Nicci Morris

Archive for the ‘Zaftig-Approved’ Category

Pack well for life’s journey

In Lifestyle, Spirituality, Zaftig-Approved on September 14, 2011 at 3:13 pm

The one thing you can depend on is change. Whether it is for better or for worse, change is inevitable and we must prepare to face whatever may come our way. That is easier said than done, I know. I would never suggest dealing with the challenges of life is a breeze, but it is possible if you prepare for the journey. Think of it as an expedition. Take it head on and discover your life’s purpose along the way. Here are some things to take on your trek:

Nourishment

Do what you must to power and sustain yourself on your journey. Fill your satchel with nutrient-dense people and experiences and remove the junk from your stash. There will be no room for people, places and things that do little more than entertain and weigh you down. While junk can sometimes entice and provide a quick boost, it will never sustain you. Surround yourself with individuals who add to the richness of your life and who allow you to add to their lives. Fill up your time with spiritual activities that increase your emotional intelligence and nourish your soul. If you find that you’ve gorged a bit on junk, step back, breathe and reassess. Re-pack your satchel and begin again now.

Hydration

We all know how important water is for our bodies to function as they should. Dehydration quickly results in undesirable physical changes and, ultimately, death. But what about our emotional hydration? Examine your heart to see if it is plump with understanding and compassion or wrinkled and cracked, yearning for a swim in the waters of grace and forgiveness. Like all things that wax and wane, emotional hydration needs regular assessment. The tide will surely rise and fall. Work to keep your heart soft and full, able to absorb and release the joy and pain sure to come.

Shelter

You will have to stop along the way to rest and regroup, so pack a tent and a blanket. At times, you may feel disappointed at these rest stops. You might think, “I’m not where I wish I were and I’m just sitting here. I need to get moving…” Yes, you do and you will. But take time to rest and regain strength. Build a fire in your belly at each stop to spur you on to the next leg of your quest. Remember: This is about endurance, not speed.

Map

There is no unchartered territory and nothing new under the sun. Look to people you admire for encouragement, inspiration and direction as you walk, run and rest along the way. Be bold enough to take the road less traveled when you should, but don’t be so foolhardy that you reject words of wisdom and warnings.

Compass

This is not something you hold in your hand. It is something that dwells in your heart. Follow your intuition and trust your inner rudder. No matter which direction you go, you will have no regrets if you remain true to yourself.

Love,

Image: Evgeni Dinev / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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Want skin that glows? Head to the pantry

In Beauty, Lifestyle, Recipes, Zaftig-Approved on June 29, 2011 at 1:48 am

When it comes to skin care, there is nothing like a good scrub. Over the years, it feels like I’ve tried everything. Some weren’t coarse enough. Others left an oily residue which, in my eyes, defeated the entire purpose of exfoliation.

A good scrub removes layers of dead skin and grime, encourages cell renewal and keeps outbreaks at bay. Skin naturally renews itself every 28 days or so when you are young. But things tend to slow down with age and scrubs help rev up your youthful appearance and can diminish fine lines. Exfoliation is also great for something I’ve been experiencing as of late: post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation. Sounds pretty scientific, huh? If you’ve ever found yourself unable to resist the urge to pop a pimple, you’re familiar with it. Post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, or PIH, refers to the skin discoloration that follows inflammation or infected skin. In what is a natural response to trauma, PIH appears as a dark area of skin where the eruption was. In my case, I recently had a problem with acne on my forehead and chin. Although I know far better, I popped them when I should have just let them dry out and heal on their own. The result was several dark spots on my face. Not cute, let me tell you. I’ve always been proud to walk out of the house without a stitch of makeup on, but doing so when I had tons of hyperpigmentation would have had people running away from me at the store, for fear that I was contagious or something.

Thankfully, the acne healed and the eruptions stopped. (A huge thank you Shea Moisture acne treatments! That stuff saved my skin. More on them to come in a future post…) But I needed a little extra help to help with the dark spots. I remembered my grandmother telling me about the magic of brown sugar, baking soda and honey. I mixed up a batch a week ago and have already seen dramatic improvement in the look and feel of my skin. It’s magic, I swear. Try it on your face and your body at least 2-3 times each week and let me know how much you love your results!

Brown Sugar Scrub

1 cup dark brown sugar

4 Tablespoons of baking soda

1/2 cup of honey (optional – you could also use extra virgin olive oil)

Stir until combined. Final product will be shiny and thick. Add in more sugar and honey (or olive oil) until it has the texture of peanut butter. Store in a covered plastic container. Be sure to use clean hands or a spoon when you scoop it out. Apply it to damp skin.

