Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Splurge v. Steal Throwdown: Sport Support

I was recently discussing my Lululemon addiction with a friend. Said friend is more responsible than I am when it comes to workout clothes. She pointed out that generally, she'd like to spend money on clothes she wears out and about, and not clothes she'll sweat in. While I agree with that sentiment in general, I do love good workout clothes. I spend quite a bit of time in my running clothes, and I want to like wearing them. 

Sports bras are key to a good workout. They need to be supportive and comfortable. If you buy them from Lululemon you can end up spending quite a bit, so lets compare to a cheaper option: 




The Lowdown: 

Lululemon: Comfortable and supportive. Does the job perfectly. Enough said. It will cost you over 50 dollars

Champion: Almost as perfect. Slightly less breathable, but still supportive. 8- 16 dollars at Target. 


Champion! You can't beat the price, and the level of quality isn't enough to justify splurge. 

I will say, this top IS worth the splurge. It feels like you are running naked - highly recommend. 

Money saving tip: Don't wash your workout clothes with any other type of clothes. Don't wash them with cotton. Do wash them in cold water, tumble dry low, and don't use any kind of fabric softener. All of the above don'ts will ruin the porous wicking that makes your workout gear so nice.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Is it Fall Yet?

Is it Fall Yet?

I have the whole apartment to myself today!!! Boyfriend is in Chicago doing an in-person fantasy football draft (I know.) so I'm enjoying spending the day doing all the things he hates - watching trash t.v., making the apartment into a make-shift yoga studio with indie music and candles, making a healthy vegetarian dinner (acorn squash - YUM) and online window shopping. This is my fall lust list. MAYBE if I'm very good I can buy a couple things on it. Can you tell I have an obsession with neutrals in fall? Yes. I do consider olive a neutral. Links below! 

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Clothes were expensive, must fit into them.

I recently discovered that I could find out what google search terms led people to my blog. One big one was - "detox." If you've been reading this blog you know I don't often blog about dieting or juice cleanses. However, now that the bar, and post-bar vacation (post soon) are over, the "detox" googlers of the world may find something relevant on this blog. It wont involve counting calories or crash dieting, but it will involve a whole-hearted attempt at a healthy lifestyle. 

A couple months ago I was pulling on a pair of jeans when - SNAP - the belt loop came off. I thought "wow these jeans must be old," and sewed the loop back on. I didn't start to really worry until this happened with another pair of jeans, then another. It was then I accepted that mayyyybe I had gained a bit of weight. I resolved to do something about it. I ate well for about three days and then the weekend - and the DC bars - beckoned. "Come have fun...." they said. My resolve failed. My jeans still didn't fit well, so I resolved again. Once more the bars beckoned....and again my resolve failed. Are you getting the picture? 

This is not the first time this has happened. There are two elements in my life I have identified as weight-gain-causing culprits: 

1. Living in a city 
2. Being in a happy relationship

I know this because when one or the other of these elements occurs - I gain weight. 

Cities: I am a city girl at heart. I want to be in the middle of it all, meet all the people, and yes - eat all the food. As soon as I hear about a great new restaurant, I want to eat there. That place that makes great cocktails? Make me something with bourbon please! Happy hour? Okay! Add together all this and it's surprising I can still fit into ANY of my clothes. 

Happy Relationships: I have to admit it - I'm really happy in my relationship. We both like to eat. It's also hard that he could consume the entire contents of the Crispy Creme store down the street and fail to gain an ounce. Le Sigh. Seriously though...I know you all have experienced the - we'll just watch a movie on a Thursday night....oh holy hell how did we finish two bottles of wine - phenomenon. 

I have further proof these elements are the cause of weight gain. The beginning of my 3L year, about exactly a year ago, I moved back to Bloomington after spending the summer in DC. Boyfriend, a year above me, had graduated and stayed in DC. Living in Bloomington alone until December, I easily got back to my ideal weight. I didn't diet. I just ate like single Brittany and didn't go out generally more than once a week. I'd been to every bar in Bloomington about 90 times before, so I didn't feel the need to go again. I would still order Indian food on a weekly basis, I was actually running less than usual - I simply wasn't drinking much. I also tend to eat a lot of veggie- based dinners by myself. 

