July faves

Blah!  Sorry to be gone for so long!  Damn, I am a broken record.  Each post seems to start with some variation of that sentence.  😉

Well, good news is that I jumped out of bed this Monday morning just ready to attack the day.  I had a great workout this morning and have been full of energy all day.  Hopefully that also means I won’t be so MIA on the blogosphere for the rest of this week 🙂

I’ve compiled another list of faves for the month of July – and I’m realizing that I certainly do have a lot of “favorite” things.  Maybe I should rename these posts, “stuff I kind of like.”  But that just doesn’t have the same zing to it, does it?  Regardless, here are my monthly favorites:

Costco Workout Tanks:

Costco doesn’t put images of their clothing items on their website!  So I need to credit Skinny Runner for this photo that I am borrowing (hope you don’t mind, Skinny Runner!  Great blog!)

Costco tank

I really like these tanks – in fact, I like them so much I bought it in 3 colors:  hot pink, peach, and purple.  They are not too tight and they are long enough to cover the booty.

Starbucks Refreshers:

Also an impulse buy from Costco!  These are really refreshing.  I’m pretty bummed that I missed the memo that they were giving these out for free at Starbucks last Friday, but oh well.  The flavors are not too sweet, and there is not a lot of added sugar or other scary ingredients.  I think they are a nice treat!

Breaking Bad:

Seriously, I am obsessed.  The hubby and I are trying to catch up on the last 4 seasons before watching the new season that just started last night – so no spoilers, please!  We are about halfway through the 3rd season and I can’t believe I missed out on this show for so long – it is crazy good!!

My Toss & Chop Salad Chopper:

I picked up this nifty gadget a year or so ago from a specialty kitchen supply store in my town.  I use this just about every day!  Here’s the thing:  I love to eat spinach salads, but I find they just take up too much space in my tupperware containers when I pack them up for work.  So, I simply chop, chop, chop down the spinach with this tool, then I add in whatever protein and other veggies I want.  I chop that down too, and before you know it, I have a lovely, compact chopped salad.  If you’re interested in buying one of these guys, here’s a link.

MUFE HD Foundation:

I just bought a bottle of this foundation over the weekend at Sephora and I’m already in love!  It’s very challenging to find the right shade for my skin tone in the summer time, but there is such a selection of colors that I was able to find one that was spot-on perfect.  It covers beautifully and seems to last all day.  My “holy grail” foundation for eons has been Estee Lauder Double Wear Foundation, but this one may have won me over!!  Come to think of it, I’ve never been disappointed by any Make Up For Ever products, so if you are in the market for some new cosmetics, check them out!

What are your current faves?  xoxo,

June faves

Aaah, summer is finally officially here!  Hope you’re enjoying a lovely weekend.  Unfortunately, I’ve caught a little summer cold and am feeling a bit under the weather today 😦  I still made it to the gym this morning but I’m feeling pretty wiped out.

However, one of my current faves is being put to good use right now to ease my sore throat:

1.  Hot and cold teas:

Throat Coat tea is a lifesaver when you’re dealing with a scratchy, sore throat!  It’s naturally sweet and very soothing.  It contains licorice root and slippery elm bark,  which is a homeopathic remedy for sore throats.  I also read that a lot of singers use Throat Coat tea to help them sing for longer periods of time without problems.  I’m drinking a lot of this tea right now to help with this cold!

However, since it’s summer, and I’m orignally a Southern girl, you know I love my iced tea too!  Growing up, we always drank “sweet tea,” which was basically strong-brewed black tea with a TON of sugar in it.  Up here in PA, you really can’t find sweet tea anywhere, which is probably a good thing because it’s really not good for you!  However, I like to make my own “sweet tea,” using my Mr. Coffee Iced Tea Maker:

(I’ve had my iced tea maker for so many years that I guess it’s an outdated model now…the pic above must be the newer version of it)

My current favorite morning drink (in lieu of hot coffee) is a big cup of plain iced green tea, shaken up with a scoop or two of my Isagenix Want More Energy Mix.  So yummy and refreshing!

2.  Digestive supplements:

Ever since my competition, I don’t know what’s been up with my stomach.  I’ve been battling some pretty annoying digestive issues!  I was having heartburn to the point that I was on Web MD looking for symptoms of a heart attack, and have been bloated and just generally uncomfortable after eating.  I also used to have a stress-related ulcer, and don’t want to start having issues with that again.

I recently read Kimberly Snyder’s Beauty Detox Solution book, and she recommends using a probiotic and a digestive enzyme supplement to help ease some of these issues.  So, here’s what I’m using (so far with good results!):

PB 8 Probiotic Supplement (vegetarian):

Rainbow Light Advanced Enzyme System:

 3.  Summery skin:

This might possibly be your new cult favorite lotion for the summer – you can thank me later 🙂

Mario Badescu Summer Shine Body Lotion is so delicious.  It smells like coconut and summertime, and has such a beautiful sparkle (but not too glittery!).  It’s not greasy at all and I just love using this on my legs when I’m wearing a short skirt or shorts.  Love this!

