decor ideas: pashmina curtains

 

save space & brighten up any room with

PASHMINA CURTAINS!

Recently I moved into a very small room, it only has a teeny little basement window so I decided to fake a large looking window (and add some color) by hanging a curtain rod above my bed and displaying my pashminas. This is a functional, cheap,  easy and pretty way to brighten up a room and show off your favourite scarves. I absolutely love pashmina’s I cannot stress how much of a difference wearing one can make in your style and your warmth!

Another great item to display? Your jewelry collection- accessories as art!

all the pretty pashminas

As you can see, I have a major love for leopard print!

Do you like my home made body pillow cover? Cedric sure does! fake a window using a curtain rod to hang up your scarf collection

What really makes a house a home is the heart. For me my animals are my heart; Cedric is my everything and  I love my fish- an aquarium as a display is serene, relaxing and beautiful. My favourite way to unwind is to light the candles and watch the fishies swim. The soft light and their fluid movements are very peaceful. In every home you should have a place where you can feel peaceful and meditate.

xo, a

instaUPDATE

I’ve had a crazy week, I decided to live with my Grandparents on weekends, and  moved in with my best friend Michelle after having some issues with my previous living arrangements, so I have had no time for blogging with such a big change on such short notice, but I think this is going to be much better! In the mean time, insta-snapshots of my busy week.

new arm candy cross bracelets studs gold

new arm candy – ALDO – cross  + stud stacked braceletsdistracted driving with Cedric Diggory

Cedric Diggory loves car rides! He hopped up onto my shoulder for the long drive!drinks with my new roomie and oldest friend

Back in the city, celebrating moving in with margaritas!and of course, food

..and by stuffing our faces with appetizers from Moxies.first night in the new home, cedric is getting settled in

Cedric getting settled in for his first night in a new home, again!love text, candles, seashells, home decor

Whenever I move in somewhere, I always need to have at least one beautiful thing set up before I unpack everything else! Scented candles, seashells, diamonds and a handwritten love note help me relax. After the stress of moving I unwound before bed with some gentle yoga.mundane task selfie - getting an oil change

Bored and vain getting an oil change. Super mundane stuff.tiger high low hem t shirt

my boy got me a giftcard, and I got me this dope Tiger high-low tee

(and a few other things) from le chateau.depression quote, people are assholes

What I learned in school today.

Hope your week is starting off well, xo, a

New Year, new you

How i created HEALTHY HABITS to get fit last year!

I posted earlier about how I don’t do New Years Resolutions, because I then feel motivated only by obligation and prematurely set up for failure. How many times have you resolved to eat well and exercise every day, only to slip back into old habits by February? We all do it.

did you resolve to GET FIT and BE HEALTHY this year?

Focus on those words, FIT & HEALTHY, because this should be your goal. Not thinness, not an exact number on the scale, or total inches lost, what comes first is your health, physically and mentally.

love your body

You need to be getting active for the right reasons! Make gradual lifestyle changes to better yourself, rather than crash dieting to lose those last pounds, the most important thing is to start your fitness journey for YOU, not based on someone else’s expectation of beauty.

First, banish negative thinking. You are not too fat, ugly, stupid or lazy to do this. You deserve love, but don’t try to lose weight to get a boyfriend (or keep one), try to lose weight to love yourself and appreciate your body. When you love yourself- when you have passion and hobbies and interests that keep you from looking for them, that’s when you find the person you’re meant to be with. When the negative voices in your head tell you that you aren’t good enough and fills you with doubts don’t listen- get up and prove them wrong!

Rather than comparing yourself to photo-shopped print models, find REAL WOMEN TO INSPIRE YOU…

Do you have a friend who has fitness goals as well? Team up, everything is easier with a second voice to motivate! Make sure to find an exercise regime that you are comfortable with, maybe you want to get out of the house or meet people, sign up for a class- yoga, rock climbing, pole dancing? Anything you can dream of, why not try? Or get a gym membership if you are the type who is motivated enough to actually go to the gym. Personally I’m an introvert when it comes to sweating, I prefer to do so in private- the swimming pool is the only public exercise place I dare to venture, and only because I am yet to build my own personal pool.. someday.. in the meantime, I work out at home using the world wide web for inspiration! For amazing fitness inspiration and food ideas I love Taralynn McNitts Blog, for workout ideas my absolute all time favourite is Cassey Ho at Blogilates! I follow a few other fitness blogs for inspiration and often buy the magazine (or at least check the website) Women’s Health, which is an absolute gold mine of information. Its kinda like Cosmo, if Cosmo had actual useful advice, rather than the same sex tips month after month.

