Pumpkin Spice Energy Bites

I recently baked a delicious pumpkin bread that called for a can of pumpkin but I had a little bit leftover. Being the pumpkin lover I am I couldn’t just let that go to waste! So I came up with this easy no bake pumpkin energy bite recipe on a whim. It uses Birch Benders Paleo Pumpkin Spice pancake mix as the flour, which I like because it adds great flavor and is already slightly sweetened. I ate a few of these bites for breakfast, but they would also make a great preworkout snack too!

Ingredients

– 1/2 c old fashioned oats

– 1/2 c canned pumpkin

– 3/4 c Birch Benders paleo pumpkin spice pancake mix (I purchased from Fresh Thyme but it can be found on Amazon)

– 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice

– 2 tbsp almond butter

– 1/4 c chocolate chips

Directions: mix all ingredients well to form a dough, if it is too sticky to work with add a little more pancake mix. Roll into bite size balls and refrigerate for 30 minutes before eating. Store leftovers in fridge for up to 3 days. Recipe makes 8 bite sized treats.

Enjoy!! Xo,

Lynne

5 Make Ahead Freezer Meals

With the start of the new school year I wanted to prep my freezer with a few easy options for a quick dinner…that didn’t include a frozen pizza 😉 Similar to how I felt when I was near term with each of my pregnancies, this looming start of homeschooling feels like a scary new frontier.  Knowing that for at least a few nights I won’t have to devote much effort to putting dinner on the table helps in some small way to ease my anxiety for sure!

I used a couple of pre-made ingredients with these meals- some jarred sauces, premade meatballs etc.  Feel free to adjust these recipes to suit what your time and schedule allows for. I actually did time myself from counter to freezer bag and these 5 meals took me 35 minutes to prep. This is my first time doing this so I’m sure each subsequent round of freezer prep will probably get a little faster.

You’ll want to make sure you have 5 gallon sized freezer bags on hand. A skillet will be needed to brown your meat and several knives, cutting boards and mixing bowls.

Below you will find a complete grocery list of everything you need for these recipes. I shopped at Kroger for this round. I had a few pantry staples already so I didn’t buy this entire list, maybe 95% of it and I was out of there for around $100 – not bad!

MEAT

  • 1 pound ground turkey, jennie-o makes a great preseasoned italian version which would work great
  • rotisserie chicken
  • thick cut bacon, can by pre-cooked to save time
  • 1.5 pounds stir fry beef, or flank steak
  • 1.5 pound chicken tender pieces
  • package of precooked meatballs – frozen or refrigerated

CANNED GOODS

  • black beans
  • corn
  • diced tomatoes – italian season
  • 12 oz can tomato sauce
  • rotel style canned tomatoes with green chilis
  • 32 oz box beef broth
  • 32 oz box chicken broth
  • cream of mushroom soup

PRODUCE

  • 3 large zucchini
  • 2 packages of fresh mini bella mushrooms
  • large head of broccoli, or bag of frozen florets
  • large yellow onion

DAIRY

  • 16 oz tub ricotta
  • 1 package shredded mozzarella
  • 1 package shredded taco style cheese
  • 8 ounce carton of sour cream

CARBS

  • 1 package of egg noodles
  • 1 box of minute rice
  • package of frozen garlic bread
  • package of tater tots

SAUCES/SPICES

  • 1 jar spaghetti sauce
  • squeeze garlic
  • squeeze ginger
  • large bottle of teriyaki sauce
  • honey mustard salad dressing
  • package of taco seasoning
  • italian seasoning
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • Cornstarch

RECIPE #1 Zucchini Lasagna made with ground turkey

  • slice zucchini into thin medallion slices
  • brown ground turkey with italian season
  • combine jarred spaghetti sauce with canned italian tomatoes in mixing bowl, add 2 tbsp squeeze garlic and mix well
  • in gallon freezer bag combine all ingredients and freeze
  • to make: place thawed mixture in 9X13 casserole dish. Place large spoonfuls of ricotta cheese across casserole. Bake in 400 degree oven for 50 minutes. Once removed from oven add mozzarella or parmesan cheese to preference.
  • Serve with garlic toast

RECIPE #2 Chicken Tortilla Soup

  • shred rotisserie chicken and place is freezer bag
  • add can of drained corn and black beans to bag
  • add rotel tomatoes, can leave undrained
  • add packet of taco season
  • add 1/2 of yellow onion diced
  • add carton of chicken broth
  • add canned tomato sauce
  • mix well and freeze
  • to serve: bring contents of thawed bag to a boil in a large stock pot , reduce to simmer and a 1.5 cups of white rice. Continue to simmer until rice is cooked 10-15 minutes (alternatively add in precooked rice and just heat through). Garnish with sour cream and mexican shredded cheese

RECIPE #3 Beef and Broccoli Stir Fry

  • To freezer bag add: broccoli florets, stir fry beef/sliced flank steak, 1/4 onion diced, 1 tbsp squeeze garlic, 1 tbsp of squeeze ginger. Mix well before freezing.
  • To serve: place defrosted contents into crock pot and cook on low for 5 hours. Can add cornstarch to thicken sauce if desired. Serve with cooked white rice

RECIPE #4 Alice Springs Chicken Bake

  • To freezer bag add: chicken tenderloin strips, 1/2 jar of honey mustard, 5 slices of chopped cooked bacon, package of rinse mushrooms
  • To serve: Place thawed contents into baking dish, bake at 400 degrees for 30-35 minutes until chicken is done. Garnish with mexican shredded cheese. Serve with tater tots or any other vegetable side.

