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The Best Of This Week’s Ulta Beauty Sale

Although it doesn’t feel like it, spring is *~officially~* here! I spent the weekend spring cleaning my closet (and room) and got rid of a ton of stuff that I just don’t wear or use anymore. Apps like Poshmark make this especially easy because you can actually just add your clothes to a virtual “closet” and other people will buy them! It’s super easy to do and has been helping me eliminate some of my closet clutter! (If you want to shop my Poshmark closet, you can do that here!)

Spring cleaning doesn’t have to be limited to just a physical cleanse (like the Whole 30 diet I’ve been doing) or actually breaking out the Swiffer and doing a thorough mopping of your apartment. Most beauty products actually expire WAY sooner than we realize (especially if you use more organic and natural products!) So checking the dates and estimating when you started using them is super helpful (and healthy) too.

Ulta sells beauty products that are top quality and really affordable. Their biggest beauty sale of the year is the perfect time to stock up on your favorite products and try some new ones as well. Their sale switches up every day, but I’m sharing the best steals below!

Keep reading to score some of our favorite products for less than half the original price!

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March 27: Organic To Green Mini Coco Oil Travel Kit, $28

Whether you have dry skin or are trying to prevent wrinkles, coconut oil is the ingredient for you. This travel kit includes varieties for healing, moisturizing, anti-aging, soothing and neutralizing oily skin. Each oil has an essential oil infusion – from chamomile to ylang ylang, which smells amazing when mixed with the coconut.

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March 28: Origins Checks & Balances Face Wash, $11

This foamy face wash is meant to balance out dry and oily skin. Apply in the mornings and while you shower to bring forward a clear complexion.

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March 29: Laura Geller, Baked Blush-n-Brighten, $14

This gorgeous marbled blush has a built in highlighter that will help you get your glow on this spring. It comes in a variety of shades, so be sure to pick out the best one for your skin tone!

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March 30: St. Tropez Gradual Tan Classic Everyday Body Lotion, $12.50

The best part about gradual tanners is that you get a more natural end result than a spray tan and you don’t have to worry about streaks. This lotion is meant to moisturize and tan, making it an everyday essential that will eventually bring out a healthy glow.

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March 31: Smashbox Photo Finish Primer Water, $16

If you’ve ever taken the time to apply a masterpiece of makeup to your face before work, simply to find out that it smudged and faded by the time you actually arrived, this primer is going to be your new BFF. It helps your makeup stay intact for hours, ensuring that your hard work doesn’t go to waste.

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April 1: Mario Badescu Super Collagen Mask, $9

From collagen “granola” bars to collagen peptides, this is definitely one of the buzziest wellness words of the year, and for good reason! Collagen boosts the elasticity of your skin and with this firming mask it’ll help you say “bye bye” to wrinkles.

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April 2: Shiseido Eyelash Curler, $10

Let those lashes stand-out, ladies! And do it with an eyelash curler that you trust. We’ve heard too many horror stories of people losing lashes to a low-quality curler!

Looking to do more beauty shopping? Check out our favorite all-natural and organic shampoos and conditioners. Or if you just want to glow from the inside out, try sipping on this smoothie

Stay Classy! xx

 

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Why Kombrewcha Is About To Super Charge Your Next Happy Hour

If you haven’t found yourself on the kombucha band wagon just yet, you aren’t alone. I had been skeptical of the so-called “miracle drink” that says it can do everything from align your chakras to give you enough energy to get through the day. Actually, I still haven’t even tried downing one of the many flavors that it comes in… except for the alcoholic version.

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No, I didn’t cheat on Whole 30 (which brings you on a sober kick for 30 days). I actually tried Kombrewcha right before starting the diet. Here’s why you might want to try it at your next happy hour or girl’s night in.

Keep reading to find out the benefits of kombucha and it’s alcoholic sister drink, Kombrewcha.

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Kombucha, the non-alcoholic drink, is essentially fermented black tea (yes, there IS caffeine in this drink) and natural sugars that come from fruit. Because it is fermented, it is good for gut health and your digestive system, just like Whole 30! In addition to improving your digestive system, it is also known to help mood stability and mental clarity.

