Recent Goodie Realizations | Version 11.15

November Goodies

  1. My sister Krista gave me this gorgeous, ultra-cozy scarf for my birthday and I am loving it for the cold weather!
  2. I recently invested in a Dew Drop style diffuser from Young Living, and think it’s so much more classy-looking than my Tulip style Home Diffuser.
  3. Totally obsessed with the SPROUT Pregnancy app. I have about eight different ones on my phone right now, but this is by far my favorite! You can even hear a heartbeat.
  4. I just rediscovered Usborne Books, a home party company that was popular when I was little. I adore the books about Pipkin the inquisitive penguin, especially the one pictured above!
  5. Another current obession? These Tootsie Rolls. Why are they so delicious?!
  6. Caleb and I spent a little time at the mall on my birthday and discovered for the first time LUSH Fresh Handmade Cosmetics. If you have a store near you, you’ve got to check it out! Such a cool place. Caleb is especially loving his new mustache wax and deodorant block, pictured above.

What are you obsessing over this month?

Guest Post | A New Mama’s Life-Changing Diet + Supplement Journey

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Photo credit to Lexarie Photography

It’s a privilege and honor for me to introduce to you today my friend Brittany Musser of Natural Wellness Mama. Brittany and I, though we’d mostly lost contact in recent years, go way back…we were two of about ten baby girls born during the space of about eight months within the church our families were a part of at the time. (As you can imagine, this made for some pretty epic birthday parties when we were little tots.) Fast forward nearly a quarter-century, and here we are starting our own families. Brittany has been an inspiration to me over the last year or so especially as I’ve followed her health & wellness journey, particularly with the Trim Healthy Mama eating plan and the growing Plexus trend. And since health and wellness are NOT my areas of expertise, but something I believe we’d all do well to pay more attention to, I’ve asked Brittany to share her story here today. I’ll let her take it from here!

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Life takes on a whole new meaning when you become a mother. You are responsible for this new little life that demands your constant attention and care. All your time is dedicated to the wellbeing of your child, and things get put on the back burner…and often times, they tend to be important things. Important things take time, dedication, determination, and energy. And those are exactly the things that I lacked as a new mom and I didn’t have any extra to spare. It felt like all my time and energy was being put into this new role of being a mom and I was VERY determined to be the best mom I could be. Motherhood is one of God’s greatest blessings, but the struggle is real. Motherhood is HARD. And in the midst of all the chaos there are many important things that can be put to the wayside, but one in particular is your health.

I found this out first hand in the weeks and months after giving birth. I knew I should be eating healthy and taking my vitamins to nourish myself and my baby, but cooking healthy takes a lot more time and preparation and energy, and taking my vitamins seemed to be the last thing on my mind when all I wanted to do was sleep. I quickly realized taking care of my health became much more of a challenge since becoming a mother. I would make excuses and tell myself that I am in a season of my life where it is next to impossible to take care of my health. But, we can NOT rely on our own strength or it may very well be next to impossible. Ask God to give you the desire to take care of your health and to walk with you on the journey. Your body is God’s temple, so let’s make taking care of His temple a top priority.

I have also learned that I owe it to my husband and my children to take care of myself. Our children deserve healthy, energetic mamas! We as mothers are not doing our families any favors by neglecting our health. Instead of using our children as an excuse for not having time and energy to take care of ourselves, let’s use them as our motivation! I like how Pearl Barrett and Serene Allison say it in their first book, Trim Healthy Mama:

Our body is not only our own. You are your husband’s investment and your children’s role model. Attaining a healthy weight and learning the art of maintaining that weight is not only a gift to yourself, but is one you keep giving your husband and children throughout the years.

I believe we can take this statement and apply it to general overall health and wellbeing. Maintaining our health and vitality is not only a gift to ourselves, but to our families and to God as well. Since becoming a mother and going through some struggles myself, helping mothers recover and maintain their health is a new found passion of mine and I would like to share with you a few of my favorite tools that I use every day.

