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About me
Human Magpie, JCrew/Anthro Addict, G-Free/Clean Lifestyle & Sparkle Obsessed Fashion/Natural Beauty Blogger at Sparkles & Spinach

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Christy Eckert

Christy Eckert

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  • Member since
  • Monday, 15 July 2013 19:34
  • Last online
  • 6 years ago
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  • 26 Aug 2018

    Mourning Myself- dealing with chronic illness

    Hi Babes! Obviously I don't get one here much lately. I've been dealing with a lot health-wise and just haven't been able to bring myself to post anything for quite a while. After I was sick, I planned to do a post sharing my story, but after a while I just got so exhausted with all the appointments, talking about it, thinking about it.... I just couldn't bring myself to do it. The gist of it is that I haven't been feeling great since before the Holidays last year. I ended up in the ER the week or two before Christmas with vertigo, shortness of breath, and abdominal pain. Everything checked out ok for the most part. Just some minor things that I've since addressed. I started feeling ok a couple months later, but never really got back to myself.

    Fast forward a couple months and I end up with an ear infection (haven't had one since I was a child), and was put on antibiotics for weeks. I actually hate going on them because of all the things they can do to your gut, but the pain was bad and I couldn't hear out of one ear, so there was no way I was chancing anything. Shortly after my second round, I got Shingles. And everything went downhill from there. After being on antivirals and my shingles started to clear up, I really got sick. My throat swelled up and felt like I had the worst case of strep throat in my life. Every lymph node in my body swelled. I had headaches, vertigo, shortness of breath, heart palpitations, could barely get out of bed and was the most sick I had ever been in my life. The Doctors didn't know what to make of it and with all the questions they were asking me, with a tiny bit of fear in their eyes that they couldn't hide, I knew Lymphoma was on the table. Luckily, that was not the case!!

    However, since I had been reading Medical Medium on my holiday break, Epstein Barr came to the front of my mind. Thankfully, the Nurse Practitioner I see is amazing, and after pressing it, she added an Epstein Barr panel to my battery of tests. It turns out, I was correct. I had Mono in High School, so I knew I had a past infection, which did show on the panel, but I also had a current active infection as well, which seemed to turn into Mononucleosis. And before you think that you can't get Mono twice, or even shingles twice, you absolutely can - I'm living proof of that.

    Armed with a wealth of information from Anthony William (the Medical Medium) I started on his food and supplement protocol. I eliminated all of the virus-feeding foods, and took most of the supplements or teas he recommended - Berberine, Monoluarin, Oregano Oil capsules, Vit C, and my typical vits, and also Lemon Balm Tea. I got my infection mostly into remission. I say mostly, because as of late, I'm not feeling well again and I don't know if it's due to the infection being mildly active or from the damage it's done. Constant exhaustion, headaches, hair thinning and loss, and weight gain isn't fun.

    Which brings me to the purpose of this post. The part where I feel sorry for myself, as well as anyone else out there battling chronic invisible illness. I mourn for myself. I mourn for the old me. The woman, who just a year ago, was able to run 30+ miles a week, and was able to  do plyometrics and lift weights several times a week, every week. The me who was in the best shape of her life. And now, I'm lucky if I can even come home from my part-time job and do something other than getting in my bed for a nap. I'm sad. I'm angry. And I don't know why things like this happen. I've always been a person that is passionate about health. It's just not fair. But I know deep inside that I'll figure it out. I'll rally and start making appointments again, start getting all the tests done, and I will get to the bottom of it. I'm thankful that it wasn't something worse. My heart breaks for anyone that has major health battles. I know how this feels, I can't fathom something worse.

    And at the very least, I hope my story helps someone going through the same thing realize that you aren't alone. There are many of us with these viral issues and with autoimmune diseases that they cause. I hope that any bit of information, from the things that I did to get better or just sharing my story, could possibly help someone else. If you are someone struggling, I strongly suggest you read Medical Medium. Anthony is not your average Health advocate. However, he knows his stuff and I've done the research to back up every bit of information in his books. Even if you don't follow his entire protocol, the main points being followed like I did, can be a huge help. Push for the tests you need, research optimal results (not just the lab results), and be your own advocate. I can't stress this enough!

    I hope you don't mind me feeling a little sorry for myself. Some days it's just not easy. But I'm thankful for the self I do have and I'm hoping this all will pass some day. Just know, if you are going through something similar - I'm here for you. Leave me a comment, reach out to me on Instagram, or shoot me an email! There's strength in numbers and we can support each other!

  • 19 Apr 2018

    Getting Real - Purity vs. Balance

    Hey Lovelies! I can't believe my last post was October!!!! Where does the time go?!

    I know, I know.... I always start my posts off that way.... But in all honesty, it's been a really rough year. I came down with my second case of shingles last week, after a really really long run with severe stress. The crazy thing is that I wasn't always such an anxious person. Many years ago, I was. But in the last several years, I was pretty zen. I never got stressed out over anything and was basically a living yoda. So what happened? Life in all its gritty glory is what happened. In January 2017 my Father in Law was diagnosed with Lung Cancer, and to say it rocked our world is an understatement. That year was such a blur of heartache, sadness, and stress, that I almost forgot anything else that happened in that period of time. Add in every day life stresses - raising a teen boy, financial commitments, vet bills, things in the house crapping out, then you just have a recipe for a nervous breakdown. I don't think I ever got to that place, but I got close.

    Anyway, I think so many months of constant stress just took it's toll on my body and I came down with a really bad case of shingles. So bad, in fact, that I've been on bed rest this entire week. And what do you do when you're on bed rest? Other than catch up on reading and Netflix bingeing, of course. You think. And you think a lot! So I've been thinking about the last couple weeks and this blog and really just pondering what I'm all about. This is where I get real, get raw, and get honest. Going through what I went through, what so many people go through every single day, really puts life into perspective. 

    Recently, I had some conversations with some friends on Instagram about being a Purist. If you're not entirely sure what being a Purist is, it basically means someone that lives their life completely chemical-free. Like nothing, nada, zilch. I am by no means saying there's anything wrong with this! Not at all. If this is what works for you, that's amazing!!! I once strived to live this lifestyle, but I realized that it just doesn't work for me. I may or may not have mentioned before that I'm a perfectionist. It's something that can serve me well professionally, but not well at all in my personal life or for my mental state. Years ago, I attended IIN, which I absolutely LOVED, and don't have a single regret about doing. However, the reason why I don't currently practice as a Health Coach is because of my perfectionist personality. I could never eat, sleep, and breathe Holistic Health. It would make me a very unhappy human. As much as I love this lifestyle, and know that I have a lot to give the world as far as helping others live a healthier life, I choose to try and do it through this blog. I tend to get obsessive with the lifestyle and am really working on balance at this point. For me, it's necessary for living MY healthiest life. Does that mean I don't recommend IIN or other programs? Absolutely not the case. That really depends on you and what you want in life and is really a whole other post. But if you're someone, like me, that tends to obsess and worry over every little ingredient, what it might be doing to you, etc, that might just be a "rabbit hole" you don't want to venture down. Just sayin. 

    So what does this all mean as far as me and this blog.... Nothing really has changed. My lifestyle really hasn't changed for the most part. I still use and love green & clean beauty. I just don't stress about some preservatives here and there that a Purist might avoid. I have a lot of sensitives and allergies to foods, ingredients, chemicals, and even completely natural and organic components. So honestly, when I find a product with mostly organic ingredients, but doesn't contain something like chamomile, for instance..... I'm severely allergic to chamomile by the way.... and it's in EVERYTHING!!!! So if I find something that's mostly natural, but has phenoxyethanol in it, I will use it and if it works well, I'll recommend it. I've learned to be ok with that. It's my truth. But I do worry about coming off authentic to all of you. That is something that's very important to me. I didn't always venture out of the Purist realm and I'm not going to be using any conventional products, ever. But I want to make sure that I'm always transparent with all of you. Which brings me to the perfect example:

    Recently in my quest to try out some conscious beauty products, I jumped the gun and got involved with a nail company. One of my biggest gripes is that when I paint my nails, it always chips off so quickly. Especially because I've always used many of the green beauty brands. Think 100 Percent Pure, Pacifica, etc. My little digits have been looking rather haggard lately, and it finally drove me to try something that wasn't completely up to my standards as far as ingredients. But being that it was 8Free and 1 ingredient shy of being completely clean, I was ok with this, because it was such an innovative product and solved a lot of issues for me as far as painting my nails. After doing what I thought was my diligent research, I jumped in, and starting using the product, starting a new Instagram account (which you won't find now because I deleted it), and even recommending to my inner circle. When the product was on my nails, I loved it. I ignored the sensitivity in my nails, the rashes I was getting when I scratched my skin with them on, and the irritation I was getting on my fingers. I thought "I haven't used anything but Clean nail polish in years, maybe I need to adjust". Until I started reading about many others experiencing the same exact thing. 

    Have you ever gotten so excited about finding something new and something that you thought was really this great thing that you kinda whisper to the world about it, and ignore that little inner whisper inside you telling you that it might not be a good idea? Yea, that happened. I'm a human, what can I say. I make mistakes. But I will never ever compromise my moral standards or integrity and recommend something to any of you that I wouldn't use on myself, or on my own family. On this occasion, I may have been a little late to the party as far as listening to my inner voice. But I realize now, and can promise you that moving forward I won't jump the gun on myself. I can't always promise pure, but I can promise safe!!! I'm not here to bash any companies, and I recognize that this product might be ok for many others out there. I just happen to be one of the many that had an issue, unfortunately. And because of that, I cannot recommend them to you!

    This will always be a place where I share my healthy & SAFE options, but will never be place for preaching purity or making anyone feel inferior for their lifestyle choices. I may have been guilty of coming off this way in the past, I don't know. If I have, I apologize. I just want to help others live a healthier lifestyle. Whatever that means for you. 

    Oh, and if you have any recommendations for a good "green" nail polish that doesn't chip off after  days, please send them my way!!! 


  • 26 Nov 2017

    What I'm Loving Wednesday...

    Hi There! I can't believe it's Wednesday already! Halfway through the week and the cooler weather is finally here again in Jersey. It's been so hot lately and I have to say, I'm just not a fan of summer weather. I love all the activities that go along with it - I just despise the heat & humidity. And quite frankly, so does my skin & hair! Yikes! Anyway, I thought I would pop by and share a few of the things I'm loving lately. These are both items that I might currently own and that are also on my lust list! So here we go....

    I'm not sure if I've mentioned it on here before or not, but I have naturally curly hair. And when I say curly, I mean CURLY. And unfortunately for me, it's not nice curly. It's "don't ever expect to see me without straight hair, because otherwise it looks like a frizzy hot mess" curly. Ahhh genetics.... Anyway, as you already know, I only use non-toxic, chem-free, and gluten-free personal care, which can be quite a hard task as far as hair care goes! I've pretty much narrowed it down to a daily trifecta of products, all of which can be purchased from Target!

    I've been using both of these brands of products for a really long time! But I could never come up with the right combo of products that worked for my hair. It was always too dry, too frizzy, or too oily. When I started my training regimen, I had to start washing my hair every single day and this def took a toll. It was imperative that I find the right routine to keep my already tolerant hair in top shape every day. Combo #1 is using the SheaMoisture Manuka Shampoo with the Kids Mango/Carrot Conditioner. I've tried using the matching products and it just does not work for me. This works great! And the smell.... Amazing! Combo #2 is used a little more often, which is the Acure Shampoo with the Kids Mango/Carrot Conditioner. This is my most common combo, but when my hair starts to feel dry, I'll do a day with the Manuka. I like to finish it off with a couple spritzes of the Honest Spray before I let my hair soak in a towel during my morning makeup! Perfection!!!

    And even though I hate the heat, I'm loving some of the summer fashion right now! This Gauze dress is just in at JCrew Factory and I LOVE it! Typically I wear a lot of maxi's and they're on heavy rotation in my summer lineup. However, standing at only 5'3, most of the dresses are still way too long even when I hem them. Enter my array of 4-5 inch platform sandals. These babies were all I wore once upon a time. But as I enter my mid-thirties and up my fitness game, I'm starting to embrace my height and I'm loving dresses in this length. They are really versatile in the sense that I can wear them with flat sandals, flip flops or with platforms if I choose, rather than out of necessity! I'm also loving this summer weight boatneck sweater. I love summer sweaters. The material is perfect for various seasons and they look great with destroyed denim shorts and sandals or chucks. Love! I'm hitting the outlets on Saturday and am def making a trip to JCF!

    Also, my fitness wardrobe is growing & growing! ahhhh! I recently came across these gorgeous beauties. Rose Gold & Black.... Need I say more?!

    Last but not least, I've been looking for the perfect scent for summer. I still love my Melange palette, but I'm in desperate search of the perfect sweet/sultry/smoky/sexy scent and I think I found it! Nikki from Rebel & Mercury posted about one of her new blends, Ambres, on her Insta feed yesterday and it was love at first sight. This def sounds like something right up my alley. I'm planning on purchasing the sampler pack (I can't decide between a couple scents!!) very soon and will let you all know what I think!

    So that's my roundup of what I'm loving! What are you loving right now?!?


    DISCLAIMER: Though the above post does contain shopstyle affiliate links, I was not compensated in any way for this post. All products featured are products I've previously purchased and recommend due to my own love for the product/brand. All opinions are my own and recommendations are always purely honest!
  • 26 Nov 2017

    ProPlenish Marine Collagen - A Review

    Hi there! I have a review on an amazing product for you today! I recently received a package all the way from Australia and was so excited for a couple reasons - 1) who doesn't love getting mail from Australia, and 2) Collagen has some pretty amazing benefits as a supplement and I've been looking high and low for a great go-to brand! This marine collagen supplement did not disappoint! Keep reading to find out more....

    { About ProPlenish }

    The ProPlenish team is comprised of scientists, researchers, nutritionists and collagen experts. They understand and have learnt the delicacy of the human body – dedicating research to testing, observing and optimising health and well-being, through the help of natural beauty enhancing supplements. Inside and out, they know what works. Based in Melbourne, they are a highly innovative Australian brand that has been recognized as such – becoming one of the fastest growing health food supplement and beauty companies in the world.

