Argan Oil: Josie Maran VS. Trader Joes

Josie Maran's 100% Pure Argan Oil is $48 for 1.7 fl oz.
Trader Joe's 100% Organic Argan Oil is $7 for 1.7 fl oz.

WOWZA! I got a few samples of Josie Maran's Argan Oil, checked the price online, and thought to myself: "The Argan Oil at Trader Joe's was NOT that expensive!"

But, what's the difference? The ingredients?
Let's check out these ingredients:

Josie Maran's 100% Pure Argan Oil ($48 for 1.7 fl oz.): Organic and Natural Argania Spinosa (Argan) Kernel Oil
Trader Joe's 100% Organic Argan Oil ($7 for 1.7 fl oz.): Organic Argania Spinosa (Argan) Kernel Oil

So, Since only Josie Maran's Argan Oil has 'Natural' Ingredients, but both have Organic, What's the difference between Organic & Natural?

I like Birchbox's explanation:
"The difference between a label of "natural" versus "organic" comes down to regulation. “Certified organic” is a claim that’s heavily regulated by the USDA. To qualify, a product’s ingredients must contain absolutely no toxic pesticides, toxic synthetic herbicides, or chemical NPK fertilizers—and, in the case of animal products, no antibiotics or growth hormones.

On the somewhat startling flip side, there is virtually no regulation around labels of “natural” or “all-natural." In the most nefarious instances, products may simply contain plant-derived ingredients that are highly processed and potentially even harmful. Yikes."

No wonder Josie Maran's label has to have "Pure" instead of "Organic" - it has "Natural" Ingredients.


  • Josie Maran's 100% Pure Argan Oil, $48 for 1.7 fl oz.: Organic and Natural Argania Spinosa (Argan) Kernel Oil (Natural = Extra Chemicals)
  • Trader Joe's 100% Organic Argan Oil, $7 for 1.7 fl oz.: Organic Argania Spinosa (Argan) Kernel Oil (Organic = No Extra Chemicals)

Well, Trader Joe's is not only cheaper, it's 100% Organic. I'd say that is better than a Dupe. It's a replacement!

What do you think? Let me know in the comments below!!



Birchbox VS. Ipsy Round 6: July Samples

Ipsy Vs Birchbox; June 2018

Ipsy Goodies!

Birchbox Goodies!

Details of Birchbox's Goodies. 

I love that Birchbox comes with a list of your items, but Ipsy sends you an email with a list of the products. Ipsy comes with a small card, but it is just the month's promotion, not a list with tips on how to use your new samples.

Eyeko came in both boxes! This never happens! I never get one brand in both boxes!!!
In the Ipsy box, I got Eyeko's eyeliner and in my Birchbox, I got Eyeko's Brow liner.

This month was so close it was almost a tie:

Birchbox's 5 samples for July are ALL amazing. I feel like it almost never happens with Birchbox. This month, I love the light parfume from Oribe, I need the hair serum for my lackluster and thin hair, I am in LA and obviously need anything anti-pollution for my skin, ADORE anything from Kiehl's, and love to do my brows so trying Eyeko's liner will be fun!

Ipsy's 5 samples for July are ALL good, but not amazing. I do love the charcoal peel mask, the mauve color of the RealHer Lipstick, and the Eyeko liner, but I have not tried the Ittse eyeshadow or the bkr Paris water balm, but they both look like they are good quality. The blue Ipsy bag is adorable and perfect for summer.

So, who is the winner for July? BIRCHBOX! I love all the samples and can't wait to play with them. It has been a long time since I have felt this way!!!!!

Score after 6 rounds:
Birchbox - 2
IPSY - 4

The Story Behind the Glam Bag Battle:

This is the 5th round of Who Wore It Better: Subscription Edition! Is Birchbox vs. IPSY

I recently gifted myself a year subscription to find out: Could IPSY be better than Birchbox?

Subscribe and find out

I will be revealing what they sent me each month in this blog series to determine a final winner in the end.

I hope you are enjoying my Subscription Box Battle. Join me next month when the battle continues!



What is Kombucha and Why is it so Popular?

I recently attended the Bloom Art Show and they had a Kombucha truck from GT'S Living Foods giving away samples. I have always wanted to try Kombucha, but here in LA, I feel like it's mostly the snotty people who drink it and asking them any questions is never a good experience.

So, when I saw the GT'S truck giving away little cups of Kombucha and asking people to try it - I had to! It's so expensive ($3-6) for trying a beverage, but this truck was giving samples away for free!

