Getting Away As a Couple on Royal Caribbean Freedom of the Seas

I attended a press trip hosted by Royal Caribbean. All thoughts and opinions are strictly my own, as always. 

I have had so much fun over the past few months sharing with you about my first experience on a cruise ship, and giving you an insider’s look at Royal Caribbean’s Freedom of the Seas. The ship is remarkable to say the least, and I learned so much about how family-friendly cruising really is, as well as how completely indulgent it can be, and at a surprisingly affordable price!

But one of my very biggest takeaways from the experience was just how critical it is as parents to take time away from your home, and away from your children, as a couple. When Tim and I traveled on Freedom of the Seas back in November, it was the very first time we had been away TOGETHER, without our children, since our oldest was born in August 2009. And now that I have experienced a child-free vacation, I really and truly regret that we didn’t take the plunge sooner.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

You see this? This is the sunrise. I watch the sun rise EVERY SINGLE DAY because my children wake up around 5 am. But this is a sunrise that I watched of my own free will. There’s a difference! This one was glorious and peaceful. I sipped my coffee, enjoyed breakfast in my room, and just enjoyed the quiet moment. Tim was actually still asleep; we were both exactly where we wanted to be!

starbucks on royal caribbean

And speaking of coffee, Freedom of the Seas has a Starbucks on board, so I was able to get my beloved iced coffee any time I wanted. It was such a treat for me, and it didn’t involve loading the kids into the car. I was able to have a coffee date with the hubs, instead, right there on the ship.

date night with royal caribbean

We also had date night, every single night on the boat! You guys, we are doing REALLY REALLY good to get one date night a month. One date night every 3 months is closer to the average for us, though. :-( But not during our vacation! Honestly, it was like we were on a really fun date the entire time. We even got to be out and about after the sun went down, which is a super rare treat for anyone with young children.

cupcake shop on freedom of the seas

From a cupcake shop, to Ben & Jerry’s, to near-constant entertainment opportunities on board, there was SO much to do and see and so many ways to get to spend time with my spouse. I had the time and space to get dressed up and do my hair and makeup because I wasn’t having to deal with the kids at the same time. I’m telling you, you only really grasp how much time your kids take up in your day-to-day life when you get a break from them for several days. You guys, we had LEISURE TIME! REMEMBER THAT?!?!

relaxing with royal caribbean

Tim is pictured above during one of my favorite memories of the entire trip. We found a little solarium on one of the decks, sort of tucked away and under-used (read: totally empty!). We sat down together, each with a book in hand, and read for a few minutes before we both fell asleep. Spontaneous nap?! This happens NEVER EVER in my home. This may sound like a rather sad “highlight” of a cruise, but if you have little ones in your home, then I think you can imagine the exhilaration you might feel when you are so relaxed that you can actually fall asleep spontaneously without worrying that a child will be put in any risk. Do you feel me on this one? It was PURE BLISS.

On-Shore Excursions

private beach U.S. Virgin islands

Speaking of pure bliss, do you ever daydream about getting magically transported to your own private beach for some swimming and relaxation? Well this is something entirely possible during your time off the boat, friends! When we were at the U.S. Virgin Islands, we enjoyed a little trip to a private beach with a small group of folks. We partied on a smaller boat all the way over to the beach, and then we partied all the way back! :-) We even enjoyed a little mid-afternoon rain in the midst of it all.

raining in the U.S. Virgin Islands

We also spent a bit of time at Coki Beach, which is known for its outstanding snorkeling opportunities. Tim and I never get the chance to swim on our own since we are normally with our children and need to be watching out for them, and snorkeling? Oh please! We’ve never even had the opportunity to do something like that! So imagine our joy and delight when we rolled up to this:

coki beach u.s. virgin islands

We played and played in the water, and saw some amazing fish and coral! We also took a bit of time to just take in the incredible scenery.

coki beach u.s. virgin islands

We snapped this shot of ourselves just a few minutes before we left the cruise ship to head back home to our kids.

relaxed on royal caribbean's freedom of the seas

We were SO relaxed, and we wanted to remember what that looks like, so that we would remember to make time for ourselves as a couple. It makes us a better team, and it makes us better parents, too. And of course we gave our children HUGE hugs and kisses when we got back home. We missed them terribly, but we know we made a good choice to go away for a week and recharge our personal batteries, and get reconnected as a couple.

