Sep 29, 2012

life is sweeter with NECTRESSE Sweetener!

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of NECTRESSE™Sweetener for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.

I was really excited to try NECTRESSE™Sweetener because I happen to have a huge sweet tooth and this 0 calorie sweetener {yes you read that right}, was just what the doctor ordered. ;) It's delicious and comes in convenient little packets that make the serving size perfect for my cereal, which I'll write more about later. Plus, this FREE sample of NECTRESSE™Sweetener is completely 100% and made from fruit monk extract. Yum! It also comes in individual packets (as I mentioned) and canisters (see pic below), depending on your sweetener preference.
Nectresse product family.jpg
Check out Lisa's testimonial of NECTRESSE, which will tell you a bit more about this delicious and natural product:
NECTRESSE Sweetener is amazing becuase it tastes natural and comes without the crazy calories that sugar has in it! Limit your portions with the individual packet, which I love doing. They are easy to open and perfect for a few servings of your morning ceral, like Rice Crispies or Grape Nuts, which is what I like to eat to get my daily grains in. ;)
Nectresse product family.jpg
If you are a fan of sugar and can tell the difference with sweeteners, you have no need to fear because I could not tell a difference at all with NECTRESSE and I have a very sweet tooth. I love that because now I can stay healthy without giving into sugar. A sweetener that is 100% natural is perfect. I tried it on my cereal and it was SO good. Here's a picture to prove it:
This natural sweetener will be a great substitue for a chocolate chip cookie recipe or another delicious snack. I'm excited to make some delicious peanut butter granola again and again for a healthy yet delicious snack. See the recipe below and then a picture of the peanut butter granola to see how to turns out. Delish!

  • PREHEAT oven to 300 degrees F
  • SPRAY a cookie sheet with non-stick cooking spray. Set aside.
  • COMBINE NECTRESSE Natural No Calorie Sweetener, peanut butter, margarine, honey and cinnamon in a small saucepan. Bring to a simmer, take off heat and add vanilla. Set aside.
  • MIX together oats and rice cereal in a large mixing bowl. Pour peanut mixture over oat mixture, and stir to coat. 
  • POUR granola onto a cookie sheet. Bake for 30 minutes or unitl browned, stirring often. Allow to cool.
  • MIX in cherries and peanuts. Store in an air tight container for up to one week.
8 NECTRESSE Natural No Calorie Sweetener Packets
1/2 cup unsweetened natural peanut butter
1/4 cup margarine (or in my case lactose free butter)
1/4 cup honey
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups old fashioned oats
1 cup crisped rice cereal
1/4 cup roasted peantus
1/4 cup dried cherries
If you want to try out this delicious sweetener for yourself, you can head on over to their website to get your own sample! Here's the link:

Have a sweet day my Ocean Dreamers! ;)
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Sep 28, 2012

5 great ways to keep your skin healthy for the fall - guest post by Marcela

Use a gentle exfoliating product on a weekly basis to help you get rid of dead skin, especially at the beginning of fall. Your skin tends to dry out in the summer when the weather is warm, so you’ll want to get rid of dry skin as quickly as possible so you can start with a new, well-hydrated surface. This is a particularly important first step – before you do anything else, you’ll want to exfoliate.
Keep Your Skin Thoroughly Hydrated
{via Flickr}

If you live in an area that’s particularly cold, with dry air, you’ll need to moisturize in the morning and evening if you have dry to normal skin. For those with oily skin, once per day is probably enough. If you’ve found a great year-round moisturizer that works well for your skin, stick with that. If you’re in the market for a new one, look for a hydrating serum or more concentrated formula to combat winter dryness, which can leave your skin looking ruddy and dull.
Don’t Forget the Sunscreen

Just because the sun isn’t out doesn’t mean you won’t get sunburned or your skin won’t be exposed to potentially harmful UVA and UVB rays. You may not need the highest SPF rating you can find in the fall and winter months, but wearing a basic SPF 15 sunscreen when you’re going to be outside for more than a few minutes is a smart idea. If you want to keep your skin care routine simple, look for a quality moisturizer with an SPF rating of 15 or higher.
Try Skin Whitening Products
If you’re like many women, you may notice some sun spots on your face similar to freckles after the summer months have passed. Lightening creams Skintrium’s Esthetic Blend Suntan Removal Cream can help to get rid of those little spots and restore your even skin tone. Visit their site for more information and to see if skin whitening products are right for you.
Visit a Professional

