Friday, January 30, 2015

Super Bowl XLIX Weekend Survival Guide

Super Bowl XLIX, Super Bowl XLIX food, CHicken wings

Whether you're a passive fan or a rabid one, here's all you need to know about the Super Bowl XLIX matchup between the Patriots and Seahawks. 

As for Deflate-gate/Ballghazi (which name do you prefer?), the NFL says the 108 balls used during Super Bowl XLIX will be under extra security before the game.

Here are 19 of the craziest Super Bowl XLIX prop bets including:
  • What will halftime performer Katy Perry be wearing at the start of her performance? 
  • What kind of hoodie will Bill Belichik be wearing?  
  • How many times Tom Brady's wife Gisele Bundchen will be shown?
  • Will Marshawn Lynch grab his crotch after scoring a touchdown?

A ton of Super Bowl ads are already on YouTube. You can watch 10 of them in the box above, including the Victoria's Secret one. You're welcome, gentlemen.

Are you going to a Super Bowl watching party? Here are the 25 rules for Super Bowl parties.

My Super Bowl XLIX Plans & Prediction. Share Yours!
I'll be watching the game at home. We're leaving for Beaver Creek on Monday to attend the Alpine World Ski Championships in Vail. We won't be cooking anything special. Our menu will likely be a takeout salad or Tex-Mex.

I believe this will be a phenomenal matchup and think the Seahawks will become the first team to win back to back Super Bowl titles since the Patriots did in 2004 and 2005. I like Seattle's edge. Given how closely matched up these teams are, I am going with the one that has the better defense. Good defenses usually beat good offenses. I can hear my old coach now:

Defense wins championships. Seahawks win 24-21. 

What are your Super Bowl plans? What's your prediction? Please share in the comments section. 

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Valentine's Day Gifts For Her

Valentine's Day Gifts for her, Valentine's Day Gift Guide

Click on any item to learn more about it.

Guys, I'm here to help. I told all my gals what you REALLY want for Valentine's Day. Now, it's your turn to step up to the plate.

I'm the aberration: I think this is a lame holiday. Maybe it's because I was never much of a dater. I was always too busy working to date much. But for 75% of the women out there, Valentine's Day and its gifts are a big deal.

I have had girlfriends complain about getting Tom Thumb carnations, cheap jewelry and bad dinners. If you focus on these categories when it comes gifts, you will likely have the best Valentine's Day ever.

Purses & Jewelry
Purses and jewelry are great gifts. Most women go crazy over a new purse. They go even crazier over a designer one. Think Louis Vuitton, Prada, Gucci, Tory Burch (a relatively affordable designer brand). You can't go wrong.

TIP: if you're at the point in your relationship where that engagement ring might be expected, go with a purse. She'll be heartbroken if you give her some earrings and she was expecting an engagement ring. That's happened to three of my girls.

If you're married, get some bling. Designer stuff is better. She can get the cheap stuff for herself. A simple Kendra Scott necklace is a nice touch. A Cartier Love Bracelet? Amazeballs. Anything in between, ranging from David Yurman to Lagos or gorjana, would be awesome.

Nice Flowers
Women really do love flowers. Don't go the cheap grocery store carnation route. Get some nice flowers. In Tom Thumb's defense they have lovely bouquets. The thing is you will probably have to order them in advance because most guys who wait until Valentine's Day are stuck with those cheap carnations.

If she is a girlie-girl, you can get the bouquet of roses (Gilt City is running a special HERE). If she kills weeds or has a more sophisticated eye, a gorgeous orchid bouquet will knock her socks off. Bonus? Orchids last forever.

Good Champagne and Chocolate
I am not an advocate of dining out on Valentine's Day (AKA Amateur Night). Restaurant menus are usually dumbed down to appeal to the folks who dine out only a few times a year. Get creative and cook dinner or order something. Buy some good champagne (Ruinart, Moët & Chandon or Veuve Cliquot are all wonderful) and chocolate or chocolate covered strawberries (Gilt City has a deal on them HERE) to end the night. My favorite Valentine's Day memory involved a bottle of Krug and chocolate covered strawberries.

Have Fun
Don't be afraid to have some fun with your gift. If she's not into the holiday, like me, this cute pajama set or something else that will make her laugh is perfect.

What Are Your Plans?
Thinking about something for Valentine's Day? Don't be afraid to share your plans in the comments section.

Shop Valentine's Day Gifts For Her

What He Really Wants For Valentine's Day

Valentine's Day Gifts for guys.
Click on any item to learn more about it.

I have worked with men my whole life. I am more comfortable having cocktails with a group of guys than I am with a group of girls. They tell me things they don't tell their girlfriends or their wives.

Girl, I'm here to tell you:

He doesn't want a tie or cologne for Valentine's Day. 
He wants your booty.

He's buying some cute trinket or purse for you. All he wants for February 14th is some V-Day action. Sorry. 99.8% of the men I know complain about the lack of booty. So to make your man's Valentine's Day, or any day for that matter, give it up. Give something up.

Now that we have that out of the way, these are fun gifts he might actually like. Again, this is from years of mingling with guys who complain about the lame gifts (most of them) and brag about the cool gifts (rare) the women in their lives give them.

Do you celebrate the Hallmark holiday? Personally, we stay in on Valentine's Day. It, like New Year's Eve, is another amateur night when people who never go out venture out for dinner at restaurants that dumb down their menus to feed the masses. Man, I sound old and bitter.

What are you Valentine's Day plans?

Shop This Story

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

SkinPen Review: Dynamic Results With Little Downtime

Press play for a sneak peak of my SkinPen facial at Luxury on Lovers

If you're anything like me, you're over wasting money on beauty treatments and products that don't work. I am at the point where I'm willing to spend a bit more to get results from a treatment versus some bargain procedure that doesn't really do anything. That's why I am always on the lookout for beauty innovations that work. Friends, the SkinPen facial does the job.

RELATED: DermaPlane Review: A Simple Way to Get Glowing Skin with No Downtime

What Is The SkinPen?
The SkinPen is a micro-needling device, created by Dallas-based Bellus Medical, featuring 12 tiny surgical-grade needles that produces microscopic punctures in your skin. That, in turn, stimulates the production of collagen and elastin which give you a more youthful appearance. There are no lasers or heat involved. It mimics what a fractional laser does but with little downtime.

"(There is) no risk of burning, hypo or hyper-pigmenting the skin," says Lisa Cobb, owner of Luxury on Lovers, a leader in the SkinPen treatment.  "We can do it any time of year. Sun exposure should be limited for a week or so after but one does not have the risk of photo-sensitivity like with lasers."

Interested other beauty gamechangers? Read my photofacial review, DermaPlane facial review find out about 10 instant beauty treatments that work.
Tuesday, January 20, 2015

The Nike Training Club App Review: A Butt-Kicking Virtual Trainer

Nike Training Club, Nike Training Club App, Nike Training App

The Nike Training Club App is the nuts. It's a booty kick and personal trainer all rolled into one downloadable package of workout brilliance.

A hair dresser introduced me to it when she told me she simply exercised at home. She had a phenomenal figure and was around 40. I took her advice and downloaded the app with extremely low expectations. 

It blew me away, literally and figuratively.

Is This The Week New Year's Resolutions Die?

2015 Goals, Write down to your goals

The third week of January is critical when it comes to New Year's resolutions. It is the week most of them die, according to the Wall Street Journal. Gym attendance declines, that commitment to eat better weakens, you know the routine.

The thing is, three weeks is barely enough time to give a resolution a chance to stick. A 2009 study by University College London found it takes about 66 days to develop a habit (Tweet this).

How can you stay committed to reaching your 2015 goals? 
  • Stay Focused. Being focused on a goal can help you reach it. How do you do that? Read blogs, websites, magazines and news articles about the particular area in which you're interesting in improving. Want to get in better shape? Read Shape or Women's Health. Want to cook healthier meals? Make Eating Well part of your regular reading. Shameless plug: sign up for The Real Skinny, a digest of diet and fitness tips for the real world, like this one. Or check out my blog every Monday for News To Help You Have A Healthier Week. Reading about it, helps you think about it and keep those goals present in your mind. 
  • Write It Down. Research repeatedly shows that writing down your goals helps you reach them. Failing to write your goals means you will forget them or won't focus on them. Put them somewhere you will see them every day. Here's a 2015 goals worksheet.
  • Be Specific. Don't be vague in your goals. For example: "I will wake up by 6am five days a week" is one of my goals for 2015. That's a better and more specific goal than "I will wake up earlier this year".  In fact, according to experts, being specific about when, where and how you will take action can set you up for success. 
  • Be Realistic. You probably won't lose 25 pounds in one month. Five pounds? That's doable. Don't set goals that are completely unattainable. Take it a step further and create that specific action plan (see above) for you to achieve this. 
So if you do abandon your 2015 goals this week. Don't stress it. You can always start again next week.

