Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Living Non Toxic: Cleaning Up Our Cleaning Products

Welcome back for another week of the Living Non Toxic series!  If you're just starting out with us, catch up on the rest of the series here:


One of the scariest products when you have young children can be the cleaning products you use. 

It's kind of a catch 22 because you want to keep the house clean and bacteria free, but not at the cost of having hazardous fumes from all the chemicals that are being used to clean our homes. 

It's pretty sad when we have to wait until the kids are asleep or out of the house to feel comfortable cleaning, and just what exactly are we breathing in ourselves? 

Luckily there are a few ways to cut down on the toxins that we use to clean our homes without sacrificing having a truly clean home. 

1. Essential Oils 
Tea Tree Oil (or Melaleuca) is a excellent oil to disinfect. You simply dilute it as a spray, or even put about 10 drops into your toilet bowl and it's a great way to kill bacteria and viruses while you are cleaning. Most of the essential oil companies, such as doTerra or Young Living, often have their own blend that is meant for disinfecting or can even be used on yourself when you are sick.

As always, just make sure you do your research into the oils you will be using. 

2. Homemade Products 
There are a ton of recipes out there for chemical-free homemade products. I've even got a few on one of my Pinterest boards! I love using baking soda for scrubbing out my sinks and a mixture of vinegar and water is great for cleaning hardwoods. On caveat would be that I don't really think you can make EVERYTHING homemade at a reasonable price, or keeping your sanity! Try a few recipes, see what works for you, then look into truly non toxic options for the other cleaners you need in your life.



3. avaHOME Products
Ava Anderson is my first go-to on the cleaning products, I'll be honest. They are multi purpose, non toxic, and have great blends of essential oils that aid in the cleaning process that honestly would be entirely too expensive for me to make myself. Plus they last so long it's amazing!

I especially love that the glass cleaner can get a streak free clean on mirrors and glass, can be used for  hardwood, and also is a great jewelry cleaner!

The dish soap is pretty amazing too. Not only can you obviously get clean dishes, but it's a great non toxic option for veggie and fruit wash. It can also completely remove soap scum from the bath tub.

Any of these 3 options are really great when you are trying to make your home toxin free. You'll seriously be amazed just how much using non toxic products will change how you feel as your cleaning your home. Goodbye headaches!

BE AWARE:
There are many products out on the market that say they are "natural" or "toxin free." Make sure you are reading your labels and checking for harmful products. Unfortunately, even the green brands that we come to love aren't being as forthright with their chemical ingredients as they should be. (I'm looking at you, Seventh Generation and Honest Company.)  Join back next week to learn a little bit more about the "greenwashing" that is going on in the natural industry.



Do you use non toxic cleaning products in your home? What are your go-to products? 

Friday, March 27, 2015

High Five for Friday!


Welcome to High Five for Friday hosted by Della at Della Devoted, Katie at Cup of Tea, Tif at Bright on a Budget and I. 

It's another Friday! This week has one whirlwind of craziness, I can't quite believe it's nearly the weekend. Don't get me wrong, I'm happy about it.

This week our featured blogger is NY Foodie Family. Nancy is a fun, food loving blogger and I have enjoyed getting to read her blog through this link up. I am especially interested in the olive and potato pizza that she posted the other day. 

1. I had my first two avaHOUR parties for Ava Anderson Non Toxic in the past week which were so much fun and went great! I'm really loving this new job and loving getting the message out about how the products we use every day can effect our health. Want to learn more? Check out Monday's post about cutting down on toxins for your kids. 

2. Juliet and I are going to have a play date later. I'm so excited for her, she loves other kids so I know she will have a great time. Plus it'll give me some adult time to catch up with a friend. I call that a win-win. 

3. Gymboree is having a huge dress sale and I got Juliet the most adorable little dress for Easter. If you need Easter outfits for your little ones, you should check it out, 50% off is really a deal you can't pass up. 

4. Do you ever feel like your life is up in the air? I thought maybe by 25 or 26 I would know what to do with my life and not feeling like I'm on unsure footing with where exactly my life is going. It's something I've really been praying and putting a lot of thought into, but I'm pretty sure we aren't any closer to an answer than I was a year ago. 

5. My motivation lately has just been slacking. We've had so much going on in the past few weeks (which I will be sharing more about next week) and trying to get my Ava business started, I've honestly been floundering a little with getting blogging stuff done. I'm so excited to really get moving with new and exciting blog posts to share with everyone! It's good to finally get back on track.


How was your week? I'd love to hear from you!


Bloggers – ready to join in the link up? In case there’s anyone new to the game, here’s what you do!

