What is this cleanse thing?

Happy Hump Day everyone! We’re halfway almost to the long weekend.

A few of my blog posts, as well as a few of my conversations, have mentioned a cleanse that I recently tried. The truth is, I had gained almost 10 pounds in a year. There. It’s out. As if it weren’t slightly obvious. In reality, I had turned my eating around back to where it should be, which kept me from gaining any longer, but I was just maintaining, and I was maintaining a weight that I wasn’t comfortable with. I had to make a change. I couldn’t plot how to stay in a swimsuit cover up all summer.

I knew about a great product through my aunt, Erica, and she had so many wonderful things to say about it. It has helped she and my uncle get healthy, as well as lose weight. She loves it. It was time for me to try it. It is called Advocare, and there is so much to say about it. They have so many great products, including vitamins, supplements, bars, shakes, you name it! I wasn’t sure where to start, but I soon figured it out, with the help from another believer, Jill. I saw her a few weeks ago and she just looked so great, I had to know her secret. It was the 24 Day Challenge.

The 24 Day Challenge is a great way to cleanse your body of toxins, by eliminating sugar, caffeine, dairy, and wheat, as well as adding in some amazing supplements to help the cleansing process. The first 10 days are a cleanse. Within 24 hours, I felt an amazing increase in my energy, and focus, and I wasn’t crashing mid day, leaving me craving sugar and caffeine like I used to. For me, sugar and coffee were the hardest. Wheat is already out of my life, and I have given up dairy before. So I hid the blocks of cheddar, and went for it.  I laid out and labeled all of my supplements, as well as the super helpful guide they sent along, got excited about making smoothies, and started in on a Monday.

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On day 1, I weighed in, and took measurements on about 10 different areas of my body, including waist, hips, thighs *shutter*, and arms. I replaced my morning coffee with Spark energy drinks, an my breakfast with meal replacement shakes, because I loved them 16 days in, that drinking these two things is still my favorite part of the morning!

As far as diet goes, it’s simple. Raw foods, period. Fruits, veggies, protein including meat, eggs nuts and seeds, and you can even add in a few grains such as quinoa and oats. I try to limit 1/2 serving of those per about every other day. I have never felt hungry, and the healthier I have eaten, the LESS I have craved foods that aren’t great for me. Here is what an average day of food looks like for me.

Breakfast: Meal replacement shake. Mocha flavored, so it feels like I’m having coffee 😉

Snack: Hard boiled egg and some raw peppers or a large piece of fruit

Lunch: Arugala and Spinach salad with Chicken, almonds, and oil and vinegar

Snack: smoothie – 1/2 banana, 1 cup blueberries, 1/8 cup greek yogurt, and ice

Dinner: Salmon with cilantro, cumin, and paprika, with a small salad or raw veggies

Day 11, it’s weigh in time again. 5 pounds down, which got me super pumped up. But the best part hadn’t happened yet. Aaron read my first measurement for that day, my waist which has always been my problem area, and it was 2.5 inches down. Hips? Same thing. I even lost an inch in each thigh. I had lost a total of 16 inches all over my body. I felt so proud. This was an amazing start for me. I mean, I was half way to my weigh loss goal in 10 days!

This is the kind of motivation that I love. The excitement of how I felt got me through days 1-10, but those results have pushed me through the last 6 days. I don’t weigh in again until day 24, but I am excited about having my clothes closer to the way they fit before 🙂

These products have done so much more than help me lose weight, they have also helped me eliminate the part of my diet that was hurting me the most, sugar. I feel better about all around being in better health. I have journeyed out to explore some other Advocare products, and I have yet to try one that I don’t love. I find myself talking about it so passionately, because its a product I truly believe in. I have a few friends who are starting their challenge in the next week, as well as Aaron. He has been so supportive, and I am super excited for all of these folks to experience how great they will feel.

If you’re interested in reading about these products, please feel free to visit this website, where you can ready a LOT more about the products, as well as see product information pages for each and every product. It’s a great site!


More smoothies, yum! Have a great Thursday, friends!

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Homemade Granola

Granola. Man, this stuff can be pricey, and extremely deceiving, as it is sometimes loaded with calories, and gluten. I came up with this idea a few weeks ago at my dear friend, Ally’s bachelorette party. Kari, the party planner, was so considerate and made sure everything was gluten free, including these quinoa and oat granola bars. 2 of my favorite things! I haven’t been able to find them anywhere, but luckily I found an empty wrapper floating around in my car this afternoon (no surprise there), and was reminded that I wanted to try and recreate these! Thanks for the idea, Kari!

This is a super simple recipe,  and you can add whatever you’d like to it! Right now, I am super in to seeds of any sort, apricots, and blueberries. Preheat your over to 350, and let’s get to mixin.

