LENA MARIE LOVES | JUNE 2017

Eating watermelon!

June flew by for me. So quickly that blogging took a seat on the back burner 😅 I won’t lie, I was lacking creativity, inspiration, and motivation. But I am SO close to being done with my semester and have tons of ideas floating around in my head for you, so just wait…

Lately, I have been loving…

TO WEAR…

Dresses, skirts, sandals galore! June was a hot one here in southern Germany and the only way to attempt to combat the heat was avoiding clothes that were tight or uncomfortable. My all time favorite outfit of the month definitely has to be this dress from Espirit with these sandals from Paul Green.

I also could not be bothered painting my nails this month, so I rocked the Au Naturale look!

TO EXERCISE…

By participating in Shaun Week and following his hybrid calendar for the month! Kicking off on June 12th, Beachbody released a new workout every day for a week that Shaun T recently created. I hosted a free group and we did the workouts together every day and had so much fun! Shaun T then created a calendar to follow for 3 more weeks mixing and matching workouts from all of his previous programs 💪🏼

TO USE…

My Contigo water bottle! With such hot weather, water was a must 💦 I have the Cortland 24 ounce/720 milliliter bottle and LOVE it. One, it does not leak! Two, it is the perfect size – the portion of water is ideal, but it also fits into cup holders. Three, it is dishwasher safe! Four (and my favorite part), is the lid! It has an automatic seal to prevent spillage, but you can also lock it so that in transport you won’t have any accidents. The lid also has a handy carabiner that enables me to clip it onto any bag.

I have never had a water bottle last me this long (mine is 2 years old in the meantime). They have always ended up leaking or becoming nasty and uncleanable.

TO READ…

Still No Excuses! by Brian Tracy! I also added You are a Badass at Making Money by Jen Sincero into the mix and am on the hunt for a third book to read throughout July! School definitely took over my life a bit and I pushed my reading to the side, BUT I will be reading lots as soon as my last assignment is handed in 🤗

TO BE GRATEFUL FOR…

New opportunities. As summer approaches I am excited to take advantage of all of the opportunities that it has to offer. I have a lot of ideas that I would like to bring to fruition, but I also am starting a new job in a little bit and am looking forward to seeing what kind of things I will experience! I feel like I repeat myself constantly, but I just am grateful to have found a spot in life where I am excited to start every day and chase things that I am passionate about!

THESE 5 MOMENTS…
  1. June 6. It was an average Tuesday and my mom and I decided to go for a walk to hit our step goals for the day. Little did we know that the most beautiful rainbow would accompany us the whole way! 🌈
  2. June 14. After a seemingly successful job interview, the stars aligned and my parents and I were able to meet up in the midst of a busy day for ice cream! It was so random but fun! 🍦
  3. June 15. It was a German holiday and the local orchestra, that my dad plays in, uses it to put on a little event for the day. No German festival is complete without potato salad, french fries, brats, and beer! My dad and I joined forces and did what we can do best, eat! 😋
  4. June 21. My final presentation for the project that seemingly overshadowed everything this semester! It was great to get that out of the way and move onto more pressing things. 📚
  5. June 27. Not only was it Tobi, my dogs, 14th birthday, but I finally got a job offer! After a long and annoying search, I finally got an offer and look forward to starting later this month! 👩🏼‍💻

I hope that June treated you all as well as it did me! I look forward to the memories that I will make in July 😌

With love,

Lena Marie 💕

LENA MARIE LOVES | MAY 2017

Standing in the sunset on Sylt

May has officially come to an end. It was a busy month, but good busy. My semester is over half way mark and the end of semester stress is aggregating, but it’s nothing that my May memories cannot improve! 🙂

Lately, I have been loving…

TO WEAR…

My brand new Adidas Gazelle shoes in the color ice purple! I have a confession: I have fallen victim to a trend. Typically, I try to hold off on trends because I like going my own way, but after a while, they do rub off on me. It seems like Adidas sneakers are everywhere these days. So, I caved and started looking at them myself. I chose these because I personally love that they are suede! The shiny, vinyl-like look of the Superstars is not my thing. I also love this color. I gravitate towards girly colors and the shade ice purple was a very neutral, understated girly tone that I loved. Plus, they are very versatile. I can dress them up with jeans, white denim or black denim or I can channel the athleisure look with leggings.

At the beginning of the month, I also added a new Essie polish to my collection that became my tone for May called “not just a pretty face“. It is a really pretty pink nude tone that says summertime without being in your face.

TO EXERCISE…

By doing Insanity Max 30 and getting OUTSIDE! I finished up Insanity Max 30 midway through the month and chose to measure my progress by taking progress photos! I just posted them on Instagram and Facebook a few days ago! What surprised me the most was the difference between the two photos. I knew I had lost some weight, but the visible difference was eye opening! I just was not aware of the extra weight I had been carrying around when I started.

