Substitutions Allowed: Chocolate Chip Mandel Bread!

It’s FRIDAY! Hope you all had a fabulous week. I’ve got no complaints. Well except that I’ve got a mountain of laundry that I still haven’t dealt with and I really just don’t want to.

But why focus on the negatives in life when there is so much positive? And you know what is positively positive? Chocolate Chip Mandel Bread.

I don’t have one negative thing to say about this delightful dessert. For those who aren’t familiar with MB (Mandel Bread), it’s similar in shape and taste to biscotti. But with Mandel Bread there are a few variations- there is the more biscotti crunchy type and then there is the Holy Elijah this is fantastic type.

It’s the type mastered by only a few Bubbie’s and it has the perfect ratio of: 1) chocolatey gooeyness goodness 2) soft chocolate chip cookie center 3)crunchy outer edges.

It’s a hard Mandel bread to come by but it exists.

Only it doesn’t exist in a Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Paleo, Refined Sugar Free (mostly) version.

Until now!

Over the Passover Holiday I was determined to master a Chocoalte Chip Mandel Bread that was free of all of the aforementioned evils but not free of downright deliciousness.

And considering the entire loaf was eaten in less than a day and not just by the gluten free members of the household, I’m pretty certain this was what I’d call a Passover Success Story. Move over Passover Seder and your four questions and four cups of wine, there’s a new story to tell.

The story of gluten free/grain free/dairy free/(mostly) refined sugar free Chocolate Chip Mandel Bread


(Cooking Candid #MessyBaker) Continue reading

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Wednesday Win: Chocolate- It’s Not Food It’s Candy.

Is there anything better than being reassured as you’re savagely opening a bar of chocolate deliciousness that the decision you’re about to make (consuming large amounts of said chocolate) is a good one? Because from the tagline alone, I can totally 1000% say that I want to be BFF’s forever with eatingEVOLVED:


And aside from their vote of confidence that I should be consuming chocolate on the regular, there is also the fact that their products are downright delish. And not to mention, Gluten Free, Paleo, Refined Sugar Free, Dairy Free, & Organic. So sampling them in the name of this blog? I can’t think  of a worse way to spend an afternoon. :)


First up: The Dark Chocolate Carmel and Sea Salt Coconut Butter Cup:


I’m not much a caramel person so I figured I would like this one the least which is why I tried it first. But without exaggerating here, my mouth didn’t even know a chocolate treat could taste this good- and one that’s refined sugar free no less! (They sweetened only with a touch or organic maple sugar) It was the perfect combo of EVERYTHING. Sweet, creamy and unbelievably addicting. Before I knew it it was gone. And I was sad. I hate when that happens. Like when you just want to rewind the clock and enjoy it allll over again. This usually happens with Almond Milk Lattes and Fro-Yo… but now I can add these to the list.

It’s honestly amazing that I was even able to snap these photos…


Next up: The Dark Chocolate Coconut Butter cups:

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These are not quite as rich but equally delicious and satisfying. The Coconut Butter Cups come 2 in a pack and also come in a mint flavor (which I haven’t tried but based on these two flavors, I’m sure are heavenly)

Next up:  Almond & Sea Salt 72% Cacao Chocolate Bar!


First of all, how CUTE is the design?!


Secondly, it comes in at 250 calories for the entire bar! Amazing! And while I generally prefer an even darker chocolate I can totally get on board with this crunchy/salty/sweet mixture. But if sea salt on your chocolate isn’t your thing, fear not! They have tons of other flavors (ranging from 72% Cacao, 85% Cacao and 100% Cacao)

Consensus? This is the perfect treat to perk up the mid-week slump. Suddenly two more days until the weekend doesn’t seem so bad so long as I have this coconut butter cup to soften the thought of two more early morning wake ups. But then again, I’m also not against having this treat any every other day of the week.

And for a whole list of guilt free treats (including eatingEVOLVED), check out my latest FabFitFun article here!


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I’ve heard about the launch of Keep Collective for a while now and have been waiting to get my hands on them!

The premise: Tell your story through adorable “Keys” (charms) and wear them proudly on equally adorable “Keepers” (bases)

So imagine my excitement when this delivery arrived at my doorstep:


Even the packaging is swoon worthy!

