Burning calories in half the time!


I wanted to wait until I got back from vacation in Spain to start T25 and boy was I dripping sweat on my first workout! I did the Core Speed workout first and it was so much fun! He had fun zig zag moves and I really impressed myself doing the one hand burpees! It was a non-stop high energy burn. My heart monitor got up higher than I have ever seen it!

The end of August is upon us - and with it will come jeans, sweaters and football! But that does not mean it's time to let our health and fitness journeys fall away! If you want a workout that is fast, fun, makes you sweat and makes you ENJOY it all at the same time, T25 is the way to go! And guess what!? T25 challenge pack is only on sale until midnight tonight!!! Save on a program that is 25 minutes a day for 5 days! You get both the fitness system and shakeology (the BEST nutrition available) at half price!  A 25 minute workout is only 1% of your day- check it out.

Time is running out but there is still time to commit and challenge yourself to CHANGE YOUR LIFE!  Comment below or message me and I can help you get set up to be the healthiest, happiest and proudest version of yourself you can be! 

Ibiza : Mediterranean Style


I wanted to share my unforgettable time in Ibiza, and no Ibiza is not all about doing drugs. This was my second trip to Ibiza and I had a blast! It's party capital of the world! I should also call it sunscreen capital because I got quite the sunburn despite repeated layers of sunscreen. There's boat trips,  bar hopping, club nights and cocktails, but I only had time to try out a few of Ibiza’s hottest happenings this summer.

Groupon Scores!

Got some awesome deals from Groupon today: 

$5 for $10 worth of Sephora products! 
Did you know if you create an account at sephora.com they let you set up a wishlist of products you want to buy! Helps me keep track of things I had an interest in. If you don't know what to buy here are some ideas for you:

glitter nail polish - I love the gold color because it has large chunky pieces of glitter
I just painted my nails this design last night.

sequin nail polish

Bumble & Bumble Straight Blow Dry -  my hairdresser turned me on to it and I love it! You only need a tiny bit.

$19.99 for Just Dance4 for Wii or Kinect for Xbox 360 ($39.99 List Price). Free Shipping and Returns.
I've played this at parties and had a blast dancing to it! 

$4.99 for GenevaCrystal-Embellished Silicone Watches ($19.99 List Price). Free Returns.
I'm not normally a watch wearer but find them useful on vacation. I notice tons of people wearing this style watch in white so it's been on my to buy list. 

Funny vacation watch story for you. Two years ago when I was in Italy I was on high alert against pick pocketers and scammers, so when a man said something to me in Italian and I just shugged my shoulders to say I don't know without speaking to reveal I was a tourist. Then he got an attitude and pointed to the watch on my wrist! lol So I had to learn how to say "what time is it" in Italian so I would recognize the question when asked of me so I don't look like an idiot saying I don't know. lol




What Are the Best Snacks for the Plane?

I just got back from a two week holiday in Spain and had an amazing time!!! If you didn't know, vegetarians have to pre-order special meals for planes in advance as they don't just keep extra on hand. Although I have to say I saw a shift with US Airways as now your choice of two entrees was one meat and one veggie, but of course that assumes they don't run out of the non-meat option before they get to you which I overheard they did. Their special order meals include the following:
Kosher, Muslim, Hindu, Vegan, Lacto-ovo, Asian vegetarian, low sodium, low fat/low cholesterol, low calorie, diabetic, bland, gluten free, non-lactose,  baby, and children's
So for fun I got the Asian Vegetarian as my experience in the past with the lacto-ovo is that I get cold vegetables (salad) and hot vegetables, no starch, cheese, or anything interesting. I also never receive the same cake dessert everyone else is eating, do they think vegetarians don't eat sugar? lol Here's what I was served, I was lucky this time I got margarine to go with the bread, normally I get nothing to spread on it. The bread was whole wheat, unlike the white bread everyone else got.



I took two planes to Spain and I found that US Air no longer gives out peanuts and pretzels. My short flight only had a beverage and my long flight gave a cookie as a snack.

I brought my cashews with me and a couple protein bars. That way I wouldn't have to eat junk food in the airport such as cinnabon. Every day during my vacation I put one cashew packet into my purse to have if I got hungry between meals. Did you know dinner in Spain starts at 8pm? Restaurants are not even open before then! I often ate dinner much later than that.

