Thursday, May 2, 2019

The Friday 5 + Giveaway

Hey, happy Friday! How is it May already?! I feel like April was the fastest month of my life. Holy cow. I’m obviously not complaining because I am very much looking forward to warmer weather (and beach days!), so, hopefully, summertime is here before we know it!

As always, I’m sharing a new Friday 5 today featuring five things I’m loving lately. Plus, I have a Beautycounter giveaway for you. Don’t miss it at the bottom of this post! 🙂

1. Mike Birbiglia Our friends from NYC introduced us to him – he’s a comedian and story teller, and SO FUNNY! If you need a good laugh this weekend, or just need to “Netflix and chill,” check out “My Girlfriend’s Boyfriend” or “Thank God for Jokes” on Netflix. Mal and I haven’t laughed this hard in a long time!

2. New York Times Custom Birthday Book How cool is this (especially for a history nerd)? This book makes an amazing gift for a birthday as well as Mother’s Day or Father’s Day, which will be here very soon. The customized book, preserved in library binding and personalized with name and date of birth, is a collection of the New York Times front pages from each year since the recipient’s birth. It takes a fascinating snapshot of history seen through the lens of their special day. What a creative and fun idea!

New York Times Custom Birthday Book

3. MADEWELL High Rise Button Front Frayed Hem Skinny Jean– I recently got these jeans in my latest Stitch Fix order, and OMG… I think I have found my new favorite white skinny jeans! I am totally into high rise jeans (or high rise everything), and these white jeans are not only stylish but so dang comfortable. I’ll be wearing them all Spring/Summer! I love the details of the buttons and frayed hem, too. They’re the perfect combo of stylish, but casual!

4. Brooks Ravenna 10 I’ve been big fan of Brooks running shoes for years, and these Ravenna 10 are a new favorite. They’re great for those who over-pronate, but don’t want the bulkiness of your typical stability running shoe. Plus, I love the bright colors for Spring! I mean, it’s cool when your sneakers match your iced coffee tumbler, right?

5. Beautycounter One-Step Makeup Remover Wipes – These are a lifesaver! I’ll admit that sometimes I can be a bit lazy at night with my skincare routine, which I why I love these compostable makeup remover wipes. Not only do they take off makeup (looking at you Dew Skin and Brilliant Brow Gel), but they also gently cleanse, hydrate, and soothe your skin. They’re big – unlike most drugstore wipes – so you can cut them in half and get double the use! These are a must-have for my gym bag and travel carry-on, too. Love, love, love!

Giveaway alert: I actually have an extra package of these wipes to give away to one lucky CNC reader. To enter: Just sign up for my Beautycounter email list and leave a comment below. If you’re already on my email list, just let me know. I’ll randomly pick a winner of my email list on Monday to receive the wipes! Good luck!

Sales of the Week

Question of the Day

Do you have a favorite brand of skinny jeans?

P.S. If you want to stay in touch about deals and promos from Scout & Cellar (clean-crafted wine!!), sign up for my wine email list here.

This post contains some affiliate links, which means I will earn a small commission from the company if you decide to purchase the product linked to. This compensation helps with expenses to keep CNC up and running. Thank you for your support!

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Recipe Roundup: 7 Low-Carb Spring Salads

With warmer temps come lighter fare…and the spring produce to inspire it.

Whether you’re a Big-Ass Salad fan or more of a side salad connoisseur, we’ve got seven great tastes for you to enjoy this spring. Recreate them as pictured, or customize with your favorite ingredients, right down to DIY dressings.

Enjoy, everyone!

Strawberry Spinach and Basil Salad

We couldn’t think of a better salad to celebrate spring than this. Simple, fresh, and sweet, it’s a perfect accompaniment to an omelet breakfast or a grilled chicken dinner, but it’s also a satisfying light meal in its own right. With just 6 ingredients (including the dressing) and 10 minutes of prep time, you have a delicious salad (and nutrient powerhouse) on the table.