RECIPE #5 Swedish meatballs

  • To freezer bag add: package of cooked meatballs, can of cream of mushroom soup, package of rinse mushrooms, 1/4 onion diced, 1 tbsp squeeze garlic, 2 tbsp worcestershire, 1/2 carton of beef broth
  • To serve: Placed thawed contents in slow cooker and cook on low for 4 hours. When ready to eat stir in 3/4 c of sour cream. Serve over egg noodles.

The biggest time saver I’ve found with these meals is you only go through the work of cleaning up a major kitchen mess once in 5 days instead of nightly! I’d love to know if you try any or all of these recipes…or if you have any other make ahead freezer meal ideas please leave them in the comments!

As always thanks for reading!

XO,

Lynne

 

 

 

Easy Summer Salad

Pout and Powder Blog Easy Summer Salad

Yesterday when I was at the local farmer’s market I picked up some nectarines. I haven’t had one in years. When I brought them home I thought these will be a great snack for the kids. Later on that afternoon I was thinking how on a beautiful summer day I wouldn’t hesitate to head to one of my favorite local cafes for a nice salad and a glass of wine. The thought came to me to make a fancy salad that made me feel like I was at a cafe but was quick to assemble and used what I had on hand. Enter nectarines…and prosciutto. I didn’t have much else in my kitchen but I think the secret to a good salad is mixing some savory and sweet items with a good acidic dressing. When you start adding too many things to a salad it can overwhelm your palette so I prefer fewer items but I like toppings with a lot of flavor. This salad is great as a light entree or would make a great starter to a more substantial meal.

Nectarine Summer Salad

Serves 2

Ingredients:

3 cups fresh spinach

1/4 c. crumbled feta (you could substitute shaved Parmesan, just needs to be a salty cheese)

1/4 c. diced red onion

1/4 c. walnut pieces

2 slices prosciutto sliced into bite size pieces

1 small nectarine sliced (you could substitute peaches)

Dressing of choice, I like a garlic vinaigrette such as Garlic Expressions but even something simple like olive oil and lemon would be great.

Cosmakery First Impressions

Welcome back to the blog!  For today’s post I’m spilling the tea on my first impressions of a “new to me” cosmetics brand called Cosmakery.  I was first introduced to the products on Instagram and was 100% drawn to the branding.  The products seemed girly yet sophisticated if that makes any sense?  As I learned more about them, I discovered this female owned business was started by a veteran makeup artist.  Janelle Thomason has worked in the industry for 20 years and has an impressive resume of celebrity clients including Kate Upton.  She is the owner of a Michigan based professional makeup studio called The Makeup Loft.  Being 100% honest, I’ve had hit or miss experiences in the past with makeup brands created by makeup artists so I was very curious to see how these products performed.

Before I dive into the products, I wanted to hit some highlights of the Cosmakery brand. The products are all cruelty free and made without parabens, sulfates, mineral oil and gluten.  Per my personal preference they are also fragrance free- raise your hands if you are one of those sensitive allergy girls like me!  They are offered at budget friendly mid range price points and spoiler alert I think the quality far exceeds cost to consumer.

Ok onto to the products…I was sent 3 shades of their Color Cream Lipsticks to try and review.  I generally like to try a red shade when I review a new brand of lipstick but I really don’t wear a ton of red in the summer.  So I opted for a coral shade called Sorbet, a cool toned nude called Locket , and a deeper berry color called Mrs. True to their description these are buttery soft cream lipsticks that go on smooth and feel somewhat moisturizing. If your lips are at all dry I would not rely on this as a “balm” type lipstick – you’ll need to make sure to exfoliate and moisturize first but overall this formula is not dry.  I was super impressed with the pigmentation of these lipsticks.  Just one swipe was enough to fill in the color.  True to most cream lipsticks they won’t last all day.  You will definitely need to reapply after eating but I will take that small downfall any day compared to wearing a drying longwear matte lipstick.  You can see swatches of all three shades below: Sorbet, Locket, Mrs. 

Now onto what I like to call the “pro touches”…the first time I used this lipstick when I went to put the cap on it almost seemed to lock in place on its own.  After try the mechanism a bit more I messaged the brand and sure enough the cap has a magnetic closure.  Pure brillance, how many times have I hastily tried to cap my lipstick only to do a half assed job and later find the cap missing in my purse or worse yet the inside of my bag ruined?  Cosmakery gets us ladies, they get the struggle! I’m looking forward to trying their oil free foundation for summer next and also their blush!

Cosmakery has offered my followers a discount of 15% off using code LYNNE15. You can check them out at https://www.cosmakery.com

As always thanks for taking the time to check in here!

XO,

Lynne

Spring Sephora Sale Top Ten

*affiliate link used in this post, a small commission is earned with no extra cost to purchaser. All opinions are my own.

