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Monthly Archives: February 2013

If you’re anything like me, you’ve made a zillion “inspiration boards” over the years. My first was probably in middle school and was covered in Abercrombie & Fitch logos, pictures of Hillary Duff or Mary Kate & Ashley, Green Day lyrics, etc. Needless to say, the things that inspired me when I was 13 don’t play much of a role in my life today. I’ve grown and, naturally, so have my inspirations.

The problem? I spend hours on end creating an inspiration board and then find myself replacing it with a new one 6 or 7 months later. While I don’t necessarily mind doing arts and crafts on a regular basis, my schedule typically doesn’t allow for such ventures. So this week, as I was prepping to start putting together a new inspiration board, I decided it was time to find a solution to my problem.

Introducing the Inspiration Cork Board!

Inspiration BoardNot only was this extremely easy to make, it was cheap! All I had to buy was the cork board ($7.95 at Target) and then I used materials that I found lying around my apartment (an old pillow case and leftover sparkly ribbon from halloween) to decorate it! A step-by-step guide on creating this is almost unnecessary but I’ll share it anyways. Hopefully you’ll be inspired to create one yourself!

What you need: 

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  • Cork Board 
  • Fabric (I used an old pillow case)
  • Scissors
  • Stapler
  • Decorations (optional)

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Step 1: Measure out your fabric

Step 2: Cut around the edge of the cork board

Step 3: Fold fabric around edges

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Step 4: Staple corners of fabric 

Step 5: Decorate! 

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So easy a caveman could do it!

While finding inspiration from the world around us is an amazing thing, it’s crucial that we always find it within ourselves as well. There is more strength, beauty and love inside of you than anywhere else and that’s where true inspiration lies. If you decide to create your own cork board, I’d love to see it!

Here’s to watching our inspirations evolve…

-Emily

As I mentioned in my first two posts, I’m currently studying with The National Association of Sports Medicine (NASM) to get their Personal Training Certification. I’m about halfway through my studying and have absolutely loved it so far. Is it easy? No. Is it interesting? Hell yeah! Building a strong and healthy body can play a huge role in your happiness- endorphins are no joke!

NASM has created The OPT Model as a template for their students to use when creating workout regimes for their clients. While most trainers don’t follow the OPT model exactly, many use it as a base for their own training techniques and schedules. It has 3 Phases: Stabilization Endurance, Strength Endurance, and Power Training and clients are supposed to move through the phases in that order.

Today, we’re focusing on Phase 1: Stabilization Endurance Training…

“Stabilization Endurance Training is designed to create optimal levels of stabilization strength and postural control. This phase of training focuses on: increasing stability, increasing muscular endurance, increasing neuromuscular efficiency of the core musculature, and improving intermuscular and intramuscular coordination” –NASM Essentials of Personal Fitness Training (pg. 350)

A lot of big words? Yes. But it all boils down to one simple fact: creating and strengthening your stability and stability endurance is the basis for any type of training regime. This applies to core stabilization, balance stabilization, plyometric stabilization, etc. To avoid injury, it’s crucial that these muscles are strengthened before more intense workouts are attempted.

Alright, enough of the technical stuff, how does this apply to me and you?

No matter what stage of training you’re at, it’s imperative that you continue to focus on stabilization muscles. Having good balance and core strength will allow you to perform safer and more efficient strength workouts and your cardiovascular training won’t seem quite as daunting.

One of my favorite ways to strengthen these muscles is through static exercises. Static exercises are held for a duration of time in order to fatigue muscles and force your stability to kick in. Ironically enough, in the midst of studying this chapter, my dad sent over a workout that he wrote (he’s also a personal trainer and owns his own studio) for me to try that met all of the criteria I was looking for. So, I thought I’d share it with all of you and, hopefully, you’ll benefit from it as much as I did!

Hold & Hop Workout

It looks fairly simple on paper but, I assure you, it kicked my booty. Section B should be performed as 20/10 Tabata supersets. That means you’ll perform each group of 2 exercises, working for 20 seconds then resting for 10 seconds. So, the first section would look like this: 20 seconds Jumping Jacks, 10 seconds rest, 20 seconds Jump Squats, 10 seconds rest…then repeat that 4 more times.

If you’re up for the challenge, go back to Section A after you’ve completed Section B. Not easy!

If you have any further questions about stability training or this workout, please let me know! And, of course, if anything feels uncomfortable or painful- STOP. Everyone is different and, depending on your current health or past injuries, certain exercises may not be suitable for you. Listen to your body!

