You may think you need gym equipment to help you get in your best shape. Think again... Things that you have around your home can make some unlikely devices that double as fitness equipment. You’re not alone if you have an aversion to gyms. Some people prefer working out alone, outdoors, or (let’s say it…) for free. Some social circles may not accept you if you don’t have the local gym’s membership card attached to your keys, but there are other ways to incorporate exercise into your weekly routine:
Want legs that stay firm and look good without the aid of jeggings? A heavy and solid (read: unbreakable) wooden coffee table or ottoman can help. Put some felt pads under the table legs. Lie on the floor with feet against the top edge of the table and press away. Be sure small pets and children are not within squishing distance.
Don’t want to use the table? That’s OK. This exercise will work those same leg muscles, and some others (abs, lower back, and butt). Stand with your back against a sturdy wall and walk your feet forward about 2-3 feet (depending on your height). Start sitting down as if you had a chair underneath you, and slide your back down the wall. Hold for as long as you can, in the position where you feel challenged—progress to the point where your hips and knees form 90 degree angles. (Tip: make sure your feet are right under your knees at the lowest point of your squat.)
Use a sturdy chair or table (again, one that is unbreakable) that can’t slide away to do this exercise. Lie down on your back with your feet and ankles resting on the table or chair top, with your knees slightly bent. Squeeze your butt cheeks together, flatten your lower back (imagine tucking your tail between your legs and point your tailbone toward the ceiling), and press your hips up toward the ceiling. Slowly lower and repeat. This will firm the back of your legs (including your bum), abs, and lower back.
Want firmer arms? Lots of women are mavens of multi-tasking, so while you are waiting for your soup to simmer, rock some push-ups against that counter. Safety tip: stay a safe distance away from pot handles, hot stove surfaces, and open flames. You can also try some single arm push-ups against the bathroom counter while brushing your hair.
Most of us have running water at home, or gallon containers of liquid in the fridge or cupboard. If you lift them enough times, they’ll feel pretty damn heavy. Grab that heavy container, or fill a bucket with water (don’t waste it; water the plants with it after you’re done), or bags of sugar and/or flour, potatoes, or anything weighty. Then, lift, arm curl, or carry around the weight while you go up stairs or lunge across a room. Doing so will tone your shoulders, core, and your limbs as well.
This exercise will help strengthen all of the muscles in your mid-section. Hold push-up position (butt in the air is not a modification...it’s not the precise way to do it—not even close—just wrong) with your tailbone tucked under, stomach held in tight, and shoulders drawn back. If your shoulders, hips, knees, and toes form a straight line, you are doing it right. To modify this exercise, keep your knees on the floor.
These are just a few exercises that you can do at home, besides the old standbys—jump rope and stairs. Skip the gym and get your workout on at home. Be safe, and be creative. You may notice your clothes will fit better, and you will have some money to spare.
Oh, the world of online dating…it seems every time we turn on the TV, there’s a Match.com advertisement. Click here to find true love and happiness!”
Yet, when (heaven-forbid) some of us try the online dating experience to meet someone new, it doesn’t seem to always end in butterflies and rainbows like we think it might. In fact, sometimes it ends in some ridiculously creepy story that you’ll always have as a go-to “OMG do you want to hear a crazy story?” story.
We all know the type of dates I’m talking about - those ones out of the Twilight Zone that make you cringe… those ones that make you never want to try online dating again.
I feel you, and I’m here to help you avoid such moments with some personal tips on the online dating front from someone who randomly and successfully met their ultimate match on Match (Yes, I’m one of those 3/5).
And while there are a million things to talk about in regards to this subject, I’ll start with perhaps my BIGGEST tip:
This includes the entire way you present yourself - from those oh, so imperative pictures to the words you choose to paint the picture of YOU. Be honest when you answer the profile questions. Take some time to reflect about your responses. We have reached an age where we can almost handpick our partners like we are doing some serious online shopping. Why not be real about what you want and who you are?
