Friday, February 28, 2014

Trust Fund Beauty: Hold the Drama

The weekend before last, I joined a small group of other bloggers at Joey Bentall One in downtown Vancouver for lunch, drinks, and some eco-beauty chat. The get-together was organized by a local blogger who also reps some non-toxic and eco-friendly products and she wanted to share with a few fellow bloggers some of the products from the brands that she loves.

One of the brands that the brand rep brought for us to check out was Trust Fund Beauty, and we each got to pick out two nail polish colors from this brand. Trust Fund Beauty hasn't even officially been launched yet, so I was excited to be able to check out a spankin' new polish brand! The two polishes I selected were Stole Your Man (a pale golden, shimmery polish) and Hold the Drama (a minty-pistachio color with multi-colored hex glitter).

Hold the Drama is the one I'm showing you today!

Trust Fund Beauty Nail Polish in Hold the Drama

This is with three coats of Hold the Drama, and two coats of Orly's Preamp on my ring finger.

Trust Fund Beauty Nail Polish in Hold the Drama, Green polish with multi colored hex

These Trust Fund Beauty polishes are supposedly 5-free, meaning they're supposed to be free of Dibutyl Phthalate, Toluene, Formaldehyde, Formaldehyde Resin, and Camphor. I had to Google "5-free" because this sort of thing is not my bag, baby. I mean, obviously nail polish is a "thing" for me, but reading the ingredient list is..... nawt. I know that's not good, but there's enough general anxiety running through me as it is (I'm a bit of a hypochondriac and a worry wart!), that adding "chemicals" to the list of worries always feels a bit heavy.

Funny enough though... I've never thought about chemicals while painting my nails so much as I did while using this nail polish, because it is reeeeeeally stinky. Definitely requires more ventilation than your average nail polish. It actually was making me feel kind of sick, so I had to remove the polish right after I painted my nails and snapped these pictures!  I don't know much at all about eco-friendly beauty products. I'm not sure if the strong polish smell was because of the ingredients that the product doesn't include? Do 5-free polishes tend to smell stronger?

As I mentioned, this was a pre-launch special treat for us. These 17mL/0.57 fl oz bottles will be priced at $16 per bottle.

p.s. You can learn more about 3-free and 5-free nail polish at this useful blog.

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This is not a sponsored post, but I did receive this polish for free!

{Linking up with The Nail Files, What I'm Loving Fridays, Friday's Fab Favorites, Beauty Buzz}

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Cartems Donuterie in Vancouver

So about a month ago I was in downtown Vancouver waiting at a bus stop when I looked across the street and realized there was a donut shop there that I'd never seen before.

Cartems Donuterie in Vancouver

I was all, "Whaaaaaa!?!" and nearly ran across the street right that instant, dodging cars Frogger-style and abandoning my plans to get onto any bus that would take me further away from this donut shop.

I've got a bit of a thing for donuts.

Well I didn't launch myself into traffic that particular day, but you can bet your sweet ass that Cartems Donuterie went into my mental pocket and stayed there. I knew I'd be back.

A couple of weeks later I was downtown running errands and decided to bop into the donuterie to check it out, which was - as you can imagine - an amazing decision on my part. The place was hoppin'!

The bright white high ceilings and exposed brick make the place seem pretty big, and the open bakery in the back of the room extends back even further:

Cartems Donuterie in Vancouver, from the inside

Look at this clever table and chair situation they have in one of the front window corners:

Table with log stools inside Cartems Donuterie in Vancouver

So Cartems is the kind of donut place that serves really special flavors - not just the "chocolate glazed" or "raspberry filled" type of stuff. While Cartems doesn't seem to feature outlandish toppings like that of, say, Voodoo Doughnut, they do have some interesting combos and tantalizing flavors. During that first afternoon trip to the donuterie (yes, the first - I've obviously gone back again since), I picked up a Citrus Dust donut and a Salted Caramel donut... Guys. They were both really, really, really good. I ate the citrus one on my way home that day.

From the Cartems website:
Citrus Dust: Four citrus fruits, that we juice ourselves, and essential oils make up the glaze. Peeled and dried citrus zest is then blended into a dust and sprinkled on top for an extra kick.
Salted Caramel: A chocolate donut topped with sweet buttery goodness and course sea salt. Sweet and salty deliciousness.
And when I say that these donuts were "really good" I do not only mean that they tasted fantastic. I also want you to understand how soft and fluffy these donuts were. We're talking very well-made donuts. These guys know what they're doing! The second one was even still super soft and fluffy the next day!

Other flavors included Earl Grey, Maple Walnut, Chocolate Sweet Snow, Triple Chocolate Threat, Canadian Whiskey Bacon, Mexican Mole, Classic Vanilla (with vanilla bean frosting!). There are vegan and gluten free flavors available as well. They also have different feature flavors daily. You can read descriptions of all of these amazing donuts on their website here.

You definitely pay for the quality of the donuts at Cartems...

Pricing of donuts and drinks at Cartems Donuterie
.  nawt cheap  .
But..... delicious fried dough and sugar.

Fast forward a couple more weeks and I found myself on a bus heading all the way downtown with one thing on my brain: DOZE DONUTS DOE.

Yep, I was going back. And, I mean... if you're going to go all that way just to get a donut... you might as well get half a dozen of them, right? So I did.


Half dozen donuts from Cartems Donuterie

Mixed half dozen donuts from Cartems Donuterie
Clockwise from top left: Raspberry Lemonade, Apple Crumble, Chocolate Sweet Snow, Triple Chocolate Threat, Salted Caramel, and Chocolate Glazed. So good, so good, so good

It says on the Cartems Donuterie website that the business is about three key things: smiles, conversation, and donuts.  I can vouch for the first and the last - I didn't converse with anyone either time that I was there.

Also... they freaking DELIVER via bike to the downtown area. Perhaps you noticed their delivery bike propped up against the window in some of the above pictures. So get your donut delivery on, ladiiiiies!

Are you as crazy about donuts as I am?

What's your favorite donut flavor?

If you don't like donuts, what's wrong with you?

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This isn't a sponsored post, I just really effing love donuts.

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Monday, February 24, 2014

LUSH Catastrophe Cosmetic Fresh Face Mask

Another day, another mask to smear all over my face!

I tried another one of LUSH's Fresh Face Masks and thought I'd share with you my opinions on it. This time I picked up Catastrophe Cosmetic, a "blueberry-packed maintenance mask," as the LUSH site describes it.

Lush Fresh Face Mask, Catastrophe Cosmetic

This was on my list of "next masks to try" because - as I've said before - my skin is a real bitch and it needs all the extra love it can get. From the LUSH site:
Prevent disasters by taking regular care of your skin with our deep-cleansing, nutrient-rich blueberry mask. The little blue bulbs are packed with vitamins, and blended into calamine, rose absolute and chamomile blue oil to soothe redness, irritation and cleanse the skin without stripping it of its natural oils. This one is wonderfully soothing on sensitive skin. Treat your face to Catastrophe Cosmetic as often as you can to keep your skin looking its best.
I was already broken out, so I guess "preventing disasters" was not in the cards, but a nutrient-rich mask with calamine sounded like it couldn't hurt.

Lush Fresh Face Mask, Catastrophe Cosmetic, blueberry calamine face mask

Like the other face masks I've tried (Oatifix and Cupcake) Catastrophe Cosmetic should be applied over a clean face and left on for 5-10 minutes before being rinsed off with warm water.

CC is more clay-like than Oatifix or Cupcake. (As a reminder, Oatifix was like an oatmealy banana bread batter and Cupcake had more of a brownie batter consistency.)  The smell of these masks seems to be a big deal for me, personally. What they smell like - and how strongly they smell that way - can be either a selling point or a huge deterrent. In this particular case... it's a bit of a deterrent I'm sad to say!

Catastrophe Cosmetic smells like chalky blueberry floral clay. Yep. Read that a few times. Weird. Anyway, I did as instructed and smeared a nice thick layer of it all over my clean face. You may have seen me show off the look on Instagram. (Oh yeah, by the way, I'm sort of on Instagram now ~> find me at @akaBaileyBlog. Don't mind the lack of a profile picture - I haven't felt beautiful enough to take a selfie in like a month thanks to all of my aforementioned skin problems.)

Trying out LUSH's Catastrophe Cosmetic face mask
.  but i will take this blueberry-smeared selfie!  .
This mask felt like it dried on my skin a lot faster than the other two, I found. I left it on for about 10 minutes before rinsing it off.

Several minutes after washing off the mask, I noticed that my skin didn't feel clean - it felt like there was still residue on my skin. So I went and re-rinsed. My face still felt un-clean after the second rinse! Did I do something wrong?? My hands even felt dried out, having touched the face mask!

Over the next week or so, my skin did not improve at all. I'd even say my breakouts got worse, though I wouldn't blame the face mask for that. I blame a combination of bad luck, hormones, and possibly... a less-than-stellar diet. #HelloDoughnuts. #HelloIceCream. #HelloSaltyPopcornTwists. #GOODBYESELFRESPECT.

I'd heard that you can actually use these fresh face masks beyond their expiration date if you keep them in your refrigerator. I still had plenty of product left, but my skin was so out of control that I was hesitant to use the CC mask again while I was broken out, so I decided to keep the mask for about a week beyond the expiration date.  When I was finally feeling brave enough to use it again on my face, I opened it up to discover a few spots of mold inside the product, so I had to throw the rest of it away. (By the way, I also rinsed out my little black pot and stashed it with my others, because if you bring back 5 of the empty pots, they'll give you a face mask for free!)

So all in all, I won't be repurchasing this mask. I didn't care for the smell and didn't like the way my face felt after using it. So far the winner of LUSH's face masks is Oatifix, which smells incredible and left my face feeling really soft and moisturized.

Here are all the ingredients inside of Catastrophe Cosmetic:

Calamine Powder , Talc , Irish Moss (Chondrus crispus) , Fresh Blueberries (Vaccinium myrtillus) , Glycerine , Almond Oil (Prunus dulcis) , Rose Absolute (Rosa damascena) , Chamomile Blue Oil (Matricaria Chamomilla) , Sweet Wild Orange Oil (Citrus Dulcis) , *Limonene , Methyl Ionone , Perfume

LUSH's fresh face masks come in 45g pots that cost $6.95. Let me know in the comments if you have tried one of their masks and think I should check it out!

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I purchased this face mask myself!

Sunday, February 23, 2014

The Freakin' Weekend + Workouts of the Week

Not to brag or anything, but I've kinda been kicking this weekend's ass. I had a to-do list a mile long and have been crossing things off of it like whoa. Dave was away from Friday morning until Saturday evening, and I was so busy that I PRACTICALLY DIDN'T EVEN NOTICE HE WAS GONE. Sawry, Dave.

My weekend kicked off with a Friday evening workout at a practically empty gym (whoohoo!), where I learned a new skill after recruiting a gym employee to show me a thing or two about the row machine. On the way home from the gym, I fit in a quick but surprisingly successful trip to the 4th Ave Salvation Army, where I found an awesome pair of AE corduroy pants, a cute sweater top, and a graphic t-shirt.

The rest of my Friday night consisted of leftover pizza for dinner (that part wasn't that exciting), an ice cream sundae from a new ice cream place on 4th Ave that I've been meaning to check out, and watching Justin Timberlake on the Jimmy Fallon Tonight Show. I fell asleep that night while watching The Rescuers Down Under on Netflix in bed.

My Saturday began bright and early - and with the pleasant realization that it was snowing lightly outside. It hasn't snowed much in Vancouver the whole time I've been living here, so it's always sort of a treat. I honestly don't miss the snowy, cold winters of Massachusetts, but it is nice to have some snow falling every once in awhile.

I won't bore you with all the details, but my successful Saturday of to-doing included:
  • depositing a check at the bank first thing in the morning (the teller commended me for "coming out in this snow," so I told her that I'm from Massachusetts and that "this isn't snow.")
  • putting money onto my laundry card
  • enjoying a solo breakfast at Abigail's Party
  • stopping at the market for bananas and milk
  • doing 4 loads of laundry
  • an exciting afternoon activity of making a breakfasty quinoa with bananas, vanilla extract, cinnamon, brown sugar, and milk. It was exciting because I somehow managed to let the quinoa boil over 3 freaking times. (Sidebar: this quinoa recipe was pretty good, but I have big plans for making it taste way better the next time I make it! Then I'll share the recipe!)
  • scrubbing my entire bathroom, top to bottom
  • cleaning a ton of dishes
  • renting and watching Runner Runner
  • getting my tax stuff ready to send to my accountant (who is also my uncle)
  • eating a dinner with David of delicious chicken tacos from LOCAL (I raved about these in my 2013 Favorites blog)
On top of all of that, I also managed to take and edit a ton of pictures AND EVEN WRITE THIS BLOG THAT YOU'RE READING RIGHT NOW.

Today I've got a few more odds and ends on the to-do list but most of the big things were crossed off yesterday. I love making a to-do list every weekend - it helps me feel super productive! Do you make to-do lists too?

I got in 4 decent workouts this past week, and there may even be another exercise sesh in my day today. We'll see how the day progresses! Here's what I did at the gym last week:

2/17 (lower body)
5 mins elliptical
15 squats, holding 25 lbs
1:00 plank
1:00 plank
60 weighted calf raises, 12.5 lbs each hand
1:00 plank
60 bridges
20 deadlifts, 12.5 lbs each hand
1:00 plank
40 side lunges + plyometric pushoff (each side)
1:30 plank

2/19 (upper body)
   12 chest press on exercise ball, 12.5 lbs each hand
   12 bent over rows each arm, holding 12.5 lbs
   12 close grip chest press on exercise ball, 12.5 lbs each hand
   12 Arnold press, 10 lbs each hand
   12 deltoid flys, 5 lbs each hand (+ 10 more mini flys with left arm)
   12 deltoid raises, 5 lbs each hand (+ 10 more mini raises with left arm)
 15 squats, holding 25 lbs

2/21 (lower body and core)
10 mins rowing machine
   15 squats holding 25 lbs
   30 Russian get ups, holding 5 lbs     
   40 calf raises, 15 lbs each hand
   15 deadlifts, 15 lbs each hand
   20 lying overhead raise + double crunch, holding 5 lbs
   30 cobras
60 bridges

2/22 (upper body and core)
5 mins elliptical
12 chest press on exercise ball, 12.5 lbs each hand
30 weighted v-sit twists w/ 12.5 lbs
12 bent over rows each arm, holding 12.5 lbs
30 weighted crunches on exercise ball, holding 12.5 lbs
12 close grip chest press on exercise ball, 12.5 lbs each hand
30 Russian get ups, holding 8 lbs
12 Arnold press, 10 lbs each hand
1:00 plank
12 deltoid flys, 7.5 lbs each hand
12 deltoid raises, 7.5 lbs each hand
30 cobras
15 squats, holding 25 lbs

If I do go to the gym today it will most likely just be for cardio. I'm going to try to mix-up my cardio a little more to keep things interesting. The row machine came into the mix on Friday, and I think the Stair Master is calling my name next.

Speaking of throwing things into the mix (not a great segue, but shut up), I love enjoying a glass of chocolate milk after the gym as part of my post-workout routine. I have heard that chocolate milk is a great recovery drink because of the combination of carbs and protein. Admittedly, I didn't do much research on this because when someone tells me I ought to have chocolate as part of my workout recovery, I will take their word for it, #AMIRIGHTLADIES?!

Post workout recovery chocolate milk

What do you do to get in your post-workout protein? Do you drink protein shakes? Have a favorite protein bar? Let me know!

I hope you're having a good weekend! Have you been checking things off of your list?


Friday, February 21, 2014

Black & White Nails: Stripes and Polka Dots

I had high hopes for today's nails, as I prematurely boasted yesterday on my Facebook page. As it turns out, even with the aid of nail stickers, the "stripes" aspect of my "stripes and polka dots" nails didn't turn out perfectly. My stripe game needs some work! But my polka dot game is pretty on-point in this mani, if I DEW SAY SEW MYSELF, so hopefully you'll still enjoy it:

Black and white nails, polka dots and stripes

For these nails, I used:
  • Snow Me White by Sinful Colors
  • Stiletto by Revlon
  • Quo by Orly dotting tool
  • Quo by Orly detailer brush
  • Essence nail art stickers (featured here)
  • tweezers

For anyone curious, the dotting tool and detailer brush were part of a Quo by Orly set called Instant Artist. I bought it last year in this haul.

Black nails with white polka dots, white nails with black stripes

I started by painting all of my nails black, except my ring finger, which I painted white. Then I added the white polka dots to all of the black nails using my fail-safe method of making polka dots. After trimming down a few of the nail sticker strips, I lay them carefully across my ring finger and pressed them down firmly to (TRY TO) make sure that no polish would bleed around the edges. Then I used the black polish to paint over all the exposed white stripes on my nail and quickly used my tweezers to remove the strips before the black polish could dry or become tacky.

Black nails with white polka dots, white nail with black stripes as an accent nail

After removing the strips, I wasn't really super pleased with how my stripes looked. There was some bleeding, and the polish had apparently become slightly tacky before I'd removed the strips, so there was a tiny bit of "string-age" going into some of the white stripes.

Black nails with white polka dots, white nail with black stripes as an accent nail

Guys, I've never spent so much time on detailed clean-up of a mani. I know you wouldn't know it by looking at the final product, but I really did spend awhile trying to make that striped finger look better! First I used the detailer brush dipped in white polish to try to clean up the white stripes. Then I spent foreverrrrr using that same tiny detailed brush dipped in acetone to try to clean-up all around the cuticles on that nail. It's really hard not to make a mess all over your nail edges when you're using the striped lines tape/sticker method. If you know a secret to keep it clean, please share with me.

aka Bailey: Black and White nails, polka dots and stripes

David is gone today and tomorrow, off on a hiking and camping trip with a friend. I'll have to keep myself entertained the next day or so, which shouldn't be too much of a problem. There is probably a solid amount of ice cream, laundry, take-out, writing, photo-editing and YouTube-watching in my near future. SHOULD BE A SOLID TIME.

What are you up to this weekend?

Know any good movies I should try to Netflix/RedBox?

What's your favorite YouTube channel?

Random update on 2/24/14: I completely forgot to mention that this mani was inspired by a fashion blogger's outfit! Alison over at Get Your Pretty On did a blog post where she was rocking a white-with-black-stripes top with a black-with-white-polka-dots scarf, and I thought the combo of the two B&W looks with two different patterns was so cool! I pinned Alison's outfit onto my Nail Polish board here! Sidebar, follow me on Pinterest for a good time. ;)


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Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Pops of Green in Grey Vancouver

One of the things I love about the weather in the Pacific Northwest (which is how I continue to refer to Vancouver, even though technically I should be saying "Southwest" now that I'm a Canadian resident), is that the mix of rainy days and sunny days makes everything a gorgeous, healthy shade of green.

This past Sunday started out as a beautiful clear day with blue skies, so I thought it would be a perfect time to head out for a walk with my camera and try to snap some pictures around my Kitsilano neighborhood. It seemed like too long since I'd taken some good Vancouver photos, and I was excited to see what sorts of pretty things would catch my eye out in the sunlight. Unfortunately by the time I'd finished getting ready to go outside, it had turned rather overcast again. Womp womp. Not to be deterred, I still donned my jacket and hat, stuffed my camera into my pocket, and headed outside. Here are some of the random snapshots from my walk:

Monkey puzzle tree in Vancouver
.  the monkey puzzle tree  .

A fern growing in the nook of a mossy tree in Vancouver
.  fern growing in the nook of a mossy tree  .

Bright green moss in Vancouver
.  thick, bright moss growing on a tree  .

Tree covered in moss on one side
.  this tree was completely covered in moss on its north side... and devoid of any on its south side  .

A tree that's covered in moss on one side
.  half mossy  .

Moss covered curb
.  mossy curb and pavement, as seen from directly above  .

Rows of green plants in Vancouver
.  green lines  .

.  slightly different green lines  .
The grey skies were an omen, obviously. It started raining on me when I was still several blocks away from my house that afternoon. Not that I really minded -  I just tucked my camera away and scurried home. It's been raining off and on for over a week now, which is normal. We'd been spoiled by unseasonably sunny days for several weeks prior to this rainy stretch, so I can't really complain. After all, without all the rainy days, we wouldn't have all these pops of green all over the place!

I hope you are all having a great week. Has it been rainy or snowy wherever you are?


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Tuesday, February 18, 2014

My Gym Essentials

A successful workout for me involves several ducks aligning perfectly into a row that culminates with me eventually leaving the gym a bit sweatier - and a bit more self-satisfied and smug. (If you ever see me walking home from the gym, you will notice my swagger... and you will also notice that I am singing/rapping along audibly to whatever is playing in my headphones, with a pompousness that wasn't present on my walk TO the gym.)

Here's my step-by-step prep for heading to the gym, as well as what essentials I grab to bring with me in my gym bag:

Before I'm ready to head out the door, I start with some of Proactiv's Oil Free Moisturizer on my face. This is an oil-free, very lightweight, non-greasy moisturizer that I like to throw on before the gym because it's so light and absorbs almost instantly. I don't want to leave my face dry, but don't want to wear my thicker Aveeno daily moisturizer. This one is perfect.

Proactiv Oil Free Moisturizer

Tom's Long-Lasting Deodorant in a wild lavender scent. I guess I don't need to say much about this - it's just deodorant. I use Tom's because it isn't an antiperspirant, and it's aluminum-free. Ladies, if you are still using an antiperspirant with aluminum, you should probably read a thing or two about that before you continue to do so.

.  tom's long lasting deodorant in wild lavender  .

Sephora Full Action Extreme Effect Mascara. I like this mascara because it's easy to remove, which is important to me when I'm just putting it on to go to the gym. Maybelline's The Rocket is my daily mascara, but it's so difficult to remove (even though it isn't waterproof) that it's not worth it for me to put it on before I go to the gym, just to wrestle with it an hour and a half later when I'm back at home and about to jump in the shower. Putting on a full face of makeup isn't me, in general, so it's especially not "me" when it comes to going to the gym. (Some girls go to the gym with their bronzer and eyeliner on, and honestly I don't give much of a crap if that's your style, but it's not mine!) But I do think that putting on a little swipe of mascara before heading out to the gym gives me boost of girl power. (Did I just type that? Good lord.)

Full action Extreme Effect Mascara from Sephora
.  sephora full action extreme effect mascara  .

Maybelline Baby Lips lip balm in Quenched. Getting dry lips while you're working out is the worst. THE WORST. I've raved about Baby Lips before, so I'll spare you too many details here. Suffice to say this balm keeps my lips moisturized - dare I say "quenched"?? - without adding any color. Basically the perfect "don't have to look in a mirror to apply" lip balm. This goes into my jacket pocket as I'm on my way out the door!

Maybelline Baby Lips lip balm in Quenched
.  maybelline baby lips in quenched  .

Stud earrings. I discovered about 6 months ago that something about wearing a pair of simple but sparkly earrings makes me feel better about life while I'm working out. Seeing my little studs catch the light while I'm doing a shoulder press makes me feel a bit prettier at the gym. (Almost distracts from my bright red face and sweat-dripping brow.) Certainly, no one at the gym gives a crap if I'm wearing earrings or not, but it makes a pleasant difference to me. AND IT'S ALL ABOUT ME, after all.

Simple sparkly stud earrings

My gym locker lock/key. Now I know what you're thinking: "Bail, your locker lock is probably the most boring thing you could write about." And you're right. So I won't write about it. You can just deduce from the context of the rest of this blog that it comes with me to the gym. I won't even show it to you again in a picture. If you're really interested, you can scroll back up and notice it smack in the center of the first picture in this blog. My, I've managed to write a lot about this lock that I vowed not to write about, haven't I? Let's move on.

iPod Nano 8GB. I cannot workout without music. I JUST CAN'T. So my iPod Nano is an absoluuuuuute gym essential. This little guy was a birthday present from my mom back in November 2008. I know this because she had the back of it personalized with my name and the message Happy Birthday 2008. She bought me a newer iPod Touch 16GB for my 2012 birthday - which I use the crap out of - but when it comes to my workout music, the itty bitty Nano still just makes more sense for me to bring to the gym. Plus, I already had the arm-strap/fitness case to fit my Nano, as you can see...

Charcoal iPod Nano 8GB 2008 model, with black DLO Fitness Case and arm strap

DLO Action Jacket for iPod Nano. And this is the fitness case I use! I've had this for a few years now and have always liked it. The velcro is still SUPER sticky after all these years and the arm strap hasn't lost any elasticity. The case has a belt clip so you can remove the iPod part from the strap part and clip it right onto your clothing or bra strap. Sometimes I have to remove the iPod from my arm strap to avoid getting free weights caught in the dangling headphone cord, and it's handy that I can just quickly unclip the iPod from the arm strap and re-clip it right onto my bra strap.

Charcoal iPod Nano 8GB 2008 model, with DLO Fitness Case and arm strap
.  ipod nano 8gb (newest models here) / arm band (similar)  .

Two pairs of sneakers - one pair for walking to the gym, and one pair for my actual workouts. My "to the gym" sneakers are my Nike Alvord 8 running shoes. I've had these since 2010 and they were my gym sneakers until last spring when I replaced them with my Nike In-Season TR2 cross-trainers. The Alvords are still in fine condition for walking around and running errands - perfect for taking me to the gym while my cross-trainers stay safe and clean in my gym bag. The TR2s were featured in my 2013 Favorites blog, so feel free to read more about them there.

Nike Alvord 8 in grey and pink, bright pink MEC backpack, black and silver Nike In-Season TR2
.   nike alvord / mec daypack / nike in-season tr2  .

Finally, the bag I take to the gym with me is that freaking fabulous bright pink backpack from MEC that you can see above. I love this daypack; it's cute, useful, and super lightweight. It's got a chest strap with a clip as well as a little zipped pocket on the inside, which is where I tuck my phone/locker lock/gym card.

Often I try to leave my wallet/debit card at home when I go to the gym, to avoid those spur-of-the-moment trips into London Drugs that often get me into trouble. There are way too many cool stores between my apartment and the gym... sometimes it's best to avoid temptation all together!

What are all of your essentials when it comes to heading to the gym?

Do you bring a water bottle or a sweat towel with you?

If you want some workout ideas, you can read my last "Workouts of the Week" blog here.


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All products were purchased by me.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Workouts of the Week

Heyoooo, I hope you're having a good weekend! On Friday night, Dave and I picked up a TON of delicious Chinese food and some snacks/candy, and ate it while we watched the first two episodes of Season 2 of House of Cards.  Anyone else watching that show? I'm not hooked on it (like I was with Orange Is the New Black), but it's a perfectly lovely way for me to spend a Valentine's evening with my gentleman.

Yesterday I started off my day with a trip to the gym, followed by a lunch with some blogging buddies (Stephanie, Alison, Jayne, Amy and Jen). Lunch was a great time, and I was really glad to have started my day with a workout. It feels good to be going back to the gym more regularly the last few weeks. I feel stronger already!

Here's a quick instagram pic I shared of the French braid I rocked to the gym on Friday...
French braids remind me of being a kid.

French braid and workout clothes
.  #BraidSelfie  .

These are the workouts I did at the gym this past week - and feel free to click on any of the exercises to view a video demo:

2/9 (cardio with a little bit of legs and a little upper back)
35 mins biking (8+ miles)
  - 15 deadlifts, 15 lbs each hand
  - 40 calf raises, 15 lbs each hand
12 lat pulldowns, 40 lbs
12 lat pulldowns, 50 lbs

2/11 (upper body and core)
5 mins biking
15 chest press on exercise ball, 12.5 lbs each hand
30 v-sit twist holding 12.5 lbs
15 bent over rows each arm, holding 12.5 lbs
30 Russian get ups, holding 5 lbs
15 Arnold press, 10 lbs each hand
15 close grip chest press, 12.5 lbs each hand
15 deltoid flys (+ 5 more on left arm), 5 lbs each hand
1:00 plank
15 deltoid raises (+ 5 more on left arm), 5 lbs each hand
30 cobras
15 lat pulldowns, 40 lbs
15 lat pulldowns, 50 lbs
15 lat pulldowns, 60 lbs

2/14 (lower body and core)
5 mins elliptical
15 squats, 25 lbs
1:00 plank
30 side lunges + plyometric pushoff (each side)
1:00 plank
60 bridges + 60 heat wave
1:00 plank
40 calf raises, 12.5 lbs each hand
1:00 plank
1:00 plank
15 deadlifts, 12.5 lbs each hand
1:00 plank
12 lat pulldowns, 30 lbs
12 lat pulldowns, 40 lbs
12 lat pulldowns, 50 lbs

2/15 (cardio with a little legs)
30 mins biking, 7.3 miles
15 squats, holding 20 lbs

This week I asked Twitter for a favorite upper body move and Jenn clued me in to the Arnold press, which I'd never heard of before. It sounds intimidating because of the name, but the Arnold press is not much more than adding a little wrist rotation to a regular shoulder press. Click the linked demo above to see it! I added this move to one of my workouts this past week. Thanks again Jenn!

Do you have a favorite exercise move? 

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Saturday, February 15, 2014

A Few Good Things

Between my trip home to Massachusetts in January and the first half of my February, a stash of photos has accumulated that seemed share-worthy. Here are some highlights from the last month of my life:

This is my 3-year-old niece, Tierney. She's a sassy little peanut. 
And my Mom and Gram say that she looks a lot like 3-year-old me, which I can get down with.

My niece Tierney

This is my 5-year-old nephew Cohen. He's a little coconut sweetheart. 
He wasn't feeling very well on this particular day. 
If you must know, he threw up a few hours after this photo was taken. 
So... now you know. 

My adorable nephew Cohen

As a Christmas present, my sister Mallory and my brother-in-law Doug got the whole family passes to an indoor water park in Lake George, NY. We all went together one Saturday while I was in Mass and it was a really fun day.  Here's a look at the park:

Indoor water park, Lake George NY
.  so. much. fun.  .

My younger brother and sister made sure to come visit me in Pittsfield while I was home. My brother Rob works on the north shore of Massachusetts, and my sister Markie is in her senior year at Fitchburg State University. I was glad they made the trip - they are hysterical. Here are all four of the siblings together - we try to take a group picture whenever we can:

Me and my sibs!
.  clockwise from top  .
.  mallory, me, markie, robbie  .
Sidebar, see that piece of artwork behind Mallory's head on the wall? I made that back in 2009! It's one of my favorite collage crafts, EVER. Here's a better look at it, 
before it went into its frame:


So once I left Massachusetts and flew cross-country into Seattle, I had to then take a bus from Seattle to Vancouver. About 20 minutes into the bus ride, as we were crossing a busy viaduct in Seattle, the bus... stopped working. It just stopped working, right there in the lane! There wasn't even a breakdown lane, so we were really just stopped ON the highway.  

Rather than relay the negatives of that whole saga, I will share with you the silver lining to being broken down on the highway for 90 minutes that day: It happened to be one of Seattle's very few sunny-ish days... and we had a beautiful view of both Bainbridge Island as well as this new Seattle ferris wheel:

Ferris wheel in Seattle
Last Saturday I joined four other fabulous local bloggers for a brunch date in downtown Vancouver. Rose, Britta, Tina, Amy and I met up at Twisted Fork Bistro on Granville St. and thoroughly enjoyed our food and conversation. I love the twisted fork detail at the top of their menus...

Twisted Fork menu, Vancouver

After brunch Rose and I headed down to the Seawall and took a nice walk on the bike path in the sunshine. Until last week, Vancouver had been really dry for the last month or so, which is unusual for the winter here. It's always nice to take advantage of the sunshine when it's around... even if it means that the weather is acting quite strange and the earth is actually dying. #Oops.

Sunny day on Vancouver's Seawall bike path

So those are just a few good things that have been going on in my life this past month. I hope you're having a nice weekend!


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