Thursday, December 26, 2013

Love Grace Juice Cleanse ~ A Review

Hi Lovelies! I hope you all had a wonderful Holiday!!! I seriously can't believe how quick it came and went. My Christmas was very nice, but I have to say, with all the running around, and the short time between Thanksgiving and the Holiday, it's all a bit of a blur for me! Which leads me to this review.... I was so very generously gifted a Juice Cleanse by Love Grace right before the Holiday weekend! I was initially not planning on doing the cleanse until this coming weekend. But we had a couple parties last week, and I think I got "gluten'd" and wasn't feeling so hot. I'm not celiac, but I do have an intolerance, so when I eat gluten, I get sort of a gluten induced flu.  It can take me days to recover until I feel like me again! With any parties, they can be quite a mission for me to figure out what I can eat, what I can bring, etc, so after I started not feeling well, I decided to move up my cleanse to try during the Holiday. Brave, yes... I know.... But it was actually kind of nice not to have to worry about what to eat and whether I was going to feel sick after eating it.

So why might one cleanse you might wonder? Well people do it for a lot of reasons. Some like to do it Once a month or so, to kick-start a new month of clean-eating. Others might do it as a way to give a fresh start if they are exploring living a healthier lifestyle. And some like me, might just want to give their systems a break from all the digesting and food after having a reaction to something or to give a body reboot! Since I already eat very healthy and try to live a "cleansing lifestyle" in general, I didn't feel I needed to do much prep-work, so I just jumped right in. A word to the wise, if you are not a regular Holistic-style juice drinker or do not live a Clean lifestyle, you will need to prep for a juice cleanse! You can find more details about preparation on the Love Grace FAQ page!

So I was sent the above 3-Day cleanse! Which means you multiply what you see here 3 times!!! You get a lot of juice! This cleanse retails for $168, which is actually a very reasonable price in comparison to some of the other cleanses out there! So I'll jump right in....

You do the juices in order throughout the day, with about a 2 hour block in between each..... 

1. Purify { coconut water, celery, chard, spinach, & cucumber } - this one was actually one of my favorites! I was surprised , because even though I love greens, I wasn't too sure after my first sip. But as I continued to drink it, I really enjoyed it. I adore coconut water and think that it gives this juice a really fresh & clean taste!

2. Ginger Bomb Elixir { orange, ginger, lemon, oregano extract, & Himalayan sea salt } - this is the one I was most scared of. I think because the ginger settling at the bottom gives it a weird look initially. And because it's smaller than the others, so you know it's potent! But it actually tastes good! There's a lot of orange flavor, a bit sour, but I like sour. And the ginger, oregano and salt are not overwhelming. I credit this little baby with kicking the cold I may or may not have been fighting, to the curb! This would be great to have around when you're fighting some germs, you can order it A La Carte!

3. Super Cider { Apple, Carrot, Ginger, & Lemon } or Longevity Tonic { Lemon, shilajit, cayenne, agave, & Himalayan Sea Salt } - The Super Cider was my favorite juice! This one was tasty and something I would definitely drink everyday! I don't love raw carrots, so obviously I don't typically love carrot juice, but it's just the perfect ratio of ingredients and tastes so so good! I looked forward to drinking the Super Cider for both days I had it. The Longevity Tonic was actually pretty good as well! It tastes just like a semi-spicy lemonade. I don't know if I would want to drink this daily, but it had a good taste.

4. Green Sunshine { chard, kale, spinach, celery, cucumber, apple, & lemon } - I'll be honest when I say that this was not one of my favorites. I do like greens, but it was a little too green for me. I am not really a celery fan and the lemon didn't balance out that taste for me. I tasted a lot of celery and think that's why I did not tolerate this drink too well. But it was ok. I've had worse and with the rest of the juices for the day being so tasty, it was not a problem.

5. Green Protein { banana, flax seed, kale, dates, spirulina, hemp seed, chia seed, coconut oil, lemon, Himalayan sea salt, & wheatgrass powder } or Probiotic Smoothie { banana, flax seed, almond, lemon, dates, vegan probiotic, Himalayan sea salt, and Coconut Oil } or Chocolate Superfood { cacao, dates, banana, goji berry, maca, vanilla bean, coconut oil, flax seeds, & Himalayan sea salt } - Ok, so with your protein type shake, you get a choice of 3. I was sent all 3 flavors (one for each day). I absolutely LOVED the Chocolate Superfood. It didn't really taste a lot like chocolate. It kind of tasted like a more sour, creamy, slightly tart berry smoothie with a hint of cacao. But I liked it and enjoyed every sip! The Probiotic smoothie was ok for me. It reminded me of lemon yogurt and a couple years ago, I probably would have loved this! But I don't really eat dairy anymore (this does not contain dairy, I'm just referencing taste here), so the taste of lemon yogurt isn't as good to me. It wasn't bad! And last, but not least.... Green Protein. Hmmmmmmm. Well.... I have definitely tasted worse! It's hard to describe. Initially, it has a slightly similar taste to the probiotic smoothie. Then I guess you get that hint of greens. I wasn't really a fan of this one. For just 1 juice out of the 3 days though, it was tolerable. 

6. Restore { carrot, beet, celery, cucumber, parsley, spinach, lemon, & orange) - This is the last juice of the day and let's just say it wasn't terrible, but wasn't a favorite either. Again, I think the celery is responsible. I enjoy beets, especially mixed with a citrus, but I can still taste that celery! Celery does have a lot of health benefits though, and since I don't like to eat it, I can certainly drink it!

So there are your juices for the day... And here are my thoughts overall, along with any additional info throughout my cleanse process....

