Thursday, September 24, 2015

John Cleese

So, anyway by John Cleese is exactly what you'd expect from him if you've followed his career much. 

part biography, part rant, part media engaged, it's a great ride through the life and career so far of one of my favorite people. Plus, there are some pictures of John as a child which is interesting! It's a fairly long volume, compared to a lot of celebrity biographies, which is perhaps to be expected from someone who was about to graduate from Cambridge, then decided to ditch it and has had an illustrious career in film and television spanning decades. 

While it is a fantastic, fairly serious biography of John Cleese, don't expect it to be written in the same vein as Monty Python or you will be disappointed! For me, I grew up watching Python and Fawlty Towers, and have always been fascinated by the crew and reading this book just gave me more insight into the sheer madness that is John Cleese; so much so, that reviewing his childhood, you feel sorry for him. It's like something we were discussing with my son this week. That sometimes those who try to make others laugh the hardest are often the ones with the most pain behind their smiles. They project what they want others to see instead of how they really feel to deny their pain and I think this is true for John Cleese as well. 

I'd still recommend this book if you are a fan of John Cleese and simply wish to know more about the madness behind the genius. (And I dare you not to picture him doing the Silly Walk!)


Tuesday, September 1, 2015

The Little Paris Bookshop

The Little Paris Bookshop by Nina George

I have seen this book make the rounds online so when it came up for review, I decided to give it a shot, plus, as an obvious bibliophile, it was necessary to read a book about books!

The writing was great,  better than I expected. I definitely highlighted quite a few "books" mentioned that I need to find later. I also highlighted some quotes but this one describes the book well: 

"A book is both a medic and medicine at once. It makes a diagnosis as well as offering therapy. Putting the right novels to the appropriate ailments: that's how I sell books." 

This quote is basically the premise of the book. Monsieur Perdu is still morning the loss of the woman he loved; a woman who suddenly vanished from his life. He's tormented by it so he has his bookshop where he dispenses a sort of bibliotherapy on his customers, flat out refusing to give certain books to certain ailments, and encouraging others on people to their, eventual, delight. 

More quotes: 

"Women tell you more about the world. Men only tell you about themselves."

"He had never had to travel; his conversations with books had been sufficient...until finally he prized them more highly than people. They were less threatening." 

I would rate this book a 4.5 out of 5. There were some parts that just seemed a bit farfetched but those were thankfully few and far between. The writing was great and I loved the overall story, and ending!

I requested this book from Blogging for Books, and they sent me a copy in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.

Bulu Box review

I was given the opportunity to receive a Bulu box and review. Bulu Box is a monthly supplementation subscription box. One thing I've noticed that is very different about Bulu is that you can receive, then rate the products you receive, and right from their site purchase full size versions of the products you received and loved! This is SO different from most other subscription box sites, although a few newer ones I've noticed recently are doing this. Bulu has been around for a few of years at least.

My box contained something I had been wanting to try for a while, Quest Nutrition protein powder. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE Quest bars, and generally have one with me at all times in case I get hangry and I received two sample packets of the Peanut Butter protein powder.  (I am not a tolerable person when hungry, just fyi).



Mediterra nutritional bars

Yerba Prime Fiber Plus Powder

Anti-itch cream

Movit energy gummies

They have a great referral system from what I've seen and lots of good coupons. I used to receive their boxes a couples of years ago but then stopped once I moved. I think I may have to renew!

Use code SWEATPINK for 50% off any subscription! They make it super easy to cancel or suspend your account as well. But for about $5 a month, (with the coupon) it's totally worth it! They also offer extra incentives, such as filling out surveys about your products to earn extra points that you can use towards purchases on the site.

This deliciousness was made with the Quest Nutrition Peanut Butter protein powder, 8 ounces of almond milk, and a frozen banana. It tasted EXACTLY like banana pudding.


Wednesday, July 29, 2015

1 Million Minutes MadLib Fun

I'm so excited to rack up more minutes using video workouts from Grokker! There’s everything from yoga to kickboxing for everyone from beginners to advanced, and I'm especially pumped to try Yoga for Better Sleep because it will make me extra relaxed due to my insomnia.

I plan to do my video workout in my apartment before binge watching Netflix and after a day at Six Flags. My favorite thing about video workouts is trying new things, and they’re a super convenient way to get sweaty when I am lazy.

My goal is to hit 120 minutes this week!. I’ll do Butt Toning Workout on one of my more intense workout days, and Yoga for Women's Health,  on a rest or lower intensity day.  I challenge my boyfriend to beat my # of minutes or to do Yoga for Better Sleep with me!

Psst! Want more access to more of the amazing videos on Grokker? Use the code LOVEGROKKER for a free month of their premium version. No strings attached - just good sweaty fun! :)

Okay, but seriously, just glancing through the available workouts, I AM pretty pumped to try Grokker out, and Jamie and Alyse have never steered me wrong!

My take on Kathryn Budig's "Persephone" salad: Recipe!

I was looking through Kathryn Budig's blog at her recipes! Most of them looked super yummy, and fairly easy to make (which is a plus for me). She also caused me to get a tremendous hankering for Oatmeal Creme Pies but I didn't have all of the ingredients at all for that and improvised.



I wanted a light dinner, and I also had an avocado that was PERFECT and absolutely had to be used tonight. Because those things can go bad so freaking fast and I was not about to chance it.

So onto my Faux Persephone salad. Kathryn called it a Persephone salad because in the mythology, Hades uses a pomegranate to lure Persephone to the underworld and her recipe called for poms. I'm not a fan of them so I made some substitutions to suit both what I had, and what I liked.



Salad ingredients:

Greens! I used about 2 cups of mixed greens
Pickled red onions (recipe below)
One avocado, cubed (I put some lime juice on it to keep it from browning and because I love lime juice!)
1-2 tbsp Dried cranberries
1 tsp Sea salt
Garlic-I used some dried, spicy garlic for mine


Dressing:

1 tbsp Balsamic vinaigrette
1 tbsp Olive oil
pinch of Kosher salt
Minced green onions, about two stalks
Shake it all up, or stir, pour on last

Pickled red onions:
One red onion, diced however you prefer
Enough Apple Cider Vinegar to cover them
a teaspoon of sugar
Set into a container, shake it up, and leave in the fridge until you're ready to use it

This was seriously one of the best salads I've ever made. I'm not a huge dressing person, which is why the amounts are so small, so feel free to double or triple based on how much you like.

Since I know a lot of people like to know the caloric values, here you go.
Calories 649
Fat 59 (that avocado, makes up about half of it alone)
Protein 6
Carbohydrates 28

I would honestly eat this even without the avocado in it, especially since I don't always have them in the house. That would drop it down about 400 calories if that worries you.



Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Armada by Ernest Cline-Review (spoilers)

I know a lot of people read "Ready Player One," Ernest Cline's debut novel that combined science fiction with the 80's in a future society where everyone hooks up to a virtual world. Armada is similar in places, lots of 70's and 80's music, video games references, and science fiction books and movies. It was a fairly quick, easy read.  Definitely not as good as Ready Player One, though I tried hard not to compare constantly!

It reminded me of a mashup of Ready Player One and the final tests endured by Ender in Ender's Game but rather than a small child Ender, it's an 18 year old who lost his conspiracy theory father at a young age and has a violent past. I was excited to read this book, again because of my love for his first book and that he also lives in the same city, but while I did finish it, I don't think I'd recommend it to anyone. It's very predictable, being a mash up of so many other things (I've frequently heard it's exactly like The Last Starfighter with name drops and this would be correct).

Though the game the book is based around, a made up Armada, MMO, sounds pretty fantastic! I love video games and enjoy them, and this game seemed awesome I just can't praise the book as much as I wish I could as it just felt like a rip off of other science fiction games/books/movies.

The gaming soundtrack was pretty good though; I'd prefer to read more about his father.

I requested this book to read from BookLook Bloggers in exchange for my honest opinion. All opinions are my own.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Vibrance Pure Hair Formula for Growth review

I'm always curious about products that will help nourish my hair. It's curly/wavy, and fairly thick so sometimes, it gets out of control. (Read: it's always out of control). So when I was given the chance to try out these vitamins from Vibrance, I was on board! I got these through Amazon.

The instructions say to take 2 capsules right before a meal with an 8 ounce glass of water. I found this to actually be really important, because if I took them on an empty stomach and didn't eat for a while, I didn't feel well. This can be said for most vitamins, but make to sure to read labels to see what they say.


The label. The company is pretty awesome, and I love that they have all of the information on the product right there!

Vibrance says for optimal results, to take them for 3 months. I only took them for a month and noticed my ends were not breaking as bad. I did get a haircut not long after I received them, and have noticed my hair doesn't have any split ends, feels better, and just overall looks better. I don't know if it did anything with the length, since as I mentioned, I have kinda curly hair and it's not always easy to tell when it grows out!

Vibrance is also offering readers a discount of Buy one bottle, get one free. Pretty awesome if you want to try it.

Get an extra bottle for free with an order of Vibrance Hair Vitamins using code BBVRB1G1 at checkout on Amazon.




Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Meditation: Part 2 Guided Meditations

I have found quite a few guided meditations on YouTube and on various other websites that have definitely helped me on my beginner's journey into meditation.










Bonus yoga video that I've enjoyed before meditation that is super calming! (Plus. Adriene is from Austin, Texas!)

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Living with Intent by Mallika Chopra; review


Mallika Chopra is the Founder and CEO of Intent.com, a website where people can share their intentional living with the world. Struggling with living intentionally herself, she decided to explore intentional living and started this book, Living with Intent: My Somewhat Messy Journey to Purpose, Peace, and Joy.

