August 30, 2015

14th Anniversary

Today, Yanni and I celebrated our 14th anniversary. I can't believe how many years it has been since we first started dating.

15 years ago my sister introduced me to Yanni. I was a senior in High School and would visit my sister at her University, where she met Yanni and luckily introduced me to. I was smitten as soon as I met him and knew right away that I would be with him. We got to know each other through handwritten notes that we would send each other back and forth.

I am so grateful that I found a partner in my life that I get so along with. He is truly my best friend. He and I are so alike, yet so very different. And I think it's important that you have a partner that is different because you can learn lots from each other and balance each other out. For example, sometimes I can be a little hot head, yet Yanni has the patience of a saint and is so understanding. He always sees the best in people; he's funny and loves talking to people; from the Post Office to the restaurants we go to, he always meets a new person that he strikes a conversation with and makes someone else smile. He's kind and has a big heart. I am much more reserved and it takes me time to get to know people and then open up.

But, our differences makes me better. It makes me want to do things I normally wouldn't do and vice versa. Taekwondo was so important to me, and I wanted to do it, and I had him join too and now it's something we both share. I love to read and he didn't, yet I got him into reading and now he loves it and we share books with each other. I have to admit I didn't like documentaries, and he got me into that genre and now I am hooked. We balance each other out.

There isn't a time we argue, it is very rare, and if we do, we talk about it, and see eye to eye, we respect each other and we move on.  It also helps that he has that saintly patience. He is willing to do everything for me and with me. He goes with me to my craft shops, shoe shopping, and to buy makeup. Never once does he complain, but instead urges me to take my time.

And most importantly, he makes me laugh. Every day and all day. There isn't a day that goes by that my stomach or jaw doesn't hurt from all the laughter.

It's been 14 years and I still smile when I see him. He makes me so happy.

On this day, we celebrate 14 years, and we didn't do anything fancy. We both know each other so well, and we knew we both just wanted to stay in. We picked up food from our favorite local Italian restaurant. I had to get spaghetti and meatballs because it's my absolute favorite. I could live off of spaghetti and meatballs, loads of parmesan cheese, and cheesy garlic bread. Be still my little heart; that dish, so simple, yet so classic.

We picked up our favorite ice cream cake from our favorite local ice cream shop. We watched movies, played some games, I listened to him play the guitar, he watched me make some jewelry, we practiced Taekwondo, and went for a walk. We talked, laughed, and enjoyed each other's company; these are the little things we do together as partners. These are things I want to do for another 14 years and more with him by my side.

August 27, 2015

New makeup I am loving

I recently bought and received a few new make-up gifts from Yanni that I have been loving and had to share what I am using right now.

Lorac TANtalizer - This pretty duo comes with a huge mirror and one side is a beautiful matte bronzer and the other half is a warm highlighter. I carry this compact everywhere I go. I use it for light contouring and bronzing.

COOLA ER + Radical Recovery After-Sun Lotion -  I consider myself pretty vigilant about sunscreen. I wear it daily, even if it's not sunny and I will be inside all day, I wear it every single day. Most recently, I was outside and though I wore a hat, sunglasses, long sleeves, and had sunscreen on, I spent so much time outdoors and didn't reapply. When I got home I saw that my upper arms were red and burned. I had a sample of COOLA's radical recovery after-sun lotion and put that on one arm and used aloe on the other. Just some experimenting. The next day the arm I put COOLA on was remarkably not red or in pain at all. Right away I got the full size one.

COOLA Lip Balm SPF 30 - This lip balm has a blend of fruits, raspberry and avocado. To top it all off it is water resistant which is perfect for swimming and sweating in the hot summer.

Tarte Maracuja Creaseless Concealer in Medium - It's no secret I have dark circles around my eyes so trying to find the perfect concealer has always been an on-going personal mission for me. I finally found one that I don't think I will ever replace it. It's creamy and is a little thick, but I never have a hard time applying it. I apply it with my fingers. I know in the beauty world that is a no no, but it works for me. Everyone who knows something about makeup applies it with a brush, but I think the warmth of the finger lets me apply this concealer easily. And with this concealer a very little goes a long way. I use just a little tiny drop for both eyes and to cover any tiny little spots I want to conceal.

One thing I will note is that though it says it is creaseless, that is entirely up to you. I didn't blend well one morning, and it was a crease-fest. Make sure to blend, blend and blend, and tap it in and then I recommend brushing some translucent powder over it to seal it.

Kat Von D's Lock-it Tattoo Foundation in Light 48 - This is one of the best foundations I have ever used. It's lightweight and long-lasting. I usually don't like wearing foundation. I typically just moisturize and then apply concealer to my under eyes, but this foundation is just like a light weight concealer but provides you the coverage you need. I don't put it all over my face, but I apply it to the areas I normally put concealer. And remember, I do TaeKwonDo, I run, and play basketball, this stays on and I love that its matte and not cakey. It's a perfect base. When I put it on its like a really fresh and clean canvas. And just like the concealer, make to sure blend.

Urban Decay's Naked Basics - This palette looks pretty simple, but it packs a lot of punch. It is a small compact palette that has 6 neutral shades. I use the Urban Decay Naked 3 palette daily and my favorite shadow color is Nooner from Naked 3, but when I am not wearing that I am using this Basic palette. This palette has 6 matte shadows and they are all so versatile and each shadow can be used solo or combined for variety of looks. Perfect to leave in the office drawer or when your traveling too.

What are your favorites right now? Any new products that you recommend that I should try?

August 21, 2015

Nutribullet Smoothies

My mom recently gifted me a Nutribullet. I had no idea what it was and what it was capable of doing, but I love making smoothies, so I gave it a whirl and I have been addicted to it ever since. I make a smoothie every morning.

I have tried multiple blenders and different juicers and the Nutribullet is the easiest one to use and the easiest to clean up. I've been making two types of smoothies recently: Chocolate Strawberry and Blueberry Coconut  and  Blueberry and Banana with Spinach.And I add protein to all my smoothies.

A friend recently had me try this chocolate flavored powdered protein and I have been adding it to almost everything. I add it to smoothies, when I am baking cookies, waffle and pancake batter...and the list goes on.

I realized that I was not eating enough protein and this is an easy and yummy way to add protein. Protein has so many positive benefits, such as muscle repair and growth, build and repair tissue, helps you maintain a healthy weight, promotes weight loss, builds muscle (if you are active and exercising) and provides an overall well rounded diet for me. I was tracking my diet using an app and found that I was not getting enough protein. So these smoothies are not only delicious, but they give me the necessary protein boost I need. I especially enjoy drinking one after I run a few miles and Taekwondo.

Today I am going to show you how to easily make the Chocolate Strawberry and Bluberry with Coconut smoothie. All you need is: strawberries, blueberries (I used frozen), chocolate milk, shredded coconut, and I also put a tablespoon of protein (chocolate flavored). The frozen fruit give it a little thickness too.

Add a scoop of protein.

Add some shredded coconut (optional).

And, you can add water, which I usually do, but if want a creamier smoothie, I add non-fat milk or chocolate milk. For this smoothie had some low-fat chocolate milk. With the Nutribullet, there is a convenient link that marks the max to fill with fruit and liquid.

The NutriBullet comes with two blenders, one for fruits and veggies and another one that chops up seeds and nuts. I mostly use the double bladed one for fruits and veggies to make my smoothies.

Flip it.

And press it down on the unit and turn and it will start quickly blending everything together. About 8-10 seconds. Once it is finished simply twist and remove.

Twist off the top piece, and you can enjoy the smoothie right from the cup you blend it in. This unit also came with two other cups that look like mugs, so you can blend and then enjoy it right then.

Not only does this make great smoothies, but my absolute favorite thing about it is how easy it is to clean. With all other blenders I have used it has been such a mess to clean up because the blades are all the  way at the bottom of the unit. However, on the Nutribullet the blades are the cover, so you just rinse and your done.

August 20, 2015

Black Belt Test Day List

In June I accomplished a goal I had set for many years and that was getting my first degree Black Belt in Taekwondo. I can't wait to share some photos of the special day.

In the meantime I wanted to share some things I recommend on doing, wearing, and bringing with you if you are preparing for your own Black Belt.

