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Wednesday, November 19, 2014

#WorkoutWednesday | Don't Refer to ME as Dieting!

I've been intending to do a six month follow-up post to this one, but I never got around to it.  I guess seven months will have to do!  It has indeed been a ride.  I'm currently 31lbs down!  Go me!  Do the happy dance!  Now, let's talk about how I did it:  Lots and lots of cardio!  In the past, I use to hate cardio.  Well... let's clarify:  I use to tell myself that I hate cardio.  It was a mental thing. And one day it just clicked in my mind that if I wanted to burn fat and make the scale move backwards, then I was going to have to do some sort of cardio. I'm not a runner.  I use to be, but I burned my knees and chins out on pounding on pavement.  And I'm not one for the "dreadmill".  So I choose the elliptical trainer to be my new best friend.
I know by now you're looking at the pictures and thinking 70 minutes on the elliptical?  No way! How boring!  But it's not.  Not the way that I do it.  I do High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT), which involves jumping back and forth between relatively low and extremely high cardiovascular workouts. HIIT takes less time than traditional cardio workouts (even though I stretch mine), and provides the same, if not greater, results, such as raising your metabolic rate and increasing your excess post oxygen consumption. HIIT can be done on any machine that allows you to vary your speed or resistance, including an elliptical.  I played with a lot of programs and then I created one that worked for me.  And I've been asked often how I manage to burn so many calories within one session?  Well, this is how!  And I wear a Sportline pedometer which gives an accurate account of calories burned because it's keeping a real account of my actual heartrate since I'm not in constant contact with the elliptical machine.  I find that when I do NOT engage the arms on the machine that I work my legs and core a lot harder and also raise my heartrate quicker.
Now, when I say I do HIIT, this isn't any of that have a conversation with your workout partner while they're on the next machine.  Or flip through the latest issue of Vogue or InStyle.  Or read the latest New York Times bestseller while on the elliptical.  I move and I move fast!  The only thing I can concentrate on is remembering to breath!
And I also do strengthtraining.  I alternate days between upper and lower body.  A lot of women feel that they may bulk up from lifting weights.  Well, some do!  I feel I needed to have a balance of fat-burning cardio mixed with strengthtraining to get me where I needed to be.  Whether you do cardio on the elliptical, are a runner or a swimmer, your body NEEDS strengthtraining.  I especially do as a woman over 40, because there are so many benefits to strengthtraining: 
  • You will burn more fat than by doing cardio alone. 
  • You will change the shape of your body. 
  • You will boost your metabolism by retaining or building more muscle. 
  • You will increase strength, becoming more functional. 
  • You will build strong bones and combat osteoporosis. 
  • You will improve joint stability and reduce the risk of injury.

Things I've learned:  

You can NOT out exercise a poor diet.  Healthy bodies are made in the kitchen and shaped in the gym!  Let's go back to the title of this post about not referring to me as "dieting".  I don't diet. If you want to diet, you go right ahead.  But I needed to change the way I eat and exercise for life.  I'm 44 years old, pretty much perimenopausal.  I can't tolerate a lot of heavy, fatty foods.  And working out 4-5 days a week is just a normal part of my life now.  I see people saying things like they're going to fall off the wagon for whatever reason (i.e. the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday) and get back on.  Enjoy and bon app├ętit!  I'm not.  I've worked too hard for a 4,500 calorie and 229 grams of fat meal in a single day!  It's not that serious to me.  And in January, I don't plan to add physical fitness to my New Year's resolution once again.

And going on a "diet" will only result in weight gain.  Lowering your calorie intake excessively will only cause your body to go into starvation mode=slower metabolism.  And all of that deprivation eating will piss you off and cause binge eating.  I see and hear about this so much.  And haven't you seen things that tell you that you can lose 30-40 lbs in a month?!  That scares me.  That's basically water weight and muscle tissue.  I lost an average of 1-2 lbs a week. 

What do I eat?

Whatever I want!  As long as I stay within 1600-1800 calories a day!  You know, within reason!  I don't use meal planning... I just use common sense.  I'm not about to go to Five Guys (Nothing against this company.  Just an example of a bad choice for ME!) and order a bacon cheeseburger (920 calories) and fries (1474 calories)!  I'm not crazy!  Nor am I going on a juice or smoothie cleanse for a week either.  I use the My Fitness Pal app to keep up with what I'm eating.  Well, I used it for months.  I don't use it as much nowadays.  I know what I'm eating and how many calories are in things that I eat often.  The only times I pull it out now is when I'm eating or planning something questionable.

Everyone should find something that works for them, but I just wanted to share what I do.  

Sunday, November 16, 2014

What I've Been Wearing | It's Coat Season: Classic and Trendy!

Simplicity 1756 - Tailored Camel Hair Coat - Erica B - DIY Style!
Coats are something that I've grown to love making.  I'm currently plotting and planning the coats I'm going to make for this season.  
Vogue 8696 White Blanket Coat - Erica B - DIY Style!
For my wardrobe, I like to balance classic styles with trendy styles because there's room for both.
Simplicity 1756 - Tailored Camel Hair Coat - Erica B - DIY Style!
Take for example, my camel hair tailored coat, made from Simplicity 1756.  When I made this coat almost a year ago, I had envisioned a beautifully tailored, classic coat that I would proudly wear for decades.  Something along the lines of Loro Piana or Max Mara coats.  This coat will NEVER end up in the donation pile.
Vogue 8696 White Blanket Coat - Erica B - DIY Style!
But I also love this unstructured white blanket coat made from (OOP, but still available on the site) Vogue 8696. This is probably the trendiest outerwear of this season and I made mine a couple of years ago.  I don't want any snow and ice like we had this past winter.  But I love that the mercury dips low enough that I can enjoy these coats that hang in my closet!

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

What I'm Wearing | Cape, Camel, Tartan and Tweed! #BlogLikeCrazy

Vogue 8776 Cape - Erica B - DIY Style!
So fall has finally fallen here in the South.  Anytime the mercury dips below 50 degrees, that means it's chilly weather and time to break out the real outerwear!
Vogue 8776 Cape - Erica B - DIY Style!
Something about wearing a cape makes me feel like a super hero.  And with all I have to do during my daily routine, I need all of the help possible to make me feel like I have super powers.  And my Vogue 8776 cape made in camel wool gives me a classic elegance that will allow me to play the super mom role for many years.
Vogue 8776 Cape - Erica B - DIY Style!
I've had this cape for a while now and I've already worn it quite a few times. For this tailored length, I find that it pairs best with skinny, tapered pants -- preferably these McCall's 6404.  And today I added tall boots.  Underneath I'm wearing my New Look 6083 faux suede top.  And I've really grabbed a hold of the blanket scarf trend with this great tartan find from Target.  And I topped off the look with a hat from my husband's closet.  

Monday, November 10, 2014

She Inspires Me | Marjorie Harvey #BlogLikeCrazy

Who:  Marjorie Harvey
Who is she:  Wife of Steve Harvey
Today's style crush is the fabulous at 50, yes 50 year old grandmother.  Marjorie hosts "The Lady Loves Couture" blog because well, this lady LOVES couture!  And is always front and center at Paris Fashion Weeks.
What I love about Marjorie's style is that even though she's 50, she's not afraid to flaunt it!  She's clearly a woman that has always taken good care of herself and it shows.  And she does fashion in a way that a confident woman of means does it without having it come across as "mutton dressed as lamb".
Her casual looks are just as fabulous as her couture looks.
And she also does edgy in an effortless way.  Check out this high-low skirt and the boots!
Not only is Marjorie a style crush, but she's also my "GlamMa" crush.  Grandmothers are no longer little old ladies these days!  What a fabulous inspiration to aspire to as I head closer to 50!

Sunday, November 09, 2014

Inspired by Pinterest | Urban Equestrian! #BlogLikeCrazy

Vogue 8601 Jacket - Erica B - DIY Style!
This is yesterday's look:  Urban Equestrian.

I saw this look on YLF and immediately walked into my closet and started pulling pieces to create my own version.  Urban Equestrian is not a literal equestrian look, but an "inspired" version created from combining a tailored wool or tweed blazer, sleek bottoms and boots. 
Vogue 8601 Jacket - Erica B - DIY Style!
The key piece for my look is my tweed Vogue 8601 blazer.  I paired it with a denim shirt, white jeans and a pair of Sam Edelman lace up boots.  And for fun, my ponyhair leopard print belt.
Vogue 8601 Jacket - Erica B - DIY Style!
I love so many of my clothes dearly, but this blazer is something that I would NEVER part with!

Friday, November 07, 2014

Review: Vogue 8939 | The Turtleneck Midi Dress! #BlogLikeCrazy

Vogue 8939 Turtleneck Midi Dress - Erica B - DIY Style!
Vogue 8939 is an interesting pattern, being that if you weren't looking for this design you would totally miss it on the pattern envelope.  This dress is such a wardrobe staple that I feel it should've been it's own pattern with different length variations.
My version of this pattern was inspired by designer Rick Owens' Lilies Midi Turtleneck Dress.
Vogue 8939 Turtleneck Midi Dress - Erica B - DIY Style!
My fabric is a black modal rayon ponte that I found at my local Joanns.  It was a great find and the fabric feels very luxurious.
Vogue 8939 Turtleneck Midi Dress - Erica B - DIY Style!
I cut the size 14 and I had to make a couple of modifications to achieve the look of my inspiration dress.  I added 12" inches to the length.  The original pattern is pretty short.  I added 2" to the sleeve.  
Vogue 8939 Turtleneck Midi Dress - Erica B - DIY Style!
I had to take in the collar so that it would be fitted.  I hate having a turtleneck that's not fitted when it's supposed to be.  
Vogue 8939 Turtleneck Midi Dress - Erica B - DIY Style!
I ended up having to run 1" seams down each side.  The dress hung like a sack.  I should've cut the size 12.  
Vogue 8939 Turtleneck Midi Dress - Erica B - DIY Style!
Love the simplicity and versatility of this dress.  And I love that it gave me a reason to pull out my corset belt from Asos.com that I haven't worn in a long time.  I'm hoping that I find a cream colored ponte and a heather grey one so that I can add 2 more of these dresses to my wardrobe.

Thursday, November 06, 2014

Review: Simplicity 1283 & Vogue 1296 | Navy is the New Black! #BlogLikeCrazy

Simplicity 1283 & Vogue 1296 - Erica B's DIY Style
I have an affinity for black.  I usually have to show self-restraint in order to not stock my sewing studio with black fabric.  So when I came across this gorgeous navy blue, I awarded myself a reprieve.  I mean, it's dark but it's not black so that makes it okay!
Simplicity 1283 & Vogue 1296 - Erica B's DIY Style
This Mood Fabrics fabulous find, a dark navy woven is from designer Theory.  And just as stunning as this fabric is, it's equally unusual.  It's a woven with 2-way stretch that feels and sews like a neoprene.  It's magical when used on a structured garment as my skirt and also has an incredible drape.
Simplicity 1283 - Erica B's DIY Style
My top is Simplicity 1283.  With the mass appeal of this particular pattern line, I was surprised by the lack of pattern reviews when I googled it.  I was practically on my own with what to expect.  It's a crop top for sure and being that I'm pretty tall with a lot of torso, I added 3 inches to the length. Had I not, I would have had practically a sports bra on my hands because it's that short. Please be aware of that.  And this top also has an inch of negative ease.  I needed a size 12, but due to the figure hugging design of this top, I went up to the size 14.  (Some may need to do a FBA.)  But the fit still worked well with my fabric choice.  And surprisingly, the sleeves are drafted with a generous amount of length.  I didn't have to add any additional length to them.  I wanted my version of a crop top to hit at the natural waist and meet at the top of the skirt.  It's a really cute design, easy to make, quick to sew with the mock turtle neck style and an invisible zipper closure.  It could easily be turned into a longer top or a dress.  It's worth having in your collection as a base pattern even if you're not into crop tops.
Simplicity 1283 - Erica B's DIY Style
The pattern design, which is designed for a knit worked well my stretch woven.
Simplicity 1283 & Vogue 1296 - Erica B's DIY Style
My skirt is Vogue 1296.  This fabric was the perfect match for this skirt.  I love how it works so well for a structuced garment, yet has such an amazing drape all at once.  I cut the size 14 for my skirt and added 3" inches to the length.  I omitted the lining.  The fabric is beefy and opague enough to where it holds its own.
Vogue 1296 - Erica B's DIY Style
After wearing this outfit which included entering and exiting my vehicle; standing and sitting, it has wonderful recovery.  
Simplicity 1283 & Vogue 1296 - Erica B's DIY Style
There was no stretch out or sagging.

Wednesday, November 05, 2014

Inspired by Pinterest | Peacoat, Stripes & Flares!

Here's Monday's look which I was inspired by Pinterest! 
After years of seeing everyone wearing painted on skinny jeans, the universally flattering style of flares is back.  
And they look amazing paired with a peacoat (Vogue 2873).  I also added Breton stripes (McCall's 6964) to play up a nautical look.
And speaking of the flares, I am so glad to be able to slide into my Jalie 2903 jeans!

Monday, November 03, 2014

She Inspires Me | Shiona Turini #BlogLikeCrazy

Who:  Shiona Turini
Who is she:  Fashion Market Director, Cosmopolitan

Some people gush over celebrity style.  Me?  Not so much.  Celebrities have glam squads that pull them together.  I love fashion editors!
No one has a wardrobe like fashion editors, especially this Bermudian beauty who is one of my favorites!  And when wearing this fabulous Ungaro coat, why wouldn't she be?
Shiona always wears striking statement pieces that are to die for! 
One of my favourite pieces for any woman’s wardrobe is a white blazer. It’s fresher and chicer than basic black, and brightens up a look without that typical ‘pop of colour’."
One of her signature looks is a crop top, and I love it here juxtaposed with a leather accent and a high-waist, lady-like full midi skirt.
Don't get me started on her accessories!  She stacks and layers jewelry like nobody's business!
The Fashion Market Director is constantly being snapped outside of Fashion Weeks all over the world and I see why.  Shiona's tip for pulling together an outfit:
Always dress for your body and your personal taste and not for anyone else’s. While it’s fun to experiment, you have to be true to your own personal style."
A lady after my own heart! 

Sunday, November 02, 2014

My Calypso St. Barth #PinkBagMoment #BlogLikeCrazy

Wearing my McCall's 6757 gold skirt!
Last week, I got a chance to have a "Pink Bag Moment" with Calypso St. Barth.  They're a brand new retailer to the Birmingham Area and I wasn't that familiar with their brand.  I remember a few years ago, they did a designer collaboration with Target and I was able to pick up a few pieces.  But let me tell you, those pieces were NOTHING like the real deal!
Lauren, LolaCharles; Heather, My Life Well Loved; Vanessa, Budding Fashionista; Bertha, Chic in Academia; Buffy, The Style Gathering; Rachel, To Hell in a Handbag
My B-Metro Magazine Blogger Buddies and I attended a grand opening party sponsored by the Junior League of Birmingham that introduced all of the new boutiques at The Summit - Birmingham.
I absolutely feel madly in love with Calypso St. Barth.  Their aesthetic completely aligned with mine!  I was asked back to a "Pink Bag Moment" with Bertha of "Chic in Academia".  We had a ball!

I was given free reign to pull any looks I wanted to try and Brittany, the store manager and Sales Associate Jessicah also pulled things for me.  Here's what I tried:
Tito Embellished Stretch Silk Tunic.  It paired perfectly with my leather leggings I was already wearing.
Can anything be any cuter and autumn whimsical than a chicken sweater?  I think not.  This is the Clermonte Border Print Cashmere Cardigan.  Let me pause and tell you that this store has the most amazing selection of cashmere.  Worn with a black and white Flavia Long Sleeve Striped Tee and A.G. Emerse Destructed Skinny Legging Ankle Jean. Accessorized with Molise Cashmere Blend Flip Gloves  and the Clara Suede Tote.  This is such a great fall outfit.  It screams Thanksgiving Dinner!
I love all things sparkly and the Monroe Sequined Sweater Dress is no exception.  Yes, it's a dress, but it's a tunic on me and that's how I styled it over the previous jeans and with the Tracy Pewter Stud Cuff.  This is a perfect look for all of the upcoming holiday soirees.
This look speaks to my "Mom on the Run" daily look.  It's the epitome of pulled-together-easy-dressing.  The sweater is the Etty Cable Knit Cashmere Sweater and the color is "Ice Cap".  I would usually never reach for a pastel like this, but paired with the navy blue Jo Silk Habotai  Blouse and A.G. Corduroy Cigarette Stilt in "Snow", and the Side Zip Leather Bootie gave it the edge it needed.  And the purse is the Metallic Leather Cava Pouch in Navy and the Long Charm Necklace.
This is also a great everyday, run around look.  The Bina Tunic Length Viscose Tee with the a pair of A.G. 5 Year Skinny Cigarette Legging Jean,  Studded Leather Belt, the previous boot and topped off with the Angora Leopard Printed Fedora.
I also loved this look.  These are great wardrobe staples also.  The Marnita Button Down Silk Blouse that I decided to tie in the front is paired with Noami High Low Modal Skirt.  I really thought I was over high-low hemlines, but this skirt has renewed my love!  And an Angeni Cable Knit Cashmere Cardigan draped over my shoulders.  And the exquisite Twinkle Rhinestone Embellished Necklace which is an incredible statement piece.
And out of everything, my favorite piece is this amazing Quincy Hand Embellished Cotton Tunic.  
I had an awesome time and brought home two fabulous sweaters that will work perfectly with so many things in my fall and winter wardrobe!