Ask Amanda: Healthy Packable Travel

Over the past two years, I’ve  traveled a lot.  Like a LOT lot.  There were times I would spend three weekends out of four outside the country in which I reside, and it was more common for friends to ask “are you going to be in town this weekend?” then actually invite me to something since it was about an 85% chance I would not be.

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I basically kept a toiletry bag, makeup kit, and bathing suit/sarong combo on the ready at any given moment, since there were literally times where I arrived in Singapore’s Changi Airport in the afternoon only to transit through it en route to another destination that evening.  It was amazing, but it was as exhausting as it sounds.

These days, I am much more “local” – I co-own two client-based businesses here in Singapore, which means I am much more tied down to my work.  Outside of a brief ski weekend in Japan earlier this year and a quick jaunt to Bali with my fambam last month, I haven’t gone anywhere for longer than 4 days in 2017.  Wow.

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Here are some places I haven’t been this year…oh wait, minus one, but it’s like an hour away.

That said, because I am traveling less often, I have the opportunity to be more intentional with my packing and travel prep (above and beyond the aforementioned sarong-stuffing), and I now have a few go-tos that I absolutely recommend for being a healthy, well-rested, and fit traveler.

[sidenote: I’ve written on the topic of healthy travel habits several times before, so if you’re looking more for that than what’s actually inside my travel bag, check out LOTS more tips here, here and here]

First of all, let me answer the big question I get most from clients: do you work out on vacation?  The answer is, of course, an unequivocal yes.  So does that mean I always pack at least one “workout” outfit and the requisite sneakers to go with it?  Sure does. But rest assured I make even this part simple – I pack a workout top with a built-in bra so I don’t need to worry about loading up separate sports bras, I exercise in black leggings and my most stylish-but-functional Nike Flyknits that I also wear on the plane, and if the hotel I’m staying at doesn’t have a gym, I pack a jump rope and a resistance band.  Done.

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Bands can make you dance.

Second, I make travel the time to pull out all those luxury samples I get from Sephora and treat myself to some major spa(like) indulgence…even if it’s just in the hotel tub.  I bring the thickest face cream possible and slather it on JUST before takeoff; use the BB/CC cream packets to clean myself up just before landing, and I bring at least one Korean face mask and some fancy body scrub to get glowing upon arrival.

Third, mostly because I am a hundred years old and tend to swell like hell on long airplane rides, I deploy the triple-play anti-ballooning defense of wearing compression socks, taking water pills (please note: this is a travel-only strategy and not something I’d recommend on a regular or even semi-regular basis), and bringing a huge collapsible water bottle on the plane so I can do my best to eradicate the edema situation.

Next, I’d recommend bringing along small sizes of your basic hygiene stuff – think wet wipes, antibacterial wipes, hand gel (for when you can’t get to a proper sink), Kleenex, Shout wipes, a few band-aids, and some probiotic and activated charcoal pills. This mini “first aid” kit will keep you clean, well, and balanced no matter where you’re headed.

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If you wanna get RULL serious about your first aid status…

And finally – what else fills my carry-on bag besides health-related stuff?  I love to drown out the world with my BOSE headphones, bring a couple of books (right now I’m late to the game on You Are A Badass, but loving it so far!), tuck into some unsalted nuts or if I’m ambitious, homemade protein balls, and lay into my super-cozy hooded neck pillow for a nice long haul.

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Not me; perhaps it’s THAT fit blonde?

What are your healthy travel must-haves?  Any tips for maximizing carryon essentials?

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Ask Amanda: Oiled Up & Ready

Every now and then, ThisFitBlonde takes a break from yakkin’ about fitness (my first love) to talk about nutrition (my…life partner?).

A quick disclaimer, for the sake of my clinical (and wayyyyyy more well-qualified) friends: I am a certified sports nutritionist, which means that I have the necessary background and examinations to advise clients on what types of foods to eat to better their athletic and fitness performance.

I am not a registered dietitian (R.D.), which is a health professional that has completed a relevant bachelor’s degree, done countless hours in a supervised and accredited practice program, and passed a (very challenging) national examination.  Whew.

