Thursday, December 26, 2013

Asian Inspired Salmon over a warm Bok Choy Salad

I freely admit that I have an obsession with a vegetable. I don't often see it in the supermarket or even the farmer's markets, but when I do you'd think that I just found the Queen's diamonds. I'll tip toe over to it, look around to make sure no one's watching and then snatch it up, clutching it to my chest! I know that if everyone else knew what I know, then people would be taking it from my hands. It's best to be sneaky.

So what am I talking about? Bok choy, of course!

Now don't get all hopeful and think it tastes like chocolate dipped in gold. Bok choy is Chinese cabbage, but it's so much more amazing than any cabbage I've ever had. It can be a little bitter if eaten raw, but steamed or sautéed and it's perfection! The leaves are similar to spinach, but it has a more nutty flavor and the stems will keep a little bit of crunch after they've been cooked. Ahhh… so good!

And bok choy is really good for you-- it has a mega dose of vitamin A and a decent amount of vitamin C, calcium and iron. And the best part: it's only 20 calories for cup of shredded bok choy! Yay!

Have I convinced you yet to try it? I hope so because it's delicious!

I've been making Salmon over Bok Choy Salad for years and I absolutely love it. I've converted it to a gluten free version from my original recipe, but I'll let you know what you can substitute if you wanted to do the regular version. I hope you like it as much as I do!


Thursday, December 19, 2013

Chicken with Chorizo Sausage and Sweet Potatoes

Hello my foodie friends! I hope you're ready for the holidays because I'm not! It's been a bit crazy with finals and shopping... and shopping. :)

But through all the stress something fun did happen! While procrastinating writing a school paper, I met a new blogger friend (Dirk, the sarcastic German) who happens to cook. Yay! He gave me his recipe for this yummy meal that I'm going to share with you today. Definitely check out the link-- he has other yummy looking recipes and I'm dying to try some of his German meals!

However, I did make a few adjustments to his original recipe because that's what I do. Surprise surprise!

Orange Chicken with Chorizo Sausage and Sweet Potatoes

Chicken and Chorizo sausage recipe #glutenfree

Friday, December 13, 2013

100% Pure Natural Makeup

100% Pure Natural Makeup
Since I start my blog just a little over a year ago, I've had a lot of questions about makeup. To be honest, I haven't worn much since going hardcore hippy because it's usually full of crap-tastic ingredients. But then something awesome happened and I stumbled across a brand that blew my mind!

100% Pure (that's the name of the company!) Remember that name!!

It's pretty crazy because they use fruit pigments to create the colors in their make up. They promise that their products are 100% natural and 100% vegan so you never have to worry about animal cruelty or weird chemicals. Everything is plant based (a lot of it's organic) or they use natural oils or moisturizers (like shea butter and grape seed oil). 

They have a full line of beauty products like foundation, mascara, eye shadow, lip gloss, lip stick, eyeliners, and a lot more. 

Since they are all natural they don't have a lot of exciting color palates to choose from like neon green or teal. They stick mostly to the pinks, reds, browns, purples and tans-- colors that you would find in nature. But that's fine with me-- I may have been born in the 80's, but that big blue eye shadow trend-- well, that was all my sister! I've always leaned more towards classic looks.

Most days I still go without make-up, but I wanted to share with you my basic "must have" list for a nice natural look. If you guys like this post, I can make another with a fancier date night color scheme. Woohoo!

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Graze Subscription Box Review

Have I mentioned that I LOVE subscription boxes?! I especially love subscription boxes that give me delicious, yummy food. Yum!

I've been getting the Graze subscription box for a couple of months and it's definitely become one of my favorites because it's customizable, cheap, yummy, and so fun!

Once you decide to subscribe, you can go online to see their selection of food items and you're able to rate each individual item based on how much you think you'll enjoy it. You can choose between love, like, try or trash and that tells the company how often you want to receive the selected food item which is so awesome! Who wants to pay money and get something you know you won't like!

Graze also has options to even choose gluten, vegan, or dairy options!!

The snacks are always delicious, but they are also healthy-- lots of dried fruits, nuts, grains and sometimes they even send chocolate. Yes, chocolate! And remember it is totally healthy because it has magnesium and calcium and… other stuff.

There are always four snack size options in each box. You can sign up for a delivery once a month or the standard option of every two weeks and it's currently only $6 a box and shipping is free!

If you sign up with my Invitational Code: MARTHASNACKS and you can get your 1st box FREE!! Yay! Free stuff is always so awesome.

This week I got Raspberry and Coconut "Muffins" (dried raspberry cranberries, coconut, amaretti drops, and almond slices), Sour Cream and Onion Cashews, Rock the Casbah (pumpkin seeds, walnuts and dates), and Fruit and Seed Flapjacks (oats with mixed seeds and dried fruits).

