September Barbella Box

september barbella 2016

September’s Barbella Box was curated by Christmas Abbott, a CrossFit competitor, Olympic Weightlifter, fitness advisor and you get the idea.  This box was given the nickname, Christmas in September and it was a bit on the heavy side. I was curious to find out what was in it given the heft it packed!

Exosleeve Knee Sleeves 

They are an army green color and have Rebel down the sides.  I was ecstatic to get knee sleeves because they have been on my “to purchase” list for sometime.  My knees have been bothering me a lot lately after workouts, especially if there’s a bunch of squats or lunges.  I had hopes that sleeves would help with that. I’m not a spring chicken with young 20-something knees.  This sister needs some support.

These sleeves are awesome.  My knees feel so so good when I wear them and they are definitely a benefit. After using them for workouts my knees are not as sore or achey.  My squats also feel much more solid when I’m wearing the sleeves.  I will be sticking with knee sleeves for a while!

The Badass Body Diet Book

This is written by Christmas Abbott outlining her Badass Body Diet.  I haven’t looked through the book yet as I’m only slightly interested.  I’m constantly trying to read as much info as I can about nutrition while weightlifting but at the same time, I don’t want to get sucked into some sort of diet mentality.  I will read the book at some point though and will let you know thoughts once I finish. (Can be found via Christmas’s Website)

Be Unstoppable Coffee Mug

If I’m feeling particularly feisty in the morning, this is now the coffee mug I reach for.  It’s on the smaller side but I do like it.  It’s a mug so there isn’t a whole lot to say about it.  If I had to pick something, I would say that the mug doesn’t really need Christmas’s signature.  The saying is good and should be the highlight. (Can be found via Christmas’s Website)

LifeAid FitAid Drink

I have not had this.  I am not a huge fan of health drinks so I tend to pass those along to Scott.

Plus some coupons and discount codes.


I loved this box just for the kneed sleeves.  The mug and book are OK and I’m sure there are lots of subscribers who really enjoy them.  For me though, this box is all about the sleeves because they are awesome and such a steal!

If you weight lift or do CrossFit, give Barbella Box a try!


August Barbella Box

Aug 2016 Barbella Box

August’s Barbella Box is loaded down with lots of fun goodies!

Unbroken Designs Lifting Belt (!!)

This lifting belt was created just for Barbella Box, it has purple and pink flowers along with the Barbella logo.  I was sent a large belt and it was way too big.  Barbella Box was great and was able to make an exchange. They sent me a medium which fits much better.

I’ve been curious about lifting belts and am so excited to give this a try once I get to a place where using one will be beneficial.

Doc Spartan Armpit Armor

This is an all natural deodorant that has simple effective ingredients.

  • Activated Charcoal
  • Arrowroot Powder
  • Baking Soda
  • Shea Butter
  • Refined Coconut Oil
  • Beeswax
  • Blend of Essential Oils

I’ve used all natural deodorants before that didn’t really cut it.  I like that this one uses charcoal to help with smell and controlling sweat.

I love this stuff!  It handles workouts great and I’ve used it as an everyday deodorant and it held up well.  I still sweated a bit but nothing compared to other products I’ve used.  My only critique is that it does get used up quickly compared to most other deodorant, natural and non.

Livesore Pineapple Socks

These are so cute!  Plus they match one of my gym shirts which is a fun bonus.  I’m not one for matching when I go to the gym, I just wear whatever, because I’m there to workout not be cute.   But there are some days when I want to look cute and workout because I don’t always want to look like a slob.  These fit that need.  They are also a nice inbetween sock.  Not as long as knee socks but provide a little bit more protection than just a regular ankle sock.

Amino Freeze Pops

Fun popsicle flavors that are full Branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs): L-leucine, L-isoleucine, and L-valine to help with muscle repair and recovery.

I haven’t had these yet but they are in the freezer waiting for the perfect day!

Barbell Babes Sunglasses

Sunnies with Barbell Babes written down the side.  Cute and functional, these sunglasses are perfect for patio sitting and running errands.  They are a little big larger than the sunglasses I normally wear but they are lightweight and don’t slide off.  I love them!

Plus a bunch of coupons and some stickers.


I loved this box!  It was full of so many products, some that are fun and some that are functional.  And a few that are both!  This box was perfect mix of products all of which I love and can use.  Plus Barbella was great with exchanging a size with the lifting belt.

I can’t wait to see what’s in the next box!

If you lift and like getting fun workout gear and accessories then you should definitely give Barbella Box a try.  So many awesome products delivered each month!


