Product Reviews

Now Solutions Avocado Oil
This makes the perfect deep hair conditioner. I separate my hair into six sections and rub the oil from scalp to ends, focusing on the ends. I clip all my hair up and put on a shower cap and relax around the house for as long as possible (2-6 hours). Then I shower and wash my hair as usual with shampoo and conditioner. My hair is soft and full of life. I try to use this avocado oil at least once a month. I found this product at my local health food store.
Alba Botanica Acne Dote
This is my favorite face wash. The brown color caught me off guard but as soon as I rubbed it on my face I was in love. It has a gritty texture that gently scrubs away dead skin. It has a light, minty tingle to it that awakens your skin and leaves it feeling fresh and clean. It smells great and fights acne too! I keep it in my shower and use it every other day. It can be found at your local grocery store or supermarket.
Simply U Conditioner
I ran to the store one day because I was out of conditioner and I grabbed this bottle because it was all natural, Paraben-free and sulfate-free. That must of been my lucky day because I found my new favorite brand of shampoo and conditioner. I have tried many natural, chemical-free shampoos and conditioners in the past but was always disappointed because I stepped out of the shower with dry, tangled hair. The products I had tried in the past did not condition my hair and leave it silky and smooth. This is the first Paraben and sulfate-free conditioner I have used that deeply conditions my hair and leaves it silky and tangle-free. An unexpected bonus was that my hair smelt amazing for days. Simply U is my one and only shampoo and conditioner!

I have been hearing so much about this company and  I couldn't wait to get my hands on a sample. For anyone who is still making the boring old morning protein shake - boy are you missing out! Shakeology is a nutrient-dense, superfood-packed protein powder that will absolutely knock your socks off. I tried the new vegan tropical strawberry flavor and literally thought I was drinking a fresh fruit milkshake somewhere on a tropical island. I don't know how they get that much delicious flavor into their powder but it beats any protein I have ever tried (and I have tried a lot). The best part about their vegan line is that they are soy-free. 
Shakeology contains more than 70 natural ingredients derived from rich, nutrient-dense whole-food sources from around the world. It is so incredibly healthy, no other single food item out there can supply you with all the nutrients, vitamins, proteins, digestive enzymes, prebiotics, probiotics, antioxidants, phytonutrients, and minerals in the amounts you need the way this one delicious shake can.
But Shakeology is more than just a great shake. The Shakeology program offers a complete workout regiment, eating plan, plus the shakes for a total health transformation. Checkout their website and learn how this shake can totally transform your health!
Contact Beachbody Coach Lindsay Heilig to get started.
Coconut Water
Have you ever tried Mother Nature's sports drink? Have you tried coconut water and didn't like it? Here are three coconut waters I picked up from my local Publix, all flavored with pineapple. I find that the flavored coconut waters are much tastier as they are sweeter and have less of a nutty flavor than plain coconut water. The Naked brand wasn't very sweet and I would have never known it had pineapple juice in it. The Vita Coco was very sweet and you could really taste the pineapple. I would recommend the Vita Coco if you have never tried coconut water before. My favorite is the O.N.E brand as it is sweet and has the perfect balance of both coconut water flavor and pineapple flavor. Other flavors  these brand make include mango, guava, peach, passion fruit, and pomegranate. Whatever you do, do not buy coconut water in the can - it has a musky, nutty flavor that is extremely unappetizing.
Coconut water is the clear, sterile liquid inside a young, green coconut. Coconut water is said to be one of the most valuable super foods on earth. Coconut water is packed with a variety of health benefits such as it is naturally low calorie, fat-free, cholesterol-free, full of electrolytes , contains B vitamins, has various plant hormones, enzymes, amino acids and contains more potassium than four bananas. It is the purest liquid second only to water itself. There have been cases where coconut water has been used as an intravenous  hydration fluid in some developing countries where medical saline was unavailable. Recent research has uncovered countless health benefits of coconut water such as dehydration, constipation, digestive disturbances, malnutrition, fatigue, heatstroke, boils, diarrhea, kidney stones, osteoporosis, urinary tract infections, and sterility. For more information check out this website:

'Nature's Xanax'
I had been researching natural ways to relieve stress and anxiety. I kept reading about a plant called Passionflower, which has a history of being 'nature's Xanax'. So I set out to find a tea containing the plant and here it is. Yogi Bedtime Tea lists Passionflower as the number two ingredient, along with a long list of other natural ingredients. I make mine as directed with boiling water and then add ice cubes to bring it to a warm temperature. Upon my first sip I was pleasantly surprised at how sweet it was because it does not contain any sugar. The flavor is so yummy and floral and I find myself drinking it now even on days that are not stressful. It does not make you drowsy at all, but rather calm and relaxed. I am in love with this tea!

