Have you ever wondered how to make tasty snacks by using just healthy and whole ingredients? (And not just plain old yogurt with fruit). Today on the blog, I talk to Christy of Sweetened With Dates (as she’s known on Instagram) about her plant-based life. Check out her wonderful food photos: they taste as scrumptious as they look!
Wonderland Organics: Hi Christy! How did Sweetened with Dates come about?
Christy: Sweetened with Dates was created in order to have a creative outlet and showcase healthy meal ideas. I have always loved making healthy, plant-based recipes and sharing them on Instagram is a great way to connect with like-minded people. The warm reception I’ve received thus far, has motivated me to start a blog and small business.
Wonderland Organics: I know I’m always thrilled to see your food photos in my Instagram feed! Tell us a little about your background.
Christy: I have a Ph.D in clinical psychology and I thought being a psychologist was going to be my career. However, there were some unexpected bumps in the road and plans changed. When I found out my oldest son had severe and life-threatening food allergies, I decided to stay home with him. It was a blessing in disguise. I never had the passion needed to be a psychologist. I dreaded the work each day. I now home-school my children and work on my love recipe development and food photography. I’ve never been happier or more fulfilled.
Wonderland Organics: There’s always a silver lining! What inspires you?
Plantstrong_mom healthy fruit
Christy: So many people inspire me. My family for one, inspires me to continue reaching for my dreams. Also, incredible physicians like Dr. McDougall and Dr. Fuhrman live by example and inspire me to raise my family in the healthiest way possible.
Wonderland Organics: That’s great to hear! What’s your favorite recipe for dinner?
Christy: My favorite dinner recipe would have to be seasoned baked fries with a large salad and flavorful dressing.
Wonderland Organics: That sounds amazing. And of course on that note, do you have a favorite healthy dessert?
Christy: My favorite healthy dessert is Banana Ice Cream. I always have frozen bananas to whip up this one ingredient treat.
Wonderland Organics: The perfect summertime treat! What’s a common misconception about plant-based lifestyles?
Christy: I think a common misconception about eating a plant-based diet is that it won’t provide all the necessary nutrients needed to optimal health. I have read a lot of research proving that those ideas are false. I have lived this way for several years now and my health has never been better.
Wonderland Organics: I’m sure that the readers will be glad to hear this. Do you have any advice for people who want to start a plant-based food lifestyle?
Plantstrong_mom breakfast deliciousness
Christy: Some advice I can offer to those interested in living this way is to try making small changes each day. Add some fruit or vegetables to each of your meals. Focus on eating unprocessed and whole foods. And remember it’s about progress, not perfection.
Wonderland Organics: Excellent advice! And last but not least, what is your favorite part of the Wonderland Organics site/blog?
Christy: My favorite part of the Wonderland Organics site is the availability of the amazing, clean, and natural skin care line. It’s a joy to find a company that embraces the production of natural products that are good for the body and the planet.
Thank you so much for talking to me, Christy! Be sure to check out her inspiring feed here on Instagram.
For those of you who are on a plant-based diet, what are your favorite recipes? Let us know in the comments below!
We’re kicking off the summer season with rejuvenating treatments for every skin type. Today on the blog, we’re giving an overview of the types of skin types so you can assess which type you have and focus on what you need to do to help reduce the appearance of aging.
Normal Skin – If your pores are small, your skin appears smooth, has a nice glow to it and is balanced between not too dry and not too oily, then you likely have normal skin. The purpose of anti-aging treatments with normal skin is to preserve the normalcy of the skin as long as possible. Avoid harsh chemicals that may lead to skin sensitivity, and be sure to use products with antioxidants like vitamin C and E to keep skin protected from free radicals.
Oily Skin – Oily skin typically has an oily sheen, enlarged pores, blackheads and/or pimples. For oily skin types, serums can be preferred over heavier creams. Look for serums with vitamin C, as this powerful antioxidant goes to work on help brighten dull skin. (Remember too that vitamin C is water-soluble, meaning that it will not stay in your bloodstream too long). Retinol is a great ingredient to use because it prevents pores from getting clogged from dead skin cells sticking to the skin’s surface. Vitamin B3, or niacinamide can also be used to improve skin’s elasticity while reducing the appearance of blotchy skin.
Combination Skin – This is when skin appears to be a combination of normal or dry in some areas and oily in others, such as across the forehead, nose and chin. You may need to use different products in the different regions of your skin: moisturizing for dry areas and products that absorb oil while avoiding clogged pores in the oily or acne prone areas of your face. Our Wonderland Organics Balance Serum is perfect for combination skin types: find it here.
