Lose weight and never step foot inside the gym…

So like every college kid this summer, I came home and realized that all those nights of drunk eating, sugar-filled drinks, and easy-to-grab chicken finger meals from the cafe really added to my waistline. And like every other college kid, I decided I wanted to make a change.

Except, I wanted to do more than just lose the weight I gained, then fall back into the old habits. I was now a college graduate and had my whole life staring back at me (which is like, really freakin scary). I ultimately won’t be going back to two AM diner trips after all night studying, tour de Franzias, or living life without a full kitchen. So much was going to change about my lifestyle, why not make fitness more of a priority?

At school, I would go to the gym a few times a week (well, I’d try to), but was always guaranteed one day a week because of a set Tuesday spin class with my GG-little, Taylor (who is now teaching! Go Tay!). I was never a fan of the gym because whether it was true or not, I feel like everyone always stared at you, peek over at how fast you were going on your machine, or judged you. In spin class, I liked how everyone seemed to be so focused on getting the most out of their own 45 minutes and listening to the instructor, that everyone was pretty much in their own little world with the instructor.

But now that I graduated, spin classes aren’t free….. unless you have a gym membership. I was always self-conscious at the gym, so why waste money on a gym membership? Or even worse, drop ten dollars per spin class? No, thank you! There had to be free, fun ways to work towards being healthier and avoid the gym.

So, I spent my summer rounding up great ways to get fit, lose weight, and avoid a gym! And after months, and weight loss and muscle gained, I’m sharing with you my fun ways to workout and never step foot inside a gym…

loose weight

Get off the couch and go for a run! // Trust me, I know it’s easier said then done. But I’m not talking easy, I’m talking free and easy right now.

The fall season is quickly approaching (buh-bye humidity, my hair can’t wait to see you leave), so the weather will be perfect for a morning run or after dinner to relieve stress from work. Put your earbuds in, relieve some stress, and get some fresh air!

If you aren’t currently a runner, there are tons of different apps to help you change your ways. If this past sentence described you more than you would like to admit, then the C25K app is definitely for you! All it takes is 3 days a week, 30 minutes each day, and in 8 weeks, the app will have you ready to run in your first 5k.

But if you are going to start running, you will need to download the free Nike+ Running app. It will monitor the distance you ran, how far you ran, and your average pace rate. Plus, another great feature is that the app will let you sync up your Spotify playlist! You can’t workout with a good playlist, am I right?

Count your steps // This one goes hand-in-hand with the last tip, but you don’t need to run to count your steps. Even better, you don’t need any fancy technology to do so, either. Before I bought my FitBit, I had the Pacer app (free, of course- can you tell I don’t get an app unless it’s free?). My entire family had it and we were able to add each other as friends and make a group, where we could all see who had the most steps per day. It created a competition between us- who had the most, who could reach their goal the fastest, etc. It added fuel to my fire to help me find ways to get extra steps – taking the stairs instead of the elevator at the mall, parking my car farther away when doing errands, and even marching in place when I would brush my teeth. I never realized I was supposed to be aiming for 10,000 steps a day. Before I started counting my steps, I wasn’t even close to getting this number. Now, I make sure I hit 10,000 steps every night before I go to bed. It was such a great step in kicking off my fitness journey.

Free fitness videos on YouTube // In high school, once I quit swimming, I would do Zumba Fitness on the Wii to stay in shape (despite my lack of rhythm..thanks mom and dad). However, as four years has now gone by, I knew most of the songs and dances already. I figured to take to YouTube one day to try to find routines. There were tons of videos and playlists put together for different levels of workout, different time lengths, and more. There were so many options!

After a few days of this, I got to thinking that there had to be some dances out there to some of the Billboard Top 100 songs. I searched “Cardio Fitness” and came across two fitness vloggers that I now do everyday…

The Fitness Marshall

As soon as I found Caleb on YouTube, I was obsessed with his channel. His personality comes through in each video, leaving me laughing as I work up a sweat. Caleb has dances to not only current hits, but as well as some of Britney Spears’ greatest hits – which can always get anyone dancing!

 

Dance Fitness with Jessica

One day in the car, an Ariana Grande song came on and I found myself moving along to The Fitness Marshall’s moves. I decided I wanted to switch it up and found Jessica, by going through my recommended stations. Jessica always kicks my butt, whether it’s a workout at home with her kids, a class routine, or a cell-phone recorded video (like my personal fave down below!)

