Designing Gal

June 27, 2016

Whether you are heading to the beach or pool to celebrate Canada Day or Independence Day next week or taking a summer vacation to a beach destination I've got your fashion covered. I've pulled together all the items you need to have a chic holiday at the beach (or pool). I'm a sucker for anything in navy and white and this bikini is perfection! The striped beach towel is made of 100% Turkish cotton and it's available in a variety of colours. The sturdy straw tote bag will carry all your favourite magazines & snacks and works great as a farmers' market tote too! Have a great holiday!

Deanna xo

June 24, 2016

Summer has just begun and I am trying to soak up every moment of the sunshine! I thought I'd share a few recent photos from my Instagram account @DesigningGal. For more of my daily life, fashion and fitness inspiration please follow me on Instagram here. If you would like to shop my Instagram photos it's so easy! Just sign up with your email address at and all the online shopping details for the items featured in my photos will be sent directly to your inbox when you "like" my photo on Instagram!


I had to capture one of may favorite flowers in the wild. Pink peonies are perfection!

Working out with one my all-time favorite fitness videos with Brooke Burke. She is an incredible fitness instructor and actually does it as a side job. This video will burn calories and tone your body all over.
SNEAKERS (also available here) | WEIGHTS | FITNESS DVD

Pale pink peonies and Louis Vuitton. Need I say more? :)
LOUIS VUITTON NEVERFULL TOTE BAG (pre-owned option and similar more affordable style)

Thanks for stopping by!
Deanna xo

June 22, 2016

my favourite beauty products that have reached holy grail status from brands like NARS, MAC, Laura Mercier and Estée Lauder.
My favourite beauty products that have reached holy grail status from brands like NARS, MAC, Laura Mercier and Estée Lauder.

I've been wanting to put together a blog post on my holy grail beauty products for a while and it's finally time. I've tried a lot of different make up products and brands over the years but these beauty essentials are my tried & true must haves. They are high quality, never fail items that I wear nearly every day. 

Benefit Roller Lash Mascara ~ This mascara is a newer edition to my holy grail list and I can't say enough amazing things about it. It's actually eliminated my need for an eyelash curler because the brush is designed to curl my lashes for me! It makes my lashes extra long, dark and thick; it never flakes off and it stays fresh all day. It's a must have!

Bobbi Brown Long Wear Gel Eyeliner ~ I've had this product in my makeup bag for well over a decade now. It has reached cult status because it glides on easily for the perfect cat eye, doesn't smudge and stays on all day. I have it in the Black Ink shade and I also use it with the Bobbi Brown Ultra Fine Eye Liner Brush

Nars "Chelsea Girls" Lip Gloss ~ This is the ultimate lip gloss because it is highly pigmented and it is never ever sticky on my lips. It's a fabulous long lasting product (another reason it's on my holy grail list). I also use it in the Istria shade (a pretty light pink).

MAC "Naked Lunch" Eyeshadow ~ I love MAC eyeshadows for many reasons and have worn them for years. They are highly pigmented, blend very well and in my opinion they have the best selection of colours than any other cosmetics brand. This particular shade is well loved in the beauty community for being the perfect shimmery nude. I pack it just on my eyelid and it instantly brightens my eyes. Naked Lunch is especially perfect for a glowy summery makeup look.

Too Faced Soleil Matte Bronzer ~ I picked up this bronzer after seeing a popular beauty blogger/You Tube star apply it on a woman with a similar skin tone to mine. It's a rich warm shade without being orangey and it has no shimmer for a that perfect matte tan. I use the lightest shade, Milk Chocolate, on my light skin and I love to use it as an eyeshadow too. Plus it actually smells like chocolate! That's a major bonus in my books!

Estée Lauder Double Wear Stay-In-Place Flawless Wear Concealer ~ Where has this concealer been all my life?!? That's what I said when I finally discovered this concealer after trying what seemed like every concealer out there and never finding the right one. It came to my attention when I read that Ivanka Trump has been using Estée Lauder concealer since she was a teenager so I thought it must be good! I have chronic dark circles under my eyes that I find really hard to hide. This liquid concealer has a bit of a tacky feeling that really helps it adhere to my skin and it provides excellent coverage. It never settles into my fine lines and blends well (it does dry quickly so dab it on one section at a time). I set my under eye concealer with the iconic Laura Mercier Secret Brightening Powder and it stays perfectly all day.

Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer ~ I am not a big fan of foundation and I've tried a few over the years but I always feel like I am wearing a heavy mask. I prefer to let my skin breathe and look natural. But as I get a little older it's essential for me to even out my skin tone and that's where this tinted moisturizer comes in. It provides just enough coverage for me while still feeling natural and moisturizing my skin. It's a great lightweight product for the summer time and it also comes in an SPF version. It's offered in a wide range of shades and I am currently using the Blush shade.

Maybe some (or all) of these products will be on your holy grail beauty list now too!

Deanna xo 

June 20, 2016

Nike Running Shoes and Lululemon Leggings
RUNNING SHOES (also available here) | LEGGINGS (Lululemon - similar style here)

Happy first day of summer! And just like that my #100DaysToSummer Fitness Challenge is complete! Where did the last 100 days go? I guess time flies when you working hard on getting a healthy and fit body. I get a lot of questions about how did I make it through this 100 day fitness challenge, what are my results and what did I learn. So here goes:

What I Did
-I exercised every day for a minimum of 30 minutes a day for 100 days (14 weeks). I usually worked out longer than that (45 minutes to 60 minutes) to really get the best calorie burn for my efforts. I like to burn at least 300 calories a day with fitness.

- I changed up my workouts daily with a focus on cardio one day and strength training/circuit training the next so that I didn't get exhausted and strained. My cardio was often jogs or run/walk intervals and my circuit training routines came from Tone It Up workout youtube videos & DVDs, Brooke Burke Fitness DVDs, barre, pilates and yoga workouts (in studio and on DVD). I used 2 to 5 pound hand weights and an 8 pound kettlebell

- I kept a monthly calendar on my fridge and wrote down each workout after it was completed. Every time I looked at the calendar and all my finished workouts I got a motivational boost and a sense of accomplishment.

- I kept a food & fitness journal (in addition to the monthly calendar) and I tracked everything I ate, how much water I drank and my workout details. I didn't track my calories until the last week of the challenge when I started using the My Fitness Pal app on my iPhone. I found that keeping a food journal kept me honest and accountable for what I was eating. It's important to view food as fuel and just like you wouldn't put crappy fuel in your premium car you wouldn't want to put unhealthy food in your body. That hamburger you are craving will always be there - it's not going anywhere so don't give in to every single food craving. Now with that said I definitely believe in allowing yourself a couple cheat meals a week and eating in moderation. No food should ever be considered off limits (unless you have an allergy to it) because you will only want it more. Following the 80/20 nutrition rule is the ultimate way to eat for life in my opinion: 80% of your food is healthy, fresh, lean, green, clean & unprocessed and 20% of your food are the little cheat meals that make life fun and keep you sane.

- I tracked my calories burned during my workouts with a Polar heart rate monitor. I highly recommend this watch because it helped me to know how hard my heart worked during each workout, how many calories I burned (those calorie trackers on fitness equipment, like treadmills and ellipticals, isn't not always correct) and it pushed me further (especially on my jogs).

- I planned out my all my workouts for the week in advance on the Sunday before. I kept the workout plan flexible in case my schedule changed and I needed to switch up a workout to fit my schedule. Some days a jog outside on my favourite trails just isn't feasible and I need to workout at home to save the travel time.

- I often planned out my meals for at least three days in advance. I took advantage of the delicious and healthy pre-cooked food at Whole Foods and I tried to eat clean, unprocessed foods whenever possible. I have drastically reduced alcohol in my diet to a few glasses of wine a month instead of one or two glasses a week.

- I drank at least 70 ounces of water a day to stay hydrated etc.

- In the final three weeks of the fitness challenge I started a coffee detox. I typically drink one cup of coffee in the morning and sometimes had another in the afternoon if I was near a Starbucks or needed a pick-me-up. I've read about some of the negative attributes with drinking coffee, ranging from increased cortisol levels, acidity levels to heartburn (all of which I was experiencing) so I decided to cut it out my diet completely. I replaced it with a cup of black tea or green tea in the mornings and strangely I didn't experience any of the scary withdrawal symptoms I've heard can happen. Three weeks later I am still coffee free, feeling less acidic, more calm, and my stomach is flatter. I plan to continue with the detox. 

- I started a new Instagram account dedicated to my fitness challenge here and updated it every night with my workout of the day. Announcing the challenge to the world kept me accountable. I knew if I skipped a posting I would disappoint myself and many others that found motivation & inspiration from my daily posts. To be honest there were days when I really did not want to workout out and really wanted to take a day off but knowing that people were expecting my post on Instagram gave me that extra push to just do it!

My Results
- I lost approximately 10 pounds, about 2% body fat and reduced my BMI in the 14 weeks of the fitness challenge.

- I lost one jean size and the majority of my clothes that I've bought in the last couple of years are now all too big. Shopping spree anyone? Just kidding!

- I gained much more lean muscle, especially in my legs and I really saw the shape of my body transform.

- I reduced my run time by at least 1 minute per mile.

- I increased my body confidence and I've actually learned to crave my daily workouts. Working out every day is now a habit and an important part of my life.

What's Next?
Well the 100 day fitness challenge is officially over but the healthy habits it created are long lasting. I am not going to suddenly stop my daily workouts or healthy eating. In fact I am going to keep on going with ANOTHER FITNESS CHALLENGE! So today marks Day 1 of the #MyFitSummer2016 fitness challenge! This challenge will last the entire summer (94 days) and my goals are:

- Continue to workout every day but this time around I am going to allow myself one rest day per week if I feel I need it. I likely will not take the rest day or I will make it an active rest day with an easy 30+ minute pilates, yoga, stretch routine or a casual walk outdoors. There is a lot of pressure in promising a 7 day a week fitness schedule and sometimes your body is screaming for a break or your schedule is so hectic you literally can not fit it in.

- Continue with my food journal on the My Fitness Pal app where I will keep tracking my calories and nutrition. I'll also keep my physical food journal (I love this one) and my monthly fridge calendar.

- Lose about 15% of my body weight and reduce my body fat by 6% by the end of the 94 days.

- Increase my hand weights and kettlebell to continue to build muscle.

- Actually be able to do 10 pushups off my knees. I have issues with my shoulders and a regular pushup is quite painful so hopefully the issues will be resolved soon so I can achieve this goal.

I will continue to post my daily workouts on my @FitForSummerGal Instagram account so please follow along for lots of inspiration to help your own fitness journey. Let me know how you plan to stay fit or get in shape this summer and if you will join me in this #MyFitSummer2016 challenge in the comments bar below! My motto is "Getting fit for summer, getting fit for life!" so let's do this!!

Thank you for all your support over the last 100 days. I have some of the best followers on Instagram that cheered me on every day and gave me that extra push I needed to complete this fitness challenge. And my significant other was my greatest cheerleader and never let me fail. I am so grateful for all the motivation and love. Here's to the next challenge!

Deanna xo


June 15, 2016

SANDALS (also available here) | TOTE BAG (J.Crew - no longer available; very similar style) | PERFORATED LEATHER POUCH | SUNGLASSES

Honestly I can't get enough of tan accessories in the summer. Tan leather (or faux leather) just goes with everything in my wardrobe and is the perfect neutral. Sam Edelman makes some of the best quality, affordable sandals around and I love how comfortable the padded soles are. I can wear these sandals for hours & hours and my feet don't get sore. They pair perfectly with my J.Crew leather tote bag (unfortunately they have discontinued this bag but their sister brand, Madewell, makes an near exact version here). I've linked some of my favourite Sam Edelman tan sandals below and if you haven't become one of #Samsgirls yet I highly recommend you do!

Deanna xo

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