All Things Meghan Markle & HRH Prince Harry

Sorry Catherine, but Meghan is the new “it” girl in London these days. She’s easy on the eyes, comfortable in-front of the cameras, outgoing, and absolutely stunning. She compliments Harry in so many ways and I couldn’t be happier about their engagement. Fortunately, ever since they announced their plans to marry, Meghan and Harry have been on quite a few royal engagements together. Unlike Catherine & William, Meghan and Harry’s romance has been much shorter, not allowing much time for Meghan to get acquainted with royal life. Meghan is American and knows very little about England, the people and its culture which only comes from living there for a long period of time. I assume all of these engagements ahead of their wedding day are to help immerse Meghan as quickly as possible, so she has a smooth transition post wedding nuptials. As I mentioned in an earlier post, I love all things about The Royal Family. Just like I follow Wills & Kate, I also plan on following Meghan & Harry.

For all of you Royal Family fans out there, the timeline below is for you!

November 27, 2017

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Meghan and Harry’s engagement photo call at Kensington Palace

The pair announce their engagement and later have a photo call in the Sunken Garden at Kensington Palace.

Ring Details: Harry sourced the center diamond from Botswana and the two smaller diamonds are from Princess Diana’s collection. The band is yellow gold as that is Meghan’s favorite!

 

 

 

 

December 1, 2017

1157732Meghan and Harry made their first official public appearance together in Nottingham, England. This was only four days after announcing their engagement. The couple went to Nottingham Contemporary to visit the Terrence Higgins Trust charity fair to mark World Aids Day. They then made their way to Nottingham Academy to learn about the Full Effect artistic program, which helps prevent young people from turning to violence and crime.

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Meghan was genuinely moved by all of the wonderful well wishes from the locals on her and Harry’s engagement.

 

 

 

 

December 20, 2017

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Meghan’s first of many Christmas Luncheon’s with Queen Elizabeth II

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We saw Meghan again at the Queen’s Annual Christmas Luncheon which is held every year at Buckingham Palace with extended members of the Royal Family. Although we only got a glimpse of her in the car, she looked stunning. You looked handsome too, Harry!

December 21, 2017

Meghan and Harry released their official engagement photos right after the Christmas Luncheon. I have to admit, I was actually depressed after seeing these photos. These images are serious #relationshipgoals, #fashiongoals, #hairgoals, #makeupgoals, #weddinggoals, #fitnessgoals – you name it, this couple captured it during the shoot.

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December 25, 2017

Christmas at Sandringham

Meghan was the first royal fiancé to spend Christmas with the Royal Family at Sandringham. There have been mixed reviews on her outfit, but I thought she looked lovely. They were going to church and God tells us, “come as you are.” Meghan even did a curtsy for Her Majesty, The Queen.

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Members Of The Royal Family Attend St Mary Magdalene Church In Sandringham

January 9, 2018

On their second official public engagement, Meghan & Harry head to South London to Reprezent 107.3FM in Brixton, which trains hundreds of young people every year in media and employment skills. Again, moved by all of the well wishers, Meghan even blows a kiss to people who came out to wait in the cold just to catch a glimpse of the couple.

Meghan, I’d cry too…you’re about to be a future duchess.

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January 18, 2018

Meghan & Harry arrive in Wales for the third official public appearance together as part of their pre-wedding tour around England. Meghan was described as a natural with crowds and with meeting people. Personally, I love that she was rocking the messy bun…I like people that can keep it real. Our future Duchess, also received her first curtsy despite not yet being a royal. #Yesssssss!!!

Prince Harry And Meghan Markle Visit Cardiff Castle

Meghan receives her first public curtsy in ahead of her wedding to Prince Harry in May.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Meghan Markle hugs a group of girls at the Star Hub leisure centre

I’m sure we will be seeing much more of Meghan & Harry ahead of their wedding in May. #harryandmeghan2018

 

Cheerio!

~Briana

 

 

Tuesday Morning Workout: “Are We Jumping With This Exercise?!”