Lastly // To kick off my fitness journey, after hearing a ton of positive reviews from many of my sorority sisters and vloggers, I decided to take the 28-day Advocare challenge. Though this wasn’t free, it definitely helped put me in a better mindset to start this journey. It helped rid my body of the different toxins that would weigh me down, help me feel more energized, and helped me learn more about what I should and should not be eating. For an extra jumpstart, I highly recommend Advocare!

I’d love to hear how you workout without the gym! Comment below and let me know. PLUS, if you decide to try any of these methods, I want to hear! I promise to respond back to all comments on this post and Instagram!

signature 22222

I got published on Total Sorority Move, finished my first semester of grad school & more life updates….

IMG_1693

It’s been less than ten days since my last post, but I feel like I’ve been away from Sparkle and Shine for so much longer – so long that this should be coming via a message in a bottle.

Okay, that was a tad dramatic, but hey – what’s new?

In the days that I been gone, I’ve jotted down a long list of ideas for different posts and even some video blogs. While I prepare my go-to photog, my mom, for all of the different posts, I wanted to share some quick life updates with you on what’s happened these past few days….

First off, I finished my first semester of grad classes! And though I did an online class during the school year, this semester was nothing like I was expecting. It was so hard to sit down on my computer and not do Sparkle and Shine work, aimlessly scroll through Instagram, or watch some of my favorite video bloggers. At school, I would always go to the library or a local coffee shop to zone in and get work done. At home, where I was too tempted to go out with friends when I would leave the house or be lazy if I stayed in my pajamas all day, I had absolutely no motivation.

But hey, life happens. Brushing over that information cause I am so, so, SO pumped to announce is that I am now freelancing for the satirical site Total Sorority Move as FratRatsNeverDie.

Even before I joined Greek Life, I looked up to these writers – they had such a way with words, that would make me laugh and impress with going places no other writer would go before. They were blunt, they were sassy, they were honest – and I loved it. I always dreamed of getting published for their site and now I am freelancing for them!

Plus, my first article, Frat Rats Never Die, was the number fifth most popular article the day it was published and the day after. I’ve also top eight or higher on the site’s “Most Active” list.

Depending on how much I end up getting published, I am currently not planning on posting each week the way I did with my “Hollywood Hump Day” treats when I interned at  TheCelebrityCafe.com. As of now, make sure to follow me on Twitter to find out a post by me gets published!

As for other updates, well, I don’t have many. So per usual, that part was a little bit over dramatic too – just like the tears I shed since I’m not back at school and am having major FOMO. I’m distracting myself by trying to find the perfect choker, I took to Twitter and it seems that plenty of you guys knew tons of places for me to check out. Even Francesca’s tweeted at me about coming in to take a look. So now, I’m on the hunt for the perfect velvet choker and one with a Hamsa…. I’ll keep you updated and do a post on it, don’t worry!

Anything exciting happen for you recently? I’d love to hear about it below! Talking to you guys is my favorite!

(Also looking up gifs for this, I wanted to find one from the old ABC Family “Greek”- clearly, I couldn’t find one. Then, I decided I wanted to watch an episode or two on Netflix of the show and it wasn’t on. So let’s just say, I’m not emotionally stable right now).

signature 22222

I’m an ex-female swimmer and I’m sick of the Olympic female swimmers not getting the credit they deserve for their wins

I’m so sick of the double standards some of the Olympic headlines and broadcasters are making. Give the women Olympians who won their medals the credit they worked their butts off to earn. 

original

Image via the Huffington Post and not directly linked to the athletes in this story

For many years, I swam competitively for the YMCA, one of the highest levels of training available for my age group. Most of my peers at the YMCA went on to continue to train in college, with this being their intent for years. However, I hung up my swim cap and googles to focus on other activities related to my major once college rolled around. The closest I get to those days of 5 AM practices and hour long, grueling practices keeping me up past my bedtime is the summer Olympics.

I love watching swimming on the Olympics – watching their form, the way they glide through the water. Swimming is such a majestic sport to watch, but for an ex-swimmer who knows the techniques that go into making each stroke, it’s even more magical.

But recently, the magic and butterflies that leave me feeling like that gold-crown Snapchat filter have been crushed by the broadcasters and the headlines.

First, it was Hungary’s Katinka Hosszú whose husband was credited for not only her win, but for her setting a world record by two seconds. In swimming, every point-second is so crucial, so two whole seconds is crazy. Hearing that number made my mouth drop….. until my mouth hit the floor when one NBC commentator said “the person responsible for her performance” was her husband/coach.

Weird, because  I’m pretty sure she was the one in the pool, right?

