Beauty Bites

When it comes to beauty and skincare, I am not a "product person." I'm a drug store mascara, forget to wash my face, sometimes my teeth, never get facials kind of person. As I'm getting more into my 20's, I'm trying my best to change my old ways. Every article I read turns into some rant about how important your skin regimen is, or "what I would have told my 23 year old self" turns into a lesson on taking care of your skin. I don't want wrinkles by the time I'm 30, so looks like it is time to grow up. at

Like I said, I've really been trying to invest in better products, take more time with my skin regimen and care more about what I'm putting on my face and body. Below is a list of my current "beauty bites." While I'm still a girl on a budget, one product is a pantry staple and nothing is over $30. 

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LAZY DRY SHAMPOO
I am new to the dry shampoo world. I always swore it didn't work for me. My hair gets greasy after 24 hours, and have always washed my hair everyday if I want it to look decent. Once I joined the working world, washing and drying my hair everyday became a long and daunting task. Enter dry shampoo. It took a few weeks to get my hair used to every other day washes, but with some trial and error I've found some dry shampoos that actually work and help prolong the washing process. My current obsession is Lazy Dry Shampoo. It's all natural ingredients and locally made in OKC! You apply the powder with a soft brush at night, then you wake up and voila, non-greasy hair! It comes in two versions for light and dark hair. Lazy Dry Shampoo can be ordered here

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RODAN + FIELDS FOAMING TANNER
I get pale in the winter, like sickly pale. When spring hits I get eager to add some color to my washed out winter skin, but it's not that easy. It takes weeks in the summer to get a tan. With my roommate's bachelorette trip in Scottsdale this weekend, I am in desperate need for some base color before being fully exposed to the sun. My good friend Bailey recently started selling R+F and raved about this tanner. I love that is is a foam, making it so easier to apply. The color shows up almost instantly giving me the color I dreadfully need.  Shop from Bailey directly here

COCONUT OIL
You've probably seen a million articles about all the benefits and ways you can use coconut oil, well it's true. I've recently started using coconut oil outside of just cooking with and more for topical use. Coconut oil has replaced my old make up remover. I have a jar in my bathroom that I use every night to wipe away my make up. It works better than any bottle remover you can buy at the store.  I have really dry skin so something that gently removes my makeup and moisturizes at the same time is a win win. I also apply a little extra on my lips and sometimes use it on my cuticles and elbows. 

DIY LAVENDER BODY SCRUB
My other roommate gifted me some lavender body scrub for Valentine's Day. Made from just coconut oil, sugar and lavender oil. My dry skin was obsessed. It became my ritual to go to hot yoga, come home light a candle in the bathroom, and use my lavender body scrub in a long hot steamy shower. A little home spa action. I found my skin not needing as much lotion post-shower because the scrub helped get off dead skin and moisturize with the coconut oil base. I ran out fast, but plan on using this recipe to make more on my own!

Annie

10 Products I Love & 10 Products to Try at Trader Joe's

Trader Joe's Oklahoma City

Trader Joe's Oklahoma City

The big league city that is Oklahoma City, and the place I call home is FINALLY getting a Trader Joe's. Officially opening Friday the 23rd at 8am. I can hardly stand the wait. 

I fell in love with TJ's the summer I lived in DC and have been deprived ever since. Anytime I'm on vacation or a weekend trip to Texas, I make a stop at their Trader Joe's to pick up my favorite almond butter and trail mix. It's a full on love affair with this quirky grocery store. I'm not shy to share my love, leading to posts like this...

I'm not the most experience Trader Joe's shopper, for obvious reasons, but I do have some tried and true favorites I pick up on the rare occasions I'm in the same city as a TJ's. Today I'm sharing my 10 faves, as well as 10 items I can't wait to try. I stalk every blog post, article, report, instagram feed, etc. that devotes itself to the best Trader Joe's products. I feel confident I've come up with a well crafted list of things to try.

10 Products I Love:

1. Raw Crunchy Almond Butter This is without a doubt my favorite almond butter. It's very thin and needs a good stir when you open it, but it's perfect for that almond butter drizzle over oats or smoothie bowls all foodgrammers dream of. And #teamcrunchy just cause.

via the trader joes experience 

via the trader joes experience 

2. Cashew Butter Just like the bottle says it's creamy and salty and delicious. Cashews are my favorite nut so I obvi wig out over cashew butter. So great with apple slices, but also perfect for savory things like dipping carrots & broccoli into or for asian sauces. 

3. Rolled Oats This massive bag is so cheap and lasts forever. Makes a great bowl of oatmeal, but I mainly use this big bag more for baking or making granola. 