Question for you to ponder: Do you really think you’re going to get away with a 30 pound differential between the “you” in your pictures and the “you” on the real-life date? I’m pretty sure, with the exception of someone who is actually legally blind, that you’ll be busted, and it will end awkwardly. Why start off a relationship like that?
While we may have changed since five or ten years ago, and we may prefer those older pictures, it is mandatory to choose pictures that accurately reflect who you are in the present moment. You want someone to love you for who you are right? You, of course, want to pick photogenic pictures of yourself. I also suggest getting your friends’ opinions before putting them up on an online dating site! They can provide another point of view about what is valuable in a photo.
Lastly, pick the pictures that visually tell your story, so that your potential matches can compare the words of your profile to your photos. In other words, get pictures of you living your life out loud. If you are a free spirit and love traveling, socializing, animals, yoga, and are passionate about giving back (I may or may not be talking about myself here), choose pictures that show you doing these things: pictures of you doing yoga, traveling, attending a personal development event, hanging out with your friends, volunteering at an animal shelter, etc.
As humans, we are very visual creatures, so storytelling through photographs is a great way to help someone judge you more correctly. Let’s face it…we are going to be judged…so we want to put our best and most strategic foot forward.
Through being genuine online, and really assessing the truthfulness in others online, you can really increase your chances of success on an online dating site (and avoid those creepy moments!) if you are honest. So be YOU so that others can see YOU and value YOU.
Compliment a woman on her hair, and the response generally goes a little something like this: “Yeah? I wish it had more volume!” or “Ugh…I miss my long/short/medium-lengthed hair,” or even “It’s too…perfect. I want something edgier!” No matter what the texture, I venture to say that every woman has had their share of hair issues. Mine, growing up, were centered on finding someone who could deal with my naturally curly, über frizzy and (often) tangled -- mane. Instances like the day my 9-year-old self went swimming wearing a ponytail and subsequently stayed up all night with my mom cursing me and slathering conditioner on my matted hair to detangle it, race to mind. (Love you, Mom!)
Over the years, I’ve tried seemingly every hair product; from those in the “regular” aisle of the beauty supply, to the ones in the “ethnic” section -- sometimes a mix of all of ‘em. I’ve also tried a host of local salons in LA who specialize in curly hair styling. My hair has been relaxed, pressed, flat ironed, blown out, braided and re-curled by a variety of contraptions. Through all my experimentation -- coupled with new, innovative products and a culture that’s starting to embrace the hair’s natural state -- I’ve picked up a few tricks. My findings? The right resources, products and cut are essential to the health and beauty of your hair. And of course, I have to share my faves with my fellow curly girls.
“Knowledge is power.” This definitely applies to a Made Woman’s hair. I can’t over-stress the importance of educating yourself about your curls. Every curly hair product will not work on every curl! Are you Wavy, Curly, Curly Coily or Coily? What are the pattern, porosity, density, width and length of your curls? Chances are you have no clue. Naturally Curly will help you figure out your hair texture type; and their “Curltalk” forums, articles, photos and more will bring you that much closer to the curls of your dreams.
The “Queen of Curls,” Ouidad (yes, simply Ouidad), opened the first curly hair salon in the US in 1984. As a true curly hair pioneer, her website offers amazing resources for those of you looking to really define your ringlets. Use her “rake and shake” method to achieve the lustrous, perfectly-defined curls you crave. She also has a Curl Profiler to help determine what your hair needs to look its best. Check out more information on her salons below.
If you know me, you know I SWEAR by this line of products. These ladies helped me retire my flat iron and learn to embrace my natural hair. I felt so strongly about them that we had to profile them among our first Made Women of the Month! I’ve tried out other leave-in conditioners, but Mixed Chicks leaves my hair soft and touchable, while gently defining my curls. I love a slightly tousled, less perfect look; and this leave-in allows me to get the volume I love. I swear by their sulfate-free shampoo, deep conditioner and hair silk shine serum too!
