Nontoxic Christmas Decorating Tips

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*Disclosure: I only recommend products I use and love. All opinions expressed here are my own. This post may contain affiliate links that at no additional cost to you, may allow me to earn a small commission.

Christmas is one of my favorite times of the year. I love the traditions, seeing friends and family, the never-ending sweets and snacks and now, the excitement of seeing it through my babe’s eyes!

I think I speak for many of us when I admit it can also be incredibly stressful – getting to all the events, buying presents and then, on top of that, decorating the house AND the tree!

It can get very frustrating when you want to make everything festive and also have concerns on potential harmful exposures for you and your family. Did you know that most Christmas lights contain lead and that majority of the decorations are made with harmful chemicals like flame retardants, leeching plastics, toxic paints and metals like lead, cadium, mercury, arsenic, and bromine? Our friends at did a study in 2014 of 69 seasonal holiday products and found that over ⅔ contained at least one of these chemicals at levels of concern.

I had no idea the amount of chemicals I was eagerly putting all over my house until I started researching more. It became incredibly overwhelming. I figured I may just be stuck with a Charlie Brown tree and a festive-less home. Then I discovered a few options and alternatives I wanted to share with you that have made my home ready for the holidays just like it always does, with a few modifications!


If you want a live tree — I chose to go with a real tree. I called several growers in the area and found one that last sprayed herbicide and pesticides on their crop in July. That felt like long enough that I wasn’t having a tree coated in chemicals coming into the home.

Want to cut down a tree? Use this site to find a farm close to you!

If you prefer an artificial tree — I have one I have used for the many years I was a cat mom. I definitely don’t want to throw it away but I don’t want to use it while little baby hands could be touching it (and then putting those hands into her mouth). Artificial trees generally have flame retardants on them and contain PVC (polyvinyl chloride) which can contain and release lead dust into the air.

Honestly, I don’t have many options here for you as most of the artificial trees are made of things I definitely don’t want in my home and absolutely don’t want my baby in contact with. If you MUST go this route – either buying one at a big box store or utilizing one you already have in storage – wash your hands after setting up the tree, try your best to keep little hands away from it and set up a HEPA filter in the same room as the tree.

One safe alternative are IKEA trees! They are made with polyethelene and polypropelene (two MUCH safer plastics!) They come in 3 sizes – 86.5” ($49) can be viewed here. The 69” ($29) here. And 55” ($15) here.


Want Christmas lights that don’t contain lead? Want safer electronics in general? (It’s often the PVC insulation over the wiring in MANY electronics that cause the exposure since they can contain lead and phthalates) Your best bet is to look for ROHS compliance. Thanks to the European Union for creating this certification to protect their consumers, the amount of toxic chemicals in products with this label are incredibly minimal, if any at all.

I was so thankful to find the following ROHS certified lights affordable and right on Amazon:

White lights

Color lights


It’s really unfortunate that there really aren’t too many alternatives to those bright plastic garlands, tinsel and bows. Here are some of the results from the study I mentioned above:

I have found a lot of natural wood decor options (like these untreated pine cones) and while I don’t want toxins in the home, I personally want something with some color and POP on the tree and around the house. What I chose to do this year was buy boiled wool garland to brighten up the tree. You can buy loose wool balls and create your own (more cost effective) or buy them pre-strung! There is also this incredibly affordable nontoxic PET plastic garland!

Christmas is a little different around here than before I learned about the toxins in everyday products and even more so now that there is a little one who likes to touch (and taste) everything. Hopefully, a few of these items might help make your decorating a little easier. May you have a stress-free, enjoyable holiday season filled with love and lots of (nontoxic) sparkle!

10 Easy Ways to Minimize Your OVERLOAD

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There are some simple steps anyone can take to minimize their body burden. What’s important to remember – because ANY change can be hard – is that you can do this over time. You don’t have to dump out all of your cleaners and products right this minute. Use what you have and as your run out, slowly replace them with new, less toxic versions. It’s important to remember that it’s about progress, not perfection when it comes to making choices.

Here are my top 10 ways I keep my exposure to a lot of unnecessary chemicals as low as possible.

