Things I Love Fridays


1HEARTI’m glad I have the Oatmeal in my life. And real oatmeal for that matter, too!



Ice Bucket Challenges are all the rage right now and it’s all about raising money for charity and ALS awareness. If you haven’t seen what an ice bucket challenge is all about check this video Gwyneth Paltrow did before you visit the best ice bucket thats been released recently.


My new favorite tumblr blog to go to full of visual candy!



You know what fall means to me? Hiking! Well, sadly I can’t do the same forest hikes I did back on the East Coast, crunching around on fallen leaves, drinking hot chocolate out of thermos’, and then going to an apple orchard to get some yummies to make pie with …. Ok before I get carried away if you live in the Los Angeles area check out some of these great spots!

Everyone loves a good old fashioned gym fail video (unless someone gets hurt… it’s not so funny then)


I know this isn’t so healthy of me to suggest, but it tells me that the yummy times are coming (and if you want an endless supply here you go!). Just behave yourself with them!!



August 29, 2014 - 1:00 pm

Sara - This is THE best photo, ever!! Love!

28 Week Challenge Update

Weight loss Before and After

I started this blog at the beginning of the year with a fitness project in mind. I wanted to once and for all get fit and stay fit. I invented a program for myself called the 28 Week Challenge. I didn’t say months because I thought the word months would be too daunting, nor did I say the amount of days because the number (around 200) would be equally scary, so I said weeks… 28 of them. A small number to digest and since weeks can fly by in a flash it was easier to swallow.

I then hired a friend of mine who creates meal and workout plans to help me get there. At the time I knew a decent amount about nutrition and fitness, but what I didn’t know was how to get myself in shape for competitions and thats what I wanted my end goal to be (he’s also great at helping people who don’t have competitions as a end goal). I stuck to it pretty dead on and the only thing I allowed myself was a few cheat meals every few weeks as a re-feed to gain more energy. Totally approved (sometimes — eep!)

I motivated myself by starting this blog and having to come clean and admit to everyone what I was doing, by creating a weekly checklist of how I should feel that week and keep notice of, and monthly rewards for doing awesomely! And they ALL worked (try them!!)

Before and After

It has now officially been over 3o weeks and I forgot to make an update. Basically, I’m not done yet. I could stop if I didn’t have fitness competitions in mind, but since that’s my goal I still have a some pounds to shed and some muscle to grow. So here it is… my befores and afters and the differences. Now, I forgot to check the scale (well really didn’t want to) when I started and I didn’t have a fat caliper at the time, but my guess is I was 160-170 lbs. (I’m 5’9″ and a half) and 22% body fat. Pretty average for my height. Now I’m around 148 lbs. and about 14-15% body fat. While on paper it doesn’t appear that I’ve lost much as far as the scale goes, I did gain a TON of muscle. Everything is much tighter and eating absolutely clean feels great, I sleep better (even though I wake up every few hours to go to the bathroom – so much water drinking!), I have more energy, I don’t crave bad foods much anymore, and I haven’t even had a cold in 6 months (and that’s something from someone who used to get sick quite often).

Things I’ve noticed:

  1. I still have my fat days… and weeks. I think this means even Victoria Secret models have these kind of days. I guess it’s just normal!
  2. I can get unbelievably bloated (the after photos are actually me in a bloat state). The reasons are either too much salt intake (even the smallest amount now throws my body out of whack) or just being a girl with normal girl hormones.
  3. 7-8 months is a LONG time to be on a diet & workout plan, and I realize I don’t show the typical dramatic weight loss before & afters, but I still eat close to 2000 calories a day so that I can workout every day. I eat more than someone who wouldn’t be working out as much. My goals were to get in the best fitness shape. Not to just lose fat. Building muscle isn’t a quick process. Some days I get down on why it’s taking so long. I forget this. Maybe this point is just an affirmation for myself.
  4. I love my legs. I used to hate them (especially when I couldn’t fit into normal jeans) but I’ve come to terms with that they’ll never look slender and thin. They’re my best workout assets. Sometimes I tell myself that there are guys out there who would kill to have my muscular calves.
  5. My legs swell up at night at least an inch all the way around. Still haven’t quite figured out why when it’s not on intense leg workout days. I suspect my body has gained a reaction to my everyday incline cardio hiking & stair mill climbing. I’m ok with this. It means I have excuses to lie down when I work (so gravity doesn’t pull more water throughout the days into my legs).

