1 1/2 Years, 101 Things: My Day Zero Project Update!

I can’t believe I’m over halfway done with my first Day Zero project! 101 Things in 1001 Days is just as hard as it sounds haha!

If you are pretty new to the blog, you can check out my first post about this project here to get a better idea of what I’m talking about! There have been a lot of changes since I started this project, both with my life and just with myself. It’s really interesting to see where my focus was a year and a half ago and what has shifted in that focus now!

This project has also taught me a lot about goal setting. It’s so easy to get distracted and take your focus off of your goals, whether they are big or small ones. This happened a lot with this project! It’s really going to be a push for me to finish up most of it in the next year. And a few of them are just not going to get done at all! But I’m pretty excited to see what I can get done. One year left!

101 Things in 1,001 Days

Start Date: October 6, 2015

End Date: July 3, 2018

  1. Get $2000 in Emergency Savings – In progress
  2. Take a day trip to a state park I’ve never been to – In progress! I will be going to one at the end of my trip to Las Vegas in July 2017
  3. Complete Kayla Itsines BBG1 – Started 10/12/15 Finished 1/17/16 (Check out my progress through the guide on these posts: Month 1Month 2Complete!)

    by David Smith at ShutterSmith Photography
    by David Smith at ShutterSmith Photography
  4. Complete Kayla Itsines BBG2
  5. Take a trip to another state (for at least 3 days) – In progress – I will be in Las Vegas for a week!
  6. Attend a BBG Meet-up – Done! Attended first ever Iowa meet-up in Iowa City August 20, 2016. I do hope to attend an out-of-state one at some point though!Push your comfort zone, try new things and meet new people!
  7. Start my business- Done! Launched my Etsy store June 27, 2016shop-header
  8. Blog 5 days a week for a month
  9. Take a weekend trip with Mom
  10. Meditate daily for a month
  11. Complete a 365-day photo project
  12. Take a cooking class
  13. Take a metal-working class
  14. Upgrade my camera – Done! I love my camera so much!
  15. Take a photography class
  16. Run a 5K
  17. Attend a blogging conference or workshop – Done! Go Blog Social in Des Moines, IA Sept 9-10, 2016Pushing my comfort zone by going to my first blogging conference!
  18. Go to a jazz festival
  19. Make a piece of wood furniture
  20. Complete a pull-up – In progress
  21. Do 30 consecutive full push ups – In progressfitness-journey-30s
  22. Learn to can vegetables
  23. See a ballet
  24. See an opera
  25. Write a recipe ebook -In progress Started 10/13/15
  26. Have a picnic
  27. Learn to sew
  28. Finish 5 crochet projects
  29. Go to an art museum
  30. Attend the local crochet & knitting group
  31. Learn Japanese to a conversational level
  32. Take a pottery class
  33. Go zip-lining
  34. Bake a birthday cake
  35. Get dressed up for a special dinner
  36. Go to the Omaha Zoo
  37. Get a massage – Done! Nov 2016 and it was wonderful.
  38. Take a ballroom dancing class
  39. Go rock climbing
  40. Take a yoga class – Done! I actually take one almost every week now.
  41. Create a gallery wall – Done! Finished Early Dec 2015
  42. Read a book of poetry
  43. Wear a two-piece swimsuit
  44. Go to a drive-in movie
  45. Bake a pie from scratch
  46. Make a new friend – Done. I’ve been making a few new friends lately 🙂
  47. Find and buy the perfect LBD
  48. Find and buy the perfect shoes to go with the LBD
  49. Complete a coloring book -In progress. Started early Jan 2016
  50. Learn basic HTML
  51. Wear a skirt or dress every day for a week
  52. Have fresh flowers in the house every week for a month
  53. Have a date night once a month for six months
  54. Learn how to make sushi
  55. Do something special for my 30th birthday – Done! Girls Night Out to see “Chicago” and get dinner all dressed up!
  56. Build a snowman
  57. Wear nothing black for one week
  58. Meet an online friend in person – Done! 
  59. Save $10 for each task completed – In progress
  60. Volunteer for Habitat for Humanity
  61. “Re-learn” how to ride a bike – Done! Got my bike from an awesome coworker June 11, 2016. I have since ridden many times, included a 30-mile ride!

    101-things-1001-days
    20 mile bike ride!
  62. See 2 stage productions – In progress – “Chicago” Feb 25, 2017
  63. Visit Hindu Temple and Cultural Center
  64. Pick 10 books by unknown (to me) authors and read them – Done!
    1. “Eat Pray Love” by Elizabeth Gilbert
    2. “Essentialism” by Greg McKeown
    3. “Show Your Work!” by Austin Kleon
    4. “A Game of Thrones” by George R.R. Martin
    5. “Why Not Me?” by Mindy Kaling
    6. “The Girl on the Train” by Paula Hawkins
    7. “The Year of Magical Thinking” by Joan Didion
    8. “10% Happier” by Dan Harris
    9. “Ghost” by Fred Burton
    10. “Gone Girl” by Gillian Flynn
  65. Go to a personal clothing stylist
  66. Do a handstand – In progress
  67. Send in a card to PostSecret
  68. Do henna on someone else
  69. Refinish deck
  70. Build pergola
  71. Take parents out for a nice dinner
  72. Do yoga outside in a public place
  73. Go ice skating
  74. Go to a local town festival
  75. Plant and maintain a raised garden for one summer
  76. Plant a fall garden
  77. Visit two friends from college
  78. Make a meal entirely from the garden
  79. Learn to play the guitar
  80. Take another bellydance class
  81. Do an outdoor photo-a-month project: Ada Hayden -In progress Started 10/13/15. Lost photos in hard drive crash in Sept 2016. Restarting Jan 2017!

