Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Mad Hippie Review



A few months ago, I made the full transition into non-toxic, cruelty free skincare. After doing a lot (A LOT) of research, I purchased nearly every Mad Hippie product and gave it a go. I have been using their products (along with a few Ursa Major products, which will be another review), and I am so-so-so pleased with how happy my skin has been! Read my full, honest review on the products I purchased below:

I feel that it is important to start with a background on my skin. Some products work better on certain skin types than others.

About my skin: I have a fair complexion (meaning I will burn fairly quickly without sunscreen) that will tan slightly in the summer. I have combination skin (oily in some places, dry in others) and my skin is very sensitive (my skin reacts to harsh chemicals and strong fragrances). I have the occasional breakout (I'm human!), I have larger pores around my nose and occasional redness. I don't wear a lot of makeup and typically use a tinted moisturizer and spot conceal where needed.

Cream Cleanser (with Jojoba, Green Tea, Macadamia Oil, & Orchid Extract) - I read a lot of mixed reviews about this cleanser. I was a bit skeptical because I enjoy a foaming cleanser, and this is a non-foaming cream cleanser... but it is amazing! This is probably my favorite product from the line. I read some reviews that said this was not very good at removing your makeup, but I think it does an amazing job removing makeup! Like I mentioned above, I don't wear a lot of makeup, but this easily removes even my mascara (I wear a natural, non-waterproof mascara). The best point is that this cleanser does not sting your eyes. Like, AT ALL. Every cleanser I have ever used has stung my eyes (even the Glossier Milky Jelly Cleanser, which drives a main selling point of not burning your eyes)! It feels cooling and luxurious on the skin. The fact that it has green tea SOLD ME HARD. My skin loves green tea. Super refreshing!

Vitamin C Serum (with Konjac Root, Ferulic & Hyaluronic Acid )- I was looking for a serum to even out and brighten my complexion. At, first I wasn't sure this delivered but I found that it does amazing, glowy things when I pair it with an exfoliant. I use this a few times a week with the Pixi Overnight Glow Serum. (Mad Hippie has their own exfoliating serum, but I have not tried it because at the time of purchase they recommended one or the other.) The vitamin C serum is a cloudy, orange-ish serum (reminds me of diluted OJ with pulp) which makes me feel like it's made from fresh citrus fruit (I'm not complaining). It is a light-weight serum with a lovely smell. It's not super moisturizing on it's own, so use as a treatment in conjunction with a moisturizer.

Antioxidant Facial Oil (with Argan Oil, Goji & Camu Camu) - This oil smells AMAZING. So good. I don't usually like scented products, but this smells delicious and does not smell synthetic. I bought this to replace my much loved Kiehls Midnight Recovery Oil, and although it does not perform the same, I am happy to be putting something more natural and safe on my skin. I don't use this serum everyday, it is very thick so I save it for evenings when my skin feels like it could use some extra moisture. It is sort of sticky, like honey, which isn't bad, just know that it doesn't spread well on dry skin. Spritz on a little rosewater first, and apply to dewy skin.

Face Cream (with Peptides, Acai, Argan Oil & Reservatrol) - I bought this to replace my loved Mary Kay Timewise Facial Moisturizer. This moisturizer is formulated for all skin types and is safe to put all over your face, the delicate eye area included. Even the eyelids. That was a major selling point for me. I don't want to have to worry about avoiding the eye area when applying a moisturizer. This feels a little heavy when first applied, but that may just be because I am used to a more gel-cream type moisturizer. The only thing I am not crazy about is the scent. Not to imply that it smells bad, it actually smells great! I just prefer an unscented moisturizer, especially when I am applying it to the eye area. If they made an unscented version, that would be golden in my book.

Eye Cream (with Peptides, Ceramides, Pomegranate & White Tea) - I was super excited to try this. I am constantly on the prowl for that "holy grail" eye cream. One that is moisturizing, but not too heavy and does not leave me with puffy, irritated eyes. I was so into the fact that this has white tea in it, and was hoping it would help brighten the eye area. This checks all the boxes, however, the formula is a little grainy. Not grainy in the sense that it feels like sand or anything crazy, but it takes a lot of rubbing to get it to settle into the skin (which is not a good thing for the delicate eye area). I've tried gently patting it into the skin, but I am always left with these little grainy balls of product. It is possible that I just got an off bottle, so I may purchase again and see.

Have you tried any of the Mad Hippie Line? Which is your favorite? Which would you most like to try?