That said, I do feel qualified to offer an informed opinion on certain nutritional topics – and which oils are best to use while cooking is one of them.  A lot of clients of mine “default” to olive oil because they’ve heard it’s healthy; some use coconut oil on everything because they’ve heard it’s even better; even others spend a fortune on avocado or hempseed oil because it sounds a bit fancier, or maybe because they think it boasts a higher smoke point.

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Sound familiar?

I want to clear up some of the pros and cons on different oils and offer my professional opinion – both in terms of health and performance – on which ones you should be using.  For those of you who are already bored of this post, print out this easy-to-read guide – it’ll give you the down low in one quick visual you can post on your fridge.

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OLIVE.  This is basically your #1 best all-around oil – it’s high in the good fats, low in the dangerous ones, tastes delicious, delivers on the flavonoids, tastes good in dressings and is pretty useful for cooking.  Higher quality olive oils are bought in tins or dark glass bottles, not clear ones, and extra virgin (versus regular olive oil) has a stronger flavor.

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COCONUT.  I’m talking unrefined (the type that’s solid at room temp) and virgin, as the other types (read: cheap) are definitely not healthy to ingest.  High in the good saturated fat (lauric acid), low in the bad ones, superb as a butter substitute in baking and fabulous for cooking Asian cuisine (for flavor) and cooking in general (for its high smoke point).

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GRASS FED BUTTER.  Please don’t ignore those two words in front of the yummy word “butter” because they do matter – and ghee, or clarified butter, also counts here.  Real, honest butter has a ton of Vitamin A, E, and K2, and if you’re using the clarified sort, it doesn’t burn when cooking (since clarifying removes the lactose and proteins).  Plus, um, did you realize that BUTTER IS OF COURSE THE MOST DELICIOUS?!?!?

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HEMPSEED.  It’s basically the same as olive oil in its health properties, but with the added benefit of having the type of Omega-6 fatty acid that acts as an anti-inflammatory, which we can all use.  Hempseed oil has also been shown to have an anti-clotting effect on the blood – but this one is best used for dressings and cold foods, as heating hempseed oil changes its nutritional composition somewhat significantly.

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OILS TO AVOID.  I’ve just highlighted the ones I’d recommend to clients, but in general, you’re going to want to avoid this (shockingly) long list for any sort of long-term use (as in, fine for the occasional dose of Grandma’s Christmas cookies but not ideal for everyday cooking): soybean, palm, corn, cottonseed, grapeseed, pumpkin seed, margarine, lard.  These contain way too much Omega-6 (bad) fat and not enough Omega-3 (good) fatty acids to make ’em worth your while, and some are also high in saturated and trans fats to boot.

All this talk about oil is making me hungry – and making me think I’ll need to add a follow up post about one my favorite nutrition myths to debunk – that FAT doesn’t actually make you fat, and OILS are actually a wonderful part of a healthy diet!  But until next time, readers…

What’s your favorite oil to use for cooking, baking, or just a good old-fashioned bread dip?

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.

cate

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.

olivia

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?

My Top 10 Life Quotes

I was recently asked to share my “top 10 quotes” with a media outlet and to be honest, the first few were really easy – and then I had to dig deep.

Who are my favorite authors?  Who are my heroes?  What are they saying about life, love, and everything in between?

I was finally able to compile a list of my favorites, which taken together really do say a lot about my personality, my values, and what I hold to be true.

Read on and hopefully they’ll inspire you a bit, too – and I’d love to see your favorite quote down in the comments!

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He who deliberates fully before taking a step will spend his entire life on one leg. [Chinese proverb]

  • ​I am a decisive person and indecisiveness in the name of “deliberation” drives me crazy.  Action is more valuable than inaction, and it is always better to redirect the ship than never to leave port.​
The cure for pain is in the pain. [Rumi]
  • ​As a marathon runner, if you stop when it hurts, you’ll never get to the finish line. Learning how to live with discomfort is a skill lost among many these days.
If things go wrong, don’t go with them. [Roger Babson]
  • ​Never be afraid to stand up for what you believe in, even at the risk of being unpopular.  This is especially important for women – use your voice and go with your gut.
It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see. [Henry David Thoreau]
  • ​I’m a “glass half full” type of person.  We can all see the worst in every situation, but it takes practice to filter our negativity and focus on the best.​
Always do what you are afraid to do. [Ralph Waldo Emerson]
  • ​My next tattoo is going to read “fearless,” but only after I make it through my biggest fear – childbirth!  I have jumped out of planes, off cliffs, and off bridges (with a bungee cord!) and I was terrified each time – which is why I knew I had to overcome it.​
You can cut all the flowers, but you cannot stop spring from coming. [Pablo Neruda]
  • ​Again, so many people live with sadness and negativity – doing their best to ​keep themselves in a place of darkness.  Remembering that no matter what we do within our lives, time does pass, and spring does come – it gets better.
​ Whatever you are, be a good one. [Abraham Lincoln]
  • ​My parents used to say some version of this to me growing up – they weren’t concerned with me being a doctor or a lawyer or some bigshot – they simply wanted me to strive for excellence in what made my heart sing, and I always have been happy because I do.​
You show people what you’re willing to fight for when you fight your friends. [Hillary Clinton]
  • ​Everyone loves a “yes man,” that is, until they say no.  If you are willing to fight for what you believe in, even against someone you love, that shows character – and hopefully you’ll remain friends because of it.
Love does not consist of gazing at each other, but in looking outward in the same direction. [Antoine de Saint-Exupery]
  • ​My officiant read this quote at our wedding because I think it summarizes true love quite perfectly – you can be two different people, you can lead your own life with your own interests, but at the end of the day, your future is tied to your partner – and you are both working toward the same goals.  I love thinking of it this way.​
Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t, you’re right. [Henry Ford]
  • ​One more tally for the power of positive thinking – ​​if you believe it, you achieve it.  There is no goal unattainable except the ones you tell yourself you can’t reach – and I have learned that less time and again in my own life.

Weekend Roundup

Yeah yeah yeah…it’s not technically the weekend anymore.  But when your family is in town, you’ve got shows and brunches and movies to watch, and you just want to kick back for a minute…you forget to write your weekend blog.

So here’s my “make-up” links for the weekend past:

These “entertaining essentials” go far beyond your typical wine and cheese recos – and I love them all!

Sometimes you want to go shopping, but you really can’t afford to spend money.  These perfect spring items under $50 can scratch that itch.

The number one excuse I get for people not exercising is, “I don’t have time.”  Now you do.

Celebrities know about K-Mart?  There are still K-Marts in the world??!? Both of these facts absolutely shock me.

I will never forget the epic comedy stylings of fellow Chicagoan Chris Farley (RIP), and obviously neither will David Spade.

My friend’s mom’s blog doesn’t update very often.  But when it does, it’s profound.

Her style is hit or miss for me, but this fluttery romper is a huge giant hit.  I need it IN MY CLOSET!

Relatively healthy gluten-free double chocolate cookies for relatively lazy gluten-free (or nut-free, or dairy-free) people.

Nothing I love more than desert weddings, and this one is total desert-hipster bliss.

And finally – don’t forget to check out the March Monthly Link Up post from our SoCal Blogger Society.  This month’s focus is on street style – so fun!

What are you guys looking into in and around the web this week?  Check in!

TFB Liebster Award Nominations

Yes, technically it’s still Tuesday – which means today should feature a Would Amanda Eat It? post.  But let’s be real:

My husband is leaving for Singapore on Monday and I won’t see him for two months, so we had a nice “cheat” meal of burgers and beer tonight.  I feel conflicted about giving health advice on a night when I’ve had such a superbly unhealthy indulgence, so I figured I’d go another direction with today’s post.

