Happy Monday! I hope you all had an amazing weekend celebrating Halloween! Today on the blog I'm sharing a fun and easy inverted ponytail look with you. I follow a lot of bloggers that are amazinggg at hair, so I'm always trying new things with mine!
Here is what you will need to tackle this look!
-Small clear rubber bands
Curl your hair first to add thickness and shape. Once you are done curling your hair, use your teasing comb to tease the crown of your head. Take a small section from the left side of your hair and twist it, pulling it to the back. Hold it in place with a bobby pin.
Below the first twisted section of hair, pull a good chunk of hair to start forming a braid. Once you have braided it almost all the way, secure it with a clear rubber band. Once you have secured it, start pulling at each section in the braid to give it a chunkier look. Then pin it to the side like you did with the twisted hair above it.
Once you have secured your braid, take a small section from the right side of your hair and start twisting, like you did on the left side. Secure it with a bobby pin. I didn't add another braid to the left side, but you can if you like everything even!
Pull your hair back in a low ponytail and secure it with a clear rubber band. Do a small inverted ponytail by creating a small opening at the crown of the ponytail and pulling the hair through the hole. Like this!
Create two more inverted ponytails below and pull the hair to create a fatter, fuller inverted pony tail. Finish with your favorite hairspray to make sure nothing comes loose.
And there you have it! Comment below with what you want to see next!
Happy Friday! We are so excited that it is finally sweater weather!
Here are our Fashion Friday picks!
Jeans: Loft (on sale! Use code FLASH)
Necklace: Kendra Scott (Go during your birthday month and one item is 50% off!)
Boots: DSW - Similar find here
Sunglasses: Loft - Similar find here
Enjoy your Friday!
Pizza is definitely one of my favorite splurge meals. It is just so delicious! Recently, the hubby and I tried il Lazzarone Pizza in the City Market and we’ve already returned several times. We had heard rave reviews and knew we had to give this authentic Neapolitan pizzeria in the heart of Kansas City a try.
il Lazzarone prides itself on using premium ingredients and serving true Neapolitan pizza. Their dough is made from just four ingredients - water, flour, yeast and salt and is rolled by hand. For the sauce, they use San Marzano tomatoes, a very rare tomato native to Italy.
True Neapolitan pizzas are cooked in less than 90 seconds using a large wood-fired brick oven that holds a temperature of over 800 degrees! According to their website their “ovens are Acunto Marios, made on the main street of Naples, Italy by a fifth generation oven builder. The mouth of the oven and the oven dome height must all be constructed within specific ratios to achieve a true pizza Napoletana. Our oven is constructed of all hand laid brick made from the soils of the Campania region of Italy." Isn’t that incredible? And, the first one imported to America is used at their St. Joseph location.
I will say though, since the oven is constantly burning, it can feel very warm in the restaurant too! I suggest sitting on the patio or near the door to catch a breeze.
That aside, everything we’ve eaten here has been fantastic! My mouth is watering just thinking about their delicious menu choices. This is a great place to grab drinks and an appetizer or sit and enjoy a few pizzas. We've done plenty of both.
For an appetizer, I love the charcuterie plate because it comes with a lot of different options and there's plenty to share with a small group (approx. 4 adults). The menu describes it as "flatbread, burrata, Parmigiano Reggiano, gorgonzola, coppa, cappicola, proscuitto, apple, grapes, olives, capers, walnuts, balsamic glaze, House made basil pesto."
For pizza, the menu is split between pizza made with red sauce and white sauce. I enjoy the Supremo, Crepa, Pizze Caprese or the classic Pepperoni. The Crepa is by far my favorite one. It has mozzarella, applewood smoked bacon, balsamic glaze, basil, garlic, extra-virgin olive oil and sea salt. Oh, so tasty! That wood-fired oven also makes the crust just the right amount of crispy with some charring on the edges.
Also, be prepared to eat your pizza with a fork because “a delicious pool of flavor forms in the middle of a Neapolitan pie during its short time in the oven making it what one might call wet or soupy." It’s impossible to eat it any other way.
