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Human Magpie, JCrew/Anthro Addict, G-Free/Clean Lifestyle & Sparkle Obsessed Fashion/Natural Beauty Blogger at Sparkles & Spinach

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Delran
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NJ
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http://www.sparklesandspinach.com

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Christy Eckert

Christy Eckert

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  • Monday, 15 July 2013 19:34
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  • 21 Aug 2017

    What I'm Loving - August


    Hi Loves!

    It's been quite a summer! Some good, some bad. Mostly bad.... But I'm trying to look towards better days and move forward, not dwelling on the sad/hard times. I'm ok, my family is ok. But we suffered a tremendous loss a few weeks ago and it's been really difficult, to say the least. I wasn't even going to mention it in this post, but I had these grand plans of starting to blog more, doing more reviews, posting more recipes, etc. Losing a loved one really changes things. It knocks you off kilter, makes you see things differently, and start to question everything in your own life. At least it has for me. But I know that I really love my blog and want to put more time into it. So hopefully all of you are still out there reading from time to time!

    While I have had time this summer, I've been trying out some new products, watching some new shows, reading some new books. I wanted to make sure to pop on and share a few of my favs. I know everyone is always looking for the next good Netflix binge and that amazing read to cap off the summer! Throw in a few other products and there's an interesting mashup of summer favorites =)



    What I've been Using...



    I have been on the serious hunt for really good, preferably organic, antiaging skincare. And I've found a few great products that I've really been loving! First up, this oil (shown above) is the first ever oil I've ever been able to put on my skin and not break out! Got it? First Ever! I've tried A LOT of oils and this is one of the best. Prickly Pear Seed oil rates zero on the pore clogging scale and has so many amazing benefits. I initially purchased it to replace an eye cream. I have tried so many eye creams and nothing was working for me. I was starting to get crepe skin that just seemed so parched no matter what I put on it. And lets not even talk about the darker circles that wouldn't go away! But this oil has helped my eye issues so much!!! One drop, seriously, one little drop shared between both under eyes at night has made huge changes.

    The next product is one that is not organic, or even completely clean, but after seeing a Facebook Ad, I was intrigued. Plus I had a credit to use and have been in desperate need of a multi-use cleanser. Let me just tell you, I typically don't like cleansers. I've been using Facial soap for years. I know.... soap on the face, even "facial" soap is supposedly really bad, but I just couldn't part ways. My first love was Osmia Organics soap (I professed my love here) and then I found Skin Owl's matcha beauty bar - my skin loooooooves green tea. Like seriously, loves! And since cleansers always seem to dry me out or break me out, I thought this one would be joining the ranks of the many that haven't worked for my skin.


    So I ordered it, tried it and loved it. I can't even describe how wonderful it is. It's a Korean Skincare brand called Klavuu and it's like a combo of an oil cleanser/foaming cleanser. It's a bit on the pricey side, but a little goes a long way. You only need about a pea sized amount. And just turns into this gorgeous, luxurious, nourishing treat for your face. I've noticed a huge improvement in my skin. It looks brighter (hello pearl!), is more hydrated, and my pores appear a little smaller. I'm currently using it twice a day with my clarisonic. Like I said, the ingredients aren't perfect, but it's not super toxic either. And as long as it's doing my skin good, I'm not so strict on being 100% clean these days.



    What I've been Watching...



    Not only am I a major Netflix bingeaholic, but I also love to watch shows when I'm on the treadmill. I'm usually outside, but on the days that I can't get out - due to rain, heat, or my schedule, I like to prop up my tablet and put on a good show. I've been so into this series called The Night Shift! I watched one episode and I was hooked. The acting isn't super stellar all the time, but it's the perfect workout show. It's fun to watch, keeps my attention and it's 45 minutes. Perfect! Another show I've been loving is Ozark. I know everyone has been buzzing over this one! I'm only 2 episodes in, so I need to catch up a bit before I come across a spoiler!! What's your fav binge-worthy show?!



    What I've been Reading...




    I have to be honest. I haven't read anything that has blown me away this summer. But I have read some decent books. I typically like to sit and read on my tablet while I blow out my hair in the morning. Blowing out my hair is not one of my favorite pastimes and reading while I do makes it a little more bearable! A few fiction books I've finished over the last couple months are - Remember Me this Way by Sabine Durrant, I'm Thinking of Ending Things by Iain Reid, and The Light We Lost by Jill Santopolo. All 3 were just ok for me. The first one I mentioned is the only one that had me wanting to constantly read to find out the twist. But there wasn't really any crazy twist and it was really just a ho hum ending. Don't you hate that? When a book gives so much build up and it feels like there's still so many questions. Or worse, it just drops you flat on your face. I'm currently reading The Sinner, the same book that the new USA limited Series with Jessica Biel is based on. I'm dying to find out what's going to happen. I'm just hoping the ending isn't lame. It's pretty disturbing so far!



