Beauty Sleep – Yeah, it’s really a thing

You’ve all heard the phrase, “get your beauty sleep.” But have you ever put any credence into the saying? Well, I am here to tell you that it is a real thing. Getting 7-9 hours of sleep nightly can do wonders for your overall health and well-being, but it also is amazing (and natural) “therapy” for your skin and hair.

Here are just some highlights of what beauty sleep (7-9 hours per night) can do:

healthy skinLess puffy eyes – not only does sleep keep the puffiness and bags to a minimum, but it also aids in reducing the appearance of dark circles. And who doesn’t need want that?!

healthy skinGives you that healthy glow – this is one of the benefits that will be visible almost immediately. After only a few nights of quality sleep, people will start to comment on how good you look!

healthy skinFewer fine lines and wrinkles – skin produces collagen, aka plumper, overnight while we sleep. Plumper skin = fewer wrinkles!

healthy skinHealthier hair – blood flow decreases from lack of sleep and this results in weaker strands, which we all know, leads to breakage.

Beauty Sleep

I usually get 8-9 hours of sleep nightly. Our whole family turns in at the same time each night — 9:00pm. I’d love to tell you that I do it for radiant skin, but I actually turn into a grumpy disaster at about 9:15pm, so it’s really to avoid that whole mess!

How many hours of sleep do you get each night?

Until Next Time,
Meg

Top 6 Body Weight Exercises – No Gym Required

top body weight exercises

Body weight exercises are hands down the most convenient exercises simply because they require only floor space rather than equipment. There are a wide variety of effective body weight exercises out there — simply google it and you will see what I’m talking about. Here I’ve listed my top 6 favorites. You can do all 6 in a sequence for an optimal workout, or simply choose one to do to kill time such as I do (see my IG post below – hehe).

Now, on to my favorite body weight exercises! In no particular order…

Push-Ups

You had to know that good ol’ fashioned push-ups would make this list. They work your arms. They also work your core, your quads, your booty, your back — who knew they were a full body move?!

Push-ups are effective regardless of whether you do them on your knees or up on your toes (on your finger-tips or with one arm, for that matter!) as long as you are doing them with the correct form. Speaking of correct form, here are some tips from one of my fellow FitFluential Ambassadors!

Squats

Here is another one that you knew would find on this list. Squats go back to ancient Greek wrestling days… Okay, I totally made that up, but they are one of the best lower body exercises there is. Again, proper form is a MUST to see results plus stay injury free. FitFluential gives a thorough description of what a squat should look like here.

Plank

Whether you do plank up on your hands or down on your elbows, it is one of The. Most. Effective. full-body exercises there is…once again, with proper form. I know, quit harping on us about form! Susie over at Suzlyfe, gives a detailed explanation of proper form in this post. I try and get in at least one minute every day and typically do it right after my run — sometimes even in the grass.

Bridge-Ups

I love to do these post run or post workout. At least in the first 15 seconds it feels like a cool down (almost like child’s pose). However, when held for 2 minutes, that sensation becomes much more painful than any cool down should be! Bridge pose works your hamstrings, calves, core, quads, glutes, shoulders, making it pretty much a full body exercise as well. My goal is 2 minutes per day. If you want to change it up and work more of the inner thigh (and who doesn’t?!) try adding a pillow or yoga block between your knees or one of these other variations from PopSugar Fitness!

Bridge Ups with PopSugar Fitness

Wall Sit

As seen above, I usually do 2 minutes of wall sitting each day — in my dress clothes — at my office. My routine is to do 1 minute while waiting for the Keurig to brew my cup of coffee then repeat for my second cup of coffee. Only once has someone walked into the breakroom to find me sitting on the wall!

Not sure how to do a proper wall sit? Let Tara from A Daily Dose of Fit explain!

Hand Stand

This on is really a bonus and not necessarily one of my favorite moves (mostly because I am not very good at it (case in point, my epic fail video below). That being said, I do enjoy a quick handstand post run, usually in my yard using a tree to help balence me initially (again, see below). In order to hold a good hand stand, you must stay tight all over and focused, which is what makes this such a good full body exercise. For tips, scorll through Cat Valdez’ IG feed.

What body weight exercises are your favorites? Have you ever been caught by one of your co-workers doing a wall sit while waiting for coffee? ūüôā

Until Next Time,
Meg

Welcome to My Mid Work-Life Crisis?

Happy Friday Everyone!

I am super excited for today, mostly because it’s FRIDAY and I really really need a break. I’m also excited because my daughter has her second Cross Country meet tomorrow and I can’t wait to watch her run! She’s in junior high and giving XC a try mostly because we asked her to, but she has amazing (untapped) talent. She’s a natural and just doesn’t know it yet.

On the subject of untapped talent…

I think I’m going through a just-before-mid- life crisis. Does that even exist? Maybe I should call it a mid-worklife crisis. ¬†I’m still in my 30s, so I don’t think it qualifies as mid-life, and it’s specifically about my career life, but either way, it feels like a crisis.Maybe it's not a midlife crisis

Just to give you the back story:

I’m in a job that I like…sort of. I have a great boss, the best boss, actually. I’m pretty sure if it wasn’t for my boss, I would be looking for another job. Not to get into the details, but I come home frustrated Every. Single. Day. It’s like when you can see where you need to get and you can see the path to get there. But then others (that should be on your team) throw up obstacles and now I have to be an American Ninja Warrior to even see the goal. That is my day — every day. So, I’m grumpy a lot and I don’t like that.

I took some time to do self-reflection and to think about what I truly wanted out of life. I’m at a place where my kids are getting involved in sports and activities. I love to be able to go to all of their events and really hate to miss out on nightly family time. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not leaving my current job. I’ve worked really hard to get into this type of position. I’m on several statewide boards that I love, and I have several projects that I could never walk away from. But I need something more, something fun and something that is about ME. My relfection points me to my passions: fitness, helping people feel better about themselves, wellness, etc.

Which brings me to two major (what I feel are major) steps to change the course of my work life…

The first: I had a phone consultation with a NASM professional about signing up to become a Certified Personal Trainer. What?! you say. How is simply having a phone consultation a big, life-altering plunge? This was a big step for me. I have contemplated becoming a CPT for years and have never told anyone! So a big step was talking to my husband and admitting that it is really something that I want and then to take it a step further and talk to a rep seems like a big step to me. Stay tuned to see if I actually sign up for the course!NASM

The second life-altering decision: I became a RODAN + FIELDS consultant! I know, you’re thinking, “network marketing”? I thought that too, but I’m doing this, you guys. I’m ALL IN. I actually started in early July. It has already been a great opportunity for personal growth. Besides making some extra money and getting a discount on really good skincare, it has opened me up to a whole world of networking. You might not know this about me, but I’m an extroverted introvert or an introverted extrovert (I’m not sure which it is). I like people, but I like people that I know. I am not good at meeting people and I’m uncomfortable in a room full of strangers. This network marketing gig forces you to be friendlier, meet more people, be more open… and… it’s been… AWESOME. I already feel like I’m actually making friends (with people that I kind of knew already). I’m not talking other consultants, but my neighbors, my kid’s friend’s moms. It’s already been a fun journey and I’m still figuring things out. In fact, it’s not about sales at all (thank goodness, because I’m not exactly rolling in the dough), it’s about relationships. I might actually make some friends doing this! (That’s a blog post for another day).

I’d be remiss (and a really bad consultant if I didn’t give you a quick rundown of what Rodan and Fields is: Drs Rodan and Fields are the same two women doctors that created the Proactiv formula and yes, they are also the dermatologists that formulated Lash Boost, the amazing lash serum that makes your lashes appear thicker, darker, longer (100% yours and 100% real).

Rodan + Fields Changing Skin Changing Lives

Sorry, I digress! Now, they are doing for anti-aging what they did for acne. As you know from reading my blog, I struggled with acne nearly my entire life, including most of my adult years. Not only is it tricky to find acne products that work, it’s even harder to find products that will clear up acne while at the same time help my skin age well. RODAN + FIELDS does that. I promise I won’t get pitch-y on you, but check out my¬†website¬†and feel free to¬†contact¬†me anytime with questions!

