Travel Kit

Travel

There is nothing more annoying than packing for a trip. Although the thought of going away to a tropical island, sandy desert, or winter wonderland sounds incredible.  Usually packing is way less fun. Honestly, I’m either working or getting other matters in hand until the very last minute that I leave for my getaway. Not to mention having to make other arrangements for your house, animals and children. So who has time to pack, let alone get their toilettes in order, especially if your trip is last minute.

I always kind of had a travel kit, but never fully committed to it, until now. I really think this is the way to go even if you only travel a few times a year. Not only is it convenient but I usually end up forgetting at least one item or not having enough room for bigger toiletry items. Have I convinced you to make one yet? Plus it’s a great gift idea.

I found a great example of a travel kit on Redbook Magazine, but unfortunately I can’t find the article online. The great thing about creating your own travel kit is making it personal to you. You can add what your essentials would be for a weekend getaway or an extended stay. Check out my kit below and create your own!

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Bag:

The first item I purchased for my bag was the bag itself. I bought this one from Ulta but there are other great opinions out there as well. I suggest opting for a clear bag though, since it’s easy to see what you have quickly.

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Basics Clear Clutch by Tartan + Twine, $12.00

Inside the bag: 

I purchased most of my items on Pharmapacks but I did get some of my travel size items  from CVS, Walmart, Walgreens, Target and the dollar store. All my items are 3oz or under, perfect for TSA and to put in your carryon bag! When picking out items, stick to products that you are familiar with. Your trip is not a time to try out a new products. Below I broke the items into categories to make it easier. I added a lot of items, but you can add or subtract as many as you’d like.

Shampoo & Conditioner:

I picked out an OGX shampoo & conditioner simply because I like the companies products and I thought they were a little bigger than other shampoos but would still fit in my bag.

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OGX Thick & Full + Biotin & Collagen Shampoo  & Conditioner; 3 oz each, $2.66 each

Hair products:

I knew I had to get a good dry shampoo & hairspray for my travel kit, both are a must in my opinion. When I’m on vacation the last thing I want to do is take the time to wash my hair multiply time. I ordered Psssssst Instant Dry Shampoo but there are plenty of other great dry shampoo travel sizes out there like Dove, Batiste, and Not Your Mothers. For my hairspray I decided on a TRESemme hairspray because I’m either curling my hair for dinner or lightly scrunching it for the beach and I know this hairspray will hold it all day.

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Psssssst Instant Dry Shampoo; 3 oz, $2.51. TRESemme Tres Two Hair Spray Aerosol; 1.5oz, $1.49

Hair Accessories:

I always need a hair tie or my hair ties always breaks, so I decided to pack some in my travel kit. Throwing in 5 hair ties won’t take up any room, plus you know you’ll need one when you decide to take a dip in the pool.  I picked out these Scunci hair hair ties since they have a no damage elastic, are a perfect width and are cheap. I also added some bobby pins to my kit. This is another small item that you will need at some point. Think fancy dinners.

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Scunci No Damage Hair Elastics; 28 count, 96 cents. Goody Small Bobby Pins; 60 count, 77 cents

Body products:

I never want to rely on a hotel to have decent soaps and body products. I got this shower gel for FREE from Bath & Body Works. I always get free coupons from them and I always cash them in. No purchase necessary. This time I got a French Lavender & Honey scent and it smells amazing. I also packed in my travel kit a shaving cream (for some reason I could only find men’s travel sizes) and a mini razor (although I think you can easily fit a regular size razor). I also added in a small deodorant, as well. I like the smell of this one, it’s very fresh and clean.

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French Lavender & Honey Body Wash; 3oz, $5. Barbasol Orginal Shaving Cream; 2.25oz, $1.23. Gillette Venus Snap with Embrace Cosmo Pink; 1 count, $8.49.  Dove Advanced Care Anti-Perspirant Deodorant; .50oz, $1.01.

