I’ve Moved! My Blog That Is!

I’m so excited to share that I’ve moved my blog and created a website, www.angelasarchives.com! Please check out my site for all of my beauty, fitness, and lifestyle updates! I hope you’ll follow me.

Thanks!

My 2016 Fitness Goals

In 2016 I want to challenge myself to continue being fit and active while also working towards new fitness goals. I’ve been an gym goer for three years now and I’m so happy I decided to give it a try! Going to the gym makes me so happy and feel great about myself – I’m honestly a huge gym and fitness activist. I love that I have the strength to do tasks at home or at work without asking for help from others. As I’ve continued to do weight training, I’ve surpassed weights that I never thought I would be able to lift. I’m a five foot, small framed young woman, and generally my body type is not seen as being strong. But I’ve definitely surprised some guys at the gym who are pretty impressed at the weight I can squat!

Just because I’ve already reached a lot of goals doesn’t mean I should stop improving. In 2016, during spring and summer in particular I want to try new exercises during my cuts that will not only help me reach my fitness goals, but also my physical appearance goal. Reaching that goal is about endurance training and personal perseverance. Even though it’s only the new year and Minnesota has at least three more months of winter, I’m ready for spring so I can get back to running outside and start cutting!

Running a 5K | Above all other fitness goals I have set for myself, running a 5K would be the number one goal I want to achieve. I was never good at running while growing up and my mile runs in middle and high school were embarrassingly slow. I’m so proud of myself to now be able to run a mile in eight minutes, and running continuously for three miles. Now I want to do an actually 5K so I can be times, get one of those stickers for the back of my car, and proudly wear my T-shirt around the gym showing I was able to do it.

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Photo courtesy of PicJumbo.com

My dad recently went through a huge lifestyle change and he also wants to go for a 5K this year! It would be great if we could run it together and say we both achieved our goals of running a 5K! It was only this past fall that I started running outside, either before work or on the weekends, and it’s 10 times better than running a treadmill. Winter cardio is going to be rough

Incorporating a jump rope | My dad gave me and Jake a few Amazon gift cards for Christmas so we decided to finally purchase a jump rope. I’ve seen people using jump ropes at the gym in between sets for the past three years, and it’s been something that I’ve wanted to add into my fitness routine for a while. For the past two springs, I’ve done resistance training with low weights, high reps on all of the same routines that I usually stick to. While these have worked for my routine, this spring I’d like to try some new exercises that involve more high interval training, and adding in a jump rope for more cardio and calorie burning. Ideally I’d like to bring the jump rope to the gym on squat and dead lift days to do a few intervals in between sets, but my gym sometimes does not offer enough space for that to happen. I’m definitely going to use the jump rope during backyard kettle bell workouts to add in some cardio.

Do my ab exercises.
As much as I love going to the gym and being active, I absolutely hate ab exercises. I don’t want to do them. Ever. But if I want meet my fitness goals, I’m going to have to stick to them. First, I should ALWAYS be doing leg lifts when I’m at the gym. On leg day, back day, cardio day, chest day, anytime. I also should be doing exercises with my five pound kettle bell in my living room when I’m watching TV. Five sets will do it, just as if I were at the gym, but I’m going to have to stick with it. I think I hate ab exercises so much because the old saying, “abs are made in the kitchen,” is totally true for me. I have to be EXTREMELY diligent about the foods I eat in order for my abs to make an appearance in summer. And it’s not just about eating healthy, it’s about eliminating foods that have a higher carb and sugar count.

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Photo courtesy of PicJumbo.com


Lift 200 | 
My strength went up a lot this year and I’m so proud of my current personal records! I’ve added my current personal records on my basic lifts below. The goal for 2016 is to break 200 on one of those lifts!

Squat: 185
Dead Lift: 185
Chest Press: 80
Shoulder Press: 65

Obviously it’s not going to happen on chest or shoulder press; those muscles are so weak on me. I have a feeling I’ll hit 200 on squats before dead lifts, even though it should be the other way around. My legs were made to squat!

Squat Jake | So I’m already able to squat Jake’s weight, but I’m so scarred to try squatting Jake himself! Squatting a person is so much different than a bar. People tend to move and be a little more lumpy than a barbell.

A Year Ahead | 2016 Goals

I’m a firm believer of living in the moment and try very hard not to dwell on what could happen in the future (or what has already happened), but that doesn’t mean I can’t make a few New Year’s Resolutions for 2016. Last year, my main goal was to become for organized and I think I achieved that. I now use a daily planner that I keep in my purse and have a weekly whiteboard that hangs in the kitchen with the schedule on it. For 2016, I decided to have a few goals to reach for instead of just one big one.

