Beauty Armoire Monday*: Meet LOLI, a chic study in BIY (Blend It Yourself) skin, hair and bodycare

I keep thinking Celine when I see this...

When I see LOLI, I think Phoebe Philo, Celine, luxe minimalism…

Faithful Momoverettes might recall my Girl Beauty Genius™ über-pal Tina Hedges, who actually took time out of her crazy skedge to answer my life or death Qs about whether I should wash my hair with bottled water to reduce frizz.

(Tina’s verdict: Yes, and as a matter of fact FIJI is the best kind to shampoo with, because, in pH terms, it’s more alkaline than acidic. Alkaline: Good for our health, good for our hair…)

I’ve known Tina for a very long time. And in that very long time, she’s created a million famous beauty products.

That’s what Tina does for a living; she hangs out in labs with bespectacled chemists in white coats, chit-chatting about nano-particles and creating famous beauty products.

Tina’s latest piece of wizardry is LOLI, an acronym for Loving Organic Living Ingredients, and it’s gorge.

Gorge and good for you. If you’re growing increasingly paranoid about the Franken-chemicals in your beauty merch (and you 1000 percent should be paranoid about the Franken-chemicals in your beauty merch) – and if you also happen to enjoy whipping up face masks and customizing yummy oils for that banging bod of yours – you will swoon over supernatural LOLI.

Tina’s been telling me about her new project for months now, so you can imagine how psyched I was when the mail dude dropped a box on my porch bearing a LOLI label.

After burrowing through all the eco-correct packing materials (obvi LOLI is a styrofoam peanut-free zone), I found a Powder Mask, Flower Water, Base Oil, Power Oil, recipe cards – even a cute little recycled-bamboo spoon to mix with.

I got blending, deciding to kick off with a way-basic recipe of Powder Mask + Water.

“I feel like my Native great great granny, slathering away in her teepee on the Great Plains of Oklahoma,” I thought, as I smeared my mug with the earthen brew – a mix of rose clay, matcha tea, kale and blueberries.

Suddenly remembering I was on dinner duty, I rushed out to the kitchen to conjure grub for the Wee Lass. And midway through my mask drying time – and meal-prep – she wandered out of her bedroom lair to check on me.

“You look really scary,” she said, eyes wide. “And you smell like Froot Loops.”

The kid has a nose like a bloodhound, so it doesn’t surprise me in the least that she detected the blueberries in the LOLI mask.

Anyway, my way-basic Powder Mask + Water concoction was just the beginning of what I could do with my LOLI parcel. If I follow Tina’s clever recipe cards, I can deploy the Flower Water and oils to make different masks (Renewal and Exfoliant). I can also just spritz the Flower Water to rehydrate my skin. Or mix the two oils in my hand to inhale – aromatherapeutically – to calm myself when I’m freaking out.

As a writer (and not a creator of famous beauty products), I also love the little backstories Tina included at the bottom of the recipe cards. I thought it might be nice if I ended this blog post by segueing from talk of Scary Mommy and Froot Loops to one of Tina’s everything-old-is-new-again tidbits:

“Women used flower waters in Sicily in the 14th century to freshen up the bed-sheets. Our grandmothers lovingly spritzed ‘agua de flores’ to scent our hair. We love them as a facial toner.”

Stone villas in 14th-century Sicily, teepees in the Great Plains of Oklahoma, Tina’s NYC apartment – you never know where the next brills beauty idea might hail from.

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My pedometer OCD is raging again. Clipping it to my nightie, my undies, my…

My hoofing-it total yesterday. Yay!!!

My hoofing-it total yesterday. Yay!!!

When I was writing my Momover book (whoa, that seems like ages ago…dog years), I needed to research a bunch of gadgets I was considering including in the fitness chapters.

Alongside my trusty Tanita jump-rope  with the built-in counter (oh how I love that thing), I also got a mini-trampoline and an old-school, pre-FitBit step-tracker that I used to calculate just how much daily schlepping I was doing while toiling as an editor in Manhattan and living in a triplex across the Hudson River.

The Wee Lass was just a toddler back then, and while her intrepid nanny did most of the chasing and corralling up and down flights of stairs, I was pressed into chasing and corralling duty on weekends.

In other words, I was on the move. Going, going, going 24/7.

And just like that – snap! – I became addicted to wearing that pedometer. I barely made a move without it. The second I woke up in the morning, I would attach it to whatever sleep apparel I’d worn the night before, and then I’d transfer it to that day’s festive work get-up, and then back again to my PJs later on. A continuous loop of pedometer-attaching…

To be perfectly frank, my fixation was getting borderline creepy. I haven’t seen Cake yet, but I’m guessing I felt about my pedometer the way Jennifer Aniston feels about her precious pain meds in that buzzed-about little flick.

