Hi!

It has been a long long time. A lot has happened, a lot has changed. Cliff notes version: I had my second child, and he is over 18 months old (whaaaat!?), we moved back to the midwest, and we bought our first home. It’s been amazing and hard and so many other emotions at the same time. I wanted to write here to check-in and say hello (I don’t think there’s anyone really here anyways). I started this blog with lot of big ideas and dreams and I still have them, but as I said, a lot has changed. There’s a big change coming quite soon (hopefully on the quite soon part) and I’m not sure what that means for this little space of mine on the web, but I can’t wait to share when it’s time.

It’s a Friday night (well Saturday morning at this point) and I should be in bed, so here’s a drink to that <3

Five Things Friday

  1. Travel. I am not traveling too far, but this weekend I am headed to Pittsburgh for a PT continuing education course. I am so excited for it. It’s a continuation course of the foundations that Julie Wiebe teaches about the piston system and pelvic+women’s health. Since I haven’t been practicing in several months it will be really nice to have my PT hat and brain fully on for two days. And anytime I can hear Julie talk and learn from her I will. 
  2. Nervousness. With the course this weekend I’m actually spending 4 days in Pittsburgh. Dustin is joining me on Saturday and we’re going to explore the city a bit after my course is over for a couple days. I’m not nervous about that, but I am nervous (but excited also) because I am dropping off my little guy at Dustin’s parents on Friday and this will be the longest I’ve been away from him since he was born almost 16 months ago. It will be very nice to have the time away to just relax and hang out with Dustin especially, but I already feel like I’m missing my little guy and he’s not even gone yet. It’s a constant swing of emotions for sure. 
  3. Trying something new. I have been experimenting with different lipstick colors this week and it’s been fun. It’s pretty amazing how adding a pop of color to your lips/face can change your whole mood. The colors I’ve been experimenting with are from Beautycounter’s holiday collection, the lip intense set. And let me tell you, they can definitely be intense (but in a good way)! I need to work better on coordination g that color not not with my other makeup but my outdoor bit either way it’s been fun. I love the way they feeel on my lips, super moisturizing and glide on so smoothly, and they’re longer lasting than the traditional lip sheers. Also a lot of makeup and lipstick have heavy metals/lead in them and Beautycounter does third party testing to verify that their formulations are heavy metal free and so I love getting the pop of color and not having to worry about what is in the lip stick that I may be ingesting while wearing it.  
  4. Little kicks. My little guy #2 is mover just like his brother. I love feeling the kicks (except when it’s to my bladder) all throughout my day. It really just is amazing. 
  5. Over-thinker. I posted this on my Instagram and it’s just so true. I overthink and analyze everything. Especially my interactions with others. I hate thinking that I can word awkward or weird or made someone feel an emotion I wouldn’t want to feel and then I fret about it. It’s something I try to work on knowing that I can’t please everyone and sometimes unfortunately things just don’t come out right, but I’m human and it’s pretty common, so there’s that too. It’s nice to know you’re not alone with how you function even though we’re all so different. But either way I saw this post today and I just love when simple and semi-comical memes explain how I feel so well.  

I hope you have a wonderful weekend! What are your favorite places to visit in Pittsburgh? If you have any recommendations for things to do, see or eat send them my way! 
<3- Brittany 

2nd Trimester and Self-Care

I just started my third trimester last week <<insert multiple shocked face emojis>>. I cannot believe it. I’m not sure where the time went! The second trimester is characteristically known as the period in your pregnancy when you feel the best. Morning sickness is normally gone, you’re not so big that you’re crazy uncomfortable, etc. This was definitely the case for me when I was pregnant with my first, this time around though, it hasn’t been near as comfortable.

I get some right low back/SI discomfort in general (but very infrequently) whether I’m pregnant or not. But, while pregnant, with all the hormones and body changes along with added weight and however my little guy decides to move/lay around one day versus the next I get it frequently and quite intense at times. This occurred in my first pregnancy also and would really limit my activity (mostly in the third trimester), but this time around it came on quicker, happen more often, and is more intense. Yay. This is quite a bummer especially when you have to chase around a toddler all day, but it’s made me be more intentional with my self-care and comfort measures.

Don’t get me wrong, I still do have a lot of really good days and I have still been able to workout pretty comfortably 1-2x/week and do lots of trips and such, it just is a noticeable difference from the first time around.

I decided to round up my favorite products, self-care practices, etc. for my second trimester. They have definitely helped me and maybe they can help you or a pregnant mama in your life!