  1. Use personal care products rated 4 and under.
  2. Use household cleaners rated C or above.
    • Use one of the resources on our toolkit page – like EWG’s Healthy Cleaning database – to find alternatives!
      • If you choose low rated products 80% of the time, you will make a BIG dent in your exposure!
  3. Buy organic versions of the Dirty Dozen.
    • You don’t have to buy every food organic! That’s how I keep my food bills lower and can feel good about what I serve my daughter.
  4. Eliminate bottled water & minimize single-use plastics.
    • Grab a reusable water bottle and some Pyrex instead. Utilize FREE tap water because it’s what most of that bottled water you pay for is anyway!
  5. Avoid/replace nonstick cookware.
    • Use silicone baking molds and ceramic or stainless pots and pans.
  6. Minimizing/avoiding artificial fragrance.
    • Use essential oils instead!
  7. Avoid receipt paper/BPA lined cans.
    • Just say no to receipts or ask your big box store to switch over to BPA-free receipts. They exist – Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods both use BPA-free receipt paper so why can’t everyone?
  8. Avoid styrofoam. Not only is it largely not recyclable, but it when hot food it out in it, it leaches right into that food you can’t wait to crush for a midnight snack.
  9. Exercise and/or sauna 2-3 times per week. Sweating out the toxins you are exposed to is a big help to moving them out of your body. I love a good sauna sweat sesh 20-30 minutes, 3 times a week.
  10. Eat phytonutrients and take supplements that enable your body’s natural detoxification abilities. Think about the colors of the foods you eat – try to get as much green, blue and purple in there to help your body’s chelation (conversion of metals and chems into an excretable form) with their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.



*Disclosure: I only recommend products I use and love. All opinions expressed here are my own. This post may contain affiliate links that at no additional cost to you, may allow me to earn a small commission.

Since filming Overload: America’s Toxic Love Story, people ask me all the time what my favorite baby products are. Below are my favorites I use nearly every day

Weleda Calendula Baby Lotion – Super gentle and has kept her skin very soft and hydrated. Made from the best stuff by a great company.

Burts Bees Baby Body Wash – Great, non-irritating suds with a clean rinse. Can use on hair and body and doesn’t leave hair oily at all.

Target Up & Up Diapers – Made without fragrance, chlorine bleach and latex, we are happy to say we have had minimal blow outs, next to no diaper rash and wake up with a dry mattress thanks to these incredibly affordable disposable diapers.

Seventh Generation Baby Wipes – I love that there’s no fragrance or alcohol used on these super-soft wipes.

Babyganics Hand Sanitizer – Anyone with babies knows you use a LOT of hand sanitizer. Since day one in the NICU, I brought this with me and it’s still a diaper bag staple. Never drying or irritating. We also love the Babyganics Insect Repellent and SPF.

My First Green Toys – Made from 100% food grade recycled plastic, these are a feel-good way to have some plastic toys in the house made without PVC, phthalates and BPA. Something I have always stressed about is the waste created by new toys, but these repurposed plastic toys from GreenToys is all fun and zero guilt!

Pure Rubber Bath Toy – Made without holes so it won’t get moldy, these toys are a bathtime favorite that I can feel totally fine about baby putting in her mouth…because every toy goes in her mouth these days.

Sprout Baby Food – While I love to have homemade food for the baby, these organic packets are lined with polypropylene, versus others that use a polyethylene which is more likely to leach endocrine disruptors into the food when packaged at a high temperature. They also use lemon juice as a preservative versus a corn mold-derived citric acid.

HELLO Watermelon Toothpaste – (and Jack N Jill cornstarch toothbrush) – Pediatrician recommended we start brushing teeth super early so that it becomes a habit for all of us. Irie and I love the Watermelon toothpaste and the compostable toothbrush.

Britax Marathon Car Seat – There are VERY few car seats made without harmful flame retardants. Then, when you want it to also be affordable, there’s basically just one company – BRITAX. We started with the infant car seat and have now moved up to the Marathon. I can feel good knowing I have a 5-star safety rated seat and that my baby is surrounded by only the best materials made without harmful chemicals.

Be sure to check out my lists of top personal care and household products and 10 easy ways to minimize your OVERLOAD!



*Disclosure: I only recommend products I use and love. All opinions expressed here are my own. This post may contain affiliate links that at no additional cost to you, may allow me to earn a small commission.

Since filming Overload: America’s Toxic Love Story, people ask me all the time what my favorite household products are. Below are my favorites I use nearly every day.

Pyrex Starter Kit – One of the biggest transformations in my house has been the phasing out of kitchen plastics. They leach endocrine disrupting chemicals into hot foods – both when warm leftovers are loaded in and when they are heated back up. When I leave a restaurant, I ask for my leftovers to be put into foil so they aren’t in plastic or styrofoam and then I bring them home and pop them into Pyrex. Great for reheating – and without the nasty chemmies!

Bon Ami – Who needs a toxic scrub when you can use this incredible product?! Super cheap and available online and at Target, this is one of my favorite nontoxic products on the market – since 1886!