I have used Miss Jessie’s Quick Curl Crème a few times, and I loved the smell and found it to be very moisturizing. While I personally prefer Mixed Chicks for my curls, I’ve heard great reviews from ladies with natural hair of various textures -- from thin and wavy to coarse and kinky. They also offer a slew of products, from puddings to meringues to baby butter crèmes. This is a great line to experiment with and find what works for your particular hair texture. They’re on the pricey side though, so try out their free samples first.
Ouidad Salon, Santa MonicaI first visited Ouidad Salon in Santa Monica a couple of years ago. With flagship salons in Santa Monica and New York City, all Ouidad certified stylists are trained in the trademarked “Carve and Slice” cutting technique that helps make hair a lot more manageable. Upon my visit my stylist, Morgan, introduced me to the “Rake and Shake” styling technique, which helped to really define my curls. As you can see from the photos below, Ouidad is a great option if you’re looking to cut out the frizz and get more of a “wet look.” The salon also offers a variety of treatments to suit your hair needs.
Batia and Aleeza Salon, Beverly Hills
After just one cut, Batia became my go-to gal for haircuts and styling. She has mad skills with the scissors, effortlessly chopping away while telling intriguing stories in her incredibly charming accent. Of Israeli descent, Batia’s curly hair knowledge (and that of her sister, Aleeza) comes from personal experience. I found her when I wanted a much shorter ‘do and a more tousled look, and she gave me just that (see below). I ended up with a cut that I could grow into: when she finished, she told me I didn’t need to come in for six months! I prefer a low-maintenance hair routine, so this was music to my ears.
No matter what type of curls you’re rocking, knowledge, the right products and the right cut are paramount. I hope this list will help you step away from the flat iron (at least sometimes!) and embrace your God-given curls.
Did I miss something? Let me know your favorite curly hair resources, salons and products in the comments below! And don't forget to enter our We <3 Curls Contest!
You really don’t want to be that person at the gym who gets a wrinkled nose pointed at her because her clothes might not look or smell so fresh. You might be thinking, “I’m just gonna work out. What does it matter what I wear?” But I say, “You’re a put-together woman and your clothes—gym, work, or otherwise—ought to always convey that message.”
Spending a little extra cash on high quality and durable workout clothes is worth it because they’re designed specifically to stand up to all that you’re going to put them through -- sweat, those awkward yoga positions, etc. Since they are a bit more expensive than your old ratty tee and sweats, you’re going to want to take extra care of them to make sure they last you as long as possible. What’s the best way to do that? Try this:
Those are the fab five tips to keeping your workout gear lasting long and staying funk-free. It’ll keep you looking fresh at your workouts too, so everybody will know that you are that girl—the Made Woman.
You get up in the morning and proceed to have an hour long prep session before you even start your day. You use enhancers, creams, and miracles on yourself before you feel ready to face the world. But what about when the day is over and you come home? Do you just crash? If your answer is yes then sister, we have a problem. We are all guilty of it; even me, I confess. But we can’t neglect ourselves at night and then look for a quick fix to combat our laziness (yes, I said laziness). I have learned that if I spend a little extra time simply practicing some self-love with my pre-bed beauty regimen, then I really have little need for extra products. Here are a few beauty tips for right before bed; I hope this helps you as much as it has helped me.
Bedtime Beauty Tip No. 1: Always wash up.
I’m guilty of skipping this step -- and I’ve got to stop! Sweat, dirt, makeup, the day’s grime … all of that sits on our face at night, clogging our pores and aging our skin. So use a gentle facial cleanser and lukewarm water before going to bed, and follow up with a mild toner. And the last and most important step, don’t forget to moisturize your body and skin before bed. (I will too. Pinky promise.)
Bedtime Beauty Tip No. 2: Never sleep with your hair in a ponytail.
No matter how exhausted you are, it’s important not to leave your hair elastics in, because they can cause breakage. If you want to avoid morning tangles, try sleeping on a satin pillowcase. It’s easier on both your hair and your face.
Bedtime Beauty Tip No. 3: Brush and floss every night.
