Airport Win!

I’ve been in Orlando the last few days covering the Zumba convention (more on that fun insanity later!!)

Normally when I travel I look like a mom of seven (only these would be seven children who have a penchant for healthy grub and reads that are less Harry Potter and more Eckhart Tolle). You can usually always find me lugging around a large and in charge bag with a massive arsenal of snacks and spiritual reads (and a very sore shoulder. Packing lightly was never my forte… thank god for those over-priced airport express spas! #canIgetanamen)

My travel motto is to always come prepared lest I become ravenous and turn savage like those kids in that book I read in seventh grade (Lord of the Flies?) and ultimately throw everything I know and believe out the window and start scarfing down Cinnabons by the dozen.

(Seriously though, can we just all take a minute and talk about the power of the Cinnabon smell that wafts through the airport and convinces your inner psyche that you NEED to have it NOW? What is that about?!)

But today, not unsimilar to Passover, is different than all other travel days.

I was snack-less and hungry… And with no kale chips or raw cashews in my tote I was thisclose to hunting down someone still donning their Mickey Mouse ears and feasting on their leftover turkey leg from Disneyworld.

But to my surprise I stumbled upon a gem of a snack stand here at the Orlando airport. Never in my life have I seen such a healthy assortment of snacks and beverages to choose from. They had food for every diet/allergy imaginable!

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Kudos to you Cibo Express Gourmet Markets for understanding that not every traveller finds Doritos and Snickers to be acceptable plane fuel!

I ended up with my favorite sweet staple- Hail Merry Macaroons (in a cute and portion controlled travel size!) and a new snack I’ve never heard of but am excited to try- Simple Squares- which is gluten free, refined sugar free and Paleo!

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I’m a happy camper with my snacks and reads for the plane!

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(Computer case is Stella & Dot, book is by Tal Ben Shahar who I heard speak at the Zumba convention and loved everything he had to say!)

Ready for takeoff!

Got a must try travel snack? Share it with me!

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Sweet (Tooth) Satisfaction! — Paleo and Gluten Free Treats to Make Monday More Manageable.

Monday! So we meet again!

I thought I’d start the week off on a sweet note. Actually, what really happened is that I was g-chatting with my bestie about my latest favorite gluten free/paleo snack obsession and thought “I should blog about this- the people on the interwebs will want to know!” So I went to my pantry to pull out these gems (more on this later) and realized I have quite the selection of satisfyingly sweet goodies to share. So I arranged them on my table and snapped a few pics– which of course meant taking some a lot of bites to get the perfect shot. All in the name of Been There, Tried It of course. What kind of blogger would I be if I didn’t show you, my dear readers, what the inside of these treats looked like? Right? Of COURSE right!

So okay fiiiiine, you caught me-  the real reason I’m writing this blog is because it’s a Monday afternoon and I wanted the perfect excuse to gorge on some goodies. Because Sugar. Except not sugar because you won’t find that crap in any of these gems! Haaaay! These bad boys are all gluten free, paleo friendly, dairy free, refined sugar free, but oh so not delicious free. So let’s get to it!

Here are my current favorite I-have-a-sweet-tooth-and-need-something-NOW-that-won’t-make-me-feel-like-I-have-a-giant-muffin-top-yet-tastes-as-great-as-a-huge-gigantic-delicious-muffin:

Now this is what I call a good start to the week!

Now this is what I call a good start to the week!

So let’s start from left to right shall we?

Paleonola (in chocolate fix of course!) 

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If you’re like me and think that chocolate is an important part of every meal, then Paleonola is for you. It’s grain free, gluten free and it has the perfect crunch/chocolate ratio without being overly sweet. What is there not to like about 100% cacao mixed with nuts, berries and coconut? Um, nothing. I like to have a little as a snack with unsweetened almond milk but I’d imagine it would be great on yogurt, in pancakes or on ice cream for all you dairy eaters out there! Warning: this stuff is addictive so prepare to not want to share…

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Also, this just in, Paleonola apparently comes in a pumpkin pie flavor… I think I just found my Paleo Pumpkin Spice Latte replacement! #peaceoutstarbucks

Coconut Secret Coconut Bars (Pictured here in Almond and Classic)

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These bars from Coconut Secret are like the candy bars you used to have– only they aren’t. Because they are better. The are also dairy free and sweetened with coconut nectar which means while they are still a treat, they are better for you. They come in four fab flavors– Classic Coconut, Almond Coconut, Mint Coconut and Coconut Macaroon. My favorite might be the Mint Coconut which is why you don’t see it pictured here… I may or may not have eaten that one on the way home from the store…

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Hail Merry Miracle Tart- (Pictured in Chocolate Mint) 

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Hail Merry Miracle Tarts and the oil that makes them delicious (coconut) really are more of a miracle than the miracle oil that burned for 8 nights on Hanukkah (sorry, Rabbi). They are a sweet tooth staple because a little goes a long way– I know, I know, a lot of people say that and then you get the package home and think “a little goes a long way my ass- I just ate the WHOLE thing” I am SO with you and I ordinarily hate (and don’t trust) those people. But these are so rich and fudgey and delicious and incredibly satisfying that you really won’t eat the whole thing at once (but if you do, I SO don’t judge you- I APPLAUD you.) They come in six fabulous flavors but I am partial to the chocolate varieties because well, I heart the brown stuff.

