Fitasmic

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It’s 5AM on a Tuesday, and the green band around my wrist buzzes energetically, coaxing me into consciousness. Time for the gym. I’m up, out the door, on my way. At the gym, I give the band a couple presses and it logs my activity for me. Later, at work, it buzzes to tell me I’ve been inactive for at least 30 minutes, shouldn’t I do a lap and get a few more steps in? Just before bed, I check out its corresponding app on my tablet to see how many steps I took, how long and how well I rested the night before, etc. Then it’s time to do it all over again.

This nifty device is my first ever fitness tracker, and it has simultaneously taken on the roles of my nurturing mentor and annoying personal trainer. The band itself is simple and sporty; I was the only photo 1 photo 2 photo

person who ordered it in a color other than black and navy. Now, though I can see why – by day two of wearing it, it was already showing signs of discoloration/dirt/who knows. You use a button on one end to input several simple commands, such as change status, time an activity, and take a power nap.

The app that this fitness band uses is called Up. Up takes all of the data synched from the band and turns it into useful information, counting your steps and counting your sleep. You can use it to set reminders, track goals, see health trends, and even form a ‘team’ with your friends. My coworkers and I joined one together, but that’s only served to make us each feel bad about our individual contributions.

If anything, wearing my band has opened my eyes to how much less healthy I actually am than I previously thought. Once upon a time, I could come home from a long day at work and reason that since I felt fatigued, I probably walked way more than the recommended 10,000 steps per day, and so of course I deserved this bowl of ice cream!

Wrong wrong wrong.

Instead, I barely hit 10,000 in an average day. Additionally, I’m not sleeping as soundly as I could be. Nor exercising as often. Suddenly, I have someone – or, rather, something – holding me accountable for my own well being. Sure, it’s a little annoying; I had to take a two day break from wearing it so I didn’t have to face my lack of movement. On the flip side, though, now I have this incredible little device that can actually help me take better care of myself, if I’m willing to work with it and be honest about where I’m at health wise. I guess it’s time to step it Up!

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The Day I Forgot My Boulder Holder

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There’s a funny story in my family that recounts the time a friend’s daughter had to have her father bring her a pair of underwear at high school, because she’d forgotten to put them on that morning. Endless laughter was brought forth in re-imagining the scene of the father, red faced, having to discreetly bring his daughter her favorite thong between classes. What a hoot! Who could be so forgetful?

I may have just topped this anecdote.

Flash back to this past Thursday. I’ve just finished a really kickass workout at the gym – I’m dripping with sweat, ready to shower and get ready for work. Normally, I pack my gym bag the night before, making sure I’ve got my towel, clothes, and makeup. That way, I don’t have to pack it in the morning at 5AM when I’m sure to forget something important.

I root around the bag for my flip flops and towel, and that’s when I realize what I haven’t got: a bra. And of course, this is the day I wore my workout shirt with the built in padding. And of course, I don’t have a single alternative.

My heart is beating in my ears as I ponder my options in the shower. There’s no way I can run back to my apartment, the LA morning traffic would guarantee I’d be late. Maybe I could stop at a store on the way?. I’d probably have to wait until a few hours later, when the Target down the street from work would be open.

I dried myself off and dressed, trying to get used to the feeling of being…bare.

Here’s my lo-down on bras:

  • I, like most women my age, have been wearing bras since puberty, even though I told my mother at the onset that there was no way in hell I was ever going to grow breasts, because they were horrifying.
  • The boob gods heard my prayers, because I check in at barely a B cup
  • Just because I don’t have much going on chest-wise doesn’t mean that it isn’t absolutely obvious when I don’t wear a bra
  • I don’t wear them to bed, nor sometimes on early morning runs to the coffee shop

As I continued prepping for the day, I kept reminding myself that bras are not a necessity! Shirts and shoes, yes. Bras? Nope! There are no rules dictating when or how to wear them. Over hundreds of years they’ve come in and out of fashion, and many women put them on every day tumblr_nlvbso3h5Y1se6x8po1_500without much thought. For some, it’s for support; for others, it’s to create a different illusion of what a we as a society think a breast should look like. Seeing a woman’s nipples through her shirt isn’t the rage right now. Bralessness is instead thought of being something indie or hipster-ish.

“I’ll look just like Kate Moss,” I tittered to myself silently as I walked out of the gym, conscious of the way my girls were moving wildly around with every step.

