Green Guy

Hey, guys. Today’s post was inspired by my super sweet brother-in-law, Dan, who asked me my opinion on some green brands and products he was considering. Of course, I immediately thought, “Oh, cool! Maybe someone in blogland could use my thoughts, too.” So, here we are!

I’m not an expert at any of this stuff. I’m clearly not a dude. (Um. Hopefully you knew that.) But, after reading reviews and doing some research, I’m pretty confident that these are some kickass products. Of course, it should be stated that not all products work the exact same way for everybody. Like, our current shampoo works great for Dave and “eh” for me, but I still think my poo-free days changed my hair’s pH and I’ve lived with straw-like conditions ever since. But I digress.

Today’s post is all about the guys. And, because I’m me, it’s particularly about the eco-guys. You know who you are. The ones who are looking for ways to eliminate the earth-hurting crud from your daily grooming routine. Who still want to look good (and, ahem, smell yummy) without the tingling chemicals, drying foaming agents, and general nastiness that goes down the drain.

I’ve got your back. Since I’m unable to try these myself — do you really have to ask why? — I’ve decided to pick a couple of extra products (like two shampoos, etc). Check out the reviews for yourself and consider what will work for your needs. And, ladies, the next time you need a sweet little gift for your sweet, don’t do the Axe. Seriously. Just put down the Axe.


1 –  Maple Holistics Sage Shampoo (for Heavy Dandruff), 100% Natural and Sulfate-Free – I selected two shampoos because everyone’s head is different, and I thought it would be cool to give you guys some options. I know the bottle is purple and it may look a little feminine, but that’s actually because this is a shampoo that could work for both men and women. It’s so awesome that there are natural options out there for folks who have dry skin, dandruff, and dermatitis. (Are those all the same things? I don’t know. Maybe.) Oh, and it’s cool for color-treated hair. That’s pretty cool.
2 – Every Man Jack’s 2-in-1 Thickening Shampoo – Like I said, everyone’s head is different, and some guys are fighting an issue with thinning. I know how much thinning can affect a guy’s self esteem, so the fact that this phthalate-free option exists (and with a conditioning option) is awesome. Let’s just say that I may ask Santa to bring this to our house this year.
3 – Baxter of California Chrome-Plated Safety RazorThe Dorky Daddy loves his safety razor, although he admits that it does take a time or two to get used to a newer, short-fast strokes method. Seriously, this thing is awesome, and you’ll only need to buy the individual razor blades once in awhile. (Hint: If you dry off your razor well every time you use it, you’ll hardly need to buy new ones.) Plus, if you buy one package of blades, they’ll last FUH-RE-VER. Just try it. Oh, and this (along with a kit of the proper brush, a holder, and some soap in a cute bowl or mug) was his all-time favorite Christmas present. I kid you not.
4 – ManCave Natural Face Moisturizer – No parabens. No sulfates. No synthetic fragrances or dyes. No petrochemicals. No GMOs. No cruelty. No problem! Plus, it comes in super manly packaging. These companies are really catching on to what people want. Oh, and it helps firm your skin (thanks, caffeine), clear it up if you’ve got a bit of acne (thanks, borage oil), and has several anti-aging agents. Wonder if I could get away with using this…
5 – Kiss My Face Creamy Cleanser Clean for a Day – I wouldn’t usually support a face cleanser, mostly because everyone’s face is very much unique. As a teen, I had battles with moderate acne (wasn’t that bad, but it tore my self esteem to shreds enough to matter), so I know something that works for one person won’t work for another. However, the reviews were good enough for this one that I feel confident saying that maybe 8 out of 10 people will have success with this one. It’s great for sensitive skin, has a light citrus scent that could work for ladies or gents, and full of everything we like and has NOTHING we don’t like (vegan-friendly, not animal tested, etc etc)…yeah, I think I WILL be ordering this one myself.
6 – Moon Dance Soaps Refreshing Mint Lathering Shave Soap – This will work perfectly with #3 above! The reason I picked a mint soap is because it’s such a refreshing scent that leaves your skin feeling tight and gives you a morning aromatherapy session that will rival your cup o’ joe. I also hit up Etsy every year to put a different scent in the bottom of someone’s stocking. It’s always great to support a small business owner who supports the philosophies we live by. 
7 – Herban Cowboy Dusk Cologne – (How cute is that name?!) Here’s some more super sexy packaging containing an even better product. It’s another vegan product, produced completely in the US, and the Herban Cowboy series of products seem worth checking out. (Especially their deodorant, which people are saying “actually works for a truly stinky man.” Good to know.) ***Please make sure that you purchase the true brand of this since, apparently, there are knock-offs going around. Since this made the below list, which means a lot to me, I’m still supporting it, but some of the online reviews are warning against some sellers.***
8 – Burt’s Bees Cologne – If PETA thinks these colognes are great, I’ve gotta get behind that. We’re a Burt’s Bees family, so I decided to include this cologne because a) it’s a natural, animal-friendly option and b) it seems to be a completely different scent from #7. It is TOUGH to buy a cologne online, so I should mention that most reviewers love it, although there are one or two that find it a bit too…shall we say…hippie-ish. But, if your guy’s into that, awesome. That said, plenty of reviewers mention citrusy, Bergamot, Cyprus and Fir notes (which sounds pretty woodsy and manly to me).  

Do you have any earth-friendly products that you or your guy enjoy? Are you fans of a particular brand? Tell us all about it in the comments!

This post contains affiliate links. If you click through and buy something (even if it’s not on my list), you’ll make my day AND help us pay some bills. Seriously. So much appreciation.

Mama Must-Haves

Today’s post contains affiliate links. They won’t make your computer explode or steal your identity…I hope.

So many friends and acquaintances on Facebook (and, y’know, in the real world) are having babies left and right. We’re in talks ourselves, but are still putting off a second bambino for the time being. We’re also pretty private about things; that “don’t tell anyone until the second trimester” thing is law for us, outside of one or two close family members or a BFF.

All these gorgeous shots of tiny shut-eyed beauties got me thinking about Hadman and what it was like to bring him home those 2+ years ago. Oh, how terrified and unprepared we felt. I’m tons more laid-back now, and Dave’s improved immensely. We’re kinda rocking it, parentally. Most of the time. 

Whenever we choose to have another (if we should be so lucky, knocking on lots of wood), I’m excited to try some things that, for one reason or another, didn’t work out with our first little guy. I’ll admit that, while I “tried” cloth diapering, I didn’t succeed — okay, I failed at it. So, that. There’s that.

Also, with how humongous our monkey was, babywearing didn’t really work out, either. It is what it is, but I hope to try it in the future. Maybe a future babe will enjoy it (and it’ll probably make life a bit easier with a bigger brother running around).

But enough of the stuff that didn’t work for us. Here are some of the stuff that I wouldn’t live without that worked out awesomely for us…

#1 – It took awhile to decide on a pump to use at school everyday, so I took a risk purchasing this Medela In Style Advanced Breast Pump. Turns out, it wasn’t such a risk, after all! This thing is a work horse. It comes with everything you need (you’ll need to replenish your storage bags, but that’s pretty much it). Once you get the hang of, y’know, feeling like you’re being milked in a small space at work, it feels like routine — thanks to this machine. Considering how nerve-wracking the whole concept of pumping can be, having a pump you can trust with such a delicate process is golden.   

#2 – I know, I know. You’re thinking, “isn’t this supposed to be essentials for parenting a baby?” Yup. We read to Hadley from week one, and it’s pretty much his favorite thing to do today. And he’s two. This was our first Mo Willems book, and we’ve been addicted ever since. Have you met Elephant and Piggie? If not, you totally should. They’re the gateway drug to Pigeon. I also foresee some Knufflebunny in our future.