Just write a blog post about 5 things that made this week awesome! It could be 5 memories/highlights, 5 pairs of shoes you wore, 5 “good job” comments you got, or 5 pieces of chocolate you scarfed down when no one was looking.
Add the link to your post below, then grab the button to link up to H54F! And don't forget to read some of the other wonderful bloggers that will be linking up, too.
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Thursday, March 26, 2015

5 Gadgets to Make Toddler Life Easier

Life with a toddler is a fast paced, energy zapping feat. I love my little monster, but man does she wear me out. When I can find anything that makes my life a little easier, especially when we are out and about, I'm always stoked to use it.

Here's just a few of the tried and true toddler gadgets that make our life go just a bit more smoothly.


1. Silicone Sticky Placemat 2. Munchkin Snack Catcher 3. V-Tech Baby Smartphone 4. LeapReader Junior 5. Infantino Squeeze Station


1. This thing has been a lifesaver at restaurants and other people's homes. I mean, my toddler isn't the only one that can't properly use a plate, right?

2. These things have also been great for both around the house and on the go. It makes for a lot less mess when she is trying to feed herself, because ya know, she doesn't need my help anymore.

3. We got this for Juliet a while ago because she constantly wants to play with my phone. This allows her to feel like she is a big girl, without the chance of her breaking mine (which she may or may not have already done.)

4. This is another great way for your little one to be independent. Juliet loves the dog and it allows her to "read" books by herself. Don't get me wrong, I love reading to her, but she's little miss independent most of the time anymore, so this has been wonderful because she is still having a book read to her, which see won't always let me do.

5. I love the idea of being able to make my own pouches! We love them in this house, but man are they expensive. I made all of my own baby food, so I've been looking for options of making pouches myself.

What are your must have products for your little one? 

Monday, March 23, 2015

Living Non-Toxic: Starting with the Kiddos



I hope you got a chance to watch video above. It's startling and sad. Our kids are exposed to so much crap in their lives and it's so hard to even know where to begin.

Here's a few ways to get started.

1. Line Up All The Personal Care Products the Kids Use. 
You'll probably be surprised at just how many things you use on your kids on a daily basis.

2. Dump Anything that Contains THESE Ingredients:
These are just the beginning, but they are a great place to start. Keep researching, and you'll find even more ingredients you'll want to avoid.


  •     Fragrance-manufacturers can legally hide HUNDREDS of chemicals within this one word, including endocrine disruptors/ potentially carcinogenic phthalates (thal-ates) 
  •     Parabens- (methyl, ethyl, butyl, and propyl parabens) These can actually mimic the hormones in our bodies and disrupt functions of the endocrine system. A high lifelong exposure to estrogen(which these mimic) can increase breast cancer risk. 
  •     Formaldehyde- This one freaks me out the most. It isn't listed in the ingredients as "formaldehyde," so look out for Quaternium, DMDM Hydantoin, and Ureas. These are human carcinogens that can cause respiratory issues, immune system toxicity,  and is a skin irritant.
  •   Propylene Glycol (PEG)/ Polyethylene Glycol (PEG)- This is a potential carcinogen that can alter and reduce your skin's natural moisture barrier. 
  • Petroleum/Petrolatum/Mineral Oil/Liquid ParaImidazolidinyl Urea/Diazolidinyl Urea – these can degrade to formaldehyde and are very toxic. 
3. Replace Your Products with Better Options. 
Being diligent about the products you buy will help greatly in cutting down the toxins that your kids are exposed to. I really love Ava Anderson's Baby and new Kid's line, it's definitely worth checking out! Whatever you choose, make sure you are being proactive in reading the ingredients before you decide to buy. It's never a bad idea to also check out the EWG's Cosmetic Database to find out how the products your considering rate, including what potentially harmful ingredients may be included. 

4. Find a Product that You Like and Stay Away From the Drugstore
There's really not too many things at the stores we go to on a regular basis that have safe products for our kids. It's pretty sad when the "green" companies that are marketed there still have junk we don't want around our kids or have sold out to the major conglomerates (ahem, Burt's Bees, I will not be buying you from Clorox.) 

These are also a great starting point for your own personal care products, also. Don't be surprised when you have very little products left! Just think of it as a great new journey, one that starts with baby steps. 

Want to read more in this series? Check out the other posts 

**While I do sell Ava Anderson, all the opinions on products are my own, and there are obviously other choices out there, too. These just happen to be mine, even prior to selling it.**

Do you read your labels? How would you start your journey to a non toxic life? 

Friday, March 20, 2015

High Five for Friday!


Welcome to High Five for Friday from Tif at Bright on a Budget, Katie at Cup of Tea, Della at Della Devoted, and I. We are so happy to have you!

This week's featured blogger is Jaelyn from Making Mrs. M. I really loved her post from last Friday about the blogging articles that have saved her tail. She's also got some really great fashion posts, including one about Stitchfix and how to build a capsule wardrobe. Make sure you stop by and show her some love!

And now on to this week's H54F goodness: 

1. Juliet had her 15 month check up this week (a month late) and she's gained nearly 5 pounds! We had a heck of a time getting her to gain weight, especially at the beginning, so it's a huge deal when she went from the 10th percentile to the 42nd percentile in just 3 months! I guess I shouldn't be too surprised, though, the child can eat!

2. I've been thinking about getting our Easter outfits together, and of course I now can't find the dress I wanted for Juliet anywhere. You'd think I'd just buy the dress when I see it the first time since this always seems to happen. On the plus side, I now have a reason to order a few things from target.com, I mean I have to get free shipping right?

3. I'm really trying to get back to doing my devotionals every day. We've gone through so much in the past few months. I always feel like I am more grounded and feel less crazy when I've spent my time with God, even if it's only just a few minutes. Jesus Calling has been such a blessing for the past few months, I highly recommend it.

4. I'm hosting my first avaHOUR this Saturday, and I'm so excited to be doing my first party for Ava Anderson Non Toxic. Want to learn a little more about the company I have become a part of? Check out Monday's post, there's a chance to win a free product of your choice!

5. We started seedlings in our basement for our garden. We didn't do this last year, so we are really hoping that it does well. This year our plan is to grow more produce that we are able to can or dry to help cut down even more on costs throughout the year. Jay's even been looking into a really cool way to grow lettuce throughout the year.


How was your week? I'd love to hear from you!


Bloggers – ready to join in the link up? In case there’s anyone new to the game, here’s what you do!

Just write a blog post about 5 things that made this week awesome! It could be 5 memories/highlights, 5 pairs of shoes you wore, 5 “good job” comments you got, or 5 pieces of chocolate you scarfed down when no one was looking.
Add the link to your post below, then grab the button to link up to H54F! And don't forget to read some of the other wonderful bloggers that will be linking up, too.
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Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Our Engagement Story

Since yesterday was the 3rd anniversary of the day Jay asked me to marry him, I thought I would share with you all our engagement story.

A little background first. 

Jay and I met through my cousin when Jay was the best man in his wedding. We had known of each other and met before, but never really spoken. We talked a little at their wedding in August 2011 and eventually started occasionally hang out on the weekends when I would  make excuses to come up to Columbus (I'm allowed to admit that now, right?)

We got serious pretty fast, I'd say mostly because we both knew what we wanted and we shared so many things in common, like our faith and wanting a family.

In February 2012 (yep you read that right!) we had a talk Valentine's Day weekend about wanting to get married. We both just knew, so there was no reason to skirt around it anymore. We were both ecstatic! Luckily for us, so were our parents. Most people that knew us well and knew a little bit more about our relationship weren't too surprised.

But, that's not when we actually got engaged. In fact, we actually started planning the wedding before I got the ring. (Something I didn't let him forget, and he likes to remind me of now, haha! I'm not the most patient of people...) 

So in March of 2013, we decided to rent out a cabin for my senior year college spring break. I was of course looking for a cheap but clean cabin because, ya know, broke college student over here. I probably should have known something was up when he said he would pay for it and to let him pick out something nice.


We arrived at our adorable little 1 bedroom cabin near Hocking Hills State Park on a Friday afternoon. It was the cutest cabin, with a balcony on the side of a hill that faced the sunset, a warm stone fireplace, and a bedroom with a pretty picture window that allowed the sunrise to light up the room.

Saturday morning we got up and went hiking through the majority of the main hiking trails in Hocking Hills State Park. It was great weather for mid-March, not rainy and warm enough for shorts but still cool enough that we weren't dying from heat on our hikes all day.

Unknown to me, Jay had been carrying the ring with him all day but just hadn't found a place that he felt was "right." So that evening we went back to the cabin, I took a nap and he started getting things prepared. I woke up to the most beautiful sunset, a fire roaring in the fireplace, and pretty handsome guy down on one knee beside the couch I had been sleeping on.

I wasn't really sure what was going on at first, but I heard something drop. He looked nervous and picked whatever had fallen up (later to find out it was my ring box), and told me how much he loved me and how much our relationship meant to him. It was adorable and wonderful, I wouldn't have wanted it any other way.