So far I've been a member of the Graze community for a few months and I have only had one item which I didn't really like. But if you ever receive something you don't enjoy, then you have an option to dislike the item on the website and Graze won't ever send you another one.

Problem solved!


If you LOVE something, then you can mark it as a favorite and then you'll receive that snack option more often. It's pretty amazing. :)

The best part is that they taste great and they're healthy! The calories per container are very reasonable. They come with a nutritional facts sheet and these particular selections ranged from 130 calories to 225 calories and are full of iron, magnesium, potassium, and fiber. Yay!

Visit Graze.com if you'd like more information and don't forget your invitational code to get your first box freeMARTHASNACKS

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Clean that Indoor AC Vent the Natural Way!

This is embarrassing. I haven't cleaned my indoor air conditioner vents in.... well, a long time. Yes, I am refusing to tell you exactly how long it's been and that's my right as a woman. It's like how a woman never tells her weight or her age-- you can guess, but she'll never confess. ;)


Green Clean your indoor AC Vent #greencleaning
The thing is that the vents are always so hard to clean. ::moan, whine, being really dramatic:::

I've tried to use an old toothbrush, but it just spreads the grim around. And then there is always the old standby of using a rag and pushing it around with my fingers, but unless you have freakishly small circus hands or, in fact, have children to do your manual labor- it will hurt. Adult size fingers just don't go in those little slots!

But do you know what does fit in there?
  • A flat ruler, butter knife, paint stirrer, thin spatula or any other similarly shaped object (knock yourself out world!)
  • Q-tips
I use a two step method... but don't worry. It's so easy!

Step One:
  • Put an old rag over one end of the long flat, thin object of your choosing (popsicle stick, ruler, spatula...) 
  • Spray it with your homemade all purpose cleaner or store bought all purpose green cleaner. 
    • Side note: I'll caution against using a traditional heavy duty all purpose cleaners because the AC is going to be sucking up any cleaning residue and circulating it around your house. I don't know if you want alkyl dimethyl benzyl ammonium chloride traveling through your air supply-- just saying! But it's all good. I don't judge if you do. ;)
  • Use the damp washcloth (wrapped around your thinly shaped long object) to clean in between the vent... thingies. 
    • I don't know what they are technically called and I think "thingies" is perfectly logical. 
  • Don't focus so much on the edges because dirt will collect there-- that's what step 2 is for. But you will probably have to move the rag around a bit on your object because if it gets too dirty it'll start to smear the dirt around instead of clean it. 
  • Repeat this process until all the vents are clean (except the edges where dirt collects)

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Four 0 Seven Revisited: Gluten Free Bakery Orlando (Fall and Christmas Flavors)

Okay, it's not a secret that I'm obsessed with Four 0 Seven Bakery in Orlando. Since my guilty secret is out in the open I wanted to show you some new gluten free fall flavors! Yummy!!

Four 0 Seven Orlando Bakery Gluten Free


Pancake Breakfast with Candied Bacon: Um, yum! It actually tasted like breakfast and the candied bacon add a nice savory twist. Delicious!
This is my crazy cupcake lady look.
Do you like it?

S'mores: The best part was definitely the toasted marshmallow frosting and the spot on flavor profile. The Man ate one and just said, "Wow" and then promptly ate another one. He said it's amazing because it tastes exactly like eating a s'more.

Irish Cup of Joe: My favorite of the bunch! Your mouth will thank you for the perfect combo of delicious rum and glorious chocolate and rich coffee. A beautiful pairing done marvelously well that just explodes in such a tiny little cupcake.

I could eat this All. Day. Long.

Banana Fosters: This one definitely has a complex flavor profile. At first the frosting laced with caramel hits you and then your tastes buds switch over to appreciate the mild banana flavoring of the cupcake itself. Definitely a win and definitely got 2nd place for my favorite cupcake of the bunch!

I still love my old staple: pumpkin with maple frosting, but these are definitely changing the game for me a little bit.

And then this happened…

Cupcakes Orlando Bakery Gluten Free

Christmas Flavors!!!

Chocolate Orange: Delicious! It's a little fruity and a little chocolaty, but the candied orange peel steals the show. Seriously, I giggled when I ate it because it was so good.

White Chocolate Cranberry: Mmmm… a sweet cranberry filling laced with delicious white chocolate. I thought for sure this was going to be super sweet, but it was a really nice balance. So good!

Peppermint Bark: Seriously, this is like Christmas exploded in your mouth. It's so good and the little bit of park on top of the cake really added something to the texture.

Egg nog: This has the most subtle flavoring of the three, but the egg nog is flavoring is perfect and the rum buttercream adds a deep richness to the experience.

