Saturday, August 18, 2012

6 Fast Morning Beauty Ideas for the Busy (College) Girl

The following is a guest post by Angelita Williams. Although the title includes the word college, the tips will appeal to all the fun-loving women out there who like to get more beautiful really fast.

6 Fast Morning Beauty Ideas for the Busy (College) Girl

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Every college girl knows that mornings are not the easiest. With all-night study sessions, parties at all hours, and loud dorm halls, getting up in the morning and putting yourself together is something than many college girls just don't have time to do. But, instead of just throwing on a hoodie and some slippers to slink away to your morning classes, try some of these quick and easy tips to looking your best, even with no time:

1. Shower the night before.
Instead of waking up early, showering, blow-drying and then actually getting to your morning routine, try showering at night instead. It's great for your hair because it has the time to dry naturally, and it's great for your body because you can wake up much later. Simply shower late at night and put your hair up into a high pony tail or top knot. Then, take it down in the morning for relaxed waves, or run a straightener through quickly for a cool, boho messy look.

2. Splash cold water on your face pre-makeup. 
When you're out of time in the morning and suffering from a long night (or too many cocktails) the night before, it's almost inevitable that you will wake up with puffy eyes and an inflamed complexion. Instead of wasting time applying creams or oils, just splash your face with ice-cold water and gently towel dry. This will instantly wake you up and reduce puffiness so your makeup looks better.

3. Use a tinted SPF moisturizer, not foundation.
Don't waste time in the morning struggling with messy foundation that needs to be applied perfectly. It's much better for your skin to apply a light SPF moisturizer that has a bit of tint. This will add some glow to your complexion and cover ruddiness and discoloration. It will also protect your skin from morning rays as you hustle to class.

4. Focus on brows and lashes first.
Forget eyeliner, eye shadow and the like when you're in a morning rush. The best way to define your eyes quickly is to focus on your brows and lashes. It's also the easiest way to look great fast. Simply define your eye brows with an angled brush, some brow powder, and brow gel. Then put on a couple coats of mascara to make your lashes extra-long. Your eyes will pop without any time-consuming liner.

5. Use an SPF bronzer to sculpt and protect.
Another way to look good on the go is to focus on sculpting your face, rather than spending time on blush and highlighters. Grab a good bronzer, especially one with a mineral SPF, and use it to outline your face, under your cheek bones and down the sides of your nose.

6. Grab a lip gloss and go.
To finish off your look, you can simply do the final step as you walk out the door. Grab a sheer nude lip gloss and apply it as you walk to class or wait at a stop light. This will add that extra touch and give you a nice morning glow, without the mess of liner or lipstick.

Angelita Williams works as a freelance blogger covering hot topics in and college lifestyle. Feel free to contact her at

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Do a Salon Manicure at Home with Fun Spring Colors

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We all want to have some flashy, stand-out nails every once in a while, and nothing is more popular this spring that a well-groomed set of nails in a hot coral, pink, blue or mint green. The only problem is, if you’re going to go for a pop of color, the finished result really needs to look professional to get the right look, and that can cost you big bucks. If you’re low on cash, or just burnt out with heading to the nail salon every time you want a change of color, try picking out your own favorite spring shades and learning how to do it yourself!

First, you need to select the perfect nail color. Check out collections from American Apparel or Sally Hansen for easy-to-find inspiration.

Next, get your supplies together:

Polish in a spring color
Nail file
Cuticle Sticks
Cuticle clippers
Mixing Bowl
Clean towel
Exfoliating scrub (like a sugar or salt scrub)
Cuticle cream
Nail polish remover
A flat soft-bristle makeup brush (for removing excess polish)

Finally, follow these steps for a perfect spring salon manicure, totally at home!

Step 1: File

Find a nail shape that you want to try from a magazine or online. Take a look at the shape and figure out how it will correspond with your natural nail. Make sure to contour everything to the shortest natural nail on your hands, so they will all be the same length. File inward with soft, short strokes until you get the shape you want.

