At Home Waxing

Okay here’s a TMI post, so if you don’t want to read about my leg hair STOP HERE.

 

So for you that do want to read about my leg hair, here’s the scoop. I HATE shaving. I’m a very low maintenance, roll out of bed in the morning kind of girl. That being said, I still like feeling feminine. So though I hate shaving, I don’t like leg hair. I’ve spent many months researching on the most effective way to solve this problem.

Laser hair removal seems like the easiest way to get rid of leg hair for good. Though it’s efficient, there are some negatives about it: it’s costly, it isn’t proven permanent hair removal, and it doesn’t work on blonde hair. Well damn. There goes that option. Not only is my hair blonde, it’s superduper blonde. Laser hair removal works by attacking the melanin in your hair. The melanin is what gives your hair color. If your hair is blonde, like mine, the lasers won’t find a color to attack.

Electrolysis is proven permanent hair removal and isn’t as expensive as laser treatments, but it’s not made for large areas of hair removal. Electrolysis focuses on each hair follicle at a time, so I’d probably still be trying to get rid of my leg hair when I was 90.

So that leads me to waxing. Though it’s not permanent, it can take up to two months for hair to grow back. It can also help reduce hair growth. Getting your legs waxed at a salon is expensive, and I’m the most frugal person I know. So a trip to Ulta and $10 later, I was ready to wax my legs at home.

I purchased Sally Hansen Ouch Relief Wax Strip Kit. It cost $9.99 and came with 4 Pain-Relief Technology Pre-Wax Wipes, 32 XL 2 sided wax strips, and an Azulene Finishing Oil. I ripped open a pain-relief wipe and wiped down my legs. Per the directions, I waited 10 minutes to wax. While I waited for the pain relief to work, I decided to “warm up” the wax strips. The directions said to just rub them in your hands. I don’t know about you, but my hands could not create enough friction to melt two strips of wax. Therefore, I got creative. The crafty Bohemian in me turned my vent into a wax melting station. (You could have probably popped them in the microwave as well). Once the wax was warm to the touch, I peeled them apart and pressed them on my legs in the direction of my hair growth. I put a bunch on and then re-filled my wax melting station. I then quickly ripped them off (think of a bandaid). Even with the pain relief wipes, it was still pretty painful. Though the box claims 100% hair removal, the strips left a lot of hair behind. I had to go over each area at least twice. I used all 32 strips to wax my legs. My legs were covered in bright red bumps and lots of sticky wax at the end of it all. I showered, scrubbed off the wax, and covered my legs in SE Johnson baby oil. By the next morning, all of the bumps had gone away. I didn’t use the Azulene Finishing Oil that came in the box.

Though this waxing kit wasn’t perfect, it was only $9.99 and mess free. Fingers crossed that this keeps my leg hair away for 8 weeks! Thanks for staying tuned to my crazy, weird, probably too personal stories.

Denver

I just got back from a weekend in Denver with my girlfriends. There are few things better in life than best friends & mountains. Here is a re-cap of our stellar weekend!

Denver’s airport is so far from the city, but I hear that a train running from downtown is in the works. Though we hit Friday rush hour traffic, we still made it for some of Lala’s 3:00-6:00 happy hour. We indulged in many appetizers (mostly various cheeses) and glasses of wine. Glasses of wine were only $5 during happy hour and many foods were discounted. I love traveling on a budget. We were lucky enough to stay for free at one of my friend’s apartment. Though I slept on a loveseat the entire weekend, it beats paying for a hotel.

Saturday was a beautiful 64 degrees F, so we decided to go on a hike. We grabbed delicious biscuits from Rise & Shine and ate them on the road. We chose a hike in Eldorado Canyon State Park. It was an $8 entrance fee, but there was a lot of stuff to do. Though it was warm out, it was still February and paths were covered with snow & ice. We had to be very careful as we maneuvered along the trails. I saw many people rock climbing, and I was so jealous! I definitely need to go back and do that! After an exhausting hike, we headed to Joyride Brewery. Though their beer is delicious, the best thing about this place is that dogs are allowed. This indoor-outdoor brewery is filled with adorable pups & happy patrons. They are also opening a rooftop deck this summer!

After a busy Saturday, we decided that Sunday was going to be filled with relaxation. We started the morning at Crema. We filled our souls with lattes & breakfast burritos. Denver has so many vegetarian options, it makes my heart sing. We then watched many episodes of The Great British Baking Show and cooked a lavish dinner. We spent the day prepping for an amazing Burrito Bowl Buffet for dinner. We made lime cilantro rice, spicy beans, pico de gallo, guacamole, sautéed peppers & onions, chicken and beef (for the meat lovers) and a cheesecake and key lime pie for dessert! We then ate our body weight in Mexican food and enjoyed each others’ company. Food & friends: the perfect pair.