At work, I was even more self-conscious, arching my shoulders so my shirt would hang away from my body. I was sure everyone would look and see and realize. I went back and forth between feeling liberated and part of my own “social experiment” – if my coworkers saw, would they think any less of me? Would someone pull me aside to talk about ‘appropriate work attire’? Why is this bothering me so much? – to feeling almost naked, exposed. I didn’t want anybody seeing this nonsensical, jiggling production that was my chest. I wanted everyone to be able to focus on what I was doing and saying, rather than my appearance.

Two nerve-crushing, unbearable hours later, my social experiment was done. I was stressed out, thinking about what I’d do if I had to go up or down another flight of stairs, and was having trouble focusing on work. My co-worker and friend, whom I’d confided in about the whole stupid thing, finally pulled me aside and handed me two pieces of gauze and medical tape. I thanked her profusely before booking it to the bathroom, where I was able to tape down the more noticeable aspects and stabilize the jiggle effect.

After this, my day did a complete 180, and I nearly forgot about the whole thing until I came home and changed into my PJs.

What can I take away from all of this?

I got a cold dose of American culture, that’s for sure. In forgetting my bra, I was confronted with how bodies are so hyper-sexualized that seeing my silhouette through my shirt felt incredibly wrong and unprofessional. We wear these things daily, even when someone like me (who doesn’t need the added support) has no good reason to.

The whole scenario has got me thinking about all of these invisible aspects that guide women’s lives and dress codes daily. For now, though, I’ll stick to my Aeries and my Victorias Secrets, and will be sure to check my gym bag twice.

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Derailed: The ‘oh too familiar’ journey back on track

UntitledAs you might have noticed, there has been some radio silence from the East coast. Posting, among other things, has fallen by the wayside these past few weeks. My nutrition, fitness, and temperament are just a few items on my resolution checklist that have not gotten the self care they deserve. It has been slightly scary how easily and quickly this derailment has happened. The mixture of stress, travel, and an over-abundance of “priorities” has caused my mind to turn to mush. So long to the daily workouts or the weekly budget check-in’s. For a quick second, I found myself believing that I was grounded in this stifled state.

So here we go. I will paint you the scene that is bringing me back on board.It is mid-afternoon on a weekday in downtown Boston. I sit with my Sam Adam’s Seasonal brew ( yes, not ashamed of my 2 o’clock hoppy pick me up) in this low lite restaurant. Why now, Why here? I will get to that soon.

I begin to realize that my motivators to keep me moving forward are the first things that get neglected. Once they have been neglected, I begin to feel stifled and stagnant. This increases my stress levels; which is what made me derail in the first place. This twisted circle is something I think we can all commiserate with. How do we get out of it?

I’m sure for most sitting in a pub isn’t the exact way to get back on track, but here are someways that I have…will use to ignite the momentum I once had.

1. Location, location, location- the factors that often push us over the edge are things that we surround ourselves with everyday. That is why, here in this pub, I am finding my way back. The hustle and bustle of the city is easing my stress and helping me to focus on what is important. It is just enough separation to get the job done. It is in this separation, I see a fuller, clearer picture. .

2. Be scared. I wrote a few months back about incorporating an element of fear into your life. I still work to do this daily. Often times, I get derailed into an overly comfortable state.  If I want to be this bigger, better person,I need to be scared and take the steps necessary to get me there.

3. Prioritize. I am very easily guilt-ed into situations. Whether it is babysitting my alien sister or spending that extra day with my man friend, I let others take more control of my decisions. Although these are positive situations to be in, I always neglect to consider myself. (This is where self care comes in) It is importance to prioritize yourself. I may not be number one on the list but I need to remember to do something that solely benefits me.

Here is to getting back into my rhythm, cheers!

Jess (2)

When The Going Gets Tough

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We all have bad days. Bad weeks, even. Stress, loss, breakdowns, break ups, trauma, turmoil – sometimes, nothing goes right.

I just had one of those weeks.

My go-to for these situations is usually to dwell on everything that went wrong, and then worry about the future to the point where I have trouble sleeping or concentrating on work. My pain and anxiety become all consuming.

This time around, I did a little digging to see if there was a healthier way to deal with hard times such as these. Luckily, Tiny Buddha had some great advice to share:

#1 Assert Your Goals: When everything seems to be falling down around you, take heart in knowing you still have options. Then, assert it! I can still see exactly where my goals lie, and even though this last week has felt like a giant misstep, it will not deter me from the life I want to lead.

#2 Focus on Everything That’s Good & Working: “Negativity is not constructive…We don’t have to live in the shadow of what could have been if we shine a light on what’s working to allow it to grow.” I am healthy, active, surrounded by good friends and co-workers, and living in LA! It helps to be reminded that there are good things happening, if you open your eyes to them.

#3 Take Action: Use the time you have efficiently. This doesn’t mean having unrealistic expectations about how to get back on your feet. It means that you shouldn’t sit and let negativity consume you. Take as much time as you need to mourn, ponder, and reflect – and then get to work on solving the issues at hand.

#4 Create Balance: Life can’t be all about taking action. Take time to do things just for your own pleasure – going to a gallery, cooking, reading, stretching, spending time with friends. These activities help to not only lift your mood, but also to distract you from obsessing over what went wrong.

#5 Embrace Fear: Don’t allow fear to bog you down. Rather, let it be a “positive energy that moves you forward.” Sometimes change can be downright scary. It helps to think of fear as an accomplice, rather than an adversary.

#6 Release: It can help to seek out a friend or a loved one or a therapist to talk things out to. Sometimes our own thoughts can be burdensome if we keep them to ourselves. I tend to answer my own questions just by walking through the details with friends.

#7 Practice Gratitude: This hearkens back to #2, but it’s extra important to look back at your days and focus on at least five things that made it brighter. Amidst all the chaos and hurt of my week, I had a good friend come to stay with me, I pushed through some tough workouts, and I was able to get some solid rest in.

#8 Improve on Yesterday: “Re-affirm verbally, physically, mentally, creatively, and socially all that you have and energize it so that it continues to develop.” Tomorrow never has to be perfect, but if I can make it even one ounce better than today was, then I’m on the right track.

#9 Don’t Give Up: Tough times can feel like utter dead ends, but they’re not; they’re just stumbles. What’s important is that you keep on going no matter what.


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On Dasher, On Dancer, On Savings!

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It seems appropriate that on the day I start to plan out my Christmas shopping budget, I’m unintentionally dressed in a cute red and white holiday-tastic sweater. Not that I’m feeling all too festive at the moment – and you wouldn’t be either, if you saw the list of loved ones I just generated. I already knew that Christmas this year was going to be a lean one, with a lot of DIY thrown into the mix, but I guess I was still shocked seeing what my final plan was going to be.

I’m no stranger to budgets. At any given time, I have an Excel spreadsheet somewhere that’s calculating my income, bills, savings, planned expenses, and the not-so-planned ones. I’ve got the app Money by Jumsoft on my phone; it works like a register in the back of a checkbook in that you record all of your expenses there. Unlike a regular pen and paper register, though, it can also help you keep track of your budgets and generate monthly spending reports. Nifty, huh?

But I’m dying to know how else I can save oodles of money this year. Like any good Millennial, I turned to the Internet for help. How could I stretch my budget the furthest without compromising a well-thought gift?1324394672747_2096179

I should put a disclaimer here: let it be known that I love all things holiday related and I know gifts aren’t the end-all-be-all, joy comes from family blah blah blah. But nothing is more fun than seeing the joy on someone’s face when you got them the perfect gift.

Here’s what I found:

Apps (All for iPhones, sorry Android friends)

  • Favado – App that helps save you money at local grocery and drug stores by discovering sale and coupon combos.
  • Checkout 51 – Earn cash back at any store by purchasing Checkout 51 sponsored items.
  • ShopSavvy – Scan the barcode in the store, and the app will tell you if you can buy it cheaper somewhere else.

Websites

  • Thekrazycouponlady.com
    • Notes: I signed up, and had a hard time searching for items. Nothing I searched for was showing up. You can, however, browse by store for weekly coupon deals.
  • Coupons.com
    • Notes: This website was better for brand name items, doesn’t matter which store they’re at.
  • Hotcouponworld.com
    • Notes: Was able to find the grocery store I shop at (Ralph’s) and was able to peruse deals by category (home goods, produce, deli, etc).
  • Retailmenot.com
    • Notes: Has a lot of great coupons/sales from hundreds of different stores and sites. 
  • Bfads.net
    • Notes: Shows you leaked ads for Black Friday 2014.

Misc

And lastly, some Christmas shopping rules:

  1. Make a budget and stick to it!
  2. Consider doing “family gifts” (as in, you team up with family members to buy other family members gifts)
  3. Do a gift exchange
  4. Buy gifts in bulk
  5. Make some of your gifts
  6. Don’t worry about being “too cheap”
  7. Coupon for gifts & know your sales

Happy shopping, and be safe out there on Black Friday!

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