This month I also spent a lot of time outdoors. While on vacation we spent a lot of time hiking and biking. Plus, with the weather being so lovely, I try to walk places whenever possible!

TO USE…

The Clinique Sonic System, a facial cleansing brush! My skincare routine has stayed pretty much the same, but instead of using my hands to wash my face I now use this brush and I am in LOVE! I did not think my skin could get any softer than when I use an exfoliating face wash, but I was so wrong! This brush really deep cleans my skin, gets all of the dirt and makeup off, and leaves my skin so incredibly smooth.

I use the Acne Solutions Brush Head because I have acne prone skin! I love that there are firm bristles at the top made for your t-zone and the softer bristles at the bottom, made for your cheeks. Washing my face is now something I actually look forward to!

TO READ…

No Excuses! by Brian Tracy! I have another confession to make: I broke my new year’s resolution of reading a book a month… I just started this book a few days ago and have not even made it a quarter of the way through, but I am already in love. It is about the power of self-discipline and even in the first few chapters, has been really eye opening for me. While I would not call myself lazy, I definitely don’t push myself as hard as I possibly can. Yet I want to be successful…

One of my favorite quotes in the book so far is “successful people are willing to pay the price, whatever it is and for as long as it takes, until they achieve the results they desire.” I know I am willing to pay the price, so now I just need to do it!

TO BE GRATEFUL FOR…

Being able to travel with my family! Family life has changed a lot throughout the last few years. From age 5 to 18 my parents gave up everything to take care of others. The vacations we took were to visit family in Germany or maybe a trip to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Yet they instilled into me the value of seeing and experiencing the world. Upon moving to Germany my parents were forced to reinvent themselves. My dad jumped into a new career and my mom went to school to be able to practice her new career. Throughout it all, they supported my educational endeavors, failures, long stints in the US, and were always there for me. Now, we have found ourselves in this big adventure called life and have the opportunity to catch up on family trips. I am extremely thankful for this time with my family before I take the giant leap into leading a life and a future family of my own.

THESE 5 MOMENTS…

As you may have noticed, the “Lena Maries Week” posts are no more. They got old to write, felt like an obstacle I had to overcome every Sunday and I do not think many people cared about what I did every week! Instead, I will highlight my 5 favorite moments of the month in my monthly round-up posts! I hope you like this!

  1. May 6. Meeting up with our old neighbor in Hamburg, Germany before kicking off our week long vacation on Sylt! Check out this blog post to read all about the lovely week we had!
  2. May 11. Out of our whole vacation, I think this day was my favorite. We spent the day biking the island and finished off the day biking along the water. This scene remains vivid in my memory because it just hammered home that I belong wherever water is.
  3. May 21. After several weeks of not seeing each other, I met up with my friend Carla to shoot some photos for our blogs and Instagram pages. I had so much fun taking photos, catching up, and working out together. I feel so lucky to have met such lovely people here!
  4. May 26. My parents and I spent the day running errands in Stuttgart together. My mom picked out a new pair of glasses, I found some new clothes, and we enjoyed gelato on the Schloßplatz together. It made running errands fun and again, this is not something we have always been able to do together!
  5. May 27. We took a day trip to the Zugspitze, which is the highest point in Germany! We had great weather, an impeccable view, and I could cross another thing off of my bucket list!

What did you love throughout the month of May? I hope the month of June is off to a great start for you all!

With love,

Lena Marie

LENA MARIE LOVES | APRIL 2017

I remember sitting and writing my March post like it was yesterday, how is April already over?! All in all, April was a great month! Spring is in full force, with lots of April showers, Easter bunnies, and fresh blooms. I also had some staples that I reached for throughout the month of April, keep reading to see what I have been loving!

Lately, I have been loving…

TO WEAR…

Jeans! Throughout the winter months, I was struggling a bit with the fit of the jeans I had in my closet, but after making my workout routine a top priority, they fit properly again! My current favorite pairs stem from American Eagle Outfitters and Diesel. I prefer a  bit of a darker wash and a good amount of stretch in my jeans. When I purchased my newest pairs from American Eagle, I went outside of my comfort zone and got some with a higher waist as well. These quickly became a favorite pair as I feel like they cinch in the area I am not super confident in. Jeans are my go-to pant whenever I leave the house!

I also had a nail polish color that I wore a lot in April and that was “chubby cheeks” by Essie. It is a beautiful deeper coral tone and the perfect transition from darker pinks that I was still wearing in March!

