My Thoughts on Best Workouts

I don’t love working out, let’s be honest. It’s a necessary evil, as far as I am concerned. I have a friend K who loves loves loves running, like she is miserable when she can’t. I think that’s quite a few of you and that’s awesome. And I am a horrible runner. But I do appreciate what working out gives you – extra energy and stamina, strength, and if my butt defies gravity for weeeee bit longer, so much the better.

I gained ton of weight after my first daughter. She was nearly 9 lbs and I swell up a like ripe watermelon.


Tracy Anderson

While I breastfed for 9+ months, I still couldnt get my stomach back to what it was till I tried Tracy Anderson Post-pregnancy Workout DVD.

tracy anderson.jpg

This teeny-tiny former ballerina gained a lot of weight with her son and ended up incorporating lots of tiny lifts and movements into this workout which did wonders for my abs and arms. Interestingly my hubby commented that they did some of these moves in the Navy bootcamp like moving your arms up down just a little like 100x. You don’t think its anything but gooor did that hurt. She is so perky at it, I ended up calling her some not very names when crying into my yoga mat face down.

She famously works with Giselle, Madonna, Gwyneth Paltrow (who credited Anderson with shaping her self-described saggy and square-shaped butt into a lifted, rounded, and shapely backside) and most recently J. Lo. She has other workouts like Cardio Dance etc but I found that I am no J Lo on that end, too many things to keep in mind so I didnt stick with it.

Kayla Itsines (Bikini Body Guides)

Look up BBG as its called on Instagram and you see hundreds of absolutely amazing transformations. Heavy gals who, a year later, are sporting amazing six packs, mamas who had sizable love handles are hopping around on the beach in itsy-bitsy bikinis… Granted Itsines is a young Australian who hasn’t had kids but this workout works! It comes in an app form so you log in and do it or you can buy her book or pdf file and go from there. It’s a 6-day a week workout, alternating low intensity cardio with 20 min balls to the wall workouts. It ain’t easy, let me tell you that: burpees, jump squats, etc. I’ve started over and over as illnesses and injuries derail my plans but I am married to it. I’ve seen more definition in my abs and hubs noted my butt is perkier. What more proof do you need? LOL.


Here I am sucking it in, back to week 1 as I totally neglected to workout in December… 

You can do this from home, you do need weights, 2 weight benches, and treadmill (or go to cardio outside). I don’t know if you all are on Instagram (come join me if not) but I follow Kayla Itsines there and she constantly posts all the girls who do the BBG and it’s such an inspiration to see the transformations. When I feel like I don’t really want to workout, I see a photo of someone looking amaze, and it’ll make me drag my butt to the gym.


I am not a great player but I love the combo of being outdoors, seeing my friends and chasing that ball around. Before I know it, I’ve gotten a workout in. It does work your legs and it’s great cardio.

I’ve tried yoga and would like to get back to it at some point. I know some women who have amazing bodies from yoga, I didn’t notice any chances in mine but maybe you need to be on a different level. I love the meditative quality of it and it’s always good to stretch!

Spinning aka Joyride: it is intense cardio and I hurt all over but I gave up after a few months, just didn’t see any difference at all. But you might as we are all built different.

At the end of the day, the best workout for you is what you’ll actually do. Thus, it has to be something you’ll enjoy. No matter how you workout, as long as you do! However, if you’ve always been a runner or done weights but just can’t seem to be getting anywhere, your body might have gotten adjusted to the level you are at. You’ll need to either add interval training or try something else. What works for you guys?




NYE outfit ideas!

Here comes the jackpot question in advance
What are you doing New Year’s, New Year’s Eve?

I am not going to lie to you, 2017 has been a very, very, very tough year. Maybe the toughest. Or perhaps it was a good year as it could have been worse. Either way, I am ready to say good bye and hope 2018 will be, well, better! We are going to celebrating with a group of dear friends that have made this year bearable and my world would be a darker place without them for sure. Here are my pretty girls.


I hope wherever you are going, you’ll be spending NYE with the ones you love. And should you feel like dressing up a bit, there’s really no better time.

Love this outfit, festive sequins are balanced with a casual sweater. It looks comfortable, not contrived and totally festive.


Or wear tailored pants either in interesting color (red/blue/green) and pair it with white blouse or ivory cashmere sweater. Fitted pencil skirt would work also. If the looks skews toward too monochromatic, do a big cuff or red lips! Cannot go wrong with red lips!




Little lace. Little skin. A lot of attitude.


