LIFESTYLE

HOW I LET REFLECTION CULTIVATE MY GROWTH

 
Photographed by Jairph

Photographed by Jairph

By Briony Towler, (@brionynicole)

The idea of reflection in thought is tied to inner peace, closure, and personal growth. But how do you find the method of reflection that works for you? Trial and error. Reflection is not something that comes naturally to many people. We live in a world where everyone is constantly on the go, and sometimes we are purposefully busy to keep our minds from reflecting on the past or present. The latter is what hit me in the face like a ton of bricks a year ago.

At the end of 2017, I had a sudden epiphany after a situation occurred in my dating life. I realized that I was stuck in this cycle with dating. Shortly after realizing this, I started to dissect other parts of my life and found sources that caused this broken cycle. It dated back to a significant event that happened in high school — the hardest part was accepting that for ten years it subconsciously affected my decisions and my mental health. The phrase "it's not you, it's me" had never been so relevant in my life. I knew that I needed to take the time to dive deep into who I was. So I did.

The first thing that I started doing is writing. And though my hand often hurts from writing, I wrote about any and everything that was on my mind. Writing became a therapy for me. I kept a journal and would periodically go back and read the entries. I even had a journal where I took the time to chronologically go through the significant events, good or bad, that happened from 2008 forward. It started as this 15-year-old girl who just needed to trust herself and speak up a little and migrated to the girl who was quiet but threw daggers with her words at times because of bottled up anger. Then fast forward to now, a girl who is just trying to figure out what is her and what is just her bottled up emotions. I knew that to move forward to what I felt was the next step; I had to get comfortable with talking about my past in detail. I needed to relive the emotions that I pushed down for so long. I had to forgive those who didn't know that they hurt me, and I had to forgive myself. I was incredibly emotional. I sat in silence a lot to hear my thoughts. Sometimes I would sit and cry, but I began to feel better and felt I was ready for the next step.

The next planned step I am still in the process of starting, and that is therapy. There has been a lot of talk about therapy this year, and I think that it is time that we listen. My year of reflection has taught me that there are some things that I am not going to be able to talk myself through and I will need help. Mental health is a hard topic, but the truth is that I have struggled with mental health issues since 2008. At the time I was a teenager and did not know that I needed help. But I have realized that I do. And it may not require medication, but seeing a professional provides the perspective of someone outside of your mind.  Reflection can start on your own, but in my opinion, for the most thorough reflection, therapy is needed at some point.

With 2018 coming to a close, now is the best time to reflect or prepare for reflection. Thinking of the good and the bad from this year, and strategizing on the future. Taking the necessary steps to ensure growth and pushing forward will ensure that you have a productive 2019.

 

MY TAKE ON THE FASHION SAVVY BKR WATER BOTTLE | IS IT WORTH IT?

 
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By Lamya Cruz (@thatgirllams)

Being a self-proclaimed water bottle snob; I take my water bottles kind of seriously. When I first became aware of the BKR bottle I just knew it was only a matter of time before I tried it out for myself. The too cool for school BKR bottle is just that—too cool. At the time I was very content with my matte black 40 oz Hydro Flask [which I loved] up until the straw became molded inside. And although I harbor no harsh feelings in the end; I wanted to try my hand at something else.

At first glance, the BKR bottle seemed very in-vogue and almost too pretty to touch. Yes, I could imagine totting it along with me as I ran errands here and there in an equally adorable ensemble, but could it really hold up to the elements overtime. I wasn’t sure at first, but I was very curious to find out. So, one night I read some reviews online (as I seldom do when investing in anything), and I decided to buy it; right along with a long all-white [slightly angled] brush cleaner, which I would recommend getting if you want to properly clean the inside of your bottle. $56 dollars later I was actually excited about my new purchase.   

