What’s up Wednesday :)

Hey everyone! I just wanted to pop in and share with you a new habit that have adopted lately. Lemon water and tea! I used to be the first one out the door for an afternoon iced-coffee run or digging through my desk for a piece of chocolate or something sweet. But now that I am off sugar, I have replaced those treats with a hot cup of green tea with a slice or two of lemon. It is a great way to get a little pick me up during that 2/3pm slump. When I am feeling like I want a snack or just chilled from the -temps as of late, lemon tea is just the trick. I will sometimes add a little bit of fresh ginger if I am feeling under the weather too.

What is your afternoon habit to get you through the day? 

Yours truly- M

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How can you be a Low-carb, Low-sugar Vegetarian?

Currently, I am battling this question. I have been a vegetarian for almost 6 years now, what started as a diet I was going to try for a month in high-school turned into a lifestyle choice. This means that I do not eat meat or fish, but I do eat eggs and dairy. I have tried a few different diet changes in my life. I was on Weight Watchers for 6 months and lost some weight, I have tried buying low-fat, low-calorie foods, and I have adapted to a whole foods diet for a short time. My goal has always been to feel healthier, to have more energy, and to maintain a positive mood. But recently, a really health-conscious friend suggested cutting out sugar. I started to research sugars impact on our health. I came across the documentary Fed UP (watch this if you haven’t!) and did a little reading and my perspective slowly changed. Sugar is so addictive, but most diets focus on cutting calories and fat.

So I cut way down on sugar for a few weeks (no soda, juices, candy, sweets) and I felt GREAT! I became less addicted to sugar and caffeine, I craved them both less. I used to always feel sluggish and awful mid-afternoon, and I would turn to coffee or a sweet to perk me up, and suddenly I was able to power through my afternoons. So after the holidays, when my boyfriend and I were feeling super motivated to eat well, I came across a lot of good evidence for low-carb low-sugar eating. So…we are giving it a shot. For the month of January we are going to be keeping our carbs and sugar super duper low (mostly no bread, pasta, grains, sweets or sugary drinks). But I am finding that as a vegetarian, most of what I eat contains a lot of carbs (even beans, veggie burgers and fruit!). So rather than going by any specific number of carbs we have to stay under each day, we are just cutting out the really high-carb highly-processed foods and seeing how things go. We still have a lot to learn and I would love any and all advice and information!

Now that I am a couple weeks in I have found that I faced a lot of challenges I never faced while eating healthy before. In the first week, we were eating eggs for breakfast, salads for lunch, apples and bananas for a snack, and soups and stirfrys for dinner.We ate NO bread, pasta, or grains. Honestly, I felt like shit. I had no energy, my mood got worse and worse throughout the day, and I just felt sick. So now, we are incorporating small portions of whole grains like brown rice, quinoa, and barley and beans into our lunches and dinners. I feel SO good! I never realized exactly how addicted to sugar and refined carbs I really was. I am currently reading Sarah Wilson’s I Quit Sugar, and I highly suggest it. While I am not following her program, there is a lot of great eye opening information and advice, she also has a blog/podcast that you can read online as well.

So for now, I am feeling good! But I would love any and all advice from anyone who has attempted a low-carb, low-sugar diet before!

Your’s Truly- M

#BeautyBasics: Managing Dry Hair

Hello beauties! Today we talk hair, and my goodness do I love my hair. I have dyed my hair pretty much every color, but have stuck to blonde for about eight years now (and yes they have been eight extremely fun years!) I have long blonde hair that grows like a weed, and this past year I decided to STOP blow-drying and STOP straightening my hair. My routine has been shower at night, brush through with a comb, and brush in the morning. My hair is healthy as ever. No split ends, and no pesky stragglers left from a hot blow dryer!!

However, now that we have reached the winter months, my hair is a tad dry and is really prone to static. There is little humidity to add moisture to my hair, so I have been looking for a product for a few weeks to manage the dryness. Finally I found this leave-in conditioner at Target that I really like! The scent is great, and does not leave my hair looking greasy. I use a small amount on dry hair. It can also be used on wet hair after you’ve brushed through.

What are some of your favorite products for dry hair?

Cheers!

-A

Outfit of the Day

I am an overall am a lover of fashion. Clothes, shoes, accessories, I love it all. My caveat however, is finding fashionable items on a budget. I enjoy shopping immensely, but my favorite part about shopping is hunting for DEALS! No one likes a deal more than me. Creating my closet on a budget is exciting, and I am a certified maxxinista haha!! My new current obsession is the Nordstrom online sale section. I always read the comments, and I love hearing other shopper’s experiences with items they purchased. I ordered some new items on sale and will have them up next week in a Tuesday Treat Yourself post!

The weather is extremely cold with a large chance of snowfall in Central New York, so layering is a must. For this look I tried to incorporate my new fur vest I picked up at a consignment shop for $12! I paired it with a light cream blouse with sleeve detail from Forever 21, necklace Forever 21, bracelet Givenchy, Levis jeans, Ray-Ban sunglasses, and Jessica Simpson boots! (All items were bought on sale! And photo cred to my good friend AD)

new outfit2

What are your favorite places to shop for a good deal?

Cheers!

-A

How to: The-Bomb Ginger Dressing

You know the amazing ginger dressing served over salads at Thai restaurants that seems to make the salad taste SO good?Well, I am the type of person that really enjoys cooking, and as soon as I try something I like, I need to go home and try and copy it. No, my version is not the same, but it is pretty damn close and sooooo good.

Cooking has been something I enjoyed since high school. I always loved learning how to take a few things and make something really awesome. There is nothing I like better than a great farmers market haul and a quiet day cooking. But my process messy and hard to explain. I am not afraid to cook. I am not afraid to mess up, or to do something new. I go with my gut and taste as I go. That being said, I DO NOT FOLLOW RECIPES. I never really have. That is probably why I am not a strong baker..

But anyway, here is how I do my ginger dressing. If you have any questions at all, or variations you like…just leave me a comment and I would be glad to chat!

Ingredients:

1. A nub of fresh ginger probably 3 inches long

2. Carrots, a handful or two of baby carrots will do

3. Oil, use whatever you have. Sesame is the “right” oil but I use olive because I had it

4. Vinegar, use whatever you have. Rice is the “right” vinegar, but I had white and apple cider so I used half and half

5. Onion, I used red, a 1/4 of a small one

6. Garlic, I used 2 spoonfuls of chopped fresh

7. Salt and pepper

Peel your ginger and chop up into smaller chunks, toss into a food processor/blender with carrots, onion and garlic. Look at the texture and add oil and vinegar until it dilutes to a consistency you like. Taste it and add salt and pepper if you want. Give it a taste and pour it into an old jar (hey, it’s green too!)

Pour over some lettuce and veggies and enjoy!!

#WakeUpWednesday Gym Session + Pump up Jam

Good morning! As you know I am trying to focus on some particular body areas this year, but overall I just want to be able to walk up the five flights of stairs to my office without being winded (yes I am not too ashamed to admit that!) So, I am taking this one step at a time (I must mention here that I LOVE puns and I am not afraid to use them) so, pun intended 😉

I am starting my gym routine with the basics. Just exercises that can be done at home or in the gym. If you haven’t heard the word Burpee, then add it to your vocabulary! The burpee is a full body exercise used for strength training and cardio. Everyone has their own variation of the exercise, but I perform the traditional burpee:

Begin in a standing position

Burpee 1

Drop to a squat position with hands on the ground

burpee 2

Kick your feet back keeping arms extended *for those eager folks, you can do a pushup here

burpee 3

Return to squatting position, and jump FORCEFULLY in the air (get a real good jump here)

burpee 4

and REPEAT until you cannot do anymore!

Although this seems boring, the burpee is a well rounded exercise! The pros can do 100 in 12 minutes! How many can you complete in 12 minutes?! Try it out and lets see where we all stack up 😉

The gym would be nothing without music for me. I am a big electronic music fan, and in the gym I love to bring the house! Below is a song I really like listening to at the gym. What are your favorite gym tunes?

Happy Burpin!

-A

M’s Top 5 #BeautyBasics

Hi everyone! Today I thought I would give you a little peek into my daily routine. What I use every day is inexpensive and far from fancy. While I love all of the new serums and cosmetics out there, I try to keep my day-to-day routine super simple, especially in the winter when my skin is dry and sensitive. I think that all of the information available about cosmetics and beauty products can make things really confusing. There is 1,000 products out there to solve a beauty problem you didn’t even know existed. So I thought I would share with you my tried and true favorites that have worked for me.

  1. Ponds cold cream- I use it every night before bed and every morning before I apply my makeup in the winter when my skin is super dry. It also works as a great makeup remover especially around my eyes where my skin is super sensitive.
  2. Tea tree oil- I was always a skeptic of essential oils, until I had a stubborn infected nose piercing that just wouldn’t heal. A little drop of this on a Q-Tip before bed and my redness and soreness went away within days. Now I also use it as a spot treatment for pimples and add a few drops to a hot bath to help clear my sinuses if I have a cold. I bought this bottle from an essential oil retailer on Etsy, but you can usually find it in the natural care section of supermarkets and drugstores.
  3. Beauty blender sponge- I purchased this at Khols after I have heard a lot of good things about them. I find that it makes my morning routine a little quicker. It does a great job blending my foundation out for a more light coverage. I use the wide part for my foundation and the pointed tip for my cream blush.
  4. ELF primer- I have been using primer for years, but bought this brand on Black Friday when they were having a site-wide 50% off sale, making this bottle only a few dollars. The texture is creamy and I think it works just as well as the more expensive brands.
  5. They’re Real! mascara- I got this in a gift bag for Christmas, and thank god because my little sample bottle from a month ago is just about out. I don’t use this every day, but it is a weekend staple for me. The wand really lifts and separates each lash and this stuff doesn’t budge.

Do you use any of these products? Or do you have other beauty basics that you love?

Your’s truly- M