I had the Bloom Kombucha from GTS with Elderflower, Jasmine, and Violet. I guess it's a limited edition flavor, so I better savor the two bottles I have!


The art show was immersive and beautiful. I hope they come back because I would LOVE to go again and take my friends. It was so fun!!!
BLOOM LA - Isn't it beautiful! 

BLOOM Art Show 

Yeah, I liked it. I was having fun at the art show and it was nice trying a new, fancy beverage I have always wondered about.

After trying it, I came back to take this photo. I said "I will have questions later, so I am just going to take this photo here to answer them all." The GTS employee agreed. I feel like it answers all the questions I have. FAQ also found here: http://gtslivingfoods.com/faq

I think Kombucha is popular because it is a delicious Probiotic and it has many health benefits. Don't find that too often in tasty, fizzy beverages!

What do you think? Do you like Kombucha? If so, which brand and flavor is your favorite? So far, I also tried the Health-Ade California Grape and it was sooooo gooood! Let me know in the comments below your favorites so I can try them!


Birchbox vs. IPSY Round 5: June Samples

Ipsy is this month's winner. The Facescrub, the probiotic eye cream, and the concealer - I just love it all! And, I got a blue bag, which I prefer, over the red. Yay!! Ipsy has a really great questionnaire and system to try to get you products they think you will like, but Birchbox doesn't seem as curated to me.

Birchbox - 1
IPSY - 4

The Story Behind the Battle:
This is the 5th round of Who Wore It Better: Subscription Edition! Is Birchbox vs. IPSY

I recently gifted myself a year subscription to find out: Could IPSY be better than Birchbox?

Subscribe and find out

I will be revealing what they sent me each month in this blog series to determine a final winner in the end.


I hope you are enjoying my Subscription Box Battle. Join me next month when the battle continues!



We Be Jammin (Vegan Recipe)

Let's make some Jam! Or Preserves?... Whatever! 
This recipe is vegan and if you use organic ingredients, can be organic, too.

Penelope is not impressed with my Vegan Jam

Grab a few baskets of fruit, sugar, and a fresh lemon. Let's get started!

What you need:

2 Baskets of Fruit (Mix fruits or have two of the same)
3 Cups Sugar
1 Fresh Squeezed Lemon and it's Wedge with Peel

What you do:

Boil all ingredients together and stir often. When berries have reduced, remove the rind (peel) of the lemon and you have your jam! It's really that easy.

The rind of the lemon has pectin and will help bind the fruit together to become jam. Enjoy!!

Boiling Stages

Close Up of Jam

My Jam!

I love summer! The best berries come out in summer and I love to make a quick jar of jam to save and have on everything. What are your favorite jam combos?



Quick Rundown for Crazy Report on Life Longevity

When I saw this on KTLA, I had to take a photo of the screen! The stats they gave really made me pay attention and turn up the TV:

Anyone else see this?
I think it's kinda interesting and if you would like to see more information, see it here.

I love how it starts:
"Americans have a shorter life expectancy compared with residents of almost all other high-income countries. 
We aim to estimate the impact of lifestyle factors on premature mortality and life expectancy in the US population."

Ok! I think I can do the 5 things in the photo.

So, What does it really add on? 
Additional Years For Females: 14
Additional Years For Males: 12.2

Because it reduces the risk of dying from the top 2 killers in the United States:
Cardiovascular Disease and Cancer

That is a lot of time added onto our lives. I know it is hard to do these 5 things, but I think I want to make a commitment to try to at least start eating a healthy diet and regular exercise. I feel like if I just work all the time and don't actually take the time to work out, 


Birchbox vs. IPSY Round 4: May Samples

May Birchbox Samples
May IPSY Glam Bag


Who would have guessed Birchbox finally made it to the scoreboard! The samples this month were amazing - I had to choose this box online, but you have the choice to choose a curated box or one they make for you. They haven't really been doing a great job making one for me - they haven't won until now!

Birchbox came out the winner this round because I love all of the products! I am partial to the Lip Mask, the Serum, and the OUAI Volume Spray. It even came with a great highlighting lotion and I love the cleansing milk, too!
IPSY would have won, but the combo Birchbox sent is hard to beat. IPSY did come with a beauty blender, a facemask, Tarte finishing powder, and a wonderful serum, but Birchbox still won for May.

I can't wait to try all the samples I received this month. I hope I like the products from Birchbox. I have started to use the serum and am super excited about the lip mask!

