Beauty · fitness

February Finds: Valentine’s Gift Guide

February, one of the most loved and loathed month depending on who you talk to. Loved because it’s the shortest month of the year & one last hurdle to sweet springtime. Loathed because the biggest Hallmark Holiday if the year Renee place. Don’t fall victim to the last minute candy and overpriced flowers trap. Check out this gift guide and get your shopping completed early.

Gift Ideas for Her:

Adidas Gold Trefoil T

This. Is. Everything. The gold trefoil adds a little sparkle and flare to the classic symbol. Literally obsessed.

Deborah Lipmann Nail Polish Set

Shades of dirty pastels, this is the perfect color set for spring. Polishes are free of toxic chemicals and known for there extra glossy appearance. Long-lasting and gives the appearance of a gel manicure, it will keep nails healthy and beautiful. $36.

Kate Spade Multi Stipes iPhone Case

Kate Spade does it again with this phone case. Beautiful shades of blue with jewels, perfect combo. $45 for the regular iPhone and $50 for the plus.

Rebecca Minkoff Crossbody

Get ready for spring with this beautiful leather bag. Long enough to wear as a crossbody, but offers a top handle as well. The details are gorgeous on this Bag.

Layered Necklace

One of the hottest trends in jewelry right now. From baublebar you can actually design your own layered look for only $48. They have so many options available that you can’t go wrong. Plus if you signup for email you can receive 15% off.

Adia Kubr Beaded Bracelet

Beautiful beaded bracelet with tassels and flowers. Elegant and simple in shades of pink and rose gold. $70.

Pura Vida Bracelets

Not only are these bracelets beautiful, but the story behind the company is as well. Each bracelet is hand-crafted by artists around the world, offering them a better chance at life. Single bracelets are priced as low as $6 and packs can go as high as $60. With that range, styles are available at every price point. Look fashionable and support an amazing cause.

Viktor & Rolf Flowerbomb

The. Best. Perfume. Ever. Seriously, ask for it and trust me. A variety of flowers blended perfectly with vanilla, it’s simply the best. It comes in many sizes so can range from $50 upward. I chose the gift set, because you will receive the most product for this price point.

Gift Ideas for Him:

Adidas Hoodie

Adidas is making a strong comeback in my opinion. I’m currently obsessed with all their latest styles and this hoodie fits the bill. A classic throwback and perfect for loungewear or with jeans.

Adidas Shoes

A twist on the classic adidas superstar shoes, these are perfect for the man in your life. They look great with jeans or workout gear. Keep his feet stylish this year with some new shoes.

Topgolf

Topgolf is busy building entertainment locations everywhere. If you’re lucky enough to have one near you, go! They’re providing a fun evening out where you can golf, sip on beer (or fine beverages, and grab a bite to eat. A unique driving range experience with bays that are outdoors. Classes and lessons are available, plus you can reserve a bay online.

Chrome

Cologne, enough said. Yes, completely stereotypical BUT one whiff of this cologne and you won’t be disappointed. Chrome is the perfect musky blend mixed with citrus. Your man will absolutely love this masculine scent. $65-$100 depending on the amount purchased.

Cuisinart Grill Set

For the grill master in your life, check out this grilling tool kit. Loaded with all the essentials and a reasonable price point, this gift is worthy of a prime rib. $20.99 from Target!

Dapper Wallet

A wallet designed for men! Sleek and stylish, yet sturdy and rugged. This wallet is designed to carry cards and cash, but eliminate the bulkiness of a traditional wallet. The slim design won’t take up excess room in pockets, which is a win when looking for men’s wallets.

Hook Leather Bracelet

For the fisherman in your life. These leather bracelets have the perfect masculine touch with a nice detail. Coming in several styles, they can range in price from $68-$70. Available at Nordstrom.

MVMT Watch

Seriously, OBSESSED with so many of these watches. They come in a variety of styles and colors. I love so many of them. Bonus: they come in women’s styles as well. Prices range from $95-$160. Most fall within the $120 range.

Yeti Roadie Cooler

The ultimate cooler, especially if you have an outdoorsman in your life. The one-piece cooler is known to keep items colder than the average cooler and is durable enough to last a lifetime.

