Tag - Reviews

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» Family Getaway at Tradewinds Island Grand St. Pete Florida
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» Dollywood Season Pass – Bring a Friend Free
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» Orlando Fun in the 2019 Mazda CX-9
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» Home for Christmas, Nashville 2018
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REVIEW: Brandless – Online Grocery Shopping
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REVIEW: August Smart Lock Pro + Connect
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National Geographic Explorer Academy and 2019 Almanac
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REVIEW: Dr. Ohhira’s Probiotics
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Clean Beauty Round-Up
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» REVIEW: Tuft & Needle Pouch (Chair)

» Family Getaway at Tradewinds Island Grand St. Pete Florida

This November we spent three days exploring Universal Studies and the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. I’m going to save my thoughts and tips on that experience for another post. Today I want to share about our beach time that we tacked on the end of our time in Orlando. There are several gorgeous beaches within 1-2 hours of the Orlando area. After braving Disney for seven straight days a few years back we came to realize that we enjoy our vacations a lot more if a little sand and sun accompanies the endless lines and $12 ice creams.

Enter St. Pete beach, approximately an hour and a half drive from Orlando. St. Pete is a quirky, eclectic area outside of Tampa that offers everything from hand-rolled cigars to boardwalk ice cream, cuban food and high end beach resorts. For this stay we opted to check in with Tradewinds Island Grand resort. Tradewinds is comprised of two resorts, The Island Grand and Guy Harvey Outpost. Together they make up over 31 acres of prime beachfront fun. As we experienced firsthand there is plenty to do for families. Tradewinds offers a kids club, water sports, beach front pools, entertainment, fine and casual dining and family friendly suites. Our suite met the needs of our entire family AND the grandparents.

Tradewinds offers an experience that, while not all-inclusive, does include quite a bit. For example, cabanas and chairs on the beach are offered at no additional charge. Guy Harvey outpost also hosts a nightly beachside fire and smores experience at no additional charge. Other “free” activities include the massive High Tide water slide, surf wipe-out and paddle boats. There is also a daily schedule of poolside activities like bingo, which we all enjoyed.

Tradewinds offers various packages to help families add in a few extras. We did opt to try out adventure bands for our kids. This is essentially a little wristband that allows them to purchase snow cones, painting activities or other small attractions around the resort. If your child can keep up with money they may not need the band, but it worked well for our older kids who are only in the 9-11 year old range.

We spent time at Tradewinds Island Grand just as the off season was kicking in, late November. This meant lower crowds and plenty of beach space. It was just the dose of sunshine we needed as Nashville was headed into the 30’s that week. We’ve heard that a major renovation is on the horizon for this property and we are excited to see the suites and rooms get a refresh!

Bottom line, we highly recommend Tradewinds Island Grand and Guy Harvey Outpost for a beach vacation that has something for everyone. It’s family friendly with adult-only pools and areas as well. Best of both worlds!

» Dollywood Season Pass – Bring a Friend Free

It’s no secret that Dollywood has more to offer than could ever be experienced in just one visit. The many festivals and holiday events have us coming back for more all year long. Just one reason why we love having a season pass! Our favorite feature of season passes, however, is the Bring-A-Friend-Free (BAFF) tickets we receive with our season passes. 

We reserved our Season Passes in advance this year and received an EXTRA set of BAFF passes for the magical 2018 Smoky Mountain Christmas. This extra set of passes gave us a golden opportunity to kick off Christmas break with great friends. Wearing out our kids at the BEGINNING of break was a priority this year. We also needed to distract our youngest as the Christmas countdown was far too much for him to handle any longer, haha.

Our children loved experiencing the park through the eyes of their buddies. It made familiar rides extra magical as they worked to position themselves at the front of Wild Eagle or participated in soda drinking contests at Aunt Grannys, all you care to eat! Shows, treats and train rides all became new again with the addition of besties! 

TIP: We love to pack small snacks and eat them throughout the day. We then enjoy a 4pm early dinner at Aunt Granny’s. The cost is not much higher than a typical quick service and it’s a great bargain for kids 9 year old and under. Eating at 4pm helps avoid the dinner rush, and it saves us money because we opt for 1 meal at the park rather than 2.

 Aunt Granny’s is also all you can eat comfort food and our kids tear it up.

