Posted in Wellness

4 Simple Secrets to Taking Fab. Photos

Meeting new people that have talents, stories, knowledge, etc. has always been my favorite thing. I love to hear about them. How they got to where they are, who pushed them along the way, how they were motivated, what they’re passionate about.

People have so much to say if you just listen.

I recently was visiting with Chris’s Nana and got a bit sentimental. I have always loved to just sit with her and listen to her tell stories. It’s so interesting to talk to her about a time in which she grew up that I will never experience. Her sweet stories of meeting her husband, being young and in love, raising children are all so fond to her. It made me think about how everyone has a story, everyone has something that has empowered them in life or made them happy. Everyone has something they’re good at, and have worked hard at so naturally I immediately think how I can bring this to the blog.

I want Blissfully Lively to be a space of motivation, positivity, & inspiration for women, and this idea of sharing stories shines a light on specific people that will help you stay motivated, positive, and your best self.

This new interview/ motivational section of the blog will be posted twice a month (every other Monday) and be about any professional who I think could bring some insight to the girls that read this blog. I’m talking hair dressers, life coaches, estheticians, photographers, personal trainers, chefs, you name it.

I am so excited to get this new blog topic started with one of my favorite people. My gorgeous friend/ photographer Raya. I wanted her to be the first interview on the blog because she is one of the most hardworking/ passionate people I know. You can find her nonstop smiling/ laughing and she just radiates good vibes. She is the person you want around 24/7.

Here’s Raya to give you a little insight on her craft, Photography!

raya on assignment

Hey loves! My name is Raya and I love through the lens. I have the brilliant responsibility of capturing and sharing some of the sweetest moments we experience as humans. I am also a storyteller, a world traveler, and a woman of compassion. The last nine years have involved capturing and sharing authentic moments throughout various communities and countries. I moved to Portsmouth after graduating from the University of New Hampshire in 2013 with a BA in English/Journalism. While making Portsmouth my home, I have spent my time documenting the Seacoast. I am here to observe and preserve moments with you. Photojournalism is a passion of mine and my hope is that by sharing my work, we will feel more connected within ourselves and in our communities. To help spread this ideology, I began the photojournalism project, People of Portsmouth, in which the community’s inhabitants are featured with their portrait in unique and often personal words. This project continues to grow in popularity and within two years, over 260 people have been interviewed.  So that being said, I am here to share some tricks of my trade on how to score fab photos when we may not have photography as one of our innate abilities.

Breaking it down for you in 4 super simple secrets…

  • Get low. I find myself stomach down during a lot of shoots to score a neat perspective. As humans we see a lot of eye level stuff, get low to create instant interest!
  • Get high. Piggybacks on the philosophy I mentioned above, creates an interesting and unconventional perspective.
  • Get close and frame it. Not applicable always but can be used most of the time. Use the entire frame you have, and fill it up.
  • Copy the blueprints that work. Stalk the people you love, write down what it is about their work that makes you glow, and try to emulate that. Then unfollow them and focus on honing in on your craft!

I am your seacoast photographer and I remain open to collaborations, so drop me a line if you’re interested!

Raya Al-Hashmi

(Check out my People of Portsmouth Interview here)

Live Blissfully!

xo,

Lauren


My Fav. Ways to Burn 100 Calories with Chobani

chobani 100 calorie

Who doesn’t love a tasty treat every now and then?…I know I do! but lately (the last month or so) i’ve been eating a few too many treats, and slacking on my daily workouts which = not feeling so great. The cause for my missing workouts is always time management issues! Being a working gal and going to school at night sometimes results in 12 hour days and the last thing I want to do is workout on a day like that!

Truthfully though getting a good sweat in would definitely make me feel 100 times better

So now that I have acknowledged this lapse in judgement (we all do it) and am back on track to being the happiest and healthiest version of myself, I have decided to dedicate 30-40 minutes a night to exercising in whatever way I am feeling. Some days that may mean yoga, other nights that may mean strength training, but whatever it is it gets my body moving and burning those calories. I know some may think it is impossible with their schedule but truthfully whatever you’re passionate about, you make time for it.

