Sweet Potato Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

Sunday, July 1, 2018

I love nourishing my body will healthy food, but I also love to indulge in my fair share of sweets--hello sweet tooth! Since I can't eat dairy, I stick to vegan desserts whenever possible, but even though it's vegan doesn't mean it's always healthy. Anytime I find a way to make healthier versions of cookies, brownies, or cupcakes, I'm completely on board.

I found this sweet potato oatmeal chocolate chip cookie recipe on The Healthy Haff and absolutely had to try it. I know, sweet potato in a cookie? Sounds a little strange, right? It's actually so good, and you can't even taste it. The sweet potato adds extra vitamin A, vitamin C, and fiber that you most likely wouldn't get in a regular cookie.

These cookies are honestly my favorite treats I have ever baked. They're packed with good-for-you ingredients and guilt-free--if that's not the best of both worlds than I don't know what is. Let's get to baking!


Directions:

1. Mix all dry ingredients in a bowl

2. Mix all wet ingredients in a bowl

3. Yep, you guessed it! Combine wet and dry ingredients in one bowl

4. Roll dough into balls then slightly flatten

5. At 375 degrees, bake cookies for 15-17 minutes then let cool

6. Enjoy your healthy cookie because yes, it is possible!


If you make these cookies, let me know in the comments below or tweet me @CatlinRedd13. I'd love to hear what you thought!


You can never have too much Disney Style

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Hello beautiful friends! I feel like I’ve been very MIA lately, but it’s for a good reason: I moved to New York! I’m so excited to begin my career and live out my dream of living in the city. I’m very excited to be back in New York, but I’ll definitely miss Disney. I had such an incredible experience while in the college program, plus learned so much. It’s safe to say, Disney will always hold a special place in my heart.

With that being said, Disney Style is one thing that I still love and will continue to incorporate into my outfits. The week I left Florida, Disney Style, a new store located in Disney Springs opened. This shop is basically a DisneyBounding fan dream come true. The store features an array of outfits and accessories inspired by your favorite characters. Think: Cheshire Cat, Cinderella, The Fab Five, and so so so many more! You must know by now, I’m a big fan of Minnie Mouse and all things Minnie style. I also happen to be a big fan of rompers. I mean, it's an all in one outfit that instantly looks cute and is super comfy--what more could you possibly want?

When I went to check out the Disney Style store I was amazed! There was a Mad Tea Party tea cup, framed Minnie ears, and Tangled lanterns, aka a few of my favorite Disney things. But one thing that caught my eye in particular was this Minnie Mouse inspired romper. I honestly had never seen anything like it before and knew this girly piece needed to be the newest addition to my wardrobe. Polka dots and a bow all on one romper screamed my name, so this purchase was a no brainer.


When it came to picking out accessories for the look, I knew I absolutely had to incorporate my Kate Spade Minnie Mouse purse. I just can't get over how adorable this bag is. I mean, it even has ears! Since the shorts and bag are a bit of a statement (well, for me at least) I kept the rest of my outfit simple. I opted for basic black ballet flats and kept my jewelry to a minimum. And yes, that meant leaving out a headband because I thought that may have been bow overload. 



Since I wish I could take all of you to the Disney Style store to join in on all of the excitement, I added a few pictures down below of some of my favorite parts of the store.




I'm so happy Disney has finally dedicated an entire store to their Disney Style fans. If you're in the Orlando area, or planning a trip to Disney, will you make this your next stop at Disney Springs? Let me know what you think of the new store in the comments below or tweet me your thoughts @CaitlinRedd13.

How to Conquer the Flower and Garden Festival

Thursday, May 17, 2018

The Flower and Garden festival is in full swing at EPCOT. I've had the pleasure of attending the festival a few times, so I've gathered a some tips and tricks to successfully make your way around the world without becoming too full while still conquering everything Flower and Garden has to offer. I've also included recommendations and festival favorites!

If you're not familiar with EPCOT's Flower and Garden festival, it's one of the park's many many festivals that happen each year around the World Showcase. This one focuses on beautiful flowers and topiaries that can be found throughout the various countries.


Between the tasty food and drinks, adorable merchandise, and stunning flowers and topiaries, it's safe to say Flower and Garden is my favorite festival at EPCOT. Check out my tips below on how to get the most out of this lovely event!

1. Begin With Butterflies

Just to the right of the seas pavilion you can find the butterfly garden! In this area you can get up close and personal with these beautiful insects and learn all about the cocoon process. Who knows? You may even score a perfect picture with one.

2. Scope out Your Top Picks

When you enter EPCOT make sure to grab a festival guide. This will tell you all the special dishes each pavilion has to offer. I'll admit, walking around the World Showcase can be very tiring. If you know what countries are a must-do for you, you can make sure to save room for everything you're dying to try. My top recommendation? The roasted cauliflower at the Honey Bee-stro.