The Spring Sephora sale is in full swing and there a few items I wanted to call out because they rarely go on sale. By now you probably know if given the choice I lean toward a budget beauty find but sometimes you need to pull out the big guns! Starting today VIB members will get 15% off using the code SPRINGSAVE. Insiders (the general public without any reward points) will get 10% off starting 4/23 with the code SPRINGSAVE. I have my eye on some skincare, I’ve heard good things about the INKEY list and will probably be trying some of their products for the first time. Stay tuned for my review! I may also be restocking on some of my favorites listed below. For access to the sale click here.

  1. Dr. Dennis Gross Alpha Beta peel- I’ve started using these every 2-3 days over the last month and can’t help but notice how they’ve helped with keeping my skin well exfoliated.  My other products seem to work better and my makeup goes on so smooth.  These peels come in three strengths and I also noticed they come in a trial 5 pack size which I think would be great to test out before ordering a larger quantity.
  2. Clinique Moisture Surge CC Cream- This is a great medium buildable coverage CC Cream. I find it compares well to It Cosmetics but I like this one more for summer because I feel like it sits better on my skin in more humid weather.  If you have oily skin I think you will find this suits your skin better than the It Cosmetics.
  3. Urban Decay All Nighter Setting Spray – It’s just a mic drop kind of product for me. Stock up for summer because makeup melt is not cute!
  4. Charlotte Tilbury Pillowtalk – the cult favorite, I noticed it comes in a mini set with a lip liner which I think would be a great purchase for trying it out.  I wish I would have bought that size because I have never in the history of ever finished a tube of lipstick!
  5. Victor & Rolf Flowerbomb- my favorite girly but not too girly scent.  It works well for all seasons.
  6. Tarte Timeless Smoothing Primer – If you’ve watched my instastories you know this is a must have for my “Faux-tox” routine.  If you have large expression lines that you want to fill in this stuff is great!
  7. Wander Dualist Concealer – a matte stick and a creamy liquid formula all in one.  This is one of my must haves for travel and if you have trouble with concealer creasing in fine lines this would be my top recommendation for you.
  8. Living Proof Dry Shampoo- another mic drop.  I’ve tried probably twenty different dry shampoos and without fail I always come back to it.   There is a new jumbo size that I will be stocking up on for summer.
  9. Wander On the Glow Blush/Bronzing duo- another great product for travel.  A pretty cream blush on one end and a shimmery bronze highlight on the other end.  I always get compliments when I wear this blush.
  10. St. Tropez Express Self Tan-  The best and most natural tan you will find in a bottle.  Application is smooth, streak free and lasts a week if you moisturize well.

I’d love to hear what you have your eye on! This is always one of my favorite sales of the year.  Hope you all are staying safe and healthy!

XO,

Lynne

 

Made ya blush!

*post is not sponsored but does contain affiliate links

If there’s one product I think women should reach for more it’s blush!  Especially in the spring!  Even on a minimal makeup day a little flush of color can really wake up your face.  I think with all the popularity in recent years of highlighting and contouring that blush has been unfairly dropped from some ladies routines.  It really is the final step in the perfect contoured look and the right placement of blush can help with slimming your face.

I think it’s fun to look back at the history of some products.  Blush, or rouge as it was called until recently years, originated back in Ancient Egypt.  At the time, women would lighten their complexions and add rouge and a red lip as a sign of wealth. Throughout history, women at times were seen as more promiscuous for wearing makeup and at times laws prevented women from wearing it. Ingredients such as beets and strawberries were used to flush the cheeks but so were heavy metals like lead and mercury!

Bringing you back to today, blush is made in a variety of consistencies now including powders, creams and liquids.  It’s popular for manufacturers to combine different shades into one product that when blended produce a multitonal look.

If you are looking for a good starting point, I’d recommend the Flower Blush Bomb drops I’m wearing below (shown in shade Melon).  It a very pigmented cream formula, a tiny amount goes a long way when using this affordable drugstore option.  You can find it linked here: https://rstyle.me/+Bfy9qBHQpVVXZUj9wjofOQ

On the higher end, I’ve also been loving the Dior Backstage Rosy Glow.  It looks almost Barbie pink in the pan but transforms on the skin to a light pink flush reminiscent of a garden fairy.  It’s rare that I will splurge on makeup but I’ve been so happy with this product.  You can find it here: https://rstyle.me/+UDrDqGch-ROGkQ0zTUwYGw

Other favorites of mine at affordable price points are the blush stix from Colourpop https://rstyle.me/+TEFP0djA9HCUJk_ZU1A8WQ and I also love the Milani baked blush (shades Bella Bellini and Luminoso are my long time favorites) https://rstyle.me/+OEjejW2krUOsBO4olLce8Q

If you have a favorite blush hue I’d love to hear it in the comments!

XO,

Lynne

Eat Your Way to Glowing Skin

*this post contains affiliate links, all opinions are my own.