Getting fit doesn’t have to be expensive!

In fact, you should be able to get fit essentially for free, provided you have a few basics. My at home fitness kit includes: 8 lb soft kettle ball, dumbbells in 5, 10 and 15lb increments (20 lbs when I borrow my little brothers!), a jump rope, exercise ball, and a yoga mat.

I’ve always considered myself relatively fit and active, but around this time last year I began to really realize that I had let myself slip. The stress and hopelessness I felt in my relationship had me sitting on the couch pounding back chocolate cake wondering why my boyfriend loved World of Warcraft more than me. I wasn’t in a healthy place mentally, I felt disgusting all the time, tired, out of breath and the repeated rejection I faced in my relationship had me feeling unattractive and unworthy. I hadn’t been to the pool in months, I could barely will myself to do anything other than work. I felt hopeless, overwhelmed, exhausted and didn’t even know where to start.  When I started feeling out of breath climbing to our third floor apartment, I realized that I needed to stop living in denial, and make a change for the better. When our parents (my ex boyfriends and mine) decided to send us on a trip for Christmas last year, it was the kick I needed to finally got my butt in motion!

First I got back to swimming…

for me, swimming is therapy, it always has been. It forces you to be aware and in control of your entire body, regulate your breathing and the rush of the water drowns out any of those overwhelming thoughts in your head. Its proven to be one of the very best exercises you can do. If you don’t know how to swim, don’t wait to learn- or try something like aquazsize, a low impact cardio workout that tones using the natural resistance and buoyancy of the water.

Next I added in Pilates and Yoga. I really lump these into one as I do poses or moves from both in any given session. Super power your yoga poses by holding light weights as you move through a series. Focus on form and doing slow but correct reps, not speeding sloppily though the workout. You’ll only be cheating yourself. If you have never tried it before, sign up for a class to learn the basics, then you can easily create a custom routine to do at home. I learned using Stott Pilates dvds that I got in my Special K box about ten years ago, I still have them, and they still work! Buying a workout DVD (or downloading it) is one of the simplest and cheapest ways to get fit, provided you use it regularly. Like I said, Blogilates has awesome FREE workout videos, bookmark it and then try not to cry the first time you try one!

Finally I used short cardio (jumping jacks, jump rope or running on the spot) combined with weight and resistance training to tone and shed pounds. By alternating between high energy cardio bursts, and slow reps with the weights you boost your metabolism, build muscle and burn fat. Do overhead tricep extentions with weights as you do squats (for perfect squat form check out another favourite fitness blogger of mine!), or bicep curls as you do lunges- anything to add extra weight to movement based exercises. Adding extra weight to ordinary exercises makes them more challenging and increases the rewards!

then: ~JANUARY 2012

now: JANUARY 2013

after

I lost 25 lbs in 6 months by forming HEALTHY HABITS

I formed these habits over a span of months, rather than trying to force a restrictive diet or strict regime upon myself. I focused on just getting better and being at peace with my body, not losing weight, and the pounds melted off. When I broke my pelvis in July, I recovered several weeks ahead of schedule- I attribute that early recovery entirely to physical activity, primarily swimming. Ten days after I broke it I was in the pool doing modified water workouts, a month after, I was doing yoga again. What was supposed to take a minimum of 6-8 weeks to recover from, took me just under 5 weeks. You might notice a slight indent on my left thigh, this bruise is all that remains of my injury (6 months later) everything else is 100% back to normal. The bruise doesn’t even hurt, but I believe the muscle was so damaged by the impact that it will likely be years (if ever) before it fully heals, a minor price to pay for my mobility as far as I’m concerned. The time spend bedridden felt unbearable, I had just started realizing how strong my body was when suddenly it was broken! But lying there, with my leg muscles deteriorating before my eyes, only made me more determined to get back up and regain that strength as soon as I could.

When I first started I would do a workout video one day, and go swimming another.

For the first few weeks I pushed myself to maintain at least 2 workouts a week. At first I had to force myself but my workouts got easier, I added more steps, increased weights, went running occasionally (through with my bad knees I couldn’t keep it up), rather than walk up the stairs on my way home, I started to run them. I noticed my energy start to increase, my mood improved and I just physically and mentally felt better! I started to notice that if I went a few days without working out, I would go back to feeling depressed an apathetic. Once I realized that, whenever I started on that negative thought pattern I’m so prone to, I would get up from whatever I was doing (usually TV or the computer, as I find those to be my biggest negativity triggers) and work out instead. It didn’t even have to be much.. 15 minutes of yoga was enough to calm my mind and re-energize my body.

