Friday, August 30, 2013

FIT Foodie Fridays

FOOD:

I have to get better at reading and following recipes. But so far no major screw ups have occurred. :)

I love the 4 bean salad my mom used to get in the giant jar from Costco. I would eat a bunch of it and get yelled at because I finished it before she had a chance to eat any. Sorry mom! I decided to make my own. I looked up the recipes and there were just so many different versions and add ins. I wanted something easy and simple. C'mon I know what's supposed to be in there and how its supposed to taste, so I did my own thing. Sorry about the lack of measurements :( I'll get better with this soon!

4 Bean Salad with Beets

1 can of each:
  • Kidney beans
  • Chick peas
  • Wax beans
  • Green beans
  • Beets
Onions (thinly sliced)
Apple cider vinegar
Sugar
Salt
Black pepper

Really simple and basic. Open all the cans and drain, wash and rinse if desired. I didn't rinse my kidney beans and it left a bean-y flavor on there, but the vinegar cancelled that out. Pour in a bowl and mix, adding the onions. Put to the side. In a separate bowl, pour about 1 cup of apple cider vinegar and add 3/4 cup sugar. Mix well, add salt and pepper to taste. Pour the ACV liquid over the beans, beets, and onions; stir/toss together and refrigerate.

See? Really simple. Tastes great and takes no time at all to prepare.


FITNESS:

I won't lie to you, I have been slacking off on my fitness. I'm a busy girl and there is never enough time. But no excuses, so I will aim to be more diligent. I set my Wii back up with Wii Fit Plus and was instantly depressed. All my hard work a few months back was gone. Inches back on my waist and pounds. Ugh. I hate how it adds the weight to your Mii character. Saddies for real.

Hopefully I'll have some progress next time!

- L

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Burn Out - Edited Version

There's been a lot going on with me recently, and I just feel so drained from everything. But the biggest issue is work. While I'm grateful to have a job that pays well with wonderful benefits, my mental health is on the decline. I won't go into details, but the way some employees are treated vs the way select few employees (including myself) are treated - it has me pulling my hair out. I just really need a breather. I should not know all of the things I know about. I'm mentally exhausted and ranting/venting to others about it doesn't help. I'm here barely a year and a half and I know I'm getting burned out. If I could lay it all out here, I would. But I can't. :( Just walking into the building in the mornings fills me with such heaviness and dread. I get off the elevator and already know my day is going to be terrible. The weekends are too short. And don't get me wrong, it has nothing to do with my actual work, which is alright, but more the people I have to work with on my team and the blatant disrespect that occurs on a daily basis. Put it like this - any other job this shit would not fly. I've worked for companies where people were dismissed for much less.

I just needed to vent. Thanks for reading.

- L

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Monday, August 26, 2013

Music Mondays

I only found out about this song last month or so. But I love it! The video is hilarious. There ain't nothing wrong with thrifting..


Friday, August 23, 2013

FIT Foodie Fridays

So this is something new I'm starting. I may not do this every week, but every other week. Just a little motivation for me to actively post more, and not just random content. I will try to keep it to a mix of fitness and recipes that I've adapted/adjusted to be healthier (or not) but sometimes it might be one or the other.

I definitely love cooking and baking, but don't always get the time to do it. And on the rare occasion I do, it doesn't always come out looking so picture perfect. But that won't stop me from posting up pictures so you can see my successes and failures. After all we can't all be professionals. So if you have trouble finding your inner Martha Stewart, you'll enjoy the mistakes I make.

Food!

I made my own Tomato Choka for the first time. I missed having it the way my ex's grandma cooked it with bake. Just too delicious for words. All the recipes I looked up called for broiling or roasting the tomatoes and then peeling the skin off and mashing them with spices and garlic. I do not have access or patience for any of those methods so I did it my own way.