So, there you have it. My work-life seemed in shambles and this is what I chose to do about it. I’m working on me – – just me. How can I become a better version of myself? Because as a better version of myself, I will be able to do everything better. Plus, I won’t be grumpy anymore.

Whew, I feel like¬†a huge weight has been lifted off my shoulders! I’m pretty private about things (I know, why do I have a blog??) but it feels so good to let you all know what’s going on in my life!

What’s going on with you? Have you ever tried a network marketing biz? Have you ever felt like you’re having a mid-life crisis?

Until Next Time,
Meg

Empowering Young Girls Through Running

Girls become women, but empowered girls become women who change the world.

I am passionate about all things that are associated with empowering our young people and, being the mom to two daughters, I’m especially passionate about those programs that are aimed at young girls. Combine that with my passion for running and fitness and you have Girls on the Run, or as those of us immersed in the program call it, GOTR.

Girl Empowerment + Love of Running = GOTR

Girls on the Run is a¬†non-profit organization “dedicated to creating a world where every girl knows and activates her limitless potential and is free to boldly pursue her dreams.” The program uses running and special curriculum that teaches life skills to build confidence and self-worth within the girls as well as team work and a sense of accomplishment. One of the best things about GOTR is that it can be offered in any size of community. Our small community (population 432) even offers it. My girls have both participated and I have been a “Run Buddy” for the past several years, running alongside the girls in the annual end of the season 5K. Here I am below with my daughter during this year’s 5K.

Coaches must undergo certification and often times personally foot the bill for the training and all materials. Local chapters (ours is Girls on the Run Nebraska) do fundraising annually to help offset the cost to the participating communities as well as to provide scholarships to the girls. No girl should be turned away because they can’t afford to pay the participation fee!

Enter in: ShopWithScrip. ShopWithScrip is a fundraising tool that takes all the hassle out of the mix! It’s an earn-while-you-shop style fundraiser. The formula is simple:

  • The retailers sell the certificates at a discount to ShopWithScrip
  • Families and individuals buy the certificates at full face value and redeem them for full face value
  • Your organization gets the difference as revenue

The typical percent earned is 5%. It’s that easy! The only catch is that you might have to pre-plan some of your purchases, however that’s not really a catch because even retail giants such as Walmart and Amazon participate.

Here is an even better explanation:

I’m joining forces with ShopWithScrip to raise funds for Girls on the Run and I’d love your help! If you’re game, follow these simple steps:

  • Go to www.ShopWithScrip.com and click How to Enroll, then click Join Your Scrip
    Program.
  • Enter your enrollment code for the program you’d like to support. If you’d like to help raise funds for Girls on the Run, please contact me for an access code!¬†
  • Fill in all required personal information and click ‚ÄėI Accept.‚Äô
  • Choose two security challenge questions from the list and provide answers.

That’s it! Super easy and super effective! Have you ever tried a program such as this for fundraising? Have you heard about or participated in some fashion with Girls on the Run?

Until Next Time,
Meg

***Please note, this post is sponsored by ShopWithScrip. Through my affiliation with the Sweat Pink Ambassador community, I am fundraising for Girls on the Run, a nonprofit organization dedicated to empowering young girls through running. All monies fundraised are donated to Girls on the Run at the conclusion of the campaign. Thank you for your readership and interest in forwarding Girls on the Run’s mission of: “inspiring girls to be joyful, healthy and confident using a fun, experienced-based curriculum which creatively integrates running.”

Are You Holding Yourself Back?

I’ve never been the superstitious type, but I swear, today I had at least three signs that pointed to the same thing: Push past fear, get out of my comfort zone, and Get. It. Done.

Let me rewind to two weeks ago. Two weeks ago, I had a phone conversation with a friend of mine that is an independent consultant for Rodan + Fields. She along with her sponsor talked to me about an opportunity that I just didn’t think I could pass up. So…I said yes and now I’m a consultant for this amazing skincare company. The next morning I was thinking, “what did I do? I can’t do this!” I am so not a sales person!

I participated in webinars, read every single piece of information about the company and the products. I scheduled my “launch party” and asked my sponsor a million questions. Now, with the date of my launch party quickly approaching, I’m having anxiety and second thoughts.

Fast forward to today when everywhere I looked, there seemed to be signs telling me that I’m on the right path.

Sign #1: During my commute, my audio book malfunctioned, so I plugged in my iPhone and launched a podcast. I’ve been listening to Cassey Ho’s Sheroic series. This morning’s episode featured Sydney Olson (a free runner and stunt woman). One of the messages she left us with was, “find what you want and then go for it. There are going to be failures along the way. It is those failures that make the victory that much sweeter.” (something to that effect anyway, I was driving!)

Sign #2: After creating a graphic for my company’s FB page using Canva, a quote popped up just like they always do while waiting for the download. But the quote seemed to be tailored to me:

And finally, sign #3: While researching for a project at work about workforce trends/employee recruitment, I watched a Facebook Live from JT O’Donnell where her message was: Are you holding it in? What are you afraid of that is keeping you from success? She looked into my eyes (and the eyes of 800 others that were tuned in) and said: “don’t let fear hold you back from going after what you want.”

So, fear and all, I’m jumping into this business of selling GREAT skincare with both feet. I’m not quitting my day job or my fitness and wellness focus, but I’m going to do this and I’m going to do it well. I could use all the support I can get (in the form of encouragement and lifting me up, not purchasing products, though if you have any questions or want to try them, I’m your gal!)

Stay tuned!

Until Next Time,
Meg

Summer Fun Workouts

Today I’m linking up with¬†Annmarie at¬†The Fit Foodie,¬†Nicole¬†at¬†Fitful Focus,¬†Michelle at¬†Fruition Fitness, and¬†Jen at¬†Pretty Little Grub¬†for the Wild Workout Wednesday Linkup!

Working out in the summer has its ups and downs. For instance, I love¬†that the sun is up earlier so I can get my morning run in during daylight. However, I don’t like that if I don’t get said run in during the wee morning hours that it’s 100 degrees by the time I get off work.

I also love that most of the outdoor activities that we do in the summer sneakily are mini workouts as well!

This weekend, I finally got to try Stand Up Paddleboarding (SUP). You guys, if you have not tried it, it is So. Much. Fun. I didn’t even fall off (which surprises certain people that know me!). It is also a great core and arm workout — without you even knowing it!

My debut on the Paddleboard

My blister AKA Badge-of-Fun from my recent paddleboarding and kayaking experiences

I should warn you, if you do too much paddleboarding all at once, you might end up with blisters like I did! I also paddled around the lake in a kayak (also my first time). That was a lot of fun as well and I’ve added both a kayak and a paddleboard to my list of WANTS.

We spend a lot of time at the lake in the summer… jumping off the dock, swimming, playing “keep-away” with the beach ball, etc. all of which equate to a pretty good (non-sweat-filled) workout.

We like to rate eachother’s jumps off the dock — I think this one got me a 9.2

 

 

Two weeks ago, my daughters, husband, and I headed to the river and played what we like to call “sand-bar, no-rules soccer.” That is a lot of work! The sand feels hard on the top and just when you think you have your footing to take off at a sprint, you don’t and you just spin out and look silly. Sorry, I don’t have any pictures or videos of that!

What fun summer activities do you do that turn into mini-workouts? Have you tried SUP?

Remember to stop by the linkup and comment on some posts!

Until Next Time,
Meg

My Fears About Aging + a Product Review

I’m not going to lie, I have this irrational fear of aging. And it’s not all about vanity (though I’m very much not excited for wrinkles, age spots, saggy skin…I’m getting a nervous stomach just listing those!) It’s about so much more than that. First of all, did you know that most YP groups allow members ages 21-40? Soooo, do they just kick you out when you turn 40?! As if turning 40 didn’t have enough gloom surrounding it!

