From Day to Night, Outfits for All Occasions

This post is sponsored by Zappos. All opinions are my own.

It’s Workout Time!

The one thing I love about summer is that it’s warm enough for outdoor workouts! My absolute favorite time for an outdoor workout is right around sunset, because it’s cooling down but still really nice out. I just got some awesome new workout gear from Zappos to keep me looking stylish and cool while I sweat. I’ve found an amazing little spot on the rooftop of a building in Oakland to work out. Luckily I can squeeze in my workout before date night with the husband.

IMG_0108 small

IMG_0112 small

Today was bodyweight exercise day – lunges, burpees, push-ups, and planks were all on the list. And after my workout was done, I got a chance to stretch and take in the view from above!

 

Wearing:

Nike Sportswear Gym Classic Capri

Nike Dry Performance Cushion Low GFX Training Socks

Nike Pro Indy Cooling Sports Bra

Red Nike Hat

Nike Free Shoes

Date Night #OOTD With the Husband!

It’s funny because I had a whole post on Instagram the other day about high heels are bad for our posture, so I’m always looking for shoes that pair well with a dress but still keep me looking stylish. Luckily I shop at Zappos where they have SO many different types of shoes and you can even sort by the style you are looking for.  I found the perfect outfit for tonight; I know, I know, I always have some sort of sporty flair to my outfits, but I think this one is perfect for a casual night out to dinner and a movie!

IMG_0084 small

 

IMG_0094 small

Wearing:

Puma T7 Dress

PUMA Basket Platform Strap

The thing I love best about Zappos is that their customer service is top notch, and things arrive so quickly. Shipping is usually free, and I literally got all of my stuff 2 days after I ordered, just in time for Friday’s activities! I would definitely recommend checking out the site if you’re looking for affordable and unique clothes and shoes!

I hope you all have a fantastic weekend! Happy Shopping!

Permission to Pause

This post is sponsored by Athleta. All opinions are my own.

SMALL_IMG_9915

I’m one of those people who goes to yoga classes, and while attempting to twist myself into a lopsided pretzel have a million things running through my mind. It doesn’t  matter how many times the instructor has me meditate or try to focus on the present. Thoughts like, “What’s on  my grocery list?” “Is my car in a towaway zone?” or “Did I forget to respond to an important email?” race through my mind faster than a session of cardio HIIT. It’s ironic that sometimes we have to give ourselves “permission to pause,” when taking breaks should be second nature. Yet in a world where everything is fast-paced and things are expected on demand, it’s important to remind ourselves that taking time to focus on only ourselves isn’t selfish, it’s necessary.

SMALL_IMG_9939

IMG_9911 2

For the past few months leading up to my wedding, I had severe anxiety. It wasn’t because I was nervous about getting married or trying to make everything perfect, rather it was because I had so many things to do on my checklist that I was constantly worried about running out of time. I remember the days before my wedding I couldn’t sleep, and as I much as I kept trying not to, I constantly replayed my to- do list over and over in my head like a bad Justin Bieber remix.

SMALL_IMG_9964

It wasn’t till my anxiety began to affect my health that my fiancee (now husband) was like, “you really need to relax.” And he was completely right. Not only had my anxiety affected me mentally, but it also began to affect my body negatively. It was then I knew things needed to change.

SMALL_IMG_9935

After my wedding, I began taking more time for myself. The concept of permission to pause is so real to me because I experienced firsthand what it could be like if I continued in GO mode, never taking the time to relax or slow down. My health problems were the culmination of a few months, but what if that continued for years?

SMALL_IMG_7823

Luckily one of my all-time favorite activewear brands, Athleta is running a “permission to pause” campaign, centered around mindfulness and restoration. The soft fabric and neutral colors of these pieces inspire me to relax, clear my mind, and take time for myself. Today I sat on a bench, enjoying my peaceful surroundings and thought about how thankful I am to have time to  myself to enjoy the little things. It’s not until we take time to pause that we can become the best version of ourselves when we start up again. I hope my story inspires you to take some time out for you today. And if you want to shop my the Restore line and my picks, you can click the links below!

