Tuesday, January 20, 2015

8 Ways to Optimize Your Fitness Routine & Introducing Silk's Dairy-Free Yogurt Alternative #SpoonfulOfSilk

I've been aware that fitness should ideally be a part of everyone's daily life since I was a little kid and mommy made us kids go out and play, however I didn't really realize how important until I became really involved in fitness back in 2013.

Of course with shows like The Biggest Loser, Extreme Weight Loss, and Excess Baggage, commercials and informercials for weight loss supplements, gym equipment, and kitchen appliances, as well as shows revolving around healthy eating, society continues to highlight fitness and healthy living to the point of shoving it in your face these days.

Fitness and living a healthy lifestyle don't have to be an all-or-nothing kind of deal, though. Slow and steady wins the race, especially when it comes to exercise and eating. You can seriously hurt yourself if you go all out when starting to exercise or get pretty sick if you quit eating junk food that your body is use to consuming cold turkey (learned both of those the hard way).

Here are 8 simple and easy ways to optimize your fitness goals, all of which make sure you start out slow so you can accomplish those goals of yours in no time:

1. Know your goals and stick to them. Do you want to lose weight? Tone up? Build muscle? Focus on one part of your body at a time? Know exactly what you want to do first and foremost, that way you can come up with a reasonably-timed plan to implement those goals otherwise you'll be all over the map; too many focuses at once leads to nothing getting accomplished!

2. Find something(s) you enjoy doing. If you dread going to the gym to workout everyday, don't do it! If you hate dragging yourself out of bed in the mornings to go on that 3 mile run, stay in bed! Find an area of exercise you truly and thoroughly enjoy doing and stick with that. For me, it was pole fitness. Going three times a week didn't feel like a chore I had to do, it felt like I was doing something I was truly passionate about, therefore I actually looked forward to going!

3. High protein snacks or foods before and after workouts. If you want to do things right you need the right kind of fuel to fuel your workouts. Everyone's body is different so we all require different things but high in protein foods and snacks offer us the ability to aid in muscle growth as well as help burn more calories and keep us energized. Grab a hard boiled egg if you're on the go, make yourself a protein smoothie, or grab yourself one of Silk's newest Silk Dairy-Free Yogurt Alternatives and add some granola and chia seeds for a protein-rich snack. 

4. Find yourself a workout or accountability partner. Working out alone can feel more like a chore for some of us and let's be honest, we're more likely to skip a workout if it's just us. Having a friend who enjoys the same type of exercise you do can not only be fun, it can help both (or all if it's a group) of you be accountable towards your fitness goals! Plus having people to chat with helps the time go by much faster.

5. Know your body. The beauty about being a human being is that we're all different. While one person might enjoy running, another person might despise it and prefer yoga. One person in your yoga class might not be too flexible while the person in the back of the room is making a pretzel out of their body. You might prefer eating carbs before working out while I stick with protein. Know your body! Not only will knowing your body help you towards reaching your goals in a shorter amount of time, it'll also help you from overworking or hurting yourself.

6. Take advantage of local events/free trials/etc. Anytime Fitness offers a free two-week trial to potential members to check out your local gym. Your local branch of the YMCA offers things from swimming pools, to fully stocked gyms, to running tracks and more. Self's Workout in the Park event is held every year in several different locations and offers a full day of different classes you can participate in while entering contests and snagging a bunch of freebies for only $20. If you look hard enough, you'll find events in and around your area, free or costing a little money, that will get you out of the house and up and moving!

7. Eat right. Kind of going along with two of the earlier suggestions, know what your body needs in order to work at it's best! Whether it be protein, carbs, or something else, be aware of what you're putting into your body. Read labels, buy wholesome, organic, and/or more natural ingredients from reputable companies, make your own food at home so you know exactly what goes into it...Remember, you are what you eat so do you really want to be cheap, fast, and easy? 

8. Implement the 80/20 rule. When it comes to eating, my doctor advocates the 80/20 rule: be good to yourself 80% of the time by eating the right healthy foods, cooking for yourself, and use that extra 20% to splurge every once in awhile. Don't deprive yourself from the goodies in your life, just limit them; quantity over quality. In other words, don't opt for a candy bar or your favorite fast food joint every single day but maybe treat yourself once a week. Same rules apply to any guilty pleasure.