Add a little bit of alcohol to it and voila, you get Kombrewcha. Kombrewcha is basically beer for the wellness junkies out there. It only has 2% alcohol which may seem ineffective when compared to other options, but for only 75 calories a bottle, light drinkers can actually feel a buzz.

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Kombrewcha is the hippest new beverage option for those who want to cut virtually all harmful things out of their diets… cough, cough Whole 30 anyone?! And whether you try it out at brunch or at home, the delicious flavors won’t be a disappointment.

Stay Classy! xx

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Whole 30 Reflections: Days 8-14

Since my last post I have a few updates. Most importantly, I’m excited to say that Whole 30 isn’t nearly as rough as it was the first week. What do I mean by this? A whole slew of things.

Before I go into the details of my second week, I want to make something clear. I did not begin Whole 30 to lose weight. I decided to start it, and stick with it, for a bunch of other reasons as I mentioned in my last reflections post. I wanted to figure out why I felt bloated all the time, why I felt weird abdominal pains and how to prevent my body from developing another ovarian cyst. The result of enduring the “deprivation” of the diet for the first seven days resulted in positive results that I had not had from any other diet.

That being said… How do I look?

In just seven days, I dropped ten pounds. This morning, back at school after spring break, I tried on my favorite pair of jeans. They’re a simple chic pair of skinny jeans from Joe’s Jeans (and if you’ve ever tried jeans from this brand, you know that they are the softest and comfiest respectable non-legging pants out there) but they are also my tightest pair of jeans. At least they used to be. Even with a belt on, I found myself constantly pulling up my pants all day. And it’s only the first week. 

It’s so unfathomable to me how much digestive inflammation I’ve been living with until now and how uninformed I was before the Whole 30 program. I was amazed drop that weight simply by switching up my diet to unprocessed whole foods with no changes in the amount that I exercise (this week I just did yoga went on the elliptical, which is less than the yoga, HIIT, elliptical combination that my weeks normally include).

How do I feel?

Besides the fact that my pants no longer fit (and I gave up shopping for lent… oops) let’s get into how I’m feeling on my second week of Whole 30. In a nutshell, AMAZING.

Physically, I feel stronger, leaner, more flexible and more energetic. I’m able to workout harder than I was before and I’ve seen an increase in my workout motivation. Yeah, waking up at the crack of dawn to cram in a workout has never been easier.

Mentally, I’m appreciating this shift in mind-body connection. Did you know that 50% of your dopamine levels are in your gut? Which means that an unhealthy (and unhappy) gut can lead you to be more depressed and experience higher levels of low moos and anxiety. Now just think about what happens to your mood when you gain that 50% back with a healthy anti-inflammatory diet. *Insert endorphin dance here.*

What’s next?

Week 3, of course! We’re heading into the homestretch here people – I mean, we’re basically half way there. Admittedly it is still difficult to go out with friends to brunch or dinner or God forbid, happy hour. On this plan you get to be the sober wing woman for a month while your friends drown themselves in cocktails at boozy brunch or delicious crispy fried wings with Ranch at happy hour… I digress. There’s always Whole 30 approved sweet potato fries!

It’s also difficult to keep coming to the realization that I need to cook for myself even more than usual. A lot of planning goes into sticking with Whole 30. You need to have the right ingredients to make yourself food because most likely, the restaurants and fast food spots around you won’t have much that’s Whole 30 approved. (How sad is that?!) For example I realized this last night at 11pm, where I dragged myself out of bed and away from my laptop to whip up some string beans and grilled chicken – I made it with olive oil, salt, pepper, and then squeezed some lime juice and juice from an orange on it… YUM.

Whether you’re in it to feel better, look better or simply challenge yourself, do yourself a favor and give Whole 30 a whole-hearted try. After a few days, you’ll start to experience some of these feelings yourself.

Stay Classy! xx

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Whole 30 Compliant Sweet Potato Fries

As you saw in my last post, going Whole 30 is hard but WORTH IT. For just 30 days you’re taking your digestive system back to its roots while eating only whole and natural unprocessed foods. If you like to cook and have the time to do it, that makes it a whole lot easier.

