Monday, March 31, 2014

My Besties are the Best

I love my friends.  I have some pretty amazing ones.  As I approached my 30s, I realized that not only was I really finding out who I was as a woman, but who my TRUE besties were.  These are my ride or die chicks.  The girls who I don't feel like I have to clean my house for; not because they don't deserve it, but because they love me no matter what!  They're the girls that will let me complain and gripe and whine, then remind me of what's truly important.  They're the ones that know my love language of coffee, make-up, and gym clothes.  Girls, I love you.  You've helped me become a better person every day.  For that, I am forever grateful.

Now, all of that for this.  I was surprised with a couple little goodies this weekend and I'm excited to share them with you!  My skin is super important to me.  I was the girl who used eye cream when I was 19 despite the wrinkly sales lady telling me that I "didn't need it yet".  Isn't that the point, lady??  Anyway, I'm always up for trying new stuff, so I was stoked when Jess handed over some goodies.  She is a huge fan of Kate Somerville products.  I've heard her rave about the 'Clinic to Go' Resurfacing Peel Pads.  They're a little buffing pad that you peel open and slip on your fingers.  It distributes the product and lets you manually exfoliate all at the same time.  Genius.

I forgot to use it on Sunday, so after I washed my face last night, I tried it out.  It says to leave it on for 2 min, so it was perfect timing for brushing my teeth.  Spit, rinse, rinse.  My skin felt super smooth and had a great glow.  What's not to love there??  Jess also threw a little pot of the Quench Hydrating Mask for me to put on after.  I slathered it on and hit the sheets.  This morning I checked out my skin and it was totally soft and hydrated.  Awesome.  Two big thumbs up from this girl!

Tonight I'm making some brunch goodies for my Mom to Mom group at church.  I wanted to "April Fools" them and bring a vat of grilled chicken and steamed brown rice...but instead I'm opting for something a bit yummier.  I, of course, defaulted to Pinterest for some ideas.  My goal was to find something that was gluten free and possibly even vegan.  (There's a mom who has recently chosen to go vegan.)  My girls love cookies, who doesn't a breakfast cookie sounded like a great idea.  Doesn't this recipe sound good?  I found it on Make or Die's blog. :)

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Year-round Bikini Body? Yes, Please!

I know what you're thinking, did I just blog on Monday?  Why yes, yes I did.  I'm going to do my best to stay on a routine/schedule of blogging throughout the week about several different topics.  Lucky YOU, get excited!!  Since I couldn't really narrow down my blog to just one main interest, I'm going to throw several different things at you each week.  Again, get excited.  Feel free to comment with things you want to read about or questions that you may have that I can tackle!

Today I was inspired by a friend who's in the middle of his comp prep.  He's a warrior.  For real.  It's ridiculous how well his body responds to his meals and training.  Notice I didn't say "diet"?  That's because it's a lifestyle!  The sooner you let yourself think that way, the better.  There's always a flood of selfies on Wednesday of "Workout Wednesday" or "Waisted Wednesday".  This friend included both, but saved us on the #hashtags.  I'm a little hashtag obsessed, so I put my own in for him.  #hashtaghumorisawesome  *have you seen the YouTube of Justin and Jimmy hashtag talking? hilarious...and true.*

Summer is quickly approaching despite Dallas' fickle spring weather.  I'm bundled up in a blanket and sweatshirt right now as I sip on my hot coffee.  Three days ago, I was in flip flops and drinking an iced coffee.  Gotta love Texas.  Now is the time to start shedding your winter coat.  Ladies, that could mean a variety of things, I know.  (leg shaving season, exfoliating all the dry skin off your body, etc).  What I'm referring to right now, is that nice little layer of body fat.  Love chub.  Winter coat.  Whatever you want to call it.  Abs are definitely made in the kitchen, sorry.  You can do a million crunches, but all that hard work isn't going to show if you go home and eat oreos.  My body is a prime example of that.  I had amazing results with my body transformation because I was lifting like a crazy person, but I was eating perfectly.  Not every person wants to do that, I know.  There are a few easy tweaks you can make, though!

Five Fab Abs Tips:

1.  Cut out alcohol!  There's a reason it's called a beer gut.  Alcohol turns right to sugar, causes insulin spikes, and in return our bodies store those cals as fat.  Womp womp.  Still want that glass of wine?  Make it a spritzer by adding La Croix or Pelligrino to your regular glass.  Half wine, half bubbles.  It's yummy!!  If you don't like the bubbles, just limit yourself to one 4oz glass and then switch to water.  Your tummy (and head) will thank you.

2.  Limit the amount of processed foods.  Seriously limit.  Anything from a box or can relies heavily on salt and sugar to flavor it.  Especially if it's low-fat.  They have to do something to make it "taste good" if they take all the fat out!  Fat isn't bad.  Processed food is the devil in food form bad.  Period.

3.  Watch your gluten.  Breads, pastas, cereals; they all have it!  While you may not be gluten intolerant, I almost guarantee you'll notice a flatter tummy when you take that nasty stuff out.  I know bread is delicious, trust me.  I could down a whole loaf of hot french bread, by myself.  However, that is here nor there.  We're talking about how to shrink your waist!  Bread will not help in that goal.

4.  Fasted cardio.  This means cardio on an empty stomach.  I believe it to really help burn fat.  Some say it doesn't matter.  Play around with it and decide for yourself.  If you're eating clean and lifting weights, I advise 20-25 min of cardio 5x/week for best results.  I see tons of cardio queens at the gym.  They're not skinny.  You can't out train a bad diet.  Fact.

5.  HIIT.  High Intensity Interval Training.  Heard of it?  Doesn't it sound scary?  I thought it did.  However, once I got over the scariness of it, I've learned to love it.  I can kick butt for 5-10 minutes and be done.  Think sprint intervals, tabatas, and small circuits.  Not only do they blast fat, but they can also help you build muscle...this in turn helps you burn more calories while you're at rest.  It may be all in my head, but I feel like I wake up looking amazing slimmer after my HIIT days.

Wanna try out some HIIT?  Here's what I did today:

Step Mill Sprints:
Easy walking pace (mine was level 8) - 1 min warm-up
*once you complete the 1 min warm-up, alternate running and resting for 30 sec for 5 rounds total*
Running pace (I did level 17) - 30 sec
Hop off step mill (I keep it going with one foot pushing a step every now and then) - 30 sec
You can control your speed.  I know that I'm only running for 30 sec, mind over matter!  I'm also wanting to die huffing and puffing after!

Jump squats: Drop down into a deep squat then hop up as high as you can.
5 rounds of 20 jump squats - rest 1 min between sets
Beginner's aim for 3 rounds of 10.  Work yourself up to 20, then to 5 sets!

I did the above combo, then an easy 15 min of elliptical at a 120ish heart rate.

Try it out and let me know what you think!!

Monday, March 24, 2014

Make-up Monday

Hey, have you heard?  Pantone's color of the year is Radiant Orchid.  *swoon*  Purple is my power color, so you know I was amped to hear it's the color we'll be seeing allllll year!  Now, "radiant orchid" is more of a fuchsia, BUT it's in the purple family.  I'll take it.  

I plan on incorporating this lovely color in several ways, first being on my face.  I'm a makeup girl through and through.  I may not wear it everyday, but I adore and respect it.  I love to pour over blogs and YouTube Jaclyn Hill...she's awesome-sauce.

The MAC counter, Sephora, Nordstrom, and Ulta are some of my favorite beauty playgrounds.  Don't be afraid to ask for help!  I typically look for a girl who has makeup on that I like when I ask questions.  Sephora makeup artists are REQUIRED to do so many services a day, so don't feel bad asking to try something!  I find that going in during the week leads to the best results.  No one is typically at the mall on a Monday or Tuesday.  That means more one on one time for questions and demos! 

How can you use radiant orchid on your face?  Glad you asked.  A fuchsia lip is the perfect way to brighten up your face!  It's being seen on the runways for spring and can be done in a bright or subtle way.  I LOVE a bold lip.  It's fun and pulls everything together!  A pastel on the eye and a bright lip is my current go-to look.  Kat Dennings nailed it here:

Notice her eyes still pop with just a light liner on top and lots of mascara.  Pale shadow that's a little translucent keeps it natural looking.  Her lip is gorgeous.  I have small lips, so I totally envy her plump pout.  I wanted to show her look because I know I have friends that are a little hesitant to do a bold color on their lips.  Did I say how I love this look for spring??!!  Her skin just glows.  Try a BB (beauty balm) or CC (color correcting) cream, a pink blush, pastel purple eye, and a fuchsia lip.  Start with a good primer to not only keep your eyes looking good all day, but it also helps to make the pigment more saturated.  Layer on the mascara and don't forget to define your brow!  I could do an entire post on brows...and I probably will...  These colors will look great on almost everyone.  Fair to olive to dark complexions will all look fresh and bright.  

