Hey Everyone! Today I have something really fun happening on the blog today. Nicole of Pumps and Iron and I are swapping blogs. I had some interview questions for her and she had some for me. You can head over to her blog to see my answers, but first, stick around and see what Nicole had to share.
If you don’t know, Nicole is a fellow Boston-based blogger who always has awesome recipes, workouts, and outfits to share. Her blog is a daily staple of mine, so I’m so excited to be sharing her blog with you. I know you’ll love it.
Let’s get to it…
For starters, tell us a bit about yourself. We know you have an awesome blog, but what else have you been up to lately?
Lately, when I’m not working on my blog, I’ve been studying for the NASM personal trainer certification exam—I can’t wait to start training and teaching classes around Boston! To start, I’d like to instruct spinning and Pilates Plus classes (two of my favorite workouts), and then expand from there. I also take on freelance writing projects from time to time—aside from health and fitness, writing has always been my number one passion.
If you could give your 18-year-old self one piece of advice what would it be?
To remember that happiness is a choice. It took me until I graduated college to realize that regardless of circumstances, being happy is always within your control. There are times when it definitely takes more work and commitment than others, but by changing the way you think about situations or changing detrimental habits and actions, you really can be happy, even when things aren’t going your way. I wasted waytoo much time in college being a victim of circumstances and negative thought patterns!
I would also tell my 18-year-old self to put down the damn tanning oil already!
Has body image ever been a struggle for you? What things do you do to boost your body image?
Definitely. My freshman year of college I gained about 20lbs and felt utterly terrible about my body—I was so insecure. And the worst part was that I couldn’t separate how I felt about the way I looked from how I felt about myself as a person.
Regularly working out and eating a healthy diet (while still allowing for treats!) has really helped me boost and maintain a positive body image. Even if that reflection in the mirror doesn’t always look exactly how I want it to, I still feel great about the fact that I’m nourishing and strengthening my body each day. And I love how working out allows you to be proud of not just how your body looks, but also of what your body can do.
Your website is full of amazing recipes and workouts. What is your favorite workout you’ve ever posted and favorite recipe ever posted?
That’s a tough one! I’d say it’s a tie—I love working out with kettlebells and I also love core workouts. This 30-Minute Kettlebell Interval Workout is always a go-to for me, and I’d also have to list this 15-Minute Ab Workout as a favorite. It’s really challenging, and since it’s been pinned over a quarter-million times on Pinterest, I’d say my readers agree!
I think my favorite recipe would have to be my Sweet Potato Hummus—it’s so versatile! I eat it as a snack with carrot sticks or pita chips, and I also use it as a sandwich spread for lunch. I’ll do whole wheat bread, sweet potato hummus, spinach, tomatoes and avocado—it’s delicious!
I talk a lot about emotional eating on my blog. Has there ever been a time when you struggled with emotional eating? How were you able to get out of that struggle?
I struggled terribly with it throughout college. I was stuck in this all-or-nothing mentality, so would seesaw back and forth between “good days” in which I’d be rigidly meticulous and restrictive about what I ate, and bad days, in which I’d buckle under the dietary pressure I was putting on myself, and binge on just about everything in sight. I’d then be consumed with guilt and disappointment, so it’d be right back to a restrictive day. Not a fun (or healthy) way to live!
It took years to fully pull myself out of that cycle, but it really came down to me just taking the pressure to be perfect off myself. Once I realized that indulging in a bowl of ice cream didn’t make me a failure and, more importantly, didn’t mean I should then just throw away the entire day to unhealthy food choices, I was able to balance out the extremes and get better at that tricky art of moderation.
How do you maintain your balance between having a healthy lifestyle, and also having lots of fun and being social?
The biggest thing was just changing the way I viewed social outings and events. I used to see them as an excuse to overindulge, but now just apply the same eating habits I’ve adopted into everyday life to parties and social outings at restaurants. I make the healthiest food choices available; if I’m given a massive portion size, I get the rest to go as leftovers instead of continuing to eat; and I don’t beat myself up if every once in a while I don’t make the healthiest menu choice.
As for socially drinking (my love for beer and tequila is no secret!), I just try to isolate the unhealthiness. Alcohol is empty calories and just simply not good for you—there’s no way around that (annoying) fact—but as long as you avoid the secondary caloric downfalls (eating a burrito in a taxicab at 2AM, shoving your face with greasy hangover food the next morning), having a few drinks with friends can definitely be part of a healthy, balanced life. Well, that’s at least what I tell myself as I slam back cheap beer at a bar every Sunday during football season.
I also try to workout first thing in the morning so I’m less likely to skip it. I find that if it’s later in the day and I have the choice between getting in a workout or meeting up with friends, I usually choose the latter.
Lastly you have amazing style, something I don’t have a ton of. What are your ten must-have items in your closet?
Aw thank you! Some of my “must-haves” may admittedly be totally unnecessary, but I’ve always been attracted to unique pieces and impractical shoes—it’s a problem! I have a closet full of fun, but absurd clothing, and not a basic tank top or essential tee shirt in sight. But, with that said, my 10 must-haves would be:
1. That go-to pair of dark jeans. Everyone needs that one pair of jeans that just fits your figure perfectly, and you’ll get the most out of them if they’re dark because they can easily be dressed up or down. For me, it’s a pair of William Rast skinny-leg jeans that I’ve worn on my bloghere, here, here and probably a million other times.
2. Black (faux) leather jacket. Everyone looks good in a leather jacket.
3. A pair of palazzo or harem pants. Embrace this loose-fitted pants trend—they’re so comfortable! I recently wore these fun, printed pantsto an event around Boston and got so many compliments while feeling like I was wearing pajamas. Score!
4. Leather-look leggings. We’ve reached the point where it is 100% acceptable to wear leggings as pants (as long as your shirt is long enough), and a leather-look pair is the perfect way to keep the comfort while amping up the style. I wear mine all the time during the colder months (on the blog here and here).
5. Statement necklace(s). A big, bold necklace can make an otherwise basic outfit—and they’re so fun!
6. Open or low-back tops and dresses. I think going backless is such an elegant way to show a little skin. I loved this open-back yellow dress I wore to an event this summer!
7. A plaid shirt. 90’s fashion is back in style, so I’ve been tying plaid shirts around my waist, incorporating punk-inspired pieces, and wearing lots of leather.
8. Rings, rings and more rings. Lately I love mix-matching a bunch of rings. I’ll usually just buy cheap ones from Urban Outfitters or Forever21 so I can always change up my finger jewelry.
9. Fun sneakers. Recently I’ve been turning into a total sneakerhead. Sneaker wedges, brightly colored sneakers, sneakers with gold straps—I don’t know where this new obsession came from, but I’m going with it.
10. Sky-high heels. I had to list these because my shoe collection has almost become something of a joke among my friends—it’s no secret I love heels, the taller the better. I can’t help but view outrageous heels as wearable art pieces. Totally impractical. Totally bad for my Achilles tendonitis. But I totally don’t care.
Danielle’s Note: Thanks so much to Nicole
for sharing all of this awesome information! Hope you enjoyed it!