My At-Home Workout Essentials and Tips!

I’ve been getting quite a few questions lately on how I do my at-home workouts. In all honesty, it’s been quite the adjustment, but it’s also been super convenient to be able to just go into my garage and get a solid workout in. In fact, I’m finding that I’m working out harder now than I did in any gym setting.

I personally don’t follow any fitness videos or virtual classes. I do think they are great, especially if you were previously going to classes at a fitness club or gym. I do workouts/circuits that I learned from my personal training sessions. They work for me, and I love getting creative and switching them up to make it more challenging.

I don’t have any heavy or crazy gym equipment. I use resistance bands, sliders, my yoga mat and a pair of 6 lb weights. If you don’t have any of that, no problem! You can just use the weight of your body or supplies you have laying around your house.

I find that what has also been motivating me to get up and workout is putting on some cute workout clothes. Some of my favorites are from Yvette Sports. Their leggings are so soft, it feels as though you are putting on a pair of comfy pjs. I usually don’t workout in makeup, but lately I have been putting on some mascara before I go to exercise. Since being at home, I haven’t been wearing much makeup, so even just a tiny bit of mascara before working out has made me feel not only more like myself, but has brought a bit of familiarity back into my life.

I hope this helps you create your own at-home workout routine! Stay healthy and safe!

XO Courtney

What I am Currently Reading, Listening to and More!

There’s been a lot going on the last few days and weeks. I think it’s safe to say everyone’s anxiety has been up as we all try to process what is going on and how we can stay healthy and safe. I’m finding that while this down time can be hard to adjust to, it’s also a great time to dive into some new books, podcasts and more. Below is a list of books I’ve been reading, podcasts I’ve been listening to, as well as some other fun things to pass the time and relieve stress.

~Books~

I think I read this book in a matter of days. Lisa Jewell’s Then She Was Gone is a page turner like none other. Not only is it a quick read, but dives into the dark story of a mother trying to cope with her daughter’s disappearance. Definitely a must read!

I just started Watching You by Lisa Jewell. Like her other book, you are immediately immersed into the lives and perspectives of her characters. So far, I can’t put it down and have a feeling the ending may surprise me.

~Podcasts~

I wasn’t a fan of the other Monster podcasts, but this one caught my attention immediately. DC Sniper reinvestigates the beltway sniper
attacks, sharing the stories of those who were involved and what happened during that time in the DC and Maryland area.

I was skeptical of this podcast, but ended up loving it. Radio Rental, narrated by The Office’s Rainn Wilson and told by Up and Vanished creator Payne Lindsey, tells bizarre, real life stories. From encounters with serial killers to experiencing an alternate reality, these stories will really get you thinking. The overall concept is super creative, and I cannot wait until season two is released.

~More~

Shows I’m binge watching!

At-Home Workouts!

