Razzle dazzle is hot, especially when we want to stand out. But don't we all have those days when we'd just rather go incognito? For those times, turn to Element's Fall '09 look book; it's filled with under-the-radar pieces that are cool but not flashy. Army jackets, asymmetrical cardigans, crochet sweaters, plaid dresses, denim vests, and slim jeans are some of the items du jour. Personally, one of my favorite looks is the one on the left. It has just enough layers and I dig the mix of soft and rough.
If you are looking to move it at home, but can't stomach another loud, in your face, overly busy workout DVD, I suggest you try Ballet Conditioning produced by Element.
Shot in a lovely garden overlooking the ocean don't let the serene environment fool you because this workout will make your legs burn. It is what I would have called in my dance days a quad gripper. The fronts of my thighs got a serious workout. The video runs just a little under an hour and the workout is more like a very rudimentary ballet class than an aerobics class. It is structured like a technique class with bar work (using a chair), and center work where you are forced to balance on your own (good for your core), a jumping section (petite allegro for all the bun heads out there), some very dancey ab work, and finally some stretching.
The movements are all reasonably easy to do. Someone who has never danced might find it a little challenging on the first go around but would definitely pick up the graceful moves on the second or third go round. This is not the best workout for a day after a long run; I learned that the hard way. The workout is very leg intensive from the big toe all the way to the upper thighs and booty.
Last night I convinced a good friend of mine to do a new DVD that I had to review with me. As it was called Element: Yoga for Beginners ($10.09) I knew she would give me some good feedback on what she thought about the DVD since she is a yoga newbie. Being an avid PopSugar fan, she was excited to learn that the Anusara instructor in the video, Elena Brower, had taught yoga to celebs like Christy Turlington, Gwyneth Paltrow, Naomi Watts, and Eva Mendes.
Overall, the reviews from both of us were two thumbs up. The poses move slow enough that she was able to look up and figure out what the heck "opening her heart" meant, while fast enough that it was not too slow or boring. There is a strong focus on breathing technique and linking your breath to your movement. My friend loved that Brower was not too crunchy (part of why she's avoided yoga in the past), but she also was not some bubbly instructor only hired for her good looks — in other words, it was evident she was a reputable yoga instructor so it was a good balance. What's more? My friend called me this morning to tell me that she's sore and she's keeping the DVD for herself.
I am especially partial to promoting the sale of this DVD since for every four DVDs that are purchased, Arbor Day Foundation will plant one tree in a national forest.