Review- Goop Clean Beauty

 

Goop Clean Beauty

I have been a subscriber of goop since the beginning because I love Gwyneth Paltrow’s clean, crisp clothing style. Honestly- her uniform post from several years ago is still a go-to for me. I am still a subscriber but over the years as goop has developed as a “lifestyle” brand, I have certainly stopped being an avid reader. The problem that I have is the same as a lot of other people- the site just SMACKS of privilege; almost everything featured is insanely expensive and it seems out of touch with the lives of most women (steaming ones vagina?? Really??? That cannot be healthy)

When I was sent Goop Clean Beauty by the publisher, Hachette Book Group Canada, I was willing to attempt to look at it without any preconceived notions. It was January and who doesn’t love a good lifestyle book to start the New Year with? I was certainly curious if the book would be accessible to the 99% who aren’t Hollywood royalty….

My first impression of the book was how clean (no pun intended) and stylish the layout design was. It was like your favourite Instagrammer who uses a lot of flat-lay pictures- perfect and styled within an inch of its life. I did have to chuckle a bit that kale leaves were prominently featured on the dedication page.

While the credit for the book goes to the staff of goop, GP “curated’ the book so naturally the introduction was penned by her. In it, she extols the virtues of natural self-preservation and aging gracefully while feeling as good as possible both inside and out. So far I am on board. She addresses all the negative products in so many beauty products and stresses how bad “toxins” are for the body (this feels a bit like an ad for goop by Juice Beauty)

GP has gotten a lot of flack by members of the medical community about her detox cleanses and she clearly wants to clarify her position here by stressing that her detox focuses on clean eating (i.e eating nothing fun at all) and not juice cleanses or fasts. Thea Baumann (the resident goop chef), provides 24 recipes for clean eating, many of which look pretty yummy (I am for sure trying  the Steamed Fish with Dashi and Soba Noodles and all the chopped salads). However…. there is a recipe for hot water and lemon.. Seriously?

A list of superfoods and antioxidants are included here which is hardly new territory but its nice to have all the info in one place if you are into that sort of thing (I am sort of on the fence, personally)

Of course Tracey Anderson also shows. I am as envious as anyone of GP’s figure but Tracey’s “method” is not super feasible for me as much as I wish it were. (working out for an hour a day would be amazing if I had that sort of time)

One thing that I was very interested in was the section addressing supplements and foods that help with hair, skin and nails. I took some of the advice and started talking a Biotin and have noticed a difference with my hair, especially. The beauty section is very blunt about how skin and haircare products work and that the real permanent changes and improvements come from what you put in your body rather than what you put on it. YES! This was probably my favourite section.

The the section that focuses on hair styles and makeup is a bit silly, especially in the era of YouTube tutorials. How to do a cat eye and a ponytail? Huh?

Another section that I was really interested in was about sleep- about how much you need, how to get the most out of sleep, the importance of naps for adults (HA- vindication! I LOVE naps) and how lack of sleep can affect your body. I am working on implementing some of the suggestions in an attempt to feel more rested.

All in all, this book is a beautiful hard covered version of the goop website and while there are certainly some good recipes and references, it doesn’t exactly break new ground.

Also one more thing- Is adrenal fatigue a real thing?

 

 

** I was provided this book for review by Hatchette Book Group Canada. All opinions are solely my own.

 

 

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Clicking for Cake with shopbake.com

Shopbake.comThere are two things lots of Toronto women like- sweets and online shopping. In the past, these two faves have never intersected but as of today, the dreams of many come true!

September 17th marks the launch of shopbake.com, an online bakery delivery service made up of fifty of the city’s favourite bakeries with more to be added!!! It’s like Etsy for sweeties!!!

Sellers create an account to promote their delicious products and buyers can create their own personalized accounts with all of their favorites! This amazing service will revolutionize party planning and make gift giving this holiday season a breeze. Not only can you pick from a huge selection of cakes, cookies, macarons, bread and more, Shopbake also caters to dietary restrictions by having nut free, kosher, gluten-free and vegan options.

