Sweet + Healthy Vanilla Smoothie

vanilla smoothie in jar
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✘ Just a heads up! The protein powder links are affiliate links, which means I'll earn a small commission if you buy through them.

I don't know about you, but while I was in college smoothies pretty much became a staple in my diet. Mainly because I was lazy about cooking and they're crazy convenient. I would even attach the blender blade straight to a mason jar so I would have one less thing to wash.

Ridiculous? Yes. Smart? Also yes.

I made so many smoothies that I got to the point where I never even measured anything. I just tossed in some fruit, ice, almond milk, maybe some greens and chia seeds if I was trying to turn a smoothie into a quick "meal."

This vanilla smoothie would be something I'd make post-run or if I was craving a smoothie but didn't want anything that was heavy or extra fruity.

Here's the recipe (and I actually measured things for once so I could write this as accurately as possible):

1 cup cashew/almond/coconut milk (I normally use cashew or coconut now)
1 frozen banana
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 pitted medjool dates (I hate dates so I promise you don't taste them)
handful of ice
1 scoop of vanilla protein powder (optional!)

It's possibly the most simple smoothie recipe ever and it tastes so good. I'm not going to tell you it's like a vanilla milkshake, because that's a lie. But it's a pretty close healthy alternative. It's also really nice and refreshing after running outside in the Florida sun.

The only time I usually add protein powder to this is if I'm having a larger serving of it in place of eating a snack or if I'm having it as a post-workout smoothie.

If you want to do that, here are some of my favorite protein powders that mix in with it really well:
*Optimum Nutrition 100% Whey Gold Standard, Vanilla Ice Cream
*PEScience Select Protein Premium Blend, Gourmet Vanilla

And for all my people who are vegan or sensitive to dairy, here are my favorite vegan protein powders (trust me on these – I promise they actually taste good and aren't gross like most plant protein powders):
*Sunwarrior - Warrior Blend, Raw, Plant-Based Protein, Vanilla
*Garden of Life Organic Vegan Protein Powder with Vitamins and Probiotics - Raw Protein Shake, Sugar Free, Vanilla

+ for more juice and smoothie recipes go here, here, and here.

Face Mask Essentials

face masks

Ask me for one of my top skincare tips and I'll tell you that I love a good face mask.

I love them so much that I have an obscene amount on my bathroom shelf. Seriously, there are so many.

Basically, I'm obsessed with skincare that actually makes me feel like I'm accomplishing something with it. I like to feel a difference from using the product (but I mean, who doesn't?). Plus, I like the whole experience of applying it, hanging out and relaxing for a little while, then feeling all refreshed after taking it off. I mean, I do not like the washing it off process. It sucks. But it's worth it in the end.

Face masks are the best because you can name your skin concern and theres probably at least five good options out there for you to try. Hydration issues? Face mask. Excess oil? Face mask. Fine lines? Face mask. Improve pores / pull out impurities? Face mask.

You get it.

Here are some of my favorite ones:

Origins Clear Improvement™ Active Charcoal Mask To Clear Pores
This mask is good for all skin types! There's Bamboo Charcoal to draw out pore-cloggers, white China clay to absorb environmental toxins, and lecithin to dissolve impurities. I'm all for fighting the environmental toxins because I feel like that's my biggest issue when it comes to my skin. It also helps with dryness and uneven texture. My face feels clean and completely refreshed after washing this one off. I actually just used this one the other day!

Caudalie Instant Detox Mask
I included this mask a while ago in a post about acne spot treatments because it's great. It clears the pores of impurities and toxins, purifies from pollution, and invigorates lackluster skin. It has pink clay and coffee to clarify, and we all know how I feel about coffee. There's also papaya enzymes, which soothes redness. For me, you really notice a difference after using this mask and your face feels really clean and firm.

Mario Badescu 'Super Collagen' Mask
This collagen mask tightens and nourishes skin. Plus, it can reduce redness and irritation. Its the most affordable collagen mask I've found and you can feel it cooling and tightening your face. Really, it's $18. Okay. You need it. I really love this brand in general because its good quality for a good price.

Dr. Brandt Skincare MAGNETIGHT Age-Defier™
I'm obsessed with this one. It helps reduce fine lines and wrinkles, and removes excess oil from the skin. Also, you don't have to wash it off. Win. You use a magnet to almost wipe the mask off of your skin. Just make sure you cover the magnet in tissue because the mask will not come off of the magnet. Believe me on that one. Also, don't wash your face after. Just tap in whatever is left from the mask.

Honestly, I live for masks.

They just have so many benefits and I'm all for prevention when it comes to skincare. I'd rather obsessively apply masks than struggle with fighting wrinkles and damaged skin later on. 

My advice, pick a mask and commit to it! I'll use one of these once or twice a week for a few weeks, and then switch things up. You'll really start to notice a difference in your skin!

+ more posts about masks here and here

Fall Nail Faves + 5 Minute Mani Tips

essie and opi polishes

✘ Just a heads up! Links marked with an "*" are affiliate links, which means I'll earn a small commission if you buy through them.

I'm trying to avoid wearing my dark, basically black, nail polish shades for as long as possible. Somewhat because I'm trying to avoid be that girl who always has on the same nail color (if you were wondering, it's Lincoln Park After Dark), mainly because I'm trying to avoid staining my nails. Plus it's such a pain to take off dark colors and no one has time for that.

It's still a guaranteed over 75 degrees, so I'm pretty content wearing lighter shades. But since it is fall, I'm going with ones that have more muted tones. Here are my current faves:

O.P.I. - Got the Blues for Red

Essie Gel Couture - Pinned Up

Essie - BBF Boy Best Friend

Essie - Smokin' Hot

Whenever I change my nail color, I always make sure I have time to do a quick manicure. It helps your polish last longer and keeps your nails/hands healthy! And who doesn't want that? I usually try to do this right after a shower so I don't have to worry about soaking my hands. But make sure to take your old polish off before getting in the shower!

5 minute mani tips:

  • push back your cuticles while they're still soft from the shower.
  • use some cuticle oil (I like to use this one by Essie* or this Josie Maran oil that I originally  bought for my face). 
  • file/shape your nails (I only use a nail clipper if they're really long and I want them significantly shorter, or if I'm trying to go from rounded to square nails).
  • wash hands well with soap and water or the oil will stop your nail polish from sticking
  • paint your nails! (make sure to apply thin even coats, it's better to have to do 2-3 coats instead of globing on a thick layer).
  • use quick drying drops* if you're short on time

Once your nails are dry, apply hand cream and make sure you really get it around your cuticles. Mine are always extra dry, and this is really important to keep them from being annoying and peeling!

Foam Rolling: Your New Best Friend

foam roller and sneakers

Raise your hand if your muscles get really sore after working out and stretching just isn't cutting it. 

Cool, me too. That's why I want to tell you about your new best friend – a foam roller. Foam rolling is really just convenient self-myofascial release that can be done everyday by people at all levels of fitness. Self-myofascial release, in less complicated terms, is really just massaging your muscles to relieve tightness or trigger points. It can also be done with your hands or a lacrosse ball, but a foam roller makes things easy!

So when your legs are pretty much useless after your leg workout from yesterday, you can use a foam roller to apply pressure to your sore muscles and help them recover faster. Recovering faster means normally functioning legs and not crying every time you have to sit down. (Or go up stairs, which is the worst).

Really, though, foam rolling makes sure that your muscles are elastic, healthy, and ready to go!

Foam rolling can assist in breaking up these muscle knots, resuming normal blood flow and function. The goal to any corrective or recovery technique is to get you back to the point of normal functioning, as if nothing was ever wrong.

But to give you fair warning, it's not a 100% pleasant experience. (It maybe like 89%).

Any kind of deep compression on your muscles is going to feel a little uncomfortable. Especially if you have any trigger points, which are like knots in your muscles. You might feel some (bearable) pain while foam rolling, but you'll feel relief after! (If its more than just an uncomfortable feeling, and actual pain, you should stop and see a doctor!)

So, you want to try it? Here's what to do:

Take 5-10 minutes before or after your workout to try these moves.

Calves: Sit on the floor and lay your calf over the foam roller. Move your leg forward and backward so the foam roller rolls from your ankle to below the knee. Rotate your leg from side to side to get all angles of your calf muscle!

IT Band: Lay on your side with the roller under your hip. Cross your top leg in front and rest your foot on the ground for balance (like you're going to do inner-thigh leg lifts). Roll through your entire outer thigh.

Glutes: Sit on the roller with one knee bent and the other ankle crossed over that knee. (You typically sit like this to stretch your glutes). Lean onto one hip and roll front to back.

Hamstrings: Place the roller under your thighs and roll from your knees to your butt.

Quads: Lay on your stomach with the roller under the front of your thighs. Slowly roll from the top of your hip to right above your knee. (This one is usually pretty uncomfortable).

Now you know what to do, so you obviously need to go out and get a foam roller. Theres a few different kinds you can try: 

Low-density foam rollers have some give so there's less pressure. This is the cheapest option and good for beginners, but the shape will wear out over time.

High-density foam rollers have a firmer surface and will last a few years.

The most intense foam rollers are made of high-density foam that is wrapped around a plastic pipe. This is the one that I have!