I love to workout, so it’s been challenging to find a new routine that doesn’t involve going to the gym. I started using my garage, since I don’t have the space inside my house and use my yoga mat, weights, resistance bands and sliders for a complete workout. I’m also trying to get into going on more walks or hikes, since the weather is slowly getting nicer by the day.

~~~~

I think the most important thing at the moment is to relax and stay calm. It’s been very hard for me, especially with social media and the news. To keep my mind healthy, I’ve stopped watching the news for a bit and also kept off social media. It’s important that you not only remain physically healthy, but also mentally healthy. Make sure you implement self-care and do things that will make you healthy, happy and stress-free.

XO – Courtney

Finding Balance

I started out 2020 promising myself I would blog more and create content that I am passionate about. Fast forward a few weeks into the New Year, and I found myself in a ball of stress for many reasons. I kept thinking to myself, I thought 2019 was the bad year, when is 2020 going to give me a break?? And to be honest, it hasn’t. I’ve definitely been dealing with a lot of personal stress, hence the reason I have been absent from my blog and not fulfilling one of my goals for 2020. There have been times that I just wasn’t in the mood to sit down and write or even come up with a fun post for Instagram (I know that’s a shocker). But as I have taken some time to reflect and cope with the stresses I have going on, I’ve realized that I need to find balance.

Balance is important with everything. Whether it’s focusing on your health or a relationship, everything goes back to making sure you have balance. For example, eating healthy is important, but I’m obviously going to eat that chocolate cake once in a while because I love sweets. In my opinion, I have lacked balance for a while, but I am finally taking a step back and realizing that I need to make a change. I need to make more of an effort to take care of myself and leave other thoughts to last.

I’ve come to terms with my need for balance because at the end of the day, it’s my hobbies, health and more that will make me happy, so why not make sure they take priority?

Make sure that you take the time to reflect and focus on the things that are going to make you happy and healthy.

XO – Courtney

New Year, New Workout Wardrobe

A lot of people make resolutions when they enter a New Year, however, I like to create general goals. One of my goals is to continue to exercise and stay healthy in 2020. It helps having cute and sleek workout wear to keep you motivated and hitting the gym. Thanks to Yvette Sports, my New Year workout wardrobe is covered.

My workout staples are black leggings, a great sports bra and a comfortable shirt or hoodie. These Yvette Sports Shift Light leggings are so light-weight, soft and guarantee coverage. I don’t have to worry about bending over and having my bottoms ride down or them being see-through. Their sports bras also provide incredible support and control. They offer a number of low, medium and high support sports bras in many different sleek styles. My favorite is the black Anywhere Criss Cross Light Support sports bra. It is padded and has a strappy criss-cross back.

My favorite piece at the moment is this blush Shift Light Ocean Print hoodie. It’s comfortable and has the cutest beach graphic on the back. I’m not one to normally buy nice hoodies, but this is such a staple in my workout wardrobe and everyday attire. I find myself wearing this hoodie with leggings to run errands or go to a movie.

If you’re looking to give your workout attire a boost in the New Year, use my coupon code Courtney10 at checkout for a 10% discount! Thank you to Yvette Sports for gifting me these items.

For more on Yvette Sports, check out my previous blog.

Hope everyone continues to have a great start to the New Year!

Last Minute Holiday Card and Gift Ideas

It’s the most wonderful time of the year, but also the busiest time of year. With holiday parties, decorating and hosting family on the mind, it can be tricky putting together your holiday invitations/cards and getting last minute gifts for your friends, mom, sister, etc. But don’t worry! I have the solution for you!

Forget the printed invites and holiday cards and go the digital route! Paperless Post is a provider of customizable online invitations and cards. They have partnered with several world-famous designers and lifestyle brands, including Kate Spade New York, Oscar de la Renta, Jonathan Adler, and my personal favorite Rifle Paper Co. This holiday season, they are offering festive options for any party or family holiday card.

Each invitation or card is purchased via the website’s coin system and allows you to control your budget when creating a custom piece. Coins can be purchased once your account is created and do not expire. It’s an easy way to send out those last minute invites and cards without having to wait for traditional mail delivery.

Now for some last minute gift ideas… Check out a few easy options below for that special woman in your life!

From left to right:

  1. Kendra Scott Didi Rhodonite Earrings
  2. Ugg Genuine Dyed Shearling Single U Earmuff
  3. Nest Reed Diffuser – White Camellia
  4. Nordstrom Rack Dipped Faux Shearling Throw
  5. Block Letter Monogram Necklace
  6. Blushing Flutes – Set of 2
  7. Kristin Ess 3-in-1 Flat Iron – 1 1/4 inch
  8. Adidas Cloudfoam Pure Sneaker

A big thank you to Paperless Post for partnering with me and gifting me coins, so I too can create holiday cards of my own! Hoping everyone has a safe and happy holiday!

My Aruba Travel Guide

Recently, I traveled to Aruba with my family to get away from the cold, dreary weather and to decompress for a bit. It had been a while since I traveled on an airplane for a trip, so I couldn’t have been more excited to pack my summer clothes and spend a few days on the beach.

Flight

We took a connecting flight to Aruba, stopping in Miami for a layover. If you ever choose to go, I definitely recommend taking a direct flight. It is around 4/5 hours direct and many airlines, such as JetBlue, travel direct. We spent around 6ish hours traveling in total, and it ended up being a lot, especially since we had to get up at 3am. We arrived in the late afternoon, and by that time, I wanted to just relax for the evening and start fresh the next day.

Where to Stay

In Aruba, there are two main tourist locations: Eagle Beach and Palm Beach. Eagle Beach, which according to one of our cab drivers is practically Palm Beach divided up, is the condo area. Palm Beach, on the other hand, is the ‘sky rise’ area with all the major hotels. We stayed at The Ritz-Carlton, which is located at the far end of Palm Beach and is the last hotel on the strip. Even though The Ritz tends to be on the pricier side, I definitely recommend looking into staying there. Not only did it have fabulous amenities and great customer service, it was quiet because it was situated on the far end of the beach. The rest of the strip felt congested with hotels on top of each other.

Excursions

This trip, we decided to balance both relaxation and sight-seeing. We did two excursions, which in my honest opinion were just okay. The one excursion that I do recommend (with a warning) is the jeep or UTV tour of the island and Arikok National Park. Aruba is a desert island, which at times was hard to believe since it had incredible ocean views. The tour takes you around to see both the caves, rock formations, natural pool and coastal cliffs. We ventured up to one of the highest points of the island and were able to see the northern coast of Venezuela. According to our tour guide, Venezuela is about a 15 minute flight from Aruba. However, do not expect to visit the country while you are on the island. Aruba has strict immigration and travel rules when it comes to Venezuela. Anyway, this excursion sounds great, right? Yes, but WARNING, it was VERY bumpy. We were pretty much off-roading, which was extremely rough on the body. If that does not sound appealing to you, I would skip it. We were in the open-air jeep, and it was a hard ride to get through. For the second excursion, we took a catamaran to a few areas to snorkel. I would personally skip the boat tour altogether. Since Aruba is outside of the hurricane belt, the weather is nearly perfect, however, they do get a lot of wind. Because of the wind, the waters were rough and made snorkeling uncomfortable and dangerous. Take the extra day and relax on the beach instead!

Food

Now to the best part.. FOOD! I am a big foodie, especially on vacations. While I wasn’t going crazy over Aruba’s food, there were some spots where we enjoyed delicious meals:

  • Flying Fishbone – If you can, try to get a table in the water and preferably at sunset.
  • Madame Janette – If you’re looking to enjoy your meal without being surrounded by large families or kids, try making a reservation later into the evening at around 8pm. You also need to leave room for dessert (their Snickers cake was amazing.)
  • Yemanja – This was by far one of my favorites. Not only did they have an expansive menu filled with vegetarian and vegan options, but their drinks were great. I recommend the Sweet Passion.

Shopping

In regards to shopping, there wasn’t a whole lot. We stopped at one store for t-shirts in the downtown Oranjestad area. You’ll notice that many people will choose to buy their luxury or designer items while on vacation in Aruba. That is because there isn’t a luxury tax on the island, so designer items are cheaper than they would be in the states.

Overall this was one of the most relaxing trips I have had in a long time. It was nice to get away and soak up the sun! Now back to winter…

My Manchester, Vermont Travel Guide

Long time, no blog? I always says this, but it’s been way too long since I’ve posted content on here. There’s been a lot of changes the last few months, and I finally feel like I’m getting into a new routine and new mindset! I’ll explain those changes soon, but I first wanted to share my recent weekend getaway with you all!

Last weekend, my boyfriend and I ventured up to Manchester, Vermont for a little weekend getaway. It was MUCH needed after the week I had. I couldn’t wait to see the foliage and feel the crisp fall air, since it hasn’t gotten that cold here in MA yet. I had first heard about the area from another blogger, Caitlin Covington, and took some inspiration from where she stayed, ate etc!

