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Simple Things with Paleo Folks

04 September 2015

I blogged at the very end of last year how I was ready for the steady goodness of a simple life, and I have been fortunate enough to receive it in spades lately. I've really worked on my filter and been adamant about keeping evenings, weekends and life around the house easy going and simple. Heidi discovering the world around her right now is just such a joy, so I am trying to make plenty of room for her to do that and for me to take pleasure in watching it. 

We recently downsized her toys to around five in her room, inspired by this Dallas Moms Blog article. She loves to stack, sort and lace beads right now, and it's so fun to be able to easily find a toy that will be a fun challenge and discovery tool for her. Even if it's just 15 minutes before we head out on a Saturday, there's more time to play because it's easy to get started and clean up. 

I've also been working on cooking more, finding simple ingredient recipes without a ton of prep and clean up. I'm making some big advancements and slowly working on a cooking post to share! Around the time I was getting started on this endeavor, a sorority sister of mine reached out to me about her new baking mixes, Paleo Folks. They are everything I am loving right now: simple and organic ingredients, easy to make with items already in my kitchen and just one bowl and the hand mixer to clean when done.

I used to bake a few times a week as a stress reliever and hobby, and I have to admit, it's been a LONG time since a fluffy cake has left my oven. Lately, baking has seemed more daunting than fun. After reading the limited ingredients (in the mix itself and what I needed to add - just coconut oil, honey, vanilla and eggs) and the simple prep, I was ready to try it.

A note on the paleo: I don't follow a paleo diet, but I do enjoy many "paleo" items and appreciate them being grain free, so I know they are safe from gluten. Simple and natural ingredients are always a big plus with me, so I was really looking forward to this cake as a week night treat, when I usually try to limit dairy and sugar. As for Heidi, I stock gluten free and dairy free for her at home, but don't insist on a restrictive diet for her as it hasn't presented itself as necessary at this point. Loubies and Lulu has a great post about restrictive dieting with her kids that I agree with.

paleo folks chocolate cake mix
A super easy and fun night in the kitchen with Heidi, thanks to Paleo Folks!

My mom and I baked so much growing up. Knowing this cake would be simple made me really excited to try it with Heidi! She really liked standing on the stool and the quick dump, mix and bake process held her attention for exactly the right length of time. In one of my favorite (only) parenting books I've read, Bringing Up Bebe, the author references the French baking with small children to teach precision, patience and a healthy relationship with treats. The little project definitely captured Heidi's attention and she was eager to get involved. This was a fun memory and way to break up the week! 

Admittedly, the best part was my little chef heading to bed before our paleo chocolate cake came out of the oven. I topped it with a little coconut yogurt and some blueberries - perfection! 

I'm learning right now with Heidi, less is more. A simple activity together at home is easier, goes more smoothly and can be more memorable than anything else. I'm so excited about this age and all of the things she can do! Next up is probably Paleo Folk's Chocolate Chip Cookie mix. :o)

It's so nice to find more and more companies each day who value wholesome ingredients. Paleo Folks is growing fast - landing on Whole Foods shelves near you and one of the many friendly faces you might see the at GFAF Dallas Expo! Don't forget to enter to win your free tickets in my former post! 

Join Me at the Gluten Free and Allergy Friendly Expo in Dallas!

02 September 2015

It's hard to believe this fall my mom and sister have been gluten free for almost 10 years. It was such a relief to our family to see something finally helping their situations, but also so confusing. What the heck was gluten free? Certainly not something you saw in stores at the time. I remember talking to my sister on the phone (Lubbock to Austin) and she was so excited one day to get home and realize her gluten free bread had been the mail! She had to find brands and order online. So crazy!

It wasn't long after that when I joined them on the gluten free train and also felt completely different without gluten. Headaches gone, skin clearer, more focus and less anxiety during the day. Sourcing gluten free slowly became easier. Finding gluten free food that tastes good, well it's still a bit of a gamble.

Two years ago I heard of the Gluten Free and Allergy Friendly (GFAF) Expo coming to Dallas. It sounded both completely dorky (being honest) and totally awesome. I was way more right about the second part. The hard part of eating gluten free is finding those "treat" items - bread, pizza and baked goods - and knowing they're as good as they are advertised and worthy of my purchase. The GFAF Expo was wall-to-wall food vendors from local bakeries to the biggest names you've heard of at the grocery store, demoing and sampling their gluten free products in a completely safe environment. It. was. HEAVEN.

My mom, Markus and I sampled a ton of product and got to know many of the passionate people behind them. Many of our 2013 GFAF Expo finds are still favorites in our rotation today. The industry has grown so much more since the last time I was able to attend the expo, and I can't wait to see what I find this time! Just peeking at the vendors list for this year, I see a ton of local favorites and some new brands I've been wanting to try as well.

The GFAF Expo will be in Dallas October 17 and 18 this year, from 10:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. Parking is free, and tickets are $20.00 for adults and $5.00 for kids ages 3-12. What you pay in a ticket you easily get in return with the special weekend classes and eating your weight in samples!

