Summer is in full swing here in Florida, and while this season looks a lot different than it has in the past, I am making the most of it and finding safe ways to enjoy my summer! This summer we are headed to St. Augustine Beach to stay in a private condo where we can safely enjoy a much-needed getaway. Here are a few of my summer beach essentials!
I’ve been working from home for the past seven weeks due to the coronavirus pandemic, and the one thing that has helped me the most is having a quarantine routine. Currently I work about 65 hours a week between my full-time job, part-time job, freelancing and blogging. It’s a lot, but it’s definitely worth it, and I’ve developed my own work from home routine that I love!
While I love staying busy and working on so many different things, it’s super important to not get burned out. Here are my top tips for working from home and keeping it all together:
A couple weeks ago I hosted an Influencer Brunch for some amazing Gainesville bloggers at the Sweetwater Branch Inn, the most beautiful event space in Gainesville. What started out as just an idea a month before turned into one of my favorite things I’ve done this year! It took a lot of planning, tons of emailing and messaging and some serious hustle, but it was so completely worth it!
I’M ENGAGED! It feels so crazy to say! Two weeks ago my boyfriend Jared got down on one knee and asked me to marry him, and of course I said YES! I wanted to share my proposal story with all of you, so read along to find out how Jared planned a super romantic proposal in Florida’s oldest city, St. Augustine.
I used to be the girl that would go to the gym with just a water and my headphones and call it a day. But ever since I started training at Mat Life Training Center my gym bag has become an essential every morning. It’s loaded up with kickboxing gear, self-care products and my favorite supplements and pre-workout snacks.
Since I workout for at least 1-2 hours every day I always have to make sure I’m prepared for anything (like getting hungry between classes or my deodorant wearing off.) So here’s a sneak peak at what I bring to the gym each day.
Y’all, something totally amazing happened. I lost 30 pounds in less than two months. Saying it out loud doesn’t even feel real! In six weeks I was able to make a huge lifestyle change that put me on the path towards living a happier, healthier life, and I’m so excited to share the journey with all of you!
How I Got Started
My weight loss journey really started when I discovered Gainesville Combat Fitness. A part of Mat Life Training Center, which also offers self-defense, Ju Jitsu and MMA fighting, Gainesville Combat Fitness offers high-energy workout classes like kickboxing conditioning, combat fitness and barre kickboxing.
I saw an ad on Facebook for a fitness challenge being offered at Gainesville Combat Fitness, and I thought, “This is exactly what I need.” So I signed up! I’ve never done any sort of martial arts/kickboxing training. I decided to step out of my comfort zone because I knew I needed to do something drastic to get myself motivated to lose weight.
I scheduled my orientation for the fitness challenge, and that’s when I met Carly, the founder of Gainesville Combat Fitness. She instantly made me feel comfortable and supported as she outlined what the six-week challenge would entail. She explained the workouts, meal plan, weigh-ins and accountability system that would help me achieve my goal.
The challenge rules were pretty straightforward. The goals were to lose either 25 pounds or 6% body fat in six weeks. Participants can choose to either sign up for a six-month gym membership or pay a deposit. If they opt for the deposit, and meet the challenge goal, they get their money back. The gym also provided participants with the necessary equipment to participate in the classes (boxing gloves and hand wraps), which they could choose to either return or purchase themselves when the challenge was over.
I decided to do the deposit because I knew if I set my mind to it I could meet the weight loss goal. Then it’s basically six free weeks of workouts! I knew it would be worth the money, and trust me, it was!
I had taken a kickboxing class before YEARS ago, but Gainesville Combat Fitness doesn’t offer cookie-cutter classes set to music where you punch the air or kick a bag. They offer real, high-energy classes that combine cardiovascular workouts with real Muay Tai kickboxing techniques.
I have to admit, on my first day of class I was terrified! I told myself I had one goal: don’t throw up. But I had nothing to worry about. The classes at Gainesville Combat Fitness are adjustable for all fitness levels, and the moves and exercises can be modified to accommodate anyone.
I didn’t know how much I was going to like the classes, but I fell totally in love! I loved the high intensity of the cardio workouts, the feeling of punching and kicking during kickboxing class and how strong I felt after every class. I went five days a week every week for the entire duration of the challenge. I went every morning before work, and it made me feel so energized and ready to take on the rest of the day.
I went at the same time every morning (7 a.m.) and eventually made some awesome friends! I also got to work with Presley, the most awesome instructor ever, and he taught me so much during the challenge. He was always there to answer questions and he made the classes so fun.
When I started the fitness classes I could hardly get through the warmup, a series of agility drills on a workout ladder. By the last day I could do the entire warmup without stopping or modifying any of the drills.
The Meal Plan
When I started the fitness challenge I was also given a meal plan. It was pretty flexible, which was great for allowing different options into my diet and ensuring that I didn’t get bored with the food. We also got a recipe book with lots of yummy meal ideas!
