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Food Subscription Service Home Chef…I Finally Tried It!

Remember like forever ago I wrote a blog about food subscription services?  Well a million months later I finally pulled the trigger, thanks to some nudging from a girlfriend of mine in Richmond who LOVES Home Chef.

She sent me a discount code (woohoo) and I ordered three nights worth of meals for two with free shipping for $39.99.  Yes, that was discounted by $20 but what a steal either way for six dinners!

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I was able to look through SEVERAL options and give specific dietary restrictions if I wanted (gluten free, vegetarian, no dairy, etc). My first questions were is the produce organic, is the seafood wild caught, and is the protein hormone free?

Unfortunately, I still don’t know the answers (enter sad face emoji).  Home Chef states that they use organic products “whenever possible” but they don’t tell you on the actual products which is a definite concern.

However, sometimes convenience is number one and Home Chef is nothing if not SUPER CONVENIENT.

It is delivered to your door packed in ice with all ingredients pre-portioned out.  You have to do some minor chopping of veggies but EVERYTHING else is the exact amount you need.  Think: tiny containers of mustard, salt packets, cumin packets,

Each meal comes with a full color recipe card with photos and instructions down to the plating.  Then, when you’re finished you just pluck the card into the three ring binder they send you with your first order.

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I can see how this concept would really appeal to people who never cook or don’t know how but for me, an avid home cook, it’s great because I can follow the recipes as much or as little as I want.  I can use my ingredients when I want and add to the items sent to me.  For example, I obviously don’t use the table salt they sent but instead replace it with pink salt (no brainer).

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You can skip weeks whenever you want and cancel anytime so you have nothing to lose.  It is worth a try for sure!  I have liked all six of the meals I have tried so far and have three more coming next week.

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Have you tried Home Chef, Plated, Blue Apron or any other food subscription services?  Let us know!

 

xo,

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This Month’s BEC BADA$$ (it’s a good one, y’all!) McKenzie Payne

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McKenzie! We can’t thank you enough for answering a few questions for our BEC readers. We love your business, your story, your products and your website, you truly are a BEC BADA$$!

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Tell us your name, business, location and a little bit about your family.

First of all thank you for the opportunity to share my story and I’m honored to be featured here. I love following BEC!

I am McKenzie Payne owner of Mac’s Smack, a socially-conscious skincare company in Hanover, Virginia.

My husband and I have 3 boys ages Jack (9), Gabriel (7 ) & Cooper (1), a golden retriever named Charlie, and 7 chickens. We are known to skip town on a whim and are always up for an adventure. We love to be outside, eat well and joke alot!

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If anyone has heard your story, she knows you have always been into products. But it wasn’t until somewhat recently that you began to read labels and have more of a concern for what is actually in the food you eat and the products you put on your body. What raised your awareness?

Having a child is such a transformative time in a woman’s life. When my first son was born I started analyzing all the ways to better myself and my family. I was curious about the food we were eating and growing and became an avid label reader, realizing I couldn’t pronounce most of the ingredients in our processed foods and body care items. I was also concerned with all of the perfumes and “high end” skincare products and cosmetics I was using, none of them had ingredient lists. I want to know exactly what I’m putting in and on our bodies.

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Was Mac’s Smack always the plan or did the business evolve through years of making products for yourself?? What was the first product you sold and how did you get your products on the shelves of local businesses?

Originally I started researching ways to make lip products to develop a better alternative than the stuff I’d used most of my life. I thought I’d set up a stand outside of our home and sell vegetables from our gardens and homemade lip balm as a fun way to keep me and my little guys outside. 
Once I became obsessed with the research and development process I quickly decided I wanted to share my formulations with my community, give back to local organizations and help with family expenses. I gave out samples and gathered feedback from local farmers, business owners, friends + family. My first event I sold out of the 40 lip balms I had made. I was stoked and from there I approached local businesses, gave them samples and asked if they’d like to carry my products.

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As a label reader, I know you’re concerned with how you eat and what you feed your beautiful family. Can you tell us some clean go to items you cook at home? Are you a snacker? What would we find in your fridge and pantry? Do you have any guilty pleasures?

