RANDOM LIFESTYLE FAVORITES

Is 2017 running a marathon?

Last I checked it was still January and we were unpacking from our trip back home. And in the blink of the eye its April?? And not the start but the tail end?

I seriously think 2017 has a hidden agenda ūüėČ

Anyways, back to the topic. Don’t you think the word “FAVORITES” is hypnotizing? Any where you read this word, you automatically have the urge to dig deep and find out the lucky winners who made this list.

I am just like you. I luuuuuuuve (yes its serious) to google/watch/read favorite stuff. Sometimes the stuff is soo real that the very next day I run to the Target nearby to get it but other times I am left confused as to why….

I also love-making small lifestyle changes which make our family happy and healthy.

For me favorites can be a product, lifestyle change, a podcast, a book or as simple as……

a  moment.

Here are some of my random favorites lifestyle/products:

Lifestyle Favorites

Chai….

Every night after dinnertime, once the kids are in the bed,¬†me and my husband enjoy a cup of soothing herbal tea, sometimes with a sweet bite, other times on its own.¬† It’s the perfect way to unwind after a long busy day. This is the time where we discuss our day and everything around it. Sometimes the chai is accompanied¬†with a¬†show on TV.

My current favorite is Pukka Herbs Tea Herbal Three Fennel while he enjoys Tapal Green Tea 30 Tea Bags (Mint).

 

google keep

Organization….

If you are like me and love-making lists then this is App is just for you. Now¬†you don’t have to make multiple lists¬†every time you switch device.¬†You can make lists, write notes¬†or snap photos to Google Keep. If you are pressed for time, then record a voice note and it will be automatically transcribed.

Accessible from computer, tablet and phone. Everything you add, gets synced to all the devices which makes it so convenient. You can also color code the lists/notes which makes it super easy the find them in a jiffy.

The reason why I love it the most is because of its organization and accessibility across the devices.

Check out more at: Google Keep

Tashakkur ¬†(Gratitude)……

Do you want to be happy, contented, healthy, optimistic???

Practice Tashakkur.

This is one habit which has brought immense positivity¬†in my life. When you take out¬†time to say “Thank You” for all the blessings in your life, no matter how insignificant, your outlook will change.

Tashakkur has a chain reaction. When you start being grateful for little things in life, the blessings keep on multiplying. You realize that you might not be the richest person in this world when it comes to money, but you are richest when it comes to contentment. A feeling money cannot buy.

At this very moment, take a look around you. I can safely say that you can find at least 5 if things, if not more, to be grateful for. The first being the ability to read.

There are many ways to show gratitude. By praying, meditating, penning your blessings in a journal etc. But the simplest way is that whenever you feel blessed or even if the thought of the feeling arises, say ThankYou God or ShukarAllah.

 

And now on to some of the products I am currently enjoying…

Scrub & Protect

Thanks to the unpredictable Californian weather my skin has been acting very strange. There are days when it gets super oily while on the other days its soo dry that I am one flaky mess. Also as the sun is super Sunny here, my body is now an array of colors.

I tried a couple of products but nothing seemed to fit the bill.

I am a DIY type of girl and sugar with¬†some olive oil and lemon is the best scrub on this whoooole wiiideee world¬†but sometimes a girl has no time to whip up some magical concoction and most of the times when the thought of DIY arises I am¬†already in the shower ūüôā

First time I saw Soap and Glory¬†was back in 2015¬†while walking the heavenly aisles of¬†Sephora (Don’t you love it?).

I loved the packaging but didn’t get it then and later when I went to get it, found out that they don’t carry this brand anymore. Oh well….

Time flew.

Last month while shopping at Target, I saw these cute pink packages again. I was already looking for a scrub so picked up the Sugar Crush Body Scrub and Sugar Crush Body Lotion. To be honest, I didn’t have much expectations as more pricier brands had disappointed me.

Moment I opened the jar and took a whiff, I knew ….THIS IS IT!!!

