Tuesday, January 15

Sweets & Treats for Valentine's Day

I'm sure one of the first things that comes to your mind when you think about Valentine's Day is candy. It's just something that's been programmed into all of our brains starting back when we were kids and exchanged little cards and sweets with our classmates. Fast forward to adulthood and we are still exchanging cards and sweets, but now with our partners and kids. My weekness when it comes to sweets has always been caramel. You give me anything with caramel in it and I'm game for trying it. And that's exactly what I said when I was offered these fun Caramels from McCrea's Candies. And boy was I glad because they are all AMAZING!

McCrea’s makes 15 flavors of luxe caramel for the gifting market. Think Black Lava Sea Salt, Rosemary Truffle, Cinnamon Clove, Single Malt Scotch, Deep Chocolate and more paired up with caramel!  Made from 100% real-food ingredients and packaged in beautiful biodegradable containers, McCrea’s Candies are an ideal present for any caramel lover on your Valentine's Day list.

If a sweet and flavorful cup of coffee is on your list of things you "must have" every day. You'll love starting your day off with JAVAMELTS. JAVAMELTS are individually wrapped flavored sweeteners made with real sugar for coffee, tea, cappuccino and espresso. JAVAMELTS come in four delicious gourmet flavors: Caramel, Hazelnut, French Vanilla and Mocha.  They are also only 20 calories each, certified gluten free and make an ordinary cup of black coffee or tea taste special and delicious. A definite must have if you're planning a get away for Valentine's Day when you or your sweetie have to have that perfect cup of coffee to start your day off right! I've tried all four JAVAMELTS flavors and have to say my favorite is the French Vanilla closely followed by the caramel. My husband on the other hand loved the hazelnut. So I guess they truly have "something for everyone".

Speaking of having "something for everyone". Nui has that something for those out there with a keto/low carb lifestyle living companion. They are decadent cookies that contain less than two grams of sugar, which is naturally found in nuts. You could eat a whole box of 16 Nui cookies and still consume less sugar than one traditional cookie. (Not that I would recommend that.) The cookies are low carb, gluten free, and keto friendly. They come in five flavors: Chocolate Chip, Snickerdoodle, Double Chocolate, Peanut Butter, and Ginger Something. Each package has two cookies inside which to me is just enough for a sweet treat now and then. I have to say after trying a recipe for low carb cookies myself I didn't have very high expectations for these cookies. But after trying them I will admit I was wrong. They are nothing like what I expected...Nui cookies are actually really good! Especially the chocolate chip ones. If you're used to using natural sweeteners in your foods (vs. white sugar which tastes much different) like those of us following a low carb lifestyle you'll enjoy these. If you're not used to them it's hard to say. My daughter wasn't really fond of them, but my husband said they were good to him. That was totally okay with me though, it just meant I didn't have to hide them from both her and her dad!

Be sure to bookmark this page for more great sweets and treats ideas for Valentine's Day!

This is a sponsored post on behalf of the above mentioned brand. I received product to share my honest and unbiased thoughts. However, all thoughts and opinions stated are my own and are in no way influenced by my partnership with mentioned brand.

Monday, January 14

Uplifting Solutions for Breast Sagging by Jill Cortez

As women age, they will notice changes to their body- especially their breasts. While it is normal for breasts to sag a bit over time, it is certainly something women don’t want. The good news is that there are several things ladies can do to prevent breast ptosis (the fancy medical term for breast sagging). Dr. Manish Shah, MD a board-certified Denver, Colorado plastic surgeon, and Vince Sant, a Certified Fitness Trainer and Co-Founder of V Shred.com, an incredibly popular online fitness portal share tips and insights with some uplifting solutions for breast sagging.

Understanding sagging.

“Forget about the old beliefs of poor-quality bras, going bra-less, or breastfeeding being the cause to sagging breasts,” says Dr. Manish Shah. “There are ligaments in the breasts that stretch out over time. Gravity is certainly a culprit but there are others such as multiple pregnancies, menopause, breast motion from exercise, high body mass index, deficiencies in collagen, estrogen, rapid weight fluctuations, and of course smoking,” he explains.

Beware of the expensive hype.

When women are unhappy with breast sagging and want to lift their breasts; they want to do it quickly, painlessly and affordably. Dr. Shah says that while advancements are being made with procedures involving things such as stem cell therapies, radiofrequency, and fat transfer; right now, the science just isn’t there when it comes to delivering ideal lift, shape and significant restoration to warrant the investment.

“The last thing you want to do is get sold on a $4000, procedure done over the course of several visits spread out over several months that does very little. People want visible improvement. It’s important to ask questions about anything seeming too good to be true,” cautions Dr. Shah.

Clearly, there are a lot of factors that can explain away breast sagging in your 20’s, 30’s, 40’s and beyond. What options do we have in this very tough battle with gravity?

Quit smoking.

“We know that smoking accelerates aging in the face due to oxygen deprivation to your skin. When it comes to the breasts, smoking destroys elastin which is what maintains suppleness,” says Dr. Shah.

Manage menopause.

When perimenopause begins usually in the mid-’40s, you really want to revamp your diet and have a look at organ function and get a hormone test. “Drops in estrogen, a natural occurrence during menopause reduces collagen in skin tissue. Some supplements or phytoestrogens that boost estrogen levels naturally can have a positive effect on breast shape. However, this is certainly something to discuss with a specialist,” explains Dr. Shah.

Pump Up with weights or resistance training.

“A lot of women focus on their lower body when exercising. While this is great to blast cellulite and keep the thighs, legs, and butt shapely and strong, the upper body can’t be neglected. Doing various exercises using 5 -10-pound weights that strengthen and tone pectoral muscles (the muscles under the breasts) shoulders and back are key for preventing breast sagging,” says Vince Sant.

Many women fear losing their breast size or looking bulky or masculine. When you use less weight and do more repetitions, you get a nice lean, strong upper body. This raises everything up. According to Sant, who created a workout specifically targeting women’s trouble zones, it takes a lot of weight and many hours of training to get that thicker bulky look. “Doing combinations of exercises such as, plank rotations, shoulder presses, dumbbell pullovers, chest fly’s and standing raises are easy and can be done right in your living room,” the expert trainer with over 700,000 Instagram followers suggests.

Update your sports bra.

“While exercise is great, exercising with an old stretched out sports bra can lead to sagging especially for you Cardio Queens,” out there says Vince.

Quicker solutions…

What if you’re working out, not smoking and despite being tight and toned your actual breasts still sag? “Then you may want to consider a breast lift that factors in your frame, current breast size and desired shape, says Dr. Shah. “Nothing delivers a result as significant and long-lasting as the breast lift. The procedure does require 6 to 8-weeks of full recovery time and, depending on region and doctor, can be anywhere from $6000 to $25,000,” says Dr. Shah.

About the Experts:
Dr. Manish Shah M.D., F.A.C.S. is board-certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery and member of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, the American Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery and the International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery. Dr. Shah’s specialties include revision facial aesthetic surgery, rhinoplasty (“nose reshaping”), and aesthetic surgery of the breast (breast augmentation, breast lift, breast reduction). He is, however, well-trained in all areas of aesthetic surgery. Dr. Shah’s aim is to obtain a natural appearing transformation that complements the real you.

Vince Sant
Fitness Expert & Co-Founder V Shred
Vince Sant, 25, is the Co-Founder of V Shred, the fastest growing online fitness and nutrition portal in the world. As an ISSA Certified Fitness Trainer, Former Model Turned Fitness Expert, Instagram Fitness Guru & YouTube Sensation, Vince’s mission is to offer the masses a sustainable and transformative lifestyle-based training program designed to put the fun back into fitness and nutrition.

In 2015, Vince co-founded V Shred along with Nick Daniel, Roger Crandall, Kevin Pearn, who sought out to create a healthy fitness movement specifically designed to deliver profound changes in your body with the minimal amount of workout time.