Yellow Garden

This content is sponsored by Monrovia, all opinions, and experiences are my own. Thanks for supporting TFS. 

Every time I'm on Pinterest (which is always) all I think is how I want plants everywhere in my house. I, my friends, also have commitment issues. So when it comes to outdoor gardening the wisest choice I could make for the time being was container gardening. I got the chance to work with Monrovia again for their #ColorDoesIt campaign and for some reason in the past week or so, I've been really interested in yellow. I'm generally more of a green and earth tones kind of person, but yellow has got my attention right now. 

The three plants I picked are all flowering plants, one is that Asiatic Lily, its the bright yellow one that you can't miss. The tall one is called a Mango Popsicle, which will bloom yellow in summer and fall. The leafy tree type one will someday grow to be 15-20' and is called Yellow Lady Banks Rose, which has little clusters of yellow roses that I can't wait to share as decoration in other posts. 

So, really building this little garden was pretty simple, all I did was repot some of the plants with soil I got from Lowe's the first time I went to pick out my plants. I took so long on the first post picking out plants that I decided to break it up into two trips. Either way works, but shopping was definitely easier once I knew what I wanted. You can also check out the website to see what you're interested in. From there your only job really is deciding what goes together and of course where everything will go, which is easy because they're totally portable when they're in containers like this. 

Hopefully you can draw some low commitment inspiration from this post and make sure to plan ahead if you're the kind (like me) that can never quite decide. 

Extra Thick Mango Ginger Smoothie (Vegan)

I went white water rafting the other day. I can barely believe it, because I can be a little bit chicken, and more often than not a homebody. So, having a big adventure was definitely an unexpected out of the norm that I needed. It was a lot more fun than the intense terror that I had anticipated. If my friend hadn't invited me exactly the night before, I probably would have had too much time to spin my wheels and back out, but as it turned out it was perfect.

While an adventure is just what I needed, I'm still a sucker for my homebody style full of smoothies, and homemade soups. I'm still eating hot soup and baking well into spring, no shame here. 

These spices might be more reminiscent of the cooler months, but this smoothie is sweet, smooth and super thick, drop it in the freezer for a few minutes and you'll have more of a frosty type situation which is also super worth it. 

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Here's what you'll need:

Makes 3 Servings

10 oz of frozen mango chunks

1 - 13 oz can of full fat coconut milk

1 teaspoon cinnamon 

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

1 teaspoon of grated ginger

4 pitted dates

1 cup ice

Directions:

Blend all ingredients well

Serve immediately or place in the freezer for 10 mins for a thicker consistency 

Agave Oatmeal Moisturizing Face Mask

This mask might look a little more like breakfast than a face mask. Funny thing, it tastes a little like breakfast, too. It only has two ingredients, agave nectar and oatmeal. Oatmeal is one of my favorite skin care concoctions, it's moisturizing, calming, most people have it on hand, and its oil free, which is important to people who have dry skin that is also prone to acne. So, like most of my homemade beauty products, there's one isolated key ingredient in a food that makes its efficacy measurable. (I've been watching a little too much Bill Nye Saves the World.) That ingredient in oatmeal is, beta-glucan

"Beta-glucan has the unique properties of being able to form a fine film on your skin as well as being able to penetrate deep into the skin. Thus it provides a protective layer while also providing much needed deep moisturizing to your skin. It also enhances wound healing and shallow abrasions, and naturally stimulates collagen deposition and activation of immune cells within the skin." Poppy Soap, Co. Blog 

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All of this to say, oatmeal is good for your skin, can encourage healing, and much like natural oils leaves a protective barrier on skin, making it less sensitive to environmental factors. 

Agave nectar's benefits are similar to those of honey being that it is a humectant, which means it seals in moisture, and has light exfoliating properties. This means, that it helps skin retain moisture while also helping to remove dead skin cells, without scrubbing. If you don't have any agave nectar on hand, you can always sub honey. 