1.Pregnancy pillow  Ι 2.Natural Calm Ι 3. Yeti water/drink Tumbler Ι 4. PLO Belly Blossom Serum + Beautycounter Citrus Mimosa Body Lotion Ι 5. Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides Ι 6. Hypnobirthing Tracks Ι 7. Spinning Babies website  Ι 8.Massage(s)
  1. Pregnancy pillow : This has been a life-saver for me from early on in my second trimester. Like I said my lowback/SI has giving me fits sooner and this is part of what keeps me okay when I start out every morning. It really helps to keep me comfortable no matter which way I turn, and the first time around it was hard to get rid of it post-partum because it’s so comfortable – but I had a baby to snuggle then, so it made it easier. The pillow I bought is Bumpnest brand (I got it when I was pregnant with my first), but it is no longer being made -which actually makes me really sad because I wanted to get a new cover for it. The snoogle is very similar to mine and gets great reviews.
  2. Natural Calm : I love using this supplement as a night-cap, it has magnesium which in general (blanket statement) we tend to be deficient or close to deficient on. Magnesium, which is what’s in epsom salts if you use those for relaxation or tired muscles during a bath, does just that, but I don’t have to try to get myself in my tiny tub for a bath and it helps me sleep. You just mix 1-2tsp with a couple ounces of hot water and then you can add more water or just drink the small amount (I do the latter). I personally like the unflavored version (there’s flavored versions, but they have a sweetner and I don’t like how that makes it taste). It can also help with regularity if ya know what I mean, so make sure to not over-do it too soon with how much you use. 
  3. Yeti water/drink tumbler : Water, water, water. If you’ve been pregnant before you know you need to drink alot of water, like a lot. I like my water chilled the best, so having this large 30oz tumbler that I can re-fill throughout the day is great. I aim to go through atleast 3 full tumbler’s a day.
  4. PLO Belly Blossom Serum + Beautycounter Citrus Mimosa Body Lotion : I’ve felt like I’ve “popped” a lot quicker and sooner with this little guy. I think that’s a common sentiment from second time moms. Stretch marks often have to do a lot with genetics, but if I can help to decrease the onset and severity of them, I mean why not!? The first time around I used just the belly blossom serum from maybe later in my second trimester till my little guy was born. This time around I’ve been using both the serum and Beautycounter’s body lotion for my not only my growing belly, but arms and legs too. I side on the side of very dry while pregnant and the extra moisture from both has been wonderful. I love the smell of them. I use both the serum and lotion before bed, concentrating the serum on the places most likely to get stretch marks and then use just Beautycounter’s lotion during the daytime. It has been wonderful when I’m feeling a little dry and itchy over my stomach in the middle of the day.
  5. Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides : This one goes along with #4 and this is a supplement I use pregnant or not, I’ve just been intentional about upping my consumption while pregnant. Collagen has many benefits, but specifically for skin it can help restore the moisture and improve the elasticity, tone and vibrancy. It also is an added dose of protein. The powder mixes easily in to any liquid (hot or cold) has no flavor or change in the texture of the drink. I love adding it to my morning tea or coffee. I try to add it in daily, but probably get closer to 4-5x/week. There are bunches of brands out there that sell collagen but so far of the ones I’ve tried I like this one best.
  6. Spinning Babies website : I knew about this website back with my first pregnancy, but did not do the recommended movements to help with baby positioning and comfort very much/often. I have no idea if doing the movements would have changed anything about my labor, but I figure this time around mise-well do all I can to try and prevent another 36-hr, back-labor experience. And in general, keeping moving and doing stretches will only benefit me now especially with the discomfort I have been getting. They’ve greatly improved their website from when I was pregnant the first time around so that’s nice. It’s a good website to check out even if you don’t have too many aches and pains while pregnant, lots of good info on it about things you can do while in labor also. 
  7. Hypnobirthing tracks : Dustin and I took a hypnobirthing prep class last time around and while I wasn’t able to really get in to “hypnosis” and breath through the contractions (of back labor) like they show in so many of their birth videos, listening to the tracks was still helpful. What I’m using the tracks for right now is actually to help me sleep! That’s not really the point of the tracks, you are supposed to be awake during the whole track, just in a state of “hypnosis” and then come back out at the end, but starting them while I’m in bed has allowed me to turn my brain off from thinking about everything I did that day and need to do the next and relax in to sleep. I concentrate on the words of the tracks instead of my own thoughts and it has been a big help. I’m also planning to practice this at times when I don’t plan to fall asleep more often so that hopefully this time around I can use this method during labor and transition more effectively.
  8. Massage(s) : These have been essential for helping with my low back and SI soreness. I’ve only gotten one from an actual massage therapist, all the others have come from my wonderful hubby, but I will most likely get one or two more done professionally before #2 arrives. Some nights I feel like I won’t be able to walk the next day and movement of my legs sends a jolt through my pelvis and almost tears to my eyes, but a combination of applying the serum & lotion before bed, listening to the tracks, and a gentle massage helps to ease my discomfort and I am so so grateful.

Hope everyone had a lovely weekend!

<3 – Brittany

Five Things Friday

1. Slow mornings. I bought a new coffee creamer + collagen, gingerbread flavor (you may have seen it on my instagram). I combined 1 scoop of it + nutpods pumpkin spice creamer + a smidge of maple syrup in my decaf coffee. It’s divine. I’m enjoying the quiet and a nice warm drink before my little guy wakes up.

2. Little baby kicks. Baby boy #2 is growing and I can definitely tell. I feel him a lot now and his rolling and kicking (as long as it’s not my bladder) brings a smile to face every time.

3. Toddler adventures in teething. My little guy is teething and it’s been a rough week for him. All in all he’s done really well, but I tried to workout 2x and he was not having me being away from him. I was able to get in a workout yesterday but the mom guilt of knowing he was upset on/off while I was out in the gym was not great. I was glad to get it in and done and I know it helped my mood the rest of the day which in the long run is better for him, which I keep telling myself, but I still feel bad. Sometimes you can’t truly win.

4. The First Forty Days, The Essential Art of Nourishing the New Mother. I have been really enjoying slowly going through this book. The author has a wonderful perspective on postpartum health and healing that brings in a lot of ideas from her background/heritage but also takes in to account the modern mama and what we’re up against with societal pressures. I plan to do a recap/review once I’ve worked my way through it all. For now I’ll leave you with a quote in the section about accepting and celebrating your postpartum body that I especially loved.
.

5. A new lamp. The little things are helping each day. Right now we are living in transition in a small apartment and a lot of our belongings are still in boxes on various walls throughout. Our bedroom is actually very spacious but it only has one small-ish window and it’s not facing east or west (I think it’s facing north, but I am terrible with direction so don’t quote me on that). We have one tall lamp in the room, but had to move it closer to the window at the far side of the room because of where the outlet that’s connected to the light switch is and where boxes are stacked. I’m fine with it being a bit darker in the mornings and evenings when the sun is rising and setting, but during the day it was still quite dark and I need light. Sunlight is best, but if I can’t get that I crave at least some sort of light and brightness. Well, I was at Target and finally just bought a lamp to sit on my dresser in a different part of the room. It’s not big, it wasn’t expensive and I think it’s cute and that we will be able to repurpose to fit in somewhere whenever we do move, but either way, the extra light it provides makes my heart happy every time I turn it on.