*This is not a sponsored post. All opinions are my own, and the products were purchased with my own hard-earned money from Lucky Vitamin.



Monday, May 14, 2018

Samoa Donuts (GF, Vegan, Refined Sugar Free)

 
Oh my delicious donuts... these are GOOD. A few months ago, I sampled (mauled) a completely gluttonous version of a Samoa donut from a local donut shop. Of course, I made it my job to come up with a wholesome, healthier version of this bad baby to be enjoyed by all. The donut itself is flourless and sweetened only with ripe banana, the caramel is made with almond butter and sweetened with maple, then topped with shredded coconut. To really bring this home, they are dipped in dark chocolate and drizzled. Yup.

Samoa Donuts

Ingredients:

1 cup natural unsalted natural creamy almond butter
1 ripe banana, mashed
2 tblsp. organic cacao
1 tsp. baking soda
2 tblsp. pure grade A or B maple
2 tblsp. unsweetened vanilla almond milk
1/2 tsp. vanilla

Almond Butter Caramel:

1/4 cup pure maple
1/4 cup coconut oil
2 tbsp. creamy natural almond butter
pinch of sea salt

Other ingredients:

1/4 cup shredded coconut for topping
1/4 cup chopped dark chocolate for dipping and drizzling


Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Prepare a donut pan by greasing with coconut oil or non-stick spray. Use an electric mixer to mash the banana. Add in the almond butter and whisk until smooth. Add in maple, almond milk and vanilla and mix until combined. In a small, separate bowl mix together cacao and baking powder. Whisk into the wet ingredients just until combined. Spoon the batter into your prepared pan and bake for 12-16 minutes or until the donuts spring back when touched. Remove from the donut pan and transfer to a cooling rack until completely cooled.

While the donuts cool, prepare the almond butter caramel. In a small sauce pan, heat maple, coconut oil and almond butter on low heat. Whisk until smooth. Continue to whisk and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and transfer to a heat proof bowl to cool (will thicken as it cools). Next, melt dark chocolate chips or chopped chocolate (I use Trader Joe's 72% dark) in the micro for 30 seconds at a time until melted smooth when stirred. Dip the imperfect sides of your cooled donuts into the chocolate glaze and place on parchment paper-lined cookie sheet. Transfer to the fridge to set the chocolate. Once the chocolate is set, dip the other side of your donuts in almond butter caramel, and then into shredded coconut. Place back on the parchment and drizzle with remaining chocolate. Let set before serving. Store in the fridge in an airtight container.



Enjoy!!

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Chocolate Banana Bread (Vegan, Gluten Free, Refined Sugar Free)



Happy Friday! Earlier this week I took a poll on Instagram (Samoa Donuts vs Choco Banana Bread), and it was a tie! So I got right to work and whipped up a loaf of dense, moist, wholesome chocolate goodness. You'll want to go to bed early to get up for this one. It's made with oat flour, so it's essentially oatmeal in loaf form. Sweetened with ripe bananas and a bit of pure maple keep it refined sugar free. I added in some almond butter to create a hefty, satisfying loaf which makes this perfect for breakfast (or a snack).

Ingredients

  • 2 ripe bananas
  • 1 cup creamy natural almond butter(unsalted)
  • ⅓ cup pure maple
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk 
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • ½ tsp. baking powder
  • 1 cup oat flour 
  • 1/4 cup almond flour 
  • 1/4 cup cocoa or cacao
  • Dark chocolate chunks or chips 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, smash the bananas with a whisk or fork until mostly smooth (no large chunks). Mix in the almond butter, maple, vanilla and milk. In a food processor (or blender or coffee grinder) grind 1 cup of gluten free oats into a flour. Mix with almond flour, baking soda, baking powder and cocoa in a separate bowl. Mix into the wet ingredients until combined. Line a loaf pan with parchment paper or spray generously with coconut oil. Transfer batter into your prepared loaf pan, top with chopped chocolate or chocolate chips and bake for 30 minutes or until a knife inserted in the middle comes out with moist crumbs. Let stand on a wire rack in the pan for 15 minutes before removing and transferring to the rack to cool completely. Once cooled, slice with a serrated knife and enjoy!



The flavor and moist factor get even better the next day!

