Cardio Playlist + My Must Have Workout Gear

Working out has become a part of my everyday routine. In the past I'd often fall off the wagon, usually due to shoulder or ankle issues flaring up, or many of life's distractions. Fortunately, for the last few months I've been really steady with things, which feels great both physically and mentally. Working out for me takes on different forms.  Some days I'll go for a quick run on The Beltline and around Piedmont Park. More often, especially now that the weather is heating up, I'm working out at home, either on the elliptical, doing a HIIT routine, free weights, a bit of yoga, or just dancing around [when no one's watching!]. Cardio workouts where I can listen to music are where I'm at my best. Good music makes the time fly by. The tempo of each song drives me and distracts me from the pain and sweat and makes working out feel far more satisfying.  I'm always looking for new songs for my workout playlists, but this has been my recent mix of songs that help push me everyday. [listen to my playlist at the end of this post!] Now for the things I can't live without when it comes to working out...

RUNNING SHOES

I get asked about my running shoes all the time, and these have been my ride-or-die pair for months! The Nike Free Run Flyknits are perfect for me, but running shoes are very particular to every person, so I can't speak for every person's workout needs! For me, I love having a sneaker that's incredibly light, fits like a glove, and sits securely on my foot no matter what I'm doing. These shoes are perfect for all around workouts. I don't go on longer distance runs, and I'd probably not recommend these for long runs [go with something with more support], but they're a perfect everyday shoe.  Here's a link to the pair I own, which is currently on sale, but there is a more updated pair that came out this year. I'd buy these in every color if I could!

APPLE WATCH

My Apple Watch is also a must have in my everyday workout routine. Fitbits are just as great and most of my friends have those, but I'm an Apple nerd, and the watch has been pivotal in encouraging me to move more and set daily goals for myself. I've had the first generation Apple Watch Sport for a few years, and my only gripe is the battery runs out fairly quickly.  I'm not sure if the series 2 are better in battery longevity, but I'm hoping I can hold off until they come out with a third iteration and pick up a new one when it comes to market. 

WIRELESS HEADPHONES

Wireless bluetooth headphones have also been a game changer.  If I go on a short run around the neighborhood and I don't want to bring my phone with me, I can link my headphones to my watch, which houses my current workout playlist. These headphones are far from high end [there are definitely some better options out there that are on my wish list] but they charge easily, stay in my ears and work well. 

CARDIO PLAYLIST

There are a few other bits I can't live without when it comes to working out [I may need to do an entire post just on sports bras and leggings!]. What is part of your must have workout kit? I'd love to hear from you!

Connecting Scents to Memories: My Perfume Collection

I've always been fascinated by how scents and memories are so deeply intertwined. For me, scents are tied to specific moments in my life, to certain people [friends, family, boyfriends, people I quite frankly disliked!] and to places I've been. I might not be able to recall where I put my sunglasses yesterday [a daily struggle!], but I could give you a detailed story about the time I realized I liked [maybe even loved, eyes roll!] this one boy, and I could tell you exactly what perfume I was wearing [DKNY Be Delicious]. It's so funny how the mind holds onto memories and how our senses are so vital to our ability to recall them.

I could easily create a timeline of every scent I've ever worn, long before I ever even owned a proper perfume.  Like most girls my age, my first was Bath and Body Works Cucumber Melon Fragrance Mist. I would douse myself in the stuff and vividly recall feeling so grown up [as all 12 year olds do!]. Next was Clinique Happy, my first real perfume. That classic, citrus scent still lingers with me and takes me right back to middle school. I had one very tumultuous summer with Ralph by Ralph Lauren.  High school was almost exclusively DKNY Be Delicious.  I have so many memories tied with that perfume.  It's probably a little too sweet for me to wear these days, but I may need to pick up a bottle for the nostalgia of it!

My taste in fragrance has changed quite a bit over the years, but since I moved to Atlanta, I've worn almost exclusively Chloe.  Chloe's original scent has been my signature fragrance for so long, I can hardly smell it when I put it on [which is apparently a good tell if a perfume suits you]. I still get compliments all the time when I wear this fragrance, and for me, that's been more than enough of a reason to continue wearing it! I spent most of my younger years wearing citrus, sweet smells, but Chloe is very much a floral. I'm awful at describing the scents properly, so I recommend clicking on the links to read the full descriptions [whoever writes these is quite the poet!].  For me, the combination of rose, peony [one of my favorite flowers!], honey and cedarwood feels so feminine, natural and suits me perfectly.

Back in 2013 I took a trip to London, visited the Burberry store just to ogle all the beautiful things, and was introduced to their latest perfume at the time, My Burberry.  It was described as 'capturing the fragrance of a London garden after the rain' and if you don't know this, beautiful words and imagery are what reel me right in.  The scent is much stronger than all the others I own, and if I'm honest it's a little too intense for me. I'm the type who sprays myself three or four or FIVE times with a perfume and I can't do that with this one. The fragrance still brings me back to that trip to London, but now I mostly wear it for special occasions.

