Category: Product Reviews

A Gotham Greens Visit

*I was invited to tour the Gotham Greens HQ/Greenhouse in the Chicago Pullman area. I was not paid for my time or this review; I was given products at the end of the tour. All opinions are my own, as always!*


Do you feel a sense of peace and calm when you enter a quiet, green space? Funny enough, there’s actually loads of science to support it– everything from migraine reduction to overall reduced stress [see here].


Well, I got that deep sense of calm in an unexpected place– the rooftop of the Method soap HQ in a south Chicago neighborhood, Pullman, which just happens to house an entirely renewable-energy-driven greenhouse filled with rows upon rows of basil and lettuce. 


Thanks to Natalia at Gotham Greens, I got to spend Monday morning surrounded by rich smells and bright green leafy goodness! I have enjoyed GG products since I discovered them earlier this year in my local Plum Market — and was even more excited to try their pestos and salad dressing at the Nourished Festival in Schaumburg this past June. If you’re following me on Instagram you’ve probably seen my particular affinity for their heads of butter lettuce, perfect for creating little lunch wraps.


Here are some amazing things I learned about how Gotham Greens is really doing something special:

  • They’re powered by renewable energy, both wind and solar.
  • They’re entirely pesticide-free {which, I learned, is not a given fact if something is organic!}
  • A follow-up to that: they use natural predators as pest control {think spiders and butterflies!}
  • They operate on a hydroponic system, which means no soil — just water! And, curiously, hydroponic farming techniques actually use 90% less water than traditional farming.
  • Produce grown using hydroponics cannot currently be classified as organic, because the true classification is surrounding the soil use! So, GG is pesticide-free with sustainable practices, but without soil, you won’t find them in the organic section of your store {I found this absolutely wild.}

As a 5th generation Chicagoan, I’m also proud to tell you about how GG is employing local people in a neighborhood that’s been pushed out-of-sight, out-of-mind for a lot of Chicagoans. I was fortunate to meet some of the lovely humans harvesting these delicious greens and will be thinking of them every time I open a new container. 

Thank you again to Natalia and the GG team for having me {and the other lovely GF ladies I went with — Joanna and Angela!} — we even got to have a little picnic after!

Lettuce with a bottle of Gotham Greens dressing and several containers of pesto.

What do you want to know about GG practices? What would you make with some of those fresh greens? Looking for a recipe for something? Let’s hear it in the comments!

Take it easy, but take it.

Brianna

Celiac screening + monitoring kits: imaware health

*imaware health {at-home celiac screening and monitoring kits} sponsored this post; my opinions are my own*

Have you have either fought your doctor for a Celiac test, had to wait endless weeks/months for an appointment to get your answers, or even been diagnosed Celiac but simply wanted to ensure your body is appropriately responding to the gluten free diet?

I imagine the answer is a resounding yes.

I’ve partnered with a new company, imaware health, to tell you about the latest development in Celiac screening and monitoring technology: at-home testing kits. imaware has 2 main disease states they’ve developed at this time: Celiac and Rheumatoid Arthritis {with more diseases to come soon!}. For Celiac testing, they have 2 kits:

  • At-home Celiac test
  • At-home Celiac monitoring

The true test is $99, utilizes the testing gold standards, and gives you physician-reviewed results in just 5 days. How wild is that?

The monitoring kit is $89 and can be a single-purchase or on 2, 4, or 6-month delivery schedules. This test assesses tTG-IgA as well as three additional biomarkers to ensure that your gut is healing from appropriate adherence to the GF diet.

You might be wondering, so how does the actual at-home test work?

imaware health kit laid out with components showing on a table

The test arrives at your doorstep with the most clear, concrete directions. Here’s the gist: wash your hands, use the alcohol swab, poke your finger {I know, not as easily accepted by those non-T1Ds, but I promise it’s not bad!}, and collect 5 drops of blood in the prelabeled tube.

imaware health labeled test vial with my name and ID number

Send the tube back in the prepaid envelope the same day you collect it and await your online results!