Make a big batch, use it as often as you need to and prepare to knock people OUT with your glow…

Love,

My lifetime to-do list…

In Lifestyle, Zaftig-Approved on February 10, 2011 at 5:25 pm

It seems like just the other day I was prepping for Thanksgiving dinner (which I hosted – so much fun). Now it’s 2011. And February, at that…

Where does the time go?

I’ve never been one for resolutions, but I am all about introspection. I do my best to evolve and grow daily, not just every 365 days… When the mood strikes, I write a list of sort-of “to-do” list, sketching out improvements that I want to make for myself. I learned a long time ago that the only person I can control is me, so that is where I put my energy. I was going through an old box when I found one of these lifetime to-do lists. I wrote it in 2000. Interestingly enough, I’ve done most of it, but it still applies, if you understand what I mean. That makes me feel really good because I have no doubt that I know what is authentic for me and I am working toward living that, day in and day out. I had this list on my mirror for a few years and then replaced it with others. But there is something special about finding this piece of paper, soft and tattered around the edges, with faded words falling in the creases from years of shower steam and folding. I still remember when I typed it. I was an editorial clerk (the lowest girl on the totem pole back then) at a daily newspaper. I sat in that newsroom 40 hours a week, working from 4 p.m. to 1 a.m., and every single weekend and holiday. I knew there was more in store for me. And somehow, I knew I needed to make it plain and write it down so I could see it for myself. Here is what I typed up one night, all those years ago, and how I’ve been doing with the items on the list.

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During another day of this incredibly blessed life, don’t forget to…

Indulge and bask in self-love. (working on it, every day)

Make time to meditate each and every day. (check)

Take out time to pray each and every night. (check)

Don’t settle for anything less than what I know I deserve. (check)

Fill my temple with wholesome, nourishing fuel. (check)

Go to the gym. (check)

Volunteer with a program geared toward helping young women. (check)

Finish up bachelor degree. (check)

Prepare for entrance into a distinguished graduate school. (Looking at MBA and MBA/JD programs now.)

Prepare to travel to as many different countries and continents as possible.

Take an ethnic cooking class. (I never have, but I so want to.)

Take an African dance class. (Definitely still in the plans.)

Finish “Epiphany.” (That was the first book I wrote, which I promptly put away many years ago. I blame my lack of confidence.)

Go to the park at least twice a month.

Find and attend writers workshops. (I so need to do this.)

Begin to read my poems out. (Gosh… I haven’t written poetry in eons…)

Keep my car organized. (I definitely need to do this!)

Fast once a month. (As a matter of fact, I’m due for one now.)

Clear emotional, physical and spiritual clutter out of my life. (Yes! I can’t wait to have a garage sale in the spring)

Pay all my bills on time. (Yes indeed…)

Visit loved ones as often as possible. (Very necessary. Phone calls might have to do since I no longer live close to family or old friends.)

Tell those that I love “I love you” whenever I can. (This is definitely something I do.)

Don’t go to bed with a heavy heart. (I have learned to let lots go.)

Write in my journal every day. (I’m terrible at this. You see how I’ve let even my blogging go, but I vow to do better.)

Keep my apartment clean. (Wow… I literally had 400 square feet of living space when I wrote this. I’ve been blessed with lots more space to keep clean now, and it is still a top priority. I firmly believe that the Universe will not give you more until you take care of what you have. I treated those 400 square feet as if it were a palace because it was my blessing in that season…)

Keep track of all bank transactions. (Thanks for making it easy, Chase!)

Don’t waste precious time on negative people. (Wow! I should have put that on here a few times! Such a good lesson. How wise of 22-year-old me?! Ha!)

Start drawing again. (I really should. It would be a great creative outlet.)

Buy some canvas and do a self-portrait. (That would be fun. I’d forgotten how much I enjoy painting.)

Take vitamin supplements regularly. (Perhaps I would be anemic and deficient in vitamin D today if I’d listened to myself back then!)

Surround myself with strong and loving people. (I have definitely been doing that!)

Eat out less and cook much more. (check)

Be more assertive. (And I wrote that before I really knew the difference between aggressive, passive and assertive. This has much more meaning now!)

Ask the Creator for exactly what I want. (Yes!)

Expect the Creator to give me exactly what I need. (Yes! Yes!)

Be thankful for all of my blessings. (Things that I have and things that I don’t have.)

Be more considerate to those around me. (Absolutely. That is huge…)

Return all negative vibes with positive ones. (Whew! That’s easier now, but still tough. Very necessary though!)

Don’t necessarily do unto others as they’ve done to me. (Some people/things simply are not worth getting upset about.)

Hold my head up high.

Never forget Whose child I am.

Remember that happiness is fleeting, but joy is eternal… and that joy is a journey, not a destination. (Yes!)

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We are all works in progress and, from where I stand, that is a beautiful thing. Tell me what’s on your lifetime to-do list. I would love to know what inspires you and what steps you take to become the best version of yourself.

Be well…

2009 Zaftig-Approved Gift Guide (pt. 7)

In Entertaining, Fashion/Style, Food, Holiday, Lifestyle, Zaftig-Approved on December 16, 2009 at 12:39 pm

Custom Energy Bars,$37.57-$41.47

Mother-son founders, Ava Bise and Anthony Flynn, created YouBar in a small commercial kitchen in Los Angeles in 2006. Their goal? To offer their homemade  protein bars to the health-conscious masses. The company creates made-to-order energy bars, catering to customers’ preferences and nutritional needs.

You choose the ingredients and the bar size, viewing the nutrition facts (fat, calories, carbs, sodium, vitamins, etc…). Each bar comes with the nutrition facts based on what you add and you get to choose the name printed on the packaging of each bar.

The company also makes custom protein shakes, trail mix and cookies. How cool is that?

Click here for more information and to order.

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Monogrammed Carafe, $39

I love bedside carafes with matching tumblers. I adore the way they look and the purpose they serve, a delicious blend of pretty and practicality.

Simple, beautiful and thoughtful touches to any nightstand, be it in a master suite or a guest room, a bedside carafe is an ideal gift for someone who has just about everything. This beautiful one from Williams-Sonoma is no exception. The sleek, subtle glass design is hand-blown and features a weighted base. And an extra special touch comes into play when you add an engraved single- or triple-initial monogram.

Click here for more information.

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Vegetable Storage System, $8.95-$11.95

I know lots of people who simply don’t know how or where to put vegetables when they bring them home from the market. Orka by Mastrad, the innovative company behind some of my favorite kitchen gadgets, has created a system that simplifies the storage and preservation of food.

The Orka Vegetables Keep Sack gives you a place to store onions, garlic, and potatoes, protecting them from light and delaying sprouting and rotting. The double-drawstring design lets you add new vegetables from the top and remove older ones from the bottom, making it easier to use your stash before it goes bad.

I love the way the Keep Sacks look in this picture. Hanging them keeps air circulating around your produce to reduce spoilage, and it’s a great way to make the most of the coveted space in your pantry.

Click here for more information and to order.

2009 Zaftig-Approved Gift Guide (pt. 6)

In Fashion/Style, Food, Lifestyle, Travel, Zaftig-Approved on December 8, 2009 at 6:27 pm

While many people agree breakfast is the most important meal of the day, no Zaftig woman should go without lunch. Without healthful mid-afternoon fuel, blood sugar can dip resulting in headaches, mood swings, fuzzy thinking and raging cravings.

But midday is often a difficult time to choose healthy options, especially if you are eating at your desk, chasing after little ones at home, or in the car and on-the-g0. Planning ahead is an essential step toward healthful lunch.

Go green and get creative with these boxes and bags that make for cool gifts and help people on your list make better lunch choices.

Stainless-Steel Tiffin with Insulated Bag, $52.99-$59.99

Function meets fashion when food-grade stainless steel and a beautiful insulated cover are juxtaposed in this reusable lunch box from Happy Tiffin. The “tiffin” is an age-old system of metal pans and latches that keeps food at the right temperature and separated, allowing food to be enjoyed as it was meant to be even hours after it is cooked and packed up.

This particular system features three separate levels and an integrated plate. Side latch handles keep the container secured, ensuring sauces stay where they should and not in your work bag, on your clothes or the upholstery in your car. This item is very sturdy and manufactured from food grade stainless-steel. Century-old design can’t be wrong. Ingenious…

Click here for more information.

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Neoprene Lunch Totes, $21.95

There is a chance these bags might look better than the lunch inside tastes. Bold colors and interesting designs from Built NY are sure to make you stand out from rest of the lunch bunch.

Made of neoprene, the bags keep food insulated for several hours, making them perfect for busy execs, teachers, or moms who are on the run.

Cute and practical…

Click here for more information.

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Zaftig-approved Goodies Bag, $9.95-$25.95

While we’re talking about going green, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the eco-friendly bags in The Zaftig Life collection. Keep it near your keys and come morning, all you have to do is toss in a few pieces of fresh fruit, your homemade salad or sandwich, and your thermos as you head out the door. Choose from a variety of styles.

Click here and order a Zaftig-Approved Goodies bag today!