I also brought my bag of Shakeology with me because I knew in Spain my breakfast may not be the best and I wanted to make sure I get my daily protein and vitamins. It was super easy to do, I used the glass they give you in the hotel bathroom, washed it out first as I saw a 20/20 special about how those are never actually cleaned. I poured a scoop of powder into it, then brought it down to the breakfast room to mix with water and juice. Drinking my daily vitamins everyday made sure I didn't get sick because I was traveling with a lot of people that were coughing up a storm.



Packing tips for your next vacation


As a seasoned traveler I wanted to share some tips with you. I never over pack because I type up a spreadsheet of what I will wear everyday. This way I only take what I need plus an extra dress for an improtu evening and one backup if something goes wrong with a scheduled outfit.  At home I try on every outfit to see which jewelry goes with it and also jot that down on the spreadsheet under the jewelry column. While on vacation, when I go to bed every night I refer to my list and hang up the next outfit in the closet so it's easy and ready to go in the morning. So no matter how I feel when I wake up (tired, etc), I always look good. I always bring a sweater and socks because airplanes are always cold.
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  1. First start with a packing list because it's always the little things that you tend to forget that are a pain to find overseas. You can also download an app called Packing Pro that can help you with that and what's great about it is you can customize it and have separate lists for your carry on and each traveler with you. Plus you can save your list for future trips!
  2. There's two theories on how to pack some people say rolling your clothes takes up less space and the benefit is rolled clothes are less prone to wrinkles. I however prefer to use space saver bags so all my clothes are in plastic bags, but some items do end up being wrinkled on their folding crease. I tend to stick to dresses that don't wrinkle so for the most part I'm ok. I figure if TSA goes through my bag everything stays in order because it's easy for them to just lift up the bags. I also have one bag just for large bottles.
  3. Weigh your bag before you go, for international flights the limit is 50 lbs. If you are a big shopper than your bag should weigh considerably less than that so you have space to add to it.
  4. Buy travel sized liquids. I saw at Bed Bath and Beyond had great empty kits that come with a pouch with bottles you can fill yourself with your favorite products.
  5. Never check essential items. I keep all my makeup in my carry-on. I know that may not essential to you lol, but as I don't take any medications that's about the most important thing I carry that would be a pain to replace.  I also keep a spare outfit and swimsuit in my carry-on in case my suitcase gets lost and doesn't make it to my destination.
  6. Keep your money in a money belt. I'm not a fan of wasting time running around to find ATMs and being charged outrageous fees. A friend of mine was charged a $30 foreign transaction fee every time she took money out in Spain!
  7. Use packing aids to organize your suitcase. I use these Smart packs to pack my lingerie, makes them easy to find in one place. I'm a huge fan of separating things by category into their own pouch. 
  8. A travel pillow is a must have!
  9. I see lots of women throwing their gym shoes into their purse, I prefer a separation of cleanliness because after all the bottom of your shoes aren't clean. In my suitcase I use a shoe bag.
  10. Bring a battery operated alarm clock, because I've seen cases where the hotel forgets to give you your wakeup call and your iphone isn't charged. If you're going international you'll need travel adapter plugs.
  11. Bring facial wipes because at the end of a long tiring day, you'll be too tired to go through your makeup removing routine. Not only do these wipes remove makeup, they take off your mascara!
  12. Have a unique looking suitcase so it's easy to find yours! At the luggage claim I could easily sit far back and relax as the luggage came out because I can spot my pink bag a mile away! I have a kitschy yellow luggage tag that says "This is not your suitcase". You don't want to opt for the paper tags at the airline check-in while hastily scribbling your addresses and phone numbers because that could easily fall off. I saw on the news that there are many unclaimed suitcases every year. I also print out my address in large font on a piece of paper and put it inside my suitcase.
  13. All the hotels in Spain had free wi-fi in the lobby and sometimes also in the rooms, although they charged you to use their computer if you didn't bring your own device. Many restaurants, fast food chains, malls and rest stops/gas stations also had free wifi. I saw a number of people with either the mini ipad or kindle fire and realized, that really was the perfect travel sized device. The people who only took photos on their phones frequently ran out of space and had to move their photos over to their ipad.


