Thursday, April 28, 2011

Korres Natural Lip Butter

I discovered this lip treatment on accident when I had a credit left at Sephora and it was the closest item to me that looked good. I am now addicted to this stuff. It keeps your lips smooth, with a slight shine, and all are made with shea butter. They are free from parabens, sulfates, fragrances, synthetic dyes, and petro-chemicals. I only know that they are sold at Sephora, but also online at The reviews are seriously outrageous- a whopping 2,8oo people gave it 4.5 stars. These Korres butters come in seven flavors retail for $1o. I have the guava butter on my night stand and a jasmine butter in my purse. I have tried the others, but I think those are the best.

LOFT Tipped Flutter Sleeve Dress

I love this classic white dress. It looks fresh and flirty for the summer and you can wear it for almost any occasion. It retails for 79.5o, but full priced items are on sale in store and online right now for 3o% off. I'd say that's a much better deal. And the best part is- it's machine washable so it's easier to wear over and over again.

Express Ruffled Flyaway Cardigan

Express is having a big clearance sale right now just incase you'd like to go! Once in a while I will find something, but I really lose patience after looking for 15 minutes and have a strategy when I shop for sale items. I have been eyeing this sweater for a couple of months now, but never felt like it was worth the $50 dollar price tag. It's made well, but it doesn't have much material as it is light and semi see through. I love this cardigan in all colors. Great for layering over a tank-top or a casual dress. And now it's on sale for $29.99.
It comes in grey, indigo, ivory, pearl, and black. One of their best layering pieces in their store so I imagine it will sell out soon.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Milk: It Does a Body Bad

It is no secret that the dairy industry is a money making machine. Between advertisements on television, magazines and the food pyramid, the need for dairy in our diet is being pushed aggressively.

The truth is, dairy is BAD for you.

It can cause acne, anemia, arthritis, indigestion, IBS, poor immune function, allergies, heart disease, breast and prostate cancers.

Our digestive systems were not created to be able to digest the milk of another species.

Cows milk is nature’s perfect food for a baby cow just as human breast milk is nature’s perfect food for a human baby. Humans are the only species that drinks the milk of another species and continues to drink milk past infancy. And most adults in other parts of the world to do not consume much dairy. Continents with the lowest dairy consumption, ie. Asia and Africa, have the lowest rates of osteoporosis. And milk has never been shown to reduce fracture risk.

Many cows are given growth hormones and these get passed on to us when we consume their products (milk, cheese, yogurt, ice cream, and meat). You don’t have to be a genius to realize hat this cannot be healthy to consume. All I have to do is take a look at all the young girls who are reaching puberty at younger and younger ages, fully developed with their periods at ages where they shouldn't even have to think about that time of the month.

In order to keep milk production of milking cows at a high level, the cows are kept pregnant all the time. This is good for milk production and for keeping the cost of milk down, but bad for our health. A pregnant cow naturally has very high levels of estrogen, progestins, androgens, and other hormones, which get passed through to their milk. It is this high concentration of hormones that is troublesome.

If you do choose to drink milk, it really is worth it to pay the additional price for organic. At least with organic milk you can be assured that there are no added growth hormones and the cows are supposedly raised grass fed in open pastures as opposed to grain and protein fed in pens.

If you absolutely have to drink some milk, I suggest lowering your intake. I know it's really really difficult. I love ice cream, cheese and yogurt VERY MUCH and have a tendency to over do it sometimes. If I have yogurt as a snack during the day, then I will pass on the cheese in the evening during dinner. I don't know if I could ever not have dairy completely, but have reduced my intake by fifty percent during the last year. I also buy organic as much as possible.