Happy Friday 🙂

<3 – Brittany

Travel, family, & finding my flow

I’ve been trying to take advantage of this time being off work. I know that it won’t last forever, and while I honestly do not have plans to go back to work full-time, going back to work even a couple days a week is such a big difference. It’s a big difference in how you have to use time management, in communicating with your spouse, in play-time, in working on passion projects, in parenting, in self-care time, in everything. It’s amazing how much your perspective on the time you have each day and what you want to do/fit in changes when you know your some of your days will be completely taken up by a job versus when it’s just your time. And I mean I’m a mom, so it’s not completely “my time”, but I don’t have to do anything all day, and while I’m constantly plagued by the thoughts of things I should be doing to work on my passion projects, I’m trying to not let them overtake me and make me guilty. I work on them, but I also try to just sit (or run & play) and enjoy the moments with my little guy while it’s just me and him.

 

Park play-time
Another way I’ve been taking advantage of not working is trips back to Ohio to spend with family. My middle sister used to live on the East Coast (actually we lived together for just about a year and a half), but now she’s hopped over the pond and I miss her and getting to be around family even more. I’ve been balancing being here in MD taking in the moments as a family of three, but also spending longer weekends/weeks back in Ohio.

-Helping Grammie shop--Cousin play-time-
-Hanging out before bedtime checking out all his cousins fun new toys-

This past weekend we made the trek back to Ohio for a very short, but very fun weekend spending some time with Dustin’s family and then friends from college watching and celebrating an amazing Buckeyes win. Little guy got to spend they day with Dustin’s parents and we got some grownup time with old friends, win-win! We don’t get to get together often, but every time we do I just can’t believe how lucky we are to have such a great group of friends.

 

It was so funny being back on campus and seeing all the changes (but still some old haunts still there) and reminiscing with them, but also feeling so old compared to all the younger undergrads stumbling around. Also, trying to fit through a very crowded bar with an almost 7 months pregnant belly – not the easiest, I kept having to apologize for bumping in to people (mostly with my belly) because no matter which way I turned I couldn’t “get smaller” to squeeze between them. It was funny and semi-embarrassing all at the same time. We had talked about going home for the game several weeks ago, but it wasn’t decided until pretty much last week, so it was semi-impromptu, but I’m so glad we did. It was huge game, one where we were the team that got upset last year, so getting to watch it down in Columbus, even not being at the stadium was phenomenal. We got super lucky and were able to stake out and get the end section of World of Beer with couches and chairs to watch the game, so we had comfy seating, weren’t all squished together and getting bumped in to all day, food and beverages whenever we wanted them, and the atmosphere of Columbus. It was perfect (well Dustin would say it would have been better had we been at The Shoe, but for me, it was perfect).

Then to top it all off we came back in the 4th quarter and won by 1-point. Absolutely crazy and The. Best. Ever. Go Bucks! I also got to meet up quickly with two good friends from my sorority towards the end of the evening. Icing on the cake. It has been great to get to do these trips (this one shorter than some of my others since Dustin came also, but still so good) and I’m so glad I’ve been able to do this, but the travel is definitely wearing on me, and I’m so glad to have a weekend here in MD just doing nothing/whatever we want coming up.

With all this travel I’ve not found a good rhythm or flow for balancing all the other things I want to work on, this blog included. I gave myself a goal of blogging 2x/week and it’s happened a couple times, but not nearly as much as I would have hoped for. I’m not beating myself up over it, but I am trying to re-commit to it and figuring out how it fits in to my long-term goals. Part of blogging is figuring out what to blog about. It should be easy, but sometimes I feel like there’s so much I want to say that I don’t know where to start and so I just don’t. I want to write about what’s going on in my life, but also give information and education regarding women’s health/pelvic health because it’s a passion, but finding the balance and how to intersect them is a work in progress. I’m planning to start weaving in some pelvic health stuff with pregnancy info because it’s my life right now and I just love it all. I’m also getting more into Beautycounter and working on a program to build on and/or have as an adjunct to what I do in PT, so just a lot of moving parts and thoughts in my head.

What are your favorite ways to stay on track/organized? What would you like to see more of on here? I am definitely open to suggestions! Hope everyone’s week is going well so far!

 

<3 – Brittany

Five Things Friday: Pelvic Health Edition

I decided to switch it up this Friday and do my list on one of my favorite topics – Pelvic Health

Five things you may not know about {your} pelvic health:

1. Did you know your pelvic floor is a main component of your core? Also, side caveat, everyone has a pelvic floor – it is not an exclusive body part to women :). Continuing on… when most people think about core the first thing they think of is the abdominals and while yes they are apart of the core they are far from the whole story. You can think of your core as a canister, pop can or even a pistoning system (stick with me on this one). It is comprised of four main parts, the pelvic floor muscles, the deep abdominals (transverse abdominus aka TrA or TA), the diaphragm and your deep spinal muscles (multifidus). So while the abdominals are important, if you want a really healthy, fully working, well-oiled-machine of a core you need to look at all the parts. This especially includes your pelvic floor muscles and your diaphragm.

Image from Girls Gone Strong Post

2. This takes me to point two. How you breathe is vital to your pelvic health. Ever watch a baby/toddler/young kid breathe (that has no medical problem)? It’s pretty much all from the stomach. No large chest or shoulder movement when they breathe. It’s how we all naturally breathed in and out every day. It is very common, especially in women nowadays to have little no movement in your stomach when you breathe and even have trouble to get your stomach to move with your breath. It can take practice. Unfortunately the impact of societal pressures of always looking your best, trying to be smaller, don’t let your stomach show, etc. etc. has been awful for the natural movement and breathing pattern our body needs to function properly. See the gif below from Burrell Education’s website, it’s one of my favs.

 Source above

This is showing how our core system works together seamlessly with each breath we take in and out. With an inhale our diaphragm extends down in to our chest cavity causing a natural descent of the pelvic floor muscles and expansion of our abdominals (due to our spine there’s not a lot of movement “back” of the deep spinal muscles, but there is some). Then with exhale the diaphragm returns up in to the chest, the abdominal muscles and pelvic floor muscles pull in slightly. The piston system make a little more sense now? With relaxed breathing neither the inhale or the exhale movements are very large, but they’re vital. If you spend all-day every-day holding your stomach in breathing out of your chest you are losing out on the natural stretch and recoil that your deep core system/muscles need. Add in life stressors that make getting in to a normal breathing pattern even harder.