If you aren't feeling a pizza, or want to start with something lighter, they also have some great salad choices. I've tried the Foglie, which has mixed greens, red onion, cherry tomatoes, goat cheese crumbles (my favorite!), aged balsamic vinaigrette, olive oil and sea salt. I added some salami to the salad as well, for a small additional charge, and it was so yummy.
Overall, you can't go wrong with anything you order here. It is all appetizing and so savory! One pizza is plenty to share or enough to have some leftovers for later.
il Lazzarone Kansas City is located on Delaware St., right in front of the streetcar stop at River Market West.
Let me know when you get a chance to check this place out and which pizza is your favorite! Enjoy!
My husband, Blake, and I have been together for just over 10 years. We were high school sweethearts and have been married for 4 years now. We are not pros, and we don't always know what the heck we are doing, but I am happy to say that, by the grace of God, we have not just a happy, but an intentional marriage. That being said, a lot of my single friends ask me questions about our marriage all the time. Including, but not limited to...
What makes it work?
How often do you fight?
What do you fight about?
How do you resolve things?
How do you handle finances and a joint account?
Was it scary getting married so young?
The list goes on and on. So here I am to share with you my answers to those very questions. And if you are totally not interested in getting married any time soon, just tuck this post away for you to reference later.
*It is important to note that Blake and I do not have children. I know children add entirely new challenges to your marriage. As our family changes and evolves in the coming years, our perspective and ability to do these things well, might change as well. Thank you Jesus for your never-ending grace!*
What makes our marriage work?
For us, it’s our faith, coupled with like-mindedness and complimentary but different character traits. We are both Christians and were both raised in the church, but naturally it wasn't until adulthood that we clearly chose our faith not because of our upbringing, but because it is truly our belief. Before we got married, it was incredibly important to us that our faith be in alignment and we’re thankful for all the friends and mentors God placed in our lives along the way to help guide and direct us.
We are incredibly like-minded. Whether it's religion, how to handle our finances, politics, child rearing...we both pretty much agree on everything. Now that doesn't mean that there aren’t areas within these topics that we disagree on. If we cannot find a common ground, which honestly is fairly rare, we agree to disagree. Or I pray that God will change his heart (mine is fine, justtt kidding), because sometimes you find yourselves at an impasse and prayer is truly the only answer to change your spouse’s heart, or yours!
We are also very different. I love this about us! His strengths are not mine and vice versa. I once heard in a sermon that our strengths are meant to help raise up our spouse. Isn’t that amazing to think about? Just that simple twist helps us be far more thankful for our differences because now we realize they make us stronger. We can analyze things differently and see things in each other that we probably wouldn't be able to see if we were the same. Our differences challenge us to be better.
Every week Blake and I try to make coffee time a priority. What is coffee time? Coffee time is time set aside for one another with no distractions. It is a time to discuss what is going on in our hearts, to share our frustrations in a judgement-free zone, and to talk about areas we really want to be intentional in. This has been so incredibly helpful for us. Some weeks there is not a lot to share, and others it feels like an intense counseling session. I truly believe this has been a key factor in our marriage thriving thus far. If you are not checking in with each other and voicing your frustrations or concerns (in a loving way), how are you growing together? I think it looks very different for everyone, but for us we have to have this time regularly so that we can continue to move forward together, supporting and loving one another.
How often do we fight?
Ok, let's talk about the difference between bickering and fighting. Bickering happens a lot. It's easy to fall into when you live with someone; especially when that someone is wired differently than you. So how do we avoid bickering? By staying in the word and focusing on Him. It shifts our focus from ourselves, to our spouse. And that’s crucial, because marriage isn't about you.
Now fighting, yes, it’s true - Blake and I fight. When we fight, it is typically over a big decision or a hurt that keeps being repeated. Blake and I have fought about careers, when to have children, a harsh word, etc. But we try to always fight well, if that’s even a thing. In other words, we try to fight with purpose. We fight in order to come up with a resolution. We try to be mindful to think before we speak or pray before we confront. We fight to communicate how much something has hurt us. If you are fighting without the intention of a resolution, then you are not fighting well.