Don’t stop getting professional treatments like facials and laser hair removal just because summer is over. In fact, despite what many women believe, the fall and winter months are the best time to get many of these treatments, as prolonged sun exposure, which is common in the summer, can cause irritation after certain types of treatments and procedures. Laser hair removal treatment benefits most from fall or winter scheduling since it’s best to avoid the procedure when your skin is tanned, making hair follicles more difficult to see against your skin.
Bio:  Marcela De Vivo is a freelance writer from Los Angeles.  She works with Skintrium writing about alternative skin care, health, nutrition, and their amazing skin whitening products.  Learn more about Skintrium Products or visit their social media sites: Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Google+.

Sep 27, 2012

be fashionable while spending less - guest post by Agnes

Saving money by making careful choices for what we will purchase is known as being frugal. It is currently very important for many people to maintain a frugal lifestyle, due to our complex economy. Thankfully, you do not need to sacrifice being fashionable for being frugal, since there are many ways to keep to your budget while buying great clothing items.

Think Carefully About Every Purchase You Make

It is crucial that you consider what you are planning on buying, and determine if it is something that you are buying because you actually will wear it several times, or if you are buying it for another reason. Some people choose an item of clothing because it is a great deal and they will be able to afford other items at the store. Doing this can be a big mistake, and can make you waste money that would be better spent in other ways.

Consider the Quality of the Clothing

Cheap clothing is typically cheap because it is not made to last. It is much better to purchase a sweater that costs a bit more than others in the store, if you know that you will be able to wear it many more times. Surprisingly, going to a thrift shop can be a great idea for frugal shoppers, since you know the items likely have held up over time. They are also less expensive, since they are pre-owned items. Also, you can find items that are in season, as fashion trends often come around again.

Discount Clothing Stores

If you are not into wearing clothing that others wore before you, you can check out the discount department stores. In many of them, you will be able to purchase new clothes for much less money than the retail price. This is because they are often last season's pieces, and they tend to go on sale right after the season ends. The beauty of this is that if you go while there is a sale, you can buy some items for as little as a dollar.

Being frugal should not cost you style and fashion. Bargain shopping for attractive, good quality clothing can be fun and liberating. You do not have to feel guilty for buying something you adore, if you know where and how to shop.

About the Guest Author

Agnes Jimenez is a professional blogger and writer. She writes for many online establishments and supports those ones that offer alternative lifestyles to consumers.  As a frugal living advocate, she recommends Daily Bread for those fashion conscious individuals who want to get big savings in shopping for food and food storage.

Sep 17, 2012

if you keep trying you will never fail

I'm not going to lie. Being healthy for me is a chore. I've definitely improved by working out by trying a variety of classes, but I still struggle with eating too much and not staying in my allotted calorie zone. I've lost 2 pounds, but I'm pretty sure I put them back on again. :( I'm not going to give up hope, however. I've currently found a love for zumba at my gym in Utah and I also am enjoying other fitness related classes and one such class is called Body Attack (and believe me it lives up to its name).

Here are some other ways that I plan on implementing a positive health plan, because even if I may not be shedding the weight, I'm going to one way or another through perseverance and dedication. Because if I keep trying, I know I will never fail. Neither will you!

  • Vitamins and Supplements - Part of staying healthy and being motivated to head to the gym is by eating the correct foods and filling my body with vital nutrients, which also includes taking my vitamins and supplements. I admit I bought vitamins the size of horse pills that I haven't been taking as often as I need to be because I keep on getting distracted by my gummy vitamins, which are great, but aren't the full dosage of what I need to be taking. So - I'm going to change that starting tonight and swallow those dang horse pills because it's good for me.
  • Motivating Clothing - I definitely have this covered. I've stocked up on clothing from Lululemon, Lucy Athletica (don't worry I found stuff during sales), and Target athletic clothing that will keep me motivated. I also found a cute bubble top at Old Navy, which reminds me, I need to get another one because I love it so much but they're currently sold out online! :( See - I really love my workout clothing. Check out my Green Apple shorts and top below. SO comfy. 

  • Leg Doctor - Okay, I know they aren't called a leg doctor, but I really need to take the time and head to a sport's specialist who can figure out what's going on with my leg. I got blood work done and I don't have any blood clots, but now we need to figure out if their is a cyst or some other form of tendinitis going on in my right leg. Then just maybe I'll be able to run again. Just maybe. 
  • Self Help Books - Don't laugh, okay? I happen to like to read self help books and even though I haven't picked one up in a while, I have a few about some pretty sassy ladies who lost some weight and I need to just pick it up and read it, in its entirety instead of just one or two pages. I also would love to read the Fat Flush again (see below). It's a great book that offers nutrition advice and a way to keep the weight off, for good. ;) It's basically my health bible in a nutshell.
{via my Instagram}
  • Kick-Ass Nike Shoes - Another thing that's on my agenda? I plan on using my kick-ass Nike shoes because they are SO amazing. They feel light weight on my feet and also seem to mold around my ankles without coming lose or causing blisters, which my ASICS were doing. Don't get me wrong, I love my ASICS, but the pair I have is too big at the moment so these lightweight Nike shoes are amazing. I love them and nabbed these beauties on sale over the weekend.
{via my Instagram}
  • H20 - Last, but certainly not least, I plan to drink more water because it's good for me and it washes away the impurities, which I need to do more of. I'm currently obsessed with my water tumbler from Target because it keeps my water cold and holds plenty of it. That way I can sip on my water throughout the day and not worry about it getting warm or depleting. {Picture below is of People Water, which is a great organization to give to, via Jef Holm - yessss Emily's Jef}.
{via my Instagram}

So now that I've gushed on all of my health updates - 
how's your mission for health success coming along?

P.S. Congratulations to Michelle - winner of my Paige One End of Summer Giveaway! Michelle, I sent you a tweet on how to claim your prize! ;) Thanks to all who entered.

Sep 16, 2012

Primp and Prep with Hpnotiq!

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Hpnotiq for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.

I always always love having a girl's night out. In fact, I can never get enough of them. First of all, it's nice to take a break from work and everyday life and just relax and enjoy with a girlfriend. Second of all, I love trying new restaurants and having fun at the movies! Sometimes even dancing is fun, but I admit I haven't gone dancing in ages. I need to make this happen stat!

Plus, whatever I do with a girlfriend it is always fun, especially if it involves shopping. It if involves fun music and fun entertainment, I'm in! Besides, there are alwyas fun new activities to try and the adventures in California are limitless.

Since we're talking about having fun on a weekend or even a week night, I'm excited to tell you about a new site that will be live during the first week of September called Hpnotiq. It's a site that's all about having your hair down, music up!
This site promotes and offers fun recipes for drinks to try, style, fashion, beauty tips, and more! That way when it's Friday night you can head to the site right before to get some inspiration and that way you'll be able to impress your friends and make a new drink! You can also read up on some celebirty gossip to chat about with your girlfriend! I love to Primp & Prep and it is especially perfect to read right before I go out on a Friday night. It's so much fun to get all dolled up and go out on the town with a girlfriend or two! ;)
Now that I've been taking Pilates and zumba classes, I think I will be all set to go dancing once more. Music and dancing is always fun, especially when it involves a new drink that I've been dying to try! ;) So who's coming with me? Let's check out Hpnotiq's site and get excited for the weekend! After all, they are going to offer plenty of fun activities and beauty tips to try. Now it's time to turn up the music and singing your heart out like Katy Perry because it's the weekend!
Reviewing Opportunity :: (P) Primp & Prep with Hpnotiq! :: SocialSpark
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Sep 14, 2012

Sassy Steals giveaway!

Sassy Steals is having an AMAZING giveaway on their site right now and I'm happy to be a part of it as a sponsor! You can enter via the Rafflecopter below! :)

Good luck! There are some amazing goodies to win {as you'll see below}! Oh, and check out Sassy Steals! They have beautiful and inspiring items, like the statement necklaces I'm totally in love with, for the fall time and beyond!

Happy weekend Ocean Dreamers!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

confessions of a freelancer

As you all know I’ve wanted my own office space for a while and depending on where I move (California is the goal), I’d love to consider my own office space to rent. I love that the sky is the limit at this point and I can go wherever I’d like! In fact, there’s even a downtown Austin space for rent if I want to spend time with my bloggy friend Rochio. As I said, the sky is the limit and I love that. However, besides just dreaming about my very own office space, there are a few things I need to work on, like staying productive.

Let’s be honest, being productive when you are a freelancer is challenging. You don’t get into trouble from a “boss” if you accidentally end up on Pinterest because you are your own boss, which has its pros and cons. Since I’m a social media specialist for part of my work, I also am on Facebook quite frequently. Do you know what amount of self control it takes for me to only get on Facebook to only do what I need to be doing for a client without heading over to my bestie’s page?! A lot.But I digress…

So I definitely need to work on setting up business hours and sticking with them and NOT get distracted by my fun social media sites. I also have this bad habit of watching TV shows while I work. I turn on The Vampire Diaries (fave show by the way), Glee, Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman (don’t judge, I grew up watching this show), and sometimes I get distracted while I’m writing or tweeting. Okay, let’s be honest - most of the time when I’m watching a favorite show I will get distracted by a favorite scene or staring into Stefan’s deep vampire eyes wishing he was mine. Oh wait – did I just say that out loud??

Don’t worry, if it’s an important task I certainly will focus, but there are always those days where you just need to relax, right? Well, this is my version of relaxation. I end up working from 10am to 10pm because I don’t turn off the tube and make myself work a set amount of hours. Baaaad idea. However, when I’m around BK I’m really productive because he is super disciplined and gets on me if I watch too much TV. I absolutely appreciate this, but I miss my single freelance girl behavior when I’m on my own, lol.

Today is one of those days where I don’t have any distractions, well, minus the Pandora radio playing in the background. It feels great to get a lot of work done and when I’m under a tight deadline I definitely don’t have distractions because otherwise I’ll be up half the night writing and that’s not fun, now is it? Focus Sierra – focus!

I also need to work on setting up hours for myself. What, hours? For me this would mean getting up at a reasonable hour (ummm 8AM who’s kidding?!) and finishing work at 4 or 5 PM. Is it possible? Yes. Is it possible for me? Time will tell. Yes my friends, having your own business is amazing, but not getting distracted is an entirely different matter. I think it’s time to consult with stat and get going on having my own space. Oh, and it won’t include a television or a cute little dog distracting me. ;)

What distracts you when you are working?

Sep 13, 2012

the young ones - guest post by Elena

The antioxidants in anti-aging creams are not new. But now they are being used to the max for super charged skincare.
Earlier this year, in an unprecedented move, the US beauty company Elizabeth Arden entered into a joint venture with Allergan. Allergan (the maker of Botox) owns the liencence for Prevage MD, a skincare cream containing the super-antioxidant idebenone (pronounced "ee-dee-ben-own") which is currently only available in the US via a doctor. The deal was to produce a beauty-counter version called Prevage.
At the same time, in London, a team was working to introduce another super-strength antioxidant skin cream onto the market. Dr Marko Lens, a plastic and reconstructive surgeon, designer Anouska Hempel and businessman Sir Mark Weinberg had s-cured the license for the use of the antioxidant Fullerene C60, which they are planning to use in their brand-new skincare line, Zelens Fullerene C60.
In themselves, antioxidants are hardly news. Present in the body and in certain foods, vitamin supplements and skin creams, their role is to de-activate rogue molecules called free-radicals, which oxidise (and therefore damage) skin cells and DNA, which, in turn, leads to ageing, in contrast of using coconut oil. Other factors such as cigarette smoke, pollution, radiation, excessive sunlight, certain drugs, exercise, stress and eating all increase the body's production of free-radicals, thus accelerating the natural ageing process. Aware of all this, cosmetics companies are, understandably, keen to get their hands on the latest, most powerful antioxidants available.
Arden/Allergan's idebenone was originally developed by Japanese scientists as a treatment for Alzheimer's, a disease that rapidly increases oxidation of the brain cells. The idebenone molecule (similar to an antioxidant called Coenzyme Q10, which is made naturally in the body) is small enough to reach the Alzheimer's-affected cells in the brain. Chemist Joe Lewis, who originally sourced it for Allergan, was impressed by its credentials. "It was the first antioxidant ingredient with valid scientific data behind it," he says, citing a study from the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology which pitted it against five widely used antioxidant ingredients - lipoic acid, ascorbic acid (vitamin C), tocopherol (vitamin E), kinetin and ubiquinone - and found that it came out on top.
The statistics on Fullerene C60 are equally impressive. The team that discovered the molecule won the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1996. It is claimed that Fullerene C60, so named as it contains 60 carbon atoms, has a greater capacity to attract and neutralize free-radicals than any other antioxidant. In tests, it proved more efficient in preventing lipid oxidation than vitamin E and demonstrated a protective effect on keratinocytes (a type of skin cell) exposed to UVB radiation.

Zelens Fullerene C60 was developed by Dr Lens as a result of his research into skin cancers and premature ageing. He mixed Fullerene C60 with a cocktail of 14 other antioxidants, including green tea, vitamin C, vitamin E, superoxide dismutase (the skin's own antioxidant enzyme) and "spin traps", special molecules that trap and disarm free-radicals. The result is a mega-dose antioxidant for the skin.

With their products, Arden/Allergan and Zelens are certainly on cue. The global market for cosmeceuticals - cosmetics with active pharmaceutical ingredients - is thought to be worth $3.5 billion a year and it is predicted that next year this figure will increase by about 70 per cent. (In the first eight months that Prevage MD was available from doctors in the US, it racked up sales of $15 million.) With skin-care heading in this direction, the controlling bodies in the UK and US, the Department of Health and the Food & Drug Administration respectively, may have to revise current rules that strongly differentiate between cosmetics and pharmaceuticals and do not recognise such hybrid formulations.

In the meantime, the Zelens and Prevage MD creams not only offer us even more potential for great skin, but also a glimpse into the future of the beauty world.

Sep 11, 2012

keep your heart and mind active as you grow older


As you grow older it may be challenging to stay active and involved in a variety of activities, but nothing is healthier then to choose to be full of life. If you’ve you’re your spouse years ago and have considered dating but have yet to take that next step, there’s no need to be afraid. Dating will keep your heart and mind active and will also help you get to know others who will encourage you to look forward to your future. Dating may be challenging, but is beneficial in many ways.



Whether you are a single parent who’s a bit older or have older children who have their own children, don’t let what they may think discourage you from seeing what’s out there. Change is scary, but so is staying stagnant! Dating is a natural part of life, even as you age. Your children and grandchildren will understand and will also only want what’s best for you. When you meet people in your own age group it’s easier to open up, learn about one another’s interests, and ultimately date for companionship, so there’s no better time to start than the present.

Mental Health

As well as dating for companionship, it’s also good to date for your mental health as well. Stay sharp and positive by being confident in who you are and who you would like to date. Even though it may take some time to find someone that you connect with, ultimately finding the right person will improve your mental health and help you have a brighter outlook on life.

Reduce Health Issues

Dating allows you to try new activities, which will keep your mind and body active. Perhaps you’ll go on walks with one another or head to the golf course to play a game. No matter what activities you both enjoy, getting out and having fun with your significant other will help prevent health issues from coming up, such as diabetes, stroke, or cancer.

So instead of feeling apprehensive about opening your heart and getting to know others through dating, begin dating and you never know what doors may open for you. It’s time to go ahead and take the plunge! Dating has many positive aspects and keeping your heart and mind healthy and strong is just a few of them!

Sep 6, 2012

Get Fancy with Crystal Quality Crystal Glass Nail Files from Mont Bleu

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Mont Bleu for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.

I had never heard of crystal nail files prior to exploring Mon Bleu's site, but from what I've learned their nail files are quality and will help prevent your nails from splitting. Ever since I got my acrylic nails taken off my poor nails have been suffering and I continue to break my nails, so a Crystal glass nail file is a great asset to my nail accessories at home.

Crystal glass nail files are high quality files, no matter what research you may read. Some websites claim that these types of nail files are not high quality, but this couldn't be further from the truth. Tempered Czech glass is a crystal that is formed after several stage of heat processing. 

Used on your nails, the crystal glass nail file will prevent your nails from becoming brittle and will also help nails that are currently brittle (like mine). I'm really tired of buying cheap nail files that cause damage to my nails and I always manage to file down a lot more than I was supposed to file. Do you ever start filing and realize that half of your nail is gone and you only wanted to file a little bit? Yeah, this is definitely me and that's why their crystal nail files definitely solve this problem. You only file the amount of nail that you need to file, without causing additional harm to your nails, which results in your nails looking amazing and smooth.

Mont Bleu also offers many other pretty nails files, from Color glass nail files to Nail files with Swarovski crystals! You also can carry around Mini glass nail files if you'd like to have a nail file on the go, which I really need because I'm always searching around for a nail file. I can never seem to have enough nail files and when I do, I lose them! I definitely won't lose this type of nail file though. ;)

You can connect with Mont Bleu many ways as well to stay updated on their latest happenings:

They also have opportunities for Wholesalers if you have your own nail salon or would like to sell them in your shop! ;)

I love crystal nail files and Mont Bleu has stunning crystal nail files to select from. I highly recommend them!

Matter of fact, Mont Bleu provided me with a 20% off code for you to use on their site so that you can try this nail file! The code is: BLOG 

Happy shopping and remember to treat your nails kindly with a crystal nail file, because they deserve it! ;)

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Sep 3, 2012

Lily B. Skincare Hydrating Serum review


When I received the Lily B. Skincare Hydrating Serum I was really excited to try it because it's both cruelty free and made for sensitive skin. Ever since I switched over to bareMinerals last month I've seen a huge improvement in my skin, so naturally (ha ha no pun intended) I wanted to stick with something that would continue to enhance my skin. Lily B. did just that.

The syrum is made of red tea and hyaluronic acid, which targets skin issues like irritation, sun damage, and dehydration. With all of my state hopping this serum has been perfect for me and has kept my skin hydrated and rejuvenated when it does look a bit dryer. Utah and Arizona both have really dry climates, so using a serum is especially important to keep your skin moisturized. When I'm in California I get a little bit of a skin moisture boost, but it's only temporary. Now with Lily B. serum I can keep my skin hydrated no matter where I am. This serum has been an asset to my daily beauty regimen.

Plus...I am super excited that Colbie is their new spokesperson. She's gorgeous inside and out and this is just another reason why I love Lily B. now! Colbie's skin always looks radiant and I'm sure Lily B. is only adding to her radiance. She certainly was glowing when I saw her in concert a few years ago in CA! 
I see a huge improvement in my skin now that I use Lily B., and with my bareMinerals and Lily B. serum combined, my skin almost looks like it is glowing. At least it makes me feel beautiful and that's just the type of beauty product I like to invest in, don't you?! 

Head to Apothica's website and snatch this product up:

Sep 2, 2012

Sugarlips dress review - hot & trendy in Arizona


I was super excited when Sugarlips sent me a gorgeous dress to review, because it fits so well and has been super fun to wear in AZ. Arizona as you know is all about the Aztec prints and other fun patterns, and this dress fit right in. It reminded me of all of the fabulous sunset that take place in Arizona! Plus, with the cut and material, it is extremely comfortable to wear. Here are some pictures:
I also love the way Sugarlips packages their clothing. The tag is so super cute, don't you think?
I went out shopping in this dress and it felt very comfortable and lightweight. I also loved how the top part has a layered section that ties. It's a sweet and trendy aspect of the dress that I love. Plus, don't get me started on the higher waist. Since I'm currently trying to lose weight I like to hide my mid-section a bit, so this dress is great at making you look thinner with its particular cut.
So if you are looking for comfy apparel that's chic and trendy, I would recommend that you head to Sugarlip's website asap! I love everything on their website, and I'm not just saying that because I'm reviewing this particular item of clothing! They have lovely items of clothing at an affordable cost! ;)

Enjoy the rest of your Labor Day weekend - I'm headed back to UT soon and leaving my puppy Tikko behind! :(