Wednesday, January 1, 2020

Happy 2020 Everyone!! I'm so excited about this new year, but more specifically this fresh decade upon us. I have a lot of new posts planned and something I want to share more is the books I recommend (and I want to hear what you're reading too)! A classy woman is always looking for ways to continually learn and educate herself, improve her knowledge in a variety of areas so she can hold an interesting conversation and live a better quality life. I also find that it's quite relaxing to read a real book before bed, instead of an electronic version on my iPad- it's just one of my secrets for a better night's sleep!

Raise your hand if reading more books was on your list of goals for this year! *hand raised over here!* This has been something that I've been more intentional about, especially as I encourage our 6-year-old daughter Lily to sit quietly and read on Saturday mornings with mommy and daddy so we can all begin our day in a relaxed state. Ideally I'd like to be reading one new book I can add to my library every single week (or approximately 50 new books per year), but the reality is that I'm often driving in the car listening to Podcasts as well as audio books along with reading to/having Lily read out loud to us. 

During our 2019 summer vacation I got to read a few hard copy books uninterrupted as we lost ourselves in the moment and our surroundings, where were the stunning views in Tuscany. As I added to my list of books I'd happily recommend or gift to others, I decided it was time to share a fresh round of book recommendations with you. As we've entered the new year many wish to hit a reset button of sorts, tackle new goals and clear out old patterns. The books I'm sharing address everything from healthier eating habits to adding more gratitude to your day, they are books I proudly display in my library and my hope is that they will be a welcomed addition to your own bedroom nightstand.

1. The Art of The Good Life- What I love about this book  written by Rolf Dobelli (which focuses on the shortcuts to happiness, wealth and success) is that it's broken down into 52 little mini chapters- concepts you can incorporate into your own life and thinking. Rolf couples modern psychology with ancient philosophy which is rooted in Stoicism, so if that's not your thing then this book may not be for you. I found his insights and examples provided refreshing and truly provided food for thought-this book could make for a fun conversation starter as it encourages us to live a more engaged, intentional and authentic life . Dobelli breaks the myth that their is one answer to solve  with  that you could reach each day or as the topic numbers dictate, you could read a new one each week on a Sunday for example and complete it in a year or finish it in a day. Personally, I have gotten more out of it by not rushing though and instead letting each idea sink it. You can pick it up any time, one to keep on your bookshelf to refer back to your favorite dog-eared chapters when you need a reminder. I also like that this one makes a great gift for virtually anyone male or female and bonus points because it looks pretty on a coffee table. B added his bestselling book "The Art of Thinking Clearly" to our library a few years ago but it's new for me, so I'll be adding that to my reading list.

2. The Universe Has Your Back- I cannot say enough good things about this book written by Gabrielle Bernstein, it is a must-read for everyone in my opinion!!  If you follow me on social media you may have seen me share it because it was life-changing for me. I make an effort to practice the power of positive thinking, understand the laws of attraction and faith is a huge part of my life. That said, I was feeling stuck a few years ago as I navigated un-chartered territory: life as a divorced woman and newly single mother who just moved across the country to start fresh. I stumbled upon Gabby's book in a book store one Sunday afternoon around the time I was ready to begin dating. I had so many fears at that time that I would get over in moments and then they'd pop back up again. Being a praying woman, I of course made the bible my main go-to but this was right next to it on my bedside table. I was able to see things differently and noticed amazing shifts taking place. I always knew I was in the driver's seat of my life and had already made many bold moves but this book is one that I've referred back to many times and just recently picked up her Universe Has Your Back 52-card deck of affirmations which are a lot of fun to select a daily card to be reminded up and inspired by. If you have a friend struggling with overcoming certain fears and longing to live in a place of faith, I highly recommend this as a resource.

3. The Clarity Cleanse- I discovered this book by Dr. Habib Sadeghi via a Podcast as several celebrities have read and endorsed it (there is a forward by Gwyneth Paltrow) so I ordered it and decided to read it during our flights while we flew to Europe this summer. I began the first couple chapters of the book at home curled up on the couch but got to more in-depth chapters while traveling. I was so impressed with his ability to make his insight easy to understand, his extensive medical knowledge-the man healed himself of cancer! His story is so inspiring and he unpacks how our unresolved and stored-up emotions actually impact us and express themselves in physical pain, illness and more. As I listened to his story, it struck a nerve and helped me unpack my own deeply-rooted beliefs reminding me of some childhood and teenage experiences I had, it triggered me in a way that I needed but one caution (which was my own fault) is that I do not recommend reading this one in public or during vacation for that matter! It was like having a therapy session while on vacation. LOL. I ended up sobbing during one leg of our trip and it actually brought up some negative feelings I was working through (abandonment issues from my childhood when my parents separated) which in moments didn't positively affect the emotions I had while my sweetie and I were trying to begin a beautiful and relaxing holiday together. That said, I had the good sense to tuck this powerful and transformative read away for the rest of the trip.  This book is not a light, fluffy read- it is truly for someone who is ready to do the work of creating clarity and cleansing their life of what no longer serves them, releasing emotions that have unbeknownst to you, held you back. So, if you're ready for that, I believe it's a brilliant guide, causing you to go deeper in a way that I haven't seen other authors do.

4. Judgement Detox- This was my second book by Gabby Bernstein and while I think it's an important read for everyone, it was more challenging and the work was a lot deeper that in her first book I mentioned above. Why I'm ultimately sharing it with you here is because I believe we live in a time where we're surrounded by judgement-we judge others AND ourselves constantly. This book helps us free ourselves of those perceptions and instead align ourselves in a greater place of love and acceptance. While Gabby has shared herself that this is not her most popular book (and one that many don't end up finishing because it requires us to go deeper and deal with our judgement in a way that we're often not ready to give up), if you're ready to do some major self-reflection and release the beliefs that hold you back in life, then this one is a clear winner in my opinion.

