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06.16.15

MY HEALTH CHALLENGE / 04

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this saturday will mark one month of living a healthier lifestyle for me. obviously i have setbacks and i’ve learned a few things about going 0 to 60. however, i feel like i’m still doing a good job staying motivated and striving to make real life changes.

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joanie: bri skipped town on me last week so i was left to my own devices. i’ve gotten back into doing pilates which is pilates on steroids. the first class is really awkward because everyone knows the names of the exercises and it’s fast paced and overwhelming but if you stick it out it’s a great workout, and only 45 minutes. i also think there’s nothing better to lift your mood then running, i always leave the house at 7am grumpy and tired but come back feeling like a million bucks. getting out the door is always the hardest part, always.

bri: well, i had a setback that i’m pretty bummed about. after rolling my ankle last year it seems the pain is coming back in my knee and left ankle. i’m guessing it was the running, or not giving my body enough resting time in between workouts. after all, i was working out 0 days and then started doing 6 days a week. i was forced to take a working out break when i went to new orleans for a 4 day work trip, but stuck to doing 150 sit-ups in the room every night with my friend anna. and no, that’s not what i look like when i do sit-ups, i guess something was hysterical. i also made sure to do a lot of stretching when i remembered and walked a ton before my ankle started bothering me.

so after a 4 day rest time on my ankle, i’ve been wondering if i can incorporate working out again? i went to see a physical trainer who look a look at my hips, knees and ankles. turns out, i’m not in the best shape in those areas. i have reeeeally tight hip flexors and need to work on strengthening the muscles around my knees with a professional who knows how to help me do that. i think i am going to dedicate 1-2 days a week to seeing him so i can learn about the best way to workout for my body so i don’t injure myself long term. (it’s crazy how you take advantage of something as simple as walking without discomfort!) he did a lot of pressure and rolling out my muscles and it actually helped a lot. i am going to do some lower impact workouts this week like yoga (i got this ) or swimming (has anyone been to any cool pools in LA?!) and hopefully my ankle will feel better soon. i really want to stay on a good track with this health challenge, so i’m staying hopeful! what are your favorite workouts to do if you have had knee or ankle injuries?

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06.03.15

MY HEALTH CHALLENGE / 02

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hey guys! we are trucking along on our health challenge over here and have now finished week TWO. i’ve worked out 6 of the last 7 days, and only had one day where i completely fell off the wagon. i’m still feeling really motivated and starting to see small results already! read about my progress below…

oh, and i started a hashtag on called , so i can stay motivated by your pretty healthy recipes and gym pics. i’ll be adding some of them to this column, so tag your photos so i can see them!

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joanie: running is maybe the most annoying form of exercise but the endorphins after are seriously worth the pain. i was super proud of bri for facing her running fears, other then telling me she felt stranded half way through the run and asked if we could take an uber home she was a real trooper. and remember, nobody looks cool running, we’re all red faced and sweaty. i’ve noticed in recent years that i’ve really had to up my cardio in order to stay in shape. i use to be able to get by with bar method or yoga but that’s no longer the case, i guess it’s part of getting older. if you live in LA, i really love the , their mashup classes are one of the best workouts in town and they give you the sweat without the pretentious attitude.

bri: apparently i really like to make the “strong arms” pose now that i’m working out. ha. this week i have done a few different workouts. i’m still in the process of trying new things and seeing what i like the best. i decided to finally face my fears of running and just do it. i have bad knees and also just always thought it would be boring, so i haven’t run since the dance team in high school. joanie told me we were going to ease our way into it by doing 1 minute walking and 1 minute running intervals. the first 5 or so minutes in, i was very out of breath and thought there was no way i could make it around the whole reservoir (about 3.5 miles including the run to my house). but it sort of got easier as i went along. it was fun chatting with joanie during the walks and it was nice to be outside. i didn’t love it, but i also didn’t hate it. and i felt AWESOME when i got home. i’m going to give it a few more tries. (but need to get some proper running shoes first! what’s your favorite brand?)

i’ve also gone back to bar method a few times (which is still in the running for my fave class). and i tried working out at home. the stairs at my house are pretty steep so i set a 15 minute timer and just went up and down, up and down. my neighbors were probably like “what the heck?” i stopped at minute 10 because my legs were on fire and they were cleaning the deck above my house and put a bunch of water on my head. which is actually pretty funny, but it ended the stairs climb there. i went inside and did 15 minutes of abs and thighs while playing loud music. it wasn’t so bad and i was sore the next day.

my FAVORITE workout was a super fun hip hop dance class that was very upbeat, and the teacher was so cool to watch. there was some twerking to E-40 happening and i wasn’t mad about it. i have to go next week too!

and, i had my friend michael over at share one of his fun/upbeat mixed tapes that you can download and listen to on your next cardio expedition. there’s something about music that makes working out a little easier…

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06.01.15

RENTING TIPS / TRANSFORM YOUR SPACE

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i’ve rented houses all over LA for the past 9 years. i started in an apartment complex downtown across from my college, FIDM. then i moved in with a roommate i met at work into to a spanish bungalow in west hollywood and lived there for a little over 2 years. after that i found an adorable craftsman duplex with a great yard in silver lake. then, me and my boyfriend at the time moved into a modern loft in the arts district (pictured above and below). and NOW i’m in a mid-century apartment in silver lake and have lived here for a little over 2 years.

