Sparks of Magic


Alpha Burritos: Easy Appetizers for Late Family Dinners

Reviews, FoodCamilleComment

My family has become accustomed to knowing that their Mama is not a Michelin star chef, nor am I June Cleaver or Martha Stewart. I have a tendency to do the same meals over and over, and honestly when I say “do,” it really means my hubby does it because I requested it! I love meals that are quick and easy, doing the job of nourishing bellies and souls. Unless I am in the kitchen cooking with my hubby or kids, I’d prefer not to be in there. However, as my mindset of wellness and clean eating continues to change and I learn more and more, I realize the importance of making our eating and health a priority but also giving ourselves grace in knowing that we will never be perfect and sometimes we need to warm something up in the microwave!

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We had my parents over for dinner the other night, and the menu was homemade enchiladas, black beans and rice, so I thought having burritos as an appetizer would hold them off until the real meal was complete. You see, we are a bit more flexible with meal times at our house, while we typically have a meal plan, we don’t really have a “meal time” and it varies by day. My parents on the other hand are a little more scheduled, because while we can eat at 7:30 pm (kids are late risers), they’re ready to go by 5:00pm!

In typical fashion, I was running around with my daughter and mom perusing estate sales and thrift stores during the day, then more errands in the afternoon and totally forgot to thaw the organic ground turkey for the enchiladas for dinner, so let’s just say we already were having a late start for dinner. I also forgot to delegate the task, so there’s that otherwise someone would have done that for me. Enter the idea for a pre-meal snack, aka appetizer!


Thankfully I knew that I was going to be doing a taste test with the family for Alpha Burritos this weekend so I ended up whipping together some fresh salsa and firing up the panini press! These burritos are so easy to make, you warm them in the microwave for about 80 seconds (always check your wattage and read the label) and then use the panini press to add a light grill mark. I like to brush a dab of butter or ghee on the outside so it gives the burritos a nice little crunch. Alpha Burritos are GMO Free and each contain 11grams of protein per burrito. Additionally, they contain anywhere from 300-320 calories.


Taste Test

I wasn’t sure how my family would take to the Alpha Burritos since they are plant-based and most of us are not vegan or vegetarian, but I wanted them to try them due to the clean nutrition label and high levels of protein. We are really trying to limit our processed food intake, but sometimes when we are traveling and only have a microwave available for heating food I am always looking for new products that have clean ingredients.

Sadly, I had to leave ALL the taste testing to the family since the burritos are not gluten free and contain soy, something that I personally do my best to stay away from. Gluten aside, I think if the burritos were without the soy I would buy them more often for my crew, but with a family history of soy being an issue sometimes to our current health ailments, I honestly don’t see myself purchasing these consistently. For my family members that are Vegan and Vegetarian, these will be nice go-to’s in the freezer when they visit and we need some appetizers, snacks, or side dish!


First response from my testers was that they really liked them, my dad loves meat, and is always hesitant about what I try to feed him, but he seemed to enjoy the fresh salsa topping the Chick’n Fajita burrito! My mom had the Philly Sandwich, and she added her own salsa on top (I thought salsa on Philly Cheesesteak was a little interesting, I would have opted for sautéed mushrooms and swiss myself, haha). My hubby ate the Pizza flavor. While they all said they liked the overall texture and flavors, they felt it still wasn’t seasoned enough, and kind of bland. This opinion was amplified when I revealed that it was 100% plant-based and had no real meat in the burrito. Perhaps it was in their heads, because they couldn’t tell at first. I found that interesting, but again, could not taste it myself so I have to share their opinions with all of you!

I think if there were more garnishments and varied toppings for them it would have added more flavor. But these would do the trick for a quick bite at the hotel while we travel!

About Alpha Foods

Based in Glendale, CA, Alpha Foods is committed to animal welfare, a healthy planet and healthy humans. They offer burritos and hand pies as plant-based convenience foods. There are four burrito flavors, Mexicali, Philly Sandwich, Chick’n Fajita and Pizza! I was able to find three of the four flavors, unfortunately my local Walmart was out of Mexicali - but I bet that would have been a hit! Being in Northern CA, I found Alpha products at Walmart, Sprouts Farmers Market, and Safeway. You can find a store near you » here.

