Fashion Friday: Winter Essentials

I can’t believe that Thanksgiving is approaching so quickly. It seems like only yesterday that I was putting all of my scarves, boots, and other winter accessories in the back of my closet. If you are at a lost of what kind of accessories are on trend this year, then have no fear, because I am here to help! I personally love winter accessories. They can instantly change any outfit you are wearing. Just have some fun with bundling up…believe me, it is best to have fun when it is unbearable outside.

It is definitely key to keep your hands warm. I just love these gloves from J.Crew. They are simply chic with the half leather, half faux leopard print. Be sure to snag these gloves for $175.

I just have to admit it, I love scarves…I have a drawer full of them. The “pull through fur scarf” is something that is totally different than what I already have. This bright blue pull through by Adrienne Landau is so perfect. It not only adds a pop of color to any coat, but it will keep you nice and warm-which is so important. This scarf is available at Intermix for $295.

I love a beret. It is just that simple. This beret from Bebe is totally adorable. I love the snow white color (it will look fabulous with every hair color), and the bow adds a fun, feminine touch. Look amazing at this amazing price–$39.

My mom always told me that if your ears are warm, then your whole body will be warm too. I totally agree with that statement. Plus, it gives you a good reason to go out shopping and get yourself a great pair of adorable earmuffs. I have a pair very similar to these from Asos. They are faux fur, but they are equally as warm. They are only $21.56 online.

Last, you have to have a great pair of warm boots. They also have to look cute too. I love this pair by Ugg. Now, I am not a fan of the past styles designed by Ugg, but today, they have definitely stepped up when it comes to being fashion forward. Lace-up boots are totally on trend right now, and with the shearling on the inside, that is just a winning combination. The boots are available at Nordstrom for $249.49.

This post was crafted by Meredith from Inspector Snew

Fashion Friday: Give ‘Em the Boot

If you were thinking that boots were going to go out of style, then you thought wrong! Boots are now bigger and better than ever. I love the variety of colors, shapes, and styles boots come in these days. The styles I have shown you are my favorite. Look below to see why.

1. These short brown boots by Sessun are so adorable. I can already see these with a jean skirt or a floral dress and tights. They are $380 at OtteNY.com 

2. I am in love with these tall Vince Camuto camel boots. These are the perfect boots to tuck your jeans in. If you don’t get these boots, then I will. They are $149 at Piperlime.com

3. It’s definitely easy being green when you wear these cool flat boots by Style&co. The color looks great with brown and black, so they are extremely versatile. These boots won’t break your bank since they are $69 at Macys.com

4. These boots are perfect to take from day to night. They are perfect for work, but then you can wear them when you are having drinks with your friends. These booties are $27.80 at Forever21.com

5. For a casual pair of weekender boots, I would love these Rocketdog faux-sheepskin boots. Just pair these with a pair of skinny jeans, and a white tee and a leather jacket, and you are all set to go. These cute boots are $94.95 at Zappos.com

6. If you are willing to splurge on a pair of boots, then I definitely suggest picking up these Stella McCartney boots. They are just so fabulous, and I especially love the rubber soles. They are $585 at MyTheresa.com

Crafted by Meredith from Inspector Snew

Fashion Friday- Winter Coats: The Great EsCape

For this winter, I am totally loving the cape. This piece is totally classic, but today, designers have made the cape contemporary and modern.You will definitely want this staple in your closet today! I love all of the styles I have shown you. Some are loud, fun, and bold. The others are more neutral, and they will go with everything. If you are worried that you will freeze in a cape, then don’t worry. In the milder winter periods, all you need to wear is a thick cashmere sweater with long gloves.

Vince Camuto Cape-$99 at Nordstrom.com

Suno Mohair Cape-$746 at FarFetch.com

Aryn K. Plaid Cape-$95 at Piperlime.com

M Missoni Tiger Print Cape-$1,365 at Net-a-porter.com

J. Crew Wool Cape- $398 at JCrew.com

This post was crafted by Meredith from Inspector Snew

Fashion Friday: Stylish Handbags and Link Party

I’ve been searching for a new fall/winter handbag, and there are so many great trends this season: Satchels, hobos, clutches, messenger bags, totes, backpacks and even wristlets. My daughter, Leigh, told me the rage at her school was Longchamp purses (I thought, how nice). She even saved up money to purchase one for herself, the Le Pliage (below). When looking for her first purse she has ever owned, I bumped into this messenger bag that is so awesome (above). This Imperial Messenger Bag is also from Longchamp ($662). This would be a major splurge :).

