Cardio Workout

Today I’m sharing a cardio based workout.

Today’s workout is all about getting the heart pumping! Your heart rate will be up and you’ll be sweating in no time. Just in case you’re not interested in a cardio workout today, you can find all the workouts that I’ve shared on the blog here. They’re all organized by category so it’s easy to find exactly what you’re looking for.

It’s a cardio based HIIT workout, so that means that you’ll be working hard for short bursts followed by rest. Start with the first exercises on the list and do it for 30 seconds before resting for 30 seconds. Then move onto the second exercise and repeat. Once you’ve completed the skaters, rest for as long as you need and then start again from the top. Complete the circuit a total of three times through for a full workout. I’ve listed descriptions of all the exercises beneath the graphic just in case you need a refresher with any of them.

High knees

Starting in a standing position, quickly bring your left knee up in front of you as high as you can. Step back down and repeat with your right leg. Repeat.

Jumping jacks

Stand with feet together and arms at your sides. Jump both feet apart from each other while raising your hands above your head with straight arms. Jump your feet back together and lower your arms to the starting position. 

Butt kicks

Stand with your feet hip width apart and your arms bent comfortably at the elbow. Bend your left knee and bring the heel of your left foot behind you so that it touches your butt. Lower your left foot back down to the ground and repeat with your right foot.

Mountain climbers

Start in a plank position. Jump one foot up as close to the hips as possible while bending at the knee and hip. Then jump that foot back while bringing the other foot up.  An easier modification is to use a chair to put your hands on.

Side shuffles

To perform a side plank, lay on your side with your elbow beneath your shoulder and your forearm on the ground. With your top foot stacked on top of your bottom foot, lift your hips off the floor so that your shoulders, hips, knees, and feet are in a straight line. Hold and then repeat on the other side.

Burpees

From a standing position crouch down with your hands in front of your feet on the floor. Jump your feet back behind you so you’re in a plank position. Jump your feet back in towards your hands and then jump up while clapping your hands above your head. 

Bench hops

With your hands on top of a bench, stand on one side of it. Hop your feet to the other side while keeping your hands on the bench for support. Repeat by hopping to the other side of the bench and returning to the original position.

Inch worms

Begin in a standing position. Bend at the hips and reach down to the floor with your hands. Slowly walk your hands out until you’re in a plank position. Next take slow, short steps with your feet towards your hands, hinging at the hips until you’re standing in the starting position.

Med ball slams

With your feet shoulder width apart and a medicine ball in your hands, lift it over your head and slam it into the ground just in front of your feet. Pick it up quickly (making sure to use your legs instead of your back for the lifting) and repeat.

Skaters

With your knees slightly bent, jump to the right and land on your right leg with your left leg bent behind you with your foot just off the ground. Keep your left foot off the ground. Pushing off with your right foot, jump to the left and land on your left foot, keeping your right leg bent and right foot off the ground behind you.

As always, talk to your doctor before beginning to workout. Honor your body and modify this workout as needed for you.

My Holiday 2019 Fashion Picks

Today I’m sharing some of my favorite dresses and shoes for the holidays this year.

I’m splitting this post up into two sections – dresses and shoes.

Dresses

How pretty is this red lace dress (affiliate link) from J Crew? I could totally see myself wearing it to a Christmas party this year. I love that it has longer sleeves because I’m always cold.

It would be really cute paired with a bracelet and a sparkly pair of shoes.

This shiny metallic dress (affiliate link) would be perfect for a Christmas or New Year’s party. It’s from Banana Republic so it’s a great option for when you want to wear something special but still stay on a budget.

I absolutely love the big bow on this black dress from Tuckernuck (affiiliate link). The big ruffle along the button is also really cute. It would be adorable with some red shoes and a sparkly necklace.

I love the flutter sleeves on this red dress (affiliate link) from Vineyard Vines. It has a modern look to it that I think is cute. I’d pair it with a pair of black shoes.

If you’re not a fan of Christmas colors for holiday party outfits, I thought this turquoise shift dress (affiliate link) from J Crew was a great option. Since it’s satin it still has a holiday shine to it.

This A line dress from J Crew (affiliate link) would be a dress that I Would be all about. It has a lot of coverage so I wouldn’t be cold, it’s black, and the pattern makes it interesting.

Shoes

I’m pretty uncoordinated when it comes to wearing shoes, so I love that these black slingbacks (affiliate link) from Nine West are on the shorter end when it comes to heel height. One of these days I’ll learn how to walk in higher heels.

I’m usually not a bright sparkly clothing person, but these shoes (affiliate link) are so cute – especially for Christmas time. They’d be a great pop of color for a black dress. Even better is the price – they’re only $50 USD.

I thought these mules (affiliate link) from Nine West looked like Christmas in a shoe with the bling on them.

This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting my blog – I appreciate it!

My Favorite Shows and Movies on Netflix

I’m sharing some of my favorite shoes and movies that I’ve been watching on Netflix lately.

If you’re anything like me, I’ll be enjoying some down time over the holidays. Having the chance to sit down and watch some Netflix with family will inevitably happen, so I thought that I would share some of the things I’ve enjoyed watching. Enjoy!

Shows

Anne With An E

Even though I’m sad that the series ended at only three seasons, I’m so glad that I got to enjoy those three seasons. I thought that the final episode felt rushed, but they did at least try to tie up as many story lines as they could. At least in Canada, season three debuts on Netflix on January 3rd 2020.

I loved that the TV show made Anne her own, while still staying true to the spirit of Lucy Maud Montgomery’s books. There were so many moments from the books that I really hoped that they’d being into the show, and for the most part, that happened.

Mindhunter

I have to admit that I was late to discovering Mindhunter, but now that I know about it, I really like it. Mindhunter follows a couple FBI agents who working in the Behavioral Science Unit at the FBI Academy. The criminals that they focus on are real life ones, which makes it an interesting mix of fiction and true life.

I’m currently halfway through season two and I love how season two is shaping up. I’ve found it to be a bit different than the first season, but just as good.

The Crown

If you’re a history buff at all, I highly recommend watching The Crown. Season three was released last month and I’ve been binge watching it since. I only have a few episodes left and I don’t want them to end!

My favorite episode so far in season 2 was about the Aberfan mining disaster. I had honestly never heard of Aberfan before I watched the episode, despite how terrible it was. I can only imagine the heartache and pain that that town went through.

Hip Hop Evolution

It’s so interesting to me to learn about the history of hip hop with this documentary series. I was born in the early 80’s so I was too small to remember a lot of what is featured in the documentary, but I definitely remember the deaths of Biggie and Tupac as a teen.

Even though hip hop is a “newer” genre of music it has such a rich and varied history. If you’re at all interested in music or hip hop culture, Hip Hop Evolution is definitely something that you should watch.

This Is Us

I think just about everyone has heard about This Is Us by now. While it definitely has it’s overly cheesy moments, I’m hooked. I can’t stop watching because I’m so invested in the characters and I want to know what happens to them.

If you haven’t started watching yet, I highly suggest watching from the beginning. It’ll be worth it to know the backstory of all the characters, which comes in handy as you watch more of the show.

Movies

The Big Short

This movies recounts the 2008 financial crisis and stars Christian Bale and Ryan Gosling. Movies and documentaries based on real life are some of my favorites, and this one was no different. It made what happened and how it happened easier to understand, though I know that Hollywood oversimplified things.

I thought that the cast was great – in addition to Christian Bale and Ryan Gosling, it also included Steve Carell, Brad Pitt, and Marisa Tomei. The Big Short was also nominated for a bunch of awards, so you know that it has to be good.

League of Legends

While I definitely knew that esports were a thing before watching this documentary, I had no idea how big that industry was. I’ve played a few video games in the past, but I was always a very casual gamer. Being able to see the other side where video games are a huge hobby and the elite actually make money from it was eye opening for me.

Bob Lazar: Area 51 and Flying Saucers

While I still don’t think that Bob Lazar is who he says he is and has worked on and studied alien spacecraft, I still thought that this was an interesting documentary. There’s just too many things that don’t add up for his story to be real. I really liked that the doc included so many interviews with him. He’s been in the news for so long now that the old interviews were interesting to watch and I’m glad that the filmmakers decided to add them in.

Scream trilogy

Rewatching these movies just before Halloween was so much fun! The first Scream movie came out when I was in high school and I remember renting it at Blockbuster and watching it at my friend’s house.

While the movies weren’t great and were definitely meant for a teen audience, they’re still fun horror movies to look back on and watch again. It doesn’t take much to figure out who the killers are, but sometimes you just need movies that don’t require too much thought and you can just enjoy.

I Am Maris

I Am Maris follows the story of a now young woman who struggled with mental illness as a teen and ended up using yoga (among other things such as inpatient treatment, therapy, and medication) to help her recover. It was refreshing to hear someone be so honest about their struggles. She clearly had a great support system in her family and clearly had lots of options at her disposal to get better. Having found something in yoga that she could really relate to was something that I’ve also experienced.

It’s such a great documentary, if you’re into yoga I would highly recommend you check it out. And if you don’t follow Maris on Instagram, I think you’ll want to after watching this movie.

Behind the Curve

If you haven’t noticed yet with my Netflix picks, I’m all about watching things that are different from what I’ve experienced. I love getting a peak into a world that I have no idea about, and that’s definitely what happened when I watch Behind the Curve.

While I definitely did know that flat earthers existed, I don’t think I realized that there were quite so many of them. As in there’s so many of them that they put on conferences. There’s definitely a lot more flat earthers out there than I expected.

Booklyn’s Finest

While this is an older movie (it was released in 2010), it has some of my favorite actors in it – Don Cheadle and Ethan Hawke. Don Cheadle is one of my all time favorite actors and I’ll watch pretty much anything that he’s in.

Brooklyn’s Finest follows the stories of three NYPD officers. Don Cheadle plays an undercover cop. Ethan Hawke plays a father with twins on the way who is feeling crunched for money. And Richard Gere plays a cop is is just days away from retirement but is just barely hanging on.

Now that you know what I’ve been enjoying on Netflix, what are you loving? Share your picks in the comments below.

How to Stay Healthy Over the Holidays

Today I’m sharing some tips to keep your healthy habits on track over the weekend.

Stick to your routine as much as possible

While things are always a bit different over the holidays, try to keep to your schedule as much as possible. It’s a lot easier to make healthy decisions when you’re sleeping well, getting in workouts, and eating your usual healthy food.

If you’re usually someone who workouts in the mornings before work, then continue to workout even if you have time off from work. If you’re travelling and don’t have access to a gym, try out a new yoga studio in the city you’re in, do an at home workout that doesn’t require any equipment, or simply go for a walk. There’s almost always an option to get in some movement and get sweaty.

If you usually meal and and prep, continue to do that as much as possible throughout Christmas and New Year’s. Of course you’re not going to have the usual meals on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve, and New Year’s Day, but all the other days in there you can make sure you have some healthy options.

Make smart choices

First off, it’s important to remember that the holidays only come around once a year and it’s OK to celebrate and enjoy them! Christmas would be a miserable experience for me if I never allowed myself to have one of my favorite chocolate peanut butter squares or a beer.

I like to plan my indulgences. If I love Chex mix, but only kind of enjoy candy canes, you better believe I’m picking the Chex mix over the candy canes every single time. I’m going to eat those things that I love and say no to the ones that I just feel “eh” about.

One of my favorite Christmas treats are shortbread cookies. I’d much rather have a couple of those than just about any other cookie at this time of year. I typically only ever have them over the holidays, so it makes them an extra special treat for me.

Give yourself a break

It’s probably not the end of world if you end up eating more than you had planned over a few days. It’s okay if you didn’t get in every single workout that you had wanted to in favor of spending time with your family and friends instead. Christmas only comes around once a year. Enjoy it!

If you make healthy choices the other 50 weeks of the year, you can afford to indulge yourself and eat the treats and skip the workouts that you usually wouldn’t at any other time of the year. 2 weeks isn’t going to undo the 50 weeks of healthy decisions you make.

Don’t skip on your sleep

I know there will inevitably be late nights with Christmas parties, travelling, and nights spent with family and friends. But when you can, make sure that you get an adequate amount of sleep.

It’s important to make sure that you’re well rested. You want to enjoy your time with others instead of potentially getting sick or being exhausted. Like the point above, I find that sticking to my routines as much as possible really helps with getting to sleep and waking up like I usually would.

I have my phone set for the blue light filter on it to come on as the sun sets. I’ve found that putting my phone and computer away and not watching TV for at least an hour before bed really helps me. Giving myself the time I need to wind down before bed is so helpful for myself. The same goes for the holidays.

Be mindful of your alcohol intake.

Allow yourself to fully enjoy your time with family and friends, but be aware that the calories from alcohol do add up – especially if you’re having more than a couple each night. Think about if the extra calories will be worth it – they might be!

Lindemans Framboise Lambic Beer

I know that I end up spending time with people that I may not see at any other time of the year. It’s worth it to me to have a drink or two when I’m with them. I want to be able to enjoy myself while I’m at that Christmas party, and that may include a drink or two.

On the other hand, drinking too much ends up making me feel pretty terrible the next day, and it’s not worth it to me to drink that much. There’s a fine line between having a few drinks and overdoing it.

Stay hydrated

Speaking of alcohol, make sure that you’re drinking enough water. Between travelling, increased alcohol intake, and not having your usual routine, make sure you’re drinking enough.

I’ve found that keeping a water bottle close by that I can refill is key to making sure that I’m drinking enough throughout the day. Not only is it a visual reminder to stay hydrated, but it also makes it really easy to do.

Take time for self-care

Being healthy isn’t just your physical health, but also your mental health. The holidays can mean that it feels like you have non-stop commitments, events to go to, and people to spend time with. Make sure to take some time out of all of that to take care of yourself.

If the holidays are a tough time for you (I know that they were for me last year), do what you need to do to take care of yourself. That might mean turning down invitations to holiday events or making sure to keep up your routine of meditation. It might mean making sure that you have time to workout daily if that’s a stress reliever for you. Make sure you do whatever you need to do.

Share one way that you stay healthy over the holidays in the comments below.

Beginner Lower Body Workout

Today I’m sharing a beginner friendly workout that focuses on the lower body.

Welcome to the first workout I’m sharing in December. It’s hard to believe that there’s already less than a month left in 2019 – it’s gone by so quick. Even with how busy the holidays tend to get, I try to make sure that my workouts don’t suffer. Making sure that I get in at least 2 or 3 workouts per week makes it easier to deal with all of the stress that can come with the holidays.

If you’re not feeling the lower body workout today, you can always find all of the workouts I’ve created on my workouts page. I have them all organized there so you can find exactly what you’re looking for.

For this workout you’ll start at the top of the list of exercises and work your way down, doing 12 reps and 4 sets of each exercise before moving onto the next one. You’ll need to rest for 3 minutes between sets. While it might be tempting to just shorten the rest periods or skip them all together, it’s really important to take advantage of the whole rest every single time between sets. Your muscles need time to recover.

In terms of what weight you should be using for the dumbbell deadlifts, pick one that challenges you and makes you work, but still allows you to complete each rep with good form – even the last rep of the last set. If you find yourself getting too tired and your form suffering, take a break, and when you come back, use a lighter weight. It’s not worth it to be stubborn and get injured instead of using something lighter.

You’ll need a gym for this workout because it includes leg presses. I don’t know anyone who has a leg press machine in their home gym. But other than the leg press machine and the dumbbells, you don’t need a lot of equipment for this workout.

Below I’m sharing descriptions of all the exercises just in case you’re unfamiliar with any of them.

Bodyweight squat

With feet hip width apart and hands in front of you to help with balance, use the glutes to lower your hips back and down while bending at the knees. Once you’ve reached the lowest position you can without leaning forward too much or letting the knees collapse in, return to a standing position, using your glutes to propel yourself.

Alternating lunges

Stand with feet hip width apart. Step forward with one foot so that the front leg’s thigh is parallel to the ground, and the back leg’s shin is parallel to the ground. The back knee shouldn’t touch the floor. Use your quads and glutes to step the front foot back towards your back foot and end by standing straight up with feet hip width apart again. For the second lunge step forward with the other foot. Continue alternating legs.

Dumbbell deadlift

With a dumbbell in each hand. Stand with your feet shoulder width apart. Slowly bend forward at the hips, letting your arms hang down and keeping your back straight. Using your glutes, lift your torso back up to the starting standing position. 

Leg press

Sit down in the leg press machine. Place your feet hip width’s apart so that your knees are over top of your toes. Release the safety and push your feet away from your body using your glutes and quads. Once your legs are fully extended, slowly bring your feet back towards yourself, once again using your leg muscles to stay in control of the speed. Repeat. At the end of the set rest the platform on the safety again. 

Donkey kicks

Get on all fours with your hands under your shoulders and your knees under your hips. Keeping your knee bent, lift your left leg so that your knee is parallel to the floor and the bottom of your foot is parallel to the ceiling. Lower you leg back down and repeat with the right leg.

Clam shells

Lay on your side on the floor with your hips bent at a 45 degree angle and your knees bent at a 90 degree angle. With your legs stacked on top of one another, slowly lift your top knee up while keeping the top heal on the bottom heal. Then lower your knee back down. Make sure to use your glutes do the movement. Once one side is done flip over so the top leg is on the bottom and repeat with the second leg. 

What’s your favorite lower body exercise?

As always, talk to your doctor before beginning to workout. Honor your body and modify this workout as needed for you.