Category Archives: House/Fashion/Beauty

Fitness Finds: The Mills at Jersey Gardens

I am the first to admit that I loathe shopping for clothes. I love jeans and t-shirts, but shopping for them makes me stabby. Dresses and shoes…um….no thank you. Make-up?! Bwahahahahaaa….no way!

So when the opportunity to team up with The Mills at Jersey Gardens presented itself I was hesitant, because as I said, I don’t like clothes shopping and I’m a jeans and t-shirt kinda girl. I know nothing about style trends, make-up and the hot color of the season. Why would I do this?!

Well…I do love shopping for new running shoes and workout clothes. This made me think and my hesitation went away as soon as I saw how many athletic stores they had. I then realized that the New Year was almost here and people would be gearing up to get healthy. That’s when excitement set in! I could actually shop and share fitness apparel finds for those who are planning to get started with a health & fitness routine in 2016!

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I thought about getting fancy for this shopping trip and then I realized it just wasn’t me, so I tossed on my jeans, a sweatshirt and a pair of Chucks and headed out to shop with my husband Mike, who happened to be off that day.

You can take a personal trainer out of workout clothes, but don’t mess with her jeans and Chucks!

In all honesty, I had a ton of fun shopping and I ended up shopping for more than just fitness attire. Don’t worry, I don’t see myself becoming a fashionista anytime soon, but I do see myself returning to The Mills at Jersey Gardens again for some holiday shopping!

Want to see some of my recommendations for fitness attire to get your New Year’s Resolutions started off right? Be sure to follow along on Instagram as I take over @MillsAtJersey!

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Holiday Survival: Essential Oils Edition

Essential Oils 2

I think it’s pretty safe to say that we have all heard of essential oils or know someone who uses them or is a distributor of them. Being the skeptic that I normally am, I didn’t buy into this hype at first, but I finally caved after ending up in the hospital with terrible headaches last year.

A friend of mine sent me some Young Living essential oils samples, I gave them a try and they worked!

(Note: If you receive samples, be very careful when opening the tiny packets. I was not and spilled Lavender oil EVERYWHERE. It resulted in the entire family having the best night of sleep they’ve every had, so I guess it wasn’t the worst experience ever.)

As we head into the holiday season and the winter, I thought this would be a good topic to cover, so I spoke with some friends who swear by their love of oils and put together a short list of how essential oils can help you to relax, destress and just flat out survive the holidays!

Plus they apparently make good stocking stuffers too!

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Lavender: Can be diffused for a calming and comforting scent. You can add a few drops to Epsom salts for a relaxing nighttime bath. They can also be added to lotions or use with a carrier oil to apply to skin to soothe and help promote relaxation before sleep. You can add a few drops to distilled water in a spray bottle and spray on pillows and sheets as a linen spray to promote sleep.

Frankincense: Can be diffused or inhaled directly to increase spirituality and inner strength, lift mood and help balance emotions. I have also heard that when inhaled, it has been shown to reduce heart rate and high blood pressure. It has anti-anxiety and depression reducing abilities, but unlike prescription medications it does not have negative side effects and does not cause unwanted drowsiness. (This is not proven…just personal accounts from people I have spoken to.)

Peppermint: Peppermint has many uses that can come in handy for the holidays. It can be added to herbal tea to help soothe upset stomach. Some people also use with a carrier oil to rub topically on the stomach for stomach issues or use it topically to help with muscle stiffness and pain caused by shopping marathons again.

While I am not tied to Young Living Essential oils, I know that they can be used in recipes requiring peppermint extract. Substitute 1/8 tsp of Young Living peppermint oil per teaspoon of extract. After that a drop at a time can be added until desired taste. (Note: Check the labels before using other brands of oil for ingestion. Many oils are compromised with synthetic materials and I would not recommend ingesting that.)

Thieves oil:  A proprietary blend developed by Young Living but it has been duplicated and I have seen it elsewhere. Thieves essential oil blend was inspired by the legend of four 15th-century French thieves who formulated a special aromatic combination composed of clove, rosemary, and other botanicals they used while robbing the victims of the plague. Amazingly they did not fall ill. Therefore Thieves oil supports healthy immune function.

There are so many oils that I couldn’t possibly cover them all, so I found a neat little chart for you instead!

