Miami & Cruise Vacation

A peek into one of my favorite vacations I’ve had in awhile! Hopefully this will inspire your next trip. This is going to be a long post, too, so bear with me.
Miami Beach Coast, Florida (Photo by Hoberman Collection/UIG via Getty Images)

Miami

First of all, if any of you guys have never been to Miami, you need to go like now! It’s so beautiful and there’s so many cool places to check out!

We flew from Baltimore to Miami on Saturday and got in around the same time we needed to to check into our hotel. Our hotel was Downtown Miami and was perfect because it was right across the street from a Checkers and a Publix so we had easy access to anything we needed!

I’m a planner when it comes to planning out vacations or to-do lists so I had a loose outline of what we were going to do each day, so that we could make the most of our time!

Little Havana

As soon as we got checked into our hotel, we got a ride over to Little Havana to have lunch. If you like Cuban food, especially Cuban sandwiches, I would recommend going to Doce Provisions. It’s a small and authentic Cuban restaurant where we had our lunch out on their patio. It was such a relaxed dining environment and experience!

The food did not disappoint. We ordered the chorizo croquettes as an appetizer and I ordered a Cuban sandwich – these are definitely the basics that anyone should try! I highly recommend these menu items as well as the restaurant! All the staff were extremely friendly and everyone spoke English and Spanish.

We didn’t walk around Little Havana much because getting into the town, it wasn’t what I was expecting. All these websites told me it was a must-see when visiting Miami, but I would definitely just go for the restaurant. It wasn’t as touristy as I was expecting.

Credit: The Clevlander Hotel
Nightlife

Since we arrived in the late afternoon, we didn’t have time to hit South Beach for the day but we made it for the nightlife scene. We decided to go to The Clevelander, which is one of the bars I went to a couple of years ago on Spring Break. The Clevelander was also one of the spots Bob’s parents recommended us going to. We each had to pay $10 cover to get in (a little bitter that ladies weren’t free like last time I was there but $10 isn’t bad!). The Clevelander is a hotel first and foremost and has a pool in the courtyard that they cover and use as a stage at nighttime. There’s a huge bar, bottle service, and a DJ on stage with some dancers.

Bob and I pregamed hard and had ourselves such a good time there! Our drink of choice is Red Bull Vodkas (horrible I know) so we got our fair share and made some drunken friends, who were previously trying to hit on me when Bob stepped out to the bathroom for like a minute (awkward!!). It was the same as I remembered it: busy, fun, wild, just a good time for an outdoor club/bar. There’s only a limited number of tables throughout and most are reserved for those fancy people that can afford bottle service. The rest of us peasants have to stand on the dance floor, dancing occasionally, to have some room to ourselves.

Once we got back to the hotel, we took full advantage of the Checkers across the street. This was the first time I had ever been and it was delicious!

Brunch

We love to do brunch whenever we get the chance to, so I figured it was only necessary to do a brunch while we were in Miami. It was Bob’s choice since I had made arrangements for Doce Provisions in Little Havana the previous day. He chose Bulla Gastrobar in Coral Gables, another Miami neighborhood. It was open and airy on the inside which was a great way to enjoy the nice weather. The interior was unlike I’ve ever seen before here in Maryland. It was so nice to get into a different atmosphere!

First and foremost, Bulla Gastrobar caters to Spanish dishes; however, some of the Dulces (Sweets) on the menu cater to standard breakfast finds: waffles, pancakes, etc. I ordered their Hazlenut Waffles and Bob got a pork hash meal. Bob and I ended up sharing our entrees because his was so (unexpectedly) good that I had to have some, so in turn, I needed to share my meal. We also opted for Bottomless Brunch which was around $35 in addition to the entree. Their bottomless included mimosas AND sangria.

You’re allowed to stay for 2.5 hours with the bottomless brunch and we definitely pushed that boundary! The staff, especially our waiter, was so accommodating that he let us stay as long as we pleased. It was hard to leave with the good food, good drinks, good conversation, and even better atmosphere! I strongly suggest checking this place out!

South Beach

After brunch, we got beach-ready and ventured back to South Beach. It was raining off and on for a little so when we finally made it to the beach, it was a little gloomy. Still fun though! We went to Nikki Beach, which was a nice bar on the beach. They had beds and cabanas on the sand where you could hang out with your drinks, where we ended up after sitting on the beach got too cold.