I’m not trying to be rude to anyone at or above age 40, I’m simply talking about my own (irrational) feelings towards aging and ME — me aging. Then, I’m going to talk to you about a product that I’ve been testing to help with some of those vanity items!

On a serious note, I have this feeling that time is running out, that it’s going too fast. Time with my kids, time to be successful (probably should get on that), just time in general. And then there’s this idea that my opinion will no longer matter to people when they need to know what “young people” want (this is why I said¬†irrational fears). For instance, I have a job in community and economic development and am very active in talent initiatives. For a while, I’ve been at the table of people that asked how to recruit/retain people my age. In a couple of years…they won’t want to know what I think because I won’t be a part of the target group anymore. I was at a conference a few weeks ago and the speaker said, “who in here is Gen X? she asked. Yeah, we don’t matter, we kind of disappeared off the list.”¬†Um, okay, so where do we go from here? Well I, for one am going to continue to speak up, share my opinions, and continue to be relevant, perhaps without bragging about my age. Which brings me to…vanity. If I look young, no one will know the wiser, right? Okay, I feel ashamed for even writing that!

I’m the queen of beauty products. I have tried it all from acne products to anti-aging products (some that target both — which I love!) When you read about aging skin, at the top of the list is 1) don’t forget about your neck and chest! and 2) don’t forget about your hands! These areas show aging the fastest, mostly due to sun exposure in our younger days and these areas are most often neglected when in comes to products.

Enter in…Exuviance Age Reverse¬†Hand Rejuvenator available at exuviance.com¬†($65). This powerful duo helps to¬†restore smoother, firmer, and younger looking hands using a 10% Citric Acid Peel followed by a rejuvenating hand cream.

Exuviance Hand Treatment

I grew up outdoors and enjoyed many hours¬†in the sun. While I did use sunscreen, I have to admit that I didn’t put it on¬†my hands. I spent much of my youth working in the hayfield, driving a tractor in the sun all day long. This type of exposure is going to lead me to dark spots on my hands, I just know it. My grandfather had them, my mother has them, so chances are… I’ll buck that trend by taking care of them now, using sunblock on them, using products like this peel, and applying regular anti-aging products just as I do to my face.

Exuviance Peel and Rejuvenating Hand Cream

Protect Your Hands!

Me – putting sunscreen on my hands before heading outdoors!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The acid peel felt invigorating. You apply it with a cotton ball, let it dry and then apply some more. After it dries, apply the Age Reverse Rejuvenating Hand Cream and then…go to bed and let it do its magic! In the morning, simply apply the hand cream once more. I used this every other day (though, you certainly can use it daily). I don’t yet have any noticable spots on my hands, so I can’t tell you if they are lighter or disappeared. What I can tell you is that my hands do feel softer and smoother as the acid peel exfoliates dead skin. I also notice that I need more lotion throughout the day in order to keep that new layer of skin happy. All in all, I think this is a product that I will continue to use and maybe even share with my mom!

***Please note, this post was sponsored by Brandbacker. I received this product complimentary in exchange of my honest review. All opinions are my own.***

Curly Hair Don’t Care

My daughter recently got a perm and for someone who is pretty much a minimalist when it comes to styling her hair (she’s been a big fan of the ponytail), it has taken some getting used to.

My one condition before agreeing to the perm was that she had to do a better job of brushing her hair in the mornings and that likely she would need to wet it down every morning.

You can see why….

SoCozy

This is how she wakes up (some mornings it doesn’t include the smile)

You can see that the curls not only need brushed, but also need revived. We’ve tried mousse and gel and both seem to work about equally. I typically help her apply the product so that she doesn’t get globs of it in one spot.

What might we find in there?!

When I had the opportunity from Brandbacker to sample products aimed at curly hair, I jumped at the chance. Especially, when the opportunity featured hair care products specially designed for kids.

We received Curl Conditioner, Curl Leave-in spray, and Curl Gel Cream all from SoCozy. SoCozy not only are tailord for kids, offering salon-quality hair care products developed specifically for kids’ hair, but they also cater to busy moms. The products are multi purpose and streamline the process. Oh, and I should mention that they smell DE-vine. The gel and the conditioner are scented like sweet cream — yummy!

This is our after photo. We were in kind of a hurry after her shower, so her hair is still a little damp, but you can see that it did revive her curls. It also kept her hair managable and without frizz for the entire night. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SoCozy prides itself on pure and safe products, therefore they are made without parabens, formaldehyde, sulfates, phthalates, synthetic color, propylene glycol. Free of alcohol, gluten, wheat, peanuts and tree nuts.

SoCozy products are available at Target, CVS, and Walgreens and if you purchase any of their products from now, through mid-February, you can register your receipt into their sweepstakes for a chance to win an all-expense paid 5 days, 4 nights, deluxe family vacation for four! Visit their website for details!

Do your kids have curly hair (natural or permed)? I’d love to hear your tips on how to keep the curls vibrant!

Until Next Time,
Meg

***This post is Powered by BrandBacker*** 
As always, all opinions are my own 

First Ultimate Coffee Date of 2017

Happy New Year! Thanks to¬†Coco¬†and Deborah for hosting this awesome monthly link-up! Let’s get started!

If we were having coffee…I would show off my brand new coffee mug! I love mugs and have to restrain myself from buying a new one whenever I come across a cute one. This time, though, I went for it. I mean, this one was made for me. My birthday is in January and I’m kind of a sucker for anything related to my zodiac sign. This super cute mug says on the rim, “Aquarius is the sign of visionaries, unconventionality and intellectual independence.” I. Love. It. Happy early birthday to me!

If we were having coffee….I would tell you that SweatPink, one of the ambassador groups I’m involved in, is doing a year-long campaign, titled #IAmEmpowered I’m not sure if it really needs an explanation — the hashtag phrase itself is so powerful. We can all use a daily reminder of what makes us feel empowered. I’m excited to be a part of it!¬†

If we were having coffee…you’d ask me about any New Year’s Resolutions that I might have made. I’d tell you that I’m still deciding whether or not to put them on paper. Each NYE, my family and I have our own mini bash that includes making a time capsule. Part of the capsule is filling out a goal sheet. This year I¬†left it pretty general (you know the drill: be more organized, keep a cleaner house, drink more water, etc). If I put one resolution down on paper (or here on the blog) it is: Be more consistent

This is from our NYE Family Bash!

Well, I’m to the bottom of my (super cute) mug of coffee, so I better let you go. I hope we can meet up again soon!

I’d love to hear about your thoughts on resolutions!

Until Next Time,
Meg

Join the Ultimate Coffee Date Link-up!

Friday Five: 5 Things to do for newbies at your gym

It’s that time of year when the gyms are flooded with new people, the trails are being utilized by those that have never set foot out, yoga studios have expanded classes for new students, etc. Ahhh, the first week of the new year, a week full of resolutions focused on change.

I always see/hear a lot of grumbling this time of year from fellow gym-goers about the flood of people crowding the machines, the weights, the pool and about how they “can’t wait until they fall off their resolution wagon.” ¬†

As a fitness enthusiast, I want everyone to find a passion for fitness, even that new guy that’s on my favorite treadmill at the gym. We should all want that. Let’s resolve to welcome newbies and help them stick to their resolutions for a healthy 2017.

Here are 5 easy ways to get started:


Actually say “welcome, nice to see you here.” Be excited!
High Five: you can never go wrong with a high five (unless they leave you hanging– and then,…well, I’m sorry).

high five left hanging

Find out if they need any help. Show them how to use the machines. Even as a regular gym-goer, there are certain machines that still scare me (Hello Jacob’s Ladder)

Invite them to your favorite exercise class. Again, it is intimidating to walk into a gym for the first time. A class helps ease people into things in a group setting, offering some camaraderie and ultimately support.

 

Tell them you’ll see them tomorrow: nothing works better than accountability, especially when it comes from a long-time fitness enthusiast/stranger. Just make sure you’re there tomorrow ūüôā

Have you welcomed any newbies yet? I’d love to hear how you’re helping others stick to their goals this 2017!

Until Next Time,
Meg