Two years ago my mom gave me the book Trim Healthy Mama as an early Christmas gift. I was VERY skeptical at first, and thought it was just another unhealthy diet that promoted the use of toxin-laden diet foods. Yuck. But, it actually turned out to be one of the best gifts I was ever given and changed the way I look at food, and is hands-down my favorite tool for maintaining my health. I love how it is written from a Christian perspective, and chock-full of information. I am by nature a researcher, so I LOVE to read informative books, however long they may be.

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The “THM” way of eating is a family-friendly lifestyle change that was designed to optimize your health while keeping your sanity, which is especially important for all us mothers out there. It is low glycemic, protein-centered, and focuses on the importance of not spiking your blood sugar. Being gentle to your blood sugar is a must if you want to lose weight and is vital to your overall wellbeing. Too much insulin has an inflammatory effect on the body, and when you don’t have enough, your body’s cells begin to starve. A little bit of knowledge on how blood sugar reacts to different foods will make a huge difference in the way we look at “eating healthy.” Even healthy food can be dangerous to our insulin levels.

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In addition to the THM plan, I also supplement. To quote Pearl and Serene again:

It would be nice to say that a whole foods diet can give you all the vitamins and minerals you need, but this is the real world. Let’s face it, we need a few extras to keep our bodies protected and running at optimum.

For this reason, ever since I began my THM journey, I have tried my best at keeping a supplementation routine as described in the book. I am so thrilled I came across Plexus products, because they work hand-in-hand with THM! Especially because it helps stabilize your blood sugar. This is my second favorite tool! My supplement routine has been greatly simplified, but at the same time, I feel like it’s more complete and effective. I was super skeptical when I first heard of Plexus. All I heard about was the “pink drink,” which I just assumed was full of junk. But I didn’t realize Plexus is a complete health and wellness company with numerous supplements and vitamins, and even a probiotic. So after researching the ingredients and discovering how nourishing they are for the body, I decided to give Plexus a try.

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At the time, I was also dealing with severe fatigue, yeast, and hormonal issues after having my baby. But after the blues and fatigue didn’t improve much even after my daughter was sleeping through the night and I was six months postpartum, I knew I needed to do something about it. A lot of people might say that is normal after having a baby, which is true to an extent. But just because something is deemed normal, does not mean that’s the way it’s supposed to be and that we just have to live with it.

I am happy to report that my health has greatly improved since starting Plexus supplements six months ago. The Slim has given me energy, cleared the brain fog and also boosted my milk supply for my still-nursing little girl. Our yeast issues have been resolved thanks to the probiotic, and to my delight, my eyesight has noticeably improved after adding in the XFactor as my multivitamin. All this combined with eating the Trim Healthy Mama way, and I have never felt better. Health is really such a blessing.

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Trim Healthy Mama is not just for crunchy mamas and health fanatics, and Plexus is not just for people with health issues or weight to loose. Both are beneficial to people from all different walks of life to help us maintain our health and vitality! So let’s encourage each other to make healthy choices for ourselves and our families, and to allow ourselves grace on the journey.

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You can get in touch with Brittany on her Facebook page or on Instagram (@thenaturalwellnessmama).

Have questions we could all benefit from hearing the answers to? Ask away in the comment section below! Did you enjoy this post? Let us know! I’m hoping this won’t be the last we’ll hear from Brittany here at The Realization of Good. Until next time…best wishes for your pursuit of health + wellness! ❤

Stitch Fix #3 | My Review

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I’m working on my winter capsule right now (yay!) and decided to order another Stitch Fix to help with some of the missing pieces. To be honest, I wasn’t as excited with this one as the first two, and here’s why.

In my excitement a few weeks ago, I went into my style profile and changed my status to “pregnant” and entered my due date, which is July 8 of next year. I should have thought to let my stylist know that I didn’t actually want any maternity clothing yet (I don’t expect to have enough of a bump by the end of February that I won’t still be able to wear regular clothing). But I didn’t say anything, and they sent me two maternity pieces. Not the end of the world, but a little disappointing. I’ll be sure to specify next time.

