Tuesday, July 15, 2014

5 Everyday Items that Double as Style Staples

As a gal on the go, I feel like I have to be prepared for anything, especially when living in a city like New York.

Today I bring you 5 everyday items that can double as style and beauty staples if you’re looking for how to improve your life. These items can be easily thrown in a purse and can be used for so many different things! Perfect for the gal on the go.

1. Multipurpose lip balm. Rosebud Salve is my go-to choice for lip balm. But you could also use Vaseline or Aquaphor for these purposes. I use it as a chap stick (it leaves your lips looking silky and smooth!), a hand moisturizer for those dry spots, and even to tame flyaway hairs or brows!

2. The safety pin. I never leave home without a safety pin! They can be used to replace a missing button, to tighten up a loose skirt, or perhaps my favorite use – to help you zip up a dress! No one around to help you zip up the back of your dress? Attach a safety pin to the zipper closure, tie to a string, and then pull up on the zipper to zip up the dress. Voila!

3. Dryer sheets. I keep these babies in my purse to tame frizzy hair or stray flyaways. I have naturally very wavy hair that often takes on a life of its own when there’s even a bit of humidity. Keep a few sheets in your purse and say goodbye to frizz!

4. Dry shampoo. Dry shampoo is a beautiful invention. As most gals know, second-day hair can often do wonders for styling. I love to use dry shampoo to give my hair more OOMPH, but more than anything I use it to add texture and volume. It works wonders!

5. Thin scarf. I love scarves. They add color and life to any outfit! A thin scarf can easily be thrown into a purse and can act as a shawl, headband, or belt. So many options, but takes up so little space!


A version of this article appeared on Just Sara Jane's column on bsmartguide.com

Friday, July 4, 2014

Sara Jane Bakes: Celebrate Your Independence with this EASY 4th of July Cake!

Ahhh, 4th of July. A day where independence is celebrated, America is revered, and many hot dogs are consumed. Nothin’ like it.

I love the July 4th for so many reasons. Yes, beaching, barbeques and wearing American flag paraphernalia is all fun and good, but it’s a part of something greater. Everyone (at least most people I know) have some sort of 4th of July tradition. There’s something so wonderful about holiday traditions – it’s great to look forward to something every year. I believe they’re especially nice when shared with others. So today I’m bringing you one of my very favorite July 4th traditions – my family’s American flag cake.

This cake is super simple, fruity and fresh, and supremely celebratory. And the best part? NO BAKING REQUIRED! And contrary to what my name might suggest, I usually opt in for bake-free options.

Check out the below recipe for my 'celebrate your independence' cake!


Step 1) Print out photo of American flag (hopefully you know what this looks like already, but reference is good).

Step 2) Buy PLAIN pound cake or angel food cake at local grocery. Also buy blueberries and raspberries (one or two bins is sufficient).

Step 3) Slather on whipped cream, covering the whole top of the cake.

Step 4) Put blueberries and raspberries on top of the cake in the design of the American flag. Use creative DIY skills to create fruity stars and stripes.

Step 5) My favorite touch. Buy tiny American Flags to put a top the cake. Serve cake to friends with their individual flag, because who doesn’t want to wave a tiny American flag?

P.S. Another SUPER EASY option is to buy plain cake cupcakes (vanilla). Top with whipped cream. Add assortment of blueberries and raspberries. Bonus points if you manage to create a tiny American flag on it. Unlikely, but go for it.

Happy 4th of July, friends! May you celebrate the red, white and blue in the sweetest of style!


A version of this article appeared on Sara Jane's page on bsmartguide.com. 

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Food for Thought: The Seven Stages of Juice Cleansing

No no, we’re talking about the seven stages of grief (well, not totally, anyway).

This past week I did a three-day juice cleanse. To describe it in one word, I would say it was “ridiculousyetenergizing yetstarvingyethangry butinteresting andadventurous.” Oh wait, should I spell that out for you?

Food for Thought: The Seven Stages of Juice Cleansing #bsmart

For all of you who know me (and for those of you who don’t), I am not a juice cleanse-y type girl. I LOVE food (sh** some girls say). I love indulging in food. I love socializing around food (and adult beverages, am I right?). That said, I also like being healthy (eating right and exercising is important, hunnies), but I’m not one to jump on every health craze out there. The thought of just pouring liquids into your body for three days - without having any morsels of delicious food pass your mouth - was a bit too far for this gal.

Then again, I’m always up to try new things (it’s 2014 - as my best friend would say, this is THE YEAR!). My coworkers were talking about doing a cleanse together, and I decided, 'Hey, why not. Let’s see what all the fuss is about.' RULE 1. If you are cleansing, ALWAYS do it with a friend. No one likes to be hangry alone.

I read (as any writer does) about some of the reasons a juice cleanse is good for your health. Some of the reasons include: improving energy levels, eliminating harmful foods, resting the liver, rehydrating the body, allowing for maximum detoxification, resting the stomach, repairing the gut, and flooding our body with super nutrients. Sounded like enough to get me to sign up.

So I am here today, friends, to share with you my experience - unfiltered - of living through three days on a juice cleanse. I promise it may not always be pretty, but it’ll be true.

Day One: My first taste.


10:32 AM: Ok, wait. I like this juice a little more. Now it sort of tastes like bananas. Maybe the delusion is setting in already.

10:42 AM: Surprisingly, I’m not starving. Hurrah!

11:00 AM: Ate a few coconut chips. Eeeek (Bad Sara!). Starting to get hungry and am not excited to drink three green juices a day.

1:04 PM: But wait, the other green juice is DELICIOUS. It’s a spinach, mango, bananers PARTAY up in here.

3:17 PM: Chia seeds juice - NOM NOM.


8:15 PM: I am at a pre-NFL draft party. I watch all the people drinking fancy things and I drink water with lemon. GLAMOROUSSSS! This was the hardest thing I’ve done relating to food since I found out I was allergic to avocado.


Day Two: The Saga Continues.

7:00 AM: I woke up with JOLT. Like a burst of energy. I know I sound like I’m talking crazy, but it’s true.

1:09 PM: I feel weirdly not hungry. And very focused.

4 PM: Feeling fiiiiiine, gurlz.

7:00 PM: Saw a movie and drank the choco-nana one. PARTY IN MY MOUTH. YASSSS HONEY.

9:00 PM: Not even hungry enough to drink my last (6th) shake of the day. But I do it anyway so I don’t have a crazy midnight egg-white escapade again.

Day Three: I think I’m beginning to like this.

9:47 AM: Having my last first juice of the day. The green grass mouth is not so bad anymore.

12:01PM: Dang, dis juice is good. I’m thinking about liquid-lunching more often.

5:00 PM: I feel light and airy and am drinking a peanut butter smoothie thing. Who said you have to be bad to be good?

8:20 PM: I’m at trivia night with my friends at our local bar, drinking my last juice. The bartender is teasing me because I won’t have a drink, but I don’t even want to. I feel more alert, more present, and happier than I have in a very long time.


I found myself thinking less about food, and more about life. Rather than focusing on the cleanse as a means to lose weight, or tone up for summer, I thought of it as a way to purge my system of it’s old ways, and previous negative thoughts. I used the cleanse as a reset button. Isn’t that the true meaning of cleanse anyway? To detox your system of ill? Doesn’t this include negative thoughts and emotions?

I’ve learned that a cleanse is 1. Not as bad as I thought and 2. A good way to refresh your life. I will go forward thinking a bit more about how I focus on enjoying the moment, rather than planning my next social engagement (usually involving food).

This was also a test of my willpower. We have to listen to both our mind and body to exist on this planet. If you’re like me, your mind often overpowers listening to your body. This was a test for myself to see if I could really do this. Now, I’ve learned to listen to my body for when it’s really hungry. No, I’ll never be one of those girls who doesn’t indulge in french fries because 'I’m not that hungry.' I will continue to indulge in food, beverages and social events that combine the two. Life is too short not to indulge. But i will definitely be more cognizant of what I am putting into my body, and how much it takes to really make me feel full.

Moreover, I will think more critically about how full my life is. What makes me happy. How can I better nourish my soul on a daily basis? Since the cleanse, I’ve reset. I try to meditate daily, focus on giving my body the nutrients and exercise it needs, and reminding myself what it takes to make me feel filled and fulfilled.

I surprised myself at how much I liked the cleanse. I really, really, liked it. The first day was rough, but after that, it really wasn’t all that bad. I wouldn’t go as far as to say I’m going to go juice-cleanse-crazy, but I will say I’d do it again.

So there you have it, my cleanse-y friends, now it’s over, that’s the end!

A rhyme never hurt anyone.


An original version of this article appeared on bsmartguide.com