I’m Grateful For..

It’s crazy to think that three years ago I really wasn’t that concerned with my future. Being 25 now, one thought that’s always floating in the back of my head is ‘am I doing enough with my life?’

Being or doing ‘enough’ is especially difficult when you’re not even sure where you want to go in your lifetime. If I’m being honest, I have a million ideas of things that I want to do, but I have no clear vision on what direction I want to go in right now and that’s terrifying for me. It’s terrifying for a lot of my friends. Sometimes I feel like we’re all just fighting to stay out of last place.

I think A LOT. My mind wanders A LOT. My friends sometimes catch me dazing off into the distance because I’m so in my head about things. To a certain degree it’s self-sabotaging to be so caught up in the ‘what ifs’ of life. One thing that I’ve always found difficult but very rewarding is to break that habit and come back down to earth for a bit. One way I do this is by practicing gratitude, it forces me to focus on the here and now.

I feel like I’m constantly daydreaming, and I tend to forget about all the beautiful things I have in this current moment. I’ll think more about what I don’t have and the people who are making more moves than I am. I also know that focusing on only one aspect of my life isn’t going to make me happy.  That’s the other annoying thing about 25, your career feels like the only thing that makes you feel seen.

Anyways, I’ve decided to share my list of things that I am grateful for, hopefully it will help and inspire you to do the same and live more presently.

My Family

I was raised and taught that family comes first always. I’m grateful to have parents who have gotten out of bed in the middle of the night to drive to me during some of the scariest moments of my life. I’m grateful to have a brother who literally NEVER complains if I ask him for help, and honestly shows me how a real man should treat me (he’s only 17 btw). I’m grateful for my younger sister, one of the few people I feel so deeply connected to, like I never need to explain myself she just gets it. I’m grateful to have my older sister who teaches me patience and that life doesn’t need to be so serious.

My Friends

I’m grateful that I have friends in my life who literally make my heart throb. Friends who actually bring me back down to Earth. When we spend time together, I find myself stopping to take it all in and appreciate the fact that everyone I love is together and having fun. I’m grateful to have people in my life who know that I’m actually a little insane and are totally okay with that. I’m grateful that I have such a deep connection with my best friends. Fuck, I’m grateful that I have so many people who love me.

The Little Things

It doesn’t take a lot to make me happy. My best friend always makes fun of me for this; one person could hold the door for me and my morning is MADE. That’s what I’m grateful for though. The fact that little things get me excited. Grabbing dinner with an old friend, receiving unexpected gifts or messages, being able to sit in silence with someone you love, to name a few things.

The Big Things

I’m grateful for the ability to put a roof over my head and food in my mouth, to own a car, to have gone to school, to have a job. Sometimes I get so used to having these things that I forget how many people aren’t able to. I’m grateful I have the ability and flexibility to change my life if I want to.

My Experiences

I’m grateful I’ve had so many opportunities in my life to learn and grow. I’m grateful I’ve gotten to travel where I have traveled and meet all the people I have met. I’m grateful for all my negative and positive experiences because it has gotten me to the point where I am at today. I am grateful that, because of my experiences, I have the willingness and desire to grow.

 

Life Lately

Do you ever have those days where everything is perfectly fine then all of a sudden you get this overwhelming feeling of sadness? Like out of fucking no where. Your day is practically over at this point. You can’t pull yourself out of it because it’s so fucking intense and you have no idea why. That’s been life lately.

My first real breakdown was last week while I was at lunch with my mom. Yes you best believe I was that hoe in the middle of the restaurant crying hysterically to her mom. All I kept thinking was ‘why am I so upset right now??’

The second breakdown was last night. I was talking with a friend on the phone and couldn’t hold myself together. I don’t know if he could tell I was crying, but he knew something was wrong because of how he handled the rest of our conversation. He told me he could tell I’ve been different lately and encouraged me to open up to more of my friends about things in my life that I’ve been struggling with. So I got off the phone and talked with my roommates, cue crocodile tears, yet again.

Now I joke a lot that I am a cry baby, because I legit am. Lmao. But I really don’t cry that much in front of other people. At least not about real shit. I actually hate talking about myself with others. Not really because I’m afraid to face it or anything just because I hate feeling dumb when someone doesn’t pick up on the fact that it’s been eating me alive for awhile. I hate when I reach out for help and no one takes my hand. I also just hate the attention. I don’t like people knowing the ins and outs of my life, there’s too much space for judgement.

Yesterday I kind of realized that a lot of people have my back. I’ve felt lost for a really long time now, I still do as I write this. My friends reminded me of the things that I’ve forgotten about myself. Have you ever been so lost that you don’t even know who you are anymore? I’ve literally forgotten some of the things that used to make me happy.

I hate change. I won’t leave bad situations because I’m afraid it won’t get any better. Which is fucking ridiculous by the way. I’ve gotten so used to living comfortably that I forgot what the adrenaline of the unknown feels like. If I’m being completely transparent, I’ve been living in fear for a long time. Not knowing the outcome of any situation terrifies me.

Now enough with feeling bad for myself. Yes, I’m struggling. Yes, I have shit to work out. I’m kind of at the point where I need to face it now. It’s terrifying and invigorating all at once. I guess what I’m trying to say is life is fucking hard by yourself. I need to reach out more to the people who love me. Asking for help doesn’t make me weak. Pushing myself to do scary shit is important to grow.

Practicing Bravery

This week I’ve been reminded that people’s outsides don’t always match their insides. We all face obstacles on a day-to-day basis, we all have our demons. Life can be tough and some days feel harder than others. You can have beautiful days where you want to freeze time and live in that moment forever. Then there are the days you can’t get out of bed because trying to tackle anything is too heavy to bear.