Here’s what came in my third box:

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Klarisa Open Drape Cardigan, $88

 

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Copolla Elbow Patch Maternity Knit Top, $54

 

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Corinna Striped Dolman Top, $48

 

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Colibri Solid Tab Sleeve Blouse, $48

 

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Mira Maternity Skinny Jean, $78

My thoughts on these pieces:

  • The burgundy cardigan is beautiful. It’s one of my favorite colors and would have gone well with the things in my closet right now. I was actually planning to keep it, until I saw the price tag. It’s one of those sweaters that’s a little hard to judge on how well it will hold up, and I just wasn’t willing to risk it for that much money.
  • The maternity top with the elbow patches is super cute. But I’m having a July baby! Not the right season at all. I’ll admit I felt a little frustrated that they didn’t think through that one. It would be super cute for fall and even early winter, like right now, but I’m only 7 weeks along…I won’t be showing for a while yet, so it would be a little weird to wear the t-shirts with the ruching at the side seams now already!
  • The striped dolman top is the one thing I kept from this Fix. It’s flattering + comfortable, and is quite different from anything else I own but will go great with some of my winter pieces. And thanks to some credit I still have leftover from referrals, I only paid $20 for it. 🙂
  • The green blouse is super similar to one I bought at Old Navy last year this time and ended up not wearing very much. It’s just not really my style I guess, and see those wrinkles?–that confirms it even more. Chiffon just is not my favorite fabric. It’s a really pretty color, and like my stylist mentioned, would have been a great transitional piece into the second and maybe even third trimesters AND have been great for nursing, but it just didn’t feel “me” enough.
  • As for the maternity jeans? My first thought was, I’m not sure I’ll even wear maternity jeans! It’s mostly too hot for jeans in June and July around here, and when I do want some, I hope to be able to make do with what I have, with the help of a Bellaband or something similar. If this pair would have been really great I might have considered keeping them, but they seemed to be on the cheaper side and weren’t a very flattering fit on my legs.

I loved the “how to wear it” cards they sent me with this box once again, and aside from the part where they seemed to have overlooked this baby’s due date, I was happy with Fix #3 overall. I know for next time how to better describe my needs in the note to my stylist, and I may even order another one right away for the next few weeks as I’m finishing up my Winter Capsule. And I have heard really good things about their maternity selections (such as, they’re cuter than what you can find in stores), so I am looking forward to seeing what they have to offer me in that department next spring. 🙂

You can see my other Fixes and read more about how this service works here and here. Want to try Stitch Fix for yourself? (It really is every bit as fun as it looks!) Use my referral link to sign up!

You Need a Budget

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I first heard about YNAB, personal budget software from YouNeedABudget.com, just a few weeks after Caleb and I got married. (The timing on that one really couldn’t have been better, right?!) I downloaded the free trial right away and was instantly hooked.

YNAB makes it simple to track every penny of inflow and outflow, and one of my favorite things about it is that there is a mobile app (that automatically syncs with the desktop program) that you can use to enter a receipt as soon as you receive it — it only takes a few seconds. This really helps to keep the pile-up of receipts and checks to record from getting overwhelming! In addition, it’s possible to download transaction history from your credit card sites in order to mass-enter transactions quite quickly.

It’s easy to keep track of different accounts (checking, savings, and credit cards), yet see an overview of all at a glance. The software also comes with some great reporting capabilities that allow you to gauge your spending habits over the past month, year, etc.

While Caleb and I currently don’t necessarily stick to a super-strict budget with each category, it’s still helpful to be able to see exactly where all our money is going and try to put caps on certain categories. I also love that we have history of nearly every income and expense amount we’ve ever had in our 2.5 years of marriage so far, and can use the search tool to quickly locate any given transaction for reference.

So if you could use some help in the budgeting department, or aren’t satisfied with your current method (or lack thereof) of expense tracking, give this software a try! (If you use my referral link there, you’ll save $6 and I’ll get rewarded $6 as well!)

