Utility Vest, Jacket and Get Yo’ Fitness On Week 4

I think I have an olive green utility vest/jacket obsession.  I recently decided I HAD TO HAVE both a utility vest and utility jacket.  Both in olive green.  So, off I went.  I hunted both down and now am the proud owner of both items, with not too big of a dip in my bank account!

The first item I found was the utility jacket.  I first saw it on my friend Sarah of ShopsSRJ.  She wore it so casually and described it as the perfect ‘throw on and go’ jacket that, well, I had to have it!  So, I searched and searched and found the one below on eBay for $8.

Utility jacket, http://chicinacademia.com

Details: Jacket, eBay, similar here and here; Dress, Gap, here; Shoes, Plato’s Closet, similar here; Necklace, Banana Republic, similar here; Bracelets, Forever 21, here; Bag, Louis Vuitton, buy used here.

I love the length, the slouchy sleeves, and the fact that it’s light enough to wear during the summer.  Layers are important during the summer, particularly when frequenting air-conditioned places.  This outfit I wore to a coffee date with girlfriends, followed by a little bit of shopping.  Notice I’m wearing slip-on shoes and clothing that is easily removed in case I need to try on clothes and shoes in a jiffy!  A girl’s gotta think ahead! 😉

Next, I hunted down the utility vest I could not get my mind off.  I found it during a grocery shopping trip to Target, because you know I can’t grocery shop at Target without perusing the clothing/shoes/accessories sections of the stores, haha.  So there is was, in its $30 glory.  They happened to have a $10 off coupon available that day, and I also used my Target Red Card, so in all, I saved $11.50.  Not too shabby!

Utility vest, http://chicinacademia.com

Utility vest, http://chicinacademia.com

Details: Dress, old from Target, similar here and here; Vest, Target, here; Necklace, Walmart, similar here and here; Shoes, Michael Kors via TJ Maxx, similar here and here; Bag, TJ Maxx, similar here and here; Belt, Altuzarra for Target, similar here and here.

I wore this outfit to the office and my office mates seemed to like it as much as I did!  I’ve pinned some other combinations on Pinterest in case you’re interested in buying and styling it other ways.  Find me on Pinterest here.

Finally, don’t forget to follow my workout updates for the Get Yo’ Fitness On 6-week challenge here on the blog!  Week 4’s workouts are as follows:

Summer Program_W4D1 Exercises

Summer Program_W4D1 Summary

Summer Program_W4D2 Exercises

Summer Program_W4D2 Summary

Summer Program_W4D3 Exercises

Summer Program_W4D3 Summary

If you’re just now learning about this challenge, then look up workouts in my search bar to the right above!  All 4 weeks will pop up in your search.

Hope everyone has a fantastic week!  If you are at all inspired by these outfits, follow along on Instagram for daily outfit posts, here.  Don’t forget to leave comments, suggestions, tips, etc below in the comments section.  I look forward to hearing from you all!

Until next time!  Stay ‘Chic’!

The ‘No-Limits’ Tank Review

I mentioned in my Chic and Fit 2014 challenge update that I happen to own both the Lululemon ‘No Limits’ tank, as well as the Target version of the ‘No Limits’ tank.  You may or may not have already heard about the ‘No Limits’ tank before, but let me tell ya…there is a lot of hype about it and it lives up to it all!  So what’s the hype you ask??  Well…let me count the ways (or if you will, the pro’s and con’s):

1.  PRO: It’s a bra and a tank top, all-in-one, without the bulk!

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Photo Credit: Lululemon.com

2.  PRO: It’s got a great design and perfect for working out in warmer temps. Built-in ventilation, so to speak. 

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Photo Credit: Lululemon.com

3.  PRO: It’s slouchy, so it can sit at your waist, or be worn long so that it sits at your hips.

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Photo Credit: Lululemon.com

4.  PRO: The support is amazing!  I didn’t feel like I needed a second sports bra underneath.

So, what’s wrong with it??  Well, the price quite frankly.  Lululemon takes $64 + tax of your hard earned dollars for each of these tanks!!  While $64+ is not a completely outrageous price, it is on the higher side for a workout top.  I was fortunate enough to receive this tank as a Christmas gift, but hesitated otherwise, whenever I considered purchasing one for myself.

Imagine my excitement when Target came out with their ‘No Limits’ tank dupe!  I present you with the C9 by Champion, Women’s Layered Tank with Bra:

Screen Shot 2014-06-24 at 11.23.55 PMNow, after researching this top for this blog post, I realized that this exact version is NO LONGER available at Target.  The new version has a drawstring bottom, but otherwise, is still fairly similar to the ‘No Limits’ tank:

Screen Shot 2014-06-24 at 11.24.39 PMSo, how does the Target version compare to the Lululemon original?

1.  PRO:  The design USED to be nearly identical, but is now similar enough to make me consider buying it.  The two major differences: a drawstring bottom and placement of the tank top attachment to the bra.