How did you and your significant other get engaged? 

Monday, March 16, 2015

Ava Anderson NonToxic + Giveaway!


If you join us for High Five for Friday, then you saw that I mentioned my new business venture with Ava Anderson NonToxic. I'm so excited to get to share a little more about it with you today!

Basically, as I mentioned a few months ago, I went to an avaHOUR party my friend Maylyn put on. I didn't really know a whole lot about all the issues with toxins in our beauty products and cleaning products, just that I wanted to use more natural options. I thought I was doing pretty good using Seventh Generation and brands of that nature. 

The crazy thing? They've still got toxins that are very detrimental to our health! Although they do rate better than more conventional products, it still blew my mind that I wasn't avoiding the stuff that started me on this journey in the first place. 

So, I tried a few of the Ava products and have been hooked ever since. Not only are they truly all natural and toxin free, but they actually work well and are affordable. (Just check out their rating from the EWG!) 

I've become so passionate about this message that I decided to become a part of this amazing company so I could share with everyone I know about this important information. 

The great thing about the majority of these products is that they are multi-use and last such a long time. 

There is seriously so much to cover, one post just won't do it justice. So, I've decided to start a blog series on Mondays called  "Living a Non-Toxic Life."  It won't just be about Ava products, but also about the issues with all of the junk that's in our daily products, including our food. 

And here is the best part! 
(Drumroll please) 

A giveaway!

One lucky reader will be winning one free individual Ava Anderson product of their choice!** 
a Rafflecopter giveaway

 **Open to US residents only. Applies only to individual products, not bundles or sets.**


Want to read more about the toxins affecting us in our every day lives? Here's just a few resources to start with: 





Friday, March 13, 2015

High Five for Friday


Tif at Bright on the Budget, Katie at Cup of Tea, Della at Della Devoted and I welcome you to another installation of H54F!


This week's featured blogger is Chels at Red Velvet Rooster. We're so excited to have her, and that her blog is now public :) Everyone was pretty intrigued to see what the blog was all about. Her son is adorable, and I love that she shares snippets of her life, like her adorable house! 

Now on to the regular H54F goodness!

1. I just opened my business with Ava Anderson and I couldn't be more excited! This product and business are such an important message to get out. It's amazing and eye opening just what all the chemicals that we use on a daily basis affect our health. I'm excited to get to share more about it with you guys next week! Make sure you check back next Monday. There may be a fun giveaway happening too (wink, wink!). 

2. Sadly, no tile yet. But we have been getting some other small projects done around the house, like finishing painting trim and doors. I'm hoping to get to our photo wall this weekend, and I can't wait to show you next week! So much going on around here, it's pretty exciting. 

3. I've started watching Blue Bloods on Netflix, and can I just say that I'm a little bit obsessed? I've always loved Law and Order:SVU but I needed a new cop show and this one is perfect.  I like that it is fast paced so I don't get bored. 

4. We had our Mommy club at my church last night, and man is it nice to just get away and focus on God with other women that are in the same season of life as me. I love having women in my life that lift me up rather than drag me down. ( I can also say that about the lovely ladies I do this link up with too!) 

5. Juliet is just getting so fun and learning how to talk more and more. I love her saying "yeah, bye, uh-oh" and listening her trying to sing to Daniel Tiger or Thomas the Engine. She's just so cute I can't stand it! 


How was your week? I'd love to hear from you!


Bloggers – ready to join in the link up? In case there’s anyone new to the game, here’s what you do!

Just write a blog post about 5 things that made this week awesome! It could be 5 memories/highlights, 5 pairs of shoes you wore, 5 “good job” comments you got, or 5 pieces of chocolate you scarfed down when no one was looking.
Add the link to your post below, then grab the button to link up to H54F! And don't forget to read some of the other wonderful bloggers that will be linking up, too.

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Thursday, March 12, 2015

How to Add Pastel to Your Wardrobe

When March hits it's as if all the stores get the memo that it's time for pastels and floral! I've always loved these pieces, but sometimes they just don't seem very practical.

I always think, "Will I really wear those pink pants as much as I think I will?"  

Probably not. 

But there are some really fun ways you can incorporate pastels without breaking the budget or having those items sit in your closet majority of the time. 


 / Mint Pumps

I don't think it's a coincidence that I have been loving mint this season and that's what I have found the most of when shopping.

What's your favorite way to add pastels to your wardrobe? 

Monday, March 9, 2015

6 Best Easter DIYs

Last week I shared my fave Spring DIYs, perfect for getting your house brightened up for the nicer weather. This week, I wanted to share with you my fave Easter DIYs.

