It’s that wonderful time of year, my friends – Adrian James’ 2014 Holiday Gifting guides will be making regular appearances a few times a week leading up to the holidays. You’ll find guides for everyone on your list from Mom to your favorite pet & everyone in between.
First up is a guide for the feminine females in your life – you know the ones. They like sparkles, gold on pretty much everything & soft, pretty [ preferably pink ] things. I think we all have a little of that in us, don’t you agree? One of my favorites on the list are the KNICKERS OF THE WEEK [ cute & playful! ]. This LIP POLISH is pretty amazing – it comes in so many colors & is like popping a breath mint. This IPAD CASE keeps everything protected while still looking put together; NORDSTROM has tons of cute TECH ACCESSORIES [ don’t forget the MEN in your life ], it was hard to choose just one item. When in doubt, a pretty PIECE OF ARTfor the walls is never a bad thing.
Don’t forget to follow me all month long on my PINTEREST page, which will house all of my guides as well as extra things I love for gifting this season. Basically, this isn’t all – there is just too much I love to fit in one guide!
With Thanksgiving days away, I encourage everyone to remember to be thankful this week. While the act of thankfulness is something ideally practiced year-round, the truth is it gets pushed to the side as we rush through our daily lives. It is so easy to think we aren’t the “lucky ones” – that if only this if only that, our lives would be PERFECT. Admittedly, I’m no different & get caught in this trap more often than I should. Let’s all sit down, take a breath & remember what we do have, because it’s much more than we ever give ourselves credit for.
What am I thankful for? My body – I can walk, breathe, touch, feel, smell, hear & kick ass at the gym. It sounds cliche, but our bodies are never to be taken for granted. Not everyone can walk, breathe, touch….it’s a powerful thing. I’m thankful for my family [ yes, including my dog ]; although small, there is more love than can ever be measured. I’m thankful for my friends who remind me everyday to laugh & push me to be my best self. I’m thankful for my ability to take chances – if not for that quality I would not be in Chicago today. I’m thankful for all of the struggles in my life, because they have led me to exactly where I am supposed to be. In this moment.
Apologies that I’m just getting this out now as it’s been quite an unusual Friday; spending almost 24 hours without Internet access is terrifying & liberating at the same time. Anyway, I’m home in Cleveland for the weekend to celebrate Thanksgiving a bit early this year. Speaking of early, the snow has begun in northeast Ohio & I wasn’t quite ready for it, but I’m not sure I’m ever ready. Enjoy your weekend!
HOCUSPOCUS is one of my favorite movies, so if a sequel is really happening, this is up there with some of the best news this year
In case anyone needs a reminder of why DRINKING WATER is so good for you
Lipstick is a powerful thing. It can change an outfit, an attitude & add a vibrant pop to an otherwise basic [ but still chic, of course ] ensemble. I love the look of a bright, matte lip, dewy skin, TOUSLED HAIR & a JEANS & TEE pairing with simple black HEELSor BOOTIES.
The quest for the perfect shade, formula & brand, while fun [ duh ], can be daunting to say the least. I’ve never really felt strongly one way or the other to a certain brand or color. Then I discovered BITE BEAUTY. I was first attracted to the colors – they are pigmented, rich & hit the mark with color trends. What kept me coming back, though, was the fact that their products are natural & don’t have all the nasty chemicals some products out there have. Oh, also the formulas of the products are just insanely good. Like, stay-all-day good.
My favorite product by far is the CASHMERE LIP CREAM. It’s easy to apply with it’s applicator & cream-to-powder formulation. I don’t know about you guys but I can get sloppy with a giant tube of lipstick, so having something more precise is key – it’s like a built-in lip brush. As for colors, I love Sherry & Rioja. This stuff lasts all day but does not dry out. What a dream! I’m also into the CREME LIP CRAYON – these babies lock in moisture but seriously stay put. Colors to check out include Fraise & Aubergine for the oh-so-in-style deep eggplant lip [ I told you Bite gets it with the color trends ].
Things I’ve heard are good but haven’t tried are the AGAVE LIP MASK & LIP SCRUB [ which, while I haven’t tried, I HAVE smelled it & it smells so yummy ]. I’m sure I’ll be adding them to my beauty cabinet soon as the cold winter months that are about to hit tend to make my lips dry & flaky; dry & flaky is not a good match for matte lip products.
So, which color will you pick for your upcoming holiday festivities?
I wouldn’t be devoting an entire post to them if I didn’t seriously love this brand – just wanted to put that out there as a reminder that I post about what I LOVE for real in the hopes that by spreading my favorite lipsticks I’m somehow making the world a better place? Probably not, but head over to SEPHORA now to check out what I’m talking about. If you still aren’t convinced, check out Grace’s post HERE.
The changing of the seasons isn’t just about the weather; produce is another mark of seasonality that allows you to experience fruits & vegetables at the peak of freshness. Wouldn’t you much rather eat a crisp, sweet apple from a few miles away or a juicy, ripe pear from Washington rather than out-of-season strawberries? Not only is out of season produce more expensive, it leaves a huge carbon footprint as often those berries are flown from thousands of miles away. Play around with what’s local and in season instead. Here’s what I’m enjoying now:
PERSIMMONS // Up until a month ago, I had never tried a persimmon. Thanks to TRADER JOE’S PERSIMMON SALADI can happily say that has changed. The color alone is beautiful with its deep golden hue. High in fiber & antioxidants, eat it fresh as on the salad.
POMEGRANATES // Vibrantly red, pomegranate arils are my favorite addition to salads right now for their added crunch, color & hint of tart sweetness. The fruit is a good source of folate, Vitamin C & antioxidants.
SPAGHETTI SQUASH // A perennial favorite for me this time of year, spaghetti squash is so versatile – it’s spaghetti-esque strands lend well to a pasta stand-in for those who limit carbs or just those who love squash! It’s wide range of vitamins from A to K make it super healthy too. I add tomato sauce & turkey meatballs to mine. I’ve also been dying to try THESE orTHESE.
CAULIFLOWER // Cauliflower is having a moment, making an appearance on virtually every menu lately. It’s one of my faves for its slightly nutty flavor & hearty texture. The ways to prepare it are endless – you can make cauliflower rice, pizza crust and steam then mash them for CAULIFLOWER MASHED POTATOES. Also really tasty? Roasting them with turmeric. Health benefits include compounds that may help prevent center & phytonutrients helpful in lowering cholesterol.
PUMPKIN // If you only think of this winter squash as pumpkin carving material, I don’t blame you. It is actually really delicious & high in potassium, B vitamins & folate to boot. I prefer canned pumpkin because it’s easier & I’m not Martha, OK? Just make sure its pure pumpkin! I add it to yogurt, smoothies, oatmeal…the options are endless. Check out THIS RECIPE for pumpkin oatmeal.
SWEET POTATO // I’ll always pick a sweet potato over a white potato. More nutritionally dense than their white counterpart, these are a fabulous source of Vitamin A & iron. I love roasting them with cinnamon & coconut oil for a sweet side dish.
APPLES // With tons of fiber & antioxidants, apples are always a good idea. When I’m hungry but don’t know what to eat, I grab an apple. They can be sweet or tart & stand up well to baking but are equally as tasty eaten on the go. Besides eating an apple raw, my go-to recipe is a BAKED APPLE for a satisfying guilt-free dessert. For an even quicker variation, chop an apple, add a dash of apple pie spice & microwave for 2 minutes. Voila!
PEARS // I haven’t always been the biggest pear fan, but I recently discovered the Red Anjou pear & love its sweet, juicy taste. Great source of Vitamin C & fiber. Eat it alone or add to a salad. Also amazing baked or roasted as the flavor deepens. This TARTwould be a beautiful & lighter addition to a Thanksgiving spread. My idea of the perfect AUTUMN SALAD includes pear, pomegranate or persimmon, arugula & a soft cheese like goat. It’s sweet, salty, tangy, crunchy…basically all of the things that are important in life.
Let’s all make the effort this week to do at least one thing to work for it. Enough with the dreaming, the hoping, the wishing; let’s make a concrete move towards a concrete goal. What is it that you’ll work towards this week?
Can you believe it’s already November? I know, I know, typical, “can you believe how fast time is flying by?!” But seriously, I find that while oftentimes my days can drag, my weeks go by in the blink of an eye. I think these coming months are a great time to remember to slow down & savor every day. Every. Single. Day. There is something fabulous in each day, promise. Embrace the good. Forget the bad. I’m running a race on Sunday. I’ll probably be repeating that throughout. Wish me luck!
How many of these 20 TRIPS TO TAKE IN YOUR TWENTIES have you taken? I’d like to do the Full Moon Party in Thailand, Oktoberfest in Germany, the Holi Festival in India, Yacht Week in Croatia….ok all of them. Who wants to join?
To ring in November & the start of true cozy sweater weather [ at least for those of us in the colder climates ], I thought I’d round up some of my most-loved sweaters this season, from classic cable knits to polished black & white styles, there’s a little bit of every style I love this season.
Turtlenecks are not a relationship I’ve maintained a friendship with – I used to really loathe them, but now I’ve learned how to make them uber chic with the right outfit pairing. I love the classic & slightly chunky look of THIS one & when isn’t this fitted ONEappropriate? Black & white is my favorite color combo & I’ll be fully stocking up on the SIMPLE, STRIPED & COLOR BLOCKED varieties. CAPES are my newest obsession – I just think they make for such a chic fall look. Add FRINGE & it’s just the perfect combo. I think THIS one might be my favorite for it’s black & white color, fringe & turtleneck – can you say triple threat? Everyone needs at least one soft & fuzzy SWEATER JACKET in their closet for those days when you don’t feel like fully pulling it together, these basically do it for you. How cool is THIS one? Of course I had to include the classic cable knit sweater for its versatility. This season, grab one that’s LONGER, CHUNKY or has a fun DETAIL [ I have this one & love it! ].
When Equinox invited me in for a TIER 4 [T4] FITNESS ASSESSMENT a few weeks ago, I jumped at the chance. I’m always game for anything fitness & health related, & while it seems I’ve tried every workout imaginable, I was interested to see the science & numbers behind what I can [ & can’t! ] do.
So, what’s a tier? At Equinox, this is how the trainers are classified, 1 – 4, based on experience & education. Tier 4 trainers are the most scientifically advanced experts in their field, but you can bet you’re going to get a fabulous trainer at every tier; whether you want to build a foundation, kick up your training or improve your coordination, Equinox offers something for everyone at every level.
I took my assessment with Tier 4 Coach, Dave Cary. After sending him a questionnaire regarding health habits & a weekly nutrition/workout log, I met up with him at the gym for a six point assessment as outlined below:
-HEALTH QUESTIONS: standard-issue questionnaire regarding health & medical history as well as nutrition & exercise habits
-RESTING METABOLIC RATE [ RMR ] TEST: your RMR [ also known as Basal Metabolic Rate or BMR ] is the minimum number of calories expended while completely at rest. To get accurate results, you lie on a table while breathing into a tube for about 20 minutes – not as relaxing as a facial but also not as bad as you would think! This part of the assessment essentially can tell you how many calories to eat if you want to maintain, lose or gain weight.
-POSTURE ANALYSIS: helps to understand alignment & any limitations you may have
-BODY COMPOSITION ANALYSIS: includes body fat percentage & how hydrated your body is intracellularly & extracellularly
-FUNCTIONAL MOVEMENT SCREEN: to assess mobility, flexibility & likelihood of injury
-VO2 TEST: measures the volume of oxygen your body consumes at various levels of intensity; VO2 Max is the maximum rate of oxygen uptake or the maximum amount of oxygen your body can consume per minute; a higher max = a higher ability to intensely exercise
To get my results, I waited about a week & then returned to see Dave where he talked me through my results, gave me a guide for training & walked me a through a few exercises.
My biggest surprise? My fitness level [ V02 Max ] is much higher than I thought [ take that middle school dreaded 1-milers ]. At 40. 6, I am considered highly ranked among my peers. Also, I need to start carrying my hold-everything-aka-Mary-Poppins purse on my other shoulder as I’m slightly lopsided [ thanks posture analysis ]. Oops.
My biggest not-such-a-surprise? I’m not suuuuper flexible & my trunk stability [ core strength ] sucks, but if I would have taken this test a year ago, it would be have been worse, so hey, movin’ on up?
Coolest part? I really liked learning about my RMR – kind of crazy how many calories your body burns completely at rest. If you really want to get scientific about weight loss/gain/etc, Equinox has that covered, as my results told me exactly how much I would need to eat & exercise to achieve various goals.
Biggest takeaway? I need to do more strength training. I’ve got the whole cardio thing pretty much on lock, but to really see some changes in my body, I need to strength train 3 times a week with cardio intervals/cardio spaced between.
All in all, this was a fantastic experience & is an essential component for those looking for an individualized and results-oriented program or if you want to know more about what your body can do & why. I’m even more driven than I was before to continually test my fitness & yes, if you were wondering, strength training is now part of my routine!
Thank you to EQUINOX for my assessment. Also check out their informative BLOG, Q for all the latest in fitness & health. All opinions are my own.