My Skincare Must-Haves

Very few things stress me out and make me feel self-conscious more than having bad skin. That’s why I take great pride in taking good care of my skin, as we all should. My skin is by no means perfect, but I am lucky to feel comfortable going out with no makeup on.

Fresh outta the shower. Zero make-up, zero filter.

Fresh outta the shower. Zero make-up, zero filter.

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Back-to-School Workout Challenge

Although I still have a week left of my winter break, I know many of you have already started your second semester, which totally sucks I’m so sorry. But going back to school also means getting back to working out, because like many of you, I know I have been slacking in that department this past month. I didn’t have time to get to the gym the other night so I came up with this 35 minute cardio and strength workout routine inspired by a bootcamp class I take at my university’s recreational center and Jillian Michaels 30 Day Shred that incorporates some of my favorite exercises. It switches back and forth from 6 minutes of strength training to 3 minutes of cardio exercises. I’m a huge fan of interval-based workouts because you can fit in your cardio and strength exercises in a short routine and it doesn’t leave you dying from long periods of high intensity cardio (such as in Insanity, god I hated those videos). Also, it’s been proven that interval-training fitness systems actually burn more calories than traditional fitness systems with no varying levels of intensity, so i’ll take it.

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So here is my Back-to-School Workout that you can do straight from your room, 3 times a week to help you tone up and get your Spring Break body.  All you need is a pair of free weights (I suggest 5-8 lbs.), a mat, a timer, and lots of water. Do each exercise for 1 minute.

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Shopping Style Steals: Goodwill Decoration Finds

I checked out Goodwill the other day in search of a cheap frame to do a DIY mirror project but I was lucky enough to find a TO-DIE-FOR vintage-esque gold mirror that I didn’t have to anything to in order to make it better.

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New Years Eve Blinged Out Nails

New Years Eve is tomorrow which gives us girls all the excuse to wear tight dresses and sparkly jewelry. I’m going to Chicago for NYE and because my dress will be pretty tame… I decided to have a little fun with my nails.

Unfortunately, I spent a lot of my money buying Christmas presents for my family so I couldn’t afford to get them done professionally at a nail salon. But no worries, blinging out your nails from home is an easy and cheaper alternative!

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All you need is a standout nail polish color, top coat, a nail diamonds kit (you can buy them at a beauty supply store like Sally’s), and a toothpick.

1. Paint your nails with two coats of your nail polish except for the finger you want to bedazzle (I did my ring finger) only paint one coat.

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2. Pour out a little blob of top coat on a piece of paper.

3. Paint the second layer on your chosen fingernail.

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4. Dip one end of your toothpick into the topcoat. Then use your toothpick to pick up a diamond…you want to pick it up from the diamond side so the flat surface of the diamond is at the bottom.

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5. Stick the diamond on your wet nail.

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6. Repeat to fill the entire nail. Or you can make a design using the diamonds. Finish off with a layer of top coat.

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I covered my ring finger with different colored diamonds but you could also do a line of diamonds in the middle or in a diagonal, make a flower, or anything really, just experiment and have fun with it. It may take a bit of patience and practice but you’ll get the hang of it and stand out on NYE with your at home blinged out manicure when you go out that no one will know you didn’t spend lots of money for.

Wrapping Presents 101

I know this may have been a better post to have before Christmas, but of course my procrastinator self didn’t wrap my presents until Christmas Eve, a few hours before our family dinner party. Although wrapping presents yourself is much more difficult, it saves you money and is a good skill to learn for the rest of your life. After seeing some tweets and pictures of people struggling I decided to help a sista out and share how I have learned to wrap presents, with a special appearance from my favorite boys of One Direction.

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Restaurant Style Grilled Chicken Quesadilla

So I just started serving at the Vine in Iowa City and I have become obsessed with their Buffalo Chicken Quesadilla. Although I didn’t have all the ingredients I wanted to make that, I did make a scrumptious, restaurant-style chicken quesadilla that was way better than Panchero’s or Chipotle (although I still love them).

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I used frozen chicken breasts (defrost by placing frozen bag of chicken in bowl of hot water), shredded cheese, tomatoes, onions, and minced garlic  that I already had in my apartment and didn’t want to just throw away (wasting precious money) before I left for break for this quesadilla. The trick to homemade quesadillas is cooking your vegetables and chicken separately before you put them in your tortilla so they are thoroughly cooked and warm. Also, spray Pam in your pan and heat both sides of your tortilla before you add your cheese and other ingredients to get your tortilla nice and crispy like the restaurants.

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End of Semester Fiesta: Brown Sugar Bacon Wrapped Smokies

Sorry I haven’t posted in a while but I just finished my fall semester finals and I am back home in Des Moines with my family for the rest of break.

To celebrate the end of the semester, instead of going to a popular Mexican restaurant on campus to drink margaritas and eat, I decided to save money and do something special for my roommates.

My sister loves to make brown sugar bacon wrapped smokies for our family dinner parties so I thought I would give it a try because they are incredible! Even though it gets messy to make, it’s simple to make and really impresses everyone when they’re done. These would work as yummy hors d’ oeuvres for a holiday dinner party or appetizers for watching a sports game.

Brown Sugar Bacon Wrapped Smokies

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Ingredients: One package of bacon, 13-16 oz. of little beef smokies, and a cup of brown sugar. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.

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Black Friday 2013

To be completely honest, I am not the biggest fan of Black Friday. Crowds of people and waiting in lines has kept me from participating for a few years now but I did make one stop this year. I am confused to why people call it “Black Friday” anymore since most stores and shopping malls open earlier than midnight on Thanksgiving anyways. But, that was my incentive to stop by Target with my mom and cousins since it opened at 8 pm.

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Favorite Fitness Videos

Working out is tough enough as it is but with this cold Midwest weather in Iowa this week, I’m finding it harder and harder to get to the gym. Thank god for the internet and Youtube. Here are some of my absolute favorite workout videos that work your arms, legs, booty, and abs, all from the comfort of your own home. Not only will you beat the snow, but it’s also the cheapest alternative to not having a gym membership since it’s free. Woo-hoo!

Arms: Victoria Secret Angel Arm Slimming Workout 

Legs/Booty: Call Me Maybe Mighty Squat Challenge

Abs: P90x Ab Ripper X 

I promise you will be burning and sweating during these videos but challenge yourself! They have changed my body and toned me up. Also, special shout out to Cassey Ho and Blogilates for all of her workout videos. I linked to two of my personal favorites, but there are many more on her blog so check it out! Her squat challenge is a great workout to do for bed, I’m actually about to do it right now. Let me know what you think of the workouts, hope they work you as hard as they do for me.

Goodnight Babes!