Things We Love and USE //

Things We Love and USE // 01

DenaDecember 10, 2014

Things We Love and USE //

Throughout the year, bloggers (myself included) often share gift guides. I tend to like these guides because they give me ideas; introduce me to new brands & products; and frankly, I’m a voyeur — I love to see what other people are buying. However, gift guides often give me pause for a couple of reasons. First, does the blogger only want me to buy an item because she is going to make a commission off of the sale? And second, in the age of Pinterest & Etsy, just because a blogger “loves” an item doesn’t mean that she has ever actually used it or even seen it in-person.

That said, I’ve started a new series called, Things We Love (and USE). The emphasis being that these are things that we both love and actually use on a regular basis. Today, I’m going to share a few things that I’ve discovered in the past year that have made our lives a little bit more beautiful, easier, and comfier.

1. Revlon Top Speed Nail Polish.  I’ve finally started to make my goal of self-care a reality. It only took me about two years, but I’ve arrived. This week, I got my first “real” haircut in years. (And by “real” I mean not a $9.99-cut-with-coupon like I usually get.) I’ve also started giving myself manicures again. It’s a bit of an impossible task with a toddler, but I’ve found a magic formula.

About a year ago, my mom introduced me to Revlon Top Speed. It’s fantastic as far as nail polishes go. It has a smooth, beautiful finish and it really does dry quickly. My favourite shade is Stormy. It’s a beautiful stone-colour and I wear it year-round. The other shade that I picked up recently is Cherry. It’s a deep, sexy red and it’s perfect for the holidays.

I’ve found that many of the “quick dry” nail polishes either don’t actually dry quickly or have a terrible finish. Revlon Top Speed is brilliant in both areas.

2. Nutra Nail Speed Dry. I’ve been finishing my manicures with Nutra Nail Speed Dry Top Coat for years. It’s the second ingredient in my “magic mommy manicure.” It provides a smooth, clear coat finish & it really dries quickly.

Using the two products I’ve mentioned here, I can honestly give myself a beautiful manicure while Roman is in the bath and it’s dry by the time he gets out! If that’s not magic, I don’t know what is. You can get both of these products on Amazon and in most pharmacies/groceries.

3. Mrs. Meyers Hand Soap. This was a discovery that I made on my own and I’m not ashamed to admit that it was the packaging that drew me in. I fell in love with the simple, classic design and I was sold after reading the label. Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day Liquid Hand Soap (Lavender Scent) contains a special recipe of aloe vera gel, olive oil and a blend of natural essential oils.

It’s paraben free, made in the USA, and ingredients are at least 98% naturally derived. Best of all it delivers a serious clean but it doesn’t dry you out at all. I have extremely dry skin and I USE THIS STUFF IN THE SHOWER AS A BODY WASH. I have to emphasis how much it blows my mind that I can use this stuff as a body wash. Almost every body wash I’ve tried over the years has either not left me feeling clean or has dried my skin out completely. This product is the complete opposite and it’s a hand soap. Another benefit is that a little bit goes a long way. I’m finally nearing the end of my first bottle and I’ll be purchasing the refill soon.

Mrs. Meyers products are available in a bunch of scents. I also purchased the lemon verbena multi-surface cleaner, but I am completely partial to all things lavender. I’m planning to buy the entire line of body products & household cleaners as I run out of my existing supplies. I can’t say enough good things about this stuff. You can purchase Mrs. Meyers products on Amazon, on the company website, in Target, and in many groceries.

4. Carhartt Winter Coat. Moving onto toddler loves, let’s talk about this Carhartt coat. I bought it for Roman last winter but it was too big. Now, anybody who works in a blue-collar trade knows all about Carhartt and Carhartt quality. It’s second-to-none. As the daughter of a bricklayer and the wife of a carpenter, I’ve seen the men in my life wearing Carhartt forever. When I realized that they made stuff for babies and toddlers, I was intrigued — but would the outstanding quality be the same?

