Every Flavor of Dairy-Free Halo Top Ice Cream, Ranked

Certain foods have no substitute. Seitan will never taste like steak, and vegan “cheese” is an oxymoron. I’m not a vegan or vegetarian, but I’m drawn to meat-alternative proteins such as tofu and tempeh (this tempeh is my all-time fave), and have been trying to cut back on my dairy. I also don’t have a sweet tooth… except for ice cream. I hate getting my knuckles all sticky, cajoling enough of the rock-hard confection out of its carton to fill a cup bowl, yet I haven’t the will power to take just a bite or two and put it back. Halo Top ice cream was made for people like me. At least in theory. And when all of their dairy-free flavors were on sale at the store, it was like a sign (there was literally a sign). I’d had the oatmeal cookie dairy flavor and loved it, so I trial-and-errored my way through the non-dairy flavors only to find error after error. Sorry vegans. There’s a reason they put the “cream” in ice cream.

  1. Boiled chicken
  2. Poi
  3. Rice cakes
  4. .Wet paper
  5. Every flavor of Dairy-Free Halo Top ice cream

See what I did there?

I’ve also tried Arctic Zero, which was another fail. Is there a non-dairy ice cream out there that doesn’t make you feel like you’re being punished? Please share!

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Unboxing Splendid Spoon

I know, I feel like an asshole for kowtowing to this whole unboxing fad, but I was so excited and curious about my first Splendid Spoon shipment that I thought it would be fun to share firsthand:

I just tried the Broccoli Hempseed soup. It was delish. And not just good-for-a-premade-healthy-soup delicious, but actually satisfying.

Photo via splendidspoon.com

My one complaint is a common pet peeve I have with portioned foods: When you read the nutrition label, it says that each of these containers includes two servings. C’mon now. Half of this little bowl is not enough to sustain anyone larger than a toddler for more than a minute. So when you’re looking at the calories, etc, you have to double it. This still puts you in at under 500 calories for lunch, not to mention all of the green goodness that comes with it. Both servings in that little container pack 40% of your daily iron!

I’m not under the delusion that five days of smoothies and soups per week alone will get me back to my happy weight, but it can’t hurt. One of the most convincing elements in the onslaught of Instagram ads was the testimonial of one woman who said she dropped five pounds in the first week. Again, not expecting miracles, but it gives me hope. Combining a healthy diet with meditation, less alcohol and more exercise (yoga, walking, and resistance band workouts) will hopefully yield some results in time for swimsuit season. Nothing like waiting ’til the last minute!

If this doesn’t work, I’m going to do my Drug Test Diet. That’s when you pretend you’re about to get drug tested for a new job. Spend seven days drinking as much water as you can and excessive exercise to sweat out as much “THC” as you can from your system and you would not believe what it will do for your figure:)

6 Snippets of Magazine Inspiration

So much of my mom life is spent in waiting rooms, lobbies, and my mobile waiting room (aka, the car). Yesterday, I found myself waiting my way through a doctor appointment followed by a haircut. Between books and sick of scrolling through Instagram, I picked up a couple of magazines. I LOVE magazines. Whoever says print is dead, is dead to me. I love the feel of the lightweight coated paper between my fingers. And my favorite magazines mean talented editors at the mast who curate inspiring, beautiful, and sometimes surprising content in a layout that’s at once striking and flowing. I. Love. Print. Magazines.

When I find myself playing the waiting game, and I actually have time to read a magazine or two from cover to cover (I read from back to front, does anyone else do that?), I devour them like a pint of Halo Top ice cream.

When I find articles or helpful tidbits, it’s not enough for my scattered brain to make a mental note. I might as well ask my three-year-old to write it down for me. I wouldn’t be so gauche as to steal an entire magazine from a waiting room or tear out a page, rather I take photos. Yesterday’s bounty was reaped mainly from the April 2018 Redbook with the exception of one recipe from a winter edition of Real Simple.  Not as simple as hitting a “share” button, but I want to spread the love. Here are my finds:

  1. What a friend we have in cheeses. I must admit, I borrowed that headline from an editor I worked for years ago in Charlotte. It’s still my favorite of all time. And it suits these beautiful appetizers that I think I could actually make myself. Look how pretty!
    Credit:Redbook

    2. Seedy. I can do so well with my diet, but lack of a good snack in the car or at night always gets me in the end. This spin on sunflower seeds sounds so munch worthy.

    Credit:Redbook

    3. Leaf conquers all. I’m forever in search of a salad that sounds better than pasta or a sandwich. This one fits the lunch bill, plus it makes enough for four days!

    Credit:Redbook

    4. Something in ramen. This recipe for ramen looks way better than the stuff I made in college (and let’s face it, still sometimes make late night), and it sounds like it could actually live up to its “easy” promises.

    Credit:Real Simple

    5. Shake what your mama made ya. They describe this meditation jar for adults, but I want to do this craft with my kids and make one for each of them as well!

    Credit:Redbook

    6. Here comes the sun (screen). And I say, it’s more than all right. All this time I’ve been looking for a daily SPF lotion to wear under my makeup. Why didn’t I think of something like this setting mist? Brilliant!

    Credit:Redbook

     

    I love websites, but print magazines will always hold a special place in my heart. Do you prefer print magazines or websites, or both?

6 Things I Want on My Face Right Now

OK, so one of those is Robert Downey, Jr. But the rest have to do with the endless challenge of not looking tired all of the time. Everyone’s response to my sallow complexion and chin acne is, “Oh, well you have kids.” And until my youngest turned two (yes it took until she was two), it was, “You just had a baby! Don’t be so hard on yourself.” While I appreciate the blind support, this is not something that just started when I became a mom. There was the time I came off the plane from a bachelorette party in my mid-twenties, and I was mistaken for a young woman (then prominently in the news) who had been held captive in a third-world country for several months. While I love the idea of self care, and can even rationalize buying cosmetics and skincare products, they always seem to add up so quickly. So I’ve made a wish list that I can reference when I’m ready to treat myself:

  1. Weleda Skin Food

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Though Weleda’s self-proclaimed “best beauty secret” has been around since 1926, I’m just finding out about it. (Hence the secret, I suppose.) But if I had a product that was an all-purpose, cure-all skin cream, which gave that dewy glow with the tap of my fingertips, I’d be shouting it from the rooftops. Customers rave about Skin Food for their hands, feet, cuticles, lips, and even to add shine to dry, curly hair (um, hello!). And I probably should have led with this, but Rihanna and Victoria Beckham don’t leave home without it.

2. The Magic Pads

I’ve decided that drag queens have the best makeup and skincare secrets. A former drag queen and makeup artist did my makeup for an event the other week. I told him the chin acne he was covering up had been plaguing my face since I was pregnant with my daughter four years ago. “Magic Pads, Magic Pads, Magic Pads,” he replied with confidence. “Say it three times, and you will remember it.” I did, and can’t wait to try them.

3. Cloud Paint

I admit I got lured in by the name and am smitten by the packaging. And any time, a product promises a “flushed-from-within glow,” I’m sold. This will be the next blush I buy.

4. Drunk Elephant Lala Retro Whipped Cream

My face is SO dry and dull, it’s like the skin equivalent of watching C-SPAN. This moisturizer doubles as a day and night cream, plus it hydrates and reduces fine lines. For the win: Drunk Elephant “never takes into account an ingredient’s synthetic or natural status, but instead chooses based on its safety and bio-compatibility.” That speaks to me.

5. The Ordinary Suncare

I was first drawn to The Ordinary through a post from The Cut about an easy, affordable skincare routine. Their product called The Buffet appealed to me the most because it’s the only one without a super sciency sounding name. Putting honesty and integrity above all else resonates with me, but if I’m being totally honest, I found the whole brand very confusing. However, after reading this The Ordinary Cheatsheet, I’m starting to wrap my head around what they’re all about, and I’m still on board. Now my sights are set on their sunscreen, which is supposedly due out anytime now. I LOVE a good, affordable daily sunscreen. Their site says “coming soon.” I will keep stalking them until it comes out. It has to be out before pool season, right?

