August 18, 2014

how to make health and fitness a habit.

I think everyone knows what it's like to have a hard time getting and staying motivated to work out. We've all been through those phases where you're pumped to get eating healthy and exercising every day.

This motivation typically occurs during 1 of 3 events:
a) You just watched the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show
b) Summer/a vacation/a big social event is coming up
c) You just ate a whole plate of cookies and then you remembered you had a plan to get abs.
this chick only ate 7. Sometimes I don't even remember until cookie 57.

After dealing with that on and off again relationship with health and fitness, I am happy to say that habit has changed over the past 2 years. The gym has become my favorite time of the day and what I look forward to the most. I can tell you it definitely didn't start out that way though. There's a quote that says "Motivation is what gets you started, habit is what keeps you going." I think for most people, the initial motivation isn't necessarily the hard part, but turning it into a habit sure as heck is. So here are a few things that have both motivated me, and helped me turn my health and fitness into a daily habit:

1) Start a motivation board or collage. If you have one already, change it up. I like to have mine on my fridge so that I remember my goals in the hardest place to stay strong- the kitchen. (hi, I love food).

Here are some of the things I have on my motivation board:

  • The quote "Garbage In, Garbage Out." This is a reminder that what I put in my body will effect my performance at the gym, my mood, and my energy.
  • Pictures of Crossfit women that I admire. Notice that I didn't say bikini models. There's a big difference between having a photoshopped picture of a 6'1" bikini model on your fridge and someone who is a real athlete with a real body. (Also I was joking about the VS fashion show- I don't watch that nonsense for that reason.)
  • My 2014 New Year's Resolutions with very specific goals listed. For example, I listed specific weights of certain lifts I wanted to reach and movements I wanted to master. The beauty in that is that as you do each one, you get the satisfaction of writing in a check mark next to your goals as you complete them (use a red pen, it feels more legit). So it was really cool that I got to check off my 8 pack one bullet point at a time.              That was a joke. But I did a lot of spaces because I wanted you to think for a second that I was serious. 
  • And lastly on my motivation board I have pictures of athletic competitions and races I have done to remind me of what I've accomplished.
2) Following these rules: "Never miss a Monday, never miss 3 days in a row, workout at least 4 times a week." For me, never missing a Monday is a big one because I feel like it sets the tone for the entire week.
3) Remembering that the journey is the reward.

4) When I really just am not feeling it that day, I force myself to go change into my workout clothes. Doing this gets me out the door 999 out of 1,000 times. The other 1 time it leads me to a nap, but I'll take my chances.

5)  A good reminder: a one hour workout is only 4% of your day. (At least that's what a quote I once saw on Pinterest told me. Still haven't actually sat down and calculated that to verify.)

6) If you dread working out, then you need to do find a different form of exercise, a different place to exercise, a new workout routine/video, whatever! Just try something else until you figure out what you enjoy. Working out should be an escape from work, school, and home life and should an hour that you look forward to every day. If that's not the case for you, try something different!

7) Go with friends. Find yourself some swole mates, son. Not only does it make working out more enjoyable but you also have someone to be accountable to.

Also, I feel the need to make it known that I don't use the term swole mates seriously and if I did, I hope you would feel the need to punch me in the face.

8) If you don't like to waste money, this is a good one for you. There's a phone app called "Pact." How it works is you form a pact with a group of people who also have the app. You put in how many times a week you pledge to go to the gym, and the amount you're willing to wager. Whenever you go to the gym, you check in there (it verifies that location is a gym using GPS). If you don't go, then you lose your money for that day. If you do go, and someone else in your pact doesn't, you all split that money. The amount of money can be small or large, but I say go all out to keep you motivated!

9) It all starts with your attitude first thing in the morning. Wake up to a positive message on your alarm, listen to good music, have a nutritional breakfast, and put a motivational quote as the background on your phone. Or maybe even Ryan Gosling if that's your thing. Lay out all of your gym clothes so that you wake up and see them there, and have it in your mind that a killer workout is on the agenda for the day.
10) I'm just going to throw this out there and I think you should try it. Run to slow music. It's my absolute favorite thing to do. My  mind just wanders and before I know it, I've run so far I'm in Mexico and then I can't get back in the US because I don't have any identification.

This is actually a legitimate fear I have when driving so I thought I would be a little dramatic with how far I run. If you want to try this slow music goodness, try the "sleep" station on pandora or stations like John Mayer or Ed Sheeran. You can thank me later. Well I mean, if you don't end up stranded in Mexico with no ID.

11) If you stare at and criticize your body every single day expecting changes, it's going to be a long, long journey. Eat healthy and train hard, and the body will take care of itself.

*But do (!!) take progress pictures every once in a while! This is something I try to do regularly now, but I didn't do when I first started and I wish so badly I would have.

11) This thought is obvious, but sometimes it gets me to the gym: Do I ever regret missing a day of working out? always. Do I ever regret getting up and doing the workout? never ever. (the same can go for eating healthy. I never regret when I do, almost always regret when I don't).

12) If you get off track with your food that day, don't just say "I'll start back up tomorrow." Start with the very next thing you decide to eat (or not to eat).
But with that being said- allow yourself some good food, man. All things in moderation.

13) And if all else fails, go buy new workout clothes. The day new workout clothes don't get me motivated is the day that I am truly a lost cause. Am I right or am I right?

xo Natasha

August 14, 2014

Best Of Beauty.

