Category Archives: Wellness & Fitness

My favorite Activewear brands

The athleisure market has been growing for years, meaning more and more activewear brands have hit the market. It can be intimidating as a first time buyer to find a store that meets your needs, but here are a few of my favorites:

  1. Lululemon 

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Yoga-inspired, technical athletic apparel company for yoga, running, training and other workouts! Lululemon is best known for their high-quality leggings but over the years, many of their other items, like their Perfectly Oversized Crew, Energy Bra and Swiftly Breathe Tees, have developed cult followings. 

Photo by Carl Barcelo on Unsplash
  1. Alo Yoga

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As stated in their name, Alo Yoga is activewear that has been wear-tested by yogis for the best fit. The company was created to inspire yogis, beginner and advanced, to improve their wellbeing and mindfulness. Alo Yoga’s leggings have gained a huge following and their Goddess Legging is their best seller! 

  1. ASOS Active

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ASOS is a London-based online fashion retailer. The great thing about ASOS is not only that it is online, but it also carries brands like Nike and Under Armour but also their own brand- ASOS 4505. So you can pretty much find anything in your price range!

Photo by bruce mars on Unsplash
  1. Amazon brands

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Amazon carries some great and affordable brands. Core 10 makes great leggings and sports bras, 90 Degree by Reflex makes great leggings (with pockets. VERY important.), Colorfulkoala makes leggings that are almost identical to Lululemon without the identical price tag. You can find so many great items, but definitely check the reviews first!

  1. FP Movement by Free People

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FP Movement offers activewear that is great for activity but is also very trendy! I have heard amazing things about Happiness Runs Crop. One thing I really like about FP Movement is that they have good basic styles but also some things I have not seen from other popular activewear brands

  1. Fabletics

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I am sure everyone has seen the 2/$24 leggings ad from Fabletics at least once in their lives. I think that this initial deal is an absolute steal but I am not 100% convinced that paying the monthly VIP fee is worth it unless you’re someone who buys new activewear super often. 

Photo by Alexandra Tran on Unsplash.com
  1. Athleta 

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As a branch from Gap Inc., this activewear is great quality. They are eco conscious, which we love. They have a great selection of leggings/joggers/shorts and sports bras that range in levels of support. 

  1. Outdoor Voices

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Founded in New York City but currently headquartered in Austin, Outdoor Voices has changed the activewear game. And they are eco-conscious. I would say that their TechWear Cami Tank Top and The Exercise Dress are Outdoor Voices most popular items. OV also comes out with new prints and colors every season that sell out fast so keep your eyes peeled for those new releases!

  1. Girlfriend Collective

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Ethically made AND eco-friendly- what more could a girl ask for. Basically buying activewear from Girlfriend Collective is saving the environment so you HAVE to. They have a variety of colors and styles so everyone can pretty much find something they love. 

Featured design by Kara Fields

guide to manifesting

The word “manifestation” has been prominent on social media platforms, like TikTok, for some time now…but what exactly is it? Manifestation is the idea of turning your desires into reality. Your dreams become substantial. This occurs through methods of attraction and belief. To help you get started, here are some common manifestation methods:

  1. Write a letter to the universe

Write a letter starting with ‘Dear Universe’. You can write about where you are in life right now, and then transition into telling the universe where you want to be, or what it is you are trying to manifest. Show gratitude as if the universe has already granted you what you want. After you finish writing- let it go.

  1. 369 method

In this technique, you write down your manifestation three times in the morning, six in the afternoon, and nine times at night. You might even want to get a new journal specifically for manifesting!

  1. Visualization and meditation

Start by doing a quick meditation. Find a comfortable position, relax your body and focus on your breathing and your mind. Next, visualize your goals as if they have happened; where are you, who else is there, what are you doing, what do your surroundings look like, etc. 

  1. Write a story

Write a short story acting as if your manifestation has already come true. For example, if your dream was to one day move to New York, write an excerpt detailing what a day in your life there is like. Be detailed and keep a positive mindset as you write.

  1. Create a vision board

Find images that describe what you want and put them in a collage. For example these can be quotes, outfits, pictures of cities, etc. Put your collage somewhere you will look at it often, like your room or office. You can even make your collage digitally and make it a background on your laptop!

  1. Do what feels right!

If you come up with another way to manifest, do it! Whatever keeps your mind positive and your motivation high. A good example of this is actor Jim Carrey. Struggling to find employment in 1985, Carrey wrote himself a ten million dollar check for “acting services rendered”, dated it for a decade later, and kept it in his wallet. Almost ten years later he was cast in Dumb and Dumber for a salary of ten million dollars. 

After you finish, let your worries go! Worrying about your manifestation too much creates resistance. Simply keep your attitude positive, be grateful and start making small steps towards your goals. Happy manifesting!

Featured Image by Kara Fields

How to stay healthy during quarantine

Freshman 15? Try quarantine 30. 

Being stuck inside a dorm or apartment all day not only is the perfect excuse to stay away from the gym, but also keeps the sun’s serotonin-inducing rays out of reach. 

We are now coming up on the one year anniversary of the lockdown that shook up our social lives, mental health, and physical wellbeing, and while some people have taken the opportunity to glow up, others have certainly let the somber mood get them down.

It’s not always easy to cook a healthy meal or get up and start moving when the world seems to be spiralling out of control, but with vaccines on the horizon and the winter months taking the seasonal depression away, it’s time to let the sunshine back in and get that serotonin pumping.

There are two important sides to health — the mental and the physical. So if you’re struggling to make it through this pandemic in one stable piece, here’s some tips to stay healthy during quarantine.

Mental Health

Humans are not creatures of isolation. We don’t enjoy staying put for too long, or being locked away in the fairytale-esque tower until our knight in shining armor (the vaccine) comes to save us. It wears on our mental health and creates the perfect environment for depression, anxiety, and other mental problems to seep in.

One of the best ways to combat this is to actively fight against the isolation tendencies COVID-19 has created. And no, Karen, this doesn’t mean breaking CDC guidelines. Zoom, while problematic for professors who can’t figure out what a ‘breakout room’ is, is actually a great way to interact with your friends no matter where you are. Think Discord or Facetime, but magnified into one program that has monopolized the videochat market during this pandemic.

Photo by Surface on Unsplash

With the power of Zoom people can play video games, like Among Us, follow Bob Ross painting tutorials, or have a group meet-up all from the convenience of a comfy couch. Plus, when you get tired of human interaction just pretend your internet is bad— no more waiting for your friend to get done talking so she can give you a ride home, or waiting till that boring movie finishes before you bolt.

On top of the lack of human interaction, the lack of sunshine can also get to us. Sunshine is one of those natural endorphin-releasers that allows for another source of serotonin besides turning an assignment in due at midnight at 11:59 p.m. Going out, whether it be to the store, to classes, or to visit a friend, allows for some outdoor time in the sunlight. Without it, we are less inclined to get those endorphins released. Reduced sunlight already is linked to the cause of Fall and Winter Seasonal Affective Disorder (better known as seasonal depression) so by combining that with the deprivation of human interaction, it may exponentially harm people’s mental health.

One of the best ways to combat this is to go outside and take a walk. It gives you time away from Netflix or schoolwork (and let’s face it, who doesn’t want an excuse to avoid that), and allows your body to absorb that outside energy we’ve all been losing since the pandemic started.

Photo by Church of the King on Unsplash

If it seems a little daunting to do that, another option is to sit by an open window and sip on  some coffee or tea, look outside and let the sun’s rays travel  through the window. Maybe even sit at a table outside for a bit while you procrastinate whatever work you actually have to do. 

Because the great outdoors, no matter how much millennials and Gen Z deny it, are really not that bad. In fact, it’s pretty relaxing around this time of year when the bugs have all receded back to wherever they go. It’s peaceful — which is just what we all need in a time that has tested the amount of stress we can handle before reaching a breaking point. 

Physical Health

Over the course of the pandemic, social media has run rampant with “COVID-19 glow-ups.”  People have used the extra time to their advantage to get that summer body snatched. But when mental health dwindles, so does physical. And while we don’t see quite as much energy around the “glow-down” of being too depressed to get out of bed, let alone go for a run, it is still something our society is struggling with right now.

Mental health is one of the most important aspects to physical health, so if you’re struggling, I’d suggest getting your mind right and then coming back to this. But if you’re ready to put in the work, I promise it’s more fun and rewarding in the end.

