About Ashley

I'm just a single girl in Washington, DC making her way through grad school, work, friends, men, food and finding my path to health and wellness.

Day 6 – IsaGenix

Well, this is hard. I keep thinking I should have done the 9 day instead of the 30 day…I’m losing weight and I’m definitely feeling better and lighter, but I haven’t been doing the plan as strictly as I should. On my “cleanse” day, I went to an event that had some food samples and I had a chip with hummus and a sliver of pizza. I’m also a little worried about my body adjusting too much over the course or the 30 days to the reduced calories. I don’t plan to go back to the way I was eating before, but I also don’t want to set myself up for failure either. So, I thought it would be good to incorporate a higher calorie day once a week just to disrupt things a bit. But is that just rationalizing?

I’m back on track today. This week is really going to be a test. I have several offsite meetings that will have catered meals and will be traveling for a one-day meeting. I with I had ordered the individuals packs instead of the large canisters, so it would be easier to transport the shakes. so, I’m going to have to think about that one…plastic baggies?I received some samples of the bars, so maybe I’ll take those.

In other news, the taste of the shake is getting better. I’m used to the Gourmet Chocolate Designer Whey shake, which is absolutely delicious blended with almond milk. I think it probably has some added sweeteners, though. Damn you, splenda!

Anyway, onwards and upwards! My goal is to drop 15 lbs during this 30 day cleanser. Going to make it happen!

I’m trying it – IsaGenix 30 Day Cleanse

Wow, I’ve been really lame on the blog front. Work does that to ya. I’m going to be better – promise!

So, now that I’m officially done with grad school and have no more excuses, it’s time to take off the 30 lobs I put on during that time AND hopefully take off the 30 lbs that have hung around since I can remember. I’ve always been a little on the *ahem* curvier side, but going to grad school part time and working full time sent me into a downward spiral of laziness and bad eating.

To help “reset”, I tried a 3-day juice cleanse a couple weeks ago, courtesy of Jrink, a DC based juicery. It was actually a really great experience and showed me that I DO actually possess the mental toughness to do something so restrictive.

So, now i’m trying something new. A couple months ago, I was on vacation with some girlfriends and one of them had tried a 30 day cleanse by a company called IsaGenix. I had never heard of this company, but she raved about it. She’s also a nutrition counselor and personal trainer, so takes this stuff very seriously. Going through the juice cleanse gave me some confidence, so I decided to also try the 30 day cleanse. The official name is the “30 day Cleansing and Fat Burning” system. I know it seems like a ‘quick fix’, but I’m really looking at is as a test for myself. My biggest problem is lack of control and willpower. Doing this for 30 days will put that to the test. It’s only 30 days. I can do it. Repeat. Whew.

Here’s what you get in the system:

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  • IsaLean shake (4) – I got Chocolate. It’s not too bad!
  • Ionix Supreme (1) – for rejuvenation and performance
  • Cleanse For Life (2) – for use on cleanse days
  • IsaGenix Snacks (1) – nutritional appetite control
  • Natural Accelerator (1) – fat metabolizer
  • IsaFLush (1) – aids digestion
  • Replenish Sticks (4) –

I was advised to add another order of the snacks, so I ordered some IsaDelights in milk chocolate. These are effing delicious!

How it works: The plan is divided in “shake days” and “cleanse days”. The shake days involve drinking a shake for 2 meals, having a low glycemic 400-600 calorie meal for the 3rd, and having some IsaGenix snacks in between. You also take some supplements such as the “Natural Accelerator”, “Ionix Supreme”, and “IsaFlush”.  For the cleanser days, you drink their “Cleanse For Life” tonic 4 times and also have the Ionix Supreme, Natural Accelerator, IsaFlush and 4-6 IsaGenix snacks.

I’m on day 2. I’m trying to structure my meals to maximize the protein and hunger-reducing components as much as possible. I planned 3 meals to swap around: (1) Chicken salad with arugula, spinach, 6 oz chicken breast, chickpeas, chopped apple, Italian dressing; (2) roasted salmon and roasted broccoli; (3) grass-fed beef burger and sweet potato wedges. I’m aiming for 600 calories for these meals. I’ve been eating them at lunch so far, which seems to be working.

I’ve definitely been somewhat peckish, but never full out starving. I think it’s good for my body to experience this since I typically overfeed (hello) it.

I’ll keep track of my progress here and to keep me on track. I took measurements and I’m excited to see what happens. I think this will be the boost I need to get things moving!

Have you ever done a cleanse? How did it go?