July’s Barbella Box


June and July’s boxes were curated by Miranda Oldroyd and if you recall, I wasn’t a huge fan of June’s box.  I was a little concerned that this box might be the same but that was not the case at all.  I loved July’s box, it contained so many fun things!

We Are All Smith custom arrow bracelet.  The arrow has special meaning to Miranda and that story was provided with the bracelet along with a discount code to use for a future purchase.

The bracelet is adjustable so it fits my small wrists.  I’m also in love with arrows right now and it’s a contender for one of my future tattoos.  It’s gorgeous and perfectly feminine.

Linchpin tanktop

This grey tanktop is so light weight, soft, and comfortable.  I’m completely in love with it!  I wore it the next day to workout.  It held up great and didn’t sag too much when it got sweaty.  Easy to wash and toss right in the dryer without worrying about shrinkage.

W.O.D. Welder Coffee Soap

This soap has ground coffee beans in it which means it smells fantastic.  The grounds also act as a mild scrub while washing with it.  This soap is fun and provides a nice change up in the shower.

Flag Nor Fail Headband

I have a really small head and most headbands this size slide right off.  This headband stays put for the most part.  It’s snug and keeps hair out of my face while working out.  It did slip a little during the workout and I had to adjust it.  But it didn’t slip completely off, the gel grip really does help it stick in place.

Caveman Coffee MCT Oil (Sample)

Coconut oil for coffee!  I don’t blend oil in my coffee too much anymore but this will be nice when I want a little more umph to my coffee.

Progenex Cocoon Sample

A supplement that is supposed to help you sleep and restore those muscles.  Most supplements and I don’t get along so I passed this off to a friend.

I loved July’s box!  It had such awesome things that will see a ton of use!  This is probably my favorite box so far out of the three that I have received.

If you are interested, you can sign up for your own Barbella Box and start getting goodies each month!

* None of the links are affiliates.


June’s Barbella Box

June 2016 Barbella Box

June’s Barbella Box has arrived!  June and July’s boxes are curated by Miranda Oldroyd, a badass fitness chick.

What this box contained:

WOD Gear Booty Shorts

The shorts are a fabulous color and they are so very comfortable.  However I am not yet that comfortable wearing booty shorts to the gym so at the moment they are for home only.  My goal is to be able to wear these to the gym or when I’m out for a run.

Progenex Trucker Hat

Eh, the hat is alright. It’s big and doesn’t really fit my tiny head.  I’m going to give it to Scott to wear when he does yard work.

Rock Tape

I recently found out that I’m allergic to this tape! So unfortunately I can’t use it.  The concept of it is pretty cool though, using tape to help tight and sore muscles.

Progenex Shaker Bottle

Basic shaker bottle. I already have a bunch of shaker bottles but it doesn’t hurt to have another on hand.

Progenex Force Samples

A pre-workout energy supplement.  Energy supplements aren’t my thing.  My body doesn’t handle stimulants too well, even the all natural ones.  So I have to pass on these samples.

Rocksauce Chill Sample

Cooling gel to help sore muscles.  This will come in handy when I have a heavy workout day!

Overall I was just OK with this box. Since Miranda is affiliated with Progenex, getting so much of that brand in one box seems a little much. Losing the trucker hat would have freed up some space for another product that could have been more workout related.

That said, I’m still enjoying getting these boxes each month and I can’t wait to see what is in this month’s box! If you lift or do Crossfit, definitely check out Barbella Box for fun goodies each month!

None of the links in this post are affiliate links.


May’s Barbella Box

I recently came across a monthly subscription box curated just for ladies who lift and/or do CrossFit.  I’m not much of a subscription box kind of gal or so I thought.  I think it’s because I had not come across one that actually appealed to me and interested me enough to put the money out.

Until I came across Barbella Box.  This monthly box is right up my alley and I love that it’s geared towards lifting. I took the plunge and decided to give it a shot, May’s box was my first box.

May2016 Barebella Box

This was a great box for a first timer!  This box included:

Kettlebelle sleeveless hoodie from Belle & Bell.  It’s soft, adorable, and fits perfectly. It’s going to be great for post workout during the summer months.

BarBella Socks, my first pair of knee socks for lifting! These are heavy duty and will be able stand up to many a deadlift.

4oz of Caveman Coffee, fair trade and ethically sourced.  I have cut caffeine out of my life so I’ll be passing this on to Scott. I’ll give an update once he’s tried it.