5. Everything is FigureoutableI've long followed Business and Life Coach Marie Forleo via her MarieTV episodes that I found on accident 7 years ago. Her fun, witty style always grabbed my attention while simultaneously adding to my knowledge base as she's filled with incredible insights and advice for business and life. Imagine my excitement when I found out she was writing a book and the very title was named after her famous phrase 'everything is figureoutable' encouraging all of us that there is no challenge or circumstance that can hold us back, we can overcome anything! I digested this book and took away SO many nuggets of wisdom. She herself is proof that it is all possible with dedication, determination and hard work. She deep dives into how exactly to do just that. One of my favorite chapters included the excuses we need to stop using and telling ourselves. Reading the breakdown of just how many hours are dedicated to social media and TV, and how many full 24-hour days of time that translated into if we chose to redirect our efforts and become less distracted struck a nerve and made me ultra-committed to ensuring I don't waste time on things that don't matter. Marie's book touches every area of life and I can't say enough good things about it, plus she is just such an amazing woman and I was proud to support her work by buying this book. Bottom line: Get yourself a copy ASAP, you will be armed with the wisdom you need to achieve all of your dreams!

6. Ketotarian-Switching gears for a moment, let's dive into a fabulous book by Dr. Will Cole for everyone who is looking to add more energy, experience better mental clarity and eliminate brain fog, burn fat, lose weight and keep it off in a healthy, sustainable way following a mostly plant-based approach while doing my favorite thing about keto-eliminating cravings! Anyone who knows me well (or follows my IG stories) knows that I go between the keto diet indulging in grass-fed red meat for the essential minerals I can't  balanced out with a huge adoration for the plant-based diet- my body actually craves the flavor and vibrancy of fruit and veggies but I've learned the key to staying full is with healthy fats and a lot of them (especially needed for brain function and to prevent degenerative mental diseases). This book marries the two and balances out both of these for me, plus I get to eat a lot of guac, so there's that! ;)  Ketotarian is filled with recipes that are almost entirely plant-based (with a bit of seafood and dairy) however, because I choose to be mostly dairy-free due to allergies, I just omit that when it's called for. So, if you are vegan, vegetarian or prefer a plant-based diet but feel the keto diet could never be for you because you don't eat things like bacon, steak, cheese or coat your veggies in butter, I would recommend reading this for a completely fresh perspective.

7. Celery Juice- Is it just me or was 2019 the year of the celery juicing movement? Some tried it and didn't love the taste, others raved about the incredible benefits that the simple act of juicing one ingredient-celery, had on their body. Anthony William (AKA Medical Medium) wrote this NY Times bestselling book which reveals why celery juice is having such a profound affect in the lives of so many people, particularly those suffering from skin conditions however it extends well beyond eczema, acne and psoriasis. The sodium cluster salts within this humble veggie have already healed millions worldwide. You all know I love my celery juice, I've shared many IG videos of Lily helping me juice and enjoying drinking it with mama. He explains in depth as to how specifically celery juice works within our body and why. I learned so much from him and I consider myself someone who knows far more than the average person with regards to health and wellness as I've studied it for over 20 years. Anthony's instagram feed showcases testimonials of the many people who have reversed disease and improved their life with this one simple change. If you are experiencing any health issues at all, I think his books and free information is incredibly eye opening. He is one of the most truly knowledgeable people in the health space that I've come across and has a following of over 2 Million on Instagram alone. You can prepare celery juice 2 different ways, he explains the 'blender method' as well as using a juicer. I personally prefer the juicer method even though we own a Vitamix that I use daily for smoothies, I don't find the clean up of a juicer to be a pain at all. I tend to make mass batches at once buying several bunches of organic celery instead of juicing daily. This is the juicer that Anthony and I both use which is the masticating type (vs. centrifugal) which allows the juice to be stored for up to 72 hours because of the way it breaks down the juice vs. 24 hours so I only end up juicing about twice per week when consuming it daily, then I use these 32 oz glass mason jars to store them in my fridge. I've had my juicer for 5 years without any issues at all and although it's a bit of an investment, it is the Ferrari of Juicers!

8. Super Attractor- This is my favorite of all Gabby's books and it's her most recent release! I wholeheartedly believe this book will change lives! I read it in a few days, I also picked up the audible copy so I could listen to it while driving in my car which just reinforces the methods and wisdom as daily reminders. That is the beauty of this book, not only is a great one to gift a loved one as we begin 2020 filled with desires in our heart to fulfill, but it is my daily go-to when I feel stuck, as thought I'm caught up in a negative thought pattern and need to redirect and "choose again" -just one method from this gem of a read. Lily and I begin most mornings with the morning mantra inside and I've referred to it on an almost daily basis. If you're looking to manifest amazing things into your life, stop blocking the blessings and opportunities you desire and instead learn how to draw them to you like a magnet, I encourage you to pick up a copy. As many of you know I'm a Christian and this book was not 'new age' to me, it is rooted in the spirit of God/Universe or what we each define it as. The author herself believes in God but doesn't push that on her readers, it is inviting to all. I was honored to get to see her speak live here in San Francisco a few months ago and picked up another autographed copy of her book along with the Super Attractor journal and then I later picked up the Super Attractor 52-card deck of affirmations. Lily and I like to pick 2 cards every single day and now I'm doing the same with her other deck. One day the card I randomly chose moved me to tears as it spoke directly to where I was at in that specific moment. My intention and focus this year is to have more joy and truly listen to my own intuition, I get myself into trouble every time I ignore it.


