My 2nd Stitch Fix Review {Hint: I loved it!}

As I mentioned in my review of my first Stitch Fix, I just wasn’t that impressed. First, I couldn’t receive one for over a month, second, once I did schedule one it got cancelled and third I just wasn’t that crazy about what was in the fix. I went into my personal account, updated my style likes and dislikes and was hopeful when pressing the confirmation button for my next fix. And… I’m very happy to say that I LOVED my 2nd fix! Besides the earrings, upon first look I wanted to keep everything!

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On top of that, the personalized note from my stylist, Alison, was SO sweet and, well, personal.

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Look at these colors!

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I just couldn’t wait to try them on… especially the white skinnies, which, as Allison said, were the PERFECT skinnies. Here’s a recap of my items:

Level 99 Shauna Skinny Jeans- $118

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Sadly, I wasn’t able to keep them because they were a bit over my price limit, especially for it being the middle of summer already. Also, I know they’re supposed to fit tight, but they were a little too thin for me to wear that tight. However, if they were half the cost I would’ve snatched them up in a heartbeat! Lucky for me, I scored a pair of awesome white skinny pants (for a much cheaper price) at Banana Republic while in Chicago.

Market & Spruce Colibri Paisley Print Sleeveless Top- $44

I loved this shirt from the moment I laid eyes on it. The pattern, color, style, and ultimately fit made this a sure keeper for me. I love that it can be worn with skinny jeans (looked fantastic with the ones they sent me!) for a casual look or tucked in and worn to work with a sweater. I thought the price was very reasonable too.

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Skies are Blue Anabell Lattice Detail Sleeveless Blouse- $54

Again, I loved the color and design of this shirt, as well as the loose, flowy fit. I especially liked the way the cut at the top was close to the neck, thus exposing more shoulder- such an attractive way to show off the shoulder! I definitely plan on wearing this to work, too, as the color will really pop with a black suit.

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Tart Kaiya Solid Belted Dress- $98

I loved this dress, but sadly it was just too big at the top and made me look like I was swimming in it. It would’ve looked so cute with a pair of brown wedges or boots. I even really loved the belt and planned on buying that, but realized I couldn’t since it came with the dress.

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Bay to Baubles Roxanne Pave Chandelier Earrings- $32

Although these are pretty earrings, they aren’t really my style and I didn’t feel like they really went with the other items in my fix.

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As you can see, it was really hard picking what I was going to keep and what I was going to send back- that’s the problem with getting a good fix! I think what I picked was the most practical as they can both be worn at work and for play.

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I haven’t scheduled my next fix yet as I like to wait until I have a special occasion to do it for… or maybe a time where it’s been a while since I’ve shopped. It would be too expensive of a habit if I scheduled them monthly!

If you’re on the fence about doing your first fix, I highly suggest it!

Questions for you: White skinnies- yay or nay? Do you have a tough time finding clothes that’s “just right”? Are you a big jewelry person?

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5 Motivation Tips to Get Your Workout Mojo Back

Good morning! Happy Hump Day! I don’t have a workout for you today, but I do have a topic that I think is a fun thing to talk about: getting back into consistent workouts after a brief hiatus.

I was recently asked a question on Instagram that I thought would make a good topic for discussion on the blog. The question was:

“Have you ever gone a period of time without exercising and needed to get back into it? If so, what did you do to motivate yourself to get back to where you were?”

What a great question, right? I’m sure if this person is going through this, she’s not alone. In fact, I’m sure many of us can relate to this question in one way or another. While I can’t say I do this often, unless it is health related like a stomach flu, pneumonia, sinus infection, injury, etc. (being a fitness instructor teaching 3-5 classes a week makes it hard to go on a hiatus!), I can see how easily it is to choose after work drinks with coworkers over a workout on day, and then shopping after work the next day, and then “you just don’t feel like it” feelings the next day… and so on and so forth. You get the pattern. Pretty soon you look at your gym bag and sneakers in the corner of your room or backseat of your car and realize you haven’t used them in a week… or two weeks. Crazy how time flies like that, right?!

It happens. For one reason or another, if you don’t make the gym a priority in your day and schedule that time in, it happens. It’s all too easy to say “what’s one more day?” and end up skipping your workout. Trust me- I’ve had days where I’ve felt like skipping, but before I skip, I ask myself these questions:

1. Why don’t I want to go to the gym? Too tired? Too much going on/no time? Too sore? Not feeling well? Friends are getting together after work? Sheer laziness? Pending on what’s causing those feelings for me will determine whether or not I listen to my body and skip the gym or coax myself into going.

2. If I skip today, what do the next few days look like? Will I have time for workouts those days? If I’ve already planned a rest day because of a long day of travel or other commitments, I’ll usually suck it up and workout.

3. What will I be doing instead? If I have a long laundry list of things to do (say I just got home from a trip the day before and then worked all day), I think that’s a very valid excuse to skip the gym. During that time I can clean, do laundry, grocery shop, meal prep, etc.- all things I categorize as ‘active rest’. Now, some days you just want to go home and veg out in front of the TV and you know what? That’s ok, too! It’s all about balance, so if you find yourself doing that fairly often, it’s probably time to talk to a motivating friend and get your butt to the gym!

But, if you still find yourself skipping the gym regularly even after asking yourself those questions, here are 5 tips to get yourself motivated to get back into the groove of working out on a regular schedule:

1. Put it in your calendar- things on the calendar usually mean that they are something you’re looking forward to, right? And something you’re not likely to skip, right? Well, do this for yourself and put your workout on your calendar. If it’s a scheduled part of your day, you’re likely going to think about it, get excited about it and ultimately, not skip it.

2. Workout with a friend- If you know you have a friend counting on you to join them for a workout, whether it be a Zumba class, bike ride, jog or something else, you’re less likely to bail on the workout. You wouldn’t want to ditch your friend, right? And, look at it this way- you’re killing 2 birds with 1 stone: working out AND catching up!

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3. Try something new- Whenever I’m about to go to a new class or try a new workout, I’m always way more motivated and excited. Even though a lot of the “boutique” studios in Boston can be quite pricey, most of them offer a “free first class”, so you can take advantage of that and jump around to all the places that offer that. Also, ClassPass is a great way to get motivated for your workouts- there are so many different places and classes to try that I found myself doubling up on workouts because I was so excited!

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4. Plan out your workout in advance- If I’m not motivated for the gym and get there without a plan of attack, my motivation slips even more. You’re also more likely to waste time at the gym if you go there and wander around figuring out what to do next. I don’t know about you, but I’ve got way better things to do with my time than wander around a gym, wasting time. Another thing I like to do is check out fitness blogs for inspiration, motivation and new workout ideas (some of my favorites are here). When I read those blogs and see what they are doing and where they’re working out, I’m motivated to get out there and try some of those things myself! A friend of mine tells me all the time how she prints out my workouts to take to the gym with her on days I don’t teach- this is a great way to have a plan for your workout that day.

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5. Treat yourself to some new gym clothes- It’s no shocker that I am a Lululemon addict, right? But if paying the hefty price that Lulu charges is not your thing, head over to a Tj Maxx, Marshalls or Old Navy where you’ll be able to find some super cute and super affordable new clothes. I promise, you’ll be way more motivated to get to the gym!

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And, when all else fails, just give yourself some time. If you’re really not feeling the gym and can’t shake that feeling, maybe your body is telling you something. Maybe you should check out some other forms of exercise than the ones you’ve always done. There’s no right or wrong way to exercise (unless, of course, you’re doing something dangerous or incorrectly and therefore hurting yourself), so as long as you’re getting out there and being active when and where you can, the intense stuff (if you want it) will come along again. Our bodies are a lot smarter than we think and muscle memory is a wonderful thing. Although getting back into it may not be easy and likely won’t be comfortable, your body will remember what it was capable of doing before your workout hiatus and you will get back to that point- and likely even stronger and further- if you keep at it. Every bit counts and every workout is a step in the right direction. Just. Keep. Moving!

I hope that helps! As I was writing it I was actually becoming more and more motivated to workout- funny thing about that!

Questions for you: Have you ever gone on a workout hiatus? How do you motivate yourself to get to the gym or to do a workout? Do you like working out with friends?

My 5 favorite quick and easy (but relatively healthy) dinner ideas

I am sure I’m not the only one with a schedule this summer that leaves little room for much “real” cooking, right? Throughout the winter months, I seem to have much more time to spend hours in the kitchen whipping up delicious and healthy meals, but there’s something about the summer months that causes my schedule to fill up so quickly! With that said, I’m often left with figuring out what to cook that will not take much time (when I get home from the gym I’m STARVING- read: Hangry) yet still be tasty and healthy.

Here are some of my favorites!

Quesadillas

I love all types of quesadillas because they are so versatile and relatively quick and easy to put together. Sometimes I’ll just do cheese but I try to spice them up a little by adding in chicken and peppers and onions. Lately, when I have leftover roasted veggies I end up putting those in my ‘dilla- a great way to use up leftovers without getting bored and feeling like you’re eating the same thing over and over.

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Eggs

I usually do them scrambled, but sometimes I do hard boiled or over easy… Heck, sometimes I even microwave them for the fastest and easiest type of egg! I try to incorporate some type of veggies or greens (spinach or kale) to add in a little exta nutritious value. I usually top my eggs with slices of avocado and salsa- makes for a super tasty meal! RM will often make us frittata which is a fun way to change up my normal egg consumption.

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Quinoa bowl

Even if I don’t have a lot of time to cook a real meal, I will usually whip up a batch of some staple items: quinoa, chicken, roasted or sautéed veggies, sweet potato, etc. and one of my favorite things to do is throw them all in a bowl together! RM laughs at me every time I suggest eating ‘quinoa bowls’, but they are so easy, delicious and healthy that I think they are a very suitable dinner idea… And good idea at that!

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Smoothies

I’m not talking your regular old fruit smoothie. I’m talking a smoothie packed with protein, flaxseed, chia seeds, almond butter, coconut oil, spinach and then some fruit. Regular fruit smoothies are loaded with sugar and very little protein or “staying power”. Although it’s “natural” sugar, you still want to be careful not to incorporate too much, especially first thing in the morning which will likely kick up your sugar cravings for the rest of the day. RM has a Vita Mix and I always ask him to make me a power smoothie when I get home from the gym.

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Pizza on a wrap or flatbread

I used to loveee English muffin pizzas (heck, who am I kidding, I still love them), but I have started to turn to wrap or flatbread pizzas because it looks and feels like I’m eating a real pizza! I usually just top them with cheese (because it’s quickest and easiest), but sometimes I’ll add peppers or other veggies. The beauty is that if you broil them this dinner takes no time at all! I try to use wraps that are high in fiber and protein (some have more than others).

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A tip to make these basic meal ideas even healthier and easier? Prep a bunch of veggies at the start of the week so you can easily incorporate them into whatever you put together!

Questions for you: What’s your quickest/easiest meal you throw together during the week?

 

Guest Post: Marblehead Marathoner’s Weekly Workouts

Good morning, friends! Since I’m still in Chicago, I decided to reach out to a friend for a guest post. Her name is Cara and she blogs over at Marblehead Marathoner. Funny little background story- Cara and I went to college together and met during orientation! We didn’t end up in the same group of friends at St. Mike’s, but we’ve recently reconnected… over fitness, of course! If you think my weekly workouts are crazy, just wait until you read through Cara’s workouts last week- she brings crazy athlete to another level! It’s inspiring to see how often she changes up her workouts. We’ve got some fun things planned in the next month or so (once life slows down a bit!), so be on the lookout 🙂

Here’s an example of a week of Marblehead Marathoner’s workouts- enjoy!

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Thanks for having me over today! I’m Cara from Marblehead Marathoner and I’m really excited to share my weekly workouts with Burpees to Bubbly fans! I love working out, being active, and motivating others. I work out with Beantown Bootcamp and love trying new fitness class throughout our awesome city. Every Friday morning  this summer I help lead a free bootcamp at 6:30am at Christopher Columbus Park, so if you like the work outs below please join me!

I believe in a full body approach to training and fitness happiness. I think anytime you can mix up what you are doing and work different muscle groups you will start seeing results. So the next time a friend mentions a new class they love, go check it out with them!

Monday

Upper Body Strength Training & Speed Training on the Treadmill 8 800s in 3:13 with 400 recovery

Cara guest post arm workout

Tuesday

Morning: Legs day! Stair repeats, lunges (1/4 mile weighted with 20 lbs dumbbells each hand), 100 squats, 4 hill repeats ( 2 backwards, 2 forward).

Evening: Cycling Class at B/Spoke. Mostly hill simulation with a few weighted arm exercises.

Cara guest post B.Spoke

Wednesday:

Tababta Style! Each exercise is 25 seconds on 5 seconds off. 4 cycles for each drill.

  1. Wall climb, hands on ground, legs running up wall.
  2. Lung Backs Prison Style- hands behind head ( 2 cycles each leg).
  3. Squat Jumps with Donkey Kicks.
  4. Wall sits.
  5. Planks with leg raises.
  6. Box Jumps.
  7. Step Ups ( rapid fire! 2 cycles each side).
  8. Single leg squats with bench. Fully sit between squats.
  9. Push Ups ( modify on knees).
  10. Crunches on stability ball.
  11. 2 mins on the bike with resistance high and aim to burn 20 calories in the 2 mins.

Repeat entire cycle for full one hour workout.

Cara guest post tabata

Thursday:

Hills and Drills! I headed to Beacon Hill and ran 10 hills with 5 squat thrusts at the top of each hill. Finished with 10 hills and 50 squat thrusts and some burning legs.

Cara guest post hills and drills

Friday:

Free Friday Bootcamps at Christopher Columbus Park 6:30am with Beantown Bootcamp. A mix of cardio/ strength/ agility always changing and motivating!

Cara guest post bootcamp

Saturday: (typically my long run day but this weekend moved to Monday)

4 rounds in a tennis tournament aka 6 hours of tennis. A full body work out if ever there was one!

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Sunday:

30 min yoga for runners DVD

75 mins elliptical cross training

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Here is a total body do anywhere workout for your to try this week on your own. You can watch the video here: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=Kwtu6bYowRU

Do Anywhere Work Out:

  • 25 Jumping Jacks ( straight arms and legs, clap those hands together at the top!)
  • 25 Push Ups ( modify on knees or challenge yourself and use a desk/ chair elevate your shoulders higher then your feet).
  • 25 Jump Lunges ( Total, make that knee touch the ground! Stand tall!  Belly button pointing straight ahead)
  • 25 Dips ( move the legs further out to make it harder, remember to drop down straight and aim for getting that bum close to the ground!
  • 25 Sit Ups ( come all the way up- touch those toes!)
  • 25 Burpees ( challenge yourself with a hand release at the bottom, stand up straight at the top of each one).
  • 25 Squats ( get low! Drop that bum below those knees, chin up, belly button facing straight out, not down!)

Repeat 4 times.

Nice work! You just completed 100 Jumping Jacks, 100 Push Ups, 100 Jump Lunges, 100 Dips, 100 Sit Ups, 100 Burpees, 100 Squats

You can follow me to find some fun fitness ideas and motivation!

https://www.facebook.com/cara.elisa.5

https://twitter.com/carabednar

http://instagram.com/marbleheadmarathoner

https://www.youtube.com/user/carabednar/videos

http://www.corepower.com/cara-bednar-pages-81.php

Thanks again for having me!

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How about those workouts, right?! I love how Cara varies her workouts from day to day- it really is the ultimate way to see changes and keep your body guessing and growing stronger. Big thanks, again, to Cara for sharing a week of her workouts with us!

Questions for you: Have you been to Beantown Bootcamp? What’s your favorite sport to play (that ultimately replaces a workout)?

Let me know if you try any of the workouts that Cara shared with us- I know I will be trying them!

Currently I’m Crushing On…

Things I’m Loving Friday, Friday Favorites, What I’m Loving Now, Friday Five, etc. If you’ve been reading health and fitness blogs for a while, I’m sure you’re all-too-familiar with these types of posts, right? Truthfully, I love them! I like to see what bloggers are loving outside of what we see on a day to day basis on their blogs. In addition, I love Athena’s Friday Favorites because she links us to all sorts of interesting reads from health to fitness to food to life to everything in between. And, I’ll be honest, if I see something someone is loving that I haven’t heard of but like the sounds of it (a must have lip-gloss, a stay in place headband, the perfect pair of spandex, etc.), you can pretty much bet I’ll be scoping those products out for a purchase of my own in the near future.

So, with that said, I’ve been noticing that there are a lot of things I’m “loving” right now. Things I’m finding myself continually buying, wearing, eating, or admiring, so I thought it would be fun to share some of those things with you!

Maxi Dresses/Skirts

Over the summer, I’ve bought 2 new maxi dresses and 1 maxi skirt and I can’t tell you how much I’m in love with them! They are the perfect thing to wear to work (with a sweater, of course) since they keep your legs warm in an overly air conditioned office, and similarly, at night when you’re out to dinner and the New England summer night temps drop a bit from the daytime temps. I also love them to travel in, since I HATE when my legs stick to leather seats- anyone else?! Here are ones I’m constantly wearing:

Lit Boutique- cut out dress

I bought this for Miami and it was the perfect evening dress for that weekend. I love it because it’s sexy and revealing in the back, but it keeps a lot of the body covered up, too. Exposing too much is just not usually a good look!

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J. Crew Tube Top Maxi Dress

I randomly popped into J. Crew when shopping for Sheila’s bachelorette weekend and stumbled across this awesome dress. What made it even more awesome? That it was marked down from $110 to $40 and then another 50% off made it a whopping $20- can’t get much better than that!!

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Gap Outlet Maxi Skirt

During my funemployment week, I did, well, a lot of shopping. I’d been eying maxi skirts for a while and decided to pull the plug and just get one! The verdict? I’m LOVING it. I’ve worn it to work on a few Fridays, out to lunch and dinner with friends, date nights with RM- it’s just perfect and so easy to coordinate a shirt and necklace with.

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Lace Shorts & Jorts

I only have one pair of lace shorts, but I LOVE them. I got them at TJ Maxx for $16.99- love that!

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And, I’ve always been a lover of jean shorts, otherwise known as jorts. Feel free to judge- they make me happy and are my most favorite thing to hang out in! I got them at Old Navy this year for $17.

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Mason Jar Glasses

As part of our bachelorette goodies, Amy gave us these awesome (huge) Mason jars with covers and a straw. We all started using them as our cups for the beach since they hold so much liquid. I’ve continued to use it since I’ve been back and I think I drink even more water than usual when I drink from it!

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Sunscreen

I’ll be honest- I’ve never been a big sunscreen wearer. I know, I know. It’s so important but since I never really burn that badly, I thought a 4 or 8 was enough. This summer, though, I’ve made it a point to wear at least an SPF 15 and you know what?! I’m still getting tan!

High buns

High humidity and very curly hair make for a bit of a nightmare situation. Although I’m ok with letting it go wild and free every once and a while, it’s not the most professional look for the office so I’ve been doing some high buns. It may look like a sock bun, but I’ll assure you it’s just my curly mop and 4 or 5 bobby pins!

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Outdoor workouts and long evening walks

Living in New England means we are usually forced inside for our workouts for ¾ of the year, right? Since that’s the case, I try to take advantage of the spring/summer/fall months and get outside as much as possible. RM and I have been going on a number of walks, either after work or in the morning on the weekends. My sister and I have also done a few walks. It’s the best way to catch up and be active. Here’s a bootcamp workout I’m loving lately:

sheila's bachelorette bootcamp

Warby Parker Eyewear

I was recently contact by Warby Parker to take a look at their newest Beacon Collection and as a glasses wearer and lover, I totally fell in love with it! On top of that, I fell in love with the company as a whole. Their mission is provide designer eye glasses at an affordable price, and for every pair of glasses they sell, they distribute a pair to someone in need through their non-profit partners, which I think is awesome. The way it works is we buy glasses, Warby Parker makes a monthly donation to their non-profit partners which gives them the ability to source a certain amount of glasses. From there, they then train men and women in developing companies to give basic eye exams and sell glasses at an affordable price. I like that they teach these things rather than just donate because it helps provide jobs to the people in developing countries.

But, let’s get back to their newest line. From their website, the Beacon Collection is inspired by “impromptu, can’t-duplicate-them all-nighters” and situations where day time activities can turn into late night dates. The design of this line makes me think of a retro sort of remake on an old-school look. I love thick frames, especially printed ones and colored ones, and although I’m not sure my face would be the best fit these frames they are totally cool looking and I’d love to be able to rock them!

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If you’re a classes wearer like me, head over to Warby Parker because they really do have some interesting/funky/hip frames in their various lines right now. The Beacon Collection is has both a male and female line, sunglasses and regular glasses line, so it’s perfect for everyone! And, you’re adding to a good cause, so there’s even a better reason to check it out!

Questions for you: What are you loving right now? Share any similar things with me? Do you like to wear glasses or do you prefer contacts?