Holiday HIIT Workout

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My secret for guilt-free indulging over the holidays? Sticking to my workout schedule even when my days get busy and traveling takes me away from the gym. Here’s one of my favorite no-equipment necessary, do-anywhere workouts that will take you only 30 minutes! What are you waiting for? Grab your iPod, favorite workout leggings, and/or a friend and let’s go break a sweat!

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Start your workout with some dynamic stretches and once you’re warmed up, get the workout going with five minutes of cardio. If you’re at the gym, I recommend hoping on the treadmill or rowing machine. No gym? No problem! Try running up and down stairs, around the block or jumping rope to get the heart pumping! The five minute strength circuit consists of five moves – one minute per move. See below for a break down of the moves and tips on proper form. Repeat the full circuit (cardio + strength) two more times and finish with at least five minutes of stretching.

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squat + side lift standing with feet shoulder width apart, squat down, keeping knees behind toes. as you lift back up, raise one leg out to the side, squeezing where the hip meets the thigh. lower back to start, then perform another squat and lift other leg, alternating side to side.

spiderman push-up starting in a plank position, hands under shoulders, straight line from shoulders to toes, step one foot forward toward your hands. perform one push up and step foot back to plank position. repeat on other side stepping forward with opposite foot.

tricep push-up with kickback lower into a modified plank position, knees on the ground. with a narrow stance, tucking elbows into your sides, perform a tricep pushup. as you lower into the push up, lift one leg, performing a kickback. as you press back up, lower leg. alternate kickbacks on each leg as you perform push ups.

curtsey lunge start standing with feet hip width apart. step one foot back and behind, then lower into a lunge. squeeze the booty as you lift back up to start. alternate between both legs.

tricep dip + kickout start in a reverse tabletop position, heels under knees and wrists under shoulders. as you lower into a tricep dip, kick one foot out and up. as you press up back to tabletop, lower leg. alternate side to side kickouts as you perform the tricep dips, keeping elbows tucked in close to the body.

 

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2016 Christmas Playlist

You know those people that refuse to listen to Christmas music until the day after Thanksgiving? Well, I’m not one of them. So, believe me when I say that preparations for the 2016 Christmas playlist started months ago!

I hope you enjoy this year’s carefully curated Playlist filled with tracks from some of my favorite artists like Brett Eldredge and Matthew West as well as some updated classics that are sure to become new favorites.

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Follow me on Spotify (elmishler) to get access to the 2012-2016 Playlists!

It’s Christmastime

It’s hearing your favorite Christmas carol on the radio. It’s finding the perfect gift for a loved one. It’s rejoicing in the birth of our Savior Jesus Christ. It’s the smell of freshly baked sugar cookies coming out of the oven. It’s cherishing old traditions and creating new memories. It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year. 

And I’m so excited you’ve found your way here so we can share in the magic of the season together. Stay tuned through December 25 for your favorite posts like DIY decorations and the Annual Christmas Playlist as well as new features like  affordable and easy options for table settings!

Don’t forget to follow along with @carolsandcocoa on Instagram as well!

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4 Tips for Wearing Your Holiday Style to Work

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I’ve talked a lot about how I change my workweek style around this time of year to reflect the Christmas spirit and festive season. And I thought it was time I share with you my outfit planning secrets! The four main things I keep in mind when selecting an outfit during the holiday season are Pattern Play, Pile on the Layers, Elevated Accessories, and Sparkle and Shine. See below for some Instagram inspiration and more details on how to wear your holiday style to work!

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1. Pattern Play – I am obsessed with this candy cane heart print from Reese Witherspoon’s new line, Draper James (top left). Balance fun prints to make them office appropriate with lady like accessories such as a sophisticated pea coat and structured bag. Plaid is another go-to print for me this time of year!

2. Pile on the Layers – Mix textures and patterns like Damsel in Dior (top right) did with these great pieces from Old Navy. Layers create a look that feels cozy and warm – and what’s more Christmas-y than that? Also try layering monochromatic pieces – like a blouse, fur vest and cashmere scarf  – for an updated layering look!

3. Elevated Accessories – Just adding a few additional accessories to an outfit can take it from everyday drab to holiday fab! When in doubt, a bright red scarf or silver accessories like the strappy heels and statement earrings from Banana Republic as worn with a chunky blue sweater and mini skirt (bottom right) are perfect outfit trimmings for the Christmas season.

4. Sparkle and Shine – Sequins aren’t just for New Years Eve. Though I do suggest saving your sequin mini dress for NYE, a little bit of sparkle in your work wardrobe is a definite Do! This striped button up with a sequin collar from J. Crew (bottom left) is the perfect amount of sparkle for the office.I also have a few sequin skirts I like to wear to work and usually pair with simple black turtlenecks or chunky knit sweaters to balance out the glitz.

