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REVIEW: Brandless – Online Grocery Shopping
» REVIEW: Tuft & Needle Pouch (Chair)
Easter baskets during the year of less
» DIY: Our Kitchen Renovation
» I choose yes
» A year of less
» Moments
» REVIEW: LIFX Z Light Strip
» DIY: Shiplap built-in: The look without the commitment
» 3 things you need to help survive Winter

REVIEW: Brandless – Online Grocery Shopping

We tried out Brandless last week! If that name doesn’t sound familiar to you it’s basically an online shop of “brandless” items that are mostly organic, all gmo-free and other things like gluten-free as well. Every item is either $3 or two for $3.

The experience:

The site was easy to use and shipping was free after hitting a certain price point. This was pretty easy to do as it was around $30. I found plenty of staples that we use on a regular basis and some new items to try as well. This was my first time ordering and I received six dollars off my box as a bonus. The boxes came about two days later and they were well packed. Nothing was leaking or broken. This was impressive to me, I’ve used other services that don’t go the extra mile with packing and it shows.

The products:

The products were all high-quality and very tasty. We are a folic acid free family due to MTHFR genetic mutations and we were excited to find pretzel chips without that additive. We love them with hummus! Some of the products, however, are not worth the $3 price tag. I’m actually going to make you a list of the best and the worst. This should help when and if you decide to give Brandless a try.

Brandless Best from our order:

Blueberry Muffin Mix
Pretzel Chips 2/$3
Organic Ketchup 2/$3
Granolas, all flavors
Lentil Soup 2/$3
Olive Oil
Spray Olive Oil
Organic Pasta 2/$3
Organic Pasta Sauce
Organic Coconut Oil
Organic Dried Fruit
Popcorn 2/$3
Organic crackers (all flavors)
Whole wheat organic animal crackers
Maple Syrup

Brandless Worst (these items are cheaper/same in the store):

Beef Jerky
Candy (all flavors)
Applesauce Pouches
Granola Bars
Cookie Thins (not much product in the bag)
Almonds (same price per ounce as store)

Is Brandless worth it?
Overall I rate Brandless as a good, and useful service. There is absolutely no monthly commitment, you can order as you please or never again if you want to! It’s a nice way to get gmo-free and organic pantry staples for a consistently low price. A lot of items are cheaper than stores with a handful being equal or slightly more (see list above). I would say, try it out with a $6 code, be sure to hit free shipping amount, and see what you think! Our family will definitely order again.

Shop Brandless



» REVIEW: Tuft & Needle Pouch (Chair)

For the last few years, I’ve worked from home. I’ve slowly created a workspace that fits my needs for function and design. My space isn’t quite large enough for a couch so I went on the hunt for the perfect chair. So when Tuft & Needle asked us to review their new Pouch chair, I knew it had potential for the home office! Tuft & Needle has already been known to disrupt the mattress market with dozens of other brands following their lead. Now they’ve introduced what has become my new favorite seat in the house.

A few days after placing our online order, our UPS man delivered the Pouch right to our doorstep! The box required both Calvin and I to get it to the right spot. Be ready, these chairs weigh approximately 70 pounds! As you’ve probably imagined, there is no assembly required. Just open, unwrap, and patiently watch the Pouch expand before jumping on. I love the design of this couch, it is nice enough for any room in the house, not just tucked away in the corner of a bonus room.


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The Pouch.

It’s a bean bag but it’s the size of a large comfy chair. Just like their mattresses, the Pouch is delivered in a tall box right to your doorstep. This makes the Pouch a whole lot easier to bring upstairs if needed.


  • 48″ W x 48″ L x 48″ H
  • Filled with Certipur-US certified T&N Adaptive foam
  • Soft, quilted cover with locking zipper
  • Made in the USA (yes!)
  • 100-day trail
  • 3-year warranty
  • Available in 3 colors

I love to sit on it with my feet propped up on a nearby ottoman or coffee table. Our kids love to get a running start and dive into this “giant fluffy cloud” as they’ve described it. Speaking of kids, the cover is completely removable and machine washable in case a child (or a pet in our case) does the unthinkable. We’ve already moved the Pouch to different rooms in the house but I think the office is where it’ll stay.