What’s on your beauty wish list?

Would You Rather: Mom Edition

In the movie About A Boy, Hugh Grant’s character explains how he divides up his days into units of time. Taking a bath: one unit. Exercising: three units. I also measure my day in increments, but rather than the arbitrary units of a bored, rich playboy, I view my minutes in a very specific, valuable commodity called sleep. Choosing sleep over anything else almost always results in a sacrifice of some kind, be it my appearance or basic hygiene. What used to be a fun party game (Would you rather eat shit that tastes like chocolate, or eat chocolate that tastes like shit?) has turned into my daily life. And I always lose. Maybe I love sleep more than the average person. Maybe I’m more ambivalent about showering than the average person. You tell me. How would you answer these questions?

1.

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My answer: This is a tough one. Five minutes more of sleep in the morning is gold, and if I’m drinking coffee on the way to the bus stop, it’s going to immediately counteract my fresh breath anyhow. There used to be nothing I hated more than morning teeth (that nasty filmy feeling) and my own morning breath… until my kids started crawling into bed with us at 2am, stealing the covers, waking up the dogs who then need to go out, and jumpstarting my anxiety at an ungodly hour. It honestly depends on the morning. Though if I’m going to do one thing (besides get dressed, which is not a given if I’m coming back home after taking the kids to school), this is it.

2.

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My answer: First, 15 minutes is a conservative estimate given how thick my hair is. It almost takes five full minutes just to get it all wet. And then if I dare to shave my legs (it will have been at least a couple of weeks since the last time), add another five minutes. Not to mention all of the product I have to lacquer myself with from head to toe when I get out. So let’s call this 30 extra minutes of sleep, and let’s say that when I do shower (which is not often enough) it’s usually in the evening after my husband gets home.

3.

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My answer: I hardly ever wear makeup even when I do have the time to put it on, although I love the idea of any product that will make me appear well-rested and all dewy and glowy. And I do love my Burt’s Bees tinted lip balm. I really do need a morning skin care routine, but right now I usually end up hitting the snooze button a second time, rush to make the kids’ lunches, curse myself for not making their lunches the night before, and maybe slap on some moisturizer with SPF (I’m not a savage) before running out of the house with my stank morning breath.

4.

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My answer: Ok, this one has nothing to do with sleep, but I’ve been thinking about it a lot and still don’t know which one is worse.

“I’m not a turd.”

I assured my son that not only was I not “a turd” as he thought I had proclaimed, but that I also wasn’t deterred. He stood next to me as I examined myself, staring at my latest purchase — a full-length mirror — wearing my second latest purchase, vintage overalls. Size medium. They were tight (these are not skinny jean overalls), and they wouldn’t button on the sides. I double-checked the label to make sure the size was correct. I’ve never not fit into medium overalls before, but then again I haven’t worn overalls since college. A psychological blow like this would usually send me face first into a bottle of wine, but there were two things to consider:

  1. My kids. I promised myself when I became a mom that I would not project my crazy body image crap onto them. Just like arguing with my husband, this was something for the “behind closed doors” category. And there, both my kids were, standing next to me. Deep breath.
  2. Today also happens to be the day I started yet another plan to transform myself: BodyBoss. It’s one of those seemingly brilliant one-word-that-should-be-two-words fitness methods that targets women like myself in our Facebook feeds. Hook, line, and sinker.

It’s day one of my 16-week journey, and my ill-fitting overalls came at just the right time. I’m still optimistic that I can complete all 16 weeks, even though today kicked my butt when I quite literally couldn’t kick my own. One of the HIIT circuit exercises was butt kicks and I could. Not. Do it. My best looked more like a hobbling running-in-place motion. Like I’d been clubbed in the shins with a tire iron by my kidnapper while trying to escape, tried to keep going, but froze up in a mix of shock, pain, and fear. So basically how I always look and feel at the gym.

