Friday, December 30, 2016

Walk In My Week (December 2016)

Happy Friday! Today I'm spending the day doing some odds and ends on my to do list, cuddling with my puppy, and preparing my blog for a whole new year of posts. I cannot believe that December is coming to an end as well as the year 2016.  It seems like just a few months ago we were ringing in the new year.  I hope you all had a fabulous Christmas celebrating the holiday with friends and family.  Speaking of the month of December. I pretty much neglected my blog for the whole month. So where have I been when I haven't been blogging?

Student teaching-This past month I finished my last semester of student teaching.  The last few weeks were crazy as I finished teaching and planning an entire novel study unit on my own, finished grading all assignments, completed the last of my seminar assignments, wrote many thank you cards, gathered thank you gifts, and began to search for an actual job.  Student teaching was by far the academic highlight of my time as an undergrad in college.  From this experience I was able to get a realistic glimpse into what my future will look like.  In a few weeks I'll share more details with everyone, but for now I am still working on my full reflection!

Graduating- One week before Christmas I graduate from college with honors.  December graduations don't have the same excitement and emotion that spring graduations do. I think it's probably because less people graduate during the fall semester, the weather isn't as great, and the timing of finishing something in the middle of the school year is a little awkward.  Despite the timing, I made the best of it that I could. The week of graduation was filled with emotion and celebrations. During the week, I got together with a few friends to decorate our caps.  This was a fun task, but a little stressful too because you only get one cap- if you mess up you're stuck with it.  I'll be sure to add a cap decorating tutorial to the blog as we get closer to the month of May.   The morning of graduation I went to brunch with my family, and then after graduation my parents hosted a small gathering with friends and family. Now the job hunt and the attempt at adulating begins. 

Prepping for Christmas-This holiday season seemed less spirited than usual for some reason.  I tried to squeeze in some holiday festivities, but my efforts just were not enough this year. Next year I'm hoping to make December a month filled with Christmas vibes! I think I pushed Christmas off until after graduation, which gave me exactly one week to get into the holiday spirit. Luckily, I did just about all of my shopping online.  The week leading up to Christmas I wrapped a few gifts, worked in retail to help others prepare for the holiday, and participated in our annual gingerbread house competition.  Christmas day my parents hosted an open house with bottomless mimosas. It was a fun day sharing laughter and love with some of our closest family and friends. 

Playing with Puppies- I've had lots of free time since graduation. I've been taking advantage of the time by cuddling with our puppies. They are filled with energy and so entertaining.  Training them is still a bit of a struggle, but we are making slow progress.  They three and five months old, so their personalities are beginning to shine through.  They enjoy eating my socks, so I spend a lot of time chasing them around the house before they have time to a chew a whole in them. 

Planning for the new year- 2017 is just days away now.  I'm not a fan of new year resolutions because I think you can make a new goal and achieve it at any point in time. However, I do love goal setting.  I think lots of people break this ambitious resolutions quicker than they make them. This is why I'm more of a fan of monthly goals.  As 2017 starts, I am beginning to adult. Many of my goals for the upcoming month are related to entering this new phase of life.  I'll be sharing my January goals and a new 101 in 1001 day list with everyone on Monday. In addition to planning new goals, I have also been planning blog content and strategies to be a consistent blogger in the new year. 

2016 was a great year for me, but I think there are always room for improvements to be made. I am looking forward to 2017 and all the great things that will happen! Wishing you a fun and safe new year! I'll be back in 2017!

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Oh Christmas Tree

The holidays usually involve family traditions for most people.  Today I'm sharing one of my family's holiday season traditions.  Each year within a few days of Thanksgiving, we head over to our local Christmas tree farm.  This year we headed out for a day of family fun with hopes of leaving with a tree and the picture for the family Christmas card. It's always a big debate over who can find the perfect tree for our home.  We all have different tastes when it comes to trees (short and fat, tall and skinny, medium, skinny and fat).  This year we were able to agree on a tree pretty quickly in comparison to other years.  There was something so festive about being at the tree farm. It was filled with lots of happy families. We had fun taking a mini family photo shoot while we were there.  

