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2018 Challenges | Modified Vegetarian Whole 30

My next challenge for 2018 will be the Whole 30 – Which is a 30 day paleo eating plan.

So what does that mean?

It’s a clean eating plan that requires that you cut out processed foods and focus on real food. So… Pretty similar to my 10 day Detox Cleanse in November. One thing to note is that this is not intended as a lifestyle – It’s a dietary reset that you do for 30 days which is intended to help adjust your habits and start you on a healthier path. The plan means primarily whole foods, which is great, but it also means cutting out my bars and protein powders, which are a pretty big chunk of my daily protein intake.

What to avoid:

  • Sugar in all of its glorious forms, including but not limited to – Maple syrup, honey, agave nectar, coconut sugar, stevia, and brown rice syrup. Womp womp.
  • No alcohol – Probably a good idea anyway. I’m in.
  • No grains – Here’s where it gets tricky. I’m going to cut wheat (duh), corn, rice, rye, barley, millet bulgar, amaranth etc.
  • No legumes – Again, here’s where the vegetarian who needs protein will be deviating from the plan. I will cut out peanuts, tempeh, and lecithin. BUT I am going grant myself permission to eat tofu, edamame, kidney, garbanzo, and black beans, as well as raw cashews, almonds, and walnuts.
  • No dairy – Easy peasy
  • No processed foods, prepared food, or baked goods even if they’re “healthy” – Just stick to food you prepare yourself or whole foods you can snack on. That’s do-able so long as you prepare in advance and this makes good sense to me. The whole goal is to reset your habits, so going from store-bought cookies to cookies made with coconut flour, doesn’t change your patterns at all.

In summary – Eat real foods.

Nothing processed and if it comes in a package, read the label. The big changes for me are going to be cutting out sugar and cutting out my protein powders and bars, which are a big source of protein for me. The other thing that means is that I need to be prepared! My bars are the ultimate “I have no time to eat” fix, so I’ll need to be better prepared this month.

Vegetarian whole 30 Vegan gluten-free paleo san francisco bay area fashion food fitness lifestyle blogger

Week 1:

Figuring out what you can and can’t eat is the hardest part. Starting midweek also meant less in the way of preparation and planning since I didn’t get around to doing meal prep that Sunday.

And unfortunately, on day two of my Whole 30, I got chosen to be a juror for a multi-week trial, throwing me completely off of my  routine while simultaneously trying to grapple with the Whole 30.

Week 2:

By this time I’d gotten into the rhythm of preparing my food for the day and bought an insulated lunch box to take to work/court with me. I was eating breakfast at the office before heading to the court-house each day, eating lunch on the steps of the capital building, and then having dinner at home.

Week 3:

Week two ended with a big life change and the celebrating continued off and on for the rest of the month. Unfortunately that means that I cheated on my Whole 30 with champagne a few times. I kept going with the food and picked up where I’d left off each day, but there were a few days of alcohol thrown into the 30 days.

Week 4:

By the last week of Whole 30 I was counting down the days. Not because it was overly challenging to maintain, but because (1) I was bored with eating the same things over and over, and (2) I missed the flexibility and options available in my non-Whole 30 diet. The constant food prep and being unable to simply “grab” food was a bit tiring.

Final thoughts – This is the second or third time that I’ve done the Whole 30 and it achieved the same thing. It’s an amazing wake-up call. By cutting out entire food groups and really focusing on what you’re putting in your body, you’re made PAINFULLY aware of how much crap you usually eat.

I eat an exceptionally clean diet to begin with, but I do rely on bars and protein powders to supplement my plant-based diet. Part of that is the ease, part is trying to hit my macros each day. But, on Whole 30, I couldn’t eat any of my vegan/gluten-free bars or powders because they all had small amounts of organic stevia. The other place that I saw as a problem area is bottled sauces and dressings. It would appear that I’ve gotten lazy, and when something hits my vegan and gluten-free requirements, I haven’t read all of the nutritional information.

Gong forward I’m going to keep small amounts of stevia in my diet, but I’m going to be much more aware of what’s in the bottled dressings that I’m buying at the store.

Have YOU ever done the Whole 30?

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One Piece Swimsuit Round-Up

While it doesn’t feel like it outside right now in San Francisco, swimsuit season is right around the corner. Before we know it, it’ll be time for Spring trips, tropical climates, and – Of course – Breaking out the swimwear. I like to add a suit, or maybe two, each season, so I started my research early. Here’s a round-up of flattering, fun one piece suits.