3. If you are experiencing an issue related to your pelvic floor (e.g. pee a little – or a lot – when you cough, sneeze or laugh, leak a little -or a lot – trying to hold back going to the bathroom with all your might, going to bathroom ump-teen times a day, feel a heaviness in your pelvic area, have some discomfort – or a lot -in your pelvic region with daily activities or intercourse, etc.) this isn’t somethings that’s “normal” just because you’re a women and maybe you had a child or 2 or 3 or 4…. It’s your body telling you that somethings not working right together. Spoiler alert – and you don’t have to live with it. Whether you’ve had a baby or not if you’re experiencing these issues and a doctor brushes you off because you’ve had a child or because you’re a women or because you “just need to relax more”, find a new doctor. Period. This is not okay and you should not be treated that way by a medical provider. I’ve said it before, I’ll say it agin, I’ll say it over and over again. Common does not equal normal. A shameless plug for my profession there is more and more research coming out that conservative measures, specifically Physical Therapy/Physiotherapy is super effective and should be in the first line of treatment. Ask your doctor about it, be an advocate for yourself. The pelvic health specialty is gaining more traction so it’s getting easier to find a PT that may be able to help you!

4. So while both men and women have pelvic floor’s this point is specifically for women. So men, if you’re reading this you may want to skip over it, but maybe not – I think it’s important for both sexes to know about the other, but I also love pelvic health, so my viewpoint may be skewed from a lot of peoples. Maybe. Did you know your vagina is like a self-cleaning oven? Yes I said the “V” word. It’s a normal part of our anatomy, it’s a part of our body. You may not be comfortable with saying it, and that’s okay, but I have no problem saying it, it’s just a body part. Yes, I may still get a little rosey in the face time to time discussing female or male anatomy and other things and issues related to it, but I am a show it in my face, highly emotional person, so even though I am very fine with talking about and saying the correct terms for the nether region body parts, old habits and tendencies die hard. I’m not embarrassed personally to be talking about it, but I know it can make others uncomfortable and it can come through on my face whether I want it to or not. Back to the point at hand. I completely understand wanting to make sure you are being clean and preventing excess bacteria and such from entering your vulvar and vaginal area, but you do not need to wash/clean/douche/etc your vagina. This can actually do more harm than good by upsetting the bacteria in your vagina and making your more likely to have issues. If you feel the need to “wash” up just rinse with warm water over the area is all you need to do.

5. Lastly, a more general tidbit. Pelvic health is important at every age. Pelvic health issues aren’t just reserved for women who have had babies. Pelvic health issues affect both men and women across the lifespan. From when we are little to when we are old. Creating good toileting habits from when we are just learning to control our bladder and bowel systems are crazy important. Then with going to school and the issue of creating schedules around using the bathroom or anxiety of using the bathroom in public. Adding in childhood sports, body image issues, overuse and extreme athletics from a younger and younger age. In general your kid may be fine and do well with these changes, but especially in young female athletes the emerging findings of incidence of pelvic health issues is alarming. These issues often continue through this period of their life in to adulthood. Then add to it if the young female with pelvic issues eventually becomes a mother and you’ve got compounding factors and then that mother hits menopause and it continues… Going back to any person at any age, adult men are not excluded from this or even young men and boys. Pelvic health issues may not manifest in the same way as as females, but they can still happen. Into adulthood the potential for men increases just like women with changing hormones, decreasing strength, and just aging in general. So whether your 2 or 92 pelvic health is important, and it’s never too late, or too early, to start addressing it and creating better habits.

I hope you enjoyed and learned a thing or two from my post today. With me not working, going through these points are as much for me as they are for you, gotta keep the info fresh. Leave a comment or send an email with any questions related to the post. Have a good weekend!


<3 – Brittany

My current skincare routine

I am finally getting around to type up this post. I literally took the pictures of what I’m using oh about a month ago when I originally planned to do the post, whoops. And the funny thing is since I took the original photos I’ve been swapping a few things, but that’s how I do my face routine, I tend to change things out. The original pictures also make me want to paint my nails again, something I usually don’t take time to do and can’t do while the little guy is up because I smudge it easily anyways – trying to paint and chase after a toddler, ain’t no way. Continuing on…I normally have staples and a general outline that stays the same, but depending on the weather, my hormones, etc I may change a product here and there. I have found that for the past 2-3 months my skin has really improved in look and feel. I am attributing this to not only being more consistent in the products I’ve been using, using safe, high-quality products, but also a shift in my hormones from 1st to 2nd trimester. So I’m interested to see how my skin changes as my pregnancy progresses and in to postpartum period. I don’t say this to downplay the products I’m using at all, but I am aware of how much our internal body affects what goes on externally so just keeping it all in mind and in my perspective.

The past two years I’ve really overhauled not only my skincare routine but my products and the companies I buy from also. I am a sucker for aimlessly wandering the aisles of Target or Sephora or Ulta to look at all the new, fun and enticing products they have in the health and beauty aisles (and probably spending way too much money in said stores), and while I have been more conscious about my purchases and thinking about what I put on my body getting pregnant in 2015 pushed me to think even harder about these choices and research in to who was actually selling safe, natural and effective products. Anything I was putting on my body was getting absorbed and in turn could effect my unborn baby, that was a big deal to me. Also with age, I’ve really tried to be meaningful with my purchases so maybe I’m spending more on an item but if it’s high-quality and it works and it checks off the other boxes for safety, I’ll gladly pay more and buy one item instead of spending a smaller amount and buying a boat load of lesser quality products and potentially doing harm to myself in the long run. So, it’s been a slower switch with my skincare (and beauty/makeup) products then with some of my other for improved switches, but what I’m learning in the process and the companies I’m finding makes it all worth it (and the peace of mind).

