Excuse-Proof Tips to Help You Get to the Gym!

Good morning! I hope you have a wonderful day today. The last two blogs have been of a more serious nature, so today I’m sharing something a little more light and upbeat. Today I’m going to be talking about going to the gym! Yay. (Insert sarcastic tone) 

If you’re anything like me, going to the gym is pretty much the worst thing ever and it takes SOOOO much motivation. I can pretty much make up any excuse to talk myself out of going to the gym. However, I know deep down that it’s actually good for me, I feel and sleep better, and I like being healthy. I have developed a few small habits, over the last couple of months, that have been a great help to get me back into the gym. So far, these small habits have proved to be excuse-proof! I’m going to share these tips with you in the hopes that it helps you conquer your fitness goals, as well!

Excuse #1: I don’t have any clean gym clothes.

Solution #1: Have as many changes of work out clothes as the number of days you go to the gym. So, if you are planning on going 2-3 times a week, make sure you have 2-3 changes of workout gear (ie. 3 pairs of leggings or shorts, 3 shirts, etc…). By having separate changes of clothes for each gym day, you won’t have the excuse of needing to do laundry because you have nothing clean. At the end of your workout week, do laundry for the next week. In the mornings before I go to work, I grab my shoes, a clean pair of socks, leggings, and a shirt that I can leave in my car. I also have a designated gym bag that I clean out every night and leave by my purse. I also feel the most confident about working out when I have gym clothes that I like wearing. And of course, almost every single piece of workout gear that I have is black, haha! Some of my favorite brands of workout clothes are:

Excuse #2: I can’t seem to find any time to go to the gym.

Solution #2: Plan specific dates and times for the gym month-by-month. For example, in January and February, I decided that Monday, Tuesday, and Friday nights were my available times to go to the gym and I need to go as soon as I get off work. I used to get very overwhelmed with trying to plan when I would go to the gym on a long-term basis, but by having a monthly plan of when to go–I can be flexible with my schedule based on the month’s activities and it’s easier for me to plan on a smaller scale. Also, by going to the gym straight after work, I can also eliminate the excuse of “well, now I’m home and I’m just too tired to leave the house again.” 

Excuse #3: I am just too tired. 

Solution #3: This one ties in with #1 and #2 but it’s probably my biggest excuse. I think it’s my biggest excuse because, at the end of the day, I just want to be lazy sometimes. However, if you set a specific number of times you want to go to the gym, plan appropriately to help you achieve that goal, and follow through–the end results will make it all worth it! You will never regret doing a workout after you’ve finished your session. Even though you may be tired–working out may help you sleep even better and give you more energy for the next day! Also, make sure you plan for and pack snacks that you can have pre-workout and post-workout for any blood sugar fluctuations or panic-y, hangry feelings.

I hope you feel encouraged and motivated to get to the gym! Let’s get moving!

Love From Amy Blog

Happy 4th Birthday, Blog: Lessons from Last Year

On January 31st, this past weekend, my blog turned 4 years old! Yay!! I know that year 3 was kind of a wash, but I learned many lessons about myself and life during that time. Today I want to celebrate new beginnings, refreshment, a new year, and new goals–which is what I am hoping year 4 will be for this blog.

I would like to share with you 4 lessons that I learned last year during my little hiatus. While I probably learned more than 4 lessons–these are the ones that stick out to me the most.

  1. Material things will not and do not make you happy. I mean, I guess they kind of do–but if you go in with the mindset of “well, if I get this or that then I’ll feel better about myself,” you will be wrong. I think in the first couple years of blogging, I tried to accumulate so much stuff because “that’s what everyone else was doing” so that things could showed off and reviewed. While yes, I know that some bloggers do a really good job of giving reviews, writing about fashion and style, and marketing for other companies–I was doing a really bad job at it. After a while all of the stuff I had was beginning to crowd me and make me feel overwhelmed with the amount of money I was spending and also just how much stuff I had to maintain. I do not mean to offend other bloggers at all, because I know that many have full-time careers through them, but this was a lesson that I learned because of my blogging and social media experience. This lesson made me check my heart and evaluate the motives behind my materialism. I have since adopted a much more minimalist mindset.
  2. Moments with Jesus are powerful and change everything. If you read my last post, you’ll know that I mentioned my battle with anxiety and depression last year. There were many times that I felt so paralyzed by it all that I couldn’t really pray anything other than “Jesus, help me.” My quiet times with Jesus were not as often as I would have liked–but the moments that I would meet with Him and when I felt so desperate–I knew He was with me. I would instantly feel peace and an assurance that He knew exactly what I was going through. The times that I spent in His Word were so powerful because everything was relevant and applicable to what I was dealing with. That’s one of the amazing and powerful things about the Bible and gospel message–it is alive and active (Hebrews 4:12)! I encourage you to, even if you don’t know what to do or what to say, spend time with Jesus! He loves you, He is waiting for you, and He has given us access to Him at all times (Ephesians 2:18).
  3. Life is precious. Life is short and must be valued and celebrated! Last year, my mom went through cancer treatment and throughout the whole process, the reality of mortality was scary. It made me want to make the most out of the time that I had with her and my family each day, to not complain, but to plead with God for more time. As I mentioned in my last post, she is now cancer-free and God was, and is, so gracious to our family. I know that this world is not our home and one day we will be in eternity. I am so thankful for the promises of God and the hope we have of spending eternity with Him. I hope, very much, that you have the same assurance as well. I don’t mean to turn this post into a morbid topic, but that’s just reality.
  4. It’s ok to wear black 99% of the time. I’ve come to the reality that I just really like to wear black. I used to think it was boring, I really should wear more color, or that everything just looked the same. But that’s just me and my style–and I love it. Yes, I do have some color in my wardrobe–but it will most likely be accompanied with black. It’s classy, versatile, appropriate for all-year wear, and it’s great to mask the occasional coffee spill. Ha!

Those are my top 4 lessons of the last year! Some are pretty serious and some are not as much–but I think important, nonetheless. What are some lessons that you learned last year? I would love to know!

Hello Blog: Where Have I Been?

Hello, blog! Hello, readers! Holy cow. It’s been a while. I had no intention to be away from the blog this long (my last post was in MARCH 2019) and I have been wanting to be back as soon as possible. I thought that maybe I could skip over the “where have I been” part and just jump straight into new posts—but this part is important. I have always wanted this blog to be a space of encouragement and joy, in the midst of a crazy and sometimes difficult life, and it would be wrong of me to just pretend like everything’s been fine.

Have you ever had one of those years that, even after it’s ended, is difficult to process? Last year was one for the books, in that respect. My family has been and has come through a really difficult season, but also one that had been full of so many blessings. Last year my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer, one of my siblings took a job far away, and our family had to adjust to a new way of life in specific areas. But we also welcomed another precious nephew, who we had been praying to arrive for a long time. Last year was a difficult one for me in dealing with anxiety, depression, and just an overall inability to emotionally cope with everything. I had felt paralyzed by life’s circumstances and honestly, I didn’t feel like I had anything to offer anyone on this blog. I didn’t feel like I could encourage and uplift others, when I was having such a hard time encouraging and uplifting myself. But then there were also many good things that happened last year such as hitting milestones in my career, spending some extended time in Maine during the summer, going to England in the fall, and enjoying life in my new-ish house. That is life though, an ebb and flow of good times and times that make you want to curl up in a ball.

But, in all of that…and in everything the happened in 2019–I will say that God is good. He has been so faithful through all of these seasons and it has been such a comfort to know that He has walked with me and with my family through all these times. Perhaps some would think that living a Christian life comes without suffering and difficult times–but that is far from the truth. God even says in His word that–“in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world (John 16:33).” I think one of the biggest blessings about going through tough times is knowing there is hope and peace through Christ for those who are in Christ. My favorite worship song lately has been Goodness of God by Bethel Music and it’s words have been so encouraging! I can definitely say that I have lived in the goodness of God! And praise God, my mother has been declared cancer free!!

I love Your voice

You have led me through the fire

In the darkest night

You are close like no other

I’ve known You as a Father

I’ve known You as a Friend

And I have lived in the goodness of God

And all my life You have been faithful

And all my life You have been so, so good

With every breath that I am able

Oh, I will sing of the goodness of God

Goodness of God by Bethel Music

I think this may be a very random and jumbled post, but it’s just a little snippet into the last year and some of my thoughts. I feel like I am finally able to move forward with my plans for this online space, now that I have addressed the elephant in the room. I know that hard times are still going to come, but I want to encourage and support you through whatever you may also be going through. I have plans for travel posts, home posts, cooking posts, etc., so bear with me!

Hello, blog! Hello, reader! I’m excited for 2020 and I hope you’ll continue to join me on this journey!

Welcome to My Kitchen: Before and After

I am so excited about today’s post! If you’re new to my blog, I bought my first home last May and have been working on projects off and on since. I posted my Living Room Before and After a few months ago, and today I’m posting my Kitchen reveal!

When I first walked into the kitchen during the house tour, I knew it would be the room that would need the most change–but I couldn’t wait to make it mine!

Before

After

Dining Table | IKEA Dining Chairs | Wayfair Bar Stools | Wayfair
Dining Bench | Amazon

I LOVE the finished product! This is easily one of my favorite rooms in the house, and I love to cook and have gatherings here. The renovation was such a special part for me because so many people helped me to create the space I wanted. My parents, friends, and siblings worked so many hours in this room and I am so grateful for them and their help.

I love this little corner of cookbooks because there is meaning behind these things. The cookbooks are gifts from loved one and memorials of places I’ve traveled. The ceramic utensil holder was made in Portugal and I bought it to remember my travels there. My friends also made the cookbook stand for me at Christmas!

The four major parts of the kitchen renovation were painting, the flooring, countertops, and the backsplash. I knew I would be in this room a lot and having it fresh, airy, and bright was really important to me.

We painted all of the rooms in the house a light grey and kept the trim white. I thought this could bring a little contrast to the rooms, but also not be blank and white everywhere.

I absolutely love the new countertops and decided to go with a light grey quartz material. It’s amazing how much that change alone brightened up the whole space! I was also able to find the same existing floor tiles and one of my friends graciously (super graciously) installed it for me. Thanks, C!

For the backsplash, I chose a clear glass subway tile and light grey grout. I can’t get over how much that also changed the space! Two of my friends also installed the backsplash for me and I’m so grateful for their help. Thank you C & C!!!


High Tea in London

Happy Tuesday! I hope you have been enjoying my posts about England. Today is the last post in that series, and it takes place in London.

My birthday was last September and, for my gift, my parents treated me to high tea at Fortnum & Mason in London. I love all things high tea and couldn’t wait to end the trip that way. Fortnum & Mason is one of the oldest tea establishments and department stores in England as it began in 1707! It is also famous for its picnic baskets.

The department store is beautiful and carries all fine things in the way of fashion, beauty, food, and housewares. We arrived at the store an hour earlier than we needed to, just so that we could explore the store. I much preferred Fortnum & Mason compared to Harrod’s, but that’s just my opinion.

When it was time for our high tea, we went to The Diamond Jubilee Tea Salon. Fortnum & Mason has gluten-free and vegan options for high tea, as well as a regular menu. If you are looking for a gluten-free option for high tea, this is one for you! There were several tea options to choose from, so you should be able to find one for you. There were also many tea sandwiches, scones, jams, clotted cream, and they even gave me a slice of cake for my birthday. This gluten-free high tea at Fortnum & Mason was a hit for both of us!

The price per person was definitely more than it was at other places, but I think the experience is worth it. If you’re going to London, save your pennies (or pounds) because you’re going to want to stop by Fortnum & Mason. A few cups of hot tea and yummy things to eat are also essential when it’s cold and raining, as it was that day.

Again, I hope you have enjoyed this series as much as I have! Has it inspired you to go to England? I hope so!