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  • A Little Fancy Structure

    I just adore a good planner. I know we all have smart phones now and that everything can be programmed at the touch of a button but there is something about writing things down that gets my brain working in a different way and allows me to set up the structure for my week/day/year. Life can get overwhelming at times and to see everything in front of me with a flip of a few pages and my favorite pen in hand makes me happy. I love these planners from Etsy shop Ninj & Ninj so much so that I've ordered them for the last three years and plan to continue for a long time! They also make great stocking stuffers so go ahead and order a few. Your life should be beautiful so write it down in something that is too.:)

    2016 is looking good.

    Stay Fancy xo

  • Choosing the Best Tea

    I LOOOVVEEE tea. I drink multiple cups a day and am very particular about what I'm drinking. If you ever spot me, chances are I'll have a stash of tea bags in my purse because I take them with me everywhere. How people will hand out mints, I'll hand out a tea bag if we're ever somewhere and a friend doesn't like the selection around them. I only carry winners. You're better than Lipton.

    Here are my top winners right now. Each brings something different to the table depending on what you're feeling but all will leave you relaxed and satisfied.

    1. Kusmi Rose Green Tea. Peaceful. Relaxing. Perfection. This green tea is delicately fragrant with rose and is nothing short of a spa in a cup. No part is overbearing (when your tea can get gritty) and each sip from first to last is like one long meditation. 

    2. Rishi Matcha Green. We hear all the time that green tea is one of the wonder teas. It's chock full of antioxidants and perhaps no greater source of them is in Matcha Green. This matcha is incredibly vibrant and enjoyable. I've been trying lately to have one of these a day. With benefits like increasing metabolism, source of EGCg (powerful antioxidant fights against free radicals), detoxing and mood enhancing you can see why.

    3. Choice Tea PeppermintI have been drinking Choice tea for years and it's by far one of my favorites out there. It's organic and high quality and you can find it in any Whole Foods you go to. Though I love many flavors the peppermint is one of my favorites (and certainly my favorite peppermint). If you ever have an upset stomach or feel a bit naseaous this is a great one to have. It also works as a nice tea after dinner since the peppermint cools down your stomach and makes food easier to digest.

    4. Rishi Blueberry Hibiscus. My husband got a tea bag of this at a restaurant a few months ago and we loved it so much we ordered 50 bags online! If you like fruity teas this is a winner but I like to use it when I'm really craving a snack but I know I should wait until dinner.:)

    What are some of your favorite teas to drink?

  • Gratitude Is The Opposite Of Complaining

    I’ve been realizing lately that I’ve been finding a lot to complain about. It hit me when I was in a terrible mood and all of a sudden I heard myself speaking. No wonder I’d been in a bad mood. I was constantly finding reasons to be in one! Now, though justified (aren’t we all?!), these things I was complaining about weren’t getting solved by me complaining, instead they were taking up the mental space that could otherwise be used for joyful thoughts. I was shocked when I realized what was happening. I’m generally a happy, cheerful person and this definitely was NOT fitting the vision of my life.

    I woke up the next morning and the first thing that came to mind was gratitude. That was it! That was the key! I knew I had to start small in the morning and build up throughout the day so I began on my morning walk to grab coffee. Instead of letting my mind wander I instead looked around at what was around me and felt gratitude for it. Instead of walking a city block, I walked through a beautiful park on the way to my destination, just taking in everything around me and feeling very grateful to be there. Then it hit me. Gratitude is the opposite of complaining. And all either of them are in terms of ability is habit. So what if every time I went to complain I instead found something to be grateful for? Hmm. This seems like a way more fun way to go about my day! So here is my practice for the next few months (21 days to form a new habit but let’s really enforce it!) I’d love it if you’d join me!

    • When something comes up to complain about - I'll ask myself, “Is this something that is worth the mental toll it will take on me?” 9 times out of 10 it won’t be. Sure, there are times when it is necessary (note: I didn’t say justified) but I'll ask that question first. 

    • Wait. Sometimes if we just wait a few hours we wonder why that seemed so important to talk about in the first place. Sure it may still bother you but chances are it will have calmed down a bit. If not, journal about it. And if still not, go ahead and find a trusted confidant who gets you just need to let this one out!

    • Replace complaining with gratitude. Listen, no one is perfect and it's inevitable that we'll catch ourselves complaining at some point (or gossiping...eeks!). When you notice it, don't beat yourself up about it. Actually be proud that you noticed it because that means you're becoming more aware of your habits. Then in that moment find something to be grateful for, this way the new habit is replacing the old and next time the thought will go to gratitude faster! It's just building a muscle!

    We all complain to feel justified but our real power comes when we realize it’s only doing us a disservice. And the funny this is the faster we move out of complaining and into gratitude the more wonderful things will come our way and the less there will be to complain about. Sounds like a better deal, don’t you think? 

    So since this is the week of Thanks, why not utilize this as a time to start flexing our gratitude muscles for the long haul and maybe by 2016 we can be a bit brighter, happier and more gracious human beings!

    Happy Thanksgiving!! xo

  • The Best Dry Shampoo

    Dry shampoo can be a lifesaver. If you're running out the door and don't quite have time to wash your hair-dry shampoo to the rescue! We've all now been told a million times by our hairdressers never to wash our hair every day and there it is -- dry shampoo to the rescue! 

    However, when you have pin straight hair that tends to get incredibly greasy if you don't wash it every day, you look at dry shampoo and laugh. Most have only kept my hair fresh for about half a day and then by dinner I'm running my hands through greasy locks. I've written about it before but one of the best I've found is dry bar's detox - this one can take me to 2-3 days on the condition that my hair has been blown dry day 1 to get rid of excess moisture and give it volume. 
    I had tried products from Living Proof before and really loved them so when I heard about their Perfect Hair Day dry shampoo I had to give it a go! With PHD I can somehow get an extra day in when I don't blow dry (which I unheard of!). This stuff zaps grease, gives your hair a little life and some nice texture. It has a nice lemony sent and doesn't leave any of that white residue that products like klorane do. I'll still wash my hair probably more than I should but at least now my hair dresser can be a bit more proud of me some days:)
  • Be Plane Ready this Thanksgiving

    Flying can be fun. Jetting off from one place to the next has a lot of excitement to it and though it's always fun to explore new restaurants and food wherever you're going, the one thing you don't want to explore is airline food. Things brought up into the skies tend to have a bit more sodium (and airplanes already make your body swell) and even though more and more airlines are carrying healthier snacks, sometimes they run out or if you're someone with dietary restrictions they won't fit all your needs. I'll generally make a sandwich the night before to take on the plane or if I make some thing for dinner the night before and it's travel friendly I'll pack that up. But let's face it, snacks are where it's at, so I'm always sure to have many on hand. Even if I don't eat them all on the plane they always come in handy whenever I reach my destination. Exploring makes a girl hungry!! Here are some of my favorite things to bring along:

    A few more in flight tips:
    1. MOISTURIZE. Slather it on before you get on and keep a travel size bottle in your carry on to reapply at least once during your flight and again when you land. Your skin gets incredibly dehydrated while flying.
    2. Stay hydrated. Back to that dehydration... Drink plenty of water and try to refrain from the inflight coffee and tea (it's never good anyway). It helps to pick up a bottle or two of smart water in the airport before you fly since purified water keeps you less thirsty and more replenished. It may be expensive in the terminal but it's worth keeping your health (and beauty) on track.
    3. Reapply on the fly: when flying I try to keep my makeup to a minimum since it can cause excess drying. A girl of course wants to look presentable though so I'll often just put on a little shadow, my Laura Mercier tinted moisturizer (yay for more moisture!) and a little lip sheer. I then keep a travel size honest baby wipes in my carry on so when I land or when I get to the hotel (depending on how fast you have to get to and event), I can wipe of the minimal makeup, refresh my face, MOISTURIZE and put on my every day (or night) makeup.
    What essential things do you do when you travel?

    Categories:

  • How to make the Perfect Brussel Sprouts

    Growing up this vegetable was my nemesis. I couldn’t understand how anyone in their right mind would CHOOSE to eat this leafy ball of grossness. It probably didn't help that I was being fed frozen ones in butter sauce. I still remember my first bite of the brussel sprout that changed everything. It was Thanksgiving 8 years ago when a friend promised she could change my mind about this dreaded vegetable. I didn’t believe her for a second and told her she was in for quite the challenge but as soon as I took my first bite I immediately wanted to eat the entire serving plate. After that I no longer shied away from them on menus. In fact, any time I’ve seen them on a menu since I’ve ordered them. This has also led me to a very extreme preference in how I like them done. Extra crispy, a little salty and often with bacon:). While dining out recently I tried some simply prepared sprouts that go me to experimenting and I couldn’t believe the results. You can now make the perfect brussel sprouts in less than 15 minutes. And I promise, no butter sauce.

    What you need:

    -brussel sprouts sliced into quarters (in 1/2 if they’re small)

    -olive oil

    -sea salt

    -pepper

    -lemon

    -Maldon Salt

    Directions:

    Set your oven to Broil (convection broil if you have it). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Toss the sprouts with some olive oil, a bit of sea salt and pepper. Broil until browned and crispy. This is usually less than 10 min. Once out the over squeeze a bit of lemon on top and sprinkle with Maldon sea salt! Voila! They’ll be a huge hit!

    (to make it even better - Cut up some bacon into 1/2 inch pieces, saute until cooked in a pan and once these sprouts are done toss in the bacon fat and pieces;))

    xo

  • Ways To Kick Stress You've Probably Never Tried Before

    Stress is something we all know a little too well. It can set itself off even with the smallest of instigators sometimes sending us into needless tailspins in which once we come out the other side, we wonder what we were so worried about in the first place. Since a life without stress, though thoroughly desirable, isn’t quite an option, learning how to manage it when it comes up can be quite helpful. That’s why I want to share with you today 3 things that have really helped me when stress creeps in without me knowing it.

    1. Identify it. Your really freaking out and you don’t know why, you’re a little extra snappy or perhaps you can’t stop looking in your fridge (there must be more food in there somewhere!). Identify that you’re stressed. Just saying it and giving it a little acknowledgement will help take the edge off. Feelings want to know that they’ve been heard so though you don’t have to engage with irrational feeling you do want to acknowledge it’s presence so you can go ahead and move on. Notice it as you would a small puppy doing something totally goofy and irrational. You can even laugh at it if you want. Be objective. Be the observer not the merger.
    2. Drop down to you heart. This one is good. This is the thing that whenever I do it I can always feel an immediate shift. If you’re stressed, you’re living from your head and sh*t can get a little bonkers up there as we all know. Your heart is one of the wisest places you can visit. There are even studies out there now proving that our hearts have brain cells in them. Pretty cool, right? A simple way to drop down to you heart and out of your brain is to just place a hand over it while taking a few deep breaths. Pretend you’re actually breathing with your heart. You don’t have to have actual proof just use your imagination. Feel into it. It can help to think of something relaxing or of something you love unconditionally (like your dog:)).
    3. Stay calm. Sounds easier said than done, I know but just try saying the word “calm” to yourself. Remind yourself that all the best and enlightened decisions come from calm. Keep saying it. Calm. Calm. Calm. Every time you say it try to drop deeper and deeper into your body. From this place take action slowly. Don’t rush into every mundane thing you do. Instead do every thing with intention. The more time in between thoughts the better. This further helps you drop down into your heart and your body and get out of your head.

    Give these a go next time stress tried to take a hold of your day. I pretty confident they’ll help to eliminate at least a little (if not all) of it.

    What do you do to manage stress? Have you ever tried any of the above?

  • My Fav Healthier Beauty Buys Right Now

    There is a lot of "better for you" beauty out there now which is a wonderful thing but it can be hard to decipher which products are worth using and what ones just don't hold up to their promise. Here are a few of my favorite products right now. Though they all may not be fully natural they all are free of many harmful ingredients and hold themselves up to higher standards then your everyday beauty products

    1. Sisely Paris Mascara: Thankfully Europe has higher standards for their beauty products so if you're looking for something effective yet less harmful it's wise to turn to products made there. I've been loving this Sisely Mascara that curls and lenthens your lashes and uses plant-based ingredients to achieve maximal results.

    2. Laura Mercier Silk Creme: Foundation. This is perhaps the trickiest healthy beauty buy. I've tried many a better-for-you brand but many just left me looking orangey or even worse - like I was wearing a ton of makeup. I'm always looking for something that's going to look camera ready but is also good for my skin and doesn't make me look like I have caked on makeup. I had recently fallen in love with Laura's tinted moisturizer so thought I'd give this photo-ready option a try. It feels so silky smooth on your skin, blends in perfectly and looks natural yet fierce. I go with the oil-free since my skin can get a bit oily plus it helps keep you dewey without being shiny. Laura's makeup is very allergy friendly so perfect for those with tempermental skin.

