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If you know me, you know I love a good fitness class. But the fact is, I simply don’t always have time to get ready and go to an hour long class – and you probably don’t either. And though any length of workout is absoltuely better than nothing, there are times when I want the most bang for my buck. A result-based workout that can be done quickly, for busy weeknights or when traveling. I’m a HUGE fan of interval training. I have found nothing gets me results faster than incorporating intervals into my fitness routine. As someone who used to run long distances regularly, intervals have been a godsend. No more hour long sessions on the cardio machine at the gym for this girl!

HIIT is a good example of that, and after taking classes regularly at Barry’s Bootcamp, I wanted to talk more about intervals. Interval training in general usually means you’re getting a great workout, and is why successful gyms like Barry’s are advocating for it. They’re definitely onto something worth sharing.

What are intervals?

To sum it up, intervals are working at different paces & intensities for a set amount of time, over and over. Working out in intervals keeps your body from feeling “comfortable” during your workout. When you disrupt it every minute or so to pick up or slow down your pace, you end up burning more calories and strengthening your heart, among other things.

Who should do intervals?

Anyone and everyone, though it’ll look different for each person. Intense intervals are something you build up to after spending a few months getting in shape. If you’re a newbie, find the variables that work for you (maybe you’re jogging instead of running – more on this below). Don’t push yourself too hard. Definitely don’t get down on yourself if your intervals don’t look like the person next to you. Believe me, I wasn’t nearly as strong as a lot of people at Barry’s, but I still felt great after each workout (and kinda dead, in a good way). You’ll get to where you want to be after consistently doing intervals a few times a week. Some benefits of interval training: better endurance for long runs, other cardio workouts, improved cardiovascular health, more calories burned, and the biggest one for me – losing belly fat! 

How do I incorporate intervals into my workout?

One of the most common ways to incorporate interval training into your everyday workout is to hop on the treadmill. I definitely understand the treadmill can be a bore, but stay with me here, it’s worth it! And yes, you can totally do intervals off a treadmill, but personally, I appreciate the effectiveness that a treadmill provides (a time clock, ways to monitor speed, stay efficient, etc.).

When you’re ready to take your workout to the next level, start adding in intervals by varying your speed on the treadmill. Make sure to get completely warmed up at a slow pace before you begin to increase your speed (avoid those injuries!) and then determine what your “fast” pace will be and what your “base” pace will be. Test your speeds and find out what works best for you!

Adding incline

If you feel ready to kick your workout up even more, consider adding an incline to your intervals. Don’t be intimidated – you don’t have to run at 6 mph while running uphill (unless you’re into that). You’re actually going to keep the speed the same on this one. Instead of changing the speed every other minute, you’ll increase and decrease your incline – simple! Doing this will definitely intensify your workout and burn even more calories. It’ll also make your heart and body stronger too.

Easy Treadmill Interval Workouts You Can Do

Luckily, I was able to steal a couple treadmill workouts from Justine Cuenco (follow her on Instagram @cococuenco) – if you look at her page you’ll see she is a total boss and a huge fitness buff. The girl’s dedication to fitness and working out is super admirable. So I had to get her custom “Coco Run” and try it out for myself. See below for three examples of interval workouts you can try on the treadmill.

Why Interval Training is the Best Thing Ever and How You Can Add it to Your Fitness Routine | by The Luxi Look

This run should take you to 4 miles, which is perfect if you’re training for a race! If you’re looking for something a little more quick or dirty, try some hill or speed intervals.

Why Interval Training is the Best Thing Ever and How You Can Add it to Your Fitness Routine | by The Luxi Look

Repeat 2-3 times for a KILLER workout.

Why Interval Training is the Best Thing Ever and How You Can Add it to Your Fitness Routine | by The Luxi Look

I used to hate, hate, HATE sprints, but now I love them! Love getting my cardio done for the day. Repeat this set at least twice for best results.