Concept

The overall concept for the water bottle is pretty fabulous [if you ask me]—it’s all about combining style, substance and practicality. This bottle was designed for the woman who is no stranger to aesthetically beautiful things, and who may also want to eliminate the toxicity that comes from using plastic bottles, which doesn’t hurt either. Part of BKR’s mission is “inspiring sippers to drink water like it's a special treat and helping create the foundation for a gorgeous complexion so skincare and makeup can do their work,” which is written on the website (read all about their story here). The fact that it is also founded by two women, who have been best friends since law school named Tal Winter and Kate Cutler, is pretty iconic. Can you say friendship goals! 

I do like this overall concept, which is more or less the reason I decided to make my purchase in the first place. I have also become a hard core water drinker over the years and I have found that having something like the BKR bottle for sure makes drinking water less of a mundane chore and more of a luxury. I can say with certainty that this water bottle has kept me on top of my water consumption. I at least drink two full litters at day. 

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Design

It’s obvious this bottle is exquisitely designed. The sizes vary from the website, but I decided to go with the litter size which is called the Big, [mostly because it seemed to justify the price a lot more for me]. Another thing to look forward to is the variety of colors and designs you can choose from. There definitely is the since that these bottle cases are designed with style in mind and are inspired by fashion and seems quite timeless and not too trendy. I chose a natural design in the color Tutu. A color I would describe as a breathless pink. I love the color, which looks even more gorgeous in person than it did on my computer screen. Something else to note is that each color has its own little brief story on the website. It’s honestly too cute!   

Pricing and other things to note

I would say this is definitely a luxury water bottle and the cost certainly reflects that. The most inexpensive bottle on the website would be the Teeny which is $28 but that’s only for 250 ml! Compared to the most popular and smallest Hydro Flask Wide Mouth bottle which is about $29.95 for a 532 ml. While S’well’s smallest water bottle is 266 ml is about $25. It could seem a bit overpriced considering that both the S’well and Hydro Flask are actually thermal bottles that make the claim of keeping your water cold for 24 hours and hot for 12. Although the BKR does neither—it can make up for it in other ways. The BKR bottle is made out of glass, which is supposed to be free of harsh chemicals. It also makes the water taste a lot purer and is a lot better for the environment.

That being said; I have owned a thermal bottle twice before and I can say although it is nice to have your water keep at a certain temperature for a long period of time; since using the BKR bottle I do notice a difference with taste compared to the thermally insulated bottles. I also like being able to see straight into the bottle and the water itself; knowing that their isn't anything funky going on.

Is it worth it?

I say yes! I have had this bottle for about two months now and I honestly have no complaints with it thus far. If you can justify the price and it fits into your lifestyle why not? Of course, I wasn’t sure how durable the actual glass would be at first, but it seems pretty solid and the case is thick enough to where it doesn’t make me feel too subconscious about it breaking whenever I have it with me. The bottle itself is also pretty easy to clean, thanks in due part to the perfect bottle brush. I would also recommend cleaning it on a regular basis to insure that both your bottle and water are looking and tasting their best. Overall, I would definitely recommend this bottle if you are looking for something that will both make you want to drink your water regularly and feel luxurious--all at the same time.   

 

A DAY IN THE LIFE OF GLOSSIER DESIGN ASSISTANT, ASHLEE CRUZ

 
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By Ashlee Cruz (@pinay_spice

Hello! 

My name is Ashlee Cruz, and I’m a freelancer and design assistant at Glossier. I’m also the owner of a growing vintage company (@choisevintage on Instagram, my regular account is @pinay_spice). I recently moved to New York City, as interning for Glossier was my first job post-graduation, and time has moved quickly over the past eight months. As someone who thrives in chaos I feel at home.

6am:

I get up pretty early to work on personal and freelance projects. Right now, art directing Choise Vintage has taken up a lot of this down time. After making some French press, I obsessively moodboard for photoshoots. I love collaborating with friends, photographers, models, graphic designers, etc. There’s nothing more exciting than building this small artist community in Bushwick out of love.

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8am:

I feed Phil, my cat. Water my hardy pothos plants twice a week. Maybe touch up my bleached hair before work. This was a DIY job, and if you’ve had experience bleaching hair on your own, I’ll give you my recipe for success:

 

Bleach twice with Quick Blue and 30 volume developer.