The rain cooled everything down so it was no longer warm I was curled up on the beach with a towel to stay warm – pathetic, I know. That’s when we decided to just chill on the beds until we were ready to leave.

This doesn’t sound like it was much fun but how can you go wrong with the ocean, drinks, no work (!), and your favorite person by your side? It was a win for me!

Publix Nightlife?

That night we weren’t feeling up to going out which was for the best since we had to catch our cruise the next morning! We walked across the street to Publix to get some wine, chicken wings, potato salad, macaroni salad, and beer for Bob to just have a quaint night in the hotel. Honestly, I fell asleep right after we ate at about 9:30pm.

Credit: Royal Caribbean Incentives

The Cruise

Basics

I’ve been on a couple cruises on my day, on Disney Cruise Line and Norwegian, but have always wanted to try Royal Caribbean. I talked with Bob and we decided this would be a fun and different vacation to go on together, especially because Bob’s never been on a cruise before!

I decided a shorter cruise was probably better for a first-timer so we chose the 4-night cruise to the Bahamas and Key West. The cruise was out of Miami which is why we decided to go down a couple nights early. It left on Monday and returned on Friday, stopping at Nassau, Cococay (Royal Caribbean’s private island), and Key West.

Nassau

Nassau can be a little intimidating if you’ve never been here before. Luckily, I’ve been here before so I knew what to expect. As soon as you get into the city, there’s a market with lots of different vendors trying to sell their touristy items as well as a few ladies who are just begging to braid your hair. Steer clear of getting your hair braided. If you’re not used to it, you won’t like it.

I would suggest booking an excursion if Nassau is one of your ports of call because then you will be taken directly to a nice beach for the day. We opted out of doing any beach excursions because I wanted to take Bob to Senor Frogs, a popular and pretty wild bar on the water. They have the yard drinks that seem huge but are actually a rip off (tested at home). Stick to getting a large drink of your choosing because you’ll have more alcohol than what comes in a yard drink, even though it looks bigger (very deceiving!)

In the evening, we booked a sunset cruise excursion. We were taken on a glass bottom boat around Paradise Island as the sun was setting to get a closer look at the mansions and of Atlantis. Our guide told us all the celebrities and interesting people that own these places or have owned them in the past, which was pretty interesting. We came back around to dock as soon as the sun was setting which created beautiful pictures and a great sight to see.

Cococay

Cococay is Royal Caribbean’s private island and was my favorite stop on the cruise. Right now they’re in the midst of building a dock for the boat so the cruise is pretty much anchored in the middle of the ocean. Smaller boats pick up groups from the ship to shuttle them out to shore. I was prepared for this because we had to do the same thing on my last cruise. PSA: for those of you who get seasick, I strongly suggest taking something for this smaller boat shuttle because it moves a lot more than the cruise ship does.

The island is absolutely breathtaking, with light colored sand and the bluest (and clear) water. As soon as you get into the water, you can see all the fish swimming around you. There are lots of chairs laid out on the beach so you don’t have to worry about bringing anything or getting the exclusive chairs as an excursion. You just have to check out towels on the ship to bring over and you’re set!

Lunch is also provided on the island so there’s no need to go back to the ship. And if you have the drink package, drinks are also available. Bob and I wanted these pineapple drinks that cost about $11 extra, but totally worth it for all the island vibes!

We were only able to enjoy this port for a couple of hours because it started to get too windy for the boat shuttle. Royal Caribbean made an announcement over the speakers that we all had to get in line to go back. Still an enjoyable day and unlimited pool time back on board!

Key West

Key West is beautiful and there are so many attractions! All the excursions listed seemed really interesting and fun but Bob and I decided to do our own touristy things. We went to the Mel Fisher Maritime Museum showcasing the treasures Mel Fisher found from the Atocha shipwreck. This was super interesting to see how much they uncovered from this shipwreck near the Keys.

We walked along Duvall street and around Mallory Square, where we visited the aquarium and tried conch fritters. We finished up our trip by trying the chocolate dipped key lime pie on a stick! Delicious!

Overall Cruise Experience

The boarding process was the smoothest I have honestly ever experienced. I wish that Bob had been on other cruises prior because he couldn’t understand how shocked I was that we got on the boat within 15 minutes, tops.

