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7.19.2018

Affordable Workout Clothing

I did weeks of research through youtube videos and reviews to get a better idea of quality and fit. I wanted multiple items that I could wear nearly every day of the week and not be broke over it. I did look into those expensive brands like Lululemon, Gymshark, Athletica, Nike and Victoria's Secret. Those brands just weren't anywhere near my price range. If you're looking for more affordable options then stick around for my list!

1. Old Navy

Always wait for the sales to happen. Usually, you can get around 20% off on already discounted items. I often got my leggings for around $10-$19. Some tops I got for $2-$6. Old Navy has plus sizes available from 1X-4X.

Plus High Rise Leggings $15
High Rise Mesh Panel Leggings $25
Plus High Rise Mesh Trim Leggings $18
Mid-Rise Floral Leggings $14.97

SALE: They are doing 30% off your order including sale items until 7/20/2018
  • Compression Leggings: I own several pairs of these in the mid and high rise. My favorite is their high rise because the compression holds your stomach in and looks flattering. The waistband stays up instead of rolling down. Their mid-rise tends to roll down a bit. I'm barely 5'2" and I own the regular length, 7/8-length, crop and petite. Most pairs are in black but I do own a gray and green. The material is not see through. These leggings have their "Go-Dry wicking technology". These are comfortable to wear and pass the squat test. 
  • Yoga Leggings: It has no compression but the same wicking material. I got their high rise one here. It's thin compared to the other leggings. This has an elastic waistband but it was too loose and rolled down. I wonder if sizing down would have worked. This would be great for light activities or lounging around
  • Sports Bra:

I only own one because their reviews didn't give me any helpful information. I generally fit into small/medium tops so I tried to play it safe with getting a medium to accommodate my bust. This particular style was very tight but had no support/cups. I managed to fit into this better after 2 weeks due to losing an inch off my bust. I don't know if it was supposed to tight for "compression" or if the sizing is off. I did wear this one during cardio and had no issues with it.

If you're busty then I wouldn't recommend ordering these online without trying it on first. It might not have a great fit if you're past a DD+ cup.
  • Other picks:

High-Rise Side-Pocket Compression Shorts for Women (5")
Relaxed Hi-Lo Tank for Women
Racerback Performance Tank for Women

2. Forever21


  • Sports Bras: 

    I own one medium impact and two high impact bras.  All of these are racerbacks. The black is the medium impact and looks like a crop top. It has no padding, cups or support. It's pretty thin compared to the other two. This would be best for low-intensity workouts or weight lifting. There is a high impact version here.

    The other two are my favorites because it has compression, removable padding cups, and a better elastic band.  The material for both has various percentages of Nylon/Polyamide and Spandex/Elastane. Due to my bust size, this at best is a medium impact and I've successfully done high-intensity workouts comfortably. It's not 100% compression. Not sure if I could've sized down in these but there was loose fabric above the elastic band.

    Size reference: 35" bust with bra size 30FF UK. Size mediums
3. Joylab



I came across this brand a couple of times. People have mentioned their sports bras are decent for those who are busty. There are several styles for medium impact sports bras for straight and plus sizes. Personally, I haven't had a chance to try any activewear from them yet. They seem to go out of stock pretty fast. Joylab has plus sizes available from 1X-4X. You can buy it from Target.


Plus Long Line Crop
Plus Floral Print Sports Bra
Seamless Sports Bra
Plus Swirl Print Scoop Sports Bra


Old Navy has frequent sales so this would be the cheaper option. Sometimes Forever21 has some of their sports bras on sales but usually, most of the sizes are out of stock at that point.

7.14.2018

True Nutrition Vegan Protein Optimizer

True Nutrition Vegan Optimizer with Unflavored/Unsweetened

True Nutrition was my first protein powder! Since I needed to cut dairy out, I was researching vegan formulas and chose their unflavored and unsweetened blend with the branched-chain aminos boost. I've tried it with just water and obviously, it has that earthy taste. It doesn't mix the best in a blender cup. It's non-GMO, gluten-free, dairy-free and soy-free.

