Saturday, October 27, 2012

Easy and Delicious Zucchini and Potato Soup

I know it's been awhile, and I do apologize for the long absence. My job has been eating all my time and energy, but I have some time today, so I wanted to share a recipe. I originally found this recipe in the July/August 2012 issue of Health magazine, but I have changed it a little since then. 

Since it is now officially fall and there is a chill in the air, it is the perfect time of year to make delicious homemade soups. I love this recipe because it is not only easy and tasty, but also incredibly healthy and only 152 calories per 1 1/2 cup serving. This recipe makes 4 servings. 

Zucchini and Potato Soup

delicious soup
The steam made it hard to take a picture!


1 TBSP extra virgin olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, chopped (about 1 1/2 cups)
2 minced garlic cloves
1 1/2 tsp curry powder (more if you like it spicy)
3 average-sized golden potatoes, diced
2 medium zucchini, diced
4 cups (32 oz) low-sodium chicken broth
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
Parmesan or cheddar cheese for garnish (optional)


1. Heat olive oil on medium heat in a large saucepan or soup pot.
2. Add onions and cook, stirring occasionally for 7-8 minutes.
3. Add garlic and curry; cook, stirring constantly until fragrant, about 1 minute.
4. Add remaining ingredients, and heat to boiling, stir.
5. Reduce heat and simmer covered for 20 minutes. 

potato soup
So much steam! :)

6. Serve into bowls and garnish with Parmesan cheese or sharp cheddar cheese slices! The cheese makes it even more delicious but it does add extra calories! :)


What is your favorite soup for the cold-weather months? I'm looking forward to hearing your thoughts and comments!

Until next time,

Other posts you might enjoy:

Pizza Dough from Scratch
Homemade Tortillas and Chicken Fajitas
Simple Pasta Salad

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Simple Refreshing Facial Wash Gel Review

I am always looking for a good face wash, and when I received a nice-sized 1.7oz sample of Simple Refreshing Facial Wash Gel in the mail, of course I gave it a try!

Simple Face Wash Gel

First, The Ingredients: 

Ingredients: Water, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Propylene Glycol, Hydroxypropyl Methylcellulose, Panthenol, Disodium EDTA, Sodium Hydroxymethylglycinate.

Cocamidopropyl Betaine is a synthetic (man-made) surfactant (foam-booster). It can cause allergies in some people. 

Propylene Glycol is a petro-chemical used a skin-conditioning agent. It doesn't pose much risk, but many people are against it because it is a petrochemical and could possibly contribute to carcinogens.

Hydroxypropyl Methylcellulose is a harmless synthetic polymer that is often used in eye drops. It prevents evaporation, which is what keeps this face wash at a gel-like consistency. 

Panthenol is synthetic Vitamin B5, which is used as a moisturizer and lubricating compound. 

Disodium EDTA is an agent that binds and removes free radicals and impurities. It is also used as a formula stabilizer. There is a lot of complicated chemistry behind this one!

Sodium Hydroxymethylglycinate is a preservative that is often found in "natural" cosmetics. It is a problem because it is known to often be contaminated with formaldehyde, and is also a known skin-irritant. 

So........ WOW! For a brand that is supposed to be "Simple", they sure pack a lot of chemicals into their products! It is a little disturbing for a company that claims to be an expert in sensitive skin to have all these things that are known to cause skin reactions! Kind of scary... and it pays to do your research!!

I found all of my information from, or the Environmental Working Group. Many of these ingredients have been contentious in healthy product debates, so I urge you to look them up yourself if you're unsure. I tend to be a little more lenient with products that are getting washed off my skin immediately and therefore don't have the chance to soak in. 

How it Works:

I actually like this face wash, believe it or not. The ingredients might be a little dubious, but it does do a good job. The product is a gel that is clear and feels very silky when you put it on. It does not foam, but lathers only a tiny bit. I find that I have to make sure to scrub it into my nose really good to get all the make up to wash off. Sometimes (but not always) I need to use a separate eye make-up remover to get all of my mascara and eyeliner off.

What I like about this face wash is that it leaves my skin feeling clean and fresh without any kind of a weird tingle or "tight" feeling. It also does not dry out my face, which is a huge issue for me as most face washes leave me having to put on a ton of moisturizer afterward. This one, very "simply", does what it is supposed to do. 

