December Faves

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Happy Wednesday Everyone!

Hope everyone is having a good day.

I just got demolished by a final…but it’s okay–time to study for the next one! I forgot how draining it is to study for finals. I’m done with 3 of 4 now, and I swear, I’m not cut out for this. My brain is slacking on everyday things this week, as I’ve been diverting all of my mental energy on psychopathology, research methods, family systems therapy techniques, and psychotherapy theories. Help.Me. I am counting down the hours until I’m done with tomorrow’s class and I can finally celebrate the Winter break and my birthday weekend! No more school for another month! WOOHOO.

Anywaysssss—

This Christmas season is an unusual one for California. As you might be aware, it’s been a white Christmas season….and I mean white with ash. If you live in an affected area, then you have probably seen the ash layering the streets, your car, your roof, etc. This makes me so sad. There are many people I know that have lost their homes or have been evacuated as a result of the fires. I, for one, truly miss FRESH AIR. Tempted to take a hiatus from California and head to Washington for a nice, long weekend. I could really use some forest beauty and R&R. I’ve always wanted to be spontaneous one day and just UP and GO. Maybe I’ll do it this winter break….

I’ve been meaning to write a blog post for A WHILE, and unfortunately I have not had the time to sit down and just DO IT. But today, since I am braindead from my final a few hours ago, I figured I’d sit down and finally write one before getting back to my studies.

Happy December Folks! Here are a few of my DECEMBER FAVES!!!

  1. ADVENT CALENDARS: If you know me at all, then you know this is a Keyser Family tradition. There is no December without an advent calendar. Why do we love these so much? Because you’re guaranteed chocolate every day. Also because it’s a countdown to Christmas. Need I say more? I get mine from Trader Jos. They never fail.img_8074-e1513225042235.png
  2. WINTER SCENTED CANDLES: YES YES YES. The one I’m burning this precise moment is “Evergreen” scented and it’s from Bath & Body Works. It literally smells like a forest of Christmas trees in my room right now. They have a ton of different scents to choose from, and it’s so much fun to explore them all! I always aim for the Soy wax candles..since they emit a healthier smoke into the air than just your average candle.
  3. HOT CHOCOLATE: I don’t feel guilty about drinking empty calories if it’s during the holiday season (or lets be honest…pretty much ever). If I enjoy the drink…then no regrets. If you’re in the market for a fan.tas.tic hot chocolate, then look no further then Starbucks Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate drink. (disclaimer–you don’t even have to like caramel to LOVE this drink)
  4. CHRISTMAS MOVIES: This might be the only time that I recommend Hallmark movies…but if you’re going to watch them at all…then I guess it’s permissible in December of all months. You must also watch “The Grinch”, “The Santa Clause”, “Elf”, and “The Holiday”. I just purchased a 50 inch HD 4K tv for my room, so you can bet that I’ll be spending my entire winter break snuggled up binge watching everything that exists.
  5. BABY CHRISTMAS TREES: Trader Jos comes in clutch with these too. I bought a baby  tree for my room, equipped with silver confetti sparkles for decoration. It is literally adorable on a bedside table and doesn’t take up much space at all! I think mine cost about $3…but they have a special “Grump” tree that is SO freaking cute. I recommend it.

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6. STRING LIGHTS: These add the perfect holiday touch to any room. I found mine at Target for only $5 (batteries not included). They are super cute, perfect length for my windows, and have little rose gold bells attached.

7. STOCKING STUFFERS: Stockings are (hands down) my favorite part about Christmas morning. It’s so much fun to explore your stocking…because every goody is such a surprise! Some ideas for stuffers: nail polish, face masks, little gift cards to Starbucks or In-N-Out (if you’re Californian), chocolate, fuzzy socks, lip gloss, hand creams, etc.! Be creative… and maybe even a little quirky.

Okay that’s all the time I have for today guys. Keep your eyes out for more posts….as I am about to have SO MUCH MORE TIME!

xx

allie

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Meet Me at the Barre…

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What’s up guys!!! Happy tuckin’ Wednesday!

If you’re like most people on this earth, then chances are you have been indulging in some delectable treats this holiday season….AS YOU SHOULD! One of the greatest pleasures in life is food, and there’s no reason why you should restrict yourself from the occasional pumpkin muffin, salted caramel hot chocolate, or hunk of peppermint bark. Enjoy yourself, and don’t be so hard on your eating decisions…you won’t be expected to wear a bathing suit for the next 6/7 months anyways!

However–everything is better in moderation–so here’s a lovely workout suggestion to help you balance out your caloric intake this holiday season.

