Friday, April 29, 2011

Learn from Glee: Love Yourself!

First of all, don't forget to enter the GIVEAWAY!

"Glee" was amazing this week! If you missed it, it was all about loving yourself - no matter what. I adore that message.

I have the typical story. Growing up I was super skinny, gangly, got glasses in third grade, had frizzy and extremely thick hair, etc. I was shy and insecure. The summer before tenth grade I decided to change my image. I got my hair chemically straightened, cut, got contacts, and my body had filled out a bit. People didn't recognize me on that first day of school.

Now, I still straighten my hair and wear contacts and try to make myself look the best I can. I don't think there's anything wrong with that. As for other things I don't always love about myself: I have a big nose. Much like Rachel Berry on "Glee", my nose is not cute and dainty and I get blackheads. Also like Mr. Shue, I have a "butt chin" aka a dimple in my chin that you don't see too often in a crowd. I have KP, a skin condition that leaves little red bumps on the back of my arms and legs.

We all have things about us that we don't really like. Perhaps you even share some of my outer appearance woes. But like anything in life, you have to take what you're given and make the best of it. You have to love yourself for all the things that make you...YOU. Chances are those things that you don't like are the things that people love about you the most.

So when I see my nose, I try not to think about how big that bump is, I think about how I have my beloved Grandpa's nose. My "butt chin" never really bothered me too much and it is one of the only things about my appearance that makes me look like my Dad. As far as those KP bumps, who cares? It is not a skin condition that bothers me and with exfoliation it gets better. My cousin has 'em too.

I'm not a huge fan of Lady Gaga, but the song, "Born This Way" has a great message and was an amazing ending song on "Glee". My favorite part of the song is this: "I'm beautiful in my own way, God makes no mistakes". And I believe it. God makes you who you are and you shouldn't try to change it too much.

Love yourself and others will flock to you. Respect yourself and others will notice and learn from you. Look in the mirror and tell yourself you are beautiful and amazing the way you are. Don't say how much of a dork you looked in seventh grade: embrace it!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Importance of Organic Skincare + GIVEAWAY!!!

Right now, go look at all the products in your bathroom. Check the first ingredient in your face wash, shampoo, shower gel, etc. I bet you that it is WATER. That's right, water. Next there are probably a bunch of ingredients that you can't even pronounce. Most of the time this means chemicals. Some shower gels and other products can be up to 80% water - it just doesn't seem right to pay these prices for a product that is made of mostly water, a free material. Not to mention harmful chemicals that won't really do anything fabulous for your skin or your health. While most of the time we don't use enough to really make us sick, do you really want to slather chemicals on your face and all over your body?

Lately, I've been trying to find organic products that will do wonders for my skin and make me feel better about what I'm using. Even though some of these products are more expensive (some not by much more or even cheaper if you buy expensive products already), I can feel better that it is not made of mostly water (in fact, no water is added!) so it will go a long way. When there is water in your shower gel you tend to need a lot more.

I have also been trying to get more organic makeup to use. Organic makeup is about the same price as other versions you already buy and contains all natural ingredients. I like that it is better for the environment and my skin.

So I wanted to do a GIVEAWAY for all my wonderful readers to give you a taste of a great organic skincare product I love!!!

If you win, I will give you a organic lip balm in any flavor you like (you can choose any of the individual lip balms on Bumble & Bee. There is Coconut & Lime (I bought this one and love it!), Unscented, Root Beer, Orange, Pomegranate Kiss, Karma Apple, Peppermint Cocoa, or "Rude" Raspberry!)

To enter to win:

1 entry: Comment on this post and tell me what you think of organic products.

Another entry: Follow me on Twitter! @lrstewar. Leave a comment here saying you follow me now and I will check it out.

Another entry: Follow me on Facebook! Again leave a comment and I will check to see if you're a new fan.

