All the Christmas Things

How are you feeling this marvelous Monday morning?!

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Hopefully you are the complete opposite of Amigo. ūüėČ My brother’s dog is THE¬†definition of “not a morning person”. My mom sent me this gem on Saturday morning and I could not stop laughing!

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My Monday is brought to you by lots of happiness from Christmas adventures this past weekend. My roommate and her boyfriend bought our tree on Saturday and it is the cutest. Now all we need are a tree topper and a skirt! I am most excited to have a real Christmas tree because I haven’t had one in years. We also added a wreath to our front door, some greens to our mantle, and two poinsettias on the fireplace. It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas up in here!

Friday evening was spent doing a ridiculously hard workout courtesy of Blonde Ponytail. It looked a little something like this:

20 minute AMRAP (as many reps as possible) with 25# dumbbells
10 squat hang cleans
10 push press
10 walking lunges

…except I modified the workout so that I could use 15 pound dumbbells because I’m not that strong yet and it still kicked my ass!¬†I invited my friend over to watch Christmas movies¬†and we had a ball laying on the couch and watching The Grinch and Elf. Christmas movies are the best!

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On Saturday, I took myself on an adventure to The National Harbor in Fort Washington, MD. I have never been and I have always wanted to go, plus I know that there are Christmas events going on this month, so it didn’t matter who was going with me…I was going! There are many restaurants and boutiques along the waterfront, but my first stop was at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center.

The lobby was all decked out with Christmas trees so I knew the rest of the place would be just as amazing! I also took a picture of that tree four times and each time, it was just as crooked. #bloggerfail

The child behind me on the escalator told his mom that he felt like he was in the tropical rain forest and I couldn’t help but agree! The interior of that place would be amazing even if it wasn’t Christmas. Added to the usual surroundings were a train, breakfast and dinner with Santa, pictures with Santa (of course), The Village of the North Pole, and ICE featuring Santa Claus Is Coming To Town. ICE is definitely the main event and I really wanted to see what it was all about, but I couldn’t justify a $38 ticket if I was by myself ha!

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Luckily, The Village of the North Pole was free and there was still a lot going on! There was a carousel, a gingerbread house making station, and lots of Christmas decorations and candy for sale! I bought bells to hang from the doorknob to my laundry room. So exciting, right?!

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I left the Gaylord and went to do the other “normal” National Harbor things such as shopping in all of the boutiques, but the best thing that I came across was The Grinch playing on the big screen! It was 53 degrees on Saturday so people had jackets on, but there were so many eating ice cream from the nearby shops while they watched the movie. It was so funny!

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I’m a child and moved to a place where no one was in front of me so that I could see better. I am sure that people thought I was very strange. The Grinch is just my favorite movie ever! Fun fact: Sarah (from Picky Runner) and I go to a lot of the same places at a lot of the same times and yet our paths still have never crossed. I posted the above picture on Instagram and she commented that she was just there. Of course! Haha:)

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Me, my puffy eyes, no makeup, and a Christmas tree. #bestselfieever #not My eyes have been bothering me lately (besides the fact that I scratched my cornea — that is all healed now) so the doctor put me on “contact vacation”.¬†I am not a fan. My glasses are in the hand that’s not holding my iPhone here. ūüôā

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Last night, I went to a Christmas party at the Hill Center. It’s an old Naval hospital which is kind of cool, but now it hosts meetings and events for various groups. My church has unofficially planned this Christmas party for the last 7 years. National Community Church doesn’t sponsor the party, but alot of NCC’ers go and proceeds always benefit a mission at our church. Last night, we were raising money for an orphanage in Zambia. I was super excited for this party because it was cocktail attire and who doesn’t love to get a little fancy sometimes?! I have to admit, I had on a sparkly navy cocktail dress and I changed into a sweater dress with tights and booties because my arms and legs were cold. #im107yearsold #iknow

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My friend Shannon is one of the people who travelled to Zambia this past summer to work at the orphanage, so this event was super special to her! She also created all the promotional things there, from posters to little info cards, and I was so impressed! We graduated from college the same year but she is a graphic designer and I am always amazed at how creative she is!

