Short and Sweet: Pop Sugar Event and Halloween!

October 31, 2014

Happy Halloween!

Today's blog post is sweet and short to finish out another week and go on into the weekend. I have been battling a cold off and on and I feel exhausted this morning. For some reason I am usually always battling colds at Halloween.

Last night Alexis and I went uptown for an event with Pop Sugar that was sponsored by Smirnoff. I tell you; being a blogger has perks sometimes, ha! It was such a fun event with a plethora of drinks, delicious foods, music, cornhole, other games, manicure and hair stations, and prizes. All of it was complimentary as well. We had such a fun time and thank the vendors significantly for their hard work and items provided to us. I also learned that Smirnoff is changing up their marketing and products to gear more towards women; one can make some super fun drinks with them!
I visited my hairstylist earlier this week because aside from always making my hair look absolutely gorgeous; she is a close friend. Sara goes all out of Halloween and I freaking love it. Her decor is sick, twisted, and all of what the holiday should be about it! I was in love.
Lastly, the ladies at my office are doing it up big today with their decor and I think it looks great. It doesn't hurt that later I am getting treats for everyone as well as giving out Target gift cards for best decor and costume.

Enjoy the day and weekend everyone! I am linking up with the girls!

My Story of (and how you can avoid) Exercise Addiction

October 29, 2014

Finding and living with a balance in regards to weight loss, no matter how much or little, is what my blog and mission is all about. Since I have battled such extensive self-esteem and weight issues all of my life, I have been at the end of both extremes: exercising way too much or not much at all. 

When I first started exercising at 13 years old, my step-mom told me that if I stuck with it, I would hate not exercising -- that it would feel odd and not right to miss days. Initially, I thought she was crazy and there way no way that could happen.

However, it absolutely did. Two weeks into regular exercise, I was in love and a brand new hobby that I enjoyed immensely was developed. Being that young though, I did not understand the importance of resting my body and switching up workouts. I battled this problem until I was about 22 years old. 

If I missed a scheduled workout, my world crumbled. If I was sick and I had a workout planned, I would still go. If I was invited to a party, event, festival, etc. and it interfered with the gym and working out, I would never go. If I planned a rest day because I was very store and/or tired, a few hours into the afternoon and evening, I would be driving myself crazy, then end up going to the gym. I had to exercise; if I didn't, all of my hard work would come undone by missing that single workout. 

That is unbelievably dramatic and most of all false, but that was how my mind worked. I was an extremist, and I am still fighting that to this day. I was either all in at 120% or at negative 120%. If I missed that planned workout for some reason, I would cry and refuse to go out or be seen because of how disgusting I felt. At times, I would cancel plans to go with my friends because I had missed my workout and felt I did not deserve to go out. I felt by missing that workout, I had put on 20 pounds. 

When I put on the significant amount of weight at end of 2012 and throughout most of 2013, I knew when I lost weight for the second time, I had to dig exceptionally deep inside of myself and tackle all of my food, exercise, and self-esteem issues that I had been suppressing for so long; not resolving. 

If you feel yourself  or you know someone feeling this way about exercise and working out, this post is for you. 

The first thing I had to realize is that I did not put all of my weight on overnight and I was definitely not going to lose it that soon. It is much easier to gain weight than lose weight; which is why so much of the United States is obese. Fat loss is achieved by being consistent. You are still consistent if a workout is missed. Learning your body is the best thing you can do for yourself. You may have your workouts scheduled for the entire week, then after a couple of them, you are more sore than you thought. When it is a hurting kind of sore, you absolutely need to rest your body so the muscles can repair. Another extremely important thing to teach yourself is the difference between "tired" and "fatigued". The days where you feel "ugh, I so don't feel like working out, I'm tired", you absolutely should still exercise. However, if you are chronically tired, feeling overly sluggish throughout the day, and having a hard time staying focused or motivated, that is usually your body begging for rest to recover. 

