Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Ocean Eats: Mantoloking Chowda

The heart of winter is certainly here, and with all of this snowy weather it's time to dig out those warm homemade recipes & get cooking!  There's nothing better, in my opinion, than a filling warm bowl of Clam Chowder or should I say... Mantoloking Chowda!  Check out my new article & recipe for +Ocean Happening in the Ocean Eats: Cooking section!


xoxo Kat

Monday, January 26, 2015

Blizzard Blast 2015

Winter Storm Warning: BLIZZARD CONDITIONS!
If you live in the TriState area or NorthEast US you are about to be snowed in for the first time this winter.  What could be better news on a Monday?  More than likely you went home early or if you were really lucky, you had the day off!  Chances are just about all of us will get to enjoy the next couple days off and relax with family and whoever else gets to your house before dusk!  Personally, I'm not a fan of snow unless it's a blizzard.  I can do without the slushy stuff but that fresh packed powder for sleigh riding makes me feel like a kid again…(especially when school closed for a week! =])

Here is my go to Blizzard agenda to avoid cabin fever & have a blast!

  • Sleigh Riding: if you live near me Holmdel Park!
    • Grab the sleds and get there early!  A day on the hill having sled races followed by hot cocoa & grilled cheese by the gigantic fireplace at the cabin is by far # 1 on any snowy day! 
  • Snowball Fights & Snow Angels:  Once the blizzard conditions calm down, make the most of the fresh powder!  Perfect for packing a solid snowball or making a pretty angel spend the day enjoying a fun "fight"!
  • King of the Mountain & Igloos:  If you get a couple feet of snow this is a hands down must do!  Once the snow plows come through your neck of the woods, build an igloo….we made one with multiple rooms once! (Safety: always let an adult know when you'll be inside and never go in alone…in case it collapses!) It's the perfect hiding spot during a snowball fight too!  Also, be sure to find where the plows are pushing the snow up into "mountains" (usually at the end of a street or dead end)  See who can get to the top and not get shoved off.
  • Hot Cocoa with Peppermint Marshmallows:  Stock up on plenty of hot chocolate mix, marshmallows and candy canes.  Roll the marshmallows in crushed candy canes and drop into hot cocoa for a minty refreshing treat! 
  • Wine & Eggnog:  If you haven't already, hit the liquor store to stock up on these necessities you'll be happy to have when cabin fever sets in!
  • Warm Comfort Food:  After a fun - filled day in the snow everyone loves to indulge in delicious hot comfort food!  Stock up on your favorites or cook up a crock pot recipe: mac & cheese, veggie stew, mashed potatoes, homemade pizza, spicy chili, brownies, chocolate chip cookies & rice crispy treats are a few of my favs!

Pre-Storm Flurries

Stay Safe, Keep Warm & Have a Blast!  Happy 1st Blizzard of 2015 NorthEast! =]

xoxo Kat

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Warm Up with Winter Soups & Stews!

Wintertime is the perfect time to make your favorite pot of delicious soup or stew!  The freezing temps make us crave warm comfort food and what's better than a homemade dish!  Soups and stews are quite simple to make ahead of time, take with you on the go, incorporate local ingredients and most importantly, they allow you to get creative with fresh ingredients while keeping a low budget!  I'll be sharing my favorite local bowl of choice with +OceanHappening this week!  In the mean time, check out my top 5 list for this winter!  I'll be featuring a few of these recipes in the next few weeks!

  • Butternut Squash Soup
  • Clam Chowder
  • Veggie Quinoa Stew
  • Creamy Asparagus Soup
  • Lentil Chili
Keep Warm, Keep Cooking & Bon Appetit! 

xoxo Kat

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Time to Recycle

Going green has become a worldwide craze I am happy to be a part of and support whole heartedly.  Any way I can help make our planet a cleaner, healthier, happier and safer place is # 1 on my priority list.  Eating healthy plant based foods, eliminating toxins, being present and practicing mindful wellness, dedicating time and effort to a fitness program, volunteering & following your passion are lifestyle topics I love to discuss, research, practice & dive into.  I try to incorporate all of these into my daily routine and improve on them from one week to the next.  A major going green topic I would like to bring back to the forefront is recycling.  Recycling has such a strong impact on our planet, which ultimately effects our overall health and well being.  Taking the extra step to recycle waste, materials, tech gadgets and anything else around your casa is a small way you can contribute to an enormous worldwide change!
Here are a few simple solutions to make recycling an easy addition to your daily routine:

