Monthly Archives: November 2011

Interview with Personal Trainer Tamara Hambly

Tamara is a very experienced and knowledgeable personal trainer from Victoria BC. Before becoming a trainer, she was an actress in Los Angeles. She is very passionate about fitness as well as acting.

Between the time that I interviewed Tamara and actually got around to posting this informative interview, she has filmed a TV pilot about fitness, as well as competed in the first annual Fitlife Fall Fitness & Figure Show placing Second in her category. Well done, Tamara! I hope to see the TV pilot soon 🙂

Above: Here is Tamara looking absolutely stunning in her bathing suit on stage at the fitness show.

She is a great inspiration to many women because she knows how to live a balanced lifestyle and achieve goals.

I am thrilled to have been able to interview Tamara for this post because she is dedicated to and knowledgeable about fitness and loves what she does. This is one of my longer interviews that I have posted here, but I promise you that you will learn A LOT by reading it. I know I learned a lot, so  I am excited to share this with you.

Above: Just looking at photos of Tamara motivates me to work out more. She sets a great example.
AVIVA: How long have you been a trainer?
TAMARA HAMBLY: I’ve been a trainer for 6 years in October, so about 5 and a half I guess now.

AVIVA: Have you always wanted to be a trainer or did you have something else that you wanted to do before?
TH: No, I didn’t discover training, at least working out, until I was 30 years old. Before that, I was an actor. So, my passion before fitness was acting, so now I have two passions, fitness and acting.

AVIVA: Now that we are on the subject, what could you say to aspiring actors who would like to try to “make it”?
TH: Well, acting is liberating, it’s fun, challenging, you grow tons when you step out of your own skin and put somebody else’s on, but it’s hard, and if you are trying to make it in Hollywood, which most people consider the only success to be Hollywood, it’s very hard not to crack. If you are in it for the love of acting, theater is the way to go in my opinion, and that’s where my background is, theater, not TV as much.

So if you want to be an actor,start acting. Get into acting classes, join you local theater in high school or in your community, learn how to take direction, learn the basics in your community and go from there. If you find that you still have a passion after putting up sets, tearing down sets, after spending hours in rehearsal on your feet and all of those things. If you still want to, then head up to Vancouver or LA.

AVIVA: What inspired you to become a personal trainer?
TH: I was trying to make it as an actress, I had had my 3rd kid, and I was being told that I was too heavy for TV. The truth of the matter was that I wasn’t. I didn’t know it then, but I was told that I was. So I had a friend who had a gym membership, so she added me to her membership, and I started going to LA Fitness. I didn’t know what I was doing, I did not get a trainer, although I loved what I was doing. I didn’t know that some of the things I was doing were wrong, so that’s how I got started. I had never been into fitness, I’ve never cared about what I ate, I’m not a sports-oriented person, so I’m not into team sports, and I was a couch potato until I found fitness.

Then, I hit 30, and had my 3rd kid, and grey hair, so I had my midlife crisis a little earlier than most people and I hit the gym. I loved it; it became my “T-Time”, where I got out of the house, away from the kids, de-stressed, and I saw results pretty quickly. If you want to see a change in your physique, it’s not just hitting the gym and pushing the weights around-you have to conquer your nutrition, and that’s where we started first. We cut out bad fats, aspartame, MSGs, etc.

AVIVA: What are your thoughts on coffee?
TH: (taking a sip of coffee) There are people out there who are hard core nutritionists and who are very very stringent in their nutrition. I don’t take that approach to nutrition. I don’t take that approach to many things at all except the things that are really, really bad for you. I believe in moderation. I believe in knowing what’s good for you and what’s bad for you and leaving the bad stuff alone, period.

Like I said, aspartame, MSGs, and things like that are really, really bad for your body, leave then alone, and read your labels so you don’t buy anything that contains them. But, if you like to have chocolate, my favorite is chocolate and peanut butter…I’ll take a chocolate bar and a peanut butter jar, and I’ll go at it. So I don’t believe in depriving yourself of anything, except the really bad things that you should never eat in the first place. If you have chocolate, know that 3 squares is enough, and don’t eat the whole 12-square bar. Have what you like, and have it in moderation, so you never feel deprived.

People only binge, in my experience, when they’ve deprived themselves of something that they really enjoy or their body really needs for a long time. It’s like oxygen, you can’t hold your breath forever; eventually, your body is going to burst and have air, it’s going to take a breath. Same with things you crave, and things that your body really needs.

If you are someone who is really enjoying your coffee, and you cut it out completely, you are more likely to go back and go back even more so than if you were to just have one cup of coffee a day or one every other day, or whatever you consider to be “in moderation” for you.

