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4 In Beauty/ Friday Five

Friday Five//Beauty Edition

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1. Coconut Oil

Okay, so this isn’t really a “beauty produce” per se, but I highly recommend using it as one. Coconut oil has many healthy properties and I enjoy using it in my homemade toothpaste (equal parts baking soda + coconut oil and peppermint essential oil). I also use it in place of lotion because it is chemical free and keeps my skin moisturized for hours! I’ve also used it on cuts, scrapes, burns, canker sores and in place of a diaper rash cream. You can find a pretty good deal on this particular coconut oil at Thrive Market.



2. Crystal Essence Roll On Deodorant


I know this one is a little funky, but most top brand deodorants contain aluminum which has been linked to cancer. I can’t provide you with an example of someone actually getting cancer due to aluminum use but I figured I would eliminate any risk by making the small change of switching deodorants. I tried using an Arm & Hammer aluminum free deodorant but it seemed to wear off after a few hours and if you know me, you know I don’t like to sweat (yep, I’m a California yuppy). I’ve been able to find this particular brand of deodorant for only $2.85 at Thrive Market which is actually more affordable than many of the name brand options.



3. Ren Pure Coconut Cream Shampoo & Conditioner


I’ll be honest – I first saw these in a friend’s bathroom (#stalker) and since I know that particular friend is healthy and emphasizes the importance of living a chemical free lifestyle, I knew this was a brand I could trust. I found the 16 ounce edition of this product at our local grocery store and decided to give it a try.  Between using this combo and not straightening my hair every day (like I used to) my hair has grown faster and is at its healthiest (I’m sure the pregnancy/postpartum hormones also play a role in this). The 16 ounce versions run for over $4.50 at our grocery store, so next time around, I plan on purchasing the 32 ounce versions online through the Swagbucks cash back link for Target because its a better deal, I can earn 2% cash back and pick up in my local store to avoid shipping costs.



4. Dr. Bronner’s Lavender Organic Hand Sanitizer


When I first saw this advertised in Good Housekeeping, I knew I had to try it. As a new mom, I was looking for an alternative to traditional hand sanitizers that are loaded with chemicals. I wanted something that would be easy to tote in my diaper bag and safe around my daughter. I LOVE the smell of this sanitizer and how clean my hands feel after using it. On occasion, you can find it on sale at your local Sprouts. This product is also available at Vitamin Shoppe for about half the price listed on Amazon and you can always go through the Swagbucks link to earn 2% cash back.




5. Dr. Bronner’s Organic Lip Balm


Between Dr. Bronner’s and Burt’s Bees, Dr. Bronner’s is my lip balm of choice because it’s much less waxy. I like that this lip balm goes on smoothly and the peppermint is not too overwhelming. These are a little pricey when compared with traditional brands but ultimately, I think it is a worthy investment. I usually by these at my local grocery store for $2.60 and they are also available through Thrive Market for $2.25.

What are your natural beauty must haves?

0 In Friday Five/ Motherhood

Friday Five//Baby Edition

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As a new mom, I had to filter through the various suggestions I received regarding what items I needed for my daughter. If you are a parent, or expecting to be, I’m sure you’ve experienced the well meaning input from others as to what is necessary for your baby to thrive – and y’all know I’m not just talking about stuff here.

Why, oh why, must we scare new parents by giving them an information overload?


Approximately 100% of the population understands that the birth of a baby equals a permanent loss of sleep.

Reminding expecting parents of this is not encouraging.

We read in Psalm 127:3, “Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD, the fruit of the womb a reward.” The verse prior tells us that, “It is in vain that you rise up early and go late to rest, eating the bread of anxious toil; for he gives to his beloved sleep.”

I’ve really meditated on this as a new mom because anxiety is one of the sins I have wrestled with for years and upon the birth of my daughter so many new anxieties sprang up in my heart.

But remembering that He has already given my soul permanent rest in Christ reminds my heart that He is all the more capable of providing my physical need for rest in the form of sleep (although it looks very different in this season).

I am sure it’s no coincidence that a verse reminding us about sleep is right before a verse reminding us that children are a blessing.

I know I was informed about the “necessities” including wipe warmers (really?), swaddle blankets, baby laundry detergent, MAM pacifiers (I still don’t know what those are), and the list goes on – but the most meaningful thing I was told about being a mom is how my heart would swell with love like never before and the joy I would experience the first time they placed my daughter on me.

So new mom, consider this post a bit of encouragement for you in the midst of all the warnings about how you will never sleep and never get to do anything for yourself as long as you (and the baby both) shall live – which is untrue, BTW, as the kids say.

And for your further encouragement, here are my top 5 no-nonsense baby items that have served our family most practically.

1. ERGObaby Carrier

At just over 100 bucks, this does seem pricey for a carrier but trust me, it is worth it! My husband and I have tried a few other carriers but this one is the most supportive of your back, neck and shoulders – exactly what you need for postpartum recovery. I chose a neutral color so we can hopefully use it for our future children, Lord willing, and so my husband can feel comfortable wearing it in public. He actually uses it more than I do which is sweet to see. It has two pockets in the front, one with a zipper and one without. The striped portion you see in the above image serves as a cover which you can place over your baby’s head to keep them out of the sun. This product is definitely worth the investment! If it’s too pricey for you, try purchasing through ebates or Swagbucks for cash back and/or wait until a holiday weekend to get a coupon code. We bought ours on Cyber Monday and were able to save big. You can also purchase a discounted gift card through Raise for further savings.

