Saturday, March 31, 2012

Recipe: Not Really A Recipe Spaghetti

Not really a recipe?

No. Not really.

I just wanted to give everyone who has ever said that they don't have time to cook at home the fastest and easiest 'recipe' on the planet.

I made this when I was at my parent's house the other day and I wanted something fast and easy with the ingredients that were available.


-Pasta (they didn't have whole wheat, but the more whole grains the better!)
-1 Can Diced Tomatoes, No Salt Added
-Italian Spices

-Boil pasta according to directions on box
-Warm Diced Tomatoes and Italian Seasonings in a small saucepan
-Drain Pasta
-Top pasta with Tomatoes and Seasonings

It really doesn't get much easier than that!

You can serve it with a salad and/or steamed veggies.

What is your favorite fast and easy 'recipe'?

7 Day Smoothie Challenge: Day 6

Only 40 more days until graduation. I don't typically wish time away, but I am beyond ready for a break from this semester. I cannot wait for this summer.

I am planning on teaching a lot of classes, obviously, and also completing my 200 Hour Yoga Training which I am super excited about. Can't. Wait.

I also cannot wait for our trip to the beach. I love driving and I really like driving during road trips because there is just something about driving that soothes me...this week I would just like to drive and drive and drive...and not come back for a while...

Anyway, you came here for smoothies, not first world problems.

Today, I tried to change things up by adding some dried fruit to my smoothie. Mostly because I don't have any fresh or frozen fruit besides bananas...

This beauty contained:

-1 Frozen Banana
-Dried Pineapple
-Fresh Spinach
-Unsweetened Almond Milk
-Flax Seed
-Natural Skippy PB with Honey

It was good, but I didn't finish it because it was reallly sweet from the dried fruit. I would try it again, but just less pineapple and maybe regular PB.

Also, just as a little extra tidbit. I don't want everyone to think that all Healthy Living Bloggers are 'perfect' or that they only eat healthy food all the time.

Today, it was 4pm and I still hadn't eaten lunch because I had been at work. I was craving Keba and I haven't had it in a LONG time (we are talking months here, maybe a year). I walked in and got a kid's size wrap with Chicken and Roasted Red Pepper Sauce, Fries, and an unsweetened iced tea. I literally go there for their sauce. It's amazeballs.

All. gone.

What food do you randomly crave?

Friday, March 30, 2012

7 day Green Smoothie Challenge: Day Oops

Whoa, guys.

I slacked this week on the blogging. What's funny is that just today someone asked me how I find the time to blog (Hi Jessie! Check out her blog!). I laughed because clearly I didn't do so well on that front this week. I wish I had though, because I was participating the Green Smoothie challenge!

Today would have been Day 5 and I had a pretty yummy combo.

This lovely has the following:

-1 Frozen Banana
-Frozen Peaches
-Unsweetened Almond Milk
-Ground Flax Seed
-Skippy Natural Peanut Butter
-Fresh Spinach

Okay, fine, this isn't that much of a variation from my typical, but after the doozy that occurred on Day 2, I decided to go with something a bit more familiar. The peaches made it a bit more tart compared to my regular mango, so that was a nice change.

How have you guys been doing with the smoothie challenge?

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

7-Day Green Smoothie Challenge: Day 2


Can I just tell you how much of a fail my smoothie was this morning?


The combination sounded so awesome in my head. It was supposed to be all tropical and shiz. That's definitely not how it turned out.

oh hi, Levi

So, here is a combo to NOT try:

-1 Frozen Banana
-Crushed Pineapple
-Coconut, Shredded
-Almond Milk
-Kale (I was out of spinach...)

Let's just say I only drank a few sips and then I couldn't handle it anymore. The texture was awful, the taste was NOT tropical.

So sad.

I had a turkey sandwich on campus instead. What? A turkey sandwich at 9am is completely normal.

On to the next day and combination...