So in that regard, there will be seasons where you and your spouse will agree on what seems like everything. Yay! But there will also be seasons where you just don't seem to agree. It can be very painful. This will be a challenging season and a season where you may have to seek outside help. But that’s marriage, ups/downs, good/bad, and everything in between.
How do you resolve things?
Ok, all of my feminist girlfriends are about to cry when I say this, but I believe I am called to defer to and to support Blake’s leadership for our family. There I said it, now let me explain. There are times we have faced a difficult decision and we haven’t agreed. Even though we may each feel strongly, but differently, we pray and pray some more and, if we still feel very differently, Blake will ultimately make the choice............are you cringing? I can feel you cringing. "How can I let a man make a decision for me?” you ask. Well, that all comes down to our belief system. We believe that Blake is the leader of our family, and, as the leader, sometimes it means he has to be the one to make a difficult decision. It is vital that he makes it for our good and not his glory. 1 Peter 3:7 says to treat your wives with respect so that nothing will hinder your prayers. Do you hear that?? If a man abuses his authority, does not respect his wife, God will not hear his prayers. This is a big deal and something to take very seriously. So, if the idea of being submissive to a man makes you cringe, just remember, if your spouse does not respect you and your input, God will not hear his prayers. So, ladies, marry a man who values your wisdom, knowledge and opinions and when the time comes to make a difficult decision, you’ll already know you can trust that in his love for you he is making it for the good of your family.
How do you handle finances?
Blake should really be answering this one because this is definitely his strength. Blake loves finances! If you need help with your finances and budgeting, please contact my husband because he loves to help and I promise you, it has been what has made our marriage better. We believe that every cent we make is our money. Not my money, not his money, but our money. We also believe that our money is a gift from God, so we try to steward it well. We discuss every category in depth before we put it in the budget. We also believe in living debt-free as best as we can. This means not living like everyone else so you can live like no one else one day. It means practicing self-control. It means not saying yes to everything. It means prioritizing. It means that when we shop, we have a budget to guide us. This has taught me to stretch every dollar (keep following the blog and you’ll for sure see more about this!) and get creative. But with that being said, we set these boundaries so that we can enjoy life within reason.
Was it scary getting married young?
Lol....YES! I look back and cannot believe we got married so young. I have seen countless people our age divorced after 1, 2, 3 years of marriage. You change SO much in your twenties and you just don't know if the person you married will continue to have and support the same beliefs and convictions you have. This is real life y ‘all. It is only by the grace of God that we have thrived. We have had countless men and women pouring into us, guiding us to truth and ultimately reminding us that we made a covenant. This means good, bad, ugly days, we stick together. I do not say any of this to puff us up or make us look good, because trust me our marriage has been the furthest thing from perfect. But what I'm thankful for is this -- we believe in the covenant we made on May 18, 2013, and intend to keep it. This will take a lot of prayer, a lot of confession and repentance, a lot of guidance and a lot of good friends holding us accountable to that covenant. And, I am telling you, prayer is powerful. Praying for your husband is powerful. Praying for your wife is powerful. Prayer is just downright powerful and necessary.
Happy happy Friday! We are so excited for the weekend and hope you are too!
Here's our Fashion Friday outfit picks. Let us know what you think!
Enjoy your weekend!
Kansas City is known for a lot of things - BBQ, jazz, Chiefs tailgating, the Country Club Plaza, entertainment, etc. However, you may not realize that it is also known to host an incredible fashion week!
Local, national and international designers gather in Kansas City for a week, twice a year, to showcase their newest collections and preview trends for the next season. Kansas City Fashion Week (KCFW) is in its 12th season, hosting sold out crowds and bringing some of the best designers to the City of Fountains.
This year, I had the pleasure of hosting the Media Lounge in April for the Fall/Winter '17 show and again just last week for the Spring/Summer '18 show. Before the models hit the runway on Saturday night, I spoke with designers, learning about their fashion line, style and vision. I also spoke with fashion bloggers, picking their brains on the best looks, trends and the most anticipated designer at the show.
KCFW was hosted at Union Station in the Grand Hall. This gorgeous room makes the perfect backdrop, plus there was enough space for vendors, a photo booth, a couple of bars, the red carpet, our media lounge and a beautiful runway.
Once the show got started, we had a front row seat to all the action, admiring the beautiful designs. Saturday night, the last event of the week, boasted some fantastic names including Meghann Wheelock of Ethel & Dean, Barbara Bultman Designs, Jon Fulton Adams of Queen's Rocket, Joshua Christensen, Nataliya Meyer of Lucia's Sarto, Maria Behnen, Samirah Alotaibi of MASISA and Ngan Vuong with Enve Designs.
Everything was absolutely incredible! I thought I was ready to bust out the sweaters and start dressing for Fall/Winter, but after Saturday's event, now I'm ready for Spring/Summer again! These designers are amazingly creative and talented and it was remarkable seeing their work firsthand.
Not only is this event one of the cities hottest shows, KCFW also gives back to the community. Over the last 12 seasons, they've been able to donate over $20,000 to local charities.
Plus, did I mention there's a sports connection? Every season, one of the runway shows is dedicated to the Kansas City Chiefs. Some of the Chiefs players and their wives strut the runway, the designers are football focused and everything, of course, is red and gold.
During the Chiefs runway show, Caryn Lerner, CEO of Beauty Brands, shared some of the hair and makeup looks that we may be seeing this Spring/Summer.
"The first trend is this sort of tonal shades – using the same tone of a color, but in different shades and having them all come together for one look. I love the neutral-ness, subtlety and the artistry of taking different shades of tope and making them into a beautiful face palette. You’ll also see a hair technique called balayage, which is where you see a woman’s hair color actually changes color as it goes down or up but it’s all one shade within a shade."
The KCFW staff always delivers a splendid show and this year’s was no exception. They are dedicated professionals but, remarkably, they are also all volunteers who donate their time and talent. Three cheers for a job very well done, KCFW!
It was such an honor to be a part of this event again and the full interviews are on Facebook!
Ciao! Welcome to my post on Florence! This was the last stop of our European adventure and it was one to remember forever. Florence is packed full of history, museums, art, steak and wine. If you are able, you need to stay here for more than a week to really soak up all it has to offer.
We stayed at another Airbnb and it was perfectly located, within walking distance of the Duomo, the third largest church in the world. The streets here are so narrow, most everyone walks or rides bikes everywhere.
After taking a few minutes to check in and drop our bags, we headed over to the most popular sandwich shop in Florence, All' Antico Vinaio. There is always a long line, even after lunchtime, but it moves relatively quickly and it’s totally worth it. The food was delicious! Crunchy bread and sandwiches were filled to the brim. An added perk is you can add wine to your to go. Huzzah! There is no seating in the restaurant, but we happily sat on a nearby curb and enjoyed the pretty architecture. Not a bad spot for lunch!
One of our highest priorities in Florence was to visit the museums. I'm going to let you in on a little secret. Get the Firenze Card. It lasts for 72 hours, gives you access to 72 museums, and it allows you to skip the lines. What could be better? The cost! It is only 72 euros. You may be thinking that 72 euros is a lot for a museum pass, but it saves money and time. Skipping the wait and going directly to the front of the line, was worth its weight in gold. We were able to visit so many more museums this way. Seeing art by people I studied about in school was remarkable. It made me thankful for my art history teachers who poured so much time and energy into their classes and made me apologetic for taking it for granted. Now I see why they enjoy art so much! So, if you love museums, get the Firenze card. You won't regret it.
The next day we had a vineyard tour with Italy on a Budget Tours. I know what you are thinking -- this sounds cheap and it likely was not a great experience. Instead it was awesome and affordable (50 euros). We toured 2 beautiful vineyards, tasted multiple wines, tried different olive oils and snacks, and visited San Gimignano. Our tour guide was hilarious and taught us so much about Tuscany. I highly recommend this tour because it was fun, light hearted and full of incredible wine. It was splendid to learn how to taste different flavors and notes in the wine and to learn the history of wine country in Tuscany. San Gimignano is also famous for the best gelato in all of Italy, Gelateria Dondoli. I'm drooling just thinking about it. It was the perfect way to end our vineyard tours. Plus, who doesn't love Gelato??
