Get a Beach Body Stat By Cutting Empty Calories!

What-is-an-empty-calorie

It’s that time of year again when everyone is trying to drop pounds as quickly as they put them on back during the luscious Christmas holidays (ya know we were all guilty of packing away cakes, cookies, and chocolates and downing it all down with gallons of eggnog).

But have no fear! Here’s a quick and easy way to shed some pounds without going too overboard or fasting (never cool).

What causes most of us to gain weight is empty calories. Meaning, these are calories that hold no nutritional value to us, so eating them not only doesn’t apply to making us healthier or giving us energy for the day, but rather are very detrimental to our health. These calories are usually low in proteins and dietary fats, but high in carbs (simple sugars). But we’re all human, so cutting out ALL empty calories is unrealistic and would also be kind of sad (seriously who wants to bid farewell to sweets forever? Not this gal!).

So here’s a nifty chart for you to take advantage:

The USDA MyPlate Limits empty calories to the following:

Women/Ages 19-30: 260 calories

Women/Ages 31-50: 160 calories

Women/Over 50: 120 calories

What constitutes as empty calories?

The following foods contain empty calories:

Cake, cookies, pastries, sodas, cheese, pizza, sports drinks, ice cream, hot dogs, bacon, jam, chips, French fries, syrup, and donuts

empty calorie

Try to fill up on fruits and vegetables instead, where you’ll end up feeling more full for a longer time with less calorie consumption, and limit your empty calorie intake to half a serving or one serving a day, and you’re bound to see some results in your waistline!

Let me know some of your tips and tricks for shedding pounds in the comments below!

By: Azzurra Nox

Review: Korres Pomegranate Balancing Cream-Gel Moisturizer

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I’ve previously tried products from this brand before, and I truly loved it. I like how they use all-natural ingredients, and from the products I tried, they’ve actually made my skin way better in both look and texture. So bonus points for that!

Being someone who’s always had oily skin, trying to use moisturizer has been almost impossible as all the ones I’ve tried tended to be too rich and break me out. And who wants to look like a pepperoni pizza, right? So when I received this moisturizer made specifically for Oily-Combination Skin in my Allure Beauty Box, I was tempted to give it a go.

What It Is: Cream-Gel Moisturizer for Oily-Combination Skin types

What It Does: Delivers ultra-hydration whilst minimizing pores and creating a matte, yet luminous complexion.

Active Ingredients: 5% Pomegranate water, Pomegranate Extract, Alpine Willowherb, Tannins, and Polyphenols

Verdict: Oily-acne prone skin gals, this product is for YOU! This moisturizer is THE BEST I’ve ever tried. Not only does it keep my skin hydrated, but it also mattifies the skin without it looking dull, but rather refreshed. From the very first application the cream felt luxurious and thick, but when applied it actually felt rather lightweight. It also has a very faint, yet clean smell to it. The packaging is simple, yet sleek. I really love how it makes my skin feel less oily, but plump with hydration and ultra-fortifying. I don’t have issues with big pores, but this product also helps with minimizing pores and giving them a smaller appearance. I highly recommend this cream if you’re looking for a moisturizer for oily and acne-prone skin.

Price: $34

Where To Buy It: https://www.korresusa.com

By: Azzurra Nox

Welcome, new readers!

butterfly

Since I’ve been gaining more and more followers every day, I’ve decided to make a little impromptu post that kinda explains the blog and the direction of the blog and posting times!

First and foremost, THANK YOU for following The Inkblotters! I’m excited for every single follower and grateful that you’ve decided to follow the blog. When I decided to start a blog last year after many years of not really writing any articles or posts (I used to run a website called Plastic Venus where I interviewed various musicians, models, authors, actors, and other amazing creatives), I knew that I still wanted to include all my passions in one blog, hence why I decided to go with the lifestyle blog as opposed to others, where it chronicles my journey as a writer, but also individual.

Some of the subjects that I post a lot about are: skincare, healthy living/clean eating, beauty reviews, book reviews (usually with author interviews), writing, film reviews, some travel, some recipes, and relationships.

A few of my ongoing mini-series are: Skincare (where I talk about different ways to combat acne), My Bad Romance (this series details my experience with exes, told more as snapshots of my past), Beauty in Breakfast (I share recipes on skin-healthy foods to jump-start your day in a good way!), and Poetry (where I share poetry that I’ve written).