Monday, April 16, 2018

My Low Key Fitness Routine


I hate the gym. I've been a member of three different gyms over the years, but I never fully felt the benefit. First of all, I'm an anxious person. I don't like busy, crowded areas. I feel overstimulated and self-conscious. Then there's the added annoyance of always getting hassled when I go to the gym... but that's another issue altogether. I'm happy for those of you who love the gym and feel motivated by all of the other people and their energy! That atmosphere just does not work for me, and I ended up paying monthly for a membership that I just was not utilizing enough to justify the expense to my budget. So... many of you have asked, how do I stay in shape without the gym? First of all, I eat a healthy diet mostly free of refined sugars, white flour and fried foods. I eat a predominantly plant based, whole food diet. That's #1. You will not see results if you are eating (I'm just going to say it) crap. Second, my goal is to build lean muscle and to feel strong and healthy overall (and to have a nice booty, but hey, who isn't?). If you are body building or looking to bulk up then my routine probably won't impress you. If you are looking to avoid the gym and the costs that come with it, enjoy the outdoors, and want to use your workout time to clear your head and ease anxiety while building strong, lean muscle and work on your flexibility... then a routine similar to mine might just work for you! Here is an example of what I do to stay in shape and keep my sanity:

I do yoga and stretch every morning. I also use this as my meditation time when I'm feeling particularly anxious or depleted. I work out 4 to 5 days a week. I alternate between high intensity workout days and low intensity days to allow my muscles time to recover. On high intensity days, I will do 45 minutes to an hour of high intensity circuit training or a training video. Before you scoff at workout videos... I'm not talking about Richard Simmons (although the man still looks great so he must be doing something right). Workout dvds are really no different than having a personal trainer EXCEPT for the fact that you are the only one to keep yourself motivated and to hold you accountable (If you need someone to hold you accountable then this probably won't work for you). The other difference is that you aren't paying tons of money every month. You pay for a DVD/BluRay once, and that's IT. My favorite workout is this one here. It's a full body strengthening and conditioning workout, and it hurts. Hurts so good. Other higher intensity workouts that I love are created by Pamela Reif (YouTube and Puma Trac App) and Alexa Jean Fitness 12 week Healthy Body Guide and Sore to the Core.


On low intensity days I like to go for a run outdoors and/or run and walk on an incline to activate my glutes and calf muscles. Feel that extra burn carry over from the high-intensity day before. I like to help my muscles recover with Restorative Yoga. This is my go to, and I even have it memorized.

I find a way to be active everyday and get the most out of my surroundings. For example, I always take the stairs when that is an option. So simple, but effective. Small daily changes, over time, can be one of the best ways to get results!



There isn't a one-size-fits-all approach to health and fitness. Find what works for you and make it your routine. Just don't forget to find ways to mix it up so that you are getting the most out of your workout!

Thursday, April 5, 2018

Decadent Brownie Skillet with Eating Evolved Chocolate



There's nothing quite like a warm, gooey brownie straight from the oven. Nothing could be better, right? Well... how about if it was a warm, gooey brownie with NO ADDED SUGAR in the batter while still tasting like a sinful treat? Only in your dreams... until NOW. This brownie skillet is sweetened only with banana, the chocolate chunks are refined sugar free, it's also vegan and gluten free. This dessert is other level yum:

*Adapted from The Toasted Pine Nut

1 cup raw pecans (can sub almond flour)
1 ripe banana
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
3 tblsp cacao or cocoa powder
2 tblsp coconut oil, melted
1/2 Eating Evolved Crunchy Caramel Bar, chopped



Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Prep a cast iron skillet with coconut oil or coconut oil spray and set aside. In a food processor, pulse the pecans until they resemble a crumble. Add in the baking powder, baking soda, cacao and coconut oil until combined. Add in the banana and process until smooth. Pour the batter into your prepared skillet and smooth with a spatula. Sprinkle your chopped Eating Evolved Crunchy Caramel Bar on top and press lightly into the batter. Bake for 12 minutes. Remove from the oven and drizzle with raw almond butter ( I love Trader Joe's Raw Creamy Unsalted Almond Butter) and a little sea salt if desired.