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You know how people have their weird ways eating Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups or Oreos? That’s how I am with these bad boys- I like to eat the crust first!

Matt’s Munchies- (pictures in Mango, Island Coconut and Apple-licious) 

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You know how most obsessions you hardcore OD and then can’t even stomach it to say the name? (I’m talking to you, Broccoli Slaw salad.) Well, I discovered Matt’s Munchies a year ago and my obsession is still going strong. These three flavors come in between 35-40 calories per package, are made of just organic Mango Puree and apples/shredded coconut (depending on the flavor) and are downright delish. They are perfect to pop in your purse for a snack on the go and BONUS! The little squares are fun to peel off. It’s like a healthy, non-chemically, non food colored version of the fruit rollups from childhood and are actually made with REAL fruit. Fancy that.

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Also, check their website for free shipping and 15% off your order!

Nohmad Snack Co- Extra Dark Chocolate Bar (85% Cacao)

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Some days (or in my case, every day) all you need is a little chocolate to instantly lift you up. I discovered Nohmad Snack Co at the Melrose Trading Post Farmers Market and it was an instant love affair. They make delicious dark chocolate bars without any cane sugar at all (woot woot!) This 85% cacao bar is the perfect chocolate bar to keep stashed in your pantry when you get that Feed Me Seymour voice in your head. (Or is that just me?!)

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Truly Raw Gourmet Frozen Dessert (in Chocolate Creme) 

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I recently discovered this jar of heaven at Erewhon Market here in Los Angeles. FINALLY a jar of “ice cream” that you don’t have to feel guilty about should you eat the entire thing in one sitting. It’s a two serving jar (124 calories per seving) that is insanely satisfying, chocolatey and creamy. It’s also only made with FOUR ingredients: Coconut water, coconut cream, cacao powder and raw honey. Thank you Truly Raw Gourmet! I also just read that they opened up an ice-cream shop in Venice called Kippy’s sooo you can find me there always starting… now.

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Hail Merry Macaroons (Pictured in Lemon, Choco and Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough) 

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And finally, the treat that inspired this entire post. I’ve known about these Hail Merry Macaroons for a while but last week I accidentally left a bag of the choco flavor in the car while I was working out. Famished post workout, I went to grab one and the sun had made them super warm… which ended up being the best gift I’ve ever received because holy amazingness these things are fifteen THOUSAND times better warmed up! So today, I recreated the warmness by popping one choco and one chocolate chip cookie dough macaroon in the microwave for 10 seconds — and just call me the Paleo Betty Crocker (minus the whole actually cooking part) because when warmed these macaroons transform into what I imagine Unicorn droppings might taste like. Simply magical.

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So these are my favorite must try sweet tooth snacks… what are yours?!

Would love to hear (and try and them out!)

xx,

Jilly

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Fit for Friday: Meet me at the Barre

It’s Friday! It’s Friday! (yes I am singing this while typing)

And while most people in their twenties spend most of the week looking towards Friday so that they can hit up the bar, I was pretty excited about hitting up the Barre.

Sure sure, I enjoy the feeling of tequila burning my chest as much as the next person but dare I say that I prefer the sort of chest burn that comes with a perfectly toned and motivating instructor yelling encouraging me to bend and stretch my muscles until I think I might have a full on three year old style meltdown in the middle of the class.

Ahh yes.

While Barre classes aren’t exactly new on the workout scene, Barre Belle, which opened just about two months ago (in Los Angeles — on La Brea between first and Beverly)  will take your barre workout (and overall fitness regimen) to the next level.

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Founder and instructor Marnie Alton is your celebrity girl crush, positive you-can-do-anything life coach, BFL (bestie for life) and kick ass trainer all in one.  Seriously, after thirty seconds of being in her class you will do anything she says for as long as she says it because she makes you believe that you can.

Well that and if holding this horrifying thigh bendy position while on my toes and simultaneously squeezing a red playground ball between my legs for an additional sixteen seconds will get me even remotely closer to looking like her then I don’t care if tears are rolling down my face while sweat is dripping down in between by boobs (a look that is cute on no one), sign me up.  Seriously, if there was a Church of Marnie,  I would join. and I’m Jewish. We don’t do churches. I’d still join.  (Surely there would be a (gluten free) wafer or something involved right?)

If you tell me doing the chicken dance while hopping on one leg will get me arms like that, I would do it. With a smile.

Dear Marnie, if you tell me doing the chicken dance while hopping on one leg will get me arms like that, I would do it. With a smile.