Birchbox - 1
IPSY - 3

The Story Behind the Battle:
This is the 4th round of Who Wore It Better: Subscription Edition! Is Birchbox vs. IPSY

I recently gifted myself a year subscription to both and I am very interested in finding out which one I would continue/recommend. I have been a Birchbox subscriber, but recently decided to try IPSY

Could IPSY be better than Birchbox?

Subscribe and find out!

I will be revealing what they sent me each month in this blog series to determine a final winner in the end!


I hope you are enjoying my Subscription Box Battle! Join me next month when the battle continues!



Review: Veggie Based Pastas

I tried 2 different veggie based pastas. 

One is the SuperGreens Spaghetti 

and the other is the 
Veggie Delight Rotini

Veggie Pasta Review:

OMG what a taste difference between the two pastas! 
The super-greens is like drinking a green smoothie - it can be an acquired taste you have to work up to. It is an "enriched pasta with 5 green vegetables: Spinach, Zucchini, Broccoli, Parsley and Kale. Provides 3 servings of vegetables in every 3.5oz portion" and whoa - I can taste all the greens in the pasta. The veggie flavor is super, super strong in this spaghetti. It is so strong it overpowers even the garlic in the sauce. 
The veggie delight was just that - delightful! It is "An enriched carrot, tomato & spinach pasta blend. Provides a half serving of veggies in every 4 oz portion." It was not overpowering and it was almost just like regular pasta!!

The textures were a little different, but they are different pastas. Both had a pasta-like texture.

My favorite, obviously, is the veggie delight. I think I can work up to the SuperGreens Spaghetti, but it is a strong veggie taste that can be overpowering to the sauce.

Overall, I would re-purchase the Garden Delight pasta, but throw out the SuperGreens pasta.

If you are looking for a veggie-based pasta to help the whole food / plant based lifestyle change, I would start with the Ronzoni Garden Delight and work your way towards the SuperGreens.

Happy eating!



Tips for Us to Get Started Living a Plant-Based Life (& Garlic Zucchini Noodles)

Planning our meals will make grocery shopping easier and will also make it harder to cheat when we have a lot of delicious options, instead!

According to Dr. Greger, most of us only eat about 9 different favorite recipes and keep those on rotation.

So, let's think about the meals we already eat and change our favorite recipes to be plant-based.
We can make chili with beans and no meat, burritos without meat or cheese, make kebabs with veggies like onions, summer squash, mushrooms, tomatoes, and bell peppers.

We can also try new recipes.

A Few Tips for a Successful Transition into a Plant-Based Diet: 

Start off by trying vegan alternatives for cheese and milk.

Frozen fruits and vegetables are an easy and low-cost way to have extra and eat more plans.

Also in the frozen section, you will find meatless burgers, "chicken patties", and even vegan hot dogs.

Collect recipes and make yourself a go-to book with them in it. It will be fun to cook a recipe and make it your own over time.

Bookmark HappyCow.net in your phone, or download their app to easily find restaurants wherever you are. It is fun to try new foods, so check out restaurants near you and keep in mind, you can learn to make anything at home.

Learn and research all you can about the Vegan lifestyle. Your friends and family will have questions and you will be motivated to keep up the lifestyle when you know all about the health benefits and the benefits of the world from being Vegan.

Plan meals and plan your grocery shopping list. Investing time into planning will ensure you are getting enough nutrients and that you are meeting Dr. G's Daily Dozen.

Honestly, I think the strategy to meet our goal should be to Simply Keep It Clean. 
No processed food, eat as much fruit and veggies as you can, be aware of salt & avoid too much oil. 

I know what you are thinking: 
"Just tell me what to eat instead of telling me what not to eat!"

Well, take a look at Dr. Greger's Daily Dozen. And, if you need more of an explanation in each category, check out his website or download the Daily Dozen App.

I want to make a and share with you my meal plan, but for now, I am going to leave you with a great recipe for lunch:

Easy Garlic Zucchini Noodles:
2 Zucchini or yellow squash
5-6 Cloves smashed and chopped garlic
1/2 Cup grape tomatoes
Salt and red pepper flakes

Using a spiral veggie slicer or veggie peeler, cut 2 zucchini or yellow squash into long, thin strands.
In a large skillet, heat 2 tbs. olive oil over medium-high heat.
Add garlic to skillet, stirring until the garlic starts to turn brown.
Add zucchini to skillet, coating with the garlic oil and tossing with tongs for 1 minute.
Transfer garlic zucchini to plate.
Add grape tomatoes to skillet and roast 1-2 minutes, then add to zucchini.
Add salt and red pepper flakes to taste.

