Monday, October 31, 2011

Have a safe and fun Halloween!

Happy Halloween from Lauren (as Katy Perry) and Hannah (Banana)! What are you dressing up as?

Friday, October 28, 2011

A Reminder to be Mindful...

Be mindful of your thoughts because they become your words, be mindful of your words because they become your actions, be mindful of your actions because they become your character, and be mindful of your character because that becomes your destiny.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Do You Wear Glasses? Coupon Codes for you to buy them!

Since the summer before third grade, I've been wearing glasses. The summer before tenth grade, my parents finally let me get contacts. When I tell you my vision is bad, it is really bad. Without prescription eyeglasses or contacts, I am basically blind.

I remember struggling a lot before I was able to get contacts while doing normal kid things, like swimming or playing sports. When swimming in gym for school, I couldn't see a thing the teacher was trying to explain and it was all I could do not to bump into the other kids! I wasn't exactly a fantastic sports player either and I can count on both hands the times I had to get my glasses adjusted because I got hit in the face with a ball (ha!).

Lately, since I'm a "big kid" now, I have to pay for my own eye exam, glasses, and contacts. That's a lot of money, especially for someone with a high prescription! Luckily there are sites out there that offer lower prices on glasses.

Today I want to hear from all of my eyeglasses wearers! I have some great discount coupon codes for you from!

Fall Sale:
Buy any 2 pairs of glasses and get all 3 protective lens coatings AND U.S. shipping for FREE. Code: PERFECTPAIR

Buy one pair of glasses and get any other pair for FREE! Use code: BOGOUSA
Take 10% off any order. Code: Blog10

I really hope I can help some of you order glasses without breaking the bank! Simply go to, find some frames or lenses you love and use the coupon codes (above) when you check out. Then share with me the cool glasses you got if you'd like! You can also share your experience on their Facebook or Twitter.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Healthy Tailgating Snacks

It is that time of the year: football season. With football season, comes the best part...tailgating! This of course brings yummy snacks. What do you do when you volunteer to bring food and have no clue? Here are some recipes for delicious tailgating treats that are also healthy!

Homemade Hummus
Makes approximately 2 cups

1 can chick peas
2 garlic cloves
1/4 plain greek yogurt*
2 tbsp preserved lemon juice **
1/4 cup chopped parsley
2 tbsp olive oil

1. Drain the chick peas from the can and add to a pot with just enough water to cover them. Boil for ten minutes. Drain and add to food processor with the garlic, yogurt, and lemon juice. Puree until smooth.
2. Fold in the parsley, and transfer to a serving bowl. Just before serving, drizzle with the olive oil and garnish with pickled peppers (optional.) Serve with pieces of pita bread or whole grain crackers.

* Here I used low fat greek yogurt for a lower calorie hummus but for the traditional version, simply use the same amount of tahini instead.

** If you can't find preserved lemon juice, use the juice of fresh lemons. 
Courtesy of Healthy & Gourmet

Shaker-Style Smoked Chicken Thighs

4 servings
Active Time:
Total Time:


  • 1/2 cup cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup chopped shallot, (about 2 medium)
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, trimmed of fat
  • 1 cup wood chips, such as apple or hickory, in a foil pouch


  1. Whisk vinegar, oil and salt in a medium bowl. Stir in shallots and garlic. Add chicken and toss to coat. Cover and marinate in the refrigerator for 20 minutes to 3 hours.
  2. Meanwhile, soak wood chips in a bowl of water for 20 minutes.
  3. Fold a 12-by-20-inch piece of heavy-duty foil in half to create a 12-by-10-inch double-thick piece. Transfer wet wood chips to the center of the foil, allowing as much water as possible to drip back into the bowl. Create a packet by folding the short ends of the foil over the wood chips and folding the open ends to seal them.
  4. Place the packet of wood chips, pierced-side up, under the grill rack and on top of the burners. Close the lid. Turn the heat to high and allow the grill and packet to heat until the chips smell smoky and smoke begins to billow from under the lid, about 15 minutes (don’t worry if the packet temporarily catches on fire). Make 6 holes in the top of the foil packet using a skewer or the tip of a knife.
  5. Transfer the chicken to the grill, allowing excess marinade to drip back into the bowl (discard marinade). Grill the chicken, turning once, until cooked through, 6 to 8 minutes per side. Serve hot or chilled.