I want people to know that I have issues with my coffee intake and that I want to get better. By telling people about it, I feel accountable to them. I believe in doing the right thing forever, because fitness is forever, and it shouldn’t be something you do until you get to your target and then go back to what you were doing before. Fitness is a lifestyle, it’s part of who you are, and it shouldn’t be something you do just for a few months to hit the beach and then stop doing it and then repeat the cycle again next spring.

AVIVA: I notice that many women work out to lose those 10 lbs, and then go back to the way they were. Then, they gain the weight back, and lose everything that they’ve achieved and worked for.
TH: Yes, that goes back to nutrition. When people work out, they don’t always adjust their nutrition accordingly. They will continue eating what they ate before, and then work out. When you are working out, you burn more calories, so if you are not eating too horribly before and then start to work out, you are going to lose some weight and get muscle definition. But, if you continue eating the way you were without working out, you are going to continue to go back and forth with the weight. Weight gain, weight loss, weight gain, weight loss, and that’s horrible for your heart.

Above: Tamara’s arms are amazing.
AVIVA: Do you believe that we actually have a set point, when it comes to weight? Or do you believe that we can lower or increase our set point depending on our goals?
TH: I believe everyone has a balance point. I believe you can balance out how much you take in and how much you spend-that’s basically all it is. It’s how many calories you take in and how many calories you burn. I believe everyone can find a balance because I have. My weight does not fluctuate more than two or 3 lbs.

Can you go beyond what your normal is? Yes, and you can see that with people who train for certain competitions, bodybuilding, weightlifting, those sorts of things. They are probably beyond their balance point to a much more leaner place. Their body wouldn’t rest there normally because it’s unhealthy. I believe every body will have its balance point, where if you know what you are eating and you know what you are spending, you just stay within your weight range. That takes time to find, it takes experimentation, and education. You need to know what you are taking in, and what you are doing. For some, that may mean counting calories, and for some it’s just a natural way of living.

For me, I don’t eat the same amount of calories on my rest day than I do on days when I work out/engage in other physical activities. Basically, your body is an engine, and food if fuel. So if you’re not going to go 100 miles, you don’t need all that fuel, so you will have all that extra fuel just stored. Same with our bodies, if you put more fuel (ie. calories) in than you are going to spend, they are going to get stored in your fat cells.

AVIVA: Now with the fat cells, what do they do? Do they multiply or do they just increase in size?
TH: No, they don’t multiply. They increase in size. You are born with  a set number of fat cells and that is genetically determined. Where they are placed on your body is also genetically determined, and which ones will fill up faster is also genetically determined. So that’s why some people have more fat in the stomach or the legs, or butt, or thighs. How many cells you have never changes as far as fat cells go.

Now what happens is each little fat cell is like a balloon, and that balloon can get huge, and that’s what overweight is. Each little fat cell is getting bigger and bigger and bigger, but they don’t multiply. So eating more does not multiply the number of fat cells you have, it just makes each one bigger. The only way to get rid of fat cells is to have them sucked out through liposuction, which I don’t recommend.

AVIVA: So if somebody is trying to lose weight, what do you believe they should be going for per week? Two pounds?
TH: The safe maintainable average weight loss is 1 to 2.5 lbs per week depending on who you are. Some people shed body weight faster and some hold on to it, and again that’s going to be a combination of genetics, lifestyle, and other factors.

AVIVA: What do you feel is the most exciting part of your job?
TH: The fact that I’m still a kid in it is great. I’ve only been in it for a few years, so I feel like I’m a toddler running around with all these new toys to play with, and discover and to introduce my clients to all these new fun things. That is honestly the best part, which is educating my clients and empowering them to their own personal health and fitness. I don’t want clients that are ball and chained to me. I don’t want an email saying “what should I eat today”.

I want to educate them, so that they can be in charge of their own life. That they know enough to plan out what they are going to do for themselves. That’s freedom, power, liberty, and peace because they don’t have to worry and ask because they already know. So educating my clients is definitely the most important part of my training. Having fun, finding out what clients enjoy doing and then having them do that so that they enjoy their workout, but really, education is the key to longevity in fitness.

If you don’t know what you like to do, and that the only thing that you think is out there to do is to hit a gym and you hate gyms, well then you’re probably never going to find fitness. So, know what you like. If you are someone who likes team sports, then join a softball team or a soccer team. If you’re someone who likes machines and things like I do, since I’m a machine person and a gym person; I’m not into team sports, not a runner, I don’t work out at home, I need a gym membership. I know that about myself, and I accept that about myself.

