Tone It Up | Look for Love Challenge

After finishing up the Brittany Dawn Fitness 60 Day Challenge during the end of 2016 – I was excited to grab some girlfriends and start the Tone It Up Look for Love Challenge in 2017.

What was great about the Brittany Dawn Fitness challenge was the weekly check-ins. I liked feeling accountable, and knowing that I was going to be taking a picture Monday midday helped me stay on track during weekend shenanigans.

So for 2017 I tried a new kind of accountability – I joined forces with my three best friends and we shared pictures, stories, recipes, and inspiration on a private Facebook page that we made for the challenge.

Not in the mood to workout? It just took one picture of the mother of #TwoUnderTwo working out on the living room floor next to a crib to get my booty to the gym.

Want some inspiration to try a new recipe? Another friend is genius at making tasty, quick vegetarian meals, all the while taking care of her two and half-year old.

And when I started feeling like I’d bitten off more than I could chew with my meditation and self-love resolutions? My friend shared pictures of her meditation and journaling space filled with crystals and good vibes. Knowing she was making the time and effort, while simultaneously juggling a toddler, school, and husband – Always kept me motivated.

And the best part? We’re in four different cities but it felt like we started the year off together! If you’re never tried tackling a challenge with your friends, I highly recommend it.

So how was the challenge itself?

AMAZING!

Tone It Up Perfect Fit Protein Smoothie Tone It Up Love Your Body FitLife Fitspo Vegan Gluten-Free Paleo Fashion Food Fitness Lifestyle Blogger Challenge

Bundle:

I decided to buy the bundle for this challenge to help get me in the mood. It included some gear, plus the Body Love Workouts, and the updated Nutrition plan.

The workouts and nutrition plan were great, more on them below, but I don’t know if I’d buy the bundle again. For $198 it included the workouts, nutrition plan, a jump rope, socks, towel, backpack, meal prep containers, and foot sliders.

Workouts:

I worked so hard during the Brittany Dawn Fitness challenge, which included weight lifting 5 days a week, that I wasn’t expecting to get my booty kicked.

But kicked it got!

Turns out, Karena and Katrina teamed up with none other than Jillian Michaels for the Body Love Challenge and they put together some seriously killer workouts. I loved all the compound moves and HIIT routines. They kept you challenged and engaged.

Note: The workouts were videos, so I had to watch them and transcribe the workouts so that I could take a piece of paper to the gym with me.

Tone It Up Perfect Fit Protein Smoothie Tone It Up Love Your Body FitLife Fitspo Vegan Gluten-Free Paleo Fashion Food Fitness Lifestyle Blogger Challenge Zoodles Sweet Potatoes Zucchini Veggie Bowl

Nutrition Plan:

While I didn’t spend a ton of time trying new recipes, this challenge really got me going on my food prep. I spent quality time drafting shopping lists, hitting the grocery store, and prepping meals to take to work each week. I kept things pretty simple with veggie frittatas for breakfast and protein pancakes for post-workout, combined with a protein smoothie and an afternoon snack, I was all set.

Overall it was a great challenge to undertake – I really enjoyed the workouts and the camaraderie, and I’m definitely going to keep up the meal prepping!!

Have YOU ever tried a Tone It Up challenge? Do you have a favorite online trainer or fitness blog that I should look at?

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MCLV Style: Amour Vert + Sustainable Fashion

What’s better than whimsical dandelion prints paired with some serious over-the-knee boots?

Finding chic, high-quality pieces from a socially responsible sustainable fashion brand!

Amour Vert Sustainable Eco-Friendly Fashion San Francisco Bay Area Fashion Food Fitness Lifestyle Blogger Street Style

Dandelion Print Haley Long-Sleeved Shift Dress c/o Amour Vert

Flat Suede Over-the-Knee Boots – Vince Camuto

White Clutch – Rebecca Minkoff

Amour Vert Sustainable Eco-Friendly Fashion San Francisco Bay Area Fashion Food Fitness Lifestyle Blogger Street Style

{Photos by Lydia Hudgens Photography}

Amour Vert Sustainable Eco-Friendly Fashion San Francisco Bay Area Fashion Food Fitness Lifestyle Blogger Street Style

I was introduced to Amour Vert by Kathleen of KatwalkSF, who hosted an event at their Walnut Creek location. At the event I got a chance to hear more about the company and browse their timeless pieces.

The founder, Linda Balti, created the company after realizing that fashion was the second most polluting industry in the world. Amour Vert “green love” was created with an eco-friendly goal in mind, plus American manufacturing, non-toxic dyes, sustainable fabrics, and a zero-waste philosophy.

“A woman should never have to sacrifice style for sustainability. Our choices matter – smart fashion is our future.”

I was hooked!