Oral Hygienes:

Naturally you’re going to pack a toothbrush & toothpaste. I like to have a separate toothbrush for traveling because usually I forget to pack a toothpaste period. I picked up this cute toothbrush at the dollar store. I think it might be a kids one but it works all the same. If you want to get an adult toothbrush make sure to get a mini one because it might not fit in your kit. I also recommend getting a toothbrush cover. They are super cheap and make your toothbrush more sanitary. For toothpaste I really like the Crest 3D White so I picked up one of these in a travel size for my kit. I know mouthwash and floss might seem like an extra but I feel like sometimes you just need it or maybe you are obsessive with your teeth like I am. I bought a large pack of floss sticks and just tossed some into the bottoms and picked out the same mouthwash I have at home in a travel size.

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Toothbrush (Similar), $1. Toothbrush Covers; 3 Pack, 75 Cents. Crest 3D White; 0.85oz, 97 cents. DenTek Triple Clean Floss; 150 Count, 3.24. Crest Mouthwash; 1.22oz, 64 Cents.

Skin Care:

I love a good face wash. I picked out CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser since I know it won’t be harsh on my face, especially if I get a sunburn. I also wanted a good moisturizer for my face since certain city waters can dry out your face. For moisturizer Aveeno daily moisturizing lotion is a product I know and love. I can use this on my face or body for any dry patches I may have. I also made sure to get a travel size makeup remover. I’ve been using Neutrogena makeup remover for years and I will never be able to use anything else. 

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CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser; 3 oz, $3.90. AVEENO Active Naturals Daily Moisturizing Lotion; 1 oz, $1. Neutrogena Makeup Remover Cleansing Towelettes; 7 count, $1.47.

Lip Hydration & Sunscreen:

I feel like these items go together nicely. Especially if you are going somewhere where you’ll be out in the sun. There are a lot of lip products out there, although you can choose something light like a chapstick, I prefer something more heavy. I like Aquaphor healing product to really moisturize my lips or Glossier Balm Dotcom which does the same but is less oily.   Both of these products can be used anywhere on your body that you have dry skin. I also always suggest using a sunscreen, especially if you are as pale as I am. I bring a big sunscreen spray since I use a lot of it but it’s nice to have a travel size one, as well.  This Coppertone one is perfect since it’s waterproof too.  I try to get nothing less than a 50 SPF.

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Aquaphor Healing Ointment; 1.75oz, $4.99. Glossier Balm Dotcom; .5oz, $12, Coppertone Sunscreen Continuous Spray; 50 SPF, $2.70

Medicine:

I think it’s very important to have any over the counter medicine you would use at home in your travel kit.  I adde anything I might need such as Pepto, Advil, Benadryl and Bandaids. Pretty much anything that would be a big pain to run out for but you still might need. Luckily, all of these came in a travel size, except for the Benadryl which I had to brake up from a larger pack. I also keep one or two tampons in there just incase.

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Benadryl; 28 count, $6.95. Advil; 10 count, $2.35. Bandaid; 20 count, $2.82. Pepto-Bismol Tablets; 12 count, $1.93. Tampons; 18 count, $3.97

Extras: 

These are all extras but I really wanted to incorporate them, since I feel like I’ll need them while on vaca. Tide sticks are a lifesaver and should travel with you everywhere. I also added a perfume and hand lotion. Both of these products you can get as a free sample from Sephora. All you have to do is ask them for a free sample. (Unfortunately, the Elizabeth & James hand cream is no longer sold separately, but rather in a set.)

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Tide To Go Mini Instant Stain Remover Pen; 118 oz, 2.97. Ralph Lauren Romance Rollerball; 0.34oz, $26. Elizabeth & James Hand Cream;1.7 oz, $75 for set.

Last words:

I do have to say that travel size items are expensive, but once you get the initial product, you can always refill the bottle when you’re running low. The convenience of having a travel kit is worth it. Now make your own kit and see how great & easy it makes packing for your next vacation

Shamrock Shake – Dairy Free

Food

It’s that time of year again! Shamrock Shakes are back and as exciting as that is, it’s not too exciting if you have a hard time digesting milk. So, I figured why not make my own dairy free (mostly), healthier version of the classic McDonald’s drink. It’s simple and easy and perfect for your next St.Patrick’s day party. I used mostly soy products but they can easily be switched with almond or coconut milk/ice cream. They are all equally delicious but will have a different taste. I did opt for real whipped cream but you can use a soy whipped cream instead. The serving size is two large milkshakes or should I say soyshakes.