It smells like fresh lemon with the warmth of brown sugar and a musky hint of vanilla. It scrubs and exfoliates. DO not over wet the skin as the oils melt with the warmth of your hands and they will flow instead of scrubbing. If you have dry/ flaky skin you can comfortably use it 2-3 times a week. For oily skins, one a week is enough.

Follow it with the luxurious lemony, AHA fruit complex infused with kiwi water and lime seed oil Body Lotion.

You can but both these products at Target or Ulta or from Amazon by clicking the links

Soap And Glory Sugar Crush Body Scrub With Smashed Brown Sugar & Lime 300ml

Soap And Glory Sugar Crush 3-in-1 Body Lotion 500ml

 

Breathe…..

With Summer almost here, get ready to sweat…..

I have been religiously using Schimdt’s Deodrant for the past few years and still am their loyal customer. You can read my detailed review by clicking the link below:

Schmidt’s Deodrant

Yummies……

I love me my chewing gum. My latest love is these Glee Chewing Gums which are Non-GMO, natural chewing gum with no artificial colors, flavors, sweeteners, or preservatives.  They are available in the regular flavors like all kinds of mint and cinnamon but there are some sassy flavors too like lemon-lime, tangerine, and  wild watermelon.

Check them out at your local natural stores or via amazon Glee Gum 6-Flavor Variety pack, 16-Piece Packages (12 Total Packages) 2 of each flavor

 

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LIME AND SEA SALT TORTILLA CHIPS

I love the Tortilla Chips¬†from Chipotle….crunchy….lightly salted with a kick of lime.

I have been on a search to find a similar tasting Tortilla Chips so I don’t have to find a Chipotle every time that tangy craving hits and drive for miles.

Aimlessly roaming the World Market food aisles I stumbled upon the Lime and SeaSalt Tortilla Chips by Frontera.¬†The word “Lime” on the simple package¬†caught my attention.

 

 

frontera lime and seasalt tortilla chips

I bought them and tried them right at the register. (imagine my enthusiasm)

Wow!!!!

Crispy….

Crunchy….

Tangy…..

I found my perfect Limey….Tortilla Chips

They are restaurant style tortilla chips created by the famous Chef, Rick Bayless. These chips are made in small batches with Non-GMO Stone Ground Corn, Lime & Sea Salt. They are super crispy, light on salt and heavy on lime seasoning providing that perfect kick.

Enjoy them on their own or with guacamole or sprinkle on top of dishes…..

 

 

If tangy tortilla chips are not your thing then try Frontera Foods Thin & Crispy Tortilla Chips, 10 oz

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ORGANIC MOROCCAN MINT GREEN TEA

A trip to Trader Joe’s can never disappoint you. You go to buy milk and end up with a big brown bag (reusable? recyclable??) full of goodies.¬†On my last trip I saw a sweet green box in the ” NEW” items labeled Organic Moroccan Mint Green Tea.

 

trader-joes-moroccan-mint-tea

 

Moroccan Mint Tea also called “Maghrebi Mint Tea” is typically made with spearmint leaves. It¬†has a¬†mild, slightly pungent flavor. I love Moroccan Mint tea as it is excellent for digestion. We serve it as “Kehwa” and is consumed after heavy meals.

Trader Joe’s has taken the mint tea to another level by incorporating green tea and lemongrass. The result is a sweet tea, with a fresh feel and aroma to wake you up. The ingredients are Spearmint, Green Tea and Lemongrass and all are organic. The box is under $4 and has 20 teabags which is a steal. Try comparing this price with other organic tea brands and you will be shocked.

You can enjoy this tea hot or cold, either ways it is perfect.  It is the best tea to sip in the afternoon to overcome the slump or late night after dinner to soothe your digestive system.

Must Try!!!!

 

moroccan-mint-green-tea

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YOGI TEA’S COLD SEASON SAMPLER

Fall is here and that means flu season is around the corner. You can see the lines at the pharmacies getting longer to buy cold medicines. Some days it is cold, other days hot which confuses our bodies and this leads to major aches and pains. For some it can be sniffles for others it can be a sore throat, so in the same house there can be a variety of issues to target. Its nice to try something non-medicinal which warms the body from inside and helps us to relax, open the congestion and soothe the throat.