At the start of my diet I began to realize that my body was craving something hard and filling that I could chew (that wasn’t bread or any sort of grains). The answer was potatoes. If you go on Whole 30 or are simply just looking for another super quick and healthy snack to make, whip up the recipe below. It takes just a few minutes of prep time and you have time to get other things done while the fries are baking in the oven.

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The sweet potatoes are SO delicious and help satisfy my cravings for sugar as well – there’s none added of course, but the sweet potatoes are naturally, well, sweet which does help curb other Whole 30 threatening cravings in the long run.

Keep reading to see my recipe for Whole 30 Compliant Sweet Potato Fries!

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Whole 30 Compliant Sweet Potato Fries

Prep Time: 5 Minutes        Cook Time 45 Minutes        Total Time: 50 Minutes

Let’s Get Started:

1-2 sweet potatoes, rinsed and sliced into fry shapes
Salt
Pepper
Italian Seasoning
Olive oil

Let’s Get Cooking:

Preheat the oven to 375°F. On a baking sheet place cut sweet potato fries. Drizzle olive oil, salt, pepper, Italian Seasoning and olive oil over the fries. Bake for 30-45 minutes, flipping halfway through. Enjoy!

Let’s Get Creative:

If you’re going Whole 30, you definitely want to stay away from ketchup… I know, that’s not ideal but there’s SO much sugar in ketchup! Instead, try a garlicy aioli dipping sauce or spice it up with some sriracha. I honestly like that they taste more natural so I don’t dip them in anything myself!

Stay Classy! xx

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Whole 30 Reflections: Days 1-7

I would be lying to you if I said that the first week of Whole 30 wasn’t hard. It was. It was a test of mental strength, physical endurance and my basic knowledge of the program and nutrition. I’ve been reading Deep Nutrition which is written by Catherine Shanahan, MD, the nutritionist for the Lakers and it has offered some insight on how to successfully maintain a healthy yet anti-inflammatory diet. It’s a big book, almost textbook status, but it has so much interesting information about how to heal yourself through food and how what you eat has a direct impact on what your kids will look like… scary, I know.

Before I get too ahead of myself, I want to explain the basics of the diet and why I’m doing it. So, here goes nothing.

What is Whole 30?

It’s an elimination diet where you stop eating processed foods, sugar, legumes, grains, alcohol and dairy for 30 days. After the 30 day period, you slowly reintroduce each food group back into your system a day at a time. This allows you to see the way your body reacts to each food group, as well as to see what your body is actually craving instead of what you think it should be consuming.

Why did I start Whole 30?

For most of my life I’ve been blessed with a healthy digestive system and a very limited amount of stomach problems. That changed this year where my body began reacting differently depending on what I was putting into it. After calling out of work one day crying with stomach pain that I was unsure from what it was caused, I decided that enough was enough. I wanted to figure out what was reacting so violently with my digestive system so I didn’t have to feel that way anymore.

Two of the harshest (and most frequently consumed) ingredients that we consume in our daily lives are sugar and dairy. These are also the two ingredients that have been proven to heal our bodies from the inside out, especially for women who suffer from endometriosis and other ovarian problems. Experiencing my first ovarian issue this year, I wanted to try out this diet to see if cutting two of the things I most frequently was consuming could actually help heal the pain I was in and the issues I was facing.

Whole 30 Days 1-7: How do I feel?

Like I said earlier, the first few days of Whole 30 were ROUGH. My body was craving its regular routine. It felt deprived when I substituted my usual morning breakfast ritual (oatmeal with honey, almond milk, dried coconut flakes and flax seeds) with two eggs scrambled with kale and a small potato. It felt deprived when I went out to dinner with my family and was unable to eat cheesy garlic bread, pasta, wine or any of my usual dinner staples. It felt deprived when my usual afternoon yogurt was replace with a piece of fruit and the rest of my snacking was cut down drastically. And then all of a sudden… it didn’t.