If you skip the dental care at night, you’re not just in for a huge lecture at your next dental cleaning; you might actually be making yourself look older too. Brushing removes stains between and around your teeth, and for healthy gums you’ve got to floss too. Poor gum care can cause your gums to recede, making your teeth look longer -- and you older!
Bedtime Beauty Tip No. 4: Let your feet breathe.
Keeping your feet in socks may keep them feeling toasty, but it also creates a moist environment where foot fungus can breed. Yikes!
Bedtime Beauty Tip No. 5: Keep a glass of water by your bedside. Not only will this help if you wake up in the middle of the night dying of thirst, but also you are supposed to have a glass of water pre-breakfast to dull hunger and rehydrate. Remember, glowing skin comes from water.
Bedtime Beauty Tip No. 6: Don’t eat right before bed.
It is so important to eat within a reasonable time of your bedtime. When you eat right before bed, you don’t have a chance to burn off the calories. Certain foods and eating too much right before bed can lead to a restless night of sleep.
Bedtime Beauty Tip No. 7: Get your beauty sleep.
I know you really want to stay up late to watch your favorite show, talk on the phone, or peruse the internet, but beauty sleep is no myth. Your skin needs time to heal and restore. Plus, who wants under eye bags?
I hope you use these tips to re-energize your bedtime regimen. Instead of just crashing and waking up looking like a wreck, put in a little extra effort at the end of the day and stay looking young and healthy. Sweet dreams!
Knowing when to buy a home comes down to one thing and one thing only: it’s time when you decide its right. Yes, you have to deal with banks, real estate agents, saving money, and finding the best home for you wherever you are at in life. But the first step is being mentally prepared for the big decisions ahead.
It’s common for a woman to see owning a home as a symbolic change -- it represents a new level of growth and responsibility. Choosing the colors you’ll paint your walls, the carpets, the furniture, and which appliances you’ll need are all big decisions that can feel extremely liberating to make! And most liberating of all? Putting your hard-earned cash towards your own mortgage instead of paying rent to someone else. If you’re thinking about taking the plunge, you might feel a little overwhelmed by the entire process. I’m here to make it all a little less scary for you with some simple tips to get started.
Get Some “Home Buying Help”
Buying your first home can feel like wild roller coaster ride into the unknown. But roller coasters are fun right? You can find help and inspiration by watching home buying shows (HGTV never fails!), reading the how-to guides, and asking your friends how they went about buying their home. Do it all. And if information overload sets in, don’t get stuck looking at other people’s homes on Pinterest. Sure, it might be fun, but it’s not getting you any closer to your goal. Take that next step; meet with a realtor and a loan officer.
A realtor can answer all of your home-buying questions and help you determine the best plan of attack in getting your search started. The most obvious question you’re going to have to answer at the very beginning of this process is “what can I afford?” Ask your realtor for referrals to a loan officer. Figure out what you are willing and able to pay. Knowing your financial comfort zone will help guide and direct your search.
Know Thy Realtor
It is very important that you are comfortable and confident with your realtor and your loan officer; you will be working closely with them when you do decide it’s the right time for you to buy a home. Your realtor will be learning all about you, from details about your lifestyle, to how you want your home to look and feel. Your loan officer will be gathering all of your financial information; tax returns, pay stubs, bank statements, and running your credit. Eek! Before you hand over all of your financials, make sure you trust and respect this person. If not, don’t give up--there are others who will be glad to help you. Don’t settle!
It’s Your Money, Honey
When I bought my first home, I was so overwhelmed that I almost backed out, and I was a practicing realtor! You would think that since I spent my time helping others buy and sell their homes, it would be a piece of cake for me to do the same thing for myself. Not! The main issue was my loan officer. She spouted off all these numbers and loan options at me, and never took the time to figure out my full financial picture. Buying a home is more than just decimal points and percentages -- while money is a massive part of it, there are other factors that need to be taken into account. This loan officer missed that memo. Not cool. Like I mentioned earlier, if something feels wrong with either your realtor or loan officer, find someone else! You don’t want a dark cloud hanging over such a huge and exciting new step in your life.