So I'll leave you to make up your own mind. I might buy this product again if it is on sale, but it probably won't be my main one, as I am still trying to move to more real organic products for my skin. 

What is your favorite face wash? What do you like most about it? Please leave me your comments and questions! I love to read them, and I'll be happy to comment you or your blog back! :)

Until next time,

*Disclaimer:  I ordered this sample from Simple did not contact me or request a review of this product.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

When Life Gets in the Way

Well, my plan for this weekend was to write a review on some face wash I had tried. That didn't get done, but I will do it at some point soon.

The last couple of weeks have been tough. First my illness kept me down a lot, work has been crazy overwhelming, and this morning we woke up to a huge flood in our apartment. One of the little pipes in the toilet tank broke, and it leaked all night and we woke up to maintenance pounding on our door because it had flooded the downstairs apartment, too. 

We slept through the flood because it happened in our spare bathroom and den, so we didn't have a clue! I seriously had to answer the door in pjs. Plus the dishes were everywhere and nothing was clean because I've been sick for two weeks. So incredibly embarrassing....

Now we have these loud, smelly blowers in our apartment to dry the carpet, and the carpet guys are coming back on Tuesday to take them away and put in new pads, plus shampoo the carpet.

If all this wasn't crappy enough, I've also fallen off the wagon as far as my weight loss was concerned, and I can't blame my illness entirely. Ever since going back to work, I've been so dang tired in the evening that I've been making poor food choices constantly. Since getting sick, I haven't been able to keep my work out schedule, and so I have no idea what I weigh at the moment...

But I digress. So I'm not perfect. Not even close. Life has gotten in the way the last month, but I promise I'll get better. One day at a time, right?

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Sick Day

I know it has been a little while since I actually wrote a health update, so I wanted to do that today. The last few days I have been horribly sick with some kind of cold or flu or whatever sickness is currently spreading like wildfire through my workplace. When I started getting the tell-tale tickle in my throat on Wednesday, I was struck with a bout of extreme frustration, because in past years I have had until October before coming down with the yearly plague.

sick with a cold
Image Source

Working in a germ-factory like a school, it is almost impossible to avoid coming down with something when everyone else has it. You can get all the rest in the world, take Vitamin C, eat healthy, and avoid touching your face; but inevitably, eventually you will catch something. So how do you deal?

I am a special case because I am deathly allergic to penicillin and most of the alternatives, so I don't even bother going to the doctor when I'm sick. I just have to suffer it out. I do take NyQuil to help me get through the first couple of nights, and DayQuil when I have to go to work. They don't work well, but they take the edge off.

First, I drink LOTS of juice. Water is too rough/tastes weird on my throat when I'm sick, so I make a half juice/half water concoction and drink that 24/7. Yes, yes, I know that juice is mostly sugar, but I'm sick so I feel that I can have a free pass on this one. Besides, it's better than the constant flow of 7UP, which is all I would drink when I was sick as a kid!

Hot tea and coffee help too, but avoid any kind of dairy creamers. Milk and cream in general are not a good idea when sick with a cold or flu, because liquid dairy can increase mucus  production. Some studies have debunked this as a myth, but I'm just saying it from personal experience. Every time I have milk or cream or ice cream when I am sick, I feel a little worse. Cheese seems to be okay. Better to be safe than sorry!

Chicken soup, or any kind of soup, is good for you. It's easier for your body to digest, and just feels comforting!! My favorite is Marie Callender's Potato Cheese, but it's expensive and there isn't a Marie's near where I live now. I settle for Tomato Basil from Fresh & Easy, or some sort of Chicken Noodle. I have a great recipe for Zucchini Soup with a chicken broth base, and I would have made it this week if I didn't feel so terrible! Next time I make it, I'll post the recipe!

The other two things that help when I'm sick are lots of trashy magazines and lots of sleep. The celebrity gossip is so much fun and I don't have to think much, plus the more sleep I can get, the faster I feel better. 

That's it... I know there are tons of home cold/flu remedies out there but I'm simple and stick to the basics. 

What are your favorite home cold/flu remedies? How do you deal when you're sick? I'd be happy to hear any good advice! 

Now, I'm going back to bed!

