Tuesday, May 20, 2014

In defense of healthy meals!

One thing that drives me completely bonkers when I'm talking to people about healthy eating is the phrase, "Oh I know, but it's so expensive!". Is it? Let's dive deeper into this, shall we?

For those of you who've been following this blog, you know that the hubby and I have been dedicated to healthy eating since the beginning of the year. For the last five months we've been filling our fridge with delicious and nutritious foods. We're both handling it a bit differently, which makes for interesting grocery shopping and actually slightly increased the amount we used to spend because we aren't buying pre-made junk anymore, but I'll get to that later.

For me, groceries consist of chicken breasts, frozen shrimp, ample amounts of vegetables and healthy snacks for work. I pick up yogurt, raisins, granola, and all manner of other little yummy bites. For the hubby, who is on a ketogenic diet, groceries are just meat, vegetables, and cheese. So our diets do overlap a little bit. The difference is that now we are buying better cuts of meat for him. Steaks, pork chops, and even the occasional smoked sausage or two :).

When we used to buy pre-packaged and frozen food, our monthly food bill generally came out to around $120. Not too shabby, right? Now that we're eating healthier, our monthly food bill comes out to around $160. See that? Only a $40 increase per month my friends. Maybe $170 if we go the Farmer's Market a weekend or two. I'm betting to guess you have $40-$50 sitting around somewhere in your budget. Perhaps you're spending it on eating out or buying coffee every morning? Hmmm?

My whole point is that eating healthy isn't necessarily as expensive as you think it is. Perhaps it might cost more if you're going out to have a salad made for you that costs $8, instead of making it at home for $2. It's all about time. It's all about planning. Healthy eating is in your grasp. So stop making excuses :). You've got this!

Saturday, May 17, 2014

It's technology, yo!

As I'm sitting here today, paying bills and getting caught up with everything social media, I can't help but realize how reliant my life has become on technology. I mean, think about it. It's how I check my finances, make purchases, talk to people who live far away, write book reviews, and oh so much more! Now before you freak out and think  "Oh, Jessica is about to go off on an anti-technology ran of some sort. Head for the hills!", let me assure you that I'm not. I'm just amazed at how much I don't even think about it anymore. How all this technology is such an integral part of my life that I don't even notice.

Food for thought my friends. I'd never give it up, I'm just thankful it exists.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Montagne Jeunesse Creamy Coconut Face Mask Review

Yes, I meant to write this review days ago! Ha. Things got so busy this week that I really do wish I had another one of these face masks for tonight. Sitting back and giving myself a spa facial sounds AMAZING. Sadly, I've already used it up. 

First off I must announce that I received this product for free from Influenster and Montagne Jeunesse for review purposes. Although this doesn't affect my opinion in the slightest, I still want to be honest. On to the review!

First of all, I'm fairly certain that this package is how all the face masks come when you purchase them. That's pretty standard for a lot of face masks, as I've tried other brands before, but I was a little disappointed at how difficult it was to squeeze the entire mask out of this blister pack. If you choose to do one of these, I highly suggest squeezing it all out before you start putting on the mask. Trust me, it will make things a ton easier.

Once I was able to spread this mask evenly across my whole face, which was a little challenging because it started to absorb into my skin, the next thing I noticed was the scent. It's very strong, but in a pleasant way! I'd say it smells like a mix between coconut and shea butter. It doesn't have the exact same scent as sunscreen, but it is pretty close. Honestly? I thought it smelled good enough to eat! (Then I giggled that there is a tagline that specifically states not to eat this.)

The mask is supposed to sit for 10 minutes. I've done other masks before, and I don't mind the wait time. This mask was tough to ignore though because it tingled like crazy. I don't know why honestly, but I'll admit that I had a moment of panic where I was afraid it would give me a rash. The face you see in this picture may or may not have to do with that sensation mixed with the fact that this mask smelled so good.

