Movement in Self-Care

I recently guest wrote for a new blog startup called Old Soul Wednesdays. The creator contacted me after a takeover I did on the Girls’ Night In Instagram about incorporating exercise in my self-care routine. Here’s my response to their open-ended prompt about movement in self-care. 

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There are so many staples that come to mind with the term, “self-care.”
Rose water, bath bombs, a glass of your most Instagrammable red. The recent self-care movement has reignited our love of showing love to ourselves, emotionally, spiritually, mentally. But one aspect of self-care that gets overlooked more often than not is the physical side- exercise.
When you dissect the current self-care space, the landscape is almost oversaturated with self-indulgence. And I don’t use the term with the kind of negative connotation it typically carries, but self-indulgence in terms of, “hell yeah, this is for me.” When we look at skin-care must-tries, candles we’re addicted to, athleisure we can barely afford but buy anyway, there’s almost a kind of self-love validation that comes with it.
Yet, these things are short-term fixes. Temporary manifestations of the appreciation we have for ourselves. And while they’re great and absolutely necessary (I love a “Treat Yoself” splurge as much as the next lady), they hold no power in achieving goals, changing our mentality, or challenging ourselves.
The recent shift to the effortless pampering type of self-care has made routines almost exclusively built around the cosmetology, spirituality, and “wine”-ology industries. If it can’t be done from under a furry blanket, with a mug in hand, or while plant-momming, we can’t help but question if it’s really self-care. This kind of exclusivity makes physically active time for yourself appear less worthy of the self-care space.
Exercise tends to have a bad rep. Challenging, sweaty, and full of expectations that feel unattainable. It requires full force, full steam, and full power for full reward. It goes against most of what social media and pop culture tell us about pressing pause and showing self-love. It requires no incense or bath shelves (pause for gasps). It’s about you, what you can do, and how it makes your body feel.
Spoiler alert: it can all be pretty great stuff.
Regular exercise has its scientific benefits. Bla bla bla. I’m not a doctor, consult WebMD if you want to know more. But something I am familiar with is how exercise plays a role in the way I take time for myself. A good workout has always been a priority for me; I was the high schooler skipping Friday night hangouts for a HIIT class and am now the college student late to lecture post-lift session.
But it wasn’t until I started learning more about the self-care revolution through my time interning with Girls’ Night In that I started to see the sacrifices I make for exercise as part of doing something for myself.
I think my love for exercise has always felt selfish. It was time I was stealing from other people and things I loved and the only person who benefited from it was me. I was stronger, happier, and achieving goals I’d always dreamed of, like becoming a spin instructor, but the way exercise imposed on plans with friends, getting work done, and more attached a feeling of guilt. I never saw it as something I needed for my overall wellness. It was just a routine, a hobby, the most enjoyable chore.
Recently I’ve set a couple of self-care goals for myself.
One, start a skin-care routine (no progress yet, here).
Two, say no to plans when you don’t have the bandwidth or the desire to make them (CHECK).
Three, treat mental health like physical health (still working on it).
Four, treat physical health as part of self-care and let it be a guilt-free way to love myself.
Allowing movement to be a part of your self-care routine opens doors to long-term changes. You have the ability to enjoy everything your body can offer you if you let it. And, by pairing physical force with positivity and optimism, you can inspire strength in yourself you never even knew existed.
Personally, I bring a yoga “let’s set an intention for our practice today” mindset to every type of movement I do. I find it helps me feel purposeful and powerful and gives me something to work towards. An easy way to do this is to replace single-focused goals, like losing weight, with more holistic ones. For example, turn “I want to run to get my bikini body,” into “I want to run to clear my mind and take on this challenge.”
It also helps us focus less on destination and more on each individual push. Every step matters, every stride takes you further, every drop of sweat makes the journey easier. Remind yourself that not every trip to the gym will be your best, but getting there is half the battle and if you showed up you’ve already won that.
When you bring a positive mentality to exercise, it contributes to a greater sense of caring for yourself and your body. It’s not just about what your body can do, it’s about what your body and mind can do together.
For me, the pros far outweigh the minutes of panting that follow a hard workout. Besides the endorphin rush, you may find yourself achieving beyond your goals. But all successes take time and hustle. And while other self-care routines are more about pampering and treating, fitness will have more self-doubt and challenge on its path.
It won’t be easy, but by seeing exercise as a self-care staple, we can make our moments of movement a little more sacred and a little more self-indulgent.
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“This is part of a series called In First Person, in which digital natives respond to an open-ended writing prompt.”
Find the original blog post here.

Stuck in my head: White Rabbit // Jefferson Airplane
Snap it: Fishtown, Philadelphia (before work… because I kept forgetting to take pictures to accompany the piece… this workout outfit has never seen the gym…)

Special thanks to Larissa from Old Soul for the feature. It was a dream and a half to work together. 

Officially An URBN Intern (with a side of pizza).

Back in January, I wrote a blog post about my application process to URBN as an Urban Outfitter’s Social Media Intern. It was the standard “girl gets rejected from the summer internship, but still remains positive” kind of sob story. I shared my application project, a series of mock Instagram posts I’d shot in DC, and promised I’d be back next fall ready to try again.

About two hours after that post went live, I got a call from URBN’s HQ where they asked me to come in for an interview with their Food and Beverage division, instead of for the position I’d originally applied for. So naturally, I packed my Herschel, cued a couple podcasts, and took my first ever train ride to Philly. Obviously, I instantly fell in love with the URBN corporate campus (think Anthro meets FP meets Urban meets every hipster nook and cranny/meal you could ever dream of) and had an awesome time chatting with the team.

The rest is history. And by history, I mean a food-loving-Instagrammer’s dream come true.

This position is different than anything I’ve ever done before. While a lot of it will be marketing based, doing things like running social media accounts, learning the ropes of PR, and doing some website optimization, I’ll also have the opportunity to explore deeper into F+B and take part in the growth of a new department, Urban Hospitality.

Flash forward to now, I’ve officially traded Union Market for Reading Terminal and am slowly learning how to navigate the SEPTA. I’ve got my neighborhood hot yoga studio and am even debating actually trying a cheesesteak. I said “debating.”

Exciting things are ahead. I can practically see the future Instagram Stories now.

Yes, URBN owns restaurants. AND they’re trendy and good. Explore them here: Pizzeria Vetri (there’s one in DC), Amis Trattoria, Bar Amis, & Terrain Garden Cafe. 


Stuck in my head: Giants // Bear Hands
Snap it: NAVY YARD AKA MY NEW HOME.

 

It’s Internship Season, Baby!

Internship season is upon us. From engineering to marketing to art to research, a lot of students will get the chance to work with amazing companies and take steps to discovering their ~professional~ calling. It can be intimidating to be the youngest in the office or the most novice on the job. As I gear up for my own summer adventure, I want to share some tips I’ve learned on how to leave your mark on your summer position and get the most out of your experience. 

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1. Ask Questions

It’s perfectly normal not to know things in a new position. It can be frustrating to feel behind or unprepared, but by being proactive and asking about what you don’t understand, you can come away with more than just you’re already comfortable with. Whether it’s an informational interview to learn more about a colleague’s career path or asking for help on a project because you can’t figure out where to start, being curious can be your fastest route to success. Just make sure your questions are purposeful and not easily answered by Google!

2. Become An Office Journaler

One of my favorite ways to track internship accomplishments is by keeping an active journal of what you’re working on, what the feedback you’re receiving on it is, and what the outcomes are. This way, in both meetings with your managers and on your resume post-position, you can easily speak to your experience. Bonus points for asking your manager for some metrics on your projects towards the end of the summer. Think big numbers, actions, and outcomes. 

3. Speak the Lingo + Know the News

For a lot of careers, there are specific terms that are key to understanding. In marketing, I’ve found that knowing the lingo to talk about different types of business goals in relation to social media (ex: awareness, engagement, reach) can make or break how a professional sees my credibility. You can keep your Intern-Cred in tiptop shape by utilizing your BFF, @theinternet, to get a step up and a better understanding of the scene you’re walking into. Similarly, staying on top of the news in your general industry is important, too. I live on my Feedly board for SEO, social media, fast-casual, and hospitality news updates. Okay, and I have a board for celebrity and reality TV news, but that’s not internship-success related, so hush.