True Nutrition Vegan Optimizer with Unflavored/Unsweetened
It contains pea protein ioslate, rice protein concentrate and hemp protein.

It has 23.2 grams of protein per 1 scoop (30 grams) at 110 calories.

I ordered 1 pound with a $0.50 boost and plastic jug for a total of $10.68. Use coupon GOVEGAN for the 5% off!

I've used this powder in water and fruit smoothies. Bananas are perfect for masking that earthy flavor. It's not concealed 100% but it's better tasting. I've also mixed it in with water, oatmeal, and banana. I'm used to the flavor so I don't dislike it.

True Nutrition Vegan Optimizer with Unflavored/Unsweetened

FLAVORS
I got Pea Protein sample packs in French Vanilla, Strawberry Sorbet, Strawberry Banana and Cinnamon Bun.

Personally, I'm not a huge fan of sweet flavors. French Vanilla was my favorite pick because it really tasted like cake batter. it was the most neutral flavor for my tastes.

Strawberry Sorbet tastes like "Strawberry's always a risky artificial flavor, but I think it tastes like the milk that's left over after eating a bowl of fruit loops or lucky charms or something." (source).  It was the best description for it.

Strawberry Banana was something I liked but I could easily add in fruits or flavored yogurt to my shakes. Don't think I could regularly drink this every day.

Cinnamon Bun was actually delicious but too sweet for me to actually buy a tub and not die from it.



During my research on Reddit, I found that people liked Chocolate Fudge Brownie the most. Cafe Mocha only if you're into coffee flavors. Lemon Cake popped up a few times.

People recommended ordering the flavor intensity at Light.

True Nutrition Vegan Optimizer in French Vanilla
I got 2 lbs of Vegan Optimizer in TrueFlavor French Vanilla with two boosts: Branched Chain Aminos Boost and Essential Aminos Boost at $22.88. (GOVEGAN for 5% off)

This is something I can drink with water. Sometimes I'll have to dilute it to 16 oz because I don't feel like drinking straight up cake in the morning. I added BCCA because I workout fasted and some days I do intermittent fasting.

I've tried this with almond milk, dairy-free yogurt (Vega Protein and Silk) and fruits. It's my favorite!



I've noticed that I haven't experienced any soreness since using this powder. Usually, I felt sore from leg day either later at night or the next morning. It's pretty crazy to workout without feeling like my legs will fall off. I'm currently struggling to hit my protein needs so usually, I'll have a protein shake and oatmeal later.

7.08.2018

Fitness: BBG Pre-Training



I had completed Round 1 of BBG back in April of 2016 but I didn't document it fully since it didn't fit my blog's niche. Before I had started on this program, I was active 5 days a week doing pilates, weight lifting, kickboxing and the occasional hike. I still wasn't prepared for this program. I'm not much of a cardio person so HIIT was tough.

PREVIOUS POSTS-Pre-BBG Week 0
Originally the guide had you pre-train by walking for a month and that's not enough. There's an updated version of Round 1 that has modified exercises to prepare you for the regular 3 months of hell

Now in 2018, I wasn't regularly active anymore. My job was too physically demanding and draining. I did make it to 5 weeks of BBG at some point but got a minor foot injury and stopped completely. It was difficult to stay motivated. I was already lifting heavy for hours at a time at work so my weight was maintained for over a year until I got promoted. My jeans were too tight and I pretty much only had one style in like 10 pairs. Who wants to buy another set of work pants? Not me.

PRE-TRAINING

I had to modify the modified exercises to fit my strength levels. I didn't do much rest days since I was feeling up for it. If you are new to the program then you need to rest because leg days suck. For the first two weeks, I had to do some extra stretching before and after. I really felt sore. Weeks 3 and 4 become slightly more challenging and have some minor rep increases.