  • The price:  the three-day cleanse (6 juices per day) retails for $168, plus shipping if you don't live in an area where you can pick up. This varies depending on your zone. I thought this was a very reasonable price! I have seen juice cleanses out there retailing for a heck of a lot more and the flavors in those cleanses did not get great reviews. Overall with the cost compared to the taste and convenience, I think this is a great price and worth every penny!
  • The prep:  As I had said, I didn't feel I needed much prep, but there's a bit of guidance mentioned on the Love Grace site and to me, it's pretty simple and straightforward. The type of lifestyle you lead will determine the amount of prep you will need! Def take this into consideration when ordering your cleanse and prepare accordingly!
  • Meals/Snacking: Other than having an organic salad with lettuce, tomato, avocado and a raw honey/acv/dijon dressing on Christmas Eve, I chose not to eat any snacks or meals. However, there are several snack/meal recommendations mentioned here!
  • The juices:  Overall I really enjoyed the juices and was so excited to try all the flavors! Yes, there were a couple that I didn't love, but they weren't horrible tasting and were not difficult to drink. My favorites were the Super Cider and Chocolate Superfood for sure! Delicious!!!
  • Hunger:  I was very pleasantly surprised that I was not hungry at all! These juices are potent and are not meant to be guzzled down at all. I found that with the length of time it took me to drink them, along with that 2 hour window in between, that I did felt very nourished. It might possibly have something to do with the fact that it was a Holiday and I didn't have time to think to much about it, but I also had A LOT of food eaten in front of my face and it didn't bother me in the slightest.
  • Energy:  This is hard to gauge since I was truly exhausted from running around for Christmas!
  • The side effects: No side effects for me!
  • The experience:  I thought overall it was a really good experience! I think next time around I would do it on a weekend, since I feel like it might be tough to do during a workweek. I would definitely do this cleanse again and highly recommend it to anyone! If you are looking for a great way to reset your body after the New Year, def do this cleanse!!!

In addition, Love Grace offers A La Carte options and they also have this AMAZING Special Edition Beautiful Skin Cleanse - partnering with Tay Organics! (shown above) For $198 ( only $30 more than the reg cleanse) I would very highly recommend this cleanse while it's being offered!

I hope you enjoyed my review and found it helpful!!! Make sure to check out Love Grace on Facebook, Twitter, & Instagram!!!


Friday, December 20, 2013

{{ Lessons from Felicity }}

So depending on how old you are.... you may or may not be familiar with Felicity. This show was a major part of my teen years and was one of my all-time favorites. The cool thing about it was that the characters in the show were the same age as me. So they graduated in 1998, the same year I did. Anyway.... A week or so ago I was a bit under the weather and we had a couple snow days here, so I started re-watching the show. Being that there has been nothing on with all the finales, I had a major bingefest and sad to say, I finished the entire series pretty quickly. With the upcoming Holidays, my continuous & stressful job search, researching degree programs etc - I needed a major escape and this was definitely it! So here are a few things I learned from watching the series again.....

1.) It really sinks in exactly how old I am when I realize that not only has it been many years since it first aired, but that I didn't remember a lot of what happened.

2.) They just don't make shows like this anymore. Don't get me wrong.... I love me some Vampire Diaries, and loved the new 90210 for the first couple seasons, but Felicity was just such a great teen show! When I watched it as a 17 year old, there was just so much I missed, so much I wasn't mature enough to pay attention to. But this time around, there were so many lessons to be learned. I actually found myself pondering quite a bit, which was a very unexpected side effect!

3.) Pardon my language, but Felicity was kind of an asshole the first couple of seasons. I know it must have been hard to be in her situation with these 2 great guys, but damn.....

4.) The first time I watched the show, though I thought Noel was adorable, I was "Team Ben". This time I found myself getting so pissed at Felicity for being such a moron and missing what was right in front of her! My heart just broke for Noel. "Team Noel" all the way!!!!

5.) I can definitely understand why there was such an uproar over Kerri Russell chopping her hair! I don't remember how I felt years ago, but I had very strong feelings about the cut. I mean, to the point that watching the rest of that season was almost unbearable. Kerri Russell is gorgeous, whether her hair is short, or even if she didn't have any..... But gorgeous curls and short hair do not mix!

6.)I kind of wish I would have went away to college. I chose to go right in to the workforce since I couldn't decide what I wanted to do. I still have no concrete idea what I want to do (that's another post). But this show really captured what the average college experience should be like. You know... If you choose not to spend it binge drinking and sleeping through most of your classes. It really showed me that life away at college can really teach you a lot about being an adult, if you choose to take the opportunity to learn! Pretty interesting to think about so many things I hadn't thought about in a very long time.

So that's really it. If you loved the show as much as I did, I definitely recommend watching it all over again! I think I definitely enjoyed it even more watching as an adult than I did as a teen!!

Aside from that, I can't believe the Holiday is almost here!!! I plan to spend the weekend going to parties, watching movies and baking! Also wrapping up the last bit of loose ends since it will be here in the blink of an eye! Enjoy your pre-holiday weekend!!!!

COMING SOON: I'll be doing a "cleanse diary" review with Love Grace! Pretty exciting stuff!!! If you're a cleanse fan, or someone that's curious about juice cleanses, you'll def want to stop back and check this out!


Thursday, December 5, 2013

Gift Guides - Stocking Stuffers

Hi there! I can't believe how quickly the time is going by before the holiday! It always seems like the days just fly by on warp speed this time of year!!! Between Holiday planning, making time to spend with family & friends, job hunting, and keeping up with my kiddo with school, it's crazy! I've obviously been a little behind on blog posting, and I had originally planned to have a few gift guides up already, but I wanted to make sure to post the first couple! Here are my top picks for natural beauty stocking stuffers. I absolutely love all of these products and think they would make amazing gifts for any beauty maven!

Though not always squeaky-clean in terms of ingredients, I love Pacifica's range of products. Most recently they expanded their line of cosmetics beyond just the tinted balms and I love them! This pinky nude gloss and/or lip butter are both very flattering and if you don't love these shades, you can choose from a few others! And if you purchase through my referral link (in the right column), you get a discount! Ps - Target carries quite a few Pacifica products and have little holiday gift sets out right now. Julep has a great selection of stocking stuffers available! The set above was my fav, but there are many to choose from. And as a bonus, all nail colors are 4-Free! Which means they contain none of the icky ingredients most polishes do. Juleps pretty little gifts are known to sell out fast, so make sure you snap up your picks soon! ; ) And last, but certainly not least....  If you're familiar with my blog, you might have seen me mention these perfume palettes by Melange. They are my absolute fav!!! I tend to like things that are a little more unique, and I don't want to smell like everyone! I also don't wear synthetic fragrance at all, so this can definitely be a challenge. But I absolutely adore these palettes. You get 4 scents in one, they last forever and you can wear them as singles or blend two, three or all 4! Increase your possibilities with each palette you buy! My ultimate love is the Amber 2 palette, but the Amber 1 palette is on my Holiday wishlist!

I've always been a HUGE fan of Shea Terra Organics. I own many products, have been using them for years and have mentioned them in quite a few posts. I recently had the pleasure of trying the 2-in-1 cream body scrub in dark chocolate (*sample generously provided) and I love it. I'm not one for the oily scrubs, so I don't tend to use them on my body. This scrub has a bit more of a solid texture, so you have to scoop it out. But I find this is a huge plus since there's no waste that you tend to get with an oily scrub! My favorite way to use it is on my hands & feet for a mani/pedi. It leaves your skin smooth like silk and moisturized, not greasy at all. Oh and best of all..... It smells like chocolate cake batter!!! Pair it with the coffee bean-illa body wash and the white chocolate whipped shea for an organic gourmet themed bath & body box!  Who wouldn't love that?!? Shea Terra also has so many other amazing products, between the scents and the generous sizes for the price, you can really put together some nice holiday gifts. Don't forget to sign up for their * VIP Specials* newsletter! Tammie is known to send out amazing discounts on a pretty regular basis!!! 

Stop back very soon for more gift guides!!!


Wednesday, November 13, 2013

{{ Holiday Looks with Charming Charlie }}

Recently I was so lucky to be contacted by Charming Charlie to do a shopping review! There is a store about 10 minutes from me, but I had never stopped in. So I was really excited to check them out! About a week after hearing from them, they sent me a package with a couple gorgeous scarves and some items that are just perfect for the holidays. First of all, for anyone that might not know.... I'm obsessed with scarves! Especially infinity scarves. I wear them year round and just love to throw them on with a sweater or a tank and some boho-chic earrings in the summer.

Leopard Scarf ~ Migrate Scarf (both by Charming Charlie)

I absolutely adore both of them so much and have been wearing them constantly! My favorite ways to wear are paired with a simple striped top, or to dress up a simple cardi & tee combo. I def see both as staples in my closet for many years! They are both lightweight material, yet don't look odd with a winter coat, which is great considering the temp's have been dipping quite a bit here in Jersey and I don't want to have to put them away just yet!

Now to the really fun stuff.... Because I loved the pieces that Charming Charlie sent me so much, I finally took a little trip to my local Charming Charlie and I was pretty impressed. I absolutely loved how a lot of the store items are organized by color! This makes quick pop-ins for a party or gift super convenient!  The store has a very pleasant esthetic - the music wasn't super loud, the design is nice and not overwhelming even though they offer tons of items, and the store employee's were super-friendly and just downright lovely!!! With the holidays coming up, and with me already trying to plan out my special Christmas Ensemble, I was happy to walk around and peruse the store for any additional items to top off my look, as well as ideas for gifts! Here are the two outfits I picked out for myself shown with the gorgeous earrings & clutch that Charming Charlie sent to me!

Look #1 - A bit of Edge

Look #2 - A bit of Prep

 Baublebar Necklace ~ Shoemint Shoes ~ JCF Shirt & Skirt ~ Charming Charlie Earrings & Clutch

I also really loved the cute little hair accessories! They are perfect for parties, holidays, weddings, etc! My fav shown here is the rhinestone comb. So pretty!!!

Flower Pins ~ Rhinestone Comb ~ Sparkly Pins ~ Rose Gold Pins (All by Charming Charlie!)

There are so many cute accessories, jewelry, hair items and bags, I def recommend checking out the store (or online shop!) when you have some time! And the price point is amazingly wallet-friendly!!! Also make sure to sign up for their email list and the rewards club if you see yourself shopping there a lot! They have some great deals that go on regularly!

Keep up to date with Charming Charlie on their social networks!!!

Thanks again Charming Charlie!!! =)


DISCLAIMER: I was not compensated in any way for the above post, however, I was sent products to review and items necessary for doing a store review. All opinions expressed above are my own and were not monetarily influenced. 

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Where I've been & Blogger Awards

First off, let me address the fact that I feel like a total heel for not posting on here in forever!!! I really have no good excuse, other than the fact that days just fly by. This Fall was my first year as a "Soccer Mom", and while it could be worse as far as obligations, the 2 nights a week and games every Sat, create just enough chaos to procrastinate so many things. I can be really really bad with that. So yes.... This blog has suffered unfortunately. But I have some really good posts coming up to make up for it! I'm hoping to get a jump on my Gift Guides early this year and have a lot of lovely goodies to share!