Before and After Legs

I was originally going to do some shows for October, November and December, but I do love what my body has been turning into and it’s opened up a whole new world for me in the way of interests. I’ve recently decided to take my time on the end of my journey (which doesn’t mean slowing down and allowing more cheats, no way!) and getting ready for fitness shows so that I can be be absolutely perfect. No rushing the process and doing things drastically to be ready in the short time that I have left. If I decide to do shows in Spring 2015 instead, I’m 100% okay with that (originally, I thought of it being all or nothing for this year and it wasn’t helping my progress). At least that way I get to enjoy a mini Thanksgiving meal — the first in years because before this year, I’ve been on some sort of annoying terrible trendy diet and never making any changes (diets are not the key!). There’s an easy balance between a “normal/average” life and a clean eating life and I’m living it. That is the only way to enjoy the long process (the forever, from-here-on-out lifestyle)! Love this healthy life!


Workout Leggings 2014

Lululemon Wunder Under Pant // Lorna Jane Chevron Sparkles Tight // Black Milk Clothing Mechanical Bones // Athleta Soho Pant // Nike Fast Track Printed Tight // CW-X Stabilyx Tight (compression tights!) // Onzie Graphics Leggings


It’s almost time to break out the longer tights again and put away the shorts. Such sad times, but maybe some of these suggestions will help make the pain of bare leg freedom all good and worth it in the end!

Reviews on Protein Powders

Protein Powder Reviews

Let me start off by saying a couple of things before I get into the protein powders I’ve tried that are out there…

1) Protein powders are a meal replacement. Something quick and easy. They should not replace all your daily protein needs because your body absorbs more & better protein from a real food source much easier (e.g. white fish, chicken, lean red meats and turkey).

2) These are just my takes on what I like and what I don’t like. If you have any suggestions please add them below in the comments! I’d love to hear from you!

Here we go!

NLA FOR HER PROTEIN POWDER [best expensive protein]

By far the BEST tasting protein powder out there as long as you buy their chocolate eclair version. Their cupcake flavor reminds me of banana flavored liquid penicillin. Maybe I’m weird. Anyway! Back to the Chocolate Eclair … It’s great tasting, strong in flavor and reminds me there’s a hint of coconut. Almost like a liquid version of a 3 Musketeers chocolate bar. The nutrition is pretty decent at 190 calories for 2 scoops, 3g of carbs, and 28g of protein. It’s jam packed with extra nutrients and vitamins, but if you’re taking your daily vitamins this shouldn’t matter too much. It also has a healthy dose of Glutamine, and if you don’t take that powder separately during the day then it might be the most well- rounded powder out there. (To the point, Glutamine helps heal your body after workouts.)
The only downside I have to it is it’s marketed to women so that really just means the price is jacked up compared to other brands. Unless it’s “bulking” protein powder or laced with testosterone (does testosterone protein powder even exist?) most powders are absolutely fine for all genders. Guys just tend to drink more scoops (2-3) at a time. So yes, boys, you can even drink this, but you’ll probably go through it in 2 weeks.
(You can find NLA’s whey here)

CELLUCOR COR-PERFORMANCE WHEY [best for baking with protein]

