fennel

 

If you aren’t consuming fennel, you are missing out! Its an herb that might be easy to overlook in the store, its certainly not as well known as parsley or cilantro but its worth your time to learn about.

Fennel is so good for you! I just began incorporating it into my weekly diet on a regular basis. I especially love a pear and fennel juice combination. You can do a lot with fennel- juice it, slice into a salad, saute and serve as a side dish, roast with cauliflower in a pan. I like to eat fennel seeds {find in the spice section of the grocery store} because it seems to calm my stomach and freshen breath.

Let’s look closer at Fennel!

Fennel provides relief from “anemia, indigestion, flatulence, constipation, colic, diarrhea, respiratory disorders, menstrual disorders, and its benefits regarding eye care.”

Fennel is popular in  Italian and Mediterranean cultures and has long been utilized for culinary and medicinal purposes. It  grows in coastal climates and on riverbanks. Its related to parsley, carrots, dill and coriander. It has a slightly licorice flavor; mild and a little sweet. Most people use the bulb (here lies the most nutrients) but all of it can be consumed.

“Fennel is an excellent source of vitamin C, folate, potassium and dietary fiber. Its one of the best antioxidant and anti-inflammatory foods you can consume!”

Fennel also helps prevent the formation of gas in the intestines, it relaxes the smooth muscle lining the digestive tract. This herb is high in potassium, vitamin C, and fiber, folic acid and phosphorous, iron, calcium, magnesium, molybdenum, and manganese! Holy cow, how could you NOT start eating this?

My favorite is to blend 1/3 of a bulb with apples and spinach, filtered water, a squeeze of lemon and dash of raw honey in my VitaMix and drink up!

Let me know- how do you use fennel?

 

 

 

 

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shea

 

I love shower and bath products, body care products that will make me smell good and keep my skin soft.  Two of my favorite  brands (that you can easily find stores like SuperTarget) just came out with some excellent products and I can’t wait to share the information with you!

First up, Yes To…Coconuts. I have long loved coconuts! Lately it seems like people are just realizing the powers of the almighty coconut!

The Polishing Body Scrub contains virgin coconut oil, sweet almond oil and coconut shell to gently exfoliate. This leaves skin really hydrated and soft, not to mention smelling like the tropics. Follow up with the Body Wash- its a heavenly experience! This gently cleans skin and refreshes you from head to toe. The blend of oils will soften skin.

The Lip Oil is made with olive oil, virgin coconut oil, shea butter, cocoa butter and eucalyptus oil, this lip oil adds a little shine and keep your lips coated with moisture. Ideal for the beach or pool when you dont want gobs of lip gloss but want to keep something on your mouth!

The Restoring Balm is perfect for dry elbows, feet, knees, cuticles…anywhere you need some pampering! With a blend of oils and shea butter, this balm contains vitamins A, C and E. Keep it in your purse for on the go moisture!  Last but not least, the Cleansing Wipes. I always use these when I go on vacation- they are super convenient and remove makeup in less than two minutes including mascara. They don’t dry out skin and are very affordable- 25 awesome wipes for under six dollars!

Another brand that I love is Shea Moisture. I recently discovered the Frankincense & Myrrh scent and wow! Its great! Not too perfumey or herbal, this fragrance is light and captivating.

The Body Wash has been a staple in my shower- its rich and gentle. Shea butter and argan oil soften and moisturize- I use this in place of a shaving cream! The Lotion is equally as hydrating and leaves skin smelling wonderfully clean. You don’t need much!

My favorite is the Dry Oil. I took this on vacation and used it as a perfume, moisturizer and lotion! It smells great, absorbs quickly, and is easily transportable. Just spray it on, rub it in and go.

I love the benefits of all of these wonderful oils and lotions. I am a true girly girl who can’t stop using various (non-toxic) lotions and potions every single day! Good thing these are all free from harsh and toxic ingredients!

 

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people

I’ve been having a hard time getting into books lately. I must have picked up and put down fifteen novels and memoirs that I just could not get into, I always blame this on my mood and not the author.