I’ll be sure to report back when my results come in, but I was too excited to tell you about this new Celiac screening and monitoring technology– backed by my Celiac doctor, Dr. Guandalini at the University of Chicago Celiac Center, alongside other world-renowned experts!

Well, you all know me. I’m not just going to tell you about this exciting technology; I’m going to get you involved. So MARK YOUR CALENDARS because we’re going to TWITTER PARTY!

Join me and imaware’s co-founder, Jani Tuomi, on Monday February 4th {that’s a week from tomorrow!} at 7pm CST for a big-time party about their Celiac screening and monitoring kits with lots of amazing prizes that you won’t want to miss.

imaware twitter party promo image for chat about celiac screening and monitoring kits; February 4th at 7pm CST, RSVP via rafflecopter link

RSVP needed in order to win! Follow to the Rafflecopter to enter here: a Rafflecopter giveaway

Take it easy, but take it– and “see” you on the 4th!

Brianna

Red Apple Lipstick: Cold Weather Favorites!

*I am a Red Apple Lipstick partner. This means that I get free product when I want to tell you all about the best make-up I own. Links in this post are affiliate links. Opinions are mine, as always.*

Today, my lipstick matched my sweater perfectly. Don’t you love when that happens?

Last year, I told you about my top fall lipstick color, Rosemancing from RAL. 

Yes, it’s still a favorite and it matches that lovely plum color that the world {and I} am wearing!

But, the real savior for me right now and through the winter is my good ol’ Rallye Balm. 

rallyebalm

Rallye Balm, for those of you who haven’t yet saved your lips from the awful wind and cold temps, is Red Apple Lipstick’s famous colorless lip moisturizer/Chapstick look-alike, but it’s so much more. Not only does it look like a lipstick– which is a cute perk when you pull it out in public — but it’s the only real lip protectant I’ve had success with.

If you have peeling lips, cracking corners, or those pesky painful sores, let Rallye Balm save the day for you like it has for me.

I just cracked open another one and it’s going quickly.

Oh, and if lips aren’t your go-to make-up department: grab some Eye Shadow Primer to keep your make-up in place when the wind attacks your face and some of RAL’s unique Mascara that won’t leave your eyes itchy and painful by the end of the day. Oh, and this season– they bundled it for a lower price right here!

mascaraandprimer

 

Of course, I ensured I got a discount code for all of you– and with no minimum order size! Use code BREEZY for 5 bucks off your next order. I’d try that Rallye Balm if I were you– only $10 after using the code!

Just click here and treat yourself!

And, one story for the road:

I recently shot an ‘about us’ video for my startup, Find Your Ditto. There was a make-up artist in-house and of course, I brought all my own products {gotta ensure the ingredients are safe and I don’t share brushes of any kind ever!} She fell head-over-heels in love with my RAL primer, eyeshadow, and lipsticks. Mind you, she’s done makeup for Michelle Obama. Yeah, folks. If you want to see my full look, take a peek at our video here.

Take it easy, but take it.

Brianna

ADSG 5th Birthday Featured Brand: Red Apple Lipstick

Continuing our big ADSG 5th birthday celebration with a brand feature for a company that has helped me through the last 5 years: Red Apple Lipstick!

I cannot be the only woman to grab a cheap mascara or an expensive lipstick just to get home, flip over the packaging, and realize I’ve missed one nasty little gluten-filled ingredient– not to mention all the un-pronounce-ables jammed inside!

As a young professional, I’d spent years convincing myself that the dollars saved by seeking out the unlikely GF options in the cosmetics aisle at my local pharmacy were worthwhile. But when my skin kept getting drier, my eyelids turning pinker, and my lips peeling away… I knew it was time for a new routine.

Luckily, Red Apple Lipstick came across my radar {thanks, social media!} and has forever changed my makeup routine. What started as a couple lipsticks might, just might have grown into a full-blown RAL lipstick organizer on my counter. What can I say– with a dedication to safe ingredients, lipstick that feels like chapstick, matte bronzer that smells nice… the list goes on! I couldn’t help myself.

