Let’s talk skincare

If you are like me you have been using some type of skincare products for the past few 25 years.

I have to admit that my first introduction to skincare was not “love at first use”!  I loved my makeup from the time I was allowed to wear it, but having to wash my face at night with anything other than my bath soap was absurd!  Oh wait, then you also want me to wash it in the morning…..um, why?  Shouldn’t my face still be clean from the night before?

I have tried many – MANY – different products over the years.  Starting with basic face care products from trusty old Walmart, then on to direct sale companies like Aloette/Mary Kay, on to department store products, back to box store products, designer brand products, then dabbling into some DIY products, and back to my brand names because who has time to make stuff?…..and the cycle would just continue.  Never really truly finding anything that I absolutely loved and would stick with.  Trust me when I say this is probably one area that I have wasted the most money on!

As I am trying to really live my best life now, and I am doing my best to be more conscious of what I put on and in my body, I knew that skincare was my top priority.  I didn’t want to keep using the same old products that are filled with chemicals just because some magazine/celebrity swears by them.  Let’s be honest, the products made your skin feel great right after use……but they never really made it feel great all the time!  Oh and let’s not forget the endless amount of break outs or skin reactions from using them!

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I longed to find something effective, non-toxic, and that made my skin feel just as fabulous hours after using as it would as soon as it was rinsed off.  So I started my research, and that is when I came across the best skin care products I have used to date!

Tata Harper is a luxurious skin care line that uses non-toxic ingredients.  As a matter of fact, she owns the farm where most of their ingredients are grown, and all of her products are made in small batches at the farm in Vermont!  So not only natural and non-toxic, but they are also made in the USA!

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Guys……I am so in love with these products!  They feel wonderful when you use them, have very pleasant smells, and make your skin look fabulous!  Honestly, for the first time in years I am starting to love my skin again.  I will actually go out in public without a full face of make-up now!

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I am currently using the regenerating cleanser, concentrated brightening essence (I could bath in this stuff), rebuilding moisturizer, and the restorative eye cream.  These are the products that I use in my daily routine.  I have been using them for about 2.5 months now, and I still have half (or more) of the products left…..so they will last you for a while.  This is with twice daily use!

You can check them out at Amazon

You can also check the products out at Nordstrom

I really like to order from both of the above websites due to the additional perks and rewards program you get from the companies!

*p.s. It also helps that they are in such pretty bottles 😉

Disclosure:  This post contains affiliate links.  The opinions are completely my own based on my experience.

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A Life of Simplicity

I have been contemplating writing this post for so long now!  It is after all one of the things that made me want to get back into blogging in the first place.  With so much going through my thoughts, and going on with my life lately……I have just really been craving simplicity.

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The realization that I am craving simplicity in my life didn’t happen overnight.  It has been and will continue being a process.  If you know me personally then you know that I live life at 100 mph. All. The. Time!  I have always been constantly doing something, going somewhere, making plans, etc.  I started 2017 off with the same mindset and habits.

Then I boarded a plane in July with my husband, and we spent a week on the island of Grand Cayman for our 10th anniversary.  Life is different on an island.  It is simple.  Peaceful.

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No one cares about busyness.  As a matter of fact the only thing you are required to do on the island is liming.  Which simply just means the art of doing nothing! Everything moves at a much slower pace. People aren’t in a huge rush to get somewhere, they take time to savor and enjoy life.   All the stress and anxiety from life at home just melts away.

I lay on the beach day after day listening to the peaceful sound of slow waves rolling in, enjoying time spent with my husband, and time spent with people we met at our resort.  It all began to wear on me, I was exhausted with life.  I was tired of being tired.  I wanted change……something has to change!  I longed to have that same simplicity in my day to day life.

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Over the past several weeks I have been really looking at my life.  Everything from habits I have (good and bad), material things I have, what I put in my body, what I put on my body, and how I spend my time.  I started thinking of things that needed to change.

Designing a simple life means having fewer distractions in your life, so you can focus on what matters.  As I work to simplify my life, I want to be intentional about choices that I make.  I want to remove what I do not need in all areas – home, food, products, schedules, thoughts, etc. – and add things that are meaningful to me, loved, and valued.