The BAFF passes certainly allowed our kids to have an extra dose of fun, but Calvin and I weren’t left out. We had just as much fun riding Fire Chaser in the dark and kicking back with another couple to watch the kids ride when we had our fill of thrill rides.

Firechaser Express

Our plans for 2019 are already developing around introducing close friends to Dollywood and enjoying even more unforgettable multi-family memories. There is still plenty of time to purchase season passes for 2019. It’s a year you don’t want to miss as the highly anticipated opening of Wildwood Grove looms in the distance. Just imagine bringing your closest friends to experience a whole new expansion at Dollywood! I, for one, cannot wait.

» Orlando Fun in the 2019 Mazda CX-9

After a year of planning, our family escaped the Nashville cold to visit sunny Orlando! We started with Universal Studios and ended in the Gulf at St. Pete Beach. The 2019 Mazda CX-9 not only fit the six of us, but we managed to pack in a week’s worth of clothes and vacation memorabilia in the back. We drove the 2018 model earlier this year and we love the changes, inside and out, that the 2019 model has brought.

Here are a few things we especially love about the 2019 Mazda CX-9:

Seats Seven – This might sound like my 2018 test drive and review but there are not many vehicles that can fit a family like ours. The CX-9 is compact but we can still fit our dog, an extra family member, or friend.


Interior – The interior of the CX-9 is just as sleek and sophisticated as the outside. Everything you need is within arms reach allowing you to control the temperature, radio, etc. without distracting you from the most important thing, keeping your eyes on the road. One of my favorite additions since last year’s model is the ability to see who in the second and third row is buckled (or not).

CarPlay – We love the fact that more and more cars are working with Apple’s CarPlay. The ability to have the Apple interface makes an unfamiliar car feel familiar immediately. I can quickly type a destination on my phone and at the same time see the route on the larger display the dash offers.

The Advanced Heads-Up Display displays the speed limit, your current speed, blind spot warnings and more right onto your windshield. The Birdseye view magically pulls up an aerial view of the car on the dash display when backing up or parking. No more playing guessing games with how much clearance you have on those awfully tight spots.

Conclusion about the Mazda CX-9

We had a blast driving through Disney and Universal parks and surrounding areas in the CX-9. Our drive to St. Pete beach an hour away allowed us to test the longer commute. The comfort and the handling of the car made the trips feel painless and quicker than they actually were. This vehicle could work for a family of six but would be ideal for a family of four or five. The extra room on a daily basis would be nice and comfortable with margin to add visitors or extra luggage for the longer trips.

Special thanks to Mazda USA for allowing us to test drive the 2019 CX-9 Grand Touring. As always, these opinions are my own.

» Home for Christmas, Nashville 2018

Nashville has a lot to offer when it comes to the year of less. If you haven’t been following along, 2017 for our family has the been the start of attempting to buy less stuff, but instead have more experiences together together. The year of less is slowly turning into a lifestyle of less. Our family is spending another December at home (for the third year in a row) and we’ve found lots to look forward to in doing so. Here are a list of events we are especially making plans to attend in December.

1. SCHERMERHORN SYMPHONY CENTER

The Schermerhorn is a breathtaking venue that feels special no matter what you’re there for. For the last couple of years, we’ve attended Dave Barnes’ Christmas show, which we highly recommend. This year we’ll be going to Home Alone in Concert (performing on 12/5 and 12/6)! Experience John Williams’ delightful score performed live (by the Nashville Symphony and Nashville Symphony Chorus) while the movie is shown on the big screen.

We’re also excited about a Very Merry Christmas with Dave Barnes (12/2), Drew and Ellie Holcomb’s Neighborly Christmas (12/17 and 12/22), and Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra: Big Band Holidays with Wynton Marsalis (12/7). Also Handel’s Messiah (four performances to choose from), which has really become an annual holiday tradition for many families.

Full schedule and tickets available at NashvilleSymphony.org

2. NASHVILLE’S NUTCRACKER
Nashville Ballet has performed Nashville’s Nutcracker for over 10 years. This has become a huge tradition for families, with fifteen performances to choose from. Our (young) family especially loves the early afternoon show so that we can grab dinner at Milk & Honey after the show!

Visit magical lands with the Sugar Plum Fairy, the Mouse King, the Nutcracker, the Dancing Bear and many historic characters from Nashville’s past.