After a year of blogging, I’ve finally managed to figure out a posting schedule that would work for me. From the very beginning, I’ve always posted twice a week, but never on a specific day of the week. Although now I promise to post TWICE a week, with posts up on TUESDAYS and THURSDAYS.

In the meantime, the all-femme horror anthology that I edited last year, MY AMERICAN NIGHTMARE is currently on sale for 99 cents till May 19th! So, if you’re into horror, short stories, or just wanna support women authors, then pick up a copy today, here on Amazon!

Let me know what kind of blog posts you’d like to see more of, and I can see if I can explore new topics. Tell me in the comments below! Also, if anyone is interested in any guest posts or collaborations, please let me know in comments or email me at: azzurranox[@]yahoo.com.

And thank you again for following me! If you wish, follow me on Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest too!

xo

Azzurra Nox

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Secrets to Gorgeous Hair!

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We all know that one girl, ya know, the one with the incredible locks, who has no bad hair days, ala Blake Lively or Megan Fox. Instead of getting hair envy, you too can achieve luscious, shiny locks with some secret ingredients that you may already have lying around your home! Beautiful hair shouldn’t be unattainable, so read below for some tips and tricks on how to get that perfect mane!

Next time you lather, think about adding these key ingredients in your shampoo:

Take one cup of baby shampoo (I prefer Honest) and mix in the following ingredients depending on your hair type:

If you have dry hair:

2 tablespoons olive or coconut oil or 1 egg

If you have oily hair:

2 tablespoons lemon juice or aloe vera gel

If you have normal hair:

¼ cup beer or flat champagne

Is product build-up causing your hair to be flat and dull? Then consider this trick:

Rinse your hair with ½ cup baking soda dissolved in 2 cups of warm water. What this does is remove all the product build up you have in your hair, such as hair spray, dry shampoo, or serums.

Are you suffering from dandruff? Then this trick is for you:

Rinse your hair with 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar in 1 cup of warm water. The vinegar will help zap away any oils and shed those dreaded flakes for good!

Let me know if you try any of these tricks or let me know some of yours in the comments below!

By: Azzurra Nox

blake

My Bad Romance: My First Time

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One of the most important moments in a girl’s life is the time she loses her virginity. So much time is spent on how we hope events will play out, who it will be, and how do we know that the guy or girl we’ve chosen for that particular moment is the right one? I know as a teen I obsessed over this so much (mostly over how was I gonna know that the person was the right person to lose it with?).

In my daydreams, I always thought it’d be a lot more romantic. Or at least, the setting would be far more romantic. But when it happened, it was kind of last minute, I hadn’t planned for it to happen, it just did.

I had just started talking to the soulmate. He had a music event to go to and asked me if I could be his date. That meant that I was going to go to London. I left that afternoon to get on the plane, and couldn’t wait for those three hours to pass by quickly. I knew that he liked girls dressed in leather, and I had worn a leather dress that I had “borrowed” from my mum.

The whole event was a whirlwind, and when it all ended, he asked me if I wanted to see his flat and listen to music. I was on the fence over whether I wanted cause I had recently read American Psycho and knew what happened to girls who fell for charming blokes ala Patrick Bateman.

When we arrived at his flat, we were greeted by his white cat Stardust. He turned on the radio and was busy looking through various CD’s as we spoke about various things. It was a cold February night, and I was freezing in my short ensemble, not to mention that I could barely breathe.

I looked over at the soulmate, his beautiful face. I thought: I love him so much, and tonight may be the last time I ever see him. That thought broke my heart. I knew he could be my everything, but I couldn’t tell him that because we had barely met and he was leaving for a lengthy tour.

“Please excuse the mess,” he told me, as he tried to cover up his unmade bed. His bedroom was filled with stacks of hardback books, CD’s, and cigarette packets strewn everywhere. Three guitars rested against the wall. I looked over at the clock and noticed that I had two hours before I had to be back at the airport.

A terrible song from Venga Boys started playing. He came close to me and being at loss for words, I was inspired to use those from a Meatloaf song, stating, “We shouldn’t let a night like tonight go to waste.” Those words changed everything. And I couldn’t explain to you then how important that moment was to me, cause really can you halt a storm just to spew technicalities?

When our lips met, it was like an explosion in the sky. Suddenly, it didn’t matter whether the room was a mess or that shitty music was on the radio, it didn’t matter that none of the settings coincided with my idea of how I wanted things to be. Cause what really mattered was that I was there with you.

Our clothes were on the floor and your lips were everywhere and I kept thinking, Is this really happening? Cause I couldn’t believe that any of it was real. That you were real.

When it was over, I held you close to me, too afraid that perhaps you weren’t real. I needed to make sure that you were there, and I didn’t know then what the future was going to hold, all I knew was that if I was given even that one night with you, it was enough to be happy. One night with you was worth a thousand nights with anyone else.

You were my sun, and I was merely a star that reflected off of your light.

Eventually, I said the dreaded words, “I need to get going,” but a part of me never left that room. My ghost still haunts that flat, and maybe even yours does too.

Maybe we couldn’t have a happy ending, but then again, we haven’t really reached the end. And our ghosts remain in that flat, unchanged, and happy.

london love

By: Azzurra Nox

Poetry: Crashing Stars

stars

I was crashing stars before I met you,

Somehow it didn’t seem so self-destructive.

The rock star raped me of my heart,

Not many know that of me.

There’s a cut on the inside of my lip.

It’s like a wet passionate kiss that didn’t exist

But that still managed to fill my mouth with blood.

Your darkness is like the nocturne sky,

Beautiful and mesmerizing.

Enigmatic in its magic.

I was crashing stars before I met you.

And it felt quite sublime.

But your beauty gave me hope of

Perfect skies that parade paprika comets.

My past seems so distant whenever

Your beauty graces my eyes.

I was crashing stars before I met you.

But now I’m only gathering debris.

You’re a canvas of perfection,

From your azure eyes that sparkle with youth

To your candid complexion that’s pristine.

Not like me. I hide scars.

I was crashing stars before I met you.

It was a deadly pastime.

I was losing sense of time.

I’m heading towards a dying star.

But you fill me up with hope

That there’s still beauty in this world.

I was crashing stars before I met you.

It almost caused my demise.

It’s like a wet passionate kiss that never was

But that I can still taste the blood from

The cut it caused.

I was crashing stars before I met you.

And I thought I felt alright.

Until the stars robbed me of my beauty,

They were envious of my light.

Now your beauty radiates the light

I no longer possess.

And maybe, if I stand just close enough

To you, I’ll be able to regain

The light that you emanate.

I was crashing stars before I met you.

I was a dying star before I met you,

But your gentle beauty has filled me up with hope.

Now I’m on a rocket heading towards the brightest light.

By: Azzurra Nox

Beauty In Breakfast: Strawberry Kiwi Smoothie Recipe

Are you running late and only have five minutes for breakfast? Put down that Pop Tart or doughnut and opt for this nutritional and skin-healthy option instead!

This smoothie not only is it uber simple to prepare, it’s also jam-packed with Vitamin C! And we all know that Vitamin C is essential in skincare, especially since it promotes collagen and prevents wrinkling. Who wouldn’t drink to that? Plus, the honey in the smoothie aids in preventing inflammation (meaning it lowers your chances of getting pimples, BONUS!).

Prep Time: 5 mins.

Total Time: 5 mins.

Calories per serving: 206

Ingredients:

1 ¼ cup cold apple juice

1 ripe banana, sliced

1 kiwi, sliced

5 fresh strawberries (or frozen)

1 ½ teaspoon honey

Directions:

Place the apple juice, sliced banana, sliced kiwi, strawberries, and honey in a blender. Blend until smooth. Place in a glass or portable mason jar if you’re on the go!

Strawberry-Kiwi-Smoothie

Photo courtesy of:  https://www.wellplated.com

Let me know what you think about this refreshing smoothie if you try it!

Check out my previous installment in this mini-series: Beauty In Breakfast: Tomato Omelet Recipe

By: Azzurra Nox

Split-Ends? Oh no! How to Avoid & Prevent them from Happening

splitends

It happens to the best of us. No matter how careful we are in handling our locks, or how often we go to the salon for a trim, split-ends are bound to happen, especially if you use hair dye or heat. We’ve all envied those models in shampoo commercials with the perfect shiny tresses (newsflash: most of the time those models are wearing wigs or extensions!). But envy no more!

I’ve tried numerous remedies that promised to eliminate split-ends, and sad to say, 95% of them have been grossly inefficient.

But every time, I fall for it again. With starry eyes and hope in my heart, I think, maybe this will actually work! Well, recently tried a home remedy that does deliver and it doesn’t cost that much! And apart from it being fairly inexpensive, it’s also easy-peasy (I’m all about avoiding complicated methods).

Split-Ends Rescue Remedy

Ingredients: Cup of flat beer

Method: Pour beer into a spray bottle and spray into the hair.

Leave in hair for an hour, then rinse out with a mild shampoo.

Why This Works: The proteins and natural sugars in beer bond to your hair, helping to strengthen and mend damaged follicles.

How to Prevent Split-Ends: Do not wash your hair more than three times a week.

Do not brush wet hair.

Avoid heat and chemicals.

I hope this is helpful! Let me know if you try this method and what you think of it!

By: Azzurra Nox

Book Review: Hiding – Henry Turner

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Review*

HIDING was a very unique, particular book about a teenage boy who has been figuratively hiding all his life, that he’s capable of going unnoticed in plain sight. The whole book takes place within a twenty hour-time frame and explores the various secrets one keeps, and how sometimes surface truths aren’t always the truth, but merely a cover-up to what is truly hiding beneath the surface. This novel will keep you guessing as you try to unravel the truth about why the protagonist’s girlfriend left him, and how the truth affected the whole relationship. A fast-paced YA that ultimately delivers an important message to teens, how precious life is and what it means to be true to yourself. Check this out if you’re into coming of age YA novels, with a protagonist reminiscent of Holden Caulfield.

About The Book:

 HIDING tells the story of a teen boy who excels at being unseen and who finds himself in the unlikely predicament of hiding in his ex-girlfriend’s house. There he uncovers carefully concealed truths—about her, her family, and himself—in a breakout mystery both unpredictable and perceptive. Trapped by the alarm in his ex-girlfriend’s house and his own indecision, he’s confronted by how little he knows about Laura and her family—her seemingly perfect life and the reasons she shut him out of it. As he explores the palatial home, he uncovers more than he bargained for. How long can he stay hidden? What will happen if he is found? What will he learn about Laura—and himself—in this house? And what is his true motive for being there?

Turner’s affinity for observant outsiders—and teens who share a desire to hide from nosy adults and judgmental peers—shines in a psychological thriller in which the slow burn of tension keeps readers turning pages to a sudden twist that changes everything.

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Short Q & A With The Author:

In your past novel, Ask The Dark and your current novel, Hiding, both books focus on how the protagonists came from lower class families. How important was that detail to the plot and how did it shape the characters and their actions?

In ASK THE DARK the protagonist was from the lower class, financially speaking, but really that’s not the case in HIDING. HIDING’s narrator is middle class, but living in a neighborhood where that category would have wide boundaries and a sliding scale because there’s a lot of variety and nuance to the whole socio-economic scheme of the area.  It was important that his lifestyle is in contrast to Laura’s – she’s rich and has had a lot of prestige experiences: she lives in a huge house, attends prep school, travels, and so forth, but he doesn’t. He has every reason to wonder why she is attracted to him and sees value in him, because, in at least external ways, they have very little in common. Hence part of his quest is to learn the reasons of her attraction, which ultimately have nothing to do with their socio-economic positions. Also important is how their lifestyles have influenced how they react to their problems and the development of their coping strategies – the differences of which lead the narrator to his most important discoveries.

Hiding reminded me of a true crime incident where a man in New Orleans hid in his ex’s attic for weeks without her knowledge. Was the novel inspired by true events?

Certain personalities in the story have real-life antecedents, but always in a composite. I used to cut school and hang out at a country club where the waiters would give me drinks – though I never put on the act the narrator does! The central situation was my invention, however, and not based on a true crime.

There was a stark contrast between the protagonist and his girlfriend Laura. Do you think that she was attracted to him because unlike her mother, he wasn’t expecting her to be perfect?

He doesn’t have expectations at all. He sees her in the moment, as she is. He looks past her accomplishments, her beauty, money, athletic success, and connects with what makes her real as a person, and not as a reflection of what she has or does, which, to his way of thinking, are really just obstacles getting in the way of their getting to truly know and love each other. A big part of the story has to do with his convincing her that it’s the innate aspects of herself that are most special about her, not things she has or does that are external to her, and that is losing the meaning she once placed in them.

The novel explores the idea of hiding in plain sight. Do you think that many people, especially teenagers find it easier to hide rather than to bring attention to themselves?