 

 

Winter Whites

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Long gone are the days of saying goodbye to wearing white after Labor Day. These days, the winter white trend has taken off and I wanted to give it a try! I paired a white leather skirt with an ivory sweater to create my winter white look. I also threw on a couple strands of pearls – sticking with the white trend even in my accessories. I really liked this outfit and got a few compliments from some people walking by as we were shooting these photos. I think it’s refreshing to see people wearing white during the winter. It’s unexpected, but super chic when done right. To ensure you get this trend right, here are a few tips to consider as you prepare for a “white Christmas”.

1. Winter white does not mean wearing your summer clothes in the winter months. Consider your favorite pair of white denim. A white jean with a bright pink blouse would look silly in December, but with a grey knit and duster-length open cardigan your jeans take on a whole new life! Think cozy and warm when searching for the perfect compliment to your white jeans for the next few months and you won’t go wrong.

2. Pair your whites with neutrals like gray, tan, and black. Or when in doubt about what colors you can wear with white during the winter, just wear more white! Different shades and textures of white and ivory mixed together create a dynamic and compelling outfit.

3. Fabric choice is very important when it comes to the winter white trend. White linen and eyelet can be stored at the back of your closet for the season, but white denim, silk and knits are all fair game!

I also turned to a few of my favorite bloggers to see how they were wearing the winter white trend for a bit more inspiration. Take a look below!

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I love how Hallie from Corals and Cognacs boldly proclaims that one of her winter wardrobe key items is white jeans – and she clearly knows how to rock them! Worn above with a fur poncho and neutral wool coat, the outfit is a great sophisticated option for the office. The burgundy bag is the perfect pop of color to compliment the look.

Julia of Gal Meets Glam opted to test the trend with an outfit very similar to mine above. A pleated white skirt and cozy white sweater are simple, but chic. A sparkly statement necklace and super sleek hair are the finishing touches to this winter white outfit.

Last, but not least, is Jess, the stylish writer behind Bows and Sequins. Jess proves that the winter white trend doesn’t have to be done head to toe. Her all black ensemble makes the white sweater coat stand out even more and is the perfect way for those of you hesitant to try this trend to get your toes wet before jumping all in!

I was packing over the weekend for my upcoming trip home and was feeling so inspired by this post, I put together an outfit of white jeans, a long grey cable knit sweater and tall brown boots that I plan to wear on the plane! I’ll be sure to share a photo on @carolsandcocoa over the weekend so be sure to follow me on Instagram!

Christmas Morning

Can you believe that two weeks from today is Christmas!?  I can’t wait to be at my parent’s home in Michigan, surrounded by family as we celebrate the birth of Jesus and enjoy our time together. One of my favorite parts about the holiday is waking up Christmas morning and having no place to go! We’re never in a rush and can truly enjoy our time as we sit down to brunch and gather in the living room to exchange gifts. My family has served the same coffee cake on Christmas morning for as long as I can remember. It’s a great treat to nibble on while opening presents and tastes great served with coffee – and even better with mimosas! It’s easy to make and I know if you try it once, it’ll soon become a Christmas tradition for your family too!

Christmas Morning Coffee Cake

1 pkg yellow Duncan Hines cake mix

1 pkg instant vanilla pudding

1 cup sour cream

4 eggs

1/2 cup oil

Topping:

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup chopped nuts

1 T cinnamon

1 tsp flour

Put first five ingredients in mixing bowl and beat at high speed of 10 minutes. Combine last four ingredients in bowl to make topping. Sprinkle bottom and sides of greased tube pan with some topping. Pour in half the batter. Sprinkle with part of topping and marble through dough with knife. Add remainder of batter and sprinkle the rest of topping. Marble through dough again. Bake at 350 for 55 to 60 minutes. Enjoy!

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Now that we’ve got the food covered, let’s talk about what to wear! Part of having no where to go on Christmas morning, means there’s no reason to get out of your PJs! Below are a few of my favorite sleep shirts and pajama sets that I’ve found this year. I especially love the grey and white polar bear flannel pajama pants from Old Navy and the “Elf”-inspired set from Nordstrom! Let’s take a vote? Which set should I wear on Christmas morning? Leave a comment below!

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Clockwise from top left: Asos, Target, Nordstrom, J. Crew, Old Navy, Victoria’s Secret.

Sophisticated Ways to Wear Graphic Tees this Holiday

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I’m always looking for ways to bring a little holiday flair to my outfits this time of year, but never want to risk looking childish or under dressed in a t-shirt. So when I found this cute graphic tee at Old Navy a few weeks ago, I knew I could find a sophisticated way to wear it! I paired the tee with a black midi skirt, peep toe booties and of course a bold red lip! I stacked some gold bangles on both wrists to elevate the look and also looped a strand of pearls around a couple times with a gold and rhinestone necklace to create extra texture and interest.

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See below for a few more holiday-inspired graphic tee options. I can totally picture the “Express your Elf” tee with a pair of slouchy or ripped boyfriend jeans and a black blazer. Perfect for holiday errands or travel! Or try the “Joy” sweater tucked into a pleated mini skirt for a festive outfit that’s also work appropriate.

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Clockwise from top left: Old Navy, Bow and Drape, Gap, ASOS.