Tag Archives: health and fitness

Honey and Peanut Butter Energy Bars

I always seem to be on the move…and though I often fail, I try to pack my purse with healthy snacks.  Energy bars, fruit, or cheese sticks are my go-to’s…but those energy bars and power bars are often packed with tons of sugar and carbs and may not be as healthy as they seem…

So I’ve decided to start making my own!

energy-bars

Packed with protein and natural sugars for a burst of energy, these Honey and Peanut Butter Energy Bars actually taste delicious and are super filling.  The addition of dates helps give these bars a great chewy texture, and they’ll last a good 2 weeks in the fridge.

One batch will make about 8 large bars or 10-12 smaller bars.  I go smaller with these because they are filling, but they are great for breakfast on the go or a snack before a workout.

Honey and Peanut Butter Energy Bars

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • 10 dates, pitted
  • 1 cup peanut butter (the drippy kind works best)
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 scoops vanilla protein powder
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1/4 cup chocolate chips (optional)

Instructions:

Prep an 8 in. or 9 in. square pan with parchment paper, letting excess paper hang over edges.  If you don’t have parchment paper, you can also spray the pan with non-stick cooking spray.

Place rolled oats in food processor and process on high for about 1 minute, or until oats have been turned into oat flour.  Remove and set aside.

Combine the dates, peanut butter, honey, vanilla extract, protein powder, salt, and walnuts in food processor and pulse a few times to chop up the dates.  Add the oat flour and process until well combined.  Pour into prepared pan and press into cake pan.  Top with chocolate chips, if desired.

Place in freezer for 30 to 60 minutes to set.  Remove and cut into bars.  Store in fridge in plastic bags for up to 2 weeks.

Every Monday is a “Reci-bee” post, where I share my favorite recipes, recipe collections, and cooking and baking hints and tips. 

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12 Luxurious Bath Bomb Recipes

Reward yourself for making it through the day with a fragrant, relaxing bubble bath, enhanced with a fun bath bomb!

bath-bomb-recipes

All the rage on Pinterest and Etsy, bath bombs are a great way to make bath time way more enjoyable…and there are recipes all over the Interwebs for making your own bath bombs…thankfully, I’ve collected 12 of the prettiest ones right here for your viewing pleasure!

Most bath bombs can be made with ingredients you can easily find at your local drug store or craft store (baking soda, Epsom salt, corn starch, essential oils, food coloring) and you can use almost any silicone or plastic mold to create bath bombs in any shape, size, and style.

Package these for friends and give as gifts for weddings, showers, birthdays, Christmas, or just for making it to Friday!

12 Luxurious Bath Bomb Recipes

Mermaid Bath Bomb
beautycrafter.com
mermaid-bath-bombs

Cupcake Bath Bomb
apumpkinandaprincess.com
cupcake-bath-bomb

Lemon Lavender Bath Bomb
girllovesglam.com
lemon-lavender-bath-bombs

Rose Bath Bomb
happygoluckyblog.com
rose-bath-bombs

Fish Bath Bomb
beautycrafter.com
fish-bath-bombs

Doughnut Bath Bomb
apumpkinandaprincess.com
doughnut-bath-bombs

Orange Bath Bomb
southernmomloves.com
orange-bath-bombs

Sprinkled Bath Bomb
yesmissy.com
sprinkle-bath-bombs

Valentine Bath Bomb
jojotastic.com
valentine-bath-bomb

Rainbow Bath Bomb
abeautifulmess.com
rainbow-bath-bomb

Green Tea Bath Bomb
thirstyfortea.com
green-tea-bath-bomb

Red Rose Bath Bomb
apumpkinandaprincess.com
beauty-and-the-beast-bath-bomb

Celebrate creativity every Wednesday with a “Creativi-bee” post, where I share easy craft tutorials, project ideas, and craft collections.

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11 Healthy(ish) Vending Machine Snacks

The 10 am hunger slump…the 3 pm hunger slump…the daily stress that just makes you want chocolate ERR DA TIME…the fact that food is 100% more interesting than anything you’re doing at work…that hopeful thought you have every time you pass the break room…

 party food celebrities reactions jennifer lawrence GIF

Sometimes you just have to feed the craving.