So aside from the fact that I was totally MIA all this time, I want to recognize that I have some amazing new readers and 2 of them passed along these lovely awards to me! I don't normally participate in giving out awards, though I think so many of your blogs are outstanding, fabulous, lovely, amazing, etc, etc. But I just couldn't accept them without at least acknowledging that these darling women took time out of their day to recognize little old me ;)

So first up we have Alanna from Lavender & Bourbon! She passed along the Liebster award, which she mentions in her post here. I'm supposed to share 11 Random Facts about Moi and then answer the questions that Alanna posted for all her nominated bloggers to answer. So here it goes...

1.) J.Crew is my most favorite store ever! I've been shopping there since I was a Sophomore in HS, still shop there and will be shopping there until the day I die. I'm going to be one Stylish Older Lady!!

2.) I always knew I wanted to settle down and get married/have kids young.... And I did!

3.) My longest reigning celebrity crushes are Robert Downey Jr. & Cillian Murphy.

4.) My Husband and I were just discussing this and it's kind of odd, but I never bought school lunch as a child. Like ever...

5.) I am horrible at Math and even though I'm smart, I will count my money like a million times when making a deposit because of the odd fear that I'll miscount it and look like an idiot.

6.) I still have no clue what I want to be when I grow up.

7.) I have a serious infatuation with grey hair on men. Not so much like Grandpa age, but more like premature grey. Strange, I know.

8.) I'm a major Perfectionist, but only with myself. I'm so lenient on others, yet I'll pick myself apart relentlessly.

9.) One of my biggest fears in life is that it will pass me by before I get to do most things I want to do!

10.) I'm extremely afraid of flying. I wasn't always that way, it got worse after I gave birth to my son.

11.) Another phobia..... I'm VERY claustrophobic.

And now to answer the questions that Alanna posted.....

If you had to pick 3-5 words to describe yourself what would they be?
Kind, Loyal, & Disciplined

What was the inspiration or drive that made you decide/want to start a blog?
My blog started out several years ago as a way for me to share my favorite recipes and craft ideas etc and then just evolved as I did, into what it is today.

How has having a blog changed your life?
I would say that my blog has definitely given me purpose and helped offer my sanity during some difficult times.

What is your favorite animal and why? That would have to be a cat. I just adore them!!

What article/s of clothing do you just live in and wear all the time? I don't really have a specific article of clothing, but def jeans. I love jeans for sure.

What would be your super power if you could choose one to have?
I would definitely teleport! Because I'm so afraid of flying, it would be nice to be able to travel to all the far off places I want to go, without getting on a plane. =)

If you could live absolutely anywhere in the world where would you live?
I would live on a gorgeous island somewhere and adapt to a "less is more" lifestyle. Someplace that I could catch/pick my own food and just lounge on the beach most days.

Who/what is your favorite undiscovered/indie singer/band? I really like this band called Language Room a lot. I think their relatively new to most people.

What is/are your guilty pleasure(s)? Reality Tv for sure!

What is your perfect date night or girls' night? My perfect date night would be just doing simple things with the one I love. Sometimes we take those moments for granted. I would pass on all the frivolous things for that any day!

Fill in the blank: I could never live without my family!

And the lovely Sabrina from Chickweed & Blush also passed along the Versatile Blogger award to me! So so sweet! I'm so supposed to include 7 Random Facts on this one, but I'll just use the ones above, since I really can't think of 7 more!!!

You ladies are so sweet! Thank you again so much!!!


Monday, September 30, 2013

{ Primal Eating & Popsugar }

Hi Lovelies! I hope you all had an amazing weekend! Ours was pretty low-key, which was great since my birthday weekend the previous week was lovely, but super busy! I've had a lot going on over the last week, but wanted to make sure to stop in and say Hi! Welcome to all the new beauties stopping by my blog!!! I truly appreciate you taking the time to read my posts and all of your sweet comments. They truly make my day!

In other news....  I'm planning to try out The Whole 30 soon. This is very difficult for me in many ways and something I've thought very long and hard about. If you're not familiar with the Whole 30, it's thirty days of eating alongside Paleo guidelines. In other words - no grains, legumes, processed food, sugar, and a few other things. I know, I know, all of my vegan/vegetarian readers are probably cursing me right now! I'm sorry. I know.... I was a dairy-free vegetarian a couple years ago for about 2 months and while I felt great at first, it just wasn't for my body. Trust me, I want to be a vegetarian, I really do. But I have a myriad of issues that make that very very difficult. Already having a mild dairy intolerance, a severe gluten intolerance and some issues with blood sugar when I eat grain more than once in a day, just doesn't leave me very much to eat. After researching this way of eating for a while now, though I'm not overly crazy about the focus on meat, I've decided that it's just what's best for my body. I currently eat mainly cage-free, hormone-free poultry and some seafood a few times a week, with the very occasional grass-fed beef from time to time. So I don't really plan on increasing my meat intake. That's just the way I rationalize something that is a bit of a tough pill for me to swallow. It's hard for me knowing that I'm eating a once living thing, but I'm just so tired of being in pain and feeling sick all the time. Sometimes you just have to listen to your gut... Literally. So I was kind of toying with the idea of posting my progress on here. Maybe 1-2 times per week. Is this something you all would be interested in? I'd love to hear your thoughts!

Last, but not least..... Over the summer I had the amazing honor of being accepted as a Popsugar Beauty & Fashion Blogger! And my first post was just published! I would love for you to check it out and show some love if you like it!!!

I'll be checking in again soon with another book review, some recipes and my latest fashion/beauty fav's!


