specific area. We look at defined areas from the entire United States, to regions like New England, statewide and as specific as select cities.

Effectively, we reverse engineer back from the purchase price — through the supply chain, overhead expenses, taxes paid, charitable giving and more—to find the economic impact to a given area. Then, our Economic Impact Rating Certification Mark, showing the products rating, can be placed on packaging, signage, or advertising. This gives consumers the information they need, in a way they can use it, in the store aisle or online.

The Economic Impact Rating™ takes a step beyond “Made in America” and “Local” marketing claims, to offer consumers a scientific and recognized way to find products that support jobs, growth and sustainability in their area.

At this point, we audit individual products, but in the future we’d like to audit services, non-profits and governmental entities (maybe even politicians themselves!). We are constantly trying to improve our service and find different ways to maximize the effectiveness of gauging economic impacts. 

What is one thing you hope every site visitor will come away with?

That where they spend their money matters and that on the other side of your purchase are incomes, jobs, and economic growth. The Economic Impact Rating is here to help you channel your money to support jobs and growth in your community and country– helping you turn your everyday purchases into investments in your economy.

Where do you see EIR going in 2014? In 2015?

We have a crippling trade deficit, jobs disappearing faster than they can be created and bipartisan squabbling that is hurting our ability to help ourselves out of this situation. We want to be part of the solution and feel the Economic Impact Rating is a way to verifiably make a difference with each purchase.

Companies are desperately fighting for consumer’s spending. If consumers demand economic accountability of companies, companies will listen. They want to profit, and to do so, they must win your purchase. With the right information, consumers can support high impact products. Once companies take note, they’ll find that profits don’t come from chopping away and outsourcing, but by making positive economic impacts for their customers.

In the coming years, our company’s path will depend on the consumer’s desire to make conscious votes with their purchases. So, we ask for all the support we can get because we are all in this together.

Please follow us on twitter at @EconImpact, or like us on Facebook at “Economic Impact Rating”. Or, Instragram/tweet/post a picture of a product you’d like to see rated with the hash tag #EconImpact—we’d love to see what consumers are interested in.

What do you think? Would an Economic Impact Rating be helpful on products you purchase?

Graduation 2014 Gift Ideas

Gifts for Grads 2014 #madeinusa #ecofriendly #unique // from MeredithTested.wordpress.comGraduation celebrations are right around the corner! While a check or gift card is always appreciated by high school and college grads, these gifts offer something a little more fun to unpack. Plus, you can feel good about these gifts because they are are high-quality, eco-friendly, ethically manufactured (all #MadeinUSA) and can be enjoyed for years to come. If your grad is headed to a dorm or first apartment, also check out my picks for affordable, Made in America art prints.

*Yes, I’ve split up these gift ideas by gender, but there are obviously crossovers. Lots of college-bound guys I know would love a travel mug or cookbook, and some ladies would flip for a home state tee or catch-all tray.

For the gals:

Gigi Teddie Tote, Made in USA // Gifts for Grads // from: MeredithTested.wordpress.com1. Classic tote bag. Whether the new grad is starting a job (or job hunting) or pursuing a degree, a classic, roomy tote will always be useful. Splurge on this Gigi Embossed Leather “Teddie” Tote (made in NY!). With chic monogram options and a variety of colors, you can find a tote to fit any style. Not sure of her favorite color? Go with something basic (but fabulous) like black or gray. A more affordable everyday-tote option is this Market bag from Moop (made in PA, USA).

Tervis Tiger Travel Mug #madeinusa // Gifts for grads // blog2. Travel mug. Starting school or starting a new job will have new grads constantly on the go. A portable cup for coffee or tea will always be appreciated. Tervis mugs offer style and substance. I love this tiger wearing glasses design. Make the gift extra special by adding a pound of your favorite fair trade beans (in Burlington, VT I always go for Speeder & Earls) or a package of fair trade K-cups.

Gifts for grads // In the Small Kitchen Cookbook // blog #gifts #shopping3. A beginner cookbook. Cooking on your own can seem daunting – even if you’ve cooked with family for years. Give them a boost in the right direction with a cookbook full of healthy, simple meals. In the Small Kitchen or How to Cook Everything: The Basics are good, safe picks. Or, if you know s/he has a special diet (no gluten, vegetarian, etc.) ask your local bookseller or do an internet search for top sellers in that category. Make sure you flip through the book before you gift, though, to make sure the recipes don’t call for too many ingredients or expensive/hard-to-find items. I also found this list from CBS for cookbooks for beginner/college cooks.

Kris Nations Boston Necklace ... Gift ideas for graduation // MeredithTested.wordpress.com4. Necklace. Remind her of home with a necklace calling out her home city or state. Necklaces by Kris Nations definitely make a statement but are delicate enough for everyday wear.

For the guys:

1. Spice set. Even if the grad’s culinary prowess is limited, these spice sets from Penzey’s Spices add flavor and kick to the simplest of dishes. Eating out can be convenient when you’re living on your own, but eventually the $$$ adds up and cooking at home becomes a necessity. Help stretch his grocery dollar! Pick spices you know he’ll use – from spicy to international. If you live near one of their stores, head in for the lovely smells and knowledgeable staff.

Filtered water bottle #madeinusa // Graduation gift ideas 2014 // blog2. Portable hydration. Staying hydrated is key to tackling the day. A built-in filter in this Eco Vessel water bottle means grabbing a drink can be delicious and easy even if all you have access to is a questionable water fountain. Another great brand to check out? Liberty Bottle works makes all of their fun bottles in the USA.

Locally grown t-shirt tee // Graduation gift idea // blog 3. Home state tee. Even if he’s sticking around, let him showcase his home state pride with a tee from Locally Grown. They have lots of colors and styles to choose from. Even if he has to wear a suit at school or work, clean t-shirts for lounging or the gym are always appreciated.

4. Catch-all tray, $35. Guys are messy. Even the clean ones tend to let things get a bit disorganized at times. Help him tame (some of) his clutter with this key tray from Owen & Fred. The message inside is perfect, too: “The best way to predict the future is to create it.”

My #PemJo Wishlist

One of the first green beauty bloggers I found when I started the journey to clean up my makeup routine was Pemberly Jones. Now she has a super sleek new e-commerce site where she sells her favorite products. Switching out all of my products has been more overwhelming than I thought, and I’ve had my share of missteps. So, it’s nice when you visit a site and know you can trust that every product is great. Ahhh….

Let’s shop!

Here are the top 10 items on my wishlist (let’s face it, though, I could gobble up the whole darn site) … What’s on yours?

Natural Eyeliner in BlackAntioxidant MaskFragrance SampleNail Polish in Too Red

  1. Benecos Eyeliner in Black, $8.99
    I’ve been on the hunt for a great black eyeliner and I’m hoping this will be my holy grail product.
  2. Kahina Giving Beauty Antioxidant Mask, $62
    I’ve heard so much about this, I think it will be worth the splurge to experience it for myself!
  3. DeVita Moisturizer SPF 30+, $25.95
    Summer is coming and my pale porcelain skin needs lotsa SPF.
  4. Waxlene flip tube, $4.99
    Another cult product I have yet to try and dammit it’s time!
  5. Forager Fragrance Sample, $6/ea
    So so so excited for this one. I have had a hard time giving up beautiful perfumes so I’m hoping to fall in love with one of these Forager scents!
  6. Acure Moroccan Argan Stem Cell Shampoo, $9.99
    Ridic confession: I don’t think I’ve ever repurchased a shampoo, ever. I have long, thick hair and it needs TLC.  This one seems promising!
  7. Caru Skincare Peppermint Soap, $9.00
    Oh how I love me some peppermint. I’d love to add some fun to my shower routine with this guy. Bye, unscented Tom’s bar!
  8. RGB Nail Polish in Too Red, $18
    Red nails are the best. That is all.
  9. Meow Meow Tweet Deodorant Cream, $13
    Curiosity has gotten this cat. I must try this cream I keep hearing about!
  10. Alima Pure Bronzer, $20
    My aforementioned paleness needs some color in the summer!

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