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Biggs & Featherbelle plant-based body care products

Biggs & Featherbelle: All-Natural, Plant-Based Body Care

We are not morning people. In fact, we can step into the shower and still be asleep; which is why we welcome invigorating scents to wake us up. Of course when it comes to your skincare, the most important isn’t scent, it’s how great it is for your skin. Luckily with the all-natural, plant-based body care, Biggs & Featherbelle, we get the best of both worlds. Get ready to invigorate your skin and your senses with the range of handmade soaps, bath fizzies, body butter, bath soaks, and body scrubs.

Created by sisters, Kelly and Kasey, Biggs & Featherbelle are made only with pure essential oils and plant-based ingredients. The soaps are handmade the old-fashioned way using cold processing to preserve the natural beneficial properties of the ingredients. We had the wonderful pleasure of trying out a few Biggs & Featherbelle products including the Barbados Sweet Orange & Grapefruit Soap, Bar-garita Key Lime & Sea Salt Soap, Lemon Bar Lemongrass & Shea Butter Soap, Lime & Sea Salt Body Scrub, Soul Kiss Sweet Bergamot lip balm, and Lemon Coconut whipped shea butter.

As soon as we opened the package, our entire apartment was engulfed in the amazing combination of sweet citrus scents. It was like having a scented candle burning. Talk about amazing aromatherapy! Of course, we couldn’t wait to indulge in the products and started with the Barbados Sweet Orange & Grapefruit Soap. This amazing cleansing soap is great for oily skin; it features sweet orange to nourish and balance excess oil, pink grapefruit to tone skin, and olive oil to moisturize.

We’re waiting until we’re done with the Barbados soap to use the other soaps; from what our skin has experienced (no dryness or tightness and it feels supple even before applying a moisturizer), we know we won’t be disappointed.

The Lime & Sea Salt Body Scrub is even more incredible than it sounds. It’s not teeming with oil, so there are no worries about possibly slipping in the shower. Its scent is vividly potent and you’ll love how your skin feels afterward. The multitasking Soul Kiss Sweet Bergamot lip balm is a dream. Not only does it moisturize, but it’s also great for reducing inflammation, soothing chapped and cracked lips, and heals, cools and helps prevent cold sores. We’ve never heard of a non-medical grade lip balm doing that!

Finally, the absolutely heavenly Lemon Coconut whipped shea butter. Raw shea butter is whipped into an almost fluffy, lightweight body butter that regenerates the skin, hydrates dry and damaged skin and hair. The lemon essential oil helps to tone and balance the skin.

We are in love with the all-natural, plant-based products from Biggs & Featherbelle. They have 20 soaps and we’re dying to try them all. Plus you can buy raw shea butter or cocoa butter in bulk.

Champagne Wishes, Apple Dreams: Comsi Comsa Apple Sparkling Wine

In case you haven’t noticed, we’re in apple season. While some apples are available all year round, the fall season, (especially fall in New York) is the only time you can get ripe, fresh apples off the tree. What better time than the height of apple season to introduce and highlight the most delicious and newest apple harvest, a wonderfully delicious sparkling apple wine. What do you get when you combine New York breeding with French elements? You get Comsi Comsa Apple Sparkling Wine, a 12% abv sparkling wine crafted from locally sourced Upstate New York apples (New York grows more apple varieties than any other state). Creation of this delightful sparkling follows the traditional method used by the French champagnes.

Created and distributed by Sauvage, Comsi Comsa Apple Sparkling Wine, launching soon in Apple Crisp, is an all natural, gluten-free and kosher sparkling wine. It is a bit like bubbly and a bit like cider, hence its name, Comsi Comsa, French for “Like this, Like that.” What makes this naturally sweet bubbly so amazing? It’s made with dozens of apple varieties sourced from the local farms surrounding the distillery, it boasts 12% alcohol (ciders only have 6%), has a slightly full-bodied nose, and a gorgeous caramel color. There are only two ingredients in every bottle of Comsi Comsa Apple Sparkling Wine – 100% apples and Champagne Yeast, nothing more.

