January Favorites | I’m Back!

Hollllllyyyyyyyyyyy molly, it’s been a while since I’ve made a post on here! Things got super busy after Thanksgiving with school, finals week and the prep for Christmas! I wanted to take some time off to focus on school, family, and not worry about documenting every event for a little bit. Anywho, I hope everyone had an amazing Holiday and got to spend some good quality time with those who mean the most! Now that I’m in the swing of Spring semester and my work load isn’t crazy, I plan on updating my blog as often as I was before because I honestly missed it! So, as my returning post – my favorite kind of post, my monthly favorites! Disclaimer: Christmas was at the end of December and my birthday is at the very beginning of January, so a lot of these favorites were gifts!

My go to everyday makeup: Tatcha Luminous Dewey Skin Mist, Morphe M439 brush, Dior Capture Totale Serum foundation, dr. brant pores no more primer 

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These 4 are my staples right now for my oddly dry (not complaining) winter skin. I’m normally very oily so I probably won’t touch the foundation or mist in the summer, but for now I love how they make my skin look.

I’ve always had issues with my pores and I’ve tried everything from Benefits POREfessional, the MUFE pore primer and the smash box primer and none of them really made that big of a difference. I heard about this primer through a YouTuber I follow and she said it was the best she’s ever tried. I would 100% agree. It mattifies, but is formulated to adapt to dry skin – which is perfect for a year round primer, it blurs my pores almost completely and creates a barrier so the makeup won’t clog your pores. It’s also formulated to treat pores, but I haven’t noticed a huge difference in the size – but for anyone who struggles with pores – you need this in your life.

So the Tatcha spray made it’s debut when people found out that Kim Kardashian uses it to get that beautiful glow her skin has & let me tell you – you DEFINITELY glow with this stuff. I spray this on my face over my pores no more primer so I don’t look so flat once my makeup goes on & my face almost looks wet for about 5 minutes, but once it sets you just look very healthy a glowy. This product is pricey for a skin mist, but worth it in my eyes!

The Dior CT foundation is probably the best natural looking foundation I’ve ever tried. This is a sample size that came in a Capture Totale skincare kit I got and I’ve noticed I don’t break out if I wear it for multiple days in a row. I’ve applied this with my beauty blender, but I find the Morphe M439 brush gives it the best look if I spray my brush with a little of MAC Fix+ before I blend it all in. It has anti aging ingredients, SPF 15, optical correctors, and HD liquid crystal pigments that reflect light and make your skin look very healthy, plump and, you guessed it, GLOWY. If you’re dry skinned & have issues with pores – I would recommend this combination!

Sony Alpha a5100 Mirrorless Camera

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I got this camera for my birthday based on reviews and recommendations I received and I really do love it. I’m by no means skilled in photography and if I can get a picture that’s focused and not blurry – I’m satisfied. But what I love most about this camera is that it has a screen that flips up so you can take selfies and see what you’re doing with amazing quality, the pictures and video are amazing, and it’s quite light! If you’re in the market for a new camera for a vacation, or just want a new camera to document certain things – I really love this one!

Vanity Girl Broadway Lighted Table Top Vanity Mirror

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I was SO surprised when I got this for Christmas because I had looked at them before, but they’re a biiiiiiiiit pricey for a mirror. I’m absolutely in love with it because I not only have my small mirror that I can see close up what I’m doing, but now I can sit back and see it from further away with MUCH better lighting! I also love that it has 2 outlets on the bottom right hand corner so I can now do my hair sitting down, in my room instead of curling my hair standing for 45 minutes in the bathroom. It was the perfect touch to my vanity and I absolutely love it! If you’re thinking about investing in one – I say go for it (:

Fitmark Athletic Tote

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So a few months ago I posted about my Nike gym bag I had gotten and was in love with. Yeah.. that was until I discovered Fitmark Bags. This thing hold everything I need and the kitchen sink. It has 8 different pockets on the inside, a water bottle holder, a bag to put your sweaty clothes in, an adjustable strap, the back part snaps away for another extra half to the bag, and a pocket in the front with a clasp to put your keys on. I will never go back to any other bag because for me at least, this has so much more than any bag I’ve seen. The quality of the bag is really good and I’ve had it since around the end of October, I go to the gym 6 or 7 days a week and it’s still holding up and looks brand new. If you find yourself never having enough room for your stuff – look at Fitmark’s website! They also have meal management gym bags, duffle bags, backpacks, and custom bags!

