Tag Archives: yoga

5-Week Home Workout Challenge (Week 4!)

workout wk4

What’s that you say? You’re ready for another week of at-home workouts courtesy of the interwebs? Well, I’ve got just the thing for you!

It is STILL super hot where I’m at, and I’m trying not to get down on myself so much for not getting outside much. It is just. so. stifling. (and humid and bright and BUGGY!) It’s weird that I used to think of these types of workouts as being a good resource to bust out in the dead of winter. But now that I’ve clocked quite a few years in the southern reaches of the U.S., I can say they are, without a doubt, my SUMMER WORKOUTS. Especially for the dog days we’re in right now.

Tuesday:

You may or may not know this about me, but Keaira LaShae is my workout QUEEN. I’ve discussed my favorite of her workouts HERE.

Wednesday:

Ok, indulge me for a moment. THIS is why I love YouTube so much. This is a great workout…and it was just hanging out on YouTube on this channel for Hennepin Healthcare. A channel with 4k subscribers and 9 workout videos randomly posted 3 years ago for some sort of weight loss program they were doing. No idea how I stumbled upon it but so glad I did! There are literally all sorts of gems like this just waiting to be found!!!

Thursday:

This is the third in a nice little trio of tough workouts this week…

Friday:

And this is the much needed relief! Also a nice way to end the week after a somewhat stressful work week.

Saturday:

Wow, amazing how easy this feels after the beginning of the week. Again, this instructor’s videos are so low-key…this time I realized it might be the houseplants?

Sunday:

Have I mentioned how much I hate bouncy cardio? And there’s been a lot more of it this week than I care for. But HALLELUJAH we have powered through!

Monday:

And one more appearance from our queen! Truly amazing how worked my abs felt after this and I GOT TO STAND THE WHOLE TIME (not a crunch in sight!).

Oh my goodness, I only have one more week to go!

P.S. Week 1 and Week 2 and Week 3 – in case ya wanna start from the beginning and catch up!

5-Week Home Workout Challenge (Week 3!)

workout wk2 (1)

Hi guys! Another week of working out at home has come and gone. I gotta say, I’m really glad I had all these workouts in the pipeline. Totally eliminates any need to think once workout time rolls around. (Have I mentioned how much I hate making decisions?) I am a compulsive list maker (and list FOLLOWER — I derive great satisfaction from doing things in order) and a lot of that comes from my need to batch make decisions.

Even if these specific workouts aren’t your jam, I really recommend giving THAT part of this process a try. Spend some time mapping out a workout plan for the month (or whatever time-frame suits ya best). I think you’ll be surprised how freeing it feels in the day to day when that one itty-bitty decision is already done and dusted.

Ok — *steps off decision fatigue soap box* On to this week’s workouts!!!

Tuesday:

I knocked this out on an evening my husband was out of town and it was the perfect way to kick off a chill evening at home while solo. #SelfCare

Wednesday:

Yep, you guessed it! More “no jumping” HIIT workouts. Can you guess one of my fave workout search terms?

Thursday:

Another Yoga With Adriene video this week because I love her. This sequence, especially, is a favorite because I sit a lot throughout the week.

Friday:

This workout kicked my ASS in that 35 minutes! I’ll definitely be returning to this channel to try more of Coach Kel’s videos when this challenge is over. 🙂

Saturday:

Was a bit sore after that barre workout so this was perfect. Plus, lazy weekend vibes.

Sunday:

This is a fairly rigorous ab workout, but I love how chill it still feels. IDK if it’s the vibe of the instructor or the way the exercises are arranged or what!

Monday:

Welp, I’m pretty terrible at belly dancing. Still fun though, lol.

And there you have it, ladies and germs! Week 3 is in the books!! Only 2 more weeks left.

P.S. Week 1 and Week 2 – in case ya missed ’em!

5-Week Home Workout Challenge (Week 2!)

workout wk2

I survived another week of my home workout challenge! *thunderous applause*

Now for the full disclosure part… I took three days off. One day I had horrible shoulder pain and spent the day wrapped in a heat wrap. One day I had horrible knee pain and spent the day with an ice pack. And one day I was at a state park and spent the day swimming in a lake.

But here’s the thing, I listened to my body and cooled my jets. And ya know what? My workouts were ready for me to pick back up after each of those days off. So, even though they weren’t done in consecutive days, I’m gonna call this week’s worth of workouts a win!

Wanna know what they were?

Tuesday:

Pulses of death? Challenge accepted.

Wednesday:

Honestly, this is low-key a workout for your eyeballs. And if you work at a computer all day, I can’t recommend it enough.

Thursday:

Sweet little gentle workout. She prefaces at the beginning that she’ll be giving minimal verbal cues so that the music can be enjoyed…but I would have preferred the verbal cues.

Friday:

You’ll learn over the course of this challenge that I’m not a fan of jumping.

Saturday:

I am, in fact, a person who gets bored easily! No repeat exercises in this one.

Sunday:

Hurts so good. Not doing this enough is probably what caused that previously mentioned knee flare up. *face-palm* It’s feeling right as rain now!

Monday:

A simple dumbbell workout gets the job done every time.

That’s it for Week 2! I’ll post again when I’ve made it through Week 3. ‘Til then! xoxo

P.S. 30 Days of Ballet Training and The All You Need is a Clock Workout

5-Week Home Workout Challenge (Week 1!)

Teal and White Minimalist Photo Grid Recipe Pinterest Graphic.png

I love finding workouts on YouTube and I’ve been building a playlist of favorites over the past few months. Once the playlist hit 45 videos, I thought, “LET’S DO THIS!”

Now that I’ve completed Week 1 of this Home Workout Challenge, I thought I’d share here. Just in case anyone wants to give it a go! No gym membership, class pass, or leaving the house necessary. Just you showing up for yourself (oh, and an internet connection)! Feel like accepting the challenge? Do one workout a day, whatever time suits you best. (I’m a 7:30 pm girl, myself.) And start on a Tuesday — Mondays have enough going on as it is!

Tuesday:

Starting off simple with ten minutes and some light hand-weights.

Wednesday:

Admittedly not a huge fan of the terms “fat-frying” or “bikini-body”…but this is a good workout nonetheless. If you can get past the weird interactions between the instructor and her sidekicks.

Thursday:

YouTube workout pro-tip: If there’s an instructor you like, travel back in their archives. This Blogilates throwback is from 2011!

Friday:

My quads were saying HELLOOOO! the morning after this one.

Saturday:

Really just a glorified rest day if you’re already pretty into yoga. But a great excuse to roll out the mat and stretch!

Sunday:

Looks easy. Is, in fact, NOT EASY. You will likely flail around.

Monday:

Before there was YouTube I totally was one of those people who had cardio dance DVDs. You too? Then this workout should feel familiar.

That’s it for Week 1! I’ll post again when I’ve made it through Week 2. ‘Til then! xoxo

P.S. How to ditch your gym membership and arguably the greatest YouTube workout of ALL TIME! 

How to Wind Down: 8 Activities for Self-Care and Relaxation

This post is brought to you by BetterHelp. If you’d like to make therapy a part of your self-care routine, I recommend checking them out. 

Hi friends! Welcome back to the blog! Hope you’re all doing really well. In one of my recent posts, I talked about some different actions and practices that may be helpful to incorporate at different phases of your monthly cycle. You can check that post out HERE. But I wanted to do a follow up post specifically about relaxation techniques. No matter where you’re at in your cycle, listening to your body comes first and foremost. And if you’re body is telling you to slow your roll, it’s nice to have strategies to take heed.

Here are 8 ways to wind down…

1. GO FOR A WALK

A leisurely stroll, where you are intentionally walking at a slower pace, is a lovely way to connect with yourself and your surroundings. Walking mindfully, not for exercise or to get from Point A to Point B, is very relaxing. This is a great way to chill out on the weekends or to wind down in the evenings. If you have a park or some woods near you, all the better! But nearby neighborhoods work just as well.

2. CLEAR SOME CLUTTER

Not everyone finds this calming, but I’m sure some folks would agree with me on this one. We’re not talking a huge undertaking here. Just a small space, like a drawer or the table that collects junk mail. The act of tidying up can be relaxing, but the tidy space that occurs as a result of your efforts can feel really good, too. If you binge watched Marie Kondo on Netflix, surely you know by now that a tidy space can promote a sense of calm!

3. LIGHT A CANDLE

Candles are the best, aren’t they? Lighting them in the evening is a really easy way to create a calm atmosphere. They are also a great add-on to other activities to make the experience feel more like a relaxing, self-care activity. Curled up on the couch listening to a podcast? Add a candle. Gotta wash your hair or do a face mask? Add a candle. You get the idea.

4. TURN ON A CALMING PLAYLIST

Create a couple playlists to have at the ready for whenever you need to set a relaxing tone. You might not have time to dedicate a portion of your evening to self-care. Maybe you had an event at work and now you have to quickly do the dishes, iron your clothes for tomorrow, and wash your face before you crash. Why not go about these chores with some soothing music playing? This is a great way to promote a relaxing atmosphere and calming state of mind alongside anything else you’ve got going on.

5. ROLL OUT A YOGA MAT

Give restorative yoga a try. (Just do a quick YouTube search if you don’t have any favorites at the ready.) This isn’t your typical rigorous yoga class, like a vinyasa flow, it is much more gentle. You’ll find yourself almost in a meditative state as you flow through relaxing positions. Thirty minutes to an hour of this gentle stretching and mindfulness is time well spent.

6. FOLLOW A GUIDED MEDITATION

Pop on your earbuds and get comfortable. Traditional meditation can get frustrating sometimes, especially if your mind is racing a mile a minute. Alleviate the pressure of having to shoo away thoughts for yourself with the help of a guide. This is great to do right before bed or if you just wanna zen out.

7. DRAW YOURSELF A BATH

Taking a hot bath is a classic. This is a great way to carve out a little “me time” while promoting sleep. Try adding essential oils into the water. Lavender is definitely a go-to in the relaxation department, but do a little experimentation. Different smells evoke different feelings for different folks. Try: frankincense, geranium, chamomile, pine, etc.

8. POUR YOURSELF A DRINK

No, not a bourbon on the rocks (although, you might want that once and awhile, too!). I’m talking about soothing, healing drinks like herbal teas. Enjoy the process that goes along with brewing the perfect mug and then take some time to sit down and mindfully enjoy.

What activities help YOU relax? Share your favorite ways to wind down below.

If you enjoy my blog content, please consider supporting what I do (and keeping me caffeinated). Thank you! xoxo ☕

5 Ways to Cultivate a More Meaningful Life

*This post may contain affiliate links.

When you think of leading a meaningful life, you might think about charity work, mindful meditation, and various other things which seem somehow quite detached from our day to day lives.

However, living a meaningful life – however you understand it – should by no means be the kind of thing that you relegate to a few hours, one day per week. Instead, it can be something that factors into how you live each and every day, and a mindset that contributes dramatically to the overall quality of your life.

Keep in mind, too, that you can easily benefit from attempts to lead a more meaningful life, without having any particular metaphysical, or religious beliefs. You could just as easily take the term as a metaphor for your emotional well-being.

So, without further ado, here are several ways to cultivate a more meaningful life – 

Find the time and space for real, genuine solitude

Author Cal Newport, writing in his recent book Digital Minimalism, notes that throughout history, many of the most productive, insightful, and successful people , viewed solitude as an essential part of the equation for their success.

“Solitude” here doesn’t refer to just “being alone,” or having no one else around you. In fact, that’s not even an essential part of this definition. “Solitude,” as Newport refers to it, is the ability to be left alone with our own thoughts, without being subject to external distractions.

He explains how holy figures in all major (and minor) religions have emphasized the importance of getting away from it all, and retreating into quiet contemplation every once in a while. (See also: my posts on this book!) 

In a time when we are surrounded by the never-ending flow of information provided by the digital landscape, it is perhaps more important than ever to make time for this type of “solitude.”

When we do so, we gift ourselves the opportunity to reflect on our own thoughts and experiences, resolve any issues which might be on our minds, and get in touch with our emotions.

If you are constantly surrounded by external sources of information – like social media feeds, the 24-hr news cycle, billboards, TV ads, and dozens of people making demands on your attention – your personal well-being might be served extremely well by simply getting away from it all for a while.

This doesn’t require any major life shift – generally speaking. Simply going for regular walks, without your phone in your pocket, might do the trick.

Listen to your soul – and pay attention to what it has to tell you

The psychologist Carl Jung  believed that to fail to listen to our souls, and heed the messages contained therein, was a fast track to a stagnant and unfulfilling life. Maybe even to an early grave.

Jung’s idea was that we should always be attentive to our inner emotions, impulses, and beliefs – and look for the lessons those parts of ourselves are trying to impart.

Jung did not, however, claim that we should always act on our emotional impulses. But, how many people go through their lives with the perpetual sense that something is wrong, and never take steps to investigate or correct that?

Listen to your soul – pay attention to what it has to say – and make sure that you are not silencing important messages from within.

Declutter your environment

There’s  something to be learned from the explosion in popularity of the recent “minimalism” phenomenon. As of this writing, Tidying Up with Marie Kondo is one of the most popular shows streaming on Netflix.

Just a few years before this, the documentary Minimalism: A Documentary About the Important Things, also took much of the world by storm.

For one reason or another, many of us are more or less obsessed by the idea of decluttering our homes, and regaining a sense of simplicity in our personal domains.

It’s not too hard to see why this would take off as a trend, either. When we have “de-cluttered” environments, we are better able to appreciate the belongings we do possess, are less likely to find our attention, and sense of well-being, jarred by the ever-present piles of mess, clutter, and half-forgotten belongings, and may feel significantly better off as a result.

Decluttering your home may seem like the ultimate “physical” act. It’s something that – for all intents and purposes – takes place entirely in the material world. This means that it does not necessarily jive with our preconceived notions about living mindfully and meaningfully.

Don’t be fooled, though. Reducing the clutter in our physical environments, and tidying things up, can have a profound impact on our emotional well-being. 

Investigate “energy manipulation” techniques

Since ancient times, people around the world have developed and engaged in practices and exercises designed to help “balance”, or “manipulate” their internal energies.

Think, for example, of yogis balancing their chakras, or practitioners of Reiki, “directing energy” into other people, as a means of healing them.

Now, whether or not you believe that subtle energies are being transmitted from one body to another – there is nonetheless ample evidence that engaging in these “energy manipulation” techniques can go a long way in terms of boosting people’s sense of balance, harmony, and spiritual well-being. (See also: this post about crystals!) 

In fact, this may not even just be the case for human beings. Various practices of energy healing for animals exist, and – according to those who practice them – are often remarkably effective.

So, whether or not you take the idea of energy manipulation techniques literally, you might find that signing up for that local Reiki class can have a significant, and powerful impact on your overall well-being. And, it may help you to develop and refine your sense of being in touch with yourself, and cultivating a sense of meaning, too.

Identify your “bliss” – and follow it

The famous professor of myth, Joseph Campbell, once said that people should “follow their bliss.” The exact meaning of this saying may be subject to some interpretation – but it clearly serves as a call to do things that we find fulfilling, life-affirming, and significant.

People who quit dead-end jobs that have been weighing them down for years, in order to embark upon new careers that seem altogether more meaningful, often report feeling reborn.

It’s not at all uncommon, for people to feel they have discovered new depths of energy, enthusiasm, and vitality, when making such a change – often to the extent that they are absolutely amazed that such a thing was even possible.

“Following your bliss” – in the sense of doing things with your life and time that you find meaningful – is not just a great way of improving your overall quality of life. It is, more or less, a high spiritual art. It is the kind of thing that naturally possesses an aura of almost supernatural value and significance.

If you find that your day job is a major source of pain, irritation, and drain on your psychological well-being, you should take it as a challenge to find a way of doing something more meaningful with your time.  Where else can you carve out meaning in your life? After all a 9-5 job is just 8 hours. What will you do with the other 16? Use them to “follow your bliss.”

How do you cultivate a meaningful life? 

A 12 Day Workout Challenge (Inspired by Social Media Favorites!!)

–> This is your daily reminder that you don’t have to spend a fortune on fitness to come up with fun and challenging workouts. You just have to know where to look, make plans and show up for yourself! <–

Here's the deal, I'm a set it and forget it kinda girl. (As you'll know if you've been around these parts for a bit…decision fatigue, BE GONE!) So, the first time I found a 30 day yoga challenge on YouTube it was like angels circled up around my yoga mat to sing an Alleluia chorus. For 30 days, I didn't have to think about my workouts. I just unrolled my mat and hit play!

For me, yoga challenges have a lot of appeal. I love batch decision making. I love the sense of accomplishment I feel once I've hit the last day. AND I LOVE THAT THEY'RE FREE! #ballinonabudget I decided it wouldn't be so hard to create them for myself! With all types of workouts!

[BALLET CHALLENGES I’VE DONE — HERE and HERE!] 

And since I just finished one such challenge, I thought I’d share the details here with y’all!

12 day workout inspired by social media favorites

For this challenge, I thought about who had killer fitness #GOALS on my feeds. I settled on Madeleine Shaw and Britney Spears.

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know that Britney Spears’ Instagram is one of the most amazing gifts bestowed upon us. I knew I wanted to include one of her workout posts. I CHOSE THIS ONE.

I’m obsessed with Madeleine Shaw’s cookbooks and her healthy lifestyle videos on YouTube. But she’s also a badass yogi and I’d never done one of her yoga videos. Her voice is the most calming thing on the planet so I knew I wouldn’t be disappointed. And lucky for me, she had just put out 7 days worth of yoga! 

Creating this challenge was shaping up to be easier than anticipated. A whole 7 days already sorted! But now I needed to convert Britney’s post into a workout:


IT’S BRITNEY, BITCH
~25 Minute Workout~

Equipment:
2 sets of dumbbells (one lighter, one heavier)
and 1 kettlebell (or heaviest dumbbell)

30 Seconds Active, 15 Seconds Rest

Overhead shoulder presses
(w/ lighter dumbbells)

Plank rows

Hold wheel pose
or modify:
bridge pose or camel pose

Warrior III w/ weighted row
left leg extended

Warrior III w/ weighted row
right leg extended

Overhead shoulder presses
(w/ heavier dumbbells)

Kettlebell overhead press
left arm

Kettlebell overhead press
right arm

Hold splits on the left side
or modify:
pigeon pose or half splits

REPEAT 2 MORE TIMES

Cool down stretch!


Now that we’ve got the Britney workout figured out, let’s lay out the 12 day plan!

Day 1 It’s Britney, Bitch
Day 2 Yoga 1
Day 3 It’s Britney, Bitch
Day 4 Yoga 2
Day 5 IBB
Day 6 Yoga 3
Day 7 IBB
Day 8 Yoga 4
Day 9 Yoga 5
Day 10 IBB
Day 11 Yoga 6
Day 12 Yoga 7

Congratulations! You made it!


This workout challenge was awesome! A daily commitment of 25 minutes that, combined with nice long walks, felt like the perfect dose of fitness. Each workout made me feel strong, energized, and flush with endorphins. The “lower weight-more reps” approach in the IBB workouts made for a fast-paced session that I paired with pump up jams. While Madeleine’s yoga was calming and grounding. A perfect pair!

What do you think? Let me know if you give it a try! xoxo
And do you have any ideas for future challenges I could put together. I love a challenge CHALLENGE! And I’d be sure to share it here. ❤

mid-week round-up

What have you been up to, my loves? Over the weekend, Chet and I drove around some nearby areas we’d yet to explore and enjoyed lunch on the Tennessee River. The weather was so beautiful and it was so nice to get out and it explore. There are so many little hidden gems to see and do! Now I’ve got work projects on the brain until next weekend. *le sigh* But hopefully squeezing in a bit of yard work, too! Hope y’all are having a wonderful week, and here are a few things I’ve rounded up for ya…

These lunch ladies stole half a million dollars!

Learning how to dress in your 30’s as a woman

Related: My Latest Le Tote

This Brooklyn apartment was inspired by movies from the 1990’s.

You don’t owe anyone an interaction.

Check out CreativeLive’s 50 Basics Under $50.

On Irishness, immigration, and race.

Related: Maeve in America by Maeve Higgins

How to deliver a pep talk that’s actually motivating.

The best coming-of-age movies.

Do you think these work?

Don’t let the title scare you away!

After the mosquitoes went away.

What stretching actually does to your body.

From now, through September, BLUME is offering 25% off ALL orders (including subscriptions) with coupon code BACK2SCHOOL.

P.S. A few Finding Delight posts you may have missed — 9 Activities to Break Up the Day When You’re Working From Home and A Social Media Manager Shares a Day in Her Life.

mid-week round-up

What’s up you guys? Monday was our two-year anniversary and we celebrated by going out to dinner and buying a couch! (I feel like that’s an appropriate gift for the “Cotton” Anniversary, no?) Now Chet’s birthday is right around the corner (on Sunday)! So much to celebrate in July!! Hope you have a fantastic Wednesday, and here are some little corners of the internet I think might be worth your time to travel to…

What is collagen?

Many people struggle to say no when their manager asks something unreasonable. Here’s how.

Lizzo creates the playlist of her life.

Related: This song is everything.

Camping this summer? This will let you drink from a creek without dying!

Related: 8 necessities for long hiking trips.

Yoga for the Cancers out there!

The woman who made jewelry for Billie Holiday and Brigitte Bardot.

This movie looks break-your-heart good.

What’s going on in your child’s brain when you read them a story?

Related: Our storytelling minds.

A clarinetist’s career gets derailed by an ex-girlfriend.

21 tips, tricks, and pieces of great advice for making your vacation that much better.

Positive vibes.

P.S. A few Finding Delight posts you may have missed — In need of a pep talk? and Tips and Tricks for Surviving (and Cooking) in a Tiny Kitchen.

mid-week round-up

What are you up to this week, darlings? While January seemed to drag on forever, February is already flying by. #ShortMonthProblems It will be Valentine’s Day before we know it! Are you planning anything special? I’m trying to do little Valentine’s-inspired things throughout the month to make each day feel special (with some Mardi Gras themed things, too!). Fresh flowers, photo projects, baking treats, and sending out cards have all found their way onto my February calendar. 🙂 Hope your week is extra sweet, and here are some links I scouted just for you…

12 months of self-care in a helpful month-to-month guide.

Related: 10 Ways to Take a Time Out and Practice Self Care

Here’s how Ed Sheeran made 2017’s biggest track.

Iranians asked #Where_Is_She? Suddenly, it seems she’s everywhere.

Jaclyn Friedman sparks a culture-wide rethink about sex, power and what we accept.

How to not die in America.

Wouldn’t it be a delight to grow up in this colorful Dutch farmhouse?

Anatomy of a wild & crazy Saturday night aka breakfast burritos for two.

Related: Breakfast for Dinner

DIY: Wool ball diffuser for the car.

Have you ever tried a yoga wheel? I’m obsessed with mine.

Related: How to Make Your Own Fitness Challenge

Who invented the microwave oven?

A real “very stable genius” doesn’t call himself one.

Packing for 10 days away at a meditation retreat in a Tom Bihn backpack.

Related: What’s in my Tom Bihn Synapse 19 + Side Effect

P.S. A few Finding Delight posts you may have missed — The 5-4-3-2-1 Packing Method and 5 Blogs I Love.