2009 Zaftig-Approved Gift Guide (pt. 5)

In Entertaining, Fashion/Style, Holiday, Lifestyle, Zaftig-Approved on December 7, 2009 at 5:26 pm

Personalized Cutting Boards, $41-$53

Well-known for beautiful baby goods, Clairebella also has an enchanting home collection. The collection includes items such as serving trays, coasters, mouse pads and plates.

But my favorite items are the personalized tempered-glass cutting boards.

They come in two sizes and a variety of patterns with your choice of lettering and fonts. The eye-catching patterns and colors make for a unique blend of fun and function. And personalization adds pop that lets the recipient know just how much thought you put into this gift. The monogram is such a classic touch…

Click here for more information.

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Blooming Tea and Teapots, $8.99-$59.99

Tea is a wonderful tool when you want to create Zaftig Zen-ful moments. The warmth, the aromatics and the soothing ritual of tea helps set the mood for moments of introspection and reflection.

Well-aware of this, the people at Teaposy take the art of fine teas to the next level with their blooming teas and delicate glass pots. So charming…

Click here for more information. (Teaposy is also available on http://www.Target.com)

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Custom Bags and Shoes, $39.99-$175

If you have someone on your list who loves unique gifts, a bag or a pair of shoes by Dani Becca might be just the thing.

The hand-painted fashion line features bright colors, unique designs and incredible detail. The result? Shoes and bags that are sure to make you stand out in a crowd. They are perfect for the fashion-forward Zaftig girls who want to break free from the pack.

Order between now and February 15, 2010 and each item is 49.99 and under. Take advantage of the deal…

Click here for more information.

2009 Zaftig-Approved Gift Guide (pt. 4)

In Holiday, Lifestyle, Travel, Zaftig-Approved on December 4, 2009 at 7:42 pm

The Nook, $259

The new e-reader from Barnes & Noble is a great option for the nerdy Zaftig woman in your life.

Measuring 7.7- x 4.9- x 0.5-inches and weighing 11.2 ounces, the Nook is ideal for travel, with its 3.5 inch color touchscreen that features one-touch control. It’s a lot easier to pack this instead of books when you travel, especially since airlines are trying to make money off of the fact that you might need stuff inside your luggage while you travel.

Not sure what you want to read? Swipe-to-browse technology brings a whole new meaning to “thumbing through” whatever catches your eye in the virtual bookstore. B&N says the rechargeable battery will last for as long as ten days if you don’t use the built-in WiFi (802.11b/g). What’s more is the Nook comes ready for the techie in your life with AT&T 3G, 2GB of internal storage, a microSD slot, MP3 player, built-in speaker, headphone jack, micro USB port among other stuff.

The folks at B&N will let Nook owners sample e-books before they buy. Nook-ies (what I plan to call Nook owners) will also get the benefit of free WiFi while inside Barnes & Noble stores. Awesome… Click here for more info.

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Embrace Sweets Brownies, $12.95-$29.95

I had the pleasure of meeting Sandra and Brandi Daniels, the mother-daughter duo behind Embrace Sweets, and trying their artisan wares several years ago when they had their business based in Cincinnati. The Daniels eventually packed up and moved to Los Angeles, but their brownies are so good I’m still raving about them. I’m not the only one who’s smitten by these gourmet treats. They were recently featured as Rachael Ray’s Snack of the Day.

Rich, fudgy perfection squared, these brownies will satisfy a chocolate craving. A 6-pack, 12-pack or 24-pack sampler would be great for a gift exchange or a stocking stuffer.

Totally worth the calories and perfect for an occasional cheat treat… Click here for more info.

2009 Zaftig-Approved Gift Guide (pt. 3)

In Fashion/Style, Lifestyle, Zaftig-Approved on December 3, 2009 at 9:27 pm

The Soft & Sexy Wrap, $58

When it comes to sweaters, what’s better than soft and sexy? Soft, sexy and versatile.

This wrap from Victoria’s Secret is fun and functional and looks absolutely amazing worn numerous ways. Whether you’re in a low-key, running-out-for-some-orange-juice mood, or you want to vamp it up a bit for a night on the town, or something in between, Vicky has you covered with this. Order soon and you get it on sale for $39 and free shipping. Available in 15 colors. Click here for more information.

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Ab Circle Pro, $199

This machine is one of the few that actually live up to the infomercial. I can attest to the fact that if you put in even a few minutes a day on the Ab Circle Pro, you will feel and see great results. I have one and I promise it will kick your butt (and your gut). It also engages your hips, thighs and arms, and folds flat for under-the-bed storage.

I love the energy, the buzz and the equipment that can only be experienced with a workout at a gym. But this is a great supplement to your gym routine and a must-have for anyone who wants to whittle their middle.

For more information, go to http://www.abcirclepro.com. (FYI, I saw the lowest prices on http://www.amazon.com, http://www.jcpenney.com and http://www.gnc.com.)

2009 Zaftig-Approved Gift Guide (pt. 2)

In Entertaining, Holiday, Lifestyle, Zaftig-Approved on December 2, 2009 at 11:25 pm

“Nigella Christmas: Food Family Friends Festivities” by Nigella Lawson, $35

Nigella Lawson, a perfect example of just how beautiful Zaftig truly is, is one of my favorite food celebrities.

In my imagination, she and I stroll through the grocery store together, graceful and beautiful, reveling in our full-bosomed and juicy-bottomed glory. We find little gems on the shelves and come up with recipes, she for her cookbooks and me for mine…

Nigella isn’t meeting me at the market anytime soon, but she does share some great recipes and tips in her cookbooks. Her straightforward fuss-free approach is especially welcome during the holidays. “Nigella Christmas” (or any of her other cookbooks) would be a great gift for the Zaftig woman in your life. Click here for information on where to purchase Lawson’s books and kitchenware. (You can find the book for much less than the MSRP.)

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Dinner of the Month Club Membership, $269

For a luxurious treat, give the gift of three 3-course dinners from Gourmet Station. The dinners include “handmade appetizers, entrees with sauce and vegetable accompaniment and delicious dessert for two.”

The recipient can choose from a variety of cuisine packages, including “Parisian” and “Fusion.” If you want to spend more, you can spring for a longer membership. The cost of shipping is included. And I love the fact that the gift certificate doesn’t expire if the recipient needs to skip a month.

Click here for more information.

Photo by Ian Britton/www.freefoto.com

2009 Holiday Guide to Zaftig-Approved Gifts

In Entertaining, Fashion/Style, Holiday, Lifestyle, Zaftig-Approved on December 1, 2009 at 5:47 pm

Whether it’s the aunt who is on a mission to make the world’s best apple pie, the new mommy who needs quick and easy recipes, the dad who is a self-proclaimed grillmaster, or the sister who likes to cook but needs a bit of help figuring out how to scramble eggs, you know and love at least one foodie and/or health nut and have one on your shopping list. Well, I know what gifts they will love.

Today marks the start of the Zaftig-Approved Gift Guide. Each day in December you will find fabulous gift ideas for the foodies and health-conscious loved ones in your life. The selections will be a range of price points and for foodies of all kinds, be they fervent or freshman. From utensils to food, to cookbooks to home decor, epicurean adventures to footwear, I’ll have lots of cool ideas for you.

Feel free to contact me if you have questions about any of the gifts, or if you have gift ideas or suggestions. Here is the first batch of Zaftig-Approved Gifts for 2009.

Stainless Steel Snack Bowls, $10.95-$19.95

These bowls are perfect for the savvy entertainer on your list. They would look great on the kitchen counter any day of the week or on a credenza during a party. Rounded, tilted and a combination of polished and brushed steel, these bowls are perfect for everything from peppermint bark to spinach dip. For more information or to purchase, go to http://www.cb2.com.

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Vegan Gift Basket, $69.99-$99.99

This gift basket is ideal for the veg head on your list. It’s packed with 100 percent Kosher and vegan snacks, many of which are organic as well. From meatless jerky to ricemilk chocolate, this basket is sure to please.  The goodies will arrive in a bronze keepsake giftbox.

It’s perfect for anyone who is vegan or who keeps Kosher.

For more information, go to http://www.vegandivine.us.

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FitFlop Clogs and Boots, $69-$200

I fell in love with FitFlops when I purchased the original flip-flop style almost two years ago. I bought a pair for myself and one for my sister. After wearing them for walks 4-5 times per week, we both noticed a change in the appearance of our legs. When I compared how my legs felt after wearing the FitFlops on my walks and how they felt when I wore my sneakers, I felt more warmth and soreness in my legs. The result? More definition in my calves and my thighs were more toned. An added bonus of my stronger legs was a decrease in lower back pain. The only problem? I live in a part of the country where it’s only practical to wear flip-flops for about three months out of the year. So kudos to the people at FitFlop for creating some cold-weather options.  The clogs and the boots have the same tone-while-you-walk Microwobbleboard™ technology, but your feet won’t freeze up while you trim down.

The boots and clogs come in a variety of styles, materials and colors, so it will be easy to find one that will be perfect for the fashion-forward and health-conscious woman on your list.

For more information and to find out where to buy FitFlop products, go to http://www.fitflop.com.