Project Stunning Part II: 5 Common Workout Mistakes

Time to Workout

Workout Time!  Are you ready?

As a fitness enthusiast, I’ve tried so many different types of workouts – running, kickboxing, body steps, weight training, circuit training, plyometric training, yoga, Surf Set, pilates, TRX… I think I might be considered a workout junkie to most people!  Daily workout is really my lifestyle and I have a love/hate relationship with it.  It is hard work (not going to lie) and painful sometimes but I love seeing the results (tight glutes, toned arms, flat abs.)  In case you don’t know, the pain is where the change is happening.  If you don’t feel it during your workout, you are not making any change.  How ironic, isn’t it?

color run

My friend and I participated in the 5K color run.  If you enjoy outdoor activities, try signing up for a fun run with your friends.  You will sweat a bucket and have a blast while doing it!

A common thinking is that as long as you are working out, you will be able to reach your weight-loss goals.  As a bride, you are probably very eager to get as many pounds off as you can in a short period of time and exercising is a great way to help you achieve that.  However, if you are not doing the exercises correctly, you are simply wasting your time and will only see mediocre results.  When this happens, you lose interest and quit too soon before you see the major change.  So in part 2 of Project Stunning, I want to share with you the 5 common workout mistakes that you should avoid so you can get the results that you want.


By all means this is not the complete list and you should always consult with a professional fitness trainer if you want to prevent injuries especially if you are just starting out.  Having someone point out your mistakes at the spot is by far one of the most important parts of your lifestyle change.  However, this list should help you get started on the right track!



Brought home my first 1/2 marathon metal last month (August 2013) at the Seawheeze half marathon in Vancouver.

1.  You do the same workout over and over again.

We all have a tendency to do the same things that we like.  When we go to our favorite restaurant, we usually order the exact same dish that we love or are familiar with.  Most people don’t like to take risk, which is very understandable because we don’t know if we will like the new change.

But when it comes to working out, variety is really the spice of life.  It is important to know that after a certain amount of time, you should change your workout routines.  That means, if you are used to running very morning at 8am, try switching one or two of the days to a different type of exercise like kickboxing or circuit training.  The problem with sticking to the exact same exercise is that your body will get used to it.  When this happens, you will hit a plateau and lose the weight loss momentum.

How do you know that you’re hitting a plateau?  You no longer feel the pain after your workout.


2.  You don’t practice the right forms.

It is very common in the beginning of your weight-loss plan that you get overexcited and work out too hard too soon forgetting to pay attention to practicing the right forms.  Remember that your body has a learning curve and it takes time to adjust to the change.

At my gym, I saw so many people doing lunges, squats, push-ups, and weights incorrectly.  The interesting part is that some class instructors might not even point out their mistakes and would allow them to continue with their incorrect forms week after week.  Why is it important to practice good forms?  Not only will you get the result that you need but it is the best way to prevent injuries.

So, what should you do instead?  Schedule some personal training sessions with a trainer and ask him and or her to correct your forms.  Also, if you feel pain on your joints or spine (neck and lower back) during the workout, that is a definite red flag.


3.  You skip warm up and cool down.

It is interesting how many people skip the warm up and cool down of their daily workouts.  It is probably because they don’t see the importance or they are too eager to get into the high impact part of the workout.  I was the same in the beginning too because there is limited time to work out each day so I want to maximize the time that I spend doing it (i.e. burning calories.)

But skipping these crucial steps of your workout can potentially do you more harm than good.  The purpose of the warm up is to “wake up” your muscles by gradually pumping oxygen into your bloodstream to give the energy your muscles need during your workout.  When your muscles are not awake, you can easily damage the tissues – not a smart idea.  As for cool-down, you are stretching out the tired muscle tissues after an intense workout so it helps speed up the recovery process and reduce soreness the next day.

Most structured classes like kickboxing and circuit training will include a warm up and cool down.  If you are working out on your own, there are some warm up and cool down ideas that you can try.


4.  You are not focused while working out.

Yes, that’s right.  Talking on the phone while working out on the treadmill is highly not recommended.  As a woman, I have to admit that I love to multi-task.  It runs in my blood and it’s hard to resist the urge to save the world everyday.  Since you are making a commitment to a better you, you should focus on what you are doing instead of trying to tackle multiples things at once.

When you are distracted, you are not adding the intensity that you need to get your heart rate up.  Maximizing your heart rate during your workout is the key to burning more calories!  Your mental power is actually more powerful than your physical power.  So, the next time that you hear your phone ring at the gym, simply let your voicemail answer for you.


5.  You are sleep deprived.

What does sleep have to do with weight-loss?  So if you only sleep 6 hours every night, why would that affect your weigh-loss plan?  Surprising, sleep is the final factor to the weight-loss formula.  When you’re sleep deprived, your muscles don’t have enough time to recover from your daily activities and adding on an intense workout during the day will only increase the chance of injury.


Not only does getting enough sleep every night helps you achieve your weight-loss goal, but it will also strengthen your health by reducing the risk of health-related issues like heart diseases.  It is really true when people say “beauty sleep.”

Comment below and let me know if these tips help you!

XO Judy

Project Stunning Part I: 5 Common Weight-Loss Eating Mistakes

green and red healthy food

Eating right takes up the majority of the credit to your weight-loss success.  In fact, it is possible to lose your desired weight without working out.  But, regular exercising boosts your metabolism so it speeds up the process of breaking down fat during and after your workouts to help you achieve your weight loss goal faster.  There are really countless reasons why eating right and exercising go hand in hand but for the purpose of this post, I want to share the common eating mistakes that people make when they first start their new healthy lifestyle.  I first got this post idea from Women’s Health Blog, so thank you Women’s Health.

Let’s start by saying that not all foods are created equal.  We’ve grown to love eating starchy carbs like potatoes and pasta.  Our bodies crave them and we enjoy eating them too but the biggest problem is, they are what nutritionists called “empty calories” because they provide very little nutritional values but are packed with calories.  I considered them “bad deals” because you “pay” (calories-wise) such a high price and get very little back (nutrients) for your body.  This is just one of the many examples of what NOT to eat (or eat them at a very sensible amount.)

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Project Stunning: Creating a Healthy Lifestyle for a More Beautiful You for Your Wedding and Beyond

Back of a wedding dress

A custom designed wedding dress created by me

As the Dress Genie, one of the most common requests that I hear from brides for their wedding dresses is to make them look skinnier. It is truly understandable that every bride wants to look strikingly gorgeous on the most important day of her life. Yes, the right dress can create the perception to make any women look slimmer but in reality, the ultimate solution is to lose the unwanted pounds. Definitely not what most brides want to hear.

I have been a fitness enthusiast for over 8 years now. I workout 5 – 6 times a week, completed Beachbody’s P90X, P90X2, and Insanity, just finished my first half marathon Seawheeze at Vancouver (and more to come,) and have been able to maintain the same size for the past 8 years so I do know a thing or two about health and fitness. It is also a passion of mine along with fashion and weddings to inspire other people to create their version of a healthy lifestyle.

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The Truth and Myth About Designing and Making a Custom Dress

When it comes to custom designing and ordering a wedding or special occasion dress, not too much women know what to expect.  After all, most families don’t own a sewing machine and some of us may not even know how to replace a missing button.  No shame – that’s why seamstresses are around so you can focus on what you do best.

Since there are many misconceptions about what making a custom dress is all about, I decided to bring out some of the most common questions asked by my clients during the consultations so you can better understand if custom designing and/or making a custom dress is the best option for you.



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Oops… How to Clean Stains on Your White Wedding Dress

Yes, it can happen.  One minute you are having a blast dancing, toasting, and eating and the next thing you know, you dropped some food on your white wedding dress.  What now?


photo from

First, DON’T panic.  Your wedding dress is not ruined and neither is your wedding day.  There are ways to clean (camouflage) the two common food stains that you may encounter and I am going to show you how.  Keep in mind that you cannot completely take out the stain but the results will be good enough make it less obvious that day.  You will still have to take your dress after the wedding to a professional dry cleaner to completely remove it.

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There is a New Length in Town – The Midi Skirt


Vintage Elegance | Anthropologie

What is a midi skirt?  We all know what a mini skirt is but designers this fall are re-introducing a new length.  I say “re-introduce” because nothing is really new in the fashion world.  All trends are recycled but might be re-interpreted.

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8 Rules of Blush – Tips From Beauty Expert


Make up and hair by Tiffany Chiang of Design Her Image for Ju.Lee / Iridescence Bridal Couture photo shoot.  Photos courtesy of Chyna Darner Photograpy and Karl Ko Photography.

How do you get the prettiest flush for your next big event?  Beauty Expert from Allure Magazines shares their secrets and I’m sharing them with you.

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Do You Know Your Basic Body Measurements?

As the designer for my own company Iridescence Bridal Couture, I have been asked numerous times by my customers about how to find their basic body measurements, which are your bust, waist, and hip (a.k.a BWH.)  You probably know what they mean but do you really know what your measurements are?  If you do, are you sure that you have the accurate numbers?

Many people (men and women) are confused because fashion brands set their own measurement charts for their clothes.

Size Chart 1

As you can see, there is difference in size 6 from company A to company B.

What is even more confusing is when the advertised sizes resemble the waist measurement when it reality, it is not!  This is particularly true in the denim category.

Size Chart 2

In this example, a pair of size 27 jeans does not necessarily fit a 27” waist woman because she might not have a 37” hip.  Her hips might be between 34” – 35” so this company’s “size 25” jeans will be the right fit, but she does not have a true 25” waist.

For many years, companies have been using “vanity sizing” as a marketing tool to attract customers to buy their clothes.  Why?  Because research found that if you feel small, you will more likely buy their clothes.  As Americans have grown larger over the years, vanity sizing has become increasing important to appeal to their core customers.  In general, mass fashion brands use vanity sizing more than high end designer brands.

The problem with vanity sizing is that you no longer know your true numbers unless you know how to measure your body accurately.  But you might ask, “Why do I want to know?”  If you want to order clothing, whether it is custom-made, online, or internationally, these basic measurements will prevent you from ordering the wrong size.  Knowing the right numbers will save you time and money for unnecessary returns and alterations.

Want to find out if you have the right BWH?  Use our guide to help you know your numbers!

Measurement Instructions Blog

Questions?  Please leave your comments below.

Looking Your Best for New Year Parties

Happy New Year’s Eve!  The countdown is on!  Are you ready to say bye-bye to 2010 and celebrate the beginning of 2011?  The popular you have received an invitation to a New Year’s party tonight.  By now you have probably been to a couple of other holiday events like corporate and Christmas parties.  You already had to figure out your outfits for both events and now you have to decide on another outfit for the New Year.  Can this get any more difficult? 

The good news is that all the stores have after Christmas sales so you shouldn’t have any problem finding a new outfit for the New Year’s party.  Most Fall/Holiday clothing will be anywhere from 25% – 75% off.  Now is the time to gather your gift cards and have a little fun shopping.  If you are not sure where to begin or want some ideas and inspiration, I’m going to show you how to pull together an outfit that will make you shine. 

This is the final post to my “Looking Your Best for the Holidays” series and the last post for 2010.  For this post, I will suggest styling tips for a curvy girl.  When people hear “curvy,” they automatically think plus size.  That is not quite true.  Curvy really means that your bust and hip are prominent in proportion and as a result, you have a well-defined waist line and it creates an hourglass figure.  To look good in any outfits, it’s all about maintaining the right proportion.  You not only have to consider the basic bust/waist/hip measurements, but also your makeup and shoes.  Yes, you have to consider the overall look.  Whether you are a size 4 or size 16, if you have the right proportion, you will look gorgeous no matter what size you are.  It is no rocket science but there are a few principles that you need to understand to make it work. 

What:  New Year’s Party

Where:  Lounge XYZ

Body Shape:  Curvy





 Rebecca Taylor Sparkle Sweetheart Dress, Neiman Marcus, $495

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Looking Your Best For Corporate / Business Holiday Parties

It’s very important to dress and look appropriate for your corporate / business holiday parties.  Don’t let the word “party” fool you.  Even though you’re supposed to have fun, your co-workers, clients, boss, and/or VP are more likely than be evaluating you at this party.  The kind of impression that you gave at the parties can make a difference in your career and business.  This is definitely the time when you want look and act your best. 

Did I make you nervous?  You don’t need to be if you know what to do.  Here is your complete “dress to impress” guide for your next work party if you have a busty frame. 

What:  Corporate / business holiday party

Where:  Restaurant

Body Shape: Busty


Attire & Shoes



Start with this workoutfit. 

Left: Guess one shoulder knit top $79;  Center: Robbi & Nikki Embellished Stretch Twill Jacket $295;  Right:  J.Crew Bi-Stretch Wool Minnie Pants $98

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