No more pores!

I have been searching for the perfect products for my face forever. I have experienced many hits and misses, more so misses with a majority of everything I have tried.  I have normal/oily combination skin and have been lucky enough to be blessed with large pores around my nose. However, I think I have found a winner to fix this problem!

“DDF Wrinkle Resist Plus Pore Minimizer” is my new weapon of choice. I noticed an overnight difference when I used this lightweight serum underneath my make-up and also just as every day wear without applying any make-up.

 

Courtesy ddfskincare.com

Not only does this help my skin look amazing, it feels fantastic to apply AND it’s also an anti-aging product. I have heard that it’s never too early to start  using anti-aging products due to the fact that our skin is exposed to so many things our entire life. Skin starts losing it’s elasticity around age 23-24.

The serum is not heavy whatsoever and it leaves your skin feeling refreshed. I have had serums and moisturizers leave my skin feeling weighed down and applying make-up over top of that is just a recipe for disaster.

This product retails at about $85.00 for a 1.7oz bottle (pictured above). Which I know seems steep, but it literally takes me half of a pump of the stuff for my face. I can see this lasting a long time. However, I was also able to find the product on Amazon ranging from $35.00-$85.00.  I’ll post some pictures later to show you the proof of this amazing product!

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Budget Friendly Yoga Mat?

An awesome Groupon deal was recently referred to me from a friend that I couldn’t pass up!  I am now the proud purchaser of 30 yoga classes.  As much as I love yoga, truth be told, I am desperately need a new yoga mat and would like to purchase one before I begin any new classes.  I have been using the same cheap yoga mat for 4-5 years now and while it’s functional, I sweat a lot and slip and slide around the mat.  As a quick fix I usually just place a bath towel over my mat.  I am looking to purchase a new, non-slip mat or perhaps a non-slip towel, but nice yoga equipment is usually quite expensive.

After perusing the internet, here are my current top options:

Gaiam Premium Sticky MatGaiam Premium Sticky Yoga Mat, Gaiam, $29.98

Yogitoes Skidless Yoga TowelYogitoes Skidless Premium Mat-Size Yoga Towel, Amazon, $47.95

Aurorae Northern Lights Yoga Mat, Amazon, $44.95

Nike Dual-Sided Yogirl Yoga MatNike Dual-Sided Yogirl Yoga Mat, Sports Authority, $31.99

I have heard about and read reviews that Manduka is honestly one of the best brands of yoga mats around.  However, one of the cheapest Manduka mats I could find on Amazon was quite pricey.

Manduka BlackMatPRO 71-Inch Yoga MatManduka BlackMatPRO 71-Inch Yoga Mat, Amazon, $84

Is a more expensive and reputable yoga mat worth the investment?  What yoga mats or equipment do you use?

Lose weight all day? Sure!

While I was recently browsing through my daily morning Yahoo articles, I came across one that instantly caught my eye. “How to lose weight all day long.” Uh, Hello! Of course I’m going to read that! I was expecting the same old “don’t do this, run a lot, don’t eat this” sort of thing, but I have to say I was more than pleasantly surprised. I read the article about a week ago and I have been following it’s guidelines along with my fellow blogger, Sandi’s tips and 100 workout. So far, only in a week I have lost 2 pounds and I feel so much better already! Amazing? I know. Who knew what a little bit of advice and self-discipline could do !  So let me share these awesome tips with you!

You should try as best you can to keep your body on the same schedule.  Within an hour of waking up and before you eat breakfast, squeeze in 20 minutes of cardio. If  you can do this outside, even better. Research has shown that early morning sunlight can help your body set itself on a healthier sleep and wake schedule.

Photo Courtesy motiveweight.tumblr.com/

Before and after every meal drink 8 ounces of water.  This will help you get filled up faster and help your metabolism speed up.  After your cardio, don’t keep your body’s “feed me” scream hanging on for too long.  Make sure you eat within an hour of waking up and after your cardio.  If you put off eating breakfast for too long, it will make you even more hungry as time ticks by.

Photo Courtesy motiveweight.tumblr.com

I was not a believer in this next one until I finally did it right.  Eat every 3-4 hours.  That hunger scream comes back once you really get into the swing of the cardio in the morning because your metabolism will be faster. Keep the hunger suppressed and have a snack every few hours. I have found that snacking on things with a texture to them psycologically is better to me. Things like carrots, celery and green peppers have been my snack of choice due to the “crunch factor”.

Photo Courtesy motiveweight.tumblr.com

Around 3:30 pm is the time where if you feel you need a boost, now is the time to drink your last cup of joe!Drinking coffee after 4:00 PM disturbs your sleep cycle and can keep you from falling asleep.

From 4:00PM -8:00 PM is the best time to do your strength training. This is because it’s when your body temperature is the highest, so you’re ready for your best performance in the gym yet!

Photo Courtesy Les Mills Body Pump

To make sure you don’t have those late night cravings, eat dinner somewhere between 5:00PM and 7:00PM.

It’s crucial for your body to stay on a regular sleep schedule. Of course, we have later nights than others, but you should try to limit the number of those nights.  Your body feels more refreshed and energized when it’s on a regular sleep schedule.  So around 10:00 each night, stop texting,  turn off Jersey Shore and go to sleep!

Stick to this plan, and I can guarantee you will see results!

Progress Report

Just a quick little check in! I’ve been on my “lifestyle change” diet for about a week now and have some positive results thus far. I’ve lost 7 pounds already! Now, before you get excited because of this miracle, it was that time of the month for me last week (sorry, TMI) so I’d guess that 2-3 of those pounds are legit.

Regardless, this is good news! Way to boost my ego to help me keep on trucking.

A reminder on what I’ve been doing:

-low carb (basically no processed carbs, sugar, flour-based products)
-no artificial ANYTHING
-only drinking water
-lots of fruits and veggies
-turkey and tuna for a big portion of my animal based protein
-no soy!

I’ve been doing the 100 workout basically everyday with different forms of cardio thrown in.

Give it a whirl! It’s definitely worth the effort.

Lifestyle Change.

It is always on everyone’s mind, even you boys!  What can I do to lose weight fast and keep it off?

I don’t want to just go on another crash/fad diet (until something new comes out, ha)!  I want to slim down, get toned, and be healthy.  I have a plan.  Drum roll….

“Eat Healthy, Work Out”.  What do you think?  Sounds simple but it is much easier said than done.  I work from 6:30am until 5:00-6:00pm.  With the Los Angeles traffic, I usually get home around 7:00pm.  Sure, I have the time when I get home, but i’m often so tired!   But, these are the excuses that are keeping me from my goal weight!  No more crap 🙂

I want to eat healthy and work out in order to lose 6-8 pounds.  This sounds realistic so I am going to really go for it! No more jerking around!  Perhaps I can use this blog to publicly shame myself into staying on track?  

My Edibles Plan

  • Cut out all simple carbs like table sugar, items containing high fructose corn syrup, baked goods, chips, etc.
  • No more bread (yes, even whole wheat) unless it is sprouted wheat, made from rice flour, or quinoa.
  • Cut processed foods down to a minimum (nothing canned, packaged, artificial sweeteners, butter substitutes, etc).
  • No more soy!  I know this sounds crazy but i’m over it.  I heard that soy products (think soy milk, protein bars, etc…edamame should be OK as it is not processed yet) are incredibly difficult to break down and can hinder weight loss!
  • Eat more good fats like avocado, olive oil, coconut oil, raw nuts, etc.
  • More complex carbs!  Think fruits, veggies, sprouted wheat, quinoa, brown rice, etc.
  • No drinking alcohol, juices, diet sodas, etc.  Basically just water.
  • No more artificial sweeteners! I already mentioned this in the processed food no-no’s but I thought I would reiterate as I have a big problem with this. Mmm, Splenda!
My Work-Out Plan
  • Work out 5 days a week!
  • Cardio for 3-4 of the days.
  • Weights of some sort 2 days a week.
  • Stretch, stretch, stretch even on the 2 days I am not working out.
If I follow my own rules, maybe I will look like this:
Or this:
But hopefully not this:
Woof, scary.
__________________________________________________________________
I will track my progress online.  I will let you guys know how it goes!

PS:  I am in a friend’s wedding in April and the dress is a size too small.  So….I might be needing a crash diet in mid-March.  Let the Googling begin!  I kid, I kid!….kind of….

The 100 Workout

Clear out that coffee table and draw the blinds (seriously, you don’t want your neighbors to catch this)!  Time for another in-house workout from the interwebs.

I actually found this workout through Pinterest but no one owns it…. I hope.

Photo courtesy of Yoga Princess.

At first glance, I thought it looked easy.  Then I realized it probably wasn’t that easy.   It was challenging but not impossible.  Improv is always good!

Tips from an amatuer:

  • Take the jumping jacks seriously.  These aren’t for slacking off and rest.  Go quickly and use correct form.
  • The squats are killer!  If this part is easy, you are definitely doing it wrong. Check your form here.
  • The leg lift part might seem vague.  I took that as an inner thigh leg lift, seen here.  I tried to do as many as required at this stage on EACH leg.  IE: 70 on the right, 70 on the left; 30 on the right, 30 on the left.  This was challenging.  Do what you can 🙂
  • Don’t skip the run at the end!  So important to get that bit of steady cardio in.  But, in my opinion, 10 minutes is for whimps.

I am definitely going to keep this one in the rotation and will track my progress and share BGT!

A Massage for Half the Price!

Everyone has stress that causes tension and often, we need an outlet!  Massage has always been an enjoyable, pleasurable, and luxurious experience.  Unfortunately, the luxury comes at a steep cost.

Spas, wellness centers, and the like offer great massages with a great atmosphere.  But, the cost for these can be $130-$190 for only 50 minutes.  It is honestly outrageous.  Of course, you are paying for the frills that go with the experience.

Photo Courtesy of INARI Salon & Spa

Don’t get me wrong, we all want a great experience.  But what if you just wanted to get in, get a great massage, and get out?  That is where The Massage Place comes in handy.  Their 60 minute massage is $47.00.  Yes, $47.00!  And you can choose from a variety at the same price:

  • Swedish
  • Deep Tissue
  • Reflexology
  • Sports Massage
  • Pregnancy Massage
  • Thai
  • Shiatsu/Acupressure

No matter the option you choose, it will cost you $47.  Yes, you skimp on the sauna, glorious sitting room, and cucumber water.  But, if you are truly just looking for a professional massage without the bells and whistles, I highly recommend The Massage Place.

Unfortunately, The Massage Place is currently only serving Souther California, suckas.  

Free Pilates!

Pilates is a great workout!  It’s great for toning, strengthening, and lengthening your muscles and body.  But no matter where you live, the classes are very expensive!  Privates can be $90.00+ a session where memberships for group floor classes are around $200.00 a month.

Fortunately for all of the broke gals and boys out there, I have discovered Blogilates.  One-woman show Cassey Ho runs this great blog as well as YouTube Channel showcasing her tutorials and at-home use videos.  She is knowledgeable, bubbly, and really gets you sweating.

I have done two sessions so far and both were great!  They are free, accessible, and actually give you a great workout!  I highly recommend checking her out and giving them a try 🙂

First is Summer Slim-down.  It is a two part workout; definitely do both back to back for the desired result! I found this to be very core/back/arm intensive.

Second is New Body Makeover.  This one was ridiculous (In a good way, Cassey!).  It works out your arms, legs, and abs.  For days after, I especially felt it in my inner thighs; it was super leg intensive which is what I am always looking for!

She has a wide array of videos on her YouTube Channel and website.  I’m excited to have found her and will be following her for quite a long time!

Shred those Holiday pounds away.

How many of us are guilty every year of making that dreaded “I’m going to get in shape this year” resolution?  I’m raising my hand. Every year it seems like “I’ll get to it tomorrow” gets incorporated into my vocabulary more and more. We have used every excuse possible.  From the expensive gym membership, pricey groceries, no time, too busy, not wanting to workout alone, to simply “I just don’t feel like it”, the excuses seem to get in the way of the goal.  A new year is approaching us, and fast! 2012 is the year for all of us to make our resolution and prove that it can be done.

Some fantastic ways to get in shape and still maintain a fun and money saving lifestyle are to utilize a few of the thousands of “at home” workout dvd’s.  I’ve tried a good handful and two that really worked and kicked my butt are Zumba fitness and Jillian Michaels’ 30 day Shred. There is no need to drop big bucks on the gym membership, especially after the holidays when we all feel exceptionally broke!

Jillian Michaels’ 30 Day Shred is the more intense of the two workouts. There are three levels which each have three circuits. These workouts incorporate strength training along with cardio training.  I am in decent shape with room for improvement, and the level 1 workout had me sweating and sore the very next day.  The twenty minute workout is deceiving.  Don’t let the “20 minutes” get you excited for a short and easy workout, you’ll be sweating and yelling at the tv within 5 minutes! 30 day shred incorporates strength training along with cardio training.

Photo courtesy of herryalbleakness.blogspot.com

Zumba Fitnss is perfect for those of you who are looking for a more entertaining and upbeat workout. Zumba is a collaboration of different types of Latin dances such as salsa, tango, hip hop and merengue.  These exercises will get your heart pumping while dancing to slow and fast beats that work both your resistance training and cardio at once.  I enjoy Zumba for the pure fact that it’s so much fun you hardly feel like you’re exercising while doing it!  Just like 30 Day shred, there are different levels and dvd’s depending on what you want to focus your workout on.  For us instant gratification people, Zumba also has a twenty minute workout.  Again, just because this is the shorter of workouts time wise, it’s definitely not lacking intense exercise that will have you sweating in 5 minutes!

Photo courtesy of fitnessforless

Did I mention the amazing prices of both of these?  You can score the entire Zumba Fitness Total Body Transformation DVD set for $50.00 off of Amazon! Jillian Michaels’ 4 DVD set including the 30 day shred along with 3 of her other amazing workouts can be found for only $30.00 on Amazon!
Make this year your year to get in shape and show that New Years resolution who’s boss.

Cheap Workouts at Home? There’s an App for that.

First things first, this is the cheapest thing I have ever used from Nike…because it is free!  A slight set-back being that it is an iPhone app.  No iPhone, no free workout app.  Apple always seems to be winning.

Living in Los Angeles, the gym memberships are sky high.  The fitness clubs can be up to $150.00 a month while the boutique yoga and pilates studios are even higher!  We always have excuses for not being able to work out and expense is definitely a legitimate one.  Another issue that I often struggle with is my hermititus.  I often get into funky moods where I don’t want to leave my house; the thought of driving all the way to the gym seems so difficult and out of reach.  Thankfully, we can download the Nike Training Club app for free AND you do the workouts in the comfort of your own livingroom.

I understand that there is some skepticism with at home workouts.  It is easy to cheat, the moves can be difficult to learn on your own, and boredom sets in.  Honestly, how many times can you do that Suzanne Sommers Thigh Master toning video before you just go eat some cheetos and sit on the couch?  Fortunately, the Nike Training Club is super dynamic and easy to follow along!

There are 4 categories:

  • Get Lean-High interval cardio drills to slim down
  • Get Toned-Light weights and intervals to add definition
  • Get Strong-Increased weights and reps to build strength
  • Get Focused-15 minute workouts to target specific areas (butt buster, arm definer, back definer, etc)

Photo courtesy of Nike

Once you choose a category, you are prompted to choose a skill level (beginner, intermediate, advanced).  I choose intermediate as I am in decent shape.  I made sure to do the “Get Toned” because I didn’t have any weights at my home.  Once I selected this category, I was given a wide array of choice workouts in the cardio section ranging from 30-45 minutes.  There is a photo slideshow with descriptive text for each move so you can learn how to do it before the workout once you have selected one.

Photo courtesy of Nike

A great perk to this app is it logs your minutes spent working out!  It has pre-set goals for perks, new workouts, tips, and other rewards as you hit each minutes logged milestone.  It’s a great way to motivate you to keep going and as you unlock new workouts, the chances of you getting bored with monotony goes down.

Photo courtesy of Nike

I experienced a very challenging, yet not intimidating workout to do at home.  I was definitely a huffing and puffing sweaty mess at the end of it.   I suggest everyone with an iPhone give this a whirl; I really feel like it is worth it!