Ditch the Dryer Sheet (Feeling Fluffy Dryer Ball Review)

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I could totally tell you that in an effort to live more chemical-free, we ditched the dryer sheets, but in actuality we stopped using these money-sucking, chemical-laden sheets of fibers years ago when we got our new steam dryer. You see, you can’t use the steam drying cycles with dryer sheets.

But I guess you could say that this was our first step into using fewer chemicals and relying more on natural methods (water/steam).

Throughout the past couple years, however, we’ve gotten more and more chemical-free. As we were working through our Adventures in Cloth Diapering, we became curious about dryer balls and actually purchased two of them from Franklin Goose.

However, I also came to realize that you actually need quite a few dryer balls in your laundry load to effectively complete the drying cycle. When I had the opportunity to review a set of 6 dryer balls from Feeling Fluffy, I was thrilled and jumped on the opportunity.

Benefits of Using Dryer Balls:

  • Chemical-free: Many of the chemicals found in conventional dryer sheets contain A-Terpineol (may be associated with central nervous system disorders), Benzyl Alcohol (an upper respiratory irritant), Camphor (listed as an EPA Hazardous Waste), and Benzyl Acetate (carcinogen linked to pancreatic cancer). This should honestly be the biggest reason why you ditch the dryer sheet!
  • Reduced drying time: the 100% wool dryer balls will pull and absorb moisture in your fabrics.
  • Hypoallergenic: There are no irritants in these natural dryer balls, meaning that it’s great for sensitive skin.
  • Keeps home quiet: Compared to PVC or plastic dryer balls, wool dryer balls won’t bang or clunk around. Note: I did find that the wool dryer balls from Feeling Fluffy were as quiet as the others that I already had. That being said, as they are used more and more, they will most likely grow softer and quieter. They were still much quieter than the alternatives.

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When I first got started, I had a few concerns:

  1. Would my clothes be more static-y?
  2. Can’t I just make them myself?
  3. Do they really work?

Boy, I love to research when I have questions! I quickly found that my clothes did not have any more static when I used dryer balls than beforehand. This shocked me, as I assumed that the wool in these dryer balls would be Static Heaven. In fact, because the balls help to reduce drying time, that will also help to reduce static (longer drying time = more static). The more you have, the quicker drying time and less static. The balls also create a more humid environment, cutting down on static.

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Can you make them yourself or use tennis balls? Tennis balls are heavy and will make lots of noise when you are drying. Not good when the dryer is right next to the nursery, and you run it at night and during naps. So DIY? Sure! But from what I found, it was so much more a hassle to make them than to just buy them. Plus, the price of the Feeling Fluffy dryer balls are incredible (currently $16.12 for a set of 6). Why would you spend so much time and energy on making something that you can buy so easily and inexpensively?

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So, do they work? In short. YES! There is a learning curve to remembering to keep them in the dryer and shortening your drying cycle, but they do work! I also feel like our clothes are so much softer (after years of not using any fabric softener, I can feel the difference).

 

Disclaimer: I did not receive any compensation for this post. All thoughts are 100% my own. I did receive the dryer balls at a highly reduced price in exchange for my review.

Don’t Buy Oils from Amazon!

Why You Shouldn't Buy Oils from AmazonAfter much research, I personally only use Young Living Essential Oils. Why? Because YL is the ONLY company with the Seed to Seal Promise. This means that YL controls every single step of the way, from planting the seeds (they own their own farms) to harvesting the crop to distilling to bottling to shipping. Young Living is the ONLY essential oil company to have complete control over each of these steps. They even do testing in-house (in addition to independent third-party labs as well).

Other oil companies may use outside farmers or distilleries or bottlers or even unauthorized distributors (like Amazon). This means they don’t exactly know what is happening with their oils. The farmers may use pesticides on their crops or the distilleries or bottlers may clean with bleach (chemicals). Not Young Living. They know that each step is completely chemical free.

So why is there such a high price tag if there aren’t any middle men? It’s because the oils are such a high quality. Gary Young has developed a very precise schedule and routine for each plant and oil, and that doesn’t come without a price. But the benefit is that we as distributors and members get the products directly from Young Living. When we sign up to be a YL Member and Distributor, we sign a statement that we won’t sell the oils for less than the wholesale price (24% off retail). There are business accounts that can purchase at a deeper discount, but they also cannot resell for less than 24% off retail. This is very important. So if you see anything from YL priced below the wholesale rate, run far, far away.

Why can’t you buy on places like Amazon? This is an easy answer: we as distributors are not allowed to sell on sites like this. Anyone who is selling YL products on Amazon is not authorized to do so. So they are not YL Distributors.