The workout is the perfect mix of cardio, sculpting and stretching (so clearly her motto “sculpt, sweat, stretch” makes perfect sense #fancythat), this class includes squats and lunges- a first for me in any barre class, lots of planks and pushups and none of that flat back business that just about every other barre class includes and yet… it feels like you are NEVER doing it right. The whole class from start to finish feels like it has a purpose and there isn’t a true “down” moment. Your heart rate is up and your muscles are on fire (in the best kind of way) the entire time.

The space is serene and chic yet simple. No stuck up prissiness here thank you very much. The decor is adorable and inviting (and makes me think I’d like to hire whomever decorated this place to redo my apt)  and the staff is friendly in a genuine way– none of that “I’m overly friendly because I am trying to get you to sign over your life savings here kind of way”.  The whole atmosphere makes you feel like you just want to sit there all day with an iced coffee and chat (that is until the workout starts). The place and the people who frequent it really evoke a sense of community- which is pretty amazing considering it’s been open for such a short amount of time.

This is the Barre where everybody knows your name. (see what I did there?)

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And most importantly, Marnie is incredibly attentive to every person in the room, If you are kicking ass, she tells you- but even better, if you’re doing something wrong, she corrects you. It is pretty amazing (or rather, horrifying) how many group fitness classes out there are led by instructors who NEVER correct anyone’s form the entire class! Marnie corrected my form and every other person in that room more than once and when she saw that I was about to break my plank, she called me out on it and convinced me to hold it until the end. #likeagoodneighbormarnieisthere

I loved everything about this workout- even the parts I hated– and I loved how I felt afterwards– even the soreness that followed the next day! This is one fitness spot I highly suggest you try. Be forewarned, classes fill up fast so sign up ahead of time at labarrebelle.com

Happy Friday!

xx,

Jilly

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TRIED IT TUESDAY: A PALEO SNACK WITH MY NAME?! #YESPLEASE

As a kid, I never knew anyone else named Jill. Except of course the infamous Jill who tumbled down the hill after Jack. But she wore a bonnet — not so much my speed. 

Although now that I’m thinking about tit… maybe that’s who my clumsiness comes from. 

Anywho, back to the woes of my childhood: I used to get so sad when I would go to the store with all those personalized magnets and note pads and of course, there were Emilys and Jessicas and Rachels galore. I would slowly turn the thingamajig that housed said personalized products towards the J section and say a little prayer as my eyes darted past Jamie and Jennifer and Jessica only to be left saddened to my very core. Life was hard, you guys. 

So now, whenever I see things with my name on them, I get overly excited. 
Case in point:

Overly excited in Ocean City, NJ

Overly excited in Ocean City, NJ

So many Jilly's in one spot!

So many Jilly’s in one spot!

So when I saw that out there in the snackosphere there was a Gluten Free & Paleo cracker that sounded delicious AND bared my very own name? I knew it was a must try. It was as if the universe was paying me back for all those years of never having my name on anything by putting it on something that is just SO me. Thank you, Universe. 

Another GF Jill! Love her already!

Another GF Jill! Love her already!

 First of all, let’s discuss how cute this Jill is. I immediately wanted to be her BFF slash get my hands on those GF goodies. I reached out to the The lovely Jill of Jilz Crackerz and expressed my excitement over this new found snack gem and she sweetly offered to send me one of each flavor to try…

Um, yum.

Um, yum.

Within a few days I had the goods at my doorstep and promptly tried out each one.

All three of these almond flour based crackers – Mediterranean, Tuscan and Cracked Pepper & Sea Salt- were delicious and come in at only 100 calories per servings (each 1 oz serving is pretty generous too!) and each box comes with five servings.

Warning it’s hard to stop at just one serving…

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After trying all three flavors honestly, asking me to pick which one I liked best is like asking me to pick between my love of the Backstreet Boys and Almond Milk Lattes. Can’t do it. Won’t do it.

All three were so delicious and are the perfect crunchy snack all on their own but I figured why not try it with a dip because in most cases condiments and dips just make life better. 

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A little guac never hurt anyone- but I have to say, I really prefer these bad boys on their own. Why mask their yummy flavor with dip? Not needed!!

Tried it, Loved it. I promise you will love too! 

You can order Jilz Crackerz here! 

Got any must try snacks you looove? Share them below!

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Making Monday Bulletproof

A few months ago I became intrigued with Bulletproof coffee.

What is Bulletproof coffee, you ask?
BC, as I’ve now decided to call it since I love to abbreviate things that don’t need abbreviating, is made by combining three things in your blender: coffee, grass fed butter or Ghee (clarified butter which removes the dairy!) and coconut oil (or Bulletproof Upgraded MCT Oil).

My hardcore paleo friends peeps I follow on Instagram have been abuzz with this coffee trend touting it’s magical powers to stave off hunger and sugar cravings, help you lose weight and make your mind feel like more of a ninja meets Econ professor and less of well, regular person trying struggling to stay awake.