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I was lucky enough to receive a bag of goodies from Shopbake ahead of their official launch today! I snacked on a selection of treats from a variety of vendors and they were all AMAZING!

Head on over to Shopbake now and get grazing!!!

 

Thanks to Charming Media for introducing me to a new obsession!

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Michael Smith’s Family Meals and GIVEAWAY

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Making a meal that your ENTIRE family will eat and enjoy can be a real challenge, as I can tell you from first hand experience. When you succeed, it feels like the greatest achievement ever! Even famous and creative chefs like Michael Smith feel this way.

With his new cookbook, “Family Meals”, Michael wants to help the average home chef get it right every time. He shares one hundred recipes straight from his families kitchen to help every family eat right and well in spite of their busy lives.

He shares breakfast ideas (huge for me), lunchbox meals, cook ahead meals and slow cooker meals to name a few, all with the hope of helping the average Canadian family get out of their food rut and get a bit more adventurous without spending more time in the kitchen!

My husband and I decided to test drive his recipe for Nacho Burgers last weekend.

We found that we had most of the ingredients in our pantry already so all we really needed to pick up was ground beef and buns!

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After very simple and quick prep, the burgers and buns hit the BBQ and in a few minutes.. voila!

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The verdict from the family was AWESOME- the recipe is super simple and straightforward and easily adaptable for my pickiest eater without having to make him a different meal.  The tortilla chips were a unique touch and adding spices to the buns is genius!

I think that they turn out very well and even looked like the photo in the book!

Nacho Burger

Penguin Canada has kindly offered a copy of Family Meals by Michael Smith to one of my readers! Please enter via the Rafflecopter widget below (Canadian Residents Only Please)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

* All professional photos used with the permission of Penguin Canada

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Christmas in the City- Lowes Toronto Christmas Market

I think that it is fair to say that as you grow older, Christmas begins to lose some of its magic. Life gets in the way; work, lists, kids expectations etc… not to mention that stores put up lights before we blow out the candles in our Halloween pumpkins.

The year of my wee man’s first Christmas, I discovered the Christmas Market in Toronto’s historic Distillery District.
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Lowes Toronto Christmas Market #2

It was like stepping into another place- the perfect Bavarian market! From the fifty foot white spruce christmas tree featuring over 18,000 lights to the cozy outdoor fire pits, the Christmas Market can make a Christmas lover out of any Scrooge McDuck!

The market is full of little booths featuring a variety of handmade items, holiday merchandise from around the world as well as, of course, food! There are even Beer and Mulled Wine Gardens for those who want to indulge!!

Lowes Toronto Christmas Market #2

There also lots to keeps the kiddos occupied while mum picks up some stocking stuffers- The Candy Cane Singers hit the stage every evening at 6pm to sing carols and there are other musical acts through out the days as well. Kids can have their picture taken with Santa at his special house (they are doing pet photos with Santa every Monday- new this year!), ride on the carousel and ferris wheel and visit a real life-sized Gingerbread House!!

Rediscover the magic of Christmas this year and visit. I promise you will love it! The Christmas Market runs from Friday November 29th to December 15th!

Website  Facebook  Twitter    #TCM13

(Images via Torchia Communications)

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Review- The Honest Life by Jessica Alba

imgresThe Honest Life, based on her quest to live a more natural, non toxic lifestyle, I was pretty sceptical. I had just been reading about Ms. Paltrow’s annoying new cookbook and I wanted to throw her holier than thou ass out the window. Celebrity “experts” can be incredibly irritating. However, I am familiar with Ms. Albas e-commerce website The Honest Company and have been impressed with their products and the good reviews they have received (not currently shipping to Canada unfortunately) so I decided to check the book out. Totally glad that I did!

This book is basically a crash course in things that are bad for you. Sounds pretty dire and I admit that I was a bit overwhelmed at first… as in, OMG I am feeding WHAT to my family??? The book presents the reader with an easy to understand overview of how to cut unhealthy things (in the form of toxins, chemicals etc) out of your food, home, makeup, toys etc. Ms. Alba’s goal is to present a healthy lifestyle in an “un-boring” (not beige) way and she jazzes the subject matter up with a fun layout and fantastic photographs.

