Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Class Review: The Pilates Barre's Pilates Body Class

pilates body class review, pilates barre dallas
Performing lower abdominal work on the Reformer at The Pilates Barre, Devonshire

If you're looking to tone and tighten in 2015, there are a slew of workouts to help you do that. I am a fan of pilates workouts but, to be candid, they can sometimes be too easy or routine.

There is nothing easy about The Pilates Barre's 50 minute Pilates Body class, one of the five classes the studio offers.
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Stylish Dallas Cowboys Gear To Wear To The Lions/Cowboys Game

Dallas Cowboys T-Shirts, Dallas Cowboys Women's T-Shirts, Dallas Cowboys Men's T-Shirts
1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 

Hello playoffs. If you're heading to the Cowboys/Lions game on Sunday, you can take two approaches: dress up or wear Cowboys gear. Dressing up is easy. I have focused on that for months. Here are great options if you want to dress up.

There are decent options if you want to wear Cowboys-branded gear. Pair a Cowboys t-shirt with a blazer or faux fur vest, add some jewelry and you're good to go. Guys have it so easy. All they need is a cool top (love this one) and some jeans or pants. There are awesome boots out there for men. Alas, all the women's Cowboys boots I have found online are all sold out. Order any of these today and you will get them just in time for the weekend.

Looking for more gameday style inspiration? Check out my Dallas Cowboys board on Pinterest.

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Monday, December 29, 2014

Resolving to Lose Weight In 2015? Start NOW With This Simple Diet Tip

easy diet tips, diet tips & tricks, how to lose weight fast

Are you resolving to finally lose that unwanted weight in 2015? Don't wait until January 2015 to begin. Start now to jumpstart your new year's resolution. It serves two purposes:
  1. It gets you mentally ready to prepare for your weight loss journey.
  2. It works. You WILL lose weight. Bonus! 
This is one of the world's easiest diet tips and you won't even feel like you're dieting. You don't have to starve, over-exercise or avoid certain foods. All you have to do is this: leave two bites on your plate at lunch and dinner.

Here's How To Do It
Enjoy both lunch and dinner but leave two substantial bites on your plate during those last two meals of the day. Don't leave baby bites. Leave two solid, full-fork bites.

Simple is that. The thing is, this works.

By leaving two big bites on your plate at lunch and dinner, you will save roughly 100 calories a day (Tweet this). If you start today you can cut about 700 calories by January 5th. Not a ton, but it's a step in the right direction and helps you get ahead of the game when you start that weight loss journey for real.

Now, if you're eating spinach and broccoli for lunch and dinner, that's a different story. But if you enjoy a sandwich and chips for lunch and pasta, steak or some other big meal for dinner, this tip is for you.

A Few Calories Here & There Add Up To Serious Weight Loss
Those little caloric savings add up. If you do this every day, you will shave about 36,000 calories over the course of the year. That's 10 pounds, friends. Without even trying! If you do it only five days a week, you will lose about seven and a half pounds in a year.

Get Simple Diet & Fitness Tips In 2015
This is one of the easiest diet tips ever. There are more. Tons of them. Do you want them? Looking for extra motivation this year? Sign up for The Real Skinny. You will receive smart, practical advice that you can use in the real world to help you reach your diet and fitness goals.

Me, circa 1999, close to 200 pounds
Why am I an expert? Friends, I'm a recovering fat girl. At one point in my life, there wasn't a Golden Corral buffet I didn't love. I have lost more than 50 pounds and kept it off for a decade. Most importantly, I know how to do it while juggling work, studies, parenting and other aspects of our chaotic lives that can derail even the most dedicated dieter.

I have been there....and am fighting to the good fight every day to avoid going back there.

Sharing 2015 Goals. What's Yours? 
Are you trying to lose weight in 2015? Share your goals in the comments section. Publicly stating your intentions keeps you accountable.

Me? I want bikini abs. That's all. A stomach that won't embarrass me while wearing a bikini. That's my goal. I'd love to hear yours.