DIET CHANGE

Before I was ordering takeout multiple times a week, drinking soda and barely any water. It was easy for me to change because I went overboard with the comfort foods to the point of not even wanting it anymore. Too much nacho fries is a thing apparently. Within 4 days of a diet change, I dropped about 6lbs.  
Protein and greens were consumed more than fruits/sugar. Water daily intake goal was around 80 oz / 2.4 liters. This helped with bloating so much.
I put on weight pretty evenly. I measured an increase of 2-3 inches around everything. Cardio and full body workouts were great for loss in my past so this is why I chose BBG.


Due to my schedule, I had to do LISS sometimes in the morning and do HIIT at night. I started BBG in the last week of May. I don't think it was on a Monday but oh well? Got to make it work.

The last two pictures are pretty similar. I've managed to maintain the initial weight loss. The images suck right now since I'm re-arranging my room and getting a better mirror to replace my broken one.

STATS

6/3/2018:
Heaviest weight: 132lbs
Waist: 29"
Stomach: 34"

6/18/2018:
Current weight: 124-125lbs
Waist: 28"
Stomach: 31.5"


EQUIPMENT USED

I highly recommend getting this foam mat because it's super thick. I've had it for years already. I also listed these weights I used for pre-training but plan to go heavier as the months go by. You don't need to go all out and buy everything in her guide if you are doing the program at home. You can use chairs, stairs, couches, heavy items to replace weights, etc. 
Since Jawbone's activity tracker doesn't work anymore and customer service is nonexistent now, I had gifted myself a Fitbit. 

7.02.2018

DIY: Black Vanity





I wanted to get rid of my desk for a long time. It was taking up so much space and I only needed it for my desktop computer at the time. I was sitting on the idea for 6 months until there were no more excuses left. I needed the space but the whole process of having to reorganize everything put me off.

The Alex drawers really appealed to me but the whole white and bright aesthetic was not my thing. Their drawers also came in a black-brown shade which matched the rest of my room. When I first ordered these, I actually didn't own much of a makeup collection so most of the drawers weren't filled. It was perfect for storing other items and having a place for my 17" gaming laptop.



SETUP
• Ikea Alex drawers • black-brown
I had already thrifted their MALM series awhile back. Matching! :)

• Linnmon tabletop • size 39"
I now have a clear acrylic sheet covering the top for easy cleanup. Got it from the local hardware store!

This is a great budget lamp! It has multiple lighting modes with 5 brightness levels. I often used Reading and Study because it was the brightest and best color options. It has a one-hour auto-off timer and a USB charging port.





MAIN PIECES
• Black Baroque Mirror 
This mirror is what inspired my black theme! I saw it on Pinterest and managed to track it down. It's double the price on Amazon but I found it on Walmart for half. It's probably out of stock online but you could most likely find it in store.

• Sodynee Acrylic Makeup Organizer 
I got this because it had large drawers. I had a smaller clear organizer that I spray painted black to match.

• EasyPAG Flower Pattern Organizer 
I originally got two of these to hold some makeup and small items. Now I store nail polish, small lotions, and samples in it.

• EasyPAG Floral Pen Holders x2
These are my makeup brush holders.


EXTRAS
 • Black Makeup Tree Holder  
It's collapsible and fits all of my brush sizes. So much easier to air dry.

 • Black Phone Stand 
I use this to watch videos when I'm getting ready.



CHEAP EBAY FINDS

• Heart mirror (note: painted it black)  $8:
Search: Beautiful Fashion European Style White Dual Sided Desktop Makeup Standing Mirror

• Black Cotton Pad Organizer • $5:
Search: 1pc Retro Butterfly Cosmetic Makeup Cotton Pad Organizer Storage Box Case Holder

• Black Matching Holder • $3 x2:
Search: Acrylic Makeup Cosmetic Storage Box Case Holder Brush Pen Organizer Decorative

• Black Small Mirror $5:
Search: Girl Desktop Rotatable Gothic Rose Makeup Stand Mirror Black Butterfly 4EV

• Bat Wall Stickers • $2:
Search: Removable Bat Sticker Wall Stickers Art Vinyl Decal Home Room Halloween Decor


DIY Black Mirror


I came across the mirror on Pinterest but it was completely out of stock in black. I bought a lighter shade with the intention of painting it myself.

