Monday, April 30, 2012

Crazy for Coconut Oil

Hi Lovelies! I hope you all had an amazing weekend! This was the first weekend that my Husband didn't have to work in a couple weeks, so we just had a very laid back couple of days. It was so nice to spend some quality time as a family! So I don't know if you've noticed, but quite a few of my recipes use Coconut Oil. About a year ago I switched over after reading about all of the amazing benefits and I absolutely LOVE it! I often use it in place of butter in dessert recipes and I fry eggs in it. So good! Here are some of the other uses...

~ Anti-fungal, anti-microbial, and anti-bacterial
 ~ Great for cuts & bruises
~ Makes an awesome all over body lotion right out of the jar!
~ Perfect for warm oil hair treatments
~ You can even use it to moisturize your face
~ Here are some other Amazing facts

So how do you use it? I fill up a bowl with really hot water and then place a smaller bowl filled with coconut oil into the water, not allowing the water to spill in. This is how I use it to bake! Anything else is straight out of the jar! It really is such a wonder product, I don't know how I ever got by without it. And one jar lasts a really long time!

Recently, I was lucky enough to receive some USDA Organic Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil from a company called Tropical Traditions! They were so generous to send this to me to try and I was not disappointed! This oil had a much more subtle, sweet taste than the oil I had been using. It has a very nice texture as well and tasted really good in my baked goods and chocolate!

The other thing I love about this company is that they don't just sell coconut oil! They also sell deodorant, body products, coconut flour, coconut sugar & coconut cream which is so SO good with fresh fruit! Yum!!!

I highly recommend this company if you are looking to try very reputable coconut products! Make sure to check them out on Facebook & Twitter to stay up to date on any sales they have going on! And on Pinterest, where they post some really delicious recipes & pin natural beauty tips as well!!!

Disclaimer: Tropical Traditions provided me with a free sample of this product to review, and I was under no obligation to review it if I so chose. Nor was I under any obligation to write a positive review or sponsor a product giveaway in return for the free product.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Happy Weekend!!!

It's been a pretty quiet week for me. I don't have much to report! Which I guess can be good & bad ;) I was reading this post by Lia Joy of Life is aMAYESing and thought it was such a nice way to start the weekend! So I thought I would include a few of my favorite inspirations...







And of course I need to include something with Sparkles! So....


Happy Weekend Lovelies!!!


Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Ode to the Maxi

Once the heat turns up, usually during the spring here in NJ, I LIVE in Maxi dresses! Nothing is more comfortable than throwing on a breezy dress and sandals in my opinion. And Maxi's are so easy to change up with accessories! Luckily there are loads of them out already in a great range of styles, prints & prices!!! Here are a few of the maxi's I'm coveting right now...

I love this Mossimo Dress from Target! It comes in 6 colors & at only $20 a pop, it's inexpensive enough to grab a couple!

This Black Vest Maxi from TopShop is fairly inexpensive and is the perfect dress to go from the beach then out to dinner with the right accessories!

The Amie Striped Maxi from J.Crew is adorable & currently on sale! Hold off until the next coupon comes out and snag it for less!

This Sabine Corset Maxi from Piperlime is one of my fav's! This is definitely more of a dressy style, but would be the perfect unique look for a summer wedding or party! Love it!!!

Even better, all of these stores are available for cashback through Ebates! If you're not familiar, Ebates is a secure shopping site where you simply login before you shop, and click through. They also conveniently list any coupons the store has going on as well. I've been using this site, as well as Lucky Rewards (available to Lucky Subscribers only, for years and they are awesome! I do A LOT of my shopping online and let me tell you, it takes 5 seconds, and the cashback really adds up over time!

What do you think of Maxi dresses? Are you a fan? Feel free to post your fav's!!!


Sunday, April 22, 2012

Happy Earth Day!