Lululemon Scuba III hoodie

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I saw this jacket at Lululemon and fell in love with the color, and it has rose gold hardware….. uhhh hello, perfect. I’ve tried to find it online or in stores and I can’t seem to find it anymore in this color/hardware. I love Lululemon and I think everything I’ve ever bought there has been amazing. Some people can’t see spending that type of money, but I workout a lot, so I can justify spending 100$ on leggings because I want to get a bunch of uses out of them and not have them rip after a few wears (*cough* Victoria’s Secret*…). Now, with that said, I bought the Scuba II hoodie and I absolutely hated it. It was SO thick I felt like a marshmallow and I couldn’t move comfortably in it. I returned it and never bought another hoodie again. Well, I had heard they were re-designing them and so I figured I’d give it a shot & I’m glad I did because they did an amazing job. It’s so incredibly soft, I can move freely, it keeps me warm, and it doesn’t bunch up under my armpits like the Scuba II. I loved this hoodie so much I got 3 other colors :O Needless to say, I think everyone should at least try one on in stores and feel the difference – I promise you’ll fall in love!

Yogi Blueberry Slim Life Green Tea

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This tea is lyyyyyyyyfe. Simple as that. I don’t even know if it really works for weight loss, but I am a HUGE blueberry fan. I love anything and everything with blueberries in it, I also have a serious obsession with green tea – so when I saw this at my grocery store I KNEW I had to get it. It’s so delicious and I’m not going to be able to describe the taste online, but it has a subtle sweetness to it from the blueberry, but also the bite from the green tea. It’s perfect and gives me a good energy boost in the morning!

Christian Louboutin Velvet Matte Lip Colour – Zoulou

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This was a Christmas present that I was not at all expecting. These bad boys are pricey as hell for a lipstick, but after trying it – I can see why. First of all, the packaging… could it be more beautiful? I didn’t expect anything less when I heard he was coming out with lipsticks, but I also expected the formula to be shit. This is probably the best matte lipstick I’ve ever used. It’s so incredibly hydrating and creamy and does not dry my lips out at all. It lasts for a good amount of time as well which I was surprised about because normally matte lipsticks don’t last on me at all – but I only had to reapply after I had got done eating which was about 3 hours after I put it on. Do I think you need to go run out and buy one right now? No, $90 is insane for a lipstick – but if you can swallow the price tag, I 100% say go for it because the quality is amazing and that packaging is to die for!

5 Drawer Acrylic Organizer

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This organizer saved my life. Again, another gift I was not expecting but I’m so glad my mom found it because it saved a TON of room on my vanity. Kim Kardashian (again.. I promise I don’t love her) made this organizer popular in an episode of Keeping Up With the Kardashians & everyone flipped out. I believe hers was around $400 ?! My mom found this on Joyus and it was a fraction of the price. I had at least 5 or 6 different organizers that I was able to condense down into just this one which cleared up enough room for my mirror and I was able to keep my vanity looking somewhat organized. If you’re a makeup junkie hoarder – this is a great item to add to your collection!

Burberry Finsbridge Belted Quilted Jacket

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Last but certainly not least, my birthday gift. This was easily one of, if not, my favorite gift. Investing in a good quality jacket I think is something everyone needs to do, especially if you live in the frigid Arctic North that is Ohio like I do! I tried on a grey pea coat type jacket, but the woman helping us at Nordstrom showed me this and I fell in love. It’s long, but hits me right above the knee which I feel the is perfect length. It has a detachable hood, a belt, zipper and buttons, and it is sooo warm. I’m absolutely obsessed with it and is definitely a staple in my wardrobe!

 

Welp, that’s it for my January favorites & I’m very happy to finally be back to blogging! Let me know what some of your favorites were for the month of January, what you did for the holidays, or just say hey (: I hope you enjoyed & as always, thanks for reading!

