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Posts tagged “Lifestyle Blog

Fitness Friday: Workout Q & A

Some of the most frequent questions that I get are about my gym routine and workout gear so I decided to answer a few of them today to celebrate Fitness Friday. Read on for some details of my fitness regime, my favorite gear, and my tips & suggestions to get started with a new routine and stay motivated.

SpringWorkouts

Q: It’s always dark in your gym pictures – What time do you work out?

A: 4:30am – Ouch, I know. But I have long, hectic days and by afternoon I’m usually exhausted and unmotivated. It’s all about finding what works for you, I for one am most motivated first thing in the morning. {You can check out more of my routine in MCLV In 24 Hours}

Q: What do you do at the gym?

A: As I’m still recovering from a back injury I do physical therapy Monday through Friday, in addition to that I’ve begun adding a circuit training/weight lifting workout 3-4 days a week. Medicine balls & kettlebells are favorites of mine {see Beginners Fitness: Kettlebells and Beginners Fitness: Medicine Balls} and I love body weight moves like pull-ups, squats, lunges, planks & push-ups.

Q: What’s your number one fitness tip?

A: Walk! Add walking to your daily routine and you’ll see great results – From stress reduction to weight loss. Start with whatever you can and just keep adding on! {Guest Post: Low-Intensity Fasted Cardio}

WorkoutGear

{Left: Zella Tank – $42 @ Nordstrom, Center: Nike Sports Bra – $30 @ Macys & Right: Workout Capri – $18 @ Forever 21}

Q: Do you have a favorite workout clothing brand? What do you usually wear?

A: If I like something I’ll grab it, I’m not really married to any one brand. Some of my favorites include Lululemon Capri pants, bright, Spring-ready tanks from Zella for Nordstrom, Old Navy & Zara t-shirts, Nike sports bras, Victoria’s Secret PINK boyshorts/hiphuggers, and Brooks running shoes.

Q: What’s your number one tip on choosing workout gear?

A: Being comfortable and confident in your gym clothing is important, as is not having to adjust your garments mid-workout. Find pieces that suit your body type and, more importantly, that you feel good in. If you’re cringing when you catch sight of yourself in the mirror or constantly pulling at your sports bra or t-shirt, you’re wearing the wrong gear!

Stay tuned another Q&A session on health and nutrition and don’t forget to follow Moi Contre La Vie on Instagram (@Moicontrelavie).


{Guest Post} Interview With A Trainer

Happy Saturday and welcome to MCLV’s latest health & fitness post!

The goal of this series to help motivate us all to have a happy, healthy Spring. And to that point today I’m happy to be sharing with you an interview with a personal trainer, health & fitness nut, and one of the founders of the new Sacramento-based barbell gym Capitol City Strength & Conditioning. He’s joining us to answer some general – but extremely helpful – questions about eating habits, nutrition, working out, and other health & fitness related topics.

SeanMCLV

(1) Please tell us a little bit about your fitness routine (i.e How many days a week do you workout? What sort of workouts do you do?)

My personal routine varies greatly upon seasonal goals and lifestyle factors. Generally i focus primarily on Olympic lifting, training 4-5 times a week, a total of maybe 6-8 hours lifting. In addition to this I normally spend 30-60 minutes a day stretching and working on improving joint mobility. But my workout schedule is highly dependent upon social factors. If I am particularly stressed, I may substitute 1-2 lifting sessions for walking or reduce the overall volume.

(2) What are your long-term fitness goals?

My primary long-term fitness goal, I would say is to remain fully functional (i.e. running jumping, squatting, and fully able to play) well into my hundreds. If I had to think a little less long-term than that, I would say my overall goals are to maintain and or improve joint health and mobility while consistently improving my strength and power.

(3) When someone walks into your gym w/ no athletic or fitness background what are three exercises you would start them on? Why?

One, precursor I would have someone start with is to walk. I wont include this in my list of three, but ill mention it anyway. The benefit and value which simply walking for 30-60 minutes a day can have on almost anyone’s health is pretty impressive. I will generally recommend this to everyone regardless of their goals. But, in regards to someone who lacks much of a fitness background it can be especially useful. Anyways, on to the list (bear in mind these would be my recommendation for someone without any prior athletic history).