3. Start With Canada

Well, this is just a personal preference, but if go to the right and start with Canada when you enter the World Showcase, your first stop will be the Pineapple Promenade which happens to have my favorite drink Flower and Garden has to offer: Violet Lemonade. Yes, this totally-instagram-worthy drink has lived up to the hype and I may have had one every time I went. But what can I say, it's sweet and refreshing--perfect for sipping on as you walk around!



4. Use the Buddy System

Trust me on this one. Food and drink portion sizes are small at the festival, so it may be tempting to try something in each country, but your stomach will thank you later. I recommend eating and drinking your way around the festival with a friend or family member. This way, you'll be able to try everything you want without falling into a Thanksgiving food coma.



So you have the tips to conquer Flower and Garden, but you're probably wondering what food and drink is worth the hype? Scroll down to check out my favorite picks and must-try treats!

Field Greens salad from The Berry Basket

Frushi from Japan

Fritto Misto (crispy shrimp and zucchini) from Italy

Chocolate Macaron Lollipop from France

Walnut Honey Baklava and Rosé with pomegranate liqueur from Morocco
If you have attended the festival, let me know in the comments below what some of your favorite food and drinks were. Have a beautiful day!

D.I.Y: All Natural Coconut Coffee Body Scrub

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Making your own beauty products like a face mask or body scrub can be such a fun and affordable alternative to a store bought version. Plus, the ingredients are often more simple and better for you; I'd say that's a win-win.

I first made this coconut oil and coffee body scrub last year and it works so well. The coffee is a great exfoliant that washes away dead skin, while the coconut oil leaves your skin moisturized and very soft. Plus, both ingredients are full of antioxidants which are very beneficial to your skin.

                         




















When I recently ran out of my scrub I was using before, I knew I had to make this one again. My favorite part? It's extremely easy to make! All you will need is a jar of coconut oil, coffee grounds and a container to mix/store your scrub in. I picked up this organic extra virgin coconut oil  from Trader Joe's and this coffee from. 

Step 1: Microwave your jar of coconut oil for 40 seconds.

Step 2: Once oil is melted, mix with coffee grounds in your jar. You can adjust the coffee to coconut oil ratio based on how much exfoliation vs. moisture you want. I eyeballed the ratio, and then added more oil and coffee as needed. 

Step 3: Allow coconut oil to solidify again, then your scrub is ready to use!



As a side note, if your scrub separates after is solidifies, just mix it up before using and then you're good to go! 

I recommend using this scrub twice a week. However, if you're like me and have acne-prone skin, I wouldn't recommend using this on your face. I tried it one time and unfortunately it did make me breakout, but hey, I had super soft skin! The coconut oil will keep your skin moisturized for 24 hours after use--that's without applying lotion after your shower. Amazing, right?


I'd love to hear if you try out this scrub! Let me know in the comments below or tweet me @CaitlinRedd13 if you do. 

Have a beautiful day! 

My Go-To Smoothie Bowl

Monday, March 5, 2018

If you follow me on Instagram, then I'm sure it's no surprise that smoothie bowls have been my latest breakfast obsession. Creating these yummy bowls is such an easy yet healthy way to start your morning.

When it comes to smoothie bowls, the possibilities are endless, which is one of the  main reasons I love them so  much. Oh, and it's a fantastic way to add extra greens into your meal! Scroll down to check out the recipe for my go-to smoothie bowl I have been making almost every day!

What you'll need:
- 1 Cup of frozen mixed berries
- 1/3 Cup almond milk (or any nut milk)
- 1-2 Handfuls of spinach
- 1 Tablespoon of natural peanut butter
- 1 Banana

To start, place all ingredients into a blender and blend until it's all mixed and smooth. Yes, it's really that easy, and this is the hardest step. Hey, who doesn't love an easy recipe anyway? Next comes my favorite part: Toppings!

This is the "make your smoothie bowl look pretty and insta-worthy" part. My favorite toppings include strawberries, granola, and coconut flakes. Before I pour the smoothie into my bowl, I always add some granola to the  bottom of the bowl. This is a great way to add in a little extra crunch.

After the smoothie is poured over the granola, I cut four to five strawberries into fourths and arrange them on top. Next, I sprinkle a little more granola and some coconut flakes on top. And then that brings us to the photo opp. I  mean, after you spend time making it look pretty, you have to get that perfect picture.


There you have it, your easy and healthy smoothie bowl is ready to eat!

Let me know if you try out the recipe, I'd love to hear if you do!

Your Guide to Natural Beauty

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Facial Cleanser. Eyeshadow.  Moisturizer. These are all common beauty products a majority of people use on an everyday basis. I know I certainly do. Have you ever thought about what those hard-to-pronounce ingredients really are?

The popularity of natural beauty has grown drastically over the past year. Almost every new beauty item that pops up in stores is created without the use of harsh chemicals. But what exactly does "natural" mean? Is this the same as vegan products? Are cruelty-free products always natural?

With new beauty terms being thrown at us left and right, it can get a bit confusing and that's 100 percent okay! There is absolutely no need to worry. I'm here to help you understand all of this and get to the bottom of what natural really means.

