CAPTIVATING YOGA TITLE

What if there was a way to build strength, get your heart rate up, and walk away feeling totally relaxed all in one 60 minute workout?

I can tell you that after trying Vinyasa yoga, I am never turning back.

Vinyasa yoga, or ‘power yoga’ is a more intense yoga practice where you quickly move through a sequence of flows that help you build strength while you focus on your breath. The goal is to move through the flows fluidly and quickly to help you stabilize and strengthen your body.

https://www.yogajournal.com/yoga-101/types-of-yoga/vinyasa-yoga

You get a wider variety in Vinyasa practices. Vinyasa flows utilize stretches, strength poses and end with 5 minutes of Savasana. This ensures a well rounded yoga practice that will leave you feeling relaxed and rejuvenated.

Yes, Vinyasa Kicked My Butt At First

I have been practicing yoga for about 7 years now, and up until this year I had never tried Vinyasa yoga. My first experience with it was completely accidental. I went in for a yoga class at my local gym, and it was not stipulated that this particular class was power yoga. Once we started I figured this wasn’t like other yoga class I had taken before.

I had trouble keeping up with the pace at first, but once I focused on my breathing rather than the flow it seemed to be more manageable. I stayed through the class and it was a huge challenge for me because I was not nearly close to being at my strongest. I ended up falling over 30 seconds into the 3 minute plank session the first time. Three months later and I can get 2.5 minutes in without having to break my plank!

Time after time, I walked away from class feeling both refreshed and utterly exhausted. After a few weeks, I noticed huge differences in my strength and I looked leaner and more toned. After looking into it, it turns out Vinyasa yoga is probably one of the most beneficial forms of yoga for your overall physical and mental health.

Psychical Benefits:

Vinyasa helps increase your muscular strength

I always felt that the yoga I was practicing was an amazing supplemental fitness strategy. I always felt stretched out and relaxed, but I enjoy walking away feeling like I worked after exercise. One thing I love about Vinyasa is that I seem to get stronger and stronger every time.

While standard yoga practices do indeed help sustain muscle mass, studies have suggested that power yoga may be more beneficial to building and maintaining muscle.

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0965229916302953

Yoga increases cardiovascular health

Studies suggest that yoga practice is correlated with building and maintaining good heart health by decreasing blood pressure and reducing damaging arterial inflammation. As we all know, good heart health is key to living a long and healthy life.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3193654/

https://www.health.harvard.edu/heart-health/how-yoga-may-enhance-heart-health

You tend to burn more calories with Vinyasa yoga

Vinyasa yoga is one of the top yoga types for caloric burn. It is estimated that a woman who weighs about 150 llbs (68Kg) burns an average of 594 calories in an hour of Vinyasa. However, that would be an hour of constant flow, so you’re looking at closer to 400-500 calories in the hour, taking into account Savasana and warm up.

https://www.bodyandsoul.com.au/wellbeing/this-is-how-many-calories-you-actually-burn-in-yoga/news-story/26e2a7294715a6028dee66c4a019b902

When paired with exercise, yoga can enhance your physical fitness

If you do other forms of fitness, yoga in general is an amazing way to supplement your routine. When pairing stretch with other forms of fitness, you help your muscles recover. Plus as discussed above, Vinyasa yoga has the added benefit of helping you build strength. This can enhance your overall physical performance!

https://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-12405/5-reasons-yoga-strength-training-combine-perfectly.html

Because Vinyasa spends so much focus on breathing, it may ease asthma symptoms

I have horrible asthma, I am talking, lungs at 50% capacity without treatment, bad. After doing Vinyasa for a few months, I have noticed that I’ve had far fewer flare-ups than normal. A study done on 57 adults with asthma supports the notion that yoga may have a positive impact on asthma symptoms.

https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/yoga-benefits-beyond-the-mat

Mental Benefits:

Yoga increases your mindfulness

Apparently, practicing yoga may help you become more mindful in general. However, an article from Harvard suggests that there is a correlation with yoga practice and an increase in mindful eating. This in and of itself can help with BMI control and maintaining a healthy weight.

https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/yoga-benefits-beyond-the-mat

Practicing yoga reduces stress and anxiety and builds up your overall stress resilience

Not only is it suggested that yoga helps reduce stress, but it also helps build up your resilience to stress. Plus, yoga has been proven to lower cortisol levels (the stress hormone) and reduce overall anxiety in those who practice yoga regularly.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3193654/

Yoga has been shown to strengthen neurological pathways and cognitive functioning:

Practicing yoga helps to strengthen neurological pathways and aid in memory and learning. Plus, it is suggested that practicing yoga is associated with a decreased risk of Alzheimer’s disease. Integrating yoga into your fitness routine can do wonders for both your body and your mind.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5483482/

I could go on forever about the benefits of practicing Vinyasa yoga. But why do that when you can see the amazing benefits yourself!

