Beauty Routine Essentials from The Vitamin Shoppe

Vitamins have always been a part of my routine. When I was a kid I used to take those cartoon pills, and now that I’m older I try to take fish oil and other supplements with my daily dose of allergy medicine. In the same way that my antihistamine tackles my aversion to pollen, vitamins have the potential to address some of my beauty hurdles. My most recent beauty routine shake-up has come by way of The Vitamin Shoppe, where you can find some of my favorite new beauty tools to keep me glowing from the inside out!

Vitamin Shoppe VitaBeauty

We all want gorgeous, glowing skin. And yes please, we’d like to have it without having to don piles of foundation. Makeup is my jam, but skincare is the bread base for all that jam – and the healthier my skin is, the better my makeup looks. Which is why I include biotin in my beauty routine. Biotin is actually a member of the B-complex family of essential vitamins, it’s essential for carbohydrate, fat and amino acid metabolism. But I take it to support healthy skin, hair, and nails – via it’s promotion of cellular energy production.

Natural Beauty at the Vitamin Shoppe

Another favorite is vitamin E which works to block free radicals from the body, which play a large part in the aging process. Now that we’ve tackled beauty from the inside, let’s talk about the outside. Coconut and avocado oil are essential for anyone’s routine. I love using coconut oil to remove stubborn eyelash glue, and glitter-heavy eyeliner and eyeshadow. It’s also excellent for face and hair masks. I love the Vitamin Shoppe’s avocado oil for two reasons. One, it’s a high quality oil, and two because the packaging reveals just how on point the Vitamin Shoppe is with their products. The dark glass bottle that the oil is packaged in aligns what I’ve learned about many beauty oils – dark packaging means that the oil inside is being protected from diminished quality by keeping the suns harmful UV rays at bay. This means a longer shelf life for natural beauty products like this. Love it!

Coconut Oil and Vitamins from the Vitamin Shoppe

Speaking of beauty lessons, one of my favorite new additions to my daily beauty routine is this Hyaluronic Acid Serum. Hyaluronic Acid has been quite popular in the beauty industry for a while now. Due to it’s moisturizing and rejuvenative properties, a good HA product has been on my list for some time and now that I’ve finally gotten my hands on it I can see why people love it. The trick with hyaluronic acid (which is a moisture magnet) is to pair it up with a good moisturizer. It can benefit people differently based on their skin, but for me, it’s helped clear up some stubborn acne scars.

Speaking of creams, the Alpha Lipoic Acid Anti-Aging Crème is definitely worth checking out if you’re in the market for a solid anti-aging cream. I’m really partial to this one because it’s luxurious but doesn’t sit heavy on your skin. No one wants a cream that sits on the surface, because that means it’s probably not earning its due. This one gets soaked right up.

Vitamin Shoppe Beauty Solutions

You can find all of these products alongside a wide assortment of creams, serums, essential oils, carrier oils, biotin and collagen products, and vitamins from loads of well-known vendors at any of Vitamin Shoppe’s 800+ stores or online at www.vitaminshoppe.com. Until recently I never even knew that the Vitamin Shoppe was a beauty and skin care lovers paradise!

Are you ready to take your beauty routine to a whole other level? Right now Vitamin Shoppe is giving away this amazing bundle of great product! One random winner will receive: $100 in Vitamin Shoppe gift cards, as well as a gym bag and products. Total value is $250. To enter just fill out at least one of the entries on Rafflecopter form below! Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Contest ends June 29, 2016 ET and is open to US only. Good luck! Winner will be chosen randomly by Vitamin Shoppe and be notified by email. The prize will be fulfilled by Vitamin Shoppe.
*Disclosure: This post is sponsored by The Vitamin Shoppe. All opinions are my own*

Spinbrush Launches Truly Radiant Clean & Fresh Collection with Alison Sweeney at Flywheel

I’m the sort of person that prefers lounging to lunges, whipped cream to weight lifting, quick naps instead of quick jogs. As it happens, a few weeks ago Arm & Hammer asked me if I would like to take a spin class at Flywheel with Alison Sweeney & Spinbrush. Spurred on by delusions of me spinning my way through a 45 minute workout, I said “sign me up!” My response in the affirmative may have been seriously slightly influenced by the opportunity to meet Sami Brady in the flesh, but the fall-out came afterwards where I repeatedly messaged my friend Nellie from Brooklyn Active Mama about the likeliness of my death-by-spin-class. If you don’t follow Nellie, you definitely should, she’s an amazing lifestyle and fitness expert, plus she’s one of the coolest ladies I know.

Flywheel Spinbrush EventFlywheel Chelsea

Nellie refused to let me chicken out, and joined me as well, and honestly it was a really eye-opening experience. I did not anticipate how much fun I would have, and really did not imagine that I would stay on the bike for the entire 45 minutes – and I did! And it was awesome! Also, it was really cool that Alison stayed there the entire time too!

 Bike Monitor

Alison Sweeney, who is an Arm & Hammer spokesperson, spoke briefly about the new Arm & Hammer Truly Radiant Clean & Fresh collection. The new Clean & Fresh collection features a toothpaste, mouthwash, as well as a battery operated and manual toothbrush. The collection delivers deep cleaning and lasting freshness by way of their patented dual-action brush head, and can be used along with the toothpaste and rinse for a smile that is noticeably whiter.

 Truly Radiant Clean and Fresh

Having been a dedicated spin-brusher for years now, I actually noticed a massive difference between this Clean & Fresh Spinbrush and my older model – this brush moved much quicker, the bristles were very effective but not irritating, and my teeth felt way cleaner. Also, the toothpaste and mouthwash have this great spearmint flavor that lasts all morning, so high-five for fresh breath, haha! Also, if your food features a lot of garlic, this is the collection for you. I love cooking with garlic, and this toothpaste and mouthwash worked like a dream to get rid of that garlic breath and weird flavor, so basically, I’m sold!

 Arm and Hammer Truly Radiant Collection

Thank you so much for the invite Arm & Hammer! Since then I’ve already been back for another spin!

Find out more details on the entire Arm & Hammer Truly Radiant Clean & Fresh collection here.

NYC’s STORY Tells a Tale of Health & Wellness with Cigna

NYC is home to some of the most amazing and unique stores. Somewhere around a year ago I heard about this store that revolved around the concept of storytelling – basically they would change the theme of the store, everything from the physical look of the store to the products sold, to reflect a new theme every few weeks. How brilliant is that?! But it wasn’t until last week that, thanks to Cigna & STORY, I actually had a chance to finally check them out and it was pretty much as amazing as I had hoped it would be!

Feel Good Story at STORY with Cigna

Basically, this month STORY and Cigna, a leading global health service company, have teamed up to unveil “Feel Good” – STORY’s latest installation. The store is organized into three segments – Good Plan, Good Vibes and Good Eats. They’re all pretty self-explanatory, Good Plan features items geared toward preventative care, Good Vibes encourages mindfulness, and Good Eats focuses on nutrition.

good STORY

I don’t know about you guys, but my health is definitely something that I’m rededicating myself to this year, and I think that holds true for a lot of people – it’s definitely one of the more common New Year’s resolutions. Well, in partnering with Cigna, right now STORY is full of exciting items, panels, and classes to help us reach those sort of goals. I was thrilled to see that you don’t have to be a health, fitness, or wellness nut to easily find a product or one of the complimentary panels or classes, that can appeal to you. I was literally mentally shopping the whole time I was there – I can’t wait to go back!

STORY Good VibesHerbivore at STORY NYC

There were so many cool products – I also tried out Cigna’s Virtual Relaxation Pod. The Pod uses oculus technology, it’s a virtual reality experience that transports you to one of three VR locations – I chose a beach. Basically, you sit in a “pod” (a sort of plush enclosed chair), put on the VR goggles and headphones and are transported to a location of your choice where you experience guided meditation by way of a breathing technique. It was pretty cool, within a couple of minutes I definitely felt like my heart rate had decreased and I was more focused. If you can try, you definitely should.

“Feel Good” will be open until February 28th, so if you find yourself in the city, or if you already live or work here, definitely stop by and check STORY out!

How to Live a Life of Plenti

About three weeks ago I attended probably one of the more timely events, at least on a personal level, for me. On a Thursday evening I joined Yoplait’s new Plenti yogurt as well as NYT Best Selling Author Gretchen Rubin, Chef Gabe Kennedy, fitness expert Dasha Libin Anderson, and lifestyle expert Pippa Lord for a private modern wellness workshop. I’m not usually over fond of “life building” advice – maybe it’s because there was a boom of self-help and advice books when I was a kid and I always associate it with not leading a busy enough life that you have time to wonder if you’re doing it right.

LandofPlenti Event

Fast forward to three weeks ago where I was up to my ears in work, and found myself sitting in front of Gretchin Rubin who wasn’t giving useless generic pieces of advice (aren’t those the worst?!) but who was actually sharing some of the best advice on how to manage your time more effectively through habit (a way to make consistent effort in a particular area) building, and how that in turn can make us (me, we) more happier people. It’s actually pretty cool to hear about how each person’s particular personality makes them predisposed to function around expectations a certain way – which also explains how a person like me is more inclined to take care of work and others, but forget to take care of myself too. In fact a ton of people are inclined to do the same.

Plenti EventPlenti Yogurt

Here are two of my favorite takeaways from Gretchin’s session: 1) Gretchen creates a power hour once a week where she works on things she’s been procrastinating, noting that you can do anything for one hour. This sounds so do-able! I have a ton of things I’ve been procrastinating on, and an hour is really such a small cut of time in the frame of my entire week. And 2) One of the most effective strategies for banishing bad habits or changing habits is the strategy of scheduling. Schedule 10-15 min a day to indulge in your bad habit and then let it leave your mind. I loved this tip – now the trick is choosing which of my bad habits to indulge in, haha!

Chef Gabe Kennedy led us on a More Abundant session, where he shared his secret formula for a happy meal – every day you need an in-season vegetable, a green, a lean protein, a healthy fat and a sour food, like Yoplait Plenti Greek yogurt. He added, “One of my food secrets is to eat a “sour” food every day – Greek yogurt like Plenti is a great way to get that sour. Plus, it has my favorite seeds flax and pumpkin.”

Yoplait Plenti Yogurt

Dasha Libin Anderson led the More Fulfilling session, the founder of Kettlebell Kickboxing shared some great fitness techniques that could be done even at the office – and I’ve already started doing them myself and have shared them with my friends! Following that, during the More Interesting session, Pippa Lord encouraged us to do what we value – it’s easy to get so busy that we forget to be real cultured people with interests that can hold valuable conversation with each other. She recommends putting together a culture bucket list, and not being afraid of ditching the chores and spending a day being lazy – I can totally get behind that!

Plenti Lifestyle Advice

Altogether it was great, fulfilling evening – I learned so many great things, and I was able to finally try Yoplaits Plenti yogurt which I now love to have right after work/school when I need that extra boost of energy! Try it – trust me, it tastes amazing!

To find out more about Plenti yogurt, click here!

NYC Hot Spot: D’Vida Health Bar

Last month I swung by D’Vida Health Bar’s One World Plaza spot to try their newest drink – the Smoocino. However, I’m one of those weird people who drink cold drinks year ’round even in icy cold weather and instead of going for their hot smoothie I decided to try their cold one’s (having never tried or been to D’Vida before). I was lucy enough to be joined by 1/2 of D’Vida’s founding team, Milena Kozhin.

D'Vida Health Bar, NYC, Health, Health Bar, Fresh SmoothiesD'Vida Health Bar, NYC, Health, Health Bar, Fresh Smoothies

Milena was probably one of the coolest business owner’s/founder’s I’ve ever met, she has an amazing background and is so obviously enthusiastic about D’Vida. She knows she has a great product and that she doesn’t need to have a massive billboard in the middle of Times Square to get the word out – once people try it, they love it, share it, and continually come back for more.

After trying a special Peanut Butter Chocolate Banana protein shake of her own making I have to admit that she’s absolutely right – the shake was addictingly good. I’m not even kidding, it tasted better then ice cream. I know it sounds unbelievable but oh my goodness was it good!

D'Vida Health Bar, NYC, Health, Health Bar, Fresh Smoothies

I also tried a green smoothie, having been more familiar with green smoothies I have to say D’Vida’s was pleasantly fresh tasting – without any sticky aftertaste in the back of your throat that usually accompanies sugar alternatives (I’m fairly certain that Milena said that D’Vida uses Stevia).

D'Vida Health Bar, NYC, Health, Health Bar, Fresh Smoothies

I’m most disappointed that D’Vida has been around for a while and I never bothered to stop by – I feel like I missed out on so much, the good thing is now I can make up for lost time! ;) But seriously, I’ve already introduced D’Vida to family and friends and they’re also big fans now. It’s close by, the staff is friendly, and their smoothies are delicious – it’s definitely my favorite smoothie place in NYC right now!

They have two locations in the city right now, you can find out how to get their as well as access their menu by clicking here!

#50DaysFit Day 34 Update!

I initially wrote this really detailed and personal post on my progress so far with my #50DaysFit challenge. However, my computer ate it and won’t give it back so I’ll have to give you a brief synopsis of what the original post said. Initially I wanted to update every five days, however when the time came I took a look at my fitness journal and felt it was pretty darn boring so I thought I would do round-up style post like this.