The best feeling is getting so into a book that you don’t want to do anything else but sit and read. Those books are few and far between!

Here’s what I’ve been reading over the past ten days. I finished them all!

People I Want to Punch in the Throat: Competitive Crafters, Drop-Off Despots, and Other Suburban Scourges by Jen Mann

I am really into memoirs especially when they are written by super sarcastic people with a biting sense of humor like this! Here’s the synopsis:

Jen Mann doesn’t have a filter, which sometimes gets her in trouble with her neighbors, her fellow PTA moms, and that one woman who tried to sell her sex toys at a home shopping party. Known for her hilariously acerbic observations on her blog, People I Want to Punch in the Throat, Mann now brings her sharp wit to bear on suburban life, marriage, and motherhood in this laugh-out-loud collection of essays. From the politics of joining a play group, to the thrill of mothers’ night out at the gun range, to the rewards of your most meaningful relationship (the one you have with your cleaning lady), nothing is sacred or off-limits. So the next time you find yourself wearing fuzzy bunny pajamas in the school carpool line or accidentally stuck at a co-worker’s swingers party, just think, What would Jen Mann do? Or better yet, buy her book.

My thoughts: I enjoyed this quick read about Jen’s escapades in suburbia. I felt like I could write a book about my own shenanigans, experience and adventures in motherhood too. Check out her blog by the same name for more hilarity!

silent

I could have sworn that I reviewed The Silent Sister By Diane Chamberlain already! Am I losing my mind? I can’t find it. So here we go again-

In The Silent Sister, Riley MacPherson has spent her entire life believing that her older sister Lisa committed suicide as a teenager.  Now, over twenty years later, her father has passed away and she’s in New Bern, North Carolina cleaning out his house when she finds evidence to the contrary.  Lisa is alive.  Alive and living under a new identity.  But why exactly was she on the run all those years ago, and what secrets are being kept now?  As Riley works to uncover the truth, her discoveries will put into question everything she thought she knew about her family.  Riley must decide what the past means for her present, and what she will do with her newfound reality

My thoughts: Diane Chamberlain is an author who never disappoints. I didn’t know how she could possibly write another gripping novel after the wonderful Necessary Lies but this one is equally as good. I was enthralled and didn’t want to the story to end!

hazards

My Family and Other Hazards by June Melby

When June Melby was ten years old, her parents decided on a whim to buy the miniature golf course in the small Wisconsin town where they vacationed every summer. Without any business experience or outside employees, the family sets out to open Tom Thumb Miniature Golf to the public. Naturally, there are bumps along the way. In My Family and Other Hazards, Melby recreates all the squabbling, confusion, and ultimately triumph, of one family’s quest to build something together, and brings to life the joys of one of America’s favorite pastimes. In sharp, funny prose, we get the hazards that taunted players at each hole, and the dedication and hard work that went into each one’s creation. All the familiar delights of summer are here—snowcones and popcorn and long days spent with people you love.

Melby’s relationship with the course is love-hate from the beginning, given the summer’s freedom it robs her of, but when her parents decide to sell the course years later, her panicked reaction surprises even her. Now an adult living in Hollywood, having flown the Midwest long ago, she flies back to the course to help run it before the sale goes through, wondering if she should try to stop it. As the clock ticks, she reflects on what the course meant to her both as a child and an adult, the simpler era that it represents, and the particular pains of losing your childhood home, even years after you’ve left it.

My thoughts: This was such an endearing read, highly recommended. I had never read a book about someone who grew up running a miniature golf course and at times, I felt like I was right there with June. Definitely an enjoyable summer read!

jenny

And I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the ultra-hilarious memoir by Jenny Mollen (Biggs), I Like You Just The Way I Am. Her book is not for the faint hearted, easily offended or for those who lack a sense of humor and a certain shallowness.