RAL prides themselves on being free of the following:

  • Gluten
  • Parabens
  • Lead
  • Soy
  • Animal Parts {yuck!}

and instead being full of:

  • Vitamin E
  • USA-made products
  • Rigorous testing procedures for gluten and other fillers

RAL has a full line of lipstick, lipgloss, eyeshadow, blush, mascara, liners, and brushes alongside their famous Rallye balm and exfoliator. Trust me, your lips will thank you and your skin will jump for joy!

Of course, I’ve switched between a few lipstick colors over the last 5 years. My current favorites are Rosemancing {for darker, first photo below} or New York {for lighter, second photo below}. Every color looks different on each person! I cannot understate the need to find one of their real girl models who share a similar skin color and undertone to you instead of just the main image for each product. It’ll help you find a fave! And if you still can’t decide…their team is chock-full of kind people. My friend Ashley is ready to find the best addition to your makeup bag.

Rosemancing RAL Lipstick

 

New York RAL Lipstick

 

And, of course, I have a HUGE giveaway {thanks, Red Apple Lipstick team!} where 2 lucky people will win Exfoliator, Rallye Balm, and a lipstick of your choice!

To enter, head on over to my Instagram today through next week and follow the instructions on the Red Apple Lipstick photo. For those of you reading this post, thank you! Extra entry if you leave a comment telling me what makeup product or lipstick color you’d like RAL to add to your routine next.

RAL Styled Photo

I want to thank RAL for their dedication to products that are made of high-quality ingredients {entire line is GF/vegan}. Here’s to 5 more years of feeling more beautiful with your products by my side!

Take it easy, but take it.

Brianna

*This post was sponsored by Red Apple Lipstick; all opinions are, of course, my own. I simply love this brand.*

ADSG 5th Birthday Featured Brand: BFree Foods

Continuing our big ADSG 5th birthday celebration with a brand feature for a company that has helped me through the last 5 years: BFree Foods!

A few years ago, I attended a GFAF Expo in Chicago after my discovery that eggs were a big no-no for my system. Every bread option I’d come to trust was suddenly a big strike and I felt lost. Though I do follow a low-carb diet, having an open-face sandwich or a roll with dinner is important to me. Who doesn’t love some warm, toasty bread?

I struck up a conversation with Freya Ivory, the senior brand manager at BFree, who told me their entire product line was egg free — music to my ears!

I grabbed a haul of sliced bread, rolls, pita, and tortilla wraps and lugged it around the show floor. Finally– I thought to myself– a safe bread option.

Little did I know that not only is the BFree Foods line entirely safe– but that the rolls are perfectly low carb and that the pita pockets actually slice open. To all my celiac readers, you know what a welcome surprise that is! Pita that slices?! You bet. Rolls that don’t crumble?! You bet. Wraps that don’t break?! You bet, again.

BFree Foods Bagels

 

While my favorites of their line are the white/brown rolls and the newer bagels {holy moly, the everything bagel is not to miss!}, you can’t go wrong with any one of their products. My boyfriend, Ben, looks forward to Sunday brunch when we break out the bagels with his Philly cream cheese and my Green Valley Organics Lactose-Free Cream Cheese or newly beloved Kite Hill Chive Dairy Free Cream Cheese with lots of lox and endless cups of coffee.

I recently had some people over for a continental-type breakfast and BFree products were the star of the show. People picked what they wanted, popped it in my toaster, and slathered a topping of choice. Delight-filled hums were heard throughout the house.

BFree Foods Continental Breakfast

Their products are becoming more widely available– found in stores like Meijer, Safeway, Hy Vee, King Sooper, etc.– but you can also find them on Gluten Free Mall. See their site for more details.

And, of course, I have a HUGE giveaway {thanks, BFree team!} where 2 lucky people will win one of every item in the line!

To enter, head on over to my Instagram today through next week and follow the instructions on the BFree photo. For those of you reading this post, thank you! Extra entry if you leave a comment with what product you’d like BFree to add to your table next.

I want to thank BFree Foods for their dedication to products that are free of all major allergens {making them entirely GF/vegan}. Here’s to 5 more years of delicious meals and a happy tummy with your products by my side!

Take it easy, but take it.

Brianna

*This post was sponsored by BFree Foods; all opinions are, of course, my own. I simply love this brand.*