Sidebar: Why does JA have to look THAT bad in order to cinematically convey that she’s a pill-popper? Aren’t any pill-poppers at least reasonably well-groomed?

Anyhoo, because I was getting worried about my over-fondness for my pedometer, when the battery died, I let my obsession die along with it.

Back to the real world I went, blissfully unaware how many steps I’d logged between my desk and the office loo.

Flashforward several years later, and here’s Momover Lady this past Sunday, organizing boxes of career-related Lord knows what in the garage. Whenever I leave a job, I always think it’s necessary to box up tons of files and project-y papers and notebooks  “just in case I need them later.” Of course, I rarely ever need anything later, but that’s beside the point.

And as it turns out, here were a few gems in the boxes I’d shipped from my New York office down to Florida: A sweet note from my former assistant, who I cry every time I think about because I miss her so much. That and a FitBit Zip I’d  never cracked open.

The next day, I synced the Zip up with my computer, and I’ve once again been sucked into the vortex of step-counting addiction.

Unlike Kim RHOBH Richards possibly being on drugs and booze again, I haven’t made my mind up yet about whether this pedometer relapse is good or bad.

According to current health wisdom, we should all be getting off our big fat fannies and m-o-v-i-n-g. In fact, if I see one more news story about the dangers of sitting, I’m gonna rip all my fake-blonde hair out.

Still, at least in my case: Message Received. I’m not a huge sitter anyway (too antsy and high-strung), but I’m now making a conscious effort to move more.

And my Zip is now aiding and abetting me to the extreme.

Yesterday, circa 4pm, the Wee Lass and I were out in the backyard enjoying the sunshine and 70+ temperature. (Don’t hate me…I did my time up North…) But when I consulted my Zip, I saw that I’d only logged about 8k steps. “Let’s go for a power walk,” I said.

Off we went, out and about our ‘hood. We met an adorable new puppy up the street named Marley, we ran into friends who invited the Wee Lass to an upcoming basketball game, and we oohed and aaahed over some of the gorge homes on Brightwaters Boulevard.

It was fun, and bonding, and….it pushed me waaaaaay over my 10k step total. (Visual proof above.) In fact, I earned what FitBit calls an “Urban Boot” badge.

Today, because I ran after dropping the Wee Lass off at school (0n foot, bien sur) I’m already up to 7393 steps and it’s only 11 am.

But there’s no way in hell I’m gonna shut the door on this day before I hit 10k. Ain’t gonna happen.

 

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Beauty Armoire Monday: Restørsea mini routine (cleanser, serum + crow’s feet prevention goo, aka eye cream)

Smell great, feel great, work great. Holla.

Smell great, feel great, work great. Holla.

It’s mostly awesome – but sometimes really sad – that I can’t justify plunking down my own cold, hard cash for skincare. My Beauty Armoire and its offspring, Baby Beauty Armoire, are just too jam-packed with hoarded merch for me to procure anything new without a raging case of the guilts.

But if guilt weren’t an issue, Restørsea is absolutely, without question, a brand I would buy. I’ve loved it since the very first time I tried it, which I’m guessing is pushing about two years ago. The founder of the company, one very sassy + smart Patti Pao – popped by my office for a deskside appointment and I was so charmed by her that I actually took her brand-spanking new Rejuvenating Day Cream home that night to try it.

Instantly, I was addicted. I’m all about great scents in skincare, and Restørsea – quite unapologetically, btw – features a pretty intoxicating white tea fragrance. But beyond that, I just loved the results I got from the day creme. I saw brightening (code for brownish age spots seemed to recede) and a radiance bump, and of course moisturization.

But then I ran out. So I nabbed other jars I found in the Beauty Closet at work. And then I ran out of those. And then I said to myself:

Dude, it’s just one creme in the vast ocean of miracle cremes you’re surrounded by. Move on. Get a life.

And so I did move on, and I did get a life. And I switched it up to a Lancer Method 3-part regime which utterly and completely kicks —. (I’m not electronically swearing anymore, so you’ll need to fill in the cuss-word blanks from now on.) So good. IMO, Dr. Lancer’s scrub should win the Nobel Prize for de-clogging pores.

Because I’m psychotically committed to using every last thing in Beauty Armoire and Baby Beauty Armoire, as soon as I finished my Lancer Method regime, I pinged right back into Restørsea. I don’t have any Restørsea creme (day or night) in my stash, but I did find these yummy numbers:

Reviving Cleanser

Renormalizing Serum 

Revitalizing Eye Cream

As with all  Restørsea prods, these three items are laced with what Pao has dubbed her “Vibransea” complex. Evidently Pao, who is a beauty exec with quite the business pedigree, discovered a special enzyme that’s unique to the pure fjords of Western Norway. While visiting a salmon hatchery – as one does when one is hell-bent on exploring the pure fjords of Western Norway – Pao discovered that the hands of the weatherbeaten Norwegian fishermen, which are submerged in salmon spawn-filled waters for a good chunk of the day, were incredibly youthful.

Suspiciously youthful, if truth be told.

Pao decided to investigate this phenom. And that’s when she learned that, at birth, baby salmon release an enzyme to help them escape their shells. Pao christened this enzyme “Aquabeautine XL.” (You have to call it something, no? And “baby salmon shell-escaping enzyme” doesn’t have an especially snappy ring to it…) Anyhoo, the enzyme contains both a protein and an exfoliant that skin really loves.

In fact, Pao contends that Aquabeautine XL delivers a sloughing effect akin to glycolic acid – minus the potential irritation. Radiance-zapping dead skin cells are given the boot, and new, fresh ones surface in their place.

All I can save is that I’m super-glad Pao visited the pure fjords of Western Norway with her peepers peeled for potentially awesome complexion breakthroughs. She did the heavy lifting so we don’t have to.

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How to get your woo woo on. (Join me, Momoverettes! Woo woo is good for you!)

Champagne: So not optional. Ev. Er.

Champagne: So not optional. Ev. Er.

Before I get rolling with today’s call to action – getting your woo woo on – I have to deliver a PSA about best practices for opening a bottle of Champs.

As a former waitress (both in Newport R.I. and New York City), and a maje lover of Champs in my post-waitress life as a human, I have much knowledge to impart on this core life skill.

Because, hello, the scenario in this pic –  the cork transforming into a ballistic missile and causing great bodily harm to those around you – never needs to happen.

5 Top Tips for Opening Champs Like a Champ

1. Make sure your Champs is Capital F freeeeeezing. That alone will spell the difference between a crisp, dignified unveiling and the ballistic missile approach. (Super chillin prevents excess bubbling. You want to drink this stuff, not watch it foam over the side of your crystal flute, never to be heard from again.)

2. Hold the bottle straight up. None of this sideways business. For an extra insurance policy, you can hover it over your kitchen sink.

3. Use one of those grippy jar-opener thingys to gently rock the cork clockwise and counterclockwise. You know the thingys I’m talking about, right? Here’s a set from Container Store. Mine is shaped liked fleur petals. Awww….

4. Once you’ve eased the cork out, continue to hold the bottle straight up for a few more secs. Should there be any bubbling and foaming (which there shouldn’t be, because it’s freezing cold, oui?), holding it stiff as a board will mitigate the sitch.

5. Pour it very slowly into flutes that are tilted, ever so slightly, toward you. Again, you’re mitigating the foam in your bubbly. Bubbles are great in your bubbly. Foam is not great in your bubbly. Foam means you’ve failed. I’m sorry to be so blunt, but there’s just no sugar-coating this. Foam equals failure.

Now on to the real (vegan) meat of this blog post:

3 Easy Ways To Get Your Woo Woo On

I thought it might be helpful to tell you what I’m doing on this front, and then provide helpful suggestions for you to DIY.

1. Stare at paintings, or otherwise expand your knowledge of Art History.

> What I’m Doing: This has been in the works for months, but I’ve finally started a Docent Training program at the seriously stunning (and world-renowned) Dali Museum in my newly adopted FLA city. I can’t tell you how excited I am about this. Cartwheels.

> What You Can Do: I’ve recently come across a series of art books for kids that I’d absolutely love to read myself. They’re all centered around the number 13, i.e., 13 Painters Children Should Know, 13 Modern Artists Children Should Know, 13 Sculptures Children Should Know, etc. I spotted these at a tots museum by me and thought they were great.

2. Make your own art, or crafts

> What I’m Doing: I’ve been knitting a scarf for my friend Debi for eons now. By the time I finish it, the winter will long be over. I want to step up my knitting-techniques game in a huge way this year, and I’d also really like to get into decoupage. Decoupage has been on my To Do list for centuries.