New Russian Red MAC Lipstick after recycling!
  • Add a Recyclables Can: Aside from your kitchen garbage, add a smaller one for recycled containers.  We store ours under the kitchen sink so it's close by but out of the way!  We also have a large recyclables can outside.  If your town does not provide one, you can purchase one at a reasonable price at any local hardware store such as: Lowe's, Home Depot or Ace Hardware. 
  • Recycle Cosmetics:  MAC cosmetics has a fabulous program that promotes recycling any of their products once finished and rewards customers with a free lipstick of their choice.  Once you have 6 finished products just bring them to a store or ship them to the company and pick out a brand new stunning shade of lipstick!
  • Reusable Bags: Food shopping is one of the top offenders of anti recycling.  Many customers don't think twice about bagging their items in paper and plastic bags and then throwing them in the garbage.  Reusable bags are extremely cheap, durable, usually only 99 cents and often insulated.  Shopping with these bags keeps your hot and cold items fresh and contributes to a healthier planet! 
  • Mason Jars: Glass mason jars are my absolute favorite item to store literally everything in!  Not only are they healthier than plastic containers, especially when reheating food but they allow you to reuse them indefinitely.  My suggestion: take a few with you on your next trip to the grocery store.  Instead of filling a plastic container or bag with ground coffee, fresh soup or produce, fill your mason jars instead!  The tight seal adds extra long freshness which means longer lasting food and more money in your pocket!  It's a win win going green =]

At the end of the day, I hope at least one more person becomes aware of their surroundings, habits and health.  If even one person takes a little time to put in the extra effort to make our home (planet earth) a little greener then the world will in fact be a better place! =]  Spread the love and RECYCLE!

Lots of Love,

Friday, January 9, 2015

Feature Writer for Ocean Happening

I am so excited to announce I am beginning a new venture as the feature writer for a local lifestyle online magazine in my home state of NJ!  I will be covering the Mindful Wellness and Ocean Eats section.  If you're a local or just visiting the Jersey Shore and looking for something fun to do in Ocean County be sure to check out Ocean Happening on twitter +OceanHappening or their website: http://ocean.happeningmag.com  They provide lots and lots of information about the county, upcoming events, local businesses, food & other fun stuff!  Please browse through the site and be sure to check out my first published article for the Mindful Wellness section titled: DIY Beach Scrub!


xoxo Kat

Sunday, January 4, 2015

New Year New Adventures

Happy New Year Everyone!
I hope you all rang in 2015 with those you cherish and hold dear to your heart!  A brand spankin new year is such an exciting, uplifting & vibrant time of year.  Many of us have resolutions, book spur of the moment trips, try new lifestyle and fitness routines and countless other changes.  This year I challenge each of my readers to disregard the popular motto "New Year New You" and truly live out all 365 days as "New Year New Adventures!"  You should already love who you are because YOU are freakin fabulous!  Trying to change yourself to look like models in magazines, eating foods that make you cringe & drink skinny cocktails….let's be honest…nobody got time for that!  I want you all to embrace your individuality this year & share it with the world!

Losing or gaining weight/muscle and eating for health is a perfectly normal and realistic goal we all yearn to achieve.  Rather than make drastic changes, turn it into an adventure!  Add workouts to your weekly routine that you've always wanted to try.  Zumba, hot yoga, crossfit, running groups…heck give them all a try!  Support local mom & pop shops, organic farms and health food stores by purchasing the majority of your groceries at their locations.  Get creative with new & yummy recipes that taste delicious but are healthier than your old standard sloppy joe and pasta regimen.  Turning the new year into a bunch of little adventures will improve your mood, make new friendships & help you achieve your goals while having fun and enjoying the little things life has to offer!

Bon Voyage!  It doesn't have to be a pricey resort destination vacation whatsoever.  It can totally be a road trip to try snowboarding for the first time.  Convince a group of friends to tag along and make hilarious memories!  Traveling out of town relaxes the mind, guarantees funny stories & lots of laughs!

Be present, thankful and kind above all else in 2015.  Take time away from your smart phone, television, computer and turn on music, read a good book, journal, play charades with your kids, share stories around the dinner table and make an effort to truly be there for the ones you love.  This adventure is truly one that will bring peace, love & happiness to those around you and in return allow you to appreciate Gods love for all of us.  It truly is the little things in life that bring us so much joy.  Share that with the world and the world will 100% share it right back!

Happy New Year to each and every one of you!  May 2015 be your best year yet!

xoxo Kat

Monday, December 29, 2014

New Year New SkinCare!

