I was watching me some Good Morning America this morning while getting ready for work, and I saw this segment devoted to this one tweet that began a “grassroots exercise movement” which “encourages women to focus less on the scale and more on overall health.


While I am so glad this concept is getting some long overdue airtime, my question to you is, honestly — where have y’all been?!

[Just kidding but seriously, this is something I am so passionate about so be prepared to hear my rant. And yes I just said “y’all.” That’s how serious I am.]

I played sports all throughout middle school and high school, just shy of my senior year. Conditioning, two-a-days, and summer programs were a requirement; and between sports all week and working on the weekends, I rarely even had time to worry about the number on the scale. So I never did. Then senior year hit, sports got way more serious (because everyone was focusing on college), and I wasn’t. Honestly, I wasn’t even seriously considering going to college, but that’s a story for another time because thank dog I did. At any rate, I was dating someone older at the time, and I just wanted to party my face off while not having to worry about the crushing pressure my school placed on the athletes being ‘the best,’ or ‘the strongest,’ or ‘the fastest’ [because mostly I was just ‘the tallest’]. So I quit and spent the next couple years doing my own thing.

Fast forward to college: I was still not working out, still working to pay myself through, and I ended up getting a job in recruiting for my university’s football team. One day, I was out hiking with the same boyfriend I was with in high school, and realized I couldn’t keep up. I had to keep stopping, to keep catching my breath; I wasn’t coordinated enough to climb around rough areas. I knew at 19 this wasn’t good. Sure, I was skinny and had the metabolism combined with the build that didn’t require me to actually exercise to look good. But, going so long without sports or a regular work-out routine and not being able to even walk through the Cleveland Metroparks without severely struggling was actually really scary. It just goes to show that skinny isn’t always healthy.

That was the moment I decided I would be better. I talked with one of my friends who was into body building, and put together a work-out plan with him. I talked to the strength coach for our football team, showed him my plans and he showed me how to use the equipment in the football weight room to get what I needed done. Slowly but surely, I got stronger and stronger as the years went on. And initially, I started to see the number on the scale go up at an alarming rate, much to my dismay.

After a few unnecessary panic attacks, I quickly learned that muscle weighs more than fat. If you are losing fat and gaining muscle, you will probably see the number on the scale increase. When I finally moved out of my parents house not long after getting back in the gym, I opted not to buy a scale for my new apartment. And it was one of the best decisions I ever made.

I get weighed once a year at the doctor’s office, and even then I don’t pay it any mind. I recently dated a guy who had a scale in his kitchen, and every time I went to his place I would stand on that scale. So I get it, when you have access to the scale it’s really easy to become obsessive. But I’m here to tell you it’s a trap. It fucks with your brain. The number on the scale does not dictate how healthy you are. It does not take into consideration your fat percentage. It does not see your work in the gym, and your discipline in the kitchen. It does not have any power over you.

I was lucky enough to learn this at a young age, so here I am, almost a decade later; stronger than most of guys I meet; and I sure as hell am not defined by the number on the scale.

As females, we all need to remember that our bodies are designed differently than dudes. You are not going to get bulky from upping your weights or intensifying your workouts. You are not going to get bulky from weight training period. I hear so many girls tell me they don’t want to pick up weights because they want to look good and they don’t believe that’s the right way to do it. So they spend hours doing cardio. What a lot of females don’t realize, is weight training actually is more effective in burning calories than cardio, because you continue to burn those calories long after you put the weights down. Generally with cardio, calories are only burned as long as the action is being performed. And you have to keep in mind too with cardio, there is a point of diminishing returns.

diminishing returns

If you are afraid to pick up those 10 lb weights to do biceps because you think you’re going to start looking like a body builder, I am here to tell you you won’t. And when those 10 lbs become too easy (eventually, they will), you can and should pick up the 12.5 lbs or the 15 lbs and never stop challenging yourself. I have been training like this for the past eight years, and though I feel like in the last two years I have really upped my quality of workouts, my body most certainly does not look like a dude’s.

So to me, it’s not just about learning to ignore the number on the scale. It’s about understanding how all of this stuff fits together. Knowing your own body, your own limits, and putting the time and effort in — both in the gym and in the kitchen — to achieve the results you want. Find the balance. It is possible. And it starts with accepting that strong is better than skinny.

Strong is beautiful.

Strong is badass.

You, too, can be badass.

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That one time I risked getting h3n2 for the gram #ripip

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kc goes ape

I’ve been having a bit of a rough go at things lately.

This past Sunday, as the morning sun crept through my window, by 9am I already maintained that I would stay in bed all day. Birds chirping, cat purring and waiting to be fed, I had no plans for the day and I had no motivation for anything this Sunday had to offer.

