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Useful Holiday Giftset Idea

A girl can only have so many Bath & Body Works gift sets. Instead get her (or yourself) something that’s hydrating for the dry/cold winter months and is made from all-natural ingredients. No more dry patches and flakiness. You may be hesitant at first to cleanse and hydrate your skin with an oil, but Josie Maran products are nourishing and not greasy. All products apply well as a night treatment or even in the day under makeup–it won’t budge! For a full Josie Maran Argan oil product review comparison click here.

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Winter Dreams Argan Skincare Collection found at Sephora $39, $68 value

 Who this is great for: Dry, combination skin, sensitive skin

Whipped Argan Oil Intensive Hand Cream in Vanilla Apricot

Many hand creams have come and gone but few have ever lasted. If there ever was a product in this line that I recommend for dry hands EVER, it’s this one. Plus it smells amazing and isn’t overwhelming.

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Argan Cleansing Oil

Yes, it’s an oil you use to wash your face with but won’t make your face oily. It’s a self-heating formula that washes away makeup and dirt while hydrating simultaneously.

  • Skin feels velvety
  • Turns to a Milky lather, not foaming so it won’t strip your face and over-dry it

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Pure Argan Milk Intensive Hydrating Treatment

This is a richer formula so I tend to use this mainly as a night serum to dry spots.

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Argan Daily Moisturizer SPF 47

It’s a great everyday moisturizer, even when I don’t need to use the other oils because it contains SPF 47 and doesn’t burn and sting like some other harsh sunscreen creams on the market.

  • Non-greasy, extremely hydrating
  • Natural sunblock
  • Can be used in conjunction with the Argan Infinity Intensive Creamy Oill(when you need intense moisture) or just 100% Argan Oil for daily moisture

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Argan Infinity Intensive Creamy Oil

  • Starts as a cream, melts into a oil
  • Hydrates, and soothes
  • Use when you need an extra boost for your moisturizer under makeup or to hydrate lips

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100% Pure Argan Oil

The original product to the Josie Maran collection when it first started. It only contains one ingredient, 100% Argan Oil, no fillers.

  • Use as a daily moisturizer
  • Treat split ends
  • Condition cuticles

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Happy Holidays and….

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It can wait — No it can’t

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I wish I could tell you that I didn’t just finish half of this chocolate bar by myself, but I’d be lying, because I ate the emotional crap out of it.

I have about every burner on my kitchen stove going and I’m waiting for dinner to get done. Word to the wise — don’t wait until you’re starving to start making dinner because you’ll probably be reaching for anything in your pantry at that point to hold you over until you’re done cooking in desperation. Or on a bigger scope of things, don’t wait to start anything in life. Don’t wait for permission, don’t wait for “the right time”, don’t wait for when things “feel right” because you’ll be stuck in the waiting room forever.

“Good things come to those who wait” some say, but waiting around doesn’t bring about good things, that’s luck. When you break it down, luck really favors those who take more chances and create opportunities for themselves. I think the saying should be changed to “Good things come to those who persevere.” The difference between waiting and persevering is that one lends itself to passivity  while the other requires the act of pursuit. Perseverance teaches you to be resourceful with what you have while you’re working towards what you don’t have (yet). If you want something you’ve never had, you must do something you’ve never done. What do you have and what do you need? What will you need to do in order to get it? Write it down and have a clear vision. If you come to a fork in the road, that’s really just a growth spurt in disguise; it’s there to teach you something. Listen to it, and cross that bridge. Whatever you do though, don’t neglect the relationships in your life. Those can be the fastest bridges to burn if you lead with too much haste. In the end make your move and don’t wait too long or it’ll taste a lot like the bottom of this empty dark chocolate wrapper. You may wish and wait all you want for it to reappear but you’re better off looking for food elsewhere.

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By the way, don’t get this chocolate, it wasn’t sweet or bitter. It was the most confusing piece of chocolate I’ve ever had.

Featured in The Daily Post Waiting Room

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Eating my way through D.C.

Ever want to just get up and go somewhere you’ve never been? Or maybe it’s a place you’ve already gone to but wanted to revisit? Instead of course, you do the more practical thing and brush that day dream under the rug because, well—life. For once I did that—I left work and my unfinished projects aside and just left.  Maybe I didn’t have quite the dramatic exit of throwing my papers and chair to the wall, because, well— I like having a job. After all, I didn’t need a start-over, I just needed a break. Mostly, I needed a season change–Florida heat can make anyone go a little crazy. So I asked Boss Lady for two weeks off, which she gladly gave me  because she’s an angel, called up my friend in Washington, DC, cousin in New York, and college roommate/bestie who had just moved to Brooklyn and told them I was coming up. My mission: to go anywhere and everywhere there was food.