Wedge Salad With Blue Cheese Dressing

Salads can be as Big-Ass or as simple as mood and time dictate, but they always should be flavorful. We love this classic (and keto-friendly) recipe for a quick side or (topped with some bacon crumbles) a light lunch or dinner. The best part…it’s made with staple ingredients that are easy to keep on hand.

Bright, colorful, crisp and rich, it’s a great choice for a midweek family supper or even an impromptu dinner party.

Grilled Italian Chicken Salad

Are you (like us) rejoicing yet that it’s almost summer—a season of warm days and light meals? Throw together this beautiful salad with baby spinach leaves, avocado slices, cherry tomatoes, shredded carrots, grilled chicken and Dreamy Italian Dressing & Vinaigrette for a fragrant and delicious Mediterranean flavor.

Julienned Carrot and Kale Salad

Here’s proof that you don’t need a lot of ingredients for big nutrition, taste and presentation. Kale and carrot strips (use mixed color carrots for an even brighter look), your favorite crunchy seeds, along with a Honey Mustard Vinaigrette, and you’ve got the perfect accompaniment for pork, chicken and more.

Keto Chicken Citrus Salad

There’s something about spring and the fresh taste of citrus…. We love the blend of avocado and grapefruit in this hearty, simple salad. Just add leftover chicken and a healthy dose of Mark’s (current) favorite dressing, Lemon Turmeric.

Smoked Salmon and Caesar Salad

This upgraded classic can be plated at home like a regular salad, or cleverly brought to work in a glass jar. Layering the dressing and ingredients in a jar stores everything neatly (no salad dressing leaks!) and keeps the salad crisp and fresh. When it’s lunchtime, just shake the salad into a bowl. Sub grilled chicken for salmon if you prefer!

Thousand Island Kale and Radish Salad

As a light accompaniment to fish or poultry or a omelet, you can’t go wrong with spring greens and radishes—especially when topped with one of the most classic (and tangy) dressing tastes around.

What’s your favorite way to the lighter, fresher fare of spring? Or do you have a recipe you’d like us to whip up (or remake Primal or Primal-keto style)? Let us know down below, and thanks for stopping in today.

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13 Things Thursday

Hi, guys! Happy Thursday to you!

I have so many random things to tell you, so I decided to put them in a “things” blog post. I used to write these kind of posts back in the day, and they’re honestly fun for me to write. They’re kind of like a “brain dump,” so there’s a little bit of everything included! 🙂 Ok, here we go!

1 . The 30-Day Build a Booty Challenge started yesterday. Woohoo! You can still join if you’d like. There are 5 workouts each week, and they start on Wednesdays, so you have plenty of time to complete them. I’m sharing some video demos on Instagram, so feel free to pop over there to check them out. Additionally, I’ll be hosting weekly giveaways on Thursdays on the blog, so be sure to check back for a chance to win all sorts of goodies!

2. The deadline to sign up for the May group of Master Your Macros is today. If you’re interested, please sign up ASAP, so we can get you up and running for Monday!

3. We donated some of Quinn’s baby toys the other day, and I’m surprised how much it affected me. I didn’t cry, but, man, it made my heart sad. The toys reminded me of such a sweet time in his life. Those baby years really do fly by!

4. I ordered addition flash cards from Amazon for Quinn, but inside the box was multiplication cards. Whomp whomp. Thankfully, Mr. Haupert put his teaching hat on, and we skipped right past adding to multiplying (with the help of some pennies)!

5. I made this delicious one-pot chicken pasta recipe in the instant pot the other day, and it turned out so well. I can’t wait to share the recipe with you! It was SO EASY!

6. BUSTING MYTHS ABOUT BECOMING A BEAUTYCOUNTER CONSULTANT – This was such a great blog post!

“Is Beautycounter a pyramid scheme?”

“If the products are so great, why aren’t they just sold in traditional retail stores?”

“I’ve heard something like 1% of consultants in businesses like this earn money.”

Or, accusations of “MLMs are predatory to women, so Beautycounter is bad news.”