Uh, yeah sign me up.

You can read all the glorious details on why bulletproof is so great here!

I decided today was THE day for my first foray into BC so I visited the miracle workers and my favorite healthy market in L.A.- Erewhon – because I didn’t trust myself to do it right slash hit snooze three too many times to have time to make it myself.

I watched these health wizards like a hawk as they scooped and blended and somehow turned coffee into a frothy delicious looking latte without any milk! #davidcopperfieldwho #realmagic
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The taste? Delicious! With no sugar or milk this cup of upgraded joe tasted heavenly.

But is it better then your standard AML?! (Almond milk latte)

Yes!

Normally I need to eat some real solid actually digestible food within an hour or so of waking up otherwise the people around me cower in fear. But I’m going on hour three and still feel full (thank you healthy fats!)

Also, my brain feels less hazy and I feel a different sort of energized than the kind I get from any old cup of coffee.

And since we are among friends here, I can admit that usually by this point in the day I will have had some sort of bite (or ten) of something sweet… But this morning I truly do not feel compelled to.

I guess miracles can happen, folks.

So while I didn’t love the $5.50 price tag, I did love the result and can confidently say learning to become a coffee blending/scooping wizard is in my immediate future.

Bring on the Vitamix people, I’m going Bulletptoof!!

You can check out my FabFitFun interview with Bulletproof founder and CEO, Dave Asprey, here!

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WORE IT WEDNESDAY: PALTER DELISO’S PRETTY PRETTY PUMPS

My BFL (Bestie For Life) Jesse Palter always used to tell me that her great-grandfather invented the slingback, the platform and the peep toe. And as if I already didn’t think my bestie was the coolest person on the planet, that little gem of a fact really solidified it given my fascination with shoes at a VERY young age. Jesse and I always talk about how cool he was, look up his old shoes on Ebay and dream about how if only Palter DeLiso shoes were still around so that our feet could be made for oh-so-fashionable-walking for all of eternity.

Um, we would SO still wear these!

Palter DeLiso originals– Um, we would SO still wear these!


Alas, the amazing, beautiful, you-want-every-single-shoe-you-see Palter DeLiso brand eclipsed in the 1960s and so for as long as Jesse and I have been friends, we’ve known that just like Britney & JT rekindling their love, this was one dream that just wasn’t going to happen.

Well here’s a lesson in the whole never-ever-ever give up on your dreams thing- it’s like Jesse’s great-grandfather Dapper Dan Palter heard our wishes and sent Lauren Bruksch and Taz Saunders to be our real life fairy shoe godmother/father: thanks to this dynamic duo, Palter DeLiso is BACK and better than ever!

Lauren and Taz discovered Palter DeLiso on their own while working on a project and loved the original shoes so much they wondered why the brand disappeared. After some research, they realized that they could buy the trademark and the revival ensued (read more about the fascinating story here!)

Flash forward to present day when Jesse found out Palter DeLiso was back and reached out to them. Jesse was invited to go meet them and see their show room right here in Los Angeles and she asked if I could tag along. I was honored! And excited! But also a bit nervous. This was something Jesse has dreamed about forever and the truth is, anyone could have bought the rights to Palter DeLiso and that meant that the shoes could either be total beauts or totally awful.

After we set foot into their showroom, it was instantly clear that Palter Deliso was in good hands. Lauren and Taz have the worlds BEST taste because holy amazingness to the max– pair after pair after pair were take-your-breath-away beautiful.
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beyond in love with these White Vixen pumps with scallop detailing.

beyond in love with these White Vixen pumps with scallop detailing.


And what’s even more, Lauren and Taz are SO committed to keeping the original integrity of the brand woven into their revival. From the logo to the designs to the lasts that are used to mold the shoes, they have kept so many of the original elements that it really felt as if Palter DeLiso never stopped making gorgeous shoes and bags.
Old shoe box and label on the top, new Palter DeLiso shoe box and label on the bottom

Old shoe box and label on the top, new Palter DeLiso shoe box and label on the bottom


Left: Vintage Palter DeLiso floral pump. Right: New Palter DeLiso floral pump!

Left: Vintage Palter DeLiso floral pump. Right: New Palter DeLiso floral pump!

The last (mold) used to make Palter DeLiso shoes use the name names paying homage to the original shoes!

The last (mold) used to make Palter DeLiso shoes use the name names paying homage to the original shoes!

It was SUCH an amazing day, meeting these incredible co-founders and seeing what they have done with the Palter DeLiso name.

Jesse with Lauren and Taz, the brilliant co-founders of Palter DeLiso

Jesse with Lauren and Taz, the brilliant co-founders of Palter DeLiso


And while of course I had a total blast trying on the shoes (trust me, you will want them all), it was SO much more fun and meaningful for me to watch my best friend take it all in… and try on shoes that bare her name! How cool is that?! Lauren & Taz had so many of the Palter DeLiso original shoes, bags, advertisements etc and Jesse finally got to see them and touch them and it felt like she really finally got to know a piece of her great-grandfather.
Jesse holding a Palter DeLiso original!