Luckily we have amazing neighbors who bring us fresh chicken, beef, eggs and homemade cookies frequently. I cook a lot of vegetables, meat and rice and we eat tons of fruit and smoothies. These boys eat!  I’m only a snacker when I’m nursing a babe and I usually grab chocolate (guilty pleasure). I am hooked on the dark chocolate peanut butter cups from Trader Joe’s right now.

We always have almond milk, cheese, broccoli, spinach, coffee creamer, snap pea crisps, trail mix and fresh fruit.

We have Friday night pizza/ movie night at our house and I have a major sweet tooth.

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What about dining out? There are so many great restaurants in Richmond, where do you like to dine out and what do you order?

There are so many good places to eat in Richmond, and more awesome places just keep popping up! My go to restaurants are The Daily, Kuba Kuba, Comfort, Mary Angela’s Pizza and the Hanover Tavern. We have a wonderful sushi restaurant close to home called Yokozuna, that’s my favorite.

I love Thai Food and Sushi and if brussels sprouts and/or spinach are on the menu, I order them.

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What about fitness? Do you have a hard time fitting in a workout while running a household and a business? If you find the time, what sort of exercise do you prefer? What’s your favorite brand of workout clothes? (We bet you’re partial to whatever Amy has at Superfun Yoga Pants!! We are too!)


I’ve found it much trickier to workout since having baby Cooper. He cried the majority of his first year so I was just in survival mode and doing a lot of Yoga. 
 Running, hiking and Yoga are my jam, they all can easily be done with my boys too if I can’t get in some ME time. I also love barre and high intensity interval training and do that when time permits.

I’m a huge Patagonia fan and have my share of Lululemon gear too. Yes of course I love Superfun yoga pants because when I put them on I just feel good and I always want to feel good! I also love supporting Amy!

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Do you have a morning routine or is every day different? Are you a coffee drinker? Do you add cream and sugar? Do you have slow and relaxing morning routines or crazy, kids, insane mornings? We love to hear how other busy people operate in the morning!

My weekday mornings are pretty much the same. I love to sleep so I sleep as long as I can but usually I’m up around 6am because I have these precious little people that don’t love to sleep as much as I do.

I race around in the mornings making breakfast and lunches, cleaning up messes and retrieving the baby from whatever it is he’s climbing on. I’m kind of ridiculous about teeth and hair brushing and there’s some shouting about how many times the boys have to be asked to get their socks on and backpacks ready too….

Every weekday morning we run to the front porch to talk about how we can be kind and helpful to each other and our community before the big boys run off to the bus yelling “I love you Mama, I love you Mommy, have a good day!”

Then it’s Coffee Time! I use whole foods organic vanilla creamer in my coffee and drink a cup of coffee every day.

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Just in time for Christmas, I know our readers will be thrilled they can purchase all of your products online. What are some of your favorites? Anything new coming out that we can look forward to?

I create products that I’m in LOVE with so of course I use all of the products on myself and my children daily. The vegan soother lip balm is my current favorite and I use Your Best Skin body butter every day after the shower. For my face I use the Flower Power as toner (and deodorant + perfume + to refresh throughout the day) and I follow that up with the Transcend Elixir our youth enhancing serum.

We use the Ultimate Fix on my sons dry cracked hands when the weather turns chilly and for insect bites in the warmer temps. It’s our go to heal all. My family uses The Solution sun block year round.

We have some lip glosses that will be hitting the site soon (I’m so excited, I’m a lip gloss fanatic)! We also have some scrubs and other products in the research and development phase now that will be released in 2016. Keep your eyes peeled!

THANK YOU SO MUCH RACHEL, I LOVE WHAT YOU HAVE CREATED AT BEC! XOXO,
MCKENZIE

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GUYS!  Isn’t she awesome?  Do yourself a favor and check out the Mac’s Smack website plus
follow her on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest.  I know you will love
McKenzie’s products 
(and HER!) as much as we do.  

THANK YOU for giving us a glimpse into your life, pretty lady!

