How to Keep Your Skin Glowing into the Cold of Winter!

Winter doesn’t have to mean dull skin!

If you’re like me, you absolutely love fall and winter! I love the fall and how the leaves change, the air changes and everything feels more cozy! I also love winter though because for me it means time with family for Thanksgiving and the Holiday Season that follows(: Seriously, my favorite time of the year! What do I not love about winter? How pale and dull my skin can get. I’m going to show you 10 tips, mostly DIY tips, to keep your skin extra healthy through the winter and keep that glowing summer skin!

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1.Sunless Tanner! Probably the most obvious choice to make your skin glow in the winter is to use your favorite sunless tanner to keep your skin bronzed! My favorite sunless tanner is a brand called Loving Tan! Their 2 Hour Express tanner takes only 2 hours to develop so it’s also great if you’re in a pinch!

2. I know in the winter, long hot showers are so satisfying – but the hot water actually strips all of the moisture out of your skin and can leave you with dry, flaky and dull skin. Instead, opt for the short cooler showers so you don’t lose as much moisture! As always, be sure to apply a moisturizer after you get out when your skin is still damp to lock in extra moisture as well!

3. Love smoothies? Try avocado + banana + mango + pineapple + spinach + coconut water! Avocados are packed with antioxidants, vitamin C, vitamin E and monounsaturated fatty acids to help your skin stay hydrated and your hair stay shiny! Mangos, pineapples and bananas add some vitamin C and deliciousness. Spinach actually has anti-aging benefits and also can help your skin heal itself from acne scars, nicks cuts + has about 5 ounces of water per cup of spinach to keep you hydrated! The coconut water is AMAZING for hydration and also has loads and loads of health benefits for your hair and skin! Overall, drinking this smoothie will be like a mini spa day for your skin!

4. Say Yes to Cucumber Facial Wipes. I swear by these + they’re only like $4 at the drugstore! I have a pack in my gym bag, in my car, in my book bag, in my soccer bag, and in my purse at all times – they’re seriously amazing. I use these after workouts, after soccer games, after I run, after long classes (because I tend to touch my face a lot in class – NOT good!), as a refresher, or if I need to remove makeup! These wipes are packed with green superfoods that naturally exfoliate, detoxify, and rejuvenate all in one! They are 98% natural, biodegradable, oil-free, non comedogenic, hypoallergenic, cruelty free, and work amazing with sensitive skin ( I have VERY sensitive skin & these never break me out!). These will definitely keep your skin clear and glowy!

5. Eat foods rich in vitamins! There are SO many vitamins and there are a ton that do so many great things for your skin. To name a few, vitamin C helps keep skin bright & has anti aging properties, vitamin E helps protect skin against sun damage + helps with inflammation, vitamin A (retinol) is very well known for skin benefits such as cell turnover (ridding of dead skin cells) and also is effective at preventing acne! That’s just to name a few! Keep vitamins high in your diet and I promise you’ll see a huge difference in your skin! I also found some AMAZING recipes for healthy skin at ALOHA which put a lot of the foods very high in vitamins together for a delicious healthy skin meal (: I cannot wait to try the Healthy Coconut Sweet Potatoes 😀

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6. Drink your water infused with lemon + cucumber + mint. Water is very important in keeping your skin hydrated and clear – so if you don’t like infused water, just drink a ton of water! However, if you like to spice up your water, try adding lemon for some brightening vitamin C as I’ve mentioned, cucumber for skin calming effects and mint leaves for some added flavor and anti inflammatory properties!!

7. EXFOLIATE!!! Exfoliating is SO essential to keeping the skin beautiful and glowy because as your skin goes through its natural process of shedding skin cells – if you don’t exfoliate those dead cells away, this can cause your skin to become dull looking. I recommend exfoliating your skin 2-3 times a week! There are so many different exfoliators out there but if you’re looking for something cheap and fast, try taking 1/2 of a lemon and put sugar + honey on the inside exposed half and rub in on your face. The sugar will help exfoliate the skin, the lemon will brighten the skin, & the honey will calm the skin! You’ll see a huge difference after just one use! Also, my favorite body exfoliator is Sea Salt from LUSH! It smells like a margarita and makes your skin look so incredibly bright!

8. Try a mask of 1 egg white, honey, and lemon juice. This may sound gross, but I promise your skin will thank you so much for this. Egg whites are great for tightening the face + making pores look smaller, plus they have a ton of protein which nourishes the skin, honey calms the skin + acts as an anti-bacterial, and lemon juice brightens and acts as an astringent to keep oil and pimples at bay! Use this about an hour before you apply your makeup for a night out and your products will apply SO much better and look much more natural!

9. Mix in a spray bottle water and a few drops of rosehip seed oil. This oil is packed with Vitamin C and is great for a refresher throughout the day or over your makeup! Rosehip also leaves the skin VERY hydrated and I find it gives my face a very subtle glow.

10. Try a bath with a few green tea bags infused in it! Do NOT drink the water – that’s gross haha. This is actually one of the best herbal baths you can take for detoxifying your body and destressing. Many people think green tea is only beneficial for ingesting, and while that is very true, that is not its only use. It leaves the skin very soft (thanks to the vitamin B) and also helps heal any rashes, cuts, or imperfections on the skin to keep your skin looking very healthy. Bring your bath water a bit hotter than normal, use anywhere from 5-10 tea bags, let the water steep for about 20 minutes or so (also lets the water cool) + make sure to have a good bit of water with you to stay very hydrated! I usually bring a pitcher and a glass when I take detox baths!