It depends on what they hide; or rather, what they hide behind. I think the narrator uses hiding, or at least his highly adaptable definition of hiding, to take control over how he feels he’s being overlooked and ignored in his neighborhood. Instead of saying, “They can’t see me,” he prefers to think, “I’m hiding from them,” which allows him to preserve his private sense of value and keep it a secret to himself, without the need for external approval or validation. The risk, however, is that at its most dangerous level, the narrator defines hiding in the sense of keeping important aspects of the self-buried, from others as well as from oneself. So the kind of hiding that the narrator discusses is very different from just staying out of sight. It can be that – simply staying concealed so you aren’t noticed – but more subtle and dangerous is using some external trait as one’s identity, as the representation of one’s value, behind which hides the secret self.

There was a feeling of dread throughout the whole novel up until the climax. Do you think that this was necessary for the protagonist’s journey?

In the end, when he realizes what is really happening to Laura and the imminent danger of it all, he feels dread, amped up by feelings of urgency and despair. But earlier, as he walks through the neighborhood, or even in the earlier scenes of him sneaking around inside Laura’s house, the sense is more of isolation and alienation – and there is a lot of humor in his way of looking at things. All throughout the story he talks about being unrecognized and in some instances actually rejected, which certainly can be dreadful, but this was necessary to show that he can maintain his sense of self-worth without external support, praise, validation, etc.  That’s really the essence of the book – the revelation that the narrator has developed a coping mechanism that lets him maintain his sense of personal value despite how he’s treated or believes he’s perceived by others.

About The Author:

Henry Turner grew up in Baltimore, Maryland, in Roland Park, where he attended public school. He was always interested in storytelling in one form or another, and as a teenager he started making films with his brother and neighborhood kids.

Henry wound up making five feature films, writing and shooting and cutting them. When his films won awards and attracted industry attention he moved to Los Angeles, after getting a call from a film production company that was looking for scripts. He stayed in L.A. and helped build a fledgling film festival that has since become well-established. He also freelanced in entertainment journalism, interviewing well-known filmmakers such as George Lucas, Brian Grazer, Quentin Tarantino, James Cameron, and many others. All along he was writing stories.

During a year spent in Greece he made a total commitment to writing fiction. Returning to Los Angeles, he met his future wife, who encouraged him to study fiction writing with a novelist he admired – John Rechy. Henry stayed in Rechy’s private writing group for a number of years and also studied privately with Hubert Selby. Since then he and his wife have had a son, Hugo, who is now twelve. Henry Turner is now writing a new novel.

Purchase the book on Amazon or Indiebound!

Check him out on Twitter!

Visit his author website!

*I received a free copy of the book for review purposes. 

By: Azzurra Nox

 

Poetry: Ashtray Heart

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I took a shortcut through blood to get back to you.

I knew that your gaping wounds were still fairly new

For you to be able to finally let it all go.

You need this injection to get through this night.

I really hope now that you adore me as much as your dragon

Because after three years of battling against it

I have nothing to show but pure frigid waters that hang like

Lonely icicles from my eyes.

But when you’ve been smoking for too long

And Memnoch is walking in your shoes,

The only thing that surrounds you is a musky-drugged fog.

While the stage that we’re on becomes a broken ashtray

And, I the protagonist, a butted Marlboro.

It’s only a matter of trust,” you say.

But when your favorite lover is White Eve instead of me

I do not have much trust left in me.

You carve my name into your arm

Thinking that I should be impressed.

But your gesture does not scream your love,

It merely whispers your derangement.

I wish I could drag you across filed nails,

So you would become pristine.

But I can only kiss you with these bruised lips,

Hoping that you will come around (for more).

Although you don’t seem to care

As you take another line from my breasts.

Your ocean eyes wander over space and time

Snatching the stoned affection you can find.

Please don’t die,” I beg you.

I know of your secret lovers

That you keep hidden beneath black satin covers.

They’re going to blow your mind one of these days

Just as they did with all the others.

If only I could bring it all back to you

But there’s nothing I can do

Because you’re Poe without a muse,

Who merely craves for silver rockets

And playing Russian roulette with five bullets.

The smoke rises up and around your solar plexus

All I am for you is a Plastic Venus,

Ideal for viewing but not for loving.

You bestow your worship to the Green Goddess instead

Because she can let you see Heaven and Hell in your bed.

But remember that I now hold the power

Because I’ve raped all your lovers.

You’ll need to beg me before I’ll shoot you up.

I know how to fight back with an empty gun loaded with placebos.

By: Azzurra Nox