#3 – This Fisher-Price Space Saver High Chair (in a neutral color; ours is tan with polka dots) is probably the baby product with the most longevity. We used it from about 5-6 months until the present, and I foresee using it for awhile still. As the name implies, it saves the space of a regular high chair by utilizing a regular old dining chair as its base. When the time comes, this thing will store awesomely, too. I just can’t say enough good about it. Seriously.

#4 – Dave insisted that I include Sophie, and I can’t blame him too much. She’s a classic, she’s adorable, and Hadman lovingly chomped on her for quite awhile. Plus, giraffes turned out to be his spirit animal during his first year, so it was a perfect match. Don’t mind the price tag on this one; she’s worth it.

#5 – Glass bottles?! Are you insane?? Yes, but that’s beside the point. These classic Evenflo glass bottles worked wonderfully and put my super-obsessed mama mind to rest about BPA and all those other nasties, especially when warming. We also used the smaller 4 ounce size, especially when he was holding his own bottles. Side note: When the kiddos get bigger and you’re heading to a place that you know will have a tile floor, just keep an extra eye on the bottles. Made that mistake once; will never make it again.

#6 – If you’re a new mama and you’re having a hard time getting your little one to sleep at night, all I can say is — SWADDLE, SWADDLE, SWADDLE! Then swaddle some more. These organic muslin blankies are what I prefer thanks to their breathability (especially when your newborn is a summer baby) and flexibility, which allows just the right amount of movement and comfortable snuggliness. Seriously, it sounds crazy, but these were a lifesaver. Probably the only reason we got ANY sleep.

#7 – The sooner you get a potty chair, the better. Santa brought this Bjorn Baby potty, which has since lived in the kitchen (under the above Space Saver chair, actually) and is utilized daily. He’s not fully trained yet, but the fact that he’s shown an interest since about 18 months is incredible. Thank you, Santa! He also knows that it’s HIS special potty, so that’s pretty great, too. Quick tip: Get a cheap little plastic bin and leave a handful of board books, along with dipes and wipes, next to your main potty. You’ll get sick of the books (seriously, we could recite our four books from memory), but it’ll make potty time way easier and fun for everyone.

#8 – We got a few bottles of Baby Bee shampoo-and-body-wash for our shower, and I’m so glad we did. I don’t think I’ve had to buy a bottle yet! I just keep refilling my small one from the huge bulk-sized one. This is Hadman’s main soap (he’s also used one I had to review, which was fine), and I prefer it because a) it works, b) it’s natural, c) it smells AWESOME (he doesn’t smell like a little hippie baby; he smells just like a BABY…you know the smell…the one you want to bottle and never let go), and d) it makes for a super fun bubble bath. I’ve even been known to use it as shampoo when I’m low from time to time. #noshame #notsorry

What were some of your essentials? Do you agree/disagree with any of my suggestions?

Oh, and feel free to check out the rest of my baby list items (I’m still adding) if you need a few more suggestions. Hint: Cheapest organic crib mattress EVER. Just sayin’. 

Toddler Travel Essentials

We recently revealed some of the ideas we’ve had for our summer vacation, and no matter what we choose, we’ll clearly be hitting the open road for our little adventure. Since this undertaking will involve traveling for an extended period of time with an active 2-year-old, it’s going to take some planning and strategic packing to make it all work smoothly. Well, as smoothly as anything can when a toddler’s involved. Am I right? #littlewrenchthrowers 

Let’s just say figuring out what to bring on a road trip with a little one involved can be a bit of a challenge.

So, I thought it would be fun to share a handful of items that I consider must-haves (or at least “they-help-the-cause” haves) to make a road trip way less stressful on mommy and daddy…and doesn’t that make the trip more fun, as a whole? Feel free to add them to your packing list if you think they’ll work for you!


