Celebrate National Coffee Day and Friends 20th Anniversary with a Central Perk Body Scrub

Thanks to Eight O’Clock Coffee and Mom It Forward for partnering with Stuff Parents Need to make this post possible. All thoughts and opinions expressed here are my own, as always. 

Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today to celebrate all things coffee. Did you know that today is National Coffee Day?! To be honest, I thought that every day was National Coffee Day, but it turns out, it does have one day when we are to honor our favoite beans even more than every other day. So…5 cups instead of 4? ;-)

If you happen to be in the NYC area between now and October 18th, you can head to 199 Lafayette Street and treat yourself to a free cup of Eight O’Clock Coffee at a fun pop up coffee shop. But this isn’t just any pop-up shop, friends. It’s a recreation of Central Perk, the beloved coffee shop frequented by Ross, Rachel, Phoebe, Monica, Chandler and Joey on the “loved by pretty much everyone” show, Friends. It was 20 years ago this fall that season 1 debuted!

And now that you feel extra old, go ahead and make yourself another cup of coffee. I’ll wait, no worries. You’ll feel better in a few minutes. :-)

To celebrate all things coffee and all things Friends, I thought it would be fun to put together a Central Perk-inspired gift for a friend. This would be a really fun “no reason” gift to surprise someone with, or it can just be a nice little treat you make for yourself.

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Imagine how tickled you would be if your friend showed up at your home with a copy of the first season of Friends, a bag of Eight O’Clock Central Perk Roast coffee, and a fabulous coffee sugar scrub for your morning showers to help wake up you and get your day started right. Some of you shower before you have your coffee (how do you do that? seriously?) but you can change that and have some coffee WHILE you shower. Best. Idea. Ever. :-)

Central Perk Roast, which is a limited edition roast out right now, has a medium flavor which makes it a roast that will please a lot of people. It is made with 100% Arabica beans, smells divine and is a great choice for a scrub. While this particular roast is new, the brand has been around for over 150 years, so that means it’s doing something right and is definitely worth trying if you aren’t already a fan! Ok, so let’s start by gathering our ingredients:

coffee sugar scrub

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup Eight O’Clock Central Perk Roast coffee grounds
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup grapeseed oil

Add your coffee grounds to a large mixing bowl. Isn’t the color of this roast lovely? It smells great, too!

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Now it’s time to add your brown sugar.

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And now you need to add your oil. You can opt to just add 1/2 cup of coconut oil or 1/2 cup of grapeseed oil, but I like to mix things up. I also wanted to let the coffee scent shine as much as possible, so I used grapeseed oil for half of what I needed to help dilute that coconut scent. But I didn’t personally want to do all grapeseed oil because coconut oil is so good for your skin! So just know that you have options here and can do as you see fit.

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All that’s left to do now is to mix it together. You may need to use your hands just a bit toward the end to help break up any smaller lumps of coconut oil or brown sugar. Now add it to a cute container of some sort (mason jars are perfect) and you are all set!

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I did a quick test on my arm yesterday when I made the scrub and instantly loved it. It feels SO good, and it smells incredible. My arm was really soft after I washed the scrub off, too.

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So naturally I couldn’t resist using the scrub in the shower this morning (I know…I’m a terrible role model of how to be a great friend because I stole this gift for myself!). But y’all. It. Was. AWESOME!!! It woke me up and made me feel so soft and smooth. I’ll be making this again for my friends, and yeah, also for me. If you like coffee, this is a little DIY you need to try immediately!

You can get more information on where to find the Central Perk Roast blend at www.EightOClock.com/friends. The bags are a very reasonable $6.99! And you most definitely will want to go to the Eight O’Clock Coffee Facebook page today for a chance to win coffee prizes and even a trip to LA to visit the Warner Brothers studios. You can also hang out with the brand on Twitter!

Let me know if you try the scrub and the Central Perk roast! I hope you like them as much as I do! 

Honest Shampoo + Body Wash and Honest Conditioner: An Honest Assessment

Affiliate links included and Shampoo & Body Wash provided for consideration. I supplied the conditioner. All thoughts and opinions are strictly my own. 