Founding Farmer’s “Quality and natural ingredients”

Tip:

Make reservations the day before

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Why I Love It

Their ingredients come from sustainable American family farms, and taste incredibly fresh. It’s clear Founding Farmer’s takes their holistic approach very seriously. Plus the founder has an obvious sense of humor for puns; being in the capitol city, it only made sense to fashion the name of this establishment after  the nation’s Founding Father’s.

Something you might not know

As we sat down to eat our waiter told us the one time they had a tomato shortage in their kitchen, all they had to do was call up the local farmer who distributed them their tomatoes and have him bring in a new supply that day!

They have an open floor layout downstairs as well as a quieter intimate level upstairsIMG_1999

Catch up on your farming and food know-how in the reading section while you waitIMG_2000

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To accommodate for my wheat allergy, the server substituted the biscuits that came with the platter for fruits

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Pitango Gelato

Their specialty

Gelato, sorbets, and coffee-espressos. They use organic grass-fed milk, cream, and free-range eggs. For you vegans or lactose-intolerants, their sorbets are dairy free.

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Why I love it

Pitango’s gelato and sorbets are free of artificial ingredients, colorings, flavorings and chemicals, and low on fat and sugar content.

There’s always something new to try

Aside from the classics, they have exotic flavors like mojito, rhubarb, and passion fruit.

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I tried the NEW flavor CAFFE ESPRESSO

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Oyamel Concina Mexicana

Vibe: Vibrant, ambient, modern, artsy

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Specialty

They’re a tapas style restaurant. Everything comes out in small plates and is meant to be shared. It becomes a little pricey as you add on more platters. Don’t expect to leave on a full stomach from their portions.

Why I like them

They have a diverse allergy-friendly menu that not too many restaurants have and it is color coded at the top. Gluten, vegetarian, vegan, shellfish, nuts, & dairy. Plus their GUACAMOLE IS BOMB.

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Why I won’t be going back

They still made their ingredients with Soy. Having a soy allergy is probably the number one reason it’s difficult for me to eat out at restaurants, but I just ended up being creative and picked the one item on the menu which was soy-free and added some salsa and guacamole on top. Did I mention how good their guacamole was?!

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Protein Bar

Vibe: Modern

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Why I LOVE them

Aside from the fresh, great taste, Protein Bar is considered a Fast Food restaurant AND healthy — huhwut?! You can go in and place your order at the counter just like any usual fast food restaurant and have a smoothie, green juice, salad, wrap, quinoa bowl, or chili ready for you in less than 5 minutes.

Why I think there should be more

Protein Bar is an expanding franchise but it is still very very new–you can count the number of stores they have on two hands. I’m pretty sure if there were more franchises like this available in every local community, it would be less tempting to eat poorly when looking for a quick bite to eat. If Chipotle could do it, I think Protein Bar can do it too.

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 So that was my food adventures around D.C. in a nutshell, give or take a few that weren’t worth mentioning. Stay tuned for the next post Eating my way through N.Y.C. & Puking

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Pumpkin Spice Ice Cream Sandwich

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It’s that Fall time of year when everyone gets that sudden craving for pumpkin — pumpkin pie, pumpkin bread, pumpkin spiced lattes, pumpkin everything. But ice cream, although some would say is strictly a summer treat, can be had year round. In this recipe you can marry the two seasons into a, brace yourselves — Pumpkin Spice Ice Cream Sandwich.

You’ll need:

For the Cookies

Makes ~ 10-12

  • 1 Cup Rolled Oats(blended into a fine flour) + 1/2 cup Rolled Oats (to add later)
  • 1/2 Cup Coconut Palm Sugar
  • 1/2 heaping Teaspoon Pumpkin Pie Spice 
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Baking Soda
  • 1 Egg
  • 2 Tablespoons Butter(or dairy substitute)
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Vanilla extract
  • 1/4 Cup Pumpkin puree
  • 1/3 Cup Chocolate Chip Cookies 
  • 1/4 Cup Cranberries

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit

2. Dry ingredients Blend 1 cup of rolled oats in a blender for 20 seconds until it is a fine flour consistency. Add the sugar, pumpkin pie spice, and baking soda.

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3. Wet ingredients Take the softened butter and whisk in the egg, vanilla extract and pumpkin puree.

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4. Mix the dry and wet ingredients along with the chocolate chips.

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5. Add in the 1/2 cup of rolled oats(unblended) and cranberries.

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6. Use a cookie scooper to proportion out the batter. I found it helps to flatten the dough a little so it spreads out wide enough to fit the ice cream disk. (Make some bigger and some smaller since, as you will see below the ice cream disks will come out in varying diameters due to the shape of the carton).