TO EXERCISE…

By doing Insanity Max 30! This month too, this program has kept my going! All in all, it is a 60-day program, and I will be finishing up within the next 2 weeks. My body is not one to show crazy physical differences, but I do feel better. I have been really good at not finding excuses for my workouts throughout April and am planning on carrying that mindset on into this month!

From personal experience, I definitely could not recommend Insanity Max 30 or other Beachbody programs more. I truly have had a breakthrough in my personal health and fitness level these past few months and look forward to continuing the trend and hopefully seeing some abs poke through this summer 🙂 If you ever need some health and fitness motivation, you know where to find me! I am always more than happy to help.

TO USE…

My Little America Backpack by Herschel! This backpack is perfect for long days on campus. It is very nicely padded, has a great laptop sleeve, and is BIG! I find myself spending my free time between classes in the library. This means I take more things with me every day. Sadly these things don’t always fit into my Longchamp Le Pliage tote. This backpack has been a lifesaver. It holds all of my everyday essentials and is also ideal for travel! This bag also serves as a wonderful carry-on bag and just does not disappoint.

Mine is grey, with white polka dots, and the black rubber buckles. I cannot find this design anywhere, so I linked the plain grey one for you 🙂 The price is steep, but as long as you stick to a classic color or print, it will last forever. Not only is the bag stylish, but it’s practical and constructed with those of us with lots of things to carry in mind.

TO READ…

James Patterson’s “2nd Chance” from the Women’s Murder Club series. After reading “1st to Die” in March, I could not help but keep reading the series in April. And to be honest, around April 20th, I noticed that I had barely made a dent in my book for the month. Not wanting to break my new year’s resolution of reading a book a month, I read like a madwoman and this book made is so easy to be sucked in!

TO BE GRATEFUL FOR…

Patience. While April was most definitely a great month, there are still things that I am trying to achieve or improve. These things are taking a lot of patience. I had some moments of weakness where I let my frustration overtake me, but for the most part, I went with the flow. I am extremely grateful for all of the opportunities I have right now and I just hope that I can make a few of them a reality and achieve some of my goals through them.

What were your favorite things throughout April?

With love,

Lena Marie

LENA MARIE LOVES | JANUARY 2017

As the first month of the new year comes to a close I am introducing a new series to the blog! “Lena Marie Loves” is going to be a monthly series about the things that I have been loving each month. While I am not a leader in style, beauty or health, rather a totally average 20-something, I do hope to share some products, tools or ideas with you that you will find joy in!

Lately, I have been loving…

TO WEAR…

My Fitbit Charge 2! While this is not the most stylish or fashion forward piece to wear, it has made me a lot more aware of my movement (or lack thereof) throughout the day. Jonathan gifted this to me for Christmas after my (not so subtle) hinting. He asked me to choose what color band I liked and I chose the purple band. I also purchased an accessory band off of Amazon to make it look a bit more professional. This has been a great new accessory and I hope to use it to make the most out of my workouts in the future.

TO EXERCISE…

By going on snowshoe hikes and doing circuit training! Jonathan received snowshoes for Christmas and I borrowed his dad’s pair. It is such a fun way to get exercise, but also enjoy the bright white, snowy, winter weather. I also workout everyday before work, and I have been loving circuits these last few weeks. The exercises are no different than what I typically do, I  simply do 1-2 larger circuits instead of 4-5 supersets. While doing a circuit I am less apt to taking a breather after each exercise and I completely lose track of time. Finding ways to exercise that makes it enjoyable is key for me!

TO USE…

My self-made planner! I LOVE planners and have used several different ones, but none of them fit perfectly. I find it really hard to find one that is pretty AND functional! After learning about bullet journaling I decided to create my own planner in which I integrated bullet journaling concepts, but with my own flare. My planner is home to my vision boards and goals, along with my all of my to-do’s. I previously struggled tracking the minuscule personal tasks versus the tasks I have at work or school. Creating my own planner has helped me get all of lists, events, and to-do’s under one hat and due to that it has really boosted my productivity.

TO READ…

You are a Badass by Jen Sincero! One of my Top 5 2017 Resolutions is to read a book a month. January is the time of year where I can use a good swift kick in my rear to get into gear. I heard a lot of buzz about You are a Badass, so I figured I would see what it was all about. The book is about the law of attraction and how you can use it to live the life you desire. After reading The Secret by Rhonda Bryne, a very informative read about the law of attraction, I motivated to use the law of attraction in my everyday life. The Secret is so heavy with information that I was extremely intimidated.  You are a Badass covered the same information, but in a much more light hearted and humorous fashion. In the end, it was the perfect read to help me jumpstart implementing the law of attraction into my life!