The Power of Gratitude

I always keep a daily gratitude journal while on vacation. I list three nice things that happened to me each day, just a short one sentence for each. It could me something small as a nice conversation with someone, a compliment, or a fun experience. Traveling can be stressful and tiring so it's nice to be able to reflect on the good that happens. I think you're more likely to feel happiness if you can reflect back on it. Happiness is a choice, so if you make a conscience decision to feel happy, you will. I also think the act of daily gratitude helps to attract positive things into your life.
Joel Osteen says being unhappy won't change anything for the better. Being negative and sour isn't going to improve anything either. You might as well choose to be happy and enjoy your life! Happiness is a decision you make, not an emotion you feel. So don't worry about things you can't change, just appreciate today.
In an interview with Dr. Oz in January 2012, Goldie Hawn shared her secrets to staying young: maintaining a sunny personality. "When you are in a healthier state of mind, the body reacts. So, when you're feeling joyful the body actually will react that way . . . So I say, cut the negative, focus on the positive, habituate the positive thinking. And in doing so, your neurobiology begins to fire differently because that's what your brain likes."

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Where in the world am I?

Can you guess? I visited the sites below plus the 1992 Olympic Games complex, took a bike tour to get off the beaten track, then I hit up the beach! This evening I'm going to catch a flamenco show!  post signature

Where in the world am I?



I'm eating churros and paella and this evening I will go to little wine bar and check out some traditional salsa.  I visited a world famous art museum named after a Queen housed in a converted hospital, came here once when I was in high school. These are the most famous pieces here:

Woman in Blue - Picasso 
Picasso painted this during his blue period, from memory of a courtesan from his trip to Paris, and when it failed to win competition he discarded it, it was discovered years later.


Luncheon on the Grass - Miquel Barceló 
Contemporary art (1980s) piece inspired from when Barcelo was living in Mali, the desert landscape captured in white paint to capture the blinding dessert light.

Sonia de Klamery - Herman Anglada Camarasa
Can you see the peacock and it's brilliant multicolours on the top left?

The Gathering at the Café de Pombo - José Gutiérrez Solana
This is Solana's most iconic work, the social life in the 1920s consisting of a meeting among famous intellectuals at the time in a cafe. However the mirror behind them is one of Solana's signature elements, is it real or not.
Portrait II - Joan Miró
Cubism and surrealism.
Self Portrait/Accident - Alfonso Ponce de León
A surreal piece about his death painted a year before he died in a car accident as forseen in the painting. The painting is odd in that half of his body is missing, the light on him is not coming from the headlights of the car, and him pointing at his forehead.

Bulls Fighting -  Benjamín Palencia

Superimposition on Grey Matter - Antoni Tapies
This piece has a lot of texture from mixed media in the Surrealist style.

Guitar in Front of the Sea - Juan Gris
An oil painting in the Cubist style of objects in front of a window.

Woman in Garden - Picasso

Iron sculpture of a woman with a triangular face and wind blown hair in a Surrealist style.


Toki Egin (Homage to St John of the Cross) - Eduardo Chillida
Made in 1990,"toki egin" means "make way" as this is an expression of space.The sculptor is using the geometrical element for an action that has both spiritual and philosophical sides: the conception of space.

Guernica - Picasso
This is the most famous piece of the museum! It's an expression of the destruction of World War II and how cruel it is. Picasso gave the piece to the New York Museum of Modern Art for safekeeping and was only returned to this country in 1981.

So if you guessed where I am, post in the comments!


  

Why I drink shakeology

Cost objections are the #1 excuse people give me about why they won't order Shakeology! Well from the lips of Beachbody CEO, Shakeology was not developed to be the cheapest shake out there! No additives, no preservatives, no processed ingredients! All natural to encourage the body's systems to function at optimal performance. So yes it's not cheap but when it comes to your health shouldn't you be willing to pay for nutrition? If you want to know why it's so expensive, take three minutes to watch this video from the CEO of Beachbody. Nothing on the market can even come close to this product. Compare the ingredients in shakeology to whatever else you're using. 