Nashville’s Nutcracker will be at TPAC’s Jackson Hall for fifteen (15) performances:

  • Saturday, December 1, 2018 at 2 p.m.
  • Sunday, December 2, 2018 at 2 p.m.
  • Saturday, December 8, 2018 at 2 p.m.
  • Saturday, December 8, 2018 at 7 p.m.
  • Sunday, December 9, 2018 at 2 p.m.
  • Saturday, December 15, 2018 at 2 p.m.
  • Saturday, December 15, 2018 at 7 p.m.
  • Sunday, December 16, 2018 at 1 p.m.
  • Sunday, December 16, 2018 at 6:30 p.m.
  • Friday, December 21, 2018 at 2 p.m.
  • Friday, December 21, 2018 at 7 p.m.
  • Saturday, December 22, 2018 at 2 p.m.
  • Saturday, December 22, 2018 at 7 p.m.
  • Sunday, December 23, 2018 at 1 p.m.
  • Sunday, December 23, 2018 at 6:30 p.m.

Tickets available at NashvilleBallet.com

3. NASHVILLE PREDATORS

IMG_3108

The only cold temperature we enjoy is from the Nashville Predators ice. Our kids love hockey when it comes to the food, the chants, and the crazy fans. Liam still loves singing (and shaking it to) Tim McGraw’s “I like it I love it” every time the home team scores.

There are plenty of home games in December to check out. Tickets available at Ticketmaster.com

4. Marvel Universe Live!

If your kids can’t get enough of the Marvel movies or too young to watch them, this live performance might be a fit for your family. Witness cutting-edge special effects, aerial maneuvers, pyrotechnics, martial arts, motorcycles stunts, and vast video projection in this completely new thrilling adventure.

Seven shows available from December 6-9. Click here for tickets

5. Dollywood – Smoky Mountain Christmas

If you’re home but willing to drive a few hours, Dollywood should always be in consideration! Dollywood’s Smoky Mountain Christmas featuring Glacier Ridge is the most beautiful holiday addition yet. There’s no better way to spend your holiday season, and there’s no place quite as uniquely beautiful as Dollywood.

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
Pistachios
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: August Smart Lock Pro + Connect

We are in the midst of yet another renovation. Smart technology and monitoring our home continues to be a top priority. Our family is constantly on the go and we have four kids who can’t seem to remember that doors should be locked on the way out. And I’ll be honest, as mom to those busy four I’m notorious for locking myself out. We added some great, smart solutions to our last home but I’m excited to share that we’ve discovered an even better solution for our new place: the August Smart Lock Pro.

Installation:

Installing the August smart lock was a breeze. The August app gives step-by-step instructions on how to get things going. The only tools needed were a standard screwdriver, drill and a couple of drill bits! The lock worked with our existing (Kwiskset) deadbolt and the entire install was complete within ten minutes.

Function

The lock can be accessed from our smart phone using the August or Smartthings app, Siri through our Echo device, or by the existing key (hand-turn from the inside). In addition, DoorSense is a magnetic sensor that lets you check if your door is open or closed, this is especially great with kids running around! We opted to add the Smart Keypad to the exterior to our home as a fourth access option as well.

The phone app allows us to check the lock from anywhere, lock or unlock from anywhere and give the kids (or other family members and friends) their own access codes to input at the door if needed. The app keeps a log of which codes have been entered so we know exactly who unlocked the door with exact times. We’ve already employed these options in various ways. It was a snap to give access to the dog sitter or remotely unlock the door for a friend to grab an item when we weren’t around. The August Lock has provided both freedom and peace of mind to our daily routine.

The August App also has a cool feature called the 24/7 Activity Tracker which lets me know when different members of my family come and go through the front door.

Design:

We love the sleek, modern look of the August Smart Lock Pro. It comes in two great color options (silver and black) that will compliment any home. As a bonus the exterior portion of the door hardware is not altered by the August lock. I love this because I don’t have to add another key to my keychain and to an outsider, the lock doesn’t bring any extra attention to itself. The smart lock itself is a bit bigger than the exterior of the existing deadbolt, but does not come out any farther than the door handle. This is acceptable, especially considering it needs to house AA batteries (included) and a motor.

Compatibility:

To access the lock remotely, just use the included August Connect Wi-Fi Bridge and your app can lock and unlock the door from anywhere. The August Smart Lock Pro gets even smarter when we combined it with voice-activated commands through Amazon’s Alexa. Locking the door couldn’t get any easier! We simply ask Alexa to lock the front door or check the status of the front door and she does the work for us. If you choose to ask Alexa to unlock the front door she will prompt you for a four-digit passcode. Not just anyone can unlock the door!

Conclusion:

The August Smart Lock Pro meets our many needs. It installed quickly and it looks great. We now have greater freedom to let friends and family in as needed while maintaining greater security in our home. The lock also has some great companions: The August Doorbell Cam and the August Keypad I’ve already mentioned. These items can be added to give even more flexibility and control over the security of your home.

August website

buy on Amazon

 

 

 

 

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

National Geographic Explorer Academy and 2019 Almanac

We have both avid and reluctant readers in our home. Library and bookstore trips are often weekly adventures for us as we seek to fill up the avid readers and at least get the reluctant ones reading their minimum. There is honestly a lot of subpar reading choices for young readers so we are constantly on the look out for enriching reads that are also highly entertaining. Developing a love of reading early on contributes to a love of life-long learning, which is why it’s such a priority in our home.

National Geographic is a highly recognizable brand, but I had no idea that they produced children’s literature and books until this year! Our family recently had the chance to check out their 2019 almanac and their brand new Explorer Academy book series.

The Explorer Academy series starts with the book The Nebula Secret. This series is unique because it combines scientific facts with fictional plots and characters. Some stories are even based on real-life adventures from actual National Geographic explorers! Kids are encouraged, through the example of 12-year-old main character Cruz Coronado, to get curious about their world, problem-solve and find their own big adventures. The vivid illustrations that pop up from time to time are also helpful for engaging the more reluctant readers. Our kids devoured this book during their bedtime reading each night.

The 2019 National Geographic almanac has been a fun family read. We enjoy pulling this out on Friday nights rather than flipping on the TV. Incredible animal stories and the 2019 sky calendar have been the stand out favorites. We are already planning when to head out to view meteors and planets in the night sky. Did you know there is something called a zombie star? It’s a surviving fragment of an exploded star. Who says science can’t be entertaining?!

As a family we are thankful for the entertaining, educational and action-packed books now offered by National Geographic. We even enjoy the occasional read through the Weird but True series. This typically involves a lot of giggles and disbelief from the kids. Reading as a family is definitely more fun with National Geographic!

 

 

 

** A big thank you goes out to Moms Meet and National Geographic for allowing us to read, enjoy and review these titles. All opinions are my own.

REVIEW: Dr. Ohhira’s Probiotics

A few years back I learned that you are supposed to rotate and change out your probiotic sources periodically to expose your gut to different probiotic strains for optimal results. For this reason I was pretty excited to partner with Moms Meet for a special review of Dr. Ohhira’s Probiotics. It was definitely time to get out of my probiotic rut!

I was immediately intrigued when I discovered that these particular whole-food based probiotics were created with a three year fermentation process. Fermentation maximizes the natural health-promoting properties of each ingredient. Mushrooms, vegetables and spring water are all part of this amazing fermentation process.

What makes this probiotic different? Definitely the fermentation process, but also the blend of pre-biotics, probiotics and post-biotics. You get all three of these necessary strains that promote optimal gut-health in one capsule. This allows your body to grow its own healthy bacteria, something our bodies need to thrive. This formula is also free of gluten, dairy, allergens and GMOs, so it’s a great pick for even the most sensitive systems.

Cold and flu season will be here before we know it and gut health is a huge factor in how well our immune system fights for us. There is no better time to start a great probiotic to support your immune system. I began to notice a difference in my digestive health just days after starting Dr. Ohhira’s supplements. I experienced more regularity, less heartburn and I even lost a few pounds after using them for about three weeks. I chose to do the jump start for intensive rebalancing as suggested on the packaging, and took five capsules in the morning and five capsules at night for the first six days. I feel that this was a key part of my results and a great way to rebalance quickly. I now take just one capsule per day and continue to experience great results.