If you work in a corporate job, chances are there’s a vending machine in your break room…probably filled with candy bars and packaged baked goods, these snacks have most likely been sitting in there since before you were hired, just waiting for a despite hungry worker to come buy an old granola bar when no one was looking…just to have a little munchy.

And, if you’re one of the really lucky ones, you might have a vending machine that has a nice assortment of options…filled with chips, granola bars, and a few sweets here and there for those emergency moments.

And for those of us who are trying to be healthier, the vending machine can be a pitfall of despair, offering little to no options to actually help the hunger slump.  However, if an emergency hits, there are better options than others hidden in that vending machine.  So, if you are in dire need of a snack or something to get you through the day, here are 11 Healthy(ish) Vending Machine Snacks that won’t drag you down and make you feel like a slug.

snacks1

11 Healthy(ish) Vending Machine Snacks

Overall nuts, granola, trail mix or anything high in fiber and protein will help tame the hunger beast.  Look out for meal replacement bars that are packed with sugar or fatty snacks masked as healthy options. 

  • Snyder’s of Hanover Mini Pretzels (110 calories)
  • Quaker Chewy Low-Fat Granola Bar, Chocolate Chunk (110 calories)
  • Sun Chips Original (140 calories)
  • Planters Honey Roasted Peanuts (160 calories)
  • Planters Sunflower Kernels (160 calories)
  • Nature Valley Granola Bar, Oats & Honey (180 calories)
  • Fig Newtons (190 calories)
  • Baked! Lays Original (210 calories)
  • Traditional Chex Mix (220 calories)
  • Triscuits (240 calories, but packed with fiber)
  • Peanut M&M’s (250 calories)

…And a Few You Should Avoid

All those muffins, pastries, and candy bars may look tempting, but they’re just gonna drag you down even more.  Plus, most of them carry tons of trans fat, sugar, and empty calories that are just no good!  If you must indulge…because really, sometimes you must, share these with a friend!

  • Austin Cheese Crackers with Cheddar Cheese (210 calories, also high in fat)
  • Doritos (250 calories)
  • Skittles (250 calories, also high in fat)
  • Twix (280 calories, lots of fat and saturated fats)
  • Lay’s Potato Chips (280 calories, packed with BHT)
  • Snickers Bar (280 calories)
  • Pop-Tarts Frosted Strawberry Pastries (420 calories)
  • Drake’s Apple Fruit Pie (440 calories)
  • Entenmann’s Jumbo Iced Honey Bun (660 calories, a serving is half a bun!)

 

Every Monday is a “Reci-bee” post, where I share my favorite recipes, recipe collections, and cooking and baking hints and tips. 

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12 Easy DIY Lip Scrubs

As a life-long trumpet player, I know all about taking care of your lips.  The cold, dry weather, the heat from the sun, it can all wreak havoc on your skin, especially your more sensitive areas on your face.

In the winter, I easily go through a few tubes of Chapstick before the season is over, but sometimes it just doesn’t do the trick.  When I need to bring out the big guns, I use lib scrubs.

easy-diy-lip-scrubs

Lib scrubs are so amazing, and once you start, you’ll find it hard to stop.  Made using anything from sugar to coffee, these scrubs help remove the dead skin and dirt from your lips and leave them feeling super soft.

Omaze love kiss the walking dead i love you

While you can buy scrubs in a variety of flavors and styles, it’s just as easy to make them at home…and chances are you probably have everything you need in your pantry already.  So don’t fear the extreme weather…make your skin super soft with these easy DIY Lib Scrubs!

PS – you can also use these on your feet and hands, too!  We won’t tell!  😉

12 Easy DIY Lip Scrubs

  1. Honey Lip Scrub
  2. Raspberry Lemonade Sugar Scrub
  3. Vanilla Mint Lip Scrub
  4. Cotton Candy Lip Scrub
  5. Cinnamon Lip Scrub
  6. Mint Lemonade Lip Scrub
  7. Cucumber Mint Sugar Scrub
  8. Dark Chocolate Lip Scrub
  9. Rose Petal and Mint Lip Scrub
  10. Pineapple Lip Scrub
  11. Vanilla Peppermint Lip Scrub
  12. Lavender Vanilla Lip Scrub

Celebrate creativity every Wednesday with a “Creativi-bee” post, where I share easy craft tutorials, project ideas, and craft collections.

