3 Workouts That Are Easy Enough To Do At Home Everyday

3 Easy Workouts You Can Do Everyday At Home

By now it’s no secret that I absolutely detest winter. So you best believe that I do everything in my power to avoid icy streets and frozen toes. Even though that means that I get to spend some quality time with my bed this winter break, I’ve actually also been spending some time trying to stay in shape. Yep, right from the comfort of my living room…or, my parents’ living room, but you get the point.

Working out is something I’ve been struggling to do continuously this past semester, but I decided that I didn’t want to wait until the break was over, or even wait until the new year to start doing what I can to jump start a more active lifestyle. So for I’ve been trying out a combination of easy to do exercises that I’ve found online, and I’ve rounded up my five favorites so you can try them out for yourself if you also want to get started on any fitness goals. The best part is that they fit so easily into my daily routine.

I don’t usually post about fitness but something tells me I’m going to have a lot more wellness posts on this blog this year, so if you’re into that then yay! Come join me on my journey! I don’t have an elliptical or workout studio or mini gym in my house, so there’s nothing about doing reps on any machines and stuff. I do have dumbbells, a yoga mat, and a stability ball, and while they aren’t required for these workouts, they can help. So if you don’t have these items at home, no worries.

1. Jump squats.

Unpopular opinion: I actually like doing squats. When I took boxing classes, we learned how to actually do squats properly and it just stuck with me (make sure those knees don’t go past those toes!). The jumping part adds a little bit of cardio, so you’ll definitely be sweating. You don’t need that much room, so you can do these anywhere.

Read also: How To make Time For Going To The Gym In College

2. Burpees. 

I know people HATE burpees, but trust me when I say that they are the ultimate full-body workout if you can’t actually go to the gym. Hell, even when I do go to the gym I still do a few sets of burpees because they’re actually that beneficial. You have to engage your entire body when doing burpees, and being mindful of your form and the way you engage each muscle group when doing them can give you optimal results. I like to go at an even pace—not too fast—so I can pay attention and jump all the way up, contract my abs when I go down, and hop all the way out so I get the most out of it. Yes, burpees suck at first, but if you commit to doing even 20 a day, you’ll notice that your legs will feel stronger and your arms may look a little more lean (I did 20 burpees everyday for 30 days in a row and found this out the fun way!).

3. Leg raises. 

I like using my stability ball for these, but if you prefer not to or don’t have one, they can be done without. I basically lie on my back and grip the sides of the ball with my legs. I raise the ball as I raise my legs, and it’s really good for the abs! Even without the ball, these are great for working your stomach. You can even lay on top of a yoga mat if you don’t want to be on the hard ground. I’ve seen other people do these where they can lift the ball all the way into the air and grab it with their hands like this, but I’m not quite there yet so I’m going to keep working at it until I am.

Read also: 20 Ways To Be Healthier In College

These are pretty much the main three exercises I incorporate into any workout I do, and they’re really effective and easy to do right at home. Of course, results don’t happen overnight (though a six pack at the snap of my fingers would be nice) but starting small and working with these until you’re comfortable can make a big difference overall. I’m really confident that I’m going to go back to school feeling stronger and maybe looking slightly more toned.

Do you know of any other easy at-home exercises? Let me know in the comments! 

How To Avoid Overspending On A Shopping Spree

I love shopping. I love buying new outfits for class, for work, and even for cafes because I’m constantly inspired by my favorite tv show characters, and my celebrity role models, not to mention the fact that my tastes have changed quite a bit since freshman year of high school. As a college student whose fashion desires may not always suit her budget, I’ve learned how to still buy the things I want while watching my wallet (or my parents’ wallets!) Here are some things I’ve picked up that help me spend cautiously.

  1. Leave your cards at home; bring cash instead. Isn’t it weird how you don’t feel as bad when you’re swiping a card compared to if you were gingerly pulling bills from your purse one-by-one? Sometimes, that guilt is a good red light going off in your head that tells you to really stop and consider your purchase. You’re less likely to overspend if your method of payment is cash. Only use a credit card if it’s an absolute emergency, or if the purchase is extremely important. Try to avoid making small, frivolous purchases with a credit card, because if you accrue too much interest you may not be able to pay it off.  
  2. Have a plan in place: what exactly are you looking for? I like going shopping with an image already in mind of what I need. Let me re-phrase that: I literally have the picture of what I want in my mind, from the printed pattern to the lace detail. But other times I just write out a list on paper, or I type it on my phone. Maybe this summer you’re looking for crop tops, maxi skirts, and a new pair of sunglasses. Write it down so you don’t forget what you came to the mall for (but if you do forget, that’s understandable — the mall can easily cloud our judgment with all the beautiful things being sold). Knowing exactly what I went shopping for also ensures that I don’t leave with too much unnecessary stuff and none of what I initially went for. 
  3. Stop and think: do I really need this? This is one question that I ask myself if I’m not too sure if I should make the purchase, and I don’t want to spend unnecessarily. Do I really need that hat? Well, it looks cute but I’m not much of a hat person. Another question you might want to consider is: how often will I wear this? It looks good with that mannequin’s outfit, but what other outfits will I wear it with? If you can’t figure out at least a handful of times when you’ll wear the item, then you probably shouldn’t buy it. Will I actually wear it? I have some clothes that still have the tags on them. Needless to say, I probably shouldn’t have made those purchases all those years ago — could’ve saved a nice chunk of change. Sometimes we make purchases in the heat of the moment and then forget all about them. These questions aren’t to dissuade you from buying anything ever again, but rather they’re for helping you reflect on the usefulness of your purchase. 
  4. Will you be comfortable in this? One of the easiest ways to save money when shopping is to simply not spend money on things that won’t make you comfortable. We can often overlook a minor discomfort for a short amount of time, but if a piece of clothing makes you so uncomfortable that you can’t do the tasks you need to do, then it’s not worth the money. This is especially important when buying shoes, because who wants to wear a pair of shoes they can’t walk properly in? Comfort is one of the simplest treasures in life — don’t spend it away. 
  5. Check out the sale racks. Sometimes I find some really good things on sale, then I get really happy because I got them for such a low price which means I saved money. Stores like Charlotte Russe also have a section for ‘last chance’ items — items that unless you snatch them up now at their very, very low price, you’ll never see in stores ever again. Ever. Take a look at that section for something you might like, too. Discounts are a girl’s best friend, after all. 
  6. Look for the best deals on accessories. I love, love, love jewelry so much! Over the years I’ve accumulated a very large collection of earrings, necklaces, bracelets, and rings, but my tastes have changed and I’ve given away a lot of stuff that I don’t put to use anymore that someone else could. When I shop for accessories, I don’t want to spend $10 on just one pair of tiny studs. Forver21 is a good place for finding modest jewelry at a good price. I like shopping at this store called Six for pretty phone cases and bracelets and rings for reasonable prices. Also, don’t grab those 2 for $10 deals if you can’t find a second set that you genuinely like. You’re only wasting money, so you’re better off paying less money for the one pair. 
  7. Be conscious of price tags. You don’t have to be the price tag police, but make sure you’re aware of the general costs of the things you’re buying. Knowing your limit and knowing where you stand on that limit can help you avoid spending more money than you intended to. Another thing I like doing is setting a budget that’s a little less than the total amount of money I have on me. For example, If I have $200, I might set a budget of $125, so that no matter what, I still don’t spend all of my money. 
  8. Can you purchase this item later for a lower price? When you let go of that love for instant gratification, shopping without overspending becomes a lot easier. If you can buy an item in a couple of weeks or a couple of months for significantly cheaper, you should definitely wait. This may not happen often, but sometimes waiting can be the difference between spending at the original price of $300 and spending $200 (which actually happened to me a few months ago, so it was a good thing I waited so long!) Simply waiting is also a good way to spend less money when shopping. Some stores even let you sign up to be among the first notified of when the item goes on sale.  
  9. Look out for online coupons. I never used to concern myself with looking for coupons online, or downloading coupon apps, or anything like that, but after seeing my friends and some family members save a nice chunk of change by finding and being that customer who sits at the cash register waiting for their coupon to go through, I now believe that one should take pride in the lavish use of coupons. For some reason, I actual find the coupon hunt exhilarating because it’s such a rush of excitement when you find a kick-ass deal! 