Then my text tone went off, and my heart stopped.

I frantically shuffled around the bed in search of my phone. My heart sunk when it wasn’t who I was waiting to hear from: more proof that I was making the right decision for the day. Then I actually read the message I received:

“Do you want to Go Ape at 1:30?”

um. What did you just ask me?


Apparently there is a local zip lining/tree top adventure course located in the Metroparks in Strongsville — called Go Ape. Not exactly something I would jump at on a regular Sunday (let alone one where I’m feeling sad and unmotivated), but it felt like this was one of those times I just had to suck it up and agree to go.

We started with a quick, overwhelming lesson with a lot of information and all of it ending in “you could basically die if you don’t follow these rules.” So that was great. I would recommend going with someone who has done it before, just for that simple fact. There were 5 courses to complete (the first one being a small “intro” course); each beginning with a climb up into the trees, a handful of obstacles to get through, before ending with a zip line back to ground level. You have to book in advance, and lucky for us, this weekend was 25% off so we only paid $45 when all was said and done. It was a bit crowded, I assume because of the promotion, so there was a little bit of waiting time between obstacles and courses. But it was enough time to calm all of my nerves between the adrenaline rushes.

The website recommends closed-toe shoes, workout gloves, and tying your hair back. All very appropriate recommendations — after about the 3rd course my hands were hurting without gloves.

I never really thought I had a fear of heights — but being 50+ feet above ground, with only two cables keeping me from imminent death, I definitely had some involuntary hand trembling and knee shaking going on. It didn’t help that I kept looking down like a psycho. There were times I wanted nothing more than to turn back around and get on solid ground. I think I almost pissed myself no less than three times.

Overall, though, I have to admit it was beyond exhilarating. Actually getting through the courses took some strength and patience, but getting to that zip line at the end and the freeing feeling of it all — it was 1000% better than staying in bed all day. Everyone should do something that scares the shit out of them at least every once in a while. Lesson learned.


Check it out for yourself, you can book now at www.goape.com.

Easy Cauliflower Crust Pizza

This ain’t no “New Year, New Me” post. Yeah I got a FitBit for Christmas, and I like to at least try and eat healthy to balance out the restaurant dining and binge drinking. But honestly, I just love pizza so much and eat it so often that I honestly can’t discriminate against any kind of pizza. Including a low-carb alternative made sans bread.

So the other day I picked up some cauliflower rice from Trader Joe’s after reading that it is one of their most popular products that I never heard of (both fresh and frozen!). It’s basically just cauliflower that has already gone through the food processor for you so you don’t have to deal with the hassle… such a time saver. With all these recipes floating around with cauliflower subs, I was curious, so I got it and made some “fried rice” one night last week. It wasn’t bad, but I was left with so much leftover cauliflower, I needed more options than just frying it up with vegetables.

With the internet being the amazing place it is, all I did was Google a couple cauliflower pizza crust recipes, and realized I already had about 90% of the ingredients I needed to make it. The rest I could improvise.

[Recipe is a combo of this one from PopSugar, and this one from Damn Delicious… and a little improvisation by moi]

Easy Cauliflower Crust Pesto Pizza


  • Nonstick spray
  • 2 cups cauliflower rice (from Trader Joe’s)
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 1/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 2 tablespoons parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1/4 cup pesto
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • Fresh chives, optional



  1. Preheat oven to 425ºF, line baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
  2. Place cauliflower rice in microwave safe bowl, microwave 5 minutes or until soft. Let cool.
  3. Mix into rice beaten egg, one cup mozzarella, parmesan cheese, garlic powder, salt and pepper.
  4. Once combined, pat into a 10-inch round on the parchment. Make sure to press middle down firmly because that will take the longest to cook through. dough
  5. Spray lightly with nonstick spray and bake 12-15 minutes, or until golden.
  6. Top pizza with pesto sauce (or whatever pizza sauce you’d like, at the time this was all that was in my fridge!), 1/4 cup mozzarella, red pepper flakes (and any other desired toppings). Bake in the oven until melted and bubbly, another 10-12 minutes. Top with chives before serving.

I’m telling you, this could not be any easier. Guilt-free, no flour, no dough, no hassle. And it comes out tasting pretty damn good.


I got a FitBit for Christmas and all it did was show me what a lazy ass I am

I like to think of myself as a generally fit person.

I spend 4 to 5 hours each week at the gym, and rarely ever skip a day. I can bust out ten perfect push-ups and barely break sweat. I’m up and at the gym at 5:45 am every single Thursday morning for one of my classes. I drink protein shakes after my workouts. While lecturing my dad about his cigarette addiction on Christmas, he lectured me about my workout addiction.

