Whew – we snuck this monthly favorites list in right before the door to July closed on us! With summer in full swing, I feel like I have only half as much time as I did in the fall and winter. But this month, I wanted to share some of my favorite new finds as well as some old favorites, so grab a peach iced tea (*wink to the Broken Record subscribers*) and don’t forget to share your favorite products from July in the comments!
It has been a total joy to follow this brand from its inception through a full rebrand, the results of which are obviously stunning. They sent me a press package last year and I have been sudsing up with their body wash and hair care on and off for months! My hair really likes it, the body wash is my current favorite (I suggest the Sea Minerals body wash to e v e r y o n e), and there are tons of products I haven’t even tried yet!
This brand caught my eye because, while Soapbox has brutally high standards for their ingredients, the prices are incredibly reasonable. That bundle above, for example, is only $31.95 – for everything. That’s a hand soap, shampoo, conditioner, bar soap, and bodywash – for $32. Sort of a screamin’ deal.
Their packaging has undergone a major upgrade, and if you’re picky about your soaps and hair cleansing products, get ready for this laundry list of Soapbox ethical qualities:
- Made in the USA
- Many Fair-Trade ingredients
- Sulfate-Free Shampoo
- Recyclable Packaging
- 1-for-1 Charitable Donation through Clean the World
That last one is my favorite! 1-for-1 means that, with every soap purchase, Soapbox donates a bar of soap to someone in need. (Soap = Hope!) Soap is at the top of the list for many shelters around the country due to its constant use, and Soapbox focuses their efforts on domestic aid, which is something I haven’t seen very often among 1-for-1 brands.
Each bottle has a unique Hope Code that you can input into the Soapbox website to see exactly where the donation from your bottle of soap or hair stuff is going. You can find Soapbox products at Rite Aid and Walgreens all over the country. They’re even easy to find in my little, dumb, island town! If you see some on the shelves, pick it up, but if you don’t see it on your local shelves, don’t worry! It’s all on Amazon for you, as well as on the Soapbox website!
I’m always on the quest for good shoes. Currently, I have a very modest collection of less than 10 pairs of shoes which, if you knew me in my SPEND ALL THE MONEY days, should come as a shock. I think I topped out at 64 pairs of shoes, at one point. My closet looked like a robot Christmas tree lot with all of my shoe trees scattered around. It wasn’t good, and the shoes were mostly low quality (“affordable”) dress shoes that I wore to the job I hated. Starting B&B changed all of that, and raised my standards for “good shoes” about 5000%.
In desperate need of some summer shoes – for both staying cool in the heat and getting into trouble – I took to Poshmark. After a while, I noticed that the shoes in my “Likes” had a noticeable bias towards Timberland Earthkeepers, which I had absolutely never worn before. I knew of Timberland boots because, hi, I was alive in the 1990s and early 2000s. What I didn’t know was the scope of their designs, and how incredibly ethical this brand is trying to be.
Timberland Earthkeepers, specifically, use at least 50% recyclable materials. The leather (yes, real leather) is from a company that is rated Silver for improved energy, waste and water management. The fabric shaft is made with “Bionic canvas” which contains recycled PET (aka plastic bottles) and the rubber sole is also partially recycled! Considering this info was secondary to me falling in love with the shoes designs, I can say I’m pretty damn pleased with my newfound favorite shoe brand.
Timberland Earthkeeper Authentics Canvas Fold-Down Boots in Folkstone Grey
These were the first Timberland shoes I pulled the trigger on, and they single-handedly got me hooked on the brand. While these boots typically sell for around $100 brand new, the pair I found on Poshmark were in amazing condition for only $23.
Sure, they had some loved spots and a couple minimal scuffs, but they were already broken in for me, and they look even better when they’ve been loved for a few months.
