Hot Yoga Essentials

Recently I started practicing bikram yoga regularly and while the heat is intense I’ve come to look forward to my 90 minute sweat sessions. It is easy to feel intimidated before first stepping foot into a yoga studio, but my experience is one of encouragement and positivity. I encourage you all to take a leap and try a class at a studio near you. To get you through a class, I’ve selected a few essentials that help me get through my classes. It is really important to stay hydrated, be as comfortable in your clothes (no heavy cotton –only sweat wicking materials think shorts & tanks/sports bras), and keep from slipping and sliding on your mat.

hotyogaessentials

  1. Manduka 71-Inch PROlite Travel Yoga Mat  (I am in love with this mat, so easy to take back and forth to class, comfortable, with great grip)
  2. CamelBak eddy Insulated .6L Lavender (I always bring two to class- love the insulated bottle keeps my water colder for longer and prevents the bottle from sweating)
  3. Yogitoes Yoga Sweatless Hand Towel  (helps me get better grip, and helps prevent sweat from dripping into my eye)
  4. Manduka Go Easy Yoga Mat Sling, Pewter (There are plenty of different slings, but this one quick, effective, and fuss free)
  5. Yogitoes Skidless Premium Mat Size Yoga Towel  (A lot of people in my class use beach towels, but I find these to be well worth the price, they fit my mat perfectly, have a rubber side that grips the mat (even better as it gets wet), and soaks up the buckets of sweat)
  6. Onzie Elastic Bra Top $42 (Onzie has fun prints, and I love the elastic backs on this top)
  7. Under Armour Women’s Compression Shorts $25 @ Dick’s Sporting Goods (I prefer to purchase clothes that I can run AND do yoga in, so I steer clear from the yoga booty shorts that seem to be favored in my class. Instead I wear compression running shorts from Under Armour or Nike)

Decadent Orange Glazed Chocolate Tart

Chocolate Tart

I have always been an avid baker, but for the past year I have tried to venture out beyond my tried and true (favorites include: Snickerdoodles, Peanut Butter Chip Oatmeal Cookies, Pumpkin Bread, & Banana Bread). Mini Apple Tarts, Coffee Toffee Cupcakes, Chocolate Pecan TartletsEnglish Toffee, & Birthday Cake Pops were some of the new things I tried this past year with much success. I started thinking about making a chocolate tart when the Wall Street Journal posted Tartine’s Chocolate Rye Tart.

For my birthday, I wanted to make just that, but my grandmother unexpectedly passed away leading me to have to fly back to the midwest. Once I returned home to New York, I of course had all the ingredients for the chocolate tart waiting for me. After an emotionally exhausting trip, I opted to leave the Tartine’s Chocolate Rye Tart on my to-bake list and make a chocolate graham cracker crusted chocolate tart instead.

After reading the reviews of this particular recipe I thought I might try to add a bit of orange juice to the glaze. I thought the orange would add an element of sweet flavor that would compliment the chocolate. Of course, no one in the reviews actually said HOW they did this, only that it had been successful. I could have added a bit of orange zest to the heavy cream, but instead opted to add about a teaspoon of orange juice to the glaze mixture.

I had made the tart one day ahead, refrigerated and brought the tart back to room temperature before glazing as instructed, but when I went to spread my glaze, it wasn’t rolling quickly enough out to the edges so I spread it with a rubber spatula. This worked great, but the patent leather look of the glaze was sacrificed. In hindsight, I would have made & served the tart all in one day, as I suspect that my glaze thickened too quickly because my tart was still too cold. That said, the tart was decadent, delicious, and the orange flavor in the glaze was splendid. Without it, I am afraid one would be overwhelmed with the chocolate flavors of the tart.

I highly recommend this Chocolate Glazed Tart recipe, and will definitely make it again in hopes to get that perfect glaze finish.