I hope you all can take something from this list and put it to use with the cold months coming up! Let me know if you tried any of these out and how they worked for you! Also, please let me know what some of your favorite methods for glowing skin are because I’m always looking for new methods!! As always, thanks for reading!(:

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August Favorites!

The month of August kind of flew by, as expected, being the last month of freedom before my classes started back up again. I didn’t try many new things in August because my month consisted mostly of running and relaxing with a little bit of Netflix binging on the side. I mostly stuck by my tried and true’s this month, which will be the reason for having so little favorites. Hopefully September will be full with all kinds of new exciting things for me to share, but for now – here were my favorites for the month of August (:

Erin Condren Life Planner – $50 on http://www.erincondren.com

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Okay so I had a few friends tell me when I got this I would become obsessive about planning my weeks & I’m the kind of person that really just jots assignments for school down and halfway through the semester – I forget I even have a planner. Well.. I think it’s safe to say I’ve become obsessive about planning every little detail of my week out. Apparently, there is like a planner community & there are stickers specifically for Erin Condren planners on Etsy and all kinds of crazy stuff. I loved this one when I saw it online and I also got it personalized with my name at the bottom. There’s so many cute little stickers and I actually enjoy using it and planning with it. I bought probably $30 worth of sticker off Etsy the other day just for planning out my entire fall semester of college with my assignments due, papers, finals, exams, quizzes – even down to BBQ’s and when I need to go shopping for food or clean & do laundry. It’s crazy how much I’ve gotten into it but it keeps me very organized and up to date with everything I have due, appointments and places I need to be. I highly highly recommend these if you have troubles staying organized with everything or you just love planning. I’ve had the Lilly Pulitzer ones, but these blow them out of the water. You can also get add ons at checkout (which are VERY dangerous may I add) of stickers, paper clips, invitations, glitter bands, and all types of things.

Morphe 35O palette – $22 on http://www.morphebrushes.com (currently out of stock – but will be restocked soon!)

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This palette absolutely blew up and when it first came out it was out of stock for forever, but I got a notification when it was restocked and within 2 hours it was out of stock again – but luckily I got my hands on it and I am SO glad that I did because this is the perfect palette for fall. It has beautiful warm colors and you can do anything from a dramatic smoky eye or a casual everyday look with this palette. Plus it’s only $22 for 35 different shadows – which is amazing. They’re very blend able and very pigmented. They’re great quality for the cost. I would highly recommend getting your hands on this the next time it’s in stock because there’s not much else I’ll be using for fall & I know everyone could get tons of use out of these colors!

21oz Hydro Flask in Arctic White – $28 at Field & Stream or http://www.hydroflask.com

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I sort of have a water bottle/shaker bottle problem. We have about 4 cabinets full of water bottles and shaker bottles, but this one I really like for a few reasons. One being that it keeps cold water cold for 24 hours – which I’ve tested by filling it up with water and ice at 8p.m. one night, I let it sit all day and when I came back to it the next night, the ice was still in there – which I thought was incredible. I’ve used it at school as well and left it in my car in the heat and when I came back out to it, the water was still ice cold. It says it also keeps hot things hot for 8 hours, but I haven’t tested that yet. Another thing I like is that it doesn’t condensate on the outside – which for me is a huge plus because I find condensation to be so annoying when it gets all over my seats of my car or desks at school. I also find that even though it’s stainless steel – it doesn’t give water a weird taste because I guess the stainless steel is different (18/8?) so it doesn’t give a weird taste to liquids like a lot of stainless steel cups & bottles do. The only thing I would change is I would get the top with the straw in it because I’m somewhat of a messy drinker I guess & I tend to spill it on myself with the standard mouth – but they do sell the straw tops online, which I will have to purchase ASAP! If you’re looking for a good water bottle that keeps your water cold literally all day, this is a really good one! Plus they offer many different sizes + have containers for food!

Lancome Grandiose Mascara – $32 at Sephora

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So the other day my dad came home with a ton of makeup for my mom and I randomly and this was one of the things he got. I must add, for going into Sephora and not having a clue what anything is, he did a pretty awesome job at picking things out. I’ve only heard of this mascara a few times but never got it because it’s a biiiiiiit pricey, but when I saw it in the bag of makeup he got me I was super excited because I’d heard good things about it. Well it’s quickly made its way to my top 5 favorite mascaras. It’s very comparable to the Giorgio Armani Eyes to Kill mascara, which is my #2 favorite, but this I think gives a little more length rather than volume. It doesn’t clump or flake on me throughout the day. The packaging alone makes you just want to buy it because it’s so pretty and I’m a sucker for cute packaging. The wand is bent on the inside so it’s much easier to apply rather than the typical straight wand. Overall, I will repurchase this again & I’m still shocked my dad found such a good product haha!

Colorescience Products – I got mine from my esthetician, but you can find them at http://www.colorescience.com

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These products are so amazing and I don’t use them a lot because they’re a tad expensive and they only carry them at my esthetician’s office (they have a website but I hate having to guess my shade). I have the illuminating serum which if you have dry skin – this will be your best friend because it gives you such a pretty dewy glow under your makeup. The face primer I have is skin calming and redness reducing because I have rosacea & sometimes you can see it through certain foundations – this really cancels all my redness out and also fills in my pores very well. I’ve used this product the most because overall it really makes my skin look flawless, which is good to have under your foundation. I have the mineral foundation and the pressed compact foundation, which both have SPF 20 in them and give you such a natural look & they aren’t cakey looking or drying like some powder foundations. Usually I’ll use these for a setting powder or on days where my skin looks like it needs some help before I head out the door. The setting mist is equally as amazing as the face primer because it gives a dewy look as well & for some reason to me it smells like Sprite! Once I put this on, my makeup does not move at all. In my opinion, I think it’s better than MAC Fix+. The best thing about this whole line is that it’s very healthy for your skin and actually helps clear your complexion. They all have vitamins and minerals in them that really help clear your skin and make it look healthy – where as other makeup brands tend to clog your pores and cause breakouts. I have VERY sensitive skin and a lot of products break me out, but I never have any problems with any of these products + they have a HUGE range of products from eyeshadows, to bronzers, to the products I have!

