Ask Amanda: The Five Stages of Haircuts

As many of you who know me IRL are already aware, last week I cut and dyed my hair.

Front page news, I know.

But seriously folks, after not having had a haircut in three years, and having never dyed my hair (other than with chalk colours or washable markers in high school), it was sort of a big deal for me – and I went through the corresponding stages of mental insanity before and after the big chop.

Just for fun this week, since I’m sure you’re inundated with “get in shape for 2018!” and “lose ten pounds in two weeks!” resolution-y stuff all over the internet, I’m going to take this week off writing about fitness and nutrition and fill you in on what it’s like to cut nearly 13 inches off your hair and bleach it to high heavens for the first time ever.

STAGE 1 (pre-cut; browsing on Instagram): EXCITEMENT & BADASSERY – who’s gonna stop me now?  I’m gonna cut my hair, b*tches.  I see all these celebs with cute, wavy lobs (translation: long bobs) and I bet I’ll look just as cute.  Cuter, maybe.  Ok maybe not as cute as Cara Delevigne, but somewhere between Khloe Kardashian and Julianne Hough levels of cuteness.  Yeah, I got this.  I’m gonna be the hair envy of every other blonde on the block.  I am such a baws.

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You are so beautiful, to me.  Can’t you see?

STAGE 2 (after making appointment): FEAR & LOATHINGwhy in the fresh hell did I make that appointment?  I should probably cancel it.  Yeah, I think I’m feeling sick anyway, my Chinese zodiac said something about not making major life changes this year so I’ll just bump this cut to 2019 to ensure double happiness.  My hair is fine the way it is, I can braid away the split ends and paint over the greys and no one will be the wiser.  Yep, all good.

STAGE 3 (at salon, after first snip): DISBELIEF & RAGEdid that psychopath just cut my hair with actual scissors?  WHAT HAPPENED TO THE FOLD-IT-UNDER AND SHOW ME THE POTENTIAL LENGTH BEFOREHAND THING?!?!?  Is that MY blonde-ass hair on the floor?  Is this real life?  Did someone authorise this act of brutality?  Show me this man’s aesthetician license.  SHOW IT TO ME RIGHT NOW SO HELP ME GOD.  I can probably get a work visa in Cambodia until this grows out, right?  BECAUSE I CANNOT BE SEEN IN PUBLIC WITH HUMANS FOR MINIMUM FIVE CALENDAR MONTHS.

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Like honestly it felt like he was balding me.

STAGE 4 (at salon, after colour is finished): CAREFUL ACCEPTANCEok, so the cut is whack, but I’m pretty sure I’m now a modern-day Marilyn Monroe with this ice blonde amazingness.  Is this colourist a magician?  Is it still going to look like this when I leave or will it wash out in the rain like my old Crayola-marker highlights?  You can’t see a single grey hair on my head because it’s so platinum.  Gwen Stefani, move aside.  I think I may be able to be seen outdoors now (albeit after somehow deflating this 1950s bouffant they styled me into toward something more like the “beachy waves” I actually asked for).

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Right colour; wrong era.

STAGE 5 (a week later, after a multitude of kind words and compliments from dear friends & clients): PEACE & JOY it’s just hair, Amanda, holy sh*t.  Get over yourself.  #firstworldproblems to the maximum degree.  It looks a thousand times healthier, more modern, and stylish than the brassy mop you used to carry around on that narrow head of yours, and it shows that you’re able to actually take a risk every once in a while.  Breathe.  Recover. Now grab your can of thickening spray, bust out that little round brush, and take that bangin’ new ‘do out on the town!

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The finished product.

And so we did.  Alls well that ends well – and #2018yearofthebadass is off to an epic start!

Do you plan to make any major changes in the coming year?  What and why?

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Ask Amanda: Aw, She Got the Velcro

Let’s be real: you can get a great workout in whatever junky outfit you have lying around the house.  I’ve had clients come to me in baggy, oversized college T-shirts, flannel pyjama pants, and all manner of odd gear from reflective soccer shorts to collared polo shirts to an actual full-length unitard.

