Thursday, December 12, 2013

Throwback Thursday: Sevilla Travel Tales

Maybe I should start calling these Travel Thursday since that seems to be what I always want to throwback to! I wanted to share my trip to Sevilla with all of you for a couple reasons. 1. It was super warm there, and I am currently freezing. 2. It was one of the first places I visited in my entire life that took my breath away.

I took hundreds of photos in Sevilla because I was there for four days, and here are a few. Man was it hot there! It was in the high 80s and mid 90s all week and it doesn't cool down much at night. I learned the importance of siesta in Sevilla, its almost required to deal with the heat. Also, everything closes so napping or walking around were my only choices. Overall, I absolutely loved Sevilla and hope I can return someday for a longer stay.
View from Seville Cathedral

View from Seville Cathedral
Plaza de Toros

Inside Alcazar

Inside Alcazar

Plaza de Espana
Plaza de Espana
Have you been to Spain? Tell me about your experience below!

Sunday, December 08, 2013

The Scoop on Healthy Living: Weekly Round-up on Healthy Eating

Winter is here. It's in full swing, and there's nothing we can do to stop it. I don't know about you, but winter is my hardest season when it comes to making healthy decisions. I struggle with all the yummy, hot comfort food that makes those oh-so-cold days so much more bearable. And don't even get me started on exercising. When it's cold, all I want to do is bundle up on the couch with my dog and watch movies.  For the much needed motivation to stay healthy during the holidays, I turn to my magazine subscriptions and newsfeed on Twitter for inspiration. Below is a weekly round-up of articles to help us all keep on making healthy decisions.

Reader's Digest : "How to Make These 8 Superfoods Even Healthier"

A good reminder of why blueberries, garlic, olive oil, broccoli, yogurt, oats, flaxseed, and cinnamon are great additions to your everyday diet.


Self Magazine: "Lightened-Up Comfort Food (Under 400 Calories Each!)"

Did I mention I am all about comfort food in the winter months? Well I fully believe those foods can be enjoyed, as long as reasonable portions are eaten. In this article, Self provides 15 lightened recipes that let us indulge without growing that winter bulge.

Read it here: http://www.self.com/fooddiet/2013/11/lightened-up-comfort-food-slideshow

Beautylish: "Juice Your Way to Detoxification" 

I am a huge fan of juicing. Not only do I feel like I'm getting a ton of nutrients and vitamins from the source, it also gives me so much energy! I am looking forward to giving this recipe a try.

Read it here: http://www.beautylish.com/a/vxgxy/juice-recipe-for-detox

Where do you turn for motivation to stay healthy during the holidays? Share it with me on twitter @danielle0090

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Throwback Thursday: Travel Temptation Loire Valley

I think the castles in Loire Valley must have been the inspiration behind many of the Disney princess movies. I definitely felt the child inside me perk up at the sight of grand and historic Chateaus. Loire Valley was my favorite place on my two month trip through Europe. Check out the photos below:











I hope I can go back to Loire Valley and visit the other dozen or so chateaus. I had so much fun exploring this area, and recommend that if you go in the summer to take one of the many bike routes between the chateaus. The country side is just as beautiful.

I have such a strong urge to go back here! I seriously fell in love with this part of France and can't wait to go back. Guess I will be spending the next year saving pennies again! I'm going to make this happen!

What is your favorite place in the world? Is there a place you've been you're dying to go back to? What about a place you haven't been? Share it with me in the comment section!

Thanks for reading!

Friday, September 27, 2013

The Scoop on Healthy Living: Add Ankle Weights to Pilates!

Hi everyone, I hope you're feeling like working out today because I have a fun tip for you to try.

Recently, I have been experimenting more and more with weight training to see how I can fit it into my normal exercise routine, which generally involves cardio and Bar Method or Pilates . I have to say that I have never seen results faster than I have when utilizing heavy weight lifting. My brother has been weight training for years and is helping me out with my form, weight limits, etc. and it has been a super fun challenge.

So I wanted to share a tip with all of you that may add more of a challenge to your workout.

Add ANKLE WEIGHTS to your Pilates routine!

Before I do any Pilates routine, I like to warm up with about 5 minutes of cardio. This can involve jogging on a treadmill, jogging in place, high knees, jump rope, high jumps, or a combination of all of them. The goal is to get my heart rate up, and warm up my muscles. So put on your favorite workout playlist and get going!

Now you should strap on your ankle weights and try out a leg oriented Pilates routine! Remember that you may have to do less reps than the original workout since you are now working with weights. Form is always important in Pilates! In weight training, the last three reps should be DIFFICULT to finish.

Here are a couple routines that demonstrate Pilates moves you can try with ankle weights (again - do not feel like you have to match the routine rep for rep when you are wearing weights):

1. Leg Slimming Pilates Butt and Thigh Workout by Fitness Blender:

2. Blogilates POP Pilates: Beginner Inner Thighs (I LOVE Cassey Ho's workouts!)


After you're done with your Pilates, take off the weights, and do another 3-5 minutes of cardio and follow that with a nice stretching cool down. If you need stretching ideas, click here.

Try it out and let me know what you think!

FYI - I am in no way a fitness expert or professional. I am simply sharing something that has worked well for me, and it shouldn't take the place of advice from a professional or your doctor.

Share your favorite youtube exercises with me on Twitter @danielle0090!

Friday, September 13, 2013

Beauty Scoop: Shea Moisture Anti-Breakage Masque

Today, I wanted  to review the Shea Moisture Organic Yucca & Baobab Anti-Breakage Masque for Thin, Fine Hair. I bought this masque at CVS for $12.99 (it was actually the same day I bought the Indian Hemp Tamanu Masque, which I am soooo loving right now!).

The primary reason I bought this masque was because I am in LOVE with my Shea Moisture Thickening Shampoo, so I assumed they must make amazzzzzing conditioner.

Well it turns out, not so much. I am very disappointed to say I don't find this masque very moisturizing. It's not even as moisturizing as my rinse out conditioner I have in the shower.

Here's how I've been using it: I applied it to dry hair all over, concentrating on the ends, then I put a disposable hair masque on for 45 minutes, after which I shower and shampoo / condition as normal. I have used this masque multiple times, and it just doesn't seem to do anything really. This is what I just started doing with the Indian Hemp Tamanu Masque as well, and it works really well (click here for another way to use it).

Overall, I'm definitely experiencing buyers regret with the Shea Moisture Anti-Breakage Masque. However, I do look forward to trying more of their products since I am using their shampoo regularly. Hopefully this will be my only disappointing experience with Shea Moisture!

One of the reasons I was drawn to this brand is their ingredients. Check out the ingredients for this masque below:
Deionized Water, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea Butter) (Certified Organic Ingredient), Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil (Certified Organic Ingredient), Mangifera Indica (Mango) Seed Butter (Certified Organic Ingredient), Persea Gratissima (Avocado) Oil, Olea Europaea (Olive) Oil (Certified Organic Ingredient), Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract, Ammonium Salt (Conditioner), Yucca Filamentosa Extract, Vegetable Protein, Adansonia Digitata (Baobab) Extract, Biotin, Panthenol (Vitamin B-5), Rosemary Extract, Bamboo Extract, Sorbitol Esters, Caprylyl Glycol, Essential Oil Blend, Lonicera Caprifolium (Honeysuckle) Flower (and Lonicera Japonica (Japanese Honeysuckle) Flower Extract, Tocopherol (Vitamin E).
Do you use a hair treatment or just stick with your normal shampoo and conditioner? Share your favorite products with me on Twitter @danielle0090. Also, there is one more week to enter my Graduation Giveaway. Click here to enter before time runs out!

Friday, August 30, 2013

Beauty Scoop: Teeth Whitening Kit Review -- GREAT for sensitive teeth!

A few weeks ago on youtube I saw Kandee Johnson do a teeth whitening tutorial using the Dial-A-Smile at home kit. She offered a really good discount code, so I decided that I would try it out. I paid $57 for this kit (original price $399).

What's neat about this kit is that it comes with a little brush for precise application, and a UV light to speed up the whitening process. What I LOVED about this kit is the fact I had NO sensitivity from using it, and got immediate results.

Here is what came in the kit:


I read the instructions in the box, and also re-watched Kandee's video to make sure I did it right. Honestly, this was one of the fastest and easiest at home kits I have ever used. I definitely recommend it!

I wasn't going to include a before and after picture since the lighting was so bad in my bathroom, but here they are anyway:
I tend to get bad coffee stains on my top and bottom incisors, and I was very pleased to see those reduced. Now I feel like my teeth are all the same shade and those ugly coffee stains aren't nearly as noticeable.

Using the teeth color chart, I went from about a 7 to 4/5, so overall I am happy with the results. If you can pick up this kit at the discounted price, then I definitely recommend you all try it. It comes with three applications and I have used one so far, so it seems like a good deal to me!

I just want to mention that a year ago I purchased a professional whitening kit for $110 from my dentist and I had very similar results, but the whitening formula caused extreme sensitivity for days. I would not put myself through that ever again, it was awful!

Have you whitened your teeth at home? What was your experience?

PS - GIVEAWAY coming soon! Check back next week!

Friday, August 02, 2013

Beauty Scoop: Best Skin Butters and Moisturizers

I am a Body Shop junkie when it comes to their body butters and body oils! I've tried dozens of brands over the years, but this is the brand I always come back too. Also, it's really hard to resist their deals. If you're subscribed to their email list, then you know they send out really good coupons every couple of weeks.

I have a question for you: Do you suffer from dry skin? Well, this might just be the solution for you!

The first thing you want to do is purchase a body oil to put in your shower. I love the scents of The Body Shop's "beautifying oils". Over the last couple of months, I used the "Moringa" oil.  The scents are faint, but pleasant, and I like that they are not over powering. You can also pick up Neutrogena's Sesasme Body Oil from your local drugstore (it's a lot cheaper per oz). 

The Scoop: Once you are finished showering, but before you towel off, apply the body oil all over (except your face) and then lightly pat yourself dry with a towel.

After about ten minutes, when your skin is air dried, you can apply your favorite lotion or body butter to your extra dry areas (elbows, knees, ankles, etc.) or all over if you feel you need it. After following this routine for a few days, you should notice your skin become softer and look more supple. I personally like to use body butters because I like their consistency. I've recently been using the Vitamin E body butter from The Body Shop.

What are your tips and tricks for dry skin? Share them below! Thanks for reading!

<3 Danielle

Friday, July 26, 2013

Beauty Scoop: Best Face Sunscreen for Oily Skin

Do you have a hard time finding a sunscreen that works well with your skin? I know I always have. The sunscreens I've bought at the drugstore have been too greasy or left an icky texture on my skin. I hated wearing makeup over sunscreen because my face just felt dirty, especially with waterproof sunscreens. That is why I was so happy when EcoLogical Sunscreen came into my life!
EcoLogical Sunscreen

I started using EcoLogical  sunscreen a few years ago. I was introduced to it by my boss when I worked at an all natural children's store during my undergrad years. Since it was a children's store, we carried the "Baby" sunscreen, so I started off with the tube third from the left >>.

When that tube ran out, I switched the Face tube because it was under 3 oz and I could easily travel with it on airplanes. Since you really need to replace your sunscreen every 6 months to a year, this tube is a really good size.  If you look at the ingredients list, it appears the formula in all the versions is the same. I noticed absolutely no difference in effectiveness between the face, baby, and body sunscreens. However, the consistency of the Face sunscreen is a little more "whipped" making it easier to apply.

There are two reasons I love this sunscreen: First of all, it is ALL NATURAL, so it uses zinc oxide as its sun blocking ingredient, and not the scary chemicals seen in all the mainstream brand sunscreens. Second, I love how it feels on my skin. The additional ingredients like rose hips and cucumber are soothing and moisturizing.

I do want to note, though, that the Baby tube has a thick consistency. When I applied it, I squeezed about a pea size onto my finger tips and gently pat it all over my face. Then I spritz my face with a water based toner, like LUSH, and pat it into my skin the rest of the way. I wait over ten minutes before applying any other products to my skin (like makeup). Also, this is not a waterproof sunscreen, so if you are fair skinned like me and are planning to spend all day in the sun, be sure to apply it every two hours.

Your face, neck, decollete, and hands are usually the first to show signs of sun damage and aging. Be sure to spend the extra time protecting these areas in your morning routine.

Do you have a favorite sunscreen brand? Share it with me on the Scoop Facebook Page! Thanks for reading!

<3 Danielle

Friday, July 19, 2013

The Scoop on Healthy Living: MiFitLife Review

 


MiFitLife: iPhone App Review and Tips


MiFitLife is a fitness tracker application available in the app store for $4.99. What sets this app apart from others, is what it tracks. By filling out the starter survey (go to "Start Here" in Settings), it determines how your body consumes oxygen. Then you are given VO2 Max goals to help guide your fitness routine. The reason VO2 is important is because our body creates and uses energy when oxygen is delivered to our cells. According to their website, "for every liter of oxygen consumed, you convert 4.59 calories". It takes very little time to fill out the survey, and afterwards you are given an Age Adjusted VO2 Max (see top left image), and a 13 Week Goal Program (top right image) to increase your fitness. Every time you log an activity, it tells you how many VO2 Points you earned as well as how many calories it converts to (see image below).


Going through the MiFitLife website, especially the definitions, helped me orient myself with the app. It's really easy to log activities, but figuring out intensity was a little abstract to me for the first couple of days. I think my first week using this app, my progress was not accurate since I overestimated some activities, and underestimated others. Now I think I have a better handle on it, so my results will be more reliable.

Determining Intensity

Here is how i think of intensity for the use of this app. I thought of past examples of workouts I've done, and rated them from the hardest exertion I put myself through to the least. So now when I log a workout, I think of one of those in the past and see how it compares. Then I choose the intensity it is closest to. Basically, a 10 would be the hardest I have ever exerted myself in my entire life and a 1 would be something super easy, like walking slowly on a flat surface.

So for example, a couple weeks ago, I biked for 80 minutes at an average 3.5 intensity (it was hilly, so sometimes hard and sometimes very easy), and I earned 104 V02 Points which converted to 520 calories.

Honestly, if I was doing something under a level 3, I don't really think about logging it unless i did it for several hours. For example, I logged a number 2 for five hours when I spent a day walking around a new city I was visiting.

I recommend buying the app before a Sunday so that you can test out the activity calculators and get a feel for them before beginning the 13 week program.

What I Liked: 

I liked that this app made me think about the intensities of my workouts. Before I worked out, I would think about how intense I worked out the day before and usually this led me to push myself harder. It also encouraged me to work out most days of the week because I wanted to hit my VO2 Goal. Of course, I also like knowing how many calories were converted in my workout since that typically helps me eat healthier.

What I Would Like To See from MiFitLife in the Future:

I think it would be great if the app integrated the major muscle groups into the activity log (think of the "symptom checker" on webmd if this idea seems abstract.) I like to quickly look back at my workouts to see which muscle group I worked and on which day it was so I can make sure I'm switching it up. Also, I'd be curious to see how working a large muscle group (i.e. legs) intensely would compare to intensely working a smaller muscle group (i.e. arms) on the VO2 calculation.

Recommendation:

If you are looking for a way to track the progress and effectiveness of your fitness regimen then I recommend you try this app. It will help you figure out whether your working hard enough, consistently. For that reason, I plan to continue to use it.

What fitness apps have you tried? Do you have a favorite? Share your experiences with me on Twitter @danielle0090.

Disclaimer: I was given a code to redeem this app for free for purpose of review. See Privacy Policy & Disclosure for more details.

Friday, July 05, 2013

Healthy Living: Rejuvenate Your Body, Become a Sometimes Vegan!

Photo Credit: Real California Milk

Dairy: My Frenemy

Do you have a dairy allergy or lactose intolerance? I have the latter, and it can be challenging to eat around it sometimes. Most of the time, I take Digestive Advantage Daily Lactose Defense Formula Capsules before meals so that I can eat "normally", but other times I prefer to cut out dairy altogether. When I do, I honestly feel so much healthier. However, eating out can be a challenge and so I mostly practice dairy free eating at home.

I first noticed I was lactose intolerant in my freshman year of college. Though, when I think back, I'm pretty sure I have been most of my life, but the symptoms became much worse in college. To combat it, I went through a temporary vegan phase, and a much longer vegetarian phase, before deciding that siloing myself into a restrictive diet just didn't make me happy. Now I try to eat more balanced. Sometimes this includes meat and dairy, and a lot of the times it does not. I play it by ear and try to listen to my body.

For the other dairy intolerant readers out there, I've found "Go Dairy Free" to be an extremely informative and helpful website. It's full of recipes, tips and resources.

A Sometimes Vegan

Even though I found a vegan diet too restrictive, I do attempt it every few months for a set period of time (3 to 7 days) to rejuvenate. This is typically when I do the Kaeng Raeng cleanse as well. I always feel so good both during and after these periods of vegan living. As I've mentioned in my Kaeng Raeng review, choosing raw foods especially makes me think about every single thing I eat. If you're like me, then you don't want to keep a food journal. Taking a week every few months to eat a vegan diet can provide the necessary reality check you would get from keeping a food journal.
Photo Credit: Vegan Coach
I think it's best to take small steps, and then move towards bigger milestones. For example, for extreme meat eaters who meat with every meal, you're first step could be to have one meatless meal a week, and then one vegan meal a week. Eventually, work up to one vegan day a week, and on to multiple vegan days in a row every couple of months. It's important on your vegan days to eat wholesome food. So don't reach for that bag of chips just because there are no animal products in it. Eat REAL, unprocessed food :) Variety is key to get the most of the nutrients (see the pyramid above).

If you truly feel that a few days of vegan eating is too restrictive, I would encourage you to try a vegan-pescatarian hybrid of a diet, at least at first. Still cut out dairy, processed food, and other foods with animal by-products, but include a fish fillet with your meals. I guarantee you'll still feel amazing!

Cleansing

I would recommend that once you are able to go multiple days on a vegan diet to incorporate a cleanse. It restores balance to my body, and always motivates me to exercise.

What do you do to rejuvenate your body? Share your experiences with me on Twitter @danielle0090.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

I'M HOME!

Some of you know that I've been in Europe for the last two months. If you would like to hear about my trip details and tips, then head on over to EuroScoop! I still have a couple of photo journals to post before I close up shop on that blog.

Last night, I touched down in San Francisco and it feels so good to be home! It's so nice to be in the same time zone as most of my family and friends. I had an amazing time, but I'm definitely looking forward to getting back into my normal schedule.

Thanks for reading The Scoop! What your plans for the summer? Share them below!

<3 Danielle

Friday, June 28, 2013

Beauty Scoop: Best Mineral Blush and Bronzer

Rosy cheeks and bronzed skin never cease to go out of style for the summer season. As a follow up to the theme of last week's post, here are a few of my favorite bronze and blush brands.

 One of my all time favorite bronzers is bareMinerals Faux Tan Matte. While I no longer use bareMinerals as my foundation, I'm still in love with many products in their line. I apply this in the natural "shadow" areas on my face and neck during the summer. Since I have very pale skin, a little bit of the powder goes a long way, but I find it very easy to blend. I have a couple other shimmery bronzers that I like by bareMinerals that came in kits, but I don't think they are sold separately. For tutorials on contouring, check out Kandee Johnson and Anna Saccone, both have great how-to's on Youtube.

One of my favorite blushes is also by bareMinerals. You can view their full line of colors at their website. I love "Warm Rose" and "Berry Pink" and have been using both for years. I have always preferred loose mineral powders for bronzer and blush over compacts. I think bareMinerals are much more pigmented and easy to work with. Although, I must admit, it is also easy to over do it. BareMinerals now offers a compact line of both, but I haven't had a chance to try them.

For blushes, I also like Laura Geller Blush-N- Brighten in "Pink Grapefruit". I got this as part of a starter kit from Laura Geller's QVC collection. My only complaint is the same as for all compacts. WHY must you shatter into millions of pieces when I drop you?? However, I love the soft pink and gold undertones in this blush and think it is the perfect hue for spring and summer.

What is your favorite blush and bronzer?  Share your's below!
Also, come stop by The Scoop Facebook page and follow me on Twitter!

<3 Danielle


Friday, June 21, 2013

Beauty Scoop: Best Fake Tan for Pale Skin

I am pretty much as pale as it gets. I've got fair Scottish skin that will not tan no matter how long I am in the sun. In fact, it burns if I'm in the sun for more than a few minutes without sunscreen. I used to find this fact a bit depressing, but as I get older, I feel more and more confident in my own skin. Still, as a native Californian, there are still days in the summer I reach for my fake tanning lotion.

I have tried pretty much every fake tan product out there. In high school, I took a few spins down at the tanning salon in the spray tanks, but I found that process to be far to expensive since the tan only looked good for a few days. After that, I looked pretty scary until I could exfoliate it all off. Now, I only use fake tanning lotion on my legs, and I'm much happier with the end result.

How to achieve a balanced fake tan:

On the night I apply the tanning lotion, I shower first, exfoliate my legs with St. Ives Body Wash Exfoliating Purify and shave. Then I pat my legs dry with the towel, apply light lotion to my knees and ankles, and go on with my nightly routine until my legs are completely dry.

Once they are dry, I put on my disposable gloves, which you can find at any drugstore. Make sure they are tight fitting as you do not want them to crease as you apply. I have found this is the only way to ensure my hands come out spotless after the process.

My favorite tanning product is L'Oreal Paris Sublime Bronze Luminous Bronzer. I want to stress that I have tried most drugstore and high end tanners and this is pretty much the only one I will continue to repurchase. I don't even like the other L'Oreal tanners. Just this one. If they discontinue it, I will be devastated!

With gloves on, I squeeze the lotion into my hands, rub them together and apply it to my legs. Since you can see the pigment of this lotion, it's a lot easier to avoid streaks. I basically concentrate on the bottom half of my legs first and work my way up. I try not to apply too much to my knees, and I rub the lotion into my skin until it feels dry. Then I squeeze more into the gloves and continue the process until both legs are covered. After that, I carefully remove the gloves and wash my hands are wrists in case any product made it's way onto undesired places. 

If I have work or school the next day, I will shower again before because I can't stand the fake tanner smell. However, the longer you can leave the first application on before submerging yourself in water, the better. I repeat this entire process every three to five nights to maintain the tan.  On the nights I do not repeat the tanner, I apply body oil to my legs while they are still wet in the shower. I've found when my legs are well moisturized, it helps maintain the tan for longer. My favorite body oil right now is The Body Shop Spa Wisdom Polynesia Monoi Miracle Oil.

Sometimes I still use Olay Quench Plus Touch of Sun Body Lotion (Medium to Dark) on my arms and chest during the summer, but honestly, I've never been able to stand the smell of any fake tanner, so it's hard for me to apply it near my face. The scent of the Olay lotion is the least repulsive to me :)  

I hope this was helpful for my fellow tan skin challenged people! If you have a favorite tanning product, please share it below so I can check it out!

Also, come stop by The Scoop Facebook page and follow me on Twitter!

<3 Danielle

Friday, June 14, 2013

Beauty Scoop: Pangea Organics Argentinean Tangerine & Thyme Facial Toner

Pangea Organics Argentinean Tangerine
& Thyme Facial Toner $26
I really love toners, especially during summer when I am constantly reapplying sunscreen. I feel like they provide the perfect base and can be a great afternoon skin refresher. However, I can't say all brands are the same. I definitely have my favorites.

Pangea Organics

The Good:
This toner's aroma is very calming and pleasant. When I have a headache, I like to spray it around me and it relieves in momentarily.

The So-So:
When I applied this, it makes my skin feel cleaner and refreshed. I let it dry before applying any other products and makeup, though, because when I don't, my skin doesn't feel like it can breathe. I may repurchase this eventually. For now, there are more affordable toners out there that I think are just as effective, but I enjoy the aroma of this toner over all the others I have tried.

The Bad:
Overall, I do not think the price of this product is justifiable. Unfortunately, I have tried quite a few products by Pangea Organics and have felt this way about most of them. The exception is their Facial Mask which I have repurchased a couple times.

Recommendation:
Check out the Toner's by LUSH. They start at about $10 depending on the size you get. Even the most expensive size ($21) is cheaper than Pangea's $26 price tag.

What is your favorite toner? Share it below!

<3 Danielle

Friday, June 07, 2013

The Scoop on Healthy Living: Exercise Motivation

Photo Credit: Marianna68
Do you every find yourself in a slump when you haven't worked out in a while and you really have no desire to do so any time soon? I know I have. Here are some ways to get your motivation back!

#1 Exercise with Friends
While motivation is actually best when it comes from within, it doesn't hurt to get back in the game with external motivation. Do you have an active friend? Grab them and go on walks, hikes, runs, bike rides, play a pick up game of soccer or basketball, or anything else active! Do something you enjoy, and it will come easier. Also, if you do something a bit competitive, then it might motivate you to work harder.

#2 Set the bar low... at first
Getting back in the exercise game doesn't mean getting off the couch to run 3 miles. Just make a commitment to yourself to do SOMETHING everyday. For example, leave some 2 lb dumbbells by the sofa. While you're watching your favorite show, pick them up and do some arm raises, circles, and curls. If you did this every time you watched tv, you'd start to notice a difference pretty quick! Also, once you start working out, you're much more likely to continue working out. So incorporating small exercises into your everyday routine could definitely be the first step to a healthier lifestyle.

Photo Credit: "My Magic Moments"
#3 Dance like a freak
Are you low on energy? Well put your favorite playlist on, and start dancing. Extreme moves are especially encouraged. Also, the freakier the better. Get low, then stay low, and HOLD IT! Holy cow, I think you just did a squat. Dancing is a great form of cardio, and I don't see how you could possibly be in a bad mood after dancing like a crazy person. 

#4 Join Communities in the Interweb 
My personal favorite is the Blogilates community run by Cassey Ho. She puts out free HIIT and Pilates videos regularly and maintains a great blog to supplement the videos. I also find magazine websites like SELF to be motivational and generally have great tips. You could also download apps for fitness like Weight Watchers or Nike+.

What do you do to motivate yourself? Share your tips below with me on Twitter!

Friday, May 31, 2013

My Month in Photos: May 2013

I spent all of May and June 2013 traveling around Europe in between classes for my study abroad program. I did create a travel blog called EuroScoop which includes photo blogs and some travel tips I've learned along the way (go check it out if you're traveling to London, Spain, France, or Italy soon!)

Without further adieu here is a photo journal of my trips from May -- I wish I could upload all my photos, but that would take a lifetime! I hope you enjoy them.

My journey began in Alicante, Spain:




From Alicante, I took the over night bus to Sevilla (which led to me taking part in my first siesta later that day)




Then I flew to Barcelona:



And popped over to Bilbao:



Next I spent a few days in London (which is where I studied): 



From there, I spent a few days at a friend's in Luxembourg:




I took a day trip by train from Lux to Trier, Germany:




And then I went back to London for more classes. That covers the cities I visited in May!  I'll post another "My Month in Photos" for June in July!

Thanks for reading The Scoop!