I think I'm doomed to be fat.

Come check out Four 0 Seven at the Lake Nona Farmer's Market on Saturday mornings from 8am - 1pm for a taste of heavenly cupcake goodness. She makes both regular and gluten free cupcakes and cakes! You can check out my first review to see how the gluten free version stacks up to regular cupcakes!

Or you can call and place an order. She will also be making deliveries for Christmas! Yay!

You can check out her website here or her facebook site here for more information.

Gluten Free Cupcakes are delicious

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Natural Moisturizers: DIY or Buy

Review of natural moisturizers
By far the most popular questions that I am asked by readers are about moisturizers. Let's face it-- it's really, really hard to find a product that works and doesn't contain a bunch of crap-tastic chemical ingredients.

I'm really excited to talk to you about some of the products that I use, but first.. some housekeeping:

I'm sad to announce that I got yelled at by a reader recently about my qualifications about writing a blog ::insert sad face::

So, please, let me clarify-- I am NOT a dermatologist. I am a nurse. However, as a nurse, I cannot diagnose or give prescription treatments for skin conditions. So, I am giving you recommendations as a human being who happens to have some scientific knowledge and who has also been there and done that once or twice due to bad skin.

Whew! I'm so glad we got that out of the way. 

If you have any questions please comment or email me. I love hearing from you guys (just please don't yell at me)!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Savory Loaded Twice Baked Sweet Potatoes

There is nothing more delicious than a loaded twice baked potato. Well, except chocolate, but that's different post. ;)

Most recipes for a baked sweet potato seem to be sweet with cinnamon or spicy with chipotle pepper, but I wanted something more like a traditional baked potato. You know-- something covered in bacon, oozing with creaminess and just the right amount of veggies to make me feel like it's might actually be healthy.

I'm going to tell you how easy it is to make a delicious savory baked sweet potato. I'm really excited to share this with you guys today!


Thursday, November 21, 2013

DIY Natural Toilet BOMBS!!

So I was browsing around Pinterest and found a website that talked about Toilet Bombs. Yes, bombs that go in the toilet. Whaaatttt?? That definitely got my attention.

The basic idea is that you combine a couple ingredients together and then drop it into the toilet where it cleans the toilet and the essential oils make your bathroom smell lovely.

I used the instructs from Healthy Holistic Living to make my toilet bombs! Check out their website because they made the toilet bombs look super cute with a little flower pattern! Love it!

DIY Toilet Bombs are so easy! #DIYcleaning #DIYIngredients
Equipment
  • Mixing Bowl
  • Whisk
  • Spray bottle or misting bottle
  • A flexible or shallow mold (ice cube trays, small silicone molds, madeleine cookie tray)
  • Mask for mixing (recommended)
  • Glove to prevent an irritation to your hands (optional, but recommended)

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Budget Gifts for the Manly Outdoorsman In Your Life

I'm awesome at giving gifts if you like anything glittery, but tools? I just recently learned what a socket wrench was. Sort of. In theory.

Anyways, I told The Man I was going to write a blog about what to get a manly man and I needed advice! He said that every manly man wants the following:
  • Tools
  • Car Stuff
  • Awesome Stuff
  • Weapons/Survival/Camping/Hunting/Zombie Apocalypse supplies
  • A Little Something-Something ::wink wink:: ::nudge nudge:: 
Hey! And one of those options is completely free. ;)

The rest... well, not so much.

I'm going to focus on budget friendly options that are geared towards the outdoorsman/survivalist/military enthusiast. Why? Because cars and tools are boring.

And this is a PG blog so I'll let you figure out the ::wink wink:: ::nudge nudge:: on your own, but I thought we could take a look at some....

"Awesome Stuff"

magnetic wristband
  • Magnetic Wristband This is awesome and it kind of goes with cars and tools. It's a magnetic strap that he wears on his wrist and it will hold onto anything metal (nails, screws, nuts, bolts...)
    • Brainteaser
      Mind games baby! This one is HARD! 
    • I know that The Man has lost a bolts down the hood of the car and has had to fish them out-- this will prevent it! 
  • Hanayama Brainteaser Puzzles Mind games are always so cool! Guys love figuring stuff out! 
  • THE WALKING DEAD Seasons 1-3 DVD Sets -- I think this is awesome and it teaches your man survival skills in case of a zombie apocalypse which is very important. I mean, he is going to be the one protecting you and your family. It's best to teach him. 
    • Seriously, it's one of the best TV series on right now. We love it and I even HATE horror movies.
Survival Knives
Okay, I know I'm pretty much a hippie, but today I'm going to write you about weapons. I know. It's crazy.

Mind blown. Poof!

