Look AMAZING in your clothes: Part 1 – Which Gorgeous Shape are You?

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Photo credit

As a stylist, I get asked a lot by people, “Can you help me look good in my clothes?”  or “How do you always look so cute?  You must have the perfect figure.”  (After which I proceed to choke on whatever I’m eating, because, well, I’ve had four kids for one, and for two, there’s no such thing!  But continue reading…) Or, “I tried caring about how I dress, and then I just couldn’t figure out how to look good, so I gave up.  It’s tee-shirt and jeans for me!” Or some semblance of these comments.  And behind all of those statements is the common theme of every woman’s heart: “I want to look my most beautiful, but I just don’t know how to, and I’m a little afraid to try and fail.  What if I’m not as beautiful as I hope to be?”  Ahhh… The heartbeat of EVERY woman.  We desire to be LOVELY.  Truly lovely, a true source of beauty for mankind.  God made us that way.  It’s at the core of our nature.  And in that struggle FOR beauty, many women are frustrated at their inability to portray the inward beauty they feel, onto their external dress.  And because of that, I have decided to do a series of blogposts meant to help the average woman figure out how to look and feel amazing in her clothes!  Yes, there is so much MORE than your clothing to being or feeling beautiful.  Beauty is more about your essence than your wardrobe ensemble, but at the same time, the way you dress is both an influence to your essence, and a reflection of your inward self at the same time.  But for the sake of limited time and space, we will forsake all the other aspects of true beauty to focus on one narrow, very practical topic: Dressing yourself well!  So go grab yourself a cup of tea, and join me in this fun little journey!

Getting dressed can be quite a challenge if one is hoping to not just cover all the things, but LOOK GOOD too!  There are a few things to consider in this process, but they are fun and simple, and equally important!

This is Part 1 of our Series: Look Amazing in Your Clothes!

Step 1: Determine your Shape! 

Every woman, including you, has a shape, and that shape determines 100% how clothes will fit, lay, and look on her!  I mean, your body shape is your canvas when we are talking about dress!  Now, realize every woman’s shape is uniquely different to her, but there are five BASIC shapes that most women’s bodies can be categorized into in order to help understand how to relate to her body in regards to clothing.  These shapes are:

Apple                 Hourglass            Rectangle                   Pear              Inverted Triangle

body shape illustration

Photo Credit

Look at this photo and see if you can determine which one might be the closest to your silhouette.  If you can take your body measurements, this makes it the easiest to see your basic outline. If you don’t have a tape nearby, here are some key principles about basic body proportions that can help identify your physique:

APPLE SHAPE: Most common shape among women

  • Typically carries weight around the middle.
  • Has lean arms and legs.
  • Tends to be busty
  • Does not have a distinctive waist.

HOURGLASS SHAPE: Most coveted shape among women

  • Bust and Hip measurement are close to the same
  • Very defined small waist (Typically around 9+” less)
  • Weight distributes pretty evenly throughout the body.

RECTANGLE SHAPE: Also called “boyish”, was epitomized in the Roaring 20’s

  • Bust, Waist and Hip measurements tend to be similar.
  • Not very curvy.
  • Weight distributes evenly throughout the body.

PEAR SHAPE: Every Disney princess, particularly the Fairies 🙂

  • Weight is carried in hips, butt, thigh region.
  • Bust measurement is narrower than hips.
  • Has a defined waist.
  • Tends to have lean arms and legs.

INVERTED TRIANGLE: Often referred to as an “athletic” build

  • Tends to be lean built, but if heavy, may tend toward busty.
  • Broad shoulders, Narrow hips.
  • No defined waist.
  • Not curvy.

 

Are you getting closer to deciding which is yours?   If you’re still unsure, that’s ok!  Try this fun little quiz that may help!  Determining your body shape can be a little daunting, but as you get more familiar with yourself you’ll figure it out!

FUN LITTLE BODY SHAPE QUIZ

If you have figured out your shape, give yourself a big hug!  Self-discovery is a beautiful thing!  Now, give yourself permission to love YOU, and celebrate that this is how God Himself chose to make you in all of his Wisdom!  The first step toward loving the way you look in clothes, is embracing the shape you have, and not wasting another SECOND wishing you had a different one!  If you are a Pear, then rock those hips!  If you are an Apple, then appreciate the great legs & bust you have!  If you’re an Hourglass, then appreciate all your curves!  Rectangle?  Rock all those cinched waistbands you’ll look amazing in!  Triangle?  Show off your fabulous shoulders!  You are PERFECT just the way you are, and LOVING the shape that you have discovered is the FIRST step to looking great in your clothes!  A confident woman who values herself is a beautiful woman.  Now, stand tall, appreciate YOU, and check in next week for Part Two in this series: Dressing for Your Shape!

EXTRA: If you want a little fun extra reading, this book is a great one that talks about the nature of a woman to want to be seen as truly, truly Lovely.  It’s called “Captivating“.  I have friends who’ve read it who have said it set them free to embrace the struggle in their own soul for TRUE beauty.  It’s an amazing book!

hCG Diet results! This has been amazing!

Wow.  After four kids, a momma just might have some baby-weight to lose!  Thankfully, mine was only about 30 lbs, but it was sure stubborn and not coming off!  In fact, the scale slowly climbed, and despite my best efforts, it was not budging.  I had prayed earlier this year, earnestly asking the Lord to help me and connect me to the resources to have success in this area of getting healthy again, and I stumbled across a little bottle of hCG diet drops at a Ross near me.  At first I thought it was excessive and ridiculous, but after doing a lot of research online, there was SO MUCH positive feedback, lasting results, and knowing it was designed by a doctor helped too, so I decided to try it.  And I am so thankful.  My pre-self wasn’t out of control, but I know me best, and I have always been lean and healthy and wanted to stay that way.  Now that you know the backstory,  want to know my results?  Here are the details:

The total diet lasted 40 days (about 6 weeks), and the transition out phases lasted a total of 6 weeks. So, here it is:

I went from 156.8 lbs, to 138.2 lbs.  That’s a total loss of nearly 19 lbs!!

And I lost… ready for this?  A whopping NINETEEN INCHES all over!!  I lost 3.5 inches in my hips, butt, and almost 3 inches in my waist!  I went from wearing a Large top to a Small top.  And I fit a bunch of my clothes that had gotten too small. 🙂  Here are the photos…

This was my first Before/After series

This was my first Before/After series

 

 

Its amazing to me the results I saw in such a short time!

Its amazing to me the results I saw in such a short time!

Before and After.  The "after" shot is just before finishing the diet.

Before and After. The “after” shot is just before finishing the diet.

Before and After.

Before and After.

Some of my new outfits in my new clothes. :)

Some of my new outfits in my new clothes. 🙂

I always wanted to wear a dress like this.  Now I can!

I always wanted to wear a dress like this. Now I can!

Super thankful.

Super thankful.

This jacket couldn't button before!

This jacket couldn’t button before!

 
 

These are the drops I used, found at Ross and Burlington, though they dont regularly carry them

 
Now, for anyone who hasn’t struggled to lose baby weight, it might be a little ridiculous for me to be so excited over 20 lbs, but this was a huge deal for me!  Technically, I still have ten to go, but I am celebrating this milestone!  I have literally prayed for 3.5 years for a breakthrough in getting the baby weight and the momentum of weight gain reversed.  The beautiful thing even beyond the actual weight loss?  That God cared enough to put the right tools in my hands.  Tools that were helpful, and nurtured healthy changes and education on what kind of foods are best for my body.  God totally cares about these things!  Why?  Because he LOVES.  And because he loves you, he cares about what you care about.  Ok, tangent over…

I learned so much on this diet!  Because of how it’s built I learned a lot of what kinds of foods to reach for that will fill me while benefit my weight and health goals.  Now, before you starting judging and think I ‘m crazy to have weight concerns over twenty or thirty pounds, please understand, I liked myself even at my heaviest, and I like myself now.  I’ve never hated myself. I have always believed in making the most of what you have to work with.  But I also believe in being the best (healthiest) version of ourselves as long as we can control it.  For me this wasn’t about becoming a supermodel or anything a magazine might promote.  Rather, it was about reaching a weight goal that I felt would be healthy for me.  Actually, after having my first baby and not really knowing how to relate to my I’m-a-woman-I’ve-birthed-babies body, I had asked the Lord what weight would be healthiest for my frame, muscle/bone makeup, lifestyle, etc.  I mean, he made me, he knows what’s best for me, wouldn’t he know the healthiest weight for me too?  And I kept coming to the same number (as un-round of a number as it was), and when I looked it up on the weight-range index, it was in a perfect spot in my healthy weight range for my height, and appropriate for my lean structural build.  So, that’s how I came to my goal weight.  For some that may seem a little over-spiritualized, but I’ve always felt, God knows best and so why not just ask him.  He loves being involved in those details of our lives. 🙂

 

So, starting today,  I’m actually on my second  and last round of the hCG diet, this time with two friends, to try to get the last 6-8 lbs off to reach my goal weight.  Then I’ll be able to start toning muscle a little bit, and have the happy satisfaction of knowing I’m taking the best care of this body that I can, while I can.  I want to live long, healthy and vibrant all my days.  Keeping my weight under control, eating healthy, exercising, detoxing a couple times a year, resting when needed, hydrating, all those are disciplines to be a good steward of this temple, this body.  I read a lot to keep my mind sharp, laugh a lot to keep me happy, and lots of other little disciplines that are healthy for longevity.  I hope this blog was encouraging to you, and if so, please leave a comment! I’d love to hear! As for now, I’ll see you with my next before/after post.  Stay tuned! 🙂   I wish you peace for the journey!

Holiday Cheer skinny Peppermint Merengue Puffs


I simply love these merengues!!  And, so does everyone I make them for.  In fact, just last night, my friend was asking me (or rather placing a polite demand) that I make them!  My kids are crazy about them too!!  Now normally that wouldn’t be a surprise, because after all, these ARE cookies.  But, I don’t actually mind my kids enjoying these delicious delights because they are made of just egg whites and sugar basically.  Here’s the magic in that!:  The protein pairs with the sugar and they bind together molecularly, causing your body to regulate and NOT spike your blood sugar, so you don’t store fat like you would if you ate sugar alone.  It also prevents the sugar crash later.  With four active boys, I love any treat that keeps my kids from getting wound up and crazy.

Another reason you will love making these,  they are extremely low calorie cookies!    If you pipe about 100 cookies from this recipe, they are each only 6.5 calories!!  Aside from their festive look, that alone is a great excuse to eat them!!! I originally found this recipe online at SkinnyTaste, and have enjoyed it for a few years now!

These little Merengues are an impressive bring-along for that office work party, your family gathering, or just for at home enjoyment.  For a little fun, throw one or two in your cup of cocoa and make Christmas just a little more playful!  Enjoy!!

Skinny Peppermint Striped Merengue Puffs

  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 4 egg whites
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2-4 drops peppermint essential oil (or 1 tsp. extract flavoring)
  • For decorating: red gel food coloring, paint brush, piping bag

Directions:

Prep: Line a couple cookie sheets with wax paper  Set oven to 200 degrees Fahrenheit

  1. Throw eggs  in a glass mixing bowl, and set it over a pot of boiling water so the steam can gradually warm your bowl and thus warm your eggs Without cooking them.
  2. Mix sugar and vanilla into eggs mixture and store continually until sugar is melted and dissolved (not gritty) and slightly foamy.
  3. Remove from heat (carefully) and turn on your beater or transfer to your kitchen aid mixer, and beat until mixture forms stiff white peaks. (Basically, they hold their shape when you lift and fold the mixture with a spoon)
  4. DONT FORGET TO ADD YOUR PEPPERMINT!!  I save this till the end so the oil of the peppermint doesn’t disturb the ability of the merengue to fluff up.  Oil of any kind will keep it heavy and flat.

Piping:

  1. With your brush, draw three evenly spaced GENEROUS stripes with the gel food coloring, starting deep inside near the icing tip, and draw upward to the top of the bag.  Make these lines distinct but generous because it has to last for the entire bagful.
  2. Fill the icing bag with merengue
  3. Pipe cookies about the size of a half dollar or slightly smaller in a beautiful twisted shape onto your lined pans.    Using a star shaped icing tip will help give this effect.