Step 2: Moisturize Cuticles

Using your cuticle cream or oil, dab a good amount onto the cuticle of each hand. Then, use your fingers to rub it in.

Step 3: Soak Hands

Fill up your mixing bowl with warm water. You can add any sort of hand soak you like, such as bubble bath, bath beads, or body wash. Some people even use dish soap, and that works fine, too. Immerse your hands in the warm water, and let them soak for at least five minutes, preferably more.

Step 4: Exfoliate

After your hands have soaked for a while, take them out and slather them with your exfoliating scrub. Scrub your hands gently. Then rinse your hands thoroughly under tap water and pat dry with a clean towel.

Step 5: Shape Cuticles

The trick here is to push your cuticles as far back as they will go, so you can get the most bang for your polish. Using the cuticle stick, gently push your cuticles back, all the way around the nail. If you have hangnails or really thick cuticles, cut them (gently!) with your cuticle clippers. What you want is an effect that looks smooth, as if you have done nothing to your cuticles.

Step 6: Moisturize

Once your cuticles are smooth and groomed, you need to lock in the moisture with a nice lotion or oil. Pour a quarter-sized amount onto the palm of your hand and rub in, focusing on the cuticles. Once your hands are thoroughly moisturized, dry off the nail beds to prepare for polish.

Step 7: Polish

Before you start, use a cotton ball to dab some nail polish remover on your clean nails. This will get rid of any lotion you have left coating the nails. Then, start with a basecoat and paint a thin layer on both hands. Let dry. Now, you are ready for color! Paint two coats on each hand. After they have dried, finish with a high-shine top coat.

Step 8: Clean Excess Polish

This is the trick to getting that salon-quality look. Using your flat brush, dip the brush into the bottle of nail polish remover. Gently trace the outer corners of your nail bed to lift off polish that has gotten onto your cuticle area. Use the end of the brush to scrape of excess. Try to create a rounded effect that looks the same for each nail.

Once you’re done, let your nails dry fully, and you’re ready to go!

Author Bio:
This is a guest post by Nadia Jones who blogs at accredited online colleges about education, college, student, teacher, money saving, movie related topics. You can reach her at nadia.jones5 @

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Great Smoothies with Even Better Benefits

(Guest post by Sasha Britton)

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In this fast paced world, it is often hard to take some time out of your day and do something that would be healthy for your body. Now, with the help of healthy smoothies, you can do something beneficial for your body within just minutes. Smoothies are the biggest craze to hit the health and fitness world in recent months, and it is not hard to see just exactly why!

Adding a smoothie to your day can work wonders for your body, and there is no easier and simpler option around. Smoothies have been proven to both re-energize and refresh a person's body and mind, and can really make a difference in your day.

To demonstrate just how easy it is to create and benefit from a smoothie, here is a list of the things you'll need to make this process happen: a blender and the fruits and vegetables you'd like to put into the smoothie. That's it! There is no additional extra cost. Smoothies are simple, easy, and cheap to make!

If you can't decide on what type of smoothie you'd like to make, one of the most simple and enjoyable options is called the "full meal" smoothie. Packing the ingredients of an entire breakfast into a smoothie, this will be sure to both fill you up and get you ready for the day. The ingredients are simple, and all you'll need is: a full banana, a cup of grapes, half of an apple, 5 ounces of your favorite soy or coconut yogurt, and a 1/2 cup of spinach leaves.

Another way to find out smoothies that you may enjoy is to mix and match 2 or 3 fruits and at least one vegetable. These smoothies will allow you to replace full meals in your day by giving you the full nutrients you need. These smoothies are great for if you are on the go and do not have enough time to cook an entire meal.

If you'd prefer an alternative to a smoothie, a great thing to do is purchase a juicer. A juicer is a machine that that extracts all the nutrients and juices from a fruit or vegetable. These juicers helps create something known as, "Green smoothies." These green smoothies provide Phytochemicals, which are disease fighting chemicals. As time goes on, these green smoothies are gaining more and more popularity.