Ever notice how your skin tends to break out on a vacation or during the holidays?  I don’t deal with regular break outs but I have noticed a clear correlation that when my eating habits resemble that of a frat boy my skin will tell me to reel things in!  There are definitely a few food groups that when eaten regularly can help to keep your skin bright and glowing.  I also have a top three to avoid if you are dealing with troubled skin and you’re not sure where to start if you want to clean up your diet.

EAT YOUR C

When eaten regularly foods high in vitamin C will keep your skin glowing and help to keep a more even tone.  Vitamin C is an antioxidant that is essential to creating collagen.  Good sources of vitamin C include the obvious citrus fruits but also green leafy vegetables, avocados, bell peppers, cauliflower, broccoli, canteloupe, and brussel sprouts.

EAT YOUR OMEGA FATTY ACIDS

Omega fatty acids are molecules that make up the building blocks of your skin’s surface layer and are a good source of vitamin E.  They help to keep your skin thick and will actually help it stay moisturized.  Many skincare products will have plant derived sources of omega fatty acids in them.  But there are two essential fatty acids that must be consumed because your body does not produce them on their own, those would be omega-3 and omega-6.  Good sources of omega fatty acids are fatty fish like salmon, walnuts and flax seed.  They can also be taken in supplement form, as always I recommend discussing adding supplements with your personal physician but I will link the one I take here. I like this one because it is strawberry flavored and there is zero fishy aftertaste! https://amzn.to/2TG8YVb

EAT YOUR BETA-CAROTENE

Beta-carotene is another antioxidant that will help to protect skin from sun exposure.  It’s a provitamin which converts to vitamin A in your body.  When eaten in higher amounts it can actually make your skin look like it’s tanned as well!  Good sources of this nutrient are sweet potatoes, carrots, bell peppers and spinach.

OK so let’s say you have some chronic break outs going on and you think possibly your diet could be contributing.  There are three top categories that you need to consider eliminating.  Number one is sugar, while sugar in and of itself does not cause breakouts it does promote inflammation in the body which can lead to breakouts.  The second is alcohol.  Regular drinking can disrupt the balance of hormones in your body leading to problem skin.  The last would be dairy which can be highly inflammatory and also a disrupter of hormone balance.

As always thanks for reading and hope this info helps you understand how diet plays a huge role in your skincare!

Xo,

Lynne

 

Eye Makeup for Contact Lens Wearers

*post contains affiliate links

As a self proclaimed beauty junkie and lifelong contact lens wearer, I can tell you there is nothing that aggravates me more than when my makeup migrates it’s way into my eyes.  If you know, you know.  That instant discomfort you get when your mascara flakes into your eyes, or that suddenly cloudy vision when your concealer becomes more like a cataract than camoflauge for your dark undereye circles!  It’s the worst!! Out of nowhere you have to stop what you are doing, grab a bottle of contact solution, find a mirror and take your contact out to clean it, put said contact back in and hope that in the process you didn’t ruin the rest of your makeup.  Been there hundreds, if not thousands of times.

Today I wanted to share some of my favorite eye products, that stay put and honestly if I have an important meeting or event are products I rely on to avoid the above situation. To start with, I think you can solve a lot of eyeshadow woes by picking a cream formula.  I know there are lots of eyeshadow primers out there, but some of the well known ones actually made my lids more oily causing a higher chance of shadow transfer and caused my shadow to crease.  When I need to make sure my eyeshadow is not going to end up in my eyes I always reach for a cream shadow. On the budget end, I’m a big fan of Almay’s Velvet foil formula linked here: https://rstyle.me/+UjbR9HFgJ_4HoXhJzUZPRg    On the higher end, MAC paint pots are a safe bet and can also be used as a primer to keep powder shadows from straying, linked here: https://rstyle.me/+8UcH51fVY5p_qj6MbQ_rCg

When it comes to mascara, this is sometimes where I’ll find splurging on a mascara to be beneficial.  With drugstore mascaras, I find these to be more flaky and cause me more irritation.  I’m a big fan of Benefit Roller Lash for days when I need to make sure I don’t have any flaking…linked here: https://rstyle.me/+j2_1tAZvLQ29BGRkRABwhg I also think a lash primer helps to keep your mascara on and lately have been loving this one: https://rstyle.me/+oyluPDW0ghtPMe5HFBlfqQ

Moving on to undereye concealers… there’s such a fine balance here!  You need that undereye area to look well moisturized to minimize wrinkles but when you do that, there’s a higher change your concealer will end up clouding your contacts.  I’ve never been a big fan of setting powders near my eyes- I find the powder itself will irritate my contacts.  I recommend a matte concealer like Tarte Shape Tape https://rstyle.me/+wkbYJglozYL5VDwEtfoO4g and a good setting spray to keep it all locked in.  Urban Decay is by far my favorite for this reason https://rstyle.me/+-T5hK1Ki6P3ikSj2QIV7sw

I hope the above tips and product suggestions were helpful.  If you have a favorite eye product that stays put I’d love to here your picks in the comments!

Thanks as always for reading! XO

Lynne

 

 

Two Winter Wardrobe Essentials

*post contains affiliate links, product gifted by Liverpool jeans all opinions are my own

We are a few weeks into January and every year around this time I seriously fight with myself to get dressed.  When the elements make it easy to choose bulky sweaters/sherpas and leggings, it’s almost impossible to choose fashion over function.  Today I wanted to show you an easy way to “layer up” that doesn’t involve fleece or thermal long johns!