Dry Skin – Dry skin types have pores that are almost invisible and a complexion that is dull, dry, rough and flaky. Fine lines and wrinkles really stand out with dry skin. Moisturizing is key for dry, aging skin. Look for serums and thick, moisturizing creams that contain peptides and collagen boosters, as these can hydrate deeper levels of skin, pushing them up and giving the skin a more plump appearance which naturally reduces the appearance of lines and wrinkles. For dry skin, we recommend products that contain hyaluronic acid.
Sensitive Skin – Sensitive skin has red or inflamed patches, can easily react to certain ingredients in skin care products, and can be itchy and dry. The key is to find gentle products that cleanse, tone and moisturize without causing a reaction. Avoid alpha hydroxy acids (AHA’s) as these can burn already sensitive skin. If you choose to use AHA’s, make sure to apply them at night since they tend to make your skin more photosensitive during the day. For sensitive skin types, look for products with herbal extracts and floral waters, and essential oils such as geranium or neroli.
Tailoring your skin care products to your specific skin type will help you reach your goals of a more youthful appearance. Since summertime is officially here, remember to apply sunscreen all over your face and body and to use UPF hats for the ultimate sun and skin protection! What are your favorite treatment products to use for rejuvenation? Let us know in the comments below!
With the new season comes the wonderful feeling of warm rays on our faces, but it’s important to practice sun safety. According to the American Cancer Society, melanoma, one of the most dangerous cancers, will account for over 73,000 cases of cancer this year. While frolicking in the sun, make sure to protect your skin as much as possible by using sunscreen and hats.
Active ingredients that we recommend are zinc oxide and titanium dioxide (which are known as physical sunscreens). The best part about physical sunscreen is that it blocks the sun’s UV rays, and reflects off the skin like a mirror. According to Dr. Doris J. Day, these two ingredients are not irritating because they are not absorbed into the skin. However, physical sunscreens often leave a white residue on the skin, which can be aesthetically displeasing.
Imagine our surprise when we came across a sunscreen brand that utilized both zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, but managed to avoid the white residue! What we love about biodegradable Rubber Ducky sunscreen is that it uses iron oxides to blend into the skin seamlessly. For you ladies out there, its appearance reminds us of a sunscreen and foundation mix. Since testing it out for almost a year, it has been our go-to sunscreen, especially because it has never made us feel oily even on hot summer days. However, we know that there are a ton of great brands out there, so stay tuned for a future sunscreen guide!
10 tips for sun safety:
Wear sunscreen daily
Make sure to apply at least SPF 30 all over
Reapply sunscreen often if you venture outdoors
Keep your favorite zinc oxide or titanium dioxide sunscreen in your purse
Try to stay out of the sun between 10 am-3 pm (when the sun’s rays are hottest)
Don’t forget to apply sunscreen on your lips, jawline, ears, and toes (often neglected spots)
Wear a UPF50 hat to protect your face and neck: we purchased ours here
Wear sunglasses that protect against UV rays
Be on the lookout for moles that change in shape (and talk to your dermatologist)
Tint your car if possible to help block UV rays
For more information about sun safety, we recommend these sites:
There’s nothing quite like getting pumped up and feeling those endorphins cruise through your body as you work out. But we know sometimes it’s hard to find the motivation to go to a gym, especially if you’re have a full-time job and a family to take care of. Luckily, there is no shortage of great and effective workout videos online! Today, we’re sharing with you our favorite videos to work out to.
We advise erring on the side of caution when it comes to working out: make sure to not push yourself past your limit, drink water, and take breaks when you need to. Most importantly, have fun!
Certified fitness instructor Cassey Ho of Blogilates shares her full length POP Pilates and fun Bootcamp Sculpting workouts to Top 40 Hits! We love her videos, and how cheerful of an instructor she is.
1. Lana Del Ray- Summertime Sadness
We love Blogilates’ choreography to this song: you’ll sure to work up a sweat, and tone up your legs.
2. Cassey Ho’s tough workout is great for your obliques and shoulders! We like doing this video once a week.
RefitRev creates body-rocking workouts to positive and upbeat songs. We discovered them on Youtube a few years ago, and adored their simple yet effective dance moves! There’s nothing we like more than working out via cardio dance.
3. The Wanted- Glad You Came
We personally do this every morning as our warmup video: who can resist a great choreographed routine and The Wanted?
4. Taylor Swift’s Shake It Off- This is a super fun video that gets your heartbeat up as you groove along to this catchy song.
One of the best things about running your own small business is meeting other small business owners: they go through the same struggles and triumphs, so it always makes for great bonding. Today on the blog, we chat with Lotus Stewart of Girl Friday Paper Arts. We met Lotus on a Creatives Facebook Group, and fell in love with her prints: they’re too gorgeous!
Wonderland Organics: Hi Lotus! Tell us a bit about your background.
Lotus Stewart: I graduated from Art Center College of Design about 15 years ago, and spent the first 10 years of my career designing movie posters. That was so much fun. I met the most amazing people and learned a lot during that time. I found myself wishing I could do more of my own thing, to spend more time finding my voice as a designer instead of creating someone else’s vision, and so I decided to start Girl Friday Paper Arts.