Now if you want to really take a leap of faith I would suggest removing all dairy products from your diet for 30 days. On day 31 have a big glass of milk, a grilled cheese sandwich, a big bowl of ice cream, etc. Just load on the dairy and see how you feel. Many people who completely remove dairy for 30 days report a variety of symptoms strangely disappearing. Coughs, stomach distress, migraines, so it’s worth a try if you have health concerns that you can’t seem to shake.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Almond Breeze Almond Milk

I love love love this stuff. I have it almost every day in my smoothies or oatmeal. I don't drink it plain, but have tried it in cereal and thought it was okay. But I am not a cereal person so that's probably why too.
For some reason it just adds a creaminess to my smoothies and oatmeal. I am sure you can use rice milk or coconut milk if you prefer, but both those options have more sugar and calories.
Almond Breeze has sweetened versions, which may taste better, but I prefer adding my own sugar with fruit or cocoa powder. It's a fantastic substitute for milk if you want to move away from dairy. Hope you give it a try if you want to cut some sugar out of your diet!

I'm Losing My Winter Coat and My Mind

A few times a year (which is a few too many) I go through a period of time of losing more hair then other times.

Yes I am a bit dramatic, but my hair has always been my best accessory and have been aware of how lucky I am to have good hair.

I rarely dye my hair, I cut it four times a year, I wash it every other day and sometimes every two; the only product I use after I wash it is volumizing mousse- so I'd say it's one of the most low maintenance hair routines you can probably have.

So I finally googled, "do people shed hair seasonally."

I know it sounds a bit ridiculous, but happily found my answer.

The normal human hair on the scalp consists of about 100,000 hair follicles. Each healthy hair follicle is capable of hair re-growth innumerable times in its lifetime. The normal rate of hair shedding is about 50-100 hairs a day, but some seasonal changes can trigger the hair shedding to occur even two times faster.
According to researchers, hair grows steadily in winter while shedding starts increasing in spring and reaches its maximum in fall to have 100 hairs shed in a day. The shedding also affects rate of hair re-growth.
The rate of seasonal hair shedding and hair re-growth can vary from person to person. Some people are prone to shed large amounts of hair but they soon can have their hair growth restored through quick hair re-growth with the change of season.

Okay so I feel a touch better. It can be very scary though when it just doesn't seem to be stopping at times.

So how do you know if it's a serious issue and not just seasonal? The best thing you can do is monitor as closely as you can.
Since it is impossible to count, you can take mental notes or write it down throughout the day if it's that bad.

Losing your hair at any age can be a very traumatic experience, men and women find this experience can ruin their confidence and make them look years older. There are many reasons why your hair starts to thin out. Illness, medications, alopecia, menopause, and simply through your genes.

Here are some tips to give the illusion of fuller hair-

  • Adding a deeper color
  • Thickening hair shampoos
  • Dry shampoo for days you don't have time to wash
  • Don't brush it while it's wet (if you can help it)

Is anyone else noticing more hair loss this time of year?

Friday, April 22, 2011

Celebrities LOVE their Stella McCartney Bags

And I do too! I first started taking notice of her designs because of her famous father and was convinced that she was just riding his coat-tails and making a fortune with her brand. (Not that there is ANYTHING wrong with that.)

While I am not one to love all of her clothing designs, she knows what she's doing when it comes to handbags.

From what I've seen and know, her bags don't stay on shelves anywhere too long and they rarely if ever go on sale.

Many people love her handbags because they are eco-friendly and she never uses animal skin.

Her handbags come in various styles and colors, but the stand out bag of the year for her is the called the falabella chain trimmed tote.

It is only sold in high end boutiques, some online stores and Neiman Marcus.

The bag is lightweight even though there is a size-able chain around the bag. It sits comfortably on the shoulder too. You can fit quite a bit into this tote so it's great for a day bag or travel bag.

So you're probably wondering, if celebrities are buying up this bag then it can't be that inexpensive right? Yes you're right.
But you also have to remember that many of them get things like this in gift bags or the designer gives it to them knowing that sales will increase around the country because people will buy what their favorite actors, models, musicians are wearing.

Here is just a little list of women who love to carry this bag-
Naomi Watts, Charlize Theron, Jennifer Lopez, Kate Hudson, Victoria Beckam, Angelina Jolie, Jessica Simpson, Fergie, Rihanna, Kim Kardashian, Mena Suvari, and Zoe Saldana. I am sure there are many more!

I do happen to think that this is the IT bag of the year...if not the last two years. I haven't seen any other bag that has caught my eye in a very long time and nothing has compared to the stand-out detail of this bag.

