Category: Reviews


Questions from a Reader… Goals, Magazines, etc

September 19th, 2011 by

Whew, I’m having so much mommy-ing Kamea that I have not had the chance to blog as much. Now that the weather has gone below 100 degrees, it makes it so much easier to get out and about. Every day we’ve been going to new places, including the PARK! Wow… Kamea sure loves to swing. We’ve been going every night and she swings for an hour (pictured below, in action). It’s been a blast. We’ve also been going to different resorts around town (Scottsdale is known for it’s gorgeous resorts) where we just hang out, have lunch or tea, and play.

A while back, I opened up my Kristen’s Raw blog to questions about me, my lifestyle, raw food, etc. You can check out all the great questions and answers here. Then, I received a couple of questions about my daily life in general, which I answered over here on my Green Mommy Blog. Another reader sent me an email with a variety of fun and interesting questions that I thought I’d answer today. Here we go…

Because you are so inspiring to so many, I would be interested in what other practices you have in your life.

1) For example, I believe you set goals, but do you have a system for doing so? How often do you do it? Is it something you attend to daily or weekly? Where did you learn your system / or how did you come up with it???You’re right! I do set goals. Every year, my husband and I set goals at New Years. I love the process????? thinking about the future, planning, getting excited about the projects and things I want to work on. It fills me with hope and vigor.??So, what exactly do I do???Every year, my husband and I stay ???in??? for New Year???s Eve. We light candles, play fun music, turn on the Christmas lights and write our resolutions. I do it BIG style though. I take the opportunity of the new year and really take a look at my life and what I want to accomplish for the coming year. So, I take the practice of setting ???resolutions??? and kick it up a notch.

First, we get out last year???s boards (I???ll explain ???boards??? in a moment) and we go through everything we wrote about last year. We talk about how far or close we came with certain resolutions/goals, cross off the accomplishments, and use this info to help formulate plans for the following year.??We each get out a big piece of poster board (hence, the ???board???) and work on our resolutions for the coming year. I separate my life into facets such as: Health, Leisure, Relationships, Finance, Career, etc. Then, I write individual short term and long terms resolutions/goals in all of these categories. I make the whole process really fun and go all out! I use colored pens, stickers, glitter, and highlighters. I guess it???s kind of like a vision board, but without pictures.??When I???m all done with it, I hang it on the wall by my desk so I can see it every day and be reminded of all the Big and Little Resolutions I set for myself. This helps me stay on track and MOTIVATED! And, it???s fun building my New Year???s Resolution Picture (i.e., the poster board). And, let me tell ya, it sure works for me. I get so much more accomplished this way.

2) Do you read success books and if so which ones inspire you the most? It’s been a while since I read any of them, but I’ve always been a huge fan of Tony Robbins. Years ago I bought his Get the Edge series and it worked wonders for my life. Being interested in that type of book is one of the reasons that Greg and I met. For those of you who don’t know, we met through eHarmony six years ago, and in my profile I wrote that I enjoyed Tony Robbins’ work. Well, Greg is no stranger to success-type books, with his dad being Shad Helmstetter. So, we had that in common. :)

3) What magazines do you subscribe to (health and otherwise)? I subscribe to VegNews, Life Extension, and I used to subscribe to Purely Delicious (no longer available), Mothering (no longer available except I think you can subscribe for an online mag?) and Kiwi (thought is was pretty good, but not worth renewing).

4) Do you journal, practice yoga or meditate? I wish I could do yoga. I’ve tried it many times with different instructors and it’s just not my thing. I don’t meditate regularly, but I do have times where I take the time to center myself, sometimes while taking a bath, and sometimes just before going to bed. Something I want to do more of, so thanks for the reminder. :) Journaling?… Again, not as much as I would like to unless you include my daily food journal – lol. I do, however, spend 10 minutes, one day a week (I call it Gratitude Wednesday) where I think about the things for which I’m grateful. I find that extremely centering.

5) How do you come across new ideas such as for health or parenting? I’m constantly reading books on health and wellness as well as reading online by subscribing to newsletters, etc. Too many to name! It’s a bit of information overload to tell you the truth and sometimes I want to pull my hair out because I feel like I’m always “on” with my full inbox and Kindle. Sadly, I might hyperventilate if I don’t have my iPhone nearby, tis the life of a business owner. On the other hand, I really do enjoy reading stuff for which I’m passionate, so it’s fun at the same time.

6) Do you read parenting books and what has influenced you the most? I do, but I’m careful to always follow my intuition first. It’s pretty obvious that I’m happily more of the “counter culture” type so I find that, for the most part, there hasn’t been one single parenting book that I’ve agreed with 100% (I haven’t read many on attachment parenting, however, because I knew I was already into that style of parenting so there’s a good chance those would be books that I’d tend to agree with more). What I do, for the books I read, is to take the info I like, discard the stuff that doesn’t apply, and weave my own blanket of parenting with a heavy dose of intuition.