Along with working out, eating right is so important to me. I love crafting up delicious recipes that will fuel me for a kick ass day, or recharge me after a hardcore workout. Yogurt has been my go to lately as it is so easy to blend into a smoothie, substitute for mayo in a tuna sandwich, or even top with granola and eat on the go. Luckily Chobani has recently come out with Simply 100 Crunch– A light greek yogurt, naturally sweetened and loaded with flavor from the crunchy sidecar of all natural toppings (Mango Cone Crisp is my ultimate fav.). Wanna know the best part?

chobani 100

Only 100 Calories!

For guilt free munching to your hearts content! I usually snack on one of these after my PiYo class to replenish those calories and enjoy every last bite. The combination of light yogurt and that sweet and delicious crunch along with it’s easy grab and go container make it a perfect treat to snack on after teaching some awesome ladies how to get their sweat on. What’s not to love?

Here are a few other fun ways to burn 100 calories which include 10 minutes of skiing, 20 minutes of dancing, or my personal fav. 38 minutes of shopping!

simply100

Which ever your exercise preference, Simply 100 Crunch is the perfect guilt- free treat to indulge in. Thank you so much to Chobani for asking me to share the ways I burn 100 calories, and introduce you all to their newest tasty treat! What are you guys doing to live life a little lighter this year?

P.S. Go check out how Neon Blonde burns 100 calories the most fun way possible with Chobani! Click Here 

Live Blissfully!

xo,

Lauren


Fitness Favorites

fitness favorites

1|2|3|4

Who needs a little workout motivation?… I know I do

And what better way to get motivated then with some new workout gear! As you guys know I obsess over inexpensive and fashionable workout attire, and recently I have gotten a lot of questions on Instagram asking where I purchase my workout gear so I thought why not do a post all about my favorites.

  1. Forever 21 active leggings: Sadly these ones are sold out from Forever21 but I linked a similar pair (that I may even like a little more 🙈) from their site. I have gotten so many questions and compliments on them so I thought I would give you guys the inside scoop. $22 and the most comfortable fabric ever. They also are awesome for teaching PiYo because they’re able to be worn high waisted, and absorb sweat so you aren’t left dripping after an intense workout…Fashionable and stylish, my go to.
  2. This water bottle caught my eye on Instagram and I knew I needed to have it…I mean what girl isn’t thinking about pizza while they work their ass off at the gym 🙌🏻haha. Super in expensive and makes me laugh so its a win win in my book.
  3. Fabletics Moorea Bra: I have been in love with this high neck crop top sports bra for quite some time and every time I check Fabletics for my size it’s sold out…I can see wearing this in the summer with a long cardigan, black leather detail leggings, and black nikes running around doing errands. And the price point is perfect $24 if you are a vip member.
  4. Target black and white leggings: Lets be honest here…these I was a bit hesitant about when I purchased them. I loved them initially and then was like hmm… do they look too much like cow print?…I finally ignored that and just stuck with the fact that they look cool with the mesh and are so damn comfy. And I mean $19 who can beat that?

I linked all of the items above under the photo. I hoped this helps anyone who is in the market for some new workout clothes…now go crush that workout while looking seriously stylish!

Live Blissfully!

xo,

Lauren


5 Ways To Be More Productive

Desk Essentials- 5 easy ways to be more productive| Blissfullylively.com 

I have always had a seriously bad case of getting side tracked. I have all the intentions of doing a million errands/ cleaning the house/ redecorating/ going to the gym, etc. But I end up only doing two of the tasks throughout my day because I don’t have a concrete plan. Please tell me you ladies out there can relate?

I start out my day all peachy and begin by making mental notes while eating breakfast. oh I need to clean the bathroom, I should probably throw in some laundry, I have to run to target for toothpaste (don’t even get me started on how side tracked I get in Target), etc. until I have planned out all the things I need to accomplish. Fast forward to me in the middle of cleaning the bathroom, when I remember that I need to rotate the laundry. I go down into the basement to rotate it and I see a project I forgot about which I realize I need supplies for and I’m out the door on my way to Target to get supplies….

WHEW!