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Silky Shiny hair… naturally

 

Coconut oil is always at the top of the grocery list because we seem to fly right through it. Inside and out, I am a coconut lova.  I am a natural blonde <<at heart>> and want to protect my locks from all of the natural damage my locks see daily. My friend with newly bleached blonde hair was worried her hair would dry up like a brillow pad and was wondering what the best (natural) solution was to repair and moisten my her locks. I have noticed an enormous difference in my split ends since I have added a bit of coconut oil to them nightly so I did a bit more research on coconut oil for hair health. I loved these 6 clever ways to use coconut oil on a very resourceful site I highly recommend , Natural Living Ideas. My friend    I  have tried the overnight treatment a few times and notice a remarkable difference in texture and appearance. Who does not want shiny/silky hair? Keep in mind it may take 2 shampoos to complete remove the oil. Let me know what you think! Don’t forget to rub that extra oil on your skin.. as my daughter says, “it feels slick at first but if your skin is thirsty, it will drink it right up!”.

1. Coconut Oil For Deep Conditioning

Because it is comprised mainly of smaller medium-chain fatty acids, the oil of the coconut penetrates hair more deeply and faster than other conditioners.  To use coconut oil as a leave-in treatment to repair split ends, moisturize your scalp, and add a healthy glow to your tresses; just follow these easy steps:

– First make sure you have at least an hour or two for this treatment.  (The longer you leave coconut oil on your hair, the more effective it will be!)

– Wash your hair and let it air dry while you prepare the next steps.

– Gather your materials: a comb or hair pick, shower cap or small towel to wrap your hair in, two small bowls of different sizes (one should fit inside the other), and of course your jar of organic virgin coconut oil.

– Scoop a small amount of coconut oil into the smaller of the two bowls.

– Set the smaller bowl in the bottom of the larger one.

– Fill the larger bowl with hot water so the smaller bowl is partially submerged, but not floating or taking on water.

– Once your coconut oil comes to temperature and is completely melted, use your fingers to gently massage the oil into your hair, then work through with a comb or hair pick.

– After you’ve finished applying the oil, wrap your hair up in a shower cap or small towel and allow it to soak in for thirty minutes or longer.

– Shampoo to remove oil.

– Optionally, you may reapply a small amount of coconut oil to the ends of your hair and / or work a small amount through all of your hair again – just enough to give it a healthy shine.

– Then style as usual.

2. Coconut Oil As a Daily Detangler

If you have long or curly hair, dealing with tangles may be a daily battle for you.  Coconut oil can help here, too!  Also, because it’s 100% natural, organic virgin coconut oil won’t leave any residue or long-term damage to your tresses!  Before brushing or styling your hair, just follow these few steps to use coconut oil as a detangler:

– Gather your hair brush, a comb or hair pick, two small bowls of different sizes (one should fit inside the other), and your jar of organic virgin coconut oil.

– Scoop a small amount of coconut oil into the smaller of the two bowls and set the smaller bowl in the bottom of the larger one.

– Fill the larger bowl with hot water so the smaller bowl is partially submerged, but not floating or taking on water.

– Let your coconut oil come to temperature so it is completely melted.

– Use your fingers to gently massage the oil into the ends of your hair, then – starting from the ends and working your way toward the roots – gently work out tangles with a comb or hair pick.

– Let the oil soak in, then brush and style as usual.  No need to rinse or shampoo.  Coconut oil will continue to nourish your hair all day long

3. Coconut Oil To Defeat Dandruff

If long-time use of chemical shampoos, conditioners, styling products, or colorants has left you with itchy, flaky, dandruff – you can use coconut oil to heal your scalp.  Just follow these easy steps daily and watch your dandruff problems disappear:

– At the end of the day or shortly before bedtime, wash your hair with an all natural shampoo and condition as usual.

– Gather the following supplies: a comb or hair pick, two small bowls of different sizes (one should fit inside the other), a towel or cloth to cover your head overnight, and your jar oforganic virgin coconut oil.

– Scoop a small portion of coconut oil into the smaller of the two bowls then place it into the bottom of the larger bowl.

– Fill the larger bowl with hot water so the smaller bowl is partially submerged, but not floating or taking on water.

