Rose: Refresh’n (Again)

This week, I did another round of the 3-Day Refresh. I wanted to write another review because my experience this time was pretty different. I thought it best to record this for those who are considering doing this program — but want to know what to expect.

For those who care about the numbers: I’ve done the Refresh three times before and have lost 5 pounds, 3 pounds, 5 pounds, respectively.

This time, I lost 4 pounds.

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I decided to do the Refresh again because, ever since the Broad Street Run, I’ve been consuming far too many processed carbs and fruity beverages. I felt pretty bloated and a little unhappy. I knew I needed a jumpstart. A push from a friend led me to create a Facebook event, where we could all do the 3-Day Refresh together.

[Disclaimer: I didn’t follow the program to a T. I drank coffee with half n’ half while on the 3-Day Refresh. Half n’ half is not allowed. I also drank Shakeology instead of a Vanilla Fresh for one of my dinners, and the last night, I skipped the Vanilla Fresh altogether. I wouldn’t totally recommend this (you need to drink it for the protein, carbs and fats), but I just couldn’t stomach the vanilla one more time. I start to tire of the taste.]

Day 1. This is typically my worst day on the Refresh. I usually feel irritable from the lack of caffeine. Not the case this time, probably because I consumed my regular coffee. I got through the day with tons of energy. Honestly, this is the best I’ve ever felt while doing the 3-Day Refresh on Day 1. I even had enough energy to exercise after work (Max 30: Tabata Power). The day went pretty successfully, and I had a very tasty dinner. I love the spinach salad because it gives you a lot to chew on — literally.

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Day 2. This was not so hot. I felt pretty crabby most of the day, but I tried not to complain. I couldn’t wait to get home so I could just rest. I decided to take it easy that evening, mostly just lounging around at home. I was pretty hungry throughout most of the day — much different than Day 1. I couldn’t wait to go to bed so the day would just be over already.

Day 3. Loads of energy upon rising. I felt like a new person. I decided to try something different and spaced out my “meals” every hour. It looked something like this: Shakeology plus a banana for breakfast, coffee from 9-10 a.m, Fiber Sweep around 11 a.m., an apple and green beans with EVOO at 1 p.m., Vanilla Fresh from 2-3 p.m., Cukes and Hummus from 4-5 p.m., and a veggie-filled dinner around 7:30 p.m. (after softball). This method went MUCH better. I would highly recommend spacing out your food like this. It keeps your energy levels high all day, and you don’t get that hangry feeling. I ended up not drinking the Vanilla Fresh — which was a mistake because I was starving at bedtime — because I just couldn’t drink it again. And I was pretty crabby before bed as a result. Lesson learned: always drink your Vanilla Fresh!

Overall, this was another successful round of the 3-Day Refresh. I’ll write what I’ve written in past reviews: I could never do this more than four times a year. It’s just hard to disrupt your life like this. But I always feel amazing once it’s done – light, lean and toned. My jeans fit better than they have in WEEKS. And that bloat from all the salty carbs is finally gone. Hooray!

Let me know if you have questions about the 3-Day Refresh. Happy to answer them!

Jenna: Chicago

I just got back from spending a great week in Chicago. The first part of the trip was spent on vacation with the BF and we had an awesome time. We got to enjoy just a few of the many things we have in common like:

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Exploring new places, and finding spots off the beaten path. (and apparently taking pictures of tall buildings, because after the Architecture Tour we went on, we did this for about an hour)

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Being near the water. I love that the river cuts right through the city, and that the lake provides a beach. A beach in the city! So much wonderful water.

chicago_beerAnd a good brewery or two. I think we sat at Revolution Brewing playing cards for over three hours. (If you visit, be sure you go to the Brewery and not necessarily the Brewpub).

After he left, I started attending a conference for work and got to catch up with a few old friends.

Some great restaurants to check out if you ever visit:
The Purple Pig
Eataly
Bangers and Lace
Giordano’s  for deep dish pizza

I ate A LOT of food (mostly cheese) and drank lots of wine while I was gone. It was the perfect trip mixed with relaxation, adventure and work. I did manage to get in a few workouts while I was gone too. I enjoyed a nice 3 mile run (first run post Broad Street) that felt really great. I didn’t necessarily come back refreshed since my trip home was rough and the last 4 days were filled with work – but I did take advantage of that big comfy hotel bed with cable a few nights and caught up on some sleep.

Anybody ever been to Chicago? What were your favorite spots?

 

Rose: May Birchbox

I decided to reinstate my Birchbox subscription. I started to miss those cute monthly samples and, at $10/box, it’s a pretty good deal. Plus, I’ve recently started getting into skin care — big time. It occurred to me that I’m 30 years old and am not really preparing for the wrinkles that are sure to follow. So, after all of those disclaimers, that’s why I got Birchbox again.

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This month’s box was really cute and had a lot of goodies that I’ve been using.

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Among my favorite items: Benefit It’s Potent! Eye Cream, Harvey Prince Sincerely perfume and CoTZ® Flawless Complexion SPF 50. I didn’t really care for (or need) the hairspray or eyeliner, so I won’t bother reviewing them.

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Benefit It’s Potent! Eye Cream: Ever since I started using the eye cream, I’ve noticed a big difference in my under eye circles and crow’s-feet. I feel like it softens these areas of my face and goes on very nicely. Of the eye creams I’ve tried, this one has been one of my favorites.

Harvey Prince Sincerely perfume: The perfume might be the best thing from this box. It smells absolutely delicious! I’ve been wearing the same perfume for months now — a gift from my stepbrother (Bryant Park West). It was fun to change things up with a new fragrance. (Sidenote: Just don’t spray it on and then put ice cubes in your water bottle. Your H20 will taste like flowers all day long.)

CoTZ® Flawless Complexion SPF 50: I’ve been sparingly using the SPF 50 Complexion cream. I like it, too, but haven’t used it as much as the other products. It has a nice tint and is lightweight. I’m not sure I’d buy a whole container, but it’s great for a sample.

Overall, this box gets an A-.

I was pretty happy with this month’s box. I just need to figure out what to do with this hairspray + eyeliner!

Rose: Reconnecting

Did you ever have one of those weekends that you just wanted to bottle up and save forever? That’s what this weekend was like for me. From start to finish, I did all things I’ve wanted to do — and with people whom I love.

It began with a personal day on Friday. I’ve been feeling beat down at work lately — just tired and in need of a recharge. I knew I needed a day for JUST ME.

I spent the morning cleaning (not so fun) but it’s what I needed to do to feel on top of my game again. My friend Jenn came over later, and we sipped mimosas on the balcony before heading to Philadelphia for a night out on the town.

We had dinner, followed by a show (featuring my talented friend D.C.) and ended the night at an incredibly swanky speakeasy in Northern Liberties. I’d definitely recommend this joint if you like cocktails; I don’t but was pleasantly surprised. I told the bartender about my lack of love for liquor, and he whipped up a lime coolade that was beyond delicious.

On Saturday, M and I spent most of the day planting our garden. We also went hiking on an old farm, preserved land. We also bought inner tubes for some lake floating this summer and ended the night with home-cooked burgers and a movie. I’d show you pictures, but this day was too perfect; I didn’t have time to snap any.

On Sunday, we headed out for a day of kayaking. We needed to break in M’s new foldable kayak. By the end of the day, we were pros at setting this thing up. Check it out:

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We began our day at Helmetta Pond, an underused spot only 20-ish minutes away. We spent about an hour or so on the water before breaking for lunch. It was buggy and marshy, but also quite beautiful. I took this picture while behind a bird-watching station (a large board with holes cut out). I was proud that I got my kayak this far up the shore — all by myself.

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The pond is only about a hundred acres, and so, we decide to hit up another spot: Plainsboro Pond. This area was much more expansive, and we spent another hour or so paddling upstream there. This was my favorite part of the day. The area was much less buggy, and there was a lot of open water. There is something about being on a kayak in the middle of a body of water that is so freeing. Does anyone else know what I mean?

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This post is a little harried — I’m starving and need to make dinner! — so forgive me if this summary short. It’s hard to encapsulate an entirely beautiful weekend into a 500-word blog post. Suffice it to say that I reconnected not only with nature and my loved ones but also with myself. And that’s exactly what I needed.

Rose: Five Ways to Prepare for Buying Your Wedding Dress

I can’t believe I’m writing this post. I’ve seen these running lists before. And, up until now, I’ve always ignored them. It’s funny how you become a bride-to-be and suddenly a bunch of previously meaningless articles start to really make sense.

Now, I have walked in their shoes.

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Over the weekend, I found my wedding dress. It was a huge moment — the kind you always hope to have — where you are standing with your mother, crying, and you know it’s just the one. It was perfect in every sense of the word.

But leading up to this moment wasn’t always easy. It was fraught with indecision, stress and confusion. Everyone kept saying, “When you find the dress, you’ll just know.” I wanted to punch everyone who said that because, quite frankly, I didn’t know what I wanted! Unlike other girls, I was clueless about wedding dresses. I’d never really given thought to my dress before. My only thought was: “I want it to be classic and unique.” While that seems simple, it can be a pretty tall order.

In the course of my wedding dress shopping, I probably tried on close to 50 gowns. And during all of those fittings, I started learning a lot. Below are five ways I could’ve better prepared myself. I hope it helps all the clueless brides out there who are struggling.

1. Know your style. This is the best place to start. Figure out what kind of style you like. Are you more of a classic girl or a sexy bombshell type? What do you want your dress to say about you during your wedding? And how might this style fit in with the larger theme of your wedding? Because we’re getting married in the winter — and we’re having a literary-themed wedding — I decided to go vintage classic. It was down between two very different dresses but, in the end, our theme won out.

2. Know the limits of your body type. It’s great if you like lots of lace or mermaid-styled dresses. But if you are short and curvy, those probably won’t work on you. I learned this the hard way: Every lacy dress I had pinned just didn’t work on my body. So I needed to be able to pivot. I had to adapt and change the vision of my dress based on my body type. At the end of the day, I want to feel confident and beautiful on my wedding day. Unfortunately, for me, that wasn’t going to happen in a strapless gown or a mermaid look.

3. Know your budget. You need to have this number in your mind. It doesn’t need to be concrete, and you don’t need to share it. But you can quickly eliminate a bunch of dresses if they aren’t in your range. At a small boutique, I tried on one dress that was $2,900. Luckily, I didn’t fall in love with it. But what if I had? I might’ve been maxing out some credit cards out of desperation. The good news: we went to another shop with extremely affordable dresses, and that’s where I found mine.

4. Ignore the opinions of others. This one was really hard for me. I wanted everyone to approve. But that’s pretty much impossible. If you take a lot of people shopping with you, get accustomed to tuning out the noise. Listen only to the important questions like: “How does this dress make you feel?” And don’t get caught up in everyone saying “Wow” when they see it. Some people might not like your choice, but that doesn’t matter. At the end of the day, it’s about how you feel.

5. Have fun with it. My mom and I walked into the second bridal boutique, expected to be helped. The woman working said, “It will just be easier if you look at the dresses yourself.” I was initially discouraged. Instead, I tried to laugh it off, saying “Okay, Mom. I’m going to need your help!” My mom pushed through the dresses while I made initial judgements. It worked out perfectly and, in the end, it was the shop where we found the final dress!

What tips would you offer to brides-to-be?