Gift Guide: Bigley’s Cottage Kitchen

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With Christmas just around the corner, I’ve decided to develop a few shopping gift guides. Whether you’re shopping for your mom, dad, sister, significant other, or even your BFF, within the next week there will be a guide on DDR, that can assist you on your quest!

In this particular guide everything is from Bigley’s Cottage Kitchen and is available for purchase in store and online.

Looking for a small but perfect gift to bring to a dinner party? Check out the Cottage Life Weekend Candles, available in short and large jars. They hand-pour their signature soy/wax blend, and use natural and essential oil fragrances. Plus have multiple scents to choose from! I absolutely love them!

If you’re on the hunt for a perfect gift for mom or dad, I highly suggest looking into the Lotus Grill. The Lotus Grill is a battery powered smokeless charcoal BBQ grill. It has won numerous awards for for its cooking performance, and uses 90% less charcoal then any ordinary charcoal grill on the market. It comes in four different colors- grey, red, yellow, and green, and is available in two different sizes.

I hope this guide helps you find the ideal gift! HAPPY SHOPPING!

Each product is linked below:

  1. Four snowshoe placemats- $24.99
  2. Danica London Pottery 6 cup red teapot: $24.99
  3. Set of three dish towels: $18.99
  4. Lotus Grill: $299.99
  5. Lampe Berger- Heritage Red: $94.00
  6. 12oz snowshoe mug: $7.99
  7. Cottage Life Weekend Candles: $18-$24.00

 

 

5 Minute Strawberry Frozen Yogurt

I have an undeniable sweettooth…literally. It took me years to be able to actually say no to desert after dinner. Chocolate was by far my favourite food, and there wasn’t anything more wondrous then chocolate molton lava cake. Well, there still isn’t, but I’ve learned how to control my cravings a little better.

My prime time for craving sweets is at night, after dinner, typically right before I’m about to go to bed. Yes, the worst possible time to indulge in a bunch of sugar. However, after working on my nutrition plan, and discovering new recipes that don’t only fulfill my cravings but also meet the needs of my diet, I’ve found the perfect snack to consume before bed. Without any guilty aftermath! 

Only four ingredients, and five minutes of your time, and you will have yourself a delicious, healthy snack that will satisfy that sweettooth! 

Ingredients: 

  • 1cup of frozen strawberries 
  • 1 tablespoon of agave nectar or honey
  • 2 tablespoons of plain or vanilla yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon of lemon juice 

Directions: 

Add the frozen strawberries, agave nectar (or honey) , yogurt and lemon juice to a food processor or blender (I used my Vitamix). Blend until creamy. 

A food processor will create a creamier yogurt, and a blender will cause it to be slightly more runny. 

   

  

Your Guide to Vitamins

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If you eat a perfectly healthy and balanced diet 24/7, you are probably getting all the nutrients you need from your food…and I envy you. But if you’re like me, taking the right supplements will give your body the vitamins and minerals it needs on those days when an afternoon ice cream cone sounds better than a bowl of fruit.

Today I’ve rounded up some of the best vitamins that young women may consider taking. These are simply suggestions, and you might only need to add one or two to your diet depending on what foods you already eat. Food is your best source of nutrition, but when you have those off days, this list will help boost your body’s nutritional intake.

1. A GOOD WOMEN’S MULTI. If you’re going to choose one vitamin from this list, it should be a multi-vitamin that is made for women. Make sure it has folate or folic acid, which is very important for women ages 18 to 40, who someday want to have a family. A good multi-vitamin will give you a daily dose of all the things you should be eating in your diet…and more!

2. BIOTIN. Biotin is one of my personal favorite vitamins because it has worked miracles on my hair, skin, and nails. I take 500 micrograms a day, and ever since I started I have noticed that my hair is longer and shinier, my skin is clearer, and my nails are stronger. Many multi-vitamins have biotin in them already, so be sure you’re reading your labels.

3. IRON. Iron is a great supplement to take for women who are menstruating because your body loses iron every month. You only need about 10-20 milligrams, but it works wonders by delivering oxygen from your lungs to the rest of your body. If you eat a lot of red meat (say, a serving every day) you might be getting enough iron to skip this supplement. Leafy greens like spinach and kale are also great sources of iron.

