Purity Ring - Lofticries (stop motion fan video) (by Kamila Gornia)

Book Review: “150 Pounds: A novel of waists and measures” by Kate Rockland http://i2.wp.com/www.sensualappealblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/Untitled-11.jpg?resize=160%2C243

Are you a healthy living blogger? Then you should really read this book.

Untitled-1I am a sucker for girly novels. When I saw 150 Pounds on a library shelf, it quickly captured my attention as I enjoy reading up on health and weight related books, but haven’t read many novels about it. The description is what really lured me in. Here’s the synopsis from Amazon:

“Full time bloggers Alexis Allbright, of Skinny Chick fame, and Shoshana Weiner, of Fat and Fabulous stand out in the blogosphere like diamonds. Both have over five million loyal readers. Both are hungry for success. But their similarities end there as they send out directly opposing messages about women, weight and what is healthy.

After being invited as guests on Oprah Winfrey, Shoshana and Alexis are forced into each other’s lives but hope never to see each other again. However the result of two exciting life events means a drastic weight change for both of them, and they are forced to confront the real issue at hand:  What is the best message to give women about their weight? Should they try and shed it, or learn to love their own skin?

These two writers living across the Hudson River from one another in Manhattan, NYC and Hoboken, New Jersey must put their differences aside as they realize there is no perfect number on the scale. 

Shoshana and Alexis, once enemies, will discover they have much more in common than they ever thought possible: by the end of the novel they will both weigh 150 Pounds. 

An entertaining yet poignant look at a difficult and pressing issue that will affect all women at some point in their life or other. The book ends with a positive message and a lesson that we can all learn from. 

“Ms. Rockland handles an emotional topic sensitively yet head-on. The result is that the reader is left with an inner confidence and somehow more sure of living in their own skin. Every woman who has hangups about her weight should read this.”

First of all, being a healthy living blogger – I can totally relate to everything here! While I am not a full time blogger like the main characters of the novel, it was really cool to read a book about people who are in the same world as me – the blogosphere. Besides, I subscribe to many blogs of full-time bloggers as well so it was fun being able to relate and wonder if that’s how they live their lives as well. Well, not exactly the same way, obviously, as there are quite a few dramatic things that happen in the book, but still.

The book is really well written and pleasant. It is easy to read and uplifting. I picked it up initially because I was looking for something to make me feel better about not being skinny. I liked the outlook of Shoshana on being happy at whatever weight you are and that we must love ourselves above all else. Alexis’ attitude toward life was very restricting and it also reminded me of some of my own times when I was ultra restricting and measuring out all the food I ate, etc. It was nice to see the change that happens in the two ladies as life happens and they learn to adapt.

I had a great time reading this novel. I cannot say enough good things about it. Although I do admit I liked Alexis’ story more than Shoshana’s probably because I’m a sucker for romance. But the two stories had a huge impact on my own attitude and outlook. I love books like that!

Rating: 5/5 stars

Go read 150 Pounds my dear blogger friends and readers. You will not be dissapointed!

The post Book Review: “150 Pounds: A novel of waists and measures” by Kate Rockland appeared first on Sensual Appeal.

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PB&J Protein Pancake http://i0.wp.com/www.sensualappealblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/cover2.jpg?resize=445%2C576

PB&J Protein Pancakes www.sensualappealblog.com

Me and those darn protein pancakes.

Last week I showed you guys a protein pancake that happened when I really wanted chocolate chips but didn’t have any so I threw in blueberries. The pancake recipe still needed work and I wanted to continue working on it because, even though the consistency wasn’t the best at the time, I really enjoyed having blueberries in the pancake.

PB&J Protein Pancake

So here I am again – made another try and this time, the protein pancake was a success!

I thereby present you with PB&J protein pancakes!

PB&J Protein Pancake

I called this pancake a PB&J even though there really is no jelly here but I think the blueberries are a great substitute for the jelly. You can pretend like that’s the jelly part of the sandwich and the PB2 acts as the peanut butter. PB2 really is a kind of peanut butter except lower in fat and I actually prefer it to regular peanut butter.

