The Way You Start a Day


I do believe there is so much about a morning ritual that truly has such a lasting effect on your day & continued happiness.

Mornings when I eat a healthier breakfast I make healthier choices throughout the day. When I wake up early to engage in some form of physical activity I am more productive. When I treat myself to self reflection and "me" time I'm happier and introspective. Mornings that I spend interacting with someone I love I'm more communicative and approachable. Mornings that I start off reading a chapter out of a book or listing to calming music I am more peaceful and relaxed. Overall I much prefer days like these to the days when I'm rushing around to get ready for the day, devour a quick and meaningless meal, and racing out the door, which happens more often than I'm willing to acknowledge. I need to start giving mornings more credit. So many of us identify ourselves as "not morning people" but if we say that then we believe it and thus create a self-fulfilling prophecy that impacts our entire day, and days stack up to a life. I think of it like Jenga, you can't let the bottom get wonky right off the bat otherwise the game is practically over before it even begins. If we aren't "morning people" then how can we be "day people" or "afternoon people" or "night people?" 

I don't believe there is a rhyme or rhythm to the morning. There is no guide or manual that I'm aware of. It's just the time of the day when you show yourself that you know yourself. You know best what your body needs to feel good whether it's a particular meal, routine, ritual, or song... and if you don't then you ought to start listening.

What a great morning I had. I started off with a 30 minute run with my sweet friend Maile as we downloaded our lives together. Then nourished my body with a green smoothie and mug of green tea. I wrote a letter to my NYC pen pal/sorority sister Justine and now I'm blogging. I'm going to make a quick list of gratitude and smile to myself in my cozy loft. Brett Dennen is calmly playing the soundtrack to my events and I'm about to take a shower while I reflect on positive affirmations, then make my bed, and get to work. This is what my body needs, and I'll be thanking myself later.... even if it was so hard to roll out of bed at 5:45am.

It's going to be a good day.


Five Fall Trend Obsessions

I am so excited that fall is here. I always get excited to dust off my military coat and pull out my coziest sweaters but I've never been more excited about the fall beauty trends. I'm ready to retire my coral lipstick and turquoise nail polish and redefine my own sophistication in simple, yet bold, new ways. Here are 5 things I'm obsessed with at the moment...

Plum Lips (Oh la la vamp!)
Feeling bold? Try MAKE UP FOREVER #48 (satin blackcurrant) or more subtle #13 (pearly plum) I have both (#48 pictured above) and love them. I'm also on the hunt for a deep magenta and deep purple. This is my favorite trend of the season.

Fishtail Braid 
The messier the better I say. Check out this video to learn how, it's super easy and fast.

Vintage Wings
I'll admit- it took me over a year and a test-run on 12 different liners to get this right. The best advice is to keep practicing. This look can be so simple yet so glam and dramatic. It's definitely my go-to method these days as it only takes me about 2 minutes. My favorites liners: tokidoki Perfecto Liner, Still Stay All Day liner, Sephora Waterproof Smoky Cream Liner, & Revlon ColorStay Liquid Eye Pen.

Muted Nails with Sparkle
I love the slight subtle of sparkle on top of a muted shade. My favorite combo is Sephora by OPI Frankly I Don't Give A-Dam with Sephora by OPI Only Gold For Me top coat.

Chic Messy Bun
Skip the clean hair and pile your hair on the top of your head in a chic messy bun. Don't worry about the pieces that fall down or dangle, let the fall winds dance with them. 

Now go jump in a pile of leaves...


"pageant" 101: feel good, look good

Gasp! The swimsuit presentation...

Pageant Tip #2
Feel good, look good.

Whether it's a crown you seek, or the simple desire to love your body you must first start with the feeling your create within.  Before you begin you must first know yourself and how your body reacts to different foods and physical activities. What works for one person isn't going to work for everyone. Getting to your ideal place comes from understanding what your body needs and researching the various avenues that will take you there. Over the course of the year I took several different approaches towards getting myself  to where I wanted to be. Many of those approaches came from research and more research. Ultimately what I found most valuable was when I felt good, I looked good. The greatest lesson to learn is that in pageantry the swimsuit competition is won from the neck up. The way you "feel" in a swimsuit is written all over your face- whether you know it or not. There is no way out of this one folks, you have to feel good before you can look good. 

Another important piece that I always try to stress to people is pageants aren't all about fitness, that is only a minor component of the big picture. If you want to compete in a fitness competition then there are competitions for that, but pageants aren't it. It's a huge pet peeve of mine when someone asks a girl what she has been doing to prepare for a pageant and the first thing she says is "working out." That makes it sound as if we only care about image. There is so much more to be learned in preparation for the swimsuit competition, how to feel comfortable and confident, how to be healthy and sustain energy, how to know your body, how to treat your body, and how to embrace the body you've been given and work it!

Since I am a vegetarian I had to take my own approaches towards feeling good and being healthy. As a vegetarian it is very easy to just consume carbs to satisfy hunger- but what I ultimately found was that carbs just made me tired and lethargic and less feeling good and more feeling "yuck." I had to figure out what food was going to give me the right kind of energy that I needed to perpetuate my lifestyle and help me stay on track with my fitness goals. I did a lot of reading about raw foods, power foods, green smoothies & alternative protein consumption. Here are some of my favorite finds:

On top of making sure the food I was eating was nourishing my body I also researched plans for appropriate physical activity. During my pageant preparations I worked a full time job as a teacher, a part time job as an after-school enrichment teacher, and also held other various roles. It was not feasible for me to spend all of my time at the gym, nor was it even necessary. I needed to figure out how to maximize my time so that the activities I was engaging in were making me happy and also helping me gain strength and balance. I found that too much cardio for me caused me to shed a lot of weight- and I did not want to be "skinny." I learned to balance cardio with strength building exercises. I also was searching for ways to enjoy the time I spent working out. I tried P90x for a while and when I got bored I moved on. I tried Zumba and loved it so much, it made me feel great and taught me some fun dance moves. I also started working with a personal trainer, this way my strength building was appropriate for my goals and not to harsh. I also loved spending time with her and she taught me many valuable lessons and became one of my dearest friends. When I traveled to the coast I would run along the shore line, when I found a flight of stairs I would climb them and I would even do calf raises when I was out on the playground with my students. Physical activity was not a chore but always something I looked forward to. The best part about doing something physical is the way it makes you feel afterwards. Feel good, look good.

When it was time to prepare for Miss USA I recognized that as Miss USA you represent powerful, healthy, working women in this country. I wanted to make sure that I was nothing short of that. After the competition I found the most flattering compliments to be those that reflected my healthy body and confidence. The truth is, I did feel healthy and confident. I was taking vitamins, consuming plenty of antioxidants (green tea and berries), staying hydrated, keeping a food journal, and working myself just enough to feel strong and energized while having fun and enjoying my life. 


It's not about being skinny, or drastic about changing the way you look. It's about embracing yourself, loving yourself, knowing what your body needs and treating it the way it deserves to be treated. Your bodes does amazing things for you, it should be pampered no differently than your toy poodle or you high heel collection. Love yourself and enjoy the journey.

feel good, look good, enjoy the journey-