Did you get a real tree or fake one this year?

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Spreading Christmas Cheer

Can you believe that Christmas is only four days away? I don't know about you, but it definitely doesn't feel like the holiday season to me.  The Fall semester just ended several days ago, which is why I think I might be struggling to find the holiday spirit this season.  It seems like lots of people agree with me, so I thought it would be fun to brainstorm some ways to spread some Christmas cheer. 

Wrap Presents
There is something festive about wrapping gifts.  Make a fire, sip some hot chocolate, put on your favorite Christmas playlist, and spend a few hours wrapping. This combination will definitely bring you some holiday cheer!

Look at Christmas Lights
 Pick up your favorite seasonal beverage from your local coffee shop, turn your radio on to the network that plays Christmas songs, and grab a friend to go look at everyone's holiday decorations. Take a drive through local neighborhoods and towns to see the various light displays.  If you live in Southeastern Pennsylvania, check out the Herr's lights display or take a walk through Longwood Gardens

Bake Cookies
Baking cookies is always a fun holiday pastime. Turn on some holiday tunes, pour yourself a glass of wine, and get out your favorite christmas cookie recipes. If you can't eat all of the cookies, then put them in decorative bags and deliver them to friends and family to enjoy. 

Holiday Movie Marathon
Put on your favorite pajamas, start a fire in the fireplace, and pick out your favorite holiday movies to watch.  Spend an evening cuddled up watching some of the best Christmas movies. 
Movie suggestions: Christmas with the Kranks, The Santa Clause, Elf, The Holiday, Four Christmases, The Polar Express, Miracle on 34th Street, Charlie Brown Christmas, National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation, A Christmas Story, It's a Wonderful Life, and Home Alone. 

Make a Gingerbread House
Get some friends together to have a competition to see what duo can make the best gingerbread house. Give everyone the same supplies and time limit.  The winners get a holiday themed prize.  We do this each year at my house.  My brother and his girlfriend versus Todd and I. 

How are you getting into the holiday spirit this year?

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

It's the Vest Season of All

November is gone and December has arrived! I cannot believe that we have entered the last month of 2016.  The year 2016 is one that has been on my radar for many years because I always knew it was the year I would graduate college.  It is crazy to believe that this month I finish my career as an undergraduate student.  I have a feeling this month will fly by with the end of college, graduation festivities, and the hoopla that comes with the holidays each year. 

December reminds me of cold weather.  As the colder weather gradually arrives, I have been noticing my wardrobe going through a gradual change too. 
 The colder the weather the more layers I seem to wear.  
One of my favorite pieces to layer are vests.  They can make a boring outfit fun and add a little warmth to my daily getup. I got my first vest for my 19th birthday, and ever since then my collection has continued to grow. My first vest was a navy monogrammed one from Land's End.  It's great to wear with more casual outfits or for a run on a chilly day.  J.Crew's Puffer Vests are definitely my favorite. I have the same vest in three different colors. They fit nicely (not too big and not too small), and they seem to match with just about every outfit I wear from athleisure to business casual. I also adore my Plush Fleece Excursion Vest.  This piece is fabulous for extremely cold days.  This is tan fur is great to mix and match with plaids. 

What's your go to winter weather item?

Monday, November 14, 2016

5 Pasta recipes

For those of you who know me well, you know that I absolutely love pasta.  Yes it's filled with carbs and definitely isn't the healthiest choice, but for some reason I have a hard time resisting it.  Pasta recipes are probably my favorite thing to make in the kitchen and my go to when I don't know what to eat.  Pasta is 100% a comfort food for me. When I've had a bad day I love a bowl of plain noodles with butter and salt. 

Anyways, the colder seasons of the year are definitely a great time to incorporate some pasta recipes into your weekly meal plans.  Today I'm sharing some recipes that look like good options to try this winter! 