A lovely blogger and friend over at Eat Run Snooze Repeat nominated me for a Liebster Award, which is an award given to bloggers by bloggers to honor new(ish) contributors.  There are some rules:

1. Link the person who nominated you to your blog post. Thank them and let them know you answered their questions.

2. Answer the 7 questions given to you by the nominator.

3. Nominate 5-11 other bloggers, including at least one with less than 500 followers.

4. Create 7 questions for your nominees to answer.

5. Let the nominees know that they have been nominated by going to their blog and notifying them.

6. Display the award on your blog — by including it in your post and/or displaying it using a “widget” or a “gadget”.

Now that we’ve got the rules down, I have to abide #4 and answer my 7 questions!

1. What is your best tip for getting motivated?  I grew up Catholic, so to be honest, the best way to get myself motivated is to think about the crushing guilt I feel when I don’t work out.  A guilty conscience is worth running away from (literally!).

2. What is the one thing you could not live without?  My phone.  Holy crap.

3. If you could live any place in the world, where would it be?  Um…SINGAPORE!  And aren’t I just the luckiest that I’m actually going there? 😉

4. How did you begin your fitness journey?  I began as a gymnast, got injured and tried diving, then got older and tried running.  I always have to be in motion!

5. What is your biggest dream?  I dream of having a family, a successful fitness publishing career, and the ability to travel multiple times per year.

6. What is your daily go-to outfit?  Fitness wear, guys – capris and a tank.  Hair in bun.

7. Do you have a secret (maybe embarrassing) passion? If so, what is it?!  Not embarrassing, but lots of people who don’t know me in person don’t know how much I love craft beer – it is truly a hobby, passion, and indulgence all packed into one for me!

Here are my questions for my nominees (and hey, readers – feel free to play along and answer in the comments!):

1.  What are you afraid of?

2.  Who was your childhood hero, and why?

3.  Where in the world would you like to visit next?

4.  What’s your drink of choice (alcohol or non)?

5.  If you were writing your memoirs, what would be the working title?

6.  Describe a day from your past you would go back and relive if you could.

7.  What do you think happens after we die?

And finally – my award nominees!  I am relatively new to this world so I am still developing my own feed, but I want to shout out some of the folks I read regularly:

The Keen Peach

Some Day Sunny

No Rules, Just Run

Tiffaspilla

Sundaylovexo

Ok folks, that’s it for now – go check out some of these amazing (growing!) blogs and leave your comments here, too. 🙂

TFB’s Ultimate LA Marathon Playlist

ultimateI am always nervous to put up a race-day playlist because to some extent, it is deeply personal.  The music that drives one person is complete rubbish to another; I know people that run to podcasts (!) whereas that would make me crumble and die of boredom.  I know others that never run to music and find listening to tunes while running abhorrent; still others that run to classical or wordless music or trance-like mixes that last 13 minutes.

I, on the other hand, need music that is inspirational (I actually listen to the lyrics), motivational (I actually move to the beats), site-appropriate (I will always try to sneak in songs that speak to the location, season, or other descriptor of the race), and familiar (I rarely go for brand-new, un-listened-to tunes unless they’re by a familiar artist).

But I respect whatever gets – and keeps – you running.

That said, in my last post about the LA Marathon, I mentioned a few of the songs that got me through the hard miles – so I wanted to post my (extensive) playlist from the race to give you an idea of what’s going through my earbuds when I tackle a long-distance run.

I have a superstition of sorts where I make my playlist and then commit to setting it on “shuffle” – meaning I don’t allow myself to get caught up in the specific order nor do I allow myself to skip any songs, so they all have to be winners (again, winners in my book – I know my eclectic taste is not for everyone).

So without further ado – my marathon playlist, in four parts with short commentary:

playlist1Highlights from this segment?  For sure “Work B*tch” by Britney Spears (possibly my most-used workout song if you consider both running and teaching group exercise), but “Far Alone” by G-Eazy always makes me feel like a pimp, and “Booty” by J-Lo & Iggy Azalea makes tackling hills feel like no big.

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My standouts here are the kickass “L.A. Woman” remix by The Doors & Paul Oakenfold, “Cinderella Man” by Eminem (works great during a tough, broken-down mile for pacing), and “Blessed” by Tom Hangs feat. Avicii – tell me you can’t stay positive with that gospel-inspired song caressing your eardrums.  Moving on:

playlist3Ah, another embarrassment of hip-hop and dance riches brings us to “You Be Killin ‘Em” by Xavier (brush your shoulders off and KICK IT to this one), “I Don’t Get Tired” by Kevin Gates (the name alone hearkens to its endurance-themed powers), and “Not Butter” by Dillion Francis, which is the only song to make me laugh out loud while actually running.  And for the finish line:

playlist4Don’t hate on “Break My Stride” by Matthew Wilder; that song is an oldie but goodie.  And “City of Dreams” by Dirty South & Alesso has come with me through three marathons; it always brings tears to my eyes when I’m running somewhere with which I feel a deep connection.  Finally, gotta hand it to “Turn Down for What” by Lil’ Jon for the ultimate mid-mile boost – I am almost positive I PR’d the mile that song accompanied.

What do you listen to when you’re workout out?  What are your must-have tunes for long races?

Weekly Roundup

Whew – it’s only 12:41pm and already it’s been a whirlwind Sunday.  Alarm off at 6:30; client at 7:30; run club, 90-minute yoga sesh, and now a quick lull until a dear friend’s baby baptism this afternoon.

Hey, at least it’s keeping my mind off the wedding! (SIX DAYS OMG)

For now, let’s check in on what other people are doing with their time online:

Like making (and eating) these amazing 100-calorie chocolate desserts.

If they look that good nude, their tips must work for someone who stays mostly clothed – right?

WTF should you do with your life?  Find the answer ASAP, with just one click.

Don’t even ACT like you’re not intrigued by the possibility of making (and eating) your own Velveeta cheese.

Zero to hero in five minutes – at least makeup-wise.  The rest, I can’t help you.

Did you guys know I was a Comm major?  Well, now you do.  So STOP saying these things.

I’ve been eating super clean for the wedding.  After the honeymoon?  Might roll down on THIS.

COLORS!  PRINTS!  OMG I love Lilly Pulitzer’s new line of exercise clothes so much.

Even more good news?  Starbucks is finally catching up with, oh, 2009 and offering a non-dairy alternative to soy milk – coconut milk!

I’ll be coming back tomorrow with a Grammy red carpet fashion update – so for now, leave me a tip about your favorite link, video, or tweet from this week!

Crazy Sh*t I’ve Done to Prep for My Wedding

If you’ve been following me on almost any social media outlet, you’ve probably picked up on the fact that I am getting married soon.  Like, real soon.  Like, a week from tomorrow soon (!!!).

There is a lot of preparation that goes into a wedding, not the least of which pertains to the specifics of the bride’s body, face, and hair.  Lucky for me I work hard to maintain a healthy weight and body fat percentage, so I didn’t feel the pressure to drop pounds and “tone up.”

That said, it doesn’t mean I didn’t have a sh*tton of fine tuning to do on this here bod.

I went back and forth about actually posting this entry, because I didn’t want to come off like a bridezilla, a vain idiot, or an absolute sucker – and I think, to some degree, you might think I’m all three if you stick around to read the whole thing.

But I also wanted to be completely transparent about what lengths I personally have gone to in order to feel like my best self on my wedding day and heck – some of you might even empathize (or at least get a hearty laugh).

So here we go:

About six months ago I started zapping my face.  No, not zit-zapping, more like wrinkle-zapping, with the NuFace by Carol Cole system.  My sister-in-law uses and swears by it, and she bought me one for my bridal shower – turns out, the thing’s addicting.  Once you get used to the tiny but somewhat painful microcurrents shooting into your face, it’s actually kind of relaxing, and it leaves your skin feeling tighter, softer, and yes – younger-looking.  You do have to commit to using the thing – I didn’t start noticing results until about two weeks in – but I really like it and will continue with it long after the wedding is over.

Around the same time I decided to fry my face off, I also got into waist training.  Yep, you head me, Kardashian-style waist training – the thing where you wear an increasingly tight corset to help shrink your waist (and note: although I am not overly concerned about my weight, I am concerned about my proportions, which I often find bordering on masculine due in part to my lack of waist-hip ratio).  Did it work?  Well, despite being a huge pain in the ass and completely uncomfortable, yes – my waist went from 28 inches at my first dress fitting to 26 inches at my last.  Win!