I loved the Royal Caribbean cruise! The service and staff were absolutely amazing and I couldn’t ask for anything more! Our room was cleaned a couple times a day and was spotless. Dinner in the main dining room was always superb and our servers (shoutout to Mario and Nicola!) were so attentive, accommodating, and just fabulous to be around! My favorite meals were the Chicken Cordon Bleu, and the Vegetable Korma and my favorite appetizer was the French Onion Soup.

There are endless amounts of things to do onboard at nighttime as well! So many bars as well as a casino to gamble all your money away (I won $60 on the slots!). The theater group they have onboard is awesome and the singers and dancers are all so talented. The Cruise Director is hilarious and puts on great adult only shows, especially the Love & Marriage Game Show, which was their take on the Newlywed Game. I’ve been telling everyone about this show – it was so funny! There’s dance parties, karaoke, comedy shows, trivia, literally anything that will keep you busy as long as you’d like! The only disappointment I had was not making it to more events!

Enchantment of the Seas was one of my best cruise experiences so far! Remember this ship the next time you’re booking a cruise!

Notes:

Reservations: I had previously (at least a week prior or so) gone on Bulla Gastrobar’s website to make a reservation for brunch. Seating and service will go a lot smoother if you make a reservation beforehand. With Doce Provisions, we didn’t need to make a reservation. On their website it states that you will if you have a party of 8 or more.

All opinions are solely my own. This is not a paid promotion in any way.

Vlog

Check out my vlog of the trip:

Project Comeback and Setbacks

I’m here to show you that life’s setbacks can transform into major motivation into your very own comeback. 

Setbacks

Just when you’re on a roll with crushing your goals and feeling great about everything you’re achieving, life seems to get in the way. Life happens, and it’s not necessarily a bad thing!

At the beginning of the new year, my boyfriend and I started to set each other accountable for our workouts and our meals. It’s always great to be on a fitness journey with someone else so the two of you can stay motivated together! The past 4-6 weeks we really kicked things into gear to prepare for our Miami/cruise vacation we went on last week.

Before going on vacation, we planned to go to the gym on the cruise at least 3 times during the week. How many times did we actually go? 0. And I packed my small resistance bands and everything!!

We also weren’t prepared for the amount of food served on board. There was food available 24/7 and dinner every night was a 3-course meal including a starter, main course, and dessert.

We had an unlimited drink package on the cruise that we definitely took advantage of as well.

I knew we would indulge a little here and there on vacation but we definitely over-indulged.

I wanted to write this to show how easy it is to have a set back or a misstep when it comes to obtaining your fitness goals, that’s why it’s called a lifestyle! It’s more fluid than being one set, determined path to take.



Vacation is a time to indulge and take advantage of being in new places, especially if you’re traveling abroad! Don’t be so hard and restrict yourself! Don’t hold back from tasting the foods or wines, etc., from your destination because you might miss some pretty important memories. This goes for working out, too. If you have time to squeeze in a quick workout – go for it girl! If not, don’t stress! You’ll have more time to enjoy yourself and your surroundings! There is plenty of time to get back in the routine once you get home.

Project Comeback

And this brings me to what Sarah’s Day would call a “Project Comeback”. Basically, I’m aiming to get back in my healthy, everyday routine and stick with it. My goals are:

  1. Workout at least 5 times a week, with at least 1 rest day
  2. Meal prep each week to have healthy meals ready
  3. Get back to my skin care routine (failed at this during vaca)
  4. Consistency with blog posts and creating content

These are my personal goals and you should tailor your goals to match what you want to see in your own Project Comeback. I just want to be more consistent and get back to where my routine was previously because I really enjoyed where I was at.

I hope this holds me accountable of my goals and helps someone start their own Project Comeback! It’s never too late to start back up after taking some time off. We’re all in this together and there’s no day like today to get fit!

Stay tuned to read about my trip and watch a little vlog of what we did!

Vacation Essentials

All the beauty, health, and fitness items that are a MUST when traveling!

 

On Saturday, my boyfriend and I are heading to Miami for a couple days and then embarking on a cruise to the Bahamas and Key West. I couldn’t be more excited! This is the first real vacation we’ve had in two years and I am just dying to leave now!

I cannot wait to get a lot of relaxation, sun, and warm temps! We have everything mostly planned out and it’s filled with great food and plenty of beach time. I plan to blog about my vacation in paradise as well as upload a travel vlog if anyone is interested!

Vacation is all about enjoying yourself and since we live a healthy and balanced lifestyle, it’s okay to take the time to indulge. Don’t feel guilty about it! The biggest regret you’ll have is holding yourself back from missing out on these great opportunities and experiences. You don’t have to over-indulge, but have some drinks and get those crazy cool donuts you can’t get anywhere else. This is why it’s called a balanced lifestyle. There’s always room for those sweet treats in your diet.

I wanted to share some of my must-have items while traveling. These are the beauty, fashion, and fitness items I can’t leave my home without. Some of these are no-brainers but just as important!

Sunblock/Sunglasses/Coverup

I cannot stress enough the importance of sunblock and wearing it at all times when you’re outside sitting in the sun, no matter what your skin type is or who you are. I like the cream based sunblock as opposed to the spray because I always miss spots with the spray!! My favorite sunblock is Hawaiian Tropic because it has tropical scents like coconut instead of the standard sunblock-smell.

Sunglasses are kind of a no brainer but you need to protect your eyes just like you would your skin!

I used to think coverups were a waste but they’re really handy when you’re trying to go to a beach bar or a restaurant or other public place, it’s nice to just throw something on and still look presentable/allowed in the establishment. I like the coverups that resemble actual dresses because they’re so easy and look like you’re actually dressed! LOL

Eye Mask/Pillow/Sweatshirt

Essentials for flights mainly. I make sure I have a sweatshirt with me (even in the summer) because it doubles as a handy blanket for chilly flights. Eye mask will keep out the unwanted sun from your flight neighbors that insist on keeping the window open!



Mini Bands or Resistance Band Kit

If you chose to workout on vacation, bringing mini resistance bands or a resistance band kit is like bringing a tiny gym with you! There are so many exercises you can perform to create a mini workout while you’re away.

Not to mention, there’s always workouts you can do with solely using bodyweight!

BB Cream

BB Cream is the perfect amount of coverup (plus SPF!) to wear on vacation. I hate loading up my face with makeup when I’m out on the beach or hiking or elsewhere when I travel. BB cream gives you some coverage but isn’t as thick on your skin so it can actually breathe.

Book or Magazine

I always keep at least 2 magazines with me when I travel. These are great to read on a flight or just sitting poolside relaxing! It’s nice to unplug yourself and immerse yourself in a story or catch up on the celeb gossip.

Headphones

Essential if your on a long flight or road trip with surrounding unwanted noises, enough said.

Makeup Wipes

Just because you’re off your regular skincare routine, doesn’t mean you should skip out on ensuring that you remove all dirt and makeup from your face. This is important to prevent breakouts. Makeup wipes are the easiest thing to pack and use to quickly get all the gunk off!



Camera

Yes, I still use a camera that’s not attached to my phone! I bought a Nikon camera two years ago, before our trip to Jamaica, to capture breathless pictures of our paradise. I bought this because I’ve been getting into photography since then so don’t think this is a requirement to get amazing pictures. The cameras on phones have gotten pretty damn good too! 

Just be sure to document everything in whichever way you can!

Vitamins

Keep your body regulated when you’re away! Fastest and easiest way? Vitamins! Especially Probiotic vitamins. I found these Purely Probiotic vitamins by Olly at Target. They are good for your immune system and digestive system. Probiotic vitamins well help keep your gut regulated while you’re out indulging in different foods.

Just wanted to show you guys a peak in my suitcase, kinda like those “What’s in my Purse/Gym Bag?” YouTube videos. I hope this helps you for your next vacation!

Stay tuned for my travel vlog 🙂

At Home/Outdoor Leg Circuit Workout

An easy and effective, minimal equipment leg circuit workout that can be done at home or outside.

With the weather (finally) starting to get nicer, I like to try to come up with workouts I can do outside and with minimal equipment. These kinds of workouts are also perfect if you’re running low on time. This leg circuit is very intense and effective – I was definitely sore afterwards!

Since I live in an apartment complex, I have lots of staircases around to take advantage of. You can also find a staircase at a park near your house, bleachers at the local school, or even the one inside your house!

For the circuit workout, I added in a band to go around my thighs. If you don’t have a band like this readily available, you can still do the workout without it! It just adds more resistance and activates your glutes.