Like any busy mother having anxiety with balancing work, marriage, friendships, children, health, and spirituality, Mallika Chopra was searching for ways to find more balance in her life. She had previously written works based on things that she was struggling with so why should intentional living be any different?

She's definitely her father's daughter in some ways, but I found her writing a breath of fresh air and very different from her father, the famed proponent of meditation, Deepak Chopra. Mallika doesn't try to stay away from being his daughter in her book, and quotes him, and little anecdotes of growing up with him as her father, are interspersed throughout the book. I also actually appreciated that she used her connections via her father to get more information for this book from people like Eckhart Tolle and Dr. Andrew Weil, because, why not? These are people who are some of the foremost thinkers in the world on living healthy, intentional, mindful lives.

I found this book to be part workbook, part instructional guide, part autobiography, and part investigative research into intentional living. I'm honestly only halfway through it and I have found it invaluable and relatable.

The chapters of the book follow the acronym of INTENT, after chapter one which is a quasi introductory/purpose chapter.
I-Incubate
N-Notice
T-Trust
E-Express
N-Nurture
T-Take Action

And finally, chapter 8, Living with Intent. The end of the book has an afterward by her father, a cheat sheet, workbook style pages for My Intents, and a few other accompaniments to the idea of Intent.

Already, I would put this book in my top 5 for the year and I'm literally only halfway through it!

Now that I'm finished with the book (I wrote the above paragraph when the thoughts on the first half were fresh in my mind and HAD to get them down). I still love this book. I loved that she didn't shy away from her concerns with raising children in a more American world from her upbringing. As someone mixed, I've definitely struggled with finding my place among my father's White family, and my mother's Hispanic and Native American world. I love that she also vocalizes that, yeah, she knows she's been privileged in a lot of ways but that she also does not have to follow in her famous father's footsteps in order to matter! I think a lot of us feel like in order to make a difference, we have to do something big and bold. 

Things I'm implementing because of this book? Setting intentions in my life. I've always just said "I'll do that eventually" without actually putting more thought into it than that and getting mad about it later when I didn't do ANY of it. 

I'm using a notebook I had sitting empty that I had started journaling in and didn't do much with to write down times I've done meditation, and how I felt before and afterwards. I'm also using it to jot down intentions for my life. And likely, some of it will appear on here. 

This will be a book I hold on to, reread (especially the guidance sections at the end of each chapter), and recommend to others. 

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Meditation: Part 1




Meditation is not something that was entirely familiar to me a few years ago. I'm not sure how I came across it and started trying it out at random times, but I feel sure that it was due to Rebekah Borucki, aka BexLife, on YouTube or one of Deepak Chopra's free meditation series.

It does seem to be one of those things, like yoga, that everyone is starting to do. And yes, it can go hand in hand with yoga quite well, but can stand alone amazingly. Anyone can do yoga. And if you think your brain won't shut up enough to do meditation, I can promise you, after some time, you can. I have, what my doctors have said, an unusual though pattern in my head. I can hold a conversation, watch something, have thoughts, and usually song lyrics, and pay attention to all of it easily. My mind is multi-wired somehow, and I have no idea how I accomplish anything! (I'm currently listening to an audiobook and typing this up).

I've been reading books that focus on meditation and I've learned a lot. I've also downloaded several podcasts to listen to and listen to guided meditations on YouTube. I feel like they have helped calm me down. It helps me figure out (slowly) how to get my brain to shut up a bit which in turn is helping other areas of my life.

Let's start with books:

Pema Chodron How to Meditate: A Practical Guide to Making Friends With Your Mind is a great one that I see recommended often and I feel like I learned a lot from to take into my meditation practice.



I also read Wherever You Go, There You Are but I don't really feel like I learned much from it honestly. Maybe because I read Pema Chodron first, or because it seemed to take generic psychological principles and say "when you feel this, it's because of this, so do that." Bleh.

I'm also reviewing a book that releases in October called Mudras for the Modern Life and might just be a bit obsessed with it. It has helped me learn how certain postures help with certain issues and, even if it's a placebo effect, it has definitely helped me a lot!

I'm currently halfway through Living with Intent by Mallika Chopra, daughter of Deepak Chopra. And while she is her father's daughter in many ways, she definitely has her own voice and direction. Being female and a mother, also helps me to relate to her on living with purpose. This book is already in my top 5 reads of the year no question! It has almost workbook style pages at the end, exercises, and some workbook style pages, at the end of each chapter. It's part workbook, part biography, part investigate research.



I'm about to start reading The Miracle of Mindfulness by Thich Nhat Hanh which is described as a beginner's guide to mindfulness/meditation, and is quoted often in other books on meditation I have picked up.