Side note: I love squash. I ate it at least twice a week for dinner. 

Boyfriend thinks stuffed squash is a side-dish you serve with a london broil. 

So that has led me to now - where I am just not happy with the way my clothes are fitting. Let me tell you - I have invested way too much money in my clothes to buy an entirely new wardrobe. So there has to be a lifestyle change. like I said...I have made half-hearted attempts at this about ten times before. So let me chronicle a few things that don't work for me. 

1. Weight Watchers: I think this works for other people. The fact that it didn't work for me? That probably had a lot to do with the fact that I stockpiled all my points so that I could drink 4 whiskey bourbons on Friday nights. I don't think that is the intended product usage? I also don't think its a great program for serious runners. Although again, maybe it would have been if I hadn't stockpiled all my points for dinner/ drinks. Attempting to subsist on grapes and greek yogurt until 8pm so you can have vodka pasta and red wine for dinner is likely to put a damper on any metabolism. 

2. Attempting to out-exercise a bad diet.  This worked for me until I turned 25. It's sad that it doesn't anymore. As long as I was running 20 or more miles a week, I could eat what I wanted. No more. The summer before my 3L year I tried running over 35 miles a week to out-do my happy hour diet. I ended up gaining weight AND shinsplints. This winter I gained weight while training for and running a marathon. My friend, at some point, 

You cannot out-exercise a bad diet.

3. My Fitness Pal. Again, I think this works for other people. My issue is the way it calculates calories. When you exercise, it lets you eat all the calories you worked off to hit some goal of calorie balance every day. This is fine, unless you exercise a lot. A 10 mile run would earn me a crazy amount of extra calories, which I then felt free to stuff my face with in the form of chipotle and IPAs. Even if you are burning a lot with exercise, your body probably will gain weight in the face of that delicious onslaught. Also, I cheat at My Fitness Pal. I know it doesn't make any sense, but I absolutely lie to it. So that makes it useless. I think for me, counting calories stresses me out and puts my focus on weight instead of health. The only times I've been able to lose weight are the times when I don't focus on it too much. 

Here is what does work, and its SHOCKING: Eating well and cutting out alcohol most of the week. This breaks my heart a little because I like red wine. I like white wine. I also like steak. I loooove cheese. But if I couple a reasonable amount of exercise with a good diet, I immediately start to feel slimmer, I feel healthier, and I am a nicer person. 

Lately, I have felt sluggish. I don't feel that great about myself, and I feel irritable quite a bit. I know that it's going to be hard. However, this time I have to make a wholehearted effort to do something about the situation.

Let me also say this is NOT ABOUT LOSING WIEGHT, although I do want all my skinny  jeans to fit well again. It is about feeling better, healthier, and happier. In all honestly the point where I feel at my best probably isn't more than a couple pounds difference from where I am now. However, the point at where I feel the most energized and fulfilled is pretty far away from my eating habits as of late. So with all that said - here is my plan - which I am sharing with you as a way to keep myself accountable, and perhaps to encourage others who may not need to lose a great deal of weight, but simply want to be healthier. 

So, I'm going to try my common sense rules: 

1. Limit alcohol. 

2. Healthy food. One or two fun meals a week. By healthy I mean this: cook it yourself, eat lots of veggies, don't dump the whole container of goat cheese in the salad (Yes, I do this). 

3. Moderate exercise. For me, this means 4- 5 runs a week coupled with some yoga and strength training. 

That's it.  I know it will be immensely harder than it looks. But I know from experience that once I start feeling better, its easier to keep on track. 

I wont: count calories, eat fried foods, or attempt to balance a trip to Pitango (their hazelnut gelato drowned in espresso = life-changing) with a six mile run. 

So we'll see how this goes! 

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Shopping Detox: UGLY stuff.

Untitled #3

Every once in a while, when my urge to shop it at its most painful, I look at really ugly stuff online. Somehow, the sight of outrageously expensive items that make me want to vomit helps calm my shopping needs. I mean look at this stuff. Its HIDEOUS. 

Wedge sneakers are grotesque. That is all there is to say. Both of the above are Marc Jacobs and will run you about $530.00. I'm not linking to these products because I won't be responsible for anyone actually buying them. 

Those plaid pants? A steal at $284.00. You can make your crotch look fat for under $300! 

