Monday, February 19, 2018

5 Ways To Unwind At Night


We can all agree that sleep is important. We can probably also agree that we don't get enough of it. Whether it is staying up too late, waking up in the middle of the night, or spending too long on our phones in bed--it's easy not to get enough sleep. 

I have always struggled with falling asleep. Once I'm asleep, I'm ok but getting myself to sleep is an issue. I can remember staring up at the ceiling as a kid and just hoping to fall asleep soon. Over the years, I've found a few ways to unwind at night [assuming I actually follow through]. 

1. Stretching: This is my best way to relax at night. I danced growing up and would stretch every night before bed. I did it to get more flexible but it also really helps with sleep--your muscles release tension. I like to turn on calming music and stretch when I get the chance. 

2. Journaling: Growing up I also tried to keep a diary. I inevitably would stop writing in it and would give up on it. As an adult, I've found more structured journals. I'm currently working through a meditation journal from Lululemon. I'm also a big fan of the Five Minute Journal.

3. Tea: Sipping a nighttime tea [think yogi calming or sleepytime] can do wonders before bed.

4. Guided Meditation: I'm slowly getting into meditation and know it can be powerful for calming in the mind. I really like the Calm app for convenient guided meditation.

5. Essential Oils: I recently became a Young Living distributor. I was already into essential oils but I've been learning more about them recently and everything they are capable of. I like to diffuse lavender or stress away at night. I also rub thieves [for immunity] and lavender [for sleep support] on the bottoms of my feet before going to bed. 

What helps you unwind at night?







Saturday, February 17, 2018

The Weekly Recap: February 17


Happy Saturday! Who else is excited about this three day weekend?! 

I am starting a new series on blog: The Weekly Recap. I've been wanting to share regular updates for a while now but couldn't decide how to share. I figure the best way is to recap my week every Friday. I initially planned to have this out yesterday, however, I was out late on Thursday, didn't get it up and figured I'd post this next week. I just came to the realization that I don't need to wait a whole week because I missed a self-imposed deadline and this can go up on Saturday this week!

For now, this will be my format but I may change out categories--we'll see how it goes. 

Life:
• I attended the Simply conference for the third year in a row last Saturday!
• Joe and I booked a trip to Disney World in May
• I became a Young Living distributor and all my essential oils came in this week [video coming soon]
• For Valentine's Day: we went to Bocca Di Bacco for dinner, it was really good. We also saw Kinky Boots on Broadway. 
• I've been getting into meditation recently--I tried out Inscape [in NYC], downloaded the Calm app, and started a Lululemon journal
• I caught up with Julia at the Grey Dog by Union Square
• I tried cupping for the first time and surprisingly didn't bruise as much as I thought I would
• I'm starting something new and exciting next week [I'll definitely share it in next week's recap]

Weekend Plans:
Saturday: Joe has to work but we're seeing a show at UCB at night
Sunday: TBD, I'd like to do brunch if it stops snowing or something else in Manhattan
Monday: Long weekends are the best! Joe has to work but I'll hit up a pilates class and get my nails done

Throwback Post
Book of Mormon Review: Since we saw a show on Broadway this week, I started thinking about my show reviews. This was my second show review and is still my favorite show on Broadway. In fact, I saw it for a second time in December!

Reading:

Podcasts:
• 10 Things I'm Afraid To Tell You...[Goal Digger, Episode 127]

Song Of The Week







Wednesday, February 14, 2018

A Love Letter To My Husband


Happy Valentine's Day! Whether you are married, single, or somewhere in between--I hope you have a great day! This is our first married Valentine's Day, which is wild to me. I can't believe we said "I do" over six months ago and we're continuing in our journey of marriage. 

This year, we are celebrating with dinner and a Broadway show--it was so fun last year and we might make it a tradition!

The real reason to celebrate today is because we love each other. We fight for our love and relationship every single day. Life isn't easy but it's a lot easier together. Writing is one of my favorite ways to express myself so I decided to share a love letter to my husband..


Dear Joe, 

It has been a wild ride since I met in the summer of 2012. We were just kids then and no idea about the journey that lied ahead of us. I remember our first Valentine's Day vividly--I was still in SLO and you were up north. I drove up, after class, on Thursday so we could spend President's weekend together. I was supposed to spend the night at my parents and see you over the weekend but I desperately wanted to see you that day, on Valentine's Day. Even though it was late and I'd driven for hours, I drove on to see you. We made a heart-shaped pizza and drank wine. It was perfect. 

Every Valentine's Day since, we've done something special. The next year we took a sushi class and made chocolate soufles from scratch. In 2015, I surprised you and took you to Seattle for the weekend. Our next Valentine's was our first in New York! There was a snowstorm and we had breakfast in bed with our newly adopted fur baby, Nutmeg. Last year was our last Valentine's as an engaged couple and we saw Waitress on Broadway. This Valentine's will be special in its own way, as every other year has been. 

I cherish the memories I've made with you, each and every year. Our experiences have molded our relationship. I look back at the moments you've made me laugh or smile--I can't help but love you even more. You are truly one of the kindest people I've ever met. I can genuinely say that I've never met someone who dislikes you; that says so much about your character. 

You are a stand up guy. You've been there for me in my darkest times and for my greatest accomplishments. You left a comfortable life in California to struggle with me in New York. You helped me develop into the person I've become--a completely different person than I was when we first started dating in 2012. You've taught me how to be brave in difficult times. You've helped me become more confident and accept myself for who I am. You make me the best version of myself. 

Six years ago, I never would have expected to be where we are today. I cannot wait for all our adventures to come! 

I love you to the moon & back. 

Yours forever,
Mollie





Saturday, February 10, 2018

Galentine's Day Gift Guide


Galentine's Day: "Oh it's only the best day of the year. Every February 13th, my lady friends and I leave our husbands and our boyfriends at home, and we kick it, breakfast-style. Ladies celebrating ladies. It's like Lilith Fair, minus the angst. Plus frittatas." --Leslie Knope, Parks and Recreation

Can you tell I've been re-watching Parks & Rec recently?! I watched the entire series when it aired and decided to go through the whole show again this month. While I do post a Galentine's Day gift guide every year, I decided this year to feature my gifts that align with Leslie Knope quotes. You could even use the quote in a card or gift tag!


Gift #1: "I need you to text me every 30 seconds saying that everything is gonna be ok."  

Gift #2: "Ann, you beautiful tropical fish." [sub for friend's name!]

Gift #3: "I am super chill all the time!" 

Gift #4: "If I had to have a stripper name, it would be Equality."

Gift #5: "I guess some people object to powerful depictions of awesome ladies."


Gift #6: "You know my code. Hoes before bros. Uteruses before duderuses. Ovaries before broveries."

Gift #7: "Slowing down is not really my jam." 

Gift #8: "Why would anybody ever eat anything besides breakfast food?"

Gift #9: "I am a Goddess, a glorious female warrior." 

Gift #10: "Ann, you poetic and noble land-mermaid." [sub for friend's name!]


SHOP GIFT IDEAS:

Friday, February 9, 2018

How To Start Listening To Your Body

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Three years ago, I was suffering from major back pain. This wasn't a new injury. I had been suffering for almost four years. I had chosen to ignore my body, on more than one occasion, and this had resulted in a major injury.

Let's get really personal...

Backing up a bit–I had an unhealthy relationship with exercise when I was in college. I was always curvier growing up and decided to change things in college. I became a personal trainer and became obsessed with physical appearance. I ran, lifted weights, did Crossfit, yoga, hiking, swimming, pilates, cycling–sometimes multiple workouts in one day. I completed my first half marathon in 2011. Six months later, I wasn't running as much [although still running very regularly] and I was doing Crossfit. I became insecure about the muscles I was developing and started adding in more cardio to look more lean. One day at Crossfit, the friend I had gone with finished before me. I start pushing myself because I was embarrassed she finished first. During one of the exercises, I felt my back start to sink in–I will never forget this feeling. After the workout, she tells me she skipped some of the exercises because she was tired. I was annoyed but also felt relieved that I had actually finished the workout. The next day I woke up in so. much. pain.

I tried to stretch and foam roll. I talked to my instructors at Crossfit. Literally nothing helped me. The worst part was everyone around me encouraged me to keep going. No one wanted me to take a break. I was finally [somewhat] happy with how I looked and wanted to keep going–I was in a really dark place.

I kept going and the pain got worse [shocker]. I slowed down a little bit but I kept working out. I had just signed up for two more half marathons and was determined to complete them. Two weeks before the first half marathon, I knew I wouldn't be able to complete it without severely hurting myself more so I opted out. This was emotionally painful because this event required a trip. The race was in Canada. I was going with a friend. We had flights and a hotel booked. Bummer right? I went on the trip, cheered her on, and tried to ignore my super disappointed feelings.

After this trip, things continued to be rough. I had seen a couple doctors and was going to physical therapy regularly. I wasn't making any progress. I was still in just as much pain. It wasn't getting worse but I wanted to be my "old self" again.

Over the course of three years, I tried a chiropractor, physical therapists, and loads of doctors. I got acupuncture, massages, pain killers, muscle relaxants, products I'll never remember the name of, and cortisone shots in my spine [the most painful thing ever]. After my MRI, my doctor told me I'd have chronic pain for the rest of my life. He told me this at 23 years old. He put me in a support program for people with chronic pain. I had to get a full evaluation with a doctor, physical therapist, and psychologist. I had to go to appointments multiple times every week and saw no improvements.

Nearly three years ago, I decided to get one more opinion before moving to New York. My friend had told me about a special type of physical therapy–the Graston Technique. I found an office in my town that utilized this technique and called them up. One month later, I was pain free. It was the most insane thing ever. Apparently, my back injury had healed itself a long time before but I was left with a lot of tightness that caused referred pain; your muscles tighten up to protect areas that have been injured. It truly was a miracle!

After my injury and years of suffering, I've learned the importance of listening to your body.

I appreciate movement and how it makes me feel [mentally and physically]. I also would never want to push myself past healthy limits again.

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I mainly go to classes and walk. Obviously walking happens a lot naturally in New York City. I really like ClassPass because I have so many options. There are so many classes that are geared towards mental health and relaxation as well–I went to a restorative yoga and meditation class the other day.

I don't work out to look a certain way anymore. For years, that was my motivation and focus. After years of recovery from injuries and an unhealthy relationship with my body, my body has changed a lot. Five years ago, I would never post a photo like the photo above. Now I'm proud of my body, changes and all. I'm finally listening to my body and letting it change naturally based on its needs. I may not totally have it down yet but I'm working on it. Progress not perfection!

I also like activewear that feels good on my body. The outfit pictured above was sent to me by Fabletics, a company I've admired for years. Fabletics [Kate Hudson's activewear company] is an affordable yet quality-focused activewear line. I really admire that Fabletics is a size inclusive brand, offering sizes XXS-3X on their website. They also offer great introductory deals – 2 pairs of leggings for $24 – a $99 value – when you sign up for their flexible VIP membership program. Highly recommend this line!

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This post is extremely long so to sum things up: choose movement that feels good to your body and avoid pushing yourself passed your limits. Our bodies work so hard everyday to function properly so we need to show them some love too!

What do you do to listen to your body? I'd love to find out in the comments!

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Monday, February 5, 2018

My Everyday Makeup Routine


Recently I've been keeping my everyday makeup pretty consistent. I have a few products I absolutely adore. I usually only change up my look by rotating my lip products--otherwise I stick to what I like! 

Let's dive into my routine...


I always start off my priming my skin so my makeup stays all day. I love the Fenty primer--I've been using it for a couple months and it gives my skin a beautiful glow. 


For my base, I've been using the Laura Mercier Silk Creme Foundation. It is buildable and makes your skin look flawless. I recently found the most amazing concealer--Tarte Shape Tape. It is the best undereye concealer I've ever use. It provides great coverage and doesn't crease on me (assuming I set with Laura Mercier Translucent Powder). I always apply these products with my BeautyBlender

Then I dab on a bit of Glossier Cloud Paint [such a fun blush!]. I just use my fingers to blend in a couple dots of this product. I use a Real Techniques brush to dust on my Becca highlight. I finish my look by filling in my brows with Glossier Boy Brow. I occasionally wear mascara but recently I've been skipping it! My lip product also rotates every day. 


What are your go-to products?


SHOP MY LOOK:


Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Tips For Maintaining Your Car


Thank you to Cars.com for sponsoring this post!

Our car has seen a lot of wear and tear over the past few years. We moved across the country (California -> New York). Joe drives this car to work every day in the rain, snow, or otherwise. Also, for two years, he drove from Manhattan to job sites across the city or New Jersey every week. This car has seen a lot of use! 

When he bought this car, it is obviously a huge investment. We do everything we can to maintain it well so it will last for years to come. 

Here are a few tips for maintaining a car:

Monthly:
• Check your engine oil [this the blood of your car & should be changed every 3000 miles]
• Check tire air pressure [can easily been done at home--Cars.com offers a step by step guide & video on how to do this]
• Wash your car [show your car some love]

Six Months [or 7500 miles]: 
• Check the air filter [remove air-filter element & hold up to light; if you don't see light, it's time to replace it]
• Inspect exhaust system [check for rusted exhaust parts that need replacing & tighten loose clamps]
• Check brakes [either in the shop or at home]
Check the fluids
Clean the radiator [this prevents overheating]
Check the battery
Check lights [ask a friend to help you check the headlights, taillights, reverse lights, brake lights, and turn signals]

Two-Four Years:
Drain & flush cooling system [may be best to find a shop for this one]
Change automatic-transmission fluid
Replace drive belts & hoses [although they may not show signs, if they become noisy--it's time to replace them]
Change the timing belt

As Needed:
Replace broken lights, windows, mirrors [always do this ASAP--safety first!]
Clean the interior [especially important if you want to sell your car eventually]
Replace windshield wipers 

Anything I missed? Leave it down in the comments!



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