Thursday, June 27, 2013

Giveaway: Win a Copy of "Precious Blood" by Tonya Hurley & The Patron Saints of Summer Prize Pack

Hot YA beach-read alert! Precious Blood by Tonya Hurley is newly released and you can win a copy (along with Essie Nail Polish, Urban Outfitters Sunglasses, & Audiology Earbuds) for a perfect lazy day at the beach.  

About Precious Blood: What if martyrs and saints lived among us? And what if you were told you were one of them?
Agnes, Cecilia, and Lucy are three lost girls—each with their own personal demons. These girls meet one night when they all end up in the same hospital…and each wake up with a token from a boy they’ve only just met. Sebastian is gorgeous, mysterious, and has a plan for all of them. As each girl gets wrapped up in finding out just who Sebastian is, they each discover their own strengths, and realize the only way to save themselves is to save each other.

About Tonya Hurley: Tonya Hurley is the New York Times best-selling author of the highly acclaimed “ghostgirl“ book series; creator, writer and producer of animated and live action hit television series; writer and director of independent films; writer and director of commercials for Playstation, Gameboy and Warner Home Video; and creator of groundbreaking videogames. Her new young adult trilogy, THE BLESSED, begins with Precious Blood.
The story begins in PRECIOUS BLOOD and continues in PASSIONARIES, available 1/7/14.

One (1) winner will receive:
·         Earbuds (courtesy of Cecilia, Patron Saint of Music) from Audiology
·         Sunglasses (courtesy of Lucy, Patron Saint of Sight) from Urban Outfitters
·         Essie Chastity Nail Polish (courtesy of Agnes, Patron Saint of Chastity)
·         Copy of Precious Blood
Giveaway open to U.S. addresses only.
Prizing & samples courtesy of Simon & Schuster

To enter to win:
1. Like us on Facebook (Style & Wisdom)
2. Like The Blessed on Facebook
3. Leave us a comment below sharing your ideal way to spend a hot summer day and be sure to leave your email address so we can contact you if you win.   

You can also follow The Blessed and Tonya Hurley on Twitter and join the conversation using #PreciousBlood

Monday, June 24, 2013

Posh Mama Zen Baby: Best Stretch Mark Creams For Your Baby Bump

by Sarah

So far, throughout my pregnancy, I've been using two belly lotions, Mama Bee Belly Balm by Burts Bees ($11) & Mama Mio Belly Rub Stretch Mark Butter ($35).  I've been using one of the two every day since I was about 10 weeks along, and I wanted to share a review of each one, since they are much different in price.  

When I was just about to enter my second trimester and starting to show a baby bump, I went out and bought a $35 jar of Mama Mio Belly Rub Stretch Mark Butter from A Pea in the Pod because I heard that Kate Middleton was using this cream and I was adamant on avoiding stretch marks (it is so obviously my first pregnancy, right?) Ironically, that same day, I got the Mama Bee Belly Balm as a gift from my sister.  

Mama Bee Belly Balm:
I was drawn to the Mama Bee Belly Balm first because it is way creamier and not as thick as the Mama Mio Belly Rub.  In the morning when I'm getting ready for work, I definitely want the easiest and fastest routine possible, and since this is less thick, it is easier to apply.  It instantly leaves your skin heavily moisturized and silky, which I love.  At first, it was strange to feel so much lotion on my skin not getting absorbed right away but this is how all of the belly butters are and you’ll appreciate it once you start growing. (It isn't as though you are dripping in excess lotion, your skin is just a little glossier than it normally would be.) Truthfully, I used this cream every day throughout my second trimester.  I plowed through it faster than I’ve gone through any lotion I’ve ever owned because it was so soothing and it kept me from feeling itchy.  Another perk is that it is fragrance-free.  

Mama Mio Belly Rub:
I heard about this belly balm from Kandee Johnson originally, and then I read that many other celebrity mothers used it as well, including Kate Middleton and Jessica Alba.  As a first-timer in pregnancy, I ran to this belly balm thinking it was the only way to avoid stretch marks. I’ve been using it heavily for the past two weeks (the first two weeks of my third trimester) and I do love it, but it really isn’t better than the Mama Bee.  It is way thicker and you have to really rub it in (truthfully it isn’t as creamy and "buttery" as the label suggests), but your skin will stay moisturized up until your next shower or bath. This body butter smells a little minty, which I actually find to be a comfortable fragrance. I think this would be a great gift for someone who has just found out she is newly pregnant.

The Verdict:
Both are equally as good, but the Mama Bee Belly Balm is $15 cheaper and works just as well as the Mama Mio Tummy Rub! The Mama Bee Belly Balm is more of a staple product I think every pregnant gal should own, whereas the Mama Mio Cream is more of a gift item and best used during the third trimester, since there is the most stretching happening.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Love It or Hate It? Miley Cyrus' New Video, "We Can't Stop"

You guys, I'm not even a fan of Miley Cyrus.  It's not that I dislike her, it's just that I really don't care about her personal life, which is all that we ever hear about.  However, her new video for, "We Can't Stop" is so bizarre that I had to talk about a few things.  Do I love it? Do I hate it? I just can't tell.  Either way, the video sucks you in with skulls made out of french fries, taxidermy animals on leashes, money sandwiches, and just about every other weird thing you could possibly thing of.  

Major no-no? Miley is seen putting on EOS lipgloss on in her vid. One of my all time biggest pet peeves being product placement, but EOS lipgloss is the best lip balm around, so I'm confused as to whether or not I'm mad about it.  

What do you all think? Love it or hate it?

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Allowing Yourself To Take A Break When You Need One

by Sarah Davis
Yesterday, I did something crazy. I did not do one thing all day long. Well, okay, I did a few things, but for the most part, I napped and I lounged on the couch watching television.  Even though I felt a little guilty about not doing anything, I woke up today feeling completely rejuvenated. It got me thinking about the importance of taking breaks when we really need them.

We all have moments where we get overwhelmed with our everyday life or simply tired out.  Sometimes it’s mental exhaustion and sometimes it's physical exhaustion, but basically, something happens in our life and we feel the need to spend a day or two in bed because we can’t face the world. We just need a break. In some cases, it’s being 7 months pregnant. ;) At the end of the day, we all need to learn how give in to exhaustion because the only way to get rid of it is to rest, there is no magic dose of caffeine.

The problem is: how many of us think we are allowed to do this? Why do we feel so guilty about this or jump to the conclusion that we have a severe problem like depression? Guess what? Happy people, peaceful people, and even spiritual leaders have days of feeling bummed out, too and they not only need rest when they are seriously exhausted, but they get rest.  

What if you allowed yourself to take a day off and recover when life throws you a big old lemon.  What if you didn’t allow yourself to think: Shouldn’t I be stronger? Shouldn’t I be working on something instead of doing nothing? Shouldn’t I be working out or cleaning something?

Homework: if you feel like you need to sulk around for an entire day eating chips and crying, do it.   Or, if you want to lay on the couch, napping on-and-off, because your body is saying "do it", try it out. If you want to take a day off to just go see a movie alone or spend the day doing something you absolutely love but never get to do, do it.

Why shouldn't you feel guilty about this?
Resting allows your mind and body to refuel. Taking your mind off of things that are making you miserable and giving your body a chance to take a break from activities that are exhausting it allows you to refuel and prepare to take on the world with a much better approach. A rested, clear, calm approach.

Image Credit: Find this image on Pinterest here.

JoAnna Garcia Tweets Gorgeous Photo of New Baby Emerson!

There may be a TON of baby news surrounding Kim Kardashian and Kanye West right now, but there are other celebrity babies to be noticed, like the adorable 4-week old daughter of JoAnna Garcia and Nick Swisher-- Emerson Jay. (Not to forget, Channing Tatum & Jenna Dewan-Tatum’s baby Everly, see photo here.)  On Tuesday, she tweeted this gorgeous photo, announcing, “Who’s ready to see Emerson Jay Swisher?! Nick and I would like you all to meet our little angel.”

Celebrity baby news might be overwhelming lately, but how cute is this photo? Newborn photography doesn’t get much better than this.

Image Credit: Jacqueline Jo Photography/Image Courtesy: Joanna Garcia @JoAnnaLGarcia on Twitter

Channing Tatum & Jenna Dewan-Tatum Reveal First Photo of Baby Everly!

Image Credit: Channing Tatum, Jenna Dewan-Tatum
Jenna Dewan-Tatum & Channing Tatum posted this cute photo to their Facebook pages on Sunday, just in time for Father’s Day.  A glowing Jenna and relaxed Channing Tatum swoon over their newborn daughter in this heart warming first photo.

By the way, in case you weren’t just a tad obsessed with Channing Tatum before, how heart-melting is it to see him holding hands with his daughter, Everly??

Friday, June 14, 2013

Flashback Friday Post: 'The Vampire Diaries' Star Torrey Devitto on Her Volunteer Work with Hospice (Interview)

Interview by Sarah Davis 

Originally posted on Monday, July 30, 2012

Torrey Devitto is mostly known for her work in popular television shows like Pretty Little Liars and more recently, The Vampire Diaries, but when she's not acting, did you know that she is a dedicated hospice advocate? She has been an active volunteer in hospice for over four years and in 2011, she became the very first Hospice Ambassador for the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization. Torrey was kind enough to take a break from filming The Vampire Diaries to answer a few questions on why she is so passionate about this cause! 

Style & Wisdom: Can you tell us a little bit about your involvement with the National Hospice Organization? 
Torrey: I started volunteering with Hospice about 5 years ago. From the beginning, I knew that what I was doing was something I was meant to do. My involvement with Hospice will always be a part of my life. I was unaware of Hospice before I started looking into volunteer work. The more I got involved, the more I started realizing how many people don't really understand what an incredible organization Hospice is. That's when I reached out to NHPCO; I wanted to see if there was anything I could do to bring more attention to this organization. It was my understanding that they never had a spokesperson and I wanted to be that person. Everyone is so aware of volunteering at children's hospitals or in animal shelters, I wanted to help get Hospice on that list too. 

S&W: We have to ask- do you think people often neglect the idea of how important hospice care is because it scares them? Death is the number 1 fear that people have in life. Do you think the stigma of death often gets attached to hospice care? 
Torrey: When I first started volunteering, my Mom had a similar reaction. She really didn't want me to do it. She said, "Don't you think you are too young to be able to handle caring for people who are dying?" But after observing what I did for so many years, it totally changed her viewpoint about Hospice. My Mom is a volunteer now and calls me every day expressing how much she LOVES being a part of this beautiful foundation. I feel like if most people would just spend some time volunteering, it would assuage all their fears and it be more fulfilling than they can even imagine. 

S&W: Why did you feel the need to spread awareness for this cause among young people? 
Torrey: Death is the one thing in our life that is guaranteed. It has made me appreciate every day even more now. I think it could change young people's lives. Every young person that I have talked to that volunteers for Hospice has had their life change in a positive way. 

S&W: Along with being an actor comes being a role model, which you do well. Who has been the biggest role model for you? 
Torrey: I have been very fortunate in that I have been able to grow up with lots of great role models around me. I have very strong amazing women in my family that I look up to in awe daily. My grandmothers and my mother are 3 of the most incredible women I have ever met. Both my parents always raised me with strong morals and values, love and respect. I am always asking them for advice. Even still, after 28 years, they never seem to let me down with their words of encouragement and wisdom. They set such good examples and laid down such an incredible road map for me to follow as a child. I am forever indebted to them. Giving back is such a huge part of who they are and always were. 

S&W: What are your personal words of wisdom? 
Torrey: Never judge your own path or journey through life. Stay present and trust yourself. Always speak, live and breathe your own personal truth. 

S&W: You volunteered at the Mission Hospice Glendale, California for many years before becoming the Hospice Ambassador- were there any experiences that changed your life? 
Torrey: Yes. I still volunteer through Mission Hospice whenever I am home. Every single time I volunteer, a new life changing experience happens. Every person I meet and with every story they want to share with me, forever changes my life.

S&W: How can we get involved?!
Torrey: You can go online to and look up a phone number for your local Hospice. They are always looking for volunteers and would have all the information you need to get started. It's so easy! 

Click here to purchase a t-shirt designed by Torrey for the NHPCO (all proceeds go directly to the organization.)

Image Credit: Zimbio

Friday, June 7, 2013

Obsessed: Charlotte Ronson For Starbucks

We get a little obsessy when we hear that someone out there has combined two of our favorite things: a cup of Starbucks & fashion.  That’s right, Charlotte Ronson drew a design for a Starbucks travel cup and it will be available for purchase soon.  Currently: swooning, brb.

Kristin Cavallari & Jay Cutler Are Married!

Image Credit: US Weekly

Kristin Cavallari & Chicago Bears Quarterback Jay Cutler
are officially married! After welcoming son Camden last year in August, Kristin has said in many interviews that she has been happily planning a Summer wedding.  After sharing photos of her bridal shower this past week, Kristin posted on Instagram today, “I’m officially Kristin Elizabeth Cutler!!!”, along with a photo of her & brand new hubby Jay Cutler’s wedding bands. According to TMZ, the couple bought their marriage license in Nashville earlier today and had a legal wedding instead of a lavish affair.  We couldn’t be happier for Kristin & Jay! Kristin seems so relaxed and happy in her life as a mama/newlywed!

Image Credit: @kristincavofficial on Instagram

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

"Posh Mama, Zen Baby": Benefits of Babywearing

by Sarah Davis

Image Credit: Oopa Baby
Last week, I took a class at Shining Light Prenatal Education about babywearing with Laura McCarthy of Pittsburgh Babywearers.  I have to say that I knew nothing about babywearing before this class (or prenatal classes in general, as this was my very first one). I had seen wraps on other people and at the store and noticed how convenient it was and thought it was a great way to bond with a baby, but that was it.

So, what is babywearing?
For thousands of years, people have been wearing their babies close to their chest in a cloth wrap or sling of some sort. There are many variations of these wraps, carriers, and ring slings and many price differences, but each one involves the same thing: wearing your baby so that your hands are free. 

What are the benefits?
Of course, babywearing wouldn't have such a following of "crunchy moms" if it were just for convenience. Although, convenience is a huge perk, as you can care for your other children, or if you are a new mom, you can cook, you can prepare their bottles, and you can even privately nurse underneath the wrap out in public. You can also move easier and faster out in public, compared to if you had a huge stroller with you.

There are many more benefits to having your baby so close. It is especially great for a newborn, who, for the first three months of his life, is in the fourth trimester (which comes from the book, Happiest Baby on the Block).  The idea of a fourth trimester is that a baby is adjusting to living in the world and it can easily get overwhelmed. Being close to Mom, especially close enough to hear your heart beat, which is a sound a baby knows very well, is very soothing to them.  

Babywearing is also a form of tummy time (called tummy-to-tummy time) because the newborn has to learn to keep their head up. While laying on the floor might be torturous for some newborns, tummy-to-tummy time provides a more comfortable way to learn this essential part of crawling. 

It soothes babies; they cry less, they are less fussy, all because they love being scrunched up against you, just like they were in the womb. You’re able to sense how they are feeling because they aren’t so far away from you (as when they would be in a stroller.) Baby wearing allows infants a better chance of becoming securely attached than infants who aren’t worn in carriers due to how close and how comfortable they are during the first year. Secure attachment is critical for normal human development.

There are so many carriers on the market-- what type of carrier should I buy?
During this class, we were all able to test out a Ring Sling and a Wrap, which are both preferred among babywearers, especially for newborns. For good brands to look into, you can look into Maya Wraps, Moby Wraps, or Sakura Bloom's Ring Slings (although they are very expensive.) From personally testing a few out, I would suggest a Maya Wrap. I loved the Sakura Bloom, but spending $180 on something so simple doesn't sound practical for a new parent, who needs a thousand other items. Another more practical, yet stylish, brand I found is Oopa.

