Last Minute Fitness Tips and Tricks for Summer Events

Hello friends!

Happy Sunday!

In just a week and a half, it’ll be the fourth of July! This summer is flying by!

I saw a funny caption on Pinterest a few weeks back:

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Original Source:

Haha!

So, in honor of the upcoming holiday, I thought I would share some of my favorite fitness tips, tricks, and workouts to get tight, tone, and ready to rock a long weekend. (I myself have an adorable jumpsuit — yes, I know!  Stay tuned for my Favorites post at the end of the month to see it!)

Before we jump in, I recently wrote an article all about this topic. It makes a great complement to this post. You can check it out here. There, I discuss nutrition, hydration, and overall fitness tips, as well as a little mindset check.

For this post, I’ll go more in-depth and even chat about what I’m specifically doing this week (and have been doing for the past week and a half) to get ready for a few events coming up.

Let’s dive in!

1. Cardio, HIIT, Kickboxing

For the past few years, there’s been a shift in what it takes to get fit and achieve your fitness goals. More emphasis is placed on lifting weights, building strength, and sculpting muscles. Cardio and HIIT have taken a back burner. This is great news for all of us who absolutely despise cardio. haha! Cardio is hard on my body. As I get older, I find that I can’t do the same things — meaning hitting my elliptical for hours on end each day, doing dance cardio every day, and surviving on yogurt and cereal twice a day. For the past four years, I’ve slowly gravitated away from cardio, and in the past two or three, haven’t really even done much in the way of HIIT. My body, prone to injuries and achy most of the time, just doesn’t respond as well as it used to, and I don’t enjoy the feeling of old age and death for the week after doing the workout. (Hello fractured ankle back in January/February) But, I noticed that when I didn’t do cardio or HIIT, I also packed on the weight, felt bloated and heavy, and didn’t have the stamina and endurance I needed to do fun, outdoor activities. WTH? So, I’ve had to find alternatives. Here’s the thing. We need cardio in our lives, or at the very least, I do, but I think it’s important for everyone.  Cardio keeps our heart healthy, keeps our stamina and endurance up, and helps burn calories. It’s especially important to add in when you are trying to get ready for a special event. HIIT is the perfect combo — you get quick cardio bursts and toning all in one! The trick is finding something that you love to do and something that won’t hurt your body.

What I’m Doing:

I’ve designated Monday and Friday as my cardio days. I do a Tracy Anderson dance cardio video, set to my own music playlist. For the past month, I’ve also added in kickboxing. I started with the Tone It Up video and decided to get back into Tae Bo. I did Tae Bo years ago and loved it, and it’s a breath of fresh air. Not only does it help tone and tighten my arms, abs, and legs, but it makes me feel badass! Last week, I rediscovered my love of Belly Dancing, and I’m starting to add that into my routine as well.

2. Sculpting and Toning

Here’s where your weights, resistance bands, and body weight only exercises come in. Cardio alone will not help you achieve your fitness goals, especially if you want a curvy, feminine look. Cardio will help you lose fat, but it’s not going to help you tone and sculpt muscle. There seems to be a divide when it comes to lifting weights. The first school of thought is that women shouldn’t be afraid to lift heavy. The argument here is that you need to challenge your muscles to change them — lifting heavier each time will do this, the goal being to reach progressive overload and not allowing your muscles to get used to what you are doing. Lifting heavy encourages the release of the growth hormone and testosterone, which are responsible for building that lean muscle and burning fat. (See: Why All Women Should Lift Heavy for more information.) The opposite side encourages lighter weights and more reps. The argument here is that this eliminates the possibility of bulking up, and helps achieve the long, lean, feminine look. Effort is just as important, if not more so, than load, and lifting lighter weights has a wide range of benefits: more muscle growth with better effort, better range of motion, and less risk of injury. (See: 5 Benefits of Lifting Light Weight — and yes, this is from Men’s Health, but is still prevalent for women.) Honestly, I think it just depends on what your goals are. If you want a more muscular, body-builder type look, then heavy weights are probably for you. If you just want to tone up or are a beginner, lighter weights might be your best bet. You just have to find what works for you.

