Pros and Cons: Eyelash Extensions

 

I’ve always known about eyelash extensions for reading various beauty blogs. However, the decision to give them a try was made by reading about them in probably the most random place. Six weeks ago I got married and we honeymooned in Jamaica. After we booked our honeymoon, we found a closed Facebook group dedicated to the resort we would be staying at.

While reading over this group for hints and tricks for our honeymoon, I found a posting from a girl asking what type of mascara is best for the humidity. I was intrigued. I feel like I’ve used a ton of different mascaras but never really found what that I absolutely loved. To my surprise, at least a dozen ladies responded to the post saying to get eyelash extensions. I have naturally long eyelashes. However, they are straight as can be no matter what I do to them. After a little research on my own, I decided to give it a try.

I found a place close to my work that offered natural eyelash extensions that would last 4-6 weeks for $40. I set up an appointment 5 days before my wedding day. I figured if I did not like them, I had time to have them removed before the big day!

The process was easy…I removed my eye makeup, sat back and let the girl apply them. Within about 30 minutes, I was finished. They looked perfect…they had a great curl to them and looked like I had found the world’s best mascara.

Unfortunately, I did not take my own before and after pictures…which I really am wishing I did! I found this picture on Google (credit bellospa.com) and I feel like this really paints a picture of how you will look.

Let me list out the pros and cons for you.

Pros:

  • No need for mascara or really any eye make-up for that matter. I do my brows and a little mascara on the lower lashes and I am good to go for the day!
  • They look natural. Most people noticed that something was different with my eyes, but just assumed that I had found an awesome mascara.
  • Easy and painless to have put on as well as have removed.
  • Filling them in every couple of weeks is pretty inexpensive and is a great way to extend the life of your lashes.
  • No need to worry about mascara running while you are working out.

 

Cons:

  • They are more expensive than just buying a tube of mascara.
  • They do require maintenance.
  • I sometimes find myself with eye shadow in my lashes when I use it!
  • If one falls out, you may find yourself looking a little goofy until you can get an appointment to get them filled. However, a drugstore lash glue can easily re-attach the lash until you get in for an appointment…this is assuming you can find the lash!
  • If you have sensitive eyes, the glue may irritate them.

 

For me, the pros definitely outweigh the cons. The look is a complete confidence builder. My morning routine is much quicker and I always feel somewhat put together even if I’m not actually. For me, I’d take eyelash extensions over a mani/pedi any day!

My advise to anyone who wants to try eyelash extensions is to give it a go! You can always have them removed. Use Groupon to find a deal in your area and don’t hesitate to ask questions.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Protein Smoothie

If you are anything like me, there is a good chance that you love chocolate and peanut butter. Really though, who doesn’t love chocolate and peanut butter? Peanut butter and chocolate are a winning combination and even more of a winning combination when it’s good for you!

I am a huge fan of smoothies for breakfast. They are perfect to eat while I’m running on the door and if I don’t finish it by the bus pulls up (gotta love public transportation), I can take it with me. Sometimes, chocolate and peanut butter is the perfect start to a Monday morning. Here is one of my absolute favorite smoothie recipes. This protein-packed smoothie will keep you going until lunch time!

What You’ll Need:

  • 1 tablespoon of natural peanut butter
  • 6 oz. of Greek yogurt
  • 3/4 cup of almond milk
  • 1 tablespoon of agave
  • 3 tablespoons of unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 large banana, peeled and frozen

 

Blend and enjoy!

Question for you:

What’s your favorite kind of smoothie?

 

Overcoming an Exercise Slump

We all get into exercise ruts. Hence, why I started blogging again so that I can keep myself on track as I continue to sweat for the wedding. Sometimes I am extremely motivated to workout and other times I’d prefer to just hang out of the couch with a bowl of ice cream. This is completely normal. When this happens, it is time to rejuvenate your workout routine. It can help to get you out of that slump and get you on to achieving your goals!

