September lovin

These are a few of my favorite (September) things:

Figs. These juicy little gems are abundant in late summer and, luscious sweetness aside, fresh figs offer some fantastic health benefits. A 3 fig serving has 5 grams of protein to promote healthy digestion, and they’re a good source of potassium and the trace mineral manganese. Even more fun? They’re a known aphrodisiac! I love smashing them on toast, swirling them in oatmeal, and mixing them with plain Greek yogurt. (Pumpkin butter pairs marvelously, too. You’re welcome.) Always go with the fresh fruit – they’re lower in sugar and free of sulfites. Plus, who needs a Newton when you can have the real thing?

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Statement jewelry. I absolutely love mixing casual clothes with the fancy-schmancy. One of my favorite ways to do this? Add some baubles! Bright, bold statement jewelry adds an eye-catching touch to any ensemble. Add a chunky necklace to a chambray button-up, or big gems to a simple blouse. I am absolutely obsessed with this find from J. Crew – and check it out, even my sweet cousin is trying to snag it. A fashionista at 5-months-old, she is.

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StopFightingFood.com. You might call Isabel Foxen Duke an expert when it comes to emotional eating. And you’d be right – this lady has first-hand experience with a frustrating and truly guilt-ridden challenge. Her site, StopFightingFood.com is a no-nonsense, in-your-face reality check about this often private struggle. But she doesn’t leave you hanging. Isabel talks directly to you in a series of videos, and is even offering a Master Class to bring together dozens of other women in a program that is about more than “getting your food under control.” It’s about freedom and sanity. Like Isabel says, “it’s in the thinking, not the behaviors, that this problem begins.” As someone who struggles with this personally, I so appreciate her wisdom and candor. I love that there are strong, bright women who are willing to talk about what has truly become an epidemic.

TOMS. This company is about a whole lot more than cute, comfy footwear. The motto of TOMS Shoes is “one for one.” And it’s that simple: for every pair of shoes purchased, a pair is donated to a child without any. Since 2006, founder Blake Mycoskie and team have provided over 10 million pairs of shoes. I’ve been a proud TOMS wearer since the beginning, when I learned about their mission through the band Hanson (who even participated in a “shoe drop” in Africa). My collection has grown over the years (it even includes a pair of wedges – surprisingly chic!) and I was so excited to see that their reach has extended into other parts of the world, including Australia. They generously sent a new pair to me, and I’ll be paying it forward by purchasing a pair for a friend’s little girl who is about to enter the world. Start sharing the love early!

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Coconut oil hair masks. I use coconut oil for practically everything, but until a couple of weeks ago I hadn’t tried it as a completely obvious beauty tool – a hair mask. When my cousin sang its praises as a frizz fighter, I had to give it a try. And she was right – just slick it on, leave it in overnight (use an old pillowcase) wash thoroughly the next morning and you’re left with smooth, silky strands.

Pumpkin butter. Specifically, homemade pumpkin butter. Nothing says fall quite like the creamy, spicy flavor – and the scent of all the spices melting together? The divine smell in your kitchen alone is worth it. I love it with toast, oats, banana “ice cream” and stirred into coffee to make an easy “PSL.” It’s surprisingly simple, and I’ll be sharing my recipe next week.

NuttZo. Almond butter is my kryptonite. I love it on and with just about anything, including a spoon. We have basically taken out stock on Trader Joe’s raw, unsalted almond butter (crunchy please) but, as is the case with so many of their items, it comes and goes without warning. When we got down to our last jar earlier this month, I went into crisis mode. I’ve tried out plenty of brands only to be let down each time. Enter NuttZo. Specifically, Power Fuel Crunchy with Chia. Hello, lover. Made with all organic almonds, cashews, Brazil nuts, flax seeds, hazelnuts, chia seeds, pumpkin seeds and a dash of sea salt, it is truly the most decadent, delicious nut butter I’ve ever tasted. And I’ve tasted a lot. Needless to say, our pantry is freshly stocked.

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The Twisted Vine. A hidden gem in Chicago’s Lakeview neighborhood was the setting for a dear friend’s gorgeous bridal shower. I think I’m in love. Tucked away just a couple of blocks from the chaos of Wrigleyville, this wine bar is classy, intimate, and the perfect setting for a wine date with a few girlfriends – or to dance on the table.

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