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October Favorites!!

October was a pretty busy month for me school wise because for some reason, every professor I have wanted to have at least 2 projects or papers due every week. Needless to say, November isn’t slowing down either as we are nearing the end of the semester. I’m very ready for the year to be over so I can enjoy the holiday season! Since October was so busy, my favorites are very sparse because I really didn’t get a chance to try or buy anything new. For November, I’m setting a goal to get up at least 6 posts, if not more! So with that being said – here are my monthly favorites (:

Batiste dry shampoo for dark hair – $7 at Target

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So I recently went back to the dark side for fall and my normal amika dry shampoo was leaving a tiny bit of a white cast on my hair when I used it. I’ve heard so many people rave about this product so I figured I would try it out, quickly it became my go to for when my hair is darker. I’m not really fond of the smell and I can’t honestly describe it but the amika one smells 50x better, but this doesn’t leave a white cast and actually has a dark color in it so it doesn’t show up in your hair as obviously. It’s really good at sucking up all the oil out of my hair and I don’t feel like I have gross, coarse sticky hair afterwards. If you have dark hair – this will be your life saver!

Scentsy Whipped Body Souffle in No. 34 – $28 through Scentsy consultant

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Scentsy? Lotion? I know. I was SO skeptical about trying this but I recently hosted a Scentsy party in October and I absolutely fell in LOVE with this soufflé. The consistency is perfect, it isn’t too thick and absorbs SO fast into the skin. I actually was able to put leggings on right after I applied this with no problem – aka, leggings approved. It absorbs fast, but it still hydrates really well and leaves your skin so incredibly soft. Now, the smell… holy crap. Online it says “White satin and pearls. The fairytale is yours for the taking amongst lilting confectionary notes pretty enough for a princess”. I don’t know if that describes anything well enough but I 100% only ordered this because it said it was pretty enough for a princess, so, duh – naturally… 😀 I never smelled this before I bought it so I was hoping it didn’t smell awful, and it definitely delivered! It smells like flowers, but still has a very faintly sweet candy smell – it’s just a perfect mix of floral and sweet. I adore it & if you have the chance check out their body line + their laundry line. I was super impressed with everything I ordered, but this the most!

479 Degrees popcorn in asiago, parmesan + cheddar – $4 at Target

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Holy. Guacamole. New favorite popcorn hands down – even over the 3,000 calorie movie theatre popcorn. This stuff is so good and with only 130 calories, 6g fat, & 16g carbs, this is a very macro friendly snack. Not to mention, 1 serving is 3 cups so you get a pretty good amount of popcorn! I received this as a snack in my Love With Food box and fell in love with it. It doesn’t taste like healthy popcorn which is a huge plus because most popcorn has no flavor and tastes like burnt paper. This is full of flavor and is definitely my favorite to date! They have TONS of other flavors as well so if cheese isn’t your thing, I’m sure they have something to fit your flavor! (Salted caramel is the bees knees too!).

Reebok Crossfit Lifter 2.0 – $120 at reebok.com

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As you can tell by the picture, I’ve given these babies a good bit of use this last month. They are so comfortable and I really feel like a get perfect stability from them with my leg workouts. Deep squats are SO much easier in these and I can really drive through my heels. I haven’t gotten a pair of Reebok shoes I don’t love and these were no exception. I wouldn’t recommend them for cardio though.. definitely not running shoes X). However, totally amazing for lifting and WODs.

Snapea Crisps in Caesar – $2 at Kroger

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I also received these as a snack in my Love With Food box (I’ll do a review on my next box if that would be helpful? Amazing company!). I was so incredibly weary about these because I HAAAATTTEEEE peas and I figured these would taste like baked disgusting grossness. To my very pleasant surprise, these are SO delicious. They also have a peanut taste to them and the caesar flavor is my favorite – they also have lightly salted, peppered, wasabi and a few others! These have 120 calories, 6g fat, 16g of carbs and also 5g of protein! I like to pre portion these out and take them to school with me for when I need something on my stomach, they’re so good and coming from a person who absolutely hates peas – these will not disappoint!