One last book I'd like to recommend is this Simply Grateful journal! I gave a copy away during our 30 Day Giving Challenge on Facebook and own a copy myself. It is a beautiful high quality gratitude journal that is sustainably sourced and I can't believe it's only $12! These make great little hostess, birthday or 'just thinking of you gifts'. 

Have you read any of these books recommendations? What are you reading right now? I'm always up for something new!


Monday, December 2, 2019

1. Massage Gun  //  2. Airpods Pro  //  3. UGG Slippers   //  4. TUMI Backpack  //  5. Kiehl's Facial Kit  //  6. YETI Mug  //  7.  Leather Moto Jacket   //  8.  Whiskey Stones Set   //  9.  Whiskey City Glasses  //  10. Apple Watch ( Series 5)

I'm starting the 2019 Classy Woman's Holiday Gift Guide series with some of the hardest people to shop for-the men in our life! This year, my sweetie has thankfully been more vocal about what he would most enjoy or really needs so it's making my shopping easier. I'm rounding up some tried and true gifts that any guy in your life is sure to love and will use. I've also rounded up the best of today's Cyber Monday deals too, you can find those at the bottom of this post-there are some awesome sales right now including 50% off all Christmas decorating at Target if you're getting ready to decorate your tree and home like I am.

Massage Gun //  My hunny asked me to get him one this year after using it after an intense workout, these are more targeted than massage balls and are similar to what you might find in a Chiropractor's office. Perfect if your guy is athletic, making workouts a greater priority this coming year or could use some relief from pain.

Airpods Pro //  These are a favorite in our house-not having to untangle wires is a beautiful thing. We both own the regular airpods, however this next generation Pro version offers noise-cancelling capabilities and they fit ears better than the original version. We love ours for air travel, listening to podcasts and audio books while in each other's space and especially at the gym or taking calls with more privacy.

UGG Slippers // Other moccasin slippers may look the same but they are not UGGs. The lambs wool is so soft and cushy and the rubber tread sole is durable enough to wear outdoors, they really last! I bought myself this cute gray pair with leather bow and I literally wear them every single day (even in the summer) because they keep my feet from feeling cold on the hardwood and tile in our home, they are the perfect gift as men usually won't buy themselves slippers.

Tumi Backpack // For my birthday B gifted me with this gorgeous leather women's Tumi backpack and I just love it for its practical yet beautiful design. I first became interested in getting one as he mentioned someone had purchased this one for him as a gift and although at the time he didn't initially think he'd use it a lot, it turned out to be one of the things he uses the most as he travels for business and we use it for weekend road trips along with vacations where it serves as our personal item or carry on (there's even a compartment for a pair of shoes!). Even after a few years' use, his in black looks virtually new thanks to its quality craftsmanship. I love that we're always twinning with our his & hers versions during our trips.

Kiehl's Facial Kit // Especially for the guy who isn't into skincare but knows he should be using something, this is a great introduction. Kiehl's offers quality products that are lightly scented and deliver results. I love their travel kits because they're great for taking essentials away, but they're perfect for discover which full size products your man most prefers.

YETI Mug //  Insulated mugs are a great gift and these fit a car cup holder, and given their larger size are the perfect companion to a long morning commute. If we didn't already own these matching (we love to twin) BMW travel mugs, I'd get B one as he does a lot of driving and loves coffee or bone broth for the ride.

Leather Moto Jacket // If you're looking for a classic jacket that won't go out of style, look no further because a black leather moto jacket is where its at. It's a great investment piece that will be a staple in his closet for years to come.

Whiskey Stones // During our first Christmas together I bought B these stones, they are a stylish way of chilling a drink without watering it down. Knowing he loves a good glass of scotch, I couldn't resist and they come in a convenient little bag so you can pop the pair into the freezer door to chill.

City Whiskey Glasses // I love these unique city glasses so much. Each one has the map of a city so if he loves his hometown or the city he attended collage in or simply has a favorite sports team, a pair or set of 4 of these would make a great gift paired with the whiskey stones above. I bought these for B during our first Christmas with San Francisco along with New York (both cities he lived and worked in) and now we call SF home.

Apple Watch (Series 5) // With a built-in fitness app it's perfect for the athletic man in your life who wishes to be hands-free but still get the same information while crushing his fitness goals. It is so much more though, like the iPhone it can receive calls, provide social media notifications, messages, alert and motivate you to stand if you've been sitting too long, you can even adjust the settings to the specific terrain you're on for running indoors/outdoor, spinning or just to count your steps for the day and of course monitor heart rate. There are many more things that it can do, but those are a few beyond telling time and temperature, date etc.



AMAZON  // Up to 56% off Amazon devices

ALO YOGA // Up to 70% off sale items, up to 30% off full-price

ANN TAYLOR // 50% off everything + free shipping with code "CYBER"

ANTHROPOLOGIE  // 30% off everything + 50% off sale, free shipping over $100

ASOS // 30% off everything with code "BIG30"

BANANA REPUBLIC //  50% off sitewide

BAUBLE BAR // 35% off everything

BLOOMINGDALES // 25% off regular + sale items and 50% off clearance

COACH // 50% off winter sale

DICK'S SPORTING GOODS //  Up to 50% off sitewide

EXPRESS // 50% off everything plus free shipping

GAP //  50% off everything using code "GAPCYBER"

J.CREW // Up to 50% off

J.CREW FACTORY //  60% off everything

KATE SPADE // 50% off  sale with code "CYBERFUNDAY"

LEVI'S // 40% off sitewide + 50% off sale

LOFT // 40% off  everything using code "24HOURS"