At that same time I was also having digestive issues, with symptoms similar to Celiac Disease, although not triggered by gluten. I was tested for multiple possibilities and nothing came back. After years of problems, I finally realized the only real change in my diet (I never had any problems before moving out) was that I was no longer eating the organic meats my family raises on the farm, but instead most of my meals were store bought and prepackaged. By slowly removing and reintroducing foods, I found what the doctors couldn’t, that it was meat making me sick. I switched to only eating organic farm raised meat (bet you thought I was gonna say vegetarian- HAH, not for me) and cut out all the high sodium processed foods I loved like Sidekicks and Icheban. I started making almost all my food from scratch, because I realized it was the preservatives, antibiotics and god knows what else in the prepackaged foods that were wreaking havoc on my intestines. Switching to farm meat was easy for me, since I know people.. but even still, it required I shift my eating habits in order to get enough protein; avocado, eggs, beans, lentils and nuts are my favorite alternate sources.

Even before I switched to organic, I was eating relatively healthy. I have always adhered to intuitive eating, and rejected the idea of dieting in any form. I am not someone who does well with “You can’t!” because my immediate reaction is “oh yeah, watch me!” so rigid diets that don’t allow “bad” foods (or really any restrictive diet at all) makes me want to binge based partly on spite and partly because I sit and focus on how much I want what I can’t have! Instead of dieting, I eat a healthy base diet filled with whole grains, organic meat, lots of fruits and vegetables, and allow myself to indulge my sweet tooth. I pay close attention to portioning, which I believe is a huge factor in obesity in North America thanks to portions 2-3 times the recommended size being served in many restaurants. I eat lots of little snacks through out the day, usually in some form of chocolate because I am an addict.

Other than being a legit Chocoholic, my eating habits are generally healthy (and its been argued by some that chocolate is healthy so HAH!) I don’t drink pop, if I drink juice, I generally dilute it with water. Sweet drinks are a HUGE factor in obesity, and are just terrible for your health. If you are drinking pop on a daily basis, do yourself a favor and stop, you’ll lose weight guaranteed. A huge part of being healthy is being hydrated, so make sure to drink lots and lots of water- at least 2-4 liters a day. Water re-hydrates your system and flushes out sodium and toxins, minimizing bloat. Nothing replaces water- if you don’t like the taste, slice up a lemon and add that in for additional benefits.

Whatever excuses you are making for not exercising, STOP! THERE IS NO EXCUSE, and no one but you has the POWER TO MAKE A POSITIVE CHANGE!

After - pilates, yoga, swimmingA typical dry land workout for me is about a half hour, maybe 45 minutes on an ambitious day. I move through a variety of Pilates and yoga poses, with circuits focusing on the core, legs and arms, interspersed with bursts of cardio and weight training. I posted a variation of my usual workout here.

At the pool I swim for about an hour. This includes light yoga in the steam room to warm up and stretch out, and at least 15 minutes of treading water, using different kicks and alternating hands in and out of the water. The basic kicks in swimming are flutterwhipdolphineggbeaterscissor. Generally I do a minute set of each; 30 seconds with hands, 30 seconds no hands, then switch kicks and repeat all 5 kick circuits without stopping twice. Once warmed up, I do laps in 50 meter sets, alternating generally between my preferred strokes; freestyle and breaststroke, but occasionally doing either backstroke or the most difficult of all- butterfly! Because of my swim club background, I often mix strokes and kicks into drills- for example breaststroke arms with a dolphin kick. Dolphin kick is one of the absolute best core work outs you can find, but butterfly is such a difficult stroke that most people never get the benefits, by modifying it you get the benefits, without looking and feeling like a drowning victim.

Lately I’ve fallen off the wagon a bit. In the summer I was exercising 4 or 5 times a week, now its down to 1 or 2 times! Something about summer and being able to go outside makes SUCH a difference in my motivation, in winter I just want to hibernate under my blankies and cuddle Cedric. I’ve also been a lot more busy with school and work. To sneak in fitness where I can I do things like run the stairs during breaks in class, do 10 squats every time I go to the bathroom, and even just walk at a brisk pace wherever I go. The smallest things add up to make big changes. If you get in the habit of doing things you feel are simple, its more likely that you will continue to do them, and then seek out more challenges.

i know i could probably lose another TEN POUNDS…

if I decided dieting was worth it (I literally eat cake almost every day… it just keeps me sane okay) or if I wanted to push my training routine. But I’m not now, and never have been a size zero… and that’s okay!  What matters is that I feel better than ever before, and feeling great is the first step to looking great. Remember:

XO, A

I want to thank my personal motivators, who are always there to support and motivate me whenever I need them! Amazon girls- I love you, stay strong always!

workout, eat cake, repeat

It was an absolutely beautiful day in the city yesterday, by Calgary in the  middle of November standards anyways.. something like 6 degrees! It might as well be a sauna. I spent the day relaxing, reading on the deck, catching up on my laundry and getting organized for my first day of school *tear* and job interviews afterwards. But first, I worked out using this routine in my fancy yoga room! It was so lovely I finished with some light yoga outside to cool down.

