Saturday, 27 February 2016

How Much Cardio Should I Do and What Type?

With any workout, it depends on what your goals are and where you're at now. It also depends on how much time you are willing to commit to it and what resources you have.

I am breaking my own rules about not doing boring workouts by engaging in steady state cardio that is both a mental and physical grind to get through. Habit.

High intensity interval training wins my vote for all-round strength, cardio and efficiency in a workout. It's short, it's intense and it keeps you focused. With a trainer who is dedicated to your safety and fitness, it's also a great way to pick up technique and ideas for your own workouts. This requires no equipment usually - body weight cardio and strength are very effective when done properly. Classes that are based on this method include CrossFit, F45, Tabata and HIIT.
Try CrossFit Collingwood, F45 Training in Victoria, or talk to a personal trainer about designing one particularly to meet your training goals.

Circuit style training is a similar idea to HIIT, only you don't need to do the short bursts of really intense activity to such a strict time limit. That said, using your phone to time yourself in each activity or even designing your workout playlist around your circuit plan is perfect. I used to spend longer making my running playlist than I did actually running! Carl Cox got me through a lot of endurance distances. What might a circuit look like?
Cardio: Treadmill warmup 10 minutes
Strength: Wide stance push ups for chest; deadlifts and rows with a barbell or dumbells; clean and press
Cardio: Running up and down staircase for 2 minutes
Strength: Plie squats, plank hold (try the medicine ball plank pictured if you're up for a challenge!)
Cardio: Rowing machine or bike for 20 minutes
Try BodyPump, Barre Circuit or any type of hybrid class. My latest Fitness Network article is all about interesting and effective hybrid classes!

Whether your goal is weight loss, cardio fitness or building strength and definition, circuit style training and getting your heart rate up while combining cardio and strength work is going to meet your goals. It is the intensity and duration that you will need to tailor to your needs. Speak to a trainer with experience in working with clients that have similar goals to you.

Beware of overdoing it. Been there, done that. If you end up hating and dreading your workouts, and you're punishing and pushing your body, you will not only end up with injuries but even worse, a feeling of misery, exhaustion and failure. Work with a trainer who recognises your goals and provides realistic guidance and motivation. If you need help with diet and wellbeing, see a dietitian and/or a psychologist with experience working with sportspeople or others with your particular goals and health background.
There are free fact sheets and a list of accredited Sports Dietitians at SDA Australia.

Tuesday, 16 February 2016

February Skincare, Beauty, Activewear and Fitness News

As you know, I'm Miss Fussypants when it comes to skincare, makeup and activewear.
If it doesn't do what it says it will do, it's out! Plus my skin is prone to breakouts if I use skincare or makeup that blocks my pores or has nasties in it. 
I have been using some serious clinical strength toner and whitening serum (take THAT, pigmentation!) from Medik8 so I'm balancing it out with a milky, gentle cleanser from Embryolisse ($35 at Scotty's Makeup). I'm also using the Lait-Creme Concentre overnight ($20 at Scotty's Makeup), layered over the pore refining toner ($39 at Medik8).
The Pore Refining Toner is alcohol free and while the witch hazel cleanses and attacks blackheads and other pore clogging yuckies, the aloe vera softens and soothes. If you leave it right next to your cleanser, you won't forget to use it morning and evening. 
When it comes to makeup, I have used everything from supermarket brands through to mega labels but it's important to note that Maybelline and Lancome are both owned by L'Oreal so there will be an equally uniform approach to quality makeup with both brands. For that reason, I have used Lancome foundation and actually PREFER Maybelline! It lasts through yoga, working out, the ever changing Melbourne climate AND I don't break out or dry out. My pick is the Dream Mousse Liquid ($22.95 at Priceline).


What's new and noteworthy in lips? Burt's Bees have always done kickass lip balms but now they've branched into lipstick. Joy! The packaging is reason alone to Add to Cart. The lid is like a little block of super chic honeycomb. Cruelty free and natural, of course. Stay tuned to their page for availability.


I've mentioned Australis Velourlips before. Matte liquid lip paints are my passion. I mean, yoga and dance, literature and travel and yoga pants of COURSE, but closely followed by lip paint. I was a teenager in the 90s, so perhaps that explains my deep love of matte lips. I just hate the gloss and goo of some lip products. I want my lip colour to last from the moment I apply it through to when I WANT to remove it! So it must last through me talking, sweating, drinking coffee and sweating, and talking. Velourlips ($10.49 at Priceline) is a cult product and it's so cheap, you can indulge in a few and either wear solo or try blending colours to customise.