Winterize Your Beauty Routine

New York has experienced record low temps the past few days, so I have fully implemented my winter beauty routine. Dry winter air tends to wreak havoc on my skin and hair, so in addition to drinking a ton of water and constantly applying lip balm, I use these products listed below to help revitalize my face, body, nails & hair during the cold winter months!
winterize your beauty routine | www.platinumblondelife.com

BODY: FRESH Seaberry Exfoliating Soap $16.50 @ Sephora– This bar exfoliates and hydrates while it cleanses!
Bliss high intensity 24-‘heaven’ healing body balm $35 @ Bliss– My moisturizing efforts go into overdrive in the cold months, this body butter has already done wonders for my skin! I also love that it smells nice but in a subtle way.

FACE: Aveeno Positively Radiant Cleanser with Pump Top $6 @ drugstore.com — This is a drugstore steal, I recently switched from my Neutrogena face wash to this and am never going back! It is hypoallergenic & oil-free, cleanses skin without leaving skin feeling tight & dry.
Moisture Surge Extended Thirst Relief $37 @ Clinique — This is a moisturizer that does double duty. I use it as my daily face moisturizer, but it can also be used as a 5 minute mask! This fights dry winter skin like nothing I’ve ever tried!
Estée Lauder Night Serum Advanced Night Repair Synchronized Recovery Complex $62 @ Nordstrom — I got hooked on this after receiving multiple sample sized bottles (those lasted me forever- a little goes a long way), even if you don’t have a need for an “aging” cream, this will revitalize and moisturize your skin while you sleep.

NAILS: L’OCCITANE SHEA BUTTER Nail & Cuticle Cream $18 @ Beauty.com — I smooth this rich cream over my nails and cuticles and have noticed an improvement in their appearance. Noticeably absent are the cracked peeling nails of winter’s past.
butter LONDON Horse Power – Nail Fertilizer $19 @ Macy’s– This can be used as both a basecoat and a topcoat and uses an herbal ingredient called ‘Horsetail’ to strengthen and repair nails. Apply one coat every day for 7 days, then remove and begin again. Use for one month.

HAIR: A few things that can really help your hair during the winter are: A) Getting a trim B) Getting an oil treatment–I swear by the Moroccan Hot Oil Treatment my salon offers  & C) NOT washing your hair every day. I had to force myself to NOT wash my hair, because I was one of those people who claimed “I HAVE to wash my hair every day” and would cite my fine, light colored hair, but once I started skipping shampoos and simply freshening up with a dry shampoo, I found that my hair started looking better and feeling softer.

PHYTO Phytojoba Intense Hydrating Brilliance Shampoo $19 @ Sephora; PHYTO Phytobaume Repair Express Conditioner $19 @ Sephora; — When I do wash my hair (every other or 2 days) I use hydrating shampoos & conditioners, the conditioner I especially love because it smooths and hydrates my hair with out weighing it down.
John Masters Organics Dry Hair Nourishment and Defrizzer $16 @ John Masters Organics– I use a tiny bit of this to calm frizz and combat split ends. It can also be used for scalp problems (eczema & dermatitis)
Feed Your Ends Leave-In Conditioner @ Yarok $12-23 — I have long hair, so wind, snow, rain tends to tangle my hair, this helps keep the combing process pain-free and helps protect my hair from heat styling.
Blowpro Faux Dry-Dry Shampoo $20 @ Ulta — There are 8 zillion dry shampoos on the market, and I may have tried them all. This one I love! If you are looking for one that is super affordable but still great I recommend Psssssst.

Gym Bag Essentials For The Fitnessista

Before baby I was running 4-6 miles a day. Once I was cleared to workout, I eased back into the running thing, and once the little guy was old enough, I took him for regular spins in our BOB Revolution SE Single Stroller and stuck to lunch time treadmill burnout sessions. My goal is to run a personal best 10K in JUNE. So I have time, but I have work to do! (I am running intervals on the treadmill on even days, and on odd days I am mixing in steady runs with circuit training.)

