Challenge Monday

Fitness Challenge

I challenge you to complete my Cheerleading Arms workout everyday this week

Why Why Why

  • This is a low impact workout that you can do sitting down
  • Everyone can participate and receive a serious burn
  • This workout is cheerleading and Pilates inspired
  • This routine is quick and effective so you should be able told do this one everyday this week

Materials

  • Timer

Directions

Complete each exercise for 30 seconds
 
Arm circles front (small)
Arm circles back (small)
Arm circles front (large)
Arm circles back (large)
Ts
Goal Posts Up Downs
Diagonal Arms Switching sides each time

My Take

 I’m all about toned arms, I’ve spent years doing thousands of push-ups and I’m finally pushed out. Since I’m doing everything in my power to get my summer body right, I tried adding push-ups into my routine again, but to no avail. I just don’t like them anymore. That’s where this workout comes into play. it only takes 3:30 minutes and my arms are on fire when it’s done. You might not work up a sweat but you will defiantly feel the burn.

Nutrition Challenge

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I challenge you to eat a sexy salad 5 days this week

Why Why Why

  • Eating salads at least 5 days a week, is the best healthy eating habits you can adopt
  • Salads are a convenient way to work in your daily serving of fruit and vegetables
  • Salads are a colorful, fun to eat and easy to customize to your personal taste

Materials

  • Sexy salad recipes
  • I’ll be featuring a few later on this week

Directions

Eat a salad at least 5 days this week, preferably during dinner
Make sure they are sexy salad
Example
Sexy steak salad
Sexy cob salad
Sexy bean salad
Lol feels funny writing that

My Take

I used to hate salads, after years of conditioning I’m finally a fan. I eat more rabbit food than the average human being and I love it. Salads are crunchy, satisfying and filling, if you get, or make, the right one. Which is the point of this weeks challenge.

Self Improvement Challenge

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I challenge you to Write a haiku everyday this week

Why Why Why

  • Write one haiku a day everyday this week
  • Haiku writing can improve your writing skills by forcing you to express yourself in fewer, more descriptive words
  • It’s silly and fun and should add a much-needed mental game/break in hour day

Materials

  • Your favorite writing utensil
  • Paper or phone app

Directions

  • A haiku is a structured Japanese minimalist poetry,  3 lines long, 5-7-5 syllables
  • Do not stress over these daily haikus keep it fun and loose, try not to take yourself or your non-existing poetry career seriously

My Take

I absolutely love poetry. I wish I had the talent to be a poet but i just don’t have the writing chops. This weeks challenge is going to be fun.
 XOXO,
Mary

Workout Update & Whole Wheat Panzanella Salad

Hi Friends,

It’s another beautiful day in Northern California. I skipped my workout because I felt like it. It’s always good to give your body a break. I’ve been obsessed with Bikram Yoga for the last few years and thought I would do Bikram for the rest of my life. To my surprise, my yoga studio switched up the schedule and I attended my first power yoga class last week. I’m hooked, I love-love-loved power yoga and can’t wait to attend more classes.
I used to find comfort in doing the same poses every time, knowing what to expect, no surprises, no variety, that’s Bikram. Power yoga has changed my world. The room is heated, there is music, and you flow, following the instructor and whatever she/he decides to do that day, everyday is different. There is a lot more core work than in Bikram which is always a good thing in my book, plus I’m not in competition with my fellow classmates, which is usually how I feel in Bikram.
I’m hooked on Power yoga. I want it all day, everyday. I will admit I’m a little annoyed with my yoga studio. They changed the schedule 2 weeks ago and added and changed most classes to Power Bikram, an amended version only 60 minutes long. Original Bikram is 90 minutes and I would like to stay true to the Original Bikram way. I’m not sure what I’m going to do about it yet. It’s $99 a month for unlimited yoga, at the rate of $20 a class I need to make it to at least 5 classes to get my moneys worth. I make it to about 2 classes a week so I’m saving money.
I’m also looking into Pilates ProWork. It’s a new age Pilates studio that has TRX Suspension Training, classic Pilates, as well as Pilates reformer and Barre Classes. I’ve always wanted to do Pilates, it’s an overall challenging and result based workout that’s hard yet effective.  Their unlimited membership is $210  a month which is too rich for my blood, but I might purchase a few classes a month just to switch everything up and keep me excited about my workouts.
I’ve lost a few pounds, my stomach has shrunk but my thighs aren’t going anywhere. My legs are the hardest to slim but I’m not giving up, I’ll get there sooner rather than later, even if sooner is 6 months. I’ve kept my diet clean the past few weeks and I can tell the difference. My workout schedule is random but effective and that’s all that matters to me. My random means exercising 5-6 days a week yoga, cardio & strength training doing what I feel like when I feel like it, no rigid schedules for me.
Continuing with this weeks Anti-Cancer Diet theme I made a delicious whole wheat Panzanella Salad  last night that was to die for. I usually avoid all bread because it bloats me, but I realize a healthy diet includes whole grains. Here’s my attempt at eating whole grains! The salad was delicious and easy to make. The hardest part was cutting and toasting the bread, my kind of recipe.
I found a great whole wheat artisan loaf at Whole Foods that so scrumptious even The boyfriend noticed. It’s multi-grain you can see nuts and seeds throughout the bread which has a savory, crunchy flavor, perfect for croutons.