What I’m Doing:

I’ve experimented with both. I used to go to the gym, I would spend time working on the machines, using the free weights, alternating body part days, etc. This didn’t work out for me. I didn’t like having to commute, and I didn’t see any results from the work I was putting in. It wasn’t until I started working out at home, focusing on total body each time I worked out, and using lighter weights, that I saw results. I’ve been doing the Tracy Anderson Method on and off for about eight years, combined with other programs to achieve my own goals. It works for me and my schedule. Right now, I’m doing The Perfect Design Series (I’m on PDS II) 5-7 times a week, along with TA’s Method Express and Post-Pregnancy for extra ab work. I add in other strength exercises from Shelley Darlington, Abby Pollack, Tone It Up, Tonique, and P.Volve throughout the week. I also love AthleanXX and AthleanXX for Women. These help me achieve strength, lean muscle, and I know I’m doing movements that are right for my body. I also love using my resistance band. I have 3lb and 5lb weights. I add in the traditional arm movements — bicep curls, hammer curls, tricep kickbacks, rows, flys, chest presses, etc and for booty work I love curtsy lunges, deadlifts, and squats.

3. Yoga

You knew it was coming haha! Yoga helps overall fitness and mindset. It’s great to add in after any workout to stretch and lengthen the muscles, increasing flexibility and range of motion. Yoga also helps with stress, especially if you are trying to get ready for a special event!

What I’m Doing:

I do Yoga everyday. I usually start out with Feldenkrais movements and my own yoga flow to wake up my body first thing in the morning. This also serves as my warm up. Sunday is my designated yoga day. Normally, I only do yoga, choosing one or two Yoga With Adriene videos to follow. Recently, I’ve also added in an extra Tracy Anderson workout just to increase my results.

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How I Organize It All:

When I know I need to get my tush in gear, I step up to the plate. That’s what I’ve been doing for the past week and a half. I’ve cut out extra sweets and unnecessary carbs, like extra bread. For breakfast, I have a large bowl of yogurt and salad. For lunch, I have a small snack, like a small bowl of cereal or a lean protein. If I need something sweet, I grab two or three chocolate covered espresso beans, or just have my Viactiv chocolate vitamins. If I feel hungry, but I don’t want to eat anything, I’ll have a Popsicle. Dinner is whatever, but I watch my portions. My goal is to be full and satisfied enough that I won’t eat the rest of the day. Dinner is finished by 4p, so to stick with intermittent fasting, I try not to eat anything until 8am the next morning. That gives me 16 hours of fasting. Sometimes I’m not hungry at 8am, and I can go for a few more hours with my fasting. Other times, I’m ravenous before 8am, and if I need to, I’ll eat before my ideal fasting window. As long as I can get at least 13 hours of fasting, I’m not worried. I listen to my body and act accordingly. I workout during my fasting window. I have more energy with just coffee running through my veins and can perform better.

Here’s a sample workout week, when I’m getting ready for an event:

Monday

Yoga and Feldenkrais
Dance Cardio – TA
Tae Bo
Belly Dance

Tuesday

Yoga and Feldenkrais
TA – PDS II
TA – Method Express Abs and Legs
Push-ups

Wednesday

Yoga and Feldenkrais
TA – PDS II
TA – Method Express Abs and Legs
TA – Post Pregnancy
Push-ups
Deadlifts

Thursday

Yoga and Feldenkrais
TA – PDS II
TA – Post Pregnancy

Friday

Yoga and Feldenkrais
Dance Cardio – TA
TIU – Kickboxing
TIU – Kettlebell
Push-ups
TIU – Arms
Shelley Darlington – Arms and Back

Saturday

Yoga and Feldenkrais
TA – PDS II
TA – Method Express lower body
TA – Ab webisode
TIU – Booty workout

Sunday

Yoga With Adriene
Feldenkrais
TA – PDS II or III
Push-ups
Deadlifts

 

In addition to my workout, which lasts from 1-2 hours when all is said and done (usually completed first thing in the morning) I try to stay active throughout the day. I go outside and play games with my son, tend to the garden, and accomplish tasks around the house. I rarely sit and watch TV, I’m always up and moving. This extra activity helps immensely!

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I also just downloaded Abby Pollack’s TFN 21 guide. She’s hosting a 21 day summer fitness challenge, centered around the fact that life never stops. This is awesome because there’s no set date to start — you start when you’re ready. I’m planning on adding in her workouts starting tomorrow.

And that’s it! Those are my secrets, the things that work for me. Here are some additional resources if you want more:

How to Effectively Workout at Home and Achieve Results

The Best Exercises to Get Fit for Summer

Exercises You Should Do Every Day

7 Fun Workouts to Switch up Your Fitness Routine

 

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IsaDora Make-Up Unboxing

 

*Disclaimer: I received these products complimentary from BzzAgent for testing purposes. All opinions are my own*

Hello friends!

