Category Archives: Beauty & Health

A Dash of Healthy: Spicy Veggie Soup

IMG_2280I think I speak for everyone around me when I say I’ve had it up to here with the Penn State plague. Every day I go to sleep hoping that I won’t wake up in the middle of the night coughing, or the next morning with a sore throat. Sadly, hoping has just not done the job. So what does that mean? Oh yes. It’s soup time.

While the traditional go-to is definitely chicken noodle, I’m really not on the chicken-with-broth-and-like-two-vegetable-pieces bandwagon. Really, all it’s really got going for it is the broth and almost every soup’s got that. So this week, I figured I’d go against the grain show you guys a soup recipe that I saw on one of my favorite food blogs — green kitchen stories — with a few adaptations for a college budget. This soup is both savory and delicious and roughly 20 times healthier than the ol’ chicken noodle.

While there are a bunch of variations on the idea — Ireland’s is carrot-heavy and blended to make a purée; Vietnam does it with a light vegetable or chicken broth and broccoli, bean sprouts, and noodles; and the list goes on—this soup is great for the less-than-healthy college student because it’s packed with fresh veggies and has just enough kick to clear your sinuses — plus it’s so easy to make! Continue reading

A Dashy of Healthy: How to Cook Quinoa

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.



Sometimes the best recipes are the most useful ones. When I talk to people about cooking, nine times out of 10 it’s the daunting task of following recipe techniques that prevents people from trying new things. They look at a recipe and think: “Braise the duck? I don’t even know what braise means.” *Closes book and goes to Chipotle* Even for the adventurous, a recipe can be ruined by overcooked pasta or undercooked rice. My point? The basics are a big deal.

Quinoa has a lot of appeal. Foodies go bananas over quinoa, mainly because it is a superfood that you don’t have to eat a whole ton of to get its benefits. Quinoa, as I’ve said before, has all nine essential amino acids, which makes it a complete protein. You can sub any meat or tofu for quinoa and still get all the protein you’d need! This makes it a great option for vegetarians or gluten-free dieters who may be lacking in nutrition. Plus, quinoa has a great nutty, mild flavor which makes it an easy swap out for rice.  Continue reading

Controlling Common Food Cravings While On Your Cycle

HowToHandleYourCravings.MaryDugganEver get the sudden urge around the time of your period to stuff your face with carbs, sweets and that little devil named chocolate? Well great news, you are not alone! Many girls like myself not only have these sudden cravings but many more.

But don’t you hate when reality sinks in, literally, at the pit of your stomach, after you scarfed down two Snickers bars and you immediately feel bloated? Safe to say that only girls can understand the biological frustration of wanting all the cravings your taste buds desire but have a hard time trying to fight the urge to control it.

Stacy Jones, a dietitian at the University Health Services, explains how when on the menstrual cycle, it is a common sign to crave certain types of foods, “…most women will crave carbohydrates in for form of simple sugars like chocolate or fat/carb combos like bagels and cream cheese. This occurs because the body experiences a drop in serotonin levels during PMS and carbohydrates are used to make serotonin.” Continue reading

Weighing In: Ballet-Inspired Fitness

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.


What if we told you there was a frappe that actually reversed your calorie count, not contributed to it?

You won’t find this frappe on the menu between iced chai lattes and caramel machiattos at your local Starbucks, but you will find it on the menu at your favorite gym between plies and rond de jambes.

Thanks to barre workouts taking Pinterest feeds and YouTube channels by storm, ballet isn’t just for pretty-in-pink ballerinas anymore. After sitting down with Cynthia Sherry, a senior art education major and president of Penn State’s largest dance organization, Vole, Valley has everything you need to know about breaking a sweat the ballet-way.

Ballerinas of a different breed

“Dancers are starting to become more recognized as athletes,” says Sherry, and luckily for you, this type of athleticism has nothing to do with pounding the pavement or bench-pressing impossible numbers. Continue reading

Pick of the Week: Lip Balm

vanilla_mint_open_cap_left_side_frontThe fall and winter seasons are by far the best when it comes to color on your lips. Deep reds, shimmery pinks and wacky designs for Halloween are so much fun to play with, but with the fun colors of fall and winter also comes the cold, windy air and chapped lips. This week, Valley’s pick of the week is lip balm – but not just one! Take your pick and make sure your lips are soft and kissable for the upcoming winter months.


Did you know that there’s an actual chap stick called ChapStick? This brand definitely has the most flavors from seasonal (right now they have Citrus Jelly Bean and Pomengranate Gumdrop) to cake batter. If flavored sticks aren’t your style, you can always use their double-ended hydration lock ChapStick for super smooth lips.  $2.29, CVS Continue reading

Fall Hair Colors

FallHairColor.JessicaLaGrecaWith fall blowing in, so are the newest hair trends! We stopped into Look’s Hair Salon in downtown State College to gain insight on these newest trends. Samantha Jeffery, Redken Certified Colorist and Looks Stylist, explained to us what the hottest looks will be this upcoming fall.

