Tuesday, April 30, 2013

30 Day Squat Challenge

In preparation for an upcoming Miami trip, I decided to try a 30 Day Squat Challenge. Doing little challenges and setting goals helps me stay on track and hold me accountable. At first I was gliding by thinking this was going to be a cake walk. I wanted to challenge myself further so I decided I would do the squat challenge with weights. Then- I hit Day 17 with 150 squats and I hated myself. Days 17-21 were rough and then I found myself becoming stronger and today marks Day 29! My second to last day - have you guys done any similar challenges? I'd love to try them out so please share them. This challenge is great because it offers break days for your body to recover. I'm not sure my bod looks like the picture below yet HA, but it every bit helps


Monday, April 29, 2013

Monday Blues

Today's post is short and sweet which is fitting for a rainy Monday in NYC. I posted about these BCBG Max Azria wrap dresses before but this another example of how amazing they are for work. With multiple patterns that change out each season and a near identical fit to the DVF wrap dresses- why not? Why not - especially when they are half the price. Just like the DVF wrap dresses that I have, I find myself wearing them season after season because they really are timeless and SO EASY! I threw on this Spring print for work and popped it with these blue patent Pour La Victoire sling back pumps just to give the outfit something extra. I got the shoes at the Saks Shoe Sale. If you haven't taken advantage, I dream about this sale the way a 6 year old dreams about Santa coming on Christmas morning. Designer shoes 60% off?? Yes please!



Friday, April 26, 2013

Meriah's #1 Cardio Recommendation


Ain't that the truth. 

First things first, if you're serious about getting into shape, I strongly recommend buying a Heart Rate monitor. It tells you how much you're burning, and if you're peaking in your fat-burning zone, especially important during those cardio-focused workouts. There are all different types, but the best ones come with a wrist-watch and chest strap. Most even come with a software program so you can log your results. Its almost like having a trainer. You could use it throughout the day, like pushing yourself to get your heart rate up during a mid-day walk…. But if you're just starting out, you can go with a basic version, because they can get a little pricy. I recommend the Polar brand.
Now, as far as the best cardio machines, of course they're not the easiest, but that's what makes them so powerful, and helps you make the most of your time.

My #1 Pick:
Indoor Rowing Machine (Concept II Rower)
In addition to attaining a high level of fitness, rowing is an intense calorie-burner!
Indoor rowing primarily focuses on your cardio, with a good workout consisting of a moderate, steady 20 minutes (although a great goal is 2000 m, under 10 minutes).
But once again, *interval training* will maximize your results - because rowing also works many muscle groups throughout the entire body "anaerobically", giving you more bounce per ounce.
And - Bonus: Unlike high impact exercises, like running, which can damage your knees, rowing isn't so rough on your joints :)

How to Include the Rower in Your Fitness Routine:
On weight lifting days, I like to use the rower as a warm-up if I don't feel like running. Five minutes on the clock, or 1000 m (or 1 km), and Im ready to go do some damage.
The rower can be used in your circuit training, where you jump on for a quick 200 m, or a 45 second blast, then hop off and go for a set of push ups or KB swings.
Something fun I tried yesterday was doing a mini-triathalon, because I need to get my cardio back up. So I started with: 2 km on the treadmill, then 2 km on the rower, and finished with 5 km on the bike. Followed it up with some TRX suspension training - I haven't had such a great workout in a long time!

Remember these tips when you go for your next session, and let me know how it works for you.

In my next post, Ill get into my 2nd favorite cardio machine, a killer for burning some serious calories, while sculpting sexy legs, and a tight lifted butt… can you guess what it is?


Thursday, April 25, 2013

White Leather to Denim for Spring

This past weekend I visited my family in Northern VA/DC and had a jam packed- planned to the minute weekend. I always giggle to myself when I pack to go home because my style is so frightening to people in DC. I feel like when I'm there people look at me like I'm Lady Gaga. I normally pack and then go back and edit so I can be a little more focused in my choices and less *out there*. I kinda do enjoy the shock value (a little)- hence wearing a My Little Ponies T-shirt with Leather pants to the gun range this weekend with my Dad and sister- but that's a different story.

Here's an outfit that I wore this weekend when I was pal-ing around/ recovering from a late night of dancing to a live band with Currently Coveting


Yep- I'm wearing the Spring update to my denim to leather Post. I have a huge crush on these BCBGeneration WHITE leather to denim pants. The concept is unheard of and I realllllly don't care about that stupid-ass rule about white pants before Memorial Day. It's dumb. If the sun is shining and you're feeling it~ wear it.


My sunglasses believe it or not are Juicy Couture. I think every girl looks awesome in white aviators because they brighten up your face. They are from years ago but here is a page of affordable white aviator options. However my favorite ones will always be these Gucci ones


On top I'm wearing a BCBGeneration light chambray shirt (also referred to as jirt) with an Urban Outfitters Floral Graphic cut-off tank. The slits on the side go pretty low so I wore a white tank underneath as well.


For the accessories I might have gone slightly overboard - but I'm okay with it. The bag is a Rebecca Minkoff studded crossbody. I got this years ago and I wear it a lot more than I ever would've imagined for the fact that I'm a oversized-bag girl. No big shocker here I sported a BCBGeneration arm party with Affirmation Bracelets - I told you I wear these almost everyday. The ones for this outfit say FREE and BLESSED :) And then my ring is from Max and Chloe. Here's another fun bright pink option from that site


Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Metallic Motorcycle Jacket

It's always great to have those pieces in your wardrobe that make such a big statement on their own that you don't have to add much to the outfit and just keep it simple. I spotted this silver leather motorcycle jacket at BCBG and jumped on it during the Black Friday 50% off sale. It's so different from anything that I've ever seen. They no longer have the same jacket but here is the same cut


The collar is oversized with a black inner lining and I love how the sleeves have striped indentations on the arms and the back giving it more of that glam biker feel

I know I said you have to keep your outfit simple around pieces like these - hence the black pants and top, but I couldn't help adding this amazing custom statement necklace from Jen Hoodenpyle 


Monday, April 22, 2013

Sunshine Salad

I've recently added another blog to my repertoire "Hot Dog! It's a Food Blog" and the blogger, Rhea recently uploaded a salad that I am totally hooked on. I'm dying for warmer weather and this salad reminds me of sweet summertime. My favorite thing about this salad is this it is quick and easy!

Needed Ingredients:
1/2 an avocado
3 large strawberries
1/2 bunch of kale
1 cup of water
1 tsp. balsamic vinegar
1 tsp olive oil
1 pinch of Chia Seeds

Heat the 1 cup of water in a medium skillet and throw in the kale - make sure you've pulled the kale apart into small pieces. Let this steam for five minutes. After 5 minutes, place the steamed kale in the fridge to cool while you make the rest of the salad.


Take half of an avocado and cut it into small chunks and also cut your 3 large strawberries into small pieces. Place them into a serving bowl and add the 1 tsp of olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Then bring the kale out of the fridge, mix it all together and serve cold. The one twist that I added to Rhea's recipe is that I topped the salad with a pinch of Chia Seeds for an extra crunch. I recently read on LiveStrong.com that Chia Seeds is one of the Top10 healthy foods that everyone needs to add to their meals so I have been trying to incorporate them more. Try this recipe out and check out Rhea's Blog for more recipes :)


Friday, April 19, 2013

Plain T's with Ballerina Pleats

I bought this adorable BCBG Max Azria Ballerina Skirt back in December but have been waiting for some nicer weather to wear it. At the first glimpse of the 70's in the forecast I decided to take full advantage.


The skirt is ultra girly with the curly piping and the two layers that flip up

The body of the skirt has accordion pleats with a tonal elastic waist band at the top  


 For the rest of the outfit I wore a simple crew neck heather grey fitted t-shirt from GAP for only $10 and matching grey suede Boutique9 suede pumps. For the necklace, I wore an oversized Aqua necklace from Bloomingdales that has a black wire mesh overlay. It's from 5 years ago but here is a similar version from Baublebar.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Ankle Weight Circuit for Home

Just like the last workout I posted, I am always looking for quick simple circuits especially ones that you can do in your tiny NYC apartment if you can't make it to the gym. So that's literally what this post is about - an ankle weight circuit done in my apartment ha. I used ten pound ankle weights- even putting on one, it's amazing what a difference it feels like carrying that extra weight around. Here are 6 ankle weight exercises that I would split into 2 circuits (3exercises in each)

Circuit 1- do 20 V-ups which essentially is a crunch but your legs and arms never touch the ground. Crunch like the top picture and then extend your legs and body out and repeat 20 times


30 Glute Kickbacks - (15 per leg) on all fours, take one leg and tuck your knee to your chest and then extend it  up in the air


 For the last part of the first circuit do 40 Side Lying Hip Abduction Raises (20 per leg) - rest on your side and open your leg up and down falling 3 inches short of the floor.


Repeat this whole circuit 3 times

For the second circuit, start with 40 high knees (20 per leg)

Then do 40 Crabwalks (20 per each leading leg) - get down into a mid squat position and keeping your knees bent, take a side step- continue to side step for 20 paces and then return 20 paces with with opposite foot leading.


For the last exercise of the 2nd circuit, lie on your back and do 20 leg raises so that your butt is off the floor and your legs lift up and down.


Repeat this circuit 3 times. Let me know what you guys think of this workout and ignore the fact that the ankle weights make it look like I'm wearing those furry muk-luks that Snooki and Jwoww wear ha

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Worn & Torn on Purpose

I've been dying for warm Spring weather and a wardrobe change-up. We're still in that awkward limbo weather stage where it's so tough to pick outfits in the morning and I feel somewhat seasonally challenged. Here is an outfit that I wore to work where I tried to embrace Spring with color and a peep toe, but still wore a light knit sweater with colored denim.


This sweater looks soft and sweet due to the rose buds and the flecks of golden lurex sewn throughout it, but I love the twist of the random tears and holes in it to give it some added interest. I bought the sweater from a website that no longer exists but I found the similar tear on a polka dot sweater I found on Tobi and a star cut off for warmer weather on Tobi also


I sported a big arm party with this outfit.  The orange "S" initial bracelet is a cute enamel cuff from C Wonder. The second bracelet is my Jennifer Zeuner evil eye which I wear every day. The third is a BCBGeneration "ToughLove" Affirmation bracelet. The fourth bracelet is a gold spike bangle from C Wonder. Lastly, my lime stud earrings are also from C Wonder. Here are bright aqua circle studs.

The buttercup colored denim pants are from Piperlime.com and they are by Blank Denim. Once again they came a lot more vivid when I first got them but I like them so much more now that they have been washed and faded. Here is a pair of blank denim in coral and here is a yellow pair of True Religion jeans on sale


Monday, April 15, 2013

Orchid Exhibit @ The Botantical Gardens

Yesterday, my college roommate Katie came into the city and we decided to enjoy our Sunny Sunday by going to the Orchid Exhibit at the Botanical Gardens. I found out about the exhibit through the Weekend Guide on Daily Candy and figured it would be something fun and different. It was about a 40 minute subway ride and then less than a mile walk (Note: don't wear wedges like we did) but once we got there it was gorgeous. There were thousands of different types of orchids within the exhibit and over 300 garden trees that were damaged by Hurricane Sandy. It was definitely a change of pace from the hustle and bustle of the city but it made for a cute Sunday afternoon


The exhibit was inside this dome and tickets for entry were $25 a person

The exhibit goes through April 22nd and it's close to the Bronx Zoo


Here are some of the gorgeous pictures that I took while we were there



Friday, April 12, 2013

Naughty n Nice Pastels

For Holiday 2012 the main color palette which brought about newness was dusty pastels. Seafoam, pale pink, lavender, and the list goes on. Of course the "naughty" side of the palette still featured the traditional neutral and metal tones being black, ivory, silver, and gold. With the weather being less than Spring-like, these pastels have made a great lead into brightening up your wardrobe with still wearing weather appropriate clothing. This BCBG Max Azria Pastel Leopard dress is a perfect example of this:

I paired the wrap dress with opaque tights and then Pour La Victoire Booties from Zappos

I love these BCBG wrap dresses for work because they are a very similar cut to DVF wrap dresses but half of the price. Here is a similar one from the Spring Collection that I love: BCBG

Since the pattern on this dress is so bold, I kept the accessories fairly simple with these pale pink Chanel Stud earrings

Here is a close up of the print. The yellow studded bracelet is Rebecca Minkoff  


Thursday, April 11, 2013

Meriah's New Definition of Fitness

Traditional "Cardio"  a.k.a.  "Aerobics"   ak.a.  "A Waste of Time" 

The *trick* to cardio and weight loss is not about how long you can go, or even how many calories the machine says you've burned - its all about your heart rate! Your H.R. determines whether you're burning mostly air (too easy!), fat (somewhat intense), or muscle (too high - not good!)

Hopefully you know from science class, our bodies are like machines that run on fat, carb's, and protein from our food as fuel… But, the catch is the lower the intensity of exercise, the easier it is, the higher the percentage of calories we burn are coming from stored *fat* rather than carb's or protein. This is because we are working the "aerobic" pathway, which is a long slow process metabolically, but favorable for us in terms of *fat loss*.

Once you're working at an intensity above your "anaerobic" threshold, which is around 85% of your maximum HR (when its hard for you to breathe), you start to burn protein a.k.a muscle - and thats a big no-no! We always want to work towards building muscle, because it makes your metabolism faster, makes our stronger, and also gives the look of a defined, toned shape. Doing short sprints is a great way to push yourself to the limit, but still give your body just enough time to recover, so it doesn't have to resort to stealing your hard-earned muscle to keep going.

A great example of this is comparing a marathon distance runner, and an Olympic sprinter. Which 1 tends to look frail and skinny, and which is lean and ripped?

This is because of "The Fat Burning Zone"…
You may be familiar with this term. However - if your goal is to lose weight, you need to be burning more calories than you take in through eating. So, even though you burn mostly *fat* when working at an easier intensity, the *total* amount of calories burned is going to be low - unless, you stay in that fat-burning heart rate zone (65-85% of your max) for *at least* 45 minutes to 1 hour.

This is what is runners call a long, slow, distance (LSD) session.
I recommend this type of workout only 1-2 days a week, because its time-consuming, but valuable especially on days after a tough, high-intensity session, as a way to allow your body to recover, and still get in some exercise. The most efficient way to workout and do your "cardio" is using weights and sprints, so you're still sculpting your muscles, plus keeping your heart rate up. And this type of "interval" training can take a fraction of the time of an LSD workout.

For example:
1 minute each: Squat + Shoulder (Overhead) Press
30 seconds: Burpees
1 minute each: Side Lunge (Alternating) + Push up
10 reps: Pull ups or Rows

3-4 rounds of this and you've achieved way more than the equivalent of 45 minutes on the boring elliptical. 
You could also switch things up by going for 20 minutes on the clock to see how many sets you can get through, creating a competition with yourself.
Be sure to do a warm up, and then record your weights, rep's, and time results.

In conclusion, heres my suggestion:

If you can only start out in the gym 1-2 days a week, make sure you hit a total body circuit. You can also do this at home with resistance bands or body-weight exercises.
Think of 1 exercise for each muscle group (legs, shoulders, core, chest, back) and give it your maximum effort for 30-60 seconds, and then switch exercises. 
Ideally, to be in the best shape your goal should be to train 5-6 days a week, alternate between a quick 20 minute, high-intensity circuit, and follow it up the next day with a moderate intensity workout, but remember that should last for about an hour… It could include weight lifting, yoga, swimming, jogging, or even an easy "aerobics" type class like step or kickboxing (only thing Im not a big advocate of is "spinning" because you're hunched over & sitting on your ass, which is the last thing anyone needs) You can also still use traditional cardio machines, but I'll give my suggestions for the best ones and how to incorporate them into your program in my next post. 

As long as you do something you enjoy, are consistent, and get your body moving, you'll be on your way to reaching your goals.

There are many other benefits to doing other weight circuits and super-sets. Mixing up your workouts not only makes it interesting, but keeps your body guessing, so you don't hit the dreaded plateau. Its a really good idea to keep notes on your progress, so you can always kick it up, push harder, lift heavier, and jump higher.

Best of luck in working toward your fitness goals. I know I gave you a lot of info. here so questions are welcome!

Always remember to keep *yourself* first in taking care of your health, its up to you to make it a priority!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Nail Art in Nolita

Last night my roommate and I went down to Nolita to get our nails done at Valley Nails. It's been on our bucket list for a while but it's so popular that you have to make appointments weeks in advance. It's a nail salon that specializes in gel manicures with designs. You name it and they can do it - you just have to be willing to pay for it. When you first get there they have you pick colors from a pinwheel of 121 colors.


You can do ombré, regular designs, or 3D designs. You have to book your appointment by what caliber of design you are looking for because all of the girls that work there have a different skill set. My roommate opted for ombré and I went for designs. It only took an hour and we are already planning our next trip! Check out their website here Valley Nails or their Instagram: ValleyNYC for more examples of what they are capable of!

Blue Ombre Nails

Reverse Polka dot, Heart <3 and bow with rhinestone 

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Zucchini Crust Pizza

I'm always looking for healthy meal alternatives and last week I came across Ellen Renee's blog on instagram. She posts a ton of recipes that serve as healthy alternatives to some of your biggest food weaknesses. I love how she posts clean-eating recipes and then also posts things that are just healthier versions of desserts and other traditionally glutinous foods. So after paging through her whole website, I decided the first recipe I'd try would be Zucchini Crust Pizza and it turned out really well!


How to make the crust:
1/4 cup GNC Pro Performance Unflavored 100% Whey Protein Powder
1/2 Tbsp Bob’s Red Mill Ground Flaxseed Meal
Mrs. Dash - Onion & Herb and Italian
1/8 cup of liquid egg whites
2 Tbsp grated raw zucchini

Once the crust is mixed together, spread a few spoonfuls of tomato sauce and then add 1/4 cup of shredded fat free mozzarella cheese. Then cook the pizza in the oven at 425 for 5-8 minutes. The original recipe says 5 minutes but I left it in there a little longer and I was happy with the results. 


The best part about this meal is that it's only 155 calories with 2g of fat, 7g of carbohydrates, and 25g of protein :) Give this recipe a try and others on Renee's Website Best Fit Body

Monday, April 8, 2013

Denim to Leather Sportswear

I'm obsessed with leather and leather details right now and although this might be overkill, here's a casual Friday outfit that I wore to work. Leather normally comes across very sexy but done this way, it's definitely more on the sporty side. BCBGeneration has these awesome jeans that are mixed denim to leather and here is the Spring Version. I felt really gratified when I saw these R13 Jeans on Shopbop for $795.


The leather jacket is lined with great sweatshirt so that the sleeves and are attached making the jacket looked layered. I found it at karmaloop a couple of years ago but here are some other variations from tobi: option option

The shoes that were featured in my Wedge Sneaker Post are from Amazon

The stud earrings are my pop of color and they are from South Moon Under. Here's an Evil Eye option from Baublebar. I found the necklace at a boutique in Long Island but here is another option from Baublebar