Monday, February 28, 2011

Spending Time Alone

If you don't know me, I'll tell you one thing I'm not sure I am ashamed about or proud of. I'm not like most 21 year olds. Yes, I'm young, have friends and a boyfriend, and sometimes go out. But most of the time, I don't. Being an only child and a homebody, I've always been pretty introverted. Also, being a writer and able to communicate more efficiently with my written words than with my mouth doesn't exactly help me become more outgoing.

I've spent many posts talking about being lonely and missing friends and doing a lot of things on my own. Not a lot has changed except that I've become more accepting of hanging out by my lonesome. Before, on a Saturday night when my boyfriend and friends around were busy and other friends were away at school, I would turn the night into a pity party. "I have no friends! No one wants to hang out with me!", I'd say, knowing it wasn't true. Sometimes my head still goes there but I do my best to squash it.

Lately, I've been trying to find new things to do to fill my time. I have a few internships, but there are often days where I have nothing planned. My boyfriend is in class and my friends are too or they're working. I started baking! You saw my post on chocolate covered pretzels and recently I also made chocolate chip banana cookies and watermelon smoothies. I play my Wii and work on my moves playing Just Dance 2. I'll go to the store and browse or simply stay home and write.

I'm trying to find the healthy balance between hanging out with people I love and being happy with spending more time alone and finding ways to fill my time if everyone is busy. What do you do to stay busy when you have to be alone?

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Friday, February 25, 2011

Don't Feel Guilty About Eating Dark Chocolate!

Dark chocolate is one of my favorite things to indulge in. When I found out that it actually had health benefits, I said “More please!”. Now with the after Valentine's Day sales, you can find some at a great price!

Some “Dark” History

Chocolate history in general goes right back to dark chocolate, which was the first chocolate ever made. It goes back at least 3,000 years. It began as a bitter drink from the tropical areas of Central and South America. It was used by the Mayans and Aztecs as a ceremonial and medicinal drink and was often drank by the elite.

Next the Spanish discovered the drink and added sugar or honey and served the drink hot (perhaps the first hot chocolate?). Chocolate was considered a luxury and only for the rich. During the 19th century, milk was added to chocolate and this version became more popular than the dark chocolate that had always been around.

In the late 20th century into the 21st century, dark chocolate has been making a comeback, especially with all the health benefits that were uncovered.

Yummy Health Benefits

Dark chocolate contains an antioxidant called epicatechin that has proven health benefits. Dark chocolate has been shown to:
  • Decrease High Blood Pressure
  • Increase blood flow and prevent damage from strokes
  • Inhibit cancer growth
  • Lower cholesterol
  • stimulate endorphin production, which gives a feeling of pleasure
  • contain serotonin, which acts as an anti-depressant
  • contain theobromine, caffeine and other substances which are stimulants
You can get all these benefits by eating just three squares a day! Also avoid eating with milk. Sure, it tastes great, but it has been shown to prevent these great antioxidants from being absorbed in your body when you eat it with milk.

Some Delicious Options

Now that you’re craving some dark chocolate, what kind should you buy? Some of my favorite brands that have delicious options for dark chocolate are:
  • Dove Promises in Dark Chocolate (the wrappers have uplifting sayings on them!) or Dark Chocolate covered Dove ice cream bars
  • Ghirardelli Intense Dark Chocolate squares with flavors such as toffee, espresso, and seat salt
  • Hershey Special Dark Chocolate bars or chocolate kisses
  • Godiva Dark Chocolate pearls with mint, a box of Dark Chocolate truffles, Dark Chocolate covered pretzels, and many more
  • Lindt Excellence Dark Chocolate truffles with flavors such as orange and coffee
You can find all these options at your local grocery store or Target. You can also look for dark chocolate cupcakes, cakes, muffins or even make your own with dark chocolate chips!

Check out Dark-chocolate-life for more information.

See my original post on

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The Power of Positive Thinking

I recently read in a magazine an article on positive thinking and how you can train your brain. One of the tips I really liked and thought it might work! This could work with a friend or family member or by yourself. When you either think something negative or say it out loud to someone, either say to yourself or have your friend tell you to "Switch!". "Switch!" means to switch out that negative phrase into a positive one.

For example, "I just can't work out today. I'm such a lazy slob."
"I'm going to work out today and I will feel so much better afterwards!"

Have you ever tried anything similar to get rid of negative thoughts? This could work with any negative phrase whether it is towards yourself or others!

Going Dark...

I decided to go darker again! What do you think? I think it will go lighter when I wash it more, but I love it! :)

Monday, February 21, 2011

Does The Way You Sleep Make You A Jerk?

Apparently the way I sleep tells WebMD that I have the personality of a jerk. Awesome. What does your sleeping position say about your personality? Watch the short video here. And tell me, was yours reallyyyy off like mine was or actually correct?

Friday, February 18, 2011

Are You Materialistic?

Sometimes I feel as though I'm way too materialistic. Yet upon watching shows like "You're Cut Off!", I know I'm not as bad as I could be. My parents aren't millionaires and I was never given everything I wanted when I wanted it. I was taught to say "thank you" for everything and I still really believe in the power of gratitude. I don't have designer and brand name clothing and shoes. I love finding deals and always search for the best deal on things that I buy.

But still, I sometimes think I love "stuff" way too much. I guess most of Americans are this way, though. I can't say I'm the only one who gets that itch to go shopping when I get some money in my hands. I'm not the only one who sometimes engages in "retail therapy". I'm not the only one who feels attached to material goods and just wants the latest and greatest thing and feels like I have to have it.

But I still just wish I could be the kind of person that is happy with all the things I already have and absolutely loves saving money. I was always the kid who had to rip open the box of my new toy in the car on the way home even though my mom said, "Just wait, we'll be home in two minutes...".

Isn't it crazy all the things we buy to keep ourselves entertained, looking beautiful, and happy? Every kid has multiple gaming systems, TVs in their bedrooms, books and games galore, yet they're STILL bored. Even as adults, we always want the newest cell phone, all our favorite shows on DVD, and the latest and greatest technologies. Is this really making us happy or is it just draining our wallets and leaving us wanted the NEXT big thing?

It is hard to say. I will probably always love shopping and the feeling of a great new purchase. I also think it is a good idea to step back sometimes and think "Do I really need this? Will this be something I use and love or will I forget about it in a month or two? Should I really be spending this amount of money on this thing?" I need to do this to not only save money for my future but to control the feeling of buying happiness and freeing myself from boredom.

What do you think? Do you feel too materialistic sometimes? Are you a spender or a saver?

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Look What I Made!

I made some of these chocolate covered pretzels yesterday with a Valentine's mold. A little late, I know, but they didn't come in the mail until Valentine's Day! I used a chocolate "pen" to fill in the letters then melted pink colored chocolate. I thought they came out really cute and I'll probably make some more for Easter (now I can research cute Easter-y molds!).

These are great gifts too! I gave some to my neighbors, my lovely internship boss, my parents and my boyfriend's family. They were pretty fun to make too on my day off! :)

Here's a how-to because I tried to make them without knowing really what I was doing and it was a total disaster! I'm talking burnt chocolate, microwave smoking out of control, and me getting super frustrated that I wasted money on chocolate that I had to ultimately throw away. My mom gave me a few tips and bought more chocolate and I tried again the next day. Luckily it was successful and fun! Here are my tips...

1. Go to your local cake shop or a place like Joann's. They have tons of cute molds to use that have a space for the pretzels. Also buy small pieces of chocolate (it comes in small discs in many colors!) and a "candy writer", which is basically chocolate in a tube you can squeeze out and use to write or color in small spaces. Don't forget to buy some pretzel rods too.
2. Put the "candy writer" in hot water to melt it. Once it is ready to use, you simply squeeze it in the mold where you want the color.
3. You can melt the chocolate in the microwave, but I found it more effective to use the stove top and a double boiler. Fill the bottom part with water and then put heat on low. Place the chocolate in the top part and be sure no water gets in there. Keep stirring and the chocolate will melt into yummy goodness.
4. Once the chocolate is ready, just pour it in the mold! It is okay to get some on the sides because it will just pop off.
5. Place it in the fridge and roll chocolate on the ends of a pretzel rod. Then stick the pretzels in the slots in the mold.
6. In about 10 minutes, they should be ready to pop out!

Have you ever made anything similar? Tell me about it!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Remembering Jack LaLanne - The Fitness Guru

A picture of Jack LaLanne before his death.

If there ever was a real live Popeye, Jack LaLanne was it.

“I can’t die,” he most famously liked to say. “It would ruin my image.”

Unfortunately for us, he did die on January 23, 2011 at the age of 96 from respiratory failure. LaLanne, a fitness guru, host of the popular "The Jack LaLanne Show", owner of countless gyms, and named "The Father of Fitness", LaLanne made it clear what he was meant to do: motivate us. For years, he was dismissed as a "muscle man" and doctors scoffed his new way of introducing diet and exercise to the masses.

Yet, "The Jack LaLanne Show" started locally in San Francisco in 1951, later airing nationwide on daytime television in 1959 and continuing well into the 1980's. Airing for 34 years, LaLanne wanted all of American to enjoy fitness. He grabbed children as his audience by showing off his German Shepard, Happy's tricks.

“My show was so personal, I made it feel like you and I were the only ones there,” he told Knight-Ridder Newspapers in 1995. “And I’d say: ‘Boys and girls, come here. Uncle Jack wants to tell you something. You go get Mother or Daddy, Grandmother, Grandfather, whoever is in the house. You go get them, and you make sure they exercise with me.’ ”

His show wasn't his only success. In 1963, he opened one of the first health clubs in Oakland, CA. He introduced weights, juice bars, and health food, calling the gyms "health spas". Not only did he open this first modern health spa and have the first nationally syndicated exercise show on television, but he had a range of firsts in the health and exercise community. LaLanne was the first to have athletes, women, and the elderly working out with weights, the first to have a coed health club, the first to combine weight training with nutrition, the first to sell vitamins and exercise equipment on television, the first to teach scientific body building by changing the program every two to three weeks, the first to encourage the physically challenged to exercise, and the first to do feats of strength and endurance to emphasize what he taught America.

“People thought I was a charlatan and a nut,” he remembered. “The doctors were against me — they said that working out with weights would give people heart attacks and they would lose their sex drive.”

Years later, we realize doctors were the nuts! Yet, the feats that LaLanne performed certainly may have characterized him that way. He did things most of us would never even consider trying such as LaLanne's 1,033 push-ups in 23 minutes at the age of 42. He also swam more than a mile through the strong currents of Long Beach Harbor while towing 70 people in 70 rowboats on his 70th birthday - while being handcuffed and shackled. He proudly showed everyone that you can do whatever you set your mind to.

"Many people have arthritis and rheumatism; they get bum knees, a bum back. A lot of guys get a little pain in the toe or knee and then they won't exercise. Well gee, you have 640 muscles in your body. There may be a few exercises you can't do, but there are hundreds you can do!" he would proudly say.

Perhaps the most shocking history of LaLanne's was that he was a sugar-aholic as a kid. His mother took him to hear health lecturer, Paul Bragg, who motivated LaLanne to start eating more fruits and vegetables and begin doing exercises and participating in football. Think of where the fitness world would be today if LaLanne's mother hadn't pursued a way to get her child to become healthier.

His feats, success, and motivation tactics were amazing. He had the salesman's gift, selling products he believed in and selling ideas to people who may have given up on exercise and nutrition. He marketed a Power Juicer to blend raw vegetables and fruit, a Glamour Stretcher cord, and sold many exercise videos and fitness books.

LaLanne once said, "I don't care how old I live; I just want to be LIVING while I am living!" We can all learn a lot about living from LaLanne's legacy.

Check out some of his greatest workout videos here.

See my original post on here.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day!

Whether you're in love with someone or just with yourself, I hope you have a fantastic day filled with love! <3

Friday, February 11, 2011

Personalize Your Gifts This Valentine's Day!

One of my favorite type of gift to give and receive is the homemade or personalized gift. Homemade gifts can be cute, sweet, practical, or silly. But no matter what type of gift it is, it truly shows how much the person cares because they took the time to personalize or make something for you. Homemade gifts and personalized gifts don’t have to be time consuming or expensive either.

One of my favorite gifts to give someone is something involving pictures. You can buy a cheap picture frame and decorate it with stickers, markers, or paint and add a nice picture for a fabulous gift for any occasion. Another idea is finding a picture frame that has a bulletin board around the place for the photo. Then you can add a cute picture and tack memorabilia around the photo such as ticket stubs, movie tickets, notes, and other small pictures. Here’s an example of something similar with a mirror. You can also make personalized photo books at your local CVS or Walgreens. All you have to do is upload the photos you’ve chosen, add text if you want, and choose what type of booklet it will go in. This can be as inexpensive or as fancy as you’d like.

Another great option for personalizing and creating homemade gifts easily is heading to Simply choose what type of item you want to personalize. They have T-Shirts, mugs, greeting cards, ornaments, mouse pads, calendars, necklaces, posters, and the list goes on. For example, say you want to give your coffee-loving boyfriend a personalized mug for Valentine’s Day. Click on mugs and “create now” and chose the mug style, then you can either chose an existing design or upload a design or photograph. Then you can customize colors and text and they do the rest! From my personal experience with Zazzle, the website is easy to use, has cheap options, and ships fast. It is a great website for gift giving, no matter what person you’re buying for or the holiday.

Another way to your guy’s heart is by baking him his favorite dessert. Even if you’re not much of a baker, you can easily pick up a boxed mix to make brownies, a cake, or cookies. Then choose your guy’s favorite frosting and treats to put on top to show him you care. To go the extra mile, write your names on the cupcakes or frost a heart-shaped cake. If you want to stay on the cooking route, make him his favorite meal for dinner and set a nice table. This is a romantic and special way to show your loved one that you care.

Lastly, a homemade gift I like to give has to do with writing. Pick up a journal for couples at your local bookstore that has you answer questions to preserve memories about your relationship. If you prefer to really run the homemade route, you could make a book yourself and write memories. Be sure to include pockets to hold ticket stubs and other memories. If you’re not a writer, give someone a blank journal to preserve their own memories.

So this Valentine’s Day, don’t stress about what to get your sweetie. Make them something personalized or homemade and the sentiment will make it feel like it is worth a million dollars, even when you spent under $50.

Check out the original post by me on here or read another article by me on gifts for certain types of men.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

New Nail Polish Effect - OPI's Black Shatter!

Have you heard about the new OPI nail polish called Black Shatter? I first saw it in a magazine and thought it looked awesome. When I tried to buy it at a few local beauty stores, they were sold out and imagined a line for the nail polish for the next few weeks! Crazy. So I ordered it online and got it this past weekend.

You simply paint this top coat over an existing color (make sure it is REALLY dry first. My nails had been painted a few days prior so they were dry for sure, but my cousins tried to paint it over nail polish that wasn't quite dry and the effect didn't really work.) then wait a few seconds and the paint starts to separate into the crackle effect! I have no idea how they do this.

So what do you think? I really love it, especially with the white nail polish underneath. It makes it almost look like a zebra pattern! This nail polish can be a bit more expensive in some places, but I think it is worth it. It should last a long time and has such a great effect you can't find anywhere else!

What do you think of it? Will you try it?

You can look at it more and buy it on Amazon from my blog! Just scroll down on the right side to see the box with Black Shatter nail polish, simply click to look at it and even buy it! :)

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Want me to post a Vlog? Ask me something then!

A few people seemed interested in me doing a "vlog" (video blog) a while back when I first suggested it. So now here's your chance! Comment on this post with a question (or more than one!) that you'd like me to answer. It could be a question about me, a question looking for advice from me, etc. Just please make sure it is appropriate. The more questions I get, the more willing I will be to answer them in a vlog and post it!

Thanks for all your interest! If you really want me to do it and I'm not getting many questions, pass this along to your friends. :) If I have enough questions to make a video, I'll do one in about a week. I'm looking forward to it!

Monday, February 7, 2011

You Can't Please Everyone...

Let me tell you a few things about myself. I'm the type of person that wants to please everyone and never wants to have anyone dislike me or say anything bad about me. Yes, I know in life...this is impossible. It is a hard thing to learn and it is hard to deal with people sometimes.

The worst type of person to deal with is the "bully". I'm not just talking schoolyards, but bullies in life. The people that have to constantly bring others down to make themselves feel better and in control. The people that think nothing is ever good enough for them because they are the best. Don't you wish these kind of people would just go away? Or more positively, just learn to be kinder?

But as I get older, I have to learn over and over that you can't please everyone. Everything can't work out perfect. There will always be bullies in life that want to bring you down. All you can do is find ways to distance yourself from them or cut ties permanently. If this bully is someone you can't do this with, such as a family member, you have to learn to not take things so personally. This is something I struggle with too. I wear my heart on my sleeve and am very sensitive to harsh words. But as cheesy as it sounds, everyone and everything sent in your life is there for a reason. The reason may be to lead you to another option that works better for you, to teach you a lesson, or maybe even develop thicker skin.

So tell me, are you like me in any of these ways? How do you deal with bullies in life?

Friday, February 4, 2011

Life is Crazy: An Update

Here's an update on what's going on in my life. I don't normally post anything too personal on this blog just because you never know who's reading and I am a pretty private person by nature. But, I wanted to tell you all I decided to quit my job. I gave it a month and it just wasn't working out for me for a few reasons. I was so torn of what to do and was so stressed out about whether I should stick it out and make the money or quit because I knew it was causing me so much anxiety. I just quickly realized that PR is not what I'm meant to do and I didn't want to feel stuck at my first job after college when I realized it wasn't the job for me.

So in the end, I decided to cut ties and focus on the other part-time jobs I have. I'm interning for and am really loving it so far and hope I can help more and more there. I also have a few part-time small jobs for previous internship bosses coming up. It won't be much for now, but at least I have some things to work on while I keep looking for something more permanent and routine. I hope I've made the right decision, but all I can do is go with my gut and hope everything works out for the best. I know that post-graduation is hard and that things will work out eventually. Thanks for all of your support!

On another note, I love this blog and I love all of the feedback I've gotten from it and am happy I will have time to continue to write and grow this blog. If anyone is interested in sponsoring me, I will gladly work with you for a reasonable rate to advertise your business or blog. My blog is getting more and more viewers each day. I would be so happy to work with you! Email me at to chat more. :)

For more about me: follow me on Twitter at @lrstewar or find me on Facebook under my fan page: Lauren Stewart.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

What Is Skin Brushing?

Tired of going to the spa to get expensive treatments? Want an inexpensive, easy way to reduce cellulite and make your skin glow beautifully? Try a new trend called skin brushing. All you need is a good quality body brush with natural bristles that costs around $6-$10.

So what is skin brushing and how does it work?

Start with your brush or loofah at your feet and move upwards towards the thighs in small circular motions. Don’t brush too hard or your skin might become red and irritated. Next, brush your arms downward and brush your torso towards the heart. Avoid your face where your skin is more sensitive. Hips and thighs are great places to brush because cellulite tends to form there. Be sure to brush gentle and avoid bruises, cuts, or irritated areas.

What are the benefits?

Skin brushing helps the largest organ you have: your skin. It accelerates toxin elimination, stimulates blood flow and circulation, reduces cellulite, helps exfoliate and remove dead skin cells, anti-aging through cell regeneration, and helps you get your moist, supple skin back. Skin brushing also actives your lymphatic system (a part of your immune system) by stimulating the lymphatic channels to release toxic materials in the colon and cleanse the entire body. The waste that it brings to the surface gets out of your skin in the form of sweat and dead skin cells and makes your skin look better and helps unclog your pores. The best part of all this is that skin brushing not only makes your skin LOOK better, it has proven medical benefits. It stimulates your nerve endings that help your nervous system, it gives you a healthy body by helping your skin breathe better with unclogged pores, it helps increase your circulation and blood flow, and it rids your skin of toxins that can destroy your health.

Where can I find an inexpensive brush to try skin brushing? is the best place to find brushes that cost around $6-$10. Simply search on Amazon or Google Shopping for “skin brushing brushes” or “dry brushes” and you’ll be able to compare prices with brands such as Bernard Jensen, Yerba Prima Botanicals, and Elemis. Other places to check out are vitamin stores like The Vitamin Shoppe and beauty supply stores. Make sure you get one with natural bristles!

If you knew you could get beautiful skin from 5-10 minutes a day with an inexpensive brush, you would have tried this a long time ago!

Check out my original post on