Make Today Magical

Making today magical, in a Rose colored hue city [Jaipur] with Masala Chai, Gold and Emeralds.

I am currently traveling in India and if there is one thing I've learnt is nothing will ever go as planned. Even in life. Today, the plan was to get swept away over Jaipur. Thanks to Monson season, a hot air balloon ride, while the sun rose was a no-go. Inside I opted to go gem shopping and purchased myself a dainty gold ring with an Emerald Gem. ☁️

I had envisioned today to be the start of new chapter of my new life, as I watched the sunrise from above as the pink and orange hues painted the pink city. In quite possibly the most romantic way to start the day.

Jaipur gems_1.jpg

Well, 8.28... the day has arrived. Time flies by so quickly; exactly a year ago today the theme to my life was significantly different. G and I were somewhere in Europe, celebrating 7 years of marriage, in a part of the world that symbolically represented us as a couple, because seven years prior our month long honeymoon was the inaugural tradition of visiting Europe, and always sneaking away somewhere in Italy. Italy was *our* thing, our places, our humble adventure. And for the last 7 years I had posted the same darling photo of a candid wedding shot--my favorite wedding memory that evoked plenty of blissful emotion--thanking my former partner for all the great memories we had shared thus far and for all the magical moments to come, traversing around the globe. I would never have imagined a year later life would be a contrasting difference, and that I would be somewhere in India, up in the air... uncoupled.

Truth be told, this has been one of the hardest years I have ever lived, being confronted with a new normal without the best friend I had for the last 10 years. It's also been the most profound year rediscovering the things I need in life, and truly feeling all the feels. Somedays, though far a few in between these days, feeling debilitated and empty, other days feeling alive and grateful for every waking moment. I'm not dwelling on emotions or holding on to my past, because to understand my divorce, my bond, and relationship with, you must walk in my shoes. You'd see an amazing bond, respect and fun-filled run between two individuals. But at some point, if you stop growing as individuals and as a couple, you must walk away. The hardest part was acknowledging that the magical bond and romantic love that connected us was no more, but the respect and love as still there. To merely co-exist would have been a disservice two both. The most challenging thing you can do in life is facing these feelings and let someone go for their happiness, and for yours as well. (You can read more about this here - no need for me to write about it yet again.)

When my divorce was finalized, I knew I wanted to be somewhere today. I didn't know where; but, I did know I wanted it to be a place to mark a new adventure in life to make today the best yet so that as each year passed on this day, I'd look forward to it and not dread it with a heavy heart. So here I am; I'm in India, sky high (did I mention I'm scared of heights?), remembering the best 10 years filled with some of the best memories, yet welcoming new ones. This year I've unintentionally have lived my version of "Eat, Pray, Love" in neither particular order.  Or, in my humble interpretation: eat and drink everything, pray (I really mean yoga and meditate) often, and simply learn to love my life, my new normal... every ounce of it. Rereading Elizabeth Gilbert's book, I now understand the message and can relate. I get it.

This is all part of the eat, pray, love journey in this phase of life. Being present. Being vulnerable. Being embracing. Being selfish for the things that bring me ecstasy. The act of celebrating and really truly enjoying your life... Every bit of it.

With that said, here's to life, more adventures, and being unapologetically happy.

Valerie Fidan

Valerie is a San Francisco native who gave up the comforts of home to travel the world continuously. Now based in Portland, OR, Valerie is a Social Media Marketing Consultant, helping solo entrepreneurs and small business owners DIY their social media by teaching them the in’s and out’s of SMM. She enjoys health hacking recipes, a good cocktail, yoga, hikes, live shows, puns & dad jokes.

Why Your Bucketlist Should Be A Goal List

bucketlist

What’s on yours? ✨ Starting a business? Snorkel in the Galapagos Islands? Hiking Machu Picchu? Eating pasta in Italy? 

Realistically, bucket list's should really be a goal list. Defining these you must ask yourself what do you care about? 

I love to travel, so for me naturally, most of mine are based on travel and experiences. Our world is truly magnificent and we each occupy just a tiny fragment of it. Travel is a privilege and one of our greatest treasures, and we all should have a bucket list. It broadens our minds and feeds our souls, and who wouldn’t want to experience something wondrous or incredibly beautiful, whether made by man or Mother Nature? To help you define your goals, journal and figure out those goals by answering: Who are you? What are your hobbies and interests? Base a few goals around those things.

Including family and friends in those goals. This will fuel an enriching life because life is about the experiences you create with those your love. It's a fantastic idea to include your family in some of your goals. For instance, you could add a goal of taking a road trip to the place your grandmother was born, or better yet, take that trip with your grandmother! This idea of including your friends on your life goals is probably where #squadgoals came from, and for good reason. Build in a couple of goals with your friends - you'll be so glad you took the time to build memories with them!

Keep track of your goals and be flexible! Goals need to be written down to feel real and tangible and to give them import. Write them down, and look at them often, then cross them off (mentally, even) as you attain them. But, also be flexible. So many fantastic books have been written about goals that didn't always happen as planned (Cheryl Strayed's "Wild" comes to mind). Be flexible in your goals, and achieve them even when things don't go exactly as you planned.

If you love mountaineering, your heart might tell you to set the goal of climbing each of the tallest mountains on every continent. That's amazing... but probably not realistic, not just from a physical standpoint, but financially as well. Your goals shouldn't be easy, but don't make them impossible either.

Here's the thing about goals: they're not checklists (like bucket lists are). Goals evolve and should require a little more reflection and soul-searching. For instance, when I first started yoga, my goal was "attend a live class once a week." Now it's "deepen my practice through yoga teacher training." Don't just visit the Eiffel Tower to check it off your list and move on. Savor each experience, build on each one and celebrate your success before you proceed.

Put it out into the universe, and share them with me. Let’s work together to put them into action! After all, sometimes the little things can be just as exciting as the big things.


(📷 Marianna Hewitt)

Valerie Fidan

Valerie is a San Francisco native who gave up the comforts of home to travel the world continuously. Now based in Portland, OR, Valerie is a Social Media Marketing Consultant, helping solo entrepreneurs and small business owners DIY their social media by teaching them the in’s and out’s of SMM. She enjoys health hacking recipes, a good cocktail, yoga, hikes, live shows, puns & dad jokes.

When Sadness Hits You

This might be a different kind of Monday motivation, but it’s raw and it’s real. They say happiness will find you; but I think sadness will find you too.

When Sadness Hits You.png

Over the years I’ve shared with you so much from my eating disorder to selling most of my possessions and traveling continuously as a "digital nomad" to my divorce and last week I shared how Europe was always “our thing." Truth be told, I thought I had this; I thought I had this whole Europe thing, ready to create my own memories and make Europe my thing. Was I wrong getting to Paris.