If you haven’t traveled without your children yet, and you have people in your life who you would trust to watch over your little ones for a week, or even for a few days, I cannot stress enough just how great of an investment it is to get away as a couple. I honestly wish I could go back in time a few years and force myself to take a vacation sooner. But now that I’ve experienced it, I’m already planning the next one. And for me, cruising with Royal Caribbean is an excellent choice because I don’t have to worry about a single thing; all my entertainment, food, and fun is right there waiting for me. I just have to show up! :-)

royal caribbean freedom of the seas

If you want to read more about my experience, you can check out my review of Freedom of the Seas, my thoughts on Royal Caribbean cruise food, and my review of the family-friendly opportunities on board if you want to cruise with kids.

The Honest Company Scrubber Sponge: An Honest Assessment

Referral links included. I only promote what I use and love! 

Time for another installment of Honest Company reviews! Today I’m taking a look at one of the least expensive items on the entire website: the Honest Scrubber Sponge ($3.95).

honest scrubbers

photo credit: The Honest Company

Reasons to Buy It

If you are looking to replace as many things in your home as possible with eco-friendly options, your kitchen sponge may not be an item you thought to replace. The one sold by The Honest Company is made with plant material, including a more coarse side made with walnut shells (clever, no?!). It works just like a typical two-sided sponge. I have used it on dishes, stainless steel pots and pans, and on my granite counter tops, all with zero problems.

Reasons Not to Buy It

Honestly? It’s jut not a very fun product, you guys. I mean, it’s a 2 pack of sponges. It does the job just fine; no better or worse than other eco-friendly sponges I have tried in the past. For me, though, as someone trying to maximize the awesome that will be headed my way in my monthly bundles, getting the scrubber sponge is just boring since it is something you can find of equal quality at your nearest grocery or big box store. I prefer to use my +3 spots for lots of other stuff that doesn’t have an equal within easy reach. Just my two cents!

If You Are Going to Buy It, Do It This Way

DO NOT make this one of your 5 allowed items in your essentials bundle! The per item cost for your bundle is $7.20, so to give one of those spots to the scrubber sponge means you will pay more than double the retail price for it! Sneaky, but that’s just the way it works!

Instead, add it to your essentials bundle as one of your 3 extra items that you are allowed to purchase for a 25% discount. That brings the price for the 2-pack down to $2.96. Much better, and a truly reasonable price for a set of eco-friendly sponges.

Bundles? What Are You Talking About???

If you are new to The Honest Company and the value they offer to subscribers who choose to order from them regularly, then you need to start your relationship off with them by getting LOTS of freebies! I tell you just exactly how to do that here! Odds are good that you will love what you try and want to get more products. That’s where I come in to help you know what’s worth getting, what you should pass on, and how to build your bundles for maximum savings.  Here’s the complete list of products I have reviewed so far. You’re welcome! ;-)

Essential Oils for Weight Loss (6 Pounds Down in a Week!)

Affiliate links included. I love promoting what rocks my world! 

Last week I joined a small group of folks who were interested in supporting and encouraging each other (and even engaging in a friendly competition) as we work on our weight loss goals over the next 12 weeks. I have 25 pounds of baby weight still  hanging out with me, even though my “baby” is about to turn 2. I need some serious encouragement to help me get moving. And I need a little help, too!

You guys know that I’m really getting into essential oils (they are kicking my allergies to the curb and preventing my snoring!). So I heard about folks using a combination of oils as a natural weight loss aide, and thought now was a good time to try it. The only problem is that you have to actually make the capsules yourself. That’s a little bit of a pain in the rear, but thanks to Amazon (shout out, Prime!) I had everything I needed on hand within 2 days.

essential oils weight loss trio 8

My Results

After week 1 in the group, I had improved on my water drinking (I used to drink 0-1 glasses/day…yikes. Now I drink 2-3 glasses a day…progress!). And I had REALLY good intentions of getting to the gym and of counting my calories. Neither of those things happened, though I did notice that I wasn’t snacking as much. I wish I could credit my awesome discipline, but I have no discipline when it comes to snacking. I’m a grazer, people. It’s what I do.

I DO give credit to these pills, though, which I take once a day, just after breakfast. They successfully curbed my cravings throughout the day, causing me to not want to snack as much. You guys, this is not a normal feeling for me! I couldn’t believe it worked! But given the fact that I didn’t do any exercising and that I didn’t watch my calories carefully, I still didn’t expect to drop much, if any, weight. Maybe a pound?