But, really, it's all love's fault. You do crazy things for love.

So I know you're thinking, "What gives this almost hippie the right to tell me what weapons to buy my super awesome manly man?"

I'm so glad you asked!! :)
  1. Well, I was in this little thing called the United States Military. Maybe you heard of it? ;)
  2. I grew up with a Marine for a Father. Enough said.
  3. The Man (who was specially trained in knives while he was is the Army Special Forces) has educated me on the fine art of knife selection.
So, that's my credentials. Hopefully, you approve. If not, then let me convince you...

Or just look at the pictures.

Whatever. ;)

Monday, November 11, 2013

Happy Veterans Day and Military Girl Power!

Yours Truly in 2005, Camp Pendleton, CA.
I just wanted to say THANK YOU to the many, many men and women who have served, are serving or will serve in the United States Military. You Rock!

And since I write this blog I get to babble about whatever I want which is pretty awesome.

Respect my auth-ori-tah!!

Words cannot even express how incredibly proud/happy/thrilled I am that my niece joined the military! I am so blessed that I get to watch her push herself, learn and grow as a member of the US armed forces.

She and I are the first women in our family to serve and it is an honor to be sharing that experience with her now. I'm not joking when I say almost every man in our family has joined one branch or the other and it's kind of fun to be the first women to say, "Hey! Look we can do it, too, and we can do it better!"

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Natural, Safe Tile Floor Cleaner- Only 3 Ingredients!

Just keep cleaning
Just keep cleaning
Just keep cleaning cleaning cleaning
What do we do we clean, clean, clean….

Sometimes, I feel like cleaning is my life. It's never done!! And with all the harsh chemicals it's so important to find something safe for my family. I mean, seriously, who want any nonylphenol ethoxylate on their toesies!

Psh! Chemicals. Ruin everything.

Anyways, months ago I went on a mission to find a GREAT natural tile floor cleaner. I honestly didn't think it would be that hard, but I should have known better! Whenever I think something will be easy-- it's not. Oh, life! You're so funny!! she said sarcastically, rolling her eyes (Yes, I am perfectly aware that I wrote in 3rd person)

I don't know how many different recipes I used but they all kept leaving a film on my tiles! It was driving me nuts. I knew that there had to be something better... and then I found it! Yay!

What You Need
All natural Tile Floor Cleaner #DIY #Greencleaning
  • 1.5 gallons hot/warm water
  • 1/4 cup hydrogen peroxide
  • 1/2 cup white vinegar (but you can add 1/4 c more for dirtier jobs)
  • 5-10 drops Essential Oil(s) 
    • Like Purification, Lemon, Lavender, Peppermint, Thieves 
  • Optional for tough jobs: Add a splash of a green cleaner.
I've been eyeballing the measurements for a bit and it works just fine, so don't get too wrapped up on the exacts here!

Mix the ingredients into the hot to warm water. Stir to combine. 

Ready. Set. Mop!

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Commit an Act of Kindness: Homeless Care Kits

I challenge you to commit an act of kindness!!

Remember there's no such thing as a small act of kindness. 
Every act creates a ripple with no logical end.
~Scott Adams (1957)

The idea started when I was thinking about what a rough year I've had and I started to feel badly for myself. It became very apparent (after I demolished a box of tissues) that I needed to stop having a pity party for myself. There are so many blessings in my life that other people do not have. I should be grateful, not sad.

After I got my head out of my butt, I knew that I needed to do something to give back.
Homeless Care Kits #givingback #randomactsofkindness #DIY


That's why when I saw a "Homeless Kit" on Pinterest and I knew instantly this was what I would do! I hope you will do it with me! 

You can really put anything in the kit that you think would impact someone's life in a positive way. I decided to use the following items, but feel free to make it your own! 

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Easy Gluten-Free Chocolate Pumpkin Muffins

In honor of Halloween, I killed a pumpkin.

Pumpkin recipes

Don't worry-- it didn't feel a thing!

Now I'm going to give you a couple of ideas on what to do with a fresh pumpkin, but pretty much all roads lead to one basic thing-- a roasted pumpkin.

With a roasted pumpkin you can do pretty much anything (soup, pie, cake, risotto). Of course, you can also buy pumpkin in a jar. But if you are so inclined to roast your own pumpkin, then I'll tell you how to do it.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Megan's Liquid Gel Dishwasher Detergent (Borax Free)

A wonderful reader, Megan, suggested that I try a liquid dishwasher detergent in lieu of my Non-Borax Powdered Detergent. To that I said challenge accepted!! I love when you guys give me thing to try!

