Move. Nourish. Believe.

Hello, Sweathearts! Long time, no read — and for that, I sincerely apologize. Life is so incredibly busy, and it is easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle and lose sight of taking care of yourself. Thankfully, I’ve found a wonderful blog to follow that gives me an excellent mantra to live by: Move Nourish Believe by Lorna Jane.

Lorna Jane is a fantastic woman’s active wear brand that originated in Australia. Lorna Jane Clarkson is the driving force behind the brand, and has taken her business from a small, one-woman show to a thriving international company. Moving your body at least once per day, nourishing your body with healthy foods, and believing that you can do anything are the tenants of her brand.

Lorna Jane has been hosting a Spring Clean competition among her US fans, with followers creating a new Pinterest board each week for three weeks: a move board, a nourish board, and a believe board. I had SUCH a wonderful time creating each board and trying out some of the new ideas I found. I’m linking each board here–I hope you find them just as inspiring as I do!

MOVE

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Outdoor yoga — so fun (even when it is cold)!

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At a dog walk with my pup, Duke!

NOURISH

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Healthy meal prep for a week of nourishing lunches!

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Fresh juices and delicious smoothie supplies!

BELIEVE

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My favorite new inspirational tank!

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Reading Lorna Jane’s books and writing in my 2014 Move Nourish Believe Planner is a great creative outlet and way to make action plans for accomplishing my goals.

What is your favorite way to move? Nourish? Believe? I’d love to hear!

Upgrade Your Workout for Under $20

It’s amazing how making a few small changes to your workout routine can make such a big difference. For me, wireless headphones were a game changer–no longer do I get tangled up in the cords! That was a pricier change, but there are plenty of products I’ve found costing under $20 that have forever changed my workouts for good. Here are 5 of my favorites.

photo 1-2lululemon Light As Air Thong, $16

I know, spending $16 for a pair of underoos sounds crazy. But these thongs are ridiculously comfortable, leave no visible panty lines, and come in simple solid colors and fun prints, like this camouflage pair.

photo 1Sweaty Betty Hair Toggles, 5 for $8

I have extremely thick, hard to manage hair. In the past when working out, I’d use 2 thick hair ties to keep my hair in place, and it still ended up falling out–usually just a few minutes into my workout. These hair toggles really grip your hair and keep it firmly in place. I can now make it through an hour-long power yoga sequence without worrying about my hair flopping into my face during downward dog.

photo 2-2Master Lock Speed Dial Combination Lock, $7

This easy to use lock makes it simpler than ever to keep your belongings safe at the gym. It unlocks using a series of movements (up, down, left, right) rather than numbers or a key.

photo 2Sparkly Soul Headbands, $15 (thin band)/ $17 (thick band)

In addition to being untamable by hair tie, my hair (or maybe my head) tends to repel headbands. I’ve purchased countless bands to try, but only Sparkly Soul has stood up to the task of staying put. They come in tons of colors, and add a fun touch to any workout outfit. I’m in love.

photo 4Lorna Jane Secret Sock, $10

I hate when my socks fall down during a workout, but I also hate socks that stick out ridiculously far from my shoes and rub me the wrong way. These socks strike the perfect balance–they are comfortable and remain perfectly hidden. I have them in black and white, and they also come in a nude shade.

What are some of your favorite bargain fitness finds?

Sweat Worthy – Link Love #3

Hello, Sweathearts! It feels good to be writing here again. The last few weeks have been a whirlwind of activity for me–I won my first local title in the Miss America system, an am delighted to represent my community and take my first trip to the Miss New York pageant. When I relaunched Sweatsational, I was not expecting to win a title. My schedule is now going to be a little tighter, but I’m dedicated to making Sweatsational a success! Keep an eye out for more of the usual posts, but also a series related to preparing for the Miss New York lifestyle and fitness in swimsuit competition! I’m not trying to lose weight, but want to build lean muscle tone so that I’m at my best fitness level when I hit the stage.

I hope you enjoy the links I’ve gathered this week. A few are very near and dear to my heart!

MOVE TO END DOMESTIC VIOLENCE – I’m an advocate for empowering teens (and adults!) with the tools they need to say no to domestic violence. I work closely with My Sisters’ Place, a local organization dedicated to providing support (in many ways) to survivors of domestic violence and educating the community. Their newest initiative, Team MSP, allows you to get your sweat on while raising funds to support these needed services.

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CULTIVATE GRATITUDE – I discovered 12 Months of Lent through the lululemon blog a few months ago, and I’ve been hooked ever sense! This recent post by blog author Dani features an excellent 60 second stress-buster aimed at fostering contentment.

LOVE A GOOD WORKSHEET? – I used to love worksheets when I was still in school. I know, I’m a nerd. I was extremely happy to see these fabulous worksheets on the Move Nourish Believe blog this week. They are designed to help encourage your positive mindset and help work through any insecurity you may be struggling with. I’ve printed them and will be using this weekend!

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Photo from PopSugar

SMALL CHANGE, BIG RESULTS – I’ve only ever used large fitness balls–I’ve never even seen one this small until this week! In my PopSugar Must Have Box for the month of March, I received this small pink fitness ball that I had no idea what to do with. Thankfully, they have a how-to guide online, which I’m sharing here. Have you ever tried a mini fitness ball before? How did you like it?

What links have you been loving this week? Leave a comment here, as I’d love to check out your picks!

*The link to PopSugar Must Have is a referral link, which means if you purchase a box through that link, I will be credited for referring you. You do not have to use that link to purchase :)

Sweat Worthy – Link Love #2

Hello, Sweathearts!

Happy Friday! Today has been one of those weeks–cold weather, late nights, and a full schedule.  I also haven’t been as committed to my health and fitness this week as I like to be. It shows–I’m tired, not feeling my best, and my skin has broken out. It is time for a weekend refresh and detox!

Are you taking the weekend to relax and unwind as well? Here are a few great links to check out in your free time.

OFFICE YOGI – I’m lucky enough to have my own office at work. Generally, I keep my door open–it makes me feel more in tune with the rest of the people on my floor. But I’ll often close the door to listen to music or do some office yoga. It revitalizes me when I hit a wall working on a certain project, gives me a burst of energy to beat the afternoon blues, and just generally makes me feel better! Move Nourish Believe shared a great post on 6 poses you can do at your desk this week, and there are many more guides available on Pinterest!

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NOW CIRCLE TWERK IT – Okay, I’m sorry to share skating-related links twice in a row. I know that not everyone is obsessed with figure skating as I am. But this Buzzfeed post had me cracking up.

CALL A TRUCE – I’m currently reading ‘Make Peace with Your Plate‘ by the fabulous Jessica Ainscough. During pageant season, I am able to stay dedicated to carefully crafted meal plans (shout-out to http://completephysiqueusa.com/ for those!), but I often stray from clean eating when I’m not in competition mode. This book is inspiring me to stay on track all of the time–the health benefits will certainly make it worth it!

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+ POSITIVE ENERGY – I’ve been noticing Alex and Ani bracelets a lot lately! I’ve never been a bangles kinda gal, because I have really small wrists. However, when I saw that Alex and Ani makes their bracelets adjustable to fit most every wrist size, I placed an order and fell in love. I’ve already amassed a collection of 6 bracelets. My favorite: the Path of Life charm. It reminds me that life can bring about all sorts of twists and turns, but I am strong enough to keep moving forward.

What links have you been checking out lately? Let me know in the comments, as I’d love to check out your favorites. I’m always looking for new inspiration, a good laugh, and fun fashion to check out!

Monday Mantra: So you had a bad day…

Happy Monday, Sweathearts!

As usual, I want to help you start the week off with some motivation. Have you ever had a bad day? I’m guessing the answer is yes. I’m even willing to wager that a few of you are having a bad day today—it is Monday, after all. I’ve had my fair share of bad ways. Some have been bad for silly reasons, and I’ve woken up the next day already forgetting the cause of my bad mood the day before. Others have been so bad that they’ve stuck around for awhile. Once we find ourselves stuck in a bad day rut, it can be hard to get out of it. Here are some of my favorite ways to remind myself to find the silver lining in cloud-filled situations.

Sweat it out: Okay, you had to know this one was coming. This is a fitness blog! But while I typically enjoy hitting the gym or a class to get my workout on, when I’m in a bad mood one of my favorite ways to move is an outdoor run. There is something about breathing in the fresh air and taking in my surroundings that helps to calm me down. Even in the winter, I’ll bundle up and take a quick jog around the neighborhood when I need to clear my mind.

Talk about it: When I’m frustrated, it is so easy to shut myself away from the rest of the world. I want to be angry, and I want to be angry by myself…because if I talk to someone, chances are they’re going to help me see the good in a bad situation. They’re going to encourage me to keep my chin up and move forward. And even when all I want to do is curl up into an angry ball and throw a pity party for myself, I force myself to talk through situations with my parents, my sister, my girlfriends, or my boyfriend. Their advice is always spot-on, even when I don’t feel like I’m ready to take it.

Treat yourself: I’m a bit of a shopaholic. I know that I get a little endorphin rush whenever I click the “buy” button on my favorite website. It is a weakness of mine that I have to keep in check, but I budget a certain amount of “fun money” for myself each month. When I’m feeling down, I’ll treat myself to a new book or small gift to bring a smile to my face. I’m not advocating going on huge shopping sprees whenever you’re having a bad day, but a small treat can be a great mood booster.

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My idea of the perfect pick me up: workout gear with motivational messages! (Image from Lorna Jane)

Eat healthy foods: The struggle is REAL when it comes to pigging out on junk food when I’m feeling sad. But I’ve noticed that giving in doesn’t make me feel better at all after the initial food coma wears off. I typically feel sluggish or sick after eating food that I’m not used to, and end up breaking out a few days later as well. Not worth it! I try to have some go-to healthy comfort foods: freshly brewed tea, smoothies, a savory egg dish, or fruit.

Remind yourself that it’s a bad day, not a bad life: Perspective is one of the most important things that I try to remind myself of. I try to gauge things by the “facebook laugh-o-meter”: If I posted what was making me upset on facebook, would people laugh at me? If the answer is yes, it’s time to put things in perspective. It’s not the end of the world to scuff a pair of shoes. It isn’t going to kill me if I don’t win my next pageant. My life is still an incredible one, and I should transform my negative feelings into positive action: helping those around me whose bad days are far more troubling than my own.

How do you like to cheer yourself up when you’re having a bad day?

Best of Sweatchester – Sweaty Betty’s Ballet Bootcamp

Hello, Sweathearts!

I was planning on sharing a clean recipe celebrating Valentine’s Day on the blog today, but something a little bit more exciting and far more time-sensitive came up that I want to share with you. This is the first post of my ‘Best of Sweatchester’ series, which will review fitness stores and studios in Westchester and the surrounding area. Are you ready to get your dance on? Let me explain.

A few months ago, my mother, sister, and I discovered that Sweaty Betty, a premier British active wear line, had opened a boutique in Greenwich, CT. It is only their second US based store—the other is in NYC—and we immediately fell in love with their styles! Their clothes are on-trend, functional for workouts, made from luxurious materials, and fit well. Needless to say, we always make a point of stopping by the store when we are out in Connecticut.

The Greenwich Sweaty Betty boutique offers weekly fitness classes at their store for free, including an excellent pilates class sponsored by Core Pilates (a post on them is in the works for the future!). This month, Sweaty Betty decided to shake up their regular schedule and is offering a free Ballet Bootcamp class! This class is extra special, as it is a collaboration with Sleek Technique.

Sleek Technique is a fantastic ballet bootcamp program developed by professional dancers Victoria Marr and Flik Swan. Last week, I had the pleasure of meeting them in person and taking a ballet bootcamp class taught by the graceful duo!

Sleek Technique

With the fabulous Vicky and Flik of Sleek Technique!

The class was SO much fun! Set to upbeat music, it goes through a variety of moves designed to strengthen your legs, arms, and core. There are sequences that incorporate dance technique (ballet positions, some small turns/rotations, plies, and leaps). However, you don’t have to be a dancer to keep up! The class is a great mix of cardio and strength exercises. I was sweaty and sore by the time class came to a close, and (in my mind, at least) a step closer to having a fabulous ballet body.

Sweaty Betty Swag

I also left with this sweet giftbag of Sweaty Betty goodies!

Are you interested in giving ballet bootcamp a try? If you’re in the NYC or Greenwich, CT area, Sweaty Betty will be hosting classes at the following times:

Greenwich, CT – Thursdays in February – 6:15 PM – Call 203-717-1095 to book

Soho, NYC – Saturdays in February – 9:30 AM – Call 646-386-7003 to book

If you don’t have a Sweaty Betty nearby, no problem! They’re made a ballet bootcamp video featuring Victoria and Flik available on their website:

Do you plan on giving Ballet  Bootcamp a try? I’m planning to incorporate this video into my workout routine moving forward!

Monday Mantra: Do All Things With Love

Good morning, Sweathearts!

I am so glad to be sharing my first ‘Monday Mantra’ post with you today. One of my favorite blogs is Lorna Jane’s Move Nourish Believe. Their Monday Motivation posts are always so inspirational to me! In my opinion, there is nothing better than starting the week off with a positive mantra. In honor of Valentine’s Day, this week I thought we’d focus on love…specifically, doing all things with love.

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Treat yourself with love

Perhaps the most important lesson that anyone can learn is the importance of self-love. It is easy to get wrapped up in our busy lives. Work demands our attention, family members need our support, and concerns need to be addressed. We get so caught up in keeping up that we begin to neglect ourselves. Our plans to eat fresh and healthy foods are replaced with a rushed fast food meal. Our time usually spent practicing yoga and meditation early in the day is full of returning emails instead. We all need to take a deep breath and stop.

Seriously. Just stop. Whatever it is you’re doing. Take a few deep and cleansing breaths. Take five minutes to walk outside and take in some fresh air and the beauty of nature. A little break like this can make all the difference, and gives you the chance to disconnect and recharge.

Then, take it a step further. Look at your busy schedule. Where can you cut back? Sometimes, we aim to please others so we say “yes!” to every opportunity that is thrown our way. Take a minute to think about pleasing yourself. Did that extra commitment make you happier? Or did it further drain you. Think about saying no, and use the time you have freed up to specifically schedule an activity that is all about pampering yourself: a massage, a yoga class, a walk with your dog, or even just a Netflix session

I’m aiming to do better at this myself this week. Looking ahead at my schedule, I’ve made plans to go to bed an hour earlier at night and wake up an hour earlier in the morning. I’ll get a full 8 hours of sleep, and will use the extra time in the morning to eat a healthy breakfast, meditate, and awaken without being tied to my cell phone or laptop/

 Treat others with love

            Because it is Valentine’s Day on Friday, I’m sure there is a special person (or, many wonderful people) that you would like to show gratitude for this week. You don’t have to stress out—instead of aiming for a grand gesture, try some of these small but thoughtful ways of showing someone that you care:

  • Pick up the phone and call them. Let them know that they are on your mind.
  • Bring them a sweet treat. Baking is a wonderful way to unwind in the evening. If you have time, whip up a tray of your favorite snack and make extras to share.
  • Sweat together. Meet up with a friend at the gym. Challenge each other and laugh over your inability to understand some of the machines together (or is that just me?)

How do you plan on loving yourself and loving others this week? I’d love to hear some of your ideas.

Image from needinspiration.com