HELLO THAT PROJECT WASN’T EVEN IN THE PLANS TO ACCOMPLISH TODAY!

So basically I used to run around in circles doing 40 things at once until these productivity tips  came into my life. Let me fill you in.

1.Schedule your day on paper or better yet in google calendar because it feels more official. I know this one might be a little far fetched for people who want to feel relaxed on their days off but I need to stick to a schedule so I know everything will get done. Instead of just making mental notes like I used to I write down time slot by time slot what my day will look like. Here’s an example.

8am-9am workout

930-1030 blog

1030-1130 clean the house

1130-1230 finish DIY project and take photos for blog

1230-130 lunch/ relax

130-330 Homework

ETC.

2. Purchase a planner. I am a little crazy about checking things off my planner. I have one that is a notebook that I carry around with me everywhere I go that has a calendar in it, and pages to write more in depth. I also have another little planner (The Mon-Friday one above) that I keep on my desk. I like to roughly plan out my week on Sunday night with that so I know what’s coming up.

3. Silence your phone or put on music. I am guilty of checking my phone for the time, etc. seeing a nice Instagram comment and getting carried away looking through others feeds. If I really need to concentrate or am on a deadline to get things done I silence my phone, keep it out of my reach and quietly play pandora. If you can’t be motivated to stay on task by Adele serenading you Idk what will help!

4. Take exercise/ stretching breaks. This one helps me so much because I can get hyper focused on editing a blog video, or typing up a paper for homework and catch myself not having stopped for 2 hours. It is always good to look away from the computer screen, stretch a little, get the blood flowing, maybe even do some quick yoga in your office. Cue the productivity!

5. Accessorize/ clean your desk. I know this one might make people laugh but I can’t tell you how much more productive I am when my desk is clean but also looking cute. I repainted my desk white (love the crisp look of it) decluttered the top and added just a few of these Target dollar section desk accessories and have been wanting to sit at my desk so much more. I feel like when you love the space you work in it makes you want to get shit done! & there’s no excuse for not loving your space when these accessories were only $5 in total!

I hope these tips helped, now go get to making your lists & feeling as productive as ever!

Live Blissfully!

xo,

Lauren


The Transformation Illusion

transformation 1 transformation 2Transformations have been super popular lately given the #transformationtuesday hashtag, and fitness programs that thrive off before and after pictures. Because I love fitness, and take my own personal fitness journey seriously I follow an array of different fitness, motivation, wellness, etc. social media accounts and have felt overwhelmed by the amount of transformation photos popping up everywhere.

I am a huge believer in documenting your progress, and taking your fitness seriously, but I’m not sold on gimmicky transformation photos, and let me tell you why.

2 reasons. 1 The photos are misleading because of many different editing tactics & 2 They’re a poor representation of what companies programs actually will do for you. They make it seem like a magic fitness genie will change the way your body looks in a months time.

Losing weight, or making the decision to live a healthy life is a lifestyle change that takes dedication, serious hard work, and motivation! & there are people that grind it out on the regular that completely understand this.

Even the best workouts take months of hard work to get results from…plain and simple.

There’s no quick fix… 

I’m here to let all my awesome hardworking fitness ladies out there know it doesn’t happen at the snap of your fingers, and you shouldn’t be upset if it doesn’t. These photos are there to lure people in to buying a specific workout program, or drink, etc. but don’t work for everyone, and are an illusion to make people think their body will look chiseled in a seriously short about of time. Just to show you guys how much of an illusion they are I put up my own before and after photo. Both of these photos were taken on the exact same night one after I had worked out and was flexing, and one after I ate a large meal and was manipulating my pose to look unfit (slouching, etc). This just goes to show transformation photos can easily be doctored to show desired results.

I know people who have been on a fitness journey for 2 years and have lost weight, become physically fit, & happier in their life, and that didn’t take them 1 month. It has taken two years of killer workouts (actually lifting weights), & eating right.

The human body doesn’t want to change. It fights the process of losing weight, & the process of gaining muscle. It’s one thing to exercise to maintain your look and it’s another to transform the way you look and that takes a significantly greater amount of work. It’s great that people are creating fitness challenges but what do you do after your month long weight loss challenge? Even if you lose weight in that month then what do you do after it’s over? People who have had the most success have bought into it as a life long lifestyle or journey and not as a temporary challenge.

