Sunday, June 29, 2014

A Fresh Fourth



With the 4th of July just around the corner, I wanted to share an easy, festive and healthy fruit tray option that is great for upcoming parties.  While I am looking forward to eating some barbecue and delicious desserts, it's always nice to have a healthy option on-hand.  Most of my favorite fruits happen to be red or blue, and paired with a white serving tray, this spread is perfect for the holiday!



I have a mild obsession with watermelon and cannot get enough of it during the summer months.  I purchased a set of star shaped cookie cutters from Michael's for $5 and love how fun these festive watermelon slices are!


They also make adorable drink garnishes! What are your plans for the 4th?

Thanks for stopping by and have a great week!

Love,
Aly

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Beauty: Storing & Cleaning Makeup Brushes




Nice makeup brushes are key to applying your makeup well and can often be pretty expensive.  A few brush sets at Sephora cost over $200 - yikes!  While nice sets can be found at more affordable price points, brushes are something you should definitely not cheap out on, as they can really make a huge difference in your makeup application.  Cheaper brushes can leave bristles on your cheeks and absorb make up, in turn forcing you to use more product.  Nice brushes are a great investment and can last a long time when you care for them properly.  I like to store my brushes standing up, as seen in the picture above.  I picked up these cute purple tumblers at an antique store a few weeks ago and filled them with acrylic beads from Michael's.  They're perfect for keeping my brushes clean and organized!

While storing your brushes vertically can help keep the bristles clean (as opposed to tossing them in a dirty makeup bag or drawer), it is definitely important to clean your brushes on a regular basis.  Most dermatologists recommend shampooing brushes at least once a week - which doesn't always happen for me! When I do shampoo my brushes, I like to use Sephora's Purifying Brush Shampoo.




Cleaning brushes is easy, but here are a few pointers - Always hold your brush with the bristles pointed towards the floor when wet - otherwise water can seep into the base/handle and cause your brush to deteriorate.  First, dampen your brush under cool water (bristles down, ladies!) and squeeze some shampoo onto the palm of your hand (a clean hand, obviously).  Swirl your brush in the shampoo to lather, then rinse and repeat until the water runs clear.  Gently squeeze bristles to remove excess water.  Pat your brush on a lint free towel to further dry and gently shape bristles into their original form.  Lay brush flat on a clean cloth to finish drying.


When I don't have time to shampoo my brushes, I like to use Sephora's Daily Brush Cleaner.  Just spray a bit onto your brushes and gently swirl on a clean lint free cloth to get rid of excess makeup.  The spray is super easy to use and only takes a moment - no rinsing required!

How often do you wash your makeup brushes?  Do you have a favorite brush cleaner or favorite brush brand?  Let me know!

Love,
Aly

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Summer Fun: Accessories

Summer Accessories


I love colorful, girly accessories and find that summer is always the best time to add fun pieces to my wardrobe.  After finally convincing myself that I could indeed pull off heart-shaped sunglasses, I found the perfect pair at Nordstrom for just $12 - what a steal!  I'm also a huge fan of small handbags and tend to love anything from Rebecca Minkoff.  Her bags are amazing quality and come in so many fun colors -  perfect for summer. My tip - check discount department stores first (like Nordstrom Rack, Saks Off Fifth or Neiman Marcus Last Call) before paying full price.  I picked up a mint green Rebecca Minkoff Mini Mac last summer for half price at Saks Off Fifth!

What accessories and beauty products are you looking forward to rocking this summer?


Love,
Aly

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Simple Chia Seed Pudding



Breakfast is hands down my favorite meal of the day.  A good breakfast - that is!  Most mornings I am in a hurry and end up eating a previously frozen breakfast sandwich in my car on the way to work, so any yummy recipe that can be made the night before gets a thumb's up in my book.  One of my current favorites is chia seed pudding.  It's super easy and healthy too!  Chia seeds are high in fiber (42% of your daily fiber in one serving) and are also high in calcium.

All you will need:
2 1/2 tablespoons chia seeds
1/2 cup almond milk
1 teaspoon (or however much you prefer) agave nectar
Fresh fruit (strawberries, blueberries & raspberries are my favorites!)

Combine chia seeds, almond milk and agave nectar in sealable container and mix well.  I like to do this by closing and shaking my tupperware, but whisking works too!  Seal and chill in the fridge overnight. Top with fresh fruit in the morning and you're all set!

This recipe makes one serving. What's your go-to breakfast recipe?  I'd love to hear your favorite!

Thanks for stopping by!

Love,
Aly




Thursday, June 5, 2014

Work It Out



Happy Thursday, friends!  These past few weeks have been super busy and I am definitely looking forward to a relaxing weekend.  I work full-time in the land of digital advertising, and since I first started my 9-5 at an agency about a year and a half ago, I have really struggled to find time to work out.  Ok, maybe more-so struggled to find motivation rather than time.  I have an hour + commute to and from work, so by the time I get home, I am usually exhausted and don't feel like hitting the gym.  I recently started getting back into the swing of working out at home and wanted to share a few of my favorite YouTube channels for great workout videos!



After seeing these fun workout tops pinned everywhere, I finally decided to see what Blogilates is all about. Cassey is a certified fitness instructor and one of the most motivating people I have ever come across. Her workout videos are so fun and inspiring! She also has monthly calendars on her website, detailing which workout videos to do on each day of the month.  Each set of workout videos is designed to take about an hour and they are are super effective - you'll definitely be sore the next day.


I also really like the Tone It Up girls - Karena and Katrina.  They are personal trainers who are both in phenomenal shape.  They have great workout videos, which all begin with a Victoria's Secret-esque opening sequence... pretty motivating! 

I really enjoy working out at home, but definitely need someone to tell me exactly what moves to do - which is why I love both of these programs.   Do y'all do either program? Or have another workout guru that you like? I'd love to hear from you :)

Love,
Aly