My Favorite Workout – the Megaformer

Hi!!! It has been too long! I got seriously wrapped up in the craziness of the holidays, Christmas planning and baking and shopping – all of that good stuff. So unfortunately, this post has been postponed……until NOW! I’m going to go into a bit of detail about my favorite workout for the past 3 years. I loved this workout so much when I became a client at my local studio in January 2014 (wow!) that I became a certified trainer soon after. I have been an active trainer for the Lagree Method workout since May 2015, and the addiction has not let up as an avid ‘client’ as well!

For those of you who are not familiar with the Lagree Method, it is sometimes misclassified as Pilates. Though the roots of the Lagree Method are in reformer Pilates, the workout is very, verrrry different. I often have clients come to their first class with expectations that the workout will be similar to a mat or reformer Pilates class that they recently took, and their reaction post-class to how different the workout is always gives me chuckle. Many Lagree method studios (the one I am employed at included) market themselves as Pilates studio because that is the workout niche that they seem to fit into, but in reality it’s so much more.

The Lagree Method workout is a total body workout, all done on a machine created by Sebastian Lagree known as a the MEGAFORMER. Now at first glance, many refer to the Megaformer as a ‘torture machine.’ I promise, it’s not! Despite it’s intimidating look, this contraption is amazing. It truly gives you the ability to pack a completely efficient, safe, full body workout into between 40-50 minutes (depending on your studio). The basis of the Megaformer workout is high intensity, low impact. It’s safe on the muscles, joints, connective tissue…but it’s going to give your muscles a lengthening and strengthening that is almost unachievable in any other workout.

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The studio that I am a trainer at is CoreFire located in both Montclair and Ridgewood, New Jersey. Just think about that – “CORE-FIRE.” That is literally what this workout does – it sets your core on FIRE! The greatest part about it is though you spend segments of the workout focusing on other areas of your body such as lower body and upper body, you are always using your core muscles on the machine. There’s always an opportunity to engage the core, really chiseling away at that sought-after 6 pack. And aside from getting into the core, this workout gets some serious booty work in ๐Ÿ˜‰

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If you are looking for a new work out regimen in this New Year to get your resolution off the ground, I DEFINITELY recommend finding a megaformer studio in your area. The workout does tend to be on the expensive side, but if you are looking for results in lengthening, strengthening, toning, flexibility and really cutting in to those hard to reach muscles, I can attest to the fact that a Lagree Method workout will not let you down.

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Feel free to reach out to me with any questions about my studio, my work outs or the Lagree Method work out in general!

See my studio’s website here:ย Corefire

Christmas Banana Pudding

Hi! Changing it up on the blog today – sharing my Christmas Banana Pudding recipe! This recipe is super easy, and it’s soooo yummy. It’s a perfect addition to your dessert table whether it’s for Christmas or a holiday party. It take a little bit of time because you need to let the pudding set for at least 6 hours, but as long as you have some time to work with I’m telling you, you can whip this pudding right up in only a few steps! See the full recipe and ingredients list below if you’re interested in trying it out ๐Ÿ™‚

banana-puddingWhat you’ll need:

– 1 box vanilla pudding (I’m totally a make everything from scratch kind of girl, but I have to admit I’ve never actually tried to make pudding from scratch. It’s now on the to-do list)

– 2 tsp vanilla extract

– 1 1/2 cups of water

– 1 can condensed milk (14 oz)

– 2 cups heavy cream

– at least 3 bananas (sliced)

– Nilla wafers

-cinnamon sugar

Even looking at this ingredients list, it almost looks too good to be true. Just wait until you taste it! Let’s get to the prepping:

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  1. Mix the box of vanilla pudding, water & condensed milk and vanilla extract using your Kitchen Aid or electric mixer. Once thoroughly mixed, cover with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for at least 6 hours to set (overnight preferable)
  2. In a separate bowl, whip heavy cream until fluffy
  3. When pudding mixture is ready, begin folding the whipped cream into it, mixing in intervals. Fully incorporate the whipped cream before adding more until fully incorporated
  4. Add layer of Nilla wafers to the bottom of your serving bowl
  5. Pour half of your pudding mixture in over wafers
  6. Layer healthy amount of Nilla wafers & bananas, followed by other half of pudding mixture
  7. Top with Nilla wafers, sliced bananas & cinnamon sugar