– While you wait for your coconut oil to come to temperature, use your comb or hair pick to remove any tangles.

– Once the coconut oil is completely melted, use your fingers to gently massage the oil into your scalp.  (If you have long hair, it may be easier to flip your head upside-down in order to apply oil to your entire scalp.)

– Wrap your head with the towel or cloth and leave coconut oil on your scalp overnight for best results.

The following morning, you may wish to use an epsom salt treatment to remove excess shed skin cells from your scalp.

4. Coconut Oil As a Base for Hair Coloring

Coconut oil makes an excellent medium for mixing your all-natural hair coloring.  Because coconut oil penetrates hair more deeply and faster than many other natural oils, it can help your color to be more vibrant and keep it from fading too quickly.

– Gather your materials: a shower cap or small towel, a comb or hair pick, coloring herbs, gloves, two bowls of different sizes (one should fit inside the other), a container for mixing color, and your jar of organic virgin coconut oil.

– Scoop a few spoonfuls of coconut oil (enough to liberally coat your hair) into the smaller of the two bowls and set it into the bottom of the larger bowl.

– Fill the larger bowl with hot water so the smaller bowl is partially submerged, but not floating or taking on water.

– Let your coconut oil come to temperature so it is completely melted.

– Mix coconut oil with your coloring herbs and apply as you normally would.

– Once color has set, shampoo hair with lukewarm water to remove excess oil and colorant.

– Wrap your hair with a shower cap or towel to let color continue to set overnight.

 

5. Coconut Oil For Faster Hair Growth

Use coconut oil as a natural way to help your hair grow longer, thicker, and faster.  The vitamins and essential fatty acids naturally found in coconut oil nourish the scalp and help to remove sebum build-up from hair follicles.  Use as a daily treatment by following these simple steps:

– At the end of the day or shortly before bedtime, wash your hair with an all natural shampoo and condition as usual.

– Gather your materials: a comb or hair pick, shower cap or small towel to wrap your hair in, two small bowls of different sizes (one should fit inside the other), and of course your jar of organic virgin coconut oil.

– Scoop a small amount of coconut oil into the smaller of the two bowls.

– Set the smaller bowl in the bottom of the larger one.

– Fill the larger bowl with hot water so the smaller bowl is partially submerged, but not floating or taking on water.

– While you wait for your coconut oil to come to temperature, use your comb or hair pick to remove any tangles.

– Once the coconut oil is completely melted, use your fingers to gently massage the oil into your scalp.  (If you have long hair, it may be easier to flip your head upside-down in order to apply oil to your entire scalp.)

– Wrap your head with the towel or cloth and leave coconut oil on your scalp overnight for best results.

6. Coconut Oil To Protect Hair From Sun Damage

Coconut oil makes an excellent all natural sunscreen.  In the morning – especially on a day when you know that your hair will be exposed to the elements more than usual – apply coconut oil to protect your hair by following these simple steps:

– Gather your hair brush, a comb or hair pick, two small bowls of different sizes (one should fit inside the other), and your jar of organic virgin coconut oil.

– Scoop a small amount of coconut oil into the smaller of the two bowls and set the smaller bowl in the bottom of the larger one.

– Fill the larger bowl with hot water so the smaller bowl is partially submerged, but not floating or taking on water.

– Let your coconut oil come to temperature so it is completely melted.

– Use your fingers to gently massage the oil into your hair then brush and style as usual.

Strait from http://www.naturallivingideas.com       Thanks so much for the awesome tips!

 

XO,

Mary

Everybody’s Doing It…

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Just a friendly reminder to our fabulous readers…we are so GRATEFUL for you!  Thank you for your feedback, comments, questions and commitment to our blog and to your health!

If you have a second, we would APPRECIATE you subscribing to Blondes Eat Clean.  It’s easy and the bar is RIGHT to your right or may even pop up if you don’t check in on us very often!

We promise not to over do it, you will only get an email when we post new blogs and when we have BIG things to share.

Thanks in advance…please continue to read, ask and inquire.  We are here for you and excited for what’s next!

 

xoxo,

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