What I’m Thankful For

In my continued attempts to become a Super Legitimate Outstanding Blogger (a SLOB?  oh wait…), I joined the SoCal Blogger Society a couple weeks ago – and their monthly link up topic for November is ever-so-apropos:

What are you thankful for?

Granted, readers, I see that the calendar has indeed turned over to December, but I think that given my recent (brief!) blog break and the gratitude that I feel so deeply during the holiday season, it’s the perfect time to respond to the prompt.  So here we go:

What are you most thankful for this year?honeymoon

Last year (October 16, 2013, if you’re tracking) I got engaged to the love of my life – so this year, I have been thankful all year for my fiance, our wedding plans, and the promise and excitement of our life together.

What made you decide to start your blog?

As a personal trainer, nutritionist, and wellness coach, I get a lot of questions from clients and friends about health and wellness – and if I may toot my own horn, I do feel that I give professional and helpful advice (check me out on the #AskAmanda thread on Twitter!).  I wanted to have a place to give that advice not only to clients and friends but to anyone who wants to read it, and also to open a dialogue about what it’s like to be me – usually fitness-oriented, but not always.  It’s just real.

germanWhat is your favorite thing to do in Southern California in the fall?

Since the end of September technically counts as fall, my favorite thing to do is go to Oktoberfest with my family – either Alpine Village or Old World (or both!).  But since that part of fall is already over, I’d have to say my favorite thing is simply to get out for a decent run and have it not be 75+ degrees (I typically have to run midday!).  Also – listening to nonstop Christmas carols on KOST 103.5 brings me the greatest joy in December.

What are the three items in your closet you can’t live without?

1.  My lululemon Wunder Under leggings

2. My Kate Spade Southern California map tote

3.  My cropped taupe moto jacket (similar here)

So then – what are you thankful for?

As I said around my holiday table, I am so thankful for my family, my friends, and my health – these things alone are the basis of lifelong happiness.  But even more than that, I am thankful for everything in my life that allows me to enjoy that type of happiness – the loyalty and thoughtfulness of my closest friendships, the enduring unconditional love of my family, and the security and worth in the job that I do that allows me to stay healthy and well.

Readers, what are YOU thankful for? 

Weekend Roundup

I’ll be honest: the holiday weekend totes got the best of me.  Here I was on November 1st, rocketing toward #NaBloPoMo (National Blog Posting Month) success, blogging every day – and now here I am on November 30th, having not blogged in nearly 5 days.  Five!

Le sigh.  Life happens?

That said, the days in between my last entry and today have been filled with joy, family, beer, and even a little bit of rain – which means they’ve been about the best days I can imagine.  So let’s get moving onward to what’s going around the internets this holiday week!

If you’re looking for the ultimate classy gym bag for the stylish man (or woman!) in your life, look no further.

While you’re at it, check out the absolute most fabulous yoga mat I’ve ever seen (and this is from someone who practices on a blue zebra-print yoga mat).

And you guys, have you seen the trompe l’oeil “sequined” workout wear from lululemon?  They’ve outdone themselves this holiday season.

Ok but really, who knew H&M had such fabulous, well-priced workout wear?

Moving on from my fitness-focused shopping list, let’s consider what any woman might want on her Santa list this Christmas (clueless folks, this is a great starting point).

Ever wondered what Dave Asprey, founder of Bulletproof coffee, might have in his fridge?  Spoiler alert: it’s shockingly healthy.

Pumpkin spice lattes, you’re done: coconut hot chocolate exists.

Free YouTube workout videos are the gift you can give yourself.  Daily.

What are you checking out online this holiday season?  Any #cybermonday tips for me?

Sunday Special: On My Radar

I swear my brain is programmed to desire shopping more during the holiday season.  We’ve been indoctrinated from a young age that the holidays are for gift-giving, and with Black Friday less than a week away, my urge to shop is rising.  And I’ve been giving in.

Case in point?  This weekend brought mini-splurges at the Bella + Canvas sample sale, a friend’s Chloe + Isabel show, and even Bed, Bath & Beyond (where I found this amazing hashtag light-up sign for the wedding!).  Sigh.  Who am I to fight the power of the season?

That said, I haven’t done an On My Radar post in a while, so here we go – a special holiday edition of OMR – perhaps more like a Dear Santa?  Enjoy!

Is there anything more calming than the scent of chamomile?  I was recently tipped off to an amazing eye makeup remover that smells of it, and I am now obsessed with slowly making every scent in my bathroom include some hint of chamomile (even better: with honey!) by the end of the year.  Come to find out – the Body Shop has a whole line of the stuff, in varying levels of intensity.  Just say ahhhh…..

I’ve gotten so used to my old, stinky, black gym backpack that I forget there are actual cute, stylish options out there.  This one is deceptively glam, with a Birkin-bag look and amazing functionality (yes, it actually holds a water bottle, gym clothes, and shoes in there!).  I have no idea how much shipping would be as this one’s only available across the pond, but dang, is it nice to look at.

I’ve been really hooked on this metallic teal eyeliner I’ve been wearing lately, and it’s got me thinking: what other colored eyeliners would really pop?  Cue the Dior Addict-It liquid eyeliner in hot pink – I am pretty sure I need it, whether I layer it with black (the subtle way) or lay it on thick across my eyelids (the Manda way, let’s be honest).  I found it once at Sephora but haven’t seen it again since, and I fear it will be discontinued before I actually get up the courage to bite the bullet.

Of course I love jewelry – my favorite mug (given to me by a dear friend) reads, “Accessories are Necessities” – and it’s true!  But what I don’t have is the perfect simple-yet-statement necklace that is versatile (gold-plate goes with everything!) but creative enough to actually make a statement – oh, and did I mention it’s cheap to boot?  This is a total find and would be adorable for any world traveler – or those with world traveling aspirations.

If any of you out there reading are my personal training clients, you know I love me some Bosu.  The Bosu (which for the rest of you is that weird half-ball thing you see floating around gym floors) comes in one color: blue.  That is, until recently.  They introduced a beautiful hot pink one (priced almost 50% higher than the original, natch) to raise money for breast cancer research and as soon as I saw it, I knew I had to have it.  Who wants a plain ol’ blue Bosu when you can have PINK?!?!  I mean, come on.

I just realized that pretty much everything I’ve posted here is either a beauty or fitness product (what does this tell you about my life?).  Let’s break the mold here with something really wild – home decor!  Ok, maybe not so wild.  And I just realized that I already have the map theme established with the necklace above – but whatever, I love maps.  And this Cost Plus 6-Canvas Map Set is such a cool way to display a map in your home without looking cheesy or overdone.  I can totally see it on the massive white expanse that is our living room wall.

And finally – the piece de resistance – even though I just bought two amazing pairs of sneakers from the Adidas outlet sale, I can’t get my mind off the sweet sweet kicks that are Nike Flyknit Free 3.0.  They just look so dang light and socklike, yet still functional and appropriate for both work and looking awesome on the street.  One day I will have you, my pretties (and hey – they’ve already marked down from $140 to $99, so anything can happen).

That’s my Christmas list in progress, guys, but I’d love to hear what you’re looking for this holiday season!

What’s on your Dear Santa list?  What can’t wait for Christmas – i.e. what’s on your Black Friday list?

Weekend Roundup

The weekend is here – hurrah! – so before I head off to run errand after errand, I wanted to check in with you readers about some of my favorite things going around the internet this week:

STOP – before you go on living, behold the new Beyonce video.  It’s absolutely amaze.

Sometimes you want a little beauty luxury, but your pocketbook says no go.  These cheapy treats make it possible.

I am obsessed with texture in decorating.  These ideas make it look cool and not cheesy.

I don’t typically wear calf compression sleeves when I run – but I could start.

Oops, I just went double-Yonce on this b*tch.  But this other new video sparks a little controversy and I like the beat to boot.

There are ways to have a “healthier” Thanksgiving – but starving yourself and using low-fat products aren’t it.

Can’t we all use a new, super-tasty green juice recipe?

Want to get massively depressed about life?  This student loan calculator breaks down how long it’ll take you to pay back your loans – based on your major.

What’s buzzing in your corner of the internet world?  Share in comments!

Weekend Roundup

I feel like every day I discover a new amazing blog – but I never have time to commit to reading everything I want to read in a remotely timely fashion.  Do you guys feel the same way?  Hopefully I’m doing you guys a service with this week’s links-around-the-world:

I am constantly on the hunt for glowy skin – but I hate BS tips on how to get it.  Here’s some real talk.

No more getting nude in public!  I mean, unless you want to.

I love when I have time to get all dolled up and put my face on, but that’s about once a month for me.  Here are some shortcuts for every other day.

As much as I consider myself ultimately gangsta, I could never pull off using rap lyrics in real life with a straight face.

You put bacon in a salad and I assure you I am going to want to eat that salad.

If you guys know me, you know that shelter dogs have about 97% of my heart – and here are some of the wonderful reasons why.

Don’t act like you don’t want this, and furthermore, don’t act surprised when you get one from me for Christmas.

This is a perfectly legitimate workout presented in a completely illegitimate fashion.  And I support that.

Did you see that video about catcalling in NYC?  And then did you see Tosh.0’s version set in L.A.?  Oh, the hilarity – and also, the bitter truth.

I am 5000% obsessed with trying out this fitness trend – who wants to bounce with me?

What are you guys checking out this week?  Which blogs do you think I should read?

Weekend Roundup

Time to sort through the chaff of blog links to find the wheat – and believe me, it’s quite a wheaty week!  I feel like the advent of fall brings an abundance of inspiration in the blogiverse, and I love the recipes, fashion inspiration, and holiday ideas that come of it.

Wait – you mean there’s such a thing as fitness fashion stylists?!?!  HOW DO I NOT HAVE THIS JOB?!?!

I know I already posted it on Facebook, but guys, I was a guest poster on Talk About Beauty this week!  Check it out!

I’m trying to convince myself I need an “L.A. winter” coat, and this one’s only $52.  I need it, right?

Sometimes I need motivation to keep writing.  This is a solid reminder.

My friend writes for Saturday Night Live’s Weekend Update, but the best part of my week is when he posts the jokes they didn’t use.  Hilarious.

The definitive power ranking of traditional Halloween candy – and no matter what list you look at, Reese’s always dominate (duh; that’s science).

What to do with your extra Daylight Saving hour?  Well, here’s some things you can do, whether you would actually try them or not is up to you.

I think I do a pretty good job of maintaining a comfortable guest room, but after reading this, I realized I can definitely up my game.  The bedside carafe is on order!

So nice I had to post it twice: Pumpkin-Spiced Bulletproof Coffee.  YES PLEASE.

What did I miss around the Internets this week?  What’s on your mind?

Week(ly) Roundup

Ok ok, it’s not technically the weekend.  You win, readers.  But I have a great excuse: this past weekend was my bridal shower (post pending!) – so I didn’t have a ton of time to sit down on the ol’ laptop and get the creative juices flowing.

That said, no time like the present.  Without further ado, here’s what I’ve been paying attention to this past week:

One of my fave bloggers talks about Minted.com, which I’ve always wanted to try but never have.  You?

Burberry plaid is of course classic – but also insanely expensive.  These scarves would do me just fine.

I’m a big believer in the power of anti-inflammatory and metabolism-boosting spices, and the beautiful skin and healthy body of my girl Lauren Conrad suggest that she is, too.

Humor me for one last pumpkin recipe link before we move on to Christmas recipes.

He started from the bottom – and suddenly there’s three new amazing Drake songs.  Listen up!

Um obviously I love fashionable workout clothes, and I am all about mesh this season.

If you aren’t using HAC in your daily makeup routine, well, you aren’t getting your maximum ROI on cheekbones.

Ugh I hate SHAPE magazine.  But I do appreciate a strong article on the power of deep breathing.

And finally, in honor of Halloween – it makes my feminist heart cry to know that this costume exists.

What have you been reading this weekend?  Any Halloween-related links out there?

Weekend Roundup

It’s been a lovely week – not as stressful as last week, and full of exciting events (Disneyland!  Blue Apron!  Family in town!).  That said, I’ve got fall and Halloween fully on my mind – as I’m sure many of us do – so the roundup reflects some of the best parts of the season – with some DIY surprises along the way to boot (get it?  BOOT?  ROUNDUP?  Ok, I’m done):

What kind of party host are you?  Unsurprisingly, I’m a BYOB hostess.  You can always come over with beer in hand.

Who doesn’t need more easy $10 homemade meals in their recipe arsenal?  I sure do.

Sick of wrapped-up licorice and tiny Snickers?  Try these grown-up (and very indulgent) Halloween treats.

Ever just done a stone-cold Pinterest search for the word “pumpkin?”  Now you have.  You’re welcome.

You guys know I am obsessed with bathing.  These easy drugstore and at-home detox mixes are making it worse.

She refers to the amount of mascara she wears as a “shedload,” so clearly we are kindred spirits.  Love her daytime look.

I can never “do” a white button-up in the way the fashion kids do.  But this slideshow makes me want to try.

I’m feeling SUPER lazy about Halloween this year.  Maybe something like this is my equally lazy solution.

Have you found THE quintessential pumpkin recipe yet?  What’s buzzing around your corner of the virtual world?