Stella McCartney designs ugly clothes in general IMO. Those $100.00 legging short things are a pretty good example. 

Every now and then I'm glad I'm not so ridiculously rich and out of touch that money has melted my mind into thinking the above things are anything but costume attire. Wanna shop? Try my method of looking at expensive uglies. It helps. 

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Sight for a Steal: Warby Parker

Warby Parker

I haven't had vision insurance in years. Since I can't see a foot in front of my face without my contacts, this is not the best possible situation. However, I've found that I can get by with a Costco eye exam and 1-800 Contacts (look! You with your special eyes!).  However, glasses are a different story. They are expensive, especially if you don't want to walk around in cheap horrible frames. Luckily the folks at Warby Parker can help with that! $95 for frames and lenses, and oh what frames! I have the Finn, and I love them. Click on any of the photo links below to check out my favorites, or shop them all at Warby Parker. 

p.s. a link to geek-chic beauty on pinterest! 

Monday, August 5, 2013

Foodie Detox: Heirloom Tomato Pizza

The bar exam took a serious toll on my eating habits. There was one day when I ate the following: french toast, cheese and crackers, a mix of smores goldfish and sourpatch kids, and movie theater popcorn. I felt pretty disgusting after subsisting on junk food for two months (although clearly I relished the excuse to eat like a second grader).  

I told myself that after the bar I'd change some of my eating habits. I blog a lot about spending less money on clothing and shopping consumption, but I don't always consider the eating habits we engage in as a culture. I don't want to launch myself into the debate about paleo-vegan-vegitarian eating. I tried the vegetarian thing for six months, and it turned out it wasn't for me. 

However, I think one thing we can ALL agree on is that our culture is one of mass food consumption. It's really pretty gross how much we consume. I'm not here to judge anyone else's eating habits, but I am going to try to change mine. By change I mean that I'm going to try and eat less preservatives, get rid of fast food generally (but not chipotle - I just can't), and try and eat as many fresh veggies and fruits as I can get my hands on. 

Things I will not be giving up? Cheese, whole grains, healthy fats (oils, avocados, etc), wine, beer, and the every-once-in-a-while medium rare steak. 

This recipe is a good example of my idea of healthy eating. Fresh delicious tomatoes, cheese, lots of yummy basil, olive oil, and whole grain garlic crust. 

You can find the recipe and instructions here. The only changes I made: I used a whole grain crust and added garlic and herbs to the dough. 

Friday, August 2, 2013

Shopping Detox: Fall Essentials

Fall Essentials

Part of saving money is recognizing the basics you need for any season. If you have the basics, you can dress them up a zillion different ways. If something isn't a basic you might want to question how much cash you shell out for it compared to how much wear you'll get out of it. Here are my fall basics (links to products below the list). 

1. A great pair of skinny jeans. I love the zip detail on this madewell pair. These are slightly pricey - but  great quality and less expensive than citizens, sevens, or joe's. Also, anytime you shop at madewell remember your student id (no matter how long its been expired...2008 what?), you'll get 15 percent off! 

2. A comfy cognac bootie. Can be worn with blacks, brown, or other neutrals. The only pair of boots you'll need all fall. 

3. A black blazer. Mix it up with dresses, skirts, and denim. 

4. A delicate everyday necklace. This dogeared one is so elegant and simple. 

5. Basic t-shirt. You'll wear it under everything. 

6. Silk shirt. On sale now. 

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Chic on the Cheap: State of Mind Necklace

Currently: Sitting on the couch in my pjs at one in the afternoon with a big mug of coffee and a snuggly puppy.  I'm unsure if I passed the bar, but I guess that goes into a lockbox in my brain until November when results come out! I'll get around to some things on my after bar checklist in an hour or so (cleaning, grocery shopping - how do I leave for three days and suddenly there is nothing in the fridge but beer, hard cider, and cheese?), but for now I'm not moving an inch. I often have a hard time being still and relaxing, but today I'm doing a damn good job. I'm currently perusing all the things I missed on the interwebs the past couple days, and I discovered something really exciting! Exciting to me anyway. 

I've been obsessed with Maya Brenner Jewelry for a long time. I love the delicate initial necklaces and I've been lusting after the state necklace (in MI of course) for over a year. 

However, the state necklace in gold is a whopping $395.00. So I figured I'd just continue to remain painfully separated from the object of my desire - until I discovered that dogeared jewelry has launched  a "State of Mind" line of necklaces

The dogeared take is smaller and more delicate than the MB necklace, which I actually like, because it can be an everyday piece. It's also much less expensive, the gold dipped runs $58.00, and the silver is $48.00. 

Image via Roses and Rags 

Such a great alternative to the MB necklace (although I still love it). If you do decide to shop dogeared, you can use the coupon code "xoxo" to snag 10 dollars off at checkout! I also love this. And this. And this

P.S. If you like the state trend, Kris Nations also has a version that is on sale at Urban Outfitters for $29.00, they have a few states left. 

Monday, July 22, 2013

Breather and a Break: See You After the Bar Exam

My life has become overwhelmed by bar studying - which should have happened much sooner. I'm trying to spend every possible moment cramming useless things into my brain, so much so that things like cleaning my apartment, going to the gym, or getting a few extra hours of sleep are indulgences I feel guilty spending time on - blogging has definitely taken a back seat. I'm going to go radio silent until after July 31st. But to get me through till then....here are some things I'm going to do once I'm free! 

1. The cafe I've been studying at, Tryst, is adorable. It would be perfect for a day of relaxed reading. NOT studying. I'm going to take a book there, and just relax. 

2. Trip to Seattle and Portland! I foresee lots of hiking, brewery tours, and wine tasting. 

3. Get these. Bar-is-over present to myself. Mine are on their last few miles. 

4. Go camping! Read this by a lake. 

5. Cook dinner for my boyfriend, who has basically been taking care of me for the past month - cooking, cleaning, and dealing with my type A histrionics. I'm thinking this

6. Catch up with all the people whose calls I haven't been able to answer, and whose emails I've been horrible about responding to. (sorry :/)

7. Deep clean my apartment, including organizing my closet. There will be castaways if anyone needs some clothes I've probably worn once. 

8. Make this.

9. Take the pup on long walks. Apologize profusely about the recent level of neglect. 

10. Sleep in. 

For the next week I'll be studying like a mad woman, telling myself to breathe, and trying to stay sane. In the end, hopefully I pass. If not, well I wont have to worry about that until results come out in November - one step at a time my friends. See you all on the flip side! 

Monday, July 15, 2013

Date Detox: Free Movie Night!

This past Friday night boyfriend and I decided to save some money and go to a free outdoor movie. DC's Golden Triangle has a great outdoor movie program at the The Heurich House Museum in the garden. It was surprisingly small and intimate, and the movie, A Philidephia Story, was fantastic. Katherine Hepburn was hilarious, and Cary Grant - le sigh. 

I put together a picnic and a pitcher of Pimm's, and we headed over for a fun and free night. 

I highly recommend heading over for the next movie. They have one left because of a rain date. Some Like it Hot will play July 28th at sunset! 

Friday, July 12, 2013

Splurge v. Steal Throwdown: Tinted Moisturizer

Studying calls, so I'll make this short and sweet. Tinted moisturizer is my favorite in the summer. Your skin gets a little color, so you don't need as much coverage. I've been using Laura Mercier tinted moisturizer for years now, but I thought I'd try something else a bit less expensive: 




The Lowdown: 

Laura Mercier: I'm just going to say it: this stuff is awesome. You only need to use a little, so even though it's price tag is hefty, it can last you several months. It is light, but still offers great coverage. It's the only make-up I generally use in the summer, along with a little pressed powder. available at Sephora.

Bonus Points: Simple to use, no mess. 

Negatives: $43.00 a tube is just a bit cray cray. Let's be honest. 

Garnier: This will give you coverage, but more than I'd expect from a tinted moisturizer or BB Cream. You should be able to see your summer freckles through this stuff, but if you use even a tad too much, it's way too much. However, if applied with a very light hand it does make for a good summer make-up. Available at any local drug store or online at Target.

Bonus points: $11.99. Long lasting. 

Negatives: You'll need to be very careful not to use too much. 

And the winner is: 

Garnier! It is not as good a product, but with a little patience and experimenting, you'll learn the right amount to use for your skin, you'll also save $31.00. The difference isn't enough to justify the cost.