Ever heard of barre? I’m not talking about the kind where you order vodka sodas or adios mother f*****s. This barre is the no-guilt kind. You won’t be waking up hungover….or with a stranger by your side…lol jk…(but not really).

Barre is an up-and-coming form of exercise that combines pilates, dance, yoga, and functional training. Not flexible? No worries…I can barely do the butterfly stretch, and yet I’m chillin’. Every class is perfectly choreographed to upbeat and motivating music. Every instructor is literally A++. How is that possible? I have no freaking clue.

During the exercise, you use small workout balls, free hand weights, resistance bands, and the like. Every class is unique, and no two classes are ever the same. And just when you think you’ve gotten the class down…NOPE! They switch all of the choreography every few months to keep it challenging and new.

And the absolute best part? I guarantee you that during the class, you’ll think of nothing else in your life outside of that room (stressful work issues, recent breakup, impending assignments…nope, nada). You literally cannot do two things at once, and this class is no exception. Enjoy the unique and invigorating opportunity to be truly, 100% MINDFUL, and in the present-moment. It’s the ultimate stress-relief activity.

So if you’re in the market for a new & improved exercise regime…look no further than your local barre studio. For the first time ever, you’ll look forward to your workout and enjoy every minute along the way. Plus, you’ve never felt your muscles burn quite like this before…I can assure you.

While these classes can be somewhat expensive, more often than not you can purchase special packages that will decrease the cost per class! Or, take advantage of student discounts…always.

If you live in my area, I highly encourage you to check out Studio Barre Newbury Park. This place is everything.

Any questions? Shoot me a comment, and I’ll be happy to answer!

That’s it for today folks, hope to see you at the barre! 😉

xx allie

Black Friday Consumes Thanksgiving

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Happy Tuesday everyone–it’s almost Thanksgiving! I hope that everyone is excited for turkey, Martinelli’s sparkling cider, and good ol’ pumpkin pie. We all know that year after year we consume over 5,000 calories in that one Thanksgiving meal alone! Only this year it’s different. Thanksgiving itself is being consumed. Hide yo kids, hide yo wife.

If you’ve done your research at all on the Black Friday specials of 2017, then you may have noticed that the major door-busters begin at 6pm on Thanksgiving night. 6 PM!!! What in the name of Christopher Columbus?! I thought black Friday starts on Friday?

Isn’t it true that Black Friday used to start at precisely midnight following Thanksgiving?!

Over the years, black Friday has continued to creep closer and closer to Thanksgiving night. Last year I remember that a lot of the doors opened at 9 or 10 pm…. and even that was pushing it. BUT NOW 6PM? If you’re like most Americans…then chances are you are just sitting down to eat your Thanksgiving feast with the fam at this time. And now what? Instead of enjoying and appreciating quality family time, we are all supposed to be running off and finding the best deals on expensive items? Blasphemy.

What about everyone that must show up to work at 6pm on Thanksgiving, just so that people can barge their way through the doors and save money on a TV or game system? Hath America no soul?

At this rate, I would not be surprised if Thanksgiving goes extinct in the coming years. Black Friday will become Black Thursday, replacing Thanksgiving once and for all. I digress..

I honestly refuse to be at the door-buster sales this year, and I highly encourage all others to do the same. Instead, I will be embarking on a CyberMonday shopping spree from the comfort of my own home. In fact, I am hearing that CyberMonday is supposed to be even better than Black Friday….so there.

This Thanksgiving…don’t lose sight of what is truly important. Family, friends, and thankfulness. ❤

…and if you do decide to shop this Black Friday, then may the odds be ever in your favor.

xx allie

 

 

Starbucks vs. McCafe

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Hey guys, Happy Wednesday!

Today I am going to be discussing Coffee. Why? Because without it, I would undoubtedly spend 24 hours of each day sleeping. So I figure it (more than) deserves it’s own post.

I’ll start by saying that I have always esteemed Starbucks Coffee as my default go-to, for a few reasons.

  1. I like the variety of drinks available
  2. I like the ability to customize your drink any which way (yay for kids temp!).
  3. I love that they recognize the holidays and alter their products accordingly.

But, although the coffee/sweet drinks are choice, there are a few things about Starbucks that aren’t. For one, the price isn’t always right. I used to be able to justify spending $4-7 on a Starbucks drink once or twice per week, but now that I’m in grad school I basically visit a coffee shop 5-6 days per week. So if I spent $5, 6x per week, then I would be spending $120 per month on coffee drinks. While I do love coffee, $120 is a little steep. That’s more than half the price of my monthly car payment, and over 2x more than my gym membership. If guilt didn’t exist, then I would continue to pay the price without giving it a second thought. But, as the careful spender that I am, I cringe with guilt every time I purchase a drink for $5, which I always finish in 5 minutes.

