Be Flawless; Accessorize with Kensie

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As some of you may know, I landed myself an internship with Kensie and am moving to New York City! I couldn’t be more excited about this for so many reasons. One, as I have always loved fashion, I dreamt about living in New York City. Big city dreams are real and now I am so lucky to be working right in the Garment District in one of the greatest fashion capitals of the world! Two, I was not only recognized professionally by the company, but personally. I was so happy to know that the interviewer checked out my blog. It is important to feel comfortable in the work place, and the fact that I could relate with them when it comes to health & fitness is a big plus!
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When I was in High School, I was the big girl. Fashion, style, and accessories were all I had to show. During my college days I’ve let my style go to the wayside just a tad. Dressing up for class was not only time consuming, but not exactly normal at Ohio University, especially considering I was most likely headed to the gym right after! Though I don’t show my style every day, I still have a knack for it. Yes, I’m excited for the learning experience that Kensie will provide me with, but who wouldn’t be excited to get the opportunity to dress up everyday and really move forward with their own personal style?! I know I am. When I worked at Macy’s Columbia I worked directly with Kensie’s merchandise. I had always loved Kensie and was so excited to see the job postings online!  It almost seemed surreal to be interviewing at such a beautiful showroom, which motivated me to nail the interview as best as I could! After being denied from countless jobs these past two years, I felt like this was my calling. Receiving this job opportunity was one of the most rewarding moments to happen to me in a while! Another thing I love about Kensie is their sizing. Their sizes are not only comfortably fitting, but they go up to sizes that many brands do not. This gives girls who are not a size 2 a chance to have some of the most trending merchandise today.

One product line I have not been familiar with with Kensie is the accessories. After browsing their accessories in department stores and shopping online, I think I may have a new obsession.

BE FLAWLESS; ACCESSORIZE WITH KENSIE
Be Flawless; Accessorize with Kensie

Pictured above is the Flawless Flannel Shirt you can purchase on Beyonce.com. I love Beyonce, we all love Beyonce, we all want to be as flawless as Beyonce, here’s step one. I pictured this flannel to be worn open, with the NastyGal.com Lace Bustier and Gaps Destructed Sexy Boyfriend Jeans. You can go to starbucks in this outfit, or a friends house, but this can also be dressed up with a little help from Kensie. I’d describe Kensie’s Imelda High-Heel Sandals as casual glam, because that gold piece creates such a statement. Without it, they’d just be your typical black sandals. Accessorize your outfit with more gold statement pieces from Kensie’s selection of jewelry. Kensie’s Gold Plated Pyramid Stud Earrings and Printed Matter Gold Platted “Wish” Pendant are perfect additions to your already flawless outfit. I accessorize with gold all the time and would wear these accessories in a heartbeat. Lastly, I threw Kensie’s Sophie Satchel in there to finish the outfit and bring the black to full circle.

Click the image above to check out more of my Polyvore sets and find out wear to buy these items online or in store!

