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2018 | A Year of Challenge

Happy 2018! I hope everyone had a fun and safe New Years celebration this year and is ready to tackle 2018. I LOVE new years. I love a fresh start, a clean slate. It’s so… Freeing! And I also love thinking about what I want to achieve for the year and how I can challenge myself. Rather than write out resolutions or make huge plans that I’ll never keep, I’m going to challenge myself instead.

I really enjoy trying new things and mixing up my routines – From the kitchen to the gym to the medicine cabinet. So this year, I’m going to set up some challenges for myself and share the results.

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What kind of challenges? I’m so glad you asked!

From diets and ways to eating to workouts to beauty routines – I’m going to try out some of the popular or famous or new options out there and write about my experiences.

The first ones to look out for are going to be…

Drum roll please…

  • Intermittent Fasting – This is a way of eating that includes fasting for a set amount of time each day and consuming your food during a scheduled window
  • Water Challenge – Drinking one gallon of water a day to see how my energy, skin, health, and body feel
  • Sarah’s Day Sweat It To Shred It – An 8 week workout guide from Australian YouTuber Sarah’s Day
  • Whole 30 – A one month extremely clean eating paleo diet, I’ll be doing a variation for vegetarians to ensure that I get enough of all my micro and macronutrients
  • Holistic Beauty – I’ll be ditching my standard beauty, hair, and skin care routine for holistic, DIY, and eco-friendly products ONLY
  • No Waste – This is one that I’m nervous but excited for, creating ZERO WASTE for a week
  • Cell phone detox – Yes, I am going to give up my phone. GASP.

What challenge would YOU tackle? Anything I should add to my list?

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MNT Studio | #MNT10 Challenge

I absolutely love undertaking new challenges. I enjoy my workout routine, but it’s great to mix things up and really focus on something new for a short period of time. So when MNT Studio {check out their new studio launch here} reached out to see if I wanted to try their #MNT10 Challenge this Fall, I jumped at the opportunity.

And if I hadn’t been 100% in already, they have an on-staff nutritionist who would be offering recommendations on diet for the duration of the challenge!! I’m nothing short of a nutrition nerd and LOVE getting a chance to talk to knowledgeable professionals on the topic.


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The Challenge:

Take 10 classes in 14 days.

That type of commitment definitely involves some planning and reorganizing of your schedule this time of year. But not only did this challenge rock my body, it also gave me a great chance to get to know the instructors, explore the studio, and bond with other patrons.

The Classes:

During my last doctor’s appointment my orthopedic surgeon suggested that I needed more Pilates in my life. And while I may not always agree with doctors’ recommendations, that was one suggestion that I was happy to follow-up on.

I tried a handful of different classes during the 10 days, but was sure to load up on lots of Pilates!

  • Power Pilates: Ob-SESSED. Alison and Carly kicked my booty in these classes over the course of the challenge and I always left feeling like I should have a six-pack by the end of each class.
  • Barre: This class is a great combination of moves that tones the WHOLE body. The abs, arms, legs, and booty are all getting worked.
  • Reformer: I was really excited to try reformer and found it both challenging and fun. This is the class that I had the most concern about in terms of my back injury, but there were zero issues. I left feeling very strong and flexible, which is a great combo.

The Nutrition:

I tend to eat a fairly clean, healthy, whole food-based diet, so I wasn’t planning on making any huge shifts or changes to my day-to-day diet. But I do love trying new smoothie recipes and mixing things up ingredient-wise, so I headed into the cleanse excited to see how I would feel with the small shifts.

Stay tuned for a full blog post on the cleanse as well as an interview with the fabulous nutritionist Molly who works with MNT Studio!

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The Results:

Going from taking classes a few times a month to 12 classes in 14 days definitely took its toll. I was sore and exhausted.

The first week was especially hard, building up my endurance and retraining my muscles for Pilates, barre, and reformer, which I don’t take on a regular basis. But by the first weekend I was feeling strong enough to tackle two classes in a day – Pilates bootcamp and barre. I found week two to be remarkably easier, I was still sore, but more a pleasant “I had a great workout” sore, rather than a “I can’t walk, someone help me” kind of sore. 🙂

While I definitely loved these classes and really enjoyed tackling such a demanding challenge, I have to say that the best part of this two weeks was learning just what I am capable of.