 

 

yogi_logos

 

The COLD SEASON SAMPLER from Yogi Tea is a must for every house. It contains a total of 16 teabags. 4 teabags of 4 flavors each having its own benefit and aroma. The soothing organic herbal tea is specifically formulated for use during the cold weather season

 

 

Cold Season Sampler
Cold Season Sampler

 

 

The description of each flavor according their website is as follows:

 

ECHINECEA IMMUNE SUPPORT: This delicious, lightly sweet tea is a supportive blend of Echinacea, Astragalus and Mullein combined with an intriguing combination of Licorice, Peppermint and warming spices.

COLD SEASON: Relax and enjoy a steaming cup of this warming tea. The blend includes Licorice, Eucalyptus and Tulsi to support respiratory function with warming spices traditionally used in Ayurveda.

BREATHE DEEP: Take in the enchanting aroma of this soothing tea with Licorice and Thyme to support respiratory health and Eucalyptus and warming spices for a naturally spicy sweet flavor.

THROAT COMFORT: Slippery Elm Bark and Mullein are blended to help ease minor throat irritation, and Wild Cherry Bark and Licorice help soothe and add sweet flavor in this comforting herbal tea.

 

 

4 different flavors inside the box
4 different flavors inside the box

 

I love tea samplers because you get to taste a variety of flavors before deciding which one you like the best and which one actually works. For less than $5 you get to try 4 flavors of USDA Organic, Vegan, Caffeine-Free herbal tea.

The aromatherapy from smelling these amazing teas opens the congestion and with one sip you can feel the silky smoothness deep inside. As with using any herbal product, make sure to read the side effects or caution before using it.

 

 

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9 Allergy-Free Halloween Candy Brands

Halloween is just around the corner and every year around this time I start freaking out. With so much candy flowing in and out of the house, and a sneaky kid with food allergies,¬†it’s¬†just hard to keep track of what¬†he puts in their mouth.

I have read articles which say to keep safe by having ¬†some non-candy options like pretzels or stickers etc., but lets be honest who are we kidding. Put a bright red Skittles pack on one side and a mini Halloween pretzel pack on the other, and honestly tell me which one will your kid choose….which one will you choose?

Every year I see addition of more brightly colored candies to the Halloween bowls which scares me more. Why are the companies adding so much artificial dyes to the candy? By now we all know the side effects of these dyes and the problems they cause but that my friends is a topic to be discussed later. Let’s get back to what the kids can safely have on Halloween.

Kudos to these companies for coming up with products which give parents like me the peace of mind and let the kids with food allergies enjoy some Hallowwen candies like typical kids. Best part is, that most products from these companies are:

 

GLUTEN FREE
-DAIRY FREE
-PEANUT FREE
-DYE FREE
-CORN SYRUP FREE

 

yumearth-logo

1. YUMEARTH ORGANICS

No artificial ingredients and with yummy flavors, this is a must try brand. If your kids love lollipops then this brand is for you. They also have Organic Drops, Organic Fruit Snacks, Organic Sour Beans.

 

yumearth-organics

 

 

 

 

 

 

lovely-candy-logo

2. LOVELY CANDY Co.

A premium candy company with vegan fruit chews and gluten free licorice. The caramels are not dairy free so if your kid is sensitive to dairy, try their dark chocolate mint truffles instead.

 

lovely candy co samplerjuicy-chews

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 logo-surfsweets

3. SURF SWEETS

Surf Sweets have a whole range of gummy treats from rings to jelly beans. They are made with organic fruit juice. Most of the products have no gelatin so if you are looking for halal options for jelly beans….rejoice.

 

surf-sweet-treats

 

 

 

gleegumlogo

4. GLEE GUM

Glee Gum is natural chewing gum made without preservatives, artificial flavorings, colorings, or sweeteners (no aspartame). It is the only Non-GMO Project Verified gum on the market, with 6 classic flavors that are also the only Fair Trade gum. It is not corn- free but is vegetarian.