Recent Goodie Realizations | Version 10.15

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  1. My friend Rebekah introduced me to Canva the other week, and I can’t stop obsessing over it! My graphic design world just exploded.
  2. A while ago when dishwashing detergent was on my Target shopping list, I checked Cartwheel for any discounts, as I always do. As fate would have it, Mrs. Meyer’s dish soap in Radish scent popped up on the screen. Although I’d never have picked radish from the sound of it, I discovered that it’s my favorite soap scent ever.
  3. Decorating for fall can be so effortless, and straight-from-nature décor is my favorite. There’s a pumpkin wagon near my home that sells all the pumpkins, gourds, and Indian corn you could want for super cheap, and though we have no flower beds on our property and the pickings are limited here, I’ve gotten delightful armfuls of bittersweet berries and rosehip branches from friends this season.
  4. I’ve tried different concealers over the years and most recently had been going without since my foundation covers so well by itself, but I decided to give Stowaway a try, and seriously, their concealer is amazing. If you need a new one, I highly recommend theirs.
  5. Another thing I’ve been shopping around for and experiementing with has been facial cleanser. This month I decided to try this one from Young Living with my Essential Rewards points, and it really is fabulous. It’s pricey, but such a small amount is needed each time that I know it’s going to last me for months upon months.
  6. When we purchased my new iPhone last month, our mobile provider offered us such a great deal on an iPad Mini that we couldn’t pass it up. I searched high and low for the perfect classy-looking protectant case for it that would also hold it up for our Sunday afternoon Netflix binge-watching, and couldn’t be more pleased with this one that I finally found on Amazon.
  7. As far as wardrobe accessories go, this hat has been on my head almost more than on the rack this season. It goes with everything!
  8. I grew up with apple cider as a household staple since my dad grows his own apples and makes his own cider, but I’m falling in love with the stuff all over again this fall. Nothing like a steaming hot mug to warm a body up from head to toe!
  9. I’ve got chronically dry skin (well, except for my face, which obviously is hogging all the oil from the rest of my body) and as soon as the weather turns cool each year my knuckles crack and bleed if I’m not careful. Last year I discovered my magic solution: pure lanolin. It doesn’t smell so pretty, but I wear it at night with gloves on and wake up in brand-new skin. (Did you know they make touch-screen-compatible gloves these days? Yeah, pretty swell.)
  10. Favorite food this month? If you’ve spent any time in my home lately, you know I can’t get over these beef brats from Johnsonville. Oh, and they go quite well with the apple cider.
  11. And for aromatherapy currently, the blue ribbon goes to Young Living’s new Light the Fire essential oil blend. It’s the perfect alternative to those fall candles, if you’re wary of what’s in them.

What are you loving right now? If there’s a product you can’t stop raving about, do tell!

Currently on My To-Read List

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I’m reading more these days than I have in years, and feeling relieved that I’ve finally found the discipline within myself to put down my smartphone and pick up a bound book at times. I’ve always been an avid reader, but in recent years I fell into a careless habit of relaxing by reading blog posts and news articles and social media during my free time instead of delving into a book. Fortunately I’ve been able to make a shift in the other direction again, and I’m once again enjoying the brain stimulation involved in committing to finishing a longer work.

The stack waiting for me at my bedside currently includes:

  1. Blog Inc. | Blogging for Passion, Profit, and to Create Community by Joy Deangdeelert Cho
  2. Surprised By Scripture | Engaging Contemporary Issues by N. T. Wright
  3. Sacred Marriage | What If God Designed Marriage to Make Us Holy More Than to Make Us Happy? by Gary Thomas
  4. Every Bitter Thing is Sweet | Tasting the Goodness of God in All Things by Sara Haggerty
  5. Strong Women, Soft Hearts | A Woman’s Guide to Cultivating a Wise Heart and a Passionate Life by Paula Rinehart
  6. Go to Church,  Change the World | Christian Community as Calling by Gerald J. Mast
  7. Create Your Own Money-Saving Adventure | by Malea Politis Johnson
  8. Trim Healthy Mama Plan | The Easy-Does-It Approach to Vibrant Health and a Slim Waistline by Pearl Barrett & Serene Allison
  9. The Myth of a Christian Nation | How the Quest for Political Power is Destroying the Church by Gregory A. Boyd
  10. Jesus Wants to Save Christians | A Manifesto for the Church in Exile by Rob Bell & Don Golden
  11. Humans of New York | Stories by Brandon Stanton

Some of these have been on my bookshelf waiting to be read for several years, and my recent KonMari attack brought them to my attention. The ones on this list are the ones I still wanted to read badly enough that I decided to keep them, at least for now.

