guest post: quick workouts when you’re pressed for time
happy friday, everyone! i’m super excited to be welcoming missa, blogger over at skinny affair, to bananas + bellinis for today’s post! missa and myself recently connected somewhere in the blogosphere and when i saw how aligned our approaches to health and wellness were, i knew she would be perfect for a guest post. i asked her to share something that she thought fit into the bananas + bellinis lifestyle, but was still true to who she was and what she puts out there on skinny affair. she came up with a little list of her favorite quick workouts for when you’re on-the-go or in a rush, but still want to maintain a certain level of activity. i can’t wait to give these a try!
we all know what it’s like to be super busy [or just plain lazy]. experts recommend adults get at least 75 minutes per week of vigorous aerobic activity. that’s about 10 minutes per day!
so, on those days when you don’t have enough time to go to the gym or your favorite workout class, try doing quick bursts of at-home workouts. i’ve put together a list of my favorite youtube workouts for when I’m pressed for time. all you need is a mat and a laptop, tablet or smartphone.
- your yoga gym | energizing mars yoga routine: when i’m feeling like i need some energy, this is my go-to yoga workout. this sequence goes through vigorous movements in a little less than 10 minutes.
- tone it up | bikini yoga: this yoga sequence is about 15 minutes long. it’s a little less traditional, but it can stretch, elongate and strengthen your entire body. i love that this sequence starts off slow, but quickly picks up the pace.
- livestrong women | lift + tone booty routine with katrina: it’s becoming obvious that i’m a huge tone it up fan. katrina and karena have so many quick workouts that target different areas of the body. this specific routine will teach you a bunch of great booty workouts to target all angles.
- tone it up | bikini abs routine: we all need a good ab routine! this one has movements for your obliques, upper abs and lower abs. karena’s bikini abs routine is one of my favorites because it’s so quick, but still gives me a good sweat.
tip: wake up 15-30 minutes early and do one or two of the workouts above first thing in the morning. it’ll wake up your muscles and give you some energy to start your day strong.
have a go-to workout? i’d love to hear about them! share in the comments below or tweet me @skinnyaffair!
and, if you’re into health/wellness, style, beauty and everything in between, check out my blog!
motivation mondays: week 20
happy motivation mondays! week 20… the last motivation mondays post of january 2015… sh*t. is. wild. time is flying [as it always does].
since it’s the end of the beginning of 2015, i thought it would be appropriate for motivation mondays to pause and backtrack [to eventually move forward!] to do a little new year’s resolutions check-in this week. how’s it going? have you met your goals? have you stuck to your resolutions? are you making progress towards them? or have you already fallen off the wagon? given up? thought about giving up? well, i’m here to remind you that no matter what your answers to these questione were…. it’s fine.
as you might remember, i talked about resolutions and how they often fail in this post. i explained why resolutions often set us up for failure and disappointment and talked about a few ways to keep that from happening in 2015… but, regardless of where you stand with your resolutions as of this week… it doesn’t matter. here’s why:
no matter where you are today, if you still want it, go for it. pick up where you left off. get back on track. i mean, just get started if you never got around to it. come up with a game plan. just because it’s the end of the month and you aren’t seeing results yet, fell off the wagon a few weeks ago or haven’t figured out where to begin doesn’t mean that it’s too late. you can still accomplish whatever you want to accomplish this year.
in my yoga teacher training [something I plan on talking about in a little more detail on wednesday of this week] we having been reading and discussing the yoga sutras. many of them really have been resonating with me, but one that stuck with me is totally applicable to today’s post. it clearly states that no effort in yoga is wasted. no matter how small, how consistent, any effort you make to better yourself and move towards something you want doesn’t go to waste after a little slip up or a major derailment. this is true in yoga and it’s also true in life [one of the many reasons i’m absolutely obsessed with yoga… but like i said, more on this later]. so, pick yourself back up, map out your week and figure out how you’re going to fit the first step in getting back on track into your schedule. you got this. don’t tell yourself otherwise.
as always, i want to share a few links with you that i enjoyed and think you will as well… they may just help to fuel this whole “getting back on track” thing:
this list via buzzfeed has some great healthy snack ideas and is seriously appropriate if your resolutions this year involve eating healthier!
