Waisted Wednesday: 15 Minute Abs With Video

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Hello fit friends! I am back with another Waisted Wednesday for you! This week is an actual core workout designed to be achieved in less than 15 minutes.  If an exercise can be done in a gym I will mark an asterisk next to you, otherwise this can be done at home, on your lunch break, or watching your favorite tv show. Please approach these work outs keeping your level of fitness in mind. Your form is more important than how much you think you are capable of lifting! When applicable I will use some of my videos as an example for those visual learners. When I first started in the gym learning new exercises and they way they are termed was difficult to understand.

Do each exercise in a sequence then repeat. The range is your goal of repetitions that you can tolerate.  You will do each exercise once with short rests (less than one minute).

Crunches – 10-15 X 4

Standing or *Leaning Side Bends  - each side 10-15X4  ( You can incorporate weights!)
Leaning Side Bends Example

Laying or Hanging Leg Raises – 10-15 X 4
Laying Leg Raises - begin viewing at 0:23 in video

Hanging Leg Raises - begin viewing at 0:36 in video  


Victory Toe Touch – 10-15 X 4
Victory Toe Touchbegin viewing at 2:42 in video

Good luck on this workout! Please leave me a comment of what type of workouts you would like to see next!


Waisted Wednesday: 4 Tips To Boycotting Leggings During The Holidays

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Wednesday may be known as hump day but maintaining our waists during the holidays calls for a Waisted Wendesday. The holiday season creates a challenge for us to resort to leggings and baggy trend name 'oversized' sweaters. It doesn’t have to be that way. I mean I love leggings and all but I always have my jeans to be brutally honest with me and remind me that my holiday eating behaviors need to get in check.

A total of four pies baked and a Turk-Mas celebration (in between both holidays) with my family two weeks ago, I couldn't keep this topic to myself. Here are 4 tips to keep your jeans fitting great during the holidays!

1. Embrace the gym leggings! This is the only opportunity you SHOULD be excited for leggings is actually wearing them into the gym, an aerobics class, doing yoga at home, running outdoors, and depending on your heart rate this may be acceptable for shopping. Yes, I count shopping as cardio.

2. Drink plentiful amounts of water! During the holidays season we get so busy we tend to forget about our health. This is when our immune systems are not in their best state. Drink plenty of fluids! Drink atleast 8 ounces of water 8 times a day. I always keep a couple of bottle in my car and at my desk. This is also great for your metabolic rate. Drinking water helps you keep full and eat less than what you really need to.

3. When in doubt vodka is the answer. I am not promoting drinking but there are typically cocktails that are involved by the holiday season. If you are of the drinking age, at holiday parties opt for vodka has 65 calories per ounce versus whiskey or rum that clocks in at 83 pre mixer.  A normal serving of wine (depending on varietal) has 112 calories and bud light has 110. Be wise on what you fancy to sip on.

4. Plan your meals accordingly. If you know you have a dinner party that will probably be unhealthy or a holiday party where there will be more than enough to drink, plan your meals anticipating that. Pick healthier options, such as a salad and soup over a burger. Trade your fries for veggies, or find healthier snacks like cucumbers and hummus to graze on.

May your holidays be festive, fit, and fun!


5 Things A Young Professional Must Do Or Learn 1 Year Post Grad

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Wow, I cannot believe it has been a year and a half since I graduated from college! I just celebrated my one year with my current job and every evaluation I receive I value the feedback and grow with it (my department gives quarterly evaluations). Looking at my progress, I have observed 5 things young professional must do or learn when they get out of college in the first year and land their first big job. Maybe you have been in the professional world for five years, and use this as a refresher of motivation.

        1. Be confident. It may be your first year post graduation and you are still learning to understand your industry. What ever you do, do it confidently. If you work with external customers and maybe even internal customers they can sense when you do not feel well about the work you are doing. You must prove to them that you’ve got everything under control or will ask for help to understand where you can gain more confidence.

       2.  Ask questions. Do not have a fear of questions. If something is not clear to you, you may misunderstand a request, there is missing information from a colleague, do not hesitate to ask more questions. Many work peers may be in an automatic state of mind and assume you understand it all. From slang, acronyms, and office jargon everyone may have a different interpretation. Some companies lack training for young talent and struggle to prepare their new additions with  the right tools to be the best they can be.

        3.   Ask for respect. In the real adult world you would think that it is expected and strictly enforced to respect all of your peers. Unfortunately I sometimes think I work with middle schoolers. I have been talked down to, rudely asked where I got my education from, and mistreated because I am a young, lack experience, blonde, a woman on multiple occasions. I have even been yelled at. When these occasions arise, I calmly request the person to please respect me. There are some characters that may take several trials of requesting respect. I advise to let your manager know about the repeating events and ask for guidance or HR to intervene. If you ever feel that you are not safe around a peer let someone know! Today, there are too many incidents of shootings or major conflict event where these may be avoided if recorded with human resources.