    101-things-in-1001-days
    One of my favorites that I was able to recover
  82. Go to a poetry reading/event
  83. Write a letter to my college mentor
  84. Go on the Boone Scenic Valley Railroad
  85. Go minigolfing
  86. Make a healthy pizza from scratch
  87. Go canoeing or kayaking
  88. Find a daytime job – In progress – I am actually going down to part-time at my regular job on overnights in two weeks!
  89. Go to an arts festival – In progress – planned for May 20, 2017
  90. Go to a crafts fair – Done! April 1, 2017
  91. Attend a holiday service with my parents
  92. Attend a religious service of a religion I’m unfamiliar with
  93. Run a charity race
  94. Donate any clothes I don’t use anymore – In progress. Many bags of clothing donated, a few thrown out! (Not sure how to tell when I’m done with this one)
  95. Go to a big fireworks show
  96. Declutter and organize basement – In progress. Many bags of trash gone, a carload of items donated! (Not sure how to tell when I’m done with this one either!)
  97. Go to hot balloon festival
  98. Take a floral arrangement workshop
  99. Read 100 new-to-me books- In progress – Get my book list here!
  100. Make treats for everyone at work for no reason
  101. Go to 2 cultural festivals
  • Complete: 14
  • In progress: 16

So that’s it! My progress so far! Not as much as I would like it to be, but I’ve at least gotten some done and some very close! I will probably actually start doing 3 month updates on here instead of 6 months for this last year, to up my accountability.

Have you ever done a project like this? What would be something on your own 101 Things project? I would love to hear your thoughts, so please leave a comment below!

Finding Fitness: Jo at Fallen Angel Fitness

Hey everyone! I am so excited to bring you this month’s edition of “Finding Fitness”! Today I’m introducing you to Jo from Fallen Angel Fitness. If you follow me over on Instagram, you know that I’ve been getting pretty into weightlifting the past few months. So my interview with Jo was even more exciting for me with her passion for lifting!

Whether you are just getting started on your fitness journey or have been at it for years, I think she has a lot of insight to share, so I will let her get to it. Enjoy!

Whether you are just getting started on your fitness journey or have been at it for years, my interview with Jo is sure to have some insights for you!

Background: Can you tell me a little bit about yourself?

My name is Jo, I’m 37 years old, from England, and I live with my husband Alan, my cat Charlie and my terrier-cross Cookie.
I’m really new to the world of blogging. I have a few social media pages and also upload videos to a Youtube channel each week, but decided to start my blog in December 2016 because I wanted a place where I could merge my love of fitness with my passion for writing.
Aside from my interests in fitness, I’m a trainee psychologist in my final two years of training. I believe that psychology has a huge role to play in fitness and I try and bring aspects of this into my blog posts where possible. I’m also a qualified counsellor and I enjoy being able to make connections with people and help them explore their stories at a deeper level.

How did your fitness journey start? What motivated the change? Along with that, what has kept you interested?

 
I haven’t always been interested in fitness. Far from it! In my mid-20s I didn’t take great care of my body at all. I smoked, drank a lot of alcohol and didn’t eat particularly well. In around 2005, me and a few friends decided to start training for a 5k to raise money for a breast cancer charity as we all felt we could do with getting fitter. I’d never done any running before and started off with only being able to run 30 seconds at a time. A few months later I was able to run 5k non-stop. It was a huge achievement and I felt such freedom from being able to just put on some running shoes and get out there.
finding-fitness-jo-fallen-angel-fitness

What has been your biggest challenge in your fitness journey and how have you dealt with it?

Body image has been an issue for me since my 20s, and although it’s not so much of a problem nowadays it can still play on my mind from time to time. As part of my powerlifting training I am currently ‘bulking’, or eating in a calorie surplus, in order to help build strength. This means that I am not as lean as I would perhaps like. There are some days where I can feel a bit self-conscious about it, and I think that’s mainly because we’re surrounded by so many messages about how we ‘should’ look. But, when I see how much stronger I’m getting in each training session and I keep hitting PRs (personal records) in my lifts this helps to reinforce that bulking is helping me right now, and that it won’t be forever.

Have you had any setbacks since starting your fitness journey? If so, how did you deal with them?

A few years ago I strained my IT Band whilst training for a marathon. Despite taking a few months off to allow it to heal, it was never really the same and so I had to find other ways to keep fit. I got into doing fitness DVDs and in mid-2015 I came across a DVD which focused on weight training. I loved the feeling of getting stronger and that’s what spurred me onto continuing with lifting weights.
 