I recently received a bunch of IsaDora make-up products from BzzAgent and I cannot wait to try them out! Before I start creating some gorgeous looks, I wanted to do a little unboxing for all of you!

I’ve been a member of BzzAgent for about three or four years now. In that time, I have had the chance to try some truly amazing products. Last year, BzzAgent revamped their website and made it more user friendly. If you are interested in becoming a member, visit their website here. Sign up using your email, connect your social media accounts, and take a moment to fill out your interests. Then sit back, relax, and wait for BzzAgent to find campaigns that would be the best fit for you. It’s easy, simple, totally free, and a lot of fun!

Let’s dive in!

Make-Up Bag

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I was pleasantly surprised to find this make-up bag in the box. I’ve never received a bag from a make-up campaign before, and I am so grateful for IsaDora’s generosity. This bag is simple, elegant, and gorgeous! It has a little charm on the zipper and is the perfect size for taking your make-up on the go! The bag is well-made and feels like it will hold up for the long haul. I think it would even be cute to use a clutch.

 

Make-Up Blender Sponge

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This is the item I’m most excited about. I’ve been wanting a beauty blender for awhile now, so this is perfect! I can’t wait to give it a try and see if it makes a difference when applying my make-up.

 

Active All Day Wear Liquid Foundation

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The packaging for this liquid foundation is gorgeous! I love the silver bottle. This claims to be  24 hour wear, sweat, and humidity proof. The weather in Ohio has been chaotic so far this summer. I’ll definitely be putting this to the test!

 

Face Sculptor

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I love that this is a three-in-one compact. It has a bronzer, blush, and highlighter ready to go and on the back, they give a guide of where to put each. The one I received is in warm peach — perfect for summer!

 

Eye Shadow Quartet

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I love a nude, natural make-up look, and I think this little palette suits my style perfectly. There is a light tan, a darker tan, a lighter brown, and a darker brown shadow. I can’t wait to try out some cute smokey eye looks!

 

Glossy Liquid Eyeliner

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I’m a big fan of liquid eyeliner. This one is waterproof and comes in a cute little bottle. The handle is long, which will give me a lot of control and the brush comes to a perfect point. I think this will be great to create a sultry cat-eye.

 

Stretch Lash Mascara

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I’m pretty picky when it comes to mascara. I like a brush that will both define my lashes and give me lots of volume. This has an expandable brush which is pretty cool. I’m interested to see what it does for my lashes.

 

Twist-Up Gloss Stick

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This is a moisturizing lip filler in shade Toffee Pop.  I’ve never used a product like this before, so I’m excited to give it a try. The color is a pretty purplish brown and it smells like candy. I can’t wait to see what it looks like on.

 

And that’s it! Those were all of the products that I received. I can’t wait to start trying out everything!

 

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Stay tuned! I will keep you guys updated as I test each product.

Also, if you’re interested, I made a YouTube video showing all the products. This is the first time that I’ve actually stepped in front of the camera and showed my face on YouTube. I’d love for you to check it out!

 

 

 

 

 

 

10 Killer Quotes to Have a Kick-Ass Week

Hello friends!

Happy Sunday!

We are officially in thick of June and summer.. Are you as excited as I am?

I’ve dedicated each day to one project so far and I have gotten so much accomplished, both inside and outside. The garden is starting to look decent (haha!) my cacti look amazing, and the rose bush on the side of the house has bloomed — fragrant, light pink flowers — they are gorgeous!

Benjamin is doing well outside and the onions are getting so tall! I feel a little like Nebula in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. II — where she continues to ask for the Yaro Root, and is constantly told it’s not ripe. I keep asking my husband if I can have my onions now and he keeps telling me they’re not ripe yet. haha!

Also, the veggies and flowers I planted on our back patio are starting to come up!

This post is quickly turning into the ramblings of a 31 year old domesticated lady.. haha!

Anyway…

Today I’m sharing my favorite killer quotes to help us have an amazing week.

Let’s dive in!

Add a headingBe the attitude you want to be around.Add a heading (1)Add a heading (2)Add a heading (3)Worry is a down payment on a problem you may never have.The problem is not the problem. The problem is your attitude about the problem.What is life without a little risk_All I can do is follow my instincts, because I'll never please everyone.I'm not in this world to live up to your expectations and you're not in this world to live up to mine.

 

Have an awesome week!

-A

5 Books You Should Read This Summer

Hello friends!

Happy Sunday!

This week I thought I’d do something a little bit different. It’s no secret that I love to read, but I just don’t always have the time to sit down and commit to a book. For the past few months, I found a way to work around this. Each night, I get ready for bed, lay down, and then read one or two chapters before I fall asleep. This has helped me immensely, especially if I actually get to bed on time. haha! Not only am I reading the books on my list, but it also helps me wind down from the day. Win-Win!

Unfortunately, I can’t always get to the library. So, what I do, is use the Overdrive app on my phone. It’s a free app and because I have a multitude of library cards, I have access to two different sets of online collections. It’s amazing!

So today, I am sharing two lists. The first includes books that I have already read and recommend to you. The second includes the books that I’m looking forward to reading this summer.

Ready? Let’s dive in!

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5 Books You Should Read This Summer

 

1. The Subtle Art of Not Giving A Fuck – Mark Manson

I just finished reading this and it’s amazing! Mark uses personal stories, a dash of humor, and psychology to help us look deep within ourselves. This book will help you discover what is worth your time, and your fucks, and how to stop caring and putting energy toward things that aren’t.

2. The Alchemist – Paulo Coelho

This is a modern classic. An intriguing story about a mystical quest that will have you hooked from the first chapter. It’s a quick read, but a story that will stick with you forever.

3. The Malta Exchange – Steve Berry

I mentioned this novel in a favorites post awhile ago, but I’m also putting it on this list. I love all of Steve Berry’s Cotton Malone adventures and this is the latest one. It’s an exciting story that connects history with the present. If you love historical fiction, stories about the secrets of the Vatican, Knights, spies, or WWII, then you will love this! Be sure to check out the other novels in this series as well. Each one tackles a different aspect of history, connecting it with present times. Check it out!

4. A Song of Ice and Fire – George R.R. Martin

  • A Game of Thrones
  • A Clash of Kings
  • A Storm of Swords
  • A Feast for Crows

Now that Game of Thrones is over, why not dive back into Westeros via the original medium? I started reading these awhile ago and I’m finished with the first four books. As always, the books go more in depth, but I have to say, I think the show and the books are equally good. I know there’s a lot of controversy surrounding Season 8.. and we’re all impatiently awaiting the final books, but in the meantime.. read these. It will give you a deeper understanding of the characters and the entire GoT world.

5. The President is Missing – James Patterson and Bill Clinton

I’m pretty sure I also mentioned this novel in a previous favorites post. .. But it’s just that good. If you love thrilling, spy type novels, or you really like James Patterson, this is a great one! It was very interesting and kept me on the edge of my seat the entire time.. and just when I thought I had it figured out, the ending surprised me.

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Well, now that you have a pretty good idea of what I enjoy reading, here is my own person summer reading list:

1. Mary Queen of Scotland and the Isles – Margaret George

I’m actually almost finished with this novel — I only have a handful of chapters left, but as so frequently happens to me, I didn’t have time to finish it before it was due. I was so sad when I had to return it (the downside to the app is that you can’t automatically renew a novel, like you can physically at the library) it’s so good! I came across it on the main page of the app when I was searching for other books to read. It was a recommendation based on my previous choices. It follows the life of Mary, from her birth up through her death, weaving fact with plausible fiction. You feel like you are really there. If you love history on the royals or you watched Reign, you’ll love this one!

2. Life Will Be The Death of Me – Chelsea Handler

I have loved Chelsea Handler since her E! late night talk show days. I own quite a few of her books (they’re sitting on my book shelf right now) and I can’t wait to get my hands on this one!

3. A Dance With Dragons – George R.R. Martin

Yes, there was a reason I left this one out in the list above.. I have to finish it. I’m actually almost done, I’m on chapter 65, 96.3% finished with the 5 book bundle. I’m taking my sweet time because I know that once I finish it, I’ll be stuck with everyone else, waiting for those final releases. I’m not ready to relive Jon Snow’s death or say good-bye to Westeros just yet.

4. The Burning Chambers – Kate Mosse

Another historical fiction! I actually recommended this book to the library via the app and they purchased it! Now, I just have to wait for June 18. Kate Mosse writes interesting stories that weave fact, mystery, magic, and fiction all into one. I read her Labyrinth trilogy several years ago and instantly fell in love. I can’t wait for this one — it’s going to be about the war between the Catholics and Huguenots in the 1500’s.

5. American Gods – Neil Gaiman

Years ago, I read Nevermore and fell in love. I also recall reading a novel about a man who travels to the Brazil and comes into contact with the last ‘uncivilized tribe’ of the Amazon. I think that was also a Neil Gaiman book, but I can’t remember the title and Google wasn’t too helpful either. Anyway, I saw a promotional poster for the TV show and realized it was based on the novel. I put it on hold right away. Now, I’m just waiting in line to get my hands on it.

