Thursday, February 12, 2015

Guest Post # 1: Going Plum by Nicole Simonetti

In the midst of some of the coldest days of this winter on the East Coast, I thought it’d be nice to shift focus to some bright happenings for this spring in the beauty realm. While lighter colors are usually in season for warmer months, this spring, we’re seeing a change in that. Your go-to color will be plum—a happy medium shade between both bold and feminine. This is going to be such a great color for everyone to start experimenting with now, so you’ve mastered it by the time spring comes!

You’re going to work plum into all aspects of your makeup regime. Your lips, your cheeks and your eyes. The most important thing to remember is that you do not want to wear plum on all three areas at once. Never over do it! Not to mention, this color is a little out of the “norm” because most people gravitate towards pink tones for their cosmetics. That’s what’s so exciting about this new spring beauty trend. It’s a little different, but it’s still going to be so pretty on everyone. Here are some tips when shopping for the latest plum makeup products!

Finding the right plum shade for your lips will probably be the easiest, as it’s been a color that we’ve been seeing during the winter for the last few years. I’m sure that some of you have already found a signature purple-y shade. If you’re just experimenting with a plum color, try something soft like Maybelline’s “Hot Plum” Color Sensational Vivid. For those of you that want to wear something bright, turn to a color like MAC’s “Heroine” lipstick. Of course, there are shades in between that work great! These are just some shades that you can use for inspiration. (I’ll admit that MAC’s “Heroine” is my absolute favorite.)

Carrying plum-like shades into your eye shadow collection will be so much fun because it’s such a vibrant color. It’s going to make any woman’s eye color pop—especially if you have hazel/light brown eyes. Before choosing the right eye shadow, you have to determine if you want sparkly or matte. You can accomplish different things with each version. In my recommendation, I’d say get both because you can wear a sparkling purple for nightwear and a matte purple for daywear. Some fabulous plum eye shadows to look at are: L’Oreal’s “Burst into Bloom” 24 HR Eye Shadow, Clinique’s “Purple Pumps” All About Shadow, e.l.f. Cosmetics “Burnt Plum” Studio Baked Eye Shadow and Bobbi Brown’s “Black Plum” Eye Shadow.

The last place to experiment with this plum trend is on your cheeks. I really reference this part as an “experiment” because I know that’s not a shade many people buy when shopping for blush. Most times, we’re using neutral or pink tones on our cheekbones. This beauty trend is going to work best for those of you with darker complexions, especially if you have the hair to match. If your skin is dark, try a shade like Tarte’s “Flush” Cheek Stain. If your skin is light (or you just want to try a more subtle shade), try Covergirl’s “Iced Plum” Classic Color Blush.

What’s most exciting about trends is that they give everyone the opportunity to step outside their comfort zone, even if it’s just for a season. So, remember while you’re playing around with this makeup look for the next few weeks before spring thankfully graces us with its presence, have fun with it! Working plum shades into your makeup collection is going to have you feeling confident and flirty. What more could a woman ask for?

Nicole is a part-time blogger with a career in the fashion industry and an education background in journalism. She uses her site, Change + Dress, as a creative outlet to combine the two. While her current job revolves around sales and public relations, she previously broke into the industry with writing, freelancing for beauty and fashion websites. When she isn't running around for work or planning for her site, she's spending time enjoying her magazines, coffee, green eats and martinis. 

Twitter: @changeanddress

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Social Norms & Pressure in America

Growing up in the United States, especially on the East Coast in the TriState area, social norms are pushed onto us at a young age.  The idea that we should accomplish things in a certain order is not a suggestion but an unspoken rule.  Many Pre -Teen to 20 Somethings fall into a vicious cycle of accomplishing things in order to receive approval from parents, teachers and peers rather than for their own happiness.  The notion of going against social norms is not entirely accepted thus placing passionate, creative, wanderlust seekers at a crossroads.   We want our loved ones to be proud of us but are afraid they ultimately will be disappointed.

