Gift Guide: For Her

Happy Holidays!!!! Need some last minute gift ideas? Here are a few that you can’t go wrong with.

kate spade new york Women’s Quartz Pink Watch
Add a touch of color to an everyday accessory

kate spade new york Gold-Tone Alphabet Pendant Necklace
Can’t go wrong with this simple gold necklace

EO Shower Gel, French Lavender
Smells amazing and leaves your skin extra soft

Bittersweet bracelet
A pretty way to wear your hair ties

L.L. Bean Wicked Good Moccasins
Every girl needs a pair of cozy slippers

Fitbit Charge
Kick the New Year off with a healthier way to keep track of daily activities

kate spade new york – Keyboard Folio Case for iPad mini
Great for on the go and its pretty too

 

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Quick Appetizers for Holiday Parties

This past weekend, I had a little Christmas party at my place. This month has flown by so I was not able to spend all day making a lavish buffet of treats as planned. I had just enough time to decorate my apartment with tinsel, mini stockings and lights and create a few yummy appetizers. If you are in a pinch, here are a few crowd pleasing apps!

Shortbread Bites
Pizza Roll-Ups
Roasted Red Pepper Goat Cheese Dip
Cheese Wreath

Happy Holidays!

Cosmo’s Fun Fearless Life Event

Wake up, kick ass and be kind

A few weekends ago, Steph, my amazing and adventurous friend, and I escaped to New York City for the weekend. She stumbled upon this event that Cosmopolitan (yes as in the magazine) put on last year and was anxiously awaiting for 2015 tickets to go one sale. Of course, when she told me about it, I instantly agreed! This event pulled together a group of powerful and successful women to discuss their path to success, empower attendees to be the best version of themselves and of course, to have fun! #FunFearlessLife

The event was held on the top floor of the Hearst Tower and Cosmo headquarters (what girl’s dream isn’t to see inside their office?!). Walking into this incredible building, we had no idea what to expect and no clue the empowered, strong women we would walk out as. We grab our badges and giddily rode up the escalator to an energetic, pink, fabulous foyer! So overwhelmed, we didn’t know where to start: makeovers, Cosmo cover photo shoot, the photo booth, meet the women behind this incredible event and company? It felt like we stepped into this dream event, unsure how we were able to just purchase tickets and get in.

With only a few minutes to absorb this movie like reality, we were escorted into the elevators and whisked up to the 43rd floor. All of a sudden, we were at that top of New York and I felt on top of the world. Joanna Coles herself floated into the room to kick off the event, filled with such confidence and excitement for the day.

We were so lucky to hear from women like Chelsea Handler, Ivanka Trump, Stacy London, Fifth Harmony, Whitney Wolfe and dozens more. Having never met anyone famous, I was shocked by how down to earth yet inspiring each one of these women are. You could truly see the spark and passion inside each woman. They pushed through the hardest challenges, keeping their goals in mind.

Steph and I lived in each moment, furiously jotting down notes that resonated with us so we would not lose any tidbits. It was beyond awe-inspiring to see all these successful, powerful and famous women that have not only made an impact on the world but probably 15 year old Liz.

A reception followed where we met some other amazing attendees, as well as a few Cosmo women. Everyone around us was strong, motivated and inspired, not just those on the stage but those attending. It made me question if I was “good enough” to be part of this hardworking and powerful group. I realized – of course I was! I was one of those women! I have the spark, drive and passion that fuels my life but it can easily be forgotten. This event reminded me of the version of myself that I strive to be.

Nothing compares to sitting in that room, surrounded by those amazing women, but I hope to recreate a little spark and energy while delivering some of the tid-bits that resonated most with me.

Here are some of my favorite tid-bits from the event: (not exact quotes from each, just paraphrasing their messages)

Make stress work for you, use stress as energy and transform it into courage. Stress happens when something you care about it at stake. Nervousness happens because your body is getting ready to help you rise to the challenge.
– Kelly McGonigal

Have confidence in your ability. You ARE as powerful as you think. Conquer your fears – they are worth tackling and will pay off. When you put in the work, you have the leisure to ask for what you want because you have earned the right to ask. Be brave, not fearless.
– Chelsea Handler

Don’t put your happiness into other people’s hands. You are in control of how you feel and how you react to things.
– Bethany Moda

How to leave your mark: Build your personal brand – construct a clear filter about what you are sharing, does it add value? Social media is a two way street, share the voices of powerful allies and they might share yours. Work on your own personal elevator pitch – who are you, what do you stand for? Keep a list of the most important people in your life and brush up with them every once in a while.
– Aliza Licht

Spend some time and create a clear view of your core values and big picture goals. When something comes your way, ask yourself if it aligns with these two, if not then say no. Focus on what is most important, distractions can destroy dreams.
– Adam Rosante

Three ways to get the guy: 1: You have to approach 2: Be hot in more than one way – be multidimensional 3: Keep your standards no matter how much you like him
– Matthew Hussey

More food for thought:
What would you do if you weren’t afraid?
Check this out: Power Posing

Books and authors from the event:
Get the Guy
Leave Your Mark
Presence: Bringing Your Boldest Self to Your Biggest Challenges

So from here, I am going to spend some time working on what my core values and big picture goals look like to make sure my actions are aligned with them. They are not easy but it’s empowering to be able to work towards something and modify them as your life changes.

Favorite Fall Beauty Products

Hair: Macadamia Healing Oil Spray and Dove Dry Shampoo
Your hair can make or break how you feel every day and having fine hair it’s a constant battle to bump up the volume on top and tame the frizz on the bottom. These are my two favorite hair products, especially in the fall and winter seasons. After showering and towel drying my hair, I spray my ends with the treatment oil. They also make a pump version of this product which is great for thicker hair. This product keeps my hair moisturized and frizz free when it dries. I have tried countless dry shampoos and nothing comes close to Dove’s dry shampoo. It adds freshness and volume to my hair without feeling like I have a ton of product in my hair. It also doesn’t hurt that it smells great! I’ve been using it for just over a year now and my hair is much healthier and looks better now that I can go a few days between washes.

Eyes: Algenist Complete Eye Renewal Balm
I swear by this product and it has become one of the products that cannot live with it! I received a sample that lasted just about two weeks and that was all it took to fall in love with this balm. As I got closer to the big 3-0, those pesky dark circles, bags and wrinkles starting settling in and trying to find a stronger concealer was not the answer. I now use this balm every day and it almost completely diminished those pesky age tellers. It’s a great feeling to not have to hide under a layer (or several) of concealer.

Moisturize: First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Concentrate
My dry, unpredictable skin has never been easy going and I am constantly working to keep it clean, moisturized and happy. Many years ago, my coworker mentioned this product to me as she was using it as her miracle product for blemishes and I figured I would give it a try. Because it’s a concentrate you only need a little and this jar will last you through many winter seasons. Years later, this is one of my staple products for when I have a blemish or dry skin. It never leaves my side, I have a small sample containers in my purse and at my desk filled with this concentrate. First Aid Beauty is located just outside of Boston so I love supporting a local company that makes such amazing products.

Cleanse: Eve Lom Cleanser
Finding a great cleanser has been on my list for as long as I can remember. I have tried everything over the years from foamy cleaners to scrubs and nothing has worked for more than a few weeks. Earlier this year, I favorited this Eve Lom cleanser but could never bring myself to actually purchase this ridiculously expensive face wash. One day, after weeks of having almost teenage level skin, I splurged and ordered it on Sephora (so I could try it and return if needed)! This cleanser is unlike anything I’ve ever tried and when I use twice a day, my skin is radiant and clear. I’ve been using this product for about 5 months and am still on my first container. It’s worth every penny to not have to stress over blemishes. For those who are looking for a more affordable option, Origins’ Checks and Balances Frothy Face Wash is a great cleanser.

Mask: First Aid Beauty Skin Rescue Purifying Mask With Red Clay
This is a newly added product to my collection but I have really been enjoying this mask. My dry skin makes it difficult to use a lot of those deep cleanse masks like GlamGlow that just dry my face out anymore. This is a gel mask that leaves my skin clean and soft. I have yet to find the perfect mask but lately, I’ve been reaching for this one over my mud and charcoal masks.

Tips:
Keep your favorite products at arm’s reach
Save the sample containers from Sephora and fill them up with your favorite products to keep in your purse or at your desk.

Get into a skin care routine!
No one’s skin problems can be solved with the same solutions so find a routine that works for you and stick with it. I have a very simple daily routine that includes cleansing, moisturizing and applying eye balm when I wake up and before bed. Exfoliating and masks are part of my weekly routine that I add in as needed.

24 Day Challenge Round #2!

What is it about the holidays that makes everyone crazy about getting in shape? Why should I wait until January to kick off healthy eating habits? I want to already feel great in January!


