Tag Archives | Lollihop

A Healthy Surprise

After my sad discovery about the closure of the healthy snack company Lollihop I was thrilled to find another snack delivery company out there called Healthy Surprise.

Not only was this little box was chock full of delicious goodies, Healthy Surprise really makes an effort to support organic, fair trade, green, and/or socially aware companies as well as expanding their reach each month to new brands and healthier, more diverse choices.

I was surprised by how small and sleek the box was, they do a great job with the package and there’s very little excess wrapping and packing materials, which is an eco-efficient approach that I especially like.

The contents were quite varied, the box included everything from bars and raw crackers to nuts and kale chips. I like trying new things and giving new flavors a go, which is one of the major reasons that I like these boxes (and CSAs) – They force you to get outside of your comfort zone and usual purchasing routines.

Apple Pecan Two Degrees Bar – The ingredient list for this bar are awesome. Vegan, gluten-free AND it containing quinoa, chia seeds, and millet. Oh, and it was absolutely scrumptious. Gooey, chewy, not too sweet, tangy, filling, and wholesome. Bonus? The company has a great program in place and for every Two Degrees bar you buy, they will donate a meal to a hungry child.

Seriously, does it get any better than this?

Apple Cinnamon Raw Revolution Bar – TASTY! I love Raw Revolution Bars, these organic live food bars have always been high on my list. The Chocolate Coconut flavor remains the reigning champion as far as I’m concerned, though the Apple Cinnamon was quite good. Side note – This bar was pretty small – it was gone in just a couple bites which is always sad.

That’s It Bar – “1 Apple + 10 Cherries in this fruit bar” is the tagline, which I think is great, more companies should approach their products this way. The ingredients are really just apples and cherries. Pure! 100 calories, 3 grams of protein and they’re gluten-free, kosher, vegan, and have zero fat. Quite the healthy little bar.

Livin’ Spoonful Coconut Curry Crackers – Gluten free, vegan, raw sprouted crackers. Don’t be intimidated by the name of this healthy snack, it’s DELICIOUS. Really light in flavor, with a great crunch and texture. Even the boyfriend happily enjoyed a few bites. To top it off, Livin’ Spoonful is a great little company focusing on healthy, gluten-free living and has the motto “a garden in every bite.”

Twin Cakes Cashew Coconut Biscotti – I mentioned my love of Twin Cakes (the North Carolina-based bakery run by the twins who write the Pure2Raw blog) when I discussed gluten-free products – Gluten: The Good, The Bad & The Itchy. I’ve ordered virtually everything that their site has to offer at one point or another and not a single product has disappointed. In the past I’ve especially loved their raw crackers and snack bites, however their biscotti is now my new favorite. So. Good. Very coconut-y and dense, but a little bit chewy. Delicious!

Alive & Radiant Foods Southwest Ranch Kale Krunch – Kale chips are a great snack, but an acquired taste for some. They’re baked greens so there’s not a ton of crunch, but they’re pretty satisfying nonetheless. I really enjoyed this flavor, I’ve only ever had a few vegan ranch flavored snacks that I’ve enjoyed, frequently they taste nothing like ranch and are a disappointment. Not these though!

Righteously Raw Chocolate Maca Bar – I wanted so badly to like this bar, the packaging is beautiful and the information on the bar is top-notch. Gluten-free, no refined sugar, soy & dairy free, contained over 55 phytonutrients, increases energy & vitality, and balances hormones & increases libido. It looks like a large Kit Kat bar but unfortunately I really didn’t enjoy the taste. I like maca and use it in smoothies regularly, but this bar was not to my liking.

Samba 99 Cupuacu – This “original antioxidant super fruit bar” contains organic cupuacu pulp, organic Brazil nuts, organic cane sugar, pectin, and citric acid. Not familiar with Cupuacu? This “super food” contains Omega 3 and 6, Vitamins B1, B2, & B3, essential fatty acids and amino acids.  It helps boost your immune system, and helps improve the health of your skin and hair. This chewy bar is a great pre-workout snack, a zing of sugar with a little protein, easy to digest and a great source of energy.

Hail Merry Orange-Rosemary Pecans – I don’t even like rosemary and I absolutely loved these nuts. Sweet and salty, and really satisfying. This snack is raw, vegan, and gluten-free and here’s what they have to say about their process: “Hail Merry first soaks her nuts to activate the living enzymes, which aid in proper digestion. We then dehydrate at very low temperatures to protect these enzymes as well as the delicate essential fatty acids.” Tasty and healthy, what more do you need in a snack?