Photo by Jonathan Borba on Unsplash

Physical activity is known to be a  mood booster. Exercise releases endorphins just like the sun’s rays, and can be a healthy way to destress. Instead of trying to think of exercise as some daunting chore to check off each day, find something you enjoy doing and make it a part of your daily routine. Your muscles don’t have to be immovable from soreness, and you don’t have to be drowning in your own sweat, for it to be an effective workout.

Something I picked up during the Pandemic is TheFitnessMarshall’s dance videos. To me, they are super fun and allow me to get out a lot of pent up energy. Beyond that, I definitely learned some new moves for when it’s safe to go to the clubs again.

Everyone needs to find that workout that doesn’t feel like a workout. Not only could finding it during quarantine be an entertaining journey, but once you find it you’ll have something to add to your daily activities besides your phone and school. Physical activity will offer another outlet and escape for the insanity of what we’re living in right now.

And nobody’s glow-up needs to be some intense weight loss or muscle gain. Nobody needs to be the most positive person in the world. A real mental and physical glow up can just be feeling better about the activities your body can do, maybe lifting a box that was too heavy before, or running a minute longer than you used to be able to. It can be smiling a little more every day, laughing with friends a little longer. It’s the little victories that encourage us, and make for moments of happiness in the wake of this pandemic, that will truly get us through it.

Start the New Year Off Right with an Apartment Makeover

Getting tired of your space is a sentiment many of us share right now, especially college students. Like many of you, after spending much of this semester in my apartment, I needed a change. To prepare for another semester fully-online, I spent the last few months redoing my apartment to make it feel a little more homey. To help you do the same, I’ve compiled a list of easy ways to makeover your space for the new year.

1) Create a photo wall.

As a photographer, I’m a bit biased toward this one. That said, almost anyone can make and enjoy a photo wall. Not only will it add a little color and personality to your space, it’ll also help remind you you’re not alone, whether you’re far from home or just missing people you can’t see because of the pandemic. To make a photo wall, simply purchase some command hooks, printouts of your favorite photos, small clothespins, and either a photo grid or some string. Place the command hooks on your wall and attach the grid or tie a piece of string between two hooks to create a spot to hang photos from. Then, use the clothespin and hang up your photos.

Photo by Lauren Breach

2) Display your favorite clothing pieces.

If you’re super into fashion or just don’t have enough closet space, displaying your clothing can elevate your home and give you some extra storage. I recommend purchasing either a clothing rack like this affordable one from Ikea or some extra-strong command hooks to hang your clothing on the wall. You can curate your picks to build off of a set color scheme or just pick items that are in season. With winter in full swing, I chose to put my bulkier pieces on my clothing rack to free up closet space. I also hung my bags on command hooks by my door so they’re easy to grab on the way out.

Photo by Lauren Breach

3) Change up your bedding.

Sometimes all you need to do is change up your bedding. Your bed is often a focal point in your room, and a little change can go a long way. For comfort, I recommend switching out your sheets. If you’re in Texas, look for Pima cotton sheets, they’re super lightweight and will keep you cool in the summer. They also hold up pretty well and feel like hotel sheets so you always feel like you’re on vacation. For a bolder change, either flip your comforter or duvet if it’s double-sided or purchase a new one. I love duvets because you can get a cheap duvet filler from Ikea or Target and change out the cover whenever you feel like it. For affordable duvet covers check out Ikea and for a more custom look, check out Society6.

Photo by Lauren Breach

4) Add a tapestry to the wall.

Tapestries are a great way to fill a large space and add a bit of personality. Tapestries can easily be found on Amazon, Society6, or Redbubble. To hang your tapestry without leaving a hole, try using a command hook and two large safety pins. Put a safety pin through each of the top corners of your tapestry and then place the safety pin sideways through a command hook to hang it on your wall without losing your security deposit.

5) Get a mirror.

Mirrors help make a space look bigger and have the added benefit of making it easy to check your appearance while getting ready. They also make for some great mirror pics. I love the full-body mirror option since it doesn’t need to be hung on the wall. You can also get a smaller mirror and place it on a dresser or ledge if your space allows. In my apartment, I have this mirror from Ikea.

Photo by Lauren Breach

6) Add vines or party decor.

My favorite trick to add a little bit of spice to your space and to cover command hooks is vines, garlands, and tinsel. I also like using these items to wrap around my clothing rack and to drape around my mirror.

