Growing up in Southern California really ruined me for Mexican food. New York has a handful of restaurants that have game, but if you crave the consistent taste and authenticity of real California Mexican cuisine, you might be better off cooking at home. Even if you want the convenience of using a few packaged ingredients, it’s important to have a fresh-tasting salsa on hand, and what I call ‘restaurant style’ chips that are sturdy enough to stand up to the thickest guacamole. The problem is, which brands of chips and salsa taste the best? Obviously, other non-native New Yorkers have considered this situation, because fellow East Village resident Matt Bennett has created Dreams Aren’t This Good (DATG); a line of unique salsas and authentic tortilla chips that blows away everything else on the supermarket shelf. Seriously, this brand is a game changer.
Sweet Dreams Are Made of This Salsa
Inspired by and infused with the sights and sounds of New York City, one-of-a-kind DATG salsa flavors include The Original (which I received for review), The Fighter (garlic cilantro), Just Dance (jalapeno pineapple), Now or Never (avocado pepper), and Girls Girls Girls (blueberry coconut). All salsas and tortilla chips are gluten free, vegan and contain no preservatives.
DATG’s origin story goes back to Matt’s upbringing in Southeast Texas and his tenure as a student at Louisiana State University (LSU). “At school, I started making salsa by mixing Mexican style with a little Cajun spice,” Matt remembers. “As I experimented with different ingredients and flavors, the salsa was always a huge hit with everyone, and I knew I was on to something.”
You may not be aware that September is World Candle Month; an annual opportunity to recognize the amazing candle, its impact throughout history, and the role candles play in our daily lives. This year’s theme is Illuminate Your Life, and is dedicated to the ways candles light up our world and fragrance our homes. Since the earliest days of tallow-based candles to the tens of thousands of shapes, sizes, and fragrances available today, candles have been a source of more than just light. They have provided inspiration, relaxation, and calming sensations that are as welcome today as they have been throughout history.
This year’s World Candle Month shines a light on how much candles contribute to our health and mental well-being, especially during these unbelievably stressful times. The Spa Girl Life, a newly-launched luxury and vegan candle brand, is the perfect solution for anyone looking to unwind and de-stress this fall. For their warmth, glow, fragrance and meditation-enhancing qualities, candles have been part of my daily life for as long as I can remember, so I was overjoyed to recently receive one of The Spa Girl Life’s candles to review for the blog.
The Spa Girl Life offers eight different candle fragrance and stone pairings that allow you to personalize a mind-body wellness experience. Like a Mini First Aid Kit For The Soul, these candle / crystal pairings are a fun, useful, and practical way to make some quiet time for yourself amid the chaos of the day. You don’t need to have a meditation practice in place to use them; just light your candle, sit back, and allow some quiet time and space for yourself. We can all benefit from being calm and centered, and when you can find that within yourself, you will know a sense of peace like no other.
As a self-professed low-maintenance babe, who is currently working from home, I can’t say I miss my former weekday-morning routine of applying make up to my face before heading out to the office. One thing I do miss though is rocking my favorite hot pink lipstick that’s been my style signature since, well, forever. I like to keep my lips soft, but I’ve found that brightly-colored lipstick stains the masks that we all need to wear when leaving the house. Since no one can see my mouth anyway, I’ve switched to using colorless lip balms to keep my lips healthy and my masks stain-free. It’s perfect timing then that I was recently offered the opportunity to review a line of natural lip balms called Mongo Kiss from Eco Lips, which is the original organic lip balm.
So. Many. Flavors.
Not only was Eco Lips the first organic lip balm on the market, they’re also a company with a conscience. All of their ingredients are sustainably and ethically obtained from trusted sources around the globe. Their products are Fair Trade Certified™, Non-GMO Project Verified, Leaping Bunny Certified, and gluten-free. Key ingredients in the Mongo Kiss lips balms are organic Mongongo oil from Africa (which also gives the product its memorable name), and organic Fair Trade Certified cocoa butter, to create ultra-hydrating balm that provides essential nutrients for your lips.
