• Jennifer
  • posted by Jennifer

  • My 40 Days is quickly coming to an end as this Friday is day 40. I am now at day 38 of my 40 Day Transformation!

    There are several things I've learned along the way that I wanted to share. The main reason why I did started this program (at first) was to improve the overall balance in my life. This was my one word answer the first night when asked why I was there...."Balance". Of course I also wanted to improve my fitness and lose weight. I already ate relatively healthy, already worked out regulary, but just wanted something to push me a bit harder. I was struggling to lose those extra pounds I put (back) on over the last year. Well, as you'll read from this post, I got more than I bargained for in this program.

    The program had assigned readings, meditation practices, journaling exercises, diet logs we turned in, yoga practices, goal setting, diet/nutrition practices, and we even practiced at resting. The readings were amazing and for me, they translated into a whole new way of looking at my lifestyle and in particular my diet. I use the word diet loosely, as I'd like to suggest that this is just a part of my daily life.

    For example, the idea to be present in each moment translates to be present by enjoying the taste, texture, smell of your food. In week 1 it was suggested to put your fork down in between each bite. At the time, I didn't make this connection to being present, rather it's just a good exercise to eat less by allowing your stomach time to signal to your brain that you're full. But by week 6 I made the other connection of this exercise...being present with your food. Not only will you enjoy your food more, but by default you lose weight (if you have weight to lose).

  • 40 Day Transformation

  • Other suggestions along the way, to not use the microwave for example and the 3 day fruit feast (where I ate nothing but fruit for 3 days), illuminated that you can eat A LOT food, and I meant A LOT, when it's fresh food and once again, by default I lost weight, without even trying. But it also demonstrated that our bodies don't need as much as we think they do. And when you eat healthier foods, your body craves those healthy foods. It was also good to recognize that when you set your mind to doing something, that might seem hard to do, you can do it. I was able to do 3 days of eating nothing but fruit and I went 40 days with no alcohol. (and many of you know how much I enjoy a nice glass of wine!)

  • 40 Day Transformation

  • The themes addressed during our 40 days were Presence, Vitality, Equanimity, Restoration, Centering, and Celebration. Centering, in week 5, was especially eye opening as I am a huge multi-tasker and list maker. The idea to do one thing at a time with your full attention, before moving on to the next, is easier said than done and is something I really have to work at. Over the last few years, I've already been trying to practice the idea that it's just as important to rest and restore yourself, which means that maybe a few things on the list don't get done today and they will still be on your list tomorrow.

  • 40 Day Transformation

  • Another goal I had set at the beginning of week 1 was to get more sleep each night. Now that I really make an attempt to go to bed at the same time as Cory, even if I sit up and read, I hear him asking "Are you coming to bed?" when I don't make it into the bedroom with him.

    We were challenged with an evening of "Noble Silence" where we were just silent upon leaving class. No phones, no tv, no radio, even no speaking. Amazing how easy it is to get wrapped up in all this junk and how "busy" we are and how uncomfortable it can be to just "be". The no speaking wasn't too hard for me since Cory was asleep by the time I got home. :-) For 6 weeks now, we have been exposed to things that should be obvious. And they are topics that I was already aware of to some degree that I need to continue to work on to achieve better balance in my life.

  • 40 Day Transformation

  • Just because my 40 Days is at an end, I will continue to write my weekly Healthy Lifestyle column as I continue practicing what I've learned during this 40 Day Transformation.

    I'm so happy that I found a great yoga Studio at Zuda. And I love all the instructors I've met so far. I'm taking the Beginners Series now (in the middle of week 3 out of 4 weeks) just so that i can better learn the poses. I'm looking forward to more...and more...and more.

  • Natalie
  • posted by Natalie

  • Last week's post provided helpful tips for the brides looking for their perfect (budget-friendly) wedding dress. And although most eyes are on the bride as she walks down the aisle, her eyes are on her groom. He needs to look his best as well! This week's post focuses on ways to save money on the groom's attire and stay within your wedding budget.

    Unlike the wedding dress, the groom's tuxedo is usually rented, making the expense much less. However, there are still ways to save money.

    1. Start looking for tuxedo rentals as soon as the wedding planning beings. Check for specials and coupons in the newspaper and at local shops. David's Bridal and their companion store Men's Wearhouse are offering $40 off every tuxedo rental in your wedding party when you register your wedding with them online (just enter basic information). Tuxedo Den is having a $50 off sale on all wedding rentals (web only). Also check expos for coupons that could save money on the groom's tuxedo rental. I will be doing a post on upcoming bridal expos towards the end of the year, so stay tuned!

    2. Get a package discount. Most tuxedo rental stores offer package discounts when you rent multiple tuxedos at one time. Men's Wearhouse is offering a free rental for the groom with five paid rentals. Tuxedo Den has a similar deal. And House of Fashion in Sacramento is offering a free veil (up to $150 in value) to the bride when she purchases the bridal gown and six or more tuxedo rentals.

    3. Buy a tux or suit. If you think you'll need a tux or suit for future events, it may be worth investing in one now. Men's Wearhouse has some great deals if you plan to purchase your wedding attire, including a Buy One Get One Free deal, 40% off your entire purchase, and Buy One Tie, Get One for 50% off. Check out their other deals here: Men's Wearhouse Specials.

    4. Wear your own shoes. When you have black dress shoes, wear these instead of rental shoes. This can save you a lot of money and rental shoes tend to be more uncomfortable.

    5. Borrow a tuxedo or suit from someone that owns one. When you have a friend that owns a tux or suit in the same size as the groom, borrowing it would be a great way to cut costs.

    6. Consider wearing a nice suit instead of a tuxedo. It is very common for the groom and groomsmen to wear a suit or a nice shirt and slacks, especially if the wedding is not a black-tie affair. If each groomsmen has their own suit, unify the look by having each of them wear the sam shirt in the same color. Your groomsmen will thank you for saving them money on the rental!

    7. Skip the formal wear altogether! If you are having a casual outdoor wedding or a beach wedding, have the men wear khakis and a button down shirt. If it's a beach wedding, why not complete the look with flip flops or sandals! This will save you and then men some money and everyone will be comfortable!

  • Saving on a tuxedo

  • Jennifer
  • posted by Jennifer

  • I am now at day 30 of my 40 Day Transformation! We were asked on Day 1 what (if anything) we wanted to add into our lives, or what we wanted to do without. Making a commitment for 40 days to be healthier and live a healthier lifestyle. So I committed to add in more sleep and I committed to not having any alcohol. Yes folks, you heard that right! Today is Day 30 of no alcohol. I will be sure to enjoy a nice glass of wine on day 41. :-)

  • 40 Day Transformation at Zuda

  • Natalie
  • posted by Natalie

  • Dreaming of a designer wedding dress but can't seem to fit the price into your budget? Today's post offers a few suggestions on how to get your dream dress without paying more than you can afford.

    Many brides have seen at least one episode of TLC's "Say Yes to the Dress" (I have seen many!). A bride goes to premier bridal salon Kleinfeld hoping to find the perfect wedding dress. And the one question that is always asked by the staff member is "What is the budget for your dress?". While a handful of brides have an unlimited budget, that is not usually the case. Here are a few tips on how to find your dream dress and stay within your budget.

    Borrow a dress - Does a friend or family member have a dress you could borrow? Perhaps they will even let you modify the dress to create something that is unique and perfect for you. This could also count as your Something Borrowed!
    Buy used - Sites such as preownedweddingdresses.com and oncewed.com sell gently used designer wedding dresses at a fraction of the price.
    Search online - Found your perfect dress but it's still more than you can afford? Search bridal shops online to see if you can find the same dress at a marked down price.
    Have your dress made - Depending on the type of dress you are looking for, finding a seamstress at a local dress shop could be just for you! This gives you the opportunity to combine features from a few dresses you like at a price lower than that of a designer gown.
    Last season sales - Many bridal shops sell last season's designs at discounts of 30 percent or more!
    Buy off the rack - Sample dresses are oftentimes sold "off the rack" at discounted prices. Even though it has been tried on a few times by other brides, the dress will be good as new with a quick spot cleaning!

    A few things to remember when shopping for your dress:
    -Get on your local bridal salon email lists to receive news and updates such as sample sales and trunk shows.
    -Consider reselling your dress after the wedding. This is a good way to recoup your investment on your perfect (yet pricey) dress.
    -Don't forget to ask about alteration fees.

    Jen found her wedding dress at a hole in the wall bridal boutique and after a few alterations, it was her perfect dress. The best part? The dress plus alterations was under $400! Read about it here: Finding the perfect wedding dress Just keep in mind that Bella Donna Bridal mentioned in this past post, is now called La Soie which we link to below.

  • wedding dress shopping on a budget

  • Above photos courtesy of Beth Baugher of True Love Photo.

    I found my dress at House of Fashion in Sacramento for $800! It was a design from last season and the designer had a limited number remaining. I changed it to a sweetheart neckline, but other than that, I loved it!

  • wedding dress shopping on a budget

  • The above photo is courtesy of The Memory Journalists.

    Call the bridal shops in your area and ask about their sales! If you're looking for some great deals in the Greater Sacramento area, check out these bridal salons:
    House of Fashion - Discounts on Eve of Milady dresses in the month of October and a Blow Out designer sale at the end of the year! They even have an outlet store: House of Fashion II
    Diamond Bridal Gallery - Designer sample gowns on sale now!
    La Soie Bridal - Designer sample sale this weekend priced from $200 to $1500!
    Miosa Couture - Jim Hjelm trunk sale November 2-4; Designer sample sale November 16-18; Alvina Valenta truck sale December 7-9
    Bridal Box - Get an additional $100 off discontinued dresses in October; receive $120 veil credit and $50 shoe credit with the purchase of an Anjolique or Maggie Sottero dress!
    Dreamnette Bridal - Designer sample sale on now (over 50% off!); February 2013 trunk sale
    It's All About Me Bridal Boutique - Half off rack in the store
    Alfred Angelo Bridal Roseville - $75-$400 off select wedding dresses
    Haven Bridal Mart - Ongoing off the rack sale!

    The best advice I can give is to not stress out, take your time, and do not settle for something you don't love. You will find your perfect dress!

    You can read our other Budget Saving Tips for your wedding on the blog.

  • Jennifer
  • posted by Jennifer

  • This week on my Healthy Lifestyle column, I wanted to share with you a great recipe for Summer Coleslaw that I found in the July/August issue of Health magazine. I've made this twice now and it's been fantastic both times. I'll list the recipe then tell you my modifications.

    1/2 small head cabbage, shredded
    2 carrots, shredded
    1 C snow peas, thinly sliced
    1 C radishes, thinly sliced
    6 scallions, thinly sliced
    2 TBSP chopped parsley
    2 TBSP chopped, toasted hazelnuts
    1 TBSP poppy seeds
    Juice of 1/2 lemon
    3 TBSP hazelnut or extra virgin olive oil
    1/4 tsp salt
    1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper

    In a bowl combine everything up through and including the poppy seeds. In a small bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, oil, salt and pepper. Toss with slaw.

    This recipe makes 4 servings, and each serving is only 185 calories but is totally filling. Rather than slice/shred the cabbage and carrots, I just bought the coleslaw already in the bag. Using fresh parsley is important I think. And as you can see I tossed in some cherry tomatoes and some shredded chicken (which will up the calories but figured the protein was a good added touch). I have to say I was really surprised at how awesome this salad tasted! I know it's suppose to be fall....but with the weather we've been having, I thought I'd throw out there one last summer salad recipe for you all to quickly try.

  • Throw in one last summer recipe for the fall. Get the recipe and my modified version to bring back a feel of summer in an instant!

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