Asking for help has always been difficult for me. It’s hard to admit to yourself and others that you are struggling. It’s hard seeing the world move forward while you’re standing still-or even moving backwards. It’s hard to come to terms with the fact that you can’t do this on your own.

This week has given me the courage to be brave. Not only to be brave enough to ask for help when I need it, but to also be brave enough to reach out to someone who might need help from me. Kindness is remembered and cherished. It’s important to remind each other that we are not alone in this thing called life.

My Moving Out Checklist

Surprise! I’m moving. If you follow me on Snapchat or Instagram, you probably already knew this. But I am down to the one week mark until I need to be out of my old home and into my new home. I currently live in the Arlington, VA/Washington, D.C. area which can be a tough area to find housing. It feels like this is the place to be! Let me know if you want a blog post on finding affordable housing in this area. If you’re like me and have a tighter budget, you’re a little limited here.

Anyways, I wanted to create for you guys a cute little moving out checklist for you to use in the future. I’ve moved about 6 times in my life so I like to think I have this checklist down to a science. Keep in mind this list is tailored toward people who rent and are moving by themselves or with roommates, not necessarily families.

Click here free a PDF to use during you’re next move! (Move-In Checklist coming at ya soon!)

Car Tips

To be honest, I’m not too excited about writing this post. THAT is how much I hate cars. But I feel this obligation to help out my fellow young car-buyers who have absolutely no clue when it comes to cars.

Cars are stressful. They’re expensive to buy, they’re expensive when they break down, the only time they aren’t expensive is when you’re reselling them….ugh I swear. What a pain. My car is truly a necessary evil in my life. But to make the experience a little easier, here are some tips for smooth sailing (in my opinion) with your new car.

Consider Gas Mileage

I current’y drive 100 miles per day between work and home, so my priority for a car was fairly good gas mileage. That Jeep may look awesome now, but filling your tank could be a bitch later. Speaking of gas tanks, the one thing I didn’t consider when looking for a car was the size of my tank. My current tank is actually smaller than my last car, and I’m finding myself filling up a lot more often. If you travel a lot for work or just in general, this may be something to keep in mind.

Buy New or CPO

The reason why I say this, is because when you buy a car used, you really have no way of knowing how the previous owner cared for the car. You have no idea why they are selling it, or if there is an issue that they aren’t disclosing. While I did not buy my car new, I bought it Certified Pre-Owned (CPO). This means that the car was taken in for maintenance and oil changes in the alotted time frame it needed to be. How do I know this? Because the owner brought the car to the dealership for maintenance and the dealership had the car history. Speaking of CPO, try finding a car that is less than 50,000 miles. This will give you a little time before you need to do some more pricey maintenacne on the car.

Pay Attention to the Warranty

This is more for if you are buying a used car. my warranty only lasted for 6,500 miles so I had to really pay attention during that time period to make sure nothing serious was wrong with the car. I regret not taking advantage because I ended up having to purchase a software update when I was 200 miles past the warranty. It doesn’t sound like a lot, but it could’ve been free if I really paid attention.

Buy A Car that You Like

Some people settle because they feel like they have to. You don’t. I get a lot of shit for driving a BMW but what people don’t know is how good of a deal I got on the car. It’s all about preference when it comes down to it. I trust the BMW brand, I love the look of their cars, and I can afford to drive it. don’t be afraid to explore you’re options. I honesly didn’t think I could afford a BMW until my car magically fell into my lap one night (aka my mom is a baller and sent me the link the night before I bought it). But seriously, if you’re going to invest money into a car, you might as well enjoy the car you’re driving.

Morning Rituals are Underrated

As long as I can remember, I was organizing and making lists. From my to-do lists to my locker organization at school. No literally, I used to sketch locker designs before bed each night. I was obsessed.

Anyways. One thing I would write down since high school was my morning routine. I would time myself down to the minute and knew exactly how long it took me to get ready in the morning. Do I sound crazy yet? It’s funny because sometimes I’m just aggressively lazy.

It wasn’t until very recently that I realized how important a morning routine really was, and have since called it a morning ritual.

With my hectic schedule and a never ending to-do list, I need structure. During the day, my schedule is constantly changing. I could be sitting at my desk all day on Tuesday, then Wednesday I might be driving to antique shops looking for some new office furniture (no literally, this is what I do for work). Some days, I might have to drop everything I’m doing to meet a last minute deadline for a client. I’ve found that the best thing to keep me calm and centered on these hectic days is my morning ritual.

I wake up about 3 and a half hours before I need to be at work, and I go through this ritual. It includes working out, meditating, eating breakfast, getting ready for the day and even my drive to work. I can go into a little more detail with my ritual in another post, but today I want to focus on why a morning ritual is so important.

Doing the same thing every morning can seem boring and even tedious to some people, but the trick is scheduling in time for things that will get you off to the right start. When I wake up and do all the things that make me feel good, even if they seem daunting at 6AM, by the time I get to work I feel as if I’ve accomplished so much for the day already!

A morning ritual sets your day up for success. When you get up and do things that make you feel and look good, your attitude changes. You’re engaging with people because you put together a baller outfit. You keep your desk clean because you made your bed. You have salad and Kombucha for lunch because you had a smoothie and lemon water for breakfast. You kill it with new clients because you killed it in the gym. See the pattern here?

It’s the little things in life people. Don’t take your mornings for granted!

I would love to hear some of your favorite things to do in the morning, so leave a comment!