UNBRKN headband which is adorable! I’ve gotten a lot of comments on it at the gym so far.  I’ve worn it several times without issue however today it did fly off my head as I was rowing.  I have a very small head and finding headbands that stay put is tricky.  This was the first time it fell off so I’m going to consider that a fluke.

Kill Cliff protein bars with solid ingredients. I have not eaten one yet but this will be handy to have around in the event I need some quick fuel.

Tiger Balm pain relief patches.  Yesssssss! I can’t wait to start using these bad boys on days when I’m extra sore from lifting.

Plus there was also a discount code to use for more Belle & Bell gear.  Over all I’m pleased with this month’s goodies and feel the price I paid was definitely well spent.

Discovering new products is one of the main reasons for signing up for this box.  There are so many products out there that I easily become overwhelmed and frustrated trying to find something well made and that I will like.  With a monthly box, they are doing the work for me and I get to check out new products in a fun way.

I’m going to be giving the subscription a few more months before I fully decided whether to cancel or continue on. You can expect a more detailed review in a few months once I made my decision, until then I’ll keep doing monthly mini reviews.

If you lift or do CrossFit, give Barbella Box a try!  I’d love to have a buddy testing it out with me!

*None of the links in this post are affiliate links.


Review: Sun Basket Meal Delivery Service

I was recently contacted by Sun Basket, which is a meal delivery service, to test out their program in exchange for a review.  As I’m currently still learning how to balance life with two jobs, this opportunity came at just the right time.

Meal planning is a big deal when you have two jobs and work weekends (I’ll dive deeper into this in another post) and while I try to have everything set each week, sometimes it doesn’t happen.  I’m not perfect and that’s the reality of life.

This is why I was willing to try Sun Basket and their meals.  I would have a plan, all the ingredients, plus the recipe to put the meals together as soon as I got home from work.  Sun Basket’s philosophy towards food mirrors my own, they focus on organic and sustainable ingredients along with organic and naturally raised meats.  They have several dietary options including Paleo, Vegetarian, and Gluten-Free.  Since I eat a mostly Primal/Paleo diet, I appreciated this attention to detail.

Sun Basket Meal Delivery Service

I signed up for three of their Paleo meals and the box arrived a few days later.  Everything was in it’s own package (for the picture, I double bagged the meat/fish), clearly labeled, and included the recipe cards.  Plus full instructions on how to return the box and shipping materials so they can be recycled and reused.

There was a nice variety of proteins and veggies with each meal.  The meals for that week were:

  • Seared steaks with porcini pan sauce and sauteed chard with sweet potato.
  • Pan-seared salmon with fennel, capers, and olives.
  • Chicken salmoriglio with charred broccolini.

Each meal is pretty substantial in size, easily serving both my husband and myself.  Two portions of protein were included for each meal along with veggies to create a side dish.  The only meal that didn’t have as much of a veggie side was the salmon so we had to supplement that with a side salad.  Not a big deal, that was easy and quick to put together.

What I liked most about these dishes were the creative use of vegetables along with creating pan sauces to go with the proteins.  It gave me some ideas to use for future meals along with introducing in some veggies that I haven’t had much of before, such as fennel and broccolini.

The meals are easy to put together and some of them can be turned into one pot meals, which when you just got off work and it’s late, these are greatly appreciated.

Sun Basket Chicken Salmoriglio with Broccolini

Currently Sun Basket offers free delivery to CA, WA, CO, UT, OR, AZ, NV, and ID.  The price start at $11.49 per meal and as I mentioned, each meal can either feed two people or provide leftovers for the next day.  Honestly, that’s a pretty great deal for meal delivery service.  You can pick a meal plan or create your own by picking individual meals you’d like delivered.

If you’re considering meal delivery service or are interested in learning more, definitely check out Sun Basket and see what they have to offer.  I think you’ll be pleased with the service and quality of the meals.


Disclaimer: Sun Basket reached out and offered me meals in exchange for a review. I was not compensated in any other way and all opinions are my own.



Bourbon Barrel Maple Vanilla Scones

Bourbon Barrel Maple Vanilla Scones

I was recently contacted by Kite Hill to review their almond milk based yogurts. They are the only company that I’ve come across that makes almond milk based products and I have been wanting to try them out for quite some time.  This gave me the perfect reason to finally dive in!

I know a lot of people who are dairy free for a number of reasons and these products seemed like a nice alternative to dairy based cheeses and yogurts.

I admit that I did go in with some hesitation.  I’ve tried non-dairy yogurts in the past and it hasn’t gone well.  The texture was off and the flavor was a little astringent with a fake sweetness to it.  I put my previous experience aside and went in with optimism.