Apart from my little tryst with Burberry, I really hadn't purchased much else in the way of perfume. That is, until I discovered the addiction that is Jo Malone.  I read a blog post that gushed about all their fragrances, and figured I'd check out their counter at the department store.  The lovely woman at Bloomingdales [I wish I remembered her name!] basically gave me a short course on all the fragrance families and how to combine different scents to create your own signature fragrance.  I was immediately hooked.  My two favorites have been Blackberry and Bay and Wood Sage and Sea Salt.  

Blackberry and Bay is a fruit forward scent, similar to what I wore when I was younger, but with more depth and dimension [I think my design brain is needling its way into this conversation!]. Wood Sage and Sea Salt is quite a departure from what I've worn, and has a more masculine feel [Jo Malone scents are actually meant to be unisex, which I also find fascinating!]. For me, this scent smells like summer.  It has this beachy, carefree quality I love.  It's nothing like that tropical, coconut beach scent people seem to enjoy [and I loathe!] but something that reminds me of driftwood, sandy beaches, and salty sea air. The Jo Malone scents are the ones I travel with most, since they come in perfectly petite bottles and are easy to throw in a bag.  The combination of these two scents is also gorgeous.  If you're at all curious about learning more about fragrances, head straight to Jo Malone, and you'll get educated and addicted like I did!

In just the past few months, I've noticed my taste in scents is evolving.  I'm suddenly drawn to more masculine, slightly citrus based fragrances. For Christmas, my mom gave me a bottle of Jour d'Hermes, which is oddly described as a floral, but doesn't feel that way at all to me.  I've seen on other reviews it compared to what a martini would smell like if it were bottled as a perfume. Yes, it seems odd to want to smell like booze, but I love the lemony, tart scent this has.  I brought it on a trip we took to New York just after Christmas and wore it the entire time we were there.  It was such a fun mother daughter trip for me, and now this scent is closely linked to the memories of our time there.

My most recent fragrance purchase Light Blue by Dolce & Gabbana was made on a bit of a whim just in the past month. I received a sample of this from Sephora, wore it a couple times, and received quite a number of compliments from friends and even from some random strangers [there's nothing like a guy telling you how nice you smell while you're in line at the grocery hah!]. It seems I've come full circle since in reading the description of it, all the notes found in this are a combination of all the scents I wore when I was younger. It's very much a citrus, orange forward perfume, and it doesn't feel too serious or overpowering [which may be because it's an eau de toilette]. I can spray this head to toe and not feel like I've over done it. For me, this fragrance feels youthful and energizing, and when I'm in a really good mood, I tend to wear this. I've now realized not only do I connect specific scents to memories and places, but also to the mood I'm in.  Reading about the perfumes I've worn over the years may not seem particularly interesting to you, but I think it's a fun exercise to think back to what you've worn over the years, how your tastes have evolved and how those scents are linked to places, people, feelings and memories. 

Flowers that Last Forever: Amaranthus Paper & Flora

I've always been a sucker for flowers.  I know it's such a traditional trope, but for me, giving someone flowers is such a wonderful way to show you love someone.  Whenever I've received them from a guy, I always found it incredibly romantic, even more so when they were given out of the blue. [I LOVE surprises!]  I also find giving flowers to those you care about [it doesn't always have to be a romantic sentiment!] to be so thoughtful.

My wonderful friend Katie sent me a bouquet of beautiful paper flowers for Galentine's Day. f you don't watch Parks and Recreation, you might not know the reference [though this about sums it up!], but basically it's a day where you show your best lady friends how much they mean to you. Good friends buy you flowers. Great friends buy you flowers that last forever! 

A while back Katie and I went to an event at West Elm and met Meredith and her mom Cherie, owners of Amaranthus Paper & Flora.  The both of us were floored by how beautiful their handmade paper flowers were! We knew we had to have them in our lives and promptly both bought bouquets! [say that three times fast!]

Katie doesn't buy fresh flowers because she has allergies, and also isn't a fan of how quickly they wilt. And she's right! Whenever I have flowers at home, there's a fair bit of upkeep to make sure they stay fresh for as long as possible.  I'm constantly trimming them and replacing the water. The beauty of paper flowers is they stay beautiful and flawless without any of the maintenance! 

Katie knew I especially loved peonies [they're one of my favorite flowers!], and it made my day [and my week and my month!] when I received a stunning bunch of them in the mail this past weekend!

Maggie, my perfect little calico kitten [you're still a kitten at 7 right?!], adores paper flowers too!

She planted herself squarely in the flower photo shoot I had going on, and had no intention of ever leaving! 

If I could, I'd fill my house with every single paper flower they make. They're so much more than flowers. They're a sculptural piece of art I love to look at everyday! If you're considering sending a loved one flowers, consider sending a bouquet from Amaranthus Paper & Flora!