I was recently gifted this boyfriend fit blazer from the team at Liverpool.  Liverpool makes polished pieces that will take you from casual Fridays at the office to cocktail hour to Saturday morning Target runs.  The great thing about this relaxed blazer is that it’s loose enough that you can layer a light sweater or sweatshirt underneath.  It still looks great with a blouse though as shown below.  I dressed up my dark wash Liverpool Penny fit jeans with a pointed toe pump and this combo makes for a somewhat dressy daytime look or a somewhat casual evening look!  It’s the perfect go everywhere outfit!

In the next picture you’ll see me in the same blazer and jeans but this time I layered a graphic sweatshirt under the blazer.  I cuffed the hem on my jeans and threw on a favorite pair of snakeskin sneakers.  The finished outfit is great for a weekend brunch, a coffee shop date or even just running errands.  Come Spring, I will be layering this blazer over a fitted dress or even a graphic tee and a denim skirt!

I’ll include the links for these pieces below.  Hopefully I’ve inspired you to bench the fleece and chunky knits for a more polished winter look once in awhile!

Liverpool Boyfriend Blazer: https://rstyle.me/+O1-bpjpLMu28iEHcvTDI8Q

Liverpool Penny Skinny Jeans: https://rstyle.me/+gRVdxaWMyjmNucQMxJCB2w

Blouse: https://rstyle.me/+6j9qZx4yIiuD693TUNDG9g

Sweatshirt: https://rstyle.me/+qLxd1XgTPXsosDOxY-k3LQ

Sneakers: https://rstyle.me/+6EHKWcyIUfwUV9AwTxw-NA

As always thanks for reading!  I’d love to hear your thoughts on this post in the comments!

XO,

Lynne

My 2019 Beauty Top 10

I’ve always been a product junkie, but ever since starting this blog two years ago I’ve gotten much more picky about products that get my seal of approval.  It’s pretty rare that I use a product in it’s entirety before replacing it with something newer in that category.  Every once in awhile though, I find things that rock my socks off and that I may even repurchase.  I took a look back at last year’s favorites and I still love the majority of those picks, but this year I was able to add 10 more to my favorites list.  Below I’ve listed the products that were new to me this year that I plan to continue to use throughout 2020. It’s a good mix of skincare and makeup and you’ll notice my list is heavy on the eye products this year.  Is there something new you started using this year that makes your must have list?  If so I’d love to hear in the comments!

*please note affiliate links are used below
  1. Becca undereye brightener-  this one really helps me more than anything with my dark circles, I usually tap this into my undereye area before applying a full coverage concealer. https://rstyle.me/+UZcXHj6cFDnh09wWObzQlA
  2. Olive and June top coat- hopefully you caught my last blog post and you are well versed in why I L.O.V.E. this topcoat…it’s a must have for my home manis. https://oliveandjune.com/pages/index?utm_expid=.14ku99smREKSKcticeEycA.1&utm_referrer=
  3. L’oreal Voluminous Lash Primer-  I’ve continued to use my Babe Lash growth serum but this year I’ve also added this lash primer to my routine before applying mascara.  The combo of the two products has really given me some pretty amazing lash results! https://rstyle.me/+oyluPDW0ghtPMe5HFBlfqQ
  4. Farmacy Beauty Honeymoon Glow-  I love this for a gentle nightly exfoliator, it works while still feeling moisturizing. https://rstyle.me/+D42dCXe7VaGRvAyqyClz3w
  5. Wow Dreamcoat- this hair priming spray is a definite must have for fighting frizz.  You apply it to freshly washed hair and with heat styling your hair will be frizz free for up to 3 days. https://rstyle.me/+Nh8Su86Y6tnGM8Wp2mmcPA
  6. Tula Rose Glow Eye Balm- this eye balm is the perfect pick me, it helps reduce puffiness and moisturizes to help fight fine lines. https://rstyle.me/+GFhq5MlF7nu6xbkatHwS2w
  7. Urban Decay All Nighter Setting Spray – this is a cult favorite for many beauty bloggers and I’m not sure why it took me so long to try it…but it was one of those products where after the first use I was like WOW, I totally get why people love this stuff! https://rstyle.me/+-T5hK1Ki6P3ikSj2QIV7sw
  8. Wander Beauty Dualist concealer-  one end has a matte cream concealer and the other a liquid brightening concealer.  The combination of the two has been a gamechanger for me in addition to the above mentioned products for the undereye area. https://rstyle.me/+Z6FNajsnkLHG3T9E-pFsKA
  9. Tarte Timeless Smoothing Primer- I discovered this towards the end of the year to help blur the expression lines on my forehead.  I actually use it over my foundation.  It doesn’t get cakey or sticky, it just helps to fill in and blur those larger expression lines.  It’s a little pricey for a primer but a little goes a long way! https://rstyle.me/+_xU4od2H98JELXbgXY5EzQ
  10. Lipstick Journey- I also discovered these cream lipsticks towards the end of the year.  I definitely think this is a great formula for winter lips, especially if you need a break from more drying matte lipsticks.  My favorite shade at the moment is Serene. https://www.thelipstickjourney.com/

