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Monday, October 26, 2015

Sponsored Post: Our House gluten free brownie and bread mixes

I just finished up a loaf of the most amazing gluten free bread - and finished up a delicious tray of chocolate brownie mix this past week - they're from this (new to me) brand called Our House, which is under the House-Autry Mills company out of North Carolina. I was sent a box of their gluten free chocolate brownie mix and bread mix to try and I am really impressed!

Disclosure of Material Connection: This is a "sponsored post." The company who sponsored it compensated me via a cash payment, gift, or something else of value to write it. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising." All photos property of OurHouse and House-Autry Mills, Inc., excluding my embedded social media posts. Links included in this post are not affiliate links.

Do you still have doubts about gluten free cooking? How about gluten free mixes versus made from scratch? Maybe you feel like me - and the woman in this interview below - where we have Celiac and it's hard to justify the reason gluten-free companies are charging so much for frozen bread. Sad, right?

Well, I am a total convert to the Our House brand of mixes. The brownie mix is $4.79 and produced a dense, rich, thick and fudgy chocolate brownie that filled up a tray like any other mix brand. It was about 16 brownies - because, remember, with gluten free recipes you do not want to have huge slices because it can possibly you sick from the fiber. The Our House Chocolate Brownie Mix is not just gluten free, it is also vegan and uses non-GMO ingredients. Also, the sodium is not as high as many gluten free mixes can be, which is a huge plus for me as well. As you can see in the posts below - the mix came out looking similar to your gluten-based mix, and it was the best brownie I've had since before my Celiac diagnosis.

I was also able to enjoy the Our House Bread mix, which is $6.29 on their website. It isn't just gluten free, like the brownie mix it is vegan-friendly and non-GMO ingredients. The bread mix created a beautiful loaf (even if I overcooked the top a tiny bit - those little bits were yummy late night nibbles when I pulled it out of the oven)! The biggest tip is to make sure you warm the water - that one facet doesn't change when you bake gluten free bread. As you can see from the post I made on Instagram, this bread was VERY different from your standard gluten free bread - it didn't have to stay refrigerated or frozen to keep it from going stale, it was delicious right off the cutting board, toasted, or as a panini sandwich base. Absolutely delicious and not heavy or too dense.

A photo posted by worthystyle (@worthystyle) on

As you can see, the bread looks beautiful and it really tasted incredible! I give Our House brand two thumbs up for sure. I'm excited to buy their other gluten free mixes. Their other mixes available are:

  • Pancake & Waffle mix
  • All-purpose baking mix
  • All-purpose flour
  • Cookie mix
  • Cornbread mix
I hope to someday try each of them in the future - hint hint! - but also look forward to seeing them at my local grocery. They currently sell them regionally at Food Lion, Harris Teeter, and Ingalls groceries.

Have you ever tried Our House? What is your favorite combo to go on a sandwich? Do you typically eat your brownies à la Mode or solo to fully enjoy the chocolate-y goodness? Let me know!

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Product Review: Kushyfoot legwear

Note: These products were given to me for free to review, but I was under no obligation (and was not paid) to write a positive review. If I was paid to write this post, you would see "sponsored post" in the blog post title.

I know what you're likely thinking - what is legwear? First off, let me say, if you haven't been wearing fitted 'socks' for your ballet flats and other flat-soled shoes, you've seriously been missing out. Secondly, Kushyfoot has gone right to the top of the list in my legwear drawer because they actually fit my foot (which isn't a weird size, it's a pretty generic 8.5). Kushyfoot sells legwear, foot covers, knee highs, tights, socks, slippers, and their foldable Flats to Go®.

Ladies, there is something we don't really talk about, and it's how you probably don't protect your feet and your shoes like you should. When we are working or lounging around in our fave flats (or anklets to protect our bootie shoes), unless we are wearing a foot cover we are slowly destroying the insole of our shoe. Not only that, but you're probably sweating and potentially creating a dirty environment for your foot. Gross, right? Personally, I've been wearing a couple different brands that offer 'foot covers' for ten years now. And my shoe insoles have ended up staying in great shape and I've had no issue reselling or consigning my shoes because I've protected both my investment and my foot itself. But the other brands I've tried were sized too small, and while they protected the ankle in some instances, they did not help with pain on the ball of the foot.

That's where Kushyfoot is different. They are long enough to go around the ankle and fully cover the toes, as well as having a cushion pad on the ball of the foot or massaging lines across the bottom of the foot. Life's too short - protect your damn feet!

How I wear Kushyfoot:

  • Flats to Go® - perfect to just keep in your purse. Literally foldable flats that are perfect to put on after you've been out with girlfriends or on your feet all day at work. I have the black patent and they're super simple but also provide sweet relief!
  • The sheer anklet - ideal for booties and other ankle-length shoes. Perfect way to transition your Mary Jane heels from Indian Summer into Winter!
  • Extreme lace foot cover - really low cut but perfect for any flats where you want to show off toe clevage!
  • Swiss Dot foot cover - really cute with feminine details such as the swiss dots and subtle scalloped hemline

I've worn these to the gym, I've worn them to work, and I've worn them out with friends. They wash great, dry without crazy shrinkage, and haven't deteriorated in quality over the past two months.

All in all, I think that these Kushyfoot legwear pieces are great and I cannot recommend the brand enough. They have all kinds of styles and materials that really open up the field of options for this niche market in footwear. The price point is excellent, and why wouldn't you want to protect your feet and your footwear?

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Sponsored Post: Pureology Color Fanatic leave-in treatment from BeautyCareChoices

Disclosure of Material Connection: This is a "sponsored post." The company who sponsored it compensated me via a cash payment, gift, or something else of value to write it. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising." All photos property of Pureology and BeautyCareChoices, excluding my embedded social media posts. Links included in this post are not affiliate links.

I was approached by BeautyCareChoices (an online beauty website) to review the awesome Pureology Color Fanatic leave-in hair treatment, which they sell on their website. Here are my thoughts in a brief little vlog, and I think you can see my hair has pretty awesome texture for 11:00pm after a long day of work and a social event! I'm sorry that the camera is shaking a lot but I wanted you all to see in the light how amazing this product is and how well it has protected it from the blowdryer!

As you can see in the photo below, the Pureology leave-in product is in a spray bottle. It sprays a fine spray and a little bit goes a long way - and even better - there is no weird scent to worry about! I've used it for about 2-3 weeks now and I'm incredibly happy with the quality of the product, the ease in applying the spray, adding it to my everyday routine, and did I mention that it is cruelty-free and 100% vegan?! Those last two were the ones who had a lasting impact on me - a socially-aware hair product is always a win in my book. Two thumbs up.

Are you familiar with this Pureology hair product? What are your thoughts on the Pureology Color Fanatic or any other products from that haircare line? How do you use it with your hair? Just with the blowdryer - or a more intensive styling routine? Share your thoughts below!

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Product Review: Block Island Organic Suncare

Note: This product was given to me for free to review, but I was under no obligation to (and was not paid) write a positive review. If I was paid to write this post, you would see "sponsored post" in the blog post title.

Happy Fall y'all. This summer I was contacted by the brand Block Island Organics, who are a family-owned, suncare-focused skincare company. They are a majority women-owned company that started on Block Island, Rhode Island. Since I was heading to the beach not long after their email to me, I thought it would be a great opportunity to try their product out and see how it did during beach days and when I'd hang out poolside. I was actually really impressed by this brand!

You may wonder how it deserves the organic name in the title - here's the breakdown of the product I tried:

  • Active Ingredients: Zinc Oxide 22%
  • Inactive Ingredients: Aloe Barbadensis Leaf (Aloe Vera Gel) Juice*, Aqua (Deionized Water), Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter*, Camellia Sinensis (Green Tea) Leaf Extract*, Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil*, Eucalyptus Globulus (Eucalyptus) Oil, Gluconolactone, Glycerin*, Lecithin*, Octyl Palmitate, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil*, Sodium Benzoate, Sodium Laurylglucosides Hydroxypropylsulfonate, Tocopherol (Vitamin E), Xanthan Gum, Zemea Propanediol. (*Certified Organic)

All products are free of parabens, sulfates, petrochemicals, phthalates, gluten, dyes and artificial fragrances. They also don't do animal testing and use vegan-based formulas. The product they sent me to test out was a bottle of their Natural Mineral (zinc only) Sunscreen in SPF 30.

While on vacation, I tried out a full-sized bottle of the above product. I was actually really impressed. I tried it on different areas of my skin/body and applied it to those places exclusively for multiple days in a row. It was genuinely lightweight and you could tell it had a lot of zinc in it! It was a bit more fluid-y then I was used to, but very soft and gradually blended in well. I would say you do need to apply it a bit more carefully as it can come out of the bottle rather quickly but under the hot summer sun I did not burn in the areas where I applied this sunscreen!

I would highly recommend this sunscreen for anyone looking for an eco-friendly sunscreen while they work in the yard, go skiing this winter, or take a holiday to a warmer clime. It didn't clog up the pores on my face or body, and when applied to delicate areas like my chest it didn't make me burn, either. It isn't oily and dries quite nicely. My friends with kids who tried some of it said it was wonderful for their young child's skin as it didn't cause a reaction. Plus, it's only $19.99 for a 3.4oz bottle which goes a long way! As a special offer to my readers, they have created a special promo code so you all can try their product at 20% off - the discount code is whitney. The code is good for 20% off on their site from Friday, 10/16/2015 through Friday, 10/23/2015. Please note the code is not combinable with other codes.

Let me know if you try it, and what you think!

Friday, October 9, 2015

Local Love: Scents of Serenity organic spa

If you follow me on my social media accounts - you may be aware that 2015 has been all about self-care for me. It isn't exclusive to diet and exercise, its also been about my mental, emotional and psychological health. Some may know about mindfulness, but if you don't, here's a great story from 60 Minutes explaining it:

But maybe you aren't a mindfulness person, perhaps you merely meditate (although some argue they are one in the same, others disagree!). I've really become more aware of meditation, mindfulness, and on a much more (lazy? therapeutic?) standpoint... massage therapy. During my massage therapy appointments I treat it as a full-body meditation. Truly focusing on my breathing and shutting out all of the other thoughts running through my head - no To-Do lists either!

I found out about Scents of Serenity organic spa thanks to a handy app that my regular salon, Avenue 42, uses which is called MindBodyConnect. While booking one of my Ave42 color + hair cuts in advance, I wondered if there was a convenient massage place on the app. Scents of Serenity is in the right part of RVA Metro for me, location-wise, so I booked a 90 minute massage about a month in advance. It's right off of 295 - by Staples Mill and Mountain Roads... super convenient for many RVA metro residents! However, I ended up booking another appointment when my neck went out at my new job (great!), so, I had a 30-minute appointment with Malia that was a great introduction to the spa. Within those 30 minutes she focused on my pain site specifically and I felt great improvement. Since then I've committed to 90-minute massages regularly with Lara over the past five months. It has been an amazing transformation for my chronic pain, thanks to our regular deep tissue massage sessions (90 minute deep tissue = $130 a session).

Massage treatments at Scents of Serenity are such an awesome experience. Even though it appears to be a small facility when you first approach it, when you enter the spa your impression completely changes. It is decorated in such a warm, calming way with a chic and airy approach about it thanks to hardwood floors and high ceilings. The rooms have heated massage tables with plenty of cushion, white noise from waterfalls/fountains, calming muted lighting, and instrumental music.

The deep tissue massage incorporates a soothing oil blend and so with the oil and the atmosphere I've occasionally fallen asleep! I've never had the experience of taking a nap during a massage at other spas in the RVA area, typically because they are in leased spaces with noisy patrons and staff. Not the case at Scents of Serenity! You may wonder why I have chronic pain. Well, I have a stressful job and my husband lives a stressful life, plus some sports injuries from my school years all add up to chronic tension. The pain can manifest itself all over, but primarily in my muscles and connective tissues of the neck and trapezius. Living in the RVA Metro also gives me terrible allergies, too. If I don't release this tension it turns into chronic pain for me. I have the foam roller, I workout regularly, but some spots are not easily accessible without someone helping me with it. That's where the women at Scents of Serenity come in. They can melt the pain away so easily!