How You Doin'?
How are you doing with your 2015 goals? Are they too tough to attain or are you rolling along? Please share in the comments section.

Me? I am struggling with the wake up at 6am thing. I am getting up about 6:30am which is at least a step in the right direction.

Monday, January 19, 2015

News To Help You Have A Healthier Week

Intermittent fasting, fasting 12 hours a day
Image via

I hope you had a great weekend. Full disclosure: I have been dieting like a mad bitch for a photo shoot today. The nice thing about the diet (which I will detail in an upcoming post) is that I really haven't craved anything. I have been a bit of recluse, though, and avoided going out to dinner all week. I am a night eater and didn't want to be tempted.

Here are a few things that caught my eye. Hope they help you have a healthier week!

Fasting 12 hours a day can help you lose weight. I try to do this most days of the week (think 5) and it is so much easier than you would think. Eat dinner before 7pm, have breakfast after 7am. That tends to be the most manageable window in the real world. If you need to eat a bit later, try to do it before 8pm and eat your breakfast after 8am.

Writer Andy Leeks tried 10 different diets in 50 days and lost 25 pounds. He lost the most weight on the 5:2 Diet and the Special K Diet.

Dr. Oz has a new diet plan: the Total 10 Rapid Weight Loss Plan. On it you ditch coffee for hot lemon water (the bitterness of the lemon stimulates bile flow which helps emulsify and remove fat-soluble toxins, according to Dr. Oz - Tweet this), eat protein in the morning (smart!) and two healthy snacks a day are allowed (think kale chips, lentils and almond butter quinoa balls).

Need more motivation to exercise? A sedentary lifestyle can be twice as deadly as being obese, according to a new study. 

Still not moving most days of the week. Here are three ways to find your exercise sweet spot.

Get The Real Skinny 
Looking for more diet and fitness news? Sign up for The Real Skinny. It's my email newsletter featuring diet and fitness tips for the real world, like this one.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Barrington Gifts St. Anne Tote: A Golden Globe Swag Bag Darling

Barrington Gifts St. Anne Tote bag, St Anne Tote, Golden Globes Swag bag, Barrington GIfts
St. Anne Tote Swag Bag Assembly

North Texas will be well-represented at the Golden Globes this Sunday night. Dallas-based Barrington Gifts' St. Anne Tote is THE swag bag for Golden Globe nominees. According to Barrington Gifts, they were delivered into the private hotel rooms of nominees on Friday.

 Click on any bag to learn more about it!

The likes of Julia Louis-Dreyfuss (I LOVE her...Veep is my favorite show), Emily Blunt, Helen Mirren, Viola Davis, Mark Ruffalo received the bag in various patterns: Checkerboard, Navajo Mesa, Glen Plaid, Black Watch Plaid, Reptile and Axis.

Best actress nominee Reese Witherspoon is the only celebrity gifted with the tote in the French Stripe pattern. It's personalized with her initials, LRW. That's the cool thing about Barrington's products: you can get virtually anything debossed with your initials.

I first met the Barrington Gifts team when I discovered their gameday line (click HERE to learn more about it), which allows you customize any of their bags in your alma mater's favorite colors. It's brilliant. They also have a slew of goodies for guys and great corporate gifts.

Get Your Own Golden Globes Bag
Barrington's St. Anne Tote may become a new celebrity favorite but it has an incredibly real world price. It's only $145. You order it online and get your initials on it for an additional $5.

Buy Barrington Gifts St. Anne Tote Bag

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

The Best Diets Of 2015

DASH Diet Eating Plan, The DASH Diet
DASH Diet meal planner/Image via

When you're a former fat girl like me, you're always interested in diet news. U.S. News & World Report's diet rankings are out for 2015 and once again the DASH Diet tops the list. The DASH Diet which stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension, (Tweet this) was designed to combat high blood pressure but it gets high marks for its nutritional value and ability to prevent and/or control diabetes. Weight loss is a nice side effect.
Monday, January 5, 2015

Travel Resolutions To Make In 2015

Alexander Nevsky Cathedral, Tallin Estonia
Alexander Nevsky Cathedral in Tallin, Estonia 
Are you making travel resolutions for 2015? So many people I know say "I will finally take that trip to ___________ (insert your dream destination here)". 