Mmm . . . Banana
Healthy, nourished lips are just a swipe away. Mongongo oil is high in polyunsaturated fatty acids, which are known to remain on the skin longer than saturated fatty acids (like coconut oil) or monounsaturated oils (like jojoba oil), so you know your lips are protected all day. The selection of natural, fruity flavors is also very appealing. My favorite, Mongo Kiss banana, smells and tastes like the sweet, ripe fruit, with hints of caramel, cinnamon and dark rum. It’s a blissfully tropical treat for your lips!
With the upcoming fall and winter weather, which can be harsh on the skin, you may also want to add a lip scrub to your self-care routine. Why use a lip scrub, you may ask? Because once your lips become chapped, lip balm will not help to remedy the problem unless you first gently exfoliate them. The purpose of using a lip scrub is to remove dead skin cells that tend to dull the natural glow of the lips. Eco Lips sent me this Lipscrub stick that tastes and smells like brown sugar — because there’s brown sugar in it! The sugar gently buffs away flaky, dry skin while organic coconut oil, olive oil and jojoba moisturize and protect. All you have to do to keep your lips smooth and kissably soft is apply and rub gently, then wipe, or lick, it off. Yummy. Eco Lips Lip Scrubs are available in assorted flavors and come in jars as well as convenient, travel-ready sticks. Find out more about them at This Link.
Eco Lips products are sold in most Whole Foods and other select stores, and you can find out where to purchase them in your neighborhood by visiting This Link. You can also shop for Mongo Kiss and otherEco Lips products online Here. Remember that the Holiday Season is coming up fast and these balms make great stocking stuffers!
In this time of social distancing, certain types of self-care and healthcare — yoga, exercise classes, tele-health visits — can still be experienced successfully through various online platforms. But for those who suffer with ailments that rely on hands-on practices such as massage, physical therapy, and chiropractic care to bring about healing, complete pain relief can remain elusive. Over-the-counter analgesics often don’t cut it, so it’s not surprising that topical CBD products promoting pain relief are more popular — and more easily accessible — than ever.
Working at a computer 8 hours a day doesn’t do your body any favors. Almost daily, I’m distracted from my work by agonizing muscle pain, making it hard to concentrate on anything other than finding relief. As part of an ongoing series highlighting various CBD products available from online store Pure CBD Vapors, this review will focus on three CBD-infused products that specifically offer topical pain relief.
These products are:
CBD For The People Unrefined Salve
CBD For Life Roll-on
CBD For Life Rub
For consistency and ease of assessment, I used the Lemongrass scent/essence of each product, and treated my neck, shoulders, and / or jawline (areas where I experience chronic pain due to mild arthritis and TMJ) with a different product each day, over the course of about a week. Here are my findings.
Do you like yogurt? I sure do. As food trends adapt to changing diets, I’ve sampled and reviewed a variety of delicious non-dairy yogurts. While these yogurts are ideal for fans who are lactose intolerant, and also those who follow a vegan diet, the bottom line is that it has to taste great. With nut-derived milks becoming increasingly popular, it makes sense that an almond milk-based yogurt would hit the market. If you’re curious about non-dairy yogurt alternatives, let me introduce you to AYO, a delicious and healthy yogurt made with organic almond milk.
AYO was created by the Billings family, who have been growing almonds on their farm, based in California’s sunny San Joaquin Valley, for four generations. The Billings‘ are forward-thinking farmers who are passionate about introducing better-for-you foods with clear traceability, vertical integration and sustainable practices. Their commitment to innovation, and a farm-to-spoon philosophy, created AYO yogurt. From their almond orchards where everything starts, to picking, then churning, blending with organic fruits or organic vanilla, and culturing the yogurt — the result is luscious, probiotic-rich yogurts that taste fantastic.
Since I’ve been working from home, yogurt has been one of my go-to snacks, so I was thrilled to receive samples of all four flavors (Strawberry, Peach, Blueberry, and Vanilla) of AYO yogurt to enjoy. Each variety has only 150 or 160 calories per 5.3 ounce cup, so you can stay on your diet as well!