So, as you can imagine, I was super psyched to receive a new FitBit Alta in ~*gold*~ this Christmas from my boyfriend. Now I can see and track just how healthy af I already know I am.


Yeah, notttt quite.

So, as I’m sure most of you already know (since I’m obviously late to the party on the FitBit craze), the default goals (most as recommended by the American Heart Association) are: 10,000 steps per day; 8 hours of sleep per night; five days of 30+ active minutes per day; and for the hours between 9 am and 6 pm, logging at least 250 steps every hour.

Day 1: Last Monday
I logged a whopping 6,248 steps — 3,752 shy of the goal. Slept a total of 9 hours and 5 minutes Sunday night. Despite my trip to the gym, I managed to log a goose egg on active minutes. And through my 8-hour work day, I got up and took 250+ steps only 4 out of the 9 hours.

So, basically you’re telling me I’m not as *fit* and *fab* as I think I am. More like *lazy* and *sleeps a lot*.


What a humbling experience.

Yes, I work at an office and sit at a computer for a living. Yes, I do more weight training at the gym and avoid cardio. Yes, I despise the treadmill. So after a week of wearing this fitness tracker, I understand why it’s telling me I’m not as active as I think I am. I can do a weight training class at my gym, and since my FitBit does not have a heart rate monitor it likely won’t pick up on active minutes if it isn’t a cardio-based workout. I can be into a project at work and sit for 4 hours straight, ass numb and cross-eyed. I can go home from work, not want to go out, and crash on my couch for the rest of the night and only get half of my recommended steps in for the day. It’s been over a week since I got this and I have yet to hit 10,000 steps.But the most important piece I think this device offers is the awareness of what you’re doing and how you’re doing it.

Instead of using the bathroom that is 20 steps from my cubicle, maybe I can take the stairs down to the next floor and use that bathroom. Instead of finding the closest parking spot because it’s cold outside, maybe I will park a little farther today. On a night that my workout involves entirely weight training, maybe I will jog on the treadmill for 10 minutes prior.

Lesson learned.
So maybe I’m not as active as I thought I was, and maybe I’m not even as inactive as my new FitBit is telling me. But now that I know this, I can make small adjustments here and there and work towards my own personal goals (i.e., not sitting on my ass for four hours straight while I’m at work). In the end, awareness is key. Also did I mention I got it in ~*gold*~ ??

Stay humble, my pretties


Monthly subscription takeover

In the 90s, when I think of monthly subscriptions, I think of the kids in the neighborhood that would go door to door, guilting unsuspecting housewives into magazine subscriptions that were completely unnecessary — who needs a year and half subscription to Better Homes and Gardens or Sports Illustrated? For a one-time cost of $16.99, it didn’t seem so bad. And if you were that kid and you were lucky, you could convince your parents to buy one for yourself, securing 12 or 18 copies of the latest Tiger Beat, depending on if they wanted to shell out the extra $5.00 or not.

Birchbox broke through as one of the first successful and widely-known monthly subscription programs, a $10 per month subscription for all the latest high-end beauty product samples. Subscription services continue to evolve today, letting consumers not only get new makeup on their doorstep every month, but also food, razors, active wear, and  now even undergarments. With the click of a button, you can even subscribe your dog to get a monthly box of treats and goodies.


It’s a thriving market that is sucking a lot of consumers in. I mean, who wouldn’t want to spend $10 a month to get a box full of goodies, or $40 a month for a new workout outfit each month. Right?


I’ve largely stayed away from this trend, mostly because I’m cheap. But also on principle: I have so many things, and most of these things tend to get stowed away in a random drawer and are forgotten about until it’s time to give them away or throw them out. And what if you don’t like what you get? Especially with the idea of clothes or a pantie/bra combo being sent to you monthly–sometimes these subscriptions can be costly, and with your card automatically charged each month, you may not realize how costly it truly can be. It just seems impracticable to me. This article looks into the boom of the subscription era and puts the concept of being dissatisfied perfectly:

“In a month where I don’t use Netflix, I don’t really think about it,” Bennett says. “A month where you don’t like the product shipped to your front door, you’ll have a visible reminder that this wasn’t a good month.”

That’s the biggest reason I’ve kept from getting suckered into one of these things. I have the worst buyers remorse, and these types of trends would definitely perpetuate that. The industry is heavily dependent on bloggers to review each product for their followers, one of the most notable being My Subscription Addiction.

Well, as it seems, I finally caved and decided to try Ipsy a few months ago. I have some friends that use Birchbox and have expressed disappointment with it, saying that after a few months they began to receive the same things over and over. I also read that Birchbox is more sample size, high-end products whereas Ipsy provides more sample and full size but also drugstore brands (which, tbh, is probably the only place I shop for makeup anyway).

