Fab Friday's Fancies | Crazy About Boots!

I'm leeeeeavin' on a jet plane.  Don't know when I'll be back again.

Actually, yes I do.  I'll be back on Sunday.  But I am actually leaving on a (jet) plane.  I'm headed to Wisconsin today to photograph my friend Leslie's wedding!!!  In the words of all my native Californian friends, I'm hella pumped.  It's a little chilly in Wisconsin from what I understand so I'm traveling in layers.  In rummaging through my closet, I realized I got rid of most of my warm, cozy, perfect-for-a-Midwest-autumn clothes when I left Chicago.  Bummer.  Something like this little number would be dreamy right now.

1. Cashmere rollneck sweater - Cashmere.  Need I say more?
2. Red jeggings - Yes, that's right, I chose jeggings.
3. S charm necklace - I can't not have an S necklace!  It's my favorite letter and it's less than 3 bucks.  Steal!
4. Leaf ring -  How perfect for fall, right?!
5. Knee high boots - Did you know I love boots?  Because I do.  I love them with all my heart.

Happy weekend!!!



Metamorphosis | Level 1

So I've officially finished Level 1 of Tracy Anderson's Metamorphosis program.  It's a 90-day program where you workout for an hour a day, six days a week.  It also includes a pretty strict "dynamic eating plan."  Let me tell ya, I have some thoughts on this business.

-- First, I'm not going to tell you my starting weight/inches but I will tell you how much, if any, I've lost.  After 10 days of working out (not consecutively), I've lost 1 inch around my hips.  That's it.  Nothing else.  No weight, no other inches.  But!  For just 10 workouts out of a 90-workout program, that ain't too shabby.  Also, I'm not doing the cardio as frequently as you're supposed to and I'm not following the meal plan.  (I'll explain why in the 'Cons' section below.)  I have no doubt that if I were following the workout program exactly as it's laid out, I would've definitely lost more.

-- The strength workouts are actually kinda fun.   Don't get me wrong, they're challenging and you will be sore the next day, but they're also very doable.  You only use 3-pound weights.  According to Tracy, you never need more than 3 pounds.  I was skeptical at first but because the moves are fast-paced and meant to target smaller muscle groups, the 3 pounds actually is enough.  These moves aren't your standard bicep curls, shoulder presses, etc.  No, these are strange moves that you've probably never done before.  While I do think the 3 pounds is challenging, I could see someone naturally stronger going for 5 pounds.  Probably not more than that, though.

-- Even though I haven't lost much in terms of inches or pounds, I do think my body is overall more toned.  I can definitely feel muscles in my arms and legs that I never noticed before.  Just you wait till I get that 6-pack.  (Actually, don't hold your breath...)

-- The meal plan.  If you can call it that.  That thing is ridic yo.  I don't see how anyone can follow it and still have energy for the workouts!  The weeks alternate between Nutrient Boost and Body Reset.  During Nutrient Boost weeks, you're basically eating juice and/or veggie and fruit purees.  During Body Rest weeks, you get solid foods but not much of them.  For example, Day 3's lunch is grilled chicken breast and an apple.  For someone who actually moves during the day, that ain't gonna cut it.  You're also not supposed to add any salt, butter, oil, seasoning, etc to your foods.  Yeah, right.

-- The cardio is boring and it kinda hurts my knees.  You are supposed to use the same cardio dvd over and over again throughout the whole 90 days.  The same routine, 6 days a week, for 90 days.  Shoot me now.  Plus, it's very high impact.  You're basically jumping up and down, bouncing all around, for 30 minutes straight.  Think 3rd grade jumping jacks dance party.  "No thank you," says the knees.  I stopped doing it after the 4th day.  I'll do some other form of cardio instead or I will just do the strength routine.

-- Tracy gives you little to no direction during the workout so you have to really pay attention and just kinda figure out the next moves.  There's no warm-up, no cool down.  You just go straight into the workouts and she moves quickly so you have to be on your toes (literally and figuratively).  And a lot of the moves are leg lifts where you're down on your hands and knees so looking up at the TV every few minutes kinda gets annoying.