If you’re ready to start doing intervals right away, here is some edgy workout clothes I am absolutely loving right now too!

xx, Amy

If you’re into skincare, chances are you’ve heard of La Mer. Specifically, their famous Creme de la Mer. Celebs and beauty editors rave about this product! La Mer’s most popular product is touted as a “miracle cream” but it comes with a steep price tag. A 1 oz. jar of this stuff is $170! So, let’s get to the bottom of this. Is La Mer worth it?

To be honest – I was very, very skeptical. I mean, is any cream worth $170 an ounce?

For the price, I was hoping it would be the equivalent of putting liquid gold on my skin. I also had sky high expectations for the price. I mean, it better be damn good! Luckily, I received a jar of Creme de la Mer as a gift and I’ve been using it since.

Is La Mer Worth It? | by The Luxi Look

Is La Mer Worth It? | by The Luxi Look

My initial reaction to Creme de la Mer:

The cream is incredibly rich and thick. If you have oily skin or aren’t used to extremely moisturizing creams, it may almost be too much for you. For this reason (and for the sake of stretching out my jar of product as long as possible), I only use it at night. I have dry skin, so my thirsty skin soaks up the rich cream. It almost works as a sleeping mask – when I wake up my skin is hydrated, smooth, and supple. Not to mention unbelievably soft!

I really love the cream. I’ve had so many people compliment me on my “natural glow” – even on days when I wasn’t wearing any makeup or hadn’t gotten much sleep. My skin feels smooth, plump, and always hydrated (something I struggle with!). If I could bathe in creme de la mer, I would. When my jar is used up (RIP), will I repurchase? Maybe. The price tag is high enough that I have to think hard about it.

Is La Mer Wroth It?

So – back to the initial question. Is it worth it?  After testing it out myself for a few months, my answer is yes. It’s worth it – for me. I love the effect it has on my skin and it works noticeably better than other products I have in my bathroom. BUT, here’s my caveat: it is only worth it if you can afford it in your budget! If you’re on the fence about spending $170 for a jar of face moisturizer, you probably can find alternate products for a lower price! There are so many high quality skincare products on the market today, I guarantee you can find something that suits your skin and budget. It may take more digging and require looking into brands you haven’t heard of – but in the end, you’ll be happy to found the perfect products for your skin type.

So there you have it – my honest thoughts on Creme de La Mer and if it’s a must have in your vanity. All things considered, I think the product is amazing!

Are there comparable products on the market available for less?

Probably. I’ve heard Olay Regenerist, which can be found at a drugstore, is very comparable to Creme de la Mer! It really depends on your current skin, your routine, and your skincare needs. A little trick if you want to try it out – most department stores will offer a small sample for you to take home before committing to buying the full sized product.

In addition to this Creme de La Mer, I’ve been incorporating a variety of other products in my daily routine. I tend to get lazy with products, so I try to stick to the essentials and focus on problem areas when I can. I can’t deal with crazy ten step routines, it’s just unreasonable for my current lifestyle and my hectic schedule. Full disclosure – I do receive a lot of free products as a blogger. I do my best to try them all and provide honest reviews and feedback – I won’t mention one unless I absolutely love it and I would never endorse something I didn’t like or had a bad reaction from. Knowing that everyone’s skin is so different, I just wanted to share what’s been working for me since I do get questions about my skin often.

Is La Mer Worth It? | by The Luxi Look

Is La Mer Worth It? | by The Luxi Look

The rest of my current skincare routine:

Glossier Cleanser:

This continues to be my go-to cleanser. It takes off all of my makeup and is just a great basic cleanser. I keep one in the shower and one in my gym bag. I really like Glossier’s minimalist products, you can read my full review of their products here. I’m not a rep, just a normal girl that happens to love some of their products : ).

Skinesque Enzyme Washing Powder:

I’ve raved about this cleanser before. If you haven’t tried a powder cleanser or exfoliant yet, you really need to! This one is gentle enough to use daily and keeps my skin super soft and smooth.

Ole Henriksen Truth Serum:

Filled with Vitamin C and antioxidants, this serum is great for everyday use. I’ve been using it pretty consistently for years and notice a big difference when I’m using it vs. when I’m not. Another vitamin C serum I love is this one by Eminence.