Have I convinced you to check out her bags yet??

This particular bag runs anywhere from $975-$1695, depending on the size, style and color. And tax isn't included in that! A HIGH price to pay for this stylish bag.
I may have just unconvinced you...

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Longchamp 'Darshan Abstract' Tote

Longchamp first launched in 1948 and is a French leather and luxury goods company. They have been successful all over the world and most people who purchase Longchamp bags for the first time are very likely to repurchase.

They have great travel totes and luggage that are available at Nordstrom, Bloomingales and various boutiques. Here's a tote that I think is great for the summertime.
It's very functional and durable if you are going away for a quick trip or need a size-able carry-on for a longer one. It is about 19 inches wide and 14 inches in height.

This one is available at Nordstrom and for $322.oo. While I realize this is a high price to pay, they offer free repairs should anything go wrong and this will last you a very long time.

An Interesting Way to locate a Birth Father

This was posted in the classifieds last week. I think it's safe to say that the father of this child is not going to get the memo. *Click on picture for larger view*

Monday, April 18, 2011

Urban Outfitters Is Out

I had shopped at Urban Outfitters for a few years and usually left with something most of the time.

By no means was it my go-to store for anything.
I usually walked around to see if anything caught my eye or headed straight to the sale section.
I have found the prices to be a bit high for the (awful) quality.
While I don't want to compare them to Forever 21 (which I have a love/hate relationship with) their quality is very questionable. They also sell to a specific demographic so I don't know how high school and college aged kids can afford it.

Once in a while I would find something that would last for years, but MOST times it doesn't. Their shirt prices run anywhere from $39-79, which can be a bit much if you only wear it twice. Their clothing loses its shape and color very quickly, which deters me from buying more than a couple items when I did go.

I actually haven't been there in a while, though years ago it was part of my Sunday routine when I lived in Westwood and would go in before my Whole Foods trip.
Well, I haven't missed it one bit. I actually think their designs have evolved to be even more trendy with even more patterns (which I tend not to go for in general) and feel like they are trying too hard.
What I mean is that I can usually tell when someone is wearing something from Urban Outfitters now. In the past year I think I have only been there 3 times and only left with something once.

So with that said, the president of the company is leaving to pursue another job in London.

I guess I am not surprised.

Sales have been significantly declining the last few years and they have been predicting even lower sales this year. The company blames recent loses on "unruly weather conditions" and its own "fashion missteps."

Pretty sure it's their bad customer service, untrained employees as well as choosing things that people don't want to buy for the kind of price they'd like to sell it for.

Do you shop at UO?

Thursday, April 14, 2011

I wrote a post a few weeks ago about British Singer Adele..

who happens to my favorite artist (and not because her name is similar to mine).

Her album '21' becomes the year's first platinum hit! I'm just going to put this out there and say that she is the BEST female singer/songwriter I have ever heard. And I think she's just getting started. Here's an article I found below. If you haven't had a chance to check out her music, you absolutely have to!

Earlier this year, British soul singer Adele surprised just about everyone when her sophomore album, '21,' debuted atop the Billboard 200 album chart with an astounding 352,000 copies sold -- the biggest debut of any album this year. This week, '21' claims another title: first album of 2011 to go platinum.

According to
Billboard, Adele topples Britney Spears' 'Femme Fatale' to reclaim the pole position on this week's album chart, moving 88,000 more copies and pushing her total domestic sales to 1.03 million. The year's second-biggest album, Mumford & Sons' 'Sigh No More,' is a distant second, having sold 645,000 copies.

The popularity of '21' can mostly be attributed to the success of its long-simmering lead single 'Rolling In The Deep,' which the singer-songwriter has
described as a "dark bluesy gospel disco tune." Last week, after a slow climb up the charts, the song leapt from No. 17 to No. 10 to become Adele's first U.S. top ten hit. It remains at No. 10 on this week's chart.

At just 22, Adele has already won two Grammy awards, including the coveted Best New Artist prize. In her native England, '21' is trouncing the competition as well. In early April, after its tenth consecutive week at No. 1, the album smashed a record set by Madonna's 'The Immaculate Collection' in 1990, giving Adele the longest run ever by a female artist at the top of the U.K. charts.