I wanted to write this post because I don’t want people to be discouraged, or insecure because they aren’t producing the same results as transformation photos. Photoshop, lighting, time of day the picture is taken, etc. can drastically change the photos for better or worse and that is what you need to remember when you start to feel upset or insecure in any way.

Everyones fitness journey is different, but what isn’t different is the hard work that it takes to get there. Fitting working out into my schedule is hard, eating right is crazy hard especially during the holidays, but remembering that Rome wasn’t built in a day (cheesy I know) is so important. I have been working out for years trying out different styles to see what I like, and only in the last year from the help of Chris’s workout plans I have seen my handwork paying off. (yes I said year it takes a long time to see change!).

Everyone’s bodies are different, and everyone’s best bodies are different. As hard as every girl might try to have Carrie Underwood’s legs (holy shit how amazing are her legs), no one will ever have her legs… (unless you have her DNA). This doesn’t mean yours aren’t just as amazing, they’re just different and that’s ok!

I want to end with saying that this is just my personal opinion, and what works for me. I just wanted to put a little positive encouragement out there for everyone working hard to live a healthier happier life.

Merry Christmas!

Live Blissfully!

Autograph

 


Fake It Until You Make It.

Rye beach

The other day I was chatting with a friend about success, and failure (killing it, and struggling) whatever you wish to call it.

And a little something popped into my mind to get her out of the rut she was in…Just fake it until you make it. Seriously.

Your mindset is everything. If you’re thinking positive, encouraging yourself, & embracing your struggle it will benefit you in the long run.

Everyone struggles, and has troubles in life but what pushes them forward is (I think) positivity & Hard Work. If you think negative thoughts you will get negative results. If you go through life thinking “woe as me” your life will be filled with the negative.

I know this topic might be a little out of the blue but I thought if my friend is struggling with this, and I have struggled with it, why not write about it in hopes it could help one person who too is stuck in a rut.

No one has ever been successful by sitting on their butt and complaining. lets take this blog as an example. It’s hard work to blog. People don’t think so but it truly is. You have to find a topic to blog about, take the pictures of that topic, edit them, write up the blog post, edit that, post it, and then link it to all other forms of social media if you really want people to read it. I also have a day job, am in school full time, and somewhere in there need to fit in homework, workouts, spending time with family/friends. Even though that seems like a lot and could be overwhelming I know that if I keep on keeping on, work hard, and stay positive I will succeed.

Granted it’s hard to stay positive at all times given good old social media. I mean don’t let me fool you guys its so freakin’ easy to sit on Instagram and have a pity party…This blogger has 100k followers, and this blogger has the cutest picture, why can’t I have that…. My pictures suck, I need a new camera, I need more followers, my content sucks, I should just quit blogging all together, etc.

BUT I don’t (most of the time, no ones perfect) because I know that everyone starts somewhere, and the only way to get to having 100k followers, or awesome blog pictures, whatever it may be that you’re striving for is to work hard and stay positive!

So to wrap this all up, whenever you start feeling this way, turn it around and think to your self if you were in another persons shoes admiring yourself what would you say?. What would others say that are positive about you? What do others compliment you for, what is you best trait, what makes you happy, etc.

Be mindful of these things, and enjoy your struggle, thrive in it because everyone is right there with you girl!

Live Blissfully!

Autograph

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


It’s The Little Things

grateful

 

I feel like I tend to forget this little saying quite often. I get so worked up or stressed about unnecessary stuff that I sometimes forget to pick out the things that are positive and are making my life better! I have decided to start a blog series dedicated to just that the small things that are making positive changes in my life on the daily that I seem to pass by. I wanted to bring this to the blog cause I feel like it’s something that a lot of people struggle with and I hope chatting about it will bring it to people’s attention and change the way they live for the better!

When I say small I truly mean small like minuscule things that you see and say in your head “oh thats nice” or “pretty” or “funny” and just keep on going about your business when you should stop and say holy smokes thats really pretty, take a second let it make you smile (or dance around the room) and be thankful for it!

