Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Digital Savings 101

 
Did you know that 96.8 million adults will use digital coupons this year? Are you one of them? Normally I am not but my mom recently turned me on to RetailMeNot.com. If I'm not shopping on Amazon, I'll always search the store on Retail Me Not prior to purchasing to see if they have a valid promo code to save a little extra.

Wondering where to look? The Internet can be a treasure trove when it comes to getting the most for your money. Thanks to Family Circle magazine, Denise Winston, author of Money Starts Here! Your Practical Guide to Survive and Thrive in Any Economy, and money-saving expert Andrea Woroch, these recommended sites are the best to bookmark for bargains on food, fun and more.

CouponBlender.com
At this gateway to savings, you'll see dozens of deals at a glance from the top couponing destinations (the homepage is constantly updated with a slew of news feeds). Each of the featured sites includes a range of shopping categories, so you can snag coupons for groceries as well as your teen's favorite mall store from the same page.

PriceGrabber.com
Got your eye on a leather handbag or that space-saving coffeemaker? Find product details, where-to-buy info and current sales prices for everything on your wish list and shave costs by an average of 20% to 25% on clothing, appliances, electronics and home goods. Set up an alert so you'll be notified when a certain item hits the price you've named.

MyGroceryDeals.com
Pocket some dough while filling your food cart. Make a shopping list and then search locally for those products with the "Quick Shop" option, which can save you up to 50% by culling rock-bottom prices from various stores.

Travelzoo.com
If you need some inspiration for a budget getaway, Travelzoo's e-newsletter, This Week's Top 20, gleans great deals on flights, hotels, trip packages and cruises with the help of more than 2,000 travel and entertainment companies. All recommendations have been expert-tested to ensure they're first-rate.

Restaurant.com
Buy certificates at reduced prices to more than 18,000 restaurants nationwide and you can enjoy more family dinners out (and date nights too) without groaning over the tab. Search by name, location or cuisine to find exactly what you're craving.

GiftCardGranny.com
We've all been given gift cards we'll never use. Sell them to Granny and then buy discounted ones (most are more than 10% cheaper than current value) for the stores you love. Sign up to be alerted when a card at one of your preferred vendors becomes available.

Dealery.com
No time to skim local daily deal sites? No problem. Let a newsletter do the work. Create one by choosing your favorite sites from the many offered here (LivingSocial, Groupon and Woot, for example) and you'll be sent a list of bargains. Discounts are available in more than 200 cities.

RetailMeNot.com
It's the place to go for printable coupons and online promotional codes. On average you can save about $20 per transaction with discounts for chains like Macy's and Target as well as local boutiques.

MrFreeStuff.com
Subscribers receive information on samples and giveaway contests in addition to deals and coupons several times a week. What's not to love?

Monday, April 21, 2014

Beating the Belly Blues

 
Hello again!!!! My apologizes for going MIA on y'all. I thought I would give myself some grace during the transition from two to four kids...overnight. We are nothing but overjoyed with the addition of our identical twin girls, Reese and Rio, but I'd be lying if I didn't admit that it's friggin' HARD work!!! There is nothing like doing multiple babies at ONE time. On top of attending to two active boys, ages 5 and just turned 3. It is anything but quiet around my hood.

Today however, I did have some time while my angels are napping and my boys are at school. I thought I'd log onto the blog and see what's shakin. Surprisingly, you're all still giving Hailey's Helpful Hints some love despite my absence. In fact - my one post "Tame the Tum - Spare Tire or Stress Bulge?" continues to get blown up on Pinterest! Who would have thought 4,946,000 people would be interested in such an article?? And no that's not a typo - 4 MILLION+ peeps. I too am shocked. And so thankful for the readers!!

So as I sat here thinking about what to blog on, I figured it's only appropriate to provide some helpful tips on something you all interested in - belly fat and bloating!

Sadly belly fat doesn’t just innocently sit under your skin and force you to loosen your belt another notch. It lives deep in your body, around your organs. And according to Dr. Oz, that deep fat is a troublemaker. It cranks out hormones and proteins that can trigger chronic inflammation and raise your risk of cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and even colon cancer.

Did you know?

You need to eat fat to lose fat. It’s time to stop being fat-phobic and start focusing on getting the right fats. Eating healthy monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats - those are the types found in olive oil, avocados, and nuts - may trim what’s around your middle. One study found that people who got 25% of their daily calories from healthy fats gained less belly fat than people who ate fewer healthy fats.