The singer begins her first proper
solo tour of the North America on May 12 with a month-long sweep across the country that will take her to 23 major cities, including New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and Toronto. The trek begins in Washington, DC, and ends in Nashville, Tenn.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

So you want to be a little prettier?

Quit smoking. It's that simple.

I know, easier said than done, but really there's already so many things that damage your appearance on a daily basis ie. stress, drinking, processed foods, lack of sleep- why would you want to add that one extra thing? Not to mention how expensive it is.

I'm going to guess that most smokers know how much damage they may be causing, but it is a habit, therefore hard to break. When I was in Poland last year I was fascinated by the warning labels on the packs of cigarettes. It practically covers half the box.

Here's a list of things of what smoking will do to your appearance:

Bags under your eyes-

You are 4 times as likely as nonsmokers to report feeling un-rested after a night's sleep.


It is an autoimmune-related skin condition that can show up even if you never touch a cigarette, but if you do smoke your risk for the scaly skin condition goes up significantly.

According to a 2007 study, if you puff a pack a day for 10 years or less, psoriasis risk goes up 20 percent; 11-20 years and your risk is 60 percent higher; and for those who pass the two-decade mark, the psoriasis risk more than doubles. (Even secondhand smoke during pregnancy or childhood is linked to a higher risk.)

Bad Teeth-

Nicotine stains teeth, so not only are you spending money on cigarettes, you have to add in the cost of whitening your teeth! That can run up to a thousand dollars depending on how many treatments you need.

Premature aging and wrinkles-

Smoking accelerates aging and on average smokers look 1.4 years older than nonsmokers. (I think that is being generous). Smoking hampers the blood supply that keeps skin tissue looking supple and healthy.

Yellow fingers-

The nicotine in cigarette smoke can not only make your teeth (and the walls of your home) brown, but it's also notorious for staining fingers and nails as well.

Thinner hair-

As if the wrinkly skin wasn't enough, smoking hurts your hair too. Experts think the toxic chemicals in smoke can damage the DNA in hair follicles and generate cell-damaging free radicals as well.

The end result? Smokers have thinner hair that tends to go gray sooner than nonsmokers. That is, if they have any hair at all. Men who smoke are about twice as likely to lose their hair as nonsmokers, after taking into account factors that increase the risk of baldness, such as aging and genetics, according to a 2007 study in Taiwan.


Nicotine causes vasoconstriction, a narrowing of the blood vessels that can limit oxygen-rich blood flow to the tiny vessels in the face or other parts of the body. This means your wounds will take longer to heal and you’ll have scars that are bigger and redder than you would if you didn't smoke.

Tooth loss-

Smoking puts you at greater risk for all kinds of dental problems, including oral cancer and gum disease. According to a 2005 U.K. study in the Journal of Clinical Periodontology, smokers are up to six times more likely than nonsmokers to develop gum disease, which can lead to tooth loss.

Natural glow is gone-

Ever notice how smokers' skin sometimes seems off? A 1985 study came up with the term Smoker's Face to describe certain facial characteristics, such as wrinkles, gauntness, and a gray appearance of the skin, caused by smoking.

Cigarette smoke contains carbon monoxide, which displaces the oxygen in your skin, and nicotine, which reduces blood flow, leaving skin dry and discolored. Cigarette smoking also depletes many nutrients, including vitamin C, which helps protect and repair skin damage.

Wound healing-

Several studies have found that smokers do not heal as well after surgeries such as face-lifts, tooth extractions, and periodontal procedures.


For reasons that aren't entirely clear, smokers are more susceptible to infection with human papillomavirus, a large family of viruses that can cause warts—including genital warts.

While genital warts are caused by sexually transmitted types of HPV, smoking is also a risk factor. Even taking the number of sex partners into account, women who smoke are nearly four times as likely to have genital warts as nonsmokers.

Skin cancer-

Smoking is a leading cause of cancer, including lung, throat, mouth, and esophageal cancer, so it should be no surprise that cigarettes can also increase your risk of skin cancer.