Let’s start with your dry ingredients.

1 cup certified gluten free oats

1 cup uncooked quinoa

1/2 cup unsweetened coconut

1/3 cup pepitas (pumpkin seeds) raw and unsalted

1/3 cup raw almonds, sliced or chopped


Next, choose what type of dried fruit, chocolate pieces, or nuts you’d like to add. Add 1 cup of fruit add-ins, or 1.5 cups of mix ins total. I made one batch with dried cranberries and cherries, and one with dried apricots. Chocolate chips, or dried bananas and walnuts would be fun combos too!


Finally, mix these products together, and in a separate bowl, melt down 1/4 cup of coconut oil, and 3-4 Tablespoons honey, or agave. You could also use Olive Oil if you prefer that flavor! Pour over the top of the granola mixture.


Spread in a thin layer onto the bottom of a 9×13 baking dish, and bake for 25-30 minutes. When you take it out of the oven, it will be soft, and you’ll think you need to bake longer….DON’T. It will harden into a crispy granola, and you can separate it into containers once it is cooled.

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This is a great way to start the day, mixed in with some Greek Yogurt, or by itself for a snack! Watch your doorstep this week for a mason jar full of homemade granola. Otherwise I’ll eat it all in one sitting!





Best dang hot tools, period!

Hey, everyone! Hope you’re having a great week! I wanted to address some of my favorite hot tools, from blow dryers to curling irons, per the request of a devoted reader. Thanks for the idea, friend! 🙂 It’s a great one!

The key here is to remember that like with anything, an initial investment will save you from having to replace something over and over, and eventually cost you more in the end. Also, remember that you don’t always have to pay for a ‘professional’ tool. What makes those professional tools so great, is that they last, and last, and last. Professionals use these tools up to 15 times a day, so they need longevity. Even if you can find something with 1/2 that longevity, you’ll be set for YEARS!

Lastly, KEEP THE BOX. These tools have warranties, folks! Check them out right away to ensure that you get yours replaced if something should go wrong. Let’s start with blow dryers.

You probably hear words like tourmaline, ion, etc thrown around a lot! Ion dryers are pricey, and they key is, they add a lot of shine. They are generally quiet, and dry your hair surprisingly quickly, but tend to lack power. If your hair is on the fine to medium side, an ionic dryer will benefit you! Here are 2 brands I would recommend.


http://www.folica.com/tools/hair-dryers/babyliss-pro-2800-super-turbo-hair-dryer – For $70.00, you get a 2 year warranty, and you’ll see this Babyliss brand come up again in the flat iron section. I love this brand, and it’s affordable! Light weight is key. Save the heavy lifting for the gym.

Not all hair is made equal. If you have a mound of hair, and are looking for something to cut your time down, you need power. Your hair can likely tolerate more heat. The Hot Dog is my all time favorite dryer. It is practically a leaf blower. I stumbled upon this beauty at a show in NYC about 3 years ago, and it’s been my best investment. I have had clients offer my money to take it home with them right then. I own 2 of these. One for the salon, and one for home. I don’t leave home without it, as it has cut my blow dry time in HALF. The price point is slightly higher, but I see these go one sale from $100, to $80 multiple times.




My favorite style right now? Curls. Big ones, small ones, waves. It’s rare that I see curls that I don’t like. I only have one thing to say here. The Wand. The best invention ever. No clamp marks, no sore wrists from clamping, and these babies get hot enough to make your curls last. All. Day. And. Night. The best part? This one I am about to share with you comes with 3 attachments, so you can have various sizes of curls, all from one iron. Oh yeah, and it’s (ahem, ahem) $40. Four. Zero. Get it girl.



Lastly, you will always come back to the flat iron at some point. I promise. It’s hard for me to push aside my ‘only have eyes for curls’ goggles, but I still love straight, smooth hair. Having an adjustable temp is key. Throw away your CHI. Or sell it to someone who doesn’t care about their hair like you do! Not everyone’s hair can handle 450 degrees. Look for ceramic or titanium here. These two materials heat up evenly, rather than having hot spots that could burn your hair. Ouch.

This iron comes in a 1 inch and a 1.5 inch. The 1 inch is better for shorter hair, and the 1.5 inch makes the flat ironing process go much faster on long hair.



I hope you all got something out of this post. Also, if you missed the post on protecting your hair from these tools, or need a refresher, visit this post! https://bakingupbeauty.wordpress.com/2013/07/12/summer-product-picks/

Have a wonderful last week of August, everyone!


Best brow fillers!

Happy Sunday, everyone! Me? I am just watching Tiger Woods’ terrible swing, followed by him falling to his knees. ‘My back! My back’. Tiger, sometimes we all hit a ball into the water. I do it about once per round of golf. It’s ok, everyone makes mistakes! Remember? You’re the king of those! #leastfavoritegolfer.

