Sunday, March 30, 2014

Sephora had a Sale. So.

It's been a while since I've done a makeup post on here. My love has not faded, it has just moved to a different medium. I've mostly been posting any makeup related stuff on YouTube, just because it's sort of the easiest thing to talk about on there. I did actually film a video to go along with this blog post, and if you want to check it out you can find it here. There's another new video too which you can find here. I don't want to post all of them to Facebook, because I feel like it would be super annoying for people who don't care about that kind of stuff. Also trust me, I do realize that filming myself talking about makeup is a just a bit odd, and I experience an appropriate level of self-consciousness about the whole thing.

There aren't many things that warrant both a blog post AND a video, but today was a very special day: Sephora had a sale. Nothing too crazy- 15% off for VIB Rouge members. It's not a lot, but anytime there's any type of slight markdown on expensive makeup-or honestly even just some good samples, I'm gonna be forgetting all other priorities (friends, family, work, school...what are they?) and pushing old ladies out of the way to get me some products. It's a problem.

This sale was actually kind of cool and different. They held it as an exclusive event, before regular store hours-you had to RSVP and check in with a guest list at the door. There were beauty experts from various companies there doing demonstrations. I was too busy shopping to sit down for a few minutes with any of them, but the friend I brought got a product demo from the sales rep for Benefit Cosmetics, and it seemed like she got some good advice. There was even a refreshment table with coffee and baked goods-which were pretty much ignored because girls that shop at Sephora don't eat danishes(I cracked that joke to one of the girls working and got a blank stare. Come on! That's funny!)

Honestly though, despite not laughing at my bad jokes, everyone working was super helpful, which was awesome because the store was packed with attractive ladies, none of whom could be blamed for their slightly frenzied behaviour. I had a chance to speak with Delores from the management team, and I made sure to let her know that the staff at Sephora always provides great customer service. I work in a restaurant, and I always try to recognize when I get good service in stores and restaurants. Too often it goes unappreciated. Big ups, Delores, you dat bitch!

 I also think Sephora does a great job with their VIB program-and I mean great job at making you want to spend more money, which is always the goal of any customer loyalty program. But you do end up getting some discounts and free stuff-I'll have a photo below of the big grab bag I got today as VIB Rouge Member. There's still a few services that I haven't had a chance to take advantage of-like getting my makeup done for free anytime I want. Maybe once I do that I'll do a blog post or video reviewing the whole VIB program

Overall the sale/event today was fun, if spending a morning blowing your monthly grocery budget for a meager discount on things you really don't need is your idea of good time-which obviously is the case for me. Like I said, check out the video to see everything I picked up, or don't, and just look at these photos instead.


Tom Ford. Luh Ya Papi

S/O to my Grampy for the background painting

Hair Stuffs.


Ridiculously overpriced nail polish
Kitten by Stila
Watch the video to see why I didn't want to buy this.
I happily paid $26 for a sponge that isn't even a contraceptive. What.
I got all this stuff for free! Including that tiny adorable Daisy perfume. Dying.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Why I'm not mad about images of women in the mainstream media.

It's been a while since I really got into a blog entry. It's not that I haven't thought of it, or that I've had writer's block. I've just sort of had other things that were more important. I've been really focused on working out, and somewhat less focused on doing research for a paper I have due next week. But my thoughts are always brewing, and I've had something on the back burner that I wanted to write about as soon as I had a good chance. I already posted a gym rat flexing photo on Instagram, so I can relax on the gym for a few days(I'll call myself out on that so you don't have to). And now it's crunch time for that paper, and I haven't written a single word of it. But I have at least mostly read the source material and highlighted some shit that sounded important, so now it's time to do whatever I please until about 12 hours before it's due.

I've been thinking a lot lately about body image and self esteem. I think it's been on my mind because I have been spending so much time at  the gym lately, and thinking about my own body. That, coupled with the wild debate that was sparked on Facebook over the No Makeup Selfie Challenge (which I made a video about) has got self esteem, body image and the defintion of beauty on my mind. I've been thinking a lot about where self esteem comes from, where I get my own from, who is responsible for it and how women(or anyone) can feel better about their physical selves.