Starbucks Iced Chai Tea Latte w/ Nonfat Milk

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When I don’t feel like getting green tea from Starbucks, which is my usual I’ll get a Tall Iced Chai Tea Latte with nonfat milk instead & it’s easily my 3rd favorite drink from Starbucks (2nd being Pumpkin Spice Latte 😀 ). There are 120 calories, 2g fat, 22g carbs, 4g protein – only downside ? 21 grams of sugar …… But some days I just crave them and I’ll usually only have them on special occasions or cheat days. They’re SO good, but if you don’t like cinnamon, you won’t like these at all. They’re also really good hot too, but in the summer I like them iced!

So again, I’m sorry for the short amount of favorites, but this month I didn’t really try any new things other than the stuff I have been using for a while now! I hope this (short) list of favorites makes you want to try something & let me know if you do and what you think of it!

As always, thanks for reading (:

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3 Ingredient Paleo Pancakes!

The Paleo diet has been around since the cavemen, literally, this diet is 100% based off of what cavemen and cavewomen ate when they were around. If you’re not familiar with the Paleo diet, it’s basically you eat as whole as you possibly can. It comes from the idea that you eat food that can be harvested from the ground or hunted. You mostly eat meat, fish, veggies and fruit while excluding dairy or grain products as well as all processed foods. It’s actually a very healthy diet & as long as you’re getting a good amount of carbs in from your fruit & veggies, you won’t feel sluggish or tired. It’s a very hard, very strict lifestyle though because you don’t realize how much processed foods and grains you eat, until you can’t eat them. I did the Paleo diet not long ago for lent and it was actually pretty easy to follow once you got a decent plan and meal prep going. I was trying to come up with some recipes while I was on this diet and came up with these Paleo Pancakes that have only 3 ingredients in them & are pretty filling. I remembered these this morning when I grabbed for a banana and there was two VERY ripe bananas sitting on our countertop – so I thought I would share this quick and easy recipe!

Ingredients:

2 ripe bananas

1 whole egg

1 tsp cinnamon (or to your preference)

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Directions:

  1. Peel the bananas and mash them with a fork until they are as smooth as you can get them. They will act as the water and flour part in regular pancakes & you’ll see once you mash them they almost resemble the color and texture!
  2. Add in the egg. This will act as a binder and make the bananas cook easier & more like regular pancakes. I found they give these a bit of a french toast taste & texture!
  3. Add cinnamon to taste! You can also add fruit if you would like which I would have added blueberries or apples, but I wanted to give the basic recipe first. + I added a bit of Flavor God Chocolate Donut Seasoning as well !

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5. Heat up a griddle or whatever you cook pancakes on to medium/high temps. I sprayed my griddle with coconut oil to make sure nothing in these pancakes were straying from the paleo diet!

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6. Place a small amount onto the griddle & I let each side cook for about 10 minutes. These are a much different texture from normal pancakes and I find they need about double the time on each side to make sure they don’t crumble or fall apart when you go to flip them. If you don’t cook them long enough they will crumble & look like scrambled eggs – but still taste delicious!

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The finished product! I topped mine with some pure buckwheat honey & devoured them! They taste like banana french toast & have a light and fluffy texture. I really enjoyed these and they make about 5-6 pancakes depending on the side you make them (the smaller, the faster they cook). They come in at 60 calories, 1g of fat, 12g carbs, 6g sugar & 2g of protein for 1 pancake.

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I hope you enjoyed this recipe & let me know what you think if you try it out! Also, let me know some of your favorite Paleo recipes because I love trying new recipes! As always, thanks for reading (:

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July Favorites! Or do I just like food….?

I’m very late on getting this up but I lost the charger to my camera somehow & I didn’t want to use generic pictures off of the internet, so I set out on a mission to find it and sure enough I did! Anyway, this month’s favorites consists of A LOT of food. I don’t really know why, but I’ve been experimenting with tons of different recipes, foods and stuff to try and find healthier options to the foods I love & crave. So, without any more rambling – here are my favorites for the month of July (:

Liquid Lipsticks – Sephora or any drugstore!

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So this month I’ve definitely been on the liquid lipstick bandwagon that has seemingly taken over the beauty world. I feel like everyone and their mom is coming out with liquid lipsticks. My 2 specific favorite ones are the Kat Von D liquid lipstick in Exorcism and the Anastasia Beverly Hills liquid lipstick in Trust Issues. The Kat Von D lipstick has a very mousse-y texture and almost feels like you’re putting water on your lips. It takes about 15 seconds to dry and once you put it on it won’t budge for a good 4-5 hours. I had to actually use coconut oil to get it off of my lips because nothing else was working. The Anastasia liquid lipstick has more of a creamy texture but glides on very smooth, and again, is a pain to remove – but that’s a good thing. I do find the inside of my mouth wears off after a while with both of them, but that’s pretty normal I think. They both take a little practice with applying because they are a little slippery, I find using a lip brush helps get an even line along with a lip liner. They both dry completely matte and because of this, they are just a bit drying – but nothing awful to where your lips look gross and crusty. Milani also came out with a liquid lipstick line at the drugstore but I have yet to find it anywhere, but I’ll keep hunting!

