Healthy Habits to Try in 2014 {A post by me from Today’s Woman Now}

Today’s Woman Now.

 

Not really into the whole resolutions thing? Try picking up these small healthy habits and you’ll see some good changes come about in 2014!

Incorporate sunscreen into your daily routine.
Even though it’s winter and you’re not outside as much or even if you’re not outside intentionally sunning yourself, you should always have some amount of SPF on. Why? Whether you realize it or not, sunlight is constantly hitting your skin- especially your face. Think about the sun coming in while you’re driving, or you’re outside in the fall or spring watching your kid’s soccer game. Your skin is always exposed to harmful rays even if it doesn’t feel like it. Now days, so many products make it easy to get the SPF you need without feeling like you’re wearing heavy, oily or goopy sunscreen. Most daily moisturizers and even most make ups these days include SPF. Make sure whatever you’re using has at least 15 or higher. You’ll thank yourself one day for this habit!

Go to bed and wake up at the same time every day.
According to most studies, getting on a consistent sleep schedule is the single best thing you can do to affect your overall sleep quality. Getting on a schedule helps your circadian rhythms allowing your brain to know when it’s time to shut off and wake up, giving you a better night’s sleep. A better night’s sleep also helps to reduce the amount of stress hormones and helps to control your appetite-controlling hormones. Hint hint, it’s good for helping you stave off unwanted pounds.

Stop reading on the elliptical or treadmill.
Let’s be real ladies, if you’re able to follow along the lines of a book or a magazine, you’re not working out hard enough. Leaning on the handle bars or the arms of an elliptical to support your weight also means you’re not working intensely enough. Doing these things can reduce your calorie burn by 25 percent. Good form is key. Save the reading for your cool down stretch!

Swap one can of soda for water each day.
To start, a can of soda has approximately 40 grams of sugar. Most healthy diets suggest you try to keep your sugar levels under at least 15 grams. And if you haven’t noticed before, drinking lots of water will make you feel full- a can of soda won’t, meaning you’re more likely to snack while you drink it. You don’t have to quit your soda intake completely but by switching one soda per day with some quality, fresh water, you can drop more than a pound a month. Not bad right? If you are too bored with just plain water- add in some fresh lemon slices, cucumbers, mint leaves or other fruits to add some flavor.

Soak up fifteen minutes of sunlight a day (at least!).
It’s no wonder people feel more down and depressed in the winter. Getting a few minutes of sunlight each day helps to brighten your mood, relax your nerves and bring about good feelings. Not to mention, it helps to reset your body’s internal clock for the day which means that at night, you’ll rest better. If it is winter, just simply standing by a window while you have your morning coffee or sitting in the sun rays coming through the window while reading the paper is all it takes. Most importantly, your eyes needs to register the light- not necessarily your skin. So take a moment to soak it up and your days will be a little brighter and your nights more restful.

Limit drinking to only three days a week.
For most women (and even men) alcohol calories can be a major problem. By having a couple drinks a day, you can easily gain about a pound a week. Try to stick to only having a drink three days a week at most. Try just the weekends. If you need another reason, just think that an average glass of wine at a restaurant has around 250 calories and mixed drinks have even more calories plus generally lots of sugar. Having just one glass of wine four days a week can add up to 1,000 calories per week! Nixing all those calories (or at least half) can really save you some weight gain.

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New Year’s Goes Gatsby {A post, by me, from Today’s Woman Now}

NYE Goes Gatsby

 

This year, New Year’s Eve is all about partying like Gatsby. Style-wise, that is. Ring in the new year in full swing, roaring twenties style. A little glitter never hurt anyone, right?

Like anything, I always say go big or go home. Go all out – it’s a holiday, so you can get away with it! Think full-on sparkle and flapper-style dresses and skirts.

Your go-tos this year should be golds and nudes, creams, silvers, and pearl-accented colors. You want lots of sparkle, glitter, fringe and even faux fur. Try a drop waist glitter accent dress like the one above.

Adding accessories, such as a faux fur collar scarf ala Daisy Bucanon above, is sure to be a hit. Layer on the pearls! It’s a signature twenties style that can do nothing but add to a festive outfit. A glitter watch (perfect for a countdown) or a sparkly retro clutch is a great way to dress up an outfit as well. Feeling really bold? Try a pearl or glitter headpiece like this ASOS Flapper Jewel Headband above.