Until next time,

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Bare Fruit Cinnamon Apple Chips Review

This has been a very long and stressful week back at my day job, and I am so glad that it's now a three-day weekend! All I want to do is sit around, eat some good food, and read or watch TV! And what is TV time without a good snack to go with it?

When I got the opportunity to try and review Bare Fruit Cinnamon Apple Chips, I jumped on it. I had never  tried these before, but I can honestly say they are now one of my favorite snacks. My husband loves them, too. As soon as we got the bag, we both tried them and couldn't stop eating them! How could these possibly be good for us?

Cinnamon Apple Chips
My bag of Apple Chips!

But they are! Right out of Washington state, Bare Fruit Apple Chips are 100% Organic and gluten-free with only two ingredients: Apples and Cinnamon. Plus, a 20 gram serving only has 58 calories

These apples are specially bake-dried so that they have the consistency of potato chips, and they are just as satisfying without being bad for you! They are delicious as a snack or as a dessert because they are so naturally sweet and delicious. The Cinnamon Apple Chips have the perfect blend of sweet and tart crispness.

Bowl of snacks!

Close up!

You can buy Bare Fruit Apple Chips online at Bare Fruit's Website, or on or Locally, they can be found at Costco, Walmart, TJMaxx, Marshall's, and Whole Foods. 

At around $7.50 for a 14oz bag, they seem pricey, but when you consider that there are 30 apples in every bag, it's not bad at all! Apples in my city are currently around $1.49 or more a pound, and 30 apples would cost me approximately $20.00 or more!

You can also "Like" Bare Fruit's Facebook Page for coupons and giveaways! :)

I highly recommend you try these chips if you have a chance! I will definitely be buying some more!

What are your favorite TV time snacks? Would you try these Bare Fruit chips? I look forward to hearing your thoughts!! :)

Thanks for reading!

***Disclaimer: Product was provided in exchange for my honest review. 

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Origins VitaZing Moisturizer Review

I thought it was about time I reviewed a moisturizer! Today I am reviewing the VitaZing Moisturizer from Origins. Origins is a company that claims to use no parabens, proplyene glycol, mineral oil, phthalates, or other harmful stuff. 

I went into Macy's a few weeks ago because I actually wanted to try their BB cream. However, the sales lady steered me toward the VitaZing. She was nice enough to give me a little tub to take home and try. 

vitazing moisturizer
Origins Website and Image Source

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Review: No Miss Cosmetics Liquid Eyeliner and Mineral Eye Shadow

It's time to review a couple of products that I absolutely love, since my last couple of product posts focused on the negative. Now for the positive!

I was extremely lucky to win the No-Miss giveaway that my friend Robin over at Toxic Beauty held last month. I received the Liquid Eyeliner in Brown Oxide, the All Natural Eye Shadow in Tallahassee Tan, the Mascara in Black, and the Lip Gloss in Lyons Lexi. This review is only for the Liquid Eyeliner and the Eye Shadow, as I haven't opened the other products yet! :)

no-miss cosmetics

No-Miss is an all natural cosmetics brand out of Boca Raton, Florida. They use only natural ingredients, no dyes or harsh chemicals, and are completely cruelty-free. 

I have to say that this eye shadow is the best I have ever used, and I'm not exaggerating. I've never used a mineral eye shadow before, and it was amazed at how smoothly I was able to apply it and how long it lasted. The color, Tallahassee Tan, is absolutely gorgeous.  It's a very shimmery tan color, and it is lovely for day or night. I wear it by itself without other colors and I have gotten compliments. 

Tallahassee tan
So shiny, I couldn't get a good picture of it!

The liquid eye liner took some getting used to, since I was a strict pencil-user up until this point, but I am sold now! I'm so glad I got the brown because the black would have been too harsh. The liner dries very quickly and lasts all day. The only (very small!) complaint I have is that sometimes I have to twist the cap all the way closed and then open again to get the right amount on the brush. If I just stick it in the bottle to get more, it comes out with too much on it! 

Eye open and closed.
gold shimmery eyeshadow
Hopefully you can see how pretty and shimmery this is! I didn't do too bad with the eyeliner this time, either!

If you are looking for a natural cosmetics brand, I highly recommend trying an eye shadow or other product from No-Miss. You won't be disappointed!

