farmers market · Handmade · holiday

Countdown to Christmas

~Can you believe that Christmas is only a couple of days away?! Good thing I finished all my Christmas shopping lol. But if you didn’t, I have a place where you’ll find the perfect gift: Christkindlmarket in downtown Naperville (or Chicago, but Naperville is closer for me). I’ve been wanting to go to Christkindlmarket for years (the one in Chicago), and when I found out that Naperville is its suburban home, my desire to go intensified.

Friends of mine that had gone before advised that I go in the middle of the week because the weekends are chaotic. As advised I went this past Thursday around 12:30, and even then it was crowded. I found a parking garage a few blocks from the Naper Settlement (where they held the market) and my best shot of getting a semi-decent parking spot was on the 5th floor roof.

When I got to the market, I was overwhelmed by the astounding number of ornaments that were sold in nearly every stand. They were beautiful and delicately painted, ones that would look great on any tree. The first stand I went to was, of course, an ornament stand. Hailing from Germany and Poland, these beauties came in all shapes and sizes, boasting a different winter or holiday theme painted onto them. I didn’t go for the traditional hanging ones, but rather a flock of adorable clip on birds. I have birds (parakeets) of my own so naturally I would gravitate toward those. I can’t remember the individual price of the birds but the box containing 4 were $30. Now my little flock is nestled on the branches of our Christmas tree at home 🙂

After purchasing the bird ornaments I made a lap around the market scoping out the different stalls and deciding what I would want to eat. Nearly every market-goer was holding a red decorative mug filled with some of the richest hot chocolate I’ve ever had. To go with my hot cocoa I picked up some caramel coated cashews to munch on as I continued through the market.

I stumbled upon a stand that was a purveyor of wares made from alpaca wool. I was looking for something to match the alpaca wool hat I purchased at the Frankfort market over the summer, and I found a pair of gloves, the ones with the fingertips cut off that could also be worn as mittens, with a similar brown and white striped pattern for $25, which is very reasonable for something wool woven. The man running the stand hails from Alberta, Canada works with families in Peru and Ecuador that raise the alpacas for the wool. Support local businesses/family run operations!

After I picked up a few smaller ornaments and a gift for a friend of mine, I finished the day eating pierogi and potato pancakes. In my Happy Hanukkah! post I briefly spoke of eating them traditionally with sour cream and apple sauce, but at the Austrian Lodge the serve their pancakes 3 ways: plain, with sour cream and apple sauce, or with sour cream and smoked salmon. I opted for plain, which were deliciously crispy, but I’m biased and prefer my mom’s recipe. The pierogi at Tata’s Pierogi were plump and tender, filled with your traditional meat or potato & cheese, and a little more on the exotic side with spinach and feta. Spinach and feta isn’t exactly exotic, but I don’t see a lot of those in Polish cooking.

Overall, I absolutely fell in love with Christkindlmarket. I would for sure go again, either to Naperville or I may be brave enough and fight traffic to visit the one in Chicago.

I hope you all have a very Merry Christmas! ❤

holiday

Happy Hanukkah!

~While I am not Jewish (I happen to be Catholic), I still feel it’s important to highlight and respect other cultures’ traditions, especially around the holidays and in this time of worldly strife.

Hanukkah, also know as the Festival of Lights, started today at sunset and lasts for 8 days, representing the 8 days the sacred oil lit the menorah in the Temple, which was supposed to only last one day.

Because of this oil, many foods eaten during this time are cooked in oil. One of my personal favorites are latkas, or potato pancakes. Traditionally, these tasty creations are served with sour cream or apple sauce, but I like them with ketchup (although apple sauce would be delicious).

To my Jewish readers and readers of other faiths: HAPPY HANUKKAH!

Healthy Living

Burt’s Bees Beauty Challenge: Final Thoughts

~So the Burt’s Bees Beauty Challenge has come to its end, and I have mixed feelings about the gentle foaming cleanser with royal jelly. I like it because of how gentle it is and the fact that it’s foam is pretty cool in and of itself. This was my first time using a foam cleanser so it was an interesting experience. But it was also a reason why I’m not as big a fan of this cleanser than cleansers I’ve used in the past. Every time I used it I would ask myself: ‘Is this really working?’

The acne spot treatment, however, I do enjoy. Even if the aroma of the willow bark is a bit strong for my liking. I place a drop on the stubborn spots on my face before I go to bed, and when I wake up the next morning the spots are either drastically reduced or gone! But you need to be consistent with it though, or those spots can come back, and with a vengeance (at least in my case it did).

Overall, this was an interesting and eye-opening experience. I use the term eye-opening because I was like many people and only had a one track mind when it came to Burt’s Bees: lip balm. After this challenge I’m more inclined to try more facial products from Burt’s Bees after I finish the foam cleanser.

Healthy Living

Burt’s Bees Beauty Challenge: Day 1 (complete)

~Today was the first full day of using the Gentle Foaming Cleanser with Royal Jelly and the willow bark acne spot treatment. 

I used it this morning when I got out of the shower; I like the feeling of the foam, it’s feels softer and less abrasive. But because it’s so soft and luxurious I’m worried that it may not do as good of a job removing the dirt and oil on my face. Once my face was dry I applied a drop or two of the acne spot treatment to the affected areas (see pictures  I uploaded to the Photo Garden). It did tingle a bit when applying it, but nothing painful.  

Several hours into my work shift my face felt soft and smooth like I had just applied the cleanser, so we got that going for us. 

As I prepare for bed I cleaned my face and it felt like I was rubbing my face on a cloud ☺️

Have a lovely night my little sprouts ❤️

Healthy Living · organic

Burt’s Bees Beauty Challenge: Start!

~Most people know Burt’s Bees through their lip balm, but did you know that Burt’s Bees is so much more than that? They make shampoos, face creams, body lotions, and cleansing cloths galore, catering to all skin tones. I have oily skin and because of that I am more acne prone than most (whoopee…)

I’ve tried dozens of acne cleansers, and not all are created equal. In fact, I even had a reaction to one! I’m more like every one else and familiar with Burt’s lip balm (awesome!), but when I went to the store to pick up, what else, face wash, I stumbled upon the small section of Burt’s Bees products. I selected their Gentle Foaming Cleanser with Royal Jelly, boasting their 99% natural ingredients for normal to combination skin. Wait a second…
If they’re claiming to be 99% natural, what could be in the other 1% of ingredients?

However, I’m determined to see this through to the end. For one week I’ll be using the cleanser morning and night and will post pictures of my progress, which means you get to see more of my face lol

In combination with the royal jelly cleanser, I’m using their Natural Acne Solutions spot treatment to treat some stubborn spots on my face that don’t seem to want to go away.

 

What is everyone’s experience with Burt’s Bees? Comment below!