9760072Every Tuesday morning I do a class called Fitness Solutions at Applied Fitness Solutions in Ann Arbor with the class starting sharply at 6AM and ending at 7AM. The first 20 minutes of the class consists of three different weight lifting movements. This morning it was RDL’s, lateral sweeps with a band, and bench press on an incline. We did each exercise three times with 15-20 reps, so basically 60 RDL’s, 60 lateral sweeps, and 60 bench presses. The pace is quick as you are paired with a partner and as soon as they’re done then it’s your turn again. By the time you get to the 16th rep on your third set, your arms and legs feel like jelly. On the flip side, by this time you have buns of steel and convince yourself if you keep going, your body will slowly look like Kelly Ripa’s. After the strength portion is complete, you move into the HIIT portion of the class. This part consists of 4 stations with 6 minutes at each station, leaving you breathless, thirsty and starving.

On the second station, we had to do TRX bands with a squat. This exercise internally excites me because I’m all about getting dat a$$! Summer bodies are made in the winter, especially for us Michiganders who have nothing else to do right now. A few seconds into the circuit, my trainer stopped by and informed me this exercise is a squat WITH a jump. At this point, I quickly turned my head to him, bothered by this information. The kind of head turn from the Exorcist when Linda Blair’s head completely spins all the way around. I think to myself, “what did you say? You want me to do a squat WITH a jump at 6:30AM after I just did RDL’s? Don’t you know that my knees and butt are already in severe pain? Can’t you see I’m still out of breath from doing high knees at the last station?” This small addition to the workout takes the exercise from a four to an eight in intensity. Then I thought about it, this small addition to the exercise is only going to make me stronger and in better shape. Why am I putting mental limits on myself when my body is physically able to do this? Once I decided to commit to adding the jump, I was fine. It was my mind that was saying, “no” not my legs.

It was then in the workout that I realized I am always putting limits on myself, in and out of the gym. When something scary, unknown or difficult arises, my first reaction is “ahhh *$%#@” What I’ve slowly started to realize, is that this is absolutely the wrong approach. If I’ve never done something before or it seems difficult, instead I should approach it as an opportunity. In hindsight I should actually be grateful that I’m able to challenge myself physically, mentally, or emotionally. Once I’ve committed to the task, if I physically, mentally or emotionally can’t do it, that is okay. At the gym, this is when you modify the exercise so that you can get still get something out of the workout. In life, you go about solving the problem a different way or ask for help. It’s also important to note that mistakes are going to get made in the process, it’s inevitable. Not to sound too cliche, but I have learned most from my mistakes and those learning lessons have served me well in the gym and out of the gym. This goes back to my favorite saying, “oh well at least I know versus always wondering what if.” In that exact moment, I learned that I can actually do the exercise. I didn’t leave the gym this morning wondering if I could have pushed myself more. Challenge, change and unknown circumstances are okay and we should embrace them more. When you’re in the middle of a challenging work, situation or uncertainty remember to follow the self-care tips below:

  1. Always remember to breathe: I’ll never forget when a trainer told me that I am struggling with the workout because I wasn’t breathing. Learning this was a game-changer. If you are struggling through a workout, chances are you are not breathing correctly. We tend to hold our breath during strenuous exercise without realizing it. Just like in life, when we feel overwhelmed, we need to breathe through the stress.
  2. Rest when you need to: sometimes we need to rest during our workouts. If you’re running a long distance or putting in a couple of hours at the gym, don’t forget to stop and drink water. Also, depending on the workout allow your heart rate to slowly come down before starting back up again. Just like at work or in your personal time, you need to take breaks. Sitting in front of your computer for nine hours drinking cups of coffee, Red Bull and 5 Hour Energy’s is unproductive and bad for you. How can you possibly be focused for nine consecutive hours? It is literally impossible – you need to take breaks in order to make rational versus emotional decisions. Unless something is of urgent matter or time sensitive, I tackle all of my bigger projects first thing in the morning when I am most alert. With the remaining 30 minutes of my day, I organize my notes, look ahead to tomorrow, create to-do lists and flag e-mails in my tasks bar. That is how my brain is wired, and I’m all about working smarter.
  3. Get excited: I absolutely love the workouts that I am currently doing at Applied Fitness Solutions anPrintable-Quote-Art-I-think-I-cand Pure Barre. Part of this excitement is because of the people that I work out with at the gym/studio. They’re positive and they challenge me to push myself. This is also the same for my job. For me this is more than a job, it is a way of life and I am 100% passionate about what I do. Working in the sports and entertainment industry is fascinating, exciting and ever-changing. The people that I work for and with push me, excite me, and make me better. They’re excitement, is my excitement even when a project does not directly affect or impact me. This mentality is from our CEO down and I feel incredibly grateful for my career. If you’re not loving your workouts, career path, the people you hang out with, etc. you can should change it up. Don’t be afraid to do something new or start over again. You only get one life and in my opinion, you should make the absolute most of it.

