Natural Product Review: Burt’s Bees lotion

Around the age of 23, I was told by a dermatologist to wear sunscreen everyday for maintaining healthy skin as I age. Ever since then I have made it a priority to wear sunscreen. I started off using regular sunscreen and then moved to sunscreen labelled that it is for your face. All of which was Neutrogena because I bought into their clean, healthy marketing.

When I turned 30, I knew I needed something meant for older skin, but still wanted something that would not break the bank. A lot of stuff out there is $20+ or even $90+ and one container lasts maybe a month. Luckily I found this Burt’s Bees Renewal Firming Day Lotion and so far so good!

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  • No sunburns. Essential for a day time lotion that should protect your skin.
  • The formula. The previous sunscreens I used made my face quite greasy looking on warmer days in the summer and this leaves my skin with a more natural sheen to it.
  • It has a nice scent.
  • Affordability. $15 for 2 oz that has lasted 6 months. This price use to make me cringe, but now I know it is great for a daily moisturizer for aging skin. I have found Olay products were a lot more pricier than this.
  • Accessibility. Available at Walgreens, Target, Meijer and Amazon, but I have seen it in some local natural stores as well.
  • Cruelty free. No animals were harmed in the making of this product.


  • Needs time to absorb. Apply your makeup too soon and it will look cakey. Usually fine if I doing one task in between, like brush my teeth or put in my contacts.
  • Unsure about every claim it makes. I am not sure it makes my skin look firmer or more youthful because I do not think my skin had shown those signs of aging yet.

What I Ate This Week (10/12 – 10/18/2017)

And I am off! I left on my long trip yesterday, so you will get a sneak peak on my activities and food 🙂 I am getting better about not letting my anxiety lead me to food. I have been trying to keep myself busy instead by going to get the mail, cleaning or playing a game with my partner. With this trip I should have plenty to do to keep my mind off food, I mean I did walk 7+ miles the first day.


Mango ginger kale smoothie + Bailey’s oats – Made plenty last week to have for this week too.

Krispy Kreme doughnuts – This is not a healthy tradition, but my partner and I go to Krispy Kreme once a year in October for Halloween themed donuts. I love Halloween and for me hot Krispy Kreme original glazed is a treat. And saying it is something special for October helps us not over indulge.


Gala apples and Larabar – Travel breakfast!



Green beans and Verisoy pork

Coconut Red Lentil Soup (Soup and Bread cookbook pg 145) with pita – Soup and Bread is one of my favorite cookbooks and I only got it in March. Every recipe I have tried so far is amazing!

Quinoa stuffing with Mushroom gravy and Soft-boiled egg + Maple spiced beets, carrots and squash with nuts – I used only leftovers and what I already had on hand to make this filling lunch.


Bread with stuff on it – I walked 7+ miles my first day in San Francisco, so you can say I carbed up.



Grilled cheese with spinach and artichoke dip and tomato soup

Acorn squash with Quinoa stuffing with Mushroom gravy

Oktoberfest dinner out – I got the sampler plate and a beer. I had the sausages another night for dinner.



Coconut Red Lentil Soup (Soup and Bread cookbook pg 145) with pita

Free taco dinner




Chocolate – It is life.


Apple with homemade cacao almond butter


Active Rest

When I first started working out seriously I was following Tone It Up on YouTube (TIU). TIU introduced me to the term active rest. Active rest means you are not doing activities to workout or stay in shape, you are doing them to enjoy the day or in doing your daily tasks.

I have been trying include active rest daily, like walking  to get the mail or explore around campus before my partner breaks for the day. I also love to be a tourist in my own city by walking everywhere to take beautiful pictures or see our town from different perspectives.

Not working out routinely is starting to get to me. I feel stressed, lethargic and emotional from sitting around more. I really miss all my activities. Sure I go for walks a few times a week to explore and do something, but seeing all the folks running along the river path across the street from our place makes me just to change into my compression leggings, slip into my running shoes and get running on that path again.

This itch to feel that runner’s high or even to lift weights again has me feeling a little down, more than the weight gain itself. Being active is very important to my mental state, so I have been prioritizing yoga and getting out of the apartment. I am resting to heal my hormones and staying active any way possible to provide a boost to my mental health.

Later this month I will be off on another trip for work and to spend time with family. I am planning out my adventures and hoping to stay on track with eating well while enjoying some of the fabulous foods these cities have to offer. I am also really looking forward to fun times and activities with my family. Thankfully my intrepid spirit was inherited! This trip should be uplifting for my current state of mind.

