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Graze Box Review (Unboxing)

Graze


grazebox, health, healthy snacks, food, nature, graze

I am always looking for the next healthy thing to get into, whether it be recipes, gadgets, health tips, or easy, on the go, snacks! So, I was very excited to try out the Graze Box. These guys will box up a few healthy snacks each month and send them to you in the mail for only $11.99 each. They work with small suppliers that provide great quality food, and use a taste team and nutritionist to create recipes with the best vitamins and minerals for healthy snacking.

grazebox, health, healthy snacks, food, nature, graze

As you can see, the snacks come prepackaged in cute little plastic containers, which are then sectioned off into an adorable, environment friendly box. My first box came with four snacks and the second box featured eight brand new snacks. Graze boasts a range of over 100 snacks to ensure that each box can be customized to your taste. After trying a few, I’d say the box is worth it. It’s something easy to check off the to-do-list, and if you toss these into your lunch box, you don’t have to worry about buying those chips and candy from the vending machine or gas station. One thing that I should mention though, is that although they taste delicious, it may be an adjustment to some of your tastebuds. Everything taste really great, but you also notice that it’s healthier. On the plus side, it’s pretty filling!

Here are a few of the snacks that came in my second box.

grazebox, health, healthy snacks, food, nature, graze, caramel apple
Caramel Apple: caramel sauce with soft apple pieces
grazebox, health, healthy snacks, food, nature, graze, walnuts, vanilla pumpkin seeds, fudge
Vanilla Walnut Fudge: walnuts, vanilla, pumpkin seeds, fudge & rasins
grazebox, health, healthy snacks, food, nature, graze, oats, granola bar, flapjack
Lemon Drizzle Flapjack: rustic rolled oat flapjack with zesty lemon & yogurt drizzle
grazebox, health, healthy snacks, food, nature, graze, kern pops
Creamy Ranch Kern Pops: creamy ranch popped corn kernals
grazebox, health, healthy snacks, food, nature, graze, the cheese board
Cherries & Berries: cherries, lingonberries, cranberries, and jumbo rasins
grazebox, health, healthy snacks, food, nature, graze, the cheese board
The Cheese Board: cheese cashews, croutons, and herb crackers

And if you guys are interested in learning a little bit more about Graze, I’ve linked my Youtube video below. There’s also mention of free coupon codes, so head over there for more info! Be sure to let me know if you guys try these or if you’ve invested in anything similar to this.

 Lynella

*This post was NOT sponsored; I was given a free coupon code & tried the box with pleasant results!

 

ambi, skincare, facewash, fade cream, black women, black skincare, women of color, beauty tips

New Skincare Routine: AMBI Products

Having clear skin is not only attributed to a great daily skin care routine, but largely to what we eat, our water intake, how much sleep we’re getting and how much we’re exercising. I’ve asked several people, who have seemingly flawless skin, what their secret is and they always credit their lifestyle first. So many of them drink very few sodas, if any at all, tons of water, and they exercise. Unfortunately, I’m already starting in the negative, as my diet is so wishy-washy. I know that what I currently eat contributes to my random breakouts, and eliminating unhealthy, processed foods from my diet could stop those.

I’ve never had much of an acne problem, just breakouts related to poor eating habits. In middle school–even as a fit dancer, I might add–I would have at least one can of Sprite and a Snickers or Twix bar A DAY! Because of that, I would get random pimples or tiny bumps across my face; when I didn’t eat those things, the breakouts didn’t occur. The same thing applies present day–my body always lets me know when it’s fed up with me. To be honest, it wouldn’t be a big deal but I am always picking at everything! If I see something, blackheads, whiteheads, redness, anything, my first instinct is to try to squeeze it away; but, that’s exactly what you shouldn’t do! The only time you should try to rid yourself of a pimple is when it has a whitehead; and when you attack that sucker, it should be with a q-tip. Our skin is oily, our pores are open, and our hands are dirty. You should try to keep your hands out of your face as much as possible. But because I didn’t following this advice, I have dark scar marks. These can fade away naturally by using cocoa butter or shea butter, but it may take longer.