4. Show A Little Co-Worker Lovin’

Networking is such a huge benefit of working at a company. Make an effort to form connections with your co-workers that are genuine. This feels super duper obvious and stupid to say, BUT BE NICE TO EVERYONE. You never know who will become who in the game of promotions, CEOs, and future jobs. If you’re like me and your memory is already in the garbage like last week’s Sweetgreen salad, keep a notebook where you jot down notes post-peer conversations. It may feel silly but Sandy, your imaginary cubicle buddy, will appreciate if you remember her daughter’s name or her love of Pinterest.

5. Going Old School– Pen and Paper

It’s so easy to depend on technology as your communication and note-taking tool. When in meetings, it’s best practice to trade your tech for a journal and blue, or black, pen to demonstrate your concentration vibes. A meeting is a great opportunity to channel your inner adulting and earn brownie-points from your co-workers. As an intern, most teams won’t expect you to have a huge input in the conversation, but if you are going to speak up in a meeting, make sure to add value with your comments. In the words of my mom, a trusty real-life-working-woman, “don’t just talk to talk.” At my last summer internship, I tended to use meetings as a chance to take note of things I didn’t know, didn’t understand, or wanted to learn more about. Then I would ask my manager about them post-meeting.

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No matter where you work, what you do, or what resume bullets you come away with, there’s, undoubtedly, something to learn in every experience. But, by leaving your mark on your summer position, you can open up doors to the next big thing. It’s all about creating connections, seeing the value in every project, and giving your all to take the most away. 

I guess all that’s left to say is happy interning!


Stuck in my head: Swim // Fickle Friends
Snap it: Seyou (BAKERY HEAVEN), Washington DC

Where My Money Goes.

Welcome to my newest obsession: STATIONARY STORES.

Lately, my Instagram feed has been flooded with pictures of cute poofy pens, greeting cards, stickers, and day planners. And I hate to say it, but I’ve become a sucker for an enamel pin. There’s something so satisfying about ordering all things you need to #adult, and then not #adulting. Here are my go-to photo ready shops for all the stationary goods you didn’t know you needed in life.

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Ban.do

band

photo from @shopbando

Things to check out: their new day planners, the graphic tees, + everything their Creative Director, Jen Gotch, loves

Packed Party

packed party

photo from @packedparty

Things to check out: all the glitter you’ll ever need + “Guac This Way” skinny doormat

Hello Sunshine Shop

32850122_627486007585850_1548363520121241600_n.jpgphoto by @sunshine_jo

Things to check out: Allllllll the pins (especially this avocado toast one)!

The Wing

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Photo by @the.wing

Things to check out: (while not necessarily a stationary shop, what has stickers and pins counts for me) “Girls Doing Whatever The Fuck They Want 2018” Stickers + “Bag Lady” canvas tote

People I’ve Loved

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photo by @peopleiveloved

Things to check out: “You’ve got this” socks, I Like You, I Love You Book, + all these map prints that make cities art and art cities.

The Shop That Needs To Exist, But Doesn’t Yet

American Dream House

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photo from @americandreamhouse

Things to check out: the killer Instagram graphics for now- ULTIMATE ROOM ACCESSORIES COMING THIS SUMMER


Stuck in my head: Animals // Coast Modern
Snap it: Dormify pop-up in Montgomery Mall (good place to shop for your next dorm decor splurge)

 

 

 

The Sophomore Album.

Well, it’s all finished. The stress, the pressure, the moments of absolute pure fun in between. This year was full of all kinds of things, and while I took a blogging break, I was still capturing my favorite moments by doing what I do best. Photos.

Sophomore year, you were the worst. But you brought some of the best people and memories into my life and for that, I am so grateful.

Fall 2017-Spring 2018: we’ll call you The Sophomore Album.


Stuck in my head: Giants // Bear Hands
Snap it: 19th Birthday Brunch, Bistro Bohem, Shaw

Staying In. Now and Forever.

Yesterday was my last day working as the Audience Engagement and Social Media Intern for Girls’ Night In. I feel like I didn’t take the opportunity to share much about what I worked on with GNI this semester, but here’s a link to my LinkedIn, go catch up.

If you follow me on social media or have even spent a millisecond talking to me in the past three months, you know how much I fell in love with the company, team, and mission of GNI. The self-care themed newsletter and community for millennial women in DC meant more to me than my Ky-lighter (french vanilla shade obvi), spin classes, and Trader Joe’s Everything But The Bagel Seasoning combined. Okay, maybe an exaggeration, but still… Enamored with it. 

I think one reason that I hold this internship experience so close to my heart is that before it, I didn’t understand the concept of self-indulging. I’m an extremely type-A person; I like control, order, and all the Google Calendar reminders along the way. It’s always been extremely hard for me to take time for myself or admit that I am on the path to burnout. Self-awareness is only so productive when you lack the resources to save yourself from over-work. 

Girls’ Night In’s focus on bringing self-care to women, letting them slow down and face-mask it out, changed my own wellness philosophy. Over the course of the semester, I’ve learned to push what feels urgent to the side for a necessary second and give myself permission to not be productive 24/7. 

And, because sharing is caring: here are three parts of self-care that I now cherish, celebrate, and skip many social events in the name of. 

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1. Always Have A Book By The Bedside

Don’t fret, a full list of this semesters’ reads is coming (and it’s a good one), but I made it a priority to always be in the middle of a book. From celebrity memoirs to mysteries that are impossible to put down (no matter when your accounting homework is due), I let books be an escape from both bad and good days. One of my favorite things to do is kill off a “bad vibes day” by stepping away for an hour and entering a different, fictional world. It brings new light to once overwhelming problems in a way that mindless Netflix binging can’t. #bookwormstatus

2. Diversify How You Digest Wellness 

It’s easy to follow a fitness blogger on Instagram for work-out inspiration and call it a day, but this semester I challenged myself to move deeper into the world of wellness media. I started by connecting with Instagram Influencers that add to my own wellness journey. Some accounts are focused on body positive content or daily affirmations, like Chinae Alexander and Alex Elle, while others serve the purpose of welcoming more art to my feed, like watercolorist extraordinaire, Riley Sheeney, and illustrator, Marian Andrews.
I also unfollowed purposeless accounts and went for more pro-women powerhouses, like the Founder + Chief Creative Officer of Band.o, Jen Gotch (who also happens to be an iconic mental-health advocate + all-around total girl crush of mine). Other ways to explore wellness off social media, podcasts like GirlBoss Radio, Call Your Girlfriend, and That’s So Retrograde.

3. YOU CAN SAY NO TO PLANS- IT’S OK. 

Guys, I don’t know if anyone has ever told you this, BUT LIKE, YOU CAN SAY NO TO MAKING PLANS WITH PEOPLE WITH NO REASON OTHER THAN, “I want time alone, today.” This is my new guiding philosophy, and let me tell you, pre-internship Homebody-ness aside, it has changed me. I am a go-getter and never-let-them-downer, and now I know that turning down plans isn’t the tragic, “you’re going to lose all your friends,” situation I always thought it was.
I can watch Parks and Rec in bed on a Friday night. I can put on a face mask instead of going to a dinner party. And, I really have Alisha Ramos and Girls’ Night In to thank for that newfound, self-love. As long as I’m putting effort into the relationships I want to maintain, saying “no” because you don’t have room on your plate doesn’t mean you’re a failure, it means you’re realistic about your time. 

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Self- care is a hard concept to grasp. To learn more, subscribe to Girls’ Night In’s weekly newsletter (Fridays will never be the same) and check out their content. And while you’re at it, follow them on Instagram. And Twitter. Okay, and Facebook. And buy tickets to the book club.

Thank you to Alisha and the GNI team for all they’ve taught me. Definitely owe them all a tall mug of green tea sometime.



Stuck in my head: Pictures of Girls // Wallows
Snap it: Colada Shop, 14th St, DC

Lessons Learned.

Hi friends, it’s been a while. This semester has been so jam-packed; words can’t describe. A couple months ago I decided to let those words go and focus on other challenges. The year isn’t over, but a creative mind can only take so many textbook readings before it has to create again. So here we are: let’s call it a writer’s revival.

Today I woke up inspired to write something that feels long overdue. If you know me, you know that there are a few things in my life that rise above the rest. One is exercise. Another one is getting the perfect picture of a latte. But, the most important one is, undoubtedly, my friends and family.

The way I live my life is an imperfect balance of uptight and carefree. While the rigid, routine, perfectionist side of my personality is more dominant, some of my key life philosophies come from the carefree side. Aka- my Dad. Today, instead of celebrating his birthday with Duck Donuts or Key Lime Pie, I want to share some lessons I’ve learned from him that have become my guiding principles.

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1. Just Get Through It

Sometimes stress needs to take a backseat, and you just have to endure. This doesn’t mean “don’t give a shit,” as my Dad constantly reminds me when he tells me to take a chill pill over an exam or irrational worry, but sometimes it’s okay to let go of the pressure that comes from the expectations we set for ourselves. High standards are great to a degree, but perspective is key. If you sweat all the small things, the important things, like your health and the relationships you value, will just be harder to manage.

2. Not a Bad Choice

Guilt is a frequent feeling for me. I experience studier’s remorse like no one’s business. I have trouble indulging or taking time for myself. My Dad combats my insecurity in those moments by reminding me that just because that guilt is there, it doesn’t mean I made a mistake or a bad decision. Sure, there was maybe a different course of action, something more effective or proactive I could’ve done, but I shouldn’t let my overthinking make me feel wrong. It’s a “there will always be a next time, here are your options for when it comes,” thought process.

3. Be an Active Listener, but an Even More Active Understander

There have been so many days this semester where I’ve questioned the difference between a bad mood, a bad day, and being in a “bad place.” Stress wears heavily and while I can talk about how it’s affecting me, it can be scary to admit that it’s taking a toll. I am so fortunate that I can turn to my Dad for advice and support, but also as an ear that wants to understand the why behind it all. The level of understanding that has developed in our relationship is something I strive to bring to every other relationship in my life. He’s taught me to go beyond support into the world genuine caring. No thought is too crazy, no conditions to the love you bring to the table. I guide my actions by how I can have that openness with the people I love.

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So, while this is no candle-packed birthday cake or surprise breakfast in bed, I hope this pays homage to you, Mister Dad. Thank you for all the calming phone calls, seafood feasts, and for being such a positive role model in my life. I know that I’m going to get roasted by Mom for the sappiness, but it felt necessary to finally thank you. Nothing says “reunited with my blog” than a post dedicated to the dude who does it all.

One week and four days until our first Sweet Frog run of the Summer. Until then, party hard. Fifty-something looks like thirty on you.


Stuck in my head: Pacific Love // RKS
Snap it: Iceland

Content might be irregular at first, but it’s time to get back into writing. Facing fears. Facing writer’s block. Tbh, it’s been deeply missed. Talk soon!

Pressing Pause.

I was in the middle of writing a post to let you all know that I was taking a break from creating content due to lack of creative flow. But, I realized that my reasoning was a cop out from explaining what I’m actually experiencing right now- true, brutal burnout. Not in respect to everything I’m doing- I still love my internship, exercise, and AOII. But, overall, things have just been a lot harder to get done lately. 

I’m not a stranger to low energy levels. I think it all comes in a cycle with stress and sleep and self-care, but of recent, naps have become the norm and I count the hours until I get to crawl into bed with my book. I miss being engaged by my lectures and excited to do well. For the first time in my life, not even an A is motivation.

Related but unrelated, I’ve also been fighting to find a state of peace in facing certain challenges in life. Recently, I’ve been focusing on mental illness, and how it’s okay not to be okay, and learning to be a strong hand to hold for those struggling. I’m also working past shutting down emotionally during chaotic times and showing vulnerability where I would normally prefer to pretend nothing is wrong. I’ve had to accept broken things as being broken and give up on them- which has been the hardest, most taxing experience for me. It’s been really draining, I’m not going to lie. And where I would normally say I’ve had profound moments of realization in the process, I’m going to say that I haven’t yet. But, I will never stop trying to find comfort in the process.

This post seems sad. It may sound lonely or withdrawn from, but it’s written with determination and self-actualization. My mind needs a break and I want to focus on different things for a little. Like actually doing my accounting homework. And spending time with the amazing women that have built me an enviable support network. And finally facing my fear of writing for myself instead of for others.

Burning out is normal, but it’s about the recovery that comes after. I’m looking for little things that continuously spark happiness in my life. Like loving DC so much I want to cry when I walk the streets. And the memory of hearing Houndmouth for the first time at a music festival and feeling so genuinely in love inside.

I’ll write more soon. I just need to press pause and breathe and drink some tea. Then I’ll be back, avocado toast and all.

Until then, I promise I’ll still be on Instagram. 


Stuck in my head: Sun Veins // Hippo Campus
Snap it: The Coffee Bar, DC

 

Reading Revival.

Last night was the Girls’ Night In book club meet up in DC (shameless plug for GNI- follow their Instagram and subscribe to their newsletter) and let me just tell you it took me back to high school English class in the best way possible. Not only did we discuss a book that was interesting (Goodbye, Vitamin by Rachel Khong) but it gave me the creative inertia to write something again. So like, also, hi. It’s been a while. 

I started reading again at the beginning of this year because I was having trouble sleeping at night. I could give you scientific facts about how technology inhibits the secretion of melatonin in the brain or whatever, but instead, I’m just gonna go with the fact that you’ve probably suffered from technology-induced insomnia, too. And the worst part of not being able to fall asleep is the stress of knowing you can’t fall asleep. It’s honestly just a downward spiral to panic-ville. Not cute. 

But, aside from upping my nighttime routine, reading re-sparked my love for being creative and telling stories. I found myself analyzing storytelling techniques, mimicking character development, and more generally, being mindful of the way I reveal plot points in my own stories. Reflecting on the differences in the characters I was reading about lead me to develop an understanding of narratives from different perspectives. A kind of empathy I could bring to the real world.

The book club didn’t make me realize this- I was already conscious of my reading revival. But, the book club helped me realize that there are other women out there that want to grow from the books they’re reading, too. They want to understand the relationships between characters and relate it to their own personal development.

Goodbye, Vitamin was not the easiest book for me to relate to. The characters are much older, the subject touches on illness in the family and divorce, and the main character is extremely immature and underdeveloped. Yet, through the writing style of the book, I was able to fall for the positive spin on the plot’s most tragic moments. It was my type of thinking, my type of approach to challenges in life. In a time of stress and self-inflicted isolation due to exam week overload, it was nice to come home and share my perspective with someone- even if all else was completely unrelatable to me. 

So to conclude, read a book. It’s unfortunate how we don’t appreciate words on a page as much as subtitles on a screen. I think it’s time to trade Netflix for novels. Not optional. Please and thank you.


Stuck in my head: Tuesday // Hippo Campus
Snap it: my beeeeed!

P.S. The March book club book is Text Me When You Get Home. Check it out. 

Going Home After This.

Life works in crazy ways- but for some reason, it always works. I’ve been #blessed with some kick-ass internships and I’ve been lucky to learn so much. This semester is definitely no different.

I’m excited to share my spring internship with Girls’ Night In. Their goal is to “help ambitious millennial women take a break, recharge, and connect with other like-minded women.” Translation: it’s a place to shamelessly put yourself and your health first, and connect with other women that are doing the same. Think the Skimm newsletter meets Refinery29’s girl power meets your best friend.

My role on the team is to manage audience engagement on social media and plan influencer takeovers for Instagram Stories. Two weeks in and I’ve already learned so much it’s incredible. But even better than the experience is the team. I’ve yet to meet a bunch of them, but the CEO/founder, Alisha Ramos, is so smart, talented, and forward-thinking it’s almost absurd. A little background: Alisha left her position at a tech startup to start and focus on Girls’ Night In after she realized her own self-care was slipping. There’s a ton more to the story, and she made sure to share it in this article. After just the first four collaboration sessions, I’m already thinking more about creating purposeful content, staying on brand, and prioritizing work-life balance.

Besides being an amazing opportunity, GNI’s mission hits home for me. By now you’ve probably realized that I’m a bonified psycho when it comes to staying busy, productive, and breathless. Between lectures, internships, sorority, and clubs, sometimes the *pause* moments slip away. This semester I want to internalize the message I’m sharing with GNI and make more time for the calm before the storm that is my life.

For me, self-care looks like 6:30am workout sessions, reading before bed, trying to remember to moisturize, and writing about the challenges and celebrations in my life. I want to learn how to treat myself to doing nothing and indulging in things that innately make me feel guilty- like cake and sleeping in. Self-care isn’t selfish and it’s time for me to accept it.

So, by now you should all be busting out of your seats to follow Girls’ Night In on Instagram. And I feel like I definitely undermentioned their killer newsletter that gives me a reason to get going every Friday. Think weekly must-haves, must-reads, and must-see gifs. And watch their #SelfCareSaturday takeover series every week to see all my hard work in action.

Oh, and get ready for a whole lot of self-love. Because it’s here to stay.


Stuck in my head: Issues // Julia Michaels
Snap it: Shamelessly drove to the closest mural to take this… Hyattsville, MD

10 Tips to Stay On Top Of Your Fitness Goals

New Year’s Eve has long since come and gone, but those little things called resolutions are technically still hanging around. If you were inspired to up your fitness level this winter, the original motivation of your goal might be starting to waver. It’s cold outside. It’s hard to get in shape. It’s not easy to change old habits. 

Here are my top 10 tips for staying active, even when everything inside you screams “give it up already!”

1. Put each workout on your calendar
Make yourself a plan and stick to it. It’ll be hard in the beginning, but by making trips to the gym part of your day, like a work meeting or class, it becomes more routine. And inevitably, less painful. You should see my Google Calendar- I’ve got it down to the leg day.

2. Carry healthy power snacks with you
It’s easy to make an excuse for skipping the gym. My number one: I didn’t have the power to workout because I was too hungry. By carrying foods that fuel a workout, like almonds and protein bars, you’ll always have the pick-me-up you need.

3. Don’t be afraid to try new workouts
Treadmills get stale quick, as do 7 spin classes or 7 lifts or 7 Zumbas a week. Don’t be afraid to mix it up. It’ll challenge your body more and give you the ability to find what really gets you excited to be active. You never know what you might love until you lace up your sneakers and go.

4. Have an idea of what your workout is… before you get to the gym
You’ll waste less time and be able to accomplish more in a shorter period of time. If you’re unsure of your workout, you might default to less effective, more generic moves, rather than things that could really challenge and change you. Or even worse, resort to walking around trying to figure out what to do. Which leads me to my next suggestion…

5. Keep a log of workouts on your phone
Instagram, Pinterest, and Youtube are amazing resources to help plan workouts. There are more things out there than pushups and situps and ellipticals. Explore different circuits that hit muscles you didn’t think of before. Honestly, it can be even easier than Insta- a simple Google search can yield millions of options. My personal favorites are this ab killer and this youtube video that’s going to turn me into Gigi Hadid.

6. Ease your way into fitness & take your recovery days
No one said you have to be John Cena on day one. Give your body time to build up strength and work towards higher weights, rather than grabbing them from the start. Along with that, make sure to give your body time to heal post workout. This means stretching and rolling your muscles but also taking a day or two off a week to relax and heal.

7. Not every workout has to be the best
Sometimes half the battle is getting to the gym. Give yourself a break if you’re lifting lighter or sprinting slower some days. Fitness is a cumulative process. Somedays will be stronger than others. And when you are having an off day, take it a little easier. If you push too hard now, you’ll keep suffering later.

8. Find a workout buddy
What really changed my workout game was finding a partner to lift with (Hi, Sam). While we don’t hype and push each other like some fitness friends, we work towards our goals together and make our time at the gym enjoyable. Don’t get me wrong, we work hard as hell between the hours of 7 to 9am, but if Sam’s in the gym, you know I have to be there, too. Sometimes, it’s all about accountability, baby.

9. Ask when you don’t know
Part one: instead of skipping weird moves or leaving hard classes, ask for modifications to exercises to match them to your fitness level. And part two: I’ve found the fitness community to be excited to show someone the ropes, don’t be afraid to ask how a machine works if you don’t know. There’s no reason you have to figure it out all on your own.

10. Remember: You’ll never regret it once it’s over
The most concrete, absolute, real thing about exercising is that you will NEVER regret a workout once it’s over. When that elbow sweat drops after squats or you hit that flat road at the end of a spin class, being proud is inevitable. It’s why I get to the gym. It’s why the guy next to you gets to the gym. It’s why you get to the gym. No pain, no gain. And definitely no regrets.

So keep running, box jumping, and mountain climbing your way through 2018, friends. Your fitness progress awaits. 


Stuck in my head: Go F*ck Yourself // Two Feet
Snap it: A gym near you

Little Girl, Big Trip: Phuket, Thailand

Well, here’s the finale. One last stop on my Southeast Asia world tour. 

I have to say, two days on this little island in the sun just wasn’t enough. The views are unforgettable and the memories are definitely keepers. The end of this trip was focused on three things: sun, scuba, and sea caves. And believe me, add this destination to your bucket list asap.

Passports ready? This last one is Phuket, Thailand. 

 

Gotta say, it’s good to be home. Here come a whole lot of egg whites, spin classes, and pre-semester shopping trips.


Stuck in my head: Dead Sea // Lumineers
Snap it: Phuket, Thailand