I love the sturdiness and quality of the Pouch. Some folks may think the $450 price tag is steep but it is nowhere near the $850 price tag of a similar product by Lovesac. Even with heavy use, I imagine the Pouch to last in our house for at least five years.

Tuft & Needle website

buy Tuft & Needle on Amazon





I received this product from Tuft & Needle to complete this review, but the opinions expressed here are my own.

Easter baskets during the year of less

As I previously shared in this post, we chose to try out a year of less. A year with no physical gifts for birthdays, Christmas etc. Even though we have always been conservative with stuff it was still feeling out of control in our home. Here are a few ways we are planning to replace the traditional Easter Basket in our home this year.

For Elliott, our 9 year old:

A giftcard to a local arcade to spend some time with dad. We are also donating, in honor of his favorite sport, to provide soccer gear for kids who do not have equipment.

For Lola, our 9 year old:

A day pass for rock-climbing with mom, this is her favorite activity and she is so empowered when she’s climbing! We are also donating to provide food for a baby for a week through Samaritans Purse.

For Charlotte, our 7 year old:

A certificate for spa time. Nothing makes her happier than pretty pink nails. We will also donate in her name to provide baby chicks for a family in need. Also through Samaritans purse.

For Liam, our 5 year old:

A giftcard to the arcade for bonding time with Dad and big brother. In Liam’s honor we will donate to provide “comfort lambs to children. He is our babe who loves to have a stuffed animal tucked under his arm.

Each child will receive the gift of time and an experience with a parent and also know that another child will receive something that they need. We hope that these early experiences will foster a spirit of generosity and empathy for others.



» DIY: Our Kitchen Renovation

Our home has been such a work in progress. When we moved in we knew we were going to change everything but would need to do it slowly and of course… cheaply. When I walked into our home with my realtor/friend I told her to put the offer in within just a few minutes. I could see huge potential and I could see this becoming our home. Forgive the poor quality of the before photos! I didn’t have my iPhone 7 back then, ya’ll!

Before the renovation the kitchen was cut off from the entire house. It was still a large kitchen but it isolated me or whoever was in there from the rest of the home. I dreamed of a large, open space that contained a dining, sitting and kitchen area. The structure of our home posed some issues here. We didn’t have a large budget to work with and the wall separating the dining and kitchen was load bearing and also had the weight of stairs mixed in. Removing that or opening it up would be thousands upon thousands. No thank you. Every day I looked at the kitchen from different angles. I even asked contractor friends. I still got the answer… you’re talking about a lot of money hereIf you look below you’ll see the kitchen on the day we moved in. Shiny black, but solid wood, cabinets, a space waiting for a fridge and decent quartz counter tops. Oh. And red walls. Which probably looked stellar with someone else’s decor… but not mine. AND that soffit above the cabinets. Dry wall and soffit as far as the eye can see. The wall on the right (where the fridge goes) is the wall that divided the kitchen from the next room, picture #2. This room was a den/living area with faux wood beams and fireplace and lots of track lighting. This room was so dark despite the two sets of French doors.


The wall before coming down


The den on the opposite side of the kitchen wall


The opposite side of the kitchen. This leads into the bonus room and the dining room. The dining is where you spy the bit of chair rail. This is now my office and sitting area with a nice big couch.

One day as I was standing in the kitchen, it hit me. Why fixate on the location of the dining room? We could take the wall down between the den and the kitchen and create the open area we wanted! This wall was not load bearing. Additionally, because I had no budget for an actual new kitchen… why not move and repurpose all the existing cabinets? They were in good shape and very solid. Of course all these ideas hit me AFTER I did my mini $250 renovation. Thankfully I only lost the tile on wall I was planning to take down. You can read about that little detour here.