This was my first batch, I flattened them down a bit further in the second

This was my first batch, I flattened them down a bit further in the second

7. Bake for 20-25 minutes, let cool once done. These cookies will be a little more on the cake-like side, since a crisp cookie will fall apart once frozen.

For the Ice Cream

  • Pint-size – any flavor, I recommend Vanilla or for a Pumpkin Spice Latte twist – Cappuccino
  •  A bread knife

1. Starting at the bottom of the carton, grip the pint of ice cream firmly in your hand and begin to cut all the way through as if you were cutting loaf of bread. (As you move up the top of the carton the slices will get wider due to the shape of the carton. Use the bigger cuts for your bigger sized cookies, and the smaller cuts for your smaller sized cookies so they fit)

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2. Pop the disk out and sandwich into your cookies. For less mess, you can take a pair of kitchen scissors to cut the cardboard of the carton where the seams meet and peel the paper off the ice cream.

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3. Quickly roll the ice cream sandwich in some chocolate chips, wrap in wax paper and freeze until they are ready for eating.

 

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How to start a Detox : The Basics

So you want to start a detox.

Remember all those years ago when Cover of you were a teenager and all the grown ups said they envied you because you could eat whatever you wanted and not have it affect you? Well fast forward a couple years, the sand glass is running out and you’re probably starting to realize you can’t eat the way you used to anymore either. You’ve lost that spring in your step, you’re constantly tired, or sluggish, your allergies seem to be getting worse every season, bloating after a meal is a common nuisance, you’re not satisfied with your body as much as you’d like, and your skin is showing signs of gulp AGING! What is HAPPENING?! Years of bad eating habits is what is happening. For me, college happened. Late nights spent guzzling down energy drinks and cups of coffee, 4th meals at Taco Bell, eating out more than cooking in, tailgating every weekend during football season, and way too much ramen.

Continue reading

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Summertime Sadness: Coconut Bliss New Flavors

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Fast.

It’s the word that comes to mind when I think of how this summer has gone by. Starbucks is already releasing their Fall Pumpkin Spiced Latte–contain yourself. I’ve been gone for the month of July and a good part of August from Little Bliss Book I remorsefully admit. I needed to unplug from this part of the virtual world, and with having hit my 1-year of blogging, and nearly 100 posts later I needed the sense that I was shifting gears before I could get my feet wet again in Year 2 of LBB. Speaking of wet, it rained here in Florida nearly every other day — not quite the best lighting scenario for ample food photography. My kitchen saw less of me this summer as I was off skirting the town for new eateries (posts and pictures to come). And I found my summer love — with ice cream. Luna and Larry’s Coconut Bliss Ice Cream to be exact—specifically Salted Caramel & Chocolate. Mmph. So good. I. can’t. even.

I have a small…ok maybe a big obsession with Luna and Larry’s Coconut Bliss Ice Cream. Somehow the lovely people at Coconut Bliss could tell I had this obsession as well from the ice cream filled Oat Flour Crepes Recipe I posted and they asked me if I would like to try out a few of their flavors. I figured it’s been awhile since I’ve done a product review, and also I didn’t want to be rude, so naturally I said yes. That’s one thing in life a girl never denies when offered: good ice cream, good chocolate, good wine, and Ryan Gosling memes.

Luna and Larry’s Coconut Bliss ice creams are made with Coconut Milk, natural ingredients, and agave syrup. It’s a good alternative for anyone lactose-intolerant, vegan, Celiac, Soy intolerant, Gluten intolerant, or Diabetic.

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Mint Galactica: I was hesitant to find out what coconut and mint tasted like together, but actually it’s pretty good. You don’t taste the coconut, and the mint is mild so it doesn’t taste like you’re eating toothpaste. t like it, but don’t LOVE it. But then again I’m not a Mint Ice Cream person, but my old roommate from college would love this.

Salted Caramel & Chocolate: MY FAVORITE! I was never big on salty and sweet together, but this is addicting. There’s chocolate shavings mixed right in, and need I say more about caramel.

Vanilla: Coconut and Vanilla are a classic. If I’m out of Salted Caramel & Chocolate — which I usually am — I reach for this flavor next.

Dark Chocolate: Coconut and Dark Chocolate is probably right up there in best classic flavor combination with Vanilla. They’re both a tie for me. I usually top with raspberries and coconut flakes.

To check out their full line up of flavors check out Coconut Bliss. Most of their ice creams can be found in Whole Foods, Fresh Market, and Earth Origins, among other specialty grocery stores.

For the remainder of the summer I’ll be off to Washington D.C. and New York, stay tuned for posts!