A major life lesson we all learn over time, is to never let the opinions of others influence our own decisions.  I suggest respectfully listening to what others have to say but ultimately never forget it is your life and you are responsible for your own happiness.  Every decision you make should be based off of what you feel is best for YOU!  At the end of the day, even if you're the only one who feels a certain way about something, I encourage you to trust that instinct and see it through.

I am fortunate to have grown up in a family that never made me feel like I was disappointing them if I chose a path they didn't fully understand or suggest themselves.  In the same respect, there have been occasions that my parents, teachers & coaches voiced their opinions on school, sports, work, etc. that they sincerely meant as helpful advice, not realizing the pressure it placed on my younger self to please them and thus go against my own gut feeling.  All to often, teenagers place a great deal of pressure on themselves to get perfect grades, get into the college of their parents dreams, be popular, join a team because a sibling or parent did, etc.  This pressure causes stress they often hide and carry with them for lengthy periods of time.  The scariest part of all, is seeing someone go through this and notice the family has no idea the unintentional burden they have placed.  Parents, friends, brothers and sisters: please be more aware that your words are taken to heart.  They impact the way your loved one views and measures their own personal success.   Instead, encourage them to seek out their own hobbies & interests and to view mistakes as lessons, that will ultimately lead to achievement and not something to feel ashamed of.

I am thankful to have had so many wonderful people in my life who took the time to share life lessons and offer suggestions to better my own journey.  As I enter my mid-late twenties this year, I feel blessed to look back on the growth, confidence and assertiveness I have developed over the years.  As I reflect , I am happy at the strong-willed young girl I was, who refused to be a follower even if it meant feeling out of the loop.  I am proud of the girl who wanted to be just like her big brothers and played every sport she could...despite never quite learning to keep my eyes open when catching a baseball... it still terrifies me!  I am happy I chose to go away to a college that fit me, allowed me to pursue a degree in a field that I truly enjoy and meet a diverse group of students and professors from all over the world.  As I pursue a career in journalism, I feel blessed to have been given amazing opportunities that have provided me with invaluable experience, wonderful mentors and have led me to discover, through trial and error, my true passion. I am happy to have made mistakes, changed my mind more times than I can count, moved around from state to state and back home in-between.  I am excited to continue to travel, meet unique people and discover why I'm here and how I can help change the world for the better.

While the next step for me "should" be to meet Mr. Right, decide on a "real" job and save for a house where I "should" settle down.  I'm excited to meet the next Mr. Right Now, continue to explore the world through writing, traveling & storytelling, save up for my next adventure & plant myself wherever God takes me.

I challenge each of you to look at yourselves through your own lens.  Do you like what you see?  Are you happy when you take a glimpse at your current life?  If you are in a happy, loving relationship, working a 9-5 job and about to purchase a home, I am beyond happy & excited for you and where your life has led you!  This is not just for the wanderlust seekers but for all of us trying to find our way.  Happiness has a unique road for all of us.  All I hope, is that we open our view to the beautiful world we live in, truly listen and follow our own intuition & embrace the beautiful individuals we share this planet with.  It is then that we will all discover how respect and support can bring about happiness for all of us!

*Thanks Mom & Dad for always believing in my dreams and letting me come home to NJ more times than I planned!  Love you guys!

xoxo Kat

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Importance of Vitamin D in the Winter

Vitamin D is essential for healthy living all year long.  It promotes strong bone health, growth and calcium absorption.  The Spring Summer and Fall weather allows most of us to spend plenty of time outdoors soaking up the sun.  These warmer months also provide us with fresh produce at local farms.  As we go through the long, dreaded winter, many of us tend to stay indoors much more often. Our diet often suffers with all of the holiday goodies and by default our Vitamin D levels drop. Having a case of the "winter blues" is actually a legitimate health diagnosis.  The feeling of depression and lack of motivation are attributed to a low Vitamin D level.   I became alarmed myself when my doctor notified me my Vitamin D level had dropped.  I'll admit, after missing out on the chilly winter last year...( I traveled to Hawaii....totally not complaining =]) I felt obligated to enjoy warm hearty meals, treats and snuggle up by the fire on snow days... clearly this year I indulged a tad bit too much.  Honestly, I certainly have noticed a lack of motivation in the last couple months but didn't think much of it until my doctor made me aware.  I'm proof that while maintaining a general healthy lifestyle, sometimes we all can get a little off course which can be enough to negatively affect our health.

That being said, there is no need to worry!  Here are my top 2 tips to light a spark under your butt and get you motivated to improve your health and get back to living that year round healthy lifestyle! =]

  1. Sunlight: Bundle up and go for a brisk walk, jog, run before work or during your lunch break.  25 minutes is the recommended amount of time to ensure your body is taking in the required amount of Vitamin D from the sunlight.  You'll get a boost of energy and an extra bit of exercise in too! *Be sure to still apply sunscreen!*
  2. Delicious Foods: Wild Salmon, eggs, mushrooms, fortified almond or coconut milk and fortified orange juice all contain Vitamin D.  Incorporating these into your daily diet will give your Vitamin D levels a natural boost!
Soak up the sun & cook up delicious meals this winter with these Vitamin D packed ingredients!

xoxo Kat

Friday, January 30, 2015

SuperBowl Sunday Snacks

Super Bowl Sunday is days away and although I'm bummed my New York Giants weren't even a close call this year, I'm still excited to indulge in all of the delicious snacks that are a must for every Super Bowl party!  While I aim to maintain a non processed plant based diet, I love to enjoy an indulgence every once in awhile and the ending of football season is a perfect day to dig in!

Here is my Super Bowl Snack List that will bring all of your guests together in-between screaming matches of whether or not the last play was a first down, the player went out of bounds or if the refs are being paid off =]  I threw in a few healthy options as well to accommodate everyone!

  • Veggie Dish: You can still eat healthy on Super Bowl Sunday with this yummy fresh veggie dish.  Be sure to enjoy this before all of the indulging food.  It's best to digest raw vegetables on an empty stomach.  Chop celery, carrots, bell peppers & broccoli in bite size pieces & serve with your favorite hummus in place of a dairy dip.  This delicious, healthy & colorful dish is sure to be a crowd pleaser!
  • Finger Lickin' Buffalo Wings: Spicy buffalo wings are a football Sunday essential!  Don't forget the blue cheese/ranch and celery
  • Chili Dip: I've been enjoying my mom's homemade chili dip recipe since I was a little girl.  My entire neighborhood loves it & refers to it as "Josephine's Dip" 
    • In a medium glass dish spread one bar of cream cheese, chili & beans and top with shredded cheddar cheese.  Bake in the oven at 350 for 25 minutes
  • Stuffed Potato Skins: I suggest making these homemade.  Bake potatoes in the oven until tender.  Remove and slice in half long ways.  Mash the inside with a fork and then fill with cheddar cheese, sour cream, chives & a dash of hot sauce.  Yummo!
  •  Fruit Bowl:  Many of us think of a fruit bowl as dessert, right?  Although it is a healthy alternative to candy and cookies, fruit is best digested on an empty stomach....even before vegetables.  Consuming food after a heavy meal causes fermentation to occur which results in uncomfortable bloating and irritability.  Serve this refreshing snack as guests arrive in place of cheese and crackers.  The boost of vitamins will give your guests extra energy to cheer all game long rather than immediate bloating and napping!  It's really simple to make your own and quite affordable too.  This time of the year there is an abundance of apples, oranges, pears, cherries & dates.  Changing up the standard fruit bowl allows you to choose fruits that are in season, providing a fresh change up your guests will love!
Feel free to indulge in all of these delicious snacks and have a blast with friends and family this Sunday.  I guess... GO SEAHAWKS!  Everyone knows as a NY fan and Jersey girl it's against the rules for me to ever cheer for a Boston team! =]  Happy Super Bowl Everyone!