If you guys remember my recent LUSH post, I was trying their exfoliating wash and fading cream. I wasn’t a fan of the results, so I reverted back to a product I used in high school and college.The quality of the above photographs aren’t great, but hopefully you can tell that my skin was pretty clear. I had very few scarred marks, and because I ate healthier, it remained clearer longer. At the time, AMBI was a major part of my skin care routine; it helped fade my scarred marks and even out my skin tone. I think it worked pretty well and I saw results fairly quickly. The only negative is that the products aren’t natural. The fading cream doesn’t smell great, but that’s because you can smell the alpha hydroxy acid–aka the agent that helps with discoloration.

ambi, skincare, facewash, fade cream, black women, black skincare, women of color, beauty tips

AMBI is targeted towards women of color, and as they stated “designed for melanin-rich skin.” I purchased three items:

  • the Even & Clear Exfoliating Wash, which helps to remove dead skin cells, clear skin of pimples and breakouts, and promotes even skin tones;
  • the Even & Clear Daily Moisturizer, a lightweight moisturizer with soy and vitamins C & E, that helps to even the skin tone and reduce discolorations;
  • and the Fade Cream for Normal Skin, which helps to fade dark mark, while maintaining the natural skin tone (I should have gotten the one for oily skin).

In addition to the AMBI products, I also use Equate’s Makeup Removal Wipes as a pre-cleanser on makeup days. If you’re interested in seeing what that looks like, I’ve linked my YouTube
video
below.

My journey toward healthy, clear skin is an ongoing process, but I’m sure this will be a great start to that. If you guys have any tips or products that you love, please write about them below. Until next time!

Lynella

Morning Smoothies: Blueberry, Banana & Spinach

nutribullet, blueberries, spinach, chia seeds, flax seeds, healthy, get fit, bananas, lynella, morning smoothies

blueberries, spinach, chia seeds, flax seeds, healthy, get fit, bananas, lynella, smoothies, nutribullet, morning smoothies
I love morning smoothies! They’re refreshing, clean, easy to make and good on the go! You can make a great smoothie with just a couple of items or by throwing multiple ingredients into the mix. This morning, I made a blueberry, banana, and spinach smoothie. Most days, I choose the bag of mixed frozen fruits for more of a tropical taste, but sometimes I’m looking for something sweeter, less tangy. And I’m sure you guys are familiar with fruit smoothies, but tossing a leafy green in allows you to add a boost without forfeiting the flavor. Sometimes, I’ll even make a smoothie with 3/4 spinach and 1/4 frozen fruit– it’s just still wonderful, just not as sweet. When choosing additives, I always go for flaxseeds and chia seeds. I haven’t looked into other things, but I started with these because they help with weight loss. For more info, I’ve listed the ingredients for this particular smoothie below and some of their many health benefits*.

blueberries, spinach, chia seeds, flax seeds, healthy, get fit, bananas, lynella, morning smoothies

Ingredients:

1 cup of Frozen Blueberries (fresh ones are okay)

Blueberries are great for weight loss, as they are high in dietary fiber. They’re also great for healthy digestion, fighting wrinkles, maintaining healthy bones, lowering blood pressure, managing diabetes, improving mental health, warding off heart disease, and preventing cancer.

1 Medium Banana

Bananas help with lowering blood pressure, asthma, combating cancer, supporting a healthy heart due to the levels of fiber, potassium, Vitamin C, and B6, diabetes, preserving memory, and boosting your mood.

Handful of Fresh Spinach

Because spinach is a dark, leafy green, it’s great for the skin, hair, and bones, and it provides protein, iron, vitamins, and minerals. Helps manage diabetes, prevents cancer, asthma, lowers blood pressure, promotes regularity (so pooping!), and bone health.

1 tsp. of Flaxseeds

Flaxseeds are a great source of dietary fiber and help to protect against cancer, lower cholesterol, and improve blood sugar levels.

1 tsp. of Chia Seeds

Looking to boost your fiber intake? Chia seeds can help with that. These guys help with weight loss, digestion, detoxing, cardiovascular disease prevention, cholesterol, and lowering diabetes risks.

Ice (few cubes)

Water (1/4 ways upward?)

1 tbsp. of Honey 

If any of you give this a try, let me know how you like it. & for those of you that are already drinking tons of morning smoothies, let me know some of your favorite recipes!

   Lynella!

*All health information was sourced from medicalnewstoday.com and have been linked accordingly.

pesto pasta, ingredients, spinach, recipe, nutribullet

Spinach Pesto Pasta & Baked Salmon.

spinach pesto pasta, ingredients, spinach, recipe, nutribullet

Hey there healthy people, how are you?! Wonderfully, beautiful I hope! Today I decided to post something a bit different, and hopefully it will be the first post of many like its kind. As you know, I’m making the effort to transition into a healthier lifestyle and with that I will be cooking more of my meals. Today, we’ll be making spinach pesto pasta, with a side of baked salmon.

Pasta and fish are a familiar pairing for me–as it was something quick, easy and healthy to prepare when I was a student. I would either bake some tilapia, or bake or sear some salmon– I haven’t really ventured into other types of fish. Usually, I just go for basic, minimal ingredients. I never really looked up a recipe, I just asked my older sister for the least amount of ingredients needed to make salmon taste good. Over time, I’ve added a couple of things to make it taste a little less fishy.

baked salmon, health, recipe, ingredients

Salmon: What You’ll Need:

  • Fresh or prepackaged salmon of your choosing (mine came with 4 fillets)
  • Ground Black Pepper
  • Salt
  • Cayenne Pepper
  • Soy Sauce
  • Olive Oil
  • Baking pan
  • Foil paper

baked salmon, recipe, healthy

Firstly, you’ll need to preheat the oven to 425 degrees and thaw your salmon packages if they are frozen. (If you put some hot water in a bowl and place the packages into the water, it will speed up the process.) While you wait, you can line your pan with enough foil to fold over and cover the fish.

baked salmon, health, recipe, ingredients

Then, pour a bit of olive oil onto a plate–it doesn’t have to be much, this is just being used to lightly coat both sides of the fish before seasoning. Next, sprinkle some salt, pepper, and cayenne pepper on both sides. Notice I didn’t give you guys any measurements because I don’t use any, I just wing it! Honestly, though, you only need a little. Place each piece of salmon in the pan as you go along.

baked salmon, health, recipe, ingredients  baked salmon, health, recipe, ingredients IMG_0172

Next, take a bit of soy sauce and pour it into the bottle cap. Slowly pour the sauce into the empty spaces of the pan, and a tiny bit on each of the pieces of fish. You’re really just trying to enhance the flavor of the fish, not drown it in sauce. Just having the sauce in the pan will help with that.

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After you’ve added the soy sauce, fold the foil paper over so that it’s covering the fish. Place the pan in the oven for about 10-15 minutes. After this, the fish is technically finished, but I usually open the foil paper and place the fish back in the oven for another 5-10 minutes. Some may say that this it too long, but the folks around here don’t seem to like fish that tastes like fish, Ha! So, I like to cook it a little longer. Next, is the pesto and pasta!

For this particular pesto pasta dish, I have combined two recipes that I found here and here; one is a dairy-free basil cashew pasta and the other, spinach pesto fusilli. I will say that I do like the pesto sauce better when it’s made with pine nuts, as shown in the first link, but I used cashews to try something different and because it’s all I had!

pesto, ingredients, spinach, recipe

pesto, ingredients, spinach, recipe

Pesto Pasta: What You’ll Need:

  • 1 cup of spinach
  • 2 medium garlic cloves
  • 3/4 cups of cashews
  • 1/2 cup of shredded parmesan cheese
  • 1 medium lemon (for 1 tsp. zest and 1 tbsp. juice)
  • 1/4 teaspoon of sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon of pepper
  • 1/2 cup of virgin olive oil
  • Pasta (I never measure this properly)
  • Medium sized pot
  • Measuring cups and spoons
  • Food processor or Blender

nutribullet, blender, health

After gathering your ingredients, you’ll need to combine the spinach, nuts, salt, pepper, and garlic in the blender. I’m using the amazing nutribullet!

pesto, ingredients, spinach, recipe, nutribullet

Once those ingredients are ground together, you can add the cheese, olive oil, and lemon zest and juice. Your pesto should look like a beautiful, green, creamy sauce– sorry I don’t have a pic!

