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!

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: I received this product for free in exchange for a honest and unbiased review. All opinions expressed are my own.

I recently had the opportunity to review the Easy Homemade Cookie Cookbook written by Miranda Couse of the popular blog Cookie Dough and Oven Mitt. I love cookies but typically find myself fixing the same ones over and over. This cookbook is amazing though. It includes 150 recipes for all-time classics and modern twists on not only cookies, but brownies, bars, and no-bake treats. The recipes include easy-to-find ingredients, many of which are already in your pantry (if they are somehow magically in my pantry, then I know they will definitely be in yours).

I couldn’t wait to try her recipe for Chocolate Crinkle Cookies. I LOVE anything with chocolate and even though I am trying to cut down on my sugar intake, I figured that I could allow myself to indulge in one or two.

The verdict?

Nom. Nom. Nom. I can’t wait to try out some of the other recipes.

It amazed me how quickly this recipe came together. It took no time for me to measure out all of my ingredients, mix them, and bake the cookies. The cookies all turned out perfect in my mind as well – deliciously fudgy without being overwhelmingly sweet. The cookies themselves looked lovely with the cracked topping and would be the perfect addition to your holiday table or potluck.

Instead of baking all of the cookies at once, I ended up splitting the dough into thirds, rolling them up, and freezing two batches (without rolling them in confectioner’s sugar). I figured that once our Lil Bean gets here, it’ll be nice to just pull out a few pieces of cookie dough when I need something to perk me up.

The Easy Homemade Cookie Cookbook will be released on October 31st, but don’t wait – preorder yours now and get ready to do some baking!

Print Recipe
Chocolate Crinkle Cookies
Recipe posted with permission from the Easy Homemade Cookie Cookbook.
Course Dessert
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 12-13 minutes
Servings
About 34 cookies
Course Dessert
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 12-13 minutes
Servings
About 34 cookies
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a medium mixing bowl, sift or whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, using an electric mixer on medium speed or a wooden spoon, beat together the butter, oil, and both sugars until light and creamy. This will take about 3 minutes if using an electric mixer or 5 to 6 minutes if creaming by hand. Add the eggs and vanilla, and beat until combined. Add the dry ingredients and beat on low speed or by hand until the dough comes together.
  4. Put the confectioners’ sugar in a shallow bowl for rolling.
  5. Using a medium (11⁄2-tablespoon) cookie scoop, scoop the dough into balls, drop them into the confectioners’ sugar, and roll to coat. Place the balls 2 inches apart on the prepared cookie sheet.
  6. Bake for 12 to 13 minutes, until the cookies are cracked on top.
  7. Let the cookies rest on the cookie sheets for 5 minutes before transferring them to wire racks to cool completely.
Recipe Notes

Tip: You can roll the cookie dough first in granulated sugar and then in the confectioners’ sugar. This will help dry out the dough, giving your cookies even more of a cracked effect.

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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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I’ve been pretty fortunate throughout the years that I’ve never really had issues with my skin. Even now, being pregnant, I’ve been able to use the same cleanser that I’ve used for the past year or so. Every now and then (especially during the winter), my skin will start to look dry and thirsty so I’ll perk it up with a sugar scrub and a moisturizer, but that’s rarely.

One thing that I love to do for my skin on a regular basis (meaning every 4 months or so) are those nose strips that are supposed to help remove black heads. I love those things and it is so freaky to see what sort of gunk the strips pull out. I think of it as a mini “spa day” for myself.

While at Target the other day, I came across the Yes to Tomatoes 2-Step Nose Kit: Buh-Bye Blackheads and decided to give it a whirl. I don’t use the Yes to products normally but I do love how the company is against animal testing and is a member of the Leaping Bunny Program.

The two-step kit comes with a detoxifying charcoal cleanser that is applied with a large Q-tip and a charcoal nose strip. One thing that I noticed right away was how much excess packaging there was and even now, I wonder how necessary the Q-tip is.

When using any sort of pore strip or skin mask, I’ll always wait until after my shower to use it so that the warm water will open my pores. I started with the charcoal cleanser and found that there was enough cleanser in the package to probably last me all week. It felt like a waste of product so I did try to place it somewhere where the cleanser wouldn’t dry out.

It felt a bit clunky to apply it with the Q-tip so after a few moments, I ended up using my fingers. The strip itself was easy to apply but didn’t seem to really fit on my face well enough. Strips from other companies sometimes have tears in them to help the strip adjust to your face better and I couldn’t find any on this strip.

After letting it sit for 10 minutes, I can attest that the strip definitely worked and I could see the difference on my nose. I’ll spare you the gruesome up-close shots of my pore strip and instead just leave you with this fresh out of the shower picture of me. All in all, this was a neat product to try but I would probably stick to my usual line of pore strips for now.