    { What exactly is Marine Collagen? }

    Collagen is naturally occurring and the most abundant protein in the body. It is essential for maintaining skin, hair and nails, but in a cruel trick nature plays, we produce less as we get older. That’s right – from our 20s onwards, natural collagen production slows down, becoming more pronounced through our 50s and 60s. Sourced using the world’s purest form of collagen, ProPlenish edible Marine Collagen is a tasteless, odourless, easily dissolving supplement that turns clear in seconds. It restores your body with the nutrients it needs for a glowing complexion. And a younger looking you. No injecting. No nips or tucks. Just the radiant, youthful appearance you remember seeing in the mirror.

    { Why Do I Need it? }

    Including collagen in your daily diet helps;
    Hair - strengthens hair at the root by restoring collagen in the hair follicle to aid hair growth, thickness, texture and body
    Skin - rejuvenates, supports and strengthens, aids in skin elasticity, smooths fine lines, tightens and evens out skin tone
    Hydration and resilience - increases the skins ability to retain moisture for overall smoothness and plumping of the skin
    Nails - helps to improve and strengthen splitting, weak, flaking nails
    Muscles - assists with lean muscle gain and tone, training and exercise recovery.
    Learn more about collagen research here!

    { My Collagen Experience - The Backstory }

     So let me tell you a little about my backstory previous to trying ProPlenish and why I was so excited to give this supplement a try! About a year ago I had read about all the amazing benefits of adding collagen to the diet. I have struggled with many digestive issues, as well as skin issues in the past, which I still struggle with from time to time. I'm gluten-free and also dairy-free about 90% of the time. This cut out most of my digestive and gut issues, but I do still fight inflammation quite a bit. I had read somewhere that collagen can really help repair the gut, amongst all the other benefits! A little extra protein, great hair & nails, glowing skin, happy insides - I'm in! So my quest to try out a couple different brands & types started. I first tried animal-derived and was so excited when my green bin of miracle powder came in the mail! I immediately tried it - and it was everything it promised on the package, but I had a horrible itching in my throat. 
    I thought maybe it was just a reaction to trying the collagen for the first time. So I tried it again and again. Still itchy. I immediately sent it back and ordered a different brand that many others seemed to love. I ripped open the package and dissolved a serving in a cup of tea and to my horror, the same exact thing happened. After reading the reviews it seems that this is a common thing with many people. Some seem to have a mild allergy to animal-derived collagen and it looked like I was one of them. I was really upset. I could not longer take the supplement that seemed to be doing good things for me due to the fact that I was worried it would cause me more inflammation. Not to mention the itch in my mouth/throat! My quest for a collagen supplement ended there.

    { My Thoughts on ProPlenish }

    I came across Proplenish and was not disappointed! The company generously sent me several sachets of the Original & Citrus flavor. They also sent me a 180g box of the Original loose powder. I popped the sachets in my bag to bring to work and left the box at home. The first one I tried was the lemon flavor in my daily morning tea at the office. So let me start by saying that ProPlenish states that the powder is tasteless. And they are absolutely right, I didn't really taste anything. There definitely wasn't a "marine" fishy taste at all. There is a slight something of some sort, I can't quite put my finger on. Almost a slight gelatin taste or scent. I can't really tell, but it's not unpleasant!  And this is very common in all tasteless collagens, which I've come across this in the past. This was one of the best I've tried and whatever I was detecting was certainly not enough that it would keep me from taking the supplement. I really liked the lemon flavor a lot! And you also have to keep in mind that this first test was in hot herbal tea (which the lemon actually complimented quite nicely!). My next try was the original in a smoothie. Eating the supplement this way I was not able to detect any of the gelatin-like taste or scent whatsoever. This is the way I would probably choose to consume it on the regular, but as I said, the very mild scent I detected in my tea was not enough for me to avoid that option altogether. And most important, no itchy throat or mouth! So if you have struggled with that mild allergy to say, bovine collagen, you may want to give this one a try!

    Overall I was very happy with this supplement! I haven't been taking it long enough to notice a huge different in my skin, hair or nails. But I will tell you that my digestive system feels amazing! I will absolutely be ordering this supplement when I'm out and would highly recommend it over anything else I've tried. ProPlenish offers several packages and options for pricing and also seem to offer promotions if you sign up for the newsletter as well! 
    Make sure to check out the ProPlenish website and also look for them on Facebook, TwitterInstagram! I'll make sure to check back in a month to give you my overall 30 day feedback! Here's to glowing skin & a happy Gut!! =)


    DISCLAIMER: I was not compensated for the above review financially in any way. I was, however, provided product for sample purposes to review as stated. This did not influence my review in any way. All opinions are my own.
  • 26 Nov 2017

    Fall Must Have Staples!

    Hi Lovelies! I hope you all had a fantastic summer! Though this was one of my better summers and I enjoyed day after day of fresh air, trail running, hiking, and taking long walks, I have to say that I'm not really sad to see it go. If you're familiar with me and my blog, you know that Fall is one of my most favorite times of the year and I start lusting after cozy sweaters, rich hued colors, and pumpkin spice latte's long before the leaves start to change!

    Being a Fall baby (my birthday is September 19th), I always start creating mental gift lists for my loved ones so that way when I'm asked what I want, I have a couple options. Lately I've been all about slouchy styles, dark rinses, and distressed saddle colored leather with a touch of gold.

    I've been trying to come up with my top pieces for Fall that I think are major must-haves for any closet that will last, and aren't so trendy that you can pull them out again and again. They also vary on the price end too! Nothing too high, and the most expensive item is a true investment piece!!!

    This charcoal sweater is chic with the dark, but unexpected color, and though it has a more relaxed fit, it looks effortless rather than homely. I bought this Ensign necklace in Gold last year on a whim. I wasn't too sure how much I would wear it because it is a chunky piece and a bit more of statement, though subtle. But I absolutely adore it! I wear it most days and I love it so much, that I even considered purchasing another to keep on standby for when my current one is too weathered for wear.

    J.Crew Factory has the most amazing dark rinse denim this year! It truly looks like higher end denim that would find on Shopbop and the like, without the high-end price tag. I plan to grab a couple pairs of these bootcut jeans during the next sale. And these booties are the perfect accent to the dark rinse, the rich color and material look expensive, they are made so well that you would never believe I got them at Target! I purchased them in black last year and they were so comfortable and lasted through the winter weather. I found myself reaching for them again and again. Both for work and home! They are also currently on sale and have a coupon right now! Run to Target to get them NOW!!!

    And last, but certainly not least..... My most favorite piece of all.... The beautiful Duluth Crossbody bag in Brown! Last year Duluth was so very generous to send me the convertible messenger in brown. I have not stopped using this bag since! Love is an understatement. I try not to wear too much leather. However, I also think if I'm going to spend money on a bag, it needs to be a true investment piece. Something that embodies my true style, that I'll never tire of wearing, and will also last the test of time. These lifetime leather bags just get better and better with age. They are absolutely beautiful craftsmanship and I highly recommend!

    I'll definitely be getting my hands on this beauty soon! It's certainly a NEED for me this Fall/Winter season!

    So that rounds up my current favorites! What items are you looking to add to your closet this season? I would love to hear your picks!!


    DISCLAIMER: All items mentioned above are recommended from personal purchases. I was not provided any monetary or product compensation for the post above. There are, however, ppc links that do provide small compensation. Thank you for supporting my blog!
  • 26 Nov 2017

    My Fit life 1 Year Later - Getting Real.....

    So I had a couple personal milestones the last several weeks and have been doing a lot of thinking. I hit my 1 year mark living my Fit lifestyle and I also turned 35 within a couple weeks of each other. This brought a lot of positives and a few negative feelings for me. I truly believe as Bloggers, that it's easy to lose yourself unintentionally in "putting on a brave face". Myself being included in this. I don't do it because I don't want to share with you or because I want to pretend I'm something I'm not. Trust me.... Life isn't all sunshine and rainbows 24/7. I'm generally just a positive person and training myself not to dwell on the negative keeps me blissful for the most part.

    A year ago I went for my yearly check-up and my Doc was concerned with my slightly higher than normal heart rate. Even though I tend to get very nervous at the Doctors, I still took this very seriously. With an extensive family history of high blood pressure and heart problems, as well as my own past with Preeclampsia, I didn't want to take any chances. I knew it was time to really kick things into high gear. I had already started working out again, but I needed something that was a little more structured. Enter Kayla Itsines Bikini Body Guide. I'm pretty sure that if you're active in the blogging world, on Twitter, are into working out, and are on Instagram, you've probably come across at least a member or two of Kayla's Army. I purchased the BBG and started immediately. In the beginning I could hardly do 5 burpees without getting winded, I kid you not! But I made it through the program... not once, or twice, but 3 times through! And I loved to hate every second of it.

    Last Holiday season I got into the best shape I had been in a really long time (after being about 2 months into the program) but after some issues with Endometriosis (I have it) and Holiday eating (I did it), I started to gain a little fat back. This started my struggle. I still continued with the program as I said above, but I never did hit that level of progress again. However, this past summer I achieved one very important goal - I got my legs in good enough shape to wear shorts in public! You have no idea how big this was for me!

