April Birchbox

My second Birchbox is here! If you’d like to learn more or subscribe, click here! I’d be happy to answer any questions you have; just leave a comment. Now let’s get to the goods!

I have to admit to being a little disappointed this month. It felt a little bare, and while the products are all excellent, there wasn’t anything to get excited about. 😦 Last month was *awesome* – you can read my reviews of those products here.

First up: Willa Lavender face towelettes. I don’t like one-time-use products because they feel so wasteful, so I’ve never tried anything like these. I liked this one, though, I have to say. The cloths are really soft. They’re a bit small, but big enough to get the job done. They smell nice, and not overbearingly so. The cleansing formula is gentle and refreshing; it’s damp, but not so much that you need to dry off afterwards. These would be just right for a quick cleanup when you can’t get to a bathroom, like on a picnic or at the beach. I’ll be keeping these in my purse for emergencies, but I don’t think I’ll buy any – I’m just fine with a washcloth.

Next up: a sample of a new fragrance by Taylor Swift called Wonderstruck. I don’t know about you, but one of these sample tubes is enough for several wearings for me. I’ll probably use it all up. Wonderstruck is pleasantly flowery. I’ll wear it on days when I’m feeling girly. 🙂 I very well might purchase some of this scent.

This blurry picture is supposed to be showing you a .25 oz tin of J.R. Watkins Lavender Hand and Cuticle Salve. It’s very soft and smells like a handful of lavender. The scent lingers when you put it on, and I keep catching myself sniffing my hand. I felt an immediate difference in the softness of my skin (remember I have horrible dry skin). I already have several similar products, but when they run out, I’ll consider this one.

Another nail polish! This month, it’s Zoya Bevin from the True Spring Collection. I love Zoya polishes – they’re creamy and smooth, incredibly long lasting, and free of toluene, formaldehyde, DBP and camphor. I think it’s actually vegan!

This particular color is a light blue-green. I’d describe it as “muted robin’s egg.” It’s a gorgeous color. After I took this picture, I layered mine with some black shatter polish by OPI and it’s really striking. I definitely recommend Zoya polish.

The final item this month is a “lifestyle extra” – Dropps Laundry Detergent. I use similar pod-type things for my dishwasher (and love them!), and I’ve been seeing commercials for this kind of product recently, so I was intrigued to find them in my Birchbox. There were two in the packet – I used one to wash my comforter and one on the sheets. Dropps are eco-friendly, super-convenient, easy to use, and will work in any washer. They’re fragrance and dye free also, which is great for sensitive skin. My linens (well, they’re actually cotton, but you know what I mean) came out quite clean, with no harsh scents. These would be a major help for those who wash at laundromats, or in apartment/dorm laundry rooms – no more lugging heavy bottles or boxes of soap around! I make my own laundry soap, though, and I own my own washer and dryer – so while I won’t be buying any, I’ll still highly recommend them.

That’s all for this month! Before I sign off, I want you to know that all the links in this post (except for the ones labelled “Zoya polishes” and “make my own laundry soap”) goes to Birchbox’s shop. The very first link, as well as this one right here, are my personal referrer links, and if you sign up with Birchbox from that link, I will earn Birchbox points. The Zoya link I pointed out goes to Zoya’s website. If you sign up for a free Zoya account from that link, you’ll receive an instant coupon for a free Zoya polish of your choice, and if you use it, I will get some Share the Love points.

Now that all the full disclosure is done, I bid you adieu. 🙂

Laundry Soap

April from Red Dirt Mama is one of my closest friends. A few months ago, one of her blogfriends made laundry soap, and she decided to follow suit. Her post about it is here. When she made it and raved about it, I decided to take a spin of the wheel.

This “recipe” is really easy. Actually, it’s pretty much idiot-proof. It’s also a million times cheaper than store-bought, pre-made laundry detergent. It has a lovely “clean” scent, not an nauseating fake floral or fruit scent. It also seems to be non-irritating. My daughter and my husband are both sensitive to certain kinds of laundry soap, and both of them are doing just fine.

One of my fears about making it was that it wouldn’t be worth the effort – that I’d have to make it every week (or make a ton of it at one time), or that it wouldn’t smell good, or wouldn’t work as well, or something. Let me tell you – it’s definitely worth it. I put in about 20 minutes of work, and got a good supply of it. I made it almost a month ago, and I’ve barely made a dent in it.
This is suitable for HE and standard washers. Anecdotally, my washer smells better too – it doesn’t have that gunky smell that front-loaders are notorious for getting.

Here’s what you’ll need:
Super Washing Soda – 1 cup
Borax – 1 cup
1 laundry bar soap (Fels-Naptha is common)
Baking Soda – 1/4 cup

I also added a cup of Oxy-Clean to the mix, but it’s not necessary, and not pictured.
I also should mention that I still have a TON of the baking soda, Borax, and washing soda left. Next time I make this, I’ll only need to buy the bar of laundry soap. All these items (except the baking soda) are found on the laundry aisle of your store.

You’ll also need a container. I buy those dishwasher “pod” things, and I had an empty tub from those that works just fine (yes I am one of those crazypeople who saves every container, but I really do use them), but you can use whatever. An empty peanut butter jar, whatever.

Here’s the hardest part – you have to grate the bar of soap. Just sit on the couch with your favorite show and get at it.


Watch your fingers when you get it down to a little nugget.


This is what it looks like when it’s done. Reach in there and crumble it up a bit.

Get out your measuring cups and dump in the other ingredients, and stir it up with your hands. (If you shake it, all the soap will work its way to the top – just stir.)
I always add a bit of Oxy-clean to our laundry, so I made my life a bit easier and added the Oxy-clean to the soap mix.


This is what it looks like. I put 1/8 cup (that’s 2 tbsp) in the soap compartment of my washer (I have a front loading HE washer, by the way). Our clothes are clean and smell great, and none of us have itchy skin! Not to mention how nice it is to not have to buy it so often.

Do you make any of your own cleaners? Why, or why not?