(Side note:  I let Molly out to run around while I was working out last night.  She was fascinated by the leg lifts and kept coming over to check it out.  Whenever I lifted my leg, she stood up.  And when I brought it down, she sat down.  Every time.  Leg up, Molly up.  Leg down, Molly down.  She did this about 5 or 6 times in a row until I started laughing and she ran away!)

Overall, I think the program is working so far and would probably be even more successful if I followed it like you're supposed to.  The cons are not anything major so they definitely don't outweigh the pros.  I'll keep you updated as I move to each level so we'll see if that holds true for the full 90 days.  Fingers crossed!!

Wanna take a trip to the Gun Show?  Oh, yeah!

Well hello wittle bicep.  Where've you been all my life?



Office Inspiration

When I have my dream home (with a fireplace and large porch - essentials, people), I think I'd like to put a few inspirational prints in my dream office.  I'd start with something like this:

or maybe this:

What inspiration would you have in your dream home/office?

*both images via Etsy


Weekend Snippets {vol. 12}

-- I promised The Boyfriend I'd make mushroom risotto for dinner and boy did I deliver!!  Not to brag, but I've mentioned before that I think I've perfected risotto.  The photos from the last time I made it were kinda crap, though.  This one's a little better!

-- I spent most of the afternoon working on business development stuff.  Boring, I know.  But I'm exciting to unveil my new website soon!!  I also did a portrait shoot Saturday evening (also related to the business development).  Here's a sneak peak:

-- The Boyfriend had to leave right after breakfast and head into the office so Sunday was a little lonely.  That is, until my friend Ali had a few of us over for Sunday Dinner.  Not only is she gorgeous (see above) but the girl can cook too.  We indulged in brisket and a couple experimental recipes Ali created in her pretty little head.  I'm not sure what to call one of them - it was basically potatoes au gratin but with zucchini, yellow squash, and onion.  And a delish cheesy sauce.  Nom nom nom... We finished it up with a nice, light* cranberry-pear tart with caramel topping.

*Obvi I'm being sarcastic when I say it was light.  Look at all that oozy gooey caramel!!


52 Weeks: Week 31

Week 31: Molly's Nose



Fab Friday's Fancies | The Cozy Side of Fall

Today is the first day of fall.  Today is also supposed to reach 100 degrees.  Since it doesn't actually feel like fall, I'm going to indulge in a fall fantasy.  If this were the fall day I wish it were, The Boyfriend and I would cuddle up on the couch, right in front of the fireplace,* with a cup of warm tea while rain falls gently on the windows and smells of homemade pumpkin bread waft out of the kitchen.  After taking it easy for a while, we'd venture out for dinner and I'd wear something like this little number:

1. Pointelle Variations Sweaterdress
2. Heeled Oxfords
3. Festival 'til Dawn Necklace
4. Blue Tights

*Clearly this is a fantasy because we don't have a fireplace.

Happy Weekend!!!



Awkward & Awesome

-- I ate Flaming Hot Cheetos for dinner last week not once but twice.  Then I bought more Flaming Hot Cheetos for tailgating on Sunday.  Three days of Flaming Hots in one week.  Nom nom nom.
-- Recently, whenever Molly would drink water, she'd get a little bit in her nose then make the cutest little guinea pig sneeze-coughs.  I thought she was just being overzealous in her hydration but, turns out, her water bottle was broken.  Instead of just a few drops at a time coming out, a full-on stream of water would ooze out every time she tried to take a drink.  The cute little sneeze-coughs were actually the sound of her nearly drowning as she tried to drink water!  Of course I immediately replaced the bottle when I realized what was going on, but it took me a few days to figure it out.

-- The Boyfriend and I have already planned our meals for the weekend.  Mushroom risotto on Friday and brown sugar glazed salmon on Saturday.  Now I just have to figure out the side dishes...  I love planning food!!
-- I had to attend a mediation in the East Bay yesterday so I went up Tuesday night and stayed with The Boyfriend.  We never get to see each other during the week so this was a nice special treat. :)
-- I'm on Day 7 of the Metamorphosis workouts.  So far, it's going okay.  I'm not following the meal plan because I actually like to eat more than just juice and vegetable puree for a meal so I haven't actually noticed any weight loss yet.  The workouts are challenging but definitely doable.  Still a little awkward though because I am not at all coordinated so it takes me a while to catch on to a new move.  At Day 10, I'm supposed to re-measure everything (yikes!) and move up to Level 2 so I'll give you a full review at that point!