Be more creative.
My main goal for 2016 is to be more creative. I’ve never been someone who is into photography or art – I simply do not think on a creative level. I much prefer tasks to be written down or in a schedule before I do them, rather than performing on the spot. How does one measure creativity though? Not too sure, but I’m going to figure it out. I’ve already invested in a nice camera (well nice for me) – a Canon PowerShot SX530 HS digital camera on Black Friday and I’ve playing around with taking photos of products for my blog and of everyday life. Please if you have any helpful tips with photography, leave them below! Currently, I’m trying to figure out how to add watermarks to my photos without having Photoshop, so we’ll see how that goes. For Christmas Jake got me a tripod so I’ll be able to easily take pictures for my blog and maybe take some short videos for Instagram! I also hope that a camera would be a great investment for traveling throughout the year. Finally, recommitting myself to blogging is another way for me to be more creative. It gets me thinking and brings me back to my love of writing!

I also wouldn’t mind taking on a few more projects around the house and giving DIYs a chance. There’s a lot of opportunities in our house for updating, even if it’s just painting or staining, and that’s something I know I’m fully capable of doing. It’s having the time and patience to get it done is where I need to focus in on. We’ve already made a DY headboard for our bed made from some wood, batting, and fabric, inspired by this post from Kindle Your Creativity I found on Pinterest. I’d also like to do some DIY crafts to add decorations around the house.

Keep traveling.
Over the past year I’ve started traveling and making lists of where I’d like to visit! In 2015 I visited Iceland, San Francisco, Duluth, and the North Shore in Minnesota – while Duluth and the North Shore are only short road trips I still consider them to be a traveling experience since neither are places are travel on a regular basis. Jake and I haven’t made any solid plans yet, but we are really hoping to continue traveling around every six months or so. I’m not sure we’ll be able to keep to that, given my new work schedule and Jake starting up school full time, but hopefully we’ll be able to fit in another international trip in 2016.

Some of my tops places I’d like to visit include Australia, New Zealand, Greece, and France. We may actually have a chance to visit Australia and New Zealand in the next two years because one of Jake’s friends is moving to Australia to go to medical school! I’m hoping we’ll be able to swing a visit when his friend is nearing the end of his education in Australia. I may be visiting a friend in Los Angeles during the spring that would include a trip to Disney Land! We had also hoped to visit Alaska over the summer, but those plans unfortunately fell through so we may looking into that ourselves. The other option for 2016 that will likely happen is visiting Mexico, Puerto Rico, or a country in Central America – probably someplace that is a little more touristy than we’re used to.

Get that tattoo.
I’ve been talking about getting a certain tattoo for over a year now and I just haven’t take the time to do it. Ironically, the tattoo has to do with living in the moment instead of looking the future. I need to take the time to find the font that I want this phrase tattooed in and bring it into an artist. Currently I have three tattoos, all of which are very simple or are words, so that tattoo I want isn’t that much different than those, but if that’s what I like then it make sense to do it! At some point I’d like to invest and get a larger, custom tattoo in memory of mom or on my shoulder/back area, but I have no idea where I want to start with that right now.

Continue to improve and grow.
I’ve changed and grown so much as a person since I graduated from high school and college, so much more than I ever thought I would. Just when I think I’m done growing and I’ve found who I am, I’m surprised at how I can continue to change. I’ve become very active and physically fit in the past three years, something that I would have never seen in myself as during high school or college. I’ve learned to cook meals and enjoy a wider variety of foods since the simple meals in the college years. Cooking is something I’ve grown to be very good at and love making our meals for the week.

I’m excited to continue on my fitness journey and hope to be in even better shape than I was last year. Some of my goals for my fitness journey in 2016 are to incorporate high interval training into my spring routine. I plan to purchase a jumping rope that I can use during kettle bell workouts in the backyard and also while doing squats and dead lifts at the gym. I’d also love to do 5K this year, hopefully with my dad, something I’ve never done before. During December, I hit a few personal records at the gym and I’m hoping to continue growing those numbers, especially on my chest press since that’s my weakest muscle group at the moment. I’ll go into specifics of my fitness goals in another post.

Be happy.
My ultimate goal in life is to be happy. As long as I’m doing what makes me happy, no matter what anyone else thinks, that’s what matters. This blog is one of those things I’m happy to being doing and spending time on. Going to the gym and being active makes me happy, so I work hard at the lifestyle. Be happy.

Whatever your goals are for 2016, I hope that you can achieve them all! A new year is a great time to make changes or setting new goals! However, don’t feel like that you can’t make changes or update your goals throughout the year. Do what makes you happy and works the best for you. Happy New Year! Ready for new adventures!

My Fitbit (Yes, it’s totally worth it!)

