May 2018 | A Pretty Penny

My Journey With BBG...

I have gotten so many questions regarding my experience doing BBG and using the Sweat app. I have been sharing my fitness journey on my Instagram and you can see my progress/journey through my "fitness" highlight on my Instagram. I started my BBG journey in January/early February and really decided to stick with it. I use to run in college, but never was big into working out or sticking with workouts. I have started BBG a few times before, but had never really got passed week 6. So when I started this time I really put my mind to it and set a goal to finish the 12 weeks. 

I finally finished 2 weeks ago and I felt amazing finishing my goal! Some of those workouts are really hard, and to know that I got through them all makes me feel really accomplished. I feel like no matter what goals you set for yourself, it is an amazing feeling to finish them. 

Even though I finished the 12 weeks of BBG, it doesn't mean I didn't struggle. I eased myself into this lifestyle and am constantly making changes. I definitely had my struggles with early mornings and with motivation to work out during those 12 weeks. Some days I had to drag myself to the gym and others I really enjoyed! I also had an up and down battle with diet. I didn't always eat 100% clean, but tried to do my best and it is something I am really working on now. 

The 2 biggest things I feel like I gained from these past 12 weeks of working out:

- A new love for the gym and my time to work out. I love breaking a sweat and finishing hard workouts. I feel accomplished and like my body can do hard things. I have definitely noticed a new strength in my body and I love it!

- A new love for myself! The more I worked out, the more I felt better about myself. Even though I didn't have significant changes physically, I felt them mentally.

I wanted to share a few of my favorite workout things as well! 

Since I have started working out and running 5-6 days a week I really learned what worked for me and what didn't. 

A couple things that I wish I would have done now that it is over are: eat better, and take before and after pictures. I don't have a full length mirror and I felt weird about taking a before picture. But not that the 12 weeks are over, I am going to take a photo and go from there!
First, lets talk about shoes. When it comes to workout shoes I really love Nike, granted, I haven't tried many other brands, but I love Nike tennis shoes and have a few favorites! 

My #1 favorite running/workout shoe are the Nike Sock Darts. I have 3 pair and I really would love to own a pair in every color! I absolutely LOVE how comfortable they are and I love the fact that they have no laces. NO LACES. It makes it a million times more comfortable and I really like it when I run so 1) I don't have to worry about my laces coming untied. And 2) that the laces don't cut off my circulation if they are tied too tight.

My #2 favorite running/workout shoes are the Nike Air Zoom Pegasus. I love the support they give my feet. They have thick soles that will last forever! I really find them to be very comfortable and supportive no matter if I am running or working out. The only reason I like the Sock Darts over the Pegasus is because of the laces. I have really learned to love no laces.

Some of my favorite places to buy Nike shoes that are a little cheaper are Ebay and Amazon. I have bought a few pair on there and they have been great! A couple of them have even been gently used.

A couple other things I can't live without now are my Orange Yoga Mat, Glass Contigo Water Bottle, and my Hydroflask. A long time ago I bought a cheap yoga mat from Target when I used it to work out. I've had it for awhile and it has started to shed. So I wanted to get a new one and one that was a little thicker. I at first thought all yoga mats were created equal, but I was so wrong! I ordered this Orange Yoga Mat from Amazon. It is $30, but oh so worth it! When I take it to the gym with me my back/butt aren't sore after doing sit ups or leg lifts. I also love that it comes with a bag and holder to carry it.

I drink a lot of water everyday so I always like to make sure to carry a water bottle with me. I try to make it a goal to at least drink 60oz of water a day, but lately have been drinking well over that! I have always been a big water drinker so I am super picky about my water bottles. I have two favorites and swear by them! I have used my Glass Contigo Water Bottle for years and absolutely love it. I take it to work with me everyday and stick it in the fridge. I like it because it holds 20oz of water and is easy to carry and easy to fit most anywhere. My other favorite water bottle is my Hydroflask. I was a little hesitant to spend that much on a water bottle, but it has been worth every penny! I use it when I am home and we love to take in on road trips. I got the 40oz Hydroflask and it holds ice forever! It is a little more bulky and big, but I swear by it! For someone who drinks a lot of water it is perfect!