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Actually I’d love it if my client rolled up in this

But let’s be real.  Even though you don’t have to dress like you’re straight off the lululemon runway to work up a sweat, there is something about dropping down into a burpee with perfectly-in-place high-waisted capri or taking a jog in a strappy-but-secure stylish sports bra that makes the whole exercise experience a bit…nicer.

And why wouldn’t you want your sports gear to be damn cute as well?

Already I can hear the snores from the less-interested male clients and hey, you’re right – the selection of red/black/blue shirts and black/grey shorts at your local Big 5 might not be super inspiring, so if you’re looking for more stylish stuff, check out these brands.

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Listen, these men can basically work out in ANYTHING and no one is mad….except maybe put on some shoes, middle guy, sheesh.

But for my ladies, we are in a veritable wonderland of gorgeous, stylish, and somehow still functional fitness clothing at every price point – so let’s embrace it, dammit.  I’ll be the first to admit that I have some fairly wild taste when it comes to gym clothes, but for the sake of this post, I’ll stick to the basics: key pieces I wear every day, and general stuff I think the average fit female would like to wear herself.

Let’s start from the bottom up: shoes and socks.  I am a die-hard, can’t-be-swayed, own-the-same-pair-in-six-colours Nike Flyknit Free fan.  I didn’t always wear minimalist shoes; in fact, for the first eight years of my running career, I couldn’t be swayed from Asics Gel Nimbus (though now if I put them on they’d feel like cement blocks).

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An accurate representation of my current shoe wardrobe

However, my point is this: find a shoe that you absolutely ADORE (you get excited to actually put on, doesn’t cause you pain while working out, and is comfy) and buy it in at least three colors – no, not (just) for vanity, but so you can rotate between the pairs and prevent injury.  So many of my clients wear a single pair of way-too-old shoes to the grave and then wonder why they have shin splints or knee pain all of a sudden.

As for the socks, some simple guidelines: skip the cotton (tend to get soggy and stretch out); go for compression and arch support if you’re running in them; and make sure they’re cut higher in the back to avoid slippage in shoes.  From there, the world is your oyster.  My fave sock picks?

Feetures High Performance Cushion No-Show Tab Socks

Nike Elite Lightweight No-Show Tab Socks

Balega Enduro No Show Arch Support Socks

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For even MORE support, go whole hog with the NEWZILL knee-highs.

Now that we’ve got our feet sorted, how about we talk lower half?  I live in probably one of the most inhospitable running climates on Earth in that it is always hot, always humid, and more often than not, either blazing sun or pouring rain.  For this reason, I favour a nice compression short for lifting and an easy breezy lightweight split short for running. The best of both?  See below:

Affordable compression shorts that you can buy in a thousand colours: either the Nike Pro 3″ Training Shorts or the Cotton On Gym Short.  The high waist, thick band, and tight fit of the shorts makes them stay put on your upper thigh and stay comfortable throughout even a longer workout.  In terms of the running shorts, there is one INCREDIBLE product by Salomon that takes the take – they are literally like you’re wearing nothing at all.  Behold, the S-Lab Light 3 Short (not cheap; worth it):

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Please understand how light, flippy and comfortable these second-skin shorts are.

Onward and upward to the top half of the bod – again, my apologies to those of you with “seasons” as you probably need things like “sleeves” and “jackets” in your life, and I wont’ cover any of that business here.  But again – in terms of dealing with heat, Nike does it again with their collection of well-fitted and ultra-lightweight singlets.  Some top choices?

Nike Breathe Elastika – love the choice to tie up or leave down depending on the day

Nike Breeze Cool – my current count is four; in teal, nean yellow, cobalt, and black

Nike Breathe Tank – like you’re wearing nothing at all…nothing at all…

Should you not be as unilaterally obsessed with the Nike brand as I am, I’d be remiss to not mention lululemon’s amazing line of built-in bra tops (the only brand I trust to actually hold ’em in, if you catch my drift), the standout of which is the Fresh in Mesh Tank that I will eventually own in every colour possible:

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Cutest ever, am I right?