One way I try to stay on top of what I’m using and not falling for false marketing/advertising is by using the EWG Skin Deep app and Think Dirty app


They both have databases (with different products that is constantly growing and changing) that list health and cleaning products in the stores to browse or you can even scan products while at stores to see their ratings. I have used EWG more so I will speak more to this one, but they are both beneficial. EWG gives an overall rating of safety for the product looking at it’s ingredients and there potential for overall hazard, cancer promoting ingredients, developmental and reproductive toxicity, allergies and immunotoxicity and use restrictions. Think dirty is very similar. They both have drawbacks with not always being updated (products are constantly changing) and not having everything, but it’s a good place to start to see what’s in what you’re using. All of Beautycounter’s products fall in the 1-3 range on the EWG scale (it goes from 1-10, 1 is the best, 10 in the worst) and it’s not by accident, it’s because of their commitment to safety and bringing you the best products they possibly can. It’s also why it takes a while for them to come out with a new product, everything is extensively tested and retested. I am a consultant for Beautycounter and an amazing perk of that is I can get products at a reduced rate along with potentially getting additional income if anyone purchases from me, but I do not get paid just to talk about the company and the products – I just love them after using them for about 1.5 years. Also, even with being a consultant I have worked my way up to adding to my personal collection of skincare regimen. It’s still a financial investment for me, discounted or not, but this is my priority. Many of my daily products are Beautycounter, but not all. I love trying new products and while I sell for BC I am all for trying other brands that meet the standards I set for my skincare products. 

On to what I’m using right now! So here is a snapshot of all the products in my general routine. I don’t use them all everyday, 2x/day. I have never been a religious wash your face everyday person (or even nightly – I know… not the best), when I get tired and want to go to bed I just want to be in bed. right. now. I feel this way about dental health too – don’t worry I do brush my teeth every night, but I’ve made an effort to make flossing and tongue scraping a regular habit where as before I never did. Along the same lines I’ve been trying to make a conscious effort since I have the resources to be kinder to my skin at the end of the day. Sometimes I do just a quick water rinse, especially if I didn’t wear makeup for the day or use a norwex cloth to wipe my face, but If I have any makeup on I use the Nourishing Cream Cleanser to wash my face. It is a coconut oil based cleanser with aloe for additional hydration and witch hazel to help tone the skin. If I’m showering before bed I use the charcoal bar because that’s what’s in my shower and the cream cleanser is in my medicine cabinet, no other reason, lol, I love both just depends on where I’m washing my face. The charcoal bar helps to detoxify and remove impurities from your skin and is a best seller. Since I side on the drier side (especially during pregnancy) I don’t use this everyday but love it a couple times a week.  Moving on, after cleansing I use Primally Pure’s everything spray. This spray took some getting used to in regards to the smell. It has ACV (apple cider vinegar) in it and it’s not crazy strong, but there’s enough of a hint of ACV that it wasn’t love at first spray by any means. Now though, I can’t get enough of this toner. The ACV balances pH and the spray also decreases inflammation, soothes and tones irritated skin and more.  I use it after cleansing and periodically throughout the day for a little pick-me-up for my skin. It has magnesium in it which is also really beneficial to get topically (and can help with relaxation and sleep!)



This is one of my “switches” I was talking about earlier. During the day or if I cleanse in the morning I may use Beautycounter + facial mist #1 (brightening + vitamin C). The most helps to reduce the appearance of age spots and brighten your complexion. It just depends on how I”m feeling for the day on which one I choose.


After letting the toner set it I use Beautycounter’s Rejuvenating Radiance Serum. I love, love, love this product. It goes on smoothly, is light and airy and feels great. The Rejuvenating line is the “Aging Gracefully” line and has additional ingredients that helps to even skin tone, reduce fine lines and wrinkles and increase hydration. Music to this mama’s ears. 


I follow up the serum with the Rejuvenating Eye Cream, because, motherhood. But seriously the skin under our eyes is super delicate and sensitive and I’m not getting any younger, so any help I can get to keep it looking young and fresh I’m all for! It helps to reduce puffinesss and smooth fine lines and wrinkles while also decreasing those pesky dark circles. The formula soaks in quick and it doesn’t bother my eyes at all.


Lastly, I have not been using a traditional moisturizer for a while now, instead I’ve been using an oil for my moisturizing. At nighttime I use Primal Life Organics C-ex Vitamin C serum and for daytime moisture I use Beautycounter’s #1 or #3 facial oil (picture of #1 is further up in the post). Oil #1 is brightening+vitamin C for intense hydration, brightening, and evens your skin tone. Oil #3 helps to restore balance, camp and soothe your skin. C-ex is a nutrient rich, highly concentrated natural oil serum that helps to nourish and revive your skin. I finish with the oil because I don’t want it to block out the eye cream or any water based moisturizer I may use. If I’m needing an extra moisture boost I may use a couple drops of the oil with a traditional water based moisturizer, but lately I haven’t needed to (first trimester I did, my face was soooo dry – I don’t remember if that happened with my first pregnancy or not).

The C-ex serum has a steep price tag, but again, I love what it has done for my face, and you don’t need much each time you use it. I have used the same bottle for about 6 months, maybe even closer to 8. So yes, that one is a definite investment (PLO does sales every once in a while, so if you’re interested in it I’d get on their mailing list and wait for that – it’s what I did!). The serum is a collaboration between the owner of Primal Life Organics (she’s from Ohio, woot woot!) and Liz Wolfe a blogger that I have followed for years and highly trust for her recommendations. Her blog is called Real Food Liz, but she doesn’t just blog or talk about food, she’s extensively researched in to skincare and makeup and finding safer and more natural alternatives. She also is doing the same regarding pregnancy and postpartum, so I love hearing what she has to say.

I’ve edited this post it feels like a ba-jillion Times. I keep thinking of little points I forgot and going back in. Well I think this is the last edit I intend to make (we’ll see haha…) but after all this and saying how much I love my routine and what it has done for my face I figured I should show you a picture of my face… novel right?! Oiy… So below are three pictures one with makeup first and two sans makeup (holding BC’s new makeup remover and a yummy green smoothie!). A trouble area on my face has been my chin for a couple years and being a chronic pimple popper I have quite a few little red spots, scars and bigger pores in that area. I am trying to curb my pimple popping ways because it’ll never truly get better without that, but in general I’ve noticed a ton of improvement there and that also makes me extremely happy!