I have had anxiety and depression since I was a teenager, or at least that was when I was diagnosed. I have been on all sorts of medication and they don't do much honestly. They have either made a neurological condition I have worse, have done nothing, or have turned me into a zombie. Meditation has helped me calm my brain enough to lessen pain and calm my thoughts so I can go to sleep.

I think I'm going to make this into a few parts series of my favorite meditation. This one was books, and next will be my favorite guided meditations!

Zakia's Moroccan Ghassoul Clay Mask

It's no surprise if you've looked at my blog much that I love, LOVE, facial masks. They are fun, force you to relax for a few minutes while they do their magic, and can help ease all kinds of skin problems. 

I received the Zakia Moroccan Ghassoul Clay Mask to try out a few weeks ago. It is made from Moroccan clay and mixes with water. It is made to clean and detoxify skin. What made this one most interesting for me is that it isn't JUST a facial mask. You can use it on any area of your skin or in your hair. And, unlike a lot of masks that you have to mix yourself, a little goes a long way with this one. I could often use just over a teaspoon and cover my entire face and still get results. 



Pssst, it's also on sale for $11 on Amazon, and on the Zakias Morocco website! Regularly, $20 which is still a great value. 

Uses for the mask here! Face, body, hair. 

For me personally, it helped settle some of the ugly cystic type breakouts on my face, smoothed some of the little scars, and made my skin softer. I also used it on my body (the first time I've done this with a mask), and it helped smoothed my skin and made it softer as well. I also sprinkled some into my hair while in the shower and it helped the dry skin issues I've been having. 

I have used this container at least 5 times on my face, once on my body, and some in my hair, and still have over half of the container left so it lasts a while! The product is easy to rinse off (leave on for only 5 minutes, not until it dries!), and doesn't have a smell so it doesn't irritate your senses. I have pretty sensitive skin on my face and it didn't bother it at all. 

I was sent this product via BrandBacker in exchange for my honest opinion. I chose which product to review and was sent this to try out. 


Thursday, June 25, 2015

Botanyst Restful Sleep review


When I read the description of Botanyst Restful Sleep, I was intrigued! I have chronic insomnia that is made worse by anxiety (so, I'm a zombie 90% of the time...)

Botanyst Restful Sleep uses traditional chinese medicine/herbs together in a capsule form to help your brain shut up and your body calm down.

You take two about 30 minutes before sleep with a glass of water. It can take a few days to a couple of weeks for it to kick in and work completely, and for me, this is normal.  On the first night, I felt like my brain wasn't going on it's usual tangents, and after a few nights, I felt relaxed, and calm enough to sleep without feeling drugged at night or in the morning.


The combination in this medicine is to target the spleen as the root of balancing out your chi. And honestly, I have felt so much better since taking this medicine and will continue to do so. 

If you want to try it, use code SAVEREST on Amazon to save 20% through the end of the year.

I was given this product to try out courtesy of BrandBacker. All opinions are my own. The pictures are owned by Botanyst.


Monday, June 22, 2015

Adovia Dead Sea Salt scrub review

Adovia Dead Sea Salt Scrub was sent to me to try out. I love body scrubs and am always excited to try new ones. This one is my favorite, hands down right now. It left my skin feeling incredibly soft, smooth, and lightly scented. I have used it several times and still have most of the container left, so a little really does go a long way with this product.

The only con I have about this product is that it made my shower super slick so I tend to apply it directly under the showerhead to avoid this issue. and spray the tub with some after shower spray that alleviates the issue well.

It smells like a spa scented scrub, and while it is coarse enough to make your skin super soft, it's not so coarse that it gives you weird bumps or scratches (I've had some do that...and ouch!)


Wednesday, June 17, 2015

The Healthy Mind cookbook review

We have made two recipes from the book so far. I was honestly really excited to explore the connection with food to a neuro condition I have going on without answers.



Rutabaga potato mash

Quinoa kale

Honestly, the recipes were both a bust for us but that may have just been us! We plan on trying a few more of them soon!

My favorite thing about this cookbook though, is that she explains in detail the advantages and benefits of eating certain foods solo or in combination with other things. 

It's a great cookbook for learning more about how foods relate to neurological conditions and function. This book definitely gave me some ideas about incorporating certain spices and food combinations into my daily meals and they seem to have helped! 

It's a fantastic book and our family has enjoyed going through the book and selecting recipes to try soon. I'd highly recommend this book to people who are looking to get more health benefits from their foods, or just plain looking for new ideas. I already have some other recipes on the meal plan to try soon and I can't wait! (Sorry for the lack of pictures, we made the recipes when we were hungry and didn't take pictures!) 

I received this book in exchange for my honest opinion. 

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Skinny Teatox review!

I'm always skeptical of detox teas. They either taste terrible, make my stomach hurt, or plain do nothing! So when I saw this one, Skinny Teatox, I thought, what the heck, I'll give it a shot. I'm glad I did!

First off, that diffuser is basically the cutest diffuser ever!