You can keep tabs on what I’m reading and loving on Goodreads. My goal is to get through the stack by the end of 2015. Then, I can make a new list for the new year! What would you recommend that I add?

Thoughts on Multi-Level Marketing

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Pampered Chef, Young Living, Thirty-One, Plexus, Mary Kay, Tastefully Simple, Jamberry Nails…Ask anyone you meet what they think about these direct sales companies (also referred to as MLM (multi-level marketing) or referral marketing or network marketing or even “pyramid scheme” companies), and you’re likely to get either a strongly negative or decidedly positive response. Some people have no qualms about companies who embody this marketing strategy; others avoid them at all costs.

So far, though I’ve been tempted a time or two, I haven’t ever sold products for any of these companies myself.* However, I have lots of friends who have, and I am not opposed to buying from, attending, or even hosting their sales events, commonly referred to as “parties”, and here’s why.

Direct-sales “home businesses” are a great way for stay-at-home moms to earn an income and for other busy individuals to supplement their income with a side job. Money, much as I hate it, is pretty necessary to live in today’s world, and I’m all for enabling people (especially women) to be able to make a living AND raise their children in a healthy home setting or otherwise live out their core values.

Unfortunately, you’ve probably experienced or heard about a friend’s bad experience with MLM sales reps that are “too pushy.” I can’t say I’m exempt from this myself, and I do know how disappointing it can be when someone with whom we used to enjoy spending time becomes suffocatingly obsessed with “how you really should try X, Y, or Z” (the miracle product or cure they’re selling), or when the Facebook friend or blogger that used to post such interesting content now seems to only post about how great their company is.

However, I’ve often heard comments such as “I don’t want to be friends with so-and-so when they’re so interested in making money off of me.” Let me ask you this: do you like that all the other business establishments you support make money off of you? The big box retailers and fast food joints and convenience stores that invest their incomes in things that you would readily agree are morally wrong?

We all give money to these places at some point or another, even those of us who try to avoid it as much as we can. Tell me, then, what could possibly be so bad about making a purchase to support a friend or acquaintance who is trying to put food on her family’s table, or pay for college, or get out of debt? (Even IF you have to pay a little extra for it?!)

Unfortunately there have been people and there have been companies in general who have given some of these businesses a bad rap. But trust me, the people who choose to participate in this type of marketing are NOT all greedy, money-driven, pushy, and rude. (For that matter, even the companies themselves aren’t all created equal.) You don’t have to look very far to find sales reps who truly DO have your best interests at heart.

And that leads to another advantage I see in buying from these companies: the unprecedented personal customer service. When you have questions about use, need to reorder or replace a product, or just want to figure out how to get the most bang for your buck, the consultants are often immediately available and are more than happy to provide the satisfying, individualized customer service experience you most likely will never have in a large store or business establishment.

Another thing I often hear people ask is that “if the product is so great, why can’t they sell it in stores? Why do they have to get in your face to try to get you to buy it?” There’s certainly not a blanket answer to that question, and even if there were, I’m sure I wouldn’t have it. But personally, I can respect that there is more than one way to market products. You know what? Some of the big companies use much more maddening advertising tactics than these home party operations. You may not necessarily be as aware of how much the stores you frequent are tracking what you buy and when in order to figure out how to get you to buy more from them…but marketing is marketing and every single business does it.

When I receive an invitation to a product-themed event, I don’t automatically turn it down. It’s usually not too hard to gauge whether the hostess wants me to attend regardless of whether I plan to purchase anything, and if she does, then I will honor our friendship by attending. And if during the course of the presentation I discover something that could be quite useful or improve my life in some way, or serve as a thoughtful gift for someone I love, I will make that purchase without guilt. And if not, I will enjoy the socializing, thank the hostess for a good time, and leave–also without guilt. I choose to believe that this is all that my friends expect and want from me, and I hope you will do the same.