> What You Can Do: Start small. Aim low. Peace out. Wanna try something that’s both practical and wildly addictive? Weave potholders! Again, I recommend going for the kiddie take on this. I like the Klutz potholder kits. In fact, I love all the Klutz kids craft kits. (Try saying THAT five times fast! Klutz kids craft kits, Klutz kids craft kits…)

3. Dive into astrology

> What I’m Doing: Next week, while Hubby is up in New York for work, I’ll be cracking open a tiny bottle of freezing cold Champs and attending a 2015 teleseminar given by the Astro Twins. I am super, super into the work of the Astro Twins. They’re such funny writers and their horoscopes and other intel are so in-depth. I know I’ll learn a lot during this festive she-bang, and glean lots of planetary-based planning tips for the coming year. I need to go full-picture on my future.

> What You Can Do: If you’re lucky and your birth certificate has your time of arrival on this fair planet, get your chart done. Faithful readers know that that isn’t the case with Momover Lady. Sadly, I have no idea what time of day I was born, and thus can never, ever – for as long as I live – get a proper chart done. Seize your opportunity, mama. Just do it.

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Get brand-new-mommy Rosamund “Gone Girl” Pike’s banging Golden Globes hairstyle

Letting it all hang out, glamorously.

Letting it all hang out, glamorously. Postpartum cutouts!

Bonjour, my lovelies!

Did we all stay up waaaay past our bedtime, watching every last nano-second of the Globes last night? And then did we all drag ourselves, kicking and screaming, to Cardio Tennis at the crack o’ dawn?

Check and check…grrr….

So, according to my new issue of Vanity Fair, Rosamund Pike is the Hollywood It Girl of the moment. I have no truck – zero truck – with that, as A) She’s gorge and B) she’s super-talented. One without the other is less than optimal, oui?

Anyhoo, you can see that our hero Rosamund boldly put her newly postpartum – 5 weeks!!!! – on display last night in this ravishing white gown.

Equally fetching: Her sleek bob. (I’m getting my locks re-blonded tomorrow and I’m tempted to ask my re-blonder to chop it all off, comme ça.)

Happily, the team behind Rosamund’s hairstylist – Kylee Rae Heath – sent over all the intel to DIY the look yourself.

Kylee used Oscar Blandi products (looooove Oscar!), which you can easily nab at your local Ulta.

Here’s the step-by-step 411, with product recos:

TO CREATE THE LOOK:

1. On damp hair apply Oscar Blandi Hair Lift Mousse throughout the roots and spray Oscar Blandi Jasmine Protein Mist from mid-shaft through the ends and comb through the hair.

2. Create a deep, straight side part with a tail comb.

3. With a small round brush blow dry hair on a low setting to work shine and volume into the hair.

4. Once the hair is dry, spray Oscar Blandi Dry Heat Protect Spray onto the hair & smooth out the ends with a flat iron. It is key to only hit the ends with the iron to maintain volume at the roots.

5. Apply a small amount of Oscar Blandi Polish Glossing Creme to the ends to polish and to smooth away any flyaways around the part.

6. Tuck the left side behind the ear and spray Oscar Blandi Lacca Medium Hold Hair Spray to finish and add more shine.

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Breakfast: So not the most important meal of the day*

Once in a while? Mebbe.

Once in a while? Mebbe. But not every darn day.

It’s the first, official, back-to-the-grind week of 2015 (and my neighbor across the street stilllllll hasn’t taken down his massive Xmas lights, and it’s driving me a tad mental), and from what I can glean, everyone, everywhere is feeling as fat as a house.

How else to explain why every news story, blog post, TV segment and message winging its way to us via carrier pigeon is about losing weight?

Happily, I’m not one of the millions – billions? – feeling as fat as house right now.

Mostly, that’s because I went to a starvation spa in an undisclosed location last month, to write about it for an undisclosed magazine, to hit the newsstands in an undisclosed time-frame.

And ever since I got back, I’ve been glued to the scale in hopes that the numbers will head south. At the very least, they need to not head north.

North is not good. No siree.

I’ve also become completely – utterly! – obsessed with Intermittent Fasting, which we will now abbreviate to IF because I’ll be IF-ing this and IF-ing that all throughout the rest of this IF-ing blog post.

Uh oh – just kinda broke my New Year’s Res to stop electronically swearing so much. Not really though, right?

So what exactly is Intermittent Fasting, aka IF, you ask?

Please, people! Use your noodle! Stop expecting me to do all the heavy mental lifting for you!

Basically, IF means skipping meals or – drastically reducing calories – on a regular basis. The idea is that by compressing your “eating window” to 8 hours or so – say, from 11 am to 7 pm – you allow your body to recharge, and burn fuel from existing fat. Another popular way to IF is the 5:2 diet, which  entails picking two days a week and scaling waaaaaaay back on food.

For me, IF means skipping breakfast most days and not eating until 11 at the earliest. I have coffee with non-dairy creamer, and loads of lemon water (I’m super-big on alkalinizing lemon-water) and that’s it for hours. Sure, some mornings I’m hungry, so I’ll grab a handful of nuts. But 90 percent of the time, I’m good until mid-day.

Your IF “story” could be totally different. Maybe you absolutely have to eat in the morning, but then you can wind your daily food consumption down by about 3pm. Everyone’s different, hence the asterisk in the title of this award-winning blog post.

Although IF has its detractors, loads of other health gurus think it’s great, great, great. Maybe when I get back home from taking the Wee Lass to tennis class, I’ll hop back in here and tic off some of the many body bennies IF is thought to confer.

Apparently there’s a “dark side” to IF, one in which IF-ers get so gung-ho about the buzz they get from fasting that they jump the behavioral fence right into an eating disorder.

While I’ve occasionally joked about wanting to acquire an eating disorder so I can slim down, I’ve recently heard the Wee Lass complaining about having a chubby belly and it has COMPLETELY freaked me out. Like way more than my neighbor across the street with the guns-blazing Xmas lights circa Jan 5.

Eating disorders aren’t funny. So if you can’t IF without slipping into one yourself, don’t IF-ing IF. Capeesh?

 

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Momover Lady’s Library: The Big Picture by Tony ‘P90X’ Horton. OMG, love him. Biiiiiig time.

So cute. And smart. And 56!!!

So cute. And smart. And 56!!! May we all look this good.

Happy hollies, my lovely Momoverettes! May we all collectively blow the pants off 2015 in the most major of kick-ass ways.

But before I dispense with 2014, I have oodles of work to do.

I just got back from a starvation spa in an undisclosed location, which I’m writing about for an undisclosed magazine, to hit the newsstands in an undisclosed time-frame. The deadline? In 48 hours, bébe. The clock is ticking and I’ve been at my desk, jack-hammering away, since 3 a.m.

Yes, you read that right: Three o’clock in the g.d. morning. Welcome to my world of Beauty + Wellness Writer fabulosity…

But because I love you, I’m stealing a few minutes out of my jam-packed, haven’t-wrapped-the-Wee-Lass’s-Xmas-prezzies-yet day to tell you about a book I picked up at the airport that I’m only a hundred pages into and am already crazy about: The Big Picture: 11 Laws That Will Change Your Life by Tony Horton.

Faithful readers might recall that a few years ago, Hubby and I slogged through Tony the Tiger’s super-famous P90X at-home fitness program not once but twice.

Whoa, I just went through my archives and found approximately 95 posts I wrote about it back then:

Is it Tony Time? Mulling P90X for 2011

Colleen’s washboard abs are selling me on P90X

Home is where the P90X is. Ouch. Cue heating pad…

Post P90X, I can semi-rock the jeggings

Clearly, it made an impression.

If you’ve also done P90X, you will know that:

1. It’s really effing hard.

2. You will get in incredible shape.

3. Listening to Tony Horton natter on while he’s forcing you to do a vomit-inducing number of jumping jacks and bicep curls is kind of addictive. He’s super-smart, super-sassy and super-handsome.

Don’t believe me about the super-handsome bit? Eyeball this book jacket. The guy is turning 57 next year. A walking, talking (lots of talking, he’s so chatty) billboard for clean living.

Given that I’m on deadline, haven’t wrapped the Wee Lass’s Xmas prezzies yet, need to make an appearance at mass later today (sans Spanx, thank you very much), and am only 100 pages into Tony’s book, I can’t do a soup-to-nuts review like I’ve done with my previous Momover Lady’s Library posts.

But something tells me you’ll survive with the abbreviated version of my sterling prose. So, without further ado, I give you:

My Top 5 Tips from the First 100 Pages

1. Phoning it in is not allowed. Ev. Er. In high school and even into his early 20s, our boy Tony was a total stoner who didn’t give his all to anything. But here’s the deal: You just never know what might be coming down the pike for you, career-wise. And if you screw up one opportunity by not doing your best, you might blow your chance at something else that would naturally follow. The early-on domino effect of Tony getting his act together? He busted his ass to do a good job of training a corporate-exec client of his, who turned out to be besties with….Tom Petty. Mr. Free-Fallin’ promptly became Tony’s very first super-celeb, mega cashed-up customer.

2. 4x a week is the bare minimum for working out. This isn’t a fitness book, but you can bet your sweet bippy it includes tons of intel about the importance of exercise in every aspect of our lives. In Tony’s perfect world, we’d hit it 6 days a week. But at least ramp up from that measly three. Three is bullshit. Three gives you what he calls “exercise bipolar disorder,” meaning that on any given day, you’re just as likely to not work out. He’s not down with that. Being fit is too important.