I, by all means, understand crediting her coach for making her become a stronger swimmer, but calling him responsible for that win is absurd. He helped train her and better her skills, but it was still her skill set that led her to that win. He pushed her, trained her, supported her, but he didn’t get into that pool and swim.

Or what about poor Katie Ledecky?

Watching the female 400-meter freestyle is my ultimate favorite since it was my stroke. Training for the sprints verses distance races, like this race, is a completely different task. It’s not just a physical game, but it’s a mental game. So after swimming these races, I give those competing in this race in the Olympics a little extra credit, an extra dollop of whip cream on their ice cream sundae.

So when it had to get clarified that Katie Ledecky swims like Katie Ledecky and not a man during the commentary of her post-race win made my blood boil. She just crushed her own world record and beat her closest competitor by five seconds (again, remember swimming-time, so five seconds is pretty much like, an hour). Instead of celebrating her win in all of its glory, this commentary was made.

Katie Ledecky swims like Katie Ledecky, an gold medal Olympic, an icon to female swimmers.

And instead of getting to enjoy the joy of this win, this had to be clarified. Though I am grateful that it was corrected, but come on? Now, of all times? It isn’t clarified about Michael Phelps’ sex when he crushes world records and wins medals. Her win is her hard earned win, whether if she’s male or female.

But you know what, it’s not even the female swimmers who are not getting the credit they reserve. It seems to be any woman from any sport.

The Chicago Tribune did not even name Corey Cogdell-Unrein in their headline about her trap-shooting medal. Her NFL husband foreshadowed the entire win, taking a more important role in the name headline then her….

Come on people, it’s 2016. I never thought I would have had to write about this. And as the games continue, I hope I don’t need to do a follow up article about MORE issues like this that arise.

signature 22222

 

Cause baby, now they’ve got bad blood…. {My opinion on the Tay Swift v. KimYe drama}

Happy Wednesday, everyone!

So, unless you’re literally Patrick Star and live under a rock, you know about the Tay Swift v. KimYe drama that’s happened for about a week now. 

(Just in case, I’ll fill you in – Kanye released a provocative lyric about Taylor. Kanye just being Kanye, ya know? After backlash, the “Life of Pablo” singer took to  Twitter claiming Tay gave him permission to use the lyric after an hour long phone call. Well, the queen of breakup jams fired back claiming to never have known. Wife-of-the-Year Kim decided to prove Taylor did give consent by posting a recording of the hour long phone call on her Snapchat Story). 

I’ve been texted and tweeted about asking for my opinion. Originally, I was planning on doing a video blog about it, but life has gotten in the way and I just haven’t gotten to it yet. I don’t want to leave you waiting any longer, so I figured just a classic blog post. (Don’t worry though, I’ve been brain storming some vlog ideas!)

You’ve asked and I’m here now to answer….

Screen Shot 2016-07-26 at 8.15.43 PM.png

Okay, so first off, I want to preface this by saying that I am both a Kardashian fan and a TaySwift fan. I’ve seen Taylor in concert twice and start my morning by watching the Kardashian/Jenner’s Snapchat stories. I blast Taylor often for mini karaoke sessions in my car and will truly keep up with the Kardashians by following them on social media and binge-watch KUWTK.

And going off of those confessions, I’m going to confess that lying is one of my biggest pet peeves. Growing up, our biggest household rule was to never lie. If you messed up, admit it. It was always better to just have open and honest communication. Guess that wasn’t necessarily the case for Tay (harsh? Sorry, I haven’t had enough coffee today).

Openly lying really made me loose some respect for Taylor. She’s always gone where others weren’t before – not afraid to bash her ex in a song and leave some sort of proof in the capital letters on her CD, openly tell Ellen about her break up with Joe Jonas, and shed light on her “Bad Blood” with Katy Perry. She seemed to be confident to take on any confrontation, but it seems it was only when she was the one who had the upper hand…..

In the conversation with Kanye, Taylor said “…jokes on them…” referring to backlash when fans start to raise their eyebrows about the song and her knowing. I think it would have been more of a “girl boss” move, that Tay tries for, if she was just like “YUP, Kanye told me and I’m blasting this song nonstop at my Rhode Island mansion with my BFF squad on the Fourth of July.” Mad respect with the latter, but that’s not how things happened. Instead, she’s got some teardrops on her guitar for the backlash she is receiving from everyone on the Internet.

