Grove Collaborative [Review]

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.

Damned [Review + GIVEAWAY]

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

GIVEAWAY!
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Happy Birthday to Me!

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!

DIY Lavender Linen Spray

I’ve mentioned in a few of my recent pregnancy updates that I’ve been having trouble sleeping. While I have been sleeping better lately, I still haven’t been sleeping like I’m used to. Some nights I just can’t get to sleep (either sleep has escaped me or I start thinking about all the baby-related things I need to accomplish), other nights I wake up sweating or I’ll wake up and have to pee and simply can’t get back to sleep.

I need my sleep. When I don’t get enough sleep, the next day drags by and I find it tough to focus or get anything completed. It feels as if I’m having to mentally, and psychically, trudge through quicksand.

So I ended up throwing together a quick spray with lavender essential oil to use on my bed linens. I sprayed it on my mattress/mattress pad, sheets, and comforter but avoided spraying it on my pillows just because I didn’t want to overwhelm my sensitive pregnancy nose.

Lavender is a great essential oil to use to help you sleep and its calming scent also helps to relieve stress and reduce anxious feelings. It’s one of the oils that I keep on hand almost all of the time, not only for personal use, but for use in the products that I create for The Southern Belle’s Garden.

– For example, my Lavender and Calendula Hand Salve –

It’s commonly believed that some essential oils are safe to use (in moderation) during the second and third trimester but make sure to ask your doctor before using. Lavender is considered to be one of the more acceptable essential oils because of its gentle nature, but many avoid it during the first trimester. Also, avoid using essential oils in areas where pets are – cats especially can have adverse effects to some oils. Do your research!

Ready to give it a shot?

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DIY Lavender Linen Spray

makes about 4 ounces

  • 1 ounce witch hazel
  • 10-15 drops lavender essential oil (I tend to lean a little more to the 15 drops but for a lighter scent, use closer to 10 drops.)
  • 3 ounces distilled water

Combine all of the ingredients into a small spray bottle and shake well before using.

Spray on your pillows, sheets, towels – I’ve even sprayed this on our couch cushions when I thought that they needed a pick me up. This spray will keep indefinitely and I store mine in a small glass spray bottle either in the medicine cabinet or on my headboard for quick access.
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Bloggers Recognition Award

Woohoo! I’ve been nominated for the Blogger Recognition Award by Mehreen over at Make It With Me. Please take the time to check out her awesome blog and by the way, she just posted a delicious looking recipe for Vegan Chocolate Brownies that is making me drool!

What is the Bloggers Recognition Award? 

The Bloggers Recognition Award is awarded to bloggers. This award is given to bloggers to show appreciation for their hard work, dedication and the amount of blood, sweat and tears put into maintaining their blog. Growing our blogger community by showing love and appreciation to others.

 

Why I Started Blogging? 

I started blogging way back when I was in middle school – before blogs were even really popular (that was about 17-18 years ago) as a creative outlet of sorts. I love to write – anything and everything. At the time, I never would have imagined that I would still be blogging so many years later! I really hit my stride after graduating from college when I blogged about healthy living but real life interfered and my writing sort of fizzled out. After moving back home, I started blogging again which brings us to The Southern Belle Blogs. TSBB got its start in 2013 as a way to document my budding green thumb and has evolved now to being focused on my pregnancy, among other things.

 

Advice For New Bloggers

My biggest advice for new bloggers? Find your why. Why are you blogging? Is it to connect with others in your community? Is it to make a profit? Is it to simply let your friends and family know what is going on in your life? The sooner you realize your why the better your focus will be. Also, BE CONSISTENT. Even now, consistency is one of the things that I struggle with but I’m making an effort.

 

Bloggers I Want To Nominate

 

Rules 

  1. Thank the blogger who nominated you and leave a link to their blog.
  2. Write a post to show your award.
  3. Give a brief story of How/Why you started blogging.
  4. Give two pieces of advice you would give to brand new bloggers.
  5. Select 10-15 other bloggers you want to give this award to.
  6. Comment on each blog letting them know you have nominated them giving the link to the post you have created.