4 Favorite Cruelty-Free Products You Can Find at Target

August 29, 2016

Since I wrote a research paper in 9th grade about animal testing, using only cruelty-free products has been extremely important to me. There are so many products that support my beliefs, but they can be a little tricky to find in local stores. It seems many others also enjoy cruelty-free and clean living products, so I've noticed a big increase in products easily available that do not test on animals. As a bonus, products that have no animal testing usually have better ingredients and less chemicals. Win-win!

I know there are really great brands out there! But there have been many times that I've ran into Target to get a birthday card or something and also needed to pick up more hair products or toothpaste. I've spent so much time reading the back of packaging in the aisles at Target. I thought it would be fun to start a new series where I show you great products I love and use regularly from a variety of stores. I'm sure we all know that cruelty-free is better, but sometimes it's not easy to know which is the better product to buy.

Here are four beauty related items I found at Target that are cruelty-free and I love!
Hello Toothpaste
To be honest, I never thought I would be writing about how much I love a brand of toothpaste. But I LOVE THIS TOOTHPASTE! I fell in love with the packaging at the store and wanted to try it immediately. My teeth have never felt cleaner and it feels amazing to use a product that is VEGAN, made in the USA, packaged in boxed made of recycled materials, and there are no dyes or microbeads. The list could go on for this products. You can read more about the company here. And purchase at Target here!

Kenra Finishing Hair Spray
My hair is super thin and light. If I don't use hair spray, it's in my face all the time and lifeless. I was so excited when I found this hair spray at Target. It was the only one I could find at my local Target! This finishing spray works great and doesn't cost a fortune. It costs about $17 and is salon quality. It might cost a little more than our brands, but it's important to vote with your dollars and buy brands you believe in. This is one of those brands for me. Find it online or at your local store here.
Pixi Eye Brightener
I just recently realize that the Pixi brand at my Target doesn't test on animals! I'm so excited to have another line of products to shop from. I've never used eye bright liner, so I thought I would give it a try. I really like it! I don't use it every day, but if I'm going out or just want to feel a little brighter I will put it on. I'm going to try the foundation next! Find it at your local Target here.

Babyganics Sunscreen
Being in Phoenix, Arizona, it's important to wear sunscreen daily, not just at the pool. The sun is so intense, I often get tan and sun burnt just through the car windows while driving. I really wanted a great sunscreen that I could wear daily that didn't test on animal, didn't have a strong smell, and was a good price. After reading nearly every label at Target, I found this Babyganics Sunscreen! While it's designed for babies, it works for every one! It's free of fragrances, contains organic ingredients, made in the USA, and never tested on animals! Plus it's only $12 for a big bottle! I highly recommend this brand. I've used it several times and I'm really happy with it. You can see which Target stores carry it or order online here.

I feel so many better to put on products that you know were made without cruelty. My goal is to find even more products that are vegan and cruelty-free. If you have any questions or have a product that you love and want to share, let me know in the comments! xo. Laura

My New Ninja Coffee Bar

August 25, 2016

Ninja Coffee Bar (laurelandfern.com)
For a gift a few years ago, I received a Ninja Blender and instantly loved it! It works so great and is easy to clean. When Ninja released their Ninja Coffee Bar, I knew I wanted to try it. I didn't have a coffee maker yet and wanted an easy way to save money by making my coffee drinks at home. I reached out to Ninja about reviewing their Ninja Coffee Bar and I'm so thankful they agreed!

I've been using my Ninja Coffee Bar almost daily since receiving it and I'm really happy with it. I wanted to show you some of my favorite features!
Ninja Coffee Bar (laurelandfern.com)
I'm a beginner to brewing coffee at home and if you are too, I think you'll love the Ninja Coffee Bar. Since I've never had a coffee maker, I wanted something that was easy to use. I don't want to fuss with a machine while I'm leaving for work or struggle to make the perfect cup. I love how easy it is to make a pot of coffee or iced coffee.
Ninja Coffee Bar (laurelandfern.com)
To make hot or iced coffee, all you have to do is add water to the reservoir and coffee to the reusable filter (love that for sustainability!), select the size you want to brew and press the appropriate button. If you want hot coffee, just brew into your cup or the carafe. For iced coffee, fill your cup all the way with ice and use the over ice brew button. So easy!
Ninja Coffee Bar (laurelandfern.com)
Ninja Coffee Bar (laurelandfern.com)
The next feature I love is the cup sized select option. Put of what has held me back from buying a coffee maker is that I don't want to brew a whole pot for just myself. The Ninja Coffee Bar allows you to pick between a cup, travel, half-carafe, and full carafe sized coffee brew. I love that! You can also use the single serving to make a specialty brew (concentrated coffee) to make your favorite hot or iced latte.
Ninja Coffee Bar (laurelandfern.com)
Ninja Coffee Bar (laurelandfern.com)

Another thing that I was so excited about from the Ninja Coffee Bar is the milk frother. I love chai lattes! It's my all time favorite drink, especially in fall and winter. The milk frother makes it so easy to make frothy, creamy milk in under two minutes. You just pour milk to the fill in of the milk frother and microwave it for a minute and then pump the milk a few times with the lid (don't microwave this part of the milk frother!). To make a tea latte, steep your favorite tea in 4 oz. of water for several minutes (around 10-15 or until you're happy with the strength) and then add 4 oz. of the frothy milk. I let mine steep for a couple more minutes and then enjoy!
Ninja Coffee Bar (laurelandfern.com)
There are so many recipes you can make with the Ninja Coffee Bar! It comes with a recipe book filled with a ton of ideas! If you are new to making coffee drinks at home, I highly recommend the Ninja Coffee Bar. It makes it so easy to try many different brews and recipes without spending a fortune on equipment. You can check out the Ninja website here and their YouTube channel for recipes here. Leave me a comment of a coffee recipe you'd love to see here on my blog! I have some fun ideas, but I'd love to hear what your favorite drinks are! Especially fall favorites! Enjoy! -Laura

Thank you, Ninja, for the wonderful Ninja Coffee Bar. While I did receive this product as a sponsorship, my review and opinions are my own.