At my second weigh-in, exactly 1 week after I started, I was down 6 pounds.

SIX!!!! That’s not even fair! I never broke a sweat! I’m in third place in the entire group behind someone who was sick and suspects that might have something to do with the numbers, and a woman who worked out faithfully all week. Me? I remembered to take my pill and drink a glass of water.

BOOM!

Now, I’m not an advocate of weight loss that doesn’t come with a change in lifestyle. So I’m still planning on getting to the gym. In fact, I’m more motivated now than ever because I had a win right out of the gate.

Interested in trying it for yourself? I documented exactly how I put them together so you can learn and do it yourself!

How to Mix the Weight Loss Trio

Ingredients You Will Need

  • Lemon essential oil
  • Grapefruit essential oil
  • Peppermint essential oil

(Here’s more about why I use and trust Young Living essential oils. And here’s a direct link to the website to purchase them, though we’ll talk more about ordering later on. )

Ok, got all of your materials? Let’s get started!

essential oils for weight loss 1

The ratio of coconut oil to each essential oil is 2:1. So for every drop of essential oil, you need 2 drops of coconut oil. One capsule needs 2 drops of lemon, 2 drops of grapefruit, 2 drops of peppermint and 12 drops of coconut oil. If you were to make every capsule by measuring out each oil, you would want to hurt someone. Let me show you an easier way! :-)

essential oils for weight loss 2

Since I already knew the ratio of essential oils to coconut oil, I started measuring by glass dropper fulls of oils. In a small glass container I added 2 dropper fulls of lemon, 2 of peppermint, and two of grapefruit (and a dropper full for me is when you put the glass dropper into the essential oil container with the top of the dropper squeezed, then let go so that it naturally fills…that point at which it fills on its own is 1 dropper full. Make sense?).

essential oils for weight loss 5

Now that your essential oils are all combined, it’s time to put them together in the amber vial. I didn’t make very much since I wasn’t sure if I would like it or not, but next time I will make a large amount so that I have my essential oil blend ready any time I want to make a new batch!

The next step is to heat your coconut oil in a glass container in the microwave. It heats fast, so it won’t take long. No need to measure right now; we’ll do that when we add it. Here’s what melted coconut oil looks like:

essential oils for weight loss 3

Coconut oil is solid at room temperature, and that is why I did not add it to the essential oils blend that I put in the amber vial.

essential oils for weight loss 7

Now it is time to fill the capsules! Remove the small end of the capsule, and take the glass dropper and fill it with your essential oils blend. Each capsule should have 6 total drops of essential oils added. Then take another glass dropper (you likely bought a set of vials…just borrow one) and fill it with coconut oil. Each capsule should have 12 drops of coconut oil added. 

I was able to make 25 pills with this amount of essential oils. I put the capsules in the freezer. I don’t fear them going bad, as essential oils (other than citrus) don’t go rancid, and even that takes a long time. It was more about safe keeping. Also? I think they go down easy when they are cold! But maybe that’s just me…

How to Order The Weight Loss Trio

I can only speak to the effectiveness of Young Living Essential Oils. That is what I choose for my family, so that is what I recommend for you to use! Lemon and peppermint essential oils both come in the premium starter kit, which I talk about in detail here. It is the VERY best value in the entire catalog, and purchasing gives you automatic wholesale customer status, which means you can order anything else for a 24% discount (now, later, whenever!). The grapefruit oil is not in the kit, but if you have a wholesale member discount, you can get it for $16.75 plus tax and shipping.

If you aren’t ready to commit to the premium starter kit, I do offer folks new to Young Living the opportunity to try it out by joining in on the order I place for myself once a month. You can take advantage of my wholesale member discount, and even save a bit on shipping. The downside is that it will take a bit longer to get to you as it will ship to me first, and then come to you later. But I can order all 3 oils you need for $49.50 plus tax and shipping. Email me at stuffparentsneed@gmail.com if you want in on my monthly order, or if you need help getting signed up as a wholesale member! 

Before I Commit, How Expensive Is It Per Pill?