For this reason alone, I found it necessary to explore my options. Although I almost NEVER choose to visit a McDonald’s for anything else, I had heard that their coffee was tasty and affordable. I decide to give it a (expresso) shot. 🙂

Much to my surprise, they too offered holiday drinks! On the menu, I noticed flavors like toffee latte, peppermint mocha, peppermint hot chocolate, vanilla latte, etc. McCafe is steppin’ it up!

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I chose just a simple hot mocha, and was pleasantly surprised by how smooth, rich, and perfect it tasted. In fact, I gave it a 10/10, as opposed to Starbucks mocha drink which I rate a 7/10. Starbucks makes their mochas SUPER sweet and chocolatey (even for a major chocoholic)–I always have to ask for them half sweetened. *The only thing that I didn’t like about the McCafe Mocha was how HOT it was. OH MY GOSH. I definitely burned my tongue [a few times]. If possible, ask for it much less hot than it comes.

The major perk though? The price! Each size was over $1 less than its Starbucks counterpart. So let’s do the math again with this new price. If I were to spend $3.50 on a McCafe drink, 6x per week, my total for the month would be: $84. So much more reasonable than Starbucks!

Let’s be real though, McDonalds is really only an option for coffee on-the-go. I’m simply not going to bring my laptop, books, and assignments to a booth at McDonalds. It’s obviously not the best hangout place, and doesn’t account of students looking for comfortable seating and plenty of outlets. So when I’m looking for a location to do work, it’s worth the extra price for me to choose Starbucks over McDonalds.

BUT–if you’re ever on the go, needing coffee, but aren’t trying to spend top dollar for your fix….then try out a McCafe. You might even find you prefer it…

Have a beautiful rest of your day ❤

xx allie

 

 

 

Origins Skincare Review

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What’s up guys! Happy Tuesday. Hope your week is going rather swimmingly thus far. My week has been a little hectic. I’ve been inundated with projects, papers, and quizzes-oh my! Therefore, I am sorry that I’ve been slacking on my blog posts lately…I can assure you that once Winter Break starts mid-December…I’ll be more present.

Today I wanted to discuss Origins skincare products. I discovered Origins a little over a year ago, when I was perusing through a Macy’s department store and happened upon the designated Origins skincare section. Immediately I was captivated by the branding on the bottles and the scents of the products. I purchased a few smaller products and began to try them out. I can’t say I’ve ever had a bad experience from using their stuff.

Here’s what you should know:

I have combination skin—certain parts dry, certain parts oily. I’ve always struggled to find skincare products that cater to both skin types at the same time…until I found Origins. Here are my fave products:

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Ginzing Energy-Boosting Treatment Lotion Mist: (Retails for $22.50). This product is for dry, normal, and oily skin. After I wash my face, I spritz this moisturizing spray all over my face. It invigorates my skin, wakes me up, opens up my pores, moisturizes, and makes my face smell like fresh oranges!

 

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Checks & Balances Frothy Face Wash: (Retails for $23.00). This face wash is extremely gentle and never stings. It smells fresh and lathers better than any other product I’ve ever used before. No matter how small of an amount that I use, it STILL always seems like way too much…making this product last forever! My face feels so fresh and clean after using this wash. It feels like it cleans very thoroughly, yet never leaves my skin feeling dried out. My breakouts have truly diminished from this product alone. If I had to choose one product to suggest from Origins, it would have to be this one.

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Drink-Up Intensive Overnight Mask to Quench Skin’s Thirst: (Retails for $27). This “lotion” is the bees knees. Although it’s an overnight mask, I treat it more like a lotion, since you aren’t supposed to wash it off. I use it every night before bed, after I’ve washed my face with the Checks & Balances Face Wash. It moisturizes SO WELL, soaks into the skin perfectly, and doesn’t make my skin feel oily AT ALL. It also spells like a tropical paradise. Best face lotion I’ve ever used…and I’m not just saying that.

I’ve also tried a number of Origins face masks, including the rose clay, charcoal, 10-minute mask, and more. They are all amazing. However, for the purposes of this post, I wanted to center the focus on the top 3 every-day products that I’d highly recommend for clearer, happier skin. These products last a long time, and are relatively inexpensive. Give them a try and I doubt you’ll regret it. If you’ve used Origins, and have an opinion of your own, please leave a comment!

Well that’s all for today. Have a wonderful rest of your week!

xx allie

Revel in Your Small Victories

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Happy Tuesday Everyone! Hope yours is off to a good start.

Today I’d like to discuss the importance of reveling in your small victories.

