As I was perusing online for dresses for upcoming holiday parties and events, I stumbled upon this Alexis dress that I wore to my sister's rehearsal dinner back in October. The perfect black cocktail dress to have in your closet for a last-minute event and now that it is on super sale, I had to share. Over the past year, Alexis has become one of my favorite designers. The Miami-based designer, Alexis Barbara Isaias, is known for her beautiful use of lace and architectural silhouettes which give the feminine styles a little edge. Unfortunately, there aren't any photos of just me, so my husband is making a cameo on the blog today. ;)
We are so excited to be featuring fitpro, Leslie Greenwood, a lawyer and former dean at a New York City law school, who followed her life-long passion in dance and fitness to pursue a career doing what she loves. Now a seasoned instructor at NYC-based studio SLT, she teaches at their Manhattan, Hamptons and NYC suburb studios. She's also taken her passion on the road and has guest taught at megaformer studios in Sydney and Miami.
Leslie is a former neighbor of mine and she was always running around looking so chic in the latest workout gear! I was so interested to pick her brain and get her expert diet and fitness tips as well as the scoop on SLT, which has amassed a cult-following and was recently featured on Good Morning America. Of course, Leslie also knows a thing or two about where to find the most coveted athleisure designers. ;)
Tell us about SLT and Megaformer and what differentiates them from other workouts.
SLT stands for Strengthen, Lengthen, Tone. It is a 50-minute Lagree fitness-based workout done on a machine called a megaformer, which is basically an amped-up Pilates reformer with different straps, bands, bars, and handles than the traditional version. Because the workout requires quick transitions between very challenging moves that work your body in ways other workouts can’t, we say it combines cardio and strength training into one workout. Though the transitions are fast, the moves themselves are slow and are done to the beat of the music. These slow, controlled movements work your slow-twitch muscle fibers, which can help create the longer, leaner, and toned look many seek from their workouts. Because the workout is core-intensive, I’ve had many clients tell me they have abs for the first time at the age of 30, 40, or 50 and/or after having children from regularly doing SLT. Most people finish the workout feeling challenged, sweaty, shaky, and wanting to come back for more!
For those that cannot attend SLT or Megaformer classes, are there any moves you can do at home?
Well, nothing can truly recreate the megaformer! But, you can mimic the feeling of the machine at home for a few of our moves. One is the Spoon. On a slippery floor (like wood, marble, or tile), sit on the edge of a sturdy chair or bench, placing your hands on the edge of the chair or bench next to your hips with your fingertips facing you. Place a towel underneath your heels. Hover your seat off the chair and straighten your legs completely. Slowly drag your heels back toward your chair or bench keeping straight legs and rounding your spine, bringing chin to chest. Your hips should come back beyond your arms. Then, press the heels back out to the starting point keeping straight legs the entire time. Your lower abdominals are the target for this move; try to use them exclusively to draw the hips back and and through. It’s tough!
How do you stay fit while traveling?
This is a great question because my husband and I love to travel! It's challenging, and it depends largely on where I am. In the winters, we spend time in Miami Beach. Miami Beach also happens to be a fitness mecca with many of the same type of boutique fitness studios I frequent at home, so it's a rather seamless transition. Even when I'm not going to boutique fitness studios there, just playing a few rounds of paddle ball on the beach, taking a long walk down Ocean Drive after dinner, or swimming in the ocean are great ways to sneak in exercise.
Boutique fitness has become a widespread phenomenon. Because I'm so passionate about fitness, it's become part of my traveling experience to find boutique fitness studios I'd like to try when I'm in major cities within the US or around the world. For instance, last summer I guest taught and also took class at Sydney's megaformer studio while on vacation in Australia. It was so fun being halfway around the world and finding a fitness community that loves the megaformer the way I do. It gave me a different view of the culture there, which, by the way, is very fitness-oriented!
As I mention below, part of my fitness philosophy is achieving balance. One reason I work out is so that I can enjoy things like great food and wine and not feel like those things are setting me back in achieving my overall wellness goals. I feel that whatever time off I give myself from regular exercise regime and diet on vacation is well-deserved because I worked hard before I left and will work hard again when I get back to stay on track. Even on vacation, I stay active and still make relatively good diet decisions, but I'm not nearly as regimented as I am when I'm at home.
What are the biggest trends you have been seeing in workout gear lately?
The fashionistas out there are probably saying, “There are fitness fashion trends?” The answer is yes, especially now that athleisure wear expands into so much of many women’s daily lives! Generally, I’ve seen a huge shift over the last five years from women shopping for fitness clothing exclusively at bigger retail stores like Athleta and Lululemon to coveting more boutique brands like Michi, Varley, Alala, and Koral found online or at stores like Bandier (online or in NYC, Southampton, Manhasset, and Dallas) and Carbon38 (online or at their pop-up “beach house” in Bridgehampton this summer). Athleisure brands are also getting smart about branding. Just like in non-fitness wear, you can see trademark design elements, e.g. mesh detailing and thicker, high waist band leggings for Michi, the wet look Lustrous leggings for Koral, or the double gold zippers on Varley leggings, so only those who truly know their high-end athleisure wear will be savvy about which designer you’re wearing!
As far as specific trends, I think there’s a lot of play with mesh detailing in leggings, sports bras, and tops. The mesh detailing allows for a little bit of “functional sexiness,” i.e. you can show a bit of skin without feeling too exposed or uncomfortable when in motion. You can also find sophisticated yet fun black and white patterns in many brands right now, like Varley, HPE, Strut This, Prism Sport, and Vie Active. I think women feel comfortable and flattered in a black and white pattern, feel like it can be worn inside and outside the gym/studio without looking unsophisticated, and yet it provides a little bit of fun and variation to a uniform that used to be “all black everything” for so long. And, as becoming fit and being proud of physical progress has become more and more of a badge of honor for women, I’ve seen the embrace of the sports bra. For years, I think women felt the sports bra was reserved for fitness instructors or to be worn exclusively underneath something else. Now that women invest so much in their fitness and health and feel proud of their hard work, I see many more taking the plunge to bare (almost) all inside the gym/studio or for a post-workout selfie!
Who are your favorite workout wear/athleisure designers/brands?
I mentioned a number of my favorite brands and designers above, but because the market is expanding so quickly, there are new designers popping up every day, it seems! High fashion designers are doing "pop-up" collaborations, like Cushnie et Ochs with Bandier, or more permanent collaborations like Stella McCartney for Adidas. Two that I didn't mention above that I love are Splits59 and Outdoor Voices.
What is your go-to workout look? Also, is there anything else you throw on to go to and from the studio?
My go to workout look is a loose-fitting and/or cropped tank over a sports bra, then I’ll take the top layer off once things heat up. I’m a sucker for statement tanks because their messages keep me and my clients smiling throughout the day. I prefer ankle-length leggings to elongate my legs and typically only wear cropped leggings when I’m spinning. Because fitness fashion is so ubiquitous these days, I don’t put anything on over my outfit after taking or teaching class in the summertime, but when the weather gets cooler, I slide on No.6 high heeled shearling clogs and one of my favorite longer, flowy Athleta sweatshirts (their sweatshirts are made of the softest French terry fabric!).
Can you walk us through your typical daily diet?
I am a fanatic about eating cleanly and simply! And, this might sound strange to some, but I truly LOVE eating the same thing every day. I eat two organic, cage-free, pasture-raised eggs scrambled in organic coconut oil with avocado toast on a gluten-free English muffin. I have one cup of Nespresso with breakfast. Lunch usually consists of salmon with quinoa or farro and some vegetable, like cauliflower or asparagus, or maybe a salad and quinoa or mung bean noodles from Organic Pharmer (an organic, vegan, dairy-free, and soy-free take-out restaurant in Rye Brook, NY). I usually drink a GT's green kombucha with lunch for an extra probiotic boost. At night, I always eat organic oatmeal topped with organic blueberries, bananas, and unsweetened vanilla almond milk. I drink an organic Forager green juice with that. I don’t always stick to that regimen on weekends because I love eating at restaurants, though I still try to make relatively smart decisions even when I’m out (i.e. maybe I won’t go for the three cheese white pizza, I’ll choose a pizza with spinach and artichokes instead with lots of tomato sauce).
Your hair and makeup look flawless even post-workout! What are your beauty essentials?