Jesse holding a Palter DeLiso original!

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An old advertisement and pair of shoes greet you when you walk into the show room.

An old advertisement and pair of shoes greet you when you walk into the show room.

Vintage Palter DeLiso on the wall!

Vintage Palter DeLiso on the wall!

It was so amazing to see how this new brand has evolved while still honoring the shoes and bags of yester-year. Make new friends but keep the old, right?!

Jesse making friends with a new Palter DeLiso handbag!

Jesse making friends with a new Palter DeLiso handbag!

We made friends with these "Kiss" pumps. Ub-sessed.

We made friends with these “Kiss” pumps. Ub-sessed.

The whole Palter DeLiso team was so generous with their time, and it was such a special day for us both! Not only do we have a new favorite brand (obviously!) but now, we actually can sit and talk about how cool it is that our feet can be made for oh-so-fashionable Palter DeLiso walking for eternity.
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Keep on dreaming, folks.

To shop (and drool over) all things Palter DeLiso check out www.PalterDeLiso.com

Photos: Jill Salama & courtesy of Palter DeLiso

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TRIED IT TUESDAY: THE Product That Banishes Blemishes Forever! (It’s Not What You Think!)

I am the yo-yo dieter of skin care.

Much like those girls who had the perfect metabolism until college introduced them to keg stands and late night pizza, I had perfect skin that no matter what I did to it — and I should mention I had a passion for putting frosting on my face like Mrs. Doubtfire at every single birthday party I attended in the 90s– but my skin was always radiant and pimple free.

That is until college when Mount Rushmore decided to relocate to my face. And since then, I have been desperately trying anything and everything to get my skin back into tip-top shape. 

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My skin circa 2008. I hated feeling so vain but this terrible breakout made me so horribly self conscious. It also made me realize I was allergic to dairy…

 

From Pro-activ to apple cider vinegar (both drinking it (gross) and putting it on my face (that is, until the boy I was dating at the time told me my face smelled like a salad)), prescription meds, lotions and potions from the Dermatologist that come with a laundry list of things to beware of, supplements, laser treatments, facials, cutting out diary, cutting out gluten, pro-biotics… You name it, I’ve tried it — and I’ve probably shelled out a least a few fancy schmancy vacations worth in the skin care goods department.  

Most have not worked. Or at least not long term. #shouldvegonetothailandwithapimplyface

But I finally found a skin care line that is not only good for you (No harmful chemicals! No preservatives!), it… WORKS (cue the fireworks and the clear skin).

Haunted by another breakout in January, I stumbled into a local shop here in L.A., The Detox Market where everything in the store from their makeup to their cleaning products contain no toxic chemicals (adore that!). After pointing to my chin, I was escorted over to a section of the store with skin care products by a brand called Odacite and was informed that what I needed was to put their Black Cumin oil on my face.

Oil on my pimples? Um, okay lady. Seriously, what kind of drugs were these people on?! I mean sure there is the random “expert” on shows like Dr. Oz who sometimes goes “out of the box” and suggests toothpaste but… OIL? As in the thing that often causes pimples?! These detox people were drinking some serious kale-aid.

But the very nice lady did have very nice skin. And she swore to me that a tiny drop of this oil on my face 2x a day would clear up my skin. She also sent me home with their aloe vera based cleanser and a sample of their toner and moisturizer. Skeptical but desperate I gave it a try.

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Truth: I can’t say putting oil on my face was an easy thing to do. I was more than convinced I would wake up the next morning looking like Kelly Kapowski when she put on Zach and Screech’s acne cream- as in the ONE time Kelly Kapowski was not cute:

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But really and truthfully, within two weeks, my skin was clearing up. My friends were noticing a difference without me telling them I was trying anything new. And just like any new convert, I went back and bought the rest of the line and naturally talked about it to anyone who would listen. I practically considered going door to door. Then I remembered I have a blog! #knockknock 

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Every item I’ve tried from this line, I’ve loved. What I didn’t love? Those dark spots on my face that weren’t going away. So a few weeks ago I went back for another Pure Elements Booster meant to target hyperpigmentation (the line boasts essential oils for multiple skin issues from cell renewal to acne to firmness and more). After a few weeks of using that their Papaya Geranium oil, my hyperpigmentation spots have faded! 

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My skin feels smooth and looks the best it’s looked in years. Of course I still get the occasional zit that makes me feel like my 2008 self all over again but I finally feel more comfortable going makeup free. Also, while I never thought I would come around to the idea of putting oil on my face, I have to admit, I’m a believer! I drank the Kale-aid and I liked it.  

