Livie & Luca Vegan Shoe Line

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I’m pretty new to the current toddler fashion scene, since my two youngest children are 10 years apart. The trends from 2007 are not necessarily what’s popular today.

Everywhere I’m turning lately, I’m noticing the most adorable little shoes you can imagine, and I quickly realized that ‘Livie & Luca’ are the brand these little feet are wearing.

‘Livie & Luca’ was inspired by a pair of handmade shoes, along with the purpose to ‘spread joy’! This brand is whimsical, beautiful and oh so comfortable for tiny toes. And I will gladly tell you that the quality of these shoes are top notch.

Livie & Luca continues to hand make every pair of shoes and they are proud to give back to their community.”With every purchase, Livie & Luca donates 10% of net proceeds to non-profits supporting children’s development and well being.”

But the very best thing about Livie & Luca is that they have VEGAN shoes!!! Yay!! And their new spring line is bright, colorful and truly lovely! I instantly fell in love with the “Carta II Mary Janes”! But I’m itching to get my hands on a pair of “Peppy Sunprint Sneakers” as well!

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Many vegans are weary to support a non-vegan company that offers vegan products. This notion is completely understandable. I’m 100% for supporting completely vegan companies. I do however believe in the importance of showing ALL companies that customers WANT vegan options and if they SELL them, we will BUY them. Vegan products are becoming more and more popular among consumers, and companies are taking notice. Let’s thank them and support their efforts!

Check out Livie & Luca’s vegan spring line and take advantage of free shipping and free returns. Sign up for their newsletter and receive 10% off your purchase. 😀

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Avocado & Radish Toast

img_3394My favorite meal for breakfast is probably one of the healthiest & simplest to make!

Avocado toast takes only a few minutes to prepare and will keep you energized & satisfied for hours.

As you may be aware, avocados are a super food!  They are high in healthy fats, low in saturated fat and are of course cholesterol free!

Avocados are a pear shaped fruit that contain 20 different vitamins & minerals including, vitamin K, folate, vitamin C, potassium, vitamin B5, vitamin B6, & vitamin E.

Avocados contain more potassium than bananas which can lower your risk of a heart attack & stroke.

They are filled with fiber and the fabulous ‘oleic acid’, which can help with inflammation and possibly reduce your risk of certain cancers.

So yes, I think avocados have earned the right to be called a ‘super food’!!

I’m not quite sure how radishes are supposed to follow ‘that’…but I will tell you that those tiny red veggies are jam packed with some nutrients as well.

Radishes are a root vegetable and cousin to the cabbage. They are a good source of vitamin C, folate, fiber, riboflavin & potassium.

Radishes also serve as a natural diuretic and according to Dr. Mercola, they purify the kidneys, urinary systems and relieve inflammation.

Oh how I love radishes!! Would you believe that my daughter eats them whole, like tiny apples? 😋She loves them!

Radishes tend to be a bit bitter, but when sliced extra thin with a mandolin, they compliment the avocado and toast nicely.

Here’s my crazy easy recipe!

Ingredients:

high quality sliced grain bread. (I prefer Eureka Organic or Daves Killer Bread)

1 avocado

1 red radish thinly sliced

Juice from 1/4 lemon

Pinch of freshly ground black pepper

Pinch of Himalayan sea salt

Pinch of crushed red pepper

Toast your bread and mash avocado, lemon, black pepper, salt & crushed red pepper with a fork, in a small bowl.

spread over toast and add sliced radishes.

Sprinkle with a bit more salt & pepper if needed.

Enjoy! 😁

My Favorite Baby Items

Decmber 2015 we were blessed with a brand new bundle of joy and our family couldn’t be happier! Our sweet little daughter has brought us tons of smiles and loads of laughter over the past 12 months, and along with filling our hearts with love, she has filled our house with lots of baby stuff!!

I’m very excited to share my very favorite ‘baby finds’ from my daughter’s 1st year! I have come across some fabulous vegan, hand made and eco-friendly products & companies that really stand out. And I only recommend products that I absolutely LOVE! So please feel confident supporting these companies and buying these items for your little nuggets! 

Let’s start with diapers! You know that you will need them, that’s a given. But the thought of throwing away dozens of diapers each week is kind of tough for me to deal with. Each year parents throw away 20 billion diapers. yep, 20 billion. that’s enough diapers to circle the globe 90 times. And guess how many years it takes for the average diaper to decompose? Um, 500 years! Is that crazy or what?

Disposable diapers are also very expensive, costing between $1400 and $2500 over 21/2 years. You can plan to spend between $300-$500 on reusable diapers.

My top pick for reusable diapers are Charlie Banana‘s 2 in 1 hybrid cloth diapers! They are free from yucky irritants and chemicals, they’re super comfortable and ridiculously adorable. But do they prevent leakage and actually work? Yes, these diapers are the cats meow and I am so very grateful to have discovered them.

The price of a 6 pack of Charlie Banana’s ranges from $120 to $140 for the organic ones. I opted for the organic version.

If you are new to cloth diapering, please don’t be nervous! This was my first time too and I caught on quickly. You will find step by step help on the Charlie Banana website and there are even youtube pages devoted to cloth diaper support.