So glad you asked! I’m not a big math person, except for when it comes to figuring out how much stuff costs, and then I whip out the calculator with glee! $49.50 gets you 3 bottles of oils that each contain 300 drops of oil. Each capsule requires 2 drops of each oil. So you have enough oils in each container for 150 days of weight loss pills, which is 5 months! This breaks down to just .33/day. $49.50 for a natural, drug-free weight loss aid that will last for 5 months?! That’s AMAZING!!!

Want to Read More Oil Info?

I’ve done several posts on my oil journey, so feel free to grab a cup of coffee and do a little reading! And email me at stuffparentsneed@gmail.com if you have any questions at all. I’m here to help!

Starting My Oil Journey as a Skeptic

Natural Allergy Relief

My TV segment on natural allergy relief and Young Living

DIY Shower Disks for Congestion

Sugar and Essential Oils Scrub for Keratosis Pilaris (bumpy skin)

How to Get Started with Essential Oils

Pumpkin: Don’t Make This Superfood Seasonal!

This post brought to you by Libby’s. All opinions are 100% mine.

I’m sure between October and December, you consume a fair amount of pumpkin. Most Americans do, and that’s good, because pumpkin is an excellent source of Vitamin A and Beta Carotene. It’s also got lots of extra fiber. Basically, it’s a superfood.

 photo libbyspumpkinpuree_zps2a2838eb.jpg

So why do we only eat it for 3 months out of the year? True, pumpkins have a peak harvest season, which is in the fall, but you can find delicious, nutritious, Libby’s Pumpkin, on the grocery shelves all year long. And I want to show you a recipe I recently made that is going to turn pumpkin into a pantry staple for my family! These are AWESOME for a bar-type breakfast option. I personally cut a little square for myself during the mid-morning and mid-afternoon “slump” time. It gives me the boost I need to power through!

Pumpkin Energy Boost Squares

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Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup Libby’s Pumpkin Puree
  • 1 cup old fashioned oats
  • 1/2 cup raisin bran cereal, crumbled (either by hand, or in a food processor)
  • 1/3 cup hones
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 cup mini chocolate chips
  • 1/3 cup dried cherries
  • 1/4 cup pecan bits

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl until thoroughly combined.

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Please ingredients in a lightly greased 8×8 baking dish or 9 inch pie pan and bake for 20 minutes. Allow to cool for 5 minutes before cutting into squares and eating! Store energy boost squares in the refrigerator and enjoy for several days. FYI, your extra pumpkin can be added to oatmeal, smoothies, or portioned out and put in the freezer for later!

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I absolutely love what Pumpkin Can do to help me feel energized throughout the day. What can it do for you?

Need some ideas to help you think outside of the box when it comes to pumpkin as an ingredient? I can help with that, and you very well could win something in the process!

Let’s help Libby’s launch a successful Orange Takeover! Please share this photo with your friends about what #PumpkinCan do! And don’t forget to use the hashtag! :-)

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Search around for some great recipes. Give pumpkin a try this spring and summer, and if you win the Vitamix, don’t tell me, because I”m going to be SUPER jealous! ;-) YOu can also follow Libby’s on Pinterest for more tempting pumpkin recipes! 

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SmarTub Design for SIMPLY RIGHT™ Infant Formula at Sam’s Club: Genius!

This post brought to you by Sam’s Club. All opinions are 100% mine.

Ready for your daily dose of, “Why didn’t I think of that???” Check out the innovations that SIMPLY RIGHT™, the private label of infant formula available at Sam’s Club, has made to their containers!

All of those features are awesome, but the scoop leveler is MY JAM! SO smart!

My family is past the formula stage, but we did use it with both of our children (supply issues…long story, but I’m proud of what I DID accomplish as a breastfeeding mama, AND I’m grateful that infant formula exists and can offer so much in the way of nutritional benefits!). For me, personally, formula was a saving grace after countless efforts with machines and with supplements to try to increase my supply.

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photo credit: nerissa’s ring via photopin cc

The reasons moms opt for formula are as numerous as parenting styles, but if you are using formula, then you know that it can get quite expensive! And you want to make sure you are providing quality nutrition for your babies, but trust me, that doesn’t mean that you have to buy the most expensive brand on the market in order to get those benefits in formula! SIMPLY RIGHT™ is Clinically proven to support growth and development, now with Lutein for brain and eye health. And better yet, it is also designed to save you money! Check out this cost comparison to see how much you could save in a year by switching from name brands to SIMPLY RIGHT™at Sam’s Club.