Here are my tips to recharge your exercise routine:

  • Sign up for a new exercise class. Have you tried barre, hot yoga or even a strength training class? Do something that you have never done before. Time flies when you are sweating and trying something new! Group exercise classes can help you beat the boredom of exercising alone.
  • Switch-up your location. If you normal go to the gym, try getting outside and running or biking. If you normally visit a yoga studio, try switching studios. If you are a runner, switch your route.
  • Register for a race. Pick a fun race to run or choose a race that is for a cause that you really support. Even if you’ve never run a race before, this can be a lot of fun and a great workout. Register for your first 5k or first half marathon. Then, plan your workouts around training for the race. If you are not a runner, try downloading a couch to 5k app.
  • Don’t exercise if you are exhausted. Remember, it is okay to take a break. If you are sick or tired, opt to rest that day. Your body needs time to recuperate from exercise.
  • Get creative with your workouts. If you are at the gym, use multiple cardio machines to complete a 30 minute workout. Try 10 minutes on the step machine, 10 minutes on the elliptical and the final 10 minutes on the treadmill. Make your workouts your own. There are no rules for how you can and cannot workout.
  • Search for new workouts to keep things fresh. Use blogs, Pinterest, apps and fitness magazines to find new workouts to try. This is how I find many of the workouts I complete!
  • Create a fun, upbeat playlist. Great music can really help to fuel your workout!

How do you recharge your workout?

How to Avoid Office Munchies!

If you are work in an office, like me, it can often be hard to avoid the donuts, cookies, cakes, chips and other snacks that seem to pop up multiple times per week. My desk happens to be very close to were everyone leaves their cupcakes, brownies and other goodies. As a result, it is a must to practice self-control.

Cookies, candies and cupcakes do not to have to become a staple of your office eating.

Here are my tips for handling the goodies that are likely to pop up at your workplace at any given time:

  • Enjoy yourself, but don’t overindulge. Have a cookie, a few pieces of candy or a piece of cake and do not hesitate to enjoy it. Not eating it will make you want it even more; this can lead to overindulgence later on.
  • Bring your own snacks. Try to have a protein bar or a cup of yogurt with you at work. This can help you to fight cravings on days that you really have the munchies. Having a healthy snack, that you enjoy on hand can prevent you from searching the office kitchen for an unhealthy treat.
  • Keep the snacks out of sight if possible. Out of sight, out of mind. Offer to put the leftovers away. Your co-workers are likely to really appreciate the fact that you are willing to clean up the office. It’s much easier to avoid temptation if you do not have a giant plate of cookies sitting within your site.
  • Bring in a health dish. Offices often hold potluck lunches. Sign-up to bring a healthy dish so you know there is at least one healthy option you can enjoy. Fruit salads, hummus and vegetables or whole wheat crackers with cheese are great options.

What are your go-to, healthy office snacks?

 

May 2015 Bulu Box Review

Hi friends! Last month I saw a Groupon for a 3 month subscription to Bulu Box for just $7, which seemed like a deal I couldn’t refuse. I love getting packages in the mail! Bulu Box is a monthly subscription service that provides you with products that are weight loss, nutrition and health-related. You are supposed to get 4-5 premium samples. If you share yours thoughts on the products, you get $5 in reward points each month. I opted for the weight loss box, just because I was hoping that it might have snack products in the box to keep me full. The box is $10 per month. The first thing I noticed about the box was that I never received a shipping notification, it just showed up at my door. I don’t particularly like when this happens. If a package shipped and gets lost in the mail, I’d have no idea that it was lost or shipped for that matter.

When I opened the box, I thought it seemed a little sparse and the samples seemed less-than-premium.

IMG_20150513_172908

 

Inside was:

SK Energy Shots: These shots are a mixture of weight loss aids (such as caffeine from green coffee beans and B vitamins) to give you a boost of energy and raising your resting metabolic rate to help you burn more calories throughout the day. 12 shots are priced at $25.99. For me, this is an okay product. I’m not a big caffeine person, but I am willing to give this a try on a day that I do not get that much sleep.

Shapeology Burn Blend: This product had proven ingredients to mimic the effects of a high metabolism so that you burn more calories and lose weight more likely. It has a liquid delivery system, so you feel the results immediately. 60 capsules are priced at $39.99. The sample size is two capsules. The instructions say to take 1-2 capsules in the morning and 1-2 in the afternoon, so I am questioning whether or not you can accurately determine if you like the capsules. I keep hearing things about Shapeology, I am willing to try it, but weight loss supplements generally are not my thing.

KPAX Energy: KPAX energy are capsules that are packed with vitamins, amino acids, antioxidants and caffeine. They claim to give you more energy for your workouts or to start your day. 60 tablets retail for $44.95. Again, the sample is only 2 tablets. Instructions indicate to take 1-2 tablets per dose, may repeat up to three times daily. For me, 2 tablets is definitely not enough to determine if I like something. Again, I’m not a big caffeine girl.

Vital 4U Liquid Energy Ginseng Drink: This product is supposed to be for anyone who needs a boost of energy. It contains Ginseng, an herbal remedy for restoring and enhancing well-being. This product also contains caffeine and B vitamins. A 12 count retails for $17.00. The flavor I received is coffee, I do not like coffee at all. Therefore, I will be passing this off to someone who actually drinks coffee! Still, I’m not big on caffeine. I like my sleep too much to hype myself up on caffeine.

Youth Fusion: This powder drink mix contains no added sugars and just 10 calories. It contains a number of vitamins and minerals as well as Co-Q10 — to help boost heart health. A 30 count is sold for $40.99. I received the flavor tangerine, which I do not like at all! However, I am a big fan of drink mixes to spice up my water. If this were another flavor, I’d be very likely to enjoy this.

Overall, the theme of this box appears to be caffeine. I am not a big caffeine drinker at all. I am not super impressed with this box. The good news is that I did not pay $10 to receive it. I feel like larger sample sizes of vitamins and supplements are needed to determine if you actually like them.

Have you ever tried Bulu Box? What are your thoughts?

 

Sweating for the Wedding: The Start of a New Journey

I’ve been horrible at blogging ever since I made a career change. So, I’m taking my upcoming wedding and turning it into the opportunity to lead a healthier lifestyle — not that my lifestyle is particularly unhealthy, but I’d love to be consistently making healthy choices! I’m getting married in 365 days and just turned 30, so here’s to a healthier lifestyle! What better time than now to be in the best shape of my life?

How am I going to do this you might ask? My plan is not set-in-stone and is subject to change based on what is and what is not working for me! Here are some things I’m planning on sticking with and/or trying for the first time:

1. I love, love, love my FitBit. It is amazing how much that little thing can motivate me! I love challenging my future in-laws and my family to Weekend Warrior Challenges and the Work Week Hustle. It’s fun and motivating. My goal is to hit 100k steps per week. It may sound like a lot, but really it’s not hard. Getting off the bus a stop earlier and walking the rest of the way to work and taking a walk on my lunch break really help me to achieve this goal! It even helps to use the printer that is furthest from my desk at work.🙂

2. Redeem Groupons that I’ve purchased for various fitness classes and have never used! Yep, I purchased a few Groupons in 2012 for yoga and barre classes and never used them. Surprisingly, they don’t expire until 2016. Needless to say, I’ll be attending yoga and barre two times a week for the next 6 weeks!

3. At-Home exercise. I own a couple of Tone It Up and Blogiates DVDs. These are perfect for toning up and building strength without having to belong to a gym. They are great for when you are looking to squeeze in a quick workout without having to drive to a gym or make it to a yoga class on time.

4. Fruits and Veggies. I am one who struggles to eat a lot of fruits and veggies, not sure why. I like them, they just don’t seem to make it into my meals before they go bad. I’ve made it a goal to go shopping for a weeks worth of product at time and eat it all before it goes bad. I’ve also really been enjoying adding kale and spinach to smoothies.

5. Smoothies and Protein Shakes. It took me the longest time to get recipes down to the point where I actually enjoy the smoothies and protein shakes I make, but I am finally getting the hang of it! I just ordered the Vega Protein Smoothie, which I am very excited to try. I did drink Shakeology for awhile, but I found overtime that I was getting a lot of headaches from it and it was just do expensive. I am hoping this will taste great and keep me full!

Questions for you!

1. What is your favorite brand of protein powder/meal replacement drink?

2. What is your favorite smoothie recipe?

Creating Your Wedding Guest List

My Fiance and I actually had the deposit on our venue the day after we got engaged (we had picked the ring out together and were waiting for it to be sized — in the mean time, we had talked about plans). We had a specific date in mind, needed a larger venue and wanted a venue that was fairly centrally located. And centrally located may be putting it loosely — we are inviting guests from all over the country. It did not take us long to realize that we cannot please everyone. For some, the venue is in walking distance. For others (provided they choose to come), it will be a plane ride across the country.

Now that we have the venue, came the though part– just how many people were we going to invite? Our guest list started out with a very high number — in fact that number was so high that it would have easily put us $10,000 over the estimated budget. I was quick to jump on Pinterest and see what the 100s of pins about choosing your guest list had to say. Honestly, I was extremely shocked at what some sites deemed to be appropriate etiquette. Here’s my take on some of the most common wedding quest list questions. Warning: When I write, I speak my mind and tell it like it is!

guestlist.jpg (1000×824)

1. Do I Have to Invite Kids to My Wedding? Most websites will tell you invite everyone’s kids or no kids. This I disagree with. I will have kids at my wedding, but I will not be inviting everyone’s kids. What kids will be invited to my wedding? Obviously, the children in my wedding — these are going to be nieces and nephews — I think they should definitely be there. I will also be inviting older children in my family that we are close with — the family members I see all of the time. And one final addition to my kids list will be the families who will be unable to travel from out of town if they cannot bring their kids with them. Am I likely to offend people? Yes, but I am keeping in mind that this is our wedding, our budget and our rules. No matter which rules I play by, I am going to be offending someone and we’ve come to realize that that’s just how it’s going to be. If having certain adults attend our wedding, means that we are going to have to invite certain children, that is how it’s going to be!

2. What’s the etiquette for plus-ones? This question drives me absolutely crazy. I found this answer on weddingwire.com and love it–for the most part!

You should invite guests who are in long-term, committed relationships with their significant others. But for friends who are casually dating or single, you don’t have to invite them with plus-ones – again, as long as you’re consistent. Of course, those who are living together, engaged, or married should be invited as couples – even if you have yet to meet the significant other.

There is only one thing I disagree with….do I really have to the girlfriend of an under-age family member who is sharing an apartment with his girlfriend during college? I’m going to say no. If I do that, I might as well let my high school-aged cousins bring their “boyfriends.” You guys know what I am talking about…the boyfriend that they RVSP with is likely not going to be the boyfriend that they actually have when our wedding date is actually here. High school relationships change all of the time…at over $100 a head…I’m not paying for someone’s high school boyfriend or girlfriend.

I’m planning on implementing the same plus on rule across the board…whether you are 30 or 60, we just don’t want people bring a date for the sake of bringing a date — if it’s a serious committed relationship (even if we haven’t met your significant other…great! We cannot wait to see you with the love of your life).

3. What about co-workers? Most of the articles I’ve read said invite everyone, no one (and don’t talk about your wedding at work) or only invite those who you see outside of work. I work in a very large department. Inviting everyone (and a guest) would mean inviting probably 150 additional guests. That’s just crazy…plus I am not inviting individuals who call me every other name under the sun but my own name! What I’ve decided? I’m inviting the small group of individuals that I work with only a daily basis (we are a team, work together and get along great). I’ll also be adding a few other individuals in the department that I have a relationship with outside of work. I’ll be asking everyone to keep things quite and keep the wedding talk to a minimum (especially when others are around). Weddings are exciting and hard not to talk about!

That’s my take on wedding etiquette and honestly, I’m not so sure that there really is a thing as appropriate wedding guest list etiquette. There are no rules anymore…it’s your day! Do what makes you happy and what’s in your budget. What is your least favorite thing about creating your wedding guest list?