        4. Toot your own horn. When you have a successful event happen on a project, or receive a complement from a superior record it. Don’t be afraid to let your boss know when you do something  really well, receive a large compliment, find an opportunity for cost savings, or you feel like you have been really going above and beyond what your peers may do. Documenting these events and sharing them with your manager may lead to a reward when you have your annual review. This may lead to a reward when it comes time for a raise.

        5.   Dress for the job you want, not the job you have. I am a firm believer in dressing professionally. Do not get so comfortable with your job you are wearing flip flops and jeans/ yoga pants everyday to the office (yes, I witness this from peers that are in higher roles all the time). If jeans are allowed in the office, limit yourself to how often you take advantage of this. If you have a planned meeting with a customer you should dress more business than casual. My first two managers after I graduated both told me I dress for a job I want and not the job I have, and I should never change this fashion mind set. They told me I stand out more from equal peers when I take my job seriously and appear sharper than others. As a new professional do not fear a clearance rack or Goodwill for a nice blazer/suit set or business wardrobe. You can build your staples as you build your bank account with your new salary. 

                    I'd be delighted to hear your tips and advice for new professionals. 

Bridal Makeup Tutorial

Monday, November 30, 2015

Hello Beauties, I have a full tutorial of how I did my own makeup for my wedding day this past October. I had so many looks I wanted to do but after many trial runs throughs I kept going back to a classic matte natural cut crease like look. This makeup routine would be great for someone with acne scars, hyper pigmentation, or unever skin tones. I am extremely oily and this look not only stayed the entire day in the Florida heat but I didn't have to combat oil. This look would also be great for a special event like prom or homecoming!

Here are the products I have used in chronological order.

Ever-Matte Poreless Priming Perfector • Becca • $36
Kat Von D Lock-It Tattoo Foundation Medium 54 • $49.95
Tarte The Slenderizer Bamboo Contouring Brush • Tarte • $34
Laura Mercier Invisible Loose Setting Powder • Laura Mercier • $37
Tarte Cosmetics The Buffer Airbrush Finish Bamboo Foundation Brush • $16.69
Mac 187sh Duo Fibre Face Brush • M·A·C • $42
Maybelline Fit Me Maybelline® Fit Me® Powder • Maybelline • $5.59
SEPHORA COLLECTION Bright Future Gel Serum Concealer • $14
Maybelline New York Instant Age Rewind Eraser Treatment Makeup, Classic Ivory 150, 0.68 Fluid Ounce • Maybelline • $8.99
Real Techniques Miracle Complexion Sponge • Ulta • $6.99
Real Techniques by Sam & Nic Chapman Setting Brush • SAM. • $7.99
Real Techniques Makeup Stippling Brush • $8
Nyx Cosmetics HD Finishing Powder • NYX • $9.99
Anastasia Beverly Hills Contour Kit • Anastasia Beverly Hills • $40
Enchanted Eve Brush Kit / Essentials • $39.38
Bobbi Brown Powder Brush • Bobbi Brown • $64
Milani Baked Powder Blush, Rose D'Oro 02 • Milani • $5.99
BECCA Limited Edition Shimmering Skin Perfector Pressed • Becca • $38
Becca x Jaclyn Hill Shimmering Skin Perfector® Pressed - Champagne Pop • Becca • $38
BECCA Shimmering Skin PerfectorTM Poured • Becca • $38
Smashbox Fan Brush #22 • Smashbox • $18
Urban Decay Naked 2 Basics 1 ea • Urban Decay • $29
Urban Decay 'Naked' Palette • Urban Decay • $54
Anastasia Beverly Hills 'Brow Wiz' Mechanical Brow Pencil • Anastasia Beverly Hills • $21
Anastasia Beverly Hills DIPBROW Pomade • Anastasia Beverly Hills • $18
NYX Cosmetics Concealer Jar, Medium, 0.21 Ounce • NYX • $4.99
Stila Stay All Day Waterproof Liquid Eye Liner • Stila • $22
Tarte Lights, Camera, Lashes 4-in-1 Mascara • Tarte • $21
Benefit Cosmetics they're real! lengthening mascara • Benefit • $24
Kat Von D Lock 'N Load Makeup Setting Mist • $24
Revlon Super Lustrous - Matte Lipstick, Stormy Pink 011 • Revlon • $7.59
NYX Slim Lip Liner Pencil 844 Deep Red • NYX • $6.85

 Photos by Cat Pennenga Photography

I'd love to hear what are your favorite products for a big special occasion or heat/sweat/ waterproof must have items! Let me know if you try this look out and tag me in your post on instagram! My account name is @stephanie_aynne.


NPC Nationals: Competition Thoughts

Monday, November 23, 2015

This past weekend was NPC Nationals, and I still love to watch the sport of bodybuilding evolve. Whenever there is a national show I like to see who places in the top 5, what the competition/ favorable physiques are like, and the best part is to see some of the girls I met while competing or inspired to compete. Ultimately leaving me with the itch to compete again.

