I worked out today for the first time in a while. It’s kind of hard to do cardio in the apartment because we’re on the third floor and the last thing I want to do is be bouncing around on our downstairs neighbors’ ceiling. We have rude upstairs neighbors who stomp and party, so we know how it feels.

And now that we have a new rug in the living room, I can hop a little bit in my sneakers and not disturb anyone below.

I’ve been looking for some fun cardio workouts that I could do without too much bouncing around, mostly without floor exercises or burpees, and not that much strength training. Light dumbbells is a plus.

Here are three of my favorite low impact, high-intensity workout channels on YouTube:

Body Project

I like that these workouts are mostly 30 minutes long. Honestly, I just discovered them, but so far I like the motivation and quality of the videos. They seem to have something for all fitness levels.

This is one I just did. It was a little too easy for me, but I needed easy on my first day back:


I used to work out to POPSUGAR Fitness videos all the time, but mostly for strength training. I still follow along with some arm workouts that were posted by them almost 10 years ago. Never really viewed any of their cardio videos until recently.

They have a wide variety of different types of cardio workouts, like kickboxing or hiphop dancing. I look for the ones that don’t have too many complicated moves because I’m not good at mirroring the dance moves.

I haven’t done this one yet, but I’m going to. I’m a fan of Anna Renderer, she’s fun and down-to-earth.

Git LIIT with Amy

I love Amy. She’s fun and motivational and picks good songs. Has moves that combine boxing and dance. Uses light dumbbells. Workouts are not too easy (for me).

The quality of her videos are not that great, and sometimes the workouts feel very long to me, even when they are just 30 minutes. Not sure why…could be because they are hard workouts or because the moves are the same as the ones in her previous videos. But I mostly like her spirit and want to support her and her channel.

Most of her videos are about an hour long and she does cardio and strength training. Honestly, I’ve never finished any of her hour-long videos. I just putter out at around 30 minutes, so I can’t say whether she does resistance stuff at the end of the cardio part. I stick to her 30-minute videos now so I can finish and not feel like such a fat quitter.

If anybody has any recommendations, let me know!

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Category: LIVING


Dang, January 2021 is already almost over. The speed at which time is passing is officially ridiculous. On the bright side, we are one day/month closer to retirement.

Last year when the new year rolled around, Eddie and I revamped our home studio. We dumped the yellow couch that was in the extra bedroom (bittersweet…it was the most comfortable couch but its time was up), got me a standing desk (got mine from Fully), baby Aeron chair, got the cutest couch (Mags couch currently on sale), and a new TV. Redoing the space has been life changing, especially since we spent the whole year inside the apartment.

This year, we got a new living room rug, some bamboo bed sheets, and Philips Hue lights in every room. I can’t believe Niko threw up on the rug the first day we unrolled it. She hasn’t thrown up since the early days of getting adopted, but I guess couldn’t resist the urge to hurl as soon as the new carpet went down.

Crate and Barrel has a neat feature on their mobile site where you can see what the rugs will look like in your space before you buy. That’s how we decided between the two:

The Andorra Viscose rug
The Malakai rug

We went with the Malakai rug.

Follow @princessnikosimone

Nothing else has been going on. I’ve been busy working and writing, and hopefully I’ll get back into blogging and posting stuff again. I also need to exercise. So out of shape and not feeling that great. But I change all the time.

Hope your 2021 has been off to a great start!


Before I tell you the simple secret of how I got myself to read a book a week, let me tell you about my awesome new morning routine.

On March 2, I started the “millionaire morning routine,” where I wake up “early” (around 7:15…that’s early for me), recall my dreams, meditate, jumpstart my energy by working out for just a couple of minutes, journal, and make to-do lists.

I have to say that it was all very successful. I felt great, my productivity was off the charts, I received more material manifestations, and my mind was at ease. I felt like a new person.

Another thing that I decided to do was: read a book a week. And with all the extra time I have at home because of the COVID-19 lockdown, I found that it was super fun and easy to get some good reading done. I’ve gone from bingeing on Investigation Discovery TV shows to curling up under the Snuggie with a good book. New person.

So here is the secret to read a book a week: commit to just 45 minutes of reading a day. That’s it. With average reading speed and average word count of an average novel, you will on average read a book a week…if you just commit to reading 45 minutes a day.

And just to share, here are the books I read in March:

Neverworld Wake by Marisha Pessl

I got this book after Jenni Many recommended it to me. It was the best book that I read this past month. The author is a master of using similes and I felt like each character was vivid and realistic (down to her Lanvin flats).

The plot is interesting. Supernatural theme, which is a theme that I just recently started gravitating toward. The characters relive the same day in a Neverworld realm, which ends up being kind of like Groundhog Day, but not as hilarious. They use their brains to navigate through the Neverworld to try to solve the mystery of one of their friend’s death. Love a good book about brainy rich kids.

I also liked the underlying theme where the main character has drifted apart from the group of friends and doesn’t feel like she fits in with them anymore. Sounds familiar.

I would recommend this book. And Jenni says the author’s first book (Special Topics in Calamity Physics) is even better. I will check that one out too.

