Cut Zumba Tank Top Tutorial (Deep V Neck + Front Lines)


As promised, here’s a little tutorial for cutting a zumba (or other workout) tank top.


I found this fabulous design in my Z Life magazine. NOTE: I did not design this tank top, I’m just trying to provide some pointers for any one else who wants to re-create the look like I did.

In fact, Z Life has a nice tutorial on their web site (click to view) for some of the cutting, but I thought I’d share some extra photos for some of the stuff they don’t detail out.


  • Tank top (recommend pre-washing in case there is any shrinkage)
  • Rotary cutter
  • Chalk/pen/highlighter
  • Sharp scissors
  • Cutting mat
  • Note pad
  • Cutting edge

Cutting the V Front

The top I liked from the magazine featured a deep V front halter.


IMG_5030.jpg IMG_5033.jpg

After having practiced on a cheaper tank top, I was comfortable cutting up a zumba top. I followed the Z Life tutorial to get the halter style top out of my racerback.



To get the V, I marked as low as I wanted to cut and in the middle of the tank top with a highlighter (I didn’t go as low-cut as the magazine example). Then, I used my cutting edge to draw a straight line from the top edge of the tank top to the point.


Using a sharp pair of scissors (that haven’t been used to cut paper), I cut from the inner edge of the tank top top seam to the point


and repeated on the other side.


I left the other edge intact. I think the tutorial said to cut along that seam, too, but I didn’t want my straps to be too narrow, so I left it. I cut the straps as long as they’d go – rounding out the top edge. I figured it was better to have more strap than less as I could always cut more off but it would be harder to sew it back on.

Cutting the Front Lines Down the Middle

The top I was trying to re-create also featured short lines down the front of the tank top.


I put a pad of paper inside my tank top to prevent my rotary cutter from going through to the back of the tank.


I lined the tank top on the mat so it was directly in the middle and my edge guide had a line matching up with the middle of the tank top and so the lip of my edge tool was straight with the mat – to ensure straight edges.


Note my edge tool is straight across the top and even horizontally. The 12 marks the middle of my tank. I measured out about 2 inches of space between each column of lines.


I made 2 cuts at each level approximately 1 1/2″ long.


I made my cuts in 1/2 inch increments.


And I repeated till I had 15 rows of cuts.

Now just tie up your halter and get thee to a zumba class to rock out your new tank top!



Can’t wait to cut some more tops! Hmm…what to cut next!? :lol:

Oatmeal Snack (It’s Not Just for Breakfast)


You guys know I love oatmeal. I love it especially for breakfast, but I’ve also eaten it for lunch, dinner, and dessert.

And, today, I enjoyed some oatmeal as a….


A pre-work-out snack that is.

After a pretty awesome day of eats, I wanted a really good afternoon snack.


What to look for in a pre-workout snack: I always try to fuel up for a workout by eating a little extra food to give me energy and make up for some of my soon-to-be-burned calories. I look for carbs with a little protein. I shoot for between 100-250 calories for my exercise fuel, depending on what else I ate that day. If I already had a snack earlier in the day or a large breakfast/lunch, I stay to the lower end and visa versa.


When to eat a pre-workout snack: I try to eat my snack about an hour to an hour and a half before my work out.


I usually go for a meal bar, but mostly because they’re convenient and I can keep them at my desk at work.

Today, since I was WFH, I decided to make…OATMEAL! :) Oatmeal is great for breakfast but also makes for a great pre-workut snack.

I went for AB+J (almond butter and jelly) Oatmeal. I think I would have been better off using dried fruit as my sweetener instead of jelly. I don’t think (though I’m not exactly sure) that jelly gives you energy (maybe a sugar high if anything?) but dried fruit gives you a good energy boost from what I understand. Today, I was more worried about getting some good carbs for energy.

AB+J Oatmeal

To the pot:

  • 1/4 cup organic skim milk
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 tsp chia seeds
  • 1/2 tsp flaxseeds
  • (no sweetener)

Cooked stove top till thickened.


  • Barney Butter (about or just under 1 tbsp)
  • Earthfare Organic pomegranate jelly (about 1 tbsp – this was my sweetener)
  • Chopped raw almonds (about 2 – I mean, I already had plenty in the Barney Butter!)


Not sure if it was the oatmeal or my good job with Project Hydrate today, but I had an awesome workout and plenty of energy! Yay!

1 amazing hour of dance fitness…I love starting my weekend out with a good exercise!

We worked on more of my choreography tonight: Meet Me Halfway (as a warm up song). We just need to polish that one off and finish Bad Romance. Oh yea! I love choreographing songs. Perhaps I should have been a figure skating instructor or something?



Check out my friend Megan rocking out a song at class tonight. Get it Megan! :)

Reader question: Have you eaten oatmeal any time other than breakfast?

Mac and Kale




I kicked off today with the last of our Great Harvest cinnamon swirl bread. I really think this stuff is pretty good for you since it’s whole grain. The sugar is the unhealthiest part.


MS “sausage” for protein. Carbs + Protein + Fat = Good Breakfast


Coffee = Happy Me

Fresh Market Spring Blend Coffee = Extra Happy Me :)


I had a lot of stuff to take with me to work today: lunch, snacks, granola bars for my zumba friends (Kat, I gave Stacy yours – go to her class this week lady), WATER (hello Project Hydrate!), and I put a couple tea bags of my new Yerba Mate in a plastic baggie to keep at work.





I typically don’t do so hot drinking water in the morning. I seem to consume most of it after lunch but before 4pm. If I have hot tea in the morning, I do a lot better, but I could use some more H2O. So, this morning, I reminded myself to get started on my first bottle of water. I had twice as much water to drink than normal and I really wanted to spread my water consumption over the course of the day. I started with my new pink Gaiam water bottle.


The result of my AM water-guzzling? I downsized my Starbucks Monday. Instead of a grande, I got a tall vanilla soy latte. I was feeling pretty full from the water, so I figured a tall would be just enough. Saved myself some money and calories! (Not that I’m counting, but why consume something if you’re not trying to nourish yourself or at least satisfy an indulgence of sorts).

I was so full from the water and caffeinated from the Sbucks that I wasn’t feeling tea, even though I really wanted to try my new Yerba Mate. Now I have something to look forward to tomorrow, though!

By 11am I was halfway done with the first bottle of water.


Lunch was a pretty sweet spread…


Fontina mac and cheese leftovers from last night’s dinner.


Marinated kale (I think I finally nailed the recipe…yay!) – Updated – recipe now posted! Click here to view.


Toasted Great Harvest honey whole wheat roll.

I was SO GLAD I prepped food yesterday! I eat so much better (healthier, cheaper, and all around better) when I prep ahead. Lunch was a little light on the protein, but I had a snack to make up for it.



In the afternoon, I had a Chocolate Oikos with some homemade granola (from my oops granola bar crumbles). So tasty…so so good!

By around 3:30pm I had finished off my first bottle of water. Hooray! The bad part was that I typically don’t consume many liquids after 4pm. I seem to wake up in the middle of the night needing a bio break if I drink much after 4. Is it just me?



Zumba workout fuel = a homemade granola bar with dried cherries, dates, and currants plus Kashi crackers.


Double header zumba class! 2 sweet hours. And my hubby came to class tonight! He said he had fun and might come back. I hope he does. ;)

I worked on my second bottle of water during class, but only managed to finish about half the bottle.


Post workout sushi with a big glass of water. Even with this water, taking my workout into account, I don’t think I quite made my quota, but I did pretty good for Day #1.


Miso soup and salad


Mini cucumber salad


Tempura zucchini


California roll with masago


No problem finishing my cup of water after 2 hours of zumba. Phew! Dinner hit the spot, plus I got to catch up with a girlfriend.


Dessert – banana and a couple small pieces of dark chocolate. Mmm

Project Hydrate Day #1 Comments

I knew Day #1 of Project Hydrate would be pretty hard for me. Sadly, I barely consume the water in this 3 cup water bottle. Now, I usually do have a mug of coffee in the AM, plus a cup or two or hot tea during the day, plus a little water at dinner (but not too much – see above), so I know I haven’t been getting enough liquids.


To illustrate, I’m attempting to go from drinking this…


…to drinking this.

I think the key will be reminding myself to spread my liquid consumption over the entire day instead of trying to chug it all in one sitting (which is simply not healthy – do not try this at home people!).


  • Pink bottle – finished off around 3pm
  • Turquoise bottle – finished half of bottle around 8:30pm
  • 1 large (probably 2 cups) of water consumed at dinner
  • No tea consumed
  • 2 cups coffee consumed but I did not count them towards the total

I don’t anticipate noticing many changes on Day #1, but I’d like to post some comments every day.


  • Drinking all the liquids I planned for was difficult, considering how little I was drinking before. I think I need to get started on liquid consumption earlier in the day.
  • Consuming more water than normal in the morning helped curb my Starbucks habit.
  • Looks like if I can drink my two mugs of tea and half a water bottle more, I’ll be meeting my planned intake.

How did you do today with Project Hydrate today for Day#1?

Zumba 101 – What Is Zumba and What to Expect?


Have you heard about the hottest cardio workout around – ZUMBA!? If you’re interested in trying a Zumba class but want to know more first, read on for some Zumba 101 questions and answers.

What is Zumba?

Zumba is a Latin-dance inspired fitness. Zumba is also exercise in disguise because you’ll get a great workout, but you’ll have FUN, too.

What to expect?

Expect a high-energy, cardio workout to upbeat music with plenty of booty-shaking. Unlike hip-hop style classes where you learn a choreographed routine with many different steps, Zumba choreography is typically pretty simple. Usually in Zumba, you’ll do the same moves or set of moves for the chorus and then a new set for the verse, but repeat the chorus-moves each time the chorus plays, etc. Zumba choreography is supposed to be so simple that anyone can do them without any experience, so if you’re on the fence about going to your first class, do it!

Can men do Zumba?


Who can do Zumba?

Anyone! You don’t have to have a dance background to do Zumba. Also, I’ve seen men and women of all ages in Zumba class (though you will have to gauge your personal situation as far as health level and ability before trying a new exercise of any kind. You may also wish to speak to your doctor or health care provider).

What to wear?

Wear anything you’d normally wear to a cardio style class: comfortable clothes and tennis shoes (plus a sports bra for the ladies). Most people wear pants and t-shirts or tank tops with sneakers. You can also get some cute zumbawear online at – I adore the cargo pants.

What to bring to a Zumba class?

Water – definitely water. A handtowel may be a good idea, too. I also like to bring a post-workout protein shake/snack.

Do you get a good workout with Zumba?

Zumba is an excellent all-over, cardio workout. I’ve even heard Zumba can be good for your core. Additionally, I’ve seen different web-sites online claiming Zumba can burn 600-1000 calories per hour! I’ve never measured it myself, but I’d believe it. But, if you want to get a maximum workout, don’t do the moves halfway. Do them like you mean them! Really doing zumba and sort of doing Zumba is like the difference between jogging and running. You’re essentially doing the same move, but you’re not going all the way in one version.

Where to do Zumba?

You can find classes online at You can also purchase DVDs if you want to do Zumba at home, but I highly recommend going to a group class because the group energy can help make the experience extra-awesome. You can find DVDs no or on ebay.

My personal tips for your first zumba classes:

  • Dance like no one is watching – I very much remember my first zumba class. I remember strategically placing myself in the back of the class so there would no one behind me watching while I made an idiot out of myself. As I came back, I learned a few things: the instructors mess-up, too, and that’s ok AND most importantly, that most people in class are so freakin busy trying to figure out what the instructor is doing, they are SO NOT watching you!
  • Ask your instructor for tips before/after class – Zumba instructors are very nice, fun and helpful. If they did a move in class that you just don’t get, ask them to show it to you after class. I’m sure they’ll be thrilled to help you and when you nail the move in class, you’ll feel like a rock star.
  • Have fun – zumba is exercise in disguise. It’s a workout hidden in a party. So cut-loose and enjoy yourself. You’ll get a better workout if you let go, too.
  • Dance near the front – following the instructor is much easier if you can actually see the instructor. And remember, it doesn’t matter what the people behind you think – see my first tip.