Yours Truly,

Stef

Fashion Meets Fitness: Dark Knike feat. Nike

Colors are great, but sometimes black is just the answer. You have your girls who wear black when they’re bloated, black when they’re sad, or your girls who refuse to wear any black at all. Yes, black is a very dark and ominous color (I only use the word ominous because of the movie Forgetting Sarah Marshall..). Black is also a slimming color when it comes to outfit choices. Some of us girls generally love to wear the color black all the time. I am one of them. One reason could be that my beloved yoga pants are always black, and what’s a better way to match them then with a black sports bra, black v-neck, black nikes, and a black beanie? (Say black again. Black.) Another point I’m trying to prove is that girls get lazy. Last minute night out with the girls? Nobody has time for MATCHING?! Please. Putting together an all black outfit not only takes minimal effort, but it’s most definitely always a win-win situation. Black on black is so chic, and I don’t think it will ever go out of style. That leads me to my first few looks that I’ve put together. Keep in mind, I’d almost never wear this outfit in public, but what high fashion looks would you ever wear out in public, anyway? My first step was to name these pieces Dark Knight. Then I looked at my merchandise and my title, and came up with…
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Pictured above is a look that is athletic, yet chic. Your Nike Dunk Sky Hi Women’s sneaker puts emphasis on the fact that no, you’re not about to go work out, you’re about the run the town. Nike’s Vintage Gym Shorts… wait did I just say vintage? Enough said. Adding a touch of old school to your outfit makes you go from Taylor Swift to Rihanna in two seconds. Nobody has time for the new stuff. Vintage is and always will be in. The Printed Nike Pro sports bra adds a little bit of a twist to things with it’s bold, yet subtle, pattern. And now we’re talking accessories. Walking out of the house and walking out of the house with sunglasses on is two completely different things. Another way to go from Taylor Swift, to Rihanna, in seconds. (Goin 0 to 60 in 3.5 …that Rihanna song, anyone?) Anyways, not only do the sunglasses physically add a sense of glam to your ever-so-simple outfit, but they mentally make you feel like the world is your oyster. If you’ve never put on a pair of sunglasses and instantly felt slightly more bad ass than before, you’re lying. Lastly, we have your Nike Jordan Jumpman Air hat. The great thing about wearing all black is that any color pop is dramatic, and we love dramatic. The red creates a dramatic effect. This is one color pop that does not calm the outfit down. Pairing red and black together is one of my favorite things to do, and that’s why I started with two outfits with such similar tastes.
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I’m looking at this outfit and I want it on my body right now. It’s so… Bronx meets Upper East Side. Am I right? You have your Marc by Marc Jacobs Baker Watch. All black watch? A must have. Your Black Spike Bracelet pretty much brings the outfit together and lets everyone know you mean business. From the gym, to the streets, it’s a statement piece. A long with your color pop item, your Nike and Jordan Beanie, which calms the outfit down to keep it casual. Your Nike Air Max’s aren’t just black. They glisten, and shine, like a new car. Your shoes are like your transportation, why not keep them as chic as possible. I paired the Nike Pro Capri Tights with the Nike Thre-D Tank and the Nike Compression Swoosh bra. All. Black. Everything. To emphasize the fancy Nike logo that everyone knows and loves.
To shop these items, simply click on the photographs above. Don’t forget, the color black does not have to promote all the negative. To me, wearing all black is a confidence statement. Here I am, not giving a crap, wearing all black, cause I can. It takes style to put together a chic all black outfit, though it does not take time. And that is why I love my beloved color black. Why do you love the color black?
Yours Truly,
Stef

A Foodies Tour: Wilmington, North Carolina

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Last weekend I spent a WONDERFUL weekend in the beautiful town of Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina. My best friend Casey is a senior at the University of North Carolina Wilmington and a visit was long overdue! Casey is lucky enough to go to a beautiful school, surrounded by amazing places for food & drink, and not to mention, the beach! I thought it’d be fun to document as much of the food as possible! As many of you know, I’ve been trying to diet, but this was one trip I was willing to splurge for! Our friend, Jenna, goes to school at High Point University, so she came a long for the trip as well! Not only do the three of us love each other, but we love food. Casey, Jenna and I also have a love for natural foods. Farm to table restaurants are a favorite of ours. We love finding delicious restaurants where we know the food they are serving us are natural, organic, whole foods! Though we all love to splurge on lifes greatest temptations, like tequila shots and pizza, we are great at finding a balance between health and fun. Before I send you on this tour, I’d like to thank Casey for an AMAZING trip in Wilmington/Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina. No wonder she never comes home to Maryland during breaks, I’d go back in a heart beat!

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Okay, I know what you guys are thinking. This looks disgusting… I know. I thought I’d include my last Tupperware meal before my flight to Wilmington. This was tuna with mustard and rice cakes. I love this meal, sue me.  After four hours of traveling, between two flights and layovers, I arrived in Wilmington starving! Luckily, Casey was also ready to smash some food, we chose sushi, white girl problems.

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A staple at any sushi restaurant is the Edamame. Extra salty, or no salt at all, edamame is delicious! I do have to say, the salt helps 🙂

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And welcome to sushi heaven. I thought I’ve enjoyed sushi before, but these rolls surpassed all expectations. I had to double up on Gluten & Dairy digestive enzymes, but luckily they provide Gluten Free Soy Sauce for rolls. No surprise here, Casey and I finished all three rolls. This usually isn’t such a challenge but these rolls were huge.