Try Out Vinyasa Flows With These Free Resources:

  • This 10 minute flow from PopSugar Fitness is guaranteed to get your blood flowing
  • This 30 minute ab and butt flow will have you toned up and feeling relaxed

No matter if you do Vinyasa yoga in the studio or by yourself at home, make sure to focus on your breathing. That is the key to a successful flow.

Happy Vinyasa flows my yogis!

My Fave Fall Looks

*This post contains affiliate links

Hello everyone,

I am so excited because fall fashion is upon us! Fall is by far my favorite season. You get the boots, the light layers and the convenience of getting to wear your cute light jackets!

Also just a side note, I was made aware that the word ‘Fall’ is very American. I had a notebook in class a while back labeled “Fall Semester” and this girl was like, “I knew you were American the minute I saw your notebook”. LOL. Gotta be better at blending in I guess?

Any whoo. I bought a lot of these clothes a while ago, but I’ve done my best to link similar options for you should anything catch your eye!

Some Sabrina Vibes

You can’t have fall without a little bit of CAOS. One thing I will always love is a cute skirt and a turtle neck with some cute boots. Turns out Sabrina Spellman rocks this look! I wanted to bring a bit of these chilling fall vibes to Amsterdam, so I got this very light weight turtleneck with this little plaid skirt from H&M.

*Checkered skirt, tights, turtle neck, knee high boots and straight middle part hair, red lip*

Over sized Sweater

Another reason I love fall is because of the over sized sweaters! I love these because you can pair them with a slimming jean and it looks so effortlessly casual, yet still put together.

Inspyre sweater

Gap Jeans

Any Reason for a Black Felt Hat

black hat

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Peek inside my carry on

Packing a carry on is an underestimated art. A properly packed carry on can make any flight go 20 times smoother. Check out what my carry on typically looks like for a long day of travel!

*This post contains affiliate links. This allows me to make a small commission if you decide to purchase one of the linked products. This is at no extra cost to you. This article reflects my own honest opinions on all products.

Hello lovelies!

I am so excited because it is almost time for me to hop on a plane back home to Scotland! For those of you who don’t know, I have been taking a gap year back in my hometown of Denver. While it has been nice getting to be back in the place I grew up connecting with friends and family, I am missing Scotland more than ever. It has been a tough year, but I have learned a lot and I am itching to go back to school (nerdy, I know).

With a little more than a week to go before I board a plane for a 7 hour flight, I figured I would share the contents of my carry on.

I have done this trip a total of 6 times. Sometimes with at least three layovers (hey I am a sucker for cheap flights). Last time I flew back to the states, I had two lay overs and a total of 34 hours of travel. However, this means that I have had to become an expert in packing a carry on so that I have what I need for a very long day of travel.

Maximize your space

On most airlines, you normally have an allowance of a personal item and a carry on. I tend to push the limits on this and bring big tote bag as well as my carry on. Technically, as long as the bag fits underneath the seat in front of you, it’s fair game.

Pack strategically

Some things I know I will need while I am on the plane, other things are helpful to have, but I don’t typically need them when flying (ie, extra clothes) I have learned to pack the things I will need in my personal item, so I don’t have to stand up and get things in and out of the overhead bin mid flight.

Learning how to pack your liquids and electronics will save you so much time at security as well. Especially if you have to go through security multiple times at different layovers (

In flight essentials

makeup wipes

face care- set of small stuffs and 1-2 sheet masks

hair brush, hair ties, and a some makeup

headphones

portable charger

Check list

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30 Days to Healthy Living Challenge:

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Hello there babes!

Hopefully you have been keeping up with me during my 30 days to healthy living challenge on Facebook and Instagram. If not, don’t fret, because this post covers it all.

For those of you who don’t know, I have become and independent consultant for Arbonne International. Arbonne sells vegan, GMO free, plant based, ethical beauty and health products. In my count down to going home, I wanted to make a significant stride in making my life healthier. It was so important to me to use botanical products that were ethical and clean in my journey and Arbonne offered just that, along with 40 years of scientific and clinical data.

I have completed Arbonne’s 30 Days to Healthy Living challenge, and the difference speaks for itself!

Before:

Why Did I Want to Do This Challenge?