All in all, this pb&j pancake is like a healthier peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Except it is in a form of a pancake. But not just any pancake at that… it’s a protein pancake. Yum.

So go and get your protein-filled breakfast on! As recommended by Kammie :)

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Snickers Cupcakes http://i2.wp.com/www.sensualappealblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/cover1.jpg?resize=577%2C599

Friday was my roommate’s birthday. Ashley turned 23! Gosh, we’re old, haha.

Ashley’s favorite candy bars are Snickers. I have no idea how she remains so tiny when she loves candy and sweets so much. I wish I could be like that.

Snickers Cupcakes by www.sensualappealblog.com #cupcakes #dessert @snickers

Naturally, I wanted to cater to Ashley’s preferences so my choice for her birthday dessert were Snickers Cupcakes. Combining the deliciousness of Snickers candy bars in a cupcake form to make it a little more festive. I knew she would enjoy the gesture. And she did indeed.

Snickers Cupcakes - taste just like the candy bar!

These cupcakes literally taste like Snickers candy bar… except better, because they are cupcakes after all!

The filling is delicious – chopped up Snickers coated in caramel sauce.

Snickers Cupcakes - taste just like the candy bar!

The frosting is a caramel frosting. Mine turned out a little more drippy than I would have liked because I added some almond milk in there and it ended up being too much but that’s alright because it wasn’t too drippy and the flavor was still all there.

Snickers Cupcakes - taste just like the candy bar! @snickers

Then we can’t forget about the decorative tip – Placing a chopped mini Snickers on top of this beautiful dessert to top the sugar coma off. Yes. This cupcake is far from healthy. There is nothing healthy about it.. well at least the cake part of the cupcake is vegan.

Snickers Cupcakes - taste just like the candy bar!

Enjoy the sugar coma :)

PS. Sorry if the photos are a little oddly colored, these photos were taken very quickly and around midnight when I finally finished baking them. It was my first time using a daylight-temp continuous light for food photography so I’m not super experienced with food photography at night just yet. I’ll get there!

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15 Valentine’s Day Recipes from the Web: aka desserts I would eat on Valentine’s Day if I could http://i0.wp.com/www.sensualappealblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/Untitled-1.jpg?resize=604%2C434

Happy Valentine’s Day!

I’m single so I’m not really celebrating. But I think Valentine’s Day is an adorable fake holiday. Mostly because it celebrates chocolate and love. Oh, and because bloggers go wild and create the most beautiful recipes ever. I have never seen so much red, pink, and chocolate on food blogs than during this time. I think it’s only fair that I showcase some of those wonderful Valentine’s Day recipes. I would eat every single thing here if I could…

15 amazing valentine's Day food porn recipes from around the web! The BEST

Btw, if you are sensitive to chocolate and love… I recommend you to look elsewhere ;)

This post is FILLED with drool-worthy links!

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WIAW: Just a regular Saturday http://i0.wp.com/www.sensualappealblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/DSC_1994.jpg?resize=630%2C417

Whew, I haven’t done a proper WIAW post in a while! I finally managed to take photos of everything  I ate in a day and that day happened to be last Saturday. I’ll start from the beginning…

Friday night ensued a few drinks and I usually opt for eggs for breakfast the morning after. I read somewhere that eggs are great to eat after a night out because it helps do something to your body to get rid of alcohol. I already forgot what it was but ever since I read it, I started picking eggs as my go-to breakfast after a night of drinks.

I decided to make sweet potato hash with eggs. I love sweet potatoes so I was pretty excited about this. Unfortunately, I  was still groggy when I was cooking and I forgot that the curry powder has a whole opening…

Sweet Potato Hash and Curry

But I shoot it pretty intensely over the sweet potatoes and onions as if the opening had holes in it, so wayyyy too much curry powder came out. Thankfully it all went in one place so I was able to scoop most of the powder up and throw it out. There was still a bunch left so my breakfast had a stronger curry flavor than usual.

Sweet Potato Hash

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The BEST Roasted Butternut Squash http://www.sensualappealblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/cover.jpg

The BEST roasted butternut squash I've ever had!

Am I biased? I don’t think so. But I do honestly believe this is the best roasted butternut squash ever.