Essential Oils

How to use oils: Apply directly on the desired area according to dilution instructions. Always use a carrier oil, which is a non-essential oil used to dilute the essential oils. This also makes your oils last longer. Some examples of a carrier oil are: coconut oil, sweet almond oil, grapeseed oil, jojoba oil and olive oil.

-Research has shown that Essential oils quickly penetrate the skin. because of this ability, essential oils can affect the cells of the human body within minutes. Suggested areas for application: feet, behind the ears, wrists on the front of neck, and base of the skull.

Aromatic use: Diffuse oils with an ultrasonic diffuser. Putting a drop in your cupped hand and inhale slowly for 1 minute. Smell it directly from the bottle. Put a couple drops on cotton balls near air vents at home or in the car. Essential Oils containing sesquiterpines have the ability to pass the blood brain barrier making them an effective alternative in enhancing mental clarity and memory, while also promoting calmness and peace of mind.

 So, as you can see, essential oils can allow you to take control of your own health and wellness while keeping your environment free of toxic chemicals. They can help to reduce some stress and take the edge off of the holidays season without turning to nighttime cocktails while wrapping presents or driving from store to store.
For more information, contact your local Young Living or other independent essential oils rep and see how they can help you!
Already using oils in your daily life? Share your favorite oil and how you use it in the comments below!
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**Disclamer: These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. Products ideas and techniques mentioned are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. This is not a sponsored post. I did not receive any compensation to write this. They are just my thoughts and opinions.

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Crazy Cups: How I Conquer My Sweet Tooth

Crazy Cups PostDisclaimer: As a Crazy Cups Ambassador, I was sent a package of coffee to review. and no compensation was exchanged. All opinions stated are my own.

I have sweet tooth bigger than my head. Cookies, cinnamon rolls, ice-cream…you name it! I have a hard time saying no to them. I also have a hard time saying no to coffee, so this is where Crazy Cups becomes my saving grace!

Now, if you follow me on Instagram or if we are friends on Facebook, you know that I LOVE me some coffee! I am always picking up new flavors of K-cups to try and my morning posts typically have something to do with coffee, especially dessert flavored coffees. Knowing this about me, it will come as no surprise that when Crazy Cups reached out to me and asked me to become an ambassador for them, I said YES!

In case you have not heard of Crazy Cups before, here is a little info about them:

  • They have recyclable K-cups.
  • They are known for their flavored K-cups. (you’ll see why as you read on)
  • Their products are organic and fair trade.
  • Their cups have 13g coffee grounds, which is 30% more than the competition.
  • Get notifications about new flavors and become part of their Flavor Nation with their app: (Click Here)

I am not a stranger to the Crazy Cups line of coffee  and I have tried many of their flavors, including their Hot Cocoa line. (FYI: the Maple French Toast is hands down my favorite!)  They have a list of flavors that will make your mouth drool:

Crazy Cups

  • Chocolate Coconut Dream
  • Frosted Oatmeal Cookie
  • Italian Chocolate Cheesecake
  • Pumpkin Vanilla Creme
  • Cinnamon Churro
  • Caramel Truffle Sundae
  • Bananas Foster Flambe
  • Salted Caramel

…and more! Don’t those sound good?!

Coffee flavors like these have been the key to keeping my sweet tooth in check while doing my workouts and sticking to clean eating. They feel like a cheat to me and help me to curb my cravings without shoving a calorie-filled treat into my face and regretting it later. I also get the energy I need to feel human through caffeine instead of processed sugar. (Remember, always say no to processed sugar and enjoy your caffeine in moderation, while drinking lots of water because it can dehydrate you!)

Plus their dedication to flavored coffee brings a tear to my eye…

ode to flavor

Speaking of Death By Chocolate…it’s my new obsession!

This flavor can cure just about any chocolate craving with the smell alone. My entire kitchen smelled like a chocolate cake as this little pod brewed, it was absolutely heavenly!

Now, I drink my coffee iced and black (which is why this is a basically a calorie free treat for me) and the flavor of this was perfectly balanced. It was chocolaty but not so sweet that you forgot you were drinking a cup of coffee.

Want to try some Death by Chocolate for yourself? Enter my GIVEAWAY below for a chance to win a box of your very own! (CLOSED)

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{Summer Beauty} Coconut Lime Scrub

Can you believe it is July already?!

Sorry I’ve been MIA again lately. With the end of the school year, two kids graduation from their schools and getting into the summer routine, I’ve been a little lost. On the bright side, my brain has been going non-stop about new posts to s

We’re been having some strange weather here in New Jersey. Warm one minute, fall the next, however my skin is a constant reminder of winter. It’s dry and itchy and just not summer ready. I decide to quit relying on just lotion and I whipped up some exfoliating scrub after hitting Pinterest for some winter skin solutions.

This stuff smells ah-mazing and left me skin feeling smooth, hydrated and ready to slip into a pair of short or sundress.

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Coconut Lime Scrub
1/4 cup Unrefined Coconut Oil
3/4 cup Granulated Sugar
2 Tbsp Lime Juice
Lime Zest
Lime Essential Oil (if desired)

Combine all of the ingredients in a bowl. Store in a mason jar and use while you shower!

You can use the base recipe of coconut oil & sugar and change the scent if you’d like. Essential oils are very popular these days, so get creative and have fun! Lavender would be a great option to help you relax if you like to shower before bed.

Do you have a summer beauty tip that you can’t live without? Please share below so I can give it a try!

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Beachbody On-Demand: It’s Here!

Beachbody On-Demand Me
How many times have you heard someone talking about a new workout program or seen an infomercial for one? Heck, if you’ve been following my blog for awhile, I’ve mentioned enough programs to make your head spin.

When deciding to commit to at-home fitness, there is definitely pressure. How do you know which program to choose? Will you like it? What happens if you hate it?

One of the reasons why I recommend Beachbody products and I ended up becoming a coach is because I BELIEVE in their products. I’m a walking testimony that they work. I lost over 100 pounds using their products and there is no doubt in my mind, you WILL get results if you commit to whatever program you choose.

(Note the last 8 words of that sentence. As a matter of fact, go back and reread it. They’re very important.)

The other thing I love about them? They offer a money back guarantee on all of their products …even Shakeology! You can use the entire bag and decide you don’t like and they will refund your money as long as it’s within 30 days.

Who does that?!

Since I have completed so many programs I understand why people have a hard time deciding which one to choose. There are A LOT of them. In all honesty it also doesn’t help that there are so many coaches out there and they’re all hyping up the newest program to hit the market. I get it, it’s new, there’s excitement about it, but that doesn’t mean it’s for everyone. Ya know? From P90X to PiYo, there truly is something for everyone and of every fitness level… but which one is right for YOU?

Well, if you decide to purchase a program, I recommend you find a coach that knows the programs and can guide in choosing the one that’s right for you. They should ask you questions about your goals, fitness level and then give you some options to check out. If they only talk about how much they love the program, how awesome everyone says it is, that’s it’s the newest thing and they don’t ask you questions, chances are your best interest in not what they’re focused on and you might want to find someone else to help you.

Now, if you get bored easily, still aren’t convince that a specific program is for you or if you just enjoy variety, I’d like to introduce you to the brand new Beachbody On-Demand!

On Demand 2

 It’s a new feature that Beachbody is offering within The Team Beachbody Club membership and it’s truly the most valuable tool I could share with you at the moment.

I had the opportunity to be apart of the test group for this new feature and I absolutely LOVED it!

With this Premium Team Beachbody Club membership, you’ll automatically have access to unlimited streaming of hundreds of workouts from Beachbody’s collection of fitness programs as well as the Nutrition Guides,  personalized meal plans, support videos from REAL celebrity trainers, a 10% discount on ALL Team Beachbody products (including Shakeology) and most important, a FREE coach, like myself!

So what programs do you have access to with this Team Beachbody Club Membership? Allow me to tell you…

On Demand

Beachbody On-Demand: Programs Available At Launch

  • P90X & P90X Deluxe
  • P90X2 & P90X2 Deluxe
  • P90X3 & P90X3 Deluxe
  • P90X ONE on ONE Volume 1
  • 10 Minute Trainer
  • INSANITY & INSANITY Deluxe
  • INSANITY: THE ASYLUM Volume 1
  • TurboFire
  • Brazil Butt Lift & Brazil Butt Lift Deluxe
  • ChaLEAN Extreme
  • Hip Hop Abs

Beachbody On-Demand: Your Purchased Programs

Later this March, there will be another big perk added to Beachbody On-Demand. If you’re a paid Team Beachbody Club member and you purchase select DVD programs that are not in the Member Library, you’ll be able to exclusively stream those programs as well. Just look for “Purchased Programs” in Beachbody On-Demand.