They have just about every charm you can think of in silver, gold and rose gold – from letters to numbers to lockets to inspirational sayings/charms or hobbies you adore- they even have a watch Key! All of them easily slide on and off of the Keeper’s so you can change them up daily:


And their Keeper’s come in a range of colors, and styles–  many of which are reversible! (Ranging in price from $19-$59) from leather, mesh or metal bracelets to necklaces- you can make your Keep Collective uniquely you.

Here are three reversible pastels/metallics in Mint, Blush and Lavender:



And the Gold mesh bracelet and Gold bangle:


First up, the mint green leather keeper (because I am currently obsessed with all things mint green) & four keys that mean a lot to me:



The “Balance” Larvikite Wishing Stone: to remind myself daily to stay balanced- between work & play, dreams & reality, giving & receiving  (Larvikite is also said to help you stay balanced, happy and protected, fend off negativity, reconnect you with nature, and for clarity of vision.)

The Four Leaf Clover: The four leaf clover brought my best friend Suz & I together – we were obsessed with finding them and drawing them when we were kids so it’s always been a symbol of our friendship. She is now living in Nigeria and so it’s not only a charm to remind myself that you create your own luck, but it’s also a daily reminder of how lucky I am to have a bestie like Suz!

The letter J: For me and for the one I love :) <3

and an Arrow: To remind me to keep looking and dreaming forward, and moving in the direction of my dreams!

Next up the lavender Keeper!


The reverse metallic side is equally adorable:


The Elephant:  I’ve always been drawn to elephants. They have various meanings in different cultures- all of which are good.  They are also known for their big hearts and I think this is a great reminder to always keep my heart open!

The Anchor– to always keep me grounded and remind me of what keeps me steady!

And my birthstone! June!

Even the clasp is detailed and so cute!


Also loving the watch Key- it’s much smaller than my normal day to day watch which makes it perfect for dress and I love the blush Keeper with the rose gold metallic reverse side! (Also wearing it here with the gold bangle)

IMG_3369          IMG_3383


(testing out the watch on the mint green band– love!)

I’ve had so much fun wearing my new Keep Collective bracelet’s and can’t wait to add to the collection. I pretty much want to collect & keep every Key and Keeper they make- which I’m pretty sure is the point. And I am already making a mental list of who I can get these for as gifts and what charms I would get them! I love the idea of being both stylish and sentimental and inspirational at the same time!

Making new friends and keeping the old!

From top to bottom: Kate Spade enamel Bow Bracelet, my new Keep Collective Mint green Keeper with charms, Stella & Dot Pave Chevron Cuff, Stella & Dot Renegade Cluster bracelet 


IMG_3399  IMG_3401

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Tried It Tuesday: Off the Shelf Sweet Treats!

I apologize for my lack of posting over the past few weeks. I should have you know that while I may have slightly slacked (okay majorly slacked) on this whole blogging thing, I have most definitely not dropped the ball on finding snacks to satisfy any sweet tooth.

So that’s where I’m picking things back up today. Because Chocolate might just be the most important food group of them all.

Let’s start with my latest and most favorite new ice cream find: The Sorbetto Gelato Bar.

I stumbled upon these completely on accident on Saturday after spending too many hours in the crazy 90 degree heat (sorry rest of the country) in San Diego at a Saint Patricks Day Parade. I hadn’t eaten and was approaching hanger status so I popped into a little coffee shop on the way to the Little Italy Farmer’s Market to get some water… and that’s when this cooler greeted me:


Why hello there!

I was confused and intrigued, was it sorbet? Was it gelato? I must find out. I picked up the Dark Chocolate bar and while there was a bit of milk in the ingredients list, it came in at only 86 calories and 2 grams of fat for the whole bar. If I ever doubted that there was a such thing as God, this restored all faith.


I’m pretty certain you can’t eat a decent sized salad for less than 86 calories. And on a hot day (ok let’s be real, any day) a sorbet/gelato bar trumps a salad. So I bought the Dark Chocolate flavor and was ready for the taste test.


I thought maybe something that was a decent sized portion and only 86 cals couldn’t be that good…


But after one bite… SOLD.