Whole Wheat Panzanella Salad

1 loaf Whole Wheat Artisan bread
1 package, 2-3 cup cherry tomatoes cut in half, or 2-3 heirloom tomatoes cut into bite sized pieces
1/2 cucumber, peeled and cut into bite sized pieces
1 red and yellow bell pepper, but into bite size pieces
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 cup thinly sliced basil
Combine red wine vinegar, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper into small bowl or small mason jar. Whisk ingredients in bowl well, or shake small mason jar vigorously
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
Thinly slice red onions and soak in cold water for at least 10 minutes
Cut or tear bread into bite sized pieces
Place on baking sheet and bake for 15-20 minutes until crisp on the outside and soft on inside
For a crunchier croutons bake longer
Add Cucumbers, bell pepper, croutons and red onions to large bowl
Drizzle dressing onto salad and toss well
Allow salad to sit for at least 30 minutes before serving to allow flavors to combine
Top with thinly sliced basil and toss well
*Add shaved parmasan cheese for a kick
Devour!!!
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XOXO,
MARY

Cancer Sucks Drinks

Hi Friends,

The sun is shining, the birds are chirping, my shorts are short and I’m loving every minute of it. I’ve been cancer awareness crazy these last few days and I feel empowered. Sadly my boyfriend shared his narrow minded views with me and it broke my heart. He said nobody cares, nobody cares about cancer diets and people don’t want to read about it. I know he’s wrong and his ignorance is not bliss. It was disappointing to hear his opinion but it is his opinion and we have an agreement not to judge each other. I am going to lead by example. We are sticking to the anti-cancer diet this week and I’m looking for a cancer awareness rally or event we can both attend. He has never been personally effected by this horribly invasive disease and I’m hoping to alter his mindset. Give me luck friends, I’m going to need it.

Anti-Cancer Diet Smoothie

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Acia – 1 frozen smoothie pack
1/4 cup coconut water
1 large ripe banana
1/4 cup blueberries – fresh or frozen
2 tbsp goji berries
1 tbsp pumpkin seeds
1/4 cup raspberries – fresh or frozen
1/4 cup black berries –  – fresh or frozen
Add all ingredients to high powered blender and blend until smooth

Anti-Cancer Diet Green Juice

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1 heaping cup Spinach

1 heaping cup Kale

1/2 inch nub Ginger
1 clove Garlic
3 medium apples
1 lemon without skin
Add all ingredients to high powered juicer
Both recipes are boyfriend approved. He loved the smoothie, he was scared to try the juice but as soon as he did I didn’t get another drop.
XOXO
MARY

Cancer Facts & Super Foods

Hi Friends,

This weeks Nutrition Challenge is near and dear to my heart. I’ve lost friends and family members to cancer, cancer has become way too common in our society. We all need to take the bull by the horns by eating healthy and staying active, not only for yourself but in honor of our loved ones.
facts& Tips
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Later this week I’ll be featuring cancer friendly drinks, snacks and meals.
Time to dive in
XOXO
MARY

Challenge Monday

Fitness Challenge

I challenge you to complete my Drop It Low workout at least 5 days this week

Why Why Why

  • Squats and lunges challenge your lower body, endurance and your core
  • Both exercises, squat and lunges, lift and shape your booty while slimming your thighs
  • Squat and lunges are two of the most effective exercises you can do

Materials

  • Just yourself

Directions

Drop It Low

Beginners – 10 reps each exercise, for lunges 10 reps each leg, 5 sets

Intermediate – 18 reps each exercise, for lunges 18 reps each leg 5 sets

Advanced – 25 reps each exercise, for lunges 25 reps each leg 5 sets

Be mindful of your knees

if you have any knee issues keep squats and lunges shallow 
if you experience any knee pain do not do this routine 

My Take

I don’t like to show off my body on this blog, but I have a serious bubble butt. The size is genetics but the shape my squat regiment. I’ve had random teenagers, older women, and couples stop me in the street to compliment my backside. Summer is almost here and you want to fill out those shorts, bikini’s, and sun-dresses. If you complete this workout at least 5 times a week you will see a difference by the end of the week.

Nutrition Challenge

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I challenge you to add certain foods and drinks to your diet that have been scientifically proven to prevent and fight cancer

Why Why Why

  • Cancer sucks
  • Eating certain foods can decrease your chances of getting cancer why would you not do it

Materials

  • Cheat sheets coming next week
  • Here are a few foods on the anti-cancer diet
Garlic
Acia
Green tea
Broccoli
Leafy greens
Kale
Turmeric
Spinach
Nuts & Seeds
Berries
Lemons
Limes
Apple
Grapes
Berries
Whole Grains
Tomatoes
Dark Chocolate
Fish
Eggs
Organic lean meat
Olive oil

Directions

  • Incorporate these foods into your diet everyday this week

My Take

I’ve been aware of cancer and the dramatic effect it can have on lives from an early age. Adding certain foods to your diet curb your chances of contracting this deadly disease, need I say more? I think not.

Self Improvement Challenge

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I challenge you to give compliments that have nothing to do with appearance at least 5 times a day everyday this weeks

Why why Why

  • As humans we are fixated on the outward appearance
  • Acknowledging what’s on the inside challenges you to look deeper and have a better appreciation for that person
  • Most compliments are focused on appearance
  • Giving and receiving compliments can improve self-esteem in yourself and others

Materials

  • A thoughtful mind

Directions

  • Give at least 5 non-appearance compliments everyday this week
  • You can give these compliments to the same person or even to yourself
My Take
Most of the compliments I receive is all about my appearance. As much as I appreciate the kind words it sadden me that people don’t look any deeper. I’m excited about this challenge, can’t wait to get started.
XOXO,
MARY

DIY Clay Jewelry Cups

Hi Friends,
I would love to say I saved the best for last, but it’s hard to top my vintage luggage chair. Todays tutorial is awesome and defiantly a close second. I found this one at A beautiful mess and one I had to try it. I remember playing with clay in high school. I was pretty sad they didn’t have any clay modeling classes at my Art School, so it’s been over 10 years since I’ve got down in dirty with a little clay, that’s 10 years too long. This project rekindled my love, I foresee lots of clay projects in my near future.
Lets jump in.
I’ve been keeping my posts short and sweet. I hope you guys like it, no time to lolly-gag on this site. lol

Clay Jewelry Holders

Skill: Beginner, kid friendly
Cost: $10 – $20
Time: 1 hour

Materials

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Colorful clay – $1.50 each pick out 3-4 colors, make sure to grab while
Small oven safe bowl – $1.49 each I purchased 4 small ceramic bowls at target 
Gold liquid gilding – $5.99
Glaze – $5.99 optional
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Preheat oven to 275 degrees F
Pick your colors, about 3-4 colors should do the trick
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Pull off a chunk of clay, you don’t need a lot
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Use palms to create snakes out of each color
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Combine smaller snakes and create one big colorful snake
Twist Twist Twist Twist
I took pictures of my first try at this project, in the video you can see I twisted a lot more than I did in these picture
Twisting creates colorful swirls
 
Once twist is twice its length fold snake in half and twist the two ends together
 
Continue to twist and roll twist and roll until you are happy with your swirls
I twisted about 4 times 
 
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One you’re happy with your swirls smooth the your twisted master pieces into a ball
 
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Using your hands, and fingers, press and flatten clay until its about 6”wide and 1/2 inch thick
 
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Use the top of your bowl to cut out a circle
Flip mouth of bowl over and press down firmly
Remove access clay
or use knife
 
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Carefully place clay into oven safe bowl push down sides and smooth with finger tips
Bake clay for 15 minutes at 275F or whatever the packaging suggests
 
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Remove bowl from oven and allow clay to cool for at least 5 minutes
With oven mittens turn bowl over and tap until clay dish falls out
allow to cool for another 10 minutes
Once completely cool use a small paint brush and paint the rim of your bowl gold
Allow rim to dry
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Paint entire bowl with glaze to obtain a glossy finish
**This bowl is not food safe of totally waterproof but its great for holding random rings and stud earrings
The bowl will be flimsy like hard rubber
DONE!
I hope you enjoyed this week as much as I did.
Have a great weekend.
XOXO
MARY

DIY Bracelet Holder

Hi Friends,

This week is shaping up to be a great one. Yesterday I shared my sick vintage luggage chair and today it’s 10 minute bracelet holders. This tutorial is super simple, even the kiddies can join in. Bottles, a little gold guiding, some tape if you want to get fancy and that’s all there is too it. I have lots of bangles and bracelets hidden around the house very random places, I have a feeling I’m not the only one with this issue.

DIY Gold Bracelet Holder

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Skill: Beginner – kid friendly
Cost: $10
Time: 20-30 minutes

Materials

Empty bottles – opt for skinner bottles $0.99 each
Liquid gilding – $5.99
Paint brush
Tape – optional
Acetone – optional
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Empty bottles and rinse out or run through dishwasher
Make sure bottle is clean and not sticky, you don’t want to attack ants
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Peel labels off all bottles
There are many ways to do this
Soak in hot water
Run through dishwasher
I used the old fashion fingernail trick
Use Acetone or goo gone to remove any glue left on bottles
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Once your bottle is clean inside and out put down an old paper bag or newspaper
it might get a little messy
 
I don’t suggest shaking your liquid gilding, instead use a tooth pick or paint brush to carefully mix together
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Using long strokes paint your bottle, make sure paint is even
Cover entire bottle with gold paint
Dry for 15-20 minutes
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Done!
If you want to get fancy use tape to create a fun design
Paint over tape
Allow time to fully dry, about 10 minutes
Use tweezers to remove tape
XOXO,
MARY
 
 

DIY Vintage Luggage Chair

Hi Friends,

Today is the day! It feels like I’m going to burst so here it goes:

My “Space Just for Me”

 Do you love it? I do!!! I created a jewelry vanity that I will also use as a desk. I hid my plans from Tony so he was surprised when he came home and saw what I created. Thank God he loved it.

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Dressing Table – $150  purchased at ikea
DIY Suitcase chair – $110
Bracelet holders -$10
Jewelry cups – $20
I spent $290 on everything
I should have repurposed an old desk that would have shaved the total price in half but I didn’t have the time or energy to do that.
The highlight is my vintage suitcase chair. I ran across a gallery of vintage chairs here and knew I could make it. The only thing I was worried about was upholstering. Since I’ve never done it and my sewing skills aren’t the best I didn’t know how it would turn out. Putting the chair together was no problem, it was done within 20 minutes. I had to make a special trip to Joann fabrics to purchased a fluffy fabric, my original fabric was too thin, you could see the green foam and it looked sloppy and loose. The fluffy fabric was super forgiving and matched perfectly with my furry rug. I even had some left over to line my desk.

Vintage Suitcase Chair

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Skill: Intermediate
Cost: $100 or less depending on how much you spend on your vintage suitcase
Time: 20 minutes
Materials
Vintage suitcase – thrift store – $30
Piece of wood that fits inside of suitcase – home depot – FREE
4 chair/stool legs and leg attachment hardware – home depot – $20
Power drill
4-5 foam squares – $8.99 each
Fluffy fabric – Joanne’s fabric – $18
Directions:
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Search for a vintage suitcase in good condition
I was lucky enough to find 3 reasonably price suitcases at the first thrift store I went to. I told the employees what I was doing and talked them into giving me the suitcase for $30 it was originally $50 
Most thrift stores aren’t moving much merchandise so they are usually up to making a deals 
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Once you get your suitcase take it with you to home depot or a hardware store
Purchase a piece of wood that fits into your suitcase almost perfectly.
I found a guy that was eager to help me. I think he had a crush on me. He spent 20 minutes making sure the wood fit perfectly, then he didn’t even charge me for it, he said it was scrap wood! 
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This is also where I found the legs for my chair, there were 2 sizes and i didn’t want to make an extra trip so I purchased both, the longer legs worked better for this project 
I plan on using the shorter legs for another craft in the near future
**Make sure to remove any unneeded hardware attached to your suitcase
You can paint, stain, or draw on your legs, I decided to leave them just as I purchased them
**Make sure to buy the leg attachments it should be a silver triangle and a few screws – this is very easy to forget, I actually forgot and remember once I was in line
 
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Map out where you are going to place the legs, make sure it lines up with the wood
I placed my legs 1.5 inches from the frame of the suitcase 
Without the wood in suitcase drill 1 hole into leg hardware and suitcase
Remove the hardware, you will be left with a hole, this makes it easier when drilling through the wood
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Sit the suitcase up, place wood in, and hold it with left hand, use right hand to attach leg hardware to suitcase drill through the wood
As soon as you get the first screws in you shouldn’t have to hold the wood anymore
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Attach all hardware and screw in your legs to make sure your happy with the positioning
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Measure and cut foam so it fits snuggly into the suitcase
I cut mine about 2 inches too big
I used 3 on the bottom and 2 on the top
I plan on adding another foam cushion at a later date to make it softer
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This is my first attempt, the fabric was too thin and it made the chair look cheap 
Fluffy fabric is a lot more forgiving
Carefully cut your fabric making sure it will fit into the chair
Make it about 4 inches large width and length(wise) so you can firmly tuck in the sides
Stuff fabric between the foam and suitcase
Keep playing with the fabric until your happy with it
Now sit down and enjoy your chair
My boyfriend tried to see how far back he could lean in the chair, I freaked out and we both realized it wasn’t that kind of chair. Nothing broke or popped it is just luggage and vintage luggage at that.
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Sit back and enjoy your repurposed vintage luggage chair.
Tomorrow I’m sharing my bracelet holders. They only took 20 minutes to make and they are super cute.
Peace & Love,
Mary