Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Best of 2013!

Well it's that time of year again!  The last day of 2013.  Can you believe it?  I thought this would be a good day for reflection, especially since it's the last day of my stay-vacation from work.  What are your New Year Resolutions??  My top resolution in years past have been to get in better shape, which is quite generic.  However, I'm happy with the progress I've made this year training hard at the gym.  I started training with my trainer in the beginning of May, so it's been 8 months now.  I've lost about 10-12 pounds so far, while lifting heavily at the gym to at least maintain muscle.  So I hope that majority of what I've lost is body fat.  I have no doubt that I will continue training in 2014, and maybe even kick it up a notch.  So for the first time ever, I don't have to set a New Year's Resolution of getting into better shape, because I know I will do it!  Since I've kicked one generic resolution aside, my other one would be to make more money lol.  But don't we all?

Actually, on a serious note, I do have to finish one thing in the new year, and soon.  I never mentioned this on the blog, facebook or anything, but my grandfather whom I was very close to passed away in July this year.  I didn't tell many people, other than a few close friends.  It just felt incredibly private to me, and I couldn't really bring myself to put it out there.  Maybe I was somewhat in denial that it had actually happened and putting it down in black and white would make it real - I don't know, it wasn't really rational.  He was almost 90 years old, so it wasn't completely unexpected.  We had talked about it and knew that the day would come eventually.  But when he did collapse, it definitely felt sudden.  He had an infection which led to heart failure.  He was in emergency surgery for about 6 hours, and never made it.  My poor poor grandma... this was their 60th year wedding anniversary.  I can't even imagine losing someone after all that time together.  She's very lonely and sad, but she's trying to remain strong.  So one thing she had asked me to do earlier this year was to scan and file away all these poems that my grandfather had written throughout the years.  He was pretty big on composing poems.  My grandma actually wrote down all of them on paper, in her beautiful handwriting, and gave me a stack of about 2 inches thick!  She's very worried that something would happen to these papers and we would lose his legacy.  So this is one thing that I must accomplish in the new year.  It will be a huge job, because she wrote them on various sizes of paper!  So I can't just run them through a scanner, but have to do it one page at a time.  I want to finish it so that it will give her a peace of mind.

Sorry, this post is not supposed to be sappy.  :/  So let's change gears and talk about various shopping finds in 2013.  :)

I think this was the year that I really started venturing outside of buying Lululemon exclusively for the gym.  I am very happy to have rediscovered Splits59, and found Lorna Jane, in addition to great items from a few other brands like Alo, Beyond Yoga, Lole, Lija and Victoria's Secret Sport line.  Of course, there are other non-workout related items I've found, but let's start with workout clothes!

The top winners of my various workout gear from this year would have to be Splits59 workout tights and sports bras from Lorna Jane and Victoria's Secret.

Workout Tights

Here are all three pairs of Splits59 Nova Capri tights I bought.  The first one is the newest design which looks super cool with the mesh across the front, but they made them a little bigger than the older designs so even size XS feels kind of big, and definitely longer.  I prefer the look of the new design and the fit of the older design.

Also love the Splits59 Ginger crop, especially in marianna blue.  It's such a gorgeous blue.  Love the metallic mesh on the side of the waistband too.  I have the black ones in size S and blue ones in XS.  Definitely prefer the XS.

The only Lululemon crops that I really like this year are actually my newest addition - the Pace Crop.  They are by far the thickest and best quality of all Lulu crops I've bought this year.  So, while I do like the design and big side pockets of the Mod Moves and Run For Fun crops, I don't necessarily think they are the shit.

Although, I do love the Lululemon herringbone wunder under pants for casual wear.  I haven't (and probably won't) wear them to workout in.  They are thick and soft, and look great with boots over.  

I also really like Beyond Yoga Gathered Leggings for their softness and earthy colors.  They are definitely for low impact days though.  Sizing is also all over the place.  The "dusk" color below is size XS, and the "mojave" color below dusk is size XXS.  They feel the same on.

I also really like the design of the Lorna Jane Mosaic tights.  I find Lorna Jane tights to be more compressive than other brands, since the material they use is heavier with less stretch.  But they don't have gussets, and their waistbands are usually on the thin side.  All my LJ tights are size XS and they seem to run pretty consistently in my experience.

Sports Bras

I got so many awesome sports bras this year, I am very happy with that.  I love Lorna Jane bras because they are so pretty, and the padding they use magically create nice shape and add cup sizes.  So I'm very glad to have found so many.  I think my favorite design has to be the Clover bra.  

I also love my newest Sunrise bra:

But I really think all my LJ bras are great.  My preferred size is S in them, but I do have a couple in XS.

I love the two Victoria's Secret sports bras I got as well.  They also give nice shape, and a more natural cleavage than LJ bras.  They also make them in real bra sizes, which is a great plus too.  You really just can't go wrong with Victoria's Secret when it comes to bras.  They also have sales too so they are better value for sure.  Note, the cami bra in orange has faded quite a bit though.  But it's super comfy, and I only paid $14 for it.

I also got quite a few Lululemon Free To Be bras this year.  I wear them a lot, but they do nothing for my girls.  I like them only because they are comfortable and the back looks nice.  They also come in a lot of great colors.  I size up to a 6 in them.  I find that they look slightly better if I swap out the Lulu insert with LJ padding.  They fit under my Lorna Jane Kayla and Lole Spiral tanks perfectly as well:

Workout Tanks

Ok, next let's talk about workout tanks.  I'm discovering this year that out of all these different tank designs, I still gravitate toward simple shapes and colors.  Racerbacks are always welcome.  My favorite two Lululemon cool racerbacks I got this year are ocean stripe mellow lemon and the seawheeze retro stripe multi.  For some reason I just think ocean stripe is super pretty.  The seawheeze one is luxtreme, which is really nice.  I also love the combination of all the happy colors together!

My favorite swiftly racerback this year is very green, I just love this shade of green.  I'm also happy I sized up to a 6 in this tank.  I prefer the looser fit.

I also really like the angel wing paisley one, especially at the sale price I got it for.

I love that I now own a bunch of Splits59 Ashby tanks.  They are amazingly soft, and more versatile than Lululemon tanks since they can easily pass for casual wear.  The best part I've discovered is that you can layer them, since they are so thin.  It creates a lot more exciting matching opportunities!  LOL!

The other tanks I really love are all from Lorna Jane - Erika tank, Inspire tank, and Macy tank.  Both the Erika tank and Macy tank are made of honeycomb mesh.  It's super soft and breathable.  I love this material from LJ.  The material in the Inspire tank I have not found in any other LJ tanks.  It feels silky and drapes pretty well.  I love working out in it.  My preferred tank size at Lorna Jane is size S.

Long Sleeve Athletic Tops

As far as long sleeve workout tops go, I love the Lorna Jane Sophia top.  I can wear it as to and from the gym or casual wear.  I love the material and fit.  Super versatile top:

Same can be said with the Splits59 Penny top:

The Splits59 Olivia Run top in barberry/apricot is so pretty with the embroidery on the shoulder and sleeves, and I also love the silky material.

Lastly, my favorite long sleeve top from Lululemon is the swiftly top in fresh teal/very green.  I love the baseball style and these two colors are great together.

Casual Tops:

I am in love with all my Splits59 French Terry pullovers - the Vail, Pose, and Viper Dismount are all so great in their own way.  Each can be worn to the gym or casually.  They are comfy, they fit well, and they have unique designs.

And the Alo off the shoulder shirt... although it's big for me now:

Casual Pants

As for pants, I love love the Express coated black glitter skinny legging.  They were too small when I bought them for $19 lol.  But I kept them and now they fit perfectly!  Hehe.  I love the subtle glitter in them, so they can be dressed up or down.  They are my go-to pants if I can't decide what to wear.

My two pairs of g by guess linen pants are awesome too!  Cheap and fit perfectly.  You can't ask for much more than that.

Dresses & Skirts

My favorite dress I bought this year - Alo yoga double layer dress.  I've worn it a ton this summer.

I do love the Express mini skirts too, the studded and sequined one, as well as the quilted leather one.  Mini skirts are so easy to pair with different tops and instantly dresses up any outfit with a pair of great heels.


I am absolutely in love with these three jackets I got:  Splits59 jacket - it's amazing and only set me back 5 bucks so I think it has to be the winner.

I also love the Lululemon Off The Mat jacket I snatched on ebay at a pretty decent price.  It's like wearing a super comfy blanket!  I also love the black swan color and the style.


I love shoes, seriously.  I got so many great ones this year.  But strangely enough, the biggest winner would have to be my Zigi Kickin wedge sneakers!!  I wear them ALL the time.  Wearing them now, actually.  I just love how they are so comfy, and yet they add a good 3 inches on you and make your legs look longer and leaner!  You've seen them shown on multiple photos above with different outfits.  I seriously live in them.

Next runner up would have to be my Sam Edelman Mallory slingbacks.  I wear them all the freaking time too.  They are so comfy for how high they are, and they go with everything since they are nude.  It is my sincere belief that very girl needs patent nude heels.

I also love these Donald J Pliner shoes and wear them to work a lot.  With skirts, or pants.  They are so comfortable.  Love the army green color and the metallic on top.

And of course I cannot forget the Vince Camuto Dacoma Pumps and Jiris Sandals.  Both are comfy for how high they are, and uber cute and versatile.


As far as gym sneakers go, I am glad to have tried Nike Frees again.  I was so-so about the very first pair I got a couple years ago.  I think they've definitely made improvements since.  They come in such great colors, it is hard to not buy them.

I also love the Nike Free Bionics, which are made for Crossfit type of workouts.  I think the purple/camo ones are awesome, and I get compliments on them all the time.


My #1 purchase (well, gift but same same hehe) this year would have to be my Balanciaga City bag.  You've seen this bag in many outfit pics above as well.  It's such a gorgeous purse that is the perfect size, material, and style.  I really love soft and slouchy purses as opposed to very structured ones.  The color I got is a dark gray color so it goes with everything as well.  I use it all the time!  Totally worth every penny that I didn't spend on it... lol!

For my everyday workout, I cannot live without my Versa Gripps now.  They have enabled me to use heavier weight than I would otherwise.  I thought they cost a lot, but since I use them everyday, they are actually quite a good investment.  I highly encourage you to get them if you have lack of grip strength like me.  It makes a huge difference to your workouts.

My $6 digital food scale has been a lifesaver for me this year as well.  Though admittedly, I have been eyeballing more than weighing lately.  But I think that is ok once you get to a point where you know what 2 oz of banana looks like, for example.  I keep one at work and keep one in my purse.  It's small enough to carry with me everywhere.

Lastly, my new favorite that I just posted about yesterday - ghd flat iron!  I use it everyday now and continue to be amazed by how great it works.  Definitely a great investment.

I think this pretty much covers it all!  Overall a great year for finding some amazing products!  I hope the trend continues in 2014!

Alright everyone, I am about to head out to my friend's place where we will cook dinner then go out for drinks.  No big NYE plans, just some good old quality time.  I hope you all have a great night, and a Happy New Year!  Whatever you do, be safe and have fun!

I really appreciate all of your support this year, and thank you so much for reading!

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