Textile Ratios and Titles

Bamboo Fiber
Bamboo Viscose

Viscose rayon is a fiber made from regenerated wood cellulose. With respect to bamboo, the term came into use when sellers of bamboo began to make product claims that the Federal Trade Commission (the government agency that regulates advertising) worried that consumers were being misled, that bamboo products somehow came straight from the farm into consumers’ homes. (We don’t doubt extravagant product claims were being made. We’ve seen some of them. We aren’t sure, however, that the use of “viscose rayon” clarified matters for the consumer.)

Cellulose is a complex carbohydrate that is the basic structural component of plant cell walls and is the most abundant of all naturally occurring organic compounds. It is processed to produce, among many, many other familiar products, papers and fibers, including bamboo fiber. The FTC ruled that manufacturers should identify bamboo fiber as bamboo viscose and/or bamboo rayon, meaning the fiber is produced from the cellulose of the bamboo plant.

Cotton production differs from bamboo production. Cotton is harvested and then ginned where lint is separated from seed. Lint is compressed into bales and then shipped to textile mills. Cotton is produced primarily in the United States while bamboo fiber is produced primarily in China.

Manufacturers of both bamboo and cotton fiber make “environmental” claims about their products the veracity of which can depend upon the degree of environmental purity insisted upon by a user. (That is, cotton supporters insist bamboo isn’t “environmentally friendly” because its pulp is broken down mechanically or chemically to produce fiber. Conversely, supporters of bamboo say that cotton is genetically engineered and, even worse, “organic” cotton requires 660 gallons of water to produce a single t-shirt compared with 290 gallons of water for a conventional cotton t-shirt.)

Bamboo fiber and cotton fiber have different strengths and weaknesses. Bamboo is extremely soft, but its fibers lose strength when wet. Cotton fibers, on the other hand, gain strength when wet, which is why they are used in so many medical applications to clean, protect and absorb body fluids.

Our formulation, developed here in the United States, now combines the strengths of both cotton and bamboo. Unicorn Station luxury washcloths are seventy percent bamboo viscose fiber and thirty percent cotton. We would suggest consumers be wary of products claiming to be 100 percent bamboo viscose.




Beards and Beard Preening

Beards and Beard PreeningI am perhaps not the most culturally aware person on the planet. I freely admit I didn’t realize we were in the midst of a facial hair revolution until all three of our boys (really, grown men) suddenly and simultaneously grew beards.

Now, somewhat more well-informed, I’m seeing signs of this revolution everywhere and in every context.

Please don’t misunderstand. I love beards and mustaches. My husband has worn a mustache for the decades I’ve known him. My boys, as noted, are bearded and in my opinion, they are just as handsome as ever, perhaps even more so as the beards add a certain je ne sais quoi. (I threw that in because I could.)

Beard GroomingBut the marketing gremlins that help sell beard products are ascribing nearly mystical properties to beards, including health and cosmetic benefits. (I won’t discuss the alleged enhancement of certain physiological abilities out of deference to my age and in recognition of my continued ability to make my children blush. The point – as you will have guessed — is that Romeo has nothing on a guy with a beard.)

All of this hype can go a long way toward making heads swell which in turn can encourage actions that are most unbecoming. Here are some tips to help you keep your head at its normal and most attractive size.

  • If an acquaintance compliments you on the appearance your beard, don’t enthusiastically agree. Accept the compliment with a simple “thank you” or a self-deprecating remark. You know you look great. Your pal knows you look great. No need to pound that nail.
  • Similarly, even if asked, don’t launch into a detailed description of your grooming and styling techniques, particularly if the person offering the compliment is female. Take my word for it. It’s off-putting. If the complimentor is male and genuinely interested, arrange a private chat to compare notes in greater depth. Like colonoscopies, it’s really not a subject for public discussion.
  • Mirrors have many, many uses, but do not stop and admire yourself every time you encounter one. Similarly, don’t cast loving glances at yourself when you see your reflection in a window. It says more about you than your beard when you do and, like prolonged discussions of grooming, is off-putting, especially to females.
  • Some men like to touch their facial hair, particularly when it’s new, but I’d advise you to limit this. Using your fingers to trace your mustache over your mouth and chin can cause you to involuntarily open your mouth in an unbecoming way. Stroking your beard is reminiscent of petting a cat or dog and, while those associations may be pleasant for the onlooker, I certainly wouldn’t want to remind people of a dog.
  • Sometimes friends and acquaintances will suggest that you remind them of a celebrity who sports a beard. Do not immediately agree and, most important, do not go on to mention that other acquaintances have said the same thing. This is called preening and should be avoided.

