Operation Health: Getting Active!

I love to move. It helps bust stress and I’m most myself when I’m regularly exercising. Unfortunately, winters in Michigan have been a bit lengthy making it tough to get to a gym and I turn into a sugar-craving-carb-inhaling-couch-potato.

blerch-oatmeal_hThe Oatmeal calls it a Blerch. In my recent quest for health, I resolved to bring the gym to the house so I have no excuses despite the compelling arguments my inner Blerch offers: “the gym closed at 8,” “traffic is bad,” “the smelly weirdos go to PowerHouse at 6…”

One Amazon Prime delivery later, I had a shiny gym in the basement and new motivation to move my body. My basic recipe has been to combine (at least) 30 minutes of cardio with 30 minutes of strength training. The American Heart Association recommends at least 25 minutes of vigorous exercise 3 times a week for cardiovascular health. I try to get four good one hour workouts in each week. Sometimes it’s a cinch, other’s it’s a pipe dream. Lay off, I’m trying.

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Operation Health: Food Choices

After several months of heavy travel and zero self-control, I noticed my “fat pants” had become my regular pants.  Then I saw a photo of myself on Facebook and quickly realized I needed get my shit together.

myplate-app1In a quick round of research on LiveStrong.com you can find that high-fiber, high-protein meals consumed six times a day  can help expedite feeling good, getting active and losing weight. Even Michelle Obama’s, “Let’s move” initiative encourages lots of fruits and vegetables, including cute lesson plans about eating a rainbow.

Instead of counting calories, I prefer to count food groups each day because it makes me feel less weight-obsessed and more health-focused. To keep myself honest, I like to log meals on the free app MyPlate (created by the health freaks at Livestrong.com). Counting by numbers also offers more flexibility in meal planning, makes me feel less deprived and alleviates stress when you do eat out. So here’s the plan:

eat by numbersEat by Numbers: What goes in six meals a day

  • 1 serving dairy  – about 1 cup of skim milk
  • 2 servings of lean protein – Livestrong will help calculate appropriate recommendations for men v. women but in a pinch try to keep it to the size of your fist. Limit red meat.
  • 2 servings vegetables – 1 cup = 1 serving … unless it’s lettuce or spinach. I mean, look what it does for Popeye.
  • 3 servings fruit  – best if consumed before 6 p.m., generally a whole piece of fruit or a cup of fruit if you’re munching on berries or grapes
  • 3 servings starch – aim for rice-based starches like brown rice, rice cakes, sweet potatoes, or bran flake cereal
  • 3 protein shakes – If you’re not sure where to start, check out my recipe for peanut butter deliciousness

So far, so good. I’ve lost inches, am cooking great meals, feel great and have been more ambitious about moving my body – more on simple exercise tips at home later.

Disclaimer: If you are considering losing weight, talk to your doctor.  I’m only a quack on the internet. You’re beautiful no matter what the number on the scale or your dress says.

Here’s some music to keep you boppin’ through the produce aisle and meal planning:

Fixated on Stitch Fix

StitchFix 1If you haven’t tried Stitch Fix yet, you are missing out! I have had three “fixes” now, and I am absolutely HOOKED! If you’re not familiar with the concept, Stitch Fix is an online styling service that sends you five hand picked items (typically four pieces of clothing and one accessory) via the mail.

Here’s a quick 101 on how it works:

  1. Click here to go to the Stitch Fix website.
  2. Create a style profile, complete with sizes, preferences, Pinterest Board link and much, much more so your stylist can get to know you.
  3. Pay a $20 styling fee (which gets credited toward your purchase if you keep at least one item from your Fix).
  4. Receive 4 personalized pieces at your door. Try EVERYTHING on – trust me on this one.
  5. Keep what you love and send the rest back in a prepaid post office pack. If you keep at least one item, your $20 styling fee goes toward your purchase. If you keep everything, you get a discount on the whole purchase.
  6. Provide your stylist feedback – the more detailed, the better your next Fix will be.
  7. Rock your new style!

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Nerd Alert: Sephora’s New Pocket Contour Class is Kind of Amazing

Contour1Beauty trends come and go, and right now, the hot trend going super mainstream is contouring. For a quick 101, contouring is the art of highlighting and shading to better define your face. Different than using a bronzer, which is supposed to add warmth to your skin, contouring (when done correctly) can really accentuate your face structure.

If you’ve been anywhere near a Sephora store recently, you likely know that they are on top of this trend, prominently displaying contour tools and palettes and offering contour mini makeovers. Always one to try out new products and techniques, I wanted to give this latest trend a go. But being new to contouring, I had no clue where to start…until I came across Sephora’s Pocket Contour Class, a mobile tool that you can use to learn how to contour your face shape.

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Luck of the Irish: How to keep skin healthy before a night of drinking

Happy St. Paddy’s, beauties! If you’re in Michigan like me, you can’t stop smiling because the sun is out, you can hear Flogging Molly or Dropkick Murphy’s everywhere you go, you’re wearing green to avoid getting pinched and you’ll likely consume a bit of green beer today.

Before heading out to join the festivities, here are some simple tips to keep your skin healthy through the day and avoid a green face in the morning:

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Tip: Going for a Bold Eye? Do Your Eye Shadow First

There are a lot of opinions on what order you “should” do your makeup in, but the truth is that there’s no one-size-fits-all approach (so DON’T just blindly follow those images on Pinterest that say otherwise).

The order you should do your makeup in will vary, depending on what products you’re using. Liquids, creams and powders layer differently, so be sure you know how/when to apply them when you buy. And if you add a new product to your regime, ask an expert where it should fit into your routine.

That being said, there’s one tip that many makeup artists do seem to agree on: if you’re going for a bold eye, do your eye shadow FIRST. Before your concealer. Before your foundation. Before any of your other makeup (except your skin prep, of course).

Why? Because fallout.

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Saturday Showdown: Sephora vs. Ulta

It’s the weekend, which for this Glam Nerd means shopping! And since my current obsession is makeup, I’ve been frequenting the two major makeup stores in Atlanta: Ulta and Sephora.

Until I started expanding the makeup brands I use (I used to ONLY use Bare Minerals), I was purely an Ulta girl. They carried my favorite curly hair care products, and I could pick up a replacement foundation or blush in the Bare Minerals section on my way out.

But then, I felt the need to shakeup my makeup, and I found myself frequenting Ulta and Sephora more and more. And the more I went, the bigger the differences I noticed between the two.

Here, I give you the ultimate Beauty Store Showdown: Sephora vs. Ulta.

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