2. Gripe Water

Not every child will suffer through acid reflux, but our little Addie did and Gripe Water was our saving grace. A friend from church told me about this one night after small group and we went straight to the grocery store and bought some. The ingredients are pretty much all natural and once we gave some to Addie, she stopped crying within minutes and was able to go to sleep. Again, to save a few bucks, you can always order online through ebates or Swagbucks for cash back and pick up in your local store to avoid shipping costs.

3. Oh Joy! Backpack Diaper Bag

I first became familiar with the Oh Joy brand by following creator and blogger Joy Cho over at her blog by the same name. A few weeks ago she posted a picture of herself wearing this diaper bag/backpack on Instagram and it became a must have for me. As a mother of two, Joy understands the needs of new moms as evidenced by the design of this diaper bag. The two loops you see in the top left and right corners are hooks for placing your car keys – I don’t know about you, but I always lose mine in other bags and it takes me a while to find them, so this is the perfect solution! The bag is big and spacious, containing two cup/bottle holding compartments on either side and super comfy backpack straps on the back. This bag is stylish, functional and ultimately smart. There is a zipper in the back which, when unzipped, reveals a pouch containing a diaper changing pad. Originally, I decided to use a Skip Hop owl backpack I purchased for myself while single, in place of a diaper bag because they are pretty pricey. At only $39.99 this is a steal! I went through Swagbucks to earn 2% cash back and also received free shipping because my total was over $25.

4. Skip Hop Pronto Baby Changing Station & Diaper Clutch

Yes, my Oh Joy Backpack Diaper Bag contains a diaper changing pad with it’s own compartment, but before I owned it, my mom bought me the Skip Hop Changing Station and I still plan on using it. What I love about this product is that it has a pocket for diapers and a zip up pouch with a plastic box for wipes. Additionally, the changing pad has a little “pillow” where the baby’s head is supposed to go and it folds up so nicely. The checkered part you see in the image above contains a material that can easily be wiped down after changing your baby. I like that it also has a zip up pocket on the front which I’ve used for personal items. The clip on the side is great because it allows you to attach it to your stroller or wherever else you may need to stow it. This product has been very helpful when traveling, especially in instances in which there was no restroom around or we didn’t have time to stop in the restroom to use a regular changing table. Living in a trendy, college town, this product really serves it purpose because some places here are geared toward younger crowds and don’t have changing tables in the restrooms.

5. Medela Pump In Style Advance Breast Pump

Running at $400 most new parents hope this is something they can do without and if you really need to, I suppose you can. For us, however, this has been really helpful. I used baby shower gift cards to purchase a manual pump but when I actually had to pump, it took a really long time and my hand started cramping up. We were gifted an electronic pump and we are so grateful! What I like about it is that has helped me to create a small supply of milk which we have been able to leave for Addie when we go on dates and when we leave her in the church nursery on Sundays. To save a little money, you can always buy a single pump, use baby shower gift cards to buy a pump and definitely purchase online through ebates or Swagbucks to earn a little cash back.


This is just a small compilation of items that have really helped us out.

What items have you found most practical for you and your baby?

0 In Friday Five

Friday Five//Fall Edition

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Since Fall is (hopefully) just around the corner,

I want to share with y’all my five must haves for my favorite season!

1. DW Homes Spiced Pumpkin Candle

For me, Fall is really more about the feeling. I grew up in California and now I live in Texas so sometimes it feels more like Fall in my home than it actually does outside. “There’s nothing like running the AC while burning a pumpkin candle,” said no one ever! I am usually able to find these candles in a pumpkin scent at my local Dollar Tree (how cute are those mini Mason jars?!) but I’m looking forward to trying the one by DW Homes this year.

2. Trader Joe’s Harvest Blend Herbal Tea

If I recall correctly, these run for $1.99 a box at my local TJ’s and this year I plan on stocking up. I am just finishing my stash from last year and can’t wait to buy more. This tea has a rich, spicy aroma and flavor – it’s pretty much Fall in a cup and I don’t see how you could wrong with that!




3. Trader Joe’s Pumpkin Spice Coffee

DISCLAIMER: This is not the best coffee around (sorry, just had to add that in for my Austin friends), but I drink this more for the tradition than anything else. I plan on blending mine with some coconut milk, pure vanilla extract and a pinch of pumpkin pie spice.









4. Paleo Pumpkin Pancakes from Practical Paleo

This recipe is one of my favorites! I will be topping my pancakes with butter, a little bit of pumpkin pie spice and pure maple syrup – yum!

5. It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown

So many things change as we grow older so engaging in past sentiments is dear to my heart. Growing up, this movie was a classic in my household and I plan to continue the tradition. Just thinking of Charlie Brown saying, “I got a rock,” puts a smile on my face.