Wonderland Organics: Movie posters? That’s amazing! So how did Girl Friday Paper Arts come about?
Lotus Stewart: I love typography and I love great literature, so I knew I wanted to combine beautiful, minimal type design with inspiring quotes and fun words. I just started creating prints, and putting them out there. Quality is a really important factor for me, and I personally print each order myself (on an archival giclée printer) to make sure every print is perfect. Girl Friday has evolved a lot in the past few years, and I’m sure as I go along, things will continue to grow and change in fun and unexpected ways. I chose the name Girl Friday because I love the idea of doing a little bit of everything… being open to change and looking for opportunities to expand and explore new areas.
Wonderland Organics: We love this! Your prints are beautiful. What do you have planned for Girl Friday Paper Arts in 2015?
Lotus Stewart: Some very exciting things! I’m expanding my product line to include tote bags, stationery items this summer, and calendars at the end of the year. I’m also planning to do some in person events in November and December, so if you live in the Los Angeles area be sure to sign up for my newsletter to find out when and where you can see my work in person!
Wonderland Organics: We’re excited to see your prints on tote bags! They’re our weakness when it comes to bags. What is your favorite personal print?
Lotus Stewart: I love the ‘Keep It Simple’ print. I find that minimal design is deceptively difficult. It seems like it would be easier, but it’s not. In a super minimal composition you notice the letter-spacing more, you pay more attention to the letter forms, and little details that might otherwise blend in with a busier design suddenly become glaringly obvious. I love that challenge, though… and the message of keep it simple embodies everything I’m all about. My aesthetic is very minimal and I’m a big fan of white space. It’s calming.
Wonderland Organics: Sometimes simplicity is the best! Our favorite print is your sparkles one. What’s the best part about running Girl Friday Paper Arts?
Lotus Stewart: The creative freedom, for sure! I’ll be inspired by a color palette, and gorgeous typeface, or a cool quote, and the sky’s the limit. Sometimes I get carried away, and find myself doing the same quote or word several different ways. I love the show ‘Mad Men’ and in one episode someone said, “There’s always a better idea.” It’s so true, and it pushes me to keep thinking and exploring, even after a design is finished.
Wonderland Organics: We’re always striving for perfection in our products, aren’t we? 🙂 What’s your favorite font?
Girl Friday Paper Arts founder, Lotus Stewart
Lotus Stewart: Bodoni. I had an amazing typography teacher at Art Center, Leah Hoffmitz. She had us hand draw bodoni letterforms using plaka paint and Rotring drafting pen. It was totally old school, and kind of monotonous, but it really taught me to appreciate the beautiful simplicity of the letterforms, to look at each character as a piece of art, to get a feel for each curve, and a sense of how the straight lines balance out the forms in a perfectly elegant way. I don’t think I could ever love another typeface more, and it’s all because of that assignment.
Wonderland Organics: That sounds wonderful. Did you practice calligraphy?
Lotus Stewart: No. I’ve tried, but it’s just not my thing. I am very, very grateful to all the amazing type designers who create gorgeous typefaces that look like they are hand lettered. I use them as a starting point, and then go in and make alterations depending on my design.
Wonderland Organics: It always boggles our mind to see beautiful calligraphy- especially since ours is terrible. What inspires you?
Lotus Stewart: I’m inspired my great literature and nature… especially the beach. My kids inspire me daily, too. They are just all about fun, which is really what life should be all about. It’s easy to forget, and they are a wonderful daily reminder.
Wonderland Organics: This is so sweet! Do you have any advice for entrepreneurs?
Lotus Stewart: I guess the best advice is to look at the big picture. It’s really easy to fall into a cycle of doing a lot of little daily tasks that don’t add up to much… email, spending unfocused time on social media, paperwork stuff, etc. That stuff could totally fill up your entire day. Everyday. While all of that is important, and it definitely needs to get done, it can usually wait. I block out about a few hours each day where I just create. I close my email, leave my phone in the other room, and just focus on designing. I feel way more productive, and even if a few emails get have to wait for tomorrow, I feel like I’ve accomplished something valuable at the end of the day.
Girl Friday Paper Arts- keep it simple print
Wonderland Organics: These are great tips, Lotus! And last but not least, what’s your favorite part of the Wonderland Organics site/blog?
Lotus Stewart: Everything! I love that you use fair trade and organic ingredients. I love that you use glass bottles instead of plastic. I think I especially love that your name is Alice, and you named your company Wonderland Organics.
Thank you so much for talking to us Lotus! She’s offering Wonderland Organics readers 20% off any print with coupon code “WONDERLAND20”. Be sure to find her via Girl Friday Paper Arts on: