My Insatiable Itch to Do Something Remarkable

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Do you ever have an itch that can only be satisfied by doing something remarkable? I always wonder if I’m the only one. I go through periods of time where I get wild hairs and think, “what have I done with my life and what am I going to do”?  It’s times like these that I do silly things like pierce my tragus or go on a trip abroad, but there is something so much more rewarding about challenging yourself and doing so for a good cause.

A few years back, I heard about the Susan G. Komen 3-Day Walk. The SGK 3-Day is a 3 day, 60 mile walk that’s making a real difference in the fight against breast cancer. I read it over and although I knew it was something I wanted to do, I couldn’t help but think “I can’t raise that kind of money” and “I can’t walk 60 miles in 3 days”. Since then, this event has remained in the back of my mind and has really been pressing on my heart, so I’ve decided, that I can do anything that I put my mind to.

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That’s why I have decided to embark on a life-changing journey, not only for me, but most importantly, for those that are affected by breast cancer. If you sit back and think about it, we all know so many people who are plagued by cancer and the only way it’s going to come to a stop, is if we do something about it.

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So, for the next 27 weeks, I will be training, pushing myself mentally and physically, and raising every dollar I can to support the fight against breast cancer. Every dollar counts and I would be FOREVER grateful for your help! Want to join me on this journey? Just click below! 🙂

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Over the next few months, I’ll be sure to keep you all in the loop on my progress – giving you updates through the training, blisters and dollars raised up until my walk on November 17th – 19th in San Diego, California. I can’t wait to get started!

If you are interested in walking with me, be sure to check it out!

C’est la vie,

Anna

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5 Inspiring Fitness Accounts You Need to Follow

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So much of getting up off our butts and getting in shape is having the motivation and inspiration to do so. Leading up to my wedding, I had a ton of motivation and got both my eating and work out schedule really on track. However… I totally binged and laid around on my honeymoon and have been having trouble getting into the swing of things ever since. Y’all… it has gotten so bad that I’ve been avoiding looking at Instagram, so I don’t have to see my favorite fitness inspo girls looking so hot! ha! Nonetheless, there are some really great fitness accounts out there that don’t just make you feel bad about not having a 6-pack, but actually uplift you, encourage you and remind you that you can have a body you are proud of. There are five that I really love keeping up with, so I figured I would share them with you, so you can follow them too! 🙂

1. Kayla Itsines

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I started following Kayla around 3 years ago and I’m seriously in love. She has the cutest puppy and boyfriend, and although she is a fitness celeb, she’s totally relatable. She has such a good bod and she encourages others to have their best body too. Plus, she has some really great workouts that are definitely difficult, but they’re over in 28 minutes and they actually work!

 

2. Emily Skye

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I love Emily Skye. She constantly posts videos with workouts for you to do, so you really can’t ever blame not working out on not being able to get to the gym, because she gives you plenty of exercises to do at home. From what I’ve seen, she has really great form, so it helps you understand exactly how to do the exercise and how to do it effectively. Plus, she always has the cutest workout attire!

 

3. Trainer Lindsey

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I just recently became a follower of Lindsey Mathews, but I love to keep up with her posts! Not only does she have a really great workout program, but also she shares simple exercises to try out, plus she posts some really delicious looking, healthy recipes. Not to mention, she does Live Q & As to answer all of your fitness questions.

 

4. Leanna Carr

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Leanna went to the University of Georgia with me and we were in Delta Zeta Sorority together, so seeing her as a bodybuilder, fitness celeb and now with 113k followers on Instagram is SO crazy and exciting. I love following her because she reminds us all that, as women, we can be strong and empowered. Plus, she’s so open about her triumphs and struggles, so you know you’re not the only one. She is a MUST-follow, at least in my book! 🙂

 

 

5. Bethany Roley

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So, I’m a little biased on this one because she is my trainer, but I LOVE following Bethany and Fierce Fitness. She posts short workout videos and I never regret doing the exercises she puts up because from doing her Bikini Fit Camp, I know it works! Plus, she periodically runs online challenges that really help to either jump start or revamp your workout regimen if you’ve plateaued.

In case you needed more convincing… here is my before and after photo from the day I got engaged to the week before my wedding after doing Bethany’s workouts!

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So go follow them… like now! I swear you’ll love them and it really will help you in the journey to reach your fitness goals.

Are there other amazing fitness accounts I should be following out there? Let me know!

C’est la vie,

Anna

Creating a Healthy Morning Routine Can Change Your Life

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So a little while back I told you guys about how a year or so ago my morning routine was nothing short of bleak.  I’d set three alarms, snooze them all and then begrudgingly roll out of bed at the last possible minute. I’d race to get ready and arrive to work still grumpy as ever. When I got engaged, I started adding new things to my morning and then finally when I got married, I started pushing myself to get up earlier and really create a morning routine. As crazy as it sounds, my life is so much brighter and my mood is so much better now that I’ve created new habits for myself. With that being said, I figured I’d share with you a few elements of my morning routine that have made a significant difference in my life.

Drink Warm Lemon Water

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My mom was actually the person who convinced me to try drinking warm lemon water in the morning, because she had been doing it for a while. At first it felt kind of pointless and not that tasty, but eventually I came to really welcome my daily dose of Santa Cruz Organic Pure Lemon Juice and water. Because you warm it up, it really feels cozy in the  morning, while also giving you energy to start the day. Not to mention, because of the slight tartness, I could tell that it encouraged me to drink more water earlier in the day, which makes getting my 8+ bottles of water in a day much easier. Fellow blogger, Wellness Mama Katie, shares all the reasons drinking lemon water is so good for you.

 

Do a Plank

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Doing a plank a day keeps the doctor away! Well, that’s probably not 100% true, but it does help with balance, posture and reduces the risk of injury (Mind Body Green blogger, Nora Tobin says so!)  I started adding in daily planks of 2 minutes or more when I was trying to get in shape for my wedding. I was already working out regularly and when I added in the planks I started to see major results (especially in the stomach area – which we all know is the hardest to define). Taking 2 – 3 minutes every morning to do a plank gives me a few minutes to clear my head, gets my blood circulating, wakes me up and makes me feel like I can take on the day. If you’re not a usual planker, I’d say start out with a minute or maybe even less, but you can quickly work your way up!

 

Watch the News

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I love that I wake up early enough now to catch up on the news around me by watching Good Morning America. Although sometimes it can be saddening to see all of the bad happening in the world, it does no good to be ignorant. Plus, they provide plenty of comic relief and catch  you up on tons of fun stories like the mom in the Chewbacca mask! 🙂 Maybe you’re not a TV person.. that’s ok! Read a real physical newspaper (I haven’t gotten one in years… sorry about it) or read it online; just so long as you have some idea about current events and the world you live in. Danny Rubin, from Brazen Blog, tells us all about why it’s so important that we, as young professionals, stay up to date with the news.

 

Listen to a Positive Song

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This probably sounds cheesy, but music really can improve your mood. Examined Existence blogger, Marvelous, wrote a whole post on it! I used to be able to listen to music turned up really loud the whole time I got ready, but now I’ve found that both me and my pup like some quiet time in the mornings, so I usually play one positive song in the am (often when I’m doing my plank) to set me for my day. Don’t laugh, but some of my favorites are “Me Too” by Meghan Trainor, The Afters’ “Beautiful Smile” or “Perfect Day” by Hoku.

 

Make My Bed

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I know there are a lot of lovers and haters on the topic of making your bed, but after 23 years of pretty much leaving my bed in disarray, I am a firm believer in making your bed EVERY DAY. I make it a first priority in the morning because not only does it make me feel accomplished, it makes me happy to see my room looking so clean. Plus at night time, my bed feels more comfortable and I feel more at peace to fall asleep. Not to mention, even if your room isn’t super clean.. if your bed is made, it doesn’t feel so bad! Think I’m making this up?! LifeHack writer, Jennifer Wasylenko, tells you all about it in her post, How Making Your Bed Every Morning Can Improve Your Life. 🙂

 

Eat a Substantial Breakfast

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This can also be a hard one. I went a long time never eating breakfast in the morning. Surprisingly, when I didn’t eat breakfast, I felt less hungry leading up to lunch and in my mind was eating less calories, thus on a better track to lose weight. Wrong! Eating a breakfast in the morning is important and I’m not talking Chocolate Chip Pop-Tarts and Lucky Charms (although I love them both). I’ll usually start my day off with a hard-boiled egg and an apple with PB2 or a bowl of Special K. It’s really important to get protein in the morning though. It jump starts your metabolism, makes you feel more awake and more than anything is oh so yummy! Jayne Leonard, from Natural Living Ideas, gets into the nitty gritty of it all, but basically it’s really important, so you should do it too!

So there you have it! My morning routine minus all of the usual hair curling, makeup applying, rolling around on my couch in a blanket kind of stuff. 🙂 Send me your morning routine, I’m always open to trying new things to better my day!

C’est la vie,

Anna

 

 

 

Comfort Foods that Won’t Wreck Your Diet

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As most of you know, the last couple of weeks or so have been a tough time in life and the way that I often cope with pain is by eating. I wish that wasn’t the case…  As much as I love how I feel after going to work out and despite how physically bad junk food makes me feel, eating comfort food is one of the things that helps me make it through. Over the last year or so, I had shifted my eating habits to a healthier lifestyle and found a gym I loved and really saw a difference in my body, BUT the last two weeks, I have junked it up, BIG time.

With that being said, starting this week, I’ve got to get back on track. I have to get my house cleaned back up, make my bed everyday, quit missing my workouts and eat healthier. So, I found some alternatives to my favorite comfort foods and in the hope that I’m not the only emotional eater out there, I figured I’d share them with you. Enjoy! 🙂

Turkey Burger & Sweet Potato Fries

There’s nothing worse than crying into a greasy, fat-filled, you-almost-can’t-call-it-food McDonald’s burger, but I have to admit it’s happened a few times recently. Not only do I know it’s bad while in the act, but I also want to cry afterwards when my body literally feels in such a funk. BUT I do love cheeseburgers, so I found this yummy turkey burger recipe alternative from Lauren’s Latest. Also, I had given up fries for months before my wedding and couldn’t believe a) how much better I felt, b) how much weight I lost and c) how much I didn’t miss them after a while. Well… I got back on the fry train and it does not feel good, so I am returning to one of my faves, sweet potato fries. They’re also included in this recipe.

In real life, I am not a good cook, so I buy frozen turkey burgers and sweet potato fries and just heat them up, but if you do love to cook, by all means, here ya go! 🙂

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Healthy Macaroni & Cheese

I found this scrumptious recipe from Chocolate Covered Katie. As much as I LOVE Wife Saver’s delicious macaroni (with a helping of fried chicken of course) or eating a whole box of Kraft when I’m sad, my thighs hate me for it. This recipe is almost just as satisfying and you don’t have to feel guilty about it!

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Dark Chocolate & PB2

Another comfort food favorite of mine is ice cream…chocolate chip cookie dough specifically. But all of those bowls of ice cream can really add up calorie-wise, so I’ve seriously got to stop eating it EVERY night after dinner. I am someone with a sweet tooth though, so one of my favorites when I’m craving something sweet is PB2 and dark chocolate chips. Sometimes I’ll mix up a portion of PB2, throw some chocolate chips in and eat it straight, other times I’ll cut up apples and add them in. Honestly though, it’s really delicious… I’ll pretty much eat PB2 on anything.

 

Healthy Pepperoni Pizza

Papa John’s will forever be my favorite pizza, but if I don’t want to gain a gazillion pounds, Eating Well’s Pepperoni Pizza is probably a better choice. Some simple changes like wheat dough and low-fat turkey pepperoni make a ton of difference and it’s still super delicious!

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All in all, there are a ton of recipes out there to turn your favorite junk foods into foods you don’t have to feel guilty about eating. As much as eating bad food makes me feel good in a moment of sadness, it actually ends up making my body feel sluggish and my mood even worse in the long run. So cheers to trying out some new healthy recipes without losing all of my favorite things to eat.

Have any yummy, healthy recipes of your own? Please share – I’d love to try them out!!

C’est la vie,

Anna

5 Tips for Beautiful Skin

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In high school and college, I had no idea how to do anything I’ve realized. My makeup application skills were lacking, I didn’t know how to use the tanning bed in moderation (imagine almost Jersey Shore, yikes!) and I couldn’t figure out how to keep my face clear. Luckily, I didn’t have chronic acne that covered my entire face and felt like it was ruining my life, but at almost any given time, I most definitely had pimples on my face and  little bumps on my forehead. It wasn’t until my husband (then boyfriend) got me a makeup lesson at Sephora for Christmas that I learned a thing or two about how to have more beautiful skin.

Side note: Reading that back it sounds terrible that he bought me a makeup lesson (haha!) but I asked him for it and it ended up being such a great thing since they teach you for an hour and then the $100 goes towards products that they used in your lesson.

Since then, I’ve really been working on my face and figuring out which regimen works best for me. I know this is something that a lot of people struggle with, so I figured I would share what has worked for me in hopes that these easy steps will help you too! Now this isn’t to say that my face is 100% clear 100% of the time, BUT I have seen huge improvements and even get compliments on my skin which is something that would have never happened before. I also asked two of my friends (Maggie & Maddy) that have AMAZING skin for their tips and tricks, so you’ll have a few options to pick from.

1.Wash your face EVERY night.

When I was in college, I would return from a night out too tired/lazy to take my makeup off. Sometimes I even intentionally left my makeup on, so I could wear day-old makeup to class the next day. My present-day self is cringing at the thought of that. I would wash my face in the shower on a pretty regular basis, but I would switch up the type of face wash all of the time and sometimes even just use bar soap when I didn’t feel like going to the store or I was a little broke. Nonetheless, my face got acne. Some people can go without washing their face and be fine, but it is a hard-fast rule for me now. No matter how late I get in or how sleepy, my face must be washed before I can crawl into bed. The two or three times I’ve let myself slip since starting this routine, I’ve had acne a day later, so this is important – keep your face clean! Here are the face wash picks that have worked for us!

Optional: Maggie chooses to do a Clinique 7-Day Scrub once a week in addition to her face-washing routine!

2. Moisturize.

Moisturizing your face is just as important as washing it. There is such a thing as your face being TOO dry which can lead to peeling, itchiness, possibly additional acne and HELLO wrinkles! They say that your skin loses moisture 10 seconds after being wet, so as soon as I get done washing my face, I cover my face in lotion. Sometimes I even apply lotion to my lips before additionally putting on chapstick before bed. Depending on the time of year (ex: cold, dry winter months or after an accidental sunburn) sometimes I’ll put on lotion before bed and in the morning when I wake up before I apply my makeup. For me, it’s important to use an unscented lotion that’s hypoallergenic, not just any lotion will do. Below are the moisturizers we live by!

3. Use a primer before applying makeup.

Although a lot of brands of makeup are trying to make their products increasingly better for your skin, in general, makeup isn’t good for your face. Hence why leaving it on at night gives you acne. One regimen I swear by is applying a primer before putting on makeup. It does SO many good things for you: it makes your makeup stay on longer (yay for not having to apply more than once a day), it protects your skin from the makeup itself and many primers actually include SPF (this is important, see step #4). I never go a day without primer. I’ve realized that my makeup just doesn’t pop without it, plus I get super oily. It even works alone if you’re just going to the pool or to workout, but you don’t want your face to look totally gross. Here are the products we LOVE!

Optional: Maggie suggests getting an anti-aging facial with a glycolic acid peel to eat away dead skin, plus make your skin glow and feel super soft!

4. Protect your skin!

I CANNOT stress this enough. I don’t know how many sunburns I’ve allowed myself to get in high school and college, but I’m kicking myself now. Not only do you put yourself at serious risk for cancer, but also it’s just not pretty. Sunburns lead to wrinkles, peeling and a puffy face. You have to remember that you only get one skin and you can never take back what you do to it. I have to remind myself of this because even I forget to reapply sunscreen during a long day at the lake or beach and that’s the worst! It’s great to use both facial products that have SPF in them (many of the products above have built-in sunscreen), as well as a good sunscreen.

5. Keep things clean.

How can you expect your face to be nice and clean if you put dirty things on it? It seems like a hassle to get into this routine, but you’ll get used to it quickly and not only see great results, but just feel cleaner and happier in general. It’s really important to wash your makeup brushes. Bacteria develops in makeup/oil from your face/skin cells that are left on makeup brushes. This leads to acne and also not-so-pretty makeup. I can’t splurge on expensive makeup brushes, but I do make sure that I have decent brushes and try to wash them once a week if possible. The same goes for whatever you choose to wash your face with. I switch between an exfoliating scrubber and a face sponge, but these need to be regularly thrown out or washed depending on what you’re using. You wouldn’t keep the same loofah for a long time or continue to use the same wash cloth day after day on your body without washing it would you? Finally, pillow cases. If you’re washing your face every night like you should be, these shouldn’t get dirty as quickly and should be pretty free of foundation smudges and mascara stains, BUT they still need to be washed regularly. Hopefully, your washing your sheets every week or so anyway, but if not, make sure you wash your pillow case once a week. Some people suggest switching your pillow case every night, but I just haven’t committed to that yet. Here are the makeup brush cleaners we use on a regular basis.

These 5 tips aren’t too hard to implement and will make your skin feel so much better! If you have any tips and tricks of your own, please share. I think we all can use more help in this department.

C’est la vie,

Anna

 

Non-Morning People, Wake Up Earlier!

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Say WHAT?!?

Yeah, that’s exactly what I would have said when reading the title of this post. I am what you could call the epitome of NOT a morning person. I love to stay up late. To this day I can’t explain why, but for some reason if my head hits the pillow before midnight, I feel like I’m missing out on all that’s going on in the world. Up until recently, when it was time to get up in the morning, I would set three or more alarms. I always had good intentions to wake up at 6:30… you know, give myself time to look my best, pack a healthy lunch, drink my coffee at home. Instead, I would snooze and then turn off my alarm and wait for another… and another, until finally at 7:15 (or later), I’m ripping my eyes open. Cue the cracking, red eyed noise you’ve heard on cartoons. I’d groggily stumble over to the bathroom and rush through my

morning routine as quickly as possible.

Of course, the last thing I wanted to do was be awake, much less, get ready for work, so I was snappy to put it nicely. I didn’t do small talk and if you were happy around me, it irritated me to no end.

I gave myself no time for breakfast and so I’d either run through Chick-fil-a to grab my 3 count chicken minis and a large Diet Dr. Pepper or through Starbucks to get a grande iced skinny vanilla latte hoping it would carry me through. I’d get to work, slump into my desk, sip on my coffee and hope that soon I’d start being productive.

Godddd, how awful does that sound? Just thinking about each and every one of those mornings makes me cringe. So recently I got married and moved to a new house which increased my commute time from 5 – 7 minutes to 25 – 30 minutes. I was devastated thinking of all of the great sleep I would miss out on.

 

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I still can’t remember what made me decide to try to do things differently, but I guess I thought starting a marriage and living in a new place were reasons enough to try to switch it up. I set one alarm for 6:50 and hoped I wouldn’t sleep through it (it wouldn’t be the first time).

My husband gets up for work and leaves at 6:30, so from 6:30 – 6:50, I was getting half awake, subpar sleep. Instead of settling for this terrible limbo, I decided to get up as he was leaving.

Who would have known that waking up earlier would make me SO much happier. In all reality, I don’t really get to bed any earlier, but for some reason, sleeping fully until my waking time and immediately getting up has had such a huge impact. I get up in the morning and have me-time, which is AMAZING. There’s time to do my daily plank, warm up some lemon water, do my hair and makeup while watching Good Morning America (yay, I finally have an idea about what’s going on in the world), pack a lunch, drink a good cup of coffee that’s a hell of a lot cheaper than running through Starbucks and just lounge around.

All along, I should have been realizing I was missing out on all that was going on in the world when I was asleep in the morning! Granted some days I really don’t want to get up, but once I push myself to, I’m always glad.

I’ll never ever be a morning person. I don’t wake up ready to spring from my bed thinking about rainbows and butterflies, but my extra time in the morning really helps my mood. I get to work already energized and ready to focus on what needs to be done for the day. I feel fulfilled having already gotten my morning dosage of news around the world, a little pop culture and a few minutes of defining these abs I’m trying to get.

I ramble on about this to say, if you’re like me… not a morning person… at all, give it a try. Set one alarm and make yourself get out of the bed. Fix a cup of coffee and sit on the couch watching your favorite news program. Allow yourself to fully wake up and enjoy you instead of rushing into work half awake, just to throw yourself into a pile of miserable emails.

Now, I’m no doctor, so if you try waking up earlier and you aren’t cured of your usual morning funk, don’t blame me, but I was so curious about this phenomena that I did a search on if waking up earlier can make you less tired and low and behold, there were a ton of articles and studies on it. Why didn’t someone tell me earlier? Most likely, they did and being stubborn and immature, I didn’t listen. Nonetheless, give it a try and let me know what you think!