Do I push gym memberships on others? No, I do not, because not everyone has the same road to fitness as I do, but that’s why you educate people. You’re not trying to make clones of yourself, you are empowering people to be their own version of “fit and healthy”, however they want to do it. They can become a runner, a cyclist, join softball teams, and even just play sports with their kids on the weekend. As long as you’re enjoying what you’re doing and getting sweaty, you’re going to find difference.

AVIVA: Do you have a favorite workout routine for yourself?
TH: No. I don’t do the same thing twice. I prefer different types of training. I love plyometrics, I love multi-joint exercises, but I don’t have routines that I do. I’m not that type of person and I find that I get bored very easily, so I don’t plan out my workouts and I don’t stick to one training style. One day I will do lots of skipping rope and the next day I will do machines, and then the next day I will do plyometrics. Then I will do a cardio interval workout with body weight, like push ups and lunges and squats. I love kettlebells! One of my new favorite things are kettlebells, great for cardio and strength at the same time.

Then, there are people who need routine and they should have a plan, so again it goes back to knowing the type of person you are and how you work best. I’m a very “in the moment” kind of person, and not one to extensively plan my workouts. I’m more of an “improv” kind of exerciser. But, I also have clients, who, if it’s not planned out, then they won’t do anything.

So, know yourself, and know what you do. If you need a plan, make one or have someone make one for you. If you’re brand new to the idea of fitness and health, go to a gym and get a trainer. Trainers are phenomenal tools for health and fitness. They want to educate you, and keep you safe if you’re a beginner and they will challenge you if you’re experienced in the gym or on the field. They are going to be someone who can maximize what you’re doing and how you’re doing it. So getting a trainer could be one of the best things that you can personally do as a first step towards your health and fitness.

AVIVA: Isn’t even one session with a trainer good for some people?
TH: For some people. One session is very short and you can’t do a lot in one session, so if you’ve got someone who is already fit and just wants a new program-one session is fine. But for new people coming into the gym or into a new sports field, you’ll want more than one session.

AVIVA: It can be very scary being new at a gym.
TH: Yeah, and you can hurt yourself. I did a few years ago. When I first started hitting the gym, I didn’t know any better. I’m sure a lot of people do this too. I walked into the gym, and I saw a girl, and I thought, “She’s really nice; I like her arms; I like her legs.” So I would watch her do the exercise, and whatever she did, I would copy, not knowing that chances are I’m not learning good form and who’s to say that it’s a good exercise for anyone. That’s how I hurt myself. I hurt my shoulders when I first hit the gym because I didn’t know any better.

AVIVA: What piece of advice could you offer to women who would like to get rid of belly fat? (this one comes up very often)
TH: Depends on if it’s from childbirth or just a little bit of genetic stuff. If your skin is stretched from childbirth, there is really nothing you can do, and I can speak from experience after having 3 kids. You can tone the muscle underneath but you are not ever going to put elasticity back into the skin fibre ever again. So if it’s stretched because of excess weight, that skin is always going to be that way.

But if it’s just a little bit of a pooch, or a little bit of body fat, cardio and nutrition will take care of that. Also, remember that you can’t spot train for body fat. It’s an overall thing, and you should be working your body inside out. Nutrition goes inside, and it works its’ way to the outside. So if you want to change on the outside, you have to change on the inside. If you are soft in places on the outside, then that means that you are putting something inside that is helping to create that and you are not doing enough to burn those calories off.

AVIVA: What do you feel people should be looking for when they are choosing a trainer?
TH: You want to know what you want to do and then ask around. You can ask your friends if they have trained with anyone they liked. You want a trainer that is experienced in the type of thing that you want to learn. So if you are a gentleman and you want to put on 40 lbs of pure muscle, you shouldn’t go to an aerobics instructor. Find a trainer that specializes in what you want to do. If it’s general overall health and wellness, if you are a young lady wanting to get into the fitness industry and the modeling aspect of it, then you want a trainer who has experience training that way. If you are post-natal (you’ve just had a baby), you want a trainer who knows how to train for that.

Feel free to interview trainers and ask them questions. Also, look into their credentials and read their testimonials. Most trainers will have testimonials from their clients, and if they don’t, well…”why not?”. I am not saying that you should necessarily go with the most experienced trainer, since everyone has to start somewhere, but you want to click with personality, you want them to be able to motivate you, so shop around. It’s just like a car, because you want a good fit, and chances are you are going to be investing some time and money into a personal trainer.

Feel free to fire your trainer. Although I haven’t been fired, I believe that if I am not giving a client what they are looking for then they should have a right to fire me. It’s not about the trainer, it’s about the client, and what their goals are and it’s the trainer’s job to help them attain those goals. However, if your trainer is good, and you are not seeing results, then you are not doing the nutritional background well.