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apartment/home hunting can be a total drag, you find a place that sounds amazing online and you roll up to check it out in person and it looks completely different then you thought or, it has no closets, and the kitchen is so tiny you couldn’t move in it. is a great site that allows you to browse apartments in your area, see if they are available and schedule a visit all from one site. , they give you all sorts of floor plans so that you can actually see if the room details without having to physically go there. you could even use the 3D view to start planning your layout before you move in so you’d know what’s going where on move-in day.

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with all of that moving (and growing up) i’ve found a couple of tips that really make your rental feel like your own, and ways to work with what you got. it’s very rare that you find a rental with everything that’s on your dream home wish list. the kitchen in my current place is far from what i would choose, but you learn to make the rest the best you can! here’s a few very simple things that make a huge difference in a rental, and won’t break the bank.

1. PAINT. usually when i move into a place i try my hardest to request bright white paint in all the rooms. i’ve had places that had green walls, beige walls…you name it. usually, landlords are totally open to painting it white and they will more often than not pay for the painting since they have to repaint before you move in anyway. the white walls really opens up the space, makes the rooms appear larger, and gives you a great blank canvas to work with. my current bedroom photo is above!

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a colored accent wall can really add a ton of personality to the room. again, if your landlord agrees (you can always offer to paint it back when you move out!)

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i love the one black wall in a bedroom that really anchors the bed. and that pastel pink in that living room is so special. it makes the art look amazing!

paint photos: 1, , ,

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2. PLANTS, PLANTS, PLANTS. i’m a huge fan of bringing plants all over the home. they make the space feel fresh and alive, they add color and dimension, and really make the space look great.

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when we did my living room makeover (see here) we added a plant wall by the windows on a long white bench. it’s my favorite part of the room, and adds a lot of drama when you walk into the house.

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plant photos: , , , 4

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3. TEXTURE. let’s say you aren’t a huge fan of the carpets in your place, or mirrored closets. time to add some distractions! textured rugs, pillows, and blankets can transform the space, and draw your eye to them. see how your eyes go straight towards those pom poms?!

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investing in a good rug you love can make all the difference. i had carpet in my first downtown apartment and just layered a rug i liked more on top of it! this pink bedroom above is combining all 3 tips so far…a cool paint accent, nice rug and blanket textures and a plant by the window! i love these moroccan rugs in  those would add so much liveliness to your space.

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try a wall hanging (remember this easy DIY?), a big knitted blanket, or a fuzzy rug next to your bed.

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4. CURTAINS. something that most definitely changes a room is curtains. my current room came with really ugly, flimsy curtain rods and short sheer curtains. when i decided to change those out for floor length curtains and nicer rods, my room already looked 50% better.

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here’s my current bedroom curtains below…i got the industrial pipe rods and the linen curtains from west elm ( and ) i also really like ! the linen curtains create a beautiful diffused light in the room.

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curtain photos: , , , , 5

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5. LIGHTING. whether you want to get some great table lamps, or standing lamps to add cozy light to your room, lighting is key. overhead light fixtures are something that i hadn’t changed out until this house, and man does it make the room so much better. luckily my landlord said i could change out some of the light fixtures if i wanted, so i added a (shown below) in my dining room, a in my bedroom and two wall sconces by my bed from .

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here’s my current living room chandelier…

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i found the layout of my first downtown apartment on  that i shared with my college roommate. if only i had used some of these tips there!

did you find any of these tips helpful? what are some of your favorite ways to spice up your rental? do you have apartment hunting horror stories?

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05.28.15

TRAVEL / CHAMPAGNE FRANCE

i have visited paris (here and more recently here) and the south of france (here), but have never ventured to the champagne area! after a few days in paris, . an adorable town that i had no idea about!

the train station sits conveniently right near the town. it felt like we walked onto a movie set! i can’t believe people really live in these charming little places. we had a guide from the champagne tourism office who took us around everywhere and showed us the sights. in all of the cabins on international flights they serve free champagne, so they wanted us to see the origin of where they get their champagne. let’s just say we weren’t complaining about that.

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05.01.15

AMSTERDAM TRAVEL / PART 1

where do i even BEGIN?! if you are , you probably have noticed that i completely fell in love with amsterdam. i might even go ahead and say it’s my favorite european city that i’ve visited. it’s charming, it’s easy to fit right in with all of the english that is spoken here, there is tons of amazing design and style, the apartments are cool, it feels clean and safe…i could go on and on, really. i’m also a huge fan of paris and berlin, but amsterdam feels like the perfect combination. i’m so happy i finally decided to come here!

ok, so i’m going to break down my trip into a couple of posts, and they are gonna be loooong, let me warn ya. but i wanted to show you guys everything i enjoyed so far. i still have 6 days here, so i can post more at the end. as far as recommendations, i got them from all over. i came here with no plans at all. i asked , my blog, my friends, my airbnb hosts, and a few locals. i ended up at some pretty great places…

i posted the inside of the first airbnb i rented right here. the neighborhood is the hip & trendy . i took an uber (yes, they have here too. so convenient) from the airport to my apartment and i was so excited as i looked out the windows at the new sights. we pulled on to a tiny little street with a bar, a few little shops, and an adorable barber shop underneath where i was staying. the street is pretty quiet, but everything was very close to walk to. seriously, ideal location.

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