I hope you find these reviews helpful, I really enjoyed my first box and I was thrilled with not on the variety of options Healthy Surprise provided, but also the types of companies they are choosing to support. Couldn’t have chosen better myself. So if you’re in the market for some healthy snacks, I highly recommend giving this company a chance!

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Links You’ll Love

Health/Fitness:

Did you watch the recent 60 Minutes piece Is Sugar Toxic? Raise your hand if that guy scared you a little! I consider myself very well-informed when it comes to health and nutrition, and I don’t consume much sugar, but that guy was still creepy intense. Doesn’t mean the message was wrong though, to be sure, let’s just try to hear it from a different, more palatable source. The Difference in How Fructose and Glucose Affect Your Body from Kimberly Snyder, Do We Need Better Advice About Eating Well? I Vote Yes from Marion Nestle, and The Sugar Blockers Diet from Prevention.com.

Need some healthy snack ideas? Obviously you should reach for fresh fruit & veggies, nuts, seeds, and dried fruit before anything packages & processed, but sometimes you just need to throw something in your purse or keep in your desk in case of a snacking emergency. Check out the Hungry Hungry Hippie‘s suggestions or my Lollihop review. I’ll also be reviewing my Healthy Surprise box soon!

Are you a fan of yoga? Since I’m going through physical therapy for a back injury and trying to strengthen my core and stay flexible, I’m going to give it another try. Here are some beginner and not-so-beginner yoga sessions to give a try:

Did you enjoy Part I and Part II of the Mark’s Daily Apple series called Why Fast? that I posted here? The next installment in this series is a great beginners guide to fasting – Why Fast? Part Six – Choosing a Method.

Healthy motivation to start your week off right tomorrow! 4 Great Ways To Use Chia Seeds from Canadian Living, professional triathlete and author Brendan Brazier’s favorite ingredientsfrom leafy greens to pseudograins, seeds and nuts, and In Defense of Fat: 7 Surprising Facts from The Huffington Post.

 

Fashion:

As we get ready for Spring why not take inspiration from the Aussie’s who are finishing up their warm weather dressing – Sydney Snaps: Street Style From Down Under.

I read lots of pieces on how to be a good hostess – from menus to glasses to centerpieces, but I was excited to read this article from Apartment Therapy on Hosting Overnight Guests Without A Guestroom. San Francisco is a city of apartment living and when a one bedroom is usually over $2000 a month, most people don’t have an unused bedroom, so this is incredibly relevant!

Nothing but fabulousness from the arrivals at the Gucci Fashion Show After-Party in Shanghai. If you need inspiration for a night out on the town these ladies are a great place to start!

A great look for Spring is a crisp button down shirt. You can pair it with cropped pants, a pleated mini, over a flowy maxi dress or even tucked into jeans. And why not mix up the classic white button down and try a Chambray shirt. Do A Little Chambray! from Eat Breath Fashion.

Whether you’re breaking out your Spring dresses for weekends or planning a shopping trip for your Summer wedding season, take inspiration from FabSugar’s Ultimate Spring Dress Guide!

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Giveaway Winner + Lollihop Goodness

First, I want to thank everyone who entered the Spring 2012 MCLV Giveaway!  I’m glad that it was a contest that you guys were interested in and I’m hoping that we’ll be able to have another one soon. Now for the announcement that you’ve all been waiting for, the winner is… Elizabeth Agrilla.

Congratulations!

This reader submitted the following well thought out response to my Spring fashion inquiry, including pictures:

The trend I am most excited about this spring is the use of sheer fabric.  Although not new to the fashion world, this year designers stepped up their game creating stunning styles that left plenty to the imagination.  The use of sheer fabric this season was clever and fun, creating clothes that were flattering, feminine, sexy, and even in some cases ethereal.  Although most designers used sheer in one or more designs, a good example of the artistry and effect is Narciso Rodriguez (NY) (attached).  I also liked Marni’s use of sheer underskirts, giving her designs a retro, yet new vibe (attached).

As expected, bright colors and nature inspired materials graced the runways heralding the approach of spring.  A sense of renewal always comes with Spring making it a perfect time to renew the wardrobe.   This is what makes Spring one of my favorite times of year.  Beading, lace, metallic fabrics, flower power, the roaring 20s , flamenco – what fashion week look to start with?

