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

I Am Thankful For Running Because…

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I first found my love of fitness through running. Actually, no. I first found my hatred of fitness through running. I hated running, but it was because I “couldn’t” do it. Those one mile turkey trots in elementary school were my least favorite thing about the holidays. I finished last every year, and faked sick another year because I was tired of finishing last. It took me 13 minutes to run that mile, while the athletic kids finished in about 6 minutes. I will always remember how cool I thought everyone was that finished that quickly. It was awesome and intimidating, and I felt embarrassed every year. I do remember that good feeling when it was over though. That sense of relief and accomplishment, there is no better feeling.

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It’s weird to think back and remember that, besides feeling embarrassed, I secretly felt accomplished. (Not to mention I was more than relieved that it was over.) Why didn’t I hold onto that feeling? I could have reversed my whole predicament, which was becoming obese, if I just kept searching for that feeling. But then I wonder who I would have been today. Would I have become a high school athlete, a college athlete? Maybe I wouldn’t have been a cheerleader. Maybe I’d have a kick ass body and buns of steel. Maybe I would have started high school and dated the quarterback who eventually made it to the NFL and we would be this crazy athletic power couple. (living on a prayer) Maybe, with an athletic background, I would have been driven enough to receive straight A’s. All that I know is that things would have been a lot easier for me. Physically, mentally, and emotionally. But looking back, I wouldn’t want that. I’m glad that I had to “suffer”, though, I never truly felt like I was suffering, I just enjoy being dramatic. I guess it was the most peaceful way to suffer. I had no idea what I had inside me, I didn’t know what I was doing wrong, I didn’t want to believe that I needed to lose weight, so I peacefully fled through life, happy as a clam, but suffering. My strength, willpower, and motivation surprises me sometimes. To be so bold, I have something that many people don’t have. I taught myself to stay strong and to not give up. I taught myself how to be consistent, how to be healthy. I taught myself how to breathe without hyperventilating (take that anxiety). Breathing is the most important part. You are one deep breath away from a good mood, a smile, a new day. When I started running, breathing was the hardest part. Running took my breath away, and I fell in love. 

This. This Quote. 

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 I want this quote tattooed on my face. (But I’d never do that. That’d be weird.) I watched this video a year or so ago and it really inspired me, I wanted to go run a marathon or rep out a million 200# dead lifts or something. 

“The obsession with running is really an obsession with the potential for more and more life” -George Sheehan

I Am Thankful for Running Because…

1. of the Sweat. I sweat no matter what form of exercise I’m doing, but a long sweaty run is the most rejuvenating. You’re sweating for anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour. Thats a LOT of sweat. Everyone feels better after a run, so I like to think of my sweat as a symbol for washing away all the negative worries or stressful situations I have building up in my head.

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2. of the post-run high. 

3. it makes my mind and body come together.

4. It’s my therapy. When I run, I’m in the zone. I do a lot of my thinking when I run. I probably make most of my decisions during a run, a long with coming up with most of my ideas. Ideas that will inspire myself, a long with the few who read my blog. My thoughts are powerful during a run. Yes, I have my days where all I’m thinking is “I don’t want to do this”, but there are a few ways I talk myself into finishing what I started. You have to constantly yell positive things at yourself. Yes, in your head, yell at yourself. Tell yourself to keep going. Tell yourself you can.

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5. it clears my head. 

6. it is time alone with myself.

7. it hurts so good.

8. It challenges me. You are facing defeat every time you set out for a run. Each step is a milestone, and the first few are the hardest part. I started out hating running. It’s the beginning so it’s challenging. It’s challenging because it sucks. It sucks because its working.

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9. it makes me appreciate my body.

10.  it keeps me pushing for more. More miles, more speed, more life.

11. it allows me to observe. Whether it’s people watching at the gym or in the park (I love people watching).

12. Legs. I’d like to give a shoutout to my legs, for a couple of reasons. One, for existing. Some people don’t have legs, and they still do far more bad ass things than me. I am thankful for doing slightly bad ass things with my real legs. For always putting up with my drive. For listening to my brain and not the pain I may feel on mile 6 of a 10 miler. I’d also like to give a shoutout to my legs for being the two most stubborn assholes I’ve ever met. But with running, they are only slight assholes. I have legs, big ones, large thighs, huge trunks, whatever you wanna call them. I love the way my legs start to look when I’m consistent in my runs. Yeah, I lift now, so they’ve doubled in size for all the right reasons. It doesn’t mean they still can’t be beautiful, and beautiful they will be.