    What I can't wait to recommend...


    The last thing I want to mention is this months Popsugar Must-Have box! I absolutely love this month and highly recommend it. It has some great products in it and there's a bit of a birthday theme, which is really fun since my birthday is coming up in September. The contents are a metallic pink journal, a friendship bracelet by Dogeared, some delicious Gluten-free chocolate chip cookies, some glittery birthday candles (which will def be put to good use!), a nourishing face mask by First Aid Beauty, and a really fun serving tray - which you can see in the pic above. Sometimes the box can be hit or miss, but I really loved everything this month!!! You can still grab this specific box, but hurry, they'll run out soon. Use code PARTY for $10 off =)

    So that wraps up the latest products and things I'm loving. I would love to hear what you've been using, reading, watching, etc! Make sure to let me know in the comments!!!


    Christy
    xoxo





    DISCLAIMER: Please note that while this is not a sponsored post, it does contain some affiliate links. Popsugar kindly provided me with a sample box for my review. However, I was not financially compensated and all opinions are my own.
       
  • 12 Jul 2017

    My Newest Hydration Obsession...

    Hi Babes! Wow.... I seriously can't believe my last post was in November!!!! That's crazy. Between the holidays and catching up after, time just flew by. I actually meant to get organized to start actively blogging again after the New Year, and then a difficult family situation came up and we've been going through such a hard time since then. All the days and weeks kind of run together, and I have just had what feels like zero time to sit down and write.

    But I'm so happy I'm finally easing back into a schedule, because I have the most amazing water to tell you about. I know what you're thinking.... "Water? C'mon Christy, it's water, how amazing can it really be??" Am I right? Well this type of water was new to me and I love it! A few weeks ago I was so lucky to receive some Essence PH10 water to try out. If you're not familiar with Essence PH10, here's some info in a nutshell:




    "Essence pH10 is a premium alkaline water that contains 10% of the daily recommended allowance of calcium, magnesium, and zinc acetate. Additionally, we add organic hibiscus making this the only nutritional water on the market. This patented formula is designed to produce a sustainable pH10 that helps to restore the bodies pH balance. Essence pH10 is 100% sodium free."

    I was immediately intrigued! Knowing all the benefits of an Alkaline diet, I was stoked to finally try some Alkaline water!!! I have to be honest, I didn't try it for a few days. You see, one of the key things is that Alkaline water can disrupt the stomach acid which is what your body uses to digest food. Because of this, you shouldn't drink it less than 30 minutes before and/or up to 2.5 hours after meals. I kept forgetting to try it during some windows of time. Then I ended up getting a stomach virus and was beyond sick. I was struggling to keep anything down and my stomach just felt so acidic with nothing in it. Then I remembered my Alkaline water and decided to give that a go. Within a couple hours I was able to keep some liquids down and started to feel much better. I attribute this to the water neutralizing all the nasties in my gut! That's not medical advice - just my little two cents ; )

    I also recently tried it on a long, 5 miles of Sprint Intervals and it was perfect! It didn't run right through me like regular water seems to do and I felt really really hydrated. I also love that the Hibiscus (which is tasteless by the way) helps to neutralize free radicals. Win! 

    This water is amazing, and after just getting back into my workout routine, I'm so excited to have it to properly hydrate. I really feel like it's going to help me step up my game!!! So after hearing all the fantastic benefits of Essence PH10, how would you like a chance to win some of your own?! Essence PH10 will be giving one lucky winner a whole case of Alkaline water to try! 

    For your chance to win, simply leave a blog comment below telling me why you would love to win your own case of Essence Ph10 & what activities you think it would help you hydrate for, then go through the Gleam widget and enter your info! This MUST be done or I will not be able to include you in the drawing- there's also opportunity for extra entries! And don't forget to check them out on their website, twitter, facebook, and Instagram  - sorry, this giveaway is available to US residents only


    Essence PH10 Giveaway


    Christy

    xoxo





    DISCLAIMER: While a product sample was provided to me for my honest review, I was not financially compensated in any way. All opinions are honest and are my own.
       
  • 12 Jul 2017

    Why You need a Food Scale - A Review


    Hi Lovelies! I can't believe it's almost July already! With the hot weather, I've amped up my health & fitness routine to prep for shorts. Part of that is continuing to do BBG, but the other part has been really fine-tuning my eating even more with a food scale. I already track my macros, but I know that if you're already on top your food consumption (meaning calorie amounts, macros, and such) and not losing fat, your serving sizes can be more than you realize. If you tend to eyeball like me, you can really underestimate how much you might be eating. This can make a HUGE difference! I know with myself, if I'm not on point with my meals and staying on top of sugar and grain-based carbs especially, the weight can start creeping up again. 

