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


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, 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.
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.