Tuesday, September 17, 2013

{ Three Weeks in Books ... }

I've obviously been a little MIA the last three weeks. It's amazing to me how quick the time flies by! It started out as waiting to post until my son got settled in school, and before I knew it, his first week back was over. I've had a crazy few weeks and have really been struggling to get out of my own head. We have a lot going on over here and between soccer practices, games, birthdays (mine is Thursday, yay!), and just the mundane parts of everyday life, the days seem to go on in warp speed. I've been looking for a part-time job, which is hard on my little mans schedule. But I'm really hoping to find something over the next couple of weeks, before everyone starts preparing for the string of holidays! To keep me sane lately, I've been reading. A LOT. Reading seems to be the only thing that is extremely calming to me. Sometimes when I'm in a tizz, watching a movie or working out helps, but my mind just keeps going. I can't control it. It's a disease really. But when I get lost in a book, my mind isn't capable of thinking at the same time. At least not too much anyway. So as I had mentioned in my last post, I had started reading Sharp Objects. I'm not the best book reviewer, so bare with me.....

So with Sharp Objects, I read this one really quick. I got sucked in and after a certain point I just couldn't put it down. Here is the book Synopsis via Goodreads:

" WICKED above her hipbone, GIRL across her heart
Words are like a road map to reporter Camille Preaker’s troubled past. Fresh from a brief stay at a psych hospital, Camille’s first assignment from the second-rate daily paper where she works brings her reluctantly back to her hometown to cover the murders of two preteen girls.

NASTY on her kneecap, BABYDOLL on her leg
Since she left town eight years ago, Camille has hardly spoken to her neurotic, hypochondriac mother or to the half-sister she barely knows: a beautiful thirteen-year-old with an eerie grip on the town. Now, installed again in her family’s Victorian mansion, Camille is haunted by the childhood tragedy she has spent her whole life trying to cut from her memory.

HARMFUL on her wrist, WHORE on her ankle
As Camille works to uncover the truth about these violent crimes, she finds herself identifying with the young victims—a bit too strongly. Clues keep leading to dead ends, forcing Camille to unravel the psychological puzzle of her own past to get at the story. Dogged by her own demons, Camille will have to confront what happened to her years before if she wants to survive this homecoming.

With its taut, crafted writing, Sharp Objects is addictive, haunting, and unforgettable."

And Sharp Objects truly was unforgettable. It was one of the better books I have read in a while. And I say "better" because I hold very high standards in my "best" category. Only a few books have made this list and I've been a major reader for a very long time. I thought the building of characters was very very good in this book. There were so many layers to everyone and I really loved how each chapter seemed to peel another layer to reveal more and more as the book went on. This is what really hooked me. You see, the book is a bit gritty. And I don't mind a gritty book AT ALL. But it can get kind of weird at times. Even still, it was like a drug I just couldn't get enough of. About 3/4 of the way through the book I did have an idea who was committing the heinous murders, but I wouldn't say that it's predictable. All in all, I really really liked Sharp Objects. So much so that I followed it up immediately with Dark Places. I wasn't sure how much I would like Dark Places, which is why I didn't start with it. But I was so hooked on Gillian Flynn's style of writing, I dove in. Here is the synopsis:

" I have a meanness inside me, real as an organ.

Libby Day was seven when her mother and two sisters were murdered in “The Satan Sacrifice of Kinnakee, Kansas.” As her family lay dying, little Libby fled their tiny farmhouse into the freezing January snow. She lost some fingers and toes, but she survived–and famously testified that her fifteen-year-old brother, Ben, was the killer. Twenty-five years later, Ben sits in prison, and troubled Libby lives off the dregs of a trust created by well-wishers who’ve long forgotten her.

The Kill Club is a macabre secret society obsessed with notorious crimes. When they locate Libby and pump her for details–proof they hope may free Ben–Libby hatches a plan to profit off her tragic history. For a fee, she’ll reconnect with the players from that night and report her findings to the club… and maybe she’ll admit her testimony wasn’t so solid after all.

As Libby’s search takes her from shabby Missouri strip clubs to abandoned Oklahoma tourist towns, the narrative flashes back to January 2, 1985. The events of that day are relayed through the eyes of Libby’s doomed family members–including Ben, a loner whose rage over his shiftless father and their failing farm have driven him into a disturbing friendship with the new girl in town. Piece by piece, the unimaginable truth emerges, and Libby finds herself right back where she started–on the run from a killer."

I also really enjoyed Dark Places, though not as much as Sharp Objects. I didn't feel like the characters were as complex. But unlike Sharp Objects, I didn't really have a true idea of what was going on and that gave me anxiety reading this book. I wanted to know so badly that I found myself holding my breath on parts of this book. I would put it down to get some things done and would find myself thinking about it. Waiting to go pick it up again. Like I already mentioned, Gillian Flynn has a gift. A gift of making her books like a drug. She lets you try a little bit and then she builds and builds until you find yourself an addict without even realizing it. Both books did start out a little slow for me, but after the first chapter I was sucked in. I highly recommend! 

I then moved on to another book that was blazing the net this year...... The Fault in our Stars. I read this book in just a couple days. It's a pretty quick read if you have the time. I wouldn't say I was head over heels for it, like so many people seem to be. But I did really find myself becoming attached to the characters.  Hazel & Augustus are cancer patients that meet in a support group. It's the classic story of boy meets girl and falls in love, but with a depressing, sad twist. There really isn't too much to say without ruining the story for you if you want to read it, but I would def recommend it! There is one part that I did fall in love with. A quote in the book that just made me catch my breath. I found myself reading it over and over. It's just so beautiful.....

Now I'm searching for another amazing book! What are you reading??? Follow me on Goodreads and send me some rec's please!


Wednesday, August 28, 2013

a {me} day...

