The Varsity Jacket trend is a “DO”

One of the big trends this year that has been popping up in several magazines, is the Varsity Jacket look. Several celebrities have been spotted rocking this look and as Glamour magazine puts it, this look is a definite DO! I myself really like this look. This is a cool, laid back look that pairs perfectly with denim- perfect for when you want to look good and on trend but not too over dressed. If you can’t picture how to rock this look, take a few cues from some chic celebs seen sporting it such as Taylor Swift, Miley Cyrus, Rihanna, Kim Kardashian and even the leading boys of One Direction…which proves that this look can be both feminine and masculine, also supporting the trend of the “boyfriend” look. I mean really, you can’t go wrong here!

As seen below, Taylor Swift gets my vote for “best dressed” (thank you, E! News’ Fashion Police) who totally rocked this trend by pairing her varsity jacket with cute shorts, a simple tee, and of course pearls and ray bans- only giving her extra coolness points. Way to go, Taylor!

Also, Kim Kardashian and Miley Cyrus have been spotted with the same classic black and white Simone Varisty Bomber jacket. Although this trend is usually worn as oversized, again the “boyfriend” look, Kim K and Miley show how to work the cropped-style bomber jacket. Both of these ladies, who obviously have very different styles, pull this look off so well which is another reason this trend is a DO.

Not to forget, Rihanna gets ultra trendy with a plaid, lettered jacket by Carhartt + A.P.C. as well.

If you like the cropped Simone jacket, it is a bit pricey but check out http://www.singer22.com to find it there! Also, try other trend stores that will have cheaper versions such as Forever21. And if you prefer Taylor and Rihanna’s look better, try checking out the Varsity wool jacket by French Connection at http://www.frenchconnection.com.

The best way to wear these jackets is to follow one rule- keep the rest of your outfit simple. Make this your statement piece. Take a cue from Taylor who went totally casual with her outfit and let the jacket speak for itself. You can’t really go wrong when pairing this look with denim or simple skinnies. Shorts or a cute mini skirt also look chic but always remember to keep it simple.

Stay cool,

xxx SSG

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Thought of the day…

Couldn’t have said it better myself. So inspirational. Love this.

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xxx SSG

Healthy Snacks for the New Year and the New You

It’s that time of year again, time for New Years’ resolutions, new habits, new outlooks and of course new diets. Call me cynical but I’m not into the whole resolution thing. I think it’s great that people want to start the new year off right, but let’s be honest, if you’re one of those who waits until a certain day, or tomorrow, or after the weekend, chances are you’ll never start.

I don’t like New Years’ resolutions mainly because I find it silly- why not start today? Or right now? You don’t need to quit everything cold turkey or drastically change up your life in one day. That’s not realistic.

What is realistic though, is starting small. Make a few changes- maybe one per day- and you’ll be inspired to do more. For example, try to reach for more water throughout the day instead of soft drinks. With each small change, you’ll become more aware of how good it feels and you won’t feel like you’re completely depriving yourself. Also, when you do fall off the wagon, you won’t feel as bad and have the urge to say “to he’ll with it”.

To help you make small changes and become healthier this year, here is a list of 100 calorie snack ideas (that are actually delicious and nutritious). Who knows, maybe changing up those greasy potato chips for some fruit or cheese will inspire you to make even more or even bigger changes- making it easier for you to stay on track and stay healthy.

-celery with natural peanut butter or almond butter (I say natural because there are so many new brands out there that are much healthier. I love peanut butter and its not unhealthy but you can’t get away with eating too much of it. I like PB2 which is one of the most healthy out there right now. It’s powder form but it’s super easy to make -just mix with water- and tastes exactly the same. Look for peanut butter with no extra ingredients, just peanuts, especially none with hydrogenated oils! This is also a favorite snack of Olivia Munn who if you haven’t noticed, looks amazing…….)

-1 slice turkey breast with 1 slice Swiss cheese

-3 cups air-popped popcorn

-1 1/2 oz part-skim mozzarella and 1 tomato slice

-2 1/2 cups watermelon (Jennifer Love Hewitt’s go to sweets-craving snack)

-1 medium apple

-2 tablespoons hummus and 11 baby carrots

-14 almonds (Bethenny Frankel uses almonds in a lot of her Skinny Girl recipes)

-3 clementines

-Sliced rep pepper (a favorite energy booster of dance hottie Karina Smirnoff)

-1 cup chopped mango

-15 raspberries

-2 tablespoons of guacamole and 5 tortilla chips (VS model Alessandra Ambrosio is a huge guac lover- and we can all agree she looks amazing too…..)

-1/2 cup edamame

-2 bars fruit leather

Try swapping out some of your less healthy snacks for these yummy options and start feeling better about staying on track- not just for the new year, but for all year long. Small changes can make a big improvement.

xxx SSG

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Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory Avalanche Bark (aka Rice Krispie treats on crack)

Depending on where you live or where you have traveled to, you may be familiar with the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory. Mmmmm mmmm, can’t beat it! If you have been, you may know of what I am about to talk about. If not, you’re in for a real treat! (No pun intended)

Ohhhh the delicious Avalanche Bark at RMCF….. just amazing. If you like Rice Krispie treats, chocolate, peanut butter, marshmallows, and any kind of sensible goodness, you’ll love these bars!

Anyyy whooooo, I was perusing Pinterest the other day, naturally, and I came across a recipe for these babies. Of course, I had to check it out. Within minutes, I was craving these and decided to give the recipe a try. Pretty good, but I had to tweak most of the things so I am going to give you my own recipe which, trust me on this one, tastes IDENTICAL to the bars found at RMCF!

Okay so this recipe is super easy, but you have to follow the directions step by step or they won’t come out right. Again, trust me- my mom made these without precise directions and they tasted good but were not the same.

What you’ll need:

  • 2 12oz bags of NESTLÉ Toll House white chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter (I used Jiff)
  • 6 cups Rice Krispies cereal
  • 4 cups mini marshmallows
  • 1 cup mini NESTLÉ Toll House milk chocolate chips
  • 2 1/2 cups mini NESTLÉ Toll House milk chocolate chips for topping

What to do:

  • On low heat, melt one bag of white chocolate chips on the stove top. Once almost completely melted, add in the second bag. Melt until creamy, stirring pretty constantly. Be careful, chocolate can burn pretty easily if you are not watching it.
  • Once melted and creamy, remove from heat and add in the 1/2 cup peanut butter. Stir together.
  • In a large mixing bowl combine the 6 cups Rice Krispies and the white chocolate and peanut butter mixture. Mix together, completely coating the Krispies with the chocolate.
  • Let this cool for about 15 minutes. Keep stirring occasionally. (Do not skip this step!)
  • Once cool, stir in the 4 cups mini marshmallows.
  • After that, stir in the 1 cup of mini chocolate chips. **If you add the mini marshmallows and chocolate chips before the krispie mixture has cooled, they will all melt together so be sure to let it cool first.
  • Once everything is mixed together, place mixture into a lightly greased pan and spread evenly. Press lightly with your spoon back but do not compact the treats because you want them to be fluffy and compacting them too much will cause them to get hard.
  • Add the remaining 2 and 1/2 cups mini chocolate chips over top, also lightly pressing them so they stick.
  • Once cooled, cut into squares and enjoy!

After testing the recipe, I took these to work with me and everyone went crazy over them! A few people began to refer to them as rice krispie treats on crack. Yep, that good. And of course, much cheaper than buying them individually from RMCF, if you have one near you.

Enjoy!

xxx SSG

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Pure Barre Buzz- Why the big deal??

If you don’t know me, I’ll tell you now that I lead a pretty active lifestyle. I am not a marathon runner however but I am no couch potato either. I fall somewhere in between the two, I’d guess. I like to work out a lot and I strive for at least 6-7 days per week for at least an hour per day.

Growing up, I was always active and always involved in some sport so I will admit that I’ve been in pretty good shape my whole life. However, just like everyone else, I sometimes get tired of the same workout routines, I get bored, I hit a plateau, it’s just not working for me, I gain a few unwanted pounds, you name it. I am a normal female who at many of times wishes her body was different or better, tighter, slimmer, whatever, as I am sure many of you can relate to- even you, Candice Swanepoel and Kathryn Webb!