What achievement are you the most proud of?

I am a much different person to who I was about 10 years ago. I’ve been through personal difficulties and done a lot of work on myself to be where I am today. I have a lot more faith in myself and my abilities, and I actually like myself now! It’s been hard work but it has been worth it to come through the other side and start enjoying life and doing the things I love. I should say, that despite the difficult experiences I’ve had I wouldn’t be where I am without them and so I am grateful for having been through them.
 
 

Outside of the physical, what have been some significant changes brought on by your fitness journey?

The biggest change outside of the physical has been my increase in confidence. Getting physically stronger has been a huge boost to the way I feel about myself and how I look. Weight training has helped me to become more disciplined in other areas of my life. I used to put off doing things I was worried about, but now I am more likely to tackle them head-on rather than avoiding them. I’m not the most patient person in the world and lifting weights has also helped me to become much more patient because my strength is going to take time to build and so the work that I put in now is going to pay dividends when it comes to me competing.
 
 

What are you working towards now? What are your goals and dreams, fitness-wise?

I’m currently training for my first powerlifting meet in May 2017. I’m loathe to call myself a powerlifter until I have done my first meet! I have no doubt that I will enjoy the experience so I’d like to compete in further meets afterwards. Perhaps I’m dreaming too big at this stage (is there such a thing?!) but I would eventually like to move from a novice category of lifting to a more ‘professional’ category. Of course that means getting stronger, which I fully intend on becoming!
 
 

What does a typical training week look like?

I train five days a week and have the weekends as my rest days. On Mondays I do front squats and deadlifts, Tuesdays is decline bench press, Wednesdays is an active recovery day which consists of light weights to keep working the muscles but not fatigue them. Thursdays are back squats and Fridays is flat bench press. I have an online coach and he sends me the weights and reps that he wants me to do for each exercise. The weights and reps vary each week as sometimes he’ll want me to do heavier weights and lower reps, and other days I’ll lift lighter weights with higher reps. He will adjust as we go along, depending on how I get on with the different weights. It certainly seems to be working as I’m gradually increasing what I can lift!
I also try to do one 15-20 minute HIIT session each week for heart health. Because I’m training for strength my coach wants me to keep cardio to a minimum, which is fine, but I do like the feeling I get from doing HIIT and feel my heart racing!
finding-fitness-jo-fallen-angel-fitness

What does an average day of eating look like for you? 

In each of my meals I try to get a good balance of proteins, carbohydrates, and fats. I tend to eat the same things for breakfast and lunch but vary things for dinner. I’m a creature of habit and routine just feels easier for me! I rarely get bored with the same foods.
For breakfast I have oats which are cooked in water with egg whites. I then mix in chocolate protein powder and peanut butter. It probably sounds horrible but it’s actually very nice, honest!
Lunch doesn’t tend to be a big meal as I save most of my calories for later in the day. I normally have some rice cakes with tuna or chicken and also some boiled eggs as protein helps me to feel fuller for longer.
For dinner it’s usually chicken or fish with mixed vegetables and rice, but I vary the sauces so that it doesn’t get boring. I also have a meal a few hours before going to bed which is usually another (smaller) portion of oats with protein powder and peanut butter.
I do have a few squares of dark chocolates most days, and whilst it’s nice to be able to do that I try to stick to nutrient-dense foods as much as possible.
 
 

Do you take any supplements? If so, could you tell us a little about what ones and why? If not, why not?

I use protein powder with my oats at breakfast time, just because there are only so many egg whites and chicken breast I can eat in a day! The protein powder makes it easier for me to hit my protein requirements, but I aim to get the majority of my protein from whole foods.
I also take Creatine Monohydrate. Creatine is a natural substance found in our own bodies, mostly in the muscles, and is said to be one of the best supplements when it comes to building strength and/or muscle. Creatine helps me get a better ‘pump’ when lifting weights and also enables me to push that bit harder when the weights get tough.
I also take an Omega 3 capsule each day for heart and joint health. I do try and get a decent amount of oliy fish but it can be expensive so the capsules help with that. Also, I take a multivitamin in case I’m not getting all the micronutrients I need from my food, and a specific joint health supplement as I want to help preserve my joints and be able to lift for as long as possible.
 
 

What is your favorite exercise? Your least favorite?

My favorite lift is the deadlift. There is something very empowering about being able to lift a dead weight off of the floor! My least favorite is wide-stance squats. They help to build the hips, but they are just so awkward and I’m glad to get them done!
 
 

What do you do if you find your motivation lacking?

I’ve so far not found my motivation to lift to be a problem. However, there are often times when my motivation to get out of bed (in order to lift) can be low! I don’t have a magic formula in these instances, I just tell myself to get out of bed and get ready. To be honest, once I am out of bed and changed then I am ready to go, but leaving a cosy bed can sometimes be hard especially in the cold dark winter months!
 
 

How do you balance fitness with work/life/social/etc? How do you “find the time” to workout? 

