Monday, April 9, 2012

My April Birchbox 2012

My Birchbox came in today and I cannot be more excited! I went on YouTube and saw that a lot of the people who got the same items as me were not happy at all...but I'm SUPER ecstatic! I know this isn't my regular type of blog post but I wanted to share all the products and my thoughts about each one (:

This month I got 5 products in my box, they were:
~J.R. Watkins | Hand and Cuticle Salve
~willa | Gentle Cleansing Lavender Facial Towelettes
~Belvin by Zoya | TRUE Spring Collection
~Wonderstruck by Taylor Swift
~dropps | Laundry Detergent

*This sample size brings 0.25 oz (7g) | The full size is 2.1 oz (59g) and is $7.99

I think I am most excited about the J.R. Watkins hand and cuticle salve more than anything in this box! I've used several products by this brand in the past and I have loved each one of them. I do not have allergic reactions to this brand which is a definite plus since I am allergic to practically anything. When I opened and tried the hand and cuticle salve for the first time I was surprised at how creamy and luxurious it felt. It left my cuticles feeling very very soft and moisturized! 

Here's what Birchbox said about the J.R. Watkins in this months card: "Slather on this creamy balm pre-manicure. It's full of natural moisturizers to keep your hands and cuticles super soft."

*This sample size brings 10 towelettes | The full size brings 30 towelettes and is $7.00

Just this morning I was telling myself that I needed to get facial towelettes for those days that I don't feel like removing my eye makeup. It's not as if I even wear a lot of eye makeup but I like to remove the eyeliner before going to sleep. So I couldn't believe it when I opened my box and found these towelettes inside!! :D Very excited to try these out! I will probably update this post saying how my skin reacted to it(:

Update April 11: Three words: I love these! They are gentle on my skin yet they remove ALL of my eye makeup. I cannot say whether or not they remove foundation/concealer/powder effectively because I do not that wear that. But for my eyes they are great, they did not irritate them as most moist towelettes I have tried do, such as Neutrogena, MAC, Clean & Clear, E.L.F., and Up & Up (by Target)...these are a few that I've tried and my eyes get very red, itchy, and swell up; they will then stay irritated and sensitive for about 2 days, I have to be VERY careful with what I purchase. So you can see why I'm so happen with these towelettes :D
The scent of the willa towelettes is lavender and smell amazing.
Here's what Birchbox said about the willa towelettes in this months card: "There's no need to cozy up to your sink - wipe away the day's debris with these aloe and lavender-infused wipes."

*This sample size brings 0.25 oz | The full size is 0.5 fl oz (15 ml) and is $8.00

When Zoya came out with their TRUE spring collection I loved all the colors so much I ended up purchasing the entire collection (6 colors in total). But for some reason Belvin is my favorite. Out of all the colors in the collection, that is the one I've worn the most. So imagine how excited I was when I saw they sent me my favorite color!! :D Yes I now have two polishes of the same color, but I know I'm going to use it a lot. What I will probably do is use this months baby Belvin more than my full size so I can run out of the baby first (;
Here's what Birchbox said about the Zoya TRUE Spring Collection in this months card:  "Lighten up for spring with this fresh shade. The non-toxic formula goes on opaque and lasts 50% longer than traditional polishes."

*This sample size brings 0.04 fl oz (1.2 ml) | The full sizes are: 1.7 oz for $49.50; 3.4 oz for $59.50

I had heard about Wonderstruck by Taylor Swift but never had the chance to smell it and see if I liked it. Now this month, thanks to Birchbox, I was able to and I must say I'm in love! This scent is so springlike, beautiful, and soft. It's definitely something I can wear every day and it is not ridiculously expensive at $49.50-$59.50, I tend to have expensive taste when it comes to scents so this is cheap for me (; I will definitely purchase this eventually!
Update: I purchase the full size perfume in May 2012.
Here's what Birchbox said about Wonderstruck by Taylor Swift in this months card: "The pop-country songstress' scent is as catchy as her lyrics. We think it's worthy of a standing gig on our vanity."