BeautyDNA – December 2014 review

BeautyDNA is a $25/month beauty subscription service . After filling out an extensive questionnaire, you receive one full-sized beauty product each month customized to YOU. Products are either skincare, hair, or body and they rotate product categories each month. They also only send out one TYPE of product each year, so if you received a serum one month, you shouldn’t received another serum until the following year.

There was a problem processing my payment in December, so my order shipped late, but here it is:  Phytokarite Deep Nourishing Brilliance Mask-Ultra Dry Hair $39/6.7 fl oz

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Each product comes with a little leaflet describing the product and why it was chosen for you.

BeautyDNA2 BeautyDNA3

I’ve had the chance to use this product twice. The reviews on Sephora were pretty inconsistent with some folks REALLY not liking it. I have thick, coarse, frizzy, wavy hair that I tame into submission with a flat iron twice per week. I also color my hair. So, my hair can definitely do with some extra TLC and moisture. As far as a product choice goes, I think that this was definitely a good match. I’m familiar with this line, but I haven’t used many products from it. Since my hair soaks up conditioner like nobody’s business, I tend to stay away from things like high end masks since I felt like I only only get 1-2 uses out of them. I think I will end up getting 4 uses out of this one. So, while this isn’t something that I would normally purchase myself, that’s what I like about this subscription service – and I got it for only $25!

As for the product itself, it’s a little hard to say how well it’s been working. It doesn’t have silicones in it, so my hair doesn’t have that silky slip that some of my other conditioners provide. However, silicone’s only affect the FEEL of your hair, not the health so this isn’t exactly the best thing to judge on (but come on, who doesn’t love to run their fingers through silky hair??). This is definitely a heavy conditioner, but my hair eats it right up. I’ve only left it in for about 3 minutes each time, but I might try leaving it on for 20-30 minutes next time. It did seem to add a bit of extra weight to my hair, but honestly, that’s not a bad thing.

Would I buy it again? Ehhhh….I’ll try leaving it on for longer to see if it turns it into HG status. But, at this price point and the results I’ve gotten so far, I don’t think I would.

2015 Bucket List

Happy New Year! It’s officially 2015! I love the beginning of the year. There’s just something about a new calendar that signifies a change, a new leaf. Of course, many people make resolutions of all the things they hope to accomplish over the year, most of which are forgotten by the time Valentine’s Day rolls around. So, this year instead of making the normal resolutions (lose weight, save money, etc) which are normally behavior based, I decided to make a bucket list. The purpose of this list to to identify things that I want to DO. I purposely didn’t put any time frames around them ( do x per month), but at the end of the year I can go down the list and see how many I can check off. I also didn’t assign numbers to any of them (except the reading one since it seems sill to just say “read A book”), but the hope is that for many of them I’ll actually do it more than once (like the winery – hello). I also tried to mix it up between things that I’m pretty sure I would do regardless, things that I’ve been wanting to do but just haven’t gotten around to doing, and larger scale things that will require more planning on my part but that I REALLY want to do and just need to do it (getting that passport stamp).

So, here’s my list for 2015:

  • Take an art class
  • Take a flying (plane) class
  • Get a stamp in my passport
  • Run a 5k
  • Hike Old Rag
  • Read 24 books
  • Take a trapeze class
  • Attend an outdoor movie screening
  • Go to a baseball game
  • Visit the Newseum
  • Visit Colonial Williamsburg
  • Attend an event at Wolf Trap
  • Visit the Botanical Gardens
  • Participate in an urban scavenger hunt
  • Visit the National Zoo
  • See Zoo Lights
  • Go ice skating at the Sculpture Garden
  • Go to a winery
  • Go to a church service in DC
  • Find a volunteer opportunity
  • Learn to tango

While not a “bucket list” item, I will also continue to strive for being present, grateful and humble.

What’s on your bucket list?

SELF Drop10Detox recap

Technically, I finished this last Sunday, but it’s been a bit of a crazy week! Overall, I really, really liked this program. It wasn’t really a weight loss program, but was just a great way to eat really clean and make sure you body is getting all the good stuff it needed. I admit that I swayed a bit from some of the meals once the weekend came. The main difficulty I found was in the planning and execution. I am a single person cooking for just me. I also work full-time and in grad school part time. So, time isn’t always on my side. The prep for some of these meals ended up  being a little more than I wanted after a long day, so I ended up repeating some of the easier ones a few times (like the veggie burger and the kale noodle salad). I’m all about deliciousness and health, but I’m also all about efficiency and ease. Also, even though this was a 7 day program, I had bought so much food that I didn’t really need to go grocery shopping again last week…or this week. Which is fine, I’m just continuing to eat from those meals.

