How Epic Self-Love Taught me to Be-YOUtiful

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I never truly knew the concept of self-love growing up. It wasn't until I turned thirty that I truly knew the meaning of epic self-love. Growing up, I was surrounded by people who constantly checked themselves out in the mirror and were always worried about what other's thought of them. I would hear saying's from my high school friends like, "Well she obviously takes care of herself, look at all that makeup she wears and those amazing brand name clothes she buys." I went to a high school that was the epitome of an Abercrombie and Fitch poster board model campaign and my friends would compete to see how many days they could starve themselves the longest. Self-love? Not so much. As I got older and went through college hating my looks and every little or big roll on my body, I realized how much energy I was wasting hating my looks. I would spend hours agonizing over my looks in the mirror picking apart my every flaw, instead of celebrating my 500mm swim times or the fact that I booked the lead in the local theater show.  I would spend my nights hiding food under my bed and eating and eating until I felt "satisfied". I slowly began to realize that the food wasn't doing it for me and that I needed to find my love from the inside, not from someone else or some thing. I yo-yo dieted and would workout for week's on end and then stop and would feel like a failure. Then one day someone told me what a light I was to others and it hit me. I am a light! A powerful, strong, bright light and instead of staring at myself in the mirror all day, eating crappy food, I should take care of my body and tell myself daily mantra's about how grateful I am for my strong body. 

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The first thing I do every single morning when I wake up is look in the mirror and say this to myself: "I am a strong, capable woman." Then, throughout the day I'll repeat other mantra's out-loud like: "I am so loved." and "Gosh, beautiful, you've got this." Saying these mantra's out-loud gets you out of your own head and works to solidify your belief system. Repeat any mantras that speak to you while you are in the car, or waiting in line at the grocery store, while you are running, whatever you are doing repeat those mantra's, especially in times of self-doubt. 

I do something every day that I love! I go running nearly every day. Running helps keep me sane and helps keep my keep my anxiety levels low. Running help's me feel beYOUtiful! I started running in middle school and have been doing it on and off for years ever since, but now I go running every day and I've really found my groove with it. I run outside because I adore nature and being outside in nature is one of the best feelings in the world. Everything is wide open and so freeing feeling. I put on my Momentum motivate wraps and run, run, run! I love every twist and turn of the trail, the sun on my neck, the crackling of the leaves under my feet, the sound of my shoes on the dirt trail. I love every second of it and I make sure to go running at least 3-5 miles nearly every day. 

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Stop the compare game. Instead of looking at other people's Instagram feed's with self-doubt and wishful thinking, I look at other people's blogs and feeds as motivation for me to do and be better. I use to go down the compare game rabbit-hole trap, but now I find honor in other power women's feed's and it inspires me to be a better human. If we all work together to empower each other, we will be successful and feel better about ourselves! 

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I thank my body for what it does for me every single day. I lost 155-pounds learned that food is medicine and that we can heal ourselves with the right food's and move our bodies while loving every single cell of ourselves. I learned that with eating healthy food's and being active, that I can love myself, no matter what size I am. My body does amazing things, my legs get me moving on hilly trails, my lungs help me breathe in fresh air, my arms pull-up to higher places, my eyes keeping me seeing everything wide open! Instead of tearing yourself down, constantly remind yourself of how badass and amazing you are! We are powerful human-being's and we need to envelop ourselves with as much powerful self-love as possible. 

I remind myself every day what a beYOUtiful powerful being my body and mind is and with every nook and cranny, I am a strong, capable, woman and SO ARE YOU! 

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My Love For Kayaking And How It's Helped Tame My Anxiety

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I can feel the warm breeze glide across my face. My skin tingles and a little shudder goes throughout my entire body. I smell the water and sea-salt in the air and the subtle taste of sunscreen hits my lips. I feel the cold droplets of water hit my skin as I glide my paddle into the water. The boat rocks back and forth a bit and I hear ducks and geese nearby. This is being outside on a warm, beautiful sunny day. This is kayaking. 

