Wellness Wednesday || Running Essentials + Half Marathon Training

In high school, running wasn’t my thing. I was lucky if I could get through a mile without cramping up, or needing to walk. In college, I did a little bit better… I’d run a mile, walk a little, and pick it up again… and in grad school, 3-4 miles was my max. It wasn’t really until right before our wedding (8 years ago….), that I upped my running game, and decided to start training for a half marathon. I scoured the internet for half marathon training guides, and followed them diligently. I invested in new gear, committed myself to a long runs on the weekend, and made new playlists like it was my job…. I signed up for the San Diego Rock n’ Roll half marathon and I was hooked…

I’d always loved running, but during that period of time, training my body towards a goal, I found something else in the process. Running, for me, became a time when I could clear my head, think things through, and push myself. Over the years, my passion for running has remained, and I love when I hit my runners stride… it’s as if everything is in sync and it feels so good….

I ran during my pregnancy with little miss… up until the day I gave birth (obviously at a much slower pace, and shorter distances), and since having her, I’ve had the goal of running another half. Yet, I haven’t quite gotten there, for various reasons. So, I randomly decided one morning, in the middle of my run, that I was going to push myself a little further…. just an extra mile. And there it was, that adrenaline rush all over again. The feeling of pushing yourself a little further than you thought you could go. After my run, I came in and told TJ that I was committed. I was going to train for a half and just do it…..

I’ve been sharing the journey over on instagram and have received a lot of questions about running in general….. and while I’m no expert by any means, I thought I would share a few of the answers here, just in case you’re looking to pick up running, or wanting to train for a race yourself…. which, if you think you can’t, you most definitely can!

1. What do you eat before your runs? I always run first thing in the morning, right when I wake up, so I have a 100 calorie perfect bar. It’s enough to sustain me through my run. On race day, I typically have some oatmeal and a banana. It’s mainly carb based which means it will burn slower and give me energy throughout the run.

2. How did you work up to increasing your mileage? When I first started running, I would run 5 minutes and walk a few minutes…. and repeat that cycle for a pre-set amount of time (say 30 minutes). Yet, when I started to train for the half marathon, I followed this training guide that I put together based on my fitness level and interests. It combined strength, cross training, and run days (I created it by picking and choosing elements I liked from various guides).

3. What pace do you run and how did you increase speed? I generally run between an 8:45-9 minute mile… it all depends on the day. When I first started I was running a 10 minute mile. I found that the most effective way, for me, to decrease my time was by incorporating HIIT + sprints into my workout. I follow treadmill workouts such as this one to increase my endurance. When I started doing speed work, I noticed a drastic decrease in my pace.

4. What shoes do you wear? I’ve always been a Nike girl for my running shoes. I’ve tried all the other brands out there, and have had to return them. They just don’t work for me. When I decided to start increasing my mileage, I bought this pair and have loved them. They’re great for distance runs, super comfortable, and provide just the right amount of support. They also didn’t require a “breaking in” period.

5. It’s so cold! What do you wear? Southern CA hasn’t been hit with super cold weather this winter, so I’ve gotten away with 50 degree morning runs. That being said, when it was in the low 40’s on a few mornings, I wore a down vest, long leggings, pullover, and tank. With the mornings being a little warmer, I wear a cropped pair of leggings (this pair is also a favorite that I own in gray and blush), a lightweight long sleeve tee, and my go-to sports bra. I also bought some new, lightweight socks which feel super good in my shoes (I know that sounds weird, but super thick socks make my feet feel really constricted)… and you can’t beat the motivational saying (photo at end of the post).

6. What do you use to track your runs? I use Nike Run Club to track my mileage and pace, and I wear this watch to track my steps (I love seeing how many steps I take…. and I find the iPhone to be slightly off).

7. Where do you run? I do my sprints on a treadmill where I have more control over my speed, and my longer runs outside… and I just run around my neighborhood.

A few fitness items that I have my eye on for race day include this lightweight tank to wear under the pullover…. and these shorts (or this pair) or possibly these running tights in the rose quartz color.. (depends on what the weather will be on the morning of).

(Outfit Details || Top | Leggings | Socks | Shoes)


Wellness Series || Favorite Activewear + 6 Ways To Start The NY Off Right

I always have this need to hit the reset button after an indulgent holiday season. With Christmas, my birthday, and New Years all occurring within a week of each other, I don’t hold back and fully enjoy all the indulgences the season has to offer. Yet, with that, come January 2nd (we have a New Year’s day tradition of watching the college bowl games and indulging even more…..) I do a major restart. In thinking about what that will entail for me in the New Year, I decided to dedicate today’s post to sharing the best ways to kick start your healthy lifestyle come January. Whether you’re like me and just getting back on track after a couple weeks, or looking to completely revamp your current lifestyle, I hope these tips will help, as I know I’ve always relied on them over the years…..