I have been having a lot of fun over the past year working my way through the Honest Company product catalog and trying pretty much everything they make so that I can share my thoughts about the products with you. Some of the products have become major favorites in my home (Honest Bathroom Cleaner and Honest Dishwasher Pods come to mind). Others have been not as impressive. If you want to check out all the products I have reviewed to date, take a look at my Honest Company reviews page.

Today, I want to talk about Honest Shampoo + Body Wash and Honest Conditioner, both of which I have been regularly using for about a month.

honest shampoo and conditioner

If you want the Cliff’s Notes version of the review here it is: Meh. 

Alright, now let’s get into more detail!

Honest Shampoo & Body Wash gets credit for being multi-purpose, and for having a nice smell (the scent is sweet orange vanilla. It is light and not at all overpowering). It also gets points for having an impressively natural ingredient list.

Like most sulfate-free shampoos, it is difficult to get much of a lather going. I’ve learned from experience that lather does not equate to cleaning abilities. It takes some getting used to, but the suds really aren’t what gets your hair nice and clean, so don’t be fooled by the lack of suds.

Unfortunately, for me, I notice that any time I use the Honest Shampoo on my hair, I need to wash my hair again after 2 days, and it is my preference to wash my hair every 3 days. So I personally take that to mean that my hair is not getting as clean with this product, which is a bummer. For me, it has turned into a shampoo for my girls and a body wash. I gave it a month on my hair, and then I gave up.

As for the Honest Conditioner, I find that it doesn’t provide as much moisture as my VERY VERY dry hair needs. If you hair is not straw-like, as mine tends to be, then I think you should give the product a try. It smells great, it has great ingredients, and it is probably perfectly fine for most hair types. Just not mine.

So while I don’t think either one of these products is bad, I just wasn’t wowed by them. They aren’t the right fit for me. But if you are seeking out more environmentally friendly hair care products, then I think they are worth a try, especially since you can turn the shampoo into body wash if you aren’t pleased with how it performs on your hair. These products are $9.95 each, which means that if you want to buy them, you should include them in your essentials bundle, as the per item price in a bundle is just $7.20. :-)

Have you tried these products? I’d love to hear what you thought about them! 

Super Cute Halloween 4 Piece Gift from Julep: FREE for New Mavens!

Affiliate links included. I only promote what I love! 

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The Case for Baby Monitors After Babyhood (Giveaway!!!)

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Levana. The opinions and text are all mine.

In the last month, there has been a fundamental shift in my worldview, friends. My baby started going to school almost exactly a month ago, and she is away from 8-12, Monday-Friday. She hasn’t acted like a baby (tantrums aside) since she was 8 months old and started walking. In many ways, she has felt like a toddler from the start…always a handful and always itching to do the next developmental thing.

And yet, she’s still my baby. Assuming a surprise isn’t headed our way, she’ll be our last. It is so bittersweet to watch my baby climb out of the car every day with her backpack and her lunch box, headed off to school like the big girl she really is.

So you may find it interesting to hear that I just installed her third baby monitor system (the first one died of natural causes, and the second died because I plugged it into the wrong power cord and fried it. Why yes, it DID cause me to utter some choice words).

My husband did not agree with me, and thought that the baby monitor stage of our lives should reach its natural conclusion at this point. But I see a need for it, friends! In fact, let’s just re-name it, because it doesn’t have to just be a BABY monitor. It can be an mischief monitor, a walkie-talkie system, or an entertainment device for young kids.

The Sofia monitor from Levana is what we are currently using, and let me tell you, it is being put to WORK. My girls are finally at the point where they can be playing with each other without mom having to be within immediate striking distance. That means that the girls can be in one of their rooms upstairs while I’m downstairs doing ultra glamorous things like laundry and making dinner.

I’m able to see what they are up to (in full color!) and also talk with them through the speaker function. This eliminates most of the back and forth trips I have to do to referee toy disputes.

It’s also no big deal for me to unplug the device and walk around with it. It has an impressive 48 hour battery life when unplugged. I have actually put this to the test, and I can confirm that it is true! The device will start beeping when the batteries are low so that you don’t forget that you have it unplugged.