One last note on accessories, despite the fact that I am actually a pretty simple gal when it comes to things like gym bags (whatever I toss my stuff in becomes my “bag”), watches (don’t wear one), and gadgets (I’m definitely not the one to ask about things like copper balance bracelets or knee straps or anything like that) – but I love a good, sporty hat or visor, and my absolute fave are the ones from Headsweats.  Comfortable, performance-oriented, and unbeatable for hot weather whether you’re running, golfing, or heck, just standing outdoors for 4 minutes in Singapore heat:

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This one’s even reflective – great for night runs!

That’s it for my list of raves and faves when it comes to performance gear (special thanks to Nike, Cotton On BODY, lululemon and Amazon for making it even easier to get my fave picks ordered online) – but I’d love to hear what YOUR favourite choices are when it comes to all things exercise.

Tell me, readers – who are YOU wearing (in the gym)?

On the Red Carpet: Oscars 2016

You guys, it kills me that I am too far away and too time-zoned out to watch the Oscars live.  Some of my fave memories of this time of year contain scrambling to get through all the screeners from Nick’s work, powering through some short films and documentaries online, and then heading over to my friend Andy’s house to fill out our predictions ballot and watch it all play out in real time.

That said, due to the amazing Snapchat skills of a few good friends (cough…Lilly!), I was able to get some of the red carpet highlights as they happened – and it got me really excited to sit down and write this post.

So excited, in fact, that I totally blanked on doing it until being kicked in the butt by a loyal reader this morning (thanks, Terri).  Without further ado, let’s get to the nitty gritty:

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Rachael McAdams, you sexy beast.  Are you aware of your perfection?  Do you know that I have a deep-down longing for women who choose dark jewel tones over black?  Can you teach me how to wear a long tassel without looking like a stripper?  And can you kiss your stylist on the lips for pairing the look with those simple metallic strappies?  I love you.  And I love your August Getty creation, despite not knowing who that designer actually is.

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And while I’m on a love high, let’s talk about the always-impeccable J.Law (here in Dior).  Girlfriend, you took the peroxide plunge without looking trashy and paired that masterpiece of a lob with peekaboo lace and a beautiful V-cut bodice.  WERK, girl.  Just werk.

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Charlize.  CHAR.  LIZE.  Like, can you not?  Can you not defeat the sands of time that weather the rest of our faces into wrinkled, filthy messes and look better than you ever have before?  The plunge.  The Dior.  The color.  The diamonds.  Just go on with your bad self.  Ain’t no one gonna touch you.

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The internet told me that Cate Blanchett was getting some negative feedback for her g*ddamn amazing Armani Prive dress, and I honestly can’t imagine what the haters are seeing in her utter divinity.  The cut is so flatting, styled so well, and complements both her body and her general way of being so amazingly that I want Mr. Armani to cease production of any further couture should Cate not be the one to wear it.  So let it be written, so let it be done.

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I am usually a huge fan of people dressing like gold statues to go to the Oscars (see Stacy Keibler on the Oscar Red Carpet 2012, still one of my all-time faves), and Margot Robbie‘s choice of Tom Ford this year is no exception.  Sure, it’s not the most interesting dress out there, but the cut is impeccable, the color is eye-catching, and she paired it with a dramatic minaudière like a BAWS.  Well done you.

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Rooney Mara, I am so sick and tired of you being 1990s heroin-chic that I’m tempted to delete this entire paragraph.  But I won’t, because yet again you nailed it in Givenchy, and yet again I am forced to eat my words about how I hate that “emo chick” look with the slicked-back black hair and emaciated poor posture.  But know I’m not happy about it.

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I go back and forth on the issue of boobs.  I tend to like them on the smaller side if you’re gonna hang ’em out to dry, and on the bigger side if you’re trying to rock a form-fitting but more modest style.  Olivia Wilde’s Valentino look kind of teeters between the two, but the pleats save it from looking totally whorish, and the choker anchors it down to the cool zone rather than sending it off to slutville, so I applaud her careful choice.