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Almond-Oat Flour Pancakes

Blogiversary and My Favorite Mistake

It’s officially been 1 year since I started this blog and close to 100 posts later, I thought it would be fun to answer what I’ve learned over the past year.

 Is there a mistake you’ve made that turned out to be a blessing – or otherwise changed your life for the better?

 I could probably name a few, but for time’s sake and to keep this post relevant I would say my favorite mistake would probably be of me posting my first selfie, seatbelt in the car and all. I’ll save myself the embarrassment of not re-posting myself making a duck face sipping on a straw from a smoothie cup. I was on my first detox cleanse last year and on a whim I decided to publicly announce to the world that I was going to start eating clean and as proof, I took a quick self portrait with my first green juice. The second I hit ‘Share’ I felt like I had made a mistake and I wanted to take it all back. The anxiety mortified me. Selfies then aren’t what they are now, but really anytime you post one you are opening yourself up to judgment and criticism. Before I could take it down a few ‘likes’ and comments had already started to trickle in so at that point I figured I might as well just keep it up. I didn’t check my phone for the rest of the day, but when I did, all the feedback was positive. People were asking me what I was eating, why I was doing it, and if the symptoms of my autoimmune disease were improving. I was touched that people were even curious to begin with. It inspired me to post recipes and foodie pics and eventually when answering questions on how to start a detox became redundant, I decided to start Little Bliss Book, a playbook on food, positive thinking, and finding bliss in the little things. So my little accident became my favorite mistake, and my favorite mistake lead to this blog.

A look at my first post:

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Some other takeaways I learned from blogging this past year were:

1. Learning to really cook.

I learned where my ingredients were truly coming from, I learned to read ‘labels’, and since I couldn’t rely on jarred bottles and sauces to cook anymore I learned to cook from scratch the old-fashion way, through trial and error, but mostly through error. Unfortunately.

2. Patience.

I think I believed I was going to become a great cook overnight. HA! I’d spend some weekends frustrated in the kitchen when I had no clue what I was doing. I wanted to quit sometimes and go back to the days of pre-processed foods and then I remembered I had a blog and I had to be accountable.

3. Accountability

You don’t want to be known as the person who half-asses on everything. Do what you’re going to say you’re going to do and stick with it. If you feel like you’ve failed, just try again. Repetition makes habit, and sometimes that habit can take months to stick.

4. Put yourself out there.

Don’t take everything so seriously. Be a little spontaneous. Yes post that selfie, or that picture of your meal that you just made, hashtag to your heart’s desire. Who cares. Some things you post may be socially unacceptable to some, while others can find the humor or inspiration in it. People appreciate individuality and authenticity more than you think. Be bold.

There’s no knowing where this blog will take me in the next year. Outside of food, I plan on taking my camera to as many places as I will go, document as much as I see, create as much as I can create, share as much as time will allow, and write for just writing’s sake. Thank you to everyone who has read this blog, commented, liked, shared, and supported me this past year, you’ve all inspired me in some way or another. I’ve learned hiccups are bound to happen, and sometimes you won’t know the answer to anything. Take a breather and make discoveries during the challenges.Happy mistake making!

Almond-Oat Flour Pancakes

Almond-Oat Flour Pancakes

If you’d like to see more of Year 2 of Little Bliss Book you can subscribe via Email in the side bar or follow on Facebook

The Daily Post: Favorite Mistake

Candid moment when they walked through the door

Bliss: Surprising My Parents

Happy June all! I had been taking a break from my regular blogging posts last month to refocus my attention to some exciting new projects and one of them was throwing together a surprise 30th Anniversary party for my parents. My brother and I were too young at the time of their 25th Anniversary to put something together so we figured 30 years was a great milestone to show our parents how much we really appreciate them.

Let me first say the amount of stress I endured from trying to keep this all a secret from my mom who is the biggest detective in the world was no easy feat. The 30th Anniversary theme was pearls so we decked the party in white, ivory, and pearls and made it a ‘White Attire Party’. Oh yea, that was another challenge, getting my parents to wear all white to their own party. We told them it was a white dinner party at a family-friend’s house and that the party started at 8pm when really it was 7pm. The lies I had to tell them, the strings I had to pull, and having my brother come in from out of town to surprise our parents were all worth it in the end to see the joy on their faces.

So this is all for you Mom and Dad, thanks for showing us what selfless love really is, not the easy fairy tales, but true working love. Happy 30 and beyond!

Candid moment when they walked through the door

Candid moment when they walked through the door

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Setting off Sky Lanterns for Well Wishes

Setting off Sky Lanterns for Well Wishes

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NYC, 1984

NYC, 1984

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