Belly fat hates whole grains. That’s why you should love them. Refined grains like white pasta and white rice tend to feed a muffin top and may increase your risk for problems like diabetes, too. But eating whole grains like quinoa, barley, and whole wheat pasta might boost weight loss. In one study, people who included whole grains in their diets lost nearly eight pounds in 12 weeks, while refined-grain eaters lost only about six.

Belly fat thrives on stress. When the pressure's on, your body produces the "stress hormone" cortisol, which makes fat pile up around your midsection. Pretty discouraging when are surrounded by stress all day, everyday. Try these instant calmers and start getting stress under control in as little as 60 seconds.

Are you one of the many that wake up with a flat belly only to find that by the end of the day your stomach looks like you are 6 months pregnant? Ugh, isn't that the worst?? So many women are misled that they need to get on the floor and bust out 1,000 sit-ups. Not the case. According to gastroenterologist Dr. Robynne Chutkan, below is a step by step plan - that you can start today - to eliminate hidden causes of tummy trouble and beat your bloat in the kitchen.
 
Step 1: Start your day with an anti-bloat elixir - Many people are jinxing themselves right off the bat by reaching for bagels or sugary cereals first thing in the morning. These foods clog up your system and set you up for day-long gas buildup. Instead, get your system moving right away by blending together this fiber-rich elixir that helps food move through your digestive tract.
Aim to get 25 grams or more of fiber a day, but if you normally eat a low-fiber diet, start slow and gradually increase the amount. If you notice a little extra bloating at first, don't be deterred – most people's bodies will adjust to increased amounts of fiber over time.

Step 2: Supersize your lunch - Many people eat their biggest meal at dinner, but eating too late at night can cause a log jam in your gut. To help beat bloat, you should enjoy a three-course lunch instead. Make sure your lunch includes about 10 grams of fiber to help keep your food moving. Here's a good example of a fiber-rich, delicious lunch option:
  • First course: Salad (add in all your favorite veggies and a light dressing)
  • Main course: Grilled fish with sweet potato and a cup of steamed broccoli
Step 3: Eat a finely chopped dinner and avoid leftovers - Now that you've had your supersize lunch, go for a one-course, easy-to-digest dinner. Big meals and big bites can be hard for our bodies to digest in the evening. Chopped food can facilitate digestion and leaves less empty space trapped in the belly. A bowl of chopped chicken, veggies and rice is a great option.
The second dinner rule is no eating leftovers. You may think you're doing yourself a favor by bringing home your leftover food for later meals, but allowing certain starches like pasta, rice and potatoes to cool and then reheating them can change their molecular structure and make them more likely to plug up your colon and cause significant discomfort.

Step 4:  Cut out dairy - Unfortunately, to say goodbye to bloat, you may have to say goodbye to dairy as well. At some point in their lives, nearly 75% of people experience lactose intolerance, which may be permanent or temporary. A little bit of lactose intolerance can contribute a lot to bloat.
Here are some easy swaps for dairy lovers:
  • Drink almond milk instead of cow's milk in your coffee, cereal, or smoothies
  • Try coconut-milk ice cream instead of regular ice cream
  • Try vegan cheese instead of normal cheese
It's important to make sure you're still getting plenty of calcium in your diet, but you have plenty of non-dairy options. Among them are salmon, sardines, mineral water, oranges, almond milk, sesame seeds and many nuts.

Bonus tip: Try fennel seeds - If you need a quick remedy for sudden bloat, try fennel seeds. They help melt away gas bubbles and only cost pennies a pinch. Try chewing a half-teaspoon before every meal.

You can read more about busting bloat in Dr. Chutkan's book, Gutbliss: A 10-Day Plan to Ban Bloat, Flush Toxins, and Dump Your Digestive Baggage.

Friday, September 27, 2013

TGIF: Drink Up

 
It's Friday. And I'd love a cocktail come 5:00. But with these twinsies cooking in my belly, I'm left to daydream of one. Not a real fall-like recipe but here's what's on my mind. You better believe once these girls pop out, I'm celebrating with a pitcher. All to myself. :)
 
~Tequila Mint Limeade~
 
Ingredients:
  • 4 oz crushed ice
  • 1 1/2 oz tequila (I prefer Blanco (Silver))
  • 8 oz Simply Limeade
  • 1/2 oz simple syrup
  • 1 tbs chopped fresh mint
  • 2 oz club soda
Directions:
  1. Add ice, tequila, limeade, simple syrup and mint to cocktail shaker and shake vigorously
  2. Pour all contents into a highball glass. Or my preference, a mason jar!
  3. Top with club soda and garnish with mint and lime wedge

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Tool to avoid winter weight gain


 
Already feeling the winter flub creep up on you? Aka - the extra poundage from weekend after weekend of football tailgating and all day beer drinking. Fall comfort food. Seasonal drinks. Trader Joe's pumpkin bread. Most are. But most just pull out the oversized sweater to hide behind and carry on.

If you're determined that this won't be you this fall/winter but have no idea where to start to target your trouble areas, I encourage you to check out this resourceful, interactive website that allows you to select the body part you wish to work on and provides you with easy at home exercises you can do to keep those unnecessary pounds at bay.

To use the Exercise Finder, click HERE.

Friday, September 20, 2013

If you do one thing TODAY...

 
...you gotta to tune in tonight (Friday, 8/20/13) for the season premiere of Shark Tank at 9pm on ABC!!! My girl, Lynnae Schneller, a young entrepreneur from my hometown of Tacoma, WA, took her grandma's 100 year old pickle recipe to market and now Lynnae's Gourmet Pickles is blowing up! I am so so proud of this pickle princess!

Her pickles are legit. Some of the best I've ever tasted. The "Hot Mama" is a favorite in our house. So addicting with just the right amount of sweet and spice. Tip: Order in bulk. You will literally eat the entire jar as a snack.


"Mrs. Pickle" is the original recipe with a unique blend of sweet and sour. Again, better than any other pickle on the market.

So enough reading, get buying. And don't forget to watch these girls rock it tonight on Shark Tank!!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Why Didn't I Think Of That?


Just can't seem to nail the wrap and roll technique that an ordinary curling iron requires? Ummm. Me neither. Luckily for the hair challenged that want that beach wave look (yes you can still rock this look even though summer is over), the Infiniti Pro by Conair Curl Secret ($99 on Ulta.com) is an automated curler that makes Taylor Swift-worthy waves a breeze.


To use, clamp a small section of hair in the round portion of the tool, Squeeze the handle and the tool rolls the hair up into the chamber. After you hear a series of beeps, release and the curl is set. Repeat as needed.

Skeptical? Read more reviews HERE.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Make-up Must Haves for Fall 2013

 
Now that school supply shopping for the kids is over, it's time to shift gears away from crayons and make ourselves a priority. If you’re ready for a new look, the beauty trends seen on the fall 2013 runways are full of wearable inspiration. Here are the essential makeup items for the coming season:


- Oxblood Lipstick -

A little bit ’90s, a little bit bad- ass, and a lot chic. Stay-put tip: An invisible lip liner is an absolute must for keeping this color where it belongs.

Try: Forever 21 Creme Lipstick in Burgundy, $3.80, forever21.com; Rimmel Moisture Renew Lipstick in Burgundy Shine, $7.29, walgreens.com; Kat Von D Painted Love Lipstick in Rosary, $19, sephora.com.


- Matte Nail Polish -

Matte nails were everywhere at the fall fashion shows, and if all the recent matte polish and topcoat launches are any indication, we’re going to be seeing a lot less shine this season. Choose a matte topcoat rather than buying new matte polish as an economical way to transform your existing nail polish colors. To avoid streaking, apply one thin layer of the matte topcoat, let it dry, then apply a second.

Try: American Apparel Matte Top Coat, $6, americanapparel.net; Essie Matte About You Finisher, $10, nordstrom.com; Deborah Lippmann Flat Top, $20, beauty.com.

 
- Skinny Liquid Eyeliner -

Clever eyeliner swipes and variations on the cat eye were seen on tons of runways from New York to Paris. A skinny eyeliner pen is the most versatile tool to get these looks - you can draw a thick or thin line with it, and it’s more precise than a pencil.

Try: Maybelline Eye Studio Master Precise Ink Pen Eyeliner, $7.99, ulta.com; Urban Decay 24/7 Waterproof Liquid Eyeliner, $19, macys.com; Marc Jacobs Beauty Magic Marc-er, $30, sephora.com
 

- CC Cream -

Last year was all about the BB cream, but CC creams have since taken over. These so-called “color correcting” creams tend to be sheerer than BB creams and foundation, boast a skin-perfecting tint, and usually contain some active skin care ingredients and SPF.

Try: L’Oreal Visible Lift CC Cream, $12.99, ulta.com; Yes to Grapefruit CC Cream, $15.99, target.com; Clinique Moisture Surge CC Cream, $35, bonton.com.


- Chunky Eyeshadow Pencils -

There’s no easier way to put a shimmery wash of color on your lids than with an eyeshadow pencil. From a full smoky eye to a subtle hint of color, you’ll reach for one of these all season long. Bonus: No brushes or applicators required. Just swipe on and blend with your finger.

Try: NYX Cosmetics Jumbo Eye Pencil, $4.49, ulta.com; Sephora + Pantone Universe Jumbo Waterproof Eye Pencil, $17, sephora.com; Makeup Forever Aqua Shadow, $20, sephora.com



- Metallic Nail Polish -

Metallic nail polish was a big thing at the Fall 2013 shows, and it’s a look that’s really versatile. Consider chrome, gold, rose gold, and bronze, this season’s neutrals.

Try: Maybelline Color Show Metallics, $3.99, ulta.com; RGB Nail Polish in Slate, $16, otteny.com.


- Orange and Copper Eyeshadow -

Orange-y copper eye makeup was many a designer’s choice this season. Skeptical? Hear us out. When it skews coppery, this metallic shade is surprisingly wearable. If metal isn’t your thing, reach for a subtle peachy shade to open your eyes and make them pop - it’s particularly flattering on blue-eyed girls.

Try: Target Botanics Eyeshadow Duo in Copper, $6.49, target.com; Stila Cosmetics Eyeshadow Pan in Compact-Copper, $18, dermstore.com; NARS Duo Eyeshadow in Alhambra, $34, net-a-porter.com.

 
 - A Beauty Blender -

Foundation should never look like a caked-on mask, but this season natural “no makeup-makeup” is bigger than ever. For that perfect skin appearance, swap your foundation brush for an egg-shaped Beauty Blender sponge. The unique shape helps blend in foundation seamlessly and only where you need it.

Try: Beauty Blender, $28.95 for two, zappos.com; Models Own Acorn Sponge Set, $11.88, us.asos.com; Stila Double Ended Blending Sponge, $12, dillards.com

Monday, September 9, 2013

RAVE REVIEW: A product EVERY girl should own

 
I was fed up. And I mean FED up with my cosmetic brushes. They were MAC. And always shedding. Anyone else annoyed with loose bristles stuck to your face? If so - you need to check out Ecotools make-up brushes. Getting gorgeous, going green, and giving back is what Ecotools is all about!

I am smitten over their Domed Bronzer Brush. Super dense. Never sheds. Incredibly soft. Totally affordable. I got mine for under $10 and now after using it, I would have easily paid 3 times as much seeing how flawless it applies the powder. And did I mention - it NEVER sheds!!


And all their brushes are environmentally friendly, 100% Cruelty-Free, 100% vegan, made of bamboo + recycled aluminum. They have an entire line of beauty products not just brushes; eyelashes, bath products, cosmetic bags. Make sure to check out their 6 piece starter kit for $12.99 that was awarded one of 'In Style's' 2013 Best Beauty Buys.

You can find Ecotools at Target, Walmart, Amazon, Drugstore.com among other places.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Don't put away the WHITES


Can you believe Labor Day has already come and gone? I'm in disbelief that summer is over but to be honest, today when I walked into the silent house after dropping both boys off at school, I did a happy dance. Entertaining these rascals all day long is exhausting, especially while my body is an incubator for two others. (Yes I am pregnant with identical girls!)


While fashion isn't at the top of my list these days, I can't neglect you all of what you need to know. And I know y'all are dying to know if it's really safe to wear white after Labor Day. And the answer is, according to Glamour magazine -- YES! As a matter of fact, there was just as much white as there was gray on the fall '13 runways, so go nuts with your snowy brights well into the winter.


Wondering how to pull off white into the winter? Layers, longer lengths, and heavier knits will keep the hot white look seasonally appropriate. Fall-ready accessories, like a belt with dark details, scarves and tough stacked-heel ankle boots, will complete the outfit.

For more inspiration, check out these 9 non-rebellious ways to wear white after Labor Day.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

DIY: Chic Shelf Liners


 Looking for an inexpensive project that will add a touch of fun & a pop of color to your everyday? Attach trendy self-adhesive and repositionable liners inside drawers, on shelves, on the backside of a bookcase, or jazz up the bottom of a nightstand. Check out www.chicshelfpaper.com for the largest online selection of stylish liners. Starting at $2.50 per square foot.