  • Make Ahead Tip: Marinate the chicken for up to 3 hours.


Per serving: 255 calories; 15 g fat ( 4 g sat , 7 g mono ); 98 mg cholesterol; 1 g carbohydrates; 27 g protein; 0 g fiber; 215 mg sodium; 266 mg potassium.
Nutrition Bonus: Selenium (42% daily value), Zinc (20% dv).
Exchanges: 4 lean meat, 1/2 fat

Courtesy of Eating Well.

Ultimate Snack Mix

Yield: 6 cups View Nutrition Facts

  • 1 1/2 cups toasted rice cereal squares (such as Rice Chex)
  • 1 1/2 cups whole-wheat cereal squares (such as Wheat Chex)
  • 1 cup pretzel sticks, squares or circles
  • 1 cup coarsely broken sesame rice crackers
  • 1 cup coarsely broken whole-wheat sesame crackers (such as Ak-Mak)
  • 1/4 cup lightly salted dry-roasted peanuts
  • 3 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons sugar
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons garam masala
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/3 cup golden raisins


1. Heat oven to 250 degrees F.
2. In a large bowl, combine cereal squares, pretzels, rice crackers, whole-wheat crackers and peanuts.
3. In a smaller bowl, combine butter, Worcestershire sauce, sugar, garam masala and salt; pour over cereal mixture and toss gently to coat.
4. Coat a roasting pan with cooking spray. Spread snack mixture in a single layer and bake 30 minutes, stirring twice. Cool on a wire rack and stir in raisins.

Courtesy of Fitness Magazine. 

White Bean and Turkey Chili


  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 2 cups diced yellow onion (about 2 medium)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 3 (15.8-ounce) cans Great Northern beans, rinsed and drained
  • 4 cups fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
  • 3 cups chopped cooked turkey
  • 1/2 cup diced seeded plum tomato (about 1)
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 8 lime wedges (optional)


  • Heat oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add onion; sauté 10 minutes or until tender and golden. Add chili powder, garlic, and cumin; sauté for 2 minutes. Add oregano and beans; cook for 30 seconds. Add broth; bring to a simmer. Cook 20 minutes.
  • Place 2 cups of bean mixture in a blender or food processor, and process until smooth. Return pureed mixture to pan. Add turkey, and cook 5 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Remove from heat. Add diced tomato, chopped cilantro, lime juice, salt, and pepper, stirring well. Garnish with lime wedges, if desired.
Courtesy of My Recipes.

White Chocolate, Strawberry, and Oatmeal Cookies


  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour (about 3 1/3 ounces)
  • 1 cup regular oats
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg
  • 3/4 cup coarsely chopped dried strawberries
  • 1/3 cup premium white chocolate chips (such as Ghirardelli)
  • Cooking spray


  • Preheat oven to 350°.
  • Lightly spoon flour into a measuring cup; level with a knife. Combine flour, oats, baking soda, and salt; stir with a whisk. Place sugar and butter in the bowl of a stand mixer; beat at medium speed until well blended (about 3 minutes). Add vanilla and egg; beat well. Gradually add flour mixture, beating until blended. Add strawberries and chips; beat at low speed just until blended.
  • Drop dough by tablespoonfuls 2 inches apart onto baking sheets coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350° for 12 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove from oven; cool on pan 1 minute. Remove cookies from pan; cool completely on wire racks.
Courtesy of My Recipes.

Monday, October 24, 2011

A Delicate Balance

We all know the people that care so deeply for others they drown in responsibilities and Hallmark cards and get stressed out because they don't take time for themselves. There are also people in the other extreme of being selfish and not really caring about anyone but themselves. But how do you strike the delicate balance of being a kind and caring individual but never forgetting to love and care for yourself?