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Are you currently using formula? Have you looked into the offerings at Sam’s Club yet? Looks like the savings would pay the membership fee several times over!

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Zarbee’s Naturals and the Seasonal Relief Project (Free Sample!)

I participated in a campaign on behalf of Mom Central Consulting for Zarbee’s Naturals. I received a promotional item and a product sample as a thank you for participating.

I’ve been talking a lot lately about seasonal congestion on the blog. It’s just something you have to deal with on a daily basis for about 5 months of the year here in Chattanooga, and I know many of you guys are dealing with it in your communities, as well.

But this year I have totally ditched OTC medications for a few key reasons. #1 is the cost (mine was $100 for 5 months just for me!). And #2 is the side effects. How can I possibly take a medication for 5 months that advises against operating a vehicle while taking it? No way!

Seasonal Relief Project

I’m sticking to natural seasonal relief remedies, and if that is something that interests you, too, you should look into Zarbee’s Naturals. Zarbee’s is made with Butterbur, which is actually a weed! Imagine…a weed that helps alleviate seasonal congestion! As someone with a sensitivity to grasses and weeds, the irony isn’t lost on me! Isn’t nature fascinating?!

butterbur photo credit: –char– via photopin cc

Zarbee’s also has a cool Seasonal Relief Project. Every time someone visits the project website and shares how the product is working for them, the brand donates to one of four awesome causes that support exposure to and the protection of fresh air, including Fresh Air FundChildren & Nature Network, and Moms Clean Air Force, and Healthy Child Healthy World.

But what if you have never tried Zarbee’s Naturals? No problem! You can sign up for a free product sample while you are there! And don’t miss out on the tips that can help you deal with seasonal congestion in other ways, too. I just had a customized list of tips sent my way based on my particular seasonal congestion triggers!

With the weather finally improving, don’t let seasonal congestion get in the way of having an active outdoor lifestyle. Find a natural solution and breathe a bit easier! You can find Zarbee’s Naturals’ Seasonal Relief at CVS and Target. It is suitable for anyone ages 12 and up.

zarbee's

Sharing to End Food Insecurity: Champion for Kids SIMPLE Giving (Twitter Party!)

I am sharing this program information on behalf of Champions for Kids and The Motherhood. All opinions are my own, as always.

Here’s a statistic I just heard that totally stunned me: 10% of children in the United States are in homes considered “food-insecure.” That means that the next meal being provided is not a sure thing. In many cases, that means that these children are sent to school without breakfast. Even though 9.8 million kids are enrolled in the free or reduced school breakfast programs nationally, there are still 10.6 million eligible kids NOT in the program who may be skipping breakfast simply because there is no food for them at home to eat.

school breakfast

photo credit: USDAgov via photopin cc

We all know that countless studies have shown that the first meal of the day is the most critical. Even 9 out of 10 teachers agree that breakfast is a key component of their students’ educations. With so many missing out, it makes getting the most out of their time in the classroom a real challenge.

Champion for Kids and SIMPLE Giving

Hunger is not just across the globe, friends. It is also in each and every one of our communities. But sometimes it is hard to know how to help in the most effective way. If you want to involve your children in your efforts to share with others (and I hope you do!) it can be even more challenging. That’s why I recommend checking out Champions for Kids. It’s all about fostering a habit of giving in our children (and their parents). I would personally shift that language, as I call giving to others “sharing.” Children get the concept of sharing, and are not as quick to throw sympathy or “otherness” into the mix. Children have all been the recipients of others sharing with them, and when we do a service project or make a donation, it’s our turn to share with others. :-)

champions for kids

One of the Champions for Kids programs that I like is called SIMPLE Giving. From April 21 through May 5, participating Walmart stores will collect breakfast food items. All you need to do is purchase those items and place them in the purple donation bins at the front of the store. You’ll find a complete list of participating stores here. Those donations are going straight to the school district in which the Walmart you shopped at is located! And get this: the school district that collects the most donations from a Walmart store in its division will receive $10,000 from Champions for Kids. And the school district that collects the most donations from a Walmart store in its region will receive a $1,000 check from Champions for Kids!  For a full list of participating stores, school districts, Walmart Divisions/Regions and official rules click here.

Let’s (Twitter) Party! 