The basic outline of the meal was:
Breakfast – Carbohydrate, Protein and Vegetable
Lunch – Carbohydrate, Protein and Vegetable
Dinner – Protein, Fat and Vegetable
I just could not eat vegetables for breakfast, so I doubled up at dinner to make up for it. We were also encouraged to drink two protein shakes a day. I chose to drink Protein2O, a protein water that tastes way better than a shake and has pretty similar nutrition.
This is what a normal week of meal prep looked like for me: lots of veggies, rice and chicken. For breakfast I usually had Greek yogurt and berries or egg whites and potatoes.
I also allowed myself one or two cheat meals a week. It prevented me from bingeing when I had a craving for something, and helped me remember that it’s ok to have treats in moderation.
One big thing I changed besides my diet was the amount of water I was drinking. I went from drinking two or three bottles a day to drinking at least 100 ounces every day!
Our challenge leader, Natalie, made sure to check in with each of us every week to see how we were doing with the challenge. She always cheered me on with every pound lost and was super motivating!
After six long weeks of training hard in the gym and eating right, I felt better than I had in years. In the first week I dropped 10 pounds like that, my body was in a total shock. Every week the pounds were steadily dropping. Then, the final weigh in day came and the results were in…
I lost 26.4 pounds! That amount in such a short amount of time was HUGE! And it was just the start. I’ve lost 30 pounds since I started the challenge and I’m not stopping there!
I’m so excited to continue working with Gainesville Combat Fitness to promote wellness and a healthy lifestyle. Stay tuned for more posts as I continue on my journey towards my happiest, healthiest self!
Join The Challenge!
Are you looking for a sign that’s it time for you to start living healthier or lose some weight?? Well look no further because this is it! Gainesville Combat Fitness is continuing to offer more fitness challenges. To get more information or schedule a tour and get a free week of classes click here! You’ll be so glad you did!
Let’s face it, the Florida weather, although mostly beautiful, can wreak havoc on your skin. The sun and humidity can turn your complexion from peaches and cream to tomato-like in minutes.
I have rosacea, a skin condition that causes your face to turn really red, especially on your cheeks. So, I have to be extra careful with what I put on my skin. The hot Florida weather can make my skin extra irritated, but luckily I’ve found some amazing skincare products that are cooling, calming and make me feel refreshed!
These products are perfect for any Florida or warm-weather-living gal. They have great ingredients and are perfect for relieving your skin on a hot day! Here are my Florida skincare essentials:
Cucumber Face Masks
Cucumber is a great soothing agent for your skin. There are tons of facemasks out there, but I’ve found that ones with cucumber work best for my skin. My favorite ones are the Yes To Cucumbers Calming Paper Mask and the Cool As A Cucumber Sheet Mask from Bath & Body Works.
Cool Off Gel Lotion
This is the best lotion for hot days or after a workout! I don’t use it on my face but I do use it on my arms, legs and chest to cool off quickly. The lotion is made with aloe, cucumber, vitamin E and kaolin clay. It’s made by Bath & Body Works but they no longer sell it in stores or online. But it is available on Amazon!
Clinique Redness Solutions Soothing Cleanser
The Clinique Redness Solutions Soothing Cleanser is THE BEST cleanser for people prone to redness. It’s extra gentle and helps calm visible redness and irritation while melting away makeup and impurities. My skin always feels so cool and clean after I use it.
ULTA Active Cooling Hydration Face Stick
I never leave the house without this. I run the ULTA hydration stick on my cheeks whenever I feel them getting red or when I’m sweating. It cools my face off instantly and it doesn’t leave it feeling greasy.
S.W. Basics Peppermint Water Spray
I just bought this peppermint water spray by S.W. Basics a few weeks ago and I’m obsessed with it! It’s only ingredients are peppermint and water, and the cooling face mist makes my skin feel instantly refreshed.
Finally, one final pro tip: buy yourself a jade roller and keep it in your freezer. What, the freezer??? YES! The cold jade roller will feel absolutely amazing on your face after a long day. This is the one I use.
Let me know in the comments if you want to see more posts like this!
The Fourth of July is just two days away! It’s a day to celebrate freedom with family, fireworks and of course, food. With all the burgers and hot dogs, starchy sides and beers and sweet teas that usually accompany holiday parties here in Florida, it’s hard to stay on track as far as healthy eating goes.
One sure-fire way to make sure there are healthy options for you at a July 4th cookout is to bring them yourself! Making some yummy, healthy alternatives to the heavier food choices will guarantee that you’re not feeling guilty after you eat, but the hostess will also be grateful for your contribution to the party.
When it comes to hosting girls night, you can’t go wrong with a beautiful cheese board (or charcuterie board as the fancy people call it). However, all those fancy cheeses and meats can be expensive, and you could end up spending nearly $100 on them.
So when I decided to make my own cheese board to go with a night of wine drinking and gossiping with the girls, I knew I didn’t want to break the bank. After some research and some bargain hunting, I came up with the perfect formula for making a cheese board on a budget.