Spoil yourself after a long day. Spent the day working extra hard, attending parties or events for others, etc? Once your long day is over, take time to do what you want to do. It could be simply vegging out with your favorite show and some ice cream, taking a long bath, get a mani/pedi, whatever chills you out and makes you feel relaxed!

Choose friends wisely and make them feel loved! Having tons and tons of friends can be fun, but it would be exhausting to keep up with all of them. Find some positive and amazing people to share your free time with and take the time to maintain your friendships. Call, text, make plans, give homemade gifts, and make sure your friends know you care!

Schedule your time. It can be hard to balance work, relationships, friendships, family, obligations, and not to mention time for yourself! Organize your life to keep track of work deadlines, appointments, coffee dates with friends, and even schedule things like a shopping trip to treat yourself.

Don't forget about your family. It can be easy to find time to spend with friends and forget how important seeing your family is. With everyone's busy schedules, often families get together only on holidays. Make a surprise visit to see relatives - it might just make their day!

What do you do to strike the delicate balance between caring for yourself and others?

Saturday, October 22, 2011

RIP Buddy the Rat

Lately, my rat, Buddy has been pretty sick. I found out that rats from pet stores only live about 2 years and I realized I have had him for 2 years, so I wasn't completely sure how much older he was. All of a sudden, his playful self just seemed very old and we knew there wasn't much time left.

Many people thought I was crazy for wanting, much less owning a pet rat but they are amazing pets. Unfortunately I don't think I will get another one because they give me hives. Buddy was smart (I wish I had the time to teach him more tricks!), very loving (he would lick my fingers up and down with his cute little tongue), really cute, funny, and all around a great pet.

I am happy now that he can run and play in rat heaven and meet some new friends. I'll miss you Buddy. <3

More on Buddy the rat:

New Friend

I love pets!

Pet Update: Buddy the Rat

Rat Video

Pros of a Pet Rat

Friday, October 21, 2011

DIY Gel Polish at Home!

Recently, I saw in a magazine a product that allows you to use gel polish on your nails and do it yourself! I've gotten gel polish done on my nails at salons a few times and I love how it looks and how long it lasts. I just had to try it! I grabbed my friend Lauren who is obsessed with new nail trends just like me and we headed to the nearest Ulta.

I got it in Lilly Pink and my friend Lauren got it in Flame! I loved both colors. I would describe mine as a Barbie pink and hers as a red with orange undertones.

Mine didn't come out perfectly but I think next time now that I know what I'm doing a bit more it will look even better. Here's what you do:

1. Make sure you work with a newspaper or towel down. Lauren accidentally spilled the remover we bought specifically to remove gel nails and said it ate through plastic! So be extra careful!

2. Get out the activator, color, and cleaner and unscrew all of the caps so you have easy access.

3. First paint your nails on one hand with the activator and immediately after use the gel color before the activator dries. You only need a little bit! The first coat will look streaky, but no worries because you do these steps a few times.

4. Put the cleaner brush in the gel color and vice versa to make sure the color brush doesn't get clumpy.

5. Repeat these steps to paint a few coats on your nails so the color looks even and beautiful! Then move on to the next hand.

It should last for a few weeks with no chips and hopefully will be easy to remove! It cost $11.99 at Ulta.

What do you think? Will you try it?

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Minimalist Lifestyle

Lately I have been really interested in reading the blog, The Minimalists. Most of the time while surfing the web or reading articles on website, I am a skimmer. Much like that girl on the Toyota Venza commercial... "Well, I read most of the article..."

I find myself actually engaging and reading full articles from them. Perhaps it is because the minimalist lifestyle is something I wish I had, but would find extremely difficult to actually practice.

Here's the gist of these two guys, Joshua Fields Millburn & Ryan Nicodemus: they quit their six-figure corporate jobs in their late twenties to explore a life of minimalism and hopefully...happiness. They write about all things minimalism: getting rid of your "junk", finances and budgeting, turning off technology for a while, happiness, and much more.

I often get sucked into the notion of the "American Dream", which seems these days is to be rich and buy stuff. I get hooked on shopping and I obsess over things I want. I get brainwashed by advertising just the way companies want me to be. I buy things I don't need just to shop or just to have it. Sometimes it ends up being a very useful buy...more than often, it doesn't.

Yet I think the true "American Dream" is freedom and happiness. Freedom to do what you love and find happiness in life...not the material goods in life but relationships, finding your passion, etc.

So for now I am reading more into this minimalism lifestyle. While I don't hope to go to the extreme and get rid of my TV and car and everything, I do hope to stop buying useless "stuff", donate things I already have and organize things a bit more, and learn to rely on technology less.

What do you think of minimalism or The Minimalists blog?

Monday, October 17, 2011

How To Stay Healthy in Cold Weather Months

Fall is here and winter is soon to follow. You know what that means...colds, flu, and infections galore! What can you do to avoid these dreaded illnesses this year? Here are some tips on staying healthy and happy even when everyone else is sick.

1. Wash your hands! Wash your hands with warm water and soap for about thirty seconds especially after using the bathroom, before eating or preparing food, touching someone or their belongings (such as using someone else's phone), after being outside or out running errands, etc.

2. While you keep your hands clean, do the same with your belongings. Regularly wipe your phone, computer and mouse, purse, and other things you touch on a regular basis with anti-bacterial wipes.

3. Stay hydrated! Drinking lots of water is one of the best health decisions you can make. Drinking at least eight glasses of water a day keeps your immune system working properly, gives your skin a glow, and helps you maintain a healthy weight.

4. Get plenty of sleep. We all have busy schedules but making time for sleep is very important. Schedule your sleep like you schedule your appointments. Make sure you get at least seven hours a night and be honest if you need more! If you feel yourself getting sick, make sure to get more sleep.

5. Take your vitamins. Vitamin C, Zinc, Vitamin A, Vitamin Bs, Vitamin D and Vitamin E are great for your immune system. Take a multivitamin every day and add other vitamins based on your needs. You Are What You Eat by Gillian McKeith is a great resource that tells you which vitamins you are lacking with certain health woes. Take a supplement with tons of good stuff such as Emergen-C weekly or when you are feeling under the weather for a boost!

6. Exercise! Every day I learn about more and more reasons to exercise. It boosts your immune system, keeps your weight in check, gives you happiness inducing endorphins, and much more. Even a quick walk can make you feel better.

7. Keep your choppers sparkly clean! Lots of germs and other yucky stuff comes in to infect us through your mouth. Brushing and flossing regularly and properly can fight off germs.

8. Be social! I don't know why but I keep reading on how having good social ties and hanging with friends boosts your immune system and keeps you healthy. Don't make excuses to miss out on fun - it is good for you!

9. If you are feeling sick, treat yourself with great care. Make extra time for sleep, take time off work to rest, drink tea and something like Emergen-C, eat healthy food, take a gentle walk if you're up for it, and don't stress out! I've read that stress is related to about 99% of illness! Keep yourself calm by making to-do lists, meditating, doing yoga, or whatever else keeps you stress-free.

10. Lastly, try to keep away from people who are sick! In your home, change towels and clean regularly. Encourage people at work to stay home if they are ill and offer to help with their work in exchange to keeping their germs away. Be conscious about coughing and don't want someone hacking on you, so don't do it to them!

Share with me your tips on staying healthy in cold weather months!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Let's Celebrate Pinktober - But Don't Forget....

Yep, it is October and now that means it is Pinktober or Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Pink seems to be everywhere, even on football players. While I personally don't know anyone who suffered from breast cancer, I do know and remember people who suffer/ed from other types of cancer. I think it is important to recognize people who are suffering or have suffered or even died from other forms of cancer that aren't publicized as heavily.

After seeing this secret on Postsecret, it definitely made me think about different forms of cancer and illness that people may not even think about unless it happens to them or someone close to them.

So this month, don't only rock your pink gear and donate towards the cure to breast cancer, do some research, donate or even just unlock more awareness to other types of cancer. A start is to go check out the new movie, 50/50 about a twenty something battling spinal cancer.

Please share with me any thoughts you have on cancer. Feel free to leave prayers or remembrances as well.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Health & Wellness Book Review: Breakthrough by Shea Vaughn

When I got a chance to review a book called Breakthrough: The 5 Living Principles to Defeat Stress, Look Great & Find Total Well-Being by Shea Vaughn, I jumped at it. Not only do I love learning more about health and wellness...this book is by actor Vince Vaughn's mom! How cool is that? I had no idea this funny man had a mom prominent in the wellness world.

Vaughn is a fitness expert, personal trainer and wellness coach and has been for over 25 years. She is also the founder of SheaNetics and often focuses on the holistic side of health and wellness.

This book focuses on Vaughn's Five Living Principles: Commitment, Perseverance, Self-Control, Integrity and Love. She gives you advice on how to handle stress and even shares workouts and food plans to help you start, focusing on her Five Living Principles.

I love books that contain stories from real people and this book is no different. Vaughn shares stories of real women with real problems and real solutions and how they took charge of their health.

If you're interested in all things health and wellness, taking control of your well-being, getting rid of stress, or simply love books from celebs...this one is for you! I have found it very helpful in my wellness journey and it really is just an easy and enjoyable read.

To read more or buy the book, check it out on

Monday, October 10, 2011

Guest Post: 5 Steps for a Wedgie free Dating Experience

If you crave a relationship, but don’t necessarily want your love match hanging around like yesterday’s underwear between your cheeks; read on. It is possible to actually have a normal down to earth date without talking about marriage on the very first outing.  Stage five clingers like to constantly message prospective dates by calling and texting immediately after a date.  They may show up at your door at 6 am to bring you breakfast or just wait for you to get off work in the parking lot.  Whether you have met this person on an online dating site or on a blind date, there is quite a fine line between being a stage five clinger and an all-out stalker. Here are some steps that you can employ to avoid a stage five clinger and save your sanity during the whole dating process.    

Gather your wingmen-If you find that a prospective date or certain someone wants to be with you every waking minute or just happens to bump into you at convenient times, gather some friends to go on every single date with them and they’ll get the message fast.  This is of course if don’t have the heart to just come out directly and tell them that your not  interested and you would like a little room to breathe.

Setting Boundaries and Drawing Lines in the Sand-Clingers seem to typically use the old “we can just be friends” line to move in on a possible relationship if you give them an inkling of hope.  Be consistent in the way that you relate to them even as friends.  There is no need to respond to every text or supply them with a pity call just because you might need some company.

The Power of Boring Conversation-Don’t underestimate the powerful effect that one long boring conversation may have on a clinger.  It could buy you some time to figure out what your next move may be and possibly even put them into a trance so you can slip out the door unnoticed.

Crazy is as Crazy Does-Do your best to be kind if you decide to end the date early and don’t badmouth a person to your friends.  You never know when it might backfire and come around to bite you in the future. Your social circle may be closer to a clinger than you think, who decides to damage your reputation or taint your next possible love interest.  Finally, if the person is not being realistic about the so called relationship, then end it on a nice note and send them on their way to find someone who will have more in common with their crazy personality. 

Concealment 101-Dating is not rocket science, but it can be likened to a tricky pair of pants that just don’t fit right no matter what you do. If all of the above tongue in cheek steps fails to work for you, you may be in need of a disguise when you’re going out in public.  Stay aware of the situation, keep your wits about you and keep trying to find the right love match.  Lastly and most importantly don’t get caught with your pants pulled over your head and a nasty wedgie that you didn’t see coming.  