Evvie Drake Starts Over by Linda Holmes

I got this book because it was in the “Hot and New” section of my local library branch. I typically read a lot of classic literature, but I figured I should start reading some hot and new fiction. This one is written by an NPR host and is about a lady who is about to leave her lame husband, but then the husband dies in an accident. And then she falls in love with a washed-up professional baseball player.

After reading Marisha Pessl’s rich and intricate writing, the writing in this book felt cliché. I didn’t like the main character, Evvie, at all (I liked that she drinks bourbon, but there is a part where she secretly follows Dean, the baseball player, at 2AM and it made me think she is crazy and weird). And I didn’t understand why the baseball player fell in love with her in the first place.

BUT, the book does a great job of painting a scene. I loved the family scenes, like how the family and friends gathered on Thanksgiving (even though Evvie got lame again when her sweet dad made a toast), and I love how she described the seaside town and culture.

Not an awful book, but not a book I would recommend. But people on Amazon seem to love it, so what do I know?

Stillness is the Key by Ryan Holiday

Dave gave Eddie this book, and I decided to read it too. It discusses the benefits of some Stoic and Buddhist principles…mainly how slowing down in life can be beneficial to everything in life—your work, relationships, health, etc.

The book goes into some interesting stories about artists, leaders, and athletes, like JFK and Tiger Woods. And one particularly interesting story that Dave liked too…about Michael Jordan giving a speech where he called out all the people who he felt had wronged him early in his career. Haha.

This is a good book. But I already practice most of the things the book was encouraging, so I did not really learn anything new. But it’d be good for someone who is anxious and high-strung, and wants to read about an alternate way of being.

Buy here on Amazon.

Talking to Strangers by Malcolm Gladwell

Hmm. I have read a few other MG books, eg, Blink, Outliers, Tipping Point, and loved them all. I was happy to see Talking to Strangers in the Hot and New section at the library. But it has ended up being my least favorite one of his books.

The writing style is all the same and I love that part. MG explains psychological studies and findings so you don’t get bored or overwhelmed. But the topic of talking to people we don’t really know and the idea that they might be lying to us just isn’t that interesting to me.

What’s interesting is the acknowledgement that humans default to truth. It is our default setting to believe that others are telling us the truth. And that is largely why we wouldn’t expect our sibling to be a Cuban spy, our colleague to be a pedophile. If you thought I was acting shady and called me out on it, and I said “I was tired,” or “I was just joking around,” you would probably believe me. (As you should. I am not shady.) But you probably shouldn’t believe everyone.

I think every MG book is worth reading. I’m just saying the topic of this one just isn’t as interesting to me as the others I’ve read.

Available here on Amazon.

And now it’s April. But the library is closed. I’m planning on reading a book about marketing (currently taking a copywriting course), and maybe some random books that I find in Eddie’s book pile. We shall see. E-books are still available from the library, which is great.

Hope you all are staying safe and healthy during this weird time!

Do you read a book a week or do you prefer to lounge with Netflix? Let me know if you’ve read anything good. Or if you’ve watched anything good!


Category: LIVING


Hi! I’m back. Hopefully I’ll be able to update this blog more. It’s been hard for me to create outfit posts because I’ve been working like crazy. I counted that I have seven jobs (some more legit than others, but…medical editing, teaching, private tutoring, freelance medical writing, shoe flipping, IG influencing, freelance creative writing), and all that work on top of trying to prioritize home life, health, and self-care (and bouldering!) has been a little much.

But I think I’ll stop worrying about creating “perfect” blog posts and just write frequent little updates and post useful heads ups on sales, products, and other random things that I fancy and that I think you might fancy.

So, the thing that I have been obsessing over lately is my upcoming trip to Toronto. Eddie is already out there on business (mixing a movie), and I’ll be joining him during the first week of December. Snowfall has already begun there. I heard that it doesn’t get crazy snowy there, but this LA cold-weather wimp is going to need some legit winter wear. Just for the record, anything below 77F is considered cold to me.

Even though I’ll only be staying in Toronto for 10 days, I have zero gear for serious winter weather, so I get to do a bit of shopping. Here’s my shopping list:

  • North Face down jacket
  • Snow boots in case of heavy snow or a day of frolicking in snow
  • Snow sneakers for everyday exploring without worrying about slushy sidewalks
  • Base layers
  • Fleece-lined jeans or jeggings ✅
  • Sweaters

Also, I’m on a tight budget, so I’m looking at sales, last year’s/discontinued styles, and thrifted items.


Express fleece jeans were the first thing that I ordered after I bought my plane tix. I live in jeans, so I knew I needed warm ones. I picked these Express ones because they were 40% off (regular price $79.99), and seemed cute. Old Navy has some too that are highly rated and on sale right now.

Mid Rise Black // High Waisted Grey // High Waisted Button Fly Blue

I should start off by saying that I am a jeans snob. A loyal jeans snob. I pretty much wear only Frame Denim because they fit perfectly, are comfortable, and last forever. Also, I can always find them for a great deal on Posh and ebay (I’ll never pay $200 for jeans). I probably would never consider straying from my favorite brand, except that I got seduced by idea of the cozy fleece lining in these Express jeans. And I didn’t just buy 1 pair, I bought 3. But am I keeping them? Read on.

Feel this! Super cozy lining. All jeans should have this.

Don’t expect super thick jeans. The lining is pretty thin and fuzzy, which is good because your legs won’t look all swollen. Feels very good on the skin.

FIT: I bought size 0 Short in all of the Express fleece jeans. I definitely like the short length (I’m 5’1″). These are stretchy and roomy. Not a “skinny jean” or jeggings fit, but these would be good in case I want to wear a base layer underneath.

The high-waisted blue jeans are cute and pretty standard. Sorry, my camera washed out the blue. The denim is a true, darkish blue.

express cozy fleece blue jeans high waisted try on
The high-waisted blue ones are comfortable. I don’t care for the button fly

The waist is a little big on me (I usually wear a 24 in Frame jeans and the waist on those are perfect). At this point, I’m undecided whether I’ll keep these.

The waist is loose and there is a little bit of a gap in the back when I sit.

One of the main reasons I prefer designer jeans is because I like how they make my butt look. These jeans made my butt look okay, but something about the fit made me feel like I was wearing frumpy little girls’ jeans and not women’s jeans. Not super flattering. And I’m not feeling that great in them.

Next, I tried on the mid-rise black ones. I wish they were high waisted, but I couldn’t find high-waisted black on the site. These are okay. I mean, they fit (though the waist was big on these too). They look basic. Nothing exceptionally cute or special except for the lining. Just black jeans. Not sure I’ll keep these either.

Finally, I tried on the high-waisted gray pair.

Yucko! Maybe because they are gray and lighter in color, but the looser fit is just not flattering on me at all. And worst of all, they have these terribly ugly seams running down the sides of the legs, which make the jeans look very cheap and out of style.

The seams on the sides of the legs are a deal breaker for me.

No thank you. The gray ones are definitely going back.

WARMTH: The Express fleece jeans are definitely warmer than my Frame jeans. The cozy lining works, and I think the jeans would be great for something like camping or winter hiking where you don’t want to wear your finest denim. But I’m going to Toronto, a fashionable and fun, hip city. I want to look and feel cute. And still be warm.

So…I tried on my Uniqlo Heattech base layer underneath my Frame Ali High Rise jeans. These jeans are skinny fit and stretchy. It felt like “home” when I put these on after trying on the Express jeans. And these jeans + the base layer were warmer than the Express jeans. (I’m sure the Express fleece jeans + base layer would be the warmest. But not the cutest.)

OVERALL: After much deliberation, I decided to return ALL of them. I know myself and I know that I’ll always be reaching for my Frames (probably even when hiking) so there’s no need to keep these around. I decided I’ll just wear my Frames with the base layer in Toronto. I think the Express jeans would be a great choice for people who already love the Express brand and know that their jeans work for them. I’m just a little too in love with my Frames, and even the prospect of freezing my buns off isn’t enough to get me to stray.

I’ve actually never shopped on Express online. Apparently, they only accept store returns.

Well, that was fun. Thanks for stopping by! Do you have brand loyalty to your jeans too? Did you get what I meant when I said my jeans felt like “home”?


Hi. It’s been a while. I’ve been busy with work and life stuff, and so many things have been put on the backburner like blogging, shopping, and going to the salon. My gray roots have grown in like crazy (luckily it’s blending kind of well with my blonde highlights), and it’s definitely approaching time for me to get my hair cut again. Today I’m talking about some trendy haircuts that I’m loving.


They say a pixie cut is best for those with a heart-shaped face (that’s me!). It can also work well for oval faces. I had super short riot-grrl hair in college, but it was never quite a pixie. Think I can pull it off? I think pixie cuts might require too much regular salon maintenance to keep its shape, but they sure are cute. I see this style on professional ladies in Arts District. If you own a home among Richmond real estate, you probably see this urban style frequently in your city.

Short and Blunt

I’ve been seeing some girls wearing this futuristic hippie chick style. And even though I’d probably never go for it myself, I give much respect to the girls who pull it off. It seems pretty low maintenance, but it can be styled with a flat iron, and you could get a little creative with curls and half-up styles.

Long Layers

You know this is my look and my usual cut. Long layers and beachy waves are a beautiful and natural way to wear your hair and there are so many ways to style it. I’ve been wearing ponytails and top knots on repeat. But I recently learned how to blow dry my hair straight using the Dyson Airwrap.

Here’s me after a fresh root touch up!

Long Bob

This is a cut that I’ve been considering. I love that it’s still kinda long, but for me it would feel super short—like I made a major change. This cut seems great for most face shapes, and allows you to wear your hair down without it being too heavy and is still long enough for a variety of updos. I’ll probably consider it more when my blonde highlights grow out more and need to be chopped off.


Bangs are my go-to when I need a change. It’s such a commitment though because they need to be trimmed all the time! And the grow out stage is so awkward. My stylist, Christine (@phases) says I shouldn’t do bangs right now because of my highlights, so that’s another style I might need to wait on.

Anyway, I was exploring different hairstyles and just wanted to share some of the looks I was seeing. Let me know which is your fave!

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Category: FASHION