1. Clean Up/Throw It Out: I did this when I really cleaned up my diet several years ago, and talked about this idea with client’s who were trying to do the same: stimulus control. Basically, the idea that if it’s around, you’ll use it or eat it… which isn’t helpful if you’re looking to make some changes and those old ways are too tempting. To pull it off you basically toss all those items that will hold you back from the new lifestyle you’re looking to live. Think of those tempting treats, or anything along those lines….. If it’s not in the house, it can’t tempt you.

2. Stock Up: So, you’ve tossed it all out, now fill it back up with clean and nutritious alternatives. If you view food as a source of energy to fuel you throughout your day, it’s easier to decide which ones will do that…. fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, carbs (whole wheat, sweet potatoes, brown rice, etc….), and good spices to kick things up a notch. I put together a grocery list, which I still follow very closely, every week.

3. Put Together A Plan: You can meal plan, or invest in one for you. If you’re looking to go that route, I highly recommend Tone It Up… and maybe start with their free five day cleanse (no juices, all real, clean foods that will fuel your body and leave you glowing….). I’ll be doing it, so I’d love for you to join me too! I always suggest a plan because it helps to guide you if you’re starting from scratch and don’t know where to begin.

4. Say “No:” Part of living a “healthy” lifestyle isn’t just about what you eat and how you workout. It’s about having a healthy perspective + good relationships too. It’s okay to put up boundaries around unhealthy relationships and to say “no” to drama and unnecessary stress. It’s okay to say “no” if you already have enough on your plate… because when you put too much on it, something has to give (which is often something that actually matters). It’s also okay to cut yourself slack, and to be nice to yourself. Treat yourself how you treat others (assuming that’s nicely…). I shared a blog post on having a positive outlook and think it’s always a good reminder. Also, check out my “Watch Those Thoughts” post if you’re looking to challenge negative thinking.

5. Prioritize Working Out: Working out is so much more than “looking good,” for me. Starting my day with a workout helps me set the tone for the next several hours, clears my mind, and is my jolt of caffeine. Figuring out what will work for you is key. If you can’t make it to the gym, again, I recommend Tone It Up workouts. They’re great if you have some basic gym equipment at home. Check out my post on prioritizing workouts for further tips.

6. Get Some Motivation: This is different for everyone, but usually a little motivation, and reinforcing yourself for the healthy lifestyle choices along the way, keeps you on track. At the end of the year, I always invest in some new gear for the coming months ahead…. it can be a new pair of running shoes, a fitness tracker (I’m loving this one right now for tracking steps), a cute pair of workout leggings, a post-workout pullover (got this one for Christmas), or a cute water bottle… usually something small can get you feeling motivated. I shared my favorite workout products below in case you’re looking to invest.

Hope it helps!


(Capris | Pullover | Beanie)

(Leggings | Hoodie | Cap)

(Crop Tank)

(Watch… tracks steps too c/o)

(Leggings (on sale too!) | Tank)

(Pullover | Tote)

(Half-zip | Leggings)

(Wrap (bought it for my mom in gray and she loves it too))

(Pullover | Beanie)


Wellness Wednesday || 4 Ways We Make Working Out A Priority

Before Harper came along, finding ways to workout wasn’t difficult…. We could sleep in on a Saturday morning and head out for a long hike… I could head to a spin class in the late afternoon when I got off early from work…. and TJ could head out right after dinner for an evening round of basketball at the gym. Like a lot of things, welcoming a little being, 100% reliant upon us, turned that way of doing things upside down. We needed to adapt if we were still going to make fitness a priority. Over the past two years we’ve modified, and then modified some more, the ways we make this happen…. and it doesn’t really matter if you’re married with kiddos, or single, these ways to make fitness a priority in your life are adaptable and pretty applicable to everyone….

1. Designate Time: We weren’t starting from scratch here, but we definitely needed to change the times we had before baby. The key to picking the right time to set you up for success is to determine when you’re at your best. Are you a morning person? Or do you excel in the night? Maybe you do best mid-morning? We’re both pretty good in the morning, so it was an issue of figuring out who would wake up the earliest. Since I do slightly better than TJ in the morning, I opted for the first workout slot. If you’re better in the evening (and have a family) chat with your SO and figure out the best timing for that to happen.