Holiday Stress Busters

Last year I wrote a blog post on how to minimize holiday stress and it was one of my most read posts…just goes to show holiday stress affects us all really!  It’s that time of year when on top of your already full plate you pile on even more and pretty soon what sounded like a good time starts to add up to one huge holiday headache.  I just re-read my post on this topic last year, and geez sometimes I really need to take my own advice! Many of my tips from last year remain the same.  The key for me has always been delegating (ie- oh…Whole Foods caters?! The neighbor kid is trying to make a few bucks wrapping presents? Where do I sign up?) and allowing myself grace to skip a few things that don’t bring me joy.  Last year I didn’t send out family Christmas cards, but this year after taking a break I’m kind of looking forward to it!  I’ve added a few new tips and tricks below to help you make the most of your time and enjoy this season.  If you have anything else to share please let me know in the comments!

  1. SCHEDULE REST DAYS – This season is a marathon of sorts, not a sprint.  If your family is anything like ours it’s easy during the holidays to fill up your calendar with an event or party every single day leading up to Christmas.  That leaves NO ROOM for the fun spontaneous jump in the car and ride around looking at lights kind of night, or deciding to meet up with a friend you’d really like to see over the holidays but can’t fit in your schedule because you have to go to your fourth cousin’s house for an ugly sweater party.  If you block off a few days with no activities you can use the time productively, use it to rest, or use it to add in something last minute but not anything that you are truly committed to doing.
  2. STAY ORGANIZED – I need to work on this one myself.  This year I’m trying out the app The Christmas List.  It’s an easy way to keep track of all of your gift buying and your budget.  It even helps you keep track of gifts you ordered, when they are received and wrapped. Pretty sure Santa Elves are using this one!
  3. TAKE THE SHORTCUTS – This is similar to my tip on delegating but really when it comes down to it, if you are short on time then use the pre-made sugar cookie dough and pie crusts! Don’t stress yourself out with time intesive stuff if you can find a shortcut.  One of my favorite bloggers Landyn from Living with Landyn will even use the refrigerated Bob Evans mashed potatoes for her holiday dinners. Everything on her table is perfectly decorated and coordinated but her shortcut is she whipped up some pre-made mashed potatoes in the microwave. I’m telling you, it’s genius and no one will know.  And if they find out, they’ll probably steal your secret.  So pick a shortcut or two and save yourself some sanity! I happen to love picking up a box of cranberry bliss bars on my Starbucks drive thru runs to take to parties or serve guests at home!
  4. DON’T CREATE DRAMA – When it comes to family and social circles, this is the time of year to let the little things roll of your shoulders.  Maybe it’s not in your nature to hold your tongue if you are offended or to just smile and wave when you didn’t make the invite list but the holidays can be an emotional time for all for lots of reasons.  Try to take things in stride, take a deep breath and grant people grace if they make a mistake.  I’m not saying you have to go and mend all your broken fences but for the sake of the season don’t create new drama for yourself.  Not worth it!!

Wishing you a holiday season filled with lots of happy memories minus the stress!!

XO,

Lynne

 

Keto Friendly Peppermint Brownies

*disclaimer: this post contains affiliate links and a small commission is made when you purchase through them.

Hi friends!  With December here I know there will tempting treats around every corner and having a healthier option around makes it easier for me to curb my sweet tooth.  Last year I made a brownie with peppermint cream cheese frosting from the Living with Landyn blog and it was so delish!!  It was the inspiration for this healthy hacked version which is much lower in sugar and carbs.

This is a simple recipe using the Keto & Co. brownie mix I purchase from Amazon, you can find it linked here: www.amazon.com/shop/poutnpowder  The frosting is a mixture of cream cheese, butter, peppermint extract and a zero calorie powdered sugar alternative by SoNourished linked here:  www.amazon.com/shop/poutnpowder

Recipe is as detailed below.  I know I will be making a few batches for our holiday parties and as gifts!  Enjoy!!

Ingredients:

1 package of Keto and Co. Fudge Brownie Mix

3 eggs

1 1/2 sticks of melted butter

1 8oz package of cream cheese at room temp

1/2 stick butter at room temp

1 c. powdered SoNourished alternative sugar

1 tbsp milk

1 tsp peppermint extract

5 mini candy canes crushed

Directions:

Make brownie mix as directed.  Allow to cool completely.  To make frosting mix room temp butter and cream cheese with peppermint extract and slowly add in the cup of sweetener. Add tbsp of milk and mix well.  Frost brownies once cool.  Top with crushed candy canes.  Makes 12 servings.

How To Pick the Perfect Red Lipstick

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Photo by Valeria Boltneva on Pexels.com

*disclosure this post contains commissioned links, all opinions are my own

With the holidays approaching I wanted to write up a quick post to help you find your perfect red lipstick.  I hear so many times women say they can’t wear red.  I think perhaps this is a case of just not finding the right shade and formula.  A good red lipstick is a staple product for a glam holiday look.  It instantly elevates whatever you are wearing and also makes your teeth look whiter!