Mask overnight.

Figure out what level you bleached your hair to (probably 8/9)

Match your level to a shade of Wella toner (I bleached my hair to a level 9, so I used T14 Pale Ash Blonde).

Use hella hair masks and OLAPLEX!

 

For more information about Ashlee's at home bleaching technique check out Becoming a Blonde Unicorn in the Comfort of Your Own Home

 

My morning skincare and makeup routine is as follows:

Glossier Milky Jelly Cleanser and/or Micellar Water

Glossier Priming Moisturizer

Sephora LashCraft Mascara

Glossier Boy Brow in Black

Some kind of lipstick color that suits my outfit. It’s the fun part.

 

9am:

I am riding the JMZ train to work, overlooking the Brooklyn and Manhattan skyline. As small as this is, it’s the best part of my day. It’s grounding to see the city during my everyday commute. I get obsessed with certain bands and artists, because music is really helpful for my anxiety. My current obsession is Rex Orange County, but usually I’ll listen to 60s music while reading "Just Kids" by Patti Smith. This lets everyone know that I’m a secret romantic, haha.

11am:

Work grind. As a design assistant, I am bouncing around the creative team’s projects. I help with everyone from packaging to design to creative ops. It’s a packed office between Chinatown and SoHo, and there are so many food options. Some days are very chill and relaxing, but others may include running to Canal Plastics or bringing vendors to the lovely 11 Howard Hotel. 

1:30pm:

Late lunch. I usually bring my own lunch but eat at Canal Street Market with a coworker. Sometimes I’ll take a walk around the area and snap some photos. If I really need to, I find myself going to MUJI or the jewelry stores on Canal Street to unwind.

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6:30pm:

Office hours are over. At the end of the day, I remind myself I’m only 23 and I feel pretty accomplished for what I have done. Even though I’m freelancing in the creative world; I think a lot of other immigrant Americans who are afraid to pursue their dream of working in the arts, due to pressure from their immigrant parents or fear of failure. Being a creative means learning from your mistakes and continuing to grow from them, and it takes years to refine whatever craft you choose. 

9pm:

I’m honestly, probably, swiping through Tinder in bed. I turn into gremlin, watching Hot Wings on YouTube eating Takis and salad. If I have plans, I’m grabbing soup dumplings with my freelancer friends and planning photoshoots, or at a Bushwick skater bar with another Tinder date. My friends jokingly call me a savage, but it’s true. You have to keep it real.

 

Photographed by Laura Beckerdite @lalalauramae_ 

 

I don’t have a nighttime skincare routine. My lovely roommate and I usually do some catching up before going to bed. At the end of the day, I really think about the platonic friendships that have turned into family. It’s tough being in the city alone, and it’s even tougher when you don’t get monetary help from your parents. It’s important to remember that not everyone has the same advantages you may have. The people who have helped me navigate Glossier and Choise are the ones holding me down. This is a small thanks to them. 

 

A DAY IN THE LIFE OF FITNESS INSTRUCTOR AND LIFESTYLE BLOGGER, TAYLOR MIKISKA

 
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By Taylor Mikiska, (@taylormikiska

Well hello!

I’m Taylor- a Midwest transplant to LA, a realistic optimist, and collector of Polish pottery.  I teach group fitness (weight training and spin) and run a lifestyle blog (www.taylormikiska.com).  I love love love teaching.  It brings me so much joy to give people the tools and encouragement to find their own strength. Even though teaching is a huge part of who I am, it isn’t the only thing I am, and I’m a huge believer that everyone is much more than the ways they make money, so that’s where the blog comes in!  I love exploring all different parts of “lifestyle” and finding out all the ways people are more connected than they realize.  Every day is completely different for me, but here’s what this one was like… 

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I’m an unbearable early bird. I love mornings and usually wake up between 5 and 5:30 every day.  Having time to be alone and to make sure I have everything ready for the day is key to keeping my stress levels low.  I start every morning brushing my teeth and washing my face with cold water, which is kind of awful [tbh], but I have rosacea and find the cold water really does help! 