Anyways, I am sure many of you have also heard about the new Pure Barre craze that has become increasingly popular all over the country within recent months. Well, as any girl wanting to better my body, I followed the buzz and jumped on the bandwagon. And am I glad I did! Here’s what it is and why….

First, what is it you may ask? To begin, we can all go ahead and thank the founder, Carrie Rezabek Dorr, dancer and choreographer, who first opened her studio in 2001. Pure Barre is a total body workout that is designed to lift your bum, tone your thighs and burn fat while using a ballet barre to preform isometric movements. Trust me when I say isometric. Watching a class, it would be hard to notice any major movements during most of the workout but the smaller the movement, the bigger the results!

According to their website, http://purebarre.com, which I suggest you take a look at, “The technique protects your joints as it does not involve any bouncing or jumping. Each strength section of the workout is followed by a stretching section in order to create long, lean muscle without bulk. The workout launches a full blown attack on the areas of the body all women struggle with: abs, hips, seat and arms. It defies gravity by tapering everything in and lifting it up.”

I would not really know what to compare this workout to, but it truly does target all of the major areas that 99% of women struggle with. The classes are only an hour long and even though you’re generally not dripping in sweat, you are definitely doing work. You’d be surprised how much you struggle at first with just two pound weights!

You do not need to bring anything with you to class other than yourself. You do not wear shoes but you will need socks. I suggest the super grippy socks that they sell at the studio though- it makes certain moves easier. I would also suggest to wear more form fitting clothes- nothing too blousy or anything that will get in your way. I like to wear long leggings and a tank-style top.

The instructors are all really great and they will help you with any questions you may have, which trust me, you’ll have some to ask! If you don’t know what you’re doing- which is pretty much everyone at first- they come around and help you to insure your form is correct. Also, the instructors throw out and remind you of cues throughout which is very helpful. You’ll begin with a warm up and then move to arms, legs, seat work and then abs. You will also stretch it all out after each targeted area which is great. During the class, you’ll use a ball, weights for arms, a mat and rubber tubing, which is all provided for you at the proper time of class.

Still can’t figure out what the big deal is? Take it from me, who would not be writing this if I did not fully believe this to be true, but I can definitely tell an improvement in my body. At first, you’ll realize just how weak your core is and you’ll find yourself working muscles in places you didn’t even know you had! I’ve been doing Pure Barre now for a few months and I strive to go everyday. They do say that to see improvements you should try to go at least 3-4 times per week and that the majority of the people see results in about 10 classes. I would support this theory. I am not looking to drop an excessive amount of weight but still some, and I would really like to tone everything up and Pure Barre has helped me with that thus far. My legs and abs have more muscle definition than they did when I was a competitive cheerleader. I feel tighter and leaner each day and I just absolutely love it!

Don’t let me fool you though- the classes are not easy and it’s pretty tough at first but you’ll be wanting to go back after just once class. However, the more you do it, the stronger you become and the easier the classes become. You’ll figure out what the hell you’re doing and if you keep at it, you will see big changes. In class, your instructor will tell you to “let it shake, let it burn” and I suggest you go with it, because that is where your muscles are changing (and you WILL be shaking and burning). I would also highly recommend this workout to new moms who want to shed that baby weight and tighten everything back up. I see women of all ages in class at all different levels with all different body types. It is a workout for everyone, including men if they are up for the challenge!

Visit your local studio or go online to find one near you. I go to classes at the Summit location in Louisville, KY which is owned by the very knowledgeable, Annie Locke. Classes are a bit more expensive but check with your location because they do offer different deals and sometimes discounts. I suggest that students be sure to ask because being a student myself, that is one good deal! (However, locations do vary so be sure to check.)

If you still aren’t convinced, check it out for yourself!

http://purebarre.com

Pure Barre Louisville- Summit location

4284 Summit Plaza Drive

Louisville Ky 40223

phone: 502.425.8300

email: summit@purebare.com

Get to shaking and burning, beauties!

xxx SSG

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