Bake:

  1. Bake in a preheated oven at 200f, for 1 hr. 15 min, to 1 hr 30 min.
  2. Take them out when they are crisp on the outside but slightly soft inside.
  3. OPTIONAL: Sprinkle with decorative sugar to add a wintery effect.
  4. LET THEM COOL COMPLETELY!!!  About 15-20 min.

Store in an airtight container.  Humidity will ruin these delights!

Enjoy all your hard work!!!


  
  

My hCG Weightloss Diet Journey… Part 2: Week 1 Results!

TOTAL LOST: -5.00 inches and 6.6 pounds!! BMI dropped 1.7 points!
Processed with Moldiv

Processed with Moldiv

Weighed 156.3    Bmi 24.4
Size 13/ large on top
  • Bust: 35.5 in.
  • Waist:  30 in.
  • Hips:  40.5 in.
  • Butt: 44 in.
  • Thighs: 25, 25 in.
  • Arms: 10.75, 10.75 in.
  • Neck: 12.75in.
Followed diet, but ate three egg whites and five small strawberries at midnight because I was pretty hungry.
Day 2: weighed in at 155.2
Followed diet closely and carefully but ate dinner pretty early, at 4:30pm.
Day 3: 151.7 lbs 23.7 bmi
Woke up really shaky bc I ate dinner early yesterday (4:30) and needed a breakfast or sorts.  Ate at 10:30 am and ate 2 egg whites, 15 raspberries, a small celery stick and a Melba toast, and lots of herbal tea. Breakfast is not normal but I couldn’t wait till lunch. This totalled 67 calories.
I cheated a little bit today.  Had breakfast out of necessity, at a couple bites of frozen yogurt and cornbread, and had tiny sips of Powerade and inca cola.  I feel like I’m carrying water weight.  I also “mixed veggies” but not severely.  I had lettuce with the spinach paste that was in my steak.
Day 4: 151.9.  Gained .2 lbs.
Felt a little puffy today.  Going to be stricter today.  I don’t feel shaky so I should be fine this morning.
Today did good following the diet.  Had four egg whites, kale and strawberries for lunch, shrimp, onion, Melba cracker, raspberries and even an apple for dinner bc my calories were so low.  But I did good staying within parameters.
Other notes: spotted quite a bit yesterday, ovulation.  Can tell it’s affecting my hormones some from that.
Drank about 72 oz of water/tea plus a cup of coffee w a splash of milk.
Day 5: 151.0 lbs
felt a little puffy again.  Working to get more water in me today.
Have been continuing to spot due to hCG drops affecting hormones.
Drank water today more sufficiently.  So energized throughout the day but stomach was hurting from hunger before dinner. Wish my appetite was less.
Had a mandarin orange before bed plus hot tea.  Helped a little.
Day 6:  150.1 lb
Best dinner YET!!
Chicken breast seasoned with salat pepper cinnamon and cardamom.
Broccoli seasoned with salt pepper garlic onion powder
Apple chopped, tossed in cinnamon, splash of vanilla, stevia, microwaved to be like apple pie.
Day 7: 149.2.lb. Bmi 22.6
Ate diet-appropriate all day.
Day 8: 149.7 lb bmi 22.7
Not sure why I’m up today.  Except possibly I had used fat free half and half twice yesterday, I ate egg whites and chicken so maybe two of the same meat might have done something, and for dinner I had grape tomatoes with an apple instead of treating tomatoes like a fruit.  Might have been too much fruit.  I drank plenty of fluids yesterday though.  Also took my HCG drops like two hours before eating dinner, not sure if that put it too far away from my eating and messed up the time?  Not sure.  Still in my 140’s so I’m still happy but need to get strict again today.
After a long first week, this is my final results!!
Bust:35.5  (same, I prayed my chest wouldn’t shrink with the weightloss.  After nursing four kids, that could get depressing. 😉 )
Waist: 28.75.   -1.25 inches
hips: 39.25.     -1.25
Butt:43.25.      -.75
Lthigh: 24.25.  -.75
Rthigh: 24.25.  -.75
Arms: 10.75
Neck:12.5.       -.25
TOTAL LOST:  -5.00 inches and 6.6 pounds!!  BMI dropped 1.7 points!


hCG Diet: Hot Cocoa, Apple Pie, and an Egg omelet!

