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Monday, September 27, 2010

Calories: by Personal Trainer Zandra Alexander

The following article about calories was written by Zandra Alexander, a Certified Personal Trainer and Nutrition Coach originally from Sweden, now living in Phoenix, AZ. She is certified by the National Academy of Sports Medicine, Scandinavian Academy of Fitness Education and Sports Aerobic Training System. Therefore, Zandra has extensive knowledge of the fitness industry.

This article is copyright of Zandra Alexander (2010) and has been republished here with her permission.

Enjoy!! :)

All diets are made up of calories. Everything you eat and drink (besides obviously calorie-free things like water, etc.) has calories in it. It's how many calories and exactly where those calories are coming from that effect your body and your weight. The way the human body works is pretty simple. There are a certain number of calories that your body requires every day in order for it to maintain its current weight. If your diet plan is made up of less calories than you burn in one day, you will lose weight. If it's made up of more calories, you will gain weight. And calories are made up of 3 things. Protein, carbohydrates (carbs), and fat. Weight gain though is related to total energy intake and has absolutely nothing to do with macronutrients, eating too many calories makes you fat and not your choice of macronutrients. So whether these excess calories in your diet plan are coming from protein, carbs or fat makes little difference. Fat used to be the bad macronutrient, these days it seems to be the carbs. Never avoid either fat, carbs or protein if you want to get fit and stay healthy, you need them all.

A calorie is a unit of heat used to express the energy value of food. A pound of fat stores about 3500 calories, so in order to lose a pound of fat, you need to burn an extra 3500 calories. If you cut 250 calories from your diet and burn 250 calories with exercise each day, you'll lose about a pound a week.

One way of calculating your calorie need.
A common way of calculating your calorie need is to set your daily calorie intake at 12 calories per pound, (12 calories x your weight in pounds= daily amount of calories).
This number will be your basic need in one day= basic metabolic rate (BMR). If you exercise or if you have an active job you will need to consume more calories, especially if you lift heavy weights.

An example of a diet could be about 20% fat, 40% carbs and 40% protein (depending on your goal and exercise, this example is for someone losing fat while gaining muscle mass and mostly used in fitness circles. Obese people may want to stick to a 20% fat, 50% carbs and 30% protein diet to begin with, and then later progress to the diet above.)

1 gram of fat is 9 calories.
1 gram of carbs is 4 calories.
1 gram of protein is 4 calories.

And lets say that you weigh 166,5 pounds and that will make your daily calorie need 2000 calories (BMR), this is how your calories would be divided per day:

20% fat= 400 calories from fat, (400/9= 44,5 grams of fat)
40% carbs= 800 calories from carbs, (800/4= 200 grams of carbs)
40% protein= 800 calories from protein, (800/4= 200 grams of carbs)

But here is where it gets tricky.
It's hard for me to sit here and say how many calories one should eat per day/what diet you should be on without a proper assessment. Every body is different and built differently and goal/exercise is different, so the above diet is just a common advice.

Another way of figuring out for yourself how you should eat is:

0,8 g x kilo you weigh (one kilo is about 2,2 pounds). When in hardcore training, especially weight lifting you will need more protein and then 1,2-1,5 g x kilo you weigh is recommended.

Protein is an extremely important part of all diet plans. That's because your body needs protein, and lots of it. It is the building block of muscle mass. But too much protein is bad for your kidneys and heart and it drives water and calcium out of your body, so don't over do it with the protein..
Great protein choices:

* Chicken Breast
* Turkey Breast
* Tuna
* Cottage Cheese
* Egg Whites
* Salmon
* Lean Beef
* Whey Protein

Are different depending on your goal, endurance exercise like a marathon demands high levels of carbs and carb loading with up to 6-10 g per kilo. A normal person needs about 2,2 g x kilo you weigh and the more you exercise the more you need.

There are fast carbs and slow carbs. Slow carbs (whole grain) will slowly work their way into your blood and leave you feeling full longer, fast carbs (white bread) will work fast and make you hungry again very fast after your meal. Carbs are used as natural fat burners in the body, as energy and repairing tissue after a workout. Weight gain is related to total energy intake but it is easy to eat too much of carbs and any excess carbs will be stored as fat.
Great carb choices:

* Parboiled Rice
* Baked Potatoes
* Whole Wheat Pasta (not too often)
* Sweet Potatoes
* Oatmeal
* Low sugar Yogurt (good for your stomach, but not too often)
* Beans
and of course vegetables and fruit!

0.5 g x kilo you weigh.

Unlike protein and carbs which are both 4 calories per gram, 1 gram of fat is equal to 9 calories. This explains why high protein foods are usually low in calories, while foods high in fat are high in calories.
Fat itself does not make you fat. Eating too many calories makes you fat. Whether these excess calories in your diet plan are coming from protein, carbs or fat makes little difference.