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My final shout-out for the night goes to the always-lovely Maria Menounos who did the right thing and went with my all-time favorite designer, Christian Siriano, to make her an all-time memorable look.  The cut, the beading, the wavy hair, the shimmer and shine, it was all on point, and all came together beautifully to make her look like a living goddess.  Much applause.

And now for the not-so-much looks of the evening…

Amy Poehler, I can’t with all this – those wizard sleeves, the red hair, the weird appliques – like girl, I can’t.  Kate Winslet, is it because you’re so beautiful (or because your boy Leo FINALLY got his statue) that you’ve decided to stop trying and just wear Hefty garbage bags to the show now?  Pregnant Emily Blunt, I was gonna  call you out big time for wearing both spaghetti straps AND a dress that is nearly your exact skin color, but because you’re preggo and typically knocking it out of the park, I’m gonna let you off with a warning.  Kerry Washington, you are basically the naturally prettiest person on Earth and you show up to the OSCARS looking ratchet?  But why?

And we are not even starting on Heidi Klum.  Not.  Starting.  Because I have to think she had a severe head injury just before the show, causing her to temporarily believe that she was Honey Boo Boo all grownsed up and headed off to prom night with her hillbilly boyfriend.  Because that is the one and only excuse for showing up looking like this.

What were your picks and pans, friends?  Any that you LOVED that I missed?

On the Red Carpet: Golden Globes 2016

Oh, readers, it’s that most glorious time of year that makes even the post-Christmas blues seem liveable – it’s awards season!

Typically the hubs and I are much more aware of what’s going on in Hollywood (living in L.A., it’s basically the closest we have to a neighborhood culture), but since moving to Singapore, our connection to what’s “hip” and “current” in the entertainment industry has become increasingly tenuous.

That said, we are at least up to date with most of the blockbuster films out there (hey, we saw Hunger Games on opening weekend, that HAS to count for something?) and likewise, I am determined to keep this blog up to date with my oh-so-crucial red carpet fashion reviews.

So let’s go ahead and get started.  Some overarching trends included shades of gold/nude (see Kate Hudson, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley (who did it best, IMO), Rooney Mara, Brie Larson) and old-Hollywood glamour makeup looks (a la Jennifer Lopez, Lady Gaga, Amber Heard, Emmy Rossum and Sophia Bush), along with some taking the bold-yellow risk (again J.Lo, as well as America Ferrera and Lola Kirke).

As for individual winners of the night, here are my humble assessments:

Julianne Moore, you are always a wonder to behold and your GG look was no exception:

Julianne-Moore

OMG J-Law, you are flawless.  FLAW.  LESS.  I can’t even look at this photo for an extended period of time for it makes me question whether I am even fit to share the living era with such a perfect and inspiring creature:

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Always surprising (and almost always spot-on) Cate Blanchett turned up in something creative, beautiful, and haute couture, all at the same time – proving for the zillionth time that she absolutely kills the ingenues when it comes to fashion, without even showing an ounce of skin save for her delicate and lovely English wrists:

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As for Kirsten Dunst, whose face I absolutely detest and whose acting is hit-or-miss at best – your boobs looked amazing, black on blondes is always a win, your makeup was on point, and I will give you your deserved props (just this once):

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Let’s also all agree on the fact that Laverne Cox in a white dress looks better than 90% of brides on their wedding day, and even that is probably a lowballing (pun intended) it:

Laverne-Cox

Natalie Dormer, I miss your half-shaved head (a la Hunger Games, randomly the second HG reference in this post today), but I’m gonna tell you what – the neckline on your dress had me mesmerized, the fact that you found a non-whorish shade of red to wear blows my mind, and the half-messy styling that would make lesser females look like junk only serves to make you look like an amazing goddess of style:

Natalie-Dormer

And finally, last but surely not least – let us all hail the Queen (Latifah), for she is beautiful, she is strong, and she is the only actress (ok, the only other actress, because I will totally shout out to Lupita Nyong’O for her 2014 Oscars look in the same hue) that can pull off baby blue and crystal embellishments without looking like prom gone wrong:

Queen-Latifah

You got the picks – now it’s time for you to witness the wrath of my pans.