Tory Burch Robinson Leather Wallet on a Chain (French Gray) – $295 at Nordstrom

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I’ve been in love with this bag ever since I got it! If you haven’t tried a WOC (wallet on a chain) yet, I highly suggest it. I got this for a baseball game and concert I was going to that I didn’t feel like bringing a huge purse to. It fits all my cards, change, money, my iPhone 6 plus, and a lipgloss. For a WOC, this thing holds a lot. I also loved the color because gray is very in right now with fall coming up & it’s a neutral so it goes with everything. Tory Burch can do no wrong in my eyes & I’m sure there are more affordable WOC’s out there that are just as great! They are so versatile and you can even take the long chain off and throw it in your purse to use as an actual wallet. it’s very roomy and spacious inside + there is a pocket on the backside as well!

Josie Maran Argan Daily Moisturizer SPF 47 – $32 at Sephora

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This has been my go-to SPF for everyday because it’s a moisturizer and SPF in one – so it takes care of 2 steps! I always have an SPF on even if I’m outside for short periods of time because the sun can do it’s damage in any short amount of time. This is also a physical SPF which means instead of how a chemical SPF absorbs the rays then basically sends them back out, a physical SPF blocks them all together so your skin is not exposed to them at all. I usually put this on before I run & even though it says it’s not sweat/waterproof – I find it still does its job. The only drawback is that it is a little bit thick and greasy feeling at first, but once you let it sit on your face and dry for about 5 minutes – that feeling goes completely away and your face just feels nice and hydrated. This also smells AMAZING, per usual for all of Josie Maran’s products. If you haven’t tried a physical SPF, I would highly recommend this one because I love it and it doesn’t clog my pores or break me out at all!

amika: Perk Up Dry Shampoo – $22 at Sephora

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First of all, even if you don’t like dry shampoos or you don’t want to buy one – just please, go to Sephora and smell this product. It smells like heaven in a bottle. I was first introduced to amika by my hair dresser who used an oil by them on my hair which, again, smelled absolutely fantastic. When I saw this at Sephora I had a slight freak out and told my mom to come smell it. After I sprayed it on my hand and the slight alcohol smell went away – it smelled exactly like the oil. I have no clue how to describe how this smells, but it’s easily one of the best smelling hair products I’ve ever used. It also works really well & gets rid of any and all oil in my hair – the only drawback is it does leave a white cast, so if you have darker hair, you may not want to use this. With my blonde hair I find that I can usually buff it out with a brush or my hands and it looks fine. You can also spray it into a brush and then comb the product through your hair which I find works MUCH better than spraying it directly on your hair if you don’t want a white cast! This is probably my favorite dry shampoo I’ve ever used & definitely gets a 10/10 on smell!

LAVANILA Sport Luxe Deodorant – $16 at Sephora

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This deodorant literally changed my life, not joking! So I’ve been reading a LOT of articles about how name brand deodorants having aluminum in them is starting to be linked with breast cancer. I honestly don’t understand why aluminum is needed anyway in deodorant, BUT, I’m not going to go into that. After scaring myself enough with about 5 different articles and one woman’s story – I decided to throw out my old deodorant. I have very sensitive armpits, TMI? Weird? Whatever, lol I’m sure I’m not the only one. Brands like Degree, Secret & Suave always gave me this horrible itchy rash, so I could only ever use the Dove sensitive skin. Well I read on the back that aluminum was an ingredient & decided to go with the all natural ones that don’t have any chemicals or aluminum. WELL, let me tell you how this worked out. I bought TOMS from Whole Foods and then decided it would be a good idea to use it before I went on a run – um… no… this is where I messed up. I feel sorry for anyone I passed on my run because I don’t know how they didn’t pass out. Again, if this is getting graphic or gross – I’m sorry, but these are real world issues here -lol. So I went to Sephora with my mom one day and this LAVANILA product was displayed and said NEW! so I figured I would give it a go. I’ve tried the LAVANILA deodorants before and they never worked.. until this. I can wear this almost all day without having to reapply. I also read that it takes your body about a month to a month and a half to get adjusted to not having chemicals in your armpits. So I decided to bear through a month of just using this and my TOMS deodorant & I’m so glad I did. I can now run with these and everything else without noticing anything. I’m not sensitive to either one of these and they don’t give me any problems. Overall, moral of this favorite – please do some research on aluminum in deodorants. It’s scary that a necessity for women is actually hurting us and can lead to cancer!

Better Bodies Camo Long Tights – ON SALE for $74 at gaspbb.com

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I’ve been dying to get my hands on these for the longest time. If you don’t know who Ashley Kaltwasser is, she is 2x Ms. Bikini Olympia and she’s a huge role model of mine. Well, she wear these all the time & I just loved them and loved how they look but they were 100$… uhhhh, I could buy Lululemon leggings for that much, so I passed. The other day I saw Better Bodies posted on instagram they were having a sale & a small part of me got excited because I was hoping they would be apart of it – well, they were & I finally snagged these and I’m so glad I did. I can totally see why people pay 100$ for these because they are SO comfortable and like most tights *cough cough* Victoria’s Secret *cough*, they don’t make my legs hot, they aren’t made of cheap material and you cannot see through them whatsoever. They also have a zipper at the bottom so you can unzip them and make them into crops. The shape the sides have also gives your butt a nice lifted look – which is always a plus!