So whether you use a smoothie as a meal supplement or you use it as a rejuvenator after a workout at your home gym or run around the block, there is no better option out there today than to purchase a blender or juicer and start creating smoothies that you enjoy from cheap and healthy fruits and vegetables. The benefits are noticeable within mere days and will help you feel better and healthier than you ever have before. Don't wait to start changing your health, smoothies will help make a change for the better today!

Sasha Britton is a health and fitness buff with a love for beauty from this inside out and yoga and vegan living. Check out her personal blog  and soon to be contributor with Gymsource Treadmills and Home Gyms (@sashsabfit).

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

To Have Plastic Surgery or Not To Have Plastic Surgery? That is the question.

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Tom Cruise presenting at this year's Academy Awards. At age 50. Is it all natural?

No, I am not against it unless....
Call me shallow, but I don’t care. I am not against plastic surgery, when done right. I am all for it, if you won’t end up looking like a zombie, a blown-up doll or a transvestite. 

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Courteney Cox. I can't be the only one who thinks she ruined her face.

I am also not against liposuction, lip injections, botox (as long as you still have expressions on your face) or whatever. As long as it works.

Pretty and young is not a bad thing. Unless you end up ruining a gorgeous face with too plump lips – e.g. Nicole Kidman. Meg Ryan’s lips are totally noticed before her any other feature too, and I don’t mean that as a compliment.

Meg Ryan.
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It Is Only Human to Want to Be & Stay Attractive.
Again, calling me shallow is OK. I am just being honest. Because as much as feeling physically and mentally healthy are the most important things, we still want to like what we see in the morning. 

And yes, in an ideal world, we would always like what we saw. With or without make-up. During bad hair days and good hair days. With and without our extra pounds. We would feel good about ourselves all the time.

But maybe with the exception of the wise and the carefree (and the genetically blessed - my mom is 58, she didn’t have anything done-minor or major- and she still looks a lot younger than the Hollywood women in their late 30s and 40s), we do care about how we look. We want to look better. We want to look sexy, whether or not we are trying to attract someone or not.

Some People DO Win The Battle Against Time and Aging
The problem is it doesn’t last for many men and women. Tom Cruise is only what? 6 years younger than Mel Gibson, yet he could play his son. Brad Pitt is buddies with George Clooney, but in a few years he Clooney could just as very well pass as his dad in movies-and he is only 2 years younger than Pitt. 

Michelle Pfeiffer is beautiful, but not nearly as fresh-looking as Sharon Stone who is the same age. Demi Moore looks skinny, but she doesn’t look healthy or pretty.

You get my point.
What's My Plan?
At 28, I am 2 years away from starting to buy anti-aging products. Don’t worry, the age 30 was set by my dermatologist- who in her 40 s looks the same age as me, despite having a 15-year son. 

So I am in good hands and I will be doing some prevention stuff with the help of a professional who does practice what she preaches (Oh and don’t worry, it is all insured so she doesn’t make money by prescribing me anything).

I know that I am at a great age. I also believe that in this day and age, 50s are the new 40s, the 40s are the new 30s. And in your 30s, life really, truly begins. You know who you are, what you want and how to get it. Don’t worry, I already started on that path. I am just reminding you that 30s isn’t something to panic about. It is something to celebrate.

But all celebrations are a lot more fun if you look your absolute hottest. So I am not going to apologize for trying to look hot even in my 60s. Susan Sarandon is doing it. Why shouldn’t I?
So to have plastic surgery or not to have plastic surgery? That’s the question. 

Sorry, William. It is just that I solved my existential issues and I am dealing with the physical aspect of things now.  

And I am saying it is OK to get things done if...Yes, there are "if"s:
  • If you are not screwing up what you already have
  • If you are going to look better than you used to
  • If you can truly afford it.  
  • If you are not turning into your new favorite hobby
  • If you are combining it with a fairly healthy lifestyle (not drinking much, not smoking….)

Did Tom Cruise Have Plastic Surgery? 
I don’t know if or what Tom Cruise did. If he had things done, I want the number of his doctors. Because boy he might be crazy, but he is the prettiest and youngest-looking 50-year-old I have ever seen.

What about you? To have it? Or not to have it? What’s your answer?

P.S. Below is the link to the article that inspired this post:

Friday, February 10, 2012

Winter Blues, Eating Unhealthily and Getting Back on Track

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I wonder if all Sagittarii all like this, but despite being born in December, I absolutely hate winter (apart from my birthday week where I get showered with presents and earn the right for *a birthday jam from my lindy hop friends).

But seriously, there is nothing sexy or pleasurable about having to put on layers and layers of clothes, lose your make-up to snow and sweat and have your plans cancelled because the weather really brought everybody down and seriously messed up traffic.

And when you are stuck at home, or the coffee shop nearby, it is hard to pay attention to how you look. Even if I do feel guilty about not having stuck to a healthier eating routine, especially when all the fat is stored in my belly region, ideals of having a Scarlett Johansson-like (I do have the curves, I just have a “little” more extra fat) body are exchanged by the momentary pleasure of chocolate. 

Scarlett in Red.

I was feeling bad that I cheated on my Fitnesspal (both the website schedule and my friend), but learned that she doesn’t exactly have the Jennifer Aniston resolve to get and keep fit at the moment either.

Of course unhealthy eating adds to your depressed state, which adds to your unhealthy eating. It is a vicious circle, and even though I want to be all on salads and vegetables, it seems impossible to just to eat natural nuts, dried fruits for snacks. And it no longer motivates to listen to songs like So Hot (Kid Rock) when you know you are not. At least not as hot as you can be.

And while I do admire Adele for embracing her weight and I’d never want to be skinny, I am the happiest with myself when I am the fittest.  How are you on your end? How is winter treating you?  If you got off track, don’t despair. It happens to all of us (humans.) The best thing you can do is to increase the indoors activity. 

Some Applicable Tips to Get Back on a Healthier Route: 

-Try your sexy dresses and see how much you need to hide and/or tuck in. This might upset you, but at least it should motivate you to do better. 

-Can’t say no to the chocolate bar? Eat it. Then turn on your favorite dancing songs, and dance away.
The faster the songs, the better. You can at least burn some off it!

-Clean up your house, organize your (home) office. If you are anything like me, the needed collective cleaning will equal to an 20-min aerobics session.

- Keep trying on more clothes. See if anything no longer suits your taste. Not only it burns calories, but it will give you space for shopping.

- Go clothes shopping! You shouldn’t go crazy like Rebecca Bloomwood, but trying on lots of clothes in lots of stores is actually quite good (and fun) exercise. If you can cut back a little on food, great. I once lost 8 kilos in one summer with shopping! 

- Go dark. Dark chocolate is more fulfilling, and you will feel more saturated with less amount of it. 

-Eat the chocolate but not the cake. Cut the flour, if you can’t cut the sugar.

-Take the stairs. In case you are carrying your laptop and other stuff with you.

- Go out to dance, if the weather allows you. 

-The moment you feel you won’t freeze outside, leave the house. How far you will go is up to you, but anything is better than sitting at home and feeling miserable.

- Listen to songs that are about getting back on track and/or never quitting or breaking no matter what. 

Some of my favorites: Bon Jovi, Unbreakable.                                          
                                  Tom Petty, I Won’t Back Down.

Which reminds me. I just changed my station into rock’n’roll for some stretching and dancing around. Will switch to rock after I warm up….

P.S. I know I didn’t include things like go to the gym. I live in a big city where my gym is far away. I think I’ll be going in that direction once March arrives.  Of course if you can go hiking or jogging on a regular basis, I’m proud of you. But then this post wasn’t really meant for the steel-willed….

*birthday jam: When all the guys and the girls try to dance with you because it is your birthday and others just watch and enjoy the show.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

How to Cure Winter Blues by Spending 30 Minutes at Your Hairdresser

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Maybe I’m missing some fundamental female genes, but I have never liked going to the hairdressers.  I am just not the biggest fan of sitting and waiting for ages where meaningless chatter and gossip surround you as some terrible music comes blasting from the stereos. 