Yours Truly,

Stef

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Top of the Months Transformation: Lisa Muller

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I present to you my inspirational Mother as my first Top Transformation of the Month! Warning: this post will leave you extremely motivated, wow-ed, and maybe even a little emotional! What my Mother has accomplished is outstanding, and just as she says in the end of her interview, I can’t imagine doing this without my mother and father by my side. I also wish her parents were here to see the look in their eyes at how beautiful and impressive their daughter is. That’s why I want to share her story with you all. She deserves one GIANT pat on the back, as I have finally gotten Lisa Muller to share her guts and glory! Lisa also wants to warn everyone that she is not a writer. The spelling mistakes and weird made up grammar rules you see in my posts? Well, yeah, I got it from my Mama. Lisa wants to give a shoutout to Blake and her husband, and my father, Richard, for always being by her side. As many of you know, my mother and I went through this together, but the men in our family were with us too! Before you read, let me summarize Lisa’s weight loss. With 282 as her heaviest, Lisa went from 282 to 167 in ONE YEAR! She now weighs in at about 162.

“I never weigh myself, I don’t like the number. I go by how my clothes fit and how I generally feel. That’s all. I’ve always wanted to write and get my story out there, for me, for whoever, and I thank you for letting me. There’s so much more I can write, like when I write to Jillian Michaels to let her know about my journey, and she comes back and offers me a week at the biggest loser ranch! I probably will never write her, but I thought about it! :)”