 Then onto a healthy *cough* breakfast of mini Christmas oranges, earl grey tea and Skor red velvet cake. Yeah, I’m going to let that sink in. SKOR RED VELVET CAKE. This is why I work out you guys, because I legitimately have the biggest sweet-tooth of all time. My friends make fun of me because I always have candy in my purse, and cake in my fridge, but I believe in the little indulgences. Dieting has never been my thing, restricting myself from comfort food makes me sad. Chocolate makes me happy. So everything in moderation, I say!

xo, a

All Moved In

Well, I’m all moved in! Classes begin Friday morning and I have been job hunting like crazy these last few days! I’m feeling so thankful and excited to be  living with a family friend who is honestly one of the most interesting and inspirational women I know! I thought you might like to see my new home, so here’s the virtual tour!

Welcome to my humble abode, come on down!

Sitting Area, featuring the one and only Cedric Diggory!

The view from Cedric’s Cage. Note the giant bowl of candy. This is my happy place.

The study area. Elephants never forget, hopefully I wont either?

I get to fall into this comfy bed after studying my little heart out!
Check out the body pillow case I made! (Its leopard print, of course!)

In the morning when I finally roll out of bed, I go straight to the makeup counter to beautify!

Re-purposed Secretary Desk to Makeup Counter. Click to DIY!

lipbalm and gloss, eyeliners & mascaras, lipstick and stain

eye shadows + lotions + hair care + perfumes

And of course, the most important part of any fashionista’s home- the closet. Isn’t it beautiful!?

Boots + Sweaters + Denim = Fall Essentials

And finally, the most amazing part of the whole house is the yoga studio! Beautiful.
How lucky am I to live with a woman who has a whole ROOM devoted to yoga?! Love.

I always feel more settled once my home is organized, decorated and clean.

Having art on my walls and animals in my room makes it feel like home!

I’m really hoping that after the last few months of seemingly never ending bad karma that now things are going to change! I feel like this is a step in the right direction that I’m so glad to be taking. I’m really excited to be moving forward, and even if karma decides she’s not done with me, I’m ready for another round! When things seem to be piling up against you, and like nothing is every going in your favor, the only thing that can make it worse is if you believe that to be true. Believe in your strength, know yourself, stand true to your beliefs and celebrate the ordinary things every day. Be happy for what you have, but never settle for less than you deserve. Strive every day, work hard every day, learn something, make something, be a good friend. Eventually what you put in will come back out. Remember, everything will work out in the end. Find what you love.

xo, aiyana

Sunday Motivation

This morning I woke up and I could see!! I felt so grateful that I was able to open my eyes (both of them!) and see clearly! It felt like a miracle! (But it wasn’t) Normally I wake up and entirely take for granted the fact that I can see, I just get up and continue with my day without ever thinking; “wow, its super rad to be able to see stuff.” But not today.

Its easy to take what you have for granted until you don’t have it anymore.

 Normally on Sundays if I get out of bed before noon I already consider the day a failure, but when I woke up at 8 AM this morning I felt super well rested because yesterday all I did was nap! Having wasted a full 24 hours of my life the day before, as soon as I realized I could see, I was out of bed and started the day with a workout. It felt amazing! I am usually an evening workout person, ( I’m a night owl, not an early bird) but being able to get up and move this morning felt so great!

This is a general idea of what one of my workouts looks like, give it a shot!

yoga, pilates, weights

The reason I felt so thankful when I woke up this Sunday and could SEE was because I spent all of Saturday half blind and completely miserable. On Friday night I went out for Halloween dressed as Selene (from the Underworld series) complete with colored contacts. By Saturday in the early AM hours my eyes were killing me! I only wear reading glasses, and had never before worn contacts, how do people stand this pain!?! I took them out and thought that the pain would go away, but boy was I wrong! I’m not sure exactly what happened, but I think I got something in my right eye, and it was stuck in there for a long time, like until half way through Saturday when I fished out an unidentified yellow object. Again, at this point I thought my problems were solved but I believe that UYO was in there long enough to cut the eyelid a bit and for that to get infected (TMI?) forming a small bump/cyst/sty. THE MAIN POINT BEING IT WAS ON THE INSIDE OF MY EYELID AND IT HURT. So all day Saturday it felt like something was scratching across my eyeball which caused me a great deal of discomfort and I was fairly vocal about it.