The next time you see the inside of a mall, I hope you’ll think of these tips for saving money like a pro! What tips do you have for saving money on a shopping spree? Let me know in the comments!

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The Confused College Student’s Guide to Good Note-taking (Part 2)

So now you know which method of note-taking will survive the abyss that is your lecture hall of knowledge. Congratulations. But if you’re not yet sure how to select the fittest method of in-class note-taking for each of your classes, be sure to check out my previous post. As I was saying, so now you know that annotating lecture slides is your go-to note-taking method for that chemistry class, or typing your notes on your laptop is the best way to keep up during a history lecture. Now we have to take things one step further to ensure that you’re grabbing all the important info (a.k.a. stuff that will be on your exams) you need.

You rarely (if at all) get anywhere in life by cutting corners — looking for the easy way out, trying to skip the hard stuff. But when taking notes in class, sometimes you might want to trim the fat off of some edges. I’m pretty much talking about finding ways to make your note-taking easier, which includes learning how to write quickly and efficiently to ensure that you record only what’s important — that unnecessary fat can really weigh you down! So here’s how you can ensure you’re only writing down the necessary information:

Throw capitalization to the wind. You know how it’s just the law of basic grammar to capitalize the names of people, important places, states, etc.? Sometimes when I’m typing my notes I do this instinctively, but sometimes my fingers fumble on the keys when trying to hold the shift key and press a letter. This may sound stupid to you but it does happen and it does waste some time. Your notes are only for you — you aren’t submitting them for an essay contest! You don’t need to get caught up with capitalizing names of people, cities and the like. 

What comma? Punctuation marks such as commas and semi colons are not crucial when it comes to note-taking. You’ll still understand your sentence without a semi colon, so doing away with this kind of punctuation doesn’t take anything away from your lecture notes. 

Use ur abbreviations! Put your texting skills to good use in the classroom! Okay, actually, some people write out full sentences when they text, contrary to what many think, but that’s a story for another time. You’ve probably heard this ad nauseum at any school you’ve ever been to, but truthfully, abbreviating really does save you a lot of time when writing. Sometimes I instinctively write out full words when I could have used an abbreviation that would save me less time so I could focus on writing down other important points. 

Arrows are more than adorable boho print. I like incorporating simple arrows (like this one –>) into my notes to show cause and effect relationships. It’s way easier than writing, “and this lead to the downfall of…” #timesaver. 

Focus on points that demonstrate change. Demonstrating change over time, especially if you’re in a history class or other liberal arts class, is very important for exams and essays. I have a Professor who likes to give a lot of biographical information, which is cool and all (I totally want to know where George Washington got the majority of his teeth from) but I’m not going to write an essay about that! Looking for points that demonstrate change is a good filter to use when trying to figure out what to write down. 

List equations in the margin. If you’re in a math class or chemistry class or some other class I find horrid (because I hate math) then you’ll be working with a ton of equations. Making a list in the margin of your paper specifically for equations will help you single them all out so you don’t have to keep writing them down every time the professor presents a problem with them. This saves time like you will not believe! 

These few points are rather simple, but super useful! They’re great ways to effectively cut corners without taking away from your learning experience, and I’ve definitely found them to be extremely useful! Do you have any other methods for ‘trimming the fat’ from your lecture notes? Let me know in the comments!

 

5 Bad Habits I Got Into This Semester

Ugh. Bad habits – they’re so easy to start, but so difficult to break. Nobody’s perfect, and I’ve definitely had my share of crappy habits this early in the spring semester. The good news is that I caught them pretty early, so I have the rest of the semester to fix myself up a bit. You might find that you got yourself into these habits too, or maybe you’ve had these habits for a while and are looking to break them. Don’t worry, I have your back (so I’m basically the human version of a Golden Retriever). I also have some tips on how to break these bad habits! So without putting you in too much suspense (this isn’t Pretty Little Liars) here are the bad habits I managed to get myself into this semester:

Leaving a mountain of clothes anywhere I feel like. We’ve all been there before: after a long day, we just want to come home, take off the clothing that bore the blood, sweat and tears of the day, get comfy and go to sleep. I return to my dorm pretty late at night on most days – even the days when I don’t have my 10pm class, so after running around, attending meetings, interviewing people and being a student, I succumb to laziness and just throw my clothes on the chair at my desk. So basically, I have zero regard for what can still be re-worn that week and what needs to be tossed in the laundry bag. I have been making comments all week about how much clothing is taking up space on my chair. What’s worse is when I need to actually use the chair (as more than just a place to put clothes) I just grab the gigantic pile and dump it on my bed instead. This, without a doubt, contributes to the clutter in your room and, I don’t know about you but this drives me insane (though, clearly not insane enough that I address is as it happens). I have officially gotten tired of not being able to find clothes when I need it, and just having a cotton mountain be the first thing I see when I open the door.

Solution: Putting a shirt on a hanger, it turns out, isn’t super difficult at all. Even if you don’t have time to completely ‘re-organize’ your closet at night, just folding up whatever you take off and creating a neat pile somewhere other than your bed is helpful. Also, I will start putting dirty clothes to wash as I take them off because throwing a shirt in a laundry bag isn’t that hard either.