There are some ways to save on your 2015 GFAF Dallas Expo tickets:
- Buy your tickets now through September 16, and get 30% off the regular price with the Early Bird Special
- Or buy your tickets September 16 through October 16 for a special Advance Purchase rate of 20% off
- Or, enter my giveaway below! I will be drawing TWO sets of free tickets to the expo and announcing them on Tuesday, September 15. (That way if you are not a free ticket winner, you can still get in on the Early Bird Special rate!)

Here's how you can enter to win a set of two free tickets that you can just for a child or adult!
Best of luck and I hope I see you at the expo!

New "Healthy Glow" Favorites: From Inside and Out

27 August 2015

Now that I am a matured lady of thirty, one of my pastimes is thinking about keeping up my youthful glow that once came naturally.

My skin is very finicky/breakout prone. Hurt its feelings or even breathe wrong and I will see the effects. I am very wary to try new things, yet always on the hunt. I will drop a product like a bad habit if it doesn't seem to be reacting well, or keep you on repeat order for all time if we hit it off.

Lately, I've just been over punishing my "bad" skin. No more benzyol peroxide, salicylic acid or other harsh chemicals. These are lauded as being the must have ingredients for clear skin, and wouldn't you know the second I switched to trying more nurturing ingredients inside and out, my skin has significantly changed.

Here's some new products I'm repeat ordering and crediting with an uptick in glow:

Healthy Glow Favorites

1. Sephora Pearl Mask - I used to be wary of sheet masks or anything moisturizing. I was a damn fool. I pop this pearl mask like a tic tac now, and for the same occasions: air travel, date night and weddings. I can't leave Sephora without one and at $6 a piece, I should just buy a few to keep in the reserves. My skin photographs like an Amazonian dream woman after wearing one for 5-10 minutes while I'm curling my hair and frightening Heidi. Sephora even offers "Buy 4 masks, get 1 free" on the sheet masks, so you can go hard or mix and match.

2. Blue Ice Fermented Cod Liver Oil - After a great vacation but stressful return from Telluride, Markus started his new job on Monday and had shingles on Tuesday. Egad! There's really nothing you can do to help shingles along, but I took to my hippie high horse anyways and wrapped him in Apple Cider Vinegar compresses and read about nervous system health. I finally ordered some fermented cod liver oil I had been hearing so much about. This is like, the nectar of the gods, y'all. There is so much nutrition and goody goodness in these things for your nervous system, mood, gut, immunity and - skin! I've noticed a lot more elasticity and brightness in my skin since taking these a few weeks ago, and fewer breakouts as the fish oil is an inflammatory. I even have Markus taking them with me and Heidi gulping down the oil version every day with some orange juice.

3. Eminence Organics Clear Skin Willow Bark Booster-Serum - I kept noticing Eminence at spas, and tried a few samples of their product when I was at Etre Belle at NorthPark. This is essentially the organic version of an acne spot treatment, with the same results but no drying or irritation for me. Tea tree oil is anti-bacterial and willow bark is anti-inflammatory, which I think works amazing with the Vitamins A, C and E in the serum for overall smooth, clear skin. I put three drops on before bed, or you can add drops to your moisturizer. The good news is, the bottle seems to last a good while!

4. Arbonne Phytosport Complete Hydration and After Workout - One thing that continues to help my skin is regular exercise, so long as I am showering afterwards and staying on top of being hydrated. It seems like nothing can really fester too long if you keep detoxing with a good workout. The ability to really get up a sweat in a Texas summer and not feel the after effects was a rare treat, until I found these Arbonne products. I've been able to spin, pylometrics, weight train and hot yoga it up this summer with no headaches and fatigue I usually feel from the heat and dehydration. I add the Phytosport Complete Hydration to my water bottle during my workout and then refill and add the Phytosport After Workout to sip while I am in the steam room after class. I used to be really against powders, supplements and water additives but, like the Arbonne protein powder I fell hard for and still use every day, I **love** this stuff. On repeat order for sure. I started working out at 6:00 am shortly before taking this, and had the hardest time not crashing by 11:00 am. These have changed the game. Semi related side note: It is totally crazy how many "healthy" workout products I am allergic to. If you are looking for a boost like this but have food allergies, I love the Arbonne Ingredient Policy and strict European food standards that are applied to their products. Everything is botanical, as it should be when you are ingesting something in the name of health. 

Sure there is new love, sleep and other intimate activities to keep skin glowing and photo worthy, but these new recruits to the team have been such an asset to the times where those aforementioned are not available. Are you a glow chaser? Any new favorites from you, especially the naturals, that I should be trying?

Thanks for reading! These favorites are tried and true and personal picks (unsponsored). Some products are linked through my Amazon affiliate program and my Arbonne favorites link to my representative, which kicks nothing back to me but is a thank you to her for taking the time to think of me and personally refer/talk me into these great items. Byeee!

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