Kite Hill sent me all of their flavors:

  • Plain
  • Vanilla
  • Blueberry
  • Strawberry
  • Peach

The strawberry I gave to Scott since I’m allergic but all of the other flavors I was able to test out.  I tried it as I normally eat yogurt, by making a yogurt bowl for breakfast.

I have to say this yogurt is pretty spectacular for a dairy free yogurt.  It is a little on the thinner side texture-wise but not by much. It’s creamy and rich with tons of fruit flavor.  It is lightly sweetened and if I had to give a critique, it would be to lessen the sweetness just a tad.

Kite Hill’s yogurts are hands-down the best non-dairy yogurts that I have tried.  These are perfect for those that are avoiding dairy or are looking for an alternative.  Plus there’s no soy in these products either which is a lovely added bonus!

I wanted to see how well these yogurts would work with baking so I decided to make some sweet scones with the vanilla yogurt. These scones are dairy-free, egg-free, grain-free, and vegan.

I win blogger bingo for that!

I also used bourbon barrel aged maple syrup in the recipe.  (drops mic)

Andrea’s Bourbon Barrel Maple Vanilla Scones

  • 2.5 C Almond Flour
  • 1/2 C Tapicoa Flour
  • 1/4 C Coconut Flour
  • 2 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 2 TBSP Bourbon Barrel Aged Maple Syrup* (see note at bottom)
  • 5 oz Kite Hill  Vanilla Yogurt
  • 2 tsp Baking Soda
  • 1/2 tsp Ground Cinnamon

For the glaze:

  • 1/2 C Powdered Sugar
  • 4 TBSP Bourbon Barrel Aged Maple Syrup

Preheat oven to 400 degrees (If you live at sea level, reduce heat to 375) and line a baking sheet with either parchment or silicone.

In a food processor, combine all ingredients for the scones and pulse until the dough comes together in a ball. Sprinkle the counter with a little extra coconut flour and place the dough on top.  Shape dough into a square about 1/2 an inch in thickness.  Cut dough into 8 triangles and place those on the baking sheet.

Place in oven and bake for about 10 minutes.  Remove and allow to cool before adding the glaze.  For the glaze, mix the sugar with the syrup and spread over scones.  This is a thicker glaze, if you want a thinner glaze add more syrup or a splash of almond milk to the mix.

*I purchased the bourbon barrel aged maple syrup at Trader Joe’s.  If you can’t find any or don’t want to use that, regular maple syrup will work just fine.

These scones are great as a breakfast treat or a little nighttime snack.  If you want to freeze them, then do not glaze them until you are ready to serve.

The yogurt did great in these scones providing a nice little sweetness along with enough acid to kickstart the baking soda.  It also provided enough moisture that I didn’t need to add any eggs to the mix.

Kite Hill yogurts are great straight up or you can use them in recipes in place of dairy yogurt.  I believe that currently these are only available at Whole Foods so you’ll have to swing by your local store to check them out.  Definitely try their products to see what you think!

Disclaimer: Kite Hill sent me these products for review.  All opinions are my own and I was not further compensated for this post.


Review: Safe Catch Tuna

Safe Catch Tuna Salad

I was contacted by the people at Safe Catch to review their new tuna.  Since we eat a good bit of seafood I was up for tasting the newest tuna on the market.

The idea behind Safe Catch is that every tuna is tested for mercury levels before purchasing.  Since mercury is such an issue right now with fish, this is a new line of tuna that provides a safe product with 100% of it’s tuna tested for mercury levels.

From the press release: Safe Catch is also the only canned tuna to be able to surpass the purity and Omega 3 criteria for “best seafood” as set by the Environmental Working Group.

Their tuna also comes in BPA free cans and they raw pack their tuna.  There’s no additives or water added, the tuna is cooked right in the can so all juices in the can are from the fish.  Making it extra tasty and still full of nutrients.

Pretty interesting, right?

I was sent a can of tuna to test out.  I made some basic tuna salad with it, nothing fancy.  I wanted to get a taste for the tuna to see what it was like.

It flaked nicely and wasn’t overly strong in aroma.  It had a pleasing fish smell, nothing overpowering.  Both Scott and I enjoyed this tuna.  Plus we felt good knowing that it was low in mercury, packed well, and canned in a BPA free can.

The tuna is currently available at our local Sprouts and runs between $3-$4 per can with the albacore tuna in the $4-$5 range. That’s actually not a bad price considering everything you’re getting with this tuna; tested for mercury levels, raw packed so all the nutrients remain, and a BPA free can.  Pretty good deal!