Another fun thing I love about Alpha Foods is that they have a recipes tab, showcasing some great pairings of food and drinks for their burritos and hand pies! OH, yes, hand pies. I sure hope they add in some gluten and soy free options to their product line up, soon!

How do you satisfy the initial hunger of your family when you’re running late? Want to jazz up your party food? These would make great appetizers, just add guacamole, salsa sour cream, and/or marinara (for Pizza) on the side!

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Disclaimer: As a blogger for Moms Meet, I was sent a panini press, veggie chopper and complimentary vouchers to try Alpha Burritos and share my honest opinions. Compensation for this post was provided and this page may contain affiliate links.

Clean Beauty - type:A Natural Deodorant Review

Reviews, WellnessCamilleComment

Growing up, I have always been extremely self-conscious about body odor, and it has taken me years to find products that a) work and b) don’t give me an allergic reaction. It wasn’t until my exposure to Mamavation and Shiftcon that I found products that helped with alleviating any skin issues, but most natural deodorants have yet to truly help with the odor for longer than a couple of hours.

Sweat is a natural process and helps our bodies eliminate toxins, therefore we should not be preventing the sweat ( like using anti-perspirants) from happening. I choose deodorant that helps absorb the sweat through natural ingredients and oils.

There are two formulas of type:A, “The Minimalist” which is fragrance-free, and I selected “The Visionary” which is described as having a Citron Crisp naturally scented with essential oils. The essential oils give the deodorant a nice touch, it is not too strong or overpowering and the consistency of the deodorant is just right, dries clear and doesn’t feel sticky or wet.

What I love about Type:A’s natural deodorant

Easy to apply - Many natural deodorants have a pasty consistency, making application messy and more difficult when on-the-go. Let’s be honest, the last thing I want to do is hand rub stuff under my armpits when applying mid-day. The tube is easy-to-use, has a soft silicone top and at 2.8 oz it is travel-friendly!

Great for sensitive skin - The first natural deodorant I switched to a couple of years ago was Tom’s of Maine. I chose it because it was natural and assumed it was gluten free. I quickly realized after a few weeks of itchy armpits that I was allergic to it because of the ‘hops’ - for some reason I did not put two and two together that it was wheat (duh me, beer and hops). It worked keeping odor at bay, so I just assumed I had a reaction to the razor from burns. Nope, it was the deodorant. Contrary to what some blogs I have read will say, gluten still effects me in cosmetics not just food. I get itchy and break out. It makes sense, our skin is the largest organ and we absorb anything we put onto it. Reminder, I am not a medical professional, so it is important that you listen to your body when it comes to allergies and consult with your doctor.

Non-Toxic, Aluminum, Paraben and Phthalate Free - As this lifestyle of green & overall wellness shift happens for me and my family, I am navigating towards purchasing products and supporting businesses that have a natural, non=toxic focus. Since I am not the only one with skin and allergy issues, it is important that I find products for all of our family that are free from unsafe chemicals and synthetics that contribute to a whole slew of health issues. type:A is transparent in its ingredients list on their website which is awesome. Additionally, type:A’s formula is 100% non-toxic using only plant-derived or safe synthetic ingredients.

Quick results - Honestly, it is the first deodorant that worked immediately. My first try I applied it prior to a workout and I was impressed (and yes I smelled my pits) and smiled. I’ve been using type:A daily for almost two months now and typically only have to apply it once per day (although our 100º weather in CA has amped the sweat so a refresh has been necessary over the summer). I carry one in my purse/backpack and was prepared for our most recent trip to the Happiest Place on Earth so that we could all stay fresh and happy!

I am so excited to have found a deodorant that keeps me fresh and without the worries of what my skin, and my family’s skin, is absorbing daily. I will continue to seek out non-toxic, safe products to add to my clean beauty routine!

Have you tried type:A? Do you have a favorite non-toxic deodorant? Let me know in the comments!

This post is sponsored by type:A Deodorant and contains affiliate links. I was provided with a free product for my test and review to share on my blog, however all opinions are my own magical thoughts. If you choose to purchase through these affiliate links, Sparks of Magic will earn a small commission at no cost to you. Thanks for supporting the magic!

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Success and Leadership Lessons Learned from The Wisdom of Walt {Book Review}

Reviews, EntertainmentCamilleComment

I was given a copy of The Wisdom of Walt by the author in exchange for an honest review. No further compensation was made and all opinions are 100% mine. This post contains affiliate links.

Cover image © Jeffrey Barnes /

Cover image © Jeffrey Barnes /

It is often heard that "it was all started by a Mouse." I slightly beg to differ, because the drive, passion and perseverance of moving forward (not to mention the Mouse himself), was started by a man – Walter Elias Disney.

Disney was born with the great ability to dream and take action. These are just a few of his traits that I admire most. When I first heard of this book, I knew I needed to read it and share it with all of you. I have a propensity to gravitate towards all things about Walt Disney, so I'm very grateful to have received a copy of this book, and it even arrived with a note from the author.

This book was written by, Jeffrey Barnes, also known as Dr. Disneyland. He teaches a college course: The History of Disneyland, at Cal Baptist in Riverside, CA. I will tell you now that Barnes' story of survival alone is one that will inspire you, and he shares it within the page of his book. You'll need to get his book to hear how his failures led to success. Oh! One fun fact for my extreme Disney fans is that the foreword was written by Garner Holt and Bill Butler, as in Garner Holt Productions (think audio-animatronics). The foreword definitely set the tone for the awesome experience that I had waiting for me.


The Wisdom of Walt: Leadership Lessons from the Happiest Place on Earth is a book that will keep you inspired, motivated, and seeking more from life. It pushed me to write my goals for success onto paper, to think of necessary actions to execute my vision, and made me realize that there is a lot of wisdom to gain when we look at what Walt experienced, and how he became successful. 


When I first started the book, I was so anxious to take notes, but initially I didn't want to write within the pages. I mean, this is a really high-quality book with a hardcover, and gorgeous jacket. Eventually, I couldn't help it and by the middle of chapter one, I was already highlighting, starring, and taking notes within the pages. 

Let me share a few sentiments from the book, but then I highly encourage you to pick up your own copy!l

"Vision is the extension of the ability to dream."
– Jeffrey Barnes, 
The Wisdom of Walt

This was my first little nugget of wisdom found. I think that as dreamers we aren't always taken seriously. I mean, look at Walt. With Disneyland, his grandest dream of all, he could not find anyone to back his vision. Look at Disneyland today. If Walt didn't create a vision from his dream of a place for his daughters and so many other children and families to have, the world would be a little less bright. However, even with hearing the doubters, we must press on. We create the vision and we make them believe. Another relevant sentiment about dreams and vision that Jeff shares, is that we must treat our dreams like we treat our children, because they don't raise themselves. Isn't that so true?

Master the four C's: Curiosity, Confidence, Courage, and Constancy

With anything in life, those four C's can be relevant. But with the mindset of leadership and progress, they are crucial. 

Curiosity should never end. We should be curious about everything, we should push boundaries to understand things and that helps others to do the same. Being curious might seem ridiculous for grown adults, but I tell you it is not. I feel that the example of my curiosity paves the way for my kids to be curious themselves. 

Confidence – It goes without saying, but how will you bring your dreams and visions to fruition if you are too scared? Don't be afraid to fail. Be confident in your skill set and ability to keep learning and growing to get better. Be confident in knowing that "beyond a shadow of a doubt, that regardless of how your risk turns out, you will, in fact, be okay."

Courage is not always easy and no one ever said it would be. Being courageous must be a conscious choice. It's moving forward, moving past the stuff that wants to keep you paralyzed in fear. When there is a lot at risk, it's hard to convince others to believe in you and your dreams. And sometimes, the hardest person you have to convince is yourself. But be consciously courageous, because you and miss out on the thrills of success.

Constancy – As the book states, "Excellence is a habit." We know this from Aristotle, we know it from Disney, we can see it with Disneyland. There's a reason that businesses from all over the world take tidbits of magic from Disney's examples on leadership, guest service, and entertainment. "Disneyland always shows up." If anything, this should be a shining example on how to lead - we must show up, whether we want to or not.