Butternut Squash has lots of health benefits. It's low in fat and incredibly high in fiber, which makes it a great addition to any meal. 

Shrimp and pasta- such a great combination 

The perfect winter feel good meal!

Giada's pasta carbonara is hands down my favorite. 

This recipe not only looks pretty, but sounds like it would taste amazing too! This seems like it would be an easy weeknight meal-perfect for November or December.  I've never roasted butternut squash, but it doesn't sound like too daunting of a task.  

Bon Apetit!

Monday, November 7, 2016

Brody the Goldendoodle

A month ago Todd and I decided to celebrate our anniversary buy purchasing a puppy. It was a decision we had been talking about for quite some time.. more like me convincing him to agree to get a puppy. I had been doing research for almost a year and had narrowed the breed down to a goldendoodle. After my Yorkshire terrior passed away in early September, I was incredibly lonely and my want for another dog only increased. One weekend in early October we went to a breeder near us to "look" at ten week old puppies. Needless to say looking at puppies turned into purchasing one that day. We just couldn't say no after seeing how cute they were.  

Brody lives with me at my house, which my parents are absolutely loving.  The first few nights we were waking up several times a night to go out, but after that he started sleeping through the entire night.  

Rushing outside to make sure there are no accidents isn't too fun, and training him is a little tricky since I'm not an expert on training puppies.  However, I have been loving everything else about having him. He loves to cuddle, give kisses, and play with his toys. Having a puppy around has just made me so happy. It's great to come home and have someone so happy to see you. 


Tuesday, November 1, 2016

The Shopping Cart

Lately I've been trying so hard to save my money rather than spending it on all the adorable clothes I find.  There is just something about the changing of seasons that makes me want to switch up my wardrobe. Yes, I have swapped out my Lilly Pulitzer shift dresses for blanket scarves and warm sweaters, but yet I still crave those new styles and prints.  

So.. if I can't actually buy anything the least I can do is some online "window" shopping.  It's literally window shopping because if you look at my browser right now I have a window open filed with at least a dozen tabs of trendy fall clothes, shoes, and accessories.  Shopping online is definitely a blessing and a curse all wrapped in one big bundle. It's so easy to just add items to your cart, but it's definitely hard to resist pressing that checkout button.  Anyways, I'm getting much better at adding tons to my cart and smiling as I exit out of the tab without damaging my bank account.  I'm sure many of you can relate to the temptation of online shopping. 

I thought it would fun to share with you some of the items I'd purchase if I had an unlimited shopping budget. 

This adorable long sleeve would pair flawlessly with a quilted vest like this one. 

I've been looking for the perfect pair of booties: which ones are your favorite?

Maroon is definitely one of the top colors this season. This long sleeve top would be great to dress up for a business casual day or pair with some jeans and boots. 

Little Black Dress  for chillier weather. 

Peplum tops are so fun and timeless. 

Raspberry adds the perfect pop of color to a fall wardrobe, especially when it comes in the form of a wool sidewalk skirt from J.Crew Factory.

Pajama sets are my favorite. I would love to catch up on my sleep in this navy and peony cotton set.

If only a pink blazer was acceptable to wear to an interview. 

Last week I got the Bass catalog and fell in love with the many fun colors of these loafers.

What's in your shopping cart?


Monday, October 17, 2016

Fall DIYs to Try

Fall festivities give off warm fuzzy vibes. The fall season has so many reasons to do a little DIY project between sporting events, back to school, halloween, thanksgiving, etc. Today I'm sharing some DIY projects that I've found on pinterest. I'm slowly but surely working on becoming more crafty.

Monogram pumpkin

Waverly Pumpkin

Succulent Pumpkin 

Mantel Decor


What DIY projects have you been loving lately?

