I Hope the Easter Bunny Brings Me These 5 Things

Hola!

The chaos surrounding my Disney vacation, getting caught up with work, getting over the sniffles and other of life’s little dramas, has finally ended.  Which means – I’m back!! WOOOO!!!  Over the last couple weeks of my blogging hiatus, I’ve discovered some new products that I absolutely can not get enough of, so of course I have to share them with all you lovely peeps! There’s 5 in all, and of course 2 are edible… enjoy!

1. Dole Fruit Smoothie Shakers

My pregnant boss introduced these to me a while back, and I finally got to try one out for myself. They are FANTASTIC and a super easy, on-the-go breakfast!  Found in the frozen aisle, each shaker has all natural fruit, real yogurt, and are a good source of pre and probiotics, calcium and protein.  Plus they’re all under 200 calories!  All you do is mix 7 oz. of juice and shake, shake, shake! (There’s a measuring line on the package so it’s a no brainer).  Some magical ingredient (the frozen fruit perhaps) turns the mixture into a perfectly creamy, thick, and COLD smoothie.  The packages suggest orange juice, but I tried mine with some Dole Orange Peach Mango juice and it was delish. YUMMY!

2. Sally Hansen Color Quick Fast Dry Nail Color Pen

Dear Sally,

You are my freaking hero right now.  I can not tell you how many times I’ve effed up my nails because I wait till I’m running out the door to throw on a coat of polish, and soon realize I’m not some super human, fast-drying miracle worker like you are.  I found this pen at my local FiveBelow and have been wearing my shiny lilac paint ever since.  You’ve outdone yourself Sal, what with the super easy application brush and INSTANT drying time.  I’ve now done my nails at work TWICE and no one has noticed, because the paint smell disappears almost as fast as the polish drys. For reals, you should win a nobel prize for this… or at least get sent an edible arrangement or something.  You rock.

Sincerely,

Stephanie

3.  Bath and Body Works Aruba Coconut Scent

It’s not very often I find a scent that I love so much I want lather myself up in it from head to toe, so when I do, I get a weeeeee bit obsessive.  This aruba scent is a fantastically beachy scent that sends me right into pina coloda cravings and pretending I’m dipping my toes in the ocean.  It’s fresh and sweet, without being overpowering, and it’s totally girly.  Plus, the Bath and Body shower gels make for some delightfully soapy bubble baths!

4. Nivea A Kiss of Smoothness Hydrating Lip Care

I picked up a tube of this lovely product before going on vaca, and fell madly in love.  It’s lightweight and clear, but leaves a nice shine to your lips. It has a hint of a citrus scent, so it’s refreshing.  Plus it contains some SPF power to avoid a sunburnt pout.  I’ve done away with all other lip sticks and glosses, and have just been rocking this for the last couple weeks.  It’s a great natural look and I’d be lost without it!

5. WhoNu Chocolate Cookies

My mom introduced these babies to me.  Essentially they’re Oreos that don’t make you feel like a sinner after eating them.  Why? Because each WhoNu cookie contains surprisingly good amounts of vitamins, fiber, iron and calcium.  Check out their comparisons to other foods like spinach, seriously you’ll be surprised.  They taste just like their bad-for-you counter part.  There are 130 calories in 3 cookies, so I don’t feel as guilty when I throw a little peanut butter on them. Oh, I’m getting hungry!

Do you have any products you’re totally in love with right now?  What are they?

XO – Stephanie

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Monday – Friday Workout Plan

Happy Monday!

How was your weekend?  Mine kicked off with much-needed dinner, drinks and life chats with one of my closest friends on Friday night.  Remember the fitness challenge my workplace is doing?  Well, we got to talking about working out and getting healthy. We’ve both been keeping track of what we eat with awesome phone apps, and were sharing our exercise regiments.  I told her about these great workouts I found on Pinterest, one for each day Monday – Friday that combines 20 minutes of cardio with different exercises targeted at certain body parts.

The best part, is that the creator made them all sorts of pretty, so I printed them out and keep them right on my fridge.  The creator is a blogger whose site can be found here… THANK YOU “Fierce-Physique” for inspiring me, and making it easier to get my butt of the couch!

I really enjoy these workouts, because they don’t take very long, and they really work. I’ve noticed a significant difference in just the few weeks I’ve been using them. So, if you’re looking for a new workout routine, or something to get you started toward a healthier you, print these babies out and get your sweat on!

Pinned Image

Pinned Image

NOTE: On Thursday, the “Squats” description is actually from the chair dips from Tuesday.  You should do the squats (as explained on Monday), as Thursday is meant to target your butt, thighs and abs.