I did a 14 day Skinny Teatox which included 14 days worth of an energy increasing Skinny Teatox mix and a 7 day, every other night, detox tea mix. 

First, the Skinny Teatox tea. 

Ignore the mangledness of the pouch, I'm bad about this! This pouch actually lasted me longer than 14 days. 

This tea reminded me of Fruity Pebbles cereal. Obviously, not quite that sweet, but it definitely had a similar taste. For the two weeks I drank this in the morning, and sometimes in the afternoon as well. I had a steady state of energy without any jitteryness. I didn't even need or CRAVE coffee on the days I drank this. WUUUTTT???? My workouts went great and felt better. Most days I didn't need my preworkout before I lifted. 

The every other night detox tea didn't taste as great as the Skinny Teatox tea, but didn't taste awful. The site says you can add a small amount of sweetener to taste, but I didn't need to do this. It had a subtle laxative effect for me, which didn't bother me. 

Overall, I would definitely buy this again. I think I'm going to do the 28 day teatox soon. I'm not sure if I lost weight solely due to the tea, though I have lost a few pounds. I also have been lifting and doing limited cardio (Gahhhhh I hate cardio). But it absolutely made my workouts easier and my days smoother. I'm obsessed with it. 

I was selected to review and test out this product from brandbacker.com. All photos and opinions are my own. 





Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Smooth Viking Beard Balm

This post has been crazy delayed because, well, I don't have a beard and had to get the feedback from my other half. My boyfriend really liked the products, specifically he likes the conditioner and balm the best. He has/had a crazy, full, curly, thick beard and it was getting intense and out of hand. It also had split ends and just looked nuts because, like a girl messes with her hair when she is anxious, he messed with his beard constantly when he was anxious. And I saw had a beard, because he shaved it off two days ago! 

The company is called Smooth Viking (seriously, I love that name) and these were found on Amazon here. Each product is around $16 and contains all kinds of great things for skin, argan oil, almond oil, shea butter. Ingredients you can pronounce and actually know what they are. I use varying forms of these on a daily basis!

He said that the balm was great for when he wanted it to be a little more "flat" and not as poofy. With the weather being so muggy here lately, it was sticking straight out and this helped alleviate that. It tamed it like an anti-frizz girls hair product. 

The conditioner was an improvement for both of us because he kept using my curly hair conditioner on his beard which made me a little (lot) crazy.

The only one he wasn't crazy about was the oil, but I think that has more to do with his hair type than the actual product. He actually liked it but it took a long time to get it back out for him. His hair tends to get greasy fast and I think the combination just didn't work well with his hair. 

They all smelled like, well, men's products so that's a good thing. If something smells slightly feminine, he's done and he said he liked the masculine, but not overpowering smell of these products. 



Vegetarian Challenge

Rebekah Borucki, or more commonly known as BexLife on her site and YouTube channel, and Danielle Diamond of Xen Strength decided to put together a Vegetarian challenge and I, for some reason, decided to try it.

I had started noticing that a lot of foods were triggering my weird pain condition, but I wasn't always sure which ones. My boyfriend was a bit more observant and realized gluten was a big trigger to me just generally feeling like crap. I cut that mostly out but still had it a bit but it was almost always consumed with meat as well.

So onto this challenge. There is a bit more to it than just eating a vegetarian diet. Actually, not even everyone in the challenge, myself included, has strictly eaten vegetarian. I have mostly been consuming a vegetarian diet, but often have had meat (fish mostly) once a day due to limited options and not feeling like cooking separate meals. The last couple of weeks however, I have stuck to it more diligently and can absolutely tell a difference in how I feel, my pain, headaches, stomach issues, and even my skin.

I'm still eating yummy, super filling foods that taste great. It's taken some time to navigate it all, and I'm tearing up cookbooks and websites finding yummy recipes. But I've also taken a bigger notice of where my food is coming from and the impacts on the world. It makes me happy.





Thursday, April 30, 2015

Dead Sea Mud Mask review



I look crazy in this pic (like my Bondi Band?) But this is what the Dead Sea Mud Mask looks like on my skin. Not too thick or chunky, and goes on easily. You really only need small amount. I have tried putting it on thicker, but it honestly didn't make a difference to me.  Warning: It's cold at first! But refreshing. It does have a smell but it's not bad and didn't cause any discomfort for me. My normal acne mask smells way worse ha! 


I should have taken an after picture, but as you can see, I'm terrible at selfies so I didn't. My skin felt smoother, softer, and some of my visible scars looked diminished. I asked my boyfriend if he could tell a difference (he's brutally honest, and he works in film so I usually get a good opinion) and he agreed that skin felt softer and looked clearer. I've been using it about once a week and I love the way my skin feels and look afterwards. I do tend to wash my face first, just with water, and then use the mask but I've also used it after using my acne face wash and love the combination of the two. 