So for the time being, I’m happy to support the people in my life who are working hard to pursue their own unique versions of the good life. If that means purchasing an accessory or kitchen gadget from them instead of from Target, that seems like a win-win to me.

I don’t mean to open a can of worms here and I hope that you’ll feel my heart on this issue despite any injustice of description, but I would still love to hear your thoughts. What’s your take on MLM companies?

My Favorite Apps for iPhone

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In case you don’t know me personally, I will tell you: I am an iPhone addict. My first smartphone was a used iPhone 3 in 2012 and I have never looked back. I recently upgraded to my third one, the new 6s, and AT&T offered us a super sweet deal on an iPad mini that day as well that was too good to pass up. These devices bring me a lot of joy. I know that I am a rich American and that I don’t need or deserve them. But, I am grateful for the way they connect me to people, help me organize my life, and open up my world to infinite learning and discovery.

Here’s a short list of my current favorite apps…

Cortex Camera | My friend Rebekah just told me about this one; it’s a $3 camera app that takes amazingly high-quality pictures (much better than the built-in camera, even on my new 6s which was already a huge improvement over the 5).

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Stylebook | This virtual closet app is still one of my favorite things ever; read more about it here.

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Clue | I’ve tried a lot of different period tracker/fertility calendar apps and this is by far my favorite. The latest update includes a ton of new tracking abilities and it all integrates with Apple’s Health app, if you use that.

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CircleBack | If you’re like me and can’t stand clutter/disorganization with things like your phone/email contacts, use this great little app to manage duplicates and updates. But the best part is that you can mass-delete contacts — something you can’t do using the built-in contacts list on iPhone, for some reason.

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Cartwheel | Love this coupon app from Target. If you’re a frequent Target shopper, you simply must use this! So many money-saving opportunities.

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Couple | This is a little communication app for messages, stickers, location sharing and more for only two people. Caleb and I are sappy romantics and we love it especially for the “thumb kiss” feature. 😉

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OverDrive | My sister recently informed me that you can “borrow” e-books from the library using this app. (Maybe you all knew that already and I’m behind the times?) The Lancaster County Library System that I’m a member of doesn’t have a huge selection, but there are definitely a few good options. Maybe one of these days I’ll become an e-reader.

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Reference Guide for Essential Oils | Everyone talks about the Reference Guide and how it’s a must-have for every essential oil user, but I prefer the electronic version. It’s cheaper than the book anyway ($4) and I have it with me all the time.

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Shopkick | This is one of those “points” apps to use while shopping; you get “kicks” for walking into certain stores, scanning certain items, and purchasing others. They add up slowly but they do add up and it’s a super easy way to earn free gift cards from your favorite stores!

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Think Dirty | I’ve mentioned this one several times before, but in case you’re new here, I use this app to check ingredient info on cosmetic and cleaning products. Makes the research on toxins so easy!

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You Need A Budget | I fell in love with this budgeting software right after we got married. Having the app on my phone that syncs with the software on my desktop makes adding transactions in real time so easy.

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What app(s) could you not live without? I’d love to hear your recommendations!

Harry’s Razor Blades | My Review

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Subscription services are all the rage right now…and I love it. I really don’t enjoy any kind of shopping, so having high-quality products delivered to my doorstep when I need them without my needing to lift a finger brings me much joy + delight.

I kept seeing ads all over the place for Dollar Shave Club and their supposedly cheaper-than-average razor blade subscription program, so I asked my trusty Facebook friends for their feedback. Sure enough, a number of them had tried the service + liked it. But, a couple people who commented on the thread recommended that I try another razor subscription service that I had never heard of, instead. I ended up liking what I saw on the Harry’s website so much that I decided to forego DSC and order the German-made blades instead.

