First Quarter Check-In: New Year’s Resolutions

First Quarter Check-In: New Year’s Resolutions

The first quarter of 2018 has flown by! I’ve spent a lot of time lately thinking about how to stay motivated and accountable for my goals. I want 2018 to be the year I accomplish a lot, so I thought I would take this time to share an update on how my New Year’s Resolutions are going so far, and talk about what I could improve.

The Successes

Travel to at least 3 new places

I’m on my way to success in this resolution. A week from today, I will be arriving in Costa Rica! My mom and I are going on vacation for a week, and I couldn’t be more excited. I’ve never been to Costa Rica, so this will mark #1 on my goal of 3 new places this year. I don’t have the other two trips booked or planned, but I will keep you all posted.

Try new restaurants in Austin

I have a list of restaurants I still want to try, but so far I would say this has been a success. I tried Picnik the other night, which is a restaurant I’ve wanted to try for a while now. I actually went alone, which is something I’m always nervous to do, but it was a great experience and the food and drink were delicious!

I posted about the idea of being nervous to go to dinner alone on my Instagram and Twitter, and it was really interesting to see what people had to say! Let me know in the comments your thoughts on going to dinner alone.

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Berry Basil Smash Cocktail
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Orange Chicken & Broccoli

Learn an instrument

This was honestly one of the resolutions I wasn’t sure I would succeed at, so shoutout to my parents for helping it come to fruition! For my birthday in March, my parents got me a piano keyboard, and I’ve loved playing around on it and teaching myself some songs. It’s harder than it seems to learn even simple songs, but YouTube tutorials really help. Plus, it’s fun to have a musical outlet! If I get brave enough I might share some videos in the future of me playing the piano and even singing…

Needs Improvement

Write the first draft of my book

This resolution was possibly the tallest order, so I suppose I shouldn’t be too hard on myself for failing so far. I’m going to be honest – I have not written a single sentence of my book. I’m going to need to be more determined to write in the next 9 months if I’m going to complete this goal.

My plan is to write something every single day, whether that is a sentence, a paragraph, or an entire chapter. I think making small steps like that will really help to get started.

Find a workout routine

This one hasn’t been a total failure, but has also not been a total success, so I’m categorizing it under “needs improvement.” My mom and I try to go on walks 3-4 times a week before I go to work, which is a good start. I also enjoy taking yoga classes, but I have not been very consistent about it. I would like to start doing more cardio, but I still just need to figure out a good schedule and motivate myself to actually work out!

Find a blogging/YouTube routine

Although I would love to be able to report back that I have been uploading YouTube videos and posting on my blog consistently, that is unfortunately not the case. However, I do want to acknowledge the strides I’ve made. I FINALLY uploaded a YouTube video yesterday, and I think just uploading a new video has helped boost my confidence and makes me more likely to continue uploading. Just need to find that steady cadence! I actually touched on the topic of staying motivated in my video, so check it out and leave me a comment with your suggestions if you get the chance.

 

Thanks for reading (and watching)! Let me know in the comments how your resolutions/goals have been going so far this year. I think it’s important to keep ourselves accountable, and also to help encourage others to do the same.

My 2018 New Year’s Resolutions

My 2018 New Year’s Resolutions

As I mentioned in my 2017 Reflection post, I accomplished a lot last year. But in true perfectionist fashion, I am determined to accomplish even more this year. I’ve never been one for setting strict resolutions, but I do like to set goals for myself to have an idea of what I’m working towards. So here are some of the things I would love to do in 2018….

Write the first draft of my book

Perhaps my most hefty goal, I would love to get started and hopefully write a first draft of a book. I’ve had the idea for it for years now, and have written parts of it on and off for a while now, but I want 2018 to be the year I actually take it seriously. I don’t want to give too many details about it yet, but I will definitely keep you all posted on my progress!