Have you tried and do you like mineral eye shadow? I'm looking forward to hearing your thoughts!

Thanks for reading!

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Liebster Award and Announcements!

I have a couple of announcements to make this week so I thought that I would do them both in one post! 

Donors Choose Announcement: is a nonprofit organization that helps teachers like me get supplies for their classrooms. Teachers choose items that will benefit their students, and create a project to fund. As it is a new school year, and my school is lacking in 21st century technology, I feel that it would be amazing for my students to have a Nook Tablet in the classroom. They could use it for reading, of course, but also for research on the internet, projects, and educational apps. 

If you would like to make a tax-deductable donation to my project, please click this link: 

My page! 

If you donate a dollar or more by Tuesday, August 21, you can use the code INSPIRE and a company will match your donation to my project! You will also receive personal thank you notes from my students and me once my project is funded completely! 

The Liebster Award!

First of all, I am especially blessed to receive the Liebster Award from not one, but two friends in the same week! I would like to honor them both by answering both sets of questions from their pages. 

Lisa's Blog is Beautiful in Pittsburgh, and Selma's is Meteo Beauty. Both of these ladies write wonderfully informative blogs that are definitely worth a visit! :)

The Liebster award recognizes up and coming blogs with less than 200 followers. I am told that the word "liebster" is German for "dearest," "favorite," or "sweetest." In order to accept the award, one must abide by the following rules:

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Product Purge #1 - What I'm Throwing Away and Why

As I've mentioned before, the switch to natural and organic products does not come overnight. I loathe to throw away some of my most treasured items, but others I don't feel so bad. I am starting to go through my collection of products and throw away the ones that are almost gone and have dangerous ingredients and chemicals in them. The following are the items I decided to throw away this week:

1). Generic Eye Shadow from a random Christmas stocking gift a few years ago. 

cheap crappy eye shadow

These probably came from the dollar store or some place really cheap, and they have no brand whatsoever. Not that I'm knocking the dollar store, but it's not the best place to buy makeup. I have used these a couple of times, and they are terrible. They smear all over my face and last maybe 1 hour at most. Considering their ingredients aren't listed, who knows what horrors they contain! :)

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Five Awesome Fruits and Vegetables and How to Use Them in Your Meals

I've always been interested in eating healthier and including more fruits and vegetables in my diet. One wall I have run into in the past is that many articles and magazines talk about foods that I don't like or don't know what to do with. I decided to make a list of my top five fruits and vegetables including their health benefits and easy ways to use them in meals or desserts. 

1. Cucumber

sliced cucumber

Health Benefits:  

  • 96% water, helps to hydrate you, helps to flush out toxins
  • vitamins A, B, C, and potassium
  • can reduce cancer risk
  • good source of fiber which aids digestion
  • silica aids in joint health and strong nails


  • sliced in a sandwich instead of lettuce
  • chunks or slices in a pasta salad
  • sliced with salt and pepper, or balsalmic vinegar as a snack
  • if you slice them up ahead of time and keep them in a container in your fridge, you will be surprised how often you reach for this healthy and almost zero-calorie snack!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Pizza Pizza!: Pizza Dough From Scratch

Pizza has to be the number one favorite food in America, and there is a never-ending list of places to buy it and ways to fix it. However, no matter whether it's Domino's or DiGiorno, there's a plethora of yucky preservatives and food additives in the ingredients, so when the opportunity came to make my own, I gave it a try!

Lucky for me, my husband came home a couple weeks ago with almost two whole blocks of smoked mozzarella cheese that he got for free from his work. What are we going to do with that? I thought, as I pondered the sheer amount of cheese. The answer turned out to be make my own dough and have some pizza!

I found that pizza dough is extremely easy to make, and you can add whichever herbs and spices you want. I actually tried two different recipes in the last couple weeks, and while one turned out good, the other was a disaster. I found that you absolutely must have a recipe with yeast --- non-yeast recipes just do not work well at all.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

The First Five Products to Change When Making the Switch to Natural and Organic

When I first decided to start the process of moving to more natural products and foods, I was overwhelmed. So many brands and products that we see and use everyday in our lives are actually not all that good for us. I honestly didn't know where to start, especially since I couldn't afford to just throw away everything I had and buy all new products! 