Shop the entire line!

Studio Wrap

Restore Jogger Pants

Namaste.

SMALL_IMG_9966

Activewear Haul With My Favorite Brands

This post is sponsored by Zappos. All opinions are my own.

I’m not sure about you, but it’s summer, and my wardrobe was in need of an overhaul. I’ve been wearing the same things over and over since last year, so finally I decided to invest in some new clothes!

Adidas and Vans are two of my favorite brands, so I decided to get some new pieces that I can mix and match. Because I’m always on the go and working out almost every day of the week, I need clothes that can transition from workouts to running errands or being on the go later in the day.

Thursday – Making Time for Fitness Between Errands

IMG_9810 small

Wearing: Adidas Originals Linear Leggings  and Adidas Techfit Bra 

I couldn’t wait to take my new clothes on a test drive. Yesterday was a busy day for me, but I made time for some Pilates and yoga in the park. One of the things I’ve been doing on a regular basis is to workout outdoors a few times a week now that summer is here and the weather is beautiful. Stretching for 30 minutes a day in the morning gets my blood flowing and keeps me energized all day.

IMG_9806 small

IMG_9832 small

I had some errands to run to the dry cleaners and grocery store today, but after my workout, I decided to take a stroll on the way by a local bookstore to check out the selection of books.

IMG_9840 small

IMG_9843 small

Wearing: Adidas Originals Trefoil SweatshirtAdidas Originals Linear Leggings , Adidas Tote Bag

I picked up a few books, tossed them in my new bag and was on my way! A few hours later, all of my errands were complete, and it was wonderful sitting down with my new books for a relaxing evening home!

Friday – Fun On Wheels

Fridays are often my days off, when I can have a little fun if I got all of my errands and work done for the week. Since yesterday was a busy day and I pretty much did it all, I decided to have a little fun with my new skateboard, a Christmas present from last year from my husband! I bought some new Vans gear since it’s the brand of choice for skaters, paired with my new Adidas jacket, I was ready to go!

IMG_9845 small

Wearing: Vans Authentic™ Lo ProAdidas Training Jacket (blue)Vans Snoopy Leggings 

I’m still learning, and I’m a little wobbly but so determined to learn a new skill! I actually sat on this bench and googled some how-to videos on YouTube for a bit to learn from some pros! LOL.

IMG_9850 small

My favorite were: start on the grass to grasp your balance, use large pushes to get your board going, and put your back foot down on the floor to stop. I’m finally getting my balance right, and my Snoopy leggings were there to keep me smiling and motivated to get better!

IMG_9876 small

I lasted a few hours without completely bailing, so I would say today’s adventures were a success!

Ordering from Zappos

For the longest time, I thought Zappos only made shoes. Recently I learned that they have SO much more than just shoes, and a ton of awesome brands to choose from! What also surprised me was their fast customer service; I ordered my new gear and got it within just a few days. Everything fit great thanks to the sizing charts, but it’s super easy if you need to return or exchange something. I would definitely recommend shopping with them from my great experience!

IMG_9784 small

 

 

Hope you enjoyed hanging out with me for the past few days! Have a great weekend, and hope you have some fun! If you want to update your wardrobe too, here are the links to the things I bought!

Vans Authentic™ Lo Pro

Vans Snoopy Leggings

Adidas Originals Superstar (white)

Adidas Training Jacket (blue) 

Adidas Techfit Bra 

Adidas Originals Trefoil Sweatshirt 

Adidas Tote Bag 

Adidas Originals Linear Leggings 

Wipe that Sweat off your Brow! – A Story About Microblading for Fit Girls!

IMG_1492

The list of fit girl problems goes on and on. Taking off that sweaty sports bra after a workout. Mountains of laundry consisting of 95% spandex. And having to walk up stairs after leg day. Ahh the horrors!! But my story of fit girl problems doesn’t stop there.