    Basically what I'm trying to say is that everyone has high points and low points. I'm lucky enough to have become one of those people, that despite the level of difficulty of the workout - I'm now finally on BBG 2 - I do truly enjoy working out for the most part. Unless I'm so sore I can't walk and feel like I'm dying, it really is never a chore for me. But I have had some lows as I've approached the very middle of my Thirties. Somewhere along the way after the holidays, I started eating in a way that totally threw a curveball at my already fragile hormones. The pudge around my middle that I worked so hard to lose, came back and so did my "love handles". The last several months have been a constant trial and error, trying to figure out what works best for me. My Hormones are out of balance and at this point I think I might be suffering from Adrenal Fatigue, but I've found a great supplement regimen that seems to work well and am just fine tuning my eating. I'm thinking about trying Paleo at this point. I've dabbled for a while.

    I even started running last spring, something I thought I would never do, and after a couple weeks into it, I really started to love it. I did it regularly all summer long and just a few weeks ago starting having issues with a high heart rate, lots of discomfort and my usual routine just not feeling good anymore (hence the adrenal fatigue). So I'm back to LISS and only running a few miles one day a week if I can. At the end of the day it's just as much of a mental battle as a physical one. I'm slowly learning to let go of my perfectionism and be happy with who I am. Which if you know me, you know is very very difficult. Right now I'm just happy that I'm happy 90% of the time. Even though I still haven't attained all of my health goals, I went from an Average Resting Heart Rate to an Excellent, almost Athlete's Resting Heart Rate! And this is the most muscular and healthy I've ever been in my life, despite the fat I still need to lose. My outlook isn't perfect all the time, and I do have my days. But I'm ok with that! So whether you're prepping to take the leap into a Fit lifestyle, are currently a Fit Girl or are dealing with a low right now, here's my personal advice....

    1. Progress is Progress. It doesn't mean it's ok to excuse multiple binges in a week, or not staying on your training schedule for multiple days - giving yourself a free pass. But sometimes life happens and we need a break. A break from the everyday, from ripping ourselves apart, from breaking and rebuilding our body, and from the mental taxing.

    2. Everything takes time. Let go of your unrealistic goals. This was a tough one for me. I had these crazy goals in the beginning and they were so hard to live up to. I was putting unnecessary pressure on myself during an already vigorous lifestyle change. I learned to dream the big things, but make the small things attainable and be happy with it. Like wearing those shorts this past summer. I may not have been as fit as I would have liked, but I was happy with where I was. Sometimes that's ok.

    3. Listen to your body. Don't push yourself so hard. I'm competitive even with myself. My perfectionism truly shines when I'm sticking to a schedule like the BBG. This is both good and bad. Good in the sense that I have no issue sticking to a 6 day weekly training schedule. But bad because I am really hard on myself all the time. Sometimes I push too hard and it ends up costing me a day. Especially with my current health hurdles. Listen to the signs, your body is pretty darn smart.

    And last.....

    Never give up. I know it's hard. I know it hurts. And sometimes it's just not fair how hard you work and you're still not where you want to be. Everyone has a different body makeup and we all respond to food and fitness differently. You need to find a way of eating that makes you feel vibrant and healthy, not what fits the expectations of some dogma you might have gotten sucked into. Trust me, I've been there. If a workout plan isn't for you, find the plan that is for you. Find something that you look forward to doing even when it's hard. Something that challenges you and makes you feel strong. And don't stop until you find it. But never ever give up on you. You are worth way too much and are way too important to ever do so. Our bodies are the only place we have to live after all. ; )

    I hope my little ramblings help you in a small way. I'm still learning about myself even at my age. Life really is a never ending lesson. It truly is. And I'm grateful for it =)

  • 26 Nov 2017

    What I'm Loving - The FasciaBlaster Part 1

    Happy Friday Babes! Whether you stumbled on my page from reading your blogroll, came here on a google search, or saw my latest pic on Instagram and just had to know what the little gizmo I posted was..... I'm about to let you in on one of the most amazing self-care secrets I have ever come across. Having gone to Holistic Nutrition School and being a fitness addict, it's no secret that I'm HUGE into self-care. Not that I don't love getting a massage here or a facial there, but I'm all for having the opportunity to do treatments in my own home and on my own terms - with some guidance from an expert of course ; )

    A couple months ago I was perusing Facebook and I kept seeing these videos pop up on my feed. I don't normally love the whole sponsored post thing, but it can be great when you come across someone that you might not have seen otherwise. The video that popped up was by Ashley Black, and it was her demonstrating her FasciaBlaster. Fasciawhatta??? I know.... Unless you're in bodywork, physical therapy, or in the medical field, you might not know that term. Even knowing as much about health as I do, I sure didn't. And being the curious little health nerd that I am, I had to know.....  What exactly is Fascia? I clicked on the video and was immediately sucked in. I watched video after video and was just blown away in general and by Ashley overall. She's a pretty damn amazing human! Here are just a few of the benefits of the FasciaBlaster:

    - Reduce the appearance of cellulite
    - Restore your fascia
    - Break down fat cells (spot reduction!!!)
    - Improve muscle performance
    - Reduce scar tissue
    - Reduce pain & inflammation
    - Accelerate muscle recovery & performance
    - Improve circulation

    Check out her video to learn more about her and Fascia...