Travel to at least 3 new places

Like I mentioned in my 2017 Reflections, I was lucky to be able to travel quite a bit last year. However, it only made me want to travel even more this year! There are a few places in Texas I still haven’t visited, along with a few other states and countries that are on my wish list. Honorable mentions go to San Francisco, New Orleans, and anywhere in South America. Fingers crossed I’ll be able to make it to at least three new places!

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In Crested Butte Colorado during my vacation in July
Find a workout routine

Working out and I have a strained relationship. I tend to go through periods of time where I exercise on a regular basis, and then periods where I don’t so much as go on a walk. I’m hoping to make 2018 the year I finally get consistent. I haven’t decided on a specific schedule yet, but I just want to get on a routine that I feel comfortable with. As I’ve mentioned in past blog posts, exercise makes me feel happier as a whole. Happy body, happy mind!

Find a blogging/YouTube routine

Like exercise, I tend to go through slumps in my blogging and, more recently, my YouTube channel. I guess everyone experiences that with resolutions to a certain extent, but I would like to get into a routine with uploading YouTube videos consistently, and writing new blog posts consistently. Again, I haven’t decided on the schedule, but I would just like to stay consistent and have a goal to work towards every week/month.

Try new restaurants in Austin

Despite the fact that I was born and raised in Austin, I sometimes feel woefully ignorant to where the best restaurants are in the city. I always enjoy exploring new places (hence the travel resolution above), so why not explore within my own city? This year I’m hoping to discover some new favorite places to eat. And I will definitely capture them on this blog!

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At Elizabeth Street Cafe for my birthday last year
Learn an instrument

Last but certainly not least, possibly the most fun and exciting resolution I have is to pick up an instrument! I played piano and violin in grade school, and I was in choir in high school. I’ve always loved music, and the past couple of years I have had the urge to start playing an instrument and/or singing again. My dad recently got a ukulele, and I’ve been thinking about getting one myself! Either that or a cheap keyboard to learn how to play piano again. Like my other resolutions, I will keep you all posted on what I decide.

 

I’m pleased to say I’m feeling very optimistic about the coming year. I know I said this last year, but I am determined to make 2018 MY YEAR! What are some of your 2018 resolutions? And what are your tips for sticking to them all year round? Let me know in the comments!

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Be Proud of Yourself: Part 2

Be Proud of Yourself: Part 2

I was looking back on some of my old blog posts to get inspiration for what I should write about next, and I came across my Be Proud of Yourself post, which is one of my favorites I’ve ever written. It’s short and sweet, but gets the point across. It gave me the idea to write an updated version, with some of my new accomplishments.

I was in such a different place than I am now when I wrote that post almost a year and a half ago, and though reading it makes me a bit sad to think about how I was feeling at that time, I also feel really happy to know I’ve accomplished even more now and I am much happier than I was back then.

I can honestly say I am really proud of where I am in life right now. I have a great group of friends who I have been spending a lot of time with, I’m continuing to spend time with my family, I’ve gotten more responsibility at my job, and I couldn’t be more excited about where my blog is going. And most importantly, I’ve learned how to stay positive, even through difficult times.

It was fun for me to make this list of my current accomplishments, and I would definitely recommend you try it! It’s a good reminder that no matter how you’re feeling, there are always things to be proud of in your life.

My Recent Accomplishments:
  1. I’ve somehow become an interviewer, and I’m loving it! I started a new series on my blog, Table Talk Tuesday, where I interview other bloggers. It’s been so much fun to talk with other like-minded people, and hear their stories. I also recently got the chance to interview Shawn Booth and Kaitlyn Bristowe of The Bachelorette, and celebrity personal trainer Erin Oprea at the CitySTRONG event in Austin.
  2. I am the organizer of a blogger Meetup group, which I wrote about in a recent blog post. We had our second meeting yesterday, and once again I was blown away by everyone’s stories. There are so many awesome bloggers and aspiring bloggers out there! Check out these two who I met today: http://www.delayedsleeper.com and http://www.mycontrolexperiment.com
  3. While I was excited to have 40-something blog followers in my last post, I am now even more excited to say I have 200-something followers! It just goes to show that hard work and perseverance pays off. And I am so flattered and happy so many of you seem to enjoy reading what I write.
  4. Unfortunately after I wrote that last post, I started to work out less and less, and I spent most of 2016 not exercising regularly. However, I am proud to say that the last few months I have been going to a yoga class once a week, walking around my neighborhood with my mom at least three times a week, and hiking in the greenbelt with my friends a couple times a month. Like I said in the last post, I’ve noticed a positive change in my moods since putting fitness as a top priority.

Having two more things to be proud of compared to the last time I wrote this blog post feels pretty great. I’ve decided I am going to keep track of accomplishments like these regularly, because it really does make a difference to actively tell yourself how proud you are, and to take note of the small victories in life.

I hope you enjoyed this update on an old post. Let me know in the comments what your recent accomplishments are!

CitySTRONG: My Interview With Erin Oprea, Shawn Booth and Kaitlyn Bristowe

CitySTRONG: My Interview With Erin Oprea, Shawn Booth and Kaitlyn Bristowe

Sometimes in life, you get opportunities that seem a little too good to be true. This was definitely how I felt when I was offered the chance to not only attend the CitySTRONG event in Austin, but get media/VIP access to meet and interview Kaitlyn Bristowe and Shawn Booth from The Bachelorette Season 11, and celebrity fitness instructor Erin Oprea.

If you follow me on Twitter you’ll know I’m a fan of the Bachelor franchise, so meeting Kaitlyn and Shawn was basically a dream come true. Not to mention, it’s not every day you get to chat with the woman who helped Carrie Underwood achieve her famous legs.

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Photo credit: Zach Harrison Photography

For those of you who may be unfamiliar with CitySTRONG, it is a one hour workout lead by Erin and Shawn, with hilarious commentary and music provided by Kaitlyn. While the workout was no joke, and I am still sore today, it was also a lot of fun.

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Photo credit: Zach Harrison Photography (@zachharrisonphotography on Instagram)

CitySTRONG has events across the country, with all proceeds going to a great cause: CreatiVets. This cause is particularly important to Erin, who is a former U.S. Marine. CreatiVets provides disabled veterans with the opportunity to use art, music and creative writing to address the psychological and emotional needs that arise from service-related trauma.

Now that you have a bit of context, let’s dive into my interview with Kaitlyn, Shawn and Erin. They were all so friendly and willing to answer all of my questions. It felt more like a casual hang-out than an interview, and overall I’m really proud of how it turned out.

Shelly: To start off, can you tell me how you came up with the idea for CitySTRONG, and what the experience has been like so far? 

Erin: My husband Sean, Shawn [Booth], and I were out on bicycles riding through the city of Nashville, and we just came up with the idea together. And three weeks later, we had our first workout! That was in September of last year, and from there it just grew. 

Shawn: We really just wanted to share our passion with others on a larger scale…

Erin: But in a fun aspect too. I didn’t want it to just be a serious workout. It’s more like a party – with the exception of wine today. 

Kaitlyn: I normally drink wine but I’m doing 30 days without it right now.

Shelly: I’m sure that’s tough!

Kaitlyn: It really is. 

[Kaitlyn’s commentary during the workout included many references to the lack of wine, including my favorite line from her of the day: “Oh good, I’m still funny without wine! Good to know.”]

Shelly: What would you say is the main goal of CitySTRONG?

Erin: I want people to realize that sweating doesn’t have to be boring. A lot of people think working out is boring and I want to show people it can be fun, especially if you have a workout buddy that energizes you. 

Shawn: And that you can do it anywhere. Like today, we’ll do a full body workout using just your body. There’s no weights involved. So if you’re at home struggling to get to the gym, or you’re traveling, it’s something you can do wherever.  

Shelly: I think that’s really important, because a lot of people (myself included) make excuses about being too busy or not being able to make it to the gym. So reminding people you can do it anywhere is great. 

Erin: Yeah I hear that all the time. There’s no good excuse, because you can always do ten minutes, go back to work, and then do ten more minutes later in the day. You can always fit it in, it just has to become a priority. When it becomes important enough to you, you’ll do it. 