*This sample size brings 2 packets | The full size brings 20 packets and is $6.00

And finally Dropps Laundry Detergent, which I can actually say I'm excited to use. Like I said before, I tend to have allergic reactions to practically anything and that includes detergents as well as fabric softeners. My skin is very delicate so I'm always on the search for new samples to try out. This particular pack brings two packets that you just throw into your washer and walk away, I like it already (;
Here's what Birchbox said about the droops laundry detergent in this months card: "Lighten your laundry day load with these single-use, eco-friendly detergent packs. We love their convenience factor and adorable design."

And that is all (: Thank you for reading and have a beautiful day <3

FTC: I am not affiliated with Birchbox. I purchased this with my own $10.

My yummiest meal yet :D

"We are living in a world today where lemonade is made from artificial flavors and furniture polish is made from real lemons."  ~Alfred E. Newman

This is by far the best Easter I have had ^_^ I spent the entire day in the kitchen (about 4 hours) and chit chatting with my family. I wanted to have a "summer" themed easter dinner, you know the burgers, corn on cob, and fries. But I didn't want to buy everything made and highly processed so I'll tell you a little bit about all the food I made (;

Starting with the burgers. The meat I purchase isn't your everyday factory produced and packed meat. As you guys know I live in Florida, and there's a Whole Foods in my area. Well this Whole Foods carries a meat produced by a farmer in Georgia who has an animal welfare number of 4! Click to learn about the numbers (: This means that the cattle he raises to slaughter and sell to the public eat grass, they do not live in the disgusting conditions slaughterhouse cattle live in, they are able to walk around, and do not live in cages or crates. Due to a personal health condition I have, my doctor recommended that I eat red meat once a week or at least once every 2 weeks. However, I never ate it because it disgusted me, I did not know where that meat came from, how the cattle was treated, or in what conditions it lived. Now back to the farmer, while regular slaughter houses kill 400 cattle an hour, this farm kills 4 cattle an hour. These cattle are not hung by a conveyor belt and taken around the slaughterhouse to "increase productivity" by having people rip it apart faster than the eye can see; they are slaughtered the same way they used to be before these factories took over and completely changed the way meat is produced: one by one. This really alters the taste of the beef, and how it looks raw. It does not come all bloody and squishy looking at all! :D Now back to my food, I tasted a [cooked] sample of that meat at Whole Foods about 2 weeks ago and it was unlike anything I've ever had! This is my second week making a different dish out of it and I have not gotten a single tummy ache like I used to with other meats. My body would just reject them and it was not a nice experience. Oh and I forgot to mention that its 90% lean, 10% fat with 20 calories per serving and a low percentage of cholesterol (I think 5%...I can't remember).

How did I make these yummy burgers? Really simple:

Click for the original recipe (:
1 1/2 pounds of beef ($10.43 the Friday before Easter)
3/4 teaspoon Organic pepper ($1.79 on sale)
3/4 teaspoon Sea Salt (we had some at home)
3/4 cup of dry bread crumbs ($2.19)
1 egg

I added all the ingredients to the beef about 1 hour before cooking and I let it sit in the fridge so it could absorb the flavor. Then I made 6 equally sized burgers and cooked them on the stovetop because I don't have a grill to make them outside....they still came out delicious(; The hamburger bread I used was one that came frozen, it was called "Sprouted Wheat *something*" I don't remember the name but it brought 6 buns, and they were soooooo good :O ($3.49 for 6)

Then came my sweet potato fries. I had NEVER made homemade sweet potato fries from actual sweet potatoes! As opposed to the meat, I have no idea where my sweet potatoes are from, I know it said it on the label at Whole Foods but I can't remember XD I went online ( and found a simple recipe for "Baked Sweet Potato Sticks," but I altered the recipe a bit:

Click for the original recipe(:
I used 4 organic sweet potatoes rather than 8: $2.29 per pound, 3 pounds, $6.87 total
2 tablespoons of olive oil (we had at some)
1/2 teaspoon of paprika for every 1 tablespoon of olive oil (we had at home)

I added the olive oil and paprika, threw in the sweet potatoes after I cut them up, and mixed them in the bowl with washed hands. It took 2 cookie sheets to fit all the potato fries, 40 minutes in the oven, and after I served them there were no leftovers (;