Some of my favorite eye shadows are: MAC "Creme de Violet" eyeshadow and the Mineralize Eye Shadow x4 in "A Party of Pastels", Bobby Brown "Heather" is gorgeous on as well.  
MAC Mineralize x4
Bobby Brown "heather"

For the lips, you can find a great fuchsia in your fave formula.  Whether it's just a basic gloss or lipstick, this color is everywhere!  I'm a lip gloss addict.  For real.  Some of my favorites are just your basic drugstore finds.  However, if you want to treat yourself and splurge, YSL makes some AH-MA-zing stuff.  Berry kissable lip colors:  YSL "Rouge Volupté Shine" 19 Fuchsia Rage (I mean, look at that packaging!), Victoria's Secret "Shiny Kiss Flavored Gloss" in Shine Berry.  I own, literally, almost every single lipgloss that Victoria's Secret makes.  They're always 2/$15 & 4/$20 and they keep them in little tubs by checkout.  They make great additions to gift card gifts and are just all around great glosses!

YSL - 19 Fuchsia Rage

Next time you're out, stop by a make-up counter and try a new spring look!  If you already have some of these colors, now is the perfect time to bust them out!  I recently tried the pastel eye at the Nordstrom Beauty Trend Show.  I loved how fresh and awake it made me look.  I missed taking pictures of it, but will recreate it and post it up later.  

Check back on Wednesday when I post some of my favorite "Buns n Guns" exercises!!  It's almost tank top season!!

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Highs, Lows, and Lots in Between

Wow, is it really Tuesday evening?  I guess so.  Time flies when you're in a sugar coma.  My stomach hurts.  Sugar, gluten, and cheese have wrecked me.  I'm over it.  All these things look delicious, taste kinda yummy, but then destroy me.  I have a bloated tummy and yesterday felt like a slug.  That's enough reason for me to not want to gorge myself on it anymore.  Ok, maybe just one more peanut butter cookie.

The comp didn't turn out how I would have liked.  There are plenty of things I could have done differently, but I had a lot of fun!  My bestie from Arizona totally surprised me and came down for the show.  We even snuck in some wedding dress shopping while she was here, it was so fun.  My other two besties drove to Houston on Saturday to come support us and ate dinner with me at midnight when the show was finally over!  I didn't place, but I still have plenty of shows to redeem myself.  

Before we drove home on Sunday, I made a stop by a studio where the talented Michael David was shooting.  I was able to jump in for a few frames and walked away with some gorgeous pictures and several new buddies.  It was definitely one for the books.  I told MD that he made my whole weekend worth it.  I had a blast in front of the camera.  Here's one of my fave images (if you haven't already seen it on FB...)

The make-up artists that did me up all weekend were so awesome.  Amy Peters did my whole face for the show.  She's a MAC Pro here in Dallas.  My suit (last minute change) was green, so she used greens and purples.  I LOVED it.  Super dramatic for the stage, but I would rock a toned down version errrrday.  That's how awesome it was.  On Sunday, I talked Julie Snider into doing a quick eye job on me.  As you can see above, it was beautiful, too.  She used Sigma brushes on me, I'm obsessed.  They were all teal handled and had little cup carrying cases.  Check them out here.

All the make-up play just got more even more geared up for this weekend's Nordstrom Trend Show.  It's going to be such a fun girls' day.  A dear friend is letting my girls spend the night at her house and spend the day on Saturday.  I'm already counting down to all the fun that will be had.  I STILL have and use samples that I got from the Fall Trend Show.  Not only is it a perfect time to get some pampering, but I love that I got to try out products that I might not have tried otherwise.  Fall had a lot of pretty big makeup artists and creative directors flown in.  It was really cool to hear first hand inspiration for collections and how they're going to translate from the runway to real-life.  I know this season won't disappoint!  I'm loving the Pantone color of the year, Wild Orchid.

Spring always makes me fall in love with pastels and florals again.  I'm loving boyfriend jeans and booties with lightweight sweaters or flowy tops to transition into spring.  Can you tell I'm already planning my outfit??  

Check back on Sunday or Monday when I do my big review of the Trend Show!  

Romantic Rocker

Mango ribbed sweater
$50 -

Cap sleeve shirt
$22 -

Mango beige top
$33 -

Nude wedge sandals
$60 -

Avalon Tote, Blush Perf

Renegade Bracelet

Cheryl Drop Earrings
$53 -

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Countdown to Peanut Butter and Lip Gloss!

Today marks 4 days out from the Phil.  Nerves are setting in as I sit here gulping down my gallon and a half of water.  I'm a ball of excitement mixed with fatigue and hunger.  It's an odd mix.  What I AM excited about is spending the weekend with my best friends in between all the craziness: Shane, Sara, Patti, & Brandi.  They're the "Bikini Support Team".  I'm so blessed to have such supportive family and friends.  Thank you!

What I'm also already planning...and probably shouldn' my next show.  Ha!  That's the benefit of starting my season so early, there's so many to choose from.  The sport has really blown up in the almost three years I was away.  I found out that a girl who makes the most AMAZING suits lives literally around the corner from me.  Small world!  I'll be paying her a visit next week while I still have a little of my stage body left.  The girl who is doing my makeup is also local.  Yay for Big D! ;)

These last few days, I'm just trying to keep my anxiety low and keep preparing.  My bag is pretty much packed, just adding things here and there as I think of them.  Patti and I got our spray tan appointments emailed today...2:30 & 2:45p...that will make for an interesting evening.  Ha!  Saturday morning we'll start hair and makeup pretty early and get a second spray.  Then we'll eat (enter peanut butter for me) and it'll be showtime!!  I'm doing both Novice and Open divisions.  Fingers crossed I place top three in one of them!  Also, I hope it's spaced out nicely so we can walk the expo.  So many booths to visit!

Speaking of glammie, fun things...  Have you gotten your ticket for the Nordstrom Trend Show on March 22nd yet??  I am really excited.  I made my appointments last week at the Galleria.  Facial with Kate Somerville, makeup with Bobbi Brown (amazing MUA being flown in), nails with ciate, and a hand massage with Jo Malone London...ahhhh, can't wait!

Get your $20 ticket (which can be put towards any beauty purchase) and it includes admission to the "pre-party" Beauty Bash with coffee and breakfast nibbles, giveaways, and samples.  Then head upstairs for the Trend Show that highlights all the new things coming up for spring in fashion and beauty.  Make some free appointments and enjoy a day of girliness!  Appointments start at 11a, so you'll have time to go grab coffee and brunch before.  They're filling up fast!  I had so much fun and got so much swag last year.  I'm definitely looking forward to doing some product reviews!!

I'll be posting all about what goes down when I return on Sunday and have a little surprise to share! Say a little prayer for me! :)

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Fat Tuesday...nope, Skinny Tuesday!

Happy Fat Tuesday (Skinny Tuesday for me)/National Pancake Day/March Forth (do something day)/Peace Corp Day/National Grammar Day.  I find it pretty funny that all those days fall on the same day today...  Fat Tuesday, Pancake Day, and Grammar day all together is just asking for trouble.  Plus after you eat unlimited pancakes at Ihop, do you really think you're going to March Forth on anything?? Ha!

I wish I had been able indulge in some celebrations other than March Forth and National Grammar Day.  Everyday for me is Grammar Day.  #grammarpolice  However, not every day is "March Forth" for me...haha!  I DID however get quite a lot done.  Laundry, Mom to Mom group, two workouts, happy children, dinner, bed, boom.

This afternoon was starting to get to me.  I finished up my cardio after I picked Zoe up from preschool and then headed to Super Target.  Cartwheel is my friend.  Most days.  Today I decided I was going to pick out some random delicious junk to shove in my mouth have nibbles of the minute I walk off stage post-comp.  Remember, it's in Houston.  Long-ish drive home.  My cart looked awesome.  It was Fat Tuesday, afterall, so I totally blended in.  Tilapia, broccoli, salad, chicken nuggets for the littles, (now for the good stuff) white chocolate M&Ms, powdered donettes, 50th anniversary Chocolate Vanilla Creme Poptarts *say what?*, Double Stuff Heads or Tails Oreos *drool*, and Little Debbie Easter Basket Cakes *more drool*.

We had a discussion in my Mom to Mom group about whether what I'm doing is worth it and if I would go back to my "old eating" once I was done.  Truth is, I had no plans of going back last time.  I just happened to get pregnant and didn't have the mindset of having a "ridiculously healthy, workout the whole pregnancy" pregnancy.  Maybe I should have.  Oh well.  Instead, I just busted my butt for 18 weeks and ta-da!  My goal is to qualify for a national show.  I'll have a full season to then bust my butt and put on more muscle to compete for my pro card.  I'd like to think that I'll get some cheat meals in there while I "bulk".  Hopefully.  Until then, I'm going to keep my head down and do what I can in the next 10 days to bring my best to the stage.

I'm excited about all the girly stuff that goes along with it.  My hair will stay the same, hopefully the judges will like my look.  Nails are always enjoyable for me.  I'll do my own hands, but will most likely treat myself to a pedicure.  Amy Peters is doing my makeup and Jan Tana is in charge of my super duper dark tan.  All exciting stuff!

Time to drink my protein and take a nice hot bath.  These muscles are tired!  Nite Nite fit fam!

Oh, and if you decide to indulge in some more pancakes on another day...try this "skinny" pancake recipe! (Makes 2 pancakes, not 3 like the picture...but maybe those are really small...)

Skinny pancakes, no flour!

 2 egg whites 
1/2 cup uncooked oatmeal 
1/2 banana 
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract (optional) 

Put all ingredients in a blender. Blend on high for 15-20 seconds. Spray a griddle or skillet with non-stick spray for best results!