The beauty of your skin is a direct effect of your overall health.  The condition relies on what we are putting into our bodies on a daily basis.  Achieving and maintaining beautiful skin is simple, affordable and requires little effort.  Here is my daily skincare routine to help you get that clear, hydrated & beaming glow!
  • Healthy Diet & H2O: Our skin is the first warning sign of what's happening on the inside.  Acne, oily or dry skin, dark circles, puffiness and irritation are indications of a vitamin deficiency or overindulgence in unhealthy "clogging" processed foods.  The chemicals in processed foods paired with dairy consumption are a leading cause of acne.  Our pores become clogged with sludge, which causes buildup and visible breakouts.  The best foods to cleanse your system and reduce acne are bright fruits and vegetables.  Toss potato chips and dips & snack on raw carrots, celery, apples and broccoli with hummus or natural no sodium peanut butter.  Aim to gulp at least 60 oz of water a day for a constant flush of your system.  Drinking plenty of water will also deflate any bloat you've been experiencing.
  • Dark Leafy Greens & Plant Based Probiotics: Dark leafy greens are packed full of nutrients that aid in reducing swelling, dark circles, wrinkles and cellulite to name a few!  Kale, Collards, Swiss Chard and Spinach are some of my favorites!  The abundance of beta -carotene, calcium and Vitamin C all help to naturally cleanse and rejuvenate skin and other health conditions.  Plant based probiotics aid in digestion and cleansing while boosting your bodies vitamin and mineral levels naturally and balancing PH levels.   
  • Herbal Teas (Decaf):  I know what about coffee?  As much as I love my hazelnut coffee I try to at least push it back til after breakfast and either drink it black or with stevia and coconut milk.  Caffeine is highly dehydrating, making it an enemy of glowing skin when ingested. The best hot drink to have first thing in the morning is a hot cup of water with fresh lemon juice…be sure to drink on an empty stomach!  Throughout the day I have at least two cups of decaf tea.  The plethora of delicious tea options will give you something new to try daily!  My favorites: green tea, ginger & white pomegranate!  *If you have trouble sleeping pick up a sleepy time tea thats pack full of chamomile, spearmint, lemongrass, orange, hawthorn and blackberry leaves.  Herbal teas are perfect for detoxification and digestion!
  • Morning Routine: Each morning I wash my face with a face cloth that cleanses & tones.  Many of us grew up using a bar of soap.  Soap unfortunately can be very harsh on the skin and strip away necessary oils.  Face cloths contain Vitamin E, grape seed extract, aloe & chamomile to gently remove makeup, dirt and toxins leaving  skin smooth and clear.  Next, I apply a daily moisturizer with SPF!  Hydration and protection from UVA and UVB rays are vitally important all year round!  I try to skip makeup as often as I can saving it just for nights out on the weekends or big occasions.  With the help of my eyelash curler…which is an item I can't live without… curling my lashes gives just enough pop to my eyes without irritating mascara.
  • Nightly Routine:  This my friends, is the most important time of day to take proper care of your skin!  After a long day with or without makeup our skin is tired, possibly dehydrated and full of toxins absorbed from being out and about…car fumes, germs, dust, etc.  Cleansing before we go to sleep is essential in maintaining clear skin.  I start my routine by wiping away makeup & dirt from my face and neck using a wet cleansing towelette.  These are pack full of moisture and gently remove clogging particles from your face.  I then apply a toner that contains witch hazel (fights bacteria, tightens skin, repairs broken skin & reduces swelling).  Lastly, I apply a sleeping pack moisturizer.  This hydrating mask contains a Swiss Alpine extract to provide moisture throughout the night leaving a beautiful glow each and every morning!
  • Sleep & Home Remedies:  Our skin needs all the rest it can get!  Skin does the majority of its repairs while we sleep which makes the 6-8 hours each night very important!  Exfoliating is also essential in removing dead skin cells.  I recommend mixing up a batch of ingredients from your pantry and store in a glass mason jar in a cool dark cabinet.  Brown sugar, coconut oil, vanilla extract and lavender essential oil make a calming scrub you can apply once or twice a week for a gentle exfoliate & a bright beautiful glow!
*SkinCare aids in overall health, boosts confidence & provides natural inner and outer beauty!  Be sure to use products that do not contain alcohol or harsh chemicals.  Try to make products at home with natural ingredients from your herb garden & pantry!  The more natural ingredients the brighter your skin!

xoxo Kat