London

This has been a whirlwind trip, lots of family time, lots of travel time and some really great experiences. Three days in London, a week in France and four days in Spain. But I wont get ahead of myself, let’s start at the beginning…

Jolly old London!

To be honest, London was a bit of a blur, we touched down Sunday afternoon and hopped on the Chunnel Tuesday night. London consisted of lots of jetlag-induced napping, some work and some seriously yummy food.

Fashion: The first thing that I noticed when I arrived in London (which was quickly echoed by my boyfriend) was that the men are EXTREMELY well dressed. Well cut suits and pressed slacks with blazers & button downs were everywhere, I only saw a handful of men in what we in America would consider “street clothes.” Needless to say, I was in heaven people watching. 🙂 As for the women, lots of flats, tights and crossbody bags. I wasn’t really blown away by the female fashion, so apologies for only touching on it briefly. For the most part they looked put together (no tennis shoes, no backpacks, no baseball caps, no gym clothes on the street…) but it wasn’t terribly memorable.

Food: I’ll dedicate a separate post to the restaurant that we went to our first night, Manna, which was absolutely spectacular. The second night’s dinner was a hodgepodge affaire after we found a Whole Foods in Soho (where, I might add, I saw Bill Nighy). Overall the food was good, but there wasn’t a huge selection of vegetarian/vegan fare, as I had expected.

Fitness: Lots of walking and that’s about it. My boyfriend took advantage of the hotel gym & pool, but between working and a bout of food poisoning I didn’t get a chance to enjoy the facilities personally.

Lodgings: We stayed at the gorgeous One Aldwych hotel in Westminster, which was walking distance to my office. The room was small (I’d forgotten that about European traveling!) but sumptuous. Overall it was a good experience, great central location and very attentive and helpful employees, I’d definitely recommend it if you’re in the mood to splurge.

Travel: We flew United (via AirCanada) from SFO to Toronto to Heathrow, took the Heathrow Express to Paddington Station and then took a taxi to the hotel. London has awful traffic though, so I would recommend public transportation if you’re traveling around the city during peak hours. Our exit from London after three chilly days was via EuroStar, and after a two-hour train ride we arrived in Paris!

Highlights: For me the highlight was dining at Manna, the food was great and it was an adorable little part of London that we probably wouldn’t have seen otherwise. I highly recommend a visit to Primrose Hill if you’re in the area! 🙂

Stay tuned for a review of Manna and my Parisian adventures.

Cheers!

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Style File: Miranda Kerr

Welcome back to the Style File series!

Today we’re breaking down this simple but chic, low-key outfit spotted on Victoria’s Secret model and busy mom Miranda Kerr when she was in Australia a few weeks ago.

MirandaKerr

What I like most about this look is the high-low combination. The striped dress is stylish but casual and comfortable. The classic black blazer is well-tailored and adds a bit of structure to the look. And the red bag is an eye-catching splash of color that completes the look and gives it a personal touch.

See below for some affordable shopping suggestions for these pieces:

Striped Dress

G-Star – Asos

French Connection

Swell Paula – Swell

Depending on your mood you could rock a casual black and white striped mini like Miss Miranda Kerr, go for nautical-inspired navy & white stripes, or even pair a striped maxi dress with the rest of these pieces for a fun twist on this style.

Black Blazer

Classic Blazer – GAP

Boyfriend Blazer w/ Striped Cuff – Asos 

Cuffed Blazer – Victoria’s Secret

A simple cropped or fitted blazer, an oversized or exaggerated boyfriend blazer, or even a casual rolled sleeve blazer would all work well in this outfit. You can follow Miranda’s lead and go for a classic black or navy blazer, but I think that a neutral tan or grey would look lovely as well.

Black Shoes

ADELAIDE Leather Chelsea Ankle Boots – Asos

Sofft Cadence – 6pm

Me Too – Shoes

You can give your look a sassy twist with a pair of flat ankle boots or lace-up heeled Oxfords, or you could even try a simple pair of black velvet ballet flats depending on your personal style and – Of course – How far you’re planning on walking.

Red Handbag

 

Longchamp ‘Le Pliage’ Medium Shoulder Tote – Nordstrom

Contrast Colored Quilted Handbag – Oasap

Kate Spade New York Tote – Piperlime

A bold well-made red handbag is a great piece to invest in – Look for a classic style that you’ll be able to carry season-after-season. This is a statement piece that will add the perfect finishing touch to any look.

I’m a huge fan of Longchamp’s Le Pliage totes which are really versatile and perfect for traveling. I also really like this simple Kate Spade tote which is fun and feminine, and the lovely quilted number from OASAP – There’s really something for everyone in this eye-catching hue!

You can also check out past MCLV Style File looks below:

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Links You’ll Love

Fashion:

Fall's Sexy Boudoir Trend

Love the boudoir trend for fall? Check out Fabsugar’s Boudoir Breakdown.

Checkout the lookbook for Victoria Beckham’s Winter 2011 Denim collection here.

Watch the steamy commercial featuring Rosie Huntington-Whitely for Burberry’s new fragrance called Body.

Check out Style.com’s tidbits on the prep done by Fashion Week insiders here to get excited for all of the fashion week madness and keep an eye on Moi Contre La Vie’s Facebook page for intra-day updates on Fashion Week here as soon as I get back from vacation.

Health/Fitness:

Next in Garance Dore’s series on Changing Lifestyle/Becoming Gwyneth Paltrow, including the amazing line: “I bought a bra made of reenforced concrete.” You know you want to read it… 🙂 Including being hysterical and containing a chart comparing herself to GP, this post really does a great job of showing how slow the process of getting into shape/getting healthy/changing habits can be, and how great the results can be if you stick with it.