Have a great rest of the week & remember you CAN!

~Briana

First Self Care Sunday of the New Year

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I mentioned in an earlier blog post of the importance to focus on self care in 2018. I realized that last year my life was out of balance. I love being busy and having a routine, but I also enjoy moving slowly and not always looking at a to-do list. I’m not saying that we should turn into couch potatoes each weekend, but rather use the time to rejuvenate ourselves so that we can be better versions of ourselves each and every day.

 

This mentality has led me to my first self care Sunday post of the New Year and how I spent it:

  1. Waking up when your body decides to: This mentality is also known as sleeping in, getting enough sleep or just waking the f**k up when you feel like it. I rise early every morning even on Saturday’s to hit the gym before everyone else, so I do not feel guilty about this weekly ritual. I allow my day to unfold based on when I rise.
  2. Making a fresh cup of coffee: I do not drink coffee during the week unless I’m horribly dragging a$$. I allow my endorphins, vegan protein shake and the 1,000 emails in my inbox to motivate me during the weekday. However, on the weekend there is nothing greater than waking up slowly and meandering into the kitchen to make a fresh cup of coffee. The kind of coffee that you get from an actual coffee maker with an actual coffee pot. I’m not talking about the coffee from the Keurig…you know that device that is slowly polluting our country with tiny pods in landfills? Please folks, do yourself a favor and go to Williams-Sonoma and buy a real coffee maker. It is the self care gift that keeps on giving.
  3. Barre class: I love doing barre class on Sunday especially after heavy lifting and HIIT on Saturday.  Also, the energy in the room on the weekends is completely different with everyone refreshed and energized.
  4. Church: I love going to mass on Sundays. This is my time to really focus on my intentions for the week ahead. During this one hour, I try hard not to think about anything other than the homily, so that I can get up Monday morning and tackle the week all over again. If church is not your thing, try and take an hour to mediate or read a book that helps put things into perspective in your life. It is so important to have the right frame of mind, so that you can make sound decisions at work and in your personal life.
  5. Running into people you work with and NOT talking about work: A co-worker of mine and I attend the same church and we often go to the same mass. It’s great that we share the same faith and values, but what’s even better is that when I see them we don’t talk about projects that we are working on together. If work comes up in conversation, it’s usually in a broader context of life and what we are passionate about as it pertains to our careers.
  6. Weekly Costco run: I get this is technically a “to-do” but I really enjoy going to Costco on the weekends. I also like starting my week organized and Costco makes meal prepping easy, as you can buy food in bulk without needing to make numerous trips to the grocery store Monday thru Friday. This may be weird, but I also love the way Costco smells…anyone else share the same feeling?
  7. Watching a new movie release on Netflix: I think everyone can relate to the warm and fuzzy feelings that only a new release on Netflix and curling up with some snacks and a warm blanket can bring. This weekend I watched the 2016 thriller, Before I Wake.
  8. Meal prep & Sunday dinner: when time permits, meal prepping is the best. All your food for the week is ready and you don’t have to stress about what’s for dinner and lunch after a long day of work. I don’t meal prep every week because it is time consuming but when I have the time and energy, I try to make this a priority somewhere in the day.
  9. Getting ready for bed early: it takes me a little over an hour to get ready for bed. This includes all forms of grooming…ladies you already know how it goes, I don’t need to go into much detail here. I make it a point to get ready for bed early on Sunday’s, so I can ensure a good night’s sleep which helps set me up for the rest of the week.

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As I take more time for self care and allowing myself to move at my own pace, I look back at all of the things that I did and realize I actually got a lot done during the day. Sometimes by solely focusing on the to do-list you end up feeling overwhelmed by all that needs to get done. By taking things in stride, I allowed myself to enjoy each and every moment that I was in – even when it came to doing the laundry. One of my favorite quotes is, “It is good to have an end to journey toward; but it is the journey that matters, in the end.” – Ernest Hemingway

I would love to hear some of your Sunday self care rituals, so please share in the comments.