So here’s what we did in a nutshell. And yes, we did call in some professionals as well as doing a lot ourselves. There were some shady things going on with the electrical before we called in the professionals. It’s always lovely when you find out that the contractors that did the upstairs bathrooms renovations (before we bought the house) cut through the floor beams and just left them. PTL we didn’t end up with a shower or bathtub in the middle of our kitchen! We had our fair share of HGTV phone call moments and things to fix that cost more than we were expecting. Lesson #1 in home remodeling… always over-budget because you will uncover crazy things when the walls start coming down.

What we did:

– Removed wall separating den and kitchen, created column to encase plumbing pipes after wall removal, added hardwood floor where wall stood previously,

– Added additional can lighting to replace track lighting in den, removed gross faux beams

– Painted red brick on fire place, painted EVERYTHING

– Removed and rearranged cabinets, make an island from a portion of the cabinets, found contrasting granite at scrap granite yard

– Refinished ALL wood floors in house (they were a different color in each room),

– Painted cabinets, installed backsplash, converted electric range to gas. We also added extra moulding to the top of the cabinets. They looked strange after removing the soffit and that really helped dress them up.

– Removed soffit above cabinets, repaired drywall 1,000 times

– Added cabinetry for microwave area


And here we are today. The column marks where the wall once was. We opted to encase the plumbing with a column rather than spending thousands and thousands trying to move it. It was a budget win, and I like the detail. We also added a light switch and outlets which is very handy with the island. We added bead board to an existing cabinet, pulled from the old wall, and the island with seating for 5-6 was born. Someday, the black ovens will completely die and I’ll get new stainless ones… but not today.

Here is another angle from this perspective. I love the clean lines of sight. I love that we can gather here. I love that a painting from Ethiopia and baskets from Uganda all found their way into a space that boasts Farm House above the door. I love that those stools were $40 at Home Goods as well. LOVE a bargain. Ya’ll do too right??

Now here we are, looking from the opposite end. I didn’t remove my fridge crap for you guys. Wanted to be mostly real. Although there is usually a bit more crumbs and dog toys or whatever to be found on the floor. What I love about this view is the budget chair and table. The distressed(ish) blue chairs are leftover from a previous table set. The upholstered chairs were $60 each on World Market’s end of year sale. The farm house table with metal top was a shocking $175 at World Market’s end of year sale. I am cheap to the core, so I pick up things and build my style over time. I sometimes pick something up and don’t figure out how to use it for a good two years.

There is a lot of walking (or running) space in this room. It’s really airy and now that it’s not brown you can really feel all the natural light. I painted the fireplace in this room because the original brick was not a pretty red. Otherwise I would have kept it original. The shelving unit was brownish mustard poop and now it has a shiplap treatment and is a nice, snowy white. And it houses little treasures from Africa, Haiti, China, South Carolina and wherever else we’ve ended up.

This view highlights the working room I have in the kitchen. I can now have lots of people (kids) busting around in here with me. No problem. The open cabinetry area holds a microwave… and currently all of our water bottles. I try not to fuss with stuff like that and just give easy access for the kids to make their water bottle each day for school and sports. The rugs are simple and can be thrown in the wash on a weekly basis.

Here you can catch a glimpse of the bonus room, which we recently finished with a shiplap treatment. It took me awhile to agree to this… but man, I just love it so much. There is also a sliding door that divides the rooms, it’s featured in this post. I told you I wanted to keep it real, do you like the mad stack of water bottle mess down there? And oh man, that black stove hood and double oven. Not pleasing to the eye… but they work right? Someday…

There you have it! We went from this:

To this:

And we did it without incurring any additional debt. We saved a bit, we made decent choices and reused a lot of what we had. Why spend a ton of money on a renovation when in 10 years someone is going to move into this house and blog about how they had to paint over all my light grey and add a wall because why would someone ever want such an open house (lol). It’s all relative friends. Enjoy your home, make it yours… and don’t break the bank.