Monday, March 26, 2012

7-day Green Smoothie Challenge: Day 1

I am participating in the 7-day Green Smoothie Challenge presented by Jen at PBR.

Since I already drink green smoothies pretty regularly, my goal this week is to add more variety.

Let's just say I failed at that today.

I haven't been to the store, so my smoothie consisted of my regular:

-1/2 Frozen Banana
-Frozen Mango
-Almond Milk
-Ground Flax Seed
-Fresh Spinach

I also forgot to take a picture. I'll admit that the past month week hasn't been my best.

A smoothie from last week

This past weekend I had the opportunity to attend Hip Hop Hustle Training. It was SO much fun! If you know me, you know that I am not a dancer, but this class is awesome and ANYONE can do it! I will be doing a post about the training soon, so be sure to check back in!

What are some of your favorite smoothie combinations?

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Recipe: Easy & Light Tuna Casserole

I actually found recipes for the week, made a grocery list for said recipes AND I have actually been following through with making them.

Score for me.

Earlier this week, I made my Yummiest Spinach Lasagna (no feta). We are literally still eating it.

Tonight I couldn't eat the Lasagna again, so I went ahead with my next recipe.
I found a yummy looking Tuna Casserole/Bake/Thing on Eatingwell and decided I must make it.

First, let me say that this is very weakly adapted so I am not claiming this recipe. I just want to share what I did with you guys. I changed almost every amount on the ingredients. I especially wanted to use a lot less cheese and breadcrumbs.

-6 ounces whole wheat egg noodles
-1/2 Medium Onion, chopped
-8 oz Sliced Mushrooms (1 package)
-1/4 cup White Cooking Wine
-6 Tbsp All Purpose Flour
-2 1/2 cups Unsweetened Soy Milk (Or Low Fat or Fat Free Milk)
-12 oz can of Chunk Light Tuna in Water, drained
-1 package of Frozen Peas
-1/2 cup Cheese (I used a mixture of Mozzarella and Parmesan)
-1/4 cup Breadcrumbs
-Olive Oil

-Preheat oven to 350F
-Boil noodles according to directions; drain and set aside
-Saute Onions and Mushrooms with a little Olive Oil until onions are translucent
-Add Cooking Wine and simmer for about 5 minutes
-Slowly add AP Flour, stirring as you do to prevent clumping
-Add Milk and stir
-Add Tuna and peas; cook until thoroughly heated
-Add Cheese and stir
-Add noodles to mixture and stir thoroughly
-Transfer mixture to a greased baking dish (9x13)
-Top with a sprinkle of parmesan and all bread crumbs
-Bake for 15-20 minutes, until golden brown on top
-Serve and devour

Monday, March 19, 2012

Recipe: Pumpkin-PB-Chocolate Protein Bars

I had one of these bars for breakfast this morning and it was awesome.

I knew after I made my initial batch of Protein Bars (also, why did no one call me out for calling those 'granola' bars? There was clearly no granola, haha) that I wanted to make a peanut butter, chocolate and pumpkin version.

These were everything I expected and more.

I will pretty much never buy a granola/protein bar at the store again because these are SO easy. They are also so much cheaper. Trust me. Try it. You will love them!

-2 cups Old Fashioned Oats
-1/3 to 1/2 cup Skippy Natural Peanut Butter
-1/4 to 1/3 cup Peanuts
-1/2 can of Pumpkin, pureed (Not Pumpkin Pie Filling)
-3 Tbs Unsweetened Applesauce
-2 Tbs Mini Semi Sweet Chocolate/Carob Chips
-1 Scoop Chocolate Protein Powder (Optional)
-1 to 2 Tbs Honey

-Mix all ingredients in large mixing bowl, until everything is moistened
(adjust accordingly; you just want to make sure that everything gets moist and sticks together)
-Line a baking dish with either wax paper or aluminum foil
-Pour mixture into lined baking pan and smooth out until flat and even
-Freeze for at least 2 hours
-Carefully cut into 10-12 bars and store in freezer for quick and tasty snack in the future!

