Friday, November 21, 2014

Five Friday Favorites

Hey guys! It's Friday... that means it's time for another Five Friday Favorites! Here's some things I've discovered this week and have been absolutely loving:

1. Becca Mineral Powder Foundation

A few weeks ago I  tried out the Becca Perfect Skin Mineral Powder Foundation while I was at work, and I've had my eye on it ever since. I finally caved, and bought it. And I'm not disappointed. I've worn it every day this week! I'm usually not a huge fan of powder foundation, but this one is amazing. It actually gives really good coverage, and has a smooth, not cakey, finish. It keeps my skin matte, not dry, and lasts all day. It's perfect for early mornings when you don't want to spend the time on liquid foundation. I think this is the perfect, easy, every day, natural looking foundation.. (let's see, how many adjectives I can use for this product?) 

2. Almond Milk Hot Chocolate

I've been making this healthy hot chocolate almost every night before bed! It's the perfect sweet, hot treat at the end of the day! It's sugar free, and super easy to make. 

You'll need:

  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 Tbs. cocoa powder
  • Stevia
1. Whisk/mix all ingredients together.
2. Heat on the stove top or in the microwave.
3. Enjoy! 

3. English Toffee Stevia

I always sweeten things with stevia because it's a natural sugar free sweetener. I prefer the liquid kind by Sweet Leaf because they taste the best, are natural and mix well. I usually stick to the vanilla or plain flavor.. but this time I picked up the English Toffee. Game changer. It makes your coffee taste like a caramel latte. And it's amazing in oatmeal too!

4. Joey Kidney

Omg. This guy is one of my new favorite YouTubers. Seriously. I came across his videos a few days ago, and basically watched all his videos. He is so funny and such a nice person. He is encouraging and really puts a smile on my face every time I watch him. He ends every video with "Stay you, stay beautiful." Ahhhhh my heart melts. He's honestly one of the most sincere guys I've seen on YouTube, and doesn't try to be obnoxiously funny. I can't believe he's only been making videos for about a year! He's just himself- and I love that! Here's a few of my favorite Joey videos:

5. "Try" Music Video by Colbie Caillat 

The first time I saw this music video, I literally cried. I've loved this song since it came out, and I can't believe I just now watched the music video. Now I love the song even more.  I love the message that it gives and words cannot describe how amazing this video is. I think it's a message that more women need to hear every day... 

Okay! So those are my Friday favs! Let me know what you loved this week! Don't forget to follow me on Instagram @beautyandbananas and tag me if you try out any of my recommendations! 


Sunday, November 16, 2014

Healthy Brownie Recipe!

Who likes brownies? 
Ya.. I thought so.
I like brownies too. A lot.

I'm excited to share this recipe with you guys- my healthy, gluten free brownies! I know the words healthy and gluten free don't make brownies sound very appetizing...but these taste like the real deal. I have tried many "healthy" brownie recipes but usually they have a very "healthy"'s fine but it just doesn't taste like a real treat. Ya know? Well, this isn't that kind of recipe. These brownies really are fudgey and moist and sweet. Just like a real brownie. Plus- they're gluten/dairy free and only about 60 calories each! The perfect healthy treat! Here's how to make them:

  • 1 scoop MCT Lean Chocolate Vegan Protein Powder
  • 2 Tbs. almond flour
  • 1/4 coconut flour
  • 3 Tbs. cocoa powder
  • 1 ripe banana, mashed
  • 1 egg
  • *Stevia ( I used about 20 drops of liquid SweetLeaf Stevia)
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/4 dark chocolate chips or chopped chocolate
  • 1/4 cup almond milk

*If you don't have stevia, use a natural sweetener like coconut sugar or honey

(Pre-heat oven at 350 degrees)

1. In a large bowl, mix together all the dry ingredients: protein powder, almond flour, coconut flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and cinnamon

2. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg and stir in the mashed banana and stevia.

3. Slowly add the wet ingredients into the dry mixture.

4. Stir in almond milk, add more if needed.

5. Fold in chocolate chips.

6. Bake for 20-25 minutes.

7. Let cool, cut and enjoy!

(Makes 10)
Nutriton Facts: (for 1 brownie)
62 calories
2.5 g fat
7.5 g carbs
3.5 protein

I hope you guys try out these brownies and enjoy them!
 If you do try this recipe tag me on Instagram @beautyandbananas and use the hashtag #beautyfood! 


Saturday, November 15, 2014

Spiritual Sunday- Repainting White

"Do not be anxious about your life, what you shall eat, nor about your body..."