I love mud masks, and have used clay masks before and this works better I think! It also helps control oil buildup on my T-zone. It also has 1200 4.5 star reviews on amazon and at $25, is reasonably priced as well! 

I received this product in exchange for my honest review. It has become a staple in my skin care routine and I will absolutely buy it again.




Cassey Ho's Hot Body Year-Round Book!

My workout journey began because I just felt blah. I remembered how much I loved the team workouts when I played volleyball in high school so I talked to my boyfriend who encouraged me with weights.

Around this time, I also found Cassey Ho, or better known as, Blogilates. I've loved yoga and pilates based workouts for a while, courtesy of Kristen McGee, so I was interested in these crazy workouts I saw all over You Tube and online in various other social media places. They are tough sometimes, but so fun and they work! So when I saw that Cassey's book had come out, I was super curious. And while I haven't done her Blogilates workouts in a while, I still love them and have been slowly trying to incorporate them back into my workouts. (I have a favorite here!) The biggest changes I have had in my body have been with her videos.

Image from hotbodybook.com
Cassey's book starts off with some background information about her. Her family, how she started Pilates, and how she started teaching it. A section on Getting Started regarding foods, fitness, motivation, a calendar for how to pair workouts, and some recipes.
NOTE: I've made some of her recipes from her website in the past, and some of these look really good!

The rest of the book goes through four seasons, starting with Spring. Each section has an introduction workouts, in season grocery lists, and more recipes with a meal plan. And the workout pictures? Are freaking beautiful! Each one fits the season with winter having an all white background (looks like salt flats, I have no idea) and Cassey in bright blue. So pretty!

Overall, I think a lot of people would love this book! If you are afraid of the gym, or group classes, or simply don't know where to start, I think it would be a great place to start. If you aren't sure how to properly do an exercise based on the pictures, hit up her YouTube channel, and find something that relates and see if it's there, or if you can't do an exercise, use it to find something comparable.

While I enjoy lifting, I definitely plan on incorporating her workouts as well and I regularly keep some older favorites in my queue for days when I want to do Pilates (her version is fun!) I forgot how much I loved doing them! Go get this book!

I received this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for my honest opinion.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Radha Argan Oil

I first heard about Argan oil when I received some as a free with purchase in an order from Sephora. My skin is kind of sensitive to some moisturizers (mostly it makes my chin breakout) so I was interested in trying something more natural on my skin and let's face it, chemicals are bad for you anyway.

So I was excited when I heard about Radha Argan Oil. Plus, I mean it comes in a really pretty cobalt blue bottle. I'm a sucker for things that are blue. (My nails matched on coincidence, my blue obsession is serious business you guys).

This is what the dropper and liquid look like. It doesn't have much of a smell, and the color is a barely there yellow. It comes with a normal screw on lid, and the dropper is in the box which also screws on.


I have tried other Argan oil products and loved them, so when the opportunity to review this one came up, I had to review it. I absolutely love this stuff! Most moisturizers break my face out, but this stuff doesn't at all and my face feels, and looks, so much better. 

I've been using it twice daily for a few weeks on my face. 

When I have hair flyaways, I put a drop or two on my palm, rub my hands together and lightly put it in my hair and they go away! 

Friday, April 3, 2015

Lighten up, y'all Review and Giveaway

Healthy. Southern. Food.

My boyfriend and I are both primarily Southerners so when this book came up, I knew it might be hit or miss because, honestly, Southern food seems to neeeeed the fattening, crazy ingredients. Thankfully, it was such a hit that we ate everything before I could grab pics!  This was also my first time cooking eggplant and everyone loved it.

Lighten up, y'all is a perfect book for Southerners who need to make their Southern recipes a bit healthier. Some can't be changed, I know, but some can and this book definitely proves it for me! Or if you just want to try some new, different, healthy recipes.

We made Eggplant Asian Stir fry and Peach Basil chicken. So good. We all devoured it and my son even requested the chicken as leftovers the next day (this rarely, if ever happens with anything but pasta for him).

The recipes were easy I felt like she knew what I was thinking while trying to prepare some of this. Especially the eggplant. I have literally, never purchased an eggplant before. I had no idea what in the world to do with this odd colored fruit/vegetable. Thankfully, Virginia explained it all perfectly so I couldn't screw it up. We all ate it and thought of ways to incorporate it into other meals. It would seriously be perfect in my chicken fried rice dish.

My 12 year old also went through the book and bookmarked a ton of recipes he wants to try. Some are very different and I love that he's interested in these. The pictures are also perfect (I mean, look at that dish in the pic?)

Also, I received two copies of the book; one to keep and one to give away. So what is your favorite Southern recipe? I'll randomly draw a winner from here, or instagram, and twitter.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Valentia Even Glow Serum Review!

I was given the opportunity to try out Valentia Even Glow Serum and here is my review! The product comes in a copper color, glass bottle with a dropper lid. It's 20% Vitamin C and due to this, is a great antioxidant driven treatment for skin.