My first shipment, complete with blades, handle, and shave gel, arrived in beautiful packaging and appeared to be every bit as well-made as its creators claimed. I love the sleek ivory-colored handle (available in three other classy color options) and the bottle of gel sports a clean, minimalist aesthetic. Labels are ultra-important to me; I care a lot about how the things that sit on the shelf in my shower look. This brand definitely gets five stars in that department!

The decidedly-male scent of the shave gel took me by surprise at first. While the Dollar Shave Club specifically markets its products as being non-gender-specific, Harry’s is definitively designed for men. I’d been using a men’s shave gel for years (Aveeno Active Naturals) but hardly thought about it because it’s unscented. The Harry’s gel rates a lot better on Think Dirty, however, so I’m choosing to overlook the smell for now. (It’s not a bad one at all, just very–well, manly!)

The blades themselves contour better than any I’ve ever used. And they are certainly sharp! I was in fact enough unprepared for how greatly so, that I managed to nick my ankles about all three of the first times I used them [face-palm]. So, do proceed with caution (but fear not, for I’ve always been a rather clumsy shaver in general).

I’m about a month in to the three-month subscription I set up, and overall I’m very pleased with the results. My one complaint, however, is that the blades are…noisy. If I were a man, and using them on facial hair as intended, I’m guessing this might not be an issue. But in using long strokes as I do on my legs, my razor squawks a long, high-pitched squeak with each stroke. A minor flaw, but annoying all the same…right?!

I may end up taking the shave gel off my plan and just getting the blades, but at the time being I do think I’ll be a happy Harry’s customer for a good long while.

Anyone else tried a razor subscription service and have any feedback of your own to share?

Recent Goodie Realizations | Version 09.15

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  1. Our grey Southwest blanket from Sackcloth & Ashes is probably one of my favorite purchases of all time. Such a beautiful + practical + worthy investment. I love this company’s vision. And their Insta is well worth a follow — such gorgeous images!
  2. Now that I’m down to only one day a week of working away from home, I get to indulge in the [occasional] luxury of sleeping IN — and this lovely organic linen sleep mask from All Natural Sleep Shop on Etsy is highly conducive to just that.
  3. I’m a sucker for fall candles, and Bath & Body Works’ Leaves scent is my all-time favorite.  What’s more delightful than lighting candles and curling up in a cozy throw blanket to watch an autumn sunset through the window after a productive day of work?
  4. Husband and I both came down with colds last week, so Young Living’s Thieves blend has been a constant in the diffuser around here. I love how the scent alone seems to help provide relief from the congestion and dripping.
  5. Someone told me about Living Clay’s Cleansing Clay Mask in response to my beauty routine post, and I finally got around to trying it. This stuff does not disappoint! Love the feeling of clarity a good healthy mask brings after a day of hard work.
  6. In case you don’t know about Zenni Optical yet, I’m here to tell you how awesome it is to be able to get prescription glasses for so much less than buying from your eye doctor. I paid less than $20 including shipping for mine over a year ago and though I only wear them to give my eyes an occasional break from contacts, they have served me well.
  7. I only learned to know Jen Hatmaker this summer and this is the first book of hers I’ve read, but Caleb and I are both loving 7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess. If you’re a reader in the least, this needs to be on your to-read list.
  8. Apples + caramel are our go-to snack this season! But I want to try my hand at making a healthier, homemade caramel dip. Anyone have a good recipe to share?
  9. The owner of my favorite local nail salon talked me into trying this hand salve from Sparitual last winter and there truly is none like it. My hands dry out to the point where my knuckles crack and bleed in cold weather, and as the temperatures began to drop this week, I pulled this out to keep close at hand again.
  10. My Pandora charm bracelet is hands down one of my favorite gifts ever. My best friend gave me the bracelet and lovebirds charm as a wedding gift, and she and my husband have both contributed to it since. The memories each charm represents are deeply precious to me and it’s one of my most prized possessions.
  11. I’ve replaced my cheap canvas shoes from my summer capsule wardrobe with these Keds and they might be my favorite fall capsule purchase so far. Versatile + comfy = an easy win, in my book.

What have you been loving this month? I’d love to hear about some of your recent discoveries and/or current favorites!