Not washing my face at night. You’re probably thinking that this is so gross and wishing that I didn’t just share this with you, but I pride myself on being 100 percent transparent with you. =) So yes, I’m not proud of not washing my face at night (I assure you I wash it in the morning, though) but I’m addressing it as a bad habit. This stems from the same idea in my previous point: laziness as the result of exhaustion. At night, I sometimes feel so sleepy that I don’t want to wash my face or do anything that could potentially alleviate my tiredness other than sleep. So I pretty much just wipe off my makeup with makeup remover wipes, sometimes pat some toner onto my face and go to bed. That’s it. Clearly I have no shits to give when I’m tired as hell. I certainly wished I had stopped being so lazy months ago, because my quest to improve my skin has definitely faltered because of that. That should be motivating me to take care of my face day and night, but instead, I temporarily saw it as an ‘unnecessary’ process. Bad idea!

Solution: If, for whatever reason, you adopted this bad habit like I did, here’s a super simple solution: instead of washing your face right before you’re ready to go to bed, wash your face about an hour and a half before your intended bedtime. Often times, washing your face wakes you right up and you may not be able to fall asleep after doing this. Having a clean face means that you can guiltlessly fall asleep anytime while surfing Instagram or Yik Yak!

Eating chocolate literally every other night. There was a point in time not very long ago (literally last week) when I’d eat chocolate or any chocolate-related edible more or less every other night. Sometimes, I just had a long day and wanted to treat myself – because I am a firm believer in treating yo’self – other times, I just thought of that Kit-Kat bar as dessert after dinner of a vegetarian rice bowl. I also had fun with mixing things up a bit; on Monday, I might have a Kit-Kat bar; if Wednesday was particularly crappy, I bought a generous slice of chocolate mousse cake from my school’s mini bakery; and on a Thursday afternoon I might feel particularly adventurous and hit up the Red Mango on campus for spicy Aztec chocolate flavored froyo. I don’t need to be a nutritionist to know that consumption of this much chocolate is definitely not doing me any favors in the long run; it certainly gave me a sense of instant gratification, but honestly, that’s probably the worst type of gratification. I do not deny that chocolate is incredibly delicious in every way, shape and form, but moderation is definitely key.

Solution: I am actually doing very well with a little experiment I created for myself. It’s a bit of a surprise that I’ll be posting about in a few weeks, so you’ll know all the details of this in a few short weeks! In the meantime, I still have a solution! If you’re as tempted by everything that is good and chocolatey like I am, start by cleaning your kitchen, pantry, or room of everything that contains chocolate (no, not by eating it all!) Give them to your roommate, your siblings, or even just keep them hidden from sight. Next, find healthy substitutes for the Snickers bar you like so much. I began using grapes as a substitute for when I have chocolate as a snack. If you love having a scrumptious chocolate-glazed donut for breakfast with your coffee, try substituting the chocolate donut with maybe a plain old-fashioned donut (which contains less sugar) or even something completely different like my new favorite, the spinach foldover from Starbucks!

Convincing myself that curly fries go with everything. I fell into the habit of eating curly fries with almost everything – grilled cheese sandwiches, burgers, hot dogs – you name it, I will put curly fries on it (yes, even ice cream because why not). Curly fries are like the next best pick-me-up in my opinion (after my beloved chocolate) but they are rather greasy and not something that should be consumed every single night – especially not if you’re trying to get toned abs and arms! Yet, I am super guilty of opening my life up to curly fries. For others, it may not be curly fries specifically – you might have this habit with pizza or take out, or some other unforgiving food item.

Solution: Try to challenge yourself to try a new food item everyday. This is especially cool if you live on a campus with many different dining halls or if you live in an area with a bunch of shops or food stores. If you usually cook and don’t eat out, challenge yourself to try a new recipe every few days. Mixing it up can ensure that you don’t form any new bad habits with other foods that aren’t necessarily good for you. This will broaden your palette and encourage you to be a little adventurous with your tastebuds!

Leaving my dirty dishes there to rot for, like, a week. Okay, I have a busy schedule, so sometimes when I cook for myself in the kitchen, I’ll leave my dirty dishes just sitting in my room for more than just a few days – forks, spoons and all. There are very obvious reasons why you should never do this, including the fact that anyone who comes into your room may be slightly appalled by this. Sometimes, it’s not a time thing, though – I just don’t feel like doing the dishes at that time.

Solution: I know this resonates with most college students who dorm and like to cook in the kitchen, so – from one college kid to another – I have a solution for us all! If you don’t do your dishes because you don’t feel like it, try making scrubbing the crumbs off your plate a little more enjoyable by playing some music while you do your tasks. Music definitely makes everything more fun, and you can always look forward to getting in your daily jam sesh in the company of syrup-covered plates and crumb-speckled bowls. Another way to liven things up a bit is by doing the dishes with friends or roommates. This is an…interesting…way for you to spend quality time with your friends or get to know new roommates. If your issue is that you don’t have time to clean the dishes after dirtying them up, then try allocating time in your schedule specifically for cleaning up after yourself. Yes, your dirt is important too! Setting as part of your schedule gives you more of an obligation to the task, and we all know that scheduling things is basically like setting it in stone, so you pretty much have to do it. Keep in mind that this bad habit may not necessarily be washing the dishes specifically for you; it may be vacuuming your house/apartment, cleaning up your room, etc., but the ideas behind the solutions are the same.

Hopefully reading this blog post didn’t keep you back from anything like, say, doing the dishes! But if they did, at least you procrastinated productively while learning a little bit about what my life has been like for a few weeks (don’t you just love learning new things about people?) Tell me something about yourself –

What bad habits did you get into and how will you fix them? 

 

 

How To (Productively) Survive A Snow Day

You’re laying beneath your toasty comforter, a fresh, white blanket has just covered your campus and you have just receive a magical message from your university informing you of class cancellation for the day. Alas, the mercy of the day is at your hands – with great power comes great responsibility! Okay, I know that bed and Netflix are looking pretty good right about now, but you and I both know damn well that this could lead to some unwanted consequences. Unless you’ve been studying your brains out all week long and can literally puke up the Kreb’s Cycle on command, Netflix will probably have to get in the backseat on this snow day. So instead of burrowing into bed all day long, here are some ways to pick up the pace on your snow day:

  1. Do some winter cleaning. I have met very few of my peers who actually manage to maintain a spotless room throughout the entire semester (yes, these people do exist!) If you barely made it through the first few weeks of classes without accumulating a large pile of God knows what in the dark corner of your room, then use this snow day to finally get to the bottom of your bottomless pit of throwaways. That pile of clothes that has now engulfed your seat at the desk (guilty!) could really use some sorting through. If the floor of your room hasn’t seen a crap-less day yet, now would be a good time to give it a once (or thrice) over. And if you’re garbage can is literally suffering with crumpled up pieces of paper, now-moldy food and the guilt of days past then do yourself a favor and dump it!
  2. Plan out the rest of your week or the following week. I’m basically obsessed with planning, but it doesn’t mean that a little organization can’t help you out! Use this time to match exams, projects and papers to due dates. Even marking down upcoming homework assignments is a great way to help you keep your head in the game and keep your stress levels down – running around like a headless turkey is so not cool anyway. Writing things on calendars is pretty much a second hobby for me, so this serves a dual purpose. Planning out what lies ahead is also a great way to build better organizational skills and improve time management.
  3. Schedule appointments/meetings as needed. Don’t wait for that day when you have five classes in a row, a meeting for the chess club and two papers to finish to actually decide to make a move to schedule important appointments. This is day is the best day to shoot the dietician an email asking for an appointment, or if you need to meet with your professor, there’s no time like the present to call or email and schedule a meeting. Likewise, if any administrative tasks need to be done, or at least need consideration, your snow day is the probably the best day to do them. Plus, you’ll be able to really sit down and think everything through, and once you’ve called up for all the necessary appointments, you can now add them all to the calendar you were just using to plan out your week!
  4. Paint your nails. Hey, a gal can be super busy sometimes and may not even have the time for a quick manicure! It’s best you use this free time rather than class time to get down to your digits. And maybe while you wait for your nails to dry you can read a chapter or two from your textbook for your history class!
  5. Revise class notes. Okay, you’re actually going to do some sort of school work on your snow day! Besides, what kind of snow day survival guide would this be if I didn’t urge you to do school work at some point? You’ve probably heard this since high school and are probably tired of hearing it in college, but the benefits of reviewing class notes while they’re still fresh from lecture are pretty evident. It’ll be way easier to recall the extra statements your professor made about integrals when reviewing your notes earlier rather than waiting a few weeks before the exam to review. You don’t need to spend five hours reviewing notes; even just spending twenty minutes per class is helpful.
  6. Get a head start on lengthy class readings. As a journalism major I can basically talk your ear off about lengthy readings for homework. My classmates and I are enduring some pretty intense crap this semester where reading is concerned. From journal entries to multiple chapters in the textbook, to court cases to the newspaper daily – any of us who have already made the deadly of mistake of putting off work can tell you to jump on it while you have the chance! If your professor wants to ram your skull with knowledge and assigned you a five-chapter reading for homework, then at the very least use your snow day to read one of the five chapters. Bonus points if you make it to two.
  7. Cook a week’s supply of dinner. For those of you who don’t have a meal plan or just prefer to not eat the notorious campus dining hall food (which surprisingly is not like a meal at a five-star restaurant) then chances are your belly relies on what you cook (or don’t) for the day. Cook up a week’s worth of fettuccine in your dorm kitchen and refrigerate what you don’t eat. This way, you won’t need to use your precious study time to cook later in the week. You will literally have food for days!
  8. Go to the gym (if you can make it there!) Personally, I’m not a fan of leaving my dorm if there’s snow (and ice) on the ground, though I do love a good workout. If you are gutsy enough to stalk through the half a foot of snow on the ground through campus to the gym, then I probably don’t even have to tell you that this is a good way to be productive on your day off. The gym is actually has more to offer than just sexy abs and toned arms – this is a great way to escape stress if you’ve been busting your bum all week long. Releasing some of those worries while hitting the treadmill is great for your day off. Now you’ll have more room to worry when classes start again (just kidding!)
  9. Grab lunch or dinner with friends.  One of the reasons why I despise the snow so much is because I worry about slipping and falling on my journey to the dining hall for food (among other things). But, hey, if I’m going to slip and fall, I’m going to slip and fall in the company of my friends so we can all laugh together. Then maybe one of them will slip and fall and we can all laugh at that person together. Everything is better with friends – especially foolishly struggling to maintain balance on icy turf. Using part of this snow day to grab a bite with buddies doesn’t cut into a rigorous daily schedule, so you won’t have to worry about missing out too much about staying on track for the day. Plus, maybe repeatedly complaining to your friends about all the exams you have coming up will help you remember their dates!

Many of these are how I’d typically spend my snow day (which I actually had today). They don’t all have to be plagued with binge watching Grey’s Anatomy (really good show) or Snapchatting how bored you are in your room.

What’s your favorite way to spend a snow day? 

My Blood-Pumping Workout Playlist

You don’t have to be a gym junkie (almost me) to enjoy the company of a few tunes while your legs move on that elliptical. Random fun fact about me: I love sweating! Yes, you read me right. That’s something you probably won’t hear every person say, but sweating feels good to me so I like to listen to something that can make me do just that!

Getting in the zone…

Music takes my mind to another universe. It’s not just something I play to drown out the strained grunts of people benching more than they can take. When I first set foot on the treadmill I like to have a few minutes of music that prepares my mind to go on a (well-deserved) journey. This is anything that can get my in the mood to really give my all during my workout. Here are some songs that I think are perfect for the job (btw, you may notice a shift in genre at some point!)

  1. ‘Wildest Dreams’ by Taylor Swift I’m not a HUGE T.Swift fan but I’m in love with this song! I like playing this song first because it helps me get my mind prepped for the flight away from college, assignments and people who annoyed me that day. It’s so flowy and light – like a dream. Is it weird that I sometimes imagine I’m doing a waltz to this song?
  2. ‘Bitch, I’m Madonna’ by Madonna ft. Nicki Minaj This is one of those songs where it’s expected that you just dance like no one’s looking (okay, I’ll admit that sometimes on the elliptical it might look like I’m dancing a little. Might). This is a great song to help me begin picking up speed and increasing my heart rate!
  3. ‘Feelings’ by Maroon 5 This is also a song that I use if I want to increase my heart rate or keep it up. It definitely has an energetic vibe to it, and what better place to let out all that energy than the gym!?
  4. ‘Can’t Remember to Forget You’ by Shakira ft. Beyonce Yet another song that makes me want to stop what I’m doing and dance. Are you noticing a trend here?
  5. ‘Limbo’ by Daddy Yankee I do love some energetic Spanish music when working out! This is song is one of my all time favorites. Plus I’m still trying to maintain a high heart rate at this point.
  6. ‘Baile Privado’ by Prophex This one is a super small break. It’s definitely danceable but slightly more toned down than my last few songs. This is a good time for me to grab a few sips of water while walking briskly on the treadmill.
  7. ‘Pegate Mas’ by Dyland and Lenny Now I’m back up there! This one is more energetic than the previous one and it will help me advance toward my period of going harder.

Picking up power…

So this is where things really get heated…The songs I go for at this point in my workout are songs that will really help me push myself further and harder and just keep going. You don’t just want to dance when you hear these songs, you want to really move and give everything you’ve got!

