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

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Sweat Worthy: Charity Miles

I’m sure that many of you, like me, were absolutely floored by the tornadoes that tore through Oklahoma and other parts of the midwest this week. The power of nature is absolutely incredible, but in this case, absolutely devastating.

As a college student preparing for graduation, I don’t have extra money in my budget at the moment to donate to charity. Between bills and paying for gas to fuel my car, there just isn’t any wiggle room. Still, I wanted to give something to the families in Oklahoma that now have to completely rebuild their lives. Charity Miles offers an easy way to do so.

I recently discovered Charity Miles, an app that allows you to track the miles you complete during an outdoor run, walk, or bicycle ride. It then donates a set amount of money per mile to the charity of your choice. They have a pretty substantial list of charities to choose from, one of which is Feeding America. Feeding America is one of the organizations that will be providing truckloads of food, water, and supplies to those in need in Oklahoma (and across the rest of our nation as well.

If you’re interested in getting your sweat on and giving back to those in need at the same time, be sure to download the Charity Miles app! I’ll be dedicating my next few weeks of miles to Feeding America. On just a short run today, I was able to donate 2.5 meals. It may not sound like much, but when facing such a large challenge like those in Oklahoma are currently experiencing, it is important to remember that every little bit counts.

For more information on Charity Miles, click HERE.

Sweat in Style…For Less!

Hello Sweathearts,

I’ll admit it. I’m a sucker for cute workout gear. Lululemon, Nike, Under Armour, you name it! I’m pretty laid back when it comes to the rest of my workout look–hair in a messy ponytail, and no makeup allowed–but I love picking out workout gear that is cute and functional. By functional, I mean that I don’t have to worry about anything hanging out or showing through. Being able to deflect sweat well is an added bonus–I don’t like to half-ass my workouts, so I’m always drenched by the time I’m through.

The problem with some of my favorite brands? They’re expensive. SUPER expensive. Not-realistic-for-a-college-student-who-works-as-a-babysitter-expensive. But I’ve learned a few tips and tricks that have helped me add Lulu, Nike, and UA to my wardrobe without breaking the bank.

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I didn’t pay full price for ANY of these items!

  • Sporting goods stores aren’t your only source of workout gear! I’ve picked up some great Nike pieces from Kohl’s and Nordstrom. Neither store offers a full range of product, but their small selection is often eligible for markdown and couponing (Kohl’s) or hits the clearance racks at a great price (Nordstrom).
  • But sporting goods stores DO offer great rewards programs and deals. Dick’s Sporting Goods is my go-to store based on their reward program. I get coupons regularly from them that range from $10 off a purchase to 25% off of an item. My local Dick’s also offers GREAT clearance racks at the end of each season that feature already marked-down items at an additional 50% off. I’ve gotten Nike shorts for under $10, and a Hard Tail Tank for under $20.
  • Outlets are the real deal (pun intended). I live about 40 minutes away from Woodbury Commons, a popular outlet center for locals and tourists alike. While I generally don’t find deals on everyday clothing there, the deals at the Nike, Under Armour, and Lululemon outlets can be incredible! Because it’s a long drive, I try to hit the outlets only once per season. I scored a Lululemon Vinyasa scarf for $29 in outlet that I had seen listed on eBay for close $80!
  • Give flash sales a chance. The Zumba capris pictured above? I found them listed on Zulily, a flash sale website geared more towards moms & children. My mother, a teacher, spotted the sale and alerted me to the deal. Since then, they’ve featured other fitness brands, such as Lucy. ACTIVE GearUp is a flash sale website that exclusively features fitness gear, but even the traditional websites such as HauteLook occasionally upload workout brands.
  • Patience isn’t just a virtue, it’s a bargain hunter’s way of life. If I fall in love with a newly released item from any store, I try to wait it out. It’s really tough for me–my instinct is to buy right away so that I can make it my own. But I’ve found that being patient often results in markdowns and worthwhile extra savings. I wouldn’t recommend doing this for something you absolutely can’t live without, but if you see something, bookmark it and check in every few days. Chances are, you’ll be able to score a deal.

What are some of your favorite ways to workout in style without paying a high price? I’m always looking for more ways to save money while leading an active and fashionable life!

 

Sweat Worthy: Road ID Review

One of my current fitness goals is to get outside and take up running as a hobby this year. I love to run because I always feel so refreshed when I finish a few miles, but I personally find treadmill running to be a bit boring. Still, I run inside because its easy. Well, that’s about to change–with the arrival of spring today, I’ll be hitting some local paths and training for a few 5Ks.

I tend to do a lot of research before taking on a new task. Naturally, I did the same when creating a running plan. I investigated the local paths and asked friends and family for recommendations. I stopped by the Greenwich Running Company (great service, by the way!) to learn about staying hydrated on the road. I purchased a toque for cooler weather, a breathable pullover, and a pair of running shoes. Then, I came across a blog post (thanks, Shin Splints and Sushi!) that introduced me to Road ID.

I will admit that one of my concerns about outdoor running revolves around safety. What if something happens to me on the trail and I’m unable to call for help? What if someone finds me injured, but I’m unable to communicate with them? Road ID helps to alleviate some of these concerns. Edward and Mike Wimmer, a father/son team, have created wristbands, dog tags, and shoe tags that are engraved with your name, emergency contacts, and important medical information.

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I decided on the Wrist ID Sport bracelet in pink. I have tiny wrists (6 inches) and ordered a size small. It fits perfectly without being too snug (it adjusts with velcro). When ordering your Road ID, you have the choice to go with a ‘Original’ version or an ‘Interactive’ version. The Original version is simply engraved with the information of your choice. The Interactive version allows you to customize two lines of text, then provides information that directs first responders to a full emergency profile that you create online. They can access this profile via phone or online.

I chose to go with the Interactive version for a few reasons. You are able to include so much more information in your online profile than you can fit on a small engraved wristband. I am able to list multiple emergency contacts, my doctor’s information, a photo of myself for identification, and more. I think that the interactive band can also help to clarify situations for first responders. I don’t have any pressing medical conditions that a first responder would need to know immediately. I do, however, take a medication that is used for multiple ailments. Rather than just posting my dosage on my wristband, I’m able to put the dosage and an explanation of why I take the medication in my online profile. Much more useful information!

A Road ID is surprisingly affordable — you can pick up most styles for under $20. To maintain your online profile should you choose an Interactive Road ID, there is a fee of $9.99 per year. However, this fee is waived for your first year of service with your new Road ID purchase. I’m more than happy to pay $20 now, and $10/year in the future for a little extra peace of mind for me and my family.

If you’re interested in picking up a RoadID, you can head to their website by clicking HERE. They provide all customers with ‘Tell-A-Friend’ coupons, and I’m happy to share mine with you so that you can save $1 on your purchase. Simply enter ThanksSarah25585008 at checkout. I don’t receive compensation for sharing this code–I’m simply passing it on because I think that staying safe while staying fit is extremely important!

Do you wear a Road ID (or similar product) when you exercise? Any other recommendations for staying safe while participating in outdoor sports alone? Let me know by leaving a comment below!

Gym Buddies – Week 1

Hello, Sweatsational readers!

Fitness isn’t a journey that you can undertake completely alone. Sure, it’s easy to hit the gym solo. But having people to support you as you accomplish your fitness goals can make all the difference in your motivation level. These people don’t necessarily have to be “in-person” friends–they can be bloggers or vloggers! In my ‘Gym Buddies’ series, I will be featuring links to websites, YouTube videos, blog posts, or magazine articles that have inspired me on my fitness journey each week.

This week, I found my biggest source of inspiration via Pinterest. One of my favorite bloggers, Taralynn McNitt of Undressed Skeleton posted this gem (click here to check out her pin!).

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In one of her recent blog posts, Taralynn wrote about hiking and her nature epiphany: that many people (herself, and myself!) included, don’t take the time to “thank” nature for all that our planet provides for us. We forget to recycle, overuse natural resources, and leave an extremely large carbon footprint in the wake of our everyday activities.

One of my biggest fitness goals is to become a dedicated outdoor runner. I’m excited about spending more time in nature, and I’m sure that running while taking in fresh air while taking in the sights around me will be far more motivating than staring at a wall as I jog on the treadmill at the gym! I plan on “giving back” to the world around me by taking up a challenge that Taralynn has set up for herself: using reusable shopping bags no matter what! It sounds like a small thing, but every little change that we make in our lives can have lasting results.

Thank you, Taralynn, for being such an inspirational gym buddy this week!

Who inspires you on your fitness journey? Let me know in the comments below, and keep an eye out for next Saturday’s Gym Buddies update!