TO BE GRATEFUL FOR…

My support system! Going into 2017 I really challenged myself to find my groove. The past few years have been challenging. I would not be anywhere near where I am today without the support and encouragement from the amazing team of people around me. Friends, family, co-workers, you know who you are! Without any of these instrumental people in my life I would not be reaching for the stars. Every day my confidence grows a little more because of you. Jonathan especially has dealt with this journey first hand these last few months. His patience, understanding, and encouragement to go see the world and do what makes me happy is what I wish upon all women as they search for their life partner.

January, you have been good to me. I look forward to what else 2017 has in store for me. Whatever it is, I know I will tackle it with vigor.

With love,

Lena Marie

P.S. If you are looking for a way to read all of your favorite blogs in one spot, follow me on Bloglovin’! You can add all of your favorite blogs to your feed, which means no more emails!

MY COLD WEATHER ESSENTIALS

In good old Northern Michigan one winter weather advisory is followed by the next and snow has been piling up consistently. In order to deal with these cold, wet, snowy days there are a few essentials that you most definitely need. Whether you live in a cold climate or are planning a ski trip, keep reading to find out all the things you need to survive sub-freezing winter weather!

A pair of winter boots.

Arguably the most important thing to have for the winter is a good pair of winter boots. For years I made it through winters in UGGs, but this winter I bought a pair of L.L. Bean, Bean Boots and I will never look back. Wet, dry, icy, these boots get me through everything. They are also very flexible, you can dress them up with a nice pair of jeans or down with a pair of leggings and taller socks. Mind you, I do work somewhere where the dress code is quite casual. Cold feet are no fun, so be sure to at least have a pair of warm, waterproof boots!

A down or synthetic down jacket. 

If you live somewhere with long, cold winters it is totally work investing in a nice winter jacket. I prefer longer jackets like the one I have from Columbia. If you are just visiting a cold climate for a week or don’t experience too much snow layering might be a good choice for you. Whether it is with a down vest, like mine from Jack Wolfskin, or a short down or synthetic down jacket, you can always layer a thick sweater and a long sleeve rather than purchase a brand new coat! But in Northern Michigan, a long warm jacket is a must have for me! Nothing is worse than feeling cold air up my back when wearing a short jacket.

A hat, scarf, and mittens or gloves. 

Hats, scarves and mittens are not only warm, but a way to show your style! Each winter I choose a new color for my hat and I try and match my scarf and mittens to it. This winter I found this green hat for $15 and it was 30% off on Black Friday! I also found a grey and white scarf at Target that matched, as well as a beige scarf with a plaid pattern that had the green in it. My gloves are just a pair of plain black ones that I also found at Target. They are not cute at all, but they get the job. When I am going for cute mittens, I always wear my Baabaazuzu mittens! For days where I am wearing my hair up I wear this black headband. These all keep me cozy and dry and are a total necessity.

A pair of fleece lined leggings.

I am a typical girl and LOVE wearing leggings or yoga pants whenever I get the chance. They tend to be a little thin in the winter though, so when I found these fleece lined leggings at Target I knew winter no longer had anything on me. They’re warm, cozy and not constricting. Perfect to lounge in, wear on a cold snowy hike, or layer under your ski gear!

A pair of wool socks. 

Even with a great pair of winter boots, our toes might still get a little cold, so a pair of wool socks with definitely do the trick. Depending on how frigid it will be outside I might even layer then over normal ankle socks. The higher the socks, the better they are. They’re also a cute outfit add-on when you layer then over leggings, tights, or jeans. Smartwool is a great brand and Gander Mountain makes cozy, less expensive, ones too!

A thermal mug. 

A recent habit of mine is drinking hot lemon water to help with digestive issues. Morning coffee, tea or lemon water – whatever it may be, the moment you walk outside with it in the winter it gets cold and it gets cold fast. In order to keep your hot beverage warm as long as possible a must have is a great thermal mug! The absolute best mug that I have found so far is made by the brand emsa. It keeps things hot for hours, so hot that I have burnt my tongue on multiple occasions thinking it had to have cooled off in the meantime!

Moisturizing skincare. 

Winter is BRUTAL on the skin, especially if you have dry skin to start out with, like me! Even if snow has not yet fallen or my big winter coat is still in storage, chances are that my skin will tell me that winter is on its way first. When my skin starts getting dry, scaly and cracked, and my lips chap it is time to up my moisturizing game. I use this Nivea moisturizer for my body and this Ponds face moisturizer. My favorite chapstick is this Burts Bees lip balm.

I love living in a place that has 4 distinguishable seasons. Winter is definitely hard, but as my dear mom says, “there is no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing.” So bundle up and get out there! No matter how old you are, it is always acceptable to build a snowman and have a snowball fight 🙂

With love,

Lena Marie