SENTÉ Bio Complete Serum:

Currently writing an entire post to retinol, but here’s the quick version of it. I read that your mid twenties are a good time to start incorporating retinol into your skincare routine (some people say as early as your late teens, but the majority of research I’ve come across suggests starting around 24-26). Why? Because retinol helps your skin cells turn over, producing more collagen which helps with skin texture and elasticity. If you’re looking into an anti-aging regime without opting for lasers or needles, definitely try a retinol cream to start! This one was recommended to me by Facile and I use it a couple times a week at night.

Is La Mer Worth It? | by The Luxi Look

Dr. Jart Water Fuse Ultimate Hydro Gel:

My current daily daytime moisturizer. For daytime, I look for lightweight and moisturizing ingredients and formulas that work well on their own or underneath makeup.

Dr. Jart Water Fuse Hydro Sleep Mask:

Another one for dry skin lovers. I’ll layer a “sleeping mask” over my nighttime moisturizer for an extra boost of skin hydration. There’s nothing better than waking up to as close to perfect skin as you can get.

REN Glycol Lactic Radiance Renewal Mask:

As I get older, I’ve started to experiment more with gentle peels. I haven’t gone full on yet with a spa-grade peel, but I have been testing different at home products. I really like this REN mask because it smells amazing and it leaves my skin just GLOWING. I’m a sucker for anything that has the word “radiance” in the description, only this product actually does that.

Kiehl’s Super Fluid Sunscreen:

I’ve been using this sunscreen everyday for the past five years. The formula is thin, easy to layer, and non-irritating. This sunscreen works well over your daily moisturizer and under makeup. I only wish I started wearing sunscreen religiously sooner… : )

Diet:

I really do believe diet is correlated to the texture and appearance of my skin. I try to drink at least 3L of water a day and I notice a huge difference when I eat junk food or drink alcohol compared when I eat less processed foods. Again, everyone’s skin is different and what triggers your skin may be different than mine.

I know environment also plays a huge role in your skin – for example my skin changed drastically when I moved to LA, it’s been pretty much nonstop dry from the desert climate, sun exposure, and crazy pollution. So I’ve been trying to adjust my skincare routine accordingly as well.

Gearing up for a long-haul flight? Whether it’s for work or play, traveling can be exhausting. And let’s face it, for the majority of travelers, unless you’re in business class, flying can be seriously uncomfortable. When I worked in consulting, I traveled every week. I was flying to and from my client site every Monday and Thursday – sometimes from coast to coast. During that time, I became very familiar with making long haul travel as efficient and comfortable as possible. I learned how to navigate airports, hotels, and the world of credit card points and travel loyalty programs.

Although I switched jobs a few years back and no longer travel for work, I still make a point to travel as often as I can – now for fun! Traveling can bring out the worst in anyone (dealing with delays and other cranky people doesn’t make for the best experience), but I always try to keep my cool and make the flight itself as comfortable as possible. I’m fortunate that I’m relatively petite so I don’t have too many issues with the seats, but even then long-haul flights can leave me feeling depleted and less than 100%. Over the years, I’ve developed a bit of a “travel pack” – a set of items I consider to be my long haul flight essentials that I seriously will not get on a flight without.

But first, a few general rules of thumb I always follow when I travel.

Tips for long flights:

Drink water!! And then drink some more water.

Flying dehydrates your skin and body like crazy. Ever notice how sometimes your digestive system gets all funky after flying? It’s partially because we become so dehydrated during our flights, making it more difficult for food to digest and move through our systems. I try to drink at least a cup (8 ounces) of water for every hour I’m on a plane, but truthfully the more the better. Splurge on a 1L bottle of water at the airport or bring your own refillable bottle. If there’s one thing I always do on planes, it’s drink a TON of water. I’ll usually choose the aisle seat too so I’m not that annoying person that keeps getting up to use the bathroom ; ).

Avoid eating plane food.