5 Reasons to Choose JMU

 

Hi friends, I’m feeling a little under the weather today but I was inspired to make a post reflecting on my college experience. Yesterday I took my little brother down to James Madison University (JMU) to tour. It brought back so many great memories that I wanted to share with all of you why I chose (and stayed) at JMU for college. Whether you have graduated like me or in high school looking at college, I hope you get something out of this post. So anyways, 5 reasons I chose JMU…

 

326293_2152278281294_376571798_o

 

1. The Atmosphere

Okay, so the first time I went to JMU it was unlike any other college experience I had. I just remember looking around and everyone looked so happy and excited to be there. I received so many smiles from strangers, and I remember our tour guide running into some friends while we were touring and they all were so engaging. JMU just seemed like it’s own community and I loved it. I’m not going to lie I didn’t really pay attention to all the technicalities (professor to student ratio, retention rate, etc..which are great btw..) I just wanted to go to a school that felt like I belonged there. After that day I pretty much made up my mind.

2. The Friendships

When you move in as a freshman at JMU, they have an orientation (like most other schools) for freshman. But JMU’s orientation was a little more serious. It lasted the entire week before classes started and there were more events to go to than you had time for. It was pretty cool because you really got to see how MUCH there was to do at this school. I made friends easily with a lot of people in my dorm that week, so I was able to start off the school year with some buddies. Once classes began I decided (my mom forced me actually) to sign up for sorority recruitment. You know how they say ‘mom knows best’? Well she does. My sorority was extremely welcoming for me and even now, 7 years later, my roommates are my sorority sisters. I know you hear about horror stories at some schools, but Greek Life at JMU is amazing, I highly recommend.

3. The food

So, I knew JMU was known for their food. But I didn’t really notice the quality of food right away. Here’s the thing. The food is comparable to what your parents would cook, or what you would eat at a restaurant. I didn’t realize that they meant the food was good compare to other schools. Until I visited my friend at Virginia Tech…what a mistake. Lol just kidding! Kind of..but seriously. The food at JMU compared to other schools: fantastic. So many on campus options (including Chick-fil-a, Auntie Anne’s, Dunkin, Quiznos, Starbucks, and pretty soon Qdoba) that you can use your meal plan to purchase. The dining halls are no joke either. If that’s not a win then I don’t know what is.

4. The Scenery

To follow up on the food, you do not have to worry about gaining the freshman 15. Maybe the freshman 5 or 10…but with all those dang hills on campus, everyday is leg day for Harrisonburg! The campus is spread out just enough that you can walk from one end to the other in about 30 to 45 minutes. That also means there are so many gorgeous places on campus. Some of my favorite places on campus are the quad’s beautiful blue stone buildings and East Campus by the big J. Maddy statue (GORGEOUS when the sun sets). Not even 30 minutes away are the mountains as well, and a million wineries so lots of pretty photo ops!

5. The Opportunities

Okay, maybe one of the more important reasons to go to JMU.. the opportunities are ENDLESS. Not only are there more clubs than you can count, the faculty works really hard to create connections for you out in the real world. I actually got an internship opportunity through a faculty member at the school. Experience is big for JMU whether it’s in through community, across the nation or abroad. I felt like I was constantly receiving information about internships, job opportunities, community service, etc. There were very few professors who weren’t passionate about creating connections and setting you up for success. You do have to put in work however, but JMU made it very easy to find resources.11209632_10204711041030691_2935724971741751756_n

 

 

 

 

Low Budget Travel Tips

IMG_3987

If you follow me on Instagram, you’ll know that I just recently returned from a trip to the west coast, Los Angeles and Las Vegas to be exact. It was a somewhat spontaneous trip and I didn’t think I would be able to afford it if I’m being honest. But I actually totally could afford it. I’ve been caught up in my head thinking I can’t do things that I want to do and that’s simply not true. But anyways, that’s a post for another day. Today I wanted to share with you some fun (and not-so-fun) trip details and tricks for traveling on a budget.

 

IMG_3854

 

Before The Trip, my girls and I decided to split the cost of two checked bags instead of three (one per person). I had to plan a little more than I usually do when I travel, aka NOT throw everything I own in a suitcase. I would be lying if I said it wasn’t challenging, but I actually ended up using even less than I brought! We also took the red eye coming back home. It was a little rough but our flight was dirt cheap! Also try to plan your trip so you are coming and leaving during the week. We flew out early on a Friday and flew back over the following Wednesday evening. Just be careful of the jet lag!

 

388C9356-F3B2-4A52-A8E6-991509577D3B

 

The flight… I woke up to 60 mph winds the morning of our flight…what?! I literally sat in bed for about 30 minutes hoping my flight wouldn’t get cancelled. Luckily I made it to the airport in one piece and our flight wasn’t in fact cancelled! But the turbulence on this flight..wow. Just wow. My friend described this flight as ‘a Final Destination scene’ to give you a better idea. No real advice for this one except to keep breathing.

 

IMG_4474

 

The hotel…. So to save money, we stayed with my friend’s grandmother who lives in LA. Honestly guys, if you’re traveling on a budget and know someone where you are going, ask if you can crash with them. This saved us from paying for four nights of hotels. We also got home cooked meals, who doesn’t love that?! If you’re going abroad, consider staying in a hostel, or airbnb.

 

246E0CC9-2523-4795-BD54-2284CE86370F

 

The car…. We did rent a car to drive to Vegas, but while we were in LA, we borrowed my someone’s car. If you have this ability, or are staying somewhere within walking distance to a lot of places, take that into consideration. If you do rent a car, check to see if your insurance will cover your rental. There is always an option to purchase insurance through the rental company, but if you can add it to your insurance temporarily, do that and save some money!

 

IMG_3972

 

The food… When traveling on a budget, don’t focus too much on eating or drinking. This trip, to save some money, I cut back on drinking to pretty much one day. When it came to the food, I searched the menu for cheaper options. Some could argue that part of traveling and culture is the food, and while I completely agree, I don’t think you need to spend big bucks either. Before you go on your trip, make a list of foods or restaurants that you NEED to try and budget for that. Splurge for a couple meals but keep the rest pretty simple. Also, don’t eat grocery store sushi or you may get food poisoning…..! Yes this happened to me and it was HORRIBLE.

Hopefully these tips are a little helpful for you! I will definitely be implementing them for my next budget friendly adventure!

 

VDay Vibes

 

Seeing as tomorrow is Valentine’s Day, I feel it only fitting to write about where I’m at with all that stuff (you know, love and all.) Well, I’m honestly no where lol. But it’s okay, I kind of like it that way.

If anyone knows me personally, they know that my love life over the past few years has been a little rough. I’ve always struggled to balance my relationship with the rest of my life. What can I say, I’m a Pisces: a hopeless romantic who, at times, gets a little too lost in the daydream and struggles to see reality. Okay, it actually happens like all the time-I come up with some pretty amazing scenarios I have to say!

So when I find myself wrapped up in someone that asks a lot more than they should of me, I tend to give it all to them. I don’t like to say ‘no’ to people and when I like you, I REALLY don’t like to say ‘no’ to you. In my head I’m doing it for the sake of the love story and ‘he’s my soulmate blah blah blah’. Except when I take my rose-colored glasses off at the end of it, it’s suddenly super obvious I was sooo wrong lol like what have I been doing with this guy?

At the risk of sounding like a bitch: I’m also guilty of the game so if you play hard-to-get I’m gearing up and ready to go too. I’m here for it. And that’s usually where I like to stay, in the game, especially if you’re a beautiful man because it keeps my heart at a safe distance. No hard feelings just a lot of flirting and fun. Until someone crosses the line of wanting more….I’ve been on both sides and it never really works out after that.

If you can’t read through the lines I’ll spell it out for you: I haven’t quite figured out how to invest in men that I actually like. Vulnerability is tough and if you want quality relationships you have to learn to be vulnerable. So the love life is no where really at the moment. And I’m okay with that. One day I’ll get there and right now, I’m fine if that’s not today. Happy Vday Fam!

Love, Sioban

My 2018 Resolutions

Processed with VSCO with au5 preset

As we start to settle back into our routines, some of our resolutions may begin to slip through the cracks a bit. I can feel myself veering away and wanted to remind myself as well as motivate some of you to remember and revisit some of the things you are wanting to accomplish this year. I’ve created my resolutions in a way that I can grow and add onto them all this year. There is a general goal, but endless ways I could go about achieving it. I recommend you do this for continual growth. Enjoy!

Develop My Personal Brand
If I’m being honest, I’m not TOTALLY sure what this entails, but one of my bigger goals is to figure out what I’m passionate about and put it out into the world! I have been toying with many different things, all surrounding the idea of creating my own brand. This year I hope to gain more insight and direction!

Focus On My Health
I’ve learned so much about nutrition and nourishing my body this past year. My view on what ‘healthy’ means and looks like has changed greatly. Throughout this year I want to focus more on feeding my body what it needs and not always what it wants (*cough cough* ice cream *cough*). Along with my nutrition, I want to find a workout schedule and routine that works for me.

Build Meaningful Friendships
Since graduating from college in 2015, I’ve realized it’s a bit tougher meeting people in the real world. While I have made friends and strengthened my current relationships in 2017, I hope to meet and collaborate with other female bloggers and leave 2018 with even stronger friendships than I started.

Constantly Learn More
One big thing that I want to focus on this year is expanding my knowledge and continue to learn. This includes reading before bed, listening to podcasts, going to events, etc.. I recently started a list of books that I want to read and I’d love to start checking some of those off my list and sharing my knowledge with all of you!

Thank you for reading! Let me know what your new years goals are
and what you are doing now to reach them!

xx, Sioban

2017 Reflections

IMG_2758

The new year is a beautiful and exciting thing. It allows us all to reflect about the past year and celebrate not only our breakthroughs but also our struggles. I’ve learned so much in 2017, I didn’t even realize this until I took the time to sit down and reflect. I’ve decided to share my reflections as well as some of my goals for this new year.

I started out 2017 a little confused and lost. I had just gotten out of a long-term/long-distance relationship (literally on New Years Day) and was learning how to be on my own again. I used to find peace in working out but my passion for it wasn’t as great as it was in 2016. I was in a dark place then so fitness really pulled me out of the hole I dug for myself. Entering 2017, it was just part of my routine now. I still feel it to be very important and I still enjoy working out,  but it wasn’t something I was interested in pursuing any further than I already had. I was ready to explore something different.

2017 was a year of spiritual breakthrough. I’ve grown up going to Sunday School and church on Sundays, but I’ve always felt a disconnect with God. I couldn’t completely wrap my head around the idea of believing in something you couldn’t see. I didn’t understand how people could have this deep connection with the unknown. I believe in being a good person, but that’s so surface level and I couldn’t connect to the deeper meaning behind it all.

By spring I was drawn to a few people on YouTube who believed that the universe has a plan for us all and we need to be open to it. Going into the summer I attended a Tony Robbins seminar; it was such an eye opening experience. His approach to living is so beautiful it really changed my perspective on how to live. I learned that I was in control of a lot more than I thought I was. By fall, I found myself more at peace and wanting to explore this lifestyle further. I started reading and researching and before I knew it I had found something spiritual that finally resonated with me.

There are things in life that we have no control over. They could be beautiful things or they could be tragic things, but all of these things are happening for a reason and it’s to build you into the person you were meant to be. I was able to look at my past experiences (good and bad), appreciate them all, and be grateful that they happened. I’ve built a love for myself and my life that I didn’t have before and I’m actually excited for the unknown (aka the future). I have no idea where my life is going but I believe it’s going somewhere beautiful because I am not fighting it I am allowing it to happen.

I didn’t realize how much I’ve grown over the past year until I reminisced on all of this. I honestly think 2017 has been one of the best years of my life. I’ve never been more excited to grow and to see where the universe takes me. I’d love to hear any of your 2017 breakthroughs as well so we can all reminisce together.

Love, Sioban

Don’t Let Them Bring You Down

Let me give you a little background about myself: I’m a very nice person. In fact, I’m sometimes too nice. I’m the person that people take advantage of. I’m the person who is welcoming to anyone they meet. I can’t be mean or rude when a man (or rather ‘boy’) hits on me or makes me uncomfortable. When my personal bubble is CLEARLY being violated, I probably won’t tell that person to screw off. Because I can’t stand the idea of being mean to another person.

With my inability to be mean to someone else, comes the overwhelming sensitivity to someone being mean to me. I’ve been taken advantage of in all aspects of my life: as a coworker, as a friend, as a roommate, as a classmate, as a stranger…I get taken advantage of a lot. I’m the girl who rearranges her priorities for you. Just pull on my heart strings and you’ll probably get something out of me.

Now this isn’t a pity party. I don’t want you to think that this is something I hate about myself. It’s something I absolutely love about myself because there aren’t enough of us in the world. I’m someone others can trust and count on. One of the biggest lessons that I’ve learned over the years is that there is always someone who is going to try to take advantage of you. What really matters is how you handle it.

Of course my biggest struggle I’ve had with these situations is how to handle them. Should I be nice and do what they ask/demand of me? Should I be mean? Is there a happy median? What are you supposed to do about someone who did you wrong and still comes back for more? Do what you feel comfortable doing, be nice. But DO NOT fall victim.

You may be able to pull off a little white lie, they may be understanding, or you may just piss them off. More than likely you’ll piss them off. You know how I know this? Because they are more SHOCKED that you said ‘no’ and this is the only way they know how to react. It’s not you, I promise.

This is the most important time that you need to stay strong and stick with your gut. They will say you are crazy, or dramatic, or any other hurtful word you can think of. You need to remember that there is nothing you did wrong in this situation. Sometimes people are cruel and there is no explanation behind it. Don’t react, stay calm, move on. You can’t control this person’s actions so why get upset over it.

These people are not to be confused with your 3am friends. You know, the people who you call at 3am and they actually answer and come to your rescue? Do favors for them, focus on them and love them. The people who are only worried about themselves aren’t deserving of your time so don’t let them bring you down either.

Love, Sioban

Create Your Fitness Schedule

If you are trying to get more into fitness but still figuring out what types of workouts you like to do, this is the article for you!

Step 1: Determine Your Goals

Whether you want to become more flexible, lose weight, gain muscle, increase your endurance, etc… you need to come up with your overall general goal. Unfortunately, you won’t see as much progress if you focus on too many things at once, but you’re more than welcome to do that. If you really focus your workout schedule towards one goal, you will not only see progress faster, but it will be easier to remember and put your energy towards that goal

Step 2: Be Realistic

If you don’t have time to hit the gym 5 days a week, then don’t schedule the gym 5 days per week. In order to be successful, you need to be honest and realistic with yourself. If you schedule the gym 5 days out of the week and only make it for 3, you will automatically feel defeated. Schedule and set aside gym time that you know is realistic, even if it is only 20 minutes per day. If you realize later you can work out for 30 minutes, you’re going to feel better than if you have to cut back on gym time.

Step 3: Do Your Research and Devise a Plan

Now that you have your goal and the amount of time you’ll be able to devote to your goal, do some research. Look up different ways you can achieve your goal and what important factors need to be considered. For example, if your goal is to lose weight, I would look into how much weight I could realistically lose each week, what foods I should consider eating more or less of, and what types of exercise I should focus on.

Step 4: Set Up Your Schedule

With your allotted times of the week, plan out 4 weeks of exercising. Why 4 weeks? Because 4 weeks is the best time to review your progress. If you haven’t made much progress, you’ll want to tweak something, if you have made progress but are now bored with your workouts, this is the time to change it up. You also want to keep your body thinking. Once you get into a routine, your body can get used to it and start to plateau. Changing it up keeps your body on track!

Not Sure Where to Start?

Look into some of the group exercise classes at your gym! Other workout programs I have tried and approve of are:

Kayla Itsine’s BBG Guide: this guide is circuit training based with quick workouts lasting no more than 30 minutes. The BBG Guide comes with a nutrition plan to follow and 12 weeks of exercises

Tone It Up: most workouts are available free of charge on the web, what you are truly investing in is the nutrition plan. TIU is all about nutrition, high intensity cardio with a little bit of weights

Sami B Active: if you’re looking to jump full force into fitness, this plan is perfect! Sami writes her 8 week plans specifically to you with exact macro-nutrients for your height and weight. You get a full meal plan and workout plan that are readjusted after 4 weeks.

My girl Erin: Erin is a college friend of mine who has started personal training. This is a more relaxed version of Sami B Active, giving you 12 weeks of workouts and some nutrition guidance. Erin focuses on mind, body and soul with her program and it is a more affordable option compared to Sami.

Know Your Worth

SONY DSC

(image via: Eye of the Beholder)

WARNING! This is very blunt and to the point.

I have way too many girlfriends who put up with scumbags. As women, we have this idea in our heads that we are the problem. We aren’t doing enough for our partner and that’s why they treat us the way they do. It’s our fault.

No, it’s not our fault. It’s theirs.

There are plenty of reasons why you may still be with someone. Loneliness, guilt, hurt, fear, or maybe you believe that you don’t deserve anything better. If you’re feeling any of these feelings, you need to be on your own, for a few reasons:

One, if your significant other is making you feel any of these feelings, it is not a good match right off. You are in for a lot more hurt in the future whether you want to believe this or not. Sure you may get married, but it will most likely end in unhappiness. You will teach your sons that it’s okay to treat women this way, and you will teach your daughters that this is how men treat their wives. You will feel lonelier than you would if you were actually alone.

Two, if you are scared to be alone, you need to be alone. And you need to stop wallowing in your sorrows and remember that you aren’t actually alone. No you won’t have 24-hour attention from a man, but you’ll have attention from your girlfriends and family, which is something you can actually rely on. Loneliness is terrifying and hard to get through but it is necessary to grow and to become better. You need to discover your worth and your passions without someone else constantly influencing them.

Three, if you aren’t happy in your relationship but you don’t leave, you’re being disloyal to your partner. Just because he’s a scumbag DOES NOT mean you need to be a scumbag too. You’re lying to him and you’re lying to yourself. Enough about him though, YOU are miserable and you’re feeling guilty for leaving him. STOP IT. He’s not loving you the way you need to be loved. You’re wasting your time on him when you could be out there meeting the man who actually knows how to love you.

Four, in the beginning this guy was so great and all of a sudden ‘he’s changed’. Believe me I KNOW THIS. But maybe he hasn’t changed at all…maybe he’s been like this the entire time and you didn’t see it because you were still getting to know him. Well now you know him. This is tough. The guy you thought he was isn’t the guy he is. But remember who you thought he was and how much you loved THAT person. Because a person like THAT is who you actually need to be with.

Relationships are tough, which is exactly why you shouldn’t settle for less than what you want. I want a guy who opens any and all doors for me. And I don’t plan on dating anyone until he does just that. Some people could call me high maintenance, but that’s just how I receive love. I need to feel appreciated and respected, because on the other side of the coin is a woman who will drop anything to help her man out. You need to get out of your head and stop telling yourself that you can put up with the relationship you’re in because it’s not like you have to AT ALL.

If you’re interested in learning about the different ways people receive and give love, I recommend reading The 5 Love Languages.

Love, Sioban

I Don’t Have a Valentine & I’m Okay

(images left to right via: Gimme Flairban.doLittle Arrow)

Sure, having a valentine is great and all, but so is  being alone. If you aren’t happy with yourself, you won’t be happy with someone else. Being in a relationship can sometimes act as a crutch for people who are insecure about themselves. But the great thing about being on your own is you can focus on yourself and figuring out what YOU like. Everything you do is for yourself, every decision you make isn’t impacted by someone else. You aren’t constantly wondering what your significant other thinks about how you act or dress.

Being single is about finding yourself, and I think everyone should embrace that. The more you know and learn about yourself, the more independent and confident you will feel. You won’t be impacted by the jerks of the world and you won’t let yourself settle for less than you deserve.

If you’re out there and valentine-less, embrace it! Because there is nothing wrong with being alone. Happy Valentine’s Day!

Love, Sioban

How I’m Getting Back on Track

kk-dancing-conch-gif

(via: Tone It Up)

Hiya Lovelies!

One of my goals for 2017 is to really put my health first. I haven’t been happy with my body image and have developed a bad relationship with food since graduating college in 2015. I have been working out consistently for the past year and while I feel better about myself and do think I’ve made some progress in my physical appearance, I have plateaued and truly believe this is due to my nutrition (physical progress is 80% nutrition and only 20% exercise).

4 weeks ago my college friend/coworker wrote me a 12 week fitness program which I am so happy with (link to her Instagram is here). I’ve only missed one workout and am falling in love with my routine. In only 4 weeks I’m feeling better and getting stronger.

Going into week 5 of my fitness program, I will be starting the Tone It Up Nutrition Plan. A quick rundown: Tone It Up is designed for women with busy and crazy lives. Every meal and workout is designed to give you maximum results. Karena and Katrina have a great social media presence and have really created a community around their business. I bought their plan in November but holidays and life happened so I only got two weeks into it. (WebsiteInstagram here)

This time around, I bought their 8 week journal to really track my progress (I dragged my mom into doing the plan with me – accountability buddies are key!!) Now that I am comfortable enough with my new fitness schedule, I feel it is the perfect time to start tackling my nutrition.

 

 

My Favorite Gossip Girl Quotes

tumblr_mf7m2q395b1qcoz2bo1_500

image via: Black Canari

Some love Grey’s. Some love SATC. But there’s only one show I’ve watched over 5 times beginning to end and only one show I would watch 5 more times: Gossip Girl. Below are just a few of my favorite quotes from the show, Enjoy!

“Sometimes you need to step outside, clear your head, and remind yourself
of who you are and where you want to be.”

“Here’s my advice: have a little faith. And if that doesn’t work, have a lot of mimosas”

“Fashion is the most powerful art there is. It’s movement, design, and architecture all in one.
It shows the world who we are and who we’d like to be.”

“Three words, eight letters, say it and I’m yours.”

“The worst thing you’ve ever done, the darkest thought you’ve ever had,
I will stand by you through anything.”

“You have to decide what’s important. Keeping your pride and getting nothing,
or taking a risk and maybe having everything.”

“Feelings never do make sense. They get you all confused. They drive you around
for hours before
they drop you right back where you started.”

“You don’t give up on the people you love.”

“If you really want something, you don’t stop for anyone or anything until you get it.”

“People have a power over us, even after they are gone.”

“One thing I learned is that in the face of true love you don’t just give up,
even if the object of your affection is begging you to.”

“Whoever said money doesn’t buy happiness didn’t know where to shop.”

“A heart that hurts is a heart that works.”

Benefit Brow Bar Review

screen-shot-2012-04-19-at-11-06-33-am

(Benefit Brow Bar)

I don’t know about you, but my brows are MY CHILDREN. I’m always very nervous to get my brows done by just anyone. One month ago, I made this mistake..I needed a last minute wax and stopped at a small nail salon I hadn’t gone to. BIG MISTAKE. I hated how my brows turned out so much that I decided to grow them out and start from scratch.

I started looking into salons that specialized in brows, to ensure I would get exactly what I’m looking for. My girlfriend had mentioned Benefit’s Brow Bar, so I looked into it. I already love Benefit’s brow products, so the thought of having them reshape my eyebrows was brilliant!

Well last night was my appointment and let me tell you, they DID NOT disappoint. First of all, the woman who did my brows was so nice, she took the time to ask me what kind of brows I was going for, then she proceeded to ‘map’ out my brows. Before she waxed or tweezed, she showed me the shape she was going to achieve and explained exactly what she was going to do. She waxed, tweezed, put aloe on my brows, cleaned them up, and applied concealer over my redness.

I wish I had before pictures to show you, I have never been so satisfied by a waxing before. I will DEFINITELY be going back for my brows. If you have a Brow Bar near you and haven’t tried it out, I HIGHLY recommend.

Gift Wrap Like A Pro

Some quick and fun ideas to jazz up your wrap job. Click the links below for tutorials!

Earthy Gift Wraps

images left to right via: Blog Lovin’ & Camille Styles

Washi Tape Designs

images left to right via: Foods, Crafts, & FamilyToday’s Creative Life, & DIY Inspired

 

Christmas Fun

images left to right via: Delightfully NotedParty Delights, & Fellow Fellow

 

Bright & Colorful

images left to right via: Older and WisorStyle Me Pretty, & Margot Madison Creative

Last Minute Gift Ideas

boxwoodclippings_blush-navy-and-gold-gift-wrap

image via: Boxwood Clippings

If you’re anything like me, you are a Procrastinator (with a capital ‘P’). Sometimes things slip through the cracks, even if it’s something important sayyyyy Christmas gifts for your family. (AHHH!) Lucky for you, I’ve run into this a few times in my college days. Below are some last minute gift ideas that are simple, quick, don’t break the bank, but still add a personal touch from you!

 

Gift Sets

images left to right via: Sugar and CharmStyle Me Pretty, & Fox Blossom Co

The best part about gift sets is that you can either buy and give one that is already made, or you can create your own! One year I bought three different gift sets. One was perfume, another nail polish and the last makeup. I then divided the sets so that each friend would get a more personalized gift set that included each product. Another way to approach gift sets is to build upon a theme such as movie night or spa night.

 

Baked Goods

images left to right via: Celebrating Everyday LifeCelebrate Creativity, & Gardenista

You can’t go wrong with a homemade recipe and a cute wrap job! Click the links under the pictures for the recipes above or if you have your own banging homemade recipe get to baking! Baked goods are great because not only is it coming from you, but baking a huge batch to give to multiple people saves you some money! Spend some extra time dressing up the packaging too (that’s my favorite part)!

 

DIY Gifts

images left to right via: The DIY MommyThe Crafted Life, & Inspired by Charm

DIY is very personal and therefore makes a great holiday present! My younger sister chooses one DIY project and replicates it across the board for all of her friends and family. The links under the above pictures lead to a knitted blanket, tattooed ornaments, and homemade bath bombs! There are also a lot of cool things you can do with mason jars and picture frames. Click through to my Pinterest Board for more DIY Ideas!

How to Kick Start Your Fitness Journey

images via: KarenaKatrinaSam Ozkural, & Progress Pure

 

In high school I played sports so practice was mandatory. In college I didn’t do anything because well, fitness wasn’t mandatory. Getting into fitness is HARD when you don’t have to do it. When I graduated from college, I realized how beneficial fitness could be, plus the extra weight gain post grad didn’t help with my confidence. It isn’t an easy road, and I still struggle to get myself to the gym now. But fitness is part of my lifestyle today. Below are a few tips to help you kick start your own journey!

Look to Social Media for Support

YouTube exercise videos, create a fitness account on Instagram (mine is @siobankileyfit), and/or join a program (I recommend Kayla Itsines’ BBG or Tone It Up)! The idea is to surround yourself with like-minded and supportive people. Not many of my friends are into the gym as much as I am, so I look to social media to gather inspiration, support and ideas. A few of my fitness account favorites are: Progress Pure, Whitney Simmons, Sami Bossert, & Sam Ozkural. All four of these women have inspirational, motivational, and educational information to help you succeed in the fitness world!

Try New Things

If you don’t like the cardio machines, DON’T DO THE CARDIO MACHINES. There are so many different ways to workout your body. This is a lifestyle and it’s only going to work long term if you find something that you truly enjoy. There is something out there for everyone so don’t give up until you find it! My four favorite forms of exercise are kickboxing, yoga, weightlifting, and volleyball. Check out your local gym’s classes and see if any get you excited. If an opportunity comes up to try something new, say yes. If you don’t like it then you never have to do it again. If I didn’t say yes to weightlifting, I never would’ve realized how much I truly enjoy it.

Dress for Success

If I’m digging my outfit you bet your ass I’m killing it in the gym. I like to invest some extra time and money into my workout attire and gym appearance because not only will I be more successful in the gym but I will make more of an effort to care for my clothing. My current go-to athletic brand is Fabletics (use this link to get $10 off). With their VIP membership you can purchase cute clothes at an affordable price, and who doesn’t like a new gym outfit? H&M is another great option for fitness gear because it’s high quality but low price.

The Gym is Only Half of it.

Ever heard the phrase “abs are made in the kitchen”? Well, unfortunately for us all it’s very true. I love my Chickfila…and Chipotle….and Cook Out.. but I try to eat mindfully most of the time. Food is just like fitness, you have to find what works for you. Some people count macros, some cook everyday, some meal prep once a week, some eat intuitively. There are SO MANY different ways to eat who knew!? I’ve tried all of these methods, the one that works best for me is meal prepping and eating intuitively. And don’t be afraid of a cheat meal here or there, it’s good for your sanity.

Fight the Gymtimidation

If you’re just starting out and don’t know a lot about fitness, I recommend finding a buddy to go to the gym with or pick some exercises you want to try and go early in the morning. When I first started lifting, I would go to the gym at 5:30am everyday because no one was really there and I could play with machines I wasn’t comfortable with. If you’re more familiar with the machines and can get overwhelmed by the crowds, try wearing a ball cap to block out all the extra activity. Some weeks the gym crowds are way too much for me, so I will stick to group fitness classes or home workouts that week. The most important thing is to not let intimidation be the reason you don’t work out.

What’s In My December Ipsy Glam Bag

My favorite day of the month is here! My Ipsy Glam Bag just arrived, and I want to show you what I got!

Ipsy is a monthly beauty subscription. For $10 per month you’ll receive 5 (sometimes 6) beauty product samples. Not only do you get a bag each month, but there are opportunities to buy beauty products at a discounted price all month long. With their point system, you can end up getting products for free! In my opinion, Ipsy is a great way to save money on beauty products while also experimenting with different brands. If you do like a brand, there is always a discount on Ipsy’s site for you to purchase the product. I’ve gotten brushes, face masks, mascara, eyeliner, brow liner, primers, and the list goes on. Each month, you can update your preferences to match what you’re most interested in. If you want to join Ipsy, click here! Below is what I got in my bag this month, let me know if you sign up in the comments!

 

NYX: Professional Makeup Prismatic Shadow

This color is such a great staple for your collection. Super pigmented, easy to blend and build on, and super soft on your skin. I love that it’s both a metallic and neutral color. This is something I plan to use for work and play!

 

Royal & Langnickel: MODA Angle Shader Brush

When I tried this brush out, it did a great job of blending. However, working with the angled brush is a little awkward in my opinion. Maybe it is just me and I’m used to my fluffy blending brushes, but I will most likely use this brush more for pushing product into the outer corners of my eyes.

 

Aurora: Intensively Precise Eyeliner in Blackberry

This eyeliner looked very promising from the arm swatch, but once I started to draw my wing after applying shadow, I was unsuccessful. This product is great if you were planning to apply little to no shadow. If you want a smoky look with a precise wing, you’re going to want to chose another liner. No go for Sioban.

 

Tarte Cosmetics: Tartiest Glossy Lip in WCW

I was pleasantly surprised when I applied this gloss. A little goes a long way and I didn’t feel the need to outline my lips. It is easy to build and not as sticky as most lip glosses. I ended up wearing this to dinner last night, and even after eating it wasn’t necessary to apply a second coat, although you could if you wanted.

 

PIN ROSE: Secret Genius Roller Ball Fragrance

2016 Dec Secret Genius Fragrance.jpg

Ipsy described this fragrance as comparable to a White Russian. Now I love my White Russians, and this fragrance would compliment that drink very well! It’s both musky and sweet, and I’m usually a floral fragrance girl. I will be wearing this scent all winter long, it’s pretty much the perfect holiday fragrance!

 

The Finished Look:
2016 Dec Ipsy Look.jpg

Build up the shadow, add some gloss
after work and BOOM, you’re ready for drinks! The only product used that was not from the December Glam Bag was my foundation. If you already have an Ipsy subscription, let me know what you got in your bag this month!

If you’re interested in getting a subscription, follow this link: I want Ipsy!

5 (Super Random) Facts About Me

1378492_10204096382744618_630711191899151629_n

1. I’m that stereotypical Maryland girl who is obsessed with the state of Maryland.

Guilty as charged! I don’t think I’m too obnoxious about it…just don’t dis my state you know? But honestly, what can you hate about the state of Maryland? We got the sunshine, the snow, the forest, the farmlands, the bay, the ocean, the mountains…and have you seen our new drivers’ licenses!? #imobsessed #lowkeycryingaboutmovingtoVAsoon

2. I’m a stress eater and a stress shopper FOR SURE.

Bad day at the office: you’ll find me at Chipotle or the mall.. My shopping weakness is SHOES!! I have way too many pairs I need to stop…but I cant.. I even have shoes that I have never worn. I admit, it’s a problem. But I’m working on it (2 months strong)..

3. Friends and Family are EVERYTHING.

I’m that awkward emotional girl at Thanksgiving dinner who CAN’T HANDLE HERSELF. I’m already emotional and sensitive as is so when you combine that with the love I have for my crew..I can’t. But seriously, I’ll do anything to help them out and I know they would do the same for me and I need to stop typing before I start crying again..

4. I love the gym…but also love my bed

I love fitness and working out, but I also love my bed. As you can imagine, this is a pretty tough dilemma..I love kickboxing, yoga, and weightlifting. And also sleep…I have to push myself extra to go to the gym but when I do..I get the gainsssss! Pro tip: tell someone to meet you there, then you HAVE to go. If I’m not at the gym I’m in my bed.

5. I have a tabby cat named Laila

She’s the perfect combination of sassy and sweet. Everyone says shes a princess and it’s very much true. She doesn’t like to be pet on your time, and she loves sitting on the laptop keyboard when you have an essay due at 8am…but I love herrrrr! She’s very tiny so she’s forever a kitten and loves to snuggle in the AM.

There you have it! Give me 5 fact about you in the comments!!

xo, S