I love reading the "best of" section in a magazine or reading about people's favorite products so I thought I would share some of mine. Here's my Best of Beauty list:

1. Foundation: Bare Minerals. I've been using Bare Minerals for about 5 years now. What I love about it is that it's a powder, but gives you the dewy look of a cream foundation. I love that I can get more or less coverage depending on how my skin is looking, and mostly I love that it doesn't feel heavy.

If you haven't tried Bare Minerals, go to Ulta or Sephora and have them do a little makeover. One container lasts me at least 6 months. You'll be a life long Bare Mineralite like me.

2. Blush: Urban Decay in "Quickie." I bought this blush because it was on sale on Haute Look and I was out of the blush I was previously using. It's a good thing I did, because I absolutely love it. The picture isn't fooling you- the blush looks super bright pink. I was hesitant when I got it, but with it being so bright, you hardly have to apply any at all to get a natural glowing pink look. With the Maybelline "Dream Bouncy" blush I had been using prior to this, I had to keep layering and layering until I got a dark enough look.  I've had this Urban Decay blush for well over a year and the two of us are still going strong. I hear that this stuff is going to be discontinued, so grab some while you can!

*Just a side note that I'm a huge fan of blush, and especially creamy blushes (verses powders). I feel like slightly pink cheeks give you a fresh look, and the cream gives you a dewy glow.

I used to be the drug store beauty product girl, and for a lot of makeup products I still am. This mascara is expensive ($23) BUT it lasts for a long time and I found that I don't have to layer it over and over to get the volumized look that I like. Something that helps me determine if a makeup/beauty product is worth the price is thinking about how long the product lasts me (for this mascara, it's usually about 4 months) and then dividing the cost by that number. The final number you get gives you the cost per month, which for me would be $5.75/month for this mascara. Worth it!

4. Face Lotion: Clinque Dramatically Different Moisturizer. I have normal skin and this moisturizer is the perfect fit to keep my face moisturized but not too oily feeling. I haven't found any other moisturizer that keeps my face feeling moisturized and fresh all day.

5. Body Lotion: EO for Everyone in Coconut and Lemon. I happened to be at Whole Foods when they were giving out samples and having a sale. I instantly fell in love with it. I love the smell, I love that I recognize all of the ingredients in it, and I love the way it makes my skin feel. I just went back to Whole Foods and bought another bottle and it was on sale again for $7.99 for a 32 oz bottle.

I'm one of those people that knows useless information about beauty products and ingredients because I google and research all of that nonsense. So let me enlighten you with my useless knowledge by saying that the second ingredient is vegetable glycerin which is a great product for moisturizing, anti-aging, and my favorite- brightening.

6. Product for Dried Lips: Bag Balm.

I have a thing against any and all regular chapstick (Burt's Bees, Chapstick brand, Carmex, all of it). My theory is that regular chapstick dries out your lips so that you are forced to keep applying it. When you apply it, your lips feel better, but you're really not getting to the root of the problem, you're just putting a "band aid" on the lips. I personally believe this is a government conspiracy. Just kidding. But cue the amazing Bag Balm. My go to. My lifesaver. And it's super cheap. 

Bag Balm was originally made for cow udders. True story. But it is now used for a variety of things including Tosh's once dry lips that are now very rarely dry. It's sold at drug and grocery stores with the skin care items. And also at farm and feed stores, so that's funny and cool. It comes in a huge tin (although I have seen adorable little tins to carry in your purse). I just put mine in an old eye cream jar that I cleaned out. And that little jar and I just travel the world together. 

7. DIY Hair Build Up Remover and Face Toner: Apple cider vinegar

I use a mixture of half distilled water and half apple cider vinegar in a spray bottle to cleanse my hair of all the build up. I do this about once a week. Just spray all over in wet hair before washing, and then let it soak for a couple of minutes, then wash like usual. I also use this mixture as a toner for my face about twice a week. If your face tends to be dry, do more water than ACV or play around with the mixture until it's right for you!

*But guys read this! Apple Cider Vinegar is a catch all miracle product for so many things. However, normal apple cider vinegar typically doesn't work magic like apple cider vinegar "with the mother" does. Seriously- that's what it's called "Apple Cider Vinegar with the Mother." I bought mine at a local grocery store in Texas called HEB. But I have seen it at Wal Mart and at Whole Foods. What's the difference between regular ACV and ACV with the mother? ACV with the mother is organic, raw, and unfiltered- in other words it still has all the good and beneficial "stuff" in it which is why it appears cloudy in the bottle. Read more about ACV with the mother here

8. Vitamin E Oil as a makeup remover, wrinkle preventer, and eyelash grower. Seriously! I originally bought this just to remove my makeup but then I noticed my eyelashes growing. After looking up more uses, I found that it also works well to prevent wrinkles. I bought a little bottle of it in the vitamin section in the pharmacy, but if you can't find a bottle you can buy the capsules and break them open. But don't snort them. Or you can.

The wide variety of benefits of both the Vitamin E Oil as well as the ACV has really got me looking more into natural/home beauty products and remedies. I'm not a hippie, but I definitely like how one natural product can have such a wide range of benefits and I think nature just knows what it's doing. So can I get a holla for nature?!

Tell me this doesn't sound like all your wildest dreams come true: a dry shampoo replacement, eyelash enhancer, and mineral veil using the same (super inexpensive) grocery story food product? I'm talking about my new beauty bff corn starch, and I'll have a post about that coming up, as well as another  in the "Best Of" series.