Daily Harvest Review + DIY Daily Harvest Mint Cacao Smoothie

June 30, 2020

I have had my eye on Daily Harvest and their yummy-looking smoothies + bowls + bites for a while. If you’re not familiar with Daily Harvest, you can read all about it here, but the basic premise is that it’s a high-quality food delivery service. You fill a box (either monthly or weekly or in a frequency that suits you) and it comes on dry ice with your selections.

The Good:
-The quality of the ingredients used in their products is great and thoughtfully sourced with a wide variety of fruits and vegetables as well as other supplemental ingredients
-There were a lot of tasty options. I didn’t like every smoothie or bowl I got, but I can see how once you found your favorites you could stick with those on a regular basis. My favorite smoothies were the Mint Cacao (obviously) and the Cacao and Avocado. I also liked a few of their bowls, especially the Sweet Potato Hash.
-They are convenient. Just add your liquid to the ingredients in the cup. transfer to a blender and blend until smooth. The cup also has a lid and a place for a straw so they were great to have on hand for portable lunches and dinners when time was tight.
-The sweetness level was nice! Nothing overly sweet and nothing artificial sweetening these smoothies.
-The smoothies that I gravitated toward had enough nutrition to be a full meal – between 360-560 calories in each smoothie before adding in the milk. Some varieties were more nutritionally akin to a snack, but the two mentioned above are definitely full meals.
-They come frozen and can stay frozen for quite some time! So you could get a box of 24 smoothies and then pause your membership and work through them over time.

The Bad:
-If you’re on a budget, cost is definitely the biggest inhibiting factor. It’s pricey – around $170 for 24 smoothies. If you eat out a lot and this replaces a meal out, it’s probably not much more expensive or less expensive than eating out, but if you’re making smoothies at home it’s definitely MORE expensive.
-There were some flavors I flat out didn’t care for. But, as I mentioned above, if you figure out what you do and don’t like then you can simply avoid the flavors you don’t care for.

So, I guess the question comes down to “Would you get another box?”

And my answer is “yes!” but with some modifications. After thinking it over, I really loved the convenience, taste and quality of the smoothies. Some of the flavors are so dang crave-worthy that I’ve been eagerly waiting for my next shipment. This time, I edited my box to include nearly exclusively Mint Cacao and Cacao + Avocado smoothies. And I’m pretty dang excited about that.

While it IS cheaper to make your own at home (I’ve done my best version of a Mint + Cacao knock-off below) when you account for the ingredients in each smoothie, it’s still an investment to make your own at home with all the necessary ingredients.

Because we don’t have a money tree in our backyard (sigh) I decided to make some cuts to other shipments we get regularly in order to make room in the budget for a monthly Daily Harvest Delivery.

So, if you have it in the budget, I give Daily Harvest a BIG thumbs up! You can get $25 off your first shipment using this link. But if it’s not in the budget? Well the recipe below us a great place to start.


Ingredients
1 cup unsweetened almond milk (or milk of chooice)
1 scoop Vanilla protein powder (I like the neutral taste and clean ingredients of this pea protein from Thrive Market)
1 medium banana (even better if it’s a frozen banana)
1/4 cup frozen spinach
5-6 Chlorella tablets (optional)
1 large handful of ice
1 tablespoon cacao powder or cocoa powder
2 tablespoons cacao nibs
Stevia to taste (I used 1 packet)
Couple drops of peppermint extract to taste

Ingredients
Combine all the ingredients above and blend with a high-powered blender until very smooth. Add additional ice if necessary to make the smoothie very thick.

Fashion

Clean Makeup 101 // Flawless in Five

June 27, 2020

Now that we’ve covered WHY it matters what’s in your makeup and the companies you choose to buy makeup from. I thought it was time to cover my favorite makeup collection in action.

As a busy mom with minimal time to get ready most days, I’ve found that having a good, basic “grown up” makeup routine makes it really easy to put myself together for the day without having to think too hard about it.

It’s a perfect base for makeup lovers – start with the Flawless in Five and then layer on more product like eye liner, eye shadow or a bold lip – AND for those like me who aren’t super skilled at anything beyond basic makeup.

If you still have a drawer full of random drugstore makeup, I see you, I’ve been there. There’s a better way. 😉

I’m sharing a few of my favorite combinations below!

Flawless in Five Routine 1 //
Dew Skin in Light
Concealer Pen in Fair
Blush in Nectar (the most universally flattering shade!)
Medium Brow Pencil
Lengthening Mascara
Lip Gloss in Bare Shimmer

Flawless in Five Routine 2 //
Skin Twin in Medium 340
Concealer Pen in Fair
Blush in Sorbet
Medium Brow Pencil
Lengthening Mascara
Lip Gloss in Peony

Flawless in Five Routine 3 //
Skin Twin in Medium 340
Concealer Pen in Fair
Blush in Melon
Medium Brow Pencil
Volumizing Mascara
Lip Gloss in Rosewood

Curious about your own Flawless in Five combination? You can check out the full range/color selection HERE.

Madison

Fashion

Clean Makeup 101

June 24, 2020

Over the last five years I’ve come a LONG way in my learnings and understanding of what “clean” truly means in terms of skincare and color cosmetics. I’ve still got a lot to learn, but one of the biggest areas of growth I’ve experienced personally has been becoming a more critical thinker who knows how to ask the right questions and find the right answers even if I don’t know the answer off the top of my head. I’ve also learned to sort out what is just marketing BS designed to make products appear safer without actually being safer.

Most of the time I’m busy talking about skincare because I tend not to wear lots of makeup and think healthy, glowing skin is the best base for any makeup you put on top of that skin. But makeup is a topic that’s important to talk about and dive deeper into because of the high level of contamination of traditional color cosmetics.

You’ve probably heard companies market their makeup as “natural.” Sounds good, clean and safe for you to be using natural makeup, right? Not so fast. As you become a critical thinker about the products that you put on your body, you’ll notice those greenwashing marketing claims when you see them.

When it comes to “natural” makeup, the biggest issue is heavy metals. Are companies adding heavy metals to their products intentionally? No. BUT heavy metals are common contaminants as they are found in the raw materials of naturally mined colors used in makeup. When those colors are mined? Well, it’s not all that uncommon for those heavy metals to come along for the ride and be found in the finished product of the makeup you put on your face.

Your BS-meter should be going off if you hear a company say their products are “heavy metal free” or “lead free” because that’s simply not possible since these are naturally occurring contaminants. What’s more important is the amount allowed and the screening process for those heavy metals and contaminants.

For me, as a busy wife and mom wearing many hats, it’s important for me to trust that the company producing the makeup I put on my face. Especially as my girls get older and like to play with my makeup + my baby loves to kiss my face, I want to know that the product I’m using are not doing more harm to our family than good.

It’s also important to remember that the FDA does not have the authority to recall cosmetics as it does food and drugs, so even if a product is found to contain harmful substances there is nothing that would require a retailer to remove said product from their shelves. This was evident very recently with the case of asbestos found in kid’s makeup at Claire’s.

It can all feel a little overwhelming if this is the first time you’ve started digging into this. I totally get it! I felt the same when I was new to my clean living journey. Instead of learning to read each individual label and learn about each ingredient, I started by finding a company whose process and screening I trusted. Spoiler alert: that company was Beautycounter. Is Beautycounter the ONLY company doing this well? Of course not. But I think Beautycounter’s screening process is one of the best around.

Let’s dive in…

To get a full rundown of Beautycounter’s stance on color cosmetics and heavy metals screening you can do so HERE. What I respect and value most about their screening process is both their strict standards for the allowable amounts of heavy metals in their color cosmetics as well as their rigorous screening process before products are allowed to go to market.

From Beautycounter directly:

We test the ingredients used in our color cosmetics and finished cosmetic products obsessively—multiple times—before they go to market. We only use validated test methods and the most advanced laboratory equipment available (Inductively Coupled Plasma-Mass Spectrometer, ICP-MS). This allows us to test for heavy metals at concentrations ten times lower than what is standard practice in the beauty industry (1 part per billion vs 10 parts per million).

To break this down a step further, we check for heavy metals in products at the lowest concentrations scientifically possible through at least a 1ppb detection limit, whereas some equipment has detection limits of 10 ppm. Under this scenario, anything less than 10 ppm would appear as “passing” (or, in scientific lingo, “non-detect”). It is common to use less precise testing, if testing is performed at all. This is why it’s critically important to understand how brands are testing for heavy metals, since catchy headlines don’t tell the full story.

As you can see, the process for getting our products into your hands – safely – isn’t one that BC takes lightly. You can view recent test results for heavy metals HERE and for talc HERE.

I’ll be back with a follow-up post about the makeup I’ve been using + loving lately – rich in pigment and with stellar performance without the questionable ingredients. But I hope this gives a little insight into WHY I think it’s so important to make educated choices as it relates to the makeup we use.

Fashion

Favorite Workout Gear Lately

June 8, 2020

Hi, friends! It’s been a LONG time since I’ve been in this space. Rest assured it won’t be this long before my next post, and I have some awesome things in the works in terms of a brand new website for Espresso and Cream this summer (!!)

In the meantime, I’ve gotten lots of questions on Instagram about my favorite workout gear. Spoiler alert: Most of it’s from Old Navy and Athleta. I’ve linked some of my favorite tights + tanks + sweatshirts + shorts and t’s above. They’ve passed the workout test and the wash test time and time again!

  1. Old Navy Breathe On Mesh Back Tank
  2. Old Navy Jersey Mesh Trim Tank Top
  3. Old Navy Breathe On V-Back Side Vent Tank
  4. Athleta Oxygen Tank
  5. Organic Daily Crew T
  6. Dolphin Hem Run Shorts for Women
  7. Old Navy Relaxed Vintage Crew Neck Sweatshirt
  8. Athleta Salutation Stash 7/8 Pocket Tight
Fashion

My Clean Hair Care Routine

April 19, 2020

Over the years, my hair has gone through a lot! Having three babies in less than five years has kept me in a constant cycle of postpartum hair loss + hair re-growth, finally getting my hair to a good place only to start all over with another pregnancy.

One of the biggest contributing factors to helping me keep my hair feeling strong and healthy began when I ditched conventional shampoos, conditioners, dry shampoos and other styling products and swapped them out for cleaner options. What I didn’t realized before making the switch was that many shampoos/conditioners/styling products make your hair temporarily FEEL healthy, shiny and strong but don’t actually make your hair stronger or healthier. In fact, some of the ingredients in conventional products can actually weaken your hair structure over time and lead to damaging build-up on your scalp.

So! What products am I using and LOVING these days? Well, here’s a look…

SHAMPOO + CONDITIONER
My stylist introduced me to Olaplex products and I have been LOVING their No. 4 Bond Maintenance Shampoo and No. 5 Bond Maintenance Conditioner. These two products have made a world of difference in my hair’s health and appearance. The products aren’t too heavy on my fine hair and allow me to go a normal number of days between washes.

For those wanting to read more about how clean Olaplex products are, you can do so here. They are rated a 4 on EWG, so not THE cleanest option around but after trying many clean shampoos and conditioners and being disappointed, I think this is the best I’ve found for clean AND high performing.

DRY SHAMPOO
I’ve been using Primally Pure’s Dry Shampoo for a couple years now and continue to love it. They have a “light locks” color and a “dark locks” color. It smells great and works well, too! Without all the sketchy ingredients found in most conventional dry shampoos, it doesn’t irritate my scalp or cause any build-up!

DEEP CONDITIONER/MASK
For the nights when I want to give my hair a little extra love, I use the Rahua Omega 9 Hair Mask. It doesn’t leave my hair feeling heavy and does a great job of adding shine and strength to my hair.

HEAT PROTECTANT
Another product I use from Rahua is their Rahua Legendary Amazon Oil to protect my hair from heat styling. A tiny caveat: a little goes a LONG long way. Don’t apply too much as you will be left with greasy hair.

SCALP SCRUB (not pictured)
I am currently waiting for another jar of this to arrive, so it’s not pictured, but hands down my favorite beauty find in 2019 was this Goop G. Tox Scalp Scrub. I use it once every week or two in place of my shampoo for when my hair is feeling dull or like product is building up. My hair feels weightless and squeaky clean after. It’s amazing!

So that’s it! My routine these days is super simple and very basic, but I’ve found that the less I use on my hair and the cleaner the routine, the better my hair looks and feels.

Madison

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