As for concealers and foundations, what if I told you you could get PERFECT coverage without any blemishes and it would last through yoga, CrossFit, barre, pilates, running half a mile and even a sneaky post work coffee?
I have just discovered Mirenesse concealer and foundation. It's a cult brand amongst beauty and makeup professionals. Now I know why. I've been using the Ballet Pink CC Concealer. It's perfect for lightening under they eyes AND blemishes.
No wonder it's a hit at Sephora.
I'm also using their Velvet Maxi Lift Airbrush Line Treatment Foundation. It is going to make me eternally youthful and spot free while looking flawless. Sold!

Mirenesse lip liners are also my new obsession. Because long after your lipstick has transferred to the mid morning apple, your lip liner will be going strong. Because one is never enough, you can select from the duo of your choice. Mine is Forbidden Ink Natural Nudes.


As for activewear, SO much to wear, such a short life. Don't settle for less than "OM MY GOODNESS!" worthy pants, crops, tanks and sneakers. 
Onzie are the LA yoga crew who keep producing perfect fits, cuts, shapes and prints for yogis who want to look chic but also really need to be able to go from downward dog to peacock to eight-legged pose without hearing rrrriiiipppppp. These are yoga clothes made for yoga. The new Dreamer Collection is well named, because if you dream of yoga gear (guilty) this is exactly what you'd come up with. I am in love with the Candy Cloud print (pastel, feminine but fit). I also love Igloo. There's so much black, navy and grey happening in the gym. It's almost funereal. If you insist on needing dark pants, at least add some electric lights (Krypton leggings, pictured right).

Friday, 12 February 2016

Love Your Valentine's Day

I love Valentine's Day. All the kitschy fluffy things and heart shaped business all over the shops? Fantastic. Watching men racing into the local petrol station and racing out with wilted tulips and a box of Cadbury Favourites? Classic.

What I love most is that it's a licence to show love. In the event that you will not be receiving wilted tulips and Cadbury Favourites from your beloved, here is how you can spend the day giving yourself a reminder of who you really need to show some love for: you!

Sleep in. I swear by my Audrey Hepburn inspired Goodnight Co eye mask. Blocks out all light and distractions. Looks glam (100% pure mulberry silk, tres chic.)
Wake up. Whip up a banana matcha smoothie (recipe and video guide in the link!)
Ingredients ● Zest, rind, juice of 1 lemon ● 1 tbs honey ● 1 /2 tsp ginger juice (grate fresh ginger) ● 3 frozen bananas, halved ● 1tbs Blackmores Matcha Green Tea 

Put all the ingredients in a food processor and process until just smooth (don’t over process or bananas will melt).
Don't rush. Pad around in your pyjamas for a while.

Go to yoga. Or Ballet Sculpt. I'll be teaching at Ivanhoe Aquatic and Leisure Centre. We'll be at the barre, pulsing and plie-ing until we're all shaky and sweaty and strong.

Shower. It's a day of hearts and roses, of course. So you must use White Lily and Damask Rose Body Scrub (mmm...roses) from Sanctuary Spa. Follow with a spritz of Elie Saab Rose Couture (exclusive to Myer) if you're all about roses today. If you're looking for something a little less floral but equally feminine, go for philosophy Amazing Grace (David Jones).

It's all about red or pink. I'm more inclined to pink and purple, but if you're going red, be bold. Loving Rimmel Exaggerate lipliner in Eastend Snob for a pink that flirts with mauve and purple. Flattering on every skin shade.
EITHER go get a manicure, or do it yourself as I prefer. Guess where OPI has just gone? New Orleans. Land of absinthe, graveyards, good food and gothic tales. So the nail colours are surprisingly upbeat for a place I've always associated with vagrants and vampires! Too much Poppy Z Brite and Anne Rice for me I guess. My picks are Let Me Bayou A Drink and Spare Me A French Quarter (OPI)
Go for lunch. Meet up with friends - single, married, not sure, not fussed - and discuss love. Or don't. I prefer to discuss yoga pants and Kanye West's latest releases, personally.

Then go browse some secondhand bookstores. Check out the plays. Nothing is more enjoyable than spending an afternoon drinking good strong coffee and completely losing yourself in the lives and voices of other people in another place and time.