So October’s favorites were very sparse, but I again was so busy and didn’t have a chance to try many new things out – but these were my go to’s for the month! November’s is sure to be exciting! Let me know what your favorites were for the month of October & if there’s anything you’d like to see a post on/ review on this month! As always, thanks for reading! (:

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September Favorites!

The month of September flew by, I’m not quite sure if that’s because it was my first full month back in classes or if I was rushing through it to get to this beautiful fall weather I’ve been dying for. September was also a very busy month for me as I was trying to adjust my schedule back to school, trying to fit in time at the gym everyday, running my half marathon & school work on top of that – thankfully I’m done with all the running and I can focus solely on the gym now! Anyway, my favorites from September are some things I used all month or bought during the month that I’ve been loving, so – here’s my favorites (:

Cellucor COR-Performance Whey in Cinnamon Swirl – $40 at cellucor.com (code: KETTLEBELL for 25% off!)

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So I know I raved about the Jim Stopanni protein a few months back, which I still love, but the flavor of this Cellucor protein takes the cake for me. I also love Cellucor protein in general because they don’t spike their protein with cheap aminos, which is always a plus. I really love this protein because I really feel it helps me recover better & feeds my muscle adequately. When I’m searching for protein I always make sure it has at least 20g of protein, under 150 calories, less than 5g of sugar and less than 5g of carbs (just for my macros, this will change for every person) & this protein meets that perfectly. The mixability is great & I’m never left with nasty dry chunks of protein, even if I use a crappy shaker bottle. I’m really excited to try a new protein shake recipe with this I came up with & I’ll be sure to share it with everyone (if it’s good – lol). Overall, Cellucor is one of my favorite brands & I believe in them whole-heartedly because I believe their products are well known for a reason & that’s because they work. If you’re looking for a new protein to try- I highly recommend this flavor!

goats by BlenderBottle – $9 at bodybuilding.com

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I bought this probably 2 or 3 years ago & I never really used it until now. On Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays I go straight from my class to the gym – so I take everything with me when I go. I only bring one shaker bottle with me, that has my pre-workout mixed in it already, because I don’t want to dirty up 4 different ones. This is perfect for fitting my protein at the bottom in the big container, my aminos in the one above it and if I don’t mix my pre workout up before I leave I can put it in the one above that as well. The top one is for pills which I will sometimes put glutamine pills in there for if I do some serious cardio to replenish what I lost, but let’s be real – I never do cardio. It’s really convenient to have everything in one little stack & I’m really glad I bought this & re-discovered it. I’ve used the blender bottles that have the compartments at the bottom but they either got protein all over my bottle, spilled before I got to use the protein, didn’t fit all my protein, or they cracked and broke so I had to throw it away. This is really good quality & I’ve never had any issues with it. The only thing I would say I would change would be to make the opening bigger because my scooper is usually bigger than the opening of the stack & it’s hard to get my protein in without spilling the powder sometimes! Overall, I love this product & I will be getting more colors of this ASAP!

S’well Bottle in Rose Gold – $42 at swellbottle.com

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I know, $42 for a water bottle? That was my exact thoughts as well & if you don’t want to spend that much on one, I totally understand & I would recommend the hydro flask bottles, but I really love how these bottles look & they have some really cool patterns and designs. First off, S’well became popular when celebrities started carrying them with them places & everyone freaked out and needed to buy one – so naturally, I followed suit to see what the hype was about. S’well makes their bottles with 18/8 stainless steel that keeps cold liquids cold for 24 hours & hot liquids hot for 9 hours. This is partly why I bought it because like I said above, I go straight from school to the gym 3 days out of the week. I fill up my bottle with ice water, throw it in my gym bag & go to school – when I get to the gym my water is still ice-cold! I got the rose gold 17 ounce bottle, which 17 oz is a little small for me but it fits a whole water bottle inside so you also use less plastic & help the environment. I really like these bottles & I plan to get more in the near future!