She presents herself as the “anti Paltrow”- a mum who wants to do what is best for herself and her family but is admittedly not perfect. She attempts to speak to the every women while forthrightly acknowledging that she has a charmed life. She sees it as a privilege that she was able to create a line of products that she felt she could trust for use in her own home and she does plug the line quite a lot, but it only come off as mildly irritating (she give lots of other alternatives as well, which makes the book seem a lot less like an infomercial).

The book truly is a complete “lifestyle” overview – in addition to the sections about food and the home, there are sections about fashion, pregnancy style, beauty products (it’s pretty gross what is in some makeup) and even a section about decorating with recycled products (she claims that every seat in her house is from Craigslist; I seriously doubt this).

For me, the most interesting and informative section was about food. It has really gotten me thinking about the food that I eat and what I feel my son. I also found the section about baby care products interesting/horrifying and I am much more conscious about what I put next to my wee mans delicate skin now. The section about kids also includes some great tips about traveling with children and some good tips about getting your children on a sleep routine.

In the epilogue, she has included some easy reference charts as well as some great healthy recipes and even some DIY beauty products!

All in all, if you are interested in living a life with fewer additives, this book is a good jumping off point. I assure you that you will be further educating yourself on Google after you read this book.

 

 

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Review- Donate Naturally Weekly Staples Bin

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After I posted about Donate Naturally, I was contacted by the company and offered their Weekly Staple Bin to review. Let me start out by saying that organic food boxes are awesome- great, healthy food dropped off once a week on your front step… perfect! However, Donate Naturally kicks it up a level, as 15% of each and every purchase is donated by them to the charity of your choice!

 

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My box included:

A loaf of Brick Street Bakery Spelt and Kamut Bread

One litre of Harmony Organic 2% Milk

A Dozen Rowe Farms green valley free run eggs

When they say staples, that is exactly what they mean- the three things that almost everyone who is not vegan buys every week. The bread was wonderful (we love Kamut in our house… seriously) and my little guy (and my big guy) scarfed it down with Almond Butter and Jelly for breakfast! The milk came in a bottle, which I love and it can be returned to any store that sells it to be reused (no waste!). Rowe Farms is my favorite local butcher and everything they sell is organic and fresh fed. Their eggs are my absolute favorite and are going fast as my current go-to breakfast is soft boiled eggs and toast soldiers (thanks to my English background).

The eggs are enough to last us a week and the loaf of bread was pretty large so lasted a few days. The milk only lasted two days due to my guzzling toddler but if it was just me and the husband, it would last the whole week!

Check out Donate Naturally’s Weekly Staples Bin as well as all their other bin options. Eat well and do good all at the same time!

 

 

**NB- This box was send to me for reviewing purposes. All opinions are mine.

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Cool Company Spotlight- Donate Naturally

 

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A friend of mine recently introduced me to this unique take on online shopping. Donate Naturally sells natural and organic products and 15% of the amount of your purchase goes to the charity or cause of your choice.

They really mean YOUR CHOICE- there are no charitable restriction. Your 15% donation can go to Heart and Stroke or to the capital campaign at your child’s school.

DonateNaturally.com also offers great fundraising drives throughout the year, to help your school raise even more money! These drives are centered around products your school’s constituents would be buying anyway (Natural Turkeys for Thanksgiving and Christmas, Fair Trade/Organic chocolate Easter bunnies at Easter, summer BBQ drives) so as to maximize their fundraising potential.

There is no additional cost tacked on to your purchase, however you do not receive a tax credit for your donation (this makes sense to me).

You can purchase a wide variety of product from the website, including perishable food items that are delivered on a scheduled day each week in the GTA ( Non perishable items are sent via Canada Post) and all products are natural and organic. A variety of weekly organic food boxes are available within the GTA. Other products available include organic baby and children’s, household and beauty products.

