Friday, April 29, 2016

Yoga Pants As Dress Pants

Sraight leg black dress yoga paints
Wow, have you noticed how versatile yoga pants are? Today's yoga pants while constructed of active stretch fabric, are figure-flattering stylish! You can find fashion-forward yoga pants that will take you from a day at the office to the gym to a night out on the town. Look professional at work, workout in comfort on a treadmill and meet friends for dinner afterwards ... all without changing your outfit.

For a modern woman, yoga pants are the new all-in-one dress, sports and casual ware. They are adaptable and machine washable! Dress yoga pants up or down with the right blouse, t-shirt and shoes. Yoga pants are also perfect for the windy, nippy days of spring. Paired with a cardigan, or blazer, they look polished.

Yoga riding pants
Betabrand, an innovative San Fransisco clothing company that launched in 2005 (under its old name of Cordarounds), has an ultra chic selection of yoga pants, as well as, other cool clothing for men and women. Anyone can submit ideas for new pieces to Betabrand here. Their inventory includes dresses, pinstripe hoodies, office jeans (that you can find here), dress sweat pants, jackets and shoes. If your idea is selected, Betabrand partners with you to design, develop and manufacture the item into being. Crowfunding pays expenses. The retailer releases new innovative clothing non-stop. All the goods are made by seven contracted, outsourced, sew shops in the Bay Area. The clothes are sold online and at a brick and mortar store located in San Fransisco.

This spring put your best yoga-pants-covered-leg and foot forward ... in style and comfort!

Fine China Light Franklin shoes

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Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Overnight Chia Seed Chocolate Pudding

Photo: The Food Network
Chia Seeds are whole grains that are a complete protein. They are high in omega-3 fatty acids, B vitamins, calcium, maganesium, phosphorus, potassium and zinc. Refrigerated overnight, chia seed pudding makes a delicious, healthy breakfast. The preparation is as easy as making instant pudding:

Overnight Chia Seed Chocolate Pudding 


2 cups milk
1/2 cup chia seeds
1/4 cup cocoa powder (or flavor of choice; see below)
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
sweeten to taste (with honey, brown sugar, maple syrup or Stevia)

Optional: 1 teaspoon of instant coffee


Pour the ingredients into a Mason jar and shake until well blended, then chill (it gels) for at least five hours. Overnight is ideal.

Alternately, you can throw the ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth. Divide into bowls to refrigerate overnight, if you wish. You can either blend the chia seeds (for a smooth consistency), or add the chia seeds after blending. I like the chewiness of the whole chia seeds. I use the Mason jar and shake method. (Less cleanup. Yes, I am that lazy!)

For variety, flavor with 1 teaspoon of vanilla; or 1/4 cup of blueberries, or mango (instead of chocolate) if you wish. 
Top as desired with nuts, coconut, or a little caramel. Almond milk and coconut milk can be substituted for regular milk also. However, cow's milk is higher in protein.

The next morning, grab a spoon and violà ... eat a nutritious, slurpy breakfast!

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Friday, April 22, 2016

R.I.P. Prince (June 7, 1958 - April 21, 2016)

What a shock! Yesterday we lost a musical prodigy and visionary. Prince helped define the music of the 80s, bringing together several genres, including: funk, rock, blues, soul, psychedelia and pop. Single handily creating the Minneapolis sound, Prince Rogers Nelson was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2004. As reported on Nightly News, Prince's 2007 Super Bowl appearance in the pouring rain is regarded as the best half-time performance in history. What could The Artist not do? (Click YouTube to see if it's up -- it often gets removed.) Read this also.

There will never be another Prince. People say it when it isn't true, but this time it is. He did everything well: sing, play, dance, write, produce, move music forward. And, he was still at the top of his game a few days before he died. We usually accept that as an artist ages, his/her performance wanes. An artist can't stay in his prime forever, but Prince was still in his prime. If you watch him sing, he sounds as strong in 2016 as he did in 1984. Rumor says there is a stockpile of his music yet to be published. Remarkable how multi-talented he was, and now gone too soon. Hearts break and tears fall. R.I.P. our beloved Prince.

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Tuesday, April 19, 2016

It Pays To Give Old Things A New Life

After reading The Story Of Stuff, I too began to think about the entire life cycle of the things we buy. Can we reduce waste by recycling more of our stuff? Individual efforts make a collective difference in saving our environment. As a bonus, buying less and giving old things a new life can also save you big bucks! So when it makes sense, why not do it? 

Here are a few items I reuse or repurpose, which may sound cheap, as well as, brilliant!:

1) Reuse old (but still good) shoe insoles - Sometimes I luck into a pair of sneakers, all-weather mocs or ballet flats that have the perfect arch support. If I wear the outside shoes out, but the insoles are still good, I remove them (before throwing out the shoes). Later on, I slide the saved, old insoles into brand new shoes. I might also order a half-shoe-size-up so that I can slide one, or two pairs of the old insoles into my new shoes. I slip the old insoles under the new shoes' original (new) insoles. Often this works to absorb shock without making the toe bed too tight and results in turning uncomfortable shoes into very supportive walking shoes! With double (or triple) insoles, you get mighty fine cushion, bounce and shock absorption.

Old drawers turned into toy boxes. How clever!

Along with the saved, old insoles of trashed shoes, I buy Dr. Scholls' insoles. They cushion when there is no extra room in a shoe, as well as, are thin enough to triple up inside shoes for extra cushioning. For example: I turned my LL Bean All Weather Mocs into a super supportive walking shoe (by ordering a size 8 1/2 -- up from my usual size 8) and inserting a Dr. Scholls' insole along with a Nike's sneaker insole underneath the All Weather Moc's leather insole. Now I can walk all over the city in them as if they were sneakers!

2) Repurpose aluminum foil - Instead of buying Brillo pads, simply crumble up a piece of washed, previously used aluminum foil to scrub your pots and pans. It removes food particles, and you have one less product to buy. Naturally, you can tear off a new piece, but if you use aluminum foil to bake a dish or wrap food, wash and reuse it to scrub a pan before throwing it out.

3) Recycle paper/ plastic bags - As mentioned in a previous blog, I have a wire recycler as my kitchen trash can. All the plastic supermarket bags are reused as garbage bags. Paper bags also become garbage bags, as well as, wrapping paper for packages mailed at the post office. Aim to save a tree and use less plastic whenever possible, but reusing them helps too!

4) After making a batch of Kombucha tea, I reuse the paper towels that cover the tops of the brew to spot clean my floor, or to dust. Why not? They aren't dirty.

5) Next I plan to repurpose two empty Kleenex boxes to organize and give my plastic grocery bags and clean, gently used paper towels a home.

6) Repurpose an ugly old file cabinet, or other furniture - I enjoy the show Knock It Off, which is always breathing new life into unsightly old furniture, or metal file cabinets by staining or painting them. The show saves homeowners $1000s for the cost of a can of paint.

7) If I buy beauty products that come in small containers, I wash and save a few for traveling. I have a slender cosmetic bag filled with these empty miniatures. Why buy special containers for trips instead of recycling these perfectly good containers? Let's make one less landfill by washing and reusing what we have. 

Earth Day arrives on April 22nd! Think about all the things you buy. Each of us can lessen our carbon footprint for Mother Earth by reducing, recyling and reusing. Do you give your things a second life? Feel free to share your genius ideas under comments.
Photo: earth911 - A hanger dish rack

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Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Let's Plan A Wine Party

Photo: Testing Room Wine Potomac
If you don't have the time to put together a full dinner party, try hosting a simple wine party.

According to experts at Walmart, serve 1/2 bottle of wine per person. As an example, for 10 people set out 3 bottles of red (such as Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignan, Pinot Noir, Gamay) and 2 bottles of white (like Chardonnay, Champagne, Riesling, Moscato). Rosé is made from white wine grapes.

It is suggested that the red be chilled for 15 minutes and the white for one hour. A confession: I like my red wine chilled and tend to keep it in the refrigerator, but for guests I chill it the proper way. If I'm at your party, you may see me slip an ice cube into my glass of red wine.

When I buy wine, I always ask the wine seller to help me select red wines low on tannin. Tannin comes from the skins, seeds and stems of red grapes. Although it gives red wine its health benefits, tannin can taste dry and astringent without a nice juicy steak to balance the sharpness. If guests sip wine without heavy food, a red wine low in tannins is often more palatable.

I like to set out a cheese platter to nosh as people drink the wine, and I often serve a pot of homemade hot soup also. (What can I say, I'd rather eat then drink.) With soup, guests can grab a mug and spoon to serve themselves.

Walmart says, serve light food (like mild cheese, fruit, nuts) with white wine and

rich food (such as robust cheese, ham, sausage) with red. Although Brie is a mild cheese and extra sharp cheddar is robust, they both taste sensational paired with either red or white wine, in my opinion. So there is no need to split hairs, delicious nibbles will always be a hit!

Hosting a wine party is a classy idea without the stress of a full dinner. Most of the work is done in advance, letting you spend time catching up with your guests.

My take away tip from Walmart is the amount of alcohol to serve. One-half bottle per person is a good rule of thumb. That's 2 glasses for each guest. I might add two extra bottles of wine per ten people. Because: What if someone went over his drinking allotment?

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Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Dry Shampoo Is Strange

Photo: BeautyNewsIndia - There's plenty of dry shampoo on the market!
A product you never see recommended on THE SAVVY SHOPPER is dry shampoo. That's because I don't understand it.

The texture of my hair is fine, and I have lots of it. I wonder if dry shampoo works better on another hair type? The idea of weighing down second day fine hair with dry shampoo sounds a little gross to me. Some beauty editors advise sprinkling talc powder or cornstarch on your scalp as a substitute for dry shampoo. I suppose talc powder, or cornstarch like dry shampoo, absorbs oil.

To me, it seems like these measures still leave you with dirty hair. If you have time to sprinkle and brush dry shampoo (talc power or cornstarch) into your oily hair, isn't it easier to just wash the hair as you shower each morning? I mean, the effort is about the same, no?

I found a blog describing the ins and outs of using dry shampoo here. In my research, I notice two things: 1) Dry shampoo is many times more expensive than shampoo and; 2) All the beauty brands offer it, which means it does sell. So people are users.

Perhaps somebody who likes the stuff will school me. Are you a fan of dry shampoo (or talc power or cornstarch)? Please mention what the texture of your hair is: fine, medium or coarse.Emoji

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