If you’ve ever had any of the questions or concerns above, please read this post. Additionally, it’s a new month, and I’m recruiting new consultants for my team. If you’re interested in chatting, please let me know! 🙂

7. I’m loving peanut butter and jelly toast (and rice cakes) with banana slices lately. I’ve eaten this combo for breakfast every day this week. I’m usually such a PB+banana gal, but the jelly adds a little something extra!

8. I’m ALL about the clean-crafted wine lately. I ordered another case of wine from Scout & Cellar, and I’m so impressed with what I’ve tried. Usually, organic wines are kind of blah, but these are seriously delicious!! If you’re interested in staying in the loop about these wines and deals at Scout & Cellar, please sign up here. And, of course, feel free to reach out if you have any questions!

9. If you’re local, the Derby Street Shops are hosting a Kentucky Derby Party on Saturday night to kick off their newest addition: The Derby Street Green in partnership with South Shore Health. It’s a family-friendly event that includes champagne mint juleps, local beer and wine for sale, live ponies, a hat contest, and Kentucky Derby crafts and games for kids.
Tickets are $5 per adult and kids are FREE. All proceeds benefit Hingham Public Schools. We’re planning to go, so if you do too, please say hi! 🙂

10. I have a full blog post coming about why the scale fluctuates (I’m soooo NOT a fan of the scale), but I just wanted to share the image for the post since it came out so well!

11. I ordered two bras from Zappos, and they BOTH fit! Holy cow, I’m still in shock. I have THE WORST time finding bras (I even tried ThirdLove), so I was pleasantly surprised! FYI: The bras are Natori Gloss Full Fit Contour Underwire Bra + Natori Bliss Perfection Contour Underwire Bra. Definitely check out Zappos (free shipping) if you’re in the market!

12. I’m so glad that it’s May. We have so many celebrations on the horizon!

13. Our vacation to Punta Cana is 68 days away!! 

Question of the Day

Your turn! Share a ‘thing’ from your life lately! 🙂

P.S. Be sure to enter to win a Bravery Band over on Instagram. They’re so pretty!

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My Beauty Routine: An Update

Here is an update post with my new-ish beauty routine and how I’m liking all of the different products. I’m saving makeup for another day! 

How I’m Liking Beautycounter

I Like That I Actually Have A Routine

I’ve been using Beautycounter long enough now that I have a nice routine that I’m doing every morning and night. So far I have been very happy with both the products and my results (see below!) It’s nice to actually have a routine. For years I mixed and matched products and never committed to one line of skincare or makeup. Thanks to my propensity towards sample sizes, I constantly rotated different products and brands in and out. And because I am actually not a beauty junkie or skincare expert, I was probably using them wrong and doubling up on function. It feels really good to have a morning and nighttime lineup and know the purpose behind each product.

I Like Following A Recipe

It’s also nice to have someone tell you: these are the products to use and in this order. I wouldn’t know how to bake a cake without a recipe, and I don’t necessarily know all of the ins and outs of skin to know what I should be using and how to use it. Beautycounter’s website is packed with information on the what, why, and how of each product, so I am now confidently using my products with purpose.

36 Is Not Too Late!

When I lived off of samples I felt like I never had to “buy” beauty products (even though I paid for the samples.) I have never actually invested in my skin until now. I don’t know about you, but I take better care of things that I spend good money on compared to things I purchase that are cheap or are given to me. I used to easily justify spending money on a hotel room or pillows for my couch before I would on beauty. I am now 36 and decided I need more than SPF to keep my skin looking youthful. It’s kind of like putting money into retirement: the younger you start the better off you are. Mid-30s isn’t too late (it’s NEVER too late! My sister and I have our mom trying out the Resurfacing Peel!)

Here are the products I bought and how I’ve been using them.

Morning Skincare Routine

(aka whenever I take my first shower)

Countermatch Cleansing Milk – This cleanser is creamy, smells like a clay mask, and does not dry skin out. I keep it in the shower. I like to use an exfoliator a few times a week in place of my regular cleanser, so I need to buy one of those sometime soon.

