Thursday, June 27, 2013

Natural Review #2

Jason Natural Cosmetics Jason Quit Bugging Me - Natural Insect Repellant Spray - 4.5 fl oz
So the mosquitos are out and about!  I always get eaten alive, so I normally carry a bottle of repellant in my bags during this season.  I used to use OFF, but it contains an ingredient called DEET, which can have side effects like rashes, hives, muscle spasms, seizures and death.  Children are more susceptible.

So I tried out Jason quit bugging me! natural insect repellant spray.  The active ingredients are Soybean oil and Geranium oil.  It is DEET, PABA and paraben free.  What I like is that it isn't greasy, it has an easy to use pump-spray nozzle and while it doesn't smell great, the scent is tolerable and of course it doesn't have the chemicals.  I have used it 3 times and the first 2 times it worked great.  This last time I got 2 mosquito bites.  I am going to give it another try and if that happens again I think I will try something different.  On my rating scale of Bad-Fair-Good-Excellent, I give this a Good rating.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Summer Camp

Yesterday we dropped my son off at summer camp, where he will be spending the next week.  It was bittersweet.  We had a tough school year and frankly, his behavior hasn't been that great recently, so on the one hand I feel like, Yes! We get a break!  But on the other hand, I miss him already.  The baby saw his picture this morning and started cooing, smiling and laughing at it.
He's such an outdoors-type, so this is right up his alley.  I went to sleep-away camp for about 5 or 6 years and had a wonderful experience so I am happy that my son is also able to have his own experience.

Do you guys have any fond camp memories?

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Strawberry Shortcake

Its strawberry season and right now they are the juiciest they'll be all year.  But its very short, so hurry and get some.  Last weekend I made this little treat and my family loved it!  Here is the yummy recipe I got out of Real Simple magazine.  Enjoy!

Strawberry Shortcake
Serves 8Hands-On Time: Total Time: 


  • 3 cups all-purpose flour, spooned and leveled
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon table salt or fine sea salt
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest, plus 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 2 tablespoons plus 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 2 quarts strawberries, hulled and quartered (about 6 cups)
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 pint strawberry ice cream
  • Serves 8Hands-On Time: Total Time: 


    1. Heat oven to 400° F. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and ¼ cup of the sugar in a large bowl. Add the butter and lemon zest. Blend with a pastry blender or your fingers until crumbly. Add the milk and stir until just combined (do not overmix).
    2. Drop 8 large mounds of the dough (about ½ cup each) 1 inch apart on a baking sheet. Brush with 2 tablespoons of the heavy cream and sprinkle with 2 tablespoons of the sugar. Bake, rotating the baking sheet halfway through, until golden, 18 to 20 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
    3. Meanwhile, in another large bowl, toss the strawberries with the vanilla, lemon juice, and the remaining ¼ cup of sugar. Let sit, tossing occasionally, for at least 30 minutes.
    4. Beat the remaining 1½ cups of heavy cream with an electric mixer until soft peaks form, 1 to 2 minutes. Split the biscuits. Top each bottom with strawberries and juices, ice cream, whipped cream, and a biscuit top.
    5. By Sue Li May 2013

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Going Natural

Growing up my parents encouraged healthy eating and living habits.  We didn't have a television until I was 7 or 8, we ate things like bulgar wheat burgers and whole wheat donuts and my mother practiced yoga. Throughout my teen years, I completely rebelled against that life style.  I would spend my money on bad chinese take-out and pizza.  As a young adult, thankfully I never fell into the Ramen noodle pit, but I was barely a step above! Its funny how things always go full circle, because now I am trying to have as many healthy and natural foods, gardening, cleaning and beauty/hygiene supplies as possible.

I decided to make these changes for a variety of reasons.  First, my son has really bad seasonal allergies and asthma. He has a reaction (itchy throat and ears) whenever he eats certain fruits and vegetables like apples, pears, carrots, celery, kiwi, etc., unless they are cooked.  As you can imagine our produce bill is ridiculous in the winter.  Since many of the other fruits fall on the Dirty Dozen, I am trying to buy organic.  I feel like everything is so contaminated and is a cause of a lot of the ailments that we have.  In addition, I think that in our attempts at trying to get germ free and have convenience, we are killing off some of the things that are helpful to our bodies.  Things like bees, which hurt when they sting, but also make honey, which has good vitamins and minerals and helps in building immunities through its anti-oxident properties.  We are destroying good bacteria and creating a lot of free-radicals which are recking havoc in our bodies.  There appears to be an increase in the number of cases of cancer, adhd/autism, heart disease and neurological problems, like Parkinsons.   I am not saying that going natural will completely eliminate these things but I do believe that it helps in decreasing the numbers and the severity.

This is a large undertaking for me, so I am doing it in baby steps.  I think lifestyle changes are better absorbed and become a part of your routine when you gradually make changes instead of eliminating everything at one time.  So instead, each time I run out of a product, be it food, cleaning or hygiene/beauty product, I am replacing it with its natural counterpart.  Since we will be trying out new products I thought it would be cool to do a review after.

To start things off, we tried out Jason Pure Natural Deodorant Stick  in Soothing Aloe Vera.

It costs around $5.99.  The smell was pleasant and fresh.  It felt wet when it was applied but I fanned it and went about my day.  Shortly after I noticed that I felt sticky or tacky is probably a better descriptive.  It felt like I had glue in my armpits!  Within 3 hours I didn't feel so fresh.  I tried it for a few more days and had the same results, so needless to say, I am back to using Dove until I find something better. There are a few more that I want to try and also some DIY's I've heard about, so I will keep you posted.

Do you or have you tried natural deodorant before and if so, did it work?  Which brand?

Tuesday, June 4, 2013


This weekend was awesome!  My homegirl, Andrea, came up to hang out and have some girlfriend time!  We checked out The Roots Picnic, did a lot of walking and sweating, my God the sweating, had some food and drinks over at North Third and enjoyed ice cream at my favorite parlor in Philly before meeting up with my husband and friend.
The next day was equally as awesome and included brunch and a stop at the Brooklyn Flea in Philly.  There were so many fab vendors, Questlove was DJing and little mama slept through most of it.  Andrea bought a rug and a table and I got a cute scarf.  Its going to be a weekly event, so if you are in the area, definitely check it out.  Here are some pics from our cracks me up that the picture of the two of us is hazy and blurry, its reminiscent of the atrocious weather!

How was your weekend?