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Prep time: 5 minutes  – Process time: 5 minutes

Ingredients:

1 3/4 Soy milk original milk
3 Cups Vanilla Soy Ice Cream
1/2 Teaspoon Peppermint Extract
Green Food Coloring
Whipped Cream
Cherries
Green Sprinkles

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Now get your handy-dandy blender out and blend together the soy milk, soy ice cream, peppermint extract and three drops of food dye until smooth and thick.

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Pour your shake into a tall glass, add whipped cream, green sprinkles and a bright red cherry, as desired

Note: You may need to add more food coloring depending on how green you want it.

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It’s as simple as that. Enjoy your luck of this Irish treat!

Eyelash Extensions – First Time Experience

Beauty & Fashion

Eyelash Extensions are trending right now. I mean, who doesn’t want longer, fuller lashes without spending time putting on messy fake eyelashes or applying coats and coats of mascara. I’ve been thinking about getting eyelash extention for awhile now. Some of my favorite YouTube bloggers swear by them, so why not try them out.

I used to wear fake eyelashes for special occasions, they were beautiful and made my eyes pop. The only problem I had was they were so heavy on my eyes and quite uncomfortable. I figured this was my opportunity to get that effect with them being super comfortable and semi-permanent.

Before doing anything, I did my research. A few friends had been to a place called Sass. I luckily found a groupon for this place (eyelashes can run up to $250). The only downside is that I booked an appointment in early December but couldn’t get an appointment until mid-January since I do not have a flexible schedule.

Sass, is a one woman show. Her name is Chanel Baring and she has been creating magic since 2009. She was very warm and welcoming, when I arrived for my appointment. I filled out a release form and laid on a message type table as Chanel examined my eyes. There are two ways to go with extensions, the natural look or the glamour look. Since I have dark features, love makeup and already have somewhat long lashes, I went with the glamour look. Chanel agreed that I could go for the glam lashes and picked from a wide variety of individual lashes that would look good on me.

The whole process took about a hour and a half. Thankfully, it didn’t hurt and it was actually pretty relaxing. Once she was all done, I was nervous to open my eyes because I though they might be heavy (like fake lashes) but it wasn’t! Chanel explained that I couldn’t get my lashes wet for 2 days, since the glue had to dry on the inside. She also went over the care instructions and what not to do.

Chanel’s Aftercare Advice

-Do not get the lashes wet, use a spa, sauna, pool or any strenuous activity for the first 48 hours. The extensions need that amount of time to properly bond.
-Avoid pulling or rubbing your eyes.
-Do not use eyelash curlers with your extensions. With proper application you will not need them.
-ONLY use oil-free makeup remover. If your eyelashes are tangled or crossed over, use the two spoolies given to you after your appointment to gently brush them straight and put them in place.
-Proper hygiene is very important. Please keep lash line clean by regular washing. You can use a gentle oil free foaming cleanser or baby shampoo.
-After showering avoid rubbing lashes, it best to air dry them.
-Dry the lashes by using a hair dryer on the cool setting and blowing them dry from the bottom up. It makes them curlier and fluffy.
-Use care when applying facial and eye creams to avoid the lash line. Too many oil-based products can break down the adhesive.
-SASS recommends touch-up appointments every two to four weeks to maintain your new eyelash extensions.

With Extension:

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Last words: I love them! I get compliments all the time and I already booked my next appointment. The hardest thing for me was not sleeping on my face/washing them/getting them wet. I also take full advance of fluffy them with my hairdryer on cool.

They even look good in pictures!

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Healthy Potato Salad

Food

We are officially deep into the holiday season. After a month (plus) of bad eating, I am ready to start eating cleaner.

So why not start with a classic dish like potato salad, but modified. I decided to replace the potato portion with cauliflower. It actually turned out great and was very easy. I feel like this could be a great spring/summer dish.

Recipe

A head of cauliflower
1 cup of frozen peas
Small onion (I used half)
3 celery sticks
1 cup low fat mayo or 1/2 Greek yogurt & 1/2 mayo
1 tab of mustard
6 hard boiled eggs
Salt & pepper

Before you do anything hard boil your eggs and leave them in the fridge.
If for some reason you forget this step and you need the hard boiled eggs fast. Leave them in a boil with cold water and ice. Keep replacing the melted ice until the egg feels cold.

Boil the head of cauliflower for about 10-13 minutes on high. Stick a fork in the cauliflower and when it’s tender, it’s ready.

Rinse the cauliflower in cold water and chop up the head into small 1/2 inch pieces. Chop up the celery, onion and eggs. Place it in a large boil and add all other ingredients. Mix with a large spoon until all is the same consistency. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Leave in the fridge for at least a few hours. Make sure to mix it up again before serving or it might be a little watery.

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Enjoy!

Chocolate Peanut Butter Stuffed Cookies

Food

It’s been awhile….a lot has been going on but hopefully I can start blogging more regularly now. After moving around a ridiculous amount of time, I finally have my own place (life update & house tour soon to come).

It’s Saturday night, which is usually my night in, mostly because 48 Hour Mystery is on at 10pm. That means I am going to whip out my baking skills because it’s been awhile and try a new receipt. I decided to make chocolate peanut butter stuffed cookies.

What you need:
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup of brown sugar (packed)
1/2 cup of soften, unsalted butter
1 cup of creamy or chunky peanut butter
1 tsp vanilla extra
1 egg
3/4 cup powdered sugar

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Preheat oven to 375 degrees

Grab a medium size mixing bowl (I bought a three set one from Pyrex)

Mix together flour, cocoa powder, salt and baking soda. You can place this to the side as we will be using it later.

Now it’s time to get out the large mixing bowl and a hand mixer. Beat together the butter, sugar and 1/4 of the peanut butter. When it’s smooth, it’s done.

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You can now crack the egg into the mixture, and add the vanilla. Beat until smooth. Slowly stir in the flour mixture. Once all mix, set aside.

It’s finally time to make the filling. Cream together the rest of the peanut butter and the powered sugar until smooth.

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Assembling the cookies are easy. I used an ice cream scooper but you can you a large spoon. Scoop up the chocolate cookie dough and flatten it in your hand. Spoon a small amount of the peanut butter filling and place it in the middle of the cookie dough.

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Now wrap the chocolate around the peanut butter filling, pinching together to seal. Smooth out the cookie by rolling it in your hands into a ball. Roll the ball into a bowl of sugar and then place it onto the cookie sheet (I skipped this part). Slightly flatten.

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*I didn’t do this, but to easily remove your cookies from the sheet after it’s baked, place parchment paper down before the cookies.

Bake cookies for 6-8 minutes. Do not over bake. Let cool. Enjoy!

 

San Francisco Giants Game

Travel

San Francisco is all about their baseball team, The Giants. Come to think of it San Francisco is really into all their sports teams. Living in the city, you get to see the hundreds of thousands of fans rooting for the Giants a few times a week for the entire season. Trust me, you know when the Giants are playing due to the crazy amount of fan gear displayed on thousands of people. It’s not a bad thing, you can feel the energy and it gets you hyped yourself.

That being said, if you’re ever in San Francisco or you happen to live here, I highly suggest attending a game. Even if you don’t like sports, it’s all about experiencing it. I, myself have only been to two Giants games. Ironically, two northeastern teams, the Mets and the Phillies. I saw the Mets last year around May and the Phillies I had seen recently. In no way do I consider myself a Giants expert but I do have some helpful tips, if you ever do want to attend a game here.

 

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The official website you can get your tickets from is HERE. Unless you are able to buy your tickets months in advance or you simple could careless about the price, I don’t recommend buying them off here…..Every time I look for tickets on this website, the descent priced tickets never let you purchase two seats together. You have an opinion to choose the “scattered” button, but if I am going to a game with someone, I would actually like to sit next to them.

That being said, I have purchased my tickets off a site called Vivid Seats. I like this website. It’s legit and you’re able to get tickets together at a reasonable price. Once you purchase your tickets, you’ll receive an email and you’ll have to print out your tickets. (Don’t worry if they are in a random persons name.)