There are other various styles if you search on eBay.

DIY GLITTER SKULLS


Small plastic skulls with black glitter and clear glitter glue. I'm currently using these to hold my change.


MATCHING OTHER PIECES





I had leftover spraypaint so I went crazy with it. I liked my teal mirror but thought this would fit the theme better. I've had these organizer drawers for a long time and never once thought about turning it black. It looks so much better.

What does your vanity/desk look like? 

6.20.2018

Hair Adventures Part 2


If you missed the first roundup, then here's a link to see my first hair colors. I'll start listing off the dyes I've used in the past.

Blue Velvet topped off with leftover RAW Deep Purple.

These dark dyes are AMAZING. They seem to last forever even when I put lots of conditioner in the dye. Darker dyes last longer because sometimes it could go on practically "black" then fades out to a vivid color then goes faded/dull.

Note: Purple -based blues go on dark and take a while to fade out bright blue. Green-based blues are lighter and will fade out green quicker. Think Punky's Lagoon Blue.


Ion Brights Red.

My first experience using this brand! I was so excited to use a bright demi dye from Ion. It's around $5 in store compared to those $12+ jars of Manic Panic. I wrote up a full review. :3 Highly recommended!


Salon Color
I don't know the exact brand but it was such an awesome red done by my friend, Emma! Ion Brights faded to this hot pink.


Ion Demi 3RV Burgundy Brown

My favorite burgundy color!  This color looked dark brown and red in brighter lighting conditions. It lasted a few weeks before it had faded to the previous bright red. It really helped blend my overgrowth.  I think I had about 4-5 months worth of dark roots. /lazy


Special Effects Burgundy Wine
Even though Ion was a Demi dye (just deposits, no need for the developer), I still prefer just using semi dyes! Burgundy Wine came out to be a purple-toned red on me and I used it to touch up the fading root area. It was pretty good.


Special Effects Blue Velvet over red

Diluted some Blue Velvet to get this result on the ends. It came out to a very dark purple that had to be shampooed to lighten.  Purple is one of my favorite colors.



Bleached slightly

I wanted an ombre but didn't want too much damage. I did a diluted bleach bath. I actually liked the peach but the pink only got brighter instead of lightening up.


Ion Brights Teal

I faded the previous red out using this method and used this teal on top of it. There were uneven sections but a redye fixed that up. I used a brighter green dye pictured below.



Punky's Alpine Green
I'm surprised at how well this dye covered the icky bits. It's such a pretty green on top. I couldn't decide if I wanted to dye it all green or go a blue teal. I love them both!

 I'll love to do more dye reviews in the near future  My hair seems to hold color so well that I'm not sure if I should write up reviews because an average person's color lasts around 4-6 weeks while mine could go on forever. ~Curly Girl Method for life~

Timestamp: 5/13/2014

5.02.2018

Darn Good Yarn of The Month Review - April 2018


This is my first time trying out the Darn Good Yarn Club Monthly Subscription. It's only $10 + shipping. Each box contains a skein of premium yarn, a knit & crochet pattern, and a mystery gift. I also decided to add-on a mystery item worth $15.

Here is what I received in my box:


I placed my order in the middle of March and received my box at the end of April. I received an email at the beginning of April about a customs delay for one of the items in the box so that's why it was so late. A+ for communication. 



As for the goodies, I really like the colors of both of the yarns. I'm not so much a fan of silk in general but since it's recycled I'm more okay with using it. I think the yarn would also be great for weaving or for making dream catchers. 



I like the ombre look of the knitting needles and the crochet hook. Getting a set of both is a huge plus considering most other boxes cater to only one craft but the actual quality of the wood just seems so-so.

I didn't receive any patterns in my box so unfortunately can't review on that. Besides that, this box is definitely a good value if you like specialty and recycled yarns. I'm going to continue my subscription for a few more months before deciding if I'll actually be able to make use of what I receive in these boxes or not.
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