Give me a brief summary of yourself and your journey.  
My name is Lisa Muller. I grew up in New Jersey in a big Italian family, where food was EVERYTHING.  Got married in 1987 weighing 142 lbs.
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As the years went by I kept putting on weight.  My mom passed away in 2004, I weighed 240 lbs.  In that next year I had the audacity to gain 25 lbs.  So I was 265 lbs, and not happy at all.  Everything was an effort.  I knew I had to loose weight, but loosing 100 lbs seemed insurmountable, and losing 60 wasn’t enough.  I had, in my closet, size 18, through (in the summer of 2009, my weight had soared to 282 at 5’7) size 26 and xxxl (which were tight).  That summer (2009) my husband kept talking about us getting “The Biggest Loser 30 Jump Start” ,loose 20 lbs in 30 days, and I kept putting him off. In August of 2009 we took my son to college, my daughter was an upcoming senior, and that September I bought the book.  It was 30 days of three meals and snacks…AND recipes.  I closed the book, and said “Nah, I’m not making all this stuff”.  My husband said “lets just do it for the 30 days and see…” and with his persistence, and my kicking and screaming, we started in October.  We holed ourselves in for one month, ,started walking, did not drink, go out to dinner, even go to our mother-in-law or sister-in-laws.  I was at the grocery store at least 4 times a week, bitching and moaning, but following the plan.  I’m so sorry I didn’t document my weekly struggle, yet weight loss   After the 30 days, we both lost 20 lbs and for me (as well as my husband)it was like a switch.  I started going to the gym and doing a cardio machine for 15 minutes, did some hand weights and sit ups,  Mid November I started going to a core conditioning class every tues/thurs, was doing some sort of exercise 4-5 days a week.  For the next few months we did not go out to dinner, order out, or drink.  In February I started running on the treadmill, then started with a mile outside.  In September of 2010 I had lost 115 and my husband lost 60.
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What were your goals?
My goal, at first, was to just get thru the 30 days.  After that, my goal was to loose 100 lbs and get to a size 14 (I thought being a 12 might be to hard to maintain).  I remember my girlfriend, Kim, asking me, at around -50, what was it for me that got me going.   And truly I couldn’t answer, it was just timing.  I think when you’re ready, you’re ready.  I would watch biggest loser and be so emotional, but I would also sit there with a bowl of  ice cream and melted peanut butter, thinking “oh sure, they get to go away, be on the ranch, and have great trainers, doctors, etc.”  During this year, my mindset (that I’d had for so many years) just vanished.  I grew up an athlete, and as this weight loss was happening, it was such an empowering feeling.  Little by little I was feeling like Lisa.  I’ve been playing tennis since I was 10,and still played at 282 lbs.  Was even playing softball.  But, like a past Weight Watchers instructor always used to end a meeting “Nothing tastes as good as thin feels”,that couldn’t be more true.
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Top Right: September 2009, Bottom Left: September 2010 <– can you say WOW?
When did you decide to change your life and what motivated you the most?
As my weight grew, I had a beautiful young daughter, who from first grade on, just kept gaining more weight.  By high school she was 262 lbs.  And I thought how could I be this, why can’t I be a good role model for my daughter, who is getting heavier and heavier.  One would’ve thought that that would’ve been my motivation.  You all know her story, but in October of 10th grade, she just made up her mind and started watching her weight.  The strength she had, which I’ve realized more and more, esp thru my weight loss, that she showed was mountainous.  When all these girls did was get together and eat, Stefani just said “No”, even when her friends, who couldn’t really understand, would say “just eat it”, she did not.  The strength…she was my motivation, albeit, a few years later.
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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?
The best advice…it is so individual.  I feel that I can’t say, “you can do it”, because that was said to me, and I couldn’t, or wouldn’t.  There was NO willpower, willpower was, as I’m heading to Dunkin Donuts “am I going to get 2 donuts or one sour cream donut, with my coffee”.  Because, even I knew that those sour cream donuts where high in everything,  And god for bid I decided to bring home a dozen for “my kids”, not good.  Or buy oreos (huge red light food)for “the kids”, only to find myself dunking 2 at a time into my milk or coffee (I’m from an Italian family from new jersey…we dunk everything).  I did this, really without knowing I was going to do this…to this extent.  Sure I’ve done other diets where I’ve lost 20, 30 even 40 lbs, only to gain it all back and then some,  My advice would be, DO NOT GIVE UP, STAY STRONG.  They say it takes 30 days to change a habit, well for me that’s the truth (I never even heard of that till well into my weight loss).  I think people give up too easily.  I remember watching biggest loser, watching those overweight people doing those exercises, and they give up, of course, when you’re 300 lbs, that stuff is hard.  And Jillian would say “work thru it…”,  I didn’t get that until, at 255 lbs , when I started going to the gym, I would do my 15 minutes on an elypical, but after 2 minutes I would be like “I can’t do another minute”, but I would push through it, and its so true.  PUSH THROUGH, GET PAST “IT”, WHATEVER THAT “IT” IS, DON’T GIVE UP SO SOON, PUSH YOURSELF, YOU’RE CAPABLE OF MORE THAN YOU KNOW, DON’T GIVE UP AS SOON AS YOU THINK YOU’VE HIT YOUR LIMIT, I want to scream to people to do it, don’t wait, it feels too good.
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What do you think is the main reason why some people find it so hard to reach goals such as the one you achieved? 
You have to be prepared!!!!  Buy a lunch bag and keep it in your car with bars and 100 calorie packs, nuts.  Drink water…we know that water is good for you, but when you’re heavy, water is so filling.  Now, I will down a water from the gym to home (1-1/2 mile).  And sometimes, it triggers hunger…yup.  Plus if you’re “older” (I’m rounding 50, well, actually, right around the damn corner)its good for the skin, keep hydrated.  If you work…make your lunch!!  Bring a snack.  If it helps, follow a plan.  I truly liked that, it took the guess work out of what I’m going to eat for my meals and snack.
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What (and who) helped you the most through the process of bettering yourself? 
Who helped me thru this…Rich, my favorite.  He saw the strength in me that I had lost so long ago,  I thank him for introducing me to this journey, and doing it together was amazing.  We have been together since we were 16 and 17, 33 years, and we are closer than ever.  My relationship with him and my kids has blossomed.  My daughter is a big crossfitter, and my son, as they say, has “drank the kool-ade” and is just as “big” of a crossfitter. (You’re still small, Blake. – Stef)  We’ve all taken on a healthier lifestyle.
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How has your life changed since you reached your goals? 
How has my life changed.  I can’t begin to get that across,  Raising my kids, everything was a chore.  I rarely did laundry, if I forgot something upstairs, “oh well”, the stairs were a chore, Just handling everyday life was a chore, I remember thinking, when Lady Diana was killed, it hit me that if I died right at that time, I would die unhappy,  Yet…it took me YEARS to do anything about it.  I go up and down the stairs 5 times a day, I do laundry, This paragraph is so trivial.  My life has changed drastically, yet I’m not one to think I should’ve done this a long time ago,  I did it now, and I won’t look back.
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What are you going to do (now that you’ve reached success) to maintain your progress?
So, September was my 3 year anniversary with the weight OFF.  I’ve never faltered, I will never go back to the way I used to eat (now I would’ve never said that thru my journey, wasn’t sure and strong enough),  I know the percentage of people who gain it back is high…nope, not me…I’m good.  And I am a solid size 12 (some 10’s)and I am not struggling to keep that size.  I run 4 times a week, take that core conditioning class (still-4 years later-its my constant)twice a week, I do an advanced kickboxing class Mondays. My kids try to convince me to crossfit, but two memberships is pricey!
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I eat solid during the week, so the weekends I can drink my wine and not worry about going out to dinner if I do. I thought I loved food before…no…I love food more now (before I always felt like crap), not now.  My appetite is not small,  I am not one of those people who go out to dinner, only to bring 1/2 home,  Nope, I eat everything on my plate, just like my mom said…only wished my mom and dad could’ve been here to see this.
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Yours Truly,
Stef

Fashion Meets Fitness: Winter Running Essentials

Running is a great form of exercise. It is how I, personally, shredded those first 75 pounds! Most people hate running in the cold, which is completely understandable, but it is mainly because they don’t want to be freezing while they run, also understandable. With the cold months of winter upon us, how do you stay warm and cool all at the same time? Kellie and I paired up to show you just how to get your run on in a fashionably manner.