A few pointers before rocking your perfect red, make sure you use a good exfoliator or lip scrub and also be sure to have well hydrated lips.  Nothing will make red lipstick look worse that applying it over dry chapped lips.  Also be sure to invest in a good nude or clear lip liner.  If a red lipstick bleeds it’s obviously pretty noticeable compared to a more nude lip shade.

OK onto finding your perfect shade.  A quick trick to figuring out your skin tone is to look at the veins on the inside of your wrist.  If they are purple/blue then you are cool toned, if they are green then you are warm toned.  If you have both then you fall in the lucky neutral category and can wear either a warm or cool toned red.  This happens to be the case for me, I have a green and purple vein right next to each other!  A cool toned red lipstick will have a blue or purple base to it and will read a little more cherry red.  A warm toned red lipstick will have an orange base and will read more tomato red.  A neutral red lipstick will literally read like the red crayon in a crayola box, hopefully that makes sense but it will be a very true red.

Below I have examples of a warm, neutral, and cool toned red.  I personally feel if you are wearing a red lipstick it’s best to keep the rest of your makeup minimal.  Just a champagne colored eyeshadow and black eyeliner will be totally sufficient to accompany a red lip. You want your lips to do the talking…literally!  Do you have a favorite shade of red? If so let me know in the comments!

As always, thanks for reading! If interested in any of these shades you can find the links here http://liketk.it/2Gtvg I’m wearing the warm toned Maybelline Hustle in Heels in the picture above.

xo,

Lynne

“C” You on the Bright Side!

*Disclosure: This post is sponsored but all opinions and reviews are my own. 

Hi all!  Today I wanted to chat a bit about one of my favorite active ingredients to look for in skincare and why you might want to include it in your skincare regimen.  If you hadn’t guessed from the title of this blog post it’s Vitamin C!

Vitamin C is an antioxidant well known to boost your skin’s brightness from within.  It works to repair skin damage caused by free radicals and stimulates collagen production.  It can help to even out skin discolorations which I’ve mentioned before has always been my biggest skin concern.  There is research to suggest it can help with deterring future sun damage- but you’ll still want to use SPF.  It can also help with dark circles.  If you’ve never used vitamin C before it can cause some irritation when you first start using it.  Over time, this should improve but you may want to take it slow in the beginning.

Skincare products of every type can include a dose of skin brightening vitamin C…look for it in cleansers, toners, serums, moisturizers and even peels and masks.  Some things to watch out for though is to make sure the products use a “stabilized form” of vitamin C and ideally the packaging should be dark in order to prevent the vitamin C from destabilizing.  Specifically, look for products that contain Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate as that is the most stable form of topical vitamin C.  In addition, you can also get the skincare benefits of vitamin C by taking it as an oral supplement.

Another big concern when using skincare products with Vitamin C is to be careful not to mix it with certain ingredients.  You won’t want to layer it with retinol/retinoid products as this can definitely cause skin irritation.  If you want to still use a retinol product your best bet is to do so at night and then use your vitamin C products in the morning.  You also will want to avoid using directly with Alpha and Beta Hydroxy Acids and Niacinamide as these will destabilize the vitamin C and make it ineffective.

One of my favorite clean beauty brands has an excellent line up of dermatologist recommended vitamin C skincare.  Derma E has vitamin C containing makeup wipes, micellar water, serum, moisturizer and my favorite is their vitamin C peel.  I’ve been consistently using these products and noticed my sun spots from the summer are fading quickly! As with most skincare consistency really is key…it won’t work if you don’t use it! You can find Derma E products here: https://dermae.com/collections/vitamin-c

Do you have a favorite Vitamin C skincare product? If so I’d love to hear in the comments! Thanks for reading!

Xo,

Lynne

Spicy Margarita Recipe

I L.O.V.E. a good margarita, especially in the summer!! Lime, tequila and salt puts me on a beach in Mexico even if I’m just in my backyard! This is a super simple crowd pleasing recipe for a “kicked up” margarita. It’s not super spicy but it just has a little something extra. Not gonna lie we had a few rounds of these this weekend! Check out the recipe below…

Spicy Margarita Recipe

Ingredients:

3 tbsp coarse sea salt

1 tbsp chili lime seasoning (Trader joe’s or Tajin)

1 oz triple sec

1 oz tequila

2 oz Trader Joe’s jalapeño limeade

Lime for garnish

Directions:

1) dip rim of glass in water (or lime juice) followed by dipping in coarse sea salt mixed with the chili lime seasoning

2) in cocktail shaker combine jalapeño limeade, triple sec, and tequila and give it a good shake

3) pour mixture in rimmed glass over ice and garnish with lime

Cheers!! If you try this one out let me know what you think!

Xo,

Lynne

Customizable Clothing? Yes please!

Ok ladies I’m sure I’m not alone on this…you try on a dress and think to yourself gosh I wish this was a v neck instead of a crew neck.  Or I wish I could add a few inches in length to this dress.  Or I’m so disproportioned I’m going to have to spend a ton on alterations to make this dress work.