Hungry for a new type of salad? Try massaged kale for a great dose of antioxidants, beta carotene, calcium and Vitamins K & C. By “massaging” the kale with dressing rather than boiling/sautéing it, you’ll retain more of the nutrients that are lost during cooking. Evan over at The Wannabe Chef shows you how here.

Links relating to veganism courtesy of our friendly neighborhood hippie – Hungry Hungry Hippie.

Socializing enhances fat conversion and loss in mice – over at BBC news.

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Guest Post: Finding your Fit – Exercise Can Be Fun!

As promised, please welcome Miss Crystal to MCLV for her first, and hopefully not last, guest post on fitness. As I said here, Crys resides in Southern California and has been the fitness guru of our group of college friends since she got into running, biking and yoga after school.

Without further ado, Finding Your Fit:

I LOVE to exercise. To the skeptical couch potatoes – please keep the eye rolls and groans to a minimum! It’s the truth. It really is and I know that if I can fall in love with ‘exercise’ anyone can.

I was never an athlete growing up. I played softball (terribly) for a few years at my father’s urging and promptly quit after being knocked in the chin by a ball. I participated in a jog-a-thon in sixth grade but didn’t care for running after that since I didn’t come in first place. (I used to knock over board games at family game nights too if I were losing. Yup.) I danced and cheered in high school but wasn’t committed to physical fitness in any way, shape or form. (I liked the attention I received, wearing the cheer uniform and putting on makeup before competitions.) Needless to say, my adolescence did not indicate that exercise would become a passion for me later in life.

After putting on the ‘freshman 15’ (or 20 or whatever) my first year in college, I decided that I should start ‘working out’. I woke up early and went to the gym with a sorority sister and moved my legs round and round on those elliptical machines. I remember feeling very proud of myself for completing 30 minutes of cardio (which I should have been considering how boring I find moving in place indoors in a fluorescent-lit sweat box to be today). Anyway, this routine gave way to the usual habits of football season drinking and fraternity parties. The next summer I took up Bikram yoga and began running outdoors. By the end of that summer I found myself running five miles every
day and practicing yoga every other day. Man, I looked so good. Goodbye beer belly, hello six-pack! Are you hopeful that I kept up this workout routine? I was too but I didn’t… Drinking was my favorite sport at that time and I finished out my college career with the aforementioned pattern of getting in an out of shape.

The post-college years marked a new, athletic era for me. Right out of college and (somewhat) more settled, I took up running again and found myself building up my miles quickly. I picked up a road bike and started riding in groups. Triathlons caught my attention and I completed a half Ironman during the second year after I graduated.
A lot of the road riders also mountain biked so I bought one of those and took on the mountains, competing in various cycling events. Yoga served as the perfect way to stretch, decompress and support the other physical activities and I reinstated that as part of my standard regimen. I loved how these physical activities connected me to other health-minded individuals, kept me focused on a new goal to achieve and transformed the way my body looked and felt. I was hooked. I now participate in yoga retreats, surfing trips, hiking treks, running competitions and so forth in California and internationally.

If you’re one of those who proclaims that you hate to break a sweat or move a muscle, try something different each week until you find your exercise match. We are all aware of the importance of exercise for health purposes but if you look at it as a chore or simply a way to shed pounds then I doubt you’ll stick with it. What’s more, I’m saying with
confidence that you (yes, you!) might even fall in love with physical activity in spite of yourself and discover a newfound passion. The key is to continue to try different activities until you find what inspires you. Here are a few suggestions I have for finding your fitness fit:

  • Ask that friend of yours with the blonde hair and relaxed speech to loan you one of his ten surfboards and take you out when the waves are small
  • Contact a local cycling or running shop and ask them about their team rides/runs
  • Make a commitment to go to the next beginner’s event
  • Find your sexy and get chiseled abs at a pole dancing class and show off your moves at the next party (if you actually do this please send me pictures :))
  • Go on a paddleboarding date
  • Go on Meetup.com and join a hiking, swimming or equestrian club
  • Participate in an outdoor boot camp in your neighborhood park
  • Sign up for a free week-long trial membership at a yoga or Pilates studio
  • Take advantage of gym guest passes and check out a cardio kick boxing or weight lifting class
    Take dance lessons at an adult studio
    Try kick boxing at a kick boxing gym

* Side note: watch for screaming deals from LivingSocial.com and Groupon.com to make these gyms/studios/fitness clubs affordable

The point is that there is no need to suffer through anything in order to shed pounds; exercise is about so much more. You can walk, swim, run, or dance your way to health. I love being physically active because it allows me to be out in nature, gain confidence in myself, meet with friends and foster a sense of adventure. I hope you are inspired to keep at it and find the endorphin rush that best suits you.

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Going, going gone…

Well my loves, the time has come for me to say adieu.

Well, for a week anyway… 🙂

I’ve just arrived in Southern France after a few days in London and a few in Paris. I’ll shares some pictures when I can, but don’t be too disappointed if I’m forced to wait until my triumphant return to dazzle you with the sights, sounds, smells (wait, no…) and tastes of my glorious late summer getaway.

However, I do have some excellent news for all of you out there in blog-land! My dear friend Crystal will be stopping by to give you some oh-so-helpful insights into the wonderful wide world of fitness next week.

Crystal is located in Orange County, in Southern California and has been biking, running, yoga-ing and generally just being a fitness bad @$$ since we graduated from college in 2005 and she moved back down south (traitor 🙂 ).

And if you’re really nice to her, maybe she’ll come back and give us some more tips again soon.

Talk soon!

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