As the days dragged on my body started to adapt. When I went through the pantry I could feel my eyes focus in on the foods that I knew I could eat and blur the ones that I couldn’t. I realized that potatoes were going to be my savior (both sweet and regular) and fruit was how I was going to satisfy my sweet tooth. Now on Day 7, I still miss oatmeal and the apple and blueberry pies that were up for grabs in my office kitchen (happy belated pi day!) almost made me quit. But today I realized that for the first time in a long time I don’t feel any stomach pain when I eat. My digestive system is working better than usual and I start to feel fuller while eating less food. (Did you know most processed foods are created chemically to leave you feeling hungry so that the industry makes more money and you buy/eat more food?) I’ve also lost weight, am more motivated to work out every day and drink a TON of water and herbal teas – did I mention that I gave up caffeine as well?

I’ll keep you updated on my progress the next few days but from what I’ve experienced so far I urge you to try Whole 30! Even if you can only make it for a few days, you’ll see how much your body can change when you eat whole non-processed foods. If you have any questions for me, feel free to ask! x

Stay Classy! xx

Treat Yourself This Spring At Spa Week

Even if you skipped Spring Break this year it isn’t too late to treat yourself. Celebrate your personal and physical achievements during Spring Spa Week, where you can get professional holistic spa services for an affordable flat rate, all over the US! Everyone needs a little “me-time” every once in a while, and this is the perfect way to sneak it in this spring.

According to the Global Wellness Institute (GWI), US healthcare costs are predicted to rise 5.8% each year until 2025. This is part of the reason that many people are turning to more holistic and organic approaches to preventative and restorative health. Including facials and massages, spas offer a ton of holistic healing methods that are sure to relax your body and mind.

A healthy lifestyle has the ability to change your body, mind attitude and mood – all for the better. Spa Week happens twice a year to celebrate these changes as well as continue to spread the message about how important it is to focus on health and wellness in your life. Whether you’re located in NYC, AZ or CA – there’s a spa in your area participating in Spring Spa Week. In fact, there are spas all over the country excited to offer affordable *~new~* treatments to celebrate the wellness achievements of their customers.

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Between April 17th-23rd, these treatments will be incredibly affordable (think more than 50% off) and the services are getting creative. Usually $100-500, for the entirety of the week services at participating spas will be a flat rate of $50… which is incredible!

So if you’re in the Arizona area, try the Amethyst Massage or if you’re in New York City check out the facial options at The Red Door – Elizabeth Arden’s spa. I’ll be trying out some services in New York City in the coming weeks and will report back on my thoughts! You can start booking services on March 20th on the Spa Week site.

Stay Classy! xx

3 Natural Volumizing Shampoos and Conditioners That Will Lift Your Roots

Natural and organic beauty products are most certainly trending and hopefully, becoming the new norm. You might be asking yourself what the big deal is about buying natural products and obsessing over ingredient lists. The truth is, it very much could positively impact your overall health. When it comes to beauty products, including hair care and skin care, your skin and scalp has the ability to absorb what you’re physically putting onto your body. This impacts your system just as much as what you eat.

There are some ingredients used to create top beauty brand products that can disrupt your hormones, impair fertility, irritate the skin, damage your liver and kidneys and sensitize your skin to sunlight – among so many other side effects. Most of the time, we don’t think to trace these changes in our bodies to what we’re putting on them, but it’s clear that the time has come that we should.

So if you’re running low on shampoo and conditioner, hold off on sprinting to the drug store and check out the options below. You can find them on Amazon and at Ulta and they’re totally worth the shipping. x

Keep reading to see the top three all natural and organic volumizing shampoo and conditioners.

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1. Ola Tropical Apothecary Hydrating Coconut Shampoo and Conditioner

You might actually recognize the name by now, because OTA products are some of my favorites and I love sharing them with you all! This shampoo and conditioner treatment is certified organic, locally harvested, uses sustainably grown ingredients, is naturally active and is wildcrafted in Hawaii. Both the shampoo and conditioner are plant based (as are all OTA products) and come in my favorite scent – coconut!

If you are struggling with dry hair that is starting to split and break at the ends, this hair care system is going to be a huge help. You can purchase Ola Tropical Apothecary’s Coconut Shampoo and Conditioner, here.

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2. Mop Lemongrass Volume Shampoo

With natural ingredients such as lemongrass, chamomile and honey, your hair is going to thank you for this volumizing nourishment. There are only five ingredients in the product and all are recognizable and readable – which is the way it should be! This shampoo is also plant based and is naturally infused with fruit, vegetable and herb botanicals.