» I choose yes

We’ve had some hard weeks recently. These little pockets of difficulty manifest themselves throughout the year and somehow we never expect it. It’s like falling down the stairs. Everything is going great and then your foot misses a step and it’s all downhill from there.

I’m speaking about trauma and parenting a child with an extensive past that we don’t fully understand.

In the middle of this recent bout with hard stuff I reflected deeply on the way we chose to form our family. I asked myself “would I still choose this, given the chance to do it all over again.” I gave that thought a couple days to process as I fielded calls and emails from the school and sat with my child while she did everything in her power to skip her assigned reading that evening. My answer came slowly, but resolutely, YES I would choose this all over again.

I would choose this again because she is my child. Three years ago I stood in a dimly lit Chinese office building, I dipped my hand in red ink and pressed my palm onto a balmy piece of paper inscribed with words promising to mother the scared little girl perched in my lap. And with great ceremony Calvin and I took her hand, pressed it into the same red ink and pushed her palm down onto the paper and she promised to trust us.

I didn’t meet her until 5 1/2 years of her life had been spent without me. And I’ve spent the past 3 years trying desperately to make up for that lost time. It’s slow and it’s painful and we take 9 steps back before we take 2 forward but she’s my child. No one in this entire world is more fit to love her than Calvin and I. No hands are more equipped to guide her back when she veers off course. No heart is more broken when watching her struggle. Of all the parents in the world she got us and we got her. Yes, we chose to pursue her. We saw a picture and read a story and chose to find her. But I can’t believe in chance. Just as my biological children formed in my womb, my children from across the ocean formed in my heart. They were always there, it just took me longer to find them. This is not said to romanticize a process that begins with loss and brokenness. This is said to affirm that there was no wavering in this matter for me. My children are my children. And their battles and struggles are now mine.

So yes, a million times yes. My girl… I will always say yes to you.

Margaret Wise Brown said it best in her book The Runaway Bunny

Once there was a little bunny who wanted to run away.
So he said to his mother, “I am running away.”
“If you run away,” said his mother, “I will run after you.
For you are my little bunny.”

“If you run after me,” said the little bunny,
“I will become a fish in a trout stream
and I will swim away from you.”

“If you become a fish in a trout stream,” said his mother,
“I will become a fisherman and I will fish for you.”

This stinkin’ little bunny continues to propose a million ways to escape his mommy. But mommies are smart and we are fierce. And no matter where our children go or how far they push away we are one step behind.

Every day I choose to mother. I limp to to the field some days, but I keep showing up.

Your situation may not look like mine. But whatever it may be I encourage you to keep showing up, keep fighting for your kids and finding them wherever they go. They are waiting and watching. They are testing and pushing your limits. Show them what a momma’s love looks like. Broken, imperfect and messy… but it’s there saying yes… every single day.


» A year of less

We recently committed to a year of less. Specifically a year of NO tangible, hold-them-in-your-hand gifts. This includes Easter baskets, car trip surprises, birthday presents and YES Christmas presents too. It’s not happening in this house this year. The why of this decision has many forms. First of all, our lives have become very indulgent. I recently read a book about Abraham Lincoln with my daughter. She delighted as she read about his sister Sarah’s first toy… a corncob doll she made herself. Would our children treasure such a thing today? Probably not. Toys today leave little to the imagination. Imagine the depths little Sarah went to with that single corncob doll made by her own two hands. In Uganda, Haiti and Ethiopia I’ve seen children completely content with homemade wagons and cardboard boxes or stacks of smooth stones. Our initial reaction is sadness… but just watch the joy and ingenuity in their method of play for a moment and wipe that sadness away.

Secondly, we have toys. We have stem toys and mounds of Legos. We have paints and clay and paper. We have a swings and a trampoline. And most importantly we have bikes and sticks and mud and dogs to play with. We have everything they need and want.

Lastly, we want to invest in experiences this year rather than things. I would prefer to spend money on travel or helping others. I would prefer to heighten the quality of the time I spend with my children and create more room for memories. And really it comes down to the simple fact: enough is enough. When I spend more time managing clutter and crap in my house than I do with my children that’s a problem. This feels like a giant, deep breath of crisp cool air to my weary soul. It’s like painting the whole house white and just sitting in the middle of a blank slate. It’s a good start to good things… that aren’t actual things.