2016 Scrapbook: Week Nine

August 21, 2016

2016 Scrapbook Week Nine (laurelandfern.com)
For some reason, when I first started week 9 I really struggled. It just wasn't going together the way I wanted it. I took everything except the photos out and started over. As soon as I had a fresh start, it all came together perfect. Sometimes just starting all over is the best way to go. I wouldn't have tried that stripe card other wise and this is what really brought the whole page together.
2016 Scrapbook Week Nine (laurelandfern.com)
I realized I didn't have a lot of photos for this week, so I focused more on the journaling. I enjoyed Year of Yes so much that I knew I wanted to feature it on it's own card. The Kelly Purkey Reading List stamps are the perfect stamps for documenting my favorite books!

This layout is also a great example of getting bad photos to work. I love this photo of Astro waiting for Grant to get home, but it turned out so dark. Using the white vinyl stickers and white ink made the photo pop and turned a bad photo into an artsy photo. Not sure if artsy is a word, but I'm going to go with it. It looks artsy! The other bits of black and white really tie the whole thing together. I went from not liking this layout to this being one of my favorites!
2016 Scrapbook Week Nine (laurelandfern.com)
I accidentally took the same styled photo with two different drinks this week, so I decided to roll with it and make it look like a series. Like most weeks, I added journaling to vellum and used the tiny attacher to staple it to a journaling card. The striped card and pink card are both from past Messy Box kits.
2016 Scrapbook Week Nine (laurelandfern.com)
To get the books, I just stamped a book stamp with cream ink on plain white cardstock. I love that something so simple can make plain cardstock look so good. It was so easy to make and really looks great. One of our dogs, Jack, is always barking. I stopped by my parents one day and he just kept barking at me. I thought the black washi tape and vinyl stickers were the perfect way to document this silly dog and tie together this photo with the black and white photo.

The contrast of the colors with the black and white really make this week pop! I love how it came together! -Laura

Laura's Kitchen (Before)

August 3, 2016

Laura's Kitchen (Before) www.laurelandfern.com
The kitchen. I loved our house when we first looked at it, but the kitchen made me a little sad. Since I love to cook and bake and hang out in the kitchen, I wanted it to be the highlight of the house. As it was, there was nothing special about it. It wasn't that bad, but it had all the basic, cheap fixtures that you'd expect from a rental house. Basic "oak" cabinets, cheap metal sink, lowest quality appliances, boring yellowish paint. Growing up, we were always in the kitchen. It's easily the room I've spent the most time in. And that's the feeling I want out of my own house. I want it to be a special place. And the basic, boring kitchen my home came with didn't have that special feeling.
Laura's Kitchen (Before) www.laurelandfern.com

The kitchen was really dark. It only has one small window which is covered by a patio cover on the other side. As you can see in the photos, I had to open the door to even get enough lighting for good photographs. It felt cramped because of the wall (which we've taken out). Nothing about it was bright and cheerful, which I wanted in a kitchen.
Laura's Kitchen (Before) www.laurelandfern.com
 Laura's Kitchen (Before) www.laurelandfern.com
 Laura's Kitchen (Before) www.laurelandfern.com
 Laura's Kitchen (Before) www.laurelandfern.com

Overall, the kitchen isn't bad. We've been living in it for a few months and we've figured out what we definitely want to change and what we are comfortable living with. We haven't made renovations yet, but have big plans coming up! Thanks for reading the before and I can't wait to show you the after! xo. Laura

Daytrip to Flagstaff

July 28, 2016

Daytrip to Flagstaff (laurelandfern.com)
Last Sunday, I went with my mom and sister up to Flagstaff for the day. We had been wanting to do something different and get out of the heat, so we decided to drive up north for the day. We went for a walk at a park called Buffalo Park. It was so fun! The trail we took was a really easy 2 mile walk, not a hike at all. But we still got to enjoy really great views. Around the 2 mile loop, there were several exercise station where you could stop go a little workout and move to the next one. It was such a great idea! I wasn't dressed to do a lot of them, but we still had a good time climbing walls and attempting chin ups!
Daytrip to Flagstaff (laurelandfern.com)
Daytrip to Flagstaff (laurelandfern.com)
Daytrip to Flagstaff (laurelandfern.com)
After our hike/walk, we went to have lunch. We got seated by a window, which was funny because we could watch everyone stop to catch Pokemon. I'll admit that I got some good ones up in Flagstaff! After lunch, we walked around some of the shops downtown. It was starting to rain and look very stormy, so we stopped at my favorite tea shop to get a tea for the drive home. I ordered an Earl Grey latte with lavender. It was so good! It was the perfect rainy weather drink. 
Daytrip to Flagstaff (laurelandfern.com)
 Daytrip to Flagstaff (laurelandfern.com)

We picked up a fun hiking book and are already planning our next trip up! If you live in the area and haven't been to Buffalo Park, go check it out! It's such a great place to walk and chat and workout with family or friends!
Daytrip to Flagstaff (laurelandfern.com)
Where is your favorite spot to take a day trip? -Laura