Also, never forget all of the amazing things your body does for you on a day-to-day basis. Honor it, take care of it and, most importantly, love it. Like your mind, your body is unique and special. You would never try to conform your mind to fit some stereotypical mold, so why would you do that to your body? Embrace every trait you’ve been given because they’re what make you, you.

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Here’s to finding the beauty in building YOUR body…

-Emily

Blog post #2: Ready, Set, Go.

In my initial post I skimmed the surface of what you can expect to see on this blog. I could have been more detailed but, let’s face it, I was still brainstorming and working out a few kinks in my head. I’ve attempted blogging before (somewhat successfully) but always felt that my posts were scattered. There was no rhyme or reason to my topics and I didn’t follow a “schedule” of any sort. While that may work for many bloggers (that I admire), I want to take a different route this time. It may work or it may fail miserably but there’s no harm in trying. And hey, if I have to scrap it all and re-evaluate, so be it!

Since this is a personal blog, it only makes sense that most of my posts will directly reflect the things that are happening in my life. I’ll share stories, thoughts, advice, etc. on various different topics that I’m interested in and hopefully there will be something that resonates with every single reader.

Since the theme of this whole sha-bang is building bliss I want each of my posts to focus on “building” different areas of our lives. Don’t worry, I won’t bombard you with heavy, drawn-out posts on a daily basis…I’m naturally a positive person and plan to keep my posts light-hearted most of the time. However, my goal is for each posts to fit into one of the following categories:

  • Build Your Bliss
  • Build Your Brain
  • Build Your Body
  • Build Your Beauty 
  • Build Your Budget (?)

I can’t promise how often I’ll touch on each subject- one week may be all thoughts and “brain” stuff while the next may focus solely on health advice and workouts that I’ve created. Who knows! I’ll let the things happening in my personal life dictate which topics I address and we’ll take it from there!

My goal will be to post 3-4 times a week: Monday, Wednesday, Friday and maybe Saturday/Sunday. I definitely don’t want blogging to feel like I chore (highly doubt that will happen!) and I don’t want my posts to become stale or repetitive. So, if that happens, give me a kick in the behind to fix it!

Alright, that’s enough jibber-jabber for one day. Now that you know where we’re headed (ish), I’ll leave you with the two images that have served as my iPhone “lock screen” and “wallpaper” this week:

Happiness Rules Be Free

Simple. True. Beautiful.

Here’s to finding freedom…

-Emily

bliss:

1. Perfect happiness; great joy.

2. Something providing such happiness

Synonyms: felicity – beatitude – blessedness – happiness

It seems so simple, doesn’t it? Perfect happiness- two simple words that represent a feeling most of us spend our lives searching for. But, what does it mean exactly? How can one define happiness?

In short, we can’t.

Blissfulness is a matter of perspective. The things that bring me bliss won’t necessarily do the same for you and many aspects of the world and our daily lives are out of our control. Further, what makes me happy today may not apply next year, next month, or even next week.  So basically, despite what Dictionary.com may tell us, bliss is practically undefinable. Fabulous. 
But that doesn’t have to be a negative thing. There’s beauty in surprise, there’s excitement in change, and there’s power in knowing that you do have control over your “happiness”. It’s just a matter of embracing the fact that it’s unpredictable. That’s where this blog begins…

I’m Emily. A 20-something year old who has spent the last two decades on a constant search for my ‘bliss’. My Type-A personality had me convinced that, if I worked hard enough, I would find that happiness in a perfectly wrapped box somewhere. Not so. 
As much as I planned, scheduled, worked, and searched I always seemed to come up short- or so I thought. From the time I was 3 years old I had decided that I was going to be an actress and I followed the ‘perfect’ plan to make that happen. I went to the right school, took the right classes, networked with the right people, and worked on the right projects…never truly finding fulfillment. Don’t get me wrong, I love the entertainment industry and there may still be a place for me there. But, right now, my attention has been shifted elsewhere. And, as much as that makes me feel like a “failure”, that’s okay.

So, instead of searching for my bliss, I’ve decided to build my bliss. I’m going to listen to my heart, follow my instincts, and go where the wind takes me. I’m going to focus on gaining emotional, mental and physical strength. I’m going to stop trying to force happiness and just let it happen.

And I want you to join me! 

This blog will serve as my journal, of sorts, to share thoughts, sights, sounds, happenings, etc. From health & fitness advice (I’m currently studying with NASM to get my Personal Training Certification) to daily life updates, fashion trends, and beauty tips…I’ll spill whatever is on my mind. And, in the process, I hope to inspire you to build your own bliss- because it isn’t ‘one size fits all’.
It won’t be perfect and it won’t be predictable but that’s the point, isn’t it?

Here’s to the beautiful ride…

-Emily