    3,4 & 5. Beauty Counter Lip Sheer, Eye Duo and Concealer: Beauty Counter is committed to changing the Beauty standards in the U.S. and has been making a lot of headway. Any product you can buy from them is a step in the right direction. In fact, I also use the bronzer and blush duo as well. Though their Tint Skin didn't do it for me (see: orangey) I do know people who love it and swear by it for every day use. I have the lip sheer in several colors but my favorite for everyday is the TwigThe eye duo contains 2 complimentary shades (all over and crease) making this friendly for even a novice makeup wearer. I recommend picking up their brush set as well as it's one of the best I've ever used. The concealer is easy to use and blends in flawlessly.

    6 & 7. Bobbi Brown eye liner & eye shadow: It's no secret that Bobbi Brown is one of the best in the business. Though Beauty Counter also makes great eyeliner, Bobbi's Long-Wear Eyeliner just has such a deep and rich color that lasts and looks so fierce you wonder why you'd use anything else (her gel-liner is also wonderful) I use her grey eye shadow in the outer corner of my eye, in combination with the Beauty Counter duo mentioned above, to create an every day smokey look. Having spent time with Bobbi, I know her commitment to finding the best ingredients for her products is high and that her goal is to always have the most nourishing yet effective line out there. 

    8. Ilia Beauty Lip Gloss: Sasha Plavsic, creator of Ilia, was one of the first out there creating beauty products free of harmful ingredients. There are many things I love about her line (especially the mascara and lip crayons) but my absolute favorite is her lip gloss in Peek A Boo. The curved applicator is so soft and perfectly angled to sweep across your lips flawlessly. The Peek A Boo color is so neutral that it is the perfect comliment to almost any lip color and does wonders when paired with a smokey eye.

    My list of products is always changing often playing with new and old favorites together. It was several months of play to find this combination so I did a lot of trial and error so you don't have to. I'll of course keep you updated with new products I find and love and please feel free to share with me some of the ones you can't live without in the comments below!

    xo Stay Fancy

  • Gluten Free & Dairy Free Fried Chicken Sandwiches

     No longer are the days when you have to look at a fried chicken sandwich and dry your tears with the menu you crumpled up because you were so distraught you couldn't have it. (oh wait, you've never done that? Yea, me neither...;)) These GF and DF fried chicken sandwiches are simple to make and make you everyone's new best friend.

    What you need:

    for the sauce:

     veganaise

     can of jalepenos

    for the chicken

     4 pounded chicken cutlets

     2 cups gluten free flour (Cup4Cup Gluten Free Flour or Bob's Red Mill 1 for 1)

     salt

     1 egg

     unsweetened rice or almond milk

     hot sauce

    also needed

     dill pickles, thinly sliced into chips

     gluten free buns

    Sauce: dice up about 5 or 6 jalepenos and then add to 1/2 cup of veganiase. Add 1/4 tsp of the juice from the jar (if you like spicy), then mix it all together.

    Chicken: Using kitchen/meat scissors (or a sharp knife) cut the chicken into strips. (Note: you can season the chicken with a dry brine if you'd like beforehand. Just combine the chicken strips with some salt, garlic powder and a pinch of cayenne in a bowl, cover and refrigerate for at least an hour). In a bowl combine a cup of the milk, the egg, and a couple dashes of hot sauce and whisk together.  Have a plate ready with 2 cups of the gluten free flour mixed with a teaspoon or two of salt. 

    Heat a large skillet over high heat and add about 1/2 an inch of canola oil to the pan. Get the oil to about 375 degrees. Dredge each piece of chicken in the egg mixture and then roll around in the flour to get it coated. Add it to the pan and repeat with each strip. Fry it in the pan about 3 min for the first side and 2 for the second. The time will vary depending on the size of the strip. It's best to use a meat thermometer to be sure all your strips are 165 degrees or higher.

    To assemble:

    Do a light toasting of the buns. Spread your veganaise mixture onto one side (or both!) of the bun and then add some of the pickle chips. Add the chicken strips (1 or 2 usually does the trick) and your sandwich is ready to go! Serve with a side of hot sauce!