I used it primarily on my neck, and d├ęcolletage area. My face is sensitive to Vitamin C apparently (though I had never tried it previously on my face, I found out the hard way...should have known better since I have problems drinking orange juice as well). It did however do great on the areas I did continue use on. The skin on my neck lost some of the visible lines, and my d├ęcolletage area lost some of the remnants of being out in the sun too much as a kid without sunscreen. The skin also feels tighter and less rough which is an A+ in my book!

Though I have only used this product for a month, I would highly recommend this to other people who want to get rid of signs of aging. It does smell a bit like orange juice, which I didn't mind and my boyfriend actually thought it smelled amazing (go figure).

For more information, go to the Valentia website here! When you purchase it, they also include some great "recipes" for skincare that I really liked.

All opinions are my own though I was given the product for free in exchange for my review.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

MealEnders Review and giveaway

My habit is not gum, or smoking, it's my addiction to Lifesavers mints and Dr Pepper. I normally keep a ready stock of the mints with me everywhere. It's a bad habit to keep me from drinking soft drinks that doesn't always work.

So when Fit Approach gave some of us the opportunity to try MealEnders,  an appetite curbing lozenge, I was skeptical but definitely intrigued! I'm a snacker and if something could help me stop, then I was all for it. (Plus, it's slightly embarrassing having a 3 pound bag of Lifesavers mints around...)

The flavors for these are Citrus, Mocha, Chocolate Mint, and Cinnamon. What makes these different than the other products I've seen to curb cravings is that these are actually really satisfying! The outer layer is one of the above mentioned flavors (and even though I don't like citrus flavored things normally, this one is pretty good!) and the inside layer is more of a cooling mint flavor that makes your mouth just feel done with your meal, and diminishes the craving in almost the way toothpaste does.



Each packet contains 25 lozenges. The image below is of the cinnamon one, which I think tastes kinda like a snickerdoodle. I'm really sensitives to artificial sweeteners and was pleased to see none in these! Each piece is 15 calories, with 2 grams of sugar. I keep a handful in my purse for when I'm on the go and a Sonic milkshake is calling my name.



They have definitely helped me curbing my appetite. Instead of reaching for cookies, or stealing my son's granola bars when a chocolate craving hits, I grab one of these and it's gone. I also like these for after dinner to keep me from eating a second helping of something I really don't even want. 

Leave a comment below telling me why you'd like to try this out and one winner will get a chance to try out all 4 flavors! Or, tell me what flavor you think sounds the best. 

Soul Food Love cookbook

I'm learning to cook. I know how weird that sounds when I'm in my 30's but...yeah. I'm learning! Ha ha. So I've been eating up cookbooks to review when I can. First was SkinnyTaste, which was great and we found a few regulars in the book.

My boyfriend and I both grew up in the South; he in Kentucky, me primarily Texas and a few years in Georgia, so our food tastes are very random. He does love Soul Food though so when this book came up, I had to snatch it up!



The recipes are beautiful, easy to do, and don't require weird ingredients that I've never heard of and can't find in a regular grocery store. Though living in the hometown of Whole Foods, it's pretty easy to find special ingredients.

But what is most amazing about this book, is the long family history in the beginning of this family of women, their cooking, their impacts on their culture, their lives. The beautiful family pictures and stories of four generations of Black women were amazing.

The recipes, their whole purpose is to be a healthier version of Soul Food that are organized into the following categories:

Sips and Bites
Soups
Main Dishes
Sides and Salads
Desserts
Crowns
For a Crowd

For dinner, we decided to make the spicy hot chicken. I had never, ever, ever made a whole chicken before this. My version of a whole chicken was an already seasoned, and cooked, whole chicken from the grocery store deli. (We did add red pepper flakes because we are insane, and we cooked two chickens for this instance).

Super yummy with tons of flavor and perfectly crispy skin. All of us loved it, even the 12 year old. 


Granted, there were some that seemed repetitive, especially in the sips but the entrees and veggies were great! I have a few I plan on making, especially the broccoli with peanuts and raisins, and fiery green beans. Those are on the menu for this week.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

hyperbiotics probiotic review

As promised, here is the hyperbiotics probiotic review. I take a few medications, vitamins, and supplements to deal with my weird knee issue. So a probiotic becomes necessary for me so that my stomach doesn't hate me!

Per the Mayo Clinic:
Although more research is needed, there's encouraging evidence that probiotics may help:
  • Treat diarrhea, especially following treatment with certain antibiotics
  • Prevent and treat vaginal yeast infections and urinary tract infections
  • Treat irritable bowel syndrome
  • Speed treatment of certain intestinal infections
  • Prevent or reduce the severity of colds and flu
My doctor did see this supplement and even agreed that it looked great and would be beneficial in taking in conjunction with my medication for my knee. A lot of medications do cause stomach irritation because they throw healthy bacteria out of whack. And if you are lactose intolerant, which is typically where you would get the healthy bacteria from, a probiotic is definitely beneficial! 