  1. ‘Gimme’ by Beenie Man Truthfully, I’m not too sure how to describe this song. It’s just great for going hard and really kicking those heels up! You cannot be caught sitting down if this song is playing! It’s impossible!
  2. ‘Kotch’ by RDX This is more of a Caribbean song that’s kind of heavy in some places but perfectly danceable! Warning: You might receive confused looks from your fellow gym-goers as you basically dance wildly to this song.
  3. ‘I Need Your Love’ by Shaggy This song is so catchy and has a vibrant personality. I can literally imagine myself somewhere exotic jamming to this. You won’t even notice how much you’re sweating because your mind will be in the islands.
  4. ‘Drop it Low’ by Kat De Luna This one has a great bass beat – perfect for when you’re lifting or using assisted weight machinery.
  5. ‘Locked Away’ by R. City ft. Adam Levine Okay, here’s where I can take a sip of water and dial down the power just a little bit, but still keep moving to keep my heart rate up.
  6. ‘Booty Wurk’ by T-pain Time to build up again. If you hopped off the treadmill, I recommend doing squats to this song.
  7. ‘Centuries’ by Fallout Boy I like this song for doing “burn-out” workouts where you just keep going and don’t stop. This is also great if you’re workout using concepts from H.I.I.T. The heavy periods of the song are great for high speed intervals.
  8. ‘Phoenix’ by Fallout Boy This one is a little heavier than the previous, which makes it awesome for really putting it all out there when you’re coming up on your final big push.
  9. ‘Exes and Ohs’ by Elle King I’m too in love with this song right now! I literally play it twice because the rock genre is so great for really making me move my feet, and plus I adore singing this song – with or without an audience!

Cool down…

It’s time to take it easy once and for all. Your heart rate need to come down, and this is where it’s easier to get away with gulping water as you walk the final quarter. Let your mind slowly recede from your rocker workout and into slightly more calm and paced activity.

  1. ‘Here’ by Alessia Cara This song is very light and catchy – super great for closing your eyes and just absorbing it all.
  2. ‘Tennis Court’ by Lorde Lorde is one of my favorite artists and Tennis Court is just a great song so I have to include it on my playlist!
  3. ‘Glory and Gore’ by Lorde This is my favorite song by Lorde! It’s very deep and the lyrics reflect more serious ideas, like ones surrounding consequence. This song can literally put you in a deep daze while you cool off.
  4. ‘White Teeth Teens’ by Lorde This one has some sort of charm to it, maybe because of her tone in it. It’s certainly not as deep as Glory and Gore but this song will put you in more of a content trance.
  5. ‘Buttons’ by Pussycat Dolls Okay, you have to end your workout on a fierce but relaxed note (is there even such a thing as that combination?) Buttons is kind of sexy but takes things really slow, so you can be fiery and passionate while still letting the sweat on your back air dry during the last three minutes of your workout!

I hope you really enjoyed reading through my list of songs that I just must play (and dance to) while I workout!

What songs are on your workout playlist? 

 

How To Survive Boxing Class

For the past five months, I’ve had the awesome opportunity to take a boxing class called Pink Gloves Boxing at my college. Let me tell you, I couldn’t be happier with my experiences! Sure, I’m a pretty tough girl (despite what my blog title might imply) so when the going gets rough, I don’t back down. I’ve graduated from Tier I and am now off to Tier II. Over the last few months, I’ve come together with many different girls: some who never even dreamed they’d be wrapping their hands and putting on boxing gloves; some who thought they were ‘too weak’ for boxing and wouldn’t last a minute against a punching bag, but just wanted to try it out anyway; and some who asked themselves what they had gotten into when they set foot inside the room. Like any other physically demanding sport, boxing comes with potential risks for participants. Things may not always go as expected, which may have you questioning what exactly you signed up for. To help you keep your head (because let’s face it, decapitated isn’t a good look on you) I’ve compiled a list tips for surviving boxing class that can counter the butterflies in your stomach (unless you really like boxing so the butterflies are a good thing!)

  1. Wear proper shoes that won’t have you yanking them off after class is over. Appropriate footwear is essential to having a successful workout session, no matter what fitness class you participate in. For my boxing class, a pair of sneakers with good traction is ideal because we did a lot of exercises such as ‘mountain climbers’ that require that you don’t slide your feet all over the place! Make sure you’re also wearing shoes that don’t hurt the bottoms of your feet. I’m flat-footed so I need sneakers with the necessary adjustments to ensure that I’m not cringing at every step I take after a workout. You will be on your feet the entire class because there is significant footwork that goes along with boxing.
  2. Bring water bottles with a straw. No, just a regular old water bottle will not suffice – what were you even thinking!? Just kidding (kind of). Having water with you is absolutely necessary regardless of what you put it in – recyclable water bottle, reusable water bottle, canteen, plastic container that once housed your leftover meatloaf – you name it! But pro tip: use a straw! You’ll have boxing gloves on and you might not want to take them off mid-workout. I mean, have you ever tried to unscrew a cap without fingers? I really like the water bottles from PINK. They hold 24 ounces, come with their ever-so convenient straw for easy sipping and they’re super cute! You can check those out here.  And here we all thought that straws were just good for sipping lemonade on a hot summer day. Turns out they’re a pretty badass way to help you drink water from your meatloaf container easier.
  3. Become an expert at hand wraps. Your hand wraps are your ultimate protection against injury – well, that and proper punching technique! Pink Gloves Boxing taught students how to properly wrap their hands to avoid injury. It was literally Day 2 of class so it must be super important, right? There are many different techniques for wrapping your hand, and, in fact, some boxers even develop their own style of hand wrapping. Some well-seasoned boxers, might I add. For now, follow the hand wrapping instructions as set by your instructor. Become so good at it that you could actually teach boxing newbies how to wrap their own hands (I could literally wrap mine in my sleep). There will not be a single day when you will not have to wrap your hands during boxing, so make sure you do yourself a favor and learn how to.
  4. Stop looking at what everyone else is doing. Who cares that some girl in your class can do a crazy hook-jab-punch combo at gear 5 and you can only barely wrap your head around it at gear 1? Who cares that the girl next to you has flawless form when doing push-ups but macaroni bends better than you do? Stop. Looking. At. What. Other. People. Are. Doing. If you’re too busy getting hung up on the idea that you’re slow compared to everyone else or everyone else is so good and you’re just eh, then you aren’t allowing yourself the proper environment (or attitude) needed to learn and grow. Go at your own pace. If you need to slow things down to really understand them, then you do you and let other people do them. What good are you doing yourself if you sacrifice form for speed just because you think you have something to prove?
  5. Get to know your fabulous fellow boxers. A huge part of Pink Gloves Boxing was an emphasis on community. Yes, you learn at your own pace, but you learn in the midst of a group of people who are there to do the same things you’re there to do. If you weren’t lucky enough to successfully force  persuade your friends to take a boxing class with you, then try to buddy up with some of the new people you’ve met. Friends make it possible for you to get through even the hairiest of times. Find someone you can make conversation with while you wrap your hands, or someone you can laugh off your boxing blunders with. Getting to know new people will make the experience even more fun and worthwhile and will show you that even though you might’ve come alone, you won’t leave alone.
  6. Put 110% into your workout. Make everything count! Crappy at push-ups? Keep going and tryKeep trying and you will be able to get a little bit better each time. I say this out of personal experience! Instructor told you to punch as fast as you can for 20 seconds but you’re cheaping out and going hard for the first 10 seconds and then slowing it down out of laziness afterward? Tsk, tsk, tsk. You’re only cheating yourself. Make sure you do everything with purpose because that’s the only way you’ll really get something out of the class. Everyone who took the class with me said they enjoyed every minute of it. That’s because we all put our best foot (and our non-dominant foot) forward (excuse my sad attempt at making a boxing related joke). You won’t feel as satisfied if you don’t really work for it. You won’t feel as satisfied knowing you didn’t sweat that day.
  7. Don’t be afraid to admit your mistakes (and then laugh them off). You will probably screw up in front of the instructor while practicing and he or she will notice and you will know that he or she noticed. The first step toward fixing a mistake is admitting that you’ve made one. Sidenote: I can’t even tell if I’m so inspirational as hell that I just made that up off the top of my head or I heard it somewhere and I just think that I made it up. Anyway, what good will come out of crying over spilled milk, or a jab that should have been a straight? Being able to pick yourself back up regardless of the blunder is what will help you get through the day. Bonus points if you can laugh it off afterward. So what if everyone saw you get nailed in the head because you didn’t duck in time? Yesterday’s history and tomorrow’s a mystery – who knows what you’ll get punched for forgetting to do.
  8. Don’t be discouraged by being #2…or #3 or #4 I used to be obsessed with being the #1 of my class. I kid you not. From the moment I could add 2 + 2 together, I’ve always prided myself in being the best at what I do. I could never handle being benched by someone else too well, and I always came back with a vengeance for being the winner. In our class, being #1 was a petty issue, and never anyone’s top concern. I learned to be okay with not being the best – not being the one everyone stared at in awe because I knew exactly what I was doing. I learned that I didn’t have to feel threatened by someone who was ‘better’ than I was. Yes, differences existed, but that wasn’t important to any of us. What mattered was doing what we came there to do – learn something new, support each other and better ourselves. No lie – not worrying about coming out on top is a huge weight off your shoulders. Now you have enough room to worry about having a good time.