I have spent the last seven or so years without a healthy breakfast routine so getting one in place has been a bit of a struggle. That being said, my favorite options are eggs (when I have time), smoothies, Quaker’s New Granola Warm & Crunchy line (which I enjoy with yogurt), and Cascadian Farm’s New Protein Bar’s (I like the Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip one’s). I’m still on the lookout for new recipes, I get bored pretty easily and love to try new things – so if you know of a good breakfast recipe or item, let me know!

Option 3

I recently started premaking lunches – I feel like if I don’t know what I’ll be eating then I will choose something that’s fast, which tends to be unhealthy. I pinned this Grilled Chicken Veggie Bowls recipe from Picky Palate ages ago and was super excited about making it myself. It turned out really well, although I omitted the asparagus and quinoa (I didn’t have any on hand at the time). The most surprising thing I’ve learned about pre-made lunches is that personally, it gives me the sense that I have more time in the day to do other things. I don’t have to take the time to decide on, make or buy lunch – I just pop it in the microwave for 2 minutes and keep on working.

Pre-Made-LunchPicky-Palate-Recipe-Review

As for working out, I haven’t had the chance to exercise every single day as I had hoped. However, I have been incorporating health-minded activities into my life on a daily basis – which is the goal of #50DaysFit, so I don’t feel bad about it at all. I guess the real change so far is that I no longer feel like getting fit is impossible – and while it’s not official, I’m definitely thinking of challenging myself further with another fitness challenge, but more on that next time!

Just GoGirl Tackles Athletic Leaks

reviewdisclaimer

Believe it or not, according to Just GoGirl, more than 25 million women experience urinary leakage during their workouts. Urinary leakage, or athletic leaks, is when women experience leakage during exercise or other physical activities. For whatever reason the topic of athletic leaks has gone mostly unnoticed, that is, until recently. Not too long ago I had a chance to join Brooke Solis, founder & CEO of JustGoGirl, as well as other female influencers to have a discussion about athletic incontinence and how Just GoGirl pads is providing coverage against leaks.

Get Social with Just Go GirlJust-Go-Girl-Luncheon
Brooke, having had five kids of her own, discussed her experience when she became aware that she was having athletic leaks. To combat the leaks she started using standard sanitary napkins but found that they were uncomfortable on a number of levels. I have to say, I love how honest and frank Brooke was, she was not afraid to say that yes, the bulge of wearing a pad while also donning tight workout clothing was embarrassing and made her feel self-conscious. And she’s not the only one. A lot of women felt the same way.

Just-GoGirl-Luncheon

Brook-Solis-CEO-JustGoGirl
That’s how she came up with the idea of Just GoGirl. Just GoPad’s are unlike standard pads (or sanitary napkins). Typical pads are not designed to absorb urine, but Just GoGirl pads are. In fact, Just GoGirl pads are even shaped differently for just this purpose. While maintaining incredible absorbency, the JustGo pad is has a raindrop shape in order to be as comfortable and as low-profile as possible for the wearer.

What’s great is that Brooke, beyond creating a product designed to provide coverage, is opening up this line of communication surrounding athletic leaks. She’s patient beyond the initial (and inevitable) awkwardness that surrounds feminine hygiene, and is excited when she hears back from friends, family, and customers when they report just how thrilled they are about Just GoGirl.

You can learn more about Just GoGirl and Brooke Solis here, the pads can be purchased in packs of 10 ($8) or as a membership.

Quaker Warm & Crunchy Granola Review!

reviewdisclaimer

If you’ve been following along, I’ve been doing a #50DaysFit fitness/health challenge where I’m dedicated to doing one positive health or fitness related action a day. So far, my hardest challenge has been figuring out what I’m going to eat for breakfast. If I do manage to fit in breakfast I’ll stop by my favorite local smoothie place, however that doesn’t always work out and I’ll end up ditching breakfast. Recently, as a part of my resolve to get a healthy breakfast in everyday, I’ve been reaching for Quaker’s New Warm & Crunchy Granola!

Warm and Crunchy Granola
I’ve been trying all three flavors – Cranberry Almond, Honey Almond, and Apple Cinnamon – and I feel like it’s probably one of the more versatile breakfast-y items I’ve seen in store right now.

Quaker, #CrunchDay, Warm & Crunchy Granola
To eat the granola oatmeal style only takes about 25 seconds to a minute to heat up (I like my milk piping hot) – which mean’s breakfast doesn’t require a lot of thought or effort (my favorite excuses for skipping the meal) and it’s both filling and tasty!