Ingredients:
  • Fresh whole tomato
  • Garlic
  • Onion
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Chili Powder (optional)
  • Pepper Sauce (optional)
  • Olive Oil

I took a nice ripe beefsteak tomato and cut up into small pieces, skin and all. I'm not one to waste anything if I can help it. I put a very small bit of olive oil in a frying pan - just enough so the tomato doesn't stick - over low/medium heat. I went ahead and chopped up some garlic and onions really fine. (After I did all of this I felt so stupid because the food processor was staring me in the face, but sometimes you just need to get your hands dirty. The knife work gets me in the zone!) When the pan and oil were hot, I threw in the tomato, garlic, and onions and let it simmer down. While that was going, I seasoned it with chilli powder, hot pepper sauce, a little salt and black pepper. This part is entirely up to you. I remembered her choka being nice and spicy, so I added these in. You can add whatever spices you want, even jalapenos or other hot peppers if you're that brave.

After about 10 minutes (stirring every so often, uncovered) it was done. It was just as good as any tomato choka I have ever had. Normally it is served with roti or bake, but it can be served with pita, crackers, rice, or added to a meal as a sauce - whichever you prefer. I ate the choka with some Excelsior water crackers for breakfast and was as good as ever. Sorry for the lack of pictures here. Next time I make it I will add some in. My kitchen wasn't picture worthy. :(


FITness

I've been trying to go to the gym and exercise more, but it's hard. After work when I go to the gym I'm so dead I don't want to stay long and I feel like I end up wasting my time. I want to maximize my workout potential for the short time I'm there. My cousin suggested HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) workouts because you can do a full body in 20-30 minutes. According to Wikipedia "Usual HIIT sessions may vary from 4–30 minutes. These short, intense workouts provide improved athletic capacity and condition, improved glucose metabolism, and improved fat burning." It's pretty much non stop movement with warmup, a mix of moderate/high intensity exercises, and cool down.

I tried doing this video at home last week and I couldn't even do the whole thing. I was really ashamed of myself :( I have been slowly building up to being able to do the whole thing without stopping, but I am not quite there. I try to do this on the weekends, and when I don't make it to the gym, and so far I only slacked off one day. I can tell you it DEFINITELY gets my heart rate up and I am (sadly) super winded at the end. Trust me, I feel the burn! I can see myself getting in shape with this video.

There are so many variations of HIIT workouts, for now I am sticking to the basic ones. But there are some other ones I'm looking at to help work out my core and lower body. Still going to bench press for those pecs! Eventually one day I can do a pull up without assistance. I'm not trying to be a model, just healthier.

What about you? What workouts/exercises do you find to be the most effective?

- L







Wednesday, August 21, 2013

PIDA Exfoliating Gel Review


***This is a sponsored post. I received this product from the company for free to review. My opinions are my own and I am not being paid for a positive review.***

I was sent this to try this out from Armada-Style USA. They're the Japanese company behind the popular e-CURE hair treatment and other salon products. They've recently introduced their skincare line and PIDA is their first skincare product. PIDA is an exfoliating gel that removes dead skin cells and helps facilitate the turnover of skin cells. The main ingredients are Carbamide (for moisture), Aloe Vera Extract (for healthy skin), Hyaluronate (for that great glow), and Orange Oil (for hydration and dissolving.) Getting rid of the dead skin clears the way for smooth, healthy glowing skin and allows other beauty products absorb more easily.

I was interested because as you know my main concern is clear skin. The idea of an exfoliant that doesn't have harsh chemicals or abrasives really appealed to me. I have sensitive skin and certain products are too harsh but I use them anyway. (Damn you hormonal acne! I will win one day...) I use my Clarisonic with the deep pore brush head some days, apricot scrub other days, raw honey, and various face washes. Sometimes a combination. But it doesn't seem to always work.

As soon as I received PIDA in the mail I went home to try it out. The instructions were easy enough - apply, massage, and rinse. But because you know me and I never follow the instructions all the way, I used this on an oily face at the end of the day instead of to a clean face like they suggest. First impression - it's a clear gel and smells citrus-y, almost in a chemical cleaner way, but not too strong. Once its on your face, you don't smell it. I rubbed the gel on my face as indicated. It got really watery and pilled up into little white balls and it scared me just a little. I read the instructions on the bottle again and it says "if gel is not flaking, there are no dead skin cells to slough." Yikes! I guess I had a lot of dead skin waiting to get sloughed off. It was easy enough to rinse off and my face looked pretty clean considering I didn't pre-wash before using. I had no oil, and my face felt fresh and dry - but not dry in a tight or stripped way. When I used my FAB Facial Radiance pad after, it came away surprisingly clean. Usually only my Clarisonic will leave me with a clean face and face pad. PIDA didn't burn or sting my skin or leave it red. My FAB pad felt like it penetrated better as did the facial treatments I used after. I did use twice the amount of product than I was supposed to, but I don't feel like the pea size recommendation goes very far. :-\