I decided that I would chronicle my baby steps to simplicity here.  After all this will be a process, and all processes usually start with “why”?  So step one……..

What is my why?  To have a stress-free, meaningful life.  To live intentionally, to have peace, and to have more gratitude.

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Let’s talk essential oils!

What are essential oils?  Well to very briefly sum it up they are naturally occurring compounds found in the seeds, bark, stems, roots, flowers, and other parts of plants.  They usually have a strong smell because they are highly concentrated, and they can be pleasant or downright nasty smelling depending on the person.  I have oils that I love or hate that other people I know think the opposite about!

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I am not here to lecture you on essential oils, to teach you all about them, nor to pretend that I know what I am talking about when it comes to these little bottles of goodness.  Oh no!  We all have the internet and know how to use it…..I mean if you are reading this post you know how to use the internet, right?  Right!  If you want to know more about them I will leave the research up to you!  I am simply going to share some of my favorite oils & their uses with you.

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I will first start of by telling you that I am by no means a promoter of any one particular brand of oil.  I do not sell them at all!  I have tried several different brands, which all have been great, but I mainly order my oils off of amazon from the NOW Foods line.  They are high quality oils for a much cheaper price than others.  I have also used Young Living and know a few people that use doTerra.  Both of those brands are great as well…..I really like to save money, and the NOW oils are the same quality with a much cheaper price tag.  The only thing I will warn you about as far as ordering from online sources are to do you research.  Please make sure that you are getting a very good quality, organic, authentic oil.

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I must first start with one of my favorite & most used oils.   Peppermint!  You will find that most people that use essential oils go through this one the most…..it will be a close race with lavender.  I use this oil for so many different things.  One of the main things that we use this oil for in our home is just for the dang scent.  I love the smell of peppermint oil!  Outside of freshening the air we use it for headaches and muscle soreness the most.  Just a little dab on your temples can help to relieve headaches, and when mixed in with some oil/lotion it can do wonders for muscle aches.  I also very often place several drops into a cup of Epsom salts to soak in after workouts!  It can also be used for digestion, but I do have a blend that I use specifically for that reason.

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As I stated the second most used oil in my house is lavender oil.  I love this for so many reasons.  Aside from the obvious use of helping you to sleep, I have used it for achy legs at night, bug bites, cuts, and bruises.  So many nights my legs have been achy and restless from a big workout.  I simply rub a little lavender oil onto the legs and they calm right down!  It does wonders for mosquito bites as well!

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DiGiZen is a blend that I order for…….you guessed it digestion!  I have ridiculous digestive issues that I will not go into detail about, I know you are thanking me!  This oil is a lifesaver!  It is a blend of peppermint, tarragon, ginger root, fennel, anise star, and lemongrass.  This oil is a dupe for the DiGize from Young Living oils.  You will have to mix this with a carrier oil (jojoba, coconut, olive, etc.) because it is a “hot” oil.  Basically it has a burning sensation, but it will not actually burn your skin.  Anytime I have a little tummy issue I just roll this blend on and let it work its magic!

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One of my very favorites from NOW foods brand that I use every single night…..peaceful sleep!  I mean the name just says it all!  It has a floral-citrus aroma.  I find it to be a very pleasant smell, but I have had one person that ordered this on my recommendation that doesn’t care for the scent.  Unfortunately that is a chance you take regardless of the oil you purchase.  It is a blend of orange, tangerine, lavender, chamomile, ylang ylang, and sandlewood.  I diffuse this every night while we are sleeping.  It truly does help!  If there is a night that I forget to set up the diffuser, my sleep is always restless that night!

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Nature’s shield is one that we have started using again recently with all of the yuckies going around. If you are familiar with Young Living oils this is a dupe for thieves.   This blend is formulated to promote a healthy environment.  We use it to purify our rooms, as well as to clean with.  It is a blend of clove, lemon, cinnamon bark, eucalyptus, and rosemary oils.  Mix this will a little orange oil and it smells like Christmas!

