Saturday, January 7, 2012


I've moved this blog back to its old location and cleaned things up a bit.

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These posts have been copied over, and will eventually be deleted.

Thank you!!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Slimming down

Happy New Year!

I hope that you all had a wonderful holiday and are looking forward to exciting things in 2012.  We are officially under the 4-month mark until the wedding, and my progress towards buff-bridedom isn't going as quickly as I'd hoped.  In an effort to curb my poor eating habits and jump-start weight loss, I'm going to do a 7-day diet plan.  I looked around and found a couple that seemed interesting.

One was the 7-day Slim Down plan from the girls at Tone It Up.  It gets a lot of praise online, but from what I can tell, it's not for me.  It's fundamentally a no-carb diet (with the exception of a lot of fruit) in small meals scattered through the day.  Some blogs I came across have complaints that users felt really tired and constantly hungry while doing this diet.  Well of course they did - they're eating fruit without a healthy fat and/or protein to accompany!  Fruit is good for you, sure, but it can spike your blood sugar, making you feel hungry.  For people trying to shed pounds and limit caloric intake, this is incredibly difficult.  Also, it's my opinion that low-carb is not maintainable (by me) and I cannot continue to train without giving my body sufficient fuel.  Plus, (and I hate to nit-pick but it's just rampant) their blog is riddled with grammatical errors.  They list three very different recipes for their "protein pancakes" and don't seem to offer much in the way of educating their clients.  I'm not sure what a "certified nutritional coach" is, but my certified nutritionist/dietician (PhD) makes different arguments than the ones these two girls make.  So, I'm going to pass.  (Also, $150?  Seriously?)

So, I'm looking more for a set menu of items that are different than I normally resort to, and something that appears to be sustainable and enjoyable.  I settled on this one.  It's designed to help you lose 15 pounds in 6 weeks, but I anticipate seeing results within the seven days.  Even if it's only 2 pounds, it's movement.  Because I work out with a trainer (strength training) and get regular exercise (dancing, running), I must keep my body fueled with the right types of food.  I've read through the meal plan and I like its diversity and accessibility.  It's a reasonable plan, so I look forward to giving it a shot and sticking with it.  Of course, it's going to require a lot of preparation and commitment, but I need to buckle down and do it.  No excuses.

Here goes nothing.  Wish me luck!

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Buff Bride Post: The Importance of Strength Training

The countdown until our wedding is now under 4 months, and preparations are kicking into high gear!  I've been working with a personal trainer at the gym in the hopes of not just getting into great shape for my walk down the aisle, but also to start my journey towards a leaner, healthier, sexier Kelly.

One thing that I've heard and read over and over and over again is the importance of strength training.  My nutritionist swears by it.  My trainer swears by it.  My doctors swear by it.  If you want to do something and have lasting change, then you simply must strength train!

Here's the deal - cardio burns calories... plenty of calories, if you're working hard enough!  However, when the cardio stops, so does the calorie burning.  If you're like me, with a metabolism so low it crawls, then you need more than cardio.  You need muscle.  How do you get muscle?  Not on the treadmill!  You get it by gaining strength - large muscle groups, circuit training, conditioning, etc.

While calorie burning stops when a cardio routine stops, it keeps going hours after a strength training routine.  According to my trainer, I continue to burn calories for approximately 10 hours after working out.  This doesn't give me an excuse to eat whatever I want (do you know how long it's been since I had McDonalds?!?!), but it does give me a justification to enjoy what I'm eating, guilt-free.

I've been working hard for about 3 months now.  I've lost only a few pounds, but taken an inch and a half off my waist alone.  My legs are leaner, my arms are getting stronger, and my back is straighter.  Results are slow (painfully slow, actually), but they have been coming.  My jeans fit better and my posture is stronger.

Boosting your metabolism is a really slow process, but it's amazing how easy it is to kill it.  Eat poorly, don't exercise, keep erratic sleeping patterns, don't stay hydrated, crash diet.  I've never been a big crash dieter, but I have gone through stages where I wasn't eating much (stress, sickness, whatever) and it's my personal theory that those moments had a bad effect.  Now I'm determined to undo them.

Friday, December 30, 2011

December 2011 Eco-Emi Box

I received my first Eco-Emi box and wanted to review the products inside.  Eco-Emi is a monthly subscription service (like Birchbox) where, for $15 a month, you get at least 5 deluxe samples of products that are organic and earth-friendly.  Some of them are beauty related, others are more lifestyle. They tend to arrive toward the end of the month - and yes, they ship internationally!  Get more information here:

First of all, the packaging is SPECTACULAR.  Everything was beautifully wrapped and I'm very, very impressed.  The box was jam-packed with goodies.

There was a pair of Maggie's organic socks.  These are really thick and cushiony, very well made.  I love the color and how they're winter-themed.  I've worn them several times, and they wash very well with no bleeding of color or stretching out around the top band.  I can see possibly ordering more and giving as gifts.  They're wonderful!

Next up is a raw cacao spread from Artisana.  It's vegan (I am a meat-eater, but never against vegan recipes/foods), but looks pretty cool.  I have not tried this yet, but supposedly it is very good on lightly toasted bread.  Might be a nice treat someday soon.

Then we have Vitamin C chews from Genesis Today.  The bag has 10 individually wrapped chews.  They're about the size of a Starburst candy, but rectangular shaped.  They taste like lime/citrus, and are soft and chewy, a consistency very similar to Starburst, but not quite as smooth.  My fiance and I liked them.

Then they included a trial size of Green Shield Free & Clear Laundry Detergent.  We've recently switched to detergent that is free of dyes and perfumes in order to reduce skin irritation and allergens.  My fiance has body acne and I have Keratosis Pilaris and it's my theory that some of it is exacerbated by perfumes in our detergent, so we switched.  This may be a product worth exploring further, but we are really happy with our current brand.

Just in time for Christmas, they included a soy candle from Wyk in Whispering Pine... which, you guessed it, smells like a Christmas tree!  It's a nice little tea light.  Because Christmas is over, I won't burn it, but I will keep it closed and use it next year if the scent is still there.

Next was the Zambeezi organic beeswax lip balm in Tangerine.  I have tried this a few times and actually have found that my lips get worse.  I'm not sure if it was all the traveling and/or the weather, but this was a big disappointment.  The flavor was good, but the moisture-power was low, if even existent at all.

Lastly (in addition to some face/body wash samples and coupons for all the products featured), is the Botanicals Lip Gloss from Laura Brooke Cosmetiques.  The color is actually pretty good in terms of pigmentation, and it's not actually very glossy.  It's almost like a thinner lipstick.  The color is a peachy-pink color, but it's surprisingly flattering on me.  (My skintone is fair with pink undertones.)  I like it because it's visible, but not overly dramatic... perfect for the office.  I also like it because it doesn't dry out my lips or bleed.  It's easy to apply and lasting power is pretty average.  A good find!

Gizmo the Cat Beauty Expert thanks you for your time!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Banned until Pan #5: Clean & Clear Daily Scrub

Now the products are really getting used up!  Up next in the Banned until Pan Project is the Clean and Clear Deep Action Exfoliating Scrub.  I purchased this product because I wanted something to help exfoliate and smooth out my skin.  My face does tend to get dry, so I wanted something that would cleanse and smooth, that I could follow up with a good quality moisturizer.

I like this product for the exfoliating properties and the cool, clean feel my skin gets, but I do not think it does a good job removing makeup or actually washing my face.  I haven't purchased it again - in fact, I replaced it with Neutrogena redness reducing scrub.  I also keep a bottle of Olay face wash in the shower as well.  I think if you're looking for something to help remove dead skin cells and fight blemishes, this is probably a good product for you.  However, it's probably a good idea to follow up with a great moisturizer that suits your skin type.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

VoxBox Review: Montagne Jeunesse Peel Off Mask

After a particularly grueling workout tonight at the gym, I decided to treat myself to some Gossip Girl, snuggle time with the cat, and pampering.  I put on my fuzzy socks and comfy sweatshirt, washed my makeup off from the day, then settled down with a nice face mask.

Tonight I used the Passion Peel Off mask from Montagne Jeunesse.  I've used peeling masks before, so I prepared myself for somewhat of a mess, but wanted to try the product anyway.  (I got this in my 2011 Holiday VoxBox from  So, I tore open the package and gave it a shot!

First off, the amount of product in the package is perfect.  Not too much, not too little.  It's a violet-red clear gel, and the smell is simply divine - fruity but not too sweet or overpowering.  It was cool and smooth to apply with my fingertips, and then after washing my hands, I sat back to let it work its magic.

The peel takes about 15-20 minutes to dry, but you can definitely feel when it's ready.  If you apply it with your mouth closed (avoid your mouth and eyes), and you open your mouth after it dries, it will tug a little.  Removal is a LOT easier than other peel-off masks.  It peels easily off the skin in large pieces.  I didn't find that it was painful, difficult, or tedious.  Afterwards, my skin felt clean and soft, and a little bit tight, and much smoother (which makes sense, since it claims to remove dead skin cells).  I do plan to use a moisturizer before bed.

My skin is not acne-prone, and tends to err on the dry side.  It has some redness, likely due to rosacea, but I did not experience any irritation.  I would definitely use this mask again!  For more information, visit

This product was provided complimentary via the VoxBox from Influenster.  I do not accept payment or compensation for reviewing products.  All opinions are honest and my own.

Banned until Pan #4: Real Techniques Stippling Brush

The death of this product wasn't expected, and wasn't exactly a happy event in my household.  The Real Techniques Stippling Brush was my absolute favorite brush to apply my foundation.  I took loving care of it, washing gently and as needed... so imagine my surprise when the brush fell completely out of the handle during a routine shampoo.

I tried to revive the brush by putting the bristles back into the handle, but it was to no avail - it proceeded to shed all over my face.  So, I've decided to let this one go.  I've replaced it with the Sigma F80 synthetic flat-top brush and I'm completely in love already (review coming very soon!).  The other Real Techniques brushes in my collection are doing pretty well, but they do not get as much use as this one, so I hope that they are not doomed for the same fate!

If you're reading this and you've had trouble with these (or any) brushes, let me know in the comments below!