The next morning my face still felt smooth, and my foundation went on better than it had ever before. I already noticed a reduction in the bumps around my jawline. Pretty impressive after a one time use. Two nights later I used it again after I slept in my makeup the night before. My skin was not happy and I'm sure it hated me. I used 1 full pump of product to get that extra exfoliation in. I could even go with 1/2 a pump I'm sure. I don't think I'm using extra and wasting it, but a pea size amount does not do too much. I feel like it just disappears on my whole face. Maybe pea size for one part of your face? My face was definitely clean and felt smoother, even around my blemishes. The next morning I was shocked to see that the bumps I had on my jawline and around my eyebrows were almost gone. After fighting for weeks to see an improvement with so many other products, this made them shrink only after 2 uses! I was sold on PIDA immediately. With my Clarisonic I notice gradual improvement, but with this the difference is immediate. It almost makes me want to never use my Clarisonic again. And that's saying something. I used PIDA on my neck and chest, but didn't notice much of a difference. My skin was still a little damp, so maybe that had something to do with it. They aren't serious problem areas for me though, I won't bother doing it again.

Pros:
  • not harsh
  • easy to use
  • easy clean up
  • not sticky
  • no redness or irritation

Cons:
  • smell (can be off-putting to some)

The only real downfall I can see with this is the white balled up rolls can fall off while rubbing into your face, especially if you also are doing your neck. Be careful and make sure it doesn't get into your hair. I had some of the balled up pieces get into my bangs and they were hard to get out. I had to wait for them to dry up before I could remove them. I would stash this in my shower and use it after washing my face, but I'm not sure if that's a stable enough environment as the bottle says "store in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight." For now I'll keep it stored in my bathroom cabinet next to the sink.

PIDA is available for sale from these retailers - Urban OutfittersoneradiantBeauty Army, Amazon, and on their website here. Everyone that orders from PIDA's official website gets a 20% discount!

I'll DEFINITELY be stocking up on this bad boy!

- L


 

Monday, August 19, 2013

Music Mondays

How could you not like Musiq? I would be his friend anyday... ;)


Friday, August 16, 2013

HELP! Friday Posts?

I had the idea of doing FITness Friday posts and switching it up with Foodie Fridays, but then Moe suggested I do both - FIT Food Fridays. I like the idea! But can I commit? I mean the point of me making these themed posts for the day(s) of the week is so I can kind of force myself into posting. But I don't even know if you guys would be interested in that! I did ask for help via Instagram and Facebook but my lovely friends provided no feedback. ::LeSigh:: Honestly I don't even know if I would be able to keep up with either topic (I'm quite boring I know) and I don't want to put a strain on myself and be counterproductive and end up not posting at all. I mean look at my Confessions series, that went nowhere fast. The only weekly posts I like are the Music Monday ones because I think it's a good way to start the week and rid yourself of the Monday blues.

Help? Suggestions and comments please!

- L

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Backstreet Boys In a World Like This Tour

Last night I finally was able to see my all time favorite group - THE Backstreet Boys. I bought tickets to the concert at Jones Beach Nikon theater for me and the Mr. He had no idea what he was in for.

I laughed, I cried, and I screamed my head off at the concert. I was thrown back to the 90's to my school girl crush days. They brought it. From their first single to the new ones. And I LOVED every bit of it! They still had the moves, even 20 years later. Yes, 20 years later.

There was a good crowd. All the husbands sat patiently while their wives sang along. A lot of the 90's kids that are all grown up, the moms, and even some grandmas. We all sang our hearts out with them, and screamed our asses off to show our undying love and support. There were a lot of creative BSB shirts, and I only wish I would have made one. Too bad I'm not 13 anymore. But the younger teens that were there, I don't get it. They sat there in silence the majority of the time. Like do you even know the greatness you're experiencing right now??