1-Lunge – A lunge is performed by stepping forward with one leg and dropping the rear knee to or close to the ground creating two ninety degree angles with both knees joints. Lunges can be a great tool. They are very easy to learn, with minor modification can be done safely by just about anyone with legs, and can be varied in many different forms to increase difficultly or maintain interest. Lunges are compound movement requiring several different muscle groups and require a degree of balance and coordination, two skills which are often overlooked, but when addressed can go a long way in injury prevention. Seeing that a vast majority of people, especially the older they get, have exceptionally poor mobility in the hips and ankles, lunges can help mobilize those joints in a safe and controlled manner will simultaneously promoting stability in the hip. Important safety note when performing a lung: do not let your front knee track beyond your forward toes and maintain an upright and neutral arch in your back. Squeezing your shoulder blades helps to reinforce this. Variations of a lunge can be done with barbells, dumbbells, to increase the difficultly or while holding onto something stable like a railing to make them more manageable.

2- Deadlifts – A deadlift is another compound movement, which is performed by picking up an object off the ground, generally a barbell, and standing fully upright. The deadlift is another great exercise which is a very effective tool to efficiently work much of your body. It is very easy to learn, but should definitely, and this can not be overstated, be taught by a knowledgeable professional. It is an excellent tool to strengthen muscles of the posterior chain (back side) and increase spinal stability. There is substantial carryover for the deadlifts to real life activities and significantly aid in decrease one’s chance of injury during normal activity. Like with the lung, always try to maintain a neutral spine and tight abdomen. Variations of the deadlift can be performed with dumbbells or kettlebells.

3- Shoulder press – A shoulder press is performed by vertically extending a weight from shoulder height to overhead, while maintaining a stable and static body. A should press is another great compound exercise because it will generally require you to move your shoulder through a full range of motion while simultaneously requiring you to remain stable and through your entire body. Like the deadlift, the shoulder press has a substantial carryover to everyday activity and can aid in injury prevention. Variations can be done with a dumbbell, kettlebell, barbell, or pretty much any weight.

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{A badass client at her first competition}

(4) What’s some advice you’d like to impart to people who workout w/ out a trainer? (i.e. Tips, suggestions, recommendations)

Like every industry, trainers can run the spectrum from exception to downright hazardous. Trust your instincts and if a trainer ever asks you to perform a movement that your no comfortable with be, voice your concerns (back squats on a bosu ball are an excellent sign that you should find a new trainer). Just because someone has a certification does not mean they know what they are doing.

(5) What are your typical meals on a workout day? On a rest day?

Once again this is very dependent upon my goals and training program. On any typical lifting day, I will generally skip breakfast and eat pretty light throughout the day. Focusing primarily on fats and proteins. Chicken, avocado, ground beef, and eggs are typical. Immediately after I workout I will generally eat some type of lean meat and something starchy like white rich or sweet potatoes. And for dinner, I will typically stick to lots of proteins and fats with vegetables. Steak, chicken, or salmon, with broccoli or asparagus is pretty regular. But like I have said, this is completely dependent upon my goals. I’ve experimented with dinners composed of half gallons of whole milk and jars of peanut butter. On rest days I will generally eat in a similar fashion minus the carbohydrates after I workout.

(6) Is when you eat important? Tell us a little bit about why you time things the way you do.

Yes. But this can be highly dependent individual preference and lifestyle. I prefer to fast in the mornings till about noon, have my first meal start with a fatty dish, and follow my workouts with rapidly digestible carbs, and finishing with something high protein. Depending on your goals, what you eat and when you eat it can have a big impact on how your body functions. Why exactly I do each of those however is a very lengthy answer and ill have to save for another posting.

(7) If a client asks you for recommendations on changing their eating habits what are your usual suggestions? Anything you usually suggest adding or removing from their daily diet?

