Thursday, September 20, 2012

The Perfect Hat

hat

I've been on this eternal search for the perfect hat, even though I don't really think I'm much of a hat person. I wish I was a hat person, but I feel kind of self conscious wearing hats.

Nevertheless, I think I've finally found my dream hat from Scha at Antonioli. It has the perfect floppy but not too floppy brim - very Ann Demeulemeester ish vibe.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Ankle straps

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[alexander wang, alexander wang, givenchy, tibi]

I am kind of in love with ankle strap heels at the moment. I really want to pick up a pair. I feel bad, but I haven't been keeping up with fashion week(s) at all! I only caught a tiny look at Alexander Wang (took a close look at the "floating" paneled dresses- so cool!) and Proenza Schouler (so good!). I need to catch up this week!

p.s.- I've added a few new items to my sale blog!


Monday, September 17, 2012

What's In My (Hot) Yoga Bag?

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Here's what I carry in my bag for hot yoga.

Skin

- mini bottle of Bioderma Crealine H2O for removing any makeup. Remember to get your mascara too, otherwise it will melt down your face!
- cotton pads (I like Shiseido)
- deodorant. I use Lavanila The Healthy Deodorant
- makeup pouch. This is the same pouch I keep in my purse, so I just transfer it into my yoga bag. It just has some essentials (Bobbi Brown concealer stick, Chanel powder, advil, random lip products, etc) but I rarely fix my face after yoga, it's "just in case".

Essentials

- water bottle. I just have an old one. I mentioned before, but Thermos has a sport-specific insulated water bottle that is supposed to be good for keeping water icy cold during hot yoga.
- 2 towels. One for during class, and one for after class.
- Nike elastic head band (similar here). Unfortunately this won't stay on my head during class (it slips off) but I use it afterwards to tidy up my hair for the walk home.
- Sephora fold-up hair brush.
- extra hair bobbles from Daiso

This is what I wear to and from class. In class I wear tight fitting yoga capri pants and a tank top, which I pack in my bag as well.

- old Lululemon sport bra, alternated with a Nike sport bra
- American Apparel hoody (I know I know, but I just wanted a thin french terry hoody that wasn't $400 and it was the only one my lack of patience could find)
- Silent Damir Doma oversized t-shirt (sorry for the wrinkles)
- Rick Owens sheer drop crotch shorts
- Nike Free running shoes (similar here) Most people wear flip-flops to/from hot yoga. I do own a pair, but I can't walk very long in flip flops without them hurting.
- my "yoga bag" is a freebee that Antonioli.eu used to give away with each purchase. I have about three of these and they are really handy.

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Thursday, September 13, 2012

Hot Yoga: The 90 Minute Torture Chamber

Yoga

Well, I've completed my month of hot yoga. I posted about a month ago that I was going to try different fitness classes for one month to try and figure out what I liked. Bikram yoga was first on my list.

Bikram Yoga Vancouver (Cambie location)

Now that it's over, I really couldn't have picked a more difficult class to try first. Sure, you can practice at your own pace, but as somebody who can't really stand heat, I must have been bat shit crazy.

I was sweating by the time I walked to the studio.

I was sweating even more just sitting on the mat waiting for class to start.

Basically, be prepared to sweat. A lot.

My first class actually went pretty well. I survived without vomiting. I survived without collapsing on my yoga mat in a pool of sweat.

It was a 10pm class and pretty much everyone was an expert. Great, I thought. I'm going to look like a fool for an hour. Yes, I didn't realize that the class was actually 90 minutes, so I was thinking the whole time "when is this fucking class over!!"

For the record, by the end of the month, 90 minutes breezed by. Wait, breeze is the wrong word to use- you will pray for a breeze- position your mat by any exit door, hoping for a little whoosh of fresh cool air. I spent most of the month trying to figure out what the coolest spot in the room was. I can report that I don't think it exists.

After a few minutes into my first class, the feelings of self-consciousness left my mind. "Fuck it," I thought. "Nobody here knows me, and nobody is watching and judging other people in hot yoga." This is true. It is too hot to judge others. Don't feel self conscious about the fit-ness (or lack there of) of your body, or that little bulge somewhere that isn't flattered by your work-out wear. Nobody is looking at you. In hot yoga you need to focus on yourself, your body positions in the mirror. I can't even remember what the girl laying next to me looked like, other than the super cool adidas top she was wearing.

My goal was to attend classes 4 times a week. I met that goal for the first two weeks. Unfortunately for the third week, a last minute business trip messed up that plan, and the last week I had a lot of work to do, and generally felt ill and unmotivated.

My conclusions about Bikram hot yoga are mixed. I don't think I could or would commit to going 4 times a week on an ongoing basis, enough to make the monthly unlimited rate worth the price. I do think it would be something I could see myself doing once or twice a week in conjunction with weight training or another exercise routine.


Results:
- my arms and shoulders have slimmed down noticeably
- my waist slimmed down slightly
- I am a bit more flexible than I used to be, though still not so great
- I did not get used to the heat. Just when I though I did, I would walk into class and SWEAR that they turned up the heat higher than last time.
- I noticed little things about my body, like something is messed up in my left foot, making it impossible for me to sit on it during certain poses, and that my back has issues. Back bends are bloody torture.


Pro's:
- a short walk from my house
- late night classes are available. I'm not a fan of working out in the morning (it makes me nauseous) A mid-day workout eats up a lot of time, so I loved that 8:15 and 10pm classes were offered, usually a time frame where I'm just sitting around internetting. Might as well fill that time with something productive, right?!
- equipment rentals (mat and towels) are available, which I took advantage of. I liked not having to worry about washing down a mat and being organized enough to have clean yoga towels ready. This was also a good option seeing that I wasn't sure how long I wanted to continue doing yoga or hot yoga, so I didn't need to invest in equipment that I might not use in the future.
- when you have a good class, you feel like a champion. I felt like the greatest person on earth after the classes I got through without sitting down and resting! Those are great classes, when it's time to take the much coveted "water break" and you don't reflexively choke down half your water bottle.
- you don't have to be "thin" or "athletic" or even "in shape" to do yoga. My classes were full of people of all shapes and sizes. Being skinny doesn't automatically mean you're flexible or strong!
- it can be relaxing and works well to clear your mind and focus on the present... at least the extreme heat gave me that delusion.

Con's:
- expensive: I thought my local contractually-binding gym chain was expensive at $60-120 a month. Although if I want to continue hot yoga for a few months there are deals that pop up, which could get the price down to around $100/month for an unlimited package.
- it is not "fun". This 'aint no jazzercise.
- long class. Including prep time, commuting, and shower time, I'm committing to around 2 and half hours, give or take.
- household ice cube production will increase.
- excess hair washing is hard on my hair. This kinda goes without saying, but after an hour and a half of heavy sweating, a good thorough shower and hair washing is needed. It felt like it was starting to dry out my hair, but probably nothing that couldn't be fixed by a nice moisturizing hair mask.
- some classes, depending on the time, can be extremely busy.
- when you have a bad class, you will want to die.
- its fucking hot. You might look at some of the yoga positions and think "what a peice of cake!" You are wrong. You are exercising in 40.6°C (105°F) heat, with 40% humidity. One time I had a small panic attack, struggled to breath, practically on the verge of tears, convinced that all the oxygen has been removed from the room. One other time I lost feeling in my arms. Many times I was screaming in my head for the instructor to "turnonthefuckingceilingfans. turn them on. turn. them. onnnnnn!!!!!"

Tips:
- drink plenty of water throughout the day prior to your class
- I suggest investing in an insulated water bottle. Thermos makes one that is supposed to be good. I never bought one, but I wish I did. I would just fill my regular water bottle completely full with ice cubes, and then with cold water. By the middle of class all the ice would have melted, and by the end, the water is luke warm.
- Don't eat a huge meal before, but don't go on an empty stomach either. I can't go to class with only cereal in my stomach. I tried that once, and I got light headed and wanted to vomit. That said, I can't chow down dinner and head off to yoga either. I like to have a proper meal (in my case dinner) and then go to class a few hours later.
- electrolytes are good: coconut water, Gatorade, etc. before, during class, or after.
- try taking classes with different instructors. I found this really helpful. Not every instructor will talk through the poses using the exact same dialogue. I learned different tips from multiple instructors on the same position, which really helped me out with some of those difficult poses I just couldn't "get" before.
- bring a plastic bag for your wet clothes after yoga. Trust me.
- I like to cleanse my skin after I change and before I head into class. There's nothing grosser than sweating through a face of makeup. See my "hot yoga bag essentials" post soon.

The next thing I want to try is boxing, and I am super excited.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Incoming Proenza

Proenza Schouler - La Garconne
[embroidered birds sweatshirt $1500, wrap layer mini skirt $750]

Proenza Schouler - La Garconne

Proenza Schouler - La Garconne
[stand collar jacket $1895, brocade mini skirt $760]

Proenza Schouler's killer autumn collection is hitting stores now, and I am still in love with it as much as when I first saw it on the runway. After choking on my own drool at the pre-sale prices on Moda Operandi ($3,000 sweater anyone?) I knew that as beautiful as it was, owning anything from that collection was not a reality I am living in.

Some lower priced variations have hit La Garconne, but they are still quite the investment. I'm really into that sweatshirt with the embroidered birds. I think it (or something similar) would look great with the Isabel Marant skirt I already have in my wardrobe from a few seasons ago to create a similar silhouette.

Isabel Marant mini skirt