Remember, beards often do enhance your looks. That’s a good thing and can give rise to beard envy in friends and acquaintances. But beard envy and beard preening are different. You need to know the difference.

If you are so inclined, check out our beard and mustache grooming kit on Amazon.


Stuff and Nonsense

Poor Little ThingAn Australian “parenting expert” has recently offered an opinion we really cannot resist passing along.

Dr. Justin Coulson, the author of a parenting book called “21 Days to a Happier Family,” asserts there is no such thing as “teething.”

To which we say, “If the ankle-biter is whinging, there’s gotta be a reason. Right?”

Wrong, says this august personage. While admitting that some of his children have “really suffered through the teething process…I think, really, it’s just part of growing up.”

Say what?

He’s had kids who “suffered through the teething process” but we don’t.

He adds that parents who are responsive to children in discomfort, tend to have children who are less irritable.

Well, duh.

Coulson goes on to declare that “We need to get past the mindset that teething is some sort of nightmare…”

Then he adds somewhat condescendingly that “the idea of giving your child teething rings or crackers or ice cubes doesn’t bother me.”

Good onya, mate!

This nonsense was reported in the Australian edition of the Huffington Post along with an opinion from a Dr. Clay Jones on another matter which we strongly and will address in a second blog very shortly.

In the meantime, don’t be roiled by this stuff. If your baby is teething, and our twins did for months, use any remedy that seems to work…ice, cold towels, crackers, etc. Consider buying one of our teething necklaces for away-from-home relief. (We had to write that.)

New and young parents have too much on their plates to concern themselves with opinions that are manifestly absurd.

Give Into Temptation!

Baby and IpadA couple of recent articles in lifezette.com discussed the prevalence and impact of electronic devices on the development of babies and toddlers in the United States.

The findings aren’t particularly startling. The articles referenced a 2013 study from Common Sense Media that found that 75% of children had access to mobile media devices in the home. However, in this fast changing world where new apps for Moms and kids are being developed almost every day, we suspect these 2013 findings are somewhat hoary.

Using expert commentary, lifezette also makes the point that researchers really don’t know whether this plethora of electronic devices is good for children.
“The bottom line is that it’s so new we don’t know if it’s good, bad or otherwise. But there is a lot of other research that shows the main learning and sustenance for young children – particularly children under 2 – comes from their relationships, particularly their parents and whomever cares for them,” says Tovah Klein, director of the Barnard College Center for Toddler Development.

Without being too snarky, most of us can figure that out. Of course, babies and toddlers do best when interacting with parents, other children, caregivers and others. And, while acknowledging the very real concern that kids, including infants and toddlers, are overexposed to electronic media, we’d make the point that in every generation parents worry about their children. The issues change, but the worry never does.

Having said this, we do think that electronic media pose a temptation to parents we should be aware of – that is, they can serve as babysitters.

We’re up early. We work. We have chores at home including meals and so on and on. An older generation turned on the television set. Parents today resort to electronic media to grab those few minutes that enable them to get a hot meal to the table or take care of some other necessary task.

Despite the experts, there is nothing wrong with it…provided we know we’re distracting our children and we compensate for it at other less stressful times.
In our opinion, it’s far too easy to make parents feel guilty about the way they raise their children. We say, pick the media wisely, use it when necessary, and don’t feel guilty about it. Remember, it’s not either/or. It’s a balance.