MADEWELL // 30% off using code "GIFTWELL"

NORDSTROM //  Up to 50% off hundreds of items

NEIMAN MARCUS // Designer sale up to 50% off

NINE WEST //  50% off sitewide

OLD NAVY //  50% off hundreds of styles (discount applied at checkout)

RAG & BONE // Save 25% off entire site

REBECCA MINKOFF // 25% off orders $100+ with code "THANKS25", up to 75% off  sale

REVOLVE // Extra 20% off with code "CYBER20"

SAM EDELMAN // Up to 30% off almost everything with code "SAM2019"

T3 //  25% off sitewide with code "MONDAY19"

TARGET // Up to 50% off

TOPSHOP // Up to 50% off everything

TORY BURCH // 30% off with code "THANKS"

UGG //  Up to 60% OFF

7 FOR ALL MANKIND // 40% off everything with code "FAM40"


Let's Socialize!

What holiday gifts have been a hit with your man in the past? Share with us in the comments below. Happy Cyber Week shopping!


Friday, October 4, 2019

It's pretty easy to spot a person who has confidence when they speak, there is an effortlessness about them, it's not forced and it doesn't sound rehearsed nor do they ramble on. They have a purpose and clarity to their message and there is a certain presence that they command as they are not intimidated by an audience. While a confident communicator is easy to recognize, what is not always as easy to pinpoint is what specifically makes them so. That's what I want to break down for your today so you can become a more effective speaker and an overall more confident, classy woman.

1. Speak Up to Be Heard- If you are coming across as overly quiet and meek, people will quickly tune you out, no matter how valuable your message is. You don't need to yell to raise your voice (that's what microphones are for) but do make sure your voice can be heard and you speak clearly so you're easily understood.

2. Remove Filler Words- Since the goal is to sound like a lady with a point to communicate, it's essential to refrain from using the words 'um, uh huh, uh, yup, yeah, like and other similar sorts of words. Clearly communicate without all the extras and try to keep your message to the point using the greatest range of vocabulary that you can.

3. Maintain Good Posture- If you want to exude confidence, correct posture can go a long way. Sitting or standing up straight and tall with shoulders back (not hunched), chest slightly up and out along with chin up conveys a presence of inner confidence. If you don't feel that way when presenting or speaking in front of a group, try this anyway and your body language will help get your mind into a more confident state. You want to create an inviting presence, not come across as a shrinking violet with her head down.

4. Don't Take Yourself Too Seriously- Be willing to laugh at yourself! If you say something that made more sense in your mind before speaking it or you mispronounce a word or use the wrong word (it happens to the best of us), laughing at yourself or brushing it off will go a long way to appear human and show your truth authentic confidence. You also don't want to be so serious that you lack the ability to be present in the moment or forget to smile while speaking. What you're sharing might in fact be a serious conversation or topic, but even that can be made lighter so others around you feel comfortable, which at the end of the day is the goal of every classy woman.

5. Educate Yourself- It isn't wise to chime in on or talk on end about topics that you don't truly know in depth. In such situations, it's far better to spend time just being an observer and active listener, learning all that you can on the topic at hand versus feeling the need to be a contributor when you don't really have much to add. This is also a great opportunity to learn more by asking thoughtful questions. Everyone has an opinion and they'll all differ from one another, so instead be a woman who brings meaningful insight, facts and experiences to the conversation. A funny story or something that relates is fine, but it's advised to sit quietly. It's always better to remain silent than open your mouth up and prove that you aren't sure what you're talking about. When asked to speak, presenting or in social networking environments, it's best to come armed with a few topics or newsworthy bits that pertain to the event so that you do in fact feel confident speaking to others. In my experience confidence is gained through not only experience, but also increased education whether that be formal or through your own research.

6. Dress Well- When we dress our best, we naturally feel elevated and wonderful about ourselves. That said, dressing well should include fuss-free clothing, shoes and accessories that are not going to take attention away from what we have to say, in turn causing your audience to fixate on your stilettos that appear to be hard to walk in or earrings that are sparkly and distracting. This should always be the goal whether you intend on speaking in front of others or not. If you want to be taken seriously, let's just be honest-hair up in a ponytail with ripped jeans and a tee will not come across as authoritative as someone who has put more thought into their overall appearance and clothing such as a skirt with blazer and simple blouse with pumps. One looks the professional and educated part, while the other may look like casual weekend attire. That said, the opposite can at times also be true if you work in a trendy city or are in the fashion or design industry where this is expected, in which case the aforementioned professional attire would be a bit out of place. Overall, you will never go wrong with being well dressed and erring on the more professional side.

7. Bring Positive Energy- Your authentic energy often enters the room as you walk in before you even open your mouth to speak, so it's important to make sure it's positive. When someone is excited or passionate about what they're sharing, they naturally have a high level of positive energy, this can be heard in their voice through their intonation and a level of enthusiasm for what they're talking about. Happy, positive people also generally have a knack for being problem solvers, their optimism can be contagious and they are far more engaging than someone who brings forth complaints and negativity. We all naturally want to be around others who are happy, light and offer a positive vibe.

8. Practice a Confident Pose- I can't take credit for the superman/wonder woman pose I'm about to mention, it came from a YouTube video of Tony Robbins that I listened to where he reveals that before going on stage, into a boardroom or before an interview, we can use a specific pose to build ourselves up. The idea is to stand with arms and legs spread apart with hands resting on one's waist, which is a pose of confidence and strength. Lifting weights or going for a run earlier in the day before you need to speak are other ideas (and great daily habits) that will allow you to feel in your most peak state. If you've listened to Tony's messages, you'll know he often speaks on how motion creates emotion and just by changing your body's state, you can gain new energy. I have tried this pose along with using a starfish pose (arms out to the sky) and have found it helpful.