Let me give you an example so you can better understand what i’m ranting on about. So yesterday I’m driving home trying to think about whats in the fridge for dinner (I know SHOCKER all I ever think about is food) and I’m tired and frustrated by how I have had two 12 hour work days in a row and now I need to go home and do homework (blah blah, Im having a pity party for myself moving on!) and I walk in the door open the fridge to get some ice for my iced tea and BAM! right there in front of me is my favorite ICE CREAM EVER! Chris bought it at the store last night and I completely forgot about it (he also bought waffle cones… he’s a serious winner) and I stopped and just stared at it for a second (after I let out a huge squeal of excitement) and was just so grateful for ice cream it wasn’t even funny. It’s the little things in life people! It’s the little moments when you could have just grabbed the ice cream out of the fridge said “UH THANK GOD” in a snarky voice and proceed to eat the ice cream out of the tub without giving it a second thought, but ya don’t cause who wants to live life that way?

Now go on and find your “ice cream” small things of the world and treat them like a goldmine and happily bask in them! (you could go one step further and even write them down daily, but thats just an overachiever kind a thang 😉

Live Blissfully!

Autograph


Gymtimidation & Your Opinion

Well hey guys happy hump day! (whenever I type or say hump day all I can think about is that commercial with the camel yelling HUMP DAYYYYY and I bust out laughing) just had to let you all in on whats happening behind the computer screen. Anyway on to what you came here to read.

wednesday

Lets start with your opinion!

So I have been blogging for a little over a year now and have done my Mouthwatering Monday every Monday (with the exception of a few) since I started. Recently I’ve been feeling pressured to come up with ideas for the recipes and some of the time just searched for something I think you all will like and adding it into the Mouthwatering Monday post instead of actually making it and sharing it with you from my own experience because I felt rushed to get something to you all by Monday. It leaves me feeling somewhat phony bologna and unauthentic and I’m not down for that! I want to post things that you guys want to see, and that I feel excited to post about. AKA I don’t want to post just to post I want there to be a purpose behind it. So I have a couple of ideas and with a little help from you guys I will be able to make a better decision.

Questions

Do you guys enjoy reading the Mouthwatering Monday posts?

Would you mind if I only posted them when I had fresh, new, and exciting recipes for you guys instead of every single Monday?

What type of recipes have you liked the most? Dinner delights, healthy goodies, sweet treats, etc?

Any other recommendations? The blog will only get better and continue to grow with feedback from you awesome readers.

Oh and to clarify this does not mean I will stop Mouthwatering Monday all together because if you’ve been reading since the beginning you know I’m a serious foodie and sharing my love for that with you guys is just my fav. thing!

Let me know your feedback in the comments section or on Instagram!

Gymtimidation

Today I was at the gym minding my own business (I’m really antisocial when it comes to the gym idk why maybe I myself have gymtimidation…actually who am I kidding I know I do) and these two girls walked up next to me grabbed some heavy weights and started doing a move in the most awkward way you could ever think of. Meanwhile I’m sitting there trying to focus on my own workout when really all I can think about is how these girls are probably hurting themselves more than they are helping. So here’s what went through my mind in the time it took me to finish my goblet squats while watching these girls.

“Oh jeeze! OUCH!”

“Your back is going to hurt”

“Oh no now is she teaching her friend to do it that way too”

“Should I go over and help, they’re really struggling…and keep smiling at me”

“maybe they’re nice”

“Wait who am I to help… I’m just a girl at the gym like them..but I don’t want them to get hurt”

“What if someone came up to me? How embarrassing”

END OF CONVERSATION WITH MYSELF (yes I know i’m crazy I have full on convos in me head…with myself.)

As I was driving home I could not stop thinking about these girls and how uncomfortable they looked and how uncomfortable I felt. Like why would it be such a bad thing if I asked them if they needed any help, or showed them a move I knew and if they didn’t want any help then hey at least I tried! I think being intimidated of the gym or the culture around the gym is so normal but to see someone (two people) doing something so utterly wrong (way too heavy of weights and just bad form) and not stop and see if they need help because I’m too scared of being shut down or embarrassed is ridiculous!

I know how they feel because come on I think everyone has a little bit of gymtimidation. Chris’ job is an athletic trainer…I live with someone who does this for a living who makes me all of my workouts, shows me exactly how to do the moves, motivates me, encourages me, and I still flip open google and check to make sure I’m doing the deadlift right every time because I don’t want to look stupid or hurt myself in front of other people. THE GYM IS INTIMIDATING…only if you let it be.

So long story longer…

I want people to feel comfortable at the gym doing what makes their life better (working out) and know what they are doing in the process. Also I want to feel comfortable to help my fellow blissfully fit gals who seem like they’re struggling with something and not feel stupid to lend a helping hand! I feel like this topic will morph into something pertaining to the blog over the next couple of months, and it’s so awesome to know that I have this place to chat about it all with you guys!.

Have you guys ever felt any Gymtimidation? Witnessed anything like what I was talking about? Let me hear it!

Live Blissfully!

Autograph

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


My First Job

Well hey guys! Happy Thursday. I feel like this week has been flying by and the weekend will be here before we know it. Last week my friends at TheLadders.com contacted me to write a little post all about my first job and the lessons I learned. Over the last couple days I’ve been thinking all about what job I wanted to post about, or what lessons i’ve learned in particular, but I kept coming back to the same thought… HARD WORK PAYS OFF!

theladders

So before I dive too deep into my story let me give you guys the dealio on what TheLadders does. They are an online company that “takes the anxiety out of your job search“. They are a community that connects job seekers with employers in the exact field (or interest) you the seeker have in mind. They have over 100,000 employers and recruiters to connect you with, and they have a free basic package that allows you to test it all out to get the gist. As we all know it can be hard to find a job whether you’re a recent college grad or a middle-aged mom, and this website seems like a great way to take the stress out of doing so. Lets just say I will most definitely be keeping them in mind as I am graduating in a couple months (and those student loans need to start being paid off).

So here’s my story!

My first job wasn’t pushed by anyone or anything but more of an excitement to make my own money. At the age of twelve I took a babysitting course at my local hospital and immediately started babysitting for families in my neighborhood. I loved caring for young children and the feeling I got when I left with my own spending money. Sadly just after I started getting my babysitting feet under me my parents went through a divorce and I was forced to move out of the neighborhood I grew up in. I also entered high school and began playing sports which took away time from working.

My mom became a newly single mom and supporting my sister and I was nothing short of easy. As I watched my mom struggle to make ends meet I began realizing how important a good paying job was. Over my first year of high school I realized that working wouldn’t be a choice for me (like a lot of my friends) and more a necessity if I wanted any spending money. The day I turned 16 and got a car I was off to my first real job outside of looking after neighbors children in their homes. I was now an Employee of Polo Ralph Lauren. I luckily got to work right alongside my best friend folding polo shirts, making the store look beautiful, and helping customers find their sizes. I worked an average of 20 hours a week and made enough to cover the expenses of being a teenager. Along with making money came more of a social life to spend it, and when my friends started taking work off as we went through high school I started picking up more shifts to pay for my car insurance, impending college, etc….not to say I didn’t have fun cause I totally did, but this is where the hard work comes in! Because of me putting extra time and effort into work I got a raise!!…This raise was probably like .50 cents but it made me feel like I was on top of the world!

Obviously there were so many times where I wanted to skip work or find someone to cover my shift but there was always that little reminder in the back of my head that working will pay off! As college was approaching I was trying to pick a major and decided on Elementary Education. I knew I loved caring for young children from a young age, as well as how important it is to do something you love surrounded by great people. I took my two favorite aspects from my first two jobs and put them together to now be working at a preschool working my way through college to become a teacher. Through all of college I have realized that if you want something it takes hard work and determination. Nothing is ever handed to you! My love of teaching has now expanded outside of the classroom into a love for teaching fitness classes. Life evolves and your interests change but hard work will always get you to where you want to be! Never forget it even in times of doubt!

Live Blissfully!

Autograph

 

 

 

 

 


0