We let the kids in on our plans earlier this week. They weren’t terribly shocked, but they were definitely ready to help plan our experiences for the year! There isn’t a grand plan that I can lay out for you. We are simply going to plan experiences for the events that we would typically purchase presents for. Intentional substitution of time for stuff. This may range from visiting Six Flags to riding bikes at a park and grabbing ice cream. This plan can be tailored to fit your budget, lifestyle and interests.

So here’s to a year of less stuff and more togetherness. Anyone else?

» Moments

Lately I’ve been thinking about moments. About the ordinary and extraordinary moments that make up our days. About the long days and the short weekends. About the ways we are connected with friends, family and even strangers.

I’ve been thinking about moments because I’m watching my children grow. I’m counting up our moments… the tummy aches, scraped knees, night-time coughing, arguing, stomping, mess making moments. How can we ask for more than to mother?

I remember holding Elliott for the first time and thinking, wow, I’ve found it. This is the thing I was made to do. Motherhood fit perfectly. Even in the midst of overwhelming postpartum anxiety I knew that I had landed the best job on earth.

I knew that this was the most amazing gift ever yet I was terrified. I didn’t fully understand what I was going through at the time. I washed my hands until they were raw, I didn’t want to take Elliott out in public and I was terrified that something terrible would happen to him. I didn’t even want to let friends and family hold him. I did… but I was afraid the entire time. When Elliott was a couple months old he contracted pertussis. Yes we vaccinated him. He still got it.

We ended up in the ER with a blue-faced infant and stayed there for some time. Something about those hours and the first serious illness with my precious baby helped me move out of postpartum anxiety and into a mom that was ready to fight. I saw firsthand the fragility of life and the strength needed to live fully.

Moms have to be strong and brave because we manage all of the moments. We manage the hard moments and teach our kids to manage them too. Because their moments, the extraordinary and ordinary, are coming. The moments when they make big choices and the moments when they fail. And what we model in our moments with them will determine how they handle their fears, failures and successes.

Life is really beautiful and life is really hard. We don’t know what waits around the corner. That is more evident to me every day. It scares me sometimes and I have to take a deep breath, a really deep breath, and remind myself to be brave. I want all the messy, sad, hard moments just as much as I want the happy ones. I remind my kids that the rain makes things grow. It’s not their favorite weather, it keeps us from playing outside and sometimes it’s cold and unpleasant… but it brings life. I grow, they grow and you grow when it rains.

I guess I just want to show them that I can make it through the rain and they can too.

And that rainbow after the rain? Promises. Joy. Faith. Extraordinary moments.

» REVIEW: LIFX Z Light Strip

With the open floor plan in our house, it feels like we spend over half of our family time in the kitchen. We’ve permanently set up a LIFX Z strip in our kitchen to help brighten the mood in the morning, calm things down at night, and celebrate special occasions. LED light strips aren’t really a new thing, but LIFX Z light strips make things even more fun with the ability to use multiple colors all controlled by your smart phone.

Set up

Out of the box, you will you need to connect and plug in the unit, it’s as easy as it sounds. The (2 meter) light strip itself has a sticky 3M adhesive that can stick to practically any surface when you’re ready to commit. Behind the TV, underneath counter tops, or in the eaves of your ceiling are the most common places we’ve seen. I decided that above the cabinets was the perfect spot for our home. We already have LIFX Color 1000 bulbs in the house so setting up the light strip on our iPhones was super easy.

iPhone App

Once your light strips are set up and you are playing around in the LIFX app, you can do simple functions such as creating your own light combination to more complex things such as linking your light strip to an Amazon Echo, a Nest Thermostat or IFTTT.

New Motion Setting in App. Light looks 100x better in person.