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Life Updates: Fall Transitions

It's definitely beginning to feel like Fall in southeastern Pennsylvania. The weather is getting chillier and pretty much everything that is edible has been turned into a variation of pumpkin spice. The change from one season to another brings lots of transitions. I can definitely say that my life has included many changes lately thanks to the new season. 

Transitions can be great, but sometimes they can be not so great too.  Change is something that does not come easy to many people. We all tolerate it, but our coping mechanisms are all unique. Sometimes transitions present us with new and exciting opportunities, which make them more fun.  Fall is a season filled with transitions that are both exciting and disappointing. Today I thought it would be fun to share some of my transitions this season. 

We tend to associate the change from Summer to Fall with back to school. The past few months have definitely been a transition for me. Going from an undergraduate student who attends classes daily on campus to an undergraduate student who teaches all day and attends class once a week. The school year also brought changes for my family as my younger brother headed off to his first year of college. 

Coffee changes from iced lattes to hot ones. My Starbucks order has quickly gone from an iced cold brew with cream and sugar to a hot pumpkin spice latte.  The cold weather just makes it the iced coffee seem less appealing. However, I have been enjoying my afternoon iced coffee to keep me awake on my commute home, so I haven't given it up entirely (yet). 

My summer clothes have officially been put away until the warmer days are back.  I traded in my Lilly Pulitzer dresses and Jacks for leggings, oversized sweaters, and riding boots.  I'm not going to lie, I was actually pretty excited for the change of wardrobe. I was beginning to get a little bored with my summer clothes. 

Instagram Feed
My Instagram feed has transitioned from pictures are on the beach to scenes from pumpkin patches and apple tree farms.  I love seeing everyone frolicking outdoors in the beautiful scenery. 

Home Decor
Fresh cut flowers from the market have turned into fresh cut pumpkins. We have mini pumpkins spread throughout our house. My mom has done a fabulous job of decorating our house. It feels incredibly welcoming and cozy.  Our summer blankets have been traded in for warmer ones. The slip covers have turned to shades of red, and our pillows now have fur trim rather than hues of blue. 

My summer scent has been retired for now, and has been replaced with a hot cider candle.  I love my volcano candle from Anthropologie, but this new scent just screams fall! You can purchase it online from Terrain here

A month ago my family lost our Yorkshire Terrier to kidney failure. It was honestly one of the worst things to happen to us in a long time. Our dog was a huge part of our family and losing him turned our world around.  It was the first time in my life that I did not have a dog. It was lonely, depressing, and hard to handle.  I started fall living in pet-less home, but I will be finishing it by owning a golden doodle puppy. You may have seen him this weekend on Instagram, but if not you'll just have to stay tuned for a future post introducing him. 

What changes have you experienced this Fall?

Monday, October 3, 2016

Monday Motivation

Guess who's back, back again, M is back, tell a friend!
Life has been quite the whirlwind since school has started. I have done my best to stay on top of blogging, but my best has been minimal posting.  My original goal was to post about three times each week, but I'm starting to think one to two times sounds more realistic.  This weekend I was able to hit the reset button and enjoy a pedicure, drinks with my mom, a little coaching, shopping spree at the outlets, and a visit to a local orchard.  Today I had off from school thanks to the jewish holiday.  I was able to catch up on some school work, so I'm going into the week ahead of things. 

I think it's important that we all take a set back sometimes and press the reset button. This looks a little different for everyone, but regardless of how you do so it is important to your mental health.  This week I'm feeling motivated and ready to go again. I thought I would share with you some motivation to help get you through the week too!


Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Work Week Breakfasts

We all know that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but yet it's the meal most likely to be skipped by most of us.  During the work week, most of us would rather spend a few extra minutes sleeping rather than making time to eat the first meal of the day.  I used to be really guilty about this, but over the past year or so I've changed my habits and it's made a big difference. Eating breakfast each morning has given me more energy and a less chaotic launch to my day.

