Challenge of the Week No. 1

I'm beyond thrilled to share the first of my "challenge of the week" posts with you today! Through these posts, I will be sharing challenges and tips on how to live healthier and more fully-- whether it be through your mind, body, or mood.

 However, the point of this series is not to challenge you until you eat one piece of kale for every meal and do 2000 crunches each hour. The point is to help girls become who they want to be and lead a healthy, happy lifestyle. In fact, a lot of these posts may not be about physical health. I was originally planning on posting a list of "healthy habits" but I find that whenever I read posts like that I feel overwhelmed. I think the fact that there are so many things I could be doing but I'm not is daunting, so I don't try at all. If you've been reading my blog for a while, you know that I have a deep appreciation for the little things, and that's just what this is! Little things that you can do every day to improve how you feel and help you live in a sunny state of mind. I'll be doing the challenges myself, and I will undoubtedly post about it all over social media. Join the fun with the hashtag #sunnywklychallenge. Let's do this!

This week, I'm starting off easy with a mood/lifestyle challenge.

I think that we often turn to texting as an alternative to actually talking to people and having a conversation. Taking a little time out of your day to call someone, whether it be your best friend or grandma, will work wonders. Even if you just ask how their day has been! A good phone call is completely underrated. 

With each of these posts, I'll be including a reminder graphic that I create. Print it out and put it on your mirror, or maybe set it as your phone/computer background!

Talk is not cheap. Talk is chic :-)

Stay sunny,

What I Bookmark {Collab}

One of my favorite quotes is by Oscar Wilde and it goes like this: "With books, flowers and the moon, who could not be happy?" I love it not only because I have an appreciation for the little things like flowers, but because I love reading. I love to read books, but I don't always have time to sit down and read a novel that isn't for school. That's why I satisfy my need to read with blogs, coffee table books, news recaps, and online magazines. Today, I will be sharing what my reading material has been lately!

{Websites/ Online Magazines}

I work for Undeniable, so I may be biased, but this website is a jackpot of articles written about everything under the sun. The coolest part? The editor-in-chief, Anna, is only 17 and most writers are her age and younger.

     2. Brit + Co
Think of this as Buzzfeed but more angled towards women, with tons of DIY and creative articles for girls who like to get crafty.

    3. The Cut
I like this one because it has a ton of fashion articles. Some aren't practical for girls my age but I find others very inspiring. 

    4. Who What Wear
This is my destination for alllllll the fashion.


(These are not all the blogs I read, just some recent faves. If I listed every blog I read we'd be here all day!)

I love Julia's ultra-girly style and makeup tips.

     2. Citrus and Style
Since pink and orange are my favorite colors, it's only natural that I would love Caroline's bright and cheerful blog.

     3. The Blonde Prep
I own a lot of the same clothes as Fran so I look at her posts for ideas on how to wear them! She also shares my affinity for pasta and brunch.

Macy's photography skills are STELLAR and her vacations have me swooning!

I subscribe to get The Skimm daily so I can be in the know with what's going on in the world!

{Coffee Table Books}

     1. She...
This one is super inspiring! It also makes a great gift for a mom, grandma, friend, or someone else you admire. 

Not your typical coffee table book! Even though it is pretty, it has a ton of information like recipes and tips on throwing parties.

Be sure to check out what Macy, Fran, and Caroline are reading!


Copycat Panera Chocolate Chip Cookies

As a self-proclaimed foodie and someone who loves to bake, I am always drawn in by those Pinterest "copycat" recipes. I had never made one before, but often wondered if the claims to be "just like the original!" were true. When my friend Renee made a similar comment, we decided to test some out once and for all!

For my recipe, I chose this one for Panera Chocolate Chip cookies. The recipe called for browned butter, which was new to me so I got to learn how to make it! Not to worry, it was really easy, and SO GOOD. The cookies were jam packed with mini chocolate chips, just like the Panera version. They were just as warm and gooey as the Panera ones, which was awesome because I think the texture is the best part of the cookie. I ended up throwing a few in the freezer and I microwave them for 30 seconds when I'm in the mood for a cookie.

So, time for the final verdict. Renee and I decided to give the recipes a score out of ten in all the important aspects.

Flavor: 5. They just didn't have the flavor of a Panera cookie, but it was still a yummy flavor. 

Texture: 10. The outsides were crispy and inside was almost like dough, just like at Panera. If that's not your thing, you probably won't like these.

Looks: 8. As you can see from the pictures, these cookies are BEAUTIFUL. Not exactly like Panera, but pretty nonetheless.

Worth It?: 8. I personally love baking, so these were fun for me to make. The Panera ones are pretty pricey, so even though these took a while I would make them again! This recipe would be better if you are baking for a crowd.

Be sure to check out Renee's recipe for Chick-Fil-A nuggets (yum!)


Room Organization Tips for the New Year

If your New Year's Resolution is to get organized, get a kickstart by reading this post!
Recently on Pinterest, you might have noticed that I started pinning a ton of organization, decluttering, and minimalist posts. This is because after all the stress of exams, I was sick of all the clutter in my room and I was geared to do something about it. So, I reviewed my pins and got down to business. After cleaning and organizing through about 5 New Girl episodes, I was done! I hauled 4 full trash bags out of my room of things to throw away and donate. It was almost like a detox of my space, and it felt so good.
At the same time that this was going on, my friend Caroline of Citrus & Style was doing the same thing! Of course, we decided to team up to share our secrets to decluttering.

1: Pretend your room is a store.
If you wouldn't see something you own in a store and like it, don't keep it. Also, consider if you would pay money to keep something that's in your room. If not, toss it!

2: Invest in a good shoe holder.
If you aren't currently using a shoe rack, you seriously need one. I love using a shoe rack that hangs in my closet so I can quickly find my shoes and they stay off the floor.

3: Turn jewelry into decor.
 As for jewelry, I personally love to have mine out, because it makes a pretty and one of a kind room decoration. I like keep it on little hooks and jewelry trays. I make sure that if I don't wear a piece of jewelry a lot to put it in storage in my closet or give it away.

4: You don't actually need it
After the so-called "room detox" I compiled a list of things that I thought I would need someday but didn't:
-Old workbooks and notebooks and binders from school (it's all online)
-Clothes people had given to me and I kept for no reason
-Old shirts for "DIY projects"
-Magazines I thought I would want to re-read
-Cosmetic samples

5: Use a storage bench!
I recently received a storage bench from Scout and I love it. I needed a storage bin for all my blankets, so it might as well be cute and serve a purpose. This bench is sturdy enough for sitting and big enough to hold 3 blankets, a yoga mat, some scarves, and a few other odds and ends. Not to mention it comes in some super fun prints! I will definitely be taking this with me to college in the future.

6: A tidy a day keeps the clutter away
It's so easy to slip back into old habits. I typically like to do a quick tidy every day before I start my homework. If your space is neat, you are less likely to become stressed out.

Be sure to check out Caroline's post here!



All photos by Rachel Issler

If your New Year's resolution is to exercise or try yoga, more power to you! This post is great place to start.

I recently teamed up with a local yoga studio, Ignite Yoga, and today I'll be sharing my experience and a set of poses for beginners. Ignite Yoga is located in downtown Centerville, Ohio. It is small, not overwhelming, and just a very peaceful place to be. The owner, Justina, took me through a beginners class and it was, for lack of a better term, flowy. The "flowiness" comes from the fact that Ignite is a Vinyasa studio, which means that it focuses on the flow of yoga. Justina was extremely knowledgeable, fun, and down-to-earth.

I had always done yoga videos off of my iPad but this experience was so much better. There's just something about human interaction and the overall atmosphere of a yoga studio that made me fall in love with yoga all over again.

Without further adieu, here are some of the poses I worked on with Justina!

1: Child's pose
For this pose, sit back on your heels, stretch your arms forward, and rest your head on the mat.

2: Downward Dog
Gently push up into the pose with your heels on the floor and your knees bent slightly.

3: Forward fold
Stand up, grab your elbows, and let your body hang as you feel your spine lengthen

4: Extended Mountain Pose
Reach hands to ceiling

5: Side bend
Grab wrists and slowly bend over to each side.

6: Tree pose
Bring your hands to center and place the sole of your foot as high as it is comfortable on the inside of your leg (just not on your knee joint!)

7: Yoga squat
Turning your feet outwards, come to a squatting position. Open your hips by pushing back with your elbows.

8: Downward Dog (2)

9: Leg High
From downward dog, lift one leg toward the ceiling

10: Warrior
Bring your raised leg forward and lunge into warrior pose

(Repeat 8,9,10 on your other leg)

11: Plank

12: Locust Pose
Lower down onto your stomach, lace your fingers behind your back, and raise your legs off the ground.

13: Cobra

14:Seated Forward Bend

15:Ending Sequence

And that's it! Bring this refreshing yoga feeling into the rest of your day.

Thank you so much, Justina, for having me!
I also got to try out some headstands, which was out of my comfort zone but really fun.

For this workout, I wore my favorite workout outfit ever. On the bottom, I wore Devon Maryn capris. The stripe detail on the side is adorable, and it has subtle pockets that can hold your phone, keys, or earbuds while you're on the go. On top, I wore a Devon Maryn peek-a-boo sweatshirt that is light and airy. Underneath, I wore a Lululemon tank.


Thank you, Ignite Yoga and Devon Maryn for sponsoring this post