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There were probably five or six rooms on each floor of the Hill Center and each room was something different. One had a photo booth, another had live music, and several had food and drinks. Many people in attendance provided the food and drinks that were available to us all which I think is awesome! My favorite part of the party was gathering together at one point to sing Christmas carols and waiting in anticipation to see if I would win any of the prizes from the raffle. There were really good prizes! I was hoping for the $50 Anthropologie gift card or the month of free Spin and barre classes at a new studio, but no such luck. ūüôā

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The best room was the one where we had room to dance…and we danced for a while! At 11:30, our feet were DONE and we crashed on a few open chairs. Even so, it was such a fun way to kick off the holiday season!

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I was up bright and early on Sunday¬†morning to serve in the nursery at church during the 9 AM service. Somehow, I always seem¬†to hold the baby who is teething or really tired. I do love it, though! The little girl I was holding yesterday¬†would start to fall asleep on my shoulder and then turn around and look at the other babies playing in the room and start screaming and crying. She was not pleased to be at church haha! I haven’t been in the nursery much lately, so it was really nice to get back and see the other volunteers and of course, the little ones who are always there! Two of the babies that I have seen the most since I started volunteering this spring are about to turn 2 and move on into the toddler room. So sad!

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If you need a little marvelous in your Monday today, I suggest going to your local grocery store and finding these Peanut Butter Crunch Pretzel Crisps. I found them at the grocery store when I went to pick up my prescriptions the other day and they are SO GOOD. I may or may not have had too much sugar this weekend. You decide. ūüôā

Happy Monday!

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Monday Musings

So, my weekend looked something like this:

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Photo Credit: Angela Fu

UMD hosted the Southeast Collegiate Fitness Expo from Friday to Sunday and to say I had no idea what I was in for is definitely an understatement! I was required to go because I work at the gym, but once I saw the schedule of events, I knew that I would¬†want¬†to be there! What could be better than a gym full of other fitness instructors who love working out and nutrition as much as me?! I have decided that being around like-minded people is the best. ūüôā

Saturday morning started off with an equipment-less bootcamp style workout led by Abbie Appel, a master trainer from Florida! Unfortunately, she didn’t bring the warm weather with her, but that room was full. of. sweat. We did a 40 minute workout: 8 minutes of work…a different exercise every minute…and then took a quick rest period. The class flew by and it was a perfect kick off for the events to follow on Saturday!

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She’s so cool she even took a selfie with us. ūüėČ

After boot camp, I was famished because I hadn’t eaten breakfast yet, and I had ten minutes to hydrate, feed myself, and get to my next destination: Piloxing. Pilates + Boxing = Piloxing. And sweat. And fun. This trainer works in the D.C. area which is amazing because that means I can go to the class again sometime soon! I tried a bunch of different workouts on Saturday and ended the day in a seminar about social media…one, because it sounded cool, and two, because I just wanted to sit down!

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My mom sent me a care package last week and sent me all kinds of protein bars that sound like peanut butter and jelly. This bar was amazing and the perfect snack for my busy day. Why did she only send one?!¬†Saturday night, we all had to find our second wind because there was a social at the UMD Golf Course. I really wanted nothing more than Netflix and pajamas, but it was so fun to see my co-workers all dressed up in “normal” clothes! We made sundaes at an ice cream bar with different flavors from The Dairy and danced the night away with what little energy we had left! Sunday started off bright and early with hip hop yoga…hip hop music playing in the background while we stretched and relaxed and restored our bodies from all the festivities of the weekend! I attended three seminars: one about personal branding, one about running, and one about body image. I took so many notes (#nerdalert) and left so excited about being a fitness instructor! There is just so much goodness about this job. What was left of Sunday looked like this…anything that required laying down, even homework, sounded great¬†to me!