If you have fine hair and find that other shampoos dry your hair out or weigh it down, MOP’s formula will help give your hair some body while thoroughly cleansing it as well. You can purchase MOP Lemongrass Volume Shampoo, here.

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3. Abba Volume Shampoo and Conditioner

This shampoo and conditioner system is totally vegan, gluten-free and sulfate free. It’s made of a ProQuinoa Complex (yes, you read that right!) which means that it is made from quinoa, deglutinated barley and soy – all ingredients that moisturize your hair while strengthening each strand. Instead of adding illegible long-worded ingredients, ABBA created their formula using the natural perks of different plant based ingredients – such as using lemongrass to create volume and grapefruit to condition hair without creating build up. By default, their products smell amazing too!

The shampoo and conditioner system is meant for all hair types. It’s super lightweight and is meant to improve fullness and shine. You can purchase ABBA Volume Shampoo and Conditioner, here.

Show off your voluminous new locks with this statement bun tutorial! On an organic product kick? Check out the totally natural and organic household cleaner we love

Stay Classy! xx

Galway Green Smoothie

One of my regrets from my time abroad was not going to Ireland. Sure – I’m not even Irish, but I do find their culture fun and fascinating. The closest I got to the gorgeous green rolling hills was meeting a group of friends in Barcelona, who were from a small rural town in Ireland… and by listening to Ed Sheeran’s new song “Galway Girl,” of course. This smoothie is a vibrant green that will brighten up any day – and is the perfect way to pack in extra protein before starting a round of drinks on the 17th. 😉

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Please note that many times my smoothies will include different protein powders in them – this is because I usually drink a smoothie or protein shake after working out because it helps with muscle recovery and hunger cravings. Adding protein to your smoothie or breakfast shake is a great addition to your breakfast or snack, but by no means is it essential! The smoothie below will taste just as yummy without the protein powder, no worries!

Classy Cookbook LogoGreen Goddess Smoothie

Prep Time: 4 Minutes   *   Cook Time: 1 Minute   *   Total Time: 5 Minutes

Let’s Get Started:

1 banana, frozen
1 cup of kale
1 kiwi
¼ cup organic coconut water
¼ cup non-fat plain yogurt
2 scoops of Greek Girl Beauty Protein
Shaved ice

Let’s Get Cookin’:

Blend banana, kale, kiwi, ¼ cup organic coconut water and yogurt. Pour over a small amount of shaved ice and enjoy!

Let’s Get Creative:

This smoothie is all about the green goodness! I didn’t have an avocado on-hand but it would be an awesome addition and will make the consistency more creamy.

Enjoy & Stay Classy! xx

Restaurant Review: Mozzarella e Vino

Mozzarella e Vino    *    33 W 54th Street, New York, NY 10019    *    $$

Nestled among gorgeous townhouses across from the Museum of Modern Art on the Upper West Side is an authentic Italian restaurant that may indeed change your life. If you could not already tell by the name — which is what attracted me to its menu right away — Mozzarella e Vino focuses on dishes made of highest quality ingredients. And when it comes to the Italian dinner essentials — mozzarella and wine, this is of utmost importance.

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I began the meal with a champagne starter and a tasting menu of the charcuterie offerings. From salami to prosciutto the entire cutting board was delicious. The meats were paired with blueberries and walnuts, which gave it a different flavor that catered to a sweet-and-salty palate. The sliced tomatoes were fresh and paired well with the mozzarella plate. I tried the smoked mozzarella, buffalo mozzarella and burrata — the latter being the clear winner. Before we even tasted anything else, Ben and I looked at each other and knew that we would be coming back for more burrata.

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While waiting for our next round of appetizers we started to try a basket of homemade breadsticks and bread. These flavors, combined with a truly delicious plate of extra virgin olive oil reminded us of our month of travels in Italy. Not only did the food taste good, but it tasted like it was made fresh from fresh ingredients — which is the traditional Italian way.

There’s a reason why Italians are known for going to the grocery store or market each morning to get their produce for the day. It takes the quality of the dishes to another level, getting the most out of the flavors of the fruits and vegetables you’re cooking with.

