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NJ Trip Highlights

Hey there! I am sorry it ended up being a little quiet on the blog this past week. I had thought I would have a little more time to write up some posts, but my family visit to NJ ended up being jam packed. Since I had not seen anyone in quite a while I wanted to soak up the time. Today I wanted to share a few highlights from that trip!

It is so funny how when you go home you immediately feel like everything old is new again. There is a certain déjà vu around anything and anyone. I had a great time visiting at some of my old stomping places.

NJ Trip Highlights

Whole Foods

NJ Trip Highlights

Who says you cannot go home again?

I have mentioned my unabashed love for Whole Foods many a time on the blog before. That has not changed! An old food store back home was converted to a Whole Foods location. Naturally I had to pay it a visit.

I was also pleasantly surprised that Whole Foods thanked me for my visit on Instagram. Does it get any better than that?

Bridesmaid Dress Shopping

NJ Trip Highlights

This was so much fun! Lesley, my sister, is getting married next June and has been really eager to go bridesmaid dress shopping together. These are the things that become a little difficult when you live far away unfortunately. We went to Bella Bridesmaids in Madison, and I proceeded to try on lots and lots of dresses!NJ Trip Highlights

Since she was unsure about colors it was an important piece to get accomplished. This will be an important piece of the puzzle as she starts to look at different items for the reception. She made some decisions in terms of colors and styles and got the whole process underway!

NJ Trip Highlights

Jersey Shore

NJ Trip Highlights

As I shared in my 2015 Summer Bucket List this was crucial! My mom and I picked a day that had absolutely fabulous weather. We drove to Long Branch for the afternoon to walk on the beach and get lunch. It was all very lovely.

NJ Trip Highlights

Rook Coffee Roasters

I made a pit stop at Rook Coffee Roasters which has delicious coffee. It is one of Scott’s favorites so I snagged a bag and t-shirt to bring home as a small gift.

NJ Trip Highglights

Lesley’s Birthday

Luckily my visit timed out well and I was able to celebrate my sister’s birthday with her. We had people over for a small party on Sunday and it was nice to be part of all of the festivities.

NJ Trip Highglights

Shopping at Short Hills Mall

The best mall ever! No really – it is often one of the top listed on those lists that float around. My mom is doing a little variation on flat Stanley with a gardening knome. Cute, right?

NJ Trip Highlights

Other highlights included a nice dinner with Scott’s parents who also live locally. I also had a chance to catch up with a few girlfriends. The week totally flew by.

There was lots of good food…

NJ Trip Highlights

A few short workouts…

NJ Trip Highlights

Now I am back in Austin and settled in…well, there is still a lot of laundry, but that appears to be never ending. :-)

Have a wonderful weekend, and I will see you back here on Monday!

Enjoy the fit life one adventure at a time and follow along!
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I always love hearing from you! If you have any questions please feel free to send me an email.

Xo,

Lauren

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Perseverance is Everything

Luck is a myth. Perseverance is everything. It has taken me years to accept this statement. I thought that some people were just “lucky” and that others had it harder. I was right about that part, but the ones who come out on top of the end are not necessarily those fortunate souls. It is those who work the hardest. The ones who never give up.

Perseverance is Everything

Like many I did not grow up athletic or sporty. I had my head buried in a book more than clowning around outside or playing ball games. All my gains are harder won than those who had those early athletic victories. Sometimes I feel like muscle and development are intangible objects dangling from a string in front of me. I do not really have a base to fall back on. It is small baby steps when the process takes longer than it should.

What do I do? I never give up. When I need to find a new way, I do. Physical strength is more than surface deep. When you are able to overcome those obstacles it often translates to mental and emotional toughness as well.

Perseverance is Everything

When it comes to healthy living the process is never easy. You get in the right groove only to find changes and challenges thrown your way. We often get sucked into the media swirl around us and think people have it all figured out. Somehow they were born with a perfect set of circumstances or the ultimate body of our dreams. Not true. IF you start to peel away the outer layers of anyone’s life you will often find a lot of trial and error. Surely there are some obvious highs and lows. You may think you have it all together only to be quickly humbled. You realize you have a lot to learn. There is no path to glory or a quick fix. Behind everyone who is successful is a story. A story of perseverance and never giving up.

You always have to be willing to give up everything you are doing if it is not working. It can be hard to let go, but we have to give up what does not ultimately serve us. Find a new way. A right way that will work for you and your particular set of circumstances. No matter what you do – keep trying. Throwing in the towel is not an option.

Perseverance is Everything

If you are new to working out or making these healthy choices it can be very daunting. When pressure hits it can hard to see the whole picture. When things feel tough scale back to basics. Make one healthy choice after another until it feels easier.

The notion that those who are succeed had an advantage is a limited way of thinking. Those that come out of the top learned to be smart and already know that perseverance is everything.

»»Linking up with Katie today.

Enjoy the fit life one adventure at a time and follow along!
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I always love hearing from you! If you have any questions please feel free to leave a comment or send me an email.

Xo,

Lauren

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Healthy Travel Tips

Hi from the sky! I am typing this up on my flight to NJ. While I did not spring for the fancy Wi-Fi on my flight. However, I did get settled and opened up an old fashioned word document. It also caused me to pause and reflect a moment how much easier writing has become for me. I used to need the stars and planets to align before I felt comfortable to begin to work on posts or articles for publications where I contribute. Now I can do it anywhere and in all types of conditions.

Healthy Travel Tips

Healthy Travel Tips

There is a hefty connection between travel and being able to keep up any of your at home practices whether it be writing a blog post or maintaining the effort of healthy living. I have been several people in the past. I would go on a trip and launch into all out “vacation mode” where I would turn my nose up at exercise and indulge in ALL the food. Heavy desserts, sugary drinks and junk food snacks would suddenly be acceptable. I was on a “vacation” right? Then there also the period where I was eating a salad out of my purse and worrying at every meal what was the best choice. For a myriad of reasons I feel like I now have the best of both worlds. Not every meal has to be perfect but why not enjoy healthy foods I enjoy and get in some movement? A no brainer if you ask me.

Below are my best tips to stay sane and the healthiest version of yourself while traveling for work or pleasure this summer!

Short Workouts

My workouts can sometimes take a little while when I am at home. It is a bit the nature of weight lifting because there is always some set up involved. A yoga class can be anywhere from 60-75 minutes plus driving time. Since it is a priority for me it is totally acceptable at home, but not so much on a vacation. You do not want to feel like you have trapped in a gym or missing out on the fun of being away. Short workouts (12-20 minutes) are great. Focus on big movements (squats, lunges, planks) that engage large muscle groups so that you burn more during that period of time. Do not worry too much about seeking out a gym or having lots of equipment packed in your suitcase. For this trip, I packed a jump rope and a few bands. It is nice to have some options, but even bodyweight can work in your favor.

This recent ab circuit I posted takes only a few minutes and accomplishes a lot.

All New Ab Finisher Keep Active

Beach Foam
Walks, hikes, kayaking are good ways to enjoy your time and stay active. If you typically enjoy simple lounging make sure to find time for that too. However, depending on the trip and your companions there could be easy ways you could fit in some fun things that are active too.

Stay Hydrated

What I Ate Wednesday
Since you are out of a routine with your usual reminders little things like drinking water can fall of your radar. I used to have trouble with this even on weekends. At work I was programmed to get my refills at the water cooler at break time. When you are out of your comfort zone you have to remember to stay hydrated even as you become engaged in other events happening around you.

Take a Multi-Vitamin

I take lot of vitamins at home, but this is one thing that makes me absolutely crazy to pack. In fact, when we travel together, Scott will often take the lead on this one. I hedge my bets by simply taking a multi-vitamin that helps my immune system since you are naturally exposed to more germs in rental cars, planes and hotels getaways.

Balance Your Eating

Salad
Make healthy choices most of the time. I always think the 80/20 rule is a good bet around holidays and vacations. If you have wine at dinner maybe you skip dessert. Choose veggies instead of chips with your sandwich. Make the same judgement calls you would at home. Allow the memories and spending time with people to be your focus.

Get Your Sleep

My Nighttime RoutineTravel can make it a challenge to get enough rest. This is always hugely important for your health and even more important when you are in a different environment. Aim to get your usual “sweet spot” which was vary a lot depending on the person. I know mine is around 8 hours. Some can get away with far less. I have a little bit of envy where these people are concerned! I shared my nighttime ritual recently and while I do keep things more simple on the road I pack my low blue light glasses as an added precaution.

Question of the Day: What are your tips for healthy travel?

»»Linking up with Running with Spoons today.

Enjoy the fit life one adventure at a time and follow along!
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I always love hearing from you! If you have any questions please feel free to leave a comment or send me an email.

Xo,
Lauren

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WIAW #38: Creature of Habit

Good morning! As you are reading this I will be on a big ole air plane headed for New Jersey. I mean, perhaps, my flight is at 10:00am and you might be an early bird reader who likes their blog reads and coffee in the morning. That is typically how I operate.

Since it is Wednesday I am climbing on board the What I Ate Wednesday bandwagon. I like to participate to share a little of what I eat on an average day. I find that these can be a great source for meal inspiration and to satisfy my own curiosity about what people eat!

WIAW #38: Creature of Habit

WHAT-I-ATE-WEDNESDAY-NEW-BUTTON-PEAS-AND-CRAYONS

Ready? Looking at pictures always makes me a little hungry. I would recommend a snack or a beverage of some kind. My photos are not all that amazing, but sometimes the mere suggestion of food can have you craving a handful of nuts.

As I scrolled through my pictures through the day I realized how much of a creature of habit I am. If something is working I keep rolling with it indefinitely. I did branch out with some trail mix which is new to you, but it has kind of like been my go-to snack for the past few days.

My fairly typical breakfast which is one slice of bacon, 2 pasture-raised eggs, ½ of a Japanese sweet potato and kale. I cook everything up in one pan on the stove in coconut oil. The potatoes were from dinner the night before so that made everything very simple. I threw back my black coffee with a straw and was overall very content. Breakfast is easily the best meal of the day in my opinion!

What I Ate Wednesday

It was kind of one of those days where I was a little all over the place. I would do a little work and it was all mixed with laundry and adding to my to-do list. Packing always has me on high alert that I am just going to forget something basic. Check-in for flight, take out suitcase, etc. It was kind of a check list type of day.

I grabbed my typical drinks (iced green tea and water) and headed out to our gym for a workout. I waited a little longer (as per usual), but it was not too hot thankfully. An hour and 15 minutes later I was sore and done!

Back in my apartment, I grabbed a simple protein shake to hold me over until dinner. Coconut water, hemp protein, and half a banana. This is a bit of a sad-sack photo, but it was quickly taken. Plus hemp protein has a green overcast that prevents it from being a really attractive drink.

What I Ate Wednesday

Lunch was another rescue of leftovers. A pork chop seasoned with thyme and Pink Himalayan Salt with cooked apples. I did cook the Brussel Sprouts which felt like a bit of a task for lunch.  However, I am trying to eat through this bag before my trip. A girl has to have something green anyway – am I right?

What I Ate Wednesday

Work through the afternoon. Plus a conference call. More laundry. A few random phone calls. All in all a day of mixed activities.

Next up – trail mix snack time! My bright spot in my afternoon and break. This combo was almonds, pecans, dried cranberries and coconut chips. I have found that you can get really great deals on all of the above at Trader Joe’s. Just another reason to love it there. Of course.

What I Ate Wednesday

Scott came home from work and we chatted a bit while putting dinner together. It was a recreation of the same meal we had days before. Grass-fed burgers, sweet potato fries and broccoli with eggplant. It hit the spot. We cleaned up and I headed off to finish this post and pack.

What I Ate Wednesday

I did have a piece of chocolate later in the night (unpictured).

Have a good one!

Question of the Day: In what ways are you a creature of habit?

»»Linking up with Jenn.

Enjoy the fit life one adventure at a time and follow along!
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I always love hearing from you! If you have any questions please feel free to leave a comment or send me an email.

Xo,
Lauren

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Dressing Up & Selfie Photo Tips

You don’t make a photograph just with a camera. You bring to the act of photography all the pictures you have seen, the books you have read, the music you have heard, the people you have loved…Ansel Adams

Dressing Up & Selfie Photo Tips

As I touched upon in yesterday’s post it is rare to see me out of workout clothes or shorts and a tank top. Working from home has the benefit that you can pretty much wear anything. It is actually a little dangerous! It is good for the soul to be required to wear makeup and proper clothing most of the time. My self-discipline in this area kind of depends on the day, week, etc.

So I felt like my outfit deserved a little more attention than it got in my review of Uchi. After all, the restaurant was dark and the only picture I included was from the waist up. The little details like accessories and all that other nonsense got lost in the shuffle!

Dressing Up & Selfie Photo Tips

Selfie Photo Tips

I would say almost every photo that has appeared on my blog is from an i-Phone. My other camera is a old point and shoot Canon. The pictures are roughly the same quality so why not just use the i-Phone? My point, exactly. A highend camera is definitely high on the list of blog upgrades I would like to make. However, it is not just an investment of money (which is obvious), but one of my time as well. I would have to learn how to use said camera, edit, and all that other jazz. It is big endeavor in my opinion.

My photography has improved greatly though and there are a few easy ways you can take a better picture or selfie with any camera or phone.

Go Outside:

Dressing Up & Selfie Photo Tips

This is such an upgrade in general because indoor lighting cannot compete with an outdoor setting. Ideally you want the sky to be a little overcast. Excessive sun will cause a glare.

Look Down:

Our tendency is for our eyes to look up which makes it appear as if you are staring into outer space. Look straight into the lens for a photo. Hold the camera away from your face, but be weary of your outstretched arm. If it is too far away it will cause you to look distorted. This is a big key factor in making your selfies not look so obvious.

Plan Your Backdrop:

Dressing Up & Selfie Photo Tips

You are the star of your pictures. Most of the time. If you want to capture and share your location. Make sure to leave room in the frame to capture both. Also, just because it is a “selfie” does not mean that you should not be paying attetion to your surroundings. Pick a backdrop that adds texture to your photo. Beware of photo bombers or distractions that might be behind you. Even if it is casual you want it to have a polished touch.

Use An Editing App:

I swear by PicMonkey when I am editing pictures on my computer. It is easy to use and offers a lot of options. Personally, I have a lot of trouble with it crashing on me until I signed up for a profesional account. The cost is very minimal at around $30 for the year. I also just signed up for a Canva account recently, but have not really tried it out yet.

On my phone, I like Instant Picframes which is a very straightforward app. However, there are tons out there! I will often just use the editing feature on my phone itself if I am pressed for time.

This is an example of the Instant Picframes. See how you can edit, add a pretty borner and add a filter. I think it adds a lot of character to photos.

Dressing Up & Selfie Photo Tips

Mind Your Angles:

Dressing Up & Selfie Photo Tips

It helps to know what poses look best on you. Everyone has angles of their face that are more flattering. Look for those angles in the picture. Maybe your head looks a little better at an angle. It is little things that can really make a difference in the overall presentation. Be aware of how much blank space is on either side of you.

Practice, Practice, Practice:

It is like everything else right? The more you practice mindfully the better your pictures will be. The worse that can happen is that you have to delete your photos and take more. Sometimes when I scroll through Instagram I am a little blown away by the lack of care people put into their photos. Others spend what appears to be hours with editing tools. It is like the sublime to the ridiculous.

Learn your comfort level and with each selfie it will get a little easier.

Dressing Up Details

Dressing Up & Selfie Photo Tips

Dress: White House Black Market

Shoes: Joan & David via Macys

Earrings & Bracelets: Gifts

Watch: Michael Kors

Lipstick: Bare Minerals Marvelous Moxie in Raise the Bar

Nail Polish: Carmen by Zoya

Not to leave anyone out…

Dressing Up & Selfie Photo Tips

Pants/Shirt: Express

Belt/Shoes: Johntson & Murphy

Tomorrow is a traveling day for me so packing and a bunch of odds and ends are on the agenda! Have a good one and I will see you next with a post breaking down the eats, drinks and snacks for What I Ate Wednesday.

Questions of the Day:

  • Do you take selfies?
  • Any favorite photo apps for pictures?

Enjoy the fit life one adventure at a time and follow along!
Facebook | Google+ | Twitter |  Pinterest | Instagram | FeedBurner | Bloglovin

I always love hearing from you! If you have any questions please feel free to leave a comment or send me an email.

Xo,
Lauren

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