Tiersa is a freelance writer and co-owner of where tips, articles and reviews are provided on the top 25 online dating sites.  She enjoys writing articles that showcase possible dating dilemmas in today's modern world. 

Friday, October 7, 2011

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Guest Post: Romantic Date Ideas for Fall

Just because the summer season is over and the days are slowly getting shorter doesn’t mean you and your honey still can’t enjoy a romantic day outdoors. As a matter of fact, there are numerous different date activities you can try during the fall months that can be much more exciting and fulfilling than lounging around on a beach all day. 

If you’ve been hoping to spend some quality time with your significant other or even if you’re trying to think of some creative-yet-romantic ideas for a first date, here are five different date activities for the fall season:

Go on a Hayride
Depending on where you live, there could be numerous different farms and/or fresh produce stands that offer hayrides during the fall months. Check to see if any farmers are offering hayrides in your area, but if you’re going to go on an evening hayride be sure to pack a blanket so the two of you can cuddle while you stare up at the stars. 

Check Out the Local Farmers Markets
Now that the summer season is slowly coming to an end you can easily take advantage of some fresh (and cheap) summer harvest fruits and vegetables that have been carefully handpicked by local farmers. Not only is a great way to spend some time with your significant other so the two of you can get some ideas for your next romantic dinner together, it’s also a great way to support the local farm industry as well. 

Visit an Apple Orchard
Go online and see if there is an apple orchard in your area so you and your sweetie can go pick apples together for the day. You can even check to see if there is an apple orchard a few hours away from where you live so that way you and your date can go on a romantic road trip as well. 

Go to a Football Game
Now that fall is here football season is in full swing, so if you really want to impress your date try to sniff out some deals online and see if you can get some cheap tickets to a football game in your area. 

Go for a Wine Tasting
Because drinking wine in the middle of a hot summer day may not be the best idea for a romantic date, the fall season would be a perfect time of year for you and your honey to go to a vineyard and try out some locally produced wines. Some vineyards offer cheap wine tasting courses and will even take you on a tour around the vineyard so you can see how the wine is produced as well.

Maria Rainier is a freelance writer and recent graduate of Elon University. She is currently a resident blogger at an online degree resource site, where recently she’s been researching different online theology programs and blogging about student life. In her spare time, she enjoys square-foot gardening, swimming, and avoiding her laptop.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Don't Waste Time, Post Grad

Fall is quickly approaching. While some of us twenty somethings are preparing for new classes, homework, studying, and college life, the majority of us are dealing with the real world. The first fall semester after graduation can be difficult. You look back and start to regret. You think about that class you should have taken, the parties you should have attended, or those extra curricular activities you should have joined.

But now is not the time for regrets. It is time for growth! You are probably in that terrible transition time of leaving college and looking for a job. You can sit and rot on your couch or you can take action.

If you're currently looking for a job, make sure you're networking like crazy. Join Linkedin and get recommendations from your previous bosses or colleagues from jobs or internships. If you're only job searching on the Internet and on social networks, that is a great start, but you can do more!

Find out about clubs or groups that meet in your area pertaining to the job you desire. Meeting with people who work in the field can get your foot in the door just about anywhere. Attend job fairs at local colleges and pass out your resume. You never know who you may meet!

If you feel like you're job hunting constantly and getting nowhere, take a break and do something beneficial for yourself. Regret not taking that web design class in college? Find one in your area and go for it. Finding hobbies or classes that relate to your potential career can give you an edge on the competition.

Lastly, enjoy this time! Many post grads can get into a funk feeling as if the fun of college is over and the real world is one big downer. Use your newly acquired free time to see friends and family, take care of yourself, and enjoy life before you're busy with your new job.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Show Some Sponsor Love!

I'm excited to share some news with you! I am now accepting sponsors! If you are interested, please email me at for rates and blog statistics. I'd be so happy to share your blog/website/shop with my lovely readers.

Hint: low rates, my blog has a growing audience, and I will share your amazing blog/website/shop with my blog and social media friends. Win, win, win!