Approximate Nutrition:
(1 serving= 1 bar; 10 bars per batch)
170 calories
21g Carbohydrates
8g Fat
6g Protein

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Recipe: Homemade Garlic Bread

I was craving some homemade bread the other day, so I broke out my wonderful bread maker.
This is seriously one of the best products I have ever bought. I love it.

-3 cups Gold Medal Bread Flour
-1/2 cup Whole Wheat Flour
-1 tsp Salt
-1 to 2 tsp Garlic Powder (Based on how much you like Garlic)
-1 to 2 tsp Chives, dried and chopped
-1 to 2 tsp Sesame Seeds (Optional)
-1 3/4 cup Water
-1 tsp Molasses
-1 1/4 tsp Yeast

(This recipe is for bread machines; Be sure to read your manual and whether dried or wet ingredients should go first)
-For my bread machine, you put all of the liquid ingredients in first
--Water, Molasses
-Next, you add the dry ingredients
--Flours, Salt, Garlic Powder, Chives, Sesame Seeds (DO NOT ADD YEAST YET)
-For the yeast, make a 'well' in the dry ingredients. Pour the yeast in the well and make sure it doesn't come in contact with any wet ingredients

-Put the bread machine on the correct settings and wait for your delicious bread to be ready!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

WIAW #14: Spring Break Edition

Number 14? Yes, because I'm superstitious and I don't like the #13, so we are skipping it.
Completely normal.

Again, I haven't taken pictures of a complete day's worth of food, so I have some random yumminess to share with you this week.

Random Breakfast: KALE, Egg, Parmesan
Random Lunch: Panera Bread-Pick 2, Mediterranean Sandwich, Classic Salad, Apple

Random Dinner:
Veggie Mac-N-Cheese, Homemade Garlic Bread, Chicken Breast with Sesame seeds and Balsamic Vinegar.

Spring break has been so nice so far. Just taking the time to relax, see family and spend time together! 

What do you do when you have a break?

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Recipe: Protein Bars

I have been wanting to make my own protein granola bars ever since I was introduced to Emily's Hungry Bars by Jen at PBR. (You should definitely order some, they are pretty much amazing).

There are soooo many different versions of homemade granola/protein bar recipes online that it's a little difficult to even say one is 'original' anymore. But, mine is an adaptation of the one Jen recently posted.

-2 cups Old Fashioned Oats
-1/2 cup Dried Cranberries (any dried fruit)
-4 Tbsp Unsweetened Applesauce (Mashed Banana or Pumpkin Puree would work as well)
-2 Tbsp Molasses (or Honey)
-1/2 cup Natural Skippy Peanut Butter
-1/2 cup Unsweetened Coconut, Shredded
-2 Tbsp Oil (I used EVOO)
-1 1/2 Tbsp Ground Cinnamon or Pumpkin Pie Spice
-1/2 tsp Vanilla
-1 Tbsp Ground Flax Seed
-1 Scoop Chocolate Protein Powder
-2 Tbsp Sunflower Seeds, Shelled
-Optional: 1 Tbsp Mini Semi Sweet Chocolate Chips

-Mix all ingredients in a large bowl until everything is moist
-Spread mixture into pan layered with aluminum foil

-Place in freezer until hardened (at least 2 hours)
-Cut in 12 bar shaped portions
-Store in Freezer for a future fast and easy snack

Approximate Nutrition (per bar; 12 bars):
-190 Calories
-20 g Carbohydrates
-11 g Fat
-6 g Protein

Have you ever made your own bars?

Monday, March 12, 2012

Tip Tuesday (Recipe): Veggie Mac-N-Cheese

I found the 'Tip Junkie' via Jenn from Peas & Crayons and I thought I would join in on the fun as well!

I know this isn't anything incredibly new or innovative, but one of my goals for my blog is to educate anyone who is reading about nutrition, as well as ways to increase the nutritional value of their everyday recipes.

Last night I was rummaging around in my pantry and fridge trying to think of something to 'create.' I found bow tie pasta, some cheese, almond milk and LOTS of frozen veggies.

I decided what better way to utilize these ingredients than to make a 'healthier' version of mac-n-cheese?!

Like I said, I used what I had in the pantry, which was bow-tie pasta that wasn't whole wheat (because it was on sale!), so obviously I would suggest whole wheat pasta if you can.

I also didn't make an actual 'cheese sauce.' This is more of a 'cheesy pasta.' If you want instructions on how to make a proper cheese sauce click here.

I like for these recipes to be as easy and accessible for everyone as I can make them. One of the number one issues people have in our area is that fresh produce can be too expensive for their budget. So, I use a lot of frozen vegetables in my recipes and in my own house. Plain frozen vegetables (no sauces!) are perfectly fine as a substitution for fresh produce, when used correctly.

-6 oz (3 cups dry) of bow-tie pasta (preferably whole wheat)
-1 bag of frozen mixed vegetables (mine had peas, carrots, lima beans, corn)
-1/2 to 1 cup finely shredded cheese (I used a Mexican blend of cheeses)
-1/4 cup of milk (any kind)
-1/8 cup Plain 0% Greek Yogurt
-Salt and Pepper

-Boil the bow-tie pasta for 12 minutes (or follow instructions on box)
-Drain Pasta
-Add already cooked/steamed frozen vegetable mix
-Add Milk and Greek Yogurt
-Stir in cheese until melted

How was it?
It was good! I accidently used Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Milk instead of plain, so I think it would have been even better with plain. It was pretty stringy/cheesy, but that was fine by me.

Why add the vegetables anyway?
Adding the vegetables to a pasta dish, or any side, increases the nutritional value of the product as well as making it less calories for more volume. In this case, the peas, carrots, lima beans and corn added Vitamins A, C, Thiamin and Fiber.

Let me know what you think and happy Tip Tuesday!

Check out the whole party:

Tip Junkie handmade projects

Weekend Update: Kale Obsession

Basically, my weekend consisted of eating, eating kale, working out, and sleep. Lots of sleep. And kale.

Kale with Mushrooms

More Kale with Mushrooms

Kale with Eggs and some cheese

Kale with Eggs and Avocado. So.much.kale.

I may need an intervention.

I also had a lot of grapes. Isn't this fascinating?

Friday evening DH and I worked out by practicing RIPPED together. I am learning Season 7 and I want to start introducing it after Spring Break.

That night we ate a dinner at home (oops, I have no idea what we had. Must not have been too great), then we headed downtown to have a few drinks with Sara @ My Less Serious Life and her boyfriend.

It was so nice to just get out, chill, and have a few drinks with great company.

On Saturday, we worked out again, took a nap, did some laundry, etc. Then, that night we looked up some places we haven't been before and decided to try a pub downtown for dinner. We invited my bff, Victoria, and her husband to join us.

iPhone pic + bad red eye editing = not so great. And no. We hadn't been drinking. That's just our faces.

I tried to drink a Bloody Mary, but it ended up being sent back because I just couldn't drink it. I'm a rum and tequila girl (or just water really). I filled up on hummus and pita bread before my salad came, so it ended up being dinner the following day. It wasn't the best food I've ever had, but it was a nice change of scenery.

On Sunday, I subbed the 3:00PM Boot Camp class and taught RIPPED in its place. I hope that they liked it!

I headed to Target with my friend, Amanda, after class to return some things. I may or may not have eaten a bunch of trail mix that I bought from Target as lunch. Maybe.

The rest of the evening was spent relaxing with the pups and working on some new 'features' on the blog. Be sure to check out my new Recipage, which I am currently amazed/obsessed with. Also, check out the beautiful new 'button' icons on the right hand side where you can click to follow via RSS, Twitter, Facebook, etc. So many options.

How was your weekend?

