Defining Lifestyle with Jenn!

We all have that question we are just DYING to answer, but it doesn't ever seem to come. My new series allows bloggers to submitted their own set of questions AND answers in effort to get some stuff out there that they normally aren't asked. If this doesn't define the lifestyle blogger, I don't know what does. So sit back, relax, and expect some fun over the next few weeks!

Today I am welcoming Jenn who blogs over at Business, Life, and Design. I really love how Jenn incorporates her design work into her blogging. She has some great posts that really make you think. She touches on subjects that are dying for a response. You can't read her stuff and not comment. I love that! Her questions suck you in!

1. If your blog could have a super power, what would you choose?
Jenn - Self deprecatory humor that never falls flat!  I love poking fun at myself and reading others who aren't afraid to do the same.  But it's harder to get across without the joking tone you would use in person.

2. Now that your blog is a super hero, what would you say is it's greatest weakness?
Jenn- Either the posts I schedule when they're not quuiiite finished, or sloppy proofreading.  Sometimes I check again after things have been posted, but I'll be honest - most of my posts are frenziedly typed in the heat of the moment (or thought.  Heat of the thought?).  But my family is pretty literary minded, and not shy about pointing out my errors, so I think we get most of them.

3. How would you describe your blogging style?
Jenn - I like words, and I enjoy a well-turned phrase, or solidly stated point.  The emphasis is very definitely on the writing and not a bunch of pictures (sorry, guys, gifs are just not for everyone), although I include them when relevant.  I do break all the grammar rules, though, but I break them because I choose to disregard them, not because I don't know what they are.  (<-- Prime example.  I do what I want!)

4. What is your ulterior motive for blogging? (because, let's be honest, everyone's got something)
Jenn - I started the blog with my graphic design business in mind.  Then I forgot all about that and thought about trying to get in on the sponsorship thing.  Now I've decided to just blog for the fun of it, and when I talk design, it's because I enjoy it and because I'm so proud of myself and my clients that I just have to share.  BUT if we're being honest, I certainly wouldn't mind if a few more graphic design projects came my way.  It's there if you want it, but don't worry!  I'm too lazy to really market it.

5. Why should we read your blog anyway?
Jenn - I wouldn't say it's for everyone.  You won't find DIY, crafts, or fashion (well, a couple exceptions here - but it's more like that self-deprecatory thing I was talking about earlier).  A lot of it is thoughts and reflections on societal structure and cultural expectations, documentation of my search for self actualization (bucket lists, etc), and the occasional family story.  If you like reading, and you like to chat about the things you read, come on by!  Let's have a conversation.

Thank you Jenn! As always, LOVED your answers! Go stop on by and check Jenn out! Her approach is different and her content is great. And hey if you're looking for some graphic work, she's your gal!
Make sure to come back next Monday for another defining lifestyle with Ash who blogs over at The Grits Blog! Have a great Monday!

Special Olympics

Does anyone still listen to Avril Lavigne? Did you know she started a foundation? The Avril Lavigne Foundation to be exact. I have followed Avril for a long time, along with her foundation, and its pretty great. The foundation supports children with serious illnesses or disabilities. Their mission is R.O.C.K.S which can be defined as:
  • Respect the needs of all children and youth, no matter their circumstances, and encourage others to do the same;
  • Create the Opportunity for children and youth with serious illnesses or disabilities to follow their dreams;
  • Offer Choices so children and youth see they have many options in life and not just a single path defined by their circumstances;
  • Provide Knowledge about what is possible to children, youth and their families through new program ideas that The Avril Lavigne Foundation will support and help expand;
  • Give kids and their families the Strength to face their daily challenges.

 This foundation along with the Make A Wish Foundation are very near to my heart. My cousin was diagnosed with a terminal illness as a child, and was given a gift from an organization like this one to live a dream. He has since passed away and I will be forever grateful for what they did for him.

Today I received an e-mail from the Avril Lavigne Foundation, informing me for Avril's 30th birthday, all she wants is to raise money for the Special Olympics. Again another great foundation. I have decided to join the fundraiser to see how much I can help towards the cause. If you can give, please do. There are so many children out there who need that little spark of joy to get them by. Your donation could help give them their dream. 

Please help me reach my goal of raising $150. Together we can do this! :) Thank you in advance!

Treasure Tromp

Win at life

Today's post inspiration comes from the September issue of Self Magazine. I know I have said this A LOT lately but I am making changes both on this blog and in my personal life. (There should definitely be a drinking game for every time I say changes :p). Back in May when I started this blog, I also signed up for a gym membership. That lead me to having a  little series on fitness. I really enjoyed doing that, but to be honest I have fallen off the fitness wagon.

I was not feeling well and ran into a few health issues, so the excuses ran rampant. The gym got put on the bottom of my list and because of it, I can feel the consequences. I have gained weight, my skin is a mess, and I just don't feel "good". Circling back to this months Self Magazine, everything about it was inspirational to making positive changes.

On the front cover in big letters it says WIN AT LIFE. That statement alone motivates the crap out of me. Editor in Chief, Joyce Chang wrote a segment about the power of change.  She goes into talking about why it is so important to stop and listen to your body, even when life gets crazy and you want to jump into overload. She also encourages you to step out of your comfort zone and let your body guide you. I feel like its those little things we all seem to forget.
Being healthy, both physically and mentally can sure help in times of stress and overload. This is why I have decided to follow Self Magazine's 7 day detox. Now I know, when we hear the word "detox" we tend to think of things like pills, teas, and juices. This detox is a little different. It reminds me more of a wellness detox for life. I felt like this was a good way to get myself back on track and thinking with a clear head. I am on day 3 of this detox and I wanted to share a few things I have been doing.

Move Your Body
Take the workouts down a notch and do 3 days of light cardio. This will help flush out toxins and rejuvenate the body.

Go Vegetarian
Start every morning with a smoothie. They are packed with fruits and veggies to give you all kinds of good nutrients. Eat clean with every meal. Make a 450 calorie lunch and a 500 calorie dinner with vegetarian options. I have not been hungry and all the meals I have made have been really good!

Quiet Your Mind
Stress causes a lot of our health issues. This part of the detox encourages you to meditate at least 10 minutes everyday. It also encourages getting 7 to 8 hours of sleep every night. Ridding stress and getting enough sleep helps keep the belly slim.

I'm really enjoying this program. I am feeling less hungry and I feel more energetic. I am going to start writing wellness updates on Wednesdays. An unofficial series. Just a place where I can share with you guys what I'm up to and hopefully can inspire all of you to join in.

Have a wonderful Wednesday! Be Inspired!

Apparently I have a "thing" for Holiday Inn's

I have probably mentioned a time or two (okay probably lots more than that) that I love to travel. I love to visit new places: See new things. Eat new foods. Meet new people. And my all time favorite: Stay in new hotels. No two hotels are the same, even if they are the same brand. You have different staff, different decor, different options. That makes each location you visit fun. A new place to discover and a new place to rest your hat for the night.

I have stayed in a variety of hotels and a lot of little B&B's and motels along the way. I liked them all for different reasons. They all brought something new and unique, but one of the things I never had the chance to do, was stay in a NEW hotel. Meaning it was just built. First person in the room type of deal.  This was a "new" I wanted to experience.

A few weeks ago I went on a trip with my boyfriend and we checked into a Holiday Inn Express. We always seem to find them when we are traveling. Come to think of it we have stayed in 4 Holiday Inn branded hotels since May... Apparently we have a thing for them! Anyways, when we went to check into our room a few weeks ago, the hotel looked immaculate. It smelt like fresh paint and new carpet. Heck, even the front desk person looked shiny and new.

This sparked the question, "We didn't see any reviews of this place, yet it looks great. When did you guys open?" The response left me giddy; "Thursday! We've been open 5 days." I had a little mini happy dance moment. I was FINALLY getting to stay in a brand spanking new hotel! My boyfriend warned me not to get to excited, as most new hotels this early on were still working on little kinks and such in the operations. I didn't care. This was a new place.

So what if the elevator sounded like a hamster wheel squeaking.... No one had thrown up in the bed yet, or in the hallways, or ANYWHERE. I'd take the squeaking over that any day! There also were no mystery stains, smells, or sounds. Everything in the bathroom worked and was still a sparkling white color. The decor was modern, yet very neutral. It brought a very relaxed feeling to the room. It was perfect.

I woke up the next morning and was excited to use the big shower with the rainfall shower head. It was a great shower. That lead to the continental breakfast, which is one of the things I love so much about Holiday Inn Express locations. Their breakfast is always fulfilling with healthy alternatives. I was happily surprised to be greeted with full size Chobani yogurts. They also had a great variety of cereals and fruits. It totally made my day and lived up to my expectation of experiencing a brand new hotel. Thank you Holiday Inn Express for helping me check that off my list! I love your hotels!

Have you ever stayed in a new hotel? What was your experience? Leave me your thoughts in the comments!

Defining Lifestyle with Helene! + Giveaway!

We all have that question we are just DYING to answer, but it doesn't ever seem to come. My new series allows bloggers to submitted their own set of questions AND answers in effort to get some stuff out there that they normally aren't asked. If this doesn't define the lifestyle blogger, I don't know what does. So sit back, relax, and expect some fun over the next 6 weeks!

Today I want to welcome Helene who blogs over at Helene In Between. I love reading Helene's daily posts. She always has something new and fresh that gets me thinking. She also LOVES music festivals which makes her okay in my book! She has some pretty great questions too!

1. First, how did you become so awesome?
Helene: Wow, what a wonderful question, thank you for asking. It's tough to say exactly. I would say that it started at birth. I have really charismatic, insightful parents that knew I was a blossoming flower and let me shine bright. This was evident when, at six years old, at a dance recital, I basically started my own play center stage- talking and twirling to my own beat. The rest is history.

2. How did you grow your blog?
Helene: I started Helene in Between in September of 2012. I had just broken my ankle and basically spent the first three months obsessing over it. Then I slowly started to apply my SEO, social media and marketing knowledge to really make the blog grow. I even started a consulting service to help other bloggers.

3. Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Helene: Possibly 3 dogs instead of 2 (my husband and I are crazy dog people), that I actually have some pictures up on my wall, and that I'm working 100% for myself. I've always wanted to be my own boss. I am the type of person that will work day and night to perfect a post or help out another blogger. I really like the idea of being independent, and I know that means extra hours, on the weekends and at night. I'm up for the challenge.

4. What's your favorite place in the world?
Helene: I have been lucky enough to go to so many places. I'm definitely a home body but my favorite place in the world is the town of Boom, Belgium at the end of July. That's when the best music festival of all time, Tomorrowland, takes place every year. 180,000 people there to witness all the big EDM acts in the world! I get overly excited about it. 

5. What would be on your tombstone?
Helene: "It's All Good" This is something my grandfather would say each and every day. He's right, it's all about perspective and really, it's all good.

Thank you so much Helene for sharing those great questions with us! I hope you all enjoyed them just as much as I did. I hope to see you all back here next week when we connect with Jenn who blogs over at Business, Life, and Design. I will be posting this series every Monday so check back next week to see what Jenn had to say in her fun questions!


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