Spring Pastels… {A post, by me, from Today’s Woman Now! “Pastel Pretty: A sophisticated Easter look”}

Today’s Woman Now: Pastel Pretty: A sophisticated Easter look.

 

Easter Pastels by Alissa Hicks


Although pastels are a major trend this spring, Easter is the one holiday where you can always take advantage of wearing them. However, there are rules to wearing pastels and making them look pretty. Here’s how Easter pastels can be worn (properly) this year.

First rule of thumb: Your goal is not to look like an Easter egg. Don’t overdo it. This is a fine line, though; you can wear one solid pastel color from head to toe and you can even mix and match, but know where the line is drawn from fashionable to tacky.

Just like other colors, some pastels match or compliment each other, and some just don’t. Just because a blouse is pink doesn’t mean it’s truly pastel. Know what pastels are and how to match them. They should compliment each other. Pinks and yellows of the same pastel family pair well together, for example.

Although you like the look, maybe too much pastel is too much for your personality. We totally understand. Try mixing a pop of pastel with your neutrals. If you love black, a fitted black pencil skirt or cigarette ankle-length pant paired with a soft, flowy pastel (think baby blues, mint or lavender) top always works. Even better, add a fun pastel shoe to tie the look together.

Pastels also look very pretty with white. White denim or even a white dress with pastel accents is a way to play the look safe yet stay pretty and on trend this Easter and all season long.

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Thank you GRACESHIP for featuring me as a woman you love!

http://thegraceship.com/blogs/emilys-blog/11977965-alissa-hicks-from-intern-to-associate

Recently, I was flattered to have been chosen to be featured by the GRACESHIP team as a woman they love. I got the chance to sit down and talk a little bit about my path and how I went from your average college student to working at a women’s magazine. Click the link above to read more!

Thanks again, GRACESHIP, for the opportunity.

[Photos by Melissa Donald]

Alissa Hicks

XXX SSG

Pop. Fizz. Clink! Fun Champagne Recipes {A post by me from Today’s Woman Now}

Today’s Woman Now.

So it may be past new year’s eve but really- do you need an excuse or holiday to drink champagne? I didn’t think so.

Citrus Champagne Cocktail
Ingredients:
1/2 cup fresh pink grapefruit juice, strained
1/2 cup fresh orange juice, strained
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice, strained
1/4 cup sugar
1 750ml bottle champagne or sparkling wine, chilled

Preparation:
1. Mix all juices and sugar in a pitcher and stir until sugar dissolves. Cover and chill at least 2 hours or up to overnight.
2. Divide juice among flutes and top with champagne. Serve immediately.
{From http://www.myrecipes.com}
Chambord Sparkling Champagne Cocktail
Ingredients:
1.5 oz Death’s Door Gin
3-4 oz Mumm Sparkling Wine Cuvee
1/2 oz Chambord liquor
Fresh raspberries for garnishing

Preparation:
Pour all ingredients into a champagne flute, garnish with raspberries and serve.
{From ideas.evite.com}

Semifreddo Bellini {Because a Bellini will fix any girl’s problems…}
Ingredients:
1 cup peeled, chopped peaches, frozen until hardened
1/4 cup peach schnapps
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons chilled Champagne or sparkling white wine
2 tablespoons superfine sugar
1 cup small ice cubes
Peach slices, for garnish

Preparation:
1. Blend peaches, peach schnapps, 2 tablespoons Champagne, the sugar, and ice in a blender until smooth.
2. Divide mixture between 2 glasses; top off each glass with 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons Champagne, and serve.
{From: http://www.marthastewart.com}

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.

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

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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