 

glee-gum-pops glee-gum

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

enjoy-life-logo5. ENJOY LIFE

Enjoy Life Foods offers 46 different allergy-friendly products, including cookies, snack bars, seed and fruit mixes, baking chocolate, chocolate bars and snack chips so you have plenty of options to choose from.

enjoy-life-chocolate enjoylife-mini

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

trujoy

6. TRUJOY SWEETS

TruJoy Sweets candies are made with the highest quality natural and organic ingredients without corn syrup or artificial colors and flavors. Organic sweeteners are used to create a healthier and better tasting product which is vegan and kosher.

 

trujoyfruitchewslg trujoy_candycanes trujoychocochews

 

 

 

 

 

 

torie-howard_logo

7. TORIE & HOWARD 

With all natural ingredients, Kosher certified, free of any preservatives, additives,
artificial flavoring, chemicals or dyes, allergy friendly, these organic candies are to die for.

 

torie-hard-candu torie-soft-chews

 

 

 

 

8. NO WHEY! FOODSno-whey-logo

Allergen free Vegan Chocolate products without the compromise in quality. Great Halloween collection including but not limited to chocolate coffins, spiders etc.

 

halloweenfigures no-whey-no-nos peanotcups

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

littlesecrets_logo9. LITTLE SECRETS

There are my kids latest favorite. They are perfect replacement for M&Ms. The candies are not certified gluten free but do not contain any gluten. They use turmeric to make yellow, beet juice for red, spirulina for blue, pumpkin, carrot, and radish for orange, and red cabbage juice for purple. Some of their products do contain dairy so make sure to read the label. The ones below do not contain dairy.

 

 

classic-dark little-secrets-llc-premium-chocolate-candies-dark-chocolate-raspberry sea-salt-little-secret

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Ginger Turmeric Herbal Tea

As a tea junkie I am always looking out to try new flavors of herbal tea. From the crisp packaging, to the first whiff to the sweet aromas released as soon as the tea bag hits the water, every step has its own attraction.

By now we all know the benefits of Ginger and Turmeric so when I saw “Organic Ginger Turmeric Herbal Tea” on display at Trader Joes, I did a happy dance (okay not literally but in my head). For $2.49 you get 20 individually packed organic tea bags which is a killer deal. Trust me, organic teas are not so cheap. As it is a new launch, I will provide the link to buy the tea once it becomes available online.

 

Trader Joes Ginger Turmeric Herbal Tea

Like all herbal teas the packaging is subtle with calming colors varying from peach to brown to yellow. The tea bags are individually packed in plastic which maintains the freshness and I love it when you can see the contents of the teabag inside. Turmeric gives the tea bags a yellow stain and adds to its beauty.

The list of ingredients is short and there is no highlighted allergens which is a good thing.

Trader Joes Ginger Turmeric Tea Ingredients

 

 

On opening the package you are hit with a gentle fruity aroma thanks to the addition of orange. I was a bit concerned that it might be too spicy since two major game changers ginger and turmeric are coming together but I was pleasantly surprised that the orange and licorice cuts the spiciness and make it rather light.

One you add the water and let the teabag steep, you can see a vibrant yellow color spread. I don’t like my teas too sweet and I think it is a perfect blend of sweet and spicy. You can definitely add some sweetener if you like, if you prefer sweet note.

 

trader joes Ginger Turmeric Organic Tea

 

I would recommend this tea to anyone who is looking for a soothing, caffeine free herbal tea option. It is not too gingery not turmericy rather floral and fruity. Best tea to relieve nausea, bloating or an upset stomach. Just remember that turmeric stains so try using a darker mug and if you, like me, want to drink in a white mug (which happens to be my favorite), make sure to give it a quick rinse.

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10 MUST HAVE SCHOOL LUNCHBOX ACCESSORIES

It’s Back to School time again.¬†I,¬†unlike most parents wait almost till the end to do something¬†(I know how lazy I am).¬†So when I went to my local market to buy the school supplies for my¬†kids I was expecting an empty office supply area and complete peace, but I¬†was wrong.¬†For some reason, this year a lot of moms and dads stole my idea and the place was crammed with¬†over whelmed parents and annoyed kids.¬†You could easily tell no one was having fun. My kids and I quickly got the things¬†we needed and made our way out of the danger zone to breathe. With the school supplies done, now came the fun part. Lunchboxes!

