Friday, October 29, 2010

Hanging Out with Your Attractive Friends: Unconventional Fitness Activity 4

     You know what highly success people advise? That you surround yourself with more successful people so that with the help of the group’s dynamics, you will also succeed. It makes perfect sense – when no one around you is aiming low, nothing- even you- can hold you back.

So what does that have to be with beauty and fitness? Well, a lot actually. The idea is that you will hang out more often with friends who pay attention to how they look. I am not suggesting you surround yourself with superficial people, fashion victims or diet freaks. Rather, I am merely suggesting that among all the friends you can hang out with, choose to spend time with the ones who are more active, health-conscious and overall well-groomed.

Because you will feel bad if you are the only one who’s not taking care of yourself, peer pressure and motivation will make you want to put on that little touch of make-up, give up on the coffee cream and pick your more flattering outfits to wear.

image via:
Yes, this is a Lindy Hop move. Hopefully one day, it'll be possible for me too. But there is no way I am going to get to it if I just sit around with my friends who only like to sit around. I have a lot of those!

Recently, I have been spending more time at the dance studio (where I am taking lindy hop lessons). The more I watch the good dancers, the more I want to attend the practice times and well, the more I want to dance. And the more I dance, the better I feel . And the more moves I can master, the more I will enjoy it and the more I will want to dance. Oh, yes :it is one fantastic and beneficial cycle.

The point is whatever you’d like to accomplish and/or maintain, find a way to hang out with people who are better at it than you do, or at least just as enthusiastic as you are.  I had a great year in Norway, when I was an exchange student. I had great friends, who were just as addicted to fun and partying as I was. The result? One fantastic year. And I am thinking, why not apply it to our looks?

Monday, October 25, 2010

Developing A Crush - Unconventional Fitness Activity 3

Yep, that is actually what I am advising. Get out there and find yourself at least one crush. I am saying at least one, because you might get too emotionally invested if you really start liking someone. 

It occured to me that I tend to spend more time in front of the mirror when I have a crush. Those extra minutes spent trying to look a little sexier, taking a little longer to decide what to wear…It is just that inevitably I move more.

I especially remember this one crush - more of an insanely sexual attraction, really. He was just so hot. Tall, dark blonde, great built, sexy face, great voice, perfect style... He even had the best taste in music.I think he knew how perfect he looked so he wasn't easy to approach. He just wasn't the type of guy that made you fantasize about romantic dinners. You wouldn't have the time to think what he would be like your boyfriend, because well, all you wanted was to get him in a room, alone.

Sure, it feels great when we are only looking more attractive for our own eyes alone. It is also fun when strangers admire you too. But I always found it much more stimulating when someone you find hot/attractive/cute thinks the same way about you.
But the downside of having a crush on someone, you can get too involved. So it is much better if you surround yourself with little crushes (objects of your like) rather than just one. Because that one crush might not like you back or he might and things may not work out. So you just might end up falling for your comfort food when things go sour.

You already have a crush? Great. Make the most of it.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Lindy Hop To Fitness: Unconventional Fitness Activity 2

Lindy What?
Lindy Hop is a a really fast and fun type of dancing.  For the historical and cultural background info, you can check out the Wikipedia page for the lindy hop dance.
But for the fun and practical bits: It is a dance where you kick, hop, swing and dance – and keep bouncing during all your moves. The songs are jazz and rock n’ roll or a combination of these two genres. And yes, the sooner you find yourself a dancing partner to practice the moves with, the better. The moves of a couple is just so much fun, even when you are in the earliest stages, like me.
This is a dance where jeans are OK as well as a skirt and you are better of wearing flat shoes.
I’m including some of the videos I found on youtube- both the basic and the rockin’ professional stuff.
Have fun!
Youtube videos:

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Dating a Hot Guy: Unconventional Fitness Activity 1