And sure, it was Pie Day (3.1415 day) but I think all holidays should be celebrated with ice cream on a stick. Plus I was never all that great at math anyways.


I mean- how good does that look?!

Right now these gems are only available in the San Diego area- which makes me think I should start planning a move from LA to SD. (If they ever make a coffee/chocolate flavor, I’m pretty sure I would quit my job, pack up my things and move IN to the Sorbetto Gelato factory)

I can’t wait to try all of the other flavors!

Moving right along to my other must have sweet treat: Dark Chocolate Bars

Some people carry around lip gloss in their handbags, others can’t leave home with out a mini container of hand sanitizer. For me, I must have, at all times, dark chocolate. I refer to this must have item lovingly as “Emergency Chocolate” and you will be hard pressed to find a time where I don’t have a square or two tucked away in my bag. (And if you do catch me in the rare moment where I am no longer in possession of said Emergency Chocolate- probably because I have already eaten it, beware. You’ve been warned)

The Boy of mine knows full well where I stand on having chocolate in my possession so when I arrived after my journey down to San Diego, he had this waiting for me:


A chocolate bar that is dairy free, soy free, gluten free, Paleo friendly AND uses only a touch of coconut palm sugar to sweeten? (5 grams of sugar in the whole bar!) um, yes please! But was it delicious free? I immediately had to find out. After all, that’s what this blog is about. I do all the tough stuff, like trying chocolate, so as not to waste your time if it tastes like cardboard, or tell you to run, (interval style), to your nearest grocery store to get your hands on it.

I opened the fun metallic blue wrapper to see four of these squares waiting for me:


How cute!

One bite and I was in emergency chocolate heaven. It’s perfectly dark (85% cacao) and indulgent without any guilt. The entire bar comes in at only 210 calories!


(Refined sugar free) Brownie points for The Boy on introducing me to this new chocolate find from Organic Nectars!

Got any dessert finds to share? Send ’em my way!


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Wednesday Win: When Life hands you Oreos, Sprinkles & M&M Minis– Make These!

I had tons of leftovers just lurking in my pantry saying “DO SOMETHING YUMMY WITH ME, SEYMOUR JILLY!”

You see, last week I made these brownie/cookie/oreo/m&m mini dessert and peanut butter bon bons with sprinkles and I wanted to do something easy with the leftovers. My nephews came in town last night so I figured why not surprise them with a combo of all things kid friendly (and kid at heart friendly too):


So I took two other favorites from my pantry:


and melted some chocolate… you can see where this is going, right?


I made two versions… one sans peanut butter but with Sprinkles– and I really globbed on the chocolate. There was nothing neat about this… because in my opinion the more chocolate, the better. Always.


And then it was peanut butter chocolate time:


(I just added two spoonfuls of organic PB to my melted chocolate chips) and dipped them in the m&m mini’s!


I put them all on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper:


And let them set in the freezer for about twenty minutes until they looked like this.


Needless to say, they were a hit! Easy Peasy dessert that makes me cool Auntie Jilly? Yes Please!

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Everything Old Is New Again- Cel Animation at Disney Studios & The Cat Eye!

Is it just me or are the craziest, busiest, most hectic and insane weeks always the best ones?

This week was one of those weeks that starts out with the dreaded Monday morning pit in your stomach feeling of “ugh- please can it be Friday, like now” but ends with the “I wouldn’t change a minute of the crazy because this week has been great” (okay, welllll maybe I would change some of the minutes- like when I slept through my alarm and woke up twenty mitnues before I was supposed to be at work. #oops)

On Monday I had the honor of producing a piece at Walt Disney Studios in their Ink & Paint department where we got to see how cel animation happens from start to finish. Obviously with the move to digital, most films aren’t animated in this fashion any longer (where an artists hand draws, hand inks, painstainkly paints and then airbrushes hundreds of thousands of cels to make an animated movie) but for the release of 101 Dalmatians on DVD (out February 10th), we were invited to have one of our experts, Matt Rogers, and his adorable sons, experience it all first hand and they got to paint their own cell with the ONLY inker currently working at Disney Studios, Antonio Pelayo.


