Category Archives: Healthy Living

Getting Ready for Summer with Pure Barre

All the cute outfits in the world aren’t worth it if you don’t feel good.

For me, feeling good starts on the inside, with a healthy vegan diet and plenty of sleep. Physical activity is crucial too. I’ve always enjoyed being active. The gym is a chore, but hiking, biking and roller derby have held my interest. Recently, I discovered Pure Barre. It’s a fantastic antidote to my desk job.

Jean and Hannah

Here I am with Hanna, one of the inspiring Pure Barre instructors, at a recent open house.

Pure Barre is a challenging workout that uses a ballet barre, stretching, strengthening, and isometric poses. I went when a friend invited me to a class and I thought, “how hard can it be?” Was I in for a surprise!

It’s a workout great for all ages, body types and skill levels, but it isn’t easy! I worked muscles that hadn’t had a lot of use, and I felt it! Classes focus on working abs, seat, and thigh, and there are upper body weight components too. The goal is a strong, lean body.

The first class left me sore (in a good way) for days. I knew this workout would change me so I signed up for more. Now, a few months in, I see results! I have obliques. My abs are flatter. I have more defined quads. I can do “real” push-ups, and a 90-second plank. I love that class is still challenging and that I will always be able to improve and grow.

If you haven’t heard of Pure Barre, here’s an intro from their site. There are over 300 studios in 42 states. Your first class is free, so why not try?

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Filed under Events, Healthy Living

Color-blocked Eco Dress

When I went to Snohomish, WA a few months ago, hubby and I wandered the old town, grabbed drinks, and window shopped. My window shopping turned into the real deal when I found the Natural Clothing Company.

The store features a diverse range of styles and sizes (men’s and kids’ stuff too) with a common theme: organic, chemical-free clothing. The footprint of making the clothes is smaller, and the clothes themselves are healthier to wear. Not everything is vegan (wool was among the natural fibers), but I found lots of great pieces in cotton, hemp, linen, bamboo and even soy!

tricolor dress

Dress: Natural Clothing Company
Pleather boots: MIA
Cardigan: Thrifted
Necklace: Shop in Ft. Lauderdale

As usual, I thought I’d just “try on” this wonderful organic cotton dress, but it fit so well and was really comfortable. It’s lined and has pockets! So I did the economy a favor and picked it up.

dress with red sash

I love the pop of red the sash provides, and the three neutrals give me lots of options for shoes and accessories. If I turn from left to right, you’ll think it’s a completely different dress!

dress and boots

If you’re ever meandering through Snohomish (it’s the type of town that you really need to meander through), take in the sights, grab a bite to eat, and check out the Natural Clothing Company. If you don’t get to Snohomish, don’t worry–they have an online shop too!

I’ve joined Lena B Actually and Rachel the Hat for Passion for Fashion. Check out what they (and everyone else) is wearing!

organic dress

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Filed under Ethical, Fashion, Healthy Living

Celebrating Thanksgiving at Plum Bistro

I blogged about my Thanksgiving feast on my vegan blog yesterday and I thought enjoying delicious food is something everyone loves, so I’m reposting my experience here.

For Thanksgiving this year, hubby treated me to a four-course meal at Plum Bistro, a vegan restaurant in Seattle. Most restaurants were closed today, but Plum had a special prix fixe menu. Hubby thought it would be nice to eat without cooking or cleaning up. He was right!

We started our meal with roasted heirloom carrots and Brussels sprouts with a maple and thyme glaze. I could have gone home happy at this point, but there was more.

starter

Our appetizer was Plum’s famous smoky mac and yease. It was creamy and delicious–vegan comfort food at its finest.

mac and yease

For the main course, we dined on smoked seitan roast with gravy and cornbread stuffing. The stuffing, with cranberry reduction on the side was so satisfying I didn’t need dessert.

main course

But when dessert came–a bourbon chocolate pecan pie–I didn’t hesitate to devour it. It was drizzled with caramel, covered with a dollop of smooth, dairy-free whipped cream, and garnished with pomegranate seeds and a pecan.

pecan pie

I have a lot to be thankful for, and this meal was no exception! I enjoyed a cruelty-free meal and I loved seeing everyone in the packed restaurant enjoying healthy, vegan food too.