After our day of wine, we headed to the Piazzale Michelangelo. It was quite the hike and we climbed many, many stairs but the view was out of this world incredible. People say that the Duomo has the best view and, while it is amazing, I preferred the Piazzale; especially because you can see the Duomo from the Piazzale.
Florence is really known for its meats, not pasta, so you’ll want to splurge. More specifically, splurge on the Florentine steak. It is incredible! I enjoyed one of the best steaks ever at Trattoria ZaZa, which came highly recommended to us by a dear friend. ZaZa’s is quaint and has beautiful murals all over its walls and lovely outdoor seating. Make sure you make a reservation in advance because this place is very popular. This was our last meal in Florence, and it was just the two of us, me and Blake. It was so special and we spent hours talking about everything and anything. It will always be one of my favorite memories.
Florence was very special and will remain near to my heart. I was captured by the history, the architecture, the art and the food. The Italians are clearly living life to the fullest.
I hope you have enjoyed my European adventure posts! It has been so fun to share with you and I hope, if you one day get to travel to any of the destinations, I’ve helped you make your planning a little easier. Now I just have to figure out how I can get back to Europe again ;)
Hello and happy Friday! We hope you are enjoying this fresh fall weather! We are so giddy that it is just about time to break out our sweaters and jackets, even if it's only 65 degrees ;) Enjoy our picks for this week's Fashion Friday!
Jacket: Levi's.This is actually my hubby's and I love the oversized fit! - Similar style here
Top: H&M - Similar style here
Earrings: Silpada - Similar style here
Necklace: Target - Similar styles on Etsy
Enjoy the weekend!
It’s my favorite time of year -- FALL! Here in Kansas City, the leaves are just starting to turn from green to red, yellow and orange. The temperature is dropping and yesterday it was in the 40's (that's chilly weather for this Texas girl)! I've already pulled out my sweaters, grabbed a pumpkin spice latte and unpacked my fall decorations. I just love this time of year!
During the fall season, there is no escaping pumpkin flavored or scented everything. There's pancakes, candles, muffins, beer, butter, pie...just the other day I saw pumpkin spice flavored cough drops. What?!
My job has me up in the middle of the night - literally - so I make everything the day before for a quick grab and go when it's early and still dark out. My coffee maker is on a timer, my lunch is made and my clothes are laid out and ready to go. I waste no time in the mornings getting out the door and that’s why this recipe is perfect for me.
Let me introduce you to an incredible flavorful breakfast option to kick off your fall mornings in style – pumpkin pie overnight oats! Whip it together the day before and it's ready and waiting the next morning.
This is such a quick and easy recipe, plus it tastes delicious. It’s scrumptious and will definitely satisfy your sweet tooth.
Welcome back! I hope you are enjoying romping through Europe with me. It has been a blast sharing this once in a lifetime experience with you. Today’s post features one of my most favorite - Lake Como. It holds a special place in my heart as it was my grandmother’s most loved place on earth and, now after visiting, it has become mine as well. It was a longtime dream come true and it stole my heart, for sure.
We took the train to Lake Como from Milan and, each time we got a glimpse of the lake, the entire train was oohing and ahhing. We stepped off the train and started walking towards the ferry, and the entire group couldn't stop talking about how beautiful it was. It was dreamy!
We took a ferry to our Airbnb in Bellagio, Italy. The towns surrounding the Lake are a little more expensive than the other places we stayed, but, for us, Lake Como was a priority. Therefore, we were willing to spend a little more and, I promise, it’s worth every penny. Our Airbnb was adorable and the perfect size for the 4 of us. It was exceptionally clean and well kept (below is a view from our balcony). Can you see why I didn't ever want to leave this incredible view??
We no sooner checked in, than we changed clothes and headed straight to town. I cannot even begin to describe how magical it is. From the century-old buildings to cobbled stairs, you could wander around for hours getting lost in the magnificence of this picturesque little village.
After wandering around a bit and grabbing a delicious lunch (pasta of course!), we headed to Lido Di Bellagio. This is a beach club right on the lake and it was perfect! We rented beach chairs, jumped in the lake … it was chilly … and then relaxed the rest of the afternoon. Let me repeat, it was perfect! After traveling most of the morning, it was nice to slow down, soak up the rays and just enjoy the glorious view.
Alas, we headed back to our place to get ready for dinner at Silvio, the most adorable hotel and restaurant within walking distance from our Airbnb. Our host had recommended dinner here and we immediately made reservations. The beautiful outdoor patio was filled with little lights everywhere that added so much to the ambience. We each ordered unique pasta dishes that left us all grinning from ear to ear.
Something I learned in Europe, especially Italy, was that Europeans eat dinner fairly late (typically 8:30/9 pm) and take their time. You do not rush your waiter. We would sometimes wait 20 minutes before seeing our waiter again. So if you want wine right away or bread, ask for it at the beginning. But, this reminded me that yet again, we Americans are constantly rushing and missing out on LIFE. The best conversations are had with a bottle of wine, relaxed dining and good friends.
After stuffing our faces with pasta, a little dancing was in order. We headed back to Lido di Bellagio to check out the night scene. Bellagio’s night life is limited and this was one of the few places to go, but it was actually fun! Be aware though, the youngest people there were 16....that was weird. It made me feel old! I know I'm not that old so you can refrain from the "oh ya, you're sooo old" eye roll. We made the most of it and had a blast even if we were the oldest ones there. Haha!
One of my favorite days in Lake Como, was when we rented a boat and, surprisingly, it was fairly affordable. I was super excited because a sunny day on the lake spent with good friends and yummy food is my idea of the perfect day! And, it was SO much fun. We packed our cooler full of meats and cheeses, bread, fruit and wine (surprise surprise!) and set out for the day. It was SO much fun. The boat was the perfect size and we really took full advantage of it. Plus, we got to see more of Lake Como and the beautiful towns that surround it. Our friend, Mat, grew up on the water and was in heaven. If you find yourself with a couple of days in Lake Como, you should definitely rent a boat. It's cheap entertainment and how often do you get to say that you rented a boat on Lake Como?? Also, ask around for the best places to jump off cliffs!
Side note: I would advise renting a car or mopeds, maybe even bikes, if you are going to stay in Bellagio for more than a few days. We wished we had done this because the hills to our Airbnb were fairly steep and there really isn't a taxi service. So make sure you rent something! Needless to say, we earned all of the bread we ate.
Lake Como was the perfect way to break up our trip and relax in between traveling and walking so much. If you get the chance to go, I'm positive you will fall in love with the Lake. Plus, the town of Bellagio is slow paced, dreamy, full of gardens to walk through and, of course, right on the water. The restaurants are lovely and typically in old homes which make it even more romantic. The history is rich and the culture is classic. I could go on and on, but just know this - there is nothing like it. So pack your bags and go!
See you next Monday on the blog; I'll be sharing Florence with you! Ciao!
Ok, here’s a bit of outfit details for you! My favorite thing about shopping on Shein or Zaful (linked below for my swimsuit and two-piece set), is that people leave reviews and take pictures of themselves wearing the clothes so you can see the fit. This is so helpful. The outfits are sooo cheap, you want to make sure they look as good on you as they do on their website. I only purchase items that have thorough reviews, that way I know I am not wasting time or money. And, lucky for me, these items fit me perfectly!
Also, Lulus is my favorite place to find dresses. They have SO many and the fit is very true to size. They also have awesome sales so sometimes I will snag a few at a time. Their maxi dresses are very long too. So if you are shorter, you may have to have them tailored. I am 5'9" and was still able to wear heels with the dress I was wearing. Enjoy!
Two-piece set: Shein
Dress: Lulus, Similar one here
Happy Friday, y'all! We hope you had a wonderful week full of productivity and fun. Speaking of fun, we hope you have something exciting planned for your Friday night! Below are our picks for a Friday night out!
Belt: My mother's ;), similar style here- I'm loving this style!
Boots: Forever21 - Similar style here
Shirt: Kohl's - Similar style here
Boots: I found these boots at a hole in the wall store in the middle of Texas about 10 years ago. HA! If you're in the market for some boots, I highly suggest Nigro's Western Store - family run and always willing to go the extra mile to help you find the perfect boot.
Have a wonderful weekend and we'll see you Monday!
Let's face it, who has hours and hours to spend at the gym? I don't! I like to get in, work hard, and sweat it out in a timely manner. For me, it's about maximizing my time at the gym. I found this quote (on the right) online and it describes me perfectly...I workout to stay healthy, but also so I don't feel guilty when I indulge in delicious foods and drinks.
Do you have trouble finding time to hit the gym? Me too, but this 24 minute intense, fast paced workout is guaranteed to make your booty very sore the next day! And you’ll see real results in no time.
This workout was created by Dylan, my personal trainer at Woodside Health & Tennis Club. I met Dylan a few years ago when I participated in the Miss Kansas USA pageant. It was my first and only pageant to compete in, but, wow, was it an incredible experience. I learned a lot about myself, improved my public speaking ability, strengthened my interview skills, and pushed myself to peak physical form. It was eye opening, hard work, and tons of fun all at the same time and I’m so glad I had the opportunity.
As part of the competition, participants are encouraged to gather sponsors for two reasons - to help aid in the financial aspect of the pageant and to push competitors to reach out to their community for support. Fortunately, when I reached out to Woodside, they were willing to sponsor me and help get me ready for the swimsuit portion of the pageant.
For 8 months, I met with Dylan three times a week at Woodside and twice a week I worked out at my own gym. Those workouts were some of the most intense I've ever experienced. Second only to the daily workouts and practice at OU when I was on the rowing team! Man, those practices could be brutal. However, they also had me in great shape and made me a much stronger teammate. All that hard work at OU, and again with Dylan for Miss KS USA, was definitely worth it! I felt confident on stage and knew all of that time and effort had paid off.
Now fast forward to July of this year. I started working out with Dylan again now that I had settled back in KC. A personal trainer who holds you accountable and pushes your physical limits is incredibly motivating. Dylan challenges my routine in the gym, but also shows me workouts that aren't too complicated or time consuming.
Here is a look at one of my workout routines that I do three times a week. Dylan's tips are below each exercise. Also, note that the videos are faster than normal speed to show the movement quickly and don't reflect the actual time. Take it slow, making sure you successfully complete each movement properly and safely.
Set the timer for 12 minutes for each round and do as many sets as you can until time is up.
1. Goblet Squat - 15 reps, 30 lbs
Dylan's tips - keep your elbows out, rotate your knees out and keep your back stiff.
2. Kneeling Shoulder Press Alternating - 15 reps, 15 lbs
Keep you core and glutes tight during this movement. Lock your wrists alternating the press above your head.
3. Rack Squat - 15 reps, 15 lbs
Elbows underneath the kettle bells. Keep your back stiff and drive up. Rotate your knees out.
4. Bent Row - 15 reps, 15 lbs
Keep your chin down and push your shoulder blades back. Move your shoulder blades first, keeping your back stiff and pulling the bar towards your bellybutton.
Okay, you're halfway done! Take a four minute break.
Set the timer for another 12 minutes and start working through round two.
1. Step Up Squats - 10 reps, 15 lbs
When you step up, focus on the leg to lift you instead of the upper body. Slowly kneel down and alternate legs.
2. Narrow Dead-lift - not in video - 15 reps, 40 lbs
Using a kettle bell, keep your back straight and knees shoulder-width apart, slowly lifting to an upright position.
3. Kneeling Hip Thrust, Curl to Press - 15 reps, 12 lbs
Shoulder blades back and down, squeezing the glutes as you curl and lift above your head.
4. Body Rock Tricep Push-Up - 10 reps
Forearms flat, arms right underneath the shoulders. Slowly straighten your arms and press your body up.
Okay, now drink loads of water and take a nice hot bath and add some Epsom salt because this workout will make your muscles sore!
If you're looking for more workout hints and tips, follow Dylan on Instagram. He posts videos and photos with helpful routines and information.
Best of luck! See you at the gym!
Prague was filled with tons of fun, but we purposely scheduled an early morning flight to Milan to enjoy the unique shopping offered there. This was a short trip, but it was one to remember. Milan is primarily a business and fashion city, so as you can imagine, the mentality is "go go go!” And, boy, did we run around like crazy. There was so much to see in such a short amount of time, but my priority was shopping and pasta, both of which were hugely successful.
Naturally, one of our first stops was Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II. It is the definition of fabulous. From the floors to the ceilings, it is the epitome of stunning. I wish all malls looked like this! The Galleria contains the most expensive fashion brands and the stores are uniquely designed to perfectly display each upcoming collection. For clarity though, I was not shopping at the upscale stores … but I did do a lot of browsing there, for sure! Luckily, I was able to find some fabulous items that were affordable and memorable during our little shopping adventure. The Galleria has oodles of stores and it was fun to discover brands that I had never heard of, but can be ordered online. The romper I wore in our last Fashion Friday post was from Bershka, one of my new favorite stores.
After spending the better part of the day at the Galleria running around, we headed out to dinner. We intentionally left our dinner plans pretty loose because we knew would have a full day of shopping and didn’t want to be up against a time constraint. Most of the time we made dinner reservations in advance during our trip, but it was nice to allow one or two meals to be completely unplanned. You never know what fun and exciting places you’ll find along the way. In Milan, we discovered Da Puccini. We walked in around 9:30 p.m. and, quite frankly, didn’t really have high expectations as we hadn't read any reviews on it. But much to our surprise, it was delicious! My husband and I shared the veal with risotto. It was tender, creamy and cooked to perfection. Our friends ordered pasta and we all split a bottle of wine. Once again, wine is fairly affordable in Europe so it is easy to justify a bottle for the table.
Our time in Milan was short, but we definitely did what we came to do! We consumed mounds of pasta, visited some awesome rooftop bars, enjoyed delicious wine and definitely shopped till we dropped.
Here are some of my tips for shopping in Milan that helped make our experience stress free. Do you have any shopping/travel tips or tricks to add? Feel free to comment below.
1) Set a budget. I know my friends are rolling their eyes right now because this is so typical of me … but oh so helpful. Having a set budget allowed me to go in with a plan and not get overwhelmed with the vast number of stores and merchandise to choose from. How often are you shopping in Milan? Make the most of it and come with a plan!
2) Have a couple of ideas of what exactly you are looking for. For me, I wanted an all-seasons leather purse and whatever $$$ were left, was going toward my number 2 priority – clothes! Lucky for me, I found both. Woohoo!
3) Wear comfortable shoes. Wear comfortable shoes. Wear comfortable shoes. Seriously, my feet were killing me by the end of the day and I was wearing tennis shoes! If you like to shop, like I do, your feet will take a beating – but in Milan, it’s totally worth it. You’ll want to explore and discover all the fun stores so comfort is key. And, ladies, this look is totally in style with all the cute dresses available today!
4) Make sure you have a designated meeting time and place if you get separated from your shopping buddy. My friend, Rachel (not my SIL! Confusing, I know!), and I talked before we set out for the day about what we would do if we accidently went in different directions. We can both get lost in clothes (shocker), so sometimes it can be easy to get separated. Having a designated meeting time and place, put our minds at ease and gave us the freedom to browse without worry.
5) Keep your belongings close! This should be a no brainer, but nonetheless it’s a good reminder. There’s a high concentration of people in and around Milan and when they approach, they aren’t afraid to get in your personal space. Stay alert and don’t make yourself an easy target for pickpocketing. I kept one hand on my purse at all times and gripped it to my side. Do not put your purse down for any reason. I felt fairly safe everywhere else we traveled, but I definitely had to be more aware in Milan.
And there you have it, my top 5 tips for shopping in Milan. It is a once in a lifetime experience, so make sure you are prepared and ready to conquer.
That's all for now! In my next post we will be exploring Lake Como. Be prepared, it is one of the dreamiest places on earth!