Influenced by French techniques applied in the Champagne region of France, Sauvage marries tradition and innovation to offer this all-natural apple-based sparkling wine. We had the pleasure of getting better acquainted with Comsi Comsa Apple Sparkling Wine, and it truly was love at first sip. We highly recommend serving it chilled in a champagne flute but we can also see this sweet sparkling adding a unique twist to a French 75 cocktail, a Bellini (who says it has to be peach or pear), or a sweet holiday Poinsettia cocktail (just add cranberry juice).

Comsi Comsa Apple Sparkling Wine officially launches on November 15th, 2017. The 750ml bottle of the sparkling wine, which bears a Panther logo (Sauvage is French for “wild” after all), will retail for $14.99 each.  Keep an eye out at bars and restaurants, clubs and lounges for this crisp spirit, or maybe just pay a visit to Sauvage’s distillery in Oneonta, NY.

Sauvage’s brand-new farm distillery and tasting room are nestled in Oneonta, a vibrant small town in Upstate New York, in the foothills of the Catskill Mountains along the banks of the Susquehanna River. With direct access to 24 varieties of delicious apples growing in the nearby region’s orchards, Sauvage produces this local, fresh, crisp and tasty juice, fermented with champagne yeast. This proprietary recipe becomes the signature base for their unique line of apple-based products.

What are your thoughts on apple sparkling wines? Would you love to give Comsi Comsa a try? For more information on Comsi Comsa, head over to www.drinksauvage.com.

Seasonally Sweet: Wonderful Halos Mandarins

The spring season is finally upon us, even though Mother Nature gifted us with snow and low temperatures on the first day of Spring. Thankfully the temperatures will rise again because we are so very ready for the season of warmer days, blossoming flowers, and delicious citrus flavors…especially the citrus flavors. Over the past few weeks, we’ve found ourselves becoming addicted to the sweet, seedless, and super easy to peel Wonderful Halos Mandarins. These all natural, non-GMO, California mandarins are not only the perfect snack, they’re wonderfully delicious in recipes. Of course, just because they are the right size for kids’ hands doesn’t mean we adults can’t enjoy them (like we’ve been doing).

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The Wonderful Halos mandarins come in two varieties: Clementines, which are available from November to January, and W. Murcott Afourers which are available from February to April, allowing you to enjoy this sweet and healthy alternative to fatty foods fruit, six months out of the year. In celebration of spring, we’re sharing some delicious recipes featuring these sweet little balls of sunshine. Of course you can also enjoy them on their own, especially as they’re only 50 calories and provide 45% of the recommended daily dose of vitamin C.

Wonderful Halos Smoothie Pops

Wonderful Halos Smoothie Pops

Prep: 10 minutes | Time to Table: 5 hours | Serves 12
Wonderful Halos Smoothie Pops with Mango
4 Wonderful Halos mandarins, peeled
1 cup pineapple, diced
½ cup banana, sliced
1 cup mango, diced
1 tablespoon flax meal
¾ cup vanilla yogurt
Extra Wonderful Halos mandarin segments

Wonderful Halos Smoothie Pops with Strawberry
5 Wonderful Halos mandarins, peeled
½ cup pineapple
½ cup banana, sliced
1¼ cups strawberries, sliced
1 tablespoon flax meal
¾ cup vanilla yogurt
Extra Wonderful Halos mandarin segments
For each flavor, combine all ingredients in the pitcher of a blender. Cover and blend on high speed until very smooth, about 2 minutes. Pour into ice pop molds and add extra Wonderful Halos mandarin segments to each pop; insert sticks. Freeze until solid, remove from molds and serve immediately or store in a zip lock bag in the freezer.