Next is workout clothes! Every week when I do laundry I always laugh, because the only thing that is in the hamper from me is scrubs and workout clothes. I hardly ever wear anything else during the week. I have bought a lot of workout clothes and I know what works and what doesn't for me.

I buy a lot of my workout clothes from Forever 21. They have very affordable fitness attire and they are all cute! Nothing like cute workout clothes that get you motivated to work out. Most of the time I wear Medium bottoms, and small sports bras. If I am working out at home I usually just wear leggings and sports bras, but if I am headed to the gym or for a run I always wear a tank top. Most of the tank tops I own are from Nike, but I also really like Adidas and Sweaty Betty tank tops and leggings as well.

A few of my miscellaneous fitness "must haves" are my Apple Watch, Beats Studio3 headphones, a foam roller and Invisibobble hair ties. The thing I love most about using the Sweat app is that it connects to my Apple Watch and shows me what workouts I need to do, as well as the time I need to do it in. I love using my Apple Watch because it counts my steps, calories and helps me be more aware of my goals. I honestly couldn't live without having Beats Studio3 headphones now that I have them! I have the porcelain rose Studio3 Beats and am obsessed. They are so comfortable on my ears and I love that there are no wires. They are noise cancelling and are perfect to get in the zone when I go on runs. 

The reason I would recommend a foam roller is because it was my saving grace while I was constantly working out! My muscles were always sore and it helped roll them out and get rid of the soreness so I could continue to workout. Literally, if you buy one thing, buy this. It will save you in the long run! You want to buy one that is made out of hard foam, or have a plastic pipe in the middle

Lastly I have fallen in love with Invisibobble hair ties! I love that they are less damaging on my hair and they don't leave it as kinked when I take out the elastic. I ordered mine off of Amazon, but I know you can get them from Ulta and Sephora. I recommend getting the POWER Invisibobble hair ties, because I feel like they are stronger and hold my hair in a high ponytail better.  

Here are a few questions people asked me regarding my experience with the Sweat app and BBG:
Let me know if you have any other questions and I would be happy to answer them!

Is the Sweat app worth it?
This is a great question, and probably one of the most frequent questions I get asked. For me I would definitely say it is worth it. I don't pay for a gym membership because there is a fitness clubhouse in my neighborhood that I go to. Plus, the Sweat app has a lot of workouts that you can do from home! So I pay $19.99 a month for the workouts that I can do at home. It is the only workout plan that I have stuck with that I really like. So I would definitely say it is worth it. You can also do a 7 day free trial if you are on the fence about it!

Aren't there meal plans on the Sweat app?
Yes there are meal plans on the Sweat app. When I first started I looked at a few of the meal plans and didn't relate to any of the meals. It isn't anything I would realistically eat or incorporate into my diet, so I decided to eat healthier options that I like. 

How long are the BBG workouts/what does it incorporate?
The BBG workouts consist of 3 resistance trainings, which are each 30 minutes and four 7 minute circuits during that 30 minutes. It is usually separated into 3 categories. So for the first few weeks it is 'arms & abs', 'legs & cardio', and 'full body.' I would do those Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Then half way through the 12 weeks it switches to 'legs', 'abs', and 'arms.' Still, Monday, Wednesday and Friday. 

Then along with those 3 workouts, it is recommended to do 3-4 cardio sessions, ranging from 30-60 minutes (depending on how long you want to do cardio), as well as 1 optional challenge a week, and 1-2 rest/stretch sessions. 

So I usually do some cardio after my workouts and spread the cardio throughout the week. I like to do stretching or yoga on Saturdays, and then a rest day on Sundays.

Do you use pre workout or protein?
Yes! I really like WM Nutrition pre workout in the flavor 'Berry.' I take it 15 minutes before I workout and really have felt a difference. The company actually sent me their pre workout to try and I have been hooked ever since! I really like the Premier Protein from Costco in the Caramel flavor. I usually always drink one of those after my workouts.

Do you count calories?
I do count calories and try to stick to around 1500 calories a day, but I have recently gotten into macros and are focusing more on hitting those than my calories.

Have you lost a ton of weight doing BBG/Sweat?
Honestly no. I made it a goal to not check the scale while I have been doing this program because I felt like every time I did I would just end up frustrated. I would end up being more worried about what the number was on the scale than how I was feeling and looking. I gaged my progress by how I physically and mentally felt. As well as how my clothes fit. I started noticing that my clothes fit better and more comfortably!

Do you get sore from these workouts?
YES! The first 2 weeks were definitely the worst. I wasn't use to working out that much so it took awhile for my body to adjust. After the initial 2 weeks I sort of got over being sore. Then, as the workouts started to get harder I started to get sore again. I actually like being sore because I feel like I am getting something out of my workout. Even if I can't sit up the next day haha.

I hope this blog post answered most of your questions and helped you in some way! I would love to do an updated post in the future with more questions! So please feel free to reach out if you have any other questions!




Easy Dutch/Fishtail Side Braid Tutorial...

Hello Wednesday! We are half way to the weekend and I am counting down the days! I wore this dutch/fishtail side braid when we went to Vegas a couple months ago and got so many questions on how I did it! So I am finally getting around to share a tutorial for it. It is a pretty simple braid tutorial if you can braid, and if you aren't quite sure how to braid it is never too late to learn! I didn't start learning more complicated braids until about 2 years ago. I promise practice makes perfect.

This look consists of a Dutch Braid and a Fishtail Braid. 
What you will need:
- brush
- 2 clear hair elastics
- hairspray

I also wanted to share a few of my favorite T3 products that I used to help achieve this look. T3 sent me their new Cura hair dryer and I am absolutely in love with it! Of course I love the signature rose gold look T3 has, but I feel like this hair dryer dries my hair in record time!
One thing I absolutely love about this Cura hair dryer is the buttons. It is so simple and so sleek. It has three speeds and I love that the cooling button stays clicked!
If I am going to be doing my hair in a braid I always like to make sure my hair is either curled, or make sure I spray some texture spray in it to give it more volume. It is just a sure way to make sure the hair style stays better. Before I start I always like to brush out all the tangles as well, unless I am going for a messy look. This Smooth Paddle Brush has been my favorite and seems easy on my hair.
STEP ONE: start on either side by sectioning a chunk of your hair into three sections. It works best if that section is close to the front, and where your part is.
STEP TWO: start braiding your hair into a dutch braid. It is exactly like a French braid except you fold the hair underneath instead of over the top. If you aren't sure how to do a dutch braid, there is a tutorial HERE.
Keep braiding your hair into a dutch braid down past your ear. Once I get it braided down to the top of my ear I usually start pulling hair from the other side into my braid. (Almost like you are going to put your hair into a side ponytail.) 

The reason I like doing a dutch braid is because it gives your braid the lifted effect once it is all "pulled apart."
STEP THREE: once you have continued your braid down past your ear about an inch STOP. Before I go any further I like to "pull apart" what I have braided to make the braid look thicker. To achieve my favorite "pulled apart" look I grab the outer edge of the braid and pull. You can pull it apart till you are satisfied with how the braid looks!
STEP FOUR: once you have pulled apart your dutch braid, take one of your clear elastics and make a ponytail right by your ear. I have found that if I put it into a ponytail it will keep the braid and look stable all day. Plus it makes transitioning into a fishtail braid a million times easier.
STEP FIVE: now start braiding the ponytail into a fishtail braid. This is my favorite braid to do because it is so simple, even though it is a little more time consuming.

To achieve a fishtail braid you will section the ponytail into two sections. Then you will take a smaller section from one of the two sides and put it wrap it underneath and join that smaller section with the other side of hair (as seen below).

(HERE is a tutorial for a fishtail braid as well.)
Keep braiding until you have reached the end of your ponytail. *Your braid should look similar to the picture above.
STEP SIX: Start pulling apart your braid! I usually start at the bottom and make my way to the top. I also like to pull it apart before I secure the end with an elastic. I like my braids to be big and fluffy so I am not shy about pulling it apart!
Once it is secured with an elastic I like to pull apart the sides just a little bit more, and finish it off with some hairspray! Then TA-DA! You have the finished product! 

Let me know if you had any questions about this hair tutorial, or if you would like to see any other hair tutorials in the future!




Summer Gingham + Friends & Family Sale...

This post is sponsored by Shopko but all thoughts and opinions are my own! Thank you to Shopko for making this post happen!
TOP: Shopko

Happy Monday! This weekend has been a whirlwind, and seemed to go entirely too fast. Does the weekend just fly by for anyone else? Colin and I went to a wedding last Thursday and spent the weekend watching the new Netflix show "Evil Genius." If you haven't seen it yet you should. We love true crime shows and this was no exception. I would honestly say it was better than "Making A Murderer." (for those who have seen it)

I also have been enjoying the weather! Even though it started to pour a little bit on Sunday. It has been the perfect weather. This gingham top reminds me of summer and picnics. It is so light weight and has the perfect ruffles, but you all know how I feel about ruffles (haha).

I am so excited to share another Shopko Sale event going on! Is it their Friends & Family Sale and there are so many fun things for summer! Including this perfect ruffled top. I am sharing all my favorite items for summer! Like this baseball cap, this blue top, and these crochet flip flops. You can shop the rest of my favorites on my board HERE.

The Shopko 'Friends & Family Sale' goes from May 20 - May 23 at midnight! You can use this code: FNF261 to get an extra 20% off + free shipping on orders over $99.

So make sure to stock up on all your favorite summer things, or put it towards a new summer wardrobe! Below are all of my favorite summer items from the Shopko 'Friends & Family Sale.'




Stop, Drop, & Yoga.

This post is sponsored by Shopko but all thoughts and opinions are my own! Thank you to Shopko for making this post happen!
If you have been following my journey you know that I have taken up yoga, well hot yoga. I have never been flexible but I have absolutely loved taking on this challenge of pushing myself and furthering my stretching abilities. I leave class feeling like I can take on any challenge!...and also feeling like I just went swimming. (haha) 

I have tried doing yoga at home when I make time for it and love how it gives me a chance to get out of my head and have some "me" time. Obviously when I am not in class I realize my lunges in Warrior 1 aren't quite as deep as they should be, but I'm still working on it! That's what I love about yoga so much. It is something you can always grow at and keep learning.

I love picking up new fitness attire and clothes comfy enough for yoga. I got this Adidas tank and leggings from the ongoing "Stop, Shop, and Drop The Prices" Shopko sale! There are some major sales going on, and free shipping on all orders over $99 with the code: SHIP99. 

These Adidas leggings are oh so comfortable and I can see myself wearing these all around the house and when we have movie night! They are more of a very soft cloth material instead of a spandex material. So they are perfect for yoga! Just like the leggings, this Adidas tank top is incredibly soft! It really feels like its made out of clouds. 

I have linked all my favorite Shopko fitness items HERE! Not only is fitness apparel on sale, but so it clothing, home decor, kitchen/dining, furniture, luggage, etc...
The sale ends on May 12th so make sure to shop all the deals!



Yellow Is The Happiest Of Colors...

DRESS: Sugarhigh / SHOES: Nordstrom / SUNGLASSES: ASOS (similar here) / BAG: Poshmark (similar here)

Here are all my favorite yellow spring dresses:

Yellow has always reminded me and been associated with happiness. It makes me think of the sun, warm summer days, and all things bright. So when I wear yellow I feel like I shine just a little bit brighter! Where as red is my favorite power color, yellow is my favorite happy color to wear! So my trick is, whenever I need a little boost of happiness I throw on the happiest color I own and it works!

I am a big believer that there is power in the colors you wear! So why not wear what makes you the happiest? Or makes you feel like you can take on the world?

This yellow dress is from Sugarhigh, they just recently launched with a bunch of beautiful goodies! It is such a fun flowy dress for spring and summer. I love going down the stairs in this dress because it flows behind me. I wore it for date night this past weekend and got so many compliments every where we went! That is always how I can tell an outfit is an instant hit. 

If you can't tell, there are a couple things I am obsessed with this spring: all the florals, and this straw bag. I picked it up from a buyer on Poshmark, but this one is almost identical and is under $35! It is the springs hottest bag so I would snatch one up!