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 10-minute Mani

One of the biggest obstacles to giving myself regular manicures at home used to be the drying time.  As a working mama, I usually end up doing my nails around 10pm in the evening, not long before I’m ready to pass out and smudge my fresh mani all over my sheets.  Ugh.  So, that was all resolved when I found and tried the Sally Hansen Insta-Dri top coat.

Sally Hansen Insta Dri, http://chicinacademia.comSally Hansen Insta-Dri, ~$4 (Photo: Chic in Academia)

The mani above was done late at night (wearing Revlon’s Vixen), and was dry within 5 minutes of applying polish to my last nail! A total 10-minutes spent doing my nails.  AH-maze-ING.

Another one of my secrets for a successful manicure is the use of a product I would have never imagined using for my mani’s: The Honest Company’s Healing Balm.

Honest Company Healing Balm, http://chicinacademia.comThe Honest Company Healing Balm, ~$12 (Photo: Chic in Academia)

It belongs to my 18-month old, so I usually tote it along with his diapers and wipes.  In the absence of my usual hand lotion one day, I decided to use this instead and noticed that it absorbed really well, wasn’t super greasy, and kept my cuticles super soft!  So, now I use it before cutting my cuticles, and then often to keep my hands soft and non-ashy or dry. 😉

Finally, I can’t end this post without telling you about my two favorite polishes.  I am, by default, a red-polish wearer.  It works well against my olive-toned skin and is simply a classic, timeless color.  My FAVORITE of all-time is the Deborah Lippmann “Lady is a Tramp” pictured below:

Deborah Lippman "Lady is a Tramp", http://chicinacademia.comDeborah Lippmann Nail Polish, $18 (Photo: Chic in Academia)

A second Deborah Lippmann favorite is “It’s Raining Men”. Both great red hues.

Another favorite is a great color all-year round, in my opinion.  I purchased this one pictured below at Gus Mayer in Birmingham, AL last summer, and have loved it since.

Chanel Eastern Light, http://chicinacademia.comChanel “Eastern Light”, $27 (Photo: Chic in Academia)

White or light-colored polishes can be tricky to apply, and can often end up looking streaky on one’s nails.  Or, if too ‘white’, appear like you applied Wite-Out to your nails!  No bueno.  This one goes on smoothly and only requires two coats to look perfect.  The Sally Hansen Insta-Dri also works well over it because it’s a clear top coat.

Now, I realize the polishes I have mentioned are all über expensive.  Mind you, they are not polishes I buy every week.  I *maybe* buy one every year, but will typically put them on gift wish-lists for my birthday and Christmas.  That’s how I received the Deborah Lippmann polish!  My mother-in-law was super thoughtful and bought one for me after reading that it was one of my faves in one of my very first Chic in Academia blog posts.

When I DO purchase frequently, or purchase a color that I’m uncertain of, I stick to Sinful polishes.

Sinful Nail Polish, http://chicinacademia.comSinful Nail Polish, $2 (Photo: Walgreens.com)

At $2 a bottle, you can feel free to try on new colors, without feeling guilty for spending an exorbitant amount on a single bottle.  My favorite red from the Sinful line is “Go Go Girl”.  Simply love it.

Anyhow, don’t you love how deep this post was??!  You must wonder, on occasion (or perhaps always, haha!), why I limit my posts for Chic in Academia to fun and frilly topics.  Well, part of the reason I do is because it’s my form of brain candy.  It’s fun and boosts my endorphins!  Seriously though, I have contemplated writing some ‘academia’ themed posts like “What to look for in a mentor”, “How to maintain work-life balance”, and “Things I learned as a graduate student/postdoc”.  So, if there is enough interest, I will write them and others!  But for now, I will continue to provide you with fun posts like these.  “Let them all [read brain candy]!! 🙂

Until next time!  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!

Screen Shot 2014-06-22 at 10.58.34 PM

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:

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@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!!