Category Archives: Beauty & Health

Weighing In: Hitting Your Highs and Lows with Interval Training

Work out _ Shuyao ChenWhat are the two things every girl (and probably every human being alive) hates?

Spiders and sweat.

Sorry, not sorry – spiders are gross. And as for sweat, nothing player-hates harder on your high-roller status than walking into class with your hair plastered to your forehead.

So it comes with great regret and internal struggle that we inform you that the fitness trend we’re talking about is going to make you sweat. A lot.

With that disclaimer, Weighing In presents: interval training.

Breaking a Sweat

“I would describe interval training as a flow of highs and lows,” says Penn State fitness instructor Lucy Stubler – the ‘highs’ in this case being short high-intensity bursts of speed and the ‘lows’ being slow recovery phases.

Interval workouts alternate between a short series of moves that get your heart pumping and quick time-outs to give you a breather. Obviously there are extremes to this kind of workout, but Penn State fitness classes look for the sweet spot between hyperventilation and collapsing in a heap on the floor.

“We offer a few different class formats that provide patrons with an Interval Training style workout,” says Stubler, highlighting Calorie Killer, Tabata, X-training and even Boot Camp as great classes to try for anyone interested in giving interval training a try.

Make it Your Own

If you’re low on time and still a little hesitant when it comes to taking a class, incorporating an interval workout into your personal regime is easier than you’d think.

“Interval training is so convenient!” says Emily Banach, an assistant Fitness Coordinator at the White Building. “You can get a super effective workout in 20 minutes or less. You’ll be working at a high level of intensity, so essentially you wouldn’t want to be doing it for a long duration of time.”

First, Banach says you’ll need to choose an intensity for your ‘highs’ that will take you as close as possible to your maximum effort for each interval. After you’ve established your bursts of speed, you’ll need to create an interval of rest that will allow you just enough recovery to be able to perform throughout the rest of your set.

“You choose whatever exercises you want,” she says. “You can do intervals of sprinting and walking on the treadmill, intervals of cardio and muscle moves – there are so many possibilities! As long as one move is challenging and the other is more of a recovery.”

You Do You

It can be more than a little daunting starting a workout that requires you to not only reach your limits, but also identify those limits so you don’t exceed them. When you first start incorporating interval training into your workout, safety comes before sweat.

“Before starting a workout, know that it is all about YOU,” says Stubler. “Listen to your body. When something hurts, stop.”

And don’t feel like you’re getting any less of a workout just because the girl next to you is doing five burpees for every two of yours.

“The idea is to know your own body and push past your individual threshold,” says Stubler.

Interval training is a challenge for sure, but should it be scary? Don’t sweat it. Literally nothing is scarier than spiders. Period.

Photo by Shuyao Chen

A Dash of Healthy: Green Smoothie Goodness

Welcome to Valley’s newest column, A Dash of Healthy! Columnist Corinne Fierro is a girl on a mission to reinvent what it means to be healthy in college, one meal at a time. She’s here to guide you through the kitchen, from the aisles of your grocery store to the finished plate. Catch Corinne every week for a new healthy recipe, along with her favorite tips, tricks and advice for eating well on a college budget.

IMG_2180If you’re like us, you probably don’t eat enough green stuff. The latest dietary guidelines recommend nine servings of vegetables a day for a 2000 calorie diet. No one we know loves salads enough to eat them for every meal of the day. That’s where the green smoothie comes in. Filling, packed with dark green (the most nutrient-dense type of vegetable) spinach and kale,surprisingly tasty, and light on calories this afternoon snack or breakfast option will help you fit those veggies in with minimal effort.

If you’re someone who doesn’t like the idea of green things, just bear with us. The banana in the smoothie covers up the taste of the greens and adds an amazing smooth texture. Continue reading

The Morning-After Pill: What You Need to Know

Morning after pills_Shuyao ChenIt doesn’t matter if it was a one-night stand or if you have been with your partner for a while; accidents happen. When they do, we at Valley want you to be prepared. Buying the morning-after pill can be awkward, especially if you don’t know what to expect, so let us help:

It’s over-the-counter

For a while emergency contraception was only available behind the counter, with a prescription from a doctor and a valid ID. Now, you can walk into any drug store (or even Walmart!) and buy an emergency contraception pill without having that awkward conversation with a pharmacist. Still feel awkward? Use the self-checkout.