Near the end of the summer, I invested in a Fitbit Flex after a friend of mine purchased one herself. I had toyed around with the idea of getting one for a bit (no pun intended), but wasn’t sure if it was going to be worth investing in. How could a such a watch-like item really help my fitness routine? I knew a few other people that had a Fitbit and my dad also got an activity tracker during the spring when he started losing weight, so I knew I wouldn’t be alone in counting my steps per day.

At the time I decided to buy a Fitbit it was back to school time and I happened to get a deal on my Flex for $80 at Sports Authority, which usually runs around $100, plus I had a gift card from Christmas I hadn’t used which gave me another discount. I ended up purchasing the service plan for the Flex since I was getting a discount, just in case. I got mine in black since I had seen some other that look dirty after they get some wear and tear over time, and I’m super happy that I did. After a few days, I had some issues with my Flex syncing the silent alarms. I called Fitbit’s support number, and after a few conversations they sent me a new Flex, no problem. I thought that was some of the best customer service I could ever get. Fast forward a few days, the new Flex had arrived at my door, but my syncing issue had also resolved. I ended up keeping the Flex, but gave it to my boyfriend since we workout together and he was also interested in tracking his sleeping patterns, as he works nights.

My main motivation behind finally getting a Fitbit was to see if my workouts were actually doing what I wanted. I wanted to know if I was hitting the steps I needed per day, if I was burning enough calories versus my calories in. I’m the type of person who likes clear directions, instructions in front of me, and solid answers to my curiosity. I paired up my Flex with the MyFitnessPal app on my phone, and started my first Workweek Hustle with a few friends. I went about with my gym routines that week, and was upset when I saw I wasn’t hitting the goals I thought I had been this whole time. For the past three years, I had become a total gym-body, weight training, cardio, and recipes included, but it wasn’t quite enough. I wasn’t burning enough calories compared to what I was outputting and I wasn’t as active with my steps as I thought. Working a 9-to-5 can already make it difficult to get out and be active, but seeing the numbers really put it into perspective.

The next Workweek Hustle came, and I decided to add an extra 10 to 15 minutes onto my runs. The days I planned to do weigh training, I would get up in the morning and do a quick 1.5 mile run, about 14 minutes of my day, to get an extra 2,000 steps in to my days. I parked further away from the store when running errands and I tried to do a few more activities around the house, lawn mowing is perfect! Guess what, I won that Workweek Hustle! I was so happy, especially since I was going up against friends who are more active runners than I. In fact, I really dislike running, but I’m so proud of myself for being able to now run the length of a 5K that I do it anyway.

I’ve had my Fitbit now for a little over two months, and I’m still loving it! I completely recommend it, or your favorite fitness tracker, to all of the fitness freaks out there! I don’t always track my calories in, just because it can be come repetitive and time consuming, but I have a rough idea of how many calories I eat everyday so I’m not worried. The one downfall for me since I do weigh training almost more than I do cardio is that I didn’t take that into consideration when I was purchasing a FitBit. I kind of jumped the gun before doing all of my research on what options were in the FitBit family. Realizing that, if I have to repurchase a Fitbit in the future I’ll probably get the Fitbit Charge HR so I can track my activity levels when doing squats, dead lifts, and all that fun stuff.

If you’re starting to get into fitness, perhaps to lose weight or get into shape, I feel a Fitbit would really help you to understand how many calories you’re burning versus eating in order to lose weight. It’s also fun to compete with your friends to get your steps in. Leave your experiences with your Fitbit or activity tracker in the comments – I’d love to know how others feel!

April Favorites

I’m trying to get into monthly favorites posts. Mine will include a bit of everything, beauty, fitness, lifestyle, foods, and whatever I’m loving. Let’s get into it!

Beauty

Argan Magic Defining Curl Cream
I have been lurking on Reddit a lot the past month, and one day in the Curly Hair thread I found a post talking about this product and immediately ran out to purchase it. Unfortunately, I think this product has been discontinued as I found mine at Marshalls and TJ Maxx at 50% off the original retail price. It can found on Amazon, but at a inflated price. I’m not sure I would pay the inflated price, but at retail price and especially the $9.99 I purchased my three bottles at, I would recommend it to those with curly hair. It currently on Hautelook* this week, along with some other Argan Magic products. I have 3B curly hair, that needs a lot of moisture and high hold to control frizz. I stocked up on this stuff and will be using it until I’m out (like I said, three eight-ounce bottles with pumps!) then I will likely go back to my Curly Sexy Hair Curling Cream that I’ve been devoted to for the past two years.

Essie Madison Ave-hue
I got this polish during a present exchange at work two Christmases, but unfortunately it was limited edition. I finally used it on my toe nails at the beginning of April when the weather started warming up, and loved it! I repainted my toe nails with the color and painted my nails with it. I’m really enjoying it, which is surprising for a pink! I usually shy away from pinks on my nails, particularly my finger nails, but this color has a hue of mauve, as the name would suggest. There’s also the tiniest bit of shimmer in this color, which I don’t mind. I used to strictly be a cream finish nail polish girl, but the shimmer looks nice in the sunlight and is hardly noticeable the rest of the time. It’s just enough. Edit: My nails ends up chipping so fast, not even two days in. Just a fair warning about Essie nail polish.

Maybelline Bad to the Bronze
This is an oldie, but a goodie. I’ve owned this cream eye shadow for a while, but mine was so dried it that it just didn’t perform the way it was supposed to. So I repurchased it and I’ve been using as my eye shadow base or alone every day since repurchasing it.

NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer – Custard and Ginger
I didn’t want to like this concealer. I didn’t want to like it so much that it took me a year to admit that I like it. It gives great coverage for my acne scars, any discoloration on my skin, and works under my eyes. I recently purchased the color ginger, medium 2, to mix with custard, medium 1, because last summer I wasn’t able wear the custard shade because it way too light after I got a little sun. I think the custard matches me more-so than ginger, but I’ll work with both to get the perfect shade! Next, I’d love to try the NARS Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturizer!

OGX Renewing Moroccan Argan Oil Intense Moisturizing Treatment
Holy moly, this is my new holy grail deep conditioner! For a long time my holy grail was the Macademia Deep Repair Masque, which is a pretty penny as it’s a salon brand. I had tried the OGX Hydrating Macademia Oil Intense Moisturizing Treatment assuming that it woud be a dupe for the Macademia deep conditioner, but I wasn’t impressed. I had heard good things about the Renewing Morccan Argan Oil treatment, but put off trying because I enjoyed the L’Oreal EverCreme enough to repurchase it on Amazon. This stuff though, is way better than the L’Oreal deep conditioner, even better than the Macademia deep conditioner. It leaves my hair so moisturized, soft, and manageable. I don’t know if this happens to anyone else, but sometimes when I use a deep conditioner my hair doesn’t work well with my styling products, but this product is the exception to the rule. I will keep repurchasing this product for the foreseeable future and I highly suggest trying it out if you have drier or curly hair. If you have hair on the thin side, this product may be a bit too much, but you’ll never now until you try. I’m planning on trying the regular conditioner from this line and I have high hopes for it.

Contouring
Side note: not Kim K contouring. Light handed, soft contouring with powder bronzer. I forced myself to take the time to contour and bronze the past few weeks, and it’s finally something I appreciate in my makeup routine. I don’t have a favorite bronzer or brush I can recommend at the moment, but I’ll keep working on my technique throughout the summer.

Lifestyle

Declutter Videos
Jessica Murphy has a good playlist of her declutter videos and I know there’s other gurus that have been doing it for a while, but I feel like it took off in 2015 as lot of peoples’ New Year’s resolutions. I’m moving in a few months and I need to downsize so decluttering my makeup and beauty collection is proving a challenge. I threw away a lot of nail polish right away as I came to the conclusion that I use the same five colors in rotation year round, despite what season it is. I also tossed a ton of lip gloss and lip sticks away as a lot were, frankly, expired or never used. I decided I’m never buying lip gloss again as I literally never use it; I hate it.

Fitness and Food

I started my spring fitness routine back in the first week of March, which was high reps/low weight during gym time and an extremely clean eating diet. I don’t mind the weight lifting part so much, it’s the eating clean that’s hard. I wasn’t doing very well with my clean eating, ended up going out for dinner and drinks with coworkers and friends plus date night with Jake at a few restaurants, and a few weeks ago I decided to put an end to that. No more random dinners out for pizza and no more drinks just because. Jake and I did get sushi for date night this week, but I don’t consider that to be so unhealthy as most other restaurants. It’s been two since I re-evaluated my clean eating and I have to say I’m very proud of myself and the results so far are impressive. I’ve lost a pound, which is a lot for my size and frame, but I would like to point out that it’s not really my goal to lose weight, but trim some fat off.

My breakfast has been a protein shake every morning, with almond milk and half a banana. I eat the other half of the banana for a snack after a few hours at work. Lunch has been salads, with many vegetables and fruits, or a prepared dish that consists of broccoli, mashed sweet potatoes, and brown rice. Dinner has been more random, sometimes salads with a side of soup, frozen “chicken” nuggets with a side of vegetables, or cottage cheese with vegetables and fruit. Of course, I slip up and have some peanut butter or pretzels. The real secret to all of this is water. Water. And more water. I drink so much of it, not in an unhealthy amount, but I’m very conscious of being sure I am getting enough to feel full when I may otherwise want to snack. Anyways, I’m loving the healthy eating kick that I’m on and really hope I can stick to it for another month or so for summer.

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