A #fitgirlproblems Story

My previous job was a pretty intense one: long hours at the office, little time for breaks, and monumental deadlines. The one thing I refused to give up however was my workouts, and I was determined to fit them in, whether I had to wake up at the butt-crack of dawn or rush down to our building’s gym during lunch. It was 2 days before a billion-dollar deadline, and I decided to sneak out in between meetings for a workout. The plan was to hit the gym and make it back to the office without anyone noticing. But about 30 minutes into my sweat-sesh, I got a text from my boss that read: WHERE ARE YOU? GET TO THIS MEETING ASAP! So…. I wiped the sweat off my brow, put my business clothes back on, and raced back into the meeting.

Upon running into the conference room, the first thing out of one of my boss’s mouth was: What happened to your right eyebrow?

It was at that moment I realized that when I wiped the sweat off my brow, I also wiped the makeup off one of my eyebrows! Yes, I was one of those girls; the girls who painstakingly penciled in their brows every day, yet constant sweat and showers made it almost impossible for #eyebrowsonfleek.

Fastforward to July 2017

When I first heard about tattoo brows, I was scared. I’ve seen people who ended up with super bold brows, and while bold brows look great when the rest of your makeup is done, I wanted something a lot more natural. I wear very little to no makeup since I’m always in the gym, so my brows need to match the rest of my face! Through my cousin Courtney I heard of something called microblading, where individual strands of hair are meticulously drawn in with a tool to look natural. I saw Courtney’s results, and they look so much more natural than a traditional tattoo brow.

I wanted someone who I could trust to do my brows; someone who not only was skilled technically with the microblading tool but was a true artist. I found Rojin of Rouge Ink on Instagram, and was immediately drawn to her beautiful portfolio of work! I knew that I wanted to work with her because of her art background, attention to detail, and kind patient personality who was happy to answer all of my questions. I was confident that she would be able to help me achieve the results I was looking for. Having a true artist was important to me because she will be hand-drawing the strokes on my skin.

19534728_1187551461356733_3394356089033064448_n.jpg

The Process

After meeting with Rojin, I showed her some pictures of how I usually do my brows. She then did an analysis of my face to achieve symmetry and balance on my face. For example, one brow is naturally longer than the other, so she worked with them to make them more even. She then used a brow-colored pencil to draw in the shape, showing me every step of the way to make sure I liked them.

IMG_1458.JPG

She used a blue marker to draw dots to outline my brows, and then put numbing cream on my brows for about 20 minutes so I wouldn’t feel the microblading. She saran-wrapped my brows so that the numbing cream would set in well. This stuff is totally a godsend, because I hardly felt anything throughout the 45 minutes of microblading. I commented that I had gone to acupuncture earlier that day and it had hurt a lot more than the whole microblading process!

IMG_1468.JPG

Once she was done and showed me, I was amazed! I couldn’t be happier with my brows, and I now have fuller, shapely, and natural brows that will NEVER EVER wipe off again when I sweat! I can lift, run, cycle, swim, squat, and plank…. and always have eyebrows on fleek! THANK YOU Rojin!

 

I LOVE MY RESULTS! I couldn’t rave enough about how great they look!

 

Microblading FAQ’s

I would recommend microblading for anyone looking for fuller, natural brows! Here are answers to the questions people have been asking me over the past few days:

  1. Does it hurt? I found this to be such a painless and easy procedure from start to finish. Numbing cream is applied so you barely feel anything during the process. Rojin applied numbing cream several times to make sure that I stayed numb throughout.
  2. How much does it cost? The cost can vary, but during my research I’ve seen it anywhere from $200 to as high as $600. I would recommend going to someone who is skilled with the tools and experienced. I truly believe you get what you pay for, and I’ve seen a lot of bad jobs done, which is why I did a lot of research before selecting Rojin to do my brows. She’s truly an artist with not only microblading skills but an art background, so she has a great eye. Some places will charge very little but use cheap dyes, which makes the results not look as good and fade a lot faster. Definitely do your research like I did to select someone great! A good indicator is also to look at their portfolio.
  3. How long does it take? From start to finish, the process took about 2 hours.
  4. What is the aftercare like? I couldn’t get water on my brows for 2 days (think: wash your face around them, use cleansing towelettes, etc.) Once they are dry-healed for 2 days, you still don’t get them wet, but can blot them and apply moisturizer. It’s recommend you refrain from sweating too much for about 2 weeks, so you can’t submerge them in water, go swimming, sauna, etc. Definitely worth it for beautiful brows though!
  5. What does it look like right after? Right after, they got darker because they are still healing. I’m on day 3, so ask me later about how they progress! They’re supposed to lighten to their true color in 2 weeks!

And that’s all, folks! If you have any questions, feel free to email me or message me in the comments below. And if you too are interested in brows that won’t wipe off when you sweat, I would definitely recommend working with Rojin. You can email her at info@rouge.ink!

Exercises to Try Next Time You’re Outside!

This post is sponsored by Zappos. All opinions are my own.

It’s finally spring, which means it’s time to get outside! The weather has been gorgeous here in Northern California. So in between the rainy days, I take every opportunity for a hike or outdoor workout because the scenery is much more breathtaking than the inside of the gym!

The start of a new season is also my favorite time to get new gear. Because I’ve been doing a lot more outdoor HIIT (high intensity interval training) up and down steep hills in addition to bodyweight workouts on uneven ground, I have to make sure that my shoes have good traction and are stylish too! I just got a new pair of Brooks Pureflow 6 shoes, top and leggings from Zappos, and I’m loving them! More about my shopping experience a little later. But without further ado, let’s talk about workouts!

HIIT Sprints

For HIIT, my favorite is HIIT sprints. Doing this once or twice a week definitely burns fat and elevates your metabolism so you can even be torching calories when at rest. One way I stay lean is to get in my sprints as my form of cardio. I like to add intensity to my sprints by doing them on the trails for a bit of an incline. Try this workout and let me know what you think!IMG_7676_E

Sprint uphill 50 to 70 percent speed and then walk or jog back down the hill for your recovery. I usually stop after I’ve sprinted and walked back down 10 times. Then I climb the hill for a nice scenic view!

IMG_7651

IMG_7611.jpg

Bodyweight Workout

Another type of workout I love to do when outside is bodyweight workouts. This includes dynamic lunges, squats, and if you can find a bench, push-ups and tricep dips! But in order to do this, I need a lot of good traction, and once again, my Brooks gear from Zappos came through!

I recently posted on Instagram about building strength for push-ups, one of the most difficult exercises to do for those without a lot of upper body strength.  A great way to build the strength is to do push-ups on a bench or elevated surface until you can do a full push-up!

IMG_7706_E

IMG_7711_E

Try doing 10 reps of these 4 times!

Awesome new Brooks Gear from Zappos!

So this season, I ordered a new pair of Brooks Pureflow 6 shoes – chosen because not only did they get awesome reviews on Zappos, but they are very lightweight, and have good traction on the bottom for those steep mountainous climbs. I also got a cute Brooks top and pair of performance leggings from Brooks to match my shoes! I felt great going up and down the mountain and got in my HIIT and some push-ups too!

I wanted to make sure that I got my new gear quickly and had the opportunity to return – often things online don’t work out for me or don’t fit right. Luckily Zappos has fast and free shipping and a 365 day return policy.

IMG_7521_E

I was shocked at how reasonably priced my Brooks gear was but how high-quality it was. The shoes were so supportive up and down the rocky terrain, and the clothes kept me dry even though I was sweating.

IMG_7713.jpg

IMG_7697_E

Like my outfit? Get this look from Zappos.com!

Hope you guys all liked this post and that you get outside for some fun outdoor workouts!

Love from California,

Shannon

PS – Special thanks to my fiancee Kelvin, who came to work out and enjoy a beautiful day with me! 🙂

IMG_7743_E.jpg

Here Comes the Bride – Spa Day at the Bay Club!

A few weeks ago, my fitness bestie Mickey (@plantsandplanks) got married in a beautiful ceremony and reception in Northern California. But first… no wedding is complete without a pampering session spa day for the blushing bride before her wedding. Nothing can top a deep tissue massage and mani-pedi date to help relax and get rid of any pre-wedding cold feet (literally, because the foot bath is so warm and soothing)!

