New Thrive Bars: A GoMacro Healthy Snacks Giveaway!

The holiday season is hard to survive, let alone thrive, with your long list of to dos.  Between shopping and family parties, it can be hard to eat healthy and take time for yourself.  A grab ‘n’ go snack could be just the thing to make your holidays sing…or at least make them a little more pleasant!

20161120_110612

GoMacro brand, Thrive Bars, are ancient superfood bars with unique twists of flavor and chewy granola bar texture we know and love (without the hydrogenated oils and processed goop).  GoMacro company started on a farm in quintessential midwestern Wisconsin.  This independently run business started and is still run by a mother-daughter team set out to promote health, nourishment and healing foods.

GoMacro’s Thrive Bars continue the vision with organic ingredients like puffed quinoa and hemp hearts to keep you running.  Plant-based protein, essential fatty acids and prebiotic fiber keep your tummy happy while you focus on your loved ones instead of a grumbling belly.  Wipe that grinchy frown off your face with tasty treats like:

  • Ginger Lemon – Bright citrus and tangy ginger make this bar one of our top purse packed choices.
  • Blueberry Lavender – Fancy some tea?  Pair it with these floral bars with a touch of berry for ultra-yums.

20161120_112347

 

  • Almond Apricot – Sunny stone fruit flavor with bits of roasted almond picks up a dreary afternoon.
  • Caramel Coconut – Sweet tooth be gone with this island coconut flavor drizzled in caramel.
  • Chocolate Peanut Butter Chip – The traditional granola bar flavor but packed with 8 grams of protein in a snack sized bite.

20161121_144008

  • Chocolate, Nuts and Sea Salt – Simplicity = satisfaction with the savory and sweet combo of sea salt and cocoa.

Yes, they are delicioso but they are allergy and environmentally friendly too!  Thrive Bars are USDA-Certified Organic, Non-GMO Project Verified, Kosher, Gluten-Free certified, 100% Vegan, and soy-free (whew, how’d they do all that in one bar?)

thrive-marketing-card-1

Shopping sadness can now be remedied by snack gladness.  One lucky reader will WIN a box of mixed Thrive Bars.  All you gotta do is show some holiday spirit for GoMarco Thrive Bars on social media by entering our giveaway here: a Rafflecopter Giveaway!

What if you don’t win?  You can still believe in miracles!  Thrive is offered now at Whole Foods Market or Use the codeThrive30 to get 30% off an online purchase!

Wanna learn more about other GoMacro products?  Check out our previous review here.

*We were offered 1 box of GoMacro Thrive Bars in exchange for an honest review…and we can’t wait to eat more!*

Indie Films Foster Female Power at Luna Fest!

Stop scrolling on Facebook and put the power of positive back in your life!  Come join us at LUNAFEST next Wednesday for a laugh, a cry and an inspiring night supporting women artists and storytelling.  LUNAFEST is a national traveling festival of short films that connects women, their stories and their causes through 90 minutes of short films.

We attended LUNAFEST 2 years ago and didn’t have to ask where the love was because the room was filled with it. Break the normal happy hour routine for more meaningful happiness.  Your $20=bonding time with your pals, 9 short films, light bites and drink.  Bonus! All your cash actually goes to Chicago nonprofits so bring extra friends!

Lfest_LOGO_FINAL_guidelines_

nkosi-coiffure-film-still

Charities you’ll be helping:

Recovery on Water (ROW), Brave Initiatives, and Mission Propelle will snag 100 percent of all net proceeds are donated to charity. LUNAFEST stats are amazing too🙂. Since 2000, 136 filmmakers have been featured and nearly $3.6 million dollars have been raised.

 

LUNAFEST

  • When: Wednesday November 30th, 6-10 p.m., Film screenings at 7 p.m.

  • Where: Chopin Theater, 1543 W Division
    Chicago, IL 60642

  • Tickets: Event prices: $15- Student, $20-General Admission, $50- Philanthropist

 

 

Posted in Fun

Cook like a Pro with these Secret Holiday Tips

20161003_200939_30100883105_o

Maybe you think you need an arsenal of spices, organic produce, and expensive ingredients to wow your friends and family this holiday season.  Not so, we say.  We’ll dish out the grainy details that others won’t tell you.  Top chefs know that a dash of the right kind of salt can turn your ho hum holiday grub into a restaurant quality meal.  The secret is in the flake!

