It's no secret, since I tweet and post about it all the time, that this is my favorite time of the year. I'm practically singing in the streets about it. It seems like everyone is, but maybe that is just because I read more blogs than I used to. All I'm going to say is I preferred fall and winter over summer like some kind of weirdo way before it was cool. October officially begins what I consider the first phase of the best half of the year, the crisp fall weather/Halloween/Thanksgiving phase before it turns into a winter wonderland/Christmas extravaganza. Everything has to do with witches and vampires, the turning leaves, pumpkins and apples, sweaters and boots. There are a lot of things I want to do before the season passes me by - it always seems to come and go too quickly - to really make the most of it. So I've come up with a fall to do list, something I've seen around the web on different blogs which inspired me to do my own.
Go apple picking, drink as much apple cider as possible, and if not bake, then at least eat, an apple pie.
Go pumpkin picking and decorate and carve pumpkins. I technically already did this with my sister, Amber, over the weekend, but unfortunately she didn't help much. I'm sure this won't be my last chance to decorate and carve pumpkins this season though. Speaking of pumpkins, I will be drinking many pumpkin flavored drinks and eating a lot of pumpkin flavored treats - pumpkin pancakes, pumpkin cupcakes (with cream cheese frosting, of course), swapping out banana bread for pumpkin bread, and pumpkin pie.
I love soup during this time of the year, but I'm very particular about my soups - just ask my mother. I think I'd actually like to try to tackle cooking some of the recipes that have caught my eye this fall. I mean, how badly could I mess up soup?
Curate the perfect fall wardrobe - lots of classic, quality pieces that I can layer and build on for winter. Always thinking ahead here. Now is also the time to be shifting hair and beauty products for more hydrating options and bust out the darker, vampy shades of makeup and nail polish. That post is coming up next, I swear.
Switch out my scented candles for ones more season appropriate. I usually stick to clean and fresh or relaxing floral scents and stay clear of anything too sweet or earthy, but I throw that out the window once the weather gets colder.
Sitting outside by the fire at night is something I do all summer long, but in the fall it's perfect. Come winter it can be too cold, I'd much rather be sitting by the fireplace inside, but at night the fall has just enough chill to it. Hot drinks and warm blankets make it extra cozy. It's also a great time for stargazing...is it just me or does it seem like the colder the night, the clearer the sky/brighter the stars? I'm sure there is a science-y explanation for that.
Watch Halloween-y movies. I'll basically be rotating Hocus Pocus, Practical Magic, and the Harry Potter series until Halloween. Sort of childish, but around this time of year I revert back to my childhood more then ever. Just wait till Christmas. Don't get me wrong, I love creepy, spooky, suspenseful, makes-you-think movies, but not really into the downright scary or gory. I once got talked into going to see one of the Saw movies in theaters and literally spent the time sitting on the theater floor in front of my seat (so gross looking back, but I was that terrified), with my coat over my head. Carrie comes out October 18th and I want to see it, but I'm sure I'll end up chickening out.
I'd LOVE to go on a ghost tour and visit real haunted houses (or anywhere "haunted") but I don't know where to go around here. My college town is actually considered one of the most haunted places on earth and every year for Halloween I wanted to do something like that, but ended up dressing up and getting drunk like everyone else. I have a love/hate relationship with this kind of stuff - I am fascinated by it, especially the history and stories and myths that go along with it, but it could also very easily send my overactive imagination right off the edge.
I'm sure I'll think of some more things to add to this list after I post it, as that is always the way!
For some time I've wanted to create an ultimate guide for diet and exercise that includes the basics plus tips and tricks that actually work, all in one place. A guide that you can use to lose weight and tone or maintain weight and a healthy lifestyle while continue toning. My first post ever was actually about getting your body bikini ready, but it really only skimmed the surface and now I want to expand on it with help from my friend, Kate.
Let us explain our thinking when creating this diet and exercise guide and why we feel now is the best time to post it. We love food and for the most part hate working out, something we think is pretty true for a lot of women out there. Also, while we don't want to promote unhealthy body images or expectations, we are vain. We want to look our best and from now until March it can be hard to find it in ourselves to eat healthy and workout. Light, fresh meals that were actually appealing during the summer, now can't hold their own next to the sweet and savory treats that are about to be everywhere due to Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years' Eve, and Valentine's Day. Less daylight makes it so much easier to just get cozy, hunker down, and not move for hours. It's like this time of the year is just here to eff your body up. It's also our favorite time of the year (if I had a dollar for every time I've said that on this blog or on twitter...) for the same reason. We'll say it again, we love food and spending the day with a book, television show, or movie, may be our favorite pastime, ESPECIALLY when it is dark and dreary out. So how can you find a balance? How do you come out the other side not 5-10 pounds heavier?
Kate and I have always shared our diet and exercise tips with each other - what we read, what we know, what we've tried. We're no experts, but thanks to our combined experience, research, and her education, we feel we should share our knowledge and put it in one easy to understand and most importantly, realistic, post. For example, one of the things we've noticed is that no matter how hard we try, no matter what science tells us, our biggest meal of the day is going to be dinner, even more so during the fall and winter because the food tends to be heavier. There is almost no escaping it, so we've kept that in mind while coming up with our plan and said, how can we work around this? How can we have our cake and eat it too?
So, without further ado, here it is, Danie and Kate's ultimate diet and exercise guide to keep you from looking chunky in your chunky sweaters, feel great in your New Year's Eve dress, and prevent major damage control post-holiday season.
Drink only water, coffee, tea, or our apple cider vinegar drink. No reason to waste calories on juice or soda. Exceptions for the occasional holiday drink, such as a pumpkin spice latte, apple cider, or hot chocolate (a great substitute for dessert at the end of the night).
Best - Drink alcohol only twice a week and limit how much milk, cream, or sugar in your coffee.
Overachiever - No alcohol and only black coffee.
Apple cider vinegar drink - 1-2 teaspoons diluted with water or green tea before every meal or 3 teaspoons diluted in a large glass of water or green tea with lemon to drink throughout the day.
Always eat breakfast, lunch before 3 pm, dinner before 8 pm.
There is a difference between how many calories you should eat if you are trying to lose weight versus how many calories you should eat if you are just trying not to gain weight over the holidays. This is based on research and our opinion, but generally if you are trying to lose weight you should eat under 1, 500 a day and if you are trying to maintain, stay under roughly 1,800. Do your own research and talk to a doctor or nutritionist. Here is how to calculate how many calories if you want to lose weight and here is how many calories you should eat if you want to maintain based on activity, gender, and age. Some says it's best to keep your metabolism guessing, so keeping 1, 500 calories as a guide to follow most days, but then have strict days and not so strict days (more on this later).
Knowing dinner is usually the biggest meal of the day, breakfast and lunch should be the smallest. This doesn't mean a banana for breakfast and a handful of nuts for lunch, but small meals under 300 - 400 calories at the most that are healthy and will keep you full and leaves enough calories for dinner and dessert. It helps to plan these small meals in advance to have a game plan to stick to when hunger creeps in. Slide the scale if you tend to have a bigger breakfast than lunch or vice versa (so say, 500 for one and 200 for the other). That might not seem like a lot of calories to fill yourself up, but you would be surprised what will keep you going when choosing the right foods.
Breakfast - You want to provide energy to get yourself through the early morning hours, so be sure to include some form of protein and stay away from simple carbohydrates, i.e. any refined or processed carbohydrate. They are "quick release" carbohydrates so your body breaks them down quickly and causes a rapid rise in your body sugar level. "Slow release" carbohydrates on the other hand have more staying power, since they take longer for your body to break down, keeping your blood sugar levels more stable and leaving you feeling fuller longer. Great "slow release" carbohydrates are fresh fruit, steel-cut oats, quinoa, and if you can't say no to bread, eat whole grain.
Lunch - This can be a difficult meal especially when you are working because if you are anything like Kate, you've spent half your morning dreaming of something delicious you can get your hands on by the time 12 o'clock rolls around. Try packing lunch whenever possible to avoid that urge to spring for something unhealthy at a nearby restaurant or food chain. Here is a great article from Fitness Magazine. They give a variety of healthy lunches under 400 calories and even tell you what to get from different fast food chains if that is all you have available to you. Kate's go-to is always Subway, they sadly had her order memorized at the one around the corner from her last job. Choosing what to eat for breakfast and lunch will become easier the more you research and pay attention to what you're eating.
Dinner - Assuming this is the biggest meal of the day, you have the remaining calories for dinner and dessert. We've kept breakfast and lunch small because we all naturally like coming home, relaxing, and eating a bigger dinner anyway and if you do have to go out to dinner with friends, family, or for work, you won't ruin your day.
Dessert - If you need a little something sweet at the end of the night, like we do, try to keep it under 200 calories.
Best - Dessert only twice a week and cut out diary whenever you can. We know you can't have a bowl of cereal without milk (unless you use almond or soy milk), but don't add parmesan cheese to your pasta.
Overachiever - No dessert or cheese.
Always try to incorporate fruits or veggies into every meal!
We’re not masochists around the holidays and
we know it’s easier to stay on track and eat healthy when you can occasionally
say, "screw it". The weekend is the perfect time to chill out and eat what you want - within reason and as long as you've been eating healthy and working out during the week. Do not gorge yourself, but have that eggs benedict or club sandwich for brunch and lasagna with a glass of
red wine or two for dinner and a slice of chocolate cake for dessert - not outrageous, but not necessarily
healthy. Or you could spread out your indulgences through the week, having say, that slice of chocolate cake on an otherwise strict day. We try to live by the everything in moderation rule.
Depending on your lifestyle, you may choose to workout so many days a week or it may be easier to workout every other day or so, rotating different exercises. If you are trying to lose weight, working out in the morning before you eat breakfast will really get your metabolism going.
Weekly - We think it is reasonable for everyone to workout four days a week - two days of cardio (running, elliptical, treadmill, spin class), one day of toning (we love Pilates and Pure Barre), and one day of Yoga. Yoga is important for your overall wellbeing because it doesn't concentrate solely on the body, but the mind and soul as well. Then, one day a week choose to do something physical like a hike with your dog or a walk around your town or city with friends, just something fun that you don't even think of as a workout. If you are trying to lose weight and what we just listed isn't enough, add another day of cardio or toning, or a class that incorporates both, like a dance class. No matter what, at least give yourself one day off a week.
Rotating - If thinking in terms of week by week doesn't work for you, workout every other day, rotate cardio, toning, yoga, and your fun, but physical activity. This can be good for someone who groans thinking of working out three days in a row and ends up giving up before they even begin. Working out knowing the next day you don't have to is a great way to get it done. We all get into ruts, but never let more than two or three days go by without
working out. If you keep that rule, you’ll never go too far off track.
Always stretch before and after working out, this prevents injury, increases flexibility, and promotes long, lean muscles. We love this one we found on Pinterest after cardio.
There are those who believe you shouldn’t weight yourself
because the number on the scale doesn’t matter, how you feel does, and we completely agree. Don’t pay attention to what you think you should weigh, and
pay attention to your pants feeling looser or tighter and use that as an indicator (and remember, muscle weighs more
than fat). BUT, if you are having trouble losing weight, “how you feel” may not
be tangible enough for you. Weighing yourself also gives you more control, if
you notice you’re not losing any weight or even gaining, you can look back at
the past few days and make some changes (this definitely should be implemented during the holidays). If you’re waiting for “how you feel”,
you could be heading in the wrong direction and not even know it. Also, it can
be motivating when you do start losing weight. Weigh yourself everyday in the
morning and night if you truly want to see how your body is doing. The second
you start feeling obsessed with that number though, cut back. If you’re trying
to maintain your weight, maybe weigh yourself once or twice a week to keep yourself in check. Figure out
what a healthy and productive relationship with your scale is for you.
TIPS + TRICKS
Some vitamins have been linked to losing weight/maintaining weight and just keep you healthy. I list what I take here.
While you probably won't be wearing a bathing suit this time of the year, the products I list in this post will definitely help you look better naked.
Had a bad day or few bad days? Drink lots of water and the apple cider vinegar drink I mentioned above - there are even detox teas you can drink. Eat light that day (lots of fruits and veggies) and take a bath using detox salts or go to your gym or spa and use the sauna. That is our remedy for feeling back on track.
Write down how many calories you've had each day, your workouts, and weight to see how you're doing and notice certain trends.
At holiday dinners or parties you'll be faced with a lot of appetizers or a buffet, try what you want to, but only have one of each appetizer and small portions if it's a buffet.
What we've laid out isn't rocket science, but it's everything that we know that works, in one place, in a simple and easy way that keeps in mind the holiday season and human nature. In another post coming soon we will have breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert options in accordance to the calorie limits we've set out. We also understand that simple diet and exercise isn't enough for some people. Talk to your doctor or a nutritionist to come up with a plan that works for you. We're interested in and have heard good things about diets like the 5:2 diet, the VB6 diet, and the 8 Hour diet, which are less like a "diet" and more a reasonable lifestyle change that may be what works for your body type/metabolism.
Now, was that not the longest post ever or what? Totally worth it though to be able to rock our leather leggings.
Above all, I think the biggest trend at the Emmy Awards was subtlety. There wasn't a whole lot of craziness going on. At first very few of the dresses blew me away, but then I looked closer, or rather, when the cameras zoomed in, I noticed details that made them special. Below are some of my favorites and some of my almost favorites!
The detailing on this Marchesa dress, how it compliments her skin tone, the train - it's all perfection in my eyes. A little different, but not groundbreaking, just beautiful.
I can't even begin to explain my love for this Calvin Klein Collection ensemble. It's like Emma Stone's 2011 Golden Globes all over again (also Calvin Klein Collection), and I don't even mind. I also love Rose Byrne like, a lot.
I'm usually not a fan of Claire Danes' choices, but this Armani Privé is just lovely and the faux bob should definitely become permanent.
Girl just looks good. I adore the lace detail on this Christian Siriano and how she went full on old school Hollywood glamour, but in no way over done.
I can see how this Givenchy could be thought of as underwhelming, but I can't help but love it. Again, it's all in the detail. I don't think the straight across neckline works on her though.
Sometimes you really can't go wrong with a black and white dress like this Andrew Gn. It's classic and the texture on it keeps it interesting.
I'm really digging this tone on tone Prada dress with Michelle Dockery's skin tone and hair color, but I think the proportions are just off for me. If it wasn't hi-lo and just straight to the floor in the front I think I'd love it.
Kiernan Shipka in Delpozo looks adorable, fun, and pretty.
I'm not loving this CH Carolina Herrera as much in photos, but last night it looked great. The emerald, burgundy lip, and black lace was just the right amount of sexy and classy.
Not many people seem to like this Honor dress, but I do. The pattern and shape is really cool and she smartly kept everything else simple. I honestly think she knocked this one almost out of the park, but I do think the black leather on her chest is too distracting.
Again, I think this Alice + Olivia dress is really cool and is probably even prettier in person. I don't even mind the hair.
A very pretty Marchesa dress - actually the more I look at it the more I like it (for the millionth time, check out that detail), but unfortunately you can't always see that in pictures or on television and it can seem underwhelming and typical otherwise.
The color and shape of this Ralph Lauren dress is perfect for her, and I get the simplicity thing, but I just wish she would've topped it off with a funky necklace.
I'm still in bed right now because my room is so chilly and my bed is so warm. I really wish a cup of something pumpkin flavored would materialize at my bedside. If I haven't told you enough, I love this time of the year with an unparalleled passion. It's kind of sick.
So, what have I been up to? Well, looking for a real job still, duh. I've been concentrating my search on the Northeast, which ends up that I'm applying to a lot of jobs in New York City, someplace I'd love to live, but maybe just not yet, so I'd like to make a point to look for ones in Boston and Portland. The other week I organized and redecorated my room. It was desperately needing a good cleaning out and a fresh look. I also attacked my closet, throwing things away that no one should have to wear and donating the rest. And, of course, putting away my summer clothes. You'd think this would be depressing, but I've always gotten more excited over sweaters and boots than tanks and shorts. I've also decided to spruce up and reorganize my bathroom. I have so many old beauty products stashed away in there that just need to go. I swear, only the crispness and newness of fall would get me motivated to do any of this. Due to this and my last post, fall clothes have been weighing heavily on my mind. I've come up with a list of what I want and need (big difference), and I'm slowly chipping away at it.
Not to give too much away for a post that is coming up, but I've also revamped my hair, skin, and beauty products for fall. My hair is a tiny bit blonder and shorter than the last time I got it cut and highlighted ombré style. Even though you'd think it'd be the opposite, shorter hair in the summer due to the heat, I think you can get away with longer, messier hair during the summer. Come fall you want a good, clean cut. Same goes for color, as normally I'd go lighter during the summer, but I think with being so pale these next few months my hair at least needed to have some more contrast. As for skin, my skin is basically like what the eff is going on. It's really hard for a girl like me to balance their skin out during the fall and winter, because I tend to be oily, but you can bet I'll be dry and peeling like the rest of them now that it's colder. It's tough to walk the line between too much and not enough moisturizer (and the right kinds of moisturizer), since I don't want to breakout later. So, I came across No. 7's line for oily/breakout prone skin and have been giving it a shot. I'll be able to let you guys know how it works by the time I do the post. Finally, I am so into a red or burgundy (or oxblood, or cranberry, or whatever they are calling it this season) lips. My nails too are looking more fall-ish, thanks to Essie's Gym Dandy. It's a great grey-brown-beige-green. Honestly don't even know how to describe this color, which I think is why it works with whatever I put on.
I tend to go outdoors more during the fall, since I hate the heat, but it's also the best time of the year to curl up with a book or watch some of the great fall television. To hit on another post coming up, I'll share what I've been reading and my favorite shows coming back, plus what new ones I can't wait to start watching. The list is embarrassingly long, and I blame my dreamer/escapism personality and the writer in me who is fascinated by other people's stories, no matter how ridiculous. Hey, it's research, I tell myself. Last night it was New Girl and The Mindy Project, two of the few comedies I watch. I love Zooey Deschanel and Mindy Kaling (whose character Mindy Lahiri at times reminds me of an exaggerated version of myself. Scary, but true).
Okay, I should probably get out of bed and put away my laundry or go workout or something before heading to work. Have a lovely day!