Rejuvenating Toner Pads – I love the feel of toner on my skin right after a shower. That tight feeling is like the skin drinking in moisture! I cut these toner pads in half to make them last me twice as long (about 3 months). They were really easy to cut, surprisingly, and half of one is just fine for my face.

No. 1 Brightening Mist – I use this as my morning brightener and the matching oil at night. I spritz it over my face and it sinks in quickly because the mist is so fine. I think of it as a nice drink for my skin. It’s packed with antioxidant-rich vitamin C. I also use it whenever I need a little refresh.

Countermatch Intense Moisture Serum – I think of this as nutrition for my skin that is gentle enough for anytime, anyday. It goes on very smoothly and you only need a little.

Countermatch Adaptive Lotion – This lotion is a great all-over hydration to lock in the toner + serum effects. A little goes a long way. I skip eye cream in the mornings to speed up my routine and save money by using it only once a day (at night).

Dew Skin Tinted Moisturizer with SPF – This is the start of my makeup routine, which I’ll save for another post, but I point it out as the end of skincare because of the SPF! I make sure to put this on my forehead and ears too.

Nighttime Skincare Routine

Cleansing Balm – I really thought I would hate this but I actually love it for one big reason: you don’t have to wash it off! I hate washing my face at the sink because my sink is high and I am short and water tends to drip all down my arms and only my clothes. The cleansing balm is a multitasker and is a cleanser, melting make-up remover, and a replenishing overnight mask all in one. I rub a jelly bean size amount over my skin and then wipe off the top layer with a 2×2 esthetic wipe. No water necessary!

Makeup Remover Wipes – If my face is really dirty OR if I have on a lot of makeup I use one of these wipes instead. My sister taught me that they tear in half really easily, so I use half at a time to double the use. Note the tear well in one direction but not the other!

Overnight Resurfacing Peel – This is my FAVORITE product!! I love the lemony smell, and it goes on so smoothly. It will tingle for about 5-10 minutes after putting it on which is one of the ways I know it’s actually working. The peel has 15 acids that resurface your skin without causing irritation. 9 of the 15 acids in the peel are resurfacing acids that work to renew the skin by removing dead skin cells (like breaking down the top layer of the skin) and the other 6 are soothing acids that rehydrate and replenish skin. Your skin does not actually peel or flake off – the goal is to smooth skin, lift away dark spots, and shrink lines, pores, and scars while leaving skin brighter and glowing. I skip toner at night because the peel gives the same effect and feeling. I’ve been using this 5 nights a week or so. #IfYouOnlyBuyOneThing

While peel sinks in for 3-4 minutes, floss and brush your teeth!

No. 1 Brightening Oil – This is another product I did not expect to like, but I bought because everyone raved about it. I put a few drops into my hand and press it into my skin rather than rub. It makes a little sound that reminds me of PopRocks that I like to think is the oil going into my pores! The goal: bright and radiant glow.

Countermatch Rescue Eye Cream – Not much to say here except I think it’s good to use an eye cream! I also think this is one of those “could definitely leave out” items. Since I bought the Countermatch Collection, it came with the bunch. And since I do have a lot of fine lines around my eyes, it’s probably good that I’m using it!

Countermatch Recovery Sleeping Cream – A nice, hydrating night cream to seal it all in. I love how this dispenses through a press lid (because it’s air tight and minimizes oxidation.)

No. 3 Balancing Facial Mask with Charcoal – I just added this recently and really liked it!! It smells great and dries nicely onto skin before it’s time to rinse off. I’m trying to use it once a week and I skip the Peel + Brightening Oil that night.

Body + Hair

Volume and Shape Shampoo and Conditioner – I’ve tried other “natural” hair care products before and been underwhelmed. First of all, I really need my shampoo to lather. I know that is not a critical part of cleaning hair, but it’s just something that I feel strongly about. Second, I prefer not to have a strong herbal scent. I’m happy to say that the Beautycounter shampoo and conditioner checks both boxes (in that 1) the shampoo lathers and 2) it smells nice – like sweet lemon!). I think this is the hardest product for me to spend money on because these are not cheap, but since I wash my hair less now, that does help them last longer. (Please Beautycounter can you come up with a safer dry shampoo that sprays!?)

