Wednesday, September 30, 2015

My Fit life 1 Year Later - Getting Real.....

So I had a couple personal milestones the last several weeks and have been doing a lot of thinking. I hit my 1 year mark living my Fit lifestyle and I also turned 35 within a couple weeks of each other. This brought a lot of positives and a few negative feelings for me. I truly believe as Bloggers, that it's easy to lose yourself unintentionally in "putting on a brave face". Myself being included in this. I don't do it because I don't want to share with you or because I want to pretend I'm something I'm not. Trust me.... Life isn't all sunshine and rainbows 24/7. I'm generally just a positive person and training myself not to dwell on the negative keeps me blissful for the most part.

A year ago I went for my yearly check-up and my Doc was concerned with my slightly higher than normal heart rate. Even though I tend to get very nervous at the Doctors, I still took this very seriously. With an extensive family history of high blood pressure and heart problems, as well as my own past with Preeclampsia, I didn't want to take any chances. I knew it was time to really kick things into high gear. I had already started working out again, but I needed something that was a little more structured. Enter Kayla Itsines Bikini Body Guide. I'm pretty sure that if you're active in the blogging world, on Twitter, are into working out, and are on Instagram, you've probably come across at least a member or two of Kayla's Army. I purchased the BBG and started immediately. In the beginning I could hardly do 5 burpees without getting winded, I kid you not! But I made it through the program... not once, or twice, but 3 times through! And I loved to hate every second of it.

Last Holiday season I got into the best shape I had been in a really long time (after being about 2 months into the program) but after some issues with Endometriosis (I have it) and Holiday eating (I did it), I started to gain a little fat back. This started my struggle. I still continued with the program as I said above, but I never did hit that level of progress again. However, this past summer I achieved one very important goal - I got my legs in good enough shape to wear shorts in public! You have no idea how big this was for me!

Basically what I'm trying to say is that everyone has high points and low points. I'm lucky enough to have become one of those people, that despite the level of difficulty of the workout - I'm now finally on BBG 2 - I do truly enjoy working out for the most part. Unless I'm so sore I can't walk and feel like I'm dying, it really is never a chore for me. But I have had some lows as I've approached the very middle of my Thirties. Somewhere along the way after the holidays, I started eating in a way that totally threw a curveball at my already fragile hormones. The pudge around my middle that I worked so hard to lose, came back and so did my "love handles". The last several months have been a constant trial and error, trying to figure out what works best for me. My Hormones are out of balance and at this point I think I might be suffering from Adrenal Fatigue, but I've found a great supplement regimen that seems to work well and am just fine tuning my eating. I'm thinking about trying Paleo at this point. I've dabbled for a while.

I even started running last spring, something I thought I would never do, and after a couple weeks into it, I really started to love it. I did it regularly all summer long and just a few weeks ago starting having issues with a high heart rate, lots of discomfort and my usual routine just not feeling good anymore (hence the adrenal fatigue). So I'm back to LISS and only running a few miles one day a week if I can. At the end of the day it's just as much of a mental battle as a physical one. I'm slowly learning to let go of my perfectionism and be happy with who I am. Which if you know me, you know is very very difficult. Right now I'm just happy that I'm happy 90% of the time. Even though I still haven't attained all of my health goals, I went from an Average Resting Heart Rate to an Excellent, almost Athlete's Resting Heart Rate! And this is the most muscular and healthy I've ever been in my life, despite the fat I still need to lose. My outlook isn't perfect all the time, and I do have my days. But I'm ok with that! So whether you're prepping to take the leap into a Fit lifestyle, are currently a Fit Girl or are dealing with a low right now, here's my personal advice....

1. Progress is Progress. It doesn't mean it's ok to excuse multiple binges in a week, or not staying on your training schedule for multiple days - giving yourself a free pass. But sometimes life happens and we need a break. A break from the everyday, from ripping ourselves apart, from breaking and rebuilding our body, and from the mental taxing.

2. Everything takes time. Let go of your unrealistic goals. This was a tough one for me. I had these crazy goals in the beginning and they were so hard to live up to. I was putting unnecessary pressure on myself during an already vigorous lifestyle change. I learned to dream the big things, but make the small things attainable and be happy with it. Like wearing those shorts this past summer. I may not have been as fit as I would have liked, but I was happy with where I was. Sometimes that's ok.

3. Listen to your body. Don't push yourself so hard. I'm competitive even with myself. My perfectionism truly shines when I'm sticking to a schedule like the BBG. This is both good and bad. Good in the sense that I have no issue sticking to a 6 day weekly training schedule. But bad because I am really hard on myself all the time. Sometimes I push too hard and it ends up costing me a day. Especially with my current health hurdles. Listen to the signs, your body is pretty darn smart.

And last.....

Never give up. I know it's hard. I know it hurts. And sometimes it's just not fair how hard you work and you're still not where you want to be. Everyone has a different body makeup and we all respond to food and fitness differently. You need to find a way of eating that makes you feel vibrant and healthy, not what fits the expectations of some dogma you might have gotten sucked into. Trust me, I've been there. If a workout plan isn't for you, find the plan that is for you. Find something that you look forward to doing even when it's hard. Something that challenges you and makes you feel strong. And don't stop until you find it. But never ever give up on you. You are worth way too much and are way too important to ever do so. Our bodies are the only place we have to live after all. ; )

I hope my little ramblings help you in a small way. I'm still learning about myself even at my age. Life really is a never ending lesson. It truly is. And I'm grateful for it =)

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Fall Must Have Staples!

Hi Lovelies! I hope you all had a fantastic summer! Though this was one of my better summers and I enjoyed day after day of fresh air, trail running, hiking, and taking long walks, I have to say that I'm not really sad to see it go. If you're familiar with me and my blog, you know that Fall is one of my most favorite times of the year and I start lusting after cozy sweaters, rich hued colors, and pumpkin spice latte's long before the leaves start to change!

Being a Fall baby (my birthday is September 19th), I always start creating mental gift lists for my loved ones so that way when I'm asked what I want, I have a couple options. Lately I've been all about slouchy styles, dark rinses, and distressed saddle colored leather with a touch of gold.

I've been trying to come up with my top pieces for Fall that I think are major must-haves for any closet that will last, and aren't so trendy that you can pull them out again and again. They also vary on the price end too! Nothing too high, and the most expensive item is a true investment piece!!!

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This charcoal sweater is chic with the dark, but unexpected color, and though it has a more relaxed fit, it looks effortless rather than homely. I bought this Ensign necklace in Gold last year on a whim. I wasn't too sure how much I would wear it because it is a chunky piece and a bit more of statement, though subtle. But I absolutely adore it! I wear it most days and I love it so much, that I even considered purchasing another to keep on standby for when my current one is too weathered for wear.

J.Crew Factory has the most amazing dark rinse denim this year! It truly looks like higher end denim that would find on Shopbop and the like, without the high-end price tag. I plan to grab a couple pairs of these bootcut jeans during the next sale. And these booties are the perfect accent to the dark rinse, the rich color and material look expensive, they are made so well that you would never believe I got them at Target! I purchased them in black last year and they were so comfortable and lasted through the winter weather. I found myself reaching for them again and again. Both for work and home! They are also currently on sale and have a coupon right now! Run to Target to get them NOW!!!

And last, but certainly not least..... My most favorite piece of all.... The beautiful Duluth Crossbody bag in Brown! Last year Duluth was so very generous to send me the convertible messenger in brown. I have not stopped using this bag since! Love is an understatement. I try not to wear too much leather. However, I also think if I'm going to spend money on a bag, it needs to be a true investment piece. Something that embodies my true style, that I'll never tire of wearing, and will also last the test of time. These lifetime leather bags just get better and better with age. They are absolutely beautiful craftsmanship and I highly recommend!

I'll definitely be getting my hands on this beauty soon! It's certainly a NEED for me this Fall/Winter season!

So that rounds up my current favorites! What items are you looking to add to your closet this season? I would love to hear your picks!!

DISCLAIMER: All items mentioned above are recommended from personal purchases. I was not provided any monetary or product compensation for the post above. There are, however, ppc links that do provide small compensation. Thank you for supporting my blog!

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

ProPlenish Marine Collagen - A Review

Hi there! I have a review on an amazing product for you today! I recently received a package all the way from Australia and was so excited for a couple reasons - 1) who doesn't love getting mail from Australia, and 2) Collagen has some pretty amazing benefits as a supplement and I've been looking high and low for a great go-to brand! This marine collagen supplement did not disappoint! Keep reading to find out more....

{ About ProPlenish }

The ProPlenish team is comprised of scientists, researchers, nutritionists and collagen experts. They understand and have learnt the delicacy of the human body – dedicating research to testing, observing and optimising health and well-being, through the help of natural beauty enhancing supplements. Inside and out, they know what works. Based in Melbourne, they are a highly innovative Australian brand that has been recognized as such – becoming one of the fastest growing health food supplement and beauty companies in the world.

{ What exactly is Marine Collagen? }

Collagen is naturally occurring and the most abundant protein in the body. It is essential for maintaining skin, hair and nails, but in a cruel trick nature plays, we produce less as we get older. That’s right – from our 20s onwards, natural collagen production slows down, becoming more pronounced through our 50s and 60s. Sourced using the world’s purest form of collagen, ProPlenish edible Marine Collagen is a tasteless, odourless, easily dissolving supplement that turns clear in seconds. It restores your body with the nutrients it needs for a glowing complexion. And a younger looking you. No injecting. No nips or tucks. Just the radiant, youthful appearance you remember seeing in the mirror.

{ Why Do I Need it? }

Including collagen in your daily diet helps;
Hair - strengthens hair at the root by restoring collagen in the hair follicle to aid hair growth, thickness, texture and body
Skin - rejuvenates, supports and strengthens, aids in skin elasticity, smooths fine lines, tightens and evens out skin tone
Hydration and resilience - increases the skins ability to retain moisture for overall smoothness and plumping of the skin
Nails - helps to improve and strengthen splitting, weak, flaking nails
Muscles - assists with lean muscle gain and tone, training and exercise recovery.
Learn more about collagen research here!

{ My Collagen Experience - The Backstory }

 So let me tell you a little about my backstory previous to trying ProPlenish and why I was so excited to give this supplement a try! About a year ago I had read about all the amazing benefits of adding collagen to the diet. I have struggled with many digestive issues, as well as skin issues in the past, which I still struggle with from time to time. I'm gluten-free and also dairy-free about 90% of the time. This cut out most of my digestive and gut issues, but I do still fight inflammation quite a bit. I had read somewhere that collagen can really help repair the gut, amongst all the other benefits! A little extra protein, great hair & nails, glowing skin, happy insides - I'm in! So my quest to try out a couple different brands & types started. I first tried animal-derived and was so excited when my green bin of miracle powder came in the mail! I immediately tried it - and it was everything it promised on the package, but I had a horrible itching in my throat. 
I thought maybe it was just a reaction to trying the collagen for the first time. So I tried it again and again. Still itchy. I immediately sent it back and ordered a different brand that many others seemed to love. I ripped open the package and dissolved a serving in a cup of tea and to my horror, the same exact thing happened. After reading the reviews it seems that this is a common thing with many people. Some seem to have a mild allergy to animal-derived collagen and it looked like I was one of them. I was really upset. I could not longer take the supplement that seemed to be doing good things for me due to the fact that I was worried it would cause me more inflammation. Not to mention the itch in my mouth/throat! My quest for a collagen supplement ended there.

{ My Thoughts on ProPlenish }

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I came across Proplenish and was not disappointed! The company generously sent me several sachets of the Original & Citrus flavor. They also sent me a 180g box of the Original loose powder. I popped the sachets in my bag to bring to work and left the box at home. The first one I tried was the lemon flavor in my daily morning tea at the office. So let me start by saying that ProPlenish states that the powder is tasteless. And they are absolutely right, I didn't really taste anything. There definitely wasn't a "marine" fishy taste at all. There is a slight something of some sort, I can't quite put my finger on. Almost a slight gelatin taste or scent. I can't really tell, but it's not unpleasant!  And this is very common in all tasteless collagens, which I've come across this in the past. This was one of the best I've tried and whatever I was detecting was certainly not enough that it would keep me from taking the supplement. I really liked the lemon flavor a lot! And you also have to keep in mind that this first test was in hot herbal tea (which the lemon actually complimented quite nicely!). My next try was the original in a smoothie. Eating the supplement this way I was not able to detect any of the gelatin-like taste or scent whatsoever. This is the way I would probably choose to consume it on the regular, but as I said, the very mild scent I detected in my tea was not enough for me to avoid that option altogether. And most important, no itchy throat or mouth! So if you have struggled with that mild allergy to say, bovine collagen, you may want to give this one a try!

Overall I was very happy with this supplement! I haven't been taking it long enough to notice a huge different in my skin, hair or nails. But I will tell you that my digestive system feels amazing! I will absolutely be ordering this supplement when I'm out and would highly recommend it over anything else I've tried. ProPlenish offers several packages and options for pricing and also seem to offer promotions if you sign up for the newsletter as well! 
Make sure to check out the ProPlenish website and also look for them on Facebook, TwitterInstagram! I'll make sure to check back in a month to give you my overall 30 day feedback! Here's to glowing skin & a happy Gut!! =)

DISCLAIMER: I was not compensated for the above review financially in any way. I was, however, provided product for sample purposes to review as stated. This did not influence my review in any way. All opinions are my own.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

What I'm Loving Wednesday...

Hi There! I can't believe it's Wednesday already! Halfway through the week and the cooler weather is finally here again in Jersey. It's been so hot lately and I have to say, I'm just not a fan of summer weather. I love all the activities that go along with it - I just despise the heat & humidity. And quite frankly, so does my skin & hair! Yikes! Anyway, I thought I would pop by and share a few of the things I'm loving lately. These are both items that I might currently own and that are also on my lust list! So here we go....

I'm not sure if I've mentioned it on here before or not, but I have naturally curly hair. And when I say curly, I mean CURLY. And unfortunately for me, it's not nice curly. It's "don't ever expect to see me without straight hair, because otherwise it looks like a frizzy hot mess" curly. Ahhh genetics.... Anyway, as you already know, I only use non-toxic, chem-free, and gluten-free personal care, which can be quite a hard task as far as hair care goes! I've pretty much narrowed it down to a daily trifecta of products, all of which can be purchased from Target!

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I've been using both of these brands of products for a really long time! But I could never come up with the right combo of products that worked for my hair. It was always too dry, too frizzy, or too oily. When I started my training regimen, I had to start washing my hair every single day and this def took a toll. It was imperative that I find the right routine to keep my already tolerant hair in top shape every day. Combo #1 is using the SheaMoisture Manuka Shampoo with the Kids Mango/Carrot Conditioner. I've tried using the matching products and it just does not work for me. This works great! And the smell.... Amazing! Combo #2 is used a little more often, which is the Acure Shampoo with the Kids Mango/Carrot Conditioner. This is my most common combo, but when my hair starts to feel dry, I'll do a day with the Manuka. I like to finish it off with a couple spritzes of the Honest Spray before I let my hair soak in a towel during my morning makeup! Perfection!!!

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And even though I hate the heat, I'm loving some of the summer fashion right now! This Gauze dress is just in at JCrew Factory and I LOVE it! Typically I wear a lot of maxi's and they're on heavy rotation in my summer lineup. However, standing at only 5'3, most of the dresses are still way too long even when I hem them. Enter my array of 4-5 inch platform sandals. These babies were all I wore once upon a time. But as I enter my mid-thirties and up my fitness game, I'm starting to embrace my height and I'm loving dresses in this length. They are really versatile in the sense that I can wear them with flat sandals, flip flops or with platforms if I choose, rather than out of necessity! I'm also loving this summer weight boatneck sweater. I love summer sweaters. The material is perfect for various seasons and they look great with destroyed denim shorts and sandals or chucks. Love! I'm hitting the outlets on Saturday and am def making a trip to JCF!

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Also, my fitness wardrobe is growing & growing! ahhhh! I recently came across these gorgeous beauties. Rose Gold & Black.... Need I say more?!

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Another thing I'm absolutely loving right now is Eco-Friendly jewelry! I was a Stella & Dot Stylist quite a few years ago and I adored all the jewels. I'm quite fond of Anthro's selection and unique offerings and I also have a smattering of Madewell pretties in my jewelry box as well. But lately I've been looking to "Green" my life a little more in an area that's been previously neglected - jewelry & accessories. I came across Color by Amber a few months back and they just blew me away in terms of what they offer. They are a jewelry company that creates these unique designs from a 40% recycled material called Eco-Resin. Encased inside is an interlayer of some sort - either a material that's being reused or re-purposed, recycled finds like denim, and interlayers from Artisan Communities called Full Circle items. I'm just beyond smitten with this company! So much so that when I saw they offered a Stylist Opportunity, I jumped all over it! Here are a few of the necklaces that have been on heavy rotation for me lately. I'm so in love with the fact that I can live an Green lifestyle, while also supporting Artisan communities all over the world!

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Last but not least, I've been looking for the perfect scent for summer. I still love my Melange palette, but I'm in desperate search of the perfect sweet/sultry/smoky/sexy scent and I think I found it! Nikki from Rebel & Mercury posted about one of her new blends, Ambres, on her Insta feed yesterday and it was love at first sight. This def sounds like something right up my alley. I'm planning on purchasing the sampler pack (I can't decide between a couple scents!!) very soon and will let you all know what I think!

So that's my roundup of what I'm loving! What are you loving right now?!?

DISCLAIMER: Though the above post does contain shopstyle affiliate links, I was not compensated in any way for this post. All products featured are products I've previously purchased and recommend due to my own love for the product/brand. All opinions are my own and recommendations are always purely honest!

Friday, May 8, 2015

Five on Friday...

Hi Lovelies! Happy Friday!!! This post will be semi-short and sweet. I just couldn't let the week end without sharing some of my recent finds and an old fav that has really changed my makeup routine. So here we go...

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I recently purchased these beauties from Target and I'm OBSESSED! I actually really love Birk's, but not the pricetag and I also wanted something a little different. I love my Leopard booties that I picked up from Target a couple years ago and I feel like they go with everything. So I came across these babies and instantly fell in love. They did not disappoint! They are comfy, cute and neutral enough that I could easily see them becoming a summer staple. They're a tad higher priced than the average Target sandal, as they're Muk Luk, but they do fall in the "Buy 1 get 1 50% off" sale! Score!!

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Another obsession of mine is tea. I drink a minimum of 2 cups per day, sometimes more. One of my favorite things to do mid-morning at work is to have a warm cup of tea to help me gather my thoughts and prepare for my morning. And then again to wind down at night. I recently came across this really amazing brand and was immediately smitten with them. Buddha Teas are not only chemical-free, but they are organically grown or wild harvested, keeping them as natural as possible. The tea bags are bleach-free, and the herbs inside are USDA organic and non-gmo. This can be very difficult to find and the taste did not disappoint. There are so many to choose from, but my fav's def included the chakra teas (herbal blends infused with a complimenting crystal essence - very cool!) and the herbal blends, which are great to have in your wellness arsenal. I highly recommend this line! Love!!!

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I was recently in TJ Maxx, and though the one local to me never ever has anything good in my size or style, they have some AMAZING workout clothes right now! Check out these gorgeous cropped tights! This pic doesn't even do the colors justice. I can't wait to wear these beauties. And tons and tons of good deals on high quality sports bras. I could have easily dropped $100 in there!

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I also have to share this supplement that was sent to me all the way from Australia. I received my package from ProPlenish today, and though I haven't tried my first dose yet, I'm so excited. This is a Marine Collagen supplement. And the reason I'm so excited is because I've been looking for a high-quality collagen supplement for a while now. It's soooo good for you for so many reasons, I can't even say enough. As we age, our collagen starts to deplete and we start to dull in our skin, nails, hair, etc. This really helps repair and rebuild, making us look younger from the inside out. It's also amazing for digestion and repairing the gut. A while back I had tried Great Lakes Collagen and I seem to have a minor allergy to bovine collagen. Such a bummer! I probably could have continued to take it, as the allergy wasn't serious, but I was worried that it might cause some inflammation to my insides. I was thrilled when I came across this line of marine-based supplements. I'll be posting a full review soon!

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And last, but not least! My most favorite line of cosmetics ever! I adore W3LL People! I started using the Stick foundation last summer and love it. I currently use it as concealer and then layer on my Everyday Minerals Semi-matte foundation on top. I think this is my 3rd re-order, and though it can be a bit pricey, I purchase mine from Pharmaca when there's a coupon and it's a bit more reasonable. The stick actually lasts quite a long time, especially when you're only using it as concealer. I also replaced my Nudist #7 lippie. I can't even describe how lovely this is. I'm not a lipstick person AT ALL. And though I loved gloss once upon a time, I just feel that now that I'm in my 30's (gasp!!!), that I just can't pull it off. This little miracle worker is a like the perfect marriage of a gloss and lipstick. And I love this nude color. Like my lips, but better. And though I didn't include the mascara in the pic, this stuff is crazy good. Check out my instagram feed to see my lash pic!

So that's my 5 on Friday! I hope you enjoyed hearing about my latest loves and enjoy your Mother's Day weekend!!!

DISCLAIMER: I was not financially compensated for the above post. This post does contain one affiliate link (target sandals) and also 2 products (Buddha Tea & Proplenish) that I received samples for review. All opinions on said products are my own and were not influenced in any way.