4. Tomato-Less Corn Salsa With chips dipped straight in or served over tacos, fish, chicken or in taco salad!

5. Macadamias mix Gingerly with Cranberries & Almonds Trail Mix Okay so look past the Omega Trek Mix image and into the background. This was my DC discovery and helped me get through the afternoon slump of my summer internship. The little bits of crystalized ginger are the best part and makes it my favorite trail mix EVER.

6. Feta Dip This one's for you Anna! When I visited Anna this summer I was greeted with a glass of rosé and this feta cheese spread served with pita chips. We scraped the container clean despite the dinner reservations we had.

7. Body Butter TJ's has some sneaky awesome beauty products that shouldn't go overlooked. I picked this up on a whim and it works so well for my dry eczema skin. The pumpkin version is faboo too. 

8. Cookie Butter Cups You live under a rock if you haven't heard of cookie butter. It's kind of like Trader Joe's mascot. Unable to eat Reese's cups, these cookie butter cups are the perfect replacement and most likely better IMO.

9. Greek Yogurt Say hello to my breakfast every morning the summer I lived in DC. At only $0.99 a cup, they were perfect for my wallet and appetite. I love pomegranate and vanilla bean! 

10. Green Tea Mints This was an impulse check out purchase that I didn't regret. Actually so good and great for after lunch. 

10 Products I Want to Try:

1. Bollywood Popcorn 100% buying this. Jai ho!

2. Frozen Falafel Wrapped in a pita with tzatziki? Yes please!

3. Frozen Vegan Tikka Masala I'm not a frozen meal person, but this one is on just about every list. 

Via  pInterest

4. Parsnip Chips Intrigued! Dipped in hummus or guac.

5. Honey Sesame Almonds Trader Joe's nut section is dreamy. These almonds, coconut cashews, truffle marcona almonds, chili lime cashews etc. all at the best prices. I can't wait to try these. 

6. Riced Veggies (Cauliflower and Broccoli) To sneak into smoothies or as a rice alternative!

7. Balsamic Glaze Perfect on my Roasted Sweet Potatoes and Figs.

8. Sweet Potato Gnocchi I tried to make sweet potato gnocchi one time and it was such a fail. I'll leave it up to trusty Trader Joe's instead now. 

9. Vanilla Almond Spiced Chai Protein Smoothie Everything I like in one bottle.

10. Ultra Moisturizing Hand Cream I have the driest hands so this is a must try!

For all you Trader Joe's veterans, any products that are a MUST? Let me know in the comments. For all you readers, get ready for the slew of TJ's products that will soon be seen all over Take A Bite. For all you OKCers, I'll see you Friday. And after you all swoop up a jar of cookie butter make sure you put it to use by making my Cookie Butter Popcorn, Cookie Butter Rice Krispies or just by the spoonful, whatever you prefer. 

p.s. I trust Gaby and Monique with all things food. Check out their full lists of favorites here, here and here

Annie

My Kitchen Essentials

Above I have rounded up my favorite kitchen essentials. These are products I either love or couldn't live without. While my kitchen is still in the process of being stocked with all the proper appliances and tools any standard cook should have, I long for the time when I will get married and get to register for all the things I've been dying for. But let's be real, that'll be a while. Things like a full knife set, a matching set of dishes, proper pots and pans... okay enough day dreaming and back to the things I have now, and think you should too! 

Entree Bowls I'll eat out of a bowl any day over plate. I think it's something about being able to get the food out of a bowl easier than scraping it up off a plate. I don't know, but pro-bowl over here. It's all I really ever eat out of. Salads, soups, curry, rice, chicken and veggies, it's the perfect hybrid. These are only $27 for a set of 4 from Target. (Target has great cheap but cute dishes).

10-Piece Glass Mixing Bowls You need these. I think everyone in my family has these bowls. The fact that you get 10 bowls for $40 is fantastic. This is one of the pieces Ina Garten recommends everyone to have in their kitchen. I agree. I use them for everyyyyyything. The large bowls for cookie dough, the small bowls for making sauces or marinades. 

Kitchen Aid Mixer My pink mixer is like the landmark in my kitchen. It proudly sits on my counter for everyone to see. You just can't really bake without a Kitchen Aid mixer. They are pricy but last for forever. My mom has had hers for 30+ years...

Oven Mitt Don't risk burning your fingers off by pulling hot pans out of the oven with a flimsy hand towel. Make sure your kitchen has a few oven mitts, you'll use them daily. Anthropologie has the cutest! 

Cookie Scoop This is one of my favorite tools. It looks like and ice cream scoop, just a little smaller. If you want pretty, uniform cookies, invest in a scoop. I suggest about a 1.5 tablespoon size. 

