Shopping Locally: Invigorating Espresso Scrub

I’ll admit it; I’m a die-hard coffee junkie. The smell, the taste, the color, all the possibilities, I want them all and I want them now. So, it’s only fitting that I would be in love with an espresso scrub. I received this scrub from Terra Luna Beauty, as a gift, quite some time ago, and I have loved it from the moment I saw it, I guess love at first sight is real, who would have thought.

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You’ll be begging for a coffee break with this scrub! The gritty espresso grounds are a great exfoliant and the peppermint oil is a refreshing surprise for your skin. With the harshness of the scrub the peppermint really helps to soothe your skin, along with the shea butter and Aloe Vera. This scrub is loaded with an abundance of hydrating, soothing and repairing ingredients.

  • Green tea
  • Coconut oil
  • Tea tree oil
  • Jojoba oil

Just to name a few, there are plenty more where that came from, in the small jar packed to the brim with this amazing scrub. I say small because the jar is only 9oz. However, it has lasted me forever; I have had it for almost a year now and it doesn’t even look like I made a dent. This may be because I only use the scrub on my face once a week. I’m sure if you used it more frequently or as a body scrub, you would run out much faster than me, but I have found that I love using it as a facial scrub and personally, once a week does the trick for me.

Another reason I love this scrub is because it comes from a local and ethical company. Terra Luna Beauty is a Detroit based skincare company. I love supporting my local stores, even if I don’t live there any more I know that my money is going towards a great company and I try to support local brands and companies wherever I am.

Their products are cruelty free and mindful to our bodies and our environment. All of their products are guaranteed to be:

  • Organic 
  • Cruelty-Free(certified by the Leaping Bunny Program)
  • Fair-Trade
  • Handmade
  • Paraben-Free
  • Vegan(All products are 100% plant based)

Terra Luna donates 10% of their profits to independent animal rescue programs. I love companies that give back, because then I feel like I am also helping to support those charities and programs as well by buying from a company that supports them.

This month I challenge you to find at least one locally made product, wherever you may be, that you love. It can be beauty, skincare, or even food! Anything that can help to support our local businesses, and feel free to share them with me too!

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Restaurant Snapshot: Blossom du Jour New York, NY

I happened upon Blossom du Jour, by complete accident one day. I was early meeting a friend for lunch and she wasn’t ready yet, so I decided to walk around the block while I waited. It’s a good thing I did too, because as I looped around the block aimlessly, I stumbled upon this quaint little restaurant.

Blossom du Jour is a small chain of vegan fast food restaurants in New York City. It has a super chill vibe to it and a wide selection of food to choose from, with some great gluten free options as well. It can be hard at times to be gluten free as well as vegan. My choices can be very limited seeing as many vegans can have gluten, and a lot of vegan foods at restaurants do contain gluten, which can be a bummer. Anyway like I was saying, they have quite a few GF options for me to choose from.

I ordered the burrito and was pleasantly surprised at how good it was. Mind you, I have not had a burrito in a very long time because most places do not have a GF tortilla/wrap large enough for a burrito. So, this burrito may very well have just been good and not as amazing as I thought it was, since I had sort of forgotten what they taste like. Update, they are pretty damn good. Man, I have missed burritos. The burrito had vegan cheese and vegan sour cream, both of which were great and tasted very similar to, and just as good, their dairy counterparts.

I also opted to add avocado, which was really good, but was around two dollars extra. However, I was not aware of this upon ordering. The girl at the counter asked if I would like to add avocado to my burrito and I was all, heck yeah I do without thinking to ask how much it would be. I thought maybe a dollar or so, but boy, was I wrong. While I really liked the addition of the avocado in the burrito, next time I would definitely go without it. It was creamy enough with the cheese and sour cream and didn’t really need the extra creaminess added from the avocado. The rest of the ingredients were pretty standard rice, beans, salsa and corn, all the ingredients you would expect to find in a burrito, but like I said it was good.

I was so impressed by my first visit to Blossom du Jour that I ended up going there for lunch again the next week. This time I ordered the GF beet burger. This burger was served on GF sliced bread, which I thought was a bit weird at first, but the bread was really good. It was dense and flavorful, and I really enjoyed it. I would have enjoyed it more with a sandwich or as toast, opposed to a burger bun, but I got over it. The burger was a beet patty with vegan horseradish mayo lettuce and tomato. Overall I liked the burger as well, but I am in a desperate search for the best gluten free, vegan burger and sadly this was not it. It was good, but I would have preferred an actual bun and the burger was a bit too mushy for my liking. If anyone has any suggestions, please send them my way, like I said I’m desperate.