20161003_201030_29473370683_o

We were treated to a fabulous dinner at Morton Salt’s Next Door Chef: Chicago where we got to smell, touch, taste and see the difference that Morton Salt can make.  At this exclusive event, amateur kitchen dweller, Cara, was paired with an experienced chef, Jason Vincent of Chicago’s hot restaurant Giant, to show us how salt can change the blah to viola in your own kitchen.  Cara’s Wicker Park condo was transformed into an intimate pop up restaurant, simply named Cara’s.  There, we learned to ditch the table salt and shake up our salt types to alter a typical dish into a prized plate.

ms-ndf-chi-stills-20161027-1080p-colored-sources-exported-legal-range-027

Next Door Chef Cara, in her home. Copyright Photo Provided by Morton Salt.

Here are three Morton salts to master your meal:

  • Morton Kosher Salt – Chefs swear by kosher salt for it’s ability to dissolve quickly and its adaptability to any recipe.  Kosher salt is also easier to control than table salt, thus avoiding overly salty sadness.  The name comes from the fact that its crystals are good at drawing out moisture from meat, making it ideal for the koshering process.
  • Morton Coarse Sea Salt – Larger salt crystals make this salt the bomb for finishing dishes by added flavor and texture.  Get your chef on with this extra flare in your meals.
  • Morton Fine Sea Salt – The fine salt crystals melt away, making this salt the go-to for stocks, broths and sauces.

20161003_204304_29987221352_o

Now let’s see how these salts stand up in the dinner service!  Recipes are linked throughout to get your holiday guide going.

For Craft Cocktail Aficionados:

Get this!  You can feel like a mixologist by crafting a simple cocktail and making it pop with saline solution.  A sweet and salty sip will bring tears of joy to your guests.

20161003_201118_30066505836_o

Try the Salty Rita with gin, fresh lime juice, simple syrup, Combier and 2 drops of saline solution (boiled water with dissolved Morton Fine Sea Salt).  Garnish the rim with Morton Kosher Salt for a pre-sip crunch for your punch.

For a Tempting Turkey:

Tired of dried up turkey?  Tease out tenderness with a tantalizing turkey brined in Morton Kosher Salt.  Soaking your turkey in a dissolved Morton Kosher Salt and water solution (brining) will lock in moisture, kicking dehydrated meat to the curb.

20161003_210028_29473688194_o

After brining, continue the turkey party with a Morton’s Kosher Salt rub enhanced with fragrant cardamom, cumin and dill to slap on before roasting.

No need to waste the turkey bones after the feast!  Make your own turkey stock with the remaining bones, carrots, onions, cloves and Morton Fine Sea Salt.

20161003_205826_30101586525_o

For Veg Heads (who love all the sides!):

Here’s our top secret from Chef Jason Vincent.  Shh…you can impress your guests with this one.  Remember those nightmares of mushy boiled veggies from your childhood?  No more!!
ms-ndf-chi-stills-20161027-1080p-colored-sources-exported-legal-range-016

Chef Jason Vincent of Giant restaurant. Copyright Photo Provided by Morton Salt.

Soak vegetables high in H2O content in a salt water mix for couple hours before cooking to stave off limp and lame veggies.  Salting can also reduce bitterness in veggies like eggplant.  Monica voraciously ate a hearty veggie plate with crisp zucchini and a pop of Morton Coarse Sea Salt, invented especially for her by Chef Vincent.
20161003_205710_29473632874_o
20161003_205733_29474008053_o
One of the most delectable parts of the dinner was the roasted then mashed sweet potatoes with Morton Kosher Salt.  The mix of salty and sweet truly pleased the palate.
20161003_210219_29474077963_o
Chef Jason and Cara also served up a veggie dream of crispy brussel sprouts with Bosc pears, golden raisins, toasted walnuts, toasted almonds and pecorino cheese!  Sprinkle a touch of Morton Coarse Sea Salt to create a meatier texture, drool worthy to veg and non veg peeps alike.
 20161003_203303_29806535240_o

Just Desserts:

20161003_214325_30018894561_o

Can you believe salt can create the ultimate chocolate chip cookie?  We finished our fantastic dinner at Cara’s by munching on chewy cookies with Morton Coarse Sea Salt that added a final satisfying crunch to close the meal in style.  No need for fancy pie when you can savor the warmth of a fresh baked classic.
20161003_214536_30102252585_o

It’s Your Turn to be a Next Door Chef!

