Friday, January 19, 2018

Finding Gratitude and Self Love


Photography: Ella B Photo
Blouse: WHBM (ON SALE!) c/o / Jacket: Zara (ON SALE FOR $30!) / Jeans: AG / Bag: Rebecca Minkoff / Rings: Free People / Boots: Gianni Bini (ON SALE and comes in three colors) / Lips: Pucker & Pout - First Love
All week I've been going crazy with taking SoulCycle, and riding in class has become exercise therapy to me. Pedaling my legs to the beat of the music mixed with inspirational talks has me coming back everyday for more. This week my favorite instructor Hayes talked about gratitude, and finding something you grateful for. We think about so much about what we don't have in our life that we forget about the amazing things that we currently have. 

This really struck home for me because I find myself comparing my life to others whether it be financially, my body, progression with my businesses, my photography, my marriage, and where I am in this stage of life. 2018 is going to be a big year for me, and made it my mission to do some soul searching to better me as a person. My first step in my self help mission is to write down everyday on my calendar a) what I am grateful for, and b) a characteristic I love about myself. 

Today I am grateful for my body. Through physical activity in my everyday life I allow myself to block out time dedicated to only me, and not focus on the everyday stresses of life. My body has become the vessel that allows me to not only work on being physically stronger, but mentally as well. 

Today what I love about myself is my ability to go above and beyond for those who I love. I consider myself to be a caring person, and will be there for a friend no matter what. My big heart has allowed me to build so many strong friendships, and let so many people into my life.

I challenge you to write down these two things everyday, and try it out for a month to see how it improves your perspective on life. What are you most grateful for today, and what do you love about yourself?

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Tap It Back In Style - Favorite Spin Wear

1/2/3/4/5/6/7/8/9/10/11/12/13/14

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Workout Wednesday: Brand Feature Splits 59

Photography: Ella B Photo
Sweater: Splits 59 c/o / Leggings: Splits 59 c/o / Shoes: Nike / Hat: Nordstrom (similar here and here) / Bag: Pure Barre / Lips: Pucker & Pout - 1x First Love 1x Cappuccino 1x Bombshell
If you have been following me on my Insta stories then you have noticed that I have been traveling all over Dallas to try out different workouts. I'm usually a create of habit with my workouts, but for some reason I have been enjoying mixing things up. I'm thinking about doing my top 5 studios in Dallas that are on Class Pass as a "Workout Wednesday" post. Thoughts?

With trying out so many different studios this has been my daily uniform. I've never been one to buy crops, and I am all about the full length leggings. I go for the full length to not only keep me warm, but to also make me looks taller (yes it makes us short gals look longer #shortieproblems).  Since Splits 59 is one of my favorite activewear brands I was thrilled when they sent me these beautiful merlot leggings. If you have never tried Splits 59 then girl you are missing out because I'm obsessed. Did I mention that these have a high waist.....

When high waisted leggings became the dominate waist style in the activewear industry I hated it at first. My initial distaste for the high waist came from my waist looking too bunchy when I wore a normal tank over it, or tried to do a front tuck with a muscle tee. The more I wore high waisted leggings the more I fell in love with them. Whenever I go take class at Soul Cycle you can't catch me without my high waisted leggings while dancing on the bike. 

Another piece that you'll see me constantly in is the pull over sweater. Since it's been so cold in Dallas I've been working out and teaching in the pullovers to give me that extra sweat and calorie burn. I honestly wish this pullover from Splits came in more colors because I would buy them all! It's the perfect length for a high waisted leggings, and is so soft against your skin. 

Monday, January 15, 2018

Keeping Busy With Girl Dates

Photography: Ella B Photo
Top: Caslon / Sweater: Gifted (similar here, here, here, and here) / Jeans: AG / Bag: Vici (similar here) / Boots: Frye (old similar here) / Hat: old (similar here and here) / Rings: Free People / Choker: Baublebar c/o / Lips: Pucker & Pout - Caramel Apple
Happy Martin Luther King day everyone!!! Hopefully you all have the day off work, and can be enjoying a three day weekend. Unfortunately I'm going to be working all day, and Todd is pulling another 36 hour shift. 

January is going to be a rough month for the hubs since the Oral and Maxillofacial department is going to be understaffed this month. This means that he is going to have to do three 36 hour on call shifts a week on top of his normal work. With us being 6 months into his program I've learned that I need to keep myself busy on the days when he's gone.  Recently I've been getting really into trying different workout studios on the days he's gone, and inviting other Pure Barre girls to attend to make it a "girl date." 

When Todd was on call over the weekend I went out to dinner with a friend on Saturday, and then we did another girl date on Sunday where we did back to back sessions of Pure Barre then Soul Cycle. 

Friday, January 12, 2018

Grey x Grey

Photography: Ella B Photo
Dress: HM / Jacket: BLANKNYC (also here) / Bag: WHBM (similar here and here) c/o / Hosiery: Commando / Boots: Marc Fisher / Lips: Pucker & Pout: 1x First Love 1x Cappuccino 1x Bombshell
The weather in Dallas has been so crazy lately. One week its 18 degrees, and then the next week it hits upper 60s. On the weeks where it has been freezing I've been living in sweater dresses. Sweater dresses are a) so warm, b) flattering, and c) so easy to throw on and go. My dad got me this dress from HM for Christmas, and it's so cute to wear around town. To give the dress a little more edge I paired it with this suede motto jacket that was another Christmas from my dad. 

I want to add some more sweater dresses to the wardrobe. If you have bought one recently that you love drop the link in the comments :)

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Workout Wednesday: SoulCycle Review


If you have been following my Instagram stories for the past few weeks then you probably would have seen that I have gotten into taking SoulCycle classes. 

What is SoulCycle? SC is an indoor spin studio that incorporates cardio and strength training to a rhythmic beat for 45 minutes per class. All the lights in the studio are turned off, and you do the entire class in a candlelit studio. The class is driven by a motivating instructor, and playlists that are curated by the instructor themselves. 

When I first moved to Dallas I was so excited to see that there was multiple SC locations available in my city since I have been seeing it all over social media. I first found out about SC when I saw that one of my old high school friends was teaching in New York, and have always been intrigued to see what this party on a bike was like. I mentioned to one of the Pure Barre barretenders Anne Elizabeth that I always wanted to try SC, and she then invited me to come take class with her. Little did I know that this girl date would turn into my latest fitness obsession.

Arrival

For my first class Anne and I decided to take Hayes 6 am, and was excited to start my morning off with a bang. I purchased the new client deal of the first class being $20 vs $30. When I arrived at the studio I loved how the lobby was bright and with motivating quotes on the wall that immediately woke me up for my 6 am class. The studio contains lockers for your belongings, and locker rooms that have awesome amenities such as showers, hair ties, tampons, q tips, razors, hair dryers, and etc. When you go into the studio someone comes to help you set up your bike #lifesaver.  There's a part of class where you use light weights for an upper body workout. Your bike is already equipped with weights, but you can always swap them for a heavier set by the instructor podium before class starts.

What to Wear

I'm usually not the person to wear just a bra when working out, but you quickly learn that you want to shed the layers once the sweat starts dripping to the beat of the music. Wear tight pants such as capris, sports bra, socks, tank, and definitely keep the hair pulled back in a pony tail. Don't worry about bringing special shoes because you can rent them at the front desk for $3.

Terminology

Soulcycle is know for their signature the "tap back" where you start out of the saddle, and use your core to pull your hips over the saddle. Moves like this make the class more challenging and fun. You do variations where you tap back 1 count or tap it back for 2 then slide it forward for 2.

Some other terminology that will be helpful for your first class is knowing your positions on the bike.

The first position is where you rest your hands on the handlebar center. In this position you'll be sitting in the saddle, and if the choreography calls for it you might be doing pushups here.

Second position is where you rest your hands on the back corners of the handle bars, and your seat will either be in or out of the saddle.

Third position is when you are completely out of the saddle, and your hands are on the ends of the handlebars.

The Class

The instructor typically starts off by asking if anyone is new to SC, asks for their name, and proceeds to breakdown the basics of SC. SoulCyle utilizes the beat of the music to create "dancing" on the bike. You start off with a warm up, hills, sprits, and then throughout the class you vary the resistance depending on the section. During the tail end of class you add in the weight work which is very similar to what I do at Pure Barre. You might feel like 3 pounds is nothing, but when you do tons of reps of an arm exercise your arms want to scream for dear life. Class is finished off with a cool down, and then a stretch while burning anywhere between 300-600 calories.

The Soul Vibe

As I was "tapping back" throughout class I felt like I was in a sexy music video with everyone being in their 20-30s. Literally you guys... it was a sexy class. Everyone half naked, in sync, sweating, and feeding off each others energy made me that more energized to push through class. One thing you need to know about me is if you give me a killer beat mixed with a challenge then Jessica is a happy camper. SC is musically driven, and utilizes the beat to create synchrony among the riding pack.

SC is all about your personal journey, and what you want out of class that day. The instructors cue motivation throughout class making you think that your 45 minute session is a form of workout therapy. You find yourself letting go, dedicating 45 minutes to better yourself, and feeling more comfortable in your own skin. One of the things that I loved during my first class is when Hayes said something like "It's not about working toward perfection its about working toward the best form of you."