Warm Up:

Stair Sprints – 3 sets of 10 sprints up the stairs. Walk or jog back down the stairs



Circuit Workout:

Perform each exercise back to back and complete 3-4 sets of the circuit for the complete workout. Use the stairs for these exercises.

Exercises:
  1. Banded Squat Walks
  2. Banded Sumo Squat Jumps
  3. Banded Side Steps – Left Side
  4. Banded Side Steps – Right Side
  5. Lunges or Jumping Lunges (20 total)
  6. Stair Sprint

After this circuit workout, I usually throw in an additional superset or two to finish off the workout. A superset is when you perform two exercises back to back with little to no rest in between.

Superset 1 (3 sets):

This superset is performed without the staircase.

  1. Banded Sumo Squats – 20 reps
  2. Banded Narrow Squats with Added Pulse – 12 reps

Superset 2 (3 sets):

  1. Banded Step Ups with Glute Kickbacks (performed on the stairs) – 10 each side
  2. Side Lunges – 15 each side

Enjoy & get sweaty!!

Fitness YouTubers You Should Know

Providing you a list of my favorite fitness ladies to follow (and subscribe to!) on YouTube.

These ladies provide so many workout ideas, a lot of motivation, meal prep recipes, and just all-around positive vibes! Here’s some in-depth information of my Top 3 YouTubers and then some others below for you to check out.

Whitney Simmons

Whitney Simmons is a fitness YouTuber and Gymshark athlete based in Utah. She focuses on weightlifting workouts, HIIT routines, meal prep ideas, with some beauty and clothing hauls thrown in the mix. She has such a high energy and is easy to relate to. Whitney really helped me get into more of the weightlifting scene at the gym. She has so many workout ideas that can be found on her Instagram or YouTube channel. Instead of vlogging like other fitness YouTubers, Whitney’s videos are short and to the point. They get straight to the workout which is awesome! I love that you don’t have to scroll to find the workout part of the video. All the exercises are listed in the description box of the video for quick access or to screenshot it for the gym!

She has started a merchandise line and a collaboration with Tula as well!

Sarahs Day

Sarah Stevenson is the Austrailian vlogger behind Sarahs Day. She believes in natural, holistic remedies to conquer any sickness she’s facing, as well as improving her hormonal acne (which is how her channel started!). She’s a Paleo-based eater and all the recipes she shares are normally gluten-free, dairy-free, mostly vegan and refined sugar free. Sarah focuses more on bodyweight movements and plyometrics in her workouts as opposed to strictly weightlifting.

She has her own workout e-book called Sweat It To Shread It, which is an “8-Week active lifestyle challenge”. I have purchased this myself but haven’t had a chance to do it yet! Once I do, I will post a review of it, but I’m sure I will love it!

Sarah has also just recently released a fitness line with White Fox Boutique.



Blogilates

Cassey Ho is the creator of this fitness empire, Blogilates. Blogilates started out small and has taken over the Internet! Cassey is filled with so much positivity that radiates out from her videos. She posts Pilates videos and no equipment is necessary, just a yoga mat if you have on! If you sign up for her newsletter on Blogilates, she sends you a free workout calendar every month. This calendar has the different YouTube videos to watch and complete on that particular day.

In addition to her YouTube channel and her blog, Cassey also has a PIIT28 fitness program and a 28-Day Reset Nutrition Program available for purchase. The PIIT28 program is like HIIT, but with Pilates moves. Each workout is only 28 minutes long. The 28-Day Reset is similar to the Whole30 program in which you eliminate all dairy, gluten, alcohol, processed grains, and added sugars. Each of these are slowly added back into your diet. From this, you are able to tell which foods cause issues with your stomach and start eating in a way that eliminates that!

And if that isn’t enough, Cassey has her own fitness clothing line called POPFLEX Active.

Other Fitness YouTubers to Follow:

Tone it Up

Power fitness duo Karena and Katrina run this huge Tone It Up Community! Check out their workouts on YouTube that uses minimal equipment or check out their app!

Brittany Dawn Fitness

Has all the Starbucks secrets! As well as workouts, meal ideas, the works!

Nicki Blackketter

Another fitness vlogger that’s part of the Gymshark family!



Boho Beautiful

For the yogis looking for full workouts!

BodyBuilding.com

An all-around great resource for all things weightlifting: workouts, meal prep, supplement information, exercise dictionary – they’ve got it all!

