One thing that always makes me cringe when I’m out with friends is when I see them putting artificial sweeteners like Splenda, Sweet ‘S Low, or Equal into their coffee or tea. I always think “they would never use those if they only knew what they are made of and are really doing to their bodies!”

Many people are under the assumption that if they put a zero calorie sweetener in their beverages that it will help them lose or maintain their weight. This couldn’t be more false. Numerous studies have shown that artificial sweeteners contributed to sugar cravings and an increase in body weight.

awwwwww so true

However, kids, I have a solution for you! Substitute that sweetener for a packet of stevia, which is an all natural herb that has zero calories and absolutely no impact on your glycemic index. There are several brands on the market and if you get the wrong one it can have a really bitter aftertaste. The ones I’m fond of are NuNaturals, Purevia, and Truvia. They taste great and if you become really dedicated like this hypothetical friend I have, you could carry them in your purse at all times and obnoxiously offer them to said friends at the beginning of this article when they go to sweeten their beverage with anything else!

If you are interested in learning more on this subject, here is a great article by a fellow Nashvillian, Dr. Josh Axe, about some of the dangers of Splenda:
http://www.draxe.com/dangerous-splenda-potential-pesticide-or-artificial-sweetener/

I’m all about extremes – I joke all the time that there is no middle ground with me. I’m either in workout clothes or glammed to the max in 6 inch heels with full hair and makeup. There are times where I am drinking my green smoothie while simultaneously eating a cookie, it’s just who I am and the way I find entertainment seems to be no different.

I make no apology for the fact that I love watching Real Housewives of anything, The Bachelor, and I am always keeping up with the Kardashians. However, on the opposite scale, I LOVE documentaries. I’ll be sharing some of my favorites in future posts, but I just can’t stop thinking about one I watched TWICE on Monday night.

Monica & David follows a crazy in love married couple who have down syndrome. In many ways, their relationship is just like anyone’s, but their story is absolutely an inspiration of how we should love. It is truly one of the most pure and beautiful love stories I’ve ever seen and it is sure to have you laughing and feeling uplifted. Seriously. Drop everything you’re doing and watch this trailer and for those of you who have Netflix, put it on your instant que and watch ASAP.

For those in the Nashville area interested in becoming involved with Best Buddies go to http://www.bestbuddiestennessee.org/ for more information

I have loved all things beauty since before I even knew how to spell the word exfoliate. I would spend all my allowance and babysitting money on newest lotions, potions, and any sort of new gizmo that would curl or crimp one’s hair in a new way. Over the years working as a model, TV host, makeup artist, and now as Miss Tennessee USA, I’ve found a few things that really work.

1. Probiotics and Digestive Enzymes – I’ve actually heard Dr. Oz say that within a few years EVERYONE will be taking these. Your outer beauty is quite literally a reflection of what’s going on inside of you. Some of the benefits of taking high quality plant based digestive enzymes and probiotics include:

probiotics

  • healthier hair, skin, and nails
  • increased digestion
  • a better immune system
  • increased energy levels
  • increased fat metabolism
  • I also credit these to helping me maintain my weight

These are only some of the benefits of including these in your diet – expect a post solely devoted to more detail about this subject. My favorite products are the Core Health Pack and Heart Health by Core Health Products (www.corehealthproducts.com)

 

2. A good eyelash curler heated with a blow dryer – My friends who know me best know I’ve been utilizing this trick since the 7th grade! Heating up the curler for 5-10 seconds with a hair dryer (be careful not to burn yourself) will make the curl more effective and last longer. It instantly makes you look more awake and enlarges your eyes (aka THE WINDOW TO YOUR SOUL PEOPLE!!) I like the shu uemura ($20) or the e.l.f. ($1) eyelash curler best.eyelash

 

3. The at-home facial – sometimes going to the spa just isn’t an option. For those times, I like to do what I call the at home facial. You’ll need a large bowl, a towel, and green tea. Here’s how it works: Boil water and drop in a green tea bag. Pour the tea in a large bowl and put your head and towel over the bowl so as not to let the steam escape. Stay here for as long as you can take the heat, slowly breathing in the steam (it’s good for you, feel those pores opening!) Afterwards, finish with a toner and moisturizer and you will be surprised how much better your skin will look and feel.

facial

Many a roommate has walked in on me in my kitchen (see above photo pulled from Facebook as proof from 2009 – thanks Megan!) standing next to the stove, head under towel, behind in the air, and asked “What are you DOING?!” I wouldn’t subject myself to that kind of embarrassment if it wasn’t worth it, TRUST ME!

4. Drinking a daily green smoothie – I’m not being dramatic when I say that this smoothie has literally changed my life and the life of many of my friends and family. Even my meat loving, burly, cowboy dad drinks this every day! I got the recipe from celebrity nutritionist Kimberly Snyder’s book The Beauty Detox Solution (which I highly recommend). It is a blast of minerals, enzymes, and fiber in addition to providing lots of green energy. Since it’s blended, it is predigested (sounds gross, I know) which means that all of the nutrition is readily available without having to steal energy from your body to break it down! We all know that raw fruits and vegetables (enzymes, minerals, vitamins, micro-nutrients, etc.) are key in a healthy diet and most people living in the United States aren’t getting enough of them. This is an amazing and delicious (I swear!) way to make sure lots of these things are implemented into your diet every day.

green

Side note: how fab is Cameron Powell Photography that he can even make a green smoothie look glamorous?! I feel like this photo is where hipster and beauty queen meet and explode into organic eco friendly glitter and fireworks!!!

 

5. An olive oil/brown sugar scrub – this treatment is something that will make your whole body feel baby soft and it’s something you can do on the cheap with things that are probably in your cabinet anyway. Pour a few tablespoons of olive oil into a Tupperware container and mix in about an equal part of brown sugar. While in the shower, scrub your whole body down with this mixture, then rinse. I would be shocked if you told me your skin had ever felt more soft and smooth.

scrub

Hey everyone, Thank you so much for visiting my site! This has been an idea in the making for over a year now and I’m so excited that it’s FINALLY coming to fruition. As you can see, the tagline for my blog is “somewhere in between a hipster and a beauty queen” which I think sums me up pretty well. I am a small town girl from Wyoming living in Nashville, Tennessee and this blog will cover the following obsessions of mine: travel, beauty, food & nutrition, fashion, music, and my adventures working as a TV host, model, Miss USA hopeful, hair and makeup artist, cheesy commercial actress, etc. (etc. being the random gigs I find myself working) I plan on posting several times a week, so check back often!
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