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Well, there you have it friends. Let the summer of reading begin!

What books are on your list? Do you have a favorite book I should add to mine? Leave a comment and let me know!

 

Summer Series | Week 6 Review and Final Thoughts | #TIU

Hello friends!

How is your Sunday going?

The Tone It Up Summer Series is officially over! What an amazing six weeks it’s been!

Overall, I did well. I kept up with my weekly schedules and posting my check-ins, which were the two biggest goals for me. I’m keeping up with my workouts and my intermittent fasting.

I’m not a big fan of planning out the workouts ahead of time and writing out my weekly schedule. It was nice to experience it and challenge myself to do that, but I won’t be doing that moving forward. Also, I’ll be back to Monday and Friday check-ins with my workouts on Instagram, as well as a plethora of yoga photos.

So.. results.

Well..

I took my measurements a few weeks before the challenge started and used those as my baseline. I took my measurements this morning while finishing up my last cup of coffee.
They weren’t exciting. I lost a half inch around each thigh, but gained that back and then some around my stomach, hips, and waist. So yeah. Not really a result. haha! I did lose a couple pounds and dropped some points on my BMI, as realized when I had to step on the dreaded scale at the doctor. I actually have to go back on Wednesday and I know they’ll make me step on it again.. so I’m interested to see what the numbers are.

I’m happy that I finished the challenge strong and I realized a few things.

-I’m not 24 anymore and while that’s not a bad thing, I love being 31, I can’t do the same things I did at 24 to lose weight and tone up… And I definitely need more time to recover from day trips.

-I need to be more conscious of moving throughout the day. When I lived in the city (in my 20’s) I walked a lot. Now that we live in the suburbs, if we want to walk we have to drive to a place to do that. In addition to my workouts, I need to find ways to stay active and challenge my body.

-My body image and confidence has wavered throughout this challenge, almost to a point where I felt like I had driven back to the past. Years ago, I found a way to manage negative feelings and emotions, and altered my mindset.. but not feeling good about how I look, while not the most important thing in the world, really set me back. The realization of that first note also was tough for me. It took me a few days to reconcile everything and find my way back… and while I’m not happy with where my body is right now, I’m also not hating on myself because of it. I’m actively seeking out solutions and taking it one day at a time, with grace and humor.

-While I enjoy doing the Tone It Up workouts, I don’t know that these challenges are really for me anymore. I don’t have the app and I don’t exclusively do TIU. I love mixing it up, and while TIU embraces that, it seems like that’s the reason for the app — you get access to different trainers and different classes — which is great, but it’s not for me. I didn’t really enjoy this challenge as much as I enjoyed the Bikini Series in the past. I think moving forward, it might be best to go on my own journey, incorporating TIU workouts with others that I also enjoy and cheering on my fellow TIU girls, but not participating in their challenges.

-And last, but not least, the one thing I always remind myself and others of.. fitness is a lifelong journey. There will be ups and downs and that’s okay. Don’t get discouraged, check-in and be honest with yourself, and keep moving forward.

Thank you all for going on this journey with me. I am incredibly grateful for all of your support and encouragement.


-A

5 Simple Tips to Feel More Confident

Hello friends!

Happy Sunday!

Summer is officially here.. we’re heading into the second day of June, temps are warm and toasty.. and there’s a ton of rain!

But on the bright side, my green pepper plant, Benjamin, is thriving, and the onions I planted grow taller each day. I’m anxiously awaiting the day when I can eat them. Yum!

Summer is awesome… it’s the time for cook outs, days at the beach, and relaxing in the grass, soaking up all the hot sun. It’s also the time for shorts, tank tops, cute dresses, and bathing suits. If you aren’t feeling confident about the way your body looks, this can be daunting.

If you workout regularly and are confident in how you look, chances are you feel awesome most days. But if you are struggling, getting back into your workouts after an injury or setback, or just not happy about how your body looks at the moment (we all have those days) it can zap your confidence and burst your mood.

That’s not fun… for anyone.

This week I’m sharing my top tips to help you regain your confidence when you aren’t feeling your best. These are the things I like to do to banish self doubt and improve my mood, so I can put my best foot forward and enjoy life.

