Lakeside Saturday & A Birthday Celebration

**Edit: Ok so, this post was meant to go up last Monday, but I had to put it on the back burner for another post. It’s from the previous weekend. Nevertheless, I decided to share it today anyway. **

This past weekend was my brother’s birthday. He’s 28 now. 28!!! That’s 2 years away from 30! I just can’t believe how fast time goes and it feels like just yesterday that we were graduating high school. My brother and I are a year apart and since he was the older sibling, I always looked up to him. If you read any of my past posts, you’d know that he is a web developer and he helped me revamp my blog a few months back. He’s very talented at pretty much anything he picks up. I wish I had his knack for learning things so easily.

Anyway, we decided for his birthday that we were going to have a nice little family celebration at my mom’s lake house. She and her fiance have a nice little spot right along the water. One of my favorite parts about their lake house is their deck.

Lake pic

Yes that is a bed swing hybrid thingy. Yes I wish it was mine. Haha. I could almost bare the heat for this relaxing atmosphere. My brother and I were only there for the night so we didn’t get to go out on the boat or anything, but it was still a great time nonetheless.

Brock cookie cake

 

My brother is not a huge fan of cakes, so instead of getting a regular cake, we got him a cookie cake because it’s technically not a cake, right? As you can see, the writing on it was a little bit messy. I think this was the first time that lady had done writing on a cake. Still, it was very delicious and my brother seemed to enjoy it too. Personally, I like all kinds of cakes, so as long as it’s sweet, I’m in.

The night ended with my brother playing us a little tune on his guitar while the crickets were chirping, you know, your typical southern lake night sounds and all that stuff. Sitting there with those beautiful sounds and scenery really made me wish I had my own place by the water. Doesn’t have to be a lake, it could be a beach or a pool or whatever, just as long as I have a beautiful and relaxing atmosphere.

I wish I had more pictures to show you, but being the terrible blogger that I am, I was too caught up in the moment to remember to take a lot of pictures. I hope you had a great weekend!

Where is your favorite place to relax? Tell me below!

Sunshine VoxBox Is Here!

July is coming to a close very quickly and I couldn’t think of a better way to end out July than with a nice Voxbox review. I was sent the Sunshine Voxbox from Influenster the other day and the title for this box couldn’t be more fitting for me. I’m always told I have a sunny disposition. Lolz. In case you weren’t aware, Voxbox is a free testing service where influensters are sent a box based on their member profiles and preferences and in exchange are asked to honestly review the products.

Sunshine Voxbox 2 - edited

 

 

 

Sunshine Voxbox 1

Each box comes with an assortment of products and a description card. My box included Infusium 23 Moisture Replenisher Leave-In Smoothing Creme, Dickinson’s Original Witch Hazel Refreshingly Clean Cleansing Cloths, Blue Diamond Sriracha Almonds, Bark Thins Free Voucher, Sinful Colors Nail Polish, and Vaseline Intensive Care Aloe Soothe Spray Moisturizer.

Sunshine Voxbox 8

 

I’m very particular when it comes to my hair. I will go to great lengths to make my hair look good. I can’t even begin to tell you how many different products I have tried on my hair. This particular product is a little bit foreign to me. I’ve never seen (or maybe I have and just didn’t know it) a leave-in smoothing creme before.

The bottle says that it’s meant to restore moisture and control frizz. Well, honestly I have had frizzy hair many a time, but I’ve never had problems with moisture. Actually, sometimes my hair is too moisturized. What I mean by that is, sometimes it gets a little too oily (probably from all the product I use). Since this product contains avocado and olive oil, I only used a very tiny amount of product on my hair because I wanted to avoid making it too oily.

It seems to do the job as far as frizz goes, but it did weigh my hair down just a tad, but like I said before, my hair tends to get oily from using too much product. I guess if your looking for moisture and you don’t have issues with oil hair, this would be perfect for you.

Sunshine Voxbox 5

 

These cleansing cloths or as I like to call them, makeup wipes, are from Dickinson’s. I’ve also try many a cleansing cloth. When it comes to cleansing cloths, what I’m looking for is something that does the job (removes the makeup), makes my skin feel refreshed and smells good. This cleansing cloth ticked off one of those boxes. It did the job. My skin didn’t feel particularly refreshed but it didn’t feel awful either. However, the biggest problem with these wipes is the smell. Full disclosure, I’ve never tried a product with witch hazel before, so I’m not sure if that’s the reason it smelled so bad, but it had a gone off alcohol smell.

Will I still use this? Probably so because it still does what it’s supposed to do and I also don’t want to have to buy more cleansing cloths at the moment, it just doesn’t smell too pleasant.

Sunshine Voxbox 4

 

Hands down, my absolute favorite product of this box are these almonds. Don’t get me wrong, I love, love, love my beauty products, but when it comes to food, I just lose my cool. Blue Diamond combined my favorite two snack items, almonds and Sriracha. Ok, so maybe Sriracha isn’t a snack item, but it goes so well with these almonds that I don’t feel guilty after eating them. I literally have nothing bad to say about this item. Smart Snacking Indeed!

 

Sunshine Voxbox 6

 

 

Vaseline has to be one of my favorite body products out there. I truly love them and have been a long time user of their line of lotions. Not one of their products has ever steered me wrong. I usually buy the pump variety from their line, so this was my first time trying out their spray moisturizer. How did I go so long without using this version?!?!? What was I doing? What was I thinking?

It was so easy to use and smelled so good! I love the fact that with the spray, you don’t have to worry about over using the product (which I often do) because it sprays out just the perfect amount and then rubs into your skin just like a regular lotion. It’s like magic! I can’t say enough good things about this product, and I will definitely be purchasing this myself in the future.

Bark Thins

 

Ok, so I lied before when I said that the Sriracha Almonds were my favorite item from this box. THIS is my favorite item from the box, but the Sriracha Almonds come in at a close second. With my free voucher, I went to my local Target and picked up a pack of the dark chocolate coconut with almonds. Coconut happens to be a huge obsession of mine right now, so these were right up my alley! Did I mention they’re NON-GMO!?!?!? These got a huge A+ from me!

Nails 2

 

 

Now, I’m a little fussy when it comes to nail polish. I like all different colors, but I’m not a big fan of sheer formulas. They require to much extra work in my opinion. It took me about 5 coats of this polish to get the look you see above and even then it was still too sheer. It’s aptly named Sheer Genius. I like the color, it’s just the formula that I’m not a fan of. What are your thoughts on sheer formulas? Do you like them?

That’s my review of the Sunshine Voxbox by Influenster. Hope you enjoyed it!

Have you tried any of these products? If so, which is your favorite? Tell me below!

***This is a sponsored post. I received this box complimentary for testing purposes. All thoughts and opinions are my own.****

Everyday Detox: 100 Easy Recipes To Remove Toxins, Promote Gut Health, & Lose Weight Naturally

EverydayDetox : 100 Easy Recipes To Remove Toxins, Promote Gut Health, & Lose Weight Naturally

 

Guess what time it is?!?!? Time for another cookbook review! You didn’t really think I was done with that did you? haha. As I’ve said many times before, the cookbook obsession is real. I mean really real. I get so much joy and excitement from cooking that it’s not normal. There’s just something about it that makes me really happy. Thank you all you cookbook authors out there who are fueling my obsession.

Today I’m excited to talk to you about a new cookbook I just received titled Everyday Detox by Megan Gilmore. Megan Gilmore is the creator and recipe developer behind detoxinista.com, a website that makes healthy living easier and more accessible. Megan is a certified nutritionist consultant and health coach and her recipes have been featured in The Guardian as well as Shape and Clean Eating magazines.

Everyday Detox

Every year that I get older, I realize more and more just how important healthy eating is. I used to think that it had very little impact on my health until one day I woke up after eating copious amounts of junk food the previous day and realized that, hey, I feel awful. Well, duh, it’s because I wasn’t treating my body right. Don’t get me wrong, I still eat junk food occasionally (occasionally being the operative word) but my main goal and focus is on a healthy lifestyle.

I think the reason why a lot of us fail at healthy eating is because we have this all or nothing attitude where we think either we either have to eat all bad food or none …..or we have to eat all healthy food or none. It doesn’t have to be one way or the other. You can find a happy medium. That’s what I love about this book. It doesn’t preach to you about how your eating wrong or how you should eat this way or that way. It just gives you alternative ways to look at food and recipes that are very simple and easy to make. Plus, these recipes are chock full of nutrients that help rid your body of toxins and helps you feel better the healthy way.

In the opening of the book, Megan gives you a run down of how healthy eating works and what nutrients are in the foods you eat. There’s also a week long eating schedule as a guide for you as well as a shopping list.

What I decided to make from this book was the Carrot Ginger Soup, because I was feeling in a “soupy” type of mood (is that a word? Oh, well I just made it up, tehe). For the purpose of this review, I’m going to show you some of my favorite recipes from this book, plus the recipe for Carrot Ginger Soup. I hope you enjoy!

Cinnamon Coffee Cake W/ Macaroon Crumble

Everyday Detox - Cinnamon Coffee Cake W: Macaroon Crumble

 

I’m thinking of trying this one next. It sounds so good doesn’t it?

Caramelized Onion & Red Bell Pepper Frittata

Frittata 2

 

 

Skillet Fish Tacos W/ Citrus Slaw

Everyday Detox - Skillet Tacos W: Citrus Slaw

 

Juice Pulp Sushi Rolls

Everyday Detox - Juice Pulp Sushi Rolls

 

Southwest Stuffed Sweet Potatoes

Everyday Detox - Southwest Stuffed Sweet Potatoes

 

Cauliflower Flatbread Pizza

Everyday Detox - Cauliflower flatbread pizza

Very Vanilla Cupcakes

Everyday Detox - Very Vanilla Cupcakes

Carrot Ginger Soup

Carrot Ginger Soup

This last recipe I decided to try out for myself. It has such a nice flavor and freshness. The recipe does call for 1/2 cup of coconut milk, but I used a little bit more than that because I wanted to taste more of the coconut. The recipe is below.

Thank you for reading this review and being a continued reader to Echanning. You’re awesome!

Which recipe is your favorite? Tell me below!

Carrot Ginger Soup
Author: Megan Gilmore
Ingredients
  • 1 tsp coconut oil (there’s a recipe in the book for coconut milk, but I cheated and got store bought)
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 pound carrots, chopped ( about 3 cups)
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 2 tbsp freshly minced ginger
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk
Instructions
  1. Melt the coconut oil in a large stockpot over medium heat and saute the onion until tender, 8 to 10 minutes.
  2. Add the garlic and saute until fragrant, about 1 minute.
  3. Add the carrots, water, salt, and ginger, then bring to a boil.
  4. Lower the heat to a simmer, then cover and cook until the carrots are easily pierced with a fork, about 20 minutes.
  5. Transfer the soup to a blender or food processor and process until smooth.
  6. (When blending hot liquids, be sure to remove the plastic cap from the blender lid and cover the opening with a dish towel to allow steam to escape and prevent burns.)
  7. Alternatively, you could use an immersion blender directly in the stockpot.
  8. Return the soup to the stockpot over medium heat, stir in the coconut milk, and heat to the desired serving temperature.
  9. Serve immediately.

*** This is a sponsored post. I received this book from blogging for books in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.***

Rings & Other Things

Whew! My what a week it has been. Where to start? I don’t know if I’ve talked about the fact that I’m moving yet. Well, I am. If you read this post from me, you would know that I moved into a small 1 bedroom apartment (which is my first ever apartment) about a year ago and once you hit the 12 month mark (as most renters’ already know) it’s time to decide whether you want to stay or move somewhere else. For personal reasons, I decided not to renew my lease and am moving out within the next three weeks.

I gotta say, it’s a pretty stressful time right now trying to get everything organized, packed and keep track of everything else going on in my life. My apartment is a construction site right now. As I type this I’m sitting in my pjs on the couch all nice and comfy, with a cup of tea and re-reading this lovely book all while my dad is slaving away helping me pack up boxes. I kid, I did help him. I don’t know about you but a nice cup of tea and a little laptop time really relaxes me. It’s the little moments, you know?

Rings & Things Pic 3

 

As we were packing, I went through a lot of my jewelry that I haven’t worn in the past few months and realized how much I love these pieces. They weren’t expensive either because I got all of them from Forever 21. I’m 26, so what age is too old to shop there,lol? I like other stores of course it’s just these particular pieces of jewelry came from Forever 21.

Rings & Things Collage

My favorite piece out of all 5 things was the fabric woven chain link bracelet. If you’re wondering, my nail polish is Maybelline Color Show in the color shocking seas, although in this picture it looks a little bit darker, but I promise in regular lighting, it’s a pretty blue almost cerulean color. Last thing I wanted to mention in this post is that I recently bought a pair of cat eye mirrored glass sunnies but they don’t fit me, so I posted on Instagram that I was selling them, and you can check them out there if your interested in buying them.

Sunnies 1

What is the 1 thing, be it small or large that helps you relax?

My Favorite Skin Care Products (For Combination Skin)

I’ve really been wanting to do this post for a while, one reason being that I wanted to help out other people with the same issues and the other reason being that I don’t see THAT many blog posts on combination skin. For all you other skin types out there who don’t know, combination skin is when you have both oily and dry skin. How is that possible you ask? Easy, certain parts of your skin can get really dry and certain parts get really oily.

I’ve dealt with this issue ever since good old adolescence hit and will probably continue to deal with it for the rest of my life. #struggle. It is what it is, but there are things that greatly help with the struggle. I have a bevy of products I use to combat both issues but I only use certain ones at certain times. Let’s start with my morning skin care routine.

Skin 2

 

As you can see in the picture above, these are the three products I use in the morning.

 

Skin 11. Garnier Balancing Daily Exfoliator – I love this product not only because it’s for combination skin and oil free but also because of the very pleasant grapefruit and pomegranate scent. Trust me, it’s a very nice smell to wake up too. It comes in a gel like consistency with tiny little beads and it doesn’t take much product to cover your face when washing and it leaves a very nice smooth and fresh feeling to your face when your done. One thing I have to say about this product though is I only use it 2-3 times a week alternating it with this next product.

2. Clean & Clear Blackhead Eraser Scrub – Unlike the one above, this one is creamy and thick in consistency and rough in texture. It also had beads, but they are much more noticeable to the touch. That’s perfect though, because since this is for blackheads mostly you want it to sort of be harsh so it gets deep down in your pores to pull out those black heads. Again, another oil free product which I LOVE! I alternate this one every 2-3 times a week with the exfoliator because it’s such a harsh scrub that you don’t want to use it everyday. Give your skin some TLC in between.

3. Cetaphil Daily Facial Moisturizer – This last product is my holy grail product because it does wonders for combination and ESPECIALLY sensitive skin. I got this on recommendation a few years back from a dermatologist and it has been my go to ever since. It’s non-comedogenic, non-irritating, and fragrance free. Oh and did I mention there’s the added bonus of SPF 50!! What I like to do with this product is dab a little on my nose and chin (my super dry areas) and I’m good to go! One last thing to mention about this product is that I apply it 30 minutes to an hour before putting on makeup so that it has time to dry.

Skin 3

 

Now for my nighttime routine.

Skin 4

 

Fun fact or depending on who you ask (me), not so fun fact, I have mild acne. As long as I wash my face regularly and keep my acne regime up, you wouldn’t even know it because it’s very treatable. But even one slip up in that routine and woof. lol. Of course the products above are pretty much my only skin care items that I use at night because they kill, yes kill, those horrible pimples. If you haven’t heard of Proactiv by now then, sorry, but you’ve been living under a rock. I’m sure the majority of you know how it works and if not it’s super simple to use that it really doesn’t take explanation. Of course my kit came with the standard 3 step system, but since I had stopped using Proactiv for a little while and then started back up again, they kindly included in my new kit a few little extras.

Skin 5 These extras are the green tea moisturizer, deep cleansing wash, and refining mask. They all came in a sample size and that sort of makes me sad because their the best ones out of everything and I want them for free. Waa! I hate to betray my beloved cetaphil but the green tea moisturizer is the bee knees. The other two products are pretty awesome too. I guess if I run out of the green tea as a night moisturizer, I’ll have to substitute with the cetaphil which isn’t too bad of an option I must say. Ok, so I’ve gotten to the point of this post where I’m rambling so I will end it with this.

What is your Day/Night Skin Care Routine?

Dry Shampoo Product Comparisons

Dry Shampoo Comparisons

 

Fun fact: I don’t wash my hair every day. But wait…..before you say ew, gross, there is a reason behind it. It’s called science people. Your hair gets greasy for the same reason your face gets oily: glands in the skin produce an oily substance called sebum. Sebum is what moistens hair and keeps it from drying out. And no one likes dry hair.

Don’t get me wrong, I still wash my hair, I’ve just decided that it’s not necessary to wash my hair every day. I found that washing my hair only 2-3 times a week makes my hair really shiny and silky and soft without it being too greasy. However, I would be lying if I said it never gets greasy on my no wash days because sometimes it does, but when that happens all I do is mist on a little dry shampoo on my scalp and then everything is fine.

