Tuesday, July 30, 2013

DIY Gold Leaf Agate Coasters

I fell in love with these Jonathan Adler coasters when I visited the Newport Beach store earlier this month, but the $125 price tag for four coasters was less than appealing. 

I'm pretty sure I squealed when I saw these Threshold faux agate coasters at Target for just $10, and I had grand plans for them.

After purchasing a gold leafing kit from Michaels for $10, I was ready to glam-ify my coasters. The kit includes an adhesive, four gold leaf sheets, and a sealant. 

Step 1: Apply Adhesive with a brush (I used an old eyeshadow brush) where you want to apply the gold leaf. Let it sit for about 15 minutes, until it becomes tacky. 

Step 2: Take one sheet of your gold leaf and press it onto the edge of each coaster.

Step 3: Gently peel the extra sheet off from around the edges and use the remainder of the sheet on the other coasters. I only used 1 1/2 sheets on all four coasters.

Here's how they look after step 3.

Step 4: Apply the sealer with the same brush to the edges of each coaster to secure the gold leaf, and let dry. It will add a creamy look to the edges (pictured), but it dries completely clear.

...And Voila!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

HIIT Treadmill Workout

When it comes to cardio, HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) is the best way to strip body fat without losing muscle. Innumerable studies have found that practicing HIIT reduces body fat quicker and more effectively than steady state cardio. I always start with a three minute warm up, and then alternate between intense and moderate cardio on the treadmill with small rest periods. To get the most out of your HIIT workout, do not spend more than three minutes at a high intensity, and do not spend more than two minutes on a rest period. 

You'll see below that I alternate between walking (rest), running (intense), and walking at an incline (moderate-intense). The pink numbers reflect the moderate and intense exercise, and the black represents rest.  I do this workout four days per week after weight lifting, and I change up my HIIT routine ever so slightly every once in awhile to avoid muscle memory. This can involve just one extra incline level, or a quicker MPH while I run. 

Happy HIIT!!

Monday, July 22, 2013

Inspired By Oscar De La Renta: Yellow Maxi Skirt And A Black Lace Top

Being the Oscar De La Renta and maxi skirt (and dress) lover that I am, I knew I had to re-create this look that I found on Pinterest. How stunning is the delicate lace top with the bright, luxurious maxi skirt?! Perfection.
My take:

Top: Joie, similar//Skirt: Forever 21, similar//Necklace: BCBG, similar//

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Workout Tips


The following tips are those that I've learned through trial and error, advice from trainers, and through my own research. Each have made a HUGE difference in how I feel as well as my results. I wish I had known about these tips when I started working out so that I could've been more efficient and pleased with quicker results.

-Drink Caffeine before working out. Caffeine is a stimulant. It gives you extra stamina and increases your heart rate, improving blood flow from the heart to the rest of your body, therefore it helps you perform well during a workout with less fatigue. It also increases the amount of adrenaline in your system, causing a rush of extra glucose and oxygen to your muscles. With the extra glucose rushing into the muscles, your muscles will use less glycogen, which is essentially energy. Instead of using up glycogen as you exercise, your body will instead begin to burn fat first. This is described as "glycogen sparing". I like to drink an iced {black} coffee about an hour before I work out, and I'll drink some as I exercise (with water too, of course).

-Do all strength training before cardio. Your body uses stored energy (glycogen) during exercise. When glycogen levels are low, energy levels will subsequently be low. So, if you do your cardio before strength training, you'll use up your body's energy source for an intense workout. For this reason, it's best to lift weights first for maximization of muscle building and fat loss. I used to always do cardio before strength training, and after a very kind trainer educated me on the many reasons I was doing things backwards, I noticed a HUGE difference in my energy levels, muscle growth, and fat loss. If I take a weight lifting class or a cardio based class, I make sure to incorporate weights before the cardio class or cardio after the weights class. Most days I work out on my own, and have a strength training/cardio routine.

-Eat carbs before your workout, and fill up on protein after your workout.  Here we go again with glycogen talk! Eating carbohydrates about an hour before a workout will load your muscles with preferred energy, AKA glycogen. This doesn't mean you should eat a baguette or 10 candy bars! I usually eat 1-2 mashed sweet potatoes or 1-2 brown rice cakes topped with raw almond butter before a workout. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition published an article stating that consuming protein after your workout will replenish your muscles to promote growth and repair. Not eating protein afterwards is almost counterproductive. This is why you'll see some people downing a protein shake as they finish a workout and leave the gym. I am not a fan of protein shakes, so I bring my protein pancakes with me and eat a couple after I complete a workout.

-Practice High Intensity Interval Training {HIIT} Cardio. Conventional cardio wisdom says that doing cardio for a long time at a steady state is the most beneficial for fat loss, but several studies have shown that this is complete hogwash. When you do cardio at a steady state for long periods of time, your muscles will deteriorate, and they will lose the ability to absorb glucose, thus you will lose muscle tissue. HIIT is described as "A strategy that involves alternating periods of short intense anaerobic exercise with less-intense recovery periods." I will be sharing my HIIT workouts next week!

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

DIY Boyfriend Jeans

I had these very old bootcut jeans in the back of my closet waiting to be DIY-ed for years. I am the anti-pack rat and get rid of clothing that I don't wear or that doesn't fit, so it was meant to be that I saved these two sizes too big, out of style jeans! I knew I wanted another pair of boyfriend jeans, as the one pair I do own are light blue and are pretty distressed. 

Super unflattering and too big! 

STEP ONE: Mark your jeans where you want to cut them. I wanted the bottom of the jeans to hit my shin a few inches above my ankles. 

STEP TWO: {Not pictured} Cut the bottom of the jeans in a straight line across at the place marked. 

STEP THREE: {Not pictured} Roll the cut-off portion to cover the frayed edge that was cut and sew to secure at seams. I actually pulled mine in a bit as well to eliminate more of the flare from the bootcut shape. Don't fear the sewing part--it's very easy with just a needle and thread. This part took me 30 minutes total for both sides.

STEP FOUR: Place the cardboard underneath the area(s) to be distressed to protect the other side of the jeans. 

STEP FIVE: Take a razor blade or exacto knife and gently move it across the area you want your jeans to be distressed. Gently remove excess jean fuzz that will ball up as you distress.

I distressed the pockets and both sides around the outer thigh and hip. I'm considering adding some more distressing, but it's better to take it slow if you're not sure how much distressing you want.



Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Disneyland Outfit

Last weekend was sweltering hot in LA, and being at Disneyland on one of the highest record temperatures in the last year was *extra* special. I wore a slouchy Zara tee, a light, airy pair of scalloped shorts and flat sandals--a similar outfit that I posted in my "What To Wear To Disneyland" post.

Zara Tee, similar//Old Navy Shorts, similar//Target Sandals//Bag, similar//House of Harlow Sunglasses//

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