Luckily, my realtor talked me through all of my hesitations and I did end up buying a home. I learned a very powerful lesson from the experience, and I try to pass it on to my clients. The lesson is, quite simply, “it’s your money, honey!” Don’t let anyone tell you what to do with it unless you’re comfortable with the advice. If something feels wrong, it probably is. Knowing what you are comfortable with and financially qualified to buy will help guide your search and prevent you from overpaying.
To break it down for you one more time: First, decide you are ready for the opportunity. Second, gather information. Third, find a realtor and a loan office that you trust. These three steps will create a solid jump off point toward buying your first home.
I’ve always lived my life on the run. As a former collegiate athlete, I would run from class to class and then to practice and back. Everything was go, go, go. When I finished school, I still hustled, but I noticed the people around me were so busy working and networking that they didn’t take time for themselves. After starting full-time work, many of them gained upwards of 20 pounds, felt sluggish or were faced with health concerns they never expected.
Some things in college tend to stay with you. For me, maintaining a balance between staying busy and staying fit has remained a priority. Others may struggle to find time to workout between an 11-hour workday, lunches, drinks and endless networking functions. Despite these constraints, there is a way to set and achieve manageable health and fitness goals. And, even if you don’t think finding time is necessary right now, consider this upstream prevention. You’re far less likely to face health concerns, like Heart Disease and Type 2 Diabetes, if you take small steps now.
Here are a few suggestions to consider when setting and following through with your health and fitness goals.
It’s great to have lofty goals (i.e., losing 20 pounds, finishing a triathlon etc.). But sometimes these goals are too far off and can become overwhelming. Create benchmarks for yourself. If you note your progress along the way, it will make your end goal seem more achievable. The concept of dropping two sizes won’t feel so overwhelming and you can bask in the success of your positive day-to-day decisions. Plus, you’ll be more aware of what is and isn’t working in your routine. This will allow you to make changes.
Remember the ‘Why’
Make sure that you’re invested in your goals; you’ve created them for a reason. Maybe you wanted to lose weight, train for a half marathon or simply lead a healthier lifestyle. There’s an emotional weight behind accomplishing each of those tasks. No one wants to run a half marathon just to do it; they’re proving something about their physical and emotional capacity. Remembering why you picked this goal will help when your “self-motivation” starts to wane - that moment when don’t know why you’re waking up at 5 a.m. or why you’re passing on that slice of strawberry cheesecake. Having a goal that you’re connected to will help you answer the why. And, before long, your choices will become habit.
I work out 6 days a week. Some of my friends claim that they can’t find the time. Curiously, they find time to watch The Good Wife or Game of Thrones. Let’s be honest, we make time for what we want to make time for. When it comes to creating health/fitness goals, time management is a must. I find time to watch my favorite shows but I’m never just watching TV. While I watch, I’m doing abs, push-ups or an interval workout on the treadmill. No one says that you have to workout for 4 hours every day. If you take a serious look at how you spend your time and what those activities add to the essentials in your life, I promise you’ll find time for your health.
Birds of a Feather…
Flock together, yes. Look, it’s much easier to maintain goals if you are surrounded by people with the same values. I’m not saying to totally switch out your friends, but I am saying that it could be helpful to join a gym, a recreational league or bribe a friend to join you on your health quest. Your support system will help you stay accountable. If you’re already having a hard time staying motivated, there’s nothing worse than being surrounded by people who encourage you to veer off track. The little devil on your shoulder will give you plenty of reasons ‘why not’ to work out or skip McDonalds.
Don’t forget who you’re kickboxing or cutting back on milkshakes for. It’s YOU. You are the most important element in setting your fitness goals. Don’t set goals or hold back pursuing this change based on what others think, want or need. Invest in yourself! YOU are important, YOUR health is important and YOU are in control of your body.
Good health is essential to a happy life. If you want to increase your chances at functioning longevity, you’ll need to make your health a priority. This means eating healthy and staying active despite the pressures and time constraints of life. You can do it! Step by step you will reach your goals.