Citrus Mimosa Hydrating Body Lotion – I use this sparingly on my legs and arms after a shower. A little goes a long way. The scent is nice and clean – not overpowering!

Countersun Mineral Sunscreen Mist – Admittedly I was the queen of spray sunscreens. I KNEW they were full of chemicals that weren’t good for me or the ocean, but I always thought a sun burn would be worse. The alternative, a lotion, always left my body white as a ghost and my hands greasy, plus it took so much longer to rub in. The Beautycounter mineral mist is a GAME CHANGER for sun protection because it delivers a fine mist that 1) you cannot see it and 2) it is not greasy!! While you do still have to rub it in, it’s actually really nice to be able to SEE the sunscreen and know where you have applied it. With the clear sprays you just have to aim and hope you cover your body somehow in that cloud. I will let you know how we like it once pool season is in full swing.

Countersun Sunscreen Stick – Great for kids’ faces and soccer games. Goes on clear! It’s also so small you can keep on in your purse or diaper bag and not feel like you’re lugging around weight.

Baby Gentle All-Over Wash – I bought this for Birch and it’s nice! I think both a pro and a con is that it really has no smell. While I do like my baby to smell like powder and lavender after a bath, I think unscented really is the best choice. And his natural smell is pretty darn sweet! I haven’t bought or tried the Kids’ line or the baby balm, but I know people have and like it a lot!

Before And After

A picture speaks 1,000 words. Here is an updated before and after! I tried to make the exact same face, but geez is that kind of hard to do! Anyways, I think my skin is clearly brighter, a bit more radiant, and more even. It absolutely feels better – softer, hydrated – too. Those forehead spots are going to take a while to go away, but I do think they look better!

Girl, That’s A Lot Of Products!

Yes, I know! Like I said, I go at things 1,000%. I knew these would cost me a lot, but I also know they will last a while. And like I said, I was ready to invest in my skin. If it looks worse a year from now, I can always go back to drugstore brands :mrgreen:

If you’ve been wanting to overhaul your products and are intimidated by the cost, there are a few ways you can lower the cost.
  1. Try the Best Of Bundle. For $89 you get four best sellers  – the Cleansing Balm, No. 1 Brightening Oil, Countermatch Adaptive Moisture Lotion, and No. 3 Balancing Charcoal Mask. It’s a great starter set to compliment any skincare routine.
  2. Shop collections. Both the Countermatch and Rejuvenating Collections offer savings if you buy them as a bundle as opposed to a la carte, so if you’re going to get most of the items, buy the collection.
  3. Become a Band of Beauty Member. This rewards program costs $29, but if you think you’re going to order multiple times you will earn that back in rewards and free shipping. And you get the Cleansing Balm as a welcome gift right now!
  4. Become a consultant! Consultants get 25% off all products, which is a killer discount if you’re wild about Beautycounter and using a whole line of skincare and makeup. Plus if you’re using that many products, you’re probably already telling all of your friends. Why not make a side hustle out of it!? The cost is $98 (and for that you get two gifts – a Travel Resurfacing Peel and a Color Intense Lipstick so it’s kind of a wash) and your only requirement to maintain consultant level is to reach $1,200 in sales in a six month period. Most of that can be your own orders, and just $200 needs to be friends/family. If you don’t reach $1,200, you simply become a Band Of Beauty member again. You don’t have to order a big starter kit. You don’t have to maintain any inventory. You don’t have to recruit a single person if you don’t want to. Of course if you want to earn money, make it a part or full time business, and/or recruit team members, you absolutely can. You will get out what you put in. If this interests you at ALL, shoot me and email to Katheats{at}gmail.com and we can chat.

More Things To Check Out:

Subscribe to My Beautycounter Newsletter

Beauty and The Birch (intro post)

Instagram Story Beautycounter Videos (see and hear me talk about ’em!)