We hope we gave your some confidence in your kitchen!  Now you don’t have to feel salty this holiday season because you’ll be a seasoned pro with Morton Salt.

cara

Next Door Chef, Cara, and her kitchen team! Copyright Photo Provided by Morton Salt.

Go to MortonSalt.com/NextDoorChef to download your own hosting kit complete with recipes and directions to dominate dinner time.

If you host your own fancy version of “Next Door Chef” for Friendsgiving or wanna develop a recipe using Morton Kosher or Sea Salt, share the love (we need a lot of love right now) and post your photos using #NextDoorChef.

Oh and invite us too because we wanna continue our path to future chef-dom like Cara!  And last bite of news is do not forget to learn more about our dining experience on The Food Network commercial airing soon!

20161003_220943_30102608185_o

*This is a sponsored post for Morton Salt.  We were financially compensated for eating yummy food and reviewing Morton Salt products.*

Max your fitness training and prevent injury with Nike Master Trainer, Jason Raynor

Have you ever been in a fitness class and felt a twinge in your knee during a lunge? Or how about that back pinch just from your regular morning stretch?  You may feel as fit as a fiddle until one of those strings snaps, reflecting an imbalance in your body.

Full disclosure: both of us discovered the sucky-ness of injury this summer with pinched nerves and bulging discs.  Stress+work/blog computer scrunching+cell phone snapping=a toll on your bod!

Trainer Raynor Time

We were curious and a bit nervous when we got an invite to try a functional movement assessment with Jason Raynor, Master Nike Trainer.  Raynor has a flex worthy list of fitness certifications and experience including a stint as the assistant strength and conditioning coach for the Washington Redskins.

20160830_193303_28751361824_o

Traynor Raynor demoing a walking side squat

We met up with him at one of his current sweat spots, the JW Marriot in downtown Chicago, to get the rehab and rebound experience of functional movement assessments.  Think of it as self-help for your fit life!

Now let’s get to the fitty gritty deets.

Functional Movement Assessment Basics

Functional movement assessments can help you identify those instabilities, not only to prevent injury but to amp your athletic performance.  Even amateur fit fiends like us could benefit by optimizing our every day movements.

Trainer Raynor guided us through the first 3 of the 7 movement patterns of the functional movement system.

  • Deep Squat
  • Hurdle Step
  • In Line Lunge
  • Shoulder Mobility
  • Active Straight Leg Raise
  • Trunk Stability Push Up
  • Rotary Stability
20160830_185709

Trainer Raynor evaluating Monica’s deep squat

But that was just the warm up!  After each movement, he asked follow-up questions, gave feedback, and took detailed notes.  Both of us had different areas of strengths and weaknesses.  Kate had mobility issues with her hurdle step (think slow mo-hurdle) while Monica held tightness in her hip flexors that showed up as knee pain during her split stance lunge.  (Check our short video post on Instagram)

20160830_185401_28753568903_o

Trainer Raynor teaching the proper hand and feet placement for a deep squat

Raynor tackled our tensions with personalized stretches and taught us how to move to protect from injury.  Practiced consistently, these corrective exercises will wipe out your inconsistencies and put you in peak form!

20160830_192658

Monica practicing a corrective stretch for her hip flexors

A detailed report is sent to you after your sesh to ensure you can “work it out nowwww” more efficiently and effectively.  Trainor Raynor doesn’t just work on your fitness (although that’s Fergalicious enough).  He targets all areas of health transformation with:

  • Team or group athletic development and coaching
  • Nutrition Consulting
  • Individualized Personal Training

We are huge fit fans of the functional movement assessment and plan on going back to complete the screening.  Ready to be that agile athlete hiding inside you? Contact Trainor Raynor for appointments and rates!  Check out his profile on the following:

20160830_194043_29087425640_o

 

*We received one shared functional movement session in exchange for an honest unbiased review*

