A trip of a lifetime and one of my favorite souvenirs

CATEGORIES: General News, Travel

This post is created in paid partnership with the maker of OxiClean.  All opinions and laundry experiences are authentically mine!

You know those laundry commercials with the personal stories?  Do you ever wonder if those come from actual people?? Well this one does!  I submitted an experience to the maker of OxiClean White Revive and had the fun experience of having a film crew out to film our family about it.  While on the surface, it’s a story about laundry, it’s also a story about family, food, and traditions; everything we celebrate here at Our Best Bites.

When I was in my early 20’s, I paused my attendance at BYU just before my senior year and spent 18 months in Southern Brazil doing missionary and humanitarian work. It was one of the most impactful experiences of my life and I’ve written about it many times here on the blog.  One of the things that made it so meaningful was that my Father did the same thing when he was that same age and while neither of us got to choose our destination, we were both assigned to Brazil. I grew up hearing all about the people and culture of Brazil and after my own experience there, it’s forever a part of my heart.

After returning home to the states for a few months, I got to travel back to my old Brazilian stomping grounds, but this time with my parents and my little sister.  I loved being able to take my Mom there and watch her experience for the first time this place that meant so much to our family. She didn’t understand a lick of Portuguese, a language my Dad and I speak fluently, but she was such a great sport.

One of the things my Mom always taught me when travelling, was to not fill up your suitcase with knick-knacks, but bring home useful things that will serve a purpose and always be a reminder of a place you’ve experienced. In fact, the drinking glasses that sat on our family dinner table all my years growing up were ones she brought back from a family trip to Mexico.  I’ve always took that to heart and one of the things I’m always looking for on my travels are things that I can use in my kitchen, whether it be a beautiful dish or a unique cooking utensil or table linens.

This trip to Brazil, long before I ever started a food blog and became a professional cook, was no exception!  I will never forget the scene of taking my Mom through a busy market and both of us instantly falling in love with the intricately crocheted threads by some local women creating beautiful table runners.  I chose one in a rainbow of colors, and my sensible Mother brought home a beautiful creamy white one.

That table runner adorned our family table for years after that, often holding the cherished food of our holiday celebrations.  My Mom became ill shortly after our return home from Brazil, with a quickly progressing disease that eventually took her life, and having that runner on our table was always a tender reminder to me of our last big adventure together.  

After my Mom passed away, I took a few mementos of hers, and this table runner, full of love and memories, was one of them.  I tucked it away for a few years and only recently pulled it out. It was our first big family meal in our newly remodeled dining room, on Easter Sunday.  I knew that runner would be the perfect tribute to my Mom as we continued our traditions of gathering for family meals. I was upset however, when I pulled out the runner and realized it was stained.  Who knows how long those dirty spots had been sitting there and I worried I wouldn’t be able to get them out and my heirloom would be ruined.

I tried just about every laundry product I had at home and the dark brown spots didn’t budge, so I ran to the store and thought I’d give OxiClean White Revive a try.   You can watch the video to see what happens next (spoiler alert: OxiClean saved the day!) and now I use it often on my everyday whites at home, because with four active boys, you know I have a lot of dirty laundry!  

You can watch all about our story, right here!  And I’d love to know if you have any traditions like I do when it comes to souveniers.  Do you collect any one type of thing?  Drop me a comment on this blog post and let me know!

33 comments

  1. I have two hand crocheted tablecloths made by my paternal Great-Grandmother. One was my Grandmothers and the other was my Great-Aunts. Both are stained and that is the way they will remain. To me the stains represent THEM. The meals shared with friends and loved ones around a table groaning with plates and bowls of food. And once the meal was done, it was more important to spend time visiting with those folks than to grab everything off the table and clean. When I use them, I feel like they are at the table, joining in our meals.

    I’m glad that you found something to get the stains out of your table runner. Your commercial was very nice. Thanks for linking it, since when commercials come on the TV, I always mute them and never watch them!

    1. Haha, good point about not watching the commercials on TV! I love your mindset about your runners. Family connections make everything (even stains!) more meaningful.

  2. Sara, I’m so glad you could share your story! <3 How fun to get a glimpse into your familiy life! And I'm so glad to know that you could restore that beautiful table runner. What a treasure those sweet memories with your mom must be.

    I converted to using OxiClean instead of bleach a few years ago, after my aunt recommended it. It's so much better at keeping our whites white, especially with three boys!

  3. A tradition of mine for souvenirs is Christmas ornaments. I love getting them from the places I’ve traveled to.

  4. Does anyone know if this product gets rid of the nasty yellow ring around the collar on whites? I’ve tried borax, tri-sodium phosphate, and laundry detergent mixed together with no luck.

      1. My dad was a railroad worker and had very greasy necklines. My mom would wet a bar of Fels Naptha and rub on it. It came out every time with no damage to the fabrics. The bars are found in the laundry aisle. I use it in my homemade laundry soap.

    1. Yes it will. My husband makes a paste out of oxyclean and applies it to yellow sweat stains on his white dress shirts. He can get a lot more life out of his shirts this way. He has expensive dress shirts, so it saves us a ton of money.

    2. What works every one: make a paste (not too thick) from baking soda and hydrogen peroxide Scrub it it real good on the collar and under arm stains let it sit for awhile then launder as normal. Works like a charm!

  5. How does the OxyClean White Recive compared with the regular OxyClean? I use regular OxyClean to soak my white kitchen towels and in the washer occasionally for extra soiled loads. I am still having great trouble getting stains out of my white kitchen towels though!

  6. As a knitter I love to find local yarn shops and buy local yarns to knit with. I can always remember our experiences in each area from the beautiful finished objects I make with the yarn.

  7. Loved your post. I collect Christmas tree ornaments (or make something small into an ornament if I can’t find one). We reminisce every year while decorating the tree. And none of them get stained 😉

  8. Thanks for sharing. I served a mission in Portugal & I love that you brought home items that you still use. I brought home some pottery (amazingly it didn’t break on the trip home) but reading this I wish I would have brought more usable items because I cherish my memories of Portugal so much. Note to self- tell my kids this one day. I love the commercial😊

  9. Oooooooohhh I have some table linens from my grandmother with the same type of stains – guess what I’m going to try??!

  10. What a great story and beautiful video! Thanks for sharing! I do have to say as I saw you all around the table in white I cringed… Ah a disaster waiting to happen. But but no fear if you have the right tools I guess!

  11. I like to bring home cookbooks and also childrens books about the place we visited. And if I can find Christmas ornaments, I bring one home for that year.

  12. I too collect small items that represent the area I’m visiting to hang on my Christmas tree. Some are even meant to be ornaments. I purchased a small pinocchio that you push in the bottom to make him collapse and then let go for him to stand up (in Italy, the origin of Pinocchio ), a beautiful golden aspen leaf in Colorado, and others. I have a very eclectic tree and I love looking at it !

  13. I tend to spend most of my money on food when I travel, haha! But I do try to get useful things as well. Like after I came home from living in Italy I brought a cup and saucer and some embroidered napkins (from a thrift store!) to add to my mismatched tea set. I usually buy some kind of lapel pin in every country/city as well. They’re cheap and small and easy to pack home and then store or display, but it’s something to remind me of all the things I’ve seen and done.

  14. What a great (and very sweet) video! Loved it. We have 5 boys and I cant remember the last time I had a white shirt in the house for any of them. Haha Whites have been definite no-no’s in our house for a looong time. Lol But this video might get me to change my mind! Maybe some nice white shirts are in our future. 🙂

  15. I always use those machines to get smashed pennies from everywhere I go. I have never been anywhere out of the country though. I imagine if I ever do though I would also get something useful as a souvenir.

  16. I have 3 boys and just posted to my instagram (with a picture of my muddy 4 year old) “do all moms feel like they live in a Tide/Shout commercial?!” I just bought my first box of OxiClean and am so excited to try it!!! But mine isn’t the white reviver- it’s called versatile stain remover. Have you used all of them??

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