Vegan & Cruelty Free Household Favorites

Did you happen to see my post on vegan and cruelty free beauty favorites? This is a similar post, but these are just a couple of our most used and favorite products. It’s really getting quite a lot easier to find recycled, and/or environmentally friendly household cleaners, and products. It used to be that you could only find these things online, or at a specialty store, but more mainstream grocery stores, and Target are carrying things that I feel good about purchasing.

Vegan & Cruelty Free Household Favorites
{method: Smarty Dish dishwasher detergent tabs // Eco Nuts: Organic Laundry Detergent // The Honest Co.: Premium Recycled Bath Tissue}

Is it weird to talk about toilet paper on here? Whatever, everyone uses it (well…). We used to use the recycled one from Trader Joe’s, but we didn’t have one nearby, and sometimes you don’t want to buy ALL the toilet paper when making a Trader Joe’s run. People just look at you funny. When I found out that Target started carrying Honest products, I was ecstatic! (you can ask Nick) We also use their paper towels, too. I try not to use paper towels all the time, but sometimes you just need them. I love that it’s affordable, and accessible to everyone! Who doesn’t love Target? Besides my dad, that is.

If you follow the method link, you’ll notice that these tabs don’t get a lot of great reviews. I don’t know who those people are, or what their dishes look like when they go into their dishwasher. I love these! They’re fragrance and dye free, which is a great bonus! I’ve noticed that when we don’t quite get everything clean it’s because something was blocking one of the spray arms or something. These tabs are great. We were having a problem with all of the dry powder actually coming out of the door, and so these are the perfect thing. When the door pops open during the cycle, they fall right out and do their job! I think you can get these at Target as well. We usually remember to buy ours at our local grocery store, or Whole Foods.

Lastly, it’s talk about Eco Nuts. Nick was one who first found these at our local MOM’s store. I have to admit, I was a little skeptical because WHAT IN THE WORLD?! They aren’t even nuts! Eco Nuts are dried berries that grow in the Himalayas. When agitated in water they produce a low-sudsing soap called saponin. They are fragrance free, dye free, organic, non-geo, nut free, and cruelty free. The box we bought will wash at least 100+ loads for only $10! You just put 5 berries in the linen sachet bag that’s included and throw it in the washer with your clothes. And if you accidentally throw them in the dryer, no worries! These work great with our front loading washer. Our clothes always feel and smell fresh, so I’m sold!

What are some of your favorite vegan and cruelty free household items that you use the most?

Vegan & Cruelty Free Beauty Favorites

I’m a pretty simple girl for most things, but I LOVE beauty products! I’m always on the lookout for great vegan and cruelty free products to try. There are a lot of companies that are vegan and cruelty free, but perhaps their parent company is not. While I prefer not to buy from those companies, sometimes I still do. I guess it just really depends on the product. My favorite blush, for example, is owned by a parent company that I wouldn’t choose to support. But until I find the perfect replacement, I’ll continue to buy it. You have to make the best choices that you can. Progress, not perfection!

That being said, there are some great resources out there to help you make smart choices when out buying these products. I have this website saved on my phone so it’s always at my fingertips. So handy!

So, without further adieu, here is just a handful of products I use on a pretty much daily basis. Well, except for the conditioner. I try not to wash my hair everyday – it helps keep it healthy and my color stay fresh when I don’t!

Vegan & Cruelty Free Beauty Favorites

{Snow Fairy from lush – seasonal}
I debated on whether or not to share this one. It’s only available from about mid-November to December whenever they run out. But I had to put in here because it is by far my FAVORITE lush product! It smells like cotton candy/bubblegum/amoxicillin. Remember that pink medicine you used to take as a kid? It kind of smells like that, but in a fabulous way! We bought 2 bottles of the largest size this year, so I’ll be able to smell sweet for quite sometime. Bonus: there are tiny flecks of glitter inside. I mean, is that perfect or what?

Vegan & Cruelty Free Beauty Favorites

{9 to 5 Facial Cleanser from lush}
This facial cleanser is the best makeup remover I have ever used. Not only does it smell great, but it’s super gentle, so you can just rub it all over your face, including on your eyes, and it won’t burn or sting. I like to apply it and then wipe my face clean with a warm washcloth. It works on the toughest eye makeup, too, including waterproof mascara! It’s awesome.

Vegan & Cruelty Free Beauty Favorites

{amika: undone texture spray}
I was first introduced to amika from the salon that I used to work for in Iowa. My boss had attended a hair show and brought back a bunch of samples for us to try. I didn’t try this product at the time, but I decided to try it after Kate at The Small Things Blog said how much she loved it. It not only smells divine, but adds just enough of that little something extra to my hair to make it not so flat and plain. I use quite a few products¬†on my hair, but this is one I use a lot. It’s not sticky, or heavy, and it doesn’t make my hair feel like a helmet, either.

Vegan & Cruelty Free Beauty Favorites

{amika: Nourishing Mask}
Okay. This is hands down AMAZING. It, too, smells awesome like the un.done spray, but it’s super thick and it makes my hair feel like silk. I have a lot of thick, coarse hair, and when I use this it makes my feel so smooth. You can use it as a daily conditioner, or you can use it like I do most frequently, as deep conditioner. I’ll wash my hair with shampoo, and after rinsing I’ll apply a about a nickel-sized amount of this to my hair. I’ll leave it one for about 5 minutes while I was wash my body and enjoy the warm water. I’ll usually comb it through with a wide toothed comb that I keep in the shower as well. It’s like magic.

Vegan & Cruelty Free Beauty Favorites

{Too Faced Better Than Sex Mascara}
I’ll admit, this one has a slightly embarrassing name (just as my blush does), and I while I don’t agree with it’s claims, it is a pretty awesome mascara. It’s a rich, black color with an hourglass-shaped brush that really grabs a hold of your lashes and gets them coated. I usually curl my lashes with my eyelash curler and then apply a nice, even coat. If I’m going out, or if it’s for a special occasion, I’ll add an extra coat or two, but for everyday, I just stick with one.

Vegan & Cruelty Free Beauty Favorites

Honorable Mentions:
lush Shampoo Bars (we really like the NEW! bar)
Pretty much anything from the Yes.To company (the Grapefruit Scrub is a go-to)

What are some of your favorite vegan and cruelty free beauty products?

Christmas Break

So I realize I’m a little late in posting this, but whatever. Life happens, blizzards happen. You just never know. Anyway, I thought it would be fun to share a few highlights of our Christmas break with you! Nick was able to take the week of Christmas off as my best friend and her family were coming to stay for the week. That meant that Nick had two and a half weeks off! It was awesome. Definitely no complaints from me!

The week before Christmas we were given a really great opportunity to do a tour of the White House with Nick’s alumni association. We had to be into the city about 8:30, but we hopped on the metro, and got there with time to spare. I didn’t really know what to expect, but you get to see some pretty cool things! It was definitely an experience I’ll remember.

These snowmen were out on the lawn How fun are they?!
White House Tour

Lincoln! I loved this portrait.
White House Tour

How many times will you get the opportunity to get your photo taken under the REAL presidential seal??
White House Tour

Our framily (friends that are family) arrived on Sunday afternoon, just in time to relax a bit before heading to church (I love 5:00 service!) The kids had never been to DC, so we headed out on Monday to see ALL THE THINGS. We walked almost 12 miles that day! Needless to say, by the end of the day, we were beat! The weather was great, so we were able to get some great shots at the city’s most iconic spots.

This was taken outside the Lincoln Memorial.
Christmas Break 2015

I had purchased tickets for us ahead of time to go up into the Washington Monument. You can save yourself a couple dollars a person, and wait in line first thing in the morning on the day you want to go, but we didn’t want the hassle of getting 7 people ready, and making it into the city on time to do that. So I sucked it up and paid for the tickets. No biggie. It was actually pretty cool! You take an elevator up to the observatory, and then on the way down, you can see some really intricate stones that were gifted from various states in the U.S.

Here was a great view of the Jefferson Memorial:
Christmas Break 2015

And the back of the White House:
Christmas Break 2015

We were also able to see the National Christmas Tree at night. It was so beautiful!
Christmas Break 2015

Christmas Break 2015<

After Christmas breakfast, gifts, and some full-on lounging about, we all piled in the car to head to Harpers Ferry for a Christmas hike. It was foggy and overcast, but we were able to enjoy a nice, easy hike before the rain hit.
Christmas Break 2015

We had such a fun time with friends, and it was so sad to see them leave. But we definitely made loads of memories together. We also had a family poker tournament on Christmas night, and we all lost to the 17 year old. He was really motivated to win the $20!

What fun things did you do for Christmas?

#blizzard #jonas

These two hashtags certainly were trending over the weekend here on the east coast! You know, I moved to Virginia thinking that I’d see just a little bit of snow over the winter, and laugh at how much people freaked out about it. But no! God certainly has a sense of humor! Evidently this area gets hit pretty darn hard every 5-6 years, and we moved the year that it was bound to happen. I have never, ever seen this much snow at one time. Now, being from Iowa I’ve seen my share of snow, ice, and cold, but this is something out of a movie. The final total for our city was 36.4 inches. 36.4 inches! I still can’t believe it.

We had plenty of warning for this storm, so we were prepared and got all of the necessities early in the week. I had to laugh on Friday morning because we stopped at Whole Foods on the way home from a doctor’s appointment, and the Califia case was demolished! There were maybe two containers of cold brew coffee left. I guess the vegans are afraid of running out of “milk”, too! Nick happened to have this past Friday off, and so after our Whole Foods run we ran a couple of last minute errands (not essential, but we had time, and it hadn’t started snowing yet anyway), and made sure to have lunch at our favorite Chinese place. We wanted some tasty leftovers!

We were just about 4-5 blocks from home when we started to see flurries. We got home, pulled the car in the garage (my car was safely tucked in at the town center parking ramp), shuffled everything upstairs and by the time we took Olive out a few minutes later it was full on SNOWING. They had said that the storm would start quickly, and they weren’t kidding! So after it started snowing it just kept snowing, and snowing, and snowing until late Saturday night. We woke up Sunday and it was beautiful. So white and peaceful. Thankfully, Nick had done his best to keep up on the driveway, so we were able to tag team it yesterday and get it down to the cement. It only took about 2 hours, but we did it! Oh! And when we sold our house in Iowa we left our shovels as part of the agreement. We bought one back in November thinking we’d never really have to use it. HA! Yesterday I shoveled it into a large rubbermaid and Nick hauled it over to the large mountain across the alley. (he also started a trend – all of our neighbors were seen doing the same thing shortly after!) I guess we might want to grab another shovel sometime in the future…just in case!

Now for some pictures!

After taking Olive for a walk on Saturday morning, Nick snapped a selfie in the middle of the action!

This is a view from our balcony – this was taken Saturday afternoon while the storm was still raging on!

Olive was a little upset with the amount of snow that covered the balcony. Her favorite spot in the house is her bed that sits right in front of the balcony door. And the snow totally overtook her view.

Nick had to make himself a seat to take a break while throwing some balcony snow onto the driveway below. (taken Sunday morning)

There are cars under there!

Oh, you know. Just a few drifts and mountains of snow…

I tried to get Olive to wear her winter hat yesterday, but she was not too excited about it.

A lot of friends wondered how Olive liked the snow. She LOVES the snow. She had experienced snow last winter in Iowa, but she’d never seen so much! She loves the snow, but on Saturday, the cold, biting wind made her mad. She just kept shivering. Once she caught on that she could go back inside as soon as she did her business, it was a lot better for everyone! But yesterday while we were shoveling, her friend, Millie came over to play and they wrestled and played in the snow in our driveway. She’s happy today to be back in her spot looking out the window keeping tabs on the neighborhood. ;)

Nick’s office is closed today, and he feels confident it will likely be closed tomorrow so he’s working from home. We have no way of getting out of our neighborhood anytime soon. The roads are still completely snow covered. Every now and again you’ll run across a path made by a bobcat machine, but overall? There’s no way to get out. It’s been a good reminder to slow down and realize that we don’t need to be on the go all time time.

Nick and I were laughing the other day that we’ll be those people that tell our nieces and nephews in years to come, “Well, when were living in Virginia and winter storm Jonas hit in 2016…” Haha!

Did you experience any part of winter storm Jonas? I’d love to hear about it!