I still can't quite believe that we are now less than a month away from Easter! Of course, the fact that there's snow still on the ground may be part of this issue. These projects are perfect for getting you into the right mindset.




I love idea of having different pretty types of flowers in cute vases. And the easter eggs would be adorable for a clear bowl as some added decoration. You could even string them for a great bunting. Just make sure they are away from little hands!

How do you get ready for the Easter season? 

Friday, March 6, 2015

High Five for Friday!

Guys, this is the first week in basically forever,  that has completely flown by. I feel like it should be Wednesday at the latest. It's funny, those weeks you need to get stuff done it just seems to fly by, but when you are looking for the weekend,  it's no where to be found!

Anyways, let's get into this week's H54F goodness, shall we? 


This week's featured blogger is Monica from Jersey Girl, Texan Heart. I've loved getting to know her a little better through H54F and look forward to seeing her fashion posts. I mean, look, she even braves this crazy weather we've been having just to get good pics. That's pretty awesome.

Also, wanted to give a shoutout to another new Friday linkup! Erica over at Looking to the Stars has a brand new linkup and it'd be great if you all could head over and show some love.

This week's 5: 

1. Juliet got a new lamb on Wednesday that she is absolutely obsessed with. Like, eating, sleeping, playing all day every day with her stuffed lamby. We weren't even trying to get it for her, but she spotted it and wouldn't let go. How do you tell a 1 year old that at the toys at the store aren't hers? It's so cute, too, Grandma just couldn't resist.

2. I got my hair done last Friday night! I am so excited with how it turned out. It's a huge change, but definitely in a good way. It even looks longer, which is never a bad thing!

3. We picked out tile for our laundry room redo but have to order it, so it's a toss up if we will get to start laying the tile this weekend or not. Either way, we are making progress on our house renos that need to be done. Now if the weather would just warm up so we could start working on the outside ones, too.

4. I'm attempting to really cut back on my caffeine consumption and it's killing me. Ok, that's a little dramatic. But I have had some headaches and mostly I just notice myself really dragging in the afternoon. I'm hoping my body will adjust soon. I figure with hoping to get pregnant, it's probably better to try to cut it now rather than once I'm sick and tired all the time.

5. Jay and I have decided to do the Spartan Sprint! I'm one of those people that needs a goal to be motivated and this is a perfect one for us to do together. It's a 3-5 mile race full of crazy obstacles and we're both really excited. My goal is just to finish, so with 3 months to train, I think we will do great.



How was your week? I'd love to hear from you!

Bloggers – ready to join in the link up? In case there’s anyone new to the game, here’s what you do!

Just write a blog post about 5 things that made this week awesome! It could be 5 memories/highlights, 5 pairs of shoes you wore, 5 “good job” comments you got, or 5 pieces of chocolate you scarfed down when no one was looking.
Add the link to your post below, then grab the button to link up to H54F! And don't forget to read some of the other wonderful bloggers that will be linking up, too.

grab button for Coffee with Caitlin
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Thursday, March 5, 2015

New Spring Hair: A Change of Pace

To say that I was ecstatic when I was able to get into my stylist last minute on Friday would be an understatement.

I put off getting a haircut for about 6 months (yikes!) because I couldn't decide what I wanted to do with it. When I did decide I wanted to change things up we weren't really in the position to be paying extra just so I could change my hair.

The color is looking a slight bit more red in the side view photos than it really is in person. (The woes of shooting with your phone.) But I'm really loving the color! I haven't had my hair colored since before I was married, so it's definitely a nice change of pace. 

Now that I'm working again, I was pretty surprised when I got in so quickly. 

Can I just mention that I suck at taking before and after photos? I think about it all the way up to the time and then just get too excited and forget. Here's a couple phone photos in the last month or so, you can see it's a big difference!

Do you like to change up your hair during the warmer seasons? 

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

The Best Spring DIYs

1. Coffee Filter Peonies 2. Umbrella Wreath 3. Striped Mason Jar 4. Tea Cup Birdfeeder 5. Mason Jar  Vase

Spring is nearly here! As I stare out at the 2 feet of snow we currently have, I can't help but long for a warm, pretty spring day.

I love switching up my house decor a bit to get myself out of the funk of winter. I love some of the things I've found on Pinterest lately and I can't wait to get my hands on some of these projects!

My personal fave? The coffee filter peonies! They are my favorite spring flowers and these would far outlast their fresh version, plus cheap and easy to make.

What kind of DIYs are you planning for this spring?