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I've always loved being in the water. I started when I was just three years old and have been obsessed with water sports ever since. I'm thankful my parents had me swimming at a very young age because it instilled lifelong, instinctive survival skills in me. Water baby for life! I've tried various water sports, including SUP, but kayaking has always intrigued me. This summer we decided it was time to take our lust for kayaking to the next level. We invested a lot of money into some fabulous kayaks and I'm grateful we've been able to spend nearly every weekend out on the water. 

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It's no secret that I struggle with GSD a.ka. generalized anxiety disorder. A fluffy name for something that's actually quite serious and can be completely debilitating in my daily life. I go from one minute being completely okay to the next minute having a serious panic attack. Eating healthy foods, running, and working out works wonders to tame it, but I've found another activity that really helps manage it too.

And that's Kayaking.

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Kayaking has helped bring my daily anxiety level down from a high 20 to a manageable 8. Even better than it helping me with my anxiety is that I get to do it with my best friend. My husband Shane is literally the yin-to-my-yang. I'm not sure what I would do without him and his calming demeanor has been especially helpful since my anxiety has nearly taken over in the last year and a half.

Shane is amazing. Even on the weekend's when we have wedding's and he's worked 60+hours the week leading up, he never says no to anything, even kayaking. He also didn't think I was crazy when I told him we were buying kayaks on fourth of July weekend. We were basically hooked after the first weekend we rented kayaks and decided that we must invest in some so that we could save on the costly rental fee's and take them with us wherever we want. Also? We are both huge outdoor enthusiast's so any excuse to explore a new lake or campground, we are game for! 

We are lucky to live in an area that is surrounded by water and we have access to a lake that is 20-minutes from our house. Easy access for sure! What I love most about kayaking is being outside. I'm a much happier person outside with my main squeeze. I love seeing everything around me and feeling the warm sun on my skin. I love interacting with the ducks and having hilarious conversations with them. Yup. I'm that girl. I love that we can kayak for a relaxing 2-miles and take a picnic with us or we go all out and go for a powerful 20-miles exploring all the nooks and crannies of the rivers and lakes.

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What I adore most about kayaking is spending un-interrupted time with Shane. I love how we can talk and have long conversations about anything and everything. I love how we can just be together on our kayaks and watch the sunset and bask in the beauty of what mother nature gives us for free every single day. I love how we can make jokes and laugh about everything. I love how calm I feel when I'm out on the water and how nothing really get's to me. My anxiety seems far away hidden in a dark door somewhere that no longer needs to be opened. I love how it's just easy. Easy to be loved. Easy to be out on the water. Easy to be. 

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I also love this beautiful outfit provided to me by prAna via Fit Approach. This Filament tank top is a must-have for all of my outdoor adventures. I love that I can sport this while rock climbing and in the water kayaking. It dries quickly so no stress at all if it happens to get wet and it's got a built-in sports bra, perfect for all of those outdoor adventures! Need comfy pants for fall? These super versatile Uptown Pant's in Cargo Green are the perfect color for fall and are oh so comfy! I love how I can go from hiking to kayaking to climbing to date night in these pants and everything in between!

You can snag this adorable outfit for 15% off using my code FAJE15. I'm currently lusting over this for my upcoming Canada trip and this for all of my outdoor adventures this fall! 

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What are you looking forward to during this gorgeous fall season? 

These clothes were gifted to me by prAna via Fit Approach. As always, all opinions and content are my own. 

 

 

 

4-Easy, Fun Ways To Sculpt Your Arms | UB Toner Review

This post is sponsored by UB Toner™ the content and opinions are all my own. 

I've loved doing upper body workouts ever since I started swimming in elementary school. I love lifting weights, boxing, kayaking, yoga, all of it! I realize the importance of having a strong upper body and core strength and it can be hard to do that while on the road and traveling.