Below could be signs of over-exercise: 
  • excessive weight loss -- this is usually muscle, not fat
  • undernourishment
  • menstruation problems in women
  • fatigue
  • isolation and weakened social relationships
  • irritability
  • frequent injuries

There are consequences to over exercising. The body can enter a catabolic state, in which muscle (NOT fat) tissues are broken down to fuel immediate needs. In short: muscle is burned and the fat is stored. Additionally, one can develop microscopic tears in muscle fibers,; which if unable to repair because of extreme exercise is still being continued, could lead to permanent injuries. Immune systems are actually weakened from over-exercise, which is why when I would still workout when I was sick, I would take significantly longer to heal. Other issues are bone problems, especially in women, and insomnia. 

Weight loss is hard. It is simple, but very hard. It requires dedication and consistency, but it is also absolutely imperative that someone have a balance while trying. You can drive yourself crazy if you don't. You can miss out so much in life if you don't. Being fit and healthy should be lifestyle; not your entire life. As I always like to say and remember, and what helps me often times is that yes I may mess up - especially lately, but every second I am alive, it's a chance for me to get it right. If I had a cupcake yesterday after having my cheat meal the day before, there is nothing I can do it about now. It's done. But I can make a healthy choice today. I can push harder on my training. I can ensure I eat enough to fight cravings.

This journey is all about learning to believe in yourself and know that if you just keep going and trying, the results you want will happen. 

I am now 11 months into my weight loss journey. I wanted to be at a 90 pound loss at this time, however, I am at 65 pounds. I am disappointed, I will not lie and say that I am not, but I know the journey can still be continued. I am alive today, I am healthy today, and that means I can keep going and pushing myself and my 100 pound weight loss goal will absolutely be achieved. 

These posts may also help and are closely related to this issue:

The Hump Day Blog Hop!

Happy Hump Day everyone! We are halfway through the week and the hump day camel is too freaking cool, so lets have some fun and a blog hop to celebrate.

This is a little different than a link up. To participate, simply add your blog link. There is no required entry or anything like that. This is about networking, making new friends, and finding new blogs.

All I ask:
1) "The Hump Day" blog hop button button be displayed anywhere on your blog page or a specific entry with a link back to me or the weekly co-host. (Please do this. These blog hops take a lot of work and preparation.)
2) You don't have to follow me, but in the words of Blake Shelton: it'd sure be cool if ya did.
3) Mingle with your fellow Bloggers.

Image Map
The Hump Day Blog Hop

Diva on a Budget: Health, Fitness, and Beauty Talk!

October 28, 2014

I have some things health, fitness, and beauty related that I want to share with you guys. I always love to share new health and beauty things I am trying and getting into, and I love to hear what other beauty and health junkies are using and intrigued by as well.

We live in a world where women are photoshopped, airbrushed, and filtered on a regular basis. Sometimes I can't blame anyone for doing that because of how ridiculed we can be if we don't. It is a doubled edged sword that can be debated without end. For me; I am not in the game of doing that because it goes against everything I stand and work hard for, thus I elect to refrain from such drastic measures. 

However, I think I have found something just as good: translucent powder by "It Cosmetics". The powder has light reflecting particles so when you are in the sunlight sunlight and other light, it makes your skin look even better.

I absolutely love this product and I am so happy I went on a whim and purchased it. It makes my skin look almost flawless, especially when you add a dash on bronzer on your cheeks. 

I went to GNC over the weekend because I had an awesome coupon-- just being a Diva on a Budget, of course. I picked up my vitamins on clearance, my 5HTP, and I think I am going to try the "apple cider vinegar" fad that has been going on.

My friend Gabe convinced me that there is all kinds of benefits from drinking it everyday; but I am struggling! This stuff is so nasty. You are supposed to do 1-2 tablespoons with 8 oz. of water first thing in the morning and then again 1-2 times during the day. It is gross to me though, even with water. I would like to just take it as a shot and be done with it, but I have read not to do that.

Who is on the Apple Cider Vinegar band wagon and do you feel like it has helped and improved your health?

I am ecstatic to be doing a promotional post and working with NatureBox. I know a lot of of you guys have heard of them. I have been trying their products and quickly fallen in love with everything. It is wonderful to me to be able to eat such delicious and satisfying snacks without all of the fat and calories. I will write more about this later, but I wanted to share my favorite right now.

If you love Girl Scout cookies, you will love the lemon tea biscuits. They are out of this world!

If you want to view all of the deliciousness NatureBox offers; click here
If you want a FREE trial; click here.