LG Fights Childhood Hunger at Chicago Taste of the Nation

LG served up fun, fabulous food and fancy yet functional appliances at the recent Taste of the Nation event at Revel.  Why?  LG is a sponsor of Taste of the Nation to join the fight against childhood hunger!
img_20161006_110039_30119544676_o
Taste of the Nation gathers the best chefs in foodie cities and provides party goers with vicacious vittles, delish desserts and curiously crafted cocktails, like a Boo Punch we sampled from Knife and Tine (just in time for Halloween!).  Although their could have been more veggie options, the bevvy of tastes, sights and smells made this a delectable affair one not to miss.  We loved  sampling savory bites, taking pictures in the LG Selfless Selfie Photo Booth, and donating extra cash for the silent raffle.
20161005_194806_30107217236_o
LG’s sponsor area featured their gorgeous goods like their new Black Stainless Steel appliances.  We got a hands on (and smudge free) tour!  We loved the fridge with a “door within a door” function for all our kefir and kombucha bottles that take up too much side door space.  If you want a drink, you can open the clear mini door and keep the fridge closed!  Oh and it’s water dispenser is big enough to fill our yoga water bottles.
LG’s series also features an easy clean oven and clothes steamer that can make dry cleaning go extinct like dinos.  Find them all at Sears!  These beauties weren’t the only stars of the LG show.
20161005_191739_30141794285_o
Chef Jason Vincent, former acclaimed Nightwood chef, displayed his plucky personality and cooking prowess.  Owner of his first in demand restaurant, Giant, AND father of one, Vincent  whipped up a family friendly meal to demo how to make eating healthy, tasty and cheap.
20161005_200547_29846802460_o
He even made Monica some veggie quesadillas so she could savor the whole experience.
Try it yourself with his recipes below!

Black Bean, Corn, and Avocado Salad

Serves four people for $8 a serving

  • 1 can of black beans (or dried=cheaper)
  • 1 ripe avocado
  • 2 ears of corn
  • 4 small, ripe tomatoes (cherry tomatoes)
  • 1 lime

Chicken & Zucchini Quesadillas

  •  1 pack white corn tortillas
  • 2 chicken thighs
  • 1 large zucchini
  • 2 oz queso fresco
  • 2 oz queso chihuahua
  • 1 large, juicy tomato
  • garlic salt
  • onion powder
  • whole milk sour cream

Can’t wait for the next Taste of a Nation?  You can help No Kid Hungry in November by hosting your own friendsgiving and donating!  10 bucks gets 100 meals for kids🙂.

We have to thank LG from the bottom of our hearts and stomachs for hosting us AND sponsoring such an awesome event and cause!  Check out their new appliances to simplify and classy up your life.

 

lg-taste-of-nation-2016

Chicago Beast + Balance Yoga and Brunch

Wanna feel the flow this weekend and get your balance back?  Whether you’re  beauty or a beast when you workout, you’ll love Beast + Balance‘s pop up combo strength training and yoga classes.  Top off your kick a@^ experience with a smattering of sexy services at the post flow market or bop on to brunch at Siena Tavern.  Wanna sleep in tomorrow?  Try the afternoon flow after you bite.

wp-1476497823828.jpg

Come get sweaty and wild with us tomorrow for “fitness, feasts and facials” with Beast + Balance!

When: October 15th 2016, 10-12 p.m. or 1-3 p.m.

Where: 444 N Wabash Ave, Chicago

wp-1476498421120.jpg

What: Get it that yoga practice crackin’ with a cool community.  Mingle it up at the market with these bangin’ local brands:

RXBAR
Mud Facial
Blowout Junkie
Harvest Juicery
Dr. Brew Kombucha
Graze Kitchenette
Vital Proteins
Green Sheep Water
Paleo Cookie
BowTruss Coffee
Brunch up your Saturday in style at Siena Tavern with a 3 course meal (shared app, entree and *happy* dessert — oh and 2 rounds of drinks) before or after you hustle hard.

wp-1476498408791.jpg

Help Feed a Kid with LG and Taste of the Nation And WIN! Leave No Kid Hungry Selfless Selfies.

LG Electronics is sizzling Wednesday October 5th with famous Chicago chefs and mixologists for Chicago’s Taste of the Nation benefitting No Kid Hungry.  This annual fundraiser sizzles with the city’s top chefs, mixologists and tastemakers.

No Kid Hungry.

Chicago’s Taste of the Nation® for No Kid Hungry 2016 will be held on October 5, 2016 at Revel Fulton Market

VIP Admisison: $200 | 6:00pm

General Admission: $125 | 7:00pm 

Life's Good with LG.

