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Single Girl Recipe: Pumpkin Spice Latte.

Homemade pumpkin spice latte

Homemade pumpkin spice latte

Maintaining a healthy diet is always a struggle, but I find it to be an ENORMOUS challenge when the cooler months roll around — the swimsuits are gone, sweets are everywhere, and there’s a constant crave for comforting foods. It’s tough!

But no matter how difficult it is, I know I feel better when I’m putting good stuff into my body. And that doesn’t mean everything has to be boring or bland.

One of my favorite flavors of the fall season is, of course, pumpkin (although I do feel like the whole pumpkin thing has gotten out of control this year) and I always look forward to Starbucks’ release of the PSL. But let’s face it, that thing is full of fat and sugar that my waistline just cannot handle.

So, you can imagine my delight when I stumbled upon an easy, homemade version of the PSL that’s waaaayyy healthier and just as delicious!

This recipe is from the gals at Tone It Up!

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 Shots of espresso, or 1 cup of coffee
  • 1 Cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • 1 Packet of Stevia
  • 2 tbs Pumpkin puree
  • 1 tsp Pumpkin spice (or 1/2 tsp cinnamon, 1/4tsp ground ginger, 1/8 tsp nutmeg, 1/8 tsp allspice)

Blend ingredients together before adding coffee or espresso.

Want to kick it up even more? Use pumpkin spice coffee for an extra pumpkin POW, and/or whip some almond milk until frothy, and spoon over the top of your latte for an official taste and feel.

Keep things convenient and make a bigger batch of this, and store it in an airtight container in the fridge, so you can just pour and enjoy in the mornings! Time to cozy up — without the guilt.

Own your bed head!

I wish my bed head looked this good.

I wish my bed head looked this good.

Recently, Casper, a mattress company that specializes in making outrageously comfortable latex memory foam mattresses, brought forth a good point to me — a good night’s sleep often results in a mess of hair come morning. But so what? Why are we constantly running from the bed head, instead of embracing it? So, Casper, challenge ACCEPTED!

When I got to thinking about it, I’ve been rocking bed head for a few years now. I workout after work, which means a shower (and washing my hair) is a must. Because I have colored hair, I try to keep heat away from my locks as much as possible. So, I wash my hair at night and I go to bed with it wet, leaving it to air dry.

Truth be told, I do keep a comb in my shower, but rarely do I even comb my hair before going to bed.

Before I was on a regular workout regimen, I would get up early enough to shower, blow dry, and style my hair before work at 8am. I’m not really sure who I was back then, because when my alarm goes off at 6am, not even the smell of my coffee brewing can get me out from under the covers.

But when I finally decide to shuffle into the kitchen, you can bet that my hair looks like total shit. I have wavy/slightly curly hair, so when I wakeup, it looks the same dry as it did when I stepped out of the shower.

So, there’s a few ways I can dress it up in order to actually keep my job.

Hair products

Hair products

If it’s particularly wavy, or even curly, I simply spritz a firm-hold hairspray into the roots and waves, do a little scrunching, finger through some of the curls, and voila, done!

No volume? I use a flexible-hold spray on the roots and use a teasing comb to fluff things up around the part, and near the crown of my head.

Greasy? If it’s really greasy, I blast the blowdryer on it. But most of the time, I put a little loose bronzer in the troubled areas and we’re good to go. Dry shampoo is okay, but I found it’s expensive, and it turns my hair white and sometimes crispy. Yuck.

If I have 20 minutes, I usually straighten at least the top layers, using the bottom waves for volume, along with hairspray and a teasing comb.

Whether I rock it straight or curly, I do have bangs that often determine how I’ll style it, in the end. If they dry weird, then I’m forced to pin them back, or wear a headband. Luckily, I’ve stocked up on cute hair accessories that make it look like ALL of this is completely on purpose.

Miss Blanche Devereaux.

Miss Blanche Devereaux.

Someone who has always owned her bed head is my kitty, Blanche. Blanche is fortunate enough to sleep in the bed with me, on her side, of course. She sleeps on her back, so her long fur can blow in the breeze of the ceiling fan.

But when she wakes up, her fur, especially the longer pieces behind her ears, is often matted. Blanche, I have learned, lives by the motto, “Long hair, don’t care,” as she walks around the apartment as if this is a completely acceptable look.

And I realize, she’s not a member of society, so I let it fly, unless we have company, then I take a wire brush to her fur, and everything is smooth and fluffy, all at once.

The thing is, I know we’ve all heard or read those tricks about waking up to perfect hair… I don’t know about you, but none of that works for me. If I sleep with my hair in a ponytail, it will be flat and greasy in the morning, not “high volume,” and I have shoulder-length hair, so putting it up into one of those cute buns isn’t really an option for me.

