Laissez les bons temps rouler! Where to go for Mardi Gras festivities

Gala1_MacKinnonHere at the Savvy Factory, we always love a party and nothing beats Mardi Gras for the sheer fun. Follow the link to read Kim Foley MacKinnon’s round-up of some of the country’s best Mardi Gras celebrations on Family Vacation Critic.

Pack Your Bags

4196666275_2b7a8bf4d3_bWinter is coming.

Don’t worry: You aren’t getting an update about Game of Thrones. But winter really is coming and with it all its usual baggage. Dry skin, extra helpings of stress, and not getting enough sleep probably top the list (and we’re not talking about Santa’s list here). Holiday parties, house guests, and family gatherings do take a toll.

So you can be forgiven for looking a little bleary-eyed, but there’s a nifty product that can give you a quick lift. Soothing Eye Gel, an anti-aging gel made by derma e, can help reduce under-eye puffiness. A dab under each under in the morning and at night is all it takes.

Ingredients include a super antioxidant, green tea, witch hazel and aloe. Happily, it’s 100 percent vegan, cruelty-free, paraben-free, sulfate-free, mineral oil-free, lanolin-free, and even gluten free. In fact, derma e’s line features almost 100 products that are free of those, as well as parabens, phthalates, mineral oil and petrolatum. Cleansers, toners, scrubs, lotions, and more are available.

Now, if you could just find someone to do your shopping, make a dish for that potluck dinner, and clean your house…

Crossover Cookbook: Herbivoracious

From the immensely popular vegetarian food blogger Michael Natkin comes his new cookbook bearing the same name as his blog: Herbivoracious.

After a week of recipe testing, one non-vegetarian Savvy Factory writer was pretty much convinced she could take on a meatless lifestyle (if it wasn’t for things like BBQ pulled pork, sirloin strips, fried chicken, well, you get the picture).

Nonetheless, the recipes in Herbivoracious were easy to follow, didn’t involve a crazy grocery store ingredient scavenger hunt—common in vegetarian cookbooks—and best of all, were inventive and delicious.

The cookbook features 150 recipes, about half of which are new, plus dozens of vegan and gluten-free recipes. The Savvy Factory especially likes Natkin’s breezy, not-at-all-preachy style. We also appreciate the introductory chapter with suggestions on how to build a pantry of seasonings and sauces to make meatless dishes pop. The final chapter, with recipes for sauces and condiments, like onion chutney, tarragon béchamel and Indian Sichuan pickles, are perfect for vegetarians and carnivores alike.

Read the blog or buy the book at Herbivoracious.