How I Talk Myself into Working Out.

In July, I got pneumonia. It’s the third time I’ve had it and it’s not fun. Luckily, I recognized the symptoms early and was able to get on antibiotics. In addition to the prescription, my Urgent Care doctor, my primary care physician and my naturopath gave me the same advice: drink lots of water, rest and take a break from strenuous exercise for a few weeks. No big deal. I was crazy tired and super thirsty and had zero interest in going for a run anyway. But a break can quickly turn into full breakup for me. And July turned into August and my running shoes and yoga mat were starting to look awfully dusty.


It was time to get back to it. Ugh. Instead of feeling excited to work out again, I felt lazy and anxious. It’s not as easy as just doing it—or it is?

In finding ways to get exercise back in my life, I thought about what has made me get out of bed or get to class in the past. In finding strategies that have worked for me—I thought some of them might work for you, too.

  1. Just do it. I’ve read all the articles on how to incorporate an exercise plan into your life. They never really resonate with me. Probably because I tend to bristle when people tell me what to do. But I also think some of the commonly listed motivators end up having the opposite effect on me. For example—how many times have you read to sign up for a 5K or 10K to kickstart your running plan? I’ve done this and it only makes me feel anxious. And then each run becomes a panic for me and I feel like I failed before I even begin. Instead what works for me is to just do it. I don’t give myself a choice. If I ask myself—“do I want to sleep in or do I want to get up for a run?”—the answer is ALWAYS “I want to sleep in.” So I don’t ask. I just get up and do it. I also don’t work out so I can eat anything I want—because that’s not actually a thing. And I don’t tell myself that I can buy a new lipstick or some special gift to myself as a reward for working out.  I just end up buying the new lipstick because I’m an adult and I can regardless if I worked out or not. Instead, I just go.
  2. Don’t set goals. I have stopped trying to achieve anything when I work out other than the workout itself. I’m not trying to run a consistent 8 minute mile. I’m not trying to land some advanced yoga pose. I’m just trying to get in and get it done. I wake up and I tell myself—just run and see how it goes. If it feels good—go faster—if it doesn’t slow down. Feel like taking a more advanced pose? Go for it. If I want to go to class and spend 60 minutes in savasana—fine. Just go. Because I’ve never actually spent a class in savasana (except for that one time I took a class called “savasana”) and once I’m in class or running—I’m generally fine. The hardest thing for me to do is get started. So when I do, I feel accomplished. I know how easy it is for me NOT to do it. And at this point in my life–that’s success enough for me.
  3. Find an activity that works for you. Notice I didn’t say one that you enjoy. I don’t particularly enjoy running. But I can get it done without a lot of fanfare or preparation making it a pretty convenient affair. I also don’t love yoga but there’s a studio right by my work with class times that fit my schedule. While I don’t particularly identify as a runner or a yogi—I can’t deny that I feel better when I do it and do see progress when I do it consistently—so I do it. And I try to just remember that on days I’m feeling particularly crabby about going. Looking for activities that work with your lifestyle or are convenient might be enough to get it to happen for you.
  4. Look for tricks that make exercise tolerable. I don’t love running, but I love listening to music, especially uninterrupted. So I try to think about running more as a chance to listen to my favorite songs than as a physical challenge I’m about to complete. I really like this tea they have at the studio where I do yoga—and while I could just buy that tea and drink it whenever I want—I will only allow myself to drink it at the studio, after I’ve taken a class. And some days, it’s enough to get me to go. It’s the small things, people. Really.
  5. Do it for you. I started running and going to yoga classes because Jess invited me to do it with her. I had actively avoided both activities for years. But I really love Jess. So it became a dilemma—turn down Jess’ invitations because I don’t like something—or say yes and know it’ll be ok because everything is better with Jess involved. So I said yes. But because of our crazy schedules and because we are Geminis and can be very motivated and VERY unmotivated, we kinda stopped doing both together.


Part of it was also unrealistic planning—our yoga plan was to get up at 5:30am to go to a 6am yoga class—which is hilarious in retrospect. More often than not, one of us would send a text at 5:35am that said “nope.” And if I wasn’t going with Jess, I wasn’t going at all. Eventually, I came back to both activities, but as a solo endeavor. Working out with a partner and things like running groups are great and all, but I have found I’m too easily influenced by others. It’s just better for me to run alone, at a pace I want and when I want. I don’t want to wake up at 5:30am to go to yoga—obviously, neither did Jess—so I don’t. I go at 5:30pm. I’ve also seen this at the dance classes I teach. People start going to class as part of a group or with a friend, but then stop coming because something happened to the friend’s schedule or someone in the group moved. It doesn’t matter if the class still works for one of them—it was conceived as a joint venture—and going solo feels like cheating. So friends are awesome to get you to try things and help you break into activities you might be too nervous to try alone. I never would have started running or going to yoga classes if it weren’t for Jess. But to truly incorporate it in my life, it’s gotta be on my terms. And no one cheers louder for me than Jess when I do have a crazy successful run or a great yoga class. And hopefully, she feels the same when she snaps me about some insanely heavy weight she threw around! Friends are the best—but in the end—do it for you.

I would still rather not have to work out, but I’m also an adult. There will always be things I don’t want to do, but have to do anyway. Working out is one of them. And yes—I almost always feel better after I do it—which makes it easier and easier to stick to it. It’s just getting started that’s hard.

What gets you motivated to work out? What’s your go-to workout or favorite activity? Don’t keep it to yourself! Share it in the comments below!

Pretty Good, Actually: Rimmel Kate Sculpting and Highlight kit

I think it’s pretty safe to say that we all love makeup palettes. And we all love inexpensive drugstore makeup. We also all know blindly buying drugstore makeup is a gamble, albeit one that won’t break the bank, but you never really know what you’re going to get.  And sometimes we (yes, all of us) find ourselves wandering the aisles at the drugstore looking for something we don’t actually need, but we just want something new. I was in the midst of that pattern when I decided I must try the Rimmel Kate Sculpting and Highlight Kit. I chose the Coral Glow color story, which is the middle of the road shade(s).katesculptinghighlighting-rimmel-2

Now, there are three factors that convinced me to try this. One: Kate (as in Moss). If her name is on it, I’m probably going to buy it, because – Kate Moss.  Two: It has a highlighter. I have an addiction. Blah, blah… you know the rest (I promise a post with my top highlighters will come soon!). Three: It was $6.99.

My first impression was: meh. I didn’t feel like I could even really see the highlight. The contour was…. wait, I don’t even know how to contour, so why did I think I needed this? But the blush! It looked so pretty! I’d been searching for the perfect coral blush and had finally found it.

So, WIN!

Sort of.

I wasn’t 100% sold. In fact I think I told Jess and Lyn not to bother with it. If nothing else I had found a great blush that cost me $6.99. But damn, what a waste. I decided to take it with me on a couple of out of town trips and force myself to try it again. It turns out the contour color is super pretty as an eye shadow, and has been my go-to color all summer. I’ve also been using the highlight as eye shadow at times as well as on brow bone, cupids bow, collarbones, shoulders… all the usual suspects… and while you probably can’t see it from outer space, (as I like my highlights) it’s really subtly pretty. And the color payoff for all three is really good, without being too powdery.

My final assessment: If at first you don’t succeed, try using it on your eyes! Just kidding. But all joking aside, make up is meant to be fun and versatile! Experiment and be creative (within reason, people.  Be smart and safe about it.) And as far as this palette goes, it turns out I just needed to think a little outside of the pan/box. In closing, I feel this little palette is the perfect inexpensive-when-you-just-want-something-new little multi purpose palette. And bonus if you plan to travel as you won’t sacrifice the space three different products might take up. It’s pretty good, actually!


There seem to be millions of NYX products. These are the ones we love.

NYX! It’s a brand that’s hit or miss for us, but when they hit, it’s a really good hit! I like to think of NYX as the Forever 21 of makeup- they stay on top of the trends, and if you’re willing to spend some time looking, you can score some gems on the cheap. While you can find NYX at a lot of stores, Ulta is a great place to check out their huge selection WITH TESTERS. Also: they often have NYX on BOGO50. !!!


The NYX Micro Brow Pencil is the best dupe I own. A dupe for what you ask? The Anastasia Brow Wiz pencil, which retails at $21.00, and that seems totally reasonable, because if you have used the Brow Wiz, you already know that it’s pretty frickin’ great.  Do you want to know what’s great-er? Saving money. The Micro Brow pencil will set you back only $9.99. NYX has 8 shades to choose from, whereas Anastasia has 9, and they are all really similar so it’s pretty easy to find a match. The formula is a little stiffer than the Anastasia, but not enough to make you mad you saved money.  Plus: spoolie brush. I feel all brow pencils should have a spoolie brush on one end…. life is just easier that way, you know?

Have I ever mentioned that I love highlights? Yes, I do. The NYX Illuminator in the shade Ritualistic is one of my favorites.  It’s not too overwhelming and has a really pretty golden sheen.  I think it’s pretty perfect for everyday. At $8.99 it’s a really great value, and I would say a great “starter” highlight for a first time highlight user. Feel free to use this highlight everywhere (who am I kidding?  Use ALL highlights, everywhere!)


Did you know that NYX has BRUSHES?!?!? And they are really decent! I needed a fluffy blending brush, but was having a hard time finding one I liked at the drugstore, and didn’t want to spend $20 on a small brush. I use this Pro Blending Brush every day- it’s the exact right size, doesn’t shed, and lays your shadow down without much trouble. Sure, it’s $9.99, but they are often on BOGO50 (like right now!), so why not get two brushes?? I think you can only get these online for now, but I think I will be ordering a few more soon.

Last Halloween, my husband and I went as Jack Burton and Gracie Law. I needed a true red pigment for this makeup look, and planned to just use a “close enough” bright blush. But then Pamela suggested I check out NYX. BOOM. NAILED IT. The Primal Colors Pressed Pigments ($4.99) fit the bill perfectly. I assumed I would need to build this color with a few layers, but no- it went on bright in one sweep, giving my Urban Decay shadows a run for their money.


I’d like to give the Hot Black a go, and some of the other colors look like they would just be fun to have on hand. (Let’s see… at $4.99 and buy one get one 50% off… that’s about $30 for all 8. Cheaper than most palettes!)


I’m not sure what YouTuber first told me to set my undereye concealer with NYX High Definition Finishing Powder in Banana, but I’m sure glad they did! The yellow powder seems intimidating, but it is perfect under your eyes–and I promise you–my concealer never creases, no matter which brand I use. It only takes a little bit to do the job–so at $10–it will last you a long time. I use mine daily and I only recently hit pan!


My lip product addiction is real. So of course my next pick is from NYX lip line. I’ve tried their Matte Lipsticks, Soft Matte Creams, Butter Lipsticks and Glosses and the Liquid Suede Cream Lipsticks. But my favorite is the Intense Butter Gloss. The pigment is insane and the texture is so creamy. Very rich–in both color and feel. One of my favorites is Spice Cake, a bright pinky purple.


Not only is it a great product–but the price is right. At only $6, you can try out trendy seasonal colors or colors that you aren’t sure you’ll wear that often without making a serious financial commitment.

Making NYX exactly like the Forever 21 of makeup! Have favorite NYX products? We’d love to hear about them. Share in the comments below.

We buy NYX with our own money. Luckily, their products are pretty inexpensive!

Let’s Try… Cheap Face Masks!

There is something that just feels fancy about facial masks. When I was a teenager, my household was down to just me and my mom. Every so often, we would make a special trip to Target (back in the 90’s, this was still an adventure! We only had a Shopko in town!) and buy this magical mask that was black and made with Dead Sea salts. We felt oh so posh as we would spend a weekday night relaxing into our masks, eating our smorgasbord dinner (which is still my favorite), settling into an episode of the hip new show Friends. The worst part of this night, though, was rinsing that dang mud mask off. It was a mess!

This is why I adore sheet masks. Seriously, whoever invented the sheet mask (a one-time use paper or gel mask impregnated with delicious skin happy ingredients to help a variety of issues, from dryness to old-ness) should be up for an award. You simply slap it on your face, wait a while, and throw it away. No rinsing! They are still a special treat though, since one use can cost you anywhere from $7-$20 (and up!), so imagine my delight when I stumbled upon these sheet masks at Target: we have come full circle.

Yes To Masks

Yes To is a drugstore brand that is reasonably priced and has a reputation for having pretty decent stuff that is mostly natural and free of parabens and whatnot, and are leaping bunny certified. These masks are $2.99 each. TWO NINETY NINE!!! It didn’t take much arm twisting for me to throw them in my basket, and even less to try them out back-to-back on Sunday night while catching up on the Olympics.

Obviously, I went for the Yes To Tomatoes Detoxifying Charcoal Paper Mask first. You never look cute in a paper mask, but this one is black, so I felt a bit like a bank robber. Or the Gimp. Or my cat.



Originally, the instructions say to relax for 10 minutes, then take it off. Apparently people were freaking out about the tingling sensation that occurs, because they felt the need to add a sticker to let you know TINGLING=WORKING. Clearly, today’s youth was not raised on Denorex dandruff shampoo ads, where we all learned this vital piece of information.tingling

Back to the mask: it was wet, but not gloppy. It stayed on pretty well during semi-reclined tv watching and cheering for Gabby Douglas. It had a floral scent that I was NOT a fan of, and it did, in fact, tingle quite a bit! But not so much that I needed to abort my mission for clean pores. After 10 minutes, off it went. Life remained largely unchanged.

I waited about 2 minutes for my skin to un-tingle, then on went the Yes To Coconut Ultra Hydrating Paper Mask, made with virgin coconut oil. Lovely! At first I thought this mask was also tingly, but I realized it was just leftovers from the first one being reactivated. This mask felt pretty nice on (if a little cold), and didn’t slide around too much during the 10 minute wait. It really, REALLY smells like coconuts. Not unpleasantly, but I was for sure getting suntan lotion vibes.coconut

Ten minutes later, I ditched the mask (after also smooshing it around my neck- everyone does that, right??) and hoped for glowing skin. It was…. underwhelming, but still wet, so I decided to let it absorb as I folded a basket of laundry.

I shouted something at the TV, and realized my face felt like a giant piece of fly paper. SO STICKY you guys. I couldn’t take it any longer and rinsed it off, feeling defeated that these $2.99 masks were not the hidden gem I hoped they would be.

But hold on… maybe they were ok? As I was Snapchatting with Pamela the next evening (and as we all know, unfiltered Snapchat tells the TRUTH), I realized my skin looked pretty good actually! So maybe, MAYBE these masks are ok in a pinch, or on a Tuesday. I have others I prefer and will savor and reach for on nights when I really feel like I need some rehab, but these might just be alright for easy maintenance.

I bought these masks with my own dumb money during a Target fugue state and decided to tell you what I think. Do you have a favorite sheet mask? Let us know in the comments!!

Places I Love: Shopko

Discount department stores have always had my heart. I know this is a terrible thing to admit. I’ve seen the movie. But as a kid, my downtown had a grocery store, a couple clothing stores, a hardware store and a Ben Franklin. Ben Franklin was my jam but I wanted more. When we needed stuff we couldn’t get in town—or my parents decided we should go for a drive—we’d travel to the nearest city and go to Kmart. In 45 minutes—I had access to everything. It no longer mattered I lived in a town without a Hardee’s (let alone a McDonald’s!) I could now get all the same things city kids could get like Bonnie Bell Dr. Pepper Lip Smackers, Noxema, a new cassette single and hoop earrings. All in one place. I loved everything about it—even the weird blue glimmer thrown off by the wall of fish—so it’s not surprising the first trip I took after getting my driver’s license was to Kmart.

But if you think my life as a kid couldn’t get any better than choosing a season of clothes and putting it on layaway—it could—and it did. Sometimes we drove a little farther—dedicated a Saturday to a nearly two hour driving odyssey—and went to Kmart, Shopko AND Prange Way. Prange Way was my favorite. It was a classier Kmart—but more important—it meant we were in a city. A place with stoplights and possibilities.

Sadly—Prange Way died a quick death years ago—and I haven’t lived near a Kmart in years. (however–I’m happy to report–the Kmart of my youth is still going strong.) Still, the allure of discount department stores lives in me. And I know I’m not alone.

People lose their minds about Target. And I get it. But I can’t exit a Target without blowing $50. And I fear for my sanity when I realize I ABSOLUTELY CANNOT REMEMBER any of the items I put in my bag by the time I get home. It’s like some weird voodoo mind trick the store puts on me that makes me think I need hand soap and Q-tips—even though I could seriously go without buying these items for the rest of my life due to Target trips past. So yes—Target is great. Some of my favorite clothing has come from Target. But it can be a pricey proposition.

And then there’s Walmart. Walmart is Walmart. People love to hate it. (again—yes—I saw the movie.) But I’ve never been a fan and it’s not really an ethical thing for me.  It’s all about lighting. Walmarts are dark places—in a number of ways—and it doesn’t shine like Target does. It has the feeling of a discount department store that if I look around long enough, I’ll find cool stuff I never knew existed and never knew I needed. But Walmart makes me wanna get in—and get out fast—and not take time exploring.

Which leaves Shopko. With no Kmarts or Prange Ways around, Shopko is the remaining store of my childhood. And I fear it is sadly underrated and underappreciated. I’m an optimist by nature and I love the promise of discovery, but I also don’t feel like I’m being tricked to overspend. If I’m Goldilocks, Shopko is the chair that’s just right.

And so I always choose Shopko first. Here are just a few reasons why I love Shopko today:

Payless Shoe Store: I love Payless shoes—and they are in Shopko—so I don’t have to make a separate trip to visit one.


They are always running sales and the quality is not so bad. Since I’m a vegetarian, I don’t mind a pleather alternative. And they always have shoes in my size.


I bought these shoes last week at Shopko: one for $10, the other for $15.

Parking: Parking at Shopko is an in-and-out situation. No driving around looking for a spot. There are plenty of options and they are all close to the door. (and also probably why they always have my shoe size…)

Makeup and fashion selection: You can get your standard drugstore makeup, but you can also get Elf and other brands that aren’t at all discount department stores, or at Ulta.


They carry really nice brushes like Real Techniques and Ecotools –which happen to be my favorite brush lines.


And you can get the savior of any fashion emergency: Hollywood Fashion Secrets.


Clearance/sale items: Every aisle has something on clearance or on sale. It’s well-marked and easy to spot.


Unlike other stores (I’m looking at you Kohl’s) Shopko doesn’t jack up the price just to discount it.

I’m especially partial to the BOGO50s (buy one-get one 50% off, for the amateurs) on drugstore makeup.


And Shopko is a go-to stop on my hunt for perfect Oscar party prizes.


As Seen on TV section: I never actually buy these things. But I’m fascinated by them. It’s like a museum display showing all the concerns of the modern citizenry through a collection of merchandise.


Wallets that will save your credit cards from getting scanned by strangers passing you on the street. Magic bedding because it’s our bad pillows and not bad decisions causing sleepless nights. And sweatpants that look like jeans, so you don’t have deal with zippers.


And it’s all on clearance!

Honorable mention to Shopko Optical: I cannot remember a time my eye doctor wasn’t from Shopko. I have been seeing the same optometrist for years and years. And I love her.

I hope Shopko doesn’t come to the same fate as my beloved Prange Way. I’d like to be strolling the aisles—wasting time—but not money in Shopkos for years to come.

Do you love Shopko? Make your presence know! Leave a comment with what makes Shopko your store of choice. 

If a Beautyblender is used in the forest and no one is there to see it……

Camping.  It has always struck me as a strange pastime….. let’s take all of our stuff into the woods and live for several days at a time.  Having said that, I love it.  I love being in the woods, in nature and not having any obligations other than sitting around a fire roasting hot dogs and marshmallows (and drinking beer, if I’m being honest). But just because I am choosing to live in the woods for a few days, doesn’t mean I’m there to completely let myself go. So, what does a skincare and makeup obsessed girl bring with her camping?

First off, I like to keep in mind that I might not be close to a sink with running water. Cleansing my face morning and night is an absolute MUST. Want to know what’s perfect for that? Micellar water. It feels weird to not actually cleanse with soap and water, but trust me that this will work beautifully to remove any traces of dirt and makeup. AND!  Simple makes Micellar wipes! So super convenient! It’s like these wipes were made for camping.

What about makeup? Keep it basic. On my most recent camping trip, I was slightly shocked to see women in the bathroom with everything from curling irons to beautyblenders. I like to take a more simple approach to camping beauty. Starting with choosing products that work as “multiples.”  For instance….

camping makeup


Bring a tinted moisturizer with an SPF.  Boom. Three products in one – hydrate, tint, sun protection.  I really like BareMinerals Complexion Rescue tinted hydrating gel cream.

A highlight stick goes a long way – use it under the eyes to brighten (leave your concealer at home), on cheekbones, on brow bones, cupid’s bow… wherever you want a little glow… and this one from Glossier also has built in moisture. I am a self professed highlight addict, so I also brought one from ColourPop, for a little extra shine and shimmer.  ColourPop’s makeup application recommendation is using your fingers, no brush needed – which makes this a perfect low maintenance product.  

Skip the eyeshadow. Use the time you save to make s’mores.

Mascara on and brows done are 2 of my “must do” steps, before I leave the house. One brow product that is perfect for your camping makeup bag, as well as for travel in general is Boy Brow by Glossier, which will tame, fill and shape – all in one product.

In the summer I love a little bronzer to “fake” a sun kissed look (this one has added SPF!) and possibly some blush along with one multipurpose brush to apply them with.

I can manage to do this all at the picnic table with a tiny mirror. And I’m done!

Do you camp? Have any pro tips that I haven’t thought of?

This Is Awesome: The Fitness Marshall

Some of the best times of my life (and best friends made- hi Lyn!) were spent in a dance studio. Not just any dance studio, mind you, but Dance Fabulous– an adults only, drop-in studio. We weren’t all trained dancers- in fact, the appeal was that you could come to class with zero dance experience- but we shared a common love for music, movement, and fun. Eventually, I transitioned from student to instructor, teaching my own original choreography, video choreography, and even a class called “hip hop aerobics”, where we would do repetitive chunks of choreo for the sake of goofy fitness that tricked you into working out by being so fun and keeping your brain busy. It was an absolute blast.

Sadly, the physical space of DFab became no longer viable to maintain, and although there were opportunities to keep classes going, my job had shifted in a way that made it difficult for me to keep up with them. With a heavy heart, I decided it was time to retire. My workouts shifted to kettlebells and lifting (which I love!), but I can’t help but miss having a set chunk of time each week to shake my thang. I just can’t make it to classes regularly!

Enter: The Fitness Marshall


Caleb Marshall is making a name for himself as The Fitness Marshall, pumping out amazing, easy to follow, ridiculously fun hip hop cardio dance workouts on his YouTube channel. Apparently, he got his start teaching classes in college, and people would be waiting at the door an hour beforehand to make sure they got a spot in his (packed) class. I can see why- this guy is HILARIOUS, his videos are well done (he majored in film production), and his backup dancers  “booties” are on fleek. Also, he is inspired by Britney Spears. NEED I SAY MORE?

So, you can pick one song/video on his channel to learn and dance to a few times, which is a great quick workout in itself. This is also a good way to kind of learn the “language” of hip hop cardio dance, so future videos become easier to follow. (You can also sign up for his Patreon site if you want access to tutorials.) But! The brilliant thing he does, which makes me mad that I never thought of doing this myself, is the weekly “Sweat Set“: a curated playlist of videos starting with a warm up, ending with a cool down, and a handful of awesome dancing in between. The Sweat Set is usually about 45 minutes, and you can pause in between videos for water or brain-breaks. It is exactly the kind of cardio workout I need in my life!

Obvs, the more you do one of the videos, the more you’ll be able to really go all-out. He doesn’t do any moves that are technically difficult or advanced, but sometimes it takes a few repetitions, at first, to really get it. Once you do, it is 100% FUN. I am regularly simultaneously feeling fly and laughing my ass off. (Literally? Too soon to tell.)

While I miss being a spaz at the front of my own class, being a spaz in my basement is a pretty ok runner-up. And believe me, this dancer is RUSTY, so I am all over the place! But Caleb and I share the same sentiment when it comes to dancing- you may not be doing THE move, but at least you can do SOMETHING, and as long as you’re having fun, who cares??

What are you dancing to? Have you been to Lyn’s class? You should go- it’s the best! Let us know in the comments!