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Monday, December 22, 2014

Exhale Core Fusion Barre Basic Class Review: It Never Gets Easier

Exhale Core Fusion Classes,
Image via exhale spa
After an indulgent trip to Paris where, as usual, I lost weight living on cheese, chocolate and wine (granted I did walk about eight miles a day and eat small portions) it was time to return to the gym. I had done some light weightlifting on my own but nothing too regimented. This past Saturday I took one of exhale's Core Fusion Barre Basic classes, my 56th of the year but first in a few weeks. I felt like I was taking it for the very first time.

Core Fusion Barre Basic may sound like an easier version of an Open class. That couldn't be further from the truth. The movements are targeted, tiny and effective. Each time I take one of these classes, it is challenging. I was sore the next day, in a good way. In fact after Saturday's class, I am still sore on Monday.

Core Fusion Barre Basic Movements
In Core Fusion Barre Basic, you will do movements for both the upper and lower body with an emphasis on glutes and thighs. You will use a combination of light weights as well as your own body weight.

After a three to five minute warmup, you will spend about seven to 10 minutes doing a variety of weighted movements for your arms, shoulders and back with a quick set of pushups thrown in. The movements are rapid and deliver a good burn, despite the light weight.

Exhale Core Fusion Basic Review, exhale core fusion basic class
Lower body movements for Core Fusion Basic

You will focus on your lower body for the next 30 minutes. You will spend roughly 15 minutes on your thighs and 15 minutes on your bootie. You will do plié squats, leg lefts and circles on a ballet bar and, sometimes, on a floor mat. The movements are tough and ALWAYS make my legs shake.

For the last 15 minutes, you will focus on your abs after a quick set of bar pullups. The ab work combines rollups, planks, leg lifts and extensions. For me, the ab work rarely burns in class but I usually feel it the next day.

You always finish with a good stretch, something I love. I could spend an extra 15 minutes stretching at the end of class. I feel like that's something I always need.

There is not a heart-pumping cardiovascular component to this 60-minute class like there is in exhale's Core Fusion Cardio Barre class (read my review HERE). Taking that into account, I rarely feel like I need to do cardio on days when I do a Core Fusion Barre Basic class. I consider it "enough" of a workout.

The Gear
You can wear pretty much anything to Core Fusion classes. I recommend yoga pants/leggings simply because shorts tend you leave you a little, um, exposed. Grip socks are mandatory to keep you from slipping on the wooden floor.

The Takeaway
exhale's Core Fusion classes are never routine. The class size is small enough that the instructor can deliver individual attention to you. Sometimes you love it because it helps you perform a movement properly. Most times, candidly, I hate it because it makes the movement infinitely more difficult. That's what you want, though, because these classes deliver results. The movements target those tiny muscles which truly give your body a lift in the areas that need it.

Core Fusion classes are always a challenge, no matter how experienced you are with this type of exercise. That's a good thing.

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Friday, December 19, 2014

Last Minute Gift Ideas That Will Get Here By Christmas


last minute gift ideas, free shipping by christmas, gifts that will get here by christmas
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Christmas. Yeah. Next week. Still haven't bought a damn thing? I know you're out there. No worries, my lovelies. You can still pick up some swag for the peeps on your shopping list and get your goodies in time for Christmas. Here are a few retailers offering free shipping before Christmas.
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Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Seeing Stars: What To Wear To The Cowboys Game


Dallas Cowboys Gameday Outfits, Star sweaters
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There is no hotter ticket in town right now than the Cowboys playoff game against the Lions. If you have an invitation to go, bring it on the fashion front. Everyone will be there and they'll be decked out.

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5 Tips To Avoid Holiday Weight Gain

How to avoid holiday weight gain


If your days are packed with office goodies and your nights are full of holiday parties, I feel ya. There is temptation at every turn. You don't have to gain weight during the holidays, though. A few simple tricks can help you start 2015 without adding a single pound.

RELATED: Which Produce Is Best For Weight Loss?
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Monday, December 15, 2014

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Do Juice Cleanses Really Work?