In the mess of this, I also think Kim deserves a lot of props, hey, a Wife-of-the-Year certificate or another wall of flowers from Kanye. She stood up for her man and made sure to be his biggest supporter, even when times got tough. Isn’t that what love is all about?

Next up on expressing my opinion, the social media that occurred after.

Screen Shot 2016-07-26 at 9.20.12 PM.png

The only comment I have for Taylor’s Instagram note, especially seeing as everyone with a Twitter account has commented on it with a meme, is in regard to her “I would very much like to be excluded from this narrative, one that I have never asked to be a part of.” That statement in itself, when reading it the first time, made me laugh as hard as I do at “Modern Family.” Like Tay, w h a t? That sounds like the type of babble a girl starts to say after a few too many glasses of Barefoot.  There were so many different ways you could have said that. Using those words just made it much more easier for fans to side with Kim and Kanye. However, the tweets with this statement, were what the trendy, cool kids call “lit.”

As for the way Tay’s Girl Squad stepped in, I’m not surprised. If someone where to expose one of my best friends or even do anything to put them in negative light, I would be there to support them in any way, shape, or form. And for Hollywood….that means Twitter.

And just the same way that Khloe, Kendall, and the rest of the Kardashian/Jenners stepped in to support Kim. BFFs are pretty much the same thing as siblings, so of course each side’s squad jumped in.

And that concludes everything I would have said in a video blog, except this time I’m wearing my glasses and a not-messy-on-purpose messy bun. But like I said, I promise I’m going to work on a new video blog soon!!!!

B U T: moral of the story, SparkNotes version for ya’ll- Am I going to stop listening to Taylor, even though I lost a little bit of respect for her in the situation? Absolutely not. Real fans are there for her music, where there is no doubt that she’s relatable and talented.

But for now, I’m just going to wait for Tay to release a song bashing the Reality Queen and use “I would like to excluded from this narrative” to boys at the bars.signature 22222

Red Solo Cup, I fill you up! {Toby Keith Concert}

Happy Tuesday, babes!

This past weekend, I got to head back to my college stomping grounds (4o days post grad and I feel like it’s been forever) to see some of my best friends and then go to the Toby Keith concert at the Xfinity center in Hartford, CT.

After creating my first ever vlog of our annual country concert last year, I wanted to try again this year…..and in the excitement of seeing all of them since my graduation, I completely forgot to even record. I barely even posted a snap story of the concert cause I was just so excited to see them and be back together with them.

However, thanks to my little’s unlimited use of phone storage, we managed to take tons of pictures! Check them out below: 

IMG_1156

IMG_1057

IMG_1159

IMG_1284

IMG_1304

Make sure to go and check out the pictures on my Instagram – here’s the silly group shot and here’s my favorite of me and Paul! I’ll be commenting back on YOUR pictures if you stop by my Instagram TODAY!

Time to look into tickets for another concert – who do you recommend seeing live?

signature 22222

It really isn’t just four years, it’s for life….

Hello, hello!

Ever go on one of those runs when you do SO much thinking that you feel like your brain may explode? Well, that was how I spent yesterday morning. One of those thoughts (when I wasn’t thinking about which Kylie lip kit to purchase, what I should wear to see Toby Keith this weekend, or my future wedding to Animal Kingdom star Finn Cole) was about how Greek life has impacted my life in the past month since graduating school.

Greek life

This whole thought process started when I received a text message about writing a letter of recommendation for someone who is looking to go rush Alpha Delta Pi at USC.

Whenever someone in ADPi gets a little butterfly feeling about remembering why they chose to come home to ADPi, we call it an “ADPi moment.” Some of mine included getting my big and little, when all my sisters supported me at my first Relay for Life to honor my father, and when I realized that one of my sisters, Lauren, is pretty much my soulmate. I’ve heard some alum sisters talk about how they get these ADPi moments as alums and our advisors say that this moments continue, but I wasn’t really sure when I would experience my first one.

Then, I got that text. It came from a girl who I used to work on our school’s television station with who was transferring. Knowing my involvement with Alpha Delta Pi, she said she would be “honored” for me to write her a letter of recommendation. Completely ecstatic, I said yes. I figured I would plan out everything I wanted to say in that letter when I went for a run.

As my mind went through everything I wanted to say, I started to think about the true impact ADPi has had on me. I’m one month out of college (gag), but still see so many ties to the organization.

I think the fact that my sisters are a majority of those that I am still deeply in contact with speaks volumes about the bonds I have made within my chapter. Every girl in my Snapchat best friends list, except for my hometown best friend, is a sister. I don’t go a day without being in contact with someone from ADPi. I recently needed some fitness advice – I texted a sister. I recently got tagged in a super funny meme on Instagram – it was from a sister. I’m getting a FaceTime call – it’s from a sister. I didn’t graduate and become just some face on a composite.