I don’t shop at Sprouts all that often but when I do stop in, I will most likely pick up a few cans of tuna.  It would be great to see this tuna expand to other markets as well making it more accessible to people.


Disclaimer: I was sent a can of Safe Catch Tuna in exchange for a review article.  All opinions are my own and I was not compensated further for this post.


Review: Block Island Organics Sunscreen

Block Island SunscreenSun protection is a big issue here in the mountains and needs to be taken seriously.  The sun is hot and intense.  You can burn a lot more quickly here than at sea level.  Most people doing outside activities actively wear sunscreen along with big hats to help keep their face and head covered.

However most sunscreens are filled with a lot of nasty chemicals.  Yeah they are keeping you from getting sunburnt but at what cost?  What exactly are we putting on to our skin to keep it “safe”?

When I was contacted by Block Island Organics to test out their all natural sunscreen I immediately jumped at the chance. Block Island focuses on bringing natural skin care products to consumers.  I was told that all of their products are free of parabens, sulfates, petrochemicals, phthalates, dyes and artificial fragrances.  No animal testing and all products have a vegan base formula.

I was all in!  Since I’ve been doing more hiking this year, outside yard work, and running, I needed a quality sunscreen.  I like that this sunscreen was made from all natural zinc and didn’t have any junk added to it.

The Pros:

  • There’s no fake smell or fragrance with this sunscreen.  You won’t smell like a beach or attract bugs.
  • It’s not overly greasy or heavy.
  • All natural, made with only zinc.
  • Doesn’t sweat off.
  • Safe to use on face.

The Cons:

  • A little goes a long way, so start off with a small amount.
  • If you use too much, you’re skin will be white or streaked white which can last for a while.

Using this product does have a bit of a learning curve to it because you do need to start off with a small amount and make sure that is fully rubbed in before doing more.  If too much is used, I’ve found that it can streak and not really absorb into the skin as it should.  Leaving your skin pasty white looking or with random white streaks.

That can be quickly dealt with though.  Other than that, I had no problems with this sunscreen. I used it during several different activities and I was pleased that it didn’t come off with sweat or leave me feeling greasy. Plus there’s no fragrance so you aren’t left smelling like a pina colada.

If you’re looking for a high quality sunscreen that isn’t going to break the bank or leave you feeling all goopey, give Block Island a shot.  You won’t be disappointed!

Block Island also offers other products such as moisturizers and cleansers. If you’re looking for all natural products, check out their site.

Bonus for Food Embrace readers! There’s a discount for purchases through the Block Island Organics site!  You’ll get 15% off your purchase valid only from July 30th – Aug 5th.  Enter code “andrea” at checkout.


Disclaimer: I was sent this product in exchange for a review post. All opinions are my own and I was not compensated in any other way.


Review: The Better Chip

The Better Chip

The folks at The Better Chip contacted me recently asking if I would sample and review their chips.  I love chips and tortillas but I’m picky about what I eat.  After learning more about their chips, I agreed and decided to give them a try.

I was sent some small sample bags of each flavor.

  • Spinach and Kale
  • Jalapeno
  • Beet
  • Corn
  • Chipotle

I admit that I was intrigued by this chips!  The concept is that the flavoring is in the chips.  There are real jalapenos and beets included in the mix to make the chip.  I liked this idea a lot because it provides different flavor profiles without the use of powders and additives.

The ingredient list is short and readable.  You can understand and pronounce each ingredient listed.  The chips boast the use of non-gmo products and they are certified gluten free.  This is good news if you’re looking to cut those items out of your diet.

These chips are hearty.  They aren’t your basic super thin, breaks when you scoop guacamole, tortilla chips.  They have some heft and bite to them.  They are great as stand alone chips or with dip.

I’ve tried them with salsa, guacamole, and hummus.  The beet flavor chips go great with hummus!

The jalapeno and chipotle chips were too spicy for me (I’m a wimp) but my husband loved them.  They had just enough heat for him to accentuate the salsa and guacamole.

The kale and spinach chips had great flavor and I ate those on their own.

Honestly these chips were great and I would not hesitate to buy some. Especially if I was hosting a party because they would provide a unique look along with flavor.  These chips would be good to take camping or for a picnic as well!  Or to take to a brewery for a snack, if you’re like us and bring food to breweries.

If you see them out, give them a shot.  You might find your new favorite tortilla chip!


Disclaimer: The Better Chip sent me these samples in exchange for a review.  All opinions are my own and I was not compensated further for this post.