I find myself wanting to try a lot of different beauty products these days, but never wanting to go out and buy it myself for fear I will get the wrong thing or dislike what I pick once I try it and waste my money. So, a $10 subscription for five new beauty products a month does sound like a good fit for me. Ipsy claims on its website that the average value of a monthly “Glam Bag” is $53.00. Who wouldn’t want to try that? Pay $10.00 and get $53.00?

Not necessarily.

Ah yes, being the nerd I am, I know there are a lot of different approaches to reach an “average,” which is fodder for companies that like to throw out skewed statistics. So three months in, I’m pretty convinced I’m getting my money’s worth–that is, receiving items that I personally value at $2.00 a piece (I’m very practical, I pay $10 per month for 5 items, so it’s simple in my mind). But when you tell me that each item really is valued at $10.60 a piece on “average”? Now that makes me want to know how much they are really worth. I think a quarter of a year is a good sample size, but I’m also keeping in mind that items may be more or less “better” when you start a subscription, and will invariably taper off because a) Ipsy automatically charges my card each month and knows I probably won’t cancel after a few lackluster bags, and b) at some point, I may not need a new highlighter every single month, despite me telling Ipsy that I like receiving highlighter.

A couple of items to note: sometimes sample sizes are cheaper or more expensive than full size, depending on the brand. To keep everything apples to apples, I’ve just taken the price of a full size item to determine a per-ounce price, and used that to prorate the size that was received. It may not be as accurate as the beauty bloggers, but it’s logical math and that’s my jam.

August Glam Bag

Lord&Berry | 20100 maximatte crayon lipstick
  • Full size = 0.20 oz; sells on their website for $20.00
  • Size received = 0.06 oz
  • Estimated value = $6.00
Beauty For Real | I-LINE 24-7 Eyeliner
  • Full size received; sells on their website for $14.00
  • Estimated value = $14.00
Josie Maran | Whipped Mud Mask
  • Full size = 0.50 oz; collection sells on their website 5 for $48.00 ($9.60/piece)
  • Size received = 0.24 oz
  • Estimated value = $4.61
Organic Surge | Perfecting Face Polish
  • Full size = 2.5 oz; sells on their website for $9.09
  • Size received = 1.0 oz
  • Estimated value = $3.64
  • Full size = 0.6 oz; sells on their website for $7.50
  • Size received = 0.5 oz
  • Estimated value = $6.25

Total estimated August Glam Bag value = $34.50

September Glam Bag

Briogeo | Don’t Despair, Repair! Deep Conditioning Mask
  • Full size = 8.0 oz; sells on their website for $36.00
  • Size received = 1.0 oz
  • Estimated Value = $4.50
Waxing Kara | Sweet Lips Honey Lip Balm
  • Full size received; sells on their website for $10.00
  • Estimated value = $10.00
IT Cosmetics | Superhero™ Mascara
  • Full size = 0.304 oz; sells on their website for $24.00
  • Size received = 0.17 oz
  • Estimated value = $13.42
Crown Brush | Ombre Angle Brush
  • Full size received; sells on their website for $7.99
  • Estimated value = $7.99
tre’StiQue | Mini Highlight Stick
  • Full size = 0.21 oz; sells on their website for $34.00
  • Size received = 0.04 oz
  • Estimated value = $6.48

Total estimated September Glam Bag value = $42.39

October Glam Bag

 theBalm Cosmetics | CabanaBoy Blush
  • Full size = 0.30 oz; sells on their website for $21.00
  • Size received = 0.02 oz
  • Estimated value = $1.40
NYX Professional Makeup | Vivid Brights Liner
  • Full size received; sells on their website for $7.00
  • Estimated value = $7.00
Pure Brazilian | Leave In Miracle
  • Size received = 1.0 oz; sells on their website for $6.00
  • Estimated value = $6.00
Indi Beauty | Buttercream Antioxidant Lip Scrub
  • Full size = 0.353 oz; sells on their website for $21.99
  • Size received = 0.169 oz
  • Estimated value = $10.54
tre’StiQue | Matte Lip Crayon
  • Full size = 0.06 oz; sells on their website for $28.00
  • Size received = 0.02 oz
  • Estimated value = $9.33

Total estimated October Glam Bag value = $34.27

Average Glam Bag value over first 3 months = $37.05

So, while certain items may not have hit my $2.00/piece mark (I’m looking at you, worthless sample size of blush that I can’t even use), and I’m certainly nowhere near the $53.00/month average value by my own definition, you can see that one or two items a month hit above the $10.60 threshold. And honestly, each month there are one or two items that I really love (i.e., the face polish, liquid illuminator, mascara, lip scrub – total estimated value of $34.80) which in total are valued at more than the $30 I spent in the last three months. I’d say for those wanting to expand their beauty bags, Ipsy is definitely worth it, at least for the time being. We’ll see if I get roped into any other monthly subscriptions any time soon….

[[Sign up for Ipsy here.]]

Time for a lesson in witch hazel

So you might recall a post I did last year about my newest skin obsession, rosehip oil. I still use it on a daily basis and am still reaping the benefits of elasticity and much-needed moisture to my face. I’ll admit, though, I’ve still been experiencing breakouts… to the point where I actually went out and bought some salicylic acid spot treatment. Yeah… no one ever mentioned your mid-twenties would be spent battling both acne and wrinkles. Ugh. Anyway. It hasn’t been ideal.

Flash forward to a few weeks ago, my mom started going on and on about some wipes she found in the store that she swears by; something she called witch hazel.


Um. What? When I think of witch hazel, I think of that character on Looney Toons. I honestly thought witch hazel was like a weird name for a supplement, like St. John’s Wort. And let’s just say my mom believes anything Dr. Oz tells her, even after he got sued for giving people false information. Like a ton of times. All that taken into consideration, I did some research, asked around, tried it out for myself… now I can confidently say that after three weeks of use, this shit should be sold by the ton.

Okay, so… what is it?

Witch hazel is a plant. Easy enough. The leaves, bark, and twigs of this plant are used to produce an astringent that can be used for various medicinal purposes. The essential oil is not sold separately as a consumer product, simply because the plant does not produce enough essential oil to make that production viable. Most witch hazel that is on the shelves is distilled with either water or alcohol, depending on the use you want out of it. From what I’ve read, if you get it in liquid form as witch hazel water, that is more for ingesting, and anything distilled with alcohol is used either as a liquid or wet wipe as an astringent centered around skin care.

I’m currently using these towelettes by Dickinson’s, which can now be found at almost any drug store and grocery store in the skin care aisle. The ingredients include: All Natural Witch Hazel (Containing Natural Grain Alcohol 14% and Witch Hazel Extract), Benzethonium Chloride, Sodium Benzoate, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice.


And… what do I do with it?

Let me preface this by saying my research only goes as far as uses for these astringent towelettes.

First and foremost, it is used as a natural astringent. It has the ability to remove excess oil from the skin and to minimize the appearance of pores. This aids in treating and preventing blemishes and acne from forming. I have been using the Dickinson’s wipes every night after removing my makeup and have realized my pores (which are normally huge) have noticeably shrunk down. My make up looks better and better sitting on my skin every day, and even when I go makeup free, I don’t worry as much. Stress and premenstrual break outs are not nearly what they were a month ago.

It also has  skin-tightening  properties and can help reduce swelling on the skin. This makes it ideal for brightening and firming the skin around your eyes, shrinking swollen/varicose veins, minimizing the appearance of bruises, and even relieves hemorrhoid pain. I’ve read that it is like “nature’s Neosporin,” so it can be applied to minor cuts and scrapes to disinfect, stop bleeding, and help the healing process.

As if that wasn’t enough, this stuff is the best after-sun treatment I’ve ever used. Never mind those expensive aloe- and cucumber-based lotions… there is aloe added into the wipes that I buy, but even the all-natural aloe gel I have never gave me these kind of results. After spending hours in the sun one lazy Saturday, I applied it to the redness on my nose and on my thighs where I got more sun than intended. It immediately took the burning sensation and tenderness out, and by the end of the night most of the redness was gone! I woke up the next morning feeling fine. I think this particular experience caused me to be a true believer in this shit.

And there are still more uses! I’ve also read it can relieve the itch from insect bites–though, I still have not tested out this theory yet (only because my Skin So Soft works so well I haven’t really gotten bit much this summer, thankfully). My coworker said when she was younger, that’s what her mom used to use on her for mosquito bites. Another use is razor burn and skin irritation, which I have tested, and it definitely helped in the bikini area. Not any more than using Listerine though (astringent hack, btw). WedMD says that it is “possibly ineffective” for treatment of itchy and inflamed skin (i.e., eczema or similar rash), and hydro-cortisone seems to be a better option. But either way, I’m convinced this stuff is a god-send. Like, why don’t more people know about it?

Is there a downside to this magnificent product?

The only con I’ve found thus far is the smell of the towelettes I use. The “signature botanical scent” they mention on the packaging doesn’t really do it for me.

And honestly, with all these benefits, if that is my only complaint… why are you still reading this? Go to the store and get some!



Three easy steps to take tonight to wake up easier tomorrow morning

So I’ve never actually have any issues falling asleep or staying asleep, for the most part. If you do, you probably hate me right now and that’s okay–I’ve known people with insomnia and that’s the absolute worst so I’m sorry. I’m also a self-proclaimed morning person. I feel like I’m at the top of my game most mornings, and usually take my first dip in energy right around 2-3pm. I yawn incessantly at the gym from 7-8pm. Then I get home, exhausted, and after a hot shower and a glass of wine I can barely keep my eyes open by 10pm. Lately, I’ve had a lot of trouble getting out of bed for work in the morning, only to start the same routine all over again. This weekend, I made three fast and easy changes to my sleeping habits that have given me more energy that lasts throughout the day.

Buy New Pillows

Okay, so this is the only one on this very short list that you actually have to spend a little coin on. But in the grand scheme of things, it’s a small price to pay for a great night’s sleep. I have probably been using the same pillows on my bed for the last 10 years. It’s just not something I ever thought of as a priority to replace. You hear about people who have issues sleeping needing new mattresses–and that’s a ton of money and hassle–but, for just $30 at TJ Maxx I bought two Calvin Klein pillows that are *literally* heaven. $30 may seem like a lot, and they had pairs of pillows in other brands and on sale for $9.99 and $16.99, but honestly, this is not something I was trying to skimp out on [really, it was only because I had indulged in a pitcher of margs before I went]. But I’m glad I bought the nicer ones, I can’t tell you how much more rejuvenated I feel when I wake up in the morning. It was a quick fix for a problem I didn’t even realize I had.

Get Less Sleep

If you’re an insomniac that never sleeps, skip to the next point. But, if you’re like me: exhausted all afternoon, and ready to pass out as soon as you get home at night, then the solution may be a bit counter-intuitive… but you might need to sleep LESS. What I didn’t realize when I was ready to pass out at 10pm, was that while my alarm was set for 6:05am and aptly allowing for 8 full hours of sleep, I wasn’t actually getting up out of bed to start my morning until almost 7am. I couldn’t get out of bed for my first alarm, so the second one hit, and then snooze, snooze, snooze. This past week I have not only been forcing myself to stay up a little later, but I also cut my nightly sleep time to 7 hours instead of 8 (okay, 9). The afternoon crash is almost nonexistent, and again, waking up in the morning has been so much easier. Who knew too much sleep could make you more tired? Everyone has a different ideal sleep amount, so you may have to experiment with it a little bit until you find the golden number. Mine, apparently, is 7 and not 9. Oops.

Don’t Sleep with Your Phone Next to Your Bed

Have you ever decided to climb into bed one night, and you open your phone, you know, just to check and see what’s going on, and before you know it, it’s two hours later and now you’re wide awake? Have you ever hit snooze so many times in the morning that your alarm literally just gave up on you? All of these issues can be resolved by leaving your phone across the room at night. If you do have trouble getting to sleep at night, you might want to consider getting rid of the TV in your bedroom as well. The light from your phone and TV actually send signals to your brain that it’s daylight, and even if you are exhausted, your brain will try to keep you up. In the morning, if your alarm is going off across the room, just getting up out of bed to turn it off gives you less incentive to hit snooze and go back to sleep for another 20 minutes. There are tons of studies out there telling you how terrible that 20 minute snooze between alarms really is for your body. The good news is, once you figure out your perfect amount of sleep and pick up those new comfy pillows to sleep on, you will have less incentive to hit that snooze button because you’ll feel a million times better in the morning!

And that’s it! Sleep well my beauties.


The unintended side effect of adding protein powder to your diet

I decided to add a powdered whey protein isolate into my diet when I went from 2 muscle training classes and one cardio session per week, to 3 muscle training classes and no cardio per week, to 3 muscle training classes and a boot camp conditioning class every week. I figured with my increase in exercise and lack of any actual protein in my diet, adding some in the morning/post workout couldn’t hurt. I didn’t notice much of a difference at first until I started making these bomb recovery shakes after my boot camp class and realized I was less sore when I woke up the next day. So that was pretty cool.


I’ve been drinking at least one scoop of protein each day with 4-6oz of vanilla almond milk for the last month. In the past week or so I noticed an unintended side effect of this magical supplement.

I have thick hair. And a lot of it. I’ve been using this fall fight shampoo and conditioner by Garnier for probably about a year now and only continue to use it because it smells good and for some reason my hair is not getting used to it. You know like when you use a shampoo and condition combo for too long, it stops making your hair look good so you have to switch?  Right. Okay. Anyway, I was still shedding like a mofo. I only wash my hair three days a week and each time I’d scoop clumps of hair out of the drain after the shower. It was so annoying! And not to mention the time I completely fried my hair a month ago because one plate on my hair straightener broke. So, between this fall fight crap and the keratin leave in conditioner I was using to repair the damage to my hair, I still lost quite a bit of hair to breakage daily with no idea how to prevent it. But we’re girls, we just deal with shit like that, right? Wrong. Enter in a month of drinking protein.

In the last week I’ve noticed that I am shedding less and less in the shower, on my pillow at night, and in my every day activities. I looked it up and it’s actually legit: upping the protein in your diet can prevent breakage, allow your hair to grow faster, stay attached to your head longer, and be healthier and stronger overall. And if you think as a girl combining protein and weightlifting will make you bulky, you’re out of your mind but that’s another rant for another day. It’s not only good for your bod and your post workout recovery, but it can help your hair grow stronger and more beautiful, and who wouldn’t want that?!


Let’s talk about rosehip oil

The Issue.

My entire life, I’ve avoided applying oily products on my face like the plague. If a moisturizer or a face wash did not come with an “oil-free” disclaimer, I refused to buy it. My skin was extremely acne prone from the time I entered my teens until around 17, and aside from avoiding oil, I basically treated my skin like it was indestructible. Benzyl peroxide, salicylic acid, you name it, I applied to my face day and night. I willfully put acid on my face hoping it would clear up my acne. My skin was so damaged that even when my acne cleared up and went away for the most part, I still had these scars on my skin that one day (in tears) I accepted would be there forever.

I wish I had known back then what I know now.

My skin would feel really, really dry every morning after I showered. I always assumed that was a good thing, since I thought my acne was being caused by oily skin. All the products I applied to my face were supposed to dry it out, so I figured I was headed in the right direction. I avoided using moisturizers or lotions on my face unless my face was so dry it actually hurt. Regardless, by the end of the day, I was blotting oil off my face and wondering where I went wrong.

The Misconception.

I started opening myself up to the idea of applying oil to my face when I purchased an oil-based eye serum from my friend, Erin, in February (review of the serum here). Erin informed me that the biggest misconception floating around is that oil is bad for your skin. I avoided it so haphazardly in my youth, that I put this terrible stigma on the mere thought of oil getting anywhere near my face.

What I failed to realize is that if my skin felt dry before my day even started, that meant it was literally craving moisture. Because I didn’t do anything about my dry skin, my body started to produce oil to make up what I was lacking. Hence, the grease pit on my face by time the day ended. My body was trying to tell me it needed moisture, and if I wasn’t going to listen to what my body was saying, it would try and compensate on its own… but in these kinds of situations, the body often overcompensates, leaving the skin too oily and thus very prone to clogged pores and breakouts.

The Solution.

For the past few months, I have replaced traditional moisturizers and nightly creams (which I still only used sparingly into adulthood) with this Organic Rosehip Oil with Vitamin E. Rosehip oil is distilled from the seeds of the Rosa rubiginosa or Rosa mosqueta species of rose. A cold-press extraction method separates the oil from the hips and seeds. Vitamin E oil is sometimes added to prolong the shelf life (like in the one I’m using), and you can also refrigerate it to keep it from spoiling. I apply one pump of this amber-colored magic all over my clean face before bed and before makeup application in the morning. It’s considered a “dry” oil, so it absorbs into the skin fairly quickly, and it gives me a chance to give myself a mini-face massage morning and night.


Within the first week of daily and nightly application, I immediately noticed my face wasn’t as oily at the end of the day as usual. While washing my face, I can feel how much smoother my skin is since I started… it’s finally getting the moisture it’s needed all these years. The true test, my skin tends to get extra oily around a certain time of the month, but I didn’t experience any premenstrual break outs for the first time in forever. I’m also beginning to notice my makeup application is getting easier each day I use it. After about six weeks, my skin tone is becoming visibly more even. I was even complimented on how great my makeup looked two weeks into starting use… but I didn’t apply it any differently than I normally do. My skin just looks better!

The long-term benefits I’ve read about are enough to keep me using this for as long as my skin is loving it. Prolonged use will aid in wrinkle prevention and anti-aging, skin firmness and elasticity (which is something I’m already starting to notice), it will lighten and fade scars and blemishes on the skin as well as reverse sun damage. Plus it’s organic and all natural, so you’re not putting chemicals directly on your face (sorry, teenage face for applying acid directly onto you). I’m still baffled at how much improvement I have seen in such a short time using it.

Bonus: after cleansing face and before applying rosehip oil, dilute some apple cider vinegar in filtered water, apply to cotton swab, and use as an all natural toner!★

The Lesson.

Oils fucking rock! Don’t discredit the power they hold. At a price of around $10 every three months, I’ve effectively replaced expensive moisturizers, wrinkle/anti-aging creams, and regenerist serums all with one natural product. A couple caveats I’ve found in my research if you decide to incorporate rosehip oil into your daily skin regimen–while it will help with acne scars and breakout prevention, it should not be applied to active acne (though your apple cider vinegar toner can☺). Also, while it helps reverse sun damage, it does not offer protection from the actual sun–still use an SPF daily!