The Bay Club Redwood Shores hosted our spa day, and everything was top notch from start to finish! And while I have been a member of the Bay Club for several months now, I just discovered their spa, which is a wonderful hidden gem in the Bay Area. Here is a recap of our wonderful day in pictures, and I’m so thankful that we got to spend this time together. A big “THANK YOU” to the Bay Club for hosting us, making us feel welcome, and for overall a wonderful experience.

As you can see, we are really excited to be here! 😀

Photo Mar 02, 4 10 01 PM_2

Of course, no visit to the Bay Club could be complete without a quick workout in their multipurpose room. This room is amazing for people who want to take a class or want to use the room for quiet time when no classes are scheduled!

The spa is beautiful and welcoming with a nice, calming environment that’s a great little hideaway from the bustling gym, where we can get pampered after that challenging workout!

We had the most amazing massages that were just what we needed to relax before the big day!

Photo Mar 02, 5 45 32 PM

Cold feet, no problem! The nice warm foot bath, foot massage, and skilled nail artist Riley Lyles left us feel completely pampered!

Photo Mar 03, 12 04 02 PM

Mickey is really into geometric shapes, and Riley nailed her dream nails for the big day!

Photo Mar 02, 7 47 29 PM

The Bay Club Spa left us with a special gift, and it completely made our entire day!

Next, we were off for some lovely refreshments to end our special day here. We can’t thank the Bay Club enough for this experience, and can’t wait to come back again soon!

Photo Mar 02, 8 10 01 PM

Love,

Shannon and Mickey (who is now a Mrs!)

#bayclubhappy

Supplements: Protein and BCAAs

15539093_930087123760217_8505659061545467904_n

Every week when I post my meal plans, I get a lot of questions about supplements: how they benefit my workout, and how to choose between a sea of different brands. Here, I’m going to go over the two supplements I’m currently taking: protein and BCAAs and how they help my workouts!

Whey Protein

According to research, bodybuilders, and other fitness professionals, drinking protein during or after you train can help to create faster gains, i.e. improvements in strength and muscle development. This can also help with recovery. Probably the most popular supplement out there is whey protein, which is derived from milk protein. The protein in cow’s milk is 20% whey protein and 80% casein protein.

People love whey protein because it digests quickly and builds lean muscle, meaning that if you drink it around the time of your workout, you can get the benefits right away around the time that you work out out those muscles. Thus, in my opinion the best time to take it is either before or after your workout.

Pea Protein

However, if you are vegan or lactose intolerant, whey protein is not for you. One suggestion from a vegan friends is pea protein as a dietary supplement. Pea protein is a safe alternative for people with allergies to dairy, those who are lactose intolerant, vegetarians, or people soy allergies. Plant proteins have some of every essential amino acid. However, one primary difference between whey and pea powders is that whey is a “complete” protein, meaning that it contains all essential amino acids, and pea is an incomplete protein. It’s a great place to start but it’s not appropriate to use as the primary source of protein in your diet (source: Livestrong). People taking pea protein may have to take additional supplements or get additional protein sources from food.

BCAAs

BCAAs stand for branched chain amino acids, and the these help to not only facilitate muscle growth, but they also help to provide fuel for your body. On days that my workouts are very intense, such as lots of HIIT or cardio-intense intervals, they are very beneficial. We can get a lot of these BCAAs from certain foods, such as chicken breast, beef, salmon, eggs, and quinoa, however on super intense workout days, I like to incorporate a BCAA supplement into my training around the time of my workout. A trainer told me that BCAAs help to promote muscle growth, repair your body, and reduce  muscle soreness. So I started taking them after HIIT and did notice I was less tired and less sore. If you’re curious, it’s definitely worth a try!

The current supplement I’m taking is the Women’s Best protein and BCAAs. I chose this one specifically because of the taste and that the products fit well with my training routine. I currently drink my shakes in the afternoon either before or after my workouts, and the BCAAs after intense training sessions. If you have any questions about the products or are interested in trying them out, you can visit their website here!

16228662_1269008729833649_7517595899455864832_n