On top of the incredible access and memorable experience Disney gave us, they had Floyd Norman accompany us all day. Floyd started working at Disney as an animator and story man in the 1950s’s. He was an animator on the ORIGINAL 101 Dalmatians (which was released in 1961) and personally worked WITH Walt Disney. He not only looks uh-mazing for being almost 80 (he told me his secret to looking so great is just that Disney magic), but he was as kind as could be and had tons of amazing stores to share.


Catch it all today on Home & Family or watch the trip of our visit here!

On top of producing behind-the-scenes this week, I was asked to be a “model” for another segment on the show, all about the Cat Eye a classic makeup look that’s been around for decades. Um, have someone do my makeup? Sign Me Up.

We had the founder of Benefit Cosmetics, Maggie Ford Danielson on to show and I’ve been a huge fan of Benefit (it’s the only place I get my brows done) for years.  I’m obsessed with their “They’re Real!” mascara and pretty much every other product of their I’ve tried and I’ve been dying to try the “They’re Real!” liner of theirs!

Maggie came here to show off how to get the perfect cat eye WITH the eye liner I’ve been dying to try sooo it was pretty much a no brainier to be a part of this segment. I always LOVE the cat eye look but every time I try it myself, I end up looking less sultry and more smudgy hot mess. #not cute.

But thanks to Maggie’s tips, I think I will be able to perfect said look at home. She gave me a smokey eye using JUST the gel liner alone. No shadow. Nothing. She simply applied the liner and smudged it with a shadow brush. Who knew?!

Tune in today for all the makeup madness!

Home and Family 3100 Final Photo AssetsHome and Family 3100 Final Photo Assets

A final thought: countless people at work have told me that I look nice which really only makes me think that perhaps I need to try a little harder on days where I don’t have a professional doing my makeup. #hmmm

Happy Friday!

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I told you I had a fabulous Friday night planned and I did not lie. The Boy and I watched “Backstreet Boys: Show ‘Em What You’re Made Of” Otherwise known as the Backstreet Boys documentary.


First though: a bit of a rant. What’s with all of these “Backstreet’s Back” headlines in all of these articles? Maybe it’s accurate to say  *NSync was “back” for that lame and all too short 45 second performance that JT granted them at the VMA’s that one time– and maybe you could say NKOTB is back since they took a long hiatus to do whatever you do when you’re New Kids on The Block and you stopped making hits– but Backstreet Boys? They aren’t “back” because they didn’t go anywhere. Those swoon worthy singers have been serenading me (through cds, the radio, my iPod and Pandora) for the past 22 years. There was no break, so therefore there is no comeback.

However, it is safe to say that Kevin (Richardson) is back because he did leave the group… for six years.



(That time Kevin showed them the meaning of being lonely)

and I have to confess, I take FULL credit for his return.

Yes, you read that correctly. I, Jill Salama, take full credit for Kevin Richardson returning to the BSB. And here’s why:

It was the fall of 2010– otherwise known as Season 25 of TOWS (The Oprah Winfrey Show).


There was a show that was pitched about “Teenage Heartthrobs” from previous decades- a pre-cursor to #TBT, if you will and it was originally assigned to my team (there were various different teams at The Oprah Show and each team was responsible for producing a full episode)

Being that I was a huge fan of BSB, and had already pitched them multiple times in my previous three years at The Oprah Winfrey Show, I obviously pitched them for this particular show because um, hello captain obvious and this time it worked (!!!)

The Backstreet Boys were B-Double-O-K-E-D.

At this point in time however, BSB was still sans Kevin but being as this was the final season of Oprah and the Boys had been on the show a few times throughout their career, they reached out to Kevin to come back and perform for Oprah’s final season.

And Kevin said yes (because really, no one says no to Oprah)



(Kevin is BACK, Alright. Front and Center next to O Dubs!)

I was beside myself with excitement… That is until the show got reassigned to another team. womp womp womp. But the story does not end sadly. No, you see, dear readers, the show and the epic surprise they pulled off for a lucky fan not only went off without a hitch (there might not be any better moment than listening to the Boys sound check and sing “I Want It That Way” on the Oprah set), I still got to work with them on the show day, I got this GEM of a photo:


AND, the real reason this story is a happy, glorious and joyful one? After that show, Kevin joined the group again and they put out another album!