Yoga

As Fat Amy from Pitch Perfect says, “Whoomp, there it is!” I recommend yoga for just about everything.. because it really works! You learn lessons on your mat that you can take with you into your daily life. Not only are you moving your body, stretching, and elongating your muscles, but you are also working your mind, allowing for that mind-body connection, and in a way, giving yourself a little time-out. Your focus shifts and by the time your done with your mat session, you have (hopefully) gained a new perspective. My favorites for those times when confidence is low include:

Yoga For Insecurity | Yoga With Adriene

Yoga For Self Doubt | Yoga With Adriene

Let It Go Yoga Flow – Yoga With Adriene

 

Beauty Time

Sometimes you just need to pamper yourself. I always feel better after a luxurious shower, doing all the things and using my favorite products. This would be a great time to tan. My favorite self-tanner right now is from B.Tan — I want the darkest possible. This stuff is amazing! First off, it’s budget-friendly (around $4 at Wal-Mart) and second, it’s super easy to use. It’s a mousse, goes on green so you can see exactly where you are applying it and ensure that there are no weird streaks. You apply it all over, let it sit for an hour or more while you look like a cool alien, and then rinse. It leaves you looking like a beautiful bronzed goddess. My motto is: if you can’t tone it, tan it. haha! But seriously, having a tan makes you look thinner, more toned, and helps boost your confidence.

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This is also a great time to joozh up your hair. Put on a hydrating hair mask, freshen up your color (either at home if you normally do that, or head to the salon and let a professional take care of you) or try out a fun new hairstyle. (Search Pinterest for some fun ideas!)

Another awesome idea is to pamper your skin. Try a new face mask to give yourself a spa day at home. My friend Robyn has amazing tutorials and product recommendations on her YouTube Channel: CharmingGuru  and on her IGTV. You could make a day of it — put on your favorite robe or comfy outfit, make yourself a hot coffee or your favorite beverage, give yourself a mani-pedi, etc..

After pampering yourself, you’ll feel more beautiful and confident, ready to tackle whatever summer adventure awaits you.

Enjoy Some Down Time

The stress of feeling lackluster is a lot to deal with, and sometimes it’s nice to distract yourself. Check-out for a bit. Are you facing your issue head on? Are you looking deep inside yourself to tackle your insecurity? No, but shifting your focus and allowing yourself to burn off the stress by participating in an activity that you enjoy is healthy and necessary. Extreme soul-searching and meditation certainly is important and there is a time and place for it, but sometimes the remedy is simply relaxation. And I find that after giving myself a few hours to do something fun, I feel better. We all lead busy lives, this is especially true when you’re a parent. You devote so much time to taking care of everyone else, their needs, their problems.. it feels like a mini-vacation to have some time for you. Sit down and read that book you’ve had your eye on, play a game, watch the episode of your favorite TV show you haven’t had time for, or relax with your favorite movie. Whatever it is that allows you to relax and shift your focus for a bit. Bonus points if it’s something that makes you laugh. Laughter will always make you feel better.

 

What Feels Good

So, the previous tips were obviously for when you have a morning, afternoon, or evening when you don’t have any immediate responsibilities. But, if you’re pressed for time, you have an hour or minutes to get ready, then you need a true quick fix. Unfortunately, there really isn’t one, but there are a few things you can do to help get you out the door without having a full-on Grinch moment, or melt down.

 

If nothing in your closet is working and your room has turned into an episode of Hoarders, it’s time to take a deep breath. Put on your favorite outfit — the one that always looks good, no matter what… the one that you always get compliments on. You know which one I’m talking about. We all have at least one item in our closet that works, even on those self-proclaimed ‘ugly days.’ For me, it’s either my decade-old sun dress from Macy’s, or my dark-wash jeans and striped top. If you have to wear your bathing suit and you aren’t feeling it today, throw your cover up on, and know that you don’t have to take it off if you don’t want to. Style your hair as you normally would, and put on your go-to make-up look. If you want an instant confidence boost, put on some red lipstick and a pair of sunglasses. Add a cute sun hat for bonus points. Once you get to where you’re going and you start whatever activity you have planned, you’ll find that everything is fine and you’re having fun. You’ll get so caught up in the moment, enjoying yourself, that those feelings of insecurity will disappear. Everyone is so wrapped up in their own thoughts and worries that they aren’t even going to know that you were having an issue in the first place.

And here comes the little speech…

Life is short. We should be enjoying each moment we have on this planet because when you think about it, it’s not that long of a time. In five years, when you look back on this day, you aren’t going to be reminiscing about how you didn’t like your body at the time or you weren’t feeling confident.. you’ll remember the fun you had and the people you were with. And that’s all those people will remember, too.

I’ve always loved this little rule:

Will it matter in 5 minutes? In 5 months? In 5 years?