A final note: If you are venturing into the world of public speaking, are required to deliver regular presentations to your team or clients at work or just want to improve the way you speak while in larger social settings, one of the best ways to accomplish this is by practicing. They key is consistency, nobody is great at anything from the beginning. The more you educate yourself on a variety of topics by reading books or articles, listening to the news and podcasts, along with regularly conversing with others, the easier this will become. If you are someone who works from home or within an office where you speak to very few people daily, I highly encourage you to find some outlets that offer fun, social experiences such as book clubs, group dinners and anything you can to enhance this skill set.


Let's Socialize!

What tips have you tried to have a more confident presence when you speak?


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Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Last November a colleague of B's introduced us to a 5-day plant-based program called ProLon. He was really excited and spoke about how he lost weight and had more energy, but we didn't need to take his word for it, the proof was obvious with his clearer, more glowing skin along with his obvious weight loss. We were inspired to learn more about this program that offered such amazing benefits in just 5 short days.  I'm not one to jump onto the bandwagon of a new diet or eating program until I've fully researched the benefits and read/heard testimonials. This program is a bit of an investment into your health, so that's just what we did. I loved the fact that everything was made with plant-based ingredients which automatically helps detox and cleanse the body, so we figured we had nothing to lose.

Shortly thereafter my sweetie and I decided to order the ProLon program to give it a try together. We had been planning an upcoming trip during the Christmas holidays to New Zealand and wanted a bit of a jump start on our diet as we had been fairly relaxed with regards to snacking, finding ourselves eating out more than usual and it was all starting to catch up with us! Once our boxes arrived we decided to do the program together and we both noted weight loss (I lost 5 lbs, B lost an incredible 12 lbs!). What we noticed and valued most though wasn't seeing a smaller number on the scale, it was the increased energy levels we both had on far few calories than we were accustomed to, this sparked in us a new appreciation for just how little the human body actually needs to not only survive but thrive! The instructions called for laying low and not adding workouts to an already lower calorie diet so we followed it exactly as it stated (we later learned that workouts on the program were completely okay for us and in fact we preferred that to keep our strength up).

ProLon may appear to be some kind of weight loss magic, however what they pride themselves in most is the science behind longevity-detoxification and keeping body cells healthy to prevent premature aging, promote healthy cell replication as well as provide increased energy which can in turn offer clearer skin and an overall sense of greater wellness. Once we finished our 5 days, we gently transitioned back to regular food the next, this time being more mindful about what we were putting into our bodies and more specifically how much we consumed. I eat a mostly plant-based diet already with some meat and fish, but a goal was to reduce my sugar intake. We also began working out regularly again.

Once we arrived home from our winter vacation we immediately began unpacking moving boxes and getting settled into our new place in San Francisco and found ourselves eating out quite a bit our first week home. We knew we needed to make some changes again. For a couple weeks I would implement a few similar 'ProLon' days involving soups, crackers and lower calories but nothing worked exactly like the program itself, so we decided to order another box. I reached out to ProLon as I was planning to order another box (as was my sweetie) and they generously agreed to sponsor my second round by providing me with a full box and they are offering you a sweet deal also with a coupon code below. Because of the amazing results we both had, I wanted to document it all in greater detail and share my experience with you all. After all, it was in casual conversation with B's colleague that we ended up trying it, and sometimes we discover the greatest products by word of mouth, my hope is that you will find it to be the incredible addition to your healthy lifestyle goals or catalyst for change that it has been for us!

As I'm writing this, we have just returned from Europe where we spent everyday of our summer vacation indulging in everything from croissants in Paris, gelato in Florence to homemade pizza and pasta in Tuscany. While we still incorporated workouts into our time away to compensate for our treats and were mindful of what we ate overall making calculated splurges, the scale doesn't lie and we both still ended up gaining a few pounds so it's Prolon to the rescue again! We're halfway though and just like the very first time trying it we are back to feeling vibrant and lighter. B has already lost an incredible 6.5 pounds after just 2 days and I have lost the 3 that I gained in total. It has now become our secret weapon for bouncing back from vacation and when we've splurged during a weekend getaway trip to Napa.

If you follow along on my instagram stories, you may have seen me posting daily updates of my weigh-in as well as what I was eating and sharing how I felt. If you want to take a peek back at that, even my sweet 5-year-old Lily makes a little appearance. I've shared it in the Instagram Highlights labeled Prolon Fasting right here. Let me break it down for you below...

My 5-Day Experience with Prolon

Day 1: I just want to reiterate that I didn't do this program to lose weight specifically although it is a nice side benefit. However, I will share with you what my 5 days looked like because I don't know anyone who has used this system and has not lost some weight, so perhaps it can provide a reference point. The first day of the program I weighed in at 126.8 lbs. This first day allows for the most calories to transition you to the next few days. I didn't find it challenging because the delicious L-bars are nut-based and very filling as a snack/breakfast for the day. The carefully proportioned fats, fiber and proteins provided through delicious seasoned olives, soups and their yummy kale crackers keep you feeling full, you do not feel deprived. If you're drinking the organic teas provided throughout the day along with water, your brain will naturally receive the message that your body is hydrated and properly nourished and therefore 'full'.

Day 2: I weighted myself in the morning and was 125 lbs which is a bit on the light side for me. I woke up the second day feeling light, full of energy, my tummy felt flatter and my mind was clearer. It may not seem like a lot (especially if you consume about 2,000-2,500 calories per day as I sometimes do including snacks and fancy coffee drinks at times), but today was an 800 calorie day. What makes it sustainable is that the diet includes fat and encourages lots of liquids. Our bodies need either fat or carbohydrates for fuel and this has a nice plant-based balance of both.

Day 3: This day felt harder because we had done a difficult workout routine with a concentration on abdominals (so this may be why they suggest omitting workouts!) Because I wasn't looking to lose weight and had hit where I was comfortable with I did have some cucumber slices and cashews as a supplement as I felt hungrier this day. Had my goal have been seeing a lower number on the scale, I would have been more disciplined and pushed through. That's the great thing about this plan, you can still make minor tweaks  (they even recommend cucumber slices per their email encouragement if needed) which I definitely incorporated.

Day 4: My favorite thing today was sipping hot tea and enjoying the choco-crisp L-bar for dessert. A little bit of chocolate and palette change in the evening goes a long way for me, it satisfies my chocolate craving without needing an entire slice of cake!

Day 5: Today was the final day and I reached my goal which was not weight loss but my body feeling lighter, cleaner, my mind is clear and my food cravings have gone way down. When your stomach shrinks back to a more healthy way of eating, this helps prevent overeating.

Day 6 (Transition Day): The day after the cleanse I worked in smoothies, fruit and baked salmon for dinner which kept our meal light so we didn't create a sudden shock to our body like meat would have.

On the 7th day we were back to eating normally once again as our diet is already fairly clean but with the new intention of not overeating. For example, our acai smoothies we used to drink daily were double the size and calories they really needed to be, filled with way too much natural sugars from fruit such as banana, so we instead started to substitute coconut oil and other healthy fats to help prevent us from overeating later on in the day. We were also mindful of portion sizes and committed to sharing entrees while dining out while each having a small appetizer and omitting desserts which are just unnecessary calories.

It's been great, we choose really well and it saves us money too! An interesting side benefit was that while we didn't give up coffee afterwards, we both decided to give up alcohol and we love a good Napa Cabernet! Alcohol slows down the metabolism as your body now puts all of its effort into removing the toxins from your bloodstream instead of burning fat and assimilating nutrients, we figured it was worth a shot and B has gone 2.5 months without any! I have a glass of wine now and then but one thing we both share in common is that we don't crave it and can totally live without it.

The most life-changing aspect of the Prolon Fasting was revealed to me pretty early into the program and that was just how many times I was reaching for a snack, handful of nuts, fruit or even a piece of chocolate not out of hunger but out of boredom or because it had become a habit (such as my late night snacking between dinner and bedtime which was always chocolate or chips and guac). This  also really demonstrated to me how we as a society have used food as a form of entertainment and to make us 'feel good' vs. actually using food for fuel, our nutritional needs and to satisfy real hunger. Letting myself become hungry in moments also reminded me to be grateful for all the food I have as I recognize there are people all over the globe who experience true hunger daily. I found myself trusting my body and the program and realized I was eating way too many calories, we can live off less than we think we can. This program was the catalyst to something new B and I are both making part of our daily regimen long after this 5-day experiment that we keep returning to, and that is intermittent fasting. We finish dinner earlier and essentially skip breakfast (we still drink coffee or hot water with lemon) creating a 12-16 hour window where our organs have the time to properly assimilate and digest food and cleanse themselves. You know what? It only took a few days to adjust and my body just feels better, my abs are more visible and I get so much more out of workouts early in the morning with a coffee or two and the absence of a breakfast that usually just makes me feel ill when I run or work out intensely so it's been a win-win.


PRADA MARFA ART: (smaller version) //  BLOUSE: Karl Lagerfeld (old)  // JEANS: Express


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If you'd like to experience transformational results too, Prolon is offering Classy Woman readers the following discount codes to use at checkout:

Karla10 for 10% off single orders
Karla10Sub for 10% off subscription orders (3 boxes or more)

Have any of you tried Prolon? What was your favorite result from the program?

This was a long post, thanks for reading!


Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Decisions, Decisions...we are bombarded with them daily from the monumental to the inconsequential. When you really stop and think about it, our life is shaped by (and ultimately a series of) choices that we have made to get to where we are today- from the city we choose to live in, the school we attended, the career path we've pursued, how much we allocate to our hobbies or working out in a month, the person we call our significant other, the friends we have decided to associate with and in many cases the timing in which we wish to incorporate the more significant events of life such as: when to get married, plan to start trying for a family, the timing of finally turning that hobby or passion project into a full-blown business and everything else in between.

One thing is for sure, in this lifetime we will all experience the feelings of uncertainty, anxiety, confusion, stress or fear at times along with the opposite feelings of possibility that surround it like excitement and anticipation, all of which are components of decision making. My goal for today's post is to get you thinking about how to make better decisions for your own life. I hope your eyes will be opened up to new ideas and tactics that will assist you as you make your most important life decisions so that you're armed with the confidence and conviction to decide without wavering or second guessing yourself, nor experiencing feelings of regret long after your choices have been made.

I vividly remember making one of the hardest decisions that I've ever been faced with...the decision to leave my marriage of nearly 10 years, something I did not take lightly especially with a two-year-old to consider. It was something that I contemplated on a few different occasions due to certain patterns observed over the years, behaviors, and the loneliness that I often felt as we lived apart many times while he traveled overseas along with lack of partnership. I could also see its impact on my sweet little girl and if I wanted her to experience a different and better life, I knew it was up to me to make the bold move so she we could both experience the joy and fullness that life has to offer. If I'm really honest with myself, my gut told me something wasn't quite right the first month following our wedding. I initially disregarded my gut instincts and instead forged ahead making the best of not only a less than ideal situation and relationship, but also dishonored myself and tolerated so many things that I never would have nor did while dating anyone. If I had experienced such things earlier in time, I would never have made such a serious commitment. However, because of that promise and feeling a certain level of shame in not being able to 'make it work', I stayed. I'm grateful to have my beautiful daughter as a result, so not all was lost, there was a purpose for that season of my life.

