October 21, 2016

how to: keep a workout routine in college.

Hello there!

Being healthy is hard in college. There, I said it. No one really talks about exercise during college; when people talk about being healthy, they usually mean how not to gain weight, and for that they recommend not drinking too much and not eating too many oreos. But being healthy is more than that. It’s about exercising, working hard, and being mentally healthy too. For many college kids, the problem lies in finding the time to go to class, do work, go to an internship, have a social life, and exercise, and trust me, the balance is not easy. But I think I have found a method that helps even the busiest of students stay on track and continue a healthy lifestyle. During my freshman year, I dreaded going to the gym, because it seemed like a punishment for all the garbage I had been eating over the last week. But changing your mindset, and therefore your attitude, towards working out can change your entire workout routine altogether. Everyone comes back from summer vacation looking fit and tan, but once the tan fades we all seem to forget the healthy regimens we were so good at maintaining during the summer. So I thought I would focus on exercise tips today, and share some fitness ideas that make being healthy in college exceptionally less challenging.

Set realistic goals // Start by thinking about how you want working out to change your life. Do you want to gain muscle, lose weight, or just be healthy and happy? Exercising can do so much for so many people, so decide what you want it to do for you. If you have been working out over the summer, and you felt fit and fantastic, maybe setting some goals will just help you maintain what you accomplished over the summer. But what I always remind anyone who wants to go to the gym is that it’s a journey; think of it as a marathon, not a sprint. I can guarantee that you will not see extreme results in one week or even one month. It has taken a lot of time for me to notice serious changes, both in my body and my health. So set goals that reflect the notion that this will take time; for me, I wanted to look and feel a certain way, but I never really cared about the number on the scale. Think about how you want to feel, or how much weight you want to lift. Do you want to be able to run a seven minute mile, or deadlift 150 pounds? Think about what goals you can set that can be clear and simple. Planning to lose fifteen pounds can seem clear and simple, but in reality it is so difficult, and not reaching your goal weight is more discouraging than encouraging; in the end, you’ll just feel deflated. Your goals should motivate you, so set them with you and your body in mind.

Make a plan, make a schedule // Once you’ve set a few goals for yourself, you need to decide exactly how you want make this happen. Exercising consistently starts with making a schedule. Sit down on a Sunday night, and make a plan of action for the week. How many days do you want to work out? How much time do you have to spend in the gym? Is there an area of your body that you want to dedicate your workouts to? Do you want to do cardio, strength training, or a combination? Answering these questions will help you narrow down your plans, and will help you customize a workout that is right for you. That way, when you go looking online for workout tips and ideas for exercises, you can focus on finding exercises that fit your needs.
Next, make a schedule. This is really what changed working out for me, because it made me commit time out of my day to working out. I no longer had the classic excuse “I’ll go tomorrow,” because it was on my calendar that I had set time aside for a workout, and therefore I needed to go today. But like I said about goals, be realistic. If you have a full schedule and little time to dedicate to going to the gym, start your week with one 30-minute workout on Monday, and one 30-minute workout on Saturday. Keep adding as needed, but always make sure that you are being realistic about how much you can actually do. It’s okay if you can’t go to the gym every single day, but it hurts you more if you write down that you will go every day, and then you never do. If you commit to two or three days a week, it’s harder to wriggle your way out of it! Making a plan gives you a good routine, and when working out becomes a healthy habit, you tend to like it more!

Stay motivated // Once you have set goals and made a plan, think about how you will motivate yourself to continue to workout and stay fit, even when schoolwork gets heavy or you get tired. Finding time to fit in a workout is especially difficult if you have no motivation to go in the first place! I have a few ways that I like to stay motivated, and all of them are pretty simple. I make a workout playlist with music to get me pumped, buy that new sports bra I’ve been eyeing, or promise myself a chai latte the next morning. I also go to the gym with a friend a lot, and it works well for a few reasons. One, if you plan to go to the gym with a friend, you are held accountable for going. Two, you and your friend can teach each other new exercises, or race each other on the bikes. And three, working out with a friend is way more fun that exercising by yourself. You can sing along to the same songs or help each other lift weights. So next time you want to go to the gym, plan to go with a friend! Make plans that will keep you exercising and enjoying the workouts. Whatever it is that keeps you going, do it! Staying motivated is the key to exercise.

Treat yourself // An important part of working out is rewarding yourself for the good work that you do! Just because you have started working out does not mean that you should starve yourself of the things you enjoy, or punish yourself for not doing it all perfectly. If it’s the weekend, and I’m at dinner with friends, and they are all getting a dessert, I’ll get a dessert! An important part of having a workout routine is finding balance, so remember that you are allowed to have a treat every once in awhile. Once every week or two I give myself a bit of a cheat day, which means I either don’t go to the gym or I have something cheeky to eat. Either way, I let myself have one day to enjoy something nice for myself. I’m not just rewarding all my hard work at the gym, but all my hard work throughout the week too!

Don’t be hard on yourself // When you have a strict workout schedule like I do, it’s hard not to be mad at yourself when you are too tired to workout, or you can’t find the time to go to the gym. But please, don’t punish yourself for not doing everything or not doing it all perfectly. This tiny mistake is just a miniscule part of your fitness journey. Harping on eating that second doughnut does you no good, but going to the gym and getting a good workout in will. And if you need a break, take one. Listen to your body and take note. What is more important than exercise is being okay mentally. Getting sleep is scientifically proven to be better for your body than spending an hour at the gym, so if you can get some extra z’s before your next class, do it. Always remember that you are enough, and you are doing the best you can.