When I opened my first cup, what I noticed right away about this yogurt is its very smooth, almost drinkable consistency. No stirring is needed because the fruit is thoroughly blended with the yogurt, to guarantee that the first spoonful tastes as sweet and tangy as the last.
Peaches are one of my favorite fruits, so I enjoyed this flavor every much. You can see little bits of peach on my spoon. Yummy.
The Vanilla AYO is just sweet enough, but also has the distinctive tangy flavor that tells you that you are eating real yogurt.
You can snack and work at the same time!
When you peel back the lid of the Blueberry AYO Almond Milk Yogurt, guess what you smell? Blueberries.
AYO would be perfect as an ingredient in variety of recipes for healthy shakes and desserts, but today I’m going share with you the most delicious Granola Yogurt Breakfast Popsicle recipe, which they call Gro-Yo Pops. The whole family will love these, as they are great for the summer months and make an easy, nutritious breakfast!
Gro-Yo Pops (Dairy-free, Plant-based, Farm to Freezer Popsicles)
Stir yogurt, berries, 2 teaspoons coconut oil and almond extract together in a medium bowl. Divide among six 3-ounce popsicle molds. Stir coconut flakes, and ground almonds and the remaining 2 teaspoons of coconut oil together in a small bowl. Top each popsicle with 1 tablespoon of the coconut almond mixture. Insert popsicle sticks and freeze overnight.
Visit This Link to learn more, to find a store near you that sells AYO, and to get money saving coupons to use towards your purchase!
After spending four months in the house, you may agree that the current quarantine situation has not been kind to your waistline. Most of us are way less physically active these days, and it’s so easy to reach for the comfort of favorite foods in times of stress. As an admitted foodie, I can especially relate to the temptation to over-snack while working from home. As we all attempt to reacquaint ourselves with self-control, it’s vital to have snacks and sweet treats on hand that you can indulge in while staying on your diet — and if that can include tempting chocolates, how can it be wrong? Please allow me to introduce you to a brand of high-quality chocolate called Red that is reduced calorie, with no added sugar, and insanely delicious. Yes, it exists.
All Pleasure, No Guilt is the promise of Red Chocolate, created by Swiss-owned Chocolette Confectionary. Red is sweetened exclusively with zero-calorie, plant-based Stevia and naturally-occurring melon sugars, giving it an amazing taste, with a reduced amount of fat. Crazy, but true.
Thanks to the absence of processed sugar, Red’s dark chocolate varieties contain up to 50% fewer calories, while Red’s milk chocolate bars’ calorie count is reduced by up to 35%. This mean that the dark chocolate is KETO-friendly (with only 4 net carbs) and both are compatible with Weight Watchers as well! Guilt-free snacking never tasted so sinful. I recently received a selection Red Chocolate bars to review for the blog, and I am not fronting when I tell you that I am personally loving this chocolate. Here’s what arrived in our shipment!
Red Dark Chocolate infused with Orange and Almond. Oh, baby.
Red Milk Chocolate. Smooth.
An assortment of Red Chocolate Grab ‘N’ Go Bars that will set you back just 80 or 100 calories per bar! We received three of the four available varieties, including dark chocolate, milk chocolate, and milk chocolate with hazelnuts and macadamia.
In these admittedly stressful times, self care is vital. Despite many stores being closed, anyone whose lifestyle incorporates the beneficial effects of CBD can find a variety of related health and beauty products available with just an internet connection and a credit card — and that’s great news. Word-of-mouth and online reviews are excellent resources for researching brands and comparing prices, but wouldn’t you love to find an online retailer that did all the footwork for you, vetting a wide range of CDB-infused product brands, and then gathering everything together in a single shopping destination? Well, guess what: that retailer is Pure CBD Vapors. Established in 2014, CBD Pure Vapors stands by the promise that every single product available on their site has been Lab tested for CBD purity meeting their ‘gold’ standards. This combination of quality-tested inventory and top-shelf customer service means that CBD Pure Vapors can be your one-stop-shop. Finally, something is easy.
CBD Pure Vapors recently sent us a box of assorted CBD-infused personal care products to review for Worleygig.com and, rather than overwhelm you by covering multiple items in one post, we’ll be reviewing different products in a series of features. This week, we’ll take a look at one of the ultimate items for pampering yourself: the Bath Bomb. Like an oasis in your tub, CBD bath bombs offer the ultimate in skin care, relaxation, and tranquility. CBD Pure Vapors sent us two bath bombs from the CBD for Life brand.
CBD for Life bath bombs come in four unique scents: Eucalyptus and Peppermint, Fresh Bamboo (truly unique!), and the two scents we received, Pink Salt and Citrus, and Lemongrass Kiwi. Each mineral-rich bath bomb blends natural salts, organic essential oils, and 35mg of CBD extract from organically grown hemp to soothe sore muscles and moisturize the skin. All you have to do to enjoy the bath bomb experience is fill your tub with warm water, drop in the bath bomb and enjoy! Since my bathroom has a shower only and no tub, we passed the bombs along to our associate Lauren, a CBD expert, to enjoy. Her comments follow.
It’s The Bomb!
“The effects of using the Lemongrass Kiwi bomb were calming in both mind and body,” Lauren offered. “The coconut oil blended with the kiwi and lemongrass, making my skin smell like I was luxuriating in a beautiful garden, far away from the tub in my Manhattan apartment.”
The summer heat has arrived, and that means cooling off with refreshing summer beverages! When I was a kid growing up in southern California, my Mom didn’t keep soda the house. Instead, she made sure that there was always a fresh pitcher of iced tea (with plenty of lemon and sugar) chilling in our refrigerator. This enduring childhood memory is likely a good reason why iced tea remains my go-to summertime beverage when I really need to quench my thirst. The great news for iced tea lovers is that there are so many grab-and-go ways to enjoy iced teas that not only taste great, but are also good for you. Recently, I learned about the health benefits of something called Purple Tea, available in a brand called Kabaki. Representatives sent me a case of Kabaki Kenyan Purple Tea to review for the blog, and now I’d like to share my finding with you.
First off what the heck is Purple Tea? What I learned is that Purple Tea grows high in the valleys and mountain tops of Kenya, and is sourced from the same single plant, Camellia Sinensis, that produces green and black teas. The intense African sun, coupled with cool mountain air, allows ultraviolet rays to deeply penetrate the tea leaves, which have a purple color because they contain super-antioxidants called anthocyanins. This is the same antioxidant found in ‘superfoods’ like Acai berries, Pomegranates and Blueberries.
Vitagenne Premium CBD Line: Engineered for Wellness, Rooted Empathy (Image By Gail, All Others Courtesy of Vitagenne)
If you haven’t noticed that CBD and CBD-infused products have flooded pop culture consciousness as far-reaching wellness solutions, then you have been living under the proverbial rock. As someone who needs to manage chronic pain, I’ve spent considerable time investigating CBD wellness products that could help alleviate my discomfort, and perhaps also promote a night of restful sleep. The thing is, I didn’t know who to trust when it came to making a purchase. Last summer while vacationing in the Berkshires, my trusted pothead friends took me with them to their local dispensary. With guidance from a knowledgeable employee, I purchased a CDB tincture (oil) containing only trace amounts of THC, which means there’s no high involved. I’m happy to say that this product has worked well for me with no harmful side effects! What a relief.
Just as I was getting low on the product purchased in Massachusetts, and not sure where to find a trusted local source that could sell me an equivalent-quality replacement, I received a pitch to review the CBD wellness products of a company called Vitagenne. Timing: perfect.
Let’s get real: staying sane during the Covid-19 lockdown is a serious challenge. Just trying to work from home, keep my apartment appropriately sanitized, feed myself and cope with the news can make the day-to-day routine overwhelming. I know I’m not alone in experiencing an increased need to manage anxiety and stress, and having added pain doesn’t help, so this is really the perfect opportunity to introduce you to Vitagenne. While Vitagenne makes a full line of hemp-derived CBD products, they sent me their Pure Wellness Hemp CBD Oil Supplement, so that is what I will review here, based on my experience.
The primary difference between the supplement I had been using, and the Vitagenne CBD oil, is that while the dispensary product contained a trace amount of THC (producing no ‘high’), Vitagenne contains no THC, which makes it legal to travel with anywhere in the US, even states where pot is not yet legal or decriminalized. The lack of THC also means that this product has virtually no taste or odor. This is a big plus for anyone who has an aversion to the smell or taste of supplements. Vitagenne is 99% Pure CBD Isolate combined with 1% Coconut MCT Oil, offered in three strengths; 500 mg, 1500 mg, and 3000 mg. CBD oil is intended to be consumed sublingually — applied under the tongue and held for 60 seconds — but since it is unflavored you can also enjoy it mixed with any of your favorite beverages. I am using 1500mg strength, and find it very effect and fast-acting to alleviate my moderate, chronic joint pain. Taken at bedtime, it also helps me drift off to a sound sleep, which is so necessary in these times.
I like to think of myself as a low-maintenance babe. I’m not a slave to an elaborate make-up routine, so I want my skin to look good, even if I’m leaving the house with just a dusting of powder on my face. In NYC especially, the colder months mean harsh weather conditions combined with the drying effects of indoor heat that can wreak havoc on your complexion. To keep your skin looking as young as possible, it’s definitely worth investing in quality skincare products that will cleanse, moisturize and protect your face, so that you look fresh and youthful, with or without make up. Recently, I was given the opportunity to review a new, female-founded skincare product line called James Anthony. After a few weeks of use, these fine products have become part of my daily routine.
Jennifer Hayes, founder and CEO of James Anthony Skincare, is an industry veteran with 20 years of experience. Based on her own issues with sensitive skin, rosacea, breakouts and aging, and her frustration with a full range of products — from OTC to prescription treatments — Jennifer developed James Anthony based on a whole new way of treating, repairing and protecting the skin. Using unique Peptides and enzyme-release technology, James Anthony offers a results-driven skincare line unlike any other on the market. The dramatic effect of the peptides on the complexion offers visible results, increasing daily skin repair without irritation, while the enzyme-release technology allows for deeper penetration into the skin, ultimately better results, and less irritation than other topical skincare treatments.
These claims are impressive, sure, but I know that the only way to prove that the products really deliver the results promised is to try them. I started using the James Anthony skincare line at the beginning of October, just as the changing weather was making my complexion noticeably dry and flaky. Below, I’ll show you each product I’m using, explain what it does, and offer my own experience. Here we go.
The fist step in basic skincare is cleansing. Come Undone ($28) is gentle pH-neutral cleanser formulated to remove makeup and impurities without stripping away skin’s natural oils. Come Undone contains a probiotic and peptide complex that acts as an antimicrobial agent and an anti-inflammatory, and helps regulate defenses in the skin.
The photo above shows how Come Undone looks when you pump one application into your palm: light and foamy. I was skeptical that this lightweight foam was substantial enough to clean the days worth of ‘NYC atmosphere’ and make-up off of my face, because I’d been using a cleanser with a creamier, thicker consistency, but I was soon won over. The foam lathers well as you circulate it around your face with your finger tips, and it rinses clean with just a few splashes of water. There is no need to ‘scrub’ your face, or use a washcloth, although I suppose you could use one if desired. I like the way my face feels fresh and smooth after washing it with Come Undone.
After cleansing, you want to tone and moisturize your skin. T.L.C. toner ($28, above right) is formulated with multiple acids that work to treat and clarify skin, and probiotics that help balance skin resulting in a healthy, glowing skin tone, T.L.C (stand for Treat, Level, Clarify) is formulated to be gentle enough for daily use, but effective enough to deliver maximum results. Offering antioxidant protection, T.L.C. prepares the skin to accept skincare products that follow its application.
I’d like to point out here that since all of the James Anthony products come in well-designed packaging that employs with a “pump” delivery system (as opposed to unscrewing a cap and squeezing or pouring the product) each one dispenses just enough product to do its job, and there is no waste. I apply two to three light sprays of the T.L.C. toner on a cotton square, and it is enough to tone my entire face. I can also tell that the Come Undone cleanser has worked well because I see virtually no make-up residue on the puff after applying the toner to my skin. T.L.C. toner is non-drying and makes my skin feel tingly fresh.
Next, you want to treat and moisturize. In the evening before bed, I use Resurrect P.M. Cream ($88) — a true age-reversal treatment. Resurrect is designed to treat serious aging signs with the most advanced skin technology, resulting in rejuvenated skin, even skin tone, and stimulation of the skin’s daily repair via a pro-active peptide complex. I spread one application of this lightweight serum over my face and throat, and it dries almost instantly. There is greasy feel at all and you can next apply additional moisturizer, if desired.
Vivify ($68) is a lightweight hydrating day cream formulated to repair, replenish and provide the perfect balance of moisture for healthy, glowing skin. Vivify combines key vitamins, nutrients, collagen-stimulating peptides and more for an increase in elasticity and softer, smoother, and more even skin tone. I enjoy the creamy feel of this moisturizer on my skin, and it absorbs quickly. Vivify helped to heal my flaky skin issue within a couple of days after I started using these products, and my face feels soothed after use. This is a terrific moisturizer for all skin types.
Holy Veil Primer, SPF 35($48) is my favorite product in the line! This broad-spectrum chemical-free self-adjusting tinted sunscreen provides skin with antioxidants and essential vitamins while protecting it from the sun’s harmful rays. Used as a primer under makeup or alone, Holy Veil evens skin tone, smooths the skin, helps with flawless makeup application and helps retain the skin’s moisture for a lasting healthy glow.
I absolutely love this primer! I’ve been wearing it alone, without any added foundation, on the weekends and my skin looks amazing. Holy Veil goes on smooth like velvet, distributes evenly and seems to have an oil absorbing property because there is no shine on my face for hours after I apply it. I would compare this product to Clinique Super City Block (SPF 40) except I like Holy Veil much better.
The Genie in a Bottle ($98) is your secret weapon for combating extreme dryness. This maximum moisture-boosting serum instantly transforms dull, dry, damaged, and unbalanced skin into soft, radiant, balanced, beautiful and healthy skin. A multi functional serum that goes beyond basic beauty oil, Genie in a Bottle can be used whenever a nourishing moisture boost is needed and it offers rapid and deep penetration of actives for cellular regeneration, making it perfect for use on the face, neck, and hands. It can also be used on the ends of your hair, or (my favorite) massaged into dry cuticles and fingertips. You can even add a few drops to your favorite creams or lotions to boost its moisturizing benefits. Just a drop or two goes along way, and you can achieve truly miraculous results.
Smooth Move Mask ($58) is your once a week go-to for exfoliating and revitalizing your skin. Packed with ingredients such as papaya, cucumber and aloe vera, this mask instantly moisturizes and calms the face. Grapefruit and pineapple combine to remove dead skin cells, leaving the face with a hydrated glow and allowing other James Anthony Skincare products to penetrate even deeper into the skin. Smooth Move is unlike any other mask on the market.
Smooth Move, as you can see, is a lovely shade of green, and its light fragrance recalls all of its natural ingredients. I like that this mask is a gently exfoliating, wash off mask, rather than one that needs to be left to dry on the face, and then peeled or washed off. If you have sensitive skin, this mask is especially ideal.
I have enjoyed discovering the benefits of using the James Anthony Skincare line and I have honestly seen benefits from each product even in a short amount of time. I would even say that they are fun to use, and I look forward to taking better care of my skin with these products. The entire James Anthony Skincare product line in now available online via James Anthony Skincare Dot Com. Get 20% Off your first order and check out a few sales going on right now!