"We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things, because we are curious – and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths."
– Walt Disney

Look who I ran into at D23 Expo 2015! 

Look who I ran into at D23 Expo 2015! 

Well, this is a book that will remain in my library and one that I'll share with the future employees of my own empire (see what I did there? I, too, have a vision). My favorite parts were the Souvenir Stops at the end of each chapter, they really get you thinking and planning. There's so much more packed into this book than I could ever completely write about, but know it's 18 chapters and reads easily, you'll laugh, dream and plan. You can choose to read a chapter a day or a few a day. But make sure to do the Souvenir Stop because that's where you'll apply the lessons to your own life.

What are you waiting for? Take action, and go make your dreams a reality.

"Deciding to do something is not the same as actually doing it." 
– Jeffrey Barnes, The Wisdom of Walt

You can order the Kindle version for $5.99 from Amazon or $24.95 (plus shipping) for the gorgeous hardcover book, directly from through Paypal!


Thank you again, Jeff, for adding such magic to my library. I wish you continued success!

Eating Healthy & #GlutenFree at Denny's

Reviews, FoodCamilleComment

One of the downfalls of having a food allergy is that in smaller towns, usually there are less options for dining out. For our family, though, we typically don't eat out, so this doesn't affect me as much as it does for others. Thankfully, I have found ways to eat semi-healthy and remain pain free when eating out. One restaurant that has been really accommodating is our local Denny's. 

When I first started this ambassadorship with Denny's, I knew it would be a great opportunity to take the kids out as a family or on special dates to experience America's beloved diner. Little did I know that I'd actually have quite a bit of options myself, being allergic to gluten and attempting to have a fairly healthy eating lifestyle. 

The Fit Fare Menu

One of my favorite features of Denny's healthier eating initiative is the Fit Fare menu.

Did you know that there are over 250 ways to Build-Your-Own Grand Slam®? Plus, there are four special categories (and you'll see cute little colored heart symbols for each) on the Fit Fare® menu:

  • Lean - 15g of fat or less
  • Light - 550 calories or less
  • Protein - 20g or more
  • Fiber -  8g or more

If you're watching your fat intake or wanting to increase your protein and/or fiber intake, having these options are necessary and convenient. Some menu items will have a couple of symbols attached to its nutritional value, others will have

Typically, I order just sides instead of entrees, or I will eat something before we go out as a family or on a date. But with the array of menu items, I am happy to say that I now eat full entrees when we hit the town. 


I'm really looking forward to my next Denny's date because I will be ordering the Fit Slam® from the Fit Fare® menu. The Fit Slam® consists of scrambled egg whites, spinach and grape tomatoes, bacon, seasonal fruit, and English muffins. I'm extremely excited to announce that some Denny's diners do offer gluten-free English muffins and they'll pair perfectly with the Fit Slam®!

We know that Denny's offers breakfast all day, which is awesome, and on days that I don't necessarily want to eat a heavy dinner, I think having the option for a light breakfast-type meal for dinner is not only versatile, but my body feels so much better after eating.

Another meal I'm looking forward to trying is the Cranberry Apple Chicken Salad. << YUM>> A delicious breakfast alternative, this will be a delightful lunch or dinner date meal. I don't really make salads at home, my kids don't eat them as much as they do other veggie dishes, so I usually reserve salads for when I eat out. 

There are eight (8) menu items, plus an additional one for the senior population, on the Fit Fare® menu. When you add in the many ways to enjoy your own Grand Slam®, you really can't go wrong! I'm excited to be a partner with an organization that is making steps to increase a healthier eating style for those that want it. Having options is always better, and in the end it does increase consumer loyalty because I know that when I am out of town, I can count on Denny's to have food items that fit within my family's food lifestyle.

Make sure to follow me on Instagram and twitter, that's where I share all of my eating fun, on-the-go!

I am a member of Denny's Ambassador Council, and while this post has been sponsored and I have been compensated, all thoughts and opinions are mine. I hope you enjoy reading about my experiences with my family at Denny's!