Hey guys! Today I wanted to talk about something a little more personal- my faith! If you don't know, I am a devout Christian, (Greek Orthodox Christian to be specific) And I would love to start incorporating my faith into my blog. Even if you are not a Christian or religious at all, I hope these posts can still be of interest to you. Today I wanted to talk about some pieces of scripture that really stood out to me this past week. I totally believe that God can speak to you through scripture and touch on exactly what you need in your life at the moment. And I believe He brings certain people into your life for a reason. Sometimes, He does it when you least expect Him to...

Recently I re-connected with an old friend, Gabriel. Gabriel and I took a class together a few years ago, but sadly we lost touch. That's just how life goes sometimes. But, Gabriel and I recently found each other's Instagram and you could say that sparked our instant connection. Gabriel has a blog, Repainting White. She started her blog during her recovery from Anorexia. The name "Repainting White" represents painting over a messy picture with white paint and starting over. Not on a new canvas, but on the same one- and repainting a new beautiful picture. Just like with life- not giving up on your life that you've lived thus far- but starting over and building a positive one from negative experieneces or choices. She uses words so beautifully and God speaks through every word she writes. 

I love this that she wrote a while back:

"Compliments make me feel awkward.

Which is ironic because I adore giving compliments.
It's just when it comes to receiving compliments that I turn into this awkward Zooey Deschanel squirrel scrambling to change the subject. I usually wind up singing a song or telling a story about how I got toothpaste in my eye that morning. To conclude, compliments are hard for me.

From time to time I'm told that I have "such a love for God".
This makes me squirm.

Though its something that I can confirm to be true, I do love God, I don't let it be that simple.
I take that compliment and subconsciously use it to measure my characteristics, self worth, performance, and so on. I make it all about me.

It wasn't until recently that I've realized something big:
My "love for God" as it were, is nothing but an excited, reckless, messy response to His perfection. It's not about me.

You see, I have some troubles with narcissism. I try to earn things. In my brain, everything is a star system and life revolves around worth and getting what I deserve. Thus, the first 17 or so years of my life have been a desperate race to make myself worthy. Whether it was academically worthy, physically worthy, worthy of God's love, worthy of people's love, worthy of attention, etc. But the conclusion was always that I'm not good enough. 

When I began this blog, I was beginning a new chapter. I was emerging from the depths of anorexia and was dusting off the cobwebs that had grown over the rational part of my brain from being neglected for so long.
I was moving forward with a new understanding of life, an understanding that was born out of loneliness, total confusion, and in the end, a second chance.
What I learned about worth is that even after years of denying, restricting, and criticizing myself, I never once felt more worthy.
At 86 lbs, when I was at deaths door, I didn't feel one bit worthy of love. Some image I had chased, something I had poured every ounce of myself into (literally) had yielded nothing?
This mirage I had at last attained brought me nothing but empty hands.

I concluded that nothing, no status, no person, no material possessions, no philosophy...there is nothing on this broken planet could I pour myself into that would in turn help me gain a worth that was already mine to keep. Likewise, there is not a thing in this world that could steal from me a worth that was already mine to keep.

You see I had worth already, I just didn't know it. In fact, I would later discover that my worth is so secure that nothing I will ever do can change it.

I have worth because I'm unconditionally adored by God.

I have worth because God's forgiveness and my actions are two completely separate issues. 

I have worth because He will never love me any more or less than He does right now...because He loves me's outside of our realm of thinking. 

Paul says to the Galatians that "Christ has truly set us free. Now make sure you stay free, and don't get tied up again in slavery to the law."(Galatians 5:1)"

We recently met up for coffee and just talked about everything. Eating disorders, life, God, fashion, food... We have so much in common and we both believe God brought us together for a reason. We discussed the control an eating disorder can have on you and the toll it can take on your life and relationships. It controls your mind. It's like a constant voice in your head telling you to be perfect. You become obsessed with the control. You try justify your behavior. Something so irrational seems rational in your malnourished mind...

We talked about how in these two specific pieces of scripture- God speaks about anxiety over life. He literally says "Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you shall eat, nor about your body, what you shall put on. For life is more than food.." 

Wow. If that doesn't hit home I don't know what will. Jesus may not be talking about eating disorders, literally, but I believe God tells you things that apply to you. After I met with Gabriel I came home and opened up my Bible.  I wasn't looking for this specific verse, so I decided to look for the reading of the day- and it was this. I was shocked (in a good way). I felt like God was telling me "stop worrying about what you eat." It was crazy that I had just been talking about this with Gabriel.

Here's the entire reading:

  "At that time, while Jesus was teaching one of the multitude said to him, 
 "Teacher, bid my brother divide the inheritance with me." But he said to him,
 "Man, who made me a judge or divider over you?" 
 And he said to them, "Take heed, and beware of all covetousness; for a man's life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions." 
 And he said to his disciples, "Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you shall eat, nor about your body, what you shall put on. 
For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing. 
Consider the ravens: they neither sow nor reap, they have neither storehouse nor barn, and yet God feeds them.   
Of how much more value are you than the birds!
And which of you by being anxious can add a cubit to his span of life?
If then you are not able to do as small a thing as that, why are you anxious about the rest? 
The lilies, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin; yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.
But if God so clothes the grass which is alive in the field today and tomorrow is thrown   into the oven, how much more will he clothe you, O men of little faith! 
And do not seek what you are to eat and what you are to drink, nor be of anxious mind.
 For all the nations of the world seek these things; and your Father knows that you need  them.
 Instead, seek his kingdom, and these things shall be yours as well."
         -  Luke 12:13-31

I texted it to Gabriel as soon as I saw it, and she sent me this back: 

"They may be in such pain that they even hate food,
    even the very best meal.
Their body becomes so thin there is almost nothing left of it,
    and their bones that were hidden now stick out.
They are near death,
    and their life is almost over.

“But there may be an angel to speak for him,
    one out of a thousand, who will tell him what to do.
The angel will beg for mercy and say:
    ‘Save him from death.
    I have found a way to pay for his life.’
Then his body is made new like a child’s.
    It will return to the way it was when he was young.
That person will pray to God, and God will listen to him.
    He will see God’s face and will shout with happiness.
    And God will set things right for him again.
Then he will say to others,
    ‘I sinned and twisted what was right,
    but I did not receive the punishment I should have received.
God bought my life back from death,
    and I will continue to enjoy life.’

- Job 33: 20-30 

God may not be literally speaking about those suffering from eating disorders, it could just be referring to the sick in general, but it sure does sound like it. It speaks directly to those suffering. It states "They hate food.... their body becomes so thin there is nothing left." It paints the picture of an eating disorder perfectly.  You forget what your favorite foods taste like because you fear them. Your bones stick out and you don't even see it. But it gives hope at the end "God brought my life back from death and I will continue to enjoy life." 

No matter what you are going through, God can ease your worry. "Do not have anxiety over your life.." Whether you have ever suffered with an eating disorder or not- I hope these two pieces of scripture can help you like they help Gabriel and I. They can apply to any struggle in life. Big or small. I believe through Christ anything is possible.

And please check out Gabriel's blog, and follow her on Instagram @anaenotann! She is so inspiring. Don't worry- she'll be back on the blog soon! ;)

XoXo, Stephanie


Friday, November 14, 2014

Five Friday Favorites

Here's a quick roundup of 5 things I've been loving this week... Random little things, favorite songs, favorite videos- whatever I found to be particularly awesome the past seven days... So I have for you: my Five Friday Favorites:

1. THIS VIDEO! - "When an Obsession With Healthy Eating Becomes a Dangerous Risk"

Omg. Two of my favorite health bloggers Jordan, from The Balanced Blonde, and Jenni, from Of Mouth and Mind, were on a segment of ABC News this Wednesday. I was ECSTATIC when I saw this!!! They opened up about their struggles with Orthorexia Nervosa- the obsession with healthy eating- and gave us a look into their world and recovery. I can totally relate with this, and I know it'll be helpful to thousands of viewers. Thank you Jordan and Jenni!

2. THIS POST! - "Nutrition is NOT a Religion"

Cassie Ho, aka Blogilates, posted this video/blog post yesterday and I had to include it in this week's favorites. It's so true that the whole health community/industry has turned into lots of little bickering cults, criticizing each other's beliefs and food choices. Paleo people getting death threats from extremist vegans is just not cool. And the other way around. Everyone is different- and "healthy" is different for everyone. You have to find something that you can stick to, long term. I'm so happy to see such a respected figure in the health & fitness community address this issue. With Cassie's millions of followers, I hope this video makes an impact and settles down some of the "haters." I've always respected Cassie for advocating a healthy, balanced, lifestyle and this just affirms my love for her even more! 

3. Nick Jonas' New Album

Okay, well actually just him in general. (Yep. 5th grade crush still going strong...)
I love every single song on his new album. Jealous is a favorite of course, but especially Santa Barbara... ahhhhh. I've had this album on repeat all week.
(insert heart-eyes emoji here...)

4. Blank Space by Taylor Swift

I love all of the new 1989 album, but this song is for sure my favorite! I love the music video too! Haha I don't why I find it so funny! 

5. Becca Lipgloss in Palm Breeze

And lastly...a beauty favorite! I just posted my October Beauty Favorites (click here to view it!), so I didn't want to mention a lot of makeup. But this lipgloss had to make it in! I bought this lipgloss last week and I have worn it almost everyday. It's a perfect everyday color- pink, but not too pink. The formula is lightweight, long lasting, and moisturizing. The packaging is sleek. It looks great on its own or over any neutral lipstick. Plus- it smells like vanilla cupcakes. What more could a girl want in a lipgloss?

And if I could add a 6th favorite, it would be all of YOU! Thank you so much for watching my videos, reading my blogposts, liking my Instagram pictures, sending me emails, and all your support! Beauty and Bananas would be nothing without you guys. Let me know if you check out any of my Five Friday Favorites or let me know some of your favorites. Tag me on Instagram @beautyandbananas and if you try out any of my recipes use the hashtag #beautyfood! I love you all so much!


October Beauty Favorites

Here's some of my favorite beauty from the month of October as well as some new products I'm excited to try out! Let me know what you've been loving this month! Here's the video:

Products Mentioned
Too Faced Chocolate Bar Palette
Lipstick Queen St. Bare Nude
Maybelline Lipstick in Pink Me Up
Maybelline Lipstick in Warm Me Up
Too Faced Sweet Heart Perfect Flush Blush in Peach Beach
Tweezerman Tweezers
Vincent Longo Gel Eyeliner in Blu Raven
Smashbox Studio Skin Foundation
Makeup Geek Pigment in Insomnia
Makeup Geek Pigment in Afterglow
Makeup Geek Eyeshadow in Cocoa Bear
Smash box Always Sharp Lip Liner in Crimson



Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Find Food Freedom

Have you ever felt controlled by food? Constantly worrying about calories, carbs, fat, clean eating, and all that stupid stuff??

Yep. I've been there. I've struggled with it, and I know many girls do. 

I know what it's like to be completely consumed by numbers. To worry about an extra 10 calories of carrots. To worry about what your next meal is going to be.. trying to make it "perfectly clean". But that's no way to live. That's not healthy.

 But! You can find freedom from food. Here are my tips to finding food freedom:


Calories are simply a unit of energy. They are not a fat cell or an evil little molecule. Calories simply gives us fuel to convert to energy. Energy is a GOOD thing! Sometimes we need more, sometimes we need less! Your body knows when it needs calories, and it will let you know! Our bodies are not a math equation. We burn a different amount of calories everyday depending on what we do, (amount sleep, stress, hormones..) so why try to control the exact number we take in every day? Those pesky nutrition labels can be useful, but they can also be harmful. Just because something is high calorie does not mean it is bad for you. And on the other hand, just because it's low calorie does not mean it's healthy.


Going along with my first point- your body is smart. It knows what it wants. Sometimes you'll be more hungry, so eat! If your not as hungry, eat less. Listening to your hunger cues is how nature intended it. Let go of  rules like "eating on schedule" and "no carbs after dark". Our bodies don't run on a clock. Eat when you're hungry, stop when your full. It seems like common sense, but we tend to complicate things. When your truly learn to trust your body, you'll know when you need certain things: like more protein, carbs, or fat- but you won't have to obsess over a certain amount. If your scared of "eating too much", think of it like this- you'll balance out the times you eat more with the times your not as hungry. :)


The more you cut out food groups/certain foods- the more likely you are to crave them. For example is I tell myself "no chocolate today!", guess what?? All I can think about is chocolate. Then when you do have that food, your more likely to over do it. If you let yourself have this certain food whenever you want, you won't feel the need to over indulge. Having treats help keep you mentally sane. Having a "cheat meal" will keep you motivated to eat healthy the rest of the week. If your craving chocolate, fine. Have one piece of chocolate. Not the whole bar. Know that it will be there tomorrow. And move on.

This..... leads to this.

Don't drive yourself crazy!

Go, ahead. Eat the chocolate. You'll be way happier.

I hope you found these tips helpful! I will continue doing posts on this topic if you guys would like- because I think it's very important. Remember- the amount of calories do not equal a food's quality of health. Let go of the rules. Find food freedom.


Monday, November 10, 2014

My Top Foods for Healthy Skin

I get asked all the time what's my secret for glowing skin. Honestly, I keep my skin care super simple- but I do think my diet plays a big role in it! While I don't eat 100% healthy, 100% of the time- I do aim to incorporate vitamin/mineral- rich fruits and veggies and healthy fats every day. And LOTS of water! Hydration is key! But secondly, it comes down to food. What you put into your body shows on the outside- not just through "weight" or "muscle tone", but also in your skin!!! Healthy fats and antioxidants are some of the most important nutrients for glowing skin. Here are some of my favorite foods for healthy skin and why they're so amazing:

1. AVOCADOS  These kind of have everything. They’re super rich in healthy monounsaturated fats, vitamins A and C, and fiber. They help brighten dull skin, smooth tone, and moisturize on a deep cellular level to prevent dryness which can lead to wrinkling. They help protect from sun damage and environmental pollutants and their fiber and lubricating oils help digestion which keeps your intestinal tract healthy and able to efficiently remove waste so your skin glows.

How I Like Them: Is this even a question? On EVERYTHING and ANYTHING. Smashed on toast with sea salt and pepper is quite a fav, though. As an egg and it's even more delictable.

2. ALMONDS- These little guys are one of the best edible sources of Vitamin E. Vitamin E is a strong antioxidant that is incredibly nourishing to the skin and protects it from those damaging UV rays. It also contains  monounsaturated fatty acids which moisturize the skin, keeping it hydrated and soft.

How I Like Them:  I like to eat them plain as an easy snack or my favorite way, in the form of almond butter. When buying almonds, look for raw or plain roasted- you don't want any added hydrogenated oils.

3. WALNUTS  Walnuts are awesome. Like salmon, walnuts have omega-3 fats that strengthen the membranes of your skin cells, increase moisture, and boost suppleness. They also reduce inflammation that causes acne or skin redness. 

How I Like Them: On oatmeal with banana, cinnamon and honey. Banana bread in a bowl, basically. YUM.

4. COCONUT OIL – There seems to be coconut cult following lately. And there's a good reason to hop on the band wagon. Coconut oil has benefits for so many things I could do a whole post on it, but I’ll focus on the skin for today. Coconut oil can be eaten or applied topically. Coconut oil has antimicrobial and antibacterial properties which help promote a healthy intestinal tract - Meaning it kills bad bacteria in the gut. When our intestines are happy and healthy, we are properly eliminating waste and not releasing toxins through the skin instead. This helps prevent acne and other skin problems. Additionally, it’s medium chain fatty acids are a great emollient for the skin and keep it supple. It can be used as a body moisturizer or hair mask. Its antioxidant properties also prevent the formation of free radicals that cause early aging.

How I Like It: I like to use coconut oil for cooking- I usually use it to sauté veggies! Its also good in place of butter on toast! I also use it as a moisturizer on my body (and as an eyelash conditioner) every night before I go to bed!

6. SALMON – This fish is one of the best food sources of omega-3 fatty acids. These fats avert fine lines and wrinkles by keeping your skin looking youthful, supple, and moisturized. They are also highly anti-inflammatory which reduces the body’s stress hormones and decreases clogged pores. Salmon also has selenium which is a mineral that protects from sun damage.

How I Like It:  Simply grilled or baked with lemon, salt, and pepper. It's so good it doesn't need to be fancy. It pairs really well with quinoa and asparagus too. ;)

7. BERRIES – Berries are known as the queen antioxidants! And for a reason!  Their pigment comes from a powerful antioxidant called anthocyanin which helps buffer and prevent damage from toxins and free radicals on the skin. They also contain ellagic acid, an antioxidant that fights the break down of elastin and collagen and protects from sun damage. They also provide a boatload of vitamin C which stimulates the production of collagen and elastin.

How I like them: I love them as a topping for greek yogurt or oatmeal. Also great smashed on peanut butter toast in replacement of sugary jelly.

8. SWEET POTATOES (ORANGE) – Orange sweet potatoes get their color from beta carotene (Vitamin A) which has major protective qualities from sun damage. Many popular anti-aging creams contain retinol which beta carotene is converted to. By eating foods rich in Vitamin A, you’re getting your retinol the best way possible. They’re also full of vitamin C which stimulates the production of collagen and elastin.
Sweet Potato
How I Like Them: Baked and topped with almond butter and cinnamon. DIVINE.
Or cut up into cubes, roasted, and seasoned with chili, cumin, and sea salt.

Okay! So those are my top foods for healthy skin! I seriously love all these, and they are all a regular part of my diet. Learn to incorporate a few, or all, of them, to reap the benefits of all those vitamins and healthy skin! Along with drinking plenty of water, these foods should help get your skin glowing from the inside out!