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Keep These Items On Hand For Entertaining

In etiquette, how to, lifestyle on December 24, 2016 at 1:30 pm


It’s that time of year where entertaining is becoming more frequent and addition to considering where to go and what to wear, partaking of delicious food and drink is also top of everyone’s mind.  Instead of going out, many people will take on the task of being the host of the party and if that’s you, there are a few things to consider.  Whether you are hosting an impromptu gathering of friends “just stopping by” or having a more formal get together, there are some pantry staples that you want to keep on hand (or at least top of mind) to make entertaining a breeze.  Ahead are ideas for items you can pick up at your local market to make your get together fun, festive and delicious!

Wine, Champagne, Sparkling Water/Juice. In addition to always having water nearby, these particular beverages speak sophistication and can enhance the flavor of the items you serve your guests.

Popcorn.  Great for impromptu gatherings and easy to prepare, popcorn is the perfect snack without a ton of calories.  Sprinkle on a mixture of various seasonings to take your popcorn to the next level.  Give the following recepie a try:  a little olive oil, paprika, oregano, parsley, seasoned salt, chili powder and parmesean cheese.  Tortillas and salsa are also great options.

Crudite Platter.  Generally speaking, crudite platters usually consist of various vegetables.  Be creative and include various cheeses, meats,crackers/bread, fruit as well as hummus (or dip) and fruit spread.

Frozen Ravioli/Various Sauces.  Keeping these items on hand can make food prep a breeze.  Serve with salad and baguette.

Assorted Nuts and Chocolates.  Accessible at your local grocery store.  More variety and fun with a monthly subscription box or on nuts.com.

Ice Cream/Gellato.  Perfect to end the night.  Serve with coffee, berries, nuts, etc.

Candles/Flowers.  Perfect for the entryway and area where you are entertaining.

Serving Trays.  Serving trays make everything look more elegant.

Music Playlist.  Create ambiance with a continuous stream of great music.  This is easy to achieve with Pandora, Spotify and Apple Music.

 

 

 

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So You’re Still Shopping

In lifestyle, style on December 23, 2016 at 1:36 pm


The Perfect Last Minute Gifts For The Foodies, Beauty And Product Junkies In Your Life.

The holidays are here (and almost over) and chances are you still have a few names to cross off of your list.  Fret not – the following is a list of holiday favorites that are sure to delight.

Godiva Truffle Flights Sampler (3 months) – For the foodie/chocolate lover in your life.  Features 3 months of beautiful bite sized truffles perfect for sharing or keeping to oneself.

diptyque A Night At diptyque Candles (Act 1, 2 or 3) – Great for that someone who has a penchant for the decorative beauty of candles as well as for creating a warm and cozy beautifully scented home.

Lush Secret Garden – Perfect for that someone on your list who loves the power of flowers to give them soft, beautiful glowing skin.

Jack Black The Balm Squad – The perfect gift for anyone waiting under the misletoe.

Tyvek Paper Wallet – Any minimalists in your life?  This paper wallet is durable enough to hold everything and stand up to daily wear and tear.

Happy Plugs – These earbuds/in-ear headphones come in an array of fun colors and are perfect for that person in your life who likes to color coordinate everything.

OXO Good Grips 3-Blade Handheld Spiralizer – For the health conscious person in your life or for someone who just likes to make pretty designs with their food.  This handheld spiralizer will help them make delicious and healthy fruit and vegetable spirals.

Sephora Favorites – Give the gift of beauty and variety with these Sephora Favorites sampler gift sets.  These samplers, which can include anything from lippies, mascaras, lashes or fragrance is perfect for introducing that certain someone to something new.  The best part is that these sample gift sets come with a voucher to redeem a full size favorite product.

Dry Bar Let It Blow – For the friend who is serious about the perfect blow out.  Included in the set is a full size dryer, Dry Detox Shampoo and Conditioner as well as hair clips and a brush.

Monthly Subscription Boxes – Subscription boxes are perfect for that someone who a “thing” for something in particular such as beauty, cheese, wine, socks, pets, etc.  Opt to gift them a subscription for 3 months, 6 months or the entire year.

 

 

Tips For Hosting Overight Guests

In etiquette, how to, lifestyle on December 23, 2016 at 1:30 pm

Usually there is nothing more exciting than having your favorite people visit you from out of town.  When you have guests coming to stay with you for the weekend, you want to make their visit as pleasurable as possible.  And while you don’t have to do a home makeover, you want to make sure you extend the same hospitality and grace that you would like to have extended to you.  With the following tips and some planning, you can ensure that you an your guests have a wonderful extended time together.

First things first – figure out where your guest is going to sleep.  If you have a spare room, this won’t be too much of an issue.  If you live in an apartment, chances are your guest will sleep on the couch or on an air mattress.  Wherever your guest is going to sleep, make sure the area is comfortable, that the area has curtains/blinds and that you have provided pillows, clean linen, a blanket, waste basket and a cleared shelf or table for their use.  You can also provide bedside emergency such as a box of tissue, pain killers and antacids just in case.

Double check dates and times of arrivals, departures as well as length of visit.  If you are picking your guest up from the airport (train/bus station), make sure you have the correct location.  Nothing is worse than being on time at the wrong place.  I know.  I’ve done that.

If you have a driveway and your guest is driving to your home, save your best parking spot for them.  If you live in the city where parking is often difficult to find, let your guests know where and when to park.

Explain the quirks of your place and show your guest where everything is.  You have lived in your place for some time so you know how everything works.  You know about that toilet handle you have to jiggle and the door you have to lift and pull in order to close.  Make sure you pass this information on to your guests to save them the agony and possible embarrassment of fumbling around your home.

Stock up on toiletries and create a landing space for your guests things in the bathroom.  Usually guests bring their own personal items but it is always nice to provide a nice basket filled with body wash, unscented body lotion, toothbrush as well as a towel, washcloth, loofah, etc.  Also, make sure there is enough toilet tissue, and keep a toilet brush and a plunger nearby.

Keep a loose schedule so your guests have time to breathe, especially when they first arrive.  If your guest is in town to visit you specifically, you can always plan for activities ahead of time by asking what your guest wants to do.  If your guest is in town for business,  discuss your schedules in advance and make sure they have access into and out of your place.

Make sure your guest has your wifi access, any access codes to get into and out of your building.  Also make sure they know how to work the heater/air conditioner, remote controls and provide an extra power strip so they can plug up their computer, phone, etc.

Plan meals ahead of time and make sure you have something for your guest to snack on when they arrive.  If you can, go out to dinner one of the days your guest is in town.  Also, you can do some crock pot meals so that you don’t have to spend all of your time cooking. In addition, stock your fridge and pantry with goodies such as fruit, cheese, veggies, cold cuts, condiments, bread, pasta salad, crackers and chips that will be easy for you and your guest to fix meals and snacks.  And don’t forget the wine (or sparkling soda), juice and water.

What has been your experience with hosting or being an overnight guest in someone’s home?

 

 

 

 

 

My Fit-Spiration

In fitness, lifestyle on June 24, 2016 at 1:00 pm


Every time I see Serena I get my life.  She is Beautiful.  Strong.  Resilient.  Powerful.  When I see her, it pushes me to do a few more reps.  To run a little harder.  To jump a little higher. To be a better “athlete”.


These women are my definition of a Boss.  To achieve this level of athleticism, you have to Dedication.  Vision.  Discipline.  Focus.  Grit.  Determination.




I think I’m going to create a fit inspiration board and include some of these images so that when I feel discouraged and tired and don’t want to get up at 4 am to work out, I can look at my board and remember that there were, are, and will be days when my fitness heros have felt the same way and have not given up.

To Cheat Or Not To Cheat

In fitness, lifestyle on June 17, 2016 at 12:00 pm


There is much discussion or schools of thought, if you will, around cheat days and whether or not you should cheat on your meal plan.  Cheat.  Don’t cheat. Everything in moderation.  Eat clean.  Intermittent fasting.  3 days on 1 day off.  Be vegan.  Be vegetarian. If it tastes good don’t eat it. Blah Blah Blah.  The list goes on.

There is validity to these schools of thought and one, some or none of these methods may work for you.  I do know that when you are following some type of weight loss, fit journey (whatever you choose to call it) you have to do your research so that you can make informed decisions that will support your goals.

Cheat Days

I personally don’t believe in cheat days.  For starters, the word “cheat” has a negative connotation.  Link that to food then every time I want something like pizza, I feel bad about it.  That can then lead to shame, defeat, binging, etc. Let’s face it:  I am a foodie.  I love eating different kinds of foods as well as experiencing different restaurants.  I also have a torrid love affair with pepperoni pizza and Cheez-Its.  I don’t plan on giving these things up.  EVER.  I also know I cannot eat these foods on a regular basis and expect to maintain my weight.  So what do I do?  If i want a particular food, I eat it in moderation.  If I want pizza, depending on where it came from, Pizza Boli or Mamma Lucia, I have a slice or two – not the whole pie.  If I want ice cream, I have a serving size, which is usually a scoop, and move on with my day.  That glass of wine?  It depends on my mood.  This practice works for me because I have developed a certain level of discipline and have clearly defined fitness goals.  Moderation for me may be once a week or once a month.

If you want to do a cheat day, I think that’s fine as long as you maintain a certain level of self control so as not to undo all of the hard work you have put in all week.  If you are going to use a cheat day,  try planning it out.  Make sure it fits into your calorie count for the day.  So for instance, you might choose one Sunday meal to splurge on like brunch or dinner and eat lean and clean for the rest of your meals that day.  I know that if I have an event/dinner to go to, I typically will eat cleaner and possibly meatless on the days leading up to the event.  The day of, I keep it simple with fruits, veggies and lots of water because I am going to enjoy the occasion.  This method helps me maintain some type of meal plan decorum.

Don’t take anything I have said about this topic as law.  This method works for me and many other people I know.  So, in the words of the beloved Hodgetwins:  “It’s just advice.  Do whatever the %$&k you wanna do!”

 

On The Phone Again…

In etiquette, lifestyle on June 16, 2016 at 12:00 pm


It’s that phone thing again…

Why does it seem as though people cannot get off the phone for even 30 seconds to transact business?   I’m speaking specifically about people who have their phone glued to their face while at a checkout counter.  You’ve seen it before, perhaps standing in line behind said perpetrator, maybe you are the cashier, or maybe you are the perpetrator.  Anyway, said perpetrator is checking out while having a loud conversation on the phone and the cashier has a barrage of questions their company demands they ask (rolling eyes in the back of head) and Talking Tiffany (or Tom) wont get their ass off the phone. Not even for 30 seconds, thereby holding up the line. And while said person is on the phone, you know they can never find their wallet or their keys or their kids or their supposed coupons for 10% off their purchase of $5.  Please.  Mass confusion.   My advice for you is to at least tell the person you are talking to please hold while you transact your business because doing so is just plain rude and disrespectful and I’m sure you would want people to respect you.

Overcoming The Inevitable Beauty Rut

In beauty, how to, lifestyle, makeup on May 3, 2016 at 3:00 pm

 Quick hacks for the inevitable beauty rut…

How many times have you looked in the mirror and have been brought to tears with the person staring back at you?  Same boring makeup from a year ago.  Same hairstyle from high school that never really did anything for you.  Same you. Different day.  Getting ready in the morning should not feel like a chore or make you cry.  It should be a time where you feel inspired to be your best.

Beauty ruts happen to the best of us.  Feeling bored and uninspired with your current look are some telltale signs however, breaking out of your beauty rut doesn’t have to be difficult.  By doing some research, a little planning and setting aside a few extra minutes in the morning.  It doesn’t have to take a complete makeover (although that is a great idea) or a lot of extra time.  In fact, changing one or two things in your beauty routine can reap considerable feel good and sexy rewards.  Consider some of the following ideas:

Go for a different eyeliner.  Been using that same liquid eyeliner?  Try layering your liners.  Use the same black liner that you normally use then layer a different color liner on top for a pop of color.  Or try smudging your liner for a smoky look.  You can even skip the liner (and eye shadow) all together and do a fringe lash for a defined yet slightly deconstructed look.  If you usually line with black liner, try a fun color like cobalt blue.

Try a new lip color.  Same boring lip color?  Like you, I have my signature red lip (Sephora Creme Lip Stain in Always Red) that I wear 99% of the time.  As great as it looks, even I go through periods of eye rolling boredom so I have to switch it up.  You can do the same by trying a glossy nude lip, an unconventional color such as purple or gray or even a red lip if you don’t usually wear that color.

Switch your mascara.  Not in the mood for the same black mascara? Try a different color like brown, blue or purple.  You can even try getting some lash extentions or even opt for a strip lash.

Don’t skip the blush.  Don’t use blush? – try some.  I know, some of you may hear circus music when you read that but you don’t have to look like clown.  Using blush is a great way to add warmth to the complexion.

Switch up your perfume.  There are new fragrances out there so you can probably put your Samsara and CK1 back on the shelf.  Or maybe the garbage.

Try a different body wash.  While you’re at it, switch to a luxurious body wash – one you may not usually go for that can make shower and bath time a wondrous experience.  One that leaves your skin soft and luxuriously scented is always a plus.  While you are at it, light a candle during your shower/bath time to elevate the experience.

Try a new hairstyle.  Perhaps you have been thinking about trying a new hair color or haircut.  Step out of your comfort zone and step up your beauty game because when you look in the mirror, you should think “Yaaasss gurl get em” instead of “ugg you disgust me”.  Try a new updo.  Curl your hair.  Try some pretty hair accessories.  Get on Pinterest, or IG for some hair inspiration and take said inspiration to your local beauty professional.  Take control of your beauty fate and don’t make any more excuses.

Change your nail color.  Yeah you have your signature nail color that everyone thinks looks amazing on you but you don’t have to wear it EVERY. SINGLE. TIME  you do your nails.  Dior Vernis Gel Shine And Long Wear Nail Lacquer 754 (a beautiful bright red) is my signature color but if I look at my hands one more time and see that color on my nails, I’m cutting my hands off.  See what I mean?  So go ahead and switch it up.  There are so many amazing colors out there for you to become acquainted with.

Change your skincare.  Hopefully you aren’t using the same skincare you used in high school.  You do have a skin care routine don’t you?  As you get older, your skin care needs will change and there are new skin concerns you should be addressing.  So go ahead, switch out that Clean and Clear today.  I’ll wait…

Rearrange your makeup.  How many times have you attempted to go do your makeup only to be greeted by what looks like a filthy swap meet?  Dirty makeup brushes.  Eyeshadow crumbs.  Blush with that questionable film on top.  Heck, you can’t even distinguish between lip liner and eye liner because everything is a big jumbled mess.  This type of disorganization does not make beauty time fun.  Consider some storage options (I live at The Container Store) so that you can organize your makeup.  Sometimes, just the thought, let alone the task of having to rummage through all of your makeup is a complete turnoff – making you want to go back to bed.

Schedule some “Me” time.  Be intentional about scheduling time away from the daily grind to recharge.  Get a massage at your local day spa or make a weekend of it and go to a spa resort.

These are only a few ideas to spark inspiration.  What are some things you do to overcome your beauty rut?

Lower Your Voice

In etiquette, how to, lifestyle on April 26, 2016 at 12:00 pm


So I’m on the train, listening to my music, enjoying my commute but suddenly finding it rather difficult to be at peace because a passenger insists on having a very loud conversation.  The conversation had no end in site and my ears began to bleed because I turned my music up to drown their voice out.

How many times have you been in a public place like the airport, doctor’s office or even a restaurant and have been forced to listen to someone’s loud telephone conversation?  Said offender just rambles on and on about whatever, disturbing the peace without any consideration for the people around them.

Or is it you? Are you the perpetrator. The one who just won’t at least lower their voice while in a public space.  Honestly no one cares about the sordid details of your life.

Now I’m not saying don’t talk on the phone and I won’t get into a long diatribe about social responsibility and manners (at least not now).  And I get it, some conversations are important and need to take place while you are out and about so consider the following when you are on the phone:

  • Be aware of your surroundings and lower your voice.
  • If you are using earbuds/earphones, you may not even realize how loud your voice is so take a bud out of one ear.
  • You may even try cupping your mouth as you speak.  I know, it’s kind of weird but it works.  I once sat next to a gentleman who was on the phone the entire commute and could barely hear him talk because he had cupped his mouth.  Now maybe he was talking about something top secret – who cares.  Point is a measure was taken so as not to really be heard by anyone except the person he was directly speaking to.
  • If possible, excuse yourself and go somewhere more private.
  • Tell the person you will call them back.

Hopefully these few tips will cause you to be more mindful when you take a phone call in public.  If you have loud people in your life, perhaps a sibling, cousin, best friend, enemy, make sure they read this :0)

Morning Hacks To Get You Started With Your Day

In lifestyle on April 21, 2016 at 12:00 pm


Simple morning hacks to help get your day started…

Today was one of those days I had to get up early.  Super early.  Before sunrise.  You know what that’s like for me?   It’s very hard – almost like having someone douse me with ice cold water unexpectedly.  Perhaps you can relate.  Maybe it is the cold of winter that makes you want to stay cocooned in your bed.  Maybe you don’t like the dark or you’re just tired.  Whatever the case, you have to get out of bed whether you want to or not and get started with your day.

I have found that by planning ahead and establishing a routine, especially when I have to get up before the crack of dawn makes my process a bit more tolerable and my day run more smoothly so keep reading to find out what helps me…

Find a hype morning song.  I just changed my wake up song to this and I literally want to get out of the bed and dance.  If you have a household that needs to get up early, choose a song that gets everybody hyped and out of the bed.

Give yourself some time.  Make sure you give yourself a few minutes before jumping out of bed to give yourself time to think, meditate, pray.  Nothing is worse than waiting until the last minute to get out of the bed then making a scatterbrained leap out of bed.  Not the best way to start your day.

Turn on all of the lights.  This has helped me tremendously when I have to get up before sunrise (especially in the winter).  Perhaps get a timer to turn on the light a few minutes before you have to get up so you don’t have to physically walk throughout the house to turn on lights.

Drink some water.  Doing so will hydrate you.  Very simple concept.  Keep a cute carafe like this one by your bedside.

Buy some new underware.  I cant tell you how many times I have gone shopping for new underware and couldn’t wait to wake up in the morning to shower and put them on.  What is it about new underware that makes one feel powerful, sexy, ready to take on the world?

Get a morning exercise routine.  It might be stretching, yoga, or a full out HIIT workout which might take place in a physical gym or in your living room.  Wherever you choose to workout and whatever workout you choose to do, take a few minutes to do something which will get your blood flowing, burn some calories and make you alert, ready to take on the day.

Pre prep your meals and outfits.   Eliminate the morning frenzy around food and clothing by preparing ahead of time.  It might be the day before or a plan for the week but whatever the case do it ahead of time so you can focus your energy on other important things.