 

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Both times I have gone to the Giants, I have sat in section 304. These seats are high up, but they are the best bang for your buck. Tickets range $20-35 and the seats have a great view of the bay. Also you’ll have no problems seeing the game. There are usually canoes in the water, along with boats and even swimmers in the bay waiting for a baseball to come their way.

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There are also a lot of giveaways at the games, so keep that in mind when buying tickets. I’d show up somewhat early if you want to get the free gift. For example, when my mom and I saw the Phillies play the Giants, they were giving away free hats.

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Let’s talk about what you should wear. The weather in San Francisco is unpredictable. It rarely changes from 55-75 degrees, despite it being in the 80’s the last few days. With all of that in play, I suggest layers. The wind is always a game changer. It could be 65 degrees and if there is no wind, it could feel like t-shirt weather. Then again it could be 80 degrees and windy and you would probably want a jacket. So I suggest a tee-shirt and a jacket, just to be safe. If you aren’t going to wear giants colors, I would say wear plain colors, unless of course you are rooting for the other team.

Getting there is easy, if you’re staying downtown or near any muni (public transportation) that hits the underground rail, including the N or T lines. These look like subways and will take you directly to the ball park for $2.25 a person.

The food in San Francisco is not like the food in other places. You could go to the mall’s food court and get a gourmet meal and a beer. So if you’re going to the Giants game, the food is going to probably be better than other stadiums. With that comes higher prices, just to keep in mind. Be prepared to pay $11.50 for a 8 oz beer. Let’s be honest though, It’s worth it for the picture.

 

Mets vs. Giants (2014)

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Phillies vs. Giants (2015)

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Now go check out a Giants game for yourself!

Anthropology Home (Sale)

Home Decor

Recently, I stopped into Anthropology to see if they had any on sale home items that appealed to me. Anthropology is known to be a little pricey. Yet, if you find some good sale items, you can get a pretty good deal. I only bought three items (this time) and only one of them was on sale. I feel like the website has more of a selection than in-store. Both online and in-store have an extra 20% off on sale.

So onto my buys…..

The Egg Crate

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I really like this. It’s adorable, kind of has an “old country” feel. I was really drawn to this because I never have anything to separate my hard-boiled eggs from my others eggs. This will ensure I’m not cracking a raw egg unless it’s intentional.

It’s stoneware, Dishwasher and microwave safe. The dimensions are 2.75″H, 6″W, 4″D

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I feel like you could also use this as a ring/jewelry holder.

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Egg Crate Holder – Retails for $12.00 – Purchased for $ 4.25 (it’s not on sale online)

City Vignette Mug

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Next I bought a mug….I have a mug collecting problem, I am aware of this. This was so beautiful, I could not resist. There are four other cities in the collection, but obviously I choose San Francisco. It’s a great quality mug with different landmarks from all over the city. (So much better than a tourist one.)

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This mug has the best details all over. These are perfect gift ideas. I would consider getting all four if they ever end up on sale. The mug is Stoneware, Dishwasher and microwave safe. It’s 16 oz and Is 4.5″H, 5″ diameter.

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City Vignette Mug – Retails for $12.00

Annees Folles Matchbox

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These are an online exclusive. I went in-stores to order these as a gift. I bought the two different colors and had the greatest hopes for them despite the bad reviews. In pictures, they don’t look bad but in real life they look extremely cheap and Low quality. I do not recommend buying these unless they are on clearance. I returned these as soon as they arrived. The box has 100 matches and is made from paper.

Annees Folles Matchbox – Retails for $6.00 each

You never know when you can find a good deal at Anthro!

Golden Goddess – Self Tanner

Beauty & Fashion

If you live in San Francisco, you are either pale, naturally tan or you spray tan. I look pretty ghostly all year long. It’s not a bad thing, but I love having some color. It makes me more confidant and I feel more attractive.