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Yes, I also follow a gluten free and mostly dairy free diet (that 2008 breakout was how I figured out dairy + Jill + Jill’s skin don’t mix so if you’re suffering from major breakouts I highly suggest also trying a dairy free/gluten free diet) but trust me when I say this is the best skin care line I’ve tried in the last eleven years! I love everything I’ve read about this company and what they put (and don’t put) in their products because so many skin care products out there are doing more harm than good. BUT most importantly, the proof is in the pudding lack of pimples. 

And here’s the best news: Odacite offers 15% off for first time buyers! I highly recommend their Try Me kit and a Pure Elements oil or two of your choice (you can put it on alone or drop it into your moisturizer) to get started. 

*Also, I’ve started taking a daily pro-biotic in the last week and using Eminence Organics Bright Skin Moisturizer with SPF 30 from Eminence in the day-time.

Xo!

 

 

 

 

 

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Tried It! Spring Trends (VIDEO)

I had the opportunity to share some of the top spring trends you should try last week on Fox Detroit’s morning show, The Nine! Always have a blast visiting Fox in my home state and had even more fun sharing the spring trends in fashion, beauty, fitness, food and more!

Spring Trends (VIDEO).

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ATE IT: SWOONING OVER (PALEO) SWEETS

I’m a terrible flirt. Really, I am. I’ve got precisely one weapon in my flirting arsenal: a signature arm hitting move. All my friends know “the move” because it’s the only move I’ve got. But lately, I’ve found a new form of flirting and I’ve been doing it up big time.

Now before my Grandma Bea gets out her best gown (purchased from Loehmann’s no doubt #RIP) in hopes of a wedding, I must admit that this new form of flirting I’ve discovered has been with… the Paleo Diet. Sorry G’ma. Still love you lots though.

Just like a really great first date, the basic/surface level promises and appeal of going Paleo left me excited and intrigued. I’ve followed the lifestyle here and there. I’ve dabbled in reading Paleo books (some a few chapters, others from cover to cover- highly recommend “Eat the Yolks” by Liz Wolfe and “Why We Get Fat: And What To Do About It” by Gary Taubes) I’ve stalked some Paleo bloggers and in a moment of motivation found myself on an intense Paleo themed Instagram following spree.

But before I can fully commit to being in an “In a Relationship” status with Paleo, I need to be 1000% certain that my feelings are there. And by making sure my feelings are there I mean making sure that there are Paleo friendly foods that satisfy my sweet tooth cravings so that I don’t become a total bitch and hurt everyone else’s feelings on the regular. They say love makes you do crazy things but I have a very strong intuitive feeling that love-crazy has absolutely nothing on the crazy-crazy that I would become by taking sugar, grains and peanut butter away from me on a permanent basis.

And let it be known, it’s been said that I have a VERY strong intuition.

So like any normal person would do after a great first or second date, I did a little research on my prospective new companion. You know, to make sure I’m not being totally blindsided by some huge secret crazy factor that pops up down the road. And while I found out there are TONS of homemade Paleo treats out there on the interwebs and Instagram feeds, I just don’t have patience to go all ‘Betty Crocker does Paleo’ every single time a hankering for something sweet comes along. Sometimes you just need something decadent that doesn’t involve a blender, a box of cacao nibs or a huge mess to clean up after you’ve made your blender/cacao nibs concoction.

In other words, I need something packaged that doesn’t break the Paleo processed/sugary/packaged rules.

So in effort to determine if I can see myself going steady with Paleo, I tried out some of the yummiest sounding Paleo Treats out there. No mess. No baking. No freezing and waiting for something to set. No ordering some obscure ingredient. Just sweet sounding goodness that promises the good stuff without the sugary/bad for you hangover.

Enter: Paleo Treats.
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They sounded like they would be just the match I was looking for. So a taste test was in order. It was a late night last night here in Detroit (I’m home visiting my parents) when I broke into these bad boys. One by one. Bite by bite. Treat by delicious treat. And what I learned was: if this is anything like what wedding cake tasting is like then I want like, sixteen weddings. #aretherepaleoweddingcakes?

THE TREATS!

THE MUSTANG BAR
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INGREDIENTS: almond butter, coconut oil, walnuts, honey, almonds, raisins, pumpkin seeds, almond flour, coconut, vanilla, salt
TASTES LIKE: Truth be told I prefer my sweets to have some vast amounts of chocolate. So I was prepared to like the Mustang Bar well, not at all. But one bite and I was proven wrong by the Paleo Treats gods. The sweetness of the honey against the crunchiness of the nuts paired with the perfect amount of salty pumpkin seeds and… salt, makes this one bar that needs no chocolate preceding it. #Eatit

CACAO NOW
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INGREDIENTS: honey, cacao butter, almonds, raisins, cacao powder, pistachios, goji berries
TASTES LIKE: Chocolatey crunchy fruity goodness. You need to really like the texture of raisins because the goji berries and raisins offer a whole lot of chewiness to this chocolate mix. You also need to be okay with fruit in your chocolate (I am sometimes- other times not so much). I like raisins but being new to this whole Paleo thing means I’m pretty new to the super goji berry and wasn’t used to their flavor. However, the intense chocolate? Yeah, I’m into it.