Is that really a problem? Yes! I have come across countless examples of people tampering with bottles to make it seem unopened and direct from YL, but in fact, that is further from the truth. It is actually really easy to fake a bottle of YL oil. With an abundance of companies that sell empty 5 and 15 mL bottles, you can easily get an unopened cap for an essential oil bottle. All you have to do is buy a bottle of YL Frankincense, split it up into two (or more) bottles or sub in a lesser-quality or similar smelling oil like Elemi, and then you can add the new top and resell it. If you have actually diluted it, you can sell even more, making it possible to make money from the process.

Amazon vs YL

You can actually see the cap difference in this image, taken by Niccole Perez from We Can Oil It, our team of YL Distributors. The YL cap (Purification) has deeper teeth, whereas the fake Frankincense has almost unnoticeable teeth.

Moral of the story: Do your research with the brand of oils that you purchase. But also, make sure that you understand that you can’t just purchase these products from anywhere. Any Young Living oil should be purchased directly through the Young Living company. I will, from time to time, pass my YL wholesale rate on to friends and family (I purchase for them and they pay me back), but because we have a pre-existing relationship, they can trust that these oils come directly from YL.  You can’t say the same with an online retailer, especially because this is specifically against our Member Policy.

Essentially Elegant Diffuser Necklace Review

Essentially Elegant Etsy Shop Review

Disclaimer: I received the following necklace for the purpose of this review. All opinions are 100% my own.

Coupon Code to Essentially Elegant (Expires 6/30/15): DOYLE10OFF

If you have read a handful of my blog posts in the past year, you know that we have really made an effort to reduce the chemicals in our home. That also corresponds to my love (and now growing business) with essential oils (you can check out my business website One Breath at a Thyme for more information)! I love my roller bottles, rubs, and ever-growing oil collection. I have sprays and sample vials galore for us to take when we are out and about. But now that our twins are 18 months old, I don’t worry as much with them grabbing my necklaces… which means that I get to wear jewelry again!

While I’ve never been a huge jewelry wearer, that may change now that I can wear my essential oils around my neck in a really cute necklace! As I started looking through all of the different sites online and especially on Etsy, one shop truly stood out to me: Essentially Elegant. Ashley of Essentially Elegant has a website where you can see some styles, but the vast majority of her items for sale are on her Essentially Elegant Etsy site.

Ashley (the owner) is a military wife, stay-at-home mother of two, and budding aromatherapy jewelry maker. She got her start in the jewelry making business as a hobby to help fill her days, while the kids are at school, with an activity she was passionate about. Ashley has heavily researched essential oils and craft jewelry separately for a few years and has done an amazing job merging her two skills to bring unique aromatherapy pieces to customers around the world.

I researched many different sites and stores before finding Essentially Elegant, and they certainly have the largest and most diverse collection of pieces. They currently carry fashion diffuser locket necklaces, basic locket necklaces, terra cotta clay pendant necklaces, lava rock necklaces, para cord lava rock bracelets, stretch diffuser bracelets, and memory wire diffuser bracelets. Personally, I simply fell in love with the Flamingo Pendant (a lava rock diffuser necklace).

Doyle Dispatch - Essentially Elegant Review

As soon as I got it, I dropped one of the pink pom pom balls (which I ordered as extras, since they are not included automatically with this particular pendant) inside with a drop of lemon, lavender, and peppermint. Boy, did I love smelling that all day (and into the next day too). Finally at about 48 hours later the smell mostly went away, and I could change the scent. With this necklace, you receive 2 lava rocks, so you can change your oil earlier by changing out the rocks. 

Doyle Dispatch - Essentially Elegant Review Full Chain

I have been so impressed with this little necklace and how just a couple drops can do so much! I love how it is designed so that the lava rock or pom pom won’t fall out (you have to take it off the chain to open it).

Doyle Dispatch - Essentially Elegant Review Open Pendant

Audrey and David have been fascinated with my little necklace as well, although they are so gentle with it (which is very unlike toddlers). It must be the oils.

I wanted to feature several other top sellers and favorites from her site:

Lava Rock Bead Diffuser Pendant Necklace

Essentially Elegant Lava Rock Bead Diffuser Pendant Necklace

Lava Rock Bead Diffuser Bracelet

Essentially Elegant Lav Rock Bead Diffuser Bracelet

Yoga Inspired Diffuser Necklace (also available in silver color)

Essentially Elegant Yoga Inspired Diffuser Necklace

Tree of Life Inspired Diffuser Necklace (also available in antique bronze color)

Essentially Elegant Tree of Life Inspired Diffuser Necklace

Design Your Own (Bronze Heart)

Essentially Elegant Design Your Own Bronze

Design Your Own (Silver Heart)

Essentially Elegant Design Your Own Silver

Remember that we have a special discount code at the Essentially Elegant Etsy shop for 10% off your purchase through 6/30/15: DOYLE10OFF. What are you going to get? You can also follow Essentially Elegant on Instagram (@essentiallyelegant).