If you've followed along here for a while, you may have wondered why family posts and life shares came to a grinding halt a few years ago in 2016 both here as well as on social media, it was the year I was faced with reliving my own childhood as I contemplated life as not only a single woman after a decade or being married but also become *gasp* a single mom, following in the footsteps of my own mother. I have sooo much respect for every single mama out there (and I developed a new found admiration for mine), ladies it is hard! After our many conversations I considered her life lessons, regrets and advice. I was also very grateful to have her full support no matter what I decided. Although her and my father's situation, experiences and reasons were entirely different from my own in parting ways, I gained insight from the many conversations she and I had. While I have a wonderful relationship with my mom, I also have an amazingly close relationship with my father and I am eternally grateful for his love and support as he was instrumental in our move to the west coast, I'm thankful to now be living just minutes away from him here in the Bay Area! While I listened to the advice of loved ones along, spent time in prayer and quiet reflection, considered both sides of my decision, read relevant books and sought out wise counsel, what I finally realized I needed the most was to listen to my heart and my gut instinct, to stop drowning out the feelings I felt for so long and truly embrace what I knew I needed to do.

I want to break down the methods I personally use while making decisions because nearly 3 years after taking that big step which included moving across the country, what I know for sure is that although difficult, I felt complete confidence in myself and my decisions which allowed me to squash any fear and instead focus all of my energy and time on the positive: my next steps, the bright future for my daughter and I which I'm currently living out today. And in case you're the process of learning the art of better decision making and staying true to myself, at the right time I ended up meeting the most incredible man- my sweetie Byron who is such an awesome, ever-present and loving daddy to our sweet princess, they have built such a beautiful relationship together and it's so precious to see the way she adores him (you can see some of our family adventures on instagram).


7 Tips for Making Better Decisions

1. Go with Your Gut-There is research proving that our first inclination is typically accurate, after all nobody knows us better than we know ourselves. Often times we intuitively already know the answer even before contemplating our best course of action. We were all given a sense of intuition for a reason, we need only trust it instead of looking outside of ourselves. This may feel different for each person, for me it feels like a sense of peace and in warning scenarios it's a tightening feeling and a sense of uneasiness in my diaphragm, something to pay attention to. You may not be as able to detect such a feeling while you're searching for an answer but I can assure that if you think back to a decision that has gone wrong, you may recall having felt that nagging sense of 'I knew I should have done such and such but didn't listen to my inner wisdom", use this feeling as a guide for making better future decisions. My gut warned me a few months into my marriage that there were red flags, I chose to ignore my gut and instead convinced myself that maybe my expectations were too high and these were just the adjustments to living together under one roof, when in reality I was in an unhealthy relationship. I'm thankful that I ultimately listened to my inner voice, allowing it serve as my guide.

2. Get Clear on Your Values- When we become crystal clear on what our goals and values are, we will be far less likely to operate out of a place of fear. For example, deciding to remain in a romantic relationship with someone that you know is not right for you because it's comfortable and you're not sure if anyone will ever love you again or because you don't want to be single and faced with the dating world again is making a choice for all the wrong reasons and stems from a fear-based mindset. Instead, when we know what we need within a relationship (as well as what we have to offer), the characteristics we would most like our partner to possess as well as what how we wish to feel as a couple, it's far easier to use that as a guide to choose well. 

When it comes to what we desire for a career, we can consider aspects as deeply as how we wish to be able to dress for our job everyday, how often we're willing to travel and possibly be away from loved ones or how much time we are willing to invest for the experience, education, salary offered, potential career advancement opportunities down the road, even the type of relationship we'd like to have with our boss or coworkers. Maybe a job offer involves a move out of state to a location that has a completely different climate, is located away from close friends and family, etc. What you decide at 25 will likely be different than what you decide at 40 because as time progresses our goals, dreams and what's important to us will change. It's vital to continually check in and make sure we're making the best decisions for the current lifestyle we lead.

3. Sleep on It- I have slept on every single big decision I have ever made in life and have never regretted it. While the answer won't necessarily be revealed to us in a dream (although I have had that experience a few times!) when we feel tired, stressed and overwhelmed with a variety of emotions and the demands of life is precisely when we need to take a break and give our body and brain some rest. If you can't sleep on it, at the very least commit to spending some quiet time alone in prayer or meditation.

4. Spend Time in Meditation / Prayer- When I face my most difficult challenges in life, I take them to God. Sometimes that means quickly praying in my car before a meeting that I make the best decision for my family or the one that will reveal the highest good for all. I often find tranquility and can clear my mind by sitting in a quiet, dark room or one with relaxing meditation music and sense an answer to a question just come to me. In this noisy world, solitude is greatly beneficial as we struggle to be present in the moment, it allows our brain a reprieve from the many demands upon us and allows us to return to self. Taking a walk in nature is one of my favorite activities, the sounds of ocean waves crashing, birds chirping or leaves crunching under my feet have such a calming effect.