Do you want me to make and share a plant-based meal plan? Have you tried to go vegan for just a week? More? How did it go?



Jumpstart Your Plant-Based Lifestyle With Dr. G's Vegetable Bean Soup

In one of my last posts, I discussed Dr Greger's recommendation for living a healthy, plant based lifestyle, his Daily Dozen & his diet recommendation for reversing Diabetes, which became important to me when one of my family members was diagnosed. 
Guess what guys?!?!? I found his Vegetable Bean Soup Recipe and I also read a really fascinating article from Woman's World, but the article is focused on weight loss and I am focused on living a plant-based lifestyle. The special piece in this article is Dr. G's Recipe:

I have pieces of the article below (Just in case it takes a while to load, read it below!!) but if you want more info, check out the full article
Yes! It has me wondering, though: How much can I check off of Dr. G's Daily Dozen if I have one serving of the soup everyday? Well, about 4 of the 12! (Dr. G's Daily Dozen Graphic Below)

Article From Woman's World and Dr. Greger: Link Here

"There’s a science-backed, all-you-care-to-eat diet that helps folks lose nine, 15, even 24 pounds in a single week. And that’s not even the best part. We’ve convinced one of the world’s most respected nutrition experts to turn the approach — which is built around unprocessed plant foods — into what may be the easiest and most effective soup diet ever.
“You can make a big batch of my soup and have enough delicious heat-and-eat meals to last for weeks. And I think you’ll be surprised by how satisfying the soup is. It’s a perfect strategy for beginners, anyone who struggles with portion control or anyone who’s just really busy,” promises Michael Greger, M.D., author of the runaway bestseller How Not to Die: Discover the Foods Scientifically Proven to Prevent and Reverse Disease. “My hope is that this soup jumpstart will help you lose so much weight and feel so much better that you’ll be permanently hooked on a way of eating proven to help you live the longest and healthiest life possible.”
How well will Dr. Greger’s soup diet work for you? Here’s how to find out.
Soup Diet: Quick-Start Guide 
What you eat: Savor hearty bowls of Dr. Greger’s Vegetable Bean Soup up to twice a day. The rest of the time, enjoy all the oil-free, unprocessed plant foods you like. Why no animal foods? We tend to eat them to unhealthy excess, crowding out more beneficial plant options. Why no oil? It’s the most calorie-dense and least nutrient-dense part of a plant, easily turning meals into calorie bombs.
“You’ll get all the fat you need from whole plants like nuts and avocado with no need to worry about portion control,” Greger notes.
Why it works: When readers tested this soup diet for us, the average woman lost nine pounds a week, with our biggest loser dropping 16. That’s roughly double the amount reported when we tested the old Cabbage Soup Diet! Greger says credit goes to both soup itself and what’s in (and not in) his soup. For starters, studies show that we burn a lot more calories breaking down unprocessed food — about 65 extra calories for a main course alone. On top of that, eating only plant foods loads us with enough nutrients to spike metabolism “even as we sleep. Research suggests plant-based dieters have an 11 percent higher resting metabolic rate.” There’s more: All the fiber in unprocessed plant food kills hunger and is proven to rev the growth of “skinny bacteria” in our digestive tracts — a factor linked to effortless weight control.
Now let’s talk soup. Lab tests demonstrate that its unique mix of solids suspended in liquid sends stop-eating signals to our brains faster than any other food. The effect is dramatic enough that in a Penn State study, dieters incorporating soup into their diets twice daily lost 50 percent more weight than those who didn’t. So when you combine soup and plant-based eating, you’re taking an approach that’s already mega-effective and making it work dramatically better!

Champion Vegetable Bean Soup Recipe:

Dr. Greger’s Champion Vegetable Bean Soup (Weight Loss Soup) is hearty, comforting, and bursting with flavor! 
  • 2 red onions, chopped
  • 1 cup minced celery
  • 6-8 cups salt-free vegetable broth
  • 4-6 cups chopped mushrooms
  • 2 red bell peppers, seeded and chopped
  • 1-2 small hot chili peppers, seeded and finely minced (optional)
  • 2 zucchinis, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 6 Tbs. jarred tomato paste
  • 4 Tbs. chili powder, or to taste (optional)
  • 1/2 tsp. ground turmeric or 1 1/2-inch piece fresh turmeric, grated
  • 2 (14.5 oz.) cans salt-free diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 2 (15.5 oz.) cans pinto beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 cups corn kernels
  • 4-6 tsp. your favorite spice blend
  • 1 tsp. smoked paprika
In a large pot over medium heat, cook onion and celery in 4 cups broth until soft, 5 minutes. Add mushrooms, bell peppers, chilis, zucchini and garlic until soft, stirring occasionally, 10 minutes. Stir in tomato paste, chili powder and turmeric until well incorporated. Stir in tomatoes, beans and remaining broth. Simmer, stirring occasionally, about 45 minutes. Add extra broth if the soup gets thicker than you like. Stir in the corn, spice blend and paprika. Serve hot. Makes eight 2 1/2-cup servings.
Fast Soup Diet: The Menu
[Their] nutrition team worked with Michael Greger, M.D., to create this special soup-based jumpstart plan for you to try. While using it, you’re encouraged to eat soup as a main meal up to twice daily. And keep in mind that all oil-free and unprocessed plant foods are unlimited—so you can eat your fill of soup as well as any breakfasts, sides and snacks you like. While using this plan, be sure to drink plenty of water; coffee and tea are also encouraged. For best weight-loss results, go easy on calorie-dense options like dried fruit, nuts, seeds and avocado. Freely add unprocessed plant-based extras (spices, vinegar, grainy mustard, stevia). As always, get a doctor’s okay to try any new plan.
Choose one daily; if desired, add coffee/tea with optional Stevia and/or plant-based milk.
Option 1: Dr. Greger’s Breakfast Bowl: Top any hot or cold 100% whole grain cereal (such as steel-cut oatmeal or shredded wheat) with assorted fruit, a spoonful ground flaxseed, a spoonful any other nuts/seeds, optional plant-based toppings (such as cinnamon, unsweetened cocoa powder or dried fruit), and unsweetened plant-based milk.
Option 2: 100% whole-grain English muffin, a little nut or seed butter, sprinkle ground flaxseed. Large bowl of sliced fruit.
Lunch and Dinner
Choose one option at each sitting, aiming to choose soup 1-2 times daily; if desired, enjoy sliced fruit for dessert.
Option 1: Dr. Greger’s Champion Vegetable Bean Soup recipe (recipe above).
Option 2: Dr. Greger’s DIY Salad Bar: Top a big bowl of greens with any veggies and/or fruit you like (including pickles, oil-free artichoke hearts); add any beans, peas or cooked whole grains you like (such as quinoa or brown rice); top with a spoonful nuts, seeds, sliced olive or dried fruit and an oil-free plant-based dressing (Easy Vinaigrette: Whisk together 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar, 1 1/2 Tbs. Dijon mustard, 1/4 cup water, 1 1/2 Tbs. nutritional yeast, 1 tsp. spice blend, salt and pepper to taste. Makes 5-6 servings. Keeps in fridge up to five days.)
Option 3: Endless Possibilities Wrap: Spread whole-grain tortilla with oil-free hummus, guacamole, black bean dip or vegan cream cheese; add unlimited raw and cooked veggies and beans; season to taste.
Option 1: Popcorn made without oil (such as Black Jewel brand)
Option 2: Cauliflower or broccoli, oil-free dip or dressing (such as oil-free hummus, salsa or Health Starts Here dressing)
Option 3: 1 apple or banana with a little nut butter
Make Your Own Menus
Oil-free, unprocessed plant foods are unlimited. 
To maximize health, Dr. Greger suggests each day you aim for: 
3 servings each of: beans and 100% whole grains; 
1 serving of berries; 
3 servings of other fruit; 
1 serving of cruciferous vegetables, 
2 servings of leafy greens and 
2 additional veggies servings; 
1 serving each of flaxseeds and nuts; 
1 tsp. turmeric and lots of other herbs and spices; and 
five cups of green or hibiscus tea.
This story originally appeared in Woman's World print magazine."

I love the idea of creating our own menus -  it helps with grocery lists and cuts the chances of a cheat day when it's all planned and paid for.

I created this infographic so you can save it! It's a list of Dr. G's Daily Dozen. If you want more information, visit his website, NutritionFacts.org or check out the Daily Dozen app. The app is fantastic!! I highly recommend it to help you with your diet goals!!

I truly like the idea of having menu's ready for the week. After reading the Woman's World article, I think that is where I want to go next in this plant-based journey.
Let's explore Making Our Own Menus on the next blog!

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