King Kong Roll

Red Snapper and Avocado Cooked Tempura Style, Topped with Spicy Tuna, Scallop, Crab, Crunchy, Scallion, Masago and Special Sauce

Ninja Roll

Tuna, Salmon & Avocado Topped with Scallop, Crab, Crunchy, Orange Sauce & Eel Sauce

Hurricane Roll

CA Tempura Roll Topped with Spicy Tuna, Scallion and Eel Sauce

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Epic Food Co. 

Epic Food Co. serves up a Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner menu. They serve flavorful dishes to fit your dietary needs, as there are many gluten free and vegan options. They have perfect portion sizes, and you leave feeling satisfied, not stuffed! There are many great things on the menu, a long with an option to make it “Your Way”. Casey and I chose to make our own fresh bowl!

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Caseys bowl consisted of Brown Rice, Chicken, Sprouts, Spinach, epic PICO, and veggie sauté. Casey chose the Avocado Chile Lime dressing as her sauce, on the side.

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My bowl consisted of Brown Rice, Chicken, Spinach, epic PICO, basil, and veggie sauté. I followed in Casey’s foot steps and got the Avocado Chile Lime dressing, on the side.

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Casey and I both got ourselves a side of freshly homemade sweet potato chips! I can’t explain how delicious these were, you’ll have to try them out for yourself.

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Epic does a great job in guaranteeing fresh ingredients and great service. They also include the nutritional values on the Epic menu, or the menu that is already created for you if you don’t choose to make it Your Way. The food tasted fresh and healthy, it was a delicious meal without the splurge! And well deserved after Casey and I hit the gym right before this meal 🙂

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After touring Wilmington & Wrightsville Beach for a bit, it was time to make dinner! We spent the day checking out local markets and picking up delicious ingredients for our homemade dinner we were planning that night! We picked up most of our ingredients at Trader Joes. Not to mention, my new favorite sparkling white wine! (I totally forget what it’s called, I’ll have to stalk Trader Joes next time)

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We made 1 pound of Gluten Free Brown Rice pasta!

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Mixed with 1 pound of White Ground Turkey meat! Seasoned with oregano, garlic, minced onion, italian seasoning, and salt and pepper!

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While that was cooking, we made a small antipasta to hold us over. I live for antipasta. Olives, salami, pepperoni, capicola. All that’s missing is cheese and crackers! Man, I miss mozzarella. #DairyFreeProblems

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Our pasta dish was amazing! The sauce we used was a Basil Marinara from Trader Joes. We had enough to hold us over, and then it was time to hit the town!

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Casey took us out to the beach bars for some drinks and yes, there was dancing! This lucky girl lives right near the beach, just over the bridge and down two blocks!

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We spent Saturday a little tired & drowsy, but we made it to the beach. It was a beautiful day, just not nice enough for bathing suits! After a long day of walking, beaching, and mostly napping, it was time to celebrate National Margarita Day! Casey works at On The Border and they were having $1 Margaritas! We started with happy hour there. Guacamole live was a necessity! We finished the night at Tower 7, Casey’s favorite place for Mexican food & Margaritas! I got the steak fajitas. We all cleared our plates and were home by 9 for a much needed nights sleep!

The Basics

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On Sunday, Jenna headed back to High Point University after a delicious brunch at The Basics. The Basics is in downtown Wilmington, which is an adorable and quant part of Wilmington! Casey got the Quiche special, which looked delicious!

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I got the Carolina Cobb Salad, without blue cheese. I saw someone eating this when I walked in and it looked so fresh so I had to get it!

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Jenna got the Spinach Feta Grill. I was so jealous! This meal was a thick cut toasted baguette with poached eggs, creamy spinach, artichoke and feta. Biscuit on the side, of course!

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We spent the next few hours at Port City Java, where scenes from We Are the Millers was filmed! Jenna left us to do homework. I, unfortunately, had a paper to write, and Casey had some exams to study for. After our homework was finished, we went on a run and got ready to go to the airport for my 5 o’clock flight back to Ohio!

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The struggle is usually so real at places like airports for people with “dietary needs” like me. Luckily, Wilmington had a local eatery right in it’s airport! The women who helped me explained where their meat was from, and that it had no fillers! I got a burger with onions and mushrooms over lettuce. I covered that thing in ketchup, as if we’re surprised.

I hope you enjoyed my food review on Wilmington & Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina! Stay tuned for a Foodies Tour of New York City after my trip this weekend!

Yours Truly,

Stef

Top of the Months Transformation: RJ Murray!

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Introducing: RJ Murray
I couldn’t think of a better person to be a part of my Top Transformation posts! RJ Murray and his family have been close family friends to us since I can remember, as they live right behind us! Our whole community is in awe of RJ’s transformation and are so proud of the athlete that he turned into while playing college football! RJ has always been a great, kind, and caring person, but it is amazing to see him grow into a healthier version of that! He was patient in his journey, as that six pack didn’t take a few months! Check out what RJ has to say about his journey, it is truly inspiring!
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Give me a brief summary of yourself and your journey.
My name is R.J. Murray and I’ve lived in Columbia, MD my whole life. I’ve always been on the bigger side and was honestly accepting of the fact up until college.  In high school, I continuously made excuses for myself saying that I was “big for football” or giving some other sport related justification as to why my weight was out of control.  At some point or another, I actually started believing my own excuses and completely let myself go.  Once college hit, athletics became a huge part of my life.  I played football for Salisbury University and the experience helped me drastically through the process of making a lifestyle change.  My senior year of high school I weighed nearly 260lbs with an outrageous BFP. (body fat percentage) After graduating high school in 2008, I decided it was time to make a change.  In a matter of 6 months in 2009, I lost nearly 60lbs of excess weight while adding a good deal of muscle.  That being said, a true transformation takes years – it takes much longer than 6 months and certainly doesn’t happen overnight.  I continued playing football, working out, conditioning, and most importantly – dieting to this day and have seen great results.
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What changes did you make to your diet in the beginning to get you where you are today?  And what does your current diet look like?
In the beginning, start slowly eliminating destructive habits and foods.  It should be easy to justify not eating out.  You’re not only getting healthier, but also saving money.  It’s important to make a plan.  Pick a diet and only buy what’s necessary for the week when you go to the grocery store.  This should also save you money by eliminating waste and unnecessary snack foods.  Just as in exercising, the results of dieting don’t show overnight.  It takes time – if it was easy we’d all look like Greg Plitt or Lazar Angelov. Put in the work, stay committed, and reap the results! 
My current diet:
Meal 1: 8 oz. griller sirloin steak, ½ cup dry oats ( ½ scoop whey protein, ½ banana, 1 tsp. coconut oil, 1 tbs peanut butter, 1 tsp. instant espresso, 1 tbs. cinnamon), ½ cup blueberries
Meal 2: 8oz baked/grilled chicken breast, ½ cup brown rice or 6oz (½) baked sweet potato, 1 cup steamed green beans, hot sauce
Meal 3: 1 scoop whey protein, ½ cup raw almonds
Meal 4: 8oz baked/grilled chicken breast, ½ cup brown rice or 6oz (½) baked sweet potato, 1 cup steamed green beans, hot sauce
Meal 5: 6oz broiled salmon, 1 cup green beans
Meal 6: (Pre-workout) 1 scoop whey protein, 1 banana
Meal 7: (Post-workout) 1 scoop whey protein, 1 cup dry oats or 1 scoop carbogain, 1 scoop glutamine, 1 scoop hydrolyzed BCAA’s.  45 minutes later: ½ lb. bison burger, 1 Ezekiel English muffin, 2 tbs. reduced sugar ketchup, 1 cup steamed broccoli.
Meal 8: 1 scoop whey protein, 8 egg whites, ¼ cup minced peppers and onions
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Rj’s new lifestyle had made him so much happier as a person. He looks forward to working out and it gives him goals for the day. It also has made him more organized. His ability to stay in control and stick to his diet is really inspiring. -Cara Murray
What were your goals?
Short term:  I wanted to be a better athlete.  I wanted to play football and be the best that I could be.
Long term:  I wanted to be healthy… I’m certainly not genetically gifted in the health and fitness department which makes working harder that much more important.  Working out is more than just enhancing appearance; it’s about living a healthy life.
What do you do for exercise?
I use a mix of weight training (power lifting/bodybuilding/crossfit), cardio/conditioning, and sports.
When did you decide to change your life and what motivated you the most?
As I mentioned in the summary, after graduating high school in 2008, I decided it was time to make a change.  In a matter of 6 months in 2009, I lost nearly 60lbs of excess weight while adding a good deal of muscle.  That being said, a true transformation takes years – it takes much longer than 6 months and certainly doesn’t happen overnight.  I continued playing football, working out, conditioning, and most importantly – dieting to this day and have seen great results.
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What is the best advice you can give to those who have similar goals (or personal goals in general) in mind?  What do you think is the main reason why some people find it so hard to reach goals such as the one you achieved?
Don’t make excuses for yourself.  If you want to see results, you have to put in the work. Nothing is more irritating than hearing someone say that “its genetics” or “it’s impossible.”  To be honest, either is an embarrassing lie.  The real reason is because you play x-box 6 hours a day, you and the guy at the drive-through window of Wendy’s are on a first name basis, and you’re lazy and uncommitted.  Get off your ass and do something… It doesn’t matter what; just get up and do something – anything.  Change your diet slowly.  Adjust your body to natural, wholesome foods and get rid of processed junk.  Stay on the outskirts of the grocery store and force yourself to work with the ingredients you find there.  If you don’t go through the aisles, the temptation won’t be there.  Every 3 or 4 weeks, change everything… workout routines, diet, etc.  Find what works for you and even when you find it, change it and come back to it… Introduce your body to new things.
What (and who) helped you the most through the process of bettering yourself?
When you’re in the process of making a serious lifestyle change, family and friends are always the first to support you.  Following suite, my family and friends were extremely supportive and helpful throughout the process.  That being said, when going through the process of turning a “health kick” into an actual life style it directly boils down to how interested you are in bettering yourself.  The support and help comes from your personal dedication, motivation, and discipline as the one experiencing the changes.  Use your support for yourself as a main source of motivation and feed from help and support that your friends and family give.  If I had to pick something that directly helped me the most, it would be football.  Playing football through high school; and more specifically, college, kept me active and focused.
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How has your life changed since you reached your goals?
Generally, I’m the same guy that I have always been… Obviously, there have been some physical changes such as energy levels and appearance; but the biggest change is the drive to wake up in the morning with a purpose. Always look to better yourself in every way possible.  This lesson extends further than just the weight room or football field but can be applied to every aspect of life whether it is work, hobbies, relationships, etc. Wake up with a purpose and be the best you can be!
What are you going to do (now that you’ve reached success) to maintain your progress?
If you keep the outlook that you never reach success and always strive to be better than you were the day before, you’ll never have the chance to settle.  Settling is one of the worst things you can do in any situation.  Always push yourself to the next level.  I plan on continuing weight training and conditioning as well as dieting appropriately to reach whatever goals I have at the time; waking up with a purpose and aiming to get better every single day.

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Yours Truly,

Stef

Introducing: Fashion Meets Fitness

I can’t tell you how tempted I was to make this blog post titled, “Fashion Meats Fitness”, because paleo.
I’d like to introduce to you my newest train of posts to be expecting. As many of you know, I am finishing up my four years at Ohio University with a Retail Merchandising and Fashion Product Development degree. I also recently passed the NRF examination, certifying myself in customer service. (Would you like that in a different color?) Anyways, I figured it’s time to collide my two hobbies. Better yet, it’s time to combine my soon to be career with my hobbies. Delicious food and longwinded rants will still exist, but I wanted to spruce things up a bit. My Fashion Meets Fitness posts will include photographs of (hopefully not always) myself and other volunteers modeling the latest and greatest sportswear. I will cover accessories, equipment, menswear, and womenswear. I will make sure you leave my posts knowing exactly where to buy each product, and for how much. Not only will you be able to find these products from my posts, but you will be given a sneak peak on how to pair them with other products. I know many people, including myself, just throw on whatever they can find for a workout. The athletes, they’re messy all the time, never put together. Why does that have to be? You can be an athlete and be perfectly styled and put together at the same time. That way, you won’t be on this list:
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Let’s do a test run of #FMF. Say, hypothetically, I post this amazing outfit that you need to buy RIGHT AWAY. But, you have cross fit in two hours, so you won’t have time to go home and change before your workout. You don’t want to look too messy walking through the mall, but you have to wear your workout clothes or else you won’t make the 5 o’clock wod. Here is my take on how to look put together in an athletic fashion. (Please note: I am not a model)
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Pictured is a classic workout outfit, accessorized with a classy long sleeved winter top and a black vest. Wear your favorite sneakers with any outfit and all the sudden…#swag. IMG_3511IMG_3531
Switch up the look of your sneakers by changing the colors of the laces. I preferred my roshe run’s accessorized with black laces.

Top: Marshalls, Mondetta $25.99
Bottoms: LuLuLemon Run Inspire Crops $86
Vest: Macy’s, Calvin Klein $49.99 (on sale)
Shoes: Nike Roshe Run $80 (Found them on Ebay)

Preparing to Succeed in College & America

Tomorrow morning I’ll be at the beach for two nights with some of my girlfriends. Because of my intolerances and not to mention my eating habits, I have prepped meals for the next three days at the beach. Sure, it’s a vacation, but it doesn’t have to get out of control. I also don’t have many options as to what I can eat these days, so prepping my meals makes certain situations a little less stressful, and a lot less hungry.
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I’m completely fine with being the girl that’s eating chicken, sweet potato’s, and veggies on the beach out of Tupperware. One wrong bite of something and I turn into an extremely miserable, stomach aching, mess. So, I consider the public lucky that I am so prepared.
My excuse for constantly eating “healthy” and bringing around prepared meals in Tupper wear is a lot easier than it was before. I’m gluten and dairy intolerant. Once I explain that to people, they stop offering me cake as if it is the last thing they have to cross off of their dying bucket list. Before that, I didn’t have an excuse. I just wanted to eat healthy. I wanted to feel good. I wanted to look good. I wanted to feel that I looked good. And I wanted to look like I felt good. Anyway. These days, the criticism you get from your peers seems a little reversed. You don’t want to drink 10 days in a row and not remember a thing and ruin the crap out of your liver? You have some nerve to miss out on a night at the bar! Oh my god I can’t believe you aren’t going out! What are you gonna do? Sit here by yourself and watch TV? Like, yes, I am completely secure with everything going on in my life that I can sit here by myself every now and then. If I miss Sally drunkenly falling down the steps at the bar, I’ll just push her down them next weekend. It will all work out. I don’t force everyone to run marathons and work out with me, so don’t force me to chug a handle of Bacardi. I just won’t do it. Just because my life mainly focuses on nutrition & fitness does not mean I don’t like to go out and have a good time. There is a lot more to us obsessive fitness freaks than those annoying tweets about our workouts and instagrams of healthy dinners we eat. I swear. I absolutely love going out. In moderation. Though I don’t moderate my drinks well. Maybe one day we can talk about Rumpleminz. But I’m not sure that I even remember.
Back to the whole topic of succeeding. You have to be selfish. You have to want it. No one is going to help you, and no one is going to support you. They want you to eat a million cupcakes with them. Why? Because cupcakes make you happy. For like……..5 seconds. You want to know what else makes you happy? Getting a ridiculous PR on a lift. My coach, and friend, Rebecca, is texting me about her ridiculous clean & jerk PR. She is on cloud nine, and that type of cloud nine lasts for way more than 5 seconds. Another thing that makes you happy, fitting comfortably in a roller coaster seat. I’m guilty of that struggle. Also, losing inches. If you lose inches, you’re probably losing fat. Then you might lose a pants size. If you lose a pants size, you probably look really freakin’ good. And that makes you feel really good. You’re happy. Inside and out. If your mind isn’t in it and you don’t want it bad, you won’t succeed.

Prepare to succeed.

That’s what America is all about, right? Well, for the most part. And when it comes to America’s favorite holiday, July 4th, the only thing you prepare for is a food baby and one too many drinks. Yesterday was a blast.
A few drinks in I was feeling like this:
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When in reality I looked like this:
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Either way, drinks were flowing and the sun was (finally) shining. Everyone and their mother was at the beach, and it was up to us stragglers to have a good time in good old Clarksville. Not to mention burgers and hot dogs were cooked in mass. Is there anything more American than a hot dog and a beer?
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As it was a Holiday, it wasn’t the cleanest day for food. I’ve become very good at keeping myself distracted and not focusing on all the good food that is around at these picnics. I feel good when I make it through a day where I could completely stuff myself, but don’t. But regardless, it’s okay to hop off the bandwagon, give yourself a treat. Have two hot dogs, not one. America would be proud.