I have always struggled with my body image, and throughout the years, my weight has fluctuated significantly. In high school, I went from a size 16 to a size 8 in my senior year. I continued working out and following a strict food plan through my Freshman year in college where I became a size 6. I had felt amazing, but college was starting to get more intense and I found myself with 3 jobs and going to school full time. This meant that my health was put on the back burner. Well, fast forward 5 and 1/2 years later where I gained a lot of that weight back.

I became very sporadic about working out, and I ate what I wanted, especially when the dinning hall had late night hours or when middle of the night Pho runs were encouraged. I went back up to a size 8 by the time I ended up in Scotland for my MSc. I wasn’t bothered by that, because I still felt healthy and could fit in most of my clothes. Plus, by this time, I was doing pole which kept me in okay shape.

Then, I moved back to Colorado in September of 2018. I have to say, moving away from my new home, away from all my friends and my lovely partner was very hard. So much so, I stopped working out, stopped going to pole and took comfort in lots of mac n’ cheese. I didn’t notice the impact it had on my body until I went to Mexico for my brother’s wedding. I saw a picture that was taken of me and I felt so low. I had already started to notice that my pants were a little tighter and clothes I was buying in my normal size were not looking quite right. But this picture was the cherry on top. I had been reluctant to take photos of myself or wear clothes I like because my confidence dropped.

I was up to a size 12 US. My jeans wouldn’t even reach around my abdomen anymore. This was when I decided that I needed to make more of an effort for my health. Not just to feel better about the way I looked, but to feel better about the way I felt overall. In May, I started hitting the gym and adopting a healthier diet. Around July, I had gone back down to a size 8. And better yet, I had started to feel better about myself.

INSERT PANTS TOO BIG PIC

Though I was happier and healthier, I knew I was on my way, but not quite at my goal. So, long story short, I decided to do Arbonne’s 30 Days to Healthy Living Challenge in order to push through the last month of me living in the States. I had about 30 days left until I went home, so I thought it was a perfect time to invest in my health and go for this____ I am currently a size 6 and have made physical gains that have made me a stronger athlete.

WHAT IS THE CHALLENGE

GUIDE

GOALS

WEEK ONE

Day one:

OMG the berry shake I had for breakfast was so good! I was surprised at how long I stayed full for as well.

lunch rolled around and I wanted so so badly to go downstairs to the food truck extravaganza that happens outside my work at lunch time. But I was good, and I had a chocolate spinach crunch shake. I don’t think I could have raided the downstairs food trucks even if I wanted to after that! I was so full!

I had so much liquid. I had to pee constantly. I had 2L of water, plus another Liter between the teas and the various drink powders.

Day 2:

Day 2 did not go as planned. I ended up eating out for lunch, thinking I would do my meal replacement shake after Pole for my dinner. However, my Dad ended up in the ER after running into a wardrobe

WEEK TWO

I went to a bar bike for my friend’s birthday Saturday night, so the end of week one was a bit rough..(had a wee bit of a time the next day as I really don’t drink anymore). But, the beginning of week two went off with a bang! I found some new recipes πŸ™‚

I also started eating more mindfully

Processed vegan food…?

Okay, so I have been bad, I have really only been eating one shake and two meals this week. BUT this will CEASE next week, and I have planned my grocery list accordingly…

I realized that I stopped tracking my water intake. So I have an app for that

WEEK THREE

something I learned about myself in this process is that I am a comfort eater.

WEEK FOUR

THOUGHTS

Before and After


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The 7 Things I Do Every Night Before Bed

Happy Monday Lovely Readers!

A while back, I did a post on my morning routine. I am 100% a morning person, but I try to use my mornings to relax and enjoy the first part of my day instead of jumping right into work.

This means all my ‘to do’s’ are put in my nightly routine. There are some things I do at night that a lot of people prefer to do in the morning. That’s okay! it’s all about personal preference. What matters is you are designing your morning and evening in a way that sets you up for success πŸ™‚

Here is what my nightly routine looks like on a normal day to day basis:

My routine:

My routine varies a little night to night. This is usually due to my workout schedule.

You may remember that I structure my workouts in a specific way to make sure I am getting the best results.

  • Workout
  • Eat
  • Shower
  • Skin Care
  • Tea and mask
  • Book
  • Bed

Tips to wind down your evening

  • put your phone/tv/computer away
  • Lay out your clothes for the next day
  • Go over tomorrow’s schedule
  • Get a good bed time book
  • Stop eating at least two hours before bedtime

Incorporate some self care

For me, I always do a sheet mask after my shower. It is my 15 minutes a day to relax and have some me time. Plus, giving your skin that extra loving can’t hurt!