And this is all because the bonds I have with these women aren’t just for four years, they’re for life and it’s during post-grad that I’m finding out how true this statement really is.

12065508_10207114899778362_4753476553828896334_n

10646789_10204417729150782_4739020134264513804_n

11995960_10205332008568483_4813733276640420024_n

10679927_10205037109511657_6674623113331782973_o

Interested in going Greek? Check out some of my recent posts about Greek life:

Story time with Sami: That time I ran a match-making service for my sisters

My last Alpha Delta Pi formal {pictures & senior superlative}

Hey sorority gals, The Collegiate Standard is having a give away!

An Open Letter to my Little as she becomes a Grand-Big

How I asked my date to sorority semi & cute ways you can ask, too!

ALSO, have you seen my new Instagram theme? Just one of the exciting things happening for Sparkle and Shine! Make sure to stay around to see what else is coming.

signature 22222

My latest Netflix binge…

T.G.I.F, am I right?

What better way to relax this weekend by laying by the pool watching Netflix OR for those of you are #indoorsy, lay in bed with the A.C. blasting while watching the good ole ‘flix.

We all know I’m addicted to Netflix, so here’s some of the shows that I have binge watched in the past few months…..

netflix-binge
Wow wow wow…babes, I haven’t done a Netflix binge post in years! Heck, the graphic still has .wordpress.com on it!

Parks and RecreationThe hilarious seven season show, known as Parks and Rec, revolves around Leslie Knope and her team at an Indiana Parks and Recreation Department. Leslie has big dreams for furthering herself in the political world, but as for the rest of her team…..they would prefer to be anywhere but there. The show begins with Knope helping local nurse, Ann Perkins, turn the abandoned construction site that injured her boyfriend Andy Dwyer, into a community park. Leslie hopes that her team, including  her underachieving co-worker Tom Haverford, her government – opposing boss Ron Swanson, and the uninterested department intern, Aubrey Plaza. With the show using the same filming style as The Office, with the same implication of a documentary crew filming everything, the cast’s side commentary is as hilarious as the show’s actual hijinx.

giphy

Image via Tumblr

 New Girl: Quirky teacher Jessica Day returns to her boyfriends’ home one day to find him with another women. She immediately breaks up with him, leaves and begins to look for a new place to live. She answers an ad on Craigslist and moves in with three single men: Nick, a grumpy law school drop-out, Schmidt, an uptight womanizer who used to be overweight, and Coach, a former professional athlete turned personal trainer. (However, for anyone who starts to watch the show from this post, I feel it is important to note that Coach moves out after the pilot and the loft’s former roommate, Winston, moves back in.) The men, Jess, and Jess’ childhood best friend and fashion model, CeCe, form a bond to create a dysfunctional family. Together, the group discovers more about themselves, their careers, love, and more. Not all seasons of New Girl are on Netflix, since the show is currently airing on Fox.
giphy1

Image via Giphy

Orange is the New Black:  Like any true OITNB fan, I began to watch the newest season, season four, as soon as it premiered last month. As the most watched Netflix series, most of you know by now that the show follows Piper Chapman, who is sentenced to 15 months in Litchfield Penitentiary, a minimum-security women’s federal prison. The show also allows for viewers to get to know more about the other inmates, both through flashbacks and their current lives at Litchfield. This shocking season (no spoilers, don’t worry!) shows many characters in more-detail, has a surprising death, includes one character being released early, and so, so much more!
giphy2

Image via Giphy

Gossip Girl:  High school just got a lot more dramatic for a group of privileged Upper East Siders. Gossip Girl, an anonymous blogger, sends text-message blasts with the group’s deepest secrets and scandals. Once the group, featuring frenemies Blair and Serena, Nate, Dan, and Chuck, graduate from high school, they hope Gossip Girl’s reign will end. But as the scandals continue and hearts continue to break, Gossip Girl continues to share all of their secrets.
giphy3

Image via WiffleGif.com

Currently, my mom and I just started the Netflix-original Between, about a town that has been struck with a mysterious disease that has killed anybody over the age of 22. While under quarantine, the 21-year-olds and younger are now left to fend for themselves.
However, I am looking for something to watch when I am at the gym! So if you have any recommendations, let me know!

What are you currently binge watching on Netflix? Let me know by commenting below!

signature 22222