Once upon a time I bought this powder because I heard it was all the rage and everyone loved it. The first few times of drinking it, it was fine. A bit strong in flavor, but good. Over time (in a short timeframe), it became too much. Too much richness in the flavor to the point where it made me sick. It took me a year to realize what this protein powder is absolutely AMAZING for and that’s to cook with. It’s insanely strong in flavor so when made into protein waffles, pancakes or cake, the flavor shines through perfectly. I guess it helps that they make flavors like Cinnamon Swirl (tastes like a cinnamon bun!), s’mores, red velvet cake, birthday cake, chocolate mint, peanut butter marshmallow, etc. – all perfect for baking. Here’s the thing… I’m a sweet tooth person. I probably would eat every meal as cake and ice cream if I could. Richness and fake dessert flavorings never bothered me, but with this… it did. The nutritional facts (if you follow those) are 130 calories for 1 scoop, 4g carbs, 25g protein.
(You can find Cellucor’s whey here)

OPTIMUM NUTRITION GOLD STANDARD 100% WHEY [best for the money protein]

This is my everyday protein powder. Decent in flavoring, awesome in price and value, and just an all around good one to drink. There’s really not much to say about it because it is what it is. I get the 5 lb. containers (which is around 70+ scoops worth) and it usually lasts me anywhere from 3 weeks to a month and a half (depending on what my meal plan has me eating that month). I haven’t tried too many flavors… they have a lot, but most are rated terribly. So far the BEST flavor is Mocha Cappuccino, the okay-ish flavor is Extreme Milk Chocolate and a weird flavor (yet has better ratings then most) is Chocolate Coconut. Kind of tastes a bit sour. I hoped for the best with this one. I really wanted it to be as amazing as the NLA for Her one. The nutritional facts are 120 calories for 1 rounded scoop, 3g carbs, and 24g protein.
(You can find ON’s whey here)

GNARLY NUTRITION [best for the cleanest ingredients protein]

This is perfect for all you Paleo folks out there. It’s from grass-fed New Zealand cows and is the cleanest whey protein shake out there that I’ve come across. It’s gluten free, non-GMO’s, and has no artificial sweeteners, colors and flavors. The unfortunate bit is it’s lower in protein per scoop and higher in carbs, so you need to watch out for that… 95 calories for 1 scoop, 4.5g carbs, and 12.5g protein.
(You can find Gnarly Nutrition’s whey here)


I guess all in all, the best for content and added ingredients is NLA For Her, but if you take your daily vitamins & supplements you don’t really need those things in the protein powder. In fact, you probably don’t absorb as much from the shake as you would taking your vitamins throughout the day.

Other proteins I’ve had in the past are Designer Whey (which is another one marketed towards women and advertising that its low in calories — I don’t love this one at all), Egg Protein (kind of weird tasting and better for baking with), and Vega Protein (just gross, but if you’re vegan you don’t have much other options).

August 26, 2014 - 11:39 pm

Kim - thanks so much for this! I’m new to the whole protein powder thing and there are so, so, so, many out there! I love the idea of cooking with them, I’ll give that a try.

August 28, 2014 - 3:34 pm

kirsten - Yay! I’m glad it helped even just a tiny bit!


Old iPhone Photos

I was cleaning off my iPhone the other day (because I ran out of room) and decided to do a little throwback in photos. All from before I moved to California (for the second time)!

1 | One of my favorite kind of restaurants. I wish fried plantains were healthy.
2 | I sure do miss instant polaroids on land cameras and polaroids for 4×5 large format cameras (can you tell my background is photography?)
3 | There’s something magical about photos from planes
4 | You should all leave me a comment below telling me whats your current favorite book right now. I WANT TO KNOW!
5 | I really do love Cuban food. My favorite? Cubanos! Why can’t you be healthy?!
6 | I’m a crafty person and a very I need to make it kind of person. I absolutely love crafting silver jewelry and wish I had the ability to do it more often (but unless you sell it, it gets pricey and I have a lot of other things on my craft to do list right now)
7 | Sunlight photo paper! I love this stuff, but never can think of things to create on it.
8 | Beautiful light on a busy city
9 | I miss this shoes. I don’t even care if they’re not in style anymore, they were comfy!

[more images & progress images can be found on my instagram @kirstencupcake]