If the answer is no, (and it almost always is) then why are you worried about it?

Just something to keep in mind when negative feelings or thoughts try to hold you back.

Final Thoughts

We all have these moments or those days when we just don’t feel good about our bodies. We all have insecurities and flaws that we want to keep hidden. You are not alone. In addition to the above tips, something else that always helps me is to seek out inspirational and motivational quotes, tips, and videos. Other times, just branching out and trying something new with my workout routine works wonders. Here are some addition resources that you might find helpful:

The (Weight) Struggle is Real | Monthly Motivation – Tracy Hensel

8 Simple Tips to Look Your Best Everyday

8 Simple Ways to Boost Confidence

7 Motivational Tips to Get You Up and Moving

The Best Exercises to Get Fit for Summer

7 Simple Tips to Bust out of a Fitness Rut

7 Ways to Bust Out of a Rut

 

May Favorites – 2019 Edition

Hello friends!

Can you believe it’s the end of May? Tomorrow is my son’s last day of school and we are all looking forward to a fun summer break!

But first.. it’s time to review and reminisce on the products that I’ve loved this month. Let’s dive in!

Lego Pinball Machine

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Isn’t this cool? My son made me this for Mother’s Day. He put one of his motors in it, and the gray piece at the top moves quickly to make it an even more challenging game. Pinball is one of my all-time favorite games and I was delighted when my son presented me with this creation.

 

Baby Groot Planter

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How adorable is this baby Groot? When I saw it on the shelf at GameStop, I knew I had to have it! It matches perfectly with my coffee mug and USB dancing Groot. I set it up immediately when we got home, putting a little soil in it and pressing in one of Sasha’s vines. Sasha is a Pothos plant that has taken over our living room bookcase, haha! She likes to root into the wall, so this was a perfect way to prevent that from happening.

 

Olive Garden Signature Italian Dressing

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Oh my goodness is this stuff delicious! If you love Olive Garden’s house salad, this is a must have for your kitchen! Summer is the time for fresh salads and this dressing takes a homemade salad over the top. It is my new favorite dressing! Yum!

 

L’oven Fresh Cinnamon Raisin Bagels

These bagels are delicious! Perfect for breakfast, lunch, or a quick snack! haha! A bag of six doesn’t last long in my house.

 

Here are some videos that stood out this month:

If Grandma Ran for President – It’s a Southern Thing

5 THINGS I REGRET FROM MY 20s – Amy Landino

5 NEW Style Tips You NEED To Try! – Shea Whitney

 

And an awesome poem from my friend, John:

The Old Curiosity Shop, a Poem – John Hansen

 

That’s all for this month! What were your favorite things? Leave me a comment and let me know!


-A

Summer Series | Week 5 Review | Week 6 Workout Schedule | #TIU

Hello Friends!

How is your Sunday going?

We’ve reached the final week of the TIU Summer Series!

Hallelujah!

I don’t think I’ve ever been more excited to end a challenge. It’s been a long six weeks. I’ve learned a lot and slowly, but surely, I’m getting back to my old self. A fun little win happened on Thursday. I had to go to the doctor, and of course they made me step on the scale. I’m down five pounds and .6 on BMI. Not substantial, but a step in the right direction for sure!

Wednesday we went to the zoo and spent 3.5 hours walking around seeing all the animals. It was a lot of fun, but also quite exhausting. I’m still recovering from it this afternoon. haha!

Anyhoo.. this past week went pretty well as far as workouts go. I did everything I set out to do, aside from daily yoga. Yoga was pretty much replaced with Feldenkrais.. and oh my do I need all the slow, mindful movement after lugging around a 5 ton bag. I’m also slowly starting to get back into my IF, making it to 15.5 hours yesterday.

I’m ready to rock this final week!

Here is my week 6 workout schedule:

Monday

Tone It Up: Cardio KickBoxing
Tracy Anderson: Dance Cardio
Yoga

Tuesday

Tone It Up: Bikini Booty and Booty Routine with Kat
Tracy Anderson: Perfect Design 1
Yoga

Wednesday

Tracy Anderson: Ab Webisode
P.Volve: Abs and Victoria’s Secret Workout
Yoga

Thursday

Yoga

Friday

Tone It Up: Kettlebooty
Tracy Anderson: Ab Webisode
P.Volve: abs and thighs
Yoga

Saturday

Tone It Up: Inner outer thighs and Love Your Booty
Tracy Anderson: Perfect Design 1
Yoga

Sunday

Yoga

 

That’s it! The final schedule! Let’s do this!