What type of dry shampoo do I use? Well, I like to try new things from time to time and when it comes to cost effectiveness, I always go for drugstore products so for the sake of this post I’m going to be comparing two different types of dry shampoos that I’ve tried and tell you my thoughts on them. First up is Pantene.

Pantene Dry Shampoo Collage

 

Pantene has three different dry shampoo products and I tried out two of them. Original Fresh dry shampoo and Root Reboot dry shampoo. When I first used both of these products from Pantene, the first thought I had was how good it smelled. It has a really fresh, almost floral scent. I also like the fact that it came in a tall but slim bottle. There was slightly more product in the Pantene bottles than their were the Dove.Those are the pluses. So lets talk about the downsides. 1st negative about the product is you have to use a lot of the product to cover enough area on your scalp. Second negative is the product is very sticky and leaves a flaky residue on your sheets and bedding.

After putting this on my scalp and rubbing it in, I went to bed and when I woke up the next morning I had white residue all over my pillowcase. In my opinion, that’s the worst problem with this product, well, that and how sticky it makes my hair feel. I definitely won’t be buying it again. Next up is Dove.

Dove Dry Shampoo

I really, really like this product. Not only is it great at doing what it says, but it also has a really great smell and doesn’t make my hair feel sticky or tacky. Are there downsides to this one? Yes of course, but this product is so much better than the previous one that I can personally overlook the negatives, but for the sake of this post I’ll tell you about them anyway. 1st negative:  you run out of the product fast. I had this product for maybe 3 weeks and I ran out of it. 2nd negative: It does leave a white tint to the area that you spray it on which isn’t a bad thing for me because I have blonde hair, but if you have darker hair, you definitely will notice a difference.

As you can see, both products have pros and cons but looking at both I chose the one that best suits my hair and my needs. Ultimately it’s up to you to decide which one fits with your own personal needs. I hope this post helped you a little bit in deciding which product to choose. I know I always like to read reviews online before I buy something because I don’t like to waste money.

Question: Do you use dry shampoo and if so which product is your favorite?

Weekend Celebrations & Nostalgia

Good Morning Everyone!

This past weekend, as you all know, was 4th of July celebrations where all of us were celebrating ‘Muricas birthday. I made the long drive down to see my family in my hometown where we had a BBQ, watched movies and reminisced on our childhood. It was such a good time. What did you do to celebrate the 4th of July?

To be honest with you I’m not that fond of hot weather. I know, I know, I’ve already said that a million times, but now that the weather stays hot 24/7 it rings even truer for me. I’m a cold weather girl through and through. There’s just nothing better than being able to snuggle under a warm blanket with some hot chocolate and a good christmas movie or two. But I digress.

I was at my dads house for the weekend festivities and he’s the master when it comes to grilling out, so I left all that good stuff down to him. We did your typical all American bbq with hot dogs, cheeseburgers, coleslaw, chips and popsicles.

Grilling Collage

 

Grill food 1

 

As I said before, I left the grill to my dad who’s an expert at grilling.That’s the part that I like about summer. Good food and quality time with family.

I tried to get my dad to take a pic with me, but he’s camera shy. I guess in that way I’m sort of like him. I’m not really so much camera shy, I just don’t feel the need to constantly take pics of myself. I was in such a good mood that day that I just felt like taking a selfie or two for the blog.

 

ME blog pic 2

Once we had stuffed ourselves silly, my dad started getting down the old boxes of childhood pictures and we had a nice look through and walk down memory lane.

Me and brock Collage

It was so fun to look back at pictures of me and my brother as children and see how much we’ve changed. In a lot of ways we have, but also in a lot of ways we haven’t. In the first picture (on the left) you can see how close me and my brother were. There’s about a dozen photos of us hugging. Cue the aws. That was a picture of us coming home from church. In the second picture (on the right) we were at the beach which was a tradition every summer for us growing up.

The third picture (bottom left ) was us at our cousins house. I’m the one with the side pony. Oh believe me, I was so fashion forward (sarcastic laugh). The last picture (bottom right) was my brother and I at Disney world. That has to be my favorite pic of the bunch because Disney World holds such a special place in my heart. Stepping foot on such a magical place felt like a fairy tale to me as a child.

Those were some of my favorites that we found, but there was so much more. This was such a nice and relaxing day, that I was so sad to have to leave. Hope everyone had a great 4th of July weekend!

Question of the day: What is your favorite childhood memory?