I recommend a charlie Banana waterproof hanging diaper pail. This is where you will want to store all of your soiled diapers until you’re ready to wash them. They even sell a waterproof tote bag for holding dirty diapers on the go.

Aside from making amazing reusable diapers and accessories, Charlie Banana is a top notch company when it comes to paying it forward.

Some of the places they support include:

Operation Smile, an international medical charity providing free reconstructive surgeries to children suffering from cleft lip, cleft palate and other facial deformities.

Project Child Save, a non-profit organization dedicated to preventing kidnapping and child abductions.

Healthy Child Healthy World, an organization creating healthier environments for children.

Climate Action, a social enterprise which supports sustainable low carbon, and socially responsible consumer choices.

Please stop by CharlieBanana.com and also check them out on Facebook and Instagram.

If you are concerned about the yucky chemicals that may be lurking in your baby’s clothing (and you should be), you may want to opt for organic outfits. I have come across a fabulous company that was created by a fellow mom, Monica Royer. She wanted to make better clothes, with better fabrics, and I am so grateful that she did!

 Monica + Andy makes baby clothes and blankets that are certified organic, free of lead, phthalate and flame retardants. So you can feel confident that your little dumpling is not being wrapped in toxins. They offer sizes newborn through 5T.

Monica + Andy sells newborn footie pajamas, bodysuits, onesies, shirts, pants, blankets, cuddle boxes and the prettiest dresses that you have ever seen. In fact, I had my daughter’s 6 month portrait taken in a mint green ‘Little Belle Tulle Dress’. It was comfortable, breathable and oh so gorgeous!  Stop by their website to see the beautiful organic dresses, you will want to order one in every color! 

Follow Monica + Andy on Facebook & Instagram.

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Aside from organic dresses, every baby girl needs some sassy bows! I’ve spent quite a bit of time and money trying to find bows that are comfortable, beautiful and of good quality. Most bows I’ve found are too tight and fall apart. Luckily I stumbled upon a bow maker on Etsy who makes the greatest bow headbands on earth. The business is called ‘Your Final Touch’, and the owner is a stay at home mom with a passion for handmade creations.

Claudia creates hair accessories and clothing using amazing workmanship and quality. Her bows come in dozens of colors, and if you are like me, you will order again & again. Please show your support for this small business and Claudia’s handmade accessories! And her prices are incredibly affordable, so you can buy a variety of colors & styles! 

Check out Your Final Touch On Etsy

My daughter wore bows from ‘Your Final Touch’ for her 6 month and 1 year portraits.

I’m very excited to share a new, completely Vegan baby and toddler shoe company called ‘Baby N’Anya’. This 100% cruelty free company believes that babies should enjoy the comfort and support of soft sole shoes as they begin to walk. They also believe that animals should not have to die in order to create amazing shoes. Bravo! 

I can’t tell you how much I adore these shoes… but I’ll try! They are comfortable and don’t leave a red ring around my baby’s ankle. They are soft, adorable, and not leather! Baby N’Anya is a company that you WANT to support whole heartedly. There are many shoe companies that offer vegan options, but very few that do not exploit animals at all. 

My daughter has 2 pairs of Baby N’Anya shoes and I’ve received no less than a dozen compliments since she started wearing them. I highly recommend buying at pair or two! Stop by their website right now, they are offering 20% off for a limited time!

Also Check out Baby N’Anya on Facebook & Instagram

Last spring my daughter began eating solid baby food. I pride myself in homemaking most of what she eats, but when we’re on the go there is nothing easier than a baby squeeze pouch. With so many baby food pouches on the market, its not easy to know which ones are the best. I have done quite a bit of research and narrowed it down to what I feel are the best two baby food brands on the market. 

Ella’s Kitchen offers delicious baby food that my little munchkin loves. It’s USDA organic and free of GMO’s, additives, added salt & sugars. At the moment our favorite snack when we’re on the road are Ella’s Kitchen Nibbly Fingers. The ingredients include organic whole grain oats, organic malt extract, organic raisins, organic dried apples, organic dried pears, and organic dried strawberries. Delicious and healthy!

Check Out Ella’s Kitchen on Facebook & Instagram.

Once Upon A Farm baby food was created by a busy mom who wanted high quality, fresh, local, organic food for her child without having to spend all her time in the kitchen. Cassandra was unhappy with most of the baby food found on store shelves and felt that her daughter deserved better.

Once Upon A Farm makes their food using HPP or High Pressure Pascalization and sources local, organic, non-GMO ingredients from farmers that they know and trust. There are never added preservatives or sugars.

My daughter goes crazy for the mango pouch! It’s her absolute favorite! 

You can find Once Upon A Farm on Facebook & Instagram.

 

I hope you check out some of my favorite baby products and companies! Do you know of a fabulous product that is vegan, eco-friendly or handmade? Let me know about it!

My ‘Family Favorite’ Chickpea Salad

img_0928Chickpea salad is an easy, delicious & healthy meal, perfect for school lunches!

I make this recipe often, and it can be served on top of greens, with crackers, on a sandwich or straight out of the bowl!

Ingredients:

4 cups chickpeas

1/2 cup vegan mayo (I love ‘Just Mayo’)

3 tablespoons dijon mustard

1 teaspoon turmeric

4 Stalks celery, finely chopped

1 large carrot, finely chopped

1/2 yellow bell pepper, finely chopped

1/2 red onion, finely chopped

1/2 cup of dried cranberries

sea salt & freshly ground pepper to taste

Instructions:

Add chickpeas to a large bowl and mash with a potato masher. You want a sticky consistency while still leaving some whole chickpeas.

Add all other ingredients and mix well.

Enjoy!

 

 

Oatmeal Banana Blueberry Lactation Muffins

 

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As a nursing mother myself, I’ve been hearing a lot about lactation cookies. Becoming quite intrigued with them, I began to research exactly what is in these magical treats.

Two of the most beneficial ingredients to increase milk supply are believed to be brewers yeast & oatmeal. I did notice however that many of these seemingly healthy cookie recipes  were loaded with sugar! Up to TWO cups of sugar! Plus a full cup of butter and white flour. That’s dessert, not a snack. If  you want dessert, find one of those recipes, but if you want a plant based muffin that can energize your body and provide your baby with much needed nutrients, give my muffin recipe a try.

 

Oatmeal is full of fiber and is a great vegan source of iron. Maternal anemia is shown to result in a lower milk supply, which may be why some women struggle to produce enough milk. Oatmeal is also thought to create a relaxing affect  causing the body to release oxytocin which may help with letdown.

Brewers Yeast is a galactagogue herb, (aka an herb that increases milk supply in nursing mothers), and is considered safe for breastfeeding. it’s a good source of iron, chromium and selenium along with several B vitamins.

Coconut oil  is not only believed to increase milk supply, but it also produces fattier & more nutritious breast milk, as it contains high levels of lauric acid.

I understand that busy moms struggle to find time for baking, but I assure you that these muffins take only minutes to prepare and you can whip them up in one bowl. I make them them twice a week and my ten year old goes crazy for them!

As always, I encourage you to use organic ingredients if possible, especially while breastfeeding. 

Ingredients:

2 ripe bananas mashed

2 cups oats

1/2 cup whole wheat flour

1/2 cup almond flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

2 tablespoons brewers yeast

1 tablespoon ground flaxseed

1/2 cup fresh or frozen blueberries

1 tablespoon chia seeds

2 tablespoons coconut oil

1 1/2 cups almond milk

1/4 cup maple syrup

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 teaspoon cinnamon

powdered sugar optional

preheat oven ro 350 degrees

combine all ingredients except powdered sugar and pour into greased muffin pan.

Bake 25-30 min

sprinkle with a dusting of powdered sugar if desired

makes 12-14 muffins

Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

 

GuruNanda Essential Oil Diffuser

I have recently become quite a fan of diffusing essential oils. I use them for everything from cold & flu prevention to helping me fall asleep at night. For those of you who love 100 percent pure essential oils and diffusers as much as I do, you know they can be a bit pricey. I’ve been on the lookout for an essential oil bargain, and I got my hands on one!

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I offered to review a GuruNanda Essential Oil Diffuser kit which comes with two, 100% pure essential oils, lavender and peppermint. If you can believe it, the kit costs just under $20. No, I’m not kidding. Only thing is, it’s being offered exclusively at Walmart stores and you only have through November to get your hands on it. You better move quickly, they are selling out!

Here’s a quick review of my GuruNanda kit.

The diffuser is amazing! The mist is very strong and does not weaken the way my more expensive diffuser does. This diffuser fills a large room with heavenly aromatherapy and changes colors, which is quite beautiful!

The 100% pure lavender essential oil smells incredible and makes me feel calm & relaxed. I love diffusing it before bed.

The 100% pure peppermint essential oil is invigorating and perfect for the holiday season! And of course you can diffuse all of your favorite oils in this GuruNanda diffuser!

I highly recommend this product and I hope you add it to your holiday wish list this year!

 

The Squeeze Juice

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I have been lucky enough to come across an amazing company based in NYC., called ‘The Squeeze Juice’.

They offer fabulous cold pressed juices and raw meals and snacks as well. You can check out their website to order online or to find their locations.

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I tried out four of their rawlicious snacks and each one was healthy & more importantly, very tasty!

If you’re in the mood for a chocolate chip cookie, but not in the mood to eat lots of sugar, white flour and other unhealthy stuff…the ‘Tollhouse Nookie’ is the way to go. It makes a perfect midnight snack!

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I really enjoyed the Mac ‘N Cheese Kale Chips. The flavor was intense and you get the enjoyment of a chip without the guilt!

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The granola bites were great and I think kids especially will go crazy for these! They are bite sized and make a great on the go snack.

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Last but certainly not least I tried the FUNonion Rings.  OH MY GOODNESS…THESE ARE GOOD! I should have shared them with my kids, but once you eat one, you need to eat them all!

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So seriously, check out ‘The Squeeze Juice’!  Good for your health and even better for your tastebuds!

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