Why should I go to a class about babywearing?
Classes are great to learn how to put these things on to safely wear a baby and also to how tight to make it. Learning about what products to purchase is valuable information because no one wants to blindly spend money on a sling they won't like or might be overpriced, etc.

Also, as I mentioned, this was my very first prenatal class during my pregnancy and I didn't realize how much I was going to love the environment. The environment at Shining Light Prenatal Education is very relaxed and calm and even if I didn't learn anything (which wasn't the case), I would have still gained something very valuable: time with other women in the same boat as me. I think it's important to go to as many classes as you can to meet other women with bellies as big as yours because it gives you confidence and allows you to feel empowered, rather than scared. Sometimes when I'm alone or with non-pregnant people, I feel different and sometimes scared. I feel abnormal when people are stare at my belly. Seriously, there is no greater spectacle for the general public, except for a car accident on the side of the road, than a woman with a pregnant belly. People love to touch my belly and everyone has a horror story about labor for me to listen to.

Usually, it's sweet to get so much attention, but sometimes, it can get overwhelming. I can get myself worked up about how scary childbirth might be, how scared I am that my life will never be the same after childbirth, and how scared I might be to have something so precious as a baby growing up in this crazy world-- far from the safety of my womb. But, when you're around other women who seem anxious for the birth of their baby or even just as scared as you, it's calming and it reminds you that you are actually just as excited as them to meet your baby. More importantly, it's great just to have someone who doesn't judge you when you talk about side effects, but instead says, "Me too!"

For more on Laura, you can visit her website at and to sign up for a class or a prenatal yoga session, visit Shining Light's website at
Image Credit: Oopa Baby

Monday, June 3, 2013

Kim Kardashian Is Having A Girl

The weekend’s pop culture news was a frenzy of celebrity baby news! (See our post on Jenna Dewan-Tatum’s new baby here.) On last night’s Season 8 premiere of Keeping Up With The Kardashians, Kim Kardashian revealed that she and boyfriend Kanye West are pregnant with a baby girl!  We’re not quite sure how everyone in the Kardashian-Klan managed to keep a tight lip on the news until the reality show aired last night, but we’re positive it involved a lot of money. Of course, it wouldn’t be true Kardashian-style otherwise, right? Kim Kardashian finds out the gender of her baby at an ultrasound attended by her sisters and mother, while Kanye West is absent.  

Khloe Kardashian revealed during press in New York City last week that Kanye West had been to other ultrasounds (that failed to find the gender of the baby) and this just so happened to be the ultrasound that he missed, which was the successful one. Kim has famously mentioned in many interviews, however, that West insists on maintaining a certain amount of privacy, which is why he refuses to appear on the show.  (Our thoughts: he can’t be that private if he picked a member of this klan to have a baby with.)

Kim K’s baby shower was over the weekend, as well.  And, we pretty much all knew it was a girl because a photo of Kim’s baby shower invite was leaked a few weeks back. You can probably bet the predicted-over-the-top shower will air in an episode of the reality show...

Image Credit: E!

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Channing Tatum & Jenna Dewan Tatum Welcome Baby-- See Her Best Pregnancy Looks

A congratulations are in order for Channing Tatum & Jenna Dewan Tatum, who welcomed their baby on May 30 in London. US Weekly reported the news this morning, but also confirmed that the couple has yet to reveal the gender. I thought Jenna’s maternity style, from the red carpet to what she wore to prenatal yoga, was fabulous! I loved being pregnant at the same time as her, even though I still have a few months to go.

Image Credit: Getty, In Touch Weekly

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Keeping Up With The Kardashians Season 8 Premieres This Sunday on E!

While most people won’t admit this, I have to say that I am so happy that Keeping Up With The Kardashians is returning this Sunday.  You guys, they are revealing the gender of Kimye’s baby on the premiere. (Although, we’re pretty sure it’s a girl because of the leaked photos of Kim’s baby shower invites.)

Other thrilling story lines this season: Brody Jenner joins the cast (you know, the guy from The Hills) and Kris and Bruce's marriage may be on the rocks. And, not to be forgotten: Rob Kardashian's battle with his weight.
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