Alaffia Everyday Coconut Body Lotion

You all know that I love to make my own body lotion from coconut oil.  However, every so often I like to get something from the store and splurge.  Most of the lotions at the store are full of nasty parabens and sulfates and chemicals, so I always go straight for the organic/natural section at Target.  I’m used to seeing the usual brands there, but a new bottle caught my eye a few days ago – Alaffia Everyday Coconut lotion.  Not going to lie, I was super excited because it was cheaper than the other brands, plus I love coconut, so I decided to give it a try.

After my shower, I tried the new lotion out.  First off, the smell is amazing.  Also, the lotion soaked in super fast without a greasy feeling, which I love.  My skin felt hydrated without being overloaded.

I read some really interesting facts about the Alaffia company on the lotion bottle, so of course I decided to dig deeper.  I found that Alaffia is an amazing company.  They source their fair trade ingredients from West Africa, and advocate for fair wages and gender equality.  The company donates bicycles to communities, provides maternal health, supports education, and fights deforestation in West Africa.  The company is a superhero!

I am so happy to support this company with my purchase.  The lotion is also available at Amazon.

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Chocolate Avocado Cookies

I am an avocado convert. When I was growing up in the snowy Midwest, avocados were not on the menu. In fact, the first time I had one, I am pretty sure I spit it out. I was sure the texture meant it was rotten. Over the last ten years, I’ve grown to love the flavor and versatility of the avocado. However, even I was skeptical that they would be good in dessert.

A Chocolate Avocado Cookie recipe came into my inbox this weekend, and I had to give it a try. This is courtesy of the blog, Laurenda Marie.

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I doubled the blog recipe, because with two kids in the house, ten cookies would not last long!

2 avocados, peeled and pit removed
1 cup organic sugar
2 organic eggs
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup dark chocolate chips
2 T water
1 tsp baking soda

Using a hand mixer, blend the avocados and sugar in a large bowl. Add the eggs and blend. Add the cocoa and chips, mix some more. Dissolve the soda into the water, stir, then mix well into the chocolate batter.

Spoon in dollops onto parchment paper on a cookie sheet, and bake at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes. Let set until cool, as these are very soft cookies. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator or freezer.

These are very chocolatey, almost like a soft brownie. They are delicious – rave reviews from the kids. I love that they don’t use butter or flour, and instead get rich flavor from one of my favorite foods!

C9 Printed Legging Review

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It’s been a while since I’ve bought new leggings – I bought a few pairs two years ago and have worn them nonstop ever since.  This winter I decided to treat myself and picked up several different brands and styles.  You already read my review of the new GapFit leggings, which were cute but lacked what I wanted in performance. (side note: the people at the Gap were FABULOUS and let me return those leggings even though they had been worn.  Love.)

I broke out my new pair of C9 leggings this weekend and gave them a few workouts.  I was expecting decent performance and okay fit, as I have a pair of C9 capris from a few years back.  My older pair gets the job done, but nothing to write home about . . .

My mind was blown.  C9 has upped their game, for sure.  The first thing I noticed was how soft these leggings felt when I put them on.  Also, no shine, which I love.  I took them through a PiYo workout, and didn’t have to adjust them a single time.  Perfect.  I wore them another day for a run, and again, super happy.  The weight is perfect – just warm enough for a winter workout, but not so heavy that they made me sweat unnecessarily.

I wore the leggings out for errands, and got several compliments on them.  So, they look great, too.  Here’s the best part:  I paid full price ($28) for them, which is such a deal considering that my other faves cost close to $100 a pair.  But, get this – now they are on clearance for less than $20!  (!!!!)

Verdict:  C9 leggings are awesome.  Go get a pair, especially at the clearance price!

Stretch your Comfort Zone!

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(See the leg warmers?!)

Today is a reminder to streeeeeetch and try something new. Nothing kills great fitness and health resolutions like getting stuck in a rut. Tired of running? Try PiYo or Turbo or Insanity or another class to get your heart pumping. Tired of salads for lunch? Break out the hummus or bone broth!

Our fitness continues to evolve so long as we keep stretching ourselves. If your mind is bored with your routine, then so is your body. Plus, you are much more likely to keep going with your fitness journey if you are engaged and excited. There are too many awesome ways to move your body – there is no reason to be bored.

So, do what you love! If you don’t love what you are doing, TRY SOMETHING NEW!!!! I l promise it is worth it!

Obsessed with leg warmers !

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I am obsessed with leg warmers !!! I bought a grey pair two years ago and it has been downhill since. If you have not picked up a pair, now is the time! Here is why they are totally amazing:

1. Perfect for post-morning workouts. I get my sweat on before my kids get up, but those little buggers are on the move once they hear my burr grinder going. I usually don’t have time to change until they are on the bus, and my legs get cold in the meantime. Leg warmers are sweaters for your legs, seriously! I pull on a pair and life is cozy.

2. They look amazing under boots. Leggings and tights with boots are my thing. But…it can be a little cold. Leg Warmers inside my boots make everything toasty, plus they look great. They work with everything!

3. They are so.so.so. comfortable.

I have lots of different styles and colors. Target has ’em for $10, which is hard to beat!

Seizing the Day

It is so easy to get bogged down in the little things in life – the laundry, the dishes, the dust bunnies under the furniture, why my son’s shoes are in the middle of the kitchen floor AGAIN, trips to the grocery . . . but those aren’t the things that matter.

My last remaining grandparent died last winter.  It was sad, but she was 96 years old and tired.  We celebrated her life and shared stories, and it was bittersweet time spent with family  members that I see rarely.  A sad, sweet celebration.

After that funeral, I thought that we would get a pass for a while – that death would leave us alone for a while.  My parents are in their early sixties, and overall family health is pretty good.  That’s how it works, right – just when you let your guard down and relax . . . life happens.

We received word a few weeks ago that one of my favorite aunts had gone to the hospital because she wasn’t feeling well.  The doctors found cancer in her bones, her liver, her lungs, and her brain.  They give her three months to live, but it is looking more and more like she has maybe weeks.  MAYBE.

My aunt lives far away, and I have watched as my aunts and uncles have rallied, flying in to help care for her and her daughter, and to bathe them in as much love and care as they can.  I have watched as my aunt scrambles to plan for her daughter, who is far too young to lose her mother (although, really, are we ever “old enough” for that?).

For me, time has SLOWED down.  The everyday things that seemed so pressing suddenly seem minor.  I am finding myself ignoring overflowing laundry hampers so I can snuggle my little girl for another fifteen minutes, read another book, sing songs, anything to be close.  My husband, who sometimes gets the short end of my attention, has been a focus. I have been trying to really connect with and talk to him on a really deep level.  Meaningful conversation is hard when you both work and have two kids to care for.

These things are the important things.  If, heaven forbid, something should happen to me, I don’t want my kids to remember that I was always really good about doing the laundry, or emptying the dishwasher, or mopping the floor.  I want them to remember how I smelled their hair when we snuggled, and how we sat in sunbeams watching dust fly around in the air (my lack of cleaning pays off here).  I want my husband to remember how we talked about our plans, and our kids, and the things we love in our life.

Remember, friends.  Our time on this earth is just a flash.  Slow down, enjoy your people, and be present.  Our busy work can wait – those we love can’t.

GapFit gFast leggings

I was so excited when I saw that Gap was carrying a fitness line! Athleta and Gap are sister companies, and I was sure that meant great things for GapFit. I snatched up these beauties during a pre-Christmas sale and have worn them several times since…here is my review.

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Look: super cute. They fit well in all the right places, and look great.

Price: moderate. You can get cute print leggings from C9 for less, but these are still less than lulu, Athleta or Lucy.

Performance: so/so. I wore these pants for a variety of activities – running, yoga, PiYo, shopping, playing with kids. I found myself constantly having to hitch them up in the back, which is SO annoying when you are trying to move your body. You don’t want to be worrying about your rear on display in down dog, you know? According to the item description, these babies are “high rise”. I disagree…they felt low rise across the board.

Verdict: cute pants, but the performance was lacking.

GapFit gFast marble print leggings, on sale for $45