Wooden Cutting Boards I have a three-piece set similar to these that I love. You need some plastic cutting boards for things like poultry and fish, but I use my wooden ones daily. I even use them for backgrounds in my food pictures or even as a plate! Wooden cutting boards can also be used as a cheese board.

Non-stick Roasting Pans and Cookie Sheets You need at least two of each, you just do. My cookie sheets get used all the time, but the roasting pans probably get used even more. Roasted veggies, baked fish, sweet potato chips, I have a million ways to use these. When I am making big batches of cookies they even get used as stand-in cookie sheets!

Canisters I use these canisters to store my flour, sugar, brown sugar and coffee right on my counter. They have an airtight sealant on them keeping everything fresh. I love having these essential ingredients right at arms reach. 

Dessert Stand I was gifted this dessert stand customized for me with "Take A Bite" etched on the outside. It sits on my counter and I love to use it as an excuse to bake, so that it is always filled with treats. I would recommend some kind of stand like this with a lid. It's an easy way to display and store homemade goodies!

Le Cruset Dutch Oven My Le Cruset is the newest addition to my kitchen. I had to get pink too so that my Kitchen Aid had a friend. A dutch oven can be used for things like roasting a chicken, making homemade spaghetti, a big batch of curry, a Sunday roast, soup, mashed potatoes, the list goes on. There really isn't a pan to replace it. It's on the pricy side, but also lasts forever. 

Do you have any go to kitchen items you couldn't live without? Let me know!

Annie

Besos Asos

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XOXO Asos you are killing the shoe game! The targeted marketing we see now is sneaky and it works. I was sifting through pages and pages of clothes on asos.com the other day, then all of a sudden every site I visited had little sidebar and banner ads for Asos popping up. Last week on Facebook a little ad popped up in my newsfeed featuring these shoes. Wahhhhh target marketing you got me. How do you know me so well?

I just got signed up on Try so I quickly ordered them to try and I'm still deciding if I should keep them or not. Amazing and adorable-yes, practical and comfortable-no. Check out more of Asos's killer spring shoes below. At killer prices too might I add. 

I love a good impulse buy, but HELP do I keep or return?

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Annie

Rise and KiZe

I can't tell you how giddy I am about today's post. KiZE is a locally made energy bar created right here in Oklahoma City. It's an energy bar, meal replacement, snack, or really whatever you want it to be!  Their goal is to help others maximize their success and live a happier, healthier and more purposeful life where they passionately pursue progress in mind, body, and soul. Their passion for mission is incredible. They constantly strive to serve others as well as giving back to the community - for example their partnership with Project Orphans to build family and community style homes for orphaned children in rural Haiti. I encourage you to view their GoFundMe Page to help support this mission!

Let me start by telling you a funny story. KiZE started a few years back, actually by one of my sorority sister's brother. They used to come to the house to share samples of the products. The only problem being that all five of their flavors were made with peanut butter. Major problem for the allergic over here. 

I talked with them a random handful of times on how they need to make bars with almond butter! It's healthier and so delicious-I mean why not? After a few emails back and forth, I was even deemed the "almond butter girl" by one of the employees.

Well three years later, guess what? KiZE is about to unveil their almond butter bar! Ahhhh the heavens just opened. I expressed my almond butter obsession last week after I made my own. Then, the very next day I got to try KiZE's new AB bar! It has yet to hit the market, but I got to have a sneak peek bite at their new flavor. I may be biased, but I think it's going to be a top seller! The flavor tastes like pure almond butter. They've added in raw sage honey, organic rolled oats, whey protein and even a little shredded coconut. It doesn't taste like coconut but adds the perfect depth of flavor!

I like eating my KiZE bars for breakfast on those days when I'm rushing to work and need to grab something quick. Pictured here looks like a casual slow morning where I'm enjoying a cup of tea and blogging with my KiZE bar. Ya, so this is totally staged. Five seconds after I took this I threw my bar in my purse and bolted out the door! 

Meal on the flash! One of the fundamentals KiZE was built on. They started as a way to provide nourishment for those who are too busy to eat, or don't have the time to eat a healthy meal. No time to eat? Crazy talk, I always make time to eat. But I will admit sometimes it means scarfing something down as I speed off to work in the morning!

Packaging is still in the works, but they are hoping to roll out the new flavor by end of August! In the meantime KiZE is offering a special discount code for all Take A Bite readers who want to purchase any of their bars! Just use the discount code TAKEABITE  at checkout and you'll receive 15% off your order! This code is available through tomorrow, so get your orders in!

If you want to find out more about KiZE you can visit their website, follow on FacebookTwitter or Instagram! You can find them in local Whole Foods, coffee shops and fitness studios. 

Annie

KiZE allows you to give back to your body as well as others! Here is the link again to assist their mission in building homes for young Haiti orphans!