However, I just finished reading a book that I would wholeheartedly recommend to all parents. It was thought provoking, interesting, and filled with quite a bit of info that I plan to chew on for a long time (until Kamea goes off to college, basically). It’s called Nurture Shock. There are some other good ones that I’ve enjoyed (Brain Rules for Baby, Bright from the Start, SuperBaby, and Playful ParentingI haven’t read Playful Parenting, but it’s in my Kindle waiting to be ready), but Nurture Shock is probably my favorite. I really got a lot out of it.

Thanks for those great questions! :)

Review: Primal Strips Vegan Meat Alternatives

June 11th, 2010 by

I was sent some samples from Primal Spirit Foods and asked to blog what I thought about them. Basically, these are single serving (vegan) meat alternatives in a jerky style. There are many flavors: Thai Peanut, Mesquite Lime, Texas BBQ, Hickory Smoked, Hot & Spicy, and Teriyaki. There are no GMO’s, they’re 97% fat free, and they’re primarily made from soy, seiten, and shitake mushroom. You can read more about them on their website.

To begin, I have to say that this is the kind of snack that I don’t normally consume. Indeed my diet is all vegan (the main reason why is here), but most of my diet is unprocessed, fresh, organic, raw foods. However, I do find times in life where snacks like this can be useful. For example, I can imagine having one or two of these with me if I were on a road trip. The couple of bites I had were full of flavor. That being said, I decided that in order to get a fair review, I’d ask some friends and family to try these and give me their thoughts.

The first person is, D, who is a newbie vegan. I gave him a couple of varieties to try and he went ape sh*t??for them. He was a big fan. He immediately asked me where he could buy them.

The second person, R, is not only an omnivore, but I would consider him a??cruelty-jerky aficionado. Sorry, but it’s true. He’s still a friend, though. :) He was pleased with them and would eat them if they were around the house, but he wouldn’t go out of his way to buy them. Remember though, he’s a pretty hard core omnivore so I consider his pleased review to be a good sign!

The third person, my vegan husband, thought they were pretty good. He’s never really been a jerky fan, but he would eat these again. He had his first one as a snack in the movie theater and he noted that it didn’t seem like the easiest packaging to open and the sauce inside made it a tad messy. Nonetheless, he still liked it.

The last review comes from my dog. I gave him a few bites and as you can guess… he was begging for more. He’s a big fan. :)

Bottom line: the overall consensus is that these get a thumbs up. I’m sure there are plenty of vegans who would love them as a regular snack. But not only that… I think they can be a great way to introduce omnivores to the land of herbivore snacks, with smiles all around.

Kristen Suzanne’s 3 Secrets to Gorgeous Skin

April 26th, 2010 by

1. FOOD! It’s important to start from the inside of your body if you want clear, glowing skin on the outside. This means eating a clean diet that is filled with foods that are organic, plant-based, alkalizing, mostly raw, and fresh. By loading up my cells with massive nutrients I set my skin up to win!

I’m a big fan of green juices for helping to keep me hydrated, energized, and alkalized. During the warmer months especially, one of my favorite green juices is made from organic cucumbers, organic celery, organic romaine, and served on ice. (Sometimes I just make good ol’ Cukes On Ice, too). Cucumbers are wonderfully hydrating and terrific for the skin. Heck, many people apply cucumber slices directly to their skin to reduce heat and inflammation. I’ve also read that daily cucumber juice may help with eczema and arthritis. So, as a priority for skin care, I make sure my diet is loaded with plenty of fresh, organic, nourishing raw vegan foods.

2. Dr. Alkaitis Skin FoodTHIS has become my ultimate favorite for skin care products. And, let me tell you… I’ve tried tons of companies over the years! There is so much truth that a healthy, raw, organic, plant-based diet will help give your skin the glow, but it’s not fool proof all of the time. We also have to take into account what we put on our skin. One of the general philosophies I follow is that if I can’t eat it, I probably don’t want it touching my skin either. Enter: Dr. Alkaitis products. Holy moly! These are amazing. I started using them after coming off a little breakout session from hormones and within a couple of days had extreme improvement. I actually couldn’t believe my eyes, so I didn’t say anything to anyone, I just kept with the program. And, weeks later, my skin was more gorgeous than it had ever been. Now, I’m telling the whole world about them! I’m going to be hard pressed to use any other company. Almost all of their products are vegan. My favorites: cleanser, toner, soothing gel, treatment oil (love this on my body – the smell is hypnotic!), and eye cream. I’ve used the day and night creams sparingly, but I tend to stick with the aforementioned products on a regular basis. The Travel Kit is a great way to get introduced to the line. It’s how I tried it out when they sent me one. Loved it!