Inveitably, in any conversation(even inside one's own head) about self esteem/body image, the topic of images of women in the mainstream media is brought up-and usually people are pretty outraged by it. The media is constantly battering us with images of an unattainable standard of beauty-skinny, tall, blonde, perfect skin, perfect teeth, no cellulite, no anything that could be perceived as ugly or imperfect. I understand why this is so upsetting to people-I have had my own struggles with body image and feelings of inadquecy because I didn't feel like my body-and in turn myself as person-was good enough. But you know what? I am over being mad at the media. I think we need to accept it for what it is and move on.

It definitely is my first instinct to be really angry towards the mainstream media for the way that women are generally portrayed. But I have a few things that I like to say to myself when a person or a situation makes me angry. One is "The only person that you can control is yourself", another is "When you let someone make you angry, you are giving them your energy and letting them have control over you". So in this situation, like any other, I ask myself, what can I do to make it better? And what can I honestly expect out of the other party involved?

Mainstream media-television, blockbuster movies, magazines-what are they trying to do? They are trying to sell you something, and they are going to do that by showing you images of what they have determined through focus groups and whatever other forms of research they do as being attractive to as many people as possible. That's just how it is. That's how it's always been. You're intelligent, you know this. You can get as mad as you want about it, but they aren't going to change. And even when they do make what looks like a step in the right direction, it's still motivated by profit. The mainstream media is never going to be at the forefront of any movement to improve self love and body image. I think it's a waste of your precious time and energy to get mad. It's like getting mad at a dumb person for being dumb. They can't help it, that's just the way they are.

So do I think that we should all just accept that there will never be postive, realistic images of women in the media? Fuck no! I think that we should be taking the energy that we are saving by not giving a fuck what the mainstream media says and using it to become the kind of women(or people) that we want to see represented in magazines and on TV. Rather than feeling sorry for yourself because you don't think you measure up, start doing something to show the world that you DO measure up and maybe you're even fucking awesome. Don't be a victim, don't let them have that. Don't let the beauty myth get you down, don't let anyone tell you what you should look like, don't give them the satisfaction of being right that only a certain body type deserves happiness any success. Don't waste your energy. You have better things to do.

But what if you need a little inspiration? Well I have good news. The mainstream media doesn't have shit on the internet-where I think we spend most of our time anyway. You can find positive imagery of every type of human being imaginable on the internet. There are tons of amazing body positivity resources on the internet. Instead of looking at a magazine that makes you feel sad about your body, don't buy them, ignore them! Try to find some blogs or websites that speak to your idea of what's beautiful. Here's one right now to get you started: http://fuckyeahbodypositivity.tumblr.com/ Fill your mind with those images and positive messages-and soon enough, you'll actually believe them. And the more you support that kind of media, the less relevant the "mainstream" media is. If we keep paying attention to the mainstream media and their shitty messages about our bodies, even if what we say is negative, we are still giving them power. We're still talking about it. Let's all shut up about it and focus on the forms of media that really speak to us, and hopefully one day the dumb mainstream media with its' shitty messages about our bodies will just fizzle out, because we don't even care enough to get mad at them anymore.

Look, I understand that the beauty myth created by the mainstream media has done real damage. I feel like it has hurt me personally. But I'm over being angry about it. I've been angry about it for a long time, and I want to let it go. I don't want to let a magazine or a fashion show or a movie have the power to make me feel bad about myself. I'd rather use that energy to work towards making myself a better person, and supporting the women who I think deserve to be in the spotlight. Accept the mainstream media for what it is-a big idiot, who thinks everyone else is an idiot too, and uses stupid, tired tactics to get us to give them our money. I know you're smarter than that, so let's accept it and move on. Rise above.
***

This is Louise, one of my favourite YouTubers/bloggers. Just wanted to throw in a shot of one of the alternative media ladies I love. You can find her at https://www.youtube.com/user/Sprinkleofglitter


Woo! That felt good. I would love to hear other people's thoughts on this. I feel like there could be a lot of different perspectives-like maybe I would feel totally different if I had a daughter. I've been pretty ranty lately, but I'm not a very angry ranter. I'm like, this is my take on something, what's yours? Ooh, that's good too, you might be right. Plus if we get talking about it I will have another reason to not return to my paper writing, and I would really appreciate that.