P28 Foods High Protein Pancake Mix in Strawberries & Cream – $14 at Vitamin Shoppe

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Let me just start off with saying, I’ve had these for dinner 3 nights in a row….. They’re THAT good. I’ve always seen P28 on instagram & besides pancakes they also make breads, bagels, peanuts butter (which I’m not a fan of) and almond butters. I’ve made protein pancakes in the past from scratch and they were just gross. I don’t know if I just suck at it or what, but I threw them all out and never attempted a protein pancake again. When I saw the pancake mix I thought that would be a better idea than me trying to make some concoction of my own. I was a little disappointed in the flavor selection and this one was really the only one that appealed to me. But they are SO GOOD. They taste just like normal pancakes, no protein-y gross taste to them at all and they’re light and fluffy. It’s simple too, you just mix 2/3 cup of mix with 2/3 cup of water, mix, then cook – easy as that. I usually eat 4 pancakes which is 2 servings which comes in with 320 cals. 5g of fat, 44g of carbs, 2g of sugar & 28g of protein. So it’s a good filling breakfast & it’s really good for those workouts where you need some extra carbs. For one servings, just cut all those numbers in half! These are so far my favorite protein pancakes I’ve tried, but I do also want to try ManCakes!

Lenny & Larry’s Complete Cookie – $2 / cookie at Vitamin Shoppe

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I’ve been on the hunt for good protein cookies ever since I discovered The Protein Cookie Company because I hate having to order them and wait to get them. So I saw these at Vitamin Shoppe the other day and picked up Pumpkin Spice & Snickerdoodle. The Snickerdoodle one is delicious & tastes just like a normal cookie. I’m probably going to eat the Pumpkin Spice after I get this post up because it’s staring at me – lol. These are all natural, vegan, high protein, no dairy, non- GMO, nothing artificial & no nasties. So they’re pretty good for you as far as ingredients goes. Only thing is, one cookie is 2 servings.. so you have to have some self control unless you want to eat 420 calories of cookie haha. But these are VERY good and the fact that I can get them right down the road is a plus. I also like the fact that they’re all natural and I can understand all of the ingredients without wondering what the heck I’m putting in my body. I would highly recommend the Snickerdoodle flavor if you want to just try them!

FlavorGod Seasonings in Chipotle – $20 at Flavorgod.com

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FlavorGod Seasonings are the only seasonings I’ve used ever since I discovered them. If you don’t know about FlavorGod, they are all natural seasonings that are diet friendly, pale & nothing added besides pure ingredients. He has a main group of about 5 seasonings he has all the time & will occasionally release limited edition seasoning like Pizza, Chipotle, & Pink Salt. Well, last year he released Chipotle & I didn’t get my hands on it because it sold out so fast – well he just re released it & I grabbed it as soon as I saw it. I’ve used it on bison, eggs, on avocados and just about anything I can find. His seasonings are SO delicious and knowing you’re only using natural ingredients is a big plus because some of the store bought ones have some WEIRD stuff in them, plus these bottles are about twice the size of Mrs. Dash! There are 0 calories, 0 fat, and only 35mg of sodium (1% DV) – which is amazing. If you haven’t tried any, I suggest getting garlic lovers or this one to start (before it sells out) and getting more as you go! I have every single one of his flavors, limited edition and normal, and I don’t have one that I dislike! You won’t be disappointed with these!

Deer Creek Honey Farms Buckwheat Honey (Ohio Local) – Purchased at Jungle Jims, not sure on pricing!

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This honey is my addiction right now. I haven’t gone a day since my mom brought it home without eating some. I’ve almost gone through a whole container in a month – THAT’S how good it is. If you’re not familiar with buckwheat honey, here’s a little info: healwithfood.org . It’s much darker than normal honey, which also gives it more anti-oxidants and a much more rich flavor than normal light honey. It’s taste honestly is 100x better than normal honey and it almost has like a molasses taste which I really love. My favorite way to eat it is with a whole wheat english muffin, organic peanut butter, a banana and this on top. I used to eat that before early morning soccer games & one day decided to try it again with the buckwheat honey & I eat that for breakfast about 6/7 days a week, especially before runs because it gives me a ton of energy! I would 100% recommend getting this honey because I promise once you try it you will never go back to original honey, it’s just that good!

Buff Bake Snickerdoodle Almond Butter – $14 at buff bake.com or Vitamin Shoppe

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I’ve mentioned Buff Bake in the past when they had just come out with their to-go packs but I never really talked about a specific one. The Snickerdoodle flavor (can you tell I like snickerdoodle..?) is by far my favorite, but just barely beating chocolate chip peanut butter. Buff Bake makes some seriously good nut butters and at 190 cals, 14g fat, 4g sugar & 11g of protein, you can’t beat it. It gives such a fun twist on normal peanut butter or almond butter & they just released red velvet peanut butter which I’m really anxious to try! They used to be an online only order, but just recently started selling their products in most, if not all, Vitamin Shoppes. They also made with chia seed & flax seed which are so beneficial for your health! On my jar of snickerdoodle there are only 7 ingredients and I can find all of them at my local grocery store, which I really love. If you haven’t tried any of them I really recommend them, I haven’t tried one that I don’t like!

