I know…you are probably wondering where the heck the deep, thought-provoking posts went. I promise they are coming back. I’m on week 3 of my coaching program (also week 1 of the group part), visited Baltimore & Hopkins last weekend (!), and am trying to find my footing/balance as huge cosmic shifts rock my world. So there is a lot of deep stuff here, lots of it, but its the fluffier things I feel called to share with you lately. Perhaps its because all of my other writing has to deal with the fate of cancer patients…
Anyway, this week I will be re-capping my trip to Ballmore <–apparently how the locals say it, talking about life lessons from rocks, and filling you on my couponing adventures (this time shared with boy). I’m hoping to catch you all up on physical + coaching stuff too but considering I’m in the process of packing up my life to bring home for Easter, that might not happen. I know you understand.
Since entering the world of couponing my eyes have been opened to all the wonderful freebies and deals you can get. Some weeks, you mail looks like this:
Ok the Partners in Passion is cheating but I do love when it comes every month!
And other times it means I get to try new products on the cheap or splurge on something I love without guilt because I’m saving so much money elsewhere. Today I want to share with you some of the latest products that have entered my life in both the realm of food and health & beauty care (HBC). Some are definitely not new products but all are new to me!
Healthy Steps Portion Control Dressing Cruet
When I saw this at Wegmans I knew I had to have it. 1) I am a sucker for kitchen gadgets and 2) I saw it as another “make life easier once I’m a student” tool. The cruet holds up to 1 c of salad dressing, has an emulsifier to aid in mixing, includes recipes printed onto the side of its body, and has a separate “one serving chamber” to help with portion control. Pretty neat, right?! I tried it immediately with Gena’s Outstanding Miso Sesame Dressing and was definitely pleased with the results. I did discover that the container is not leak-proof and can only be shaken directly up-and-down (*insert inappropriate joke here*) but other than alittle spillage, it worked like a charm! Even better? I paid only $4.82 for it.
Let’s Do…Organic 100% Organic Reduced Fat Coconut (Unsweetened, shredded)
I’m usually wary of “reduced fat” anything (most companies add sugar and/or lab experiments to create more taste) and normally wouldn’t have even looked at this product…except, it was a better deal than the full fat bag (based on the unit price)! So I decided to investigate further and discovered that the fat reduction is achieved by steam extraction. Now I’m not 100% sure what this means exactly but the ingredient list was still simply, “Organic coconut” so I decided to go for it. I, of course, used it the same night and found the taste to be the same. I will definitely be sticking with this decision!
Full disclosure: these are so not new to me! But they recently came into season and both Wegmans and WF have had them on sale (the former for only $1.25 ea). The folks at Wegmans have even been kind enough to keep a box in the back for me. I eat them straight but check out Ashley’s amazing salad dressing recipe or just look at her significantly better photos.
Abita 25th Anniversary Vanilla DoubleDog
This was a Valentine’s Day gift from the beau and we finally cracked the bottle last weekend. It was outstanding. If you like dark beers (think stouts + porters) with a little something extra, this is definitely a beer for you! It had hints of both chocolate and vanilla, wasn’t too heavy, and went down smooth. It was a perfect way to end a pretty perfect date night.
California Olive Rance Everyday Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Ever since Amanda’s post on EVOO, I’ve been wary of store brands. So when I ran out, I did what any couponer would do and consulted my coupon binder…only to find a $1 off this stuff. I’ve never heard of the brand and, admittedly, only looked at the website so I could sound more knowledgeable for this post, but I was happy to see that the bottle contained no Italian flag (their olives are proudly grown in CA) but did have a harvest date. For the price ($6.95 with a coupon), I couldn’t leave it there. I haven’t actually used it to sautee anything yet so I can’t tell you much about the taste but in my mind, at least, it’s a step up! Plus it is oh-so-slightly more local.
Winter Salad Mix (lettuce, claytonia mache, and taatsoi)
This is from the farm whose CSA I was supposed to be joining this summer. Lucky for me, beau is still doing it and so he is getting early access to their for-sale produce that is coming in. The three words you can’t pronounce above? Those are winter greens. As in, they were grown in the middle of winter…in Connecticut. Ok so it was a mild winter…I know! But still, how cool is it to know that with the right tools + committment, you can grow heart greens all year long…sans any chemicals whatsoaeva? Yea that gets my gears going!
The taste is a little earthy and their texture, a mix of soft and sturdier. All in all, it makes a great base for salads, especially ones involving raisins, walnuts, and Mama Pea’s Cinnamon Vinaigrette. <–you need the book for that one!
Please ignore the mess in the background…
Those of you who know me know that I am not girly at all when it comes to beauty stuff. I’m
picky selective about my brands and read labels like its my job, but that’s it! I recently added dry brushing to my routine so now it looks like this: dry brush + wash + moisturize + apply mineral foundation & mascara to face. DONE. My hair routine? Rinse + brush daily, wash once every 4-5 days, smoothing gel + all natural (read: no lighter fluid included) mousse, and go. Every now and then I’ll blow-dry. That’s it.
All that being said, I’m indulging my inner girly girl here by sharing some of my newest beauty finds that I’m enjoying. They fit my strict guidelines for ingredients (no parabens, SLS, triclosan, etc) and have provided wonderful results…at least for the ones I’ve tried! tehe
Kiss My Face Chinese Botanical Ultra Moisturizer
The perfect balance of a light lotion + scent and a deep moisturizing. My skin has never seen so much action! Seriously this stuff is amazing. A little goes a long way so it is totally worth the pricetag…especially considering I paid only $6.99 for the bottle (vs $11.99). #win
Kiss My Face Triple Action Whitening Toothpaste with Natural Aloe Vera Gel
Ok so I also haven’t tried this yet and am having an internal struggle because it doesn’t contain fluoride. I’m still undecided about the whole fluoride debate so I will definitely use it, probably alternating between that and Trader’s fluoronated one. All that being said, I was super impressed to receive a full-sized bottle from entering their Fbook “Kissing Booth” back around Valentine’s Day and promise to report back once I use it!
Simple Vital Vitamin Day Cream with SPF 15
This new-to-the-States brand has swept the media + coupon world by storm. The jury is still out since I’ve only used it a handful of times but so far, so good. Initially it feels a little oily (considering I’ve been using non-SPF lotions for the past few months, this is expected) but it dries quickly and cleanly, leaving my skin feeling fresh + protected. It smells the same as all face moisturizers with SPF – a little chemically. And I don’t love the ingredients as their pronunciation is anything but “simple,” never mind super natural. But I couldn’t beat the <$10 price. And if that just made you choke on your lunch, I invite you to go check out the natural beauty section of your local Target/Walmart. I’ll take $9 over the $18 I was paying for Burt’s Bees Radiance lotion!
Natural Boar Bristle Dry Brush
Oh my word what was I missing?! If you’ve never dry-brushed the sooner you can get your hands on one of these, the better. My skin has never been so soft and touchable. Between this and the lotion…seriously, who cares about “hair action” when you can get skin action. *sigh* Dry brushing is another trend that has recently swept the blogging world. I bought this brush + my first bottle of the Kiss My Face lotion as a congratulatory gift for my JHU acceptance and I haven’t put it down since! I even tossed it in my carry-on to travel to Vegas.
Why dry brush? Well it removes toxins from your largest organ (aka your skin), sloughs off dead skin along with said toxins, promotes circulation, battles cellulite, and stimulates your lymph + chi. How much of that is scientifically proven? I couldn’t tell you! But I do know that I absolutely love the way my skin feels now that I’ve committed to a beauty regiment consisting of dry brush + all natural soap + all natural moisturizer. Beau does too but your totally didn’t hear it from me! And yes, you can touch me the next time we’re together…promise.
For more info on dry-brushing including a how-to + benefits, click here.
Another thing I love about couponing is that I can use it get products for giveaways! I have a steady little stream of random products building up that I plan on packaging up for some lucky winners so be sure to stay tuned for that.
Until next time…