At Home Total Body Workout (Apartment Friendly!)

A total body workout designed to be done at home with little to no equipment, and NO jumping moves so it’s apartment friendly!

Happy Snow Day! At least to us who live in the Northeast. I was super excited to see this much precipitation because I haven’t had a snow day yet this year! I still had to work from home but I was able to multi-task and get a bunch of stuff done.

Since I was stuck indoors all day with no access to my gym, I decided to throw together a full body workout and film it for you guys, too!

The best thing about this workout is that it’s apartment friendly! This means no jumping moves that bother your downstairs neighbors. I like working out at home but I do a lot of jumping moves and always feel so guilty for disturbing my neighbors.

Second best thing is that this workout targets all your main muscle groups: upper body, lower body, and abs. What can be better than that?!

I’ve separated the workouts by muscle group in case you’d like to mix and match and not complete them all. All exercises use body weight and can be modified to use added weight.



Lower Body Circuit 

I found this lower body circuit workout from Kelsey Wells, the developer of the PWR program on the Sweat app with Kayla Itsines. I’ve been incorporating it into some of my leg days at the gym and it’s killer! This is only the activation phase of the workout…in other words, the warmup. It definitely gets your heart pumping to kick off a workout!

Directions:

Set a timer for 10 minutes. Complete each exercise back to back. See how many sets you can complete before the timer is up!

Exercises:
  1. 10 Glute Bridges
  2. 20 Sumo Squat Pulses
  3. 10 Stationary Lunges (each side)
  4. 10 Reverse Lunch & Knee Up (each side)
  5. 20 Sumo Squats with 2 Pulses

Booty Burn

This booty burn part of the total body workout focuses on more Pilates style movements to really target the entire glute muscle.

Directions:

Perform each exercise back to back. Rest. Repeat 3-4 times.

Exercises:
  1. 15 Glute Bridges
  2. 10 Glute Kickbacks each side
  3. 15 Glute Kickback Pulses each side
  4. 20 Donkey Kicks each side
  5. 10 Rainbows each side

Ab Attack

For this Ab workout, I used my sliders. These sliders were cheap and can be found on Amazon. You can use the sliders on hardwood floors or on carpet. If you don’t have sliders, you can use cloths underneath your feet on hardwood floors.

Directions:

Perform each exercise back to back. Rest. Repeat 3 times.

Exercises:
  1. Knee Tucks
  2. 20 Mountain Climbers each side
  3. 20 Oblique Side Crunches each side
  4. 20 Plank Jacks



Upper Body Workout 

This workout was also inspired by Kelsey Wells. It was adapted and slightly modified from one of her Instagram posts and uses resistance bands. You can swap the resistance bands for dumbbells and can adjust the number of reps as necessary.

Directions:

Complete 12-15 reps of each exercise back to back. Rest and repeat for 3-4 sets.

Exercises:
  1. Lateral Raise
  2. Tricep Extensions
  3. Reverse Fly
  4. Front Raise
  5. Upper Row
  6. Bicep Curls
  7. Tricep Kickbacks
  8. Upper Back Row
  9. Squat to Shoulder Press

Hope you enjoy this workout! The how-to video will be coming shortly 🙂

 

FabFitFun – Spring Unboxing

Unboxing of the Spring box of FabFitFun. Take a sneak peek into all the goodies in the Sprint 2018 box!

What is FabFitFun?

FabFitFun is a seasonal subscription box (received 4 times a year for each season) containing full-size products, not samples like the other guys. They provide a wide variety of products to subscribers from many different brands: accessories, fitness gear, hair care, nail care, makeup, jewelry, etc. Each box contains over $200 worth of stuff and you get it for 1/4 of the price!!

Some items and styles can vary slightly from box to box. So you may have a different colored clutch than your bestie.



FabFitFun Spring 2018 Unboxing

Check out my unboxing video on YouTube to see what comes inside a FabFitFun box! This is my favorite subscription box and I always love what’s inside of them!

NOTE: This post and this video are not sponsored in any way. These opinions are my own.

 

OOTD 4

Switching the clocks forward made it finally feel like Spring is coming. It stayed light out until 7pm instead of the usual 5pm. This small change inspired me to start picking out spring colors to wear even though it’s still the same old winter temperatures outside.

For work today, I chose to pull out a darker floral dress with a pastel pink sweater. Since it’s still 40 degrees outside, I put on leggings underneath and wore with my TOMS wedges.



Lucky for me, I got this dress in my second Stitch Fix package. I linked a dress that’s similar below.

Get the Look:

Dress: http://bit.ly/2p2Z6pQ

Leggings: http://bit.ly/2p3Mf70

Sweater: http://mcys.co/2tJ0H8S

Slim Legs HIIT Workout

HIIT

HIIT is the best way to get your heart rate pumping and to burn fat in the shortest amount of time as possible. A good HIIT session can be done in as little as 10-15 minutes and will leave you feeling a great burn. It’s the perfect sweaty sesh to get you going before a workout or as a burnout afterwards.

Personally, I like to use HIIT as a warm-up exercise before I start weightlifting. And since I’m looking to decrease my body fat percentage, I try to incorporate HIIT into my workouts at least 3 times a week. I try to match the moves in my HIIT routines to what I’m working out that particular day. Here is an example of what I’ve been doing as my HIIT routine for leg day.

For this HIIT routine, I use a step with two of the risers on each end. If you’re a beginner or don’t have this piece of equipment readily available, there are certainly modifications that can be made. Try taking out one of the risers so that there’s only one per side or you can take them out altogether. You can also remove the step entirely if you’re doing this at home! For more of a challenge, add risers to each side or shorten the time of rest between exercises.



Timing

You can time yourself however you feel comfortable. Some HIIT is timed with 40 seconds working (performing the exercise), 20 seconds rest. I like to do 30 seconds working and 30 seconds rest.

There are 4 exercises in the routine. Complete the exercise in the working time of your session, then rest. Then move onto the next exercise, then rest and so on. Complete this for 3-4 rounds so that the workout is a total of 12-16 minutes.


Exercises

PSA: I don’t believe these are the technical names for these exercises but they made the most sense in describing the motions. See the video below for a how-to.
In and Out Squat Jumps

Start in a narrow squat position with both feet on the step. Jump out from off of the step to a sumo squat. Keep jumping back and forth between positions. Try adding pulses to the squats!

Jump Overs

Begin with your right foot on the step and your left food off of the step. Jump onto the step with your right foot then with your left. Once your left foot hits the step, your right foot should be off the step. Jump back to the left the same way.

Toe Taps

Similar to the all-familiar soccer drill: bring each toe up to the top of the step and gently tap each toe. Keep alternating each toe/foot that is tapping the top of the step.

Skaters

This is the only exercise performed without the step. I like to face the step on its length side so that I can measure how far I’m jumping during this move. Jump to the right with only your right foot and left leg should curtsy almost behind you. Jump to the left with your left leg and your right foot will be behind your left. This movement mimics the moves that inline skaters make on the rink. I try to jump laterally so that my foot aligns with the end or past the end of the step on each side.



Perform these back to back for a total of 4 minutes per round. Remember to repeat for 3-4 rounds to complete your HIIT routine!

See the video below on how to perform each exercise. Trying to type out what to do might be a little difficult to understand!

 

First Stitch Fix Experience: Honest Review

An un-affiliated, honest review of Stitch Fix from a normal gal who loves her clothes and a good deal. 

Subscription boxes are becoming my downfall in this world. Getting a box of goodies each month or 4 times out of the year without leaving my house?! Sounds like a dream—but luckily—this is the reality we know today. There are tons of different boxes you can get (most customized to you and your preferences) ranging from snacks, clothes, beauty products, and even toys and treats for your furry friends!

Today I welcome you to one of the growing subscription boxes for fashion. Meet Stitch Fix.

StitchFix.com

The Important Details:

What is Stitch Fix and How Does it Work?

Stitch Fix is, essentially, a virtual styling service for both men and women. When a user signs up, a style profile is submitted to a stylist that hand picks 5 pieces that matches the user’s personal style. These pieces include clothing items as well as shoes and other accessories.  The style profile submitted determines what the user likes and dislikes as well as what he or she normally wears or a particular style or patterns they are willing to try.

A ‘fix’ is then scheduled and delivered straight to the user’s address, which can be a one-time thing or can be set up on an ongoing delivery schedule and a fix will be delivered once a month.

StitchFix.com



Then, it’s like Christmas! Five new pieces are received and can be tried on at leisure to see if they will be integrated into his/her wardrobe. The return process is easy! The fix includes a prepaid envelope from the USPS. Keep what you want and return what you don’t and you obviously have to pay for what you keep.

For each fix, $20 is taken for a styling fee. This money is used towards the fix and is deducted from the total price of the items that are kept. This credit does not roll over to the next fix if it isn’t used.

When checking out online, there is a review section to fill out. Keeping it as detailed as possible allows the stylist to make the next fix even better and more tailored to the user’s personal style.



How Much Does it Cost?

No matter what, the fix will cost at least the $20 styling fee. From there, it depends on what each item is listed at. The total of the items you keep will be added up and sent to checkout.

Pertaining to the items themselves, feedback can be sent regarding the prices of the items received. Users are able to say if the price is too high, too low, or just right for each item. The stylist takes these notes into consideration for next time. There is also a section of the style profile in which each user sets a particular budget for what they would pay for each type of items in the fix.

If all items from the fix are purchased, there is a 25% discount automatically applied at checkout.

Returns are always free since a prepaid USPS return envelope is included.

What Sizes Are Available?

Luckily, Stitch Fix offers a wide range of sizes and promises to increase this range. Currently, sizes 0-24W and XS-3X are offered for Stitch Fix women. There are also petite and maternity sizes available.  

How Often Do I Get a Fix?

A fix can be scheduled at different frequencies including: every 2-3 weeks, every month, every other month, and every 3 months. It does not require a monthly subscription.

My First Fix

In my style profile, I mentioned that my work dress code is pretty casual and that I would like to see nice tops I can pair with jeans. I also chose that I like boho style and that I mostly wear casual outfits.

I received my first fix at the end of January. I received: one blouse, one sweater, one jacket, one pair of jeans, and a purse.

First Impressions

I liked everything in my fix right off the bat except the jeans. This is just a general rule of thumb for me, that jeans are hard to shop for. StitchFix only asks for one size for each type of garment instead of providing a range. I’m usually a 4 or 6 depending on the store so it’s hard to pinpoint it to one size when Stitch Fix is pulling from many different stores and boutiques with varying sizing charts.

jeans

The jeans just didn’t fit correctly. They were labeled as a skinny jean but fit more like a straight jean and just wasn’t flattering. Needless to say, these ended up in the ‘return’ pile.

army green jacket

The jacket was great and in-line with current trends. It was an army green jacket with a hood. This fit a little tighter than I like my jackets to be. I want a jacket to fit loose so I can layer pieces underneath without feeling restricted. I would have kept it but I already had a similar jacket. This joined the jeans in the return pile.

red blouse

The blouse was so cute and very boho! It was in a dark red which my closet is lacking, so I was excited to see something different. This is a perfect shirt for work or to dress up jeans on a date night. I was going to purchase this but didn’t give myself that much of a budget to spend on Stitch Fix.

tan purse

The bag was a tan, oversized hobo crossbody bag, which is literally my favorite kind of bag. It was perfect because I’ve been wanting to get a tan bag for awhile now but haven’t found one that jumped out at me. When this bag came in the fix, I knew I had to purchase it. This was one of the items I decided to keep.

slouchy sweater

Lastly, the sweater was oversized with an open back and nice detailing. It was slouchy and black and white (my favorite colors LOL). I knew this would be perfect with my black bralette underneath since the open back could show off the detailing of the bralette. The perfect thing about Stitch Fix is that I was able to grab the bralette and pair the two together right then and there. It looked awesome and the sweater was so comfortable. This item was a must have in my closet and I have happily worn it about 5 times since purchasing!

Overall Thoughts

Stitch Fix is a great service! It’s so cool that there are actually stylists who hand pick each piece just for your personal style and preferences. Each fix gets tailored more and more to your specific tastes so they improve each time.

The pieces are more expensive than I would like. I like getting clothes with discounts and deals, but Stitch Fix doesn’t offer any. The quality is reflective of the price so you are getting clothes that will last and none of them are cheaply made. I would say the average price per item, in my experience, is $50.

It’s also nice to be able to try the ‘fix’ pieces on with items you already have in your wardrobe. This gives you a chance to see if you can actually incorporate the piece with what you own already.

The best part about Stitch Fix is that you don’t have to put in any effort when it comes to shopping. All the work is done for you! You just get to sit back and wait for the fix to arrive at your door.