{ via }
Sometimes you just need a "me" day..... As I had mentioned last week, my Husband was away on business. And not just a couple days..... For 6 days. For any of you that have Husband's that travel regularly, I'm sorry. My Husband really only has to do this about once a year and for a couple that has been together just a few months shy of 13 years (I know!), and has probably only spent a few nights apart about 5 times, this was A LOT! Not only was it a very long week with the typical adult responsibilities that come with tending to my house, my child, my pets etc, but it's been a bit of an adjustment recovering as well. So the last couple of days have been divided spending some quality time with my kiddo before he goes back to school, and trying to spend some quality time on myself. Something I really haven't done in great lengths in a while.

Number 1 on the list was find a good book & get lost in it! You see...... The last couple of years I've spent so much time immersed in Holistic Health studies that a majority of my reading has been health/wellness and cookbooks. Not that I don't love reading about these things. I do... I mean I LOVE it...... I'm a self-proclaimed nutrition nerd and usually can't get enough. But lately I've been burnt out and I've decided to take a step back from my original grand plans and the new road of goals does not include reading wellness book after wellness book.

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Last year I read Gone Girl, and to be honest.... I didn't end up liking it very much. It was very well written and the first half of the book I couldn't put it down. The fact of the matter is that I started to hate one of the main characters, Amy Dunne. And I mean HATE. I can't really say too much more without spoiling anything for you, so I'll leave it at that. But it was enough that I didn't enjoy the rest of the book very much and I wasn't sure if I would pick up another book by Gillian Flynn. However, when I saw a friend from the blogisphere, the lovely Ashley, raving about Sharp Objects, I decided to check it. I'm so glad I did!!!! I started the book last night and was immediately sucked into this world of weird. I haven't been able to put it down and I think I'll definitely be finished by tomorrow. I just know that there's an evil little twist coming. I think I might have it figured out. But one thing I've definitely gathered, after reading even only 1 of Gillian Flynn's books, is that just when you think you have it all figured out, she throws a deliciously crazy twist your way! I can't wait to report back with my overall review of the book. Something I think I might do on this little blog o' mine from time to time.

Other than that I think I'm going to have a nice cup of tea and settle down with my Little Mr. It's a rainy/muggy day here in NJ, so I have the windows closed, AC on, and am pretending that I'm already well into the Fall. Coming Soon...... I'll be reviewing a 3 day Cleanse by Kaeng Raeng! I'm super excited about this, as I've wanted to try it forever!!! I'm just gearing my body up for it. My allergies have been so bad, my body just feels like it's recovering from a lot lately. I def can't wait to share my 3 day diary of my experience with you!


Friday, August 23, 2013

Friday Favorites ~ Latest Lust List

Happy Friday Lovelies! I took an unintentional break this week. My Husband was traveling for work and there has been so much going on without him here, that before I knew it, several days went by since my last blog post!!! I have had nothing but boots, coats, scarves, beauty products and school supplies on the brain! I am definitely not in summer mode anymore and just can't wait to get into a Fall routine when my little guy goes back to school! Here is my latest lust list.....

I have been obsessed with nail polish lately, but I def have certain criteria a laquer must meet in order for me to use it. Funny enough, even though I've seen Julep all over the net the last couple years and have been dying to try it, I never have. I've seen rave reviews over these gorgeous laquers and love that they are not only toxin-free, but have staying power as well! I'm smitten with this combination right now. The blue or green creme with the sparkly gold accent or even used as a french tip *******sigh. Love!

I've never placed an order with Conversation Pieces before. However, I think that's going to change very very soon. I subscribe to the newsletter and spied these lovelies recently that have definitely been on my mind. I'm swooning over this basic tee with fluttery sheer detail, as well as these ultra-feminine and sexy lace bralettes. And this tissue baseball tee is perfection!

And finally...... unless you've been living under a rock, you know that one of the most anticipated designer collabs with Target is very quickly approaching! Phillip Lim for Target hits stores September 15th and I cannot wait! I wouldn't say I'm dying over every single piece, but there are quite a few I'm hoping to snap up. My most coveted are this messenger bag and cami set. So so pretty!

What are your latest fall fav's? Are you excited for Phillip Lim for Target? Have a great weekend!!!


Friday, August 16, 2013

Friday Favorites - More Lovely clothes & a Kickass workout!!!

Hey Dolls!!! I'm so happy it's Friday! I had quite a busy week and am really looking forward to the summer wrapping up, the Fall weather (we got a little taste this week here in NJ), and for school to start! Lately I've been feeling like everything is moving in fast forward and though I'm so thankful for the amazing opportunities I've come across lately, I just need life to slow down a little bit! This is going to sound corny, but there's just something so magical to me about the Fall/Winter months. To me it's just pure nostalgia. Even the smell in the air brings me back to waking up on Saturday mornings to the marching band doing a quick run through before a Football game (the HS Football Field was on my street). I loved those days of sitting at games with my cozy sweatshirt on, sipping hot chocolate. Now things are a bit different. Today it's me chasing my son to put a sweatshirt on and instead of football games, we're watching soccer or walking around Peddlar's Village with an Apple Cider in hand. But you get my drift. I'm so ready for it! Can you tell?!? So obviously with Fall constantly on my mind, I have some more favorites for you. J.Crew is one of my most fav stores ever, and over the last few months the Factory store, which is about 45m from me, has been hit or miss. I was so excited to see that there are some great finds amongst the new arrivals! Here are a few of my must-haves...

One of the best things about JCF is the basics! Every year I always find myself snapping up a bunch of pieces that are perfect for my core wardrobe and can easily be dressed up or down with either a statement necklace or delicate pendant. I already own both the Layering Tee & the Always Cardi, but I love them so much, that I always grab multiples of my fav color (for when one bites the dust) or new colors to add variety. Navy is a must for me always. I love that it works like basic black, but is a bit unexpected. I'm also majorly obsessed with Camel & Gray, alone or layered together. They just exude coziness to me. I love these Waffle Sweaters and def plan on grabbing more than one! I adore the touch of soft oatmeal in the collar of the colorblock sweater!!!