Who¬†doesn’t love the beautiful, colorful, thematic,comes in all shapes and sizes boxes for snacks and lunch. With so many options out there, choosing a colorful and practical lunchbox can be daunting. Fear not! Today¬†I bring to you 10¬†must haves lunchbox accessories.

 

1.LUNCHBOX BAG:

From Superheroes to pretty Princesses to Solid Colors, you can find lunchbox totes or bags in almost any shape and size. Personalize it to make the kids feel more special. Pottery Barn Kids has a variety of lunch bags to choose from and you can get it personalized too for a decent price Remember this bag will carry all the yummy goodies so make sure it is of a good quality and will hold well. If personalizing is not your thing then let the kids choose from ZAK lunch bags which come in a variety of their favorite characters. For older kids go for Arctic Zone.

 

 

 

 

 2.LUNCHBOX:

As a rule of thumb buy containers which are easy to open, leak-proof and if plastic, BPA free. I like to buy lunch boxes which are already divided into compartments so I don’t have to send snacks or extra treats in separate baggies. If you have young ones, try to¬†buy more than one lunchbox as they often forget it at school or might even lose it. I really love Bento Style lunch boxes and some of my favorite are PlanetBox, Arctic Zone and Easy Lunch Boxes.

 

 

 

3. FOOD JARS:

My kids love having rice & chicken or pasta for lunch. If you send it in the regular lunchbox, by lunch time it gets cold and¬†they do¬†not want to eat cold hard pasta or rice. Food jars are perfect for sending any such food. I personally love the Funtainers from Thermos which keeps the food hot for 5 hours. Don’t forget to add an icepack.

 

 

4. WATER BOTTLE:

In our house we love reusable water bottles, plastic bottles are not our thing. My son usually fills his bottle at night and keeps it in the fridge to chill. My favorite brands are Contigo, CamelBak and Nalgene. If you plan to send flavored water or juice, I highly suggest these glass bottles from Lifefactory which come with a silicone cover for a secure grip and prevents breakage.

 

 

5. SMALL STORAGE CONTAINER:

Do not add the ketchup or dressing to the lunchbox directly because it might spread everywhere. Use dressing storage containers from Sistema which even hold olive oil without leaking. They are 1 oz in size and hold enough dressing for dipping or some yogurt for rice.

 

sistema

 

 

6. SANDWICH CUTTERS:

Who can resist a cute dinosaur sandwich or cute penguin cucumber. I love the Munchkin Silly Sandwich Cutter which works wonders. You can also use Cookie Cutters which work perfectly well for sandwiches as well as with fruits and veggies.

 

sandwich cutter
Munchkin Sandwich Cutter

 

 

7.SILICONE CUPS:

Sometimes you want to send something extra, like cookies or nuts or some blueberries. Instead of putting them in a Ziploc bag where they might end up being squashed, use a Silicone Cup which will provide the extra cushion and keep the treat in perfect condition.

 

silicone

 

8. SWORD TOOTHPICKS:

Lets be honest, anything on a Sword Toothpick is adorable and will be eaten in a jiffy. Skewer some fruits or cheese or vegetable pieces on the sword and see your kid eat it in one big bite. Now I know it’s not a must for lunchbox,¬†but I know it works amazing for picky eaters.

 

sword

 

 

 

9.DISPOSABLE CUTTLERY:

If you think your kids will throw the cutlery you send,  try buying disposable spoons and forks in bulk. If they are old enough and responsible to take care of it, send them with good quality stainless steel cutlery.

 

ikea

 

 

10. ICE PACK:

If you plan to send some food item which you think needs to be kept cold, don’t forget to add icepack to the lunchbox. This way the food will not go bad and you will not end up with a sick child.