Okay, so maybe I haven’t had butternut squash that many times… but I am in love with the way I prepared it so I had to share and tell you guys what I did so you can experience this delicious spicy roasted butternut squash too – my new favorite squash!

The BEST roasted butternut squash I've ever had!

I bought a butternut squash a while back and I asked you guys on Facebook what I should do with it. I got a lot of responses and the most common one was to simply roast it. I got some responses to make it savory or sweet but since I know this squash is sweeter as it is, I didn’t think it required extra sweetness. I remember the one time I had sweet potato done sweet and I disliked it. I really enjoy sweet potatoes when they are savory and maybe even spicy. I think the combination of sweet + spicy/savory is ideal and complex and just perfect! If you agree, you will love this roasted butternut squash too!

The BEST roasted butternut squash I've ever had!

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4 Favorite Spices and Their Amazing Health Benefits http://i1.wp.com/sensualappeal.files.wordpress.com/2012/05/dsc_0027.jpg?resize=640%2C425

What spices do you use the most often?

There are some spices I use once in a while, but there are also some spices that I use very frequently. So frequently, in fact, that you would never find my kitchen without them. I wanted to outline which spices I use most often and my reasons for using them. Then I would love to hear from you: which spices do you use the most? Do you use any of the ones I outlined? Let me know in the comments below!

Cinnamon

The number one spice is cinnamon. I seriously use this spice in almost all sweet foods. Take a look at my recipes page for anything that’s sweet, I bet you 80% of all recipes contain cinnamon. I love the taste of cinnamon and I love the health benefits it provides, some of which are:

  • lowers cholesterol
  • balances blood sugar
  • anti-clotting effect on blood
  • prevents cancer
  • great source of iron, calcium, manganese, and fiber

The main reason why I started using so much cinnamon was because of the health benefit number 2 listed above. I knew that cinnamon helps regulate blood sugar which is the main reason why I use it in my baking – that way blood sugar doesn’t spike as much after eating sweet baked goods the way it would in baked goods without cinnamon. Or at least, that’s what I believe. I don’t feel blood sugar spikes too much but I like to prevent them from happening just in case they decide to make a bigger impact on me in the future.

Try my vegan strawberry banana bread which has a hefty amount of cinnamon in it. It was a huge hit!

Cayenne Pepper

The other spice I use most frequently is cayenne pepper. I use it mostly in cooking. I put it in my eggs every time. I also add it to other dishes, because it adds a nice punch of spiciness and makes the whole dish a lot more fun. I used to dislike spicy foods until I read about the metabolism-revving properties of spicy foods, that’s when I begun using cayenne all the time. Some health benefits of cayenne include:

  • increases metabolism
  • may stop a heart attack in 30 seconds (what!! I didn’t even know this one until just now. Amazing!)
  • regulates and equalizes blood pressure
  • may kill cancer cells
  • relief from arthritic pain
  • improves digestion

Truthfully, the reason why I started using cayenne was for its metabolism-boosting power. I was always on the lookout for the next best weight loss aid but I was definitely much more inclined to try natural aids. After doing quick research on this wonderful spice right now, I am even more amazed and happy to have discovered it. It sounds like a miracle spice! Truly amazing.

Try my vegan Spiced Chili Chocolate Cookies with a secret ingredient and some added cayenne for that spicy boost.

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Monetary Incentive to Losing Weight (Joining a DietBet challenge) http://i2.wp.com/www.sensualappealblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/dietbet400x290.jpg?resize=400%2C290

A few months ago, I was contacted by the people at DietBet to host a weight loss game. I kindly declined, because I was in the wrong mindset at the time and did not need any extra mental stress. I was in the midst of getting out of my chronic dieting mentality and wanted to learn to just live without worrying about losing weight all the time.

After not counting calories or dieting for 2 months now, I gained a few pounds. Actually, it looks like I am still yo-yo’ing although not as intensely as I did before. I have been trying to go off of my body signals rather than the clock, which caused my eating habits to become less consistent. Although I have found more freedom and found myself enjoying my life more and being able to focus on the right things, I still had my moments of weakness and near-binge mode. The past few days would go under the category of “weakness” and binge behavior has occurred, although not nearly as intense as they used to be.