I get up at 5am on my training days. I have to train in the morning because I know that when I get home from work all I want to do is sit on the sofa and relax! Finding the time for fitness isn’t so much an issue, but there can be times where blogging and updating my social media can take a lot of time. Whilst I enjoy it, I want to make sure I have a balance between that and spending time with my family. On Sundays my husband and I tend to go on a long walk with Cookie, out in the countryside. This gives us some down-time from everything and the space to just be out in nature and enjoy what’s around us.
 

What are your top 3 tips for someone just starting their fitness journey?

1. Do your research – Whatever area of fitness you want to get into, look on Google for websites which may prove useful. I did this and found lots of great information about things such as the equipment I needed to buy and the sort of lifting programs which would be best suited to me.
2. Find other people who are interested in the same thing – I joined some forums and got chatting to other people. This really helped to motivate me to pursue what I wanted to do, and the other forum members were also able to give me great advice based on their experiences.
3. Don’t worry about what other people may think – I’ve had some unkind comments from so-called friends about me choosing to lift weights and it’s sad when people don’t appear to support your efforts to do something positive. There will always be people who don’t necessarily agree with, or support, your fitness journey. Don’t let those people deter you from what you are passionate about – surround yourself with like-minded people and go for it!
 

Anything else you want to share?

I’m a huge believer that women shouldn’t be afraid to lift heavy weights. There are so many myths out there, for example, that women will get bulky if they lift heavy. That’s just not true as we’re not physiologically able to get bulky due to our low levels of testosterone. Lifting weights can have many physical benefits, such as increasing bone density and minimizing the risks of osteoporosis later in life, and it’s certainly increased my self-confidence. Even if women don’t want to lift as their main source of fitness, I believe that incorporating some lifting into their fitness routine will bring them huge benefits.

 

Sara here again: Jo, thank you so much for joining me today and sharing your insights!
Guys, you should definitely go check out Jo and all that she does. She inspires me all the time and I’m sure she will do the same for you!

 

finding-fitness-jo-fallen-angel-fitnessJo is a trainee psychologist from the UK who likes to lift heavy weights and is training for her first powerlifting meet. Her blog merges her love of iron and her interest in the human mind by relating elements of psychology to different areas of fitness in order to help readers get the most out of their fitness journeys.
You can find more from Jo on her blog, InstagramFacebook, Twitter, and YouTube!

February in Review, March Goals

It’s March! While yes, we have had an unseasonably light winter (and there is always the possibility of more snow) I am so excited to be getting closer to spring! I am not a fan of winter and have been feeling a bit down from it for the past few weeks. Anyone else struggle with winter as time goes on?

Anyways, March is here and I have a lot I’m looking forward to. Not really so much for this month specifically, but there will be plenty of prep going on now for those future events! But before we get to that, a quick review on how February went!

February Review:

Highlights:

  • I turned 30! I wrote more about it here, but I’ve decided to view 30 as an exciting and new adventure. Plus I had a great birthday, so it definitely comes in as a highlight!
  • I got to see a Broadway production of Chicago! It was wonderful. A couple girlfriends and I decided to go as a late birthday celebration. We got very dressed up for the show, followed by a delicious dinner! It was a perfect night and so much fun!
  • This might have been my best month so far for sales for my jewelry!goals

Low Points:

  • Well, I did a full weekend market this month selling my jewelry. But it did not go at all how I had hoped it would. It was very discouraging and exhausting at the time. I’m feeling a bit better about it now, but it left me feeling quite down for a little while afterwards.goals
  • I did not hit anywhere near what I would have liked to for my workouts.

February Goals:

Personal

  1. Yoga once a week! This was the goal that I was the most disappointed about not being able to do last month, so that is being carried over. – I did manage to do this one and I’m so glad. Definitely something I’m going to try to carry over in the future!

Blog

  1. Contact 2-3 people about the big project I have in mind about design and implementation – Nope. I did talk to some people and get a few leads about who I can talk to about it, but I didn’t actually get in touch with the people I really needed to.

Business

  1. Finish up 10+ new pieces before market on the 10th – Yes! Plus more finished up at the market itself. It was a good month for creating!goals
  2. Get studio cleaned out for remodel – Nope. I do really need to get a move on with this one.

So, now for March! I really want this month to be productive and get me set up for the coming months!

March Goals:

Personal

  1. Keep up with fitness challenge! I just started a 10-week fitness challenge and can’t wait to see how it goes. Since it’s a new program and experience for me, so I’m not going to get specific with my goal. I just want to keep up with it!fitness-challenge-goals

Blog

  1. Finish online course I started at the beginning of this month. I got a little off-track through February, but this course seemed really good and helpful. So this month I’m going to finish it!
  2. Make appointment with someone qualified to help me with that big project I have in mind. Since I didn’t actually talk to anyone about it in February, I’m going to actually make sure to make an appointment for this month!

Business

  1. Make 20 new pendants. I have 2 live markets coming up in April, so now is my time to get ready!

That’s it for this month! How did February go for you? What are your goals for March? I would love to hear about them, so please leave a comment below!