I can not  bring this to an end without mentioning a standard Spring necessity – sandals, sandals, sandals! – I love them!  I love sandals in all shapes, styles, colors and heights, but what stood out from the catwalks this season were the sandals that strapped up the calf.  Gladiator sandals are nothing new, but these babies were hard-core – LOVE THEM!

Haha. Definitely a thorough response! And with so much research, effort and thought put into her response, I am thrilled that Elizabeth will be getting this gift certificate to put towards her Spring shopping. Maybe if we’re really lucky she’ll send us a picture of her Bloomingdale’s loot after she goes shopping.

Elizabeth – Please send me an email with your mailing address so that I can send you your prize!

Second, I’d like to share some information with you guys about a former company that I was fortunate enough to have discovered last year, called Lollihop, which I heard about from the Hungry Hungry Hippie.

Lollihop puts together boxes of organic, healthy snacks. While I’m in no way saying that processed food is the way to go, these snacks are a great alternative to some of the choices out there when you’re on the go. Each box contains eight snacks and they range from trail mixes to nut butters to protein bars to baked chips. The snacks are chosen based on their nutritional content and are some of the healthiest snacks on the market. All delivered right to your front door.

Box details

 Let’s go through the contents of my first box and discuss the nutritional stats for the snacks that they sent me, shall we?

Larabars are some of my all time favorite bars, not only do they taste great – I even got my boyfriend hooked on them – they also have one of the most pure ingredient lists of any bars I’ve ever seen. My favorite flavor is Coconut Cream Pie and the ingredients are dates, coconut, almonds, cashews and extra virgin coconut oil. You’ve heard of and can pronounce all of them! Below are the nutritional stats. I’m sure you can see why I keep these in my purse and desk. 

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Gnu Bars are high fiber, low-calorie baked bars. Here’s a little bit more about the bars from the website: “The 6 natural whole grains in Gnu Bars are rich in beneficial nutrients, minerals, antioxidants and phytonutrients as well as rich in Fiber. The whole grains in Gnu Bars contain all the parts of the entire grain kernel; they haven’t been milled or processed out like other so many other whole grain foods or supplements.” My box came with the Banana Walnut flavored bar which was tasty and filling, but on the small side. 🙁

Bakery on Main Gluten-Free Granola Bars are made with flax and chia seeds and are an excellent source for Omega 3 & 6 essential fatty acids. Their tagline? No GMOs, dairy, casein, wheat, trans fats or cholesterol. I haven’t had a granola bar in YEARS and was pleasantly surprised by the taste and the consistency. Nutritional breakdown below: 

KIND Bars are described on the website as “a brand of all natural whole nut and fruit bars made from ingredients you can see and pronounce and it’s also a movement that gives new purpose to snacking.” The ingredients include: macadamia nuts, apricots [apricot paste, glycerol (vegetable based), pectin, apple fiber, citric acid] honey, shredded coconut, coconut chips, glucose, puffed rice, chicory fiber, soy lecithin. They’re chewy enough to make your jaw sore (a plus in my book) and were quite flavorful. 

Food Should Taste Good is a company dedicated to making healthy snacks from whole, wholesome ingredients and their Blue Corn Tortialla chips are made from flax seed, quinoa and blue corn. Healthy chips that actually taste good and have a great texture? This company definitely lives up to their name!

The Somersault Snack Company prides itself in creating healthy snacks for busy people on the go and worships the sunflower seed! (Don’t we all?) They include them in all their snacks and advertise the healthy stats of sunflower seeds on every package:

  • 4x more antioxidants than blueberries…
  • More fiber than an apple…
  • AND 50% more protein than almonds!

Unfortunately I wasn’t a big fan of the flavor that I received in my box. I wanted to love the Pacific Sea Salt flavor but it was just okay, I’m dying to try the Cinnamon Crunch and Santa Fe Salsa versions though, they both sound delicious and I think a little bit more kick would improve my opinion of these little snacks.

Popcorners are similar to the more well-known Pop Chips, they come in various sweet and savory flavors and are made from popped corn. An extremely interesting fact about Popcorners is that the Philadelphia and Chicago school systems are substituting them for other types of fried potato chips (source). They’re a pretty sturdy chip, I ate half of them plain and dipped the rest in hummus and they were quite good.

Bella Viva Orchards is a California-based company that produces and packages dried fruits and nuts. The dried cherries that I got in my box were surprisingly big, plump and very sweet. I ate a few of them solo and then chopped the rest up and added them to the third batch of cookies that I made last week. SO TASTY.

The final product in my first box was a packet of Linwoods Milled Flaxseed Cocao & Berries. Linwoods is a UK-based company with a range of Premium Bakery, Fresh Dairy and Healthy Super Food products. From their Website: “The Linwoods range of delicious, nutritious ‘Super Foods’ is the perfect solution for those who want to ensure that their diet comprises the essential fatty acids, vitamins and minerals that can add such quality to life and living.” I added half of the packet to a strawberry & banana smoothie and half to some overnight oats with light coconut milk. They’re hearty and gave both the smoothie and the oats a slight taste of flax, I really enjoyed it.

I love all of Lollihop’s little notes and descriptions in the box, it’s a great way to make sure that the recipients know the health benefits and nutrition of the various products. I was thrilled by my first box and have been quite happy with the subsequent ones, I think this is a great service and absolutely ideal for someone (or a family) that is busy and doesn’t want their health to suffer as a result.

Unfortunately I hate to have to tell you that Lollihop has been discontinued, but I have high hopes that a similar service will pop up in the near future to fill this very necessary void for us busy snackers.

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Best of 2011

As I was doing my daily blog reading this morning I stumbled upon quite a few 2011 recap & “best of” type of posts. I found that they were really fun to read because it let me get the author’s opinion on things I may have missed over the course of the last year – which was especially fun when it came to the blogs that I only recently discovered.

So in that spirit I thought it would be fun to share some of my favorites from 2011:

Fashion

  • Best Red Carpet StyleZoe Saldana & Diane Kruger. Sorry, can’t narrow it down further, it goes against nature to pick between these two.
  • Favorite NewcomerAmber Heard & Rosie Huntington-Whiteley. They share a certain poise and both favor glamorous, ladylike gowns on the red carpet, which I love. (And I am not at all upset or jealous that Rosie is dating Jason Statham. I swear.)
  • Go-to Fashion Blog – I hate to narrow this down to a single site since I’ve discovered some really great ones this year, but I’d have to say that the most entertaining one I read is Tom & Lorenzo: Fabulous & Opinionated. I’ve had to outlaw it at work because I can’t stop laughing at their commentary.
  • Best Trend – Bright, minimalist Calvin Klein gowns
  • Favorite Collaboration – Karl Lagerfeld for Macy’s Impulse

Fitness

  • Favorite Blog –  The Fitnessista is a great website with motivating posts & booty busting workouts, I’ve cited it a lot in my Gym Goddess series.
  • Favorite ApparatusMedicine balls! There are an endless number of great workouts that you can do to emphasize different muscle groups and you can even do them with limited space which is great if you don’t want an expensive gym membership or if you travel a lot.
  • Best New Workout You Tried – I’m going to have to go with CrossFit. My boyfriend is an instructor so with some not-so-gentle urging I gave CrossFit a try, and  I have to admit that I was pleasantly surprised. If you haven’t taken an intro class I highly recommend it. It can be intimidating at first, but it’s challenging, intense and a great atmosphere if you’re competitive and like to push yourself.
  • Best Magazine – I adore Women’s Health. They have creative ideas for workouts, pick great, inspirational women to feature and I love the fun little facts & cute workout gear they include every month.

Food

  • Favorite Recipe – Vegan Mac n’ Cheese made from butternut squash & ANY of Evan’s desserts over at The Wannabe Chef. Seriously, check out his site, he has any type of recipe you could want – vegan, paleo, gluten-free…
  • Best New Ingredient – 2011 was the year of coconut milk! Not only is it high in phosphorus, potassium and iron, its delicious in everything from smoothies to veggies to curries. Yum. (Yes Sean, you were right)
  • New FindLollihop (which I promise you a full post on in the next week or so!)
  • Favorite BlogHungry Hungry Hippie & Oh She Glows
  • Best Books – I can’t pick just one! The Kind Diet, Peas & Thank You, I Am Grateful and Clean were some of the bests though.

What are you favorite new finds of 2011?

I don’t know about you, but I’m ready for more new and exciting in 2012! 🙂

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