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The next appetizer I tasted was fried calamari— which can be the make-or-break dish of an Italian restaurant. This plate was not too fishy, but tasted perfectly crispy. The marinara was a bit spicy for my taste so I opted for a dose of lemon juice sprinkled on the fish. To Ben, this dish was even better than the meat and cheese, but for me nothing could come close to the burrata.

For the vino selection, the house sommelier helped us choose a bottle of Barbera d’Alba 2014 Deltetto, a smooth pinot noir that had hints of woody sweetness  and paired nicely with our entrees.

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For my main course I selected the Classic fresh fettucine alla Bolognese topped with fresh grated parmesan cheese. Once again the flavors were fresh and blended together nicely. Ben ordered the Slow braised lamb, in red wine and organic vegetable sauce, served with mashed potatoes. The presentation came out different than we were both expecting but the result was delicious. The lamb tasted as if it had been marinated and cooked slowly for hours.

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Last but certainly not least, I tried some of the server recommended selections from the dessert menu— the Torta di mascarpone “tiramisu style,” Vanilla panna cotta with strawberries and Seasonal fruit tart on vanilla custard.

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As far as our favorite dessert went, Ben and I disagreed once again. The tiramisu was absolutely incredible. It was light and fluffy yet somehow creamy. It had more of a chocolate flavor than espresso, which may have been why I liked it so much. The panna cotta was also delicious. The vanilla flavor was so strong that you could tell that it had been made with vanilla bean pods instead of just vanilla extract. Topped with fruit, it made for another great selection. The fruit tart however left much to be imagined.

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If you are in the area, Mozzarella e Vino is a must-try stop after a day of roaming the Museum of Modern Art or Central Park, both located just blocks away. The restaurant is the perfect way to celebrate traditional Italian cuisine prepared with fresh and top-quality ingredients.

Stay Classy! xx

Organic Cinnamon Roll Chia Seed Pudding

You don’t have to go out to brunch to enjoy the best of what breakfast food has to offer. Save yourself the time and money by prepping your breakfast for the week in advance – and give yourself some bonus points for making something super good for your health. I’ve been obsessed with chia seed pudding for a little over a year now. There’s something about the texture that I love (maybe because it’s so similar to rice pudding, which is unhealthy yet still bae) and the versatility of the flavor.

From time to time I like switching up the traditional and really plain recipe for chia seed pudding – just seeds and a nut mylk! I don’t add anything unnatural to these variations, but it’s always a good morning to know that you’ve switched up your breakfast flavor to something that’s a little sweeter, yet still incredibly healthy.

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Chia seeds are an amazing source of omega fatty acids, which are the good fats that are so essential to your overall health and brain function. In fact, chia seeds actually have 8x more omega-3 fatty acids than salmon – so this is an awesome recipe for vegetarians and vegans.

Chia seeds are also a superfood – they’re an amazing source of protein, fiber, vitamins, minerals and amino acids and anti-oxidants. With a few spoonfuls of them in the morning, you can be confident that you’re starting your day off right.

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I make a batch or two of chia seed pudding a week. When I’m in the mood for something sweet I’ll reach for this instead of something less healthy. When I’m making oatmeal for breakfast and want some extra flavor I’ll add in a few scoops of this pudding. It’s so versatile and easy to make that there are no excuses for you not to try it. 😉

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Keep scrolling to see my recipe for Organic Cinnamon Roll Chia Seed Pudding!

the-classy-cook

Organic Cinnamon Roll Chia Seed Pudding 

Serves: 2

Prep Time: 5 Minutes     Cook Time: 5 hours or overnight    Total Time: 5 hours 5 Minutes

Let’s Get Started:

1 c organic almond milk
1/4 c organic chia seeds
1 tsp. organic cinnamon
2 tsp. organic agave nectar
1 tsp. organic vanilla extract

Let’s Get Cooking:

Mix ingredients together in a small mason jar. Refrigerate for 5 hours or overnight, stirring about halfway through so that the seeds don’t clump at the bottom. Enjoy!

Let’s Get Creative:

When you’re ready to eat this pretty and delicious snack, top with fruit! I personally love eating it with my favorite berries or banana coins.

Stay Classy! xx