Monday morning, we stopped at Jelly Cafe for breakfast before heading to the airport. I ate a delicious vegetarian eggs benedict and grabbed many little donut bites. I then headed back to the airport & back to real life. This is the first time in about 8 months that I don’t have my next trip planned. Where should I go next? I’m thinking California!

 

Healthy Potato Skins

I may be a newly converted health freak, but I had 24 years of stuffing my face with junk food. I still love my old favorites, so I’ve been working on creating healthier alternatives. It’s Super Bowl Sunday for us Americans, so I snacked on these healthy potato skins. They take very few ingredients and are done in 15 minutes!

Ingredients

Sweet Potatoes

Low-Fat Shredded Cheese (any flavor)

Toppings (salsa, 0% fat plain Greek yogurt, crumbled turkey bacon, chopped green onions)

Instructions

Take out as many sweet potatoes as you need for your guests (or self). Each sweet potato yields two potato skins. Poke about 10 holes in each potato using a fork or a steak knife. Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees F. Microwave the potatoes for 8-10 minutes. Take them out with oven mitts or you’ll be playing real life hot potato. Cut the sweet potatoes in half.

Use a spoon to scoop out a majority of the center. You can save this delicious sweet potatoeness for future eating.

Sprinkle the potato skins with your favorite type of low-fat shredded cheese.

Place the potato skins in a pan or on a sheet and bake in the oven for 3-5 minutes.

Remove them from the oven and transfer to a plate. Sprinkle them with your favorite toppings! I used salsa and 0% fat plain Greek yogurt on mine.

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That’s it! Quick, easy, and delicious! My favorite type of meal!

Please Grow Little Tiny Abs!

The above phrase is probably something that I’ve repeated to myself every day for the past year. On Instagram, I like more pictures of women’s abs, than I do pictures of my own family members. The weird part is, I know that I’m not alone.

Every time I talk to a woman who’s into fitness, her number one goal is abs. What is all of our recent obsession with getting a six pack? Here is my theory: women want what they can’t have (or something that’s really hard to get).

Why do abs seem to grow overnight for men and women have to slave away at the gym for months to get a little definition? According to BodyBuilding.com, “a woman needs a higher level of body fat just to function properly, so her body will fight her harder as she aims to get down to the lower levels required to see six-pack abs.” GREAT! I’m spending all this time at the gym, and my body is actually fighting me on my ab journey. After I’ll I’ve done for you, body! Ugh!

If you’re like me, a little challenge never deters you. So, I’m not giving up on my ab dream and neither should you! I’ve put together an ab routine that seriously had my abs burning and made it painful to sneeze the next day. Sore abs are my favorite.

All that being said, my fitness journey isn’t about obtaining perfect abs. I actually don’t even have an end goal. I like working out because it makes me feel better about myself and gives me strength. I don’t work out because I hate my body, but because I love it. I will always continue to work on improving myself (and you should too).

*To learn more truths and myths about abs, go to BodyBuilding.com.

 

Why aren’t my muscles growing?

Okay, so you’ve finally gotten over your fear that lifting will make you bulky. Your next thought is probably, “why don’t I have abs yet,” or “ugh why isn’t my booty growing?” How do I know this? Because I’ve done the same thing dozens of times. Rome wasn’t built in a day, ladies! Unfortunately, we’re also at a disadvantage over men (what else is new). According to A Workout Routine, the average man can gain 1-2 pounds of muscle per month, but the average woman can only gain 0.5-1 pound of muscle per month. When I first saw that number, I was shocked. All this work for only 0.5 pound of muscle gain in my whole body! I was trying to do the math in my head, “okay, so that’s .1 pound of muscle to shoulders, .1 pound to my biceps, .1 pound to my legs, .1 pound to my booty, .1 pound to my abs. Ugh!” I came to the realization that I’m going nowhere fast. I was frustrated at first, but then I figured that it’s alright. I’m not looking for a quick fix to my body. Growing muscles takes a lot of work and a lot of time. It was hard to come to terms with, but I’m in this for the long haul. Consistency is key!

 

*Muscle Growth information taken from A Workout Routine.

#bootygoals

I cannot be the only woman who is looking for that small waist, big booty figure. Sadly, I was born with absolutely no curves, so I’ve been on a mission to build my own. I have declared 2016 as year of the booty. I started by watching YouTube video after YouTube video to find out weird, new moves to grow every muscle in my butt. (Seriously, all my recommended videos on YouTube are people’s butts). I have also been experimenting with weight machines at the gym and finding new ways to use them to reach my #bootygoals.

When I was at the last Chicago BBG Meetup, I was talking to some girls about the Smith Machine and many didn’t even know what it was. Not too long ago, I didn’t either, but then I was introduced to the amazing world of lifting weights. The Smith Machine is an easy, newbie-friendly way to start lifting weights. I love it because it doesn’t put a lot of pressure on your shoulders which is my biggest problem when squatting or using a barbell for walking lunges.

I have compiled for you 5 different exercises that can all be done on the Smith Machine. I start with your basic squat. On each side of the bar, I put as much weight as I can handle for 5 reps. For me, this is a total of 70 pounds. The Smith Machine Bar is on a latch system, so you position yourself under the bar and tilt it forward. When you’re done, you tilt the bar back and it will latch. It’s pretty convenient. The next move is a weighted hip thrust. For this one, I grab risers (5 on each side for me), and lower the bar to the bottom. I also put the pad on the bar so it doesn’t bruised my legs. I then shimmy under the bar and basically thrust the air. I use the same weight that I squatted with for this exercise. The third exercise is bulgarian split squats. For this I also use risers (4 on each side this time). It’s basically pulsing backward lunges. For this I only lift 40 pounds. Next, I do pulsing squats. It’s almost the same as a normal squat, except you pulse once at the bottom. The final exercise, and the one I get the most looks for, is the weighted donkey kick. For this, I only lift the bar (it’s hard enough!) Unlatch the bar and then just do donkey kicks on each leg. Make sure you stretch after, or you’ll probably have trouble walking the next day. I hope this post and video encourages you to try lifting!

Toned Arms

So many women that I have talked to want toned arms; not bulky, manly arms but feminine, athletic arms. Coming from a girl who had noodle arms up until a year ago (seriously I couldn’t even open a jug of juice by myself), I have grown my arms into what I believe are toned and athletic. Here are my 5 go to moves. I’m not a personal trainer, so I can’t give you the science or logistics behind each exercise, but I tried to make a video to best show you how they’re done. I do each move until failure (when you seriously can’t do it one more time) and then move onto the next exercise. I repeat that for a total of 3 times. I know we are all busy, and this workout is quick and easy; it only takes me about 10-15 minutes. I’m just a normal woman, who works a full time job, trying to get in better shape, and sharing it all with you.

P.S. The video is sped up because it is super awkward to watch myself do these moves slow haha Make sure your movements are slow and controlled. Feel the burn!

The Girlspo+ Guide

When creating my blog, I knew that health was going to be one of the main topics that I was going to write about. Like many others, I viewed health as eating well, exercising, and taking my vitamins. Sadly, I was leaving out a huge and important sector of healthy living. I was lucky enough to stumble upon Girlspo+, who enlightened me to a different type of health: mental wellbeing.

I had heard of mental wellbeing before. In fact, I had participated in the Out of the Darkness Walk, a fundraiser for The American Foundation of Suicide Prevention. Though I was aware of mental wellbeing, I never thought that it was something that I needed help with. I thought being mentally unwell meant that you were depressed. I couldn’t have been more wrong. There are a lot of ways that your mental wellbeing can be suffering. I didn’t even know that mine was until Girlspo+ helped me out!

On January 11th, I began the 30 day Girlspo+ Guide. The Girlspo+ Guide claimed that it would help me have a clear action plan on what it is that I want to achieve for my mental wellbeing and how to get there. I figured that that i had nothing to lose, so I gave it a try.

I am so glad that I did! Girlspo+ helped me realize that my lack of direction in life, stress, and feeling of being powerless were things that I could change. Not only did they help me recognize the areas of mental wellbeing that I needed to work on, they provided me with the tools to do so. The Girlspo+ Guide is full of relatable stories, helpful tips, daily challenges, and thought provoking activities.

The material is presented as daily topics, so you learn about a new mental wellbeing skill every day. It only takes me about 15 minutes each day to complete my Girlspo+ Guide, so it isn’t a huge time commitment. Plus, the payoff is definitely worth it. I am only 21 days in, and I already feel like I have improved my life in so many ways.

When I started the Girlspo+ Guide, I had hoped to find a sense of direction in my life. I don’t know if I was having a quarter life crisis or what, but at 25 I suddenly felt like I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life. I felt that staying in the same place and doing the same job every day for the rest of my entire life wasn’t really living. Girlspo+ helped me realize that I am passionate about inspiring others, fitness, travel, and health. Starting a blog seemed like a great way to reach a broad audience about all of the things that I love.

So that brings us to the present. Here I am, writing my very own blog post and making my dreams come true. Thank you Girlspo+!

If you would like to purchase the Girlspo+ Guide (and you should), you can access it on the Girlspo+ Website.