Thursday, September 3, 2015



You can still get all the great beauty news and reviews you have ever wanted on my NEW SITE!

Live a Fire-Driven Life with the Right Foods

With so many health and diet books on the shelves, how do you know which one to chose that’s right for you and your lifestyle? I’ve tried many, read most, stuck with, well, none.  I retain a lot of the info that goes along with it, but I don’t always make the right choices.

Enter Vanessa Chamberlin’s new book: The Fire-Driven Life: How to Ignite the Fire of Self-Worth, Health, and Happiness with a Plant-Based Diet. Chamberlin, Certified Holistic Health Practitioner and Lifestyle Coach Vanessa has figured a way to write a book that reads like a (very smart) friend telling you how to enjoy your life. I absolutely loved this book! It’s a cookbook, a health book, an advice book, a life manual. I can open it at any page, glean some info, and out it to use in my life instantly.

Her book focuses on food in three ways- all to have a fire-driven life. The “PlantFire” diet is based on foods’ metabolic activity. Green-Fire or “go” foods are foods that you can eat at any time; Yellow-Fire or “caution” and Red-Fire or “stop” foods should be used sparingly; and No-Fire foods are foods that should be avoided at all times.

“My book is a not a standard ‘plant-based’ vegan cookbook,” explains Chamberlin. “It’s a manual for living a ‘Fire-Driven Life,’ which means a life that’s healthy, inspiring and fulfilling. Upon reading the book, I hope you become super-charged to not only change your diet but also become armed with a healthier toolbox that will help fuel every aspect of a your health, happiness, and wellbeing.”

The book begins with histories and information on foods and origins of things most people think are healthy but aren’t really. Recipes for smoothies, dinners, recommendations on going out to eat and visiting at friends’ houses and info plus charts and a detailed glossary, seasonal produce chart, and recommended resources

This book does not talk down to you- rather it lifts you up and inspires you. Vanessa’s pictures of her family and friends enjoying a fire-driven life shows that she isn’t a lofty celeb sipping a coconut on a mountain spa somewhere- she’s in her kitchen cooking for her family, and most importantly- enjoying life!

I for one love to enjoy food, and the recipes and info in this book strive to create the balance between eating well and enjoying food so you can better enjoy a fab quality of life.

I was inspired by Vanessa’s book to try a variation of salsa- I used slim sweet peppers and tomatoes from the CSA, plus limes, black beans, sea salt, and pepper! I enjoyed a lovely array of colors from my veggies and beans.

Get inspired and start living a Fire-driven life!! Fall is the perfect time to reinvent yourself.

Vanessa Chamberlin holds nutrition and coaching certifications from the Institute of Integrative Nutrition, The Institute for the Psychology of Eating, Cornell University, SUNY Purchase, and the Wellness Forum, where she is certified as a Lifestyle Medicine Practitioner. She is accredited through the American Association of Drugless Practitioners (AADP), is a member of the National Charity League, and is a board member of both Create a Change Now and The Miss Nevada Scholarship Organization
Chamberlin’s Fire-Driven Lifestyle includes a TV series, several books, and various events centered on the PlantFire cooking style. She also owns Vasari, a luxury clothing and shoe boutique in Las Vegas, where she lives with her husband and two daughters.

The Fire-Driven Life can be purchased from Amazon and all major booksellers.

Delish recipe from Vanessa's book:

Chia Raspberry Cookies


2/3 cup raw cashews
2 pitted dates
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
1 pinch Himalayan salt
¾ cup raw or rolled oats

½ cup raspberries
3 pitted dates, cut into small pieces
1 tablespoon chia seeds

Combine cashews, dates, vanilla, salt and 1 teaspoon water in food processor. Blend for 2-3 minutes or until thick, chunky paste is achieved. Add oats, and process until mixture starts sticking together.
Roll dough into 20 small balls, then place on baking sheet. Make thumbprint indentations in center of each ball. Refrigerate for 2-6 hours or until firm.

Process raspberries, dates and 3 table spoons water in a blender until mostly smooth, but with some chunks or until desired consistency is reached.
Transfer to a small bowl and stir in chia seeds.

Fill each cookie’s indent with 1 ½ teaspoon jam. Store in single layer in sealed container in refrigerator.


Pictures Courtesy of Vanessa Chamberlin

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Pantry Escapades: Shrimp Salsa

I was trying to use up my CSA veggies and I ended up creating a lunch and dinner for two days! 

I used a can of rinsed low-sodium black beans, three large yellow tomatoes chopped, two small red tomatoes, 2 small sweet peppers, chopped.

I then added the juice of two lines, fresh diced avocado, a handful of husked ground cherries ( little orange pearl 'tomatoes' that are sweet!) and sliced up an ear of corn kernels.

I tossed all the ingredients with sea salt, pepper, and cilantro, and added a handful of frozen cooked shrimp. 

I love making this recipe because you can use whatever is on hand! 

September Goals!

September 2015 Goals!
Be super-awesome at my day job

Stay under budget and pay down the credit cards

Get two new writing/PR clients

Squeeze every bit of sunshine & summer out of September

Downsize house clutter and stuff by 5%

Kayak, swim, cook more, and spend time with my awesome family and great friends.

Have lots of fun and stay thankful and grateful!

What are your goals?

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Summer is Still Rockin at Valley Beach in KoP

So…the unofficial end to summer is nigh, but as we head into another heat wave, your local pool and the shore are always good options. But there’s one gem that has a pool, AND a beach, AND great food AND drinks AND it’s closer than you think..AND it will stay open til September 30…an entire month from now!

Nestled in the crux of the casino, the convention center, and the Radisson, this King of Prussia sparkling jewel has a huge glorious pool, comfy lounge chairs, a sandy beach with games, waitress service, a bar, live music and DJs after dark, a huge lounge area with fire pits and couches. Or, enjoy a cabana for a small get together!

It’s just $10 a day for patrons to visit the pool, and if you are a registered hotel guest or Valley Forge Casino card-holder you can come on in and splash around!

The food and drinks are great- it’s your typical bar food, but with fresh, flavorful twists! Try the Summer Shandy Steamed Shrimp, or the Fresh Coconut Fried Shrimp with Curry Sauce. The Mandarin Sesame Seed Chicken Tenders are fantastic. Crab cakes, jerk chicken, sandwiches, and more all are on the menu.

So summer ain’t over yet, kiddos. Enjoy every minute of sunshine at Valley Beach!

Valley Beach Hours: 9am – Dusk Daily for Pool Access
Valley Beach Restaurant & Bar Hours: Thursday & Friday: 2pm – close
Saturday & Sunday hours: 11am – close

Must be 21+
Guests under 21 are welcome if accompanied by a registered hotel guest until 6pm daily.
Children must be accompanied by an adult.
Enjoy a stay at the hotel and visit the casino!

Photography by Samara Messer.

Special thanks to the Valley Beach team, especially Veronica, Mark, Stephen, and Kristen!