I haven't had any side effects when taking it. I did introduce both hyperbiotics products about two weeks apart so that I could see how they did separately and make sure one wasn't impacting the other. I now take them together without any ill effects. No weird after taste either!

It is one tablet a day, and below is a picture showing the size. I know a lot of people don't like to take huge vitamins, and this one isn't that large. They are also vegetarian, and gluten and lactose free, both pluses for people with food sensitivities. For more information, go to the hyperbiotics website for the probiotic here.  


Like the hyperbiotics immune formula, I was given this to try in exchange for my honest opinion per Brand Backer.




Tuesday, March 3, 2015

hyperbiotics immune review

I was given the opportunity to try two products by hyperbiotics, the immune formula, and the probiotics. I'm going to start off with the immune formula. 

My immune system isn't great, due to my chronic pain issues, which leads to not sleeping much, which leads to getting sick easily. It's not fun. So I was really excited to try the immune formula. 

I normally get insane colds over the winter that last for weeks and so far this winter (knock on wood) I haven't been knocked down.


I definitely attribute that to this product. I was even in an office full of people with colds, hacking, coughing, fever. I was out one day with the cold and was fine. Normally when I get sick, the people around me are sick for a day or two and I'll be sick for a week or more. 



Size for one dosage compared to a quarter


This formula doesn't have a weird taste. It just has to be stored in a cool, dry place (I keep mine in the freezer). The recommended dosage is two pills once a day, or if you need intense support in the immune area (ahem), twice a day. It also didn't upset my stomach, or give me a headache like some others. 

I would definitely recommend this product, especially for those who are semi-immune compromised, or who are trying to avoid colds in sickness filled offices. For more information, visit their website here

This post was sponsored thanks to Brand Backer. I was given the product to try for a period of time and all opinions are my own. 


Saturday, February 14, 2015

Q&A a Day book

Super cute journal! It's small, with simple, but interesting questions for every day of the year. This version is the 5 year version but they also have ones for kids, 3 year, and a couples one! The questions are geared towards adults but not adult content just things like the question below: How did you get to work today?
I'm obsessed and I just got it a week ago! It's adorable. I wasn't sure what I would think of it based on some reviews that complained about the small size but I think it's perfect. 4 lines are available For each day, and you can start anywhere you like throughout the year. The edges are lined in gold (I did not paint my nails to match, just happened to have painted them gold a couple of days before it arrived). 

It's definitely smaller than a traditional paperback book in height, but about the same in width. The pages are thick so it probably won't bleed through easily. I used a normal ballpoint pen so far with no issue. I'm planning on buying some for gifts this year. Love it!!!!!!!

Friday, January 23, 2015

Skinnytaste recipes review

I was sent this book to try out from a book review blogging program. I got to pick the book and I had been anxious to try this one out. We picked out a few recipes that we all agreed on (yes even the 12 year old). We tried a mixture of a few for a few different dinners and were pleasantly surprised with almost all of them! I was actually most surprised of my kiddo's reactions and would highly recommend this cookbook.

Find the book here:
The Skinnytaste Cookbook: Light on Calories, Big on Flavor



I was able to find a variation of almost all of the recipes we tried on her website as well so here you go!

Roasted Acorn Squash with brown sugar
Pleasantly surprised. The child SWORE he'd hate it. Tried and he was in love with it. He said it tasted like candy. We all enjoyed it immensely and it was soooo easy. The book used maple syrup instead of brown sugar but other than that, not much of a difference.

Roasted Asparagus
The book had a slightly different recipe, adding lemon, which is what we did. We love roasted asparagus.


There are also some sesame green beans from her book that didn't have a comparable replacement on the site. They were delicious!

Creamy Cauliflower
We did use cream cheese instead. It was a recipe we had already been using from her site but we love it. I would eat potatoes with every meal but the other half won't let me so he made some substitutions!

Baked Zucchini Sticks
The kiddo has asked for these almost every day since we made these. We've made them twice and he's in love with them.

Oven Fried Chicken
Similar to the book recipe, we added some extra spices and the book had corn flakes instead of bran flakes and a different initial coating. We added a bit more cayenne, soaked the chicken overnight in buttermilk (per the book) and even my Kentucky born boyfriend approved of it!


As a family, we all really enjoyed these recipes. The boyfriend and I loved the oven fried chicken the most, with the acorn squash being a close second; the child was all about the zucchini fries. There are several other recipes we have marked as a family to try and I can't wait.

I think my favorite thing is that there weren't any odd ingredients. Everything can be found at a normal grocery store and easy to prepare. 

All opinions are my own. I was given the book in exchange for my honest review and opinion but honestly, like most books I review, I chose this one because I already interested in it.