Speaking of healthy eating, with Silk and their new Dairy-Free Yogurt Alternative, you can indulge that sweet tooth while opting for a healthier snack, especially if you follow a dairy free or vegan lifestyle! 
This delectable plant-based soy yogurt not only has 6 grams of protein in every serving, it also sports a smooth and creamy texture, is made from real fruit, and is free of dairy, cholesterol, and artificial colors or flavors. Not to mention it's gluten-free, carrageenan free, vegetarian, and low in saturated fat! 

It comes in a variety of flavors, including strawberry, blueberry, black cherry, vanilla, tropical pineapple, and peach and mango, of which I got to sample the tropical pineapple and black cherry flavors.
I had to wait quite a little while to try the two flavors I was sent due to some procrastination on my part, a lot of health issues, and a wee bit of creative block, so in order to preserve my coveted dairy free yogurt alternatives from Silk I had to take some drastic measures...
The sticky notes WERE broken out.
With 3 other people in the house if I don't claim things as my own (or hide them really, really good) they often disappear without a trace! 

In accordance with tip #3 above, I was craving something with protein the other day so I was finally able to grab my first cup of the dairy free yogurt and throw together a little much needed protein-packed snack for myself.


-1 container Silk Dairy-Free Yogurt Alternative (6 grams of protein)
-3/4 cup Vanilla Almond Granola* (6 grams of protein)
-1 TSP raw Chia Seeds (5 grams of protein)
*Note: any protein-packed granola will do.
That delicious looking quick and easy snack has a total of 17 grams of protein per serving and took me less than 5 minutes to make. Let me also tell you 3 out of the 4 people in the household got to try some of the tropical pineapple flavored dairy free yogurt and the consensus was unanimous: downright delicious and a most definite buy again! 

The flavor was sweet but not overpoweringly so, the consistency was smooth and full bodied, and I was actually somewhat sad when I ate my last spoonful. The only thing I wasn't the biggest fan of is the sugar content in each container

Good thing I still have my black cherry flavor left to try!
Make sure to follow the Silk Facebook Page to keep up-to-date with their happenings and also subscribe to the Silk eNewsletter-they have some very exciting things going on and I'd hate for you to miss out! 

To find more awesome posts revolving around Silk's yummy dairy free yogurt alternative you can also follow the Silk Yogurt Pinterest Board.
Have any tips to add to the one's above? 
Which flavor would YOU try first?
This conversation is sponsored by Silk. The opinions and text are all mine.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Silk's NEW Cashewmilk & My Fav Anti-Inflammatory Tea Recipe #SilkCashew

Let's talk about chronic illness for a minute. More specifically, let's talk about the chronic pain that inevitably follows the chronic illness.

Most of you know I've been sick for nearly 11 years and unfortunately with chronic illness comes many, many different symptoms. Aside from being diagnosed with 8 to 10 different conditions, for me, some of the things I've experienced throughout the years are brain fog, insomnia, depression, sporadic leg weakness, anxiety, mottling of the hands and feet, hot flashes, paralysis....you name it, I've probably experienced it at least once!

One of the symptoms that stays with me on a 24/7 basis is chronic pain. The level of the pain may fluctuate day to day but it's ALWAYS there in one form or another.

Not only is it always there, but certain things in daily life can set it off like the weather, medications, and certain foods such as sugar, wheat, and dairy which is why, aside from some cheese, I've limited my dairy intake considerably since it's one of the major foods that cause inflammation.

I literally cannot tell you the last time I actually even had regular cow's milk! The past several years I've stuck to mainly almond milk for my milk-related needs, which is why I was ecstatic when Silk mentioned they were coming out with a new cashew milk! 

Available in Original Cashewmilk and Unsweetened Cashewmilk, Silk's newest cashew milk tastes creamier than skim milk and also has less calories; 60 per serving, 25% fewer calories than skim milk*. Not only that but they have 50% more calcium than dairy milk.

I'm just thrilled I can actually have a plain ol' glass of milk again without worrying about being in pain afterwords!

Speaking of chronic pain, I actually found this particular recipe I'm sharing with you guys when my pain level was incredibly high and I had done everything I could think to do. I was sobbing, could barely move, and very desperate so I turned to the online world for help and I'm so thankful I found this recipe when I did.

The fact that it's pretty much organic and holistic (depending on the ingredients used of course) is also a nice benefit!

If you, yourself, know chronic pain or have someone in your life that does and could benefit from this wonderful tea, please pass this recipe along. I can promise you they'll appreciate it more than you know.

Anti-inflammatory Tumeric & Ginger Tea
(adapted from MindBodyGreen)

(Serves 1)


  • 1 cup water
  • 1/4 TSP ground turmeric*
  • 1/4 TSP ground ginger*
  • Splash of Silk Cashewmilk
  • Raw honey (to taste)

*For this tea, both tumeric and ginger would probably be better fresh but pre-packaged spices can work in a pinch.


  • Step #1: In a small sauce pan bring your water to a boil. Once boiling add your turmeric and ginger, reduce the heat to low, and let simmer for a good 10 minutes.
  • Step #2: Once everything is pretty well simmered you can add your splash of Silk Cashewmilk.
  • Step #3: This is a very important step, especially if you used fresh ingredients! Pour your tea from the saucepan into a strainer which will catch all the chunky pieces you do NOT want to be drinking.
  • Step #4: Once strained, stir in your spoon full of raw honey to taste and enjoy!

My favorite part is actually pouring in the milk because of how the hot tea and creaminess of the milk react to each other. I tried to grab a video of it so you can see for yourself!

Please excuse the blatant milk spillage.

A video posted by Kayla Potega (@theeclecticelement) on

In the past I'd have used almond milk to tame the spiciness of this tea but since I received my Silk Cashew Milk I wanted to substitute that and see how the switch worked. The creaminess of the cashew milk paired with the tea amazingly and, quite honestly, I think it was considerably better than the previously used nut milk.

Aside from the tea, the cashew milk has also been substituted for half-and-half in my mom's morning coffee and for almond milk in a few bowls of my cereal.

The consensus?

We'd buy it and use it again in a heartbeat! Next step is holiday baking with it!

Make sure to follow the Silk Facebook Page to keep up-to-date with the happenings and also subscribe to the Silk eNewsletter-Silk has some very exciting things going on so you absolutely don't want to miss out!

If you subscribe to the newsletter you also get an instant coupon ;)

To find more awesome cashew milk recipes you can also follow the Silk Cashew Milk Pinterest Board.

Have you used Silk's new Cashew Milk yet? What would you substitute it for?

This conversation is sponsored by Silk. The opinions and text are all mine.

*Silk Original Cashewmilk: 60 cal/serv; skim dairy milk: 80 cal/serv. USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Release 26. Data consistent with typical skim dairy milk.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Fragrances are the Perfect Holiday Gift + Fun Quiz & Giveaway #HolidayFragrance

Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by Lunchbox. All opinions are my own.

Honesty time. I've never been one for perfume or fragrances. Due to my fluctuating multiple chemical sensitivities (MCS) and allergy to bee stings, I've tried to stray away from fragrances that could give me a reaction or at the very least attract bees my way.

I cannot tell you how unattractive I look running hobbling away from incoming bees, clutching my epi-pen-carrying purse, all the while having a mini panic attack...

Anywho, lately I've been experimenting with certain smells and fragrances and have thankfully noticed no adverse reactions to some of them. Plus there are no bees in the Winter months, at least where I am located, so I'd say that's a win win!

And with the holidays coming up fast (Christmas is less than two weeks away!) fragrances and fragrance sets make such a fantastic gift. Good thing Wal-Mart has you covered with their exclusive fragrances you won't find anywhere else!

Before you set out on your fragrance gifting journey, you might want to check out Wal-Mart's Holiday Fragrance Gift Center complete with fragrance descriptions, recommendations for that lucky man or woman on your shopping list, and a fun and quick holiday quiz.

What Holiday Shopper Are You?

Complete the simple 5 question quiz and not only will you figure out what type of shopper you are, but you'll also receive a $4.00 off coupon at the end of the quiz which is good for any of the featured Coty fragrance items $14.88 and up.

Don't worry though, if budget is something you have to stick to there are some great gift possibilities that start at only $8.98 and work for any budget!