Yet another entry: If you don't already follow me, follow me on RSS or Blogger and let me know. If you are already a follower and want another entry - have a friend follow me and have them comment and say YOU sent them! Every new friend gets you another entry!!!

Depending on how many enter this contest, I will end this in a week or two. I promise you will love this lip balm - smells amazing, great for you and the environment, and stays on way longer than others I've used!

Now...Here are the products I've decided to try. What do you think?

Monday, April 25, 2011

Should You Be Using Organic Deodorant?

We all use deodorant (or at least, we should be). But are the ingredients in your favorite, tried and true deodorant hurting you? What is organic deodorant anyway and how is it any different than Secret or Dove brand? There are a few differences in organic versus regular deodorant. Organic deodorant sold at local organic markets such as Plum Markets, Whole Food Markets, and Trader Joe’s target bacteria that causes odor instead of using aluminum to stop sweat in it’s tracks.

The reason that aluminum is concerning in your deodorant is that aluminum is a neurotoxin and has been linked to DNA damage, harmful effects to the blood brain barrier, and may cause Alzheimer’s disease.

We took a look at a popular organic brand, Tom’s to see just what is in their “natural and long-lasting” deodorant roll-on. No aluminum to be found. Yet one ingredient, called propylene glycol, doesn’t seem any better. It has also been shown to seep into your skin and cause nasty side effects like skin, liver, and kidney damage.

Another problem with using organic deodorant is that unlike your regular antiperspirant, it does nothing to stop sweating. Don’t get us wrong, sweating is good – it is your body’s way of ridding yourself of toxins and you need to sweat. But you probably don’t want constant sweat stains on your shirt or to feel uncomfortable, especially in the sweltering summer heat. Organic deodorants only work to fight odor from bacteria, so you will smell fresh but you might be pretty sweaty.

Yet there are some organic deodorants out there that do not contain propylene glycol or any ingredients that may be chemically harmful. So perhaps this battle of organic vs. chemical deodorants needs to be left to the individual. If you find you don’t sweat much and just want something for odor and are worried about chemical intake in your body, try an organic version. You may have to try a few before you find one that you really like that works for you. If you find you sweat more than normal or simply love your deodorant, keep it. Check out the ingredients and compare versions to find the healthiest possible brand.

Yet if you’re still dying for a chemical free alternative that fights odor AND wetness, we found a brand that claims to fight all three. Bumble & Bee Organics has organic deodorant that using natural ingredients to stop odor, but also has arrowroot powder to stop perspiration naturally. For around $9.85 a stick, it runs a bit pricier, but it may be worth a try if you’re very passionate about organic products!

Let me know – do you swear by organic deodorant or stick by your old Secret brand?

See the original post I wrote on!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Happy Easter!

Have a wonderful and blessed Easter today! Whether you do or don't celebrate, have a great and relaxing day with family. xoxo

Friday, April 22, 2011

Online "Window Shopping"...

I often like to "window shop" online. There is always a million things I want to buy, but I just don't have the money, so I like to browse online stores when I'm bored. This is probably making it worse, but here are some things I'm craving right now.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Amazing Web Magazine - Love Twenty!

Remember my learning experience? Well a good thing came out of it - a new friend and the chance to hear about and write for a really cool website!

The website is called Love Twenty and is all about stuff that twenty-something girls care about. Just from that description, I was hooked. But the website is also very pink and adorable and covers style, beauty, love, careers, decor, health, and much more! Basically, amazing advice, products, and fun activities for twenty-something girls.

Check out one of my first posts - my twenty-something adventure!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Pros of a Pet Rat!

If you read my blog or know me, you know I have had a pet rat for over a year now. I've always wanted one and when I was living in an apartment I decided to get one after doing some research. Most people are freaked out by the prospect of someone having a pet rat, but I want to give you some pros to getting a rat for a pet!

1. They are adorable! When most people think of a rat, they think of the giant ones in movies with beady red eyes. My rat is black and white with black eyes and the cutest little face!

2. They are pretty easy to care for and low maintenance. All you have to do is clean their cage regularly, give them fresh water and food and keep them entertained with treats, toys, and play time. My rat always puts his bedding into his food dish - no clue why but I always have to un-bury his food!

3. They are very smart. I wish I had more time and patience to teach Buddy more tricks, but I taught him to stand on his hind legs and take treats nice. You know he listens because when I give him a treat he will go to snatch it, but I will say "Take it nice now..." and he will gently take it from me. I know you can even litter train them if you have the time!

4. They are fun. Rats like to have a lot of human interaction. Buddy loves his house though and loves to stay in his cage, but taking him out to play is important. I let him run around my living room with supervision and he loves to just sit in your arms and cuddle. Who would have thought rats love to snuggle? :) Rats prefer to live with other rat friends, but I am only able to have one and I feel bad when I get busy and don't get to hang out with Buddy as much as I'd like. But even when he is alone a lot, he never gets angry about it and loves when someone comes to talk to him or plays music for him.

5. They are loving. Buddy loves to lick me and I read that it means they consider you part of their family - so cute!

6. They are really clean. Buddy constantly cleans himself, much like a cat (but no hairballs!). While his cage gets smelly, cleaning it regularly will solve this problem.

I hope this inspired you to get a pet rat or simply just be kind to those who choose to have one instead of going... "Ew a rat?!?!" You should definitely give them a chance!

Friday, April 15, 2011

America Disgusts Me When...

....high school dropout teenage mothers and people like the cast of "The Jersey Shore" make more money and get more recognition than hardworking educated people. stars and celebrities make millions (more than they can ever spend) and people go to bed hungry every night. If even a small percentage of the millions of dollars made from the entertainment industry went to helping feed the hungry, fix our schools, etc. the world would be a much better place.

....we talk more with our loved ones on Facebook and Twitter than face to face.

....sleazy and corrupt government officials get off easy in the court systems, but a man who punches another man who raped his granddaughter gets hard time.

....Detroit gets the blame for lunatics like Charlie Sheen who come to our town, waste our money, act insane and then bash us. Why crazy people like Charlie Sheen get so much fame is another thing...

....the news is filled with horror stories and "Dancing with the Stars" dramas and only every once in a while is there a story about a good deed being done.

....there are fast food restaurants on every corner, protests on cigarette bans, and more TVs in the world than people.

There goes my little rant for now. Perhaps I should change America to the World because problems are everywhere. I never claimed that I'm perfect or somehow better than the people on this list. I just wish we were in a better world filled with more peace and love than wars and hatred. I could probably go on and on and on and even try to fix things, but that is the way the world works. I can only try my best to be a good person and hope others do too and that peace becomes more prominent as the days go on by...

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Do You Dress Up Your Pet?

dress-your-dogI’m sure you’ve all seen it. A poodle dolled up with bows, a sweater, maybe even little booties and a hat to match. Dressing up your pet for Halloween is quite popular, but many people choose to dress up their pet on a regular basis. In the winter it is completely justified to put your dog in a sweater, especially if they have short fur. But what about designer doggie clothes? Wigs for your cat? Is this completely strange or a popular trend that is here to stay?

Nearly two-thirds of Americans have at least one pet and Americans total spend $41 billion a year on their furry friends. Sure, some of this counts for food and toys, but it also includes the ever-expanding industry for pet clothing.

From raincoats to sweaters, wigs and crowns to shirts and pants, and even pajamas, the world of pet fashion is certainly booming! But do pets love this attention or will they hate you for it?

Mario DiFante thinks they love it. DiFante, who staged New York’s first Pet Fashion Week last August, has an elevated view of the place of dogs and cats in the family hierarchy. As he puts it: “Many of us consider pets as the new babies.” That means clothing furry little ones in a range of sweaters, raincoats, leather jackets, and dresses. For Lara Alameddine, co-founder of Little Lily, a better word might be “babes.” Her four-year-old company clears $1 million a year selling products including doggie slippers, bikinis, and even canine versions of Oscar-night gowns. It’s popular with celebrity dog owners such as Paris Hilton, who often dresses up her Chihuahua, Tinkerbell. “We’re catering to the owner’s sense of style,” says Alameddine. “There are no bones on our clothes.”

With shows like “The Dog Whisperer” popping up everywhere, we are encouraged more and more to treat our pets like our children. We feed them, give them toys and love, and now even clothe them! While many fashionistas use this as an excuse to dress up their pet as they would themselves, some people just like the novelty of it and love their pet so much they want to treat them like family. As long as the pet isn’t harmed in any way, what is wrong with that?

Now you’re itching to dress up your pet? Head to a local pet boutique! Teacups & Toys is a pet boutique in Birmingham that offers fashion for all dogs, no matter the size. The Four-Legged Socialite Pet Boutique in Ann Arbor is another fancy place for pets. Finally, Bark Place Avenue in Rochester is a doggie spa to pamper your pet and also has unique clothes and toys! You can also find pet clothing in your local pet store, such as Petsmart, Pet Supplies Plus, and more. Even Martha Stewart has a brand of pet clothing at Petsmart!

What do you think? Check out these photos of dolled up pets and tell us what you think: ridiculous trend or totally adorable?

See the original article on!






Monday, April 11, 2011

Feel Beautiful Inside and Out!

Exercise is a great way to stay in shape, have fun, and even stop your inner critic. Think this way: when you’re playing tennis with a friend, running back and forth, hitting the ball across the court, think about how amazing your body is. Stop all those thoughts in your head about wanting to lose weight, the extra pounds around your stomach, or your flabby arms. Just stop! Think instead about how healthy you are, how strong your legs are to move you across the court, how many muscles you’re using to play this enjoyable game.

Even if you practice silencing your inner critic every day, she will return. She always returns to make you feel bad about yourself. But you have the power to stop her! When the negative thoughts start coming, imagine a stop sign. Tell her she has no power over you. Tell her you have a beautiful body and you’re a kind person. Then watch her shrink into the corner.

The best part about working out and playing sports to silence this inner critic? By thinking these positive thoughts and focusing on all the great things your body can do, you’ll slowly heal your self-image. By exercising and treating your body like a temple, you’ll learn to love yourself even more! You’ll feel and look your best.

Check out the original post here on and follow Allison's 30 Day Challenge in April!

Friday, April 8, 2011

Guest Post on The High Cost of College Textbooks

Yesterday I got my wisdom teeth out so today you'll find a guest post! Hopefully I'll be feeling better soon and be able to post normally by Monday! Enjoy!

College students aren’t the richest people you can find, but those who are responsible for the prices of college textbooks don’t seem to think so. College students only just manage to get money to quench their hunger with fast foods but their textbook prices almost always exceed the hundred-dollar mark. Why is this?

If you wanted to buy a novel to read in your free time, what you are likely to do is either go to a local bookstore or get on and explore the selection. There would be many books from many authors, written on many subjects within an affordable price range. If you run into a book carrying a multi-hundred dollar price tag, you obviously won’t buy it. It would be such an extraordinary thing that you would show the abomination to others in the store and wonder whether somebody wrote an extra zero on it! But this kind of situation is just typical to college students. Most, scratch that - all the college textbooks they have to buy every semester are priced well in the hundred-dollar range.

What causes this? It’s just simple economics; in the above example, if you ran into such a book, you wouldn’t buy it and just go on for another cheaper book. Everybody else would do the same and the publishers would go bankrupt. In other words, you have a choice. But this isn’t so in the case of college students. The student has to buy the college textbooks mentioned in their syllabus or they can’t enter the course. Period. So the textbook makers freely price-away whatever amount they feel like and release the college textbooks. In their perspective, "the same number of college students would buy a textbook no matter whether it’s priced at $20 or $200. So why drop prices and lose all that profit?"