That means if you travel a lot, you no longer have to worry about packing your DVD’s with you! You’ll have them at your finger tips from any device that supports internet access. You’ll be able to access these workouts from your smartphone, tablet, laptop, PS3, XBox 360, PS4, XBox One, Smart TV, Chromecast or Apple TV! How awesome is that?!

(Update 3/12/15: After receiving a message from someone having issues getting it to work on their PS3, I found that despite having Flash, the site works but the video does not load on the PS3 & XBox 360 game systems. It did work on my PS4 and I spoke with someone who uses it on their Xbox One and helped a customer use it on their Smart TV. I am looking into this more to see why this is happening and I will update again when I have more info.)

The first set of programs that will be available for streaming later in March as part of the Purchased Program section are FOCUS T25 (which is on sale this month), 21 Day Fix and 21 Day Fix EXTREME. This library of available Purchased Programs to be streamed will be growing over the next few months, too.

Beachbody On-Demand: Try Before You Buy

Another huge benefit of becoming a Premium Team Beachbody Club member? Exclusive access to try workouts from many of the newest programs along with some other noteworthy programs. Just look for “New and Noteworthy” in Beachbody On Demand.

This section will allow you to preview select single workouts of some of Beachbody’s newest and best-selling programs. In other words, now for the first time, you will be able to get a sneak preview of the program and try before you buy with one full length workout from the program.

Here are the programs you will have exclusive access to starting in March 2015:

  • 21 Day Fix – Total Body Cardio Fix
  • 21 Day Fix EXTREME – PiYo Fix Extreme
  • PiYo – Sweat
  • FOCUS T25 – Alpha Cardio
  • INSANITY MAX:30 – Sweat Intervals
  • P90 – Sculpt A
  • Body Beast – Build: Chest/Tris

As you can see, Beachbody On Demand can help many people in different ways. From those who need variety or can’t decide which program or trainer they will like best, to those who travel often, there are benefits for everyone.

How Much Does Beachbody On-Demand Cost?

The Beachbody On-Demand digital program will only cost you the price of a Team Beachbody Club membership, which is a risk-free cost of $2.99 a week, billed $38.87 quarterly (that’s less than $40 for 3 months). And you can cancel any time in the first 30 days for a full refund.

As I mentioned above, with Team Beachbody Club Membership you also gain access to nutrition information and guidance, personalized meal plans, support videos from REAL celebrity trainers, a 10% discount on ALL Team Beachbody products (including Shakeology) and most important, a FREE coach, like myself!

March Promo:

If you purchase a bag of Shakeology, you can get 3 months of Beachbody On-Demand for only $10! If you’d like to take advantage of this offer, simply contact me so we can discuss you goals and figure out which program you should try first!

If you are unsure about Club Membership and do not already have a FREE Team Beachbody account, contact me and you can make one and I’ll be assigned as your coach!

So what do you think of this new feature? Is it something you think you could benefit from?

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Workout Fashion: Fabletics

*This is NOT a sponsored post. I did not receive anything at all to write this. I simply saw a commercial and became intrigued.*

Last night Mike and I were watching TV and a commercial came on that caught my attention. It was for fitness clothing called Fabletics which was developed by Kate Hudson.

My phone was about to die and I was too tired to get up and get my laptop, so this morning I hopped on-line to check it out (because I’m a sucker for fitness clothing and a good deal).  When I got to the site, I saw that it is a part of JustFab, which is a shoe/accessory monthly membership program, which I was a part of in the past.

I began browsing around the site and I really liked the outfits they had:

 
These are cute right?!

According to the site, your first outfit is only $25 when you become a VIP member and then you are charged $49.95 a month. However, you can choose to skip a month and not get charged as long as you do it by the 5th of each month, which is how JustFab worked too. As long as you set phone reminders to skip a month there is really no risk in joining, which I really like. (Thank you smartphone for keeping me organized in life!) They also offer free shipping on all orders over $49.95.

Here is a video from the site explaining how it works:

 

 

This appears to run in the same fashion as JustFab, so I began to do some searching on-line for honest, non-sponsored reviews. What I found was that the legging quality is very good and comparable to some of the high-end brands. The shirts had some mixed reviews, but they were mainly good with a lot of mention of soft fabric. The one complaint I found over and over again was that the sizes run small and that exchanging can be difficult, only because they sell out of sizes in certain styles quickly. (I remember having an issue with sizes disappearing quickly when I was a JustFab member too).

I gotta say I am very curious to see the quality of their items, but I haven’t signed up just yet. I’m always very budget conscious when I shop for workout gear, so I’m kinda drawn to the $25 for the first outfit deal.

Are you a member or have you tried Fabletics before? If so, I would love to know your thoughts on it before I take the plunge and join.

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Pamper Yourself This Holiday Season

pamper yourself this holiday season
Ever since I wrote the post on stocking stuffer ideas for the fitness lover in your life, I’ve been dreaming of pampering myself with some foot lotion and shea butter infused socks.

Let’s face it, the holidays are a stressful time of year and stress wreaks havoc on the skin. So here are a few quick and simple ways to pamper yourself this holiday season, using some items you probably all ready have on hand.

Cucumber Mask
This mask purifies and cleanses the skin, leaving your face feeling cool and smooth.
• 1/2 cup plain yogurt
• Cut a cucumber into thick slices, place in a blender. Set aside 2 thin slices for the eyes.
• Throw 3 mint or parsley leaves into the blender. Puree to a paste.
• Mix the cucumber puree with the yogurt in the bowl.
• Cover your face with the cucumber mask. Place thin slices of cucumber on the eyes and let sit on the skin for 15 minutes.
• Rinse clean with warm water.

*Perfect while soaking in the milk bath that is featured below

Avocado Mask
To soothe or heal skin irritated from sun or wind exposure, try this avocado mask.
• Mash one whole avocado.
• Add 1 tsp. flaxseed oil and 1 tsp. honey.
• Mix together until smooth and creamy.
• Apply to face and let sit for 15 to 20 minutes.
• Rinse clean with warm water.

Oatmeal/Egg White Mask
This mask exfoliates and removes dead skin and blemishes, leaving your skin feeling soft and smooth.
• Mix 3 to 4 egg whites and 1/3 cup oatmeal together.
• Apply and rub mixture onto skin.
•Allow for mixture to sit for 5 minutes and let egg whites dry.
• Rinse clean with warm water.

Lemon Sugar Foot/Body Scrub
This scrub exfoliates and removes dead skin from you feet and body, leaving you feeling soft and rejuvenated.
• You’ll need: 2 cups granulated white sugar, 1/3 to 1/4 cup of coconut oil, 3-4 drops of lemon essential oil
• Slowly add oil to sugar (you want it soft, not oily), then add essential oil.
• Apply and rub mixture onto skin.
• Rinse clean with warm water.
• Store remaining scrub in a jar.

Powdered Milk Bath
This bath will leave your skin feeling soft, soothed and moisturized.
• You’ll need: 1 cup powdered milk (the higher fat the better – coconut is a great smelling option), 1/2 cup baking soda, 1/2 cup corn starch.
• Mix ingredients together. Feel free to add an essential oil if you’d like to (about 5-10 drops).
• Pour 1 cup of the mixture into your hot bath and relax.
• Store remaining mixture in a jar.

So carve out a little time this weekend between baking, shopping, planning and of course working out & meal prepping, to pamper yourself with a little at-home spa day. Your body and your mind will thank you for the TLC!

Have any DIY pampering treatments that you enjoy? Share them in the comments section below!

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10 Stocking Stuffers for Fitness Lovers

10 Stocking Stuffers for the Fitness Lover.jpg

Can you believe we are only 9 days away from Christmas?! I feel like we were just carving the Turkey and discussing Black Friday sales. Time needs to slow down just a little so I can catch up.

If you are anything like me, the majority of your shopping is done and you started to wrap, but the one thing you forgot about were the stockings! Dammit!  Well, I put together a list of 10 stocking stuffers for fitness lovers, that just might help you out!

Bonus: Each item is at or under $20 and many can be found locally without shipping! Score!

1. Skullcandy Ink’d 2.0 Mic’d Headphones:

skullcandy ink'd 2.0
These feature multi-sized silicone gel tips to deliver the perfect fit. You can also manage device and tunes with the single-button mic and remote. (Find them at Target or Walmart $20)

2. Stylish Beanies:

beanies.jpg

Perfect for outdoor winter runs as well as trips to the gym or the store. Beanies are stylish, functional and completely affordable. Give the gift of warm this year! (Starting at $6 at Target, Forever 21 and Kohl’s)

Apt. 9 ® lurex leopard ribbed beanie • Apt. 9 • $11.99
Merona® Jeweled Solid Beanie Hat – Black • Merona • $14.99
Merona Women’s Microfleece Beanie Hat • Merona • $6.00
Xhilaration® Reversible Star Beanie Hat – Black/Green • Xhilaration • $12.99
Xhilaration® Beanie Hat – Blue • Xhilaration • $6.98
FOREVER 21+ Multi-Tone Knit Beanie • Forever 21 • $6.23

3. Smart Gloves

Touchscreen gloves

In today’s tech world, your gloves MUST be able to work with the touch screen on your phone. Whether you’re running outside and activating your favorite run tracking app, or driving to the gym, these are a must-have for the social-media-driven fitness folks in your life. (Starting at $5 at retailers like Five Below, Target, TJ Maxx & Marshall’s)

4. Degree’s by 180’s Headphones:

Ear Warmer Headphone

Not a fan of beanies but want to keep your ears warm during your outdoor winter workout? Keep your ears warm and your tunes jamming with these ear warmer headphones! They are listed in the men’s section but I don’t see why us ladies can’t use them too! (Find them at Target.com and Kohls $19.99 or click here to purchase them via Target.com)

BONUS: Use the code JOY30 for 30% off these!

5. Quest Bars:

Quest Bars.jpg

Give the gift of the #CleanCheat this holiday season with some Quest Bars. They comes in a large variety of flavors and are heavenly when popped into the microwave for a few seconds to soften up. They are also gluten-free, have no added sugar and come in around 160 calories + 20 grams of protein per bar (depending on the flavor) My personal favorites are Cookies & Cream and Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough. There is also a brand new Smore’s flavor, but it’s not in stores yet. (Find these at your local GNC or Vitamin Shop around $3 per bar)

6. Gymboss Interval Timer:

Gymboss timer

The Gymboss Interval Timer and Stopwatch is a small, easy-to-use, dual interval timer. This multi-use timer has many versatile functions that make it beneficial to virtually any type of exercise program and helps keep your workout on track. You can program your work/rest times and not worry about starting and stopping a stopwatch. This little gizmo does it all for you. (Find it on Amazon $19.99)

7. Sparkly Soul Headband

sparkly soul

“I don’t sweat, I sparkle.” Kick your sparkle game up a notch with these non-slip, no-headache headbands that REALLY work. They come tons of different colors with two widths to choose from. Perfect for kids too (think cheerleaders, track stars and tumblers). (Find these on SparklySoul.com or Amazon. Starting at $15.00)

8. iTunes Gift Cards

itunes.png

Do I really need to explain why this is a great gift? From music to apps, I don’t know anyone who wouldn’t love to find one of these in their stocking on Christmas morning! (Find at grocery stores, Apple, Target, Walmart, Walgreens, CVS…etc. Starting at $10)

9. Burt’s Bees Lip Balm:

Burts Bees Lip Balm

Winter leaves our lips chapped and raw, especially if you workout outdoors. Give the gift of relief. Beeswax conditions skin, while antioxidant Vitamin E moisturizes. A final hint of Peppermint Oil provides that one-of-a-kind refreshing tingle. The result? Smooth, supple lips everyone will be buzzing about. (Find it many local retailers like Target, Walmart, Walgreens & CVS for around $3-$4)

10. Pampered Feet:

Pampered Feet.jpg

If you have a runner in your life, their feet take a beating! Give them a treat with a pair of Shea Infused Slipper Socks ($8.50) and some True Blue Foot Cream ($15.00) from Bath & Body Works.

I hope this list sparks some ideas for you as you wrap up your holiday shopping. If I missed a favorite of yours, please share it with me below!

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#HelloKeurig

*I received a Keurig K550 brewing system as part of the #HelloKeurig review opportunity via the Influenster program. All thoughts and opinions on the system are my own and I did not receive any monetary compensation for this post.*

Hello Keurig

I LOVE COFFEE! If you follow me on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, this is not a newsflash. As a matter of fact, if I’m not posting about a workout, sharing a photo of a new recipe I’ve tried or a few motivational words, I’m posting about coffee. It makes me happy. It’s a hug for my soul. It’s the pat on the ass that says “Go get ’em, tiger!”

Obviously when I received word from Influenster that I was selected to take part in the #HelloKeurig campaign, I was super stoked! 

We were already proud owners of a Keurig brewing system and we loved it. I know some people don’t like Keurig’s and if you’re not using a french press or fancy schmancy, professional machine you aren’t a true coffee lover but I completely disagree with that and tend to just laugh to myself about it. With my hectic daily schedule, three coffee drinkers in my house and two kids, I love the fact that we don’ t all have to agree on a coffee. We can each wake up, pick a K-cup flavor to fit our mood, brew, sip and move along with our day. I also adore that my kids can grab a mug, pop in a hot cocoa cup and enjoy a warm treat for themselves. To me it’s the best of all worlds for everyone and Keurig improved upon it with the new Keurig 2.0.

The Keurig 2.0 now features a carafe option which is perfect for when you have company over and want to brew a few cups of coffee in one shot. If also perfect for those of us who want a cup of coffee now and want to have some left over to cool off so it can be added to a post workout protein shake. (Did I mention that I LOVE coffee?) The K550 model, which I received, also boasts a larger water reservoir which I absolutely love. I tend to be the last one to make their coffee in the morning, so I am no longer greeted with the “Please Add Water” message…which was almost like my old Keurig’s sarcastic way of saying Good Morning, to me.

This new system is full of bells and whistles. It has a new sleek design, lots of customization options like a nightlight, clock options, auto turn-on/turn-off, brew strength (which might be my favorite new feature) and a night light! Yes…I said a nightlight! You can also customize the wallpaper on the display and there is a new smart brewing technology (which I will get into in a minute). We were very impressed with the machine as we unpacked it and couldn’t wait to try our favorite coffee’s with the new brew strength option…but that’s were things went a little wrong and my temper started to flare.

Unfortunately, the new Keurig 2.0’s smart brewing technology will ONLY brew the newer K-cups and there is a little false information in the pamphlet that comes with the machine. It says that you can only use K-cups with the Keurig logo on them, but that is not true. We had tons of cups with the Keurig logo on them (like the K-cup pictured on the left in the image below), but the box did not say that they work in ALL KEURIG BREWERS (this is key when purchasing cups for the 2.0) and they did NOT have the silver/white rim around them (which is where the new technology is stored for perfect brew settings). As a result of this technology, you can also no longer use the refillable K-cup to brew special local coffees, which may not offer K-Cups. Bummer…right?! On the bright side, Keurig is aware of this issue and if you contact them, they will provide you with a coupon code for 3 FREE replacement boxes along with FREE shipping from their website! This definitely took my temper back to happy coffee lover as I scrolled through the options I had to choose from on their site. (If you haven’t tried Chocolate Donut, I suggest you go order some after you finish readying this post.)

Overall, we are very happy with the new Keurig 2.0 K550 system. Here is a list of Pro’s and Con’s that we came up with:

Pro’s

  • Ability to brew a variety of sized, from 4 to 10 oz cups
  • Ability to brew 2 t0 4 cups at a time (by using the new carafe)
  • Very easy to swap between single cup and carafe brewing
  • Comes standard with water filter
  • Larger water reservoir (on the K550 model only)
  • Easy to read digital display
  • Auto brew timer option for the carafe
  • Optional night light
  • Ability to choose how strong you want your coffee
  • Ability to choose if you are brewing something besides coffee (tea/hot cocoa) so the brew comes out better
  • Economy setting that allows for you to set the machine to turn off after so many minutes of being inactive
  • Option to brew just hot water

Con’s

  • Can not use older K-cups with the 2.0 system *Must have silver/white outer ring on K-cup or black Keurig seal along with words in ALL KEURIG BREWERS on the box*
  • Can not use refillable K-cup with your own grinds
  • The carafe that comes standard is plastic and does’t hold heat well. There is a stainless steel version (sold separately) which I feel should come standard with the deluxe K550 model. I have not used the stainless steel version, but I would hope it hold heat in better than the plastic one, since there is no warmer option.

Keurig 20 cup issue

We’ve been using our new Keurig 2.0 system for over a month now and the list of pro’s definitely outweigh the con’s to us, especially since Keurig has address the old K-cup issue with the generous coupon. I am also happy to see that the Archer Farms cups available at Target have switched the new technology! If you have purchased these in the past, be warned that only the cups in the new packaging have the new technology. So if you find cups on clearance, skip them since the machine will not be able to read the. (There is a hack around this new technology, but I won’t go into that. If you have a bunch of old cups on hand that you want to use, all I will say is Google is your friend in figuring out how to make them work.)

What are your thoughts on the new Keurig 2.0 system? Do you think you’ll be saying #HelloKeurig anytime soon?

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My New BFF…Coconut Oil

Coconut Oil
I first heard of coconut oil a few years ago when my husband was trying to replicate his beloved movie theater popcorn. We bought some and it was used only making popcorn…and I don’t mean the healthy kind.

A little over a year ago, I began learning more about the Paleo style of eating and noticed that many of the recipes called for coconut oil instead of olive oil or other conventional oils. Around that same time, a friend of mine said that she recently began using coconut oil as a hair mask and I had to try it. Obviously curiosity took over and I tried using coconut oil in these new ways. I was instantly hooked and coconut oil has quickly become my go-to item for many different uses. As a matter of fact, I have three jars of it in my house at all times…1 in the kitchen for cooking, 1 in the bathroom and 1 in the bedroom for moisturizing and health & beauty purposes.

Ways I Use Coconut Oil
Cooking – I have been using coconut oil instead of olive oil when cooking for almost a year now. Coconut oil is able to tolerate high heats very well, so I’ve been using it in when I stir-fry or saute vegetables. It’s also great for baking and can be substituted in a 1 to 1 ratio. Coconut oil is a saturated fat, but it is cholesterol free and trans-fatty acid free and has actually been shown to help lower cholesterol levels due to its ability to stimulate thyroid function.

Skin Care – NJ winters tend to leave my skin dull, dry and scaly, but not anymore! I started using coconut as a moisturizer and my skin is now silky smooth. I began by applying a small amount of coconut oil to my skin after my showers, but now I even use it in place of shaving cream. You can also use it as a facial moisturizer. It may feel a little greasy at first, but the skin quickly absorbs it and leaves your skin looking refreshed and glowing. Coconut oil has even been shown to help with skin issues such as psoriasis, dermatitis and eczema.

First Aid – Speaking of applying it to skin, I recently found out that coconut oil helps to repair skin that has been cut, scraped or bruised. I noticed it on myself as a side effect of using it daily and after a little reading, found out that it forms a barrier that keeps dirt, bacteria and viruses out of wounds. It also speeds up the healing process and can help bruises heal faster. I was skeptical when I read that it can help reduce the visibility of varicose veins but I tried it and guess what…it works!

Hair Care – As I mentioned above, a friend of mine told me that she used coconut oil as a hair mask, so I had to give it a try. I warn you…it gets messy, but it’s totally worth it. I applied the coconut oil to my hair liberally and gathered my hair on top of my head so I could apply a shower cap (trust me, you want to use the shower cap. I tried it without and was running down my face and neck. Gross). I left it on for about an hour and then shampooed as normal. My hair instantly felt soft and smooth and my curls were more manageable. I’ve also noticed I don’t have issues with flaky scalp or dandruff anymore, which is a nice bonus!

Oral Health – While I’ve seen pins about brushing your teeth with coconut, I have not tried that. What I have tried is “oil pulling” which  involves rinsing (swishing) approximately one tablespoon of coconut oil around in your mouth for 20 minutes and then spitting it into the trash before rinsing your mouth out with water. As the oil hits your teeth and gums, microbes are picked up as if they are being pulled out by a powerful magnet, then bacteria hiding in the gums and in pores within the teeth are sucked out of their hiding places and held firmly in the solution. The oil needs to be swished until it turns a milky white which means it is full of bacteria. It takes a little getting used to and you may need to start with a smaller amount of oil and work your way up. Just make sure you spit the oil into the trash and not the sink or toilet. Coconut oil turns hard at certain temperatures so it can clog drains. You also want to make sure you don’t swallow any of the oil since it is full of bacteria. People that “oil pull” claim that it helps to whiten their teeth, reduces halitosis, relieve gum and tooth sensitivity and reduce gingivitis. I began trying it when I heard it can help to alleviate jaw pain and it’s worked!

Digestion – The saturated fat in coconut oil has anti-bacterial properties that help control parasites and fungi that can cause indigestion and other digestion issues. The fat in coconut oil also helps to aid in the absorption of vitamins, minerals and amino acids. Coconut oil has also been shown to improve your metabolism and thyroid function, while increasing your energy levels.

These are only a few of the many uses for it…and as you can see it’s pretty damn versatile!

Do you use coconut oil in your daily life? Have a use for it that is not listed above…please share cause I’d love to hear how you use it!

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