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Product Review (Food): Trader Joe's Tofu Edamame Nuggets

The other day I headed over to Trader Joe's. I never really go there because it's on the complete opposite side of town and I have 2 grocery stores right next to me.
(I believe that there is some controversy around TJ's, but that isn't what this post is


I got several of their products that I don't typically buy and the Tofu Edamame Nuggets was one of them.

I expected them to be mushy, tasteless little nuggets, but I was actually surprised!

I chose to cook them in the oven because I wanted to be sure I got a crispy texture and not a mushy one in the microwave.

They had a nice flaky crust and the vegetables and tofu on the inside were seasoned well.
They were a tad bit salty if you are sensitive to sodium, but it wasn't too much in my opinion.
I personally didn't think that they needed any dipping sauce, but they would probably be good with any kind. BBQ, Honey Mustard, Ketchup, Ranch.
Whatever floats your boat.

Nutrition Information:

Serving Size
5 pieces
Serving Size per Container
Calories per Serving
Calories from Fat
Total Fat
Saturated Fat
Trans Fat
Total Carbohydrate
Dietary Fiber
Vitamin A
Vitamin C

What does all this mean:

Are 5 nuggets enough?
The serving size is decent and filling if you have it with a side salad, etc. and make it a meal.
The calories are a good amount for this serving size and since there is 10 grams of fat, it should keep you full for a while.

Is 10 grams of fat too many?
I don't think so. The fat is probably from the edamame and the tofu, which isn't a bad thing.

Is 510mg of Sodium too high?
Well, they definitely aren't a low sodium product.
In order for a product to boast the 'low sodium' claim, it must have <140mg Sodium per serving. That's clearly not the case here.
If you rarely eat processed foods, you can incorporate these into your diet because you can have anything in moderation. Just know that according to WebMD, this product definitely qualifies as a high sodium food. So, if you have hypertension you will want to be careful.

What about its Fiber content?
Let's be honest. The fiber content in this product flat out sucks. 1 gram? Puh-lease.

Is that a good amount of Protein?
It's pretty decent for a vegetarian product. Remember, we previously discussed how to calculate our individual protein needs.

Final Verdict:
I would say these would be nice to have around when you are in a hurry and need something quick and easy for lunch. 
But, not to make it a part of your regular routine due to the high sodium content since it's a 'processed food.'

Have you ever tried these?

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

WIAW Official #12

We are so close to Spring Break! Only two more days people! I am so excited about this break. I am also so grateful that I am going to be able to actually enjoy it. Does anyone else have a break coming up soon?

WIAW Featuring Tuesday, March, 6, 2012:

Before class this morning I made one of my good ole smoothies. I need to change up my smoothie mixture soon. Any suggestions?

1 Frozen Banana, Frozen Mango, Spinach, Skippy Natural PB, Unsw. Almond Milk, Flax Seed

After class, I was really craving my Skillet Gnocchi for lunch. Luckily, DH still hadn't left for his shift at work so we were able to eat lunch together. When you have crazy, inconsistent schedules, you have to do what you can with the time that you have together!

Kale, White Beans, Diced Tomatoes, Onion, Garlic Powder, Cheese

For the rest of the afternoon I worked on schoolwork and did laundry until it was time to go to work. I drank some hot green tea while working. I forgot how much I love Green Tea! I used to drink it, but I haven't had it in a while.

 After teaching, I stopped by the store for a few things and came home to do more laundry (does it ever end?). I wanted something fast, easy and light for dinner. I know some people eat lettuce because it's 'healthy' or they are on a 'diet.' But, I eat a lot of lettuce because I genuinely CRAVE it. I love lettuce. I love its texture. And I can mix it with everything. YUMMO.

Lettuce, Couscous, Trader Joe's Black Bean & Corn Salsa, Sunflower Seeds

I taught a 60 minute Cycle & Sculpt and a 60 minute Step & Sculpt class on Sunday. I took Monday as an 'off day.' Tuesday I taught a 30 minute Abs class and a 60 minute RIPPED  class.

We did:
Intervals, Intervals, Power, Plyometrics, Endurance, Resistance and Core.

What foods do you crave?

Check out the whole party at Jenn's!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

How To: Step Class

Step is my first fitness class love. I have been teaching it for over 5 years and I still have so much fun teaching it. I want to break this post up into two sections; one section for Group Fitness Instructors and one section for Group Fitness Participants.

My goal for Instructors is that they learn a little about the building blocks of teaching a beginner's step class.

My goal for Participants is that they get more information about this format and feel confident about attending their first class.


Group Fitness Instructors:

What kind of music should I use?
First, let's talk about music phrasing.
When teaching a 'freestyle' class that is not pre-choreographed (such as RIPPED), you need to make sure you are using 'Fitness Class Music.' This music is edited specifically for group fitness classes because it has no breaks and has a consistent BPM (Beats Per Minute).
It also has the 'phrase,' which is 32 counts.
Each step combination must coordinate with this 32 count phrase.
The combination can be either 16, 32, or 64 counts.

For Step, AFAA recommends a BPM of 128-130. This is because serious injury can occur at speeds that are too fast. The average participant will not be comfortable at a speed higher than this.

What are some basic Step moves?
The most basic of all step moves is...the basic. It is just stepping up on the bench, then stepping down. This is always the first move I do in class because it tells you a lot about your participants that day and what level choreography you will need to use.


I then like to move on to a V-Step, which is similar to a basic, but goes out wider.


Then, we move into what I call 'Home' because we will always come back to it: Corner Knees.


You also have your self-reversing friend known as The Repeater or Triple Knee (Every class has terminology that varies).


Let's make a 32 count combination with these 4 moves:

Combination #1:
2 Basics, Right lead (8 counts)
2 V-Steps, Right lead (8 counts)
2 Corner Knees (8 counts)
1 Repeater Knee (8 counts)

You now have a 32 count combination that is Self-Reversing.

What is Self-Reversing?
Self reversing means that the combination easily flows from the right lead to the left lead and vice versa.
For example, the combination we just created, you will do the repeater on the left side of the bench and you can immediately go into your left basic to start the combination on the left lead.

What are some safety cues?
Well, let's use the picture at the top as an example. Do you see the person closest to the camera? They do not have their ENTIRE foot on the step. It is really important to try to get your entire foot on the step each time in order to keep your balance and stability of yourself and the step.

Also, they are way too close in that picture (I'm assuming it was an advanced class where they share each other's steps). Make sure there is NOTHING around the steps. No water bottles, no weights, no phones, nothing, NADA.

Always, ALWAYS ask if there are any new participants in the class. If there are, suggest that they keep their step on the lowest riser.

How do I cue Step?
The same way you cue in other classes: 4-3-2-CUE.
You need to cue at least 1 to 2 counts before the next move so that they know what is coming up.

Group Fitness Participants:
What should I bring to Step Class?
You just need a water bottle, a towel, good tennis shoes (edit: preferably cross trainers and not running shoes; see comment section below) and lots of energy!

What if I have never done Step before?
Be sure to let your instructor know that this is your first time doing step! They should take that into consideration when they are teaching. Just be confident, it's completely okay if you make a mistake. Just keep moving and HAVE FUN!

How can I make my Step workout more intense?
Simple things such as adding powerful arm motions with the step moves and moving with a purpose make such a big difference in the effect of your workout.
I've seen some classes where the instructor incorporates free hand weights during a step routine. This is NOT safe in my book and I do NOT recommend it.

Just bring a smile, a positive attitude and be ready to work and you will be good to go!

Please email me if you have any questions!

Monday, March 5, 2012

Operation: Beauty Intervention

I have been wanting to do a post on beauty products for a while and have kept putting it off. Then, the other week Jen did a post on her favorite products and it prompted me to get going!

I have been slightly obsessed with makeup and beauty products since I was a kid.

I would watch my mom meticulously put on her makeup and do her hair everyday. I even still have the old red Revlon eyebrow brush that she used.

Needless to say, I have been through lots of different products over the years. But, here are the ones that I have been using recently.

Face wash:
I have actually been having the most 'success' with just plain ole Noxzema lately. I also used it 'back in the day' and I'm not really sure why I ever stopped. Oh, I know. Because I can't resist trying new products!


Makeup Remover:
I heart Almay Oil-Free Eye Makeup Remover. It does a great job at removing the makeup and not being greasy or irritating.


I also use Olay Refreshing Toner after washing my face.


Whenever I get a pesky bump (which I have been getting the past week...stress??) I always use Clean & Clear's Maximum Strength Persa-gel 10.


Hair Products:
Oh, the hair products. In high school I had this crazy, huge, frizzy ball of hair that I called my 'Lion's Mane.' Over the past few years however, it has finally chilled out and I honestly believe it's because 1) I only wash my hair every 3 days or so. Don't judge me, I shower about twice a day! I just don't wash my hair because it's not necessary! 2) I don't ever straighten my hair anymore and I only blow dry it about once a week.

When we wash and blow dry our hair it can be so damaging. Not to mention using a straightener. But, some people really have to wash their every day and that's cool, just make sure you are using protective products so the hair doesn't become seriously damaged.

Shampoo & Conditioner:

I am really enjoying Organix's Moroccan Oil Shampoo and Conditioner. My hairstylist suggested it to me because I mentioned how much I love the Moroccan Oil Treatment.
The Organix brand is MUCH more affordable.
I also prefer to use the Intense Moisturizing Treatment in comparison to the traditional conditioner because my hair tends to get dry.


Of course, I love the Moroccan Oil Treatment. I have bought the Organix brand as well and it works great if that is what fits in your budget. But, if you can, the original is worth the splurge if you have hair that tends to be frizzy, etc.


Ohhhh, now to the good stuff! This is going to be pretty hard for me to narrow down. I will pretty much try any new product I see at the store. Also, I should mention that for the most part I don't spend a lot of money on makeup (aka Sephora, etc.) and I get most of it from the local Rite-Aid down the street from me.

Let's split this up into Everyday and Special Occasions.

This would be a tie between these two-

The jury is still out on the BM Foundation. I like its easy application, etc. However, when I tried it years ago, it made my face break out and I'm afraid that is what is happening again...we will see. I will also say that their Mineral Veil, Blush, and BRUSHES are must-haves with this foundation! I have been using their blush since High School, love it!

Special Occasion:
I wore Mac's Studio Fix Fluid Foundation for 6 weddings back in 2009 and it never let me down! Their primer is also worth the splurge because it really helps even out the foundation. (If Mac is a bit too pricey, Revlon Colorstay is an excellent alternative. I used it for YEARS.)

I have used this concealer for as long as I can remember. It goes well with every type of makeup I have ever tried. (so far)


Like I said above, I have worn Bare Minerals blush for years. For me, it is definitely worth the price because it is a great color and lasts a really long time (both in the sense of application and the amount provided)


I love this Covergirl Mascara. I keep trying other kinds, but I always end up coming back to this one. If you have always used a 'traditional' brush, this one may take a while to get used to, but I love it. It does a great job of preventing clumps, etc.


I never really use the same eyeshadow, but I will recommend any of the Revlon Eyeshadows. They always have great staying power and good pigment. I typically use something along these lines, or something a bit more mauve.


I also use several different types of liners, but my go-to liner lately has been Revlon's Colorstay Liquid Eyeliner in Black. (What can I say? I'm a Revlon girl.)


I wear this chap stick pretty much It has the perfect red tint for me and it's moisturizing.


If I need something a bit more bold and that lasts longer, I have been wearing Revlon's Just Bitten Lipstain. It kind of looks like a permanent marker, but I have liked using it lately! I have it in red. (I like red, obviously)


I'm going to stop here for now.

What are some of your favorite products?