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Activism, Beauty, Fashion, Health & Fitness

September Favorites

Happy September everyone, it’s officially Fall! I’ll save you the typical schpiel about how excited for all things boot & pumpkin related (because we know I am) by keeping it short & sweet and telling you I’m just happy to be getting into the crisper months.

 

Fashion

J. Crew is really killing the game with their fall separates right now. They have some adorable silk & velvet camisoles that I have in my shopping cart right now, along with some super cute blazers & coats  I also want to grab. PLUS an amazing fur vest in the yummiest wine color.

I‘m also in the process of building a pair of custom shoes with Shoes of Prey! I’m sure you’ve seen the shoes below on Pinterest, I feel like they are the most pinned shoes ever! They’re by Aquazarra, and retail for like $700. Since I don’t have that kind of cash lying around to spare on shoes, I decided to make a similar pair on Shoes of Prey for only $150. Can’t wait to see how they turn out!

 
Finally, I just stocked up on some Everlane basics. While I love a good statement piece, nothing beats have great quality pieces like long sleeve t-s for layering, crisp black jeans or my new favorite wide leg pants. Shop all the pieces I purchased below!

 Beauty

I don’t know if you heard, but Rihanna just changed the makeup game. Her Fenty Beauty line is TO DIE FOR. The collection is focused on skin, so think primers, highlighters, contour & concealer sticks. I bought the Universal Lip Luminizer, and am in love. While I’m not usually a gloss person, this is just so flattering and pretty with just the right amount of shimmer & warmth. You can wear it alone or layer over lipsticks and it really does look good on everyone. I also grabbed the Primer which I’ve been mixing into my foundation before applying ( I read somewhere that it works better that way) and it gives me the perfect matte without drying me out. I also grabbed the Match Stix Shimmer in Starstruck and want to get my hands on “Rum” because it’s suppose to look beautiful as a bronzed eye.

On the hair front, my hairstylist recommended these two products to me during my last visit and I’m in love. The first is an Apple Cider Vinegar rinse. I have a problem scalp so this really helps both with scalp irritation and also to remove product build-up. It’s color-safe and somehow takes the place of a shampoo & conditioner, without smelling like traditional ACV. Seriously magic. The second is Marula Oil 3 in 1 Styling Creme. It’s super moisturizing and tames my frizz really well. I put it in after I shower and either let my hair air dry (90% of the time) or style. It’s like a leave-in conditioner, styling cream, and hair oil all in one, plus it smells amazing.

Everything Else

Healthwise, I’m trying something called carb cycling, you can read about it here. I owe you all an updated fitness post where I’ll go into more detail but essentially you cycle high carb days with low carb days as a way to decrease calories a bit & shock your body, without cutting down your carbs too much. I’m a monster on anything less than 100g of carbs per day so I’m using a moderate approach where I don’t go below that.
 
If you haven’t watched Narcos, do it now. I finished it in like three days, mainly because of my intense crush on Pedro Pascal. I’m also super excited that Outlander is back on! If you’ve never watched it and love period shows, it’s definitely a must! Every time I watch I have the urge to re-visit and or move to Scotland.
 
I also just received my first monthly task from a program called Safety Pin Box. The idea behind Safety Pin Box is to better educate white people who want to become better informed and strong allies for the Black Liberation movement, with a particular focus on women. This month’s theme is #blackreprodjustice. Repro rights are near and dear to my heart, but I know I have an inherent bias that prevents me from advocating on behalf of women of color, so I’m really excited to dig into this and make some changes to my way of thinking and advocating.

 

 

Beauty, Fashion, Health & Fitness, Travel

August Favorites

 

The third and final month of summer is upon us! August is always a funny month because you’re simultaneously soaking up the last drops of summer and starting to think about fall and all that comes with it. I’m focusing on getting as much of my summer fix as I can for the next few weeks!

I’ve always loved seeing bloggers round up their monthly favorites, whether it’s clothing, recipes, beauty items, TV shows, etc. Obviously, my picks will mostly fall into fashion & beauty categories, but there are other aspects of my life (and personal taste) I’d love to share with my followers as well!

So this is the first of a monthly favorites blog series I’m starting, I hope you enjoy!

Courtney Two Piece

I’m loving this two piece set! I can think of multiple ways to style these pieces both separately and together, talk about versatility!

 

Everlane Sandals

I bought a pair of these in black and have been wearing them non-stop. Super comfortable, amazing quality, and chic. They remind me of the Hermes ones I’ve been seeing around (but for a much lower price tag only $80 and they’re high-quality leather!)

 

Majorelle Skirt

How cute this this little embroidered number! I’d pair it with sandals now and OTK boots when it’s colder.

 

Charlotte Tilbury Beauty Glow Palette

This palette holds everything I need for a full look, all in pretty rose gold tones. I’m trying to bring as little makeup as possible on my upcoming trip to Italy, but this will definitely make the cut!

 

Pat McGrath Matte Trance Lipstick

Anything PatMcGrath does is magic, so I expect these lipsticks to be the same! I love how vibrant the colors are. I’m going to order Full Panic, a bright fuschia,  & Obsessed, an orangey red!

 

My Favorite Murder

To be fair, this has been my favorite podcast for months. If you are a true crime freak and humor with a feminist bent, you’ll LOVE this podcast!

The loDown

I finally took some time to check out former reality star Lo Bosworth’s blog and fell in love. I’ve never read a more honest and sensitive e blog, and I loved how varied her content was. Some of her recent posts cover healthy recipes, natural beauty picks and a vlog about how she’s healing her broken heart. I love her vulnerability and commitment to wellness and mental health! Definitely, check it out!  She’s my new #girlcrush

Amalfi Coast & Capri

In less than a week I’m headed to my DREAM destination, the Amalfi coast! I have all things Italian on the mind and am looking forward to sharing my trip with you all! With that, I leave you with this #travelporn image

 

 

 

Health & Fitness

Keeping your Resolutions in 2017

2016 WAS THE WORST YEAR IN THE HISTORY OF THE PLANET.

 Just kidding. But in truth, it was crappy. On a global, national and even personal scale, this year was painful.

If you had a good 2016 please reach out, I truly  feel you need be tested to see how you were immune to this shittiness, applauded.

I really can’t wait for 2017, it just HAS to be better. We will make it better.


 

Putting 2016  aside, the beginning of a new year is always  filled with hope, expectation and boundless ambition. There is a certain rush that comes with setting goals, the loftier the goal, the bigger the high. Yet, the high fades once you need to start putting in work. It’s then replaced with frustration, resentment, self doubt and crippling insecurity.

Does this pattern sound familiar? I know it does for me. My birthday is on New Year’s Eve, so I’ve always felt even more pressure to start with a clean slate on January 1st, after all, I’m one year older, AND it’s a brand new year.

I’m a huge proponent of goals. I set monthly, weekly and sometimes daily goals. Goals are important, and I firmly believe without them we feel a bit untethered. But there is an art to goal setting that is often ignored.

Before you set your goals for the New Year, you need to engage in a bit of self reflection and pre-work. Think of your goals as something you need to present to yourself, much like you would propose a new business plan to your boss.  You need to rationalize why these goals are worth your time, why achieving these goals would improve your life, and what would a successful outcome would look like.

 

Six Steps for Goal Setting

 1) Think back on the past year(s) of your life, and really tap into the negative feelings you’ve experienced.

What area of your life do they seem to gather around? Your career, relationships, health, education? This may not be obvious and could take a good amount of time, so I encourage you to start now so come January 1st you’re crystal clear.

It’s very important to focus on feelings vs thoughts. If you think you need to lose weight, that’s simply not enough. I think I should have 17%  body fat but I’m sure as hell not there, because really, I don’t feel in my soul that I want to be at 17% body fat ( I love ice cream way too much). Focus on the feeling and this should help bring to surface the areas of your life you need to focus on.

2)Make a list of the top three or four areas you’d like to improve upon, then list out the changes you’d like to make. 

Be as specific as possible. Then choose the one our two most important goals- overcommitting yourself is sure fire way to fail. If you achieve these two goals you can always tack on another.

3) Identify why you want to make these changes (this may not be what you think).

 For instance, lets take the most common New Year resolution, weight loss. Sure, you want to lose 15 lbs. But why do you want to lose those 15lbs? Is it to fit into clothes you used to fit into, look great for your best friend’s wedding, gain confidence, improve your health? Maybe all of those are factors, but you need to figure out what is the ultimate driver for why you want to lose the weight. Find a compelling reason to choose to lose 15 lbs, because you won’t be able to emotionally attach to the task of doing so without an anchor.

In the book The Undefeated Mind the author explains the importance of an anchor.  A patient of his who was morbidly obese had struggled to lose weight her entire life. Overtime, he helped her realize that  one of the biggest drivers for her to lose weight was so she could have children. Of course she was insecure and wanted to look better, get married etc and didn’t feel she could do so at her current weight, but the thing she most feared was not being able to have children because she was so unhealthy. Clinging to this desire to have children helped her lose a significant amount of weight, after years of failed attempts.

4) Break down e-x-a-c-t-l-y how you’re going to achieve this goal. 

No goal can be completed without a plan. Will power has nothing to do with achieving goals, it has to to do with planning and preparation. Knowing that you are following a process that will allow you to reach your goal makes it 10x easier.

So you want to lose 15lbs? Hire a nutritionist, get a gym membership, read up on the best ways to lose weight for YOU. This is where using a professional, or asking for help from an experienced colleague or friend comes in handy. It takes a village, or at least an expert, to make big changes.

For instance, I chose to adopt meditation as a practice this past year. I HATED meditating (sometimes I still do). I tried to go it alone but I realized to make a lasting change I needed some help. I enrolled in a 10 week  meditation course (Insight LA) and while I can’t say that I’m not a meditation guru, but it has become an important part of my daily routine.  So in summary, make a plan!

5) Train yourself to look at effort as part of your success 

If you want to lose weight, a specific number of pounds to lose is good as a rough guide,  but focusing too much on a metric can be frustrating, and this metric may change as you move towards your goal.  Instead focus on the effort; are you eating healthfully, committed to your exercise routine? If you’re following your plan, success will come, it may take longer than you anticipated, or your goal may change over time. Continuing on the path towards your goal is just as important. Be kind to yourself, be flexible and encourage yourself throughout the process  as you would a close friend or family member. Trust yourself and trust the plan you’ve created.

6) Recommit yourself to your goal

When you’re struggling, remind yourself of your anchor. Take some time to recommit, daily, weekly and monthly. Don’t allow yourself to get wrapped up in the difficulties that surround making this change, instead, internalize your reasons for wanting to reach this goal. Anything worth achieving is worth struggling for.

There you have it, six easy(ish) steps to creating feasible goals and smashing them in 2017.

I hope these tips will help you define and and commit to resolutions in 2017 that bring you health, happiness and peace.

Diet & Food Intake Philosophy
Health & Fitness

Food Intake & Diet Philosophy

Disclaimer:

This post was particularly hard for me to publish, as I’m not 100% at the place I want to be with my fitness goals. In truth, most people aren’t, even those who may seem the most in-shape, lean, perfectly curvy etc. This post is meant to inspire and also outline a method of food intake that I have found truly helps me, and while I’m not at the ideal point in my journey I don’t want to let that discourage from sharing tips I believe would benefit other women (or men!)

 

 


Background

I’ve never had an easy time maintaining a certain size. I LOVE food. I love eating large amounts of food. I love dessert most of all. Not surprisingly I’ve struggled with my weight in the past. I would restrict food intake for days at a time, and then snap eating everything in site. Or, I’d maintain a “clean” diet all week and come Friday night dive face first into a pizza, wine & pint of Ben & Jerry’s… and then continue the theme through the weekend.

This cycle of depriving and over indulging went on for a few years. At times it worked better than others, depending on how long I was depriving myself and how much I was indulging. But I never achieved the results I wanted.

 

If It Fits Your Macros

In 2012 I came across an online nutritionist & personal trainer who specialized in something called IIFYM, or “If It Fits Your Macros.” While IIFYM is well known within the fitness industry, I’ve noticed most people outside of that sphere have no idea what it is. IIFYM is a style of dieting/eating that’s centered around moderate intake of foods  deemed “bad” while balancing these foods with nutrient dense whole foods, all while adhering to a strict guideline for amount of calories and macronutrients (grams of carbs, fat, protein & fiber) consumed.

For instance, a typical day on an IIFYM diet could include a breakfast of egg whites & wheat  toast,  a salad  with chicken for lunch, an apple and nuts for a snack, and then a few slices of pizza for dinner, as long as all of these foods fit into your daily “macros.” To keep track, one uses a calorie counting app like My Fitness Pal.

Adopting the IIFYM approach completely changed my relationship with food. Before adopting this style of eating I was always trying one diet or another, low carb, paleo, low fat, keto, vegan, dairy free etc. But I always ended up overeating one type of food group and not enough of another. For instance, my carbs while eating a Paleo diet were low, but  my fat intake was super high. While I’m sure this works for some people, it didn’t do me any good. At the end of the day, weight loss, or weight maintenance is only dependent on calories in vs calories out. While the quality of food does matter for  your overall health, energy levels etc, weight loss is purely based on numbers. Furthermore, you  can’t possibly eat a full junk food diet on IIFYM because you’d use up your daily calories in one meal.

IIFYM allows me to eat the foods I love in moderation. If I save up carbs and fat for a slice of pizza, I can have it. With IIFYM I’m able to fit in some type of “dessert” everyday, whether its a cookie or my new obsession Pressed Juice Freeze (seriously the macros on this are insanely good!)

While some people think that IIFYM is difficult because it focuses on numbers, I find it much easier than constantly struggling with making a “good” or “bad” choice at every meal. If you struggle with moderation, IIFYM a controlled way to achieve balance in your diet, which can be extremely helpful

Probably the most difficult part of adopting an IIFYM is making sure you’re eating the right amount of food at the correct ratio of carb/fat/protein. For this I recommend using a macronutrient calculator or even better consulting with coach/trainer who uses this approach. There are a ton of options and most are pretty affordable as they’re based online. Instagram, surprisingly enough, is a great resource for finding these coaches.

Personally, my ratio is higher on carbs than fats, with protein intake hovering just above 1 g per lb of body weight. This allows me to eat good portions of fruits, vegetables and whole grains as well as a moderate amount of healthy fat. While each person is different, in my opinion  lower carb diets are hard to sustain and a bit counterproductive when trying to lose fat & build muscle.

I highly recommend trying this approach, especially for those of you who struggle with binging on  certain foods etc. It’s a much more sustainable and healthy way to live your life.

Any diet should be done in conjunction with a fitness program that aligns with your goals.  I’ll detail my current program in another post!