LG Electronics turns up the heat by partnering with Jason Vincent, chef and partner of the trending Logan Square restaurant, Giant.  Jason will create and serve up a special dish while you fawn over the function and look of LG’s new Black Stainless Steel Series of refrigerators, ranges, dishwashers and microwaves.

A premier national partner of No Kid Hungry, LG is the official home appliance partner of the Taste of the Nation culinary fundraising series.

In 2016, through its partnership with No Kid Hungry, LG already has provided more than 1.5 million meals for children facing hunger.

Can’t attend but wanna help?

Join LG’s “Share a Selfie. Feed a Kid.” Campaign and enter to win one of two $500 Sears Gift Cards**!

Light Up the Night: 4id Runner Safety Lights

What comes to mind with the fall season?  Crisp air, pumpkin spice drinks, apple cider donuts, and losing the light.  It’s getting darker earlier and, although this is perfect running weather, we gotta figure out how to stay safe in our bustling city.

20160908_203733-1

Looking like a ghost while you exercise outside is a bad idea (unless it’s Halloween!). Lighting up (in a positive way) is easier than you think, way more easy than returning from the dead!  One of the simplest things you can do when biking, running or trekking outside is use wearable lights.

We tested two different products from 4id that can keep you lit and visible.  4id specializes in safety wearables for athletes.  They geared us up good with 2 of their most popular products:

20160813_170638_28346167583_o

Power Spurz

  • Snugly wraps around the back of your shoe.
  • They are flexible and don’t put much pressure on your foot which we appreciated.

20160813_170557_28343632454_o

Power Armz

  • Shows off your huge biceps (or small ones)
  • Wraps around your upper arm with a velcro strap attached to the lighted component.

All 4id products are:

  • Weather proof, flexible and durable (Rain can’t stop your shine!)
  • Easy to attach (no assembly required) and be attached to
  • Available in 5 neon LED light colors
  • Switchable to 2 settings, pulse (or blinky as we say) and static light
  • Lighting your way with over 70-100 hours on their included batteries

4id also lights up your lifffeeee with bike lights, skater boy (or girl) leg lights or even lace lights because you need to keep them shoes tied, right?

20160825_191813

Buy all of your lights (all of the lights) Kayne style at 4id‘s site for $19.99 each or 40.00 for a pair of Power Spurz or Power Armz.

*We were provided 4id products for review.  Our opinions were not compensated and are our own*

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wednesday Wellness: BluePrint Booch

Anyone who knows us knows we are KRAZY for Kombucha.  We jump to pick up a bottle of that fizzy stuff.

So of course we said “Booch Yeah” to trying BluePrint‘s new kombucha fermented teas blended with their cold fresh pressed juices.

20160813_210002_28861159332_o

For those not in the bubbly know, kombucha is drink made with fermented tea and sugar that houses a colony of “good for ya” bacteria (more tummy tamers).  Some of it’s possible benefits include:

  • Detoxing
  • Weight loss
  • Immunity
  • Improved Digestion

Kate and Monica recommend kombucha for people with colds, hangovers or long weekends of too many french fries.

We’ve cleansed with BluePrint® cold pressed juices as well as different kombucha brands so how does BluePrint®’s kombucha fizz up to the rest?

BluePrint® Kombucha drink line consists of six varieties:

  • Kale-a-lu-ya
  • Jack Rabbit
  • Heart of Gold
  • Miss Tang
  • Raise the Roots
  • Sweet Heat

Serving Size: 14 Ounces

Flavor: We sampled two flavors:

  • Sweet Heat is an effervescent blend of apple, ginger, lemon and a pinch of cayenne.  The spice kicks your metabolism into gear while the ginger and lemon makes you feel refreshed.
  • Raise the Roots bubbles your energy up with beets, carrot and our beloved ginger.

20160814_091735

Calories: Between 70-90 calories per bottle

Sugar: 19-20 grams (homemade kombucha has about 10 grams of sugar for this serving size)

Fizzy rating: 10! We think it’s the fizzish.

Ready to sip and sparkle on ya own?  BluePrint® certified USDA organic Kombucha Drinks bubble at Whole Foods Market and local retailers in the New York Tri-State area, as well as in Midwest-area stores.