I would first like to congratulate Nicole Mudafort on winning her IFBB Figure Pro Card. She competed with me in my 2nd competition, The NPC Sunset Classic in 2011. We trained in the same gyms over the years and she never gave up on her goal or physique. She will be a great addition to the Pro Figure division.

Another top contender in the bikini division is Aria Adamy, who was my teammate when I was still competing. She halted her training with that team with the same results I ended with and moved onto get her metabolism back to health training under  Layne Norton, who was done research at my university and has made a 360 to the bodybuilding industry. Layne is close with a personal friend of mine and I can only hope if or when I make it back to the competition that I can train under him. Aria has maximized her calories and changed her training and have been able to place top 5 this past weekend! We use to train intense with super sets, 1000 calories, and hours of cardio under a cookie cutter "guru" plan. I am really excited for how far she has come and the transformation she made. I can only hope other competitors come to realization of the danger and can look to Aria as a role model.

Moving on to the competition, I want to dedicate this post to the bikini division since that is my area of interest. The first point I'd like to make is that I love the Sandy Williamson is still a head judge. She is in favor of blondes and keeps us minority in the top 5. When I moved onto the national level stage, I was told by coaches that blonde hair would not place as well as brunettes. If I chose not to dye my hair then I would have to compete when Sandy was judging, which wasn't at ever national show. She typically judges at Nationals, USAs, and Jr.USAs (maybe Jr. Nationals). Meaning she is not a judge at Team Universe or IFBB North Americans.

The physiques this year appeared to be harder than the past years with the "soft" look. Most top contenders had more defined abs, a tighter waist, toned but not overly muscular legs, and glutes with the "tie-ins". Some of the first place girls I noticed did not have significantly capped shoulders which was surprising to me. I believe the winning look shadowed the standard that Ashley Kaltwasser IFBB Bikini Pro has set.  The overall winner, Alyssa Germeroth was absolutely stunning. She looks very similar to Brittany Taylor who won overall at 2014 Jr. Nationals.

The competition is growing more interest in the division, but the amount of girls that compete at national shows seems to be around 40 competitors in the common height classes which hasn't changed over the last 3 years. Without a doubt seeing how fierce the competition is, I can't help but get the itch to get back on stage. For now, I will keep my training as is in the gym as I am just diving back into a training routine with the dream and motivation to get back to where I left off.

First Day Back In The Gym

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Wow! Does it feel amazing to be back in a gym after 5 months off. Part of me was super excited like it was the first day back to school and the other part of me was anxious because  I had a beginners feeling. As I walked on to the gym floor, I had the moment of asking myself where do I even begin. That's when I had an Ah-ha moment and wanted to lay out some rules or tips when beginning your journey in the gym!

1. Be Brave! I mean you already got through the door and onto the big scary gym floor.

2. Warm up!!!! After you make your way onto the gym floor you want to get on the treadmill for 5 minutes. When you move on to lifting you will want to start your first set as a warm up. Meaning go very light for 15-20 repetitions.

3. Drink up. Please do not forget to hydrate. If you make yourself dehydrated your muscles can cramp. Drinking water aids in weight loss and attaining results.

4. Don't go overboard. Perhaps you are familiar with an exercise routine you did years ago. By no means does that mean to try to get back to the level you were once at the first day back in the gym. On my first day back I do 4 - 5 exercises and lifting light very manageable weight.

5. Results don't happen over night. Repeat the next day. If you can make it to the gym 4 times in the first two weeks it will become a habit and much easier. Results don't happen in one day you must work for it!

6. Watch yourself before you wreck yourself. What I mean is, watch yourself in the mirror. Look to see if you are lifting properly with good form. If you are jerking your body in the mirror reduce your weight.

7. If you do cardio, limit yourself to only 15 - 20 minutes and gradually increase your time over the next couple of weeks. Lifting and cardio for an hour each is not ideal when first starting a gym routine.

On the left is after my first 2 months in the gym ever, and on the right is 3 years of going to the gym religiously and competing for the first time at a National NPC Competition - Team Universe  - placed 13th

These may come off cliche but returning to the gym after a long break I always have to remind myself so I didn't make the mistake of an injury that could have been avoided if I followed these steps. After my past in fitness competitions I even struggle with getting into a routine when long breaks are taken.