L’Occitane Ultra Rich Body Cream – $44 at sephora.com

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If you’re like the unlucky people, such as myself, who suffer from horribly dry, itchy skin in the winter – you’ll want to stock up on this right now. This is my favorite lotion I’ve ever tried because not only is it hydrating on the skin, but it’s so thick and luxurious on the skin that you’ll feel hydrated for days – literally. I used the one morning after I got out of the shower, went about my day, slept, woke up and played a soccer game, and when I showered after my game I could STILL feel the lotion on my skin, it was insane. I also have mild eczema in the winter time when my skin gets really dry, so I’m interested to see how this will help that as well. I’ve heard so many things about it & how many people love it that now I can totally see why. It is a bit pricey but you get a huge tub of lotion & I’ve used it for about 3 weeks straight now and I’ve barely put a dent in it. It would also make for a great Christmas gift because who doesn’t love the gift of hydrated skin! A lot of thick lotions like this are really greasy too, but I noticed this only feels like this for about an hour, then it sinks into the skin & you just feel very soft after that, which I love because I hate looking & feeling like a grease ball. It’s also 25% shea butter which is amazing for the skin! I would 100% recommend this product!

GlamGlow Poutmud Fizzy Lip Exfoliating Treatment – $39 at sephora.com

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This is actually my mom’s, but I sneak in and use it frequently – which she probably doesn’t know, but she will after she reads this 😀 GlamGlow is known for their face masks, which are nothing short of amazing, so I was skeptical when I saw they were releasing a lip product. First of all, this smells like a big huge peppermint mint – so if you don’t like peppermint or the cooling sensation you get from it – don’t buy this. I absolutely love that feeling & I think this product REALLY works. You first exfoliate your lips with the ‘fizzy mud’ ball – which I never noticed a fizzy sensation, but that’s okay. You then rinse it off with warm water & dry your lips. Then you apply the lip balm ball & it’s supposed to really hydrate your lips & remove the dead skin. So, I’m the kind of person who I must have lip balm on 24/7 because my lips are just so dry. I used this one time and when I woke up in the morning I didn’t have dry lips! The lip balm really sunk in and my lips felt so amazing the whole day. They felt smooth & I noticed I didn’t have any dead skin. So, if you suffer from dry lips or dead skin – I would try this!

Too Faced Born This Way Foundation – $39 at sephora.com

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I’ve heard SO many amazing things about this foundation online & on YouTube, I had to try it. Is it my favorite foundation ever? No. But it’s definitely in my Top 3! The finish of this foundation I would say is satin when you set it with a powder. It looks like your skin if you apply a thin layer & it’s medium coverage. I’m the shade light beige & I would say it’s a pretty good match. I really loved the finish of this & how natural it looked on my skin, it’s also oil free which is a HUGE plus for me because, again, grease ball. This also has coconut water in it which honestly scared me because I’m allergic to coconut – but it didn’t break my skin out at all & kept my face feeling very moisturized all night without looking oily. I only had to touch up one time and that was about after 4 hours with it on, which I think is pretty good! It’s also infused with alpine rose to give you a radiant finish – which I agree with 100% and hyaluronic acid for a smoother appearance to the skin, which I also agree with. I think next to my Giorgio Armani foundation, this may come in a close 2nd place to that – which is impressive because I’m VERY picky with foundations. I’ve heard this works on every skin type & is especially good for dry skin, but I liked it with my oily skin as well!

Kat Von D Everlasting Liquid Lipstick in Lolita – $20 at sephora.com *currently out of stock 😦

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This liquid lipstick blew up probably 6-9 months ago & I don’t think Sephora can keep it in stock. Every time I go it’s out of stock & it’s constantly out of stock online. I can see why though because the color is amazing & could be worn year round in my opinion. It’s a very pretty chestnut rose color, but I’ve heard that some people got a different formula where their’s is more brown than rose – but mine is definitely rose. Kat Von D’s liquid lipsticks in general are absolutely beautiful & the formula is equally as amazing. They’re very pigmented & dry to a matte, without drying out the lips too much. I find they’re very comfortable to wear & the last foreeeeever. They don’t transfer once they set & you won’t have to touch up after eating or drinking. I find these don’t wear off my lips for a good 2-3 hours. Overall, I love this color & I have a few other I love as well. The only thing is with the darker colors, you may have to go over them a second time after they dry because some get patchy when they dry. But if you’re going to get one color – I would recommend this one!