I was surprised because Paris was a place that I never really cared for, yet visited various times, the first being part of our honeymoon. It was a place my Ex like and wanted to visit as part of our honeymoon. Being here brought back all of those raw emotions of the life I used to know, the old me, and my divorce. I brought back the melancholiac emotion of it all -- the longing for what we had, a deep sadness, failure, loneliness, and wondering if we had made a mistake. So much so, my first night in Paris I even called my ex in tears... at 5am Paris time. It was a combination of things that influenced from the feeling of being ghosted by someone back home to being here but primarily because Paris was us, it was out thing.  The next day I realized that it is ok to have these emotions. It’s ok to feel all the feels and let it out. 

Sadness hits you sometimes just out of the blue, and you have to fight it over and over again until your heart would truly let go. Emotions are part of us, we can't escape them but we can work our way through them - sadness, pain, and negative thoughts creep in no matter how hard you seal it, somehow it will leak. And the hardest thing is, all you need is a pinch of understanding that would be enough to let it out and move on. Forgiving yourself for making a fool out of you is a tremendous undertaking, but it starts with YOU and knowing you aren’t making a fool of yourself for letting it out.

Sometimes you have to let yourself feel all the feels and accept that you are human. Let yourself feel the way that you feel but also know that you are the one who has the power to redirect things in your life. This is all part of the process of moving on.

I'm sharing this with you to be authentic with you and share a struggle. Whether you can relate to divorce or not, we've all experienced a broken heart. Sometimes we don't allow ourselves to fully grieve and we should. Even when you think you've made it through, it opens holes in what was solid ground, the kind you never know are there, until you go to take another step, and find you're standing over the edge, seeing the world around you passes by in blurs of color and sound and nothing around you making sense. 

As I am here in Paris, I'm learning to create a new memory of my own and honor my old life and memories created but most importantly, the friendship that my Ex-husband and I continue to hold.

 

Consciously Uncoupling, Self-Esteem, and What It All Means

"What happened to your dogs?" 

"Why are you traveling to Europe... alone?"

"Where is your wedding ring?" 

"Why has your name changed?"

These are some of the many questions I've been faced with recently. And, this post has been a long time coming. So, let me explain...

...And So Our Story Ends

There comes a time in almost every relationship where it comes to an end. It reaches a point where two individuals have stopped growing together and as individuals. Some people stay in relationships that no longer serve them because it's comfortable and the fear of the unknown and the pressures of society. For me, coming to this realization, that divorce in my 30's was in my cards was devastating. It was a hard reality to swallow. But the truth of it all is that my loveless marriage was over years ago. It wasn't evident then, but now looking back at it all, it couldn't have been more clear.

It's not just a closing of a chapter, but a book. The pages filled in this book are chapters and chapters of fun-filled adventures around the world, plenty of good belly aching laughs, silent smiles, silly moments, dancing in the desert until the wee hours of the morning at Burning Man, music festivals, BBQing with friends, trips and random moments on the coast, and the support for one another. Very few tears, fights, and arguments. The respect that we hold for one another is unparalleled. A picture perfect marriage, to say the least.

The words that became our theme throughout was that of The Beatles “All You Need Is Love” but in reality, sometimes love is not enough. It is a deeper love. It is happiness. It is companionship. It is an effortless devotion. A symphonic free flow of blending of families. A type of romance that sweeps you off your feet and effortless. 

consciously uncoupling

Never than ever before do the words “consciously uncoupling” make sense and resonate, because this is my reality. As I look back at these last 10 years with my ex-husband, I can only thank my partner for everything he has provided for us, the support and love he has shown me, the patience he has had for me. As the days, weeks and months go on the sadness, the heavy broken heart and confusion have minimized. Some days are easier than others, while hard days -- quite few these days -- seem debilitating, going through life in an empty daze, realizing I am alone. ALONE. I'm alone in a place we relocated together in hopes to start a family and have a better quality of life than what San Francisco could ever offer us. I've walked away knowing that we had a good run together. I wish him nothing but happiness and an idyllic life filled with love. 

Those that are close to us have all been baffled and shocked that Gregg and I divorced. Just like that, it took two weeks to legally end it all. This is what happens when you have a clean break on friendly terms, when things are far from messy. And, let me just tell you, I'm still shocked by it all. I have moments where I stop to think "Holy shit, I'm divorced. WTF happen?" I never thought that this would be a reality. I really though that it would be 'until death do us part' not until Portland do us part.

The day I met him, I knew he was "the one." Or at least that is what the young 20-year-old girl that still had a lot of life experiences to grow from and become into her own. The day I walked down the aisle to a string quartet rendition of Coldplay's "Yellow" and the moment we exchanged our wedding vows, I never in a million years would have thought that he wouldn't be my forever love. Never in a million years would I have thought that I'd be divorced at 31... or flat out divorced. I thought I would be starting a family at this point in life, not ending mine. 

As you can imagine, this is undoubtedly the hardest decision we've had to make. I can't even express how heartbroken I am, and I know my ex-husband feels the same. Coming to terms that our relationship had reached the end, where we can no longer grow individually and as a couple, was devastating. But, I know that life has a grand plan for us, individually. I can only be grateful for having an amazing partner these last 10 years and all of the fantastic experiences we have shared together and the memories we've created.  We can only walk away from things knowing that we gave it our all. I just want him to be happy and find someone that can genuinely fulfill that. Unfortunately, this was not me. I'm grateful that things between us are very amicable and we intend to stay friends. 

Divorce Does Not Make You A Failure

And, as I'm picking up the pieces, wrapping my head around it all, and moving forward with life, it's hard to feel like a failure. A failure to not only myself, but to my marriage, my partner, family, society. I regularly have to remind myself that divorce is not a failure. Failure would be sticking around, living life unhappy with an unhappy partner, and later resenting each other. 

I’ve got hope that life is going to be alright, in whatever direction life takes me. Although this is a transition that has flipped my world upside down, and even though the future seems uncertain, unclear, and scary at times, I’ve got hope that everything is going to be alight. I’ve got hope that my path will be a lot clearer - I may not see it now hopefully it’ll be one with an abundance of life’s riches in love and happiness. 

Will I ever get married again? I'm not sure. But, I do know that I am less open to the idea of marriage not because I don't believe in love but because I don't believe in a legal bounding document to prove a deeper commitment. The legality of it all makes it that much more complicated to walk away, and not to mention the blow to your self-esteem.

Rebuilding Self-Esteem 

When you've just been through a breakup, it can leave your self-esteem torn. You feel that there must be something wrong with you, even if it was a mutual break or you were the one that initiated it. Are you unlovable, unattractive, or undeserving? The truth is that you're nothing of the sort; your self-worth has taken a knock, and you need to rebuild it.

What about the heart break and moving forward? Here are five ways that I've gone about healing a broken heart...

But, guess what? Being single isn't all that bad. 

Suddenly being confronted with your newly single status may come as a shock. It's scary to lose the support and reassurance that having a partner gives you. But being single isn't all bad; once you get used to it, you'll realize that you're coping just fine. And there are some pretty good points to it; you can do what you like with your time, and don't have to deal with the problems that your relationship brought.

Breaking up doesn't mean that you aren't lovable.

Women are particularly prone to blaming themselves for the breakup. They reason that it must have been their fault somehow. Perhaps they weren't good enough for their partner. But breaking up doesn't mean that you're unlovable, or that there's something wrong with you, it just means that things didn't work out between you. Nor does it mean you'll never find love again - or that you don't deserve it.

Avoid trying to validate yourself by rebounding. 

Your confidence can really take a knock after a split, especially if your ex swiftly moves on to another woman. So you may try to give yourself a sense of validation by rushing into a new relationship, or by having one-night stands. This won't actually help your self-esteem, and could even be harmful. Don't try to prove you're desirable by having rebound relationships. 

Spend TIME with people you love.

One thing that will really help rebuild your self-esteem is to spend time with people who love you. Being around family and friends will give you an emotional boost and make you realize that there's more to life than a relationship. You'll realize that there are people who think you are amazing and love you unconditionally.

Do things you enjoy.

Although you might not feel like it, being single has a huge advantage; you can do exactly what you want with your time. You can be as self-indulgent as you like, and do all those things that your partner disliked or discouraged you from doing. Start that hobby you've been meaning to try out, resurrect an old interest, or take that vacation to a place your partner didn't want to visit.

The Most Common Exercise Excuses We Need Stop Making in 2018

The Most Common Exercise Excuses You Need Stop Making in 2018

Did you come up with some goals for 2018? It’s the 1st of the year, and you have to hold yourself accountable. No excuses! Perhaps you promised yourself that you'd live a healthier lifestyle by eating more healthy, more plant-based or by incorporating more cardio or a weight routine into your workouts?

My goal this year is to have a get back into a cross-training routine. I want to be able to do pull-ups and be a tad bit more healthy. These are all realistic and reachable goals; It is the getting their part that is a challenge.  BUT I have a plan and mini goals along the way to accomplish to achieve my big picture goals.

You see, to reach your goals, you need to stop making excuses. I and you both are guilty of them. And, believe me...I know this all too well. I know for my own goals, excuses aren't going to get me the results I want. Even when I'm the most tired and sore, I have to push myself not to let my excuse overshadow my goals, especially in the winter months when sitting at home watching Netflix with a cozy cup of hot chocolate might seem much more appealing.

I'm sure that you've used one of these excuses to NOT exercise:

  1. I’m tired.
  2. I’m hungry.
  3. I’m full.
  4. It’s too hot out.
  5. It’s too cold out.
  6. It’s raining.
  7. It’s Friday.
  8. It’s Monday.
  9. It’s too expensive.
  10. I need to lose weight before I can exercise.
  11. I don’t know what to do when I get to the gym.
  12. Everyone will laugh at me.
  13. I hate going alone.
  14. I'm too busy.

Most of these might sound a bit silly, but I’ve heard every single one of them. Without a doubt, each of us could add to this list as well.

 

 

Valerie Fidan

Valerie is a San Francisco native who gave up the comforts of home to travel the world continuously. Now based in Portland, OR, Valerie is a Social Media Marketing Consultant, helping solo entrepreneurs and small business owners DIY their social media by teaching them the in’s and out’s of SMM. She enjoys health hacking recipes, a good cocktail, yoga, hikes, live shows, puns & dad jokes.

Practicing Gratitude

Each one of us is in the pursuit of happiness. We aren’t on Earth just to exist. We want a full life. We want to make the most of our days. For many of us, happiness is a mercurial and elusive concept. But it's not. Boost your happiness by practicing gratitude daily.

5 WAYS TO PRACTICING GRATITUDE ON THE DAILY

Studies suggest that writing in a gratitude journal three times a week might actually have a greater impact on our happiness than journaling.

Practicing gratitude is something that I’ve made a personal goal of this past year. Since keeping a gratitude journal, I've noticed that it's helped me be more appreciative, more aware, and more observant. It's helped me feel more grounded and much happier. 

Instead of focusing on the things that I don't have or haven't experienced, keeping a gratitude journal helps me focus on the things that I do have and experiences I've had.

Ready to start a gratitude journal? Here are some of my tips for getting started:

Pick a journal. You could choose one small enough to slip in your purse or a bigger one to keep on your nightstand.

Keep tabs on the happy moments. When something good happens to you, take a moment to write it down. How did it make you feel? By jotting down the good, happy moments, you're making it a habit to focus on the positive instead of dwelling on the negative.

Set an intention. Before you start your day, take a moment to set an intention for the day. It can be something that you are grateful for or an affirmation for the day. Don't know where to start? When I first started journaling I used to take the daily quote from my yogi tea. It helped a lot! As I got the hang of things, my daily affirmation and intentions just started to come naturally. 

Nightly gratitude. Before you go to bed at night, take time to capture your favorite moment of the day. What made you smile today? This will help you to appreciate things in your life. You’ll be amazed how much you were missing when you do. 

Ask yourself this... What are you grateful for today? What is one thing that made you smile today? Let me know in the comments on Instagram! Find me on Instagramtwitter and facebook

HOW TO SURVIVE YOUR FIRST PURE BARRE CLASS

I'm going to keep it real with you; I'm anything but graceful and coordinated. I could walk a flat surface, and still manage to trip and fall. Clumsy is my middle name. Dancing? Don't even get me started! I was born with two left feet. While everyone is going right, I'm going left. Even in boxing class, I can't seem to get my combos right, even after two years of practice.

When it comes to barre classes, I'm always slightly nervous to try them out. So, when Pure Barre Pearl District invited myself and the Fit Life PDX crew to come try out their class and check out their studio, I was excited yet nervous!

If you've never taken a barre class, I know it can feel slightly intimidating with not knowing what to expect or what to wear. Sound familiar? Keep reading, girlfriend!

HOW TO SURVIVE YOUR FIRST PURE BARRE CLASS
HOW TO SURVIVE YOUR FIRST PURE BARRE CLASS
HOW TO SURVIVE YOUR FIRST PURE BARRE CLASS

What is Pure Barre exactly? Like most barre classes, it integrates a fat-burning format of interval training with the elongating and shaping techniques of dance conditioning for a full-body workout. Through a series of one-inch movements, you’ll work muscles you never knew existed. With all small movements that focus on toning and tightening your body, you are sure to feel the burn. And the best part of this workout is that it will help you to build lean muscle, making your body a fat burning machine.

What to wear. Yoga or pilates wear is recommended. Something that you'll be comfortable in moving around. There isn’t any high impact jumping around, so a heavy duty sports bra isn’t necessary. During class, participants wear grip socks or studio wraps.

Arrive early. Like with any other new class you take, arrive 10-15 minutes before it begins. Once you fill out a short waiver, the teacher will show you where you can leave your belongings and help you get set up with any equipment You might be using in class. This is typically a set of light weights, a ball, and a resistance band tube. Once you’ve got everything you need, you'll find a spot in the studio where you feel comfortable, facing the front mirror.

The equipment. A pair of lightweights (very light weights - 3-2 lbs) were provided, along with a resistance cord, ball, and mat. I got a little cocky when I saw the light weights. I shouldn’t have.