Enter Eshakti.  I was initially pretty hesitant about this company when they first reached out to me.  But when I really started looking into their vast selections and how each piece is truly customizable I quickly changed my tune!  You can change the neckline, sleeves and length of most garments on top of having the option to give them your exact measurements and have a piece truly tailored to your body.  They offer a huge dress selection, but can also make skirts, tops and they have a denim line.

The dress I chose was a pretty lace cocktail dress, I can wear it for just a date night or dress it up and head to a wedding or fancy event. I added the cap sleeves and lengthened the hem to make it just below the knee so it was formal attire appropriate.  It was shipped out to me within a week of ordering and I seriously amazed by the quality!

I loved adding my own touches to this dress so much that I definitely plan on ordering more pieces from them in the near future.  Check out their offerings here:

 

XO,

Lynne

*affiliate disclosure all endorsements and opinions are my own.

Sugar…I get it now.

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Ok, I’m going to start this post by saying I obviously have a degree to practice medicine as a PA, not a dietician license.  There is no preaching of any sort going on here, I’m just sharing this information based on my experience in the last month having cut out sugar from my diet.  I hesitate to call this change a keto diet because I feel that implies I have been eating bacon and steaks all day every day which I’m definitely not.  What I have done is made a conscious effort to avoid all refined and most natural sugars/carbs.  No pasta, bread, baked goods, potatoes, rice, and high glycemic index fruits. And no mochas or lattes or craft beer…

Let me start by saying I can’t emphasize enough that genetics plays a huge role in how/why we gain or maintain our weight.  For some, genetics lets them eat any darn thing they want and not gain a pound.  My DNA happens to code for sluggish thyroids and diabetes in many of my family members.  For a long time I was able to get away with eating anything I wanted, in the last 3 years though my DNA started to get the best of me. Sure I could stand to lose about 10 pounds but that’s not the reason I decided to cut the sugar.  I cut the sugar because it was exceedingly clear to me that I was on a never ending rollercoaster of cravings.  I would eat and three hours later feel sweaty and shaky (aka reactive hypoglycemia) and then need to eat again.  I would try to snack on protein but it seemed if I had already started the day with any carbs the protein snack wouldn’t help all that much. I cut the sugar so I would feel better, period.

My husband is doing the no sugar thing with me and the first week was really tough.  Detoxing from sugar gives you a hangover of sorts called “keto flu”.  You feel mildly dehydrated (the ketosis makes you lose water weight which is why you will lose a few pounds pretty quickly) and I was crabby and not all that nice to be around if I’m being honest.  During the first week, I literally let myself eat whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted if I was hungry as long as it was on the diet.  The staples so far have included nuts/peanut butter, avocados, cheese/ cottage cheese, carb balance tortillas – we’ll eat half of one, turkey jerky, lean lunchmeats and smoked salmon, frozen salmon burgers, tuna, salad, zucchini noodles with protein, eggs, and some berries.  I think the eggs and nuts, particularly almonds,  are what we both are eating a significant amount more of than ever before.  For dinners, we’ve subbed most starchy sides for some kind of cauliflower version.  We eat a lot of spinach that we saute or put in salads and usually have a roasted vegetable with dinner. We do eat red meat on occasion, but really no more so than what we have in the past. My husband is thrilled he can have a little whiskey on the rocks every night and it’s zero carbs, I’ll have a bud select 55 if I really want a drink. When a serious sweet tooth craving hits I came up with a great recipe for sugar free chocolate chip peanut butter cookies which I shared below.  We are not doing any other extra keto type supplements or drinks that are popular in the health food stores- in my opinion if you stick to the diet they aren’t necessary.

So a month in and I can say without question, I’m off the sugar rollercoaster and feeling better.  I rarely experience hunger because I’m snacking regularly on protein throughout the day. We are eating out a lot less, on occasion I’ll treat myself to a salad bowl at Chipotle with all the carb free fixings but even that has only been once or twice.  I’ve lost a few pounds which is nice but more than that I just have less cravings and crashes and I’m overall so pleased! I don’t plan to limit the fruits forever and I will at some point introduce back some chickpea pasta and sweet potatoes but for now I want to do this at least a few more months to allow my system to recalibrate.

If anyone has any questions or wants more detailed recipe recommendations for starting out please feel free to comment or email me!  I’d be happy to share more details with you.  You can find my recipe for sugar free chocolate chip peanut butter cookies below.  A couple ingredients will want to have on had are monkfruit sweetener and almond flour.

SUGAR FREE CHOCOLATE CHIP PEANUT BUTTER COOKIES

Ingredients:

1 cup of finely ground almond flour

4 tbsp. sugar free chocolate chips or cacao nibs

2 tbsp. monkfruit sweetener

1/4 tsp salt

1/8 tsp baking soda

2 TBSP natural peanut butter

1 tsp vanilla extract

3 tsp milk of choice

Directions:

Preheat oven to 325 degress. Mix dry ingredients very well.  Add in extract, peanut butter, milk and stir to form dough.  Makes 10 small cookies, bake for 10-12 minutes, allow to cool 10 minutes on baking sheet before moving.  They are delicate and need to cool completely before handling.

Enjoy!! I will be making these on the regular as it is just enough to curb my sweet tooth but still stick to a low carb diet.

XO,

Lynne