This is what I see whenever I open my workout DVDs.  Talk about motivation.


Day & Night

Have you guys heard of Gizmodo's recent Day & Night photo challenge?  I'm still trying to figure out how, exactly, this was accomplished (other than the obvious shooting in the same spot at multiple times of day) but I simply love the effect.  I first heard about this technique when I read an article recently about Stephen Wilkes.  He has some of the best Day to Night photos I've seen:

Not long after reading about Wilkes' project, I saw the photos from Gizmodo's competition.  Here are a few of my faves:

I get what to do in actually taking the photos but I can't figure out the post-processing techniques.  Granted, I'm not the most advanced PhotoShop user but I can usually figure different techniques out after a few tries.  This stumped me though.  Any ideas?


Weekend Snippets {vol. 11}

Happy Monday lovelies!!  Did you all have a good weekend?  I was a total slacker this weekend, but not in a bad way.  After running errands all day Saturday, The Boyfriend and I decided to go to the Cowboys/49ers game!!  It was almost literally a game-time decision.  We were sitting down to dinner Saturday night when we decided to put off work for a few hours and go to the game Sunday afternoon.  We bought our tix on StubHub around 10pm Saturday night, arranged to meet up with The Boyfriend's fam for tailgating Sunday morning, and ended up having a pretty awesome weekend.  This was my first Cowboys game ever.  (Dallas isn't exactly close to San Antonio so we never were able to go when I was little.)  Lucky for me, we won!!! I took over 200 photos at the game but after a while, they all started to look the same - a bunch of big guys throwing themselves all over the field.  I'll spare you hundreds of photos and just post a few here.  :)

You can't really tailgate without Doritos, can you?

How many 49ers does it take to bring down Jason Witten?  Five, I guess.

Immediately after this warm-up, Akers when out and kicked a 55-yard field goal.  Apparently that set the new 49ers record.  I may not like the team, but I can respect the skills.

Oh, hey Romo.  How's it going?  What, you broke a rib?  Who cares!!  Go win the d**n game!!

Final score after Romo's 77-yard pass in over time ... with fractured ribs.


52 Weeks: Week 30

I fell behind a bit in my project but no one said the 52 Weeks had to be consecutive, right? :)

Week 30: Little Mexican Boats



Fab Friday

After playing catch-up at work all week, I just did not have the energy for a Friday's Fancies post this week.  But the theme is Game Day Chic and that reminded me of something very serious.  You guys, some major dramz is gonna go down with me and The Boyfriend this weekend.  Unfortunately, The Boyfriend (and his whole fam, btw) is a Niners fan.  Or as I like to call them, the "Whiners."  Being a true Texan, I am a Dallas Cowboys fan to the end.  Like, hard core.  In middle school, when other girls my age had posters of Devon Sawa and JTT, I had posters of Troy Aikman and Emmitt Smith.  When my girlfriends spent their Sundays painting their nails, I spent my Sundays watching football and shouting at the TV.  For my 13th birthday, my mom thought it would be really funny to get me a cake decorated in green and yellow for the Green Bay Packers.  (Just FYI, the Packers and the Whiners were our biggest rivals in the early to mid-90s and I absolutely hated them.)  I threw a teenaged hissy fit and refused to even blow out the candles on that treacherous cake, much less eat a piece of it.  My mom ended up going to the grocery store down the street and picking up a Cowboys cake.  At grocery stores in San Antonio, Cowboys cakes were available on demand, especially during the playoffs.

So you know I must really really love that Boyfriend of mine if I'm willing to look past such a glaring personality flaw and date him despite the Whiners fandom.  When we first started dating three years ago, we made a deal that neither one of us would actively root against the other's team ... unless they were playing each other.  Well guess what.  Our rival teams are playing each other.  This Sunday.  I hope our love can withstand the test.

Despite all the different gold and red nail polishes I have, I painted my nails gray for the Big Game.  If only I had a lovely dark blue (or silver...).



Viva Mexico {part 3}

This is the last Mexico post, I swear!  I just couldn't let the week end without telling you about our zip lining tour and the dinner show we saw.