BANDITO
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INGREDIENTS: almond flour, roasted almond butter, coconut oil, honey, cacao butter, flax meal, dried unsweetened coconut, cacao powder, vanilla extract, salt.
TASTES LIKE: If going Paleo means I can swim in a bath of Banditos while being spoon fed Banditos by a hunky Bandito, then I’m all in. This treat is pure deliciousness. Just writing about it makes me feel the need to go… and… just… one… bite… okay I’m back.
My heart is yours, Mr. Bandito.

BROWNIE BOMB
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INGREDIENTS: honey, pecans, eggs, coconut oil, cacao powder, almond flour.
TASTES LIKE: These Brownie Bombs are the bomb-diggity. The bomb.com. The bombizzle. No really though, This bombastic Brownie Bomb really tastes like a real non-Paleo brownie only made with six very real ingredients. And THAT is da (brownie) bomb.

MAC ATTACK
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INGREDIENTS: shredded coconut, egg whites, honey, cacao powder, cacao nibs, vanilla extract.
TASTES LIKE: As a Jewish gal who grew up eating a lot of nasty Passover macaroons, this fabulousity really restores my faith that delish Passover desserts can in fact exist. And besides, anyone who knows anything good about life knows that coconut and chocolate mixed together is like Britney Spears and Justin Timberlake circa 2002: a perfect pairing that you never want to end. Sadly much like the tumultuous break up of Brit Brit and JT, this Mac Attack had to end. When I finished it. And not un-similar to the Spears/Timberlake breakup, I may have shed a tear (or ten) when I finally accepted that it was over.

After I sampled a bite of each I (reluctantly) offered to share with my parents to get their take. My Dad’s eyes lit up like a baby eating cake for the first time at his first birthday party when he bit into the Mustang and Cacao Now treats. He kept going back for more bites (until I went all 15 year old moody teenager on him and told him to back off).
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My Mom was a fan of the Mac Attack. She’s coo-coo for coconuts like any good human should be. Also, moms are always right and she is most definitely right about loving the Mac Attack.

Sooo I’ve been convinced. Refined sugar free/grain free/paleo friendly treats do not mean they are void of deliciousness. And it’s looking like Paleo & I might be taking a step towards becoming exclusive. Not quite yet (I’m not that kind of girl) but it’s looking good. See Grandma, who said there has to be a wedding to have something exciting to look forward to?! You’re welcome.

And that’s a WRAP(er), Folks.
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Been There: The Time I Crashed My Brothers Romantic Maui Vacation

There are tons of perks re: my move from the frozen tundra that is Chiberia to sunny, warm, I-am-complaining-to-my-best-friend-Jesse-that-it-is-TOO-hot-in-January-as-I-type-this weather. (Side note: she just said everyone I know will want to punch me for that comment. My apologies, Everyone I Know, but 8 degrees cooler would be ideal.)

Anyway, one of the biggest perks that I didn’t even think about when I decided to pack up and ship out to Los Angeles?

I am close to Hawaii.

Well not close as in weekend getaway close (nor do I have the budget for that…yet! Let’s be real folks – I might have worked for Oprah, but Oprah I am not).

But I am close enough to Hawaii that when my brother tells me that he and his (relatively new) girlfriend are going there for a winter getaway/work conference and that the hotel room has a pull out bed and I should come along because I’m already so close- I say “um, OKAY!” You might argue I’m being intrusive on their romantic trip but really when looked at from another angle… It’s more like QT with my brother and his new GF! And after all, I am SO CLOSE that it would be rude NOT to join them. And of course there’s the fact that we are blood and I’m pretty sure it says in the Torah or at least on a cheeky/cheesy greeting card in one of those quirky gift shops that there’s no such thing as intrusive when it comes to family, right?

Aloha to me.

I (overpacked) my bags and hopped on a plane hoping that Hawaii would bring me as much love and fun as it did to Jason Segel and Mila Kunis in Forgetting Sarah Marshall. Sadly the other doctors attending this work conference my brother was going to seemed to be balding or married. Or in most cases, both. And truth be told, I was just hoping that this trip would bring me love WITH Jason Segel – but astonishingly enough he was nowhere to be found.

Love or not, this was my first time getting Lei’d and let me tell you it was every bit as exciting/thrilling as I thought it would be.
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My Brother and his awesome GF arrived later that night and what followed was four fun filled/sun filled days. Sadly, The GF got sick on day two (but the silver lining is her flu further proved that the universe wanted me to come all along lest my brother be sad and lonely on the island all by himself! There’s really a silver lining in everything, sometimes you just really have to look hard for it. But it’s there. Oh it’s there.)

Here were some of the highlights that I recommend to anyone visiting Maui– granted a lot of the amazingly romantic sunset views/romantic dinners/insert other romantic thing here because everything on Maui is pretty damn romantic– I told my brother and GF to save for after my departure. See! I was so not intrusive! I was thoughtful! And besides, now I have a reason to go back. With Jason Segel. I mean after all we do live SO close. Like romantic weekend getaway close. God I love California.