I refused the hospital, sometimes (like when you break your pelvis) you gotta go, but mostly I prefer to self medicate. Or in this case, I came home to my mom, begged her to help me and together we decided to put antibiotic eye cream in and hope for the best. Our hesitation was because its an antibiotic eye cream that we have for the cows… but hey, desperate times! That’s how you know you’re from the country… “Doctor? Nahh, just stick that cow gooo in there and sleep it off” But it worked! Thank god! Because I’m sure going to the ER on the Saturday night prior to Halloween when the roads are slick with ice with nothing but “there’s something in my eye”  would have resulted in a few eye rolls from the ER nurses and a very long wait time! Anyways, the point is, Saturday was a miserable time so Sunday was better just by virtue of not having my own body stab me in the eye all day long! Its the little things.

 

let me know if you try it! its a killer! xo, a

beat winter blues

Hello my lovelies,

Remember how I was all STAY POSITIVE, ITS FALL.. last month? Well I live in Alberta, and despite the fact that winter isn’t supposed to arrive until December 21st ITS WINTER NOW and I am super unimpressed. In fact I legitimately believe I have seasonal affective disorder.

There are a multitude of reasons why I hate winter but its mostly because every time it gets too cold, I get sick.  The snow and the cold combined make me hide in bed under the blankets. Then I sit on my computer and  I click though all these beautiful fashion blogs, and you know what, most of the time- ITS SUNNY AND DRY. ihatechu. Meanwhile I am inside, sick, stuffed up and hating the world through frosty windows.

The other problem is fashion takes the back burner when there are 2 foot snow drifts to wade through, cars to scrape and a high chance of getting stuck and having to dig yourself out in the freezing cold. Oh the joys of winter! So many cute clothes to wear, but its too cold to wear most of them! How I wish I lived in California, my style would be so much different if I wasn’t hindered by practicality.

I feel like winter just puts me into a funk. I feel angrier about every single thing, because suddenly the simplest tasks (like say, going to water my horses) are no longer enjoyable, but rather an unpleasant grueling battle against the elements. Alberta winters are mentally, physically and emotionally exhausting, and if you disagree, you are wrong. End of story.

When I find myself stuck in this mental quagmire of anger and irritation, I try to remember this:

work out and feel better

Make this your mantra then put on some tunes and get moving!
Music and endorphin’s are a killer combination to boost your mood! 
*

This last year I’ve been focusing a lot more on my fitness, and I’ve been much happier for it! Not just because the pounds have been coming off, but because I have more energy, feel better, and my body is under my control. I recently read a post that really resonated with me, I strongly encourage you to read Emma’s top five fitness tips here! I swear if she hadn’t put it down first, I would have written the exact same advice!

For me I try to work out at least 4 x a week. Often I do less, occasionally I do more, it just depends on what’s going on around me. One of my favorite ways to get active was doing yoga outside, if you live somewhere where this is possible then get out there and try it! Yoga and Pilates have been my go-to’s forever, there are lots of great online resources to use (blogilates is my favourite!) so you can get fit at home for free! I could go on for days about the benefits of yoga but it seems like everyone already knows about them! So the only question is, why isn’t everyone doing it?!

My other love is swimming, which is proven to be one of the best exercises for you and is an excellent skill to have just in case! For me personally, I saw the tremendous benefits this summer while I was recovering from my broken pelvis. I healed weeks faster than the doctors anticipated and I believe it had a great deal to do with the swimming I had been doing prior to my injury and as rehab afterwards. The first thing I asked my doctor was how soon I could be in the pool- as soon as it was clear I was hobbling to the pool on my walker four times a week!  Check out your local pool for lane swimming times, or lessons if you don’t know how- its never too late to learn!

Finally, one of the biggest things for my fitness motivation is having a buddy, my brother and I work out together at least twice a week! Make fitness a priority in your family to be healthy for life! Having someone there to push you, remind you of your goals, and just have fun with makes working out that much easier. My other main source of motivation is Pinterest where there are TONS of workout ideas and motivational quotes! I also follow some great fitness blogs like Joy Fitness and Style.

So even though I sometimes have to literally FORCE myself out of my warm blankies and into my workout gear, as soon as I get going I enjoy it, and as soon as I’m done I feel like a whole different person! If you haven’t found that motivation up until now, then make today the day!

xo, a