If you are doing or are interested in doing the hCG diet, the food can feel limited quickly, so I wanted to share a few of my favorite recipes with you thus far.  Here are three of my favorites so far…

HOT COCOA!!

  • 6-8 oz water in mug
  • 1 1/2 Tbs unsweetened Baking cocoa powder (Hersheys is awesome!)
  • Splash of Pure Vanilla extract
  • Stevia to taste
  • 1 Tbs Fat free half and half

Warm up your water first, then add everything.  Its not as rich and creamy as regular cocoa maybe, but on this diet, it still feels like a splurge!!  Enjoy the coziness!

APPLE PIE!!

  • Honey Crisp apple chopped (or two small Gala apples)
  • 1 tsp. Vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp. Cinnamon powder
  • 2 spoonfuls baking Stevia, or use your liquid Stevia.
  • (Nutmeg, Ginger, Allspice are optional.  Use to taste. )
  • Splash of water

Coat the apple pieces well with the other ingredients.  Place in a covered bowl, microwave for 90 seconds, remove and enjoy.  Be careful as it is piping hot!  Enjoy your dellcious dessert!

Egg Omelet

This would be your whole meal in phase 2.

  • 4 egg whites
  • 8 grape tomatoes, halved (or 1 roma tomato, diced)
  • 2 handfuls of spinach leaves
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Combine ingredients, cook in your saute pan and enjoy this delicious omelet.  Here, the tomatoes serve as your fruit for the meal.  Eat up and Enjoy!

Orange Julius skinny protein smoothie

I recently discovered a new favorite smoothie recipe! I work out, and so I try to eat protein shakes frequently throughout the week, and I’m always looking for a new recipe that doesn’t TASTE like a protein smoothie. This one is a winner!! And, in honor of Memorial day, I used my festive American Flag cup. 🙂 Onto the smoothie…

This particular smoothie tastes like the classic Orange Julius drinks, or, for those who don’t know what that is, like your childhood favorite orange-dreamsickle popsickles! dreamsickle

 

It is soooo good, I’ve been having one every day for like two weeks now! And, even better, it doesn’t require a ton of ingredients. Now, there are a variety of ways you could do this. I add protein powder to mine, as well as grapeseed oil (you can add any kind of plant-based oil for belly flattening help- only 1 TBSP though!) And, I use natural sweetener and fat free milk to keep it light, but here is the basic gist for what will make a dreamsickle-y smoothie:

 

Basic Ingredients:

-1 Cup Orange juice

-1/4 cup milk to cream it up

-1 tsp vanilla flavor

-sugar to taste

-icecubes to thickness desired. (more ice, thicker smoothie. Less ice, more straw-friendly)

 

My recipe:

-1 cup orange juice

-1/4 cup fat free lactose free milk

-generous splash of vanilla flavoring

-3 to 4 packets (I like mine sweet!!) of Truvia, Pure Via, some other natural sweetener. Agave syrup is great too!

-Most of a scoop of vanilla protein powder.

-1 Tbsp grapeseed oil (at your grocery store on the oil aisle), or coconut oil. Most of these oils are under $6.

-1.5 cups ice-cubes (I like mine thicker)

 

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Banana bliss!

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Are you like me and have wanted to preserve those bananas that are going bad but hated the slimyness you were left with when they thaw in their peels? I always thought my mom must have really loved banana bread to endure the slimey, juicy grossness from thawing bananas. Then, one day a light bulb came on and I realized, if I peel them and put them in a large ziploc, smash them flat, I can freeze them all flattened out in much less space than the traditional way! So, that is the idea! When you have some overripe bananas, just peel them, stick them in a baggie and press them flat for ease of storage and then lay them flat in the freezer. Label them when you do this so you know how much you’re working with.

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Use the frozen bananas for ice cream (recipe below), smoothies, or banana bread! Let me know what else YOU would use them for! Banana chocolate peanut butter icecream 2 frozen bananas 2 tBsp cocoa powder 1 Tbsp peanut butter If you like it sweeter, use some natural sweetener! Blend away in a food processor till smooth. If you like it softer just add a tiny bit of milk until desired consistency.