I thought about it and did some research, and realized it's okay to start small. The most important thing is to begin. The following is a list of what I believe to be the first and most important items to change when you are thinking of moving to natural and organic products. 

body lotion, shampoo, conditioner, lip balm, lip gloss, deodorant
My collection of natural products so far: J.R. Watkins lotion, Sunflower Market Brand shampoo and conditioner, Naturally Fresh deodorant, EOS lip balm.

1. Body Lotion - Most commercial and well known lotions (I'm looking at you B&BW, VS, and St.Ives) are filled with nasty carcinogens like formaldehyde, parabens, and petrol chemicals. Body lotion gets rubbed all over your skin and stays there to absorb into your body all day long. Who wants all those toxins on their skin? First and foremost, change your lotion. 

2. Deodorant - Like body lotion, deodorant gets rubbed into your skin to stay there all day, and it's some of your thinnest, most sensitive skin as well. Chemicals in deodorants and antiperspirants have been linked to cancer, Alzheimer's disease, and reproductive problems. 

3. Lipstick/Lipgloss - Lipsticks historically have contained some of the deadliest poisons, including lead, and you're putting that on your mouth where you will inevitably ingest it throughout the day. Also in many lipsticks are proplyene glycol and retinyl palmitate, two substances that have been linked to infertility. Did you know that the artificial colors in most commercial lipsticks are tested on animals? Just another reason to swap this product.

4. Fragrance - Did you know that perfumes are protected under a special "trade secret" law that allows them to avoid revealing all their ingredients? Like lotion and deodorant, fragrance is sprayed on your skin and stays there all day, not to mention we inadvertently breathe some of the particles into our lungs. Just a couple of the hazards include diethyl phthalate, a chemical linked to sperm damage, and linalool, which causes respiratory disturbances and attracts bees to boot! 

5. Shampoo and Conditioner - Like the products above, shampoos and conditioners are full of harmful chemicals, including harsh detergents that just aren't necessary unless you haven't washed your hair for quite some time! You rub these products into your scalp, which means they have the potential to seep into your head. Better to find a natural shampoo that works for you!

Is there a product that you think should be in this list? Let me know! Are you planning on, or have you already made, any product changes? What are they? I'm looking forward to hearing from you! 

Until next time,


Other posts of mine you might enjoy:

I selected this post to be featured on Healthy Living Blogs. Please visit the site and vote for my blog!

Friday, July 27, 2012

The Quest for a Natural Deodorant, or, The Stinky Pit Conundrum Part 1

Why This Topic?

One fact I learned through my research on natural products is that commercial deodorants and antiperspirants have aluminum as their main ingredient, because of its antiperspirant properties. There is much debate out there concerning this ingredient, because it has been stated that it could be linked to breast cancer and Alzheimer's disease. However, many companies and government entities have stated that there is no proven link between aluminum zirconium/aluminum chlorohydrate and health problems. 

Even though the danger of aluminum has not been proven, there are still plenty of other chemicals in commercial antiperspirants and deodorants that are not good for us: parabens, propylene glycol, TEA, DEA, tricolsan, artificial colors, and talc. 

Monday, July 23, 2012

Healthy Grocery Shopping Trip!

veggies, vegetables, fruit, oranges, apples
I love Sunflower Market!
The husband and I did a little shopping trip tonight, and I am proud of us for picking out all healthy items! For less than $30.00, we bought the following items, with uses in parentheses:

Deli Honey Ham (sandwiches)
Wheat Bread (sandwiches)
Rice (stir-fry)
Bananas (snack, breakfast)
Red Bell Peppers (stir-fry, fajitas)
Red Seedless Grapes (snack)
Broccoli (stir-fry)
Zucchini (stir-fry)
Roma Tomatoes (pico de gallo for fajitas)
Cucumbers (salad, snacks)
Yellow Onions (stir-fry, fajitas)
Romaine Lettuce (salad, sandwiches)
Carrots (stir-fry, salad)
Vegetarian Refried Beans (fajitas/burritos)
Avocado (fajitas)
Peach and Raspberry Yogurts (snack, breakfast)
Sour Cream (fajitas)
Two Top Round Steaks (1 for stir-fry, 1 for fajitas)
Cheddar Cheese (sandwiches, fajitas/burritos)
Soy Sesame Sauce (stir-fry)
Bottled Water

So basically, that will make at least two large dinners with leftovers, sandwiches for a couple of lunches/dinner, and some snacks and salads! I don't think we did half bad. The meats were the most expensive items.... makes me think about going vegetarian but the husband would never let that happen ha! It makes me feel so good having the house full of all this healthy food!