Backstreet Boys Perform On ABC's "Good Morning America"

All is right with the world.

Okay, so I think it wasn’t like immediately after that show BUT I do think there is a VERY strong case that it was precisely because of the show and Kevin reuniting with them again just for that performance that the lightbulb moment (or as Oprah calls it- the a-ha moment) went off for our buddy ‘ol pal Kev and he before we knew it, he was Back. Like Backstreet’s Back. Alright!

The End.

Okay now on to the documentary…

Watch it. No seriously, even for non-fans, their doc “Backstreet Boys: Show ‘Em What You’re Made Of” was fascinating. It spends a good amount of time going back to each of their roots while showing tons of videos from the early early early days and explaining the whole Lou Pearlman fiasco.

And while I would have liked to see and hear a bit more about how they felt once everything seemed to come to a screeching halt for them in 2003 and how it must feel to go from being on top of the world to well, not so much pretty quickly- overall it was cool to see just how hard these guys have worked and where they’ve come from.

It serves as a great reminder that no matter what you do (or dream to do) in life, there is no such thing as becoming an “overnight” success. While in the late ’90s it seemed like Backstreet Boys exploded from oblivion to super-stardom at the snap of a finger, this doc shows the endless hours, sweat and horrible outfit choices (and boy were there a lot of those) that went into making that success look sudden when really it was anything but.

(Examples of said horrible outfit choices– because they are too good not to include):



And okay, I know I am biased so I should probably stop my review now, but even The Boy said he enjoyed it! (yes he did in fact watch the entire thing with me!)

The Documentary by the numbers:

Number of times I cried while watching it: 3 (okay maybe 4)

Number of times I looked over at The Boy to make sure he was still into it: 6

Number of times I danced while bundled up on the couch: Easily 6, but really too many to count

Number of times I thought that a serenade from the Boys one day isn’t like totally 1,000% out of the question: 10

Soo the moral of the story here: if you’ve got two hours and you want to relive the glory days of the late 90s/Y2k while picking up some interesting facts along the way, I’d say rent this bad boy.

And, of course, you can send me a thank you for Kevin’s return to the group any time you please.


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Take Me Back Tuesday: A Post Super Bowl Snack Recap

I know everyone has their opinions about the Super Bowl– the crazy ending to the game, the commercials, the Katy Performance and her outfit that looked like a cross promotion for a bag of Cheetos Flamin’ Hot chips…

Pepsi Super Bowl XLIX Halftime Showdsc01399_edited

But let’s discuss what isn’t being discussed:

How CUTE are the Seahawks Uniforms?! I mean, Navy and neon green?! Who would’ve thought? I have to say I feel so on trend, because I do have a navy sundress with neon greenish yellowish trim that I ADORE but seriously, how great is this much underused color combo?!


Nothing better than a cute pop of color out there on the field! and I’d so be okay with  Lululemon making a pair of these leggings.

Okay, I feel better now that I got that off my chest. So let’s move it right along…

Now that we’ve all recovered from the post sugary/snack haze let’s relive it with a Super Bowl Snack Recap. Mainly because I’m proud that I baked from scratch even when the recipe called for boxed mix. And this time, it was the exact opposite of paleo/gluten-free/sugar free. It was a dessert fest for the masses (the 7 others I was at Super Bowl party with)

First up: I added a twist to Maria Provenzano’s Peanut Butter Bon Bons by decorating them with the team colors in sprinkles. Mainly because sprinkles make everything better. And by better I mean cuter and more fun to look at. And, well more sugar is never really a bad thing.


And while we are on the salty/sweet kick I made a batch of these pretzel buttons (so easy: take pretzels, melt hershey kisses on them for about a minute in the oven, smash them down a bit with a knife and then decorate with M&Ms)


As I mentioned on Friday, I ordered a 101 piece cookie cutter set and I’m prettttty excited about it. Well, except the part when the Amazon delivery man woke me up at 8 A.M. on Saturday morning to deliver it…

The whole plan was to make adorbs football themed shaped cookies with the new cookie cutters using a gluten free sugar cookie mix but then the dough was way too sticky to cooperate. So we tried coating the dough in flour… but that didn’t work. So we tried adding more flour and it still didn’t work. So The Boy suggested I make it into one big football cookie. Genius!