First thing I noticed when booking a place to stay is that the hotels were PRICEY. So we decided to check out Airbnb and found what I think is the cutest place we have ever stayed. We were 10 minutes from downtown Manchester in our quaint A-Frame for the weekend! Our hosts were fantastic, and you can actually find them on Instagram with the handle @thevermontaframe. The home was cozy, convenient to the area and had everything we needed, including a wood burning stove. Not to mention it was aesthetically pleasing and perfect for that Instagram photo-op.

On our first and real full day, we packed in a lot! I’m usually not one to get up early, but I wanted to get in everything we could. We first enjoyed breakfast at Up for Breakfast, which was delicious. It is small so I recommend going before 10! We arrived at 9 and only had to wait 15 minutes. After, we drove to Equinox Pond. We picked the perfect day to go with clear skies and the sun illuminating the mountains and foliage. THIS IS THE ULTIMATE PHOTO DESTINATION. If you’re staying at the Equinox Resort, it is a quick walk up from behind the hotel, but since we had a car and weren’t staying there, we just drove up one of the dirt roads.

We then decided to check out the designer outlets. There are several that line the main road in the center of town. From Theory to Kate Spade, Michael Kors and more, it was definitely worth checking out. I also recommend stopping in the country stores! Those are always my favorite, and you can buy little nips of Vermont maple syrup! Yum!

After our shopping, I was in the mood to change, so we headed back for a quick break. Once we returned to town, we visited Zoey’s Deli for a late lunch. The line was out the door, but for a good reason. The sandwiches and chips are so good. I got the Granny Smith, which I could have easily split with my boyfriend, but my eyes were bigger than my stomach that day. Their chips are homemade, crispy and still soft like a potato.

We really didn’t have many plans after that, so we decided to check out the Orvis outlet and flagship store. Everything in Manchester is extremely dog friendly and Orvis was no different. I don’t shop for outdoor items, so I secretly went in just to see all the pups. The flagship store does have several ponds in the back where you can feed the fish and take a nice stroll. Fly fishing is also a big activity up there, and they also have a school for it next door to the store.

Before dinner, we grabbed drinks at Seasons. I think next time I want to try them for dinner, as their drinks were just okay. For dinner we ate at Ye Olde Tavern, which I recommend 100%. The restaurant is in an old historical home and you get to enjoy your meal by candlelight. This felt like a multi course meal. We first started with fritters, then I split the Brie with my boyfriend, we both had salads and bread, then our entree and I of course couldn’t pass up pumpkin pie for dessert! It was probably my favorite meal while we visited.

After a cozy night in the A-frame, it was time to enjoy our final morning and head home. Since it was Sunday, brunch was a must. I had seen a lot of reviews for the Copper Grouse and had to check it out. Located in the Kimpton Taconic Hotel, the restaurant serves, brunch, lunch and dinner. We sat next to the fireplace and in classic brunch fashion, tried to order everything! I got the basic breakfast and my boyfriend enjoyed the pastrami smoked salmon. We also split the blueberry pancakes because they were calling my name. I definitely recommend splitting the pancakes and also making sure to order the home fries.

This was probably one of the best getaway weekends I’ve had in a long time. It was perfect, cozy and filled with yummy food.

I’m hoping to post more come the next few weeks and share an update on where I’ve been and what I’ve been up to.

Until next time!

Celebrating My Birthday with Paperless Post!

It’s birthday season, baby! I turn 24 next month, and I couldn’t be more excited. Not excited to be another year older per say, but very excited to celebrate! However, every year I struggle with the same thing when planning my birthday and that’s the process of inviting friends to celebrate. I always end up finding myself in multiple group chats and relying on others to relay important info. This makes it hard to keep track of who is coming and who is not. That’s why I am teaming up with Paperless Post to make planning my 24th birthday celebration a breeze! All products featured in this post was gifted to me by Paperless Post.

Paperless Post is a provider of customizable online invitations and stationary. From birthdays, to weddings, parties and more, Paperless Post has all the designs and styles you are looking for for your next celebration. They have partnered with several world-famous designers and lifestyle brands, including Kate Spade New York, Oscar de la Renta, Jonathan Adler, and my personal favorite Rifle Paper Co.

The easy to use website allows you to customize any invite. Each invitation is purchased via the website’s coin system and allows you to control your budget when creating a custom invitation. Coins can be purchased once your account is created and do not expire.

Once an invitation is selected, you will be able to choose the background in which your guests will view the invite and update the text with the details of your celebration!

After a lot of consideration, I chose this Rifle Paper Co. design! I am so obsessed with their floral designs that I had to have it! Once the invite was updated, I created an ‘event page’ where my guests can get in touch with me, view updated event details, and share their party photos. If you’re creating a wedding invite, it’s the perfect place to add a gift registry for your guests to shop. From there, you enter your guests emails and names, and at the touch of a button, your invites are sent!

This is what the preview of my birthday invite looks like! I am obsessed with the design and think I may create another one too. Paperless Post also has the new option to create flyers. These free, casual invites include gifs and stickers and are easily customizable on your mobile devices. They collect email RSVPs on the spot and track email opens and bounces.

With so many options to choose from, there is something for everyone! Paperless Post will be my new go-to for every invite or stationary need. Check out their selection and get started on your next invitation today!

XO Courtney

 

Travel Guide: Savannah, Georgia

A few weeks ago, I traveled down to beautiful Savannah, Georgia! It was my first time visiting, and after just one weekend, I fell in love.

My mom, sister and I decided to venture down for 3 days (Friday-Monday), which was the perfect amount of time to explore. We stayed at the Mansion on Forsyth Park, which was a beautiful hotel and in a great location. It was away from the bustle of the downtown area, yet close enough to walk everywhere. On our first day, we actually decided to make the walk from our hotel all the way down to the river. We passed so many quaint shops and eateries, getting a feel for how the city is designed. Overall, navigating the area was simple, since most blocks are separated by different squares!

 

We first checked out the riverfront, which tends to be very touristy. Lined with cobblestones, the riverfront is filled with plenty of souvenir shops and bars. While it wasn’t my favorite, it was nice to see on our first day.

On the second day, we opted to take the Old Savannah Trolley Tour. This is a must! The tour guides were fantastic, and the trolley made it so you could hop on and off at several stops. The tour gave us a taste of the city’s history, while also allowing us to map out what we wanted to see and visit. A must to see while in Savannah is Chippewa Square. If this doesn’t ring a bell, then please go and watch Forrest Gump. The movie’s famous line “life is like a box of chocolates” was said in that very park. While the actual bench is no longer there, you can still grab some chocolate from the local store and enjoy it. You never know who you’re going to see while you’re there!

In terms of history, all three of us decided to visit the Sorrel Weed House. I am a BIG fan of historical homes. I absolutely love being able to see everything as it once was and learning about the families that once lived there. This particular tour was very interesting, but also very sad. For years, Savannah didn’t have laws against destroying historical landmarks, so the Sorrel Weed House went through decades of transformation, from a department store to apartments and now finally back to its original state. They are continuing to restore the home, so don’t expect to see it in its original condition.

Savannah is also considered one of the most haunted cities in America, so what better than to check out a ghost tour! We were sadly disappointed. For Savannah having such a rich and haunted history, the ghost tour just wasn’t impressive. Not only were we stuck in a large group, but our tour guide continued to laugh while telling the haunted history of Savannah. We ended up leaving mid-way through because it was not worth finishing.

In addition to seeing the historic sites, we also shopped… a lot! Broughton Street was our next stop on the trip. Titled the ‘Newbury Street of the south,’  the area offered several local and chain stores. One of my favorites was The Paris Market Cafe. Not only could you sip on a coffee and enjoy some macarons, but the shop also offered gifts and home decor for every style. If you are looking for even more shopping, City Market has several stores and eateries to enjoy.

Another thing I really appreciated about Savannah was how much the city values art. Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) plays a central part in the city’s culture and vibe. Everywhere you’d go there’d be galleries or art shops, and I really took a liking to the role art plays in the city’s personality.

And now for my favorite part… food!! Below are a few of the top places we ate at, while in Savannah

  1. The Collins Quarter – This restaurant had the BEST brunch! The wait time wasn’t that long. I think we waited ten minutes max. I definitely recommend the avocado toast! So good! 
  2. Circa 1875 – The dinner here was incredible! I love French food, and this restaurant impressed. Not only did they have my favorite Aperol Spritz, but the cuisine was delicious! The muscles and charcuterie board are a must if you order anything!
  3. Goose Feathers Cafe – For a quick and super yummy breakfast, this is your spot! Don’t be scared by the line outside. The cafe has you order first then sit, so you are guaranteed a table!
  4. 45 Bistro – All I can say is wow! Not only was our waiter fantastic, but the food was amazing! The seafood pasta is the way to go at this restaurant! 
  5. Leopold’s – The line was down the street, but the ice cream was worth the wait! I ordered their vegan vanilla (since I unfortunately cannot eat regular ice cream), but it was delicious. If you don’t want to wait in the line, at least take a picture of the sign. The shop still has an old school ice cream parlor look. 
  6. Gryphon Tea Room – For the most delicious brunch or afternoon tea, Gryphon is your stop! The restaurant is a part of SCAD and has some of the most delicious bites! I forgot how good tea sandwiches are. And it also looks like an old school library inside.

Savannah’s open container law is non-existent, so don’t be surprised if you are asked to enjoy your cocktail on the go. Not going to lie, this is definitely a highlight of the city, especially if you are with friends or on a girls trip like I was. For a unique drink spot, check out Jen’s and Friends. The tiny bar offers every martini imaginable. From rice crispy treats to straight up chocolate, it doesn’t disappoint. Plus the inside smells of sugar!

Savannah was a blast, and I was so sad to leave. I hope this guide helps you plan your trip to the beautiful city! Until next time!

-XOXO Courtney

 

I Tried Blue Light Glasses And This Is What Happened

Staring at a computer screen from 8am-5pm has been painful for my eyes and body. Recently, I have noticed that at the end of each work day I have excruciating headaches, dry and burning eyes, and am overall extremely tired. I was told to check out blue light glasses to reduce the pain and protect my eyes from the computer screen. I decided to try them and this is what happened.

For those of you wondering what I am even talking about, blue light glasses are clear lens glasses that block HEV blue light emitted by digital screens. If you have experienced dry and tired eyes after looking at a computer or even your phone for long periods of time, then you may have experienced the effects of blue light.

There are so many brands that sell blue light glasses. Some even offer the ability to add on blue light lenses to a prescription pair. For me, however, I was just looking for a pair that could ultimately eliminate my eye strain and headaches, while still looking cute (obviously the most important part!)

I purchased a pair from Quay Australia, and after doing some research, found that these were the best price and had amazing reviews. I also wanted a pair that had a stylish flair and could be worn with anything. When I initially got the glasses in the mail, I was a little uncertain by my choice. I am not used to wearing glasses everyday and was unsure how I felt about the frames and the fit. I decided to give them a try, and the next day, I wore them while online shopping and was obsessed! Not going to lie, it takes some time getting used to them and feeling comfortable.

I kept a mini diary throughout the week to share my experience day by day:

Monday, March 18, 2019

My first full day was definitely an adjustment! They felt funny and were very noticeable to me. I did still feel the tiniest headache at the end of the day, but overall it wasn’t anything painful. I also found myself fiddling with them, trying to find the most comfortable spot on my face.

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

By the third day, I did not have a headache. My eyes still felt dry at work, but I also think that is dependent on how dry the air is in the office and allergies. One lesson I did learn on day three was that I need to apply more powder to my face, or the glasses will remove all of my makeup!

Friday, March 22, 2019

On Friday, I worked from home and started to notice such a difference when I would take my glasses off. The lenses have a bit of a yellow tint to contrast the blue light. I didn’t realize how noticeable it was until I started removing them frequently throughout the day. My eyes were not dry, and I did not have any headaches!

By the second week of wearing the glasses, I felt great! Not only did I really love the look of them, but I was so pleased with how they eliminated all of my symptoms. By the time I would make my commute home, I was no longer suffering through uncomfortable headaches and eye pain. Of note, my glasses did start to become uncomfortable sitting behind my ears (almost like the pain I’d get when wearing those hard headbands as a kid. LOL let me know if you can relate!) I’m thinking a slight adjustment to the fit will make that all better!

Overall, I definitely recommend blue light glasses. I will never use a computer at work or home without them. I don’t think people need to pay over hundreds of dollars for a pair. The ones I purchased were reasonable and very sturdy. I recommend doing some research and even checking on Amazon for a deal.

If you are curious if you may be exposing your eyes to blue light and its effects, definitely check out PreventBlindness.org. They were one of the first websites I checked out when I was researching the harmful effects and wanted to learn more on how I could protect my eyes.

Remember, you only have one set of eyes! If wearing a pair of glasses could protect the harmful effects of using digital devices, then it is worth it!

-XOXO Courtney

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