I was tagged by thistallgirltalks.blogspot.com for a #wiyp, aka, what’s in my purse today! Here are a few of my favorite things that I’ve been carrying around on a daily basis. Let’s be honest, I left out the Delsym cough syrup because who wants to see that!


Let’s start with the bag! I got this one for a steal at TJMaxx for $40 last year. I love the color for fall/winter, and the studs add a fun detail. My next bag will be a structured one because I don’t love how it collapses, as it’s hard to get stuff out when it’s hidden at the bottom. I’m loving the new pastel Rebecca Minkoff bags! That will definitely be my next big investment.

Purse (another studded alternative), This Rebecca Minkoff


The outdoor apparel…Michigan winters are FREEZING, so you have to be prepared! I love these leather/herringbone gloves, which are Mossimo from Target. They were super cheap and work well for driving. I got my scarf at a boutique as a cheap alternative to the Burberry original. These sunglasses are my favorite pair I’ve ever had! I got them as a birthday gift from my husband. They’re polarized, which I highly recommend for the sun while driving.

Gloves (similar style from this year), Sunglasses, Scarf (another one I’m loving), Sunglasses case


These are the random essentials I always have. This wallet is an old one from Kohls, and I always have to have Kleenex and gum. My gum of choice is Five, and my snack choice today was Sour Patch Kids. Yummy!


For listening to music, I love my Lady Gaga Beats headphones, which were also a gift from my husband. (He’s good at gifts!) They are high quality but still light so I can wear them at the gym. They have cute little studs on the ear buds that add a little edge. I also have my Kindle with me, and I’m currently reading The Maze Runner. I saw the movie and then decided to catch up on the series. Usually I’m the person who reads the books before the movies, so I’m finding the book not as fun to read now. I’m excited to get to the next one in the series!

Headphones, Kindle 


For my touchups throughout the day, I have a few products I’m loving right now. The Bobbi Brown lipgloss is in the color Honeysuckle number 42, and is a perfect nude lip for everyday use. The EOS lip balm is cute and smells so yummy! I got this Lorac Matte lipstick in a five pack exclusive from Kohls for only $35! To put it in perspective, one individually is $16, so I had to go with this deal. This one is the color Seductress, and is great for a pigmented everyday color. The Lush Ultrabalm was given to me as a gift from my bridesmaids last year, and is perfect for anything from lips, hands, face, or even to tame flyaway hairs, which I have a problem with when it’s so dry outside!

Bobbi Brown gloss, EOS lip balm, Lorac lipstick, Lush ultrabalm


The first gold necklace is one of my favorites, from IlyCouture online. I highly recommend this shop for cute and fair-priced jewelry! They always have really trendy stuff. The pearl necklace is an old one from Kohls.

Similar pave necklace, Cute pearl necklace




How to Never Pay Full Price for Anything


My mom raised me to be a deal shopper. Growing up, the family would buy one drink at a restaurant to share, we always used coupons, we snuck our own treats into the movie theater, packed a lunch rather than buying, and never purchased clothes that required dry-cleaning. These are habits that are ingrained in me, although I will splurge occasionally on my own soda or an adorable sweater labeled “dry clean only”. Over time, I’ve become a pro at never paying full price. It pains me now to know I didn’t get some kind of deal on something because there was probably some way for me to save money if I would have taken the time to look. Below I am sharing my favorite ways to knock some dollars off of your purchase and back into your purse during the holiday season.


1. Shop at deal stores such as TJMaxx, Marshalls, Nordstrom Rack, or your local outlet mall. These stores require more of a hunt when shopping, but often have hidden gems for reduced prices. These places are also starting to offer online stores, which makes it even more convenient to shop in your free time.

2. Examine clothes for tiny rips, missing buttons, deodorant stains, or a loose thread. Often times if you point this out to a salesperson, they’ll offer you a discount of 10-20% off for the damage. Most of the time it’s an easy repair that will be well worth the money saved! One time I mentioned to the clerk that some boots I was buying had some scratches on them. They offered me 15% off due to the damage. Then I expressed that I was still unsure because since they weren’t real leather, I probably could not rub them off. The clerk then offered me an additional 10% off using her manager discount! This was an awesome situation that doesn’t always happen, but you’ll never know if you don’t try!