Burpee & Squat Pyramid – Sarah from Creating a Better Tomorrow

Hey everyone!  I am super excited to bring you this week’s post! Today we are welcoming back Sarah from Creating a Better Tomorrow. If you missed my interview with her a couple of week’s ago, I encourage you to check that out as well! Her story is amazing! And today she is going to push us to push ourselves with this awesome pyramid workout!

Enjoy! (Also, let’s take a second to celebrate that this is the first ever video on the blog!! But hopefully not the last 🙂 )

Every week (or almost every) over in my blog world at CreatingBetterTomorrow I share an at home workout.  As a busy mom of toddlers I know how precious every minute of your day and workout can be.  Forget wasting time and money driving to a gym you can get in an amazing workout at home with little equipment and space.  All of my online programming and personal training is designed to be 30 minutes or less and only ever require minimal equipment (if any!).  Today I wanted to put together a special workout just for you all Nymph in the Woods folks.  It’s a burner…and it has two of my favorite moves featured in it…squats and burpees!

You’ll notice it is a pyramid style so you’ll go down in one move and up in the other move.  It’s a twist on the traditional counting of repetitions or timing your moves.  I like changing up the style of my workouts.  By simply changing up the format (like pyramid vs. rep counting), it keeps me from getting bored and tends to make the workout seem to go faster!

There may only be two moves in this workout, but don't be deceived! This workout will leave you sweating and burning in the best way!

Only two moves but this workout will leave you sweating and your heart beating!

But I can’t Do Burpees!

I know what some of you are saying…”but I can’t do burpees.”  I beg to differ.  In my bootcamps I provide video demonstrations for each and every workout.  I just finished putting together all new videos for my 30 Day Total Body Bootcamp programs.  And here is one of the old videos.  I show you how you can modify a burpee to be low/no impact!

The only limitations you have in life are those you set in your mind.  You may have to MODIFY but MODIFICATIONS are not limits they are just stepping blocks to help you reach the next level.

The full program includes many workouts just like this for the 30 days.   I’ll provide you 5 workouts a week.  You then pick the 6th workout for the week to ensure you get some true movement you LOVE in and one rest day.  Only equipment needed is one set of light dumbbells and one set of medium to heavy dumbbells.  The workouts range in length from 25-40 minutes. Almost every workout will come with a video demo sent directly to you each week. THE BEST PART? You get a daily email message motivation and support from me!  ARE YOU IN?!?!?

I have a special coupon JUST for you Nymph fans.  Enter code nymph15 to save $15 off the total body bootcamp program or the total body and nutrition bootcamp program!  This is only good through the end of March 15, 2017.

I just want to say thank you to Sarah for that awesome workout! Want to see more from her? I definitely encourage you to head over to her blog and check out her programs and information!

finding fitness Sarah Creating a Better TomorrowSarah is a full time stay at home mom who blogs at Creating Better Tomorrow.  Her twin, 2 year old boys keep her active and fit no matter the day but she also enjoys teaching group fitness and training clients one on one.  She has a love for the garden and dirt…and eating all the things from the garden.  Her and her husband live on 7 acres out in the country where she can get her hands dirty and the boys can chase their chickens.
Sarah suffered from anorexia in college and through that experience has grown stronger in her relationship with her Lord, her body, and her family.  She know shares through her blog and fitness work a balanced approach to loving your body and moving in ways that make your body and mind stronger than ever.

Where to find Sarah:

On her blog at CreatingBetterTomorrow.com

Twitter: @CreatingBetter

Instagram: @CreatingBetter

Facebook: Creating Better Tomorrow

Pinterest: Sarah @creatingbetter

Reflections on My 20s & My Thoughts on 30

So today I turn 30 years old! I’ll be honest, this birthday comes with some mixed emotions and I’ve struggled to write this post because of that. So I apologize in advance if this post is kinda like a word jumble and I hope you can get some insight out of it!

30 has always seemed like a milestone birthday to me….like by this point I should have accomplished certain things, should have the whole “adult” thing figured out. I think about what I thought 30 would be like when I turned 20 and in truth, what I thought couldn’t be further from the truth! I definitely don’t have this whole thing figured out. In fact, I’m starting to believe that every year I’m just going to realize HOW MUCH I have yet to figure out!

30th-birthday

And yet, with all of those mixed emotions, I find myself excited and hopeful. Both for what this year may bring and for what my 30s may bring! It’s only in the past 3 or so years that I have started to really get to know myself and to figure out what I truly want out of life. It’s taken even longer than that to start to really pursue those things!

A lot of my 20s was spent lost….I made a lot of poor choices and ended up in situations that I could have avoided had I been more thoughtful about things. My 20s included a lot of highlights and low points and they all taught me things about life and about myself.

before-fitness-journey

  • Married at 20
  • Suffered a miscarriage
  • Gained a lot of weight, ending up at around 240-250 lbs
  • Traveled to Peru (one of my most life-changing experiences)
  • Divorced
  • Started smoking again
  • Struggled with depression multiple times
  • Graduated college
  • Started losing weight
  • Got a job somewhat using my degree, only to lose it
  • Found the job I’m currently at, expecting it to be “temporary” and that I would move on to grad school
  • Started my relationship with Draz <3
  • QUIT smoking again (over 2 years now!)
  • Found a passion for fitness
  • Started this blog and my jewelry business
  • Started teaching group fitness at the YMCA

YMCA-Des-Moines

As you can see just from this, my 20s, especially my early 20s, were kind of a mess. But that honestly makes me even more excited for my 30s! I’m entering my 30s with a wonderful and supportive boyfriend and family, a good job, in the best shape of my life and with a passion for the things I am trying to build!

fitness-journey-30s

I’m not going to make predictions, since one major lesson I learned in my 20s is you can’t really prediction how life is going to go. But I do want to share some of my hopes and dreams for my 30s with you!