Wonderful Halos Prosciutto Bruschetta Bites

Wonderful Halos Prosciutto

Prep: 20 minutes | Time to Table: 45 minutes | Makes 25
1 cup Wonderful Halos mandarin segments, roughly chopped
1 baguette, sliced and toasted olive oil, bowl for brushing baguette
1 teaspoon olive oil
2 cups shallots, sliced
½ teaspoon kosher salt
½ cup white balsamic vinegar
½ cup brown sugar
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon crushed coriander seeds
13 slices prosciutto
1/3 cup toasted hazelnuts, crushed
1 tablespoon fresh thyme
Heat oven to 375ºF. Slice baguette thinly, brush with olive oil and bake until just toasted. Let cool. Make Wonderful Halos mandarin chutney: In a skillet over medium heat, sauté the shallot and salt in 1 tablespoon olive oil until soft and translucent, about 20 minutes. Add the vinegar, brown sugar, bay leaf and coriander seeds and let simmer until vinegar is reduced and almost gone. Add the Wonderful Halos mandarin segments and stir; remove from heat. Top toasted baguette slices with a ½ slice of prosciutto, a spoonful of the Wonderful Halos mandarin chutney and sprinkle with hazelnuts and thyme.

Spiced Merry Mandarin Cider

Wonderful Halos Spiced Merry Mandarin Cider

Prep: 10 minutes | Time to Table: 20 minutes | Serves 4
1½ cups Wonderful Halos mandarins, juiced
1½ cups apple juice
¼ cup lemon juice
¼ cup water
¼ cup sugar
1 stick of cinnamon
1 star anise
1 teaspoon whole allspice
Thinly sliced Wonderful Halos mandarins for garnish
Juice Wonderful Halos mandarins and lemons. Strain out pulp and set aside. Combine all ingredients in a medium saucepan. Heat over medium-low heat until sugar has dissolved and juices are hot. Serve garnished with a thinly sliced Wonderful Halos mandarin.

Wonderful Halos Mandarin & Quinoa Chicken Bowls

Wonderful Halos Mandarin & Quinoa

Prep: 15 minutes | Time to Table: 30 minutes | Serves 4
4 Wonderful Halos mandarins, peeled and segmented
1 cup quinoa
¾ teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon chili powder
¾ teaspoon ground cumin
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 cups baby spinach
1 15-ounce can black beans, drained
1 small red bell pepper, sliced
1 avocado, pitted and sliced
1 scallion, sliced
Chipotle Lime Vinaigrette
¼ cup lime juice
1 garlic clove, sliced in half
2 tablespoons honey
3 teaspoons adobo sauce, from canned chipotle in adobo
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/3 cup olive oil
Cook quinoa according to package directions and set aside to cool. Heat a grill or grill pan over medium-high heat. Mix together the salt, chili powder, and cumin and rub on chicken. Grill chicken on both sides until cooked through; set aside to cool, then slice.
To make the chipotle lime vinaigrette: Whisk together the lime juice, garlic, honey, adobo sauce, salt and olive oil. Then discard halved garlic cloves. Peel Wonderful Halos mandarins and separate segments. Spoon quinoa into 4 bowls. Top each bowl with some spinach, black beans, bell pepper, avocado, Wonderful Halos mandarin segments and sliced chicken. Drizzle each with vinaigrette and sprinkle with scallions to serve.
Tip: If making ahead for lunch, pack vinaigrette separately so bowl stays fresh

Now that we’ve gotten a variety of family-friendly recipes to enjoy Wonderful Halos, here’s a fun way you and your children can enjoy this kid-friendly fruit this Easter. For some fun Easter crafting, paint your Halos just like you would paint your Easter eggs, or stick bunny ears on your Halos for an easy, cute, and healthy decoration that will vitalize your easter basket.

Wonderful Halos Easter

As you can see, these are quite simple and easy to make. For those of you who want to have a bit more fun, check out the below adorable DIY, Wonderful Halos Easter Crafts, and links to recreate them at home:

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Bunny Pouch – http://www.halosfun.com/halos-blog/wonderful-halos-easter-crafts-halos-bunny-pouch/

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Mini Baskets – http://www.halosfun.com/halos-blog/wonderful-halos-easter-crafts-halos-mini-basket/

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Easter Buddy – http://www.halosfun.com/halos-blog/wonderful-halos-easter-crafts-halos-easter-buddy/

Wonderful Halos are available in 2-count, 3lb, and 5lb bags, as well as a 5lb box, at the following stores: Shoprite, Aldi’s, Whole Foods, Target, Costco, Food Lion, etc.

Malie Organics: A First Class Ticket to Pampering!

Celebrate your own natural beauty and the cultural wonders of Hawaii with Malie Organics.  Founded in 2004, Malie Organics offers a luxurious line of all-natural and organic beauty products that are approved by the Natural Products Association.  Honoring their Hawaiin roots, all Malie products feature indigenous and local Hawaiian flora and  are all proudly made in the USA. Malie does not use petroleum, mineral spirits, sulfates or parabens in any of its products.

I had the opportunity to try the Malie’s Jet Set gift set that includes (TSA-friendly) 2.5-ounce bottles of shampoo, conditioner, body wash and body cream.  My experience was like a day at the spa.  Available in Plumeria and Mango Nectar scents, this beautifully packaged travel set retails for $39.50.

Malie’s Jet Set Gift Set

malie organics plumeria

I’m always looking for all-natural and organic products to use on my hair. I found both and so much more with Malie Organics shampoo and conditioner. Are you looking for a color safe, sulfate free, rich lathering shampoo and moisturizing, hair softening conditioner?

Malie Organics Plumeria Shampoo 

malie organics shampoo

Malie Organics Plumeria Conditioner

malie organics conditioner

Malie Organics shampoo and conditioner left my strands feeling clean, moisturized and silky soft.  I also enjoyed the soft and gentle essence of plumeria. The shampoo gently, but thoroughly cleansed my hair without stripping hair of its natural oils. I love the conditioner as well as it is excellent for detangling my thick curly locks.  My hair felt so moisturized and soft after using this shampoo and conditioner combo.  Best of all, Malie products are 70% organic and don’t contain the harmful ingredients found in many hair-care products. And the nose-pleasing scent of the Malie Organics shampoo and conditioner duo lingered on for hours after use.  For only $23.50 each, this high-end quality shampoo and conditioner are a steal.

Malie Organics Plumeria Body Wash

malie organics plumeria bodywash

Close your eyes and imagine the most enjoyable and elegant shower or bath you could  ever experience. Now open them and find a bottle of  Malie Organics Plumeria body wash.  This sulfate-free body wash wrapped me in thick, rich, skin-softening suds and left my skin feeling soft and smelling beautiful.  My skin was not left feeling tight and actually felt very moisturized even after drying off.  I am so impressed with this body wash and my hubby loves the way my skin smells when I climb into bed.  Pamper yourself with an 8.25 oz bottle of pure indulgence for only $28.00!

Malie Organics Plumeria Body Cream

malie organics plumeria body cream

The moment I started to massage the Malie Organics Plumeria Body Cream into my skin, I knew I was saying goodbye to the dry itchy skin that often plagues my skin during the cooler months.  I am in love with the soft and fresh feminine scents of citrus, peach, and jasmine.  The Malie Organics Plumeria body cream left my skin feeling soft, silky and moisturized all day. Spoil yourself with this 70% organic luxurious body cream that can be purchased for just $32.00.

All Malie products are all-natural, organic and wild-crafted ingredients. They are  free of harmful ingredients. Malie does not use animal products or test on animals.

Turn Back Time with Nordic Beauty’s Organic Skincare

One thing women have been trying to do since the beginning is turn back time. For centuries, women have tried several beauty regimens and rituals in the battle against aging, with minimal luck – but here is one beauty label that is sure to make you feel like you’ve frozen time, without leaving you with a frozen face, and a body full of toxins. Nordic Beauty is a 100% natural and organic skin care line that will deem other anti-aging products obsolete, thanks to its special ingredient, Marine Collagen Peptide.

These products use nature’s beauty secrets to keep you looking young and beautiful, with healthy, moisturized skin. The Marine Collagen Peptide used in the Nordic Beauty line comes from wild caught Norwegian Cod skin, from the cold waters of Northern Norway’s deep seas. The brand uses Cod Fish Collagen because it contains much larger amounts of amino acids, glycine and proline than other proteins. These tiny peptides penetrate deep within your skin to help form new tissue cells, resulting in beautiful and youthful looking skin that is younger, softer and more radiant, with optimal results after 33 days of use. Other natural ingredients include Lingonberry Seed Extract, Sweet Iris Stem Cell, Edelweiss Extract, as well as organic essential oils including Frankincense Essential Oil, Sunflower Oil, and Sweet Almond Oil.  The products are gentle and non-irritating, which is perfect for those with sensitive skin. What more could you ask for?

Being able to read the ingredients of the Nordic Beauty products is a real treat that we don’t often get when it comes to what we put on our face. Natural ingredients are very important to Nordic Beauty CEO Mette Risdal, “I hope to elevate consumer awareness of the dangers inherent in the many synthetic ingredients found in so many beauty products today,” says Risdal. “It isn’t worth the short-term gain if a product degrades your appearance or the health of your skin a few years down the line. Our Nordic Beauty products not only make you look good; they are good for you, promoting skin that glows with health and resiliency.”

You can also feel good about supporting Nordic Beauty, as they give 10% of their profits to The Breast Cancer Research Foundation, and Susan G. Komen Foundation, as noted by the pink bow and message stated directly on the packaging. By purchasing Nordic Beauty products, you are not only helping yourself, but other women as well! To learn more about Nordic Beauty or try it for yourself, head over to www.nordicbeauty.com. Let us know your results in the comments below!

EDITED BY GLASGOW SKINNER

Kroma Beauty: Natural Botanicals, All Organic

I recently received a Kroma Makeup Sample kit to indulge in. Kroma Makeup is a mineral based makeup line, which uses only natural and raw materials from the Earth. Overall, I was quite pleased with the quality of the samples, Kroma Makeup, you’ve got yourself a new fan. The kit I received was in the shade “medium: ethnic”, and included two blushes, a powder foundation, a cream concealer, and a mascara. Details and makeup swatches for individual products are highlighted below:

The first product I opened was a Botanical Concealer, in “Taboo”. At first glance, the concealer seemed a bit light for my medium/dark skin-tone. A concealer should typically be two shades lighter than your skin tone so it can erase blemishes and act as a “white out” for your face in pictures. When I swatched the product, I was pleased to see it did appear lighter when blended than it looked in the pot. The consistency is creamy and thick, making it great for the ladies who desire a fuller coverage in their concealer.

Next was the Pressed Powder in shade “#14”. I swatched the pressed powder side by side with the concealer to show you guys the contrast of the two face products (see below). The biggest problem I usually experience with powdered products is the “white cast” they tend to leave in photos, and the streaky application. Fortunately, Kroma’s Pressed Powder did not have a streaky application at all. The pigment was consistent and smooth throughout the application process. It appeared to provide a buildable coverage, so you can choose how light or heavy you want it to look.

Before moving on to the other products, I want you guys to know that Kroma Makeup offers specialized shades for each customer, for each of their facial products. This means that every concealer and foundation, liquid or powder, is available to be custom blended, since each of us has a unique skin tone. The next was the Teen Lip Gloss in the shade “Cotton Candy”. I typically like pigmented, bold lip colors, and this was more of a sheer, clear gloss. The formula is hydrating, and great for those who want a subtle lip color on bare lips, or to gloss up a matte lip color.

I also received a Mascara in Blue. The formula consistency of this mascara is nice and thick, which makes the lashes appear super full and dark. I haven’t done colored mascara since high school, so I was a little apprehensive about using this, as I felt like it might make me look a little childish since I’m in my twenties, but was very happy with the results. This color is great for brown eyes.

Last, but not least, were the two Mineral Blushes in the shades “Ideal”, and “Peachy”. Ideal is a peachy/rosy color with a matte finish, it is extremely pigmented, and beautiful! Love that it came in a refillable tin compact. I believe this color complimented my skin tone wonderfully, and it is my favorite product out of the entire kit, and definitely one I would purchase again. Peachy on the other hand, was significantly less pigmented than Ideal. It appears to be a light peach color in the tin, however when blended, it’s much less pigmented on my skin tone. As a darker skinned girl, this color is too pale for me and would look great on lighter skin tones.

Overall, the Kroma makeup products I received are a good investment. What I liked most about the products is the range of products available for every skin tone. Their custom blend service is well worth the higher price, we’d definitely recommend it. Have you guys tried any Kroma beauty products?

Written by Contributing Writer, Mariam Sardar
Edited by Glasgow Skinner

Sweet Taste of Summer | What’s New from Lifeway Kefir

As June is National Dairy Month, we think it’s the perfect time to highlight the newest cultured milk smoothie from Lifeway Kefir. And because it is summer time, the newest flavor of their Low Fat Kefir, fits right in with the season, as it’s made from the most common summer fruit, sweet Watermelon. The refreshing, tart, and tangy milk smoothie boast 12 live and active probiotic cultures, is Gluten-free, 99% lactose-free, made with all natural ingredients, and it’s a protein and calcium-rich drink that is perfect any time of the day, especially on those hot summer days.
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This limited edition flavor won’t be around for long, so when you see it, we recommend you stock up on a few bottles before this wonderful flavor is completely gone. Another new launch from Lifeway Kefir is their Lifeway Protein Kefir. With 20 grams of protein per serving, Lifeway’s new Protein Kefir is a great way to promote muscle recovery after your workout, or whenever you need a pick-me-up. It promotes fullness, helping you fight off hunger pangs, and those trips to the vending machine.

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While Lifeway Lowfat Watermelon Kefir hits store shelves this summer, their Protein Kefir, which comes out in a variety of flavors, launches later this year!

Make Thanksgiving Better w/ Shady Brook Farms & Honeysuckle White Turkeys

With Thanksgiving happening this week, we have one thing on our minds: FOOD! The star of the Thanksgiving dinner is of course, the turkey. We have great news: The well known Shady Brook Farms and Honeysuckle White have been working with over 700 independent farmers to bring you fresh, whole bird turkeys raised without growth promoting hormones antibiotics – at an affordable price! Shady Brook Farms and Honeysuckle White believe that everyone should have access to healthy, organic food that hasn’t been pumped with chemicals and hormones.

Look out for this packaging at your local grocery store when turkey shopping!

This is huge and amazing news – they are the first major turkey brands to implement this change on such a large scale. By buying a turkey this year from these brands, you can take a step in the right direction toward healthy and organic eating this Thanksgiving. We had the chance to sample this Gluten-free, MSG-free turkey from Shady Brook Farms and it is superbly delicious!

Now you can feel a little better about stuffing yourself on turkey day, because your turkey will be hormone antibiotic free! Living in a time where we barely know where our food comes from and how the animals that we consume are raised, Shady Brook Farms and Honeysuckle White taking the initiative to give us turkey that is raised the healthy way is a breath of fresh air. You can look forward to even more turkey products without growth promoting antibiotics soon, because they will be removed from all turkeys by 2015. With Shady Brook Farms and Honeysuckle White, you can be sure that you are serving your loved ones something that not only tastes great, but is great for them.