Sometimes people on a specific weight loss diet plan try to eat less fat (or even fat free) and think that that alone will work. What they don't realize is that they are probably replacing those fat calories with calories from protein or carbs. Their fat intake has become lower, but their calorie intake evens back out to what it was, if not even more. Fat is used as transportation in the body for vitamins A, D, K and E and is also needed in building up cells. Avoid saturated fat though it raises the bad cholesterol, and choose monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fat instead.
Great fat choices:

* Avocado
* Olive Oil
* Pumpkin seeds
* Nuts
* Flax Seeds
* Fish Oil
You can read more of Zandra's articles on her blog by clicking HERE I recommend you follow Zandra's blog, which is filled with fitness and nutrition advice.


Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Clothing Designer Spotlight: DS Bullock from Biddeford, Maine

DS Bullock is a creative fashion designer who enjoys making beautiful, out-of-the box garments. On top of designing, she works as a fashion stylist. She has two types of clothing lines, one includes accessories and clothing made of recycled inner tubes (Road Rash Rubber), and the other is more of a regular clothing line called DS Bullock (DSB).

Additionally, she enjoys oil painting and art.

It was a pleasure interviewing DS Bullock for this feature.

Image Credits: Photo-William Cox, Models-Jordan, Ariana, Hair-Grayling Cunningham

AVIVA: How long have you been designing clothing?
DS BULLOCK: I've been designing and making clothing for 26 years, since I was a little girl and my mother taught me how to sew.

AVIVA: What excites you about designing clothing?
I get very excited imagining the potential places my garments could go, what settings they would fit into, what kinds of people would wear them. I love making clothing that is unusual for iconoclastic individuals and it excites me to imagine what kinds of adventures they could take my garments on.

AVIVA: Do you have any designers that inspire you? If so, who?
Galliano, without a doubt. Vivienne Westwood to a certain extent. There are a number of Belgian designers referred to as the Antwerp Six whose work I eagerly follow, as well.

Image Credits: Photo-William Cox, Model-Jordan Rose,Hair-Grayling Cunningham

AVIVA: How did you get started with clothing design?
My mother taught me how to sew when I was a child because I was always drawing the kinds of outfits I would like to wear. We were extremely poor and I identified with Wanda in The Hundred Dresses. So my mother taught me how to sew and let me raid her fabric stashes to make some of the garments I had been designing. Eventually, I was making all my clothing and making clothing for my friends. It just evolved organically from there.

AVIVA: Besides clothing design, what are(is) your other passion(s)/interest(s)?
I love music and am in a punk band. I also love interior design and DIY home projects. I also am completely in love with Spain at the moment and am very passionate about flamenco dance. Well, I love all kinds of dance, actually. And, last but not least, I could not live without painting.

AVIVA: If money/time were no object, where would you like fashion design will take you?
I imagine I would be working in Europe, we'll just say Spain since it's my favorite place in the world right now, making one-of-a-kind clothing for eccentric socialites.

Image Credits: Photo-Josh Band,MakeUp-Meg Czel

AVIVA: Do you have any crazy/weird/funny photo shoot incident that you'd like to share?
I have a number of crazy/funny/weird photo shoot stories but the one that takes the cake was a shoot in an abandoned factory in the dead of winter in Detroit. The photographer who organized the shoot was a poor planner (and a poor photographer, coincidentally) who forgot the lights, ran out of gas for heater and generator. We all wound up freezing in the dark without flashlights and, to top it all off, we were nearly arrested by the police for trespassing! It was such an awful experience and, in the end, I couldn't use any of the photos because the models were so cold their noses were all red.

AVIVA: Any additional comments?
Fashion design is an extremely difficult world but there is plenty of room within it for independent designers who have enough passion and persistence to tirelessly follow their own vision. For models, designers, stylists, and photographers, the key to success in my opinion is an unfailing persistence.

I would like to thank DS for her time and this interview, and I wish her all the best in her design career.

You can see more of her work on her Website and Model Mayhem Account.

Aviva :)

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Introducing...The Amazing Petite Model Isobella Jade

Isobella Jade is no stranger to the modeling industry. Her success story is remarkable. Isobella Jade has always been the underdog in the modeling industry, as a result of being 5'2". However, through dedication, perseverance, the power of her dream, and a love for modeling she was able to overcome the height barrier and has modeled for Marshalls, Macy's, Victoria's Secret, Easy Spirit, and many more. She has also appeared in numerous fashion magazines and ads.

It was a real pleasure interviewing Isobella Jade, and I am very pleased to feature her here.

AVIVA How long have you been modeling?
I started pursuing modeling in 2001.

