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Wine Down

You know those weeks. Yep, those weeks. The ones that end with you in your PJ's and a bottle of wine in front of you before 7 p.m. Ain't nobody got time for a glass at that point. It's nice to know the weekend has finally arrived but are you actually relaxed? Sometimes, depending on the week at my last job, I wouldn't find myself actually relaxed until Sunday morning. Just in time for the Sunday scaries to kick in big time.

It's hard to enjoy any kind of work-life balance when your life feels more work oriented. During time off it's important to relax and reconnect with values that bring you happiness. For me, I love nothing more than waking up Saturday and Sunday mornings to a hot cup of coffee and my puppy. It's important that my weekend mornings aren't crowded with worry for the upcoming week. I like to snuggle with my dog, watch a couple of movies, get a nice workout in and set clear, defined intentions for the week.

Sometimes, it can be a little more difficult to put the hustle behind me. I try to recognize my stress going into the weekend and nip it in the bud early. Some Friday nights require a little extra wine and some TLC. On those nights, these are my four steps to bliss.



1. Candle(s)
 There is something so calming about the gentle flicker of a flame. I received a Herb& Irma lavender and sage candle from Target for my birthday and rushed out to pick up a few more. I use lavender as an essential oil to de-stress, so having it in candle form is a little slice of heaven.

2. Incense
I recently discovered burning incense and I can't get enough. With the lavender candle, I like the warmth and comfort of a vanilla scented incense. I find watching the smoke dance through my living room calming.

3. Face mask
Admittedly, I have never been someone who has spent much money on face masks. I have purchased the Glamglow mud mask. While it probably wasn't fair to expect big life altering changes in my skin, I didn't really see any improvement at all. Again, I know it isn't a miracle treatment but for the price I expected more. These days I pick up whatever is cheap at the pharmacy. I look for a mask that will draw impurities out of my skin and has primarily natural ingredients.

4. Hot shower
When the face mask is hard and the wine glass is empty, it's shower time. My night time showers don't last longer than five minutes are usually full of steam. I feel so relaxed after a hot shower and the return to my couch with a lavender candle waiting... heaven.

Whatever you do, just don't forget the wine!

What is Protein?

If you're anything like me, you're following a lot of fitness accounts on Instagram. I love searching through accounts for new workouts and motivation for the upcoming day. One of my favorite pastimes is laying in bed with snacks, finding new foods and recipes to try. The world first discovered Halo Top Ice Cream on Instagram, did they not? They did. I did, anyway. It's sometimes difficult to distinguish which proteins to try and which to stay away from. Whenever I have a friend ask me for help, the first thing I ask them is "do you know why your body needs protein?" 


So, do you know why your body needs protein?

To start, a nutrient is any substance in food that provides energy to the body and helps to build or repair tissue. Nutrients are proteins, carbs, fats, vitamins, minerals, and water. 

Let's first focus on protein which can be found in every living cell in the body! Proteins help to break down food which is then used for energy, building structures (muscle) and breaking down toxins. Proteins are made up of building blocks called amino acids. 

There are twenty amino acids the body needs to function properly day in and day out. While the body needs all twenty of these amino acids, it isn't able to synthesize all of them on its on. Nine out of the twenty need to be gathered from the food we eat. These amino acids are classified by essential and nonessential. 

Essential aminos are the nine that your body cannot create. I remember this because they are essential to gather through food. Some of these fill non-protein-building roles such as forming neuotransmitters and hormones. The essential amino's are valine, isoleucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, theroninet, tryptophan and histidine. Histidine is actually only necessary for infants.

Nonessential amino acids are ones that can be created by the body. They are arginine, gluatmine, tyrosine, cysteine, gycine, proline, serine, glutamic acid, alanine, asparagine, aspartic acid.

Protein is responsible for a lot of pretty big functions in the body. A big one is regulating that metabolism. For many, upping the amount of protein consumed in a day may be the key to weight loss and improved body composition. This is why you see those Instagram pages so full of protein shakes and pancakes! Other than a powder, where can you find it? Easy. Meat, poultry, eggs, dairy, fish, soy, nuts, seeds, beans, peas, and whole grains. 

For athletes and active adults, protein is a huge key to reaching our fitness goals. When I started counting my macros and increased my protein intake, I saw results in as little as a month. If possible, I prefer my protein and other nutrients from food opposed to powder. In the middle of a work day a supplement such as a shake or a scoop of amino acids can be necessary to fuel my body. I don't complain, I do have some pretty tasty recipes. If I am going to use a protein shake my favorites are About Time chocolate vegan protein or GAT Supertein chocolate.(I obviously really love chocolate!) Amino acids are the perfect afternoon pick me up and I know my muscles are taken care of. They are especially necessary after an early morning workout followed by a long day at work. I love Optimum Nutrition Amino Energy and GAT Muscletini! 

It's important to focus on how we can nourish our muscles in order to support growth and dope summer bods. It's also important to focus on exactly what we are putting into our body when it comes to supplements. Any questions? Don't hesitate to reach out! 



Comparison is a Bitch

If you're anything like me you spend countless hours a week scrolling through your Instagram feed, lusting over tropical getaways and outfits that could make Princess Kate drool. For me, these scrolling sprees usually take place either shortly after I have opened my eyes in the morning and/or right before drifting off to dreamland at night. My feelings quickly turn from lust to longing every.damn.time.

"Why don't I have that many followers?"
"How can she afford all of these clothes and those vacations?"
"I really need to make myself write more."
 "Damn it, why won't my blog grow?"
"These dreams will never happen."
"People don't care what you have to say and offer."

Do any of those sounds familiar?


These internal questions set me up for failure daily. The second I take a peak down the rabbit hole of comparison I am sucked in quick and there's no looking back. In an attempt to live up to the following of fashion and travel bloggers, the rest of my day is consumed with thoughts of what to blog about and the need to be somewhere cool to Instagram. The more I think, the harder to post anything at all. The truth is that right now, I am far from a travel blogger. (It's definitely on the goal sheet!) Further, I will NEVER be a fashion blogger. I like athleisure apparel and sweat too much. 

What I am, is a little bit of a hot mess sometimes. I feel like a little fish in a big tank nine times out of ten and am doing my best to adult daily. All I really need to make me happy is a BeyoncĂ© playlist and a cup of coffee. As much as I love to sweat, I really love to lay in bed with my dog. I love to travel but my budget is tight. 

Comparison is a bitchy little voice that tells my voice it isn't good enough. It makes the joys of my day seem small and insignificant. Comparison tells me just how big I am allowed to dream and tries to force me away from my goals. 

 My moments, my streets and my people are of equal value than what I'm searching for. Speaking authentically allows me to connect to others and show up for myself every day. Sharing myself allows me to grow into a big fish in this tank of life. 

I'm definitely a work in progress but I'm trying to turn my scrolling-induced jealousy sessions into motivation to reach my goals my way. 


I'm enough.
You. Are. Enough. 


Bikini Bible


Summer is officially right around the corner and my bikini body is not. I am no stranger to turning my workouts up a notch when that warm weather starts to creep in but learning to count macros has been something I have been interested in. I was looking for someone to tell me exactly how I should be breaking down my macros and why. I believe really strongly that when you know how the food you eat is fueling your body, it's easier to make better lifestyle choices. I have noticed small changes already! Macros 4 lyfe.

Going into this summer, I'm coming off a hand injury and definitely needed a little accountability to keep me going. The program provides full body, upper and lower body workout circuits. Each workout is designed to push you and as mentioned above, that's exactly what I need. Do it for the beach, do it for the beach. I love that I have a workout already planned and I just need to show up for myself and follow it. The absolute best part? The workout can be completed either in the gym or at home. Come up with another reason you can't- I dare you. 

When it comes to dieting, I believe that eating clean should be a lifestyle. Crash diets are horrible for your body and ultimately ineffective. Making consistent good choices in food leads to feeling healthy and strong year round. Not just for summer. Chelsey, the founder of the program, posts frequently to the Bikini Bible facebook group. These posts are full of tips and recipes for clean eating or finding that perfect sweet-tooth-fix. A few months ago she posted the recipe for a matcha tea latte and it has become one of my favorite afternoon treats! I suggest you join, you can do so here-https://www.facebook.com/groups/bikinibibleprogram/. Stay tuned for my results in a couple of months. I am giving myself 8 weeks and I will post my results.

(Hint- I love this program so far!)

Water with a side of lemon

I mentioned in yesterday's post that I start every day with a glass of water and lemon. I started adding lemon to my water a few years ago and call me crazy but I notice a difference. Especially in my energy level and skin. Lemon's aren't listed in the dirty dozen but if I can buy organic for a reasonable price, I prefer to. I like my water pesticide free. So why lemon water?

  
                                                                                          I'm obsessed with this new juice bar in town!
1.Aids in digestion and detoxification
Lemon juice keeps food moving through your digestive track with ease and efficiency. It also encourages your body to process foods a bit slower which means your insulin is balanced for longer (energy) and you're able to draw out a few more nutrients! Lemon also stimulates the liver which flushes out toxins. I pee one million times a day, it's fine.

2. Vitamin C
Move over oranges, there's a new sheriff in town. Lemon water. Vitamin C stimulates white blood cell production which is vital when it comes to fighting off a cold or flu. Since your body can't produce the vitamin on its own it needs to come from an outside source.

3. Skin
This is one of my favorite benefits because I can see the improvement quick. This perk relates directly back to the one listed above, Vitamin C. The essential vitamin stimulates collagen production which researchers believe could result in fewer wrinkles. Within a couple of days, I always notice my skin looking clear and bright. 

4. Boosts mood
I recently added lemon to my essential oils "smiles" collection! I don't know if it's the lemon or the coffee brewing but I usually have a smile on my face in the morning!

Rituals

If the title of this post made you think about candles, hoods and chants- you should know we aren't discussing that kind of ritual today. Actually, we probably aren't discussing that kind of ritual ever. Moving on. In order to keep a sence of balance and presence in my life, I think it's really important to set an intention for the upcoming hour, day and week. Starting every morning with the same routine/ritual has made a huge difference in both my productivity and preparedness for the day. 
In college I would sleep until I had just enough time to pull together a well-put together student. Or so they thought, lol. No breakfast, no time to shake the sleep from my brain and worse- no time for me. I even managed to grab a large coffee everyday despite my financial status. This is also around the time I saw my anxiety explode through my life and watched myself slowly withdraw. 
Now I have more energy, I'm pushing myself to be the best version of me everyday and I feel energized to accomplish goals. My schedule doesn't allow every morning to be full of the same luxuries and sometimes it means getting up a little earlier than normal. Waking up to take care of my body and set positive intentions overpowers sleepy thoughts throught the day. When I struggle, I still reach for the aforementioned large coffee. I'm only human!
So what's my morning ritual? I thought you'd never ask!

1. I wash my face and brush my teeth, you can find my favorite products here! Washing up first thing really wakes me up.

2. I grab a glass of cold water and add a slice of lemon while my favorite coffee brews in my keurig! I find that initial glass of water makes a big difference in my day. Energy, healthy choices throughout the day and clear skin. Check.

3. I sit with my feet up and my coffee. I love reading blogs such as rockyourbliss or Gabby Bernstein for a little personal development. I'm someone who is in constant practice of being the best me. These women kick ass when it comes to spreading all of the inspiration.

4. I read a few of my favorite lifestyle boggers favorite posts and post my own. Around this time I am typically enjoying a little high-protein breakfast as well. 

5. YOGA! I love myyogaworks.com.

Summer Staples

Summer is coming, or so we hope, and I have a few items I just can't wait to pick up. If I close my eyes and listen, I can hear the flip flops, tan lines and sangria calling to me from here.

With the start of each summer I do my best to choose a few staple items. Typically, an accessory that will end up being used almost daily. I tend to make more purchases during the summer months but I go into the season with the intention of buying only a few items.

Below are four products that have been sitting pretty in my shopping carts for about a month. Today is the day I pull the trigger so I thought, hey, why not share the goods?

Quay Aviator Sunglasses
Quay, pronounced "key," is an affordable sunglass line out of Australia. I was drawn to these because they are an exact replica of a pair of Ray Ban's I had picked out but at $60 they're less than half the cost! Quay is here to shake up the sunglass world and I don't hate it.


Baseball Cap

I feel weird posting this. Mostly because this hat started as a floppy straw hat. Then there is that little detail about my die-hard love for the Red Sox. Here we are anyway. I love the faded charcoal color for the summer months and I'll wear this significantly more than a floppy hat. 

White Chuck Taylor
I think these babies speak for themselves. Something about an easy slip on, crisp white sneaker with a tan and your favorite lululemon crops. 'Nough said.
Moisturizer
 
Clean skin, no makeup and lots of sun are the motto during those blissful summer months. I like to have a simple cleanser free from perfumes. It's also important that my moisturizer has some sunblock to protect myself from damaging rays. This moisturizer pairs perfectly with my skincare routine which you can find here.
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