Because most of New York is under a nearly 10″ blanket of snow, the gym is where most of us will be training. If you’re anything like me, new workout gear always motivates me to hit the gym hard. These are my gym bag essentials (the shoes are on my wish list!)
gym bag essentials for the fitnessista| www.platinumblondelife.com

 

  1. Under Armoir Twisted Tech Tee $24.99 @ Nordstrom- so soft and comfortable, semi-fitted
  2. Under Armour Run Stretch Woven 17″ Capri @ Under Armour- I tend to stick to capri length for all runs, unless I am running outside in the cold. These fit well,  are comfortable, stay in place, wick sweat, and are not see through.
  3. Nike Free 5.0 Running Shoe $100 @ Nike- I am currently on my second pair of Nike Lunar Glides (which are uber comfortable) but have wanted to take a run in these for quite some time as I’ve heard great things about them.
  4. Yurbuds ‘Inspire for Women’ Earbuds $30 @ Nordstrom- sweat & water resistant headphones are just what I need. I also like to keep a separate workout only pair of headphones on hand.
  5. Apple iPhone 5s $199+ @ Apple (My favorite fitness apps are Nike Running/Move, Nike Training Club, & My Fitness Pal)
  6. Under Armour Hair Ties (6 pack) $10 @ Nordstrom- Nothing is more frustrating than getting to the gym and realizing you don’t have a hair tie. I keep extra in my bag now that I have found myself in that position too many times. I love the positive messages on these.
  7. Moving Comfort Rebound Racer Sports Bra $50 @ Zappos- This sports bra is great because not only does it support “the girls” it is sized by actual bra sizes not just S, M, L.
  8. Pilayo® Braid Headband $12 @ Athleta- This helps wick sweat while also keeping your bangs in place!
  9. Spring Gym Tote with yoga mat strap $79 @ Athleta- This bag is big enough to fit everything, yet doesn’t look like your typical gym bag. It has separate compartments to separate dirty & clean clothes, a shoe bag, and way to easily strap and transport a yoga mat!
  10. Baya Flip Flops $20 (currently 20% off) @ Crocs- a comfortable pair of non-slip shower flip flops are a must.
  11. Ultimate Padded Running Socks $14 @ Lululemon- These fit well, are sweat wicking, pad blister prone areas, and are attractive. They even give you a personal reminder as you put them on with the message “personal best”.
  12. CamelBak Eddy Insulated Water Bottle $16 @ Amazon- This insulated water bottle keeps your water cold, but also prevents your bottle from sweating and thereby getting everything else in your bag wet.

Marc Jacobs Beauty Haul & Swatches

Marc Jacobs Beauty Haul

I’ve been a long time fan of Marc Jacobs fragrance line, so I knew that I would eventually splurge on these sleek rounded packages. The vast majority of the items in the MJB range seem to be worth the splurge. I was drawn to the nail lacquer, but ultimately passed in efforts to keep my costs down. I did pick up Marc Jacobs Lovemarc Lip Gel in “Have We Met?”($30)  a lustrous medium pink shade with flecks of gold micro glitter. It applies smoothly, is very moisturizing and is mostly opaque. It instantly became my favorite lip color!

Marc Jacobs Beauty Have We Met? (108) Lovemarc Lip Gel

Marc Jacobs Beauty Lovemarc Lip Gel ‘Have We Met’Have We Met? (108) Lovemarc Lip Gel Swatch

Marc Jacobs Beauty Lovemarc Lip Gel ‘Have We Met’ Lip Swatch

I was also drawn to the light pink/coral Lust for Lacquer Lip Vinyl ‘Heart Shaped’($28), a semi-sheer gloss with golden shimmer. I thought this would compliment ‘Have We Met’ and also look great on its own.

