Friday, April 15, 2011

A Little Trip to Heaven: My Trader Joe's Shopping Swag

Just took a trip to TJ's today and thought I'd share a few favorites and some new items I bought. It feels like Christmas came early over here!

Come on... I'll give you a little tour.

So here on the right we have one of our favorite cereals... Oat n' Wheat Bran Swirls... they are cinnamony deliciousness, and - might I add- the only cereal Benny boy likes.

In the middle, you will see some jelly beans I picked up to fill our Easter eggs. No articfical colors or flav-ahs!

And then on the left, you will see a mysterious package o' wonder. What is inside, you might ask? Here... let's take a closer look.

Well looky here! Balsamic grilled onions conveniently packaged and frozen for my culinary pleasure? Come to Mama! I'm planning on copycatting one of the recipes from the TJ's demo kitchen... pizza with bacon, cheese and caramelized onions. Yes siree, Bob!

Moving on...

On the right, we have our new favorite coffee creamer. I made sure to include it here because people are always asking me which one we like from TJ's. This is it... pretty much the same flavor as vanilla Coffeemate without the icky preservatives and hydrogenated oil. They have hazelnut flav-ah too, but we like this one.

And now, a moment of silence for the Cinnamon-Vanilla Coffeemate I desperately love but try not to drink anymore because it is sooooo bad for me. Rest in peace, my beloved.

Back to TJ's delicacies. To the left of the coffee creamer, you will notice a stack o' malted delights: Malted Milk Eggs, just in time for Easter and (hubba hubba) Marvelous Malted Milk Ball Cookies. Yep, you heard me right. Just look...

I already cracked these puppies open, and let me just say, they are amaaaazing! Marvelous, in fact. They remind me of a good old Famous Amos cookie with whoppers added to the mix. YUM!

Oh Joe, oh Joe.... why do you make me love you so?

...which leads me to today's mysterious movie quote o' the whenever.

"Joe lies! Joe Li-ies! Joe LIES... when he cries... when he cries."

Be the first to name that movie, and I will buy you a tub 'o malted milk ball cookies!

P.S. Trader Joe never lies, just in case you were wondering. This quote is in reference to a different Joe.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Au Natural: The Saga Continues

Hello Peeps,

After my last post (12 million light years ago) on my growing interest in au' natural living, I've had a few people ask me about which natural beauty/skincare products I'm using. So I thought I'd share of few of my new favorites.

My criteria when looking for beauty products are:

  1. The product needs to be free of all the yucky items listed here. This really limits your choices, but it is so worth it!

  2. The product needs to be reasonably priced. This limits things even further because in my experience, natural products can be REALLY expensive. Now I'm not necessarily looking for cheap products, because I'm a big believer that you get what you pay for with cosmetics, but I also can't afford to buy a $85 bottle of face cream. Capeesh?

  3. Needs to smell good and have cute packaging. I know, I know... this seems ridiculous... at least the packaging part. But, hey... I'm an aesthetics girl. The way things are presented matters to me, and if I'm going to be looking at the same old shampoo bottle day after day, is it too much to ask that it look pretty?

A few disclaimers... because I'm weirdly obsessed with people-pleasing:

  • It's important to note that I'm making these changes slowly, not wasting what I have and incorporating new natural items as I run out of the old stuff... except for my chemical-laden sunscreens, which I threw away and replaced immediately.

  • For any ingredient-police who are reading, I just want to get it out there right now that not all of the products listed below are 100% all natural. While they are free of the major no-no ingredients, they may still have a teensy weensy amount of less-than-perfect ingredients, and I'm okay with this. I'm all about balance in what I eat, what I purchase and how I live. We can't live in a bubble... it can't be perfect all the time. I don't want these natural choices to become obsessive or isolating (read an awesome post on this here), and as long as I'm doing my best to eliminate as many chemicals as I can, I feel satisfied. :0)

So without further adieu... here are the new products I'm trying and enjoying:

Sunscreen: Dr. Mercola's

Like I said before, this seemed most urgent to me, as traditional sunscreens have so much junk in them, and we use so much sunscreen in the summer. There are a lot of good chemical-free ones out there, but I decided to go with Dr. Mercola's version since I'll be using this a lot on Bennett and wanted to get something that would be extra gentle on his eczema. We've used it a few times, and I really like the smell (coco-nutty and tropical)and the way it goes on. I'm thoroughly satisfied so far.