5. Gather Facts- Most decisions are multi-dimensional and affect multiple facets of our life. For example going back to school may impact your entire household's schedule. This in turn may alter our personal life such as how we spend weekends, our significant other and possibly our relationship with them and our children. Due to cost, it can also impact the amount of disposable income available which in turn affects the entire family's happiness in the short term even though the long term goals of great earning power may be a reality. It's important to consider all angles, do some research, speak with others who have had to make similar decisions. Sometimes you'll need to collect far more information than you initially considered (as with contemplating a move overseas) vs. deciding something less involved such as which elementary school your child should attend for example. In my case moving across the country involved moving costs, logistics, a change of career (working for someone else vs. myself), a higher cost of living, closer proximity to my own immediate family, educating myself on preschool and daycare options in a new state along with realizing a better overall quality of life in terms of connecting with nature, climate, outdoor enjoyment, living in a more progressive state-we love having so much at our fingertips here.

6. Create a Deadline- When my dad suffered a massive heart attack a year and a half ago, as his daughter and immediate family who was present, I needed to make quick health decisions on his behalf while he was in the ICU so I didn't have the luxury of pondering options for days endlessly. However, I did have a short defined period to do so. Typically we do have more time on our side, and in such cases I think it's valuable to create an end point whether it's 24 hours, 3 days or a week, I don't think dwelling on something for long stretches of time actually benefit us, most times within about a weeks' time we already know the answer but are just afraid to make the wrong move.

7. Decide, Commit, and Move On- One of the best approaches to decision making is to fully embrace and commit to a choice. There should be no wavering afterward. Don't analyze it later, trust yourself and the decision you've made and just move forward. If you overthink every decision that you make, you will literally drive yourself crazy, and possibly those around you! Living in constant regret is no way to live at all. Be confident that you have made the best possible decision for your life and if you need to pivot at some point in the future, by all means do it, but know that each decision we make will ultimately lead to others, the lessons gathered along the way can only help propel us forward in an even more positive way.

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I'd love to know what strategies you use while facing difficult decisions. What was one of the most challenging ones you've had to make?


Tuesday, February 12, 2019

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Every Valentine's Day I look forward to showering my loved ones with sweet treats and special gifts. I also feel it's a great reminder to pamper ourselves too! Sometimes as women we can get so caught up with the day-to-day necessities that it's nice to splurge a little on a favorite new lipstick shade, a playful pair of sunglasses or a lacy robe that will make us feel ultra feminine and sexy just to switch things up a bit.

I'm sharing some of my favorite Valentine's Day gift giving ideas for the ladies in your life that can also double as wonderful indulgences for yourself. I received this over-sized Jo Malone candle in peony & blush suede scent over a year ago as a gift from my sweetie (it's also the signature perfume scent I wear daily!) and can't get enough-it really is the perfect gift. Pearl stud earrings are a staple in my jewelry box as well, I probably wear them every other day. This red lace dress is so pretty that I couldn't resist gifting it to myself (I ordered it in black as well), I'm a huge lover of lace and the cut of this dress is oh-so-classy covering in all of the right places. I can't wait for it to arrive so I can wear it on an upcoming date night with my love.


Let's Socialize!

What are your favorite Valentine's Day gifts to give and receive? What ways do you show yourself some extra love on this special day?


Sunday, February 3, 2019

I can still remember a time when yoga pants and workout leggings offered fairly limited options- basic plain black in a full or capri length only, with one particular brand leading the way which also happened to be the most expensive! Thankfully the term athleisure was coined and those days are long behind us now as we have a variety of brands, colors and patterns to choose from now when it comes to activewear. While I do love a perfect-fitting pair of simple black leggings, over the past few years I've 'upped my game' so to speak in the workout department and have opted for more interesting options such as cutouts or textures and incorporating a pop of color with my sneakers or a cute tank or zip up, making getting sweaty much more fun. I snagged this blue Nike zip-up top on sale while we were loading up on hiking gear before heading to New Zealand at Christmas and it has become one of my favorites, I'm already planning to buy it in a few more colors as it's become a layering wardrobe staple lately.

I recently purchased these Alo High Waist Moto Leggings that I've been seeing all over instagram, which are equal parts fashion and function. I love how they are stylish enough to wear with a cute sweater layered over a tank top to provide an edgy vibe but can take you straight to the gym afterwards and there is zero compromise when it comes to comfort, as they offer full stretch and they don't ride up or slide down nor are they see-through at all as some leggings can be-especially important when bending over! I'm excited that they have 7 other color choices because the white version is so pretty and perfect with spring just around the corner!


LEGGINGS:  Alo   //   TOP: Nike  // 
 SNEAKERS: Nike (color sold out-same style here, similar color here)  
SPORTS BRA: LuLulemon    //  WATER BOTTLE:  Life Factory


When it comes to workouts, while I do wear shorts at times; whether I'm hiking, running, doing a boot camp workout or flexing my ballet muscles in barre class, I'm almost always in a high-waisted yoga pant because they are just so comfortable and cover all the right places properly. They also come in handy when chasing little ones at the park. Lily likes it when I we take a mommy-daughter approach to climbing gyms so they come in handy for playground days too and the design looks like I put in just a little bit more effort into my overall look.


I hope you're having a great weekend so far and are able to squeeze in a workout however you can! Sometimes all I have time for is a few sets of simple kettlebell exercises in my living room, a quick 15 minute run on the treadmill or a few multi-targeting ab moves such as planking or mountain climbers. Every little bit counts and keeps our momentum going even on the days we aren't able to get in a 'proper' workout. I don't know about you but when I take more than 2 days off to rest in between sweat sessions I personally find it to be SOOO much harder to get back at it again, it's also when I feel my muscles start to stiffen up or become less toned and firm which makes it even more challenging to find the motivation to get moving. For that reason, it's important to do something active for a minimum of 15-20 minutes every single day, even if it's as simple as a brisk walk through your neighborhood.

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I'm always on the hunt for great active wear, so I'd love to hear what your favorite leggings are! Do you have a favorite pair you can't live without? Please share with us in the comments below.