For a discount of 10% off your first order, use discount checkout code kp10off

Email the lovely Katie Popkin at kpopkin@rogers.com for more details!!!

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The Husband’s Incredible Rib Recipe (prepare to swoon)

My husband is from a meat eating family and they pride themselves on their cooking skills. Each and every member of the family can cook a perfect steak and my mother-in-law cooks the only lamb that I truly love (the secret is Dill Seed and butter!!!)

The hubby and I are both HUGE rib fans (as is our wee man) so he loves to experiment with recipes and this one is to die for!!! This is his variation of the Jayhawk Double-Clutch recipe

 

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The ingredients!

Ingredients

  • 3 pounds pork baby back or spareribs, rinsed and patted dry
  • 1/4 cup of beer
  • 1 generous tablespoon of grated ginger
  • 4 cloves of minced garlic
  • 1/2 roughly chopped yellow onion
  • 1 roughly chopped red pepper
  • 1/4 cup Dijon mustard (German or French)
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 cup prepared hickory flavoured barbecue sauce

For the spice rub:

  • 1 tablespoon packed brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
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The Prep

Preparation

  • 1. Preheat your oven to 300°F.
  • 2. Place the garlic, ginger, onion and red pepper in the centre of an 18 × 24-inch sheet of heavy-duty foil.
  • 3. Place the ribs on top of this mixture. Fold the remaining tinfoil over the ribs and double-fold two sides, leaving one end open.
  • 4. Through the open end, pour in 1/4 cup of beer. Double-fold the remaining foil, leaving enough room for heat to circulate.
  • 5. Transfer the ribs to a large, rimmed baking sheet. Bake until the ribs are tender, about one hour. Cool in the sealed packet for 30 minutes.

 

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About to go into the oven!!
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Out of the oven for the rub!!
  • 6. Meanwhile, turn on your BBQ to middle-high heat. To make spice rub, combine all the ingredients in a bowl.
  • 7. Carefully open the tinfoil packet, allowing any remaining steam to escape. Transfer the ribs to another large baking sheet or cutting board; brush both sides with the mustard, then sprinkle with the spice rub and ground black pepper.
  • 8. Place the ribs, meaty side down, on the grill. Cover and grill for 5 minutes. Turn the ribs and brush with about one-third of the barbecue sauce; cover and grill for another 5 minutes. Turn the ribs and repeat for another 5 mins. Brush the meaty side of the ribs with the remaining sauce, cover and grill until evenly charred, about five minutes.
  • 9. Cut the ribs into manageable portions.
  • 10. Grab some paper towel for your hands and face. Enjoy.

 

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My Dad’s Clafoutis Recipe (by way of the great Julia Child!)

 

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A Photo of my dad’s Peach Clafouti!

 

My dad’s omelette recipe was such a big hit on the blog that I wanted to share another one of his amazing recipes. He has mastered Julia Child’s recipe with a few tweaks to make it his own!

 

Julia Child’s Clafoutis (Kla-FOO-tea)

Ingredients:

1¼ cups milk

1/3 cup white sugar

3 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/8 teaspoon salt

½ cup flour

a little freshly grated nutmeg

3 cups pitted cherries

¼ cup white sugar

powdered sugar

 

Instructions:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

In a blender blend the milk, sugar, eggs, vanilla, salt and flour. Pour a ¼ inch deep layer of batter into a lightly buttered 7or 8 cup baking dish. Place dish in oven until the batter sets in the pan (be careful it does not overcook). Remove from oven and spread cherries over the batter. Sprinkle fruit with ¼ cup sugar. Pour remaining batter over fruit. Bake for 45 minutes to an hour. The clafouti is done when it is puffed and brown and a knife plunged into the centre comes out clean. Sprinkle with powdered sugar. May be served warm or cold.

 

This recipe has been altered based on my experience to include less vanilla and less sugar over the fruit. The nutmeg is my addition. I have made this with other fruit including peeled and thinly sliced pears, peaches and apples. Apricots and cherries could also be used- leave the pits in the cherries for the best flavour. Leftovers make a great breakfast the next day! Enjoy!

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