Find a trainer that you are comfortable with, that you enjoy spending time with, because you are going to spend some time with them, and feel free to tell them what you want. I think a lot of people feel intimidated by their trainer so they say “oh, whatever you want I will do”, but that’s not what training is about, it’s about what you want. Don’t be afraid to tell a trainer that you are not completely satisfied with a workout and ask to try something else. You should be able to ask them questions, pick their brain for nutrition, and they should be there for you because it is about you-the client.

AVIVA: If there is anything that you would like to change about the fitness industry, what would that be?
TH: No, not at all really. But,the one thing that I would like to change is the lack of education. I think that here in Canada it should be pushed more through the health industry. People who want to get trainers and gym memberships should be allowed to count that off their taxes. I believe that if you are a healthy employee, your employer is going to get more out of you. The employer should be willing to compensate, or have the government compensate, them for their employees health and wellness. Why not have the government be able to give us tax breaks on gym memberships and personal training sessions? I believe if the government wants a healthy society, and employers want healthy employees, then it would make sense for them to give people tax breaks for training and gyms.

AVIVA: So it’s like taking a preventative measure as opposed to after the fact.
TH: Exactly. You get your car tuned up every 3000 miles, as a preventative measure, so why not get our bodies tuned up similar to the way the cars get tuned up. Given that employers are always having to cover people’s shifts due to sickness, should see that people who work out get sick less. It’s a proven fact. Exercise improves your immune system, so if you get sick, you are sick for less time, the duration is shorter, and chances are you don’t even get sick as often as those people who don’t work out. It’s a win-win situation, you have healthier employees who get to work when everyone else is sick.

I would make it so that people could make tax deductions using their health and fitness costs. It has been proven that employees who are physically fit take fewer sick days.

AVIVA: Yeah, it’s like I haven’t taken a sick day off school for a long time. I was a competitive runner so I know what physical fitness can do for you.
TH: Well there you go, being healthy pays off. It just does. It pays off in all aspects of your life. People always ask me what I think fitness is. I may have a more liberal view of what fitness is than most people, because I don’t care really how you look or what your shape is. You could have a skinny person who is unhealthy. You may be able to be lean, but skinny is not healthy.

My idea of fitness is know what you want to do in life and having the endurance, stamina, and strength to do it. So if you like to climb Mount Finlayson every other weekend, then you need to have enough health, and, and fitness to be able to do that. If you want to go and play hockey 3 or 4 times a week, then you want your health, wellness, and fitness to be able to support that.

Very few of us want to sit on the couch in front of the TV 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Very few people want that, and if you have that mentality, well then I guess you just stay there. For me, being healthy, being active, is just being able to have and lead the lifestyle you want to lead for as long as you want to lead it.

AVIVA: Do you have any advice for people who just want to get into their bikini shape for when they go on vacation?
TH: Look at where your calories are coming from, especially the empty calories. I don’t believe in dieting, and I don’t believe in starvation things and all these fad diets that are out there, such as Atkins. I don’t like them, because you have to deprive yourself of something and anything you deprive yourself of you’re going to want more of eventually. I would say: back off on the alcoholic calories that we take in. Chances are, many of us are consuming way too many calories in our alcohol. One drink will have between 250-500 calories. So be careful of where your calories are coming from. Make a list of “no-no’s”: white flour, white salt, white sugar, and white rice. Cut things out that you know are going to be bad for you, and then replace them with good options.

Get sweaty. Nutrition is going to be 70-80% of the battle for any person who is trying to slim down, so you really have to focus on eating square meals that consist of fat, carbs, and proteins, 5 times a day. You want to be eating all the time actually, so that you never eat too much. You should never feel hungry and you should never feel thirsty. If you want to lose a few pounds to get into your bathing suit, cut out sweets, cokes, sugars, and those sorts of things…start limiting empty calories. Then, find something that makes you sweaty that you enjoy doing, such as running, hiking, get a gym membership, or get a couple of friends together and dance for a few hours. Say “no” to seconds on deserts.

AVIVA: Do you have any favorite fitness magazines that you like to read? Why or why not?
TH: Well, I am not a magazine buyer, so I don’t read magazine articles and I don’t have a favorite magazine. I would rather go online, because number one, it’s free. I research articles and exercises online. But, magazines such as Oxygen, or Fitness are good tools and they will have good articles. However, just because it’s in a magazine, doesn’t mean that it’s a good thing for you personally.

