Friday, January 31, 2014

Workin' on my Fitness

But someone please hold me accountable. Accountability, folks. It's just not happening here!

Earlier this week, I participated in a Twitter chat hosted by @Hukkster on fitness trends in 2014. If you're at all interested in the convo, check them out and also look up #FitKit2014. I got some great tips out of it. Most of them I already knew, but it served as a worthy reminder. As I do each winter (I have also touched on this in a previous post), I have fallen off the fitness wagon. The minute the cold weather shows its frigid face, I call it quits. While my goal is to spend at least 4 days a week at the gym, I am oh so lucky if I get there 3 times, and even that is by the skin of my teeth. But hey, it's never too late for a fresh start and being a day shy of a new month, I wanted to dedicate this post to sharing a few things to help me, and hopefully you, stay motivated. A few of these I learned from the lovely tweeters who participated in the #FitKit2014 chat, and some are little gems of my own.

Here goes…

Consistency is key - once you get into a routine, try your darndest not to break it. This is where I go wrong. If I tell my self "Hey self, we're going to the gym Tues, Thurs, Sat and Sun this week!", it would be so much easier if I just did that. Breaking the pattern screws with my method, and I end up getting to the gym on Sunday only - if I'm lucky. Be. Consistent.

Look cute! - Through the #FitKit2014 chat that Hukkster hosted, I was introduced to Carbon38 (check them out if you haven't. Really cute gear). They advised me to look good to feel better about working out. This is a tip I've always known, but had somehow forgotten. I never feel more excited for a workout than when I have some fresh new duds to don at the gym. Try it! It's the ultimate motivator.

Get a buddy - Did I mention accountability? Yeah, I may be working on my fitness, but this girl needs a witness. I don't have a buddy currently, but I am confident that if I did, I would see more results.

Set realistic goals! I mean if I said to myself "Self, we're losing 15 lbs by next month!" I would more than likely want to fling myself from something really tall next month when I lost only 5, or God forbid, NOTHING. Don't do it to yourself! Give yourself check points (personal tip: don't focus on the number). I like to say "I will feel better about myself in these pants by next month". The scale makes me anxious. EEK!

Incorporate the fun factor - I am missing this. When I moved from the East Coast to the Midwest, I left behind my mom's AMAZING Body Jam class. If you are in the Baltimore area, get yourself a guest pass to Merritt's DAC (or a membership if you feel so inclined) and take her class (hint: we have the same name). You will dance your butt off, have a blast and be sore as all get out the next morning. I've read you can burn between 500-700 calories in each class. I NEED IT BACK!

And last, and most importantly in my opinion, reward yourself. Remember that fitness is a lifestyle, and like all healthy lifestyles, a fit life is a balanced life. If you are too tired to work out, don't go. There is a difference between accountability and down right killing yourself. Know and acknowledge the difference.

So that's it! Now, I am by no means a fitness guru. These are merely suggestions based on research, experience and care. I am not promising results, but I am promising that you will feel a lot better about yourself if you follow at least on of these.

Let's do this, Kiddos (PS: is that offensive? I don't think you're actually kids. I just love that word.)

xo

Monday, January 27, 2014

Just another Manic Monday!

Happy Manic Monday, Kiddos! (I have a newly found attraction for that word. It's so fun! Although, I'm pretty sure my dad patented that word in the early 90s)

It seems that Monday creeps up on me each week with no warning. I tell ya, man, I'll be counting down till Friday, enjoying my Saturday morning breakfast, watching my favorite Sunday evening programs (I just laughed out loud at myself for using the word 'programs', so I had to keep it), and then BAM! 6:00AM Monday morning arrives at my bedside with not so much as a tender nudge to ease me into the week. But you know what, It's ok! Monday is just another chance for me to set a goal and bust my butt to reach it. A clean slate, if you will. I am really working on this silver linings approach to my daily routine. I've been getting better at it, but I swear, guys, I am SO hard on myself. This whole take your life into your own hands and make that change thing is wearing a girl out! I am holding on with high hopes that it will all be worth it, but dream chasing is hard work, and that's all I've been doing lately. CHASIN' THEM DREAMS, Y'ALL! 

So, after a weekend of dream chasing mania and running myself ragged, I took a break to try and find my cool again - my chill factor. Thank goodness for the GRAMMYs! I mean, how else does one find their cool? When else is it okay to live tweet 'till your fingers just can't type anymore?!  I forgot how fun Twitter can be when you really engage, and utilize it for all of its hashtagging glory. I was able to chat with some folks that I would have never even touched base with all because of one little tool - #GRAMMYs. BOOM! . 

Okay, before I nerd out too hard on my obsession with the magic that is social media, I want to take a second to share with you my favorite looks of the night. There were actually a lot of people I was impressed with last night. The GRAMMYs are usually always hit or miss. So, the red carpet is just as much a show as the actual live broadcast. 

The WINNERS of 'Nessie's Red Carpet Awards' are (in no particular order)....

*drumroll please*

BEYONCE

My Source: Huffington Post

I cannot get enough of Beyonce and her fierceness in this sexy Michael Costello gown. Again, I am drawn to a white dress and while sheer mixed with white mixed with lacey floral magic is usually pretty unforgiving, Beyonce has nothing to forgive. So, it works!

GIULIANA RANCIC

My Source: The Hollywood Gossip
When Giuliana Rancic graced my television screen on the E! Red Carpet, it was love at first sight…between me and her to die for Alex Perry gown. I am obsessed with this shade of orange. Mostly because it is a safe color for my complexion, but also because it's fun and bright. And, I mean, who doesn't want to be fun and bright?!

TAYLOR SWIFT

My Source: She Knows
Aaah, and then there's Tay Tay. I have to admit, I am usually pretty hard on Taylor Swift. I don't know what it is! She's the sweetest thing with the most catchy songs, but I will ALWAYS find something about her I can't quite get behind. Well not last night, folks. Not only was her performance just plain perfect, but this Gucci number is what my New Years Eve dreams are made of. She is the most beautiful disco ball I have ever seen!

JOHN LEGEND
(I could never forget my handsome gents)

My Source: Pop Crush
This man is just smooove. Not smooth, but smoooove! You gotta put a little 'v' and extra 'o' action in there to get the real feel. This Gucci made to order tux is everything that is absolutely correct in mens fashion. You can't really tell in this photo, but I'm 99.9% sure its navy. HE PULLED OFF A NAVY TUXEDO! In all seriousness, fellas, this is a classic number and all you have to do is find something that is clean and that fits and you will make. my. day.

Who were your favorites? I am still gushing over these!

Happy Monday! 
Here's to a week filled with stress free dream chasing!

xo

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Kim K's Paris Plunge

Happy Thursday!

Hope you guys are all having a fabulous week. Mine has been quite busy, but I had to take a moment to share how impressed I am with one of Kim K's Paris Fashion Week looks. I'm definitely more of a Kourtney kind of gal when it comes to the bombshell sisters' fashion choices, but this metallic jumpsuit look she's got going on is actually working for me! She look's gorgeous. Whether the rumors of Kanye picking out her outfits are true or not, somebody deserves a round of applause for this choice.

My Source: My Daily

What do you guys think? Sassy or Space-y, Amazing or Astronaut? Let's all weigh in on this. Because da-da-da-da-da I'm lovin' it! (I really miss that jingle, Micky D's...bring it back).

Smile! It's Friday Eve

xo

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Spotlight Sunday: Lupita Nyong'o is a Dream!

If you haven't heard all of the fuss around the force that is Lupita, you must have been asleep for the entirety of the award show season thus far, because girlfriend is KILLING IT. Not only has she been graciously humble in every interview, but she is wowing with her red carpet looks. Lupita girl, who ever your stylist is, when the world realizes you are an unstoppable talent (and they will, oh they will), do not, I repeat, DO NOT get rid of them. You look outstanding. 

My first introduction to Lupita was when I voyaged out to see the 12 Years A Slave, a film each and every individual who is reading this right now should run to see. It is an eye opening piece of art, even for those who have been taught about the subject matter their whole lives. Back to Lupita, though, her performance was phenomenal. It is always so great to see a new comer on the big screen, and it's even better to see a new comer that is actually a force to be reckoned with among all of the a-listers with whom they are competing.

Fast forward a few weeks, and my girl is everywhere! And I am not complaining. She is a new style icon of mine. She proudly owns her natural, short hair do and her beautiful skin tone that I can only imagine feels like velvet to the touch (creepy? don't care). She is everything that society tells is is not beautiful, yet not a soul in the U S of A can deny this young lady's beauty and talent. I am in awe. 

I have to take a moment to share her show stopping looks of the 2014 award show season thus far, and let me just say, I am at the edge of my seat waiting to see how she wows us at the Oscars. Look out, Hollywood. There is a new sheriff in town!

Golden Globes
Source: Quaint and Dandy
Red is always a risky color to wear on the red carpet. You can blend right in. We saw Jennifer Lawrence do it with success, and it doesn't look like Lupita had much trouble stopping the show in this gorgeous Ralph Lauren number.


Critics' Choice
Source: Tom & Lorenzo
I have to admit that while white gowns are some of my favorite, they also strike a bit of terror in me. I'm not sure how the unforgiving color would showcase my lady lumps, but holy ARMS, Lupita. You look amazing in this Calvin Klein cut out (ps. when I saw these dresses I would have never guessed Ralph Lauren or Calvin Klein. BRAVO!)

SAG Awards
Source: US Weekly
This one is my favorite, that color against her gorgeous skin is AMAZE. The intricate neckline is so beautiful. If this Gucci could magically appear in my closet, I would not be upset. 


Lupita, as a lover of acting, fashion and all around humility and talent, you deserve the all of the praise that you are getting. I hope this is the start of a lasting career. 

OH! And if you ever do decide to get rid of your stylist, let he/she know that I am looking!

Happy Sunday!

xo

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

OHOH Sometimes I Get A Good Feeling!

No, but, guys!

I have had butterflies all week. Like, I am talking anxious tummy galore. This could mean I am anticipating something REALLY awful happening, or something GREAT is on the horizon. I am going to go with the latter. 

Sidenote: I MIGHT abuse caps lock.

Ever since I made the decision about the next step in my life, I have been on cloud nine. It is the weirdest feeling. Having had a year of a bunch of blegh and ugh, it's amazing to finally have a few days of eep! and yay, and nothing has even really happened yet. But it will, oh it will. I refuse to accept otherwise. I find that changing my outlook has really heightened every other experience. I am reveling in the relationships around me, and enjoying every day for what it is. OH! And if you have been following my struggle, MY HAIR IS GROWING. Praise the coconut oil gods and the obscene amount of vitamins I have been ODing on. Seriously though, Coconut Oil, do you need a poster child? You taste good, smell good and now my tresses are looking quite silky. Hit a girl up! It is finally working! Ladies, if you're reading this...hair breakage or not, this stuff is great. If you aren't into the slick back look (I really hope you aren't), you can always massage it into your hair, sleep with it in, and wash it out in the morning before you face the world. Can you say soft?! Don't knock it 'till ya try it!

This is the brand I've been using! Grab it at your local Whole Foods.

I don't have much else to say other than I am actually looking forward to what these next few months have in store for me, and through the struggle, I vow to remain positive.

If you're feeling blegh and ugh, I know that there is something you've been wanting to do...DO IT. Take risks (smart ones) while you can. There is no better time.

xo, loves!

Oh, and Happy Hump Day!


Thursday, January 9, 2014

A dream is a wish your heart makes...

I have so many ambitions and dreams floating around in my head and they meet somewhere in the middle of excitement and absolute terror, which leads me to believe I am either completely sane or absolutely crazy.

When every thing equals NO how do you turn it into a YES?

Okay, so, I know that I was very forthright with sharing my intentions to leave Chicago. Not an easy choice, but just something I feel needs to be done to claim my sanity back again. I have always had a dream that often times I feel is too cliche to share with the world, but you know what, 2014 is the year of ME, so I'm gonna say it....I want to live in New York. And no not because I think I am going to move there and be the next Patina Miller. It's because I want to move there and be the next Carrie Bradshaw....just kidding, but not really. I want to move there because I want to. Yeah, that's why. Because I need to. Because it's all i've talked about for like...ever.  I want to struggle and I want to succeed. I actually yearn for the opportunity to feel that I am sacrificing everything for my dream. I am so bored that it pains me. Life is only going to get harder and filled with more responsibility. It may sound delusional, but it's something I have wanted for so long. 

I have wanted to live in NYC since I was 8 years old and my mom let me run free in FAO Schwarz. We used to visit so often when I was a kid. My mom gave up a lot of her dreams for me (one of the many reasons I will not insult her with throwing mine away), but she shared so much of her culture and creativity with me. Making sure that I experienced the magic that is NYC at a young age is one of the many, many ways she made me the woman I am proud to be.

Mommy and I in NY in 2009

There is an energy there. It's where I belong, and I know it.  Yes, I will admit that I want Carrie Bradshaw's life. I will also admit I know that it is probably not going to happen. Every struggle will be worth it. When you are where you are supposed to be, things work. I have to believe that. 

It's just what I want OKAYYYY

It's hard to articulate, but I know that I will resent myself if I don't at least attempt. The most frustrating thing is people reminding me how expensive NYC is. You don't think I know that? I mean I do appreciate the concern. But after my extensive research I have been doing for about three years now, I know as much as anyone, that when I find a one bedroom anywhere under $2000, I can pretty much expect the room to be the size of a luxurious walk in closet. But at this point, I'd take it. That's what people aren't getting. I. KNOW. I know it is going to be hard, I know I can't "afford" it. I also know I am not the first person to go to NY with a dollar and dream. I'll be honest when  I say I am not even sure what I want for myself, in a lot of ways, anymore. Am I an actor? Am I? Or was it just a really awesome hobby I had for a lot of my adolescence?

One thing is for sure though. I am a communicator. I am an enthusiast. I am critic. I am friend. I am a brand. I am a lover. I am hardworking. I am passionate. I am learned. I am determined. I will do whatever it takes to get anything I set my mind to done. I moved to Chicago with not a single job in sight, no real friends, and not too much to look forward to, but I have survived for what will be almost 2 years come May. And I did it with my money, and my hard work. It would be remiss of me to not mention my Love, and acknowledge him for all of the love and support, but I did a lot on my own. My rent has been paid on time. I did that. So who is going to sit here and tell me that I can't do it again? No one.

(p.s. this was really written to that voice in my head that keeps telling me that I can't do this. Excuse my hostility.)



Love you all. These are the rants I warned you about! (yeesh, this was such a stream of conscious.)

Being a twenty something sure is fun right?

I think my next post is going to be "How to dig yourself out of that quarter life crisis"

xx


Tuesday, January 7, 2014

When you know, you know

Happy Tuesday! Stop worrying, I'm still alive after what my friends here in the midwest like to call Chiberia (#Chiberia on Insta will give you some fun results, fyi). Yes...it's as cold as you think. Maybe even colder. As in, Santa ain't not nothin' on what I've been through, shawty. But seriously though, this cold hurts. One fun little freebie from the arctic temps, though, was an unexpected day off yesterday. Getting a sno-errr I mean cold day? is something I'd never thought I'd see post high school. I thought wrong! 

Am I the only one who wishes for snow days and then realizes that it's actually the most boring time? I mean you could eat and drink yourself into a stooper, sure, but I had already used my weekend for that. So what's next on the agenda? Thinking. Laaaaaawd, don't get this girl ta thinkin'! In between watching some really great movies (Watch Paris, Je T'aime if you haven't. It will really ignite that travel bug in you if nothing else), I would slip into deep thought; thoughts about where I am and where I want to be blah blah blah. You know me. I have NO chill.

I think...THINK I have finally made a decision. In an effort to, for lack of a better phrase, "do me" in 2014, I've decided its time for this girl to say 'peace out' to the good ol' midwest. I moved to Chicago in 2012 with high hopes, but sometimes you just know when something isn't right for you. Lately, I've been feeling like you feel when you're in a relationship that you know isn't going anywhere, but you really do like the person, but the chemistry just isn't there anymore or you kinda realize it never was and you should have never committed. A mere friendship would have done the trick! Yeah, thats me and Chicago. It's SO AWESOME, and has so many qualities that I should be in love with...but I'm just not. And believe me when I say I have tried, and tried, and TRIED. I'm just kinda over it. I don't want to be in you anymore, Chi baby. And I'm being honest when I say it's not you, it is most definitely me. You have so many people who love you, and you certainly don't need someone like me who is going to prey on all of your downfalls and insecurities. So, I think it's about time that I bow out.

So, yeah, in short, I've made the choice that when my lease is up, me and Chi baby are through. It has been so real and I'm so done.

On to the next one, on to the next one.

BUT in the mean time, I plan to enjoy Chicago and live it up! This city really does have A LOT to offer, don't get me wrong. All you east coast friends better come visit a girl while you can!

How's that for impromptu ;)?

xo


Friday, January 3, 2014

A Year in the Life

Hi guys!

I know, it's been a while. Between my Holiday travels and New Year's festivities, I really did not prioritize my writing. Shame on me! Another big reason I have been so absent, is because like most other people, I have been doing a lot of reflecting. The end of the year/the start of a new year always seems to be the time that we take to really look back and then make plans to move forward. I am no different. Only, this year the reflection has been a bit difficult. 2013 was probably one of the more difficult years of my adult life. It was my first full calendar year in Chicago, away from my family and friends. It was also a year where I personally didn't feel much growth. I know in five years, I may look back on 2013 and feel differently, but right now it really just feels like a big stain on my history as a person. New Years Eve was a hard night for me, because while most people were celebrating the end of a year, and posting all of their photo collages of their best times, and greatest accomplishments, I was just kinda sitting here like...yeah...I made it through by the skin of my teeth and not really looking forward to much. And this is not to stay that those people with great accomplishments did not deserve them or have hardships and road blocks along the way, but it's to say that though good things did happen to me, they did not overshadow my overall unhappiness. 

So, yeah, it was hard for me to come back to this blog, because while I pride myself on transparency, I don't want this to be a boo-hoo fest. With that said, I am going to hop on the resolution train. While I do not think that resolutions have to be saved for the New Year, we can resolve to be better on say...July 22 if we want! But now is as good a time as any. I have some really simple goals for 2014:

I resolve to...

-  be better to myself. If I want something (within my means), buy it. If I do something well, be proud of myself. If I look nice, acknowledge it. I am so negative and rude to myself on a daily basis...I am really going to try to change that.

- eat well.  I am not going to be afraid to spend the extra $$ if I decide I'd like to try eating organic, and I am also not going to be afraid to spend the extra calories if I decide I want French Toast.

- stick to a fitness regimen. That's pretty straight forward.

- be better to those around me. I have a habit of taking out my feelings about myself and my situation on those closest to me. I really want to work on NOT doing that in the New Year.

- find my joy. I lost my focus and my direction in 2013.

- Celebrate small victories.

- Save money.

- Spend money.


I could go on forever, but these are my main focuses starting out. Oh! And of course, I resolve to maintain a consistent blogging schedule. This blog is one of the only creative and stimulating things I do solely for ME. And I hope that you all continue to enjoy my rants and antics.

Happy Belated New Year!

xx