Marc Jacobs Beauty Lip Gel & LIp Lacquer Swatches

{left to right} Marc Jacobs Beauty Lip Gel ‘Have We Met’; Marc Jacobs Beauty Lust for Lacquer – Lip Vinyl ‘Heart Shaped’ SwatchesMarc Jacobs Beauty Lust For Lacquer LIp Applicator Marc Jacobs Beauty Lust for Lacquer – Lip Vinyl ‘Heart Shaped’ Sponge Applicator

Marc Jacobs Beauty Lust for Lacquer - Lip Vinyl Lip Swatch

Marc Jacobs Beauty Lust for Lacquer – Lip Vinyl ‘Heart Shaped’ Lip Swatch

The entire Marc Jacobs Beauty collection is tempting, but expensive. I was especially drawn to these slim, glossy black palettes. Each contain seven eyeshadows and a mirror and are packaged in a black drawstring pouch. They retail for $59 each. I picked up the most neutral palette “The Lolita” & “The Starlet”.  Each includes seven powder eye shadows. My only complaint is that each comes with a cheap drugstore style sponge applicator- a touch that seems the very opposite of luxe.

Marc Jacobs Beauty The Lolita (206) Style Eye-Con No. 7 PaletteMarc Jacobs Style Eye-Con No. 7 Palette “The Lolita”

Marc Jacobs Beauty The Lolita (206) Style Eye-Con No. 7 Palette

Marc Jacobs Style Eye-Con No. 7 Palette “The Lolita”: Three matte shades (1) off-white cream, (2) tan & (3) dark coffee.  All are powdery, buttery soft! They do kick up a lot of dust in the palette but apply & blend so smoothly. The next shades are all metallic. The middle shade is an (4) iridescent pink glittery shade, that produced the most fall-out and was a bit fussy to work with. It was my least favorite shade in the palette.


Marc Jacobs Beauty The Lolita (206) Style Eye-Con No. 7 Palette

 

Marc Jacobs Style Eye-Con No. 7 Palette “The Lolita” : Metallic shades in a (4) warm glittery pink, (5) iridescent champagne pink sheen, (6) light peach sheen, and a (7) rosy copper sheen.  The last three shades were my favorite. They also apply & blend wonderfully, and are buildable but none are particularly unique. All of the shades wear well, as one would expect with a $60 eyeshadow palette!

Marc Jacobs Beauty The Lolita (206) Style Eye-Con No. 7 Palette

 

Marc Jacobs Style Eye-Con No. 7 Palette “The Lolita” Swatches

 

Of the two palettes I purchased, I found “The Starlet” palette to be the better investment. It is an excellent set of seven shadows rich in color, long wearing & crease free (with primer), with fuss-free application.

Marc Jacobs Beauty The Starlet (204) Style Eye-Con No. 7

Marc Jacobs Style Eye-Con No. 7 Palette “The Starlet”

Marc Jacobs Beauty The Starlet (204) Style Eye-Con No. 7

Marc Jacobs Style Eye-Con No. 7 Palette “The Starlet”: 1)muted taupe with a frosty metallic shimmer, 2) frosted light peachy beige with gold flecks, 3) medium chocolate with golden shimmer 4) frosted metallic copper

Marc Jacobs Beauty The Starlet (204) Style Eye-Con No. 7

 

Marc Jacobs Style Eye-Con No. 7 Palette “The Starlet” 4) frosted metallic copper 5) tarnished gold (not nearly as yellow as it appears in the pan) with frosted metallic finish 6) cool toned light silver with metallic finish 7) dark taupe with cool toned silver metallic sheen

Marc Jacobs Beauty The Starlet (204) Style Eye-Con No. 7 Palette

Marc Jacobs Style Eye-Con No. 7 Palette “The Starlet” Swatches

Overall, I am pretty happy with my purchases and the quality of the products. Next time I shop Marc Jacobs Beauty, I will be likely to pick up the nail lacquers, and more of the lip products. The Lip Gel really is an A+ lipstick formula for recovering lip gloss addicts like myself!

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