Elie Tahari

And if you are like me and bought yourself a pair of over-the-knee boots which still haven’t come out of the box, you could pair it with a simple dress or sweater dress. Though keep in mind that this outfit only works if you are standing and people can see the boots. If most of your night is spent sitting at the table, you’ll want to wear a top that pops.


Stephanie Hollman, my new favorite housewife. I would actually be her friend, she is funny and solid. Love. 

Have a really happy new year!!!




Nordstrom’s Bi-annual Sale

Who’s up for spending some more money after Christmas?


1 Ellen Tracy Wool Blend Stadium Coat $129.90, comes in many colors, the lavender is adorable. 2. Sole Society Juno Faux-Shearling Trim boots $83.96. Love the color and thicker rubber sole. 3. Buy buy buy dresses on sale even when you don’t know where are you going to wear them. Should anyone have a summer wedding, this Cooper St Lily Drape Sheath dress is to die for and a steal for $95.96


1. UGG Freamon Chukka boot warm, clean looking and practical. $99.90. Love the brown as well. 2. Hugo Boss trim wool suit, love the blue color $536.98 3. Barbour Powell quilted jacket $223.90, a New England classic, love the fit and color.



1. Am tempted to buy these dresses for next holiday season Pippa&Julie animal print sweater dress $32.40. 2. Wish I hadn’t already bought girls their rain boots as these are absolutely darling, Joules Evedon Bow rain boots $29.96. 3. Fun iScream bubblegum scented pillow $15.60. Might make a cute Easter basket stuffer!



1. I really love this, but I don’t love the price. Its heavily discounted though and beautiful. Mauvel M’heritage 10 piece copper cookware set $1300. 2. Cathy’s concepts monogrammed buffalo check throw $46.90. Blue and white would be so beautiful in the summer, esp on the chillier summer nights. Great gift as well. 3. Dash&Albert rugs are great for small kids and pets, love the patterns as well. Get 8×10, most people get rugs that are too small. Annabelle rug is gorgeous $798.90.




The best laid schemes o’ mice an’ men

Seeing that I wrote a post mid-November telling y’all how to do this holiday season right, I figured I owed you an update. So this was me pre-Thanksgiving planning it all out. By God, I was going to do it all and do it so well.


And then… my sweet, gentle, funny 6 year old daughter managed to somehow get into so much trouble. She fell against a brick wall when playing basketball, she shoved a bead up her nose just as we were about to have a dinner party, she got sick and has really high  fever, her neck swell up, more fever, Thanksgiving in the hospital as she had emergency surgery to drain an abscess followed by a fall down the stairs and big gash under the chin…. It seemed like it would never ever end. My husband had a sinus infection which caused his nose to swell up so much he looked like some unfortunate boxer. It was not at all what I had planned.

Oh well. We rolled with it. Had Thanksgiving dinner several days later. Put up Christmas decorations which took me pretty much all of December to complete. Ran around the stores looking for the damn Fingerlings and LOL dolls. Didn’t get my sister-in-law a gift at all! When I finally mailed off all the gifts, it was 1.5 weeks till Christmas and the line was horrendous. Well. There’s always next year.


Oh, way under ordered the cards. Ugh.

I had decided on Candyland theme for the kitchen – breakfast room area. Luckily I had made the peppermint candy in September and made the whole family paint them! Gum drops under the tree were already done as well. Unfortunately I am not one of those people that puts decorations up in a day or two and calls it a day. I zhoosh like endlessly.

There were lollipops and candy canes next to Santa at the entry as well. I didnt get nearly as many photos as I wanted to. Next year! This was our main tree.


And then I mucked around the rest of the house, zhooshing up garlands as flower arrangements and buying more greens. I love the pine smell. Love. Took me forever to find a tartan tablecloth that fit our table, ended up buying 3 smaller ones to cover ours. This is a bad photo but how cute are those little nutcracker teddy bears guarding my foyer?


We saw Nutcracker with girls, made gingerbread houses and countless cookies. Ate too much frosting and had fun finding our elves. And then Santa came!

We had a lovely Christmas Eve with friends, again no pictured! 😦 And enjoyed the traditional Estonian Christmas dinner of pork, potatoes, sauerkraut and blood sausages. And on Christmas Day, we woke up to the most perfect, magic white Christmas morning ever.


It was perfect. It wasn’t but it was. I had a cold and Gary was exhausted but as we sat by the fire, drank hot coffee and watched the girls tear into their gifts and shout with delight, I thought how perfect it was. Just as I had planned. 🙂 I hope yours was, too.




How to manage holiday stress gracefully and without too much wine.