C’est la vie,

Anna

*Side note: I do NOT practice this on the weekends. In my brain, I know it would have the same effect, but my heart loves sleeping in late, sorry about it! 🙂

Spring Cleaning… It’s Not Just For Your House

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That time of year has come. The cherry blossoms are in full bloom, it’s a perfect 70 degrees outside and our tans are slowly starting to develop again. It’s the time of year that we throw open the windows, dance around to our favorite songs and clean. Yes, clean. Once a dreaded chore, doesn’t seem quite so bad in the spring. It’s as if we’re ready to shed our winter coat and smell the fresh clean smells of Clorox, Lysol and flowery scented air fresheners. As much as we don’t want to spend an entire day inside away from the warm weather, we all do it. We take a day to purge the things we don’t need, reorganize our closets, extreme clean the bathroom, etc.

Spring cleaning isn’t just for your home though, we really and truly need to spring clean ourselves. If you’re anything like me, you get a case of the winter blues. You act like a bear preparing for hibernation and pack on a few winter pounds. You don’t take care of yourself as well as you do in other seasons, i.e. less shaving occurs or your toenails get a little funky. In general, your state of mind is burdened by colder weather, a busy 4th quarter at work or your emptied out bank out due to the winter holidays.

As we watch new life begin to develop around us, it’s time for us to breathe new life into ourselves. For one, our woman-working-outbodies need to become a priority. Now for all of you health gurus and body builders out there, I know you are rolling your eyes thinking that your body should always be a priority and mentally noting that you’ve been taking care of yourself all winter long, but for the rest of us mere mortals, we’ve let ourselves go a little. We should take this time to see what new fruits and vegetables are in season at the market and start filling our meals with them. This nice weather gives us a great chance to pick back up running or even walking if that’s where you need to start. Spring gives us a chance to do yoga, go kayaking or some other activity outside and get a little tan while doing it.

For all of us girls, it’s time to buy a new pack of razors, start using a gradual tanning lotion, whiten our teeth and paint our nails. Whip out a face mask and get your hair done. It sounds taxing, but y’all know you feel so good after it’s done.

Spring is also the perfect chance for us to cleanse our minds. We need to realize that there’s more to life than just our jobs or obligations. Eat lunch outside and enjoy nature. Take some time to yourself to go on a weekend trip or try out meditation. It’s time to shed our stress (which in turn helps eliminate breakouts and weight gain) and focus on making ourselves happy.

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This time of year is also perfect for bulking up your bank account. Although you want to splurge on spring clothes (which you should to an extent), your bank account is probably just starting to bounce back from all of the gifts you bought at Christmas and the extravagant New Years Eve plans you made this year. This is an opportunity for you to save up a little for the big summer vacation you want to take or all of the activities up ahead. Most restaurants offer spring specials, like cheap margaritas to encourage people to sit outside or Thirsty Thursdays at the ballpark. Take advantage of these fun things to do and leave the winter activities like going to the movies and eating hot soup at Panera three times a week behind.

Finally and most importantly, spring clean your relationships. This can mean a ton of things. Maybe you realize youbest-friends-fashion-friends-girls-Favim.com-839536 are in a different place in life than some of your friends. Maybe you’re both holding each other back instead of growing into the people you want to be. Or maybe you have a boyfriend that hasn’t been treating you right. If either of the latter is true, it’s time to spring clean them. If both you’re boyfriend and girlfriends are pretty solid and intact, maybe it’s time for you to reflect on how you can be a better friend. Stop blowing people off to stay inside or spending “quality time” just at the bar and really make time for those that matter. Call up your mom and dad and see if they need some help spring cleaning their house or if you can take them to dinner. Get in touch with your out of town friends that you haven’t seen since October and make plans to see them. Even with your roommates or down the road friends, ask them to go out to dinner or have a craft and wine night at the house. Whatever it may be, make the people around you a priority, since chances are you’ve probably been neglecting them as work got busier and life got harder.

Overall, I encourage you all to be your best selves this spring. Focus your energy back on the things that really matter and find a sense of happiness that will hopefully last throughout the year. Good luck!

C’est la vie,

Anna