Stretch marks-

The nicotine found in cigarettes damages the fibers and connective tissue in your skin, causing it to lose elasticity and strength.

Flabby tummy-

Cigarettes can be an appetite suppressant, and often smokers have a lower body weight than nonsmokers. However, a 2009 study in the Netherlands found that smokers had more visceral fat than nonsmokers. This deep fat pads internal organs and can accumulate in your midsection, ultimately increasing the risk of other diseases, such as diabetes.


More than half of Americans will have developed some degree of cataracts by age 80. Cigarette smoking can increase the risk of cataracts by putting oxidative stress on the lens of the eye.

I Promise It's okay to wear White Year Round

I absolutely love wearing white. It is my favorite (non) color and love how it looks clean, fresh and crisp during any time of year.

I've never understood the "no white before Memorial Day" rule. I mean I wouldn't wear a white sun-dress in the winter months, but I will wear pants, skirts, jackets, shirts, a nicely fitted and tailored dress with tights...the possibilities are endless! It just really depends on the style.

I think you just have to know what to wear and how to wear it.

If the rule no longer applies then why do people still say it? Now what about white shoes?

That's a whole other blog...

I really like these white jeans from Express. They are the boot cut stella fit jean from Express.

From the reviews I've read it seems they run a bit on the smaller side, but if you are a skinny 4 then you should get a size 4. If you are a fat 4 (that sounds a bit strange) then you need a size 6. In other words, if you are closer to the next size up, then buy the next size up!

They retail for $69.9o and are now buy one get another pair for half off. I think that sale is good for combining other pants that are on that special too. Or if you have a coupon and don't need another pair then that's worth it too.

There are definitely more clothing options for white in the spring and summer, though some of my favorite things are my white sweaters and jackets.

Between linen and silk, it's much easier to find those options in stores right now, but hope you consider more white in the winter too if you haven't!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

L'OCCITANE Shea Butter Hand Cream

I have always been aware of L'OCCITANE products, but nothing had ever caught my eye from the many times I've been to their store.
A few months ago when I was departing from Charles De Gaulle airport, I realized that I had some euros left. I didn't see the point in exchanging my money as the exchange rates are terrible.

I had my fill of coffee, baguettes, pastries and chocolate and discovered a L'OCCITANE kiosk in the middle of the airport.
It actually looked really out of place as it was just next to our gate.

I was able to buy a few hand creams and it came out less expensive than buying them in the states since it was duty-free! I have been using these creams non-stop. And every time I am with friends they try it and love it too. The reviews on are ridiculous- over 1,000 comments with a 5 star rating. It is definitely going to be hard to branch out using anything else for a while.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Denver Bound Tomorrow

I think almost everyone I know in Denver took the day off to go to the Colorado Rockies opening day.

Close to 50,000 fans were there- that's a whole lot of people who probably took the day off too.

Denver is one of my favorite cities, behind NYC.

There's not much to dislike about a place that has more sunny days then any other state.
The economy is a bit more steady, more people are college-educated (hence the stronger economy), it's a great place to grow up, and the people are super nice!

I absolutely love my trips home. I get to spend lots of time with people that REALLY know me. I like that feeling and knowing how hard it is to coordinate schedules between working, family, etc. But I always get to see everyone and that makes me so so happy.

I think about moving back often and wonder what it would be like. It would be nice have people around that you grew up with again.

I have met some nice people living in San Antonio, Austin, Los Angeles and Las Vegas, but nothing compared to the friendships I have formed in Denver. I suppose it's also because a bulk of my time has been spent living in very transient cities and several people I did become close to moved away or I moved.

I always look forward to my trips, but this one is especially meaningful to me.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

P90X Review

They really should make the "Extreme Home Fitness" a little larger under the P90X title.

It is TOUGH, most videos are long, and there is a lot of shopping involved if you want to follow the nutrition plan.

After the first week I had never ever felt so tired in my life. I was falling asleep on the couch at 8pm every night and was so sore day in and day out that I felt discouraged in knowing I had several more weeks to go. I hadn't worked out consistently in several YEARS. It's horrible I know, but no matter what excuses I give, they just won't matter. I shouldn't have let that much time go by. My only saving grace was that I was generally a good eater so my weight gain wasn't outrageous.