3. Initially sucking at something is “the new awesome.” Pourquoi, you ask? Because it means you’re at least trying. Not trying because you don’t want to look like a jackass is for wimps. Our handsome hero spent a good chunk of his early life not diving into stuff he was itching to try because he didn’t want to be seen failing. He’s now over that in a massive way.

4. Plan, plan, plan. Write down everything you want to accomplish. Put it on a calendar. Every day of your ever-loving life. I don’t do this, but I intend to. Tony says that once you start really planning your life – in writing –  you won’t be able to stop. That would be so fab.

5. Be fake-nice to the nay-sayers in your life. On the road to fame and fortune, Mr. T has encountered plenty of people who’ve told him that whatever he was envisioning would never happen. The best way to deal with these (possibly well-meaning) blowhards is to just politely acknowledge them, hear ‘em out, and get right back to exactly what you were just doing. Because mostly, they’re flat-out wrong. And even if they’re right, failing is the new awesome. Capeesh?

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The Vanderpump Rules H.I.I.T. (High Intensity Interval Training) Workout. So waist-whittling!

Jax and Stassi in happier times. Sniff sniff...

Jax and Stassi in much happier times. Sniff sniff…

I have a new Tuesday morning routine and…

It.

Is.

Genius.

Here’s how it unfolds:

1. I march the Wee Lass to school.

(We always march. Always. Unless it’s full-on raining. Or the heavens are threatening to unleash an ungodly amount of thunder and lightning upon us. Then, and only then, we take the car.)

2. I march back home, quickly, and start converting our family room into my own personal gym. I shove this out of the way. I shove that out of the way. I basically clear the runway for the activity to come.

3. I suit up: Running shorts, sports bra, socks, sneaks. No shirt. Oooh, racy.

4. I rummage through my closet for my trusty Tanita jump-rope with the built-in rep counter. I’m on my second one of these, which shows you how much I love it. It counts calories, too, btw. But if you want to depress yourself, jump rope for like a solid hour and then check the calorie counter. If you’re lucky, you’ve burnt maybe one bite of that super-scary strawberry-frosted Pop Tart you wolfed down for breakfast. I focus on reps, not sad  depressing measly weaselly calorie counts.

5. I shut the door – firmly – on our home office, so as not to disturb dear Hubby, who is jack-hammering away in there on all manner of Important Matters.

6. I queue up my DVRd episode of that week’s Vanderpump Rules.

7. I get down to bidness.

Clap your hands if you saw that piece in the New York Times last week about the health benefits of working your ass off for one teensy weensy minute.

Although I didn’t actually read it – don’t fret; I read a gazillion stories in the NYT on a weekly, daily, hourly basis – I didn’t have to because I knew, immediately, what it was about:

H.I.I.T. (High Intensity Interval Training)

The Momover Lady, easy-to-wrap-your-brain-around definition of HIIT is…you speed up, you slow down, you speed up, you slow down.

During the speeding-up part of the plan – which lasts for a very short period of time, like the one minute the NYT is yakking about here – you seriously exert yourself. You go all out. You push yourself as hard as if you had some big-bucks personal trainer barking in your poor ear, relentlessly.

This speeding up and slowing down jazz is markedly more effective at moving the needle on your fitness level. Hugely more effective.

Is it fun to work so hard you’re afraid you’re about to hurl into the potted palms? Not in the slightest. But is it worth it? COMPLETELY.

So how did I develop the destined-to-be-classic ‘Vanderpump Rules HIIT Workout’?

SIDEBAR: Trademarking that right now. Vanderpump Rules HIIT Workout™. You are my witnesses.   

As my beloved Lisa Vanderpump would say, I just got bloody sick and tired of missing crucial plot points and dialogue because of the infernal racket caused by trusty Tanita jump rope, and the thwack thwack thwack of my Nike Free 5.0 Flash sneaks hitting the hurricane-friendly laminate flooring in our lovely FLA home.

I don’t care how much I want a thigh gap (I really, really, reallllly want a thigh gap), when Kristen is making a complete and utter jackass out of herself by going over to Sandoval’s apartment “to get her mail” – six months after he kicked her bony behind to the curb because – hello - she had sex with both foxy Jax and icky James behind his back – I. NEED. TO. HEAR. ALL. THAT.

And I kinda can’t HEAR. ALL. THAT. when I’m thwack thwack thwacking against the hurricane-friendly laminate flooring in my lovely FLA home.