I found this memoir of Jenny’s life thus far to be pretty funny and I totally get her witty and sarcastic comments. She reminded me of the character in my first novel, A Thousand Dollars for a Kiss!

People ( with no sense of humor obv) said my character was shallow, self centered, narcissistic and unlikable. I say she was a product of her Hollywood environment and had a  biting wit!

Jenny doesn’t shy away from any topic and you will find yourself laughing out loud and maybe even snorting at the things she writes!

 

CASkin-Care-Range

 

Based in – where else?- Southern California, this brand is all about harnessing that feel good California flavor. From the simple but modern design of the boxes and sleek bottles to the pure ingredients, this brand instantly intrigued me.

These products are formulated without parabens, sulfates, harsh synthetic chemicals.

 

Let’s take a closer look!

 

California Naturel uses natural ingredients such as aloe vera leaf juice, spirulina, sea fennel, shea butter and more.  Many of the ingredients are organic which makes me happy!

The Gentle Cleansing Gel did a nice job of removing all traces of makeup without leaving my face feeling tight or dry. The foaming gel contains both naturally derived and organic ingredients. I think this is nice for those of us with oily skin, it is not oily or ultra hydrating so if you tend to have oily skin, this might be perfect for you.

A little dab of Nourishing Cream is all you need under your makeup to keep skin lightly moisturized. This medium weight cream contains aloe leaf juice and sunflower seed oil. It is naturally scented with rose, lavender, neroli, chamomile and frankincense.

I always like a good sunscreen and the All Natural Sun Screen contains Zinc Oxide with an SPF 30, is non greasy and quickly absorbs. What’s not to like? It also contains shea butter to soften skin. Pair it with the Lip Balm Spf 8 to protect your lips in the harsh rays of the sun.

You can find more about this brand by going here.

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blogilates

 

Back in August, I did a post called Exercise for Lazy People. You can read it here. 

Now I bring to you, Part Two of Exercise for when you want to play on Pinterest or watch some BRAVO TV  rather than get a little exercise in  your day.

I don’t go to a gym(basically because I find that I spend an hour getting ready to go to the gym, a  half hour to drive there and less time actually working out) and prefer to do my workouts at home which is why I have all kinds of neat little things at home like a yoga mat, Pilates Magic Circle, foam roller, dumb bells, kettle bells, a workout set, treadmill, bike. Basically I don’t want to leave the house, ever. So I do absolutely everything I can to stay at home!

I find it best to get in about 30-60 minutes of exercise a day, I rarely skip a day (unless Ive eaten gluten and am sick in bed). I plan my day and usually I like to schedule exercise in the evenings so I can take a shower and get ready for bed right after I’m done. This is what works for me, you have to find what works for you. My best piece of advice is to be consistent, don’t worry that you aren’t putting in a full hour of exercise every day. Just do a little something for as long as you can. A twenty minute walk, thirty minutes of yoga, an ab routine you found on YouTube…just get moving.

I love workouts via my ipad. I have done many yoga workouts from the app called “Yoga Studio” and have written about it before. You can choose the length and difficulty of your yoga workouts from 15 to 60 minutes. While I did a lot of yoga in the past and loved it, I decided I really wanted to get in better shape so I incorporated other workouts into my routine. My goal this year was to dedicate time to firming up!

My favorites include Fitness Blender workouts which range from five minute routines (don’t think these are easy- they aren’t!) to high intensity workouts that will leave you sweating, swearing and out of breath. I like the more low intensity exercises mostly because Im lazy,  and depending on how much time I have, I will do a few different workouts. My favorite one lately is the 17 minute ab routine which may make you cry at the end.

You can learn more here. Daniel and Kelly are the married couple who do the workouts and they are really down to earth and fun. No bells and whistles and crazy music, these are straightforward workouts that top my list!

Tone It Up features Katrina and Karena, best friends and workout buddies who are personal trainers and run the Tone It Up empire together. I like their workouts a lot too, the kettle bell workout is probably my favorite. There are all kinds of workouts to choose from, they are quick but rather difficult. Your legs will be shaking, your abs will hurt! In a good way.

Blogilates is the other YouTube workout channel I follow. Cassey Ho is the very energetic trainer in these videos who will kick your butt with her pilates inspired workouts. I can always find a workout here that hits my trouble spots. Cassey talks a lot which makes the time go by fast- and that’s a  bonus! Its kind of like working out with a friend!

 

frank_orig

And to cheat a little and give your body a sloughing and a more smooth appearance, you can try this magical Frank Body Scrub!  This coffee scrub improves cellulite, stretch marks, acne. It contains ingredients such as brown sugar & sea salt, sweet almond oil, and use vitamins & minerals to work wonders from the outside in. 

It smells amazing and contains all natural ingredients. I use this immediately after getting in the shower, I scrub my skin and try to leave it on as long as possible.  Its a little messy but washes easily down the drain so don’t panic!

A little lotion (or natural oil) on your legs after this scrub makes legs look magnificent!

 

tenbrands

 

There are some brands that I see over and over again on green beauty blogs. Check out your favorite  green beauties and see if they mention these brands, I bet you that they do. And there’s  a reason these brands are popular- they consistently create awesome products that use natural ingredients and most importantly, the products work so well that many of them have earned a cult following!

 

I have so many products that I love and use on a regular  basis, I’ve highlighted and linked them so you can get more information.

 TOP TEN BRANDS THAT GREEN BEAUTY BLOGGERS LOVE! 

1. Josh Rosebrook

We all love Josh’s amazing formulas, clean and pure products. I personally cannot get enough of the Cacao Antioxidant Mask that leaves skin glowing and radiant.

2. Acure Organics

This brand has a big following thanks to the non toxic ingredients and affordability! I’ve tried many products from Acure but if I had to pick a fave, I’d recommend the new lip glosses. The makeup removing wipes are pretty spectacular too, especially for travel!

3. One Love Organics

Everything is incredible here- light, natural, smells delicious and works really well. My favorite has to be the Gardenia Body Serum! Its my after-shower treat that leaves skin soft and smelling delicious.

4. Osmia Organics

I’ve long been a fan of this brand! Lots of natural soaps and oils, these products surely live up to the hype. If you try one product, try the Black Clay Facial Soap, which will clean skin and leave it soft. If you try two products, throw the Sunset Body Oil in your shopping bag. The scent of this is magical.

5. Kjaer Weis

From natural lip colors to a foundation that makes skin look flawless, there’s a lot to love here. The cream blush in Sun Touched is flattering to everyone and make you look sunkissed and natural.

6. Laurel Whole Plant Organics

Think about the beauty of nature, now bottle it up and use it for all your skin concerns. There, you have this brand! Utilizing the best of plants, Laurel’s products blow my mind. Two must- haves – the Cleanser and the Body Oil!  Clean luxury.

7. Celtic Complexion

Want gorgeous clear skin? Like using totally natural serums and cleansers? Try this. Loved by all who try it, Celtic Complexion had me hooked from the first time I tried it. I highly recommend the Youth Infusion Serum 7!

8. Lina Hanson

When I first tried this brand, I tested the Global Face Serum and instantly loved the way it made my skin look so much better without any harsh chemicals. This was probably one of the first natural brands I tried and fell in love with. Since the Face Serum, Lina has also launched a Body Serum and  Baby Serum. We all love her serums and look forward to more products!

9. May Lindstrom Skin

May comes up with the most unique natural skincare products! Everything is different and amazing.  I am hard pressed to pick a fave but when my skin is distressed, I reach for the Problem Solver, a bamboo charcoal mask that treats a host of skin problems.

10. RMS Beauty

I am embarrassed to tell you how many little pots of RMS Beauty products I have. The lip & cheek colors give a wonderful burst of color, the lip glosses are nicely pigmented and shiny but my fave is the Un Cover Up. This miracle product covers up any blemishes or skin imperfections but in the most undetectable way. No one will ever know you have it on!