Depending on the flavor Shakeology has between 6-9 grams of sugar in it and its purpose is for nutrient transport. If you're exercising and on a calorie-restricted diet, this combo can leave you in a glycogen-starved state where your overtrained and underfed body can catabolize muscle tissue for energy. Therefore, most  meal replacement snacks have some sugar, which speeds nutrients into a depleted system quickly which aids recovery between workouts with minimal calories. Shakeology gives a balanced mixture of ingredients to allow the nutrients to be absorbs without an insulin spike, and thus, why Shakeology has scored such a low number on the GI index.

Happy National S'mores Day!


Honestly, what's not to love? Graham crackers, gooey marshmallows, and melted chocolate? I haven't indulged in s'mores in many years, but you should have one for me! My roommate in college used to make s'mores in the microwave with cinnamon graham crackers, that was her special recipe! I'm a bit of a marshmallow snob, I like them fancy.  If you're a vegetarian enjoying s'mores doesn't have to be a pipedream, several companies make gelatin free marshmallows. Dandies is one brand and they melt just like regular marshmallows. I was excited to try Trader Joes s'mores ice cream sandwich, however I felt it missed the mark on actual s'mores flavor.

If you have a Cosi in your area, you can get table side s'mores, but not all locations have it so call first.


If you want to enjoy s'mores without the calories try Halo vegan s'mores bar or this recipe:

Ingredients:
1 scoop Chocolate Shakeology
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1 cup vanilla almond milk
2 drops vanilla extract

 Blend Ingredients
 1 tbsp ground, sugar-free graham cracker sprinkled on top


Black Hair Care Tips

Keri Hilson has always been my hair inspiration. You might have heard her songs "Pretty Girl Rock", "Lose Control", or "Knock you Down". With African-American hair processed with a chemical you have to moisturize and seal it every night. That means I put a leave in conditioner on my ends then seal it with oil - either coconut, vitamin E or castrol oil. Do a quick search on youtube and you'll find tons of women giving instructions on how to do it. This woman is my favorite and I found most other people were using the same exact products as her. The Herbal Essences leave in conditioner has since been discontinued, found that out just as I noticed my body was empty. 

Luster has released a new version of my absolute favorite moisturizer the S-Curl Activator Moisturizer. The new formula does not contain parabens, sulfates, or sodium chloride, mineral oil or petrolatum. Yes it was initially designed for people with jheri curls so you might find it hilarious that I use this, but if you read hair blogs you'll find it a very popular product by both relaxed and natural haired black women around the globe.  It's inexpensive and can be used daily as part of your nightly regimen. It contains glycerine, vitamin B5, Argan oil, and Olive oil, which together eliminate breakage and keep your curls. It's non-greasy and I always wake up with soft moisturized hair.


The key thing to growing out African-American hair is to preserve your ends and treat it as well as you can so it won't break off. I've been doing this nightly regime for two years now and it's definitely what has kept my hair healthy with the color and allowed it to grow. I know it's been two years because I recently had a Blonde Anniversary Party to celebrate two fabulous years as a blonde! Yes I'm serious. lol


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How to heal bruises faster


I had an embarrassing fall and ending up with multiple unsightly large bruises and being that it's summer I wanted to get rid of them fast! A bruise is a result of the blood vessels burst near your skin and the blood spreads to the surrounding tissue. So icing immediately after an injury helps stop that spread.

After the bruise forms I massaged the surrounding area several times a day which helps your body go through its process of removing it. I ate pineapple which contains bromelain which breaks down proteins that trap fluids in the tissues after an injury. I rubbed vinegar and witch hazel on the bruise which increases blood flow near the skin's surface.

And I applied Arnica gel to it several times a day. Arnica is a natural herb that dilates your blood vessels so that the healing power of your blood can come through to reduce inflammation and swelling. It's also used for muscle strains from sport injuries and arthritis. I had bought a bottle of it for my mom in the past but didn't know it had a dual purpose. The gel has no smell and absorbs really quickly! After a week of doing this I have to say my bruises have healed pretty quickly!

Southland

If you loved the shows The Wire, The Shield, and Prison Break, as much as I did, then let me introduce to Southland. It's a TNT drama series that was canceled after the 5th season this year, however, it's new to me and the best part is I can watch all the seasons straight through! The show takes a very "raw and authentic look" at the Los Angeles police force. It stars Arija Bareikis who you might remember from the TV series The American Embassy, Regina King, and Ben McKenzie from The O.C. McKenzie plays rookie police officer Ben Sherman, the star of the show.