Gender Neutral Gifts:

Beartwo Earbuds

Wireless earbuds that are perfect for working out. These earbuds are noise-canceling, sweat-proof, tiny and hold a major charge. Available on Amazon for $43.

Apple Watch

Available in many stores, stay connected with an Apple Watch. Have your messages readily available while easily tracking your daily fitness goal. Shop around because prices and deals vary depending where you purchase it.

WiFi Digital Picture Frame

The ultimate picture frame, never be stuck staring at a single picture again. Connect the frame to your WiFi and upload photos from your phone or computer. Adjustable settings and a slideshow mode, this is a favorite at my parents house. Only $99.

Massages

You can never go wrong with a trip to the spa. Plan a couples massage or a facial treatment. Men and women alike will both enjoy the pampering and leave feeling refreshed. Check local spas or locations like massage luxe for their deals.

What’s something you’re hoping to snag this Valentine’s Day?? Drop a comment below, love seeing new items and hearing about products. Happy Shopping!

fitness · Health & Fitness

Orange Ya Glad You Worked Out

Orangetheory Fitness

Right before Christmas a friend of mine finally convinced me to give Orangetheory Fitness (OTF) a whirl. I was super nervous because I’d never been to an actual class, at any gym. Plus I was still getting back into shape after having my second baby in June. Let me tell you though, I went and absolutely fell in love with it.

What is OTF? OTF is an interval training workout designed to blast calories and build muscles. OTF is a 1 hour scientific based, full-body workout. During the class you wear a heart monitor that is displayed on a screen, so you can keep track of your workout the entire time. The goal is to maximize your workout by getting into the orange zone to burn optimal calories during class and for up to 36 hours after class.

The gym is equipped with three stations: treadmills, rowing machines (that actually use water for resistance), and weight stations. All equipment is numbered so if you’re number 4 on the treadmill that will be your number on the rower and the weights. If you’re a germaphobe like me this is great news because you’re only sharing equipment with one other person and everyone is required to wipe equipment down after using it.

The Workout: There are three different stations that will be used during the interval training workout. However, it may look different each time depending on how the class is setup for the day. Upon entering the gym, everyone will start on either the rower or treadmill to get their heart pumping. At this time it is important to make sure your name is displayed on the workout screen. If not, let the trainer or front desk now because you have to be able to track what you’re doing.

Once everyone has warmed up the intervals begin. Those who chose the rowers will then go to the floor and begin the full body exercises on the floor. Depending on the day you may use weights, bands, a medicine ball, or other various equipment. The trainer will go over each exercise movement in the block. If you forget, it is displayed on a tv screen the entire block as well. Often times you’ll complete a round then head back to the rower to get the heart pumping again. You’ll spend about 20-25 minutes on the floor during each workout. Sometimes it’s all at once and other times you switch to the treadmills midway, then back to the floor.

Now, if you started on the treadmill and it’s a typical class you’ll likely be there for the next 20-25 minutes. However, the trainer is constantly telling you what to do. Depending on the workout (endurance, power, or strength) you will be guided to change your settings. On the treadmill you will have a base pace, push pace, all out pace and recovery walk. Located on the treadmill you will have a visual reminder to follow as well to help guide you on what speeds and incline you should be using. It is broken down by walker, jogger, and runner with recommended speeds for each level of the workout. Pay attention to what you choose and really try to push yourself to feel uncomfortable. Change itself is uncomfortable and to get the most out of this class, you will need to feel that. Each block is different on the treadmill so listen to the trainer. For example on Sunday I was in a four minute block on the treadmill: 1 minute base pace, 2 minute push pace, 1 minute all out. This was followed by a waking recovery with another four minute block that was different than the previous. While on the treadmill, time flies. You’re focused on your heart rate zones and listening to the trainer that it’s truly over before you know it. Then to the floor and rowers.

Every person in the class completes the same workout at their own pace. You will complete the floor moves and treadmills using the weights and speeds that you choose. The trainer is there to support and provide corrections, but you are in charge of you. No one notices what you’re doing or keeps track of you other than yourself. Don’t feel embarrassed or insecure, just push yourself while there.