The first thing that I tried on was this Dandelion print shift dress – I love the play of youthful freshness with the cut and print of this dress against the ‘I am woman, hear me roar’ drama of the thigh-high suede boots.

Even in a flat variation, these Vince Camuto over-the-knee boots make a powerful statement. They go with everything – Jeans, dresses, leggings – And are the sartorial equivalent of an exclamation point. They make a basic outfit look chic and take a fun look to a whole new level.

What could be better? {Okay, yes, I’m basically writing a love letter to my boots}

Do YOU have a favorite sustainable fashion brand?

{Disclaimer: While this dress was a gift from Amore Vert, all opinions – Of which I have many – Are my own}

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Kaiser Half Marathon

I was excited to kick of 2017 on a healthy note by running the Kaiser Half Marathon on February 5th.

After getting the bug last year, I ended up running four races in 2016: The Guardsmen Presidio 10 Mile Run, The San Francisco Half Marathon, the Women’s Health Run 10 Feed 10, and the Golden Gate Half Marathon.

Kaiser Half Marathon Running Diary Runner Workout Gear Race Day San Francisco Bay Area Fashion Food Fitness Lifestyle Blogger Street Style

Read on to see what I thought of this one and how it compared to last year’s races!

  • Course: I haven’t had a chance to do much running in Golden Gate Park {other than crossing the San Francisco Half Marathon’s finish line}, so it was really fun to get a change of scenery for this race. The first half of the course was around the park and then there was a stretch on the Great Highway with really breathtaking views. And – Bonus – This was without a doubt the flattest course I’ve ever run!
  • Organization: Very well run – No pun intended. Tons of staff to answer questions and hand out water cups and cheer for runners. And, I have to say, this is the first finisher shirt that I’m actually keeping. Usually the sleeves or the torso are too short, but this long-sleeved tee is perfect!
  • Race Day Vibes: It was a big crowd and everyone was packed in to hear the introduction and watch the 5K runners take off. The Half Marathon started with lots of excitement and the course was great since it offered a chance to see the leaders head back towards the finish line. It kept me going to see the top runners push themselves and getting cheered forward!
  • Personal Performance: Between the Golden Gate Half Marathon and this race, I moved from Telegraph Hill to South Beach. Which means that I started running exclusively on flat roads – Virtually no hills or trails. I was very curious to see how (or if) that would impact my race time. Luckily, there was only a little elevation for this race, so I was able to take nearly 10 minutes off my time.

Side note: I didn’t do extensive training to shave time off, I was just feeling the race day vibes at the start and kept pushing myself. When you’re running you need to be sure that you’re listening to your body and not pushing beyond your capabilities. Your body can take a lot of punishment, but you don’t want to cause injuries.

What’s YOUR first goal for 2017? What’s on the calendar for you this year?

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MCLV Style: Warriors Pride | Culk

I love getting a chance to support Bay Area companies AND I’m a big fan of the Warriors – So I jumped at the chance to work with San Francisco based company Culk.

Their products are designed and created here in San Francisco by graphic designer and screen printer Sam Culkins, and they’ve produced some great designs. From t-shirts and tank tops to sweatshirts and accessories – They’ve got something for everyone – Women, men & kids.

Golden State Warriors Culk Sam Culkins Athleisure Basketball Game Style San Francisco Bay Area Fashion Food Fitness Lifestyle Blogger Street Style

Warrior’s Muscle Tee c/o Culk

Black Capri Length Pants – Banana Republic Factory

Black Blazer c/o Tobi

Striped Pumps – Seychelles {And here’s the open-toed version}

Golden State Warriors Culk Sam Culkins Athleisure Basketball Game Style San Francisco Bay Area Fashion Food Fitness Lifestyle Blogger Street Style

{Photography by Brad Wittke of Pacifica Gallery}

Golden State Warriors Culk Sam Culkins Athleisure Basketball Game Style San Francisco Bay Area Fashion Food Fitness Lifestyle Blogger Street Style

I originally thought this Warriors tank would be the perfect top for the gym, but when it arrived it was such a pretty shade of blue that I decided I wanted to dress it up a bit.

This is my version of fashionista-goes-to-a-basketball-game style! Cute but comfortable, and totally functional. I’ve worn a variation of this look to many a football and basketball game over the years. It’s basically my game day uniform.

Do YOU like to shop local?

{Disclaimer: While this t-shirt was a gift from Culk, all opinions – Of which I have many – Are my own}

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Therapeutic Massage & Recovery

A massage can be relaxing. It can be luxurious. It can be indulgent.

And while I like to show myself some love with body treatments, these days I’ve been turning to massage for restorative purposes. Massage is a wonderful way to promote recovery – It loosens your muscles, increases blood flow, and when integrated properly, it can reduce soreness so that you can put in more time training.