Wow, thank you! My daily hair and makeup regimen has to be very simple and long-lasting, as on a typical day I’m going from studio to studio or running errands after doing something fitness-related. One product I’m obsessed with right now is Elta MD’s tinted SPF 40 tinted moisturizer and daily sunscreen. It is so versatile. It moisturizes my skin without feeling heavy or oily, and it gives me a little bit of coverage without using actual makeup. This evens out my skin while looking natural and allows me to sweat a little without looking like I have makeup melting off of me!
Any other health & wellness tips you would like to share?
The main tip I would give would be to try to achieve health and wellness through moderation and balance. Try to fit a workout in most days of the week. They don’t have to be as intense as you think, but try to be active for at least 30 minutes five days a week. You can also find balance in the types of workouts you choose; I wouldn’t recommend doing HIIT workouts 5 days a week. Alternate intense workouts with less intense workouts like yoga or barre, and alternate more cardio-intensive workouts with strength training or toning workouts like SLT. You can’t do one type of workout over and over and expect to get well-rounded results. Plus, doing one type of workout will be more likely to eventually leave you bored and unmotivated. Finally, as I mentioned before, I’m very regimented during the week with my diet, but I also really love food, wine, and restaurants. But, I still consider myself “on track” and don’t beat myself up if I eat less than perfect foods on the weekends or on vacation. That is why I work hard!
Lastly, do you have any recommendations for a good workout playlist?
My general recommendation is to go with what you enjoy! What would make you dance around the house or sing out loud if it started playing on the radio, came up in your Pandora rotation, or popped up on your Spotify Discover Weekly? I started listening to music in the 90’s and 00’s, so I love hip hop and R&B from those years mixed in with pop artists like Britney Spears, Beyonce, or Rihanna. When I can find a great remix of an older song, I get really excited. Of course I use newer songs too, but it’s some of the older songs where I see clients get totally immersed in the song and keep pushing through their workout! Because it’s summer right now, I veer toward lighter, top 40 pop song remixes of summer anthems like Cake By the Ocean (Jumpsmokers Remix) by DNCE and Summer (Diplo & Grandtheft Remix) by Calvin Harris.
The bandana has quickly become one of the ubiquitous accessories of the season. A creative twist on this trend? Use a men's pocket square. Whenever I'm browsing for gifts for my husband at Hermes, the lovely sales associates remind me that their men's pocket squares can also be worn as small women's scarves. It is a chic way to add a little pop of color and interest to your outfit. They are also the perfect size to tie onto your handbag. Something to consider the next time you're out shopping for your husband!
Today, we are thrilled to feature Janet Gunn of The Grateful Gardenia blog, where she shares her musings on stylish and healthy living, touching on everything from fashion to travel, cooking and fitness, and living with confidence and gratitude. Having lived a lifetime of experiences ranging from Dallas Cowboys cheerleader to actress to jewelry designer, Janet is truly a multi-faceted woman who has so much creativity and inspiration to share. We can't get enough of Janet's unique style, which exudes her sunny California vibe, while remaining classic, chic and thoroughly modern. Here, Janet shares her fashion and beauty essentials!
Style icons: Linda Rodin, Diane Von Furstenberg, Julianne Moore
Favorite designers: Alessandro Michele (Gucci), Nicky and Simone Zimmermann (you feel so feminine and sophisticated), The Row
Favorite places to shop: Zimmermann, Jolie (Newport Beach, CA), Jill Roberts (Beverly Hills), Equipment and Andarosa (Newport Beach)
Shoes: Gucci, Manolo Blahnik, Chanel, Tods, Gianvito Rossi
Accessories: Hermes scarf, Hermes cuff, Apple watch, Van Cleef & Arpels bracelets and earrings, Miu Miu sunglasses and Borsalino hat. Iphone (I think it’s an accessory)
Day look: jeans, t-shirt, Hermes scarf, sneakers or my navy blue Chanel tuxedo loafers & my Alice & Olivia jackets. It’s pretty casual here in sunny L.A., so I like to add a scarf with a stylish jacket.
Evening look: White or dark jeans, Zimmermann top, Chanel clutch, Manolo heels... or Ulla Johnson dress and Loeffler Randall sandals
Beach look: I spent this summer in one pieces - Eres, L Space, and Vitamin A / Kaftans from Charo Ruiz, Borsalino hat, Jana Feifer monogrammed beach tote and my new favorite beach towels from The Beach People. Miu Miu sunglasses.
Items you save on: Anything trendy. I’m a fan of Uniqlo for t-shirts and linen shirts and a few basic sweaters. Zara is also a go-to for fun pieces.
Beauty essentials: Bee Venom Rich Face Treatment Cream from Lacreme (incredible moisturizer) Le Mieux Serums, SkinCeuticals Resveratrol BE Night Treatment, Lacreme cucumber eye cream, Lacreme rose lip balm, Laura Mercier highlighter (devotion) Dr. Lancer Body Cream, Linda Rodin cleansing powder.
Signature scent: Frederic Malle - Lys Mediterranee
Health and beauty tips: I love to eat healthy foods and fitness is a must. I love pilates, yoga, dance class and I enjoy running. Before I get out of bed every morning I express gratitude, I start at the top of my head to my feet and bless my body parts. I speak positive words about myself, I get a facial once a month and I make time in the morning to read and listen to positive material, so I can start off with a good vibration! All you need is a few minutes...And don’t forget to get together with your friends for a few laughs. How we feel inside is always a reflection of who we are.
As we transition into pre-fall, the new shoe mantra is: go big or go home! Embellished, embroidered, bejeweled, fur, studs, lace-up, the list goes on... We already know a good shoe can make or break an outfit. With all the focus on your feet, you can pair a really simple outfit with an incredible shoe and call it a day. Think classic white button up with jeans and a tasseled lace-up sandal or the cult Gucci Princetown slipper and ta-da!
The part of summer has come where it is just too hot to wear jeans, especially in South Florida. I know I am not the only one who finds it difficult to find nice shorts that can take you from day to night . To be clear, I am not referring to cut-off denim! I was so happy when I spotted these adorable paper-bag waist shorts at Intermix. They are perfect for running around with the kids during the day and polished enough for a casual dinner out with friends. They would even work with high heel sandals or wedges for a more dressed up look. For those who are looking, here are a few other styles that also fit the bill: Alexis high-waist lace shorts, Frame le paperbag shorts, ALC loop-detail shorts, Rag & Bone lace-up denim shorts, and Club Monaco scalloped hem shorts. xo
There is nothing more impactful than the timeless combination of black and white. A perfect palette for transitioning from summer into pre-fall, we've compiled an edit of our favorite styles of the season. From this so chic ivory Alexis off-the-shoulder romper with black satin piping to the most sleek everyday Saint Laurent Shopping Tote and the statement-making sunnies: Illesteva Leonard II in black/white camo, these styles are sure to make a graphic statement. xo
What I love about this top is that it combines two of the things I cannot get enough of right now - stripes and an off-the-shoulder silhouette. It is surprisingly versatile - can be worn with the buttons down the front or back, with hem tied in a knot or worn as a longer tunic, and the sleeves can be cuffed up or down. Here, I wore it knotted with white jeans and kept my accessories simple - flat leather sandals and a straw tote for a casual, beachy look.
1. I've been wearing this fragrance, Bronze Goddess, exclusively on tropical vacations for years. With notes of amber, Tahitian gardenia, and coconut, it reminds me of a day at the beach. Summer in a bottle.
2. All of of the time spent in the pool/beach/boat tends to take a toll on one's hair. For me, it is especially bad because my color-treated hair already needs a little TLC. A few sprays of Phytomist, a very light leave-in conditioner is a life-saver for combing through wet hair.
3. I can't get enough of these Chanel Rouge Allure lip glosses - they are long-lasting, the perfect consistency, and this prettiest shade of pink (Extase 16) adds enough polish to a very low-maintenance summer makeup look.
4. I love a classic red nail and Essie Lollipop is the absolute perfect shade of red. I once read that this is also Olivia Palermo's go-to nail color, which confirmed my initial bias. :)
5. Clarins Body Lift - this is the best for smoothing and firming skin pre-bathing suit, for problem areas such as thighs and tummy, especially if you're like me and have had a baby in recent years.
6. Guerlain Terracotta Bronzer - the one and only bronzer I have been buying on repeat for the past five+ years. I love that it is a mix of blush and bronzers of different shades, matte and a hint of shimmer. It gives the most authentic sun-kissed glow, and there is no need to wear blush!
7. When we moved to Florida, my husband tasked me with finding the best facial sunscreen/moisturizer because he bikes to work and did not want to wear both every day. I discovered this EltaMD Sunscreen UVfacial, which is super lightweight but actually feels moisturizing, and is completely non-greasy. It is also paraben-free which is a huge plus.
8. Sadly, I was not blessed with the beautiful long eyelashes that both of my sons have. I have always been hesitant to try any of the eyelash growth/extension products, but my brother swears by Revitalash, so I finally gave it a try. After just a few weeks, my lashes were noticeably longer.
What are some of your favorite summer beauty essentials?
It is no secret that I can't get enough of the off-the-shoulder silhouette this season and this top has been in serious rotation in my wardrobe lately. The simplicity of this particular style lends itself to so many different looks, working equally well with jeans or tucked into a high-waisted skirt or shorts. Mine is by Milly but I LOVE these similar versions as well: Alexis, Style Mafia, Free People, Caroline Constas, and Chelsea28.
Truly one of the most classic and versatile pieces you can add to your summer wardrobe, the white dress is an absolute essential. Over the years I have amassed quite a collection, ranging from long and flowing to fitted crocheted styles, intricate lace and crisp button-up shirt dresses; one can never have too many. When I spotted this lightweight cotton Theory dress, I was sold. An understated sheath from the front with a modern cutout detail finished with a bow in the back, this style will be a wardrobe staple for years to come. When it comes to accessorizing, the options are endless. I spent the Fourth of July weekend in Islamorada, Florida and went with a casual island-inspired look for evening - turquoise silk tassel earrings, white chain-trim flat sandals and my monogrammed island bag from Palm Beach-based designer, Amanda Lindroth. How do you accessorize your summer whites?
With Fourth of July quickly approaching, it is time to start thinking about what to pack for the festive weekend. Being the good patriots that we are, we love an excuse to work a little red, white and blue into our holiday wardrobes. There are so many fun options right now and we are especially loving the ethnic embroidery that is popping up on everything from tunics to tote bags. It is also an opportune time to add a little Americana with your accessories, including footwear - how adorable are these red pom pom espadrilles? If all-white is more your thing, at the very least, add a pop of color with a classic red nail or lip. Bonus - everyone is having summer sales right now so it is the perfect time to stock up on those end-of-summer essentials!
Who doesn't love stripes? This Milly dress puts a modern spin on the traditional nautical stripes we've seen over and over again, yet is still classic enough to become a wardrobe mainstay.
Prompted by my recent move and inspired by The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up, I have made serious strides in streamlining my wardrobe. So when it comes to buying a new piece, versatility is key. What I love about this dress is how it can be worn to so many different occasions - a nice day of shopping, a bridal shower, an evening out or a summer barbecue. The pattern and silhouette are simple enough that you can dress it up or down, depending on the accessories.
Nothing quite says "summer" like white. In fact, lately, it is all we have been wanting to wear. Whether you gravitate towards minimalism or the bohemian luxe vibe, white effortlessly lends itself to both overarching movements. Go sleek and sophisticated with clean lines and modern accessories or have fun with textures and embellishment (lace, fringe, jacquard, tassels). Lastly, don't be afraid to mix shades of white and ivory!
The off-the-shoulder silhouette is one of the hottest looks of the season, and is, incidentally, one of the easiest pieces you can purchase to update your summer wardrobe. Done in both dresses and blouses in every iteration from menswear shirting to feminine lace, this modern look can be worn with something you already own and still make a bold statement. Maybe it's the subtle sexiness or the fun flirty flair; whatever it is, I personally can not stop buying them. Check back soon for an entire dedicated post.
In the meantime, here is a little outfit inspiration centered around an off-the-shoulder lace blouse (by Alexis, one of my new favorite designers) that I wore recently to celebrate my birthday with my family back in Kansas City. Such a detailed top takes center stage and I kept the rest of my look simple and effortless - my go-to white AG jeans, Castañer espadrille wedges (ever the classic) and Goyard tote.