Estimated reading time: 6 minutes

February is always eventful. At the beginning of the month, we are just starting to get down teaching schedules. We are always wondering what to do on Valentine’s Day. And my husband’s birthday is at the end of the month. The weather hasn’t been too bad this Winter, thank goodness, so we’ve had a few sunny days to spend outside in what is normally several housebound months.

Blogs

Two blogs I have been loving lately are Eating Bird Food and Helene in Between. Before becoming a health blogger, Brittany Mullins worked for an ed tech product company. And, because of my positions in higher ed and using this product, I’ve known Brittany for several years. She is living her dream. She worked a job she liked during the day and blogged her passion for years off the clock. Finally, she was able to pursue her passion full time. She is a certified health coach and blogs about food, health and travel topics. Because of its longevity, the site is a vast resource of knowledge on all of these topics. I am just loving the recipes lately- her overnight oats are my go-to for busy mornings. Another site I have been studying for inspiration is Helene In Between. For bloggers, she has so many resources for getting started and building a blog presence. Helene is a digital nomad; another person who is living her dream by living abroad. Her travel blogs are well-worth the read and her pictures will make travel your passion, too.

Apps and Technology

The more that comes out about the chemicals around us, the more concerned I become every grocery trip. Now, my grocery trip involves picking up everything- food, pharmacy, and beauty. In some of Googling, I stumbled upon EWG (Environmental Working Group). They are a non-profit that researches and rates products. Lucky for me, they have an app. I simply go into the grocery store and scan away. Wondering about a new cleaner or a new lipstick, no problem. The app will tell me how awesome, or not awesome, it is for me and my family, based on a low, moderate or high hazard scale. We also got a Google Home for Christmas. Though Home has a long way to go (it doesn’t yet send emails or reminders for me), I can add things to my grocery list and play music just by telling it. I have always wanted something like this! Lastly, you may have read about the new 41 Peacock Playlists featured on Spotify. I have long been a paying Pandora girl, but I think I am making the switch. I love being able to make my own playlists and have music recommended to me based on my interests. I also love being able to tap into other playlists and their running feature is amazing for any kind of cardio.

Beauty

I just felt like I needed some lipstick. I searched for some organic, pretty chemical free lipstick. After reading multiple blogs and doing multiple swaps in my Amazon shopping cart, I finally settled on Burts Bees lipstick, which can be found in grocery stores, like Wegmans. I wanted both a cocoa (for a Joanna Gaines look – see below) and a wearable pink color. I settled on Suede Splash (more sheer cocoa than pictures make it out to be) and Sunset Cruise (a brighter sheer coral than pictures make it out to be). I’ve been using these lipsticks for a few weeks now and I love them. EWG just started rating them after I picked them up. Other colors are currently receiving a hazard rating of 5, which isn’t that awesome, but better than a high hazard rating.

Also, three brands I have been loving are Dr. Bronner’s, Alaffia Everyday Coconut, and Nubian Heritage. I got both Dr. Bronner’s Lavender and Almond Castile soap to use for Fiona’s (our little lab) shampoo and hand soap. While searching for both better toothpaste and shaving gels, I bought Dr. Bronner’s Cinnamon toothpaste and their Lavender Shave Gel. The toothpaste is awesome- I love it and will never go back to another toothpaste. The cinnamon is like spice cinnamon- not hot candy cinnamon. The Lavender Shave Gel takes a little getting used to. It’s really liquidy and it has a very caramel scent- which overpowers the lavender.  EWG hasn’t rated the shaving gel, but the toothpaste and soaps get a 1. Also, I needed some new face wash and so I picked up some Alaffia Everyday Coconut Face Wash. It’s got a funky scent, but I love that my purchase supported a few empowerment projects. The company has built 10 schools, distributed 7k bicycles, and passed out 24k school supplies- which makes me feel very unaccomplished everytime I wash my face. EWG hasn’t rated the face wash yet, but the body wash was rated a 1. Last but not least, I have been loving both Nubian Heritage products I have purchased, which include the Hemp and Vetiver deodorant and the Moringa shampoo.  The deodorant is super creamy and does a decent job on someone who doesn’t sweat or stink too much. The Moringa shampoo was a spontaneous buy, so I can’t say that I knew that the brand educated buyers on the back of the product about Moringa being used as an Ayurvedic scalp oil for centuries. Bonus! Some reviewers on Amazon say that this shampoo leaves a residue on their hair. I can say that I wash my hair twice anyway because I do an oil massage in the shower for Ayurveda, which includes a scalp message. I look like I’m in a 90s grunge band on the days I don’t double wash with shampoo. So, washing twice doesn’t leave the residue. Also, I haven’t used my T-gel since I started using this shampoo- no dandruff in the Winter is an amazing feat for me and God knows what’s in that T-gel; it smells like tar. EWG hasn’t rated these specific products, yet, but all other Nubian Heritage products rated by EWG receive between a 1-3, low/medium hazard rating (*with the exception of two random products on the 10 pages of ratings).

Essential Oils

I purchased a Young Living Starter Kit a few months ago and have made a few purchases since then. I am currently loving both Grounding and Cedarwood. I put Cedarwood on my temples, wrists, and behind my ears before bed every night and I have been sleeping amazingly since I started this ritual. I’ve also added it to my Moringa shampoo because it is supposed to help with hair healthiness and growth – can’t say I’ve seen a difference yet. Cedarwood is in Grounding, along with white fir, ylang ylang, pine, angelica and juniper. I’ve been adding Grounding to all the spots listed above, as well as on the base of my spine, before meditating. The first time I used Grounding with my Waking the Cobra meditation, my nose picked up different notes in the scent as I meditated. It was crazy- I would smell pine, then I would smell vanilla, then I would smell flowers. Wild.

Media

No Tomorrow is my latest binge-watching experience on Netflix. It’s one of those, ‘everyone will know everyone by the end of the show’ shows. If you can get past the wishy-washiness of the main character, it is a fun show. Well, after No Tomorrow was up, I found Fixer Upper on Amazon. I became obsessed with it (love Joanna Gaines’ style!), then it disappeared on Netflix. I can’t wait for it to get warm out so I can do some cool stuff on my desk and backyard. Then, we found it on Amazon- thank goodness. I just love the Magnolia brand and style- it is so fresh. Also, did you know Netflix has ‘Moving Art‘ programs? It’s perfect for when the in-laws come over and you have to put something on your TV in the background that isn’t the same old ‘Fireplace’. My favorite Moving Art is Forests- amazing and so calming.

That’s all for this month. Join me next time when I share more things I am loving.