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During the weekend, there were certain seminars that we were assigned to monitor. Luckily, I monitored a session I wanted to go to! It talked about “fitspo” and how what we see on social media really affects how we think about our bodies, our exercise, our nutrition, and in turn, our happiness with ourselves. On Instagram, we are bombarded with images, but I feel like many of those are positive. My newsfeed is typically posts of people pre- or post-workout with an inspirational quote thrown in. However, there are¬†so¬†many “inspirational” pictures floating around the Internet that aren’t actually inspirational at all…they’re just degrading. That was not really something I had thought about before. I decided to look at my Pinterest workout board and see what kind of images I have been pinning:

I found six that made me shake my head. Three of them were shirtless images of Ryan Reynolds, Ryan Gosling, and Channing Tatum. I have no idea what that was supposed to represent for my workout life. Clearly, I am not a man;) But that kind of shows how men who aren’t celebrities might feel pressure to look a certain way. ¬†Anyway, I have shared the other three here, but if you click on my Pinterest board, they’ve all been deleted.

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I feel like the body types represented here suggest that we should all be this thin. If you are a naturally thin person, there is¬†nothing wrong with that. What I am saying is that you should not strive to push your body to an extreme that it cannot handle. I don’t have experience testing the jumping jack theory suggested on the left, but it seems kind of unrealistic to me. I¬†do¬†like the advice on the right…we can wish for whatever we want, but we are in control of our health, and that requires¬†doing¬†something to change your situation. Just like anything else in life. However, no one looks at that picture and gets all deep and thoughtful about the quote. When we remember that quote, we associate it with that picture. And really, I do not wear my sports bra to work out, so that picture just makes me feel bad about myself. I am proud of that girl for being so fit, though. ūüôā

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If you clicked on this image on Pinterest, it took you to a page that told you how to get a nice butt. But honestly. I would rather see a photo with the actual exercises than these girl’s behinds. The bad thing about these images floating around is that even if we scroll right past them, we still think about them. Images are powerful and they¬†can¬†affect your thoughts. That is crazy to me. We need to change the norm so that we are surrounded by¬†good¬†thoughts and images!

Here…this motivates me to work! This is a great example of an image that is effective. We can’t play the comparison game because there are no butts to look at;) And it gives you steps to take the action¬†you need to be a healthier, happier you.

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Another good example. Good message and an almost fully clothed girl;)

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Things that we say or read are powerful too. Luckily, most of the quotes I have pinned are about being a happier person. I was glad to see that after thinking about this topic. Here’s a quote that is everywhere¬†in the media –>¬†“Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels.” I would like to disprove this theory by asking you¬†to think¬†about all your favorite treats. Queso, peanut butter straight from the jar, and cookies are pretty tasty, too;)

You should use images and quotes and social media and whatever else you have¬†to motivate yourself to be healthier. I am 100% supportive of that. I am just thinking that we need to do this healthy thing for us. It’s not even just about looks…you may compare yourself in other ways. Someone lifts heavier than you. Someone runs faster than you. Someone can do a crazy inversion at yoga. We just have to know that we are doing the best we can and that truly, we will only ever look like, run like, lift like, eat like, be like…ourselves. And occasionally, we don’t favor our own self. We want to be beasts;) So we need to practice using those thoughts constructively.

I have worked really hard to change my mindset. I want to focus on what my body can do rather than play the comparison game. I can run long distances, I can lift dumbbells that are heavier than they were at this time last year, and I can correctly do down dog in Yoga and PiYo classes. Do I wish that I looked a little different? Sometimes, but we all have goals. Your health is your life, not a short term goal. So at this point,¬†my jeans still fit. I bought a bikini on Friday. And I really like dessert. I just have to be happy with the body I have and make those changes in a healthy way. When I have those days of feeling bad about myself, I hope that I still share positive thoughts and images with others. There was a time when I didn’t like how I looked and I thought that restricting what I ate and working out excessively would help me change my body. Both of those things¬†did¬†help me change my body, but I was also tired, craving sugar, and¬†unhappy.¬†There’s a part of being healthy that requires being happy. And being healthy doesn’t mean being skinny. I learned this. It’s a trifecta of working out, eating healthy foods, and¬†being freaking happy.

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I challenge you to look at the images and social media accounts that you find inspiring. What is so inspiring about them? They should make you want to be a better person in all aspects of your life.

Happy Monday. ūüôā

Special thanks to Alicia for leading such a thoughtful session!