 

 

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GLUTEN FREE ICE CREAM CONES

Who doesn’t like Ice Cream?¬†And what is¬†an ice cream without a cone.¬†With the summers at their peak everyone wants a scoop of ice cream.

My kids love to eat their ice cream in a¬†cone or cup. Unfortunately one of my kids cannot do gluten and it’s really hard to find a gluten-free option at the ice cream shop.

If you too, do not do well with gluten, then these products are just for you. These two brands are amazing and I have been buying them for the past 2 years. They taste just like regular cones and you can hardly tell the difference. I must say they are a bit more fragile so you have to be a bit careful with them. The best thing is that the crunch factor is very much there.

 

goldbaum cupgoldbaum

GOLDBAUM’S GLUTEN FREE ICECREAM CONES

 GoldBaum Cones are Gluten Free, Certified Kosher by Orthodox Union, Non-GMO and Vegan. They are super crunchy and taste just like regular cone. There have a huge variety of cones and dessert bowls and can be seen at www.goldbaums.com.

You can also buy them on Amazon.

 


 

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lets do cuplets do

LET’S DO… GLUTEN FREE CONES

Let’s Do… Gluten Free Cones are cake-style, super crunchy cones. They are gluten-free, vegan and certified kosher.¬† Let’s Do also makes Organic Confetti Sprinkelz to make your ice creams more fancy.

Try either of these ice cream cones and join your friends and family in having an cool blast.

 

 

 

 

Till then,

Enjoy the Ice Cream

 

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LEAF & LOVE LEMONADE

Whenever I volunteer at my kids schools I see a juicebox in everyone lunchbox. I am not against juice but its the sugar content which makes me worried because the juice is not the only sweet thing in the lunchbox. You will see cookies or yogurt or some kinds other sweet treat too.

I was making juice at home and sending it in a bottle but the kids wanted something in an attractive packaging. I looked in various health stores and regular supermarkets but could not find something which satisfied me.

Finally looking online I came across Leaf and Love Organic Lemonade.

leaf and love lemonade

Unfortunately it was not sold in any stores near me so ended up ordering it from amazon. I was worried because as it was only sold in bulk, what if the kids didn’t like it, it will all go waste.

Luckily not only they like it, they took some to share it with their friends too.

Winner!!!!

 

 leaf and love pink lemonade

 

 

The ingredients are simple: Filtered water, Organic Lemon Juice, Stevia Extract, Himalayan Pink Salt. It is organic, non gmo, vegan,  gluten free and has low glycemic index . It tastes just like a fresh lemonade and does not any aftertaste which is common in products sweetened with stevia. Good products for diabetics.

Healthy option for lunch boxes and parties and also for anyone with an on the go lifestyle.

From their website, here is a comparison chart different juices:

 

Leaf and Lemonade Brands comparison

Click the links below to order:

 

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TUMMY COMFORT BY TRADITIONAL MEDICINALS

I love the Tummy Comfort Tea by Traditional Medicinals. This is my go to herbal tea whenever my kids have tummy troubles. This tea is specially made for kids with milder quantity of herbs and does not have a super strong taste. We use it for stomach aches, digestion complains and sometimes just when my kids want something to warm them up.

 

Traditional Medicinals Tummy Comfort tea for kids

I usually add a teaspoon of maple syrup, agave or honey to make it more palatable for my kids.

The ingredients are USDA certified organic which means you need not to worry about the source. It only contains 3 herbs

Organic Lemon Balm Leaf: Perennial herb from the mint family. Lemon balm is used for digestive problems, including upset stomach, bloating, intestinal gas, vomiting and colic.

Organic Chamomile Leaf: Daisy like flowers belonging to the  Asteraceae family used for  inflammation, muscle spasm, digestive issues, insomnia, ulcers etc.

Organic Peppermint Leaf: It is a cross between spearmint and winter mint and is used to suppress muscle spams, to treat irritable bowel syndrome etc.

So next time you kiddo complains of tummy troubles instead of reaching for the pink pepto make them a nice cup of tea or add it to their juice and see their aches go away.

 

 

 

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