5 Best High-Protein Snacks

It seems like these days, everyone is trying to reduce their carb intake for one reason or another.  I am the queen of carbs!  Being Italian, I could not imagine life without fresh pasta and bread.  As a rule of thumb, I don’t believe in any diets that eliminate a food group; in my opinion that does not set someone up for success.  Being someone who once weighed 30 lbs more than I do now, I can say that from experience.  However, this article is not about dieting.  My current fitness goals include increasing muscle mass and toning up.  In order to achieve this, I do need to reduce my carbs and increase my protein intake.  The most challenging for me is to find things that I can snack on the go that are NOT carbs.  I’ve found some great healthy, high-protein options and want to share them with you.  Whether you have your own fitness goals, or are looking for some inspiration for new items to snack on, you’re sure to like something on this list!

best high protein snacks

Greek yogurt – This is a great snack that packs 16 g of protein per serving!  However, you need to be careful when selecting this to be sure you aren’t choosing ones that have the fruit on top that adds unwanted sugars to it.  I found a brand called “Siggi’s” that I like a lot.  They claim to have at least 25% Iess sugar than the top three leading brands and based on what I’ve seen I believe that to be true.  I feel like it’s lower in sugar but still tastes good.  I get the 0% usually in vanilla or raspberry but there are several flavors available.  If I’m feeling fancy I’ll throw fresh fruit on top.

Almond flour crackers – I found these awesome crackers from Simple Mills that are made with almond flour and am in LOVE!  They come in a few different flavors, but I like the Rosemary and Sea Salt.  It’s also Vegan and Paleo friendly so it can be a good part of a variety of diets.  While it’s not super high protein, it definitely is lower carb and the almond flour is a great alternative to regular crackers (less bloat for sure!)

Lenny & Larry’s Protein Cookie – This is the best find I have made since I began this fitness journey!  I don’t know about you but I absolutely HATE protein bars.  None of them taste really good to me.  This, however is a soft, delicious COOKIE that has 16g of protein per serving!  If you are on the go and know you won’t be able to eat for several hours, this snack will keep you satisfied!  I had to take a road trip a while back and I knew it would be several hours before I would have the chance to eat.  I ate one of these in the car and I felt fine for hours after!  My only word of caution is that they are large cookies, and each package is actually 2 servings, so be careful.  I usually eat half at a time unless I am in the road trip situation.  My favorite flavors are the Lemon Poppy and Double Chocolate.  Trust me, these taste too good to be true!

The Good Bean – Sometimes I crave something crunchy that I can sit and much on and satisfy my salt cravings.  Usually, that means potato chips or something that is not healthy or high protein.  I recently found the answer to this at my local Wegman’s!  It’s called “The Good Bean” and it is basically a roasted chickpea with sea salt.  Ingenious!  You can eat them straight from the bag (which I do) or throw them in salads or soups.  They come in a variety of flavors too such as: Cracked Pepper, Smoky Chili and Lime, Sweet Cinnamon, Thai Coconut Lemongrass, Mesquite BBQ, and Chocolate.

5 best high protein snacksNuts – This is the obvious go – to snack for protein, especially since nuts are so portable.  The key is to not eat too many (very hard for me) because of the fat content.  I try to portion them out beforehand or buy the proportioned 100 calorie packs (made by Emerald) of almonds or cashews so that I keep my portions in check.

So whatever your fitness goals are, I hope you got some inspiration for some new, healthy snack ideas!  I’m always looking for new snack ideas, so I’d love to hear about your favorite snacks.

5 Best Exfoliating Masks for Anti-aging

One of the basic rules of thumb for any anti-aging skin care regimen is to EXFOLIATE.  As we age, our cells turn over more slowly, which causes our skin to look dull and old.  By exfoliating 2-3 times per week, we can retain a healthier glow and make our fine lines and wrinkles less noticeable.  And exfoliated skin not only looks better, but will make your makeup look even better on the skin.  All exfoliators are not the same. Luckily, I’ve tried so many that I can share my top 5 exfoliating masks for anti-aging with you.  All of these products will give you RESULTS immediately.  To me there is nothing worse than using a product and not seeing any noticeable results in your skin.  Note that if you have sensitive skin, not all these products are going to be right for you.  I will mention them in order from most intense to most gentle to help you find the right one for your skin concerns.

Best antiaging exfoliating masks.Peter Thomas Roth – Pumpkin Enzyme Mask – If you read my post about the fall, then you know I love all things pumpkin!  With this mask, not only are you getting the benefits of the natural enzymes in pumpkin that help exfoliate your face, but you get to enjoy the smell of pumpkin while you do it!  Plus, the pumpkin packaging is so cute!  I’m not gonna lie, this one tingles, and, based on your tolerance, it could be a bit intense.  You spread a thin layer all over your face and make circular motions on your skin.  In addition to the enzymes working there is a polish in there that also helps to slough off dead skin cells.  I would start off with keeping it on just a few minutes and working your way up to the maximum recommended time if you are using it.  However, if the tingling doesn’t bother you, I think this product absolutely lives up to its claim to “reveal smoother, younger looking radiant & revitalized skin.”  As soon as you wash this off, you are going to see a dramatic improvement in the texture and the softness of your skin.

Colleen Rothschild – Dual Enzyme Polish – This is a new skincare line that I’ve recently started trying and am really impressed with the quality of their products.  In particular, the Dual Enzyme Polish is a winner!  It has a fresh clean scent and you will see noticeable reduction in large pores and a smoother texture as soon as you wash it off.  This formula is not intense like the Peter Thomas Roth, so this could be a better option if you want something that is effective, but not so intense.

Tula Exfoliating Treatment Mask – This is another mask with a real “WOW” factor.  You spread a thin layer all over your face and it has a fresh, cool scent.  In fact, your skin feels so cool and fresh while you have the mask on which I find very relaxing.  Similar to the Peter Thomas Roth mask, you are instructed to make circular motions to gently slough off the skin while you are rinsing it off.  My pores are tight and my skin has a great glow when it is washed off and I find that it continues to have a “fresh” feeling for a while after I rinse it off, which leaves me feeling invigorated.  For that reason I love to use this in the morning before my day gets started.

Dermologica Gentle Cream Exfoliant – This is another solid product that has been part of my skincare routine for years.  It’s quick and easy to use – just spread it all over your face, wait 10-15 minutes, then wash off.  Bam!  There is no tingling and no little granules in this product so it could be a better option for those with sensitive skin.

AHAVA – Facial Renewal Peel – This is the gentlest of this group of products.  You will feel a difference in your skin but the results are not as dramatic as with the other products.  However, it is important to exfoliate even if you have sensitive skin, so if you are new to adding this step into your routine, I would start with the very gentle products first to ensure your skin will tolerate it.

If you are using these or any other exfoliating products in your skincare routine, be sure that you are also protecting your skin from the sun with the appropriate SPF products.  I break down what those are here.  Exfoliating does make your skin more sensitive to the sun’s rays so be sure to be extra vigilant with your suncare.  I’d love to hear what you are using to exfoliate your skin.  Let’s all help each other to anti-age!

Please note that some of the links in this article are affiliate links.  If you purchase any of those products, I receive a small commission.  This is at no additional cost to you.  I appreciate your support of this blog if you do decide to try some of the products!

 

10 Great Fall Lipstick Shades – Drugstore and High End

10 Best Fall Lipstick shades
Here they are – my rainbow of fall shades!

If you read my post last week, you already know that fall is my favorite season!  I’ve recently cleaned out my makeup and found all my favorite fall lipstick shades that I love to wear.  They range from drugstore to high end.  If you love mauvy-browns, rust orange and berry shades, then this is the place for you!

Maybelline Matte in “Touch of Spice” ($5.50)- The best way I can describe the color is a rosy brown.  It is so beautiful on.  It really lights up your whole face!  This is matte, so it is not shiny but it is comfortable to wear and not drying to your lips.  I also like that this formula does stay on the lips.  You will need to reapply after meals.

Colour Pop “Frick N Frack” ($6.00)- Colour Pop is a newer brand that is only available online currently (it will become available at Sephora in the near future).  They are based in CA and have great quality products at drugstore prices!  This shade is a deeper brownish-pink and a demi matte (there is a little shine).  This is their ultra satin lip formula which is my personal favorite.  Very matte lipsticks are not the most flattering on more mature lips like mine.  This is super long lasting on the lips!

Loreal Infallible Paints in “Taupeless” ($6.29)- This is the coolest toned shade in these lipsticks.  I personally gravitate more toward warm shades with my makeup but this cool toned purply-taupe is so unique and this formula is really nice to wear!  I also really like the packaging of these lipsticks – they are in a tube and have a unique shaped applicator that really conforms to the shape of your lips for easy application.

Wet N Wild Liquid Catsuit in “Give Me Mocha” ($4.99)- I spoke about this lip product in a review of some Wet N Wild products and am still loving this!  This is in the warm pink-brown family, similar to the color pop “Frick N Frack” but a shade lighter.  With neutral eye shadows like browns and golds this really puts a finishing touch on a fall makeup look.

Bite Beauty Amuse Bouche Liquified Lip in “Chutney” ($24.00)- This is a product I just purchased about a month ago and LOVE it.  This brand is known to use more natural ingredients in their products and this formula is so hydrating on the lips I love wearing it!  It also has long lasting wear.  The color is on the mauve side but not as brown as the other shades I’ve talked about.

fall lipstick swatches
Here are the swatches of these lipsticks in natural light. From l-r Touch of Spice, Frick N Frack, Taupeless, Give Me Mocha, Chutney, Chihuahua, Beeper, Out Loud, Lyin King, Hells Bells.

Too Faced Melted Liquified Long Wear Lipstick in “Chihuahua” ($21.00)- This is another mauvy tone but is cooler and more purple than the Bite Beauty product.  I love how this smells and it has a dispenser that squeezes out just the right amount of product to apply to your lip.  I like the tube packaging – it’s really easy to take with you.

Colour Pop “Beeper”  ($6.00)- This is a deeper more brownish purple shade which is great if you like a bold, dark lip.  A lot of the mauvy shades on this list are daytime wearable, but this one is a bit darker, so it’s really personal preference depending on how you like to wear your lip colors.  This is a different formula than the Frick N Frack color mentioned before.  This is a super matte formula.  It’s not my favorite formula but it does look great on and is comfortable to wear.  As I’ve mentioned, with other Colour Pop lip products, it is great quality for a great price and the colors are extremely long wearing.

Smashbox Always on Liquid Lipstick in “Out Loud” ($24.00)- This is my FAVORITE fall shade and definitely breaks the mold of the other colors in my round up.  It is a burnt orangy brown that is just stunning on the lip.  It reminds me of pumpkin spice and everything nice about fall!  It is a very wearable orange shade and it more deep than bright but is so unique I just love it!  It is a matte liquid lip so it is not shiny but is extremely long wearing.

Colour Pop in “Lyin King” ($6.00)- Now we are moving on to my berry shades which I love to wear in the fall.  This liquid lip is a bright vibrant berry shade.  If I’m feeling tired and put this color on, it immediately brightens my whole face!  With a brighter lip I like to keep things simple on my eye makeup for a quick get ready and out the door look.

Charlotte Tilbury Hell’s Bells  ($34.00)- This is the most expensive lipstick on this list.  First, the packaging is STUNNING.  It is a traditional solid lipstick in a beautiful rose gold tube, that makes you feel like a movie star just having it out on your vanity!  It is also in the berry/burgundy family but is a more matte formula.  Sometimes I prefer to use a tube of lipstick instead of a liquid lipstick so I keep this handy for those days.

Phew, that was a lot of lipsticks!  Did you see any that you like?  What are your go-to lipstick colors for the fall?  I’d love to hear from you.

 

Please note that some of the links in this article are affiliate links.  If you purchase any of those products, I receive a small commission.  This is at no additional cost to you.  I appreciate your support of this blog if you do decide to try some of the products!

Natural Beauty Products that Work

You’d think that spending a week at the beach with no Sephora or Ulta Beauty stores in sight would keep this beauty junkie from buying beauty products?  Right? Wrong!  I actually picked up two natural beauty products in local stores in the Wildwood/Cape May, NJ area when I was on vacation last month and in the past few weeks that I’ve been using them I LOVE the results so I  wanted to share them with you.

I discovered these natural beauty products that work!The Naked bee Moisturizing Hand & Body Lotion in Coconut & Honey.  I found this in a souvenir shop in Diamond Beach where we went to pick up a boogie board for my son.  It looked interesting and I liked that it contained all natural ingredients so I picked up a tube.  Note:  this product is paraben free, alcohol free, and contains no dyes and no mineral oil!  The product was available in two sizes, and now, looking back, I wish I’d picked up the larger one.  It was $5 for 2.25 fl. oz. This stuff went beyond my expectations.  It hydrated without being greasy, had a nice scent that wasn’t overpowering and made my cuticles look hydrated!  Since I’ve been home I checked out their website and found out that they have many other products and scents available (you can’t order directly from their website, but can find them on Amazon here.

Sweet Dreams Sugar Scrub – I found this gem in a little store in Cape May called A Place on Earth (if you’ve ever been there, they are at the Washington Street Mall, downstairs from the Christmas shop!)  The store reminds me a little of LUSH.  They have a lot of handmade soaps, bath bombs and scrubs to explore.  It gets a little tight in there if there are a lot of shoppers but it is fun to browse!  After smelling a bunch of their scrubs, I picked the “Oatmeal Milk & Honey.”  It smells delicious, and is a comforting smell I love as the weather starts to get cooler.  You can buy different sizes – I grabbed the smaller one but they have a larger version in a mason jar that the salesperson told me you can return to the shop to refill!  So, if you visit Cape May on a regular basis that is a nice feature.  I also bought a soap with the most amazing Watermelon smell, but I haven’t used it yet so I can’t give you all a full review.  They have some interesting fragrances (Monkey Farts) and a fun website so check them out if you are in the market.

So, while I didn’t bring back many souvenirs from my trip, I am happy with these items, and isn’t it better to leave vacation with smoother, more hydrated skin?  Also, I always get a little extra excited if the products are natural, as I prefer products without parabens or phthalates.  What natural products are you enjoying now?  Would love to hear your comments below and please share with anyone you know who loves natural beauty products!

 

10 Signs that the Fall Season is Here

I don’t know about you, but fall is definitely my favorite season!  It’s the perfect temperature of not too hot and not yet too cold and the foliage really lifts my spirits!  I know it’s technically still summer for a few more weeks but I’ve put together a fun list of things that signal the start of the fall season for me (Disclaimer:  You won’t see football on my list)!  If you don’t live in an area where you can experience the changes of the season, I would certainly recommend visiting somewhere that does to experience the magic of fall.

Are you ready for the fall season?

 

 

 

 

 

 

  1. Pumpkin coffee is available at Dunkin Donuts (the pumpkin donut is pretty awesome too).  I just drank my first of the season and was loving it.  For the record, my other go-to cold weather drink at Dunkin Donuts is the “Dunkaccino” – part hot chocolate, part coffee: enough said!
  2. Halloween costumes are out in the stores. I know there are people out there who really get into Halloween.  As a kid, I had fun but dressing up was not something that I got super excited about.  I do get excited to think about what my son can be each year, based on what he’s interested in. I also enjoy going to the school to see him walk in his parade.  ( BTW, my son wants to be a dinosaur, but that’s what he was last year!)
  3. New episodes of my TV shows start.  I’m already excited to see the beginnings of some of my favorite shows – any other “This is Us” fans out there?  I’ll also check out some new shows if they sound interesting to me.  I don’t get a ton of time to watch TV, but after my son goes to bed, I take an hour or two to watch and it is my “me” time.  Can’t wait!
  4. You smell fireplace in the air and the first signs of crispness in the air- We had a few cooler days at the end of August that started to make it feel like fall, but we haven’t yet really seen this type of weather, and I am waiting to smell that fireplace smell!
  5. Apple / pumpkin picking!  There are so many nice orchards in our area, it has become an annual tradition to get together with our friends and see our children play together.  It has become something that I truly look forward to doing each fall season.  Sometimes, it’s easier to plan time to visit with our friends at this time of year versus the summer, with everyone’s crazy schedules and vacations!
  6. “New Year’s” resolution – In my opinion, this time of year has more of a “fresh start” appeal to it than Jan 1.  I find myself thinking about trying new things, maybe getting a new haircut, and wanting to get more organized.  And then actually DOING it!
  7. Urge to purge – Similar to #6, with a new season comes a desire to get more organized.  I typically go through all my clothes at the start of each season to get rid of what I’m not going to use and take a brief inventory of what I have and what I may need to get in my collection for the cooler weather.  Thanks to Nordstrom’s anniversary sale, I think I am in good shape for my fall wardrobe, but I’m sure I’ll find other things to buy!  At this time of year, I also like to change up my home décor to give it a fresh, cozy look!  Usually some wreaths, new candles and hand soap and towels can really breathe new life into the house.
  8. Cravings for baked goods – I’m not proud of this, but as the temperatures get colder, my “go to” comfort foods include hot beverages and baked goods!  Somehow, a salad just isn’t as appealing as it is in the summer.  I just devoured a package of mini pumpkin muffins this week.  Note: I am not suggesting that every craving is going should be satisfied!  I don’t want to undo all the hard work I’ve put in at the gym the rest of the year!
  9. Panic about holiday shopping – Wait, how many shopping days until Christmas?  Each year I vow to get ahead of the holiday rush because once Halloween comes and goes and then Thanksgiving, it’s crunch time to get everything done.  And, for me, to truly enjoy the season, I like to reduce my stress as much as possible.  Sometimes, with all of the  rushing around trying to create the “perfect” holiday, it’s so easy to lose sight of what the holidays are about in the first place.
  10. Back to school – Several years ago, before I was a mom, I remember seeing this Staples commercial set to the song, “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year ” by Andy Williams showing a mom gliding down the isle with her cart with a carefree smile on her face.  Now, I get what that commercial was trying to convey!  It truly is a great time of year!  I love my son to death, but with him now in school for the whole day, there is so much more I can get accomplished!

I’d love your comments about what your favorite seasons are and why!  Whatever your favorite time of the year, best wishes to you for a fabulous September!

Favorite Hair Products for Frizzy, Flat Hair

I have talked about so many products I love on this blog, but I haven’t tackled hair care products!  Maybe it’s because I am so picky, but I’ve narrowed down my list to these products that I keep reaching for!  To set the stage, I have naturally curly hair that I typically blow out to give a smoother look. When I shop for products, I look to combat frizzy, flat, color treated hair. In these summer months, however, I have been letting it dry naturally.  So my issues are mainly frizz and I HAVE to have volume.  There is nothing I hate more than flat hair.  Maybe it’s because I am a product of the 80s trend, but it is definitely one of my prerequisites.

Kenra Blow Dry Spray– I discovered this recently and LOVE it.  You spray it into you damp hair and it protects your hair from heat damage caused by the blow dryer and other styling tools.  And did I mention it smells awesome?

Kenra Volume Mousse Extra – Did I mention that I have to have volume in my hair?  That is why I typically use mousse as one of my styling products.  This one from Kenra is one that I am loving right now.

 

 

 

 

Deva Curl Ultra Defining Gel– As I mentioned, I wear my hair curly, with its natural texture, mostly in the summer, so I’ve recently tried this Deva Curl product.  I find that it does keep the frizz at bay and allows the hair to curl without being crunchy or looking wet.

 

 

Bumble and Bumble Thickening Full form mousse – This is another mousse that I use and it absolutely fits the bill on giving your hair great volume!

 

 

 

 

 

Bed Head Masterpiece Massive Shine hairspray (all time favorite) – I have been using this hairspray for well over a decade, and although I occasionally try something else, I always go back to this.  It has great hold without being sticky or giving you a helmet head look, and it adds shine to your style (with frizzy hair like mine, I am always looking for shine.)  This one also has a great smell!

Loreal Root Cover up – If grays aren’t an issue for you, then consider yourself lucky!  Unfortunately, it is a big issue for me.  This product is a miracle worker at covering your grays that peek out in between colorings!  It is basically spray paint for your hair!  Spray it into your roots or wherever the gray is peeking out and Voila!  they are covered up!  There is a similar product that Sephora sells by Rita Hazan that does the same thing, but the Loreal is much less expensive and, in my opinion, has the same quality of the Rita Hazan product.

 

 

Amika Perk up dry shampoo – I know there are literally hundreds of different dry shampoos out there.  Why do I like this one?  First, there is the colorful packaging (yes I am a sucker for packaging), the smell is heavenly (you are probably catching on that smell makes a difference in the hair products I like) and most importantly, it works!  My one word of caution, especially if you have dark hair, is to not spray it too closely to your head or you will see a white cast.  I generally hold the can about 6 inches from my head and spray lightly and have not had a problem.

 

 

Triple Sec by drybar 3 in 1 Texturizes, Amplifies, Refreshes.  This is sort of a dry shampoo and volumizer in one so I sometimes switch off with this product and the Amika dry shampoo.  The smell of this product is to die for!!!

Pureology Smooth Perfection Shampoo and Conditioner – I have been using this shampoo and conditioner for almost a year now and I’ve been happy with it.  It keeps the frizz at bay and is formulated for color treated hair, so that’s a plus as well.  The large bottles have lasted me a looonnngg time, especially because I don’t shampoo my hair every day.

 

 

Let me know what hair products you are loving!  As with any type of beauty product, it really is a personal choice and everyone’s hair needs and type are different!

Please note that some of the links in this article are affiliate links.  If you purchase any of those products, I receive a small commission.  This is at no additional cost to you.  I appreciate your support of this blog if you do decide to try some of the products!