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Eucalyptus is usually always in my collection, especially during cold season.  Many of you already know that it is highly recommended to use this scent when you are sick……of course many of the things you can purchase in stores with eucalyptus are synthetic fragrances.  If you have ever tried this in a bath wash, lotion, etc. that didn’t work for you – PLEASE buy a pure eucalyptus oil and try again!  It truly is amazing how it will help with the stuffies!  Another great oil blend for sinus/colds when you are stuffy and coughing is the RC Blend from Young Living.

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Tea Tree oil is a must for cleansing and purifying.  This oil is used most often for cuts/scrapes.  You will need to dilute it with a carrier oil if applying to a wound.  It is reported as a great oil for fungal infections; however, I cannot attest to how it works with those.  It will also help dry up acne breakouts.  With that said, I only have hormonal breakouts few and far between……if you have a teenager with serious acne I would do more research before using the oil.

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Last but not least is lemon.  I mainly use my lemon oil for my DIY cleaners.  Other than cleaning, it is used for freshening up the air.  I have a bottle of this as a room spray that I will use when things smell a little funky……which happens when you have teenage boys, lol!

Those are not the only oils that I use/have used, but they are the ones that I always have on hand at any given time.  Some of the ways that I use them besides in a diffuser or topically are; making my own cleaners, dryer sheets, hand sanitizer, room sprays, bath salts, etc.  There are so many things that you can do with them.  Just a simple google or Pinterest search will give you a ton of ideas.  I travel with my oils as well.  Just remember that if you take them on a flight, the liquid rules do apply for checked luggage.

**p.s. if you can only purchase a couple of oils at a time I highly recommend starting with peppermint and lavender….and lemon if a third oil is an option for you.  These three are power house oils that you can do so much with!  I purchase all of my essential oils from //ws-na.amazon-adsystem.com/widgets/q?ServiceVersion=20070822&OneJS=1&Operation=GetAdHtml&MarketPlace=US&source=ac&ref=tf_til&ad_type=product_link&tracking_id=helennaturall-20&marketplace=amazon®ion=US&placement=B002N0PY8S&asins=B002N0PY8S&linkId=06ca54ee1c66a83cc24cafbc279d06ca&show_border=false&link_opens_in_new_window=false&price_color=333333&title_color=0066c0&bg_color=ffffff“>here!

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Sometimes a break is all you need!

Well hello lovely readers!  As you can tell I have been on a long hiatus from the blogging world…..or really just from writing blog posts.  I have continued to love, follow, and read blogs daily.  I was just so “done” with writing my own.  I am not sure why?  I was at the point where I didn’t post frequently due to time and schedule.  I just wasn’t able to keep up with the dailyish posting.  So like most things, my little corner of the internet was placed on a back burner.

I will admit that I have gone back and forth several times on returning to the writing/blogging world.  I just wasn’t exactly sure if I really wanted to do it again, but after typing a new post several (and I do mean several) times throughout the past several months – I have decided to start back.  With that said, I have also told myself that there will be no pressure for daily posts.  It was great when I first started.  I had so much to share with my new lifestyle change.  If you have been around since the beginning, then you know that this started as a healthy eating blog.  From there I started throwing in various posts and topics that I enjoyed.  With my clean eating lifestyle being so new, I had so much content in my head.  I also had so many new & different recipes that I was trying out.  I guess after a couple of years, I just wasn’t as into it anymore!

Pressure!  I think it is surely what caused me to give it up.  Not pressure from anyone else, but pressure from myself.  I have now realized that I do not have to blog daily, every other day, or even weekly if I do not want to.  I can blog on my own frequency terms.  I still have so much I am passionate about, so much that I would love to share.  So I am giving myself the freedom to blog when and about what I want…..which is the whole point of having your own blog right?  So this will be my little piece of the internet that is about my passions and lifestyle.

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While I still like to live a healthy lifestyle…..I will be a big girl and admit that A LOT has changed.  I did fall on and off of the eating wagon a lot.  As well as the exercise wagon!  I was so done with not allowing myself to have things that I enjoyed.  I was burnt out on my lifestyle……or what I thought was a lifestyle.   However, over the past couple of years I realized that a lifestyle should be joyous and happy.  Now don’t get me wrong, I know life is not always rainbows and sunshine!  I have my ups and downs just like everyone else, but dang it if a glass of wine makes me happy…….then I should drink the damn wine!

I decided over time that I would enjoy all of the things in life that make me happy.  Like wine, chocolate, dessert, Louisiana food, etc.  So I have added a few inches back to my body, it is not the end of the world……because you know what?  While someone is out there obsessing over a 5lb weight gain, and a 1 inch increase…….I am drinking the damn wine and loving it!

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The Price for Health

Good Monday morning to you all!  I am praying that you have had a great weekend, and will have an even greater week 🙂  This mornings post was suppose to be all about weekly meal prep, but I just need a moment……..
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I would like to just rant a little bit this morning if you can bear with me.  Getting myself back on track is top priority for me, which means I spent some time this weekend grocery shopping and prepping for the week ahead.  So with my handy-dandy list in hand I hit the stores.  I will tell you that I prefer to do my shopping at Trader Joe’s/Fresh Market so I can get organic produce, but both stores are a 30 minute drive from me in opposite directions.  This weekend was super packed with events so I had to make do with our local Wal-Mart & our local produce market.  Which by the way I shop from very often because it is locally grown!

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So this is what my shopping trip looked like.  I spent a total of 130$ on this!  I was appalled at how much it cost me to feed my family healthier foods (please excuse the pancake syrup & fruity pebbles, you can only take so much from children at one time) compared to what we could spend to eat from a box.  Just to give an example a box/frozen meal would cost me about two bucks……I pay at least three buckaroos for just one vegetable!  It makes me so sad when I look at this picture.  This is why so many of us are sick and/or have weight problems.  This pic doesn’t really contain meats that I am blessed to already have available.  It is strictly produce and staple items that we buy every week.  It is so much cheaper to eat crappy food, and many Americans can’t afford to pay this much for so little 😦 

side note:  yes I have always been aware that it is more expensive to eat healthy, but I have never really paid attention to it per say because I was raised on fresh foods so I have always had them.  Now that I am trying to budget my groceries more to incorporate organic meats/produce in our diet, I realize just how much it cost.  Most people do not have access to a family garden 😦

So today I am urging you to encourage people to buy produce.  Even if they can’t buy organic, regular produce is still better than none at all!  Oh and if you have access to fresh produce/meats/eggs via gardens and such…….I encourage you to share with someone who doesn’t have access to one.  I always share fresh produce/eggs that I get from my parents with my in laws & friends.  It may only be enough for one meal, but at least it is one meal that it a little healthier for them!

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I also encourage you to buy frozen veggies if you can’t afford the fresh produce.  They are priced a little cheaper, especially if you buy your stores brand.  Most frozen veggies are frozen at the peak of ripeness so they are pretty tasty when steamed and a little seasoning sprinkled on top.

** Thanks for letting me rant a little this morning!  I will not continue with a super long post, and will save my meal prep post for tomorrow.  I was just really saddened by this reality and needed to get it off of my chest.  If you have advice or tips about this situation I would love for you to leave a comment.  You never know, your tip could be passed on by me to a friend that could really use it!**

1.  do you have to shop on a budget?

2.  what tips do you have for saving money on healthy foods?

3.  what item do you shell out big bucks for that you just can’t go without?  For me it is almond butter and chia seeds!

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A slight hiatus!

Well hello my friends.  It appears that it has been a while since I have decided to post on this lovely little blog of mine. 

It is safe to say that things in my life have been a little crazy for the past year.  I have not only fallen out of blog land, but unfortunately I have fallen out of clean eating, good consistent work outs, and structure in my life.

Now do not get me wrong.  I haven’t completely lost all of my good habits, but I have slipped back in to many old ones.  I still “try” to eat healthy, work out, and have a chill life……but I also eat what I want when I want (which means that hearty breakfast/lunch was killed my mounds of afternoon chocolate), have slacked off to maybe 3 30-45 minute workouts a week (sometimes less), and have had tons of stress in my life! 

Now while I know that healthy eating habits and exercise will not make all of the life stressors go away, it does help with the symptoms my body is having due to said stress.  I have fallen out of grace in many ways.  So what has changed here recently that has me wanting to turn over a new leaf?  Well lots.  I will not bore you with all of the details but tight clothing, health issues, and the such are giving me a good wake up call! 

I made a decision this past week (after much reading/research) that I want to stick with.  I know the only way to do that is to have others support me, hold me accountable, and just give me encouragement/advice.  Of course I thought of my blog friends (yes I still read your blogs) that have always been there for me in the past.  I decided to get back to blogging for connection, accountability, and support.  I will chronicle my journey here once again so I can get back to my best self.  So here is to me “re” turning over a new leaf.  It will be a journey but hopefully a fun one!

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It’s a mystery!!

I am so thankful for all of the positive feedback I have been getting the past several days over my new position as an independent beauty consultant for Mary Kay. This company is so awesome!

We really are focused on enriching women's lives which I feel is so important. Not only does the company focus on uplifting women, but we also have……

The Mary Kay Foundation
dedicated to ending women's cancers and domestic abuse

Throughout her life, Mary Kay Ash showed others how to live and how to give.
She gave hope to women who lacked opportunity, self-esteem and financial support.

Now her legacy of love lives on through The Mary Kay Foundation,
which she began in 1996. Make a tribute in honor of Mary Kay Ash today.

Our mission is to eliminate cancers affecting women and to end the epidemic of violence against women. Our accomplishments are highlighted in our 2012 Year in Review.

Help now … you can make a difference in the lives of women across the nation.

I have to admit that I was so inspired to join this company even more once I found out about the foundation. The mission above are two issues that are very important to me. I have several cancer survivors in my family, and working in the public schools I often see abuse of mothers which leads often to abuse/neglect of children. I have vowed to donate a portion of all my orders to the foundation in support.

So this week I am having a virtual mystery hostess party. I have participated in these types of parties before in the past, and I promise you they are always fun! It is hilarious how competitive some people can be.

The protocol is simple. For every 20$ spent your name will go into a drawing to be the mystery hostess. You can leave a comment below to let me know that your order has been placed. Want some extra entries? Get your friends/family on board. For every 20$ they purchase, their name will go into the drawing, but leave a comment below telling me you referred them and your name gets additional entry. Want more? For every 35$ you spend you get two entries. Oh and to sweeten the pot even more…..10% of proceeds will be donated to the organization/charity of choice.

The winning hostess will get a Mary Kay Satin Lips set which includes a lip mask for exfoliating and lip balm for moisturizing. This set is perfect for this time of year when our lips take so much abuse from cold temps, wind, and the drying effects of heaters. It is especially perfect for those of us that partipate in outdoor activities such as running! Drawing will be held Friday.

Follow the link below to my personal Mary Kay website

http://www.marykay.com/hgarner3

The catalog is available through the website. While you can order directly from my site, I am going to take all orders through email & PayPal. I am going this route so you will not have to pay shipping & handling, only tax. Oh and you will pay my tax rate which is 7%. You will email me your order, I will send you an invoice via paypal, and you will go through paypal to submit payment. If you do not have a paypal account you can send me an email, I will provide you with a phone number, and you can give me your information via phone.

Of course if you have any questions about certain products feel free to email, leave a message, or ask for phone info so we can talk about any products you are interested in. I fell in love with this skin care line (trust me I have tried them all), and I absolutely love the makeup. This is coming from a long standing MAC & makeup forever girl! The shadows are very compatible with the big brands…..not to mention a lot cheaper!

Thanks so much for your participation, and have a blast shopping! Happy entering 🙂

 

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Drum roll……

So I was thinking that I wouldn’t announce my newest news until next week; however, things have progressed more quickly than I expected.  So I decided to give you guys the news today.  After all it is Friday so great things are destined for today anyway 🙂

I now have a new and additional job as……………

A Mary Kay beauty consultant!

I am really excited about this new chapter of my life.  I have toyed around with the idea of become some type of independent sales consultant for a very long time now.  Just for the perks of a little extra money, but also just for the fun and products I could obtain as well.  I really do like the Mary Kay line, as you know I love makeup and all things girly, so after debating for about a week I decided why not go for it!