Here are some other easy tips to get some exercise into your busy schedule:
    Skip the elevator, take the stairs!
    Wait a few extra minutes before leaving for class, and speed walk across campus! Speed walking is proven to be much better for you than just regular walking.
    Don’t take public transportation, and walk to work instead. Or, if you don’t have time to walk, grab a rental bike and ride to work!
    Offer to hang out with your friends and go for a hike or a run. That way you can see your friends and work out at the same time!

Having an exercise routine as a college student is just plain hard. It sometimes seems impossible, and other times just seems completely unnecessary. But exercise is about so much more than just knocking off those few extra pounds or getting a little more definition in your arms. It’s about having a better night’s sleep, having a stronger immune system, feeling less tired, feeling healthier and feeling stronger and feeling so much better. It’s about knowing that you can set your sights on something and reach your goals. So treat your body right and get your workout on! You can go to the gym, but you can also go for a run outside, go on a hike with your friends, or lift some weights at home. Whatever works for you is what will help you be in the most successful. And always know that, when it comes to working out, not matter how tough or intimidating it seems, you really can do it.

Have you found a workout routine that works for you?

xx bb

August 18, 2016

England // The Travel Diaries.

Hello there!

I wanted to share some photos from my travels in England! I visited friends, indulged myself in art, music, and too much food, and had an amazing time. Here are some pictures:

In Chelsea for the day. 
The Enchanted Garden Ball.
The end of the day in Paignton.
The London Eye. 
Geeking out in the Tate Modern. 
Visiting home!
Night out in London. 

If you want to see more pictures, check out my Instagram! [@annabelclairee] Where have you been this summer?

xx BB

The bh Cosmetics Carli Bybel Palette || The Perfect Palette Project

Hello there!

I am so excited to talk about this palette, because I had been on the hunt for this palette for what seemed like an eternity, and when I finally found it in an Ulta I seriously jumped for joy. The Carli Bybel palette is a palette of four highlighters and ten shadows, in a spectrum of neutral shades with matte and metallic finishes. In my search for the perfect palette I have always found palettes with a lot of neutral shades, but a few bright shades that I would honestly never wear. So when I found this palette I was so excited, because this palette is filled with beautiful neutral shades. The true test, in my opinion, was to see if the quality of shadows was creamy and pigmented, and if the highlighters were long wearing.

One of my least favorite parts of this palette was its packaging. Although I love having highlighters and shadows in one slim palette, the quality of the packaging is somewhat poor. The packaging is cardboard, so it can dent easily, and when I traveled with it the packaging did get dented, and I was a bit worried that the shadows might break. The palette survived the trip, but I think that if you want a palette that is easy to travel with, you might be a bit worried about this one. You do get a mirror, which is convenient, but the mirror cannot stand alone, so it can be a bit useless. However, I understand why the packaging was poor; this palette is so incredibly inexpensive! For fifteen dollars, this palette is a serious steal, so I can deal with the packaging. 

The ten shadows in this palette are really lovely. I loved that this palette had gold toned shades as well as some mauves and plums, which are still neutral but are always nice if you want to add some variety to your makeup. And, while the shades are all neutral, they are still unique; some of the metallic shades have a bit of a gold duo chrome, and the matte shades are really warm but still could work with cool colors. The shades don't have names, which is a tad annoying for a beauty blogger, but the first shade on the left side of the second row is one of my favorites. I was slightly underwhelmed by the matte shades because, while they are very smooth and don't kick off a lot of product, I found that they were not as intensely pigmented as the metallic shades. Another discovery I made while testing this palette was that the metallic shades were not as creamy as the highlighters, which I found to be surprising and a little weird. Nevertheless, you can get a really gorgeous natural look or a super smokey look with these shadows; I think the selection of shades is really versatile and also super easy to use. I think a makeup beginner could really benefit from a palette like this, and it would be a perfect addition to any makeup addict's collection. 

My favorite part of this palette is the highlighter section. These highlighters are seriously stunning and so richly pigmented. I love that the palette has highlighters for a range of skin tones; bright champagne highlighters don't actually look that flattering on really deep skin tones, so I thought it was a fantastic idea that they included a rich gold highlighter and a deep bronze shade as well. Although I cannot all of these shades as highlighters, the highlighters are so creamy and blendable that they look amazing on the eyes; I have been wearing the gold and bronze highlighters as shadows for a few days, and I love how incredibly shiny they look on the lids. As for the other two shades, they both look amazing on the tops of the cheekbones, but at the moment I am a tad bit more tan than normal, so I find that the second, more champagne shade is the most flattering on me at the moment, though I am sure that the light baby pink highlight will look amazing come winter. I love that these highlighters are embossed, and I wish that all the shadows were too! Overall, I think that these highlighters are seriously a hit, and if you are in need of new highlighters that are insanely pigmented, blendable, and long wearing, you need this palette. 

Although I don't love the packaging, I love the products in this palette! I think that it is such a steal for only fifteen dollars, and the shades in this palette could really work on anyone. If you have been wanting a new palette, I would highly recommend this one! It has been selling out non-stop, so if you want it you need to grab it yesterday. You don't want to miss this palette!

Have you found the perfect palette? 

xx BB

August 6, 2016

Israel // The Travel Diaries.

Hello there!

I thought that I would finally share some photos from my summer travels. I spent ten days in Israel, and it was incredible! This is a pic-heavy post, but here are some of my favorite photos from my trip:

Tzfat // Tel Aviv // Jerusalem // The Dead Sea // Mount Masada // The Negev Desert // Yad Vashem // Jaffa // The Western Wall 

Where have you been this summer? 

xx BB