Blackberries and Cream Quinoa Breakfast


I wanted to try a different hot grain for breakfast instead of my usual breakfast. So on a whim I grabbed a pack of Quinoa Breakfast PorridgePorridge at Whole Foods and while it was delicious, at $4 for a single serving pack I figured I could make this on my own cheaper. 

Before I had only used quinoa in place of rice in savory dishes, but wanted to try it in a sweet dish and I have to say that adding the homemade coconut cream really blew my mind!  This meal is very much like having oatmeal for breakfast, hot, hearty plus has added protein because quinoa has a high protein content. It does take some prep the night before to cook the quinoa and to make the coconut cream (very similar to whipped cream).

coconut cream

Ingredients:
Makes 4 servings

Half can of Trader Joe's - Coconut Cream Extra Thick and Rich 
¼ tsp vanilla extract 
drop of liquid stevia
1 cup quinoa dry
2 teaspoons wheat germ (optional)
blackberries


Make ahead directions:
One day before, refrigerate coconut cream overnight in the can. The next day pour into a blender and whip with a drop of stevia and the vanilla. I've found that the leftovers can be refrigerated for a a week without losing fits luffy texture.

Cook quinoa according to package directions. Once done, separate into 4 tupperware containers so you can just grab an already portioned container in the morning.

Assembly in the morning:
Heat up quinoa in microwave for 30 seconds. Stir coconut cream into quinoa. Top with wheat germ and blackberries or fruit of your choice. Enjoy!

Nutritional Analysis
309 calories, 17g protein, 5g fiber



How to Remove Tea Stains

I typically only drink herbal tea or green tea, but I had started drinking some rooibos tea and for the first time ever in all my daily tea drinking the inside of my mug got tea stains (see pic below). I would wash it really well with dish soap but to no avail. So I asked my mother about this and she said that baking soda does the trick! I mixed a little baking soda with water and scrubbed away, had to repeat a couple times, but it came over pretty easily!


Enabler Alert!


Body Beast


Do you want to build extreme muscle and bulk with Dynamic Set Training? With Body Beast, different training strategies are used from prefatigue sets to drop, force, and tempo sets, creating greater time under tension and a faster and more effective workout. Body Beast has three specially designed phases, with corresponding nutrition phases, to help you build and bulk. It was developed by champion bodybuilder Sagi Kalev who provides lots of quick, simple-to-prepare, delicious meals.

You don’t need to join a gym, hire a spotter, or have an Olympic weight lifting set. With dumbbells, the correct nutrition, and the desire to work hard, Body Beast will help you pack on lean muscle! If you're a man that wants a strong body with real bulk, then Body Beast includes 12 different cutting-edge workouts for you, check out the preview below.

For the entire month of August, the Body Beast Challenge Pack (combo of both fitness system and shakeology) will be on sale. It's over $80 of savings if you were to buy them separately! post signature

Chia Pudding


Lately I've been switching out my lunch for Shakeology because I've been going out to eat a lot, but by adding fruit to my shake it's super filling. My afternoon snack has been a cheese stick, however I've found that it makes me sleepy so I wanted to find something new for my afternoon snack. Hello Chia Pudding! I got the recipe from Gena whose raw food class I recently attended and her banana soft serve which was to die for! Chia seeds are packed with healthy Omega-3 (more than flaxseed), fiber and antioxidants. Two tablespoons have as much calcium as a half glass of milk. It has seven times more vitamin C than an orange, three times more iron than spinach, and twice the potassium than in a banana. It helps curb your appetite with the fiber slowing your digestion, the gel breaks down carbs and slow digestion. Definitely a key food for weight loss! 

Ingredients:
3 tablespoons chia seeds
1 cup almond milk or coconut beverage
½ TB maple syrup
½ tsp vanilla
sprinkle of cardamom (but you can use cinnamon)

Directions:
Mix all ingredients in a bowl and put in fridge. Then come back twice within the hour to mix again as it tends to separate. Leave overnight to set into a gel.

Note: Don't skip on the spices otherwise it'll have no flavor.

Makes 2 servings. One serving is 140 calories, 5g of protein, 10g of fiber.

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