Shampoo/Conditioner: Yes to Carrots

I recently purchased this shampoo and conditioner from Target and I really like it! (please, for those of you who know my hairdresser -- don't tell him! He will disown me for getting rid of my 'salon' shampoos!!) For me, shampoo is a hard one, because the scent really matters to me, and I also have very thick hair, so a lot of the natural shampoos I've tried just don't cut it. This one smells great, does the job, has cute & happy packaging and is very reasonably priced!

Moisturizer: derma-e

This is the newest addition to my natural collection, so I will report back after I have been using it longer. But so far, I am hopeful. It meets all my criteria with flying colors... Free of the major no-no's? Check. Reasonably priced? Check. Cute packaging and Smells good? Check. So far I'm excited about this product, and the girl at Henry's (where I purchased it) highly recommend this line at this price point (If you have more money at your disposal, then buy Dr. Hauschka... it is the best!!!) Anyway back to reality and derma-e... I got this serum and this moisturizer. And no, I'm not obsessed about wrinkles... the Henry's gal (yep... just said gal) said this was the best anti-aging cream for the price (only $11 at Henry's!).

Face Wash: Still shopping

Right now I'm using this face wash from Mother's Market (Henry's sells it too). I bought it during a time when my skin was breaking out a lot, and it works great if you break out or if your skin is oily. But now that my skin is pretty much back to normal, I'm looking for another cleanser, as this one is drying me out a little. If I'm happy with my derma-e stuff, I will probably get this toner and cleanser next.

Acne Treatment: EradiKate by Kate Somerville

Okay, I must confess I bought this before my interest in natural products began, but I did check the ingredients and though it might not be %100 natural, it doesn't seem to me to have any of the super dangerous ingredients. And seriously this stuff is MIRACULOUS! It works better than any acne treatment I've ever used, and trust me, I've tried a lot. Seriously, if you EVER get breakouts, just buy this stuff. It is amazing!

Sunless Tanner: Lavera

This is the natural sunless tanner recommended by Sophie at Gorgeously Green. I love Sophie. I have her book Do it Gorgeously, (thanks, Gina!) which was one of the first things to get me interested in living more naturally. I highly recommend the book, especially the make-your-own house cleaners and cosmetics recipes! Now back to the sunless tanner at body... er face. I started with the "Faces Summer Glow" so I can get my face nice and sun-kissed for summer without all that sun damage. So far no orange streaks. I'm liking it a lot. :0)

Face Scrub: DIY!

I make this myself with white sugar, lemon juice, honey and coconut or olive oil. Or you could use oats, cornmeal or baking soda. Play around with it until you find the right combination for your skin!

Body Scrub: DIY!

Did you know that your used coffee grounds make an awesome (though kinda messy) body scrub that detoxes and fights cellulite? Don't believe me? Well just take a look at this! 25 bucks for sugar and coffee grounds? No thanks, I'll just make it myself!

Here's how. But these are just ideas... there really is no formula. Just combine Coffee grounds, sugar and oil (I like olive, coconut or sweet almond best). Mix it together, and that's it. Simple!

Face Mask (once a week): DIY!

I make it myself using a combo of any/all of these ingredients. I just use whatever I have on hand at the time, throw it in the blender and slap it on my face for 10 - 15 minutes.

Canned Pumpkin (my favorite)

Pineapple or Papaya

Plain Yogurt


Apple Cider Vinegar



I also like this mask from Henry's/Mothers for deep cleansing.

Well, that's all I can think of right now. If you know of any great, natural, cutely-packaged and reasonable beauty products, please... do tell!