A Lovely Body: After the Lean Out Cleanse

FitnessSocial_logo_transparentIt’s been about 6 weeks since I completed FitnessSocial’s Lean Out Cleanse by Dina Juve. If you read the results post, you know I felt fantastic! And that’s the thing – feeling so amazing from the inside-out of course would make me want to continue doing the cleanse. But, cleanses aren’t meant to be a long-term way of eating. Their purpose is to help you reset and maintain a healthy diet. For any of you who have just finished a cleanse or any kind of short-term diet, you’ve probably asked, “What now?”. That’s exactly what I thought after Day 5 of the Lean Out Cleanse. FS_cleanse before + afterBefore (Day 1) + After (Day 5) pictures

Dina recommends immediately transitioning to their Slim Down Plan. New foods, like steel cut oats, will be reintroduced into your diet so you won’t feel like you’re still on a cleanse. The easy-to-follow plan will keep you on your health journey, as well as help you continue to reach your weight-loss goals. It’s a good option for me because I do want to continue to eat healthy and mindfully and keep the bloat away. The cleanse really was proof (see the before & after pics) that diet is as equally important as exercise. I kept up the same fitness schedule while on the cleanse, lost 8″ all over my body and significantly reduced the bloat in my belly. FS_Overhead swings, step 2Another benefit of the cleanse that I just realized the other day is that it helped me get rid of some cravings. On Day 1 of the cleanse, one of the hardest parts was not having a piece of dark chocolate at night. It had become part of my nightly routine, so I was used to it. I was curious to know if I wanted it because it was truly something my body was asking for OR if I was eating it out of “comfort”. My question was answered. Since the cleanse, chocolate doesn’t even sound appetizing and I haven’t had it!

Next week, Dina will tell us about some of her favorite complex carbs and their benefits.

We all have foods we like to indulge in. I’d love to know – what food cravings do you want to kick?





A Lovely Home: Get Bubbly

laguna vista_master bath{Master Bathroom “before” with 1970’s sunken bathtub}

Creating a lovely home and a lovely life isn’t just about the “big picture”. Exceedingly intelligent and talented men and women agree. Steve Jobs said, “Details matter, it’s worth getting it right.” Charles Eames said, “The details are not the details. They make the design.”

After the largest space we’re remodeling was taken care (the kitchen – see the cabinets and countertops), we shifted our focus to plumbing fixtures. They seem like minor details. They actually play an important role in achieving the look and quality you want.

If you’re doing a total remodel like we are, it’s a good idea to make these selections together. For us that meant everything from the kitchen fixtures, like sink, faucets, pot filler and garbage disposal to the bathroom plumbing fixtures. Making the selections all at once helps you stay consistent with the endless finish options – stainless steel, polished chrome, black + more, as well as with the style.

To go with the look of the home, we chose fixtures in a modern, minimalist style with clean, simple lines, mostly in polished chrome. We used a lot of Hansgrohe and Kohler’s Purist collection. master bathroom_demo pic{Master Bath – partial demo}

Besides the standard fixtures for the Master Bathroom (sinks, faucets, shower head, robe hooks), a larger item on our list was a bath tub. I love baths and find them a great, relaxing way to take care of myself, so it was a priority!

heartThese bathrooms and tubs were our inspiration: masterb_home adoreThe symmetrical tub is the focal point, right in front of a beautiful window with a view. masterb_garance doreClean & simple egg-shaped tub. masterb_chomeAnother symmetrical, modern tub with tub filler. masterb_arch digestEven though I’ve had my eyes set on free-standing tubs, I think this organic-looking stone tub is simply amazing & chic. 

When we went looking at PIRCH (I highly recommend you check them out), we got a little lesson on tubs. We learned resin is a preferred material to acrylic. Resin feels sturdier and doesn’t crack as easily. We also learned how important it is to test out tubs, just like you would a new car. Make sure it’s comfortable. It’s a big investment and it’s supposed to be a relaxing place!

We ended up selecting this Aquabrass Caicos free-standing bathtub made out of resin with a glossy white finish. master b_aquabrassheartBudget tip: We saved money with the Aquabrass tub versus another one that looked very similar. Just because a tub is more expensive doesn’t exactly mean it’s better. The same goes with other plumbing fixtures.

Photos by: home adore, garance dore, c home, architectural digest.

I’d love to know – are you a bath tub kind of person and what tub do you like?


A Lovely Body: Yoga

yoga_warrior 3Creating a lovely life and a lovely body is about balance. Yes, to lose weight and get in shape, intense workouts are great, but it’s not good to go hard all the time. While working out with FitnessSocial, I’ve seen amazing results from their TRX & Kettlebell classes, but I truly think that what has kept me committed is having a variety of classes to go to. FitnessSocial_logo_transparentThis week I felt like taking it down a notch, so I swapped a Kettlebell class for Lucy Wells’ Express Flow Yoga. Even though I’m a certified yoga instructor and practice at home, I still love to take classes from other teachers (like Kellee’s Yoga Bliss) and try to do so as much as possible. Sometimes it’s nice and necessary to not have to think about what pose you’ll do next and just follow the lead of the instructor.

The class was great! It was an opportunity to connect with my breath and body. A guided reminder to take long, deep inhales and exhales, flooding my entire body with oxygen. We don’t stop breathing during other fitness classes, but any good yoga instructor will encourage you to focus on your breath.

What’s also great about yoga is that you can take it at your own pace. Don’t feel like going into Downward-Facing Dog? Then, do Child’s Pose. And you get a dose of spirituality. It’s an all-around rejuvenating mind and body workout.

I’d love to know – do you do yoga to help you connect with your breath? Or do you have another go-to exercise that helps you do that?


A Lovely You: Summer Beauty with Blown Away

Youngblood Boudoir lipstick, step 1A lovely life isn’t only about feeling good on the inside. Looking good is just as important. So much so that the two usually go hand in hand.

There’s no better way to look good and feel your best than by emphasizing the great features you have while creating smooth, healthy skin. There are so many fun ways to do that, but of course I love the classic, no-fuss, natural look.

Hair and makeup are not my strong points, so Blown Away was kind enough to help us get a stunning, natural look for Summer. After all, we’re not in the pool or at the beach all day, every day. There are weddings, bachelorette parties, dates and fun dinners with friends.

Blown Away’s products of choice are Youngblood Mineral Cosmetics made of natural, finely ground materials from the earth sans the common irritants found in conventional makeup. Bonus: they provide sun protection. I’m totally for this!

Last week, they showed us how to do a beach wave blowout. Today, makeup artist, Jennifer Nicole, shows us a Summer beauty look on the gorg Lauren Hoekstra. She first applied mineral foundation to even out the skin, then some light eye-enhancing makeup.

How to do the next steps:

heartThe Cheeks: Youngblood, step 2a Youngblood Sundace, step 1Step 1: Swipe Youngblood’s Sundance highlighter above the cheekbones. Youngblood Sundance, step 2Step 2 (below): Place the Sunshine Mineral Radiance bronzer below the cheekbones. Youngblood Sunshine, step 2Step 3: Blend the highlighter and bronzer together. Youngblood SunshineheartThe Lips: Youngblood Pout lipliner, step 1 topStep 1: Line the top lip with Youngblood’s Pout lip liner. Youngblood Pout lipliner, step 1 bottomThen, line the bottom lip. Youngblood Boudoir lipstick, step 1Step 2: Finish the look with the INTIMATTE Mineral Matte Lipstick in Boudoir – a pink nude. YB_FinalThe final Summer-ready look complete with a tousled, beach wave blowout.

Lucky you – beginning June 1st, Blown Away is having a Youngblood BOGO sale – buy 1, get the 2nd 1/2 off! YB products usedThe Youngblood products used to create this look.

Photos by Photography by MJD for A Lovely Life x Blown Away.


A Lovely Home: Chairs

eames_black leather with palisander finishJenni Kayne’s bedroom via Architectural Digest. They have the Eames chair in the original design – Black leather with Palisander finish.

Furnishing a new space in a way you love and as a reflection of you is part of creating a lovely life. For our new home, we need a lot of new furniture. Most of what we had in our previous home doesn’t go with its 70’s architectural vibe. The Master Bedroom, Living Room and Den all need club chairs or side chairs.

I’ve long had my eyes on the Eames Lounge Chair and Ottoman designed by the husband-and-wife duo, Charles and Ray Eames. Everything about it is so simplistically chic and classic. And, it’s also really comfortable. A win in our book! As I’ve learned from the plethora of recliners in my husband’s house before I moved in, men are all about comfort. Men, including my husband, just might be convinced by the sport reference – the Eames’ desire for the chair was for it to have, in their own words, “the warm, receptive look of a well-used first baseman’s mitt.” I’m thinking the Living Room would be the perfect place for it.

Here are a few iterations of the iconic chair:  Eames_black leather with walnut finishBlack leather with walnut finish via Judith Mackineames_brown leatherThe most recliner-like in brown leathereames_ivory leather, walnut finish- design within reachSo fresh + clean in ivory vicenza leather with walnut finish via DWR.eames_ivoryAnother in ivory with walnut finish via DWR.

The mission is to find a chair with a good balance of comfort and style with clean, modern and organic elements. Here are a few additional ones, though unlike the Eames one, that fit the bill for other spaces: club chair_west elmWest Elm Lucas wire base chair. Club Chair- Room & Board Anson ChairRoom & Board Anson chair.

If you want more convincing about the Eames chair, read My Domaine’s 12 reasons why they still want one.

Hope you enjoy! Which chair would you choose – the black or ivory leather?

Like our designer said, if you’re a purist, go with the Black leather with Palisander finish, but more importantly, go with what you like!



A Lovely Home: Framing + Light Fixtures

A lot has been happening at the new house. Once the floor plans were developed and approved, walls started coming down and new framing went up. Before the framing, it looked like an incomprehensible construction zone. But now and the best part about the framing is that it helps you imagine how the rooms will take shape. It also showed us how much work we’re doing, but it’s not called a total remodel + renovation for nothing, right? framing_front of house_use this oneThe wood framing is where the new entry will be. framing_entry into master, used to be a built in barThe old built-in bar is now the new entry into the master bedroom.framing_den into pool bath + guest roomThe den with new entry into the pool/powder bath + guest room.

We’ve already chosen the kitchen cabinets (they have the longest lead time & they’re typically the most expensive part of a kitchen remodel!) and countertops. While the demolition and framing is being done, we’ve been working on more details like kitchen appliances and plumbing fixtures. Who knew there would be so much to think about?! I can now give you the lowdown on refrigerators, warming drawers, dishwashers, Wolf vs. Jenn-Air – you name it.

It can be tricky when you’re building or remodeling a home. Of course, you want to go for the nicest appliances, but budget has to come into play, as well as long-term thinking. The chosen appliances might not fit in our planned budget now, but 2-3 years from now will we wish we had chosen them?

To break up the construction part of the project, another item on the to-do list was selecting a dining room light fixture. For me, this is the fun part – anything to do with style + design! There are so many fabulous light fixtures on the market now that anyone with an inkling of taste would swoon over them.

My Style Criteria: A modern chandelier for the dining room table.

Here are a few selections that made me *light up*:  apparatus cloud chandelier{my ultimate chandelier inspiration pic}

This Apparatus Cloud Chandelier ($4,400-$4,850) has caught my eye many times. I think it’s the best combination of sophistication, whimsy & modernity. Every time I look at it, I feel like a kid looking at a cluster of balloons. Yet, at the same time, the cleanliness + chicness of it appeals to my grown-up side. Clearly, it makes me really happy! Dining_BDGAnother inspo: These cool midcentury, 60’s-inspired orbit-shaped chandeliers in a BDG home.
Dining_Anthropologie Astra Chandelier Get the look with this Anthropologie Astra Chandelier ($1,928). Dining_DWR Satellite ChandelierI’m really into this Satellite Chandelier by Design Within Reach ($1,325) in a brass finish. Dining_Arteriors Karrington ChandelierThis asymmetrical Arteriors Karrington Chandelier with antique brass & glass spheres is also fun & different.

For more great lighting picks, check out this round up by Smitten Studio of more modern, high style chandeliers.

I’d love to know – which one is your favorite?


A Lovely Body: The Lean Out Cleanse Results

FitnessSocial_logo_transparentI began FitnessSocial’s Lean Out Cleanse by Dina Juve last Monday. I’ve been on this fitness + weight loss journey with FitnessSocial since early March. If you’ve been following, you’ve seen my weekly posts documenting my progress with its challenges and successes. FS_Overhead swings, step 2At the beginning, I was mostly focused on the fitness aspect. I, of course (and thankfully!), was seeing results and losing inches since I had pretty significantly stepped up my workout regimen. Dina started having me follow a customized nutrition plan. Then, right before my first goal date I thought about, with Dina’s encouragement, doing her Lean Out Cleanse. Mentally, I wasn’t ready.

After a girl’s trip, other out-of-town trips and just from my regular habits, I wasn’t eating as mindful, smart and clean as I’d like to. Even though the majority of the time I was eating “healthy” foods, I felt bloated. With the cleanse in the back of my mind, I finally felt ready to commit to it because I wanted to feel better. I felt comfortable with the cleanse because I like why she created it. It’s for when you’re craving certain foods, use this 5 day plan to maintain your healthy eating lifestyle without the cravings. fit365_making in shakerDina gave me a pep talk before starting the cleanse. She knows I’ve been hesitant to do it because I don’t like the idea of restriction. For one, she said it’ll be freeing because I won’t have to think about what I’m going to eat. The plan specifies food and drink options for each meal and snack. All you have to do is be prepared by having those foods on hand and ready to go when you want them. It’s like following a script; there’s no second-guessing.

She knows mental + spiritual wellness is important to me, so she said it’ll allow me to really pay attention to my mind + emotions. Before eating, ask myself: Am I really hungry? Or do I just want to eat because of some emotional deficiency? A lot of us don’t ask ourselves those simple, yet loaded questions.

I kept a daily journal while on the cleanse to keep track of what I was eating and how I was feeling. Here’s an inside look:

heartDay 1:

Day 1’s food options are kind of like what I typically eat in a day, with the exception of dark chocolate. I felt good and definitely didn’t feel restricted. I enjoyed dinner, ate slowly and stopped before I was full. The hardest part was not having a piece of dark chocolate at night, which is one of the reasons I’m doing this cleanse – to kick sugar cravings. It made me question, “Am I dependent on chocolate for emotional reasons? Do I eat it out of comfort?” FS_ab work, step 2heartDay 2:

I went about my usual workout schedule, starting the day with Dina’s Kettlebell, TRX & Barre class. During the workout, I thought that it’s nice to know I don’t have to worry about food for the day. For the rest of the day, I tuned into my body, focused on working out, work, meditation and catching up with friends.

heartDay 3:

The first thing I wrote about on Day 3 is that I love not having to think about what I’m going to eat. It frees up so much time and energy! Knowing what my meal is helps me focus on savoring each bite of it. I’m slowing down while eating and even while drinking a green juice or protein shake. Doing this also makes me aware of how my body feels. Overall, the cleanse is improving my relationship with food. FS_increase in KB weightFS_deadlift w- 25 lb weightheartDay 4:

In the morning, I took Dina’s Kettlebell, TRX & Barre class. I felt strong as I’m still increasing the kettlebell weights. The cleanse doesn’t affect me at all in the morning because I’m used to only having a green juice before working out. I talked to Dina about how one of the options was making me bloated so we made some modifications. She also said the 4th day is the most difficult and I have to say it was for me. I’ve been craving wine, cheese and carbs! But, like I’ve mentioned, that’s the point of the cleanse – to get those acidic foods out of your system.

heartDay 5:

The final full day of the cleanse! I’ve felt really good. Yes, I’ve been craving a few foods. But, I’m a little sad to be done with the cleanse. It’s helped me reset my diet and get rid of sugar & carb cravings that weren’t serving me too well. I’m looking forward to making food and eating more about enjoying the experience.

The Results from 5 Full days on the Lean Out Cleanse FS_cleanse before + after{Before pic (taken Monday morning) + After pic (taken Saturday morning)}

Inches Lost:

  • Arm: -1/4″
  • Chest: -3/4″
  • Upper Waist: -3/4″
  • Mid Hips: -2″
  • Lower Hips: -2″
  • Upper Thigh: -3/4″
  • Lower Thigh: -1/2″
  • Calf: -1/4″

Total Inches Lost: -8″

Beyond the Numbers:

  • Feel, look & am less bloated, as you can tell by the before & after pics.
  • Abs have more definition.
  • Feel more confident in my body.
  • More mindful of what I’m eating and the portions.
  • Realize I don’t need to eat as much food as I thought I did.
  • Feel more clearheaded & in touch with my emotions.

I like how I felt and looked while on the cleanse so much that I want to use the plan as a daily guideline. I don’t expect to follow the plan exactly every day, but I’d like to try for the most part. Taking daily pics of my abs helped me be aware of when I was puffy/bloated from the food I ate so I’d like to continue to do that for reference.

I would also like to continue working with Dina on making this more of a lifestyle, if that means adding in some of my favorite foods, etc.

I highly recommend the cleanse. Honestly, it’s the best, most sustainable one I’ve ever done! I was just talking to a friend who recently did it. She agrees with me and said she wants to do it once a month to reset.

If you’re interested in the cleanse, contact Dina or Melissa at FitnessSocial.

Photos by Kelsey Burton Photography for A Lovely Life.




A Lovely Body: Lean Out Cleanse with FitnessSocial

FitnessSocial_logo_transparentThis Monday I began one of FitnessSocial’s weight loss programs, the 5 day Lean Out Cleanse by Dina Juve. I know “cleansing” isn’t typically associated with fun, but I was really looking forward to this opportunity to reset my mind and body. After lots of traveling and feeling like I was veering away from clean and healthy eating habits (wine + eating out), I wanted to put up a stop sign. The Lean Out cleanse was a way to do that!

Being on a regimented diet, both in the short and long-term, isn’t new to me. I’ve done everything from 3-day juice cleanses, drinking juices, no solids until dinner, protein-focused meals to Ayurvedic diets – all in the name of health + wellness. I was turned off by all of them with the common thread being a lack of balance. And unlike while on other cleanses, I’ve been able to continue working out for 45-60 minutes a day at FitnessSocial. lemon_next to waterWhat I like about the Lean Out cleanse is that Day 1 & Day 5 are about cleaning up your diet by transitioning to whole foods. The days in between are really about  reducing your portion sizes which comes from listening to what your body really needs. fit365_ingredientsMind + Body:

Dina’s intention for the cleanse she created is to “reset your body, remove processed and artificial foods, as well as sugar from your diet and reduce portion sizes. It’s completely natural. There are no pills or supplements, just real, whole food.”

It’s not only beneficial for your body, but equally so, for your mind. When you don’t have to think about what you’ll eat for your next meal or snack (the plan specifies food options), it frees you up to mentally connect with your body and focus on fueling yourself for energy and not your emotions.

I want to update you on my progress on the cleanse as of today. Next week I’ll share more of how I felt throughout the cleanse – emotionally, mentally + physically.

Cleanse Results so far:

heart7 inches down in 4 full days.

I hope you enjoy + I encourage you to try the cleanse!



A Lovely You: Get Braided by Blown Away

BA_Final A Lovely Life BlowoutYesterday we showed how to get this loose, beach wave blowout from Blown Away. What I like about a good blowout is that it doesn’t just last for the day, but my hair looks great 2, 3 days after. It’s, for sure, a timesaver, which is always welcomed!

But, what do you do when you’re going on that 3rd or 4th day and your hair isn’t looking too hot? Or when you don’t feel like wearing your clean hair down? This quick, easy + stylish braid is an alternative to throwing your hair up in a bun or ponytail.

Stylist, Macie, shows us the A Lovely Life braid on our beautiful model and Blown Away regular, Lauren Hoekstra.

heartThe Textured Side French Braid:BA_starting braid, step 1heartStart high, near the roots, on the right side. Grab 3 pieces of hair & begin the french braid. We left wisps of hair around the face for the beachy, slightly messy look.BA_braid, step 2heartContinue grabbing pieces from the right side (they get larger) as you braid towards the base of your head. BA_braid, step 3BA_braid, step 4BA_braid, step 5heartBraid entire right side. On the left side, leave a section of hair out from the ear forward. BA_braid, finished right sideheartOnce braid reaches the base (lower center) of your head, keep the ends straight & wrap them into a small bun. Use 2 large bobby pins to secure in place. BA_braid, add left sideBA_braid, added left sideheartGrab the section of hair on the left side & make a loose, textured pin curl. BA_braid, connecting 2 sides.heartConnect the 2 pin curls & secure in place with 2 more bobby pins. BA_final braidBA_final braid_profileheartSpray UNITE’S TEXTURIZA all over to texturize. We like the messy look so texturizing is a must. You got yourself a braid!

And a special offer just for you…mention A Lovely Life or request the A Lovely Life blowout or braid at Blown Away to receive 10% off your blow dry + style!

I hope you enjoy!

Photos by Photography by MJD for A Lovely Life x Blown Away.




A Lovely You: Get Blown Away by Blown Away

BA_blowoutThis statement might be a stretch, but there’s a good chance it’s not: My quality of life has improved since the arrival of blow dry bars. By now, we’ve all (even you men) heard of a blow dry bar and the term “blowout”. Gone are the days when you have to formally book an appointment at a hair salon whenever you don’t feel like washing and styling your hair yourself. Welcome to the age of convenience (book online & via apps) and of looking everything-ready on any given day.

BA LogoThat’s why shortly after moving to Fresno from Los Angeles, the land of Drybar, I was so thrilled when Blown Away opened! The stylists there have been my savior’s in helping me look and feel polished with the wave of a blow dryer. As hair styling is not my forte, I went to Blown Away to show us a go-to blowout and a quick + easy updo (tomorrow’s post) for Spring + Summer.

Stylist, Macie, shows us the A Lovely Life (how fun!) blowout on our beautiful model and Blown Away regular, Lauren Hoekstra. Think loose, beachy waves.  BA_basic washheartStep 1: Start with freshly washed hair. Blown Away exclusively uses UNITE products to wash + style hair. BA_Unite 7 secondsheartStep 2: Spray UNITE 7SECONDS leave-in detangler all over damp hair to detangle, protect + strengthen – especially good to do before using heat on hair. BA_apply Unite U OilheartStep 3: After pre-drying the roots, apply 2 drops (for mid-length hair) of U LUXURY OIL from roots to ends. This gives moisture, instant shine + seals the cuticle. BA_basic blowout 1heartStep 4: Macie works her magic with the Blown Away blowout. BA_style with Stylewinder, step 1BA_style with Stylewinder, step 2heartStep 5: For tousled waves, use a Stylewinder rotating style iron. While pointing the iron downward, wrap a section of hair 2x around the wand keeping ends straight, hold for about 4 seconds + lightly scrunch. BA_styled with tight curlheartThe finished style. BA_Unite Texturizer spray, lift + spray hairheartStep 6: Use TEXTURIZA spray (my fav) to break up the curls, add texture, volume + fullness. This dry, finishing spray is great for those who don’t like the hair spray look and feel! Unite products used_final{the Unite products used} BA_hair utensils used{the brushes + iron used to create the look}

Do you like this look? Coming up tomorrow – how to turn this blowout into a 2nd, 3rd or 4th day 5 minute updo.

And a special offer just for you…mention A Lovely Life or request the A Lovely Life blowout at Blown Away to receive 10% off your blow dry + style!

I hope you enjoy!

Photos by Photography by MJD for A Lovely Life x Blown Away.