Weekend Baking: Pumpkin Tahini Loaf

Pumpkin tahini loaf is my new favorite. So much so that I've already made it twice in one week! Yes, we eat a lot of pumpkin bread.  If tahini sounds like a bizarre ingredient for pumpkin bread, don't overthink it - just try it, you will be amazed! I felt like it added a noticeable extra oomph of flavor which was very satisfying.  

I made a few slight changes to the recipe to made it a tiny bit healthier, such as substituting 1 cup of coconut sugar and only 1/4 cup white sugar, and opting for coconut oil instead of vegetable oil.  I didn't have black sesame seeds on hand, but we made due with a ample helping of white sesame seeds. Overall, delicious!  

A Little Video

Why do I love Beautycounter?  It's not just the discount or the products.  It's the mission, the direction, the dedication to research and efforts invested into bringing safer beauty to the masses.  This is a three minute video by Beautycounter's founder Gregg Renfrew, which speaks to the mission, science, and process which makes this company a Certified B Corporation.  If you have three minutes, I encourage you to watch.

Makeup Spotlight: Mascara

Mascara is one of those makeup staples I swear by.  Prior to doing some research, I never bought anything but drugstore mascara.  My go to brands were typically Maybelline, L'Oreal, and Cover Girl, I figured these did the job, so why fork over the extra $$?  But once I did a little digging and searching these brands on EWG Skindeep Database, and educated myself on what ingredients are typically in mascara...I've made some changes. 

According to WebMD, "Mascara's ingredients typically include a carbon black or iron oxide pigment to darken lashes; a polymer to form a film that coats lashes; a preservative; and thickening waxes and oils such as lanolin, mineral oil, paraffin, petrolatum, castor oil, carnauba wax, and candelilla wax."  Doesn't sound so bad right?  Well, consider that petroleum jelly comes from the residue buildup on the outside of oil rigs.  And mineral oil is just a colorless, odorless by-product of the distillation of petroleum to produce gasoline.  Oh yeah, and 'preservative' is typically a synonym for 'paraben,' a word you might recognize these days, an agent that prevents bacteria from growing. 

The scary thing is, the WebMD quote leaves out a lot of ingredients that you'll find in many mascara brands, which can include coal tar dyes, synthetic dyes, aluminum powder, formaldehyde, retinol acetate, and more.  And these are ingredients that yes, make you look good, but you're putting this ON. YOUR. EYES!  

Of course, brands are slowly wising up, but at present there are no legal ramifications for companies that include harmful ingredients in their products.  Translation: these mascaras are still on the market, so proceed with caution.   There are clean brands that make effective mascara without all the unnecessary junk.  Of course, my go to is Beautycounter's volumizing mascara, but that is by no means the only clean mascara out there, here are some others to consider.  I like Beautycounter's formula because it defines your eyes, is consistently clump free and stays put throughout the day. Here's a link to its EWG report so you can compare it against the other brands I posted above.

Bottom line...safer beauty doesn't come cheap.  But you've only got one pair of eyes, and one body. Be safe. Go clean. 

Quote of the Week

“Delight is rare for adults, though not for children. If you want to see what delight looks like, go by any schoolyard sometime when kids, little kids, kindergartners and first graders, come out for their recess break. They simply run around and shriek. Now that’s delight. This, the spontaneous response to the goodness and beauty of life.”

~ Ronald Rolheiser from the book, The Holy Longing

image/bloom

Saturday Snooze

Today is a rainy Saturday afternoon. My husband and kids are downstairs cozied up next to our first fire of the season, watching their new favorite cartoon, PJ Masks.  While screen time isn't my fave, I was pleased by this scene as I walked in from the garage, armed with loaded bags from Trader Joe's and a a flat of Costco groceries.  Their faces were suspended in delight, eyes alit with excitement over this little weekend privilege.  A few days ago, immediately after watching an episode of the same show, they bounded up the stairs, arms extended, eagerly soaring around the circle that makes our kitchen and family room, pretending to be PJ Masks, exclaiming, "I'm Owlette!"  "No, I'm Owlette!  Okay, I'm Cat Boy!" punctuated by their own cacophony of swooping and flying sounds.  Their creativity, their imagination, their excitement over playing pretend was a delight to behold.  This is our life.  These little everyday moments.  Many mundane, some extraordinary, all special in their own little way.

Here are some links and articles I've read and bookmarked from the week.  Have a lovely weekend!


+ in keeping with our cozy environment, this comfort food is in the works for dinner for all but me

+ how Mexico celebrates Dia de los Muertos

+ food for thought on the lost art of the phone call


+ did you know? brown and bronze ballet shoes are being made for the first time! long overdue!

+ 7 key phrases montessori teachers use (and we ought to too)

The Best Holiday Cards

With Halloween in the rear view mirror, you know what time it is??!?!  No...not Christmas music quite yet.  But...holiday cards!  The ritual of sending and receiving holiday cards is such a nostalgic and beloved tradition.  With Thanksgiving just around the corner, it's never too early to start checking things off the holiday to-do list!

This year, we're going with Minted for holiday cards. I've always admired Minted's classic style, clean lines, and beautiful paper. My personal favorites are the holiday cards with few colors with a fanciful cursive or statuesque font bearing a holiday phrase to celebrate the season.  After perusing many eligible designs, I have it narrowed down to these favorites....I hope you'll help me choose!

So...friends, what's your pick for me?  One, two, or three?  This is just the tip of the iceberg, my friends.   Minted makes it easy, with clickable features to narrow down the plethora of cards available.  Foil-pressed, letterpress, postcard, booklette, or completely custom, each style is categorized accordingly for easy accessibility.  If you prefer to shop by your personal style, scroll down to styles which include 'simple and minimalist,' or 'modern and edgy,' among others...the world is your oyster!

Don't delay in ordering yours!  Visit Minted through November 5th, use promo the code JOY18 for 15% off holiday cards and promo code FS100 for free shipping over $100.  (Offers may be combined).

This post is in collaboration with Minted.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Favorite Kid Podcasts

Do your kids listen to podcasts?  My kiddos are on the younger end of podcast listening, but we do have a few favorites we play in the car from time to time.
Wow in the World is hosted by Guy Raz and Mindy Thomas, this podcast covers topics from what's in your saliva to 3D printing to understanding where the universe came from.  An ideal podcast for curious kids with questions about the wonders of the world.  The pace is fast, and Guy and Mindy are high energy, sometimes a bit too animated for my taste, but my kids love it!
Another recent favorite is But Why: A Podcast for Curious Kids, also by NPR.  This is probably geared more toward school-aged kids, so we selectively pick and choose topics that might be interesting to a pre-school audience, but there is a lot of interesting content to absorb.  They cover everything from why do turtles have shells, why is fire orange, to heavier topics such as why do people get cancer.
Lastly, our most recent discovery is Fierce Girls.  My kids are currently too young for this one, we tried a few but they're a little more mature - and many parts went over my daughter's head at present , but I'm making a mental note of this podcast for future listening.  All are stories of strong, independent women, each of whom has overcame obstacles, navigated hardship, or gone head to head with societal norms to make a difference in the world.

And as always - we love recommendations! Do you have a favorite kid podcast you listen to?