Saturday, February 15, 2014

Style Under $40

Hello friends! I want to share my entry for a Valentine's giveaway this weekend. I'm excited because I am currently in the middle of a closet re-mix challenge and I came up with something cute without going shopping! Plus, it helps to be a stylist for Stella & Dot - I have jewelry to no end!

The rules were to post your Valentine's Day outfit with pieces under $40. Easy! Usually, I'm wearing at least one or two things that are under $40. Here is what I pulled together.

Kate Spade Watch

I really love what Janelle at Style Under 40 is doing on the fashion scene. Stylish outfits and trendy pieces don't have to break the bank! She has demonstrated time and again how to pull looks together with a twist and keep your wallet happy. So fun. Check out their Facebook page and Instagram and tell her I said "hi!" 

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Wrap-Up: Week 1 Move Nourish Believe Challenge

I am participating in Lorna Jane's Move Nourish Believe Challenge (MNB). I had an amazing first week! Here's my recap on "MOVE."

Monday: Sweat it out, show us your favorite way to sweat!

Planking it is! I love planking because I can feel my core get stronger each time and the shakiness reminds me that there's always room for improvement! Pardon the outfit - I have class Monday nights so it was either take a photo in this ensemble or in my pajamas.

Tuesday: Change it up! - Sweat a new way!

I tried something new, all by myself... FlyBarre. It's a barre class, like the Barre Method or PureBarre. This particular venue is primarily known for FlyWheel - cycling - but I'm not a huge cycling fan, plus I wanted to experience something new. The workout was incredible and much harder than I expected. Just using 1-2 lb weights had me shaking and on the verge of crying in a room full of women. I was surprised the most by how little weight can work my arm muscles and how weak I am! I will definitely be going back. The instructor was motivating and peppy and I could tell she really wanted to be there.

Wednesday: Let's get planking! Plank for at least 5 minutes today. You can split the planks up.

Well, I couldn't do a consistent plank for 5 minutes so I broke mine down into 30 seconds a piece. Whew! That was excruciating. My core was burning. This is my timer at the end, after stopping and starting it.

Thursday: Buddy up! Workout with a friend today.

My husband and I did light weights upstairs before heading to the gym downstairs to do a little bit of everything - cardio, kettlebells, crunches, lat pull down, and leg lifts. It's always nice to see his smiling face. :-)

Friday: Fave Friday! Show is your five fitness favorites! Exercises, people, whatever gets you moving and motivated!

1. Steve Prefontaine - "To give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the gift." I'm a huge believer in this quote, always have been since I was introduced to cross country running in high school. I really feel like this is best applied to all aspects of my life.

2. "If you want something you've never had, you have to do something you've never done." -Thomas Jefferson, apparently. Also quoted similarly by Dave Ramsey. Applies to all of life, but definitely makes sense in fitness because unless you get up and move, you're going to stay the same.

3. I don't know why, but kettlebell swings are one of my top fave ways to workout. Maybe it's because swinging a solid cast iron ball around makes me feel so badass.

4. "More water. More veggies. More protein. More cardio. More strength. More rest. More sun," I found this on Pinterest and it made me smile.

5. Lindsay Smith is my fitness model. She's a mom, a coach and mentor to adolescent girls and a CrossFit competitor. She is so strong and blows me away. She also cooks. What?! Lindsey has intense focus and dedication to her sport and it clearly shows. You have to be mentally fierce to do everything that she does in one day! I don't know how she has time to do everything that she does, but hey - we all have the same 24 hours in a day - and she makes those hours work for her.

I am loving this challenge. It's pushing me to exercise every day and to get out of my comfort zone and try new activities. I can't wait to see what next week brings!

Friday, February 7, 2014

Priority Assessment

I don't believe in New Year's resolutions. My list of hopeful ambitions usually ends up crumpled in the corner and forgotten by the time I remember that I had even made resolutions in the first place. So, I don't make resolutions anymore when the ball drops at midnight. I spent the better part of January getting reorganized - in all aspects of life. My office space is a little neater. My school books and notebook have a place and purpose. My dreams are a little clearer. My home is a little cleaner. And my Stella & Dot business is recharged.

What I didn't know is that I would indeed make a list, after all. However, this list doesn't consist of "to-do's" and goals that are so high above my head, it would take excruciating effort to achieve them. It comes down to something quite simple... priorities. I find myself so overwhelmed at times that I just throw my hands up and walk away... from all of it. Then, I'm stuck playing catch-up in a frenzy because the laundry pile got too high or my assignments didn't complete themselves. So I breathe. And focus on four genres of my life that I can improve on a daily basis, little by little. I have learned that I cannot do everything. I can put on the sequin superwoman cape and attempt to tackle/say yes to anything and everything that comes my way, but in reality, it's just not going to work. I've been down that road and it only leads to disappointment, exhaustion and burn-out.

Priority no. 1
Child of God

Priority no. 2

Priority no. 3
Graduate student

Priority no. 4
Stella & Dot stylist

All of these categories collaborate with one another and make up who I am, to some extent. When I put them in perspective with a little effort or a nod to each one every day, then I am doing the best I can; I'm happy with that.