Wining and Dining with Grocery Outlet

I grew up going to the Grocery Outlet with my mom. As a kid, it was just another grocery store. Now, as an adult? It’s an awesomely priced grocery store that doesn’t “feel” like a discount store – it’s a nice, clean store with tons of well-known brands like Toms of Maine, Kind Bar, Mamma Chia, Land of Lakes, Horizon Organic, Chobani, Driscoll’s, Kelloggs, and more. When Grocery Outlet offered me a chance to check out their new store in Sun Valley, Calif. in exchange for a giftcard, I was in faster than a kitten with a laser pointer.

What are some of the deals we got? Chobani Vanilla Greek Yogurts, for .59c each. A pound of bacon for $2.99. A wheel of French brie for $2.99. Bagged caesar salad kits for $2.49. A pack of 15 Health Warrior Chia Bars for $7.99 (retails for $21!). I spent $100 and came out with a packed cart – and the best part was, we had three bottles of wine, one bottle of prosecco, and two craft beers. (My husband, a homebrewer and beer enthusiast, wanted me to add that he was “very impressed” by the craft beer section.) WineMeDineMeGrocery Outlet is having a wine sale from today through July 26th – and you’ll find deals on wine 50% to 80% off. That’s a huuuuge savings, and if you’re a vino fan like myself, you’ll want to get in on this. Here’s a few notes from sommelier Spreti Valenti on a couple of the wines I picked up:

  • Masquerade Prosecco: Sparkly wine with notes of peaches, yellow apples, and pears. Make a bellini with a spoonful of freshly pureed peaches, and top with prosecco. Cheers! (I’m going to have this on a Friday night while watching Mr. Robot on Netflix.) $7.99.
  • Ol’ Red: Supports local sourcing, with notes of blackberries, raspberries, plum, and leather. Excellent for bold red wine lovers and served with hamburgers or grilled sausages. We picked up some cajun style andouille, and I think serving this with those would make for an excellent Creole night. $3.99. (That’s cheaper than my preferred drink at Starbucks.)

I also picked up a merlot from Toad Hollow, one of my favorite Northern California wineries, and a garnacha called Layer Cake that’s oh so delectable. The hubby picked out some Lagunitas IPA (gotta represent our Petaluma home-base brewery) and a Stone IPA.

As a side note, while you’re stocking up your home bar, you probably want to check out the produce section, as there were some really great prices like 6 lemons for $1.00, and many organic choices, too. They also had Essie nail polishes for $2.99 (usually 8 bucks at Target), and Kiss My Face baby sunscreen for $3.99.

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So whadda ya say? Sounds like a good deal, right? Find out if there’s a Grocery Outlet near you, and go pick up some bubbly or grown-up grape juice today!

Disclosure: I received a gift card in exchange for sharing my thoughts about the upcoming Grocery Outlet Wine Sale and my shopping experience.

Review: Great Low Carb Bread Company

Hi DCDers! Told ya I’d be back, just in limited capacity. I hope you’ve stopped by to check out my new haunts at LaLaLyssa.com. I’ve been going strong with a low-carb eating plan the past month (no white rice, potatoes, bread, sugar, muffins, pasta, etc), and when the Great Low Carb Bread Company reached out to me with an offer to try their breads in exchange for review, I immediately said yes. When you’re following a low-carb plan, you get to a point where maybe you don’t care so much about sugar (in my case), but you’d gnaw the case off your laptop if it would taste like freshly baked bread.

Cinnamon Bagel with Strawberry Cream Cheese. So Delicious!

Cinnamon Bagel with Strawberry Cream Cheese. So Delicious!