It came out pretty cute:


Except, since we added all the extra flour, it didn’t taste as good as it looked. Oh well, we were going for the cuteness themed factor here. #youwinsomeyoulosesome

And now for the pièce de résistance: The “Why Choose When You Can Have It All. No Like Really, ALL” Dessert concoction.

It  all started with a layer of homemade cookie dough, followed by plopping some Double Stuffed Oreos on top and filling in the holes with m&m minis (because minis are the best kind of m&ms!):


Then I poured some homemade brownie batter on top of the mixture and baked at 350 degrees for 30 minutes:


And when sliced and served, it was a (fudgey) party on the top, a (cookie-dough-ey) party on the bottom and a (crazy delicious) party in the middle:


I couldn’t eat them because they are clearly not gluten free BUT the reviews that came in from the party (and from my co-workers the next day) make me think that you should whip up a batch of these too. And who says you have to share?

Also, I’m thinking out of the oven when they are still warm and gooey they might be pretty amazefest with a scoop of ice-cream on top.

And the options with these are really endless. I’m pretty sure it would be quite delish with some Peanut Butter cups in the center or perhaps Twix? Orrrr…  Peanut Butter Twix?!

Okay now I’m just getting hungry.


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Friday Finds: Fitness Fun & Football Food!


Happy Friday! Is it just me, or was this week the longest week evvvveeeeerrrrr?! Pretty sure it’s not just me. but I’ve never been more excited to see you, Friday. Hashtag TGIF.

I hope you all have some fabulouso Friday night plans. Mine are pretty amazing: cozy pjs, fuzzy socks and a Backstreet Boys documentary screening party (party of two, sorry-not-sorry BF).


I mean, I don’t find it at all coincidental that the BSB premiere and Oprah’s birthday were on the same day! I’m counting down the seconds until I get to watch this gem! It will most likley definitely include a full on BSB dance party (full review of the doc (and maybe the dance party) coming later, obvi)

Anywho, let’s get to my Friday finds. This week in my weekly fitness column for FabFitFun, I tackled fitness finds that make fitness a wee bit more fun. Because let’s face it, with Valentines day two weeks away, everywhere we turn there is a chocolate filled heart or peanut butter truffle or bowl of pink, red and white m&ms (that we convince ourselves must taste entireley different than the original color variety and therefore eat 12 handfuls) staring us in the face. So we need a few things that get us a little bit excited to keep our “must get fit” mantra going- and these do the trick! Click here for all those fab finds!

Moving right along from healthy to the absolute opposite… Superbowl Sunday.

So I have to admit something- even though I went to a big ten school (Go Badgers!) and went to many a football game, I know pretty much nothing about the sport (though you wouldn’t have known that based on my rather plentiful batch of Badger apparel- I do miss putting on cute “football” outfits!)  But this Sunday, I will be “watching” the Superbowl (aka waiting anxiously for Katy Perry’s halftime performance) at a Superbowl party. In years past, I would’ve just picked up some TJ’s apps to bring… but after my first Hanukkah party, I decided it’s so much more fun getting sucked into a black hole of themed recipes and then deciding to make far too many of them (once again, sorry BF). Last night I made themed pretzel buttons because they are always a hit (and because I had leftover hershey kisses and M&Ms from said Hanukkah dinner party):


and I think I will be making these amazing Peanut Butter Bon Bon’s from the adorbs Maria Provenzano. We had her on our show over the holidays and the entire staff were clamoring around the set once her segment wrapped and scarfed these bad boys down in five seconds flat…


And I’ll be putting my own twist on these slutty brownies. Because they look amazing (and amazingly easy to make hence their name)! I’ve seen a million varieties of these on the internet and they look like delicious amounts of fun:


Then I’m debating between these football shaped brownies (I decided I must order a 101 piece cookie cutter kit after seeing them)- though I prob don’t need them since I am making the other brownies (thinking out loud here)


Otherwise, I’m thinking about making this football shaped cookie dough dip (eggless of course!):


Or some sort of Rice Krispie treat that is football themed.

Got any fab fitness or football finds? Share them with me!


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I’m Back! But My Back Isn’t (Back)… Adventures in Acupuncture, Acupressure, Cupping and A Whole Lot More.

People of the interwebs and readers of this blog, I apologize for my almost month long hiatus.

I’ve spent the past month eating homemade chocolate covered strawberries while laying on this sleep induction acupressure mat in order to both heal my back and appease my taste buds.


Because, well, if you’re going on month three sans working out, why not lay sedentary while feasting on strawberries dipped in chocolate and mini m&m’s? (Shout out to The Boy for making these for me! Adorable dot com)

So here’s the sitch: few months ago, after volunteering to dye my hair red at work (but pre volunteering to chop it all off) I volunteered to act as the victim in a self defense segment. And while I learned a lot of valuable tips, my “attacker” took the whole acting part a bit too seriously and tackled me to the ground pretty hard.

Home and Family 3038  Final Photo Assets

Home and Family 3038  Final Photo Assets


(Me- fighting off my “attacker”)

So I’ve spent the last three months trying to get my back well… back.

First I tried doing nothing- that didn’t work. Bending down to put on my shoe, and basically doing anything for too long (sitting, standing, walking, laying down) left me in really terrible pain. I tried moderate exercise thinking it might help but it only made it worse.  I tried massage, which was of course uber relaxing–  but didn’t really help the pain.

I got the acupressure mat from my guest, Dave Asprey founder of Bulletproof coffee when I produced him at work.



(love him!)

You should know that sometimes this mat is referred to as a Bed of Nails. Who wouldn’t want to lay down on it?! This ain’t no ordinary mat, people.They have these sharp pokey thingies allll over it that is said to decrease muscle soreness and increase the level of endorphins. (They can also increase the level of uptake oxygen in your body, which improves the quality of sleep, digestion and metabolism.) The only thing is, when you lay down on it at first it hurts. A lot. But after about thirty seconds, you feel a warmness come over you and your muscles really do relax. Any time my back feels super tight, I spend about twenty minutes on this bad boy and it really seems to help.


However, the mat was only acting as a temporary relief, so next I followed with the magic of Dr. Bryan Abrams chiropractic care which really helped move me in the right direction. After a few weeks. Dr. Bry suggested that I also try some acupuncture!

So, I pushed my fear of needles to the back of my mind and went all in with the alternative medicine route.

The needles are tiny and don’t hurt at all. They feel a little heavy but the whole experience is pretty relaxing. (And this is coming from the girl who usually almost passes out when having her blood drawn… and maybe even still cries sometimes…. don’t judge)

After my first go round of the ‘puncture, my adorbs acupuncturist (as an aside she rocks some really really cute boots (the things you notice when you’re face down on a table with needles in your back) asked me if I had ever heard of cupping. I totally had but didn’t really know much other than they place these cups on your back.

She explained that cups are lit on fire before going on to your back and then the heat and the cups act as a suction and when pulled off your back it helps to promote circulation to the area in which you are feeling pain (and that it’s also a great to boost your immune system response) and suggested we try it to see if it helped my back. She warned me that there would be bruising (not painful, but not cute) and I said bring it on.

I mean afterall, I’m not trying to bring sexy back like my pal JT. I’m just trying to bring my back, back.

I was nervous it would hurt but didn’t hurt at all! Not even a little bit! It felt a little weird, sure, but no pain whatsoever and I have to say, it really did seem to help (though I can’t tell if it’s from the cupping or the acupuncture– I’ve been going to acupuncture 2x a week for three weeks now and my back is already feeling the best it has since the injury)

What I didn’t think about however, was how The Boy might feel about said Cupping experience…. because well, I did look like I was beat up by some sort of weird alien:


Okay, I admit, it looks terrible and painful, but I swear it didn’t hurt and it went away after a few days.

The Boy made me swear I wouldn’t do it again but I couldn’t oblige. But since relationships are all about compromise, my following cupping sessions have been relegated to my lower back only. You’re welcome, BF.

I’m finally starting to feel back on track. Get it?

I’ll be here all day, folks.

Do you have any all natural ways to relieve or reduce pain? Share them! I’d love to try them!



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