-A

Life is a Journey: Check-in and Re-Evaluate — May 2019

Hello friends!

Happy Sunday!

How was your week?

We went to the zoo on Wednesday, and oh my! I’m still exhausted! Honestly, I don’t get it. I work out, I’m relatively healthy.. but walking constantly for 3.5 hours, in 80+ degrees, lugging around my 50 ton beach tote just completely took it out of me. And oh yeah, that 50 ton bag totally messed my shoulder up. haha! I suppose I truly am getting old.

Oh well.

Que sera sera..

Anyway, it’s the final Sunday of the month.. and the official start of summer here in the states with the holiday tomorrow.

You all know what that means..

It’s time to pause and reflect on our goals. Doing this helps us stay accountable, allows us to make adjustments as necessary, and ensures that we achieve success. It isn’t enough to set a goal, write it down, and then forget about it. You should be consciously working on your goals each day.


So, I encourage you to take a little time today to pause, reflect, and have an honest conversation with yourself. How are you feeling? What actions have you taken this month? Have you continuously been working toward your goals? Have you slipped up? If so, why? What happened? Do you need to revise your goals?


Evaluate your current goals and adjust as necessary. There’s nothing wrong with abandoning a goal that no longer serves you, or adjusting a goal to make it more realistic. Set a new goal if necessary, maybe something more realistic, maybe you want to up the ante and challenge yourself. Whatever speaks to you. Create an action plan. Figure out how to achieve that goal and then get started!

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My goals for the year are:

  • Practice yoga every day 
  • Complete a Tracy Anderson workout 5-6 times a week (Finish 100 days of TAM, maybe start a new round.)
  • Focus on opening the chest and strengthening the chest, back, and shoulder muscles (Complete shoulder stretches and exercises daily)
  • Push-Ups daily, when able.
  • Complete a TIU workout 5-6 times a week 
  • Complete a P.Volve workout 2 times a week.
  • Achieve splits (Finish Journey to Splits strong.)
  • Focus on building a strong core and get a leaner stomach
  • Cut back on sweets
  • Continue with Intermittent Fasting (Build back up to 16/8 .. and 18/6 when possible.)
  • Tone up and slim down overall. (This means being able to fit into those shorts in my dresser.)

Well… haha… This month really didn’t go as planned. I ended up wearing out my Trapezius.. and my daily yoga practice was replaced with Feldenkrais and physical therapy. I rested, worked out when possible, and just tried to take it easy while also staying somewhat on track. I fell off of my IF and indulged a bit too much when it came to sweets. Not my best month. But this past week, I’ve slowly started to get back into IF, cut back on those delicious treats, and even introduced cardio into my routine. Fitness is a journey, my friends. And even though I’ve been feeling a little discouraged, I’m still working on improving myself one day at a time.

With that in mind, here are my adjusted goals:

  • Practice Yoga and/or Feldenkrais every day 
  • Complete a Tracy Anderson workout 4-5 times a week (Finish 100 days of TAM, maybe start a new round.)
  • Focus on opening the chest and strengthening the chest, back, and shoulder muscles (Complete shoulder stretches and exercises daily)
  • Push-Ups daily, when able.
  • Complete a TIU workout 5-6 times a week (for the remaining week. Summer Series ends this week!)
  • Complete a P.Volve workout 2 times a week.
  • Achieve splits (Finish Journey to Splits strong.)
  • Focus on building a strong core and get a leaner stomach
  • Cut back on sweets
  • Continue with Intermittent Fasting (Build back up to 16/8 .. and 18/6 when possible.)
  • Tone up and slim down overall. (This means being able to fit into those shorts in my dresser.)

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Aside from that, our #AYearOfFitness2019 challenge on Instagram is going well. We’re going to be working on strengthening our backs in June! Come join us!

I also have a new yoga challenge that starts today on Instagram: #SummerYogaBabes. It’s a fun, week-long challenge celebrating summer with animal poses! If you’re interested, check out our challenge flyer here.

In June, I’m co-hosting a fun inversion challenge to celebrate my dear friend, Shieda’s birthday! It’s called #HeelsUpBirthdayBash and starts June 13!

And stay tuned because I’m hosting a second round of Video Vixens in July! I’m so excited!

This is our final week of the Tone It Up Summer Series. I’m excited to wrap up this challenge and move forward into summer. Later today I’ll be posting my final weekly schedule (thank goodness!) and next week, I’ll share my final thoughts and results. ❤

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How did your May go? Are you setting any new goals for June? Let me know in the comments!


-A