Sephora VIB Sale Must Haves

Thursday, November 5, 2015

It's that time of year again! The Sephora VIB sale! If you have been a dedicated Sephora shopper, you should recieve a nice little coupon for 20% off your entire purchase!! If you are a VIB Rouge the sale starts tomorrow, and for VIB the sale starts on November 13th. There is no better time to Christmas shop for your loved ones, and accidentally throw in a couple of items for yourself (treat yo self). Here is a break down of items for gifts, my every day essentials worth stockin up on, favorites for the wedding, and some splurges I have had in my cart for a while but couldn't justify spending with a wedding as first priority.
Clockwise: Ole Henriksen Truth Serum® Vitamin C Collagen Booster I started using this in the morning before I apply my makeup. My face looks much brighter and who doesn't love some extra collagen.  Murad Rapid Age Spot and Pigment Lightening Serum I don't know what I did before adding this to my evening routine. This has significantly helped reduce the appearance my my acne scar discolorations. boscia Makeup-Breakup Cool Cleansing Oil I was introduced to this by oodles of samples, which I was once hesitant about oil products on my oil slick of a face. This really does the trick in one swipe on my face my make up melts off my face with a splash of warm water. It even has minty cool effect which feels awesome on the eyes after a long day. GLAMGLOW YOUTHMUDTM Tinglexfoliate Treatment There are so many GlamGlow's to pick from to make your favorite but I really love the tingling and how much tighter my pores feel after 10 minutes of this slathered on my face. Sunday Riley Power Couple Duo: Total Transformation Kit If you are in the mood for a splurge these two are an awesome duo they are similar to the first two items listed. Good Genes has lactic acid that exfoliates and smooths fine lines. The Luna is a night time serum that reduced the size of pores, fine lines, and sun damage. 

Sephora Favorites Liquid Luxuries Perfume Sampler My go-to gift because it is good for even the difficult ladies I may shop for. They even make a men's version! It comes with 15 samples of perfume and a voucher for a full size of one perfume. Beauty Bite Best Bite Rewind I am late to the Bite train but these lip stick are creamy, moisturizing, and plenty of shades for a friend that is colorful and flirty with their make up. Sephora Favorites Lashstash There is a friend in every group that has lashes for days or a severe mascara addiction. This is the perfect match for her! Tarte Light Of The Party Collector's Makeup Case 30 shades of gorgeous to wrap with a big pretty bow to match.  Shimmer and matte shadows, with countour, blush, deluxe mascara, and an eyeshadow brush to complete the look. The colors look flawless on any skin town and can create so many different looks. 

Then there are times that you deserve a gift or two for yourself. My list was pretty extensive of things I wanted so here are my top 5. Nars Steven Klein Collaboration One Shocking Moment Cheek Palette I have seen this swatched and photographed on tan and pale, light and dark hair, and trust me it is gorgeous! I love Nars blushes for their quality and how long they last. I am really excited to get my hands on this! T3 Whirl Trio Interchangeable Styling Wand I am a sucker for 2 in 1 or in this case 3 in 1. I love that you can change the size of the barrel on this bad boy which makes traveling easier than packing multiple styling tools. BECCA Shimmering Skin Perfector® Pressed Champagne Glow Palette featuring Champagne Pop x Jaclyn Hill I love love love Jaclyn Hill and her champange pop. When it was announced this was launching right befoe the holidays I knew it was meant to be. The perfect amount of glow and shimmer. The trio looks flawless layered together or stacked! Hourglass Veil Mineral Primer If you are a die hard beauty lover then you know why this made the list. Hands down best primer!! ghd Rose Gold Straightner I am really trying to wait for my CHI to be on its last leg. I have heard so many great things about the ghd flat irons I can feel confident this is worth the splurge. 

Don't forget with purchases of 25$ or more there are free gifts and bonuses! I cant wait to take advantage of 20% off. Share your must haves in the comments! 

P.S. Ebates has 4% cash back at Sephora currently. You can sign up for Ebates for free HERE to earn cash back deposited into you paypal account or check in the mail.  

Post Wedding Update

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Hey Y'all! I cannot believe it has been almost a month since we last met. I took a hiatus from blogging and youtube the last month so I could focus on the biggest day of my life and the last final details for our wedding! I can't wait to gush on the big day from all the DIY projects I insisted on doing, the dress, and all the fun that went into making our day so special to us. 

The past week has been a complete dream. We miss our friends and family we got to spend time with and thrilled our vision came to life exactly how we initially imagined it. The honeymoon was such a blast and we had the perfect enough time to celebrate and enjoy a dose of la playa. I just want to go back and do it all over again. Here is a teaser for now until I can compile all our clips and photos for now.

If you are planning or close to the big day I can't stress enough how you should stop, take a deep breath, and let it soak in. The day flew by and all the planning was so worth it.

Until next time.


Wedding Dress Stress Free Meal Ideas

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

When I first got engaged I immediately started to following brides and recently married bloggers and youtubers. I noticed that the brides close to their wedding would stress about fittings leading up to the wedding. I am here to share what I am currently eating to keep my dress friendly shape.

Quick history if you are new to my blog or youtube channel (if not, skip to the next paragraph), I found THE dress at a sample sale. I knew what designer I liked most after some years on pinterest saving styles I like (yes, single ladies this is normal and acceptable). I came home that day with the dress of my desired style but it needed a lot of alterations.  I paired up my fittings with the biggest loser contest at work that I won. I lost 15 pounds, and my dress fitting was the day after my final weight-in back in June.

For the last few months, I have been staying with in the range of my final dress fitting weight with 5 pound that fluctuates. Was this one of my more crazy ideas, perhaps. However, if I would have kept eating the way I was, I would be in a lot of trouble now writing this.  My best advice is don't worry too much about the number on the scale but how you feel in your dress. At the time of my last fitting I was going to the gym 5 days a week and lifting heavy. The issue I was having with my routine back in June, was that my back was making a lot of improvements, as in making gains (building muscle) like I have always been struggling with. However, the muscle gain was not friendly to the closure of my dress. What did I do...