Here are a few tips that might make eating breakfast easier:

Make it ahead of time
When you do meal prepping in advance, then you don't have to waste anytime in the morning deciding what to eat or cooking.  Try to plan out your breakfasts on Sunday night, so that you don't have to think about it during the week. On Sunday night you could even prepare a few breakfasts ahead of time.  Preparing breakfast ahead of time could be simply placing yogurt and fruit in a container as well as placing your granola in a zip lock bag, preparing overnight oats, pre-cutting the bagel you will eat. slicing fruit, or even putting all the ingredients in the bullet blender cup for your morning smoothie.

Establish a morning routine
Establishing a morning routine will schedule you time to eat breakfast regularly. Like I said earlier, most of us don't eat because we don't have time. If you allow yourself time, then you can definitely indulge on the most important meal of the day. Play around a little bit to figure out what works best for you. I personally have found that showering the night before gives me extra time in the morning to eat breakfast.

Make one morning special
Try to pick out one morning a week to treat yourself to a special breakfast. This might be stopping at Starbucks for your favorite latte, eating leftovers for breakfast, something that might not be as healthy, or taking extra time to make your favorite breakfast (waffles, pancakes, etc.).

On the go options
Stock up on a few items that you can always bring to eat while you're en route to your morning activity.  Some items to keep around might be fruit, granola bars, or dry cereal.

So now that I've shared some strategies that help me, let's chat about some things you could eat for breakfast.

Toast recipes// Bagel toppings// Instant Oatmeal
Yogurt ideas// Breakfast cookies// Smoothie recipes
Quiche recipe// Overnight oat recipes// Wraps

What are your go to breakfasts for a busy morning?


Saturday, September 17, 2016

Walk In My Week

Welcome to the weekend!
I don't know about you, but I was more than ecstatic yesterday afternoon to begin a new weekend. You may or may not have noticed that I've taken a two week break from blogging.  Life has taken me on a bit of an emotional roller coaster ride lately, and I need to take some time to take care of myself along the ride.  This weekend I'm hitting the reset button and getting back on track with everything. 

Last weekend we had to say goodbye to our family's fur baby.  The death of Riley has honestly felt as if we have lost one of our actual family members. He was twelve years old and the best dog we ever had. I got him for my tenth birthday after doing lots of research.  He was my sidekick and came almost everywhere with me (even our family vacation to Vermont). This week has been the first time in my life that my family hasn't had a dog. It has been quite strange and sad. My heart still hurts, and I my eyes still fill up with tears each time I remember he's gone.  No dog will ever be able to replace Riley, but I think our family is definitely in need of pup to make our house feel like a home again. 

On top of grieving the loss of my dog, I've also been sick for the past three weeks. I've had a cough, sore throat, congestion, and fatigue.  Tea with honey and lemon has been a life saver for me. I think I'm at the tail end of it all now, so I'm finally getting back to being my normal self. I'm looking forward to being healthy again and making an appearance at the gym this week after my month long hiatus. 

Student Teaching Updates
Week three of student teaching is complete. This week we had our first full week of school-five whole days. At the time, the week felt like it was moving in slow motion. However, looking back it went so quickly. I now know all of my students names and am getting more familiar with their learning preferences. I've had the opportunity to do lots of co-teaching and am beginning to do more planning. 

Food Favorites
I definitely haven't been cooking or doing as much meal prepping as I should be.  With all the chaos, I have been appreciating living at home and having my parents' help.  This week my mom and I made a yummy dinner together- zucchini noodles and quinoa with marinara. It was a simple meal, but it tasted so good! If you're looking for an easy healthy dinner recipe, then let me know! I'll have to add it to my Kitchen Adventures series soon. 

Current Obsession
Pumpkin spice.  Fall is my favorite season and along with this season comes pumpkin spice and everything nice.  This week pumpkin spice lattes gave me the extra boost of energy I need to keep me going.  I'm looking forward to trying this brie and pumpkin recipe soon. 

Weekend Reads
So enough with my ramblings. Here are a few things to get you through the weekend:
+Feeling Sick? Try this little concoction to help you sleep.
+Anyone else wishing it was chilly enough to break out the fall essentials?
+A dip recipe to much on during this weekend's football games. 
+Movie suggestion: Bridget Jones' Baby
+A comparison of the iPhone 6 vs iPhone 7
+Apparently you can now purchase Lilly Pulitzer wallpaper


Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Making the Most of 8 Ams

It's safe to say that the average college student would say that they hate having 8 Am classes.  I mean nobody likes to wake up and go to class when they could sleep in and take that same class later on in the day. Unfortunately, the chances that you will encounter at least one 8am class during college is pretty high.  I think your perspective definitely determines if these early morning classes are a good thing or not. Believe it or not there are some people out there who actually enjoy waking up early and getting their classes done with earlier in the day. During college I had several early morning classes. I liked 9am classes better than 8 ams.  The hour makes a big difference! Since it's the beginning of the semester, I thought I would share some tips and tricks for making the most of these early morning classes.

Prepare the night before
Take ten minutes the night before to pick out your outfit, pack your bag, and make sure you have all of your assignments done. The more you do the night before, the less time you'll need to spend getting ready in the morning. You might even want to consider showering the night before, so that you can sleep in a little bit later.

Set your alarms
Yes, I meant to say alarms as in multiple ones. If you're like me, then you understand why I'm saying this. I have a fear of sleeping through my alarm, so I always like to set two or three alarms.

Get a good night's rest
Don't stay up incredibly late the night before an early morning class. It will make it even more difficult to wake up, and chances are you will be groggy during class. Try to plan to get 7-9 hours of sleep.

Eat something
Be sure to eat something before you get to class. This will give you energy. The last thing you want is to get hungry mid way through class and be distracted by your stomach growling. If you don't have time to hit the dining hall, then grab a piece of fruit or granola bar and eat them as you walk to class.

Reward yourself
During college, most of the campus is asleep while you're in this early morning class. Once you get to the real world this own't be the case, so reward yourself now. Treat yourself on these days.  After class, stop at your favorite coffee shop for a latte and your favorite pastry.

Wear your gym clothes to class
If you don't have a break in your schedule after this class, then plan to hit the gym afterwards.  You will already be up and out of your room, so why not take advantage of the day? Go to class dressed in your clothes for the gym, so then you can just head straight there.

Walk to class
If you are able to, then choose to walk to class. The early morning walk will help wake you up and prepare you to learn.  Studies have proven that doing physical activity prior to studying will help you learn better.

Be engaged during class
Try to hand write your notes rather than type them. This will force you to pay attention during class rather than mindlessly typing. It will also prevent you from browsing the internet.  It's also good to sit up front, so that you are not tempted to doze off during those boring lectures.  Lastly, ask questions during class. This will help you stay on task with what you are learning, and it will help you better understand the material.

Review your notes
After class, take some time to review the notes you took. This will help reinforce the content and ensure that you completely comprehended the lecture. This is also a great time to re-write or type any part of the notes that you took that were unclear.

I do have to say taking early morning classes definitely made me drink more coffee during college. Taking early morning classes might not be ideal, but waking up early and being disciplined will help make your transition from college to the real world much easier.  Most jobs require you to wake up and early and be productive. If you start forming good habits now, then they will follow you throughout life.  This semester I can definitely attest to this.  Waking up at 5am makes taking 8am classes seem like nothing.


Monday, September 5, 2016

September's Monday Motivation

It's Monday, which means it's the start of a new week. For some of us summer ended yesterday and for others it will end today or tomorrow. Labor Day Weekend seems to always resemble the ending of summer and beginning of fall.  By this time everyone has gone back to school and reality is kicking in.  We are preparing our fall bucket lists, establishing new routines, doing fall cleaning, and looking forward to a break in the hot temperatures.  

Mondays have their pros on cons. They are great because they present an opportunity for a fresh start.   However, they also are a downer because they represent another work and/or school week. I'm working to change my attitude about Mondays and go with the first option of looking at them like a new opportunity.  

It's definitely easier to be negative than positive in certain situations. I think Mondays can be a time when it's easier to look at all the negatives rather than the positives.  This week I'm challenging you to look at life on the positive side rather than dwell on all the bad things going on. 

Have a great week!


Friday, September 2, 2016

Walk In My Week

Happy Friday everyone! 
The four day weekend has finally arrived for me. This week was my first official week of student teaching, and let me tell you it was definitely an action packed week.  This week I'm just going to give you a brief synopsis rather than a window into each day's activities. 

Student Teaching Updates
I now understand why teachers begin school a week before their students do. The preparation week is definitely an essential for transitioning teachers from summer into the beginning of the school year. Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday I spent 9+ hours each day in the district that I will be spending the next few months in.  I attended several professional development workshops, grade level meetings, content meetings, and spent most of my time getting the classroom set up. I'm only one week in, but I've already learned so much.  This week my biggest take away was from my building principal. He said that teachers should never work harder than their students. By this he meant that students should be doing the cognitive labor of learning rather than teachers just giving them the answers. This is something that I intend to keep in mind as I become a teacher. 

Food Favorites
I made three dinners this week. I'm all about meals that are quick to make and healthy. This week's menu included Chicken Cesar Salad, Tortellini, and Baked Tilapia.  If you like fish, then I highly recommend this tilapia recipe!

Current Obsession
This JCrew bag. I've been wanting a good bag to use for teaching (transporting my teaching essentials back and forth each day). I had liked the transport tote and had been waiting for it to go on sale, but when the new Jcrew catalog came out I quickly changed my mind. I instantly fell in love with this bag. It was designed to be an everyday bag to get the working woman through an entire day (barre class all the way through lunch and the working day).  I was on the fence whether or not to get it, but I was quickly swayed to add the bag to my online cart. A few weeks ago JCrew had a big sale that included a discount and free shipping that I just couldn't pass up.  Monday afternoon I came home to the JCrew box on my door step, and I have used the bag every day since. Let me tell you it definitely did not disappoint! Check out the all day tote to see what I'm obsessing over. 

Other Ramblings + Looking Ahead
+This week I've truly appreciated being able to move back home and live with my parents. I came home Sunday afternoon to my laundry folded and a fresh bunch of sunflowers on my desk. It's the little things that just make me smile and realize how lucky I am. 

+Tuesday will be first day of student teaching with the students there. I'm excited to see how the week goes!

+Super excited that Nick was chosen to be the next Bachelor! I'm hoping his season will be better than the most recent seasons of The Bachelorette and Bachelor In Paradise.

+I'm looking forward to enjoying the last little bit of summer this weekend. I'm hoping to plan out my blog content for the month of September, so if you have suggestions I'd love to hear them!

Have a fabulous weekend!


Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Back To Working Out

Today's post is one that I think many people can relate to (or so I hope). Awhile ago one of my reader's requested a post on how to get back into being fit again. I think we can all agree that fitness has become an increasingly popular trend lately. Whether it's just sporting some athleisure clothing, attending cardio kick boxing, trying out a barre class, sweating in a spin class, or attempting a new yoga post it's all over social media. 

For me fitness has pretty much always been a part of my life. I have played sports since a young age, so I was always used to running and doing ab workouts. The older I got, the more I trained for my main sport-field hockey. I would spend much of my time running in order to enter each season in the best shape possible. It was never something I enjoyed, but it was something I always did to prevent myself from being punished. If I wasn't in shape, then I'd have to do more running as a punishment for not being in shape. This was a decent source of motivation, but over the years it minimized any pleasure I got from running.  During my freshman year of college, I learned how to correctly lift weights and complete other exercises to enhance my field hockey performance. I enjoyed working out, but I definitely didn't love how muscular my legs became. My sophomore year of college, I began playing field hockey just for fun not to compete at the collegiate level.  I chose to continue running by training for and completing a half marathon. The training as well as the race itself hurt my body, so after that I took a few years off from working out or running on a daily basis. I'd go to the gym from time to time, but I definitely wasn't doing anything consistency. 

This summer I decided I was finally ready to workout for my own happiness. I realized that I needed to start being healthier as well as happier, and I thought working out would help me achieve these two things. So how did I get back into working out? It definitely wasn't easy at first and some weeks I'm better about it than others, but below you will find some things that have helped me get back on the fitness train again. 

Set Goals
I'm a huge goal setter, so this part was a no brainer for me. Something that doesn't work for me is setting a goal to lose X amount of pounds. Center a goal based on weight loss brings too many negative feelings for me.  Instead, I think it's better to set goals like working out five times a week, lifting X amount of weight doing a certain exercise, running a mile in a certain time, or signing up for a race that is a few months away. When you first get back into working out, short term goals are your friend. Sure long term goals are great, but setting goals for a shorter period of time allows you to feel more accomplished. 

Make sure your diet fits your fitness goals
By no means do you need to go on a diet just because you're going to the gym again. However, you do need to be aware of what and how you are fueling your body. If your goal is to get abs, then it is important to know that abs are really made in the kitchen.  If you are not fueling your body properly, then you will lack the energy to have quality workouts and have a productive day. 

Realize how long it takes to see and feel results
Sure you might have a strand of great workouts, but you aren't necessarily going to see immediate results. Be patient with yourself.  They say it takes about four weeks for you to start noticing a change, about eight weeks for those you're close with to notice, and about twelve weeks for everyone else to see the progress you've made. 

In the beginning, consider a single workout as progress
It's going to be difficult when you first start working out again. You're going to be really sore, you might be disappointed that you can't lift as much or run as far as you once did. It's important not to beat yourself up over these things, and to be proud of every workout you do. 

Accountability Partner
Everything is more fun with a friend, including working out.  Regardless of your fitness level, a workout buddy is a great source of motivation.  This person might be someone you go running with, attend barre with, compete against in your weekly Fitbit challenges, or it might just be someone you share your fitness goals with. You and your partner don't necessarily have to be in the same location doing the same workout at the same time. This person could just be someone you check in with to share your progress, or someone who provides you with motivation on those days when you really want to skip your workout.  For me, my workout buddy is my mom. She's working on becoming more fit. We don't always do the same workout, but we motivate each other to keep moving forward with our fitness efforts. 

Switch It Up
Don't do the same thing all the time. If you're like me, then maybe you got burnt out of working out because you did the same thing over and over again. Make sure you change things up each week. Participate in workouts that are fun for you. This might be trying a new fitness class, trying a new exercise out, running at different locations, etc.  This summer I've switched it up by joining a gym and attending several yoga classes. 

As you get back into workout, it is important to be aware of your body and how you are feeling.  Take the time to stretch after each workout.  Flexibility helps with injury prevention.  Be sure to stretch any muscles that might be sore. For me, yoga has been helping me stretch have I run. 

Make sure you're drinking enough water. Most workouts will make you sweat more, which means you'll need to replenish your body with water. If you need tips on how to stay hydrated check out this post I wrote earlier this month.

Do a one month challenge
Completing a one month challenge can be a great way to jump start you're re-dedication to fitness. This is a great way to hold yourself accountable and it provides you with a month long workout plan. You'll find lots of variations of these on Pinterest.  

Do it for nobody other than YOU
This is the most important piece of advice I have. It's so so so important to choose to change your fitness habits or lack there of because you want to become the best version of yourself. If you're working out to impress others, then you're going to end up have negative feelings toward working out. Realize how good working out makes you feel as well as the positive results, and allow these things to motivate you to continue on your fitness journey. If you think about it, it's actually really cool how you have the power to sculpt your body into whatever you want it to be. Now take that power and become the best version of yourself that you can possibly be. 

Best of luck on your fitness journey!