With the dress in the photo, I bought it during Anthropologie’s Black Friday sale. It was normally around $120, but was on clearance for $70. The Black Friday sale gave me an additional 20% off. When I noticed an easily repairable unsewn hem, I was able to get an additional $21 off. I ended up paying $39! Deals on deals, and it never hurts to mention the flaws!

Screen shot 2014-12-05 at 2.46.50 PM

3. Always search online for a coupon code, especially when online shopping. I swear, 80% of the time there is a coupon code that I can use when I’m shopping online. I google search something like “old navy coupon codes” and can usually find something, even if it’s just free shipping. A great site to use is RetailMeNot, which is a site made solely for providing coupons! It will save you money if you take time to look them up.

4. Sign up for retailer’s emails and you’ll often get coupons in your inbox. They usually send you an initial thank you discount, and will inform you of sales in the future. If you start to get too many emails, you can always unsubscribe and just use the initial coupon. If you decide you re-subscribe later, you’ll get another welcome coupon!

5. About one month before your birthday, google search all the places that will give you free stuff for your birthday. There are hundreds of restaurants and stores that will give you a special discount or free food for your big day! You just have to join their eclub or sign up for emails. Some places require you to be enrolled for at least a month or two in order to get the birthday gift, so think ahead. You can always unsubscribe after your birthday.

6. If you’re shopping in a store and you fell in love with an item that is out of stock, ask the sales person if they can order it for you from the store. Sometimes they are able to do this and will give you free shipping! I’ve done this before at Victoria’s Secret and Aerie, and they’re always willing to purchase what they don’t have in store.

7. I don’t usually recommend this because it can be dangerous, but if you don’t already have a credit card and are looking to build some credit, apply for a store credit card. Most of the time you will get a discount on your first purchase, and sometimes you get special coupons sent to you for using their card. Make sure when you apply, you’re buying something big so your discount goes far!

8. Check store websites before you shop in-store because sometimes there will be deals online that you won’t find in store, or the opposite. For example, often times Old Navy has sales that are only online or only in-store. If I’m in the dressing room about to buy something, I always check online for the item first to see which place has it cheaper.



Sugar is Back in My Life

IMG_4280Well everyone, I completed 7 full days with no added or artificial sugars, and I think that is a big accomplishment! I am very proud of myself, and I learned a lot through the process. I am determined to take what I learned and change my eating habits. You may be wondering why I only finished 7 days, and did not do the whole 10. After 7 days, I decided that I felt really good, and I had even lost 2 pounds. I did not want to stress myself out for the next few days, as I decided to travel with Brent for work. It would have been possible to continue sugar-free on my trip with Brent, but I really felt satisfied with my week completed and felt that it would be easier to transition to low-sugar at this time. I am proud to say that I think I stayed within the recommended daily value of sugar consumption for the last two days.

Some of the small steps that I made in the past two days to keep my sugar consumption down included only eating half of the bread with my sandwich at a restaurant, ordering a low sugar drink at Starbucks (skinny peppermint mocha or skinny caramel macchiato), using ketchup sparingly, no soda at all, no processed snacks, staying with eating fruit and nuts for breakfast, and no dessert. These small changes allow you to still eat what you want and be happy, but you cut out unnecessary sugar.

Now that I’ve completed my challenge, I want to share a few shocking sugar facts with you. I’ve learned a lot about good sugars and bad sugars, and have learned to look at labels and be able to identify hidden sugars. Take a look at my previous posts (day 5) for a link to the list of 50 words for hidden sugars.

