I’m basically fucking Ariel from The Little Mermaid with how many gadgets I’ve tried. Like I’m sitting here brushing my hair with a fork.
We’ll get right to it because these are 5 things I know you guys will be obsessed with.
Like I said, I’ve tried so many different things & my husband is a FREAK when it comes to testing things out. He’s tested everything under the sun. Our Amazon deliveries are out of control because of his obsession with human optimization.
Here are 5 gadgets you will all want to order, love, use, but most importantly, they won’t collect dust somewhere. You’ll actually find them incredibly useful for your own life.
White Noise Machine
I recently became even more obsessed with this white noise machine because my friend Gillian just had a baby ( hi Coco – don’t mean to brag but she’s my goddaughter ) & she has these in Coco’s room & bathroom.
There’s something so soothing about a white noise machine. I can’t explain it, but even the dogs know when I turn it on, it’s time to rest & relax. We turn this on every night at 9:30, even while we’re watching TV & it just totally relaxes us & drifts us off to bed. I’ll usually turn it off at 8am after my morning routine. I like this one because it’s white- I don’t like a big black gadget in the middle of the room. This one is chic & calming and doesn’t raise my cortisol. LOL.
The machine has 6 high-quality natural sounds: rain, brook, ocean, thunder, white noise, & summer night. The thing is that natural sounds mask background noises so you sleep better. Fall asleep easier, sleep better, wake up refreshed. You get it.
There’s nothing worse than when your phone is on 2% & your only option is to call your Uber or give it to a hostess at a random restaurant to plug-in at the front.
This charger pack is IT. It is IT for me- I bought 3. They’re charged fully at all times. Here’s the best part: I swear to God they charge faster than a regular charger. Which is weird but not a lie. I have tested this theory on multiple people & they agree entirely.
WHY I LIKE THIS CHARGING PACK: it’s small & tiny. VERY EFFICIENT. Perfect & I mean PERFECT for travel. It’s very blogger-friendly, if you know what I mean. Ideal for Instagrams. It’s chic & plain so you can decorate it with stickers if you want. Warning: you will never go back to calling an Uber on 2% after this, so sorry in advance. This will be attached to your hip like your phone. Like can’t breath without it, ya know?
Blue Light Glasses
These glasses are everything. Don’t make fun of them. Be Well By Kelly recommended them to me & they’re life-changing. She asked me “what is in your life that is stressing you out?” For me, it was that I’m constantly on electronics. Like always…even in bed ( but I’m getting waaaaay better ). Anyway, what they do is block out all the blue light from computer screens, phone screens, or any screen.
If you’re a blogger or on your computer at night a lot, these are perfect for you. Blocking out the blue light kind of tells your eyes & brain that it’s time to shut down for the night.
Noise Cancelling Headphones
Michael & I always talk about these. They are the best. They seriously drown out all the background noise so he can go to sleep while I work in bed ( work in progress over here ), or watch Real Housewives. Why these are amazing….
♡ Three levels of world-class noise cancellation for better listening experience in any environment.
♡ Alexa-enabled for voice access to music, information, and more.
♡ Noise-rejecting dual-microphone system for clear sound and voice pick-up.
♡ Balanced audio performance at any volume.
♡ Hassle-free Bluetooth pairing, personalized settings, access to future updates, and more through the Bose Connect app.
Essential Oils Diffuser
Every morning I use a diffuser to set the mood. Ambiance is key. My all time favorite is tangerine. It really stimulates my senses & wakes me up. At night I love pairing lavender with lemongrass to help wind down. The options here are really endless.
You immediately notice a difference in your mood depending on what oils you use. One of my other favorite combos is grapefruit and lemon. ( My friend Erica also gave me this cute car diffuser a while ago so it’s really great to help deal with road rage. LOL. )
Essential oils are so amazing for brain fog & really just create a calming, serene environment where I can get all my shit done. More on essential oils here & here.
Again, I like this one because it’s white & sleek & fits seamlessly into my home. It mists for 7-10 hours, has an automatic shutoff button & there’s a lighting option too. We love options.
Would love to hear if you guys find any of these gadgets useful. Please let me know if there’s anything you find that I should add to this list. I always like to out-do Michael, so if there’s anything I can order that you think will shock him, I’m all about it. The weirder the better.
It’s time for me to switch on my lavender oils, put on white nose machine, throw on my blue light glasses, plug my phone in, & put Michael’s noise cancelling headphones on him so I can watch Real Housewives.
Ingrid is back on the blog today & this time she’s talking about wet & dry muscles.
Let me fill you guys in on how we met in case you missed her last guest posts ( here & here ).
I have stalked Ingrid online for years. NO BUT LIKE, YEARS.
I found her on a friend of a friend of a cousin’s sister’s page or something when I was deep in an Instagram trance. I liked her right away.
One of my favorite things about her: she was always providing value by sharing her tips & tricks- recipes too.
THEN, one time when I was in Monaco, I SAW HER AT THE HOTEL WE WERE HAVING LUNCH AT. I whispered to Michael that “THAT was THAT girl I followed on Instagram!” Michael looked at me like I was fucking crazy. But first things first, I had to see what she was eating…
You can bet it was protein, greens, fiber & a glass of wine – La Piscine style!
I never went over to say hi, but I DM’d her & we quickly became friends. Since then, Michael & I have met up with her & Gil ( her husband ) in Morocco & the South of France. She came on the podcast too- we actually recorded it at her house in Monaco.
I’ve been doing The Method with Ingrid via Skype & I’m very much about it. I’m just loving the low-intensity workouts on the mat right now. BUT don’t let ‘low-intensity’ fool you- it’s really sculpted my body.
Soooooo, we’re rounding out Victoria’s Secret week with a post about wet & dry muscles. Ingrid has a unique perspective so grab your fiber-filled coffee & let’s get right into it:
With the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show premiering last week, and my podcast PARDON MY FRENCH! Episode 6: “Are you Wet or Dry?”, it was a no brainer for me to write this guest blog post about WET & DRY muscles. What is the difference? And which would you prefer to have?
It’s always been funny to me that when you walk into a store and say you are looking for a certain type of dress, you will have a visual to show your salesgirl. When you go to the hair salon for a new hair color or haircut, you are given a swatch to pick from and magazine pictures to steer your hairstylist in the right direction. When you go to the plastic surgeon to get a boob job, a lot of the results you are looking for will be determined from pictures and 3D simulations. So why is it when you walk into a gym, no one actually asks you to sit down and pick exactly what you are looking for from a picture?
So let’s lay it out, right here, right now. What I am about to discuss is not so much an opinion, but years of fitness expertise as a professional athlete, and later on in my life as a fitness professional, but most importantly a BODY strategist. The content of this article may not apply to you, or may not appeal to you, and that’s ok. All you have to do is take the good and leave the bad.
So here is the bottom line: when a client comes to THE METHOD,I already know I am the very last link on the long chain of them having tried every diet, every fitness program, every cleanse, every body exorcism to no avail. I created THE METHOD because I wanted answers, not just the result.
So I guess my first question to you here is, what do you want? What is your body ideal? Please don’t show me a 7 ft tall amazon if, like me, you are a Lilliputian. Realistically, do you like the fitness bodybuilding model type of body (think Xena the warrior princess) or the longer, leaner, toned body type (incidentally Victoria’s Secret models fit that bill)? I am not asking you if you think it’s possible, I am not asking you if you have a body that tends to bulk up even if you go to “ballet beautiful” classes. I am asking you, what do you like?
I’ll give you my most common example: Client comes in for the first time and says: I eat healthy, I cut carbs, I cut sweets, I cut bread, I cut alcohol, I eat fiber, I journal my meals, I drink 3 L of water and I workout 5 days a week. I go to spinning classes, I go to Barry’s bootcamp, I train with a trainer who has big muscles, I do insane intervals, deadlifts, Russian twists, and work with heavy weights. Oh and I also follow his tips to have a protein shake every day, because protein builds muscles. The result is:
> I did lose some weight but my legs are bulky, and bigger than I want them to be. The muscles I build are too big.
> I have stubborn fat around my midsection, I have a gut regardless of my six pack, I retain water on my legs and inner thighs.
> I hurt my knees, or I dislocated a disc, got a hernia or I have bad sciatica.
> I am constantly craving sweets and carb-rich food.
> I religiously have celery juice, smoothies, etc.
> I have fatigue, I had an adrenal burnout, I often feel down and depressed.
BOTTOM LINE: I am currently not happy with my body even though I do every thing right. I want to de-bulk and be longer, leaner and toned. And no, I am not looking to be a twig either.
Well, if you answered yes to at least 2 of these and you are in the BOTTOM LINE, then you need to know the difference between WET & DRY muscles.
Most women who bulk up at the gym think that it’s determined by their DNA and there is nothing they can do about it. Most women who go to the gym religiously, and do high-impact, high-intensity workouts, and still report stubborn fat around the midsection, will automatically think they need to do more cardio, cut out carbs, drink more water, and combine the intake of protein shakes with weightlifting. I disagree.
So here is the down-low on WET & DRY MUSCLES: Body builders refer to BULKIER muscles as wet gains, as those kinds of muscles are water/glycogen weight gain, while the dry muscles are actual lean mass muscles. Of course the distinct results derive from the choice of workout:
Lifting heavy weights, cross-training, HIIT, spinning and hardcore cardio cause the body to hold a lot of water, giving you a puffier look, while body resistance workouts like swimming, barre, ballet, power yoga, Pilates, some TRX & resistance band inclusive routines will pull all of the water out of you, giving you a harder, leaner look.
When you lift weights, or do very intense, hardcore workouts that have your eyes pop out of your head, chances are your muscles’ ability to store water and glycogen increases. So the inflation and contour of your muscles look more defined and pop out because they’re filled with water. This is where you need to ask yourself, do I want that?
Have you every trained hard at cross-fit then stopped for 3 weeks because of an injury so you started retaining water and felt puffy? A lot of my new clients answer YES to this very question.
What one needs to understand is that there is more to it than gobbling down protein shakes, hitting the treadmill hard, and lifting like The Hulk. It all starts and stems from your hormones. When you feel like you are retaining water, regardless of how much you drink and how much cardio you do, then start wondering if you’re fucking with your hormones. Are you messing with your stress hormone cortisol? If your spin class is in a dark room with red lights, loud music, and your coach is yelling in his mic, and you come out sweaty, wanting to barf but didn’t shed a lb, then it’s your cortisol level rising to new highs, creating insulin resistance in your body. If your body resists insulin it means all the fat you usually store to burn for fuel, doesn’t go where it’s needed to be burnt for fuel. Instead, it sticks around your midsection, hips and thighs, and becomes STUBBORN FAT DEPOTS.
So what happens? When you lift heavy, run hard, impact high, your AROMATASE ENZYME releases estrogen, going into estrogen dominance, and creates water build up around your muscles.
So, you need to stop the thinking that building lean muscle mass, reducing your body fat by using combinations of exercise, healthy food and very specific natural herbs, and using protein supplements are all that is needed. In fact, all is great, but the ultimate key to maintaining a lean physique, without observable body fat on your waistline, is not just about your healthy diet, but it’s about HORMONES too. Most importantly, estrogen. In our unending quest to the ultimate muscularity, good health and energy, we bypass the most important BODY SYSTEM of them all: our system of hormone interconnections.
Most women who struggle with doing all the right things and not getting the body they want have estrogen imbalances of specific estrogens, in both blood and fatty tissues. Too much specific estrogens in your blood and tissue cause fat gains, slow loss of muscle, or weight gain.
Some women may have too much of the wrong kind of estrogen because of the birth control pill, a diet too low in fiber, too high in protein, or from yoyo-ing between being on high fat and low fat diets. Very often the stress put on the body by those high-strung workouts and putting oneself on diet-mode, contributes to the rising of cortisol levels and thus hormonal imbalance that may be causing the bloating, water-retention and fat-storage.
So, with an open-mind, if many of the factors, if not all that I just described, sound like they may apply to you, changes are needed. Step away from the myth of hardcore cardio, heavy weight-lifting, stressful high and low intervals, and stringent weight loss methods, and step into a more hormone-friendly fitness choice. Women today need to realize that they do not need to punish, deprive or supplement their bodies to prevent hormonal imbalances causing weight issues.
Take food for example: Even grapefruit can inhibit your liver’s ability to breakdown estrogen. Broccoli and cauliflower may mitigate some effects of some estrogens. Soy products mimic estrogen and may cause excess estrogen.
Same goes for exercise. Those high-intensity, high-density, high-impact workouts may inhibit the aromatase enzyme which converts into excess estrogen. That kind of excess estrogen during muscle straining workouts will create water buildup around the muscles. That is great for women who compete as body builders, but often that is not what women who come to me want. And while fat cells are loaded with aromatase (storing large quantities of estrogen), the tougher and more cortisol-raising your workout is, the more estrogen you can produce and the fatter you will be, unless you control your exercise to lower estrogen production. As you reduce stored body fat, your estrogen conversion will be reduced and symptoms of female disorders associated with high estrogen will be greatly reduced (delayed or lack of menstruation, heavy symptoms of pre-menopause, hot flushes, hair loss, breakouts, water retention, bloat, cellulite).
There are workouts with light weights, body weight, resistance, and low-impact strength training that provide enough cardio-sculpt-like routines (THE METHOD is one of them) that can, and will, focus on bettering the whole body and not just one muscle. In addition, it will build different kinds of muscles than lifting weights does: the dry kind (free of water buildup around the muscles) because the adrenal glands won’t be inflamed and the cortisol level will not rise excessively, preventing the release of excess estrogen responsible for bulking up, and wet muscle gain. It can develop and hone long, lean muscles that will help create a stronger inner and outer frame, all while preventing your efforts from sabotaging your waistline and midsection.
My advice is to be intuitive with your eating, mind your cortisol levels by controlling your environment whenever possible, and be kind and gentle with your body. Gravitate towards fitness and movements that have earned a reputation for creating long, lean, sculpted muscles.
So on that note, Garçon can I have une Piscine s’il vous plait!
Thank you so much to Ingrid for taking the time to come on the blog. See what I mean guys? Value, always.
Be sure to listen to Ingrid’s episode on the Him & Her podcast- it’s a good one. Her story involves struggle & overcoming hardships, but also some amazing turn-arounds.
Anyways, I might not be needing The Method Skype sessions for much longer since Michael & I are buying the house right next to hers- it’s for sale. Pack your bags Susan, we’re heading to Monaco!
What workouts do you prefer? Are you into lightweight, resistance, Pilates style or high-intensity stuff. Would love to hear what everyone is into right now.
Oh, & this week on TSC, you can expect lots of holiday posts!
This week on The Skinny Confidential we’re talking aaaaallll about the Victoria’s Secret fashion show. We kicked the week off with a bang- juicy SKIN SECRETS from the models, including all of their pre-show facial steps.
Over the next week, you guys can expect tons of BTS of the models, their tips, tricks, nutrition secrets, meal preferences, fitness regimes & a full post dedicated to wet vs. dry muscles. & so much more.
We really did some digging & research backstage to get the whole scoop for you guys.
I’ve always been such a big fan of Victoria’s Secret. They’ve stayed in their own lane & really stuck to their brand. They are what they are & they’ve never wavered from it. You always know what to expect, but in the BEST way.
Going to the show is always really magical because they set you up with all these events with The Angels. You get to box with them, make pizza, workout with them & they really involve you in the whole thing before the show. & it really is a whole THING. It’s so fun.
It’s also great because I got to meet a lot of my peers in the industry.
We took a plane from LA to NYC & the second we arrived got to go to the most AMAZING hotel in NYC… The Plaza. If you guys are in New York you have to go there & check out the Eloise exhibit.
You can expect posts on the Victoria’s Secret fashion show for the whole week. We’re gonna have a lot of fun.
Make sure you guys let me know any specific questions below so I can be sure to answer them. There will be a whole post dedicated to the outfits I wore too.
I didn’t just go to go to a fashion show. I went to interact with The Angels, learn from them & really get the juice.
A huge thank you to VS for including me in this amazing opportunity. It was so cool to watch & really be witness to the prep & hard work all the models put in before the show. It’s no joke.
They go through an extensive process. Hundreds of models audition, they all have to wear the same black lingerie & heels for their turn down the runway while being photographed & videotaped. Nerve-wracking- yikes.
It’s also about personality & charisma. They’re asked why they want to be in the show & even the girls who have been in the show the year before have to audition again.
It takes so much dedication & passion. I really respect & admire all of them.
See ya tomorrow,
+ be sure you’re subscribed to the YouTube channel because we put out a new video every week.
There’s so many reasons & we’ll get into it, but I have to say, if I spot a girl with a white Hydro Flask & a pink lid, I’m gonna go say hi because I know she’s part of The Skinny Confidential community.
They’re efficient, perfect for the girl on the go, easy to use, easy to clean & a BIG PLUS is they keep your water FREEZING cold for hours.
Here’s the best thing about the Hydro Flask – it makes you drink waaaaay more water. My water consumption has gone up like crazy. Like, I drink at least 3 liters now because of it. This is kind of a big deal because if we’re being honest, I was only drinking about 1 liter before I had a Hydro Flask.
When I wake up the first thing I do is meditate with Headspace. I’ll sit there & drink my freezing cold water with lemon that I prepped the night before – feel free to add a sprig of mint & some pomegranate seeds. My first sip is freezing cold & it’s so perfect because the integrity of the ice is maintained overnight.
After my meditation I just refill the bottle with water & lemon, maybe a pinch of Himalayan sea salt & I’m good to go for a few hours- since it’s 32 oz. ( You could also go with the 40 oz. but it’s like… really big. )
If you’re going to buy one of these, you HAVE to also buy the lid that has the straw in it. THIS is what will make you drink a ton of water.
This isn’t some flimsy straw that breaks. Plus, this lid actually comes with 2 straws- you know, just in case. The straw is amazing.
The straw is key if you’re lazy in bed, or on the couch, & you just wanna lay there & gulp water with the bottle hanging down. You don’t need to pick it up & tilt it. I hate lifting my arm- it’s so annoying.
Also, you need a straw cleaner which comes with the straw lid- it’s the ONLY lid you need.
If, for some reason, you aren’t going to buy the straw lid then you should get some silicone straws. I use them all the time. They’re silicone straws that don’t hurt your teeth.
If you like metal better, then I would go with an XStraw. You can even get something engraved on them! They engraved TSC on some for me.
OH…& if you’re a coffee drinker you should check out Koffie Straws.
Other Hydro Flask Benefits:
♡ keeps cold drinks cold for 24 hours
♡ keeps hot drinks hot for 12 hours
♡ made of BPA free stainless steel
♡ vacuum insulation stops condensation
There are 2 ways I like my Hydro Flask- & of course I’m very specific about it:
Julia & I first met at a Reward Style conference years & years ago. We were both just starting out in the blogosphere.
She gave me some of the BEST ADVICE when it comes to criticism on the internet and I’ve never forgotten it. She was a bright light & someone who stood out to me immediately.
Over time, we spoke together at Create & Cultivate in Dallas and even though our blogging style is different, we clicked because we have a lot of similarities when it comes to working with your husband.
Through our manager, our husbands connected & they became fast friends through Instagram. They talked about all the books they’re reading and camera tips ( even though Michael can still barely take an iPhone pic of me ) & have developed a real bromance.
Julia & Thomas recently came on the podcast where we talk about the dynamics of working with your husband, never straying from your vision, being self-aware and true to yourself in the blogging world & are giving all TSC listeners 15% off on their dresses.
AAAANNNDDDD can I just say… the dresses are TO DIE FOR. Seriously, they’re so cute, classic and timeless. I just LOVE.
I hope you guys listen to the episode because I think you’ll really enjoy it. You can expect to hear about:
+ Their journey from blog to product.
+ Advice for working with your husband or wife.
+ 5 super valuable photography tips from Thomas.
+ The dress Julia thinks anyone & everyone should have whether you’re 18 years old, 75 or somewhere in between.
+ How they structure the Gal Meets Glam team.
+ Each of their favorite business resources.
+ How to drown out the haters & deal with negativity online ( including THE best advice Julia gave me ).
+ A day in the life.
This is a great episode for your boyfriends & husbands to listen to if they’re involved in your business, or are thinking about becoming more involved. Thomas and Michael chat about the “public life” they didn’t exactly sign up for. HA!
Julia & Thomas are also giving all readers & listeners 15% if you use the code TSC15 on their site. How nice! You guys just have to go check out these dresses.
I’m OBSESSED with the Annabelle dress. It’s so sweet & flirty. It’s one of my favorite pieces that I own.
I hope you guys enjoy this episode. If you liked this one you’ll also want to listen to the episode with Weslie & Brono where we talk about parenting & the one with Aubrey Marcus & Whitney Miller ( we talk open relationships ).
We would love to know what you thought of this episode so please rate, review & subscribe so you can get our newest episodes ASAP. They come out every Tuesday and every other Thursday.