Almost regardless of a person’s goals, I try to encourage them to gravitate towards a whole foods (paleo-ish) based diet. I’m not a nutritionist, but asking people to not eat pop-tarts and pancakes is pretty much full proof. I will generally try to get people to drop bread and anything that doesn’t expire out of their diet, sticking primarily with good meats, fruits vegetables, nuts, and dairy (if you can tolerate it). Some people like the cold turkey approach, it works for some., but I generally prefer a gradual adjustment. I read somewhere it takes about 30 days to reinforce behavioral changes and I generally think asking people to change too much too fast leads to poor adherence. Small measurable changes make for better long-term progress, at least in my opinion. Maybe one month, cook every dinner, give up buying bread, next give up soda, ect ect. But then again this is very dependant upon personality

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I hope that you enjoyed this point and maybe even learned something new that you can apply to your own routine. We’ll continue this healthy living series so be sure to stay tuned for more interesting tips, suggestions, and recommendations on how to think about your health & fitness routines to get maximum results.


Links You’ll Love

Health & Fitness:

Coming up with creative new recipes in advance can make your week run much easier so take some notes from Lonneke Engel’s piece for Organice Your Life – Quick Vegetarian Meals!

BBQTofu

BBQ tofu is one of my favorite proteins because you can very easily pair it with other sides for a quick & easy midweek meal – From brown rice or quinoa to sweet potatoes or sautéed veggies, it goes with everything. Check out OhSheGlows’s Easy BBQ Tofu for the perfect recipe!

I love to discover new fashion blogs so I couldn’t pass up this great list from Greatist – 60 Must-Read Health & Fitness Blogs for 2013.

Eating the right foods after a workout can not only improve your recovery, it can increase your energy levels and ensure that you feel focused and alert for the rest of your day – After Workout Eats.

WinterShapeUp

Mixing up your workout routine can help in a number of ways – Not only does it increase your enjoyment and help you stay entertained, it can also keep you from plateauing. So check out The Fitnessista’s Winter Shape Up for some fun new ideas to keep things interesting

Fashion:

Ajent

Online shopping is one of my favorite pastimes but I’ve found that all of the email alerts and websites filled with flashing ads and pop-ups can be overwhelming and distract you from the actual shopping process. So why not take the stress out of it and enjoy yourself a little more? Check out the new online shopping site Ajent and some of the great things they’re saying about it.

Braids, twists, and buns – Oh My! I love a chic, classic updo that’s simple enough to pull off early in the morning when I’m not quite firing on all cylinders. Favorite Knotted and Twisted Updo Tutorials from My Precious Confessions.

Are you a lover of beauty products and trying new makeup? Check out this great collection of Must Try products that should make their way into your medicine cabinet – What I Want In My Bag:  2013 Beauty Lust-list!

Eyeliner

Liquid eyeliner and retro inspired cat eye looks are two of my current favorites when it comes to my personal beauty routine so this tutorial is right up my alley – My easy winged eyeliner tutorial from This Chick’s Got Style.

Leave it to Dappered: Affordable Men’s Style to impart some much-needed style wisdom for those gentlemen who’re always in the mood for some new & exciting ways to approach fashion & their own personal style – 10 Bits of Style Knowledge I wish I had learned earlier.


Looks of the Week – Cape Edition

My favorite piece this season has definitely been my fabulous Betsey Johnson faux fur-trimmed cape. I love the classic, old school glamour that a cape evokes. It goes great with jeans or over a dress, I even paired it with my favorite BCBG Max Azria floor-length gown. And clearly I’m not the only one who loves capes. So enjoy these fabulous looks!

Cape

{This whole look is just fabulous – From the plaid print on the cape to the faux fur collar she added to the killer purple heels.}

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{If you’re not sure whether a full-coverage cape is the right style for you than this silhouette is perfect. A Trendy Life makes this look even more chic w/ a fabulous black, white & red dress underneath.}

Vivienne Tam Cape, Ralph Lauren Pants, Massimo Dutti Clutch, Vintage Christian Dior Fur Scarf

{I love the wide-leg pants in this look and I couldn’t have picked better accessories – Beautiful color, perfect style.}

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{I love the lux, glamorous feel of this cape. The color & embellishments are classic but she’s made the look totally unique & modern with great details & fun, one-of-a-kind pieces like the sweater.}

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{The fun, printed pants in this shot are perfect with the flirty silhouette and fun studded accessories.} 

{This color is just phenomenal – I adore the unique, chic shade paired with the classic silhouette. Stunning!}

{Click on the pictures above and you’ll be taken to the original source}

Which of the fabulous caped looks here is your favorite?


Links You’ll Love

Welcome back to another Links You’ll Love round-up

Fashion:

Lipstick

No sure what the ideal lip color should be for you? Luckily for you Girl Meets Glam has done all the lip work for you and has shared all her secrets so that you can find the best color for yourself.

As much as I wish Spring were upon us we’re still in for some chilly days before sundress weather will truly be here. So why not take some tips from blogger Advice From A Twenty Something & The Glitter Guide on fun new ways to approach layering – How To Layer With Amanda Of Advice From A Twenty Something.

While some movie-inspired editorials can leave you feeling flat, this Clueless lookbook from Wildfox is just plain fun. So just enjoy the pictures! Did My Hair Get Flat? Did I Stumble Into Some Bad Lighting? What’s Wrong With Me?!

Audrey

In my opinion one of the greatest muse-and-artist relationships of all time is Audrey Hepburn and Richard Avedon – The photographs that resulted have certainly stood the test of time. Harper’s Bazaar clearly agrees in their All About Audrey piece this month.

I’ve always been jealous by the creative abandon that artistic types can put into their decorating attempts – Luckily this DIY Instax Wallpaper idea can get you the artist’s loft you’ve always wanted!

Health & Fitness:

Our schedules don’t always permit for hour-long workouts in a gym each day, so this Drop-and-Do-Anywhere Circuit Workout can be a lifesaver for the girl-on-the-go.

Juicing

Juicing and smoothies that include fresh vegetables are an integral part of my routine during the week so I was thrilled by this Say Hello, Max post – Beauty from the Inside Out: Juicing 101.

Sometimes the cold temperatures of Fall and Winter can make you crave warm, comforting foods, but that doesn’t mean you should give up fresh fruits and vegetables for half the year! Check out How To Eat Super-Healthy In The Dead Of Winter from Refinery 29.

ChriselleLim

I love to follow other fashion bloggers on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram and I must say I was thrilled to read this post from Chriselle Lim on her healthy eating habits. So interesting to peek behind the curtain when you see so many pictures of macaroons & dinners out on an Instagram feed. The Chriselle Factory – My Diet Secrets – Part 1.

Hitha On The Go is also a firm believer in getting your exercise in when you can, check out her Fitness On The Go – 5 Factor Fitness.


Valentine’s Day Guide

Are you a lover of Valentine’s Day? I feel like enjoying Valentine’s Day is something of an art. Whether you have a significant other or are spending the day solo – There ARE things that you can enjoy about this “holiday.”

While I’ve had a boyfriend on a few Valentine’s Days over the years the most memorable one was actually a few months post-break up. I was with my Aunt and Uncle for a fun weekend of champagne, laughter, and too much chocolate – My uncle got me a giant heart filled with chocolates that was so big I couldn’t get my arms around it! To this day I keep a picture of my Aunt & I laughing so hard we’re nearly in tears from that night on my bedside table.

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Was I miserable because I was single? No. Was I wallowing over my recent breakup? No. Was I wearing pink? Hell no! 🙂

If you’re one of those lucky people who can ignore or even forget that it’s Valentine’s Day than congratulations, you’re much more evolved than I am. So, whether you’re looking for the perfect gift to surprise your partner with, deciding on a date night outfit, or just looking for a way to get through this in one piece, here’s a great collection of links and some of my own fool-proof ways to have a good Valentine’s Day!

Tips for enjoying yourself:

Make it a group thing! Another incredibly memorable Valentine’s Day was spent with my friend Lauren, we got all dressed up & went out to dinner just the two of us. Not only did we have a great meal and exchange fun, girly gifts, we laughed ourselves breathless listening to the date at the table next to ours.

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Suggestions For Solo Survival:

Pamper yourself – Spend a day giving yourself some much deserved attention & indulge yourself. Trust me, you’re worth it. 🙂 Head out for some shopping & get that killer pair of heels you’ve been eyeing. Get a fabulous mani/pedi or a soothing facial. Treat yourself to a relaxing massage to help reduce stress & tension.

Gift Ideas:

For me, the card is the most important part of a Valentine’s Day gift. I’ve gotten flowers, fancy dinners, and jewelry, but a sweet handwritten message in a card means more than any of the rest of that in my book.

romance

Another time saver___begin with Oreo Cakesters_  Roll edges in sprinkles, put into a cute bag or box, DO

And if you’re a classicist and want to give your lady love – Or yourself – Some killer jewelry for Valentine’s Day than check out Sasha Maks Vintage and get 20% off through February 14th with the code LOVE2013. You can email her and set up a private showing or order fabulous, one-of-a-kind pieces online.

Dress It Up:

Whether you’re planning to make dinner in your PJs, get dolled up for a fancy night out, or you just like to celebrate holidays in style check out these fab posts to help you get a look that you’ll love.

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What are your plans for this Valentine’s Day? Are you going to get all dressed up?

Want more Valentine’s Day goodness? Check out IFB’s Season of Love project for other submissions that’ll get you ready for Valentine’s Day this year!

Be sure to follow my New York City adventures for pictures & updates:


Travel Time: NYC & IFBCON

At the beginning of last September I headed to sweltering New York City to attend my first IFB Conference and Fashion’s Night Out – The conference was such an amazing experience that I’ve decided to further my fashion blogger education with another once-in-a-lifetime trip back East.

{You can read about my trip & enjoy some fabulous Summer fashion from September here:  IFBCON PreparationIFBCON – Trends, Styles & Inspiration, MCLV Style: New York City, MCLV Style: IFBCON Day One, MCLV Style: IFBCON Day Two, and New York Fashion Diary}

FashionWeek

As with my trip in September a huge part of the fun – And the stress – Is deciding what to bring for the trip. Not only is New York City a fashion capital whose streets beg for killer footwear & fun, one-of-a-kind looks, the conference is also a chance to meet inspirational people within the industry and connect with other fashion bloggers – Some of whom may have been instrumental in you decision to start a blog in the first place.

Nerve-wracking.

I was right on the edge of beginning to panic when I read this amazing article from Hilary Rushford at Dean Street Society about similar anxieties & a solution to her own fashion crisis prior to attending the Alt Summit Conference in Salt Lake City – Why I’m Not Going To Win Best Dressed at Alt Summit. After reading it – And quickly becoming enthralled by her blog – I realized that she’s one of the speakers at IFBCON this week. How serendipitous!

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With Hilary’s permission to not win best dressed I decided that I needed a better way to approach the packing conundrum. Ultimately I know that for me picking out each piece & styling it in advance is the best way to go – That way I can relax and enjoy myself once I arrive. The other thing that I love is getting inspired by fashion magazines, other bloggers, and all the beautiful pictures I can find online.

Enter Pinterest. 🙂

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The other thing that’s fun when you’re packing is to get inspired by the professionals. And by professionals I mean the fabulous fashion set who have been gracing New York Fashion Week {or IFBCON} with their presence for years – Jetset Style Guide – NYFW February 2013 from Hitha On The Go, Fashion Week Beauty Essentials from Late Afternoon, {What to Wear} To A Fashion Blogging Conference from Beautify My Life, 8 Looks Inspiring Our NYFW Wardrobe from Glittery Guide, and of course Bigger, Better, Bolder: What To Bring To IFB Con from IFB.

Have you ever gotten stressed out by the notion of getting packed for a trip? How did you calm yourself done & get yourself packed?

Be sure to follow my New York City adventures on these platforms for pictures & updates:


Links You’ll Love – Superbowl Edition

Everyone loves an excuse for day drinking and indulging in tasty treats, but why not keep the fat, calories, and cholesterol to a minimum and try some of these delicious-but-healthy recipes today instead?

Appetizers:

SuperbowlPepper

Entrées:

SuperbowlPizza

Desserts:

SuperbowlDessert

Cocktails:

SuperbowlMargarita

How are you going to celebrate the Superbowl this year?

I’ll be landing in New York at 6pm local time so stay tuned for some updates from my week in the The Big Apple! 🙂


Links You’ll Love

Fashion:

GalaDarling

My Spring cleaning urges are clearly starting to kick in early this year – Check out Gala Darling’s Blog On, Babe: Get Organized! for some great ideas for organizing your work – Whether you’re a blogger, a writer, or any other creative type.

Did you enjoy my recent organizational tips & recommendations for closet cleaning {Closet Organization}? If so you’ll love these suggestions from Apartment Therapy – Get Sorted: 5 Functional Shoe Organizers.

I’m in an outerwear state of mind these days – Between San Francisco being colder than I can ever remember and a trip to New York City scheduled for two weeks – I’m determined to find the perfect coat. Stylish but warm. Leave it to Olivia Palermo to have all the answers to our statement coat questions – How To Rock: The Coat.

BradGoreski

It’s just about time to start daydreaming thinking about planning your Spring vacation. So why not take some advice from stylist-to-the-stars Brad Goreski – How To Travel In Style.

In the market for a new lipstick? Get the right one with Cupcakes & Cashmere’s Lipstick Guide to help you through the process!

Health & Fitness:

You know that coconut oil is good for you and I’ve shared some tasty ways to get coconut into your diet, but have you tried using it in your beauty routine? Glitter Guide has the scoop in their piece 10 Ways To Add Coconut Oil To Your Beauty. Routine

ChoosingRaw

Whether you’re gluten-intolerant, following a paleo/primal diet, or just interested in eating a healthier diet kelp noodles are a great new food to try out, you should read Choosing Raw’s Kelp Noodle 101: How to Prepare and Serve Kelp Noodles.

I’m always interested in learning how my nutrition affects my health & how my body feels, and clearly I’m not the only one. Check out Purely Twins’s – Day 18  interesting reads about fructose malabsorption & hormonal acne.

Bones

As we grow up we need to pay attention not only to our overall health, but to our bone health at all. You may think that eating a calcium rich diet or taking supplements is all you need to do, but staying educated and aware is what you really need – Best Foods For Your Bones.

If you’re interested in strengthening your thighs than FitSugar has the answers in their Inner Thigh Exercises post – Work it!


What’s Your Fashion Statement?

One of my favorite fashion & fashion blogging-related communities to be a part of is The Girls Inspired Group – It’s supportive, fun, and brings you in contact with so many talented bloggers and their fabulous sites. There seriously aren’t enough hours in the day for me to check out as many lovely blogs as I’d like to!

In addition to introducing all of us blogger to one another, the group is also inspiring us with fun spotlight topics for us to write posts about. This week’s topic is a great one so I felt like I needed to participate – GIG Spotlight #2 Fashion Tag: What’s Your Fashion Statement?

So here goes… I would describe my personal style as classic with a twist – I love basic black & chic, timeless pieces – But with a fun, eye-catching twist like the addition of statement jewelry or an on-trend accessory.

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{Examples of my ever-evolving style – Caped Crusader, Lady of the Night & Striped Leopard}

My closets are filled to the brim with basics like perfect Little Black Dresses, trench coats, quality striped & polka-dotted pieces, chic blouses, classic pumps, great fitting jeans, season-less bags…

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{See Real Girls Need Real Closets, Real Girls Need Real Closets – Accessories Edition, and Closet Organization for suggestions & recommendations for what basics you can try out!}

But I also do a seasonal refresher every few months in order to add new accessories, pieces in fun, on-trend colors & prints, and maybe collect a new bag. Or two. 🙂 This process definitely involves a trip to Zara & some online shopping at my favorite go-to stores.

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{Some recent acquisitions that have made their way into my closet via the Paragon Outlets in Livermore, Zara, Forever 21, BCBG, Neiman Marcus & Bloomingdale’s}

So tell me, what’s YOUR fashion statement?

Join me and follow my daily life, and the fun I have cooking, shopping, styling for events, and enjoying San Francisco on these platforms: