Monday, January 30, 2017

Jodi Talks Fitness

This time of year is full of new beginnings, routines and resolutions. Even if you don't really do the whole resolutions thing for the New Year, it's safe to say that this time of year is perfect for a "reset." And that's exactly what I needed after the holiday season. I also think it's a great time to try new things. This year, I'm pressing reset by getting back into my workout routine and healthy eating habits, but I'm also adding something new into the mix, which is yoga!

I've been weight training for several years now. If you are worried about weight or resistance training, don't be. It's scientifically proven to be a fantastic way to burn fat and lose weight. Plus, it's darn good for you! Your metabolism can be boosted for up to 36 hours after a weight training workout, as opposed to a cardio workout. Personally, I have noticed that my clothes fit better and I am way more toned overall when I do weight training as opposed to just cardio. Now, that's not to say I don't dig cardio, because I definitely do! There's something hugely satisfying about getting your heart rate up and getting a good sweat going on. More on that later!

I prefer taking classes when I work out for the simple fact that I like to take the guess work out and just have someone tell me what to do. I started taking Body Pump several years ago and I absolutely love it. One class works all of your muscle groups for long lean muscles using what they call the "rep effect." All you need is a barbell and weights. I used to do this class at my old gym, but since switching jobs recently, I've started doing it at home. They offer an On Demand workout option online for all of their classes, but you can also find free videos on YouTube. ;) If you're new to Body Pump or any weight training, make sure you contact a professional before getting started. 

As I said earlier, I also love cardio! I've done my fair share of cardio in the past; dancing, running, aerobics, Zumba, etc. They're all a ton of fun, but I found the one that I love the best a few years ago, which is spinning! I absolutely love spin class. It tones my legs while also getting my heart rate through the roof and making me feel amazing! I've tried a few different kinds, but my favorite is Les Mills RPM. It's choreographed, which I dig and has great music. Since I started doing workouts at home, I recently bought a spin bike to keep in my makeshift home gym. I also watch videos on YouTube and spin along with them. It's a great workout while being easier on your joints and less impact overall. I highly recommend it! 

So, all in all, I've been getting back into the swing of things by hitting my workouts hard again and (trying) to get back to eating healthy too! I've also added in a new aspect to my routine, which is yoga! I've gotten into yoga in the past, but always preferred to get a good sweat in rather than twisting and stretching on a mat. However, as I'm getting older, it's becoming more important to me to manage my stress with yoga. Cardio and weight training make me feel great, but I get feel amazing on a whole different level with yoga. Plus, it helps me with my flexibility and core strength, which helps me with everything else. For now, I am incorporating yoga into my routine once a week and hope to grow from there. 

The last year or so, I've also made a commitment to myself to be more active in general. What that means for me is going for a short walk multiple times during the day and taking my pup, Murphy, for a walk at least once a day. She normally gets a short walk in the morning and a longer walk in the evening, but during the winter it's hard to stick to that schedule. So, we try to bundle up and take advantage of sunny days when we can! She's got a lot of energy, so she definitely keeps us busy! She also likes to "help" me workout.  We're working on her downward-facing dog pose. 

How do you like to keep fit? Are you trying anything out this new year? I'm always open to new ideas! Check out how Molly is tackling her New Year's Resolutions here. I'm definitely going to try some of the Bon Appetit recipes she talks about in her post, they sound delicious! 

Outfit details: 
Outfit #1- Tank top: Etsy, Leggings: Zella, Shoes: Nike
Outfit #2 - Muscle tee: Spiritual Gangster, Leggings: Target
Outfit #3 - Long sleeve pullover: Target, Leggings: Zella, Shoes: Nike


Friday, January 27, 2017

Wear it Two Ways: Styling Sneakers

Athleisure is a trend that was super hot in 2016 and is not going away anytime soon. From everyday leggings to dressed up hoodies, busy gals on the move want outfits that are comfortable and functional. One of our favorite aspects of this trend is sneakers, since they can be thrown on with a casual outfit, or totally dressed up. Check out the two ways we've styled sneakers for comfy, yet seriously stylish looks below!


My new favorite shoes have to be these patent leather Michael Kors sneakers. I absolutely love the super unique fringe detail that covers the laces and the shiny black surface makes me feel like a little kid who's excited for a new pair of shiny dress up shoes. 

I've worn them with everything from black jeans and a fitted tee to a dressier structured look, but I think they also lend themselves well to a whimsical romantic look as well. For that whimsical look, flowy culottes were a perfect fit. When I walk, I sort of feel like an ethereal being just floating along. I may not be the most graceful in my everyday activities, but these babies sure help me fake it. 

As I mentioned last week, I'm love, love, loving embroidery right now and this shirt is one of my new go-to staples. From the lovely colors to the tie detail at the arms, it's an ultra comfortable top that still looks pretty and feminine.

Now I'm ready to float-run around in an outfit that will transition seamlessly from errands, to lunch, to dinner or drinks. And, I guarantee my feet won't be hurting by the end of that busy day!

Molly's Outfit Details: Sneakers: Michael Kors, Top: Zara (similar), Pants: The Jeweled Gypsy (similar), Purse: Nine West (similar)

Photos by: Chris Yankey


Who says you have to wear sneakers with athletic wear? We like to bend the rules here, so I paired my Adidas Superstar sneakers with a feminine dress and tough, yet chic burgundy moto jacket for a perfect mashup of girly meets edgy. If you've been reading here for long, you know that combo is my M.O.

You might have seen some of this look before in this post. What can I say? I really like pairing this moto jacket with these sneakers. However, I also like to mix and match items in my closet to come up with whole new looks, which is where this fabulous dress comes in.

I was saving this dress to wear this spring with espadrille wedges or sandals, but then I thought to myself, why wait? It works perfectly with a jacket layered over it and a dark wine lip to keep the look moody for winter. 

Now, I must admit, these sneakers are looking a little worn because I wear them at absolutely every opportunity I can. Skinny jeans and a t-shirt? Check. Leggings and a long sweater? Check. You name it, I've probably worn these sneakers with it. That just goes to show how versatile sneakers really are! What's your favorite way to wear sneakers? 

Jodi's Outfit Details: Dress: Topshop, Jacket: BB Dakota (similar here and here), Sneakers: Adidas, Bag: Reed Krakoff, Earrings: Kate Spade

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Spiced Pepita-Nut Crunch

If you saw my fitness post earlier this week, you'll know that my process of trying to make the shift to a healthy lifestyle is only half exercise. The other very important part is eating right! I've cheated a couple of times on cheese and whole wheat tortillas, but I haven't had bread, cake, candy, or many carbs since December and I don't find myself craving sweets as much. Protein-filled snacks like nuts and seeds have been great to combat the munchies, and this pepita crunch is a super easy and wonderfully versatile snack mixture.

It's one of our favorite things we've made for the Food Lover's Cleanse from Bon Appetit. It provides a perfect salty crunch with a hint of sweet and spicy to just about any type of dish. We've put in on top of Greek Yogurt with fruit (mangoes and apples are great) for breakfast, all varieties of salads for lunch, and roasted veggies, fish, and the list goes on, for dinner. It's also great to grab a small handful in lieu of nuts or granola for a snack. Now, let's get to it!

You'll need:

1 large egg white
1 tsp light agave nectar
1/2 tsp garam masala or curry powder
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
1/8 cup raw cashews, coarsely chopped
1/8 cup pistachios
1/4 cup shelled pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
1/4 cup shelled sunflower seeds

Preheat oven to 300°. Line a baking sheet with foil or silicone baking mat. Whisk egg white, agave, garam masala, salt, and cayenne in a medium bowl. Add nuts and seeds and toss to coat. Using a slotted spoon, transfer mixture to baking sheet, letting excess egg drip back into bowl. Bake, tossing once, until mixture is golden brown, 20–25 minutes. Let cool on baking sheet.

The mixture will last up to a couple of weeks in a sealed container. Like I said, it's nuts (pun intended) how this will complement pretty much anything you put it on. OK, now you can go make this in almost less time than it took you to read this!



Monday, January 23, 2017

Molly Talks Fitness

How's everyone doing with New Year's Resolutions? This is the first year my husband and I have been serious about changing our diets when the New Year hit. It may be cliche, but hey, you gotta start sometime! When we first moved to Kansas City in June, we went hog wild on the restaurant scene (how could you not?!). That, combined with not doing dance classes twice a week like I had before we moved really started to add up quickly. Cut to now, when I'm definitely the strongest, and probably eating the healthiest I ever have due to a couple of different things. I'm not saying I have all the answers, but I'll share what's really worked for me over these past few months.

Bar Method Classes

After going running sporadically, and trying out a couple of dance classes in KC, I attended a Bar Method class for bloggers last Fall, and got hooked. Bar Method uses a ballet barre for most of the workouts for your arms, thighs, and abs. I had never been so sore after a workout (little did I know, she was taking it easy on us that day), and I signed up for a trial month of unlimited classes. I saw such changes over just a month, I was sold. Since then, I've gone at least 2-3 times a week every week. To try the class out for yourself now, use promo code "WEST PLAZA" to get 2 weeks of classes for $37.50 or 45 days for $75 at either the Leawood, KS or West Plaza locations.

Bar Method is all about using small movements, be it with weights or your own body's resistance, to tone arms, waist, and legs for long, lean muscles. Since I've mostly done aerobic exercise before, it's crazy to me that things called biceps have sprouted up! I wasn't able to do one full push-up until after college when I started working out differently, at which point I got up to being able to do ten. I can now bust out double that without breaking a sweat. My leg muscles have also never been so toned. Nope, not even when I was 16 and dancing 5 days a week.

I've only been doing Bar classes for a little over 2 months now, so if I'm seeing this much of a difference already, I can't wait to see where I'll be in six months, or a year.

Bar Method is a perfect fit for me because of my dance background. I still get to use my flexibility and graceful strength while working out, and I love being in a positive environment where you compete against only yourself and your own limits. Seriously, all the instructors are so helpful and friendly.

Now, I've had the "problem" before where I've put on weight when I've started working out, but I typically don't change size much. Until this. I was definitely getting bigger the stronger my muscles got, which didn't really bother me. However, that totally reversed when my eating habits also changed. (Bar Method is a big advocate on passing on sweets, eating a big breakfast, and portion control, so once I finally followed those rules, it really worked the way it was supposed to!)

I get it: it's literally what everyone has ever said, that it has to be diet and exercise working together, but some things you just have to arrive at yourself. Which brings me to the...

Bon Appetit Magazine's Food Lover's Cleanse

If you've been around me in the last month, I'll apologize, because you've probably heard me go on and on about this clean eating plan we've been on. It's two weeks long, but we've kind of stretched it over the course of a month, because we had so much extra produce we wanted to use up from Week 1 before moving to Week 2. The cleanse is devoid of processed foods, but it still allows you things that plans like Whole 30 and others don't like Greek yogurt and dark chocolate.

What I love about this is that we're not going hungry. Every morning starts with a large breakfast, followed by lunch, a snack, a filling dinner, and dessert. Breakfast dishes are variations on Steel Cut Oats, Greek Yogurt, and Eggs, and dinners range from Walnut-crusted fish and white bean salad to pomegranate braised lamb shanks with roasted veggies. Lunch typically includes mostly greens and vegetables, with leftovers from the previous evening's dinner on it. The chive bulgur and smoked tomato chickpeas we've made will definitely be heavy in our future recipe rotation.

If you asked me if I thought I could go weeks without bread or cheese even a couple of months ago, I would have laughed in your face. It's been exciting knowing I can just say no to certain foods and not miss them. I also kind of don't want to add all them back in because I'm noticing such changes in my body. I didn't realize how bloated I felt most of the time until I don't anymore. I feel stronger and more flexible when working out, and crazy stuff is happening like eczema that's been bothering me for over a year has just disappeared. I told my husband, "gosh, it's almost like what you put in your body makes a difference!" (heavy on the sarcasm there, obvs).

Other than our fancy dinners out, we were never eating super terrible foods before. I don't think I eat fast food more than once every other month, and we only buy soda a handful of times a year, so I didn't think we were that bad. But we weren't that good either. Until we started the cleanse, I honestly didn't realize how few vegetables and vitamin-packed foods we were eating. This has been a game-changer for us. Even if we don't strictly stick to using these recipes forever, we've got tons of useful recipes and knowledge to go forward with.

Seriously, I would recommend it to anyone and everyone if they have some patience for grocery shopping and time to spend cooking. At least make one or two of the meals to see how delicious they are!

Overall, do what works best for you. Find a class, start with a DVD, cut out sweets, eat 2/3 veggies and fruit, or whatever you want to commit to. But stick to it. It's crazy how natural it becomes when it starts becoming a routine. I've been at this for only a few short months now, but with how much better I feel, I don't see myself ever falling back into lazy and unhealthy patterns I've skated along with until recently. And now I've got all of you holding me accountable, so I have to stick with it!

Outfit Details:
Maroon Outfit Details: Top: Forever 21, Leggings: Forever 21, Weights: 3 lb
Pink Outfit: Bralette: Target (similar), Capri Leggings: Forever 21, Tank: Forever 21, Socks: Bar Method (Similar)

Pink Outfit Photos by Chris Yankey


Friday, January 20, 2017

Green with Fur Envy

Molly shared her favorite winter coat that she's been sporting this season, so I figured I'd steal her idea and share mine too! We figure, if you gotta bundle up, you might as well look good while doing so! 

I really love the vintage feel of this coat. The green details and fur make it a slightly more funkier version though, which is just fine in my book. I also love how the shoulders have just the slightest structured edge, making for an on-trend structured shoulder look. 

Surprisingly, this coat goes well with a lot of outfits I've been wearing this season, but I paired it with this sleek black dress and tartan pumps for an elegant nighttime look, heavy on the vintage vibe. 

I'm really loving vintage inspired pieces lately. I saw this clutch on Instagram and it ended up being on sale, so I just had to get it! I figured it would be a cool memento to pass on to my granddaughters one day. The monogramming was free, so I sprung for that to give it an extra retro feel. 

How do you like to dress up your winter clothes? Let us know in the comments! 

Outfit details: Coat: Storets, Dress: ASOS (old, similar here, here, here), Clutch: MarleyLilly (also love this one), Tartan heels: Lauren Lorraine, Earrings: The Jeweled Gypsy


Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Decatur Brew Works

Decatur has finally gotten a brewery and it has been hoppin' (pun intended) ever since it opened! Decatur Brew Works is the first brewery and taproom in nearly 100 years in Decatur. The owners are beer enthusiasts and they have dozens of years of experience brewing between them. They offer a wide range of beers that are made on-site, as well as a ton of beers, ciders and meads from other craft breweries. 

When you enter Decatur Brew Works, you are greeted with fun and eclectic decor, a warm and cozy interior and a welcoming atmosphere. There is even a small game area in the back that holds various vintage games! 

This time around, we went on a rainy Saturday afternoon, which was a perfect time to go. There was a good crowd of people, but it wasn't as busy as a Friday or Saturday night. My husband got a sampler flight and I got a pint of Blake's Wakefire Hard Cider to start. 

My husband received a growler of the Hell's Hollow Vanilla Porter from Decatur Brew Works for Christmas and it was a huge hit at the New Year's Day party we went to. I haven't met a cider I haven't loved there either. The best thing is, they are constantly switching out their menus and bringing in seasonal brews, so you get to sample new things all the time! 

Decatur Brew Works likes to focus on what they know best, which is beer, so they don't serve food. However, you are highly encouraged to bring your own food to eat or have some delivered. Nothing like having a pizza delivered while you're sipping your way through a flight!

They also host a ton of different events at the brewery, like Yoga on Saturday mornings, trivia nights, and painting classes. A full list of events can be found here. I personally am hoping to make it to a Gilmore Girls or Harry Potter trivia night soon. 

Whether you are looking to pass a rainy Saturday afternoon or meet friends after work for a drink or two, Decatur Brew Works is the place to be! Save me a seat and a hard cider!


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