So how do I fake a tan? Back in the day, for special occasions, I would go to a spa and have a spray tan done. It was quick and easy, but it gets pretty pricey for $20-$30 a pop. Several months ago I received a recommendation from a friend. She told me the best product she tried was the Victoria’s Secert Self Tan. She swore by it, so I decided to try it for myself. I bought my first bottle and decided to give it a go. It retails for $15 and is 3.72 oz. It also has a 360° continuous application and smells like sweet/salty coconut. In my experience, I could spray my body 3-4 times with one bottle. I would also recommend buying a tanning Mitt from Ulta or Sephora. I bought the St.Tropez tanning mitt, which retails for $6.50. The mitt will make sure you apply evenly, and will protect your hands from discoloring.

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I’ve been using this spray since February and have bought many bottles but I’ve only ever owned one mitt.

Description on website:
Surround yourself in the sexiest all-over glow. Superfine airbrush mist kisses skin with golden color that develops into a lasting, natural-looking tan within hours. The instant bronze tint lets you see where you apply, and the continuous spray works at any angle for an easy all-over, streak-free application.

I feel like the first time you use self tanning, it can be messy because you do not know what to expect. The first time I did it, I made my hands too dark. It’s really easy though, once you get the hang of it. It only takes me about 5-7 minutes to apply now. Follow my tips and it will make tanning a breeze.
*I recommend showering/applying at night, because you want the product to dry overnight (8 hours or so).

Before Applying

If nothing else, at least exfoliate. It’s probably the most important thing you can do before self tanning. I use a loofah and a body wash. A good scrubbing exfoliator would probably be better though. I would also shave your legs, armpits, and whatever other body hair you want to get rid of. I also wash my hair during this time because the less you shower once you have the self tanner on, the longer it will stay on. I then dry off, dry my hair or wrap it in a towel and apply.

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Applying the Self Tanner

Once I am all dry, it’s time to apply. I usually put an old towel under me, so I don’t have to worry about staining or cleaning up. You should then wear a bathing suit or underwear/bra. Be aware of tanning lines. The next step is to spray the product on your skin. I start from my feet and work my way up. Once you start spraying, you will notice a watery foam coming out. Once it is out, have your mitt ready and rub the product in evenly. You can reapply areas if you want to be darker, but remember it will naturally become darker the longer you leave it on. I usually only use one coat. As you work your way up your body make sure you get all the small spots that you might not notice, especially when it comes to your arms and hands. I usually go up as far as the bottom of my neck and stop because I can match my face/neck with makeup but I suggest applying to your face/neck if you aren’t planning on applying foundation/bronzer. Don’t forget about the back of your neck, especially if you plan on wearing your hair up.

Once you have evenly applied all over your body, it’s time to dry. I suggest 5-10 minutes of drying in front of a fan before you put on clothes. Once you do, put on old, loose-fitting clothing. I never had a problem with staining but the smell tends to lingers. Then it’s time for bed and to let the tanning spray set in. I own white sheets and once in awhile the spray will slightly rub off on the sheets but once washed, it comes right out. When I wake up the next morning, I am naturally tan with a light golden bronze. I then shower to get the top layer off and I’m done.

*Helpful hint: the less you shower, the longer it will stay on. Usually it stays on two-weeks, if you shower quickly and every other day.

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Now get a bright manicure and enjoy being a golden goddess this summer!

Quick & Easy Summer Snack

Food

One of my favorite snacks growing up was a parfait. For awhile now, I have completely forgotten about this snack. Now that it is summertime and the fruit in California is super fresh, I decided to bring it back into my diet. I mean, it’s a healthy, fast, and filling snack. I do have to admit, I eat this often for breakfast and it leaves me satisfied.

Here is the way I make my parfait…. Of course you can substitute your favorite fruits and create portions that fit into your diet.

Ingredients

1 banana (depending on the size, I might use half of one)
3 large strawberries
A hand full of blueberries
Vanilla nonfat Greek yogurt (I use Oikos)
A pack of Oats N’ Honey granola bar

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First, I decide my portions and cut everything up. I then add in the yogurt, banana, blueberries, strawberries and finally the granola. You can either break up the granola or use it as a spoon, like I do. It’s super easy and great if you’re in a rush.

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I often will transform this snack into a dessert by substituting the Greek yogurt with frozen Greek yogurt.

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Try my version out, it’s sure to please.