Thanks for reading.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

LEG DAY-Sample Workout + Where I get my Workouts

Before I get into this I feel like I need to say something about how I'm not a fitness professional, and I don't know what your capabilities are, this is just what I do, it's always important to be safe when using weights, yadda, yadda, yadda. Actually I wouldn't recommend some of these moves if you are inexperienced-especially deadlifts, which can really hurt your back if not done properly.
Basically, this workout may or may not kill you.

(Also note, these photos aren't mine. My personal gym photographer wasn't available today).

Ok, now that my ass is covered, why don't I tell you about the leg day I had today. I'm not going to list exact weights, just run you through the reps/sets

 Ruth's Leg Day

20 minutes running on treadmill at moderate effort (6.5 MPH at a slight incline)

1x 10 body weight squats (just to get those muscles moving)
3 x 8 Squats with barball (mid-heavy weight)
3 x 40 calf raises (in between squat sets)
3 x 10 front barbell squats (holding barbell in front of shoulders)
This isn't me.
3 x 10 leg press (heavy)
3 x 8 stiff-legged deadlifts (mid weight)
3 x 10 sumo squats (mid weight)

This one's me.

1 x 25 bridges, holding the last rep for 30 seconds (bridges are pelvic thrusts while lying on the ground. Not super flattering. I work out in the women's only section at my gym, but pretty much the moment I started doing this move a maintenance man came in and started working on the machine right beside me. Of course. No eye contact was made.)

5 minutes walking on treadmill at max elevation, taking long strides
 ***

A few notes on this workout: I have read that it's better to do cardio after weights. But I don't like cardio and I just want to get it out of the way. I switch my cardio up too-sometimes I do longer stints, sometimes I do sprints/interval training. Occasionally I'll do a different type of cardio altogether-stepmill or bike, but the majority of it is on the treadmill.

I don't like to rest too much in between sets-keep the heart rate up, keep moving. Often I'll do pylometric moves in between sets. That's things like burpees, box jumps etc. I actually did do some jumping split squats today, I just don't remember where in the workout. Plyometrics have become a really important part of my fitness routine-just wasn't the focus of today's workout.

I like to end a hard leg workout with an "isolating" move that really squeezes out my last bit of effort-that's what the bridges were for. Finishing up with the high incline walking makes sure I really have nothing left to give. Plus taking long strides serves to stretch my legs-I kind of neglected stretching today-just did a few stretches in between reps. That's not ideal, but I had to wrap it up to go to work.

As for where I get my workouts-sometimes, like today, I make it up myself. I've been working out for long enough that I can do that. But I got to that point with some help. I would highly recommend investing in some personal training sessions. I know it's expensive-but it's so worth it. About 6 years ago I spent a big chunk of money on trainers-and it was without a doubt the best money I've ever spent on myself. It completely changed the way that I work out. When you work with a trainer you learn how to use the weights and machines, use proper form, all that good stuff. But you also learn what it really feels like to push yourself(you can probably do more than you think you can)-and then when you work out alone you'll chase that feeling. Even if you can only afford a few sessions, you should really consider working out with a trainer.

These days, my main resource is Oxygen magazine. I can't rave about that magazine enough. It's not a girly fashion/beauty magazine with a few workouts thrown in. It is a woman's magazine completely dedicated to fitness. Every month there's an selection of challenging workouts, whether you're new to the gym or you've been going for years. I'm always amazed that each issues contains some sort of workout element that I've never tried before. Earlier this week I completed an all-lunge routine from this month's issue-it was brutal, in a good way. There's also tons of motivating columns written by fitness professionals, which makes the magazine feel kind of like having a personal trainer that helps you along the way.