The moves. I’m not sure what I expected. Well, yes I did. I expected ballet class, and because I had taken numerous BarMethod classes nearly seven years ago, I thought it'd be the same. It’s nothing like ballet class. It's similar but nothing like Bar Method. The entire class centers around small, repetitive movements with little to no weights. That description makes it sound easy, but let me tell you, it isn’t. We started with a "warm up" that felt like the workout. And after 5 minutes I feared I wouldn’t make it through the class. It’s hard to put my finger on exactly what it was that made it so challenging, but I imagine the isolated movements, the number of reps and the focus on squeezing individual muscles made it, unlike any workout I’ve ever done. 

Embrace the tremble. Squatting and flexing and ‘tucking’ my way through class made my muscles tremble. By the end, I couldn’t keep my legs from vibrating when trying to straighten them.

There's a Tucking learning curve. There is a learning curve. The famous tucking that Pure Barre is known for takes some time to learn. It took some real focus and positioning trial and error for me to do moves correctly so I could feel my muscles working. 

I won’t pretend I didn’t love it; I did. Leaving class, my muscles felt fatigued. The next day I could feel it in my thighs and my lower butt. You know, the part of the butt that connects to the leg. Who doesn’t want to tighten and tone that area? 

Pure Barre Pearl District1124 NW 13th Ave, Portland, OR 97209; (503) 894-8623; purebarre.com/or-pearldistrict/. Want to try Pure Barre? Join me on ClassPass  and you'll get $30 off your first month on a 5-class or 10-class plan!

Thanks, Pure Barre-Pearl District for hosting! As always, all opinions are my own. 

Finding Quietude: Meditation 101

Finding Quietude Meditation 101

Meditation: Shhhhh… it feels good.

Meditation was something I found endlessly daunting at first, but soon became the quietude and calmness that rocked my world. I can't put my finger on the why or the how, but I will tell you this much, for me... I am just happier and much more collected.

I urge you to give it a shot. The worst thing that can happen is that you gave yourself ten minutes of quiet in an endlessly loud world.  Here are some tips to help you get started:

A post shared by VALERIE FIDAN (@valeriefidan) on

 "This is how I meditate on the left, and this is how I wish I could meditate." @taralaferrara

Get Comfortable

Sit against your headboard while in bed, on a chair, on a couch, in your car, or anywhere with comfortable back support. It’s best not to lie down, but it’s not necessary to sit up completely straight.

Calculate Your Finish Time

Check the time and add ten minutes on top of your start time. This will be your finish time. So, if you begin at 7:30am, your finish time will be 7:40am. Repeat your finish time to yourself once or twice. It’s best not to set an alarm or you may end up shocking yourself out of your meditation. Close your eyes.

Notice Your Breathing

Without speeding up or slowing down your breathing, just notice it. Expect your mind to wander away from noticing your breath. Do not fight this; it’s a natural occurrence.

Embrace Your Thoughts

It’s okay to get lost in your thoughts. And whenever you realize you’re meditating, just passively begin to notice your breathing again. For now, let the act of meditating become synonymous with both noticing your breathing and getting lost in your thoughts. Let all of the thoughts come and go—as you forget and become aware that you are meditating, it’s best not to resist any thoughts, including ideas, songs, conversations, images, feelings, or sensations. Embrace all mental experiences without concern, remorse, or regret.

In a typical meditation, you’ll begin by noticing your breathing for a minute or two, then you’ll get lost in thoughts for a minute or two, then you’ll remember you’re meditating, and slowly return to noticing your breath for a little while, then you’ll get lost again.

Come Out Slowly

Check your timing device periodically, and after ten minutes, slowly open your eyes and bring yourself out.

Use Guidance

If the above tips are still a bit daunting, try using an app Headspace or Calm to help you with a guided meditation. I have found these apps to be very helpful, especially when you are first getting started.

Valerie Fidan

Valerie is a San Francisco native who gave up the comforts of home to travel the world continuously. Now based in Portland, OR, Valerie is a Social Media Marketing Consultant, helping solo entrepreneurs and small business owners DIY their social media by teaching them the in’s and out’s of SMM. She enjoys health hacking recipes, a good cocktail, yoga, hikes, live shows, puns & dad jokes.

Woke Up Like This: The Sleep Styler Review

Seriously, guys, I woke up like this.

But, let me give credit where credit is due. 

Earlier this year I was watching Shark Tank and learned of this product this woman was pitching that sounded way too good to be true. 

I already sleep with my hair wet sometimes to get the wavy look (and to save a ton of time getting ready). Also, getting real curls with no heating tools? Doubtful. 

Well, let me just tell you, The Sleep Styler is one of my new favorite hair styling products. They are made from super absorbent yoga towel fabric that helps dry your hair fast. Applying them is easy. You simply add the rollers fast and styles your hair while you sleep. It's so easy to do!

Woke Up Like This The Sleep Styler Review

Well, I wanted to buy a set but they were on back order forever! When The Sleep Styler reached out, I was super excited to try them out. It is safe to say, I'm a believer!!

So how does it work?

You simply towel or air dry your hair until it's about 75-80% damp; section-off your hair and add the rollers by sectioning them off. Once your hair is dry, you'll have big, beautiful bouncy curls!

Yes, it's that easy!

Woke Up Like This The Sleep Styler Review

They were super quick to put in my hair before I went to bed and remove in the morning. They weren't that uncomfortable to sleep on thanks to the memory foam inside the rollers. I didn't have to apply any heat to my hair! No blow dryer, curling iron, or straightener. 

This post was in partnership with The Sleep Styler. As always, all opinions are true and my own.

Body Positivity and Social Media

Can we talk about body positivity for a sec?

square organics sports bar
vaerie_fidan_body_positivity

Last week I shared a very personal part of my life with you all, and I was so touched by the overwhelming messages and comments of support. The messages that flooded my inbox from others that have either been through the same or are going through something similar were mind blowing. For the first time, I feel like I'm not alone. I never expected this type of support. When I pressed the "publish" button, I just asked the universe to be kind and not to send negativity my way.

Want to know another little secret? I’d be lying if I said I could rock this sports bra message 100%.

It’s more like an 80% truth.

And, I’m not ashamed. 

When Square Organics reached out saying they wanted to send me a sports bra, I never in a billion years would I have imagined that they'd be sending me one that read in all caps: "YES, THEY'RE ORGANIC." When I opened the package, I couldn't stop laughing.

In my early 20's I decided to get a breast argumentation. It wasn't out of a whim. When I was much younger, growing up I had always wanted boobs. So, at 24 I got them. I went from a small B to a full C. Not a drastic difference or ridiculously huge. I did it for me and no one else to be slightly more proportioned. 

Do I regret this decision? Sometimes; Only, because they get in the way while I'm working out. Now looking back, if body positivity had been an open discussion, I don't think I would have gone through this change. I would have been able to learn to love me the way that I am and accept my body for what it is.  

