TSB Secrets: Health Food for Less at TJ Maxx!

TJ Maxx specialty foods aisle: This is where the magic happens.
TJ Maxx specialty foods aisle: This is where the magic happens.
Let’s talk shopping. Specifically, let’s talk TJ Maxx and Marshall’s. Though you’re probably familiar with the discount chains’ stock of wallet-friendly clothing, shoes, and accessories, I’m about to introduce you to a little-known-but-awesome section in the back of the store: the specialty food aisle.
A peek into my latest mini-TJ's food haul: organic figs, sea salt, dark chocolate and fig bars, and organic peppermint tea, all for under $15. Score.
A peek into my latest mini-TJ’s food haul: organic figs, sea salt, dark chocolate and fig bars, and organic peppermint tea, all for under $15. Score.
It is here that I was introduced to such delicacies as Brad’s Kale Chips, Justin’s Nut Butters, plantain chips, coconut oil, and a bevy of other healthy treats at (obviously) crazy-low prices. Not only is this section perfect for stocking up on your favorite staples, but also for trying new, weird, or otherwise questionable items on the cheap! Coconut palm sugar for $8.99? Sure. Fiber-loaded off-brand snack bars for $5? Totally. Hemp protein powder? K. That maple almond butter stuff you’ve heard so much about but still haven’t tried? Yeah! Just buy it, because even if you hate it, you wasted mayyyybe $10. Bonus: Because inventory is constantly changing at stores like these, it’s always a treasure hunt. Skip the artisan olive oil in favor of quinoa crisps and thank me later. It’s a Skinny Breezy trick of the trade!
xx,
Liza

5 Quick Happiness Tips

Via Pinterest.
Via Pinterest.

Monday blues? Womp womp. Sometimes, a girl just needs an extra dose of happy. Here are five quick things you can do immediately to help get you there.

1. Get out.

Step away from your Facebook and Instagram! FOMO is the LAST thing you need to be dealing with right now, so do yourself a favor and just…don’t. Instead, get out of the house! Whether you hit the gym for a sweat sesh (yay endorphins!), head to Starbucks for your favorite drink, or simply opt for a sunny walk around the block, changing your scene can majorly change your attitude. 

2. Pet a puppy.

Pet a puppy. Or a kitten. Or hold a baby. Whatever you do, the important part is making contact. Petting a critter is the ultimate in stress relief, and a perfect way to unwind. Animals’ unconditional love has even been linked to help with depression by improving mood and decreasing tension! It’s science-backed, guaranteed to work. No pet of your own? Hit up a humane society!

3. Call someone.

With texting, iChat, twitter, and Snap Chat, making an actual phone call can seem like the last thing you need (or want!) to do to keep in touch with your favorite people. Talking on the phone isn’t “cool” anymore. In fact, many of us–myself included–have come to loathe it. This being said, suck it up and call someone you love! Actually TALKING to someone you care about all but guarantees an instant mood boost, even if you initially dread it.

4. Pamper yourself.

Never underestimate the importance of “me time”. While scheduling a blow-out, massage, or mani-pedi pretty much promises the ultimate in relaxation and pampering, DIY-ing similar treatments can have an equal improvement on your state of mind. My ultimate at-home pampering routine? A candlelit bubble bath with a side of ‘Scandal’. Works every time.

5. Retail therapy.

When all else fails, buy something. While this option is admittedly not the most wallet friendly (or sustainable…) it always seems to get the job done, no matter how small the purchase! Seriously–sometimes a $1.00 tattoo choker necklace feels as good as a $200 pair of jeans. Online or in-person, just go for it. Treat yourself, girl! You deserve it.

What are your go-to happiness tips and tricks?

xx,

Liza

Loves It: Creating A Signature Scent at Aroma Workshop

Last month, Alex and I celebrated our second anniversary with a little day trip to Chicago. I’m absolutely OBSESSED with Chicago–great food, amazing shopping, and stuff to do 24/7? Yeah, sold. In addition to sharing a few fabulous meals, I knew I wanted to actually DO something cool to celebrate while we were in the city. Enter: Aroma Workshop!
Aroma Workshop Logo
A week or so before our trip, I started perusing “deal” sites (Groupon, Gilt City, Amazon Local, etc) to see if I could score any discounts on cool activities, and I found the BEST deal ever on LivingSocial for a scent creation workshop for two at Lincoln Park’s Aroma Workshop. DIY-ing my own fragrance has been something I’ve been interested in doing since, well, forever, so it’s probably pretty obvious that this was the ideal anniversary activity to partake in.
Alex and I entered the cozy shop 15 minutes early for our 4:00pm appointment and took our seats at the essential oil bar with hundreds (okay, maybe 200) of glass vials stacked before us. Scent categories ranged from floral to sweet to earthy–definitely something for everyone. We were instructed to take a whiff of  any oil we found interesting, and to set aside the 5-10 scents we found most appealing. From there, our own personal scent shaman, Sierra, would expertly blend a combination of our chosen fragrances into potential perfumes and colognes that would be unique to us. Just us. Love.
Picking out our favorite essential oils at the scent bar.
Picking out our favorite essential oils at the scent bar.
Before ever arriving at Aroma Workshop, I got it in my head that I wanted my scent to be “cookie”–blame it on a Blake Lively interview I’d read a week before wherein she describes “cookie” as her natural scent–so I knew I was looking for something sweet, creamy, and maybe a little bit spicy to balance things out. I was instantly drawn to a few warm, sugary essential oils: French vanilla, magenta, and Pink Sugar. From the woodsy group, I picked bergamot, oud, and sandalwood. Florals? Not so much my jam. The aforementioned scent shaman then went to work blending combinations of each of these oils for my perfume. I sniffed multiple perfume strips, cleansed with coffee beans, and smelled each combination both inside and outside of the shop! #laboroflove
Though I liked 90% of these blends, I just wasn’t getting enough “yumminess” from any of them. I was set to settle on the next-best-thing–a somewhat-spicy-sweet combination of magenta, french vanilla, and oud–when Sierra went totally above-and-beyond and offered to let me smell, and use, one of Aroma Workshop’s secret “legacy scents” (essential oils that they no longer carry in bulk or order anew, but keep on file for customers who have used it in their fragrances) in creation. It was CHOCOLATE BROWNIE. She just knew. And guys, it was perfect. We’re talking yumminess personified. But not “OMG I WANT TO LICK YOU” yummy.  So yeah, perfect, as stated previously.
Testing sample strips! Getting close!
Testing sample strips! Getting close!
After a little more mixing and blending with this new addition, we whipped up the perfect scent. Then, after choosing an adorable glass bottle to house my fragrance, Sierra combined my essential oil blend with a standard perfume base and filled away. “Liza” was born. Together, we had created the best thing I’d ever smelled, and for less than the cost of a bottle of my go-to Burberry Brit. But it gets better. Not only do you create-your-own fragrance masterpiece, but Aroma Workshop keeps your personal “recipe” on file for refills! If you re-use your bottle, refills cost $30. Uh huh, honey. And if you’re not so into perfume? No worries–you can also DIY your own custom room spray, lotion, massage oil, or body wash! The possibilities are literally endless. Best anniversary activity ever.
"Liza", the finished product!
“Liza”, the finished product!
If you’re a fragrance lover and find yourself in Chicago, this place is a must. Skinny Breezy approved.
xx,
Liza

How To Trick Yourself Into Drinking More Water

The tumbler trick: works every time.
The tumbler trick: works every time.
Drinking lots of water has never come naturally to me. I’m one of those people who just isn’t very thirsty, and if I AM thirsty, water has never been my go-to beverage of choice. Proper hydration, however, is key in living a healthy life–especially if you’re active! Over the years, I’ve learned a few ways to trick myself into chugging a healthy amount of h2O.
  1. Sip it. As far as I’m concerned, EVERYTHING is better with a straw. I don’t know if it brings back memories of drinking from crazy straws as a kid, or if it just makes it feel like whatever I’m sipping on is more of a treat, but if I’m drinking water through a straw, I’ll always drink more than going without. I use a Venti-sized tumbler with a straw that I got from Starbucks to keep myself sipping all day.
  2. Flavor it. This is one of the most common drink-more-water tips for a reason: it works. Water with lemon or lime is just BETTER than plain water. I love squeezing citrus into my water in the morning, and definitely drink way more (without thinking about it) when my water is flavored. I mean, #detoxwater is popular on instagram for a reason. Adding fruit to your water is a must-try. If you’re fancy, you can buy a specialty water bottle that actually infuses your water with whatever ingredients you choose–perfect for avoiding those nasty bottom-of-the-bottle pieces of mushy fruit.
  3. Schedule it. Oh technology. You and your apps make drinking (water) so simple. If you have an iPhone, download Waterlogged and prepare to track your ounces. Somehow, taking note of exactly HOW much you drink makes drinking more water into a fun little challenge.
  4. Filter it. Personally, I know that I drink at least 10x more water if I’m drinking the pre-filtered stuff my fridge spouts out. Tap water? Ew, no thanks. (I’m weird, guys. I’ve never liked tap water.) It’s just so easy! Plus it saves $$$ and the environment since you’re not going through plastic bottle after bottle in an attempt to hydrate.
  5. Fizz it. If you’re super into soda, combine this tip with tip #2 and you’re totally golden. Sparkling water is so much more interesting and satisfying than still! Do it yourself with a SodaStream machine or go the lazy girl route (AKA my route) and opt for varieties from La Croix or h2OH. Fizzy water is addictive and feels like a treat!
Do you have any tips for effortlessly increasing your water intake? 
xx,
Liza

Non-Scale Victories

I have a love-hate relationship with the scale. It goes like this: Step on and see a number I like? LOVE IT. Step on and see a number I dislike? Hate it. Healthy? Probably not. True? Totally. I was introduced to the concept of the non-scale-victory earlier this spring, courtesy of a daily tip on my Barre3 app. It resonated with me immediately–so much so, that I instagrammed this picture of said tip.
My introduction to the Non-Scale Victoria, via Barre3.
My introduction to the Non-Scale Victoria, via Barre3.
As you can see, the NSV is pretty self-explanatory–it’s a life and fitness “win” that comes from anywhere BUT your scale. From being able to fit into the next size down, to opting for a fresh homemade meal over fast food, to running for an extra 10 minutes on the treadmill, making strides and accomplishing non-weight-related goals are milestones and markers of success that deserve to be celebrated! Give yourself credit where credit is due and keep track of your favorite NSVs. Write them down! Share them! It’s a super-simple and healthy way to boost your confidence and minimize an obsession with the scale.
Are you familiar with the NSV? Have any recent victories to share?
xx,
Liza

3 Cute Activewear Brands that AREN’T Lululemon

Since late 2008 or so, Lululemon and I have had an ongoing relationship. First, it was their Groove pants. Then, the Wunder Unders. Then, the Boogie shorts. I was 100% all about their super-stretch Luon fabric, upside-down horseshoe logo, and paying a serious premium for apparel that made my butt look banging. So yeah, I love Lululemon. Something I have come to decidedly not love about Lulu, however, is the fact that it is now so prevalent that I run the risk of looking like a Lulu-lemming anytime I step out of the house in their wares. Dislike. Facing the same problem? You’re in luck! Here are 3 super-cute activewear brands that aren’t Lululemon. Prepare to spice up your life…or at least your gym wardrobe.

1. Lorna Jane

Shop @Lorna Jane.
Shop @Lorna Jane.

If you’re on Instagram, you know Lorna Jane. According to the Australia-based company’s brand statement, Lorna Jane is “not simply a clothing label; it is a way of life.” The perfect blend of fitness and fashion, LJ not only offers a constantly-changing collection of bright, patterned, and otherwise fabulous sportswear, but also an entire life philosophy developed by creator Lorna Jane Clarkson–Move. Nourish. Believe. As a companion to their ultra-cute and stylish workout wear, Lorna Jane boasts a fashion-and-lifestyle driven Instagram account (@lornajane), an LJ fitness app for tracking walks, runs, and cycling miles, and an incredibly inspirational blog based on the LJ Move Nourish Believe philosophy. You can shop all of the collection’s offerings online, or, if you’re local and lucky, visit one of Lorna Jane’s four US retail locations in California and Arizona. Hot picks: Leopard ‘Wildside’ Sports Bra, ‘Aphrodite Excel’ Running Tank, ‘Crescent Excel’ Half-Zip Top.

2. Beyond Yoga

Shop @Beyond Yoga
Shop @Beyond Yoga.

Sucker for Lulu’s signature yoga pants? Well, I’m about to blow your mind. Beyond Yoga‘s pants are EVEN BETTER. Seriously. Soft, stretchy, and expertly-crafted, these crops, leggings, and shorts sell at a price point similar to Lulu’s, but in designs that you won’t see on every third person in your hot vinyasa flow class or in line with you at the grocery store. Expect a wide variety of street-to-studio styles in a myriad of colors and cuts in sizes XXS to XXL…All with the same butt-enhancing properties that we’ve come to love from the Big L! Score. Hot Picks: Bright Yoga Capri Legging, Ladder Back Camisole, Quilted Essential Shorts.

3. The Upside

Shop @The Upside.
Shop @The Upside.

I first became acquainted with The Upside after falling in love with a pair of their leopard print yoga shorts on Stylerunner. Yeah. The Australian activewear brand flies under the general radar, but happily into the closets of style-driven gym goers. Luxurious fabrics, modern design, and uncommon prints and patterns are hallmarks of this high-end line, styled with the athlete of the FUTURE in mind. The ultimate combination of fitness and fashion, The Upside fuses runway trends with modern performance gear fit for yoga, barre, running, and general stylish living. While you pay a premium for international ordering, The Upside’s designs are so unique and cool that it ALMOST doesn’t matter. Hot Picks: ‘Ashlea’ Tee (pictured above!), Leopard Print Run Short, ‘Candace Can’ Crop Top in Python/Black.  

Which activewear brands are your favorite? Have any awesome lines to share? Leave a comment and let me know!

xx,

Liza