One Piece Swimsuit San Francisco Bay Area Fashion Food Fitness Beauty Lifestyle Blogger

Retro – If you’re in the mood for throwback styles on your next tropical vacation, check out The Victoria Swimsuit from Solid & Striped

Classic – This timeless black halter suit is perfect for someone who enjoys classic styling and a flattering cut. Norma Kamali has just the suit for you!

Daredevil – Love to make a splash? The cut-outs and strappy back of the Ava suit from Robin Piccone will help you make a memorable entrance. And exit…

Timeless – Summery stripes and sweet ruffles from Aerie are just the thing. Stripes are the trend that you can count on coming back into vogue season after season, so find a great striped suit and hold onto it.

Sporty Spice – If you’ve got some water sports in mind, you’ll be needing the Seea Avila Surf Suit to keep you covered. I for one love a long-sleeved suit when I have adventures on the schedule – Great for everything from SCUBA diving to water skiing.

Daring – The combination of a classic print, sweet color, and daring, plunging neckline combine to make this suit a dramatic showstopper. So if you’re in the market for some drama, the Lex Paisley Embellished one-piece from Beach Riot is a good choice. 🙂

Country – Whether you’re lake, river, or ocean bound, or just evoking some fun Dorothy style, this gingham cutie is the way to go.

Sweet – If you’re a fan of ruffles or other sweet, feminine details, this Aloha Floral suit from O’Niell is probably just your style.

What’s YOUR go-to swim style?

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Minimalist Wardrobe Essentials | 2018 Edition

After tackling the Fall basics that I was relying on earlier this season, I wanted to give you a peek into what’s in my closet for Winter 2018. There’s a lot of layering on top of the Fall pieces, but it’s still pretty simplified as I’m trying to create a more minimalist wardrobe for myself. {Which is, as I’m sure you can guess, an ongoing work-in-progress}

As I mentioned in the Fall Edition of my Wardrobe Essentials, my goal with this series is to help keep my closet and my day-to-day life simple. I was getting tired of all of the unnecessary extras and decided to launch a decluttering campaign for my life. And that trickled down into my closets and my fashion style.

I’ve always loved having great investment pieces, so it wasn’t much of a stress to simplify my approach to dressing a bit more, and I’ve really enjoyed the results. It probably helps that I wear a lot of black. 🙂

My top three tips for preparing your wardrobe for a new season?

  1. Begin with a closet clean out. You don’t know what you’re working with or what you need or what should be replaced, until you clean things out.
  2. Stick to a palette. Whether its neutral shades or black or specific colors or prints, just find your personal sartorial palette. Once you know your hues, you can mix and match with ease.
  3. Practice one in, one out. That means not adding a new piece until you sell or donate an existing piece. This helps keep your wardrobe paired down and easy to navigate.

Minimalist Wardrobe Essentials Capsule Closet Fall Winter San Francisco Bay Area Fashion Food Fitness Lifestyle Blogger Street Style

Without further ado, here are my minimalist essentials for Winter 2018.

What’s in YOUR closet to kick off 2018? Does a minimalist wardrobe appeal to you?

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2018 Challenges | Intermittent Fasting

Welcome to the first post in the brand new 2018 Challenges series!

While some of this year’s challenges will be somewhat short, others will be on the longer side. That’s because things like diet changes and shifts to a training program require a larger chunk of time to see viable results. This first challenge, however, will be one month-long.

Enter – The wonderful wide world of Intermittent Fasting (“IF”).

Here are the first two questions EVERYONE asks when you mention Intermittent Fasting.

  • First, what does that even mean?
  • Second, why would you do that?

Before I get into my experiences with IF, let’s answer those two questions.

(1) What exactly is IF?

There are different approaches to IF, but the basic concept is the same. You fast for a set number of hours and then consume your meals during the remaining hours of the day.

This isn’t a diet. I will be eating the same types of food, it’s just a change in the timing of my meals. There’s daily fasting, alternate day fasting, and weekly fasting. AND there are different suggested periods for fasting – From 10 to 20 hours {20 HOURS – OH HELL NO}.

I made my choice based on what would be easiest to implement in my schedule and settled on fasting for 14 hours – Feeding for 10. That means I will stop eating at 7pm, fast through the night and early morning, and then break my fast around 9am. I get up before 5am, but it’s still doable since you can have black tea and water while remaining in a “fasted” state.

(2) What are the benefits of IF?

Fasting is a part of many cultures and while long-term water or juice fasts may have questionable, if any, health benefits, there are long-term studies and data points relating to fasting in general. During a fast your insulin levels decrease, cellular repair has more time to do its thing, hormonal and brain functions are shown to increase, and it can help reduce inflammation throughout the body. The last one is the biggie for me. Inflammation is thought to be one of the root causes in everything from aging to chronic Western diseases like heart disease and various forms of cancer. I add lots of things to my diet to reduce inflammation, so why not try taking something out?

Now that we’ve gotten the questions out-of-the-way, it’s time to see what happened!

Intermittent Fasting Diet Vegan Gluten-Free Vegetarian Paleo San Francisco Bay Area Fashion Food Fitness Lifetyle Blogger Challenge

Week 1:

I’ll start by saying that implementing IF wasn’t effortless.

In part, that was because I’m very used to my routine and had trouble adjusting to the morning part of the fast. The second part was about breaking my habits and thinking before consuming things.

The first few days were almost entirely about changing my habits and routines. I was just so used to doing things that I completely forgot to think first and just did them automatically.

Week 2:

By Week 2 I wasn’t waking up starving most days, or if I was, a glass of water usually calmed the beast.

Since I wasn’t focusing on remembering that I was doing IF anymore, this week I was free to start thinking more consciously about my meal spacing and sizes. I’ve struggled with binge eating for years and while I can definitely eat large quantities, I try not to really stuff myself since it can trigger disordered habits. That meant that I needed to eat larger meals during my “feast” period, but space them out somewhat.

Week 3:

This was the week that I had my last long training run before a February half marathon that I had planned well before I started this IF adventure.

I prefer to run in the mornings on an empty stomach, so for shorter runs it has been no problem to keep up with my IF routine. But this week I had a 9 miler and a girl needs some energy to pull that one-off!

My start time got delayed by a BBQ delivery {woot woot}, but I ended up heading out around 8am. I had a bit of easy-to-digest glucose and took a high-carb bar with me in case I crashed mid-run.

Since I was planning to have some calories in the morning, I adjusted my dinnertime the night before so I would still get 14 hours of fasting. The key to remember is that it’s the fasting period that really matters, not when you’re breaking it.

Week 4:

This week I just happened to read Miss Whitney’s I Tried a Fasting Mimicking Diet and watched her YouTube video featuring Dr. Valter Longo on fasting, protein intake, and longevity. Fascinating stuff, I highly recommend it.

It was very interesting, and I might add inspirational, almost a month into IF, to hear so much about the benefits of fasting. It definitely kept me fully engaged in the challenge and motivated to finish the challenge strong.

Overall thoughts:

I’m a fussy sleeper so forcing myself to stop eating at 7pm ended up being great for me. I can’t fall asleep when I’m super full, so I slept much better this month.

That was, honestly, the only concrete result I experienced. It may have been that this wasn’t too far from my usual habits so I didn’t get the flashy benefits I would have if I’d made a huge change. {My normal fasting period is 7pm-7:30pm until 8am, so it was really only an hour or an hour and a half different timing wise.} Or it may be that one month just isn’t enough to see any concrete changes.

Since I did enjoy the 7pm forced shut down on eating, I think I will continue with that. And since fasting is beneficial, I think I’ll plan to do 12-14 hours a day, but not overstress myself when it comes to scheduling.

What do YOU think? Would you try IF?

Stay tuned for my next challenge!

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MCLV Shopping: Loafers for Women

In my search for shoes that don’t active hurt my feet or make my foot injuries worse, I recently landed on – Ta Da – Loafers. {if you’re curious about my transition from a high-heels-every-day kind of girl to flats, check out this post – The Painful Truth About High Heels}.

I’ve tried a few pairs – I really liked Steve Madden, Cole Haan, and Sam Edelman as well – But these metallic babies are a current favorite of mine. Since I’ve enjoyed these so much and found them both comfortable and versatile, I thought I’d share some of my other favorite pairs for women.

Loafers Driving Shoes Flats Shopping San Francisco Bay Area Fashion Food Fitness Lifestyle Blogger Street Style

Metallic Loafers – Coach

{Photography by J. Villarete Photography}

So what are some other pairs of loafers and driving shoes that I like? Here’s a few fashionable and flattering pairs to get you started on your flats quest!

Do YOU wear loafers? If so, what’s your favorite brand?

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