So that’s my “routine” for now. It may change in a couple months as the seasons change and what I’ve got going on in my life changes, but for now it’s working for me and my face has never felt better. If you have any questions about the products leave me a comment! Are there any products that you’re currently using and love?

<3 – Brittany

 

 

Weekend Ramblings + Recipes

Hello! I’m departing from my regular Friday post and just writing what feels best for me this weekend. I’ll pick back up with my five things Friday posts, but this week after a hiatus from blogging, I’m just going with the flow.

This week has been a nice slow roll getting back in to a daily routine. I had a wonderful almost full two weeks back in my hometown visiting with friends and family and not being rushed to cram it all in to a two or three day weekend. It was refreshing and just good for my soul. I’m from a very small town and my parents live out in the country/flat-land of Ohio and my little guy loved the ability to run out side and play in the backyard multiple times a day and towards the end the two weeks really warmed up to going for a gator ride just like his cousins. Our days are pretty lax back in Maryland with me not working right now, but the added slowness of being out in the country was nice. Not to say that there wasn’t craziness – my little guy is one boy of 6 grandsons under the age of 6 and my mom watches a different number of them three days a week, so there was always plenty of activity and wild intertwined. I almost felt bad coming back home with my little guy having so many less friends to play with daily, but he’s doing quite alright and he was so excited to see his dad and his two kitties. The time away was great, but it was equally as great to be back home.

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Checking out the outside cat herd at my parents house (this is not all of them).


Sisters just a little over 8 weeks apart!

Came home to beautiful birthday flowers! I hadn’t even come close to unpacking and organizing but seeing these flowers and lighting my new candle (that was al so a wonderful birthday gift) was a nice sight in the crazy of our apartment.
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I actually did a little bit of pointed meal planning for the week also. We loaded up at Costco on Sunday and then supplemented the rest of what we needed from Trader Joe’s and our local farmer’s market. Having the farmer’s market within walking distance has been ah-may-zing. It goes till November and it has been a summer weekly ritual that I look forward to every week. I made one of my favorite quick and easy dinners Red Thai Curry with Chicken. I first got the recipe years ago while I was working with Robyn Coale to help with eating habits and setting myself up for success with meal planning/prep and recipes when I was in grad school. She is an RD and NP, I have loved following her blog for years and as she has progressed in her RD work and gotten her NP she continues to be a favorite of mine to follow for not only good recipes but great information on health, intuitive eating, hormone regulation and more. Like I said I got the recipe working with her, but she has one that’s similar on her blog linked here. Here is my adaptation for it this week, since even with grocery shopping I never have quite all the ingredients.

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Red Thai Curry from The Real Life RD [adapted from Eat Live Run]

Ingredients:

•1 lb boneless skinless chicken breast, cut into bite-sized chunks

•1 tbsp coconut oil

•3 cups coconut milk, light or regular – I used ~2 cups of regular coconut milk and ~1.5 cups of coconut cream then about 3/4 cup water to get to the total liquid amount

•1 1/2 cups water

•3 tbsp red curry paste – The jar I buy is has between 3-4 tbsp of paste in it, so I just used the whole jar 🙂

•2 baby bok choy, chopped

•1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced

•1″ knob ginger, grated – I used 1 tsp of ground ginger

•1 cup chopped snow peas

•2 sweet potatoes, peeled and sliced into 1/4″ thick pieces

•1 1/2 tsp agave – I used maple syrup

•2 tsp fish sauce

•juice of 1 lime – I used 1 tbsp lemon juice

•1 1/2 tsp salt

•cooked rice or quinoa for serving

Directions:

1.Heat tl he coconut oil in a large heavy-bottomed pot over medium high heat. When

hot, add the ginger and saute until fragrant — 2 minutes.

2.Add the chicken and sear until not quite cooked through. Then, add

the curry paste.

3.Mix the ginger, chicken and curry paste together and continue to saute over high

heat for another two minutes.

4.Pour in the coconut milk and water, then add the bok choy, bell pepper, chopped

snow peas and sweet potatoes. Bring curry to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer.

5.Stir in the fish sauce, salt, lime juice and sugar. Continue simmering over medium/low

6.heat until veggies are soft. This will take about 10 minutes.

7.Serve curry over rice or quinoa!
Here is a link to her website and another curry veggie recipe of hers using green curry paste.


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One of the other dinners I made this week was an Italian style pork roast. I’ve made a similar recipe with beef roast, but this week we had a big bone-in pork shoulder from a local farm and it worked perfectly. I was planning to make Nom Nom Paleo’s Kahlua pork but I haven’t bought the red Hawaiian sea salt it calls for, so I’ll make it eventually. This one was even more of a throw together what I had at home type of recipe. It’s loosely based on this slow cooker recipe I found and then also on verbal instructions from Eat Live Run that I saw on her instagram stories one day. The first night we had it I served it over spaghetti squash (no picture of that meal), and today I had leftovers served over a white potato. I personally think it’s really good. I love using the instant pot also, cooking that big of a piece of meat in just over an hour is really nice. I also cooked the spaghetti squash in it earlier in the day – it was a larger squash but still only took ~10 minutes.

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Fun side note: as I sit here and type this my toddler is eating dinner and pretty much whenever I look away from him to type he acts like he’s going to throw his food on the floor. Oof #momlife. He’s just about 15 months and so we’re starting to get in to the thick of toddler-ness, acting out and figuring out discipline and setting rules and boundaries. It’s an interesting journey that’s for sure.

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But back to the recipe. Here’s what I did:

Italian Style Roast

3-4 lb pork roast (mine was bone-in pork shoulder). If frozen defrost prior to cooking.

*Italian seasoning to coat both sides of the roast + ~2 tbsp for cooking

Large can of crushed tomatoes ~24.5oz

Half a small can of tomato sauce ~7oz

3 pepperonicini’s

1 onion sliced

1. Turn on instant pot to sauté setting and add in ~1 tbsp of olive oil. Season all sides of the roast with salt, pepper and Italian seasoning.

