Outfit Wars: Banana Republic sleeveless blouse

I bought a Banana Republic sleeveless, blue-striped blouse on sale in Petite XS. I really love how versatile this shirt is. I could pretty much match it with anything in my closet, whether it be casual or business casual. In this segment, I went to go eat with a friend of mine, and I wanted to try on my new blouse. I wasn’t sure how I wanted to wear it, but I really wanted to accentuate the piece.

Style 1: Pastel + Blue

Banana Republic blouse; H&M skirt; Nine West heels; Forever XXI belt & sunglasses

I would have to describe this style as preppy with a touch of feminine.

I wanted the colors to contrast from each other, and normally, blue and red are great contrasts; but since these colors are lighter, they are able to complement each other. I don’t have much belts, and I really wanted to pair this outfit with a different belt; but this brown belt matched as a great divider to both colors. Sometimes browns work really well, and it can play off as a “basic color” like nudes, whites and blacks.

The nude shoes goes with anything, and it helps elongate the look of my legs. I’m already short enough, so I wanted to seem a lot taller. I would have loved to pair these with dark brown boots to give it more of a “seasonal fall” look; but, I currently (for now) don’t own any.

For now, I categorize this as “casual”, because although some might want to call this “business casual”, I feel it is a bit too casual for the workplace. I’m conservative when it comes to business casual, so blouses with no sleeves automatically goes into a non-business casual category.

Style 2: Blue + Red

Banana Republic blouse; H&M pants; Aldo Accessories sandals; Francesca’s necklace

Although the Pastel + Blue outfit worked out well, I wasn’t really feeling it, so I quickly changed into this Blue + Red combination. I believe that these two contrasting colors accentuates each other.

With this outfit, I liked the option of using little accessories. For me, I tend to make my accessories simple, because the more of it looks a bit too cluttered.  This outfit could have been paired with heels, but I opted for sandals; because I wanted to make it more casual. Brown works well with red and blue.

Trick of the day: I learned that if you have horizontal stripes, it makes your body look wider. I’ve had this problem in the past, so I try to stick to vertical stripes. I also prefer thin vertical stripes over wider ones, because the latter can look a bit off.

Closer image of the outfit. Please excuse my awkward stance.

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Nike Training Club: Review

I would have to say that Nike Training Club (NTC) is my favorite fitness application out there on the market. Oh, and most importantly, it’s free! (Yes, we all love getting free stuff!) This app has a lot of features that make you feel like you have a personal trainer you can tote around in the palm of your hand. Some of the features include unlockable bonus workouts, video instructions and AI guidance. In this post, I’ll be breaking down the fabulous components of this app, and why this is an essential must-have in everyone’s mobile device.

Note: All photos displayed in this post are screencaps from my own phone for visual references.

How to find NTC in iTunes

The reviews for NTC have been positive across the board, even crossing gender boundaries. NTC specifically targets female users, but males have claimed to use this app for themselves. Some have even voiced to Nike how they want a male-friendly version. I’ve owned NTC for a few years now, and only recently have they started incorporating a username and password function. In the past, your phone would keep track of all of your progress, so there was no need for a username. Some people have deducted stars based on this fact (the reason for 3/5 stars), because they feel that it infringes on their privacy and shows how this “free app” is pushing for advertisement.

Personally, I don’t think this is true, because nothing in this application screams sponsors. There are no advertisement banners anywhere. As far as requiring a username goes, I feel this is just Nike’s way of syncing this app with social media, or allowing users to access their progress using other mobile devices. For example, you have the option to sync your progress with Facebook to showcase your workouts to your friends. So, don’t let the stars put you off. Read the reviews in a case-by-case basis to make your own assumptions.

Choosing your workout goal for the day.