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Photo Credit: Target.com

2.  PRO:  The Target version also has the peek-a-boo action that so many women love:

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Me: Wearing the Target version.

3.  PRO:  The length, much like the Lululemon version, is great for wearing low at your hips, or at your waist for a slouchier fit:

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Photo Credit: Target.com

4.  The price is so amazingly affordable! Each top is priced at no more than $22.99!  Give me 3!

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Photo Credit: Target.com.

AND!!  These tops (among other items at Target) are currently buy one, get one 50% off!  Even better!! #winning 😀

So what’s wrong with the Target top??  Sigh, the support leaves much to be desired.  I did have to wear another bra underneath to get the support I wanted/needed, which really defeats the purpose and design of the top, in my opinion. One thing to consider is sizing down.  So if you normally wear a ‘large’, perhaps consider wearing a ‘medium’ instead?  Definitely worth trying!

In general, both tops have decent quality. I didn’t notice a huge difference in the quality of the fabric, nor in their ability to absorb sweat.  The two are really neck and neck in terms of looks, quality, and design.  My one complaint about the Target top, was – as I mentioned before – the support.  But at $22.99, you can afford to buy a $9.99 thin-strapped C9 by Champion for Target sports bra to wear underneath, still save money by not spending the $64 on a the Lululemon version, and call it a day. 😉

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Photo Credit: Target.com

Le sigh.  But, ‘I can’t stop thinking about the Lululemon version’, you say.  ‘All the cool girls are wearing the Lululemon ‘No Limits’ tank’, you say.  If you HAVE to have it, then eBay is the place for you.  That’s where I got my second ‘No Limits’ tank, prior to finding the Target version, but after getting hooked on the original ‘No Limits’ tank I got for Christmas!

Screen Shot 2014-06-25 at 12.31.57 AM

Lululemon ‘No Limits’ tank purchased on eBay

I only paid $18 for this tank and it was barely used!  A quick search on eBay just now shows that there are some very affordably-priced ‘No Limits’ tanks in pre-owned condition!  This one I found is currently priced at $9.99 and only has 2 days left for the auction.  There are lots of others like this one too!

Screen Shot 2014-06-25 at 12.36.05 AM

Photo Credit: eBay seller laurenfaith77

So, now that you are able to make an informed decision, I hope that you will buy which ever version floats your boat, so long as you get up, get fit, and get active!  Chic and fit!!

Feel free to comment below if you have any thoughts on these tops, my review, or simply if you think I may have missed something important.  Otherwise, come say hello on Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter! 🙂

Stay Chic!!

The 7 Lessons I Learned from my Chic and Fit 2014 Challenge

I did it y’all!!  You may recall that on May 6th, I blogged about the Chic and Fit 2014 challenge.  Refresh your memory here. 🙂  In short, I wanted to become more physically active and find a way to de-stress a bit.  Well, it worked!  I managed to engage in at least 30 minutes of physical activity for 45 days straight and I managed to get through my grant submission with most of my sanity intact!!! 😀 My goal was to complete the challenge by the first day of Summer (i.e. June 21st), and I succeeded!  Here are a few of the lessons I learned…along with some pictures from my Twitter and Instagram updates:

1.  It is VERY feasible to be active for at least 30 minutes a day.  For me, it was easier to do this around 10pm after the kids were in bed.  It so happened, that I was working on submitting a grant during this challenge, so workouts in the morning and during the workday (e.g. lunch time) were just not ideal for me.  But the 10pm workout was perfect!  I was usually done by 11pm, so all in all, not too disruptive to my day!  Here I am at 10pm one night, in a workout top and pajama shorts, ha!  I was only 50% committed to this workout that night:

Screen Shot 2014-06-23 at 1.02.46 AM

Lululemon ‘No Limits’ tank, Gap pajama shorts, and New Balance running shoes.

2.  I didn’t ALWAYS run.  I sometimes walked.  Sometimes with my kids!  This often happened on the weekends, and the kids loved it!  We’d end up walking for about an hour around our VERY HILLY neighborhood.  Happy kids + 30 min-a-day-workout complete = SUCCESS!!

Screen Shot 2014-06-22 at 10.42.59 PMSometimes, the weather did not allow for a walk outdoors, so, I Bjorn-ed the baby and onto the treadmill we went for my 30 minute walk!  Add a bit of an incline to the treadmill, and ta-da!  Workout complete!

Screen Shot 2014-06-22 at 10.45.27 PM

Forever 21 tank, Champion (Target) sports bra, Victoria’s Secret pajama shorts.