2. Brown all sides of the roast (2-3 minutes each side). Press cancel button to stop the sauté function.

3. Add in the rest of the ingredients. Close lid on instant pot and make sure valve is seton sealed position. Select manual setting and set timer for 55 minutes. Once timer goes off allow the pressure to come down naturally.

4. Remove meat and separate from the bone. Turn on sauté function to cook off some of the water off the sauce if desired. You can add the meat back to the sauce or keep separate. Serve over pasta, spaghetti squash, potato, or whatever your heart desires!

*I used a homemade blend from my Practical Paleo Cookbook

Carbs, carbs, carbs. That’s what my body has been craving, so white potatoes have been on repeat the last couple days. Baked potato two ways for this lunch! The Italian roast didn’t photograph to nicely, but I promise you it’s delicious.

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I have been eating both of these dishes on repeat this week (yay for leftovers!) and have not minded one little bit. I know some people hate leftovers, but I personally love them, so any recipe that makes enough to have some at least another day is a winner i.n my book.

This weekend was uncharacteristically hot for October – high of 84 yesterday.. 84!! We went to a local farm for their fall festival and it was a lot of fun and little guy enjoyed it, but it was so funny to see everyone buying and drinking apple cider slushes instead of hot apple cider. I have to say I was a little miffed to be dressing for the day and picking out shorts, but I made the the best of it and still paired it with boots and a lighter chambray top Thankfully there was a breeze so I didn’t get too hot – and I had on a black tang top underneath so if I needed to remove my outer layer it wasn’t a problem.

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Today was a lazy day, the way I like Sundays. With a slow morning making breakfast, a quick trip to the local farmers market – only got sprinkled on a little with the on/off rain -, football watching, grocery shopping & now baseball watching to cheer on the Cleveland Indians. Go Tribe!

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I hope everyone had a wonderful weekend!

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<3 – Brittany

Five Things Friday

Another week come and gone! This week has been a nice, busy, but relaxing week getting to visit with friends and family.

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1. Seriously, where did fall go?! It’s the official first day of Autumn today (my absolute favorite season) and it’s been in the upper 80’s pretty much all week (and humid) and is going to continue till almost the end of next week. It’s crazy. The leaves are still starting to really change and fall though and that is reassuring. We picked up some pumpkins today and we were all in tang tops and shorts, it definitely felt out of character.


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2. The pre-sale for Beautycounter’s Holiday sets were this week. And. You. Guys. There is seriously so much goodness coming up this fall/winter. I know that’s a major tease, but I just can’t help it. I’m practically bursting at the seams to see the kits in person.

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3. Honeycrisp Apples. I haven’t been in to apples too much lately/over the summer. I find that my body does tend to crave different foods with the seasons and in the summer gimme all the berries, cherries, & peaches. Now with the weather changing (… well sort of) I’ve started to crave the crisp crunch of a juicy apple and this time of year Honeycrisp are my favorite. I made a trip with my mom and sister to a local produce stand/market that I was told by multiple people had the best honeycrisp apples in the area and I was not disappointed. Dipping a slice in to some nut butter. So. Good.


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4. Back to Beautycounter, I have been using two items from their Rejuvenating line consistently over the past month and have been loving the results. The rejuvenating is the line for aging gracefully. I love knowing these products have some extra ingredients to help keep my skin looking young but does not have the harmful ingredients that many conventional aging products have. I am going to do a post on my skincare routine next week and will talk about these products a little more in depth then so stay tuned!

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5. Speaking of aging {gracefully}, it’s my birthday tomorrow! I personally love birthdays and while yes it’s always a little weird to be a year older I love celebrating birthdays and getting to acknowledge and be thankful for all that I have learned and how I’ve grown (figuratively because I haven’t literally grown taller in over a decade) over the last year. I will be right on the cusp of joining the 3-0 crowd. I have no “before 30 bucket lists” that I’m trying to get through over the next year, I am just excited to welcome another little one to our family and see what adventures are in store for us.


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Have a wonderful weekend!

<3 – Brittany

My day at Expo East

Last week I had the pleasure of attending Expo East for one day. I follow many different bloggers from the “real food” and “paleo” world and I had heard about Expo West this past spring out in California and longingly wished to be able to go to check out new products and goods coming out but 1.It was in California and 2.You have to be in the natural food world whether as a retailer or blogger or product producer, etc and none of those were me anyways. Well fast forward several months and after reading through a Whole 30 email post they wrote about being at Expo East in Baltimore in September and it really peaked my interest seeing as Baltimore is only 25 minutes away from where I live. So I checked in to it and the expo had the same stipulations as Expo West as to who could go. I had my blog, but I’m definitely not big by any means in my readership or reach right now. It will hopefully continually grow, but I’m not anywhere near the readership of the people I follow who I heard about the expo from so I didn’t really think that would be an option for me to go, but there was an ability for medical practitioners to buy a pass and being a Physio I was able to buy one and go check it out! So for looking at health products potentially for my patients and also getting to check out all the new natural and health food products, I was in.

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I was able to send my little guy back to his old Daycare for the day and I got peruse the convention center without interruption. While there I was talking to a vendor and they stated that this expo was about 3x smaller than expo west and I cannot even imagine how many vendors where there and I would have definitely needed more than one day to go through it all. I really could have used two days to check out Expo East, but was really glad I at least got to go for one day.

The expo took up the whole convention center. There are 4 floors and 3 out of the 4 had vendors in them. The third and fourth floors were the “hot products” pavilions and the booths were a little bigger but still had a lot of vendors. The second floor was mainly all educational sessions (I believe) which I did not attend and then the first floor was the other area with all the other vendors and was huuuuge and had so many different companies and booths to walk by/through. I have attended the APTA’s (American Physical Therapy Association) big yearly combined sections meeting and that’s big and the exhibit hall is a lot to take in and go through, but this was seemed so much bigger (and probably was). I was there from when the vendor halls opened in the morning at 9:30am till almost 2:30pm. Towards the end of my day I didn’t feel like I had done a lot, but then I looked at my Fitbit and was at almost 13,000 steps for the day. I wasn’t quick, but I was on my feet and constantly moving all day – and walking back to the car and sitting in my car riding home my right low back/SI and side was telling me so. That’s normally where I feel the most discomfort when I am more active, but it wasn’t too bad thankfully.