Hello lovelies! Does anyone else feel like from September onwards its a mad dash toward the nothingness of January? September is all about school and paperwork, in October you’ll discover that kids have outgrown all clothes for fall, then it’s Halloween and Thanksgiving and by Christmas, well, all is not calm and bright. I am not going to tell you I know how to manage it all but I do have some good tips on how to reduce the holiday stress.

Make a list and check it twice. 


Photo from 11 Magnolia Lane.

I bought myself a Holiday Planner from here. It’s for 2017 but I plan to use it, well, always. Thanksgiving menu – while I might alternate some items, I usually keep it the same. I have printed out a plan for this menu, so I know exactly when to start defrosting the turkey, what to make ahead of time and when to start cooking what. It doesn’t much and it makes sense to have a standing shopping list and timed plan. I also mark down what wine worked with what dish, whether kids needed anything else etc. Same with Christmas menu or any holiday party you host. Note down what worked, what didn’t, copy down your best recipes and decoration ideas. I also like this calendar for jotting down any decorating ideas and writing down reminders to buy new timers, etc.


Photo: SEV Design Group

Side note of decorations: I used to make my poor hubby carry out these large containers of Christmas decor (by last count I had 20 but we’ve gotten rid of some and well added some) and then proceeded to pull everything out and try to see what goes where. Ugh, it was such a mess. After organizing my Christmas decorations (read about it here), I realized I have too many and it makes no sense to bring it all up. I now try to come up with a theme and write down on my planner what goes where: colors, real or fake greenery, outside decorations etc. At least for me, having a plan makes it a little less stressful. If you need ideas, here’s a link to my Christmas board on Pinterest.


Buy ahead.

There’s no reason why you shouldn’t hit the outlets now and get at least some of the gift shopping done now. I do a quick run to Woodbury or Clinton outlets where I can get teachers gifts, little hostess gifts, kids Christmas outfits, etc. If you know that your relatives are likely to send you a gift of sorts, buy something for them now, wrap it, box it, address it and all you need to do later is to mail it! So beats running around at the last minute when you are tired as is.


Thoughtful gifts: pink mace and Grandkids plaque from Etsy (did need extra time though to get all the baby photos of grandkids)

Kids are going to change their minds at the last minute but for anyone else you should buy now. And wrap as you go!!! I always stash the gifts into a basement closet, thinking I will put on some Christmas music and wrap away one evening like a blissful Elf. It never happens. I run out of tape, get all pissed off that my husband is not helping me and I am completely over it half way through. Have your supplies for wrapping in one box ready, so you are good to go. And PS! buy this handband tape dispenser. Makes your life so much easier.


And if you and your husband exchange gifts, think of what you want now and figure out what he does, too. Black Friday morning would be great for this: get a cup of coffee and place your orders as most stores offer BF deals online as well as in stores. Do NOT leave this to December, it’ll be way too hectic and you’ll only end up getting stuff you’ll return. Do NOT let him guess what you need, quick email with links is really the best way to go. Also, do NOT over extend!



Plan out your outfits.


You know you’ll go to a Christmas party or two or three. Your work party, your husband’s Christmas event, neighbors get together, New Year’s Eve, what ever it is, plan your outfits out now. Hang them out in your closet, so you have them ready. Trust me, its going to make your life so much easier. I get s many emails from clients throughout December asking me what they should wear. Go get some cute sweater dresses now (red or white would be beautiful), or get ivory wool pants/skirt with a matching sweater, add festive red lipstick and voila. If you are more comfortable in all black, add some sparkle with shoes and jewelry. Make sure your kids have some outfits for their events. And schedule your hair appointments for December now, preferably during the first week. Get pedicure done – think ahead.


It’s going to be a mayhem. Even with all the planning, you’ll be a little (or a lot) stressed out. So make yourself a cup of tea (now) and then think about what this time really means to you and your family. What would your spouse and your kids really value? What would make Christmas Christmas? Are there traditions you hold dear? Do you need new ones? Think about it now. However much you plan and prepare, not everything will go smoothly but some things ought to. I’ve kept it pretty simple for us this  year. I want to take a night, unplug and spend it baking with my daughters. Since making different doughs and cleaning up (ugh how I hate cleaning up) would get me pretty tired, I am going to make the cookie dough now and freeze it.


We are all going to go see Nutcracker and have lovely dinner afterwards. And girls are looking forward to a magic basket that elves bring in the beginning of Christmas which officially heralds the Christmas season.

Happy Holidays! Maybe they be as stress free as possible!