Have a wonderful week!

~Briana

Happy Birthday to HRH Catherine, The Duchess of Cambridge!

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One thing you all will learn about me very quickly is how much I love The British Royal Family. It started when I was in sixth grade and I read a book about Queen Mary I of England also known as Mary Tudor. I don’t recall the name of the book, but 17 years later I still remember how much I enjoyed reading the interesting story of the infamous Tudor dynasty. Mary Tudor was the only child conceived by Catherine of Aragon and King Henry VIII. Do you know what her nickname was during her reign as Queen of England? Hint: you may have played this game with your friends as kids to scare each other. Her nickname was “Bloody Mary” in her attempt to restore Catholicism to England and reverse the Protestant Reformation. I could write another four to five paragraphs just on Queen Mary, but the purpose of this post is not to provide a history lesson.

Anyways, after reading this book, I was completely fascinated about all things King Henry VIII and the Tudor Family. It wasn’t until Wills and Kate announced their engagement in November 2010 that the modern day monarchy had me hooked. From their fairytale wedding in April 2011 at Westminster Abbey to the birth of both of their children, I have been following the couple and other members of the Royal Family for six consecutive years.

There is something about Catherine’s style and polished demeanor that make her likable. I also appreciate how Kate has a way of always looking elegant and conservative but not frumpy. which is so easy to do when you’re dressing to meet dignitaries from other countries.

Back to Kate’s birthday, according to Instyle.com Catherine is celebrating her birthday with a low-key evening at home with Prince George, 4, and Princess Charlotte, 2. It should also be noted that Catherine is roughly 5 months pregnant with the couple’s third baby and her due date is this April. Having two small children and pregnant, I am sure a quiet evening at home is just what she wants. To celebrate her 36th birthday, I’ve compiled a few of my favorite photos of her at various events over the years.

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Catherine at Trooping The Color in 2016. This was the first time that she wore her hair up for the event. It was also Princess Charlotte’s first time joining the rest of the Royals on the balcony.

 

 

 

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This was Catherine’s first solo event with the Queen, as William was busy flying planes for his military work.  They were in the Queen’s Bentley when this picture was taken. This is by far one of my favorite images of the Duchess.

 

 

 

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This image was from William and Catherine’s first Royal Tour in Canada in 2011, shortly after their wedding. I love how dark her hair is in this image, against the white dress and red hat.

 

 

 

 

 

tumblr_m9uvb4eU8S1qmw26bo1_500And of course The Royal Wedding…how could I not include images from this magical day? I am not sure why, but I absolutely love veils. All of the images of Catherine arriving to the church with her veil gracefully over her face are stunning, it helps when you have a diamond encrusted tiara on your head.

 

 

When You Decide to be Basic AF: New Year, New Me…Starting A Blog

pexels-photo-775779.jpegYup… I’m going to be that girl in 2018. “New Year, New Me” type stuff, but unlike previous New Years with my resolutions, I am making my goals more personal. While some people do not believe in New Years resolutions, I do. In my opinion, for personal and professional growth, it is imperative for us to self evaluate ourselves and our lives. Am I happy? Am I healthy? Am I moving in the right direction with my career or with my personal relationships? What is working? What is not working? These are all questions and topics that come up in conversations with family friends or internally more than a few times a year. And after a few quiet days with Christmas and New Years, it only seems appropriate to start fresh in January. Anyways, back to making my goals more “personal.”

I’m done with typical New Years resolutions and all of these advertisements that tell us we need to lose weight, save money, and stop drinking. To be honest, I am doing all of those things and pride myself on my mostly plant based diet and strict gym routine. However, late October of 2017, it dawned on me, just like we exercise and eat healthy to keep our bodies performing at our best, we should do so with our mental health. Our bodies and minds should work together to be the best versions of ourselves. During this time period, I noticed that I was less likely to have a good work out or be motivated to eat healthy when I was mentally exhausted after doing what felt like a never ending to do list without taking time for myself (binge watching Netflix does not count). I had forgotten the importance and love I had of reading a good book, learning something new, having a hobby or volunteering. I decided I was going to start making small changes in November and December so I could truly set myself up for success in 2018. It all started with reading a Christmas book which lead to reading another book and then next thing I knew, I felt a desire to write which has led to the creation of this blog.