There is yet another reason that further augments this problem. Aiming to get a commission out of the sales, some professors who were involved in the making of some college textbooks would add this book to the syllabus of the class he’s teaching to. And the publishers, knowing this, will set the prices of the college textbooks at very high levels; they know that those professors will make students buy their college textbooks and therefore there will be no lack of demand! The prices of college textbooks are at unbearable levels and we, as students can’t do anything about it other than look for alternatives like renting, buying second hand or using an e-textbook. These alternatives can really cut down on textbook prices though!

Guest post by Amit Sehgal blogging about college textbooks on! Thank you Amit!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

How To Be A Great Girlfriend

I like to pride myself on being a great girlfriend, even though I'm not perfect. No one is. But I do have some tips on being an amazing girl when he treats you like a princess!

1. Trust, trust, trust! Unless your boyfriend gives you reasons not to trust him (in which case maybe you should reevaluate the relationship...), trust him! I've seen enough controlling and jealous relationships to never want to be that way. Sure, we all have our moments of weakness and jealous thoughts, but think carefully before you say anything about it.

2. Let your guy be your guy. You're not married so don't act like it. Don't expect him to hang out with you every night. Make sure he has time to play sports, hang with his guys or whatever he likes to do (bonus: this gives you time to hang with your girls and do girly stuff!). Don't control things like his money either...while he should treat you every once in a while, his money is just that: his.

3. Be supportive. My boyfriend plays hockey and I try to go to as many games as I can. Of course, I can't always go to every game or attend every event he asks me to go. At times I tend to beat myself up for it, thinking I should go or he'll get mad even though he doesn't. Any guy that gets mad that you can't make it to EVERYTHING is not worth your time. Along with being supportive, be there for him when he needs you. If he's doing badly in school, offer to help or simply send cute texts saying "Feel better, thinking of you xoxo" get the drift!

4. Pick the right fights! I'll admit that I avoid conflict and so does my boyfriend, so we rarely have huge fights or arguments. But, I know that little things tend to add up so whenever I get upset about something I try my best to talk about it and resolve it without a fight. Don't get mad over every little stupid thing that comes along because we all do annoying things! But if something is really bothering you, you need to say something and just be sure you be calm about it. Tell him what he's doing to upset you and perhaps give him an example of something he can do that will make you feel better. Chances are if he's a great guy, he will be calm too, listen, and change his ways.

5. While I am pretty old fashioned and really love that my boy drives most of the time when we go out and pays, be sure you treat him once in a while too! Chances are he will really appreciate it if you pay for the movie or dinner sometimes.

6. Keep the beginning romance alive! Remember the beginning of a relationship where you text each other constantly and always tell each other cute things? Keep that going! One of my favorite things that my boy and I do are to send each other "love lists". For example, "I love the way we fit together when we hug. I love when you kiss me...etc."

I hope you liked my list! Send me your tips about being a great girlfriend! :)

Monday, April 4, 2011

Spring Nail Colors!

Spring is quickly approaching. This could mean many things to you: more sunshine, less snow, and of course…warmer weather perfect for showing off new nail polish! Not sure what the newest colors are for spring 2011? We’re here to share with you the hottest spring colors to make your nails beautiful.

This spring, Essie is going pastel! Their collection is called French Glamour and is very chic and pretty, based on colors in Paris. Here’s a sneak peek!:


OPI just came out with their Spring 2011 collection entitled: The Texas Collection. They are not only hitting the most popular nail polish trends right now, which are grey tones, but of course adding some pink and brights ready for warmer weather! Here is the whole collection (of course with OPI’s signature fabulous names!):




I don’t know about you, but I am dying to try all of these colors! You can pick these up at your local Ulta store, beauty supply store, or online. Which are your favorites?

To see the original article, check out!

Friday, April 1, 2011