Final Thoughts

I am absolutely OBSESSED with SoulCycle, and if you are looking for a workout that your kick your morning off right then this is for you. It is a bit pricey, but it's cheaper than therapy ;)

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Velvet


Photography: Ella B Photo
Dress: Shein (comes in 2 other colors!) c/o / Bag: WHBM c/o (similar here) / Earrings: Baublebar c/o / Boots: Vince Cameo (old similar here) / Lips: Pucker & Pout - Roseberry
Stopping by for a quick post on an outfit I wore a couple weeks ago when shooting with Ella. Can you believe that this dress is only $33?!!!

Make sure you tune in tomorrow for an awesome "Workout Wednesday" review. See you tomorrow. 

Monday, January 8, 2018

Color Funk

Photography: Ella B Photo 
Sweater: Leith (CURRENTLY 40% OFF!) / Jeans: AG / Glasses: Eye Buy Direct c/o / Watch: Michael Kors / Bag: VICI (similar here) / Shoes: Steve Madden (old similar here, here, here, and here) / Rings: Free People / Bracelets: J.Crew (old similar herehere,  and here) / Lips: Pucker & Pout - 1x First Love 1x Cappuccino 1x Bombshell

As I was looking through my Instagram feed I noticed that my once colorful style has been replaced by muted dark tones. If you took a look at my color coordinated closet you would notice that blacks and grays are the smallest section in my closet, but for some reason I've been utilizing those colors for my outfit coordination recently. 
For my birthday I got a gift card to Nordstrom from my mom, and when I went shopping this sweater jumped out at me. A poppy red is one of my favorite colors, and knew this sweater could get me out of my color funk. Since I have been craving color I am looking forward to the new spring styles that will certainly make my bank account scream ;)

Friday, January 5, 2018

Embrace the Year - Open Your Heart & Mind

Photography: Ella B Photo
Top: Madewell (ON SALE!) / Pants: Anthropologie (old similar here, here, here, and here) / Bag: Rebecca Minkoff / Choker: Nordstrom / Boots: 1 State (sold out similar here) / Lips: Pucker & Pout - Roseberry
Ever since we found out that we would be moving to Dallas for a year last January I honestly have been dreading not being grounded in one place. I gained a negative outlook on moving to Dallas where it would take me months to unpack, hardly see Todd, attempt to make friends that I would leave a year later, and have to learn my way around a new city all alone. 

Yesterday morning I decided to go take a 6 am Soulcycle class, and right then and there my perspective changed on my situation. You are probably asking yourself "how could find inspiration while working out?" During the end of class the instructor mentioned with it being the new year that you need to ditch resolutions, work toward embracing the year, and opening your mind and heart. As I was getting lost in the beat of the music this hit me hard, and made realize 

"Why am I closing myself off to these opportunities?" 
"Why am I having a negative perspective?"
"Don't you realize how blessed you are to grow as a person through these opportunities?" 

I am in a unique position where I am able to move to different states, meet different people, live in different homes, and experience life outside of my comfort zone. I should feel blessed that my husbands job is allowing us to explore opportunities that we wouldn't have if we were grounded. 

One thing I have learned time and time again that it's all about perspective, and when you have a positive outlook on your situation then it makes your life journey one to remember. With a positive perspective I can now say I'm excited to see what 2018 brings, and all of the adventures that are going to come with it. 

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Workout Wednesday: My Experience With 28 weeks of Kayla Itsines BBG

I've been meaning to write this post for sometime, and with the holiday madness done I can finally share with you my experience with Kayla Itsines's Bikini Body Guide (#BBG). 

I decided to try the BBG workout because as a fitness enthusiast I was curious to see how this program could transform my body in the ways I've seen it transform other women's bodies around the world. Everyone's body responds differently to different workouts due to their personal genetic build, and their current diet. Today I'm going to share with you my 28 week journey with BBG.

(Note: I had more images of when I first started the program, but my phone freaked out and deleted all of my before pics :( I wish I had more pics to share with you, but due to technical difficulties I only have a few to share.)


How To Get Started - Manual or App

Kayla's program can be done two ways. You can either buy the guide for a one time fee, or download the Sweat App and pay a three month fee. For the app review click here for the blog post I did. Starting from day 1 of the program I used the app for my entire 28 week program. I loved the app because of the timer, being able to see videos of moves, modifications, and being able to track your progress. 


Equipment

The program does require equipment, and most of the items I needed I found at my apartments gym. Some of the items the program calls for is hand weights, mat, bench, jump rope (I always subbed by doing jumping jacks), barbell, kettle bell (you can just use a hand weight), and a bosu (my apartment didn't have one so I just did normal burpees vs bosu burpees). 

Modifying the Program

I'm a firm believer that with any workout regimen you need to modify it to fit your lifestyle, and what is best for your body. Throughout the program I did a couple of modifications to fit what worked for me.

 The program has you do three sessions of strength training (abs, arms, and legs) per week that last around 30 minutes. The program also calls for 3 sessions of LISS cardio (low intensity steady state), and 1 session of HIIT cardio (high intensity interval training) per week. Since running is my way to decompress from my day I decided that I would sub my HIIT portion for an additional LISS since I already run 5 days a week. During my 28 weeks I didn't do a HIIT session. 

I've never had bad knees, but I have never enjoyed jumping EVER! I guess my adversity toward jumping comes from my body feeling "compressed" after doing long sets of jumping up and down, and eventually feeling it in my lower back. From weeks 1-15 I would modify any type of jumping during the program. After week 15 I decided to be brave enough to start jumping to elevate my heart rate more, and added it to the routine.

Since life gets in the way I didn't do the program 28 weeks straight, and it was more like 35 weeks of doing Kayla. Since life was crazy with moving and graduation there would be days that I missed a strength set, and then repeated the week the following week.


The Start

When I started the program I was excited to dive in, and see what I could learn from Kayla. Since I absolutely HATED leg day I quickly learned that I needed to do that on Mondays so that I wouldn't put it off during the week. Since I normally do cardio then strength training in the same workout session I did the same thing with the Kayla Program. This made my workouts last a little over an hour, which is something I am used to.

Since I knew this program was going to be intense I modified my Pure Barre workouts to once a week. 

Lets talk leg day......
Let me say it again. I HATED LEG DAY! Why did I hate leg day? Pretty much because of jumping lunges. Every Monday was such a challenge because my thighs would beg me "NO MORE." Ok I'm being a little dramatic, but Mondays seriously kicked my butt. Now I don't want to completely hate on leg day because it did work for my body in this way. A couple years ago something happened to my left hamstring where I can't keep heel bent into my glutes for too long. I started noticing that whenever I would take Pure Barre I couldn't do base work for my left side, and have to completely modify during class. During leg days there wasn't ever a move that would agitate my left hamstring.

Abs day is my favorite day!
Since I have a pretty strong core ab day was my favorite day! Abs were never challenging for me, and always looked forward to doing abs with Kayla

Arm day rocked!
Since I naturally have a strong upper body from Pure Barre arm day was something that I enjoyed. Throughout the program arm day has lots of pushups in it, and my chest would shake like crazy on the final round of pushups. Whenever the program called for elevated pushups (where you have your feet on a bench) I would be pushing myself to not drop down to my knees. Elevated pushups KICKED. MY. BUTT!


Seeing Results

When going into the program I knew that I wasn't going to see DRASTIC results with my body like I see on Kayla's instagram. Why? I already live a very active lifestyle, and for me to see major changes I would have cut my calorie intake DRASTICALLY in my diet. Since I need food to fuel my active life starving my body would lead to an unhealthy state. 

What I was hoping to see change in my body was the muscle in my legs. I naturally have really muscular legs because of my genetic build, and wanted that muscle the appear slimmer for my petite frame. In the beginning I felt as though my thighs appeared slimmer, but as the program progressed I felt like my legs were starting to appear larger with all the muscle I was building.

Overall I didn't see a huge change in my body at the end of the 28 weeks. The most change I saw in my body was that my abs were appearing more cut.

Here's the images of my results starting from old to new.



The End of 28 Weeks

I could of kept going with the program, but decided to end it at week 28.

A few weeks before I hit the 28th week my knees were starting to bother me after leg day. I attribute the knee pain to the jumps that I started to incorporate after week 15. The aching feeling of my knees lasted for a few days after leg day, and the pain prevented me from doing my runs.

With being a fitness enthusiast for my whole adult life I have learned that working out needs to be fun for me in order for me to keep up with a routine. BBG became more of a chore vs something that I enjoyed doing, and I never looked forward to working out for the day. While I love how challenging BBG was there's other workouts I have done that are challenging, but fun for me at the same time.


Not Goodbye Forever & What I Would Do Different Next Round

Saying bye to the program now doesn't mean goodbye forever. I see myself attempting this program again when I decide to have kids, and use it as a way to get back to my pre baby body.

One thing I wish I did when I first started the program was find a group of women to do the program with. When you can make working out a group effort I think it adds "fun" to the program, and can make working out a social event.

What I loved about the program was that I absolutely love a challenge, and this was a HUGE challenge not only physically but mentally too. On the days where I knew I didn't want to do Kayla I mentally had to push myself, and tell myself "that I'm stronger than I think." I learned some awesome moves that I can incorporate into my daily workout, and I have to thank Kayla for that.

What I didn't love was how high impact the program was for my body. Some days I finished a set feeling compressed and achy in my joints.

If you have ever done Kayla I would love to hear about your success about the program
 

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