Lifestyle: Le Fitness

  

I’m what you would call a quasi-gym rat. I like to do a variety of fitness activities, from running to kickboxing, to step aerobics and weight-lifting. I started running about 4 years ago and have since completed 3 half-marathons at progressively better times, a couple 10Ks, and a slew of 5Ks. I try to go to the gym a few times a week, but I also have a huge lazy streak, and on days where I just don’t feel like going to the gym, I like to do home workouts. They’re typically shorter (30ish minutes versus an hour-long class at the gym) but I choose workouts that have lots of tabata-style exercises and I like the HIIT (high-intensity interval training) format to maximize calorie burn and to keep those calories a-burnin’ even after the workout is done. HIIT also builds speed and endurance and burns lots of fat.

Considering I ate leftover pizza and breadsticks before the workout, I need all the help I can get.

You can go on Pinterest and find a crap-ton of home workouts, but I do better when I have someone barking orders at me. So videos are better for me. I’ve exhausted my personal supply of fitness videos (Hip Hop Abs, anyone?) so I like YouTube to find new and challenging videos.

Enter FitnessBlender. They are a husband and wife team who built a fitness channel and have loads of great videos. They’re differing lengths, different workouts, focused on different parts of the body – something to ensure that you never get bored. And they are TOUGH; as I said, I’ve been working out steadily for the past 4 years and have great cardio stamina, but these workouts are a challenge for me! Even if I only do 30-35 mins of the longer videos (which is typically all of the cardio segment) I still feel spent. 

The workout screen-shotted above is one of their full-body 1,000-calorie workouts. Now, I can’t say that everyone will burn 1,000 calories; that’s a LOT. However, I will safely say that during the cardio portion you can plan on burning at least 300 calories. I can personally burn 500-600 calories doing the workout in its entirety. And that is not bad at all! For a truly accurate calorie count I would suggest investing in a heart rate monitor. You strap it on around your chest under your clothes and it will give you a much more accurate number of what you burn in a workout.

If you’re looking for some good at-home workouts to get started in your fitness journey or you merely want to supplement your current regimen with some extra calorie-burning or body-sculpting exercises, give FitnessBlender a try. Leave a comment below if you’ve tried them out, and what you think! 

Good luck, and happy sweating!

Beauty Bag: MOTD and Products

  
I’m a bona fide beauty junkie. I love all things makeup and skincare. As such, I knew that part of my blog would be devoted to beauty, including MOTDs (makeup of the day), product reviews, and maybe even some hauls. 

I thought I would kick things off in this category by posting a MOTD. Now, I don’t wear makeup every day. In fact, despite the size of my collection and my love for it, I don’t wear a stitch of makeup on most days. So when the opportunity presents itself (e.g., I’m leaving the house for any reason other than going to the gym) I love to put makeup on. It should be said that I don’t believe that I NEED makeup, generally speaking, or that I feel uncomfortable without it. It’s merely that I love the fact that my face is my canvas, and the transformation is definitely a self-esteem booster. While I love playing with dramatic looks, I wouldn’t wear a smoky eye and falsies to go run errands (however, if YOU would, more power to you!). As such, I’m usually wearing some sort of “natural-ish” look. I say “natural-ish” because there’s nothing natural about the amount of highlight I wear. But that’s just because I freakin’ love highlight. I love to be glowy! And so should you! Glow on, girls! 

Do you see the glowiness?
 
Here are all of the products I used to create this look:

  

I will do some reviews of these products in upcoming posts, but there’s a few I have to mention now. First up, the foundation I used, which was L’Oreal Magic Nude Liquid Powder foundation. I’d avoided buying this for a loooooong time and recently saw that it was on sale at Walgreens. I thought, what the heck. I picked up 2 in different shades. The shade I’m wearing is 320 Natural Beige which is nice when my self-tanner is in the process of fading but not all the way. I also have shade 314, which I haven’t tried yet. The consistency of this product is heavenly; it goes on smoothly, blends well, and has a powder finish so I don’t need to set it with additional powder except in my T-zone and that’s because I’m hella oily there. 

Next up is the Kat Von D Shade and Light palette. Another product I held out on for a long time because I had convinced myself I didn’t need a contour kit. But I ended up getting it and I love it. I’ll get into this more in a later review.

I used all Makeup Geek eye shadows for my eyes. These shadows are silky and blend wonderfully. There’s a variety of shades but I tend to stick to neutrals. These babies are $5 a pop and have high-end quality. HIGHLY recommend. 

My highlight is a combination of ColourPop Super Shock Cheek and Too Faced Candlelight Glow powder. Did I mention I love highlight? You can bet your bottom dollar I’ll be doing a post, and soon, on highlight.

Finally, my lipstick is Too Faced La Creme in the color Naked Dolly. I LOVE these lipsticks by Too Faced. They are creamy and glide on smoothly and have a shiny finish. If you’re a lipstick and gloss kind of girl, these lipsticks have enough shine to them that you don’t even really need a gloss. Unless you’re all about that super high-shine life, in which case I will shut my mouth and have a seat. 

What are your favorite products to create your favorite look? Leave a comment below and make some recommendations for me! 

Random Musings: Blog Irony

When I decided it would be necessary and prudent to build a web site and a blog, I couldn’t do either one fast enough. And, if you have ever built a web site or a blog, you understand that it’s not always an easy feat. There are periods of triumph which are quickly quashed by periods of raging fury when everything, inevitably, goes awry (of course, if you are able to have both of these things professionally built, disregard. You don’t know what raging fury is, because you were probably somewhere with your feet up and drinking a margarita, not worried in the least about aligning text boxes and matching colors. Or whatever). 

But I was determined — nay, I was dead set on completing both tasks. “It’s important,” they said. “You’ll have fun with it, too,” they said. Oh, I bought into the hype. I told myself it would be yet another way to “build my platform” and “expand my audience”. I made lists of topics, and I even got a generous long-term loan of a fancy-schmancy camera from my best friend with which to take glorious pictures for the purposes of inundating my blog and site with rich imagery (or pictures of my makeup. Whatever.).

But after launching last week, I’ve done not a thing with either. It’s amazing how quickly the days have gone by, and I’ve been so lost in my writing and editing that I’d look up at the end of a day and realize I hadn’t blogged, then tell myself, a la Scarlett O’Hara, “I can’t blog now. I’ll blog tomorrow. After all, tomorrow is another day.”

That is true indeed. Tomorrow is another day. Another day that comes and goes and leaves my poor, tiny bloggity blog neglected. There are plenty of things I’d like to blog about, and in fact plan to blog about. I’m just too busy not doing it. I’m writing. Or napping. Or eating cookies. You get the idea.

The point of this random musing is just to emphasize the need to make time for the important things. As a writer, it’s important to write. I know. Profound, right? But, seriously. We can’t just immerse ourselves in novels all the live long day. We can’t write nothing but fictional stories or do research or write screenplays. Blogging is an outlet that allows us to both write and be ourselves in a way that fiction writing doesn’t allow. In fact, with fiction, being ourselves is the last thing we need to be doing. We’re supposed to be someone else – our main character(s). And that can be tiring.

But when you don’t make time for that outlet, it’s easy to become jaded with your projects. Or it is, at least, for me. It sometimes feels like another chore, another task to tackle and conquer, but I think with practice and dedication it’ll be something enjoyable and relaxing. Because sometimes – don’t know about you – I just need to ramble. Muse randomly, if you will.

So, I’m setting a goal: I vow to blog no less than thrice weekly, with a top goal of – wait for it – every day. (Before you scoff, I’ll ask you to remember that Rome wasn’t built in a day, people. Bear with me.)

Thanks for reading. Stay tuned, because there is (THERE IS!) more to come.

Later!

New Work: Capturing Hell and Hope

I mentioned in my first post that I’m a writer. And I am. I write. Je suis un √©crivainNot professionally yet, but I am steadily working on my first book with the intent of getting it published.

This book is something I’ve been wanting to write for long time. I’ve always been a writer, but the subject matter in this book is new ground for me. Typically, I write romance and fun adventure, new adult-y type stuff. This book is far more serious, though it has elements of romance and elements of adventure. This book deals with war; the war that we as a nation have found ourselves immersed in for over a decade. The war that has sacrificed thousands and thousands of servicemen and women’s lives. The war that stemmed directly from the day we know as 9/11.

This is a story of self-forgiveness, a story of personal growth. There’s romance, because I can’t not write a little romance, but more than that, this book brings to life the ugliness of war, and the reality of evil. There’s light at the end of the tunnel, but the journey through the darkness will be trying.

There are excerpts from the first couple of chapters posted on my website, http://www.mallisonlea.com, and there are more to come. Take a read, and leave me a comment to let me know what you think.

Take care!

Hello world!

In the immortal words of Austin Powers, “allow myself to introduce…myself.”

I’m M. Allison Lea. I write stuff. You can read some of that stuff at my website, which is this: http://www.mallisonlea.com.

I also write random stuff. I like to muse. Randomly. And then I like to take those random musings and throw them, virtually, of course, at unsuspecting people (like you!).

Additionally, I’m a self-professed beauty-a-holic. So, I’m going to be talking about things that fall under that category quite a bit, in between the posts about the writing and the musings.

I should at this point in time indicate that this very first post is in no way indicative of the quality of the posts to come. Meaning, I realize this post sucks a little and you’re probably already bored to tears. But bear with me. If you like to read fiction – specifically that which would fall under the category of new adult, contemporary, action/adventure, romance, mystery, and women’s lit – then you’ve come to a good place, as I’ll be sharing excerpts of my many projects here. If you’re a beauty fan, you’ve also come to a good place, because I’ll be blogging about my favorite products for skin and makeup as well as talking about a myriad of things that fall under the “beauty” umbrella.

I should also take this time to boast about my mediocre skills in the kitchen. I like to bake occasionally, and I’ll be sharing my successes. And perhaps my failures as well, if they’re funny enough.

I like to read comments and other random musings from readers. As long as you promise to keep it positive (even criticisms) and respectful, you can say anything you want.

Stay tuned, friends, because there’s so much more to come.