Green Juice, juice cleanse, fasting, juicing


With the indulgent holiday season up on us, a number of my friends are planning juice fasts to "get rid of the toxins" they consumed in November and December. Heck, after having wine at just about every meal in Paris, Lord knows my liver needs a break.

I love a good juice fast as much as the next person. It can help you drop a few pounds quickly and are a good way to get a large amount of nutrients efficiently. I have a green juice three of four times a week. As for the whole "ridding our bodies of toxins" thing, I am not so sure. Scientists have repeatedly said that a quality, produce-heavy diet does the job.

Dr. Linda Lee, the Director of John Hopkins Integrative Medicine and Digestive Center in Maryland, tells the Wall Street Journal that the term "cleanse" is nothing more than a marketing tool and there is no science to prove that fasting cleanses the system.

That marketing is working. Sales of "superpremium juice" was more than $1.4 billion in 2013, up from $1 billion in 2010.

This is a situation in which you need to do what works for you. Will your body be free of the damage caused by a month-long feast of champagne, cheese, steak and indulgent desserts with a 10-day cleanse in January? Probably not. Will you drop a few pounds? Likely. Will that make you feel better about yourself? If so, go for it but be smart and do your homework.

Finding Juice Fasts That Work For You

There are a TON of juice fasts to choose from. I have done the Blueprint Cleanse, Suja Juice and a variety of my own. Prepared fasts are expensive which is why I enjoy making my own juice. That, however, can be labor intensive and messy. Gilt City always has sales on juice fasts. They're currently offering deals on American Juice Company and Oui Juice. Bliss is also offering the Joule Body Cleanse, which I have done in the past, too. 

I use a Breville Juicer and make my own recipes adapted from a variety of books I have read over the years. The 3-Day Cleanse is a good one.

Are you a juicer? Are there any juice fasts you swear by and love?

Browse Juices, Juicers & Juicing Books

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Monday, December 8, 2014

Ugly Christmas Sweaters For Your Favorite Sports Fan


Texas Rangers Ugly Sweater, Dallas Cowboys Ugly Sweater, Houston Astros Ugly Sweater, Oklahoma Ugly Sweater, Oklahoma State Ugly Sweater, University of Texas Ugly Sweater
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These truly speak for themselves. Some brilliant sports marketing mind got on the fashion faux pas bandwagon this holiday season and produced ugly sports sweaters.

These are so bad they're fabulous.

There aren't just sweaters. In addition to an ugly Cowboys sweater, you can also get a Dallas Cowboys ugly scarf for the fan on your list. There's a joke there somewhere. Of course, it's almost impossible to find Stars and Mavs sweaters online. You can go to the pro shops for those.

As for the ugliest of the ugly sweaters? I think the Seahawks sweater wins that dubious honor.

You can get most of these at Sports Authority which is offering 25% off your entire purchase on December 8th.

Shop NFL Ugly Sweaters



Shop MLB Ugly Sweaters



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5 Observations About Paris

Paris, Eiffel Tower, Carousel on the Place du Trocadéro
Christmas carousel on the Place du Trocadéro next to the Eiffel  Tower

We're back from 10-plus days in Paris and are already planning a trip for 2015. Friends ask "Why do you continue to go back to a place you have visited so many times?"

Many reasons, really. In a foreign country, no matter what it is, you will always find something new to love and appreciate no matter how many times you visit. We enjoy revisiting favorite experiences like people watching at the George V hotel or visiting the Christmas markets. But we also enjoy discovering new places, like we did on our visit to Château de Fountainebleu.

Regardless, there are some things I distinctly noticed on this trip. Here are my most recent observations. Please tell me what you think in the comments section.

Better Kids Meals

We took our daughter, Jordan, with us for the third straight year. This was the first time she was able to eat pretty much what we did. At many restaurants, there are kid's menus but they're nothing like we have in the States. There isn't a chicken finger or mini pizza to be found. Most kid's menus consist of a steak or hamburger patty and potatoes, guinea fowl (offered everywhere), fish and vegetables or sausage and potatoes.