  • Get married and start a family
  • My jewelry business will grow and become more successful
  • The blog will grow and inspire others
  • Draz and I will go on at least a few trips together, one being to Japan
  • Continue to grow and learn in my fitness education and build a career that includes fitness
  • Be able to quit my current job and earn a full-time income from what I am building right now

I can’t say that any of these things will happen, but these are what I hope will be the highlights of my 30s. That said, I honestly believe that 30 and the entirety of my 30s will be amazing and life-changing and I can’t wait to see what happens!

To those of you in your 20s: Are your 20s like what you thought they would be? What do you think about your 30s?
To those of you who are 30s or older: Any advice? What were your thoughts as you entered your 30s?

I would love to hear your thoughts, so please leave a comment below!!

January in Review, February Goals

Wow, what a start to the new year!! January was full of ups and downs, but I’m feeling pretty positive about what is to come! I promise that this coming week we will be back to normal here on the blog, with meal prep posts and everything.

January Review

Highlights:

vegetable-food-prep-process

  • I did a full meal prep photo session! I can’t wait to show you all what I have planned for a lot of the pictures. They turned out great.
  • My jewelry shop is now set up to sell at 5 upcoming markets! It’s just a start, but a great one!
  • I launched a new series on here that I am super excited about. Sharing Sabrina’s story with you was wonderful and I think you are going to love the ones that are coming up!

Low Points:

  • I got sick with the flu and two ear infections for around half of the month. Needless to say, this made a lot of things I had planned pretty difficult. I’m getting better now, but my regular routine is still really off and I’m having a hard time getting back into things.
  • I strive to be honest on here, so I will share this with you all….I’ve been having a hard time this month with feeling pretty down about my jewelry business and the blog. I love them both, but neither are where I would like them to be. I’m not quitting, not by any means! But it’s been a rough month. Some of that is probably from being sick, but regardless, I’m having a difficult time feeling upbeat about my work lately.

January Goals:

Personal

  1. Spend a day taking down old decorations and putting up new. Put on some music and make it a fun and relaxing day!
  2. Have one “date day” with Draz
  3. Have one day where I spend at least 3 hours on self-care
  4. Go to yoga class once a week

I really did none of these, although up to getting sick I was doing great with the yoga class. And I suppose I spent a lot of time on self-care, but it wasn’t really by choice, so I don’t think that counts.

Blog

  1. Shoot new photos for a planned meal prep project
  2. Shoot photos for an upcoming fitness project

The photos for the meal prep project are done! The fitness shoot ones…nope. These aren’t even set yet, though I am hoping to do them this month.

Business

nymph-in-the-woods-jewelry

  1. Contact 2 bloggers about possible collaborations
  2. Make 10 new pieces of jewelry – This one is only if physically possible. My fingers are still healing from some lingering symptoms from when I was sick back in September.

I’m going to call this one a win! I did make 7 new pieces of jewelry and contacted 4 bloggers. 7 isn’t 10, but considering I was sick half of the month, I say it counts!

Overall, January didn’t go how I hoped it would, but all things considered, it didn’t go to bad. I have high hopes for February though! I have a lot of exciting events coming up this month, so I think it’s going to be great! Due to all of the stuff going on this month, I’m going to try to be a little more reserved in how many goals I set.

February Goals:

Personal

  1. Yoga once a week! This was the goal that I was the most disappointed about not being able to do last month, so that is being carried over.

Blog

  1. Contact 2-3 people about the big project I have in mind about design and implementation

Business

  1. Finish up 10+ new pieces before market on the 10th
  2. Get studio cleaned out for remodel

That’s it for this month! Hopefully this month goes better, with no horrible flu or anything!

How did January go for you? What are some of your goals for February? I would love to hear about them!

january goals

Hey everyone! With the new year and all the new projects I am working towards, I thought it would be the perfect time to bring back an old blog series: My monthly goals! Annual goals are great, but you don’t achieve them without setting smaller goals to work on throughout the year. And to do that, I’m going to take that first step and share them all with you each month. In future months, I will also share with you how I did on my goals for the previous month, both the successes and the failures!

New year and a new focus! I can't wait to get started with my January goals!

January Goals

Personal

  1. Spend a day taking down old decorations and putting up new. Put on some music and make it a fun and relaxing day!
  2. Have one “date day” with Draz
  3. Have one day where I spend at least 3 hours on self-care
  4. Go to yoga class once a week

Blog

  1. Shoot new photos for a planned meal prep project
  2. Shoot photos for an upcoming fitness project

Business

  1. Contact 2 bloggers about possible collaborations
  2. Make 10 new pieces of jewelry – This one is only if physically possible. My fingers are still healing from some lingering symptoms from when I was sick back in September.

So that is it for this month! What are your goals for the month? I would love to hear about them!

getting fit in 2017

2016 is almost over! Just a couple more days and then it will be the new year! A fresh start and all of the exciting energy that goes along with that! Have you set your goals for 2017 yet?

Every year, many people make the New Years resolution to “get fit!” which is great. Sadly, many of them won’t still be working on them one month later. Most resolutions get abandoned pretty quickly after the high from the increased motivation fades. So what can you do to make 2017 an even better year for you and your fitness?

Want to set and actually achieve your goals for 2017?! I use these 5 steps when setting all of my goals and it helps so much! Want to join me in making 2017 the year for improving your fitness!?

Getting Fit in 2017

Get Specific

The last thing you want to do is make a resolution to “get fit.” Goals like that are impossible to tell if you have achieved them and it’s hard to stay motivated when you are working towards something so vague. Instead, think about what you really want to get out of your goals and your “why.”

Do you want to lose 50 lbs? Be able to do a pull-up? Run 5 miles? These are all goals that you can specify and actually say “yes, I achieved that!” It’s also much easier to determine the steps that you need to take to reach that goal when you have a clear goal in mind.

Your “Why”

As I said above, your “why” is so important to achieving your fitness goals. It can be simple or complex, and it doesn’t have to be just one reason. What it does need to be is true to you. My why? To be able to be physically active with my future kids! That is my biggest one, but I do have others too 🙂 So really dig in and think about why you want to get fit and what exactly getting fit means to you!

Set Smaller Milestones

Let’s say that you want to be able to run 5 miles by the end of the year. Smaller milestones would be the stepping stones to get you to that goal. Maybe you could set one to complete a 5k training program by July. Another to compete in a 5k. And another to hit 4 miles. These give you things to celebrate and achieve along the way. A year can seem like a long time and your focus can shift away from your annual goal pretty easily during that time period.

Be Realistic

Pushing yourself on your goals is great. You should push yourself! But you want to set goals that are reasonable too. You probably would not want to be 70 lbs overweight and not having worked out recently and setting a goal to complete an Ironman in 2017. Push yourself, but don’t set yourself up for failure.

Check in Regularly

Set dates throughout the year that you can check in with your goal progress. These can be anything from weekly to every couple of months, though I wouldn’t make them any less than that. Have your goals written out somewhere that is easy to see or access to make it even simpler! The key is that you want to keep your goals fresh in your mind and regularly being evaluating how well you are doing working towards them.

Will you be joining me in getting fit for in 2017?! I have already set my fitness goal for the year: to be able to do a full body-weight chin-up! What is your goal going to be? I would love to hear your thoughts, so please leave a comment below!

2016 in review and my goals for 2017

I can’t believe that 2016 is almost over. In many ways, this year has just flown past. In others, I look back and can’t believe how much has changed in just one year!

How I did on my goals for 2016 and what I plan to achieve for 2017! Push yourself and set S.M.A.R.T. goals!

My 2016 has been a whirlwind of changes. Here are a few of the highlights:

  • Launched my Etsy store!
  • Blogged (mostly) consistently for the whole year.
  • Got a job at the YMCA as a group fitness instructor! (I definitely didn’t see that one coming at the beginning of the year!)
  • Along with that, I really embraced my passion for fitness, turning it from something I try to do to something I love doing!
  • Draz and I got 3 pet rats and they are adorable. So we now have 2 dogs and 3 rats 🙂

Before I get into my goals and plans for 2017, here is how I did on my goals for this year:

Personal

  1. Keep my workouts at an average of 5-6 days a week.DONE! Excluding when I was injured or ill, most weeks I worked out at least 5 days a week, especially over the last half of the year!
  2. Take 1 exercise classDONE! As I said above, loving my classes at my gym!
  3. Take 1 class for building a new skill, like metalworking, painting, or wire wrapping. – Nope. I wish I had, but that just didn’t work out the way I hoped.
  4. Start and/or complete 1/3 of my Day Zero project – Nope. I did make progress and have a lot that are in the planning stage, but I did not finish 1/3 of my project. I am close 1/4 either started or completed though!

Blog and Business

  1. Average 3 posts a week on the blog – Nope. And I’m actually pretty happy about this. I decided that quality wins over quantity in this case and am happily blogging twice a week right now.
  2. Learn how to use 1 new platform or social media site –  DONE – Check out my Pinterest here and I’ve been stepping up my Twitter game too!
  3. Have at least one guest post on the blogDONE
  4. Launch my jewelry business and make first sale – DONE! I have launched and made 24 sales now! It’s a slow start, but I have high hopes for next year!

So that is a brief overview of how my 2016 went. I wish that I could convey just how much I have changed and grown this year….there are so many things happening that I never imagined or hoped for! This year has really helped me discover some of what I hope the rest of my life will include 🙂

Now, on to 2017!!!

I love setting annual goals, but there are some things to keep in mind. For goals to really work for you, they must be S.M.A.R.T! Specific. Measurable. Achievable. Realistic. Timely.

This is one of my favorite acronyms. It is so true! If you design your goals with this in mind, you will be so much more likely to succeed!

Personal Goals:

  1. Get certified in at least 3 different fitness classes.
  2. Complete a chin-up

Business Goals:

  1. Sell 240+ pieces
  2. Sell at 6+ craft markets (along with 2 weekly farmers’ markets)
  3. Buy my own kiln.

Blog Goals:

  1. Have at least 5 guest posts on my blog.
  2. Write at least 5 guest posts for others.
  3. Finish and release my Meal Prep E-book!
  4. Collaborate with one company for a post, giveaway or in some other way.

So those are my goals for this coming year! I will be checking in on how I’m doing on these on a regular basis! I will probably also post a few updates this year so you can see how I’m doing and be reminded to check in on your own goals too!

Have you set your goals for 2017? I would love to hear about them, so please share a few in the comments below!

turning fitness into a habit

Can you believe it’s November already!? The year seems to have flown by! And as the year is coming to close, many people will start thinking about how 2016 went and how they want 2017 to go. For many, this process usually includes declarations of “I’m going to eat healthier, work out more!” and so on. Fitness is one of the most common things that people think of when setting their annual goals. But sadly many of those same people won’t make it past the one month mark. Why is that?

Well, a lot of it comes down to habit. Too many people depend on motivation to get them to their goals, which is simply not enough. Motivation is great for the first week or even the first month! But eventually motivation dissipates and the goals that seemed so important suddenly don’t rank so high on the to-do list. So how do we change this and go from depending on motivation to creating a habit? This is a question I have struggled with myself.

I’ve had many starts and stops when it comes to my fitness journey. I can look back 10+ years and see different points where I tried to include fitness into my life more, but it never lasted. I would lose motivation or hit a roadblock and I would give up. I tried obsessive calorie-counting, programs at gyms that made big promises, and many other things. And most of them probably would have worked! Except the obsessive calorie-counting…that one was terrible. The problem was I didn’t know how to turn fitness into a habit and so I was never able to keep it up.

Fast forward to 3 years ago. I had lost a decent amount of weight already through some lifestyle changes and a highly physical job and was feeling pretty good! But I knew I wanted to make a bigger change and put more focus on my health and my fitness. So I started trying to work out more. There were some more start and stops, but there was less time between them.

And finally to last year. I started getting more consistent and even started a great program! If you were with me back then, you know that my attempts at Kayla Itsines’ BBG didn’t go smoothly and there were a lot of obstacles! But I did finally complete it and the community around BBG really helped me to make fitness into a habit!

And now? I am at the gym 5-6 days a week, I am active outside of the gym and I do a few workouts at home too! Are there are days I don’t really want to work out? Of course! But most of them I do anyways and I always feel better afterwards!

Working out has become a habit in my life and I know it can in yours too! These 5 methods helped me make the transition from depending on motivation for my workouts to having a steady fitness habit!

To succeed in your fitness journey you need more than motivation...fitness needs to be a habit! These 5 tips can help you build that habit and succeed at your fitness goals!

5 Things that Can Help You Turn Fitness Into a Habit

Schedule your workouts

Just like any other appointment, you need to make appointments with yourself. Write down when you are going to exercise and what you are going to do. At the beginning of each week I sit down and write out my schedule for the week, including my workouts!

Find something you enjoy

Don’t like walking on the treadmill? So don’t! Especially at the beginning of your fitness journey, finding things you enjoy is so important. There are so many activities out there that will improve your fitness, so try some out! Take a kickboxing class, go hiking, try out a climbing wall! There are even groups in many cities that you can join that are centered around fitness. If you aren’t sure what you want to try (and you have the budget for it) you can join a gym that has a variety of classes and try them out! I recently joined the YMCA and have been loving the classes available, especially kickboxing!

Find your “why”

Now, I understand that finding your “why” might sound a little silly, but it works! Knowing your reason or reasons for wanting to work out. Really give this one some thought and preferably find a “why” that is long term. If you goal is to look great in that dress for an upcoming event, you may have a hard time keeping your focus after the event is over!

Find other like-minded individuals

This can either be on-line or in person (I do both!) but having a community is so helpful. There are many challenges that can come with changing your lifestyle and making fitness a priority. Having others to turn to and find support from can be the difference between pushing through them and giving up, especially at the beginning! Also, it’s just a lot of fun!

Look for the small victories

It can be disappointing when you are starting to work out and you don’t see a huge change right away. It can feel like all your hard work isn’t paying off and can really kill that motivation that got you started. Instead, look for the small victories! Did 5 push-ups last week? Maybe this week you can do a few more! Maybe you can lift something that last month you wouldn’t have been able to. Or you are sleeping better and having more energy. Paying attention to those smaller things can really help you push through the difficult moments and be reminders as to why you keep going!

Have you turned your fitness practice into a habit? What techniques have helped you do it? I would love to hear your thoughts, so please leave a comment below!