Be realistic about your time.  Nothing is worse than rushing to get things done.  Do you find that you are late often or that you are making it to your destination just by the skin of your teeth?  Oftentimes we underestimate the amount of time it takes to get ready in the morning or for any event so make sure you are giving yourself enough time to get everything done.  For instance, just walking to the car, getting in, putting on your seatbelt, turning on the car take up time that counts so plan accordingly.

Don’t get caught up.  In your cell phone or laptop that is.  Email and social media can rob you of precious time.  If you aren’t in an industry like customer support where you have to answer email right away, set up a time where you will check all of that stuff or at least wait until you are done with your morning routine to check in.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Woman On The Go

In beauty, fashion, hair, how to, lifestyle, makeup on April 9, 2014 at 12:30 pm

Embed from Getty Images

You are a very busy woman – constantly on the go.  Work. Meetings. School. Dates. Family. Plotting world domination – the list goes on.  With all of the things that you have to do , your beauty and well being shouldn’t have to suffer or take a back-burner to the other important things in your life.

The following tips are not exhaustive however they can definitely begin to help you fine tune your lifestyle routine by taking some time out at the beginning of your week to plan accordingly.  You can even do these things at beginning or end of your day.

1. Select your clothes at the start of the week.  Think of coordinates that you can mix and match and do double duty such as a three piece suit that you can break down into separate outfits or tops and bottoms that are interchangeable.  Consider any activities or events taking place that you may attend so that you can plan those outfits accordingly.  Make sure all your underwear, accessories, shoes, etc. are prepped – polished, cleaned, ironed, etc. and ready to go for the upcoming week.

2. Choose a couple of hairstyles that you can do quickly and flawlessly, especially if you don’t have a short hair cut (which actually still takes a lot of maintenance).  Whether you wear your hair in a top knot, chignon, braids, weave or other type of style,  it is  important to figure out what are the best methods, techniques, products and tools for your hair.  It may mean you prep your hair at night before you go to bed.

3. Decide on a few simple make up looks.  Some weeks it gets super intense so all I have to give to the world is a cat eye and a red lip (supported by a good foundation, lashes and blush).  If foundation isn’t your thing, think in terms of  a

Also, I am quick to turn a purple eyeliner into a lipliner and add gloss so also consider makeup and other beauty products that can multitask such as

  • Nars Multiple which can be used on eyes, lips and cheeks
  • Giorgio Armani Fluid Sheer which is a sheer illuminator, available in several hues, which gives skin beautiful radiance.  It can be used alone on the high points of the face (think center of forehead and nose, cheekbones, chin as well as cupid’s bow) or mixed in with your foundation or face moisturizer for an all over glow.
  • Smashbox Always Sharp 3d Liner – it is always sharp with the twist of the cap and the creamy formula can be used as an eyeshadow base.
  • Aquaphor Advanced Therapy Healing Ointment and even Rosebud Salve which not only heals and soothe skin but can be used on brows, lids, or mixed with powder shadow to create a creamy shadow.

In addition to using products that multitask, make sure you are working from a well organized space and/or set up your products.  To save myself time in the morning, I line up my jewelry and makeup, including makeup brushes, on my vanity so I don’t have to shuffle, rumble and fuss my way through my morning beautification process.

4. If you take your lunch, consider prepping it at night and put your keys in your lunch bag (just don’t forget where your keys are when it’s time to leave in the morning).  You can also prep your meals for the week on your day off.  This will take some discipline and planning ahead but can save you some time and money at the grocery store as well.  Also think of quick breakfast options which you can find Pinterest and even here.

5. Create a to do list.  Get a notebook, planner or use your phone to write down the important tasks that need to get done the upcoming week and break that down into daily goals. Have a perpetual grocery list and a personal items list so that you don’t forget anything.

6.  Don’t wait until the last minute to get up in the morning.  It is extremely tempting to hit that snooze button and roll over however train yourself to get up when the alarm goes off.  In addition, give yourself extra time to read, pray, meditate, workout, etc.  It makes for a smoother transition in the morning.