Here are just some of the high quality featured celebrity and other fragrances Wal-Mart carries:

Beyoncé - Heat Rush: Beyoncé Heat Rush shines, sparkles and excites the moment it touches the skin. Surrounded by a luminous fragrant aura, the woman who wears it feels instantly effervescent and alive. Sensual and bright, the scent lights up a room just as Beyoncé captivates with her presence.

Halle Berry - Exotic Jasmine: A sensual yet modern combination of jasmine blossoms that will tempt the senses with an exhilarating blend of seductive woody notes and irresistible skin.

McGraw - Southern Blend: Inspired by the man surrounded by his natural elements, his home and portrays the true masculinity of the modern man. The fragrance opens with a burst of fruits and spices that blend into a whiskey accord. A lasting impression is made with the sexy smoothness of the dry down. 

Nautica - Blue: A masculine blend of scents infused with Jasmine, Cedar, Bergamot, Musk, Sandalwood and Water Lily. A distinguished fragrance crafted for the adventurous gentleman who radiates a crisp, clean style.

Despite the pain and fatigue, shopping for the perfect fragrance gift set was quite fun! Our Wal-Mart had a ton of high quality fragrance sets to choose from so I had some trouble narrowing it down and coming up with a scent I thought would be a good fit for an extra "just in case" present to wrap and put under the tree.

Shopping for fragrances really is quite a personal affair but after a little while of putting my sniffer to the test (unfortunately there was no way to sample the perfumes before purchasing them so I had to ninja the boxes open and covertly lay on the sniff test) I came up with two candidates...

When you think about it, fragrances make such a wonderful gift, especially if the recipient enjoys different smells or you know for sure what someone would enjoy. With Wal-mart's selection, you can find something that suits anybody on your list; light and crisp, musky, floral, spicy...

Yes, you can indeed use the word "spicy" to describe a scent.

After a little back and forth with the two candidates, I wasn't sure what I liked better-the light and crisp floral scent or the spicy floral scent. Both were pleasant and came with a large spray bottle along with a pretty glass perfume bottle.

And the winner is...

love2love - Freesia: A scent of elegance and sensuality. It opens with a blend of peach blossom, lavender and lily, which lead to the heart of freesia, rose and violet. The base consists of sheer musk, heliotrope and cedar.

Plus with my $4 off coupon I printed off from completing the quiz (I'm a Wild Card Shopper by the way), my purchase price was around $10 instead of the $15 I would have spent.

Every little bit counts!

Moral of the story, if you're looking for a great last minute gift for that hard-to-buy-for person on your list or want a just-in-case present to wrap and put under your tree, Wal-Mart's Holiday Fragrance Gift Center is the perfect place to look!

{The Giveaway} 

1 of 5 $50 Wal-Mart Gift Cards!!!

Holiday Fragrance Gift Center Giveaway

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

My Best Black Friday Purchase & Coupons. com Giveaway #BlackFridayGiveaway

This is a Fashionista Event and a promotional item was provided to me by Coupons. com. Hosts for this event are Still Blonde after all these Years and ModlyChic. All opinions expressed in the post below are 100% mine and mine alone unless otherwise stated. Please do your own research before committing to purchase a product as your opinions may vary. 

In my family, Black Friday is as much of a cherished holiday tradition as the turkey on Thanksgiving, opening up one present on Christmas Eve, and banging pots and pans at the stroke of midnight on New Years Eve.

Heck, as far as my family is concerned Black Friday IS a holiday in and of itself!

My mom, sister, and I have been battling our way into stores with the best holiday deals at ridiculously early hours for years. Of course each year is a toss up for me in regards to my health since Winter is usually my worst season but if I'm at least halfway decent I'm out scouting deals.

I do remember a particularly humorous year where Black Friday was tackled in a wheelchair and in which I became a human cart, clothing piled on my lap all the way up to my eyeballs!

All by my sister of course, who is the fashionista of the family.

Throughout the years we've picked up some great deals including tons of incredibly priced movies and TV show seasons to seasonally appropriate clothing to thoughtful gifts for family and friends. In all the past years though, the best purchase I ever made on Black Friday hands down had to be my Winter wool peacoat jacket from New York and Company.

One year I deviated from the family and decided to do Black Friday with one of my best friends so we hit up our local mall to see what goodies we could snag. I had no intention of buying much (sadly, it's called a budget) but once I saw this coat hanging on the rack with a ridiculously too-good-to-pass-up price tag along with the Black Friday sale they were running, well, I just couldn't pass it up!

The peacoat is very figure flattering and came in several colors but I decided upon the grey because I thought it would go with pretty much everything. Since the coat is mostly wool it's also amazingly warm.

At the time I purchased my coat my friend ended up also trying on the same coat but decided to pass it up. Once we were shopped out she dropped me back off at my house where later that evening I got a phone call. Turns out she ended up going back to the mall with her mom and picked up the same jacket in green.

Like I said above, it really was too good to pass up!

Years later we both still wear our peacoats that we got that fateful Black Friday when the weather starts to sport a nip in the air. Minus one lost and one loose button with some everyday wear and tear, they have both held up incredibly well to the test of time. Just goes to show you buying quality made products is always the way to go.

With Black Friday only 4 days away, Coupons.com wants to make sure everyone is ready with relevant and helpful Black Friday articles on The Good Stuff, their resourceful magazine filled with tons of great information including shopping trends, tips and tricks, recipes, giveaways and more.

Speaking of, this Black Friday Shopping Infographic shows you just how much shoppers spent last year during Black Friday and Cyber Monday. It also includes which day is more popular to shop, which region in the US spends the most, and who spends more, men or women. 


Of course it wouldn't be Black Friday without Coupons.com Black Friday Giveaway! Ending December 7th, you can enter the giveaway daily to instantly win 1 of 100 $25 gift cards to several different places like Sears, Sephora, Toys R Us, Kohls, and more. 

As if that wasn't enough, one extremely lucky grand prize winner will receive $10,000!

Imagine what you could do with that kind of money...


What's YOUR best Black Friday or holiday purchase?

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

2014 Fall Enrique & Pitbull Tour Sponsored by Cricket Wireless #STSA

“I participated in Influencer Activation on behalf of Millennial Central for Cricket Wireless. I received a promotional item to thank me for participating.”

I'm nearly 25 years old and have never really been to a traditional concert; you know, purchasing tickets online, traveling however long to the venue, sitting in cushioned stadium seats or, depending on who you see or how much you spend, standing in the pit area near the stage. 

Possibly even staying a few days if it's a several day, multiple artist affair. 

Of course there was this year's 2014 Wing Ding which IS technically speaking a concert event. The bands were really fun to listen to and converse with but I've been dying to see people like Florence and the Machine, Motion City Soundtrack, and Arctic Monkeys in concert for years now.

Especially Florence and the Machine. She's my girl!

Each person has their own tastes when it comes to musical artists, genres, and favorite songs but regardless, what it all comes down to is one thing: music is universally loved, respected, and acknowledged.

Thanks to Cricket Wireless, they're connecting their customers with that universal love of music by partnering with Pitbull and Enrique Iglesias to help fans create, experience, and share something to smile about during their Fall 2014 Tour! 

Most sponsors of an event like this do just that; sponsor it. Cricket Wireless wants to take it to a different level for their customers by not only just sponsoring the event but by totally enhancing the fan experience with some seriously awesome and innovative activations! 

The Cricket Stage, a 10x20 stage erected at select tour stops, is where fans can actually hop on stage and give their best "headliner" pose! You can share your 360 images via your social media channels thanks to the special "share kiosks" around the stage AND photos will be entered into a sweepstakes where a winner and 3 special guests will get a trip to the Miami Latin Grammy Street Party!

If that wasn't a pretty unique experience already, participants of the Stage activation will also be lucky enough to receive Cricket ear buds. 

Selfie Stations encourage fans and concert goers to snap a quick selfie of yourself or you and friends while having fun at the concert! These pictures can also be shared via your social media channels.

Ask Enrique-have the chance to win a trip to the Atlanta tour stop to meet Enrique himself and ask him whatever you want! 

Located at high-traffic spots within the activation venues, the Hologram Standee Billboards of Enrique and Pitbull will create some completely lifelike images of the musicians that make any concert goers time that much more memorable!

This is exactly the kind of concert that I was talking about above! One that I would love to be able to participate in, especially with all those unique extras that have been thought up. 

Thanks to Cricket, music lovers everywhere are going to be having the time of their lives! If you're a fan of Enrique and Pitbull, check out the tour stops. One might even be near you...

If so, take a concert selfie and share ;)


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