Ingredients:

  • 2 Tablespoons of oat flour or pulse a little bit of oatmeal in the blender 
  • 2 Tablespoons of Agave Nectar

Directions:

  • Mix both ingredients together.
  • Apply generously to clean skin with fingertips to face and neck. 
  • Leave on for 20-30 minutes, rinse with water and scrub gently for added exfoliating benefits. 

Homemade Black Cherry Soda (No Sugar Added)

Things in my life have been moving a lot slower as of late, and I don't necessarily think that's a bad thing. I actually think that is something that I have deliberately moved towards. I think sometimes I just don't know how these things will feel when they happen, when life starts to feel a bit more organized, and dust settles, and things make sense. I think that might be mindfulness, and while I think I've taken deliberate effort towards the slowing down and being more creative in all aspects of life, there's also a bit of me that's craving change. That might just be the ebb and flow of life, craving peace with the active desire for change. 

In this process it also becomes easier for me to take better care of things, and make soda that can actually be somewhat good for me... somewhat, good for me. This recipe calls for xylitol. An interesting thing I heard about xylitol on this podcast I was listening to is, it can help remineralize teeth. I always try to research these things through medical resources just to double check, because yeah not everything gets published in a national magazine, BUT if there's even a chance that xylitol is remineralizing people's teeth, I'd bet money that someone with an advanced degree has studied it. So it turns out someone has, and it does have significant benefits for your teeth, while also tasting like sugar. 

As far as what is xylitol is, "Xylitol is a five-carbon sugar alcohol compound. Sugar alcohols are neither sugar nor alcohol. They are carbohydrates that resemble sugar, but without the harmful effects of sugar. They can occur naturally in plants or can be manufactured from sugar and starches. Xylitol is not an artificial sweetener, but a crystalline carbohydrate which looks very much like sugar. It is a natural dental antidote for sugar. It can be derived from fibrous parts of plants, vegetables, and berry-type fruits such as strawberries and raspberries. These naturally sweetened fruits give all the taste benefits of sugar without its many drawbacks." RDH (Registered Dental Hygienist Magazine)

So, I couldn't find any info for the actual remineralization benefits, and it doesn't have any significant source of minerals in it. What I did find was that the special chemical compound that is described above keeps bacteria from sticking to your teeth, and is something naturally produced by our own metabolisms (which will always fascinate me,) and is absolutely safe, unlike artificial sweeteners. Also note, there's nothing artificial about xylitol

"Xylitol is a normal part of everyday human metabolism. Our bodies make up to five to 10 grams per day in the metabolism of carbohydrates. Unfortunately, this process occurs in the gut, so it does not deliver any oral benefits. Since our bodies produce xylitol and the enzymes to break it down, there is no chance for any adverse reaction from eating products containing xylitol." RDH (Registered Dental Hygienist Magazine)

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So even though xylitol might not be a cure all for tooth decay, if used frequently and consistently can really make a big improvement, and it is absolutely worth trading up from sugar, help over hype, you might say. Every little change matters. 

On to more fun topics, these adorable coasters were a birthday gift (specifically for this blog I'm obsessed with) from my friends Celina and Tamer, who I still owe a home cooked meal. I also love these coasters and have to share, even though I don't have them, someone should. These cups are actually jam jars with lids, and I love them. These striped rice bowls are new too. 

Here's what you'll need for 4 servings: 

1 cup of xylitol

1 cup of frozen sweet dark cherries

1 cup water

32 oz sparkling water

Directions: 

Add one cup of water and one cup of frozen cherries to a sauce pan on medium heat.

Cook down for 5-10 minutes. Its pretty flexible, but with frozen fruit it takes a little bit longer. 

Add xylitol and stir another 1-2 minutes, or until fully dissolved.

Set aside too cool. 

Yields approximately 1 cup

Divvy into 4 servings, add ice and 8 oz of sparkling water and serve. 

Flower Love

This post is basically made up of all of the flower pictures that didn't make it into the Monrovia post, earlier this week. I conveniently remembered my camera, but forgot the memory card, this happens more than I care to admit, but I had my phone, so not all is lost. I rarely take pictures on my phone, I'm definitely more of a lug around a giant camera kind of a girl. But here is my ode to spring via my handy iPhone.