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10 Clever Uses for an Exercise Ball

I bought an exercise ball a few years ago so I had something more comfortable to sit on at work. Those crappy Office Max chairs are comfy for about a week, but when you’re sitting on them all day for 8 hours, you begin to slouch, your posture falls apart, and they seem to lose all back support. However I love sitting on exercise balls. They’re great for stability and they’re an awesome addition to your home gym.

Since I have about zero creativity when it comes to working out (I like a routine), I spent a good few months looking around and trying out exercises using the exercise ball. Most of them are super simple and can be done with just the ball alone.

I found my exercise ball at Target for about $15. They come in a variety of sizes, each suited for people of different heights. Most boxes contain a chart to tell you what size exercise ball you need, or you can look online for helpful tips in shopping for an exercise ball.

The exercise ball is great for working all parts of your body…plus they’re a blast to work with!

  • Place the exercise ball between your lower back and a wall. Use it as support when you do your wall sits.
  • Lay flat on the floor and place the exercise ball between your feet. Keeping your stomach and lower back on the ground (it’ll feel like you’re sucking in your belly button), lift the ball up into the air while keeping your legs as straight as you can. Then lower back down. Do 3 sets of 8 reps for a killer ab workout.
  • If you want to work more of your core, do the above exercise but instead of lowering your legs, bring the ball up into the air and grab hold of it with your arms. Lower the ball back behind your head while lowering your legs at the same time. Bring the ball up with your arms and grab hold of it with your ankles, then lower your arms and legs at the same time. So basically you’re moving the ball back and forth between your hands and feet. This is a great ab workout, but be sure to keep your lower back on the ground because you could hurt yourself if you’re not careful.
  • You could also use the exercise ball as a bench for doing your arm weight training. Lay on the ball and roll forward until the ball is directly under your shoulders. Try to keep yourself flat like a table while doing a weight press or butterfly curl.
  • Work your triceps by sitting on the floor and lifting and lowering the ball behind your head.
  • Squats are some of the best butt exercises you can do, but we all know how strenuous and annoying they can be…but the exercise ball can help! If you need a little support, place the ball behind you as you do your squats. If you’re a beginner, try sitting on the ball lightly and then standing up. Do 8-10 reps and you’ll feel the burn in the morning!
  • To help with your balance and stability, you can also simply sit on the ball when you work or watch TV. Some offices allow you to have ball chairs, which are great for improving your posture. Any exercise ball will work for these chairs, all you need is the base that allows you to keep the ball steady as you sit. The base also has wheels, so you can easily move around your desk.
  • Here’s another killer ab workout. Lay on your stomach on the ball. Roll out until your feet are on the ball. Keeping your arms as steady as you can, bring your knees up towards your chest, then roll back out. Slow and steady wins the race on this workout.
  • To take your pushups to the next level, lay on your stomach on the ball and roll out until only your feet rest on the ball. Do as many pushups as you can handle.

Bonus!

Here’s a great way to use an exercise ball that has nothing to do with exercise!

With a ball, some string, some Mod Podge (or spray adhesive), and plastic wrap, you can create a beautiful hanging light fixture for a fraction of what it would cost to buy one.

I found this photo tutorial on Pinterest, although the link does not go to the original blog.  If you are the creator of this project, please send me your original link and I’ll be sure to credit you for this fantastic idea!

Knowledge is power!  Learn fun facts, hints and tips, and creative ways to use every day items with “The Buzz” posts on Thursday.

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6 Clever Uses for Cinnamon

Cinnamon is one of my favorite fall flavors.  I love the taste, the smell, and the color of it.  But cinnamon can do a whole lot more than add flavor to applesauce, pancakes, and oatmeal…

cinnamon!

1.  Cinnamon is a great go-to spice for nausea, upset stomach, or other digestive problems.  Drop a cinnamon stick in a cup of tea to help sooth your sour tummy.  You could also add a teaspoon of ground cinnamon to hot water and drink it like you would tea.

2.  Place cinnamon and other fall spices in an envelope and seal the envelope with tape.  Poke some holes in it and place it in your drawer, closet, or around your home to add a wonderful fall fragrance to the air.

3.  Anchor several cinnamon sticks in whole cloves or dried cranberries in a glass: this makes a pretty and sweet-smelling decorative element.  We also tie bunches of cinnamon sticks together and place them in our Christmas tree.  It looks beautiful and smells amazing.

4.  Break 4 cinnamon sticks and combine with 1/2 cup of whole cloves and 1/2 cup whole black peppercorns. Fill small squares of fabric with a tablespoon of this mixture, tie shut and hang in your closets to keep moths away from your clothes.

5.  It may not be a scientifically proven fact, but many homeowners have had success warding off ants with cinnamon sticks. Place some by your entry doors and in the corners on the floor in your kitchen and it should work to keep the ants away.

6.  Cooks and bakers alike know the value of fresh cinnamon.  If you want to experiment with cinnamon in your own cooking, know that cinnamon goes well with cardamom, cloves, coriander seed, cumin, ginger, mastic, nutmeg and mace, tamarind and turmeric.

Knowledge is power!  Learn fun facts, hints and tips, and creative ways to use every day items with “The Buzz” posts on Thursday.

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How to Do a Mani/Pedi at Home

Nail salons are a thing of the past…like Spandex workout shorts and colorful sweat bands.  Today’s working woman is all about DIY…so here’s how you can rock beautiful fingers and toes without smelling like methyl methacrylate.

DIY Mani/Pedi’s!

Step One:  Soften Your Skin

Soak your feet in warm water for 10 minutes to soften calluses and relax cuticles.  Use a foot file or pumice to scrub problem areas on your feet.  Try to stay clear of callus shavers or graters, since they can tear your skin and have been known to make calluses grow back faster.

As for your hands, soaking them in water causes your nails to retain moisture, which slows down the drying process when you paint your nails.  If you want smooth hands, try applying a heavy-duty lotion to your hands at night.  Put on some cotton gloves and wake up with wonderfully soft hands.  If your cuticles are a disaster, rub some hair conditioner on them and put the cotton gloves on.  By the next morning, your hands should look beautiful.

Step Two:  Cutting and Filing

I speak from experience here…cutting nails  on an angle can cause painful hangnails or ingrown nails, which are maybe the worst things ever.  Instead, cut your nail straight across the top for length, then use a file to shape and smooth corners.

Step Three:  Cuticle Care

Using a cuticle cutter or shaver is a thing of the past.  These can easily remove the viable protective skin instead of only the dry dead part of your cuticle.  Instead, use a cuticle solvent to help loosen the dead skin that needs to be removed.  Because these solvents are meant to exfoliate, some may even lift stains and whiten yellow or stained nails!

Step Four:  Polishing

We all love that thick awesome hand moisturizer; however, it can make it harder for the polish to stick to your nail.  Don’t rule it out, though.  Moisturizer is essential in helping your nails from peeling and looking ragged.  After applying your moisturizer, use a cotton swab soaked in polish remover to “clean off” your nails before you paint them.  This allows for the moisturizer to stay on your hands while giving you a clean and clear nail bed.

Every girl has a method in polishing her nails.  Here’s what the “pros” recommend:  “Apply thin layers of base coat, polish, and top coat, using this technique:  Hold the brush close to, but not touching, the cuticle in the center of your nail, and swipe to the end; then apply on each side.  Next, lightly run the brush across the tip of the nail so the polish wraps over the edge.  This will help protect it from chips.”

Top your color with two coats of lacquer and let dry for 15-30 minutes.  Just because the top feels dry doesn’t mean you can’t get scratches…so pop in a movie and enjoy taking it easy!

Knowledge is power!  Learn fun facts, hints and tips, and creative ways to use every day items with “The Buzz” posts on Thursday.

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