But honestly I felt terrible- like my body wasn't my body anymore.

If it were not for my boyfriend motivating me each and every single day there is no way I would have completed the program.
I admired his motivation and will power to stay away from cookies. It also taught me that he is even MORE patient than I thought. It is not easy dealing with a woman everyday saying "I hate this," "I can't do this," "This sucks," "I'm fat," "I want to cry."

I wish I were kidding.

It took me about 3 weeks to really get into it. I wasn't following the meal plan for the first couple months, which was probably a mistake, but I didn't have much to lose so I didn't think that the diet portion would really benefit me.
When I finally started eating better I dropped the 5lbs. I wanted to lose.

In the past I could work out and eat whatever I wanted, but NO MORE of that apparently.

That last month actually started to become a little fun. It was nice to see the changes and how much more reps or weights I could do.
By the time I was done I had dropped just a few pounds, but felt much lighter, healthier and more confident. And because I was working out I was making better food choices all around. Even on my 'cheat day' I wouldn't go that crazy.

I think it's a great jump-start program. I don't know if I could have done the weight exercises by myself because the first few weeks I was really learning the form and having someone else there really helps.

I am pretty sure I was sore ALL 3 months. I was working hard.

I am considering re-doing the program because I didn't take it as seriously as I should have from the beginning. I think my results would have been a lot better had I just had the right frame of mind from the get go.

So it's been about 4 months since I completed the program. I have yet to start some kind of routine again, but have maintained my weight and definitely don't feel as energetic as I use to. My food choices are good, but there is room for improvement.

When I would watch the videos I was so fixated on how I was feeling and getting the form down that it took me several weeks to figure out that one of the guys in the plyometrics dvd looked familiar.

Here's how the conversation went-

Me: "That guy looks awfully similar to my tax guy."

Boyfriend: "Well what's his name?"

Me: "Dominic"

Boyfriend: "That's Dom, jumpy boy." (I guess that's what they call him).

Me: "No way, rewind it."

Boyfriend: "Obviously that's him, if it looks like him and he lives in LA..."

Me: "I'm gonna email him."

It WAS him. Los Angeles really IS the smallest biggest city I have ever lived in.

(That's him below).

Have you tried the P90x program? What did you think?

My Go-To Day Face Cream

With thousands to choose from in department stores and drug stores, how do you know where to even start looking?

Before I even consider any thing new to put on my face I take (a lot) of time reading reviews. Neutrogena has a great reputation for having reasonable prices, as well as quality.

I have been using this on and off for the last 4 years and the only reason it's off sometimes is because I like to see if anything else will magically make me look 10 years younger.

It doesn't. It won't. But I will keep trying new things anyway.

This cream is great for so many reasons. It has SPF, which you should wear daily; retinol is the only wrinkle-reducer proven on the market; the list of ingredients is on the low; it can be found almost anywhere, even your grocery store.

It's oil free, alcohol-free, hypo-allergenic, and fragrance-free. It also happens to be made in France...and they know what they're doing in skin-care.

It is really light-weight and absorbs quickly, almost feels like you don't have anything on.

The product description tells you that it will brighten your skin, reduce fine lines, fade acne scars, even out your skin tone after continuous use. Of course it will.

Really using something consistently will help all of the above- not remove it completely.

However, if you are smoking, drinking, eating fast food, drinking soda, sleeping under 6 hours a night consistently - NO cream will do anything for you.

Do you have a go-to cream you like?

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Bad Economy, Better People?