I’m loving this Satchel from Steve Madden from Macys ($108), It’s so casual and perfect for cooler weather. It would look great with my cowboy boots.

How cute is this little “Flap” handbag by Gianni Bini Ariel from Dillards priced ($69)?

And this one is on my list for sure. Clutches are the rage this season. This Metallic BCBG Clutch from Dillards ($98) would go with just about anything in my closet.

 

Snakeskin and leopard prints are hot this season.  This “Snakeskin Clutch” from Zara ($79) is fun and trendy, but also is so versatile.

If you’re looking for something instead of a briefcase, this bag is for you. I would be jumping for joy to own this Tory Burch Tote Bag from Nordstrom ($450)? I could even fit my laptop in it. Happy “Fashion Friday” everyone! Please link anything you want to share below.


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Spinning: Cycling Rain or Shine

I took my first “spin” (or cycling) class a few years ago, and I loved it. I quickly learned that the teacher and the music can make or break the class, but you can do it at your own level so it’s a great exercise for anyone. It’s also a great cross-training exercise as well. I am so excited to share this interview on spinning-how to’s with one of my favorite instructors, Josh Beck. Josh is the true definition of athlete inspiration. Since getting involved in endurance sports in 1999, he has completed 8 ironmans, 22 marathons and currently holds the East-West state record for cycling across Alabama. When it comes to cycling, he knows the drill. Check out our interview below:

1. Why did you start teaching spin classes?  I had always utilized spin classes to stay in cycling shape throughout the winter.  So, I figured if I taught the class, I could share a couple of interval, high intensity workouts with others.

2. Why do you recommend trying a spin class? What are the benefits?  Cycling in general is just great cardiovascular work without too much wear and tear on your joints. Other than swimming, it’s hard to find a better low-impact cardio workout.

3. Why do you think indoor cycling has become so popular?  People come for so many different reasons.  The main factor is:  it’s more fun to exercise with a group (camaraderie factor).

4. Why should people incorporate spinning in their cross-training?  The main reason is injury prevention.  Running, in particular, 4 to 6 days per week can really take a toll on your joints and ligaments. No matter what your main sport, cycling is a good way to mix it up from a physiological and mental standpoint.  If you put forth 100% effort on the intervals during a spinning class, you can’t help but gain some cardio fitness (increased ability to process oxygen).  This will transfer over to your other sports.

5. How many calories can you burn in an hour spin class?  It really depends on the instructor.  My classes have high intensity intervals sprinkled throughout the hour.  If a rider does the workout like I have it laid out, a male will burn around 1,000 and female around 800 calories.

6. How important is the music to the class?  Very important.  Climbing songs need a steady, consistent beat.  Fast, interval songs need a fast beat and to be high energy.  The music needs to match the segment of the workout you are doing.  If the music is bad, well, so is the class.

7. Do you have any tips for beginners?  Your first move should be to have the instructor help you set up the bike so that it fits properly.  It is like any other type of exercise; it takes a few times to build up your conditioning to where you can really push yourself for the entire hour.  Just do the best you can during the first several classes.  Another factor is saddle comfort.  If you are going to spend time on a bike seat, you need to get some cycling shorts that have a chamois built in.  Lastly, you should try each of the instructors’ classes at least once to find the class that fits you the best.

Fashion Friday: Fall Boots Splurge vs. Steal & Link Party

I’m so excited about my new column, “Fashion Fridays”. To kick off my first week, I am thrilled to have Meredith Asman as my guest for this week’s post. Meredith, began writing her blog, Inspector Snew, in February 2009. Inspector Snew highlights different fashion trends for each season with a wide range of price points from the ultimate diva to the thrifty fashionista. Meredith graduated from the University of Alabama in May and is now living in New York City to pursue a career in fashion. She is also my niece so I’m honored to have her Be sure to check out her site Inspector Snew. Take it away Meredith…

Boots are all the rage this fall. They are so helpful in keeping your feet warm from the snow, ice, and wind. Boots are super comfortable, and they are acceptable to wear in most work places. For today’s post, I have found three types of boots that are must haves for this fall. You can either splurge on a pair of boots, or you can get them for a steal! It all depends on your monthly or seasonal budget.

First, I found two great pairs of tall black wedges. I just love wearing wedge boots because they are not only comfortable, but they look great with jeans tucked in, or they look great with dresses and skirts with tights. They can be casual or dressy.

Splurge- Rick Owens for $1,895 at Saks

Steal- Lucky Brand for $219

I love lace up ankle boots. They are great for casual work days and running errands on the weekend. I love them with rolled up jeans and a simple tee with a sweater or with a girly dress and a jean jacket.

Splurge- Diesel for $320 at Ssense

Steal- Old Navy for $25

This fall and winter, you are going to need a great pair of rain boots. Not only are they essential for those rainy days, but they are perfect for walking in sloshy and slippery snow. When it gets super cold outside, buy some rain boot socks to keep your feel extra warm.

Splurge- Givenchy for $280 at Kima Zabete

Steal- Chooka for $89 at Dullards

 

Join me and link your fashion posts (below) or anything you feel is fashionable, food, art, photography, clothing, decorating, etc.


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Top 10 Race Running Tips: Race for the Cure

 

Who is running the “Race for the Cure” this year? Since it’s this weekend in Birmingham, I thought I would share a few of my top 5K Race Running Tips. I have been a runner since I was 16, and I used to run races almost every weekend. This race, in support of Breast Cancer, is one of the best. If you haven’t run a race before, support National Breast Cancer Awareness Month by trying out the Susan G. Komen “Race for the Cure”.

My Top 10 Race Tips:

1. Run with a friend-Running with a friend always makes it more fun and rewarding. Choose a friend who is inspiring, runs your pace and makes you laugh.

2. Pace Yourself-Don’t start off too fast, and think small. Just think and worry about the mile you’re on and not the entire picture. Save your speed and kick for the last mile of the race.

3. Eat and drink well-The night before the race, eat good carbohydrates with protein, and drink a lot of water. Avoid alcohol, sugar and fatty foods.

4. Don’t overdress-Wearing too many clothes can be so uncomfortable. Believe me. I have been guilty of this on many occasions. Less is more.

5. Wear good shoes-Purchase good running shoes, but break them in first. Don’t wear brand new shoes the day of the run, or you may get blisters (I learned the hard way on this one too).

6. Train-Train for the race. You can find many great training schedules online as well as training groups in your host city. Be sure to cross train as well.

7. Warm up and stretch-I like to run for a bit before the race begins to get my muscles warm and then stretch my legs.  Also, remember to stretch when the race is competed.

8. Rest– Get a good night’s rest the night before. Try to relax the night before, and try not to stress or over-think the race.

9. Arrive early-Get to the race early enough so you can relax and don’t have to rush. Give yourself time to park, get your number, put your gift bag in the car and warm up properly.

10. Have fun-Enjoy the race and give it all you got. You will feel so much better afterwards, and it will also be a great accomplishment (it’s also very fun to get a new T-shirt).

Greek Yogurt 101 and Recipes

Not only is yogurt great for a nutritious snack or breakfast, researchers are finding that eating yogurt can help fight infections, aid in weight loss, boost the immune system, fight osteoporosis, reduce high blood pressure, aid in digestive problems and even add years to your life. Yogurt is also a great source of protein, calcium, zinc, B12, magnesium and even potassium. Not a day goes by that I don’t eat it (honest). My favorite, by far, is the nonfat or reduced-fat Greek yogurt. One (6-ounce) container of nonfat Greek yogurt contains 100 calories, 7 grams of carbohydrates and 18 grams of protein with no fat and only 65 mg of sodium.

How to choose yogurt

-Choose low-fat yogurt or Greek yogurt for best nutritional results. I prefer nonfat or low-fat Greek yogurt because it is very high in protein and low in fat, carbohydrates and sodium.

-Look at the ingredient list for added sweeteners and artificial colors.

-Check the calories and carbohydrates on the label to find the ones with the least amount of sweetener.

-Look for the words “live culture”, “active culture” or “live active culture” on the label. This type of yogurt contains probiotic cultures that help regulate your digestive system.

-Be sure to check the date of expiration before you consume it.

How to store yogurt:

-Refrigerate yogurt as soon as you purchase it. Store it on your cooler shelves in the refrigerator.

-Be sure the yogurt is tightly sealed

-Once opened, be sure to seal it properly and store in the refrigerator.

-If you buy the freshest yogurt, it can usually be stored for up to 2 weeks depending on the date of the package. Your best bet is to use it as soon as you can after purchase.

-Do not freeze yogurt. This will affect he quality, texture and flavor.

I took a poll on Facebook, and here are some of my facebook friends’ and my favorite ways to use yogurt:

-Use in smoothies and shakes

-Eat for breakfast with almonds and blueberries

-Stir in bananas and walnuts

-Stir in granola cereal and fresh peaches or strawberries

-Use on top of baked potatoes instead of sour cream

-Use instead of mayonnaise in tuna salad

-Use on tacos or taco salad

-Use in layered dips or vegetable dips instead of sour cream

-Use in a tzatziki sauce, white barbecue sauce or tartar sauce recipe

-Stir in homemade jams

-Drain the excess water from Greek yogurt and use in coffee like creme fraiche

For a few of my favorite recipes (photos above), check out the following links:

Banana Bread with Yogurt

Banana Dark Chocolate Muffins with Greek Yogurt

Apricot and Almond Coffee Cake

Easy Pork Fajitas

Saucepan Popcorn Recipe & Healthy Back to School Snack Ideas

Since school just started back, I am trying to start the year off right. I try to be creative and point my kids in the right direction when it comes to packing healthy lunches and providing after-school snacks that are good for them. My three children love this recipe for Saucepan Popcorn which is so easy and healthier than the other popcorn alternatives. Here are some other quick ideas for when you are in a hurry that have a nice balance of protein, fiber and carbohydrates:

Healthy Snacks Ideas for Kids:

Trail Mix

Homemade Smoothies

Homemade Granola

Healthier Banana Bread

Other Ideas:

Reduced Sodium Cottage Cheese with fruit

Whole grain crackers with cheese

Greek yogurt with honey and fruit

Apple and Skim Milk

Almond or Peanut Butter and Banana

Hummus with carrots and celery Nut Butter on graham crackers

Hard boiled eggs

What are Your Diet Pitfalls?

If you are trying to lose weight, whether it be ten pounds or one hundred pounds, it is not uncommon to backslide into unhealthy eating and exercise habits. In March 2011, CNN identified “The Moments That Make us Fat” from dinner at a buffet restaurant to resisting dessert at a swanky cocktail party. According to James Hill, executive of the Anschutz Health and Wellness Center at the University of Colorado, it can be dangerous to rely solely on willpower to sustain your diet in challenging situations. “Willpower is not inexhaustible, ” Hill told CNN.com. You only have a certain amount of it, and it’s gone.” Instead of relying on willpower, Hill suggests planning ahead. Identify the situations that tempt you to veer away from your healthy habits and plan strategies to keep yourself on track.

Diet Pitfall: Vacation

When you’re on vacation, sipping cocktails by the pool and indulging in new regional cuisine might be appealing but it will quickly result in weight gain if you aren’t careful. When on vacation, enjoy local food and beverages in moderation. Try to get plenty of exercise on vacation to offset indulgences.

Diet Pitfall: After a break-up

Instead of seeking comfort in your favorite flavor of ice cream or a deep-dish pizza, opt for exercise. The endorphins released during a sweat session will improve your mood. If you’re ready to get back out there and mingle, choose a group activity, like training for a 5K, which will help you socialize and meet new people.

Diet Pitfall: A party with fabulous food

Parties can be an easy place to fall off the diet wagon, especially when there is a spread of delicious food and drink. Before you head to your next affair, eat a small, healthy snack and limit alcohol consumption to avoid overindulging.

Diet Pitfall: Watching TV

When you settle in to watch a night of prime time TV, it can be tempting to pair your favorite shows with an unhealthy snack. Instead of eating junk food when you aren’t even hungry, beat mindless eating by becoming more aware of your own hunger cues. If you need to eat a snack, opt for fresh fruit, veggies or low-fat yogurt.

Diet Pitfall: A Buffet

Whether you’re dining out or enjoying a meal in someone’s home, buffets offer endless temptation.  Limit yourself to one plate of food and fill half of it with fruits and vegetables. If a second helping tempts you, drink a glass of water and wait twenty minutes before eating again to decide if you’re actually hungry. The cute diet journal (above) can be found at Cafe Press.  Thanks to Diets in Review and author, Maris Callahan, for sharing this post.