Tim especially likes the yellow color of the wireless monitor, and the reason is because it is different enough to make it easy to spot when you forgot where you last had it, and yet, the color isn’t obnoxious, either. I thought that was a great point, because I tote this thing all over the place and leave it pretty much anywhere and everywhere. But I rarely have trouble spotting it!

One other great feature is the room temperature notification. This is very important for infants, who are more sensitive to temperature shifts and less able to regulate their own boy temperatures, but it is also helpful for parents of bigger ones, especially during the changing of the seasons, when temperatures in the day are quite pleasant, but may surprise you at night with how low they go. You want to make sure everyone is comfortable and not waking up in the middle of the night freezing!

I’ve been quite pleased with the Sofia Video Monitor, and would recommend it as an affordable choice for anyone looking for maximum convenience and a really great video monitor system all in one. This set is available for $79.99. Follow Levana on Facebook to get to know the brand better, and to hear about special promotions.

Speaking of which, let’s give away some monitors right now!

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Levana. The opinions and text are all mine.

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Barren among the Fruitful: A Beautiful, Honest Look at Infertility and Faith

I received an advanced copy of this work for consideration. The thoughts and opinions here are my own, and a true joy to get to share. 

In this particular season of my life, I rarely get to dust off the graduate degree hanging in my office and flex my muscles as a scholar of theology. It’s been 10 years, now, since I earned that degree. And it’s been 2 full years since I properly used it. And that’s ok. I’ve already traveled down that road of insecurity and concern, and I’m on the other side of it, totally at peace. I did a hard (and expensive) thing in my early twenties by earning a master’s degree from Harvard University. I’m glad I did it. I don’t have to live and breathe those interests anymore for it to have been a meaningful journey.

One of the highlights of my time at the school was getting to know Amanda Hope Haley and her husband, David, a bit better. I actually went to undergrad with Amanda, though she was a year behind me. Her familiar face was a welcome sight, indeed, a year into my program. Amanda went on to do all sorts of completely relevant things with her degree, all of which made me marvel.

But the gift she gave the world through her talents and expertise that really took my breath away was one that arrived on my doorstep just last week:

It turns out that as Amanda had been plugging away at her contributions to Christian literature through ghostwriting and even editing a version of the Bible(!), she and David were also going through a long and painful journey of infertility. They quickly discovered how common problems with conception were, and yet how few resources were available to help them deal with the costs (and those costs are HUGE, financially, emotionally and spiritually).

Barren Among the Fruitful is aimed at Christian readers who might be navigating the waters of infertility, though I would also strongly recommend it to anyone who has a loved one going through this journey. I personally learned a great deal, thanks to Amanda’s honest words, about the pains of infertility, and the fact that the road doesn’t always need to lead to a child.

I want to confess that I have never really understood why couples who are struggling to conceive do not adopt. Isn’t it the obvious solution? For many, it really is, and that’s a great thing for all parties involved. But after gaining more insight into the process that couples seeking to have their own child endure, and the heartache, as well as the financial stress (and potential ruin), I feel so much more understanding about the complexity of the issue, and so much less inclined to assume that the right answer for every couple is to have a child, one way or the other. I am so grateful for that insight, as I feel that it helped me grow and mature as a person and as a friend.

Amanda’s book offers keen observations and a helpful dose of perspective for those of us on the periphery of this issue, and very practical and compassionate advice for those in the midst of it. Perhaps one of the greatest gifts that she offers in her work is thoughts about how she worked and is working through some of those big, spiritual issues that anyone dealing with infertility, or even with loss of any sort, will have to face and try to answer. Amanda doesn’t have nice and neat solutions, wrapped up and packaged for easy consumption, but she does offer some great guideposts for you if you are finding yourself lost and in the dark on how to reconcile your faith with your heartbreak.

What a gift you have given the world, Amanda. I’m so proud of what you have created, so thankful for what you have taught me, and so honored to help spread the word.

Pick up your copy of Barren Among the Fruitful today (it releases October 7th, but you can pre-order it now). And after you read it, pass it along to someone else to keep paying it forward.