This was a really good experience, I felt great at the end of the week. I know this is the way my body needs to eat on a more regular basis, so I’m going to try to incorporate some of these recipes into my regular rotation more often.

BeautyDNA November box review

So, I’ve recently jumped on the subscription box bandwagon. There’s just something so thrilling about receiving a package every month filled with surprise products, am i right? It’s like Christmas 12 times a year! Only you hope that what’s actually inside the box is worth the money you’re shelling out..

After perusing some other blogs, I decided to try out the BeautyDNA service. It costs $25 per month and you get 1 full size beauty product in one of the following categories – skin, hair, and body. You fill out a fairly extensive profile detailing the types of products you like within each category, what your needs are, what kind scents you like, whether you have any allergies or sensitivities and even what active ingredients you’re most (or least) interested in. Based on this, you get sent a product tailored for you.

I was really excited to try this out. I do a lot of research on my own, but it’s always nice to have something specifically selected just for you. Of course I was also a little apprehensive – would they get it right? I shouldn’t have worried – they hit it out of the park.

For my November box, I received a full-sized bottle of Drunk Elephant C-Firma Day Serum (1oz, $80).

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They also give you a card with a description of the product and they tell you why they chose this product for you.

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This was a perfect choice. I’ll all about antioxidant serums and was looking for a new one to try (my standby has been Ole Henriksen’s Truth Serum Collagen Booster), since I wanted to go with something stronger. I actually had just purchased Paulas Choice Resist c15 Super Booster, but I”ll put that on hold to try out this product. I’ve never heard of the Drunk Elephant brand before, but I love that it has 15% Vitamin C as well as loads of other nourishing ingredients. For $25, I received an $80 product – pretty good deal! I can’t wait to see what they choose for me next month!

SELF Drop10 Detox: Day 3

My eats for the day on the SELF Drop10 Detox.

 

Breakfast: Coconut-Almond Smoothie

This was pretty tasty! The chia seeds made it thick, which made it seem a little heartier. I hate that I can’t taste the almond butter though…I haven’t been able to in any of the smoothies that have called for them. I suppose they’re function is just to add fat? As much as I love nut butters, it just seems like bit of  waste. Overall, the flavors in the smoothie were nice. The banana and cocoa really came out and the addition of the coconut added some nice texture. I would make this again, but would take out the almond butter.

Lunch: Sesame-Kale Noodle Salad

Repeat of yesterday. This plan provides 7 different lunches, but good gawd, but fridge is getting full with all of the containers of 1/2 used stuff I’m filling it with. Plus, I really enjoyed this yesterday and it was easy to throw together. However, i did change the dressing. I wasn’t loving the avocado-miso thing, so I made a spicy peanut dressing. I combined peanut butter, sriracha, soy sauce, sesame oil, rice vinegar and a touch of honey. Much better.

Dinner: Eggplant Parmesan

SELF Detox D3 dinner

I can’t believe a dish like this is included on a “detox” plan. It. Was. AMAZING. Blew my skirt right up. For the sauce, I did add more garlic and seasoning that the recipe called for. What can I say? I like some spice. And for the record, I was in the habit of buying Trader Joe’s oh-so-convenient minced garlic, but after using fresh garlic (smashed in a press), we may have to break up. I had forgotten how pungent and spicy fresh garlic is! SO GOOD.

Snack 1 & 2 – Egg on Wasa. I had to work late and didn’t want to cart a cucumber and cream cheese with me. But the egg is pretty darn good.

Exercise – stretches

Drop10 Detox: Day 2

Happy Mid-Term Election Day! Even though we don’t have representation in Congress, here in DC we still voted for Mayor, various council seats and a new Proposition. Anything election related is always a big day in DC! Hope everyone got out there to fulfill their civic duty.

Back to my SELF Drop10 Detox! It’s day 2 and I’m feeling good!

Deets for the day:

Breakfast: Orange Creamsicle Smoothie

Didn’t love this. Though to be fair, I don’t think my blender was strong enough to completely pulverize the carrot, so there were still little chunks remaining. Also, I may have added too much carrot…I only had baby carrots on hand, so likely put in too much.It was very carrot-y, not so orange-y. Though, also too be fair, I only added an orange, not the juice or the zest..okay, so basically I screwed up the entire recipe and it’s not fair to judge it on my …alterations.

Lunch: Sesame- Kale Noodle Salad

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This was really tasty. I forgot how much I like Japanese buckwheat noodles. I think the last time I had them was in Japan, where they’re often served cold in the summer with a dipping sauce. The combo of the noodles, edamame and kale was very hearty and filling. I didn’t love the dressing however… too salty and I assume the avocado was added for creaminess, which I don’t think was needed.

Dinner – Veggie Tacos

Holy cow, this was good. And HUGE! Though I did probably end up with waaay more veggies than were intended…but honestly, I don’t need 1/2 a pepper and 1/2 a zucchini hanging around. So, in they all went. For the tortillas, I tried the Tortillaland Fresh Corn Tortillas, which are “raw” and you heat up yourself. These were great! I’ve typically found the store bought corn tortillas to be pretty dry, but these were perfect and tasted very fresh. I also loved the mango salsa in this recipe (I also added some red chili flakes, I would’ve added diced jalepeno if I had it, for some kick). Overall this recipe was a winner. The sweetness of the salsa balanced out the smokiness of the veggies very nicely. I can see this being added to the regular rotation.

Snack – Wasa with vegannaise, sliced hb egg and paprika

Snack – Wasa with cream cheese, sliced cucumber and red pepper flakes

SELF Detox D2 Snack2

Exercise – 60 minute elliptical and stretches. I watched Chopped while doing the elliptical, which is my favorite way to get in 60 minutes. Though, it sure does make you hungry…

I also caught up on Dancing With the Stars! I just love this show. I want to become a ‘z-list’ celebrity so I can go on it. I loved the theme of famous duos! I don’t think that had been done before, which was refreshing! Everyone did great, but I’m rooting for Alfonso, Bethany and Janel!

Drop10 Detox: Day 1

Happy November!

To ready myself for the Holiday gluttony, I decided to do SELF magazine’s Drop10 Detox. I like it I’m just told what to do and where to go and don’t have to put a lot of thought into this, yet know that what I’ll be eating and doing is healthy. I’m a longtime Self subscriber and they offer little plans like this quite often, but this is my first time doing it. Here we go!

What I like about this program is that even though it’s called a ‘detox’, I think it’s being used in a pretty loose interpretation here. Basically, this is just a clean eating, vegetarian plan, with the ‘detox’ part coming in the exercise component. Normally Self’s programs have an added exercise plan that includes cardio, weights, etc. For this one, you’re encouraged to lay off the intense exercise and just do 3 30-60 minutes “light” workouts (definitions of light may vary…I don’t consider jogging for an hour a “light” workout) along with daily yoga moves. For someone who aspires to be a runner just cause I live in a city full of ’em…well, and because it’s cheap and accessible, (yet actually need to get off my lazy ass and do it regularly), this seems pretty doable. They give you daily meal plans, a shopping list, exercise sheet, the works. The painful part came when I went grocery shopping. Ouch. They did a great job creating a varied menu, but if you do it by the book, you end up buying a lot of stuff that you’ll only use a portion of. I sucked it up and bought it all, including an entire package of Medjool dates even though only 1 is required. Gah. But…If I’m going to do this, I’m going to do this.

Day 1

Breakfast – Blueberry Protein Smoothie

SELF Detox D1 breakfast

Wow, this was good. I don’t usually put greek yogurt in my smoothies (just almond milk), and I think I’ve been missing out. Filling and delicious.

Lunch – Pad Thai Salad

SELF Detox D1 lunch

This was a really tasty salad. Didn’t really taste like pad thai, but I’m obsessed with chickpeas and peanut butter, so anything that incorporates both is a winner in my book. I would definitely make this again, but with the following substitutions – fish sauce instead of soy sauce for a more authentic flavor, and less water (it was waaaay too liquidy).

Dinner – Chipotle Coleslaw Veggie Burger

(Sorry, no photo. I scarfed it too fast…)

I couldn’t find the Amy’s Bistro Burgers, so I subbed the Trader Joe’s veggie burgers. Not a direct swap since the TJ burger has more calories and uses oats instead of rice. It was crazy good though. Also, for my “whole wheat bun” I uses a mini whole wheat potato roll. This probably wasn’t what they mean, but it was less calories that the regular buns and had some added sweetness, which I liked.

Snack 1- Sliced hard boiled egg, tsp of mayo(I used Vegannaise because I’m OBSESSED with this stuff) and paprika on Wasa

SELF Detox D1 snack

Snack 2- Sliced cucumber, cream cheese, sea salt and red pepper flakes on Wasa

Overall, the food was seriously yum. Color me impressed.

Exercise – I did my yoga moves in the morning. It felt good to stretch, but honestly, I was a bit underwhelmed…I don’t normally stretch every day, though, so  we’ll how this goes.

Meditation – I forgot about this. Oops.

Sleep – Went to bed at 10:30, which is pretty good.