Liquid Gel Dishwashing Detergent #DIY #cleaning

I gave it a shot when I ran out of my powdered dishwasher detergent and I have to say that I am very impressed. I thought it performed very well compared to the powdered formula which I posted about earlier in the year. The plus is that the ingredients are easier to find and it's a bit gentler without the citric acid.

Ahhhh! I love options!

Megan's Liquid-Gel Dishwasher Detergent 
Makes ~4 cups (64 TBSP)
  • 3 TBSP Dr. Bronner's Liquid Castile Soap
  • 3 cups warm water
  • 1 cup Washing Soda 
    • You can find this for only a few dollars at most Walmarts or many grocery stores in the laundry aisle.
Simply add the ingredients in a jar and shake until the washing soda dissolves. Shake it. Seriously. Shake it. A lot.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Gluten Free Bakery in Orlando

Sometimes life gives you something exactly when you need it exactly when you need it. In my case it was cupcakes.
One cupcake is gluten free and the other is not
I am so incredibly excited to share this wonderful bakery find with you today! I HOPE you live in or near Central Florida or are planning to visit because you will want to stop by and see Leah from Four 0 Seven Bakery.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Spice It Up: 9 Jalapeño Recipes (Gluten Free)


Jalapeño recibesRecently I have come into the possession of quite a few jalapeños from SpaceGirl Organics. For a while The Man and I brainstormed about what I would do with all of these jalapeños, but somehow the ideas kept coming! We started by talking about salsas, sauces, stuffed peppers, and then moved on to ideas about jalapeño breads, jalapeños for breakfast, pickled peppers, jams, and could we do a dessert?! Oh, and what about a margarita with a kick?! The ideas kept coming! We reined ourselves in a bit and decided to stick with some tried and true recipes. We hope you like it!!

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Bock Bock... It's Time For Some Organic Chicken Stock!

I have to admit that I can be a bit lazy so I often try to find short cuts to make my life easier, but somethings just deserve to be done right. You know like how a man treats a woman (wink wink), a good piece of dark chocolate, making French pastries and cooking homemade chicken stock.

Lucky for us making chicken stock isn't actually hard. It just takes time. But it makes a world of difference in the flavor profile of what you're cooking.

And the best part is you can give away your recipe and don't tell them that you made your own chicken stock-- they will never be able to recreate it and you will be held up as a goddess of soup/risotto/gravy/whatever. Yay!!

It's always nice to be adored.

This is such a culinary staple and it is probably the easiest thing in the world to make. Homemade chicken stock is heaven in a tiny little bowl and it can take your dishes from yum to YUM!!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Eating Gluten Free or Paleo on Vacation

Nashville TN
How hard is it to eat right on a vacation? Practically impossible!! I know that by the end of my last vacation (a cruise) I came back weighing 5 lbs more than when I left! Eck!

Not only does my family have to worry about eating healthily, but also about food allergies, particularly gluten.

We've been Paleo for months now and love it! But when we did the Paleo elimination challenge we realized that we were definitely had a big problem with gluten. Luckily, we have found that it's not too hard to avoid gluten... as long as I cook! I wanted to make sure that we didn't take steps backwards in our health by eating out on this vacation!

Unfortunately, there aren't many paleo or organic restaurants so I researched gluten free eating establishments on our route from FL to TN. I wanted to make sure that we had places all up and down the road so we always had a place to go! I think that knowing that you can find a place that avoids your allergen or accommodate your diet is so important!!

Monday, October 7, 2013

Saucy Pork Chops Inspired by Julia Child (Paleo)

I'm literally in the car on my way home from my vaca, but I thought I'd post this recipe for you guys while I'm on the road! We are in southern TN close to the GA border and this is what it look like outside my window:

It's a beautiful view, but it's been beautiful for a few hours so I am getting bored which made me hungry which made me think about my blog.

Oh, ADHD, how I love your tricky ways!

Being hungry made me think about how much I love, love, love French cooking. It's so rich and buttery! Mmmm!! Delicious! Did I mention I love french cooking?! I hate to admit it but I like to talk like Julia Child when I'm cooking, especially about anything that has to do with butter, bacon or wine.

How? Well, it's easy. You say something like "If you're afraid of butter, use cream" while waving a wooden spoon around wildly in one hand while you have a glass of wine in the other.

"Always cook with wine and sometimes put it in the food"!

 That Julia was one smart lady.

One of my favorite Julia dishes is her classic Beef Bourguignon. The meat melts in your mouth with a wonderful tang from the tomatoes, the sweetness from the wine and the delicious fresh herbs! It's hearty and rich and it makes you feel like your participating in something special by simply eating it.

But there are a lot of steps and it can take an afternoon to make. Don't get me wrong-- it's totally worth it, but ain't nobody got time for dat.