I felt strong. I felt tough. I felt resilient.

Have YOU ever tried a challenge? If not, would you?

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30 Day Challenge: Results

At the end of July I published a post setting out some goals for myself for August – My 30 Day Challenge.

So what goals did a I lay out for myself? I made a list of three things that I wanted to try to incorporate more of in my life going forward, starting with August, all of which have a single purpose.

Slowing down.


Enjoying the moment.

So how did I do during my 30 Day Challenge this Summer? Pretty good, actually. I could have done better, of course, but I have to say that I’m pretty proud of the positive changes that I’ve made this month.

Changes that I hope to push forward with for the rest of the year.

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{Activewear + Braids}


My goal was to meditate once or twice a day and I found that I do MUCH better at this in the mornings. I set an Outlook calendar reminder for myself daily, popped into a conference room, and zenned out for a few minutes.

At night I usually remembered a few times a week. I found that I did better at night after enlisting my boyfriend’s help actually. Once he started asking “did you meditate?” each night when we got in bed, I got more consistent with my evening meditations.


I journaled every morning of August without fail. While my morning affirmations are usually all over the place in terms of content – August was all about gratitude. The people, the places, the experiences – I reminded myself just how lucky I am to have them all in my life. I also showed myself some love and wrote about my gratitude for different things that I do for myself as well.


While I only made it to a few formal yoga classes in August due to travel and scheduling issues, I very consistently did an at-home practice. Tara Stiles videos on YouTube, short sequences to warm up before a workout, restorative yoga stretches after my runs… I incorporated the various movements into my life a few times a week even outside classes.

Which is a good reminder for those who don’t have the time or money or drive to get a membership for a yoga studio. There are TONS of other options that can improve your practice and get you all the wonderful benefits of yoga without a price tag.

 So tell me – How was YOUR Summer? Have you set any goals for yourself?

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Links You’ll Love

Health & Fitness:

Sweet potatoes are a great addition to any healthy diet so you should definitely try out some of these nutritious recipes from Shape Magazine – 10 Healthy Sweet Potato Recipes.

fall detox salad 7422 thumb   Fall Detox Salad + Hurricane Sandy Fundraiser Update

OhSheGlow’s Fall Detox Salad is a must try – Filled with Brussels Sprouts, carrots, apple, celery, sunflower seeds, and raisins, it’s as nutritious as it is delicious {also check out this salad as part of the Thanksgiving Recipe Round-Up}.

Eating well and living a healthy life doesn’t have to mean giving up all sweets and desserts, you just need to make healthier, smarter choices when you want to indulge – Try FitFluential’s Five Healthier Desserts which include amazing choices like Raspberry Chocolate Chips, Dark Chocolate Nut Butter Pretzels, Fruit & Yogurt Parfaits, Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes/Muffins, and Cheesecake Stuffed Strawberries.

Do you want model-worthy skin? Refinery 29 has the goods – The Surprising Secret To Model-Worthy Skin.


Finding a great, healthy snack that you love and that’s easy to make is wonderful – One of my favorites recently is Choosing Raw’s Cinnamon Caramelized Cauliflower.


Interested in spicing up your daily makeup routine? It’s always fun to see what other beauty products are out there and the sort of routines that women go through on a daily basis, so let’s check out how blogger Trop Rouge has set up her makeup routine – Makeup Monday.

Top 9 at 9: A Model’s Must Haves with Lonneke Engel gives you all of model Lonneke Engel’s Fall 2012 picks – From workout gear to sweaters to what her favorite shoes are for Fall.

Ulyana Sergeenko’s dramatic, eye-catching clothes are the perfect pieces for this dreamy Moscow-based photo shoot in the most recent Carine Roitfeld Fashion Book issue – Moscow Walk.

Oxblood is everywhere for Fall 2012 and if you’re not sure whether it’s the trend for you, trying beauty products and nail polish are great choices – 3 Chic Ways To Do Burgundy Beauty.

The Fall 2012 Collection for J.Crew is pretty phenomenal – It’s filled with great outerwear, fun, printed pants, and killer accessories. And none of those accessories are better than the Lulu Frost’s Capsule Collection – Shop It Now: Lulu Frost For J.Crew Holiday.

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