Don't forget to tag me on Instagram if you make this recipe!  I love seeing your versions :]#wildandflowertreats

Sunday, March 18, 2018

My Current Natural Skin Care Routine



I have always been what you could call a "skincare junkie", trying every new "holy grail" product out there. I had never really considered that many of these "miracle" products could actually be doing more harm than good, in the long (and short) run. I don't know how many times a product has made me break out, given me a rash, or itchy, puffy eyes (even the ones specifically formulated for sensitive skin) Not only do many of these products contain toxic ingredients, many of them also test on animals! For these (and many other positive) reasons, I started to research products before I buy. First of all, I read the labels and look for a few key words on the packaging: non-toxic, cruelty free, no parabens, no pthalates and free of perfumes and dyes (organic ingredients are a plus!). I also check the toxicity rating on the EWG website. Lastly, I read reviews. I like to get the opinion of REAL people who have used the product before I take the plunge. I am happy to say that I am well on my way to a completely non-toxic skincare routine. Here is my review, in the order that I use them:

TULA Probiotic Purifying Face Cleanser - This is the newest addition to my non-toxic skincare routine... and so far I love it! It is described as " a probiotic-based gel cleanser that deep cleans pores and removes impurities and makeup without stripping the skin"... and this is exactly what it does! I double cleanse (once with my hands to quickly remove any makeup, and lastly with a facial brush to exfoliate), and my skin still feels dewy and moisturized! It's also a foaming cleanser, which I prefer. There are two sizes, so you can try before you buy. The bottles are very generous. I purchased the larger size, and because I only wash my face once a day (at night), I feel like this cleanser will last a loooong, long time.

Thayers Alcohol Free Rose Petal Witch Hazel Toner - I have to admit, I was scared to try this. I had used witch hazel as a toner years ago and it was not a pleasant experience. However, my pores were calling out for a hero, and this got excellent reviews. First of all, it's alcohol free! This was the main reason I decided to give it a go. It also has aloe vera, which is super soothing for skin. Finally, it smells really pleasant. Not like any other toner I have used in the past, and my skin loves it! I feel like it really preps my skin for facial oil and moisturizer.

Heritage Store Rosewater and Glycerine Spray- I love this stuff! Super refreshing any time of day. I like to spritz this on after toner and apply my facial oil while my skin is still damp. It has a very light rose scent. It's inexpensive, but so essential to my skincare routine! You can pick this up at any Whole Foods or Sprouts, too!

Aura Cacia Sweet Almond Oil - I have used some pretty high end and expensive facial oils, but none have worked as well with my skin as this simple oil! It's not scented, and only has two ingredients: almond oil and vitamin e. I also have a bottle in my shower and use it as a full body moisturizer. It works great in place of shaving cream, too!

Rose Hip Oil - After reading about the wonderful anti-aging benefits of this oil, I added it to my regimen. It's rich in Omega 6 fatty acids and helps aid in antioxidant protection. I mix a little with my sweet almond oil, or just pat a few drops on top. My skin soaks it up and looks instantly dewy and happy.

Kiehl's Midnight Recovery Concentrate - This is the only part of my routine that may have some questionable ingredients. For this reason, I don't use it everyday, but I have found that it really helps to fade spots overnight. It also seems to have had a positive effect on my eyebrows! They have never been so full. However, it is fairly expensive. I will probably be phasing this one out of my routine in the near future, so if you know of a good non-toxic dupe let me know!!

What are your favorite non-toxic skincare products?







Monday, February 5, 2018

Boot Bandit (& A Self-Care Story)



Sometimes I feel like a Goddess, sometimes I feel more like a little girl. Yesterday was one of those "little girl" days. I was just feeling off: anxious, insecure, small. *Spoiler alert: I ended up feeling so much better by the end of the day, when I finally gave myself the stress release that I needed. This is why it is so important to listen to your body! The previous week was one of a lot of hard work and poor sleep. I didn't dedicate enough time to my much loved "self-care" routine. Sometimes I forget how much I really need a lazy day to rejuvenate my body, my mind, and my soul. By 9pm, I had treated myself to some vegan pizza (favorite comfort food btw), and on my drive home I had a good (ugly) cry in my car while listening to one of those "emotional trigger songs" (we all have them, don't pretend you don't know what I'm talking about!). I got home, made some tea, had a nice warm soak in the tub, and I felt like a new woman.


Speaking of feeling like a new woman (how about that transition though?), these boots will give you that feeling. What was it that Rachel said on Friends when her world was falling apart? "They're my new "I don't need a job, I don't need my parents, I've got great boots" boots!" ... ok well I need my job and I love my parents, but these boots are ah-mazing. Here's the clincher: they're from TARGET. Aaand they are under $50 bucks. Try and find a good pair of over the knee boots anywhere else for under $50. Right now these babies are on sale so get at themmm!