Maybe. Even though the experts say the recession is over, a lot of people are still reeling from it. It’s kind of hard to call it a positive experience, but there have been a few good things to come out of the bad economy. Here are a few examples, courtesy of Hearst Publishing.
  • Having the courage to change. Dr. Stephanie Smith works for the American Psychological Association. She says when people are laid off, they take time to reassess their lives and priorities. The result: A lot of people are changing careers, starting their own companies, and going back to school. When the economy takes a dive, community college enrollment and graduate school applications tend to go up, too.
  • Another good thing from a bad economy: better body image. When our wallets feel empty, the full-figured woman comes back into fashion. Why? Experts say that when times are good, there’s a desire to have a sleek and strictly-controlled physique, but as resources become more scarce, people begin to prefer bodies with comforting curves, and start focusing on staying healthy.
  • The final good thing to come out of a bad economy: A sense of community. Losing your job is one of the most traumatic things a family can go through, but knowing you’ve got plenty of shoulders to lean on makes it a little bit better. In the best-case scenario, you, your friends and family will band together to share food, child-care responsibilities, and carpool rides, increasing your togetherness and support.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Whole Foods vs. Trader Joe's

I have always been conflicted with Whole Foods. While they offer the largest variety of health foods, they really have the worst prices.
I don't think I have ever seen anything priced close to what I'd normally pay elsewhere.

They carry many items that I can't find anywhere else so I would have to either order online and pay for shipping or just go and spend the extra few bucks to have it right away.

They have an amazing variety of cheeses and really cater to so many different "diets." Their fish is some of the freshest you can find and their hot food area is quite impressive.
I bought just a few items on my last trip and spent $35.

Almond butter, ground flaxseed, cocoa powder, chocolate, and instant coffee- for the days I don't make enough in the pot. So really nothing of true substance...maybe these are luxuries? They aren't necessities.

I really like shopping at Trader Joe's. Mostly because I know exactly what I need and know where everything is, though it does help that their stores are small.
Their prices are reasonable and have lots of fresh produce to choose from. If you need help or a suggestion I feel like someone is always around. Their cashiers seem genuine and always have a smile...maybe a little too friendly at times, but is that really bad?

Occasionally I have to choose a different veggie if something doesn't look fresh, but at least there are choices. And they definitely don't have any choices for fresh fish. It's all previously frozen and doesn't look appetizing to me.
I get most of my staples there like eggs, egg whites, half & half, almond milk, fresh veggies, hummus, ground turkey, chicken breasts, cheese, marinara sauce, and chocolate.

Once in a while I will pick up frozen chicken skewers or chicken nuggets (for lazy days), but other than berries I don't buy anything else frozen. Their frozen food section is one huge aisle on both sides neatly organized and lots of variety. Most of the packaging is on the smaller side and a huge portion of the options have high sodium, high sugar, and high carbohydrate intake.
I get plenty from all the chocolate I eat so I try and stay away from that aisle all together.

Here's what I bought for $35-

What do you regularly buy at Whole Foods or Trader Joe's? Which one do you favor?
I am always open to trying new foods!

Berry Me

I love all berries, especially when they pretty and plump. They make me happy.

I put them in oatmeal, in yogurt, and in smoothes. And blueberries are my absolute favorite to eat plain (or with gobs of whipped cream).

I was Latvian camp in Three Rivers, Michigan with all of my best girlfriends from Chicago. Oh you're probably wondering why Latvian camp- well my two great girlfriends from childhood are Latvian and Polish. We tried Polish camp, but we didn't like it so Latvian camp it was.

We got to be away from home for weeks and experienced tons of freedom. Of course there were activities, but there was also plenty of down time and having the independence felt amazing.
But along with that feeling of freedom came lots of getting into trouble. I think that's where you learn your limits on what you think you can do and get away with.

So you're wondering why blueberries have anything to do with this?? Well we would go blueberry picking a couple times a year, usually on our way there and then on the way home. Some of the BEST blueberries I have ever had. We would spend hours in the fields, hanging out in the sun, running around the patches when we got tired of picking. I looked forward to it every year. So I think that is also why I love blueberries so much. I equate a lot of my life experiences with food and eat more of the things that have wonderful memories tied to them.

One year we picked so many that we had to eat everything we picked before we got to camp. We aren't allowed to have food in the cabins. Makes sense since there are animals, bugs, etc. So the day we got to camp we just kept eating them and eating them. Maybe POUNDS of them. Well one of my girlfriends got really sick later in the evening and was sick the whole night, fever and all. I won't go into all the details, but it was blueberry overload, actually it was just gross. Obviously that isn't something we should have done, but I couldn't imagine them going to waste. Needless to say I don't think she ate blueberries any time soon.