In this application, you are given 4 different options from the start menu: Get Leaned, Get Toned, Get Strong and Get Focused. Each category represents a type of goal you would like to achieve from your workout, and each one has a specific one-sentence description that details what you should expect. All of the categories, with the exception of Get Focused, have 30 to 45 minute workout segments you can choose from. Get Focused is used as an additional workout for individuals who have done at least 30 minutes of cardio training.

Second Note: Scroll below to see a compiled list of each workout presented in Get Focused.

When you pick one of the four options, you are then presented three different workout levels to choose from: Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced. These levels are presented in all of the options, except for Get Focused.

The three different levels to choose from.

Normally, I switch between Intermediate and Advanced. Advanced will inlcude added features to a workout that will make it more difficult. For example, instead of doing regular push-ups, you will be required to do push-ups using a medicine ball. In Beginner, push-ups will be modified (knees on the ground instead of feet). Even if you average 3-5 workouts a week, don’t let this feature fool you! It will be very difficult!

These circuits are an excerpt from Get Lean: Intermediate Level.

When you pick a level, you are given different workout circuits to choose from. With each option, you are given a time frame on how long it will take. In my opinion, the lower you go down, the harder the workout gets, since the time is a lot longer. However, each drill is difficult and designed differently, so don’t think the first option will be harder than the second option.

What to expect in each circuit.

Once you pick a circuit, you are given a breakdown of what type of workouts you will be doing. Normally, I like to skim through them to see if this is the type of circuit I want to focus on for the day. The cool thing about this app is that you are able to listen to music while you workout. Normally, some apps stop working if you have another one on. I usually put on Pandora while utilizing this application (this may drain your battery a bit more than normal).

When you start on a circuit, an AI voice will pop up that will guide you throughout your workout process. Sometimes, she will encourage you and say things like, “Push yourself. You have 5 seconds left.” Other times, she will do a countdown or time check. Also, for exercises that require you to switch into a different position, she will let you know the half marker and when to switch. I love this function, because it makes the training feel very personal. I’m the type of person who needs someone to push me. Her voice may not be aggressive, but it’s better than nothing!

Step-by-step guide on how to do the workout.

If you are like me and are unfamiliar with certain exercises, this app holds another awesome feature for people who need help with their form. In my opinion, form is very important, because this is the secret ingredient to having a successful workout. If your form is bad, you won’t be hitting any of the muscles the workout is intended for. Also, you might cause injury to yourself. (Warning: Doing squats wrong will injure your knees!)

Therefore, NTC has included a step-by-step guide on how to do a specific workout. With this function, you are able to pause the timer on your workout, which really helps people who don’t want to cheat themselves. NTC gives you two different types of visual aid through videos and pictures. The pictures will give you written information on how to correctly apply a technique. If you still don’t understand, users are able to click on the video button on the upper-right hand corner to see a short video segment on how it is supposed to look.

I must admit that I use these guides a lot. Some of the techniques presented in this app are foreign to me, so it takes me awhile to get used to. Sometimes, I re-play videos 2 to 3 times. I have no shame in this game.

Initially, this app is made for any type of setting that is comfortable for the user, whether it be in their living room or at a gym. I would have to say that some of the techniques presented make it difficult to work out in a small space, because there are some features that require “2 minute jogging”. Obviously, you can’t do that at home, unless you have  a treadmill.

Sometimes, I feel like I have to pause in-between workouts to prepare myself for the next step. For example, when I work out at home, I normally go to the small gym located at the front office of my apartment complex. There is very little room to work with, so I have difficulty doing workouts that require a lot of space, such as “light jog for 2 minutes”, “back pedal for 1 minute” and “slide and glide for 1 minute”. To fix this remedy, I normally replace these workouts with burpees, which I highly recommend. The point of conditioning your body is to do hardcore workouts with little to no breaks in-between.

I wanted to point out this small problem for at-home users like myself who may have difficulty finding an open area to use. However, you can easily fix this problem with substitution. Burpees will definitely get your heart pumping a lot more than jogging!

Overall, Nike did a great job making this app. There’s nothing about NTC that I would change. NTC is constantly being updated, because there are unlockable workouts you can get as a reward for finishing a certain circuit. Not only do you receive “badge trophies”, but can also view small videos about inspirational women in the sports industry. Some circuits are designed by each women, which gives you a small insight into how they train for their sport.  How cool is that?!

If you want a free version of Insanity, download this app today. Like I said, everyone loves free stuff!

(This post was entirely reviewed by my own will. This is not an endorsement review. No sponsorships were made for this post.)

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Get Focused — All 15 min workouts

  • Cardio Killer
  • Better Butt
  • Sculpted Arms (8-12 lbs dumbbells required)
  • Leaner Legs
  • Shaped Back
  • Ab Burner (medicine ball required)
  • Butt Buster (medicine ball required)
  • Shoulder Ripper (10-12 lbs dumbbells required)
  • Back Definer
  • Leg Sculptor
  • Cardio Burst (jump rope required)
  • Arm Definer (medicine ball required)
  • Core Crunch  (medicine ball required)
  • Shoulder Shaper (8-12 lbs dumbbells required)

Sometimes I replace medicine balls with dumbbells if application permits (ie: Russian Twists).

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“Grandfather, which wolf wins?”

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Struggling with being fit

Child hustler, probably thinking about that Big Mac.

Growing up Filipino, I was exposed to a lot of unhealthy eating involving fatty pork, fried anything and Chinese buffets. Surprisingly, I was never the “big girl”; rather, I was lucky to have high metabolism and remained skinny. This, however, didn’t mean that I was healthy. A lot of people saw me and figured I was a pretty active and healthy kid, but actually, I ate a lot of junk food and stayed at home watching television. A lot of kids could easily outrun me, and I wasn’t the best person during field day.

To give you an idea, my dad and I would occasionally go to McDonald’s and order a Big Mac as a snack. Now, if you remember the 90s, a Big Mac was a huge burger that consisted of two patties stacked on top of each other, two cheese slices in-between and three buns. It was really huge for a kid, and I would finish it like it was nothing. 

Big Mac advertisement via http://www.camp-anawanna.com

Fast forward to college, I met my current boyfriend who was into the outdoors. He had a love for rock climbing, and he introduced it to me. Rock climbing was difficult for me, because I lacked muscles; but, it never stopped me from pursuing the sport. After a month, I started noticing muscles that I never knew I had. My strength increased exponentially, I was less tired, and a lot more happy. I felt like a million bucks.

My boyfriend and I before I was introduced to the world of rock climbing.

It wasn’t until my junior year that I realized how important exercise was. I stopped climbing, and I solely focused on balancing my part-time job, being an undergraduate research assistant and studying as a full-time student. After a few months of not exercising, I could tell that I got tired easily, my concentration was a bit off, and I was a lot grumpier than before.

Enjoying the outdoors.

I realized that not exercising brought out the worst in me, but with my schedule, it was difficult for me to do something about it. Then, two years later, I admitted to myself that I was just making excuses. I was lazy, and the thought of exercising made me have a “what’s the point?” attitude. This mentality stayed with me until a year after I graduated.

When I moved back home from college, my boyfriend persuaded me to try mixed martial arts, because he knew I was into Filipino Martial Arts (I dabbled in this for a few weeks during my last month in college). I found a gym I was interested in, and I became hooked immediately. The teachers were awesome, and throughout the whole time, it didn’t feel like exercise to me. Rather, it gave me the same feeling I had when I rock climbed. I didn’t see this as exercise, which I felt was more like a chore you should do for your body. Instead, it felt like I was learning important skills that would help me become a stronger person (internally and externally). I pushed my body to whatever limits I could to become the best I could be. Not only did I pursue Filipino Martial Arts, but I was also introduced to the arts of jiu-jitsu, wrestling, and Muay Thai/Boxing. At one point, I even joined a class on Greco-Roman Wrestling (my first and last class). The feeling of being strong and learning how to defend myself made me feel so confident, which was something I lost after I stopped climbing. And then, post-baccalaureate studies happened.

Planking on a table for fun at a paint concert. This isn’t the best picture, but this shows all my hard work from the mixed martial arts gym.

After being at the gym for almost a year, I was given a wonderful internship opportunity that landed me my current career. I figured 3 months of no-gym time wouldn’t make a difference. Unfortunately, the gym I attended to decided to close permanently, since both teachers had time-consuming careers. It was a bittersweet moment, but I felt that my hope for continuing a healthy lifestyle dwindled. I put exercising on the back burner for a year, and with it, my metabolism slowed as well. I had opportunities to check out other gyms, but they were either too far away or the classes were not legit.

The picture that made me re-think about exercise habits.

It wasn’t until I saw a picture of myself that I realized how much I hated my body. I was envious of the body I had in the past, and I just felt gross. My confidence level was at an all-time low, and I felt like a loser. I was being a couch-potato, and it made me not want to do anything. The internal turmoil I had about myself showed externally through the cleanliness of my apartment or how I dressed. It was as if I gave up caring about myself.

Note: In my “About Me” page, there’s a picture of my boyfriend and I in Jamaica. I would have to say the pictures in Jamaica also motivated me to start working out again. You could really tell how different I looked from when I used to work out.

Then, one day, I admitted to myself that I was the sole reason why I let myself go. I was the reason why I would eat junk food and use studying as an excuse to not exercise for at least 30 minutes out of the day. My apartment had a gym and lap pool at the front office that was accessible 24/7, and I didn’t motivate myself enough to go there. It was all me. After admitting the true cause of my problems, I signed myself up for a boxing gym.

Two months later, here I am. Happy as can be.

Two months of boxing conditioning.

Being fit is important, because it brings so many rewards. It makes you feel confident about yourself, because you feel stronger mentally and physically. When you push your body to its limits, you learn quickly the meaning of not giving up. A week after I joined the boxing gym, my body felt broken and tired. Every part of me ached, but I somehow managed to mentally persuade myself to keep going the next day. It wasn’t easy, and eventually, it got easier. I stood up to my inner demons, and I felt like a winner. 

In the end, it’s only you that can make a difference. 

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DIY Household Tips from Pinterest

I was on a cleaning frenzy two days ago, because I really wanted this apartment to be clean by the time work started (next Wednesday). Therefore, I looked to Pinterest to help me find some great (and easy) cleaning tips that would make cleaning the dirt and grime around the apartment bearable. Along the way, I found some that worked and some that didn’t.

1. Vinegar on shower head to get grime off.

Materials: (1) plastic bag; (1) distilled white vinegar; (1) rubber band/plastic tie

Directions: Put vinegar in plastic bag. Wrap plastic bag on shower head and tie it with a rubber band.

My shower head is a lot wider than most, so this one was a bit tricky for me as far as wrapping plastic over it. I tied the rubber band around the bag, but the vinegar wasn’t able to fully cover all of it; therefore, I had to tighten the bag more and clipped it with a chip clip. Immediately, I saw results. There were tiny little bits of gunk coming off from the shower head. I realized the next day we never really had much build-up to begin with, but it felt good to know that this was something I could go to.

Notice my chip clip?

Note: Let water run for awhile to get the vinegar out, and wash the exterior of shower head to clean it from the vinegar.

The only problem I had with this was that vinegar wreaked in the bathroom. This may be due to my vinegar spill when I had problems with wrapping the bag around the shower head, but I think even without the spill, it would’ve smelled anyway. The scent stayed for a lot longer than I wanted (a couple of hours; left the door open).

I don’t mind the smell of vinegar, because I’m actually a big fan of it; but, if you’re not a vinegar person, I would recommend lemon. The acid is what helps make the residue leave the shower head. It won’t affect the metal. I’m sure this is a better option, but vinegar is cheaper.

VERDICT: WORKS!

2. Heat water and vinegar in microwave to get the grease to come off.

Materials: (1) water; (2) distilled white vinegar; (3) microwavable bowl 

Directions: Mix water and vinegar in the bowl. Put in microwave for 5 minutes to heat. The steam will make the grease and gunk easier to wipe off. Wipe off with paper towel or cloth.

Instead of a bowl, I used a microwavable measuring cup. This should not affect the outcome. So, after applying this in the microwave, I used a paper towel to wipe the gunk off in the microwave. It turns out, nothing came off! I rubbed harder, and it still wouldn’t budge.

I figured this was a misleading tip on Pinterest, because it received so many pins and likes with comments claiming “this works!”. I’ve come to the realization that I doubt anyone really did try this, and they just went pin crazy. I wish people did research and not mislead others, because this only brought clutter to my Board.

VERDICT: DOES NOT WORK!

3. Borax on bathtub to get rid of dirt

Materials: (1) Borax; (2) scrub bristles

Directions: Sprinkle Borax all over the bathtub. Lightly wet the tub or bristles and scrub.

I think the only time I heard of Borax was when I was trying to find something that would help me with a flea infestation during college. That year had the worst flea infestation, and I was getting desperate. Instead of Borax, I ended up grabbing some Diatomaceous Earth, and it worked like magic.

Little would I know that Borax would actually come into play a few years later. Borax can easily be found in any grocery store that sells laundry materials. I bought mine at Target for about $5 or so. I was surprised at the price tag, because it was a huge box! Seeing a cheap price for an item that can be used for many things made me very excited to see how good it would work.

I followed the directions and scrubbed, scrubbed, scrubbed! (Note: I did not have bristles, so I used a regular hard sponge). The nasty dirt that lived on the bottom of my bathtub was wiped away immediately! I was so shocked to see how great the results were, especially when I know that the sponge was less effective than if I had used bristles.

Please excuse the nastiness that is our bathtub.

This stuff saved me so much time! I used to use Soft Scrub, and it always took me forever to clean out the bathtub! Plus, my feet would be in contact with some harsh chemicals, because I squat when I clean the tub (it’s really hard to reach if I’m not inside the tub). Soft Scrub is also expensive for a small bottle. I didn’t have to use much Borax for this, so I know that box will last me for a long time.

VERDICT: WORKS!

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Conclusion

Don’t always believe the hype on Pinterest, unless you try it yourself! I feel that some tips are a hit and miss; while other tips are just there for advertisement purposes. It bothers me that people “claim” these tips work, when it just wastes your time.

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Wedding Fever

Seeing all these weddings come up has made me start to look into my own future plans. I’ve always pinned wedding posts on Pinterest, but I’ve never taken it seriously…until now. All I need is a ring and money, and I’m good to go! To paint a picture on how serious I’ve become, I have two Excel wedding spreadsheets that’s color-coordinated and categorized to the T. It sounds a bit much, but my boyfriend has been quite supportive; so, his approval has been fueling my obsessions.

I already have all these great ideas swirling in my head, and I’ve become quite obsessed with details. Details, details, details! I can only imagine what real brides are going through, because at times, I feel a bit overwhelmed just thinking about how to execute certain tasks. Nonetheless, I’m quite excited for our future!

Maybe next year will be my year, or maybe he’ll wait until our 10 year mark.
2015, are you the one? If so, is there even a point for planning all this if I’m to be engaged far into the future? I feel it would be a bit fruitless, especially if there are specials going on…………………Thoughts?

Wedding Timeline via LaurenConrad.com

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Mortal Kombat YouTube Parody: Baraka and Raiden meet Batman

DashieXP from YouTube has made some hilarious Mortal Kombat parodies that never ceases to make me laugh. I wanted to share with you all my favorite video from his collection.

In this episode, Baraka and Raiden raid a bank, only to be stopped by none other than Batman. Let the hilarity ensue!

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