Disclaimer: Tidewater Sandals sent me this product for free in exchange for a honest review.

I love flip flops. A little too much I think. If the weather was decent enough, I think that I could live in my flip flops (and believe me, I try to make it as long as possible, even when my toes start to turn purple in the winter). But when I wear flip flops, I need to make sure that they provide me with some sort of support, not only for my feet in general, but for my arches.

I have finally found my perfect pair of flip flops. Just look at these beauties from Tidewater Sandals.

Tallulah Gold | Tidewater Sandals

They are comfortable, stylish, cost effective – everything that I want in a shoe.

These sandals are perfect to wear to work or just around town and have arch support (which is key for me). I have been wearing them for the past month pretty much nonstop and are in love with them. I even wore them to Pinehurst this past weekend and they were super comfy to walk around in. I wore them yesterday during a huge rainstorm and loved that my feet were not slipping and sliding all over the place.

I really can’t say enough about these shoes. They are already a staple of my summer wardrobe and will continue to be a staple through fall… and maybe even winter!

Want to get your own pair? Tidewater Sandals is offering all of my readers a 15% off coupon code, BELLE15, that will be good through the end of May! Go ahead and get your summer wear today!

Happy 2018!

2017 was certainly a stellar year for my boyfriend and I. We found out that I was expecting a little one, turned 30 years old, and we welcomed our Lil Bean into this world. Even though my business didn’t make an appearance at many in-person events, I had more online sales than in previous years.

I fully believe that 2018 will be even better. I plan to continue growing my business and I have a super awesome project that I’ve been working on the past few months launching this March.  I’ll get to watch Caleb develop in so many ways. My boyfriend and I will be one step closer to achieving our goals (the homestead).

I stopped making New Year’s resolutions years ago. If there was a change that I wanted to make, I would go ahead and implement that change. I didn’t want to have to wait until a new year rolled around. That being said, I have decided to try Veganuary. Veganuary challenges you to go vegan for 31 days (the month of January) in an attempt to raise awareness about animal suffering and to show the impact of veganism on your health.

We already have cut down on meat consumption in our household (and rely mostly on what Robb has hunted instead of purchasing meat from the supermarket) but I would like to make it so we one day only consume what we produce ourselves.

I don’t plan on ever going 100% vegan as I don’t see an issue with using the infertile eggs from our own chickens but I can see us adopting even more of a plant-based diet for humane and health reasons. I didn’t start Veganuary today as I didn’t want to waste leftovers but plan to make an honest effort of it and look forward to experimenting in the kitchen.

Have you ever thought about adopting a plant-based diet?

It’s only fortuitous that I stumbled upon Grove Collaborative during my prime nesting time. Just ask Robb. I don’t really like cleaning but all of a sudden, I found myself excited about cleaning products and getting our house spotless before Lil Bean arrived. Ever since we started dating, I would occasionally get bitten by the organization bug (typically when he’s out of town so that he doesn’t see what I’m tossing as I’m cleaning the pantry or linen closet) but that has certainly increased during my pregnancy.

I think that he’d love it if I didn’t come up with a new project for him to do every time I started organizing something.

I’ve always been a little funny about my cleaning supplies. I prefer products that are non-toxic and have not been tested on animals. Not that we’re introducing a little one into our home, it is even more important that I focus on that. I do make a lot of my own products, such as toilet bombs and a linen spray but it is nice to have some other options around the house, especially if I’m feeling lazy.

Enter Grove Collaborative. Grove Collaborative is an online service that allows you to pick out the best natural products and have them delivered to the door. They are a Certified B Corp which means that they have passed the most rigorous standards for businesses that prioritize social, environmental, and community well-being (other companies include Patagonia and Seventh Generation). Not only do they featuring cleaning supplies but they also feature items for children (such as toothpaste, vitamins, and diapers) and other personal care items.

There’s no fee to join and shipping is a flat rate of $2.99. They do have a VIP program that provides you with free shipping along with some other perks (such as free items) but you really can’t beat $2.99 shipping.

So here’s what I got:

Can you believe that I got all of this for only $20.91?? I receive a free four-piece gift set with my first purchase AND they added in the glass spray bottle as an extra bonus.

  • Mrs. Meyer’s – Surface Scrub (Lavender)
  • Glass Spray Bottle: I can’t wait to use this spray bottle for one of my own cleaning blends.
  • Method – Tub & Tile Spray (Eucalyptus Mint): I was running low on energy by the time I started to clean the shower but this spray smelled amazing and I think it made a difference. I still need to get down and dirty with the shower.
  • Full Circle – Grunge Buster Grout and Tile Brush
  • Method – Daily Steel Cleaner: This item is the one that I was most excited about receiving. All of our appliances are stainless steel and they always end up so smeared with fingerprints and general grime. After using the cleaner just once, I was amazed at how shiny our appliances were!
  • Mrs. Meyer’s – Hand Soap (Lemon Verbena)
  • Mrs. Meyer’s – Dish Soap (Apple Cider)
  • Mrs. Meyer’s – Multi-Surface Cleaner (Lemon Verbena): I decided to use this cleaner on our pantry shelves as I was organizing. I love the smell and it isn’t overpowering.
  • Walnut Scouring Pad

While some of these products do contain fragrances, they are non-irritating, non-toxic and fully biodegradable. Until I get to the point where I make all of my own cleaning supplies, I feel like this is a step in the right direction!