I bought all this from Sunflower Market, which will soon become Sprouts.

Until next time, thanks for reading!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

A "Healthier" Pie: Fruit with an Oil Crust!

Since I have had a little more free time this summer, I have been experimenting in cooking all kinds of things from scratch that I've always wanted to try. One item I've been playing around with is fruit pies, which are the ultimate summer dessert in my opinion! 

I first thought of making a pie when I found myself with a bunch of cherries in my fridge that I didn't know what to do with. I bought them on sale and I thought I would enjoy snacking on them, but I didn't. They stained my fingers and I just didn't like them on their own. So I thought..."Hey, I've got these cherries, and a couple apples... why not a pie or a tart?" 

Saturday, July 14, 2012

McDonald's is the Devil... and Other Weight Loss Fails :(

I'm a bit discouraged today. This week has not been a good one, as far as my weight loss goals. My work out buddy and I were unable to line up our schedules this week, so I didn't go to the gym. I kept trying to psych myself up to doing a work out video, but I couldn't bring myself to turn on the tv. I'm starting to realize that the idea of workout videos sounds good in theory, but actually getting up to do one by myself is a much, much more difficult task. So... besides the one measly workout while watching The Bachelorette, I haven't done much exercise this week. 

I've also cheated big time with food. I did not make good choices this week... at all. I know it's alright to have one cheat day per week, but 3 or 4? Not so much...

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Exercise Tip: Work Out During Commercials on Hulu!

It should be no surprise to anyone that knows me that I love watching TV shows on Hulu. I don't have cable television service, nor do I pay for Netflix or HuluPlus. I am a big fan of what is free and already available, so I just watch regular on my computer.

I haven't gotten to work out this week yet, so I decided that I would do some exercise while I was watching the hour and a half episode of the Bachelorette today. I found an aerobics video on Youtube, and so I watched the episode standing up and moving, and on commercials I switched tabs back to the work out video. It was actually really fun, and I felt for once my tv watching actually contributed to something productive!

Here's the video I used if you want to try it out, but there are a plethora of different types on Youtube!

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Body Lotions and a Weight Loss Update

First... The Lotion Conundrum:

Body lotion... there are so many to choose from! So how do we know which ones are actually good and which are slowly leaking chemical poisons into your body? Wait... lotion has poison in it? I didn't know this before either, but last year, I read a book called No More Dirty Looks, and I learned a ton about what was in my favorite lotions. 

I used to be a HUGE Bath and Body Works and Victoria's Secret fan. It was so easy to become addicted to B and B Works because every time you go in there, there is some kind of a sale and incentives for you to come back. In addition, they have great smelling products! However, I find it disconcerting that I can't find an ingredients list ANYWHERE on their website. They tell you the fragrance notes, and feel-good ingredients like shea butter or jojoba, but nowhere can you find a complete list. If they were truly proud of their products, the entire list of ingredients should be in plain sight, such as with Burt's Bees or Tom's of Maine. What Bath and Body Works doesn't want you to know is that they put harsh chemicals such as formaldehyde and parabens in all of their products. Some people are willing to dismiss these and other toxic chemicals as being safe in the small amounts that are in lotions.

However, stop and think for a minute. Where does lotion go? ALL over your body, and it stays there, and absorbs, on a daily basis. I don't know about you, but when I decided to switch to more natural products, lotion was my first choice since most everything else (like shampoo, body wash, etc.) would at least get rinsed off. 

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Losing Weight is a Challenge and a Process

Once upon a time I was a size 8. I still have a pair of Abercrombie and Fitch pants from my 2nd year of college to prove it. That was 10 years ago. I know it's silly to keep them, and many friends have told me to throw them away. However, they are a reminder to me that I was there once, so it's possible to be there again. 