If you need some self-care ideas, check out my list of 20 Self-Care Sunday Ideas


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Looks that work for the ‘transition season’

Summer is on its last legs, which means, it’s time to start bringing out some fall staples! Check out my fave transitional looks for this season ❀

*This post contains affiliate links

Hey all you lovely people,

This post is really exciting for me because it comes with some news! I have been accepted as an influencer with Shop Style Collective!

This is so exciting for me, because I have wanted this partnership since I started blogging, and have just now been accepted. My first couple of attempts, I was politely rejected…but, my blog and I have come such a long way since I first started and I feel like all the hard work that goes into creating something special for my readers is starting to show.

So thank you all for stopping by, having a read and engaging in my posts πŸ™‚ I could not have come this far without all of you!

You can go straight to my ShopStyle Shop my clicking the badge, or you can read on to see the looks I am debuting!

To celebrate this, I have been busy creating some looks for my shop style shop. I wanted to share these looks with you all as well, maybe give you some fashion inspiration to wrap up this summer season.

Casual Kicks

I love my black shift dress. It is a piece I wear all year long proudly! It is so simple and can be put with a nice cardigan and some boots for fall, or just some white trainers for summer.

Shop the look:

Comfortable and Casual

Cool Cucumber

Cardigan

Shop the Collection:

Click on the badge to see my Summer Daze 2019 collection ❀


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Blue’s Book Picks: The Red Queen

It has been a while since I gave a book suggestion, so I wanted to make an end-of-the-week post that will hopefully get you all reading this weekend!

*This post contains affiliate links. This allows me to make a small commission if you decide to purchase one of the linked products. This is at no extra cost to you. This article reflects my own honest opinions on all products.

Hello lovelies,

I had realized that it has been a very long time since I gave a good book pick! The last book pick was for Elinor Oliphant is Completely Fine. I love books, and because I know I am always looking for a good read every now and again, I figured that some of you may be as well.

This time, I am picking a book I read a while ago. I am suggesting this book though because I finished the fourth and final book in the series recently.

I love this series so much you guys, so I very much suggest that you have a read of the first book, The Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard.

This book is a New York Times Bestseller, and quite possibly one of my favorite books I’ve read recently.

I love this book because it speaks to a lot of issues that are current and prevalent in our own society, but with a magical and thrilling story line.

This series speaks to a dystopian world that is divisive and damaging to the people who live in it. As most of you know, I studied human rights at Uni. This book spoke to me as a wonderful metaphor for the world we live in now. Not everyone is treated equally or fairly, and it is all propagated by a system that was built on and thrives on these inequalities.

Although I am sure you want to hear more about the plot of this story, rather than how moved I was by its societal parallels. Here the short back cover synopsis of The Red Queen:

“Mare Barrow’s world is divided by bloodβ€”those with common, Red blood serve the Silver-blooded elite, who are gifted with superhuman abilities. Mare is a Red, scraping by as a thief in a poor, rural village, until a twist of fate throws her in front of the Silver court. Before the king, princes, and all the nobles, she discovers she has an ability of her own”

The Red Queen

So grab this book babes, and cuddle up this weekend for some downtime while you get lost in this thrilling tale ❀

Grab your copy here:


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How switching to clean beauty can improve your overall health

There are over 2,000 ingredients used in beauty and cosmetic products that are horrible for our skin, health and the environment. Here is how to spot clean products and switch to clean beauty.

*This post contains affiliate links. This allows me to make a small commission if you decide to purchase one of the linked products. This is at no extra cost to you. This article reflects my own honest opinions on all products.

Hello babes,

A couple weeks ago, I did a post on basic skin care. I talked a little bit about clean beauty and how it is important to incorporate products that are rendered ‘clean’ into your skin care routine.

So some of you have been asking for a post that talks about clean beauty a little more in depth. So I have written this post in order to help you so that the next time you go pick up some beauty or skin care products, you know what to look for and what to avoid.

Up to 60% of what we put on our skin gets absorbed and in America, the FDA does not regulate skin care products. So harmful ingredients in your skincare can cause health issues.

This post is going to be a longer one, sorry! But I think it is really important that I present you with the facts as best I can.

Skin care is something I have always been passionate about. I spent about two years in college working for European Wax Center as a part time job. In my time there, I learned so much about skin care and how to take care of skin from head to toe. It was an invaluable experience and I still use that knowledge everyday. It also solidified my love for skin care products and now my skin care routine is definitely something I consider to be an essential part of my day.

I will be talking a little bit about the products I use and have used in the past and will hopefully give you enough information so that you can mindfully shop for products that you need πŸ™‚

Know what ingredients to avoid and how to spot them:

Okay, so let’s start off by saying that there are over 2,000 banned ingredients in the EU when it comes to cosmetic and beauty products. However, in the US there are only about 30 ingredients that are banned or regulated. Even then, there are ingredients used regularly in products that are harmful to use on our bodies that are allowed and are most likely floating around in at least one of your cosmetic products.