There are more options than Plan B One-Step

Arguably the most popular brand, Plan B One-Step, can be found anywhere, and almost every drug store will have their generic brand next to it. The generic brand will cost less, but there are less studies on the generic brands than there are on Plan B.

It’s around $50 

It’s an incredibly high dosage of birth control, and a regular pack of birth control without health insurance usually costs around $30 (roughly around $1 per pill). Continue reading

Fall Hairstyles for Short and Long Hair

DanielleD'Angelo1Ever since the Instagram picture of Selena Gomez’s new haircut went viral, fans everywhere have been buzzing about fall haircuts. But of course, in a world where individuality is prized, you don’t want to walk around with the exact same haircut as the Disney super star. So for those of you who might be unsure what hairstyle to try, Valley and Lauren Kohr, owner and master stylist of Evolve Studio, has got you covered.

If you have long hair…

For those who want to keep their long locks, but mix up the style, Kohr suggests keeping your hair loose and textured. This year’s look doesn’t take a lot of maintenance as people are describing it as “wind blown” with mega, deep parts that were being worn all throughout fashion week. For girls with stick straight hair, try using a 1 ¼ inch curling iron to create some natural waves and then simply brush it out for more texture. After the heat, put on some volumizing powder to add some extra oomph to your hair. Continue reading

Weighing In: Health-Smart Grocery Store Swaps

Each week, our own fitness fanatics Sabrina Evans and Emily Keifline will explore the latest workout crazes, diet fads and dish out tips for healthy living. Managing your schoolwork is tough enough- let us take care of your health.


It’s easy to get stuck in a grocery store rut; sticking to the same list every time you go. Trying new things can be scary, especially when you’re on a college budget that doesn’t allow for much wiggle room. To help you out, we have compiled a few grocery store swaps that are healthier and totally worth trying.

PB2 instead of peanut butter

If you love peanut butter but are not a huge fan of the high calorie and fat content, check out PB2. With a quarter of the calories and way less fat, PB2 is a smart choice for peanut butter addicts. PB2 has only one gram of fat per serving compared to the 16 grams of fat in regular peanut butter. It comes in a powder form that you mix with water to create a peanut butter texture.

PB2 has only three ingredients: roasted peanuts, sugar, and salt. It addition to the original peanut butter flavor, you can also buy it in chocolate to satisfy your peanut butter cup cravings. It costs around $5 per jar, which is about the same price as regular peanut butter. While you can use PB2 on your lunch time PB&J, I have found that it works best for apple dipping or in smoothies and shakes. Continue reading

Straight Hair, Don’t Care: Quick Tips for Daily Heat Styling

StraightHairDontCareQuickTipsForDailyHeatStyling_KiaraKulbingerAt this point in our young-adult lives, most of us are practically professionals when it comes to using a flat iron. But for us curly-haired chicks, the process of straightening our luscious locks isn’t always so simple. For girls with curly hair, this time-consuming process frequently yields fizziness and fried strands of precious hair – and when exposed to humidity, we might as well call it a day.

Valley sat down with Long Island-based cosmetologist Anne Marie Schmitt to talk proper heat styling to achieve smooth, healthy hair.

Start with product

To start, Schmitt suggests finding the right heat-protectant and smoothing product for your hair. While everyone is different, Schmitt recommends Paul Mitchell’s Smoothing Line for its effectiveness. Continue reading

A Dash of Healthy: Anytime Yogurt Parfait

Welcome to Valley’s newest column, A Dash of Healthy! Columnists Carolyn and Corinne are two girls on a mission to reinvent what it means to be healthy in college, one meal at a time. We’re here to guide you through the kitchen, from the aisles of your grocery store to the finished plate. Catch us every week for a new healthy recipe, along with our favorite tips, tricks and advice for eating well on a college budget.

IMG_2159Yogurt parfaits in cafés always seem so cute and sweet; you think, “It’s just yogurt and granola and fruit. It HAS to be good for me!” Until you take a look at the nutrition label. 30 grams of sugar and 450 calories?! Hardly a healthy start to your day. But, don’t worry, we’re here to show you how to make a yogurt parfait that won’t do you dirty.

Love Me Some Greek

When you’re talking about yogurt, you should always go greek. Greek yogurt has a crazy amount of protein (usually over 20 grams per serving!), which keeps you full for hours. Also, it’s filled with healthy bacteria to keep your digestive system happy. When considering flavors, it’s best to go with plain 0% for a parfait. You’re already adding sugar from the granola, and the fruit preservatives included in fruit yogurts often have as much sugar as a candy bar—so watch out for that in the future. We love Chobani 0% for a more tangy tart flavor and Fage 0% for a creamer mild flavor.

Granola Goodness

Granola is another seemingly innocent snack that can really mess up your clean eating efforts. Almost every brand of granola has phrases like “All Natural,” “Healthy,” and “Wholesome” covering the label, but have you ever taken the time to look at the ingredient list? Most brands of granola are loaded with sugar and processed grains, so often eating a serving of granola is basically like eating candy. When picking out your granola, you want to look for a brand with a variety of whole grains like oats, quinoa, buckwheat, or chia seeds. These will give you added protein and healthy fiber. Also, keep an eye on the sugar content; ideally, high-processed sugars should be avoided. Instead, try a granola brand made with honey or coconut sugar. While you can make your own granola at home, our favorite pre-made granola is Purely Elizabeth Ancient Grain granola; it uses coconut sugar, is loaded with whole grains, and tastes incredible. Plus, the serving is 1/3 cup for 140 calories, instead of 1/4 cup—more to love!


IMG_2157What you’ll need:

3/4 cup plain greek yogurt
1 serving of your granola of choice
1 cup of your fruit of choice



Combine in a bowl and enjoy for a healthy breakfast or snack option!

Photos by Carolyn and Corinne

Unconventional Farmer’s Market Finds

DSC_3467As a Penn State student, you’ve probably passed the farmer’s market, either on your way to class or while shopping downtown. You probably didn’t think twice about it, shrugging it off as just a place to buy fresh fruit and veggies. While this may be true, it’s not your traditional farmer’s market. Apples, peaches, berries, tomatoes, zucchini, peppers, celery, squash, corn—you name it, we have seen it. But as the saying goes, there is more than meets the eye and there’s some rather unconventional items waiting to be found.

Herbs, sunflowers, gladiolus, bonsai, lucky bamboo, cacti, succulent and faerie gardens

Ok, so some of these may not be completely out of the ordinary, but there’s a few that deserve some recognition. Where else in State College can you buy a lucky bamboo plant or an exotic cactus? Continue reading

Weighing In: Stepping Up Your Workout

DSC_0027-3If you’ve been breathing a little heavier since being back on campus, you’re not alone. And no, we’re not talking about seasonal allergies or your uncontrollable (and frankly uncomfortable) reaction to the amount of cute boys per square foot.

Whether you’re walking to the library, class, or just trying to walk back to your room, Penn State is vertically challenged in the worst way possible. That’s right, it’s time to bow our heads for a moment of silence in recognition of the obscene amount of stairs we have to battle on a daily basis. Taking inspiration from Penn State’s seemingly endless flights of stairs, we’re going to talk about taking steps of a slightly different kind. Next time you’re trying to decide on which gym class to attend, Valley challenges you to take a Step, so you never have to fear the stairs again. Continue reading

Beauty Looks From NYFW and How To Recreate Them

You know that summer is officially over when another New York Fashion Week has come and gone. However, there is a lot we can learn from the trends at Fashion Week. That being said, while the week is technically all about fashion, no collection would be complete without a fabulous beauty look to go with it. Designers work specifically with hair and makeup masterminds to create signature looks for the models to accompany their clothes on the runway.

Naturally, we couldn’t help but want to recreate some of them. So, we chose two dramatically different, but equally stunning beauty looks from the runway and chatted with Looks makeup artist, Kayla Damron, to get the scoop on how to achieve these looks at home. Without further ado…

House of Herrera 10.17.04 PM

Photo credit: Instagram, @emgaynor

House of Herrera

The models at House of Herrera rocked fierce red lips, lightly lined eyes, and slightly disheveled brows. Continue reading