My only regret - not bringing my camera. My iphone pics are not that great because of the lights and video screens behind them. They're still on Instagram anyway and tumblr. Oh and not coughing up the dough to get pit tickets. They were generous to their fans. ::sigh::

I LOVE YOU AJ!!!!
- L

Oh and to the chics in the row behind me that made fun of that woman on stage - you're just mad that she got a super awesome close up and hugs from the guys 2x.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Music Mondays

OMG I am beyond excited! Tomorrow is the big day :) I get to see Backstreet Boys live at Jones Beach!!! Look out for pictures on Instagram and Twitter!


Friday, August 9, 2013

Revlon Just Bitten Balm Stain Review

 *** I purchased the products with my own money and am not being sponsored for this post***

Revlon Just Bitten Balm Stain
Love her! img src

I'm really late with these things. But by George I love them! Totally great for everyday wear, regardless of the color. I'm not big on an overly made up face - especially not for work, so these are great for me. I've read the countless blogs and reviews, and you know every product has its ups and downs. There is no perfect product, but a few that come close. I tried to take pictures of them, I swear! But it just didn't end up going the way I planned. Most of the pictures are the ones I posted on Instagram while I was wearing them.

Revlon Just Bitten Balm Stain
Top to bottom: Precious, Rendezvous, Smitten, Honey
Revlon Just Bitten Balm Stain

I have 4 so far, and eventually want them all. I will probably not ever wear any other lipstick unless I am going out. Shades I own: Precious, Honey, Rendezvous, Smitten. I first purchased Smitten on a whim. Work day blues and office stress got to me. It looked dark on the tube, but something just told me to go for it, so I did. I'm glad that I went with my gut. I love the way it looks on me. I'm actually wearing it here in my before picture. It's a fuschia-ish color that's not too bright and overwhelming. It left a nice pink stain on my lips. I could not stop gushing over it. So I decided to go ahead and try some of the other colors. I went to Target and bought Honey. I was hesitant because lighter colors don't end up working well with me, but from the reviews I saw, I decided it would be worth it. It was also one of the few colors that was also sold out in every store. Honey is mauve on the lips and actually darker than I thought it would be. The stain it leaves behind is a nice subtle pink. Another winner - great for everyday. Smitten is nice, but too bright for everyday wear. I only wear it when I want to be fancy. I was definitely sold on these balm stains.

Honey :)

I went ahead and got Rendezvous and Precious during a BOGO 50% off at Duane Reade. I'm still on the fence about Rendezvous, and Precious works with some effort. Precious initially goes on really light and it's kind of weird against my complexion, but after a few minutes of sitting and wear time it turns into a really nice natural pink, almost nude on my lips. I used it with nude liner - a discontinued Clinique that I love and matches my lip color perfectly. Anyway... it matched nicely and after some wear time was the perfect color. Rendezvous, was a little disappointing. I was looking for something nice and orange, but this was not it. I put a little OCC Stained Gloss over it in "Jealous" a pinky red color (that I got free at the xoJane meetup in Babeland!) It made it pop a little more, but not quite what I was looking for. Benefit's Cha Cha Tint didn't even make a difference. I am thinking about trying it with the OCC gloss in Meta (orange red) or Androgyne (full on orange). I'm probably going to also pick up Charm, Adore and Crush. I'm overly excited at the idea of a red lip stain.

PROS:
  • Long lasting - stain really lasts throughout the day
  • Not super drying
  • Not too much bleeding

CONS:
  • Not true to color on tube
  • Sticks to dry areas and creases

These are good if you are on a budget, browsing at Target or Walmart - I have found it the cheapest online at Walmart. But look out for the BOGO 50 at the pharmacies. It won't be the only lipstick you ever wear, but it will be good for those days when you don't have time to do constant touch ups.

Swatches and pictures below.

- L

Left to Right: Honey, Smitten, Rendezvous, Precious. Top: swatch of each. Bottom: Stains left behind.

Left: Rendezvous alone. Right: Rendezvous with OCC Jealous
Top left: Precious alone. Bottom Left: Precious over Clinique Nudey. Right: Stain after Precious alone.

My beloved Clinique Defining Liner. Looks darker on my hand than it does on my lips.


Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Must Have Willpower

I'm the worst when it comes to willpower and self control. It's at about 0. I'm supposed to be on my No Buy for this month and I'm already shaking in withdrawal. But I can't give up because I need to save this money. I just had to buy some glasses because my old pair were on their last leg arm and I cried a little on the inside. But I was budget friendly with my glasses, so all is not lost. I ordered them online from Coastal and I am eagerly awaiting their arrival. The frames were on sale for $64! They're different from the style I normally wear and I'm excited to see how they look on me. I used the Virtual Try on where I uploaded my pic and tried them on that way, hopefully they look as amazing in person!

Guess GU2733 (img src)

Anyway enough side tracking! A major area where I have no willpower - food! I am guilty of being a constant snacker and it shows. I have been making healthier decisions for the most part, but snacking is my down fall. I have to beat it, but I just give in all the time, and too easily. I drink water constantly when I'm at my desk, hoping to quell the cravings, but it doesn't always work. I really need to cut it out and be more strict. I have to be healthier. Those subway stairs will not defeat me.

I really need to be more disciplined in the gym too. I only do cardio for 20-30 mins and move on to the machines. I should be doing more than that. But I just tell myself its enough that I'm even at the gym, it's a step in the right direction, blah blah. And rush through my time there so that I can catch my TV shows. This is very sad and almost defeats the purpose of me going to the gym. I really need a gym partner to help me. :(

Anywho... that's all for now.
- L

Monday, August 5, 2013

Music Mondays

No matter how corny people think this song is, I absolutely love it. 


My Take on: Orange is the New Black TV Series

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I just finished watching the series on Netflix this weekend. It is an interesting show, and keeps you captivated and waiting to see what happens next. For those of you that don't know, Orange is the New Black is based on a book of the same name by Piper Kerman. The book is her memoir and chronicles her short time in prison. I haven't read it yet, but as soon as I get my hands on it I will. I did read this really great breakdown of the book vs the show here that makes me really want to read it. There have been a lot of negative comments about Piper and her experiences, as well as her portrayal of things while she was on the inside. Personally I was a little skeptical about the show in the beginning, but once I saw the angle they were going for, I liked it. I did a little more research and realized that the book and TV show are very different. A lot of comments I saw on other blogs and articles were talking about how she didn't really go to prison, she doesn't know what she's talking about.. etc. While that may be true (she went to Danbury in CT, the same prison Martha Stewart went to, and where Lauryn Hill currently is serving her time) she did not write the book to talk about her hard life on the inside. And her audience that she wanted to educate is not necessarily the everyday person. She was writing about her experiences coming from a wealthy 'yuppie' perspective, and for people like her. She understood that she was privileged in and out of prison. She gets that it is a lot harder for minorities and those that aren't wealthy. She brought awareness to the conditions of women's prisons, and the treatment of the inmates. Isn't that the bigger picture? Sure she didn't go to a max security facility or have to deal with fights everyday and being jumped. But she saw how little people care about or help inmates, even those who get out. There is a lack of programs for inmate education or rehabilitation. She saw how the system is prejudiced. She brought awareness to medical care of the women, and transgenders. That in itself is a whole 'nother topic that I'm not even going to touch. The point I'm trying to make is that yeah she didn't have it tough, but she got people to notice and start talking about women's prisons. I mean if you were in the system, or know/knew someone in the system, wouldn't you want people to talk about it? If the right people talk about it and take an interest, things could change.

Anyway, that was my 2 cents on this. Anyone else read the book or watch the show?

- L

Friday, August 2, 2013

No Buy Round 2

So my friend and I decided to do another month of 'No Buy' which basically means no shopping/purchasing unnecessary things for the entire month. So aside from groceries and household items, I will not be buying beauty items, clothes, shoes, accessories, etc. That means a lot of restraint on my part as you all know. But I need to cut it out and focus on paying my bills. I definitely want to be done with my credit cards by the end of the year. And from the calculations I did, if I play it smart, I can be done by December with all my credit cards and store cards. I will absolutely be able to pocket that 'extra' money and use it for savings and all the other things I've been meaning to do. I've learned my lesson and I am done with the devil and his promises. Its times like this I really wish my mother would have had a real conversation about this with me and educated me rather than just telling me not to use credit cards. Though sometimes I know that even with all the right knowledge and tools, it is hard to make the right decisions.

Well here's to nothing new for an entire month. So far its 2 days in and I'm good, haven't bought anything. Let's hope I stay strong.

- L

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