The Workout Motivation We All Need

Whether you’re a marathon runner or a crunches-in-between-Netflix-episodes kinda person, we all lose motivation to work out. Who wants to go and sweat in a smelly gym with intimidating equipment when you could curl up on the couch with Oreos and Disney?

Yeah… no one.

So, when the thought of your gym crush can’t even get you out the door, here are my tried-and-true tips to staying in tip-top shape.

I started working out first thing in the morning about a year ago, and it has worked so well. I don’t have time to procrastinate or become too busy with homework to make it to the gym. Some days it’s harder to get out of bed than others, but once I’m at the gym and being productive, it feels so good. And then no matter what happens the rest of the day, at least you got in a workout!

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I cannot work out without music. Music keeps me going and gives me something to focus on when I’m dying on my third mile. I made a workout playlist on Spotify and I’m constantly revamping it with new songs that keep me going.

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Discovering new music and then adding it to the playlist gives me something to look forward to when I go to the gym. Here are some of the songs I currently have on repeat:

Cake – Flo Rida

Call on Me – Starley (Ryan Riback Remix)

Feels Right – Jocelyn Alice (Galloway Remix)

Only One – Sigala (Brookes Brothers Remix)

The Mack -Nevada

Everyone says it’s a sin to put effort into your workout look…but, I disagree. Looking cute is my favorite way to stay motivated while hitting the mat. When I’m wearing a matching outfit and my hair isn’t just thrown up in a ponytail, I feel better about my workout.

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You don’t have to spend all your savings at Lululemon to do so either. Just simply take the items you already have and make them work! Take an over-sized t-shirt and cut it into a crop top and pair with leggings and a colorful headband and you’re set. And definitely treat yourself for staying motivated with something new!

Also, get creative with ways to keep your hair out of your face by looking up some ideas on Pinterest. Here are some of my go-tos:

https://www.pinterest.com/pin/1477812359258912/

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https://www.pinterest.com/pin/AQ_hdldzlD24Jh6fUghEHhMePHUdZMaruO3uvefheeBdxA36a_GDVLw/

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Instead of sitting on the couch and watching TV, walk on the treadmill and watch your favorite show. This is probably the easiest way to get motivated. At the end of a long day if you normally rewind by watching Netflix and snacking, try going to the gym and you’ll feel so much better about your day and you’ll get a better night’s sleep. I know that I feel so much more accomplished when I take the time to work out. It’s also a great stress relief and we could all use that!

Take a walk and catch up with a friend or go explore a new neighborhood; who knows, you may find a new study spot! Walking is the easiest way to stay in shape with minimal effort. You don’t even have to break a sweat.

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It can be relaxing to listen to music or walk with a friend and vent about your stresses. (Also vital to good health.) Try walking outside if you can because it’s a lot more exciting than a treadmill and you can work on that beach bod and that summer glow.

Try taking a class that you’ve never done before. Working out with other people is great because it keeps everyone accountable and you don’t feel so alone breaking a sweat! I recently took a boxing class and ended up loving it; you never know, you might find a new passion along the way.

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Working out shouldn’t feel like a chore. There are many tips and tricks to staying motivated, but these are the ones that work best for me and are realistic for anyone!

 

article for The Chic Daily

How to Style Ankle Boots

Every girl has her go-to pair of shoes that takes any outfit from a 7 to a 10. My go-to shoe is definitely the ankle boot. I love how versatile they can be.

Boots with a subtle heel are my favorite because they add an element of dressy without being too overdone. Ankle boots will never go out of style and are the easiest way to pull together an outfit. So if you’re anything like me, keep reading for some ankle boot outfit inspiration!

With winter still upon us, boots are the perfect shoe for any occasion. When it’s cooler, I like to wear a sweater dress with ankle boots. If it’s really chilly, I’ll add a pair of tights. This look is great for meetings or going to class. Add a scarf for extra warmth and style!

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Dressing up when it’s cold can be a challenge. For a night out, I like to pair my ankle boots with a mini skirt and tights. It’s fancy, but warm! To elevate the look with an edgier flair, add a leather jacket and consider a taller heel.

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Next up, I’ve chosen rolled skinnies with ankle boots. If I’m in a hurry or just don’t have any outfit ideas, I’ll throw on a pair of jeans and grab my boots. They’re called my go-to shoes for a reason! This combination is perfect for class or running errands.

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The last combination I’ve put together is a sundress with ankle boots. It’s a great winter to spring transition outfit and adds a unique style element to what is usually a hot weather outfit. This ensemble is perfect for brunch or the farmers market.

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Ankle boots are the perfect shoe for every and any season or occasion. I hope this article sparked some fashion inspiration and cured any shoe blues!

article for The Chic Daily

The Heart behind Hart: Profile

It was a scene straight out of The Devil Wears Prada: I was running down the streets of Mill Avenue in my non-designer wedges, talking on the phone while dodging traffic, and grasping my life in my hands. Well, not actually my life, but my reporter’s notebook. And to a journalist, that is about as sacred as life itself. I was heading to Starbucks to interview a young journalist, who also runs her own business, models in Phoenix Fashion Week, and volunteers to save dogs; all while studying for her master’s degree at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism — I was intimidated, to say the least.

I slipped into Starbucks and stole a table with a clear site to the door. I anxiously watched with disappointment each time an average person walked in. I was expecting a walking Marc Jacobs advertisement with an entourage of beauties that stood feet above my modest frame.

Photo Courtesy of Tajji Sharp

Hi I’m Lexi.

Instead, I was met with a simple: “Hi, I’m Lexi. Nice to meet you.” (So, this is the girl I was worried about?) She sat down, an enthusiastic woman with a warm smile and an undeniable air of confidence, and began her story.

Lexi isn’t afraid to tell the truth. She expresses vulnerability — which takes courage in today’s society — but she hopes that quality can have a positive impact. She begins by telling the turning points in her life that drove her to pursue fashion and journalism. “Sorry if I get emotional,” she began, “I visited the World Trade Center when I was a senior in high school and I met two people there that were so incredible to me.” The stories of forgiveness and understanding from a man and woman affected by the terrible events of 9/11, stuck with Lexi, creating a connection driving her into her career path as she listened. September 11, 2001, was a crisis for our country. There was chaos and confusion as we kept living our lives with fear. “There was so much uncertainty after that in the world…I wanted to be that voice of reason; that voice of truth, but on the other realm too, I wanted to be able to connect to people like that every single day of my life, and I have.”

“I wanted to be that voice of reason; that voice of truth”

Aside from her passion for change and natural talent for writing, fashion was always a part of Lexi’s life. “I wasn’t always, honestly, a creative person,” she said. “I knew that I loved fashion in the simplest form of the word, and I knew that I loved beautiful clothing and showy style.” But it wasn’t until 19 years old that she began seeing fashion, art and culture in everyday life. “Fashion has so many different influences and that began to influence my own life.” She began her boutique clothing line, Gypsy Love Couture, out of her bedroom as a side job and a way of giving back. The clothing line is “bathing suit aesthetic”. The style is provocative with revealing designs that cause furrowed brows in suburban mothers, but she continues to churn out new styles regardless of society’s perspective on that type of dress. “I’m still going to create and put content out there.” While her clothing line has grabbed attention, so has her modeling.

After two tried attempts as a model in Phoenix Fashion Week, Lexi walked in the show beginning her freshman year of college at Arizona State University.

The last few months of high school, her self-confidence took a hit. “I was fat shamed an incredible amount. Every part of my body got picked apart head to toe on social media where everyone could see. And that just really haunted and plagued me for a while.” But instead of letting that experience get the best of her, she rose to the top — like the Phoenix bird rising from the ashes — as a model in Phoenix Fashion Week. Freshman year of college, after two attempts to earn a spot on the catwalk, she was accepted into the emerging model program, an incubator to develop local talent. And from that grew so many positive experiences, such as becoming a role model for young girls in the valley and seeing her face on freeway billboards.

Lexi has had mothers of little girls reach out, telling her how inspirational it was seeing a model on the runway who is more than just skin and bones. “I get moms commenting ‘I’ve shown your pictures to my daughter and it makes them feel beautiful about their bodies because they realize they can be normal.’ If that’s all I get out of this — showing little girls they’re perfect the way they are, I’ll do this for one thousand years.” Little did she know, she was on the brink of what has been a shift in runway fashion: models that show athleticism and strength, instead of promoting eating disorders with stick thin women. The influence that Lexi made in her circle of life, has created a change in the bigger world of fashion, and that is something that not many 21-year-olds can say.

Spending time with dogs is one of Lexi’s favorite pastimes, and if she had a whole week to herself it would be “a week full of animals”.

Lexi has, without a doubt, impacted people emotionally and inspired many, but now she wanted to make a literal, immediate impact she could see develop in front of her own eyes, outside of fashion and people. To go above and beyond in typical Lexi fashion, she volunteers at Maricopa County Care and Control. She uses her journalism skills to feature dogs that are up for adoption. She loves dogs and that is apparent in her every day life with her volunteering and vegan lifestyle. She is committed to helping our furry friends, as well as being committed to all other aspects of her life and exceeding in all of it. Her love for others is inspiring and she goes beyond to help anyone or anything in need.

Leaving the interview I felt so inspired to do what I love every single day and not worry about the criticism or adversity, unavoidable from the “haters” . No longer will I fear my non- designer shoes aren’t good enough or that I can’t make a difference because I don’t have the resources. I do have the resources and I do slay. My outfit may not be Valentino approved, but it’s me approved — unique and confident, which are characteristics even the most famous designer can’t create. My makeup might not look like Kylie Jenner; my body not like Gigi. But thats okay. I don’t attend the London College of Fashion or have an “in” with the hot designers, but I do attend a school that will help me pursue my dream of writing and impacting others through fashion and media. I can do anything that I want to. As Lexi says, “You can do anything you want to do, if you want to.”

article for hymnmag.com

12 Dates of Christmas

“It’s the most wonderful time of the year.” With the holidays fast approaching, friends and family are coming together to celebrate. One of the best aspects of the holiday season is the quality time spent surrounded with the ones you love. Although family time is great, sometimes everyone needs a break from sitting around the living room and watching football. Here are twelve activities for when the winter blues arrive.

  1. Ice Skating is a classic winter activity. There are many rinks that offer “free skate” in the afternoons, so grab your besties and don your skates, for what is sure to be an afternoon full of laughter
  2. A neighborhood lights tour is perfect for putting people in the holiday spirit. Don’t forget to bundle up!
  3. Take a sleigh ride with yours bff’s or bf. It’s a great excuse to cuddle and enjoy the sights and sounds of the holiday season together.
  4. Have a snow day! Build snowmen, have a snowball fight, sled, and – if you’re feeling adventurous – try a new winter sport such as skiing or snowboarding. Grab your  friends and family to make memories that are sure to be talked about for years to come.
  5. Make indoor s’mores and watch The Polar Express. This is one of my family’s favorite traditions. The Polar Express is a classic Christmas tale that will bring alive the magic of Christmas, just like when you were a child. And who doesn’t love s’mores? Here is my favorite indoor s’more recipe: http://www.dessertfortwo.com/indoor-smores/
  6. Do a Secret Santa gift exchange with your friends. Have everyone make a list of some of their favorite things and then put the lists in a hat. Take turns randomly drawing a name until everyone has someone. Keep the names a secret, go shopping and pick out a small gift for the person you picked. Get creative with the gifts! It’s also a great way to avoid choosing which friends to buy gifts for; it’s a win-win!
  7. Build a gingerbread house with your family or friends. It requires teamwork and communication as well as a great excuse to eat candy! Its a great way to break the ice with the cousins you haven’t seen in a year. (We’ve all been there.)
  8. Volunteer at a soup kitchen or bell ring for the Salvation Army, an organization that raises money for those in need. It’s the time of year to reflect on what you have to be grateful for, but also give back and make someone’s holiday a little bit brighter. Contact your local Salvation Army for opportunities to ring.
  9. Go window shopping at the mall to enjoy the excitement of the season without the stress. Get ideas for your wish list and those on your nice list.
  10. Create DIY ornaments to hang on the tree. They add a personal touch and can become a great holiday tradition and a way to remember each passing year.
  11. Go see a live Nutcracker performance. Even if you’re not a ballet fan, it is a classic story about a girl and her precious gift. The music is upbeat and the storyline is intense, comedic and heartwarming. Treat your mom or best friend to a night out at the theatre.
  12. “And on the twelfth day of Christmas my true love gave to me…” the gift of treats! Bake something new and hand out goodies to neighbors and friends. Desserts are an easy, thoughtful gift for anyone on your list. And who doesn’t love a delicious glazed gingerbread scone? Pinterest has some great holiday recipe ideas: https://www.pinterest.com/pillsbury/holiday-desserts/

Happy Holidays!

article for The Chic Daily

5 Simple Ways to Stress Less

 

College is stressful. I have never met a student that didn’t agree. But there are simple ways to de-stress at the end of a long week, that will get you physically, mentally and emotionally prepared to face Monday and all it tries to throw at you. Here are five things I do every Sunday evening to relax and prepare for the week ahead:

1.) Sweat Sesh

I begin my ritual with some basic yoga, which loosens up any knots that I have and gets my mind focused on breathing and meditation. Pinterest has some great simple yoga sequences and YouTube has meditation videos that will put anyone in the zen zone.

2.) Cleanse

After breaking a slight sweat in yoga, I pull out the face mask and do a thorough cleansing. It feels so good to head into the week with smooth, glowing skin. I usually try a peel mask that refreshes my skin, or if I’m feeling the need to detox, I’ll opt for a clay mask that massages my face and rids of impurities.

3.) Write

As I wait for my mask to set and work its magic, I journal. Writing down my frustrations, thoughts and plans helps me gain control of all my weekly tasks and break things down by day, hour, etc. Seeing the bigger picture is always rewarding, especially when the To-Do list is finally complete!

4.) Chill

I always like to sit down with a good book or magazine and take time to read something other than a textbook. It keeps me sane and also gives me something to look forward to during the week. (currently enjoying the new Harry Potter book. O.M.G.)

5.) Treat Yo’ Self

This is my favorite and final step in my relaxation routine… enjoying a bowl of ice cream while Keeping Up with the Kardashians or brewing a cup of tea and watching a rom-com. Indulge in your guilty pleasure , because you deserve it after all. You made it through another week without the help of a fairy godmother. Now that deserves a Ben and Jerry’s.

article for The Chic Daily

Video #2: Featuring M.R.S Pinafore at the Open Air Market

I love going to the Phoenix Public Market Open Air Market on Saturday mornings. It’s a great way to start my weekend! I usually go straight the the flower booth and pick out some bright wildflowers.

Recently I went to the market and discovered a booth that had homemade aprons, pictures and tote bags. M.R.S Pinafore is the name of the business, and it is run by one woman who is a retired educator. She loves to sew and made her passion into a lifestyle.

I think I will have to go back and get an apron for myself… and all my friends!