In 2004, I left my hometown in Ohio for California. When I arrived to UC Berkeley for school, I always found myself daydreaming about leaving class and heading directly for the beach. Unfortunately, I was in for a rude, cold awakening... San Francisco, while beautiful, isn’t exactly the epitome of “Sunny California.”. So once I moved to Los Angeles, I vowed to make it to the beach whenever possible.
Some Californians may take it for granted, but I always find a reason to sit on the sand in the sun. My list of beach activities includes running, yoga, stretching, reading, writing, lounging… basically, I use any excuse I can to fit the beach into my schedule. Given that I’m a certified beach worshiper, I’ve become a pro at packing my beach bag. Here are some essentials for a fun, safe and productive time by the surf.
Frozen Grapes: You know how tasty grapes are normally? Well, just multiply that by a million. Basically, you’ll have a delicious mini Popsicle. And, as an added bonus, you’ll have regular grapes when they defrost.
Buffalo Jerky: Do yourself a favor. Head to Trader Joe’s and grab some buffalo jerky. A hamburger virgin, this is the only red meat I eat, and it’s delicious. Plus, buffalo provides a leaner source of protein than beef. Have some protein, stay full longer and you won’t have to leave the beach early for a snack.
Pellegrino Sparkling Water: If you’re going to be at the beach all day, you need to stay hydrated. We all know that regular H20 can become boring. Jazz it up with some bubbles. Maybe even pick a flavor like lemon or lime.
Trader Joe’s Pretzel Crisp: Be careful, these are addicting! Tasty but light, you’ll love to relax and munch all afternoon.
Mimosas: If drinking is allowed at your beach destination, toss a mini bottle or two of champagne in your bag -- you can usually buy these at a local grocery store -- and add Simply Orange to make mimosas. But be sure to stay hydrated with your Pellegrino!
Volleyball: OK, maybe your beach bag isn’t that big, but carry this along, especially if you’re going to the beach with friends. Every time I go to the beach I either spot an open court or am invited to join a game. It’s always best to be prepared!
Vibram Five Fingers Running Shoes: I’m a big runner. Some people use these shoes on concrete; I’m not quite in support of that. However, they’re great for running in the sand.
Portable Speakers: Who doesn’t want to listen to Spotify while you chill on the beach? I prefer ECO Extreme iPhone Case/Speakers. Now, maybe this case is too intense for you. I’ve destroyed seven iPhones, so it’s important for me to have a waterproof case. There are plenty of other options, but the key is to make sure that you can jam.
As an added bonus, since you’ve brought along your iPhone, you can check out Made Woman Magazine in your downtime!
Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream Lip Protectant Stick SPF 15: Keep your lips soft and protected. This stick is a little pricey for a balm, so if you want to spend a little less, I suggest Burt’s Bees Lip Balm SPF 8.
The Ultimate Beach Towel: Bringing a beach towel is a given. Now, I don’t actually own an Ultimate Beach Towel, but I’ve had my eye on it for a while. What’s awesome is that this towel has a pocket. I figure I can hide my wallet inside while I head to the water. When it gets really hot, no friend wants to babysit phones and cameras while everyone else goes for swim.
Beach days are great, but don’t get caught out there without the essentials. And please make sure you are suited up! [Link to swim suit article] Of course, these suggestions are tailored to my beach needs. So, sound off! What else would you throw in your bag?
Ahhh yes…summertime. It is the time of year when pool parties, beach weather, and bikinis are all that’s on your mind. But your busy day job and list of priorities mean you don’t have the luxury of soaking up the sun every single day this summer while enjoying a cold brew. Instead of wasting your time on another quick trip to Vegas, why not try a new getaway location this summer and see what else is out there? Whether you are leaving town for a weekend or a week, these summer travel locations are fun, relaxing, AND won’t break the bank.
Don’t wait for fun to come to you this summer. Be adventurous and try a city you have never seen before. Who knows: You just might like it! Happy Travels!