Kate Winslet, I love you girl but that dress sent me straight back to my junior-year homecoming dance in 1998 (and even that is being generous – maybe 1995?).  Miss Katy Perry, I am unsure why you chose to show up in the muslin mock-up of what could have maybe been an elegant and classic dress, but kick your stylist to the curb after that one.

The still-adorable Rachel MacAdams decided to revive the perennial trend of wearing couch upholstery to a red carpet event (see Lucy Liu at the 2013 Globes), while my wife Amy Schumer, of whom I refuse to speak ill, did NOT kill it as I would have hoped.

The taste of the Globes has me rabid for what lies ahead (Oscars and Grammys especially) – so stay tuned for more red carpet reports as the season moves forward…

What were your favorite looks?  Do you take issue with any of my picks or pans?

SoCal Blogger Society: March Link-Up

So I really want to be a good member of the SoCal Blogger Society, and part of that is participating in the monthly link-ups they sponsor each month – each with a different focus, theme, and set of questions to answer.

This month’s head blogger is Chelsea from Strand Style Fashion, an awesome street style blog with a beachy vibe that focuses on classic style with a laid-back, California twist.

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This month’s topic – Street Style – intrigued me because when I started ThisFitBlonde, the idea was to make this a lifestyle portal focused on fitness, food, and fashion – and so far, I’ve really gone heavy on the former and almost negated the latter (except for my red carpet critiques, of course).

Truth is, I really do fancy myself a stylish person – I have a distinct point of view on fashion and trends and strong opinions about what I wear.  The problem with my life is that I am most often found in some variation of spandex pants and neon tops, and in some state of general disarray (it’s hard to look “street stylish” when you woke up at 5am, got ready in the dark, and taught Spin class for an hour).

Despite all this, I wanted to answer at least some of the questions about my own personal style – and hopefully hear from you readers about your opinions on fashion, too!

What style trends are you loving this season?  I am so obsessed with my Christian Siriano bucket bag it’s not even funny – I feel like it brings class and freshness to everything I wear.  I am also nuts about culottes; I just bought a black culottes jumpsuit and I am dying to put it on.  And if those partial-sheer skirts are still a thing, I’m totally still on that.

What trends do you think you’ll pass on for 2015?  I cannot stand flatforms, pastels, or gingham.

Who is your style icon?  My mom!  She showed up to my house this past weekend wearing a shirt I had just bought – and she’s 30 years older than me!  I definitely look to her for ideas on how to make trends by “shopping” my own closet, and how to stay fashionable and relevant no matter your age or budget.

What are your favorite trends in “fitness” fashion?  Believe it or not, there is good style to be had within the confines of the gym walls – and I absolutely hate seeing women come in with baggy T-shirts and old sweats.  Up your game, fit people!  Even if you’re addicted to wearing black in the gym, you can change it up with cool cutouts, backless or mesh styles, or really crazy-printed pants.  And the gym is the one place it is still acceptable – and in fact, really cute – to play matchy-matchy.

What are your favorite places to shop?  Those of you who know me know that I can’t pass up a good bargain – and I love to make inexpensive pieces look sharp and on-trend.  Besides the outlet malls (at which I love J. Crew, Adidas, Kate Spade, BCBG, and Neiman Marcus Last Call), I love shopping at Marshall’s, TJ Maxx, Old Navy, Forever 21, Zara, and even Burlington Coat Factory – don’t knock ’em till you’ve shopped ’em!

Bloggers (and yes – readers!) – it’s your turn – leave your answers to these questions in the comments, or reblog them and link back to me so I can read your style insights!  Happy shopping!

Where Do You Shop & What Do You Eat?

I showed up to a private client’s home today and after a few minutes of punches and kicks (yep, we were boxing), she stopped dead and asked me:

“Where do you shop and what do you eat?”