The restaurant also has salads, bowls, burgers, smoothies and shakes. Everything looked and sounded amazing.

I am especially intrigued by the shakes, I can’t tell you the last time I had a milk shake and it sounds really good.

I am really excited that I stumbled upon this place and am looking forward to going back again soon to try out more of the amazing and delicious food they have to offer.

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Coffee Or Tea: The Great Caffeine Debate

I have been trying to drink less coffee as of late, shocker I know, but hear me out. I love coffee, but I don’t need all that caffeine and not to mention the fact that coffee dehydrates you. I am not giving up caffeine, but I am choosing to drink tea with less caffeine than coffee, for the most part. I need all the water and hydrating drinks I can get, especially with this nice weather as it is getting closer to summer. Unfortunately I can tell the different between caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee, and I don’t like the decaf, sorry, but I just don’t. So in lieu of my new life choice, I have been trying to drink more tea, hot, iced, latte and lukewarm, you name it, I’ve tried it.

I do like tea and I always have, but I want to find tea that I love the way I love coffee. I do love a good chai and green tea latte, but those are mostly milk based and I am trying to drink less milk. If I am drinking tea, I would like to reap the full benefits of the tea and not muck it up with milk. I do realize adding milk to tea doesn’t counter act the health benefits of tea, but it does make it a bit less healthy and a bit more fattening than if I just had plain old tea leaves and water.

Keeping that in mind, I bought some tea to drink at home; one because it gave me an excuse to go shopping, even if it was just for tea, and two, because I wanted to try out some more unique blends at home. Unfortunately I don’t live near any tea shops that I can go to on a regular basis to try out new teas. Currently I just have basic coffee shops that have the regular, green, black and herbal tea.

Excuse me for wanting more variety and excitement with my tea choices, the things I find exciting in life, might be a bit strange, but it’s my life and my tea.

So I bought a variety of teas to taste test. I bought all loose leaf tea, mostly because I like the taste of it better. I find it to be fresher and more flavorful than the tea that comes in the bags. Also, as an added bonus, it is waste free since the tea leaves can be composted and you aren’t throwing away the bag and string from your used tea bag that comes with most conventional tea.

Also you get to buy a cute, or not cute, tea infuser. This helps you to brew your tea more easily so you can remove the leaves out of your tea after it is done brewing, mess free.

Anyway I found a few teas that I have been loving, which are:

I have also hunted down a few tea shops that I like to frequent when I am out on the town. I realize that just made me sound like a sixty year old woman, with five cats, but I can assure you I don’t own any cats and I promise I do also frequent the local bars and hot spots. But who doesn’t love a good cup of tea every once and a while, am I right?

David’s Tea and Argo Tea are my two favorite places to go get tea, when I don’t feel like making it at home, or I just feel like going out and buying some tea, dammit, then walking to the nearest park to read a good book and drink my tea.

Ooh that sounds pretty great, excuse me while I go do that.

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DIY: Coffee and Brown Sugar Body Scrub

Lately I have been loving making/trying to make my own beauty products. Not only is it cheaper to make my own products, it also gives me a feeling of accomplishment that I am making something that is healthy and good for me.

Another reason I really like making some of my own products is that it is helping me with my goal to start living a more zero waste lifestyle. Since I am not buying these products anymore, I am not throwing away the packaging that these products come in. Sure you can recycle, but most packaging cannot be recycled and not having any paper or plastic packaging at all, whether recycled or thrown away, is still and will always be the best alternative.

Now, I am not making every single beauty product that I use, nor am I going to for a while. This is true for multiple reasons, one of which is that I don’t know how to make all of them right now, and because it is a lot of trial and error to figure out what recipes you like and what works for you. You may have to go through quite a few experiments until you find the right one that works for you.

At the moment I am just enjoying getting my feet wet and trying out something new. Who knows, in the future I may be making all my own health and beauty care products and selling them at the local farmers market, or I may still be making a select few personal items and buying the rest. The point is that I am trying, and that I’m having some fun in the process.