For our home, we’ve created schedules via the app for the light to turn on/off during certain times of the day. In the morning, a nice warm glow followed by a calming blue for the evening. If you want to leave the light on overnight, you can bring the light brightness down to make a beautiful kitchen nightlight. Personally, I love creating color combinations to cheering our favorite team on game day, celebrating holidays, and letting the birthday/boy girl choose the color on their special day.

Kitchen is ready for @clemsonfb to start thanks to @lifx z light strip! #smarthome #fun #home #gotigers #clemson

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I tried not to overwhelm anyone with the possibilities of the LIFX Z on purpose, however they really do seem endless. If you are willing to learn some of the advanced features, you can do more helpful things like have the light change different colors if rain is in the forecast or turn on when another one of your smart devices (Nest Cam) senses movement. Just like the bulbs, the light strip is expected to last 28 years (based on 3 hours a day)! For families, the LIFX Z definitely isn’t a necessity but it does bring joy and awe to the kids.

Buy on Amazon

Lifx website

Disclaimer: The folks at LIFX kindly provided us a LIFX Z Starter Strip for this review. As always, the opinions are my own.


» DIY: Shiplap built-in: The look without the commitment

We are all tuned in to Joanna and her shiplap ways. But honestly, I’m a bit daunted by the idea of doing an entire room in shiplap. We all remember what happened with paneling right? It was cool… until it wasn’t and that stuff isn’t fun or cheap to pull out and replace. So despite Joanna and her charming renovations I’m not convinced we should all shiplap with abandon. That said… I did really want a bit in my house. It fits the style of my home and the decor… which my good friend has described as coastal farmhouse with an international flair. That was really kind of her. Mostly, I have a mix of old things I’ve painted with treasures from my travels to other countries. I’m eclectic at best.

Any-way, as I pondered where to add this bit of shiplap my eyes landed on the built-in section of our current dining area. I say current, because I’ve moved our dining space a few times since owning this house. When we moved in the built-in was a poop-ish colored mustard brown. I painted it a creamy white. A few months later I added chalkboard paint on the back of it. It’s kind of been a disastrous work in progress. Here is a before shot after all the creamy white and chalkboard paint attempts. Mostly, I was just trying to get by with it while I dealt with bigger projects like bathrooms that were pea-green and carpeted. This seemed like the perfect solution for a shiplap nod without a huge commitment.

To save money I went to Lowe’s and had them rip a sheet of plywood underlayment into 5.5 in strips. If I were doing shiplap on walls I would go a bit wider but I based this on the measurements I took between the shelves. I spend just $17 on the wood for this project so it was a very low-cost high reward situation. The installation itself was very easy. I simply used a level to check each board, nailed them in, using nickels as spacers between the boards and continued until the space was filled in. I really wanted the shiplap to look rustic on the back of the shelving so I left twice as much space at the end of each board. Most shiplap seamlessly flows into the next board, adding more space before placing the adjacent board gave this a heftier feel, in my opinion. Once all the boards were nailed in I painted the creases and then followed up with a roller to give the boards a smooth coat of paint. It took 3 coats of paint to cover everything well. One last tip, I used a zip zag of liquid nails on the backs of the boards to prevent any bowing.

If you are looking for a one day project to add just a hint of shiplap to your home look around… you may find inspiration in the corners and shelving of your home. Just a little goes a long way! Here is the finished project! Well, mostly finished. The angled section at the bottom will soon be cut and refashioned to make a hinged door that will provide enclosed storage space. Right now it’s a magazine display area… no time for that. Stay tuned for a little update once the hinged section is added.

P.S. Don’t judge me if I lose my mind and commit to shiplap in an entire room. Because once you have a little shiplap you forget about your reasons for not shiplapping every darned thing in your house. The charm of shiplap might just be too hard to resist!

» 3 things you need to help survive Winter

So far, we’ve had a very warm fall, and I’m okay with that. But I know evil Winter is lurking in the shadows. The picture above is not an exaggeration, it’s how I really feel every year during this dreaded season. Before we head into the thick of it, I’ve already started to prep… not my wardrobe (although that’s important) but my bedroom. There is only so much hot coffee and tea that one can drink so here are a few things that we’ve added to combat the oh-so-real winter blues.