This makes shopping for clean products incredibly difficult. I feel like when I read the labels on beauty products I need a PhD in molecular chemistry. However, over the years I have become much more efficient at figuring out what products to use, and which brands are clean.

There are 12 main ingredients that you should be wary of when shopping for new products. We call these The Dirty Dozen. If you remember these 12 things, you can get by pretty easily without needing a degree in advanced chemistry…well, you may need to know how to look for them, but don’t worry, I have you covered.

Luckily, if you live in the EU, a lot of these ingredients are banned already πŸ™‚

The Dirty Dozen

The health risks mentioned in this section are all correlational, not causal. However, there seems to be evidence that the health risks listed below have a strong connection to these ingredients.

1. Parabens

Parabens are a group of synthetic preservatives found in a lot of cosmetic and beauty products. It is often used to prevent microbe or bacterial growth on or in your cosmetic products. Parebens were banned from products sold in the EU in 2012, so if you live in the EU, you’re less likely to run into this fun one.

Parabens are known to cause hormonal dysfunction among other health related issues:

  • Increased risk of breast cancer
  • Reproductive toxicity

Look at the label for:

If a product contains parabens, the ingredient will have the word ‘paraben’ as a suffix. Some common parabens often used are:

Methylparaben, Ethylparaben, Propylparaben, Butylparaben, Isobutylparaben

2. BHA and BHTs

Butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA) and butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT) are antioxidant compounds used as preservatives a wide range of cosmetic products.

According to safecosmetics.org there are a lot of health issues related to the use of BHA’s and BHT’s:

  • Endocrine dysfunction
  • Organ system toxicity
  • Developmental and reproductive toxicity
  • Cancer
  • Irritation

Look at the label for:

The labels will say BHA or BHT or the following:

Butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA), butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT), antioxyne, antrancine, eec no. e320, embanox; nipantiox, protex, sustane, tenox bha,

3. Coal Tar Dyes

Synthetic dyes are best avoided. These are mostly found in hair dye products, however, they can be found in other cosmetic products. These are also banned in the EU. In America, it is required for hair dye containing these chemicals to be labeled.

coal tar dyes have been associated with skin and lung cancer among other health issues:

  • Organ system toxicity

Look at the label for:

Coal tar solution, tar, coal, carbo-cort, coal tar solution, coal tar solution USP, crude coal tar, estar, impervotar, KC 261, lavatar, picis carbonis, naphtha, high solvent naphtha, naphtha distillate, benzin B70, petroleum benzin

4. DEA

DEA, also known as Diethanolamine is a chemical group of amino acid and alcohol that are often used in hair and makeup products.

DEAs have been associated with:

  • cancer
  • organ toxicity
  • plus their production is very toxic to the environment.

Look at the label for:

Triethanolamine, diethanolamine, DEA, TEA, cocamide DEA, cocamide MEA, DEA-cetyl phosphate, DEA oleth-3 phosphate, lauramide DEA, linoleamide MEA, myristamide DEA, oleamide DEA, stearamide MEA, TEA-lauryl sulfate

5. DBP

DBP (dibutyl phthalate) are compounds often found in nail polish and fragrances. You should be aware that a legal loophole allows for DBPs to be left out of labels if added in a fragrance.

DBPs have been associated with a number of health issues such as:

  • Endocrine disruption
  • Reproductive toxicity
  • Cancer

Look at the label for:

phthalate, DEP, DBP, DEHP and fragrance

6. Formaldehyde

So this might sound familiar, as the chemical used in the embalming of dead bodies. Yeah, not something you want on your living skin….The really scary thing? Formaldehyde and Formaldehyde releasing chemicals are often used in baby care products as well as personal care products.

There are other chemicals that aren’t necessary formaldehyde, but they do release it, as it is a gas.

Formaldehyde and formaldehyde releasing chemicals are often associated with:

  • cancer
  • skin irritation

Look at the label for:

Formaldehyde, quaternium-15, DMDM hydantoin, imidazolidinyl urea, diazolidinyl urea, polyoxymethylene urea, sodium hydroxymethylglycinate, 2-bromo-2-nitropropane-1,3-diol (bromopol) and glyoxal.

Clean beauty ❀

7. Parfum/Fragrance

So not all fragrances are bad necessarily, but, as you may have seen above, there are legal loopholes that allow companies to admit harmful chemicals from the ingredients list if it is part of a fragrance. So, you don’t know which combination of harsh chemicals may be lurking in the “fragrance”.