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Pictured is Kellie dressed in a long sleeved running jacket made specifically for those winter runs! Her black crops are from Forever 21. Kellie states that the pants surprisingly keep her warm and they stay perfectly fit on her hips the whole time she is running. Good job Forever 21!

Grey Nike ProCombat Fitted – Nike.com
Black crops – Forever21.com
Asics Running Sneakers – Gel Excel 33’s – Asics.com

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Quick! What’s the difference between these two headbands? Visually, almost nothing. The headband on the left is from TJMaxx and the headband on the right is from LuLuLemon. I am a huge LuLuLemon headband fan. LuLuLemon’s headbands stay on my head, they are in so many different colors, and they happen to look good with any outfit for any occasion! But, you don’t always need to splurge on such little accessories. If you’re lucky, you can buy LuLuLemon’s headbands for every day of the year. Being a college student, that is so not the case!

Purple Headband – TJMaxx (also found at Marshalls)
White Headband – LuLuLemon (LuLuLemon.com or in store)

P.S. LuLuLemons selection of appropriate winter headgear/bands are amazing! Click Here and splurge away to keep those ears warm!

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How fierce is she? Long pants are the way to go for those long winter runs, and Kellie’s pink running jacket fits perfectly over any running shirt. Layers are crucial! But not too many, one or two layers of the RIGHT winter running gear will do the trick. Cotton isn’t always your friend. Also pictured is Kellie’s new and favorite pair of Asic’s running sneakers.

Pink Jacket – Under Armour UnderArmour.com (or in store)
Grey Running Pants – TJMaxx
Asics Running Shoes – Gel-lyte 33’s Asics.com
Sports Bra – Nike – Nike.com (in Store; also at Macy’s, Nordstrom)

Asics have been my go-to brand all through my high school cross-country seasons and my half and full marathons. They’re light-weight, but provide enough support for my flat feet. The ONLY time I didn’t go with Asics, I got horrible shin and knee problems – lesson learned and I’m never making that mistake again!” -Kellie’s take on running shoes!

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Under Armour also has a great selection of headbands. I rate headbands by how well they stay on your head… and this one passed the test! Not to mention the color, pink is a guilty pleasure for most of us girls.  Some more running essentials I recommend for winter runs are hats, ear muffs, compression socks, and tissues! Kellie combined her ear muffs with her headphones, while listening to her pump up jams including Miss Jackson by Panic! At the Disco and Gangsta’s Paradise by Coolio.

Grey Running Pants – TJMaxx 
White Running Jacket – Avalanche – TJMaxx (only $25!)
Ear Muff Headphones – 180 – Online or at Kohls!
Armband – You can find these anywhere! High end department stores or stores such as Target, TJMaxx, and Dicks Sporting Goods.

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 As you can see, Kellie looks absolutely adorable in all of her winter running essentials! So, don’t be afraid to wear these outfits to class before or after your long run! I personally love wearing workout gear around town. It makes me feel fashion forward, while also moving forward with my fitness goals! Stay warm everyone!
Yours Truly,
Stef

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Stylist: Stefani Muller / Kellie Rizer

Photographer: Stefani Muller

Model: Kellie Rizer

Check out Kellie’s blog, Keep Runnin’ Kellie! 

Update! Top of the Months Transformation

Hello All! I have a few updates! As many of you know I’ve been trying to post more and make some exciting changes to my blog. I’ve added Fashion Meets Fitness, and I have one more exciting topic I plan on talking about! As many of you can read, I sit on this blog and mainly talk about myself. My advice, whats worked for me, what I did that day, what I do and don’t like. Well, honestly, sometimes…who cares about every little thing I have to say? SO. Here I’d like to introduce to you… Top of the Month’s Transformation! At the top of every month I will post about someone who has inspired ME, while inspiring and bettering themselves. It’s not all about weightloss, it could be someone who has just put in a ton of work to gain some muscle, get fit, and get happy! I will give people a chance to share THEIR story, their methods, and what motivates them. I don’t know about you but I love hearing about other peoples journeys. This will give everyone a broader idea of how losing weight/getting fit really works, and how different methods work for different people. We can all learn together! Stay tuned for my first Top of the Month Transformation! I figured I’d start with my mother, twin, inspiration, motivator… And biggest competitor (hehe). So so proud of my mom for reaching her potential and finding health and happiness. She was beautiful before, but look at that hot mamma!