And I definitely don’t like people I just met to let me tell them my life story, and pout when I don’t like doing so. Oh, of course there is the painful part of sitting for what feels like hours, while you have nothing to do as you count down the seconds until your hair is finished. 

Well, given that I’m a tad hyperactive, don’t like to do just sit and wait, and absolutely hate techno and computerized pop music, you might think that I am not the best candidate for writing a post on why going to the hairdressers is a practical and mood-lifting idea for the winter. But bear with me for a second.

I’ve recently realized that the hairdresser experience doesn’t have to be annoying, boring and bank-account emptying. All you have to do is to look around, research a little and find a hairdresser close to where you live that won’t make you go bankrupt, where the blow-dryers surpass the music and the employees respect your privacy and let you talk as little or as much as you want to.

I found such a place in my neighborhood. They don’t list a hundred reasons why my hair needs more work. They don’t ask about my private life. They are friendly but respectful, and the prices are affordable. Sure, I still have to sit and look at my hair for 30 minutes, but at least it doesn’t feel like hours, and the guy who blow-dries my hair is actually not bullshitting: when he blow-dries, my hair stays blow-dried for a couple of days- without spraying my hair as if we are still in the 80s.

I get it blow-dried, because even though my hair is straight, it gets frizzled really easily. At least it stays in shape, looks good and makes me feel better about myself. I’ve never been a fan of the cold, rainy and windy winter days and great hair takes the blues away.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Dieting with MyFitnessPal- How to Make Sure Your Diet is Customized and Non-Lethal

Dieting sucks. What? Because this is a part-fitness blog, you thought I was going to say it rocked? Come on. This blog is for fun-loving people. And while the right diet has the ability to make you look and feel better, it is never fun.

Because even the most reasonable diet will ask you to cut back considerably on desert.  You should also forget about flour, grease, fried things, cream, salt and more. You should also stay away from artificially enhanced/colored products, and anything that screams not-healthy.

Can you imagine having your friends over and instead of serving carrot sticks instead of chips? Well, unless your friends are models or Hollywood, they won’t like it. And it is hard to stick to your diet when

a) Others are eating all the fun stuff,
b) You have a busy schedule,
c) You don’t have enough money for the healthier, and typically more expensive dishes at restaurants.

Thankfully, I found a much more fun and doable diet-tracker thanks to my fitness pal. There is a website called MyFitnessPal that a good friend of mine recommended to me so that we could both keep to our New Year’s resolution (that we would spend 2012 fitter and healthier.)

The website is free and very easy to use. You sign up, and then fill in a form about your weight loss goals (and yes-your goal can be as realistic or optimistic as you want. You can even choose to follow a plan that will help you maintain your weight.)

You choose how much weight you want to lose over what period of time (the recommended is 1 KG each week) and how much exercise (minutes and frequency) you are willing to add to the mix. I believe it is better to follow a longer route that will slow down your weight loss, but won’t turn your each meal into a living hell.

Why shouldn’t you eat that chocolate bar if you can keep the calories within the limit? It is much better to make your lifestyle healthier and less-fattening then going off your annoyingly strict diet? Besides, if you only diet for a certain time and let things go to hell afterwards, you can’t maintain your new weight, what is the point?

After you set and record your goals, you start keeping a food diary on the site that you can choose to share with others or not. You note everything you eat and drink, they have a pretty good collection of food and drinks to give you the calorie count. They also have an automatic calorie adder, in case you already know the exact numbers.

You can also add recipes, record your workouts and be aware of your progress at any given time. And the best part is, the site calculates how many calories (both in total and divided into protein, carbs and vitamins) you need to take each day to reach your goal. And after you finish completing your entry for the day, it shows you how much you will weigh in how many days if every day goes like this.

It is fun, fast and free. It is great for those who don’t want to spend too much time fussing over calorie count and focus on healthy eating.

I should however note that this tool will be more helpful if you have a basic understanding of what is healthy, and what is good for you individually. Good luck to all my fitness pals out there!

What about you? Have you used myfitnesspal? What do you think about being your own fitness coach and dietician?