Because the specific components of fragrance can be omitted from a label, there can be a variety of ingredients that cause many health issues.

Look for on the label:

Fragrance, perfume, parfum, essential oil blend, aroma.

*However, if a brand is certified ‘clean’ and they use fragrance, they are not using any chemicals deemed dangerous in their fragrance. Just be diligent when shopping folks πŸ™‚

8. Peg Compounds

Peg Compounds are often used to make products less ‘harsh’. There is nothing inherently bad about PEG compounds, however, in their manufacturing process, they are often contaminated with ethylene oxide. This is a carcinogen and can cause a variety of health issues such as:

  • Cancer
  • Skin irritation

Look on the label for:

PEG-7, PEG-6, PEG-40

9. Petrolatum

Petrolatum is another one of those weird ones where contamination of the ingredient is the main concern. Upon refinement, it can be contaminated with polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons which have the following health concerns:

  • Cancer

Look at the label for:

Petrolatum, Petroleum Jelly, Paraffin Oil, Mineral Oil and White Petrolatum (refined and safe for use).

*Plus, mineral oil, petrolatum jelly etc can really clog up your pores, so better to just avoid this guy πŸ™‚

10. Siloxanes

Siloxanes have been listed as possibly the most harmful of all the dirty dozen ingredients. Siloxanes are found in a wide range of makeup products. You probably are more familiar with them as silicones.

The health risks associated with silicones are:

  • endocrine disruptors
  • reproductive toxicants
  • uterine tumours
  • neurotransmitter issues within the nervous system. 

Look at the label for:

cyclotetrasiloxane, cylcopentasiloxane, cyclohexasiloxane. These are other names they can be found under: cyclotetrasiloxane, octamethyl; cyclotetrasiloxane, octamethyl-; decamethylcyclotetrasiloxane; hexanethylcyclotrisiloxane; octamethyl cyclotetrasiloxane; octamethyl- cyclotetrasiloxane; octamethylcyclotetrasiloxane; cyclopentasiloxane, decamethyl-; decamethyl- cyclopentasiloxane; decamethylcyclopentasiloxane

11. SLS

Sodium Laureth Sulfate is again, one of the chemicals where the biggest concern is contamination with chemicals such as ethylene oxide.

Health concerns are:

  • Cancer
  • Skin irritation

Look at the label for:

alpha-sulfo-omega- (dodecyloxy) poly (oxy-1,2-ethanediyl) , sodium salt; dodecyl sodium sulfate; peg- (1-4) lauryl ether sulfate, sodium salt; poly (oxy-1,2-ethanediyl) , .alpha.-sulfo-.omega.- (dodecyloxy) -, sodium salt; poly (oxy-1,2-ethanediyl) ,a -sulfo-w (dodecyloxy) -, sodium salt; poly (oxy1,2ethanediyl) , (dodecyloxy), sodium salt; polyethylene glycol (1-4) lauryl ether sulfate, sodium salt; polyoxyethylene (1-4) lauryl ether sulfate , sodium salt; sodium peg lauryl ether sulfate; sodium polyoxyethylene lauryl ether sulfate; sodium polyoxyethylene lauryl sulfate

12. Triclosan

Finally, the last on our list is Triclosan, which is an antimicrobial ingredient used in a wide range of personal care products.

The health concerns related to triclosan are:

  • Endocrine disruption
  • Creation of resistant bacteria
  • Environmental concerns

Look for on the label:

Triclosan (TSC) and triclocarban (TCC)

Ethical, and clean, and green, oh my!

Not only is shopping clean cosmetics good for you, but it is often better for the environment! Although, there are little things to watch out for if you want to be more ethically and environmentally conscious in your beauty routine.

  • Avoid Microbeads- Microbeads are not green and they are horrible for your skin, so avoid them all together! They are made from material that does not easily disintegrate and often pollute the oceans and are consumed by ocean life. Plus, they cause micro tears on your skin which can cause infections and acne. Microbeads tend to strip the moisture from your skin if you over exfoliate.
  • When using disposable products, opt for eco friendly or compostable ones- you can buy makeup wipes and face masks that are eco-friendly and compostable!
  • Look for companies that use recycled packaging- One other way to reduce the impact on the environment is to look for products that use recycled packaging. Plus, most packaging is recyclable, so once the product is done, either keep the container and up cycle or recycle πŸ™‚

Brands that are certified Clean & Green and Ethical

  • Arbonne* Vegan friendly
  • Lush *Some products are vegan friendly, some are not. They did just stop using eggs in their products
  • Tatcha *Some products are vegan but they use beeswax in others
  • Farmacy *Not vegan (uses honey)
  • Herbivore *Vegan friendly

To make your life easier, look for this label at Sephora:

Everything with this label has been certified clean

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Want Results? This is What Your Workout Routine Needs:

When developing a work out routine it is really important to design your fitness schedule in a way that will be most effective. Check out what your routine needs to help you reach your goals.

Hello Lovely Readers!

I have gone through many ups and downs over the years when it comes to sticking to fitness. The big thing for me is sticking with it, no matter the crazy things that are going on in my life. I always forget that sticking with my health and fitness and striving to meet my goals will help me cope with all the other things going on.

As some of you may know, I am in the midst of completing Arbonne’s 30 Days to Healthy Living challenge. If you’ve been keeping up with me on social media, you will know it’s been such a rewarding journey thus far. I feel more confident than I have in a very long time. Plus, I am becoming a stronger Athlete, a more confident person, and overall happier.

Knowing Where to Start…

When I first started going to the gym in my senior year of high school, I literally would run on the treadmill to Fergalicious, jump off, and peddle on the spin stations as fast as I could for 20 minutes. I had no clue what I was doing, and at the time, didn’t even know that you could change the resistance on the bikes…

oh yeah, and let’s not forget the period of high school where Just Dance Wii was my go to exercise (don’t judge).

Well this was great for losing a lot of weight, but it didn’t really change my body composition. For years I worked out, and though I learned a few things along the way, the one thing I wasn’t integrating into my work outs was strength training. This resulted in my plateau and huge frustrations that I was working out regularly, but nothing seemed to be changing.

Well fast forward to the Fall of 2017. I joined pole society at the University of Glasgow and started to pole regularly. This sport has always been a great love of mine, but also has been one of the most challenging things I have done. It required a lot of strength that I did not have, and I again, became frustrated that a year and a half of doing this sport and I could not even begin to try half the moves my other pole friends had mastered.

So back to this health journey. I knew that getting in shape needed to be different this time and so I did a ton of research. Turns out strength training would solve all my issues that I had been having, however, it was having a balanced work out routine that would yield the best results.

My doggo likes to join me for a wee pole sesh ❀

Having a balanced routine that includes a mix of strength, cardio and stretch will help your muscles build, burn the most fat, and allow for flexibility and muscle recovery.

What do you need to include in your fitness regimen?

Your fitness regimen will entirely depend on how active you want to be. If you are just getting into fitness, it is suggested that you start with maybe 2-3 days a week and build up to more days as you get more in shape. This will keep you from hurting yourself or causing too much strain on your muscles.

ACSM Guidelines suggest that we should be getting 150-300 minutes of exercise in a week. This equates to about 3-5 days a week of 1 hour work outs. However, this includes NEAT (Non Exercise Activity Thermogenesis). These are activities that would not count as exercise per say, but that you burn calories such as vacuuming, taking the dog for a walk etc. Basically, the more that you make a point to get move throughout your day, the healthier you will be, (sounds like common sense right?).

Ideally you should have a good mix of exercise methods in your fitness regimen in order to burn fat and to increase fitness ability. Here is what you need to include:

1. Cardio

The ACSM recommends about 75-150 minutes a week of intense aerobic activity. So about 2-3 hours a week you should spend doing some vigorous cardio such as spin, running, cardio dance, or HIIT.

However, not all cardio is created equal. If your focus is weight loss, studies show that HIIT training is the most effective for burning fat and building endurance and stamina. Plus, most HIIT exercises incorporate strength moves, so you’re getting the most bang for your buck.

HIIT stands for High Intensity Interval Training. This form of exercise is when you do short bursts of high intensity workouts with short rests in between. HIIT trainings are great because they can be incorporated into just about any routine. Plus, HIIT has been shown to be very efficient in burning fat and actually has shown to increase your metabolism! Plus you are building endurance through raising and lowering your heart rate.

I recently did a quick 15 minute HIIT on the treadmill before working on some strength moves. In 15 minutes I was clocked at having burned 160 calories. It was the most intense 15 minute work out I had ever done! But it felt amazing πŸ™‚

Check out this 25 minute HIIT workout here

2. Strength Workouts

So I do lift weights, but only about once a week. Plus, I haven’t worked up the nerve to take a gym selfie yet, so you get to see my lovely at-home-barre workout selfies! whoohoo!

I consider pole, barre and Vinyasa yoga a strength workout. They work your muscles and help you build strength and flexibility, plus they are so much fun! I love Barre because it is easy to do from the comfort of your own home, and you can use a chair.