As I said, I LOVE these workouts.  I’m really trying hard to lose weight, so I usually do 30-45 minutes of cardio, then these exercises.  If I skip a day, I just tack them on to the next day’s workout, even if I’m doing ALL of them on Friday afternoons. My weakness is my butt, legs, and abs, so I usually repeat Monday’s set on Friday. With 20 minutes of cardio, these should only take about a half-hour. Regardless, it goes by in a breeze for me, especially when I’m watching American Idol or something :o)

Let me know if you try them out, and what you think!  What’s your favorite workout routine?

XO- Stephanie

Eye Shadow Nail Polish DIY!

Yes, you read that title correctly!  Today I’m going to teach you how to make your own nail polish from powder eye shadow!  How many of you, like me, have fab-colored eye shadows lying around that you never use?  I have TONS; namely because I buy colors that end up looking horrific on my olive skin tone, and I like to buy those big crazy palettes of  20 colors thinking I’ll get creative, but always go for standard neutral smoky eyes. Well, last night I found a solution to my makeup wasting ways with this DIY from Never Too Much Glitter.  I tried it immediately, and it was so easy and fun, and only took a couple items I had lying around.

Here’s what you need:

  • Powder Eye Shadow in any color
  • Clear nail polish
  • Foil
  • Extra dry nail polish or eye shadow brush

TO DO: With your extra brush, loosen a bit of your eye shadow powder and sweep it onto your foil into a little pile.  Pour some clear nail polish onto the powder and mix well with your brush. Apply your new polish as normal and let dry.  DONE!

Now, the original directions called for a silicone baking cup to mix the ingredients in. I don’t have one of those, nor can I even recall what they even look like, SO I subbed in the foil and it worked just fine – plus, no clean up!I Also, I just eyeballed the ratio of powder to polish.  It didn’t take very much at all to cover all my nails, plus you can always make more.  I’d suggest starting with just a little and working your way up.

First I used a medium purple shadow, and had so much fun, I decided to make some hot pink too.  My nails are a mauvey-lilac, but they’re fun!  I applied a top coat for extra shine. With any luck, yours will be perfectly painted like Never Too Much Glitter’s:

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DIY Eyeshadow Nail Polish - Image from NeverTooMuchGlitter

I can’t wait to try the turquoise and blue shadows I’ve got at home, and maybe this time I’ll snap some pics of my own.

What color would you try?

XO – Stephanie

Fitness Challenge – Do You Accept?

You know how I mentioned my New Year’s resolution was to lose those extra pounds I’ve been hating forever?  Well, apparently everyone in my office made the same  – Today was Day 1 of our Fitness Challenge!

For the next 3 months, we’ll be competing against each other to get healthy. The winner receives $50 and the chance to punk a coworker, you know, make them do something silly.  I’m really excited, because it’s so much easier to stay on track of your weight-loss goals when you have a support group. Even if we’re all trying to beat the others!

We’re taking a simple approach.  There’s no weighing in, so winning isn’t about how much you lose, it’s about sticking to the plan.  We each get awarded points per day, one of those old-school foil star stickers to be exact, that we keep on a chart.  The parameters are as follows:

  • No eating unhealthy fast-food Monday – Friday; salads & fruit excluded
  • No  bringing in unhealthy treats like cookies, bagels, donuts, etc.
  • No eating unhealthy snacks from our food service stations (i.e. awesome continental breakfast coffee cake that is my biggest weakness)
  • No alcohol Monday morning til weekend starts on Friday
  • No regular sodas
  • Work out at least 3 times per week for 30+ minutes each time
  • Weekends are do-as-you-please

We’re using the honor system, as everyone is going to keep track of his and her own points. We’re also going to be awarded extra stars if we bring something positive to the atmosphere of the office.

I’m taking it a step further and only eating a certain amount of calories per day, and I’m keeping track of on my Calorie Calculator app.  It’s gonna be difficult, but I’m ready to make a healthier me!

So, I ask you, do you want to join the challenge?  You can do it on your own – make your own chart and award yourself some stickers – (It worked when we were kids, why shouldn’t it now?)  Me and your fellow Twenty-Something readers will be your support group, as I’ll start group emails with anyone who wants to join in.  You could also get your office started on the challenge!

It’s all about being a healthier version of fabulous you this year, and I think that’s something we can all benefit from!

Send me an email if you want to accept the fitness challenge! thetwentysomethingblog@yahoo.com 🙂

XO – Stephanie

New Obsession: Simple Sugars Scrubs

Hello My Loves!!

I’m so sorry I haven’t written regularly! The Christmas season has been so busy, with writing for Zankyou, I didn’t have much time.  I ended up leaving my position as Contributing Writer, as I realized it just wasn’t for me. I like to try new things, so even though it didn’t work out, I’m glad I gave it a shot, and I learned a lot.

Boston is SO pretty! (No I didn't take this.)

My family and I took a semi-spur-of-the-moment trip to Boston this past weekend.  If you haven’t been there, GO!  The city is so beautiful and rich in history.  The buildings and brick roads are adorably quaint, the shopping was great, the “chowda” and Little Italy pizza was phenomenal, and I just loved it all!  Hopefully I’ll get back there soon.  It was a much-needed mini-vaca stress reliever!

Anyway, let’s get to the real reason I’m writing today.  A few months ago, I won a random trivia game from Maniac Magazine, and won a Simple Sugars body scrub product.  I got it in the mail last week, and let me tell you, I’m in LOVE!

Simple Sugars was created in 2005 by Lani Lazzari, a Pittsburgh girl who always battled with sensitive and dry skin.  She wanted a product she could use, so she did her research and created her own recipe.  Now, she’s selling 15 varieties of body scrubs including foot and facial scrubs.  She also sells scrubs for vegans and men.  She’s been greatly successful so far, and here’s the kicker  – she’s ONLY 17 years old!! Crazy right?? And definitely inspiring!

Simple Sugars Scrubs Image from simplesugarsscrubs.com

Not only am I inspired by this successful young woman (who’s sure to be one heluva twenty-something!)  I love, love, LOVE her products!  I too, have struggled with patches of eczema all my life, especially in the winter months.  The lime scrub I was given made my skin SILKY smooth all day long.  It also smelled fantastic, and I felt like I was doing something good for my body, and Mama Earth, by using the organic product.

I truly can’t say enough good things about this company and the products, and I’m proud of my fellow Pittsburgher for living her dreams!

Follow the links above to check out the website and the products.  They’re not only of good quality, they’re also very affordable.  Let me know if you try any!

XO Stephanie

Holiday Stress Relief Tips from a “Year 2” Law Student

I’m so pumped to share this guest blog with you!  My friend, and college-roommate, Margaux is one of the funniest people I’ve ever met.  She sends me hilarious blog-like emails about the trials (no pun intended) and tribulations of law school in the mountains, where she’s studying Environmental Law so she can save Mama Earth.  When she told me she was writing a guest blog about handling stress over the holidays, I was already laughing. Her tips are not only fantastic, but they’re seriously helpful! Enjoy!

Holiday Stress Relief Tips:

I’m two weeks out from the halfway point of law school—in the past year and a half, I’ve learned a thing or two about stress.

The holiday season can be a serious stressor, but no worries,  I’ve compiled a handy list of the top 5 ways to survive the holiday season (and battle stress in general)

1. Go Outside

  • Studies have shown that being outdoors can significantly reduce your stress level. Yes, its winter and not everyone gets down with winter snow sports, but even a little walk can do wonders! Dress warmly and slooooow down your sprint from the car to the office/mall/whatever. Why run for a windowless space filled with recycled air, and more than likely someone else’s cold germs, any faster than necessary. Add walking to get morning coffee into your routine (preferably with your own reusable cup.) The fresh air works magic.

2. Approach the mall like battle. These resource intensive behemoths require strategy, snacks and a steady, ready supply of water.

  • Have a plan of attack. Go in teams. Divide and conquer.
  • BRING WATER. Mall dry mouth sneaks up on you and NO ONE wants to take on the smoothie line.
  • Bring snacks. The view as one enters that dark hole at the center of the mall, known at the Food Court, is like simultaneously standing at the precipice to Hell and looking into and angry zoo. Just stay out!  Exhibit A. The half-eaten granola bar I found in my purse around hour 5 of Black Friday shopping was the only saving grace that kept my mother and I from wreaking havoc and bludgeoning every person in the Yankee Candle line.  Respect your arteries and don’t underestimate the power of low blood sugar.

3. Begin the day with Yoga

  • Before taking on a healthy Christmas season breakfast of cookies & coffee, take a minute in the morning to get centered. Itunes has tons of (short) podcasts you can download for free. Even if you’re not a morning person, I’ve seen podcasts for yoga that can be done in bed or just roll to the floor. Ten minutes of calmly centering yourself in the morning can do wonders for your attitude throughout the day.

4. Don’t be afraid to day drink.

  • Day drinking is like investing in ear plugs, Valium and patience all at the same time. Maybe this is just my Eastern European ways talking, or the fact that last Christmas my Sister and Grandfather went shot for shot, but really, it’s a mood changer! Don’t let studies, or society, tell you that you need to wait until the evening to enjoy a nice red wine (preferably served inconspicuously in a Holiday mug) or frosty brew. It’s the holidays, and to quote one Clark W. Griswold, “Nobody’s leaving. Nobody’s walking out on this fun, old-fashioned family Christmas. No, no. We’re all in this together….We’re gonna press on, and we’re gonna have the hap, hap, happiest Christmas since Bing Crosby tap-danced with Danny f***ing Kaye.” So when your trapped in the kitchen and sandwiched between that crazy Aunt over-sharing about her personal issues, and your Grandmother continuing to ask about your uneventful love life with “you know your sister is engaged” (No, Gram, everyday I miss that rock – thanks for keeping me posted) while somewhere off in the distance is the soft rumble of the gentlemen of your family swearing at each other, the house, and every Christmas light that won’t light up, just remember, it’s the holidays…. there is an endless supply of booze.
                          Clark W. Griswold

5.  Embrace the late night

  • There are a few moments every Christmas season when the elders have left basecamp for their respective dwellings, the rest of the house has finally conked out and the only thing left is quiet and a glowing tree.  Keep the tree on, find a TV Christmas movie, and RELAX for a minute. This peaceful moment of solitude will tide you over until the next morning when chaos ensues again.

Thanks for writing Margaux – please post again soon!  Do you all have any hilarious Christmas stories?  Please share in a comment!

XO Stephanie

TypeF.com

Happy Monday!  I hope you had a fun weekend! I spent mine playing wedding singer at my coworker’s wedding on Saturday, and had WAY too much fun with my crazy colleagues! I spent yesterday recuperating 🙂

Last week was a busy one, and I missed blogging regularly.  Ever dedicated, I kept on researching fun things to share with you, and came across something I’ve been dying to tell you about.  It’s called TypeF.com – a groundbreaking website offering women personalized beauty and fashion tips from the one, and only, Tyra Banks!

The website was started as part of Ms. Banks tireless efforts to redefine beauty. TypeF is a ” is a community built on the celebration of diversity and the ideal of  empowering women to be their very best.”  Sounds fantastic, right?  — It IS!

When you sign up, you start creating your personal profile by defining your face shape, skin type, hair type etc. – You’re provided with descriptions and celebrity examples to choose your exact look, so it’s really easy! Once your profile is completed, you end up with a library of articles based off your profile.  For instance, I mentioned I have dark circles under my eyes, so I now have 5 different articles to teach me how to reduce them!  It doesn’t just end there… my homepage reads that I have 2,693 articles and 384 videos at my disposal, personalized just for me!

There are over 500 professionals contributing and utilizing the “platform,” so they’re able to know what we women are searching for and can address individual needs (like those awful black circles!) The site is complete with “Beauty School” where there are tips and DIYs to get your favorite looks in hair, makeup, nails and skin care, endless fashion tips and articles and so much more to empower us to feel BEAUTIFUL.

I’m still searching and learning my way around the site, but you must check it out!  It’s like having Tyra as our own personal beautician.. and love her or hate her, you can’t deny that with over 25 years of experience in the modeling and entertainment world, she’s gotta know what she’s talking about!

Let me know if you try it out!

XO Stephanie

Make Way for Ombre! Part I

Make way for what??

Ombre is a French term meaning “shaded” and is being used in the fashion and home decor world on just about everything! According to fabsugar.com, it is usually done as a multicolored stripe, with colors graduating from light to dark. The color effect is woven into the fabric and is generally produced by arranging different tones in the warp.

Ombre is also a favorite fashion trend of yours truly!  I can’t get enough of the shaded glory, so in honor of its gorgeousness, and my addiction to pinning the crap out it on Pinterest, I’ll be dedicating a three-part post this week to all things Ombre-licious!  There will be ombre beauty DIYs, lots of fashion finds, and a complete ombre inspiration board on Wedding Wednesday.

Let’s get started shall, we?

Part 1: Ombre Beauty

This shaded trend keeps popping up on everything from manicures to hair color.  You have probably see it on some celebrities heads without even noticing it.  It’s a precise combo of highlights that have suddenly taken dark roots from tacky to spectacular!

Stars like Drew Barrymore, Mila Kunis, Hilary Duff & Sarah Jessica Parker are rocking ombre locks!

This doesn’t mean you can get away with growing out a bad dye job though ladies!  As you can see, these looks are meticulously accomplished by a professional stylist who know just how to get the right look of subtly fading from dark to light. Also, did you notice how the low highlights really accentuate their faces? Perfection! Sidenote: As a super dark brunette myself, I’m happy to see Mila pulling off this look just as well as the beautiful blondes!

 I think my favorite ombre look is on a perfectly polished set of nails.  It’s a little daring, but oh so chic, and can be done with any of your favorite colors!

DIY time! All you need to accomplish this look are 5 different shades in the same color family OR, one light color and one dark color in the same family.  You can mix the two colors until you get the perfect shades.  All you’ll need is a paper plate to pour the colors on, and some extra polish brushes. (Any small tipped paint brush will work.)

Ombre Nails from MTV Style

You can also create an ombre effect on each individual nail.  My favorite way of doing this is using a glittery nail polish.  You simply paint all nails with a base color and let them dry completely.  Then, starting at the tip of your nail, brush the glittery polish toward your cuticle until you reach the desired effect.  Hopefully, they turn out a little something like this:
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Lastly, how about some smoky eyes?  Did you realize they are ombre at its finest? The trend is red hot, because the shading from dark to light draws dramatic attention to your peepers and is super sexy!  I have a lot of girlfriends who look amazing in a smoky eye, but have no idea how to do it themselves.  My dears, the video below is for you!

It’s a step-by-step tutorial from my fabulous friend Jackie, author of YourBeautyBestFriend.com.  She is a licensed esthetician who shares the latest beauty tips and tricks, with product reviews and makeup how tos. Check out her website for more great videos and tips. She’s fantastic!

Here she’ll show us how to get a great smoky look using purple shadow, but as she says, you can use her steps for any color you like.

These are my favorite smoky eyes:

As you can see, there are SO many ways you can use ombre to spice up your beauty regiment.  Whether in  your hair, on your nails or on those pretty peepers, it’s a fun and easy way to stay trendy and look great!

Be sure to check back tomorrow for tips to make a wedding ombre-licious!

Have a lovely day dolls!

XO Stephanie

My 10 Best Steps to Working Out

Step 1. Feel guilty about the two (five) cookies you ate after lunch.

Step 2. Spend half your commute home making a pro and con list
as to why you should hit the gym tonight.

Step 3. Spend the second half of your commute planning and
re-planning when you’re going to do exercise, do laundry, eat dinner, clean the
kitchen, etc.

Step 4. Grab a quick snack of celery when you get home, because you think it will
hold you over.

Step 5. Debate which sports bra you should wear – the one that
squeezes your girls to allow zero movement and breathing difficulties, or the
one that requires additional support from bra-top tank.

Step 6. Cuss at yourself for having to wear the thick long pants
because you were too lazy to shave your legs that morning.

Step 7. Locate headphones under piles of clothes and/or junkmail.

Step 8. Turn on a rerun of How I Met Your Mother to occupy you while iPod charges.

Step 9. Realize it’s now bedtime and you’ve failed epically at
working off those cookies.

Step 10. Repeat all steps the following day.

Kiss Him! Then Kiss Some More!

Kissing is just about the greatest thing in the world, right?  It’s the most powerful way to express emotion, and is (usually) a fantastic part of being human!

Shape Magazine posted a tweet earlier today with a link to a very interesting article about kissing called, “Just How ‘Germy’ Is A Kiss?”  The answer?  Kinda germy, but those germs are very beneficial to women, especially those who are, or planning on being, pregnant!

According to  Dr. Philip M. Tierno, Jr., Director of Clinical Microbiology and Immunology at the NYU Langone Medical Center, kissing has a another purpose than pleasure. By kissing we exchange microorganisms, and sharing them may play a very important role in how we build up our immune systems.  This is especially true for pregnant women. (Who knew?!)  Apparently, kissing helps women build up an immunity to a cytomegalovirus — a virus that can cause significant problems to a fetus in-utero, but is otherwise harmless.

Medical researcher Dr. Colin Hendrie explained how kissing helps, “Female innoculation with a specific male’s cytomegalovirus is most efficiently achieved through mouth-to-mouth contact and saliva exchange, particularly where the flow of saliva is from the male … to the female.” The article suggests that a woman will be more likely  to be immune to cytomegalovirus if she kisses the same person for a long time. How about that?!

Now, if only this worked toward the common cold…. can you imagine how many more smooches would be shared? 😉

To read the full article and learn even more about the benefits of swapping spit, follow this link! http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/09/15/kissing-germs_n_963040.html

xoxo!