It is the most wonderful time of the year! The time of holiday cheer, family, food, and, of course, gifts! I am kicking off my gift guides this year with one for skincare and beauty featuring some of my faves and some crowd pleasers, as well.

1. Summer Fridays Merry & Brighter Set ($64): This set features three of Summer Fridays best selling sets. The Jet Lag mask is a personal favorite of mine and very popular with the people. It's incredibly hydrating for the cold winter months.

2. The Body Shop Japanese Matcha Pollution Clearing Mask ($28): This is probably my favorite wash-off face mask of all time. It gently exfoliates and has a calming fragrance, thanks to the matcha, making it the perfect sleepy time mask.

3. Drunk Elephant Protini Polypeptide Moisturizer ($68): I got a sample of this during my birthday month at Sephora and it is so good! This moisturizer targets firmness, tone, and texture. With it being on the pricier side, I'd only gift this if I knew the recipient wanted it.

4. The Body Shop Facial Massager ($8): Coming in at $8, this is a good one to bundle with a couple other items. I love a good face massage after a day's work because I hold tension in my jaw. You could also do a jade or rose quartz roller if you're feeling fancy.

5. Shea Moisture Manuka Honey Hair Mask ($14): This stuff is the truth. It revives my hair to peak hydration after I take down protective styles. And it leaves my hair smelling so good!

6. Foreo LUNA Mini 2 ($139): So, I do not have one of these puppies because they're expensive af. But I know people love them for the cleansing power. It's made of silicone which is pretty resistant to bacteria, so that is a plus too when thinking about the longevity of the product.

7. Fenty Beauty Mini Body Lava ($24): We could all use some extra sparkle at the holiday parties.

8. Fresh Sugar Lip Legend Set ($48): I'm a die hard Burt's Bees fan, but I'd be willing to give these Fresh lippies a try. They lightly tint and hydrate, which is key for Chicago winters.

9. Herbivore Jewel Box Mini Facial Oil + Serum Set ($58): The bakuchiol serum in this set is one of the best skincare purchases I've made this year. It's basically a natural alternative to retinol and has similar smoothing effects on the skin.

10. Glossier Boy Brow ($16): I am not much of a beauty gal, but I figured I could safely throw this cult classic into the mix. This is what you need for that fluffy, yet defined brow look.

11. The Body Shop Aqua Eye Mask ($8): If you are a puffy eyed queen like me, then this is a good accessory to have on hand. I leave it in the refrigerator to chill it, then put it on my eyes in the morning to de-puff a bit. Another great item at a lower price point to bundle.

Keep you eyes peeled for more gift guides leading up to the holidays! You can keep up with my daily musing over on Instagram @realstephaniegreene.

Happy Monday, friends! This is the perfect on the go, have on hand breakfast meal. I made these burritos to freeze and eat over the next couple of weeks. All of the dEATs are below and I got all of the ingredients at Trader Joe’s. #TJsforlife

Ingredients

  • 2lbs of sweet potatoes
  • 10 large tortillas
  • Holy guacamole or avocado
  • 5 whole eggs*
  • 5 egg whites (I used the carton from TJs)*
  • Black beans
  • Salsa
*You can easily swap the eggs for a tofu scramble and make this recipe vegan

Prep
  1. Bake the sweet potatoes until soft
  2. Combine eggs and egg whites in an oiled pan over medium heat and scramble
  3. Let eggs and sweet potatoes cool before assembling the burritos
  4. Now, assemble the bad boys! Try to keep all of the ingredients in the center of the tortilla to make the burrito rolling easier and layer in whatever order you like
These burritos give you protein, carbs and good fats. Sweet potatoes are in high vitamin A (a fat soluble vitamin and the avocado helps with absorption) which helps support eye health and our overall immune system.

To freeze these, I wrapped the burritos in plastic wrap then foil, but feel free to follow whatever method you usually use to freeze foods. You can reuse the foil for future meal prep to help cut down on waste.

To reheat, place burrito on a microwave safe dish and reheat in increments of 30 seconds until hot. I reheated one of these on a Saturday for a pre-workout meal and then quickly crisped up the tortilla in a pan on the stovetop - so good!

Follow me on instagram @realstephaniegreene to be the first to see the eats! 


I will take any excuse to dress up and that is really the best part of attending weddings. Yes, celebrating our loved ones is awesome, but for the fashion minded, it's a time to break out the big guns, aka the shoes, the bags, the dresses. And I went allll out for the wedding I attended recently. 


Let's get into the details. I rented a dress from Rent the Runway during their supply chain fiasco and one of the dresses I thought I was going to like a lot was not going to be shipped in time for my event, so I got to select another two dresses for free. That mishap led me to the Christian Siriano number I ended up wearing to the wedding. I had actually planned on wearing a floor length dress because the wedding was black tie, but really, no one else was wearing black tie so I might have ended up a bit overdressed. The dress fit well, if not a bit roomy. I got it in a size 8 and the fabric was thick enough that I did not feel exposed. There was some room in the bust and armpit area, but nothing distracting. Fun fact: I met Christian Siriano when I was interning at a fashion blog in high school.

I typically would not wear black to an American wedding, but the bride requested that all guests wear black. What the bride wants, the bride gets.


I bought my bag secondhand from The RealReal, which, if you're unfamiliar, is an awesome online designer resale site. There had been another Saint Laurent bag with a star motif that I was eyeing for weeks, and when I decided it was time to get it, it had already been sold. Big SIGH. But, then I came across this bag that also had stars and took it as a sign. This is the Saint Laurent wallet on a chain (I removed the chain and put it inside the bag) and is actually pretty spacious considering that is designed to be small. I got the bag for 30% off the already discounted price and a $100 credit to use on the site later, so I would say it was a good deal. The bag was in incredible condition and it's obvious The RealReal has higher standards for condition than I do. 


Finally, the shoes are Christin Louboutin and I got these on sale during the twice annual sale via the Louboutin boutique in Nordstrom. They're so extra, so I try to wear them to every fancier event. Since it was chilly out, I topped the look off with a leather jacket that I got a couple of years ago at the BCBG outlet. I've always thought only cool, chic women wear their jackets over their shoulders instead of actually putting them on, so I tried to channel that same coolness. 

My biggest takeaway from dressing for this wedding is shop secondhand and rent clothing. Hooray for the circular economy!


Wednesdays are all about recommitment✨It’s the middle of the week and the perfect time to check in with yourself. Below are some questions you can quickly ask yourself to see how you’re doing. Use your answers to guide yourself through the rest of week.
  • Where can I soften? Think about this physically (like a clinched jaw) as well as emotionally (like focusing on things out of your control)
  • What’s one teeny tiny thing I can do today that will take me on step closer to my dreams? Write this down!! Then, do it!
  • Have I had enough water today? (Yes! Plain, old water!)
  • Am I getting enough rest? Eating enough food?

In every race, you reach a point where you’ve gone farther than you have to go. It’s the point where the most efficient way out is through. It’s where you realize you can actually reach the finish line. 

For me, this point was when I reached the 8 mile marker during my first half marathon. At that moment, 8 miles was the farthest I had ever run (I know, I didn’t do the whole “training” thing well). I can still see the sign in my mind and it was then that I was honestly overcome with awe. I couldn’t believe my legs, my lungs, my will had carried me so far. 

I still had 5.1 miles to go, but damn, I had already made it so far and had the urge to get off the freaking course not overcome me, I might have broken down right then and there. It was a feeling that I cannot really explain, but just imagine something you thought you would never be able to do, then imagine doing it. It was a sense of pride that no one could or can take away. Like, I did that ish. 

Let’s be clear here: I do not think running is easy or even all that fun. I tend to think it is laborious and effortful and time consuming. Especially when I could also, say, spend a couple hours rowing, or doing yoga, or smashing out a weights sessions in the gym, or playing rugby. All things that I *genuinely* and *thoroughly* enjoy. For me, long distance running has always been about trying. I have to be there when I’m running. No relying on teammates to pick up the slack or not getting deep into a pose to make the practice less intense. I have to be there with every single step. Feet to pavement, every single step. 

I love sports. Well, I love participating in sports. It is the space where I really grew into myself and gained real body and general self confidence. Long distance running broke me down and built me up. It was the first time I really started a sport alone. Yes, I eventually built a community around running, but still, it is heavily focused on individual performance. Running for a long time is serious effing mental work. I’ve probably been physically capable of long distance running for much of my life, but I never did the mental work to get there until last year. For years, I said “I can’t”, and when I decided to erase can’t from my mind, a world of possibilities opened up. Particularly, a world where I was a long distance runner. 

People run for lots of reasons, and I run to shake off limiting beliefs about what I can or cannot do. Running teaches me that forward motion is good motion. I know that if I keep moving in the right direction, I will get wherever I’m going on my own, perfect timeline. I know that I can pretty much do anything I want with the right amount of focus and action. I know that crossing the start line and crossing the finish line are equally monumental feats. I know what the phrase “where there’s a will, there’s a way” feels like in my body as I run mile after mile after mile after mile.

It's Wednesday night as I write this, and by the time this post goes up, I’ll have finished my second half marathon. On race day, I’ll be thinking of my friend Laura who taught me to take life day by day and my friend Jamaica who taught me that you don’t have to be “fast” to be a runner -- these two were my first inspirations to get out and get going. On race day, I’ll be quietly repeating “I am stronger than myself” over and over when things get inevitably tough. And when I cross the finish line, I’ll be shook all over again. In awe of my legs, in awe of my lungs, in awe of my will. 
Happy Monday, friends! I've decided to get my ish together, so I am starting back up with meal prep. This was by far the easiest meal prep I've ever done, mostly because it was a breakfast prep and that generally requires less time. Anywhoooo! It took me 8 minutes this morning to get this breakfast together, which was 8 minutes very well spent.

I have been eating skyr yogurt and granola for breakfast for the past four weeks, but I wanted to give my belly a break from the dairy, so I decided to switch it up. All the dEATs are below.

Avocado Rice Cakes + Hard Boiled Eggs Ingredient List
  • Lightly salted rice cakes
  • Ripe avocado
  • Cherry tomatoes, halved
  • Trader Joe's Everything but the Bagel seasoning
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Eggs
This one is so simple I feel silly even writing anything that resembles a "how-to", so I will spare you, a couple things to keep in mind:
  1. The night before, boil your eggs so they are ready to go in the morning. Boiled eggs will keep for 1 week in the fridge, peeled or unpeeled, so plan accordingly.
  2. Put the toppings on the rice cakes the day you will eat them so that they do not get soggy
Gimme a shout in the comments or on instagram @realstephaniegreene if you make this!




Okay, so plot twist, people: I started traveling for work and that put a bit of wrench in this whole plan to only use cash. All of my expenses Monday to Thursday have been charged to a card, but I have managed to stick to cash for my Friday to Sunday expenses. With that being said, below I’ll be sharing my weekend expenses over two weekends.

Weekend 1

Sunday
I spent the last few days of July and first days of August in Maryland visiting my family. When I got back to Chicago on Sunday afternoon, I went to Whole Foods grab some food to supplement what I already had at home and picked up some other things for travel. I got plantain chips, unsweetened vanilla almond milk, coconut aminos, skyr yogurt, lavender room and body mist, and turmeric pills. I also donated the cost of a bag to the WF charity of the month. $44.95

Daily total: $44.95
Weekend total: $44.95

Weekend 2

Friday
I worked from home this day and made it through most of the day eating some frozen foods from Trader Joe’s, kale and cereal (not all at once, of course). I went into downtown after signing off from work to get my nails done and buy new running shoes. I got OPI VIPink nail polish and I am in love. It’s so bright and fun. I recommend getting a coat of the whitest nail polish available under the pink because it makes the pink pop even more. Anyway, the mani-pedi was $72 with tip and after a $10 discount because it was my tenth visit to the salon.

I headed to a running store and picked up some Adidas running shoes that fit my orthotics because my feet are messed up. And, to my surprise, they were on sale! $115.77


Last year, I got really into learning how to be better with money because I realized that I wasn’t exactly, uhhh, good with it. I only ever made sure I had enough cash to pay my rent and utilities, and then spent the remaining money on whatever I wanted and basically assumed I had enough money to cover all of my expenses. I think we can all agree, I was not really setting myself up for success in terms of saving for the short term or long term. Once I started to learn more about personal finance, I wanted to talk to my friends about it all the time. We talk to our friends about everything, even things we consider to be embarrassing or secretive or anxiety inducing, but we avoid talking about money, though it is usually where lots of us could use the most help. So, internet friends, we are gonna talk about money. 

Next month, I am going to go on an all cash diet as a means of aggressively saving money. So, I will be paying for nearly everything I buy with cash. I say nearly because I will be using my travel rewards credit card to pay for a hotel stay and flight in August, and paying for rent and other bills electronically. When the cash runs out, so does my spending -- yikes! 

In June, I decided to move out of my beloved one-bedroom apartment into a two-bedroom apartment and have a roommate to cut my monthly fixed cost of living by about 45%. And since I did make what was for me such a drastic lifestyle change, I want to take this seriously and do what I set out to do - save money! 

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