Jeffery mentioned that “there’s a look for everyone.” It’s your job and your stylist’s job to decide on that look. When the season changes to fall,  you may want to stick to rich, dark and warm tones. This season, deep auburns, rose golds, caramels, light browns and rich red brown shades are in.

It’s good to add a contrast color to your hair, especially for brunettes. Brunettes should stick to accents to help create a duo-toned look.

Blondes should change from their bright summer blonde to more of a winter icy blonde. This look would consist of adding a little contrast (not making it lighter nor buttery) with a few caramel low lights. Or you could choose a stand-out look by adding a pastel color such as a lavender, pink or jewel tone. According to Jeffery, the correct placement can make your look a “little more punk/glam rock.”

You could choose one of the three styles that have been extremely popular lately: the ombré, the sombré or the spotlight technique. The ombré is a gradual change in the tone of color such as going from dark brown to blonde. However, a stylist trick is the sombré. That is when you take a more subtle approach to the ombré. For example, if you have black hair, instead of the tone/color going to blonde, you would go to a lighter brown shade.


The spotlight technique, which has recently become popular, creates an accented area. Basically, the color that you put on a darker base makes the hair look like it has a spotlight on it, hence the name.

No matter what look you choose, you will want to maintain the healthiness of your hair as the temperature changes. Jeffery recommended using Morocco Oil to help the dryness that tends to occur in the cooler seasons. Another favorite is the Pureology Strength Cure, which will strengthen your hair while treating already damaged hair. You can follow Samantha Jeffery on Instagram @gigthecat to see more tips or product recommendations.

Tweet us your new looks @ValleyMag to show us what you have decided to trend this fall!

Photos by Jessica LaGreca; Hunter Talpas


Weighing In: Healthy HUB Lunches

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.


When you only have half an hour to grab lunch, the HUB is everyone’s go-to lunch spot. With an ideal location and reasonable prices, it can be hard to pass up. When you’re bombarded with big names like Burger King, Chick-Fil-A and Sbarro, it’s easy to grab a burger or a slice of pizza and be on your way. But if you’re stopping at the HUB between classes every day, you probably want to stick with healthier options to keep yourself feeling healthy and energized. Lucky for you, the HUB has lots of options for the health-conscious student.

If you’re a salad lover, the hub is your perfect lunch spot. You can either get a salad made for you at Mixed Greens or concoct your own at Soup & Garden in the HUB cafeteria. If you choose Mixed Greens at lunchtime, expect to wait in line (but before you wait for your salad, ask if the line is for Chic-Fil-A. If it is, they’ll usually allow salad-lovers to go in first). You can either choose a pre-made salad or choose your own toppings and dressing and have it mixed right in front of you. Continue reading

The Unhealthy Mindset of Becoming “Healthy”

MentalEffectsofDieting.DanielleD'AngeloIt’s 2 a.m. and you find yourself staring at the fridge. You already ate dinner but you find yourself at the same place around the same time, three times a week.

Next thing you know, you are stuffing food down your throat just because you can. You eat until you feel “satisfied” because you didn’t eat the slice of pizza that all your friends ate for lunch that day. You didn’t eat it because you thought it was “unhealthy” for you. Even worse, you believed that one slice of pizza would make you fat.

Everything counts right?

These are the mental games that normally go through a person’s head when dealing with Orthorexia Nervosa. Orthorexia Nervosa is described as an extreme or excessive preoccupation with avoiding foods perceived to be unhealthy. This mental eating disorder is one that many people have, but don’t realize it. There are signs that  can indicate if one is going through this or has gone through this: Continue reading

Valley Chats with Seventeen Magazine Beauty Editor Amanda Elser

Amanda Elser HeadshotPenn State students, meet Amanda Elser.

Amanda is currently living her dream in New York City as the Beauty Editor at the magazine we all grew up reading,  Seventeen. She started as the beauty assistant and quickly climbed the ladder to beauty editor in less than a year (impressive, right?!). Amanda is in charge of creating fun, unique and relatable beauty content for the monthly magazine as well as contributing to Seventeen’s website.

Her job is a whirlwind of testing products, attending events, pitching ideas and of course, writing stories. Less than five years ago, Amanda was just like us—a college student at Penn State. Read on to find out more about Amanda, her fabulous job and how PSU helped her to get to where she is today.

VALLEY: Did you know that you wanted to be a beauty editor when you were in college?

Amanda Elser: No! I knew I wanted to be in magazines, but I had always thought I was going to be a features editor or something of the sort. It wasn’t until I had my post-grad internship at O, The Oprah Magazine that I became interested in beauty. I was an editorial intern, but the beauty department needed help in their closet so I volunteered. I became so fascinated with how that side of the industry worked and how it blended together everything I loved about magazines—writing, new innovation and trends! You have to be a strong writer to be in beauty because you use so many adjectives and descriptors all day…(dab, swirl, blot, etc!) You have to be passionate about beauty, but that’s not the same as being a makeup artist or hairstylist…(I can barely manage a ponytail.) And you have to be interested in the science behind it…(I could talk to you about Zinc or salicylic acid all day!) Continue reading

Weighing In: Hitting Your Highs and Lows with Interval Training

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.

Work out _ Shuyao Chen

What 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. Continue reading