Their products are made with organically grown or wild-crafted plants (or unpolluted sea life), and their herbal extracts are made in-house! The base is organic aloe, making the products very concentrated, so a little goes a long way (my 7-day Travel Kit lasted almost two weeks). All the products are raw, living, not heated above body temperature. And, to preserve freshness, they make small batches at a time and products are only two-weeks old when they get shipped to you (for US shipments). Rockin’ huh?

3. Clarisonic Skin Cleansing Machine – My mom recently bought me the Clarisonic Mia a sonic skin cleansing system. I’ve always known from beauty experts that it’s important to exfoliate your skin on a regular basis for truly trouble free skin. I used to use a fibrous exfoliating hemp washcloth but sometimes it was too rough and aggravated my skin more than anything else. The Clarisonic Mia, on the other hand, exfoliates unbelievably effectively and gently. But, it’s not just great at exfoliating. There are two other great benefits: It gets my skin super clean – like never before. After the first use I couldn’t believe how extra amazing my skin felt. The other unique result from using this is that it helps my Dr. Alkaitis Skin Food products absorb more efficiently.

According to Clarisonic, the following are benefits that can be expected:

  • Leaves skin feeling and looking healthier and??smoother
  • Removes 6 times more makeup than manual??cleansing
  • Cleanses so well that products absorb??better
  • Pores appear smaller
  • Reduces the appearance of fine lines and??wrinkles
  • Reduces oily areas, dry skin patches and??blemishes
  • Gentle for use twice daily for different skin??types

But, you don’t have to take my word for it… check out the reviews! There are tons of raving fans out there using this system. (It probably goes without saying that I don’t use the cleansing products that came with it.) I don’t have the Clarisonic Pro, which has some other perks like the ability to use it on the body, but I’m interested in getting one.??Check out the amazing reviews about the Clarisonic Pro.

Boy oh boy! I sure wish I had known about Clarisonic a long time ago. It’s worth its weight in gold. I’m giddy with sparkly puff joy now that I have this little gadget in my beauty tool kit. It’s game changing!

Review: Vita-Mix 5200 Blender vs Blendtec Blender

February 23rd, 2010 by

Here is a blog post I wrote on Kristen’s Raw featuring my thoughts about Vita-Mix 5200 vs Blendtec.

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There are actually two reviews. My first one was a??comparison review for the new??Vita-Mix 5200 versus the??Blendtec that I’d had for quite a few years (and adored). Even though I loved my Blendtec for a long time, at the time of the review, I was impressed with Vita-mix’s BPA-free container as well as their warranty. I’ll say this… When it comes down to it, both blenders are phenomenal. They’re both high-powered and they both get the job done.

Well, as you know from the??last comparison, I decided to give more of my love to the Vita-Mix 5200 because of the aforementioned reasons. However! That has changed… not only does Blendtec offer a BPA-free container now, but they offer a newBIG container (I purchased mine separately).??Nearly 3 quarts big!!! When I saw that, I knew I had to try it out. Some people say that the big container (and therefore, the longer blades) makes for faster blending… as a result, it seems that cold things, such as smoothies, are colder (as compared to using another blender) when you’re done making them because it didn’t take as long to blend them.

Here is my??new??review on Vita-Mix vs Blendtec:I found that I am back to using my Blendtec more than the Vita-Mix. It’s so easy to clean and I really like that. I do notice, however, that my Blendtec blender seems to bounce around on my counter a bit more when I’m blending certain things. For example, I made two Raw vegan pumpkin pies yesterday (recipe for this delicious pie is in my??Holiday recipe book). The large container really helped in this situation because the old container would get quite full once all of the ingredients were in it. The mixture is thick, too, so that probably explains the dancing of the machine that required placing my hands on it to hold it still. Keep in mind, my blender motor is probably 5 years old and perhaps it wouldn’t bounce around as much if I had a newer model – not sure. It’s also possible that because the Vita-Mix is heavier, it stays put better. Anyway… I love the big container I purchased from Blendtec. I love that it’s BPA-free. I love that it’s so easy to clean. I love how it fits on my counter top and doesn’t take up as much room.

However… the Vita-Mix 5200′s 7-year warranty still kicks the Blendtec’s ass (3 years). And, having a plunger, like with the Vita-Mix, can be helpful at times. I also like the controls of the Vita-mix 5200 better than the pre-programmed controls of the Blendtec. I find it easier to control and use. Gosh, my praise for certain aspects of the Vita-Mix 5200 would make you think I liked that blender more. Not only that, but the Vita-Mix is popular with chefs around the world. Do you ever watch cooking shows and notice that they’re always using a Vita-Mix? I’ve yet to see a chef on TV using a Blendtec, so Vita-Mix is definitely worthy.

Bottom line… in spite of the pre-programmed controls on the Blendtec and in spite of not having a plunger… I still find myself grabbing the Blendtec before I use the Vita-Mix 5200. It’s easier to clean, gets the job done, has a huge container now, and fits perfectly on my counter top. Therefore, I must be a Blendtec gal??again. (They both rock though and you can’t go wrong with either one!)