It was an honest, if charged, question – and it made me think.  Where do I really shop? oatmealshop What do I really eat?  What am I willing to disclose about both of these habits (and yes, I definitely consider shopping for exercise clothes a “habit” of mine)?

I mean, you think it would be simple enough to answer – but it got me thinking about what I consider my “staples” – both of fashion and food – and I wanted to share them with you, my faithful readers, should the rest of you have the same questions.

If I had a million dollars (if I had a million dollars), I’d probably shop 99% of the time at lululemon*.  Let’s be honest – their pants do for your legs and buns what the Wonderbra did for boobs in the 1980s, and their prints, cuts, and styles are at the absolute forefront of fit fashion.  I have a great deal of lulu stuff, mostly pants, although I have been known to splurge on the occasional jacket, built-in bra top, and headband.

That said, I am not in fact a millionaire, and so I do about 40-50% of my activewear shopping at Old Navy.  Whereas many women my age used to scoff at Old Navy, convinced their clothes were shapeless and low quality, I have turned many of the former haters onto the “dark side” of amazing savings and high-quality workout clothes at the O-Nave.  If you haven’t poked around their site in a while, it’s worth your time – and believe me, the sales and prices you can get are unmatched anywhere else (even Target).

Speaking of Target, I put them in my “filler” category – meaning if I can’t get a quality lifetime staple from lululemon or a low-cost trendy piece from Old Navy, I “fill in” my wardrobe with stuff from Target C9, Marshalls/TJ Maxx, Lucy, Under Armour, NIKE, Adidas, and even the occasional Puma.

Lest we neglect some of the cutest workout wear out there, I used to be a subscriber to both Fabletics (Kate Hudson’s apparel company) and Ellie, two of the best sources for new, creatively-designed active apparel.  I couldn’t sustain the monthly memberships to these fine resources, but rest assured that they are awesome and really well-made.

And now, onward to food.  What does a typical day of eating look like for me?

Well, I start almost every day with eggs or egg whites – hard-boiled if I’m on the run, scrambled in the microwave if I get a spare second.  If I know I have a long stretch of work ahead (i.e. like yesterday, where I went 6am-noon straight with no breaks), I’ll have a big bowl of oatmeal with a banana, flaxseed, cinnamon, and peanut butter stirred in to make sure I have the energy to get through.  Sometimes I do Bulletproof coffee but I can’t say I’m religious about it.

Once it’s time for a snack, I go for one of three combinations – an apple/pear with cashew butter, pitted Medjool dates with peanut butter, or 2% plain Greek yogurt with a Quest bar crumbled in.  These high-fat or high-protein snacks keep me going through the midday since I rarely have a proper “lunchtime,” so to speak.

If I do get to sit down and enjoy a lunch, it’s usually leftovers (whatever I made the night prior) or a salad of arugula, tuna, goat cheese, chopped apple, and walnuts, tossed in olive oil and lemon juice.  Again, real “meals” at lunch for me are rare.

For dinner, if you guys follow my Instagram you know it’s coming three nights a week from Blue Apron!  I love cooking with new, fresh ingredients and getting new ideas for healthy and tasty meals, so I’m a devotee there.  But I almost always cook for dinner – rarely does a night go by when we do “lazy dinner” (canned tuna, chili, or pasta) – I make it a point to cook fresh meals for myself and my fiance, and I think it’s a crucial part of our commitment to health and wellness in our own home.

But wait – doesn’t she ever have a sweet treat?  Yes, of course – but I only keep dark, dark chocolate in my house.  I used to keep ice cream, cookies, or other “indulgent” treats and promise myself I could portion them out appropriately – but after hundreds (thousands?) of failures to do just that, I gave up – and I don’t allow those foods in my home anymore.  I can control myself around a square of dark chocolate; I can’t around a creamy pint of Chunky Monkey – so I “block” myself from bringing it in the house.

Where do you shop (for activewear) – and what do you eat regularly?  Tell me

*you should know that during the writing of this post I actually went over to the lululemon website and purchased a jacket and pants.  #addict