I took the leap and ordered Roman the Carhartt Little Boys’ Active Jacket. I ordered a size 2T in the chocolate brown colour. I was blown away by the product. It’s exactly like the adult version, both in appearance and in quality. Roman has been wearing his coat all winter so far and it holds up to wear & tear like nothing else. Just like his father’s and grandfather’s Carhartt’s, I believe it will last for years — unfortunately, he will probably outgrow it long before it’s ready to be discarded. I am hoping that I can get one more winter out of it since he’s still got some wiggle room in there.

The only drawback that I’ve found is that the coat is stiff, but that’s signature quality. The outer material is made to hold up to all kinds of elements and it does, but the stiffness is the trade off. It doesn’t seem to bother Roman at all.

5. Carhartt Winter Hat. I ordered the Carhartt Little Boys’ Acrylic Watch Hat in Carhartt Brown at the same time that I ordered his coat. I thought it would be cute to have the matching set, but it went beyond that and proved to be one of the best toddler-purchases I’ve made yet.

Roman has a lot of hats but none come close to this one in terms of quality and warmth. I’ve found a lot of his other hats to be flimsy and to lose their shape in the washer/dryer. This one stays like-new and keeps its shape no matter how much I wash it — once again, true Carhartt quality. It fits him perfectly but I can also see that it will grow with him. I genuinely love this hat, especially for our harsh Northeastern winters.

6. Aveeno Baby Bath. I’ve been a Burt’s Bees girl all my life and I’ve used Burts Bees Baby products on Roman since birth. I love the company and its products, but we’ve got some ongoing skin issues with Roman. He has incredibly sensitive skin to begin with and now with the cold, dry winter air, I’m seeing increased irritation.

I’ve been wanting to try something new and recently stumbled on Aveeno Baby Calming Comfort Bath, Lavender & Vanilla. We’ve only used it a few times so far but I’ve already found several reasons to love it. First, the formula really bubbles. We’ve tried some other baby bath products that don’t foam up nicely and what’s a baby bath without bubbles? Second, I love the scent! (Give me all the lavender.) Finally, and most importantly, I’ve already seen an improvement in Roman’s skin since we’ve started using it. This could be coincidence since it’s only been a few times so far, but I’m optimistic and I’ll update again about this product when we’ve been using it for awhile longer.

That’s it for this first round of Things We Love and USE. Feel free to leave a comment if you enjoyed this post or to share your own favorite products of the moment.

Until next time! xo

Comments (5)

  • Gillian

    December 10, 2014 at 2:54 pm

    Oh I love this post, I also love seeing what people really use and love! I love your manicure tips. My biggest problem is letting my nails dry before smudging the polish and I feel like I can never do it!! I recently started using gel polish and I really like it but I always screw it up. I never thought about looking for quick drying polish or a top coat like you showed.

    1. Dena

      December 11, 2014 at 5:04 pm

      So glad you liked it! My mom actually got the gel polish and let me try it out. I think it lasted a (little bit?) longer than regular polish before chipping. But it does go on thick and takes more time to dry than this mama has! 😉

  • Tina

    December 11, 2014 at 3:06 pm

    This is a GREAT idea. I can’t afford to buy things I love but won’t use very often. I can wish for them but buying them? No. So it’s nice to read lists like this. Definitely going to try that top coat! Never realized how hard it could be to do my nails as a mom until it happened haha.

    1. Dena

      December 11, 2014 at 5:06 pm

      I am right there with you! I could make “wish lists” all day — but that does NOT mean I can afford to buy any of it (or that I would even if I could — hello MINIMALISM). It’s still nice to daydream though and always good to know what’s actually useful. 🙂

  • Kay

    December 12, 2014 at 12:24 pm

    I love Mrs. Meyer’s…. The honeysuckle scent is my absolute favorite! You should look in to joining ePantry to get cheaper refills on their things!

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