So what are you doing this Thursday from 1-2pm ET?  Hanging out with me on Twittter, I hope! I’ll be joining The Motherhood and Champions for Kids along with Kellogg Company and Diamond Foods to get the word out about how we can help ensure that children in our communities are getting the nutrition they need first thing in the morning so that they can focus at school.

This is a great opportunity to learn about SIMPLE ways to give in your own community, and to give you ideas about ways you can involve your children in opportunities to share with others. The Champions For Kids’ Simple Services Projects have a great 4 step model that we’ll discuss, too!

How to Join Us: Start by filling out the RSVP here: http://www.twtvite.com/simplegiving. When it is time to party, follow the #SIMPLEGiving hashtag and you’ll be right there with us! You’ll also want to follow the hosts, @theMotherhood, @theMotherhood25, @CooperMunroe, @EmilyMcKhann as well as the sponsor, @Champions4Kids.

Oh, and one more thing: five $50 Walmart gift cards are going to be given out during the party to randomly selected participants who answer the trivia questions correctly (don’t worry…you get some clues to help you find the right answers!). That’s $250 total that will be handed out. Somebody is going to win, and if you join us, it might be you!

See the Earth Footwear Difference for Yourself (Cute Shoes Alert!)

Special thanks to Earth Footwear for providing a pair of shoes for review. All thoughts and opinions are my own, as always. 
We’ve had rainy weather for the past 3 days here, but the sun is breaking through today for Easter (woo hoo!) and it looks like sunny spring days are headed our way….FINALLY! One of the things I do every spring is rotate out my shoe collection (goodbye riding boots! I will miss you!). And it seems that every season I realize that I need at least 1 new pair of shoes.
So….wanna see my new pair? They are the prettiest pink that I ever did see on shoes, and they make me oh so happy! And there is much MUCH more to these shoes than meets the eye!

Earth Footwear

 earth footwear butterfly

Check out the Butterfly. Adorable, yes? I’m rockin’ the red plum color, but they also come in blue, camel and grass. They are ballet flats, which are a wardrobe staple for me as a mom on-the-go. I can slip these on and off in a flash and chase down a toddler when needed (which is often). But they are so much more than just another ballet flat, my friends! They have some design specifications that really set them apart from the crowd.
First, they are a beautifully dyed suede, which is an upgrade other the fake leather I have been sporting in the past. The inside of the shoes is noted as being a leather that is “glove-soft.” I can vouch for that description and tell you that they are quite soft. And comfortable shoes are a MUST for me. I know that every new pair of shoes needs a little bit of time to get used to your feet (and vice versa) but I don’t really have the time or the interest in getting several blisters while “breaking in” a pair. The Butterfly from Earth Footwear feels as though it was designed to be ready to rock from the very first wear.
This shoe also has contoured arch support and footbed cushions throughout the bottom of the shoe. I have also found that the top of the back of the shoe hugs onto your heel, but doesn’t pinch it, if that makes sense. Basically, once I put these shoes on, I know that they are going to stay in place, and I know that I won’t be taking them off later in the day to give myself a much-needed foot rub. Frankly, I’m getting too old to wear shoes that don’t offer any support, so I’m really pleased to see that Earth Footwear is really looking out not only for style, but also for comfort and support.

If you would like to browse the Spring/Summer 2014 collection, you’ll see that the look is contemporary, that the focus is on comfort, and that the price point is reasonable for shoes that will offer support and not make you curse the ground on which you have to walk every day.

Ways to Follow Earth  Footwear (and Win!!!)

Would you like to win a pair for yourself? Earth Footwear gives away a pair of shoes every month for one of their Earth eNewsletter subscribers. All you need to do is sign up and you are automatically entered into every monthly shoe giveaway!
You an also connect with Earth Footwear (and hear about promotions and giveaways!) by following them on Facebook and Twitter.
Finally, in celebration of Earth Day, and the drive to make every day Earth Day, Earth Footwear has also created an excellent Pinterest board on that exact subject matter. I just started following it and saw MANY cool ideas. Check it out for yourself and follow their great finds!

Follow Earth Footwear’s board #EarthDay, Everyday! on Pinterest.

What do you look for in a new pair of shoes? Are you like me and really need to get good support?

Honest Dishwasher Pods: An Honest Assessment

Referral links included. Sign up for Honest.com today and you will receive your own referral link! 

Welcome to another Honest Assessment post! I’ve been getting great feedback from folks that these posts are really helping them to know what to buy, what to avoid, and exactly how to build their bundles when shopping with The Honest Company. Since helping people maximize in some way (time, money, whatever!) I’m just going to keep trucking along!

And if you are feeling lost and have no idea what The Honest Company is or why you should care (or that you can get a bunch of stuff FREE!) then you need to start here, friend!

Honest Dishwasher Pods

honest dishwasher pods

Based on my terrible experience with the Honest Auto Dishwasher Gel, I really didn’t expect to like the Honest Dishwasher Pods. In fact, I have heard from a few different people that the dishwasher pods left a residue on their dishes.

Since I’m trying really hard to offer the most comprehensive review of Honest.com products as possible (here’s where you can find my complete list of Honest Company reviews), I decided to order a bag, though I was almost sure they wouldn’t work.

Well, joke’s on me, friends. I LOVE them! Now I will tell you that they don’t work as well as Cascade Platinum, but for an eco-friendly dish detergent, they work pretty much the best I’ve yet to see. I’ve purchased 2 more packs since getting my original bag; that should give you some insight into my feels about the product! I didn’t have any residue, and I threw out (donated) my leftover Honest Dish Gel after trying these. I think the bottom line is this: I can only speak for how my dishwasher works in my city with my water. No doubt people in different places and with different machines will have different experiences. But if you want my advice, try the dishwasher pods before you try the auto gel!

 How to Purchase Honest Dishwasher Pods

The retail price for this product is $10.95. Since every product in an essentials bundle is $7.20, this is a GREAT item to add to your bundle! Need a bundle refresher? The Honest Company offers a bundle of select products of your choice (5 items) for a set price of $35.95. It is a subscription service (boo!) BUT they are SUPER flexible, and will let you put a hold on your bundle, switch the date around, wait for 3 months if you want. Basically, it is the most flexible subscription service I have ever seen. And of course, you can cancel anytime. And you can switch out the products you want from bundle to bundle. You just want to make sure that the products you buy retail for at least $7.20 or else you are actually not saving money at all, but are over-paying!

Bundles also come with the ability to add 3 more items at  25% discount. You could add dishwasher pods as a +3 item, and then you would pay $8.21 for that item. That’s better than retail, but I prefer to save those 3 extra spots for items that were already less than $7.20 so that I can get them for a really good deal (bar soap, for example).

So who else out there has tried and loved the dishwasher pods? Anyone dislike them? I personally know a few people in both camps!

Something VERY Warm for Your Wish Lists: Heat Holders Gloves

Thanks to Heat Holders for providing review products. All thoughts and opinions are my own, as always. 

I know many parts of the country had a brief return to winter this week. While temps here in Chattanooga didn’t plunge to “polar vortex” levels, we did get in the 30s and that meant that the heavy coats, scarves and gloves had to come back out.

My husband rides his bike to work, and on cold days, his gloves are an absolute must. I recently received the newest product from  Heat Holders (remember them? That make those AMAZINGLY warm socks!) and I assumed that he wouldn’t be able to actually try them out until the fall.

NOPE! He has worn them almost the entire week, here in the middle of April, in Tennessee. Global weirding, indeed!

heat holders gloves

But here’s the good news: because he got to try them out, I can tell you all about how they work. Tim has made this statement about them, “These might be my favorite gloves of all time.” And y’all, he’s not one for hyperbole. He said that they fit snugly, but comfortably, and they keep him very warm, even while picking up speed and encountering more wind on his bicycle.

If you are curious about how these work, check out this 1 minute video. It focuses on the socks, but as someone who owns both the socks and the gloves, I can tell you that they look very similar in their makeup, so the same process is being used.

Despite the cold weather this week in many parts of the country, we all know that Spring is eventually going to win the battle, and we won’t be needing gloves again for a while. That’s why I want to strongly encourage you to put these gloves on your Amazon wish list so that you don’t forget about them! If you don’t have an Amazon wish list, tell me your secrets…how do you remember cool gift ideas for yourself and others? ;-) Whatever method you use for keeping track of cool ideas, definitely add Heat Holders. Here’s a link to the men’s gloves and to the women’s gloves. They are $24.20 on Amazon and I think that’s a fair price to pair for the last pair of gloves you will ever need. And here’s a tip for you: they are even less expensive on the Heat Holders website! I’m looking out for you, friends!
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