4. ZINC. Zinc is an important mineral that boosts our immune system and helps fight off disease. And it is an especially important vitamin for vegetarians or pregnant women. If you’re a veggie lover, you probably eat a lo of legumes, which prevent zinc from properly absorbing in your body. If you’re expecting, you should also up your zinc intake because your little one will be using up most of the amount that’s in your body. Make sure you’re getting between 8 milligrams and 11 milligrams of zinc daily.

5. FISH OIL. This omega-3 right supplement is fabulous for healthy hair, skin, and nails, and will support your heart and blood systems. The long list of fish oil benefits also includes helping with depression, preventing painful periods, and lowering cholesterol. Take about 1-2 grams per day.

6. VITAMIN D. The main job of vitamin D is to regulate the absorption of calcium and phosphorus in your bones and keep your cells happy and healthy. The great thing about this vitamin is that our bodies actually manufacture it naturally…that is, when we’re exposed to sunlight. If you live somewhere with constant cloudy weather or long winters, you might not be getting enough vitamin D. Taking 3000 IUs should help to get you back on track.

7. RESVERATROL. Resveratrol is the powerful antioxidant that is found in grapes and red wine. Therefore, just like red wine, it has amazing anti-aging properties and is long believed to help fight cancer and heat disease. Take one capsule per day and soak up those antioxidants.

8. GREEN VIBRANCE & SUPERFOODS. One of my personal favorite vitamins that I take each day is called Green Vibrance by Vibrant Health. Each capsule is filled with organic greends, freee-dried grass juices, and concentrated super foods. I love it because when I’m having a day where I’m constantly on the go (a.k.a living off of coffee and snacks I can easily bring in my car), this supplement has a lot of the nutrients and vitamins I would get if I had the time to sit down and eat a big leafy green salad. It certainly does not replace real fruit and veggies, which should be a staple in your daily diet. But it’s packed with a lot of good stuff. You can also buy it in powder form to add to your smoothies.

9. CALCIUM-MAGNESIUM. Calcium is one of the most important supplements young women can take to strengthen muscles, bones, and teeth. And, studies show that when it’s taken as a combined calcium-magnesium supplement, it allows both vitamins to absorb better into your system. Just remember to take this supplement separate from your other vitamins and on a empty stomach- otherwise it can interfere with the absorption of your other nutrients. The recommended dosage is 1000 milligrams of calcium and 400-600 milligrams of magnesium.

10. PROBIOTIC. Taking a great probiotic supplement is an amazing way to maintain intestinal functions and keep your gut and stomach healthy. Probiotics are live organisms that are considered “good” bacteria, or bacteria that strengthen the immune system and help us to digest food. My favorite probiotic is Dr. Ohhira’s Probiotics Original Formula. Just like calcium-magnesium, make sure to take this supplement on an empty stomach as well.

As with all things in life, take these suggestions in moderation. Just as there are side effects for eating too much of anything, there are side effects of taking too many vitamins. Do what feels right for your body and contact a nutritionist or a trusted doctor to help you come up with a routine that works for you.

 

 

Healthy Protein Cookie Dough

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I’ve always been one of those people who would rather eat cookie dough with a spoon than wait for it to be baked into cookies. And when that cookie dough happens to be high in protein, high in fiber, vegan (no raw eggs to worry about!), and free from processed sugar- then why not, right?

Don’t knock chickpea cookie dough until you try it!

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 15-oz can of chickpeas
  • 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 2 tbsp agave syrup
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips or sweet cocoa nibs

INSTRUCTIONS:

1. Combine chickpeas, peanut butter, agave, maple syrup, and vanilla in a food processor and blend until smooth.

2. Transfer your “dough” into a mixing bowl and stir in chocolate chips by hand.

3. Chill in the fridge or freezer until cold. Note: This treat tastes much better chilled than at room temperature. 

Top 10 Beauty Foods

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It’s no coincidence that some of the most beautiful women are the ones who care about what food they put into their bodies. I’ve even noticed this phenomenon with my own appearance, and maybe you have too. When I’m eating a well-balanced diet filled with fresh fruit and vegetables, my hair is shiny, my nails are strong, and my skin has a glow to it. And when I overindulge in greasy, fried or processed food my complexion and tresses usually suffer.

Here is a list of the top ten all-around beauty foods. These fresh and delicious eats are filled with nutrients needed for clearer skin, healthier hair, brighter eyes and more! You can invest in the latest facemask or top concealer on the market, but those beauty products are nothing without a healthy diet…

1. PURPLE CABBAGE. If you’re worried about wrinkles, eating lots of purple cabbage is the way to go. High cortisol levels in the body can cause crows feet and other wrinkles. Purple cabbage is both anti-inflammatory and rich in vitamins A, C, and E- which help to lower cortisol levels. So next time you’re shopping up a salad, add some cabbage to your mixed greens.