Barre is my fave way to tone when not on the pole πŸ™‚

Strength workouts are a great way to see results because as you build muscle, you burn more fat. The more muscle you have, the higher your metabolic rate. If you build muscle it helps you burn off unwanted and stubborn fat and it helps you keep it off! So if you want your workouts to be efficient, it is important to include strength training.

There are so many other advantages to incorporating strength training into your exercise routine. By doing so, you are actually helping your body protect bone and muscle mass and increase cardiovascular health.

My favorite strength workouts are those that incorporate some sort of dance or stretch. So I only lift actual weights about once a week. Barre, pole and vinyasa are all amazing ways to build strength throughout your entire body, so don’t be afraid to stir up the pot and try something new!

3. Stretch Days

I love yoga as a means of exercise because while you are giving your muscles a nice stretch, you are also building strength! So, double win πŸ™‚

There is a lot of argument on whether yoga should be treated as a recovery workout. While some forms yoga deliver amazing benefits to recovering muscles, not all forms are good as a means of recovery per se.

Yoga such as Hatha yoga, which is low impact and focused on stretch, is an amazing way to recover. This is true especially if you do a lot of weight lifting or put your muscles under a lot of strain. Vinyasa yoga, which incorporates strength exercises, should not be used for muscle recovery.

I love to integrate yoga with the rest of my strength workouts. I practice primarily Vinyasa flow, which allows me to build my strength as well as my flexibility and balance. I have become much more flexible and my pole practice has become much better since starting Vinyasa.

But either way, practicing yoga reduces your risk of injury when doing other work outs, helps build stamina and helps increase your mood!

4. Rest Days

You need to take days off to be successful. Your muscles need recovery time!

Yes, You really do need to take rest days

When we work out, what happens is you are creating micro-tears in your muscular tissue. These tears get filled in with more tissue which becomes a larger muscle πŸ™‚ However, the only time that these tears heal is when we are resting. If you don’t properly give your body a chance to rest after workouts you will plateau in your progress. In fact, overstraining your body can lead to immunity issues and may even lead to injury.

However, just because it is a rest day doesn’t mean you should lounge about. Aim for an active rest day, where you focus on low impact activities such as going for a walk, hatha yoga or even counting those NEAT activities πŸ™‚

Constant work and strain on your muscles can be more detrimental to your fitness gains than help. It is important to give your muscles the time they need to repair themselves and grow stronger! Like you, they need a little bit of a rest period.

So like everything else, your routine needs to be balanced.

Switch it up

Constantly doing the same routine will end up in a plateau. If you keep doing the same circuits, your muscles will actually adapt and will stop building. Not to mention, the more you switch things up, the more muscles you will end up working. Thus, you will become stronger from head to toe.

Here are some ideas to help you mix up your routine :

Stregth:

  • Barre
  • Pole
  • Vinyasa Yoga
  • Wight lifting
  • Les Mills Body Pump
  • HIIT Strength

Cardio:

  • Zumba
  • Running
  • Spin
  • Swimming
  • Kickboxing
  • HIIT Cardio

If you don’t want to go to the gym for whatever reason, YouTube and Pop sugar are amazing resources for free work out videos that you can do from the comfort of your own home.

I usually do most of my work outs at the gym, but because my gym doesn’t offer a Barre class, sometimes I will just resort to doing one in my bedroom. These are my favorite ones, they are short but are very effective:

What my routine looks like:

So I aim to have two rest days a week, but I try to make them active rest days. This might mean that I go for a small walk, or make an effort to walk and stretch more at work. I aim to get 10,000 steps in on my rest days. So far, I have not even come close to this goal! I’ve been hitting around 7,000 steps on my rest days thus far. I know this will increase when I move back to Scotland for Uni, because I will literally be walking everywhere.

I have always kind of stuck to dance cardio as my work out of choice. If you can’t tell, I prefer work outs that are fun and integrate some sort of dance or stretch πŸ™‚ I also do various strength exercises such as vinyasa yoga, pole, body pump, and sometimes a wee barre session.

Here is how I schedule my current workouts πŸ™‚

This schedule is based on a 300 minute exercise week. I attempt to so some form of exercise 5 days a week. This has really been helpful for fitting in cardio, strength and stretch. On days I don’t have time, I aim to do a 15/20 minute HIIT workout and maybe some yoga just to make sure I am still doing something active.

I take two rest days, two cardio, and two-three strength days. I practice a type of yoga known as Vinyasa flow, which is designed to be more physically demanding. While you do stretch in Vinyasa, you also do a lot of strength building, so I count my yoga day as a stretch/strength day. I do switch this up time to time just to make sure I am not plateauing!

What is your favorite type of workout?


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