    So that's where this nifty little food scale by EatSmart comes in to play. You can choose to weigh food in ounces or pounds, and you can also weigh food on a plate or in a bowl, without the weight of the container effecting what is shown. I've been using it daily for the last couple of months, and it has helped me tremendously. I was absolutely eating more than 1 serving amount of food and without a doubt it was effecting my results. Case in point, I've been eyeballing pistachio servings lately. But today, since I'm really cutting again, I decided to break out my scale. Whoooooooaaaaa!!! I was eating at least twice the serving size of pistachios because I was using the cup amount on the nutritional info. Yikes! That just goes to show that it's easy to get comfortable with feeling like you "just know" a serving size, and also why Intuitive Eating doesn't always work for everyone. 

    This scale is a great price point as well. If you've been struggling with fat loss and clean eating with a good fitness routine in place, I highly recommend giving this food scale a try! It might just be the missing piece to the puzzle that you need. Ps - It's also on super sale right now on Amazon!!!

    Make sure to check out EatSmart on their Social Media channels. They make some other really neat gadgets!



    Check back soon to find out who makes my most favorite protein ever!!! 


    Christy
    xoxo




    ** while I received no financial compensation for this post, I was provided a scale in return for my honest review.
       
  • 7 Mar 2017

    My Thoughts on Protein Powders - A Review

    Hi Loves! Happy Friday!!! The weekend is almost here! I've been really enjoying my weekends this summer and have been devoting a lot of my time to fitness, spending quality time with my family, and relaxing. I'm not one for hot weather, so that's been my agenda lately. So I posted recently about a protein powder I've been using and I wanted to post a follow-up. I'm typically not a huge fan of protein powders, as I usually have some issues digesting them. But they are super convenient and when you aren't great at getting protein in (heeeeyyy), they can make an amazing snack option. Since my last post I've been using Bob's Red Mill Protein Boosters almost every day and I really like them! As I had also mentioned in my Hormone post a couple weeks ago, I was going to try carb cycling. Well I did try it and I started that day!!! I just decided to take the plunge and jump right in, and I'm so glad I did. What does this protein powder have to do with my carb cycling? I'm not sure it would be working for me without them. Read on....

    I'm sure you're wondering.... "Well is it working so far? Did you lose any weight?!" And the answer is yes. Carb Cycling has absolutely been working for me. I'm still tweaking and playing around with the rotation of days, as well as percentage of macros on said days - but I'm happy to say that I've lost 6lbs since my post almost 3 weeks ago. Which might not seem like a lot to most people, but for someone like me that's been struggling major hormonal issues, and not been able to drop so much as a pound in several months, it's a pretty big deal.

    And like I said before, this way of eating would be pretty difficult without a protein powder. I currently get my shake ready in the morning and bring it in a shaker bottle to work. It's my mid-morning snack and I would really struggle without it! It's especially perfect for my higher carb days. And it's especially delicious with a little PB Fit added in for an extra shot of protein & flavor =)



    So what have I been doing with it? I have no crazy complicated recipes. Some of my favorite ways to use it are in overnight oats, chia protein pudding, adding fruit like cherries, kiwi, peaches etc, and adjusting the thickness to make my ultimate favorite - protein pudding! I just get creative playing around with flavor combo's - vanilla pb&j anyone?

    One thing to keep in mind, this is a slightly higher carb protein powder. It's not bad in the sense that if you drink it on it's own (it's one of the few I've tried that actually tastes great with only filtered water), but that if you add fruit in the mix, it will most certainly make that carb & sugar amount increase.But the amounts of macros in this powder does make it a good option for a pretty balanced meal replacement - just on it's own! Chocolate is still my favorite out of all of them, with Vanilla being a close second.

    I did try baking with the protein, but I find that it's difficult to completely replace a flour with the protein, so I just add some to it until I get the batter texture I prefer. I'm so thankful to Bob's Red Mill for sending me that amazing package and allowing me to try it. I'll most definitely continue to purchase my favorite chocolate flavor so that I can keep making my protein pudding post workout snacks =)

    Ps - stop by my Instagram - I'm doing a Flash Giveaway where you can win 1 bag of protein. But hurry, there's just a few hours left!!! ps - snag a coupon here!

    Enjoy your weekend, babes!!!!

       
  • 7 Mar 2017

    Bob's Red Mill Protein Powders - A Review!

    Hi Babes! It's Friday!!!!!! I'm so happy the weekend is almost here. I've been really kicking up my workouts this week and with being so busy at work, and the heat, I'm ready for some relaxation. As I had mentioned in my last post, I was getting ready to try Carb Cycling! And I actually did just take the leap that day! There really was no reason for me to wait. So I just jumped in. But there's one reason I was successful without any prep work ahead of time.

    A couple weeks ago I received this AMAZING package from Bob's Red Mill. If you're not familiar with them, they're a company that sells various baking mixes, flours, gluten-free oats and such. I buy a lot of my ingredients from them. Mainly Almond Flour, Coconut Flour, Arrowroot, and the like. I trust all of their products and love them already. So I was seriously stoked to get this package. What did it contain you wonder? Behold.....



    Bob's Red Mill recently launched their own protein powders! And I love them. As you can see, they sent a package with all of the flavors for me to try!! I've been concocting all kinds of creations the last couple of weeks. And making shakes is what has really gotten me through these last few days. Carb Cycling is fantastic by the way. I love it and will get into more detail about it in a future post. But having a good protein on hand is definitely a necessity. I wasn't always one for powders. I have a hard time digesting some and there's always a couple ingredients in there that I'm not fond of. But these powders are great!

    They're not only Vegan, but Soy-Free, and Gluten-free as well ( all a must for me). They also boast 20g of plant-based protein, as well as 11g of Fiber, probiotics, omega-3's, and are sweetened with monk fruit. So none of that overpowering Stevia aftertaste. Not that I mind Stevia in small amounts. I just can't do too much or I get headaches. I have had no issues with this protein. I love that the ingredients are pretty limited and don't get too crazy with something I might have a reaction to. The only gripes I have iare that it's a teensy bit pricey at $29.99 retail for a 10 serving bag. But I suppose that if you consider that it has probiotics and fiber, that might justify it a bit. And it's a big higher on the carb side as well. Which means on my low carb days I add a little to some overnight oats or have a half serving of a shake.

    I do love the flavors, with Chocolate being my favorite! And I also love that there's a flavorless option with added fiber,  if you want to mix it into a smoothie or bake with it without an added flavor in there! Right now my favorite way to enjoy it is by making a protein pudding (just a half a banana, with one scoop of protein, and water or your choice of milk blended to your consistency preference) or the shake below....



    ~ 1 Scoop of Bob's Red Mill Chai Protein Powder
    ~ 1 Cup Filtered Water or Milk of your choice
    ~ 1/2 Banana
    ~ 1 TB Justin's Maple Almond Butter
    ~ Dash of Cinnamon
    ~ 1/4 Tsp Vanilla

    So so good! You could even add coconut water to this! I love that when I need an extra boost after a workout. Protein + Coconut Water is my absolute favorite!!!

    Make sure to check out the website to look over all the flavors and click here for a coupon! Check back soon, as I'll be posting some more recipes and doing a giveaway as well. Happy Weekend, Babes!




    DISCLAIMER: the above post is a sponsored post. However, all opinions are my own. I did received product and a small compensation for my honest review. 
       
  • 28 Nov 2016

    What I'm Loving - The FasciaBlaster Part 1

    Happy Friday Babes! Whether you stumbled on my page from reading your blogroll, came here on a google search, or saw my latest pic on Instagram and just had to know what the little gizmo I posted was..... I'm about to let you in on one of the most amazing self-care secrets I have ever come across. Having gone to Holistic Nutrition School and being a fitness addict, it's no secret that I'm HUGE into self-care. Not that I don't love getting a massage here or a facial there, but I'm all for having the opportunity to do treatments in my own home and on my own terms - with some guidance from an expert of course ; )

    A couple months ago I was perusing Facebook and I kept seeing these videos pop up on my feed. I don't normally love the whole sponsored post thing, but it can be great when you come across someone that you might not have seen otherwise. The video that popped up was by Ashley Black, and it was her demonstrating her FasciaBlaster. Fasciawhatta??? I know.... Unless you're in bodywork, physical therapy, or in the medical field, you might not know that term. Even knowing as much about health as I do, I sure didn't. And being the curious little health nerd that I am, I had to know.....  What exactly is Fascia? I clicked on the video and was immediately sucked in. I watched video after video and was just blown away in general and by Ashley overall. She's a pretty damn amazing human! Here are just a few of the benefits of the FasciaBlaster:


    - Reduce the appearance of cellulite
    - Restore your fascia
    - Break down fat cells (spot reduction!!!)
    - Improve muscle performance
    - Reduce scar tissue
    - Reduce pain & inflammation
    - Accelerate muscle recovery & performance
    - Improve circulation



    Check out her video to learn more about her and Fascia...




    So now that you know a little more about Fascia, you can probably see why someone like me - a person with a background in healthy living and a fitness freak that loves to work out 5-6 days a week, might be interested. I have struggled with various muscular injuries (which I now believe are indeed fascia related) and last year my skin started getting really dimply. Since working out on a pretty regimented training schedule for the last year, it has since decreased a bit. But I would love to remedy it, and most important, remain injury and pain free!

    I was lucky enough to hear back from Ashley on Facebook after reaching out and we messaged back and forth a bit. She sent me videos and lots of information. Having used a foam roller for recovery, I found the video below pretty interesting...



    So after chatting with Ashley, she was so generous to send me a FasciaBlaster to try out! I have used it twice since I've gotten it and did see a slight difference after the first use. I do have some bruising, but not as bad as I thought. This is normal by the way. All I can say is that I think I have a lot of Fascia that needs to be broken down!  I'm so excited to see where I am after a month of use. This will definitely become a part of my regular self-care routine. BBG Babes, you need this!!! Make sure you stop back next week to see my before pic and my first results after a few uses!

    ps - Make sure to check out Ashley's Facebook page! She posts lots of excellent information and tons of amazing videos!

    UPDATE: To see what I think about the FasciaBlaster over a year later, check out my latest post HERE 




    DISCLAIMER: I was not compensated for the above review financially in any way. I was, however, provided product for sample purposes to review as stated. This did not influence my review in any way. All opinions are my own.
       
  • 22 Nov 2016

    My thoughts on the FasciaBlaster - Part 2

     photo 6F72A6F1-4FCC-45BF-A29A-D5762F536228.jpeg

    Quite a while ago I had written a post about my experience with the FasciaBlaster. With every intention of writing a follow-up post, time obviously got away from me, and I never ended up doing so. But after many emails peppered with questions, and requests to post my latest thoughts.... here I am. I can't believe it's been well over a year since I started blasting, but it has! And while I don't have the earth shattering results that some others have, that's due to my own lack of effort to blast regularly. I currently only use my FasciaBlaster about once per week, because it is a little time consuming and labor-intensive. But it does work!!! Here are my thoughts broken down.....

    Usage & Tips...

    - You absolutely WILL bruise and it most likely will be uncomfortable. Go on Ashley Black's YouTube and watch as many videos and tutorials as possible to prep yourself on methods, reasoning, and pain/bruising expectation. I will say that I still bruise occasionally now, but it definitely does improve and I'm sure if I used the FB as much as I would like, I wouldn't bruise at all. 

    - The pain also gets better. When you have all that gravely fascia under the skin, it doesn't feel so nice to break it up. Just go easy per Ashely's recommendations and be patient. I won't say that it feels good at this point, though some areas do and some areas are still sensitive (helloooo calves!) - but the pain will decrease over time as well. 

    - Make time to use the FB and schedule it in. I think if I did this, I would use it more regularly and have more pronounced results. I personally prefer to use it in the shower with Body Wash. It gives a better slip. But it's like an upper body workout and being that I would typically blast after a workout session, it can be really tiring. I've started using a towel and sitting on my floor with some oil and though I feel like this isn't as good of a Blast, I do feel like it's a bit easier to work in sections and I can take my time.



    What I've used it with...


     photo sheamoistureoliveandgreentea.jpg

    - I've used a body oil by Shea Moisture. They make several and you can pick it up at Target. But I ultimately switched because the smell was a bit too strong for me.



     photo 24-oz-energizing-body-wash.jpg

    - I love to use Acure Organics Energizing body wash in the shower. It has some amazing ingredients for your skin, it's not filled with hormone-disrupting chemicals, and it works really well! Plus it smells a little like dessert!! And now they make a large bottle - LOVE!



     photo jojobaandcoffee.jpg

    - Now when I blast outside of the shower, I love Desert Essence Organic Jojoba & Coffee Oil. This stuff is AMAZING! It works so well for blasting, it has some great ingredients, and the scent is soooo good. Plus, I was hoping that maybe the coffee would provide some tightening effects. I highly recommend this one. It's not a giant bottle, but you can pick it up online, often with a discount.


    My Final Thoughts...

    So you're probably wondering if I feel that the FasciaBlaster is worth $89? The short answer -  Yes... ABSOLUTELY. I think it's worth every penny and then some. It has tightened up my skin, improved some dimply areas, and has helped the fat pockets above my knees that I loathe. It also helps with recovery after my strenuous workouts (I train 6 days per week). I'm not nearly as sore when I use it after a tough leg day. Oh, and my Achilles Tendonitis that I developed last year? Thanks to the FB & a new pair of Brooks Ghost 8's, GONE! 

    I receive no compensation for this post or any orders placed through a single link on this site. I would only ever recommend a product that I truly believe in. I've seen the results on myself, and also on many photo's shared on Ashley's Facebook group. It's truly amazing how this invention of hers works and it has helped so many people - myself included. 

    ps - I may have heard through the grapevine that there's a super Black Friday sale coming up that includes a FaceBlaster with purchase of a glossy black FasciaBlaster (until supplies last)! Jump on it!!! I haven't been lucky enough to try to the FaceBlaster, but let me tell you.... I've seen photo's shared directly from the individuals using it, and also videos and the results are phenomenal!

    Hopefully I'll feel brave enough to share some before & after photo's in the future! Until then, keep the questions, comments, and emails coming! Happy Blasting!!!


    DISCLAIMER: I was not compensated for this post in any way. All links provided are not affiliate links. All opinions are my own and I was not financially influenced.
       
  • 6 Sep 2016

    Birthday Wishlist/Fall Must-Haves ...

    Happy Tuesday, Babes! I hope you all enjoyed the long weekend! My boy is starting 7th grade today and it's bittersweet. It's really a wonderful thing to watch your "baby" grow up into a young adult. They have their own beliefs, start to show independence (which can be a total PIA sometimes!), and the values that you raised them with really start to show. I just can't believe how quickly the time flies by. If you're reading this after you just dropped your little's off for the day, enjoy it and give them a big hug when they get home. Relish that time, because they'll be in Middle School before you know it! =)

    Another thing that the end of the long weekend and start of school signifies is Fall. Ahhhhh, Fall, sweet Fall. My favorite time of year. The time for sweaters, boots, crunchy leaves, and too many PSL's to count! Yes, I know I'm supposed to be a "health nut", but we all have our vices right?! And along with Fall comes my birthday. The day I love to hate. The reminder that my time is flying by as well, and the reality of aging sets in. I'd be lying if I said that isn't a struggle at times. No one likes to look old - especially women! But my commitment to living a Healthy Lifestyle truly helps me with this hurdle. And it makes me better able to appreciate that I get another year on this amazing earth, rather than focusing on vanity.

    I've obviously already started bookmarking some of my favorite Fall Must-Haves a few weeks ago. But it really kicks into high gear around this time. When I have my Birthday on my mind and it's the one day I allow myself to be a little bit spoiled. So..... I had to put together a list for you of some of my favorite finds. All the items I already have or hope to be scooping up for the season very very soon. Ahem.... Husband, are you reading this?! ; )

     photo bday3.jpg

    My first grouping contains this amazing High/Low Sweater I found on Super Sale at Nordstrom! I love a really loose fitting, slouchy sweater that isn't too thick. I actually picked this one up in both grey and the oatmeal color. I haven't gotten them yet, but I'm crossing my fingers that they're flattering!

    I also had to include a few pieces from Madewell that I already own and love. I think they're the perfect everyday pieces for your collection, and at a great price point as well. These bar earrings are edgy, but simple at the same time. I love to add mine with a tiny earring in my second hole, or to just wear them alone. And these little gemline studs are adorable and so chic. They're like a mini ear crawler. Just enough for someone to notice that they're a little different, but without the commitment of a larger, edgier earring. And the ensign necklace, one of my most loved pieces of jewelry that I own. I got this necklace last year and I've worn it 80% of the time since. I actually just grabbed a back up during this past weekends sale, since I don't know what I would do if I ever lost it!

     photo bday2.jpg
    Here are a few casual tops that I'm hoping to add to my fall wardrobe. I like to keep it simple, but I like to have a little something going on with what I wear. Some little detail that makes it a little different than a plain top. Like this Thermal shirt in a camo print. I absolutely love Camo. Like leopard, it's the perfect neutral. And I can't wait to try out one of this season's fav trends, the cold shoulder top. Aerie actually has them for only $29! Even better if you grab during a sale. And this super cozy cardi, also from Aerie,  is top on my list.


     photo bday1.jpg

    And I saved the best for last. These are 3 items that I'm so in love with. I bought a parka from American Eagle a few years ago and I loved it so much, it's starting to get a little ratty. It's definitely time for a replacement. This one from Abercrombie fits the bill and is actually even a bit nicer, and heavier than my own. Abercrombie also has this Butterfly sweater, and being that I'm a sucker for Intarsia, I fell in lust with it immediately. It would be the perfect pop of color to my work wardrobe! And my most favorite item, something I've been coveting for a while now..... This bag from Duluth Trading is my most wanted Fall item. A couple years ago I reviewed another bag from Duluth (that I still wear daily by the way), and it's holding up so well. I always get compliments on it. And while I'm not the biggest fan of wearing a lot of leather, this is a lifetime leather bag. Which means it will get better with age! And if you're like me, if you find something you love, you'll wear it to death - which means less to buy, and less waste. I'm absolutely head over heels for this color. It's perfection!!!

    So that wraps up my latest round up of fav's. I hope to be updating you in a couple weeks with possible reviews of a couple of these products!





    DISCLAIMER: while this is not a sponsored post, this post does contain some affiliate links. No product is influenced by the links, they are featured because of my own personal preference. 
       
  • 24 Aug 2016

    What I'm Loving Wednesday

    Hey Babes! I haven't done one of these posts in a while and since there's so many products that I've been buying and trying, I thought it was time to do a new round up of my current fav's. So here we go.....


    At the very top of my list is a product I've been dying to try! I actually just received it the other day, but it's already a favorite. The product is Eye+ by SkinOwl. Why do I love this product? Well where do I start?! Lucky enough, I don't have a ton of wrinkles around my eyes just yet. There's some thin skin, a bit of crepe skin going on, and some very fine feathery lines in my undereye. I did have dark circles, but a recent discovery is that this was due to a minor food allergy. A quick little tidbit of info for you.... If you have itching in the corner of your inner eyes, and/or a blue or purple tinge under your eyes (also known as allergic shiners), chances are you're consuming something causing you major inflammation. In my case, peanuts. Do I have a peanut allergy? Not that I'm aware of. But I definitely have some kind of issue with them. After eliminating them from my diet, the shiners disappeared. So on to why I love this product. It's cooling and so soothing to your eyes. It just feels so nice going on. Like a little mini spa treatment. And it depuffs/tightens almost immediately. My skin is already starting to look so much better, after just a few days of use. I did notice that I don't like the way my concealer sits on top of it, due to the tightening effect. But this is easily solved by applying the Eye+ first, and then using my daily daytime moisturizer a few minutes later! I'm absolutely dying to try Neck+. It's top on my Must-Try list!!!

    Which brings me to my next find....



    Andalou Naturals is one of my favorite green beauty brands. Not only are the ingredients really good, but it's one of the few lines that has a few products that my skin can tolerate. But it's priced really well! I've been using this Acai + White Tea Oil-Free Moisturizer with no breakouts at all, for a couple months now. It works great as a primer and doesn't make my skin exceptionally oily throughout the day like most creams tend to do! It's also full of antioxidants like acai, white tea, and other fruit extracts, which help to fight free radical damage throughout the day. It doesn't do much for me as far as the hairline wrinkles across my forehead. You would need something a little stronger for that. But as far as keeping my skin hydrated, protected, and prepped for makeup - it fits the bill perfectly.


    Another Andalou product that I've been using for a while and love, is the Purple Carrot + C Luminous night cream. This cream is amazing during the winter months. It is so nourishing, brightening, and doesn't break me out at all. Which is not easy to find, let me tell you! There was a period of time that my skin got so bad because every cream I tried either gave me dermatitis, or caused major acne and clogged pores. For a while I wasn't using anything, because nothing would work. I tried this in a discovery kit and lucky for me, it was a winner! It works great alone in the winter months, applied before I go to bed. And during the summer I like to add a bit of Shea Terra Organics Cape Aloe to lighten it up a little. Oh, and it smells really good too! Bonus!!



    Next up are the new Shampoo & Conditioner I've been using. Acure Organics came out with a Straightening line fairly recently. I finally found it on Vitacost and I love it! Acure's hair products tend to dry my finicky hair a bit, so these are not everyday products for me. However, when I feel like my hair needs a change or I'm getting some build up, it works fantastic. Oh and they smell delicious. Like a coconutty, gourmand type scent. I'm currently using them every few days, alternating with my other fav's - Shea Moistures Manuka Shampoo and Kids Mango + Carrot Conditioner. This seems to keep my naturally curly to straight hair moisturized and clean feeling.


    The last product on my list is something I purchased in the beginning of the summer, and have since repurchased! If you're a green beauty user, I'm sure you're no stranger to Schmidt's. I've been using natural deodorant for years and let me tell you.... This is one of the best that I've tried. It works really well and it smells really good. And just a couple months ago, they created a stick form! I use the Bergamot + Lime scent and love it. And I saw that a new scent was released - Rose + Vanilla. I would love to hear from someone that's tried this! I'm not a huge fan of florals, but this sounds like it would smell nice!

    Ps - Here's a major tip for you. All of the items listed here (with the exception of the Acure Straightening products), as well as many items I've featured in the past, are purchased from Pharmaca! They offer 6% cashback through ebates, lots of promo codes almost regularly, and a low free shipping minimum. I buy a lot of green beauty products, personal care, and supplements through them monthly. They're awesome and have exceptional customer service as well! I'm not an affiliate, I've just been using them for so long, that I really love the sales, pricing, and selection =)

    So that's my latest roundup of items. I would love to hear some of your current fav's!!! I'm always adding to my list!





    DISCLAIMER: All items featured above were purchased by me. None are samples and I received no compensation for this post. All opinions are my own and have not been influenced in any way.
       
  • 11 Jul 2016

    My Struggles with Food & Hormones and What I'm doing about it!

