Black Friday {Giveaway}

One day I was searching Etsy for statement necklaces and Banana Republic/JCrew knock off jewelry and stumbled upon Shamelessly Sparkly and with such a fabulous name somehow I just knew I would love them! Well I was totally blown away by their jewelry pieces! Not only are they beautiful, but they are affordable! They now have an online store that you have to check out!

I bought this elegant navy necklace that I wore in this post and this video. I've found that it's so versatile I've worn it with so many different outfits it really goes with so many colors.

I've also bought some other nice pieces from them like this gorgeous red rosette necklace that I spent so much time debating what color to get it in. lol 

This three strand bead necklace is my fave! I just love how the gold beads make it look so royal! It comes in a number of color combinations.

For my next purchase I'm getting this gorgeous purple number and a pair of green chandelier earrings.

I'm thrilled to announce a Giveaway sponsored by Shamelessly Sparkly. One of my stylish readers will win these gorgeous earrings below! I'm excited to partner with them since I just love their jewelry! These earrings are 2.5 inches long and I think they make quite the statement! It would also make a great holiday gift idea!

One winner will be chosen at random, giveaway ends Monday December 2, 2013 at midnight PST. The winner will be notified via e-mail and will have three days to reply or a new winner will be chosen in their place. Open to US Residents only.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Happy Thanksgiving!

I hope everyone is enjoying the holiday with their family. I won't be eating any turkey today but I love all the sides! Maybe I should get an inflatable turkey? lol

Here's a pumpkin coffee shakeology recipe for you to try!

Couple sale alerts!
Sephora has posted all their Black Friday deals on their pinterest page!

Sign up for a free Beachbody account here so you have access to their Black Friday sale already in progress! They've discounted P90x, TurboFire, Insanity and their beauty line Derm Exclusive!

Happy 200th Blog Post to Me!

You are reading my 200th blog post!  It might not seem a lot but to think I've done this 200 times already. When I started it in March I didn't know how long I would keep up this blog so I've really surprised myself. I'm super big on celebrating milestones, shoot last year I celebrated my birthday twice! Had a half birthday party 6 months after my birthday! lol This blog has been visited from 27 countries. The top three are: #1 USA, #2 Canada and #3 UK. Special shout out to the person who visits from an Anonymous Proxy! lol

So here's my Academy acceptance speech:
Thank you all for coming and visiting me as it has been a ton of fun to write about all sorts of stuff that makes me happy. I hope you have enjoyed it too. Please let me know if there is something you would like me to write about. 

To celebrate I've changed my blog header, what do you think? Be sure to check out my blog on Friday for a big surprise!

Here's a recap of some of my most popular posts:

My Races
                  Electric Run                                     Color Me Rad                                     Warrior Dash      

My Recipes 
            Breakfast Burritos                                 Vegetarian Paella                        Anna's Super Oatmeal

Shakeology flavors
These are best made with Vanilla Shakeology, the flavor and nutritional content will not be the same with another brand.
                  Pumpkin Pie                                       Apple Pie                                 Snickerdoodle

If you want an easy way to follow your favorite bloggers, sign up for bloglovin', just click the subscribe link at the top right of my blog. It only takes 30sec to sign up. I've found so many interesting and inspiring blogs there as well, be prepared to become addicted!

Style Trend: Military Camouflage

Camo print seems to always be coming back into style. Check out this collage I complied of Rhianna  over the years. I wasn't a fan of the onesie (first pic) though. lol Did you see her hair style at the American Music Awards on Sunday? Here's the reaction to it.

I've found so many stores have camo print in their fall line right now! But I think the trend is different this year because I've noticed people are styling it more chic. I just bought myself a pair of camo leggings that I'm going to style with these red pumps!

Re-designing my shoe closet

I love shoes and love organization. Here's what my coat closet looks like now. I removed the coats to show you what the back of the closet looks like. I feel like I'm always searching for shoes because I can't really "see" them. Plus I don't have space for my summer shoes, full sneaker collection, my boots are hidden, and I have more shoes still in boxes in my other closet. So I'm going to put up shelves to showcase my shoe collection. I had someone come in yesterday to take measurements and I'm hoping it will be done in the next week or two!

Before I have the shelves installed I'm trying to decide what color to paint the wall. What do you think?
I should mention that I decorate for me and no one else, don't care about the resale value because I can always paint over it, after all it's just paint. I choose things I like that make me happy. Although it may seem like a waste of time to most to paint a closet, it is something I see at least twice a day, and it will brighten my day to pull my shoes out of this closet. So be part of my selection process! What color should I paint my closet?

Would you consider making such a bold statement with your closet painting it pink? To sway the votes lol ....

The other option is wallpaper, but I'm not sure you'd even see it in such a small space? But I love me some damask pattern!

Sparkle Sneak Peek

I had the most amazing day spending 6 hours at a holiday fashion shoot! Disco balls, submarines, snow, pine cones, confetti and cranberry prosecco. More details to come....

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Powdered Peanut Butter

Previously I posted about PB2, well today I'm going talk about another brand - Betty Lou's Just Great Stuff Organic Powdered Peanut Butter. Have you tried this yet? I've been putting it into my protein shakes. It's peanut butter without the fat! It only has 45 calories and 2g of sugar per serving. You can also put it on your toast if you mix it with water. I used to only be able to buy this online but a new grocery store opened up near me and they sell it for $8 (PB2 is only $4).  But Just Great Stuff has cleaner ingredients than PB2 that's why I made the switch. However I do prefer the chocolate flavor of PB2 over Just Great Stuff because Just Great Stuff has a more bitter chocolate taste with sea salt. It's a great for a post workout snack! You can also use it when you make Shakeology Balls.


Here's my winter wishlist. The majority of my pajamas are from Victoria Secret, many I bought in high school that are still on the rotation schedule. They're good quality, pretty fabrics and last a long time. Did you know that the word Pajama, originates from two Persian words - pāy (leg) + jāma (garment)?

Target finds and the White Blazer

I don't get out to the movies much, I pretty much catch everything on netflix. But when my friend H invites me out to the movies, it's always her pick and it always ends up being a great choice. We saw the movie About Time  which is a British romantic comedy about a family of time travelers. You must see it!

In one scene a woman was wearing a white blazer that I just looked brilliant! So I just bought my first white blazer which is a wardrobe piece I've been wanting for awhile for work but never thought it could be worn at night too. But after googling celebs in white blazers to get an idea on how to style it I saw it's quite a popular look! It can be paired with jeans, black leggings, or a nice dress. Then I checked out Target and saw that they have some really nice pieces perfect for holiday parties coming up!

Can you tell I'm a KimK fan? lol

Tips for a beautiful cheese board

I have to admit that I love cheese!  I recently went to a wine bar and saw they had a flight of three wines and cheese for $25. Well the pieces of cheese were so small (just one bite size piece) and the wine wasn't full glasses! I thought I could do this at home more cost effectively.  Are you planning on throwing a wine and cheese party this holiday season? Here's how I put together a nice assortment.

For the picture above each block of cheese is only half a block with each block cost around $7. A cheese board should have a variety of textures and flavors. I have three of my favorite cheese here: Italian Truffle (an expensive indulgence), Spanish Manchego, and Dutch Robusto - which has a wonderful nutty flavor.  But you can't just eat cheese alone! So I added some sweet and salty accompaniments, from sliced bread, to nuts and fresh fruit like grapes and pears. Fig jam is also a good idea or chocolate. Then of course wine is the final thing needed to polish the palate. After my trip to Spain I've been on a Spanish kick with my wine selection, but I've always been a fan of Tempranillo wine.

Now if you're throwing a party it might be nice to label the cheese so guests know what is what. And pre-slice the cheese so guests can go ahead and dig in! Make sure the cheese are room temperature before serving because cold cheese has muted flavor. Random sidenote: One of my biggest pet peeves is people who keep cupcakes in the fridge and serve it immediately, cold cake has no flavor, I don't want to eat that! And frosted cake doesn't need to be refrigerated anyway, they're sitting on the counter at the cupcake shop and grocery store.

For a party make sure you have the proper cheese tools. Crate and Barrel is my favorite store for household goods, it's where I've gotten all of my kitchen dinnerware and stemware. It's also where I got this cheese board from. Be sure to get yourself a cheese knife. Here are some suggestions for where to get yourself a cheese board from Amara or Sur La Table.

Final tip - don’t be afraid to try something new! Trader Joe's has all kinds of exotic cheeses like a chocolate cheddar, cranberry goat cheese log, beer cheddar which is actually a black cheese. All of which I've tried and loved!

Shopping | Nine West

I was searching my email for something and came across a receipt for an online purchase I made last year for these bright purple sequin boots:

Well since it's already chilly outside I wanted to wear them. Now I don't recall ever wearing these boots before but I do remember that my lazy ass never went back to the store to return them. lol  So I looked through my closet and couldn't find them, but I know they're in there somewhere, in the deep abyss of my closet. lol I recently reorganized my jewelry so that I can actually see what I have.  So I've come up with the idea to transform the back of my coat closet into this:

To prep I took out all my heels and came up with some surprise finds that I forgot I ever bought. lol I also threw out some shoes and then realized I am lacking an animal print shoe and a red shoe. So naturally I hit up my favorite shoe store to fill this void. I did finally find those purple boots (and a birdcage I lost lol), can't wait to wear them!

Mark your calendar, Target is putting all their fashion boots on sale after Thanksgiving! They normally cost $40, check out their ad:

Califia Almond Milk

I can't remember the last time I drank cows milk?  In high school I only bought soy milk for my cereal. At some point in the last few years I switched to almond milk. I haven't jumped onto the bangwagon that soy is bad, but when I started drinking protein shakes regularly almond milk became a regular feature in my diet. I did a cost/nutrition comparison of various almond milks and found that Whole Foods 365 brand of unsweetened almond milk was the best, better than Trader Joes. Although I bet it's the same as Almond breeze, just a bit cheaper sometimes. All three are shelf stable until you open them.

Recently someone turned me onto Califia Almond Milk which can be found at Whole Foods or Harris Teeter in the fridge. It costs a bit more than the 365 brand of almond milk, but totally worth it for the taste. It comes in a huge 1.4L gorgeous shaped bottle (like a bowling pin) that is BPA-free and 100% recyclable. They also have 3 flavors of iced coffee (mixed with almond milk), citrus juices (made from clementines) and holiday nog (which is light but delicious)!

Califia Farms was founded in 2010 by Odwalla's founder and all of its products are made in California. Their products are all 100% vegan, Non-GMO Project Verified, gluten-,soy-, and dairy-free. Unlike most almond milks that are processed from roasted almonds, Califia Farms are made from whole blanched almonds. Califia Farms Almondmilk is substantially fortified with calcium, vitamin D (vegan), vitamin E, vitamin B12, and more. Their Almondmilk has 50% more calcium than cow’s milk. They make it creamier by adding less water to it. Once open it's good for 7-10 days. Their Pure Almondmilk comes in four varieties: Unsweetened, Vanilla, Creamy and a Coconut Almondmilk Blend. The coconut flavor was just released this January and is my favorite! Most coconut milk beverages have no taste to me, but theirs was very rich. They're all low on sugar.

Definitely look out for it next time you're at the grocery store!

Butternut Squash Risotto

Butternut squash is very nutritious as its full of vitamins A and C.  Don't be daunted by the hard shell, unlike a pumpkin it's fairly easy to cut open and it's cheaper to buy it whole verses already chopped up. At Trader Joe's one butternut squash costs $2.59 while at Whole Foods it was about $6 based on weight. Squash was one of the three main crops planted by Native Americans, known as the “Three Sisters”– maize (corn), beans, and squash. Winter squash was prized by the Native Americans and early American settlers for its long shelf life. Butternut squash will keep in a cool, dark part of your kitchen for several weeks, it does not need to be refrigerated. Have you been wanting to try couscous but don't know how? Here's a savory dish for you to try, perfect for a potluck!

First I roasted the butternut squash. I cut off the top of the squash, then sliced it vertically. Sprayed a pan with cooking spray and preheated the oven to 400F. Place the halves flesh side down and bake for 30 minutes or until tender. Once done and cooled a bit, I sliced the squash into cubes and put half of it in the freezer. I made this dish with Israeli couscous which is a larger sized couscous that looks like a pearl and is packed with Vitamin C and high in fiber.

½ butternut squash cubed
1 1/3 cups Israeli couscous
¼ cup toasted slivered almonds
½ onion, diced

1 clove garlic
½ cup dry white wine
2 cups vegetable stock
olive oil
Crushed red pepper
½ cup shredded parmesan


Preheat oven to 375. Cut the squash into 3/4" squares. Roast the squash on a sheet pan for 20-30 minutes untill soft.

Saute onions and garlic with a pinch of chili flakes on medium heat until softened, 3-5 minutes. Turn heat up to high and add couscous and almonds. Continue to sauté until the couscous and almonds begin to brown. Add white wine to deglaze, then add stock. 

Bring to a boil and cover, turn heat down to low and simmer until almost all liquid is evaporated, 15 -18 minutes. 

Add the parmesan and stir in the squash.

Nutritional Analysis
Makes 4 servings
380 cal, 12g protein, 2g fiber

Dr Oz show

My mom loves the Dr Oz show! Did you know he's a vegetarian? He comes on twice a day here and my mom often calls me at work to print out whatever he was talking about. Then she buys so many of the products he recommends! Do you know how many random vitamins he recommends? lol I swear he recommends everything under the sun, every diet gimmick of the month! While he can be a good source of health info like explaining why you have a constant cough, he also gives bizarre advice like don't buy ice cream that has frost on it.

I was able to score some tickets for his show and we were asked to wear bright colors, no white. Men are asked not to dress too casual. First there's two hours waiting which was annoying, once in the studio he filmed two episodes (in the same outfit) so that was another two hours. We sat in the front row only to have the cameras obstruct our view. Dr Oz's mic isn't loud enough for the audience and he doesn't really interact with the audience. You're better off watching him at home on TV.  I have to say that the live experience wasn't as great as I thought it would be.

It's November. Let's Do This.

Lady Gaga released her new album yesterday (Japan, Australia and parts of Europe got it earlier) and as usual she didn't disappoint! She's recovering from a broken hip and using a golden wheelchair, naturally. lol The six months off gave her time to really get creative with this album. She writes her own songs and has written for Britney Spears and Jennifer Lopez. On Nov 24 she will perform at the American Music Awards, be sure to catch that! I know her masks and impractical shoes are of kind of weird, as was her meat costume (remember that? lol) but if you can ignore all that her music is awesome!  Either way she's laughing all the way to the bank, she made $80 million last year alone (after being bankrupt in 2009).  She doesn't want to be ordinary, unlike these photos I found of her. lol For her everyday is Halloween! lol Random oddity, she met the founder of Wikileaks, Julian Assange, at the Ecuadorean embassy in London last year.

She told Cosmopolitan magazine that in high school: "I had a very big nose, very curly brown hair and I was overweight. I got made fun of by the rich girls." She works hard for her figure and does a lot of yoga. She keeps it real, she admitted she gained 30 lbs last year and didn't care (which she lost again). Another random fact, did you know she's only 5'1. She calls herself an Italian girl from New York who likes to eat. Unfortunately her dad's restaurant got low reviews on yelp. Lady Gaga vs Miley Cyrus at this year's VMAs. I remember three years ago Lady Gaga's black leotard was the Halloween costume of the year and this year it was Miley's leotard. lol Did you know she was on one episode of the Sopranos?

Rihanna's new album is coming out this month, can't wait! She releases a new album every year. She collaborated with Eminem on one song on his new album which made my list.

Reggae star Gyptian released a new album which has a remake of Cyndi Lauper's song True Colors.

Lady Gaga - Do What U Want
Lady Gaga - Applause  (leaked back in August so she had to release it early)
Lady Gaga - Sexxx Dreams
Katy Perry - I'm Walking on Air
Eminem f. Rihanna - Monster (number 1 song on itunes)
Miley Cyrus - Wrecking Ball (yes I'm totally embarrassed I like her music lol)
Tamar Braxton - All The Way Home
Drake - Hold On We're Going Home
Mavado - At the Top
Gyptian - Be Alright
Gyptian - One More Time (have this song on repeat mode)

The Benefits of Cinnamon

Cinnamon is a powerful spice and was consumed in Ancient Egypt and is mentioned in the Bible in Exodus.

It regulates blood sugar,  reduces LDL cholesterol levels and it reduces pain linked to arthritis. Cinnamon is an excellent source of the trace mineral manganese which helps your body utilize several key nutrients such as biotin. Just 2 tsp of cinnamon is 45% your daily value of manganese. Cinnamon also helps keep your bones strong, helps to promote optimal function of your thyroid gland, maintains the health of your nerves and protect your cells from free-radical damage.

You can sprinkle cinnamon on your oatmeal or in your shakeology! Just whatever you do, don't do the cinnamon dare which is the challenge of trying to swallow a spoonful of cinnamon in 60 seconds without drinking water because it's harmful to your lungs when inhaled and could end you up in the hospital,  no joke!

I love trying out new flavors of Shakeology, makes every glass I drink different! In the spirit of fall holidays I gave this recipe a shot this morning. Now I was a bit hesitant to try this, but to my surprise I love it and it actually tastes like the cookies! Give it a try!

Water, Water, Everywhere

For rainy days you're going to need yourself some good rain gear! While I can't control my umbrella blowing the wrong direction, I can make sure I wear a stylish trench coat for in-between fall weather and rain boots for all those puddles I walk through. Rain boots really are the best investment you can make for yourself!

However my boots always separate at the seam so I end up buying the same pair of boots every year! After walking through a muddy corn maize at night in the pouring rain a couple week ago my boots couldn't handle the pressure and I ended up with wet feet which was the worst feeling ever! 

I was trying to decide if I should buy yet another pair of the same boots or invest in a more expensive pair. But upon reading reviews for other boots people said they leaked too so I decided to repair my boots. I bought this Shoe Goo for $5 that comes in clear or black, I got the clear. I was nervous about gluing my fingers together but it was a pretty clean application and easy to use. I put a thin coat along the seams, let it dry overnight, then put a second coat on. Did a test in my bathtub and my boots are indeed sealed!

Maybelline Mega Plush Volum' Express Mascara Review

Every Sunday I check the CVS flyer to see what's on sale for the week and they had Maybelline mascara for $5 and I thought that's a steal! I've never used this mascara before but was open to giving it a try. Mascara is the one beauty item I can't live without, if I leave the house with only one piece of makeup on it will be mascara. Trying out new mascaras is fun because I'm obsessed with seeing what's new in the mascara world. I can usually tell if I'm going to love something or not after the first application and this mascara was no different. I got a mascara in my October Ipsy bag which went straight in the trash after one use. lol

When I opened the Maybelline I thought the brush was broken (see that dent in the wand in the picture) and considered returning it to the store. lol I do my mascara sitting on my white couch every morning as I watch the Today show and eat breakfast. But with the "broken" wand I thought I better not lean back on the couch and have this wand fall off. lol It gives the brush a very light feeling during application but there's never a need to bend the brush so I don't really see the use of it.

It's billed as a gel-mousse mascara that promises that your lashes are never brittle or get flaky because it has 40% less hard wax. But the flexor brush is so flimsy I find it hard to work with. The mascara does give extremely long lashes with a clump free application but it does not give thick volume. I thought application took a bit longer than usual because of all the coats I had to do. Once dry it gives lightweight lashes, so soft to touch. Taking it off with just water is a pretty clean affair, I don't end up with raccoon eyes and then I can tell the formula is a bit different. I wouldn't buy it again, but I'll keep using it until the tube is empty. lol

My mascara pet peeve is:  Do you get confused over what color mascara to buy. I mean there's "very black",  "blackest black", and "black drama", what's the difference? I just want black! lol