And finally corn on the cob. BJ's Wholesale now has a program called the Farm to Club Program, where they sell locally grown produce to the public. When I saw this at the store I even tweeted a picture (;

My corn came from Plant City, Florida, and it was SO different from any other corn I've had from other stores. I'm not sure if they used chemicals to grow it but oh goodness it was delicious (; Here's what I did:

I used 6 corn on the cobs ($3.49)
6 cloves of organic garlic (we had at home)
A pinch of sea salt

I cut the corns in half giving me a total of 12 little corns. I put them in water, boiled the water, and let them cook for 20-25 minutes in the garlic. It was delicious, only 2 pieces were left ^_^

So what was the grand total for this home cooked meal? Is it really expensive to eat healthy as most people think? Let's do math:

Natural beef: $10.43
Dry Bread crumbs: $2.19
Organic pepper: $1.79
Hamburger buns: $3.49
Organic sweet potatoes: $6.87
Locally grown corn: $3.49

A total of: $28.26 for 6 people, that's $4.71 per person, try going to a restaurant or cheap fast food and fill up 6 hungry tummies with food that's good for their bodies and will not make them sick for $28.26 (;

And that was my meal, I still cannot believe it was $4.71 per person! I feel so accomplished and happy that I was able to make this food and that they actually enjoyed it. Little by little my parents are changing their eating habits as well and they're bodies are different, they have more energy, and they want to learn more about these foods. They see the change in me and how great I feel, how I don't need medicines anymore, and they want to be that way too! I still have a lot more to learn, but I will share every step of the way with you, and you can teach me what you know. Never stop learning (:

Thank you for reading! ^_^

Stay healthy <3

Saturday, April 7, 2012

The "I'm not hungry" breakfast drink

This morning I did not feel like eating anything but my tummy was roaring at me! Since that "girl time" is coming, I begin to lose my appetite, especially in the morning, and by not having breakfast I get cravings after 11am. Since I've been doing great for almost 2 weeks now, I don't want my time of the month to throw me back to bad eating habits, especially NOT having breakfast, which I did very often.

I'm a huge fan of having fruit and oatmeal for breakfast, I absolutely LOVE it! But today I did not feel like eating at all, so I got all the fruits and fiber I wanted to eat and made them into a drink ^_^ Just like I did a couple of blogposts ago with the strawberry banana...but this one is SO much better (;

Here's what I had:

1 banana
7 strawberries
6 blackberries
15 blueberries
1 teaspoon of Chia Seeds

1. I sliced the banana and I cut the strawberries in half.
2. Put all the fruits in the blender and filled it with water until the fruits were covered.
3. I pushed these buttons on the blender: "Blend" "Mix" and "Puree"
4. Once it was liquified, I added 1 teaspoon of Chia Seeds (Everything is still in the blender). I only added 1 teaspoon because it's my first time having it and I want to see how my body reacts to it.
5. I blended the Chia Seeds in the blender.
6. I served myself a nice tall glass, and wait about 8-10 minutes for the Chia Seeds to become softer in the drink.
7. Add an ice cube or two, and drink your breakfast ^_^

I know this is very similar to my last smoothie but I still wanted to share it with you because it's my official favorite (: Thank you for reading and have a beautiful happy day! 

Stay healthy <3

Thursday, April 5, 2012

100% Natural Strawberry Banana Juice!

This morning I didn't really have an appetite so I decided to make myself a juice. It came out so delicious I HAD to share it with you ^_^ This is what I used:

~My ancient blender, I grew up with him ^_^
~1 Banana
~About 12 strawberries
~Water (Enough to cover the fruits in the blender)

I blended it all together and bam a delicious natural juice that opened up my appetite so I had a bowl of oatmeal and oat bran (; You can also add different berries for a stronger taste! Try it and tweet me telling me "Aily I love it!" or "OMG WTF is this? Do you have taste buds?" Hehe ^_~

Thanks for reading <3

Stay healthy ^_^

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Naturally Healthy: Transitioning from processed to natural foods

I began my journey to a healthier lifestyle August 2011. As many probably already know, the "American diet"consists of many fatty processed foods, refined sugars, and everything is cheap and easily available. There's a fast food on every street in every corner and it's very difficult to not eat it. So transitioning from eating that type of food my entire life, to eating naturally grown organic and healthy foods has been a very difficult but successful journey. My excuse, like a lot of people was: "Eating organic and healthy is too expensive." But what I did not realize is that what I was doing to my body was more expensive than just eating healthy foods. At the age of 23 I already had to take acid reflex medication, vitamin supplements, pain killers for the killer migraines, and 6 out of 7 days a weeks I'd always chew 2 tums a day because of the pain I would get in my stomach. I was prepping myself for a very bad future. And even after all of that, I was reluctant to believe that eating healthy was the only way for me to get better. The day in August when I stepped on the scale and saw the number 145 pounds, I knew it was time to do something. I had "dieted" before in my life but always went back to my bad eating habits. So this time around I knew I wanted to make life long changes, this meant totally changing my eating habits. How did I do it? Keep reading, my long story continues.

In August 2011, I started incorporating 1 fruit into every meal, 3 fruits a day in total. I know that's not much, but it was a start. I did that for 3 weeks until eating 1 fruit in every meal came naturally to me. Then came the difficult part: vegetables. The only way I liked veggies was cooked and with a lot of butter, which is a heart attack ready to happen! So that was when my journey to eating raw vegetables began. Throughout October 2011 to December 2011, I fluctuated back and forth between eating raw carrots, green peppers, spinach, etc...yes you got it right, it took me 3 months to adapt to the taste and texture of these delicious vegetables. But even then, I would still eat frozen and processed foods. Then January 2012 rolls around, I'm not one for new years resolutions so I just continued my journey as I had before. And little by little I found myself drifting away from unhealthy and processed foods, but most importantly I hadn't gone back to eating only processed and artificially refined foods.

Today is April 4, 2012, and I am proud to say that I have not eaten a sugary fatty processed food in exactly 1 week and 2 days. After trying to adapt to eating these different foods, I knew on March 26, 2012 that I was ready to do this long term. Yes it took me 8 months to completely quit and not desire these processed foods, but I have learned so much and I am so proud of myself!

You're probably wondering why I didn't quit it from one day to another, this is simple, you can't run unless you can walk. It would have been unrealistic of me to believe that I could completely change my eating habits in a day. I was very uneducated when it came to food. I did not know what fruits or vegetable were high in fiber, what vitamins they contained, how each made me feel, or the benefits of eating all of them. When I say the word journey, I literally mean an 8 month journey to where I am now(:

Also, I went from drink 8-10 cups of coffee a day, to drinking less than 8 fl oz of coffee a day. Now when I pour my coffee in the morning, I usually drink about 75% of that 1 cup (: That on its own took me only 1 week. How? Well, by eating fruits, vegetables, beans, nuts, etc, I just didn't need the caffeine. My energy comes naturally, I don't get sleepy throughout the day, and I sleep like a baby now :D If I feel I need a boost of caffeine, I will have Black Tea with caffeine to satisfy that.

Last Friday, March 30, I began my exercise journey. I know this one will take a while, but I also know that I can do it. Because having accomplished completely eliminating these addictive unhealthy foods from my life gives me the encouragement I need to do anything I want to do (: I went on a 20 minute light jog and that made me realize how badly in shape I am. Yes, I did incorporate exercises into my life when I began back in August 2011, but not as much or close to what I am doing now. Most of my toning workouts I get from YouTube, which is free and easily accessible, so if you go into my YouTube channel (ailyxxxfashion) I have favorites tons of the ones I do repeatedly (: My goal is to burn off all the fat I have in my bum, things, hips, arms, and tummy.

My next journey is going to be juicing. There are so many vegetables that I just cannot eat because its too much to eat in one day! So recently I've been looking at juicing recipes and success stories, and it's definitely something I want to incorporate into my diet as well as my families diet (: We already chose one but have not purchased it yet (;

Oh! I almost forgot to tell you about where I stand when it comes to all the stomach problems and migraines I was having in the the past week or so, I have not had a single stomach ache or migraine(: I have not had to purchase expensive medication, also I haven't had to purchase any supplements because I'm getting my vitamins and minerals naturally from the source. Words cannot express how amazing I feel and the energy I have! But now I must go and continue my journey(: Thank you for reading <3