Adventures in Cloth Diapering: Finding a Nighttime Solution

Adventures in Cloth Diapering- Finding a Nighttime Solution

When we started our cloth diapering adventure, we knew that we would start small and work our way up as we felt comfortable. I was ok with using cloth diapers every now and then (hey, even 1 CD a day would save us money in the long run). Well, pretty soon after starting, we decided that we loved it so much, and we now have a 2 day supply of diapers (AIO, hybrids, covers/prefolds, inserts, and some pockets), 2 large wetbags for the diaper pails, a variety of travel wetbags, liners, and a variety of other items that we can use for CDing.

One thing we had yet to figure out was the nighttime solution. We loved cloth so much during the day, and it seemed to be a shame to have to go back to disposables at night. But we just hadn’t found something that worked for us. Don’t get me wrong, we had tried amazing diapers and gotten a lot of great advice, but we just hadn’t found something that works for our babies or us as a family.

Overnight Diaper Rental

Not that we hadn’t tried. Thanks to Franklin Goose‘s rental program (try a style of diaper for 4 days for free!!!), we had been able to sample quite a few choices. There were things that we loved about all of them, but there were things that didn’t work for us, too. While I don’t want to discourage anyone from trying these options (what doesn’t work for one person might work wonders for the next), I will just post a little information about each style. Again, I would highly encourage you to seek out Franklin Goose (if you are in Virginia) or your local CD store to see if they have a similar try-before-you-buy program.

Charcoal Aio

AIO charcoal: Charcoal is a very absorbent material in a waterproof shell. These can be worn directly against the skin. Because of its dark color, you won’t see stains. Charcoal also has anti-microbial and anti-bacterial properties as well. This makes it a great option for little ones with sensitive skin (along with its great absorbency).

Organic Cotton

AIO organic cotton: These are absorbent as well and comfortable for the baby. When soaked with urine, the material can be heavy and become stiff, but it absorbs a lot of liquid. It may stain. You may want to place a fleece liner against the skin so that the baby doesn’t feel the wetness directly up against the skin.

Cotton Pocket

Organic cotton pocket: These use the same material as the AIO organic cotton, but you can stuff the pocket with the organic cotton. The part that touches the skin is a soft fleece and helps to wick away moisture. The diaper itself is extremely trim on its own (one of the trimmest that you can get).. Depending on how you stuff it, these can get bulky, but they stay very very absorbent.

Hemp Fitted

Hemp fitted with waterproof cover: This is where you have a fitted diaper made out of hemp, topped with a waterproof cover. The hemp is extremely absorbent but not waterproof, so the cover provides the protection from leaks. Because it is a fitted diaper inside the cover, it doesn’t have the chance to move around like if you used a prefold inside. The hemp, however, becomes scratchy and rough to the touch after washed multiple times, so you need to have a barrier between it and the skin. You can also dry it in the dryer to help it be softer, especially if you use wool dryer balls.

Cotton prefold with wool cover: You can fold the cotton prefold in a variety of ways, attach it with a Snappi, and then cover it with a wool cover. Wool must be lanolized and treated differently than other cloth diapers, but it keeps all of the moisture inside while still allowing breathability (unlike the other cover materials).


 

Just when we had given up hope, I went back to Franklin Goose to chat about the issues that we had with the other nighttime options. They were so wonderful and helpful and supportive. I felt lost and truly ready to just stick with disposables (though I really didn’t want to), and then we got another option…

Cloth Fitted

Cotton fitted with waterproof cover: This is finally what worked for us! We tried it out for two nights without any leaks or issues, and we knew that we had our nighttime solution! They were perfect for us! We could use the Thirsties covers that we already had, and once we invested in 2 diapers for each child, we were set! Another benefit to the Sandy’s fitted diaper is that it is huge! This is a diaper that will certainly last long into potty training and beyond as needed (we may just need bigger covers).

Franklin Goose Bag

Disclaimer: I did not receive compensation for this post. I have utilized Franklin Goose’s rental program, and may receive products for the purpose of testing and reviewing. All thoughts remain 100% my own.

Young Living Essential Oils

Disclaimer: I have not been paid for these statements. All thoughts and opinions are my own. If there are any incorrect statements, I will edit them as soon as I am made aware.


A week ago, I had an online Essential Oils (EO) 101 Party/Class with Angela Bickford, a fellow MOM. I had been talking with her about oils for months, and I was finally ready to bite the bullet and get my Young Living Kit.

What is Young Living?

Young Living is a company that has been in business for many, many years, harvesting and selling essential oils for personal use. One reason that I was drawn to them is their Seed to Seal process (they grow the plants, harvest, and then bottle and sell the oils). I like that it is all with one company without working with middlemen along the way. It is very controlled and YL is extremely careful with their process. Fun fact: 2% of essential oils sold in the US are suitable for medicinal purposes, and YL sells 98% of them! You can find out more about the Seed to Seal process here.

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