  • Preferred sugars that you should use if using added sweeteners include cane sugar, honey, and maple syrup.
  • Bad sugars that you should try to avoid are white sugar, brown sugar, agave (some people do not agree), and high fructose corn syrup.
  • Women should only have 24 grams of sugar per day (6 teaspoons).
  • Men should only have 36 grams of sugar per day (9 teaspoons).
  • A tall Starbucks Peppermint Mocha contains 42 grams of sugar! Twice a woman’s daily value in one small drink!
  • A tall Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte contains 38 grams of sugar! This is more than a dessert drink.
  • Most ketchup that is served at restaurants is basically all high fructose corn syrup, light on the tomatoes.
  • There are usually added sugars in things like spaghetti sauce, salad dressing, BBQ sauce, soup, and even coffee creamers and other products that say they are ‘sugar free’. Make sure you know the hidden words for sugar and can find them hidden on labels.
  • Avoid processed food as much as possible because ‘reduced fat’ snacks often just replace the fat with artificial sugars, which your body will respond to by storing the food as fat.
  • If you drink coffee, try to pick cream OR sugar instead of both to easily cut out some sugar.
  • Just because fruit is natural sugar, try not to over do it because you can have too much. Stick to about 2 servings of fruit a day.
  • Any type of fruit juice is loaded with sugar. Your body can process actual fruit well because the fiber is included, which helps your body process the sugar. When you drink fruit juices, the fiber is taken out and your body does not respond to it as well and is triggered to store the nutrients as fat. Juice cleanses are bad!

Sugar Detox- Day 6


Alright folks, I’m more than halfway in! I am pretty proud of myself for still staying strong, but I am looking forward to expanding my palette. Since I don’t want to be researching recipes and grocery shopping all day, I have been eating some of the same stuff. It’s getting a little boring. I’m looking forward to my Starbucks treat at the end of the tunnel!

Today I made the homemade granola that I talked about in the post yesterday. After just trying a piece right out of the oven, it tastes slightly bland. It shouldn’t be a surprise to me since it’s sugar free! It will probably taste delicious though with some vanilla almond milk and some fruit to sweeten it up. It was a very easy recipe that took about 5 minutes to prep. I could see myself continuing to make it in the future since it’s so easy.

Overall, I’m feeling good about this challenge and am looking forward to saying I’ve done it. Here’s a summary of today.

Day 6 Meals:

Breakfast- apple and mixed nuts

Lunch- salami, cheese, rice crackers, leftover pasta fagioli, peanut butter for dessert

Dinner- taco salad including corn chips, lettuce, cheese, guacamole, and beef. (Unfortunately the taco seasoning had some dextrose in it, which is a hidden word for sugar. I did not have time to make an alternative spice so I allowed myself this tiny cheat.)

No Sugar- Halfway Through!


Day five complete! There’s no turning back now that we’re halfway through! Today was the first day doing the challenge while being at school all day. It got a little difficult when I was starving around dinnertime and didn’t have any food packed. I ended up going to Five Guys and getting a burger wrapped in lettuce and some fries. For those of you who are gluten free or want to eliminate some carbs and calories, Five Guys and Red Robin both do burgers wrapped in lettuce regularly. It cuts out like 300 calories and a bunch of sugar without the bun!

I have to tell you though, I was really wanting ketchup with my burger and fries today. I went to Whole Foods this afternoon looking around for no added sugar ketchup that I could bring with me. I had one in my hand and was walking up to the register when I took a second look at the label. I saw “maltodextrin”, and wasn’t sure if that was another secret word for sugar. I looked on the Fed Up documentary website at their list of 56 hidden words for sugar. Sure enough, there it was. Sadly, I have not found any ketchup with no added sugars, but I plan to stick with a low sugar ketchup after the challenge.

50 Hidden Words for Sugar: http://fedup.s3.amazonaws.com/2014/09/Hidden-Sugar-.jpg

I also really wanted some coffee today, but normally I’m a cream and sugar girl. I got it black today at Starbucks because they did not have any unsweetened milk. I’m sorry but I just can’t do coffee without some added sugar! Whether it be cream or sugar, I gotta have it! I even went to Whole Foods yet a second time today after I ordered it to get some unsweetened almond milk to add, but it really did not help the flavor. Now I know what my treat will be once this challenge is over! I’ll be heading out to get the coveted Starbucks peppermint mocha in the red cup next Sunday.