That’s it. I could write more, but really the first tip is IMO the most important.

Have any more zumba questions? Email them to me at thechiclife at gmail dot com.

NOTE: Always workout to your own comfort level and ability. Be sure to consult your physician or health care provider before attempting a new exercise program.




Also, Click here to read about my personal story with Zumba. which includes my favorite songs, zumbawear, why I love Zumba.


Join the party!

Black Currant Oats + New Zumbawear



As if you didn’t already know, oatmeal was a big MUST for me today! Not only did I have a new bowl but I found the elusive dried currants at Earthfare last night.


I feel like I’ve seen several recipes calling for currants that I’ve wanted to make over the years, but I never quite seem to find currants for sale.


Ok, so currants are probably not that elusive. I’m sure they’re quite common, but for whatever reason, they have escaped me…till now.


And how cute is this bowl I found at TJ Maxx this weekend whilst shopping with my MIL? The color is perfection!


Oh yes, I had to have oatmeal today, if only to use my new bowl. ;)


Black Currant Oatmeal

Add to a pot:

  • 1/3 cup skim organic milk
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1/3 cup rolled oats (got these in the bulk bin at Earthfare)
  • 1/2 tsp flaxseed
  • 1/2 tsp chia seed

Cooked stove top over medium low heat till thickened up. I added about 1/4 cup dried black currants for the last minute of cooking.

On top:

  • sliced almonds
  • light drizzle of maple syrup


For Starbucks Monday I grabbed a grande vanilla soy latte. Oh so good.


Lunch #1 – 3 bean veggie chili (prepped yesterday) and Barney Butter honey whole wheat toast.

I put the chili I brought for lunch in a bowl, but it looked like SO MUCH! I decided to only heat up about 2/3 of the chili and save the rest for later. I was so glad to have the yummy toast on the side.

I unfortunately, burned my tongue on the soup and then tried to eat it while I was running a meeting. It’s all about the mute button people.


Lunch #2 – the rest of my chili and another piece of Barney Butter WW toast.

I ended up getting hungry again about 3 hours later, so I finished off the food I had with me.





After work, it was ZUMBA time!

Not only did I have 2 fabulous hours of zumba in back to back classes…


I got new zumbawear, too! I got a pair of wrist bands and a new hot pink zumba tank top.



Oh yea! Work it!

Did I mention Zumba is not only an amazing work out, but it’s super fun, too!? Oh yea! You can read more about me + Zumba on my fabulous new Zumba page (click)!

Special thanks to Kat for her photography skills! ;)


After our workout, we hit up a local sushi place to celebrate Megan’s birthday. Hello Megan!

I celebrated with a sake pomegranate.


I toyed around with the idea of getting something new, but I really like my usual – simple as it is.

Miso soup and house salad with ginger dressing (my mouth will hate me tomorrow!)


Half a teriyaki rice ball – basically rice with teriyaki sauce. I doubt there’s any nutritional value in this, but it sure tastes good. As my Dad would say, it’s “like eating cardboard.” Bah…it’s tasty Dad! :)

PS this would have looked much more attractive if I had remembered to photograph it before halving it to share. Doh!


Tempura zucchini. I let it get cold. :( Note to self: cold tempura = not tasty


I also got a Cali roll (I know! boring! whatever it tastes good)

Reader question: What’s your favorite thing to order at a sushi restaurant (it doesn’t have to be sushi)?

Happy Birthday Megan!!!

Crazy Bag Lady + Ways to Love Yourself the Way You Are


Happy Monday!

Thank you to everyone who’s voted in my TCL-content survey. If you haven’t voted already, I want your feedback! Pretty please,of course. Click here to check out the options or vote in the sidebar to the right (gonna leave it up there for at least a week). By voting, you help tell me what to blog about – what you come to TCL to see and what you’d like to see in the future. :)


I was running a bit later than I wanted so I decided to sip my coffee while I put lunch together and just take breakfast to work.



Anywho, today, as most days, I was the crazy bag lady. I don’t know how people take everything to work with them that they need for the day. (and scuse the face..I think I was turning around or something).

I often have:

  • My purse
  • A bag with work-out clothes/shoes
  • Laptop bag
  • Bag with lunch/breakfast

Anywho, all these bags just won’t stay on my shoulders…it drives me crazy!


i brought something to eat for breakfast, but I decided to save it for an afternoon snack and splurge on something for Starbucks Monday.

I got my usual drink – grande vanilla soy latte.



For my splurge, I also got a spinach-feta wrap. And by “splurge” I mean cost-wise. These little sammies are relatively healthy at around 280 calories with a whole wheat tortilla and egg white. I wasn’t completely impressed with the ingredient list since I couldn’t read some of the ingredients, but not a bad option for “fast food.”


Btw, like my tights? I decided to wear boots today since it was raining and soggy pants drives me bonkers. As for the tights, I like the way the look but HATE the way they feel on. They’re tight and binding and constricting. Ugh!

Tights tip: Buy one or two sizes up so they don’t fit quite so tight. Helps a little but I still don’t love them.


For lunch, I had a salad with my salad bar toppings and some stuff from the fridge/freezer:


I also had leftover roasted tomato + black bean soup, which I prepped yesterday, and some Kashi honey sesame crackers.


Tulsi tea in Sweet Rose to stay warm in my cubicle and to try to ward off potential colds.


As planned breakfast made a return in the afternoon in the form of snack. I like to load up on snacks on the days I have mega workouts and 2 hours of zumba call for good snacks.


I opened the yogurt yesterday to serve with last night’s soup and decided the leftovers would be good for breakfast, which then turned into a snack. I crumbled in half an Earthfare strawberry scone.


I wanted the taste a little sweeter so I added in some sliced banana. Plus I got a good fruit serving in. Score!


On my way home from work, I ate half a Larabar in pistachio. I saved the other half for between my 2 back-to-back cardio workouts.




I tried to take some photos using the timer during class. I am apparently not so good at this, but it’s hard to set up the camera and then get back into the dance. Plus, I don’t want the other participants to think I’m a weirdo! :lol:

Hopefully, I’ll do better next time.


Kat tried to help and take some photos but I guess we were moving too fast. Oh well, A for effort – thanks Kat!


As for dinner, it was the return of the sushi!

I started with miso soup and a salad with ginger dressing. I like the soup because it’s healthy but the salad I eat because I like the flavor.



I also got a Cali roll with masago.


Tempura zucchini – for taste. Not sure how healthy a veggie is once it’s battered and deep fried. lol But, I do like a good splurge after an a$$-kicking workout.



I enjoyed some dessert at home – Green + Black dark chocolate and skim organic milk.

Tidbits + National Eating Disorders Awareness Week

Remember to vote in my poll – I really value your feedback and would love to hear from you via the poll or email – thechiclife at gmail dot com – what do you want to see more of on TCL? What do you love most about TCL?

* * *

I’m still answering Formspring questionsclick here to ask me something and see my previous answers.

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I ordered some books I’ve been wanting to get for awhile, and I was so excited to see them here already today:

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It’s National Eating Disorders Awareness Week from February 21st-27th. Check out NEDA for some great information for those suffering with ED or friends and family of someone who is or if you’d just like to become more aware of ED. The web site says “Everyone can do just one thing to raise awareness,” so I thought blogging about this would be a good way to help.

With this week in mind, I thought I’d mention that there are some great inspirational projects you can participate in to help encourage positive body image and self-love.

If you’d like to help promote positive body image and self love to lots of people – strangers, friends, co-workers – why not post an Operation Beautiful note somewhere – or maybe a couple places?

If you’d like to promote self-love and positive body image for yourself (hey, we need to encourage ourselves from time to time, too), check out these ideas for ways to love yourself the way you are:

What do you think about positive body image and self love inspirational projects?

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