So, because I’m actually secretly super smart, I devised a plan that will both deliver a thigh gap and allow me to focus my full attention when shit starts to get real on VP: During the commercial breaks, I work out like a banshee, jump jump jumping, thwack thwack thwacking. Those commercial breaks are waaaay more than a minute, which is even better for waist-whittling, arm-chiseling and tush-tightening. I don’t know exactly why jumping rope is such an awesome all-over body toner, but trust me, it is.

And when the commercial break is over, and the plot picks back up, I slow down to a much more leisurely thwack thwack thwacking.

And if something maje happens, like if Stassi is going into full-on bitch mode because everyone around her won’t bend to her will, I literally stop in my tracks so I can focus.

For me, the Vanderpump Rules HIIT Workout™ is the best of both worlds: Thigh gap plus Kristen and Sandoval and Jax and Stassi – and even icky James – unfiltered.

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Sleep your way skinny. A double delight. A win-win.

Dive in and get your thigh-gap on.

Dive in and get your flat abs and thigh-gap on.

Yes, I know; I’ve been MIA again. But at least my paying clients can take comfort in the knowledge that when I have deadlines to meet, I. Basically. Do. Not. Blog.

Blogging is my fun little hobby, not my fun little jobby.

While you lovely Momoverettes and I were parted, I was of course obsessed with the size of my ass and every other body part that surrounds it. (I.e., my belly and thighs). When am I not obsessed with the size of my ass, belly and thighs? Never. Never is when I’m not obsessed with the size of my ass, belly and thighs.

But here’s what’s actually cool since we last electronically met: I have seriously cooled it on the gluten front.

In my last post, on the topic of Metabolic Syndrome, I bemoaned the fact that I recently spent a Saturday afternoon feeling major-league shitty. And after doing a little nutritional detective work, I determined that the cause of that plunge in well-being might have been my rawther excessive intake of gluten-packed prods like bread and craft beer.

Awww…beer. Faithful readers might recall that, since moving to FLA, I’ve developed quite the crush on a local-fave brew called Kona Big Wave Golden Ale. It’s incredibly yummy – crisp and almost lemony – and has the cutest illustration of frothy waves on the label. But hello? Gluten in a bottle.

Anyway, since I can already sense this blog post getting away from me, I’ll sum up the anti-gluten chatter and segue-way to sleep, and its ability to help us stay slim.

In short, I don’t know that I’ve lost any actual weight since kicking bread and other wheat-(and therefore gluten)-based foodstuffs to the curb in the last 10+ days. But I do notice a slight de-puffing in the ab area. Gluten is notoriously hard to digest – one of the key reasons it’s been linked to ‘leaky gut syndrome’ and, increasingly, autoimmune disease. So it’s doesn’t take a rocket scientist to connect the dots between gluten and bloating. Zap the gluten, reduce the puffies.

Moving on now…

WHY DEEP, RESTFUL SLEEP TRIMS YOU DOWN 

1. It regulates the key hunger hormones. Specifically, these are leptin and ghrelin. Leptin is the goodie; it tells you when you’re full. Ghrelin is the baddie; it’s an appetite-increaser. Obvi you want higher levels of leptin and lower levels of ghrelin circulating through your bod. Deep sleep helps with that.

2. It prevents you from lunging at fake, sugary “energizers.” Whether starchy, carb-y and gluten-y (don’t, please don’t) or chocolate-y (don’t do that either, unless it’s a tiny chunk of anti-oxidant-laced dark), sugar will dribble you up and down like a basketball. And then it will make you fat. When you’re well-rested, you simply don’t crave carbs and sugar as much.

3. It raises your resting metabolic rate. That means more automatic calorie-burn. We love us some automatic calorie-burn.

4. It keeps you out of the fridge, pantry and cookie jar. Duh-basic, but so true: The more hours you’re awake each day (and night), the more food and drink you consume. Shave off some of that noshing / sipping time by burrowing under the covers. (You’ll improve your skin, emotional state and mental-alertness, too. Yay!)

5. It gives you the energy – and motivation – to work out. Although controlling your calorie-intake is far, far, far more important to weight loss than exercise (even the top trainers in the world will tell you that), it does help. And besides, it tones and tightens your shizzle right up. Tight is good.

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Metabolic Syndrome, decoded. (You’re very welcome, my carb-addict, sugar-gobbling friend…)

So innocent-looking, and yet so....

So cheerful and innocent-looking, and yet so damn bad for you.

A pal told me a story recently that scared the pants off me:

It seems her sister, who is quite a bit younger than we are, already has high blood pressure and has been told by her doc that she’s pre-diabetic.

Whoa, whoa and whoa, right?

So scary.

When I heard this, I immediately flashed-back to my last round of bloodwork, roughly 10 months ago.

At that time, per my internist, my blood sugar was “slightly elevated” to 118. (I just looked it up, and that number definitely puts me in the pre-diabetic category…)

Still, I don’t know whether that was an accurate assessment, and here’s why: Faithful readers may recall that I had thrown a monkey wrench into the whole bloodwork / glucose-testing process - and probably compromised my results – by eating a cinnamon raisin bagel (with butter and jelly, for pete’s sake) – mere minutes before the popping into my doc’s office.

El Stupido move. You aren’t supposed to eat anything before glucose-testing, much less a sugar-bomb cinnamon raisin bagel with jelly.

Because I already knew that, I wasn’t completely shocked when those numbers came back so high. Still, I was pretty upset. Not freaked-out enough to stop eating sugar cold-turkey, but…concerned.

Now back to the present: On Saturday, for no real reason I could discern, I just felt terrible in the middle of the day. Like really, really bad. I rallied to go to mass and out to dinner afterward, but man, that mid-day slump was a killah.

So I retraced my steps: What had I eaten earlier that could have triggered such an epic crash? Bread. I’d had two pieces of toast for brekkie, and a sandwich for lunch.

Sometimes – actually a lot of times – I think to myself: “Ditch the gluten, babe.” I’ve also blogged about it quite a bit:

OMG, I really gotta get off gluten

Mally Roncal is making me paranoid about gluten  

And more recently, whenever I’ve found myself digging into Halloween candy that’s stillllllllll hanging around, I’ve also thought: “Ditch the sugar, babe.”

So now, at long last, I’m connecting the dots between gluten, sugar and Metabolic Syndrome. [Metabolic Syndrome isn’t always capped, btw. But I think it’s super scary, so I’M CAPPING.]

Although there’s debate (not much anymore, but some) in the medical community about gluten’s role in triggering insulin resistance, there is zero debate about how sugar contributes to the equation.

And before you say, “Hey, I thought this blog post was about Metabolic Syndrome, not insulin resistance,” know that the two go hand in hand, like Salt-N-Pepa. If you’re insulin-resistant, you’re probably headed down the highway to hell of Metabolic Syndrome. Bear with me, please, my pretty…

EASY-PEASY DEFINITION OF METABOLIC SYNDROME

In a nutshell, Metabolic Syndrome is a cluster of risk factors that, bundled together, increase your chances of winding up with heart disease, diabetes and strokes. Although there’s a genetic component – and it’s more prevalent as we age – lifestyle plays a huge role in who does – and does not – end up with Metabolic Syndrome. We’ll get to prevention in a bit.

RISK FACTORS FOR METABOLIC SYNDROME

According to the NIH, these are the primary risk factors for Metabolic Syndrome:

1. A large waistline. Excess fat in the stomach area is a greater risk factor for heart disease than excess fat in other parts of the body.

2. A high triglyceride level. Triglycerides are a type of fat found in the blood.

3. A low HDL (aka “good”) cholesterol level. HDL helps remove cholesterol from your arteries. A low HDL cholesterol level raises your risk for heart disease.

4. High blood pressure. If this pressure rises and stays high over time, it can damage your heart and lead to plaque buildup.

5. High fasting blood sugar. Mildly high blood sugar may be an early sign of diabetes.

FYI, these “factors” tend to go together. And once you have you have at least three of them, you are well on your way to Metabolic Syndrome.

LIFESTYLE SHIFTS TO PREVENT METABOLIC SYNDROME

1. Size-up your waist on a regular basis. Your goal is under 35 inches. Men can go up to 40. You are not a man.

2. Keep your weight low-ish. A BMI of between 18.5 to 24.9 is recommended. There are a million BMI calculators online. Can’t find one, Lazy Bones? Here ya go...

3. Hit the bricks. Exercise is crucial for your well-being, especially the healthy heart-pounding aerobic kind.

4. Clean up your diet. Personally, I feel better when I cut way, way back on gluten. I’m also really loving the I Quit Sugar book right now. That author is a maje genius. I think I’ll order her new kids’ cookbook, too.

5. Manage your stress. There isn’t a direct, causal link between stress and high blood pressure and heart disease, but here’s how it can screw up our health all the same: It can cause you to gobble shitty-for-you frosted, white-flour cookies like the gorge ones pictured here. It can make you drink too much booze “to wind down” after a tough one at work or minding your tot-lets. And it can make you say, “I’m in a crummy mood, there’s no way I’m running tonight.”  That’s what stress can do to you. So manage it, s’il vous plait.

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