To continue my Diva on a Budget fabulousness this weekend, I had a 20% my total order coupon from Ulta plus lots of points to use. Those coupons only happen once or twice a year so I had to take advantage. My face has been breaking out bad a lot around my mouth and chin lately so I bought a new acne wash face. For a few days now, I have used it twice a day. It has helped without a lot with out drying my skin out.

I am so also trying out Paul Mitchell products for more voluminous hair. In my opinion, the bigger  the hair the better. In the above picture of me, I used both the hair spray and daily boost. I like them! I am almost as pleased with the daily boost as I am with Big Sexy Hair. I actually like Paul Mitchell's hairspray much better.

Lastly, I tried a new "Skinny girl" cocktail over the weekend. This brand is cheaper than "Skinny Girl", has few less calories, and tastes just as good. When you're in the mood for a cosmo (my personal favorite) this is a great go to!

Protein Packed Crustless Quiche

October 26, 2014

My friends, this recipe is so quick and easy to make, that I have a hard time even calling it a recipe! However, I cannot get over the delicious and copious amounts of flavor. If you are on a low carb diet such as Atkins, this could be a life savor and and staple for you. For someone like me who tends to have the appetite of a 16 year old boy (not the metabolism, of course) this is perfect for breakfast to get me going in the morning and most of all, keep me full.

I make this recipe both in a "pie" pan and a regular "cake" pan. They are also good as muffins. I am going to share in the way I make it in a regular baking pan. As I always recommend; vary this recipe to your specific liking! Feel free to add in onions and peppers (both of which I do not like, but I know they would be good additions!)
  • 6 eggs and 6 egg whites
  • 1 cup low fat cottage cheese
  • 2 cups low fat shredded cheese of choice
  • Half cup of low sodium diced ham
  • Half cup of turkey bacon pieces
  • 2 cups kale and/or spinach
What you do:
  • Preheat over to 350 degrees and coat baking pan of choice with nonstick spray.
  • Add all ingredients into a large mixing bowl and stir until yolks and other ingredients are thoroughly blended. 

  • Pour ingredients into baking pan of choice.
  • Bake in oven:
    • Regular "cake" size baking pan -- 40-50 minutes
    • "Pie" sized pan -- 25-35 minutes
    • Muffin pan -- 20-30 minutes
Nutritional Information:
This will vary based on different ingredients and specific brands used; this is to be used as a generic guide only.
Servings: 5
Calories: 350
Fat: 12g
Carbohydrates: 6g
Fiber: 2g
Protein: 27g

Let's Chat: Your Weekly Dose of Random!

October 24, 2014

It is Friday; and in true Fitness Blondie fashion, I am linking up with the girls and it is time for another round of "Let's Chat": your weekly dose of random in regards to all things life!

I received my Ipsy bag a little late this month; it felt like it took forever to come. I absolutely love the bag this though; the teal color is very pretty. I used the mascara, eyeliner, and lip color, in the picture below and I think they look great together. The lip color is natural and the mascara really thickens and lengths the lashes. The liner glades on nice and smooth; which is essential for me when I am picking out an eyeliner.

I have not used the protein BB cream that came for my hair but I am excited to use it as my hair is super dry. Has anyone else used it; what do you think?

If you do not know what Ipsy is, it is a monthly cosmetics subscription. On the first of every month you are charged only $10 bucks, and in the middle of the month you receive 4-5 beauty products. The best part? When  you sign up, you take a survey of your likes and wants, and Ipsy will send products catered to your preferences!
My mantra lately has been lazy girl hair. I have written about it before and I am still keeping this style going. I have not been a morning person at all; not that I have ever been, it has just been worse over the post couple of weeks, ha. Therefore, my hairstyles are all 3-5 minutes or less. However, it works! A little dry shampoo, leave in conditioner, and some volumizing hair spray is all a girl needs.
My anxiety has been so much better and damn it feels great to say that. I am staying so super busy with work and blogging; but it's great. It is essential to my growth and success; so I will take it. I have officially started training regularly at my new gym and so far so good. It is good to be back at a gym with a lateral cardio machine; I have been taking advantage of it regularly. I have also been really putting myself out there to make new friends. I have gone out with friends that I have not seen in a while and I have made a few awesome new ones; especially my girlfriends Candice and Brandie. I have been going out, doing new things, and having a lot of fun! That means so much to me especially due to the place I have been in life over the past months.
My dear friend Heather has launched her brand new company Shine Athletica. It is absolutely amazing to see women chasing their dreams and putting in the hard work and dedication it requires to be successful. Heather has done just that with her new apparel company. I know my friends and readers need new, awesome gym gear on a regular basis, so help me support small business and visit Heather's site! She has also been kind enough to offer a coupon code; which we all love!
The wonderful and amazing Diatta has interviewed me for the GuideStar Professional Connection blog to talk all things blogging; what I stand far, how I grow, and what blogging means to me. Head on over to read the article and show Diatta some love; she is so smart with blogging and works so, so hard!

A Mom Who Does it All: Interview with Model and "The Calling's" Angela Jennings

October 23, 2014

I have said it before and I will say it again, I am so lucky to be surrounded by such motivated and successful women. My friends have accomplished so much and they help instill drive into me in hopes that I can one day be just as successful as they are. 

My close friend Angela is one of the most beautiful, kind, and hard working women I know. She is a wife, mother, full-time Executive Secretary, model, and is currently staring on Destination America's TV show "The Calling". Though her schedule is constantly full and nonstop, she still makes her health and fitness a top priority. 

That to me is very impressive, inspiring, and I am dying to know how she does it all!

Has health and fitness always been a part of your life? 
(A) Not always, when my mother passed in 2001, I got very depressed and gained a good bit of weight (about 30 lbs)… before that I hadn’t ever worked out much,.. but after losing the weight through exercise and a healthier diet; I was addicted to staying healthy. It’s easy to let you feelings and emotions take a toll on your health. I learned that the hard way, and it only made me more depressed getting unhealthy. Now, if I am stressed or down in the dumps, the exercise becomes a relief to me, it’s puts me in a better mood and helps me not resort to unhealthy habits to cope.

What is your favorite healthy dish to make or eat? 
(A) My go-to easy healthy breakfast to make is egg white breakfast muffins. You get a muffin pan, spray it with olive oil spray, pour egg whites in to about half full, then drop in a little cooked turkey sausage, diced tomatoes, and fat free shredded cheese, season with salt and pepper and bake just like muffins.

I also found out earlier in the year that I have Celiac disease, so gluten has been eliminated from my diet. I have since found a lot more healthy recipes, and use a rice cooker quite a bit, it has by far been my best purchase in a long time. I love to cook brown rice in it, boil some broccoli, and toss some grilled chicken in, season with Mrs. Dash or some pepper and it’s a quick healthy meal.

Since you have an office job, side gigs with modeling more, and a family – how to you find time to exercise? What is your favorite workout to do?
(A) I am fortunate enough to have a gym right here in the office! We have a good bit of weights, stair climber, and even have showers in the back; so fitting in at least 30 minutes at lunch is pretty easy to do. Then I still have time to heat my lunch up.

I love to do planks and I feel like even in a short time, they work so many of your muscles groups, I also enjoy doing squats on the Bosu ball, get a couple of hand weights as heavy as you like and flip the Bosu ball over so you are standing on the black platform. This works A LOT of body parts since you are having to also stabilize your body as well as squat.

Weighted abs are a must, I use the 12 pound weight ball and do twists or put a 4 pound weight between my feet and do leg raises. Switching up my routine and doing different exercises give me the most results.

Since you have to travel for quite a few of your TV and modeling events, how do you stay healthy being on the go and away from home? 
(A) Since being diagnosed with Celiac, it shockingly has become easier, since I simply can’t have the fast food or quick easy to grab items, I have no choice but to look for salad options, or grilled chicken, plus I always keep Almonds and healthy snacks handy when traveling. Planks and simple ab exercises are good for being on the go and traveling.

Do you have any tips or secrets you have learned over the years that help you stay in shape? 
(A) If you want something like Pizza, have it, but have one slice not 3. When you don’t allow yourself the occasional unhealthy snack or meal or dessert; you are much more inclined to binge on it later. I feel like as long as it’s in moderation, it’s OK. If you do your best to eat healthy, allow yourself to be “treated” sometimes, not every meal, but sometimes… and you will keep yourself more on track with staying healthy.

**Shop Old Dominion Footwear use code Susan2001 for 15% off**

You can catch Angela on The Calling airing Saturday mornings at 9:30AM EST on Destination America! Click here to cast your vote for Angela for the fan favorite. #TeamAngela

Angela models for Coobie bra's and is offering a discount for Fitness Blondie friends and readers:

My Weekly Nutrition and Training Plan

October 22, 2014

The below nutrition plan is what I eat Monday through Friday. Saturday and Sunday during the day I still eat clean but will eat whatever is left over or what I have around my apartment. Two nights a week I have "treat" meals - whatever I choose. They are usually Saturday and Sunday night, but it does vary. I switch up my eating every week. I plan the week before what I want to have for meals, make the grocery list, and prep the food on Sunday's. A lot of times people will ask me if I get bored eating the same thing everyday. The answer is no. It is only 5 days a week that I eat the same thing. I eat to live - not live to eat. It took me a long time to come to that.  I also do this to save money. I live alone so I can't really cook tons of different things during the week because it's too expensive and will go bad. There are also ways you can switch up your eating day to day. Like my Quest Bars for instance; I eat a different flavor everyday, same with my yogurt. You can read here for meal prep ideas!

Meal 1 (7:15 AM)
Crustless protein pack quiche (recipe coming soon) and 1 slice of fresh organic sourdough bread.

Meal 2 (4 10:30 AM)

Meal 3 (1:15 PM)
Skinny orange chicken (recipe coming soon) over a bed of brown rice and topped with chopped plain walnuts.

Meal 4 (3:45 PM) 

Gym 4:30-6PM

Meal 5 (6:30 PM) [Post workout]
Angus beef pot roast that marinated in fat free Italian dressing, Worcestershire sauce, and Chicago seasoning for 24 hours then cooked low via crockpot; with a side of oven roasted asparagus topped with low fat mozzarella and a balsamic glaze.

Meal 6 (9 PM)

Bed time 11PM
Sunday: (Rest)

Monday: (Weight Circuit)
-15 minutes cardio: Elliptical (Incline 9, Resistance 10)
- 5 incline inclined walk (Speed 3.5, Incline 7)
-Weight Circuit:
   -Shoulders: 3 x 15
   -Back: 3 x 15
   -Biceps: 3 x 15
   -Chest: 3 x 15
   -Triceps: 3 x 15
-25 minutes cardio: Lateral machine (Resistance, 11)

Tuesday: (Weight Circuit)
-15 minutes cardio: Elliptical (Incline 9, Resistance 10)
- 5 incline inclined walk (Speed 3.5, Incline 7)
-Weight Circuit:
   -Shoulders: 3 x 15
   -Back: 3 x 15
   -Biceps: 3 x 15
   -Chest: 3 x 15
   -Triceps: 3 x 15
-25 minutes cardio: Lateral machine (Resistance, 11)

Wednesday: (Core + Squats)
6:15 AM - 30 minutes of fasted cardio on the Elliptical (Resistance, 10, Incline, 9)

-5 minute inclined walk (Speed, 3.5, Incline 7)
-10 minutes lateral cardio (Resistance, 11)
-Back squats (4 sets of 15, 50 pounds) 
- 3 sets of 45 second planks
- 3 sets of "Russian Twists" with a 10 pound weight plate
- 3 sets of 20 crunches
- 3 sets of 20 heel touches
- 3 sets of  10 elevated leg crunches
-10 minutes of cardio: Elliptical (Resistance 11)

Thursday: (Endurance Training)
6:15 AM - 30 minutes of fasted cardio on the Elliptical (Resistance, 10, Incline, 9)

45 minutes of jogging
Friday: (Legs)
-20 minutes of cardio: Elliptical (Incline is switched between 1, 9, and 20. Resistance is switched between 10 and 11)
-Leg Workout:
   -Squats (4 x 15. Two sets of 55 pounds and Two sets of 75 pounds)
   - Leg Extension (3 x 15, 50 pounds)
   - Leg Curl (3 x 15, 110 pounds)
   - Leg Press (3 x 10, 270 pounds)
-10 minutes of cardio: Elliptical (Incline, 9/12 and Resistance, 9)
-Hard, long Stretch

Saturday: (Rest)