    So now that you know a little more about Fascia, you can probably see why someone like me - a person with a background in healthy living and a fitness freak that loves to work out 5-6 days a week, might be interested. I have struggled with various muscular injuries (which I now believe are indeed fascia related) and last year my skin started getting really dimply. Since working out on a pretty regimented training schedule for the last year, it has since decreased a bit. But I would love to remedy it, and most important, remain injury and pain free!

    I was lucky enough to hear back from Ashley on Facebook after reaching out and we messaged back and forth a bit. She sent me videos and lots of information. Having used a foam roller for recovery, I found the video below pretty interesting...

    So after chatting with Ashley, she was so generous to send me a FasciaBlaster to try out! I have used it twice since I've gotten it and did see a slight difference after the first use. I do have some bruising, but not as bad as I thought. This is normal by the way. All I can say is that I think I have a lot of Fascia that needs to be broken down!  I'm so excited to see where I am after a month of use. This will definitely become a part of my regular self-care routine. BBG Babes, you need this!!! Make sure you stop back next week to see my before pic and my first results after a few uses!

    ps - Make sure to check out Ashley's Facebook page! She posts lots of excellent information and tons of amazing videos!

    UPDATE: To see what I think about the FasciaBlaster over a year later, check out my latest post HERE 


    DISCLAIMER: I was not compensated for the above review financially in any way. I was, however, provided product for sample purposes to review as stated. This did not influence my review in any way. All opinions are my own.
  • 26 Nov 2017

    Mizuno Wave Inspire 12 - A Review

    Hey Babes! Recently I was given the opportunity to review a pair of sneakers by a company I'd been dying to try, and I'm so excited to finally share my review with you! I've become an Asics die-hard, but my current loves had started giving me some problems. Shin splints and muscle pain are no bueno during a several mile run. So when the opportunity to try Mizuno's new Wave Inspire 12 presented itself, of course I jumped at the chance.

    I follow lots of marathon runners on Instagram, and aside from seeing my beloved Asics, I kept seeing many feet bearing the Mizuno symbols in slews of Marathon photos. My interest was piqued immediately. Over the summer to my dismay, I had tried and sent back many trainers - Brooks, Altra, and even another model of Asics. Nothing seemed to work and the shin splints would get worse and delay my running progress with each new pair I tried.I started to give up and figured that maybe I wasn't destined to be a runner after all.

    Until I tried my Mizuno's. Upon receiving them, my first impression was that they were stylish and I would be able to wear them out and about as well. Trust me, as far as all my running woes, I would wear bags over my feet if it meant that my legs wouldn't hurt, so quality over style is definitely most important. But this was definitely a plus! I love the bright colors and they are made really well. No glue showing, no unraveling stitches and no gapes or tightness. They fit perfect.

    But I have to say that when I ran in them for the first time, I did have a bit of a Cinderella moment. It was like I had finally found my perfect fit! In all honesty, it took a run or two for my feet to adjust. I believe that certain sneakers and how they are made can help to position your foot and ankle just so. And when you're in a new shoe that you aren't used to, it can take a bit of time. Even though I knew I had finally found the shoe for me, they did have a small adjustment period. But I was good by run two!

    They offer the perfect amount of ankle stability without being too loose or too tight. The key for me was not tying them too tight, which I tend to do. I have higher arches in my feet and they give some structured support while being cushy and kind of even squishy, which I love! They are truly like running on little clouds. The only drawback that I had at all, is that I'm not solely a runner. I also come home and train as well. I did not like the feeling of the Mizuno's while doing Tabata, Plyo, etc. But that's fine because they are a running shoe and that's not what they're made for. And honestly, it's just personal preference. I thought I would love the squish factor while doing broad jumps across my floor, but I found they just didn't work in that arena.

    It's any easy fix to do a quick change before doing my other training, though. And it's worth it to have such an amazing shoe to run in! I'm definitely a convert after running in them for a couple weeks. Me and my happy little feet highly recommend Mizuno!!!!


    DISCLAIMER: This post is sponsored by Mizuno Running. I did receive a small financial compensation, as well as product for review. All opinions are my own and have not been influenced in any way.
  • 26 Nov 2017

    What I'm Loving...