My boxing experience with Pink Gloves Boxing was an incredible one that I learned so much from. If you’re looking for more info on PGB, you can check them out here. With these tips to help you along your way, you won’t just learn how to survive your boxing class; you’ll learn how to accomplish. 

 

What College Actually Did To My Sleeping Pattern

College can do some…interesting…things to a person. Maybe you were once a slob but after a few years of being forced to learn how to conserve every ounce of precious space, you picked up what you were lacking in the organization department. Or maybe once upon a time your outfits were always on point but college has introduced you to the beauty of wearing your pajama pants to class when you just don’t give a rat’s behind. For me, my sleeping habits have been altered in an interesting way.

I was always used to waking up early. I wouldn’t call myself a happy early bird that sings with the bright morning sun (to be honest, sunlight annoys me) but waking up early and getting my butt out of bed and on my way to getting dressed for school was a normal thing for me. While my high school peers complained about waking up ‘early’ at 7:30am for class at 8:20, I always took pride in shutting them down by adding that I got out of bed at 5:30am to leave the house an hour later.

It’s rumored that 8:30am college classes are the absolute worst, but I thought I was up to the so-called ‘challenge.’ This past semester, though, due to the availability of some of my classes, I ended up with days when I didn’t have my first class until 1pm and then no class at all on Fridays. It was a relief knowing that I had class late in the day because for me that meant that the night before I could stay up as late as I’d like to do assignments and study. Plus, because I took a lot of evening classes this semester, I was usually more free at night to do work. Going to bed later than I was used to nudged me to wake up a little later.

I also found myself sleeping in later than normal because I had a little extra time in the morning. Okay, more than just a little extra. Previously, ‘sleeping in’ to me used to mean waking up at 9am. After this semester, it got to a point where waking up at 11:30 in the morning on weekends and on those glorious 1pm class days became ‘sleeping in.’ I cringe a little at early morning classes and do my best to avoid them because I learned that it actually feels kind of good to not wake up with the birds.

But then I brought that habit home with me for winter break and that’s when it actually hit me that this was something that I developed. All those years of waking up early like it was my job turned into sleeping in, which now seemed so easy. Is this just a habit or is it a bad habit because of the misconception that millennials are lazy and I’m basically adding fuel to the fire by sleeping in? I surprisingly don’t know where I stand on my feelings toward this change. I have just come to realize that college forces us to adapt in interesting ways. Besides, I would assume that someone with the opposite situation would become accustomed to waking up early and thus it would now be easier for them to do so. If we pay attention enough, we might find more changes and different habits forming.

I truly do wonder if I’ll be able to get back into that once-familiar grind of waking up annoyingly early. Maybe. College, after all, is full of push factors that can influence any aspect of our lives.

What’s your idea of sleeping in? 

My Review Of Blogger Babes’ Book 3: Blog Content

Just yesterday as I was going through my email, I came across this splendid offer from Blogger Babes, a community that brings together female bloggers and gives them the resources they need to go from writing as a hobby to writing as a profession – all on their own terms. You can find out more about Blogger Babes here. Anyway, the email was an offer to download a free copy of their Book 3: Blog Content. Even though I’ve been blogging for two years now, this is the first time I’ve made an investment toward a website of my own, so I’d like to learn how to write content that’ll knock people’s socks off! In a word, I was psyched about this book. I downloaded it for free on Amazon for the kindle. The original price of the book is $4.99, but who doesn’t love free stuff? After reading the book and making note of eye-catching strategies and things that really stood out to me, here are my thoughts on the book:

The format was simple but not boring. I sometimes have the attention span of a parrot. I’ll admit that sometimes when I read books, my mind kind of wanders from time to time and it’s like I’m reading words on a page without understanding them. I don’t need my eighty-something college professor to tell me that that doesn’t allow me to read effectively. This book, however, held my attention from start to finish. The text is very easy to understand and I truly liked seeing the small splashes of pink used for headings (because black and pink are a match made in color heaven). 

All concepts were explained well. Clarity is really important, especially when trying to teach someone something. Authors Heidi Nazarudin and Ponn Sabra introduced problems and offered solutions in a concise way that still left me feverishly jotting down notes in praise. 

I was definitely able to learn something new. Well, I learned a lot of somethings from this book. I was already familiar with a few ideas, but the ones I had never really thought about seemed like game-changers! In the eight days since I officially launched my new website, my page views have been…eh. Definitely not where I wanted them to be, however they were exactly as I envisioned them. The points made in this book were literally a huge wave of confidence washing over me because I knew I’d be able to put them to good use and benefit from them. In fact, here are some of my favorite points made by Heidi and Ponn: 

  • Get in the Mood.” As you might have guessed, you need to find the optimal time of day and setting for you to write posts. Certain factors may actually make your work sloppy and you need to be on top of your game to create kick-ass content. This point made me excited because I already know that I write some of my best work at night just before going to bed. For some reason at that time I just have this big surge of energy and creativity, and writing posts is way better than bouncing off the walls and annoying the hell out of my roommate. I’m also at the top of my blogging game when I’m sitting at Starbucks. The dim lighting, light background noise, high tables and smell of coffee let my creative juices flow way easier!
  • Pitch a few ideas to magazines and company websites. This sounds like a great way to make connections with publications. I’m still in college but I could use all the connections and publicity I can get! I’m already thinking of some other websites that I can pitch ideas and submit articles to. Upon doing some research I found that Cosmopolitan actually pays you $100 to submit an article to them! Of course, you only get the money if they decide to publish your article, but knowing that you’ve got a shot is great motivation! I’m totally getting on this ASAP.
  • “Common Blog Problems.” Seriously, my heart was literally racing every time I read another problem because I had to mentally double check with myself to make sure I included all the components the book mentioned on my blog. One point made was on the ease of use of the comments section. I realized that I should double check that and set out to make commenting on my blog as easy as possible for users (because, to be honest if I have to sign into some other account from a pop-up window and my internet is already slow as hell, I’m going to get frustrated and just not comment!)
  • Allow guest posts. Even though I’ve seen tons of collaborations on YouTube videos, the thought of allowing another blogger to make a submission to my own blog had never crossed my mind. Sadly, I am the only blogger that I actually know (as opposed to know of) but this just means I’ll have to do a little digging and reaching out to some well established bloggers. In the end it’ll all be worth it!

These are just a few of the points mentioned that really caught my attention. Overall, this book definitely got me thinking about my content in a new way. I actually figured out another way to add a little piece of myself to my blog in an interesting way that could help me stand out from other blogs that go along the same lines as mine! I realized that adding editorial-style posts on things going on with fashion, food, etc. might be a cool way for me to mix things up a bit from time to time. Plus, I do have lots of experience writing editorial-style pieces. It’d be an even better way for me to assert my (sassy) opinions.

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This book showed me that even though writing/blogging is a hobby, with some extra keen attention and fine tuning, I could seriously have blog posts that’ll really keep ’em coming and build a great business. This book is great and I can’t wait to read the others!

JS

My New Year’s Resolutions

Confession time: I’ve never made New Year’s resolutions! However, I am familiar with this yearly “tradition” of sorts that many tend to take part in. It makes sense. What more inspirational way to ring in the new year than to pledge to make improvements to your life? But phase two of this tradition includes breaking every single resolution within the first month of making them. Suddenly those life improvements don’t seem so important or exciting anymore. This is what has become a societal “norm.” When you tell your friends that your resolution is to lose 10 pounds, chances are they’re rolling their eyes at you and thinking, I give her two weeks before she gives up. Well, anyone who knows me knows that I tend to defy common thoughts held by society (totally on purpose). Seriously, anyone who tells me that I won’t stick to my resolutions will earn a death glare, free of charge. Who are you to label me or anyone else a failure “ahead of time”? To kick off the new year, and to show that amazing resolutions can come in tiny packages, I have my first ever list of New Year’s resolutions to share with you!

  1. Stop eating junkfood out of boredom. You don’t have to be a doctor to know that excessive junkfood is bad for you in the long run. Even if you can’t physically see the effects of eating all those cookies, cakes, chips and crap, it doesn’t mean that they aren’t doing bad things to you internally. I already know that I can go weeks without eating sweets (chocolate, etc.) because I’ve done it before. However, at some point during the semester, I felt like having a chocolate bar as a midnight snack and a well-needed pick-me-up. One chocolate bar one night turned into a chocolate bar every night, which turned into a pint of ice cream a few times a week! I had completely destroyed my no junkfood streak to the point where I’d go out and get junky snacks because I was literally bored and wanted to chew on something! Um, no. This isn’t going to cut the mustard this time!
  2. Travel around the city more. I always get weird looks when I tell people I’m from the boroughs of New York but I very rarely go to Manhattan. Always. It’s kind of disappointing to know that I wouldn’t be able to give clear (or correct) directions around the city if I ever needed to. Plus, I personally would like to explore some of the hidden gems in the city. Everyone knows the Statue of Liberty, Rockefellar Center and such (which I’ve neber visited, by the way) but I’d like to skip that and go hunting for the lesser known awesome places in the city. I have nothing against the fabulous landmarks in our city, I’d just like to explore the way I want to explore.
  3. Make new friends. This is especially important for me because some of my absolute closest friends who I met in college are seniors and are graduating this spring! Sure, I know some people my age but I didn’t always click with them the way I clicked with my older friends. I’ll be losing my Zumba buddy, sadly. While I still plan to keep in touch with my friends after they graduate, it’s equally important that I meet new people and grow new friendships. I’m sometimes good at starting conversations with random people, but following up is where I have the issue. I don’t always text people asking if they want to grab dinner or if they want to study together sometime. I really should because these are super easy ways to get to know someone new and build a friendship. But that’s what the new year is for – working on a few things!
  4. Gain membership into blogger networks. I’ve been blogging for two years now, but this is my first super legit website/blog and it’d be really cool to gain valuable insight from being part of blogger networks. There are two networks I already have in mind: The Her Campus Blogger Network and Blogger Babes. Blogger Babes is especially cool because it can help female bloggers be competitive in the industry while fostering a sense of community and oneness. Plus, gaining membership will give me a step in the right direction and show me that every ounce of work I’ve put into my website is paying off.
  5. Enhance my makeup skills. I’m fairly decent with applying foundation, winging my eyeliner, making my eyelashes look ginormous and doing pretty eyeshadow, but I’d definitely like to pick up a few new skills and master some new makeup looks. There are so many ways to do a smoky eye and I’d like to find one way that’s completely my own. I also want to learn how to make wild eyeshadow colors look flawless! Yes, I would be that girl walking through campus with yellow, green and orange eyeshadow and I would totally own it! To do this I will try to go to free beauty classes offered by Sephora stores to those who are members (like I am). I will also try looking around for other makeup events and such around the city (Whoo! Resolution #2).
  6. Practice photography and improve skills. As a blogger, I feel that having great photography skills of your own will help you out immensely because you’ll be pulling stockphotos off the internet less and less if you have your own fabulous masterpieces to put online. Plus, in the journalism industry (especially magazine journalism) if you can take your own high quality pictures, it’s a huge advantage when looking for employment because more and more content platforms are pushing for original photographs to accompany articles. I’ve been playing around with my iphone and trying to take better pictures using that for now, but I’d like to get a DSLR camera so I can really take pics like a pro.
  7. Enhance mental skills. Ever wonder what hidden abilities you might possess? No, I don’t expect to be able to move my eyeshadow palette with my mind (yet) but I definitely know that I want to be able to use my brain more. We probably all have more mental capacity than we might think, but the truth is, more often than not, we are slowing down. I want to pick up speed and be sharp as a tack. There are dozens of apps nowadays that allow you to train your brain and stretch cognition. I’ve tried some in the past (which can be addicting but frustrating if you don’t hit the goal you want to hit) but I have never sought to make it a habit, until now, that is. Thinking can be improved, problem solving can be improved, not to mention other cool abilities. Telekinesis is overrated, anyway.
  8. Get my first paying part-time job. Confession: I’m a sophomore in college and I’ve never had a paying part-time job. Ever. I’ve been an intern and volunteered before but I’ve never performed a task for monetary compensation. I would really like to get on that part-time employment train. Making my own money means that I’ll have more responsibility to save and monitor it properly, which is actually a really good thing because it teaches you habits that you’ll have to have when you’re older. Plus, I’ll be able to add to my list of references and experience by getting a job.
  9. Start reading again. I used to be able to go through novels in a day. That’s right, a day. I used to devour books and could recall every detail in them. When I got to high school, I stopped reading during lunch and instead listened to whatever gossip was going around the table that day. Now, reading books for class seems like a chore, and my reading speed has definitely slowed. My passion for writing started with my passion for reading, after all, and it would be great to get back into the reading zone.
  10. Get my clarinet fixed and play again. I’ve been a band geek for nearly 10 years. My instrument of choice: the clarinet. After high school, a key on my clarient broke and I never got it fixed. I’ve definitely been meaning to pick it up and play again, especially an awesome Game of Thrones cover, but I can’t do that with a broken key! I hope this will be the year for me to get it fixed and back in shape so I can get back to playing in my free time.
  11. Learn more Italian. I took Italian during my freshman year of college and it’s a really great language! I definitely would like to travel to Italy someday and being able to speak the language would be pretty helpful. My goal here is to refresh my memory on what I’ve learned and learn new things about the language and culture.

I hope you enjoyed reading my New Year’s Resolutions and I hope I even inspired you to make your own – no matter how big or small! Have a Happy New Year guys!

What are your New Year’s Resolutions? 

JS

7 Ways To Make Healthier Choices At Starbucks

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Can’t seem to stay away from Starbucks but the nutritionist keeps kicking your butt about making healthier choices? Trust me, I know the feels. I became a Starbucks lover during my second semester of college. The food and beverages there make a pretty good dynamic duo. Believe me when I say that biting into a delicious snowman sugar cookie with one hand and slowly sipping an iced green tea latte with the other is a pretty satisfying event. But, sadly, like any other order from any other chain restaurant across the country, you’re ‘usual’ may not be the healthiest choice for you. You may gain a few pounds from the sugary drinks or you might not make the correct breakfast options. Since it’s way too hard to just quit cold turkey and not go to Starbucks, here are a few ways you can make your order a little healthier.

  1. Skip the whip. Yes, the double chocolate chip frappuccino from the poster looks divine with the whipped cream on top, but trust me when I say, you don’t actually need the whipped cream. In my mind, it isn’t so much because of extra calories as it is because of extra sugar. Much like pretty little snowflakes, all calories are not created the same. Therefore, I personally place a higher value on the quality of calories over the quantity. Whipped cream is added sugar right on top of your frappuccino. You aren’t going to give up on life and die without it.
  2. Opt for a small sized frappuccino. I used to guzzle venti frappuccinos like it was my job (but for the record, I would’ve been really good at it). Downgrading to a tall (a.k.a. small) frappuccino will not only save that impending hole in your wallet, but some crappy calories and sugar too. Besides, when you order a vent, you get 2/3 of the way done and you feel like puking anyway.
  3. Refreshers are a delicious item to try. I was introduced to the fabulous cool lime refresher, and, let me tell you, it was a deliciously healthier discovery. Refreshers actually contain about a quarter of the amount of sugar that frappuccinos contain. Shocking, isn’t it? They come in three flavors but my absolute favorite for all of eternity is the cool lime refresher. Plus, there are real slices of lime in your drink! If for some reason you end up thinking that these refreshers taste like watered down fruit, then getting tea is always another great substitution. I highly recommend the unsweetened peach green tea.
  4. Have a meal, not a snack, with your morning coffee. If you’re going to go to Starbucks for breakfast, actually have breakfast, not a snack! That sugar cookie with your iced vanilla latte is absolutely not a meal! You have three meals a day to intake nutrients; don’t waste them! Sure, a brownie is great as a small snack in between meals, but not as a replacement for the most important meal of the day! Go for the hot oatmeal with your coffee. If you’re like me and think that oatmeal is really demonic sludge, have a toasted bagel instead. You’ll have way more energy with a better breakfast choice, just no annoying sugar high.
  5. Ditch the muffins, cakes and super sweet pastries. They’re good to look at and eat sparingly, but a crumb cake a day does not keep the doctor away. Your dentist might be after you, however. Anyway, these items have more sugar than anyone really needs. Swap these with a bistro box that includes apple slices or grapes, crackers, cheese, etc.
  6. Choose hot breakfast over pre-packaged breakfast. I admit it – those turkey pesto paninis are so good! But the sodium isn’t! Pre-packaged foods that require refrigeration (or must be kept frozen) contain way too much sodium compared to their fresher counterparts. The panini will have to go, and so will that flatbread sandwich you’re always eyeing. The sausage, egg and cheese sandwich at Starbucks is one of the hot breakfast items that aren’t pre-packaged, and therefor contain less sodium. There are other hot menu items that you’ll find delicious that don’t require plastic wrap.
  7. Drop the bottled iced coffee (but not literally because it might break).  The bottled iced lattes are good, but they weigh in pretty heavy on the sugar scale. Asking for a small (unbolted) caramel iced coffee with sugar free syrup cuts down on the sugar. Remember that Starbucks is extremely versatile when it comes to customizing your drinks. You can tailor them to your specific needs.

I hope this maybe taught you something you didn’t already know (or reinforced your knowledge if you already knew these things). Will I stay away from Starbucks forever and ever? Nope! Will I follow my own advice to make healthier changes? Absolutely!

How do you make healthier choices at Starbucks? 

JS