Use my referral link to get an extra $10 off your order after signing up.

Disclaimer: This post was sponsored as part of the Xpresso Book Tours Blog Tour. To check out what other blogs have posted (including excerpts and interviews), please visit their website. I received this product for free in exchange for a honest and unbiased review.

I love reading books that deal with the supernatural. It’s sort of my guilty pleasure. Earlier in the year, I discovered (and devoured) the novel “Blackwell: Prequel to the Magnus Blackwell Series” written by Alexandrea Weis and Lucas Astor. Simply put, it was a good read. In the back of that novel, there was a teaser for the next novel, “Damned”. I thought that its October release would never get here. But I was finally able to get my hands on a copy, just in time to put me in the Halloween spirit.

So what is “Damned” about?

Over a hundred years after the death of Magnus Blackwell, Altmover Manor sits abandoned.

Lexie Arden and her fiancé, Will Bennet, are determined to rescue the neglected Mount Desert Island landmark. They want to make Altmover Manor their home. But Magnus has other plans.

A spirit bound to his former residence, Magnus finds himself inexplicably drawn to the young woman. She has a supernatural gift; a gift Magnus wants to exploit.

As Lexie and Will settle in, secrets from Magnus’s past begin to surface. Compelled to learn all she can about the former owner, Lexie becomes immersed in a world of voodoo, curses, and the whereabouts of a mysterious dragon cane.

Magnus’s crimes won’t be so easily forgotten, and what Lexie unearths is going to change the future … for everyone.

I enjoyed “Damned”. It contained the same elements of the supernatural as the prequel, but with a likable twist to the main character. In Lexie Arden, I could find a character that I was able to relate to. She was just a bit different and I like that. The second half of this novel also takes us back to New Orleans, which serves as more of a central location (there’s a soft spot in my heart for New Orleans). The story went differently that I thought it would – I love novels that keep me guessing.

Without giving too much away, I liked how the character of Magnus developed over the course of the story and I enjoyed seeing how he interacted with the other characters, including some returning ones from the first novel.

The novel itself was very well written and I appreciate the amount of detail that the authors put into it – not just the characters but in the settings as well. Like its predecessor, it was an easy read that I couldn’t put down until I had finished. I think that I actually stayed up most of the night in order to finish it as soon as I received it.

It is certainly worth a read!

For more about “Damned”, please visit any of the following websites: Goodreads / Website / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / iBooks / Kobo

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Today I rolled out of bed as a 30-year old. Literally, rolled. Robb laughs at me because I usually need a little momentum to get myself out of bed now, so I have to kick my legs or I’ll swing them over the edge of the bed and slide. Once I get bigger and start needing help, I know that he’ll be right there to pull me up.

So yeah. I rolled out of bed as a 30-year old, 31 weeks pregnant. I’ve been so fortunate to have the life that I have. I know that every life is filled with its ups and downs but I’m blessed that as of today, I have had so many more ups than anything else. I can only hope that with all the changes that are coming soon, the ups keep on coming.

How could I resist a 30th birthday bump picture – even if it’s a dreary day and the lighting is off?

My mom called as I was fixing myself breakfast. For as long as I can remember, she’s played this special birthday song for me from “Captain Zoom”. We both know all the words (and for the most part, it’s the first words that pop into my bed come the morning of October 12th). She purchased it as a cassette many, many years ago but as cassette players started to fade away, she started to panic about finding a way to play it so I surprised her one year with a CD.

I love traditions. We don’t have very many in our family really, other than “Captain Zoom” and my mom giving us pajamas or something similar on Christmas Eve. But all it takes to start a tradition is for someone to make that first move. With Lil Bean joining us, I look forward to starting even more traditions.

What are some of your favorite family traditions?

Update:

I thought I would give a quick update on some of the awesome things I received for my birthday.

Check out these goodies from my mom – she knows me so well! I love the little onsies and the “Beware the Hen Poo” sign is to replace one I lost earlier in the year. It came all the way from Ireland! I’ve been looking forward to reading “The Cooking Gene” by Michael Twitty. What is really neat is that the jar of pink rocks is actually rose quartz that mom found during their mountain camping trip.

What’s even neater is that rose quartz is a good stone to take to the hospital to place near the baby/mother during the birthing process to promote bonding!