Nope, not just any dating. Dating or trying to date really, really hot guys. Yes, a good personality is a plus but since a lot of guys are superficial (regardless of how good or bad they look), it doesn’t hurt us to go after some eye candy. If we are lucky, we can land a really hot guy (or hot guys-sky is the limit).  
*Note: If you are happily coupled up, feel free to ignore this advice.
Here is why I am emphasizing a guy should have a hot body:
For one, I am sick of ugly, balding, and fat middle-aged men cheating on their lovely wives (I know girls and other types of men cheat too, but that’s off topic right now). And many men seem to have double standards when it comes to how their girlfriends should look. They want them to be fit and well-groomed, while they rarely hit the gym. Even if they do go, they do tend to fall for the younger gym bunnies.
But of course this double standard isn’t just about older, married or fatter men. A couple of years ago I used to date this really skinny guy. I actually don’t even like skinny guys. I like guys tall, well-built and strong .  I’d rather have a guy who built those muscles naturally through his work or favorite sports (and preferably not by living in the gym).
How about James Denton from Desperate Housewives or the new addition to that show, Brian Austin Green? I don’t know if their bodies are gym-based, but they look amazing.

Brian Austin Green in Desperate Housewives. Image via  movieline-com

Teri Hatcher and James Denton in Desperate Housewives. Image via

Anyway, we all have an ideal image when it comes to looks but feelings and hormones get the in the way. And boys know it really well. Back to the skinny guy: He was barely an inch taller than me. And he wasn’t strong. But personality matter more than looks, right?
 He fooled me into thinking he was a nice, fun guy with a high E.Q (emotional I.Q).  His face was OK but if he hadn’t been around that day, hanging with a friend of mine, I wouldn’t have even noticed him.

Oh, you can take a look at a picture of me on the about page. I am definitely not skinny. But I am 1.75 m tall (5’9”) and 69 kilos (about 135 pounds? You get the idea). And apart from the belly I’d like to hide I have a pretty decent body, with long legs and all that.
So this skinny guy who is not eye-catching or good-looking, who doesn’t even walk with a nice posture, starts criticizing my sense of getting dressed and makes hints that I should lose weight. Seriously.
To the outside eye, I’m the eye-catching, prettier one . It was my friends who thought he was not good enough for me.
You see, if he looked like Keanu Reeves or Gerard Butler, I’d not have been mad at his hints. In fact, I’d use him to lose the extra pounds. But if an average looking guy with borderline personality issues asks, I am not even going to move my arm. What would be the motivation? To give him the satisfaction dating even a prettier girl? No, thanks.
Yes, we didn’t last long. And since I was attracted to the niceness in the first place.
My point is, it is OK to be superficial as many of the people around you are too. So why not take advantage of the back? It is all very well looking for your soul mate with that amazing personality. But until he comes along, even for just fitness purposes, let’s hunt down the gorgeous boys. We will be motivated to be as fit as they are. And we can stay in shape by engaging in fitness on our own and with them (dancing, PG-13 stuff and of course the essential R-Rated action).
Do share your stories.

Monday, October 18, 2010

How I Lost 16 Pounds By Shopping: A True Weight-Loss Story!

The following actually happened and it is one of my favorite stories to share. Of course you need a little bit of money to do this fitness acitivity and you should be careful about not going bankrupt (Rebecca Bloomwood, anywone???).

 image: stargatecinema. From the movie Confessions of a Shopaholic. Based on the bestselling book by Sophie Kinsella. Rebecca Bloomwood is played by Isla Fisher.

The main fitness tip:
Shop, shop till you drop. Shop for dresses, as it does help with your calories when you keep changing clothes. The more you try, the more calories you lose. The more calories you lose, more dresses fit. You feel better and sexier and get encouraged to wear more clothes. Tinier clothes fit. Before you know, you are trying and buying smaller sized clothes and the end of a couple of months, you have a brand new gorgeous wardrobe and a thinner new you.

This fitness method might harm your finances if you don't watch it and I managed this weight loss in the summer. I wasn't dieting, but I eat much less in the summer than in winter. The heat crushes your appettite.

The story:
My first year at university just sucked. There is no other way to put it. I had worked hard to get in and it had taken an extremely boring final high school year with a lot of studying around me and some really annoying health problems. On the surface, it was nothing serious. I had a cold. The problem? I constantly had a cold! Imagine spending 2 school terms with mild fever (nothing dangerous but just high enough to keep you agitated), lack of energy and constant headaches. You might think the problem was psychological and yeah, I’d have to agree. But knowing where your problems are coming from doesn’t do you any favors if you can’t change the conditions causing them. So I took  a lot of painkillers (don’t panic, just a couple a day, as suggested by the doctor, when the symptoms were there). Of course they made it a little easier to study but hey, their effects were very short-term.

Long story short, I got into a really good school. By then, I had a different problem. No matter how carefully you stick to your doctor’s instructions, the effects of the pills presented themselves in the shape of chronic stomach pain and nausea, even though I hadn’t been taking anything for months. I could watch what I ate, but then when I got nauseous, anything made it worse. And of course it was stress related as well, again. Because while my school was OK in educational areas, it was far from satisfying in social areas and for me, having fun is everything. So now I had another two terms feeling constantly sick. Now, during school, with a lot of hours and coursework and exams, you can hardly go healthy. But in the summer,  it is much easier to feel full on less food and stay away from greasy stuff. So I stayed away from grease and any type of heavy food. So I ate a lot of grilled stuff, fruit and ice-cream. Yep, ice cream felt a lot easier than muffins and cake. It has a lot of milk and it is nutritious. And obviously, I didn’t need coffee or tea (who needs to stay up to study?). This was the diet.

As for the shopping:
Obviously you don’t spend a lot of money when you are sick. So let’s say that I had some cash to burn, a healthy diet I was instinctively on and as a girl I am naturally addicted to shopping.

Anyway, guess what? I signed up for an Italian course, ate healthily and shopped, shopped till I dropped that summer. The fitter I got, the more clothes looked great on me and the more gorgeous I looked, the more clothes I tried. You get my brilliant cycle. At the end of two months ( eating as much ice-cream as I wanted- though obviously I didn’t eat a gallon a day), I had lost about 16 pounds. I was happy with a whole new wardrobe and no stomach problems whatsoever. Yes, the following term I slowly put back on the pounds slowly  but that has do with coffee, tea, chocolate and the oh-so-familiar vicious cycle of binge eating during studying. 

The moral?
The lesson is obvious: Try to stay away from stress, find a “fitness” activity you love and enjoy yourself. This results in lost pounds without any felt effort on your part. Give it a shot. You won’t regret it.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

The Essential Yet Impossible Tiny Clutch

 image via:

Impossible isn't nothing. It is  well...surviving the big city life with a tiny clutch, trying to fit everything you need inside. Without making the bag explode or making it look like the original's bloated and ugly cousin...

I love a beautiful clutch to complement that tiny little dress. The problem is what the hell can I possibly fit in inside these stylish jokes for a bag?

Sure, if you live in the Manhattan, like Carrie Bradshaw from Sex and The City - where everywhere worth going is a cab ride away - clutches won't be an issue. But if you were watching the show, you probably noticed how Miranda wasn't traveling in a cab from Brooklyn to Manhattan? Being able to afford cabs is one thing, but even a hotshot attorney can't take a cab everyday when it is that far away.

So what if you are living in a city full of New Jersey's and Brooklyns and all the good parties are in the Manhattans? You can't seriously afford a taxi everytime you wanted your perfected looks to remain perfect (unless you become a bestselling author and marry your financial whiz boyfriend like Carrie).

Now, here is the thing. I can handle struttering and dancing in high heels but walking in them through many blocks? Changing busses and using various transportation methods while you are in them? In extremely hot or cold weather???

Yes, I know the topic isn't heels but this is what happens: first, you let the heels go if you want to use your legs for hours. Then goes the tiny clucth, because you are going to spend a lot of time walking and commuting, so you will need your emergency make-up removal kit, as well as the extra sweater/shirt you will need. So what you need to carry to survive is no longer a clutch but  a decent-sized bag.

And what if you are a freelance writer/blogger who carries his office equipments with her all the time (the netbook, notebook, pens...). And you suddenly get an invite from a friend to go dancing. There isn't enough time to go back home so your ideal sexy dress/heels/clutch combo is suddenly comfortable outfit/boots/a giant bag. Nope, Carrie wouldn't be proud...

Possible Solutions:
* Move to a smaller city/town where walking to the clubs take 30 minutes or a 5-minute cab ride. I am actually speaking from experience. I lived in a small town in Norway for a year. The clutch and heels were no problem. But of course you still needed a coat and well, there weren't that many clubs.

* Move to California
The clubs are decent and you can't really survive without a car- especially if you'll be living in L.A.

*Move to a flat near the clubs. But sleeping might be a problem...

What to do you think? Have you perfected the art of being perfectly sexy with the right accesories in the big city? Or are you suffering from similar problems?

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Embracing Your Inner Bridget Jones for Your Peace of Mind

This article is for many women, including me: Extra weight, bad habits and bad luck in our romantic lives is something most of us have in common with each other and the book/movie character Bridget Jones. So we might as well have fun with it.

I haven’t read the Bridget Jones books (Bridget Jones’s Diary and Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason) by Helen Fielding, but I have seen the movies. There is a big chance you read and/or saw Bridget Jones or at least heard about it. Even if you haven’t, here is what Bridget is like:  

 * Don’t think that being a smoker always kills one’s appetite. Bridget smokes and she is well, not skinny. At all. In the movies, she is played by Renée Zellweger. She is skinny in her regular Hollywood life and movies, but she gained about 28 pounds (13-14 kg.s) for this role.So Bridget is a plump yet (plainly) pretty girl who I pretty much like the rest of us. I mean, I don’t wake up to look like the made-up, red-carpet version of Nicole Kidman. Do you?

* Bridget is romantically very unlucky, until she falls for Mr. Darcy. Mind you prejudices and pride get in their way for the most of the first movie’s duration. And yes, Bridget Jones has been inspired by Jane Austen's classic Pride and Prejudice.

She does have a loving relationship with fast food and booze.
-         When she does exercise, it is usually not with the greatest of plans.
-         She doesn’t have the perfect hair.
-         She is not a great cook.
-         She might go into a buying frenzy for self-help books but she hasn’t been known to apply their tips.
-        She makes lots of resolutions. But can she follow them? Not often, no.
But most importantly, I am underlining the fact that she eats when she is depressed, her attempts at a healthy diet and lifestyle are usually either futile or short-lived, she has many embarrassing moments and she is couple of sizes larger than she actually wants to be.
I am not saying that by accepting the inner Bridget we will find our own Colin Firth – (sorry I was supposed to say Darcy;)) but we will at least acknowledge our funny weaknesses and we won’t feel alone.
So while the spirit of Bridget (in us) will never die, we can maybe be at least a little fitter and a little more charismatic than her.  And maybe we don’t have to kill ourselves exercising in the process...

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Hunting for the Best Lipstick

Finding the best lipstick is proving to be a quest as challenging and difficult as finding your soul mate. I mean, if you have found the affordable, staying (literally staying) lipstick, please spare me the pain and let me know immediately. I don’t want to try and find tricks that make the lipstick stay longer (these tricks are never reliable anyway). I want it to stay, and I want it to fade away slowly, not fade in parts only to make my lips look like a joke.

Here are my favorite and not so favorite lipstick and lip care experiences:

-          Nivea Cherry Lip Care

         Only if this wasn’t something temporary. The color, smell and the taste are all great but of course it only makes your lips colorful until you take a sip or bite out of something. Then your lips go pale and “the cherry” is all over your food and/or glass. I don’t want my lipstick/balm to leave stains on stuff!

-          Maybelline Watershine

        Great colors, easy to apply and very, very short staying time. Plus, they do leave their marks on your glass.

-          MaxFactor Lipfinity

         MaxFactor Lipfinity series lipsticks have so far been my favorite- as they do tend to stay. But the problem is, sometimes after you have eaten, the lipstick fades totally in parts making like your lips just got attacked. And unless you came out a really hot making-out session, your lips shouldn’t look like that. There is also the issue that because they stay, you need to travel with make-up removal equipment in case you make a slight application error and you do develop a permanent attachment to the lip balm the lipstick comes with because your lips feel overly dry.

-          Loréal Glam Shine – 6 hours

        The problem with this one is that it does stay quite a bit, including on your teeth. No matter how carefully you apply them and wait for them to try, the bits find their way to your teeth. My lips don’t look that sexy when they are bare but they sure look better than colorful lips that come with pink teeth.

     What make-up brands do you use? Do you have tips that work with these brands? Do you have suggestions for other products? Write on. And if you have found the perfect lipstick that costs $100, also let me know. If it is worth it, we will splurge.