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1. This one’s as much for the parents as it is for the kids. An iPhone is a life-saver, especially if you’ve got unlimited access to the interwebs. We like to use ours to customize our listening experience with Pandora, but I’ll admit publicly that I tend to let Hadman use the PBS Kids app to watch whatever shows he wants for a few minutes. Yes. I’m that mom. The guilt overwhelms me. Kinda. Oh, and I’m including this cell phone cover because mine’s chipped and in need of replacing…and don’t you just love the hip arrow design and ability to insert a picture of your little monkey? *swoon*

2. An adorable fleece blankie. What’s more versatile than that? Use it to snuggle up if you’re leaving on one of those chilly summer mornings (they exist here in the northeast, at least), if your little one is in the need of some comfort, for a quick picnic lunch along the way, or as an easy-to-shake-out beach blanket. I adore how you can personalize this nautical design to suit your own family’s needs.

3. Have you ever noticed that you can get just as bad a sunburn while riding in a car as you can while sitting outside? Only it’s super uneven and not fun to look at. I’m a sunscreen obsessed mama, so I’m all about slathering it on before a big trip (and throughout). Badger is a trusted eco-friendly brand that not only WORKS, but that’s all natural and free of nasty stuff. I like this combo-pack that includes bug spray because my little guy just happens to be a magnet for bugs since he doesn’t know how to swat them yet.

4. Honestly, this is an everyday “must” for me. I don’t go anywhere without my stainless steel water bottle. It’s just my thing. So, needless to say, I’d much rather fill this up with our filtered water (and add more along the way) than buy bottled water — or less healthy options — on the trip. Oh, and this one can hold cold OR hot liquids, so feel free to fill it with your java if you need a caffeine kick.

5. This is another product that we use everyday, but it’s particularly suited for travel. This set includes two little cups with silicone tops. Sounds simple, but the tops have ingenious slits in them that make it *harder* for the food inside to fall out. (Notice I said *harder*; our little monkey has a tendency to grab a huge fistful, so stuff’s bound to escape, but it’s better than having him dump the entire contents in the backseat.) So, go ahead! Fill ‘er up with puffies or organic toasted O’s cereal (you know what I’m talkin’ about), and hand it over, carefree. I do.

6. My #1 tip for any overnight trip with a toddler is packing a cooler full of your usual (healthy-ish) already-prepped foods, snacks and beverages. Then, use it to fill a smaller lunch bag like this one with snacks or meals when you reach different stops. This also helps when you decide to stop at a restaurant; packing at least one healthy fruit or veg will help offset the inevitable unhealthy toddler fare they’ll be offering. #macncheese #chickenfingersandfries #nothinggreen?

7. I got to review these Tegu magnetic wooden blocks last year before Hadman was really old enough to enjoy them. I’ve gotta say, though, I’m so happy to have them now because they’re PERFECT for keeping the munchkin occupied while traveling. Why? They’re magnetic, so there are no pieces falling all over the car and getting lost under the passenger seat. They’re not too big or too small, so there are no choking worries. Plus, they’re compact, with their own cute carrying case.

8. For our little guy, books are the best thing on earth. So, for the car, board books are great. They’re durable, smaller than the usual picture book, and often fun and interactive. In this case, he can independently look for words that he knows (or “oof oofs” and “nanas”), or I can turn around in my seat and ask him to look for different items.  

9. We don’t have this yet, but I want it SO badly. Crayons and coloring books aren’t ideal travel materials for toddlers. THIS, however, is ideal. I remember getting a Magna Doodle when I had my tonsils out as a kid and loved it. This one is even simpler (no choking hazards with those little shape stamper things) and perfect for little doodling hands. 

So, what are YOUR must-haves for a road trip (especially with little ones along)? Any suggestions for what work for your family that I might have missed?

***Full disclosure: I am not sponsoring the aforementioned brands, and chose them based on personal choice. I was not monetarily compensated or provided with free products for my feelings. As always, all thoughts are completely, 100% my own.***