So I took inspiration for Julia's Beef Bourguignon and I decided to make a dish with a lot of the same flavor base, but with only about an hour of cook time, plus it's paleo friendly! I hope you like it!

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Happy Blogging Anniversary to Meeeeee!!! (And A Vacation!!!)

It's October!! My blog has officially been up for a year!! Wow! I can't believe that it's been a YEAR! It seems like it was just a couple of months ago that I started writing.

Guys, seriously, I feel so blessed from the outpouring of support during this first year and I can't thank you guys enough!

::hugs::
::blowing kisses::
::more hugs::

Coincidentally, my cousin is getting married so I get to take a mini-vaca for my one year anniversary! I'm super excited!!! I'm going to Music City-- Nashville, TN! I've actually have never been and my first priority will be hearing some live music while sipping on some fine wine. I already have a speakeasy on my radar. I am prepared!!!

PLUS my Mom and I thought it would be fun to do a little road trip through the great south via Savannah, GA, Greenville, SC and Asheville, NC to Nashville and then come back to FL via Atlanta, GA. I'm sooooooo excited I can't even tell you! So we get to do some mommy-daughter bonding without any men to do stuff like tell us that we are going the wrong way. Psh!! Who needs men?! We do have horrible navigation skills. It'll be interesting to see where we actually end up. ;)

I'll post pictures when I get back and tell you a) if we actually make it to Nashville and b) how my first paleo/gluten free road trip goes! Wish me luck! :) So I'll be off the radar until next week!

Monday, September 30, 2013

SpaceGirl Organics Review in Central Florida

Even though the organic movement is increasing it's still difficult to find good quality produce at local supermarkets. As a result I joined a co-op early this year, but due to the economy they had to close down. I was so sad to have to go back searching for organic produce at my local grocer. And then I found Space Girl Organics which is based in Central Florida and delivers all over the local area. They have boxes of produce (which you can customize) that are affordable and are delivered right to your door in a cooler. Awesome.

organic produce in central florida from SpaceGirl Organics

Friday, September 27, 2013

Clarifying Bentonite Clay Facial Mask

Do you have a skin goal? Maybe enlarged pores? Wrinkles? Would you like to have tighter skin? Of course, everyone does! Well, you're lucky because I have a fantastic solution for you!!


I have found that bentonite clay is a fabulous natural way to my improve skin! Now, you may think, "What a minute-- isn't that dirt?!" Sort of. It's super special dirt from God. Bentonite clay is pretty much His gift to us!

So please, don't go outside and just smear mud on your face. It has to be quality bentonite clay!

I buy loose clay and add water (or rose water) to make a fantastic mask, and I've bought a pre-packaged facial mask like this one from Redmond Clay. It's literally just clay and water, no chemicals no preservatives!


The Facial Mud claims to do the following:
  • Clarify your skin
  • Remove excess oil
  • Shrink appearance of pores
  • Draw out toxins
  • Tone skin
  • Remove impurities
  • Deep cleanse your skin. 
It is safe for all skin types and it's so simple to use.

Essential Oils For Added Benefits
If you want added benefit you can even add a couple of drops of essential oils such as lavender to help combat bumps and smooth scars. Personally I love Frankincense because of it's ability to support healthy skin.

Make sure you know which essential oils to use because some may cause thicker hair growth or increase hair growth and I don't think you want that on your face!

How To Use It
If you are using powdered clay, use 3-4 tsp, add 2-3 drops of essential oil (optional) and enough water (or rose water) to make it like a paste. If you are using the Facial Mud, then just add 2-3 drops to the clay.

Apply the wet clay and let it dry for any time between 10-25 minutes (the more sensitive your skin- the less time is recommended).

You may experience some redness after the mask simply because of the process to draw out the impurities (aka pore gunk). I washed the clay off my face at the 15 minute mark and the first thing I noticed was how tight my skin felt. It wasn't uncomfortably tight, but rather pleasantly firm as if gravity has been reversed. Yay!!

Clay Masks are great for decreasing pore size

The second thing I noticed was how soft my skin felt to the touch. I couldn't stop touching it! 

My skin is a little red after the mask, but I have very sensitive skin so I'm happy with that. It fades pretty quickly!

The first time I did this I noticed that my old facial scars were a bit more visible than usual, but slowly it faded and my skin looked back to normal. If you're worried about that, then you can always do it before bed! However, it really does make a difference in the long run! For me I've seen smaller pore sizes, tighter skin, less blemishes, and reduced wrinkles. 

If you're interested in the Facial Mud you can buy it here:

If you've tried clay before I'd love to hear your experiences!

Disclaimer: Redmond clay provided the clay for this review, but it is only because I told them how much I loooovvvee their products and I wanted to write a bunch of posts. So, yeah, I loved them before they gave me free stuff. Now I love them more. 