I can not wait to share my adventures! What active rest have you been up to or have planned for this Fall?

What I Ate This Week (10/5 – 10/11/2017)

This week involved a lot of finishing off items to make room in the fridge. We finished up the last of our cider, Bailey’s Irish Cream, frozen peaches, almonds, blue cheese dressing, watermelon, Verisoy pork, mozzarella, yellow tomatoes, spinach, cream cheese, tomato soup, and the soy milk I stocked up on when it was on sale last month. The fridge has so much more space! #satisfying


Spiced orange chia seed pudding with Mango ginger kale smoothieleftovers from last week

Berry cider bread with Mango ginger kale smoothie – What can I say, I love this smoothie. I also added some ginger spiced pear butter to these.


Apple and homemade cacao almond butter


Bailey’s oats – We were suppose to have guests this week, but they had to chance their trip. I had planned to make this for them to help us get rid of booze we just do not drink. I prepared these in the instant pot with the last of the Bailey’s, water and raisins. Now to find a way to get rid of the last of the tequila and rum we have wasting space in our freezer.



Marinated Beet Salad with Raspberries and blue cheese dressing – I got the idea for this from a picture I saw online. It was okay, I only had it twice. Cooked beets were marinated in red wine vinegar, olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper. Then I placed them over chopped romaine with hazelnuts, raspberries and a yogurt based blue cheese dressing. If I made this again I might use a different green, add blue cheese crumbles and a different dressing.


Cinnamon peanut butter sweet potato mash and Lime Watermelon SCOBY smoothie – leftovers from last week

Green beans and Verisoy pork – I will be very honest, the Verisoy pork smells like dog biscuits. I have had the beef before and like that better.



C&D Noodles with edamame – leftovers from last week

Simple tomato, olive and mozzarella pizza with St. Louis style crust – When you live far from your hometown with all its glorious foods, you make them from scratch! I might make the cheese next time 😉


Grilled cheese with spinach and artichoke dip and tomato soup – I made spinach and artichoke dip to use up leftover spinach, cream cheese and other cheeses and then used it to make a sandwich that my partner and I split. It was brilliant with the tomato soup.


Acorn squash filled with Quinoa stuffing and topped with Mushroom gravy – my partner was sad that we would not have my Thanksgiving dinner leftover concoctions this year since we are visiting my family, so I am trying to feature a few items I would have made this fall and this is one of them. We love this quinoa stuffing. Last year we ate what was left with gravy and a fried egg. I think the mushroom gravy and acorn squash health it up a bit 😉



Popcorn – a Jungle Jim’s find from my trip to Cincinnati last week.


Chocolate – I could not deny a piece of pumpkin seed BarkThins while at Costco…

C&D Chocolate cookies – I left out the chocolate chips since we do not have any and we were desperate for a cookie. I also reduced the amount of coconut sugar to 1/2 cup and it made the sweetness perfect for me.



Getting Out of Your PJs

A message to myself, GET OUT OF YOUR PJs! Put on some real clothes. You know it makes you feel like a normal human who provides something to the world.

Sometimes you need things like this. I am no longer sick and have been trying to get out of the house at least once a day. Even if it is just to go check the mail or take out the trash. I spent a decent amount of September in my PJs from being ill after our Austin trip and having a load of proposals to read through, but it is time to get dressed everyday.

Something has me thinking a lot about these negative feelings I have my job ending and being in limbo. I read an article about a study from my alma mater showing how you can improve after experiencing a failure. Not having a job is making me feel like a failure, as I had felt in 2012 when I was unable to continue my PhD. After morning the loss of the future I thought I should have, I grew from those negative emotions. I have confidence in myself that I will do so again.

What am I going to do today? I am going raspberry and apple picking. I am also going to bake cider bread with a leftover cider we have in the fridge. I need to complete the Red Cross Advanced Child Care course as well. This will help me pick up some babysitting gigs. I figured the most flexible way to make some money while I wait for my partner to complete his PhD is to babysit. I already completed their CPR certification.

What are you up to today?


What I Ate This Week (9/28 – 10/4/2017)

This week I had a day trip to Chicago and went to visit my cousin in Cincinnati. Loads of fun and good food!


Popcorn chips with chia seeds, flax seeds, whole quinoa and sunflower seeds from Trader Joe’s – Not the breakfast of champions, but things just worked out this way two days in a row.

Samples at Jungle Jims – I was not hungry until we got there and boy did they have some great samples 🙂

Fruit, Scrambled eggs and 1/2 a Blue Oven bakery croissant

Spiced orange chia seed pudding with Mango ginger kale smoothie



Barley salad and RXbar – I finished off that rubbish salad from the test recipe and had a Pineapple Mango RXbar.

Pear, Walnut and Blue cheese salad


Pulled pork, Cheddar jalapeno grits, Mac and cheese and chips – My cousin too me to Eli’s BBQ in Cincinnati after we picked up the chips at Jungle Jim’s 🙂 We shared the sides and chips.


Cinnamon peanut butter sweet potato mash and Lime Watermelon SCOBY smoothie – I have been craving sweet things lately and with what I had on hand this tackled that perfectly.



Sesame Kale Macro bowl and Thai Chili Brussels Sprouts from Native Foods – Highly recommend these 2 items. Though I should have only ate half of the bowl because eating both of these made me stuffed, uncomfortable so.


Spicy Hairy arepa from Empanadas Aqui – They were at the Art After Dark event at the Cincinnati Art Museum on Friday night.

Veggie pasta and watermelon


Bet It All On Black Garlic burger – first night we split a regular size 4 way Skyline chili on the side and the second night we had it with baked fries to use up the last of the gold potatoes.


C&D Noodles with edamame – I make these with soba noodles since black bean noodles cost more and are harder to find in my area.



Cookies – I was in a meeting where someone bought me cookies… so I ate them. They were turtle cookies and delicious, but I should have politely declined. I am going to try my best to not eat sweets like this the rest of the week at least.

Beer – While in Cincinnati I enjoyed some local beer and cider from Rhinegeist


Pina Colada Dole Whip – just 2 or so cups frozen pineapple, 2 fl oz coconut rum and 2 fl oz full-fat coconut milk in a food processor blended until smooth.



Bulking is the Worst

I mentioned a while back that I had been bulking, see that blog post here. I was trying to build muscle and thought I should try bulking because to gain weight as muscle or fat, you must eat more. So I figured the best time to try it out was over the holiday season when I would be eating more anyway. Unfortunately, I do not have the healthiest relationship with food, particularly sweets.

From indulging in sweets over the holiday season, I went right back to my sugar addicted ways. Worst part was I was trying to hide it from my partner. Granted I did not try hard hide, all he would need to do is walk out into the kitchen and there I would be standing over the pint of ice cream. These unhealthy habits were not aided by the anxiety I was feeling from the transitions going on in my life.

Thus, my digestion has been up and down all 2017. I say bulking is the worst mainly because I did it wrong and allowed myself to develop a mindset of, “oh it is ok if I have this extra food because I am bulking.” The extra food should have been extra produce or grains or protein, not cupcakes, pints of ice cream, cookies and fried foods. I am not sure if I will try bulking ever again. I really just want to get back to eating when I am hungry and stopping when I feel satiated.

When my cycle is back to being regular and I feel I have regained a healthy relationship with food I would like to gain muscle again, but we shall see when life takes me. 😉


What I Eat in a Week (9/21 – 9/27/2017)

Big news, this gal is in the middle of her first menstrual cycle in 2 years! Success! First time I was this happy to start my menses. Now to keep things as healthy as possible so I can hopefully see a regular cycle and return to doing all the things I love.


Peach zucchini bread and Mango ginger kale smoothie with SCOBY – The same as last week because I really enjoy it and I had all the ingredients.


Edamame mash sandwich – Open faced because the last time I made this all the filling just squished out of it.


Garlic buckwheat noodles with leftover seitan meatballs and a pear with peanut butter – As seen on Instagram, I made this with the leftover garlic sauce from the pizza last week and then the few meatballs I had leftover from our subs this week. Yum!


Grilled cheese and tomato soup – testing out the soup I frozen to have while my in-laws are in town.


Mushroom seitan meatball marinara sandwich – I had been craving a meatball sub since July and had been really wanting to use the vital wheat gluten I picked up to try my hand at making seitan. A lot easier than I thought and my partner did not want to admit how much he liked it.


Leftover Naan bread with salad – I added some mozzarella cheese to the naan and then made a salad from the ingredients I picked up from the farmer’s market for a quick dinner.

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Southern green beans and Asian fusion Barley salad – The later is another test recipe and it was not loved in this house… I was not sure what to serve with the test recipe, so I tried out another side I thought looked interesting. My partner and I enjoyed the Southern green beans, he especially loved the mushroom bacon.

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Prunes and other fruit – I had pears and a peach

Silken Tofu Mousse – So much healthier than traditional mousse. I just drained the silken tofu (the more water you can get out of it the better) + cacao powder + stevia/sweetener of choice blended well in my high speed blender.


I Was Wrong… (Installment 1)

This will be the first in a series of posts that will be irregular to this blog because I have no idea how often I will find myself to have relied on poor sources of information. I want to start this series off with an apology to some people I care about. Historically, I have been hard on my partner, friends and family about the importance of breakfast. As an early bird, I had always been someone who eats first thing in the morning and I attributed a lot of successes and failures to how I started my day with food (or without food in cases of failure).

I was wrong… about breakfast. There are studies that show mixed results for breakfast being the most important meal of the day. Also, some of the most successful people I had the pleasure to work with NEVER ate breakfast. I had been told by health professionals that it is important to have protein first thing in the morning and of course we have all heard the phrase “Breakfast is the most important meal of the day.” But recently I started questioning if it is really essential to break that fast right when you wake up.

Throughout my month of commuting 2 hours for work I had become so stressed out that I had lost my appetite in the morning. Initially, I forced myself to eat something when I arrived at work, but one morning I was so busy that I just did not eat until noon. That one morning quickly turned into a week. I kept that up for the rest of the month and now I eat my first meal whenever I start to feel hungry.

I realized pretty quickly my eating habits were leaning towards the much talked about intermittent fasting. After bulking, I am so over changing up how I eat. I have no intention of following intermittent fasting. However, I was jolted by how my body and mind reacted to changing when I break the fast each day.

I feel less stressed about food. Bowel movements are a pleasure. Bloating has seriously decreased. I am not snacking as much. I am not thinking about the next meal as much. With my work I am functioning on a whole other level. I have not been this productive in years. I feel as though this all happened at the perfect time too. I was able to end my job on a high note by accomplishing a lot in the last few weeks and I need to keep my eating habits healthy since I cannot workout for a while.

So I am sorry to my loved ones for giving them such a hard time. I hope to continue to learn more and be supportive of others. For the record, I still eat breakfast. It just happens at like 10 or 11 AM now, which means I get to enjoy meals in sync with my partners eating routine. 🙂

What I Ate This Week (9/14 – 9/20/2017)

Our last day in Austin I know I was getting sick and indeed I became sick. Started feeling back to normal a week after the trip ended. This was relatively healthy, but I have been feeling kind of down from the fact that I have gained back all the weight I lost in 2015. My amazing friends have reminded me that I am beautiful and its a journey.


Peach zucchini bread and mango ginger kale smoothie with SCOBY – I really enjoyed that smoothie before our trip and had the correct ingredients to make it again so I did, but I added some SCOBY to it. My SCOBY had a lot of babies and I really needed to reduce the amount of SCOBY in my kombucha brewing, so I looked up uses for your excess SCOBY and adding it to a smoothie was an option. Done. Breakfast for the week.



Animal Fries – I baked fries without oil on a silicone mat and made vegan nacho cheese.


Chicken broth with Mary’s Gone crackers and Hummus – I was pretty sick after the trip so this was nice for my throat while not horrible for me.

Tomato and Mozzarella flatbread


Vegetarian steamed dumplings with peanut butter cinnamon pear slices

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BBQ Jackfruit Pizza


Chips, Guac and Vegan nacho cheese – I like to make my own chips by cutting up corn tortillas and baking them. A lot less fat and cheaper than a bag of chips since a pouch of 30 tortillas is 34¢.


Split pea potato curry with homemade Naan – I made the curry in the Instant Pot and may have cooked it too long, but it only affected the texture. It tasted great still.


Chocolate ice cream – because I feel I need to confess to the bad stuff at the beginning. Now that the ice cream is all gone, no more buying clearance ice cream. Yep, you got that right. I kept walking down the ice cream aisle at Meijer and finding Nadamoo, SoDelicious, Jeni’s, Coohaus, etc. on clearance to make room for new flavors or other ice creams and this sucker just went, “When would I ever be able to buy this for $2 ever again!!!” Then proceeded to buy one of each clearance flavor. All the ice cream is out of the freezer now. So that habit must die.

RXbars/Larabars – Hopefully I can stop this dessert habit and save these for road trips and other travel we have planned this Fall.

Fruit – Mango, Pears, Peaches, etc.