It’s nice to know that I’m also experiencing greater nutrient absorption as well as the more tangible benefits I shared above. If you are looking for a new, high-quality probiotic I certainly give my gold stamp of approval on this one. But thankfully you don’t have to take my word alone. Dr. Ohhira’s probiotics are the seven-time award winner of the Best of Supplements award as well as the Clean Choice Awards winner of 2015.

Click here to read more!

 

 

Clean Beauty Round-Up

I spent years paying little attention to the products I used on my skin and face. I slathered on foundation without ever turning the bottle over to read what was actually in the bottle. When we began to have children I cleaned up our personal products, cloth diapered and made many of the cleaners and household items we used regularly. I remember a time when  Seventh Generation was the only decent brand I could find in a store and even that was a bit questionable! The interesting thing about this big transformation is that it wasn’t until the past two years that I considered my make-up and skin care routine. I don’t wear gobs of make up but I love a good BB cream, mascara and black eyeliner. I also love playing with make up if I’m headed to dinner or somewhere special. It was definitely time to turn that bottle of foundation over to read what was really lurking inside. Fragrance (AKA, the beauty industry’s secret code for whatever they want to put in here, unregulated), Parabens, Triclosan, Formaldehyde, Lead… and a whole lot more. To get the full picture click here and read all about it.

For our purposes I’m going to skip ALL the details of the scary story and instead share the GREAT products I’ve found to avoid this yuck. Because here’s the thing… even if you don’t care that your make-up and face products can carry cancer and neurological risk maybe you’ll care that they are actually aging your skin and making you look older. 

I have tried, at length, each of the safe products suggested below and fully recommend them. Please read the notes in order to decide if it’s the right product for your needs. Each product name is linked to their website for shopping ease if you decide you just HAVE to try it.

Foundation/Powders/B.B. Creams/Primers:

Juice Beauty: PHYTO-PIGMENTS FLAWLESS SERUM FOUNDATION

This is a really good medium coverage foundation. It moisturizes the skin and does not set on top of the skin or look cakey. I prefer to wear this with a dab of loose powder on top to set the look and make things a bit more matte. If you prefer a dewey look just skip the setting powder. This also contains an anti-aging serum! (tip: shake the bottle well every time you use it)

Rejuva Minerals:  CONCEALER POWDER AND LOOSE FOUNDATION POWDER

Rejuva minerals makes several foundation items but these were stand-out winners and the items I employed over the last week to create a daily clean make-up look. This was my first go with concealer powder and I don’t think I could go back to a stick concealer again. This organic, mica and titanium dioxide free powder is really easy to apply and target areas like dark circles without pulling against the skin or causing further damage. The coverage is excellent and buildable according to the look you want to create. As a bonus, their packaging is really quite cute. Use coupon code goodb to receive 15% off your order.

Crunchi: BEAUTIFULLY FLAWLESS FOUNDATION 

Crunchi is a fairly new MLM company but they have made a big splash with highly educated consultants. Their Flawless Foundation is a great choice if you like a very full-coverage look. It really lives up to its name.

Lowens: IN YO FACE! NATURAL, VEGAN BB CREAM

This wonder-cream firms and protects your face and just feels wonderful. This BB cream is not tinted and works well as a pre-make up moisturizer or on those days when you skip the foundation and just throw on some mascara. (Which is me four days out of seven) As a bonus, this cream also provides sun protection!

Lush Fresh Handmade Cosmetics: MAGICAL MORINGA PRIMER

Lush is super transparent with all of their ingredients and they include pictures of the folks who make the products on their packaging, so obviously I love everything they sell. This vegan primer was a new purchase for me after browsing the store with a friend one day. We both sampled it in the store, looked at each other and immediately declared our love for the product and intent to buy it. It quickly makes the surface of your face velvety and matte. Make up stays on longer and I’ve been wearing this alone on days when I don’t want to wear make up. Bonus! It’s full of Argan oil and doubles as moisturizer.

Mascara:

W3LL People: EXPRESSIONIST MASCARA

Mascara is a must for me. I pretty much always have it on. And the blacker the better. The brush included in this mascara is the key. The formula is great, but man, the brush is the best. It’s super skinny and firm and it lengthens lashes beautifully without any clumping. Allure magazine endorses it, so you know it’s good!