This is why it is so important to not body shame people. It's important to have an open conversation about body positivity and accept people for who they are not what they look like. We must pave the way for the younger generations of females to let them know what they are beautiful the way that they are.

In the age of Instagram, it's difficult not compare ourselves to others, especially when it comes to how we look. But for all the insecurities social media can provoke, it has also given us a platform to be proud of our bodies no matter what our size is. The body-positive movement isn't about thin-shaming or encouraging an unhealthy lifestyle; it's about supporting everyone in their search for more self-esteem and self-confidence.

Instagram can be as encouraging or discouraging as you make it. If you only follow models and celebrities, you'll be bombarded with photoshopped images and unrealistic expectations every day. That's why you should mix a healthy dose of body positivity into your Instagram feed. Some of my favorites? @gofitjo, @MISSGEOBURKE, @healthyisthenewskinny, @movemeant, and @dulceida.

What are your favorite #bodypositive accounts to follow?


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Reflecting On Life & Dreaming Bigger

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I have found myself reflecting on life these past few weeks. Maybe this is a 30-something stage in life? As I've been reflecting, I've come to realize (and acknowledge) that my life is greater than I could have ever imagined. And that’s because it is. Even through all the imperfections, or the "I wish, coulda, woulda, done" moments, I wouldn't change anything about it. 

As a Pisces, I've always been a dreamer with my head in the clouds. I've never conformed to the norm, have always taken risks, pushed the limits, and followed my tenacious, curious spirit. 

And almost three years ago, I made a choice to live my life less stifled. To try not just to live; but to live so fully that, my adventures were bursting at the seams, my days felt purpose driven, and my heart felt full. This plan was accurately fulfilled as my husband, and I sold off most of our things, packed a suitcase and left San Francisco to travel the world. There was no plan, no end date. Would we return back to San Francisco? No clue.

Now I’ll admit that this is equal parts cliche and cheesy, but setting that aside for a sec what it meant to me was an intention being set to start fresh. To stop living life complacently and to start taking bigger risks, and to dream even bigger than I could have ever imagined. What happened since has been the most gratifying validation that saying “yes” can change the course of your life. Specifically saying “yes” to yourself.

In July of 2014 when we made the decision to travel, I never would have imagined that our decision to leave the comforts of home, and travel the world would take us to 18 months of continues travel, home-basing is amazing locales, and eventually would bring us to Portland, where we would plant roots and call home. Never would I have imagined that I'd start a new business in a new place, without a network and build connections and friends. 

I’ve never been one for vision boards and scrapbooking memories. I do, however, have a stack of books from The Power of Now and Be Here Now to The Sedona Method and even science-y ones like The Pale Blue Dot and Humankind that I skim or reread through now and then. There is something to be said for setting a goal and putting it out into the universe, so to speak.

I do believe that thoughts become things. My thoughts the past year have been: I miss my family, I see myself having a lifestyle website, I want to see more of the world, I need to find my purpose, I want to make an impact on my community, and I want to be happy--blissfully, fully, unapologetically happy. 

So, here we are half-way through the year. I've kept to my goals and have been working on them hard to fulfill them and maintain a strong bond with those back home in California. Keeping an open mind and saying "yes" to new experiences is something that I continue to do.

Join me in being a dreamer. Your life can be greater than you ever imagined. The most gratifying validation that saying "yes" can change the course of your life. Specifically saying "yes" to yourself.

What are you saying "yes" to today? Comment here!

Valerie Fidan

Valerie is a San Francisco native who gave up the comforts of home to travel the world continuously. Now based in Portland, OR, Valerie is a Social Media Marketing Consultant, helping solo entrepreneurs and small business owners DIY their social media by teaching them the in’s and out’s of SMM. She enjoys health hacking recipes, a good cocktail, yoga, hikes, live shows, puns & dad jokes.

Celebrate Your Independence

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Raise a glass to yourself today; to the right to freedom, to the empowerment of the women (and men) who struggle to have it, and to knowing, embracing, honoring, educating and loving yourself. On this day, and beyond, celebrate your independence.

I leave you with some words from prolific Nigerian writer and feminist Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. Her TED Talk on gender equality resonates deeply, and acts as a reminder of how far we’ve come, and yet how far we still have to go.  To our continued autonomy and independence – I raise a glass.

“We teach girls to shrink themselves, to make themselves smaller. We say to girls; you can have ambition, but not too much. You should aim to be successful, but not too successful. Otherwise, you would threaten the man. Because I am female, I am expected to aspire to marriage. I am expected to make my life choices always keeping in mind that marriage is the most important. Now marriage can be a source of joy and love and mutual support but why do we teach girls to aspire to marriage and we don’t teach boys the same? We raise girls to see each other as competitors not for jobs or accomplishments, which I think can be a good thing, but for the attention of men. We teach girls that they cannot be sexual beings in the way that boys are. Feminist: the person who believes in the social, political and economic equality of the sexes.”

Valerie Fidan

Valerie is a San Francisco native who gave up the comforts of home to travel the world continuously. Now based in Portland, OR, Valerie is a Social Media Marketing Consultant, helping solo entrepreneurs and small business owners DIY their social media by teaching them the in’s and out’s of SMM. She enjoys health hacking recipes, a good cocktail, yoga, hikes, live shows, puns & dad jokes.

Here's How You Can You Boost Your Self-Confidence

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Let’s talk about self-confidence for a sec ’cause boosting your self-confidence can lead to other positive things happening in your life.

Self-confidence is not only important for success but also a very attractive quality to friends and the opposite sex. Self-confidence can help you in your professional life as well as your personal one.To be self-confident, you don’t have to be conceited. Confidence is a presence you present. It shows through you being kind, direct, calm and in control. It shows you are capable without being cocky.

Women need a little extra self-confidence in today’s society, which has taught us you aren’t worth anything unless you look like a model, weigh 100 pounds and have a celebrity wardrobe.

I’ve got good news: you don’t need any of those things to have a great self-image or a great life. Those things don’t make you important, beautiful or better than others. They also don’t automatically give you happiness.

So how can you boost your self-confidence? A way to do this is to think about what you’ve achieved in life.

Here's How You Can You Boost Your Self-Confidence:

Being conscious of all that you’ve already been successful at completing in life is important. This reflection will allow you to see that you are perfectly capable of achieving anything you put your mind to. Even if these tasks seem like small potatoes to you, they are what make you who you are.

I find it’s easier to make a list of achievements. Actually seeing them written down makes me think about them even harder. Sometimes, one will also trigger the recollection of another achievement.

Writing down all your strengths is a must. Verbally listing them all is very difficult and actually seeing them written down will only improve your self-confidence even quicker. It’s hard for some people to be able to say they are strong in some category, they feel they are boasting. I know this is how I feel. I have a hard time listing strengths because I often don’t feel like it is really a strength. Any positive trait you have is considered to be a strength.

Thinking positively about not only yourself but also in your own capabilities will usually lead to positive responses from other people. Good thoughts usually lead to good things occurring. Being an optimistic person attracts other optimistic people as well. If you surround yourself with positive attitudes then you will be more likely to feel good about yourself.

Recognizing your insecurities is also a big part of self-confidence. If you know what your insecurities are, this will improve your self-confidence as well. People who are aware of what makes them insecure are able to either avoid these situations or confront and conquer them. Maybe you’re insecure about the size of your feet, well, then don’t wear red glittery shoes to draw attention towards them.

I have very large feet for my height, but I feel that if someone is going to judge me by the size of my feet, then maybe they are insecure about their own feet. Or, maybe they have an insecurity that they are trying to cover up by focusing their attention on my feet. Who knows? Try not to worry about what others might think about you. If you’re happy, that’s what matters.

No one is perfect. Remember that imperfection is a human characteristic that no one is without. There might be a few people who think they are, but there are other people that are easily able to see why those people are wrong.

Imperfections are what make every one unique. An imperfection isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Something that you might think as being an imperfection can be a positive trait to someone else. Some people focus on physical characteristics that they feel are imperfect, while others might focus more on character attributes. Think about what makes you unique instead of feeling like these make you imperfect.

Don’t brush off compliments. I know, sometimes it’s hard to accept a compliment, at least for some of us. I’ll admit, I find it difficult to say thank you for a compliment that I don’t feel I deserve, but I do it anyway. It comes across as being rude if you just shrug it off. Most people don’t compliment others unless they have a reason to. Very few people are random complimenters and go around doing this for fun. Just accept compliments graciously and say thank you with a smile.

What about you? What makes you feel more self-confident?

Valerie Fidan

Valerie is a San Francisco native who gave up the comforts of home to travel the world continuously. Now based in Portland, OR, Valerie is a Social Media Marketing Consultant, helping solo entrepreneurs and small business owners DIY their social media by teaching them the in’s and out’s of SMM. She enjoys health hacking recipes, a good cocktail, yoga, hikes, live shows, puns & dad jokes.

What Would Happen If You Started Being Body Confident?

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Most of us have a hard time loving our body for what it is. It's easier said than done, but, you've got to love yourself and feel confident no matter what. Banish those negative thoughts and hop on the body confidence boat. (Pun intended... I'm literally on a boat!) I want to make all you ladies out there feel as beautiful and fabulous as you are. So many of you don't consider yourself as having a 'good' body, well let me tell you, you do!

Whether you are tall, short, skinny, small, large, or even if you have an ‘Hourglass’, ‘Pear’ or ‘Rectangle’ body shape, you’re all amazing. Embrace what you've got. No one is perfect. Not me, not you, not the people you see on IG, or anyone else.

Why do you feel negative about your body? Because you don't look like AIRBRUSHED and PHOTOSHOPPED images that are plastered across female magazines? Facetuned or perfect photo angled and shadow images on Instagram roam our feed. I've found the answer: ditch the magazines. take the images you see on IG with a grain of salt.

If you're not body confident, you can't enjoy life to the max. It holds you back!

For me, this has been a struggle practically all of my life. My recent sailing trip to Puerto Rico trip has been the first time ever where I've felt comfortable in my own skin, comfortable wearing a bathing suit (and getting a picture snapped.) Scroll through my feed and you won't see me in a bathing suit. Scroll down to August of 2015 or 2014 or 2013 or 2012 and so on. I was the smallest I'd ever been... 102lb to be exact. Happy? Not quite. Confident? Absolutely not. Fit and healthy? Not one bit.

Life is too short. You've heard it a million times, but now is the time to wake up and think about what that phrase actually means.

What would happen if you started being body confident, enjoying the clothes you wear, experimenting with your unique style, smiling when you look in the mirror? Would it make you more confident at work, at life and in social situations too?

Understand this. There is no instant formula. It takes time of practicing self-love, self-compassion, and self-respect. Always remember that only small changes can make a big difference. Your body is too like that, patience and consistency are essential for it to change and become better.

Take a moment to think about the impact being body confident (or not), has on you. How do you envision yourself when being body confident? How do you see yourself when you are fully happy?

Jetting Off For A Vaycay? Here Are 10 Ways To #StayFit When You're #Traveling

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I’ve made exercise a consistent habit in my life. I’m one of those people that consistent has to be moving and doing something. When in San Francisco that meant feeding my SoulCycle addiction 3-4 times per week and keeping balanced with yoga 4-5 times a week, with the occasional throwing in a Bikram session or pilates reformer session. In Portland, boxing, sculpt yoga and megaformer classes have been my go-to. And, even while we traveled around as digital nomads, my husband Gregg and I managed to keep a routine beyond the ridiculous amount of walking we did on any given day. But, I get it…

Keeping fit while traveling can be difficult if not an impossible task to manage. Especially if you are traveling for work, the demands of a busy schedule, rushing around from place to place, can leave you with absolutely no time to keep up your regular exercise program. Staying in shape relies on one major factor-consistency. Consistency in what you eat and consistency in your fitness program will ensure that you keep fit and healthy all the time. But what happens when you are on the move all the time?

Traveling for pleasure is also a difficult time to keep up the fitness regime. A glass of wine and a nice juicy burger seems much more attractive than trying to find yourself a safe and appropriate place to exercise in a foreign city.

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1. HAVE THE RIGHT MINDSET

Working out while traveling can be easy, but only if you have the right mindset. Leaving with only vague ideas about exercise will give you every opportunity to make excuses when exhaustion, stress, and responsibilities start piling up. Instead, plan ahead. Pack workout clothes and shoes and research your destination to learn about your hotel’s gym access or other opportunities to exercise in the area. Exercising doesn’t need to be an elaborate, exhaustive process, especially when you’re on the road. Even doing something simple make a difference for your overall health.

2. SCOPE OUT THE FITNESS SCENE

In almost any location you visit, you’ll be bound to find a yoga studio, a gym or studio. With apps like ClassPass, it makes it easy to find studios near you!

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3. PACK THE RIGHT TOOLS

Obviously you can skip the dumbbells, but there’s plenty of light equipment you can bring with you. Your best bet is a jump rope. You burn the most calories per minute with jump rope than with any other cardio. Other feather-light options to toss in your suitcase are resistance bands, and in a pinch, water bottles make decent hand weights.

YOU ALSO MIGHT LIKE… BURN + FIRM WITH JUMPROPE
4. STAY ACTIVE

Whether it’s biking around town, walking over taking a cab or going for a hike, I like to stay active. Finding ways to stay active is important. Choosing to walk or bike over taking a cab or metro is great exercise and a great way to explore and see a city. From swimming at the beach or hotel pool to running – the list is endless.

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5. WORKOUT ANYWHERE

With online services like Barre3 or Physice57, they allow you to workout virtually anywhere and maintain a practice from where ever. And, of course, there is Instagram! There are so many fitness babes on there to get workouts from. My favorite is Tara Laferrara of @Lafitara!

6. EXERCISE FIRST THING IN THE MORNING

When we are on vacation or traveling it is even easier to let ourselves give excuses as to why we can’t exercise. This is especially true as we get later in the day; stuff happens, things come up and fun times appear spontaneously.Exercising in the morning will have you feeling unbelievably better about being done with your exercise and ready to move on with the days’ adventures, trust me.

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7. TONE IT UP WITH YOUTUBE

Tone It Up is the brainchild of best friends Katrina Scott and Karena Dawn — two adorable, super-fit trainers (whom I wish I was friends with), started out filming their workouts on the beaches of Southern California and posting them on YouTube. Today, Tone It Up is a multi-million dollar fitness empire that includes everything from a nutrition plan to workout DVDs, to protein powders, to a reality show on Bravo. Staying fit while traveling with Tone It Up is so simple. You can use the videos on YouTube or Subscribe to their newsletter that includes a monthly workout plan — all for free. The best part is that you can work out in the comfort of your hotel room and use furniture as props.

8. STAY MOTIVATED

I’m a big fan of informative and motivating email newsletters. With most of my reading falling under technology, travel, and culture; Mind Body Green is an encouraging resource for health, fitness, and lifestyle content that changes up my regular literary intake. The newsletters offer great advice on diet and nutrition; fitness routines; and lifestyle changes (habit techniques, meditation, and positive thinking). I particularly like this letter because it’s clean and nicely organized, and it’s right to the point which makes for a quick skim when you’ve got a big day of reading, sightseeing and exploring.

9. HOTEL GYM SCENE

When booking your business or holiday accommodation, find out if they have a gym on the premises. Many of the upmarket hotels have a spa and a fully kitted out gym as a standard addition, and you will not have to travel anywhere to fit your exercise regime into your day and keeping fit will be easier than ever, because apart from completely different scenery, you can still keep some of your daily routine intact.

10. STAY COMMITTED

If you are on an extended trip away from your home, stay focused and committed to staying in shape. Try and remember all the hard work that you have put in before you left home and even though you may not be able to continue the high pace of your workouts away from home, try and implement a steady maintenance work out for keeping fit. Take the stairs, avoid the lift, get your taxi to drop you off a few blocks from the office or your hotel and walk the rest of the way. If you are committed, you will find it easier to maintain your focus.

How do you keep fit while traveling?

5 Genius Ways To Make Over & Boost Your Metabolism

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Don’t ignore how important your metabolism is. It’s quite simply, the science behind maintaining a healthy weight and body. Your metabolism is the set of biochemical processes that transform food into body fuel. And with all the chemical processes that continuously go on inside your body, if you can influence your metabolism it can make a big difference. Here are some ways you can make over your metabolism:

STOP CRASH DIETING

Though your slow metabolism might be reason for your weight gain in the first place. One of the worst things you can do is to crash diet. By drastically lowering your food intake, your body will think something is seriously wrong and it will go in to what can be described as survival mode, which means that it will slow down your metabolism completely because it thinks you are being starved. This is opposite of what you want to happen!

DO SOME H.I.I.T

One way to give your metabolism a makeover is to try H.I.I.T. or high-intensity interval training. Your metabolism is a direct product of your activity levels, which means that when you are resting, your metabolism will be slow. Getting involved in higher intensity workouts means that you will be exposing your body at much stronger levels of activity on a regular basis, and consequently, your metabolism will pick up the pace to stay in accordance with your physicality.

GET REGULAR SLEEP

Along with good exercise, good sleep is also a key component to kick starting your metabolism. Getting the recommended 7-8 hours of sleep each night will boost your energy levels and naturally increase your productivity. It has also been discovered that people who only get an average of 4 hours of sleep a night burn calories much slower than those who get seven to eight hours.

TURN DOWN THE HEATING

As a general population trend, we are all living in environments that are too warm for our metabolisms to really flourish. Evidence has shown that reducing the temperature of your living space can cause something called non-shivering thermogenesis which helps to activate the ‘good’ brown fat that naturally protects you instead of the white fat that stores excess calories. Basically, being slightly colder is better for your metabolism.

AVOID SUGAR

It sounds like an obvious tip to give but it’s worth repeating. The truth of the matter is that a healthy diet promotes a healthy metabolism, and the healthiest diets are those that avoid excessive amounts of sugar. Don’t let your body become too accustomed to high-carb foods because it will accept those as the norm and your metabolism will slow down as a result. Not to mention the risk of type 2 diabetes.

LIFT WEIGHTS

The image of people who lift weights as these huge body builders is false, and resistance and strength training is fast becoming one of the most popular forms of exercise today. While it is about calories and weight loss, gaining a leaner body and greater muscle mass is critical for staving off the possibility of type 2 diabetes, and this glucose control also helps to kick start your metabolism and keep it working the way you want it to.

A New Way to Exercise and Have Fun

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A New Way to Exercise and Have Fun with Fitness Bingo

Other than the usual house parties and community events, bingo’s flexibility spans almost all aspects of life. You’ve got themed variants such as horse race bingo, beach blanket bingo, and punk rock bingo. This popular pastime even successfully penetrated the worldwide web with a bevvy of online gaming modifications. In short, the classic tabletop game’s appeal and adaptability is sensed everywhere, including physical activities like workouts and group exercises.

Photo Credit: Kayla Itsines

A while back we wrote about the most common exercise excuses and inspire you to start exercising. In light of this, you can take your routines up a notch by incorporating more fun in your workouts so you won’t have any more reasons to skip Tuesday’s leg day.

Fitness Bingo combines two equally rewarding ventures into one entertaining method. You’ve probably heard about the somewhat intimidating practices of CrossFit and High-Intensity Interval Training, but this exercise variant veers away from these without losing positive outcomes. It simply adds the amusement factor to a physically demanding group activity.

Starting Fitness Bingo is easy. You have to produce cards with different fitness exercises, instead of numbers and letters, inside each square. Part of the pleasures of making these cards is you get to customize and put your own spin to it. On the other hand, if you’re too pressed for time, you can enlist the help of quirky websites like MyFreeBingoCards.com. Also, you should sync these cards with the same exercises listed on an app called Spin It. Use this app every session to select a movement at random, before performing and crossing out the corresponding workout box. A set ends once someone shades the selected pattern. This is just a simple proof of how Fitness Bingo can be a vehicle toward physical and emotional wellness, as well as an avenue for people to see a different side of the game. In addition, it also reflects the charm and the evolution of this iconic game.

Bingo has a timeless influence that draws generation to generation. It mixes the old with the new to adjust to the ever-changing needs of people. Similar to the abovementioned CrossFit and HIIT, bingo injected new life by going to the online route. As a way to attract the modern age players, gaming companies provided a range of convenient options so anyone can play anytime, anywhere. These firms have even designed these games in such a way that it features a stunning façade. Gala Bingo, a gaming company based in the UK, integrates themes such as British Royalty, Amazonian Forest, and 80s Club Scene to cover players of all ages and interests. With this, the game effectively continues to withstand the test of time.

To sum everything up, working out and playing bingo may be in opposite sides of the world. You can even say that these two are parallel with each other, offering no common denominator. However, if you look at them from a technological and beneficial standpoint, you can see that fitness and bingo share the feeling of an optimistic result.

How To Avoid the Grind of Summer Exercising Outside

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Exercising in the summer can be tough with the high temps and humidity. You've got to prepared to can avoid the struggles of exercising outdoors in the heat. You may have days where you debate on opening the front door to head out for your workout because it is just that hot. But, before you throw in the towel and take the day off, prepare this way you can get in your best shape without sacrificing your health. There are several key things you can do to help you well on your way to having your best summer workouts yet and achieving your beautiful beach body this year!

1. Preparation is key

Preparation is key so make sure you drink water the day prior and have a banana for adequate potassium. The potassium will help to aid your hydration and avoid overheating in the summer. So grab that banana! By preparing, you will avoid wiping out in the heat of the day.

2. Dress in cool clothing to prevent overheating.

There are countless brands that create breathable clothing to help you get a great workout in and keep your clothing dry. I usually go for a cool wicking material that takes away sweat. Also, make sure you wear light clothing, so you do not feel attacked by the sun!

3. Remember your sunscreen

As you head outdoors for a super workout, make sure you lather up with sunscreen.Even in the early morning, you can get some strong rays that are damaging to the skin. So, make sure you protect yourself with sunscreen. And make sure you choose a waterproof brand so the sunscreen does not run into your eyes because that can totally sabotage your workout!

4. Less is always More

As for what kind of clothes to dress in when it is super hot in summer, choose what works for you. I like a sports bra and shorts because less is more when the temperatures are high. Find what works best for you and get ready for a great workout!

5. Keep Hydrated

Cheers to better your health and prevent a wipe out in the summer by hydrating for your health. Add a splash of citrus to ensure to enjoy a fresh drink and keep your liquid stores high. This is super important in the warm weather when you will be sweating quite a bit.

6. Refuel with protein

As you complete your workout and feel mighty tired, do not plop your butt on the couch just yet. First, you must refuel. Refuel with lean protein to help restore muscle fiber breakdown from your workout.This will also help you to get back to your workout feeling stronger and less muscle fatigue!

7. Exercise earlier in the day

Rise and shine early to get your workout in before the heat hits. This is definitely is a summer save when choosing to work out in extreme heat. Usually the earlier, the better so get up with the stars! Your body will thank you when you have the ability to perform at your best!

So stop stressing about having to bring your workouts indoors this summer and prepare for the heat. Be smart, dress cool and be ready to conquer a super sweaty workout each day. Get your best beach body this year by working out in the sensational summer sun! You will be so glad that you did!

4 Ways To Keep Fit In Your Hotel Room While Traveling

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I recently guest posted on for Encircled, providing some awesome tips to keeping fit while traveling.

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Travel is a rewarding experience whether it be for pleasure or business. There is something very exciting about being in a new place. But, traveling can also be a huge obstacle for anyone trying to stick to their fitness goals and stay in shape while on the road.

It's easy to stray away from your fitness goals while traveling, especially when vacationing or when traveling with work and you've got an expense account. I don't blame you! When your mind is relaxed and is RnR mode or distracted by a business trip, the last thing you think about is getting in a few pushups or being in a gym.

Instead of letting yourself get sidetracked, commit to at least 15-30 minutes a day of doing some type of exercise. I've found that the best time to exercise is early in the morning, especially when traveling with family.

There are 4 different workouts you can do in your hotel room, and virtually anywhere. Read the full post on Encircled Blog: 4 Ways To Keep Fit In Your Hotel Room While Traveling

7 Essential Home Gym Items

What if I told you that creating a home gym won't cost you a fortune. You won't need fancy equipment or shelves of free weights. Don't believe me? Read on. There are seven essential items that I have and use at home, and are items you can use, to create your own home gym. The best part is that they won't take up room at your home, and can be stored away.

1. Dumbbells and/or a kettlebell

7 Essential Home Gym Items 2 Dumbbells are necessary because lifting weights are one of the best ways to burn fat and shape your body. A good weight to start with is 5 pounds, preferably working up to 10 or 12 pounds. If you can also afford to get a kettlebell, then I suggest buying one, preferably at a weight of 20 pounds or higher. Kettlebell are different from dumbbells because you activate more muscles when using them when you use them to do certain variations of exercises. Not sure on where to start with a kettlebell workout? Man vs Weight has a great workout!

2. Resistance Band

Weight-A-Bands Resistance bands are a must-have, particularly if you are always on the move! These can also be used for strength training and will help tone your muscles. Resistance Bands offer a fun way to change up your routine, so you don’t get bored, challenging your muscles. There are also certain exercises you can only do with resistance bands which are incredible for toning up the glutes.

3. BOSU Ball

7 Essential Home Gym Items Ah! The BOSU ball. Ths is one of my favorite fitness its. It is versatile and a great addition to any home gym. BOSU stands for "Both Sides Up" or "Both Sides Utilized." It's got a flat platform on one side and a rubber dome on the other (resembling half an exercise ball), and it can help you improve your balance and flexibility, sharpen your reflexes, and reshape your body. Virtually any workout can be enhanced by incorporating the use of a BOSU ball because it requires you to use more muscles to stabilize your body, it means your workout will be more intense, making you burn more calories, too.

4.Exercise ball

7 Essential Home Gym Items 4 An Exercise Bal because it can both be used for stabilization movements and again, as a new way to challenge your muscles. It helps to tone your entire body. It is one of the mostly suggested equipment to improve core strength, stability, and posture.

5. Jump rope

Jump Rope is a fantastic and portable piece of equipment which offers an incredible form of cardio and also a way to tone your arms and legs. I am a huge fan of Michael Olajide Jr, who is the personal trainer of Adriana Lima, and the key component of their training is the jump rope. Seach YouTube fror videos. Many YouTube videos coach you on how to jump rope using variations and jump rope workouts. I also have a great post on how to blast fat by jumping rope.

You Might Also Like... Burn & Firm With Jump Rope (Workout)

6. Sliders

Okay so I am a little biased on this one, but sliders are AWESOME! Slider/Gliding Discs help you mimic moves from the pilates reformer and megaformer movements. They can be used in a variety of ways that challenge your muscle in a new way. Anyone who has bought one and tried some of the moves from my super sliders video can certainly attest to that. The key with these is slow and controlled movements.

7. Foam Roller

A photo posted by Valerie Fidan (@valeriefidan) on

The Foam Roller is your best friend when it comes to recovery and tending to sore muscles. If you are working out regularly, I seriously encourage you to spend on a foam roller. Not only is it affordable, but using a foam roller is like having a massage. A foam roller is a form of self-myofascial release, which essentially means that you are rolling out the knots in your muscles which can become very tight with exercise and can cause your limbs to look slightly bulky.

So there you have it! With these seven essentials, there is no way you can't reach your fitness goals. Look online, read magazines, seach Instagram, buy workout DVDs so that you can get ideas for what moves to do using these specific fitness pieces.