As a general rule of thumb, I won’t eat the food on planes. Airplane food is loaded with sodium and preservatives, not to mention your taste buds are totally different at a higher altitude (meaning you can’t taste food the same way you do normally, hence why plane food has so much sh*t in it to make it taste palatable in the sky). Also, fasting during long haul flights supposedly helps with jetlag. Sometimes I’ll bring my own snacks but usually I just try to wait until I land to eat. Same goes for alcohol – 9 times out of 10, I won’t drink on a plane.

+ Dress comfortably.

Or at least pack a change of clothes for the plane. It is so worth it. Sometimes I’ll grab the slippers from my hotel room and wear them on the plane. The more comfortably dressed you are, the easier it will be to fall asleep – that’s my rationale at least!

Bring your own entertainment.

The last thing you want to be on a long haul flight is bored. You can hope for the best on the in flight entertainment (which I will admit usually occupies me for the majority of the flight), but it doesn’t hurt to pre load some movies or shows on your laptop or tablet, download all of your favorite music from Spotify, and bring a book or two. You know, options.

Then of course, you want to be Mary Poppins with everything that’s in your bag. Noise cancelling headphones, a water bottle, and a toothbrush aside, here are some of the things you will always find packed with me on a long haul flight.

Travel Bag Essentials for a long flight:

1. Slip Silk Eye Mask

Sleeping on planes can be hard. A luxurious silk  eye mask helps. Keep out distractions with headphones and this luxe eye mask. You might even forget where you are and temporarily drift off into a peaceful state of sleep…

2. Kiehl’s Ultra Hydrating Hand Cream

Back when I lived in Chicago, I relied on this stuff to get me through the crazy cold winters and the nasty dry and chapped hands that came with them. The formula is super thick and hydrating – one of the best hand creams I’ve come across ever. Also, yay for Sephora carrying Kiehl’s now!

3. A Sheet Mask

Forget the strange looks you’ll get from your seatmates, your thirsty skin will soak up a sheet mask and thank you for it. There’s no better way to fight dry skin and fake looking fresh and wide awake (and pretend you’re at a spa and not on a plane) than with a sheet mask. Opt for a hydrating, soothing mask to calm your skin down.

Travel in Comfort - Long Haul Flight Essentials | by The Luxi Look

4. Emergen-C

The last thing you want is to get sick on a long flight. Lack of sleep can weaken your immune system, so even if you don’t normally take any vitamins or supplements, consider bringing some along when you travel. Call it a placebo effect or not, but I notice a tremendous difference in my ability to fend off the beginning stages of a cold or illness when I take vitamin C. I’ll down a couple Emergen-C packets in a day and with proper rest and nutrition, it’s usually enough to nip a cold in the bud.

5. BYOT (Bring Your Own Tea)

In the same vein of staying hydrated, I usually try to drink a cup or two of tea on a flight. No matter what I’m wearing, I ALWAYS find myself super cold on planes. Hot water helps (you could even bring your own lemon to make hot lemon water), but a couple herbal tea packets of your choice will usually come in handy at some point during your trip.

Travel in Comfort - Long Haul Flight Essentials | by The Luxi Look

6. Moisturizing Lip Balm

I’ve shared my love for Glossier before and I’m doing it again now. This balm is so reliable, comes in different tints and flavors, and is like vaseline on crack. SUPER hydrating, keeps your lips and any other dry parts of your face or body moisturized, and travels well.

7. Face Mist

Yes, Evian facial spray is a little bougie. But flying just sucks all of the moisture out of the body, you know? Between the altitude, time change, and any food/alcohol you may consume on the flight, your body is screaming for water inside and out! After you’ve chugged all the water you can handle, refresh your skin with a super hydrating face mist. You’ll feel better instantly and look more awake. Try to avoid heavy makeup on planes (you wouldn’t go to sleep normally with a face full of makeup on, would you?) and opt for an au naturale, dewy glow from this face mist instead. Bonus: it comes in a travel friendly size (less than 3 oz!) so you can bring it on the plane in your carry on.

What are your long haul travel tips and essentials? I’ll take any advice and recommendations I can get to make the journey a little easier and more comfortable : ).

Safe and happy travels, everyone! xx

Happy Monday! How was everyone’s weekend? Some of the highlights of mine included shopping for autumnal decorations for the apartment (really into fall right now if you can’t tell) and taking an insane 90 minute dance class that was a total blast. I’m not the best dancer at ALL, but I couldn’t help but feel 1. exhausted and 2. grateful after taking the class. Why grateful? Because gratitude is something that has been on my mind a lot lately. I’m trying to journal more as part of my daily routine, one part which consists of writing down what you are grateful for.

There are so many surprising benefits to journaling – cultivating self awareness, boosting creativity, helping with memory, and keeping track of goals. Of course, all habits take time to build. One habit I heard time after time to add to my routine is journaling.

Starting the Week by Practicing Gratitude | by The Luxi Look

Starting the Week by Practicing Gratitude | by The Luxi Look

Here’s why and how you should keep a gratitude journal:

Journaling is an incredibly personal activity that looks very different for everyone. How much and what I write depends largely on my mood and current emotional and mental state. My boyfriend suggested The Five Minute Journal as a way to ease into journaling. I love this journal because it is clean and organized, and already has the various sections I need to fill in every day laid out for me. Oh, and it only takes five minutes a day (sometimes less!).

My favorite part to fill out everyday is the section on gratitude. I’d like to think that I don’t take things for granted and focus only on my problems, but the truth is ever since I started practicing gratitude on a daily basis, I’ve noticed a shift in my mentality and mindset. It’s so easy to do – there’s no right or wrong answer, it’s just what you’re grateful for that day, in the moment.

Starting the Week by Practicing Gratitude | by The Luxi Look

Starting the Week by Practicing Gratitude | by The Luxi Look

Starting the Week by Practicing Gratitude | by The Luxi Look

 

It doesn’t have to consist of the most profound thoughts you’ve ever had. But the simple act of writing down three things a day you’re grateful for can help improve your overall well being and happiness. Think about how often we compare ourselves to others or take what we have for granted. Oftentimes it isn’t until something unfortunate happens or we see something in the world that triggers certain emotions that we stop to appreciate what we have.

So yesterday, the three things I chose to be grateful for were looked something like this:

  1. Having the physical ability to run and move freely for 90 minutes.
  2. Surrounding myself with people that lift me up and inspire me – especially good friends, which can be hard to find.
  3. A weekend to myself with my dog that allowed us to bond and spend lots of time together.

Today, I am grateful for:

  1. New beginnings at work – a new opportunity to learn and grow.
  2. Having a platform that allows me to reach others with my message and connect with them in ways I never thought would be possible.
  3. Coffee. Because it’s Monday.

Practicing gratitude allows you to focus on the positive in your life, realize even the negative is not always so bad, and that there’s always more to be grateful for. Each new day is a new opportunity to reflect. I’m so happy I started this exercise and have found it has really helped me approach every day more positively. Even when I’m having a bad day, stopping for five minutes to think of three things I’m grateful for allows me to pause.

“When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.” < one of my favorite quotes, and so true! 

Starting the Week by Practicing Gratitude | by The Luxi Look

Starting the Week by Practicing Gratitude | by The Luxi Look

Starting the Week by Practicing Gratitude | by The Luxi Look

And yes, I know it’s officially fall – but it still feels like summer and I’m holding onto every last sun soaked day I can. Wearing a two piece set by one of my all time favorite brands, Spell.

Have a wonderful week everyone!

PS – If you’re loving these more

xx, Amy

Hosting or attending an event this weekend? Not sure what to make or bring? Every hostess knows an appetizer board is not only a real crowd pleaser, it’s also ridiculously simple and requires no actual cooking. If you’re short on time or not the best in the kitchen, there’s no easier way to trick your guests into thinking you’re domestic AF than by making the perfect cheese board. Learning how to make the perfect cheese board is easier than you think, trust me.