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We did it together! Stay tuned for a short interview with Lisa Muller and some more photographs of her journey. You are sure to be WOWed!

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)

Holding Yourself Accountable in 2014

My first post of the new year! Better yet, my first post in a few months. Many people keep asking me why I haven’t posted. So here I am… holding myself accountable. I haven’t been posting because I haven’t been on the right track. With the delicious food from the holidays combined with my new found love for the weekend happy hour and a handful of lunch and dinner outings with old friends, I have completely lost my consistency, and some of my motivation. I’m not afraid to admit this because it happens to the best of us. Though, I have to say, this is the most I’ve “let myself go” since my initial weight-loss. I’m not saying I sat and ate doughnuts every day, but I let myself say “yes” to every restaurant invitation, craving, and night out on the town. I let myself believe that because I had “all this muscle” now, I wouldn’t gain as much weight. Boy, was I wrong. Not only do I have “all this muscle”, but “all this fat” has become it’s neighbor. I haven’t had a consistent week in about two months, which is why I have not been posting. How can I motivate everyone else to eat healthy when I couldn’t even motivate myself?

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I can come up with every excuse, my sprained ankle, my shin splints, my schoolwork, and my social life. But it all comes down to the fact that I was just not mentally there. Just because there were times when I couldn’t physically work out didn’t mean that my diet had to change. That’s why it’s all a package deal. Yes, the diet needs to be 100%, but for me the workouts motivate me to keep my diet at 100%. Without my workouts I feel lazy. Laziness produces cravings. Cravings sometimes win, but that’s up to you. I kept up with my workouts as much as I could, but even those were lacking, and I can thank my poor diet for that.

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If anything, the quote above explains my attitude on my current weight gain and lack of performance in the gym. I wasn’t committed, I wasn’t motivated, I wasn’t getting results. So, after a long and eventful vacation from my lifestyle centered on health and fitness, It’s safe to say that I am back. I’m aware that it is my last semester of college so it will be filled with temptations, but I am happiest when I’m at my healthiest. And happy is the only thing I want to be for my last semester at Ohio University.

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I know how this process works, and I am ready to mentally commit. In 2014, I hope to reach my goals and stay positive. I’ll continue my commitment to Crossfit and add some cardio back in (as long as I don’t sprain my ankle this time). As for my readers, follow me on this journey and stay tuned for some fun new posts involving Food, Fashion & Fitness.

33 Simple “Eat Clean” Meal Ideas – Paleo approved!

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As many of you know I am constantly cooking. I created this blog because I was on a complete cooking binge. I still have a million recipes to share from this summer, soon enough they will be all yours. As of now, I rarely cook anything “new”. At school, you can either find me in the kitchen, singing in an English accent somewhere around town with my BFF4L Mary, or… in the kitchen. But really. Always there. If I’m not in the kitchen cooking, I’m in the kitchen cleaning whatever it was that I was just cooking. And if I’m not cleaning or cooking, I’m anxiously waiting for whatever is in the oven. My life pretty much consists of attempting to complete my school work on time while constantly cooking, eating, and waiting to work out (which is at approx. 4 pm everyday). I’m so exciting, I know. Spare me the comments on my boring life. I guess you can say I’m already taking after my mother a little earlier than I thought. Before I ramble on, let me get to the point of this post. Specifically on this blog I post more elaborate meals. The truth is, (shocker of the century) half of my meals look boring as hell. I try to spice them up as much as I can but sometimes there’s just no time. So, there was no giant strategy to the fact that I’m only posting 33 meal ideas. These were just the scrap photos on my IPhone. And considering I take a picture of almost everything I eat, these were the ones that looked semi-appetizing. My breakfast this morning looked like a pile of dog shit. Therefore; I did not photograph it. I’m really getting a handle on this whole blogging thing aren’t I?

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Chicken, shrimp, vegetables, and a half of a sweet potato. It doesn’t get any more boring than that. This dinner was put together quickly. The most preparation I did for it was to grab it out of Tupperware and throw it in the microwave.

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Another really easy meal. 4 oz. Turkey Burger with an egg and a piece of ham. The turkey burger was already made. I just fried the egg and slice of ham and there was my meal. (I use Boars Head Deli meats)

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Scrambled eggs, some spinach inside, and guacamole on top. This looks pretty, but took less than five seconds. This is a meal that anyone can make. I constantly hear complaints about how people “don’t know how to cook”. Which is fine. But let me tell you in one sentence how to make this. Put your stove on medium-high heat apply pam to your frying pan insert eggs & desired fillings in the frying pan and plop on some pre-made or homemade guacamole. Okay so that was a run-on sentence but I’m just dramatizing how simple it really is! YUM! (P.S I used Wholly Guacamole)

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Chicken, sweet potato, greens. Every damn day. Just do it. Don’t be scared.

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My favorite breakfast. I usually eat it every day for breakfast until I get sick of it, which is rare. 1 Applegate chicken sausage, 1 (or 2) eggs, spinach and mushrooms. Bomb.com

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The brown rice cups, which you can buy anywhere, are very simple and delicious. They come in plain brown or white rice, no added ingredients, and they take 1 minute to heat up. I add sautéed vegetables and any protein I have to my rice. In this case, I added my paleo pesto coconut tilapia to my mix of food.

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Sautéed tomatoes are extremely overrated. When you sauté a tomato you can either make a sauce out of it or put it in eggs like I did! They are delicious with garlic which adds great flavor to your meal. Another simple recipe!

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Another favorite meal. 1-2 cups of sauerkraut with mustard & 2 Applegate Chicken & Apple sausages. I am obsessed with Applegate’s chicken and apple sausages and I suggest them for anyone looking for a flavorful and healthy protein without the work! I usually add sautéed mushrooms to this meal which adds flavor and bulk to an already small meal.

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I rarely buy deli meat. The packaged stuff is disgusting and most deli meats have fillers. Every now and then I’ll buy a pound of Boars Head turkey breast. It is really great for on the go meals and snacks like this! I just pealed two of my romaine lettuce leaves, topped it with turkey, mustard & zucchini. This would also be great with guacamole or avocado slices!

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Same meal as pictured above…found the mushrooms.

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As you can see I’m quite the spokesperson for Applegate’s products. This is a classic meal that my dad used to cook all the time. Applegate Hot Dogs and Eggs. Don’t knock it till ya try it.

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Random pile of balsamic chicken, random veggies, homemade tomato sauce. It’s fun to put everything you have in your fridge in a bowl and see what happens…

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Picnic style meal. Minus the bun, and the sweaty Frisbee games, and the beer. 5 oz. Turkey Burger, 1 medium sweet potato cut into fries, a big pile of veggies. Mushrooms & hot sauce on the side. (Where the hell was the ketchup?)

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5 oz. Ground Beef, Peppers & Onions, Crushed Tomato sauce, and of course…an egg on top.

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Egg on everything… Salad filled with veggies and chicken! For dressing I use olive oil & balsamic vinaigrette, salt & pepper (sometimes), and Mrs. Dash Italian Blend. Delicious.

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Van’s Gluten Free Waffles are AMAZING! So delicious and a perfect treat if you aren’t feeling very paleo. This meal is about 400 calories and is my ultimate favorite. Avocado/guacamole on top of the waffle, turkey burger on top of the avocado, egg on top of the turkey burger.

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Three scrambled eggs topped with a ridiculous amount of veggies and BBQ Pulled Pork.

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Chicken can get so plain. There are so many ways to spice up your plain chicken in the kitchen. Add any Mrs. Dash seasoning and it will change the game. You can also add salt, pepper, onion and garlic powder. I cook my chicken with a bunch of veggies. Killing two birds with one stone!

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One egg with egg whites. 1/2 avocado. Mushrooms. 6 oz. Chicken.

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Egg Muffins! I will be posting millions of egg muffin recipes…coming soon 🙂

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Mock chipotle. Brown rice, vegetables, chicken, beans and Wholly Guacamole 100 calorie packs!

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The perfect paleo breakfast. Eggs, Applegate turkey bacon and a Turkey Burger.

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More chicken ideas! Top and cook your chicken with almost anything and I guarantee it’ll turn out delicious. This has BBQ sauce and mushrooms and peppers on the bottom.

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Three eggs over easy. Does it get much better than this?

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Ground Turkey and Chicken with crushed tomato sauce and spinach, sautéed in some garlic!

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The leaning tower of…everything you need in life. Zucchini, Canadian bacon, and really runny Eggs.

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Spaghetti Squash! Cut your squash in half and leave it in the oven (on a tray, facing down) on 400 degrees for about half an hour. Continue checking, cooking time may vary depending on the size of your squash. Sautee cut up tomatoes in garlic and olive oil to act as your “sauce”. Sautee peppers & onions and your serving of protein. My favorite protein to eat with spaghetti squash is ground turkey!

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Simple circle cut sweet potato fries with a bunch of chicken, mushrooms and green beans.

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Egg whites, lox, avocado, and a small serving of sweet potato. These four ingredients are essential in my diet. Avocados and sweet potatoes may or may not keep me sane. The hint is to keep your sweet potatoes in the oven for as long as possible… they will cook so much that they will taste like candy. When eating an avocado, it can be a bit bland. Adding salt and pepper to the top of your avocado is quite the game changer. Maybe even some hot sauce or garlic powder.

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Egg whites and a turkey burger, with hot sauce. Bowl of fruit with ground flax seeds and a tablespoon of almond butter! (Styrofoam plates are so in right now)

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Delicious spinach salad with vegetables and raspberries! Adding fruit to your salad really switches things up and reminds you that life isn’t as boring as it seems.

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Two eggs, Canadian bacon, sweet potato & almond butter. Another perfect paleo breakfast!

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Yummy BBQ Chicken topped with spinach (sautéed in garlic) and a Wholly Guacamole 100 calorie pack!

If You’re Going Through Hell, Keep Going

So we’ve all been there. We start a diet and don’t finish it. We try everything, slim fast, adkins, diet pills, and the ever so nauseating cottage cheese diet. (Why?) Well finally, people are catching on to the whole eat clean “fad”. And I hope this fad turns into a lifestyle for many people, until death do them part. Yoyo dieting, the reason why everyone fails. One week of a strict diet plan, whatever it may be, and then a weekend of cupcakes and pasta. “Because I deserve it” What exactly are we trying to accomplish here? I am completely down with the whole treating yourself concept, but I find it bizarre that we feel we need to reward ourselves with food.
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As if I’m not guilty of the feeling and craving to cheat on your diet, I simply find it hard to do. The diet starts and you’re motivated as anything. I mean, that’s why you started it in the first place isn’t it? Because you’re ready to change. Some people say the first week in is miserable. If it’s miserable, you haven’t mentally committed to your new lifestyle. You should be excited that first week. Trying out new foods, new healthy snack & dinner options. It’s fun. (or am I crazy?) You’re starting to feel detoxed and you’re finally noticing that you can do it. “Hey, this isn’t that bad” Now, I can’t blame you for feeling frustrated during say…week 2 or 3. That’s where I am right now. And speaking from experience, I hate this part. You haven’t cheated, you crave certain foods, and you wonder why you’re not at you’re goal weight yet. I’m such an idiot for having these thoughts, but I’m human, and we all, unfortunately, think this way. We have no patience. Therefore, I’m creating steps to get you through the days of hell that come with dieting. Dieting is a really personal experience. You get to know yourself more than you ever thought you could. You learn your emotions, trigger points, and methods for success. This post may get a little personal but, controlling your emotions is the first step to controlling your life. That is, if you have emotion.

Step One; Patience
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You have to remember that results don’t happen overnight. It doesn’t take one week of eating plain chicken and veggies to reach your goals. And it doesn’t take countless hours on the elliptical machine, with no change in diet, to get there either. Last night I was feeling anxious, and impatient. I was sitting and second guessing myself. Wondering if I was doing everything I could to get where I needed to be, and why I wasn’t there yet. My friend and fellow Crossfitter sent me a quote,

It takes 4 weeks for you to see your body changing, 8 weeks for your friends and family, and 12 weeks for the rest of the world. Keep Going.

When you run out of patience, it triggers a lot of emotion. You feel like you want to give in and raid your pantry. You wake up and lose motivation to get out there and workout. You look at yourself and see no difference, when really, the most important difference starts with inside. The first month is a huge test of mind over matter. You’re testing out how badly you want to change, and how badly you want to feel better. They say results are 80% diet and 20% exercise. I completely agree. Though, in my opinion, your results count more on your mentality than anything.

Step Two; Change your Thoughts
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I’m trying this new thing where I practice what I preach. I’m great at giving advice, but not so good at taking my own. I sometimes let my thoughts ruin my progress. Once I lose patience, my thoughts wander and my mind blows up. It moves a mile a minute and I typically want to give up. Recently I’ve trained my mind to stop thinking so negatively. When those thoughts pop up, I find many ways to distract and motivate myself (which will be talked about in the rest of the steps). If you’re feeling sluggish before a workout, take a breather and think about how good you’ll feel when it’s all over. Remember the feeling you get when you’re finished that run, and crave it.

Step Three; Breathe
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If you’re feeling anxious, defeated, or hungry; breathe. Those lungs we have? Use them, control them. Lay down on your bed and just calm the hell down. What is so different about yesterday, say, a day you were feeling great about yourself, than today? Nothing except your lack of patience and crazy thoughts. So, we covered patience and the importance of controlling our thoughts. Now to control the ever so effortless act of breathing. Not only does the act of breathing keep you alive…it calms you down. I’m trying to explain what it does to your brain but I’m not a neurologist so… what I’m trying to say is that it helps your brain come back to reality. Breathe in with your nose, out with your mouth, and remember where you were when you started. Whether you’re 20 pounds down, 2 pounds down, on mile 2, or nothing, you’re doing a whole lot more than you were before you decided to change your life.

Step Four; Embrace Yourself
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This is about to sound so corny but… if you feel like crap, try to reverse those feelings by reminding yourself how beautiful you are. Whether it’s in actions, or physically. Do something nice for someone. Surprise someone. But don’t forget about yourself. Here’s the weird part. I always had this little motto that I use, “Look good, feel good”. It’s not always the case with everyone, but it helps. If you really feel stressed from your new found lifestyle, put on a cute friggin outfit and go out to lunch or something. Take an obnoxious selfie. Take a picture of yourself in your sports bra. Or shorts, men. Don’t look at how far you have to go, look at how far you’ve come. And smile. Put on some makeup, if you’re into that. Try on some outfits, and think about how good you look, and how much better you’ll eventually look, and feel, if you keep going and fight off the craving to cheat. It sounds egotistical, and little high maintenance, but if you don’t think you’re awesome, no one else will. So…work it. Hair flip.

Step Five; Don’t Cheat
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A moment on the lips is forever on the hips. Haha, but really. You’re that much closer to reaching your goals. Is it all really worth it? Food is damn good, but being healthy and happy is a lot better. You can do anything for a week, but can you do it for a month? Two months? You’re a certified bad ass if you can do that. It’s tough work. Mentally, physically, and emotionally draining. But it’s worth it. Plus, you wouldn’t cheat on your boyfriend would you? So don’t cheat on your diet. Same concept. Each lead you to lonely nights with Ben and Jerry, once again.

Step Six; If You Can’t Eat It, Don’t Buy It
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There is no better idea to set yourself up for failure than to buy yourself unhealthy food for “later” or your “cheat meal”. Why the hell would you buy a pop tart, or ice cream, or a donut, if all you are gonna do is stare at it and dream about eating it? Hello, welcome to mid-diet torture. The only food you should keep around the house is the food that will make you better. There’s a time and a place for everything, and right now, nobody has time for Oreos that you’re saving to binge out on after you’ve lost five pounds. If it’s not around, you won’t eat it. If you have nothing unhealthy in your house to snack on, you won’t cheat. There is already enough temptation throughout everyday life, you don’t need to add it in the comfort of your own home.

Step Seven; Know Your Trigger Points
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Just because you’re dieting doesn’t mean you have to skip out on social interaction. If you’re friends are making a quick trip to McDonalds for lunch, or your favorite restaurant with your favorite greasy food, I’d say that there are times when you can choose not to go. Sometimes you can go for the experience, to hang out with your friends, but not eat. But sometimes it’s not worth hearing people beg you to eat or telling you that one piece of pizza won’t kill you. Sure, it won’t, but it won’t help you. Know your trigger points. Know what restaurants to avoid. If there’s places you know you’ll slip at, avoid them. Suggest healthier restaurants, suggest your friends eat lunch at home. Also, stop looking at yourself. If you look at yourself long enough, you’ll create flaws, gain ten pounds, and probably grow a mustache. I know I stated before that you should take selfies, smile at yourself, and make yourself feel beautiful, but don’t get carried away. Mirrors are trigger points, they will either make or break you, depending on how long you look at yourself. And if you look long enough, you might change your view of yourself just enough to break that mirror. That’s seven years bad luck, and not to mention, embarrassing. Another thing that can stress you out while dieting is certain clothes. Don’t go to a store and try on products that you know have never flattered you, and expect to miraculously look like a super model one week after your diet starts. The most frustrating thing is to try on clothes and have them not fit, or just generally make you look horrible. You’re gonna want to sprint straight to the food court and get yourself a happy meal, or better yet, some Chinese food.

Step Eight; Don’t Listen To Anyone But Yourself
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Your friends & family may not always be the best support system. You’re friends will tell you to skip the gym and go get pizza and beer, you’re family will wonder why you HAVE to workout. They will constantly ask you if you want seconds, if you want sweets, if you want this or that. They don’t understand that you have mentally committed to something, something that they may not be strong enough or willing to commit to. That’s completely fine with you, they don’t have to change their lifestyle, and they don’t necessarily have to support you. That’s what I mean when I say that this journey gives you the opportunity to really get to know ones self. You know how to say no, you know your trigger points, and you know what you want. And that’s change.

Last but not least, I’ll end this post with my absolute favorite pinterest find I stumbled upon awhile back.
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Stay strong and one day you’ll turn into somebody else’s motivation.