What to eat that morning (a few ideas):
  1. Two eggs and slice of toast
  2. Plain yogurt with fresh strawberries
  3.  Protein bar
The morning of my test I had planned making a light egg white omelet and a Strawberry and Banana smoothie with Spinach, but I woke up with some butterflies in my stomach and had no appetite. I forced myself to take a few bites of the protein bar. I am loving these Thin Bars (which have 20 grams of protein).

And hydrate yourself with plenty of water.

What to wear:
  1. Sports bra (sometimes I wear two)
  2. Sports tank under uniform, must be tucked in if you wear one
  3. Your uniform, clean and pressed
  4. Hair - Put in low pony tail or braid (can't wear high pony or bun because you need to put a sparring helmet on)
  5. Optional TKD shoes with socks (I prefer being barefoot, but some people prefer putting shoes on during foot board breaking)
  6. Sparring equipment (mouth guard, helmet, shin/feet/arm guards, and chest guard)

List of items to bring with you:
  1. Water bottle
  2. Protein bar
  3. Band-aids and other first aid kit items (sports tape, neosporin)
  4. Hair elastics and/or head band
  5. Small towel
  6. Wipes (baby wipes)
  7. Sandals (comfortable flip flops)
  8. Extra t-shirt
Make sure a family member or friend is there with a camera or video camera, it's an important day and you are going to want pictures.

And most importantly, breathe in and breathe out and be confident.  Nerves are completely normal, but know that you are ready for this. You have been training, practicing, and you would only be asked to test if your Master and/or Instructor knew you were ready. 

August 15, 2015

Homemade Salsa

I love salsa and recently started making my own homemade salsa and it took all of about 5 minutes to do. I was inspired by the first batch of peppers we are growing this summer.

We used our first pepper to make the spicy salsa. All you need is one organic medium sized tomato, minced garlic, onion, a spicy pepper, paprika, chili powder, parsley, I added a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar, and you can add any other of ingredient.

You can put it all in a blender, I used my Nutribullet, it's a small, but very powerful blender, that I use to make smoothies with and now I make salsas and hummus with. I will tell you all about my love for it and smoothies in an upcoming post. I mixed all the ingredients for about 10 seconds and got a beautifully colorful and spicy salsa.

I also used the salsa to dress up some burgers instead of ketchup and it was delicious.

August 10, 2015

J. Crew Panama Hat Resize

I was recently at my local J. Crew store and I was in desperate need for a summer hat, something clean and simple that could go with just about any outfit and cover my face in the sun. As I was walking out the store this hat, the Panama Hat, caught my attention immediately and I knew it would be perfect and that I would be wearing it all summer. I had no idea how popular it was until I did some research on it later. I guess it is the must have summer hat. Unfortunately, the only size left was small/medium and large/xlarge, and it was too tight and the other was too large. Yanni looked all around and found one medium/large left and it felt great and I didn't hesitate to get it.

However, as I wore it throughout the day I noticed that even with the slightest breeze my hat would fly off. So when I got back home I did some research on the proper fit of a hat. The proper fit of a hat should not be loose and go over your ears. Oops, mine did! And it should not be too snug that it leaves a mark on your head. When you have it on you should be able to put 1 finger in between you head and the hat. When I put my hat on, about 2-3 fingers could fit. I knew it was too big, so I knew I had to do some more research and get creative.

You're probably thinking, why didn't you just return it? Well, the sweet lady at the register asked me if I was going to wear the hat right then and there and I said sure, so she snipped off the tag and threw it away.

So..back to needing to be creative. I found a hat hack on The Hunter Style of this exact hat. I didn't know if would really work or if it would even be comfortable. Luckily, Yanni had some double sided mounting tape and I peeled off one side and pushed the adhesive strip around the hat under the fabric flap.

 I did this all around the hat.

Once I put the fabric flap down, I can still see a small edge of the strip around it, but no one is going to see the inside of my hat. If you have the thinner strip, great, but if you don't then no worries, it works either way.

I put it on and it fit perfectly. It doesn't hurt and no flying away in the wind. It is super comfortable and doesn't even feel like there is anything there. I wear this hat multiple times during the week and I always get compliments on it. It is my favorite hat and it is extremely flattering on everyone I see wear it.