When I’m training for a race – Like the Kaiser Half Marathon earlier this month – Massage becomes an important part of my training regime.

I’m excited to be partnering up with massage therapist Deidre Corda to chat about how massage can be used to improve recovery.

MCLV: Can you tell everyone a bit about your company, what you offer, and your specialties?

Deidre: The short answer is: I offer in-home massages that are 100% personalized. Because every session is personalized and includes a variety of techniques, I only charge based on the length of the session, not based on which techniques I use. Charging more for a deep tissue or sports massage versus a Swedish is ridiculous!

Right now my client base is pretty equally divided among athletes, frequent travelers and moms! It’s a pretty diverse group which keeps it interesting. The travelers are particularly interesting to me at the moment. I’ve been studying up on the best ways to regain and maintain balance despite the negative effects that travel has on the body (muscle fatigue, sickness, anxiety, digestive issues, etc).

A good example of a session with me (here comes the long answer!) is my “traveler’s massage. It varies from client to client, day-to-day, but usually it consists of deep tissue and stretching to combat muscle fatigue from things like extra walking, weird beds or cramped travel situations. Lymphatic drainage massage is used to stimulate the lymph to ensure the immune system has a properly flowing waste removal system. The drainage also works wonders for sinus pressure! I balance all of that out with Swedish massage and restorative energy work to make sure my clients can sink deeply into relaxation and calm any anxieties they might have. That’s all in one session by the way!

MCLV: I’ve always appreciated the restorative effects of massage – Can you walk us through how massage can be used as a tool to aid in muscle recovery?

Deidre: Sure! But let’s get something out-of-the-way first, our bodies have every intention of healing themselves and correcting imbalances, but sometimes they need a little reminding.

The most important task of a massage therapist is to get the client to fully relax and surrender. This relaxation state is known as the parasympathetic nervous system which is the opposite of what we have turned on for 90% of our waking hours (“fight or flight”). All you need to do is breath and focus on letting go.

Once the client has dropped into the parasympathetic, we can literally feel the muscles melting as we sink deeper to find adhesions, tension, scar tissue, muscles that are firing even when they aren’t being used, etc. We use different techniques to release and bring attention to these areas of discomfort. It’s really all about awareness and being present with your body in order to heal.

Therapeutic Massage Recovery Training Running Runner FitLife San Francisco Bay Area Fashion Food Fitness Lifestyle Blogger Street Style Tea Relax Destress

 

MCLV: How often would you recommend getting massages during an intense training program? How often for someone who works out regularly but isn’t necessarily pushing their body to the limits regularly?

Deidre: Our bodies need consistency in order to integrate massage and not bounce back to their previous state in a day or 2. This is why frequency with massage is so important. It doesn’t really matter how intense your workouts are, if you aren’t getting massage regularly, you will need to start with at least bi-weekly or weekly sessions until you start to feel that the effects of the massage don’t just disappear after a few days.

Once your body is integrating the bodywork, you can alter your schedule based on your work out routine. If it is an intense program, you will benefit from keeping up with at least 2 massages per month. Otherwise, monthly would be the minimum.

One note on working out and deep tissue massage: do not request deep tissue when you are sore (I mean really sore, not just a little muscle fatigue). A lot of clients think they need deep tissue massages right after an intense workout, but because of the micro-tears in their muscles from the work out, deep tissue massage will have a negative effect. It will only cause more harm to the muscle fibers and potentially increase inflammation and prolong the soreness.

MCLV: In your experience, what’s the best way to integrate massage into a healthy life? Would you recommend anything before or after to improve the results? (water, stretching, food etc)

Deidre: Integration is the key! Like I said previously, frequency is the first step. Getting a massage once in a blue moon expecting it to “fix” your discomfort is like eating a salad once and thinking you’re going to suddenly have your dream body. That’s not how bodies work.

Water is always the #1 recommendation after a massage. Not because it flushes out toxins or lactic acid, those claims are unfounded, but simply because your body and your muscles need water in order to function. If they can’t function, they definitely won’t be able to heal.

Another key is taking time to relax before and after your massage. This is one of the main reasons I offer in-home massages! You are already relaxed in your own home and after the session you don’t have to switch over to high alert mode to battle traffic or take public transportation. Unfortunately, this sudden change can sometimes undo the work on the table.

As for stretching, that depends largely on what issues you have and what your body is up to. I always talk to my clients about home care and ways to prolong the benefits of each session. That might be stretching, heat, ice, movement, more/less frequent sessions, shorter sessions, longer sessions etc.

I really loved hearing her answers – Especially about frequency and developing a routine. I’m also thrilled to share that Deidre has a referral program! If you refer a friend, you both get $25 off a massage! You can reach out to her at massage@deidrecorda.com.

What do YOU think – Would you turn to a massage therapist to help with recovery?

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