The links for products are affiliate links. I will receive a small commission from anything purchased which I recommend. I am a Young Living distributor so I earn a commission from products sold. If you are interested in getting 24% off your order-- please email me. There is a gimmick, but it's actually a cool gimmick. I swear.

Monday, September 23, 2013

The Man's Skin Moisturizer and Beard Conditioner

Ladies, let's not be selfish. Sometimes we need to think about our men and today I am devoting my beauty knowledge to the male sex.

Let me explain....

First you have to understand that men are simple creatures. They don't want a lotion for this and a cream for that and an oil for this other thing. No! They want ONE THING for EVERYTHING. "The Man" has dry skin and a lot of scuff so I thought I'd make him one product to take care of both! Tada!

Ingredients for DIY Man Skin and Beard Care
DIY Beard Moisturizer
  • Glass Mist Bottle or Dropper Bottle
  • 2 TBSP Distilled Water 
  • 2 TBSP Almond Oil (if allergic to nuts, use Jojoba oil)
  • 3 TBSP Witch Hazel Toner (alcohol free)
  • 1 tsp Vegetable Glycerin
  • 5 drops Argan Oil (optional)
  • Optional: 5-8 drops of Essential oils  (see below for ideas)
You simply mix it all up in the spray bottle and it's ready to go! If you're using essential oils, I recommend adding them to a pinch of salt before mixing them into the solution so that they better disperse through the mixture.

When he's ready to use it, just give it a little shake (oils can separate).

It's best to use after a normal face wash OR after the shower.

It can be used in one of two ways:
  1. Lightly spray mixture a couple of times directly on your face and beard. You will need to massage it into your beard for just 15-30 seconds. If  you feel like you need to rinse then you can simply use water, but there is no reason that you would need to remove the mixture.
  2. Use a dropper bottle. Depending on the beards length and density you will need to use between 3-8 drops of the conditioner for your beard. Massage it into the beard. Wash with water, if desired. For your skin, you can use as many drops as you feel necessary to moisturize your face. For my moisturizer, I use 3-5 drops daily. 
Essential Oils
If you want to have a scent or added benefits to your beard then you can add essential oils. I would recommend staying away from citrus as it can cause photosensitivity (more easily sunburned), but here are some ideas of what you can add:
  • Peppermint: Oily skin or hair
  • Cedarwood: Thinning hair
  • Rosemary: Thickens hair
  • Lavender: Dry skin or beard
As always, when using essential oils for skin or hair care, make sure you are using quality essential oils. Even if they say "pure" on the bottle, there may be added chemical or synthetic ingredients which can cause skin irritation. Please read this article about how to find Quality Essential Oils.

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Sunday, September 15, 2013

Bridal Shower with Gluten Free or Paleo Foods

Entertaining with paleo and gluten free foods
Oh, Bridal Showers, how I love you. I especially love my dear cousin who is getting married in October!!

My heart gets little palpitations when I think about it. I can still remember her as this tiny little girl sitting on the floor with a head full of dark curls screaming because she wanted something that I wasn't about to give her. ::sigh:: Oh, cousinly love.

It's amazing what a beautiful woman she's grown up to be and I'm so happy that she found such a wonderful man to share her life with. So, of course, I was excited when I was recruited to help with her bridal shower!

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Non-GMO Multivitamins (SunWarrior vs NewChapter)

Seriously, I don't get it.

I watch what we eat, choose healthy food, try to buy organic fruits and veggies and then take a vitamin full of stuff we can't pronounce.

Why?

It took me a while to figure it out: There are ZERO options at local stores. I honestly didn't even know I could get a non-GMO plant based vitamin until I started looking for it.

If you wonder what the difference, then here's a great chart by SunWarrior that shows you how synthetic vitamins are made vs sources for natural vitamins. Even if you don't opt to go with sunwarrior, please look at this list! It's really amazing.

Personally, I wanted options because that's how I roll so I opted to try to vitamins to see how they compare.

According to my strict standards, I had three choices: SunWarrior, NewChapter and Pure Synergy, but I'm a baby-- I don't do big pills, so I scratched Pure Synergy off the list. They are rather large, but if you don't mind-- definitely check them out.

It is kind of important to note that if your VEGAN then SunWarrior is the only one that will actually fit your diet. However, I love meat so I didn't care.

So. let's look at the pills...
(or if you're lazy just read the summary) ::wink::

SunWarrior vs NewChapter

Okay, so they are both great companies. They pick quality ingredients and take great efforts to make sure their products are safe, healthy and even suitable for gluten free diets. They source most ingredients from organic or non-GMO sources which is huge!

But if we're going to talk important stuff, then you need to know what you're dealing with. How big is this pill?! 

