Fit Tuesdays: Spinning

 (Images via 1 // 2 // 3 )

After a brief hiatus from the gym last week, I made it over to the fitness center to try out their intermediate spin class. I walked into that room with the mentality that the class would be a breeze and I would be a natural....and an hour later walked out shaky, nauseous, exhausted, and humbled. Spinning is no joke!

The class was fun but intense, powered with a good music playlist and the constant shouts of encouragement from the instructor. The workout for the day was 4x10 minute hills that always had different intervals and positions which I liked so it mixed things up. The instructor would shout out the commands like "30 seconds seated sprint" or "off your seat in position 3!" and you wouldn't know the interval time length until she began counting down the last five seconds. Good torture if there is such a thing!

My downfall in the spin class was my competitive nature with the other people in the class. Instead of focusing more on how I felt, I focused too much on how much faster and harder I was going than the other people around me. Because of that, I pushed myself wayyy too hard and paid for it at the end of class when I had to lean on my bike to avoid losing my lunch or fainting while everyone else cooled down and stretched. I also think I had my resistance too high for a majority of the ride...sometimes I would only realize that we were supposed to have been going easy when the instructor told the class to crank up their resistance again (it was hard to understand her over her microphone with the music playing). I'm not too upset about it though because I haven't felt that competitive really in anything in the last 3 or 4 years I'd say, so it felt amazing to have that fire start up in me again! :) Next time I'll focus more on how I feel though and finding my best level of intensity.

In conclusion: this is another class to add to my list of future repeats! 2 for 2 so far :)


Cold Weather Essentials

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

I had a rude awakening this morning when I walked out the door to head to work and was met with blustery winds and a temperature of -8 degrees! The second part of the rude awakening is when I realized how ill prepared my wardrobe is for the bitter cold.

Luckily for my poor planning self, most stores are having major sales right now on all of their winter items. While the majority of us may be in the heart of winter battling to stay warm, clothing retailers have their sights on spring and making room for their next collection's inventory. Go check out your favorite stores and see what sort of steals you can grab! You know I have my eyes on that J.Crew sale ;) I mean, an extra 40% off sale items?! I think I'm in heaven! *cue Hallelujah music*



I had a great weekend of birthday celebrations: there was a lot of eating, watching other people work out, quality family time, and more eating :).

Turning 23 takes me back to my high school days of AP Government, where our class had a running joke about the number 23, based of the suspense thriller movie with Jim Carrey. The movie I guess revolves around this theory how all these bad events that have happened throughout history involve the number 23 in some way. I don't think any of us in the class had even seen the movie, but anytime the number popped up we'd all go "ooooh" and act scared and we thought we were hilarious but really we were a bunch of dorks.

Because of that, I had been having a little mental "oooh" about this birthday, but the day has passed and so far so good *knocks on wood*. With that being said, here's to a year of good memories and new beginnings!


School is Back in Session!

School Badges: ML Badges // Gingham Bracelet: Tory Burch // Bag: Cambridge Satchel Company // Shirt: Quiksilver // Blazer: Lacoste (on sale!) // Leggings: J.Crew // Boots: Tory Burch


While I didn't make any resolutions for myself this year, I did sit down and think about what sort of career I want in the future. From this I created a career plan where I wrote out what I needed to accomplish in order to obtain my ideal job. The first part of the plan began with going back to school. I need to complete a few courses before I can move on to the next part of the plan, which is grad school and passing a series of exams to become certified to work as an actuary. 

In my excitement of returning to the classroom, I put together a "school uniform" mixed with my own personal style. I won't lie, if I were required to wear something along these lines to class all the time, I'd be one happy camper :)


Fit Tuesday: Pilates

(Images via 1 // 2 // 3 // 4)

Did that last picture surprise you? ;)

Today I experienced my first mat pilates class offered at my gym I attend. I opted to try the intermediate level class because I felt that my dance history would help me with catching on to the exercises more quickly and easily, and because the class was at the time I wanted to work out :). For those unfamiliar with the Pilates method, here is a brief summary from Wikipedia:

Pilates is a body conditioning routine that may help build flexibility, muscle strength, and endurance in the legs, abdominals, arms, hips, and back. It puts emphasis on spinal and pelvic alignment, breathing, and developing a strong core or center, and improving coordination and balance. Pilates' system allows for different exercises to be modified in range of difficulty from beginning to advanced. Intensity can be increased over time as the body conditions and adapts to the exercises.

Despite of my dance background, I was most definitely a "n00b" when it came to the class. First, I brought my own yoga mat only to find that pilates mats and yoga mats are different...and that the class provided us with mats to use. We were advised to do some stretches and warm-ups before the class began to be ready to go. I immediately began doing stretches like touch your toes, stretch the quads and calves, typical runner stretches. When I looked around after a few minutes of stretching, literally everyone was lying longways on their rollers on their backs just breathing. I had never even seen foam rollers be used that way before! Once the class started up however, it became clear to me why this stretch would be beneficial. Pilates is all about developing control of your movements with your core being the foundation. With every exercise we did, engaging your core with a supportive back was key to getting the technique just right. Many of the movements were quite small, but I was trembling! I think with practice it would become easier and more natural, after getting the breathing technique and pattern down pat, which I had some trouble focusing on while also focusing on the movements.

Initially after the class I kind of thought to myself, "That was it?" I didn't really even break a sweat!" However, when I made it home I noticed my abs and my back feeling fatigued and sore as I moved about and did my thing. I'm just so used to the idea that in order for something to be a "good workout" I have to end being drenched in sweat and in need of a shovel to peel me off the floor. This is just what I need right now though since my knee/leg is injured and can't take a beating. Plus, the more I sit here typing I feel my abs becoming more sore and tired, the more I'm buying into Pilates. I'll definitely be trying this class out again!


Matthei Botanical Gardens

Shirt: LOFT (similar) // Coat: H&M (similar) // Leggings: Paige Denim // Shoes: Lacoste (old, want these!) // Purse: Milly

This afternoon I went with my parents to the Matthei Botanical Gardens. We used to visit often when my sisters and I were very young but I hadn't been back since those days, so I was really excited to check it out. I was especially looking forward to practicing my manual and macro photography skills I have been reading up on...until I got there and my camera screen read "charge battery"...oops :(. The conservatory was too pretty though to not capture on camera, so enjoy some not so great iphone photos!


Tropical Getaway

Tote // Tunic // Necklace // Sandals // Solid Swimsuit // Striped Swimsuit
Winters in Michigan can be cold. very cold. I often find myself this time of year daydreaming of going on a luxurious vacation to somewhere in the tropics where I can lie on the beach, enjoy the warmth on my face, and forget about the cold and snow I left behind. With many designers introducing their resort collections this month, it makes daydreaming much more specific yet imaginative. Now if I could only find the time, extra money, and good travel companions to join me...I guess I'll be living in my daydreams for a little while longer ;)


What Do Runners Do When They Can't Run??

Ever since I completed the Chicago Marathon in October, I most likely have only run around ten times. While sheer laziness may seem to be the cause - okay, sometimes it is the reason - I've actually been struggling with a knee problem that is aggravated by running and cold. Grrr, Michigan winters. I have tried taking time off, anywhere from 1 week to 2.5 weeks at a time to see if rest would help it heal but every time I do an itty bitty run that nasty ache flares up again.

And so my question today is this: what do people who primarily run for exercise do for activity when something prevents them from getting their run on? As someone who has lived and breathed the sport of running - cross country, indoor and outdoor track, road races, obstacle races, you name it - for my entire young adult life, I am at quite a loss when it comes to physical activity ideas outside of my comfort zone.

While I am frustrated and discouraged about my inability to work out the way I always have, I realized this was the perfect opportunity for me to really explore what is available in the world of exercise. Whether it be the latest workout trends like Crossfit, Yoga, and Pilates or more classic and traditional exercise classes like aerobics or spinning, I'm very excited to challenge myself and try something I'm not entirely confident or comfortable with now and see how I like it! With that being said I'm going to start a segment on my blog called "The Different Sides of Fitness" where I will share my experiences and thoughts as I search for the second-best workout..running will always be #1 in my heart ;)

What kinds of exercise classes, sports, or workouts do you like to do to stay active??


Leopard & Leather

Jacket: thrift shop find (similar) // Sweater: Urban Outfitters // Skirt: Urban Outfitters // Tights: Capezio // Booties: Report // Necklace: Unknown (liking this one) // Sunglasses: Marc by Marc Jacobs // Purse: Coach (Similar)

Greetings and Happy (belated) New Year! We spent our Christmas in North Carolina as we do each year and when we arrived back to Michigan we came back to a winter wonderland! While some (aka me) were happier about this than others (aka the rest of my family), I think we all agree that days where the skies are clear and the wind is still are picturesque. I mean, who can be totally upset when they look out the window and see the snow glittering like diamonds? Albeit, it doesn't happen often but when it does it is a beautiful sight!