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Lastly, take the pasta of your choosing and boil it according to the package. Personally, I’m terrible at measuring pasta because the suggested amount never seems to pair accordingly. I say, just go with the flow and do what feels right. When it’s done, pour out the water–keeping about a cup– and add the pasta and the sauce. You can use some of the water from the pot to change the consistency of your sauce.

spinach pesto pasta, ingredients, spinach, recipe, nutribullet

And just like that, you have spinach pesto pasta and baked salmon. This meal only takes about 30 minutes, so it’s a great choice for college students, newbies, and moms who are making meals after school. If any of you give it a try, please let me know how it turns out! Make sure to take a picture and send it to me on twitter or mention me on instagram!

*Just as a note: these pictures are of decent quality, but the angles aren’t the best.  I took them with my new phone, since I have yet to locate–or even look for–my camera.

The New Year: Blogging and Life Goals.

Hi guys! First and foremost, HAPPY NEW YEAR! I pray that you and your families began the year 2015 beautifully and are continuing on a path of joy and happiness as the days progress. I thought I’d give you guys an update on myself, my life goals and the blog’s projection for this year. But first, here’s a few snapshots of how I spent the last couple of months of 2014!

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BLOGGING GOALS:

I have had this blog for about 2 years now, but I’ve only recently began to put efforts into making it function full-time–with some slacking during the last couple of months. I love writing and having the ability to share my ideas and stories with you guys; and although this isn’t my full-time job, or even profitable at this point, I do plan to put more energy into creating great content.

Blogging Goal #1

 I have set a goal to gain at least 1000 subscribers this year!  So yay for what’s to come!

Blogging Goal #2

In addition to the things that I already talk about, this site will begin to include posts about health, food, beauty, fashion, and a bit (more) of pop culture. If you’re unfamiliar with my previous content, I usually write about life events,  personal affairs/interactions and musical favorites–with some inspirational quotes and personal photography mixed in.

Blogging Goal #3

In my efforts of creating more content, I vow to post at least two times a week. Obviously, I intend to do more, but I will not let a week go by without posting at least twice. I will also be amping up my contributions to Pinterest, Tumblr, Instagram, Bloglovin, Facebook, and possibly Youtube–big maybe there. So, be sure that you’re following me on all of the listed social media sites by clicking on the links above or the icons located on my site’s main page.

Blogging Goal #4

This doesn’t have much to do with you guys, but I will be attempting to learn more about SEO, optimization, content creation, social media marketing, and other boring stuff that you all probably don’t care about! In addition to that, I have hopes of improving my writing. I’ll show those graduate programs that I didn’t need them to succeed! –You guys have no idea how many times I have reconsidered going back to school, yet again, simply due to the fact that society makes it seem nearly impossible to survive without an advanced degree! But I CAN DO IT!

LIFE GOALS: 

As I have mentioned before, I have been quite unhappy with the way my life was going. I am dissatisfied with my physical appearance, my emotional state and my relationship with God. One of my main goals this year is to focus on not just my weight but my overall health–I am extremely overweight. Should I tell you guys how much? Sure, why not, this is a safe space– I am roughly 220 lbs. 5’5, 23, no kids, but 220 pounds. Not cool, man. As a step in the right direction I got a gym membership. To date, I’ve been quite often, but I’ve used my busy schedule as an excuse this week. Must get back to it!

Life Goal # 1

Read my bible and pray every day. Although I should be doing this already, I don’t; and it’s quite ridiculous on my end. Sure, I may say a quick prayer every morning and sometimes in the afternoon, but I don’t spend enough time with God. So, I will be certain strengthen my walk with God.

Life Goal #2

Hit the gym at least 3x a week. I will be pushing for 5, but three is a must! I’m going to up my cardio so that I can lost fat before gaining muscle. I also have to do more research about working out, healthy eating, and weight training.

Life Goal #3

Drink more water!! I’ve purchased 32 oz. mason jars and hopefully this will help me keep up with my daily intake.

Life Goal #4

Eliminate all fast food! Now don’t get me wrong, this won’t be easy because grabbing something on the go is much easier and more convenient than dining in or preparing food beforehand, but it must be done. This will not only help with my attempts to eat healthier and portion control, but it’ll also boost my savings 😉

Life Goal #5

Pay off my credit cards!! Simple as that, really.

Life Goal #6

Leave Banana Republic, unfortunately, and establish myself within a career. Although retail can be entertaining on most days, and I enjoy the people I work with–for the most part– it is time for me to go! Remember that misery I said would creep up? She’s making her way towards me and I must avoid her at all costs.

Life Goal #7

BE HAPPY! Whether that be within myself or with others, happiness should run through me at all times!

And I’m sure there are a few more things that I’m missing or haven’t quite thought of, but that’s the gist of it. Obviously I will be keeping you guys up to date with how things are going for me, and I will be sure to write a post recapping everything at the end of the year. To some people it may not seem like a lot, and to others it may be too much. But, I think that I can and will achieve everything that I have set for myself in this coming year. I wish you all the best in your endeavors and be sure to keep me up to date with what you guys have going on as well!

Love ya,

Lynella!

life goals, new year, blogging
Happy New Year!!

What are some of your New Year’s resolutions and life goals? Leave your comments and feedback below!

Why’d You Cut Your Natural Hair?!

 Brace yourself kids, ish is about to get real!

natural hair, afro, dyed hair, photography

As I’m sure most of you have noticed, I chopped off all of my natural hair. Any other time, this wouldn’t be a big deal, as I’m always cutting my hair after I get bored with it, but this was a bit different. After cutting it, I got the usual remarks:

“Omg, why’d you cut all of your hair off?”

or

“Omg I can’t believe you cut it! Whyyy? I loved your hair.”

or my favorite,

“But it was so pretty and so long!”

Thanks guys. I’m sure it’s so short and so ugly now–appreciate all of your love and support.

In most instances, I don’t care what people think about me or my hair because frankly, it’s nobody else’s business. If I wanted to go bald it shouldn’t mean a dang thing to anybody else or their mama! But this time, the haircut meant something. It was difficult for me to cut it because I knew that if I did, when I did, I would have to make it worth while. If not, what would have been the point? Here’s what I sent to my mom and sisters in a group text, you know, just to avoid any unwanted commentary whilst already in a vulnerable state:

“…I’m on a journey and I had to do something for myself. Over the past 5 years I’ve gained 70lbs. I fluctuate between 214 and 220 right now. I didn’t feel pretty anymore. My face is round, I know. I don’t need any reminders. I was eating out way to much, spending tons of money and shopping unnecessarily. I’ve been being lazy and not going after my dreams. So I cut my hair. I cut my hair because it’s a part of my journey to change. Mentally, spiritually, emotionally and physically…So, not that it matters or I owe anybody an explanation, but there ya go.”

In late October of 2014, I began my journey–one that required I start anew. These past couple of years have been interesting for me. I gained tons of weight, dropped out of graduate school twice, voluntarily moved back in with my parents and am currently using my hard-earned degree to simply work in retail–something had to change. Don’t get me wrong, retail is cool, but that is not what I had planned for my life; and although I get a kick out of it most days, it will soon grow into a place of misery. I went from living life in NYC, to settling back down in rural, South Louisiana. As I’m sure you can imagine, internally I was losing my shxt! So, I made a decision: I am going to do what I love to do and not settle for anything less than that! I am not only going to learn to love myself for who and what I am, but grow into an even better version of that and continue to love her just as much! & as my hair grows back and changes over the years, I intend to grow and change with it.

So, to any and everyone who asked or was wondering, that’s why I cut my hair–not that it’s any of your concern, my dear.

Remember, grow to love and appreciate yourself because “you see, in the final analysis, it is between you and God. It was never between you and them anyway.” -Mother Teresa

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Are any of you going through a transitional phase in your lives? Have any of you struggled with or been successful in weight loss? If so, please feel free to comment below and share your stories, tips and words of encouragement!

Love ya!

Lynella