AVIVA: I guess if you buy 5 of those magazines, the total could cost as much as would a personal training session. If you are exercising by yourself using routines from magazines, you would possibly benefit more by hiring a trainer who knows how to do a variety of exercises and can tailor the workout to you.
TH: Exactly. The truth of the matter is, a picture is never going to replace a person. So if there is an exercise in these magazines that you have never seen or tried, I don’t think that having a picture of it is educational enough for you to do it properly. Some people who follow magazine workouts end up getting hurt because there is no education behind the picture. At least on some exercise websites, they give you instructions. You can see how they are moving and they tell you what they are doing. You can’t see the range of motion very well in magazines.

AVIVA: Do you have any additional comments?
TH: Yeah. Be brave. Have fun, and don’t be afraid to experiment with things. I never knew that I liked plyometrics until I tried it once. I never knew that I could do so many things with a kettlebell, until I tried. Try something new, and if you don’t like it, then go try something else. Do something different than what you are used to doing. That’s how I live my life. I like to do something different than I did before. Don’t stop trying until you do find something that you enjoy doing.

There are so many things out there, especially where we are. We live in Victoria, BC and it is a gorgeous city, has great trails for walking and running, fantastic biking trails, mountains to climb all over the place, paths to walk/hike, so there is no reason why you shouldn’t be active. You don’t have to be stuck in a gym all the time. I am a gym rat and I love gyms, but that’s what I like. The trick is to find what you like. Don’t be lazy. We weren’t created to be still; we were created to be active and mobile. When we became more modernized, we started to get more unhealthy because we get to sit down longer, cook faster, and we don’t have to grow our own food anymore.

We became less and less active because more and more things are being done for us. Most of us will park right in front of the door and walk 50 feet, instead of going to the end of the parking lot and walking a little bit more. We have been rewired to think that it should all be short and sweet, and that you should be able to get fit in a week. People believe that fitness should happen faster than it does, and people will give up before seeing the external results that they expect to see first. The way we are though, is we change on the inside before we change on the outside.

The first three months of a fitness regime are very important. It’s important to be disciplined, and strict with yourself, because you will create new neurological pathways, and you are rewiring everything on the inside. It took longer than three weeks to get you overweight, so it will take longer than that to get you back into shape. There is no miracle pill, no quick fix, and no diet that will give you what you want in a short amount of time. It’s going to take discipline, determination, and sweat. People waste far too much money on quick fixes, fad diets, and pills that don’t do anything but make other people (the producers/distributors) rich.

AVIVA: Ever heard of Hydroxycut? What do you think of it?
TH: Yes, I have. I would not take it. I know that it used to have ephedrine in it, but now it doesn’t, so it’s supposed to be safer, but I still would not take it. I am not one to take excessive amounts of supplements, and I don’t encourage my clients to either. The average person doesn’t need that much supplementation. Hydroxycut and other similar things are trying to fit into the mentality of the people wanting a quick fix. Often times people are willing to have that quick fix at the expense of their health, so instead of getting healthier they will end up getting sicker. Quick fixes just never work, except in surgery, but then you got scars. There is always going to be a give and take. If you want to be healthy the right way, it will take time. If you want a quick fix, then it will either be temporary or there will be scars involved, or something. There is no easy way.

Fitness should be fun and enjoyable, but not something that you can do just by sitting on your butt and taking a pill.

Check out Tamara’s YouTube Channel to see great exercise videos as well as videos from her most recent fitness competition. She inspires me, and I am sure she will inspire you too.

I hope you enjoyed this as much as I did. 🙂

Amazing Cyber Monday Deals 2011

Hey guys & gals!

I just wanted to let you know that there are some AMAZING opportunities to get your Christmas shopping done early and SAVE MONEY at the same time.

Cyber Monday is a great time for your to get the most value for your money while at the same time ensuring that your friends, family, girlfriends, and other significant people in your life are happy with their gifts 🙂

I’ve decided to make it even easier for you (by giving you coupon codes when possible), especially if the person that you are buying for is a female.

So, what kinds of gifts do most women like? Fragrances, Fashionable & Stylish Clothes, Romance Novels, Chick Flicks, Jewelry, and other pretty things. Well, if that’s what they want, you can most certainly get that on Amazon.

Here are some online stores that you may want to check out when you are shopping for a gift for your loved one (also included are links to discount pages, as well as coupons when possible):

Save 7% on fine jewelry purchases this Holiday Season at Code: “holiday7” SHOP NOW!
Need to purchase jewelry on a budget? has a shop by price range section! Shop by Your Price Range at! Under $200 to over $3000! The largest selection, variety and custom options! Free Shipping & Engraving! Shop Now

Cyber Monday Sale at Allurez! Take 10% OFF!. Enter Take10 at checkout.

Above: (My favorite!!)This unique open heart shaped pendant necklace features 6 prong set diamonds that surround a dangling drill set diamond, beautifully crafted in 14k yellow gold. The brilliant cut-round diamond stones featured in this contemporary piece are all of G-H color and SI clarity. Symbolize your love with this unique and modern pendant for women. Enjoy a FREE matching 14kt yellow gold cable chain with your purchase.

3. Cyber Monday Deals at Beyond the Rack! Designer clothing brands without the designer prices. Click on the banner below to shop. Cyber Monday Sale at Beyond the Rack! Join today and receive a $15 shopping credit and Free Shipping on purchases of $100+. Invitation Code: CYBERM15. 11/28 ONLY, 12:00AM – 11:59PM EST
Cyber Monday Madness at Beyond the Rack! - Exclusive Deals on Designer Brands. Free Shipping on Orders of $100 or more. Invitation Code: CYBERM. Nov 28th, 12:00AM- 11:59PM EST - 468x60

4. Charm & Chain Holiday Savings! Click on the banner below to shop. Get 20% off at Charm & Chain. 🙂
Charm & Chain

Above: (My favorite!) Rare and exquisite, fabulous vintage finds have been hand-plucked from estate sales, boutiques, showrooms, and flea markets from around the globe. True style is eternal—and there is perhaps nothing more exhilarating than being able to answer that ego-stroking question, “Where did you get that!?” with the nonchalant reply, “Ohhh, this?…it’s vintage.” Diamante Rhinestones 14 Inches Long * Vintage and reworked vintage jewelry may have minor imperfections though

5. Cyber Monday Sales at Diamonds International!
Free Gift, Free Shipping AND $50 Off on purchases of $249 or more at Diamonds International on Cyber Monday 11/28/11. Use coupon CYBERM

Above: (My favorite!!)Gabriel & Co. – Diamond Bangle in 14k White Gold (3.00 ctw).Triple the twinkle! Adorn your wrist with three rows of dazzling diamonds (3.00 ctw) carefully set on this stunning 14k white gold diamond bangle measuring 7 inches.

6. Ed Hardy also has some great sales going on. Go check it out 🙂

Above: Love these Hey Jude foiled leggings! 🙂

7. You can count on LEONISA to give you up to 70% off their items on Cyber Monday. In fact, here is the link: Cyber Monday Sale – Up to 70% Off Sale Items from! (Valid 11/28/11 Only) (that’s right, just for you)

And…if you miss the Cyber Monday sale, there are still opportunities for you to save. Here’s the link: Save up to 50% off on all Sale items at!

8. REEDS Jewelers Deals
Shop at and receive $25 off a purchase of $150 or more! Enter LSREEDS5 at checkout.

Above:(My Favorite!)Rose de France Amethyst and Created Sapphire Pendant. This sterling silver pendant features a 11mm cushion cut rose de France amethyst in the center surrounded by thirty-two 1.25mm round created white sapphires. Pendant is 20mm long and 14mm wide. 18 inch sterling silver chain with spring ring clasp is included.

9. where you can get lingerie, magazines, collectibles, accessories, and more!
Click either of the links below to shop:
Take $15 Off On $65, $30 Off On $100 & $50 Off On $150 at Playboy! Offer Ends 12/1.

Take 25% OFF YOUR ENTIRE ORDER + Free Ground Shipping On Orders Over $60! Offer Valid 11.28 Only.

So I only listed deals from 9 online stores that you can visit on Cyber Monday.
Well, actually 10 if you count Amazon.

I will be posting other coupon codes, so if you follow this blog, then you will definitely get to see them.

Happy Holidays!


GUEST POST: For a Different Spin on a Cocktail Dress, Go Elizabethan!

Attribute to: Jag Ture, Cayenne Red. Jag Ture is a regular article writer and blogger on behalf of Brands Exclusive, an online retailer specialising in Designer Shoes and Cocktail Dresses.


A few seasons ago, the tulip dress was all the rage. That cute, kooky little number that pulled you in at the waist and ballooned out at the hips to create a tulip shape was perfect for creating curves where there are none, but also great for concealing lumps and bumps! Unfortunately, I fall into the latter category and have lumps and bumps where neither a lump nor bump should be, so when it came to find a dress for my aunt’s wedding I thought this would be perfect for my generous figure!

 Just because this was hot a few seasons ago, it doesn’t mean this is OUT of season now, but purely for my (slight) addiction to internet shopping, I typed “tulip cocktail dresses” into the search engines instead of hitting the high-street and uncovered a whole wonderland of gorge tulip cocktail dresses, from plain, block colours to cute little flowers and bows.

 On my travels through the wilds of the fashion corners of the web, I found a new trend that I had somehow completely missed: the modern, Elizabethan-style skirts and dresses! Hitting the catwalks via D&G’s 2008 Spring Collection, these amazing dresses incorporate all the style of this lavish, opulent era thrown smack-bang into the 21st century and given a saucy twist! Cut as a micro-mini to bring this forgotten style even more up to date, if the young Queen Elizabeth were alive today, I’m betting her cocktail dress would look a little something like this! I absolutely love this style – anything to put me in mind of the gorgeously rich Elizabethan dresses can’t be bad – but find myself a wee bit shy to brave the streets in one – yet!


Interview with Photographer Mikel M. Louder

Mikel M. Louder is a freelance photographer based in the Tri-Cities area of Southeast Washington state. The Tri-Cities include Pasco, Kennewick, and Richland. However, he travels to a wide variety of different areas depending on the clients’ needs.

Above: tearsheet from Swimwear Illustrated Magazine

He shoots just about everything from fashion, to real estate, to glamour, to commercial. Mikel has been published in a variety of magazines, brochures, and featured on notable websites. He is a talented photographer and I am always looking forward to seeing his new work.

It was a pleasure interviewing him for this AH Life & Style feature, and I hope that you enjoy it as much as I did.

AVIVA: When did you first realize you wanted to be a photographer?
MIKEL M. LOUDER: I really didn’t think I would as a profession. It honestly became a necessity after a company layoff claimed my “full time” job. I decided to give the industry a shot.

AVIVA: What other career aspirations did you have when you were younger?
MML:  (laughs) like most little kids I planned on being a fireman, policeman…etc. Seriously, I thought I’d follow in my dad’s foot steps as a custom harvester. If you don’t know what that is, visit the tribute page on my photography website: It summarizes my dad’s career.

AVIVA: Do you prefer to shoot in studio or on location?
MML: Depends on what the client needs. I started out as a travel photographer (landscape, nature, scenic). I’m probably more comfortable shooting outdoors, but both have advantages and disadvantages.

Above: Teatsheet from  Sophisticate’s Hairstyle Guide. 

AVIVA: What do you prefer/like about each of these situations?

MML: In studio you have better control and you’re not affected by weather. On location, you’ve got a more natural light and the ability to use different backdrops without making changes like in a studio.

AVIVA: What shoot are you most proud of?
MML: WOW, tough choice! They are all great for different reasons. I guess, I’d have to say my first magazine published work in Swimwear Illustrated.

AVIVA: Why? (with respect to the previous question)
MML:  Just because of it being that first one.

AVIVA: Do you have any photographers/ artists that you admire? If yes, who?
MML: Ansel Adams, because I started in that style of photography, and of course my friend James (Jim) A. Sugar, my mentor, friend and adviser in the beginning. Thank you Jim for steering me in the right direction. I will always be grateful.

Above: Photo-MML, Hair-Liquidity, Makeup-Painted Chanteuse , Model-Krissy T.

AVIVA: In the best case scenario, where would you like to be 3 years from now as a photographer?

MML: Being in a more consistent market doing a lot more published work. (laughs) But wouldn’t we all!

AVIVA: What is your favorite form of photography?
MML: I like them all for different reasons and at different times. I think that’s what makes me unique, I’m not “just” good at any one style. Maybe better at some, but capable in all types.

I would like to thank Mikel for this interview, and I wish him continued success 🙂
For more photos, go to his website or Facebook Page.
Aviva 🙂

Who is Your Market?

In this day and age, it is very difficult to generalize and say, “I am in the modeling industry”. The so-called “modeling industry” is very fragmented and includes a wide range of niche markets within it. Now that almost anyone can join an online social network and call themselves a model, the “industry” has become more segmented than ever.

There are still the main genres of modeling that include: fashion, fitness, commercial, art, nude, and glamour. However, there has been a rise in gothic, alternative, pinup modeling and everything in between. The Internet has made it easier for you to access your market, but at the same time it has created a vast amount of competition that would not have been possible without it.

So, if you want to model, then first and foremost, you need to learn what your market is and whether or not it is sufficient enough to support you and the thousands of others who are vying for the same piece of the pie.

To learn what your market is, take a look at some of the more prominent models and photographers in each genre. Then, realistically asses your body type, facial structure, interest, and shooting style to see where you fit. You can’t market yourself as a fashion model if you are very curvy, and don’t fit the agency standards. That is NOT a bad thing, because there is another market that you can fit. If you have good muscle tone and even proportions, you like sports, then you should try to market yourself as a fitness model. If you are curvy and are not afraid to be scantily clad, then try glamour modeling.

Look at different magazines and catalogs that cater to specific markets, such as Vogue=fashion, Oxygen=fitness, American Curves & Maxim=glamour, Inked Magazine=alternative, Sears Catalogue & Travel Brochures=commercial, and see what suits you based on a realistic assessment of your look. For example, I love sports and working out, have muscle tone, and I’m passionate about fitness so I primarily market myself as a bikini or fitness model.

Aim to work with people who also shoot your style and who have connections within the market that you are trying to reach. Where you find them is up to you, but you should spend time contacting and working with people whose portfolios represent what you are trying to accomplish. Also, pay them if you have to.

Then, figure out how big the market that you want to enter is. You can do so by finding out how many readers the publications that cater to your specific market have, approximate number of people who shoot your style (ie. browse Model Mayhem), and how many publications are targeting that particular market.

Generally, the bigger the market, the easier it is to get a significant enough piece for you to make some money. At the same time though, there is more competition that you have to watch for in a bigger market. If it is a small market that you are trying to enter, then it may have some dominant players who have the majority of the market share (most likely because they started before you did), making it difficult for you as the new entrant. However, this does not mean that you can’t just blow the dominant players out of the water and leave them in the dust if you offer something unique that your market accepts.

Some models have been successful in their careers by creating their own markets. The key is finding enough people who like that style. So, if you have a totally unique idea that won’t cost you too much time and money, you can try to execute it and see how many people accept it and buy into it. It’s possible to create a market where there is none.You don’t know until you try, right?

Lastly, the key points are: be realistic in your market assessment, be aware of your competition, find a way to appeal to your market, and do your best. Good luck!

How to Tell if Someone is Serious About Shooting

This article is specifically geared towards new models, particularly those that use social networking sites such as Model Mayhem to get access to people to shoot with. If you are new to Model Mayhem, you are going to get quite a few messages from other members about the possibility of setting up a shoot.

Whenever someone inquires about shooting with you, and this actually applies to both new models and photographers, there are a few things to consider based on their original interaction with you to see if they are “for real”.

1. They do not use text speak. The original message should not read along the lines of “Hey u. I luv ur work. Want 2 shoot sumtime?” A vague one-liner written in “text speak” usually means that the person did not even take the time to send you a proper message, introducing themselves and what they do. This translates to not caring, and generally, although not always, means that this is the attitude that they will take towards your shoot, if it ever even happens.

2. They give a description of the concept or project. When I say “description”, I don’t mean that they have to write a long and detailed essay about every aspect of the shoot. However, they should at least say if it requires nudity, special props/wardrobe, elaborate makeup, or intended usage. How else is someone supposed to say “yes” or “no” to a project or a shoot proposal if they don’t even know what is required?

3. They have worked with many Model Mayhem members if they have been a member for a while. Let’s put it this way: if someone has been on Model Mayhem for 4 years and in that whole time they have managed to only work with 5 people and only have 4 photos in their portfolio (no website/other portfolio links), then chances are they are not that serious about shooting. This might mean that they rarely ever shoot, may have flaked on shoots in the past, are not active on Model Mayhem, or there might be some other reason why they do not get that many shoots. Whatever it is, don’t have your hopes too high.

4. They are up front about compensation. Whether they are looking for TFP or want to hire you, they let you know by indicating what they want. If they want to hire you, they tell you how much they can afford to spend and what they are willing to pay you (it’s up to you to decide if you want to work for the amount that they offer). If they would like to do TF, they also let you know up front.

5. They do NOT promise you big things that will result from working with them. Just remember that the only things that are guaranteed are death and taxes. Even if you work with one of the best shooters or models in North America, you are still not guaranteed publication or fame, which is even more unlikely. What is worse than a one-liner that says, “Hey u. I luv ur work and want 2 shoot w/u.”? The answer: a one-liner that says, “Hey, sup babe! Ur so sexi. Let’s shoot so I can make u my star.”

6. They do not write you anything sexual (or at least not before they get to know you very well in real life). That can be very creepy coming from someone who allegedly wants to shoot. Makes you wonder if there is a hidden agenda somewhere.

I hope that the above points will help you spot the B.S. before you waste any of your precious times writing email after email and have nothing come out of your efforts. I do, however, wish you all the best in your modeling and photographic endeavors.

If you feel that you have something to add to this list, please do so using the comment section. If you disagree with me, you are entitled to your opinion, and I would love to read what you think.

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