I can’t wait to see where this takes me in life.  It is such a great company that really focuses on building each other up, and supporting each other in all areas of life.  Not to mention it is a very Christian based company which is important to me as well.  So if any of you are interested in any of the products, or just would like a little  more information you can either comment below with your email address, or you can email me at helennaturally@gmail.com.  I will have a website and email specifically for my Mary Kay business that I can pass along to anyone interested! 

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Changes happening…

And it is not just the seasons, weather, or holidays.  Since you know this time of year the holidays change so frequently that you can’t keep up with them!

I know I have been on a rather long hiatus, that is to say the least.  However, not only has my job been extremely busy this year, with tons of extra duties taking up my time, but I have also been trying to reconnect my Christian life.  I have been trying to become more active in church, and just spend good quality time with my boys.  I have to say that  between work and home life that is basically where all of my focus is going. 

I am hoping to get back to some blogging as well, but my life is taking various directions at the moment.  Some (really many) of these changes will be shared on here.  My plan is to ease my  way back into this blog with all of my new endeavors, and to use this consistently as a networking tool.  I have a couple of things happening right now that I have been seriously considering lately, and I have pretty mush decided to jump right in.  So with that said, I am sorry for the long post.  I just wanted to touch base with all of you guys to say I haven’t forgotten this little place or you.  I have kept up with many of you that blog.  I am still reading your posts 🙂

  I am not ready as of yet to share my new and exciting news, that will come next week I am sure.  Just know that I am really excited about things to come, and I will share with you guys soon!!

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My new addiction….

Good morning to all of you!  I am sitting in disbelief this morn at the calendar, realizing that it is almost October!

Where has the year gone?  I can’t believe that we are already in the holiday season…….because yes, October starts that season!  It is literally one holiday after another for the next 5 months.  What does this mean?  Lots of food, family time, and fun…..uh the food is the problem here, lol!

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BUT…….I have a new food addiction.  It is a good one to have, I promise!  I came home a couple of weeks (yes it has taken weeks to get this up) ago to a lovely little box just for me.  Might I mention with way more items in it than I expected!

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Clark from Quest Nutrition was so kind to send me a box of there goodies to try out.  I was like a kid on Christmas morning when I opened that box up……practicing for this holiday season you see….with so many goodies to try in one box, I couldn’t decide which one to go with first!  Oh and the kid in me of course came out and wanted to try them all at once.

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But I was able to control myself a little.  I picked up one bar, tore into that package, and just chomped a big chunk out of it.  I was in love at first bite!  From that moment on I would enjoy one of my lovely little bars each afternoon before my workout time. 

They are perfect for on the go.  The protein will keep you full for hours!  I would eat one around 3:00 (about an hour before my workout), and when our usual dinner time at 6:00 rolled around I still felt full!  Makes for a really great breakfast with your coffee on those mornings that you are running out the door…..and the list of flavors they offer is amazing!

  • vanilla almond crunch
  • chocolate peanut butter
  • apple pie
  • cinnamon roll
  • chocolate brownie
  • strawberry cheesecake
  • mixed berry bliss
  • coconut cashew
  • peanut butter supreme
  • lemon cream pie
  • peanut butter & jelly
  • banana nut muffin
  • chocolate chip cookie dough

Not a shabby list if I say so myself!  All of the flavors were so yummy.  I seriously didn’t have one bar that I disliked.  Now I have to be honest and say that some I totally loved over the others, but I would gladly purchase any of the flavors they have.  My favorite was absolutely the coconut cashew & chocolate chip cookie dough.  You guys know this girl loves some coconut and chocolate chip cookies!

They also sent me some of their peanut butter cups from the cravings line, as well as the pasta to try.  I have to honestly say that I prefer a bar over the cups any day.  I haven’t had the opportunity to try the pasta yet.  We haven’t had any pasta in our dinners lately, but as soon as I try it I will let you guys know what I think about it!

So thanks Clark for the bars, I have really enjoyed all of them, and I look forward to future variations 🙂

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