One of the easiest and best things, in my personal opinion, to start making first is body scrub.

Body scrub can get to be really expensive and they all seem to come in small plastic squeeze bottles that you can never quite get all the products out of, and are not recyclable, by the way.

They are filled with artificial and unhealthy fragrances and perfumes. Not to mention the ones that are psychedelically colored, to be a rad blue or a gorgeous green. Hello, nothing is actually that color. Also when they smell too good to be true, and you all know what I mean, they probably are.

I love the smell of coffee, so naturally I decided to make a coffee body scrub and seeing as that I am a bit lazy, when it comes to making things this is super easy too.

What you will need:

  • 1/2-cup olive oil
  • 2/3-cup brown sugar
  • 6-Tbsp. coffee grounds (fresh or used, it really doesn’t matter)
  • 1/2-Tsp. cinnamon

What you do:

  • Mix all ingredients until well-combined and then place it in a reusable jar, such as a mason jar, then store it in your bathroom or shower.
  • Yes, I promise it is that simple.

If you like the smell of coffee and having skin as soft as a baby, I highly recommend that you try out this scrub. I love it and I hope you do too.

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Hemp Seeds, Are They Worth The Hype?

What are hemp seeds, you might be asking? It sounds an awful lot like marijuana, and you would be right, well sort of.

Hemp seeds are from the same species as cannabis, but they only contain trace amounts of tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC; for us smaller minded folk, the compound that causes the drug-like effects of marijuana. So if you were looking for a cheap and legal, in all states, way to get high, you have come to the wrong place my friend.

This article is about the nutritious and health benefits of hemp seeds, commonly known as hemp hearts, which contain healthy fats, minerals and protein. They are a great addition to your every day, healthy diet.

Hemps seeds almost remind me of sesame seeds in texture and appearance, but they have a bit of a nutty flavor that slightly reminds me of pine nuts.

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I use hemp seeds in my smoothies, on top of pasta or stirred into a stir-fry, see what I did there, stirred into a stir fry, pretty punny if I do say so myself. I also put it on top of my salads for an added crunch. Quite honestly, you can “literally,” and I do “literally,” put that shit on everything.

Hemp seeds are a super easy and relatively inexpensive way for me to add protein, fiber and essential fatty acids to my diet with a quick sprinkle, dash or teaspoonful, of those little buggers on one to two of my meals per day.

Nutritional Uses and Benefits of Hemp Seeds

  • Hemp seeds contain over 30% fat.
  • They are rich omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids.
  • Hemp seeds are also a great source of vitamin E and minerals such as phosphorus, potassium, sodium, magnesium, sulfur, calcium, iron and zinc
  • Hemp seeds can be consumed raw, cooked or roasted.
  • Hemp seed oil is also very healthy and can be used in food, medicine, and body care products.

Great Source of Plant-Based Protein

  • About 25% of the calories in hemp seeds come from protein.
  • 30 grams, or 2–3 tablespoons, of hemp seeds provide about 11 grams of protein.
  • Hemp Seeds are considered a complete protein source, which means that they provide all the essential amino acids.
    • Essential amino acids are not produced in the body and need to be supplemented in your diet.
  • The digestibility of hemp protein is also very good.

May Reduce the Risk of Heart Disease

  • Hemp seeds are a great source of arginine and gamma-linolenic acid, which have been linked with a reduced risk of heart disease.
  • Additionally, animal studies have shown that hemp seeds may reduce blood pressure, decrease the risk of blood clot formation and help the heart recover after a heart attack.

Along with being nutritious and beneficial to our health, hemp seeds also have other great properties that make them worth your while to try.

  • Hemp seeds are a known natural appetite suppressant and can help you feel full longer.
  • Hemp seeds are high in fiber and help aid in digestive health, and keep you regular, if you know what I mean. 
  • Hemp seed oil is very beneficial for your skin and hair. Hemp oil can help to improve dry, red, and flaky skin. You can find it in lip balm, lotions and soap.

I hope that this article inspires, even just a few people, to pick up a bag of hemp seeds the next time they are out at the grocery store and give them a try. I swear you won’t be disappointed, and if you are, then just send your partially used bag on over to me, I would greatly appreciate it.

As in all great works of art, we can’t always do it all on our own, so here are a few links to sites that I collected data and information from, during my research process of this article.

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