3 Things: Organic Products I Used Today

Organic products are grown without pesticide, sewage, hormones, genetically modified organisms, or radiation. So is it worth my money? I’m starting to think YES.

Although I don’t buy everything organic (yet), I have officially made the switch with tons of food and beauty products. Here are three organic products I’ve used today (or yesterday, I guess when you’re reading this!) and the benefits they offer:

1) Yasou Natural Skin Care

Yasou Body Cream

Ok, this lotion is absolutely incredible. The inspirational story behind the Greek creator of this new company is full of soul-searching and girl power – I love it! Yasou (pronounced ya-su) makes natural skin care for your face and body, and includes renewal creams, firming creams, and body lotions. They sent me some natural body lotion to try out, and I have literally become obsessed with it. My favorite part about this hydrating body cream is the aroma – I can’t even describe how soothing it is, you’ll have to grab a sample for yourself! I surveyed a few friends and family members, and they agreed. It’s super thick and rich, and it’s seriously my favorite part of my morning and night ritual! I like putting something on my skin that I know I can trust, and the ingredients are 99.5% natural and contain certified organics. I’m sold. :)

Follow Yasou on Facebook here!

2) Organic Edamame Spaghetti

I’m always looking for interesting alternatives to your everyday wheat noodles, and I think I found it – at Costco! This organic edamame spaghetti was SO good, I was truly shocked. I mixed it with a homemade avocado and basil cream sauce and although the texture is a little thicker and rougher than average pasta, it tasted fantastic. It’s very high in protein (24g per serving!) and high in fiber as well, which are both great for your bod. It’s a bit expensive, around $10 per box, but you can find it cheaper online if you dig a little.

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3)Badger Zinc Oxide Sunscreen

This sunscreen was recommended to me by my natural esthetician, who said it’s perfect for my sensitive skin, and 100% certified natural. Zinc oxide is actually revered as one of the safest sunscreens, since it protects UVA and UVB rays fully by sitting on the surface of your skin. This also makes it a bit hard to rub in, and the whiteness of this Badger sunscreen can be annoying, but completely worth not getting wrinkles while I age! I bought mine from Amazon for under $15, but I’ve seen it at Whole Foods, too! Protect yourself, people!

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A Toast to America

This toast is such a cute way to celebrate the 4th of July this weekend! Make this adorable snack for a special breakfast in bed or to get your picky kiddo to eat more fruit and whole grains. :)

Patriotic Toast

A Toast to America!

A Toast to America!

Whatcha Need

  • Ezekial bread, toasted
  • Goat cheese or cream cheese (lite)
  • An assortment of fruit - blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, or bananas

Whatcha Do

  1. Spread the goat cheese or cream cheese over the Ezekial toast. Place blueberries in top left corner to resemble the stars of the flag, and line up raspberries, strawberries, or bananas to be the stripes! Yum. :)
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Jumpers are for Big Kids too

I can’t help but blog about what I wear in the summer because I spend all winter daydreaming about the fun outfits I can put together, and when it’s finally warm, I find any chance to go out and wear them!

Discovery Blue Jumpsuit

I found this unbelievably cute $14.99 pant romper at Discovery Clothing a few months ago, and it’s been hangin’ back in my closet waiting for the perfect opportunity to come out and play. Fourth of July (and mild temperatures in the 60s throughout June, wtf) are a winning combination for this jumpsuit!

Blue Jumpsuit

It’s so flirty and playful. I dressed it up with my Carrie Bradshaw sparkle heels and finished the look with some Top Gun-style Ray Bans, in honor of the news that they’re filming a sequel right now (yes, it’s true!)

Blue Discovery Romper

What do you think? Can adults pull off onesies too?? :)

Tuxedos & Ponytails

I rarely go for gender-neutral clothing, I’m a girly-girl at heart, after all. But this Rachel Zoe Lapel Shift called my name as soon as I saw it, so there you have it. As close to a tuxedo as this chick will probably ever get. 😛

Celebrities wear tuxedo dresses all the time and look fab, so I did a little research for a fun look, and I decided on a high ponytail. We’ve all seen that double phony-tail trick from Pinterest, so that’s exactly what I wore! One of my favorite, classic looks to date.

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The lapels were cut pretty low, so I did toss a safety pin in there to make sure everything stayed right where it was supposed to. It was super flattering and pretty unique, so overall, a win!

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Will you wear any gender-neutral outfits this summer??

The Best Plank Position You’re Not Doing

It’s hard to not have a love-hate relationship with planks. On the one hand, they literally tone all parts of your body at once, and are proven to be one of the best ab/core exercises you can do. On the other hand, they hurt like a mother and it’s not exactly fun to stare at your countdown clock for one minute while your whole body trembles and sweat pours from your face. Oh planks, what would I do without you?

There are tons of variations of plank positions to keep you from getting bored and to engage new muscles, but I recently discovered one particular plank move that I never thought to do before, and I knew I had to share it!

 

The position is called a Reverse Plank, and it is fantastic. It’s a take on the Yoga table-top lift, and it tones quads, glutes, triceps, abs, and lower back all with one move. Honestly, it’s one of the toughest holding positions I do in my workouts, and after seeing the pictures for this post, I realized I’m not even pushing my butt up as much as I should! Because (duh) it’s really really hard!

Reverseplank

Sit with your legs out in front of you, hands behind you forward, fingers spread. Lift your hips off of the ground, squeeze belly button into the spine and hold for 20-30 seconds. Work to not let your hips sink down (the hardest part).

