Would Amanda Eat It?

Ah, the holidays.  You are faced with homemade and store-bought treats aplenty, goodies brought home from friends and family, and the occasional late-night slip into Santa’s cookie tray.  It happens.

But what about when your loyal, trusted Trader Joe’s throws a major curveball of deliciousness?

Enter Cookies N’ Cream Cookie Butter, the latest in a series of amazing butters by Mr. Joe (other varieties include original, cocoa swirl, and crunchy).  At first glance, you might think – “well, of course Amanda won’t eat this one” – but read on for my full assessment:

The good:

The bad:

  • it’s a sugar bomb.  But you knew that was coming.  17g per 2TB makes it even worse than eating actual frosting from a can (don’t believe me?  Here’s a frosting label for comparison.)
  • the first ingredient is sugar.  ‘Nuff said.  There’s more sugar than any other ingredient in this product.
  • there are 3.5 grams of saturated fat in a serving, which is about 20% of what you should get in an entire day.  Not great.

The verdict:

  • Ok, obviously I can’t get behind a product that is literally worse for you than eating processed frosting out of a can.  Let’s be real.  But what I can say is that as a sugar substitute in holiday baking (such as these Cookies & Cream Rice Krispie treats), it’s a nice “sometimes” treat when you really want to throw caution to the wind and indulge.

The alternative:

  • Worry not, butter lovers!  You can always make your own cookie butter at home, if it’s the cookie thing you’re seeking, and if it’s more the butter, check out this amazing list of homemade nut butter recipes (yes, even some with chocolate!).  Anytime you can decrease the number of ingredients and preservatives in a food simply by making it yourself, you are taking a step toward better health that starts in your own home.

What food products would you like to see featured on this blog?  Comment here or on FB!

Weekend Roundup

I know, I know – I’ve been an absolutely reprehensible blogger this week.  Can I claim wedding stress?  Holiday engagements?  Work ramping up before the break?  Well, whether I can claim those excuses or not, that’s where I’ve been – but now I’m back.

Let’s kick off the weekend with our friendly ol’ roundup – looking around the internets for what I am interested in – and think you’ll really like, too!

If there is a heaven, my dear Spartacus will be waiting for me there.  Even the pope says so.

LA might know sunshine, but NYC knows soup.  Here’s a dozen amazingly seasonal recipes.

If you haven’t picked up your ugly holiday sweater yet, this is your last chance.

I LOVE doing glitter makeup at the holidays, but I always worry about looking like a trashy disco ball.  This tutorial takes the guesswork out of it.

Gift guides are fun because they’re always over-the-top and ridiculous.  This one is for the stylish, high-end yogi in your life – or more likely, in your dreams.

Free online and TV-based personal training?  Yep, NBC is doing it.  And it looks awesome.

Y’all know I love the cheap thrills from Forever 21.  This week they’re so cheap they’re FREE.

What are you reading about and looking at this holiday season?  Leave a link!

A Tough Trainer’s Christmas Carol

[to the tune of “Santa Claus is Coming to Town]

You better work out

You better eat right

You better not slouch

And keep your core tight

This trainer ain’t messing around

She’s making a circuit

You’re doing it twice

She’s gonna find out

If you’ve been working out right

This trainer ain’t messing around

She sees you when you’re slacking

She frowns when you take breaks

She knows if you’ve been bad or good

So just squat, for goodness’ sake

Oh….

You better work out

You better eat right

You better not slouch

And keep your core tight

This trainer ain’t messing around

Are you staying on track with your diet and workouts out this holiday season?

Sunday Special: On My Radar

I swear my brain is programmed to desire shopping more during the holiday season.  We’ve been indoctrinated from a young age that the holidays are for gift-giving, and with Black Friday less than a week away, my urge to shop is rising.  And I’ve been giving in.

Case in point?  This weekend brought mini-splurges at the Bella + Canvas sample sale, a friend’s Chloe + Isabel show, and even Bed, Bath & Beyond (where I found this amazing hashtag light-up sign for the wedding!).  Sigh.  Who am I to fight the power of the season?

That said, I haven’t done an On My Radar post in a while, so here we go – a special holiday edition of OMR – perhaps more like a Dear Santa?  Enjoy!

Is there anything more calming than the scent of chamomile?  I was recently tipped off to an amazing eye makeup remover that smells of it, and I am now obsessed with slowly making every scent in my bathroom include some hint of chamomile (even better: with honey!) by the end of the year.  Come to find out – the Body Shop has a whole line of the stuff, in varying levels of intensity.  Just say ahhhh…..

I’ve gotten so used to my old, stinky, black gym backpack that I forget there are actual cute, stylish options out there.  This one is deceptively glam, with a Birkin-bag look and amazing functionality (yes, it actually holds a water bottle, gym clothes, and shoes in there!).  I have no idea how much shipping would be as this one’s only available across the pond, but dang, is it nice to look at.

I’ve been really hooked on this metallic teal eyeliner I’ve been wearing lately, and it’s got me thinking: what other colored eyeliners would really pop?  Cue the Dior Addict-It liquid eyeliner in hot pink – I am pretty sure I need it, whether I layer it with black (the subtle way) or lay it on thick across my eyelids (the Manda way, let’s be honest).  I found it once at Sephora but haven’t seen it again since, and I fear it will be discontinued before I actually get up the courage to bite the bullet.

Of course I love jewelry – my favorite mug (given to me by a dear friend) reads, “Accessories are Necessities” – and it’s true!  But what I don’t have is the perfect simple-yet-statement necklace that is versatile (gold-plate goes with everything!) but creative enough to actually make a statement – oh, and did I mention it’s cheap to boot?  This is a total find and would be adorable for any world traveler – or those with world traveling aspirations.

If any of you out there reading are my personal training clients, you know I love me some Bosu.  The Bosu (which for the rest of you is that weird half-ball thing you see floating around gym floors) comes in one color: blue.  That is, until recently.  They introduced a beautiful hot pink one (priced almost 50% higher than the original, natch) to raise money for breast cancer research and as soon as I saw it, I knew I had to have it.  Who wants a plain ol’ blue Bosu when you can have PINK?!?!  I mean, come on.

I just realized that pretty much everything I’ve posted here is either a beauty or fitness product (what does this tell you about my life?).  Let’s break the mold here with something really wild – home decor!  Ok, maybe not so wild.  And I just realized that I already have the map theme established with the necklace above – but whatever, I love maps.  And this Cost Plus 6-Canvas Map Set is such a cool way to display a map in your home without looking cheesy or overdone.  I can totally see it on the massive white expanse that is our living room wall.

And finally – the piece de resistance – even though I just bought two amazing pairs of sneakers from the Adidas outlet sale, I can’t get my mind off the sweet sweet kicks that are Nike Flyknit Free 3.0.  They just look so dang light and socklike, yet still functional and appropriate for both work and looking awesome on the street.  One day I will have you, my pretties (and hey – they’ve already marked down from $140 to $99, so anything can happen).

That’s my Christmas list in progress, guys, but I’d love to hear what you’re looking for this holiday season!

What’s on your Dear Santa list?  What can’t wait for Christmas – i.e. what’s on your Black Friday list?