Heart Monitor: This is mandatory when attending the class. You will have to purchase one of the OTF heart monitors. You can choose your preferred style (bracelet/chest monitor) but you can try them both before purchasing. The chest monitor is believed to be a little more accurate and I personally preferred this because I hate having things on my arms while working out. The coolest thing about the heart rate monitor is it connects to an app on your phone using Bluetooth. Therefore you can use this heart rate monitor at home as well to track your workouts.

Heart Rate Zone: While working out there are five different color zones. Each zone represents your heart rate during the workout. Gray represents your light heart rate, meaning you’re using 50-60% of your max heart rate. Blue is considered your warmup heart rate; using between 61-70% of your max heart rate. Green means you’re using 71-83% of your max heart rate and this is your base pace during the workout. Orange is the desired zone to achieve using 84-91% of your max heart rate. Finally red means you’re at your all-out pace and using 92-100% of your max heart rate.

Splat Points: Since your heart rate is being tracked, this is where the importance of the orange zone comes into play. At orange theory you are trying to achieve at least 12 splat points during each workout. This means you spent at least 12 minutes in the orange heart rate zone. It is believed that if you reach the 12 splat points you will be able to have an after workout burn for an additional 24 to 36 hours. During the workout your name changes colors to correspond with your max heart rate level, calories are displayed as well as splat points.

Free! If you’re interested in giving this interval training workout a whirl, the first class is actually free. Simply call and setup and appointment or schedule online. You will have to arrive to your first class 30 minutes. Once you’re there you sit and discuss your current fitness level with the receptionist. After a brief conversation with them, you will meet the instructor who will show you around the gym. I loved this because you had time to familiarize yourself with the equipment and ask questions about the class.

After Class: When class is finished you stretch and can ask questions. Your workout summary is displayed on the screen and it will be emailed to you. You can also signup for additional classes while there or just use the app.

Pricing: After your free class the pricing will be explained to you. Since you will fall in love with this class, your best bet is to signup for a membership because it’s more cost-effective than paying for each individual class. They have various packages available and can explain them to you. I chose the monthly package and can attend class once a week. However, I can purchase additional “add-on” classes at a cheaper rate since I’m a member.

Go! If you’re looking to give yourself that extra push while working out, give this gym a whirl. I only go once a week in addition to my at-home workouts. I’ve attended about 10 classes so far and I’ve seen a MAJOR change in my fitness level and body. This place is not messing around and helps you feel motivated and energized.

Let me know what you think after you check it out! Have you already been, what are your thoughts? Or if you have another workout favorite, drop a comment below because I am always looking for new workouts.

fitness · Health & Fitness

Mint To Be Delicious

Who loves chocolate? ((don’t everyone jump at once)).  Who loves mint?? Who LOVES chocolate mint flavored goodies?  Well, if you answered yes to these questions you are in luck today because I have found the BEST mint chocolate chip protein bars.

Recently I began shopping at Aldi a bit more, because who doesn’t like to save money.  So, I have been trying more and more of their brands and foods.  While some things are a total bust, this my friends is an absolute home-run.

Aldi carries their own line of nutritional bars and products through the brand Millville called Elevation. They cover everything from protein powders to meal replacement bars.  After becoming hooked on CLIF Builder’s Protein Bars this past summer, I couldn’t live without them.  However, the price tag is a shock even when you purchase them on various websites like amazon.  12 CLIF bars can cost anywhere from $15-$20 depending on the day.  ((Amazon changes prices often, so its hard to say what it may cost on any given day of the week.)) Well, Aldi’s Mint Chocolate Elevation Bars taste amazing, if not better than CLIF, and are a bit less expensive.  12 bars from Aldi will cost around $11 because a box of 6 is only $5.99. Now it may not seem like a huge difference, you can almost purchase another box from Aldi for the same price as purchasing one from CLIF.  Meaning you can actually purchase 18 bars for $18.  Which is worth it when our two-year old devours half a bar sometimes as well.

When you compare the two side by side, they are virtually the same product. Both brands contain 20g of protein.  The protein used in both bars is soy protein isolate, and when comparing the ingredients side by side its almost a mirror image of one another.

Packaging: Both products use the mint green color scheme on the outside of the box and on the individual wrappers as well.

Appearance: If you set the two bars right next two each other, you probably wouldn’t be able to tell the two apart.

Caloric Information: CLIF bars come in with 270 calories/80 from fat.  Elevation bars have 260 calories/70 from fat.