GLCB sent me four items of my choice, and I opted for Everything Bagels, Cinnamon Bagels, Pumpkin Spice Bread, and Sourdough Bread. The minute the goodies arrived at my door, I cracked open the Everything Bagels and popped one in the toaster. You’ll notice these products feel more dense than traditional breads and bagels, and that’s because instead of carb-arific flour that does nothing for you nutritionally, these are made out of ground flaxseed, almond flour, and oat fiber. The bagel toasted up beautifully and received a hearty schmear of cream cheese. I took one bite and was so glad that I was eating a BAGEL. Now, the texture was good, how about the taste? If you bite into this expecting a Noah’s bagel, you’ll be disappointed. But if you bite into this knowing that it’s low carb, good for you, and only 120 calories and 2g net carbs? You’ll be very pleased. The taste is good, slightly nutty, with a nice chewy, finish. I loved the flavored breads most – pumpkin spice bread and the Everything bagel were my favorites out of the bunch. It’s certainly light years ahead of some other low-carb “bread” products — for example, the low carb tortilla that my friend recently said “was so bad that I felt like I was eating the bath mat.” You won’t have that problem with GLCB.

Peanut butter porn, courtesy of natural peanut butter, cacao nibs, and the Great Low Carb Bread Company

Peanut butter porn, courtesy of natural peanut butter, cacao nibs, and the Great Low Carb Bread Company

I’ve actually been having their breads for breakfast every day for nearly a week and a half, and my favorite combo is the Pumpkin Spice Bread (above) with peanut butter and cacao nibs, or the Cinnamon bagel with strawberry cream cheese. One nice thing about being on a lower carb eating plan is that you can be a little bit more liberal with dietary fat, so you’re free to top these yummy breads with delicious spreads and butters.

Let’s talk shop now, nutritionally. Sure, they taste good — but are they good for you? Let’s take a look at the nutritional stats for my fav, the Pumpkin Spice Bread.

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I’m no nutritionist, but my vote would be yes. There’s no nasty chemicals in these — no malitol, no isotols, no aspartame, no splenda – just stuff you can actually pronounce, for only 3g fat and 1 net carb per serving. I’m sold.

You can purchase these breads, bagels, and even pretzels, cakes, muffins, hot dog buns, and paleo breads online at the Great Low Carb Shop. The breads and bagels run around $7.99 per package, which might seem spendy to someone used to dropping $3 on a loaf of bread — but this is a specialty product and is worth it if you miss bread! If you try them, drop me a note and let me know what you liked best. I noticed that their bakery is a mere 7 miles from my house, so I learned I can pick up, since I’m local! Love it when companies let you do that. If you’re not local? Don’t fret — their shipping is affordable considering they’re shipping you super fresh baked goods. (PS: Don’t forget to freeze these right upon receipt. All this deliciousness holds up best in the arctic breeze of your freezer (and it thaws easily in the toaster)).

Have a lovely low-carby day!

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Mamma Chia’s Clean Energy Drinks Review and Giveaway

Hi everyone! The day after Christmas, I started to get that too familiar tickle in my throat. The next day it got a little worse, until finally, I got a full blown cold. The cold is pretty much over (whew), but then today I woke up with a cough and sore throat….boo. Pretty sure I caught what my friend has. Gah, weakened immune system! Needless to say, my house being the equivalent of the sick bay on a ship isn’t helping me plow through my work day. What is helping is homemade chicken soup and a few well-timed boosts… like the Mamma Chia Clean Energy Drink.

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It is the FIRST beverage that combines the power of chia (remember these gummy, crunchy seeds?) with the clean energy of guayusa (gwhy-you-sa) resulting in a yummy drink. It’s made with organic fruit juices and is lightly sweetened (14g cane sugar). One bottle has:

  • More than an entire day’s worth of Omega-3s (2500 mg)
  • 25 percent of one’s daily fiber (6 grams)
  • 4 grams of complete protein
  • 90 mg of natural caffeine (about as much in an 8 oz. cup of coffee)
  • Twice the antioxidants of a cup of green tea
  • Calcium, powerful antioxidants and valuable minerals
  • 120 calories
  • The filling power to tide you over until your next meal, thanks to those jelly seeds.