CLIF Shot Energy Gel in Mocha – $2 at Kroger/Fresh Thyme/Whole Foods

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These are like crack for runners I think. Seriously, I’ve never had a product give me so much energy before like this does. These are easily my favorite gels before really long runs or races. The mocha flavor honestly to me tastes like chocolate syrup you put on ice cream with a tiny hint of coffee (I hate coffee and I don’t mind it). They are 90% organic, 100 cals, 85mg of potassium, 12g of sugar + 50 mg of caffeine, which is about half a cup of coffee. I’m not a coffee drinker so I’m not sure if these just give me a ton of energy because I’m not used to that much caffeine or what, but they definitely get the job done. I’m also very sensitive to caffeine and these don’t give me jitters or shakes or anything like that. Just good continuous energy. I ran 9 miles last Friday and this gave me good steady energy for about 7 of those 9 miles which is about an hours worth! If you run & are looking for some good gels or if you just want a pick me up – give these a try!

I hope some of these products were helpful & made you want to try something new! I’m sorry most of them were food but I’ve really been trying to find some good products lately! What are some of your favorite products you’ve been loving? As always, thanks for reading (:

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My favorite healthy meals when I’m out and about!

So let’s face it, we all like to go out and treat ourselves with a huge piece of cheesecake from Cheesecake Factory every now and then as a cheat meal, but what if it’s not your cheat day & you have to go out for a birthday, celebration, work party, etc? Below I’m going to list my favorite HEALTHY meals and options when I’m out to eat at some of my favorite restaurants!

Cheesecake Factory: So God bless Cheesecake Factory for making the Skinnylicious menu because it takes the guess work right out of trying to find something healthy to eat – although the salt content is pretty high in some of these items (ya gotta make it taste good, right?) you can always ask to have you item cooked with minimal salt! So here’s a few of my favs!

+ Greek Salad as a starter

+ Skinnylicious Caesar salad (TO DIE FOR!)

+ Chicken lettuce wrap tacos (Mexican style w/ no crema)

+ Skinnylicious grilled salmon w/ asparagus

+ Skinny Margarita if you’ve had a rough day 😉

Panera Bread: Panera is iffy with me because some of their stuff isn’t necessarily the freshest of ingredients, but I guess that’s to be expected when you’re out to eat, unfortunately. Plus their menu is seasonal which irritates me & they get rid of some of their menu items randomly, BUT, nonetheless, I usually order one solid meal every time I go and it’s actually really delicious!

+ Pick two of: Greek salad w/ chicken + a cup of black bean soup + an apple instead of bread or chips!

+ Their steak and egg power bowl was my all time favorite thing to order for breakfast there – BUT, just like Panera does, THEY GOT RID OF IT?! I believe if you go there, you can still ask for it and they’ll make you one – but it’s not on the menu any longer which is a shame.

BJ’s Brewhouse: BJ’s also has a healthy menu option called the BJ’s EnLIGHTened Entrees and if you can resist the temptation of their delicious root beer, you’ll be pretty set as far as eating a decent meal there!

+ BBQ Bison burger (all time favorite!)

+ Hawaiian Mahi-Mahi

+ They have a new Fire Roasted Barbacoa chicken there that also looks really delicious, but I have not tried it yet!

EO Burger: EO Burger has some seriously delicious food, but they aren’t necessarily the healthiest of burgers out there. I normally only get one or two things whenever I go there because everything else is pretty much a heart attack on a plate + they don’t really have any healthy side items.

+ Gobble burger with no cheese or cranberry mayo on a whole wheat bun w/ no fries.

+ They have the option to “Cluck It”, which means you can make any burger a chicken sandwich – but I’m not entirely sure if it’s grilled or fried chicken :/

BD’s Mongolian Grill: Hands down my favorite place to eat out when I’m watching my diet because you basically control your entire plate – salt, seasoning, veggies, meats, EVERYTHING.

+ Chicken + Sirloin w/ broccoli, green onions, yellow onions, green bell peppers, tiny amount of red potatoes, w/ mongolian ginger sauce + 1 egg. BOOM. seriously, the sauce makes it & it’s pretty clean.

Olive Garden: I know, the breadsticks – but you can easily eat 5 in one sitting and meet your entire DRV of calories, salt, carbs & fat with one food item & who wants to do that? 1 breadstick is 140 calories & 460 mg of sodium………….

+ Baked Tilapia w/ shrimp + asparagus (also some salad they give you, because yum).

+ Sometimes I’ll have a glass of red wine because as we all know it’s heart healthy & delicious!

Chipotle: Everytime I order this certain bowl they give me the strangest looks & I don’t know why because it has a name so I’m sure people other than me order it?!

+ Steak 3- pointer bowl which is simply just brown rice & steak. It’s really filling & good as far as macros go!

+ I never get their chips because HOLY SALT. Their corn salsa is also loaded with salt unfortunately 😦

BW3’s: Their wings are just heaven, but believe it or not there’s actually some pretty decent options there as well as far as healthy eating goes or if you just don’t feel like running to the bathroom 4 minutes after you pound 8 wings.

+ Naked Tender with desert heat seasoning (if you don’t like heat, DON’T get this seasoning because it will light you up!)

+ Sometimes I get a small garden salad with no dressing & cut my naked tenders up and put them on my salad for a healthier chicken salad! + I take my favorite healthy salad dressing with me so I can use them instead of the fatty ones they have at most restaurants!

Starbucks: Basic. I know. But Starbucks has some really delicious & healthy food + drinks!

+ My go to drink: Trenta iced green tea w/ no sweetener. I actually hate coffee, so I never order anything but teas or refreshers when I go there!

+ Hearty Blueberry whole grain oatmeal w/ honey. SO good & actually perks me up quite a bit!

+ Fresh berries & honey yogurt

So, I hope some of these options may help you next time you’re out to eat or you just want to try something I mentioned! I usually only drink water with all these meals because I try to stay away from pops (I’ll drink green tea too!). Let me know if you’ve tried any of these & what you think of them or what some of your favorite options are at the restaurants I mentioned! As always, thanks for reading (:

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My Favorite Healthy On-the-go Snacks!

If I’m out and about the last thing I want to eat is fast food because honestly, thinking about how they make their food makes me sick to my stomach. I will sometimes get the occasional Chipotle because, it’s Chipotle? But as far as McDonald’s, Wendy’s, etc.. No thank you. Being a college student, I’m out at classes a lot and I have some down time in between classes & as far as food goes for around my university, there’s nothing but fast food after fast food restaurants around it. So I usually pack my meals with me if I know I’ll be there for a long period of time. With it being summer, if I’m out running errands I like to bring snacks with me because I try to eat at least 6 meals a day. But sometimes, I’m honestly just not hungry and I’ll take something quick and easy with me, so for this post, I wanted to share my favorite healthy snacks I bring when I’m out and on-the-go!

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Probably my favorite of all, The Protein Cookie Company’s protein cookies. These are the bomb & come in at around 230 calories a cookie, 20 g of protein, 29 g of carbs & 5 g of fat. These are pretty filling too & it really satisfies my cravings for something sweet. Check them out here !

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Buff Bake protein nut butters really grabbed my attention because 1. I have a peanut butter addiction and 2. the flavors are out of this world. They recently just introduced these little on-the-go packs & it’s really convenient to take with you anywhere! You can eat them straight like I do, or put them on anything from waffles to rice cakes or mix them in a smoothie! My favorite of all is the Snickerdoodle almond butter. They also offer them in jars, but for on-the-go, I think the packs are really convenient ! Try them here, they’re also offering free samples right now so get some while you can (:

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Rice cakes, I know, ew right? No, these white cheddar ones changed the game for me. They’re really packed with flavor & great with some turkey on top! The original rice cakes are good too, but these and the chocolate kind really opened my eyes to the not  so boring side of rice cakes. These are great to put in a plastic baggy and head out the door!

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I mentioned this Whirlybird granola in my last favorites post & I just can’t get enough of it! This is my favorite flavor because I’m obsessed with blueberries and it’s got a great taste and it’s pretty good for you as well. I usually measure out the 30g serving with my food scale and put it in a to-go container and head out the door. This also satisfies my sweet tooth because the blueberries and vanilla have a great taste together, and it’s only sweetener is organic agave & stevia !

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GNC Lean Shakes aren’t necessarily my favorite on their own with just water because they are a bit too thick, but in a smoothie with a banana and peanut butter, it’s super satisfying and really good. These are technically meal replacement shakes, so they do really fill you up & make sure you aren’t hungry for a little while after eating them. Sometimes I just don’t have time in the morning to make a whole breakfast, so these are a really good substitute !

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thinkThin bars are one of the better tasting protein bars I’ve had, but they still taste like protein bars. But these are one of the better ones for you nutrition wise that you can get at almost any grocery store! These only have 150 calories, 10 g of protein, 5 g of fiber and only 5 g of sugar, so they aren’t that bad for you (unlike Quest bars). They’re also pretty low in carbs and the ingredients on the back isn’t loaded with tons of things you can’t pronounce (again, unlike Quest bars). So if you’re going to go for a protein bar, I’d suggest these or any of the Thunderbird brand (find at Whole Foods or Fresh Thyme!)

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This isn’t food, but when I’m thirsty and I don’t want water, I’ll go to Starbucks and get a Venti green tea with no sweetener. So if you’ve ever had their green tea, I think it’s pretty good, but most other people hate it – SO, I figured I would put a scoop of my BCAA’s in with it and it 100% changed my green tea game. It’s so good because these aminos have a great orangey mango flavor and it just adds so much more to the green tea. I really love these aminos too because they really cut down on my soreness and help with recovery after a rough workout & they help with hydration!

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Turkey jerky is one of my favorites as well because in my opinion, it had a better taste than beef jerky and it’s much more healthy for you. You can find these basically anywhere & if you’re in an SOS position, these would be a good thing to grab for! Plus it’s pretty high in protein and low in fat so it’ll keep you full for a little while!

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Tuna/Salmon packets may not sound appetizing, but tuna is a great source of omega-3 fatty acids and it’s pretty low in calories. They also have the to-go packs with mayo, and crackers, but they mayo isn’t light & the crackers aren’t the best tasting- so I would stay away from those. I find these with a plastic fork makes a great to-go snack that is really healthy for you as well!

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It’s been said that almonds are one of the healthiest foods you can eat because they are loaded with different vitamins like biotin, vitamin E and vitamins B2. They lower bad cholesterol, can reduce the risk of heart disease, protect against heart disease & diabetes, they’re great for your skin, nails & hair, they have healthy fats that can aid in weight loss, can prevent gallstones and the list goes on and on. Raw almonds are great for you & I read a study that said if you eat them daily, it can help you eat a better diet! So it’s pretty safe to say that almonds are a great snack for on-the-go!

These are some of my favorite snacks when I’m on the go or traveling! Let me know some of your favorite healthy snacks & if you have tried any of the ones I mentioned! Thanks for reading (:

Homemade Healthy Sweet Potato Fries!

I started making these with no recipe and just plans to wing it and hope they turned out okay, and booooooy did they ever. I’m really excited because this is the first recipe I’ve ventured out and made up on my own. I’m sure there’s 500 different recipes out there for homemade sweet potato fries, but I wanted to do mine a little differentialy because honestly I hate sweet potatoes. I have tried so many recipes to make them taste even okay to me and I’ve hated every single one of them. I’ve tried them baked, chips, mashed & even fried as a last ditch effort- nothing, disgusting. So this motivated me to try and do something that I personally would like & feel free to switch any of these ingredients up for something you might like more! I featured my favorite Flavor God seasonings that I use on everything & I decided I wanted more of a savory flavor on my fries, so these are the ingredients I gathered together and used:

-2 decent sized sweet potatoes

– avocado oil

-apple cider vinegar

-Flavor God Pizza seasoning

-Himalayan pink salt

I also used a potato peeler and a knife as seen in the picture!

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I know you’re jealous of our American flag plates – LOL.

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So after I washed and scrubbed them, I cut the ends of the potatoes and any weird little parts off. I also skinned them completely because I hate potato skins, but feel free to leave the skin on if you like the skin! I also rinsed them off one more time after I skinned and cut them just to make sure there was nothing on them and they were ready to cut!

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Okay, this part made me want to cuss. After about 15 minutes of cutting and only having a quarter of a potato done, I requested the help of my mom & the cutting then went by much quicker. If you have something that makes fries for you, I would highly suggest using that because it would be much easier I’m sure haha. If not, grab two knives & your mom and catch up on whatever gossip you can think of – it’ll go by much faster!

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This is the seasoning I put on the fries after I put them in our NuWave oven. If you don’t have a NuWave… where have you been? Seriously, GET ONE. We use ours for every meal almost and it makes things to much easier and crispier than conventional ovens. Anyway, I mixed the apple cider vinegar, avocado oil, salt, & Pizza seasoning together here and then once I put them on the rack, I brushed the mixture onto the potato pieces because I didn’t want them soaked.

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Here they are on our NuWave rack & freshly brushed with the seasoning mixture. Again, if you don’t want to use exactly what I used for the seasoning, mix it up! You can use cinnamon, brown sugar & oil for a sweet fry or chili flakes and vinegar for a spicy fry! The possibilities are endless and honestly it’s just however you want your fries to taste! I, again, wanted a savory fry so I went with apple cider vinegar & pizza seasoning!

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So in the NuWave I cooked them for 7 minutes & when that time was up, I moved them around and cooked them again for another 5 minutes (I lined the bottom with foil so I avoided a mess with the seasoning and I could just simply crumple the foil when I was done instead of having to wash the bottom tray)! The NuWave seriously cuts down on cook time and it’s so incredibly convenient. We use ours for chicken, steaks, fries, tater tots, turkey, pizza, bread, cupcakes – literally everything. If you want to learn more about the NuWave I recommend it because it changed our lives. If you’re using a conventional oven I would suggest using a baking sheet lined with foil and cooking the fries for about 30-45 minutes at around 375. Also, with this method, after the first 15 minutes, I would shake them around every 10-15 minutes after that until they are golden brown! Again though, 12 minutes in the NuWave compared to 45 minutes in an oven… c’mon now. That’s why the NuWave is the bomb.

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These are the final product & they were DELISHHHH! I sprinkled them again with just a little bit of salt and Pizza seasoning immediately after they came out of the NuWave and they were delicious. They’re a healthy alternative to traditional fries and even though they take a little bit of prep and cooking, it’s worth it in saved calories!

Let me know if you try these and if you use my method of seasoning or if you used your own ! I would love to hear what you guys come up with so I can try it next time I make these! Also, here is a link for the NuWave set we have because I seriously highly recommend this to everyone that doesn’t like waiting around for things to cook – everyone in my family uses this (HSN usually has pretty good deals on these!). As always, thanks for reading (:

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Refreshing Summer Dip!

So I came across this dip recipe on Facebook about a month ago and had been meaning to try it because it looked absolutely delicious and I was told that it was as good as it looked! The original creator of this dip is Marilyn Hanbury from her Facebook page and looking through her recipes she has some AMAZING looking stuff! So I decided to give this stuff a whirl since I loved (almost) everything in it! + Recently becoming a member of Healthy Living Blogs, I decided now was a good time to do my first recipe!

So first to start off you need 2 jalapeños, 1 red bell pepper, 1 can of corn [no salt added] & plain non-fat greek yogurt. The recipe also called for a half a can of sliced olives but I couldn’t find the low sodium ones so I just omitted that! So this is what you’ll have once you have all your ingredients together! *I used the sweet potato chips for dipping!

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After you chop the red bell pepper & chop + de-seed the jalapeños you’ll want to add the whole can of corn and 16 oz of Greek yogurt together!

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^ All the ingredients!

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^ All the ingredients in a bowl together before combining!

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This is the final products and I tell you, it’s delicious with the sweet potato chips! I also added a little pinch of Himylayian pink salt and a bit of my Flavor God Garlic Lovers seasoning [here + they’re 100% clean and won’t ruin your diet!] After calculating one serving (4 oz) came out to be around 100 calories, low salt (if you use no salt added corn) and zero fat! Basically it’s completely guilt free and I can’t wait to eat some while I’m sitting by a pool this summer because it’s got really great flavor and it’s really refreshing! Next time, I might leave 1/2 of the seeds from 1 jalapeno in to add just a little bit of heat!

Let me know if you try this and if you like it + also, what are some of your favorite clean summer snacks?!

Thanks for reading (:

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