Each box contains 8 travel-friendly packages and retails at about $3.99. My favorite to eat hot from the trio is Cranberry Almond – the granola has excellent texture and is crunchy without being hard. Another great way to enjoy Quaker’s Warm & Crunchy Granola is with your favorite yogurt!

Quaker-Honey-Almond-Granola
My dairy pick is Greek yogurt with a side of some tart fruit, in this case it’s cherry. It goes so so so well the Honey Almond granola that I’ve become pretty much obsessed with the combo, haha! You can also eat the granola on it’s own, if you like.

Quaker-Granola
What ways do you enjoy granola? Will you be trying Quaker’s New Warm & Crunchy Granola? Let me know in the comments below! Also, I have a guest post going live soon (which I’ll link here) on Val’s Kitchen where you can find deets on how to get a $1.50 coupon off your next box of Quaker’s Warm & Crunchy Granola!

D’Vida Health Bar Debut’s New Smooccino!

When I started my fitness challenge I knew that smoothies would eventually factor in to my routine. I have a terrible habit of not eating breakfast, which is horrible for my body, but I find it hard to think out what constitutes a healthy, tasty, and travel friendly meal. Hence the smoothie – perfect for on the go!

This upcoming Friday, D’Vida Health Bar – with locations at both 357 West 49th Street and 11 Madison Avenue – is doing a special BOGO promo on their brand new Smooccino, a hot smoothie that’s sure to warm you up on the coldest winter day (and we’ve had some cold one’s this year!).

smooccinno

The Smooccino is a “freshly blended protein-based, hot smoothie combined with coffee (although it is available without coffee if preferred). Imagine your favorite d’Vida shakes/smoothies–including Banana + Peanut Butter; Strawberry + Banana; Pineapple + Coconut; and Cucumber + Kale + Green Apple + Spinach–served hot to keep you warm on these polar-vortex filled days.” D’Vida tell’s me Smooccino’s are also low glycemic, low calorie, high fiber and high protein!

smoocino1

I haven’t tried a Smooccino yet (or a warm smoothie) – but I’ll be trying them this Friday, so stay tuned for a review!

#50DaysFit Day 5 Update!

Day 1 – To be fair, I wasn’t very healthful on Day 1, I started off my morning with a twinkie of all things. But then I also completed around 46 minutes of a workout DVD (it was the whole workout) – which amounted to 3 miles.

The NYC Talon

 

Day 2 – I’ve done workout’s before, so I don’t know why I somehow fooled myself into thinking that the second workout would be easier then the first. It so was not. I felt so sore, I was moving like a slug. I had to stop to grab water twice. I don’t know why, but when I’m doing a relatively simple workout I feel like stopping is cheating – which I know is ridiculous, but I somehow feel that I have to push myself really hard or I won’t see results. Still I completed all three miles – even if I did finish it dripping sweat and a lovely color purple.

Day 3 – I skipped the workout and went shopping with my family. It was a whole day affair that included TONS of walking and carrying heavy bags. We were out for 7 to 8 hours, which were mostly spent on our feet. I bought a new coat, a couple of Valentine’s Day gift bag, I also came to the realization that I was in desperate need of a new pair of shoes. I ordered these online, but had a chance to try them in the store, they had a comfortable amound of arch support and I liked the way they were secure but had room in the front. These are the Reebok  Women’s ZigKick Ride Running Athletic Shoe in Grey/Yellow:
Reebok Zigkick Sneakers
Day 4 – Sunday! Sunday is the day of rest. Honestly, I had planned to get in some walking but I was pretty exhausted. I’m not going to lie and say I didn’t feel a twinge of guilt for not doing anything fitness related but I was really tired and really needed a rest.

Day 5 – I started this morning off with an early walk (yes, through the snow), and then did the last 2 miles of my 3 mile fitness walk with High Intensity Interval Training. I figured the first mile tends to be more of a warm up and the last two miles is where the heart pumping fun comes in ;)

And that’s it! That’s my five day update of #50DaysFit – I’m actually and very much surprisingly enjoying it, and I’m 1/10th of the way through! I haven’t done much in the way of changing my eating habits, but it’s on my mind and I have made a bit more of an effort to drink more water, especially during my workout. I’m also really looking forward to my new pair of sneakers! Are you making any fitness or health related changes? Let me know in the comments below, especially if you’ve got any tips or know of any great exercises I should try!