Anyways, we had a great weekend…just the normal fishing action. Minus the fish catching. Add in a freak storm that Liz and I totally saw coming came out of nowhere.


Yes, that is Corey braiding MY hair. And no, this isn’t the first time I’ve conned him into it. We could all learn a thing or two from Liz about the important things to teach your husband!

I also had a super fun ladies night on Friday. Having been on a cleanse for 15 days, I couldn’t wait to have a glass of wine. And since it doesn’t matter whether I have 1 or 3, I still wake up at 3:30 am with a headache, I went for 3. It was super fun, and somehow it was suddenly 12:30 when we called it a night. Great friends, and yes Julie, I meant to say frands 🙂

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Don’t mind the creepy caption there…..

Now, how many of you fill in your brows daily? Pencil, shadow? I know it has turned into a MUST for me, and a lot of people I know. It’s a quick thing, but lately I feel like I have wished and dreamed of a product that at least gave me a couple days at a time of coverage. Like a semi-permanent eyebrow.

Luckily, I had a friend walk through my door one day, as if she had read my mind. (She does this often) She had purchased this product, and we thought we ought to try it out. It was just that- a semi-permanent brow color that lasts up to 2 weeks! The best part is, it’s easy! I did the first application for her so that I could feature it here, but this is a DIY product, trust me! Here is Hailey before. Our focus was creating some fullness on the inner part of her brows, and through the arch where it thins out a bit.


So, while her color processed, I applied the product.


Here is her color and brow color processing. Now, it suggests leaving it on for 5 minutes. So we did. What would happen if we left it on longer? It’s hard to say. Most semi permanent color is progressive, meaning it get’s darker the longer it sits on and is exposed to oxygen. So let’s all stick with 5 minutes shall we?

Here is the product. Hailey purchased the ‘Brunette’. Left to right; box the product comes in, the product itself, and the post processing cleanser.

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Apply to a clean, dry area. If you get this on your skin, it is OK! The cleanser does a great job of removing it from your skin. Here is Hailey 3 days after!


Nice and even. Love it, I ordered some for myself-in the black brown, as my brows are much darker. Here is the link: http://www.dermstore.com/lp/1864?utm_source=facebook_paid&utm_medium=display&utm_term=ds_sb_hazeleye_betterthan&utm_campaign=facebook_paid_20130514#prettyPhoto

Thanks, Hailey! From us all!

IF you choose to fill in every morning, here are my two favorite products.

Should you desire a more natural look, I recommend using an eye shadow, and an angle brush to fill in. My favorite shadows for filling in brows come in a trio, making it super easy to match your color! I use the darkest of the three colors, but they are all very neutral, avoiding that warm red, unnatural look.


Then, using an angle brush, fill in following the shape of your brows, or add fullness or sharpness where desired.


My favorite pencils for a more dramatic look, are MAC pencils. Take care not to over-do it here. Here are a few great brow colors.



If you don’t already fill in your brows, it may be just the extra touch your make-up routine is asking for! Try it out.

Have a great week, everyone! Enjoy these dog days of summer, I sure am!





Palazzo Pants, Healthy Mexican

Love them or hate them? I  got very mixed reviews today, but mostly…people LOVED them. Including me!


I love how the legs are so wide and flowy. kind of made me want to start belly dancing, or doing yoga.


Get yourself a pair! I got these at Boheme at Flat Irons mall. http://www.bohemeboutiques.com/


Also, I finally got my SHIELDS drivers license in the mail today, after the first one was ‘lost’ in the mail and I had the pleasure of going back to the DMV to get a second one. Olive was excited too. It’s official, Olive! (Only took 10.5 months)


….aaaannnndd just one last shot of my aahhhh-mazing hair color. It just looks better every day, I’m obsessed!


Check in later this week for a tutorial on these curls, and some killer tips on fillin in your brows!


Now, I am sure when you read ‘healthy mexican’, you thought I was referring to myself. Maybe it’s because you noticed in those pictures that I have lost 5 pounds? (On the Advocare 24 Day Challenge of which I am on day 10!) But rather, I am referring to the dinner I made tonight. And by tonight, I mean that the crock pot made for me today while I was working. Yes, I am aware that it reached 100 degrees today, but when you don’t get home until 8:30 pm, you don’t discriminate against breaking out that big hot beast mid summer.

I am constantly craving Mexican food, but in this phase of the cleanse, I have eliminated dairy, any complex carbohydrates, sugar, caffeine, etc. Protein, fats, and veggies are recommended for dinner. So I popped some chicken breasts (3 large ones) in the crock pot and added the following ingredients.

1 c black beans

1/4 cup green chili (I use 505, as it is gluten free and delicious!)