    It's been a while since I've done one of these posts and since I've been loving so many things lately, I thought it was appropriate to start again this week! Let me preface by saying this is not a sponsored post. It's just a smattering of some things I'm loving so much lately, that I just have to share with you =)

    So lets start with my latest beauty savior. I have really crazy skin, lets just get that out of the way right now. And depending on my diet, it can go from bad to worse in a minute. If I eat ice cream or frozen yogurt, I get dermatitis with a side of sinus infection. I kid you not! If I eat too much sugar, I break out like a teenage girl. Don't get me wrong, I'd love to have the face of a teenage girl, but the spots, eh not so much. Lately my skin has been crazy and I finally pinpointed that it's due to too much sugar in my diet. Whether it be from too many candy binges (yes, some of us health nuts eat candy from time to time) or foods that turn to sugar in the body. I'm looking at you white rice! So while my skin has calmed down, the weather flux and the breakout treatments have me dealing with some uneven skin. Enter Shea Terra's Cape Aloe.

    I've had this gem for quite a bit. When I first bought it and tried it, it didn't seem to work for me. Maybe it was my skin at the time, or the manner in which I was using it. But things change I guess. And lately it's been my skins "knight in shining armor". I wash my face like usual and put it on at night and then in the morning before I apply my makeup. It gives a nice little dose of moisture and even helps keep my face a little more balanced (aka not an oily mess) during the day. Aloe also helps with blemishes as well. So it's a win win. Shea Terra is one of my fav natural beauty brands by the way. If you don't know them, you need to check them out! Moving on...

    Another thing I'm crazy over right now is this amazing book that was released fairly recently by Juli Bauer of PaleOMG. I just bought her book a few days ago, and wow. Amazing!!! I mean, every single recipe looks SO good. Obviously if you're a vegetarian or vegan, this won't be appealing to you, since it is a Paleo cookbook. But if you're one of my meat-eating friends, then you will love! All the recipes are healthy, and look so flavorful. I have yet to make one from this book in particular, but I've made a couple recipes from Julie's blog and they turn out delicious. I can't wait to start meal planning. This book might actually make food shopping exciting again!

    And last, but definitely not least..... I have been infatuated with Spotify lately. I've always been a music buff, having grown up with a Drummer Dad who was probably playing me Zeppelin in the womb. But Spotify has me enamored. I've been a subscriber for several months and I love it. I go running outside all the time and I like to have the option to listen to my curated playlists while being out in the woods with no wifi signal. But my favorite couple features are the Weekly Discovery playlist they send you every Monday, and also the suggested artists. I have found so many amazing bands this way. Definitely some that I might not have found otherwise. If you're on there, stop by my profile and check out a couple of my lists!

    So that's my latest roundup of favorites. What are you loving lately? Have you tried any of the items above? what do you think?!


  • 26 Nov 2017

    What's New Tuesday - Bra's, Beauty, and BBG

    Hi Babes! I've been so scattered lately and have so much going on, I definitely haven't stuck to my blogging schedule the way I've hoped. I feel like time is just moving at warp speed since September started! Just when I seem to get my bearings, something else is thrown my way. Such is life though right? So what's new with me......

    I've been trying out a lot of great products over the last couple months to bring you some great reviews. One of which is long overdue and will be up tomorrow! Hint Hint - it's an amazing Lingerie line that guarantees a perfect fit. And, it's the most pretty, flattering, and comfy lingerie I've ever tried!  I've also been on the hunt for some new organic skincare. My skin has literally been freaking out since my birthday in September. I think hormone imbalance is to blame, and I just started some new supplements to help combat and balance my estrogen dominance, so I'm crossing my fingers it helps! In the meantime, I've been using my favorite apple peel every week and also started using a great organic Retinol cream that I really like so far.

    So between those hormone issues I mentioned, school being crazy, adjusting to the crazy weather flux in NJ, and battling my recent cold, I've fallen halfway off my Fitness regimen. I've been doing Kaya Itsines BBG program (both 1 & 2) for over a year now and love them. But I'm still in the process of trying to figure out the best way to eat for me. Mainly something anti-inflammatory and endurance supporting. This can be tough. Right now I'm leaning towards low sugar, going off grains, and definitely no more dairy!!! I'm getting ready to restart BBG 1 next Monday and I'm looking forward to it. I've been pretty depressed lately with feeling like my routine has been thrown off a bit and my energy feeling so zapped. I want to feel like myself again! So BBG restart it is, maybe with a little Alexa Jean Fitness thrown in, and a weekly dose of yoga!

    And last, I've been researching some classes to start taking on the side. I currently work part-time and I love where I work, so I'm looking into maybe Web Development/Coding as a Freelance on the side. I'm pretty tech-savvy, so I'm hoping it's a good fit. I'm just unsure because even with the thousands upon thousands of tech jobs out there, it seems like a very competitive market! I'm thinking of trying Skillcrush. If any of you have any input, tips, or experience in coding, or with Skillcrush specifically, I would to hear about it!

    That's all for now, make sure to stop back tomorrow to check out my latest review!!!