To start off, let's get these two terms out of the way:

Cruelty-Free
When a product is labeled as cruelty-free it simply means it was not tested on an animal. According to Cruelty Free Kitty this includes, every single ingredient in the product. These products may still contain dangerous chemicals.

Vegan
Any beauty company that falls into this category does not use any ingredient that comes from or is produced by an animal. You know when people choose this lifestyle of eating? It's just like that except for your beauty brands. So yes, these products can still be tested on animals and may include nasty chemicals.

This isn't too confusing, right? Moving on to natural products is where it gets a tad tricky.

Did you know any company can add the word natural to their label?  That's right, no regulations. Nothing. When I first heard this I was extremely surprised, but it turns out this word is really just used for marketing purposes.

Since 'natural' has no real validity when it's plastered across our beauty products, you're probably wondering, "how am I supposed to know what products really are natural?" The best thing to do is look for products that say they are free of sulfates, parabens, and phthalates. These are the top three ingredients you want to stay clear from. This might require a little hunting around on the back of the bottle, but it'll be there! These ingredients could also have a prefix before the word sulfate or paraben (sodium lauryl sulfate,  isobutylparaben, or dibutyl phthalate) so be on the lookout for that. Other chemicals you want to try to stay clear of include, petroleum derived chemicals (toluene), triclosan, and formaldehyde.

The chemicals listed above have been shown to be a human carcinogenic, disrupt the endocrine system, cause reproductive and respiratory disorders, and irritate the skin. Crazy, right? When I first started learning about natural beauty, I couldn't believe how many harmful chemicals are in products I use everyday.

Since our bodies absorb what we apply on our skin, our makeup and skin care routines should be just as clean as the food we are putting into our bodies. Once  you decide to make the switch to a natural beauty routine, it isn't very difficult, it just takes time. Unless you have a hefty wallet, my guess is that you won't be throwing out all of your current beauty products and replacing them with natural versions in one day, which is completely okay! I'm in the same boat as you. Below are my top tips on how to switch over your products.


If you're ever unsure if a product is natural, or contains the harmful ingredients I listed above, check out the apps Think Dirty and Environmental Working Group. On both of these apps, you're able to look up make up and skincare products. The app will list all of it's ingredients and give the product a rating based on how safe or harmful it is. This is very useful on the go!

To help you start you're natural beauty journey, I've rounded up some brands that offer products free of harsh chemicals and full of skin-loving ingredients. All except Tarte Cosmetics and Woosh Beauty can be found at the drugstore and are very affordable!


Will you be making the switch to a natural beauty routine? I'd love to hear! Let me know in the comments below or on Twitter @CaitlinRedd13


How I Stay Organized in 2018

Monday, January 29, 2018

How do I stay organized? With a planner. Planners are my go-to. I grew up using them throughout school, so I've carried that method into my everyday life.

When the new year rolls around,  I'm always on the hunt for the perfect planner to get through the next 365 days with me. This year I wanted to find one that was a little more unique than a traditional planner you can buy at Target or Office Max.

After a little bit of research, I ordered the 2018 Vintage Floral Vision Planner off of Amazon from the brand Bloom Daily Planners. This company is run by all females, and their goal is to help other women grow and become the best versions of themselves by using their planners.


The planner is setup in a way that helps you create a vision for your year. Now, I don't know about you, but the setup of my planner plays a huge role as to whether or not I purchase it. I love how this particular planner focuses on achieving all of your goals and dreams. Yes, you read that right. Achieving your goals and dreams in one year (well, what you want to accomplish in a year) is made easy with this planner.


In the beginning there is an area to write down 5 goals, places you want to visit, books you want to read, new things you want to try, what you want to improve on, and what you're grateful for. I'm a visual person, so filling out this section helped me A LOT when it came to putting my life into perspective. There is also a bucket list for the year; who doesn't love creating those?

After you have your goals set for the year, each month has a vision and making it happen spread where you can write out what you will do each week to achieve them. Let me tell you, this has been EXTREMELY helpful. I'm able to easily tackle goals that felt overwhelming to me before--such an amazing feeling! Following this, is your traditional monthly calendar. This helps me so so so much when it comes to organizing my work schedule and keeping track of appointments and article due dates.



After this, you have weekly spreads that show individual days. My planner needs to have this type of spread in addition to a monthly calendar. I use this portion to write to do lists, and it has an area where I can keep track of how much water I drink throughout the day.


Now it's time for my favorite part of the Bloom planners: Inspirational quotes. Within each planner, Bloom adds motivating quotes to each week like, "Be patient with yourself, nothing in nature blooms all year" and "Wakeup each day excited to bloom in a new way." I love this SO much, it's such a subtle way to add a touch of positivity to your week.

Bloom is my favorite planner company, and I would love for you to try out their fantastic products too! To get 10% off your purchase of 25 dollars or more until February fourth, use my link here.

Have a beautiful day!
 
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