These drinks, which come in four flavors, (my favorite is grape!) are Non-GMO Verified, gluten-free, vegan, Kosher and USDA Certified Organic. These will be about $2.99 and can be found at Vons, Whole Foods, Safeway and Target, starting now. Now, what good would it be if I raved about them without giving you a chance to try? Mamma Chia has kindly offered 1 Double Chin Diary reader a whole set of Mamma Chia Energy Drinks (4 drinks), a Mamma Chia Camel Bak Water Bottle, and a week supply of Mamma Chia Chia Squeezes!

Just follow the steps listed on the Rafflecopter to earn entries, and don’t forget to tell your friends. US Only, 18+. Good luck!!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


The Epic Double Chin Diary Holiday Gift Guide

Ah, the holidays. The smell of chestnuts roasting (really, who does that?), family fighting (now that’s more likely), and the season of sales, sales, and sales, causing us all to stress out about the perfect gift when really it doesn’t matter. However, because gifts are kind of a thing, I’ve rounded up some new favorites for your consideration for those who like relaxing, cooking, fashion, and exercise. All of these gifts were sent to me gratis in exchange for mention (but only if I really liked them – two got the axe!). This post also contains affiliate links, so if you click on something and buy it, I might make four cents (I’m rich!). Enjoy — and be sure to read carefully as you have a few chances to win some of these goodies for yourself!

1) Royal Silk Scarf by World Vision

Looking for the perfect thoughtful gift for your world conscious friend? Consider this royal silk scarf from WorldVision. Vietnam’s Ma Chau villagers weave these traditional silky smooth scarves, helping to provide them with a sustainable income. This scarf is 68″ long, and has the most incredible colors and vibrancy.  Each is unique; size and color may vary slightly. You can make a suggested donation of $95, or enter an amount that’s meaningful to you. Want to see how purchasing from WorldVision works? Click here.

Alyssa rocks the World Vision Royal Silk Scarf

Alyssa rocks the World Vision Royal Silk Scarf

You know you want one of your own… so follow the steps below for your chance to win!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

2) Tiger Tail Classic

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Foam rolling both terrifies me and delights me; the concept of massaging painful, tight muscles is initially scary, mildly painful, and then after it’s sweet relief. When I heard about Tiger Tail, I knew I would need one of these puppies (kitties?) for my post-walk soreness. I packed it along with me on my trip to San Diego, and this thing was passed among my teammates with more enthusiasm than a box of chocolates. The small, compact size and quality build make it perfect for bringing along on trips, or for stashing in your house. Our traditional foam roller is bulky and giant, and this removes a lot of heft but still packs a punch. Plus, look at how adorable the packaging is! I loved this thing post 3-Day, and am super psyched about using it to roll out my muscles post-hike. The Classic is priced at $34.95, is made in the USA, easy to clean, and has a 3 year warranty. The next thing I’ll try out is the Knotty Tiger — I can really see that sorting out the giant knots in my neck!

The cutest sticker on the packaging!

The cutest sticker on the packaging!

3) Creekside Farms Kitchen Herb Wreath

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it’s too bad smellovision doesn’t exist yet on the web!

This is the type of thing that doesn’t come across my inbox too often; a gift that simultaneously makes me go “ooh, pretty” and “Ahhh, it smells good.” While I was initially struck by the photos of how stunning Creekside Farm’s Kitchen Herb Wreath is, when I received it, it was the amazingly lush smell of lavender, dill, oregano, sage, and rosemary that won me over. It looks great outside (away from direct light) and also inside, where you can see the naughty cat that isn’t supposed to be on the table. (She argues that the wreath smelled so good she just HAD to be closer to it.) This wreath would be the perfect gift for the Foodie in your life, and if you want a different style, check out my other favorite, the Sunflower wreath. Creekside Farms grows all of their own herbs, and they dry everything on site, truly making these family-created products artisanal.

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Stunning Kitchen Herb Wreath Scents Up The Kitchen

Visit Creekside Farms on Facebook here, and on Twitter here. Want 15% off your order? Use code CURAN. I know that I personally will be making an order for one of these beauties!

Gorgeous Up Close Shot of the Kitchen Herb Wreath by Creekside Farms

Gorgeous Up Close Shot of the Kitchen Herb Wreath by Creekside Farms

4) Natracure Heated Booties

So what if these are technically for Arthritis – after walking a ton of miles this past weekend in the 3-Day, I couldn’t wait to slip these babies on my feet. With separate microwavable gel inserts, you heat up the pads, stick ’em in the bottom of the super fuzzy velour slippers, slip them on and oooh and ahh your way to toasty relaxation. Better yet, these booties are coated on the inside with a smart gel lining, with 7 botanicals. My feet did actually feel smoother and smelled like a foot that had been freshly scrubbed at a spa. One tip with these: don’t walk in them! Thankfully I Googled it online before I took a step and burst the gel packs, but these booties are meant to be worn 5-10 minutes at a time to heat up your tired tootsies, and they’re worn best when you’re relaxin’ in one spot. These retail for $49.99 and are great for people with foot pain and stiffness, and you can also find a pair designed just for the hands. Time for relaxation!

Cozy and comfy in Natracure's Heated Booties

Cozy and comfy in Natracure’s Heated Booties

5) Goody QuikStyle Brush

Ever since I got my hair cut and colored, I’ve been making an effort to actually style my hair rather than throwing it in a sloppy bun. Part of that means blow drying my hair, and since I’m lazy, I like to exert minimal effort. That’s where the Quikstyle comes in – an awesome, space age looking hair brush that has microfiber tufts between the bristles. I had actually seen this brush in stores and wanted to try it, so when it came through my inbox I figured this would be a fun one to review.

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The awesome Goody Quikstyle

While initially I was skeptical, it does actually dry your hair as you brush through it. And, it’s designed smart, so antimicrobial microfiber keeps the brush fresh and inhibits mold or mildew growth. Seeing is believing, so how about you enter to win one yourself by following the steps below? The Goody Quick Style Paddle Brush is six bucks on Amazon.com, a perfect stocking stuffer for the lady in your life who needs a darling ‘do on the go.

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a Rafflecopter giveaway

I hope you’ll consider some of these goodies for the loved ones in your life this holiday season. What’s on your wishlist?

Sweet Leaf Sweet Drops Review & Giveaway: All Natural Soda Alternative

SweetLeaf_SteviaLeaf_WaterEnhancers_DoubleChinDiaryDisclosure: I received free samples of Sweet Leaf Sweet Drops in exchange for a review.

It’s now been about a year since I gave up my dark master (Diet Pepsi) for good. I still crave it every now and then, but I find if I go for it and order a soda, the first few sips are like “Blech! Why did I used to think this stuff was good?” I now drink a ton of iced tea, perrier, and water, and occasionally I’ll splurge on something delicious and caloric, like a Mexican Coca Cola or Izze. When an announcement about Sweet Leaf ended up in my inbox, I knew I wanted to try it. The problem with so many water enhancers or flavor additives is that they’re full of garbage and chemicals, or if they’re low-cal, they’re packed with aspartame. Sweet Leaf is USDA Certified Organic, Non-GMO project verified, gluten-free, and zero carb/calorie.

Upon first tasting, I thought the drops tasted good, but there wasn’t enough flavor. I was putting two drops in per 8 ounces of sparkling water. Then, I read the directions again and realized it was two drops per OUNCE of sparkling water. Duh! No wonder I wasn’t getting the flavor I wanted. I re-did it and was pleasantly surprised at the simultaneous sweet but light taste of Sweet Drops. My favorite of the four flavors I tried (Lemon, Berry, Orange, Cola) was definitely cola, followed by orange. Another small but important thing to me? No gross coloring. The Cola flavor adds a very slight caramel tint to the water, but you’re not getting any hues that will turn your tongue into a rainbow.

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These are affordable ($9.99 for a three pack), and the small size is easy to slip into your purse to have your own flavored water anywhere you go. I liked using the berry flavor in still water with a few smashed raspberries — it felt like a fancy cocktail, but with no calories and no booze. I like, I like. Sweetleaf also carries funky flavors like Pumpkin Spice, Peppermint Mocha, Chocolate Raspberry, Rootbeer, and Grape. Can you imagine baking with these, or using them as yummy flavors for coffee? My friends at Sweetleaf are giving you a chance to win a full-sized bottle of Cola drops (ARV $15.44), and all you have to do is “like” Sweetleaf on Facebook. This is on the honor system, and I will be checking that the winner has “liked” Sweetleaf on Facebook. Once you’ve “liked” them on Facebook, please leave a comment on this blog post. I’ll give you two extra entries each for sharing on Facebook or sending a tweet — let me know if you do those actions in the comment you leave. I’ll pull a winner a week from now, next Sunday at 8:50 p.m. GOOD LUCK!

Enter for a chance to win! Simply Like Sweetleaf on Facebook and leave a comment.

Enter for a chance to win! Simply Like Sweetleaf on Facebook and leave a comment.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Define Brave: Katie K. Active Wear Review

Do you guys remember that time I raved about Taffy Activewear? Taffy is a stylish boutique clothing line with super high quality athletic wear for curvy chicks like myself. A few months ago, I found out that the creator of Taffy, Katie K. herself, also had another activewear line called Katie K. Active. I was offered the opportunity to be a #definebrave ambassador, and I’m excited to tell you more about this cool line of clothing.

Defining Brave with Katie K. Activewear

Katie K. Does something I wish all clothing lines would do- offer the same pieces in standard and plus sizes (Sizes 2 – 24, to be exact)! One thing I’m looking forward to about getting out of plus sizes is having better variety in clothes. Last week at Kohl’s, I saw an adorable t-shirt with bicycles all over it. Had I wanted to squeeze myself into the large, sausage style, I could have, but that’s not my jam. I want to feel comfortable in the clothes I’m in, not constantly be worried about an escaping muffin top. I was delighted when I was browsing the Katie K line online and was able to pick a plus version of every style they offer. I ended up choosing: The Katie K. Signature Capri,  the Signature Jacket in Black,and the Signature Racer Back Tank in Coral. As a bonus, I also received a Signature Headband to match my cute coral tank.

AlyssaCurran_KatieKaCtive3One of the first things you’ll notice about this line is the quality. As someone who usually wears Old Navy activewear, I’m not used to athletic clothes that actually have great fabric quality. The fabric on all three pieces is tough, yet soft, and the seams are all strong and even. The capris are perfect because they smooth out my wobbly bits, sucking in my tummy to give me the sleek look I’m working out for. The capris also have a nice reflective design on the lower leg (that match the same design on the sleeve of the jacket), a nice nod to visibility safety.

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The jacket might be my favorite because it has thumb loops!!! This is great for lifting weights or walking in less than desirable weather, because you can keep your wrists and upper hands covered. I was so jazzed about this I had to take a picture of this feature alone. You also have pockets with zip closures, and a hood. The jacket seems to be the same material as the pants, so you have a nice stretch but also a flattering cut that streamlines your silhouette.

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The top is sweat wicking and comes in a criss cross racer style tank. My next purchase is definitely going to be this adorable coral cowl neck top (in fact, I’d probably wear this for a night out – not to the gym! It’s that cute!).  I’d really recommend you look into Katie K., and the time is right, because they’re running a 40% off sale right now only with code ALYSSA40! I may have to get myself a few items… Who can resist a sale?

Have you heard of Katie K. Active? Be sure to check them out on social media and say hi!

Correction: An earlier version said the capris do not have pockets. The Capris DO have pockets, they’re just so slim and sleek I missed ’em!

Stuff my lawyer made me say: This outfit was provided to me free of charge in exchange for accepting an Ambassador role with Katie K., helping to share news and information on social media. This post contains affiliate links, which might make me a few nickels if ya click ’em. (So click ’em!) 😉 Please let me know if you have any questions!