Cheese and charcuterie or raw vegetables (crudités if you want to be fancy) artfully arranged on a board look impressive and require very little prep time. Not to mention, your guests will most likely love it (and devour it). It’s a win-win for everyone and a must have at your next gathering. Whether you’re hosting or attending a party, a cheese board is an easy way to contribute while doing minimal work. Which in my book, is a huge win!

If you follow me on Instagram, you might already know I have been LOVING cheese/charcuterie/crudité boards lately and making them at every chance I get. They are a staple whenever we have people over at our apartment – it’s easy to see why when you learn how easy they are to prep and assemble, and how much our visitors love them!

Hostess with the Mostess: How to Make An Eye-Catching (and Delicious!) Cheese Board | by The Luxi Look

Here’s how to make the perfect cheese board

 + First, decide what’s going on it. Are you sticking to strictly cheese? Is a cheese and charcuterie board? Or maybe you’re adding some raw vegetables? The general rule of thumb for a cheese board is 3 different types – one hard, one soft, one goat. In my opinion, this is a rule that is meant to be broken! I usually like to have a soft cheese (brie, camembert), a hard cheese (gruyere, comte), and a spreadable goat cheese (Trader Joe’s has amazing goat cheese logs!). But I also like to include a good cheddar, gouda, or something different that comes recommended to me. Be sure to experiment to figure out what types of cheeses you like and want on your plate.

+ Are you adding meat? If so, hit up your local deli counter for different cuts of cured meats. If you’re feeling adventurous, consider adding a pâté or mousse.

+ For your vegetarian/vegan friends – did you know there is actually VEGAN cheese? If you live in LA I highly recommend Vromage for your vegan cheeses. These nut-base cheeses are made in house by the owner who happens to be the sweetest man, and they honestly taste closer to real cheese than anything I’ve had before. Go there!!! Otherwise, if you want to include your vegan friends on the action, consider adding crudité and fresh fruits.

+ Examples of raw vegetables for a crudité plate: zucchini and squash (sliced long and thin), carrots, mini tomatoes, broccoli, cauliflower, radish. The possibilities are endless! Don’t forget the dips – homemade or store bought are both great. We usually have a hummus (vegan option) and tzatziki (non vegan option) on hand.

Hostess with the Mostess: How to Make An Eye-Catching (and Delicious!) Cheese Board | by The Luxi Look

+ Think of extras to add – fruit, jams, and different flavors. Think outside the box! It’s your board to play with – add whatever flavors you think work well with the ingredients you have on hand. Honey, fig jam, and various mustards tend to be popular for cheese and charcuterie plates. For fruits, I like to add grapes, apple or pear slices, figs, berries, or apricots. I always keep some dried fruits and nuts in my pantry as well.

+ Don’t forget the bread and crackers! You can never go wrong with a baguette or whatever small crackers you of your choosing. Long breadsticks are a nice touch as well!

How to make the perfect cheeseboard: Hostess with the Mostess: How to Make An Eye-Catching (and Delicious!) Cheese Board | by The Luxi Look

+ Make sure you have the right board on hand. Consider how large your gathering is and how many people are attending and choose the size of the board you use based on that. I bought a beautiful long marble board from William Sonoma – initially I thought it would be too large but it has been the perfect size for everything I’ve made so far!

+ Assembly is everything! You could just throw everything on the board and call it a day, but what’s the fun in that? Take some time to visualize a pattern and arrange all of the ingredients on the board in a visually pleasing and cohesive way.

Hostess with the Mostess: How to Make An Eye-Catching (and Delicious!) Cheese Board | by The Luxi Look

+ Enjoy the fruits of your labor! I love appetizer boards not only because of the easy assembly, but because they are tasty and relatively healthy appetizer options (especially if you have lots of fruits and vegetables highlighted!).

+ Always keep extra ingredients on hand – make sure veggies are pre sliced so they are ready to go!

+ Be sure to provide serving plates, napkins, and the appropriate cutlery. Cheese knives are not necessary but add a fun touch (they make a great hostess gift as well!)

Doesn’t hurt to have some wine on hand either ; ).

Bon appetit!

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