Tomorrow I plan on making homemade no sugar granola that I can have with unsweetened almond milk and fruit in the morning. Sounds like something I would eat after the challenge too! I’m also excited about making ribs with a homemade sugar free BBQ sauce on Friday as a “we are almost done” reward. Here are some recipes below for what I plan on making. I’ll let you know how it tastes!




Day 5 Meals:

Breakfast- apple and peanut butter

Lunch- cajun turkey, cheese, and mustard wrapped in lettuce, mixed nuts, coffee with almond milk

Dinner- Five Guys burger with onions and mustard wrapped in lettuce, fries

Snacks- pineapple, strawberries, blackberries, strawberries

Sugar Detox- Day 4


Day four of the detox was a little harder the previous days. Today I felt a little tired and had a slight headache in the afternoon. Not sure if it was related to the sugar. I didn’t wake up in time to make a big breakfast, so I was starving after church, especially after denying free donuts. After lunch, Brent and I ended up eating dinner around 5:00 PM because we were hungry and tired of the food at home (I’m just realizing now that our bodies probably thought it was 6:00). We decided to go to Chipotle since we were too lazy to cook. It was a surprisingly lazy day considering we had an extra hour of sleep! Overall I’m glad that we did not cheat today and we completed day four. Looking forward to the week since I tend to have less time to think about how bored and hungry I am!

Day 4 Meals:

Breakfast- apple with peanut butter

Lunch- salami, cheese, rice crackers, leftover pasta fagioli, a few pieces of fruit

Dinner- Chipotle salad (lettuce, chicken, pico de gallo, cheese, guacamole, tiny bit of brown rice)

Snacks- popcorn

Sugar Detox- Day 3


Day 3!!! This morning was great. Brent and I enjoyed cooking some omelettes and bacon together. You would not believe how hard it is to find sugar-free bacon! It’s almost impossible. To be honest, the bacon we had contained less than 1 gram of evaporated cane sugar. Cane sugar is still bad, but is much better than white sugar. It was also the last ingredient on the list. I decided to only have a few bites and then I felt too guilty. Technically I messed up, but I’m not going to let that stop me!

Last night, Brent and I had to fight the urge to go get ice cream, but after about 15 minutes we were over the craving. It’s just because of our weekend habit of going out for dessert, and a lot of activities on a Friday night involve food. We were able to stay strong, and we had some peppered popcorn while watching TV.


Tonight, we treated ourselves by going out to get burgers at Red Robin. In order to avoid sugar, we asked for our burgers wrapped in lettuce instead of the bun, which Red Robin actually does fairly often. We also did not add seasoning to our fries because it contained a disguised sugar ingredient, and we did not have ketchup. I gotta tell you, it was harder than I expected not to have ketchup! I actually squirted some on my plate, dipped my fry in it, and had my mouth open ready to eat it before Brent stopped me. He talked me out of it, and I’m so glad he did! Although I really needed something for those plain fries and I did miss it, I’m glad I didn’t give in. Ketchup is basically all high fructose corn syrup, which is one of the worst sugars for your body. You can see the proof in my photo that I did not eat it! I should have gotten a photo when the food arrived, but I was starving and couldn’t wait a second.

To be clear, we are not completely eliminating all sugars. We are only allowing natural sugars into our diet, such as those in fruits and vegetables. We technically could have honey or maple syrup if they were raw and pure, but for this detox we decided the natural sugar content is still very high and we decided to avoid it. I also allowed myself some crackers that are made of brown rice, almonds, and other natural ingredients. No added sugars or fake ingredients involved.

I’m proud of us for getting through three days semi-easily, and I’m motivated for the next 7 days. Woohoo! Feeling good! (I also lost some more weight today, although that is not the goal of this detox.)

Day 3 Meals:

Breakfast- omelette with green pepper, onion, ham, and cheese, 1 piece of bacon

Lunch- Salami and cheese on some rice/almond crackers, mixed fruit (strawberries, raspberries, blueberries)

Dinner- Red Robin burger wrapped in lettuce with red onions, mustard, and pickles, plain french fries

Snacks- spoonful of peanut butter, popcorn