First, I want to talk about the capsule itself:

SunWarrior multivitamins are made from kosher vegetable gelatin, which is great in terms of capsules. They can be broken apart and the contents can be placed into something like applesauce if you like. They are pretty easy to swallow and that's coming from a person who hates taking pills.

NewChapter's pills are solid pills-- no capsules so no mixing in applesauce. They are still a reasonable size, but just a little more difficult to swallow, but barely. 


Proprietary Blends:
SunWarrior added a longevity proprietary blend which is supposed to help with anti-aging. Sounds pretty nice! While NewChapter also added two immunity blends and a digestive support blend using all natural ingredients. So, I guess it's just really what you're looking for!

Also, SunWarrior and NewChapter don't add fillers or synthetics to their supplements which is so important. It's kind of impressive. Most of the "propriety blends" are just a bunch of junk, but both of these companies make their ingredients transparent so you know what you're getting.

 Probiotics:
Sunwarrior added 5 sources of probiotics from both the Lactobacillus and the Bifidobacterium types, which makes your gut happy on so many different levels. It's important to have both types because they act on different parts of the GI system. NewChapter only has two strands of probotics and they are both from the Lactobacillus family.

However, at such low numbers, I don't believe that either brand should be your sole provider for probiotics so make sure that you're taking an additional source for optimal health.

Let's take a look at the labels...

Sunwarrior:


NewChapter:


They both recommend taking 3 capsules a day. SunWarrior gives you 90 pills and NewChapter gives you either 72 or 96 tablets depending on which bottle you buy.

However, remember that these are supplements to supplement your diet. Take what you feel you need for optimal health.

SUMMARY:
Cost:
  • NewChapter is slightly cheaper.
Pill:
  • SunWarrior is a capsule
  • NewChapter is a solid pill
  • Size is comparable, but NewChapter is SLIGHTLY larger
Special Diets:
  • Both are gluten free
  • Both are non-GMO
  • SunWarrior is Vegan.
Bottle:
  • Sunwarrior comes in a plastic bottle
  • NewChapter comes in a glass, dark bottle. 
Probiotics: 
  • Sunwarrior added 5 sources and they are from both the Lactobacillus and the Bifidobacterium types
  • NewChapter only has two strands of probotics and they are both from the Lactobacillus family.
Proprietary blends:
  • SunWarrior added a longevity proprietary blend which is supposed to help with anti-aging.
  • NewChapter also added immunity blends and a digestive support blend 
I would definitely recommend either of these multivitamin! In fact, I take both.

You can find both on Amazon.com or at their brand stores:
(These are Amazon Affiliate links-- your price stays the same and I make a small fee from Amazon to help buy supplies for the blog!)

Plus, they really are the best prices. You can also buy the SunWarrior vitamins from the SunWarrior store, but they end up being more with shipping. :)

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Paleo Chocolate Chip Cookies (Gluten Free)

As some of you know I have been gluten free for a bit of time now and I am loving it! However, I do have a sweet tooth and sometimes, just sometimes, I splurge and make something chocolately. Because, come on! A girl needs chocolate!

I have a soft spot for chocolate chip cookies and I've had a really hard time finding a paleo/gluten free recipe that made me happy. Eventually, I gave up and just started experimenting with batters until I came up with this recipe. It's buttery, soft, and oh so chocolately! Mmmmm!! Delicious!

 

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Awesome Stuff and I'm Old.

Whew! School is in full gear and already kicking my butt!

In my first class we had to introduce ourselves and explain which piece of literature influenced us the most. I hate public speaking so I said I'd go first and rambled about ee cummings and his straight forward style, quoting part of a poem, and saying how he influenced me and how much I love his use of syntax blah blah blah. The next person says "Harry Potter". The next person says "Harry Potter"and then another person says "Harry Potter". Seriously over 40% of my class said Harry Potter. I counted. Another 10% said Anime and I heard the words Twilight once.

OMG. I'm so old. When did this happen?!

So to make myself feel better I went online and bought graphic t-shirts so I would feel younger and more hip. Makes sense right? ::shrugs:: It made me happy.

Okay, so I don't think I've actually stated that I'm obsessed with CafePress.com so let me make it official.

I am obsessed with CafePress.com.

I wanted to show you some of the awesome things I got in the mail! And I'm doing this for no reason other than I think it's awesome. I'm not getting paid or compensated in any way. I bought all this stuff and I looovve it!





See-- awesome, right? I can't wait to hit the gym in that shirt holding my I love Bacon water bottle!

Maybe I'm easily amused, but seriously, this has made me so happy!

And to make this post as random as possible I'd like to share with you one of my favorite poems by ee cummings!

So beautiful...
 
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