However.
If you do find that you get through the book, or you can't resist pulling out the ipad or iphone, I totally recommend whiling away your time rewarding your diligent efforts in yoga this morning by shopping for activewear. I find it enormously motivating, and satisfying. New ranges out from my favourites: LA-based yogis Onzie, Aussie brand Red Tiger and a new brand I just discovered, Arthletic (art + athletics!) who do awesome ballet wraps for feet as well as activewear.
All your hard work is done. Feeling lovely?
Buy yourself flowers.
Do a face mask.
Sing along to Beyonce and Madonna as loud as you like.
Do a headstand in your undies.
Binge watch House of Cards, The Americans, Deutschland 83, whatever takes your fancy.
Drink green tea.

Remember that beyond everything you own and the relationships you have, the job you do every day, the city you live in, the books you read...beyond all of that, is the real you and you are everything you need. I know it sounds ridiculous if you haven't ever really considered it, but do.

And embracing that essence of who you are means you will recognise it in others. That's love.
Have some Total Giovanni. Happy Valentine's Day.

Tuesday, 9 February 2016

Top 5 Matte Liquid Lipsticks


I was a teenager in the 90s so perhaps that explains my obsession with matte lips. But I think it's mostly the fact that I am a gym bunny, I drink a lot of coffee and I'm not big on reapplying lip colour. I love a lip stain for that reason too! It is long lasting. It endures. It looks good while doing it. A matte liquid lipstick is a lot like me.

If you absolutely insist, you could layer lip gloss on...but my preference is to keep it matte and experiment with colours. Try mixing a brown with a pink - or an orange with a pink - or even a pink and a purple. You only need a few shades to make an entire new palette.

Here are my top 5 matte liquid lip products and each of them are cruelty free and vegan.

1. Dose Of Colors

This is a cult US brand for a reason. The matte liquid lip paints are highly pigmented so it doesn't take much on the wand to leave a long lasting, deep colour on the lips. The absolute rainbow of colour options is jaw dropping too. From sandy pale to full-on party purple, whatever your shade of choice is, it will be here. I am loving Berry Me (Berry 2 was sold out!) Available in Australia from Scotty's Makeup (stores in Melbourne and Sydney, or shop online).
I also love Stone - a chalky, pink tinged nude that is gorgeous alone or with a brown or purple-based liner.

While you're shopping up a storm at Scotty's, add a nude Ben Nye lip pencil. While your matte lip paint will last, pencil can add longetivity AND make your lips look a little poutier if you draw right up to the edges. Do not draw around your lips. Do not.


2. Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics Lip Tar

Without wanting to sound too over the top, you will become obsessive about this stuff. Lip Tar is also available in an extraordinary spectrum of colours. It's proudly vegan and cruelty free. It's the stuff of makeup junkie's dreams. From the palest pastel pink to blue, green, every shade of red...if you can dream it up, it exists. Not widely available, you can get it at Scotty's Makeup (online, or in Melbourne and Sydney stores). I'm into Marion (left), a browny, beige totally 90s shade of nude. I am also loving Anita (above) for evening. Vamps pay attention. This is your shade.

3. Velvet 59
Not widely available and therefore, definitely more desirable, Velvet 59 is all about classic Hollywood class. The packaging is worth the price alone - you will want to wave your gold lipstick bullet around with glee. I also adore the Matte To The Max liquid lip paint in Vanilla Macaroon

While it would be too pale for me on its own, I combine it with lip pencils in brown, pink or purple to create new shades. Bonus? Customised to my skin and mood and long lasting. Available at Ricky's NYC.



4. Australis Velourlips

Homemade! So much love for this local brand that has only grown in size and confidence since I was given my first pastel pink lipstick at 12. 

The Velourlips have been such a mega hit that colours keep coming with cute, witty names to boot. These are so affordable for budget beauty buyers that you can easily justify collecting a few and treating yourself to a shade that is too daring for everyday, but perfectly suits an upcoming occasion. What's that perfect shade of fairy floss pink? Los Angel Es. The purple, berry hue is Shangi-Hi! These are non-drying, long lasting and come in every shade from brick red, practically black, mauve to beige. Follow Australis on Instagram for lip-spiration.

5. LA Splash
Those Los Angeles makeup maestros know their business. LA Splash is so much fun. So many super-flattering shades. For the indecisive, this is going to be an extraordinary challenge. You may have to just do them all. I have my sights set on Seductress (below) and Untamed (above).
LA Splash is available at Ricky's NYC.

Speculation!

I've heard amazing things about Kat Von D Everlasting Liquid Lipstick and would love to add Lolita to my matte lip paint collection. Has anyone got it? Do you rate it?

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