Keep in mind, there is literally an essential oil alternative for everything that ails you. Migraines? Lavender and peppermint oil. Bad allergies? Eucalyptus oil. Insomnia? Lavender and neroli oil. Sore muscles? Peppermint oil. Foot odor? Tea tree and lemon oil. Keloidal scar? Vitamin E oil. Seriously, I could go on forever and ever and ever and ever about how great oils are. Do some research–I promise it’ll change your life.


Beauty survival kit

Happy March, peeps! The first of the month is always so refreshing, isn’t it? Well, besides rent being due. Ugh. Anyway, 2015 has been a year full of discovery for me: from discovering things about myself, to discovering new ways to view the world around me, to the topic of focus today: discovering new products that I don’t how how I ever lived without.

Here’s a breakdown of three things in my beauty drawer I’m currently obsessed with:

1. Handmade Vegan Gluten-Free Lemon Eye Serum


Don’t let the name scare you, this is an all-natural eye serum my good friend and soul sister Erin makes and sells. It consists of just four ingredients, all with unique benefits: apricot oil for anti-aging and wrinkle prevention, Vitamin E oil for softening skin, jojoba oil for moisturizing, and lemon oil for brightening skin (not to mention a heavenly citrus scent). Before you mentally block this entire post out because you think putting oil on your face will cause it to break out, let me be the first to inform you that your whole life has been a lie. Putting oil on your face actually makes it less oily and less prone to breakouts. I’m serious. Look it up!

I initially purchased this as a natural alternative to the Neutrogena Deep Wrinkle Intensive Night Cream I was using. I only started using a wrinkle cream as a prevention measure (my mom – who has flawless skin – said she started using it in her mid-20s), but making the switch from a wrinkle cream to this stuff was the best decision I could have made.

I have been using Erin’s homemade serum for about a month now and am starting to see some clear benefits beyond just wrinkle prevention – my under-eyes actually look and feel more firm, and I have almost completely lost the dark under-eye circles that have plagued me since I was a teenager. I love that it’s all natural, and because of the individual benefits of all the components, I’ve also experimented with applying the serum on acne scars and on my forehead as well. What’s even better, is I’m pretty sure this bottle will last the rest of my life.

You can buy this product directly from Erin on Etsy!

2. Big Sexy Hair Volumizing Dry Shampoo

I have to admit, my mom got this for me probably more than a year ago, and I threw it in a drawer and never thought of it again. Having short, dark, and thick ass hair, I try to only wash it two or three times a week, making dry shampoo a must in my morning routine. I experimented with so many different types, from powders to spray and everywhere in between with no avail. I always ended up having this gunky residue left behind near my scalp, making it look like I had dandruff. I even tried different techniques, such as applying the dry shampoo before bed and letting my pillow work it into my hair. Nothing seemed to be working, so I essentially gave up, and just resorted to teasing the crap out of my hair on especially greasy days.

Then, while packing for Vegas in January, I found this bottle amongst all of my travel-size shampoos and body wash. I threw it in my bag, with little expectation to actually use it. Well… Vegas happened, and the first morning I woke up to find my hair a grease pit. So I gave this stuff a try– and imagine my surprise when it went on perfectly, didn’t leave any residue behind, and gave my hair wicked volume in the process! I love this stuff, if you haven’t found your go-to dry shampoo yet, I suggest you give this one a try.

You can buy this at virtually any beauty store, including Ulta.

3. Rimmel London Lipstick and Lipstain


I have no idea what kind of voodoo magic Rimmel London has been working with, but every lipstick I have tried by them have been outstanding. They are affordable (~$5-$10 a pop at Target), lightly scented, the color is rich, and most importantly they don’t dry my lips out (even WITHOUT a lip primer, which I always seem to have to use with the $16 MAC lipsticks…). My two faves are pictured above – Provocalips 16HR Kissproof Lip Color (left) and Lasting Finish by Kate Moss (right).

I don’t have much more to say beyond the application is easy and smooth and the results are amazing. I rarely — if ever — have to reapply, even after eating and drinking. Removing it at the end of the night doesn’t leave any stain or residue behind on my lips (which, as much as I love you, Just Bitten, you really suck at). When it comes to drugstore lipstick (which tbh is the only thing I can afford right now), Rimmel really gives the big names a run for their money (aside: how am I just now understanding what that saying means?). Now excuse me while I go cry over all the money I wasted on MAC lipstick.


Provocalips in ‘Kiss Fatal’


Lasting Finish by Kate in ’10’