Earth Day means a lot to me for so many reasons. There's the obvious - we live on this planet and need to take care of it! And then the bevy of other reasons... A few years ago I started to become more interested in many of the products I was using. I started with cosmetics, then went on to skincare, then it was food containers, cleaning products and also food. The information I started coming across via books, magazine articles, internet etc made my head spin! As time has gone on, I've managed to eliminate all chemical containing cosmetics, skincare, cleaning products and most food from my life. I'm not perfect. I still drive an SUV, I still eat the occasional processed junk food and order products online that use TONS of gas to get here, but I'm aware and I try and that's whats important. That's a great start & can have a lot of impact! When I started researching the holistic lifestyle, I became even more enthralled in this parallel universe of healthy products that are available to us everyday and truly make a difference! So in honor of Earth day, I thought I would share a few of my fav products....


I've been making my own detergent for a while, and though I didn't get my original recipe from Sew Much Ado, there is a great recipe there, similar to mine! The amount you'll need per load will vary depending on your preference. Mine ranges from 2 tb - 4 tb for larger loads. You could also add a couple drops of Essential Oils or grate a a bar of Dr. Bronner's and add a little of that! It lasts quite a while and it's much better for your body and the environment!! Ps - even though Borax is harmless on clothing, be careful not to leave this detergent around pets or small children, it is harmful if ingested. And Borax can do major damage if inhaled! This sounds funny, but I hold my breath while scooping and dropping it in... no joke! ;)

Speaking of Dr. Bronner's.... I adore the Liquid Castile Soap! I get mine from my local Target or Wegman's, but sometimes you can find some great deals online as well. This soap has so many uses and comes in a lot of scents! I like to use it as a body wash or when I make DIY eco-friendly cleaning products. I've also heard you can even brush your teeth with the mint, though I haven't attempted that!


I have yet to find a truly pure dishwasher detergent, but for now, this one is really good! Method's Smarty Dish Pellets are eco-friendly & non-toxic and the convenient pellet system keeps me from using too much per load! The "fragrance oils" and colorants might be a concern, as I'm not sure where they're derived from, but it's still a happy medium until I find a good DIY recipe!

I also def recommend that you read these two books! On a cautionary note... Be ready! The info you will read in these books is not for the faint of heart. It's rather terrifying and will make your head spin! Trust me!!! But it's good information that people NEED to know IMO. It's all very scary stuff, but it's the truth, and unfortunately, our reality. But knowledge is power & we can make a difference!

The first rec is the very book that helped me completely change over to an all chem-free beauty regimen! It's my go-to when I'm unsure of an ingredient and now serves as my green beauty dictionary. No More Dirty Looks is an absolute must-have for anyone looking to start weeding chemicals out of their personal care products! There is also a fantastic Blog of the same name, where you can find articles, beauty product rec's, reviews & more! Love it!!!

I also highly recommend Skinny B#$@ch: Home, Beauty, Style. This is a no-nonsense guide to everything under your roof! This book also goes over beauty and tackles furniture, clothing, etc as well.

So that wraps up some of my eco-friendly fav's! Happy Earth Day!!! XOXO

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Weekly Wrapup

I recently jumped back on the fitness train and it's been quite a long week! I'm hoping to lose some weight & tone up for the summer! I've been missing my Tracy Anderson Method Workouts and am so happy to be doing them again! I started off trying out some different workouts earlier in the week - pilates, yoga, Jackie Warner... And while those workouts are great, nothing feels quite like my beloved TAM. In the past I did Tracy's programs (Bootcamp & Meta), but this time around I'm mixing it up and piecing together what suits my mood. I own pretty much all of the DVD's & the bootcamp book, which I can't recommend enough as the muscle work is my fav and it comes with a dvd! I know quite a few of you are loyal TAM'ers, so I'll be posting my progress on here throughout the next month or so, as well as various recipes that I try out! This week I mostly did Mat & Arms. If you're new to her Method, and want to see what all the hype is all about, there are TONS of videos on YouTube. She has her own channel and a lot of users have uploaded different cardio routines etc. I LOVE this arm routine via the Goop channel...



Friday, April 20, 2012

31 Bits Winner!


I just want to take a moment to thank all of you who took the time to enter my giveaway and also to thank 31 Bits for their generosity in giving away this gorgeous necklace! And the Winner is....

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Gorgeous Giveaway - 31 Bits Fuchsia Necklace


I recently had the pleasure of learning more about an amazing jewelry company! And they aren't just any jewelry company, they are making a difference. 31 Bits started when Kallie Dovel, traveled to Uganda in the summer of 2007, getting a first- hand look at life in Northern Uganda. While she was there, she met women making paper beads but who lacked a plan to market and sell them. After spending time in their homes and hearing their stories, Kallie knew there had to be a way to give opportunities to her new friends. She brought a box of jewelry back to the U.S., and spent the next year finishing her degree and dreaming up the concept of a development organization. She brought a few friends on board and her ideas quickly evolved into 31 Bits. The girls traveled back to Uganda in August 2008, and selected six women to begin buying jewelry from on a monthly basis. Since then, they have grown to 99 women; each with a unique story of suffering that has been overcome with joy and liberation. Check out this video...

After becoming completely smitten over the company and everything they stand for, I inquired about becoming a Blog Ambassador. 31 Bits doesn't have an Ambassador program for blogs in place (hopefully they will someday!), however, they were SO generous to offer me a fun spring necklace to give away to one lucky reader!

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The Heritage Mid necklace in Fuchsia will be perfect to add a kiss of color to any outfit. I could see this necklace layered with delicate gold pieces for a gorgeous summer boho look! The Heritage necklace is valued at $28. To enter please fill out the form below...

J.Crew Final Sale Fav's

My love affair with J.Crew started in my early High School years. I still remember getting those catalogs in the mail, back before they even had the kind of website they do now. Back when there were glorious sample sales at local warehouses in my area! I miss those days. I'm still wearing my beloved J.Crew. Whether I have a love/hate relationship with them at times due to quality change & price increases over the years, some things will never change. I tell you with no doubt in my mind that as long as J.Crew is around, I'll still be shopping there in my 60's!

Today I got an email with the latest sale updates and even better, use code "SHOPNOW" for an additional 30% off!!! I've been a little "late to the party" as far as spring/summer shopping goes. I've honestly been hoping to score a few deals and fab finds! Just watch that cart, as some pieces are final sale. Here are some of my current JC fav's...

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I've never been a fan of regular sweatshirts, so the Spindrift Sweatshirt is perfect! It's a little more light weight and the fit is just right. I could see it paired with chino shorts and these adorable Stripw wedge flipflops

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I normally grab my tanks at the factory store, but this is a great deal! I've been wearing these tanks for years and they are a constant in my closet from summer through winter! I love the Vivid Poppy color and think it would look great paired with the tailored Classic Flare Jean

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The Ruche Banded One Piece is perfect for the body conscious girl that still wants to look chic! I could stand to lose a couple pounds and this suit is perfect for hiding some of those flaws without looking frumpy! And the Shirred Ruffle Bandeau is a gorgeous two-piece option available in an array of colors!

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I love Maxi's in the summer! Nothing is easier than grabbing a breezy skirt or dress to throw on!! Both the Amie Maxi Dress and the Jersey Maxi Skirt would be ideal additions to a spring/summer wardrobe!!

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I love the pops of color in these simple tees! And at these price points, I would def grab a couple colors of each!! The Linen Baseball Tee in Cerise would be gorgeous with a pair of navy shorts! And the Perfect Fit Tee in Heritage Green would compliment pretty much any pair of shorts!!

So there you have it! Just a few of my favorite picks from the sale! There were more.... but I would be here all day .... make sure to check it out so you can snap up your fav's before they're gone! And don't forget to use code "SHOPNOW" for an additional 30% off!! Happy shopping!!!


Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Healthy Nut Butter Cups

If you're new to my blog, you might not know how crazy I am about healthy food! I'm quite a nutrition nerd and have really been getting into superfoods as well as experimenting with different ways of eating. Recently because of various digestive problems, sleep issues, and lack of focus, our Doctor advised us to try cutting some different things out of our regular diet. I was already doing this on and off over the last year, but now we are taking a more agressive approach. No dairy, no gluten and no preservatives, dyes or anything artificial. I personally don't mind this new way of eating too much since I had already somewhat adapted to it, however, this past Holiday weekend was our first real challenge. For my Son's Easter basket, we filled it with candies that had no dyes or artificial ingredients. Chocolate was a major issue as far as stores around here, so I decided to make my little man his very own chocolate treats! They turned out amazing and way better than anything we could have bought in my opinion ;) So here is my recipe, sorry for not including a pic, they aren't that pretty!!

Christy's Healthy PB Cups

* Mini or Large Muffin Tin
* Non-stick Muffin Liners (parchment is best)
* 1/2 Cup PB, or you could use any other Nut Butter
* 2-3 TB Organic Powdered Sugar, to taste
* 1/2 - 3/4 cup D-Free Choc Chips (reg would work fine here too), melted in a double boiler
* 1 banana

I just created this recipe myself, so depending on the size of your cups and how much choc or peanut butter you like, you may need more or less of the PB/Choc ratio. I started by melting my chocolate. Carefully melt the chocolate, stirring constantly and be careful not to burn. When the chocolate is melted, set aside for a moment and line your muffin tin. After each liner is in, drop a enough melted chocolate into each to line the bottom, you want to make sure there's enough in the bottom, but not so much that it's super thick. When you're finished, place the entire pan in the freezer. Mix up your PB or Nut butter of choice in another bowl with the Powdered Sugar to taste. Some Nut Butters may need more or less sugar. My Fav Almond Butter (Justin's Maple Almond) probably wouldn't need any additional sugar. It really all depends on your preference and the consistency that you prefer. Set the bowl aside when you're done mixing. Now slice your banana into thin slices. Retrieve your pan from the freezer and place the banana slices into each cup in a thin layer. Next spoon your Nut Butter mixture on top, spreading around to cover the bananas. Finish each cup off with a chocolate top. They do not need to be perfect! After you're finished, place the tin back in the freezer for 1-2 hours. Eat while frozen or enjoy slightly thawed, keeping them in the fridge. Enjoy!!!!


Monday, April 9, 2012

Split Personality

The weather is starting to warm up a bit, and even though I've always been more of a cool weather person, I've been finding myself dreaming of warmer sunny days! But with the summer approaching, I also become very confused and seem to develop a split personality..... A split fashion personality that is ;) As I approached the end of my twenties I started to notice more and more that I have a hard time pinpointing who I really am. I try to embrace my love of multiple styles, but each and every summer seems to be the most difficult to manage. Most of the year I spend my time loving clean, classic pieces and sometimes even more preppy finds a la J.Crew. I've dressed this way since I was in High School and it's always been who I am. But as I've gotten older, my more boho, beachy loving side is less dormant and shines through! The days of wearing Abercombie shorts with Quicksilver shirts at 17 have turned into wispy tunics, flowy maxi dresses and fun tribal prints as soon as the heat rises.

Funny enough, I've noticed that my Interior decor instincts are like this is well. This is where I find it the most difficult! I love clean white, gauzy curtains and kisses of turquoise and gold the most. But my home has Buddha's, Greenery and wooden accents, with pretty mosaic or sari prints scattered all over it as well. At 31 years old I've learned that this is just me.... I'm trying more & more to just accept that I've always been this way to some degree and I don't need to choose between my forever friend that is J.Crew and my all-time love that is Anthropologie. I even try to make them work together at time. I can have them both and that's ok!

Have you pinpointed your style yet? Do you feel you're a split fashion personality as well? How do you balance it?

Ps- Some of my fav spring & summer finds coming soon!!!