Sugar Content: CLIF has 21g in each bar.  Elevation has 19g per bar.  (A bit high still, but probably part of the reason they both taste so delicious).

Sodium: CLIF bars contain 9% of your daily value.  Elevation contains 9% of your daily value.

Vitamins: CLIF bars have a much higher percentage of vitamins such as Vitamin A/C, Calcium, B, etc.  For example a CLIF bar has a daily value of 30% vitamin A, whereas Elevation bars only contain 15%.

Fiber: CLIF bars contain 2g of fiber and Elevation contains 3g of fiber.

Verdict: We initially were going to just “try” the Elevation bars.  However, it is now what we choose over the CLIF bars.  I actually think they have a little more flavor and aren’t as tough to chew.  Plus, saving a few extra dollars is something I can never be mad about.  Next time you’re at Aldi, pick up a box.  I promise you will not be disappointed.  If you decide to give them a whirl, let me know.  I would LOVE to hear your thoughts on them as well.

fitness · Health & Fitness

*FREE Workouts**

Who’s ready to hit the beach?!?! With the Arctic-like conditions we are currently seeing, its hard to think that summer will ever arrive.  However, it is closer than we think.  Last week I shared with you the website I use to stream workouts, Beachbody on Demand.  So, today I wanted to talk about a FREE workout website I have been using for years and love the workouts called Tone It Up.

Toneitup.com is a website ((they also offer an app)) that unites and encourages women to work on their fitness; inside and out.  It all started when Karena and Katrina  met each other at a gym in California.  One went up to the other, and the rest is history.  These two beach babes now own a multi-million dollar fitness business that separates them from many other online and in-home programs I have seen. I discovered this website in 2013, when I was preparing to get in shape for my wedding and have been obsessed ever since!

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What started off as two girls making fitness videos has now turned into a full-blown community where they want to see women succeed with their fitness goals. Their brand offers DVDs, online videos to stream, workout classes on the app, printable workouts, nutrition plans, recipes, workout gear, protein powders, AND so much more!  Their networking on social media is outstanding and they often host events throughout the country where women can come together and workout with them and the women they have been corresponding with on the app or website.  Their vision is clear: find fitness of the body, mind, and support one another as women.

Something that sets this website apart from other streaming services is the fact that many of the workouts are actually FREE.  Some will incorporate workouts from the DVDs or paid portion of their app, but if you go to the fitness tab on their website you can find one that’s free to substitute. If you subscribe to their site, they send out weekly workout plans to help you stay on track. Each day the plan offers the toning move to focus on and the cardio that should be completed. If you look at the picture below you see the targeted toning move written under the day of the week. When you are on the website, the moves are shown as quick video clips so you know EXACTLY how to complete the move. The toning moves target specific muscle groups and help them tone your body. If you go to the app, you can join live classes where moves are shown and you actually follow along from your computer. Most of the exercises require minimal equipment: dumbbells, resistance bands, exercise ball, etc.  Sometimes I don’t actually have the exact equipment needed so I will modify the move to use what I have available or search for a smilier workout that focuses on the same muscle groups to tone.

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To help with motivation, they offer various challenges throughout the year.  Some of my favorites have been the valentine’s day or spring break challenges.  For one month you commit to the weekly workouts and  they also have you challenge your mind and spirit by journaling or meditating. Currently they are offering a detox plan to help jumpstart your fitness goals for the new year.

Just like any workout program at home, you have to be motivated and commit to the plan.  With the amount of support from Karena + Katrina, their website/app, and social media followers you will think you are working out with personal trainers in a class every day.  There energy is contagious during the workouts and you can tell that they are enjoying themselves which actually makes it easier to follow along.  I personally love the HIIT workout options they provide, many of which just require you to use your own body weight for the moves.

So, if you haven’t yet, GO check out the website or app. You should also checkout their Instagram page because they are always posting on there as well.   I promise you will not be disappointed and may find the motivation you have been looking for!

P.S.: If you love target, their products and equipment are now sold there!!!! How exciting for them and for you because when I started 5 years ago with their workouts, items weren’t as readily available. I own four of the DVDs and love them! The workouts are often a little longer and they are there coaching you along the entire time. Be on the lookout for their newest displays in stores now.

Tone It Up

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