Nature Box
 So after my recent post about my addiction to monthly box subscriptions I decided that my favorite box - Nature Box - deserved it's own review. This company is trying to change the way we snack by offering healthy options that will satisfy your sweet or salty tooth. They pride themselves on the fact that their nutritionist approved snacks are also free of GMOs, high fructose corn syrup, artificial sweeteners, colors, or flavors, and have zero trans fats. The best part (that took me 5 boxes to realize), you can go on their website and browse all their snack selections and choose the 5 snacks you want to come in your next box! Next month I will chose snacks that are all vegan. The picture above is from my most recent box. Inside I received:
Cherry Berry Bonanza (vegan) - A nice little medley of dried cranberries, cherries, and blueberries. I will be using these in my granola, oatmeal, muffins, and cookies.
Teriyaki Twists (vegan) - Teriyaki flavored rice crackers. These are going to be perfect on top of a salad or Asian pasta!
Cocoa Waffle Wafers - Light, airy wafers that are flavoured with natural cocoa. They are subtle and not as sweet as I was expecting.
Santa Fe Corn Sticks - Salsa flavored corn crisps that are tangy and savory and would work perfectly as a party snack.
Sweet Blueberry Almonds - They are exactly as they sound - blueberry dusted almonds that are perfectly sweet. If I throw some in my Ninja blender I will have the most amazing blueberry almond butter - YUM! (They were so good I ate them even before I was able to take the picture above and so I had to take a picture of the card that came in the box.)
I'm Addicted
I have recently come to the conclusion that I have an addiction to monthly box subscriptions. Are you wondering what in the world a monthly box subscription is? Well, there are companies out there like Birch Box, Nature Box, Bulu Box, Conscious Box, Stride Box, and many others that send their subscribers a box once a month full of goodies from different companies. Here are my current subscriptions:
Birch Box offers men and women's boxes filled with high-end beauty and lifestyle samples from a variety of top brands.
Bulu Box offers vitamins, supplements, health and weight loss products in their boxes. You can choose between a regular Bulu Box or a weight-loss Bulu Box. Both are great!
Stride Box is for the runners out there. Each box has products and accessories that fuel your training sessions, workouts, and races. My recent box had a pair of no-tie lock shoe laces, blister protectors for your feet, cleansing face wipes, and several energy packed snacks.
Conscious Box helps you discover the healthiest, most eco-friendly products available. All their products are non-toxic, healthy, and delicious! They offer three monthly choices - classic, vegan, and gluten-free. This box is definitely one of my favorites that I am eager to open every month.
Nature Box is by far my favorite. I check the door step every month for this delivery. Each box contains 5 snacks, all of which are made with wholesome ingredients and are minimally processed. They are always surprising and delicious.
FlapJacked Protein Pancakes
 This stuff rocks!! I got this sample in one of my recent Bulu Boxes. All you have to do is add water! I put my own twist on it and added three tablespoons of oats to the batter and placed some banana slices on each cake while they were cooking. One 4oz packet is enough for 2 full servings. This cinnamon apple flavor is delicious and each serving has 15g of protein. I only ate one of the cakes because they are not technically vegan - they contain whey protein and buttermilk. But if you enjoy protein packed sweet treats then you should visit their website and checkout all three flavors they offer. www.flapjacked.com

I Want Yogurt!!!!
Okay, so after I became vegan, I had this empty hole inside me that longed for yogurt. I missed having it with my fruit and I missed having it with my granola. I tried soy yogurt and did not like the taste or texture (and I try not to consume a lot of soy). I had almost given up, when I visited a health food store in Sarasota (the town next to mine) and there it was! Not just one, but two dairy-free, soy-free yogurt options. I was so excited and bought a couple of both almond milk yogurt and coconut milk yogurt and raced home to feed my craving. The texture of the almond milk yogurt reminded me of the soy yogurt and was a little disappointing. They were both better than the soy yogurt I had tried, but my favorite would have to be the coconut milk yogurt. It is absolutely delicious and has a smooth, creamy texture. It comes in several flavors but I'd have to say the plain Greek style is my go-to. It pairs perfectly with fruit, granola, or in a smoothie. You will be impressed!
P.S. - The So Delicious brand makes a variety of dairy-free, soy-free products that I am in love with like yogurt, coffee creamers, milk, ice cream, and other frozen desserts.

Ninja Blender
I never thought negatively about my ordinary home blender until I started to make fresh fruit and vegetable smoothies. It just wasn't blending the ingredients thoroughly and I found myself constantly stopping it and using a spoon to  mix the ingredients around before turning it on for another whirl. Only after I bought the Ninja blender did I realize just how bad my previous blender really was. The Ninja blender is compact, convenient, and extremely powerful. The capsule that you blend in becomes the cup you drink out of so there is minimal clean-up. It works perfectly with my lifestyle because in the morning before work I can throw some fruits and vegetables in it, pulse for 20 seconds, and off I go with a delicious, smooth drink in a convenient cup. Recently I have also been using it to make homemade salad dressing, salsa, and grind oats into 'flour' for baking. If you are underwhelmed by your traditional blender, you should definitely consider becoming the proud new owner of a Ninja blender.
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