What are your tricks for embracing your bed head?

Pictured hair products: Embellished headbands, Bronzing beads, Flexible hold hairspray,  Teasing comb, Hair clips, Cute barrettes

Pic of the Week.

Upping our carving game.

Upping our carving game.

Every year, my friend Marcy has a Pumpkin Carving Party (BYOP), and this year was pretty special because it was the 5th Anniversary of the party! So, Sunday night, we all gathered at Marcy’s, equipped with pumpkins and carving ideas.

As a kid, Halloween was a big deal. My parents really got into decorating the house, and lots of thought went into carving pumpkins — my parents would buy the most difficult templates to complete, even if it meant creating a toothpick-suture to make things looked perfect in the end.

Truth be told, I always get really pumped to carve a pumpkin, but when it comes time to actually scoop the guts out, and get serious about poking all the holes and carving tiny pieces, I’m not really big on it. I only like the part when I light the candle and turn the lights off to see my creation.

Call me lazy, but I admitted to Marcy that if it weren’t for her party, I probably would retire my sad collection of orange plastic carving tools.

This was my third year at the party, the first year I had no idea what to expect, although I heard it was a little competitive. That year, I painted my pumpkin white, and carved Jack Skellington’s (The Nightmare Before Christmas) face… it was easy, but it looked pretty cool.

Last year, I jumped on the Hash Tag craze and shaved “#Pumpkin” into my pumpkin… needless to say, it was a hit on social media. This year, I wasn’t sure what to carve.

I wanted to do something current, and relevant to pop culture, and then I realized, DUH, I’ve been watching The Fault In Our Stars nearly every night before I fall asleep, so why not do a tribute to the book and movie via pumpkin?

There is a line in the book, and a scene in the movie, that revolves around champagne: “Come quickly, I am tasting the stars.”

In the movie, the waiter tells Augustus and Hazel, “We have bottled all the stars for you tonight.”

I love it!

So, I created my own template that features a set of champagne glasses clinking, several different sizes of five-pointed stars, and letters to spell T-F-I-O-S.

While no one at the party really understood what my pumpkin was all about, I love it! I can’t wait to light it up on Halloween night!

2/50 Shades: Cosmo Confetti.

Covergirl's Cosmo Confetti

Covergirl’s Cosmo Confetti

My overflowing collection of pink lip products has been screaming at me to share another shade of pink with you! For the second shade in this series, I could not help but share “Cosmo Confetti” from Covergirl.

Why? Because I’ve been wearing it DAILY for the last two weeks! Cosmo Confetti is from Covergirl’s Queen Collection, with looks and colors created for darker skin. The line is represented by Queen Latifah.

The jumbo gloss balm

The jumbo gloss balm

And while I have fair skin, Cosmo Confetti is offered as a jumbo gloss balm, which is basically a giant lip crayon — my first experience with a lip crayon — and it goes on sheer (no need to bother with a mirror), so even though the color on the packaging looks bright, it’s totally an acceptable hue for all skin tones, and occasions.

I also love this lip product because it really is a “gloss balm,” as it adds moisture and shine to my lips, all at once — who doesn’t appreciate that? Especially with the cool temps quickly approaching!

The only downside? There is no scent, or flavor, like a typical gloss usually offers. It smells/tastes just like lipstick. So, there’s that.

While we’re talking all-things-pink, what’s the rule about rocking pink in the fall months? Can it be done? Of course!

I found a great article on Glamour.com, which explains that those old fashion rules, especially when it comes to colors, are right on out the door. So go ahead, wear your girly hues all year ’round!

And always, always remember to follow the only fashion rule that matters: Whatever you wear, own it.

—Christina Perez, Glamour 

Fresh Friday: Stella Nude.

Stella McCartney runway, Paris.

Stella McCartney runway, Paris.

I couldn’t find a picture of the perfume decent-enough for the big slot, so you’ll have to just admire the fashions (I think these are from 2010, but I’m obsessed with the blue number) of Ms. Stella McCartney, even though I’m talking about one of her fabulous perfumes.

Today’s Fresh Friday scent profile features Stella Nude by Stella McCartney.

I still have so many scents left on my bathroom shelves that when it came time to write this post, I really wasn’t sure which to choose. So, I stuck my hand in my little bag of samples and pulled out Stella Nude, spritzed it on (I like to use 3 sprays), and went out the door.

Stella Nude bottle

Stella Nude bottle

And. It. Smells. Fantastic!

The longer I wear it, I can pick of different parts of the scent — and they’re all very feminine, which is a good quality to have in a perfume.

As described by Sephora: A fragrance based on the contrast between the fresh, soft rose and the dark, sensual amber, Stella is a sophisticated scent focused on intense femininity.

The concept of the Stella McCartney bath line is driven by a passion for ecological and organic cosmetology: selecting the best natural raw materials and capitalizing on vegetal extracts, organic agriculture, and extraction methods that respect and protect the natural life force of the plants.

It really is a beautiful fragrance… I’m glad I was lucky enough to snag a sample bottle!

Pic of the Week.

Let me take a selfie.

Let me take a selfie.

Sorry that it’s blurry… I even tried to retake it a few times, but could never get a decent one, which makes me wonder if I have a serious health issue that is in-turn ruining my selfies.

Anyway, yesh, I got new glasses! Okay, so I also got new contacts… and sure, I realize this is not life-changing information, but let me just explain.

 I got my first pair of glasses in second grade, when it was completely uncool to wear glasses. Despite being terrified that my classmates might call me “Four eyes,” I got a pair of round, plastic frames that were purple on the front and green on the sides.

My new glasses!

My new glasses!

I don’t recall anyone making fun of me, but I was really excited to get my first pair of contacts in the 8th grade. I could actually see during pool parties!

As the years went on, my eyes worsened. Sure, both of my parents wore glasses, so weak eyes were inevitable. But mine were starting to get really bad — I had higher prescriptions than my parents’ combined.

In high school, I asked my eye doctor if I was ever going to be legally blind at the rate I was going. She acted like I was crazy.

“No way,” she said. “Eventually your eye prescription will level off.”

But four years ago, I went to the doctor, and not only was I informed that I had astigmatism in both eyes, but I also needed a higher prescription (-8 in my left eye) — not more than two clicks away from being blind.

I had to get a special order of contacts for people with astigmatism (a mere $80 per box), and a new pair of glasses. Without my insurance, my total was more than $800 — nearly enough to get Lasik.

After that, I hadn’t been back to the doctor in yet another four years. I was scared — scared about how much it would cost, scared they would tell me I was blind, scared I would have some sort of eye disease. So, I avoided it until I was having trouble seeing… I even had to increase the fonts on my computer.

So I went, and got an exam, had the mapping done (where they take photos of the backs of your eyes)… and my eyes are healthy. No diseases, no trouble spots, there was no word of astigmatism, and my prescription is now a -6 and -5.5 …not blind.

Sure, it ain’t great, but I faced a fear and the outcome was really good! So, I got some new contacts, and these awesome glasses (only $40, with prescription lenses, on Eye Buy Direct)!

I’m starting to see (literally) just how good things can be when you get a little bravery inside.

Dating by Astrology.

Are the stars aligned for love?

Are the stars aligned for love?

I have always been interested in astrology, although I don’t live by it, I love reading my weekly horoscope — scoffing when it’s completely incorrect, and gasping in awe when it’s right on-point. When it comes to dating, I’ve discussed matching via personality test, but what about zodiac compatibility?

Born on July 2, I am a Cancer, meaning:

  • All about home, comfort of family, maternal, domestic, nurturing
  • Loves tradition, patriotic
  • Has a good memory, is emotional
  • Quick to retreat, moody, often vindictive
  • Quick to help others, avoids confrontation
  • Devoted, romantic, listen to their gut

Cancer traits have always fit me to a T, which is probably why I love reading horoscopes and compatibility charts. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t look up compatibility as SOON as I get a birthday for the person I’m crushing on. Let’s take this to the charts:

So colorful.

So colorful.

According to this chart, my perfect matches are a Scorpio and a Pisces. Hmm…

Scorpio (October 23-November 21)

  • Fiercely independent, like to be in control
  • Moody, possessive, yet loyal
  • Wise in business, ambitious, determined
  • Intense, misunderstood, often secretive

I’ve actually dated several Scorpios, and obviously, things didn’t work out. I have yet to meet a Scorpio that I get along with very well. But, CHALLENGE ACCEPTED, stars! If you know of a Scorpio that is single and could be a match, point me in that direction!

Pisces (February 19-March 20)

  • Needs other people to keep them positive, grounded
  • Sensitive, loyal, will go out of their way to help a friend
  • Mysterious, molded by surroundings
  • Intuitive, sensitive, treat others the way they wish to be treated

I do not THINK I’ve ever dates a Pisces (if I did, I obviously have forgotten about it), but perhaps that is my ideal match! Quick, find me a man with a birthday between February 19 and March 20!

Now, I know astrology won’t answer all of my dating woes… but at this point, I’m open to try just about anything.

The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars,
But in ourselves, that we are underlings.

—Julius Caesar

 

Fresh Friday: Girlfriend.

The infamous Bieber-face.

The infamous Bieber-face.

There’s no way I can complete a perfume series without addressing Justin Bieber — and this won’t be the last time, given he’s got four different ones.

I’ve got three of the four, and I love them all for different reasons. I picked Girlfriend, because I have a running joke with my friends that if I go out while wearing the fragrance, it’s a guarantee I’ll get hit on. Oddly enough, my now-ex asked me to be his girlfriend on a night I was wearing Justin Bieber’s Girlfriend perfume.

Girlfriend bottle.

Girlfriend bottle.

GRANTED, my now-ex was a complete douche and I wish I never dated him, but that is not my point.

As described by Ulta:

Flirty, personal and inviting, Girlfriend draws you in with its fresh, eye-catching bottle, wrapped in gold lacing, topped with a revolutionary magnetic cap. From there, feel GIRLFRIEND wrap around your skin and make its way to your lips, giving you that first-kiss feeling with each splash. Every touch, every breath – all captured in a flirty scent. Dare to Get Closer?

Top notes in Girlfriend are said to be mandarin, blackberry, pear, strawberry, pink freesia, star jasmine, apricot, orange blossom, vanilla orchid, luminous musk, and white amber.

Whether you like the Biebs or not, this scent is delicious! …And the commercial for it is sexy. #SorryNotSorry

Wiggin’ out — NOLA style.

A few weekends ago, I joined my friend Liz in New Orleans for a good ‘ole girls’ weekend — cocktails, fine food, street car trips, dancing… and shopping for wigs. One thing I’ll say about Liz is that she’s always fabulous, so any time with her is always a fun one.

Because Liz has lived in New Orleans for a few years now, she decided it was time to get in with the crowd and purchase a wig to wear when she was just, “Feelin’ good.”

Really, looking for wigs, I felt like Kim Zolciak-Biermann, and then I just wished for a guy like Kroy.

Anyway, let’s focus on the issue at hand: how does one find the perfect wig? Here are some tips I found from The Wig Experts:

  1. Cut: Consider the length (short, mid-length, long), the texture (straight, curly & wavy), and the hairstyle (bob, pixies & boy cut, layered, bangs, without bangs).
  2. Capsize: The average wig size fits most people and measures 22-inches around, but measure your head from the front hairline, behind the ear, to the nape of your neck, and back around. This will ensure the best fit.
  3. Composition: Do you want human hair or synthetic hair? There’s pros and cons to either choice, and The Wig Experts have a nice little chart that weighs the options.
  4. Color: This is the fun part, right? Now The Wig Experts are pretty serious about wigs, and they suggest choosing a color that’s close to your natural tone for the easiest transition. But, coming from someone who colors her hair, I say, pick something new, something you love, something fresh! Go for it!

Facial shape is also something you should consider when buying a wig, as it will help you pick a cut and possibly even the right length.

  • Diamond = Bobs, styles that can be tucked behind the ears, shoulder-length
  • Heart = Bangs, fringe, long, multiple layers
  • Oval = Any style!
  • Round = Long-layered styles, off-center part, short hair with high volume
  • Pear = Angled fringe, bangs, short, cropped styles
  • Square = Feathers, wispy bangs
  • Oblong = Shoulder-length, waves, curls, lots of layers

Alright, now onto the wigs! When I searched online for some wigs I loved, I found a TON that I really liked — so my apologies for all the choices. I’m open to different colors, since I really don’t know when or where I’d sport a wig, but all of the ones I found were very inexpensive. I have always dreamed of having super long hair, so I was automatically drawn to the lengthier ones.

Let me know which ones you love!

Pictured wigs: Melody Susie, Crazy City, Lolita, Wine Red, Angel, Royal

Coolest Fan Mail… Ever!

Cover idea from a reader!

Cover idea from a reader!

Monday night, I received some fan mail from a reader in Indianapolis. She, Samantha, drew this after reading my first book, How I Fell, and then she transferred it to Photoshop.

Umm… how cute is it?! I actually like it better than my original cover, but don’t tell anyone. Without even knowing it, Samantha drew me wearing a pair of heels that look like some I actually have!

Recently, I’ve started getting notes, and links to articles and blogs you (my readers) think I need to see — I love this!

So, if you think there’s something out there I need to see, please send it my way via the comments, Twitter, Facebook, or feel free to email me directly at Wittywriter7@gmail.com

Thank you for my drawing, Samantha! And thanks for reading!

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