Kids meals in Paris, Restaurant Astier, French Kids Eat Everything
Jordan eating her steak and potatoes at Restaurant Astier

Jordan, who is going through the fussy eater phase, usually ate the steak and potatoes after filling up on a ton of bread. Interestingly, by the end of the trip she was much more interested in trying what we were eating. I had an epic seafood tower at Bar a Huitres on our last night. She wanted to try my clams as well as my husband's fish soup. I guess there is something to be said about French kids eating everything (I love the book, btw).

It's Not All Three-Course Gourmet Lunches And Wine

Don't be fooled that every French meal is a three course feast with wine. Parisians will eat a grab and go meal faster than you can break a baguette. Because of that, I think there's a real need for more fast-casual spots in Paris.
Fast casual dining Paris
The checkout line at the Monop'

On multiple occasions when I tried to grab a quick lunch while walking the city, I ran into lines 20-30 people deep. At the popular fast-casual London export Pret-A-Manger, there were at least 50 people in line to buy a quick sandwich or soup. At the Monop', something akin to an upscale grocery store, the lunch line was at least 25 people deep.

Tex-Mex in France, Tex-Mex in Paris, Tex-Mex, Old el Paso
This was at our local grocery store.

Other things I saw: diet food and the French version of DIY Mexican food, Old El Paso. I swear I could make a fortune opening up a Tex-Mex joint in Paris.

French Formality is NOT Rudeness

I have blogged about this before but the French get a bad rap for being rude. They are polite and expect more of the same. In the half a dozen times I have been there, on trips of 10 days or more, I have only encountered one rude waiter. One. That's it. For the most part, everyone has been cordial, warm and downright fun. Flirtatious, even.

A simple 'bonjour', 'au revoir', 'merci' and 's'il vous plait' go a long way. Take it a step further and practice your high school French. You will be rewarded with an impromptu French lesson and perhaps a new friend. Every time I spoke (really bad) French, it was appreciated and complimented.

They want politeness, manners and....

Dressing Up Still Counts

Despite how much more casual we seem to be getting as a society, people still dress well in Paris. Tennis shoes are a dead tourist giveaway. I wore Cole Haan and Alexander Wang booties with black denim jeans all over the city and felt fine.

I had an in-depth conversation about this with an Air France flight attendant. Her point was clear: their city is beautiful. They are a formal country and expect our appearance to reflect that. That is just one woman's opinion but her point is well-taken.

Interestingly, I didn't see a lot of makeup. I noticed more women sporting a natural face, not the done-up face I usually wear and see in Texas.

Et Finalement, Everyone Smokes.

Yep, they still do. I saw a few e-cigarettes. They might be slowly catching on but the classic Marlborough Light still rules. 

What Do You Think?

Despite what any cynic says, Paris is still one of the most beautiful cities in the world. Being there is an inspiration. While the country is overwrought with exorbitant taxes and bureaucratic red tape, it's a magical place.

Christmas in Paris
Le Village Royal, Paris
What do you think? Am I totally off or spot-on? What have you noticed in your travels abroad? Please share in the comments section!



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Friday, December 5, 2014

Weekend News & Notes: 10 Best Books of 2014, Iconic Paris Film Locations, 10 Things Every Bedroom Needs & More

Paris Metro Signs, Art Nouveau Paris Metro Sign
Paris Metro Sign

I hope you had a great week. We returned from Paris late Thursday night and subsequently spent hours unpacking Friday morning. We made a few fun purchases. The best, for me, was a Bluemarine leopard print fur vest which I will share in an upcoming post on Paris secondhand shopping.

Until then, here are few news, notes and sales to keep you occupied. Any fun plans (or questions about France)? Please share/ask in the comments sections.

Have a great weekend!


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Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Whatever Happened to Flirting?

Thanks for visiting the blog. Paris has been such a popular topic that we started (yet another) blog focusing solely on our Francophile wanderlust. You can read this story and many more on our new site, FabFrenchFinds.com.

Merci!
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