1. Withings Aura w/ Sleep Sensor


Rise and shine. When it’s cold out, I never want to get up and out of bed. The Aura (by Withings) has an awesome alarm feature that increases light that simulates a sunrise for a gradual wake up on those dark winter mornings. The Aura also has a nice bedside speaker that functions for the alarm (or sleep mode) and when you just want to listen to some tunes through Spotify (via iPhone app).

With the sleep sensor (optional) accessory and with the help with the (iPhone) app, you can begin tracking your sleep. This can come in handy if you run into a season where you’re not getting much sleep at night. The Health Mate app might help you find a pattern to when you’re tossing and turning… and hopefully help you figure out the root cause.


The initial setup for both the Aura and sleep sensor doesn’t take long at all. The unit has no buttons but rather turns on/off by touch and up/down through gestures on the device. This takes some getting used to. Setting up and changing sleep/alarm settings is primarily done through the phone app. I’ve enjoyed managing the alarm times via the app as it is much faster and less annoying than having to hold the ‘alarm’ button and tapping the ‘minute’ button 30+ times on traditional clocks.


Withings website

visit Withings on Facebook

buy Aura on Amazon


2. Envi Heater


We all have that one cold room in our house. Unfortunately for our house, it’s my room. And the problem is, if we crank the heat to our liking for bedtime, our kids are upstairs sweating in their sheets… not to mention the gas bill that comes afterward. Enter the Envi Heater (Bonus: Made in the USA), designed to heat an average room of about 10 by 15 feet, which is perfect for our bedroom. During those cold winter nights, we’ve never considered heating our bedroom because space heaters can be ugly and expensive to operate. We like the Envi Heater because it’s silent (through convection heating) and only sticks out about four inches from the wall, unlike those big clunky hotel units that I’ve been fearful of. And about that electric bill? This thing only costs four cents an hour to operate!

The other reason we’ve avoided heaters this long is because of the hazards they can be. The Envi Heater has no exposed elements and operates at a safe surface temperature of approximately 90°F so that it’s not hot to the touch. The Envi does have it’s own temperature sensing, thermostat for easy temperature regulation so that you can leave it plugged in and not worry about any children or adults accidentally leaving it running.


The unit must be installed onto the wall to work but Envi Heater makes it super easy with the included instructions, wall template, and hardware. Plug it in and you’re good to go (they also have a hardwired model for a nice permanent finish, plan on getting an electrician of course). Installation time took me about 10 minutes. And the company backs their product with a 3-year warranty.

Envi Heater website

visit Envi Heater on Facebook


3. Brooklinen (Bedding)


When you work all day and tend to the kids all night, moms need a good night’s sleep! The first time I layed in Brooklinen sheets, I immediately thought of the sheets at a W or Loews Hotel. You know, the kind that takes you to an imaginary place that you never want to leave, or get up in this case. I’m now a believer that good bedding is worth the investment. Their most popular mix-and-match Luxe Hardcore Bundle includes a Core Sheet Set, 1 duvet cover and 2 extra pillowcases in a smooth 480 thread-count weave. We are currently using a comforter we’ve already had but when it’s time to replace it, we will be giving Brooklinen’s a shot.


By working directly with leading factories in developed markets and cutting out middle men, they are able to offer exceptional quality products, manufacture responsibly and are comparatively cheaper than same quality sheets in a retail store. I don’t know why these feel so good, they just do… maybe Brooklinen’s explanation will help for those of you curious enough. Don’t believe me? You can try their sheets for 60 nights risk free. If you aren’t completely satisfied, they offer free return US shipping and easy exchanges, no questions asked.

Brooklinen website

visit Brooklinen on Facebook


Disclaimer: The products mentioned supplied units for review purposes only. As always, the opinions are my own.


All Content © Erica Ho, Goodbye Normal