    Happy Monday, Babes! I hope you all had a great weekend!!! I certainly did, yet I spent most of it researching and obsessing about food. Yes... Obsessing. Or more accurately, agonizing. As I had mentioned quite a while back, I have been having a major struggle with food vs exercise for quite some time. Last Spring I started taking up jogging and though I'm not the type of jogger that can run for long, extended periods of time, it really started the ball rolling in the deterioration of my hormones. That's not to say running isn't good! I know plenty of people who run on a regular basis, but your nutrition needs to adequately support the lifestyle. Factor in that I was also doing BBG on top of this, and I just wreaked total havoc on my body.



    I already have a delicate hormonal system due to endometriosis and functional ovarian cysts, so my body is extremely sensitive. I'm gotten mixed up in feeling like I need to further cut out entire food groups - I'm already gluten-free and dairy-free (both are musts as I have intolerance and minor allergies to each). Now I'm not saying that lifestyles like Paleo, Vegan, 80/20 etc are bad. Those extremes just didn't work for me long-term. After trying each I would often feel sick at some point because my new lifestyle just wasn't supporting my active workout regimen. Oh, and I don't have a gallbladder. Even more of a challenge and why the diet that worked best for me (Traditional Paleo) ultimately left me with more weight because I couldn't support the fat I was eating.

    Fast forward to today, where I'm still trying so hard to maintain my active lifestyle and even experimenting with weekly weight training, but still feeling like a former shell of myself. I've been on a quest to find the personal eating template that works well for me and also to stop over-training. That's probably going to be a whole other post at some point, but I will say this. I see so many girls over on Instagram that are doing BBG on top of Tone it Up or Lauren Gleisberg daily and maybe it's because they are younger than my old, I mean wise, 35 years.... but I just don't understand how they do it. It's not so much that it can't be done, but how their nutrition is able to optimally support an excessive lifestyle. If you're over 30 and especially approaching your mid 30's and you're doing this, and struggling with digestive issues such as bloating and bathroom problems, feeling fatigued and burnt out, and just feeling depressed and not like yourself.... I suggest you take a long, hard look at your training regimen. It might be too much.

    From a personal standpoint, last year when I was working out excessively (doing 2 programs plus running), that was the beginning of the end of my feeling happy, healthy, and vibrant. I felt great at first and was toning up, losing fat, etc and then all of the sudden, like a train wreck, I put back on so much weight because my body was so stressed out. Now if training a lot works for you, that's fantastic! Consider yourself lucky. It might just be my hormone situations that make it impossible for me to maintain that lifestyle. But if you find yourself in the same boat as me, read on.....

    So what am I doing? I haven't made the leap yet, but after tons and tons of research in addition to the background that I already have (I'm an IIN grad, so I'm not stranger to healthy living), as well as trial and error, I've settled on Carb cycling. There are tons and tons of variations. If you look on Pinterest you can find a bevy of info, but if you go that route, be very careful, it can be overwhelming. A couple choices that I came across were from Dr. Chistianson's Adrenal Reset Program and Chris Powell's programs which you can choose between several cycles and tailor it to your lifestyle. The Adrenal program looked promising, but without reading the book, it looks as though it takes a standpoint of going low to high daily. Whereas Chris Powell's program can be more interchangeable and seems to support a very active lifestyle.

    After a ton of stressing and reading article after article - this one was exceptionally helpful and made everything click for me! I finally feel like I can give this a try. And the fact that I can easily change the amount of days to support whatever workout schedule I might be following, even on a whim, helps reduce my anxiety. Generally a low carb diet is what's recommended for someone with endometriosis, but I went down that road and I think I made things worse. This might work for someone that doesn't workout, but not for someone that's doing cardio, lifting, tabata, and HIIT. I also never took into account that maybe the carbs I was burning off didn't necessarily count as carbs in my body. I can't even imagine how much I was running on empty all those times I amped up my workout.



    So with my current workout schedule and following what that article I linked said, it looks like I'll be following Chris Powell's extreme cycling plan or something pretty close. I'll be started with some of the foods he recommends, even some whole gluten-free grains like oats, long grain brown rice, etc. This has been a no-no for me with my digestion in the past, but I'm going to try it. If it doesn't work, I'm just going to create a Paleo/Cycling hybrid of no-grain carbs most days. And no, I'm not an affiliate! I'm just a woman that wants to be the healthiest I can be for myself and my family, but that's going through quite a struggle. But if my struggle can really help someone else, then that's at least a silver lining right?

    Hopefully I'll be starting this this week. And if I feel good and all goes well, I'll make sure to do some update posts sporadically throughout the next few weeks. Being pretty much back where I started weight-wise has been really depressing. I'm hoping this works well for me! I would love to hear what you've been doing that has worked! Especially if you're in your 30's and/or have hormone based disorders like I do!!!

    Coming Soon....

    ~ My latest Pharmaca haul with some hormone supporting supplements for my endo & cysts
    ~ A review of an amazing new line of protein
    ~ Some of my fav new Clean Beauty products

    Enjoy your Monday, lovelies!!!!