Photo by Lauren Breach

7) Get some plants.

Since I don’t have a green thumb, I opted for some fake plants. However, if you’re a bit of a gardener, I recommend getting some of your own real plants. For beginners, succulents, bamboo, and cacti make great plants, since they’re pretty resilient.

Photo by Lauren Breach

8) Try alternative light sources.

Harsh overhead lighting can really kill your room’s vibe. Consider adding string lights or fairy lights. If you’re a fan of mood lighting, perhaps get these Tik-tok famous color-changing light strips or a color-changing light bulb. You can also get an affordable lamp to diffuse the light and create a soft look like this one from Target. During the day, consider opening your blinds to let in some natural light as well.

Photo by Lauren Breach

9) Add a new piece of furniture.

On a whim, I purchased this hand chair, inspired by the one from my favorite childhood sitcom iCarly. Adding a new piece will help refresh your space and change things up. To save money, I recommend checking out a local thrift store, such as Savers or Austin Pets Alive! Thrift if you live on or near campus or Facebook Marketplace. You can also look for deals under the sales section of your favorite furniture websites.

Photo by Lauren Breach

Bring Holiday Cheer into your apartment this year

A lot of things have been canceled this year, movie releases, Coachella, ACL, Harry Styles’ tour, vacations, weddings, Ellen DeGeneres, but you cannot cancel Christmas. Although it may be difficult to feel the holiday joy without the normal gatherings and celebrations, there is no reason to not bring the cheer into your apartment (especially if you have barely left since the start of 2020). We all deserve some joy after the year we have endured. Here are a few ways to bring Santa’s spirit into your apartment this December without breaking the bank.

Want the cozy feeling of a warm fireplace? A quick youtube search can solve all your problems. Yule log videos are one of the best things to come out of the internet. Scroll through Youtube and you will find countless versions of a warm fireplace, some feature music, decor, sleeping puppies, anything you may need is provided. Play the video on your laptop or TV and the mood is instantly set. Here is a link to a few of my favorites:

Now that you have a warm (fake) fireplace, you must pair it with a cozy cup of holiday cheer. Another quick way to feel the winter vibes is to drink a cup of hot chocolate. Make a cup at home with cheap chocolate packets, marshmallows and whipped cream or stop by a local coffee shop. Feeling extra spirited, throw in some peppermint flavoring or maybe a candy cane.

Image courtesy of Pixabay

Holiday decor will bring your apartment to the next level. Take a trip to the dollar store or browse Target’s dollar bins to find cheap decorations. Look out for tinsel or garland that you can hang around door frames or in empty wall space. Any felt character cut-outs are usually common and make great fridge magnets or coasters. My top target finds this year were a small Charlie Brown Christmas tree ($3) and a small wreath ($7). 

To satisfy all the senses, we can’t forget about holiday smells. Winter candles can be found almost anywhere and are reasonably priced. Pick any scent that fills you with the nostalgia of childhood holiday celebrations. My favorite candle of the season is Trader Joe’s cedar balsam candle ($3). Wood wick candles give off the sound of a crackling fire and add to the ambiance. If you want a more natural holiday scent, bake cookies. Nothing screams Christmas time more than the smell of freshly baked cookies. 

Another low budget decor option is to create a Christmas wall collage. Look through Pinterest for winter and holiday-themed images that fit the aesthetic goal. Print out the pictures on printer paper or order the pictures to be printed at Walgreens, they always run promotions on photos. Then arrange the pictures in a cluster on your wall or bulletin board.

If there is no room for a Christmas tree in your apartment here is a DIY from Hallstrom Home on how to make a small tabletop tree to add to your coffee table or kitchen counter. For this project you will need:

  • Glue (Mod Podge or hot glue will probably work best)
  • Styrofoam craft cone
  • Crochet yarn

This may be the simplest project you will ever do. First, use the craft cone as a base and apply the glue over the cone. It might be easiest to apply the glue in sections as you go if it is quick drying. Then, starting from the bottom wrap the warn around the cone and cut at the top. Add on twinkle lights or pom pom ornaments to spice it up! 

Don’t let covid crash your holidays. With just a few items it is easy to transform your apartment into a winter wonderland. Pop on your favorite cheesy Netflix Christmas movie or the Charlie Brown Christmas album and you are guaranteed to feel the holiday joy.