One day, we had an afternoon birthday party for my oldest son and his bff, which involved a hike at a local state park, so that took the place of my workout that day.  Again, with baby in tow. 🙂

Screen Shot 2014-06-22 at 10.50.57 PM3.  I didn’t lose weight.  Well, not much at least.  Sigh.  As much as I would have loved to see the scale move, I only lost 3lbs this entire period.  BUT!!  I did lose inches!!  Most importantly, I lost inches around my waist; 3.5″ inches to be exact!!  The verdict: It is likely that I wasn’t consuming fewer calories than I was burning, but that I was converting some of that fat to muscle, which is ALL good in my book!  Here I am pre-challenge, wearing loose-fitting clothing to hide my – at the time – growing waistline:

Screen Shot 2014-06-22 at 10.56.47 PM

Top from boutique in LA, Forever 21 skinny jeans, Bergdorf’s fringe necklace, Forever 21 flats, Reece Blair bangles.

And here I am towards the end of my challenge, able to wear fitted clothing, and I actually have a waist!

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Stella and Dot ‘Pegasus’ necklace, Piperlime Vegan Leather peplum top, Target Merona Skirt, Henri Bendel bracelet, and Forever 21 bracelet.

So, what helped with the waistline slim-down you ask??  PLANKS!!

4.  Incorporate resistance training.  Often, to break up the monotony, I would lift light weights (say, 5lb weights), while walking on the treadmill on an incline, or add pushups, crunches, squats, lunges, and planks after a run.  Let.me.tell.you.  Planks are THE BEESNEEZ!!!  Omgosh.  Seriously.  They are so hard!  A 1-minute plank makes you seriously reconsider how long a minute REALLY is.  And, I not only did regular planks, but also side planks.  Those were possibly the toughest!  Anyway, in combination with 50 crunches a day, my abs really, really began to transform!  Here’s an example of a side plank, from one of my fitness inspirations, Lindsey from Saucy Glossie:

Screen Shot 2014-06-22 at 11.16.28 PM5.  Diet.  Sigh.  This is another challenge all by itself!! It is honestly SO difficult to go from breastfeeding and being able to eat whatever I wanted without gaining any weight, to not breastfeeding and not being able to eat a slice a bread without the scale scowling at me day after day!! 😦  So, after about a month of not seeing any weight loss, I decided to seek some nutritional inspiration.  I happen to follow the LaurenConrad.com blog and learned about the Bikini Bootcamp Challenge.  Combined with tips and diet/exercise recommendations from my two favorite fitness muses, The Tone It Up girls, this plan gave me tips on what to eat, including the idea to cut out white carbs and processed sugars.  I tried this for a minute (okay, about 3 weeks, with some cheat days), and then PMS got the best of me.  I say this, after having inhaled a bowl of spaghetti, eaten two fruit gummy slices, and currently munching on trail mix (with marshmallows); and yes, this was ALL TODAY!  WAAA!!  In my defense, the challenge is over, and I can start again on Monday.  Haha!  Example of one of my low-carb meals:

Screen Shot 2014-06-22 at 11.33.48 PM

Mooyah Burgers

6.  You are not alone!  It was SO encouraging and amazing to see how my Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter community rallied and cheered me on…even joined in on the challenge!! Check out some of the ladies (not all are pictured) who joined in on the fun by tagging #chicandfit2014 on Instagram:


@chandatemple, @academicaccessories, @thague611, @writeousbabe, @mycorporatestyle, @thisgirlonabudget, @4loveoffashion, @whilsicalsf, @gracie_mcd, @mycorporatestyle, @myfabulousfrugallife, @buddingfashionista, @profkrobinson, @erikabunker

Last but not least, a huge shout out to my hubby – Mike – for watching the kiddies on days when I wanted to work out during the day, or early in the evenings before they had gone to bed! Thank you, hubby!!

Surprisingly, I also seem to have inspired some unlikely people as well!  My little 5-year old included!  Love my little guy… 🙂

Screen Shot 2014-06-23 at 12.16.36 AM7.  It’s not easy being fit.  Sigh, if only it WERE easy.  There were days when all I wanted to do was go to bed and skip my workout, but I would make myself get on the treadmill and get my 30 minutes in.  Eventually, it became part of my daily routine and I didn’t give it a second thought.  That didn’t make it easier, but I would at least manage get some physical activity in my day.  Even if it was to walk brisk enough to make me break a sweat. 🙂  Check me out on a day when I’d only had 4 hours of sleep and had only consumed a bagel and coffee all day (darn you grant submissions!), but still managed to get a 30 min run in:

Screen Shot 2014-06-23 at 12.29.21 AMAll in all, the challenge really helped to re-introduce fitness into my every day routine.  I still don’t love it per se, but I definitely found ways to mix up my workouts a bit, which definitely made it a lot more fun!  Finally, I did and do feel less stressed (great for my sanity in academia), my clothes fit better (and let’s face it, that’s a HUGE reason all on its own), and I gained some new friends and workout partners (thank you social media)!!

Stay tuned for tomorrow’s post, where I review the Tarjay version of the Lululemon ‘No-Limits’ workout tank I wore during some of my Chic and Fit 2014 workouts!

Until then..Stay Chic!!