2. Invest In Good Gear: Such a key. Before Harper arrived we only needed the right clothing… but working out with a toddler requires some investing. A good running stroller is key for family runs (or solo runs with the little tike)…. a hiking backpack baby carrier is essential if you like hiking (we wouldn’t dare let little miss run wild on those hiking trails…. that’s just asking for a bad time…). Having a set of weights at home is great for those days when you have to be flexible with time, but still want to workout at home. And, of course, some quality clothing to keep you warm during the colder months. TJ was on the hunt for a good cold weather running vest, and loved a couple of the selections at Nordstrom (they have such a great selection of winter activewear for men….). He ultimately decided on this bulk-free vest….and this dri-fit long sleeve top to layer underneath (perfect for breaking a sweat while chasing after an active toddler). We don’t use headphones when we run with little miss, but I always recommend having a good pair to motivate you during your runs…. and always bring a water bottle to stay hydrated.

3. Accountability Partner: There have been so many times since having Harper when I’ve been unmotivated to get moving, and the same with TJ. We’ve always found it so helpful to chat about those feelings. Usually one of us is able to motivated the other… whether it’s by suggesting some ways to switch things up… or by offering some encouraging words. We also track our steps daily, and share the count with each other (not in a competitive way, more in a “accomplishment” way….). For a while we were just using our iPhones, but realized it wasn’t accurate since we don’t have them on us 24/7. I got TJ this Fitbit and it’s been so much more accurate, and great reminder throughout the day to get moving. Our typical goal is around 10,000 steps a day. Nordstrom has a great selection… all with fashionable accessories.

We also love making healthy meals together too… which helps keep us both on track. TJ comes up with great healthy marinades, and I am able to figure out what healthy food choices to pair with the meal based on his concoctions. If your SO isn’t into working out or eating healthy, you can find an accountability partner in a friend or family member. It really helps!

4. Get Creative: This is probably the number one thing we’ve learned over the past two years…. in order to get our workouts in, sometimes we have to be creative. Saturday mornings at the park are an easy way to get in sprints (Harper loves running after us) and use the park equipment for strength training moves. Or, “kill two birds with one stone,” by running to breakfast and then running home. If those two options aren’t available, we work out in the house…. either creating our own HIIT workout or finding one on-line. And while we both love our tried and true go-to workouts, sometimes when we’re forced to think outside the box we get in the best workouts (and learn we have muscles we never knew about….).

For us, giving up our workouts wasn’t an option so those are the ways we got creative. Would love to know how you make working out a priority too!

Annnd, if you’re looking for a few great fitness accessories for the man in your life, I recommend this gym backpack for the gym loving guy, climate gloves and knit beanie for those outside workouts, and a pair of sports sunglasses for those sunny, yet cool, runs.

(Outfit Details || TJ’s Vest | TJ’s Top | TJ’s Joggers | TJ’s Sneakers | TJ’s Beanie | FitBit | My Pullover | My Crops | My Beanie | Stroller | Harper’s Sweatshirt | Similar Beanie)

Thank you to Nordstrom for sponsoring this post. 


Wellness Wednesday || My Favorite, Do Anywhere, Booty Band Moves

 When I was packing for our trip last week, along with an inappropriate amount of sweaters, I tossed in my booty bands at the last minute, in hopes that I could squeeze in a quick morning workout. So on Friday, TJ and I came up with this efficient booty bands workout with some simple moves you can do anytime, anywhere. It gets your heart rate up, tones your body, and is does the trick in a short amount of time…. I ended up sharing a little on instastories and the feedback was overwhelming. People wanted some ideas on how to use the bands… some mentioned that they have them sitting in their desk at work in the hopes of squeezing in some toning moves at lunch/break… and others said they only know one move and would appreciate some suggestions… I hope the workout above helps!

And, with the holidays upon us, sometimes getting in longer workouts is tough. Yet, I think we can all spare at least 15 minutes a day to move and release some good feeling endorphins. If you’re looking to hit the restart button after the Thanksgiving weekend, complete this workout and then sip one of my favorite banana chocolate smoothies. I’ve listed the workout moves below too, just in case the video won’t play for you….

But before that, I wanted to wish you and your family a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday! I am so grateful for all your support over the year and wouldn’t be where I am without it. Thank you for all your kind messages and encouraging words. I hope that this holiday is one that is filled with love and happiness (and a libation or two) with those you love! See you Friday!

Repeat 3xs, for a 15 minute workout (give or take, depending how quickly you move through the moves)

25 sumo squat jumps
10 squats with side raises (on each side)
15 walking side lunges (on each side)
30 mountain climbers
15 lateral shoulder moves (on each side)
15 shoulder raises (each side)
15 jump lunges (on each side)
15 standing crunches (on each side)
15 donkey kicks (on each side)
50 jumping jacks

(Velour pullover, capris)

(pullover (extra 25% off with code dontstress), leggings)



Fall Trend || Couple’s Style Activewear

When TJ and I first started dating, back in college, we discovered how much fun we had together working out. We’d head out for a morning hike at Torrey Pines (we went to school in San Diego), hike for about an hour and a half, and then head out to a brunch (mimosas optional….). As our relationship progressed, so too did our love of working out together. Over the years, we’ve trained for, and run, multiple half marathons, hiked mountains in Yosemite (which, I highly recommend if you’re up for a good challenge), and rode our bikes from Angel’s Stadium in Anaheim to Oceanside in San Diego (a 65 mile bike ride… we took the train back and enjoyed a celebratory libation…). Needless to say, fitness has been a core component to our relationship over the past 13 years….

So, when little miss arrived, we had to get creative as to how we could keep that part of our marriage alive and active. We decided that most of our dates would be “fitness” related…. a morning spin class (followed by brunch), a hike or bike-ride. A couple of hours, just the two of us, tackling a challenge together, getting through it, and then enjoying a relaxing breakfast. And while we do enjoy getting dolled up for a “date night” there is something about choosing a challenge together, accomplishing it, and high five-ing at the end that makes us feel like a team…. not just in that venture, but together in life (I know, that sounds so cliché, but it’s so true)….

And while our activities haven’t changed much over the years, what we’ve worn has, especially for TJ. An old fraternity shirt and some basketball shorts used to be the norm, but over the past few years he’s “upped” his wardrobe in the work-out aspect… and since we often head out to eat after our work-out dates, he needs something that can easily transition between both activities. When we were in Nordstrom last weekend, exchanging a birthday gift he received, he couldn’t help but leave with a few items from their great selection. He’s always been a fan of Adidas Originals, and Nordstrom has a pretty robust selection from the line (for women too). He snagged these track pants and hoodie… both perfect for a hike, run, and then a casual brunch…. or a day of travel and lounging (as I speak, he’s wearing it on the couch watching the playoffs…). He was also in desperate need of a new pair of running kicks, and when he tried this pair on at my parent’s house (my dad owns them too), he was sold on the comfort, and of course, style. A few other favorites for that work-out/transitional look include a few pieces from the men’s Zella line (one of my favorite’s for women’s workout clothing….priced well for excellent quality), include this half zip pullover (perfect to toss on after a sweat session), performance tee (which he absolutely loves for our spin classes),  knit hooded jacket (great for casual living), and these fleece shorts (with compression shorts underneath). This Adidas pullover and hat combo (his hat collection holds its own…) made it’s way home with us as well.

So, I guess all that’s changed over the past 13 years is that we do it with a little more style….

(Outfit Details || TJ’s Pants (2 color options) | TJ’s Sweatshirt (comes in 3 colors) | TJ’s Shoes | TJ’s socks | Sunglasses | My Sweatshirt | Tee | Capris | Shoes | Sunglasses)

Thank you to Nordstrom for sponsoring this post. 


Wellness Wednesday || Interval Treadmill Workout + Accompanying Playlist

(Pullover | Capris)

Hands down, I prefer running outside to the grind on a treadmill… I feel as if all I do on the thing is stare at the clock and ask myself, “How has it only been 30 seconds?” So, I reserve outdoor runs for a steady pace, and have relegated the treadmill to interval training. I first started intervals when I was training for my second half marathon and wanted to improve my time. I’d read that they were great for that, but I also had done some research into HIIT and it’s general effectiveness in workouts. In a nutshell, it works. So, when the temps hit unbearable this past weekend, and running outside wasn’t an option, I opted for a quick interval workout on the treadmill. I varied my incline, and speed, and not only got my heart rate up, but also a great workout….. I decided to share it today, along with a few favorite songs to pair with it, in case you’re looking to add a little variety to your workout too.

Interval Run On The Treadmill 

Warm-up: 5 minutes, Incline: 0 / Speed 4.0 (or a brisk walk)
Jog: 3 minutes, Incline: 2.0 / Speed 6.0
Run: 5 minutes, Incline: 2.5 / Speed 6.5
Jog: 2 minutes, Incline: 1.5 / Speed: 6.0
Sprint: 1 minute, Incline: .5 / Speed: 7.0
Jog: 2 minutes, Incline: 1.0 / Speed: 6.0
Sprint: 1 minute, Incline: .5 / Speed: 7.2
Jog: 2 minutes, Incline: 1.0 / Speed: 6.0
Spring: 1 minute, Incline: .5 / Speed 7.4
Jog: 2 minutes, Incline 1.0 / Speed 6.0
Sprint: 1 minute, Incline .5 / Speed 7.6
Jog: 2 minutes, Incline 1.0 / Speed 6.0
Sprint: 1 minute, Incline .5 / Speed 8.0
Cool Down: 3 minutes, Incline 0 / Speed 4.0


 Lose Yourself: Eminem
Honest: The Chainsmokers
Big On Big: Migos
7/11: Beyoncé
My House: Flo Rida
Can’t Stop The Feeling: Justin Timberlake
Fade: Kanye West
Let Me Love You: DJ Snake ft Justin Bieber
I Could Be The One: Avicii + Nicky Romero

(Leggings | Hoodie c/o  (very similar option here) | Hat)

(Sneakers (size down))


Wellness Wednesday || 5 Ways I Stay Motivated

I feel as if I often cycle in and out of periods of motivation…. whether it’s for working out, eating clean, or actually doing my hair… in the same way that we often cycle through life’s ups and downs. I typically recognize that I am in a rut, and often try to tweak a few things here or there to fall back in a rhythm. A question that I’ve been receiving lately is how I keep myself motivated. So today, I thought I’d share the top ways that I keep myself going, when all I feel like doing is stopping (or hitting snooze 800 times)….

1. Re-Evaluate My Reasons: I think this one is always key for me. I often find myself in a rut when I’ve veered too far from the initial reason for starting. In my health and fitness journey, this often happens the most when I become too focused on the outward gains, as opposed to the internal gains. When I remind myself of all the other benefits of working out…. healthy insides, sharp mind, confidence, lower anxiety…. not just to simply look good, I find a new drive and motivation. Sometimes I can easily reflect on this, other times it takes a little journaling and re-evaluating goals.

2. New Work-Out Pieces: When possible, this is always a sure fire way to get me feeling motivated again. There’s something about new leggings, or a cute top, or even super comfy running shoes that motivates me so much. I remember when I was training for my first half marathon. I was mid training and felt my motivation waning. All it took was a new pair of running shoes (and some ultra padded socks) to get me back on track and excited for the next long run. Just this week I was feeling tired and sluggish. So, I pulled out these new favorite blush high waisted capris and super soft blush tank for my morning workout and hit one of my fastest paces ever. I snagged both at the Anniversary sale, and combined they are under $60…. and let me tell you, the leggings hug in all the right places. A few other pieces I purchased included this super cute mauve mesh pullover (a great option with shorts now and leggings in the cooler months), perforated zip-up (great for post-workout mimosa brunch), cozy grey zip-up, and this comfy pullover. I also love these coated leggings (wear them working out or to happy hour), poncho hoodie, distressed racerback tank, and this mauve sports bra. Oh, and these new kicks are like walking on clouds.

3. Try A New Work-Out: This one always works for me… it’s pretty much how I got started doing some of the Tone It Up videos. I remember feeling so un-motivated one morning, so I decided to try one of their free HIIT workouts and I was hooked. Other variations have included adding in a stairs workout, using different equipment such as resistance bands and ankle weights, or running a different path. If those tricks don’t work, sometimes I just do a low-key workout, like a yoga video, to give myself a break and re-center.

4. Try A New Recipe: I love food, but sometimes I get in a rut and feel like I’m eating some of the same things. Slight variations are super easy though. For instance, we’ve been having shrimp Mexican style for the past few weeks, but Monday evening we made it using this coconut curry shrimp recipe and oh.my.gosh we fell in love. Sometimes a new booch flavor, smoothie recipe (my new favorite), or snack bar is enough to spark my zest for clean eating. If you’re looking for a new dinner recipe to pull you out of a food rut, I suggest Skinny Taste and Pinch Of Yum for some delicious and healthy recipes.

5. A New Playlist: I can listen to the same song over and over again…. but when it comes to my workouts, new tunes are one of the best ways to get me re-motivated. I typically have TJ create my playlists because he is way more into music than I am… and he comes up with some pretty good mixes. One of my favorite songs for getting me moving is “8 Mile” by Eminem.

(Outfit Details || Leggings | Tank | Sports Bra | Shoes | Sunglasses | Bag c/o)


Summer Style || Top 15 Items Under $100

With summer being less than a week away, I can’t help but get excited to move my favorite warm weather staples to the front of my closet (well, that statement would assume there is some organization to my closet… which there isn’t….). At the beginning of each season, I find it easy to want to purchase every cute item out there… simply because it’s new, different, and “I don’t have anything like it… (another lie, I probably have 10 things like it….).” So today, I’m sharing with you my top 15 items that will be getting me through the next several warm weather months. Of course, there will be new pieces sprinkled in, but, if you’re looking to create a staple wardrobe for this summer season, then I have you covered. Oh, they’re all (with the exception of 4 really great items) under $100. Hope it helps!!

1. Cut-Offs: I seriously live in mine. As in, I don’t know if I’ve ever washed them (probably shouldn’t admit that though….). They go with everything, and are so easy to toss on and head out the door. My favorite pair are these high waisted shorts (they fit like a dream, and aren’t too short), but I also own and love these. For those who are looking for a longer inseam, I recommend these and these, with a 3″ inseam, from LOFT (they’re currently 40% off).

2. Basic Tops + Tanks: I recommend having a few of these on hand. They’re a perfect layering option for work (toss on under a blazer), or an easy front tie with high waisted jeans and shorts for everyday living. My all time favorites are from Madewell, $22, and come in several colors. I own them in white, grey, and a pretty mauve color… and thinking a black would round out the collection. This tank is still one of my favorites (bought it last year and still wear it tons). My sister owns this lace up grommet tee and I love borrowing it. Another favorite basic tee that I’ve owned since last year includes this oversized option (I own in black and grey)…. and this graphic tee. J. Crew has one of my favorite basic tees too, and it comes in so many different color options. Style tip… if you want to front knot it, simply order up a size.

3. Wide Brimmed Hat:  Perfect for those sunny days spent outside… or to cover up hair that hasn’t been washed in several days (that’s really why I wear mine so much….). My favorite is currently on sale (!!), and I wear this one all the time too (comes in several color options). Both are priced well, good quality, and neutral…. which means they go with anything.

4. Little White Dress: Always a great option for a dressier occassion! I shared my favorite in this post, and the cute little number is currently on sale (under $80!). I love this flow-y maxi dress and this popover midi dress (cutest tie at the shoulders). This little white swing dress is super cute too, and at a great price point.

5. Ruffle Top: Ruffles add a feminine and romantic touch to any outfit, which I think is perfect for the summer. I love the soft tee featured above (I’m wearing it backwards, comes in two other colors too). I also love my white ruffle one shoulder top, and this stripe gauze ruffle top is too cute. This little linen top comes in so many gorgeous color options as well… and looks really lightweight and perfect for summer.

6. Summer Skirt: Last year I purchased a denim midi skirt from Madewell and wore it so much. I was nursing, so it was an easy way for me to wear something close to a dress, while still being nursing friendly. This summer, I decided that a little skirt is perfect for a lunch, brunch, or date night. You can easily front knot a basic tank with it and toss on a wide brimmed hat and neutral side for a casual daytime look. I recently purchased this one from J.Crew and can’t wait for it to arrive (I am debating between the white and hibiscus). I also love this color-block maxi skirt (on sale) with a front knotted tank.

7. Neutral Flat Slide: Find the right pair and you’ll wear them daily. I do. These are my favorite. They’re incredibly padded and I can wear them all day in comfort. I own them in the blush color and they go with everything… yet they come in so many great options.

8. Neutral Sandal: Or, a heel that you can wear easily. I don’t wear a lot of elevated options these days, so when I do, they’re good. My favorite block heel sandal is this studded pair, which comes in cognac, black, and tan. I kinda wish I owned them in all the colors. I wear them with jeans, skirts, cut-offs for a dressy date night look, and dresses. These are my favorite espadrilles (two seasons in a row, over $100), and I also love this pair that I borrow from my sister all the time.

9. Embroidery: I chatted about my embroidery favorites in Tuesday’s post, but it’s a must have for your summer wardrobe. My favorite investment is this maxi dress (one more over $100), but also think this top and this chambray flutter sleeve embroidered top are super cute (my mom just bought it and I can’t wait to borrow….).

10. Summer Sweater/Sweatshirt: My logic behind this one is I need something to wear while I sit al fresco and drink my rosé…. but seriously, nights can cool down, and I love nothing more than sitting outside around a fire pit. If you love an open knit, I highly recommend this lace-up sweater, mauve open cardigan (so gorgeous, great price), and this open knit pullover (one of my favorites). If you’re more of a sweatshirt gal, I am obsessed with this new lace up in a pink-ish color, warm up hoodie I wear nightly, as well as this floral sweatshirt.

11. Gold Accessory: always toss on a few gold accessories with any outfit I wear. My favorite is this necklace, and I’m loving this gold cuff. I have my eye on this layered crescent necklace as well.

12. Statement Piece: As much as I love my everyday gold pieces, a fun statement piece is always great to have on hand. It can easily dress up any of the above items instantly. I’m a huge fan of these fun earrings.

13. T-shirt Dress: Another excellent throw on and go option that’s not as basic as cut-offs and a tee. Also a great choice to wear as a cover-up over a swimsuit. My three favorites include this cold shoulder dress (styled in this post), mauve option (I ordered it and am waiting for it to arrive), and this ruffle sleeve dress (last one over $100).

14. Straw Tote: Quintessentially summer, the straw tote is a must have. My favorite is sold out everywhere, but this one from Etsy is such a great option… just toss on this pom pom to dress it up a little.

15. Pretty White Top: My last must-have piece is a little white top. Nothing says summer more than a white top (and a little white dress…)…. pair it with cut-offs for a casual look….  jeans and a heeled sandal, along with a statement piece for a date night…. or with a skirt for an even fancier look. My favorites include this open back eyelet top, feminine crochet detail top, and this flutter sleeve eyelet top.


Wellness Wednesday || Protein Smoothie, Benefits Of Protein

Over the past several weeks, I’ve chatted a lot about my experience with Tone It Up… and when we were in Cabo, I actually started to notice some decent definition in my arms (!!). While I credit this to my incorporation of strength training in my workout regime, I also believe it has everything to do with my increased intake of protein as well. After I complete my morning workouts, I try to consume a decent amount of protein for breakfast….

You see, for me, when I eat a breakfast that is protein dense, I find that I stay full longer, and have more energy throughout the morning (and let me tell you, chasing after little miss requires all the energy I have…. she’s non-stop…). Yet, I also like to moderate my intake of meat….. and by that, I mean not having it with every meal of the day. So, I started researching ways that I could get my protein intake without the need to eat meat all day (that tends to bother my digestive system…. TMI???). I came across the benefits of incorporating plant based proteins in my morning smoothies…. or even mixed in with an açai bowl or oatmeal. I was sold, and decided to start using OLLY Super Foods Smoothie powder. Each smoothie made with the powder, gives me a full serving of super veggies + fruit, a rainbow of nutrient-rich super foods, along with phytonutrients which are plant compounds with antioxidant activity to help protect the body from free radicals. All the blends (there are several different options….) are plant protein based and provide 5 grams of fiber. With a busy schedule, tossing it in a smoothie is the easiest way to ensure everyone in the family is getting the nutrients they need (and little miss loves hers too….).

While I’ve been incorporating it in various ways, the most recent concoction I created when we returned from Cabo is this Beet Smoothie…. it was thick, delicious, and nutritious. I also started giving Harper a chocolate peanut-butter banana smoothie (using OLLY Kid’s Smoothie) when we’re on the go in the afternoons. It’s been replacing the typical snack of her favorite crackers. She loves it, and I know she’s getting a snack that will give her energy and fuel until dinner.  It’s a win-win for the both of us…..

Annnnd, if you’re still not sold on the benefits of incorporating protein into your daily diet, I thought I’d share a few of the reasons I do:

1. Protein is an important macronutrient that is required for proper cell functioning. Proper cell functioning is always good….
2. Since protein isn’t stored in the body, it has to be consumed daily in order to replenish the body’s supply. When the body has a sufficient amount of protein, cells and tissues can build and repair (which is why it’s so important to consume after a workout).  It’s recommended that women consume between 15-23 grams of protein, post-workout, to achieve all the benefits (which is what I’ve been trying to do recently….).
3. Protein metabolizes in the body slower than carbohydrates and fat, which makes it an effective way to control appetite. Having protein in the morning is an excellent way to help with appetite control throughout the rest of the day.
4. Plant protein is a good alternative to “animal” proteins because it is considered “clean:” free of hormones and antibiotics.

Now, onto the recipes….

Beet Smoothie: 

10 oz coconut water
2 scoops OLLY Superfoods Smoothie
1 cup of frozen riced cauliflower
1 cooked beet
1 cup of frozen mixed berries
dash of cinnamon
1 cup of ice

Toss in blender. If this is for breakfast, I like tossing on a little bit of granola.

Little Miss’ Smoothie: 

10 oz coconut water
2 scoops OLLY Kid’s Smoothie
1/2 frozen banana
1 cup frozen riced cauliflower
1 tbsp almond butter
handful of spinach

Toss in blender.

What are some of your tips for adding more protein to your diet? Have you tried OLLY Smoothies before?

Thank you to OLLY  for sponsoring this post and allowing me to create delicious and healthy recipes. As always, all opinions expressed are my own. 


Wellness Wednesday || 4 Tips To Incorporate Fitness With The Family

Before Harper was born, TJ and I were always looking for ways to ramp up our fitness routines. We’d train for half marathons together, often waking up early on Saturday mornings and heading out for long runs at the beach (only to be followed up by a delicious mimosa brunch). Or, we’d set the goal of doing a mini triathlon on our own: we’d run 3 miles, bike 20 miles, and swim 0.5 miles. As crazy as that sounds to some, it’s something that we always felt made us closer. Setting a goal, encouraging each other through it, and finishing, was a bonding experience for us; something we truly enjoyed and looked forward to.

All that to say, when we talked about what we wanted as a family, and the values we wanted to instill within Little Miss, fitness and self care were amongst them. We had a multitude of thoughts as to how that would look, and when she arrived all those thoughts -while well intended- seemed slightly grandiose (I mean, what toddler wants to tag along on their parent’s 2-hour training run???). Through a lot of trial and error, we found a groove that has ultimately allowed us to make fitness and self care, a key part of our family: through appropriate activities, the right equipment, and a good mindset, we are able to get our fitness on and spend quality time together as a family. Today, I’m sharing the 4 ways that we have been able to make fitness a regular part of our family routine.

1. Time Of Day: Figuring out which time works best for your family is key. We’ve found that the morning works well for our little family. Right after Harper has had breakfast, we typically head out and complete our workout. Finishing it first thing in the morning assures we don’t get derailed by whatever may come the rest of the day (because, you know something is going to come up with a toddler!). The temperatures are usually pleasant and cool, and Little Miss is typically in a fantastic mood.

2. The Right Equipment: Over the years, I’ve come to realize that nice jewelry + working out do not mix. I’ve had a history of either leaving my wedding band (and engagement ring) behind in a SoulCycle locker room (luckily, honest people have returned it) or somehow damaging it to the point that it needed repair (i.e. a loose diamond falling out, or TJ’s ring scratching from lifting weights). I recently stumbled across QALO, a brand that makes functional silicone wedding rings to match your lifestyle… they’re great for women and men, come in multiple color options, and are stylish and functional (always key for me). TJ opted for the men’s flat ring in black, and I chose the new stackable styles in all white. We can easily workout, play with chase around Little Miss (without worrying about scratching her), and then head out to a delicious brunch, all while wearing them – and not having to worry about damaging our wedding bands (or, in my #MomBrain case, forgetting it….).

We’ve also found that bringing toys for Little Miss that resemble those we are using helps as well (like a ball and a yoga mat). It gets her in on the action too, since she loves mimicking what we are doing. If we’re going on a hike, we are sure to use the baby carrier, lather on sunscreen (well, we always do that), and bring along our hats. A long run requires a few novel toys to keep her occupied in the running stroller.

3. Location, Location, Location: When we’re incorporating Little Miss into our workout routine, we always choose a park. She can easily and safely play, and we can keep a close eye on her as well. We choose parks that have grassy areas, and are big enough to allow us to workout without impacting anyone around us.

4. Flexibility: This is typically my number one piece of advice for anything baby/toddler/child related. In reality, 9 times out of 10 things aren’t going to go exactly as planned, and you just have to roll with it. Example? Just last Sunday I was in the middle of a HIIT routine, and Harper came over wanting to take my hand and show me something. Instead of seeing it as an interruption, I simply took her hand and did walking lunges as she guided me around the park (I’m sure I looked silly, but, oh well… it worked). There have been times where TJ has put her on his shoulders and done squats (great resistance for him, and she loves the up and down motion). We’ve found that being open let’s us have more fun and get in a better workout.

I’d love to know the ways that your family spends active time together, whether that’s a brisk morning walk or a bike ride with a little trailer behind it for the little one. Simply comment below on how you incorporate fitness into your family’s life and you will be entered to win a QALO prize package. See below for sweepstake rules + details.

(Post Details || My Ring | TJ’s Ring | Tank | Joggers | Sneakers | Sunglasses | TJ’s Joggers | TJ’s Sneakers | TJ’s Tee | TJ’s Sunglasses)

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This giveaway is open to US Residents age 18 or older (or nineteen (19) years of age or older in Alabama and Nebraska). Winners will be selected via random draw, and will be notified by e-mail. The notification email will come directly from SheKnows via sweeps@sheknows.com. You will have 2 business days to respond; otherwise a new winner will be selected.

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Thank you to QALO for sponsoring this post. As always, all opinions expressed are my own.