Take this survey if you’d like to chat with me more about the products and which one is the best fit for your skin!

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Clean Eating Sweet Potato Smoothie Recipe

This sweet potato smoothie is a deliciously sweet and filling way to start your morning!

I’m a little ashamed to admit that I totally got out of the smoothie game for a while. It wasn’t for any reason in particular, I just stopped making them for quite a while and I’m wishing I hadn’t.

The truth is, smoothies are a great way to get nutrients packed into your morning as you’re running out the door. They are fast and easy to make and travel well, making them a great breakfast on the run.

A closeup shot of this clean eating sweet potato smoothie shows the golden colored drink in a clear, tall glass with a black and white stripped straw.

So recently I got back into that smoothie game, and my mornings are looking better and better each and every time! This sweet potato smoothie recipe is my latest adventure and boy was it tasty! It almost tasted like pie!

I have gotten a lot of questions about smoothies in my ten years of blogging here on the Gracious Pantry, so I thought I’d address some of them here.

ARE SMOOTHIES ACTUALLY HEALTHY?

Yes and no. Confuse? Don’t be. A healthy smoothie is all about what you put into it. If we’re talking about one of those “smoothies” from the mall that have a half a pound of sugar per cup, then no, they aren’t healthy. But if you’re making them at home with real food ingredients, then yes! They are wonderfully healthy! The one thing to keep in mind, however, is that when you break down the fibers in fruits and veggies, they get absorbed a lot better and quicker. “Better” is good, but “quicker” can be a problem for some people. Particularly anybody with blood sugar issues. So if that’s you, choose your smoothie ingredients wisely. Keep them filled with low glycemic index foods and you’ll be much better off.

IS IT BAD TO HAVE A SMOOTHIE EVERY DAY?

This all depends on two things. Who you talk to, and what you put in your smoothies. If you enjoy your smoothies in normal portions, and make sure they have clean and healthy ingredient sin them, then there is very little reason not to enjoy one each day. Again, some folks with certain medical issues may need to follow different advice. But all in all, a truly healthy smoothie is a wonderful way to get a bunch of nutrients into your day. After all, there are few other breakfasts that can pack in so many veggies in one serving!

This clean eating sweet potato smoothie sits on a dark wood table and has a black and white stripped straw in it, ready to drink!

WHAT’S THE BEST TIME TO DRINK A SMOOTHIE?

Normally, the morning is when you want to drink a smoothie for a couple of reasons:

  • The quick absorption of many nutrients can give you a much needed energy boost in the morning when you need it most.
  • If your smoothie is higher in natural sugars, it gives you the majority of the day to work them off when you’re out running around.

Timing a smoothie about an hour before a morning workout will also help power you through that workout. A smoothie made with protein powder enjoyed after a workout is also a great way to replenish yourself after a good gym routine.

HOW SOON SHOULD YOU DRINK A SMOOTHIE AFTER MAKING IT?

In general, any fresh juice or smoothie should be enjoyed directly after making it. But that’s not always realistic. So if you need to make a smoothie and store it in the fridge, here are some tips on timing.

  • Most smoothies will last for 12-24 hours, depending on what you put in them.
  • Most will need some re-blending if it’s more towards the end of that 24 hours.
  • In general, however, smoothies taste best within the first 12 hours. More than that and the flavor will suffer in most cases.

SWEET POTATO SMOOTHIE TIPS:

  • If you never feel full after a smoothie, try blending in some raw oats. You’ll be full for hours! (This is better done in a high-speed blender for texture)
  • To thicken this smoothie, blend in ice or frozen banana.
  • To thin out this smoothie, simply add more almond milk.
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CLEAN EATING SWEET POTATO SMOOTHIE RECIPE:

Clean Eating Sweet Potato Smoothie

A deliciously nutritious start to your morning!

  • 1 1/2 cups unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 cup mashed sweet potato
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
  1. Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.

  2. Pour into a glass and enjoy!

Please note that the nutrition data given here is a ballpark figure. Exact data is not possible.

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