Wherever it is you want to go, do it. Don't wait. Save your money. Research and plan your trip and then GO. 

Parc de la Ciutadella, Barcelona, Spain
Taking a selfie before it was even a thing at Parc de la Ciutadella on my solo trip to Barcelona in 2008.

That's one thing I have always done. I wanted to go to Barcelona by myself a few years ago. I did it. Israel solo? Done. Travel is one thing in which I fully follow through on my intentions. Pretty much all the time. 

The New York Post lists 13 Travel Resolutions for 2015 and they're pretty good: 
  • Check that trip off your bucket list.
  • Invest in good luggage. This was a gamechanger for me. When I finally punted my hand-me-down suitcases, I bought a fabulous Bric's suitcase. One of my best investments, ever. 
  • Plan a solo trip. These are my favorite trips. No matter what your age, this is one of the best ways to learn more, not just about the world, but also yourself. 
  • Brush up on a language you learned in school and use it. Also try to learn a few key phrases in the language of the country you're visiting. I do this every time I visit a foreign country. You can't imagine how tough Turkish and Greek were for me. Simply attempting the language will endear you to locals in more ways that you can imagine.
  • Go to a new US city. This is something I try to do at least once a year. Discovering a new city is an absolute treat. We can get swept up in the romantic notions of Europe or South America but, don't forget, the United States has awesome towns, too. Go. Visit them. Get lost. Have fun. 
  • Explore your own city. Great advice. So many times we think our city is SO boring or SO lame. Taking time to be a tourist in your own city can lead you to discover parts of the city that are completely foreign to you...and fabulous. 
  • Set out on a road trip. I love a good road trip, complete with small town diners and fun local stores. A good road trip is a wonderful experience.
  • Unplug for a weekend or week. Digital detoxes are easier said than done. 
  • Use all of your vacation days.
  • Travel with a close companion. 
  • Check out a festival.
  • Take a walking, hiking or biking tour. 
  • Book a last minute trip. 

What Are Your Travel Resolutions?
Do you have any travel goals for 2015? Please share them in the comments section.

Travel resolutions for 2015, travel is the only thing you buy that makes you richer
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Me? I have three:
  • I want to travel more for work. Yes, I am one of those crazy people who likes business trips. 
  • Take a road trip. I am due for a good one. I would really like to do the California coast again with plenty of time to spare. 
  • Spend more time in France. I'm an addict. Sorry. 
Whatever you decide to do, make this the year you plan a trip you love. 

Thursday, January 1, 2015

How To Own 2015...And Keep Your New Year's Goals

Make 2015 the year you make it happen. Whatever your "IT" is.

For many of my friends and family, gaining control of their weight and overall health is a priority. For me, staying the course is the goal but that's never easy. I am a recovering a fat girl and and am always a Golden Corral buffet away from my orca phase.

The thing is, whether you're at your ideal weight or fitness level or still trying to get there, your health should be one of your top priorities. If you do not have a healthy body and spirit, nothing else matters (Tweet this). Simply put:

If you don't have your health, you don't have anything.

Click HERE to download this worksheet.

We know that resolutions, many times, fail. I prefer not to think in terms of resolutions for a new year but in goals. It's scientifically proven that writing down goals helps you achieve them.

So to help you do just that, I have created a simple download that you can print and write down your goals to help you rock them. Click HERE to download your 2015 goals worksheet.

Be Realistic
Don't put too much pressure on yourself. We're all human. There will be days that we eat too much candy or miss a workout. We will yell at people we love and feel fat. We WILL get off track. The key is to jump right back on when we do get off track. Little missteps are a part of life. It's how we rebound from them that help define us.

Get Easy Diet & Fitness Tips In 2015
Looking for extra motivation this year? Sign up for The Real Skinny. You will receive smart, practical advice that you can use in the real world (like THIS ONE) to help you reach your diet and fitness goals.

Share Your Goals 
Please share some of your 2015 goals in the comments section. I would love to learn what you have in store this year. Check back on Monday. I will share my 2015 goals worksheet.

Happy 2015! 
Make it your best year yet! 

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