The other place that I have been getting workout ideas lately is Pinterest. I tend to think of that particular social medium as the domain of crafty housewives, but I've found some really good workouts on there. Same with Instagram-just type in a hashtag like #legday or #abworkout-you'll have to sift through more gym selfies than you'd probably like, but a lot of people also post their workouts.

This wasn't a totally outrageous workout for me, but I'd say it leaned towards theo more intense side of what I normally do. If you're just starting out, I'd say pick 3-5 leg moves, and try to do like...2 sets of 10-12 reps of each move. So maybe you could do 2x12 leg extensions, 2x12 squats, and 2x12 leg presses. Do a bit of research, hire a trainer if you can. And of course, don't strain yourself to the point of injury.

I'm enjoying writing about fitness, but I do hope to get back to writing about other topics soon. I just don't have time to think about much other than work, school and the gym right now. Hope these entries are enjoyable to at least a few people!

Thanks for reading, now get your ass moving!!!!!
 (I mean, only if you want to, sweetie. I could never be a drill sergeant).

Monday, March 10, 2014

Updates + A few workout tips

In my last entry I told you guys about my fitness goals for the upcoming month. And so far so good-I was up in the gym 5 times this week, doing challenging workouts and complaining about it on Facebook. I was happy with my meal prep too. Like I said, even when you buy prepared food that seems clean, it's usually not as good as making it yourself. Case in point, one time this week I picked up some roasted salmon and steamed vegetables from the hot food counter at my grocery store. Sounds like a good choice, but it was soooo salty-which is really common in prepared food. I've already prepped some food for this week(just another batch of the same recipe as last time). I plan to do some more cooking this week and hopefully share recipes on here, if I have time, which brings me to my next point.....

Ok, I don't usually use this blog to talk about what's going on in my day to day life-who the fuck cares, right? But I do have some stuff going on at the moment that I want to tell you about. First of all, as I mentioned on Facebook this blog hit 10,000 views last week. And I know that's basically nothing on the internet, but still it felt like a bit of a personal milestone for me. I get so much enjoyment and fufillment out of writing here, and to think that even one person reads it is the icing on the cake (Or the organic blueberries on the 10 grain hot cereal). I am feeling really motivated and excited to put more time and effort into the blog-and do more YouTube videos! The problem is that the next month is pretty jam packed with less exciting stuff. Namely a ten page book review, for a book that I have not only not started, but have now also misplaced somewhere in my apartment(I totally would). So a lot of my brain power is going to be going towards writing that, and most of my leftover spare time is going to be spent in the gym. So if you don't see a lot from me in the next couple weeks, it's not because I've lost interest in this blog. It's totally the opposite-I'm pretty fired up on the whole thing. I just have other things I have to deal with. The worst!

I do want to keep updating on my fitness regime-it's really suprising to me how many people are interested in the entries I write about fitness. It's a topic that I was hesitant to write about, because I fear coming across as really superficial or even arrogant. I've also held back on writing more about fitness because I love it so much that I can't even talk about it in my usual sarcastic bitchy way- all I can offer is genuine enthusiasm. It's hard to put your guard down like that. But fitness is my passion way above makeup, and I'm really glad other people want to read about it. I have to work really hard to stay in shape, and I've been working out for a long time. I think I've learned a thing or two along the way, and I thought today I could share a few tips I've picked up in my 10 years of going to the gym.

These are just general tips-some are about the actual physical side of working out, some are motivational, it's just sort of the first few things that come to mind. I hope to do more specific posts in the future-including maybe posting some sample workouts. It's like, 1 degree outside, and all good Canadians know that means  it's pretty much summer, so we better get ready.

Ok, here's a few tips that help me in my fitness regime:

1. Don't fall for the classic "girly" workout routine- for the first few years that I was going to the gym, I would spend an hour or more on the elliptical (at an easy resistance), then do some crunches, and if I felt really motivated maybe I'd get on a weight machine or two for a few reps. It was better than doing nothing, and it did at least get me into the routine of going to the gym. But there's no progress in that kind of workout. If you want to see real change in how your body looks, you need to push yourself harder than that-there's probably going to be weights involved. And sweating.

2. Good form is key for getting the best results and avoiding injury- When you're working out with weights, you should always be checking your form-meaning how your body performs the move, your posture etc. You know-chin up, shoulders back, chest forward, abs tight. I constantly check myself on my form when I'm working out. If you look around the gym, I guarantee you'll see someone doing squats with their neck bent forward, or crunches that seem to only involve moving their chin toward their chest. Take the time to go through your reps slowly, and pay attention to your form.

3. Concentrate on the muscle that you're trying to work- I want you to stand up right now and do a squat without thinking about it, just get up and do one quickly. Did you do it? Ok, now stand up again and do another squat, but this time, move slowly and really squeeze your buns on the way up-use your butt to stand up, rather than your legs. You're doing the same move, but using totally different muscles (unless you squeezed those buns the first time, in which case eff you for outsmarting me and ruining the demonstration). The same goes for all weight exercises-it's really important to focus on the specific muscle that you're trying to work. If you're trying to work a back muscle, don't let your arms do all the work.

4. Work out to get your best body, not someone else's- Eating clean and working out have amazing powers to transform your body. But it's still your body. I'm never going to have long, slim legs. But my legs are strong, and they look better than I ever imagined they could. I'm not envious of people who have different body types than I do-there's just no point. And you might think that's easy for me to say because you think I'm naturally slim. But that's not the case-when I was 16 I weighed 25 pounds more than I do now, and was 4 or 5 pant sizes bigger. I never believed that I could love my body like I do now.

5. Let other people inspire you- I know some people are too cool to enjoy inspirational posts on Instagram, but I love them. I'm a big believer in the power of positive affirmations, and I believe that the messages we take into our brains affect us, postively or negatively. I follow lots of fitness professionals and groups on the various social media. I read those cheesy motivational messages, and I look at the sculpted bodies of the people I admire, and those things motivate me to work harder. Through fitness, I have found a strong mind/body connection. Working out has had immense postive affects on my state of mind. And my mind in turn drives me to keep working out. Your body does the work when you get to the gym, but first your mind has to make the decision to go in the first place. Fill you mind with positive, motivating messages.



Ok that's all I have time for today. Those are just some really basic things. I'm going to make an effort to post at least one entry a week over the next little bit-once I get to the real procrastination stage of writing my book review I should have no trouble with that.

Thank you so much for reading. It really means a lot to me.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Summer is coming:Time to Re-Commit to Fitness and Clean Eating Goals (+ a recipe)

Ok so I wrote that title and then looked out the window to see that it's snowing. Fuck. But I swear (and beg of you, Mother Nature, Jesus Lord, whoever is listening)-warmer weather is coming. Before you know it ass cheeks are gonna be hanging out everywhere! I think it's a good time of year to reconnect with your inner Buff the Stuff and make some fitness and nutrition goals. I currently have added motivation to really kill it at the gym and with eating clean because my boyfriend has just left on a month-long trip to Spain. We've been separated for long periods of time before. Rather than use the time to wallow in my own self-pity, I make the most of it by really committing to my personal goals, and making myself my #1 priority (although I'm pretty self centred all the time, let's keep it real).

If you've been reading my blog for a while, you know that I already do eat clean and work out a lot. But I feel like I've gone into "maintenance mode" in the past few months. Meaning I've been eating mostly clean and working out, but just enough to keep in relatively good shape-not really pushing myself and trying to make improvements. I think this is a really healthy way to go about being a fit person-you can't do it 100% all the time(at least I can't). I like to stay in shape to a level that I could, at any point, get into my optimal level of fitness within a few weeks of strict clean eating and pushing myself at the gym. And now is that time for me.

I decided to make a few concrete goals this time-something I don't always do. I usually just have the general idea that I want to pull in the reigns and get my ass in shape(literally, it's the most important part. I'd like everything else to look alright too). But I was recently inspired to make a goal to give up Diet Coke, which I have been woefully addicted to since I worked at McDonald's in high school and could drink as much as I wanted for free. And I've been successful in kicking the habit. It's kind of a big deal for me, and the little victory made me think that I should set other specific goals. I've never been a goal oriented person, but I've been kind of surprised at how good I feel about achieving that one little goal, so why not make some more. So I'm setting some specific goals for the next month. Although they are things I've done before, and maybe they're more "guidelines" than goals. Still, I think they will help me in my overall mission to get my body into its' best shape.

These are my goals/guidelines

1. Prep clean meals at least once a week. It's sooooo helpful to make food ahead of time- make a big batch of food that you can eat throughout the week. This is something I was really good about in college, and have since fallen out of the habit. I have the luxury of working in a restaurant that has awesome clean options, and I eat a lot there. But I also end up spending a lot of money on salads and other (clean) takeout for meals outside of work. Plus, even when you pick things that seem clean, you can never be sure unless you make it yourself. I think that prepping my own meals will be good for my body, and my wallet. I got started on this goal tonight, and I have a recipe at the bottom of this post for you.

2. Go to the gym 4 days a week, no excuses. I've honestly been really off and on with my gym attendance this winter-some weeks going 4 or 5 times, some weeks not going at all. I still manage not to gain weight-much thanks to my very active job. But I KNOW for sure that my body has looked better than it does now, and that has been when I've been diligent about hitting the weights.

3. Keep drinking lots of water-I've been really good about drinking a lot of water lately, especially since I'm not pounding back Diet Cokes all day. It makes me feel great, and I think it really curbs a lot of junk food cravings. I want to make sure I keep it up.

For now those are my three main goals or guidelines or whatever-I might make new ones as the month progresses. I love when I post stuff about fitness because I always get a lot of response, and that in turn helps keep me motivated. I want to try to do updates on how it's going over the next little while. I would also love to hear about what other people are doing to get in shape these days. Maybe if we all work together and get our abs tight, whoever is in charge of this fucking shit weather will get the message that we are ready for the sun.

Thanks for reading!

Spicy Turkey Vegetables & Quinoa 
(Such a creative name)
iPhone photo, sorry expensive camera, it's not your turn.

I made this recipe up, but it was inspired by a similar recipe by Fit Men Cook -amazing resource for clean recipes and general fitness motivation.
Pretty much all the measurements here are approximate. This is a pretty basic recipe, and you could easily switch it up with different vegetables, spices, whatever.

1 Tbsp. Olive Oil
1 onion, chopped
1 red pepper, chopped
1 orange pepper, chopped (My simple brain just really likes seeing different colours, you could use 2 red)
1 head of broccoli, chopped (just the top part, although I guess you could use the stems)
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1/8-1/4 cup low sodium chicken broth
1 pound ground turkey
1 cup cooked quinoa (instructions usually on the package, it's easy)
1 cup Salsa (I used an organic brand, medium heat)
A few pinches of chili powder

1. Cook the turkey in a pan at medium heat until browned (use a wooden spoon to break it up and stir as it cooks). Drain off any liquid and set the meat aside.

2. Heat the olive oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add onion, peppers, broccoli and cook for about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook another minute or so.

3. Add the cooked quinoa, turkey, salsa and some of the chicken broth. Stir it all together and turn up the heat a bit.

4. Add more chicken brothe if needed. Heat until just bubbling, and add chili powder. Stir, and turn down heat and let simmer for a bit.

5. Let cool, and then divide into containers to be eaten throughout the week!

This recipe was sooo easy, inexpensive and it tastes great (I'm eating some right now). When you cook ahead like this, eating clean becomes just as convenient as grabbing something to go. Definitely one of the best things you can do to stick with it.


New Video!

I just uploaded my first non-makeup video on YouTube. I posted a link on my Facebook but for some reason, the views aren't showing up on my video and it's bothering me, so I removed the link.


This video is a bit of a rant about my least favourite magazine-Cosmo! After I filmed it I realized that there were many more things I could have said, but I feel like I got it across that I am not a fan of the publication. And also that I am not afraid to say the words penis and vagina on the internet. Hope you all enjoy.


Link to video


Unflattering screen cap for fun: