Pinterest Verification

Friday, January 30, 2015

FITNESS FRIDAY // Yoga Booty Ballet

This week on Fitness Friday we're reviewing another at-home DVD workout, Yoga Booty Ballet. The specific DVDs that I have are the Yoga Booty Ballet Live 2-Disc Set with Hip Hop Abs and Cardio Cabaret. I LOVE these DVDs. They are in constant rotation in my home workout routine. As the title suggests, Gillian and Teigh, your workout spirit guides, cover flexibility (yoga), cardio (booty), and grace (ballet) in their workouts. You also do a lot of cheesy New Age-y things like intention-setting, breathing exercises and mudras. I mean, don't get me wrong, I'm all about that kinda stuff - it can be really FUN and centering - but I know some people will find it to be a little ridiculous so just wanted to give a heads up. Also, I should mention that there is a bongo player named Ravi. Moving on...


Hip Hop Abs is a 4-minute-long workout that starts out with a twenty-to-thirty-minute hip hop dance routine. This cardio portion of the workout leaves me pretty exhausted - out-of-breath, sweaty, flushed - and it also focuses on your abs. Some of the exercises are twists and "rib cage" moves that give your abs an extra push. Then you move on to a fifteen-minute ab workout. You're supposed to use a YBB "squishy ball" to perform most of the ab exercises but you can use any small workout-type inflatable ball. And a yoga mat is recommended, too. And lemme tell you, it gets sweaty. The abs portion of the workout is pretty killer for me. Granted, I have quite a bit of weight to lose so some of you who are more fit might find these workouts to be a bit easier than I do.

Cardio Cabaret starts out with a twenty-minute hip hop/cabaret-type dance routine. It's really fun and after the first three or four times you do each workout you will find that you have memorized the entire routine and can push yourself to do it full-out every time. Then you do a bit of ballet and balance work followed by some yoga and stretching. This is a shorter and easier workout than Hip Hop Abs but it still gets your heart pumping. Also, it's nice to be able to do the ballet leg work and get a chance to workout your core and improve your balance and, therefore, your grace.


I would recommend these to anyone with an open-mind who is looking for an energetic and FUN at-home workout. The first time you do each workout, it might be a little hard to learn or memorize the moves, but keep trying and, before you know it, you'll be a pro. I'm pretty sure I could be one of the students in the background by now.

What do you think about Yoga Booty Ballet? Have any of you tried it before? Lemme know in the comments below! XOXO

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

WHY DON'T YOU...SEND AN EXTRA-SPECIAL THANK YOU CARD!


Hey, y'all! I just wanted to stop in with a quick post on upping your thank you card game. After a weekend away at a friend or relative's house, you might find yourself wanting to send a sweet thank you to your hosts and/or hostesses. Try adding some photos from your visit to remind your friend of what a great time you had. I sent these Instagram photo magnets from Sticky9 to boyfriend's mom after she let me stay at her house in Savannah for a few days at Christmas-time one year - there's a photo of boyfriend and me on the drive down, a shot of a beloved family pet on the way home from the groomers, and a picture from an outing to Bonaventure Cemetery. It's a simple way to add some extra pizazz and gratitude to a timeworn gesture.

What ways do YOU show gratitude? XOXO

Friday, January 23, 2015

HAPPY THOUGHTS VOL. 001

It's important to hold tight to the bright spots that pop up in winter, especially if you're suffering from the seasonal blues like myself. Here are some things that have been making me happy lately:

mastering the art of cooking pancakes.

playing croquet on our new backyard croquet lawn - created by the magnificent boyfriend. More on this later!

watching the movie Palo Alto (I'm weirdly intrigued by movies about deviant youth from backward places, like Kids, Spring Breakers, Gummo etc).

dressing like Mrs. Robinson when I'm lounging around the house (I'm talking leopard leggings, silky kimonos, red fingernails, the whole deal)

listening to Sally Draper's Secret Dorm Party playlist on Songza, as recommended by Oh Happy Day!

replacing the buttons on my vintage '60s wool coat (and rehemming tomorrow!).

coloring as stress relief, like THESE beautiful meditative coloring pages but - let's be real - I colored some Barbie coloring pages too.

smoothies and smoothies and more smoothies. I can't get enough of them. I'm craving summer-time and sunshine something awful.

THIS Valentine's card printable screams happiness to me. It reminds me of one of my favorite movies, That Thing You Do.

cat cafes. WHAT.

I hope y'all enjoyed the list. Have a wonderful weekend! XOXO

Friday, January 16, 2015

FITNESS FRIDAY // Barre Amped Workout


Today we're kicking off a new series on the blog...FITNESS FRIDAYS! Every other Friday, we'll be reviewing a new workout - a DVD, subscription service or something else you can do from home. We figured it was good timing, as "losing weight" is one of the top resolutions people make in the New Year.

This week, we're starting it off with BARRE AMPED, an at-home barre workout by Suzanne Bowen. Her motto is "Shake to Change" so...yeah...it's a killer. I tested this workout DVD with one of my sisters, who has taken several barre classes at studios. I, on the other hand, have never taken a barre class, so this way you can get a seasoned opinion and a newb opinion.


 My sister and I did this workout two days after Christmas. We had both just enjoyed several days of gluttony and laziness for the holidays and we felt like it was time to do SOMETHING active. To be honest, my muscles were killing me for the next three days after...I was feeling muscles I didn't even know I have. But, it had been QUITE awhile since I had done a workout of any kind, so that could have contributed to the pain. My sister was a little sore two days after the workout, but nothing like me. Or I'm just more whiny.

I thought it was an intense workout - I often felt like I wasn't going to be able to complete the sets but I managed to power through [while whining like a baby and cursing up a storm]. Whenever I felt like giving up, I would follow the girl who was doing modified moves for beginners. There was also a girl doing more advanced moves for those who needed more of a challenge. It was nice to have options. I definitely think it would be a great workout to incorporate with some additional cardio, because it focuses much more on strength-training. My heart was pumping at certain points and I was definitely sweating but extra cardio would create a more well-rounded workout.


 I really liked Suzanne's emphasis on form, like one would expect from a yoga workout. There is a great and detailed tutorial at the end that teaches you the proper forms for each move, which is especially great if you're a barre newb like me. She is a fan of a "neutral" or untucked spine and soft knees. It's so important to get the posture and form down correctly so you can make sure you're working out the appropriate muscles and not straining things too much.

My sister, who has taken barre classes with an instructor before, liked the workout okay. She did feel like there wasn't enough of a focus on the arms and abs. In the classes she had taken, they did strenuous ab and arm work so she was looking forward to that in the DVD but it wasn't there. In truth, the only muscles that really hurt me after the workout were my legs and butt. So maybe try supplementing the workout with more ab and arm workouts on alternating days.

All in all I think it was a decent workout DVD...very intense on the legs and butt. I feel like if you did this DVD regularly for a few weeks you would DEFINITELY notice some toning in your butt and thighs. If those are problem areas for you, then you have met your match!

I hope you enjoyed the first installment of our new FITNESS FRIDAYS series. What'd you think? Does this seem like a workout you would want to try? Let us know in the comments! XOXO.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

HAPPY 2015!!

http://blog.freepeople.com/2015/01/5-ways-detox-mentally-physically-year/

I know it's halfway through January already but my new year has only just begun. In fact, this past weekend, boyfriend and I did a symbolic redo of New Year's Eve with champagne  and a countdown and everything. Even a house cleanse. I'll be honest - 2015 didn't really start out too great. Both boyfriend and I were sick with a cold and then I was better for one glorious, optimistic day only to catch the flu the next day. Plus I started my first full-time week at my job and had to miss a couple of days because of that flu. Ugh. 2015 just wasn't looking very promising around here. So we had a redo. We were both finally feeling much better and ready to take on 2015. So we did. And now I'm here to share a few of my plans and projects for this new year.

I don't really make personal New Year's resolutions because I make birthday resolutions (27 things to do by 28, 28 by 29, etc...you can see my current birthday resolutions HERE). But I do have a focus for 2015 and that is HEALTH + WELLNESS. I bet you can guess what prompted THAT focus. I've been feeling very disheartened with my immune system but have also been feeling tired and anxious a lot and having trouble sleeping. Plus my skin and hair and nails have been a bit lackluster as of late. It just feels like it's time to do a complete overhaul of my health habits (or lack thereof). I'm gonna try to implement new positive health habits each month to help me feel better and live a more healthful life.

Of course, I also have a zillion plans and ideas and projects I'd like to consider in 2015. Here are a few links I found to be particularly interesting...

I really like this post from Unfancy on capsule wardrobes (as seen on A Beautiful Mess). Something to consider this year, as I build a more polished and professional wardrobe.

Bullet journaling seems like an interesting organization and documentation tool that might be right up my alley.

Designlovefest got it right when she resolved to take more field trips.

This article on the Free People blog has a great suggestion for improving your quality of sleep (a big part of my wellness plan).

I might try this 30 Days of Minimalism challenge at some point this year.

After marathoning ALL of Gilmore Girls, I need to get started on The Rory Gilmore Reading Challenge.

I'm cat-sitting my mom's cat, Picasso, for the next few months so I'd like to try to make these Junk Food Cat Toys from A Beautiful Mess for him. CUTE.

I'd like to get better at styling my hair this year. This French Twist Ponytail tutorial from 100 Layer Cake looks fun.

I'm hoping that this will be the year that I submit my home for a House Tour or House Call on Apartment Therapy. Fingers crossed!

What are your goals for this year? Have you gotten started with any of your ideas or are you starting your new year a little later like us? XOXO.

Monday, January 12, 2015

EATS + DRINKS // Crunchy Winter Slaw Salad

My mom is the queen of salads. She knows how to throw together seemingly random ingredients to make a delicious and fairly healthy salad meal. This is one of the salads I learned from her, with my own twists added. It's super easy and there are no precise measurements so just throw these ingredients together for a yummy, crunchy winter salad, or customize it yourself by substituting other ingredients!


First, I started with a base of broccoli slaw [with shredded carrots and cabbage mixed in]. Then, I added some baby kale and chard. NOTE: if you plan on making a large batch of salad to have leftovers, I would omit the baby kale and chard as they get quite wilty.

I chopped up some green onions to add to the salad along with a bunch of dried cherries [straight from Michigan!]. Drizzle in some dressing - I used a light sweet vidalia onion dressing, which tasted superb. A poppy seed dressing would probably work just as well. Mix it all together.


 To add a little more crunch, I threw in some honey sesame sticks and honey roasted sunflower seeds. The sesame sticks can get a little soggy, too, so you might wanna add these on as a topping when served.


And there you have it! A delicious salad with a seriously satisfying crunch. YUM! BUON APPETITO!



I hope you enjoyed this Crunchy Winter Slaw Salad! XOXO.

Friday, January 9, 2015

PAR-TAY // HOST A GAME NIGHT



1. Take inspiration from this old Kate Spade ad campaign and bring on the bling with some fun cocktail rings and bright nail polish.

2. This wooden bingo set is simple but chic.

3. Glamify your Twister spin board with glitter, like this one from Camilla Styles.

4. Serve some bourbon with your board games, like this Bourbon Thyme Cocktail from Rachael White.

5. These Herby Shoestring Fries would look lovely served to guests in paper cones.

6. Mini Lobster Rolls make the perfect game night appetizer.

7. Throw it back with classic board games like Monopoly.

XOXO.

Monday, January 5, 2015

WHY DON'T YOU...MAKE SOME FRIENDSHIP REZZIES!

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2254718/Times-Square-New-Years-Eve-Black-white-photos-history-holiday.html

I am a HUGE fan of making lists and setting goals, so making New Year's resolutions is my jam. This year, one of my best friends and I decided to make FRIENDSHIP REZZIES, or joint resolutions of things we would like to do or accomplish together. I think this is a great idea to do with a friend, family member or significant other. Whether it's somewhere you want to travel together, a class you'd like to take as a pair or just that THING that you both keep promising you'll do together ONE DAY, write them down and sign on the dotted line. It's a fun twist to starting your new year off on a positive note. 'Cause what's more positive than honoring your relationships and creating happy memories? Exactly.


Below are the FIVE friendship resolutions that my friend Jes [pictured on the left in the photo above] and I made together PLUS some suggestions for YOU.

JES + CHE'S FRIENDSHIP REZZIES FOR 2015:

1. Take a ballet class.
2. See a Pizza Underground show [we heart Macauley].
3. Go camping again.
4. Celebrate our birthdays together.
5. Road trip to Las Vegas [this is the "wishful thinking" resolution of the bunch but FINGERS CROSSED].

SUGGESTIONS FOR FUN FRIENDSHIP RESOLUTIONS:
- Dye your hair in fun hues together!
- Marathon an addictive TV series!
- Start a book club!
- Learn to make a difficult recipe!
- Keep a standing monthly drinks date all year!
- Learn a new skill or craft!
- Travel somewhere fun!

Let us know YOUR resolutions for 2015 (friendship or otherwise) in the comments below!

XOXO

Friday, January 2, 2015

MONTHLY MOODZ // JANUARY 2015

Hello friends! And HELLO January! I LOVE the beginning of January...something about the fresh start/blank slate aspect of a brand new year. The promise that THIS year everything is gonna be different and THIS year everything is gonna be great. That I'll be more organized, productive, social, creative - the list goes on and on. It's a nice feeling, if a bit ambitious. I've rounded up a few ideas that I'd like to focus on or try this month. Here is my monthly mood board for January...


1. This outfit from Cashmere in Style is the perfect party look for winter - chic all-black with a pop of red lips and a bit of festive sparkle thrown in. It even looks weather-appropriate for our more mild Georgia winters!

2. I didn't send Christmas cards this past holiday season so I'm considering starting a new tradition of sending New Year's cards instead. These cards from Rifle Paper Co. are my top choice for sending 2015 wishes to my loved ones.

3. January is a time for comfort foods, especially when a winter cold or flu hits. I would love to learn to make pho at home for days when some soul-warming is in high demand. This recipe for homemade vegetarian pho from Kitchen Treaty looks like a great place to start!

4. When the winter blues kick in, sometimes you just want to spend the whole day snoozing in bed. On days like that, a sleep mask is crucial for keeping out the overly bright winter sun. Try making one yourself with this fun DIY tutorial from A Beautiful Mess!

5. Also from A Beautiful Mess, I found these tips for goal-setting to be really inspiring. I especially liked this idea of setting up a rewards system for accomplishing weekly goals - a perfect way to get started on those New Year's resolutions!

What are YOUR Monthly Moodz for January?

XOXO