Here are three variations: (leg up and hold, tilt head back slowly, or modify by resting on forearms)

Variations of Plank

 

Sister tip: Be sure not to hold your breath! Breathe steadily. For an extra challenge, add alternating leg lifts. Don’t try this exercise if you have back problems, you know your body best!

Simple DIY Patriotic Tank

The 4th of the July is approaching quickly, and rather than spending money on a generic American flag tee again this year, I thought I’d make something cute on my own! I’ve seen racer back tank tops with bows before, and this holiday seems like the perfect opportunity to show off this fun, casual look.

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I grabbed a white racer tank from Old Navy for under 10 bucks, and a spool of fun, patriotic ribbon from Michael’s. Make sure the ribbon does not have wire in it, and it’s big enough to make a bow! Tie the bow around the racer back straps, and let the bottom hang down as much as you’d like. It’s such a simple, non-permanent way to show off your patriotism, I got tons of compliments! They kind of look like little American wings on my back. :) :)

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Happy Fourth of July, all!

Perfect Summer Pasta Dish: Penne with Green Beans and Basil

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I’m always looking for summer pasta dishes that aren’t too hearty or heavy, and this one is perfect for patio weather, and SUPER easy to make! I got the recipe from the book “Good Housekeeping: 400 Healthy Recipes”, and as an added bonus, it’s vegetarian too! You’ll never miss the meat.

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Each serving is about 370 calories, 10G of protein, 15G total fat, and 0MG cholesterol. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I must eat this entire bowl immediately. :)

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SISTER TIP: Tired of needing to buy fresh basil everytime you want it for a recipe? Trader Joe’s is selling basil plants for only $3.99 per potted plant! Go grab one (or two) and you’ll be set for a few weeks!

 

Perfect Summer Pasta Dish: Penne with Green Beans and Basil

Whatcha Need

  • 8 ounces penne or bow-tie pasta
  • 1 pound green beans, trimmed and each cut in half
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1 cup loosely packed fresh basil leaves
  • 1/4 up extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
  • 1 medium tomato, chopped
  • Basil leaves for garnish

Whatcha Do

  1. In large pot, cook penne as label directs.
  2. In 12-inch skillet, heat 1 inch water to boiling over high heat. Add green beans and 1/2 teaspoon of salt; heat to boiling. Cook beans until tender-crisp, 8 to 10 minutes. Drain beans. Rinse beans under cold water to cool slightly; drain again.
  3. In blender at high speed, combine basil, oil, and water and puree until almost smooth. Transfer basil puree to large bowl; stir in remaining 1 teaspoon salt and pepper.
  4. Drain pasta; rinse under cold running water and drain again. In warm serving bowl, toss pasta, beans, tomato, and basil puree. Garnish with basil leaves.
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Color Block Contrast Heels

It’s time for summer shoes! Has there ever been a lovelier phrase uttered? 😉

The first pair of heels I purchased to celebrate this spectacular time of year are from my new favorite online British store, Missguided. They offer awesome fashionable shoes, clothes, and accessories, and shipping’s free over $50. Be warned: it takes a while to get to you all the way from overseas. I think these shoes came about 3 weeks after I ordered them, but they were worth it. They’re only $30 on sale! Grab them here:  Missguided Color Block Contrast Heels.

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SISTER TIP: Unfortunately, Missguided doesn’t offer half sizes in this shoe, so I decided to go up from 7 1/2 to an 8. They’re a little loose, but probably fit better than a 7, so I recommend going up!

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Chicago Summer Social Scene: Barcocina

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There’s a reason the tagline “Summertime Chi” gets a lot of use during these few months. For as nasty as it gets during the winter, Chicago more than makes up for it during June, July, and August. The beaches are packed, the drinks are flowing, and the food everywhere is unbeatable. I met up with my newly-engaged cousin Annie for dinner and cocktails at a new Lakeview restaurant near her apartment in called Barcocina (Cocina – like kitchen, Bar – like… bar).

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Barcocina just had its grand opening a few weeks ago, and it is guaranteed to be an amazing summer meet-up spot. The ambiance is super laid back, and the walls are actually garage-style, and open up to let the sunshine and breeze in.

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The drinks are strong and the Mexican-fusion eats were pretty good, I definitely recommend meeting up at Barcocina with some friends to eat, drink, socialize, and enjoy the lovely summer that Chicago has to offer. :)

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Summer Cinderella Dress

I actually started writing this blog because I love living a girly life and sharing tips back and forth with my friends on how to do just that. Girly girls like dresses, heels, purses, makeup, staying fit, and of course, anything princess. No matter how old I get, I don’t think I’ll ever outgrow the yearning to be a Disney Princess (hence the tutus & sparkles I’ll wear even into my 30s).

Blue DressWhen I saw this lovely beaded Xscape Blouson Dress at Nordstrom, I knew I had to have it. It’s the perfect summer wedding or date night dress, and it makes me feel so feminine and pretty! Even though it’s only right now, it’s still a tad expensive for my taste. But, I had a gift card to Nordstrom, and I’m a firm believer that gift cards should only be used for purchases that you would never yourself otherwise make.

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I’m telling you, the pictures do not do it justice, the sparkles that shine off of these diamond beads are incredible. Plus I topped it off with my Cinderella slippers. :)BluediamonddressHow will you feel like a girly girl this summer??