The leather part of these boots is a beautiful blue-grey color, and the canvas looks almost like linen. Another feature that is adorable, but that I regularly ignore, is that these boots are lined with a super cute, blue floral fabric, so if you’re the type that likes to flip the top of the boots down, there is an adorable design element built-in to help make that as cute as possible.
Timberland Earthkeeper Greenside Sandals
After losing my sandals in a pool-noodle stealing operation in Mexico, I was in desperate need for a pair that would withstand my shenanigans for 2018. That means they need to be well-made with high-quality materials, be easy to throw on and kick off, and go with everything from dress shorts to a swimsuit coverup. Luckily, Timberland Earthkeepers came to the rescue – again, via Poshmark.
After stumbling upon exactly one pair of these sandals, I knew I had to act fast. They are cute as hell, made with strong materials, have a slip-on back strap, and are extremely versatile. Unlike the boots, which had many styles and colors available in my size on Poshmark, these were a one-of-a-kind find, so I contacted the seller ASAP and haggled the price of these down to a measly $27.
In hindsight, I should have taken a picture of the soles because Timberland makes some tough-ass shoes. The soles of these sandals are nearly identical to the Timberland boots that I got. They look like they’re ready to carry you through a construction zone – with a kitten wedge.
Have you tried Timberland Earthkeepers? Am I late to this party? I’m already looking to expand my collection because the high heels and dress shoes in the Timberland collections are screaming my name!
2 Dope Queens
If you’re not privy to this existentially funny duo, you better wise up. Jessica Williams and Phoebe Robinson are a comedians turned podcasters turned legendary show hosts, and their eponymous series on HBO just got renewed for four more hour-long specials!
These two women make me wish I lived 1,000 miles closer to my best friends. Each one of their shows is an intimate peek into not only their friendship, but what life is like as a black woman living in New York City. Speckled between Phoebe and Jessica’s hilarious banter and BFF-arguments are special guests. There are a handful of stand-up comics that get to present a small set, and each episode has a non-comedian guest that shows up just to chat with the girls and participate in a little activity. For example, they bring out a full brunch spread, complete with cocktails, before bringing out the Queen of Brunch herself, Sarah Jessica Parker, who is adorable. Together, the 2 Dope Queen educate a curious and eager SJP about the ins and outs of black hair. It’s a must-watch!
Sans Sucre Baking Mixes
No matter how many times I have tried to stay on a healthy eating streak, my sweet tooth always sabotages me. I can’t get rid of it! Moreover, I don’t really want to get rid of it. Not only do I love baking and desserts, but if I can’t spend this life indulging in delicious things, then what’s the point? Luckily, there are tons of products and brands who are trying to ease the tension between sweet teeth and healthy lifestyles. San Sucre is one of those brands and, if you speak even mild, back-of-the-food-label French, you can probably figure out why.
Sans Sucre makes quick and easy baking mixes that have no added sugar. This makes the nutrition facts on a box of brownies look less like fudgy indulgences and more like a small-to-medium granola bar. Recently, I made the Milk Chocolate Brownie mix (around $5 per box) and was pretty impressed with both how easy it was to make and how delicious they were once they were done!
These turned out so incredibly good for being only 80 calories per serving, and they were much lighter than your average full-fat, full-sugar brownie which can feel super heavy and dense. They required exactly three ingredients: the baking mix, water, and 2T of oil. Yes, two tablespoons of oil for an entire batch of no sugar added brownies. That good, very-brownie-like sweetness comes from Stevia! Could this be love?
In addition to brownies, you can find coffee cake mixes, cinnamon “sugar” sprinkles and even no-sugar-added fudge mixes! San Sucre also sent over all kinds of mousse and pie filling mixes, including (but most certainly not limited to): key lime pie, cheesecake, chocolate mousse, and lemon mousse. Plus, the mousse and filling mixes are no added sugar and low fat! So far, I’ve tried nearly all of the brownies they have to offer, but expect to hear from me again when I dive into these!
That’s it for me this month – now it’s your turn! What have you been loving in July?