A month before we closed on our house, I had stopped going to the gym. The locations close to my house I was locked in a paid in full membership got shut down and was no longer convenient for me to go to the location 45 minutes from the house. I only had one month left and that entire month was consumed by coming home to my 6 week old puppy I just rescued or packing up the house. I considered playing with my dogs running around in the back yard with them, and packing going up and down the stairs in the house made up for missing the gym.

Of course I have considered starting back up at a gym the closer the wedding gets and even begged several times for buying a power rack for our garage. I still have not found a gym I like and after shelling a lot of money into memberships over the last two years with 3 states of  moves and cancellations I want to be sure when and if I join it will be a gym  I can call home and being completely satisfied with. I have stayed active by walking 3 dogs 3-4 times a day around my new neighborhood. Kyle and I made an insane decision to install our own fence in our backyard. We saved over $4,000 by doing it ourselves and it was not an easy task. Every weekend for a month we worked on our quarter of an acre fence.

 Diet and how you eat honestly is key to getting ready for a big event that you want to look your best for. I have stayed very consistent with my "diet" by keeping my calories at a tolerable level. I also eat carbs in a cycle which is known as carb cycling. I eat higher carbs every other day or every two days. On lower carb days, I stop eating carbs in the afternoon.

For breakfast I enjoy a piece of fruit with peanut butter like a banana or apple. Some days I will have a high fiber or high protein Thomas English muffin with 2 egg whites, and low fat cheese. I may make egg whites to go in a traveling glass bowl with some spinach, feta cheese, or asparagus ( I microwave them to go while I pack up my work bag for the day) then I’m out the door.

 I have became a  huge fan of Evol frozen meals which are mostly preservative free, non-GMO, and grass fed beef/ free range chicken. Lean Cuisine is also starting to follow this trend. Stauffer’s Fit Kitchen, is another frozen meal Kyle has really likes because it is satisfies his appetite and breaks down the percentage of macros. I am not wild about a time consuming meal prep, but I will bake up chicken for a couple of days and make a big salad and portion it out to make a couple or lunches or dinners. I also love packets of flavored tuna with an avocado.

I typically will eat cucumber slices, celery, or sugar snap peas as an easy snack at my desk. I love greek yogurts for snacks, my favorite is the Chobani Kids in watermelon and berry that come in tubes like go-gurt (extra points if it is frozen). Bananas, grapes, apples, oranges, and watermelon have been my summer go to for an afternoon snack when I start craving sugar.

Dinner can be the bigger challenge because by the end of the day I am mentally exhausted from work then have wedding planning to tackle or unpacking the house.  Kyle’s schedule can be crazy with work, golf, or hockey it is hard to plan meals but we still find time to sit down together for a meal most days. We may settle for a salad with protein, an asian style dish with jasmine rice, chicken or ground turkey, and veggies, or roasted veggies with chicken.

My best advice is to always have meals or items to cook ready for the next day. If I miss going to the grocery store for a couple days I may find myself at the Chick-Fila drive through. There are healthier options out there that are quick to get via drive thru's but I am best at staying dress ready by planning ahead of time and having meals or snacks ready for the next couple of days. 

A Week Without A Kitchen

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

I feel like I am the biggest failure when I don't have my meals prepped and planned. I find it makes it a challenge to calculate and hit my macros as closely as possible. Moving week is finally here, and we have zero time for playing in the kitchen unless it involves packing. I have also done my best to reduce buying any more food and eat what we have, so we have less to pack and move.

Prior to competing, I used to love fast food and ever since I have sharpened my healthy habits I have a very hard time ordering at restaurants, especially fast food. Not only because I want to know the nutritional content but I want to know WHAT exactly I am eating. Thankfully, My Fitness Pal has come to my rescue in some of these situations. I thought this relationship with food would improve the farther I get from my obsession with having abs, but the more scientific based studies come out on GMO's, synthetic sugars, poorly processed foods, I get anxiety over having to eat out.

So what am I eating this week with out a kitchen?
  • Fruit - apples, oranges, bananas
  • Salads from Chick-fila, Wendy's, and I even gave McDonalds at shot at their new Asian Salad.
  • Celery with peanut butter
  • Evol - frozen meals
  • Almonds
  • Chipotle
  • Sushi from Fresh Market
I ordered pizza for delivery for the first time since freshmen year of college the day we had our friends helping with moving the furniture. I might add it will probably be my last time I order pizza for delivery since we have limited options living away from town. We also had Chickfila (my favorite) when we were really busy with buying and installing blinds for the house, and new home necessities. 

Now that our kitchen was the first thing unpacked and ready to use we are back to meal prepping and cooking dinner/ breakfast. I am very eager to start playing in our new big beautiful kitchen, as well as film/ share some meals and meal prep. I have been terrible tracking my macros over the weekend so I have caved into downloading the My Fitness Pal app on my iPhone and try to log before I eat.  My username is Bikini_Steph, I'd for you to come see what I am eating and be friends in a healthy atmosphere. We are approaching our wedding day soon and it is time to tweak a few things before the big day is here. I will be manipulating my macros this week and begin to drop a few grams every week leading up to the wedding.

Please comment your favorite meals when you are very busy or without a kitchen!

Our house is completed today!!

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Ahh! Our house 7 months later is completed at the end of today! I may be missing the next week packing and getting everything lined up with my free time. I am also tying up loose ends in wedding planning this week...flowers choices and cake flavors have been the hardest decision to make.

Yesterday we had our initial walk through with the builder and realtor. We reviewed all the features of the house and was shown how to work appliances in the house. We then walked the house with the builder to inspect any flaws, cracks, and scratches. I actually really liked it because I am a very detail person and do not like flaws, the struggles of being a type A personality.  We found a total of four scratches  in cabinets, and the builder found a couple things I wouldn't have caught myself with my lack of house experience.

We did have delays, which I am never okay with even with my projects are work, but I've had to accept that it was out of our control. Weather is going to weather. Although we were forced to accept the delays (not given the option to, nothing verbally agreed on, or in writing.. I recommend getting a lawyer involved if this would be a huge issue if you are moving out of state or in bind with selling your current home). We are happy that nothing was rushed with our deadline to move out of our rental and overall the house has a minimal punch list to get completed before we close.

I find myself late at night dreaming of how to design the house with all the different color options I have been imagining. Then my dreams get caught up with the reality that blinds and a fence come first before any new furniture. The luxury of building a new home is that it doesn't come fully equipped like established homes.

I will recap on the last final weeks in a video soon once we are moved in, and most importantly have internet to make a post. If I could change anything currently, it would be wedding planning and building a house at the same time. I have been overwhelmed by the two huge milestones currently and have found myself at times shutting down and ignoring the two topics until I absolutely have to. Multi-tasking is my strong point and I have picked up in high gear to get my all my action items done before we move in.  I can't believe a week from today we will be closed on the house and packing up our moving truck and kiss renting goodbye.


Week 2: Wedding Prep Diet

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Friday will mark our 3 months out from the wedding, but until then let's focus on week 2 of the wedding diet.

The hardest part about any diet is starting it. The first week is the absolute hardest but once you get over that hump it gets easier and easier. If you haven't already, logging your food is your best tracker to success. I use My Fitness Pal smartphone app and website. Now I will be honest, I did not log every little bite of food last week but that doesn't mean give up.  I look at it as an area of improvement for this week. I purchase a lot of fruit and veggies over the weekend for snack at my desk during the day. Today I packed strawberries, celery, oranges, and a banana to compliment my peanut butter stash at my desk. I want to keep myself accountable and hope others want to as well. I welcome you to add me on My Fitness Pal, my username is Bikini_Steph. You can get meal ideas, or see what I am eating.

Monday is typically my off day, and today it is much needed I am very sore from my new discovery from yesterday golf cardio which I got inspired by the new show on the Golf Channel called Altered Course.  I am also going to ‘carb up’ for tomorrow, as it is leg day or intense golf cardio day. I love carbohydrates and by no means are they meant to be neglected in any diet.

My focus for week two is getting more interested in cardio. I ran most of the golf course yesterday running to my ball, there are many hills  which is what I am feeling mostly today in my calves, glutes, and quads. Most importantly being prepared, and eliminate the laziness. We caught ourselves exhausted last week and not wanting to cook, which made a minor road block with being prepared for meals to take to work. Reflect on your first week of your diet and what you would like to improve. It is not meant to make you feel like a failure but motivate you to get better for your upcoming event.

Stay tuned for a workout video this week! Here are a few updates, announcements, and topics I wanted to share from week 1.


Rainy Day Goes Gym Ready

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Enough with all this rain! It sure can put a damper on tee times or a week's worth of runs planned. It is safe to say that I am prepared for whatever the weather may present with back up plans for outdoor fun. I love the gym after a long stressful day to let out my frustration and have me time. When I got dressed in the morning, I knew the only way I was going to go is if I packed a gym bag or wore some of my workout clothes to work.
My coworkers are now prone to know rain is expected when I whip out my Hunter Boots. As I said, I'm keeping it simple by wearing my Lululemon leggings and racerback with a splash of style. I threw on a button up and fun statement piece to make it look less like I'm ready to pump some iron. If I don't have any meetings scheduled I like to dress comfortable since I will be sitting at my desk all day. Who else thinks this way?

Once I left work, got in the gym parking lot, swapped my Hunters for Nikes, removed the necklace and button up, I was ready for leg day!

Outfit details: Top (old from Old Navy) similar J. Crew | Leggings Lululemon | Undershirt/ Gym Top Lululemon  (on sale Lululemon) | Rainboots Hunter | Sneakers Nike | Necklace Kate Spade

Painless Cardio

Friday, July 10, 2015

If you're like me and hate cardio it is the most dreaded thing to do at the gym or around your neighborhood. It only became painful when I began getting prescribed by my coaches, hours of  cardio for an NPC bikini competition. That was the moment I started to hate it. It was no longer for heart health and as a matter of fact an extreme amount of cardio is NOT  healthy. My muscles ever over exhausted, my joints screamed, my body fat was so low that my body stopped functioning like a normal female.

Well, I have been forcing myself to reignite that spark I once had with cardio. I would like to compare it to couples therapy where issues are worked out to improve the relationship. I accept cardio can be good for you and the heart at a mild to moderate level. I am starting at a very mild level and easing in to at the most running a 5k.

HIIT, also known as high intensity interval training is how I am applying myself to improve this love hate relationship with running, stair master, and arc trainer. The goal is to have a steady heart rate for a certain amount of time then switch on difficult mode to push through a high heart rate.

So you’re probably asking, “How can I do HIIT cardio?” HIIT cardio doesn’t require a gym, although it can be nice if you prefer machines than the outdoors, it’s raining, or weather temperature is too extreme.

Here is an example of my routine: This version can be done outdoors or treadmill.


1.      Stretch! Be sure to point and flex your foot to warm up the most prone area for shin splits.

2.      5 minute warm up. This is without any elevation if I am on a treadmill at a walking pace.

3.      2 minute jog

4.      1 minute walk

5.      1 minute sprint / run

6.      30 second walk

7.      1 minute sprint

8.      30 second walk

9.      2 minute jog

10.  1 minute walk

11.  1 minute sprint

12.  30 second walk

13.  1 minute sprint

14.  30 second walk

15.  1 minute sprint

16.  2 minute cool down – walking slow

I challenge you to try it out this weekend! I’d love to hear how you do! If 20 minutes is too much try it for 15 or 10 minutes.


Happy Friday loves!


Wedding Diet Kick-Off!

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Our first week of our wedding diet and preparation for our honeymoon has began. Let's be honest here, anyone wants to look good for their wedding day and honeymoon. Heck, even the guests want to look good. We are 14 weeks away from the day we say I do and our goal is to have steady (NOT aggressive) progress. I welcome anyone to join us on our health fix, not just for any special occasion but also for long term health.

If you are looking into beginning a diet for an event, I recommend starting sooner than later. Allowing a longer period of time for dieting to avoid crash dieting and bloating instantly at your rehearsal dinner by having one bad meal that is polar opposite from how you have been eating. When dieting at a steady pace, you are giving yourself a bigger opportunity to maintain your weight loss achievement. When people go to the extremes with diets, as soon as they stop their diet it is very common to gain even more weight that they had originally began with. That is because crash or extreme diets are very harmful to your metabolism. The more it is manipulated the harder it will be to lose weight the next time you diet.  I'll get more into detail on that later. We will be eating our staples we normally eat when we behave on our diet, and not drastically reduce our calorie intake or totally ignore carbohydrates (aka carbs). That's right we will lose weight and still get carbs.

The rules are to eat things we like and not set limitations for example, no carbs, sodium, or sweets. The goal is to stay sane, not to hate each other while dieting with wedding planning. We are only drinking on the weekend in moderation. We get many of our meal ideas from Fit Men Cook which there is now an app, we are big fans of Kevin! Check out his instagram @fitmencook and website! We have yet to have a bad meal when we follow his recipes. Kyle also bought his book, No Cheats Needed we begin implementing next week. We follow IIFYM also known as If It Fits Your Macros which is a set amount of calories, protein, fat, carbohydrates, and fiber that is a goal for us to hit daily. I track my macros by logging what I eat on my fitness pal after every meal. You can follow me on My Fitness Pal at @Bikini_Steph. If want to know more about IIFYM watch this video:

Our goal is to be active 5 - 6 days of the week, which luckily our activity of choice is golfing. We are not limiting ourselves to only golf since our heart rate doesn't get very elevated for a long period of time. We plan to start running our neighborhood with the dogs, and doing sprints in front of the house for high intensity interval training. On the weekend we have an afternoon by the pool and swim. We are in our final month of our gym membership that we paid in full and then had the closest locations close doors, so we are have been getting creative for workouts. Yep, we won't be renewing our membership. After the cost we have paid up front for a year membership for the two of us, considering the few machines we use (team free weights and power rack), and the gas we use to travel 50 miles round trip, it made more sense to invest in our home. We hope to set up a home gym in our new garage after the wedding, but for the mean time we will use the office gym. I am on a mission to maintain my shape on my lower body for my wedding dress and bikinis. Stay tuned for home gym workouts! I am super excited for the day I can start filming and sharing it on my channel.

 The difference between our bodybuilding diet and our wedding prep is that it is not to be stressful or intense, but to dedicate time together to cook our meals and spend time being active together, rather than being hangry (hungry and angry), or driving each other nuts from being carb deprived. Expect the first week to be difficult. If it were easy, America would be in tip top shape. Share any thoughts or comments and even encourage a friend to join the fun with you for a support! Stay fit and stay sane my friends. Health is not just about being physical but also mental.

Stay tuned for my next wedding diet blog post!! I'd love to hear your questions, or thoughts please comment below or email me Barbellesandcurls@gmail.com


New Home Construction Woes and Woahs

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Allow me to begin by stating, Kyle and I are extremely blessed that we are buying our first home, not only that but building it! It is such a big year for us and we are excited to begin our married life in our new home.  A while ago in this post, I shared the news and some tips on deciding to build or buy. I am making a return in celebration of our anticipated closing day...

Which was a HUGE disappointment. We should be moving in this week and getting ready to host our first party for the 4th of July. When we signed the contract, we noticed some strange verbiage over the amount of days the builder can exceed from our anticipated completion date. Well that verbiage is not defined well whatsoever and it is to cover our builders behind to delay as long as they wish.

We would much rather take the delay than sacrifice quality. As the saying goes, "Good things take time". We were given the news two weeks from our closing date of the delays. It was a big upset since the reason was from the cold weather in March and our realtor failed to mention it to us. We actually found out through our mortgage agent.

Hairflip, and excepting that it is what it is. We got our weekly update call from our realtor and builder, and the news is starting to look on the bright side.

Here is the progress prior to the most recent updates. I will share those in my next video.

If you have any advise on delays, or experience from building your home I'd love to read your comments!!

Stay lovely.

A Week In Lilly: Day 5

Friday, June 26, 2015

Day 5: June 26

Outfit details: Shirt - Old Navy ( I can only find  the maternity version, but I swear they have a no preggo shirt in stores) | Jean Jacket | crops | heels - Tory Burch or it's sister here (both on sale!)

I have a few more Lilly Pulitzer dresses I was wanting to wear this week in the office but it is casual Friday in the office and I found an urge to wear this shirt that is so cute it makes me want to be on the sailboats. I found this top at Old Navy on sale for $5. I couldn't resist. It appeared as though Old Navy's summer collection is trying to give Lilly a run for it's money.

P.s. The Tory Burch wedges are deeply discounted!! I can only find black online ( I got mine from Bloomingdales last summer on sale).


A Week In Lilly: Day 4

Day 4: June 25th

 Outfit details: Cover up | Dress from the Lilly for Target line (similar styles Lilly Pulitzer or this) | Wedges | Alex & Ani Bracelet Stack - 1 2 3  4 5 6
You can take the girl out of Florida, but you can't take the Florida out of the girl. In my office I am pretty lucky I can get away as being that girl from Florida and expressing my style in yet a professional manner. I was able to make this look be appropriate for two different settings. It's the perfect length in the office but its also light enough you don't melt during the Pro/ Am NWA Championship. Y'all, Lydia Ko said hi to Kyle and I! I was a little start struck and didn't get an autograph. 

I get so many compliments on this dress no matter if I am here in Arkansas or in Florida. Unfortunately it is only available by those crazy ebay sellers because they sold out in stores with in 10 minutes of open. The good news is, I am still seeing items pop in my Target, including this dress that I saw this week. It was misplaced in the kids section but ladies there are some items lingering. Keep your eyes out and your hopes high!

Scroll through my outfit below!


A Week In Lilly: Day 3

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Day 3: June 24

Skinny Jeans | Lilly Pulitzer Coral Top ( I scored this at the Lilly Warehouse Sale last year but these are similar here & here) | Jack Rogers Sandals | Ray Bans | Michael Kors Watch | Michael Kors Handbag (on sale!) 

If summer time were to have a signature color, it would be coral. I adore coral on sunkissed skin, which unfortunately I am not blessed with and not daring enough to invite skin cancer to the biggest organ of my body. However, it is still a wonderful color for the season! I scored this top at the Lilly Pulitzer Warehouse sale, but I made sure to share some similar styles by Lilly. If summer time were to have a hair style it would totally be mermaid waves with a splash of sea spray. 

Join me this week in the Lilly movement. Share your styles that are Lilly Pulitzer inspired with #aweekinlilly on instagram or twitter (retweeting is very likely)! 

See you tomorrow my fellow mermaids!


A Week In Lilly Pulitzer: Day 2

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Anything is possible with sunshine and a little pink.
This afternoon I finally get to attend my first day of the LPGA to watch the practice rounds with the pros! This day is also an opportunity for the members to meet the players and get autographs. A favorite to us Arkansans is Stacy Lewis, who is a former Razorback Golfer. I am hoping to meet Michelle Wie, who is my favorite in the LPGA. Lydia Ko was out on the coarse practicing this morning, whom is the youngest in the tournament (to my knowledge). Im excited to give updates through the week!
Day 2 : June 23

Outfit Details: Dress - Lilly for Target SOLD OUT but similar style shift here Lilly Pulitzer | Shoes - Jack Rogers | Bracelet - Alex & Ani | Sunglasses - Ray Ban

P.S. Come join the fun of Lilly lovers with hashtag #aweekinlilly to kick off the first week of summer!
site design by designer blogs