Glitter accent dress: polyvore.com/beige_maree_embellished_flapper_dress
Glitter watch: polyvore.com/kate_spade_new_york_gold
Sparkly clutch: polyvore.com/monsoon_samir_glitter_box_clutch
Pearl necklace: polyvore.com/faux_pearl_cluster_necklace
All glitter dress: polyvore.com/montique_handbeaded_sequin_cocktail_dress
Jewel headband: polyvore.com/asos_flapper_jewel_headband

Peppermint Puppy Chow

Ingredients:
5 cups rice chex cereal
1 bag Andes mints (the red and white peppermint kind) melted
1 1/2 cup powdered sugar
Festive sprinkles

Directions
Measure out rice chex cereal in large bowl.
Melt Andes mint candies until smooth and creamy.
Pour over cereal and mix to coat well.
In a large bag, add powdered sugar and sprinkles.
Add coated cereal in bag and shake to mix/ coat well.
Pour back into large bowl and enjoy!

Happy Holidays :)

xx SSG

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Pumpkin Cookies with Brown Sugar Caramel Frosting

Warning- these are amazing! You’ll be glad it makes so many! My sister likes to call these “scookies” because they are thick and moist and she says they are like a cross between a cookie and a really amazing scone. {Yields about 60 or more cookies. Don’t double unless you need more than 5 dozen!}

INGREDIENTS
2 cups sugar
2 cups shortening
2 cups pumpkin (the can should say 100% pure pumpkin…don’t accidentally buy the pumpkin pie filling! You don’t want the sweetened stuff)
2 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla
5 cups flour
4 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
2 tsp. cinnamon
2 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
2 tsp. nutmeg
¾ tsp. ground cloves

BROWN SUGAR CARAMEL FROSTING
1 stick melted butter
2 T water
¼ c half and half or whole milk
4 ½ c powdered sugar
1 c brown sugar, packed lightly
2 t vanilla

INSTRUCTIONS
Preheat oven to 350° F.
In an electric mixer, blend shortening and sugar.
Add pumpkin and mix.
Add eggs one at a time, mixing after each one.
Add vanilla extract and mix.
In a separate bowl, mix flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, baking soda, pumpkin pie spice, nutmeg, and cloves.
Add your dry ingredients to the wet ingredients one cup at a time
Bake at 350°F for 10-12 minutes (12 seemed to be the magic number).
Meanwhile, make your frosting.
Let cool, frost and sprinkle with cinnamon. Enjoy!

BROWN SUGAR CARAMEL FROSTING
Prepare pan by spraying with Pam and rubbing down the sides. In the pan, melt the butter and then add the brown sugar and water. Cook and stir until the sugar has melted and isn’t grainy anymore.
Remove from heat and add the half and half and vanilla to cool the mixture. Let stand for 10-15 minutes to cool (don’t skip this step!)
Transfer brown sugar mixture to kitchen aid or bowl, add the powdered sugar, and beat until smooth.

Adapted from pinnedbydani.com.

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A post (by me!) from Today’s Woman Now: What To Wear To Thanksgiving This Year

Today’s Woman Now: What To Wear To Thanksgiving This Year.

Whether you’re getting dressed up, going casual, caring more about comfort, or simply staying in and owning the sweatpants look, there are so many ways you can go when it comes to holiday dressing. This Thanksgiving, try one of these inspired looks and you’ll be sure to impress whatever family you haven’t seen in a year or simply look super chic without looking like you tried too hard.

First, if you’re going to get dressed up, say with a dress or skirt, be sure to complete the look with a well-tailored and stylish coat. Like the Marc Jacobs one above, it is always safe to go with one that has a belt or that has some length, which gives it a more sophisticated and sleek look. With layering, you can tend to get bulky if you’re not careful. A good coat also makes a great first impression when reuniting with everyone for the holidays.

Next, if you’re going casual but still want to impress, try jeans and a sweater – a fall look you can never go wrong with if worn properly. Try a statement sweater with jeans and a pair of leather boots. Or, go with a simple sweater but add a statement vest, like this J. Crew one in a classic holiday red or even a trendy fur vest.

knit sweater dress mixes both dressy and casual if you’re not sure which way to go. A simple cream-colored one as seen above is a pretty neutral that gives you the opportunity to dress it up with fun accessories or stay casual with leggings and a plaid scarf.

Avocado Greek Yogurt Dressing

In a food processor, blend:

Avocados
Plain Greek yogurt
Olive oil
Cilantro
Cracked pepper

No specific measurements- add as much of each to your taste or thickness preference.

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