2. EDAMAME. Edamame and other non-processed soy foods are rich in isoflavones, which help to preserve skin-firming collagen. So, eat this sushi bar appetizer for youthful looking, wrinkle-free skin.

3. WATERCRESS. Ailments like uneven skin tone and hair loss are often signs of poor circulation. Rich in calcium, iron, and iodine, watercress helps to cleanse and oxygenate tissues for improved circulation and glowing skin.

4. WILD SALMON. Wild salmon is full of healthy Omega-3 fatty acids, which keep your skin supple and hair shiny. Salmon also contains selenium, a mineral that protects the skin from UV exposure. The vitamin D in salmon keeps bones and teeth healthy too.

5. BEETS. Beets naturally help to flush out the lymphatic system, which removes toxins from the body, and in turn brightens your eyes. Raw in salad or roasted as a side, these are a delicious and nutritious beauty food.

6. CILANTRO. Cilantro has the ability to remove heavy metals that enlarge fat cells from your body. Enlarged fat cells increase the appearance of cellulite, making this common seasoning a great beauty food for your whole body.

7. WALNUTS. Along with keeping your scalp and hair healthy, the healthy fats in walnuts can make skin more supple and resilient to issues like age spots and sagging skin. What a perfect midday snack!

8. TOMATOES. Tomatoes (especially canned ones, believe it or not) are the best source of the powerful antioxidant lycopene, which fights many signs of aging. Tomatoes are also rich in the immune-boosting vitamin C, which increases the body’s natural ability to heal damaged or irritated skin. So bring on the pasta sauce…

9. YOGURT. Since yogurt is higher in calcium than milk alone, it’s great for strengthening your nails, teeth, and even improving your posture. I like to add a little low-fat or non-fat Greek Yogurt to my morning smoothie for a calcium and protein boost!

10. WATER. Water may not be a food per se, but H20 is everything when it comes to beauty. When you’re body is dehydrated, every inch of your appearance suffers- from your skin to your hair to your nails to your eyes. If you have trouble sipping plain water all day, try adding slices of lemon, oranges, or strawberries for some extra flavor.

Facemapping: What are your breakouts telling you?

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Recently, I’ve become fascinated with the Eastern tradition of face mapping. Face mapping, which combines modern dermatology with ancient Chinese medicine, is the idea that there’s a correlation between your internal organs and different zones of your face.

Face mapping makes a lot of sense when you consider the fact you’re skin is an organ too (the largest one in your body, in fact). When I was traveling in Egypt, I noticed my skin breaking out on my cheeks due to the poor air quality and high level of pollution. My aesthetician can also tell when I’ve just been sick or am about to get sick based on the area right above my brows. I don’t know about you, but I find it all very fascinating! Besides just being an interesting topic, educating yourself about face mapping can actually help to clear up your skin. Once you’ve identified what’s causing your acne, it’s easier to prevent it. While some causes are unavoidable (monthly hormone swings, for instance), diet and lifestyle changes can definitely help to clear up your skin.

1. FOREHEAD. Breakouts across the forehead are often triggered by stress or sleep deprivation. Make sure to get 7 to 9 hours of beauty rest a night to keep your forehead clear.

2. ABOVE THE BROW. The area above the brow is affected by your immune system. Breakouts here tend to happen right before, after, or during a cold or flu. If you notice a breakout in this zone, slow down for a couple days, drink plenty of water and eat immune boosting foods.

3. BETWEEN BROWS. Breakouts between the brows can be caused by overindulgence of unhealthy foods or a food allergy. Cutting back on sugar, dairy, rich foods, and alcohol can help clear up skin in this zone.

4. CHEEKS. Your cheeks are linked to your respiratory system. Smoking or breathing polluted air can cause breakouts here.

5. SIDE OF CHIN. The sides of your chin are affected by hormones. Breakouts here occur around the time of your period and happen on one side or another depending which ovary is ovulating that month.

20 Surprising Things That Are Damaging Your Skin

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1. TOO MUCH CHLORINE

Your post-pool routine is vital when it comes to your skin. Chlorine can stick to your skin, even after you bath, and react with topical medications, cleansers, and even lotions. In order to successfully remove chlorine, always use an extra sudsy soap after you go for a swim.

 2. SLEEPING WITH YOUR MAKE-UP ON

NEVER, I repeat, NEVER fall asleep with your make-up on. This is a recipe for bacterial infections and clogged pores, which can lead to acne. In addition, the residue that remains on your pillow can even make you sick. An easy way to remember this- keep makeup removing wipes next to your bed so you’ll be reminded nightly to remove damaging makeup.

 3. DRINKING COFFEE

Caffeine is a major felon when it comes to dry skin and increasing wrinkles. Stimulate your skin by drinking lots of water. Add fruits slices like orange or lemon to enhance the flavor.

 4. POPPING PIMPLES

Picking at the skin on your face will only dirt and bacteria deeper into your pores, causing more breakouts.

 5. SKIPPING MEALS

Skipping meals can cause skin to age fast and dry out more quickly. Always try to include vitamins C (oranges), B3 (peanuts), E (avocados), and A (sweet potatoes) in your meals to increase your skin’s health.

 6. LONG, HOT SHOWERS

Although a steamy, hot shower is great every once in a while, it actually strips away the outermost layer of the epidermis, which leads to scaly and dry skin. When your skin starts to turn red and itch in the shower, you know its time to step out.

 7. NOT DRINKING ENOUGH WATER

Hydrating yourself daily will not only help to fight off aging, but also give your skin a healthy glow. If your skipping the water, you’ll be stick with rough and ‘shrunken’ skin.

 8. TALKING ON THE PHONE

Long chats on your phone can lead to breakouts and rashes along your jawline and cheek. Make sure to keep antibacterial wipes with you to keep your phone (and skin) clean.

9. WEARING DIRTY SUNGLASSES

When it comes to your regular spectacles or sunglasses, don’t forget to wipe them clean. Bacteria that builds up on your glasses can get into the pores around the bridge of your nose, causing breakouts and irritation.

 10. YO-YO DIET

Consistent yo-yo dieting can negatively impact your skin: Frequent weight gain and loss can cause the fibers in your skin to loosen over time, creating stretch marks and sag.

11. NOT ENOUGH SLEEP

Getting the recommended eight hours of sleep a night will not only keep you looking refreshed, but it will also replenish and rehydrate skin. Lacking on sleep can cause dull skin and clogged pores.

 12. EATING TOO MUCH SODIUM

Excess sodium in your diet can suck the moisture out of skin, leaving it dry and dull. To avoid this, cut back on salty treats and invest in a hydrating facial moisturizer.

 13. CHEMICALS IN THE WATER

Surprisingly your shower head can be another culprit for dry skin. With all the purifying agents used to filter public water, chemical build up on skin over time is very common. Invest in a shower head filter to fight off dry skin caused by chlorine and other elements.

 14. DIRTY PILLOWCASES

At night your skin gets a chance to rest and shed its dead cells. Those dead cells can build up over time on your pillowcase, leaving behind bacteria and toxins. In order to keep skin healthy, make sure you change your pillowcase at least once every two weeks.

 15. EXFOLIATING TOO OFTEN

Over-exfoliating your skin can strip it of its necessary oils it needs to maintain your natural glow. Exfoliate you skin just once a week to keep it healthy.

 16. STRESS

Consider stress the heavyweight knockout when it comes to your skin. Not only can it cause blemishes, dullness, and rashes, but stress lines from facial movements will also ingrain in your skin over time. To avoid stress, take time to do something you enjoy like yoga, reading, or cooking.

 17. SUGAR OVERLOAD

When you intake too much sugar, it hurts the collagen nestled in your skin, leaving you with sag. Overcome your sweet tooth with organic fruits like pineapple or mango.

 18. NOT ENOUGH EXERCISE

Exercise helps increase blood flow and gives your face a healthy glow. Additionally, it cleans the body of toxins, which are expelled during perspiration, and cleanses dead skin cells allowing new ones to grow. Without regular exercise you may see an increase in age spots.

 19. TOO MUCH AC

Instead of cranking up the cool air, turn your air conditioner down to give your skin extra moisture. If your cooling unit is always on full speed, you’re stripping the air of humidity and moisture your skin needs.

 20. THE PLASTIC ON YOUR DRY-CLEANED CLOTHES

To avoid skin irritation, take the plastic off your dry cleaning as soon as you get home, allowing the clothes to breath. The longer the plastic stays on your threads, the more skin-harming chemicals that are absorbed.