xoxo Kat

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Ocean Eats: Mantoloking Chowda

The heart of winter is certainly here, and with all of this snowy weather it's time to dig out those warm homemade recipes & get cooking!  There's nothing better, in my opinion, than a filling warm bowl of Clam Chowder or should I say... Mantoloking Chowda!  Check out my new article & recipe for +Ocean Happening in the Ocean Eats: Cooking section!

xoxo Kat

Monday, January 26, 2015

Blizzard Blast 2015

Winter Storm Warning: BLIZZARD CONDITIONS!
If you live in the TriState area or NorthEast US you are about to be snowed in for the first time this winter.  What could be better news on a Monday?  More than likely you went home early or if you were really lucky, you had the day off!  Chances are just about all of us will get to enjoy the next couple days off and relax with family and whoever else gets to your house before dusk!  Personally, I'm not a fan of snow unless it's a blizzard.  I can do without the slushy stuff but that fresh packed powder for sleigh riding makes me feel like a kid again…(especially when school closed for a week! =])

Here is my go to Blizzard agenda to avoid cabin fever & have a blast!

  • Sleigh Riding: if you live near me Holmdel Park!
    • Grab the sleds and get there early!  A day on the hill having sled races followed by hot cocoa & grilled cheese by the gigantic fireplace at the cabin is by far # 1 on any snowy day! 
  • Snowball Fights & Snow Angels:  Once the blizzard conditions calm down, make the most of the fresh powder!  Perfect for packing a solid snowball or making a pretty angel spend the day enjoying a fun "fight"!
  • King of the Mountain & Igloos:  If you get a couple feet of snow this is a hands down must do!  Once the snow plows come through your neck of the woods, build an igloo….we made one with multiple rooms once! (Safety: always let an adult know when you'll be inside and never go in alone…in case it collapses!) It's the perfect hiding spot during a snowball fight too!  Also, be sure to find where the plows are pushing the snow up into "mountains" (usually at the end of a street or dead end)  See who can get to the top and not get shoved off.
  • Hot Cocoa with Peppermint Marshmallows:  Stock up on plenty of hot chocolate mix, marshmallows and candy canes.  Roll the marshmallows in crushed candy canes and drop into hot cocoa for a minty refreshing treat! 
  • Wine & Eggnog:  If you haven't already, hit the liquor store to stock up on these necessities you'll be happy to have when cabin fever sets in!
  • Warm Comfort Food:  After a fun - filled day in the snow everyone loves to indulge in delicious hot comfort food!  Stock up on your favorites or cook up a crock pot recipe: mac & cheese, veggie stew, mashed potatoes, homemade pizza, spicy chili, brownies, chocolate chip cookies & rice crispy treats are a few of my favs!

Pre-Storm Flurries

Stay Safe, Keep Warm & Have a Blast!  Happy 1st Blizzard of 2015 NorthEast! =]

xoxo Kat

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Warm Up with Winter Soups & Stews!

Wintertime is the perfect time to make your favorite pot of delicious soup or stew!  The freezing temps make us crave warm comfort food and what's better than a homemade dish!  Soups and stews are quite simple to make ahead of time, take with you on the go, incorporate local ingredients and most importantly, they allow you to get creative with fresh ingredients while keeping a low budget!  I'll be sharing my favorite local bowl of choice with +OceanHappening this week!  In the mean time, check out my top 5 list for this winter!  I'll be featuring a few of these recipes in the next few weeks!

  • Butternut Squash Soup
  • Clam Chowder
  • Veggie Quinoa Stew
  • Creamy Asparagus Soup
  • Lentil Chili
Keep Warm, Keep Cooking & Bon Appetit! 

xoxo Kat