Hello, friends!! I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday weekend! Did you get up to anything exciting?! We had a pretty low-key weekend which was nice compared to the month or so we’ve been having. Managed to get out on some hikes during the month of May and just spend time together as a family.
I can’t believe I’m sharing this photo because I am a bit horrified at how I look, but a random stranger offered to take a pic of the three of us….a rare moment!
For those who were unaware or don’t follow me on Instagram, we were really struggling with our dog Abbey’s health. Six vet visits, x-rays, a few urine analysis, acupuncture, switching vets, herbal supplements, urine culture AND we still don’t have a definitive answer. We made the switch to a local holistic vet because our old one was insanely quick to prescribe medication without knowing what was wrong….not our lifestyle. This new vet is a breath of fresh air! You see, Abbey has been peeing and leaking all over the house. The cleanup and laundry has been absolutely exhausting (round the clock) and not to mention heartbreaking because we just want to see her happy and healthy. All of her tests have come back negative – no infection, so we are left to believe that she is an older dog with incontinence. Since we had exhausted all of our holistic/herbal options, we have moved to a low dose of prescribed medication to treat incontinence…so far we’re seeing improvement! Fingers crossed things continue to look up. It’s also been hard because since we rescued her last January, we don’t know anything about her history other than she is 11 years old. So all of this combined with a few other stressful events, I’m ready for a new month!
But this post is about my FAVORITES! So let’s move on to happier, fun things! Thanks for reading my rambling thoughts!
M A Y F A V O R I T E S:
Before I dive in, I just have to share a quote with you that really hit home and inspired me. Do you subscribe to Ruby Roth‘s newsletter? If you do, I apologize for repeating something you already read, but if not, here’s some words of wisdom:
I painted this piece during a tumultuous period in my life, when the idea of surrendering to the chaos with quiet abandon—rather than fighting it—brought a sense of calm over me. They say it’s when you step off the tightrope and stop trying to maintain balance that one finds relief.
And for the last month or so, Willow and I have been obsessed with watching videos from this YouTube channel…totally NOT vegan, but you can absolutely appreciate her mad talent!
ORGANIC (HEMP) NUT MILK BAG >> I purchased this bag a few months ago after my favorite bag finally broke and I’ll be honest…the first few times I used this hemp bag, I didn’t like it. It took more arm work and time to squeeze the pulp, but it produced the cleanest milk I’ve ever made. I ended up purchasing a couple of other bags (not hemp) just after this one and all of them bust open…none of them were as sturdy and strong as this hemp one! Now, a few months later, it’s been broken in and gets used 2-3 times a week AND it’s still going strong! A lot of nut milk bags contain chemicals or are bleached, but not this one – which leaves you with the best tasting milk. With the bag being a super fine mesh, you won’t get any pulp sneaking into your milk after being strained. Another thing I LOVE about this bag is the size! It’s a lot bigger than any nut milk bag I’ve ever had.
I do “sterilize” it after every 3-4 uses by putting it in boiling water for a few minutes. Super easy to clean, too!
NEROLI TONING MIST >> ANNMARIE GIANNI >> If you’ve been following my blog, you’ve probably heard me mention Annmarie Gianni’s products! Well, I have a new favorite! This Neroli Toning Mist is going to be my go-to this summer because a couple of sprays leaves your face feeling cool + refreshed! I use it after washing my face with her Aloe-Herb Facial Cleanser and then apply a moisturizer.
INTENTIONAL WEAR | SPIRIT ANIMAL | EAGLE™ >> ROOT FOOT >> This delightful little bottle came in my May Goddess Provisions box and it was instant love! Literally all of my favorites in one convenient bottle: Made with Pure Organic & Wildcrafted Essential Oils with Organic Jojoba: Cedarwood, Palo Santo, Geranium, Sweet Orange, Cinnamon Leaf. Heaven. I love how delicate, yet powerful this blend is – it’s not strong in scent like your typical bottle of perfume, but rather a subtle “made-just-for-you” kind of scent. Eagle is for Perspective, Spiritual Awareness, & Leadership. I want to try so many of their products, but I think I’ll definitely order Mountain Lion™ as it is for Assertiveness, Personal Power & Strength. If you believe in the healing powers of essential oils, I highly recommend checking out Root Foot!
RECIPES WE TRIED AND LOVED:
I don’t have many to share with you since I spent a lot of time fine-tuning my own and making repeats, such as:
The Vegan 8’s Mexican Tahini Sauce
Feasting on Fruit’s Mint Chocolate Chunk Nicecream
Vegetarian Gastronomy’s Vegan Cucumber Ranch
Peanut Butter & Vegan’s Red Velvet Smoothie
you can find photos and full reviews in previous Favorites posts!
Here are two new ones we tried in the month of May:
VEGAN QUESO BLANCO DIP (WHITE CHEESE) >> VEGGIES DON’T BITE >> Run, don’t walk, to the store and grab any missing ingredients and make this NOW! OMG. We made this in the beginning of May, just before my fully raw week. I looooooooved this dip so much and the possibilities were endless as to what to pair it with. I dipped pretty much any veggie (raw and cooked) we had on hand in it, ate it with roasted oil-free potato wedges, and used the leftovers by tossing it with gluten-free noodles. Since I knew Willow wouldn’t eat it, I didn’t hold back on the spice level and I absolutely loved the tang and spice of this dip!
ZUCCHINI CARAMEL NICECREAM >> from @viedelavegan‘s book HIDE & SEEK VEGETABLES >> I learned about Kyra through one of my favorite people (Natalie of Feasting on Fruit) and when I heard that she was coming out with an ebook with all sorts of hidden veggie recipes, you better believe I downloaded it right away! The photographs are gorgeous and the recipes are all oil-free, plant-based, and have a super short ingredient list! My eye was immediately drawn to this Zucchini Caramel Nicecream recipe because we LOVE zucchini and anything caramel-y. I made it for breakfast one morning and again the following day because it was SO good! The zucchini goes completely undetected and adds more creaminess with the bananas. Veggies for breakfast?! Yes, please! Almost all of the recipes are gluten-free, if I recall, there’s one that uses spelt flour…but the rest are gluten-free.
BOOKS I READ & LOVED:
I spent the month of May rereading some thought-provoking books (Light is the New Black and Medical Medium) and here are two quick-read fiction books that I really enjoyed:
THE ORPHAN QUEEN by JODI MEADOWS
BOOKS I READ & LOVED WITH WILLOW:
Every couple of weeks we take Willow to the library so she can pick out some books to bring home…we leave with a big bag full and some of them are real gems…here are the ones we both adored:
TELL ME A TATTOO STORY by ALISON McGHEE
MAPLE & WILLOW TOGETHER by LORI NICHOLS
MAPLE & WILLOW APART by LORI NICHOLS
DANDELIONS by KATRINA McKELVEY
MUMMIES in the MORNING (Magic Tree House #3) by MARY POPE OSBORNE
Here is a book we purchased a hard copy of via Amazon and it is WONDERFUL! Filled with awesome ideas and projects to make the outdoors even more fun!
A LITTLE BIT OF DIRT: 55+ SCIENCE and ART ACTIVITIES TO RECONNECT CHILDREN WITH NATURE by ASIA CITRO
As always, I’d love to hear what some of your favorites are! Any new products? Books?
Thanks for stopping by!
Ooo read that book I told you about last time! It was sooo good!
I haven’t made homemade nut milk in SOOO long!! You just reminded me with that hemp bag!
And sending love to Abbey 😦 Poor baby ❤
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I NEED to add it to my list! I saw you gave it five stars!!!! I haven’t checked Goodreads in a bit, are you reading anything now?!
I’ll be really honest, some days I wish I could go back to store-bought, but my belly just doesn’t tolerate it 😦 BUT homemade always tastes better!
I really appreciate that, my friend! She had a bit of rough day yesterday, but so far – only one accident today! Happy June!! ❤ ❤
I used to make almond milk now I buy coconut milk. I need to get back into making my own milk. I will not miss canning season though. I am canning this year! Didn’t get to last year! Super wonderful for my large family to can all our own jams, peaches, applesauce, applebutter. So health compared to the stores. Now that I have time I will be trying one of your recipes each week that I have been meaning to try for sometime. They all look so yummy! Even though its hard I’m glad to hear Abbey is just getting older and nothing “lifethreatening” is wrong. She is so lucky to have your family taking care of her. You are so blessed and I love that top family picture you look so happy! How wonderful that you let Willow get that close to chipmunks? I’m thinking looks more like a chipmunk? LOL I am a nature girl but totally obsessed with germs. LOL the nurse in me will never leave. Thank you for your favorite things post, hope that some of these become my favorites next month!
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Wow, Kris! This comment made my day!! Thank you so much for the kind words and I can’t wait to see what recipe(s) you try! I’ve always wanted to try my hand at canning – we try and make all of our stuff homemade, but sometimes the quick, convenient, store-bought stuff finds its way into our house 😉 Applebutter has always been on my list to make! You’ll have to tell me how you do it!
Thank you! I agree! It could have been much, much worse with Abbey and for a while there I honestly thought it was cancer or something. Breaks my heart because she has so much baggage and it makes me wonder what her previous family was like. Just so happy to have her here with us!
Hahaha! So, funny story. We were walking back to the car after our little hike and all of a sudden we were surrounded by these little guys (chipmunks or ground squirrels?) and just as I was about to tell Willow to watch out and not get too close, she’s sitting on the ground and they’re running over to her! One tried climbing in my lap, but got spooked. I think they’re used to being fed by the people that hike through there…but we didn’t feed them. I’m a bit of a germ freak, so you better believe we scrubbed hands when we got home! Ha! 🙂
Thank you, again, Kris! Thanks for the comment! ❤
That quote from Ruby Roth, wow I love it so much! I can FEEL the truth of in it. Not something I am good at but something I believe wholeheartedly to be true. I’m so glad that Abbey is doing a little better, and wow a holistic vet I didn’t know those existed. I can’t imagine how difficult emotionally and just literally it must be keeping up with her incontinence, I hope it continues getting better! Aww I love the pic of all 3 of you ❤ Both the zucchini caramel nice cream and the cheese sauce are on my list to try, they look fabulous and totally up my alley. And thank you so much for the shoutout, you are the best ❤ I have to tell you, I recently cleaned out my bathroom cabinet and rediscovered the roll on perfume you sent, but I cannot put it on without my dog sniffing me down and licking it off haha 😀 I don't know what's in there that she loves but it's the funniest thing! And I'm off to order body butter now!
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Right??! That quote totally hit home and it felt like she was giving me permission to kind of let go of trying to balance everything…I am HORRIBLE at thinking I need to do everything, so this past month or so has been a test for me.
Thank you! She definitely has her good and bad days…seeing more good lately. We had quite the scare when a few other symptoms started surfacing, but so far, I think we’re in the clear. It’s amazing what Googling will do…sometimes! Ha! I was so over our old vet that I desperately needed a change – and lucky for us, there are so many holistic practitioners in our area.
Gah! Really?! I’m having a battle with body image lately so I went back and forth with sharing that photo! But Willow cracks me up because when the person offered to take the pic, the lady said, “say cheese” and Willow thought it was more appropriate to kick up her leg 🙂
Definitely try those two recipes!!! SO good! And your Mint Chocolate Chunk Nicecream is heavenly!!! I shared a pic of it in my April Favorites…although it’s nothing pretty! Ha! I’ve almost killed my mint plant (surprise, surprise), but I’m hoping to salvage some of it to make your nicecream with fresh mint! ❤
OMG! Hahahaha! Which one did I send you?! That is hilarious! I received your order and just finished whipping up the body butter! Hopefully it makes it your way without becoming a runny mess…if by chance it does, just let it set in the fridge for a bit to firm up. I can't get over how fast our weather changed – definitely feels like summer here! Thank you, for the kind words and for the support – love you!!! ❤
“Say cheese!” = ninja kick haha! Yeah that makes sense 😀 Love that girl! Whoa what how did I miss April favorites!?!?!!?!?! Your minty jar is the cutest, I am SO SORRY I missed it! I love that Willow + dandelion pic too. I’ve been excitedly waiting for your body butter sale! If it’s melty I will chill it, thanks for the tip. I know right, one day the coconut oil was solid and the next day complete liquid–hello summer! I can’t wait, I adore that lemon scent. And the perfume was State of Zen scent I’m pretty sure…something Zen. I love it, I’ve been wearing it daily since 🙂
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Oh, my goodness!!! No sorries! I posted that during my social media break so not many people saw it! Well aren’t you the sweetest!!?! Thank YOU! Ha! Yep, we don’t have AC so all of my supplies are getting super soft or melting completely…so it’s definitely time to put sales on hold until the fall 😦 You’ve got me hooked on the lemon-cacao combo! Awww! Yay! That makes me so happy to hear!!! Thanks, friend! ❤
Kootoes to your for posting a picture you didn’t look “great” in. It’s so easy to get caught up in only posting perfect pictures of ourselves, I find most people love the pictures of me that I hate. I’m so happy to hear that Abbey is doing better, dogs are a family members, a very important ones, fingers cross she will continue to improve. I was just thinking about making some cashew milk yesterday and see those hemp bags feels like a sign.
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Wow, thank you very much for your kind words! That means a lot! We’ve hit more rough patches with Abbey since posting this, but we are staying hopeful!
Right?!? I’m learning to just embrace it all…and not hide so much from the camera – for my daughter and as a way to work on self-love. We’re all very quick to focus on the flaws!
Mmmmm! Love cashew milk!! Have you ever added some vanilla and cinnamon to it?! So good!!
Thank you, again, for the sweet comment! Lots of love to you! ❤️
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What a lovely blog! I’m so happy you enjoyed reading my book with your daughter, Willow. Made me one very elated author. This is the reason why we write books. Family reading time is so precious. XXX
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Thank you!! We really enjoyed reading your book…it was one we had borrowed from the library, but I think we need to grab a copy of our own. I couldn’t agree with you more! Family reading time is so precious ❤️
Sorry again to hear about your dog. Hope everything gets sorted out soon. I get what you mean by too much all at once and everything seems to just pile on. Thank you for sharing Mandy! Love the quote and always love your favorites posts! I’ve recently been loving Explore Cusines Red Lentil pastas! Not sure if you’ve checked them out before, but they’re a blend of red lentil flour and brown rice flour (78% being red lentil flour)…otherwise I’ve actually been spending the past month recreating my favorites especially since I haven;t had much time to cook these days with my kids home for the summer! =) OH…i’m pretty sure one of my favorites will be your cream that I can’t wait to start using!!!
Thank you, Anjali!!! We’ve been noticing some improvement over the last week or so – such a relief! Now if we can keep her from spitting out her medication 😉
Oooooh! I haven’t heard of that pasta! Where do you buy it?! Recreating favorites sounds good to me!! I have such a long list of your recipes yet to try…ill have to revisit that list when we get back from our trip ❤️
I hope you like the body butter!! Thank you, again, for the order!! xo
I am so so happy that you guys loved the sauce!! Sorry it took so long to comment, I’ve had a lot going on! I love that you dipped so much into it. I love it with so much too! Veggies especially, broccoli is a fave of ours. I have some in the freezer now and want to defrost it and eat it!