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I absolutely LOVE this recipe, and it’s just perfect for the busy holiday season. I think pudding is just such an easy and quick addition for the table at Christmas, and everyone goes wild for it! You can come up with cute ways to serve it as well, like decorated martini glasses or elegant China. I’d say the only pitfall of this recipe is that you do ideally need that over-night to allow the pudding to set. Otherwise, it’s super easy, super manageable and your guests or fellow party-goers will absolutely love it!

Lots of Faux Fur, Some Snow Flakes & Everything in Between – Decorating for the Holidays

Hi! Sorry it’s been a little bit of time before I was able to get my second post up on the blog. I’ve been doing A LOT of shopping – I am sure I am not alone there ๐Ÿ˜‰ so I’ve been trying to brainstorm which direction I wanted to go first. I have been having SO much fun decorating my apartment for the holidays this year. I tried to stick to more of a theme this year, getting everything to flow and match a little bit better. My apartment is not too big, so the more holiday decorations can flow from room to room, the more put together the place looks as a whole. The biggest thing I have been into this year has been faux fur. I just love it! It’s so warm looking, it reminds me so much of cuddling, snuggling and home. That screams Christmas to me. I think it’s a great incorporation for Christmas time because of the white snowy look you can go with, along with the fun santa boot & attire that usually incorporates some of that pretty white fur. Here’s a peak in to how I’ve been decorating for the holidays, along with some links on where to find this amazing home decor!

This is ย my ย new tree skirt! It’s a two-toned, ivory faux fur 52″ rug. I love this piece! The off-white fur provides a beautiful contrast for the deep green tree. The one thing I will say is it is very obvious when the pine needles begin to fall off the tree onto the rug, so I have been constantly picking them off to keep the rug appearing perfectly pure. Otherwise, I love it and I can’t wait to start piling presents under the tree ๐Ÿ™‚ I have a few other faux fur pieces in my apartment that really compliment this tree skirt as well, which make me love it even more! I picked it up at Home Goods for $49.99, so I don’t have an exact link, but I can provide link to similar ones below.

 

More fur! This is my table runner (center piece) on my dining room table. My dining room table is a dark Mahogany wood, so this beautiful white table runner really pops. I also added some fun pieces with the santa boot (fur again) and gold sparkle wire Christmas trees. I picked up the table runner and trees at Pier 1 Imports and the santa boot (which turns on and is the cutest thing!) is another Homes Goods steal.


Okay! This will be my last fur-related decor item (sort-of). I LOVE accent pillows, I mean, who doesn’t? They are such a fun way to add some flavor to a room. So, of course I incorporated all things I love here: faux fur, glitter and holiday cheer. The faux fur blanket and brown / two-toned pillows are part of my everyday home decor. For the holidays, I’ve added these adorable santa belt pillows with the gemstone buckle detail to step up my couch game. These pillows are too small to be on my big couch alone, but they are perfect accent pieces to my already fur-filled couch!

tree-topperNow, it’s onto the snowflakes… I don’t know what it is, I just have ย a thing for them this holiday season. I really put a lot of thought as to what I wanted to put on top of my tree. I mean, in terms of your tree- that’s a BIG deal. It’s kind of like the center piece of your tree. When I was younger my parents always had an angel at the top of our tree – we were never a star family. Now, in this more contemporary age of upside down santa boots and champagne bottles, they have moved on to a giant bow at the top of their tree, and I have chosen to go with this fabulous glitter-fied snowflake. It looks awesome when the sun hits it in the day and even better when the Christmas lights are glistening at night. I picked this little beauty up at Pier 1 Imports last season. Links at the bottom for more Christmas tree topper ideas!

snowflake-garland1Next up in the snowflake column is this amazing snowflake garland that I am completely obsessed with! I have about 10 strands of this – they are each about 6′ long. This garland is SOO glittery. Seriously, when I am decorating it kind of gets all over my hands and hardwood floors, but hey, that’s the nature of the business, right? It really brings the tree to life and adds a really fun dimension other than tree lights and ornaments, especially because the snowflakes are 3-D.

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And the last holiday decoration that I want to talk about is one of my favorites, in a room that sometimes gets neglected from those Christmas decorations. I got these AMAZING dish towels from Pier 1 and think they are just the cutest thing. For my fellow dog lovers – these are the perfect dish towels to add as a decoration to your oven handle, and you can even leave them up through the winter season ๐Ÿ™‚

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Follow the links below to find where I’ve picked up some of my favorite holiday decor items!

  • Tree Skirt: Home Goods; similar here orย here
  • Table Runner & Trees: Pier 1 Imports: get it hereย & here
  • Santa Pillow: Pier 1 Imports: get it here
  • Snowflake Tree Topper: Pier 1 Imports: get it here
  • Snowflake Tree Garland: Nordstrom last season ๐Ÿ˜ฆ
  • Doggy Dish Towels: Pier 1 Imports: get it here & here

 

Don’t forget to subscribe & follow my IG account if you like what you see! Much more to come through the holiday season! Xoxo – M

Bell Sleeves & Fall Colors – Thanksgiving Day Attire

 

Hello and Happy Thanksgiving! First off, I want to express how excited I am to be writing my very first blog post on MaraculouStyles! I have been dreaming about creating a blog for years, but I have always, always struggled to narrow in on one topic that I would want my blog to focus on. I’ve read several pages offering blog advice that say you really should narrow in on ones specific thing to revolve your blog around. That’s too hard for me: I have so many ideas, so many things I love! So, I went with the best of both worlds and chose to simply center my blog around all thingsย “style,” hopefully giving me a little bit more journalistic freedom and leeway ๐Ÿ™‚

So, starting off in true style….

This is my Thanksgiving Day get up! This. Dress. Is. Everything. And bonus: I got it on sale! The minute I saw it I just thought yes, I need to wear this to Thanksgiving Day dinner. The fall colors, floral detail and intricate branch & feather design really just makes me think of the month of November. I’ve really been into neutrals lately, but this dress incorporates some pops of red and green to really bring it to life.

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My favorite detail of this dress? Definitely the bell sleeves. I think I have been waiting over twenty years for bell sleeves to come back into style. I love lifting up my arms and seeing the beautiful sleeves dangling below. Naturally I have been ordering up a storm to take advantage of this current trend, so prepare to see more on this sleeve style ๐Ÿ˜‰

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I would consider this dress to be a mini – it’s pretty short relative to most other dresses I have in my closet. For the past year or so I’ve really been into the midi-dress style, so this is an interesting change up for me. I do love how the front of the dress is hemmed a little shorter in the front to really compliment the bell sleeve look, which offers a shorter hem towards the top of the wrist. I paired this lovely piece with taupe, over-the-knee suede boots to provide a contrast to the shorter hem (and also to keep my legs warm in this Jersey ‘fall’ weather!) Providing extra warmth and a little bit more contrast to both the dress and the boots are my over the knee socks in a ‘wine’ color. I chose to go with this maroonish color to provide some pop to the burgundy flowers on the dress. I absolutely love the color scheme of this outfit, and as a person who always tries to dress to ‘match’ the holiday this dress was perfecto.

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The final piece of this dress that has me head over heels is the high neckline, paired with the low cut opening and topped off by the adorable tie front. This allows the dress to be appropriate for a family dinner but also subtlely sexy and a total confidence booster. It’s not TOOO much, but just enough for a revealing look that won’t have you wrapping your arms around your chest to cover up as soon as the jacket comes off. With a high neckline like this, I would not pair it with any necklaces or neckwear. The high collar dresses the neck up just enough to make a bare neck a-okay.

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Want to get your hands on this killer fall holiday outfit? See where I picked these items up and check them out yourself by following the links below!

  • Dress: NastyGal; Size S – get it here
  • Similar Dresses: here & here
  • Boots: Circus by Sam Edelman in Grey Frost; Size 9.5 (half size up): hereย or here
  • Socks: Navawo in Wine: here

For more of my style updates, please subscribe ๐Ÿ™‚

Xoxo – M