mindy kaling on why she thinks she’s been so successful… effing killin’ it as always.
i stumbled upon this 30-day minimalist challenge and it’s right up my alley… time to let go, recharge and remind myself it’s not all about material possessions and abundance. starting this, like… right now.
also, over the weekend i made this soup that one of my favorite favorite bloggers, annie lawless of blawnde shared [i made some small adjustments so it suited my dietary needs] and it. was. bomb.
finally, before i sign off for today, i wanted to remind everyone that if you’re ready to make a change, get healthy and find a balance in your life that you can maintain longterm, i’m offering a free month of health coaching to anyone who signs up for my 6-month program by january 31st. if you’re ready to take the leap, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule your free initial consultation where we will discuss your health concerns and figure out where i can support you as you work towards the life you’re dreaming of in 2015! feel free to email me with any questions, suggestions or as always… just to say hi!
image courtesy of klitzeklein
5 tips for surviving mercury in retrograde
we’ve all heard it before and many of us have lived it, but what exactly does it mean when mercury goes retrograde? essentially, about three time a year, mercury slows down its journey around the sun, which makes it appear as if it is now going backwards. it’s not actually going backwards, but this three week period that happens about three times a year [sometimes four] is known as “mercury in retrograde”. so what’s the big deal?
many of us have come to find that when mercury is in retrograde…sh*t just kinda goes haywire. communication gets fuzzy, people go back on their word, technology systems break, travel plans gets delayed or cancelled… you name it. while i have personally felt the effects of mercury being in retrograde on more than one occasion [to the point that I now map it out on my calendars at the beginning of every year], i find that taking a different approach works much better than an “oh sh*t, mercury goes retrograde tomorrow… life is about to get messy” attitude. here are five ways i make sure that mercury in retrograde doesn’t negatively impact my life:
1. don’t expect bad things to happen. just because mercury is in retrograde doesn’t mean that you should go about your day waiting for something terrible to happen. expecting bad things will manifest bad things, regardless of what mercury is doing.
2. if something bad does happen, don’t blame it on mercury in retrograde. i’ve fallen victim to this plenty of times and it’s so easy to say, “well, what can you do? mercury is in retrograde!” the reality is that bad things can happen at anytime. rather than blaming some random planet, take a look at what you are doing and what’s going on in your life first to see if you can just maybe find a real, tangible explanation… and stop playing the blame game!
3. avoid making decisions that could have a major impact on your life. big business deal in the works? booking flights? buying a new phone/tv/computer? wait. since mercury in retrograde is known to mess with these kinds of things, hold off on committing to anything [if you can] until the retrograde period is over [it only last for about three weeks]. take this time to observe what’s going on in your life and really think about what you could be committing to. ask yourself what will it look like in the long run.
4. slow down and reflect. while mercury in retrograde can be a time of chaos, it can also be a time of renewal. slow down, take some time for yourself to just be. reflect on the past few weeks and revisit your goals and dreams. figure out where you’re going and what the next step towards reaching your goal is. there’s no better time to lay low and make plans than now.
5. communicate clearly. repeat yourself when necessary. mercury is the messenger and when he’s is in retrograde, misunderstandings are common. if you feel like someone took something you said the wrong way, re-address it. think before you speak and really listen to others. something that seems like a trivial miscommunication could end up becoming a major issue down the road.
ultimately, we have the power to decide if we approach life with a positive attitude, expecting amazing things, or with a bad attitude, waiting for the worst possible scenario to play out in any given situation. mercury is in retrograde as of january 21st and will stay there until february 11th… while it’s good to be aware of this shift, we don’t need to let it control our lives.
image courtesy of quick memes
avocado hair mask for healthy hair
in an effort to eliminate harsh chemicals and other nasty products from my beauty and self-care regimen, i have started experimenting with making my own products here and there. i make my own facial toner and eventually want to try the d.i.y. option for pretty much everything i use on a daily basis. it’s so much safer and actually really fun, fairly easy and allows me to know exactly what i’m putting on my body on a daily basis. if i’m careful about what i eat, shouldn’t i be monitoring what i put on my body as well?
i’m kind of obsessed with my hair [what girl isn’t?] and try to make sure i’m taking really good care of it so that it looks, feels and most importantly actually is healthy. i’ve started using natural shampoos and conditioners and through trial and error have found a company the works for me, but sometimes i still want my hair to have that smooth, silky, just-left-the-salon feeling without all of the harsh chemicals that are typically used to achieve that. this avocado hair mask does just the trick. you only need three ingredients and about 30 minutes… you’ll be blown away by the results. the benefits of this avocado hair mask look like this:
- avocado: avocados are loaded with healthy fats, so they act as a moisturizer when applied to the hair, promote hair growth and prevent hair loss
- egg: a natural source of protein, the egg will help to strengthen your locks and help prevent split ends and broken strands
- coconut oil: i’ve talked about coconut oil before, but here, it will help to heal damaged hairs and leave your hair super shiny
for one avocado hair mask you will need:
- 1/2 of an avocado [at the same point you would eat it at]
- 1 egg
- 2 tbsp. coconut oil [melted, so that it’s in liquid form]
crack the egg into a bowl and whisk the coconut oil in, adding the avocado last and mashing all three ingredients together with a fork. apply the mixture to damp hair [really work it in there, the same way you would with shampoo/conditioner] and allow it to sit for 20-30 minutes. it’s a little bit messy, so i wrapped my hair up in an old towel to prevent the mask from dripping everywhere. after the mask has had some time to sit, hop in the shower and wash your hair the same way you normally would. if possible, allow your hair to air-dry instead of using a blowdryer.
voilà! silky, shiny, strong and healthy hair sans chemicals!
motivation mondays: week 19
i spent my weekend the same way that i spent last weekend and will be spending every weekend from now until the end of march: at yoga teacher training! i’ll get into this more at a later time, but this weekend we started talking about yoga philosophy, which served as the inspiration for today’s motivation mondays post.
we talked about the upanishads and this quote really stuck with me:
“watch your thoughts, for they become your words. watch your words, for they become your actions. watch your actions, for they become your habits. watch your habits, for they become your character. watch your character, for it becomes your destiny.”
this really speaks to me because it’s something that has proven to be true in my own life. whatever you think on a day to day basis… positive thoughts, negative thoughts, you can do something, you can’t do something, you’re not good enough, you’re the sh*t and everyone should bow down… those thoughts eventually become who you are and define your whole entire world. you have the power to change the way you feel, how successful you, how your relationships progress… it’s all in your control. if you think you’ll never lose the last 10 pounds, you won’t. if you think you’ll never have your dream job, you won’t. but on the flip side, believing in yourself and knowing that you can achieve whatever you want to… through hard work and discipline… that’s half the battle. whatever you can dream of, whatever you can imagine for yourself… it can be real. change the way you think and i promise you’ll see a huge positive shift in your life.
how are your thoughts holding you back?
a few links to inspire you on this monday morning…
so, it’s freezing here in new york and i’m going to miami at the end of the month and i can. not. wait. i’m obsessing over these bathing suits and already added this dress to my closet… bring on the beach, the sun and the margaritas.
this list of 20 bars to drink in before you die via buzzfeed is providing me with some serious travel inspo… so many bars, so little time! how about #1 though?!
finally, this video that shows what working out really looks like is pretty amazing and makes me want to hit the gym hard.
i hope every one has an amazing week and if you are lucky enough to be home from work today… take advantage of the free day and treat yourself… hit the gym, cook yourself a healthy dinner, go shopping, binge on netflix or read a book… anything that makes you feel good and gets your week off to the best start possible!
image courtesy of iOTA iLLUSTRATION
guest post: morning glory blog’s workout playlists
happy friday, readers! i’m beyond excited to introduce you to my seriously talented, gorgeous, chic friend ashley of morning glory blog today! ashley is a boston-based fashion and music blogger, so i asked her to put together a couple of workout playlists for you guys. i’ve turned both of these into ppotify playlists [which i’ve shared with you below!] and plan on using them for myself starting like, yesterday.
i’m typically blasting hip-hop or electronic music in my ears when I’m at the gym [or taylor swift’s 1989, if i’m being honest], but i’m excited to try out a more rock-based playlist when i hit the gym next week. so, that’s enough from me… everyone, meet ashley… and expect to see more from her in the future here at bananas + bellinis! oh, and be sure to follow ashley on facebook, twitter + instagram!
hello everyone! my name is ashley and i am the founder of morning glory blog, a style and music blog. today, i am guest posting on bananas + bellinis to bring you the perfect workout playlists for your active and healthy lifestyle. music is a major part of my life. seriously, i don’t go a day without it, and i never leave the house without my ipod.
for ten years of my life, i was a competitive swimmer. from the pool, to dry-land training, and weightlifting, there was always music playing somewhere. it was the one thing that kept me sane and got me through a hard workout. music is a great way to bring positivity and excitement into your workout.
- “Rock ‘N’ Roll Star” by Oasis
- “Don’t Sit Down Cuz I’ve Moved Your Chair” by Arctic Monkeys
- “Blind Faith” by Chase & Status
- “Dance Commander” by Electric Six
- “Easy Money” by Johnny Marr
- “Club Foot” by Kasabian
- “Come Closer” by The New Pornographers
- “What A Life” by Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds
- “Echoes Round The Sun” by Paul Weller
- “Heads Will Roll” by Yeah Yeah Yeahs
- “Tubthumping” by Chumbawamba
- “Purple Yellow Red & Blue” by Portugal, The Man
- “Lost” by Coldplay
- “Run [I’m a Natural Disaster]” by Gnarls Barkley
- “Contact” by Daft Punk
- “Big Jet Plane” by Angus & Julia Stone
- “In Safe Hands” by Badly Drawn Boy
- “Talk is Cheap” by Chet Faker
- “Push Your Head Towards The Air” by Editors
- “Islands” by Hey Ocean!
- “9669” by The Joy Formidable
- “Blood” by The Middle East
- “Welcome Home, Son” by Radical Face
- “Midnight” by Coldplay
- “Islands” by The XX
wine pairing class with synesthesia
today i want to talk about putting the whole “balance” thing that i always talk about into practice. i mean, this blog is called “bananas + bellinis” for a reason. monday funday is definitely a thing, and it’s a thing i like to take part in on occasion. this week, monday funday came in the form of an intro to wine pairings class with synesthesia at bamboo 52 in new york. we weren’t sure what to expect, but had a great time learning all about the different types of wine and how to properly taste them, eating cheese and of course, getting a little tipsy.
there were six of us in the class and there was an abundant amount of wine, cheese, bread and fruit for all of us. amanda, the instructor and owner of synesthesia, was enthusiastic, warm and extremely well-versed in all things wine. she made everything easy to understand, made sure everyone felt included and kept things really fun. i plan on taking all of the things i learned from her and someday hosting amazing dinner parties with perfectly paired food and wine. the main things i took away from the class were:
- don’t be cheap [this can be applied to any aspect of life, but we’re talking wine right now]
- wines from coastal areas will be lighter, fruitier wines
- when you taste wine, swishing it around in your mouth allows it to hit all the areas of your tongue so that you can make sure you are tasting all of the flavors
- sauvignon blanc is the best cooking wine
- cabernet sauvignon can go with any of the cheeses
- pinot noir pairs well with pizza [clearly this was the most important thing for me to know about]
so, if you need something to do on a cold monday night this winter and you want to put the whole balance thing to work, definitely think about taking one of these classes. you’ll have fun, learn about alcohol, and get drunk. you can thank me later.
motivation mondays: week 18
today i want to keep motivation mondays sweet and simple. with all of the bad things that seem to be happening throughout the world every single day, i want everyone to remember one thing today, this week, this year and forever:
you don’t know what the other people you encounter on a day to day basis are dealing with. coworkers, people you’re sharing your morning commute with, the sales associate at the store you’re shopping at, even your closest friends or family members. even the most put together people can be struggling with absolutely terrible things and the last thing they need is someone being rude or snarky to them over something that doesn’t matter. try to take that into account with every interaction you have and just. be. nice. being an a**hole doesn’t get anyone anywhere and won’t make you feel better about yourself either. hold doors for people, smile at a stranger on the street, pay for the person standing behind you at the coffee shop… little actions like this can go a long way. you could be turning around someone’s entire day [for the better] with simple gestures like this that require barely any effort… why wouldn’t you want to do that?
i finally got to eat at two hands over the weekend and it was everything i imagined it would be. the atmosphere was welcoming, cozy and totally low key, the staff was friendly [and australian, which is reason enough to stop in] and i had the best almond milk latte of my life. oh, and the avocado toast was incredible, especially topped with an egg [check out the #foodporn below]. if you’re planning on checking it out, make sure you get there early, as it was filling up extremely quickly around 11am on saturday morning and by the time we left there were quite a few people waiting.
a few links for you on this monday morning:
this. article. is. literally everything. read it. now.
i read about orangetheory fitness on the balanced blonde’s blog and was so excited to find out that they are coming to new york! they have introductory specials, so if it sounds like something you want to try sign up now!
have an amazing week everyone!
image courtesy of the good vibe
healthy lifestyle staples: skin brushing
the healthy lifestyle staples series here at bananas + bellinis is something that i think is really important. not only do i get to give you a glimpse of some of the things i do/use on a regular basis, i also get to show you how easy it can be to incorporate healthy habits into your day-to-day life.
today, i want to add another item to my list of healthy lifestyle staples: skin brushing. skin brushing is known to have many health and beauty benefits, such as reducing cellulite, stimulating the lymphatic system, aiding digestion and detoxification of the body, increasing energy and circulation and exfoliating the skin.
the skin is the largest organ in the body and its job is essentially to protect us from anything that might be harmful [toxins, germs, viruses, bacteria, etc]. if the skin is not well taken care of, it’s ability to protect us decreases. skin brushing is an easy way to keep the skin in tip-top shape as a part of your regular skincare regimen.
so, how does it work? by stimulating the skin, you’re essentially getting a bunch of the other systems in your body working. it’s best to do first thing in the morning before showering when your skin is dry and your system is relaxed. you should always brush in the direction of your heart, as this is the way the lymphatic system naturally flows. start with the soles of your feet [the nerve endings there are connected to your entire body], working your way up your legs, over your stomach, booty, hands, arms, chest [ladies, be sure to avoid the ladies, if ya catch my drift] and down your back [see the diagram below]. because you’ve just exfoliated, showering after skin brushing is the best way to go so that you can wash away all of the the dead skins cells. apply some lotion [or coconut oil!] after your shower to soothe the skin and moisturize. you should notice a difference in how your skin looks and feels almost immediately.
a few things to keep in mind when skin brushing:
- don’t brush too hard, you don’t want to irritate the skin
- skip over any cuts, rashes, irritations or varicose veins
- leave your face and neck alone since the skin there is so sensitive
ready to give skin brushing a try? you can buy a skin brush at most drug or health food stores for under $20. you can always order one online, too!
diagram courtesy of healthy lifestyle choices 101
kale salad with lemon tahini dressing
salads are my go-to when i’m looking for a quick, no-effort lunch or dinner. depending on what i have in the kitchen, it’s typically as easy as throwing a bunch of veggies, sometimes fruits, nuts and seeds together in a bowl and tossing it with some salad dressing. i avoid store bought dressings as much as possible because they typically contain additives, preservatives and extra calories… things we just don’t need. i like experimenting with making my own dressings to keep things interesting and change up the flavors here and there. this lemon tahini dressing served over a fresh kale salad is definitely one of my favorites. kale is great as a base for a salad because it contains lots of protein and fiber, is packed with other vitamins and minerals and is much more filling than other greens like romaine or iceberg lettuce.
for one serving of the lemon tahini dressing you will need:
- 1 tbsp. tahini
- 3 tbsp. olive oil
- juice of 1/2 of a lemon
- salt and pepper to taste
to make the lemon tahini dressing, simply combine all of the ingredients listed above in a small bowl and whisk together until smooth.
the salad here contains [measurements are approximate]:
- 2 c. fresh mixed kale [you can buy this in most grocery stores ready-to-eat]
- 1/2 c. grape tomatoes, halved
- 1/2 of an avocado, thinly sliced
- 2 tbsp. sunflower seeds
combine all of the salad ingredients with the lemon tahini dressing, add a little salt and pepper and enjoy!
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