1t paprika

1t chili powder

1 t cumin

1t garlic powder

Cook on low for 5 hours, and voila! I ate mine plain in a bowl with 1/2 avocado, while Aaron ate his over corn chips, with cheese! Yum! So many options, you could even wrap it up in a tortilla. In my dream world, that’s how I ate mine. With lot’s of sour cream.


Tune in tomorrow to hear all about the challenge!

See you all tomorrow! Have a great night!


The other white meat…

Happy Sunday everyone! Hope you all had a wonderful weekend! I had a super fun weekend, tons of different stuff going on. Some of the normal weekend activities. wedding hair and make-up, walking the boxers at the rescue. It’s a good thing they won’t adopt a female boxer to a family who already has a female boxer, or Sissy would have come home with us. She is shy, tail tucked down, and ears back, until her feet hit the grass. She was ready to run and totally in her element. And just. so. sweet. She nuzzled up to my face, and melted my heart.


That’s Cassidy in the pool. He (I know, Cassidy for a male?) is only 1, and FULL of energy. I had to take a picture because I have never seen a boxer purposely go into the water.

Aaron walked another male boxer, Titan, and he much have wore him out just enough, because the family that came to visit him when we returned….adopted him!!!! He has a forever home now, like every dog should!


I also watched a LOT of golf. Women’s golf. This sounds crazy, unless you already know that I had the amazing opportunity to style the USA women’s golf team on Thursday for the opening ceremonies of the Solheim cup, the most elite tournament in women’s golf. It happened to be held not only in the US this year….but in Parker, Colorado! I did sneak a few pics, although we were asked not to. I got to style Brittnay Lincicome, Brittnay Lang, Gerina Piller, Angela Stanford, and spend a long time talking with Paula Creamer. It was incredible. All in all they were a super laid back, and sweet group of ladies. So talented! I was so thankful to be given that opportunity!

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Now, it is no secret that I love meat. My favorite? Pork! Spoken like a true Iowan, right? Tonight, I found some tasty looking pork chops at Whole Foods, and was inspired by the menu that I saw for the wedding I did hair and makeup for today. It was a apple glazed something or other pork chop. So I gave it a shot. Now, you’ll notice there are no photos. The Dijon mustard and thyme gave to sauce a funkadelic color that I couldn’t bare to post. But scarf them down I did. And my Iowa-ish husband too.

Here’s how it’s done! Preheat your oven to 375!

Place you chops (mine were about an inch thick) in a baking dish in 1/4 cup water, or broth of your choice for moisture.

In a bowl, combine 1/3 cup applesauce, 1 t ground thyme, and 1 T Dijon mustard. Spread this mixture over top of your chops, and bake for 25-30 minutes, depending on the thickness of your pork.

These have a delicious sweetness to them, with a kick from the Dijon. What a quick and easy dinner, with a different flavor! Enjoy!

Have a great week, everyone!

Messy Bun tutorial.

Hey everyone! Happy Wednesday! Another request for a great hairstyle here on the blog today. Thanks for your suggestions! I love them. Inspiration 🙂

I do wear my hair down just about every day. However, I am thrilled to throw it up every now and then, and even more thrilled that it has become a trend, making it an acceptable style to wear to work, weddings, etc. I just love buns in general. Mostly on other people, especially ballerinas. I love the way they elongate necks, and show off dimension in hair.

Here is a super great alternative to the uber polished sock bun. I can never understand…is there really a sock in there? I still haven’t figured out the sock bun. I promise you though, this one is so much easier. It’s easiest if your hair has some bend to it, so either curled like mine here, or using your natural wave. Plus, I just wanted to show off my new color again,


Oh you like those red lips? They came in my birch boxes this month.

Now, grab a flat brush, 5 or 6 bobby pins, and a hair tie.


Ok, flip that head upside down and start smoothing things upward into a high pony,

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Secure that HIGH pony, and flip back over.


Tada! Now, start backcombing that entire pony to thicken it up. We want a bulky bun here. Use you flat brush and remember…only tease enough that you can smooth out. We don’t want a rat’s nest. Circular, downward motions,

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Next, it’s really time to start gently twisting, tucking, and pinning. The idea is to pin as you twist, so it lays just like you’re making it look while you hold it there. so starting to the right, twist slightly, and swoop down. Now pin!

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Now, around toward the back…twisting, twisting.


And finally, swoop it around to the front, twisting and tucking any of those ends that want to stick out!

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Now, tug lightly at it to make it as full as you’d like it. If you don’t want more fullness, you’re done!


Spray, spray spray, and get on with your day! Summer messy but is where it’s at. Go rock your bun.

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Selfies. Aaron gave up on the photos taking by the end, I was getting a little bossy over-insturcting.

Have a great week everyone!