I hope you had a great Thanksgiving. If you’re in Seattle, you’ve got to visit Plum!

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Filed under Ethical, Events, General, Healthy Living

Polka Dots for a Picnic

When the weather’s nice, people in Seattle take advantage of it–you never know how long the sun will stay out. On a recent sunny day, hubby and I packed a picnic basket full of goodies and headed over to Gasworks Park.

picnic and polka dots

T-shirt: Tahari via consignment
Dress (worn as skirt): Swapped
Shoes: Payless
Sunglasses: Old Navy
Purse: Crystalyn Kae
Basket: Santa Fe Farmers Market

Gasworks is a great location. From there you can see South Lake Union and the Seattle skyline. The Space Needle is visible behind me on the right. Everywhere we looked, people were kayaking, playing Frisbee, flying kites–it was really fun to watch the world go by.

Gasworks

We set up our picnic on a hill near a guy with an easel. He was painting landscape of the Seattle skyline. From this spot, we could take in the scenery (natural and otherwise–I like the urban feel of the gasworks. If you don’t, a simple turn to the left or right will have you looking at water, trees and hills).

picnic goodies

I cheated a bit because I went to Whole Foods and bought prepackaged goodies instead of making everything myself. We even sneaked a bottle of wine with us. We’re adults! Besides, it was a rosé and looked like juice.

I bought vegan potato salad (made with egg-free nayonaise), a quinoa salad, avocado rolls, diced fresh fruit, and the best wrap ever! It was made with faux chicken strips by a company called Beyond Meat. Delicious, healthy, and good for the chickens!

picnic spread

We actually ate too much. So we loafed around for a bit (I had on sunscreen–don’t worry) before wandering back to our car. On the way, I found a neat mosaic. Each of the metal designs was fabricated from kids’ drawings. How cool would it have been to see your childhood drawings permanently installed in a floor mosaic?

mosaic

I’ve joined Not Dead Yet for Visible Monday and Color Blind for Thrifters Anonymous. Check out what all the others are wearing today!

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Filed under Ethical, Fashion, Healthy Living, Thrifty

Josie Maran Argan Oil and Moisturizer

A few weeks ago, while poking around the shelves at Sephora, I discovered Josie Maran Argan Oil. I’ve been on a quest to find vegan beauty products. I thought I was shopping cruelty-free but I was horrified to discover a few items in my stash are by companies that still test on animals. Shameful!

The woman at Sephora explained that the entire Josie Maran line is vegan and cruelty-free (no animal ingredients and no animal testing). Plus, it’s natural and organic.

Josie Maran

Josie Maran sources argan oil from co-ops that help women in rural Morocco earn a decent living in good labor conditions, while working toward improved literacy. I love that and I’m willing to pay more for a product with those values.

Besides, the oil is great! It’s not greasy and it absorbs quickly. I use it on my face, the dry ends of my hair, my cuticles, and my elbows. I told my friend Karthik about it and she said she uses Josie Maran products too–specifically their tinted moisturizer. So we planned to stop by Sephora and see if I could get some too.

I was surprised to see that there are only five shades. I chose crème. Karthik wears desert. To find a product that we can both wear–with our different skin types and colors–was pretty impressive (Karthik was born in India and has wonderful, warm brown skin. My light skin is a reflection of my German and Scottish roots). We both love that it’s got SPF 30. No more greasy sunscreen on our faces! (And yes, skin cancer and wrinkles affect all skin types, so slather up!)

Karthik’s issue with sunscreens is that most leave a whitish residue on her face. The Josie Maran moisturizer doesn’t. My issue is that even the lightest tinted moisturizer looks orange on my skin and you can see where the product stops and my natural color begins.

This moisturizer is tinted just right. It blends in, it’s lightweight, and left us glowing, not greasy. I’ve even stopped wearing pressed powder. I really only ever used it to hide the shine of sunscreen. I can’t wait to try their cosmetics too. Argan oil mascara? Sign me up!

We also tried products by other cruelty-free companies (Tarte and Stila) and popped into Lush, so come on back for more of our reviews!

Note: This isn’t a sponsored post. I wasn’t compensated to review these products. I just really like them. Also, I cross-posted this on my other blog, Sunshine and Slaughter, because it was relevant.

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Filed under Beauty, Ethical, Healthy Living

Goddess Facial at Djaouida Skincare

I was recently given an offer I couldn’t refuse: to review a decadent chocolate and coconut goddess facial from Djaouida Skincare. What a luxury!

I met Djaouida at her West Seattle salon and settled into a warm bed in a relaxing room. With ingredients like coconut, chocolate, pumpkin, pineapple and papaya, you might think I’d wandered into a bakery or a smoothie shop. Her products are all-natural and the treatments are full of antioxidants and nourishing properties.

Djaouida has several types of facials to choose from, as well as sugaring (a gentle and natural hair removal) and massage.

the spa

I chose the goddess facial because I couldn’t resist the sound of a gentle cleanse, followed by a pomegranate scrub, and coconut and chocolate masks. Djaouida warned me that I’d smell like a Mounds candy bar when I was done–and she was right! Mmm!

The facial felt great, but it was more than pure decadence. It provided antioxidants and had anti-aging properties. When I was done, my skin was glowing and I felt rested. I realized I’d been doing this all wrong. I’d let other salons apply harsh chemicals to my skin, which dried it out and, frankly, burned it. It didn’t seem right. Now I know it wasn’t. I need to pamper my skin and treat it carefully. At Djaouida’s, I left hydrated and rested.

post facial

Best of all, Djaouida is a wonderful person and made the whole experience such a treat. She’s professional, but she’s also the type of person that you’d want to have a glass of wine with. I learned a lot about skincare during my one visit and I can’t wait to go back.

I’ll be making a facial at Djaouida’s part of my regular beauty routine. I can’t decide which facial to try next: Hawaiian? Pumpkin? Maybe Moroccan!

If you’re in the greater Seattle area, I highly recommend booking an appointment for a luxurious facial.

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Filed under Beauty, Healthy Living, Product Reviews

Red Jacket for National Wear Red Day

It’s National Wear Red Day® again. Last year, I wore a red dress, and today I’m representing in a red jacket. This day is meant to raise awareness about the #1 killer of women: Heart disease.

red jacket

Jacket: Lulu’s
T-shirt: Target
Skirt: Swapped
Tights: Target
Boots: Lanvin via consignment
Clutch: Alchemy Goods

I wore this jacket at Vegan Thanksgiving, a strange coincidence–if you know me, you’ll know I like to promote a healthy, plant-based lifestyle. The American Heart Association, who sponsors National Wear Red Day®, urges women to control risk factors for heart disease. Many factors, like blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, and obesity can be eliminated with healthy food choices. The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine has a lot of information about how to keep a healthy heart, including:

  • Eating a low-fat, vegetarian diet
  • Brisk walking for a half-hour per day or an hour three times per week
  • Not smoking
  • Managing stress

Back to the outfit! Did you check out the purse? It’s made of recycled bicycle inter tubes–vegan and green! I love supporting local, ethical, sustainable businesses, and Alchemy Goods fits that bill. They’re right here in Seattle. I bought mine at Click! Design That Fits in West Seattle.

red, black, and merle

And the shoes? No I didn’t blow a mortgage payment on them (although new, that’s what they’d cost). I found them on consignment at Ragamoffyn’s–for a fraction of the cost of what they’d be new. Not only did I save major bucks, but I don’t like to buy new leather. If it’s second-hand, I consider it recycling.

collage

Are you wearing red today? What are your heart-healthy tips?

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Thanksgiving Feast Part Two

This evening, hubby and I attended the Feast for the Turkeys at Pasado’s Safe Haven.

guestcard

Instead of having turkey, the turkeys had us! Butterball was the official host, but Stacie, our lovely guide, took us on the tour. First stop: Turkeys, of course!

turkeys

Turkeys are gentle and kind. It’s not true that if it rains and they look up, they drown. On the contrary, they’re smart birds who protect each other, “talk” to their friends (including people), and are loving parents to their little ones. I got to pet Butterball–what soft feathers! As smart as she is, I’m not sure she noticed that I color-coordinated with her today.

At Pasado's

Next, we met these little piggies, who were rescued from a fire. They loved popcorn, carrots, apples, and bananas.

mini pigs

While I was taking their picture, look who snuck up on me!

goat

I made sure to give him a carrot, and he was happy. As we fed the goats and sheep, I spied a rooster, well, roosting.

roosting rooster

I found lots of chickens in the coop next door. The white ones are rescued laying hens. To think they used to live in cages with no more room to move than if they were standing on an iPad. They love their freedom now! And they’ll never end up in a pot.

chickens

They loved lettuce and grapes. Look at that blur–she sure was a fast one!

feeding the fowl

This photo doesn’t show how big these two pigs are. They’re each over 600 pounds! Splash, on the left, saw her siblings slaughtered and escaped certain death by swimming across a river where a startled, but loving woman took her in until she could find a proper home for the pig. Nora, on the right, was rescued from a horder and was starving. They’re both happy, healthy, and safe now.

Splash and Nora

The cows loved the carrots I brought for them, but they look a little suspicious of me, don’t you think?

Eddie Cheddar

cow

After an amazing tour, we toasted the animals with a glass of bubbly and went inside for a feast!

I got teary-eyed as our hosts read the menu: Autumn vegetable samosas with plum chutney, carrot miso spread on baguettes, and baked chickpeas; red kuri squash and coconut soup with cashew cream and beet reduction; massaged kale salad with pomegranate, hazelnuts and pears; parsnip apple puree, root vegetable latkes, orange balsamic glazed Brussels sprouts, and maple baked tempeh with apple cider glaze; pumpkin cake with chocolate-hazelnut ganache.

feast

I was overcome with emotion because as we dined on our vegan meal, rescued animals were snuggling in their stalls in the barns next door. Animals that would have been pork chops, turkey cutlets or hamburgers. I wished for peace for all living creatures and longed for every restaurant and household to serve delicious, cruelty-free meals like this.

What a wonderful time! I hope you take a tour of Pasado’s or a similar sanctuary in your area. They’re amazing places.

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The Bird on my Table

People who know me know I don’t eat meat. But I do plan on having a bird on my table for Thanksgiving. Or rather, a picture of a bird: A lovely photo of Victoria, a turkey I sponsored through Farm Sanctuary. I figured I’d put the money many people spend on frozen turkeys and donate it to a real live turkey who got a new lease on life.

victoria

Farm Sanctuary is actually three sanctuaries (one in New York State, and two in California). They focus on rescuing farm animals from abuse and neglect, educating people about factory farming, and advocating for animals. According to Victoria’s bio, shy’s shy and curious (she sounds a little like a certain cat in my home who shall remain unnamed).

Besides the photo (which wouldn’t taste very good), the table will be loaded with vegan goodies. I’ll be at my friend Lynn’s, where we’ll eat roasted squash, spicy string beans, mashed potatoes with mushroom gravy, cranberry sauce, savory stuffing, and pumpkin pie. We’ll have a little Wild Turkey too–in our hot toddies!

wild turkey

I’ll post about the delicious dinner when it’s all done. And I’ll write about the Feast for the Turkeys I’m attending on Saturday. That’s the day I go to Pasado’s Safe Haven for a vegan meal where turkeys are the guests of honor! I’m giddy at the prospect of feeding grapes and lettuce to them. And I’m already drooling over the menu. Autumn Vegetable Samosas with plum chutney, anyone?

turkey

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Red Dress for National Wear Red Day

It’s National Wear Red Day®, a day to show support for women’s heart health. Heart disease is the number one killer of women. With that in mind, I’m donning a red dress.

red dress

The best things you can do reduce your change of heart disease is quit smoking and lower your cholesterol and blood pressure. The Physician’s Committee for Responsible Medicine has excellent information about plant-based diets and how they virtually eliminate risk factors for heart disease. The message seems to be have a heart–go vegetarian! Of course, you know I already am. I have been for thirty years and I feel great. Have you made dietary changes for any reason?

red and green

Bamboo dress: Boutique in Seattle
Tank: Charlotte Russe
Vintage belt: eBay
Boots: Naughty Monkey via thrifted
Ring: Festival Flea Market

I recently cut 6 inches off the bottom of this dress. I liked the longer length but wanted something more edgy. Cutting a hem on a skirt is probably the quickest DIY makeover I can think of. I didn’t even sew the edge. It was already unfinished so cutting it and leaving it wasn’t a problem.

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