Sunday, September 21, 2014

Self Talk: How to Become More Confident

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When you think of someone who is naturally confident, you have to imagine their self talk includes positive affirmations, such as "I like myself," even if it's subconscious. Wouldn't you think then, that anyone could gain confidence by repeating this same kind of positive self talk?

A former mentor of mine swears by this concept. I'll admit it's taken me some time to actually believe my affirmations--at first it's like accepting a compliment you don't think you really deserve. But as they say, if you want to be better at something, do more of it. So start small and apply this self talk to a specific situation, (to be relevant here), "I love how I look today. I am a great dresser." Try not to use any negative language (i.e., instead of saying, "I don't look too bad today," you'd say, "I look amazing today"). The next step is making a habit of sharing these positive messages with yourself throughout the day. Say, "I like myself," over and over when you're getting ready in the morning. It will quickly spill into everything you do. And because you like yourself, you'll like your decisions, you’ll like how you interact with people, and how you smile, walk, talk, act, etc. Ultimately, you’ll like who you are and what you have to offer this world. Soon your confidence will come from a genuine acceptance of and gratitude for your unique qualities and you'll start to admire even your weirdest quirks and shortcomings, because they too, make up the complete package of who you are. And there's no one on earth exactly like you.

Truly liking yourself doesn't come with certain conditions either (i.e., I'll like myself when I lose 20 pounds, or I'll like myself when I dress more like so-and-so). It's a full acceptance of who you are right now in this moment. And it's the most motivating feeling there is (you may even get to losing those 20 pounds, but you'll do it loving yourself along the way). When you truly love yourself, you can feel your unique potential and that innate desire to create something, to share your talents and to inspire others starts to take flight.

Have you ever used affirmations to build your confidence?

Read more about my self-talk series here.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Fitness Friday: Swimsuit-Ready in 1 Week

rashguard: albion fit c/o | swim bottoms: albion fit c/o | sunnies: ray-ban

Not that you would notice, but I didn't exactly hit my "most fit and toned I've ever been" goal before Maui. I felt pretty okay about it, though, thanks to a solid week of disciplined eating and workouts right before we left. This one short week reminded me how much progress you can make in a brief amount of time with nothing but pure, honest determination.

I spent a lot of time on weight-training (I'm now an even bigger believer in seeing faster results with weight training), but used the stairmaster for cardio instead of my typical running routine. I was also reminded that sometimes fitness is just a state of mind. I obviously didn't transform my body in one week, but my consistency with making good choices also caused me to forget all the "bad" choices I had made the weeks prior. Which helped me see myself as a fit person instead of a person wishing to become more fit.

The turning point was the Monday before we left when my mom threw a family pizza party for my grandma and Matt and I decided not to partake. It had it's awkward moments--I think every one of my siblings thought something was wrong with us (they also know how much we love pizza so our timing seemed a little off), but overcoming that one temptation empowered us and made this daunting idea of discipline seem like no big deal the rest of the week. Of course it helped that we knew we'd be indulging in all our favorite junk foods in a matter of days (one reason I believe in cheat meals...but we'll cover that in another post). I have often found that overcoming just one difficult food temptation leads to easier resistance with the next one, giving you the confidence to continue "taking control of your machine" (as Chris Powell would say). Just be sure to stop and give yourself credit for the victory. 

I am happy about what I accomplished (mentally and physically) in this week before our vacay because it kept me motivated to workout while we were on vacation and gives me confidence that I can pick things back up now that I'm home, and keep moving forward toward my goal.

Here's a quick snapshot of my workouts the week before we left (I typically do 3 sets of 15 reps with each exercise):
  • Sunday
    • Cardio: 20-min stairmaster on "fat burner" mode, Level 12
    • Weights: squats, lunges, calf raises, hip abduction, hip adduction, leg extension, dead lifts, glute kickbacks
  • Monday
    • Cardio: 35-min stairmaster / fat burner / L12
    • Weights: bicep curls, tricep pullovers, tricep kickbacks, shoulder raises, standing rows, shoulder press, upright rows
  • Tuesday
    • Cardio: 30-min stairmaster / intervals / L10-12
    • Abs (4 sets of 25): roman chair, oblique crunches with 35-lb weight, scissors 
  • Wednesday
    • Cardio: same as Sunday
    • Weights: same as Sunday
  • Thursday
    • Cardio: same as Monday
    • Weights: same as Monday + added some abs from Tuesday
  • Friday
    • Cardio: same as Tuesday
    • Abs: same as Tuesday + added wall sits and jump squats w/ 10-pound dumbbells
  • Saturday
    • Cardio: same as Sunday
    • Weights: same as Sunday + some abs from Tuesday

Here's to another great weekend of setting goals for the coming week!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

A #Genius Little Black Dress in Maui

dress: white house black market c/o | flip flops: old navy | bag: madewell 

Ever since I first wore this dress in Maui, I've been so excited to tell you about it.

This may be my favorite "little black dress" to-date! The material is SO soft and made for the perfect dinner-date outfit on one of our last nights there. It's chic enough to dress up with strappy black heels and casual enough to wear with flippies. It really is a genius dress! My favorite part--the straps can be worn in several different ways (go here to see!), transforming the dress for your specific occasion. All I can say is, I felt so carefree and put together, without feeling overdone. It fit my inner beach-girl style perfectly.

This is a sponsored post. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

A Forward-Looking Skirt...

top: anthropologie | skirt: shabby apple c/o | shoes: jcrew | scarf: anthro {old} bag: gigi new york c/o | glasses: karen walker | watch: michael kors | lips: 'red revival' by maybelline

Let's talk about this skirt...
It's so not something I would typically choose (I usually go the pencil or knee-length, a-line route), but I'm loving the bright navy for fall (gave you fair warning) and the longer length is perfect for holiday parties, weddings or even your 2014 Christmas card (I won't speak of it again until late November).

Hope these pics give you some style inspiration! Thanks again to Ashlee Brooke Photography for sharing her talents with me for this collab.

Special thanks to Shabby Apple for sponsoring this post.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

The Turquoise Dress...

dress: shabby apple c/o | bag: michael kors via tanger outlets c/o {last seen here + here; similar style} | boots: mia via nordstrom rack {last seen here; very similar style} | glasses: karen walker | watch: michael kors | lips: 'red revival' by maybelline

Wait a second, are those leaves on the ground? I still cannot believe it's September, but so excited for fall dresses and booties. This dress is another fall favorite from Shabby Apple. Btw, I'm taking over their Instagram today so be sure to follow along for sneak peaks of tomorrow's post (I saved my most favorite look for last... you are going to love the skirt!).



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