Here are some great reasons why you should eat (not inhale) them:

  1. They are good for your brain: Investigators with the U.S. Department of Agriculture Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging in Boston found that the polyphenols in berries help the part of the brain that takes care of regular maintenance and "housekeeping." Blueberries and strawberries were said to contain the most polyphenols.
  1. They may help you lose weight: Berries are loaded with the powerful antioxidant anthocyanin. This antioxidant is said to be able to alter the activity of genes found in human fat cells, making it more difficult to put on weight if you are regularly consuming anthocyanins.
  2. They are good for your eyes: Berries, especially blueberries and raspberries, contain luteinin the pigment of their skin, which is important for healthy eyes.
  3. They are anti-carcinogens: Christine Sardo, who manages clinical trials on berry consumption and cancer prevention for Ohio State University's College of Medicine, found that rats that ate a diet consisting of 10 percent black raspberries showed reductions in oral, esophageal, and colon cancers of about 50 percent compared to rats that did not eat berries. Sardo concluded that berries contain potent anticancer compounds including calcium, folic acid, fiber, and various phytochemicals. Specifically, black raspberries slow the growth rate of premalignant cancerous cells through a process called apitosis, therefore stimulating those cells to die.
  4. They help slow down the aging process: The powerful antioxidants in berries prevent free radical damage in your body. And less free radical damage means slowing down the aging process and helping you live longer! (That is all you had to say).

I hope to go visit that old camp (opened in 1965) soon.

I miss my girlfriends that I only get to see once a year. But it's nice to think about all the great life lessons we learned each and every too much of anything, even if it's good for you, can make you sick.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Daily Dose of Chocolate

Because I need it and eat it everyday in some kind of form.

The healthiest way to eat it is dark and plain. What I hear is bitter and boring. While I do enjoy dark chocolate, my favorite will always be milk chocolate with almonds- pretty much any brand, but it's important that it's REALLY GOOD quality chocolate.

My neighbor, who's only known me for a few months, bought me some Lindt (Swiss) chocolate for Valentine's Day. I guess you don't have to be around me too long to know that I won't eat Hershey or Nestle brand bars (that's like 20 different bars). So basically no Butterfinger, Reese's, Crunch, Snickers, Milky Way, 3 Musketeers, 100 Grand...oh I can go on forever. And Russell Stover and Godiva are nowhere near my top 10.

Okay I'm done now.

I swear it's because I wasn't allowed to eat them as a child and now they don't taste good to me.

Some of my absolute favorite brands are Lindt, Perugina, Milka, Ritter Sport, Green & Black's, and Merci.

Have you tried any of these? They are all pretty wonderful.

I enjoy shopping for chocolate too and love going to World Market because their variety is insane. They occasionally have a coupon to save $10 if you spend $30, which is worth it since some of these bars you can't find anywhere else and can cost as much as $4-10 per bar or box.

Right now I have the Green & Black's bar shown above and I can't wait to get into that tonight!

My Favorite Weekend Meal

I pretty much get this once a week, sometimes twice if I find some errand to run in the same vicinity; and even after ordering this at least 40 times I still can't get enough!
These are the fish tacos with sweet potato fries at Miller's Ale House. I don't eat any of the tortillas (there's 3) so I can eat ALL of the fries along with the creamy whipped cinnamon dressing that comes on the side.
I guess I consider it sort of a "cheat meal." I have about two a week, but really don't think it's too unhealthy (aside from the sodium intake). I am having trouble branching out, mainly because I love these fries so much and try to get more fish in my diet since I make so much chicken at home.

Today I went to run an errand nearby. It wasn't a necessity, but wanted to get some things at Whole Foods that I can't find anywhere else.
I will post what I bought this week along with my Trader Joe's items for the same amount. It really is RIDICULOUS how much things are marked up. My almond milk that I use in my smoothies ranges from $1.87 to $1.99. At WF it was $2.69. I think that's a huge difference considering tax still has to be added.