Rejuva Minerals: MASCARA MEGA LASH, LENGTHENING & THICKENING

Mega Lash has a mega brush included. If you like a fat, fluffy brush that adds a lot of fullness and depth to lashes you’ll adore this one. The formula goes on easily and leaves lashes channeling snuffleupagus from Sesame Street. This is not a water-resistant formula so definitely skip it on pool days. Rejuva also offers a volumizing formula but I have not personally tried it yet, grab some and let me know what you think! Use coupon code goodb to receive 15% off your order.

 

Blush and Bronzer:

Juice Beauty: PHYTO PIGMENTS BRONZER AND ILLUMINATOR DUO

This bronzer and illuminator duo is pretty fool proof. Bronzer is a favorite “make up tool” of mine and I do have some trouble with powder versions. This smooth, gel-like formula is easy to apply and blend in if you make a mistake. The color also works well with almost any skin type. The illuminator looks lovely applied at the top of the cheeks or corners of the eye.

Rejuva Minerals: PAPAYA PRESSED BLUSH POWDER

This blush has a universally flattering color and is buildable like many of Rejuva’s products. It’s definitely not a blush you can cake on OR overdo. It’s just a sweet pop of color that warms up the skin and leaves you with a summery look. It gets points for being fool-proof and natural looking. Use coupon code goodb to receive 15% off your order.

Lips:

Lowens: LOWENS LIP BALM

Lowen’s Lip Balm comes in 17 fun and delicious flavors. Some of our favorites are Funky cold camelina, Iced mini doughnut and Lime in da coconut. Yes, I’m a total sucker for fun product names but the performance and flavor is equally great. These smooth and tasty lip balms are full of fair trade ingredients (even coffee for some flavors!) like shea butter, rosemary oil and beeswax. Each flavor has it’s own list of special ingredients! This product is a hit with the whole family and must at the end of summer days in the sun. Hit up our instagram to win some for yourself.

Juice Beauty: SATIN LIP CREAM

This satin lip cream is FULL of color. It’s rich, deep and buildable. It’s not long-wearing but my lips feel great when I use it. If you don’t mind reapplying this is a great choice. To be honest, I’m pretty certain that long-wearing lipsticks don’t have great ingredients, including some of the popular ones that make some pretty big claims.

Body Products:

Lowen’s: BUBBLE PASTE

Oh. My. Goodness. This stuff won some awards in our house. First of all, it’s somehow more fun to put paste into a bath than liquid. Second, the blood orange scent is just SO good. Third? We are just really in love with the Lowen’s company and their commitment to really good, nourishing and safe ingredients. Their sweet stories about the products and how they are related to their daughter Lowen really win us over. I have complete and full confidence in every product I use from Lowen’s, not only because I trust their business model but they also have great EWG ratings which takes all the guess work out of the equation. Grab some bubble paste for yourself and give the kids an enjoyable bath you can feel good about.

Lowen’s: BUTTER BALM

This magical salve is like a fix-everything wonder balm. Too many words? Maybe… but it is really good. Lowen’s Butter Balm is completely free of petrochemicals, artificial preservatives, colorants or scenting agents. We have used it on everything from bug bites that didn’t want to heal, to cracked cuticles and rough puppy paws. Basically, if something is irritating your skin, slather some of this on and you’ll be on your way to fixing the issue. It comes in a generous sized tub and kind of melts in your hand as you apply it. We are in the thick of summer activities and this seems to be the most requested item after days full of bug bites, scrapes and barefoot running. I’ve heard it’s great as a diaper rash solution as well!

Acure: BRILLIANTLY BRIGHTENING FACE SCRUB

Yes, I know. I’ve written about this one before. But if it’s not in your life yet, go ahead and make sure it is. This scrub gently exfoliates with things like sea kelp and French green clay. It’s like a 2-minute spa day and I promise your face will feel refreshed and detoxified. I keep this on my amazon subscribe and save because I can’t. stop. using. it.

And there you have it! My current favorites, all with the highest standards  and practices. I’m really thankful for these companies and the ethical practices they employ. The result is high performing products that don’t have shady or irritating ingredients. All products can be verified on the EWG website if you want to double check me!

 

» 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.

 

A post shared by Erica Ho (@goodbye_normal) on

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.

Specs

  • 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.

Conclusion

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

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

All Content © Erica Ho, Goodbye Normal