 

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Then I’m off to teach!  This is David- one of my lovely co-workers.  The studio I teach in (The Wall) is currently going through some pretty huge changes!  We’ve been in this pop up space for just over a year, but are closing the pop up at the end of this month before our flagship studio opens!  It’s going to be HUGE and have tons of classes.  We’re set to open in April, but it’s definitely been slower since announcing the flagship. My days may not be jam packed with teaching right now, but the current schedule is giving me tons of time to work on my blog, which I’m really loving. 

 

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After class, I grab a juice from Moon Juice.  I love the add ins moon juice offers. This particular green concoction is blended with avocado, spirit dust, and CBD oil.  The “moon dusts” at Moon Juice are comprised of different herb and mushroom blends and are a super mood boosters.  I love that CBD is an option here as well.  It always helps me relax after a high intensity class.

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Post juice, I go for a grocery run! I’m low on pretty much everything lol. I get lots of veggies, some dates and blackberries, and restock my honey! A bunch of oranges too because I love me some citrus! If I have food at home, I’ll eat at home. I love going out to eat, but it’s definitely not ideal for my wallet. I’m trying to actually use recipes more often, but I mostly graze and just eat whatever’s around throughout the day! I don’t have any specific diet- I’ll literally eat anything, but if I’m eating at home, It’s usually just fruits and veggies, and big breakfasts on my mornings off!

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Next, I meet up for some social media planning with one of my favorite bloggers and good friend @sarahcarolincrawford of www.thefluf.com . Sarah and I get together once a week to help each other shoot content for our blogs and social media.  It’s made such a huge difference in the consistency of my content and takes away all anxiety of not having anything to post.  It’s also just really wonderful to have someone who I know isn’t going to judge me for taking too many pictures or caring about my social presence in the first place. We talk about our grand visions, brands who'd we’d like to work with, and ways we try to navigate the crazy Instagram algorithm. On this day, I knew I needed fitness content! I’m always trying to find new ways to make my fitness posts really me . I think a lot of fitness can come off sort of intimidating, so I always aim to bring some light and color to it.  We just shot these around our neighborhood (did I mention we’re neighbors?!) and had a blast doing it. 

 

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After hanging with Sarah, I head to Mama Shelter in Hollywood for my last meeting of the day! It’s one of my favorite spots to just hang out and get some work done! Idk why, but hotels make me feel fancy, and I like that.  I usually just order fries and bring my laptop!  I’ll work on playlists for class, plan content, and answer emails. I have my meeting- a fellow blogger who just moved from Virginia! She’s not launched yet, but I’m so excited for her. I’m always happy to meet with girls I’ve connected with on social media and see if there are things we can work on together. And why not meet up with a new friend in a pretty place and just appreciate that you’re there ya know? So, that’s what we did! 

 

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I head home, have dinner with my boyfriend, shower and finally get to finish my book! I have the full review posted on my blog now actually! Also, don’t judge I wear the same PJs for a few days haha.  I always try to read before bed instead of looking at my phone. I adored this book- The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin. Highly recommend!  It was about 4 siblings, and I’m the oldest of 4 siblings, so I felt very connected to it.

But that’s all for this day!  Like I said, every day is different, but I know each day is mine to make what I can of it and I really love that.  Thank you for reading along!

xx

Taylor 

Stay connected! Follow Taylor on Instagram @taylormikiska and check out her blog taylormikiska.com

 

KRISTINA TODINI: HOW TRAVELING MADE ME APPRECIATE MY OWN FOOD CULTURE

 
Photographed by Kristina Todini

Photographed by Kristina Todini

By, Kristina Todini (@fork.in.the.road)

I grew up on macaroni and cheese and hotdogs and my family has a tradition of ordering takeout for holidays. There are no beloved recipes handed down from my grandmother and I didn’t know how to bake a chicken breast until the tender age of 22. Raised in the landlocked American Midwest, I didn’t see the ocean until I was 11 and at the time the only “ethnic” foods I dared to consume were tacos, pizza, and chicken fried rice.

To say I was sheltered culturally would be a severe understatement.

It wasn’t until I began working in restaurants in my early twenties that I ventured outside of my food comfort zone. I slowly began to like seafood and realized brussel sprouts were no longer the bane of my existence. I gained a taste for good wine and cheeses beyond those melted and drizzled on top of fried foods. And at the same time I was expanding my palate, I was also stepping outside my comfort zone with a newfound love of travel and exploration.

I first stepped foot on foreign soil in Italy at the age of 24 and the trip was a pivotal moment with my outlook on food...and on life. The Italians’ commitment to fresh, seasonal, and simple ingredients shine through every dish and they do not cut corners when it comes to quality. In a twist of fate, six months after my trip to Italy I met an Italian man while I was on vacation, married him in Vegas five months later, and spent many summers in Italy with his family drinking espresso in tiny coffee shops and cooking homemade pizza in backyard ovens. It was quite a culture shock coming from my hometown in Missouri, but in the best possible way.

I have since eaten my way through twenty countries and countless cities on my treks across the world. I have barbecued kangaroo and emu in the Australian outback, munched on fried crickets in Mexico City, and hiked the jungles of Thailand for a cup of coffee. I have drank coca tea while watching the sun rise on Machu Picchu and sipped on caipirinhas while viewing the sunset over the hills of Rio de Janeiro. And in each of these places I found that no matter where you are from or what you believe, loving delicious food is what we all have in common.

If I had to choose one thing that has changed my outlook on life it would 100% be travel. Exploring new countries and immersing myself in different cultures has pushed the limits of my comfort zone, tested my biases and preconceived notions, and humbled me with a respect for not only the profound differences of the people in this world, but also for the stark similarities.

And it was in travel that I realized something: I did not come from a “lack” of food culture. I realized that my own food upbringing was a culture in and of itself. A culture of backyard barbecues, casseroles, fast foods, and beer in red Dixie cups. A culture of baseball, swimming in rivers, catching tadpoles, and chasing lightning bugs. I had spent so many years trying to escape my Midwest upbringing and looking at other cultures as more refined, when in fact my own region is what shaped me into the adventurous eater I am today.

So instead of looking back on frozen pizzas and boxed meals with disdain, instead I now appreciate the experience of the fast food culture I came from. While I may explore new recipes and kitchen techniques acquired from my travels, I keep it simple in the kitchen due to my Midwest preference to get in and get out without all the fuss. I may drink fancy wine from carafes but that doesn’t mean I will ever have a matching set of wine glasses--and I’ve realized now that that’s okay, because in the end what my upbringing and travels have taught me is that the act of eating together and sharing experiences over food is universal, no matter what is on the table.

Kristina Todini, RDN is a registered dietitian living in San Francisco, CA. She photographs and writes about food, travel, and sustainability on the blog Fork in the Road when she isn’t tasting her way across the globe. You can connect with her on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.

 

 

 

 

 

A DAY IN THE LIFE OF FLORIDA NEWS REPORTER, KARYS BELGER

 
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By, Karys Belger (@karysbelger)

Hi there!

My name is Karys Belger and I’m a reporter in Cape Coral, Florida. A little about me: This is my first job out of school and my first time living in Florida. I’m an MMJ, a multimedia journalist. This means that on any given day, I’m shooting and editing video and then dashing off to the next story. For the most part, it’s pretty unpredictable. But it’s my dream and I’m lucky to be doing it. So here it is, a day in my life. 

8:00 am:

Normally, I don’t have to work until 2:30 pm, but today my schedule is a little different. Today, I’m up by 8:00 am because I have to be in the office by ten, and that means I’m fueling up with my favorite drink—coffee. This is one of my favorite mugs and I use it just about every day. The only exception is when I forget to run the dishwasher the night before.

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10:05 or 10:10 am:

Around this time is our news meeting. Me, the news director, the assignment editor, the other reporters, and the digital editors all sit down and review which stories are doing well on the website and which ones we’re going to report on for the day. Today, I’m reporting on a series of robberies in a neighborhood in our viewing area.

12:00 pm:

I’m on the road and in the news truck. Today I’m lucky, I get a photographer to shoot for me so I can focus on getting the information we need for the story for our 6 pm newscast. But just like with all of our stories, it starts off with a little drive. Today I’m riding shotgun!

 

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As the day wears on, I have to, I have to start planning for the story, and getting as much information as I possibly can. Thankfully, I have my photographer Kevin with me. He’s able to make sure we get the shots we need, while I do things like call the sheriff’s office and map out where the robberies [that we are reporting on] took place. We’re not really done until about 3:30 in the afternoon. By now, we know that we are going to go live in the neighborhood where the robberies happened.

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Before editing, sometimes a girl has to eat! Nine times out of ten I’m doing both. Since the show is at 6 pm and my photos needs time to edit, I’m writing my script for my piece and eating at the same time. I like to think of it as creative calorie burning!

6:00 pm:

The show begins and I’m the lead. That means my story is the first one in the newscast. We’re live in the neighborhood where we shot earlier, and once I tell the viewers where I am, the studio shows the footage we shot and edited earlier. The magic of television.

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7:00 pm:

We’re back at the studio! So now I can check in with my team, and write up my web story. Sometimes that means goofing off with my team, like when my anchor Patrick decides to try out a new haircut.

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Later:

After I posted my story to the website, it is then time for my favorite part of the day. I take off my makeup and get into bed. I might journal if I have the energy.

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And that’s it! A day in my #ReporterLife. This is just one day. No two days are the same and I like it that way. The best part about my job is that I get to meet new people and find out new things. It’s a challenge sometimes, but that’s also what makes it so fun! This job is not for the faint of heart but I think what really makes it satisfying is knowing that tomorrow could hold something different. I always finish off with my favorite quote from Gone with the Wind, “Tomorrow is another day.”

 

 

 

KARA CASEY, GIRL ON THE RUN

 
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By, Kara Casey (@KARAGRACECASEY

I hated exercise. Yes. Despised it. But it was in August 2015 that I decided to become a runner. Yes, the form of exercise that 99.9% of the world dreads. I’m going, to be honest; I didn’t want to become a runner to be “fit” or have the glorious “runner” body. I really just wanted to kick my weight loss plateau out of the picture. Eating right, and stepping on the scale to see zero progress was not a part of the plan. It is quite frustrating. Prior to 2015 with Weight Watchers, a lot of measuring, portioning, and Pinterest recipes--I lost 30lbs (yay me!). Being in high school/college, and trying to lose weight is NOT EASY. However, it had to be done. My dad has always been a runner, so since he knew all the tricks of the trade, I figured I’d follow in his footsteps, literally.

 

August 2015

Goal 1. Run a 5k (3.1miles) without stopping. I trained for about 2 months for this and it was death. All races have a course time that you have to complete: the race in which is generally a 4mph pace or a 15-minute mile; I figured I would start there and hope I didn't pass out. I ran about 4-5 times a week running with a short, medium, and long run each week.

 

Starting out my short run schedule would look like this: 

Short: ½ a mile. Medium: 1.5 miles. Long: 2.8 miles

 

Looking at this running plan 2 years later, it looks so easy, but at first, my knees were quaking my first full mile. Fast-forward to the bright and early 5k race day in Chicago--I was nervous but ready. At about mile 2, I was a sweaty-out-of-breath mess but I knew if I didn’t train for this I would not still be running! Determined to run the full course I picked up my speed and crossed the finish line to receive my medal, unripe bananas, and chips. It wasn’t until after the race that I realized I loved the atmosphere, gear, people, and free-ness running gave me. A couple of days later, I decided to train for a half marathon (13.1 miles).

 

October - December 2015

After being able to run 3 miles with ease at a faster pace, I kicked up my training with longer [long] runs. Listen now. Long runs will take away your weekends, and standing abilities within however long it takes you to run them. I missed so many weekends of going out with friends, because I either had to wake up early to do a long run, or I was so sore from a long run.

 

My schedule looked something like this: 

Short: 3 miles. Medium: 5 miles. Long: 8-12 miles

 

I will say running in the fall was clearly better than the hot summer. Leading up to my half marathon, I decided to participate in the Hot Chocolate 15k which was about 9 miles, and it would determine if I would even be close to finishing a half marathon. Crossing the finish line to bowls of chocolate, and Hershey’s kisses were not what I had in mind after such a long run, but I’ll take it!

 

January 2016

Half Marathon Month!! My dad and flew to sunny Miami to lace up our running shoes. I never thought it would be 50 degrees at 4 am in Miami [not to mention in the midst of January]. Kidding. Instead, it was 30 degrees in Miami and with thousands of runners out in shorts, we all huddled together trying to stay warm. Throughout the entire race, I don’t think I broke a sweat once. I was cold even to the finish line. Rewind a bit to the start, being nervous but high off of excitement! With it being so cold, that helped me to not overheat. I was fine up until about mile 7 when I hit the wall. I thought to myself…. “wow I have 5 more miles to go. WTF?" 

My legs felt sluggish and I had to pee but at this point it was mental. Just one foot in front of the other. Approaching mile 11 I had a huge rush of energy realizing I was about to finish! Speeding up and crossing the finish line, I was so happy that I ran 13.1 miles! Snatching my beloved well-earned medal and snacks I laid on the ground waiting for my dad to finish his marathon. We both had a celebratory meal and went shopping, showing off of our sparkly medals. At this point, I declared myself a runner, [as I looked up my next race], still basking in the glory of a few hours’ prior to finishing a race.

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February 2016 – March 2017

I was a running maniac. I ran a minimum of 5 miles a day 6 days of the week. I even felt bad on the rest days because I felt like I should have been running. In this time, I completed roughly 6 half marathons and signed up for the Los Angeles Full Marathon. My first marathon. 26.2 miles. Help me, Jesus. Training for that, I lost all my weekends. A few 16 miles runs and I was OUT for 3 days, [thanks to those long-running weeks].

Training like we should, my dad and I approached the starting line for the LA Marathon and we began--I was lit. Prepared with my wireless headphones, $200 running shoes, and sunglasses; living the runner’s life until mile 22. My legs hurt so bad I had to check if they were still there. At one point, I TRIED to walk but it hurt more to walk than to run. At least when I ran my legs went numb and I couldn’t feel anything. Again, at this point, it was all mental. A lot of times runners have to get past this wall of endurance, no matter how long the run. I picked up my speed and was so proud of myself as I crossed the finish line. I wanted to immediately collapse. I was blessed with a highly sought after marathon medal and a runner’s foil to keep me warm (and to wear the rest of the day because I earned it). My dad and I headed to Roscoe’s Chicken and Waffles. The rest of the day I felt like a celebrity. Still wearing my medal and warmer foil; citizens were rolling down their windows to congratulate us, runners.

 

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Currently

With a fresh bachelor’s degree and a newbie in the adult world, I am still a running maniac. I run 5 times a week, however, I have incorporated strength training into my weekly workout plans. Doing this really is helping me become a better well-rounded runner. So happy to say many people have told me I inspired them to pick up running. I never thought I would ever hear that I had inspired someone, [thank you]! My next goal is to crush my best each time.  Getting faster and faster at every race I do by speeding up my pace. If you can recall my first 5k was done in 40 minutes. Running a 5k last week I finished in 26 minutes (omg). I know I will get better at every distance I run! When I beat that time, I will train again to beat the new time. It is a never-ending cycle that I am proud and excited to continue. Running made me realize that (it’s about to get cheesy), that I can actually do anything because I really didn’t want to run, not even a 5k. Now, I am willing to pay to feel like I got hit by a bus, and run 26.2 miles. People ask me how on earth can I run but really all you have to do is decide to!