Shelly: That’s so true. So what advice would you have for someone who is struggling to stay motivated or to put fitness as a top priority in their life? 

Shawn: Set short-term goals for yourself. I think a lot of people give up or get discouraged if they don’t see progress being made within a few days, so if you set goals for yourself such as ‘I’m going to work out three times this week’ it makes it easier. Take it day by day, meal by meal, workout by workout. 

Erin: I think an important one for women is to monitor based on how your clothes fit, not what you see on the scale. The scale sometimes can be the death of all of us women. 

Kaitlyn: My mom refuses to own a scale.

Erin: I just got my first scale of my life, I’ve never owned one. And I shouldn’t really even own one, it’s just stupid. 

Shelly: Erin, you wrote a book, The 4×4 Diet. Can you tell me what readers can expect from it?

Erin: It includes tabata workouts, which are my favorite. They’re 8 round bursts of 20 seconds of high-intensity moves, followed by 10 seconds of rest. The book also goes into having a clean, healthy diet that you can have forever, not a quick crash diet. 

Shawn: No fad diets here!

Shelly: What has been the best or most rewarding part of the CitySRONG experience so far? 

Shawn: We get the pleasure of meeting hundreds of people after the events, and just hearing their stories and how inspired they are by us keeps us motivated to keep doing what we do. 

I had so much fun at the workout and chatting with Erin, Shawn and Kaitlyn. Hope you all enjoyed reading the interview, and learned a thing or two about health and fitness. Be sure to check out CitySTRONG’s website to see if they’re coming to your city, and follow them on Instagram and Facebook. You can also find Kaitlyn, Shawn, and Erin on Instagram.

 

 

How to Stay Body Positive

How to Stay Body Positive

I was watching a YouTube video the other day, and in the video the YouTuber stated her weight. I looked through the comments and found many young girls saying things such as: “I’m only 14 and I weigh more than her” and asking if that was okay or if they were too big.

I replied to as many comments as I could, telling the girls that it isn’t healthy to compare yourself to others because every body is unique, and as long as you are healthy and happy it doesn’t matter what you weigh. But I know this message is easy to say and not quite as easy to believe.

I have definitely had my fair share of anxiety about the way my body looks, but I do feel I have learned some helpful tricks over the years to remain more body positive. Hopefully some of these tips will help those of you who might be struggling.

Stop comparing yourself to others

As I told the young girls commenting on the YouTube video, it does no good to judge yourself based on the standard others have set. Not only does it inevitably lead to negative thoughts, but it is not productive or logical. Every single person on this planet has a different body, and no matter how hard you try, yours will never look exactly like someone else’s, and you will be left feeling disappointed if you constantly covet another’s body type.

Do things that make you feel strong, healthy and confident

The healthier alternative to comparing yourself to others is to focus on your own mind and body, and do things that make you feel good. For me this includes taking a yoga class every week, going on walks at least three times a week, hiking in the greenbelt at least once a month, and going shopping or dressing up every once in a while to feel more confident.

Be nice to yourself

Next time you catch yourself criticizing your appearance, turn your thoughts to what you love about yourself instead. Whenever I look at myself in the mirror, I try to think of something positive instead of immediately jumping to something negative. You can even pretend you’re complimenting someone else instead of yourself, if that helps! It’s much easier for us to find the beauty in others, for whatever reason.

Keep track of the compliments you receive from others

Speaking of complimenting others, another good trick is to take note of the compliments you receive, and be sure to repeat them to yourself when you’re feeling down. Whether it’s that you have nice nails (something one of my coworkers always tells me), or maybe even just that someone liked your outfit one day. Reminding ourselves of how others see us is very helpful when trying to stay body positive!.

I hope this helped you, or just added a little positivity to your Sunday night! Try these tips out this week and see how it changes the way you feel for the rest of the week. Also, if you’re looking for some general positivity tricks, check out my How To Stay Positive post.