Speaking of being strapped and tightened, I also started wearing a back brace to help straighten out my posture.  Sure, I lift weights, do yoga, and generally maintain proper posture, but I also have scoliosis, which means I never really look “right” from a side view (which, if you guys have been to weddings, is often the sustained view you get of the bride when she’s saying her vows).  Please note if you are actually attending my wedding that I busted my ass to stand up straight so if it looks like I am slouching, you know I’m doing my best.

Not crazy enough for you yet?  How about the $40 custom spray tan that I (along with many of my bridesmaids and my own dear mother) am getting?  If you’re wondering what  a custom spray tan is, well, listen up: they customize a color for your skin tone.  They spray and contour your “trouble zones” (I always ask for double triceps and triple abs).  They sometimes apply a light fragrance so you don’t smell like stink tan.  And best of all, they spray into all the little nooks and crannies a misting bed will miss, resulting in a super smooth, even, and amazing-looking tan.  Badda bing.

The spray tan, though, wouldn’t mean nuthin’ if I wasn’t already trying to “up my cuts” by lifting weights and working out, a regime which for the past two months has also included sessions in the hot Pilates pod known as Iobella.  It is exactly what I just said – they put you in a plastic pod, photo 4 (2)crank the heat up to 103 degrees, and make you do Pilates-inspired movements (in excruciating sets of 40) inside.  Despite sounding hellish, it’s actually quite wonderful, and has done a ton for any outstanding pockets of cellulite I was not so thrilled to show off.

Ah yes, speaking of cellulite….most women hate it; I tolerate it, knowing that the places it usually falls are the ones I can hide out of sight most of the time.  Except when your wedding involves a pool party.  And except when that pool party involves wearing a bathing suit in front of all your wedding guests (who just saw you look like a pretty pretty princess in the warm and comforting confines of a boned, fitted wedding gown).  So I bit the bullet and added an element to my cellulite-fighting bath routine (which already includes dry brushing and exfoliating massage): fatgirlslim products.  Yep, the caffeine-jacked, peptide-potent gel products from the bliss line of beauty supplies now line my bathroom shelves, and I massage those bad boys into my arms, butt, abs, and legs on a daily basis – and again, believe it or not, I swear it’s helping.  The skin’s appearance is taut, firm, and smooth – and even feels tighter to the touch.

Speaking of products, a client of mine gave me Beautycounter products for Christmas and whoa – are they ever spectacular!  The standouts for me – again, used in conjunction with the Clarisonic I already commit to religiously and the Nu Face mentioned above – are the face oils, which have literally transformed the way makeup goes on my face as well as the way my skin looks without makeup.  They smell divine, last a long time (thank God, since they’re expensive as all get-out), and will literally retexture your face.  No joke.

You know what else isn’t a joke?  How seriously I take my dental hygiene.  I have never missed a 6-month checkup in my entire adult life, I floss daily, brush twice, use Listerine, and don’t f*ck around with cavities (never had one).

But what I do do is drink coffee and red wine, both of which are horrific for the enamel and coloration of the teeth – and I know it.  So the last step in my pre-wedding beauty regimen has been using a combination of baking soda and peroxide paste (homemade) and Crest Pro Whitening Strips to help restore my natural whiteness and address some of those pesky stains.

Whew.  Just typing that wore me out; I am surprised I was actually able to do all this crap over the past 6-12 months leading up to the big day!  I didn’t voyage too far into what I perceive to be the “crazy” stuff brides these days do – Botox, liposuction, surgery, bleaching/dying of various body parts, and so on – but I feel like I definitely went above and beyond my normal routine (which is, let’s be honest: wash face.  bathe.  apply makeup.  leave house.) to try and be my best bridal self for February 14th.

Married readers – how did you prep for your big day?  Single ladies and gents – what do you plan to add to your “glam squad” routine when wedding bells are ringing?