I have very sensitive skin, so I do get a little paranoid. Luckily I washed this off with no issue, and no rash. Instead it left behind smooth, and very hydrated skin that was soft to the touch. As an added bonus, the scent stayed around for a bit! Nice!

So would I try another Montagne Jeunesse Cream Face Mask? Absolutely! Although I do wish it came in an easier to dispense format, and was a little thicker when it went on. 

Thank you Influenster for the opportunity to try this product!

Find Montagne Jeunesse products on:

Monday, May 12, 2014

Viva! VoxBox Review

It's time for another VoxBox Review! This time it's all about the Viva! VoxBox and its amazing goodies. I'm always thrilled with Influenster deigns to send me one of these! So many new products to try, and fall in love with. *swoon* The least I can do is thank them with some reviews for the free products that they send me. So, let's get to it!


* Creamy Coconut Face Mask by Montagne Jeunesse

I'll be doing an individual review on this tomorrow, but for now I'll say that this mask had both its pros and cons. While peeking around at what other Influensters received, I'm glad I got a cream mask. Montagne Jeunesse makes quite a few different types of masks, and I'm a little afraid of peel of ones. A cream mask on the other hand? Bring it on! This mask definitely gets points for the amazing way it smelled. A little like shea butter, and a lot like coconut, it was reminiscent of the beach.

* CityProof Twistable Intense Lip Color in "South Ferry Berry" by NYC

First of all, massive kudos to NYC for creating such a buttery soft lip color! It goes on so amazingly smooth, and leaves your lips feeling moisturized without being sticky. If there's one thing I can't stand about lip products, it's stickiness. So that already made this a win in my book! Add in the fact that the color actually lasts through moderate eating and drinking, and you have my heart. The only downside for me was that these are very pigmented colors which in itself isn't a bad thing, but South Ferry Berry is very red. It's not my type of color. I'd probably choose something a little less bold :).

* Pure Ice Nail Polish in "It's Complicated" and "Afterhours"

Here's the manicure that I rocked with these colors! Let me tell you, this nail polish is super addictive. 

* It's only $1.99 a bottle!
* The colors are vivid
* The formula is smooth

* It's only sold at Walmart

That gorgeous pink is "Afterhours" and that fun glitter is "It's Complicated". Don't they pair together great? Two days after I received these colors, I went out and bought "Silver Star" and "Sexy Mama". I was only bummed that our Walmart didn't have a bigger selection. I'd love to see these for sale other places! 

* Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleansing Cloths

As you've probably realized from following my reviews of skin care products, I have pretty sensitive skin. One wrong move and I've either got a huge breakout on my hands, or dry skin that itches like mad. So when these Cetaphil cleansing clothes said they were gentle, I was hopeful! I am always looking for something to take my tinted moisturizer off with at the end of the day, without all the harsh makeup removing chemicals. These do the trick! They have little to no scent, are very soft, and work effectively at cleaning your skin. I use them on my feet now too, to wipe them down after a day of wearing sandals.

* Vaseline® Spray & Go Moisturizer Cocoa Radiant

I was a little jealous last voxbox because my husband got a Spray & Go Moisturizer. I fell in love with the idea that, like my favorite new sunscreen, you were able to just spray it on, rub it in, and go. Of course his smelled like cologne, so I didn't want to use it :). Imagine my happiness when I opened my box to find one of my very own! This has a really pleasant shea butter and cocoa smell to it, and goes on so smooth. Be warned, it does dry really quickly! So if you don't want build up, do an arm at a time and make sure to rub it in right after you spray.

Truthfully, this was the only thing in the box I didn't get excited about. We don't usually buy gas at Shell, as it's much pricier than the other gas stations around us, and this rewards card doesn't really make much of a difference. You do save about $.03 per gallon at the pump, but in order to actually earn rewards you have to shop at their online mall, or sign up for a MasterCard Rewards Card. I like the idea of this, but it would make way more sense if you were just rewarded points for each time that you use the card at the pump. I don't see the hubby and I using this very often at all.


The bottom line?

I loved the majority of this box! The Viva! VoxBox has me hooked on Pure Ice nail polish for sure, and I plan on going out to get more Cetaphil Cleansing Cloths once I run through mine. So this box was a ton of fun for me, and I can't wait to try more! Thanks Influenster for the fun products, and thank you for reading my review!

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

So it's like that, huh?

You know what inspirational quote pic? You're right. In theory. But what happens when half of your 24 hours is spent getting ready for, spending time at, and coming home from work? Didn't take that into consideration did you? HUH? 

I'm being silly, but yes, this post is all about time management, which I'll fully admit I'm still struggling with to this day! It's been about four months since the hubby and I joined our new gym. We drag our behinds there at least 3-4 times a week, and I actually do love going most days. The struggle? It eats into the very limited amount of time I have in the evenings before I head to bed. When you get home at 6:30, and go to bed at 8:45, that two hours is at a premium. How do you fit in all the things you want to do?

I've started implementing little things to keep myself sane. I do all my reading going to/coming from work now, and audio books are my new best friend. I write blog posts/book club posts from my phone whenever I have down time. I prep things I might need for weekly meals on the weekend, and try to make big enough portions of dinner that I can take for the week as lunch. Still? I'm struggling. Mainly because I'll get lazy, and then buy lunch, or eat a crappy dinner. I'm only human.

I admire the people out there who seem so put together. The stress of all this is really getting to me, and I'm not ashamed to admit it. Which is why, of course, you all get to read this rambling post. *wink*

I'll live, and I know it. Sometimes hashing it out just helps. You know?

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Love With Food Box - April 2014

This was my favorite Love With Food box so far!!!

I just keep finding more and more delicious snacks to love in this subscription, and this month's box totally blew me away on that front. Not only did I try things I would probably never pick up on my own, but I got to share some of my box with family members who are also hooked now :). Spread the love. That's what I always say!

What is Love With Food you ask? Here's a blurb straight from their website:
Love With Food helps you discover new organic, all-natural snacks delivered to your door every month. Our subscription membership starts as low as $10/month. Every month, Love With Food members will receive a curated box of unique, hard-to-find tasty snacks which varies based on seasonal themes.

For every box sold, we donate a meal to several food banks such as the Feeding America Network and Share Our Strength - No Kid Hungry. Join us to help end child hunger one meal at a time!

Say goodbye to boring grocery selections and start discovering your Love With Food experience!
This month's theme was FLOWER POWER.

(A note: These are not my photos. All the photos I took this month were lost when I got a new phone. Credit goes to the Love With Food website!)

Orchard Blend by Sensible Foods
Package Size: .75 oz - Value: $1.66

I think I've found a new favorite way to eat fruit! My dad used to buy dried fruit all the time. I remember eating sticky pieces of dried apricots and pineapples. While I love the taste, I hated how they were so tacky feeling. This mix? It's freeze dried! It's crunchy, and sweet, and perfectly satisfying when you want that "chip" feel for your lunch. I actually loved this bag so much that I am eager to find more!

 Heart-tee by Wild Hibiscus Flower Co.
Package Size: 3 sachets - Value: $1.50

This tea is made from Hibiscus, and it's very very red when steeped. It looks beautiful in a glass teapot! I have to say that it takes a bit to get used to. The tea is very tangy. However, like most teas, it has a lot of health benefits, namely lowering stress and anxiety. With the way things have been going lately? I need this. I'm going to try it iced next!

Creamed Honey with Chocolate Mint by Vintage Bee
Package Size: 2 straws - Value: $1.00 (?)

Oh. Em. Gee. Do you love honey straws? Because I totally do. Now imagine that honey straw you love is turned into a creamy treat with undertones of chocolate and mint. Are you sold? I was! I ate this directly out the straw, and it was so good. I could see this going amazingly well in tea, or in coffee, or even spread on a piece of toast! The website has many more flavors. I think I might need to place an order.

Almonds with Cranberries, Honey + Sea Salt by Sahale Snacks
Package Size: .75 oz (2) - Value: $.75 each

Although I liked these, I don't think they're anything super special. The mix of almonds and cranberries was nice, and it was a good mix of sweet and salty, but I wasn't overly impressed. I think maybe I was missing a mix of more types of nuts. Almonds aren't that crunchy to begin with, so pairing them with cranberries makes for a non-crunchy snack. I'd be willing to try other varieties though.

From Olde England With A Kiss by Crave Canyon Popcorn
Package Size: 1 oz (2) - Value: $1.75 each

This popcorn flavor was... interesting. It has a kettle corn base, which we all know and love. The kick is that it also has anise on it. If you'll recall, anise is the spice that gives black licorice its flavor. I am not a fan of black licorice. So this popcorn flavor didn't really sit well with me, sadly :(. Good concept. Just not for me.

Hatch Has Met Its Match by Crave Canyon Popcorn
Package Size: 1 oz - Value: $1.75

If only they had put two of this flavor in my box, I would have been one happy girl! This popcorn was scrumptious! Imagine your favorite cheddar popcorn, but now add in the sharpness of asiago cheese and then... wait for it... hatch chilies. YUM! I had to fight with my hubby over this bag because we both liked it so much. This is a flavor I'd absolutely buy again.

Honey Waffle by Meli
Package Size: 1 waffle (4) - Value: $1.00 each

Holy mother of all things sweet this is a delicious treat! No seriously. There were four of these in my box, and I promptly devoured two the instant I opened the first one. Guys, these are delicious. They are slightly crunch, and sweet, and gooey, and... excuse me for a minute while I go get another one. I've already bought another set of these, and I plan on buying more!

Fiordifrutta Organic Fruit Spread by Rigoni Di Asiago
Package Size: .8 oz - Value: $.50

I'll be honest and say that I haven't eaten this yet, mainly because I haven't had any bread for toast in a while. LOL. I am intrigued by it though. This fruit spread has no added sugar, and is instead sweetened with organic apple juice! Since I'm already a fan of preserves over sickly sweet jellies, I think I'll like this. Only time will tell though.

Original Peanut Organic Energy Bar by Bumble Bar
Package Size: .65 oz (2) - Value: $1.00 each

To all the people out there who tried to get me to eat flax seeds, I'm sorry for not listening to you. This bar is made up of sesame, flax, vanilla and cinnamon (plus honey of course) and the result is amazing! These are rather sticky, but they are so good I just didn't care. If this is what organic energy bars taste like? Count me in.

Extra Virgin Coconut Oil by Kelapo
Package Size: .5 oz - Value: $1.00

We haven't used this yet, because I'm hanging on to it to make my Pad Thai this weekend, but I've heard so many good things about coconut oil! According to the healthy sites I follow, it's a great way to add extra flavor to your food and cut down on unnecessary fats. 

Sea Salt Pomegranate Chips by Simply 7 Snacks
Package Size: 1 oz (2) - Value: $1.25 each

Before you look at these and balk, listen to what I have to say. I thought the same thing. How on earth could pomegranate pair with sea salt? Wouldn't that make a sweet chip with a weird salty taste? Nope. It's amazing. These are so good! This actually ended up being one of my favorite things in the box, and I can't thank Love With Food enough for creating the opportunity for me to try them.

What an amazing box this month!

Once again this box was valued at around $20, and I paid $17, so it was another good month of deals. I can't express enough though that Love With Food is all about curation. It's about getting you to try new snacks, from all over the world, that are healthier alternatives! So if you're looking at trying this? Go for it. You can even get your first tasting box for free right now. All you pay is shipping :).

Happy snacking!