I love a great tailored jean. This hiney is not fitting into skinnies anytime soon, scroll down for more on that.... But this bootcut pair is perfect! I could see this skirt being a great work staple for you office gals and then paired with tights, argyles, and wellies for a crisp Fall weekend. And even though I don't typically like Cords, I'm swooning over the soft, velvety color of this pair.

Last but not least, I had to round out my finds with a couple extras. Since I'm all about layering, I love a couple pieces that add a little oomph to a very basic outfit. This blazer is knit, so it's not as structured as wool, keeping it casual, but is a little more tailored than a thicker cardi. And this vest is perfect layered with a thin waffle sweater! I'd also love it with a pair of cute skinnies & sorel's, but I need to do a little prep work for that, see below....

As stated in my reference above, I need to get my ass in gear..... literally. I tend to get really bored with workouts and though I love my TAM & Tone it Up girls, I can lose interest really quickly if I don't mix it up. Enter the coolest, most unique, most KICK ASS workout I have ever seen!!! I came across Poundfit when Kirsten & Cristina shared their amazing & healthy Key Lime Pie Parfait recipe over on FabFitFun the other day. I immediately became curious when I saw them referenced as "The Pound Girls" so of course I had to explore and, wow. Blew... Me... Away... First off, when I find a workout I really like, I'm a fanatic. I love fitness, especially when I get sucked into it. It's like my own personal & free Therapist. Not that I need one ;) But there's a bit of a backstory as to why Poundfit is so appealing to me. My Dad is a Drummer, and a pretty freakin amazing one at that. A lot of my childhood I went with him to his band practices and got to see him play. I totally believe it's in my blood, even if it's not in my hands. I did try to learn when I was about 12, but lets just say that I didn't pick it up. I lacked the coordination that goes with drumming and foot pedaling and hitting the symbols, etc. It's just too much for my sporadic brain to wrap itself around. But I often find myself, even now, wanting to drum to songs. The beats jump out at me and I'm just dying to rock out! I believe that Poundfit is the perfect solution for all of my drumming woes. It's a workout that burns MAJOR calories, unique enough to satisfy my wandering eye, and lets me rock out the way I was born to!!! For anyone that doesn't have a class near them, they offer online classes, which are going on my Birthday list... hint hint Husband ;) I'll def be posting my review once I try them!!!

So there's my Friday Fav's. Kinda short this week with all the JCF finds, but I have a lot planned for next week. Happy Weekend all! Enjoy!!!!


Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Review: Devita Natural Skincare & Mineral Cosmetics

I've been familiar with the Devita line of products for quite a while, but I just never had a chance to try them. Imagine my excitement when Devita International reached out to me to try out some of their skincare & cosmetics. They were so kind & generous to send me quite a few items to try out. DeVita Natural Skin Care and Color Cosmetics is wholly owned and operated by Cherylanne DeVita, Ph.D. and is based out of Arizona. After suffering from Cystic Acne and searching for the perfect anti-aging line that didn't contain toxic chemical ingredients, Cherylanne decided to take matters into her own hands. She created her own line of Skin Care that has become (according to SPINS), the fastest growing all-natural, 100% PARABEN FREE, PETA Certified, Vegan cosmeceutical skin care line in the country! Devita has a very large range of products - everything from facial products and color cosmetics, to body care. And I love, love, love that they are cruelty-free, which is an absolute must for me!

The first item in the line up that I was really excited to try is the Solar Protective Moisturizer Spf 30+. With no nano-particles, zinc oxide based spf (no chemical spf here!) and nourishing ingredients like aloe vera & grapeseed oil, this is a really great option for a daily daytime moisturizer. I especially loved that it contains skin plumping/hydrating vegan-sourced Hyaluronic acid! It gave me just the right amount of moisture without tons of oil, and didn't leave me looking like my makeup was melting off my face by the end of the day! This Moisture tint aka Multi-Beneficial Beauty Balm, is really amazing! BB Creams have been all the rage and this one is no exception. It perfects your skin without covering it up and not only contains an Spf of 15, but also has skin-feeding ingredients like hyaluronic acid, japanese green tea, and pomegranate extract. If you don't want a regular moisturizer, need a little bit of extra coverage under your makeup, or if you don't wear much makeup, this little wonder-cream would be perfect for you!

Next up... Color cosmetics, which I'm always a fan of since I adore makeup! Devita sent me Absolute Lips in Nearly Nude. I love the color. As you can see in the swatch if you scroll down.... this is a very light, slightly frosty shade, but isn't overpowering. In full disclosure, I am not a lipstick fan AT ALL. I never ever wear it. But I will say that it didn't feel heavy on my lips and I like the texture/look of it. With exotic flower waxes of Tuberose, Jasmine and Rose, blended with Macadamia, Avocado and Jojoba oils, the ingredients are stellar! I don't know that I'll be converted over from my beloved lip tint or gloss anytime soon, but this is a fantastic lipstick! The Absolute Eyes quad pad was my favorite! I was little scared of the shell & salmon colors at first glance, but I've been experimenting with pinks and corals on my eyes and I really liked them. They could always double as a cheek or lip color in a pinch as well. I LOVED the Oyster & Gelidium shadows. Metal type shades are my favorite for eyes and the Oyster was the perfect, buildable shade of platinum. Gelidium is amazing for lining eyes. The texture,,,, So nice. Very light & feathery and not irritating like some shadows!

Last but not least... This mineral blush in Coral Fusion was my runner up as top pick. The color is so pretty! Kind of like a cross between rose & coral and looks like it could be flattering on anyone. The texture of this blush was feather-light and didn't feel like I had a speck of makeup on my cheeks. That along with good-for-you ingredients like Hyaluronic acid & Japanese Green Tea extract made this a winner! Love!

Here is a swatch of the colors... As you can see, they are very light & build-able, which is always a plus in my opinion!

After perusing the site there were some other products that I came across that looked pretty amazing that I thought were definitely worth mentioning! Specifically the Try-Me kit which is perfect for anyone with commitment issues or that's on a limited budget, but wants to try a range of products! This Lip volumizer looks great, as I'm a sucker for lip products, especially those that offer a little... em.... enhancement ;) And this Cappuccino/Cocoa Mud Masque..... Wow! This is definitely on my list of products to try!

Devita seems to offer a lot of great deals as far as free gifts on higher priced orders as well! This line is definitely one to try! You can find Devita at their website as well as on Twitter & Facebook! Thanks again Devita for allowing me to try your fab products!


DISCLAIMER: I was not compensated for the above review. I was, however, sent products at no cost to me in consideration for my review. I will never post about a product and/or line that I do not like. All opinions are honest & my own.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Fall Lust List

Happy Monday! I hope you all had a great weekend!!! We had a very relaxing weekend school shopping and then enjoying the last bit of summer weather by the pool. It was nice and breezy and just that little peak of cool weather that comes with the approaching Fall. This is the time of year I start pining...... Daydreaming of Apple Cider, leaves crunching under my feet, that bit of crispness in the air when I step outside for the first time in the morning. I love it. I miss it.... So so much. We only have a couple weeks until school starts for the boy, so I've definitely had Fall clothes on my mind. I've gone from pinning my summer staples - maxi dresses and tanks to pinning cardi's, statement necklaces and neutral knits that have me wishing that the Fall season would start sooner!

Here are some of my latest fav's....

I love that each of these knits are neutral, yet there's something a bit unexpected about them. The traditional stripes with the lovely flounce of fabric at the bottom. Or the slightly tailored look of a button down with the comfort of a henley that has a unique touch. I really love the last pullover - that dark color is perfect for fall and the laid back style looks so comfortable, but with the bit of lace in the back. Perfection.

L to R: Adella Cardigan, Airport Greeting Cardigan, Whisper Stripe Cardigan

For as long as I can remember, Cardi's have been a staple in my closet. I remember a few years ago when there seemed to be a cardi shortage! But now they are back in full force and I'm loving all of the details on some of them. I'm a sucker for drape, folds, and other odd little details. I really like when a basic design has a touch of something to take it from average to a whole other level. The orange in the Adella Cardigan is perfect for fall. I absolutely adore the oatmeal color of the unique airport greeting cardi and love the versatility of the zipper, allowing you to wear it as shown or unzipped with a similar flounce to the whisper stripe.

L to R: Arieel Grey Suede Booties, Galapagos Necklace, Faux Calf Hair Belt

I'm in desperate need of a new pair of booties for fall and this pair definitely fits the bill! They are perfect for everyday wear and the grey color is the perfect neutral! This necklace is the perfect statement maker without being overboard. I love the color palette and think this would get a ton of wear! I also love that it supports Artisans in impoverished communities! Win-win!! Last but not least, I fell in love with this belt when I saw it. Not just because I'm a major leopard fan, but because I will not wear calf hair and it is SO difficult to find this style of belt that is FAUX like the one pictured!

So there's my current roundup of Fall fav's! The perfect fall winter coat hunt has also begun. If you're not familiar with this annual activity, it starts in the late summer and often lasts throughout the winter ending with me buying a so-so coat that is just not up to par. I have yet to find Mr Right!!! The search continues....

Enjoy your Monday lovelies!!!


Friday, August 2, 2013

Friday Fav's!

Hello Lovelies! I'm so happy it's Friday! I've decided that since I have so many things I'm loving on a regular basis, that I would start a weekly post!! So I'll start with the obvious....

Have you noticed anything since you were here last? I have a new blog design!!! While I loved the last one that I had, it was just time for a facelift. I really feel like this one from Carrie, with my own personal touch of course, really shows my personality and I love the clean look!

via Pacifica
I've raved about Pacifica many times on this blog! They are one of my most fav natural beauty brands ever!!! And that was even before they introduced their beauty & skincare products! I have just been blown away by the new cosmetics. Target sells some of the palettes and skincare, but on the actual website, you can pick up these value sets. This one just became available yesterday & I'm ordering it for sure!!! I love navy liner for a little bit more of an unexpected look beyond basic black and it really makes the whites of your eyes pop! This set is only $39!!! Can you believe it?! And they also came out with these new creamy lip butters that I'm dying to try! By the way.... The solid perfumes..... LOVE! Sandalwood + Indian Coconut Nectar is one of my go-to's!! Ps - if you order through my referral link you get $10 off your first order & shipping is free over $50!

via Topshop

I've kind of had a weird obsession with baseball tee's lately and I came across this one. I wouldn't say that I love leopard print, but I love a touch of it. I like it in shoes & belts & iphone cases as a neutral. While I typically wouldn't wear an entire piece of clothing in this print, I kinda love that it's on the sleeves! Def a chic take on the traditional baseball tee!!

And my last favorite is my latest hair routine! Last week I did a post of my latest natural beauty fav's and two of these products were featured. After feeling like my Acure shampoo just wasn't cutting it for me anymore, I decided to start using the carrot conditioner regularly and also purchase the shampoo to try as well! I've been using all 3 every other day, along with a drop of the date oil mentioned last week for frizz, and so far so good! My hair smells amazing and even though I desperately need a cut so so SO bad, my hair still looks pretty darn good for someone that blows it out several times a week! You can get all these products at Target. And they also have a baby line that gets rave reviews! Reasonably priced, great scents and no ick in the ingredients. Can't beat that!

Happy Weekend Babes!!!!