My DIY Wonder Woman Costume

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I love doing themed Zumba classes, and for two years, I’ve waited for one of my favorite holidays to fall on my class date. This year, Halloween was the same day as my class. Finally! I knew I had to come up with a good costume, and I wanted it to have a positive message for my participants. I decided to pick something that was a symbol of strength and empowerment…with a playful feel, of course. It was for a Zumba class after all. My decision was pretty easy. I was going to be a super hero. But, which one? That decision was actually pretty easy, too. Did you know that Wonder Woman’s real name is Diana? Yup. Decision made.

Of course, there was still the task of figuring out the costume. I considered getting a pre-made costume at Party City, but they didn’t look very exercise-friendly, and they seemed pretty pricey for a one-time wear. After some googling, I found this cool chick who makes race-friendly super hero costumes. Click here to view her Wonder Woman version. Pretty bada$$, right? And expensive. Not to mention that I didn’t start searching for costume ideas till October, and she needed a few weeks notice since she makes the costumes by hand.

My next thought was to base the costume around things that were already exercise-friendly. I originally wanted to do the old-school Wonder Woman costume (blue shorts with stars on them, red boots), but my searches for blue shorts weren’t turning up many good options, and I wasn’t looking forward to sewing dozens of white stars onto a pair of shorts. So, I decided to turn to the newer Wonder Woman style (blue leggings, blue boots). I wondered if lululemon had blue wunder unders out since I already love teaching in them. Turns out, they did! If I was going to spend money on a costume, it may as well be something I could wear all year long. It seemed like a better investment.

As for the top, most of the photos I saw (I did a google image search on “Wonder Woman”) featured a strapless, red top. That wasn’t going to work for class, so I decided to just go with a red tank top. I considered making a racerback top (scary!) or sewing gold onto a red tank top (which I didn’t have). But when I remembered I had a red sports bra, I decided to keep things simple and just wear that.

So, I had the basic colors down, but the key to the outfit seemed to be all the gold accessories. I found a lady on etsy who sells a set of gold Wonder Woman accessories made out of fabric. Unfortunately, she was all booked for October. So, what was a girl to do but try to make them herself? And that’s exactly what I did. I remember standing in the fabric store with an arm full of fabric wondering if I’d be able to make anything usable or if it would be a huge train wreck. I was full of nerves but hopeful that I could pull it off.

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Thank goodness it worked out! Here’s the finished result.

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Somehow, I managed to turn a pile of fabric and felt into cool Wonder Woman accessories. Phew!

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It started with lots of Google Image searches, followed by measurements and notebook sketches.

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Then, I needed a trip to the fabric store. I decided to use shiny gold material for the front of each accessory piece and softer, cotton fabric for the back. I added some iron-on interfacing for stability and to make the pieces look more metal-like.

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And I used almost an entire day for sewing these accessories together.

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I used a paper bag to create a template for the arm bands, but the headband and belt were too big and had to be drawn straight onto the fabric.

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I spent most of the day measuring, drawing, cutting, and ironing.

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Bailey kept me great company.

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And since I hadn’t used my sewing machine in awhile and I wasn’t sure how the shiny gold material would work, I used some scraps to run tests. I tested whether I should iron the interfacing to the gold or yellow fabric, how the two materials would sew together (and if they would), how the velcro would work (never sewed it before!), and whether I should use felt & glue or use sticky-backed felt for the stars. I was so paranoid that I’d spend a lot of time on a piece and ruin it with one step, so I used this material to test nearly everything.

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Pins were essential since the gold material was slippery.

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And though the project took awhile, the sewing was my favorite part.

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I think I’m even inspired to possibly try my hand at making a quilt. I made a baby one once for a gift, but I’d really like a full sized quilt for my house.

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The glue I bought ended up not working with the gold material, but this sticky-backed felt was perfect. I was seriously worried about ruining the pieces by messing up the very last part – attaching the stars. So, I just utilized the sticky backs, and I didn’t worry about sewing them on. Maybe I’ll sew them later?

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The night before my Zumba class, I got the bright idea to come up with a creative way to attach something gold to my red sports bra. I didn’t want to sew anything permanent, but I came up with a couple pieces of gold accessories that I could attach to my sports bra temporarily using velcro. I ended up staying up till 1:30am finishing this project, but I really think it completed the look.

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Here are my exercise clothing basics – blue lululemon wunder unders and a Margaritawear sports bra.

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And here are my finished, handmade Wonder Woman accessories.

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I got the gold rope from the fabric store, too, by the way!

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My Wonder Woman costume took a lot of hard work and time, but it was so worth it! I’m just so thankful that it worked out!

Click here to view two more exercise-friendly Halloween costume ideas.

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Thanks for reading! :)

Reader question: Have you ever made a Halloween costume? What did you make and how long did it take you?

Easy DIY Holiday Mason Jar Decoration {Tutorial}

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Tis the season of gift giving, and if you’re anything like me, you like to gift handmade goodies for the holidays. Even if you prefer to purchase your treats from a local store or bakery, this tutorial will work for you, as long as you plan to place them in a mason jar.

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Here’s a super easy tutorial on how to festively decorate a mason jar for gift giving.

Mason jars are great for so many holiday gifts: cake/cookie/bread mixes, granola, BBQ sauce, jam/jellies, and the list goes on. This tutorial will work with any mason jar, no matter the contents. Fill it with your choice of treats!

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Last year, i made some pretty traditional holiday treats – Cookies ‘N Cream Bark (click for bark recipe) and…

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Pink Salted Chewy Caramel Candy (click for caramel recipe). I put a little of each treat into a mason jar so my gift recipients got the best of both worlds.

But, if you just google “mason jar homemade gifts” (or something similar), you’ll find plenty of other options and other ideas.

On to the tutorial!

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This tutorial uses simple and affordable materials:

  • Mason jars (almost the same price as, if not cheaper than, those cute tins at craft stores)
  • Scrapbook paper
  • Kitchen twine
  • Fabric

The style is reminiscent of old-fashioned jam jars, so you’ve likely seen similar jars. This is just how I ended up decorating mine. :)

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Using a large scrapbook shape puncher of choice (I just used circle-shaped tool), cut out cute scrapbook paper for your gift tags. If you don’t have a puncher, you can really cut any shape you like, even a square or rectangle.

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Punch a hole in the top of the gift label.

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Write down the contents of the jar on one side of the paper. If you made your jar contents, you may want to add the word “homemade” to your label. Also, maybe pay better attention than I did when I was paper shopping and get one that doesn’t have lines on the back. Oops. Moving on…

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Cut a square out of some fun fabric. You want the square to be a little larger (by about 1 – 1 1/2 inches on each side) than the mouth of the jar. Some of the fabric will be covered by the top ring of the jar, so when you’re measuring, be sure to take that into account. My jar is medium sized, and my fabric is about a 5 inch square. For your first jar, just cut one square as your test square, screw on the top ring and see if you like how it looks. Adjust fabric size if needed.

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With the silver, flat-disc-part of the top already on the jar, put the fabric on top of the covered mason jar.

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Use your fingers to keep the fabric from shifting too much and screw the top ring over the fabric.

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Tie on some kitchen twine.

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Then tie on your label.

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And that’s it! You’re done!

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Happy holidays everyone!

Reader question: if you like making them, what do you put in mason jars for gift-giving? If you like receiving them, what’s the best mason jar gift you’ve received over the years?

How to Cut a Hip Hop Style Workout Tank

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So…I may have been watching too many hip hop videos on Youtube lately, like the ones I featured awhile back on TCL, but I just love the style of all the dancers.

I wanted to bring some of that funky style into some of the Zumba classes I go to by cutting a new t-shirt into a hip hop inspired tank top.

I did a play on this video tutorial, which was fun to watch.

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Materials:

  • I started with an over-sized t-shirt from Michael’s craft store. It was on sale for only $2.50. Score!
  • Very sharp scissors. It’s best to use a pair that have only been used to cut fabric (those used on paper will be more dull and won’t cut as even a seam).

Step 1: Cut lower seam off of bottom of shirt. I only took off about 2 inches, but the exact amount you’ll want to cut off will depend on your personal preferences. To estimate, put on the shirt, or hold it up at the level you plan to wear it and figure out how many inches to take off the bottom. Then snip away!

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Step 2: Use sewer’s chalk to mark long lines down the side – from the top of the shoulder and down the side. The photo above shows where I cut, since the lines were too hard to see alone. Remember, you can always cut more off, but you can’t really put any more back on. Cut through both top and bottom layers, following chalk lines, to remove sleeves and some fabric from the sides.

Step 3: Put the tank top on and see if you think you need to cut more off. When I tried mine on, the top area was very boxy and masculine looking. I decided to trim off a bit more from the sides to get the shape I wanted. Remember, you will cut out some of the neck in the next step.

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Step 4: Use sewer’s chalk to mark how much of the neck you want to cut out. Cut out neck area, cutting through top and bottom layers. Try on the top and see if you need to cut any more from the neck area. Note: you will be stretching out the neckline, so it will get a little larger.

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Step 5: Stretch neck area and sides.

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The finished product! I love this top because it’s comfortable and an understated way to be sexy. The long cuts in the side give you lots of breathing room, too. Be sure to wear a fun and colorful sports bra underneath (and you will definitely want to wear something under this tank top – it’s definitely not meant to be worn alone).

Can you believe this only cost me $2.50 and a few minutes?!?

I had so much fun wearing this to Zumba on Monday!

Speaking of Zumba, I just registered for Zumba convention 2011! I’m so excited!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sew Crafty + 2011 Resolutions

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Hey friends!

I hope (if you’re playing) your Eat in Month is getting off to a great start! For us 9-to-5-ers, we have packed lunches to look forward to this week. Bah! lol But I’m sure we’ll come up with some yummy eats. I’m having leftovers of this…

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But more on that in a minute.

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We had breakfast hubby style – a rye bagel with a fried egg.

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Shortly after breakfast, I got started on dinner. I made my mom’s slow cooker pot roast – a family favorite for years now. I subbed celery for the potatoes.

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Out of curiosity, I wanted to see if I could get dinner prepped in under 10 minutes. So, I put 10 minutes on the microwave timer and took off! I had all my ingredients in the fridge or pantry, so no cheating here. I managed to get the pot roast in the slow cooker, cleaned, chopped and added the veggies, and opened and added the soups with 1 minute and 25 seconds to spare. Not too shabby!

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Dinner ready in less than 10 minutes. I’ll take it!

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Hot tea – mixed berry zinger.

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Lunch was fab and so simple.

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I had roasted tofu, bok choy and brown rice. I made the rice for lunch knowing I’d be able to have it with dinner, too. Gotta love efficiency.

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More tea after lunch – this time Yogi Tea in Calming.

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Yogi tea quote of the day – “The universe is the stage on which you dance, guided by your heart.” Gotta love a good dance-related quote. :)

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A Bailey photo – since I know you guys love it.

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Since dinner was already done, I used my newly found free time to get crafty with a sewing project.

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I made a camera strap cover for Caitlin as a thank you for running my first 5k with me. Ok, not just for running with me, but for going above and beyond! She stayed at my pace, helped distract me with fun chit chat, and even tracked my stats on her Garmin. She rocks, right? :)

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I also threw in a couple coconut macaroons.

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Doesn’t she look fabulous with her new DSLR camera strap cover!?

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After dropping off Caitlin’s gift, it was time to dig into dinner. Gosh, this meal never gets old! I love how tender the meat gets and the flavor is so nice.

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Dough balls and macaroons for dessert. Mmm.

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Possibly the best part about pot roast – leftovers. I already have lunch packed for tomorrow!

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I put the pot roast and veggies on the bottom of my tupperware and the rice on top. Usually my rice gets soggy from the sauce, but I’m hoping this will help it stay drier.

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I took a minute before blogging to turn my Christmas tree lights on again and play with some bokeh photos.

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Yay bokeh!

Eat in Month

Pantry Tips – Ok Eat In Monthers – I’m sure you’re hitting up the grocery stores and stocking up for the month. Please be sure to check out my tips for creating the perfect Eat In Month pantry (click).

Recipe Ideas – Let’s collaborate on recipe ideas guys! I’ve started some discussions on my Facebook page where we can share recipe ideas and post questions and answers for how we’re doing each week. Please be sure to check out the Discussion tab of my Facebook page for some great ideas and inspiration. There are different threads for different types of recipes. :)

Not doing the challenge but have some recipes you think the challenge participants will like? Please go ahead and add links to your recipes in the Discussions on my Facebook page. Pimp your blogs people! I’m serious!

Running into any challenges or complicated situations and want some advice? Please post your questions (or answers to others’ questions) on this Discussion thread for the first week or Eat in Month (click).

Resolutions 2011

Establish Date Night – Once a Month

Plan and Host a Zumbathon for Charity

Pitch Idea for Invention or Create Prototype

Add Printable Versions of Recipes to Blog

Create a Budget

Use Budget

Spend Less Time on Computer / Establish Computer Schedule

Start doing photos for local restaurants

Enter a photography contest

Volunteer at least once a month

Go to church at least once a month

Execute ideas instead of just dreaming them

Execute ideas faster

Speaking of executing ideas, record those vlogs you’ve been meaning to do. Heck, maybe do 1 vlog per month?

Take cooking classes.

Do one new challenge a month. (I have big ideas for this friends…BIG! Challenges are being drafted and will be published before the start of each month.)

2011…BRING IT!

PS Check out my latest recipe – Irresistible Coconut Macaroons!

What’s your favorite resolution you made for 2011?

Cut Zumba Tank + Shrimp Pasta

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Thank goodness for being able to WFH. I took the opportunity to stay home today.

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I love how WFH lets me enjoy HOT meals!

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Oven-reheated Applesauce (Cranberry) Oat muffins.

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Plus a fried cage free egg.

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The return of Fresh Market Breakfast Blend! Hubby got more the other day…hoorah!

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I also get to enjoy all the hot tea I can stand. Yerba Mate first up.

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Dinner was thanks to the freezer,

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my herb garden, and my farmer’s market find from the weekend.

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Organic Sunshine burger, plus mayo and fresh dill from my garden.

I wanted to make a yogurt or tahini sauce, but since I had neither, I worked with what I had on hand – canola mayo.

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Yay greens!

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More hot tea – mate vana + rooibos caramel.

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Sleepy puppy!

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I got to use my mini handmade bowl! Galaxy Granola + vanilla rice milk.

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I broke into those new bar samples I got the other day by Lighter Living. First flavor of choice – CHOCOLATE!

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Pretty good ingredient list though Mr. Pollan wouldn’t agree. Way more than 5 ingredients and a 5th grader wouldn’t know a lot of them. Ups for organic and natural ingredients – and dates are #1! That may possibly make them a good pre-workout option.

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I really liked the bar. It had a nice brownie-like texture and taste. In fact, the bar reminded me a lot of the PURE bars, which I also enjoy. I liked how the yogurt coating wasn’t over-the-top thick or sweet unlike some bars. This one was a nice compliment instead of stealing the show.

If the others are as good as this one, you may be seeing these bars in my OpenSky shop soon!

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Post work, I did a quick DIY zumba top shirt by de-constructing a tank top I already had.

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The finished result. Psst…I followed this video tutorial – very easy!

I’m currently stalking the ZIN forum for old, used tanks that I can play with. I can’t stop cutting my tops! I. need. MORE!

One+ fabulous dance fitness workout! I’m pooped, but looking forward to more tomorrow already!

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I came home and cooked dinner in my PJs. Hubby was a great helper tonight. He had everything prepped by the time I got home!

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Mmm…pasta.

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Dinner was fab – served with focaccia (had 2 pieces) but something was missing – a veggie side! No salad, no sauteed veggies…nothing. Doh! I seriously need to get my arse to the grocery store! We have no fruits or veggies left! Some frozen veggies but ZERO frozen fruits. Gah!

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I had a mini Vega health optimizer shake with vanilla rice milk as a quick fix / band-aid. I don’t think anything can totally substitute real veggies, but this is probably the closest I could come without going to the grocery store.

Do you feel your meal is incomplete if something is missing? I used to think a meal wasn’t complete without meat but now I think it’s not complete with a veggie! :lol: You?

DIY Zumba Top + Goji Berry Banana Smoothie

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Nothing like dancing in the morning to put you in a happy mood for the rest of the day, right?

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I have some new songs I’d like to learn how to lead, so I try to practice them every once in awhile when I have a free moment. I thought going over one this morning to wake up and get my blood flowing was a good idea. I think it was! I’m doing Break Your Heart by Taio Cruz. ;)

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We need to do some serious grocery shopping, produce-wise. With a shortage of fruits in the house, I decided to make some energy bite oatmeal using an Energy Bite I had stowed away in the freezer.

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Coffee + oatmeal

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Other ingredients: 1/2 milk, 1/2 water, chia seeds, sliced almonds, flaxseed meal and Galaxy Granola (*).

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So cozy, so perfect in the morning!

I got to WFH today, which means better than normal eats.

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I made me and hubby Goji Berry Banana smoothies (2 frozen bananas, small handful dried goji berries, milk till consistency was to liking).

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His was prettier because I added some green-colored Vega Health Optimizer in vanilla chai to mine.

Mine tasted darn good, though! I thought it tasted like frosting!!!!

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I cooked up some tofu for lunch. Nasoya cubed – so you don’t have to press it.

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I chopped up my marinated kale from yesterday (still too much marinade!) and set it on a paper towel to soak up some of that extra marinade.

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I topped it with some steamed broccoli.

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And I hoped the bland broccoli would help balance the overly flavored kale. It worked out pretty good, but I still prefer my broccoli with just some melted butter.

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Lunch was pretty fab, though it was on the light side.

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I carbed up with a couple handfuls of pretzels…

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…a piece of orange marmalade toast…

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…and a piece of Barney Butter toast with chia seeds. Yea…I like toast. A lot! :) It helps when you’re short on time and need groceries. :lol:

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I also got to finish my Honest Tea today – this stuff is yum-o!

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I got a cool sample in the mail today: Lighter Living Probiotic Bars (*). Neat-o! I like how these seem to be a non-dairy source of probiotics. I mean, Id need to look at the ingredient list again (I think they have a yogurt topping), because they might contain some dairy, but it’s not like you have to eat a cup of yogurt for the beneficial probiotics. The ingredient list is almost (if not) all organic and looks to have some good stuff, including dates as the first ingredient. I love dates!

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I got 3 different flavors: Chocolate, Lemon Poppyseed, Apricot Coconut. They all sound amazing – I can’t wait to dig in!

DIY De-Constructed Zumba Top

I took a cue from my Z Life Magazine and decided to go a la Tanya and cut up a tank top. Since this would be my first cutting experiment, I decided to test out something on the cheaper side. Unfortunately, the cheapest thing I could find was an $8 tank top from Target…too much money to throw away in the event my cutting experiment failed, but it turned out okay. Woohoo!

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I gathered my materials – tank top, scissors, rotary cutter, chalk pencil, mat, guide.

I actually put on my tank top so I could see how far up the side to start making cuts and where in the front to do the diagonal cuts. I eyeballed some marks with my chalk and figured I’d clean them up once I could use a straight line.

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First, I cut some slits down the side. I made 5 cuts, each measured 1 inch apart.

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I decided to convert the tank top to a halter top. You can check out this tutorial (click) to see how I did this. I basically went straight along the top of the back.

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I did the diagonal cuts – drawing the lines, then making the cuts. I spaced these by an inch also. It seemed to be good spacing for the cut lines.

I did 2 rows of the diagonal cuts – a lower section of 3 and an upper section of 3.

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Guess I should have gotten some photos in class, eh? Oh well, these will have to do.

Vega Sport Pre-Workout Drink Mix

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I tested out my other Vega Sport Natural Plant-Based Performance Optimizer today. This one was the same as the other, but a different flavor – Acai Berry.

I actually have a really fun experiment/case study/test planned with this stuff…details soon!

Here are some photos of the packaging for the curious:

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I swear this stuff really works! I think I need to buy a jug! Can’t wait to see how my experiment with this product works out.

Oh and I definitely prefer the Acai Berry flavor to the Lemon Lime. The Acai was less grassy and more berry-licious!

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Hubby and I went out after my workout to see my friend Dana. I wore too-tall heels when I should have worn flip flops or something. I have more fun when I can walk easier. :lol: Though we didn’t stay out long, it was good to get out and see our friends!

Hmm…now…what to eat for tomorrow morning? Is it sad that I’m already thinking about what yummy things I can eat for breakfast? I think not! ;)

Reader Question: Are you more concerned with how you look or how comfortable you are when you go out (with friends, for dinner, etc)? Which is more important – fashion or comfort?

Bonus reader question: Do you have any de-constructed DIY tops like my cut-up zumba top? Send me your photos! thechiclife at gmail dot com. The cutting bug has caught me and I’m itching to snip up another top soon…I need inspiration!

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