Summer in Prague

1016677_10200486625262804_1520398401_n

I’m currently sitting at the Keflavik Airport in Iceland (don’t ask), and in about 3 hours I’ll be boarding a flight back to the US! I’ve been gone for over a month (a month and 5 days, to be exact), so I’m quite excited to be on my way back. At the same time, I’m so sad! This has been by far one of the most amazing experiences of my entire life, and I’m so grateful that I was able to do it, particularly in a place as beautiful as Prague.

1069324_630327410312592_1895840155_n

In addition to Prague, I also got the chance to travel a few other places. I was in Amsterdam briefly (just a day), I spent a long weekend in Berlin (best nightlife I’ve every experienced by far), a few days wandering in Paris, and, of course, around the Czech Republic.

998700_10201056929919254_523771441_n

Of course, I can’t forget the people I met. I was lucky enough to study with about 30 absolutely fantastic people. A month might not seem like enough time to build up a friendship, but considering that we literally spent all of our time together we became pretty close. I’m going to miss them all greatly.

I’m already planning my next trip. I’m thinking South America next. Any suggestions?

1012368_10151493131334249_1164619106_n

(Photo cred for this last one goes to the amazing Leah Kelley)

Funxercise! Hiking

photo-31

I’m not normally the type of person that enjoys hiking. I feel this is probably because I associate it with my mother waking me up at some ungodly hour during my summer vacations to go trapsing through the foothills with her and one of her middle-aged friends. However, today I decided to wake myself up at some ungodly hour (8am) to go trapsing through the foothills by myself!

Perhaps it’s the introvert in me speaking (it’s definitely the introvert in me speaking), but hiking alone is way more fun, particularly when the trail is basically deserted and there’s no one around to make me feel awkward about talking to myself. The trail I chose actually starts in my neighborhood and goes through the foothills behind it. It’s not the most difficult trail. In fact, I’d say the hardest part of the entire thing was walking up my neighborhood to reach it. Nonetheless, it was a great walk and a wonderful start to my day.

I have to admit that I was quite proud of myself for going alone. I don’t know if hiking alone is one of those things that’s considered “dangerous” for young women to do alone, but it seems like it might be. So as ridiculous as it probably was, I couldn’t help but feel a bit “I am woman, hear me roar” as I stood above my city.

Of course, I did spend quite a bit of time absolutely convinced I was about to run into a mountain lion or rattlesnake. Still, I did it. All by myself. Take that patriarchy!

Travel Haul

In exactly one week I will be leaving the US to embark upon my month long study abroad in Prague. Now while I’m trying to save my money for the trip, I did need to buy a few things before I left.

photo 2

These two items admittedly might be the only things I got that could really be described as “necessitites”. The first is a travel towel. The apartment where I will be living comes completely stocked with everything I could possibly need, except for a towel. I didn’t want to pack just any old regular towel as I’m only bringing a carry on sized suitcase and have precious little room. That’s where travel towel comes in. Travel towels are made of microfiber cloth, meaning they dry quickly and are no bigger than a shirt when folded up. Mine is an adorable purple and just a tad smaller than a typical towel I would use at home. It also came with a nifty mesh carrying case that I will probably never use. Next, I bought an adaptor plug so I can plug my electronics into those wacky European outlets. Every electronic I’m bring is dual voltage, so I didn’t buy a voltage converter. Those are definitely necessary for single-voltage electronics though. I still haven’t gotten over frying my hair straightener in Paris when I was 15.

Towel: REI; 17.50    Adaptor: REI; 3.50

photo 3

This group is admittedly a bit more frivolous, but still important! First, I got the L’Oreal Infallible Super Slim Liner. I wanted a liner that would travel easily without getting all over my makeup bag or require sharpening. Most importantly, though, I wanted a liner that wouldn’t melt off my face during my European adventures. This one boosts a 12 hour lifespan, so hopefully I’ll get to spend more time looking at the sights and less time looking at myself in the mirror. Second, I got Yes to Cucumber Facial Towelettes. I’ll have about three days of traveling before I actually arrive in Prague, so I needed something to keep myself looking/feeling decent during the trip. I absolutely can’t stand the feeling of a dirty face, so I’m sure I’ll be a much happier camper with these in my bag. Finally, I got Essie’s Sunday Funday. I think this is a somewhat new color, but it’s a fairly standard coral. What I didn’t notice in the store is that it’s just ever so slightly sparkly, but I consider this a pleasant surprise. I wanted to get a color that I could wear on my fingers for pretty much the entire trip. I think this one will serve quite nicely. Plus, summer is the only time I’m dark enough to wear coral, so I might as well take advantage of it.

Liner: L’Oreal Infallible; Target; 8.49    Facial Wipes: Yes to Cucumbers; Target; 2.99    Nail Polish: Essie; Target; 7.79

photo 4

This is a boring group, but, again, necessary. I found these adorable tissue for a dollar, so I figured why not buy them? Everyone needs tissues, right? I also stocked up on every 3 oz bottle I could find. I know I’m going to have to buy Czech products while I’m there (darn you TSA), but there are certain American products that I couldn’t risk going without.

Tisues: Target; 1    Bottles: Target; 0.97 each

photo 5

This is most definitely my favorite item I bought. I fly standby, so I have to look nice when I travel. I didn’t need to buy a new dress for that, but I figured I’d celebrate. Plus, I’m going to be wearing it for three days until I can get to Prague, so I figured I better like it. And like it I do. It fits perfectly and hits me at exactly the right length. I also love how the pattern is bright and floral without being too overwhelming.

Dress: Forever 21; 27.99

Society6 iPhone Cases

I’ve been looking for a new iPhone case to replace my the (significantly) beat up one I’ve got now. Now, I take phone cases very seriously. My white iPhone 5 is gorgeous, and I hate to cover it up with something ugly, even if it is in the name of protection. That’s why I was super happy when I stumbled upon Society6’s selection of cases. I can’t vouch for the quality (never having seen them in person), but they sure are pretty. Here are my favorites: Image1.Image2.Image3.Image 4.

More of my favorites can be found on my Pinterest!

Funxercise: Blogilates

In my quest to be healthy again, I’ve been looking for fun ways to exercise that don’t involve trudging along painfully on a treadmill. And yes, I am calling it Funxercise. Don’t judge me.

Anyway, I decided to try an exercise video. Now this isn’t my first venture into the world of instructional videos of the exercise variety, but I’ve never been able to stick with it. I’m definitely a solo exerciser, and even having an instructor kind of but not really there annoys me. Plus, there’s always people in my house and I’m too embarrassed to do it around them.

But, exercise videos have their benefits, namely in that they allow you to work out with minimal “getting ready” effort and have instructors that actually hopefully know what they’re talking about. So after a bit of googling, I found the YouTube channel Blogilates.

Guys, I kid you not, I love these videos. They’re both fun and incredibly painful to do. The trainer, Cassey Ho, is adorable and fun enough to keep me from wanting to throw things at her even when she’s making me do burpees. She’s got quite a bit of variety in her videos. There’s plenty of cardio to get your heart pumping, as well as playlists to hit every muscle group you could want. My favorites, though, are the dance workouts. If you’re anything like me, you’ll look like an idiot trying to follow along with the choreography, but I promise it’s fun.

Today, I did a few of the cardio workouts and then followed them up with “What Makes You Bootyfull Butt Challenge” and “Good Times Abs Challenge”. Oh boy were these hard. I’m already sore and it’s only been a few hours. I can’t wait to see how I feel tomorrow.

A New Healthy

I’ve been thinking quite a bit lately about health. In our society, we typically equate health with weight. Overweight? Unhealthy. Skinny? You’re doing great. With this correlation, I have an excuse to almost never think about my habits and whether or not they’re healthy. At 5’3 and 102 pounds, I’ve never had a weight problem. It takes very little effort for me to like what I see in the mirror, so I don’t think about what I’m eating or how often I’m working out. I don’t think about being healthy.

            Except, I’m not healthy. I don’t eat nearly enough, and what I do eat isn’t all that great for me. I was recently diagnosed with anemia, and unlike most girls my age with anemia, mine isn’t caused by heavy menstruation. It’s simply from not eating the types of food that supply the body with iron – namely red meat and dark, leafy green vegetables. I do workout fairly regularly, but I don’t often push myself hard. I get out of breath quite easily, which is just discouraging enough to give myself an excuse to stop. Normally, my self-esteem is at a level that I like to call “healthy” and my friends refer to as “egotistical”, but lately even that’s been suffering.

            This wasn’t always the case. I used to be fit. Like really fit. I was always an active kid. I loved the outdoors. I loved roller-blading and climbing trees. Even watching TV meant running back and forth across and jumping all over the couch while Spongebob played in the background. When I was nine, I started soccer. I played for four years, three of which were in the competitive league. After quitting that, I tried every other sport I could get my hands on. In 8th grade, I played basketball and ran track. In 9th grade, I did volleyball, basketball, track, and tennis. In 10th, I did track. When I was doing all of this, I felt great. I had energy, I was eating a lot, and I could do everything I wanted without running out of breath. I could run a mile in 6 minutes. Nowadays, it takes me 10.

            I want to get fit again. I’m too young to feel this old. So I’ve devised a plan to get back on track. 

Eating Healthy: I’m not talking about going on a diet here. I don’t believe in diets. I’m talking about reconsidering what I want my food to do for me, namely by actually considering it in the first place. I’m a big fan of junk food. While I’ve cut down on the chips and I’ve accidentally stopped drinking soda, I still consume an impressive amount of cookies, ice cream, pizza, etc. While I will always love these foods, I want to start thinking about what these foods do for me. In the short term, they make me feel great. In the long term, not so much. For example, I love Cheez-its. When I’m eating them, all I think about it the salty goodness. About ten minutes later, however, I feel like shit. I feel sluggish, like there’s a big ball of carbs in my stomach.

One thing my doctor recommended for me is to eat protein in the morning. I typically eat cereal or some sort of granola bar. I’m not very hungry in the mornings, so big breakfasts aren’t appetizing to me. However, those carbs break down into sugar in the body. So even if the cereal seems healthy, I’m still starting off my day with sugar. Another thing I want to work on is eating more vegetables, particularly of the dark, leafy variety. I know they’re good for you, I generally enjoy eating them, and I feel better when I do. Overall, I want to eat more real food, the type where I don’t have to google the ingredients to find out what the hell they even are.

Acting Healthy: I’m a huge fan of running. I love it, I really do. But running when you’re out of shape is kind of really fucking awful. It’s painful and it’s discouraging. Not exactly what keeps you going when you’re trying to get back into the habit of being active and healthy. As much as I love running, I just can’t restart my fitness using only that. It’s too discouraging. So instead of making a goal to run everyday, I want to make a goal to be active everyday. This can mean quite a few things. Yes, it means running. But it also means sprinting. It also means hiking and swimming and yoga and pilates and dancing and whatever else I feel like doing that day. I know that some days running around is going to mean running around to different stores when I run errands, but even that is at least something. 

Thinking Healthy: In short, I want to be egotistical again. It’s much more fun than second-guessing myself constantly or feeling insecure about the stupidest things. So, I will be nicer to myself. I’ll give proper recognition to my strengths and a realistic evaluation of my weaknesses. I’ll look into affirmations, and I will try to take myself seriously enough to do them.