At Home Ab Blasters

Hey friends! I know summer feels like forever away, but swimsuit season will be here before you know it. Everyone wants to feel comfortable rocking their favorite bathing suit once the weather gets warm, so now is the time to start toning those abs so you can feel strong and confident lounging by the pool or catching some waves this summer! This is a workout that is easy to do and can be done anywhere since it requires no equipment.  If you want to challenge yourself you could throw in a dumbbell or two, like I did with the Russian twists, or try it with a medicine ball. But even with no weight these exercises will leave your abs feeling the burn!

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  • Russian twists: Start in a seated position with knees bent and feet off the floor, holding arms  in front of your body. Rotate arms (with or without weights) back and forth reaching towards the ground on each side of your body. Side to side is 1 rep.
  • V-Sits: Start lying flat on the ground, then lift your legs and upper body off the ground and bring them in towards each other at the same time, ending in a V shape. Lower back down to finish the rep.
  • Toe Touches: Lying on your back, lift both legs straight up in the air. Reach your hands up to touch your toes, bringing your shoulders off the ground. Rest shoulders back down to finish the rep.
  • Opposite Toe Touches: Lie flat on your back with arms and legs out straight. Bring one leg up as high as you can and reach your opposite hand towards those toes. Return to starting position then do the same thing with your other leg and arm.
  • Scissor kicks: Lie flat on your back with your arms at your sides or under your hips to support your lower back. Lift both legs up about 6 inches off the ground then bring them about 2 feet apart. Bring your legs back into the middle, crossing one over the other (the way a pair of scissors close). Then move legs back apart and then into the middle again, this time with the other leg crossing on top. Continue moving your legs in and out, alternating which leg is on top.
  • Knee to Elbows Plank: Begin in a straight-arm plank position. Drive one knee up towards the elbow on the same side of your body, like you would in a mountain climber, then return the leg to straight behind you. Next, drive the same knee diagonally across your body towards the opposite elbow, then return to straight again. This is the end of one rep. Do a full set on one leg before switching to the other.

No new posts :(

In case you didn’t notice, although I’m sure you did, I have not posted a travel vlog in quite a while. The reason for this is partly because I haven’t had time to work on any for a while (even though I have several good ones to catch up on!), and also because my computer crashed a few weeks ago. Fortunately I was able to get it fixed and all of my data was recovered, which is amazing since that included all of my travel pictures and videos as well as schoolwork! The unfortunate part is that I have been having issues putting iMovie back on my computer so I have not been able to work on any vlogs for a while. I am hoping to have the issue sorted out soon, but it may not happen until I get home, meaning it could be a while before I am able to post any new vlogs. I will try to get some up as soon as possible! So sorry about that!

FALL

Fall is one of my favorite times of year. When the air changes and the leaves turn stunning shades of red and orange and yellow and they mix with the always-constant evergreens to produce one of the most beautiful sites in the world. Those days when the sun is still hot but the air is cool and crisp and there is just a slight breeze to rustle the leaves and blow hair in your face. Those days that just feel like soccer and fresh apples and carrying backpacks.

Fall means deep blue skies and bright, slanted sun and sweet smelling hay. Fall means back to school shopping and new sweaters and schoolbooks. Fall means lying on the quad on the fresh, cool grass watching soccer games with good friends. Fall means country fairs and fried food. Fall means hot apple cider and apple cider donuts and hay rides. Fall means leaves turning and changing and falling. Fall means warm days and cool nights, hot drinks and snuggly blankets. Fall means forcing your brain to work again. Fall means enjoying the company of those you love. Fall means a new chapter in life.

Fall is like an apple picked right from the tree – crisp and sweet and juicy. There is nothing that can compare to this amazing season and all it has to offer: all the joys and changes and new beginnings. I don’t know what fall is like in other places, but I guarantee it doesn’t compare to fall in New England, because honestly, nothing can.

Mariposas

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This summer was a lot of things, but more than anything it was surprising. I had gone into the summer expecting it to go one way but it turned out to be completely different. While it may not have been exactly what I had hoped for, the summer I ended up with was kind of amazing. Being in southern California of course was cool. I got to kayak with sea lions, snorkel with leopard sharks, take countless beach trips, visit the zoo, the desert, and Disneyland, and work at an awesome internship. All of that in itself would be enough to make for a great summer, but the reason this summer was so special was because I ended up growing in many unexpected ways. I finally learned to leave behind caterpillar life and shed my cocoon in order to take on life as a butterfly.

I ended up with a lot of time alone this summer, which, as a strong extrovert, was not exactly my idea of fun. I had expected to be hanging out with my cousins and making friends the whole time, but instead I found myself consistently alone with nothing to do. I realized early in the summer that there were going to be many times where if I wanted to do something, I was going to have to figure it out and do it by myself. I don’t like being alone to begin with, but more than that I hate trying new experiences on my own. I am often not comfortable doing new things without another person with me because it makes me feel alone and vulnerable. I much prefer to have someone alongside me because then if I fail, I have someone there to work through the problem with, and it’s not just me standing alone looking like an idiot.

This summer I didn’t have anyone there to help me. I had a whole new world waiting for me to jump in, but no one there to push me off the ledge. I was faced with the choice of learning to do it on my own, or just sitting by myself while the world enjoyed summer without me. So I chose to be brave, knowing that I was never really alone and I still had God beside me every step of the way. From things as small as going to the grocery store or mailing a package, to navigating my way to the beach for an afternoon, I really pushed myself to be independent so I didn’t have to miss out on all that was around me. I forced myself out of my comfortable cocoon in order to take part in the world.

As it turns out, I’m ok alone. I may not enjoy it all the time and I still would rather be with people, but I was able to survive independent life and actually have some good times.

It’s amazing what this summer taught me and the timing in which the lesson came. As I prepare to venture off to Europe, I am more ready to take on this new adventure alone than I ever would have been before this summer. I know that I am ok on my own and I can survive, and even thrive, just fine without other people constantly by my side. I have finally left by cocoon behind and am now more ready than ever to take on the world as I learn to fly, knowing that God will always be the wind beneath my wings.