Bath & Body Works 3-wick candle in Sweater Weather – $22.50 at bathandbodyworks.com

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I hate describing scents because you really won’t know if you like it unless you smell it for yourself. I’ve been burning this candle since the day the temperatures dropped below 65. It’s easily my favorite fall candle, along with Marshmallow Fireside & Pumpkin Caramel Latte, and in my opinion, it’s the perfect fall candle. It says it’s aromatic eucalyptus, juniper berry & fresh sage is as crisp as fall air. If you haven’t smelled this yet – I would check out this and the other 2 I mentioned the next B&BW trip you take!

So those are my favorites for September & I would love to hear some of your favorites at the moment! Especially fall things because everyone loves fall! As always, thanks for reading (:

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My Cellucor Must Have Items!

For those of you not aware, Cellucor is one of the biggest names in the fitness industry, and for good reason. They make different supplements and products to aid a healthy lifestyle. I’m going to put a disclaimer in that I’m not in anyway telling you that you NEED these supplements because you should always speak with your doctor first before adding any supplement into your diet! I’ve been using Cellucor products since I was in high school and they’ve always given me great results and worked well for me! Some of these products I’m going to mention are possibly my favorite in their category, but if you’re a one brand type of person – these are my favorite products from them!

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Alpha Amino – I always use aminos in my workout regime because they really help me with recovery and also give me an extra boost during my workout. I also use them when I play soccer to help with my endurance. if you’re not familiar with aminos, they are the building blocks basically of protein and muscle tissues that also play a huge role in the physiological of energy, mood, recovery, brain functions and other things. Alpha amino contains 14 of the 23 amino acids our body needs for proper function. Icy blue razz is my favorite flavor!

C4 – This is probably my favorite pre workout I’ve tried to date. Although pre workout isn’t a necessary part in our diet or exercise routine, sometimes when you’re feeling sluggish and lacking motivation – it’s necessary in having a good workout. With a mixture of Niacin, Folic Acid and Vitamin B12 (all B vitamins), it gives a good boost of energy along with support from good ol’ caffeine. A side effect most people experience is a tingling sensation, but honestly my face just itches for about 5 minutes then once I start working out, I’m fine. This is caused by the ingredient Beta Alanine which is a naturally occurring beta amino acid. It’s important to cycle pre workouts so you don’t build up an immunity to it – in which case it wouldn’t work effectively. I usually cycle C4 and Jim Stoppani Pre-Jym! Icy Blue Razz is also my favorite flavor in this as well, but Watermelon is also really good!

Super HD – This supplement is labeled as a weight loss product, but I use it for extra energy on days I’m not working out as a replacement for coffee! I prefer the powder kind because I never take a full scoop because I’m very caffeine sensitive, but with the powder I can control exactly how much product I’m taking, which I really like. I usually only do 1/4 – 1/2 a scoop every time I take it. It really gives me a good boost of energy, but as far as weight loss, I’ve never really noticed any difference! Strawberry Lemonade is my go to flavor!

CN3 – This product is a nitrous oxide with creatine which gives you a craaazzyyy pump while you’re working out! Creatine is helpful in building muscle along with protein because it increases the amount of phosphocreatine in the muscles by about 20% and when you have more PCr in the muscle cells, more ATP (adenosine triphosphate) can be produced quickly during your workout, thus resulting in quicker gains. Cellucor blended Creatine with Nitrate which is converted to Nitric Oxide (NO) in the body, resulting in higher levels of oxygen in the blood which will help you have a better workout. I really love this products, but again – it’s 100% not necessary if you don’t see it necessary in your regime, but it is an amazing product! My favorite flavor is Cherry Limeade & I’m really wanted to stack this with their new C4 Ripped that I’m itching to try!

Cor Whey – Lastly, but probably the most important, is protein. Protein is very essential to muscular development and growth, you would almost be doing yourself an injustice NOT taking some kind of protein after your workout. It helps with muscle growth, recovery, cell growth and unlike most supplement companies, their protein is not spiked with aminos. If you don’t know what amino spiking is, it’s essentially companies putting the cheapest, most least valuable amino acids in their protein to cut costs and charge more. Cellucor has always stood by putting only the best ingredients in their protein, which is 1 reason I will always buy their products. Their Cinnamon Swirl is my favorite flavor, not only from them, but of any protein I’ve tried. I just recently purchased it and I’m not sure I’ll try anything else for a while – it’s THAT good!

The only down side to Cellucor is their products are just a bit pricey, but if you go to their website and use my code “KETTLEBELL you can get 25% off your entire purchase! They also have a 4 serving sample size of their proteins online that I would really recommend checking out if you’re not sure on committing to a protein flavor yet. Again, these are just my favorites and my opinions on what I use in my regime – always consult with your doctor first before starting a supplement routine! Let me know some of your favorite Cellucor products !

Visit www.cellucor.com and use KETTLEBELL at checkout for 25% off your purchase!

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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Fitness Update

I really enjoy doing these monthly updates & I think I’m going to start listing my goals on these posts to set myself accountable for each month. SO, I just got back from Florida on Saturday night & it was a nice relaxing vacation where I did nothing but shop, eat, swim and fish – perfect vacation. It was especially nice because I had a week to let loose before I started my half marathon training which started today.

As far as fitness goes, I think I adjusted my issue of eating whatever I wanted before vacation & I had a pretty good meal plan going & managed to lose about 5 pounds before vacation – which I’m sure I gained back on vacation, but I refuse to step on the scale lol. I find having food made and planned out really helped me – if you don’t plan, you’re planning to fail. I was on a pretty strict meal plan that I set for myself as well consisting mainly of lean meats, greens, and sustainable carbs, 6 times a day. I really feel my schooling is starting to kick in and allow me to understand proper nutrition and what exactly my body needs in order to function properly. I also allowed myself a cheat MEAL, not cheat WEEKEND like I had been doing. Honestly, it just takes a lot of will power & once you get that “just one piece of pizza” or “well, i already had 1 cookie, what’s another gonna do?” out of your head, it’s pretty easy to stick with it. It’s hard though, it really is. I know a lot of people struggle with the dieting aspect of fitness but food isn’t something we were meant to eat to enjoy, we were meant to eat to fuel our bodies. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with cheats though & it’s actually essential to success because you can’t completely deprive your body of what it likes because then you’ll just crave it more & when you give in you’ll binge.

it’s all about balance.

So as far as fitness I’m cutting back now on my lifting to twice a week & doing more of a cross training type of workout & running 4 times a week. My half marathon training just started today and I had a rough 4 mile run with fartleks. If you don’t know, fartlek is a Swedish word that means speed play and basically you’ll run a faster pace for an allotted amount of time and run a constant pace for an allotted amount of time & switch between the two for however many miles. Today I had a mile warm up, 2 miles of fartleks and a mile cool down. For the first day of training I was shocked for sure because I haven’t ran in over 2 and a half months so my body was a little rusty, but my endurance definitely felt okay, which I was overjoyed about. I can already tell though that my hips and knees are going to give me problems. I figure foam rolling, ice and anti-inflammatorys are going to be my BFF. If you have any remedies for these issues, please help a girl out!

I also seem to really like the PowerBar energy chews on my runs & I really do feel like they make a difference, but they have caffeine in them & my body doesn’t handle that crash very well because I never drink pop or coffee. So, if you also have any gels/chews/powders you use- please help a girl out with that too!

Other than all that jazz, I’m pretty content with where I am with my fitness & I think I’ll definitely challenge myself for the month of June with my goals because if it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you & ain’t that the damn truth.

July Goals:

1. Hit every long run of the month with confidence & keep up with training! (No skipping runs!)

2. Really stay strict on my meals and don’t get lazy with prep or eating! (One cheat MEAL a week!)

3. Stay ahead of knee/hip issues with stretching, foam rolling, icing & mobility! *********

I hope wherever you are in your fitness journey, it’s going well & I hope this motivated some of you to set some goals for yourself in the hot month of July! If you have any suggestions on hip/knee soreness or energy gels/chews please leave them below! Also, if you’d like to share your journey with me, I’d love to hear it!

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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I’ve got some news..

So this happened over the weekend, but I wanted to wait to make the announcement at the start of the week cause sometimes Monday’s need a little excitement.

I’m officially an affiliate of Shields of Strength !!!

I’ve been so excited to tell this news & if you’re not familiar with this company I’ll give you a little bit of insight!

The first Shield of Strength was made in 1997 as a simple reminder. The idea came from a few scriptures Kenny’s wife Tammie had written on his equipment while he was chasing a dream of winning a National Championship. Tammie made that decision after seeing he was scared to death waiting for his turn to compete at the US Nationals. Kenny appreciated her encouragement but had no idea the power that was in God’s word. It’s a much longer story (told in his book “Shields of Strength”) but after those scriptures got off his equipment and into his heart and he then learned to act on God’s word he was changed forever. So much so that he wanted a daily reminder of God’s word in his life but would have looked kind of funny carrying around his athletic equipment so he engraved them on a dog tag and wore them under his shirt. In time he found someone that needed that reminder as much as he did so he gave it away and made another one. That was the beginning of Shields of Strength. He never set out or even dreamed they would one day reach our military and millions of others in need of the power found in God’s word. Kenny says “making Shields of Strength has been the most humbling experience of my life.”

Somewhere around 1998 they were placed in the first store and did well enough to spread to others. By September 11, 2001 they had spread to enough stores that a few soldiers had found them. Colonel David Dodd took the first 500 into combat with his soldiers and word spread through the military but nothing could have prepared Kenny for the response after Capt. Russell Rippetoe was killed in action wearing a Shield of Strength in 2003. President Bush honored Capt. Rippetoe in his Memorial Day speech and read the scripture from Russell’s shield to the Nation. After that the Associated Press called, then Fox News, CBN, and so on. Since then, Shields of Strength have made more than three million shields all with the prayer they would serve as an effective reminder of God’s word. They have donated hundreds of thousands to our military and other ministries.

Now all these years later, Shields of Strength have become one of the most worn emblems by the US Military. So many US troops were wearing them in combat that Commanders of the British Royal Army called requesting as many as 8000 at a time for soldiers in their command. Churches use them as outreach tools, hospitals for encouragement, athletes for courage, and thousands of others for their personal trials this life always finds a way to bring. Kenny says “my favorite thing to do is to take one off my neck and give it to a stranger.” For years Shields of Strength were all dog tags but after repeated requests we have now rolled out a ladies line. All of the Shields of Strength ladies jewelry will have a scripture on the back. We call it Jewelry With Power and pray you connect with the power more than the jewelry. One thing we know for sure is that if that scripture gets off that jewelry and into someone’s heart they will be changed forever. That is our mission.

I think the story behind this company is absolutely amazing and the reasons they make their products is a great reminder to always keep God in your workouts. With His power and love, you’ll achieve anything you set your mind to. I truly cannot begin to explain how incredibly blessed I am to be able to work with this company and help spread their amazing message. Many huge athletes wear their products such as Ronnie Coleman, RG3, and in the 2014 NFL Super Bowl, players from both teams were wearing Shields of Strength products. These are just to name a few among the countless number of athletes, big and small, who wear these reminders everyday.

They have SO many different products from necklaces to athletic tape to lifting belts & earrings – there’s something for everyone. They have both products for men and women with about 5 different chain lengths, 4 different finishes and just about every sport or fitness activity you could think of. I recently ordered the Tiffany Blue stainless steel weight plate & I am in love with it. The quality of this necklace is beyond what I imagined and I would put money down that it could withstand any workout I put it through.

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Wearing this through my workouts will definitely give me an extra push because I know the pain I’m enduring with my workouts is minimal compared to what He went through for our sins. To have love for so many people like that is indescribable.

If you’re considering getting one of these or any of their products I 100% back up their products and message. Visit http://www.shieldsofstrength.com/#_a_Kettlebellbeauty & when you create an account you’ll get a 10% off coupon for your first order !

Again, I am so blessed to work with this company and I can’t even believe it. Thanks for everyone’s support & as always, thanks for reading (: