Favorite Finds: First Aid Beauty Hello FAB Skincare Line

Skincare babes,

I’m currently packing all of my skincare getting ready for my week trip to Palm Springs, and I wanted to share my love for this skincare line. First Aid Beauty is catered more for the sensitive skin types, and the Hello FAB products are infused with the best ingredients to brighten and soothe skin. All of them are noncomedogenic and hypoallergenic.

The three products I’ve been trying out:

♥ Coconut skin smoothing priming moisturizer

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This is a primer and moisturizer all in one. It leaves your skin dewy and radiant, so for a drier skin type like mine this has been amazing. It’s naturally scented from one of its core ingredients, coconut water, and creates a radiance with its micro-pearls. It also has a mineral blend that supports skin health. If you’re looking for a comparison, I used to use the Too Faced Hangover RX Primer, and this one knocks it out of the park.

♥ Caffeine matcha wake up wipes

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I love these in the morning to brighten up my complexion with the included vitamin c, or when my skin needs to “wake up.” These wipes also contain vital skin superfoods including matcha green tea, to hydrate and detoxify the complexion. You can also use these to remove your makeup, however, I use them as more of a preparation step.

♥ Vital greens face mist

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I ran out of my Urban Decay setting spray and wanted to try something new. I love this face mist! It doubles as a setting spray, and I like to keep it in my purse to spritz my face when my makeup starts to separate throughout the day. Given that my skin is on the drier side, it’s easier to see this happen on the surface of my skin, so I like to keep my face refreshed to avoid that separated look.

My tinted moisturizer goes on so well after I’ve used these, And after a few weeks my winter skin has balanced out. There are always more inexpensive options for skincare, however, if you’re a dedicated Sephora customer these are definitely at a lower price point when compared to the rest of the store (cough Peter Thomas Roth and Kate Somerville..)

When buying skincare products, it’s about the i n g r e d i e n t s. Not the brand. Certain brands carry a certain weight due to their reputation, when in reality those products might not suit you. And who doesn’t love a lower price point?

Feel free to let me know in the comments if any of you have tried these!

Thanks for reading! xx

-Kelly

Why Chemical/Facial Peels Actually Work

Hi everyone,

I’m sure you’ve heard of a chemical peel, and I know guy’s reactions to them can be comical. I wanted to share my experience with them to put aside any fears of the process. I personally think the sound of them turns people away. Just to make sure it is known: you are not “peeling” off your skin as it sounds from the name.

Chemical peels in short speed up the cell turnover of your skin. Your skin usually takes 21-28 days to complete this process. Peels can make this process more efficient, while exfoliating dead skin cells and surfacing a new layer of healthy skin.

If you have acne, fine lines and wrinkles, or hyperpigmentation, chemical peels would really benefit you. A series is very effective, and the time in between depends on the intensity of the peel.

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I only do PCA Skin peels, which is a line of peels proven to be gentler on the skin with much less “down time” than other harsher peels. Very high end peels that are a lot harsher, most done at dermatologist offices, require much more down time. If you work full-time, play sports, etc. you won’t necessarily have that down time. This is why PCA skin peels do a great job, without the dangers of major skin irritation and prolonged peeling that deeper peels cause.

Peels are that much more effective when coupled with a quality skincare routine catered to your skin type and needs, as well as consistent application of SPF daily. If you have hyperpigmentation, never forget your sunscreen, regardless of the weather. Peels make your skin more photosensitive. Everything with skincare and managing the health of your skin longterm needs to be about balance. Multiple factors play into it.

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In order for me to have my healthiest skin, I definitely incorporate peels into my regimen to minimize pores, prevent fine lines and wrinkles, and reduce previous post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation.

If you have any questions about my experience with peels, feel free to comment below! Thanks for reading xx

Favorite Finds: Rita Ora’s Adidas Originals Collection

Hi everyone,

So I want to start a series on my blog “favorite finds”, featuring new signature pieces to my wardrobe. My first is rightfully the Banned From Normal sweatshirt from Rita Ora’s Adidas collection. I did not sign up for the Avenue A Adidas boxes, however, I managed to score the sweatshirt on Ebay. It’s my new love.

The Avenue A includes 4 limited edition Adidas boxes a year delivered to your door, $150 per box. In hindsight this is a really good deal given you are receiving three products, but I personally haven’t committed to the program.

Back to the sweatshirt. I LOVE the detail and message behind it. The front features the Banned From Normal in bold and bright colors of red, white, and black. The stars are such a cool touch.

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I’m not going to be sweating in this sweatshirt because I want it to stay in good condition, but I definitely love to pair it with black leggings and my Adidas Superstars. I’m also normally not into color blocking in my wardrobe, but this is a total exception!

I find the Adidas Originals pieces to be beautifully done, and it takes athletic/lifestyle outfits to a more creative level. I haven’t hesitated to wear this in the city or when I’m out with friends, just because it’s a sweatshirt.

Let’s discuss the back. It’s a tiger face in the Adidas silhouette. I feel like this sweatshirt now matches my spirit animal, which would be some sort of wild cat. My hair is a total mane. This was the final touch for me because I’m not someone who wears animal print, so this is the perfect compromise.

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Although bold blocking and material mixes like this collection made it more difficult to pair the pieces on their own, I find that a simple pair of leggings is perfect so you’re not overdoing it. As much of an icon as Rita Ora, I think it’s awesome to add bold pieces and patterns to mix it up from your neutrals.

The sweatshirt is oversized, and I purchased a small. If I wanted to it can go over my bum and be longer, or I can bunch it up and wear it more loosely. I’ll wear my hair natural or do the double braids, and in the summer I’m fully planning on including my hippie oversized glasses from ZeroUV. If you haven’t heard of that brand, check them out on Instagram because the price point is always right.

I also love the jersey white and yellow stripes along the sleeves, giving the sweatshirt even more of an athletic look but just slightly.

The perfect combination of sass, color, and comfort.

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I paired the sweatshirt with my Puma Evo Gold trainers as opposed to the Superstars for these shots, and they work so well! There’s a bit of gold in the sweatshirt and my trainers are black and gold respectively. Yes I did choose a red track for the backdrop of these shots.

I’m not as into the fit of regular Adidas gymwear due to my dedication to the brand Athleta, however, the Adidas Originals pieces continue to be my occasional splurges.

This collection is no longer being sold I believe, but Ebay is still an option. I guarantee you’ll find an Originals piece that will fit your taste and add some color, especially in these winter months. Hope you enjoyed my review! Be bright, be bold. xx

Feel free to check out previews to posts on my Instagram @kmzwicker

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-Kelly

How to Easily Bring Mental Release Into Your Daily Routine

Hi everyone,

I’m a believer that positive mental health is crucial to an overall healthy lifestyle. I also think it is often prioritized last. Giving yourself mental release is so important to reset your mind and stay focused for longer durations. It is also crucial for reducing stress.

Seems a little odd, but my first relaxing part of the day is when I get out of bed and head to my bathroom to do my makeup. I play music on Spotify and I take extra time, letting my full perfectionist come out. Slowing some activities down can be beneficial to not being so rushed. Of course, you have to give yourself enough time to get ready! I do not wear a lot of makeup, most of my routine is skincare based. Just to clarify.

Throughout the day I take a few minutes at a time with my photography. I edit pictures and play around with my Instagram feed, or I will be doing flatlays and other shots. I find working with my camera to be super therapeutic. I also use my photography and style to demonstrate my artistic side, which brings me to my next relaxing activity.

Sketching. You can spend 20 minutes or 2 hours sketching and your mind dives into the artwork. You don’t think about your schedule or your obligations, you just use your creativity and vision. I used to sketch more before I got my DSLR, but I find both to be beneficial for mind release.

The gym. I love going to the gym above all else, and this may seem obvious already. It’s not just to get a better body, it’s also extremely healthy for your mind. Exercise can boost your mood, improve your sleep and memory, and increase your self-esteem. There have been scientific connections between exercise and the prevention of cognitive decline. Cardiovascular exercise has been known to spike brain performance. I tune everything out at the gym, with my headphones in and my workout on my phone.

Cooking. I’m not the best cook, but I’m learning to experiment more in the kitchen. When I do cook I often play music to make it more fun, while I wait for water to boil or food to cook. Cooking is known to be an art form to some, with the creativity behind it. Quality nutrition of cooking your own meals at home is also linked to positive mental health, for you know all the ingredients going into your meal and control all of the nutrients you’re receiving.

Winding down. At the end of the day it is always good to have a winding down period. I personally like to get ready for bed and make a cup of decaffeinated tea. I go on my computer or read a book, and these days I’ve had the heater on while I slip into knee-high wool socks (Seattle problems). I tend to sleep a lot better when I incorporate this time, as opposed to just hopping into bed and turning the lights off. My body and mind seem to recognize the transition better this way.

I hope these ideas were helpful to add some mental release into your day! Stay mindful and motivated. xx

-Kelly

Salad Wrap Recipe

Hi everyone,

I wanted to share my salad wrap recipe for a light, plant-based dinner with added protein. It’s so simple and so healthy!

I first Sautée white onions and mushrooms in a frying pan until cooked through, as I defrost frozen jumbo shrimp (I get mine from Sam’s Club).

I then cook the shrimp on another pan with garlic and avocado oil, with a touch of taco seasoning. This is the protein I chose for this meal, however, chicken or tofu would be great choices as well.

Other things you’ll need:

➳1 container of bib lettuce (or butter lettuce)

➳shredded carrots

➳avocado

➳black olives

➳ soft asian style noodles (I find these in the asian/international grocery aisle)

➳salad wrap sauce (I like the Lee Kum Kee Panda salad wrap sauce)

Use the bib lettuce pieces as the base and add all the ingredients listed above and enjoy!

Eat plants and prosper xx

-Kelly

 

 

 

Hanging Up Your Gear: Life After College Athletics

Hi everyone,

Today’s post is dedicated to the ones that put everything they had into their college talent, and feel a bit disoriented about their identity once they cross that honorary carpet and get the diploma in the mail. A hint: it’s NOT all downhill after the “glory” years. You’re still a boss. Just a different type of boss.

Let’s go over some immediate positives from college athletics retirement:

➳ Those nagging shin splints or your suffering shoulder will finally get some time off. You might actually be able to go on a hike without complaining to your friends to carry you because of that four hour match the day before. Maybe that’s just me though.

➳ You will have free time to do your other hobbies. All of the things you put on the back burner in order to get 45 minutes extra of sleep before that alarm went off, you can now do. Your mind could be blown here.

➳ You have time to have a job and make some income. I’m not condoning rushing into an immediate job post college to fill your time, I’m referring to any part-time position that you’ll have fun with and meet a new crowd. A tip though: maybe try to branch out from talking about your gym routine, what you ate that day, or how you’ve mastered incorporating yoga clothes into daily wear from experience. Sometimes people want to talk about other things.

➳ You can TRAVEL. As someone who is planning trips to Iceland and other destinations on the bucket list with savings I’ve accumulated, I think about how I couldn’t train and also take time off that much due to the fact that my sport was year round.

➳ You have complete control over what you wear (bye team uniform), what you eat (shout-out to Red Robin french fries once a month), and where you go (getting home at 5 AM). I’m not saying go crazy and ruin your good habits, but you can live a little. If you were doing this already in college, well, congratulations.

➳ You can experiment with your time and interests and start to think about your future outside the classroom. I’ve been graduated since summer and haven’t been in the classroom since May, and I’m ok. I appreciate my college education because it was amazing, my mentors were incredible, however, you learn the big stuff when you’re actually out in the world. It doesn’t have to be scary just because it’s more real.

I’m not going to lie to you, I miss the competition. I miss winning an amazing match and feeling so proud of myself after for how hard I worked. I miss the feeling of motivation to do better next time when I lost. I miss the adrenaline. But I gave myself a couple weeks, not months or years, to sulk a bit before I told myself it’s all about perspective. You’re not just good at one thing. You did that sport a major service for four years, and now you can embrace something else.

Tennis isn’t technically meant to be a team sport, yet there I was every day in a team setting. I like to work alone (yes I know that’s not always a good thing to say), but I’d rather be honest about it. I played doubles through college and only really liked it one year with a particular partner (Frankie Katafias!) but I made it work because I loved representing my school. I didn’t have the perkiest school spirit, but one of the best things is being appreciated for hard work. And I worked my a** off.

I haven’t played tennis since May, and I haven’t been keeping up with the Slams because I’m not completely ready to look at tennis without studying it for technique. I’ve put my dedication into other things that I want for myself, things that bring me a similar motivation. Tennis gave me a mental release most of the time, and it got me to college and kept me super focused to achieve my optimal potential in the classroom. It gave me drive and persistence. I won’t ever take that for granted. But it also gave me a major feeling of being burnt out. Towards the end of it all, especially after getting a taste of being abroad fall semester of senior year, I got unfocused. I started to drift to other things, the other interests I’ve always had. It was just time. And it was still hard, but a lot of things have to have an expiration date.

Looking back on it, the little things that made college athletics great wasn’t just my performance. It was my professors and mentors genuinely wanting me to exceed in both settings and watch me grow through the years. It was the development of time management and drive. You develop these skills along the way that truly will benefit you once you’re graduated, and I advise you to focus on those and not the fear of what will happen when your routine changes.

We all make choices. If you’re reading this as a soon to be graduated (or graduated already) college athlete, you will be okay. In fact, you’ll have an advantage if you keep your head on straight. When you go into interviews, mention how you’re different because of college athletics, how it shaped you. Not because of the stats, but because of you.

You’re more than your college talent.

You’re more than the stats on the wall or the end speech at your last performance.

Don’t believe in peaking. Because you never have to.

Much love,

–  Kelly

Plant-Based Protein Ideas

Hi everyone,

It’s a common mistake to think you can’t get protein from meat alternatives. If you choose not to eat meat, there are a lot of options that just require a little more creativity! To put it in perspective, I am a pescatarian. I’m happily only eating seafood, the rest is either tofu or plant-based. In the future I may consider being a complete vegetarian when the mercury content in fish becomes an even greater issue. Not to mention the price of fish is definitely something to consider.

Featured above is a plant-based protein powder smoothie from Vega One. I love this line of powders because you totally get what you’re paying for, and the labels are all very transparent. I do not like Whey protein, which cancels out many if not all of the major protein powders circulating social media. Whey is milk based and has been connected to skin imperfections, not to mention my slight intolerance to large amounts of dairy.

I’m going to be honest about Vega- it’s not going to taste like a milkshake. Hence the no milk part of plant-based. I use the Vega protein and greens, the energizer pre-workout, and the recovery powder. They don’t taste bad, they just don’t taste like dessert like so many other powders are now turning starting to. Personally, I don’t think something that is solely supposed to replenish you needs to taste like an ice cream sundae.

I feel as though I need the extra kick of protein powders and energizers for me to meet my daily protein quota as well as benefit my fitness goals. I would highly recommend this brand not only to vegetarians or those who have gone gluten free, but also those who want a low sugar option that doesn’t make your stomach upset or be the culprit of unwanted calories. I do have a shaker for all of these, do yourself favor and grab a shaker instead of doing the glass and spoon method.

As for a very simple recipe: (bear with me I’m not the best cook, but I love smoothies)

1 scoop vega one protein and greens

1 1/2 cups of non-dairy beverage (I like coconut milk or even a juice like apple or guava)

1 cup of frozen fruit (highly recommend a tropical mix!)

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Now getting onto other ways of getting that protein in.

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  1. Lentils- 1 cup of cooked lentils is about 18 grams of protein! You can use lentils in a soup, use them as a base in bowl, or even as a filling
  2. The power of SEEDS: 3 tablespoons of hemp seeds means 10 grams of protein (sprinkle that magic on a salad) and 2 tablespoons of chia seeds is 4 grams of protein.
  3. Quinoa- this a great thing to add to recipes given it is a starchy protein, so it is has the carbs as well as about 8 grams of protein per half cup, and added fiber.              *tip:  fiber adds elasticity to your skin so stock up!*
  4. Nuts- to get about 8 grams of protein, you just need about a 1/4 cup. Simple enough. I’m not one to puts nuts in salads, so I’ll make my own trail mix to carry around. They make a great snack for long hikes.
  5. Tofu- And no it does not taste like cardboard. Tofu essentially tastes like whatever seasoning you add to it. One average serving is about 20 grams of protein. The possibilities for recipes are pretty endless. Tofu crumbles in tacos, tofu squares in stir-fry, veggie tofu sausage with your breakfast… there ya go.
  6. Protein peanut  butter- this has been my personal favorite addition because peanut butter is awesome. GNC sells a line of high protein spreads, including the Nuts ‘N More peanut butter flavor. I like to put it on apples or organic rice cakes for a snack.

The best part about focusing on plant-based proteins when I’m not eating seafood is how I feel. My stomach doesn’t hurt, nothing needs to be fried to taste better, and I feel full but not bloated. I try to load up my plate with greens and foods packed with nutrients and I have certain motivations to do so. They all have really powerful benefits.

Vitamins and minerals from plants help your immune system, anti-aging in your skin as well as inflammation and clarity, and even energy and long-term health. A way I like to look at it is how you look and feel is reflected from what you EAT. So eat well and prosper.

I hope you found these ideas beneficial for your nutrition planning, and I’m excited to add more nutrition into my blogs and daily posts.

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To see my love of photography, check out my instagram @kmzwicker for correlated posts!

Thanks for reading xx

~Kelly

Two Skin Care Ingredients That Will Change Your Skin

Hi everyone,

I haven’t done a post on skin care in a bit so I wanted to share my two recently added ingredients that have changed my skin for the better.

The ingredients include collagen and glycolic acid. If used appropriately, I guarantee you will see a noticeable difference! Let me touch on the benefits and properties of each, and describe how I have integrated them into my daily skin care.

C o l l a g e n 

Collagen is essentially an anti-aging protein. It is even found in our muscles, tendons, and bones. It is essential for the healthy appearance of your skin, especially by boosting skin elasticity.

Fine lines/ wrinkles: As you age, you lose collagen steadily over time. This is completely natural, however, with the addition of sun exposure, environmental toxins, and diet, collagen loss can be additionally decreased.

Improvement of general skin tone: Making your skin tone a priority not only makes for a more youthful appearance, it also improves your self-esteem and overall mental health in regards to your skin. Most skin collagen is located in the dermis, however, the amino acids in this particular protein aid the outer epidermis in hydration and a smoother appearance.

Moisturizer: Collagen is a very effective moisturizer, when take internally and as a topical moisturizer. In other words, collagen plumps up your skin, thus helping diminish lines and imperfections as results of dryness and dehydration.

Joint health: In addition to the skin benefits, collagen aids in joint health, which compliments an active and healthy lifestyle.

In order to really get the full benefits of collagen, I recommend using a skin care product with it as a primary ingredient, such as the PCA Skin Collagen Hydrator I’m currently loving. I have also had great results by taking it in powder form, and the brand I use is below. GNC has the collagen for a really reasonable price, and the brand is considered the best for what you’re getting.

Collagen products I currently use:

➳ PCA Skin Collagen Hydrator

link: https://www.pcaskin.com/collagen-hydrator.html

➳ GNC’s NeoCell Super Collagen

link: http://www.gnc.com/NeoCell-Super-Collagen-Type-1-3/product.jsp?productId=3704754

G l y c o l i c  A c i d

Glycolic acid is a great multi-tasker of an ingredient. It is in the AHA compound group (Alpha Hydroxy Acids). It originates from sugar cane. Given how small of a molecule it is, it can penetrate deeper into  the dermis when compared to other compounds.

Exfoliator: Glycolic acid removes dead skin cells with its exfoliation properties, without physically aggravating the skin. This helps dullness of skin due to outer layer dryness or flakes, and your skin will be more radiant when that layer is sloughed away. I am also completely sold on chemical versus physical exfoliation, to better cater to sensitivity.

Diminishes pores: Pores often get clogged on the surface layer of the skin due to oil, dirt, and makeup.

Hyperpigmentation: glycolic acid diminishes dark marks and redness by its rejuvenation of the outer skin layer.

I currently use glycolic acid as an occasional “peel” for when my skin is starting to look a little dull. Glycolic acid cleansers are also popular, however, when purchasing a cleanser with glycolic acid be sure to keep your skin type in mind. Higher concentrations of the acid can in turn worsen redness or cause irritation, if your skin is not adjusted. The great thing about adding it in a cleanser is it will not be sitting on your skin for a long time, but you will still get the benefits.

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Of course it is very beneficial to eat a healthy diet and exercise to get a healthier complexion, however, sometimes you need an extra boost from the right ingredients. Climate, skin type, and age play major roles in how your skin appears on the surface, and these boosts can preserve the health of your skin even as you age.

*A common myth: You don’t need to use anti-aging ingredients and products until you are older.

I reject this statement because you are never too young to take care of your largest organ. You may be surprised at the improvements anti-aging essentials can do for you!

In addition to the above information about collagen and glycolic acid, these are some of my mainstay skin care rules for a healthy complexion:

➳ Do not fall asleep with your makeup on. This may seem obvious, but coming from someone with naturally dry skin, sleeping in your makeup is very drying and your pores are being clogged as you sleep for hours. If you’re having a lazy moment, even using makeup wipes would be a better alternative. That gets to my next rule.

➳ Use proper cleansing methods. I prefer to double cleanse, first with a micellar water to get my makeup off and then I use an actual cleanser for a deeper clean. I do not use makeup wipes because these must be made with preservative chemicals to kill bacteria. You might want to switch to micellar water or a cleansing oil without strange unpronounceable ingredients! *I use the Garnier micellar water with the pink cap*

➳ Don’t over- exfoliate. I get nervous when someone tells me they scrub their face daily with a physical exfoliator. Some even use them twice a day. The weird thing about exfoliating is that too much of it will actually cause the problems you’re trying to scrub away (dry flakes and dead skin). I like to use chemical exfoliators with active ingredients like glycolic acid, so I don’t have to physically scrub my face with beads.

➳ Always check ingredients when you are buying anything that will go on your face. Get to know your skin type and any sensitivity you might have to specific ingredients. It’s always wise to be aware of the contents you’re putting money towards.

I hope you enjoyed this skin care check-in! If you have any questions, feel free to comment below. Thanks for reading! xx

-Kelly

 

 

Fitness Trackers & My Fitbit Charge 2 Review

Hi everyone,

I hope everyone had a great NYE and holiday break, which brings me to my review of the Fitbit Charge 2. I jumped right into that because I’m excited to share its features! Probably a bit too excited.

When looking at fitness trackers, you may be asking yourself:

➳Do I need a tracker? Or is it just another thing I have to charge?

➳What brand of tracker is the best for different workouts?

➳Which Fitbit would be right for me and my routine?

➳Are these trackers aesthetically acceptable for daily wear? (shout out to others that think this way)

Let me tackle each of these based off of my final choice of the Charge 2.

In regards to needing a tracker, this of course depends on your fitness goals and how organized you wish to be with your fitness routine. If you think you would benefit from looking at numerical goals for workouts, I think you should consider one. Checking your heart rate, steps, sleep quality, and meal tracking, these all directly relate to a healthy and active lifestyle. Actually seeing the numbers can motivate you to make necessary changes.

There are many brands of fitness trackers currently on the market, and I went straight to customer reviews for this one. The main thing to look for in my opinion is accuracy of the actual data on the tracker. Some trackers are better suited for runners, for instance. Some are water resistant while some can’t take more than the average sweat session. It really depends on how much you want to spend, how many features you want the device to have, and what types of activities you most frequently do.

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Some comparisons:

The Garmin VivoSmart HR+ was named the Fitness Tracker of the year for 2016. This particular tracker is water resistance whereas the Charge 2 is not. It has the features as high up as GPS, but it retails quite a bit higher over $200 and is described as pretty chunky looking on the wrist (again, for the aesthetic folks).

Even comparing those two, the Fitbit Charge 2 retails for less around $150 but does not have GPS and is not water resistant. I like to pair my phone with the tracker and I don’t mind going in the shower without it, so these details don’t matter to me personally.

There is another more basic tracker called Moov Now, a small and round tracker that can go around your leg or clip on. It has much less features, but is said to be a great choice for getting in shape and particularly for longer intensity workouts such as running, cycling, and swimming. It retails for much less at around $60.

The Tom Tom Touch is another tracker that is mainly targeted for weight loss. You get very accurate data of your body fat composition as well as muscle percentage. It retails fairly high at about $130, however, you also get the features of daily steps, sleep quality, and heart rate.

As for the Apple watch, it retails too high for what it is in my opinion. In addition, it is basically a second phone due to its phone call alerts and texts, as well as ability to play music. This drains the battery life of the iPhone paired to it. and i’ve read that the watch’s battery life averages at about 18 hours. My Charge lasts up to 5 days!

Lastly, I have seen a lot of Polar A360’s on Instagram. This fitness tracker is definitely cool looking, to give it aesthetic credit. It is said to have a great full-color display for even outdoor light, is waterproof, and it can be directly connected to a USB port to charge. Essentially though, it not having GPS makes it at the same level of features as the Charge 2 except for it being waterproof, and the Polar A360 retails about $50 higher.

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Now getting more specific with which Fitbit device could be right for you:

I was going between the Alta, the Charge 2, and the Blaze. I would suggest going on the Fitbit website and looking at the features of each device, as well as a comparison chart.

Essentially, I didn’t want GPS tracking from the Surge, and I thought the Blaze, although really interesting looking with the display face, was too bulky for daily wear. The Charge had heart rate monitoring which the Alta did not, So it was really a process of elimination there based off of features.

As for aesthetic, I actually really like the look of my Charge 2 for daily wear. I got the black band with the plum purple for a replacement. I think it’s a great size, however, most men I have seen including my trainer like the look and size of the Blaze! When doing additional research, many women stated that the Alta, being slimmer than the Charge 2, was a bit more discrete and they preferred that. It’s all up to you! All of that aside though, don’t feel self conscious about wearing a fitness tracker. You’re on your way to being a healthier version of yourself.

I’ve been loving my Fitbit for multiple reasons. I consider myself a healthy person who goes to the gym on average 6 days a week, but we can always do better. We can always be better. I have already learned:

➳how much sleep I really need to have enough energy

➳how much protein and other essential dietary needs I can improve on

➳how active I am during the day in terms of steps and calories burned

and on top of that I have an app of fitness data to track my progress.

I find myself more motivated and organized to get the most out of my workouts.

The standout con I have noticed about the Charge 2 is the screen responsiveness, due to the fact that you have to tap the screen a certain way to get the displays to switch. I haven’t had an issue with this personally. Another piece of advice is to be sure to place the tracker correctly when exercising and when you’re sleeping, in terms of higher or lower on the wrist and tightness. The instruction manual that comes with the device touches on this.

I’m a bit of a perfectionist, so having a fitness tracker excites me as opposed to makes me dread having to keep track of another device. I can understand the fact that our society is in love with technology, but remember, this is a fitness and health device aimed to benefit you not distract you 🙂 .

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I hope this review of the Charge 2 and the fitness tracker comparison was helpful for those looking into investing!

Get out and sweat! xx

♥  Kelly

 

 

 

 

♥ New Year’s Resolutions/ Motivations!♥

Hi everyone,

I hope everyone’s December weeks have been filled with great memories to end 2016! I wanted to open up discussion to the idea of making New Year’s resolutions. I have to admit I do not do these every year. However, being graduated from college and finally having time to dive into my passions, I want to hold myself accountable to continue to push boundaries and have more amazing experiences.

I have categorized my resolutions into the following: fitness, health, career development, creativity, and adventures. These may seem like too many categories to successfully target, but they’re all really important for goal setting. I hope you find them relatable in your own goal setting for 2017.

➳ FITNESS (and a little about my fitness story)

Fitness has meant different things to me over the years. Being a college athlete meant planned workouts with specific programs that catered to better performance in one sport. I’ve mentioned in previous posts that I was a bit disoriented once I left the security blanket of college athletics, because I didn’t know what to train for anymore. I didn’t have matches to prepare for. When you don’t have something to work for, you lose motivation sometimes. But do you want to know what my motivation became? The simple answer is just self contentment.

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Above is a transformation picture I posted on my Instagram recently showing a major time jump between 2012 (left) to today (right). In 2012 I was going to modeling agencies, and spending too much time on the elliptical and not enough time hitting the weights. I wasn’t completely confident in my body. I was never empowered by it. Fast forward to today when I’m graduated and spending 4 days a week at least smashing out weight training (with a trainer once a week!). I’ve never seen more progress, and I’m beginning to love my body for real, for my own standards of beauty. Self-love is powerful, guys.

That being said, here are my fitness goals:

♥ Build my bum. I honestly really want to gain this curve, and I’m making progress! Whenever I do legs I make an effort to work my bum.

♥ Strengthen my lower back. It’s a common complaint to avoid “muffin tops,” and my lower back has never been really targeted in previous workout routines. Hi deadlifts!

♥ Be able to do 3 legitimate pull-ups. I say 3 because I’ve never done one in my life. I use the assisted pull-up machine for now, so I’m preparing for that magic.

♥ See a steady progression of my body fat percentage. When I started my personal training, there was nothing wrong with my body. I would wear crop tops or short shorts or even wear bikinis all summer long, I just didn’t have the muscle. A tip: keep lifting HEAVIER. Ladies, do not stay at the plateau of 5 or 10 lb dumbbells. Keep going up in weight and you’ll notice that you are actually shredding and losing fat, not “bulking.”

➳ HEALTH

Always aim to prioritize a healthy lifestyle. This includes mental and physical health. If you’ve noticed potential improvements you could make throughout this year, whether large or small, really focus on those! I’m a Public Health major and a gym goer, but I still have quite a long list in my head of changes I could make in this department.

My health goals:

♥ Drink the daily recommended water intake. I am so terrible at getting my daily water. I love Kombucha and fruity things, and I often grab other options besides just water. This is a major goal of mine to boost my hydration levels. I am stoked on a christmas gift  of a filtered bottle to infuse with fruits for my water. Now I just have to use it. 🙂

♥ Get better, more regulated sleep. I got a solid 5-6 hours a night through my college career, and that’s not great. My Fitbit has been reminding me that my average need of sleep is 7 1/2 hours. Basically I was reminded that I was sleep deprived for four years.

♥ Gratitude. This world is full of so many individuals, and many do not have the opportunities we can take for granted. I want to be grateful of what I have in life and frequently remind myself of this, in order to not get negative over things that will change for the better in time.

♥ Meditation. I want to incorporate meditation into my daily routine. Whether it is 5 minutes or 20, I think this is a great way to dip out of reality and center yourself.

♥ Get more fresh air. Because fresh air, in the middle of nowhere, on top of a mountain, in the middle of a rainstorm, means a fresh mind.

♥ Focus hard on my nutrition. I need to up my protein intake given I’m a pescatarian, and I need to eat multiple small meals a day to keep me well nourished. I plan to dedicate myself to food tracking via My Fitness Pal and my Fitbit.

➳ CAREER DEVELOPMENT

We all are working towards something. College brings on that idea, and how we are released into the world of possibility, elevator talks, interviews…

I always use the process of elimination for my potential career. Internships have been helpful for me in this way to give me an idea of what I don’t want. I have recently learned I cannot work in an office full-time. I will probably be let go due to spinning in circles in my chair with zero creativity. I don’t know about you, but office settings with fluorescent lighting kill my creative vibes.

My career goals:

♥ Keep record of things I learn from each job. Likes and dislikes!

♥ Build my blog and pursue health and wellness. I love photography and writing, and sharing my health and fitness journey on Instagram and on this platform. I look forward to where this path takes me.

♥ Decide on graduate school

♥ Establish a personal brand for myself.

♥ Collaborate with a fitness brand with my blogging and online content

Essentially, I want to be a creative and make this my life and job. I see myself blogging from Iceland, or Spain, maybe even from Australia to visit my friends over there!

➳ CREATIVITY

♥ Get back into sketching. I have accumulated sketch pads and pencils that haven’t been used in under a year. I miss driving someplace to people watch and channel those sights into sketches.

♥ Start a YouTube channel. I’ve considered this for a while, but I am more used to still shots as opposed to video. We shall see!

♥ Continue with my poetry. I have been writing poetry since Freshman year of college and it’s a great mental release.

♥ Get crafty. I see things in the store like planetarium, and I tell myself I could just make one instead. And I never do. So getting more crafty is going on the list.

➳ ADVENTURES

My age group has been referred to as millennia. It is also a time in society where creatives are said to be flourishing. Companies and organizations are now seeking creative individuals to compliment their values, their missions. I want to stay creative, and stay adventurous.

♥ Go on two adventures per month at minimum. This could be a small road trip or a complete day of wandering, but this will be my bare minimum. I want to feel in the moment more, not looking towards future events. I don’t have to switch classrooms when the clock ticks anymore, so I have zero excuse not to fill my time more with adventurous activities.

♥ Set aside money for plane tickets. I want to see more places, of course. Next stop, Iceland!

*pause in the goal setting*

I want to be honest and say my three financial investments in life are currently skin care, fitness, and travel aspirations.

♥ Explore my camera more and as I add lenses and become less of an amateur, I want to collaborate more with other bloggers near me

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That was a long list, my apologies if it was a bit too much. I am a over-thinker after all.

Also, here’s tonight’s sunset.

sunset

I’d love to hear about your New Year’s Resolutions. Leave a comment with your ideas and I hope you all have a sparkly last day of the year! xx

Follow my fitness journey and health posts on my Instagram @kmzwicker

-Kelly

 

 

 

 

Last Minute Christmas Gift Ideas

Hi everyone,

I hope you are all having a great weekend so far preparing for Christmas!

Over the years I have gone more minimalistic with my gifts for family and friends. I feel as though one thoughtful gift is more special than five. I find it less stressful this way as well! I have put together some ideas of last minute gift ideas and why they are my favorite choices.

I love aesthetic, so a given for me for small gifts are things such as candles and lotions. Getting someone holiday scented candles with beautiful wrapping could be much more successful than one might think. Lotions and hand creams are also a way to pamper yourself, and the holidays give you a break to be more luxurious. As for stores to find these, my top two would be TJ Maxx and Marshall’s. I find the most unique scents and decorative products there. And for an affordable price. Another great place would be Bath and Body Works, and they always have holiday gift sets making your decisions a bit easier!

Skincare is always a great Christmas gift option. Quality skincare can be pricey at times, and people often hesitate to splurge on themselves in this category. Whether it is winter dryness, fine lines and anti-aging, or just soothing masks, these make awesome gifts or even sample size stocking stuffers. I go to Sephora, given they have majority of my skincare as well as makeup. If you want to do more of a mix of sample size products, the maze-like check out line there always has small sizes often decorated for the holidays. Essentially, everything is done for you.

So let’s discuss tea. There are a lot of tea drinkers walking around. I personally take coffee in the morning and tea at night. Some just prefer tea for their caffeine fix as well as winding down after a long day. Tea tins and various tea flavor packs could make someone’s day, as simple as it is. There are major health benefits of drinking tea regularly, the obvious one being more hydration. I took a visit to Teavana to pick up their holiday gift set, complete with an pressure infuser, rock candy, two tea flavors, and decorated tea tins. The entire set was $50. For a tea drinker, you just might become their new favorite person if you give them a set like this one.

Books? No I’m not talking about a kindle download, or an ebook ready to scan while you’re waiting to board your plane. I’m talking about the real books, the ones that smell brand new and you can actually physically flip the pages as you read. I may be a little biased, but I prefer books over kindles and reading on a screen. Getting someone a book doesn’t mean you couldn’t come up with anything else, but more so you are giving them an excuse to take some down time and dive into a different reality. If you pay attention to someone’s interests and get them a book that compliments that, that’s major points right there.

For the fitness lovers like myself, fitness related gifts are always welcome. Whether it is a stainless steel S’well water bottle or a new Fitbit tracker, these are very thoughtful ideas for someone that is dedicated to an active lifestyle and be fashionable while doing so.

These are my last minute gift ideas for Christmas 2016. I hope you enjoyed! Merry Christmas and stay warm xx

-Kelly

Weekend Outdoor Workout

Hi everyone,

In light of my long seasonal work hours this weekend, I’m posting my favorite outdoor workouts that keep me in shape when I don’t visit my gym. They’re simple, and they don’t require any extra equipment.

Cardio 

Running stairs: Your heart rate increases and the constant climbing and descending pushes your muscles to work harder. You get the cardiovascular activity as well as the muscle-building. Because of the step incline, the activity is engaging more of your leg muscles and is easier on your joints. Not to mention running stairs is great for toning your glutes.

Trail running: I personally want to encourage trail running over pavement due to the extra cushion on the joints. I’ve had experience with shin splints, and the thought of running on pavement makes me cringe. Trails are also more therapeutic, given you are surrounded by forest coverage and nature as opposed to traffic and cement.

Uphill sprinting: This is a great shorter, high intensity cardio workout

HIIT

If you have a park bench or something similar:

  1. Single leg step-ups
  2. Tricep dips
  3. Decline push-ups

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If you want to really make your arms burn:

Commandos: these are done just with your bodyweight, and they are great for toning

Push-ups: these are a standard arm workout with no equipment and done with bodyweight

For your abs:

Mountain climbers: These are so effective for the abdominals. I usually really start to feel them at 30-40 reps!

Straight leg raises: Be sure to support your back by placing your hands slightly underneath

Ab bikes: I prefer to do these slow to really target my abdominals correctly. I often see people rushing through these and I never find them as effective that way!

*For the ab exercises above, make sure to keep your core engaged the entire time to get the best possible tone*

Legs:

Squats: These are so common because they’re great for building your leg definition as well as your glute muscles. I like to get really low with my squats to better train all of my leg muscles, including my hamstrings.

Lunges: I do either reverse lunges or walking lunges, depending on space. If you have a lot of it, aim for doing 20 walking lunges each leg in one set.

*With squats and lunges, be sure not to let your knees come over your toes in sake of your form*

Ready to get outside and sweat? Thanks for reading! xx

-Kelly

Origins Mask and Scrub Review

Hi everyone!

What’s on my mind: sharing my Saturday afternoon with Origins skin care.

Featured in the photo:

*Origins Out of Trouble 10 Minute Mask

*Origins Clear Improvement Active Charcoal Mask

*Origins Modern Friction Nature’s Gentle Microdermabrasion 

First off, Origins is a great skin care brand due to the content of natural ingredients. The brand utilizes the powerful properties of plants from around the world to make scientifically proven results for healthy skin. I can say that my dedication to these three products makes me trust that description.

The Out of Trouble 10 Minute Mask is amazing for purifying skin when it has been in a trouble period. It has zinc oxide and sulfur to extract oil and slough away dead skin, as well as camphor to keep your skin calm in the process. I don’t use this mask more than once a week on my whole face give my skin is on the drier side. It works great as a spot treatment, in fact, it’s the only one I use because ingredients such as benzoyl peroxide prove to be too harsh for me.

The Clear Improvement Active Charcoal Mask is my go-to for pores. Since I have discovered this mask I haven’t reverted back to pore strips, because I prefer the mask feeling for pore purification. The mask contains the main ingredient of bamboo charcoal, China clay, and lecithin. All three in combination absorb environmental toxins and draw out pores.

Lastly, the Modern Friction Nature’s Gentle Microdermabrasion is my favorite scrub to date. It does a great job smoothing your skin’s texture without the added irritation. The mask contains a rice starch to help with uneven skin tone and discoloration, as well as dead skin cells. However, it is important to note that over-scrubbing the skin is a common skin care mistake and can increase irritation and dryness. I use this scrub, depending on the conditions of my skin that week, 2-3 times a week. The one in the photo is actually a free sample size, which has already lasted me over three weeks!

All three of these products are staples in my skin care regimen. I love that my skin has responded well to this brand due to its natural origins (hence the name!).

I took a mini spa day today with these after a long week and I hope this review added some clarity to the benefits of masks and scrubs in moderation, and how natural products free of parabens and sulfates are of high value.

The products are available at Macy’s Origins counter as well as Sephora! This post was in no way sponsored. ❤

Thanks for reading! For correlated photography to my blog, refer to my Instagram @kmzwicker

xx

 

Strength Training Myths + My Workout Tips

What’s on my mind: the idea that girls will bulk if they lift anything over 10 lbs.

I wanted to try to help this clarification, mainly because girls and women often find it questionable when built men say females won’t bulk. How do you know for sure? It actually has to do with the fact that women have much lower levels of testosterone than men. However, if you’re looking for other reasons to ease you into heavier weight training, I’ve come up with the reasons I told myself after research as well as reliance on qualified professionals.

Women tone through heavier weight training as opposed to “bulking” like men, because they don’t gain the added mass on top of the muscle. The result is toned muscle. This is a great thing, for the fat that surrounded the developed muscle reduces, and you are left with a toned physique.

It should be noted that reps and sets make a big difference to the type of training you’re trying to do, as well as recovery time. Some are training with more weight and less reps for more muscle, and some are doing less weight and more reps for more endurance. It really depends on you. Simply lifting heavier weights will not make you bulky, in fact, it’s important to increase weight to continue gaining benefits from your exercises. Your body will adjust to a stagnant routine, and you will be left with zero progress. 

Bulking is calorie dependent. If you eat more calories than you are burning, then there is a chance you will experience weight gain. And sometimes when you start lifting heavier you have a higher appetite, so make sure to follow the next tip: diet.

It’s a false assumption that increased gym time or adding weight training to your routine means you can slack more on your diet. This is not true at all! I have personally experienced myself needing more protein with my new workouts, but I focus on eating clean. Eating clean and working out will get you so much farther than you think. So much of what you see in the mirror comes from what you’re eating in the kitchen! It is said by trainers that diet is 80-90% of your fat loss. 

lifting-2

I also need to pay special attention to the seemingly universal rule that women should do sets of 10 reps. It has been ingrained in our heads that we shouldn’t do more than 10 reps, when in reality we could probably do 30 per set with those small dumbbells we always carry to our corners out of everyone’s way. Listen to your body and also listen to qualified trainers that could give you a free consultation at your local gym. You may be surprised with what your body can do. 

There’s no universal workout routine for everyone. People have different body types, fat distribution and problem areas, as well as metabolisms. It’s not realistic to compare your workout routine to someone else’s to achieve your desired results.

Also take note that women you see on magazine covers that specialize in weight training also take supplements to enhance their muscles. Not everyone takes supplements. I personally just use protein powder, a plant-based one from Vega, in order to increase the protein missing from my pescatarian diet.

Your personal genetic makeup plays a huge role in how your muscle develops, as well as fat reduction. Everyone loses fat in certain places in a certain order. In other words, if you are trying to focus on two specific areas as priorities, you might lose the fat in other areas first due to your genetic makeup. This process takes time.

If you’re looking for an even leaner look, integrate cardio into your routine, but don’t overdo it and deplete the muscle you’ve worked hard for. I like to do no more than 20 minutes of cardio at my gym sessions.

There is also the theory that men and women have to train differently. This isn’t entirely true. I go through workouts with my trainer or with guy friends in the gym and I’ll do the same exercises as them. Yes, I will be using less weight, but that’s because I’m not strong enough to do the heavier weight with correct form. So do not avoid workouts thinking they are gender specific, because this is also a myth.   

Bottom line: train the way you want to train. There are many different types of training to choose from, however, adding weight training can only benefit weight loss and toning of the muscles. My current mix of training is as follows:

HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) : lots of jump squats, mountain climbers, etc to boost my heart rate up

Weight training: personal training with heavier weights and getting new material!

Cardio: believe it or not I actually get very bored doing cardio now. But when I do I like to do 10 minutes warm-up doing sprint intervals on the treadmill or the elliptical, and then often end weight training with 10 minutes on the stair master. This gives me a variety. Sometimes my shins bother me from the treadmill, so if you have the same issue, choose a lower impact cardio workout with the bike or elliptical.

Yoga and Pilates: I love yoga for flexibility and Pilates for toning and core. I would highly recommend integrating them into your weekly routine, and there are plenty of online videos to follow if your schedule doesn’t allow time to go to a class. 

I hope these tips and clarifications helped anyone deciding on a new workout routine! Feel free to ask questions on the above content in the comment section below.

lifting-1

For my fitness journey, refer to my Instagram. My username is @kmzwicker

Thanks for reading! xx

-Kelly

Low Coverage, Natural Makeup Routine

What’s on my mind:

The natural beauty of low coverage makeup. I have officially made the switch and I’m so happy with it. Below i’ll share my current makeup routine with a lower coverage as well as the benefits of going this route! Enjoy.

First off, I used to wear a foundation pretty regularly. My skin would fluctuate in clarity due to many reasons. Going back on the timeline, in high school I always wore a high coverage foundation, not necessarily out of need, but I just felt more comfortable with the extra layer. It was the Loreal Infallible foundation. Safe to say I haven’t purchased this foundation in over four years, and here’s why:

The possible drawbacks of long-wear, high coverage makeup

1. Foundation is one of the main culprits of skin problems due to makeup. It is meant to cover more, which is a temporary relief to anything you want to hide. If your skin does not need the high coverage, opt for something lighter than a foundation. Many of them cause irritation and breakouts, mainly because they don’t allow your skin to breathe. It’s understandable to wear foundation in a skin purging phase, but once your skin clears up it will thank you for the switch.

2.  Your pores will have a higher chance of getting clogged. Pore-clogging makeup is the worst, and even non-comedogenic makeup still has the ability to do so. It really depends on your skin and how often you wear high coverage. Ingredients are also an issue here- specific ones can cause congestion if your skin doesn’t react well.

3. When using high coverage makeup, you will most likely need makeup tools for cleaner and more precise application. Although you will get a better finish, these tools can cause bacteria buildup, especially if not cleaned regularly.

4. Thick makeup in the form of liquids and creams often contain more pore-clogging oils. They can even worsen acne. If you insist on using a foundation, look for terms such as “hypoallergenic”, “non-comedogenic” and “non-acnegenic” to better ensure you aren’t going to worsen any skin condition. I use the drug store brand Almay, which follows these terms and is known to be sensitive skin safe. I use the cc cream, so I can’t be much help to the foundation lines!

5. Heavy makeup, such as foundations, often make your face even more dry, and the result can be dull and flakey skin. As this happens, makeup will then sink into fine lines and worsen the appearance.

The above reasons are why I no longer wear foundations. In addition, I want to be able to still see my skin. If I’m wearing something that covers up my natural flush or my freckles, it’s a little too much. I’m on a progression with my skin to get to the point where I can forgo makeup whenever and feel just as confident. I will definitely post about this once I get there! For now i’ll use the cc cream. 🙂

My current makeup routine includes a hydrating primer, cc cream, and a concealer. This gives me light coverage and an even finish, without overdoing it. I also draw attention to certain facial features more in order to keep the face makeup minimal. I fill in my eyebrows, add a little blush, and dab on a lip color. A major plus is when I take off my makeup, there isn’t a dramatic difference like there was when I wore a foundation.

The last point i’ll make about makeup is that your skin is important long-term. It is more important to let it breathe. I totally relate to having periods when higher coverage is a way to get through a bad skin spell, but high coverage makeup doesn’t have to be a permanent solution. And one thing is for certain: natural beauty and healthy skin are not achieved with your favorite foundation. Get good sleep, hydrate, and keep your stress levels down. That will get you a lot further than what comes out of the pump.

Products:

Makeup Forever hydrating primer

Almay Smart Shade cc cream (light)

Covergirl Ready, Set Gorgeous concealer (light)

Burt’s Bees tinted lip balm in Hibiscus

Thanks for reading! If you have any questions on the above contents or how to switch up your makeup routine, leave a comment below. xx

-Kelly

 

Affordable Gym Gear and Where to Buy it

What’s on my mind: Ways of getting quality and fashionable gym gear, without the high cost. Interested? Read on, because these stores contain beautiful bargains. It’s all about the bargains.

First off, I want to love the gym gear I work out in and feel comfortable, because I’m doing a lot of movements that require both flexibility from me and the fabric. Getting super low for squats or doing shoulder presses, quality gym gear is key.

The top places I have found steals:

  1. TJ Maxx/ Marshall’s: These stores have the best deals. I find brands such as Nike, Under Armour, and Athleta in the fitness sections. Recently I got a pair of Nike cropped tights for $29, regularly around $85. You save a ton of money scouting these stores. Another thing to look for are zip ups and sweatshirts. I have also gotten my protein shaker, jump ropes, yoga mats, as well as free weights from one of these.
  2. Costco: I know Costco is a beautiful place due to free food samples, but the clothing section is actually pretty sweet. There are regular brands such as Calvin Klein or Adidas, and then less known brands that have recently collaborated with Costco. Ladies: the tights featured in the above photo are from Costco, a brand called Tufts Athletics. I bought two pairs, each for $16.99. They are super comfortable and flattering on, and the patterned one is fun to wear to weight sessions.
  3. Nordstrom Rack: This one is lower on the list because this store is such a hit or miss for me to find something, and usually the gym gear is shoes not clothing. Then again, I am very picky about running shoes in terms of arch support. However, if you want to snag a pair of Nikes for maybe $60 or less, go here.
  4. Target: So Target carries a lot of gear made by Champion, and I have on occasion gotten tights from there that lasted a long time. I find the brand to fade faster than higher end ones like Nike and Adidas, but the cost is super reasonable.
  5. Amazon: Shout out to those addicted to Amazon prime for fast deliveries and bargains. You find some really good gear and workout accessories on here. I purchased a spiked foam roller for my shin splints in college, made by a company is Utah. One of the best things ever, although rolling out shins is not a pleasant thing.

Another sidenote: I did work for Athleta for a year, and I absolutely love their clothes. The quality is amazing and the clothes are completely functional. However, it didn’t make the list because I wouldn’t consider the store “affordable” for many people. Athleta is a great store to splurge on. The reason why I own 5 pairs of yoga pants (as well as tights) from there and some tops is because I had a 50% discount as an employee. If you’re looking for a retail job and live in the gym, consider working there because you’ll be covered for a while.

These are the places I think of for the best deals on workout gear. Why buy full price when you don’t have to?

Where is your favorite place to get gym gear? I’d love any other recommendations for steals. Comment below! xx

-Kelly

 

What It’s Like to be an Outgoing Introvert

 

fix-coffee

What’s on my mind:

The distinction between extroverts and introverts. There is something to be said for categorizing someone into one of these categories, when mixtures definitely exist. I would know because I am one.

I’m what is known as an outgoing introvert. I like to be around people and have that social component in my life, but I prefer to recharge by myself. I have put together some indicators that you might be similar, and these could help you learn about yourself. Knowing your own personality helps when interacting with contrasting personality types.

Observations:

You have a high level of self-awareness, and you are not shy, just simply naturally introverted. Shyness and introversion differ because shyness is considered a behavior, versus introversion is more of a choice as well as a preference. In other words, you choose when you wish to interact and when you’d rather observe. This really doesn’t have a correlation with being shy.

You find yourself actually penciling in (or making a mental note) to set aside time for yourself. You mental well-being requires this alone time, in order to have the energy and desire to then go forward with social interaction.

Do you love to go to coffee shops alone to work? Me too. I love to be surrounded by people in a coffee shop but left alone to do my work or write my posts. I like having the energy around me and complete control to either engage or not. (insert the “but first, coffee” ongoing trending phrase)

You can confuse others about this mixture of social identities. Sometimes people just assume you’re very extroverted given your approachable nature when you choose to be. When you switch back and forth from your more introverted self, people can be confused by the variation.

You are a fan of inner monologue. Or maybe you are not a fan, but you do this constantly anyway. Outgoing introverts tend to re-play conversations and even lay out future ones, which can lead to over-thinking. Being very thoughtful in this sense is important, but sometimes can be perceived as overdoing it.

You do (maybe not often) experience loneliness. This one I’ll chip in on. I personally like to be independent a good majority of the time. I played a college sport that was 90% mental, and is known as an individual sport. I like to blog, write, and even sketch, all activities being solo activities. I often find it hard relating to people in terms of how we prefer to spend our time, so this narrows down that interaction even more. Then again, I’m working two jobs that I constantly interact and have fun with my coworkers. I make sure to have this balance.

Now onto relationships. Again, personally, people I have been interested in the past all say something very similar: they have a hard time reading me. I apologize for not being predictable, it’s just not in my nature (although I never apologized for being hard to read). If a person takes more time to discover the layers, is this really a bad thing? I think not. There’s a reason why people love the mystery behind movie plotlines. 

As for social engagements, outgoing introverts can be very personable and talkative in these settings, but also be completely drained afterwards. This speaks to me, for I really need to be alone after a lot of social energy, just to have the silence for a while. Word of advice: don’t break this silence, it’s crucial.

I don’t know about the rest of you, but I believe extraversion and “teamwork” are somewhat overplayed in the workplace. We are taught in school to put up with group projects to prepare ourselves for our careers, which makes sense, but there is a reason why we dread them. I completely agree that collaboration is essential for a functioning organization or company, but some personalities gain their creativity and innovative ideas when working independently.

I wish I knew this about myself in high school, but outgoing introverts tend to somewhat dislike rights of passages. A really good example would be the senior prom. I remember there was so much buildup it actually made the event less fun, and it was this huge right of passage that everyone needed to take part in. I’m not saying my prom experience wasn’t good, but it was the principle of it being the “right” way to go out with a bang.

Outgoing introverts pick and choose pretty specifically. I’m specific about friends as well as social events. If I don’t want to hang out with someone I won’t. If all of my friends tell me an event is a must, I won’t attend if I know I’d be dissatisfied. I know myself in that sense. The negative reaction I often get from this is people taking it personally, that I’m withdrawing too much and put myself on a higher wavelength. This is definitely not the case, and the sad thing is if someone were to ask me instead of assume, there would be no hard feelings.

Us individuals also tend to thrive on improvement and progression. Getting “stuck” is not appealing, and the perfectionist behavior comes out in order to move forward. Seeking inner growth is also common, along with the occasional overanalyzing.

Lastly, the work and social life of an outgoing introvert may portray different personalities. By this I mean that these individuals, including myself, are outgoing and good at networking in the work life, and even enjoy being in control and communicating, but the social life may be a lot quieter. For me, I don’t like doing things in big groups. I like to hang out with one or two people, maybe three. If it’s a large group I feel less and less inclined to talk. Again, if someone you know tends to skip larger group hangouts, they might just not prefer them.

I hope this cleared up some explanations for those who have tried to understand the outgoing introverts, and for those that fall in this category. In truth, there’s nothing wrong with categorizing someone in order to better understand and interact with them.

Do these traits seem to match you? Let me know what you all think about my take on this, or your opinion of personality types. Do you find it useful to know someone’s personality type in the everyday? Feel free to comment below.

Thanks for reading! xx

-Kelly

College Expectations Unsaid

You heard in high school that college would be the best four years of your life. Let’s the discuss the major flaws in this statement.

What’s on my mind: What you don’t expect from college. The uncensored, unedited version of that educational environment you spent a previous four years staring at a GPA and preparing standardized test scores for.

We go through life often looking forward to a future result. We plan ahead, we set goals, and one of these goals is often where we attend college, and what we will study when we get there. But what happens when you actually get there? For me, I completely resent the idea of saying college was the best four years of my life. I’d like to consider it a trek for the better, a battle won for myself.

Life after college is not a set path, there is no universal option. There are opinions, expectations, social norms. You might want a pet chamelion as opposed to a dog, you might not want kids, or a van, or a big kitchen. You might not want a permanent postal address. And this is okay. Whatever it is, you build on it after you leave the college security blanket.

Rather than write out the reasons why I personally reject this statement, here’s a different format:

You’re doubtful in

your steps on the way to class,

Or your choice to stay in.

You second guess

Your surroundings,

Your purpose,

Your point of view.

You slip from optimism to the open-ended,

As you stare at numerical figures

To represent your worth,

Your capabilities.

You think of the real world,

And how you’re not a part of it,

As you muster up hypothetical elevator talks,

And convince yourself you’ll turn a corner

In a week,

In a day,

And everything will make sense,

Exactly as you planned in your

Decorated journals

And proudest essays.

Yet you are finished,

You hit a milestone that

Was meant to be an overpowering

Revelation,

That has only brought you uncertainty.

Four years flew by,

Without your conceding.

You chase something else,

Something to fill the gaps,

That widen as you struggle down

the honorary carpet.

The truth: The best years are relative,

Limiting you from pushing the bar,

From being amazed at small details,

Engrossed in still moments,

Appreciate what you have yet to do.

You have so much to do,

Darling,

Don’t sell yourself short.

xx – Kelly

My Take on Medical Grade Skincare

What’s on my mind:

Medical grade skincare. Skincare is on my mind often, however, I wanted to share what I’ve learned and tested about the argument of medical grade versus over the counter skincare. Before I share my own personal experience with this question, I wanted to go over some differences between the two groups.

Medical grade products are not just more expensive, nor is the distinction heavily based on brand name. I consider the two groups to be separated not by price or “luxury,” by by concentration of specific ingredients .Medical grade products have higher concentrations of active ingredients than over the counter ones. Over the counter products are less expensive due the lower concentrations, resulting in more filler ingredients. So in hindsight, it makes sense that there is a spike in price when it is more expensive to leave out the fillers.

A major difference that should be noted is the support from scientists, dermatologists, and aestheticians on medical grade products. There is a reason why dermatologists offices and spas sell only medical grade. Yes they are inclined to sell the line to patients in order to gain more of a profit, but they would sell these higher qualified lines in order to get the maximum results from those that visit their office. Makes sense right?

Dermatologists often describe skin in a more detailed way to patients, in order for them to understand the importance of proper investment into effective products. Skin has multiple layers, and higher concentrations are needed to penetrate through deeper skin tissue. Over the counter products can do a great job of aiding the surface level, however, skin conditions often needed to be targeted at the source: underneath.

For those very dedicated to anti-aging: This still applies to you, and at any age. Medical grade products, when used for extended periods of time, will strengthen the surface layer of your skin, increasing the production of collagen. Collagen is what gives the skin a youthful look, or in other words, making it look plump from the inside out.

Lastly, medical grade products are specifically designed to correct skin at the cellular level. They are meant for consistent use, and results show as the healed skin comes to the surface.

I completely understand the desire to being frugal, and although I have dedicated myself to medical grade, I’m still the same frugal person. You have your skin as your largest organ, and you will have it the rest of your life. Taking care of it for the long-term should not be considered frivelous.

The skincare line I use and why I love it:

I am now using PCA skincare. I purchase the products at the spa I’ve been going to for facial peels, and I’m completely in love with them. This includes a face wash, moisturizer, gentle exfoliant as well as targeted treatment with salycyclic acid. I plan to go in further detail of these products in a future skincare routine post.

There are many options of medical grade skincare lines along with PCA, I just like this particular one because the ingredient lists are sensitive skin safe and I got introduced to them due to my regular peel appointments. Less is more when applying these products, so they will last you a long time.

I also want to clarify that there are amazing accessory products out there that will be a great starting point, or a second option if you are just recently dipping your toes into the medical grade product pool.

ROC is a brand I still use in my regimen. The line has a face retinol cream as a well as an eye cream, and I’ve been using them in combination for weeks now along with my PCA products. Retinol specifically should be slowly introduced to your regimen, given its tendency to purge your skin and cause initial irritation. If you are going to be excessively exposed to sunlight or are doing facial peels, use retinol sparingly. If used correctly it has amazing anti-aging properties as well as ingredients that even out skin tone. ROC retinols are talked about nationwide.

I also use Origins face masks for an extra boost two times a week. I like the charcoal “clear improvement” one to purify my pores!

I hope this helps anyone currently deciding whether to go for medical grade quality. Your skin is a proper investment, and your future self will thank you for taking it seriously.

A sidenote: For readers’ convenience and as a result of my need to organize, my posts are officially categorized on kstateofmind.

A question for this week: What are your current skincare loves? I’d love to hear about them in the comments, and by all means ask any questions about the above content.

Thank you for reading! xx

-Kelly

Swapping Cardio for Weights

Hi everyone,

We all have an idea of what it means to be healthy. Eat right, workout, live an active lifestyle within an increasingly sedentary society. Seems simple, right? What if you are doing these things to live that healthy lifestyle, but begin to lose the results? Change is then going to become the solution to your problem. It was for me.

Being a college athlete for four years, I was always doing mass amounts of cardio training, mostly on the tennis court. Hours were spent in high intensity competition or repetitive drilling. Weight training and HIIT workouts were also included in team workouts, however, cardio was the dominant exercise. If you’re curious what happens when you graduate from this lifestyle and try to establish a new routine, I’ll share what I learned in this time period about fitness.

I have always been dedicated to the gym, mostly going 6 days a week without fail. When I graduated this summer I continued going on 45 minute runs and doing very similar weight training, and I saw myself hit a plateau. My routine was stagnant. I’ve been doing personal training for two weeks now, a program I never associated with because I didn’t think I needed to be coached to workout. Let me clear this up. You can utilize some training sessions even if you’re a gym junkie.

By no means am I saying personal training is essential to meeting your goals, it’s just a challenge that will only bring benefits. I am doing all new workouts that test me in new ways, and, most importantly, i’ve completely switched my workout routine ratio of weights to cardio.

My former tentative post-graduation fitness routine:

  • Cardio approximately 45 mins a day
  • Weights 2-3 times a week
  • Mat workouts (abs, glutes, etc)
  • *to note: I was using primarily free weights just up to 10 lbs

Current routine:

  • Cardio just 3 days a week for 20 minutes
    • Mixing it up between the stair stepper, treadmill, stair runs outside etc
  • Weights up to 4 days a week
    • Every day is working different muscles
      • legs, arms, back, shoulders, glutes
      • Beginning at heaviest weight for true form and decreasing weight each set of reps
  • I try to incorporate a pilates or yoga class once a week, because stretching is key to preventing injury. I also love the relaxation part of these, given the strenuous nature of weight lifting.

I’m going to be 100% honest, I’ve never been pushed this hard in the gym with weights. Tennis was so heavily based on endurance and how long I could last during match points, I didn’t spend a lot of time on the machines. Now I spend most of my time on them.

The best part: There are only benefits. I haven’t found any reasoning to second guess the investment of personal training or the swapped routine. I have more energy because weight training fatigues only my muscles, instead of making me feel sluggish. My muscle composition is already improved. I’m learning a lot more about what my body needs from workouts, to better compliment my other healthy habits.

Another awesome part about all of this: I’m never bored. There are days I skip cardio because I don’t need it. At a certain point, cardio begins to take away the muscle you work so hard for.

muscle > fat 

strong > everything?

I was careful with the second bold statement above, because there’s nothing “wrong” with anyone’s body. Everyone has different genetics. I just personally wasn’t satisfied anymore with just being “fit.” Because what is fit? I’m a person that functions off of constant improvement and balance (Libra issues). Now my gym routine is included in that as well.

It’s slightly uncomfortable at first to put my trust into another person to push me to get better results, but the truth remains that I didn’t know enough about what it takes to gain proper muscle composition. I wasn’t aware how helpful it was to keep a training journal to record progress and BMI updates. I didn’t know the potential of my own body. Someone had to tell me to stop running and get on the bench.

I’m not going to fully dive into the gender discussion about girls’ incessant need to complete cardio sessions, because I’m guilty for that blind reliance as well.

The women I admire most and follow through web content and Instagram lift weights on a constant basis. Weights are your best friend. Cardio is an accessory to weights. Looking at it this way has really helped me move forward.

Sometimes you need a little assistance separating myths from facts.

Effective this week, I’m going to be adding workout routines, gym gear posts, as well as on-the-go nutritious meals that I stick to on a weekly basis.

I’m really excited to be expanding my content and posting more regularly, and thank you so much to those who have already been following for more!

Comment below on your favorite workout, or your next fitness goal you desire most.

Thanks for reading! xx

-Kelly

 

 

 

 

The Increasing Value of Creative Individuals in Our Society

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Hi everyone,

I’ve gone a bit off the grid from blogging the past two weeks, so my apologies in advance for the absent content. I have in this time taken on two jobs, one internship and one paid part-time. After landing these positions, I wanted to discuss the need of things in life that cannot be bought, or achieved by climbing a ladder of accomplishment or praise.

I am currently in the post-graduate phase of major contemplation. I want to start making strides to my future career, and build a life for myself. A life that makes me happy, and one of substance. On the other hand, I think this period of my life is crucial in other ways. Self-reflection and development need to be put at a high value, in addition to resume qualifications.

Breaking the mold of the typical race to post-graduate employment is something I have been considering myself. I’m not ready for a 9 to 5 office job, nor do I think I ever will be. I am just now having the chance to act on all of my interests, my side hobbies pushed aside due to previous obligations.

I can’t even narrow down a label for myself in my Instagram bio. I want to explore and create through my twenties, and always be reminded of why I get to be myself every day. I am passionate about health, but I want to write wherever and whenever possible, and embrace my creative outlets. I’m not concerned with making money, because the saying “money doesn’t buy happiness” is not just motivational, it’s also a warning not to falsely prioritize your life.

There is hope for other artists and creatives out there, in fact, I just read an article published by the Guardian about the need of investments of artists and creatives in our society. The article talks about how the arts and culture especially create a basis for overall societal function.

Which word sounds more appealing, price or value?

The artists of our society compliment other sectors. Without creative people, there would be less beauty and pleasure on a wide scale. One can even say a society would not survive without these individuals. Without creativity, amazing award-winning films, opera and orchestra performances, art galleries and many other features would not exist. What kind of world would that be?

Stanford’s Social Intervention Review also dips into this topic with high appraisal of the arts and creative expression, pointing out that they have made our society shift from manufactured to innovative. Culture and art dictate social change, and social change determines the progressive ability of a society.

To think of it another way, everyone is said to have their role, one that they contribute to better the overall community as a whole. Economies are set up with everyone doing their part in order for it to function. Roles, however, are not just positions within a law firm, engineers in the newest apartment complexes, or scientists within large laboratories. The creatives and artists also play a role. Sometimes it’s hard to grasp that these people, who primarily aim to bring inspiration to others, are often concerned about the paycheck while others are at ease financially.

No, this is not a review of the above articles. I’m simply relieved that creative expression is being nationally recognized as a necessity to a well-balanced system. These Sunday reads inspire me to move farther into my years of creativity, and not wait to see how it all lays out financially.

Arts and culture within society ignite an incandescence to our emotional lives. Humans are meant to be emotional beings, as opposed to being desensitized by daily routines and responsibilities.

What makes you feel like your most creative self? Ask yourself, where does the creativity come from? It won’t come from textbooks or a steady income. It comes from within.

Being 22 years old in such a progressive society,  I notice how expectations have changed, even in my lifetime. Master’s degrees are starting to become as vital to employment as bachelor’s degrees were years ago. You’re expected to have work experience when you don’t know where to start. At what point is this constant building of yourself on paper going to resemble a life well lived? It might for some depending on the content. For others, they may feel constantly awkward, not properly conforming.

For example: I want to see more of the United States. I’ve been to a handful of states, and I always crave new adventures. Since I know finances play a role, I’m saving up for these adventures. Once I have enough, I plan to be very mobile at various times, always learning from everyday interaction with people from all over, people that see the world a little more similarly to me in terms of what defines a life well spent.

This can all be a battle between one’s mind and heart. What really resonates with you and what will enrich you most may not make complete logical sense.

I have recently spent time with amazingly talented freelance photographers that are living their creative passions, and I feel as though I have found my people (corny perhaps to say). It’s nothing short of refreshing to be around individuals that wake up and seek out fulfilling moments. Quality company of those that strive for similar things in life really has sent me encouraging vibes that i’m not alone in my deepest desires.

What’s saddening is that people have visions of what they want their life to look like, the experiences they want to have, yet they feel that they are out of reach. In all honesty, they don’t have to be unrealistic.

Will you be a part of the increasing creative initiative?

Thanks for reading, have a lovely week. xx

-Kelly

 

Achieving A Balance With Technology Use

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Hi everyone,

Our society is thriving through technology, and it’s not necessarily a bad thing. Everything is great in doses. Honestly, it becomes an issue when you can’t sit through a movie without checking your phone or constantly scrolling through news feeds.

I am 22 years old, and I am admitting that there is a balance that needs to exist with social media and online content. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love sharing my creativity via the internet, whether it is on this blog or on my Instagram.

I also love using my computer. I’m not as much into television, so that’s never been an issue for me. Fun fact: I went two out of the four years of college without a television in my living space. Part of the reason is I can’t stand commercials or surfing channels. My days were also planned by the hour so I didn’t stay awake long enough to log into Netflix. Sue me.

I’ve put together some tips to not remain completely engrossed in technology 24/7:

  • Don’t be a checker. If you post something, don’t remain on that platform awaiting the responses, likes, follows etc. A couple hours later, after you’ve done other activities, going back and seeing what you’ve missed is totally fine.
  • Being on your phone constantly when someone is trying to have a conversation with you is the reason why our generation gets complaints regarding attention spans.  Put your phone down when someone asks you a question.
  • Live your life, don’t spend all of your energy trying to prove that you’re living it. It’s great that you want to share pieces of your life with others, but obtain boundaries from the rest of the world and have undocumented moments.
  • Plan more activities that don’t require technology use. If you’re hiking up a steep mountain, I doubt you need to be on the Facebook home page. To avoid injury and missing local wildlife, put your phone in your bag and wait to take the predictable photo at the top of the climb. I’m sure whoever is in your ‘recents’ will understand.
  • Don’t completely transfer over to technology from seemingly outdated methods. In other words, take a page out of a writer’s book. Writers still use notebooks to jot down ideas. There is a reason why handwriting feels so strange these days, because even standardized testing is done through computers now. I personally keep a sketchbook and a journal to maintain my own handwriting, and sometimes it’s nice to switch out the keyboard with how the pen feels on paper.
  • Don’t sleep with your phone and/or your laptop. I know it can be difficult, but a bright screen in front of your face late at night actually slows melatonin release, making you stay up longer. The National sleep Foundation reported that 90% of Americans in their study used some form of technology before they sleep. Technology therefore has been directly linked to negative sleep patterns.

If you try to improve even one of these points made above, you’re doing yourself a service. Technology has become a comfort zone. It’s a little worrisome if people lose ideas of what to talk about without including technology, or completely ditch the idea of a phone call over texting.

This all comes down to priorities, and intentions behind our use of social media and technology. I only use Facebook to keep in contact with international friends, and occasionally upload content. I’m not a supporter of mentioning my location to the public at every opportunity. Besides, zero mystery makes for a very boring plot line.

It is also very clear from news headlines that technology is a constant distraction to safety.

I need to get this off my chest: I do not, nor will I ever play Pokemon Go. People are playing this game in public and searching for invisible creatures to “catch”? I can’t bring myself to fact check this information, because, regardless of the game rules, people are now trying to play it while operating vehicles.

The Guardian has recently released an article regarding the hundreds of fines towards drivers for playing this game instead of focusing on the road. Seriously? We have to improve our generation’s image, and I’m sorry to say, people running around catching air has definitely featured on my snapchat stories. With colorful details.

Sharing content and networking with people that inspire you is a great thing, and is made easier with all of the current online platforms to choose from.

A really helpful practice for me is to focus on just two or so platforms for my content, to avoid micromanaging so many accounts. I don’t need to be present on 10 online platforms, for I feel this would breach creativity and begin a case of technology addiction.

When your phone dies, everything will be okay. When you plug it back in and you actually didn’t get any new notifications since the 4 minutes have passed, maybe this is an important realization to make: you are allowed to go off the grid.

Thanks for reading! xx

-Kelly

 

 

 

 

Fitness: Without the Gym Membership

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Hi everyone,

For the past three weeks, I have been in the moving process. During this time I have not been going to the gym for workouts. I have to admit it has been a strange experience, given my consistency with this routine! I am now happy to be scouting for a new gym to join, although this decision has a few factors to consider. This transition has got me thinking about the individuals that may be in the same position.

For those on vacation or who live a lifestyle that requires traveling, finding alternative ways to getting a workout in is key to staying in shape and being healthier. There are so many substitutions if one does not wish to obtain a gym membership.

Reasoning individuals do not go to the gym could include:

  • Finances: Obtaining a gym membership does require a financial commitment, whether a small or large monthly expenditure. This definitely depends on the gym and what it offers.
  • Convenience/proximity: Depending on where you are located, you could have limited to no access to a gym that would be suitable for your schedule.
  • Work: Some individuals work long shifts that do not allow them to set aside the time.
  • A general disinterest:Everyone is different and obtains different goals, therefore some individuals do not have an interest in exercising.

If any of these factors sound familiar, perhaps you could get more creative with your options to boost your interest or make time for physical activity.

My methods for the past three weeks:

Main tip: Utilize the outdoors.Whether you have 20 minutes or an hour, the outdoors do not have a closing time.

My personal favorite outdoor workout is a long hike. My feature image is emphasizing the beauty of the outdoors and how a good view and good company could make for the best workout. Hiking gets your heart rate up on steep hills and you get the fresh air, as opposed to doing cardio indoors.

Running and walking are great for cardio. I go on walk/jog stints in intervals to get my heart rate up. I prefer doing interval training rather than just jogging because it brings more of a challenge for your body. Also try to choose a route with some hills as opposed to training solely on flat surfaces. This will work your calves and glutes more going uphill. 

HIIT (High intensity interval training)is one of my favorite types of training. If you are not familiar, HIIT is basically shorter periods of more intense exercise with less recovery time. If you are in a crunch for time, this would be a quicker workout on the days where you have a super busy schedule.

BodyFlow is a common gym session offered with gym memberships, however, BodyFlow includes a mixture of Tai Chi, pilates, and yoga, all exercises that can be completed at home with minimal equipment. It would be wise to invest in a yoga mat for the extra cushion and stability with these flexibility exercises, although a softer surface would suffice as well! These are body and mind workouts, and allow you to also relax your mind from outside influences. I would highly recommend incorporating them to improve mental health.

Weight training: In order to work with weights, equipment is required. Buying free weights is a one time purchase and would definitely help succeeding in working out at home. Balance balls, bosu balls, benches, and even small pieces such as strength bands could also be great investments. As opposed to getting these in sport stores, try shopping in the clearance section at stores such as TJ Maxx or Marshall’s. I have saved so much money simply by going to these stores.

I do a mixture of the above workouts when I go through transition periods without gym access. I currently have these pieces of equipment:

  • Jump rope (quick cardio and warm-ups)
  • Medicine ball (great for HIIT, squats, and lunges)
  • Yoga mat
  • Ankle weights (for glute exercises)
  • Free weights (I personally own 5 and 8 lb weights that are easy to transport)
  • Strengthening bands (prevention of injuries)
  • A roller (I swear by these! Proper stretching is so important for healthy exercise. I use my roller especially for hamstrings and shins)

Due to the internet offering so many programs, public figures that specialize in weight and fitness training have done workout programs online. Examples of these figures could be Kayla Itsines, Jillian Michaels, and even the P90X series. If you don’t have the time or finances to go to the gym, these programs are also a one time purchase.

Don’t underestimate YouTube. This platform hosts countless fitness videos and routines available at any time. I have on occasion used Cassey Ho’s Pop Pilates free workouts via YouTube during busy times such as finals or while on vacation without gym access.

As far as the factor of disinterest, workout out is much better when you actually enjoy it. I am not a person to recommend going to the gym to spend an hour on the elliptical or getting on the stair stepper with a book. There are a lot of options to choose from, and you may not be experimenting enough to find what you like best and what gets you the best results.

Being a person that is very consistent with working out, I think there is a type of workout everyone would enjoy. My advice is to aim to achieve a balance, and not to get stuck in the same workout routine that you dread finishing.

If you are on vacation: Take a long walk on the beach. I absolutely love doing this because it’s a natural exfoliation for your feet as well as being a killer workout for your calves and muscles to push through the sand. You also have a view!

I hope these tips helped for those debating on how and when to incorporate exercise into their lifestyle. Thanks for reading! xx

-Kelly

 

Minimalist Ideas for a Decluttered Mind

Hi everyone,

Today, I want to explain the amazing benefits of being a minimalist. I think it may be becoming a lost art. I personally plan to make steps towards becoming a better one, however, it is not a competition of who can have less for more. Everyone does this at their own pace.

You know when you’re going through a closet full of items and wonder why you still move them from house to house? That may be what the inside of your head looks like.

If you had 30 seconds to grab everything you find most important in your living space, what would these things be? If you have a pet, I would hope they would be your first priority. Apart from animals, which things do you have the most love for? A charm necklace with a memory of every trip you’ve been on? A piece of art? Whatever the keepsakes are, they hold parts of you. Those possessions do matter.

Being minimal does not mean you can’t have nice things. It refers to selectivity of what you accumulate. There is minimalistic art or music, architecture or fashion. You may find that when you condense what you have in terms of possessions, you will breathe easier.

Clutter accumulates over time and we often make excuses as to why we have it all. The best question to ask yourself is “do I need this?” If there is hesitation, the answer is most likely no.

By no means should someone give up a routine or tradition that makes them feel centered, or one that brings them consistent happiness. If you get your hair done at the same place with the same person and it’s something you always look forward to, despite the cost, it might not be wise to eliminate. If you love to see bands live in concert and go to multiple concerts and festivals annually, and you practically mark your calendar for them, don’t eliminate them. These would quality as exceptions.

Spending is difficult to control for many people. I would say I would have more trouble with the clutter as opposed to spending, because I’m more of a saver and pack rat as opposed to a spontaneous spender. Some ways to reduce spending and begin to immerse into the minimalist lifestyle:

Spending:

  1. Always ask yourself if you need it. If you don’t, practice telling yourself the money is better spent elsewhere.
  2. Start to separate “errands” and “shopping”
  3. Try to avoid buying a different version or brand of something you already have.
  4. Go for quality over quantity. For instance, wardrobe. Some people have a lot of clothes of lesser quality to choose from, and some have a more limited wardrobe of higher quality that required more investment. Quality clothing lasts longer and maintains shape, and a more limited wardrobe would mean less “stuff.”
  5. Set aside money for something in the future. Whether this is plane tickets to a summer in Europe or Coachella tickets (yes, they are very expensive), saving for something specific will give you the motivation to limit spending and give yourself practice as a saver.

If you focus on your spending and question all of your purchases, you are already making strides towards a more minimalistic lifestyle.

The next thing to tackle is clutter.

I still have all of my yearbooks, birthday cards dated back to 2004, and Harry Potter Premiere tickets from my hometown’s cinema. The Goblet of Fire ticket was honestly a work of art. So, to be frank, I have to de-clutter. I have moved from the Seattle area to Portland, then to San Francisco, and back to Seattle. Moving is tiring and makes me want to become someone who can live off of two duffels. Unfortunately, this isn’t as realistic.

The more realistic option is to eliminate junk. My list of ideas:

  1. Get rid of any duplicates. You don’t need two toasters unless you have the habit of destroying kitchen appliances.
  2. Have a clutter-free zone in your apartment or house that you can always rely on. When I live with my family, I always have a desk area that I keep perfectly tidy and de-cluttered. I use this space to write these posts!
  3. Practice traveling lightly. You don’t need three lotions with different scents for different moods. A particular skill I have yet to master is putting together more outfits than just stuffing options in until the bag explodes.
  4. In general, making a list of reasons why you simplify your lifestyle could prove as solid motivation to actually make it happen.
  5. Start small. If you’re not ready to start with your closet, you can start with a drawer or a small space. It’s more about making the effort to start and the task itself, rather than what you decide to start with.

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Minimalism is countercultural. In a society that feeds into advertisements and consistent marketing strategies, people often pride themselves in what possessions they obtain. Let’s go back to the idea that a de-cluttered surrounding makes a de-cluttered mind. Clutter induces distractions and often stress. Having so many possessions that you somewhat like as opposed to having less but just things you love, it could be clear which one is more appealing. Will you make the distinction?

I’m not saying that everyone is the Gollum character from Lord of the Rings, desperately holding onto our flat screen televisions and various end tables, but we could all do better for ourselves.

Placing a higher value on what we have in terms of possessions brings more internal satisfaction. Think of it in reference to your life or your career. You want a quality life with a job you value and are passionate about. Why not hold everything to a higher standard, down to the miscellaneous cabinet?

As Nido Qubein once said : “change brings opportunity.”

Thanks for reading and happy organizing! xx

-Kelly

 

Reasoning to Ditch the Weight Scale

Hi everyone,

I’ve been very into posting about mental health topics and self-esteem lately due to the volume of literature I’ve been consumed in! I do believe that a healthy state of mind brings better  productivity and overall happiness.

Self-esteem is often connected to weight. Weight is often measured through the scale. Today I am going to share why I never look at the scale to determine my progress to meet my body goals.

Every year we go to the doctor’s office for a check-up (or maybe more often), and they often weigh patients. This makes sense completely, and this is the only time I step on the scale throughout the entire year. Why? Because it’s known to be an obsessive tool to measure your contentment with your body.

When I used to step on the scale in the gym or following my sister and mother I would always be surprised with my weight. I always fluctuated, and I often weighed more than I thought I would. I am an athlete, and muscle weighs heavier, but in a world of scrutinizing behavior and tragic self-loathing in terms of weight loss, even I had brief negative thoughts.

Muscle composition is healthy, and height also plays a major role in weight. I stand tall at about 5 foot eleven inches. Coupled with muscle from weight training, I have technically gained weight. Despite the number that reads off the piece of metal, I love my body more than ever. If that sounds off, you need to step off the scale and stop using it to determine your body image happiness.

I go off the mirror and how I look and feel to determine my happiness with my fitness results. After four years of being monitored with weight training and occasional nutrition plans I never felt completely satisfied throughout my college career. Now that I have complete control, I just use visuals.

Using the number on a scale is basically comparing yourself to others. I’m an athletic girl who is fit skinny, not fashion skinny or rail thin. I do freelance modeling in clothes that I feel comfortable in. I follow my own style and I practice a well-balanced fitness routine to cater to my whole body and mind.

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The scale is a negative thought that rests in your mind. You may never reach the goal you want from a number because your body proportions don’t match. You will soon focus on the number and possibly alter your lifestyle and diet, and become more and more unhappy. If you do reach the number, you may continue lowering it as your negative obsession spirals out of control.

Don’t let a machine run your life. A scale is an object. There are countless times I have been in a  locker room where there is a line to step on the scale, and I can practically feel the sense of hope and anxiety of people in that line as they await their number.

When is the last time you felt great about your body? Was it on a run outside, or a particular outfit you put on and loved? These small details and activities matter, and matter more than a number.

If you want the facts about scales:

  • They will be slightly different in reads, making the number inconsistent
  • They are very sensitive to clothes, accessories, shoes, etc
  • It matters what type of surface they stand on
  • They don’t give you any distinction of fat versus muscle composition

Does the above sound appealing?

Labeling yourself to a narrow vision of beauty by using a scale is just selling yourself short. You will not be the same as the person behind you with different proportions and varying genetic gifts from mom and dad.

I see body image and weight management this way: I workout and find ways to enhance my natural features as opposed to losing overall weight. Work with what you have and you might be pleasantly surprised with the result. Focus on what is positive and what you do like about your body, not what you wish you would change if you could.

Focus on how you feel and what your body visually looks like instead of trying to achieve a label or number. Using the scale to achieve the “perfect body” is so opinion based. What is even the perfect body? This is simply a comparison you would be happier without.

Consistent obsessions with weight scales has caused:

  • Development of eating disorders
  • Depression
  • Poor body image issues
  • Obsession of diet and calorie counting
  • Blindness to real results due to the number

There are ways to boost your self-image while going through your progress to the body you want. Wear a wardrobe that you feel confident in, eat to fuel your body and do not limit your food intake to reach an unhealthy goal. Eat regularly, and if you need to make changes in your current diet start with one or two foods to gradually eliminate and go from there. It’s all progression, not an immediate result.

Weight does not determine beauty.

The scale does not aid you in a healthy lifestyle. It should not run your life, nor should it bring you your primary validation to achieve your personal goals. If it helps more, have tunnel vision at the gym and focus on you, don’t focus on others around you that are at different stages and obtain varying physique.

I hope this message found you all well, and you will put yourself first before a self-deprecating path of weight measurement. Embrace what you have to offer, and love your body. Thanks for reading! ❤

-Kelly

 

 

Pet Ownership for Health

Hi everyone,

For all of the animal lovers, your pet addictions may be really benefitting your long-term health! Regardless of this association, pets are too cute to pass up anyway.

The feature image above is my cat Mowgli. He’s a very independent animal but has so much character. I adopted him when he was under a year old and he was found in an abandoned barn with his sister and mother. In other words, he was feral. It took quite a bit of effort to acclimate him to living with people and having him trust me. ❤

I recently read the newest addition of Shape Magazine and was so surprised that pet ownership saves 11.8 billion dollars in healthcare spending in the U.S. For example, people who own dogs and walk them on a regular basis are less likely to be obese than those who dot not own pets.

If you don’t own pets and have solid reasoning for not taking the plunge, such as finances or travel habits, you can always borrow a friend’s or volunteer!

Overall, there are proven physical, mental, and emotional benefits of owning pets. The CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) exclaims that owning a pet can lower your:

  • Blood pressure
  • Cholesterol levels
  • Triglyceride levels
  • Feelings of loneliness

In addition, pet ownership increases your outdoor activities and exercise in order to care of your pet. Personally, I often bring my sister’s dog on runs with me and he actually pushes me to run in larger strides!

Owning a pet also increases your socialization, thus improving your social skills overall. Have you ever noticed your dog being a consistent conversation piece, or another person’s big Siberian husky or little corgi being adored at the park? People are often calmed by the presence of animals, and even put in a happier mood.

The American Heart Association has stated a linkage between owning pets and a reduced rate of heart disease as well as an improvement of life expectancy.

Caring for pets has been known to also reduce depression, due to the emotional bond of humans and pets. Cats and dogs, for instance, can develop an understanding of tone of voice, body language, and gestures, as well as certain words. Humans gain a sense of loyalty and comfort to have this presence in their routines. The simple act of touch that your pet brings is the overall therapeutic effect that makes pet ownership a lifestyle health solution.

Playing with a dog or cat can increase levels of dopamine and serotonin, which cause you to relax. It has been a recent discovery that bringing puppies to college campuses during exam week drastically changes the study behaviors and emotional state of students, giving them a mental release from studying.

It is known that isolation and loneliness trigger depression, and a pet brings companionship to counteract that. Caring for an animal makes you feel needed or wanted, which takes the focus off of your own problems and placing more priority onto your pet.

Exercising and feeding a pet can bring great structure and routine to a day. Routines make people more productive and motivated to get out into the world and be able to manage their time effectively. Taking care of an animal is a responsibility that engages you into a consistent schedule, to fulfill the pet’s needs and your own.

It is also important to recognize the health benefits and positive development of pet ownership for age groups specifically. When examining the elderly population and children, these benefits become very evident.

The elderly population:

As people age, owning a pet can be very helpful in finding meaning and joy in everyday things. As people get older they adjust to new lifestyles, often taking out previous activities that used to take up significant amounts of time. Animal care can bring a boost in morale, optimism, and even a sense of self-worth to the elderly. There is also a major sense of fulfillment that older people gain from adopting a pet from a shelter and providing them with a safe and loving home, given they could have been euthanized.

Owning a pet can maintain a social network, and the elderly population often feels disconnected as they age and possibly move and live away from friends and family.

The elderly also deal with loss, especially from spouses. My grandmother adopted a dog after her husband passed away and it brought her so much comfort and joy to have him every day. She was also diagnosed with Alzheimer’s which brought on a lot of stress and anxiety, and this was significantly reduced from her bond with her dog.

Children:

Children that grow up with animals actually develop less asthma and allergies due to the close proximity. Children also learn to be compassionate as they play with animals, and practicing what it means to show empathy.

The love and loyalty of animals gives children a sense of security they can rely on in their early years of development. In addition, children often feel a sense of importance from having a family pet, and feel the responsibility of returning the care their pet gives them. This leads to a better self-image, which is crucial for a child to grow up developing healthy relationships with more confidence.

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Despite all of this information, of course there is time and dedication that goes into having a pet. One should be sure they can provide the love and affection a pet needs prior to making the decision, however, the decision will definitely bring a lot of positivity to one’s life with the right attitude.

I hope this pet-friendly article was insightful as to why your pet is benefitting your life! Have a great week and thanks for reading. xx

-Kelly

 

 

 

Mental Health and Creative Expression

Hi everyone,

I wanted to emphasize today the benefit of expression, in whichever form of expression you favor. Everyone has heard the phrase “actions speak louder than words.” There is another piece of this to note: there can be a lot of power behind ways we communicate or present ourselves simply through our creative outlets.

Another way I think to describe this is abstract art. One can go to an art gallery and be staring at a piece without a title. There is no concept to ponder when staring at the art piece to find out what it means, what it stands for. There are no words to assist the viewer in telling what the artist was thinking when they created the piece. This situation leaves room for creative expression, and things in life that are abstract can be a real gift in the sense that they challenge a person to go deeper. Additionally, that artist wanted to tell a story or share a visual without the addition of words; they wanted to express themselves completely without words.

What is your creative outlet? When you’re finishing a pile of paperwork or cramming for an exam, what would you rather be doing? If you had that free time to clear your mind, how would you accomplish this?

Here are some ways people often experience creative expression:

  • Photography
  • Graphic arts (drawing, painting, sculpture)
  • Music
  • Movement/Dance
  • Writing (novels, poetry, short stories, blog posts)
  • Sports
  • Theatre

Everyone has their favorites; the mode that takes them into a zone that narrows their vision of focus to optimal levels of expression. This is a beautiful thing.

The actual benefits of creative expression?

  1. Happiness. I put this first because we all strive to be happy, however, the task is often much easier to daydream about rather than act on. Expressing ourselves makes us more genuinely happy with ourselves and with our lives. Expression can also increase our personality and behavioral development.
  2. A form of release. Expression allows us to release stress and anxiety, and even take us out of reality and into a more positive mindset and vision. In other words, we take our foot off the gas pedal. Even a couple minutes will slow us down and bring us a sense of calm.
  3. Your chosen forms of expression can be contagious. Those around you may find themselves inspired or heavily influenced by your expression. Whether it is your artwork that is being viewed in the gallery or your photo that pops up on the explore feed, you can make another person want to discover their own creativity.
  4. Connecting with others. Through your creativity you can connect with others on a more personal level, beyond common dialogue. People that share interests in creative expression can learn from one another or even enjoy doing it together.

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A study done in New Zealand revealed that expressive writing has ways of healing. Another prestigious journal, Advances of Psychiatric Treatment, stated that this form of writing can improve one’s mood, reduce depression, and lower blood pressure.

Literature is a language that authors have expressed themselves through their personal biographies, short stories, poetry, or even novels on topics of love and loss. Tragedy combined with literature can give the mind that sense of release, by channeling the events into ways to learn and reflect on them, and maybe even turn them into something beautiful.

The American Journal of Public Health presented a review in 2010 that targeted the association between art and health. More than 100 studies were done to explore this association; many patients studied included those with cancer or other chronic illnesses. The engagement with music was found to decrease anxiety in these patients, and improve a more positive emotional balance.

I love classical music in certain settings. I had much more anxiety in high school as opposed to college before exams, and I would actually play Frank Sinatra in the background to calm my nerves and get me to focus. The softness of the tune became a routine for me.

Cancer patients have been benefitted by visual arts, such as pottery and painting. These practices help them to focus on positive experiences and maintain their sense of social identity. Various studies have also shown that visual arts tend to lead to shorter stays in hospitals and less reliance on pain medication.

If you are surprised with the above content, do not feel at fault. Our society does not often advertise the benefits of art and expression for our mental health. I just urge you to experiment and see if anything (if not all) interests you, because it could mean long-term health and less emphasis on things like pills. In no way am I disregarding modern medicine, just don’t forget the natural medicine that is all around you.

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Reading in the park is one of my favorites (all photography on the blog is my own)

Creative expression I practice:

Poetry 

Photography

Drawing & Ceramics

Blogging

Yes, I do enjoy all four of those categories. I don’t limit myself to one, and they all bring me happiness. Blogging is the newest addition, one that I am so happy I started.

Poetry: 

Poetry is a condensed way of writing and can be so incredibly raw. You can be abstract or specific, playful or serious. Poetry is known as the language of love, but not always between people. You can write about the love you have for a place, a concept, or a feeling you have yet to feel but think about it in your most idealistic dreams.

I’ve written poetry about the hardest experiences in my life where I felt most betrayed and vulnerable, and I read these poems still to reflect. Sometimes I smile that I’ve grown so much since then, and sometimes they make me cry. And that’s okay. This is a healthy release.

Photography:

This is a somewhat new hobby and expression for me. I’m so excited to join millions of people that love to adjust the lenses of cameras and find the perfect (or imperfect) shot. It’s a whole new perspective, seeing things behind an object like that. I recently invested into a legitimate DSLR camera for myself; a very much desired graduation present.

I love looking at pictures of landscapes and art, and the little things.

Drawing and Ceramics:

Both visual arts, I love both of these forms of expression. Sketching can be done everywhere, you just need the notepad and pencil. Sketching takes a while to do, so it forces you to stay put and enjoy the present moment of your desired image. Ceramics is working with your hands; a very therapeutic activity. I’ve taken three years of it now and I would highly recommend it as a course. You can also do this type of work in studios if you are no longer in school. Starting from scratch up until the final product is an amazing process.

Blogging:

Blogging is the newest expression for me. I’ve always wanted to start a blog, however, in college I didn’t believe I could dedicate the time and energy in my schedule to plan thoughtful posts. The words are flowing out of me now, and I hope you enjoy them and find them insightful!

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Remember that those around you don’t necessarily need to see your forms of expression. The main point is that you are internally satisfied. It’s not about followers or likes in a world of increasing social media, it’s much more organic than that when examined at the source. You don’t need validation for your expression. Do it because you love it, and if others love it too, that’s just an added bonus.

Some of the most talented and original people I have met are so engrossed in their forms of expression. They have made them their everyday, their professions, their passions. Some have chosen to forgo college education all together because they trusted their expression to lead them a different route. Everyone is different, and all forms of expression should be valued.

I just got lost in this blog post and my coffee got cold. I hope you find your own way to get lost. Thanks for reading. xx

-Kelly ❤

 

 

 

 

Health Impacts of Undeserved Authority

Hi everyone,

Like it or not, it’s my comedy post for the week (I hope you actually like it). I’m gonna turn a somewhat unfortunate ongoing situation into an inside joke now made public.

Have you ever felt unimpressed with authority? I’m not talking about local law enforcement, I’m talking about those individuals in your everyday life that have some sort of ability to have authority over you, and you don’t really like it.

Whether you feel used, disrespected, or unappreciated, this is a welcome sign to how to cope and make the situation comical. People that have a management position that really shouldn’t often have their own insecurities and they tend to reveal them in their work. I had to deal with these people every day in my college career in athletics.

Corrupt management in any way can harm the mental health of a worker in an organization or a player in a program. It’s a hard situation  where it seems like there is no winning (ironic if you’re a college competitor).

I am absolutely not saying college athletics is something I regret; quite the opposite. But even though I was playing the sport I love, I still had to put up with the people that secured my feelings of being unimpressed by authority. I’m keeping this super anonymous, because it’s always good to have a little bit of imagination…

I worked so hard for four years, at two different universities for tennis. I loved the game, and this very poor authority kept creeping into my daily thoughts unless I found this comedic edge. I would say I successfully found it during junior year, where I would actually laugh to myself and it made me feel so much better.

Just because someone is above you on the job ladder or social agenda, or any system you’re a part of, does NOT mean they necessarily have earned that place. They also have not earned the right to practice poor management. They have not earned the right to interfere with your daily tasks, goals, or emotional mindset.

So much of everything is about politics, and everyone can’t stand politicians, right? Right.

Laugh at them. Maybe not outwardly laugh, because you might not want to deal with confrontation, but make these people small in your head. They are a stepping stone to your life, and when you’re gone, they will still be there trying to sweep away their failed attempts at ‘management’ and ‘leadership.’

People are not pawns, they are not pieces to maneuver or micromanage, and it’s wrong. So keep thinking it is, because you’re right. Don’t shrink into the habit of not having a voice. You might not speak up and never know you’re a bada**, or even a really good public speaker. Or both.

Not all authority have the right to obtain that authority. Plain and simple. Managers, leaders, coaches, etc. If you aren’t a leader, why is it on your name tag or LinkedIn profile? Because you shouldn’t be, and those you lead lose respect for you. That’s how it works.

You can still listen and cooperate without respect. 

I completely lost respect for these individuals in those four years, and I’m very fortunate to have tougher skin to be able to stand up for myself. You should too. Because people that push boundaries in authority do so because:

A) They shouldn’t be a leader

B) They don’t know what they’re doing

C) They can’t see anyone saying anything about it

I’m not saying to walk around the place like you’re the #1, but hold yourself up without using others as crutches to hold your ground. Be humble but strong in your opinions and values, and use your voice if something isn’t right.

I was on a scholarship, paid to do a job, which was my athletic commitment to the university. I loved being a contributor and an athlete. I didn’t love the politics associated with it. I didn’t love when people of authority didn’t act morally or correctly when they had a place of power, so I stood against that power. And to this day I am proud of myself for that, and my family consistently tells me that they’re proud of me too.

Anticipate to be alone while standing your ground. Don’t expect people to back you up, but when they do, those are the people to keep. It takes one person to reject an amateur leader. If the system doesn’t change there’s nothing else you can do about that, but you can reject it when you are experiencing it.

I understand that situations differ in what you can and cannot say, and not everyone is a part of the no filter club (it’s a good club though if you’re interested). I’m simply saying that if you are investing time and money into something where you are working so hard, you deserve to question bad authority.

This world is full of judgers and perceivers. Both types can be great people, but filling into the judging position makes you embrace healthy resistance to an unjust power.

Standing out when everyone else is following the same patterns is not a negative thing. Be like this duck:

Fit In

The duck stands out, right? Your eyes go directly to it.

Consider your health and wellbeing of the highest value. You are your own person and be proud of your strength. Thanks for reading! xx

-Kelly ❤

 

 

 

Body Image Positivity

Hi everyone,

It’s summer time in the states and everyone is seen with way less layers. The “bikini body ready” concept floats around social media as well as sped up routines in the gym. It is great to have goals to improve your body, however, obsessing and comparing is not going to get you to a place of self contentment.

While we are on the topic of social media, these are the various ways people are comparing themselves to others every day:

  • Magazine spreads and covers of celebrities and even professional athletes
  • Social media platforms including Facebook and Instagram
  •  Television
  • Online sources (articles, blog pages, etc)

What needs to be understood: It’s not a competition.

Additionally, we only see what those magazines and pictures want us to see. We don’t see the behind the scenes, or know for sure what routines people really do to obtain those bodies.

Of course, professional athletes work extremely  hard to obtain their physical endurance and muscle composition. But that’s just it: they spend practically all of their time training. Comparing yourself to an elite athlete is not fair due to the fact that your lifestyles are completely different. If you are inspired by them, that is great. Comparing yourself to their body structures isn’t.

As for celebrities: A very common way of thinking of fans is to fantasize about having the life and body of their favorite celebrity. Those celebrities are placed on magazine covers to represent how to prevent aging and how to have the “best body of your life.” The issue here is everyone’s body type is different. They don’t train the same way or build the same muscle in the same places, and have varying metabolisms.

Also, photoshop is a real thing. Back in 2011, for example, Jennifer Lawrence was majorly photoshopped on the cover of Flare Magazine, and this caused a flare in her temper. Jennifer was completely right to question the changes made to her body. These included an overall slimmed figure, more pronounced collarbones, and the sinking of her cheekbones to make her less full. Why? Because the fashion industry sets unrealistic standards.

Perhaps the easiest industry to penetrate for flaws is the modeling industry. It’s harsh and unrealistic, and so many men and women practice unhealthy behavior to obtain the standards to get work in this industry. Many models, especially females, are well below a healthy BMI (body mass index). Being underweight for extended periods of time is harmful in a lot of ways, and prohibits one from functioning properly. Just for a reference, below is a BMI table obtained from the CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention).

BMI Weight Status
Below 18.5 Underweight
18.5 – 24.9 Normal or Healthy Weight
25.0 – 29.9 Overweight
30.0 and Above Obese

The bright side of a better future:

French Legislature proposed a bill last year regarding BMI of models. French agencies that promote models under the BMI of 18 could receive major jail time and a fine (specifically up to 6 months and a fine of 75,000 euros). Models there are now required to have a medical certificate in order to sign with an agency. This effort in France should be considered an amazing opportunity to stop the idealization of dangerously thin body types and curb eating disorders such as anorexia.

Not all models are unhealthy and not all agencies promote overly thin clients, however, it is a very present issue and readers receive a false image of beauty and healthy weight.

Victoria’s Secret, another example,  is a very well known and beloved company in the States for its display of beautiful women often in very little clothing. There seems to be a universal panic attack of young girls all over the country when the VS annual fashion show rolls around. Again: these women have a very strict diet that they are constantly managed to follow, and their magazine photos are partially photoshopped.

On average, it is said to take approximately 6 hours to photoshop one model. Every detail is observed and examined for flaws. Have you ever seen the accidental photoshop errors in this company? I happened to see them in a class throughout my public health studies, and I love to see professors incorporating these topics to better aid the false depiction of ‘perfection.’

Breaking it down:

  1. Changing the figure of a person on a major magazine cover gives a completely false visual of body image and weight to any reader.
  2. As these unrealistic standards rise, eating disorders, body image issues, and overall self esteem of the youth population especially will continue to worsen.
  3. What is real and what is fake will be harder to differentiate.
  4. Those who do not feel they meet these standards see less of themselves, just due to comparisons.

There is a theory that has accurately described this comparison behavior. It’s called the Social Comparison Theory, originally described by psychologist Leon Festinger in 1954. Essentially, we as individuals tend to measure our self worth by how we measure up to others. This is directly associated to the issue of poor body image, because of the incessant need to self-evaluate.

How self-evaluation can be healthy:

  • We set higher goals to obtain
  • We work for higher standards
  • We analyze what we could be doing better and aim to improve

How self-evaluation can be unhealthy:

  • We degrade ourselves in our current state
  • We leave little to no room for error or mistakes
  • Instead of setting goals we become stagnant and negative

According to the Social Comparison Theory, we are actively comparing ourselves primarily through social interaction and media consumption. There has been an establishment of sociocultural standards of beauty, portraying idealistic bodies that immediately cause readers to then want to become more like those idealized individuals.

It is completely unattainable to have the same body as another person. This is due to genetics. A naturally curvy girl cannot become a girl without curves. A girl cannot lengthen her body to make her legs and torso longer like the girl she sees in photos. And these issues occur in men and boys as well. Men around the country feel the same burden of feeling scrutinized for not looking like their aspired male athletes and professionals in the tabloids.

We are all built differently. Some things we cannot alter, and as a human race that has so much diversity, one would think to find that fact beautiful. If we all looked the same, think of how incredibly boring we would be!

A way to catch yourself in the trap of social comparison is to ask yourself what you are gaining from doing it. Comparing yourself to others, whether tearing yourself down or putting yourself even higher than others in terms of body image, is not going to bring you real contentment.

I took a women and sexuality course my junior year in college that had a very interesting week dedicated to body image. The professor asked every student in the room to say what they would change about their body. As she went around the room we all begrudgingly answered, feeling exposed to what she might say. She said we were all wrong, because we’re all perfect the way we are. Not perfect in the sense of something unrealistic, but more perfectly imperfect.

**Side note: I have really long feet, something I loathed for years as I honestly could not find shoes that fit me in the clearance section (where I often go). I was definitely self-conscious as my feet continued to lengthen as I got taller. The truth of the matter is I’m 5’11, so if I had smaller feet I would probably fall over due to laws of gravity. It took me years to just get over it, and now I joke with people and say I have built in flippers when I go swimming (no joke I didn’t buy flippers while snorkeling in Hawaii). I make jokes of it because I can’t change the size of my feet.**

Exercise and eat healthy because you want to feel better for yourself. Don’t set goals based on another’s person’s unattainable genetic makeup. Work and focus on your body structure and improve what is in your control, and in a healthy way.

The truth is: As you obsess over what you would change in your body, another person may be looking at you and wishing they had your proportions. And it’s all harmful to everyone’s health and interferes with what really matters: pretty much everything else.

I personally workout and eat right to feel content, and actively tell myself that’s all that matters. I don’t care what my friends look like in comparison to me. I don’t lift myself up by tearing them down. I don’t question my desire to gain muscle while in a society that often favors the opposite.

Do what makes you feel good about your body, and everything is a process. The above information is all to create a more black and white scenario of what is real and what is fake. What’s real is you. Be your best self, and do it for you. Thanks for reading! xx

-Kelly ❤

Healthy Outlets for Stress and Anxiety

Hey everyone,

Given it was just the Fourth of July (if you are in America), stress and anxiety don’t seem to be current worries. However, when you get back into your work or school routine and multi-tasking on a regular basis, you may need to check up on the ways to re-set yourself.

I use the term re-set because many of us seem to run at 100 mph, at maximum efficiency to maintain our productivity.

I have always been known by my peers to be a sort of blur on campus, given my university schedule starting at 5 or 6 am every morning. Being a college-athlete had amazing pros, but the cons were definitely present as well.  My typical college day would be as follows:

  • 5 or 6 am weights
  • 2 hour practice directly afterward (until 9 or 10 am)
  • Full day of classes until late afternoon (maybe 3 or 4 pm or so)

After my classes I had a window of time to do my homework, any errands, laundry, cooking, and prepping for the next day.

I am happy to report this is no longer my everyday routine due to the fact that I’m graduated. However, if you find yourself stressed and overwhelmed, I understand that feeling for it somewhat encompassed me for four years straight.

Checklist for reducing stress and anxiety:

  1. Organize yourself. Time management is essential to stay stable in a busy routine. Dry erase boards are great to write weekly due dates and events, I swear by these! Planners are also great and portable. You can keep one in your school or work bag and even used color coding for various events. Color coding makes everything more obvious when you’re skimming through your obligations.
  2. Think ahead, always. If you’re a very busy person, preparing for the next day(s) will only benefit you to avoid forgetting details or scrambling at the last minute. Whether this is putting fresh outfits in the car or meal prepping, taking the time to do these tasks ahead of time will make you feel less rushed.
  3. Don’t shut out friends and family when stressed. Chances are many of your school friends are feeling just as stressed, just maybe not for identical same reasons. It is helpful to be able to release your stresses to a good friend or family member and talk through what is making you feel overwhelmed. The process of releasing bad energy is not necessarily the content, it is actually just the releasing part. Just talking through things helps you feel more centered, which is why we sometimes come to realizations ourselves in a conversation, when the other person technically didn’t help us get there.
  4. Incorporate things that make you happy throughout a long day. If you have break times, bring headphones to listen to music or communicate with someone to take your mind somewhere else for a few minutes. I often drew something on my hand in the same spot whenever I was feeling super down and out of energy, and I would look down at it and trace it with my fingertips to relax me. Whatever these small things are, they can work wonders to keep you focused in a healthy way.
  5. Set aside time to do some activity that relaxes you. This is so important. Just like when you’re on a hike and you know the view or lookout at the end will be insane, you need something to look forward to in a day of obligation. Taking a bath with candles and a book, sketching, writing, whatever creative outlet or activity that pulls you away from obligation. Make this time completely for you, and maybe even turn your phone off if it is blowing up. Some other ideas: yoga, pilates, or meditation. These are slow-moving activities that bring you a lot of self-awareness and care for your body. Below is my provided gear for a yoga and core class at my gym, and a new book on scientific writing that I’m super intrigued by :).

Just like the list above, if you find yourself to be very into making lists, make sure they are prioritized in need of importance. For instance, if your laundry can wait another day it might be better to do your homework or work and get to bed at a more reasonable hour. Often times, errands can be completed on weekends (which sounds awful), but if you’re busy during the week you will be pleasantly surprised how many hours there are in a day when the weekend rolls around.

A very scheduled routine can be your best friend. Routines make you develop a rhythm that you can stick to. I’m not saying you can’t have two cups of coffee in the morning instead of one because I would be a hypocrite, but the overall message is to establish a beneficial relationship with the clock.

Forms of expression: Above I mentioned sketching and reading, but art in general really can increase a relaxing state of mind. I love to look at art pieces because they bring me inspiration, and distract me from reality. Below is my favorite piece of art to date; a graffiti piece on the Bondi Beach boardwalk:

SYD art

“I was once of the world, yet I am not of this world.”

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I stress organization skills in this piece because organization gives us a sense of control. When we feel in control we find motivation a much easier thing to obtain.

Letting stress literally take over your body isn’t healthy. Mismanaged stress causes an imbalance of emotion and a likely result of an energy deficit. This can be the outcome if you do not embrace what is causing you stress. There is another alternative.

To briefly go all scientific on you, stress isn’t all bad. A stress response is created in the brain to tell us that that we need more energy than our current capacity. This evokes a somewhat panicked reaction, however, it can also act as a stimulus for positive change.

The possible benefits of stress:

  • Improvement of memory: Have you ever noticed a sudden clarity of a decision while under stress, or a major boost of recall to answers during an important exam? Stress responses can actually sharpen your memory and help you focus. This is short-term. Extended, long term stress can make your memory foggy. These are totally different.
  • Turning stress into motivation: Think of this as transforming stress into positive energy. This also includes awareness. You know the stress is there, so change it to be positive. Stress as motivation can help you make hard and fast decisions, and be more productive under pressure. This in turn boosts your confidence and mental toughness, two very sought after qualities for any kind of profession. Again, this is a healthy dose of stress.
  • Stress as excitement: We experience stress in exciting situations as well, it is not just a survival tool. When we finally talk to a person we like (for the romantics), or when we conquer a major fear, we feel some sort of stress. This stress can feel like the pre-stage of adrenaline that makes our lives more interesting. Achieving this stress can bring us fulfillment and happiness.

Long-term stress: Stitch is adorable but this is not a good situation.

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From above, there are positive things to draw from short burst of stress. Long-term stress is not healthy exposure, so practicing how to harness and transform it into a positive outcome is key. Take the time to find what works for you, and incorporate these methods  into your everyday routine. I hope this provided insight to the background of stress and how to find healthy outlets. Thanks for reading! xx

-Kelly ❤

 

Healing Skin from the Inside Out

Hi everyone,

I wanted to share my research as well as personal experience on the correlations of skin issues with diet and lifestyle choices. Of course there is a plethora of information on the internet on this subject, so I’ve taken to the wisdom within book pages. I love to sit down and read a book cover to cover (weirdly I have done that in one sitting), rather than always finding solutions on the internet.

I also just got a public library membership, with an official card, so I rented 7 books of various topics to cater to my post-graduation relaxation :). I’ll mention quite a bit of information that I found to be insightful to the association of skin with these factors, so bear with me as I pull it all together at the end.

A summary of what needs to be considered for the process of healthier skin:

  • Sleep quality (and even better, regulation of sleep schedule).

Pictured below is Copper, who sleeps in more than me, and he’s modeling beauty sleep. He gets a lot of compliments at the dog park, and his sleep addiction probably helps that.

sleepy cop

  • Establish any skin allergies or sensitivity through patch tests
  • Eliminate any products that cause any reaction or discomfort
  • Wear sunscreen
  • Drink water! Try to go for 8 glasses a day (tea also helps if this is difficult, it is for me as well)
  • A dedicated balanced diet (I aim for 80% clean)
  • Incorporation of exercise to relieve stress and sweat out toxins
  • A simplified skincare routine free of strange “skin-clearing” ingredients
    • I will discuss skincare in more detail in a future post
  • General relaxation (this is customized)
    • Relaxation can be yoga, meditation, reading, etc
    • Focus on stress-reducing activities
  • Most importantly: Look at your skin as a reflection of what you put into your body on a regular basis. Our skin is our largest organ, so take care of it!

This is emphasized by nutritionists everywhere: You cannot have healthy, radiant skin if your diet heavily consists of processed foods, and foods that contain high amounts of trans and saturated fat, as well as sugar. The more fruits and vegetables and nourishing foods you add into your diet to replace the bad forms of fat and sugar, the better your skin will look.

There has also been a constant debate between dairy and pores/acne, and the consensus is that there is an association. A good way to tell is to either keep a food diary or take a mental note of how your skin looks after regular dairy consumption. I tend to avoid dairy regardless because I don’t like lactose.

My dairy fix: (customize this to what works for you!)

  • The option to substitute regular milk for soy or almond milk
    • My exception is a splash of half & half in my morning coffee (compromise!)
  • Quantity control
    • At a restaurant, an olive oil-based spaghetti with parmesan just on top would be a better choice than a three-cheese macaroni. This way you would have cheese, but not over-do it.
  • I mix up my breakfasts, so I will only have eggs maybe twice a week
    • No cheese, my favorite is actually with dijon mustard and garlic powder (might sound weird, but if you’re curious I can add it in a future post recipe)
  • Sorry about the bad news, but pizza has a lot of cheese…
    • Make the pizza yourself. You can even get thin flatbread to reduce the bread intake and make your own sauce base, as well as control the amount of cheese.
  • As for ice cream, in general I wouldn’t make it a habit due to the sugar spike and dairy overload. I hardly ever have it. Whenever I do have ice cream I get it in a shop in a cone, because cones are everything.
    • My substitution: I LOVE applesauce. Unsweetened with cinnamon on top. I actually consider this a dessert because I love it so much but this probably isn’t a thing.
  • Yogurt: Another food I limit in consumption. There is also a lot of sugar in yogurts now, so I would recommend getting it unsweetened and adding honey, nuts, or berries to it yourself. We all have time for that.

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The book I rented is called The Clear Skin Diet by Alan C.Logan and Valori Treloar. Given that these authors consist of a certified physician as well as a dermatologist, I found the book to be of high credibility. And it does not promote prescription medication as the #1 solution.

This book is mostly comprised about the knowledge behind skin issues such as acne and inflammation, and the many reasons why these problems arise. The book also covers all of the methods and medication dermatologists recommend much more often than advice on a healthier lifestyle and diet. The main thing to take from this: don’t try to take a pill for everything.

In addition, The Clear Skin Diet goes over ways to improve your sleep, develop a relaxation routine, and focus on your diet and exercise into your daily routine. The combination of these things are full-proof for better looking skin. The issue is sometimes the process takes longer to show results as opposed to a harsh topical a doctor hands to you.

You cannot heal your skin from the outside in.

The Clear Skin Diet touches upon the Japanese diet to make a comparison to America. It’s probably a spoiler which country has better looking skin, right? Right. Japan for the win.

Some reasons why they are winning:

  1. Green tea consumption. Green tea contains phytochemicals that act as natural antioxidants for the skin. They have anti-inflammatory properties. In addition, this type of tea prohibits the production of bad bacteria. *Also: a note for coffee drinkers, green tea has 1/3 of the amount of caffeine than coffee. If you’ve already had your morning jolt and need more energy, green tea would be a great choice. Just don’t drink it before you try to sleep and then blame insomnia (me).
  2.  Ginger- also an anti-inflammatory. This has been used traditionally in Asia for approximately 2,500 years. Incorporating ginger into your diet would be useful, and it also settles your stomach. I carry ginger chews called Gin-Gins (cutest name ever) with me on plane trips when I’m traveling a lot. It also makes sense why ginger ale is a common order on the plane by those who had too much fun the night before…
  3. Fish and seafood over other protein sources like red meat
  4. More fruit and vegetable intake. If you’re a visual person, aim to pick something of each color of the rainbow. If you’re making a stir-fry, get a yellow, green, and red pepper. If you’re making a fruit salad, choose fruits of all colors so the salad looks prettier and you can show everyone afterwards. The idea here is that different colored fruits and vegetables give you different nutrients and vitamins.

Pictured below is a standard dinner I make for myself. Brussel sprouts, teriyaki tofu, onions, and mushrooms. I only use olive oil as a base and I put in garlic and liquid aminos (which I love far more than soy sauce). I often pour this over wild rice or quinoa.

Veggies .jpg5. Less sugar. This is huge for skin, because sugar can increase hormones that stimulates sebum production, which leads to acne and skin issues.

6. Less animal fat, trans fats, vegetable oils

7.  More fiber, anti-oxidants, and omega-3 fatty acids

A key thing to remember is processed foods spike your insulin levels which can also lead to acne and inflammation.

Lastly, on the book note, the end incorporates healthy recipes for reference. When trying to make a change in diet, I recommend renting cook books or going online for ideas. It makes it easier to go to the grocery store with meals in mind.

General grocery shopping tip: Shop the perimeter of the store in majority. The processed foods packed with hidden sugar and bad fats are located in the middle aisles. Abort mission. I took a picture in the grocery store to prove I’m not a poser. It features my blue keds!

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On a serious note, it’s a huge self-esteem blow when your skin is not looking its best. I wanted this post to inspire those that need solutions to invest into more quality options as opposed to immediately rushing to the dermatologist.

If these above methods do not work and your skin condition is more severe, by all means take necessary measures. Do what work for you. However, at the end of the day, medications are created in a lab. Ingredients matter as well as side effects. Take care of yourself, and look after your long-term health of your skin in priority over the short-term.

I hope this post found you well and provided some useful tips. Skin research has always been a sort of side interest to me, and I wanted to bombard any potential readers with everything I’ve learned!

If you have any questions/comments, feel free to use the comment box below. I’m more than open to giving advice or expanding on any points made above.

Thanks for reading! xx

-Kelly

 

 

 

 

 

 

Health Benefits of Traveling

Welcome to my health and wellness blog!  As my first post, I wanted to share my favorite moments from my fall semester study abroad trip to Melbourne, Australia.

I was in Australia for five months at La Trobe University, including my week bus trip to New Zealand. Studying abroad is an amazing life lesson as well as an overall enriching experience.

Melbourne was a 50 minute tram or bus ride from La Trobe University. It’s known globally for its coffee and artistic scenes. Below is the downtown Melbourne waterfront, and the bridge is lined with locks from previous visitors (like the one in Paris!) ❤

Melbourne Night

Okay, so let’s break it down to why traveling benefits our health:

  • There has been a link between traveling and decreased risk of heart attacks and depression. It also stimulates your brain function.
  • Traveling alters our standards and customs of living. When we change our environments, our minds become more open to change itself, broadening our view of the world and what we can achieve in it.
  • Traveling means unpredictability. As we adapt to plans and itineraries being more flexible, we become more mentally flexible!
  • Empathy and our sense of awareness are benefitted as we expand our perspectives from our inner worlds and personal problems. We see and experience the suffering and cultures of others, and we become more empathetic.
  • While traveling in a different country, you are subjected to their food. Adding new nutrients from various foods your body isn’t used to is a health boost.
    • Featured below: My first cannoli in a Melbourne night market, excellent hipster humor outside a laid back pub with killer beer battered fries, and my personal favorite being the melbourne style cappuccino.
  • Traveling gives you so many opportunities to be active in different ways. Whether it is hiking to breathtaking views or simply walking around through the inner depths of the city, you’re moving your body.
  • Culture shock is a package deal when traveling somewhere new. This teaches us patience and actually enjoying the act of stepping out of the comfort zone. Speaking of comfort zones, potentially poisonous snakes and rocky cliffs would fall in this category, so sorry mom and dad, this happened….

    There were unstable cliffs on the Great Ocean Road, I kissed a fake snake because I felt like it and snakes were actually venomous so there was a sign to tell to foreigners that it wasn’t just a myth.

  • Friendships/relationships with people abroad: Last but definitely never least, building friendships and relationships will be cherished past these trips. Additionally, you will have places to stay when you’re passing through on future adventures. Perks of having international friends 😉

I have zero regrets from my traveling experiences. Well if I’m being honest, I could have done without being told my bags were over the weight limit traveling back to the states. Having my Australian friend ship me a bag was a little problematic, but mistakes often happen in airports, right?

Overall, traveling gives you the opportunity to gain new perspective. Gaining perspective helps approaching situations differently. It’s healthy to be able to be more open, more willing to try new things.

Another point is modesty. The world is massive, full of life. It’s full of issues, but also respect and beauty. Gustave Flaubert once said “travel makes one modest. You see what a tiny place you occupy in the world.”

Occupy this world with respect, openness, and willingness to let go of the control and embrace something you’ll never forget.

Thanks for reading and I’m excited to write and connect with you all! xx

-Kelly

Hydrating Through Winter With Moroccan Magic

Hi everyone,

I wanted to let you guys in on my new favorite hydrating lip balms by the brand Moroccan Magic. Moroccan Magic lip balms are USDA certified organic and cruelty free, checking two things off my list of desirable brand qualities.

They are super hydrating for your lips in the dry winter months. I have dry skin year round and while winter is magical time, it isn’t necessarily the easiest for beauty! I keep these in my purse or jacket pocket for work or class, and they give a moisturizing coat to my existing lip color. A tip: lip stains work really well with these balms, because they won’t smear the product.

They come in 5 scents, and the ones I’m featuring in this post is “Rose.” The others include:

♥ Lemon Thyme
♥ Coconut Almond
♥ Peppermint Eucalyptus
♥ Lavender Vanilla

Having argan oil be the main base ingredient for these balms is great, because argan oil is known worldwide for being highly conditioning, not to mention it has anti-aging properties.

I love the scents and these are perfect for keeping my lips resilient this season! You can pick them up at your local CVS, Bed Bath and Beyond, the Vitamin Shoppe or Whole Foods. I hope you love them as much as I do! Drop me a comment about your own review. Have a great week!

-Kelly

xx

Trader Joe’s Beauty Haul: Beauty for Less

Hi everyone,

As if Trader Joe’s isn’t already obsessed over enough, I’m adding yet another reason why the store is my go-to. The reason: beauty products. The prices are right and the ingredients are minimal, what’s not to love?

I hope you guys find this non-sponsored review useful!

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I want to start with a disclaimer: I’ve paid for quite a bit of expensive beauty and hair care products over the years, telling myself that the brand made the expense worth it. When I stopped seeing results, and asked myself if I wanted to repurchase, I had a change of heart. And a perspective on my bank account.

The truth: you don’t have to always break the bank to get good quality products that work for you. And cutting back on expenses is such a relief. It adds up fast; 3 high grade skincare products may equal the cost of a flight for your next adventure. If you can find quality products for less, you won’t be stressed with your beauty expenses. 

The first on the list is my personal favorite: the moisture boost serum. The miracle ingredient is hyaluronic acid. It does make your face a bit sticky at first, and you need to rub it in well before it fully absorbs, but it provides the best hydrating base for your favorite moisturizer.

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I stopped using serums for months because I didn’t get the appeal, and now it’s clear that I just wasn’t getting results. The TJ’s moisture boost serum has just five listed ingredients, which to me is a miracle for a serum to be effective. I get nervous at products with laundry lists of ingredients with unpronounceable origins. 

This moisture boost serum locks in moisture and creates a protective barrier, so your moisturizer is more effective at hydrating your skin. I honestly can’t justify looking at another serum when this one retails for $7.99.

The next product is the TJ’s coconut body butter. It’s formulated with coconut oil, Shea butter, and vitamin E. I first found this in the Palm Springs Trader Joe’s store, when I was getting some essentials for our week trip. Going from the Seattle pre-spring weather to the dry desert heat was a lot on my skin, and this body butter was so effective for deeper hydration before I went to bed!

It’s also not a surprise that coconut scented products are sought after (and amazing), so this product was an awesome find. Props to TJ’s advertising for putting it near the checkout lines.

I did look up the body butter for allergens, and it passed as a 91% allergen free product. It’s paraben free, soy free, and gluten free. It’s also free of common preservatives (which I really try to avoid) and serves as a topical antibiotic from the coconut oil. Sold yet?

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The third product is another coconut love of mine: the shea butter and coconut oil hair mask. Not only is the packaging enticing, but the price is also. This 5.1 ounce tube is only $3.99. Seriously, I couldn’t believe that. I’m super into shea butter and coconut oil for my face and body the last couples of months.

There’s also argan oil and vitamin E in the formula as well, and all of the ingredients make a product designed to control frizz and produce a silkier texture to your hair. My hair is 100% on the drier side, and this mask really makes my ends softer.

This hair mask is consistently in the staff favorites section of the store, which is actually super on par (hiiii new cold brew favorite). Anyways, this mask smells and feels amazing. Once a week in your hair for five minutes and you’ll see what I mean. And compared to other deep conditioning treatments that can be anywhere from $30-60, you don’t have much to lose if you try to mix in a mask for such a small price in comparison.

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Another disclaimer: this sunset shoot outside of Trader Joe’s was definitely one for the books (of awkwardness). But that’s the commitment for these products ya’ll, I wanted the full effect. Happy beauty bargaining!

For more content on my favorite finds, follow my Instagram @k_stateofmind .

I wish you all a productive and inspiring rest of the week.

xx

-Kelly

Saying No to Diet Culture

Hi Everyone,

This week I’m talking all about diet culture. What is diet culture? It’s essentially a society and mindset that is centered on weight and size (over your actual health). Is this healthy? No. Is it super common right now? Unfortunately yes.

Society has a gravitation towards “thin” bodies because it’s what we see most in media and on magazine covers. Whenever you see notifications in your email inbox or advertisements for the latest skinny tea or magical vitamin, chances are the words “weight loss” will be in there somewhere to reel you in. How to get a bikini body, how to drop the pounds… these headlines are so common and are associated with “getting healthy.” While there is a lot of progress happening to expand the definition of beauty and less emphasis on the “ideal” body that truly does not exist, so many people worldwide are still get discouraged from the effects of diet culture.

Diet culture essentially ignores science and body diversity. Body-types exist for a reason! Genetics play a major role in how your body responds to nutrition and fitness, as well as different types of fitness. Weight loss has become more marketable than promoting how to maintain authentic emotional and physical health, and positive relationships with food.

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Why do you need a positive relationship with food? Because you don’t want to spend your life seeing food as calories. In fact, I wouldn’t recommend calorie counting to anyone, unless istructed by a doctor for health reasons. Seeing food as solely negative or positive for weight loss is not only restricting, but it creates stress and anxiety if you “slip up.”

My motto for food: if you do indulge in something that is low in nutrients, has higher saturated fat than you would like to admit, or is full of empty calories, indulge in moderation. For instance, I probably haven’t had soda in a month, but I had a root beer today while I worked on my website and it was glorious (shoutout to Trader Joe’s for making a more natural formula). I had zero guilt.

While we’re on the topic of guilt, stop referring to food as “guilty pleasures.” Even if it’s a joke between you and your friends, it could be effecting your relationship with food at a deeper level than you think. Peep me eating a cupcake below for my brother’s birthday. A cupcake, yes. It was piña colada flavored. 

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Diet companies are advertising weight loss in the form of trends, making them more attractive by categorizing them by season or attempting to customize them to you by pulling at your emotional insecurities with body image. The tricky thing is, we’ve become so used to it as consumers that it seems normal. And people feel bad if their bodies don’t meet the margins.

To be clear, I don’t read the magazines or look at celebrities diets they swear by to maintain their figures. I listen to my own body. This is crucial. If one take-away from this post resonates, I would hope that would be it. Focus on what works for you, learn what your body likes and dislikes. I can guarantee that piggy-backing on what works for someone else will frustrate you anyway. If this sounds opposing from what companies and sponsored instagram advertisements have been trying to sell you… good. That’s music to my ears.

A little background on my weight (not weight loss) journey. I had a somewhat negative relationship with fitness up until 2 years ago, given how much cardio I felt I needed to do to be “fit” and skinny. I honestly had no business doing cardio on top of my collegiate tennis training, and I was over-exercising. Yes that happens! I didn’t want to do extra, I just felt that I was more attractive being a lot lighter in weight. No wonder it was hard for me to gain a bum! How much I have learned since then, let me tell you. And I am spending LESS time in the gym.

I’m not saying it’s easy to navigate all the types of fitness or the broad spectrum of healthy diets. I myself am now questioning if I need to make changes for my digestion and gut health, not for a trend or for the goal of weight loss. I just want to live my life feeling good internally, because that is more important to me now, as I’ve jumped through hurdles with my body image in the past.

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I sincerely hope this discussion of body image and diet culture either resonated, or has inspired you to look at nutrition and fitness in a more positive light!

Stay bold and confident xx

Check out my Instagram for my recipes, fitness tips, and mental health  at k_stateofmind.

<a href=”https://www.bloglovin.com/blog/18232251/?claim=c36ecczhdtd”>Follow my blog with Bloglovin</a>

-Kelly

 

BNP Paribas 2018: A Week in Palm Desert

Hi everyone,

It’s March already, how did that happen? I was waiting for this trip to the Indian Wells BNP Paribas tennis tournament for what seemed like minutes, the way the months are flying by. I’m currently already on the plane back from Seattle, sun-kissed and craving more vacation and adventure. Time is crazy!

So I did promise blog content and possibly a Palm Springs hike vlog, but there was no hike. A trip to California without the hike? Questionable, since I used to love hiking the rolling hills when I went to college in the Bay. But things don’t always go as planned, and we spent 6 full days watching elite tennis. And I’m not complaining!

PS 2

First off, the 5 takeaways from my week in the desert sun are as follows:

1.  I need to take more trips. I’m currently reading a book that is all about creating the life you want and to stop making excuses to do so, and I want to adventure more. This takes planning for larger trips, but I also aim to do smaller more last minute trips, whether it’s over the border to Canada or spending the night in Whidbey Island. The possibilities don’t need to include a plane. Although many of mine do!

2.   Sunscreen is a Seattleite’s (yep I used that word) best friend. If you’re spending up to 8 hours in the sun each day watching a sport, you need to reapply sunscreen. Most of the time, waterproof sunscreen only lasts up to 80 minutes. The math is very clear here. Protect your skin regardless of if you sunburn, or if you’re trying gather evidence to show your friends how you got two shades darker from white to off-white. Skin damage isn’t cute.

PS 3
The gardening aesthetic of the BNP Paribas Open is 10/10

3. Hydrate constantly. Carry a reusable water bottle with you, because physically carrying the bottle will remind you to fill it up. Buying water bottles is often a one-time commitment. Every time we passed by water fountains we would fill up our bottles, and we would also fill them in changeovers (tennis terms, ya know). Also, room temperature water absorbs quicker through your body, so you can pass on the water taken over by ice chunks.

4. Do NOT wear sandals to an all-day sporting event. Unless you own burkenstocks or some kind of sliders, chances are your feet will blister from any kind of friction. You’re walking a lot and it’s not worth cutting up your feet trying to be fashionable. And since when would athleisure not be fashionable?

5. Event food is expensive, so try to pack snacks. My recommendations would be Good RX bars (12 g of protein and limited ingredients), peanut butter and apples, trail mix, dried fruit, etc. Relying on the quickly made, almost fast food that events often provide could make you sick if you’re used to eating healthy. Although the tournament added a new booth with Mahi Mahi salads! YES…

PS 5

Those are pretty specific, let’s get on to the action. Even if you don’t watch tennis or tried to play once and thought it was a game only invented for perfectionists, you, might still enjoy some of these snapshots:

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Sam Querrey 
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Novak Djokovic 
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Milos Raonic 
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Caroline Wozniacki 
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Roger Federer 
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I got a selfie with Gilles Müller after his doubles win! I’m still stoked. 

A week can be a relatively short vacation, depending on how you look at it. The trip for me flew by in real time, but slowed down because I was simply taking in the moments more. I was appreciating the sun on my face and how amazing a perfectly mixed cold brew tasted while sitting on the deck  in the morning, and I was relaxed. I was so content, and not at all thinking about my obligations back home or the fact that I hadn’t studied my GRE flashcards.

A mindset that really helped me fully dive into a vacation was the grind-and-then-relax mode. I’m on that grind 24/7 back home in Seattle, working to save money and building my blog as well as a fashion company’s blog. I’m building my photography portfolio and scheduling shoots. But this wasn’t in Palm Desert. So a pro tip: don’t bring your work with you. If you need to a do a few things to stay on track, that’s great, but postpone anything that can be postponed.

PS 12
This is the book I’m reading currently! Because we all need to bring out our inner badass. And peep my favorite cold brew (Chameleon Cold-Brew) 

If you’re a fellow blogger, don’t obsess over a promise you made on your Instagram story to produce a vlog or a set of photos of every outfit you sported on vacation. If it doesn’t happen it doesn’t happen, create the content you can make time for and ENJOY YOURSELF.

I had ideas for the trip that weren’t executed, but it’s all good in the blogging hood.

The best advice I can say is to just try to live in the moment and forget the rest. I left my 50 mm canon lens at home and only brought my wide angle lens, which was a mistake for getting pristine action shots. I used my iPhone. It was actually a fun challenge for me to work harder to get the quality! And I’m happy with the results, and just enjoyed seeing the most elite tennis ever!

You make the most out of short vacations just like you make the most out of life.

Happy planning xx

-Kelly

BCAA’s Versus Pre-Workouts: Are Either Worth the Hype?

Hi everyone,

This week I’m sharing some insight on BCAA’s and pre-workouts, because I feel like there’s a lot of questioning of whether you need both or any at all. The simple answer (I would say) is it totally depends on your energy levels. What type of workouts you’re doing and what time of day you’re exercising are big factors.

Jumpstarting your day with exercise would most likely give you more energy than trying to get the intensity up at 9 pm. But we work with our schedules, and you might need a boost!

Let’s break it down financially. Pre-workouts can be pretty pricey for small containers. You don’t get a lot of bang for your buck, unfortunately. And I find very sporatic results depending on the type of pre-workout I try. The ones I’ve tried and the pros and cons of each are below.

Vega Energizer:

This is my favorite pre-workout I’ve tried. The price on Amazon is around $40 on Amazon for the tub, which is relatively decent for pre workouts (but not by any means inexpensive). The taste is not overpowering or too sweet. I did move on from the pre-workout simply out of curiosity, and I felt that the effects could be stronger. But I felt that I had enough energy to smash out a workout. So I would recommend if you’re starting out and want a cleaner formula.

I love how the formula is dairy and soy free. It is also gluten free, if you are gluten intolerant. The caffeine is derived from green tea (hello antioxidants and no crash) and Yerba maté. Overall, I’d give it a thumbs up, if you’re willing to spend the money.

Vega Clean Energy:

I would not recommend this pre-workout, for two reasons. The taste really is brutal. I thought the reveiws could be exaggerating, but they weren’t! It honestly tastes like watered down, fruity sugar water. And sits heavy, which doesn’t make for a good pre-workout drink before you’re jumping around and getting your heart rate up. As for the strength, I hardly felt a difference in energy.

The Clean Energy formula drew me in with the promise of zero artificial flavors, colors, or sweeteners. The caffeine is derived from green and black tea, and come to think of it, I think the “bitterness” the reviews are saying may be due to the black tea addition. As for the price, it is substantially cheaper, sitting at $16.99 on Amazon.

I appreciate the vegan and clean formula, but I will not be repurchasing.

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Ūnico Athena Intense:

I was interested in ambassadorship for this brand, so I got a few Ūnico products to try out to see if I liked them. The pro of Athena Intense: it works. The taste is also awesome. The cons: I would get an uncomfortable tingling all the way up to my fingertips. Not to mention the price is steep at $39.99. Consensus: I would say not worth it. Definitely keep exploring your options if you wanna save some money and not feel like Legolas that first time in got drunk with Gimli in Lord of the Rings.

Now onto the BCAA’s!

BCAA’s I’ve tried:

Ūnico Yumino: 

I got the formula in the flavor blue frost, and I was impressed! The taste is great and you get a solid 40 servings out of the container. I really liked using it, however, I did not feel the boosted endurance as much as I would like. I did think it aided it muscle recovery and hydration from the added electrolytes!

Overall, I would say it’s a good product. But let’s check out that price of $59.99. I got it during Black Friday so I did not pay this price, but wow. That’s steep.

Evolution Nutrition:

I find these BCAA’s comparable to Ūnico’s. The factors that made me switch to Evolution Nutrition were the price and accessibility of the product. This one is available on Amazon for $19.99. I like being able to get purchases on Amazon to avoid shipping costs, spam emails, and be able to make quick returns if need be. The container does note that you may experience a slight tingling on your skin, and that it is normal. It’s not an uncomfortable tingling and is very brief.

There are zero added sugars and the formula is derived from more natural caffeine sources- green coffee and green tea. The price is right and the effects have been solid so far! I have an energy boost without a crash and I like the addition of electrolytes. Because let’s face it, I just drink water and kombucha all day. And some coffee.

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Now that I’ve shared the products I’ve personally tried, my thoughts are that you could get by with just BCAA’s, as opposed to both BCAA’s and pre-workout. I found that BCAA’s give me the energy boost I need to get my workout in, as well as the added benefits of muscle recovery and growth. I do prefer to have a boost, because I like to keep my workouts high intensity and complete for me to see my desired fitness results.

A disclaimer: The fitness industry is huge. Brands are popping up everywhere claiming their products are the next big thing, and blogs and social media posts are constantly sponsoring and promoting gym supplements. Suddenly you’re questioning if you need to invest. Don’t give in without proper research, reading reviews, and evaluating what these products would do for YOU, and you alone. The tricky thing with trends is that they often convince you to spend unnecessary money. No one has time for that money trap.

For example, I added a daily collagen powder into my routine for the benefit of my hair, skin, and nails. That and water are an amazing combination! Take new additions slow, and find what works for you at your own pace.

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My advice: stay SIMPLE. Don’t purchase multiple new things to try out, start with just one or two new ideas to add to your fitness success. Focus less on the hype and more on what would most compliment your personal workout regime.

I hope these tips and my personal reviews on the above products helped! Have a great Wednesday. xx

For more of my fitness journey as well as nutrition tips, check out my Instagram @k_stateofmind

-Kelly

 

 

2018 Initiative: Becoming Body Positive Through Fitness

Fitness has unlimited benefits to an individual’s lifestyle. Not only is it essential for cardiovascular health and disease prevention, it also improves mental health and body positivity.

It can be difficult to believe that fitness and body positivity can coexist, with the heavy influence around us every day. We see ‘fitspo’ imagery on social platforms, phrases like “beach body’ and articles on how to constantly cut food cravings. Following these phrases and trends can be confusing and skew the purpose of fitness.

Essentially, these phrases and terms that are thrown around through media are body-shaming readers. Fitness ‘gurus’ have workouts even called ‘beach body workouts’ or tips on how to be bikini body ready in (insert time period here). Which body type are you trying to promote? It can’t be a universal one, because that would be impossible, wouldn’t it? Genetics are a slight obstacle with that one…

Let’s skip the awkward labels and cut to the chase here. You should workout for you. Year round happiness over seasonal happiness is key as well. Summer is great, but it offers a lot more than your showing of how many pounds you shed with that at home pilates YouTube streak. You are more than your size, babes.

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Be PROUD of your progress so far, and take on the rest you have to go as a challenge, not a chore. ❤

Hitting the weights or making it to your favorite Zumba class can improve your confidence in your body, by being active and learning to love the progress you make. Fitness can be an amazing release, not a chore to get closer to an ‘ideal’ body that is unattainable. Embrace your body, and workout because you want to be healthier. Have your fitness goal be happiness, whichever exercises bring you that. If you’re bored, mix it up. 

Don’t workout to earn food, or obsess over a particular waist measurement. Discovering a true balance of focusing on how you feel rather than just how you look is an important step towards body positivity and the power of confidence.

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Nourish your body and give yourself credit when you push yourself. 

I’m not saying I don’t succumb to body critiques. I just don’t let them run my life, or my relationship with fitness.

When was the last time you told yourself what you’re grateful for with your body? What makes your body ‘yours’? Because you are one of a kind, don’t forget that. Use fitness to start finding the positives, such as increasing your energy or strengthening your immune system.

Set your own standards. There is no finish line, because fitness isn’t a race. You don’t need to make comparisons to another’s body when it’s not a competition. Give yourself encouragement and set goals that will make you truly happier, and ensure that those goals are for you and you alone.

Make 2018 about body positivity. Go with friends to workouts or enjoy hikes outside. Take a new group class you’ve always wanted to try. Make challenging yourself a passion as opposed to a hurdle. Learn to love what you were born with, and use it as your source of inspiration, not as a subject of critique.

Exercise as sight seeing? Yes please… 
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If you open yourself up to your surroundings and a bigger picture, you’ll see more than the small details. 

Why? Because you deserve that confidence. Self-compassion and acceptance is not always easy, and is a practice that is often overlooked. Step off the scale and push aside the numbers. Choose a starting point and go from there. And enjoy the process.

How are you going to become more body positive? Let me know in the comments. xx

-Kelly

Five Ideas to Consider Before Starting a Blog

Hi everyone,

This week I’m sharing my tips and idea’s for how to start a blog. A beginner’s guide, if you will. I’ve had my blog for about a year and a half, and I have to say, it’s my favorite activity. I love to write and share info and education on topics I love. If you’re wanting to do the same, then read on! ❤

1 . There are a few more technical steps to setting up your blog, but the one decision I’ll give my input on is the platform. I prefer WordPress and have been loving it since I started. There are approximately 82 million WordPress users, so your engagement possibilities are great here. I find the platform user friendly and straightforward for uploading content and images.

If you’re unsure about which platform you want to use, research always helps. What kind of content will you be uploading? For instance, an image dominated blog may apt to go for a platform like Squarespace, for that modern clean look. I, however, love to include a bunch of text in my blog pieces, and compliment it with photography.

WordPress allows me to post aesthetic posts with my writing and one of my new found loves, photography:

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2 . Consider investment. If you aren’t willing to invest some money into your platform, it’s better to know at the beginning stage. A few investments instantly make your blog more professional. The two that I invested in were a domain and a template.

A personalized domain is much more personal to you, as opposed to having the platform name be in the domain. And people respect and appreciate a blog that has gone the extra mile.

WordPress, for instance, offers a variety of templates free of charge, however, my advice would be to look through the free ones and paid ones without focusing on the money factor. Which template stands out to you? Which properly displays the type of content you’ll be posting? After that, it’s up to you. You could always go with a free template to start out and switch later.

3. Think about cross-promotion. By that I mean promoting your blog content on multiple social media platforms to gain more exposure. Currently, my top priority of cross-promotion is Instagram. I feel like I can really show my photography on there and draw my followers to my blog site. I always put my recent blog post in my Instagram bio for easy access.

4. Time commitment/management. Posting regularly on a blog does take time. I aim to post once a week, mostly on a Wednesday or a Thursday according to my posting statistics. Some bloggers aim to post twice a week, and some manage every two weeks. The key is finding what schedule works for you, and sticking to it.

If you’re adding a blog to a current full schedule, blocking out time in your week to write posts and take photos is essential. Sometimes I’ll arrange 5 flatlays in the same sitting and save them so I have them for upcoming posts on Instagram and on my blog. It helps to think ahead! Some examples of flatlays I plan out (when the winter light allows):

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5. Lastly and most importantly, you need a niche. When trying to figure out what your blog will be about, ask yourself these questions:

  • What do I know? (You don’t need to be an “expert”, but go for your strengths)
  • What am I passionate about?
  • What content would I like to read?

Your niche should be something that flows more naturally. If you have always loved keeping up with the latest fashion trends, fashion blogging would be great for you. If you just love photography and taking photos and want to show them to an audience, a photography blog would be great. If you’re passionate about health and wellness, design a blog that covers those topics. Go for your strengths and write what you know.

I consider this point the most important because it ensures authenticity in your writing. I myself strayed from my passions for a few months posting more style and fashion, and my excitement for it faded. Writing about health and wellness and fitness are always on my mind and in my lifestyle, so I found my way back to what I consider to be my strengths.

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Be yourself. Let it come through your blog and through your writing. You’ll be amazed at the feeling of people responding positively to it.

I hope this guide was helpful! For any further inquiries about starting a blog, feel free to drop a comment below or email me. x

-Kelly