It has officially been two months since I completed the 24 Day Challenge and I am happy to announce that I have been able to keep off every single pound that I lost during the challenge!

My post-challenge goal was to continue with 80/20 plan, keeping the balanced meals with a few splurges. Disappointingly, the splurges got to me and it became more of the 50/50 plan. Although I haven’t been able to keep up the 80/20 as planned, I have been making better choices and eating much smaller portions compared to pre-challenge meals

I am halfway to my goal weight so this week I started the challenge again, but with some modifications. I am keeping the same food guidelines but only taking my favorite supplements instead of the full blown challenge ones. Each morning starts with a glass of spark, 1 probiotic, 2 Catalysts and 2 OmegaPlex. This morning routine is a huge part of how I have been able to keep the weight off. They fill in those nutrition gaps and help curb my appetite. Having completed the challenge, transforming and understanding my body, I started again with better goals in mind.

Here are my new guidelines:

  • Stick to healthy meals at work and at home – no need to splurge when I am just cooking for one
  • Enjoy nights out with friends/family while making better (not perfect but better) choices
  • Ensure that protein makes its way into every meal along with fruits or veggies

With these rules, my hope is that when I complete the challenge again that I have a better grasp on the 80/20 plan and it will become a routine. There should be no need to splurge for a week straight and ruin all the hard work I put in to get to that point.

Start the change in your life now. By the time January rolls around, you will not need to have “lose weight” as a New Year’s goal, you can already be on track and know you can do it! Join the 24 Day Challenge with me!

Impress with These Easy Halloween Treats

Halloween sneaks up on me every year…but not this time! This year, I wanted to find simple ways to celebrate this strangely stressful holiday. So for the first time ever, my office has already enjoyed some spooky treats and even purchased some cute decorations for our cube area! My costume is even mostly pulled together.  The roomies and I decided on a group costume (ice cream cones – silly yet phenomenal!) early on and went shopping last week for all the supplies. Now we have plenty of time to slowly create our mini masterpieces.

Here are some simple recipes to bring to the office or Halloween party this weekend. Ditch the stress and still impress!

Pretzel Pumpkins

Spider Cookies

Pumpkin Krispies

Hot Butter Apple Cider with Rum

Apple picking fun and what to do with all those apples!

New England is known for all the best of fall: foliage, apple picking, crisp days, and having lots of basic bitches. Matt Bellassai nailed it and knows all about how us New England ladies love and obsess over all the cheesy fall things.

Of course, my roommates and I had to make a weekend out of apple picking. We got all bundled up in our cozy sweaters, scarfs and boots and headed to Honey Pot Hill in Stow, MA. We really love this orchard; it has scrumptious apple cider donuts, a large selection of apples and overall is just a beautiful place.

Since we were driving out west, I decided to bring my roommates to Domenic’s in Waltham, MA to pick up sandwiches to fuel us for the day. Their fresh and crusty bread is unbelievable and truly makes their sandwiches the best. I’ve been telling them about Dom’s for years are now on the Dom’s bandwagon. It’s decided that it is worth the 30 minute drive for us!

While sitting on a picnic bench, devouring our parma and eggplant parm sandwiches, we couldn’t help but notice the stares coming from the table behind us. After 5 minutes, with such envy, they yell “where are those sandwiches from?” We tell them Dom’s and they said they thought so and could tell from the bread. I’m not joking about this bread! After finishing every last bite of our lunch we were off to gather as many apples as we could carry.

My roommates thought we would get away without a photo shoot, but of course that theory didn’t last very long. A group of other BBs took our photos in exchange for being their photographer. What does fall do to us?!

As apples are one of my favorites things, I spent the entire time picking apples with one hand and eating an apple with the other. There’s something about a freshly picked apple that is hard to resist. Our bag, yet small, still packed in probably 20+ apples…we always end up with way too many apples.

During our picturesque drive home, we imagined all the delicious treats we could make with our freshly picked apples. We settled on Skinny Taste’s Apple Nut Muffins as they were such a hit last year. This recipe is great because it uses apple sauce instead of butter, making it a less guilty treat. We did not have whole wheat flour so substituted with all-purpose, which I prefer because of the lighter texture. We also made our own streusel with oats and brown sugar instead of granola.

Still have plenty of apples leftover? Invite some friends over and make these:

Apple Nachos
Chocolate and Granola Apple Wedges
Caramel Apple Jello Shots
Mulled Apple Cider Sangria