AVIVA: How did you get started in modeling?
Today, on my modeling blog I share the ways girls of all sizes can get ahead as a model and skip scams and setbacks, but when I started off I spent a year shooting the wrong things, going in the wrong direction. When I started to take myself more seriously and focused on getting an agency and the proper photos I needed to market myself towards an agency, things started rolling. I started by mailing my comp cards by postal mail to every print agency in NYC, and talent agencies. When I continued to self-promote, build my network and build a portfolio and get professional photos that proved I could model, that is when things started. I think starting any pursuits involves analyzing yourself, figuring out what is marketable about you. And to not rush (rushing causes mistakes), or expect opportunities to happen overnight (usually they don’t). The more you put into your pursuits the more you get. One job leads to the next job but this is a self-made world and the marketing yourself process never ends.

Starting modeling comes down to knowing yourself and assets, knowing what is marketable about yourself will get you going in the right direction. It is hard to get started if you don't know what you would be good modeling for. You have to know these things before you even get in front of the camera. I think there is a lot of pre-planning and thinking that goes into pursuing as a model, especially when you are shorter.

AVIVA: What is the most exciting thing about being part of this industry?
I love the process of bringing a concept for a shoot, campaign, or editorial to life. I think it is exciting that every day, shoot, and project is different. Every job involves a different vision, photography style, and I enjoy the artistic process of telling a story through a movement, expression or stillness.

AVIVA: Could you tell me a little bit more about the books you've written?
I've written three books. My modeling memoir Almost 5'4"
about my early modeling pursuits and the first years of striving as a model, also I wrote a graphic novel called Model Life: The Journey of a Pint-Size Fashion Warrior, and Short Stuff: on the job with an x-small model, comes out this October. I am working on a teen novel and two other book projects.

AVIVA: What are some of the major companies that you've worked for as a model, despite being short?
I've done a lot of work as a parts model, using my hands, legs, feet, and body to model for brands, Marshalls, Macy's, Victoria's Secret, Easy Spirit. You could have seen my legs and feet and hands being used for those companies in their ads or commercials. You can see images from my experiences on my website

AVIVA: Do you have any advice on how aspiring models (esp. the shorter ones) can promote/market themselves to potential clients?
Yes, if you want to work with modeling agencies you have to show you can model first. Print modeling agencies (which is where shorter girls should target themselves) do not train their models on how to model,-not the ones I've worked with-so really you have to already know how to model before you approach an agency. It helps if you also already have some experience modeling for something, like a small company and have in your portfolio proof that you have been hired and modeled before. Even for an online jewelry company or local hair salon in your town. I think the more you show you can the more of a chance you have to work with agencies and also brands. When you are striving to get some experience, approach some aspiring brands and designers at tradeshows, craft shows or local conventions. Improve your network and get in touch with those who are aspiring like you are.

Get out of your house, off the computer and stop counting comments and hits and clicks and instead notice what brands and small businesses are in your town, the newspaper will tell you. Start by being a savvy model that knows her assets and has the confidence to market them to aspiring brands who might need a model. Having a professional comp card helps when you approach aspiring designers, companies, etc.

When approaching an aspiring brand in your town, or a local boutique store, if you have a comp card bring it, if not then bring some printed photos, and ask who you can speak to about the marketing for their company because you'd like to drop off some photos in case they might need a model. Or take their business card and mail them a jpeg later.

I think a lot of girls think it is easy and convenient to have an online portfolio or set up a profile on a model-site, but many real brands do not take that seriously. So I'd actually skip that. If you are sending images through an email I think it is better to mail a photo attached, a jpg image, pdf or a jpg of your comp card in an email fewer than 150kb in size. And be aware of the style of the aspiring company and brand you are pitching, if it is jewelry send photos of you modeling jewelry, not a swimwear shot! I know self-promotion works, but you have to be prepared for your success. Try. Simply try; putting yourself out there, asking for the chance might get you the chance.

AVIVA:You talked about differences between fashion modeling agencies, and commercial/print agencies. Do you have any advice for approaching commercial/print agencies?
Yes, you should approach them with the right photos. I would spend time creating a nice smiling headshot and beauty shots, and shots that show your personality and upbeat appeal, something like a catalog shot, because print agencies will be marketing your personality and photogenic self. You should be able to model naturally a product, like a handbag or shoe, accessories. So go out and get a photo shoot done with a professional photographer who understands what print modeling is, and hold a cell phone in the shot, a handbag, a coffee cup, show you can work with products, print agencies want to see that. And keep the clothing, hair and makeup natural, not overkill. Study print ads and lifestyle ads, and you will see that the shots are a lot less about being tough or having an attitude and more about smiles and personality. Your photos represent what you can do as a model, so when you are creating your comp card ask yourself, Would I hire this girl to model for a product or brand?” and “What products and brands could this girl model for?” Analyze your photos and ask yourself if they fit what print modeling is before you mail an agency your comp card.

AVIVA: Do you have any weird/funny/interesting shoot story that you would like to share?
Even if you have your period you can still model and get the job done, you just have to want to do it. Don't let any drama get the best of you, bring your best forward even if the day isn't going as perfect as you hoped. Being comfortable, focusing on the job,staying confident and being perceptive will get you through any bad day on the job as a model. And keep in mind that reality TV has so far basically lied a lot about what it is like to be a model.

AVIVA: If money/time was no object, where do you see yourself 5 years from now?
I sort of give myself 2 year plans not five year plans, but I plan to write inspirational books for teens and young adults. Within five years, I think I will be a mother. Still modeling, writing books, but also helping other go-getters. I like being around passion people, and those who are striving to tell their stories, share their art or designs, so I would like to be in a position to help small companies and designers grow their brand.

AVIVA: Do you have any additional words/comments?
: Your inner voice is what leads you. If you doubt yourself, others will. To give yourself a chance and to not be afraid of your own talents and skills. To understand that even those who are talented or established are still practicing and growing, the growing never ends.


Isobella Jade is an inspiration to many aspiring (petite) models. She is living proof that success in this industry is not always about the size of the model in the fight, but it's about the size of the fight in the model.

You can find more of Isobella's work on her website and her blog,, is filled with valuable information for models.

I would like to thank Isobella for her valuable input.

Stay tuned for more interviews, possible blog giveaways, and much more!

Monday, September 6, 2010

Johnson Street Festival...Aug 28th/2010

Approximately a week ago, I attended the Johnson Street Festival in Victoria.

It was a very fun and interesting fashion event, where local businesses on the 500-600 block of Johnson street showcased their best items. As I walked from store to store, all I could think about was how much I would like to stop at every store and buy every single item that was my size.

However, when I didn't have my eyes set on the beautiful garments, accessories, and shoes that were displayed outside of every boutique, I was busy taking photos of people, places and clothing.

As far as photography goes, this event was a great experience for me to test my photo skills. Ian of IMS Photographic lent me one of his cameras,Nikon D200 10.2MP Digital SLR and Nikon 50mm f/1.8D AF Nikkor Lens and showed me how to use it. The reason he lent me the small and light lens is because it is much easier to handle it when going on the bus and walking around (No way you could find a decent parking spot in Victoria on a VERY busy festive Saturday).

I really challenged myself as a newer photographer by setting the camera to "M" and gradually adjusting the settings of the camera to fit the lighting situation. Although the weather was beautiful and sunny, it was not the best lighting scenario for photography. As soon as I thought I had the settings correct, the lighting changed on me, and I had to change the f stop, shutter speed, and exposure compensation to match it. I'm not complaining in any way though, since I like a challenge, especially when it has to do with photography. :)

Above: Photos of Miss Hiccup of the Fringe Festival. Miss Hiccup is looking pretty awesome with all the flowers...nice and colourful!

Above: These guys are pretty cool. They are coffee shop owners and they love what they do. It was great to see.

Above: These girls are dressed like princesses and they look gorgeous! I wish I was able to get a better shot.

Above: This dude has got some skills! Awesome! It was very hard to catch him as he was moving. He kept on going in and out of the frame...and I missed the part where he did a back flip. I had to have the shutter speed fairly high to catch his movement.

Above images: The crowds were gathered everywhere for various reasons. Some came to see the skateboarders, others came to watch people doing yoga, some were fond of the dunk tank, and still many others came to see the dancers pulling off some wicked moves.

Above: Who wouldn't want to see a beautiful young lady dancing?

Above Images: Only a very small fraction of all the awesome clothing items that were displayed by the boutique owners.

Above: Waiting and relaxing.

Above: This gentleman is about to point his camera and take a photo. I was hoping to get a photo of him taking a photo...haha

Above: Yes, he was a gentleman, and his face has character.

Above: These guys are in a contest with Virgin Mobile to win free rent for a year. Help support Victoria Youth. Please click here to show your support by voting for them.

Above: The colour orange suits her. It's bright, it's awesome, and so I took a photo. :)

Above: Probably the youngest skateboarder in the group that was performing. Look at the concentration and the focus involved as he is about to go up the other side of the ramp. I just had to get this shot!

Above: Hulahoop girl...looking awesome!

Above: Great face!

Above: Gotta love that camera. It was great seeing people taking photos all over the place.

Above: These girls were serving awesome tea and handing out coupons.

Above: Shot inside a boutique. Lots of beautiful stuff in there that I couldn't take photos of.

While I was walking around from store to store, I met a few boutique owners that will probably be doing interviews which I will be featuring here.

By the end of the day, my feet were aching from all the walking. As I walked up Douglas Street and headed towards home, I witnessed a thoughtless driver turning the wrong way onto Pandora Ave (a one-way street). Luckily, no one got hurt...

Thank you,
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