I needed a change and I needed extra motivation.  I needed a way to stay consistent and motivated. I was being too allowing and I was eating whatever I wanted. But Spring is coming and I am not comfortable in my skin enough for warm weather. I want to be ready for summer when it comes.

dietbet400x290

So I decided to join a DietBet to keep me accountable this month. This DietBet will hopefully keep me dedicated and excited again about being healthy and active. Oh yeah, side note, being active has been a struggle lately too even though I am a part of Tina’s Best Body Bootcamp. I somehow got out of the fitness mentality and I am desperate to find my way back in. I need fitness back in my life and I need to find my motivation again.

I went on DietBet’s website to see what bets are about to start and I found one that had a lot of people in it. The Anti-Jared DietBet challenge looked the most interesting to me as it starts tomorrow and the pot is already very high. The starter bet was $50 but the current pot was already at over $12k. Why not make some money while losing 4% of my weight? I think that’s a good deal. The idea of potentially losing $50 or making extra money is a pretty cool idea. This is just the motivation I need to stay consistent.

I was dabbling the idea of going back on MyFitnessPal calorie-counter during the length of the DietBet challenge… But I decided against it. I am not ready to log every single bite I eat again, I know it makes me obsessive and I think it may bring me back into the chronic dieting mentality. I will eat intuitively – try focusing on eating more veggies and whole foods. I will eat less sugary foods. I will eat out less often, I have been eating lunch or dinner at restaurants and casual fast food places way too frequently and that needs to stop. Not only is my body suffering, my wallet is too.

At first when writing the previous paragraph, I started each sentence of the goals for the length of this weight loss challenge as “I will try to”… but then I read it over and I realized that did not look convincing. I don’t think “I will try to eat less sugary foods” is as motivating as “I WILL eat less sugary foods”. I changed each sentence from “I will try…” to “I WILL” to encourage myself and to show myself that I really truly AM serious about losing 4% of my weight for this challenge and making back to money I put in the pot and more.

I can do this!

Questions for you:

Have you joined any DietBet challenge before?

What are your tips for losing weight without counting calories?

The post Monetary Incentive to Losing Weight (Joining a DietBet challenge) appeared first on Sensual Appeal.

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Crafty and Artsy http://i1.wp.com/www.sensualappealblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/DSC_1393.jpg?resize=640%2C410

The winners of my weight loss supplement giveaway have been announced! Click to see if you’ve won!

Happy Tuesday! The weather has been extremely bipolar the past few days.

It has been raining on and off all day on Monday although the temperatures went up pretty high. Today is supposed to be even warmer, they say 64 degrees. 64 degrees by the end of January in Chicago? Something ain’t right…

I spent Sunday hanging out with an old friend, Michelle, and making some DIY cards. She brought a bunch of fun crafty papers and stuff that she has has since 8th grade but never used. Lucky for us that we realized we wanted to make this a crafty night, she was going to throw the stuff out on her next visit home.

DSC_1393

We drank some delicious Green & Black’s organic hot chocolate that I received in a goody bag from the Blogger Event I attended a while back. We made it using unsweetened almond milk and it was soo creamy and delicious. You could definitely taste that this hot chocolate was super high quality – it’s amazing!

DSC_1395

I won’t post the finished result of the cards we made because I don’t want the people who end up receiving them to know how they will look like, sorry ;)

On Monday, my artsy-ness continued with my first time painting! I signed up for a modern painting class through a group deal I found online a few weeks ago which I mentioned in my epiphany post on my photo blog. It was really fun and definitely therapeutic.

I wouldn’t say my work was exactly wonderful artwork but it was nice to make something artistic and finally get to learn another medium of art to work with. I have been wanting to learn how to paint for a long time now and modern art has always been my favorite. The particular style we focused on today was abstract / action expressionism. We used a variety of techniques and just played around with it.

photo 1 (1)

I think mine turned out a little angry and it’s like almost screaming at me. I don’t know why most of my work tends to do that. I guess that’s just the style I like.

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