That's why the UB Toner™ is fantastic! I'm heading on lots of trips this year and Las Vegas next week, and I'm excited to bring the UB Toner™ with me along for the ride! Lifting heavy weights is important for the bigger muscles like the triceps and biceps but what about those smaller muscles in the areas that are harder to reach? These smaller muscles are harder to get to with weightlifting alone. You all know what I'm talking about, the area right beneath your shoulder blades and your lats. I don't believe in "trouble areas" I believe our bodies are miraculous beings working hard to keep us going at top speed every day, but there are some areas that are harder to get with weight-lifting alone. The UB Toner™ is great for those smaller areas because it works specific muscles in the chest, shoulders, and back region. 

Here are 4-easy moves you can do virtually anywhere and reap all of the benefits of micro-muscle movement.

Make sure you do a warm up before doing this workout and always keep good posture the entire time. Shoulders back, core pulled in with feet hip-width apart. These moves work all of the smaller muscles in the chest and back region and are fantastic to do after a cardio intensive HIIT workout or after running. I especially like to use the UB Toner™ after running and because it's a wonderful tool to use during a cool down. 

Move #1: The Straight Up Move- Stand up straight and keep your core pulled in. Shoulders back and bring the UB Toner™ chest level keeping your arms parallel with your chest. Pull in for 5-seconds and hold and then release for 5-second. Do this move 3-times through for 3-rounds. 

Move #2: Chest Level Move- This move is awesome for sculpting those shoulders. Keep your core pulled in and back straight while flexing your arms. Bring the UB Toner™ right below your chest and hold for 5-seconds then release. Do this move 3-times for 3 rounds. 

Move #3: Reach out- This is one of my favorite moves using the UB Toner ™ and it's awesome to do anytime! Keep your back straight, core pulled in, and lean out to a 25-30 degree angle. Pull your shoulder blades back keep your elbows up and squeeze the UB Toner™ for 5-second and release. Do this move 3 times through for 3-rounds.

Move #4: Straight Down- Stand up straight with your core pulled in and shoulder blades back. Bring your elbows up and to your sides and squeeze for 5-seconds and release. Do this move 3-times for 3-rounds through. 

Make sure you flex and squeeze your arms the entire time to get the most benefit from these awesome, easy moves! You can purchase the UB Toner™ here

Check out the video I created for you guys to see all of the moves below and let me know what you think!

Comment below and tell me what your favorite upper body moves to do on the go and when traveling! 

My Favorite Workout Moves | Best Ways To Wake Up Your Body! | With Beyond Quest Cereal Bars

Sponsored Post: This post is sponsored by Quest Nutrition but the content and opinions expressed here are my own. 

Ever wake up feeling sluggish and a tad out of if? I know I do! That's why I've created my five favorite workout moves and best ways to wake up your body in partnership with Quest Nutrition featuring their Cereal Protein Bars. 

These high protein cereal bars are an easy on-the-go snack and with only 110 calories, 2-3g net-carbs, an impressive 12g protein, 6-7g fiber, and 8g of Allulose, (Allulose is a new, naturally occurring sweetener found in raisins, figs, and dates, and it's not metabolized like regular sugar. These cereal protein bars are the perfect companion to my favorite morning workout! These bars come in three flavors, Cinnamon Roll, Chocolate, and Waffle (although my Vitamin Shoppe is currently out of the waffle flavor) they are a fantastic pre and post workout snack and are awesome when you are in need of a sweet treat, but don't want all of the sugar and calories to go along with it. 

I know that I function my best when I do my workout first thing in the morning and I've designed this workout to be all levels friendly. This workout can be done anywhere, indoors and outdoors, and is also perfect for when you need a quick pick me up throughout the day. You can do these moves at any level, as the video below features the beginner, intermediate, and advanced versions of the moves. This workout mainly focuses on the lower body, but it works your entire body- core, arms, shoulders, and back muscles. 

My Five Favorite Workout Moves! Check them out below:

  • Move 1: Shoulder Rolls-1 minute each, front shoulder rolls and reverse shoulder rolls. These work your entire upper body and can be done virtually anywhere. When you are stressed out, try this move and you'll immediately feel better! Plus, you can add weights to this move for even more of a burnout! 
  • Move 2: Squats- Squats are a fantastic, lower body move that works the glutes, thighs, quads, and legs. You can do squats every day, just make sure you have proper form when you do them. Make sure to stick your but out and tuck your tailbone in. If you don't have the flexibility to go all the way down, do a modified version. Always remember proper form over length. 
  • Move 3: Lunges-Lunges are one of my favorite lower body moves and are actually better for your core than doing traditional crunches. They work the glutes, thighs, quads, and calf muscles. Do 1-minute on each side, and you can even alternate between jumping lunges, lunge pulses, and traditional lunges. 
  • Move 4: Wide Legged Squats- Wide legged squats, are a fantastic total body move that works your arms, core, glutes, and thighs. They also work the outside muscle of the glutes which are hard to get to with regular squats. Do this move for 1-minute. 
  • Move 5: Modified Push-ups. Push-ups are a tough, full-body move, and requires you to be able to hold up your entire body weight, so if you can't do that yet, I've provided the modified version where you put your knees on the ground with arms a bit wider than shoulder width apart. Push-ups work your arms, shoulders, back, and core. Do this move for 1-minute. 

Check out my video on YouTube for the full sequence below: 

I hope you guys enjoyed this workout and let me know if the comments section below if you've tried Quest Beyond Cereal Protein Bars and what you think of them! 

The Beginner's Guide To Rock Climbing

I'm harnessed in 30 feet above the ground. My palms are sweaty, I reach back into my chalk bag to chalk up my hands for the next phase of the climb. My right calf muscle is tired and starting to cramp up. I stretch my leg out and put my left hand on the blue rock a foot above me. The blue rock is going to get me to my next rock which will get me to the top of the wall. I lift my left leg up and reach for the next rock with my right arm. Sweat is dripping down my forehead and I'm huffing and puffing. I reach as high as my arms will let me and I make it to the top of the wall! I feel elated and happy and although I'm tired, I just climbed my first 5.13 wall and it feels really good. This is what dreams are made of, this is rock climbing.

My love affair with rock climbing started when I made the decision one cold, January morning that I needed to conquer my fears. I made 2016 the year of facing everything that terrified me, and although rock climbing sounded fun, it scared me and I knew it was something I needed to do. On Valentines Day of last year, my amazing husband surprised me with passes to Granite Arch, our local rock climbing gym and upon entering their space, I fell in love. I learned everything there was to know about rock climbing that day, and now it's become a strong passion of mine. I'm training each day to get good enough to participate in rock climbing competitions this summer.

Rock climbing is a unique way to train your body, and it's tons of fun! You'll conquer your fear of heights, and you'll feel like a monkey when you climb the walls. Rock climbing gives you a strong core and upper body, and the confidence you'll gain from rock climbing will carry on into other areas of your life. Not only will you feel strong, but learning how to rock climb will give you the confidence to try other new things you were fearful of trying before and you will feel stronger in your decision-making skills. This post will guide you through everything you need to know about the basics of rock climbing, what gear you'll need, and the best clothing to wear on those rocky walls. 

The most important thing when learning how to rock climb is having the proper gear and keeping an open mind. You'll need shoes, a chalk bag and chalk, a harness, a locking carabiner, and climbing ropes (optional since most rock climbing gyms have them). You can find all these items at decent prices at any major outdoor, retail store.

You'll also want to make sure you have cool, comfortable clothing. My favorite clothing brand for climbing clothes is Athleta. Their clothes are durable, breathable, and functional, and made for a female's body. The outfit I'm wearing in these photos are made by Athleta and the pants are the Sculptek Stealth Capri in the color Constellation Blue. The Sculptek line is one of my favorite lines from Athleta, with it's breathable, but durable fabric, and super flattering lines, these pants won't let you down. They move with you on the rock climbing walls and are super comfortable. These pants were made for climbing tough walls, running high hills, and lifting heavy weights! The top I'm wearing is also from Athleta and it's called the Inversion Tank made with Powervita fabric in the color Lotus Lady Neon. This top is soft and the fabric feels great on my skin especially when I sweat. This top kept me cool and dry and didn't get snagged on the rock climbing walls. I was impressed at how it stayed put throughout my entire workout and I never had to adjust my top once. Everything stayed put and in its place. The entire outfit is made in a Fair Trade Certified Factory which is really important to me because I know where my clothes are coming from. 

Gear you'll need:

  • Harness- The harness is the belt that keeps you locked into the rope and is required at all gyms. Make sure you chose a harness that fits your body. There is nothing worse than having a harness that is too small or too big. 
  •  Locking Carabiner- The locking carabiner attaches your belay device to your harness.
  • Shoes- Invest in good climbing shoes, trust me, they will be your saving grace and the right ones can keep your feet from getting blisters. Your shoes should fit snugly, but should be flexible enough to have movement in your toes. Try on a few pairs before making your final decision. 
  • Chalk and Chalk Bag- Chalk keeps your hands cool and dry and keeps your palms from getting sweaty. Throughout your climb, you'll reach back and chalk up your hands as needed.                                                                                                                                

Types of indoor rock climbing:

In rock climbing, there are three ways to go, bouldering, top rope climbing, and lead climbing. Lead climbing is for the much more advanced climber, so here will focus on bouldering and top rope climbing. Bouldering is where you free climb on walls that have routes that fall under the V-scale starting from V1 (novice) all the way to V16. You will always have a thick crash pad under you, and the only gear bouldering requires is good climbing shoes, chalk, chalk bag, and breathable climbing clothing. You will learn to boulder by climbing the beginner's climbing wall and climbing up and down as many times as you can. Some exercises that will help your bouldering skils are push-ups, pull-ups, and downward dog exercises from yoga. When you first start bouldering it's easy to get frustrated, but keep trying, and before long you'll be a master at it! The other benefit of bouldering is it will make you super confident when you are top rope climbing. 

Top rope climbing is the most common way to rock climb for the beginner climber. Top rope climbing is where you are secured in a harness, and there is rope that is secured to an anchor on the wall at the gym. You tie into the rope by making a figure-8 knot and the other end of the rope is held by your climbing partner, aka your belayer. Your belayer is the person who manages your climb and will catch you if you fall. Make sure you find a climbing partner you trust and who is a certified belayer. Any rock climbing gym you go to will teach you how to make a figure-8 knot and use of the belay device. I've included instructions to refer to below to see how it's done. 

How to make a figure 8: 

  • Grab your rope and make sure it's long enough, (arms span length is perfect). 
  • Form a large loop in the rope.
  • Elongate the rope, tucking it over and under the line, then feed it back through itself.
  • Make sure to pull it tight and that it's snug and secure. 

Once you've made your figure 8, check in with your partner and ask them if they are ready. They will usually respond with "climb ready, or ready." Once they are ready, you are ready to climb! The standard training routes in climbing gyms range from 5.0-5.15. The 5.0's are usually white colored rocks and your goal will be to stick to the white colored rocks when climbing up the wall. There are two ways to climb the wall called "tracking" and "all feet". Tracking means that you have to follow the same colored rocks with your hands and feet, while "all feet" means your hands need to stay on the same colored rocks, but your feet can go on any colored rocks. Begin with the 5.0-5.5 walls and practice those for a few weeks before you move on to the more advanced walls. Before you know it, you'll be climbing those 5.11 and 5.12 walls and teaching your friends to climb! 

Once you get confident in your wall climbing skills, there are many places in Norther California that have bouldering rocks to train on. Bring your friends, some yummy snacks, a landing pad, your chalk and chalk bag, along with your climbing shoes and you can climb to your heart's content. Bouldering is a fantastic way to build strength and helps you train for the more advanced walls at the rock climbing gym. 

I hope my beginner's guide to rock climbing helps and inspires you to try rock climbing. Once you put that chalk on your hands and finish your first successful climb, you'll be hooked!

And remember, it's not about how high you can climb, it's about the journey you experience along the way. 

A special thank you to Athleta for providing me with the clothes featured in this post. I truly love Athleta's clothing, the brand, and their message to all powerful women.