We decided to do a tour called Canopy River, where you basically zip line starting at about 250 meters above the river and make your way all the way down to the water.  It was awesome!  The Boyfriend and I both went backwards/upside down at least once.  And, btw, I was the only girl in our group to do it!  I don't know if that makes me really brave or really stupid but either way, it was amazing!

Taking off

 We were so high!!
The Boyfriend, flying backwards

And me backwards - look, Ma, no hands!!!

I also rode a mule for the first time.  I had never ridden on any kind of animal before this so I had no idea what to do.  My little guy kept stopping to eat along the way and it took me a while to figure out how to get his attention and keep him going.

The main area also had a restaurant and tequila distillery.  We had free tequila tastings while waiting for our shuttle back to the hotel.  Did you know there are coffee, chocolate, and almond flavored tequilas out there in that big wide world??

Isn't he handsome? ♡ ♡

Another highly recommended activity was something called Rhythms of the Night.  It's basically the Mexican version of a luau.  We had a delicious candlelit dinner on the beach followed by an awesome show but we weren't allowed to take pictures of it!!  There were acrobats, dancers, contortionists, and flame throwers.  I snuck my camera out during the flame throwing segment and clicked a few shots for ya!!  (Luckily I had my trusty 50mm, which works great in low light).

Alright, that's it for Mexico!  I'm sure you're sick of hearing about it by now but hopefully I've inspired you to take a trip down to Puerto Vallarta some time.  I promise you'll have a wonderful time!!

(*The zip lining photos were taken by the tour company.  I didn't take my camera with me so all we had was The Boyfriend's iPhone for photos afterwards.)


Viva Mexico {part 2}

Warning: There are a ton of photos in this post.  And most of them are totes adorbs.  You've been warned.

Lions and tigers and bears, oh my!!  We took a little day trip to the Puerto Vallarta zoo last week and saw a lot of amazing animals.  We also noticed quite a few differences between the Puerto Vallarta zoo and American zoos.

First, all the animals were incredibly close - like, only a chain link fence separating us and them - and we could hand-feed almost all of them.  When you first arrive at the zoo, you're given the option of buying a bag of animal food.  Basically, the bag has bread, carrots, peanuts, corn, and pellets.  We ended up having enough food for all the animals that we were allowed to feed.

The expression on this guy's face was just too good to pass up.  The photo is a little out of focus, though, because he absolutely would NOT stand still!!

That's a black bear behind that fence, in case you can't tell.  And there's a pretty nice-sized hole in the fence, which The Boyfriend is using to give some bread to the bear.  A freakin' BEAR!!

Basically, the only ones we couldn't feed were the lions and tigers.  But the poor little lions were so skinny they could've used some extra food!  We were actually both taken aback by how skinny some of the animals looked (liked the male lion below).  A lot of them looked borderline malnourished.  I don't know if that's because I'm just used to seeing well-fed American zoo animals or if they really were getting very skimpy diets.  Either way, it was a bit disturbing.

We were also surprised by how sparse some of their habitats were.  I was especially aware of this when we saw the guinea pigs.  Since we got Molly, I've read a lot about what guinea pigs in captivity need to be healthy, happy animals.  One of the most important things for them to have is constant access to hay.  They have a natural need to chew because they're teeth never stop growing.  The hay helps keep their teeth in check and also helps maintain a healthy digestive system.  But the guinea pigs at the zoo had no hay.  In fact, they had nothing to chew on.  All they had was a little covered area with shade from the sun and some water.  We felt bad for them and ended up giving them all of our food pellets.

Despite the surprising differences, we had a great time at the zoo.  How could we not?  Those darn little animals are just so adorable!  And feeding giraffes and black bears by hand was pretty freakin' awesome.

The Boyfriend: "Hey, Stephanie, what are you doing."  Me: "Oh, you know, just letting a giraffe eat out of my hand.  NBD."  (I was also sweatin' like a whore in church, btw.)

Sleepy hyena

Deer: "Hey, what are you looking at?  Haven't you ever seen a deer peeing before??"  Me: "No, actually I have not.  Until now."

Look at that cute wittle fwace!!!

Oh, did I mention entrance to the zoo was 10 bucks each and the bag of food was only 5 bucks?  Best deal ever!!
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