Another thing to note: Prepare to be lamer than your grandparents on this trip. While My grandma is usually cooler than me on most days, she was light years cooler than me while I was on this vay-k. I was asleep every night by 9:30 and up by 7. Pretty sure an 89 year old took over my body. Actually, now that I think about it, my hips were aching and I even caught myself putting sugar packets in my purse. Hmm.

SLEPT HERE: Fairmont Kea Lani
We stayed at this beautiful hotel in Wailea. They offered morning Yoga outside that most days I observed from my room while drinking a latte– convincing myself that it counted as a workout. I finally joined in and was glad I did. Great instructor and a super relaxing and beautiful way to start the morning.

Namaste

Namaste

Other perks to this hotel: Gorgeous pools, helpful staff, beautiful beach front and very easy to get around. Also, even though I smuggled almond milk in from Cali (I realized that if I put as much thought and planning into how I carefully wrapped and packed the almond milk- lest it ruin my flowy beach coverups- I would probs be richer than Mark Zuckerberg by now), they had it in their coffee shop. It was a Hawaii miracle. Additionally they had menus for literally every diet in existence.

Almond Milk Latte with a View. #TheBestPartOfWakingUp

Almond Milk Latte with a View. #TheBestPartOfWakingUp

DO IT: Beach Path
My favorite thing to do every day was walk/jog the beach path from the Fairmont all the way down to the Andaz. It was SO beautiful both at sunset and made working out in the morning enjoyable (I promise!) It’s also fun to do a leisurely stroll and stop off at all of the hotels along the way (to determine where I will be staying on my next trip, of course!) The Four Seasons and the Andaz are both amazingly gorgeous. And the Marriott has a Starbucks (a triple the price Starbucks but a Starbucks nonetheless. #coffeedrinkersunite)
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One day I got caught in a whole lot of rain but it led to a double rainbow followed by another rainbow that was the brightest, most vividly gorgeous rainbow I have ever seen. And it was the first time I ever saw the end of a rainbow! Sadly there was no pot of gold BUT I did see it while sipping a delectable almond milk latte and noshing on gluten free pineapple bread at the Four Seasons so in my world, I would say it was like practically the same thing.
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ATE IT: We loved dinner at Joe’s and Monkeypod for casual but delicious fare. The fish served up at Monkeypod is caught day of and it’s delicious #sorryfishies. Sushi at Sansei was okay- good but not great- but fun to see a place that locals go.

SAW IT: We did a 1.5 hour drive up the mountain to the Haleakala Crater for sunset. It was a stunning drive high above the clouds. Always a beautiful reminder that by simply removing yourself from what feels so BIG in life, it instantly becomes small or even insignificant. A great way to get perspective. Just remove yourself and “rise above.”
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Sadly as we got to the top it got a bit too foggy for sunset but was a gorgeous drive and I highly recommend it. A lot of people do this drive for sunset but really who wants to wake up at 3 A.M.? Not this girl thankyouverymuch. Note: If you do this drive bring lots and lots of layers. It dropped to about 40 degrees and my beloved jean jacket (serving me since 1999) was just not cutting it.

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TRIED IT: Kai Kanani Early Morning Snorkeling. I am not one for adventure. Roller Coasters? Hate ‘em. Roller Skating? Miserable. Water Sports? Pretty sure (actually positive) that I fell in the first and only time I went paddle boarding, pulled a muscle and a man on a jet ski from another house had to pull up to see if I was okay. And no I wasn’t 12. I was 28. So you can imagine that every person I told that I went snorkeling met me with comments that varied from “Really? YOU?! You don’t strike me as someone who snorkels” to “weren’t you scared?” to “You got up THAT early? TO SNORKEL”
Yes, Yes and Yes.
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And despite what my sweatshirt says, I’m so glad I did.

I have never snorkeled before, and let’s face it getting up at 5:30 AM is not something I generally enjoy (truth, we ran up to the boat as it was pulling away and thankfully they let us on) BUT it was such an amazing morning. The staff was amazing, the fish were beautiful. And while snorkeling at the Molokini Crater, I felt like I was in an extra special deleted scene that only comes with the purchase of Finding Nemo on Blue Ray.
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Then we boated over to “Turtle Town” and Cool Guy Mike (I mean seriously how cool is your life if you spend your days boating in Maui?! #Idtakethatjob) convinced me that the only way in was to jump:
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The saltwater up my nose was totally worth it. After snorkeling around the turtle cave, I spotted a huge and adorable sea turtle that had me gleefully giggling like a 6 year old kid. This whole adventure thing might not be so bad. It was such a blast and I highly recommend this to anyone visiting Maui.
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Mahalo Maui and to my Brother and GF for the incredible trip!
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ALWAYS! <3

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