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I didn’t eat too big of a breakfast and actually never even had a formal lunch. There were so many samples to try and multitude of food options that I didn’t even need to. I tried to be careful and not over-do it especially with sweet foods and I did pretty good. My stomach felt a little off in the evening, but really not too shabby for all the different foods I tried. It was fun to meet and see many of the owners of companies/products that I love and also see some of the new products they are going to be launching. It also was nice to try some products that I’ve been too apprehensive to purchase in the store because I’m afraid I won’t like it and they’re normally not the cheapest items around. I value mine and my families health and I do my share of buying items to try them out, but I also try to be smart and really only try out items that I’ve head something similar and know I will enjoy or it really sounds good. One of the items that I really liked that I had wanted to try but had been on the fence about buying myself was drinkable veggies. The traditional drinkable veggie – V8 – was never anything I liked and I’ve always been wary of trying a gazpacho soup also, so I was just apprehensive. There were two main companies that I tried of drinkable veggies: Zupa noma and Bonafide Provisions. I am kicking myself because I didn’t try all the flavors, but I did try several of each and I was pleasantly surprised because they were really good. I’m excited to buy them occasionally and have on hand as a good “snack” option to hold me over between meals or even as something to eat eventually during labor as having good nutrient base, calorie profile and easy to get down since you drink them. The flavors that I tried of Zupa that I really enjoyed were the Yellow pepper turmeric and tomato gazpacho. Bonafide provisions (they also sell bone broth and use it with their veggies) that I enjoyed were Renew and Revive.

Side note – most of my pictures were taken from my instagram stories, so they’re not the best and will most likely have words and hashtags and such on them. I didn’t get pictures of everything so I may grab stills from websites also.

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There were definitely trends in a lot the products. Many companies are adding collagen to their products and matcha tea is very popular right now. There was also a lot of chickpea stuff and popcorn. I don’t feel the best with legumes so I didn’t try much (any?) of the chickpea products. I got to try a really good bottled matcha tea drink by Matcha Bar. It was super smooth tasting and even the plain without excess sweetener had great flavor. I was super excited to take a full bottle home with me, but stupidly put it in the freezer with dry ice on the way home and it exploded (extreme sad face emoji). I will be on the look out to buy it again for sure. Vital proteins also is coming out with a matcha collagen and I got to try that mixed with coconut milk and it was also really good. It’ll be on my list of items to buy from them. I love their collagen and got to take two of their travel collagen peptide packets. I love adding it to my morning coffee or smoothie as an added protein boost without added flavor. I also think it really helps my nails, hair and skin a lot.

So sad 🙁

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Another food that I love to use daily and try different varieties of is ghee. Tin Star foods had their ghee their, which I love and have used in the past. Another company I got to try was 4th & Heart. They are coming out with a chocolate ghee and it was to die for. They also have flavored ghee and I loved the California Garlic flavor. I was able to get a small travel packet of it and I cannot wait to buy some.

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I had been looking for Fire Cider in my local health foods stores and couldn’t find it, so I was super happy to find the Fire Cider booth and talk to the ladies there. They were so nice and great to talk to and I was able to get a small bottle to trial at home and found out where I should look to buy it in stores. Fire Cider is an ACV drink/tonic that is kicked up a notch. They have different varieties but the one I tried has honey, oranges, lemons, onions, ginger, horseradish, garlic, turmeric, and habanero pepper. You can drink it as a quick shot or dilute it in water. It has a serious kick and I have been taking it as quick shot for an immune boost and also to help with the wonderful acid reflux that I’ve been getting with being pregnant.

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I love finding options for snacks that aren’t always sweet. Don’t get me wrong I love a piece of dark chocolate or candy of some sort, but sometimes I’m just craving salty and 4505 Meats had several flavors of pork rinds and they were delicious. I’ve never really had pork rinds (chicharrones) as truthfully I thought they sounded kind of gross, but I really like them and the BBQ flavor was so good.

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I have been eating Siete tortilla chips for months now and love them. They are a great gluten free alternative to regular tortilla chips and I don’t think you can tell the difference at all. They are actually my tortilla chip of preference. The lime is my favorite (they have original, lime and nacho flavor). I was able to try their gluten free tortilla varieties and I was super impressed. The almond flour one was most like traditional flour tortilla but I liked them all and the cassava and coconut was my favorite (they also have a cassava + chia tortilla).

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Wild Friends nut butters were SO good. The picture below is a new product of oats + a packet of nut butter and it was divine. I can’t wait to purchase some for my pantry.

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There were several nut milk companies and I didn’t try them all, but several of them and Elmhurst really stood out to me. Each milk (they have unsweetened and sweetened varieties) had a simple and clean flavor and you could actually taste the nut that it was made of. It reminded me of making homemade nut milk but without all the work. We generally use almond milk at home and both the sweetened and unsweetened varieties were great and then as a treat I tried the chocolate milked peanuts and mmmmm is all I have to say about that!

For reference here is a picture of the ingredient list of their milks. Like I said – simple – and really good.

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And last, but not not least Serenity Kids baby food. We did baby led weaning (BLW) with our little guy, but we did and still do give him pouch food from time to time with traveling nor when we needed a meal in a pinch. Any of the meat varieties always made me cringe and I could never bring myself to actually give him them, but at tim I wanted a good no filler/weird ingredient protein option in a pouch. Well now there’s Serenity Kids, and yes guys, I actually tried a taste of the three flavors and they weren’t bad at all. The product are launching this fall and I can’t wait. The creator/owners of the company were also wonderful ladies to talk to and I cannot wait to support their business and know I’m giving my kiddo quality food on the go.

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So there ya have it! I know I’m probably missing a brand or two that I really liked, but this is a pretty good round up of my top favorites. Definitely check out their websites and if you try any of them or have tried them let me know what you think! I’m so happy I got to go and it just helped to reinvigorate me to seek out good, delicious, & quality brands that are working to improve the quality of food products for myself and my family.

<3 – Brittany