In this busy world we live in, with only 24 hours in a day, it’s difficult to function efficiently without a giant “to-do” list that governs your day-to-day schedule. And one thing that I notice rather often is our tendency to quickly scramble onto the next order of business as we are still in the process of crossing off the last. We rarely take the time to breathe between tasks and celebrate the small victories that we’ve already accomplished!

This should never be taken lightly. It is SO important not to fixate on the things that we have not yet finished, and instead praise ourselves for the things that we have. Take the time to pat yourself on the back for your progress…as ANY progress is better than none. Don’t allow yourself to be frustrated by the outstanding items. See them as a healthy challenge that you will gradually conquer over the course of time…it’s not a race!

Now do not take this message the wrong way: I am not trying to encourage laziness or procrastination. However, I think that it is critical to take the time to feel proud of the things we have accomplished, rather than frazzled by the things we have not yet attended to. If we do not take the time to acknowledge our victories, then we’ll continue to feel that we just cannot keep up.  Now I don’t know about you, but if I felt like I was working hard and tediously, yet getting nowhere…I’d likely end up quitting. Encourage yourself by encouraging yourself. Self-praise and admiration are key.

IN FACT!!! I like to celebrate my own small victories by rewarding myself along the way. The positive reinforcement is healthy and fun. I’ve finished my reading for the day? GREAT! Time to relax and catch up on the last episode of “This is Us”. I just finished with my midterms? FANTASTIC! I’ll finally schedule the nail appointment that I’ve been putting off for so long. Made it into both of my doctor’s appointments in one day! AMAZING! Time for a scoop of Baskin Robbins ice-cream. Personally, I find that rewarding myself for the things I’ve completed rather than scurrying to get crackin’ on the unfinished business, truly motivates me to take on the new tasks with a positive attitude and a refreshed enthusiasm. My efforts and work ethic are enhanced after taking a small breather and reveling in my accomplishments.

SERIOUSLY guys, you will be amazed by the strikingly obvious benefits you’ll experience by simply taking on this ideology. Staying positive, refreshed, and ambitious has never been so easy. Positive self-talk + Personal Rewarding (as a mechanism of positive reinforcement) truly make the biggest difference.

Stay lovely, lovelies.

xx allie

Always Listen to Your Body

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What’s up guys?! Happy Wednesday!

Lately, I have been itching to discuss an ideology that I’ve been adopting a LOT these days. ALWAYS LISTEN TO YOUR BODY.

What does it look like to listen to your body? Sometimes, it means not being able to give your 100%, 100% of the time. This is something that I still continue to struggle with, but I’ve been progressively learning to take my personal limits in stride.

As I’ve discussed in my blog posts before, exercising is extremely important to me. Although it’s nice to see physical developments as a result of working out, I appreciate exercising more for the mental benefits it provides. Exercise combats stress and depression, two things that I have been known to struggle with in my life. Devoting 2-3 days to working out per week is essential to my mental wellbeing, and for that reason I refuse to give it up. I regard it as my due diligence to see to it that I get the exercise I need to ensure that I am operating at my most pristine mental capacity. Sometimes however, I am a little too ambitious. I book myself for a workout class at 8am, the morning after being up until 12:30am doing my grad school reading/assignments. On these mornings, it is particularly difficult to wake up and work out. So what do I do? I listen to my body. If my body is saying that sleep is more important than exercise for that day, I turn off my “snooze” button and fall back asleep for another hour. I almost never regret missing my workout for extra zzzz’s. In my personal opinion, it’s a good tradeoff.

If you know me personally, then you probably know that I’m a little bit neurotic when it comes to my school work, which I see as a general reflection of my ambition, perseverance, and motivation. It irks me when I don’t complete the assigned reading before class, or I feel that I have underperformed on a paper or assignment. In the past, I’ve been relatively successful at devoting 110% effort into my school life–even going above and beyond when possible. However lately, I am realizing that this is next to near impossible in grad school. If I were to give 100% in everything I do, then there would never be enough time in a day. It’s about learning to recognize my limits, accept them, and then not beating myself up in the end. In grad school you learn about prioritizing, and you also learn about “scraping by” or just “doing what you need to do”. Point is, I’ve been listening to my body lately and ignoring my guilt. If I’m falling asleep while reading, then I choose sleeping. I’m not going to die if I don’t finish…in fact, it probably won’t matter at all. If I need quality time with friends for the sheer sake of sanity, then you best believe I’m going to make myself get what I need…even at the expense of other tasks. Balance is truly everything….and mental health and sanity is always #1. In fact, I even give myself ‘break days’ during the week, where I promise myself not to even open a book or take out my laptop. It’s important to be present in life, and to continue to enjoy living.…which can often be sacrificed for the sake of education or getting ahead.

Getting sick? Make that your focus. Listen to your body and give it what it needs to get well. If you ignore the signs or symptoms your body is presenting, then you will only suffer for longer. Make time to visit a doctor, allocate 20 minutes to pick up the meds you need from a local CVS, go get that “Cold Buster” from Jamba Juice, or crank out that Chicken Noodle Soup recipe you’ve been pocketing. You might not think you have time for any of this, but the fact is, you don’t have time to NOT do this. Your health is important, and if you are not operating at your best, then nothing you do will be a reflection of your best efforts. Take care of your body, then take care of your other responsibilities.

Your body is smart. You will always know what you need if you are perceptive to its language. Be mindful and aware of what it tells you. Take it into consideration. After all, it is the vessel in which you live. I can think of nothing more important than that.

Stay beautiful, stay in tune.

xx allie

Friday the 13th: October Faves

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 Happy Friday the 13th fellas! Of all the days in October (aside from Halloween, of course), this has to be my favorite. Why?

  1. It’s October (my absolute favorite month)
  2. It’s Friday (tgif, duh)
  3. It’s payday (shopping anyone?)
  4. It’s an inherently spooky day (because it’s Friday, the 13th)

When you think about it, entire movies were created based around this particular day. So if you’re trying to tell me it’s not a big deal…then think again. So now that we’re officially (almost) halfway through the month, the countdown to Halloween officially begins! I thought it might be fitting to discuss a few noteworthy Halloween/October/Fall activities that are always fun around this time of year. Adulting sucks—but planning your month out with fun events surely always makes it better.

If you can commit to at least a few of these fun favorites, I can PROMISE your month will instantly be better:

  • Pumpkin Patch it Up: Guys…not kidding, if you don’t attend a pumpkin patch in the fall, then did you really even live through it? Pumpkin patches are so much fun because you get to walk through hay to select the perfect pumpkin (based on your own personal preferences), watch adorable kids/babies get excited over the games/’rides’, make your way through a corn maze, eat traditional fall foods (pumpkin pie, corn on the cob, etc.), and my personal fave…play with all of the animals in the petting-zoo! It’s never too expensive to attend…and yet you can often be entertained for hours. Plus—you can carve your pumpkin afterwards!
  • See Scary Movies: If you’re not a wimp (shout-out to all of my best friends), then definitely take advantage of the scary movies that come out in theaters around this time of year. Buy popcorn and chocolate (especially if it’s October), and take on a scary thriller. There’s no better way to get in the mood for Halloween than to immerse yourself in the throws of an intense film. I’ve got my eye out for “Jigsaw” this year….
  • Bake Halloween Treats: So I’m definitely not the best at baking….but there’s something special about fall baking in particular—especially if you can make adorable little ghosts, goblins, ghouls, skeletons, mummies, and witches out of sugar. Click here for a number of fantastic recipes. Better Crocker knows where it’s at.
  • Halloween Horror Nights [HHN]: As an adult, it just doesn’t feel as acceptable to go trick-or-treating anymore. When I first realized this a few years back, I was immediately saddened that Halloween was going to lose its pizzaz. Then, I discovered HHN. Halloween Horror Nights is the ultimate way to celebrate Halloween. Not only do you get to embark on your favorite rides, but you also get to explore a number of themed haunted houses, and continue to be spooked by crazed costumed individuals with real-working chainsaws. Sounds like my kind of night. Basically, you’re guaranteed a lot of laughs, and a lot of fun. These tickets can be expensive, so be sure to check the calendar for discount days!
  • Haunted Houses: If you’re lucky, then chances are you’ll be able to find haunted houses in your area. Take advantage of these. They usually aren’t very expensive, and are always pretty fun when you don’t know what to expect. Plus, it’s pretty impressive to see all of the work that goes into creating the perfect haunted house. The makeup, the decorations, the acting….so cool!
  • Starbucks Drinks: Calories don’t count in October, I promise. I take every opportunity during the month to visit my local Starbucks and indulge on pumpkin spiced lattes, salted caramel mochas, and the like. It’s basically like Halloween in a cup, and like Halloween on your tastebuds. You just can’t lose.
  • October Nails: If you can swing it, go get themed nails. It’s so much fun to have little ghosts and skeletons on your fingers or toes. It’s a constant reminder of the fun time of year, and a cute little distraction to all who notice it.

 Alright guys, so that’s it for my Friday the 13th blog post. Be careful not to run into any black cats today, or break any mirrors…

HAPPY OCTOBER!

Xx allie