4.  Summer reading:

Well, I think I’ve already explained why I’m not reading 50 Shades of Grey like everyone else is this summer 😉  Instead, I picked up a book I’ve been wanting to read for a while by one of my favorite authors, Rebecca Wells:

The Crowning Glory of Calla Lily Ponder is such a lovely summer read.   I’ve laughed outloud and shed quite a few tears reading this book, and I haven’t even finished it yet.  I won’t give too much away if you care to read it for yourself, but it’s the story of a sweet girl named Calla Lily Ponder who was born and raised in a small town in Louisiana and and who goes on a journey to find herself in the Big Easy.  (Hint:  I got the hardback book for $5.98 on sale at Barnes & Noble!)

5.  An awesome new app:

Songza is my new favorite music app!  How cool is this:

You tell Songza what you’re doing and what you’re in the mood to hear, and it creates the perfect playlist of music for you. So, so smart!!  If you have an iPhone or iPad, download this app asap!

So these are my faves for the month of June…hope you enjoyed! What are you loving right now? 

May faves

Can you believe we are already 1 week into the month of May?  This year is seriously flying by.  I feel like I just did one of these “faves” posts!  This month’s faves are less about beauty or fashion products and more about things and people that are inspiring me or making my life a little easier.

1.  New Apps:

I never really use my iPhone to its fullest potential.  But in recent weeks, I was keeping a very hectic schedule between my job and my fitness training.  I decided to download some Apps to keep my schedule in order, and here are a couple that turned out to be my faves:

Evernote:

Aaaah, Evernote.  Love of my life.  What in heaven’s name did I do before this came into my world?  Basically, it’s a way to capture and organize information all in one place.  You can save info from your iPhone, iPad, email program, or the Internet, and collect it in notebooks to access later.

Here’s a great example of how this works:  Leading up to my competition, I received a bazillion emails and messages a day about various things.  Hotel reservations, lists of things to pack, confirmation emails for hair / makeup / posing practice appointments, my registration email from Fitness America…the list goes on and on and on.

With Evernote, you can simply click “add to Evernote” with any PDF, email, or selection from the web.  Then you choose the notebook where you want the info to be – in my case, I created a folder called “CSF Competition.”

And voila!  There you go – everything in one place, accessible from anywhere!

Ace Budget:

I’ve really been slacking on keeping track of my finances lately.  I find that when I get busy, I just kind of forget to do things like pay bills or look at my checking account balance.  Oopsie!!  😉

This became most evident last month when my husband received a call from our power company, letting him know that we were not one but TWO months behind on our electric / gas bill.  Uh yeah, I pay that bill.  Uh yeah, I spaced out for two months.  Again, oopsie!

There’s no reason that a 32 year old woman shouldn’t be able to keep up with her bills and home budget.  I mean, really.  So, I downloaded “Ace Budget” to help me keep track of my spending, and I love it!

(not my info; this is from iTunes)

Basically, you just input your expenses and your income and it tracks these items compared to a monthly, weekly, or annual budget.  Nothing complicated, but it helps keep me in check.  My goal is to update my Ace Budget app every Monday night, just to be sure that we’re not about to have our utilities shut down or anything.  Seriously, ridiculous.

2.  Flavored Coffee:

Omg, omg!!  This coffee is soooo good.  It totally reminds me of when we got married last year.  I have such a great memory of my wedding day in Hawaii, when my sister-in-law Ali showed up to my hotel room with all kinds of snacks to tide us over while we were getting dolled up for the wedding.  And one of my favorite things she brought to the room was coconut-flavored Kona coffee.  This, my friends, is the closest dupe I’ve found on the “mainland.”

I bought this at Giant.  It smells divine and this got me through my cravings when I was training for my competition.  TRY IT!  🙂

3.  Girl Crushes:

Can I get a “hell yeah” for some strong, beautiful, kick-ass women?!

Gina Carano:

My hubby and I just recently watched the movie Haywire, and I was enthralled by Gina Carano.  Her rise to fame was due to her career in mixed martial arts, which I’ve always had an aversion to (just seems so gruesome!), but she may have changed my mind.   She is so gorgeous and such a BAD ASS in this movie!  Love her!

Elle Swan:

I listen to Sirius Radio Cosmo Channel’s Wake Up with Taylor EVERY morning.  Several weeks ago, they interviewed Elle Swan, an “International Vibrant Living Expert.”  I was totally captivated by her story!  Elle has risen up from some of the darkest scenarios you can imagine:  she was a homeless alcoholic and drug addict who struggled with her weight and almost died from an overdose.  She had an emotional awakening and now specializes in “assisting others in overcoming all self-defeating thinking and behavior.”

What really resonated with me from her interview on Wake Up was her views on relationship standards.  Elle teaches women to rise above mediocre when it comes to men and to EXPECT the BEST from your relationships.  As I listened to her speak, I found myself emphatically nodding my head and saying “yes!!” aloud.  I wish I had come across Elle years ago, back when I didn’t take care of myself and allowed my relationship standards to be sub par at best.  Anyone reading this who may feel she deserves better should pay Elle a visit 🙂

The pop up videos on the site are a little annoying to me (sorry, girl!), but please check out Elle’s site for an eye-opening reality check from a true life success story.

Tara Mohr:

I like to listen to Jillian Michael’s podcast when I’m taking Pickles on long walks around the neighborhood.  Jillian recently interviewed Tara Mohr, and I was blown away by this woman’s quiet confidence and practical advice for professional women in today’s workplace.

I took so many little gems away from that interview.  Tara points out various things like speaking patterns or little things in your communcation style that may downplay your abilities in a male-centric workplace.

Please sign up to receive Tara’s 10 Rules for Brilliant Women Workbook today!  You won’t be disappointed!

 

That is all for my faves so far in the month of May!  Hope you enjoy and let me know your thoughts on anything mentioned in this post!!

Spring faves {continued}!

I recently talked about some of my current favorite finds, and realized that I have so many more to share!

1.  Coobie bras:

I love, love, love these bras!  I have been wearing these around the house and under my tank tops when I sleep.  These are one size fits all (for real!) and come in every color of the rainbow.  They are SO comfy and soft.  I also ordered a strapless version of the Coobie bra in nude to wear under tanks this summer, and love the fact that it doesn’t cause the “uniboob” look!  (Hint:  Google “coupon code” before ordering!)

2.  Not Your Mother’s Beach Babe Texturizing Sea Salt Spray:

I have been washing my hair at night, spraying some of this and my leave-in conditioner in damp hair, and letting my hair air dry.  The result in the morning is soft, non-crunchy waves – love it!  I’m definitely going to be using this over the summer as well.  This product does not have a lot of hold, so if you’re looking for a product to control frizziness or curls, it’s probably not the best product out there.  But for straight or wavy hair like mine, it’s good stuff.  It smells nice (like coconuts), it’s cheap, and you can find it just about anywhere (I purchased my bottle at Wal-Mart).

3.  Nuance Salma Hayek Smoothing Anti-Aging Eye Cream

Ok, so this is a pretty random one.  I was chatting with one of my coworkers about the onset of fine lines around the eye area, and realized I haven’t used an eye cream in oh, like, never.  I guess now that I’m in my 30’s I should be thinking of these things?  So I went to my local CVS where a ton of skincare products happened to be half off and perused the aisles.  After reading the ingredients on every eye cream in the store and comparing their prices, I settled on this eye cream by Salma Hayek of all people.  The ingredients include shea butter, avocado oil, and jasmine extract.  And at 50% off, it cost around $7 for the tube.  I’ve been using it for about a week now and really like it!  It’s very moisturizing without being greasy and feels lovely in the eye area.  I did get a teeny bit in one of my eyes and it did sting a little bit, but it has not irritated my sensitive skin at all.

4.  Essie nail polish in Haute as Hello:

I’m just as obsessed with coral shades as everyone else is this season!  I adore this shade.  Described as a “racy, scorching coral” on the Essie site, I’d wager this shade would look gorgeous on just about every skin tone.  It’s bright and girly and pretty and just right on my toes.  LOVE!

5.  Febreze Home Collection Wooden Wick Candle in Cherry Blossom Whimsy

This fragrance might be so last season, as I purchased it on super clearance during a short-lived “extreme couponing” phase last year and have just now gotten around to using it.  But I’m sure the other Febreze candles in this line smell just as delicious if you can’t happen to find this one.  What I love about this candle is not only that it’s pink and it smells sweet, but also that it completely gets rid of funky cooking odors like you wouldn’t believe!  In our house, for some reason cooking odors tend to waft upstairs to our bedroom area and stay there, and I can’t stand sleeping in a room that smells like a Burger King.  These candles completely remove funky odors and leave the whole room smelling fresh, clean, and spring-y.

6.  Yogi Organic Teas

Every night while relaxing on my couch with my puppy and my hubby, I enjoy a delicious steaming cup of Yogi Bedtime Tea:

From the Yogi Tea site:

 This blend is a soothing combination of herbs traditionally used for centuries to promote relaxation and sleep. Valerian and Organic Chamomile can help calm occasional nervousness and restlessness. Then we add Passionflower, used in Native American blends to helps reduce every day stress to support sleep. Licorice, Cardamom and Cinnamon add a delicious, warming flavor that’s just right for drinking before bedtime.

At work, I’ve been drinking lots of Yogi Blueberry Slim Life Green Tea:

 Green Tea Blueberry Slim Life is specifically formulated to help give you the energy you need to maintain an active lifestyle while dieting. We add Organic Green Tea and Garcinia Cambogia Fruit Extract in combination with Ginseng and Eleuthero Extracts to support stamina. Light and sweet Blueberry flavor and hints of Organic Hibiscus make Green Tea Blueberry Slim Life a fragrant and delicious addition to a weight loss program of exercise and a balanced diet.

That’s all the faves I have for now (I’m sure I’ll be back with more)!  What are some of your favorite finds for April?