Whatever your goals are for the New Year, I hope you not only destroy them but that you find personal fulfillment and realize self care in the process of doing so.

Happy New Year!

~Briana

 

Should I Start a Blog?

quote1.jpgDid you know that 172,800 blogs are created each day? That is two new blogs each second. I came across this statistic courtesy of Richard Goodwin’s article on “Should I Start a Blog? 34 Things to Know (Before You Start).” Some people may read this statistic and wonder, “why would you want to start a blog after reading this? You’re just another person with a WordPress template and a laptop.” Well, that is true but if you decide to not be discouraged by this and read further into the article, Richard goes into some great reasons as why to start a blog. I’m not going to share all 34, but I’ve shared my top 5 from his list that have inspired me to finally jump on the blog bandwagon:

“It helps you learn new things: Blogging is about sharing what you see, or want to see, in the world. It’s about teaching or sharing what you know and what you, too, are learning. When you start a blog, you’ll find yourself always learning new things about your areas of interest so you can keep sharing without running dry of ideas.”

For me, learning is something that I am always looking to do and have great passion for. Some times I get angry because I don’t have enough time in the day/week/year to do and learn everything that I read about or see online or on TV. The feeling when you learn something new or even read an interesting article that has nothing to do with anything can feel so satisfying as well as empowering. Even at the smallest of levels, knowledge really is power.

It makes you think clearer: The ability to think clearly and generate ideas is one of life’s most critical skills, yet one of the things you don’t get taught in school. Blogging fills that void, helping you grow your thinking muscles exponentially. You’ll learn to reflect deeply on your life, your relationships and your society; engage with others intellectually, appreciate the strengths in arguments and point out the flaws in them; appreciate the tiny distinctions between what, why and how; the nexus and disparity between excuses and justifications, and so on.”

How good is reason #2? I think every person at any point in his or her life can relate to Richard’s argument above. The first year out of college up until present day, I’ve had more experiences that have caused me to reflect deeply on my life, my relationships than I could have ever imagined. And as I continue to evolve and mature as a person, I’ve come to realize a lot of my thoughts on why we exist and our unique purposes, I’ve realized I am not alone in these reflections. I’ve had meaningful conversations with friends, family and even co-workers on this very topic and I look forward to sharing some of these thoughts with you all as well.

It can help you aid in good causes & lets you help other people: Whether it’s bringing drinkable water to more people, supporting the education of orphans or building schools for poor communities, blogging can help you lend a helping hand to great causes you believe in. potentials? Start a blog. You want to spread the virtues of your faith? Start a blog. You wish people would make better choices in relationships and want to help them achieve that? Start a blog.”

Those close to me know that I am an animal lover at heart. It’s always a joke that if I were to win the lottery that I would quit my day job (obviously) and open up an animal sanctuary. I’m not going to use this blog post to go into all of my animal activist goals quite yet, but I sure hope to use this as a platform to help voice my many concerns for domestic, farm and wild animals that so desperately need our help in this world.

It helps you acquire new valuable skills: When I started blogging, I didn’t know a thing about domain names, hosting servers, HTML, social media, link building, SEO, blog design, etc. Now I do. With your blog, you instinctively start learning about these stuff and more. Within a short time, you’ll have amassed a ton of valuable new skills that you’ll be proud of. These skills alone can make you thousands of dollars. I know it because that has been the case for me.”

Richard’s reason above is one of the exact reasons I started a blog! I was doing some online videos on Lynda.com about online marketing, wanting to learn some new skill sets and it dawned on me…start a blog! What’s the point of doing all of these videos and learning all this cool ***ish if you can’t put them into practical experience? This reason alone led me to Richard’s article, which made realize that there were a plethora of reasons to start a blog. Continual learning and personal development are one of many factors for happiness and success!

It makes you happy: When you put everything into perspective, all of the things that make up your life – I think it’s safe to say that we all just want to be happy. For me, writing and having the platform to talk about the things that make my life interesting, brings great joy and excitement. Now there may come a day when this blog does not make me happy and I’ll stop doing it. We only get one chance, one opportunity and one life to do the things that mean most. As I always tell my one very special co-worker, “choose happiness!”

So there you have it. Those are my personal reasons for wanting to start a blog. If nobody but my mom reads it, I am 100% okay with that. I look forward to journeying on this wonderful adventure as 2018 unfolds.

~Briana