Talking Charm

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

The Best of Greek Yogurt

Are you getting the most out of your Greek Yogurt?

Let's face it, greek yogurt has great benefits but generally, we tend to believe that the plainer the yogurt, the healthier it is. However, some yogurts actually contain more sugar than two donuts! At that point, I would much rather be going to Krispy Kreme every morning. To make matters worse, many yogurts that claim to be "low sugar" are packed instead with artificial sweeteners. YUCK! Let's get right down to the true ingredients and why different varieties may be better (or worse) for our bodies for different reasons.

Low Sugar Content 
Though plain yogurts usually have less sugar than flavored ones, we know that many people prefer flavored yogurt. With that in mind, here are two of the best flavored yogurts that don’t contain artificial sweeteners and won't put you into a sugar coma:
-Stoneyfield Greek vanilla: 12 g of sugar

-Yoplait Greek blueberry blend: 18 g of sugar 

High Protein Content 
Stay alert and full, and support healthy muscles with a good dose of protein in the mornings. Each of these two yogurts contains almost as much protein as three ounces of lean meat:
-Fage 2% plain: 20 g protein

-Oikos traditional plain: 20 g protein

Healthiest Probiotics
Any refrigerated product called "yogurt" must be produced by culturing dairy ingredients with a bacterial culture. These good bacteria can take up residence in your digestive tract, supporting good digestion and immune function by keeping bad bacteria in check. The bacteria are also responsible for making yogurt safe to eat for people with lactose intolerance. Refrigerated yogurts that bear a Live & Active Culture (LAC) seal contain at least 100 million bacterial cultures per gram at the time of manufacture. Here are two yogurts that are LAC and Oz-approved:
-Chobani 2% strawberry banana

-Oikos traditional plain (yes, featured again! Double whammy!)

My Personal All-Time Favorite

-Oikos Triple Zero Greek Nonfat Yogurt
This greek yogurt does it all! 0 fat, 0 added sugar, and 0 artificial sweeteners – plus 15g of protein!

In all of these yummy flavors!

So there you have it! No more mindlessly grabbing the healthiest looking option and no more avoiding a yogurt because it seems less healthy than a plain flavor or brand. Feed your body the nutrients it needs while treating yourself to your favorite flavors!

Monday, March 17, 2014

How to Make Cupcakes... On A College Budget

I made an instructional video on how to make cupcakes on a college budget.

Since I have lived in a dorm for the past couple years, I know the struggle of not having a fully stocked kitchen at home. A few of my tips consist of borrowing pans, etc, and I also have a few other money/time saving tips!

Have fun and let me know what you do to bake in your dorm on your college budget!

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Understanding Biblical Love

Our culture has a really screwed up view of "love."  No I'm not talking about romantic love, friendly love, or parental love - I'm talking about biblical love.

All believers, and even most non-believers, know that Christians are called to love (Matthew 22:37-39) but what does that even mean?

If a person is struggling with a sin, are we called to "love" them by ignoring the sin and not offending them or "love" them by making them uncomfortable and warning them of the definite consequences of their actions?

Or even worse, if a person is not saved by the blood of Jesus Christ, are we really going to not offend them by “pushing” our view of their eternity by suggesting they are wrong and call it “love?”

I like to think of it this way.

Say a batch of cookies was freshly baked and placed on a table around your family, friends, some strangers, and even a few of your enemies in the room.

Now imagine you hear from a source, that you completely and fully trust, that the cookies were made with lethal poison – a poison that will not only cause death, but a slow, painful, unthinkable death.

What would you do?

Remember, there are people who believe, as imagined, that the cookies are fine – in fact they believe the cookies will be yummy! They believe that the cookies are fine for everyone to eat. But you, however, believe something different.

The difference between these two beliefs, are that if they’re right and you’re wrong, no one gets hurt – everyone will be fine.

But if you’re right and they’re wrong, you will be fine and they will suffer an unimaginable death.

I’m sure you know where I’m going with this.

This is where biblical love comes in.

The Bible says in Romans 3:23, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Christians have a different view of our lifetime than the world does; this difference is completely lethal, not simple or ignorable.

Since we are discussing biblical love, let’s quickly look at the Bible’s definition of “love” in 1 Corinthians 13:4-8,
Love is:
patient and kind;
love does not envy or boast;
it is not arrogant or rude.
It does not insist on its own way;
it is not irritable or resentful;
it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth.
Love bears all things
believes all things
hopes all things
endures all things.
Love never ends…”

I want to point out one of these characteristics that we may all be thinking about while on this topic; “It does not insist on its own way.” Could this be referring to our belief on salvation? Are we called to not “insist” that “our way” (what we believe about God and the Bible) is right?

Not quite.

To research this further, we must first look at the surrounding context, which we did.

Secondly, we must look at other versions of this text to get the full meaning. In the King James Version, that line reads, “[love] seeketh not her own.” And the New King James Version reads, “[love] does not seeks its own.”

This actually suggests that love is not “selfish,” and I don’t know about you, but my reasons for not sharing the gospel or calling someone out on a sin that is ruining their life are very selfish.

“What if they don’t like me?”
“What if they spread rumors about me?”
“It will take too long, I’m busy!”

The “selfish” list is endless.

So this line about love actually commands us to be loving by forgetting about our own comfort and our own way, and insist on what God has commanded of us – and that is to preach his gospel.

Mark 16:15-16, “And He said to them, ‘Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.’”

So, let’s go back to what “love” really means. Does it mean accepting someone’s sin and not offending?


Does it mean loving them so much that you insist on what God said in his word – that if they do not repent, they will be condemned and will spend an eternity in unimaginable pain and separation from God.

We are absolutely called to love.

But your definition of love will determine how you treat people. Are you going to be a passive lover or an active lover? Are you going to love someone by ignoring their horrific future if they continue in their lifestyle or love them by sharing the truth with them?

Going back to Mathew 22:39, we are called to love our neighbor as ourselves and Matthew 7:12, to do unto others as we would have others do unto us.

There’s our standard given by God.

What would you want someone to do to you? Tell you that the way you are living is leading you down a path of destruction?

Or not?

Monday, September 2, 2013

Healthy Highlights

How to keep your bleached hair healthy

When I first got my hair highlighted at age 15, I was worried as I could see what the bleach was doing to my hair. You see bleach is unlike any other hair coloring. In fact, it’s not even really “coloring.” Coloring is only something added to your hair. Bleaching literally takes away the natural pigments in your hair that hold your natural color, leaving it almost “clear” which is why it makes hair lighter.

I'm naturally a brunette. But I’ve actually bleached my hair with highlights on and off for about 4 years, so I have become accustomed to keeping my hair as healthy as it can be while it is bleached. I’m going to go through a few things to help you keep your hair healthy – even if you don’t bleach your hair!

Remember, bleach isn’t necessarily good for your hair, but there are ways to keep your hair as healthy as it can be while it’s bleached:

1. Don’t wash your hair so much! How often do you wash your hair? Every day? Every other day? Washing your hair too often will prevent your hair from maintaining it’s healthy glow and will definitely dry it out. Drying your hair out is obviously bad, but when you have any kind of bleach in your hair, it's ten times worse. Now, washing your hair less may sound gross, but your hair gets greasy according to how often you usually wash it. For instance, if you wash your hair every day, it is going to get greasy on the second day. But, if you consistently wash your hair every other day, it will get greasy on the third day. Make it a habit to wash your hair less and your hair will adjust. The natural oils that your hair produces are very good for your hair.

2. Rotate shampoo/conditioner brands every other time your wash your hair. Your hair becomes immune to the important nutrients and vitamins that are found in your shampoos/conditioners, so rotating every other wash was will nourish your hair to it’s fullest. For example, I use Bed Head’s Dumb Blonde shampoo and conditioner every other wash, and I use Tresemme’s Moisture Rich shampoo and conditioner on the other washes. Tresemme is fantastic in that I literally feel like I am using a $30 bottle of shampoo when really I spent about $3.50 for a 32 oz bottle. Plus, Moisture Rich is specifically designed for dry or damaged hair, which is extremely helpful for bleached hair. 

Tresemme can be found at Walmart, Target, or any drug store. 

3. Use a heat protectant before blow-drying, straightening or curling. This sounds simple, but it is a necessary point to stress. The heat protectant I use is CHI’s “44 Iron Guard”

4. Stay away from the ends of your hair when you’re straightening and curling. If you can avoid placing the ends of your hair between two metal plates that reach up to 370 degrees, you will reduce your split ends by a lot.

5. Trim your hair often. It is imperative that you get your hair cut every 6-8 weeks. Now, I know that it seems that it means that your hair my not grow fast. But as bleach makes your hair brittle, spit ends are bound to come. Some split ends may break off shorter than others, causing the hair to look thin and uneven – and yes, shorter. So your hair will be healthier and thicker if you get a trim often.

Happy bleaching! :)

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Chi® > Herstyler® (or any other flat iron)

Whatever you do – don’t believe those kiosks in the mall!

 Chi® > Herstyler® 

We’ve all been there. You’re walking through the mall and those obnoxious kiosk workers try virtually everything they can to get you to stop and talk with them. (Don’t worry, they know they’re obnoxious – it’s their job – so it’s okay that I refer to them accordingly.) They bark at you until you feel so uncomfortable, you either consciously ignore them and walk faster or look at them with a pleading expression. Almost begging them to stop calling you out on your frizzy hair or oily complexion in front of the entire mall.

Occasionally though, you may choose to stop and talk with them. You soon find out that this was, in no way, a good idea. Because you find yourself being manipulated into a “good deal” on a “great product.” But is it really a good deal or product?


Probably not.

One day I was looking for a new flat iron. My Chi® had run it’s course and I was looking for a similar 1” flat iron of good quality. I wasn’t planning on looking anywhere else but a reliable store such as Ulta®. But here I was, coerced into sitting in a chair getting a Herstyler® flat iron ran through my hair while a man explained why this flat iron is the absolute best. He gave me various reasons as to why my hair was utterly ruined because of the Chi® flat iron I had been using years before.

He claimed that Chi flat irons®:
 Get too hot
Burn hair
Are terrible at curling
Do not leave hair soft
Would set a paper on fire if clamped on
and so forth.

Now, let me just make this perfectly clear. None if this is true about Chi®. At all. And I knew this because I loved my Chi® and it had served me well for over two years. In fact, I found out later that all of this is true about Herstyler® flat irons:

They get too hot
Burn hair
Are terrible at curling
Do not leave hair soft
Would set a paper on fire if clamped on


Everything the man had claimed against my favorite product was true about his own product. 

As you can probably guess, I ended up purchasing a Zebra stripped Herstyler 1” flat iron for about $250. He promised me the plates were to be ceramic. They weren’t. They were tourmaline plates (which is not as ideal as ceramic plates which guarantee no pulling or tugging of hair). It took longer to straighten my hair and nearly impossible to curl as I could with my Chi®. If you've ever curled your hair with a flat iron, you know that the key is to gently (and quickly) glide through your hair. But, in fact, my Herstyler® stuck to my hair as I inched it through. It made my hair feel like rubber and my curls became uneven. Overall, it did not provide me with the silky, smooth hair I was used to with my Chi®.

This is what my Herstyler® looks like now, after about a year and a half of owning (granted, it hasn't stopped working in that long. But my hair has suffered):

Now, there are pros to buying at kiosks. Most of the time the prices they approach you with are outrageously over-price but you can talk them down. Always. So please, if you aren’t comfortable with negotiating, bring a friend who is comfortable or invite me! 

A few tips for buying a flat iron:

1. If you have a lot of hair, I would suggest a 2" plate as apposed to a 1" plate. This provides faster straightening but eliminates the ability to curl.

2. Never ever ever ever ever get a designed or colored flat iron - from anywhere. Black is always the best because it is made with the strongest material so that curling will be easier, it doesn't get as hot on the outside, and it is all around tougher when you drop it.

3. Ceramic plates are golden. Look and make sure it says "ceramic" on the box. and make sure what is inside has golden plates.

4. Go to a reliable store such as Ulta® or a salon. They may even hook you up with some discounts that they receive as hairstylists! 

5. As reliable a source as I am, make sure to do your research! Ask your friends what they like best - that is why blogs are so popular. Real people are answering real questions about real products and they provide real (and painfully honest) answers. 

So please hear me out. Invest in a Chi® flat iron (or any product of theirs). Ever since owning a Herstyler®, I use my friends Chi® as much as possible. The ceramic plates are great for my hair. They provide smooth, straight, and healthy hair all day and into the next day. Unlike the Herstyler®, once you straighten (or curl or wave or whatever you do), it is silky smooth and done for the rest of the day.