Today, I am around a size 16/18. The last time I weighed myself at my friend's house about 3 weeks ago, I was 207 pounds. This was a total shock to me, since a year ago I was at 193. Being over 200 pounds is humiliating to me. It's difficult to find clothes, and my closet is full of items that fit fine a year ago, and now they are uncomfortable.

I was always a chubby kid. I was made fun of for it growing up, and never had much confidence in myself. It wasn't until my late teens that I started losing weight (and I'm not sure why or how!) and got down to the size 8 in college. 

Friday, June 29, 2012

Homemade Tortillas and Chicken Fajitas

Tonight I decided to tackle homemade tortillas since they seemed easy enough, and make chicken fajitas to go in them. Wow, was I surprised! The tortillas made a huge difference to the meal, and it made me feel better to eat something that had no chemicals or preservatives. They were definitely labor-intensive, but well worth it. I don't think I'll ever buy store tortillas again. This dinner was so delicious, and so filling! Here's a picture of the final product, and then I'll go step-by-step how I made it: 

Yum Yum! :)

Decisions... decisions...

I've made it my goal this summer to find new healthy recipes that I can make from scratch using inexpensive ingredients Seeing as that I have a lot of ideas that I want to try, I've decided to add recipes and food as a main topic of my blog. I will still be reviewing and discussing beauty products, but I'm just going to feature healthy foods just as often! :) 

The hubby and I are on a budget this month, so when we went shopping yesterday, I made sure to get some ingredients and items that could be used in different ways. 

Some of the things I purchased were: 

Monday, June 25, 2012

Easy Simple Pasta Salad

In an effort to be more healthy these days, I've been making a lot at home from scratch. It's also kind of fun to experiment. Now, if I was an experienced blogger, I would have taken pictures of this salad as I made it last night, but alas, I'm sorry, I have no pictures. I promise next time I post a recipe you will have something to look at. 

This is my own recipe-ish, but it was partially inspired by my friend Debbie who always brings the most awesome food items to work for us to consume. (I blame her for about 75% of the weight I've gained in the past 5 years lol.) 


  • 1 pound of pasta (I use the twisty spiral noodles and regular pasta, but you can use whatever. Whole wheat or carb free would probably still taste as good if you want to be healthier.)
  • 1-2 Cucumbers
  • 1-3 Roma tomatoes (depends on how big they are... You could also use grape or cherry tomatoes if you want to be all fancy.)
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Balsalmic vinegar
  • Parmesan cheese (the grated or the powdered kind; it doesn't matter)
  • Salt and pepper
  • Garlic powder (optional)

What I do:

  1. Cook pasta. It's better if it's a little al dente.
  2. While pasta is cooking, chop up the cucumbers and tomatoes.
  3. When pasta is done, strain and run cold water over the noodles to cool them off (about 1-2 minutes).
  4. Shake off the excess water, and pour pasta into large serving/mixing bowl.
  5. Add veggies on top.
  6. Add olive oil to taste (I start with about 2 tablespoons and add more if needed).
  7. Add balsamic vinegar to taste.
  8. Add Parmesan cheese and salt/pepper to taste, then a pinch or two of garlic powder if desired.
  9. Mix thoroughly and let chill in fridge for at least 30 minutes.
  10. Eat it! :)
You'll probably notice that I'm not too exact with my measurements. That's because I inherited my dad's way with cooking where it's kind of just like toss in whatever until it tastes good. This is a very simple recipe that you could doctor up anyway you'd like too. Experiment with different veggies, dressings, etc. Hope you enjoy! 

Until next time,

Sunday, June 24, 2012

First Topic: Toothpaste

My dental hygienists have all screamed at me when I mention my affinity for Tom's of Maine toothpaste: "But that doesn't have fluoride!!!" which shows you how 1)uneducated or 2)bought by major corporations they are. Tom's does, in fact, have varieties of toothpaste without fluoride, but the majority of them do have it. All you have to do is read the package, people... seriously.

My specific favorite is the Tom's Wicked Fresh fluoride toothpaste in Cool Peppermint, as shown below:

Saturday, June 23, 2012

A New Project

Welcome! This blog will be a place to talk about beauty, products and their ingredients, and general information about being healthy. This is also a place where I can share my views on some of the current beauty practices and products out there today. I might also throw in some random stuff like tips on being frugal and saving money, which is another of my interests.