Kleen Kanteen – On my first day of filming Overload, EWG gave me a Kleen Kanteen and it’s been with me every day since. I now have 4 of them in rotation and give them as presents often. Who needs a plastic water bottle leaching chemmies into the water that is supposed to be keeping our bodies clean and hydrated? Single wall bottles are great for room temp and the double wall keeps hot drinks hot and cold drinks incredibly cold. Available in a ton of colors and caps. Kleen Kanteens too expensive for you? Find any stainless steel reusable bottle and begin making an impact on the earth and your body.

Calphalon Ceramic Pots and Pans – Not the least expensive set on the market but I have had mine for over 4 years now and, when used with silicone cooking utensils, they really last. Nothing sticks, they are easy to clean, and no Teflon in my food – that’s a definite winning combo!

Round Silicone Cake Pans – I love making cakes and meatloafs but don’t use nonstick pans anymore. Glass can work but can be hard to clean. I found these cake pans and they work super well for all baking needs!

365 Oxygen Whitening – I have to admit, I have always loved bleach, but that’s just not part of this nontoxic mama’s repertoire anymore. I wanted something to perk up my whites and found it! I even use it on colors. It’s a great booster cleaner in the laundry without the smell or toxicity of bleach!

Seventh Generation Multi-Surface Cleaner – Great lemongrass smell. Makes every surface feel and look incredibly clean.

Shark Floor Steamer – I need to keep a clean – chemical-free – floor with a crawling baby. This keeps the toxins off the floor and is super fast and easy to use.

Seventh Generation Trash Bags – I love that these don’t break on the walk to the dumpster (that is NOT a fun pick up!) and that they are made with 65% recycled plastic. It’s not a perfect solution but it’s way better than 100% virgin plastic bags.

Grab Green Laundry Detergent – To be honest, this has been a hard one to find. I wanted something nontoxic but I also wanted to have clean clothes. Everything I had used made it feel like it was just washed with water – until Grab Green. I love their natural scent options too tho unscented is my favorite.

Be sure to check out my lists of top personal care products, products for baby and 10 easy ways to minimize your OVERLOAD!



*Disclosure: I only recommend products I use and love. All opinions expressed here are my own. This post may contain affiliate links that at no additional cost to you, may allow me to earn a small commission.

Since filming Overload: America’s Toxic Love Story, people ask me all the time what my favorite personal care products are. Below are my favorites I use nearly every day

Giovanni Heat Protector – Doesn’t make your hair oily or heavy. Has a great naturally-derived scent and protects hair from styling damage.

V05 Unscented Aerosol Hairspray – This isn’t the cheapest link for this hairspray, and I might get teased by some people for using this old-school brand, but I swear by this product. It also helps reduce static cling on clothes too!

Unscented Dove Soap – Doesn’t dry out my skin and totally affordable.

SheaMoisture Lotion – All scents they have are amazing, but I love the African Black lotion and the Superfruit body oils the most!

Ambre Blends Essence Oil – Invoke is my personal fave. I get compliments all the time about what perfume I am wearing. I love sharing that it’s an organic fragrance that smells super feminine without anything artificial.

Tarte Gifted Mascara – Lengthens and separates beautifully.

BITE Beauty Lipstick – Food-grade organic lipstick that smells divine, glides on easily and stays on a long time.

The Ordinary Buffet Peptide Serum – Booster moisturizer that I love at an incredible price.

Shea Brand CBD Restorative Lip Balm – Plumps my lips up and stays on well without any stronger taste or scent. Beautiful packaging too!

Karma Organic Nail Polish Remover  – Removes even the darkest polish and doesn’t dry out my nails.

Be sure to check out my lists of top household products, products for baby and 10 easy ways to minimize your OVERLOAD!


Soozie 6 Chemicals

For the past three years, as I have worked on my film and been learning more about the amount of toxins we encounter in our lives, I have been asked what I eat, what makeup I use, and how I clean my home. People say they can’t wait to see my film to find out. In reality though, I want my film to be enjoyable and something you watch, not something you take notes on. In my opinion, there can only be so much information retained after watching a documentary like mine. I realized I needed to have a space that could become a toolkit and resource. A place where I could share the products I use, shortcuts I have figured out and a connection to the resources and orgs that help me to live a cleaner, and greener, life.

Over the coming months, as the film rolls out this site will be built to contain more information – buying guides, lifestyle videos, a shopping area where you can see all of my favorite products. It’s not particularly burdensome to avoid exposures once you know easy ways to do it and the affordable products to use. What started as a desire to see if I could carry less toxins in my body has become a way of life and I look forward to sharing it with you!