As with any other overwhelming life change, I just need to take it one day at a time. I’m holding myself accountable, but I also told my kids as I shrugged in my Liberty’s, “It’s no big deal. When I put these on in November, they’ll fit.” So I’m now accountable to them as they look forward to seeing me dressed like a farmer (they don’t get fashion yet). And now I’m accountable to you. I won’t post on Facebook every time I check into the gym or complete a training circuit. But you might here from me when I’m particularly proud (or ashamed) of myself… or when I’m feeling a little like a turd.

 

I’m Lindsey. I’m Disgusting…

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I share earbuds with total strangers at the gym. OK I really “borrow” them from the lost and found when I forget my own. But then I started to worry: Can I get herpes from this? Because I’m convinced I’m going to get an STD at my gym. Not because my gym is dirty. In fact, it’s super clean and almost spa-like. It’s more about karma and the fact that I can’t believe I avoided them in college (no matter what you might have heard, no kidding, there was quite the nasty rumor going around, and I know who started it, you know who you are).

On a particular day when my post-workout euphoria shifted into post-workout paranoia, I Googled “can you get herpes from sharing earbuds?” It showed up on not one, but several no-fly, fear-mongering listicles including:

According to BuzzFeed, my nasty habit can result in “infections, boils, or pustules.” Ew, ew, and/or ew. So no more shared headphones. If I forget my own, I’ll have to sing out loud to myself (sorry, elliptical neighbors). But onto the quite literally burning question: Can you get an STD at the gym? 

The first story that popped up in my research from the New York Times told of a potentially deadly staph infection you can possibly pick up on the mats. Of course, my eyes skipped over that at first and went straight to New HPV Warnings: You Can Get It at the Gym. Now, you can’t believe everything you read on the interwebs, but since I discovered this story on a lesser known site, I have read similar findings from what I consider trusted media outlets. It’s enough to give me yet another reason to avoid spin classes. And short shorts.

Also, when I started to type “Can I get an STD at …” into my search window, the following searches tried to automatically fill in my blank:

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So there goes all those foam parties I had on the books.

My Theme for 2017: Less is More

I’ve noticed a pattern in past new year’s resolutions: write more, exercise more, shower more. You see?

This year, as I stepped back to take a look at my proverbial plate, I thought to myself, why am I adding more? What could I take away from my life that would make it better?

  1. Facebook less. That’s not a typo, that’s “Facebook” as a verb. And that doesn’t mean I will be Instagramming more.
  2. Watch less TV. I’m currently in a bingewatching foggy hangover state from staying up way too late watching — don’t judge — season 2 of Girlfriends’ Guide to Divorce.
  3. Shop online less. It’s not so much that I buy a lot online, rather I go from site to site adding items to carts. “Lindsey, did you forget something?” is a popular email in my inbox. It’s therapeutic, but so is cutting.

Looking at my resolutions, you will see a theme within a theme. We spend 70% of our lives in front of digital media. Yipes. Admittedly some of these “less” resolutions may imply more of something else, but hopefully that will be a healthy natural reaction in the right direction, and not a force against the fibers of my being and all I hold dear. (Note, I did not say “drink less”. I’m not a masochist.)

Screw Prozac, I have my tulips.

One of my most favorite things about springtime: tulips. Purple tulips in particular (Dave if you are reading this, take note).

I had an empty milk bottle and Lucky Buddha beer bottle just waiting to reinvent themselves as vases.

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I love the way tulips are always reaching for the sun, at once twisty and optimistic — I can relate to that.

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I swear with all of this rainy, snowy gray weather and never-ending onslaught of germs, I thought I might break off the top of one of these bottles and use it for a whole other not-so-Pinterest-worthy purpose. So glad spring is here … just in time:)

How My Sister Found Her Inner Runner (While Mine is MIA)

I suck at math. This is not atypical of creative types who flourish in the right-brain arena. I have my writing, and I think I’m pretty good at it. I can accept the left-brain-lackthereof. But then, there are people like my sister, Jill, who can do it all. She was a math major at a top university, graduated summa cum laude and has a very successful finance/banking career. And then she has to go and be an amazing writer and athlete on top of it all. And she’s beautiful. I swear I didn’t develop a complex growing up. Not. At. All.

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Jill (left) and me at the Greenville Zoo a couple of years back.

But I long ago accepted that she and I both have our strengths and weaknesses (does she know all the words to Blues Traveler’s song “Hook”? Wait, she might. Damnit.), which makes it easy to be so proud of her when she writes something like this. Her running group asked her to contribute a blog post to their website about finding her inner runner. Oh yeah, she runs marathons, too. Bitch.

Since I have absolutely nothing to contribute to the running world and she did it in such a moving way, I felt compelled to share. Oh and for those of you like me who literally can’t run to save their lives, “PR” stands for “Personal Record,” not “Public Relations.” I think my inner runner is curled up on my inner sofa watching Grey’s Anatomy and eating nachos:

I sat in my car in the lot at CMC on Kings capturing a few more minutes of warmth before stripping off my sweatshirt and heading toward the start of the Hopebuilders 5K. In those few minutes, I took a moment to reflect and offer up a pre-race prayer. This was a ritual I had done countless times before races in high school, but have only recently come back to. The juxtaposition of it all is what hit me so hard sitting in my Jeep.

It was at that very hospital not more than five years earlier I sat in a room as the doctors and nurses came in to deliver the news. You know it is not a good sign when the first thing they do is hand you a box of Kleenex. When I was discharged and wheeled out to the car a week later, I had regained my ability to walk, but life certainly looked different to me. Even the sky seemed to have a different tint, like I was looking at the world through a lens.

That began a year where every day was punctuated with anxiety. Would this be the day I had another attack? And would I recover this time? What would happen to my family, my children? But life marched on and suddenly I was not so acutely conscious on a daily basis. To the point where reminders now consist of doctors’ appointments and near quarterly infusions.

Sitting in my car, it seemed nothing short of God’s grace and the strength it inspired that brought me from a time where I was exiting this lot via a wheelchair to this morning where I was limbering up to run a 5K – inarguably in the best shape of my adult life.

As I neared the last tenth of a mile, the timer indicated it would be near impossible to break the personal goal I had set for myself. Sure enough, I finished off by just 10 seconds. Undoubtedly, I left 10 seconds somewhere out there on the course. However, instead of racking my mind to determine where in the 3.1 miles I had let that go, I chose to focus on the fact that this was a PR for my post high school/collegiate career and more than a two-minute improvement over my time on the same course last year.

What happened between then and now? FiA. It has been nearly two years since I showed up at my first workout. While I do not deny the relative success I enjoyed as a runner as part of the Ballard cross country and track teams, the joy in running had long since faded for me. On my first Tuesday run – now affectionately known as the Diva Run – I was unsure whether I would make it five miles and was certainly not tied to any goal pace. Over the past couple of years, I have watched my mileage increase, my times drop, and even have my first marathon under my belt.

However, given all these tangible accomplishments, I am most grateful for the love of running that has been re-awakened. And this I owe to the friendships and the inspiration that comes from being part of FiA. It is so much more than being a member of a workout group. It is transformative – physically, mentally, spiritually.

For me, running had become a source of frustration – a reminder of what I used to be, but would never be again. Instead of joy, each step had become painful. My relationship with FiA inspired a running epiphany – the beauty of being part of a running community and letting the sheer joy of it carry you each step of the way. It is the “attitude of gratitude” that I now strive to always hold at the top of my conscious. It may not be my best day. Perhaps, I am sick, or deprived of sleep, or over-stressed. But when the alarm goes off in the wee hours of the morning, I get out of bed because I am so grateful for the opportunity. Grateful for my body that allows me to log in the miles, grateful for the women who are there to greet me and listen and share.

This epiphany is much bigger than running. It is more pervasive than that. It is a collective gratitude that applies to all facets of my work, my family, my relationships – including that with myself. I recognize that this is a journey and I am certainly not implying that I have everything figured out. But in re-discovering my inner-runner, I am getting re-acquainted with myself and the type of person that I want to be. For this, I am indebted to the beautiful friendships I have found in FiA.