Charity: Be Better Movement – Participant of the Week!

As y’all should know by now, I’ve been participating in the 52 Week Challenge with the Be Better Movement. You can read my previous posts about them herehere & follow my Instagram: @missal_leigh to see some of the previous challenges I’ve participated in! This week’s Challenge is to “Pay it Forward” – perform at least 3 acts of kindness like, pay for someone’s Starbucks, or donate your old blankets to your local pet shelter. Check out their website for more ideas!
Another reason you should head over to their website is…I was chosen to be the BBM’s “Member of the Week”. My interview is up now – click here or the picture below to read it! Scroll to the bottom of this post to read about the special treat we have lined up for 5 lucky MissAl-Leigh.com readers!
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Have you joined?! The BBM a great cause & the first FIVE people that contact me wanting to join will be able to use my very own special code to sign up for FREE! What are you waiting for? Hit that FOLLOW button on the top right to be notified of all my posts & message me here or through my email MissAl.Leigh@gmail.com to get that code! Thank you for reading & thank you to the Be Better Movement for this feature!

Event Recap: @Bloguettes Branding Workshop!

Bloguettes PHX Branding Workshop!

Bloguettes PHX Branding Workshop! I did not intentionally crop anyone out of this picture, that’s just how it was taken 😦 Sorry!

About a week ago I attended a Branding Workshop held by the Bloguettes. The Bloguettes are a savvy, talented, educated group of ladies that tour the country with 2 day educational workshops. These workshops are centered around helping bloggers, business owners, and creative minds of all avenues broaden their online presence by heightening their Photoshop, Social Media, and Branding skills, among other things.

This particular Workshop was held at their beautiful studio in Phoenix, Arizona. It was so clean, light, and airy, with a touch of fashionable whimsy. Check their Instagram: @bloguettes or mine: @missal_leigh for pictures of their studio, the event, and the lovely bag full of goodies from the many sponsors who supported the Workshop.

The Workshop comes with a take home guide book with quick tips in case you forget any of the highlights of the discussions or Photoshop tutorials. I took 14 pages of notes on a small notepad & I wish I had taken more! The take home book is very helpful & the Bloguettes have been great about answering any follow up questions I’ve emailed them with, but I wish I had taken notes on everything in my own words – but that’s just the kind of “learner” I am. I’m sure some people didn’t take any notes & are relying only on the take home book just as successfully – to each their own!
Each day is broken up into Photoshop tutorials and lectures on Branding, Blogging, Social Media, Business, & Photography. We would cover a portion of the lecture, then learn something in Photoshop, go back to lecture, etc, etc. Switching things up kept the Workshop moving smoothly and kept the atmosphere from becoming too school-like.
The Branding, Blogging, and Business lectures were a tiiiiny bit redundant for me because I have my B.A. in Communication Studies, I’ve ran my own blog for quite some time, and I’m already making money through Affiliates. However, my B.A didn’t teach me everything, I’m obviously not a hugely successful blogger, and I’m not making that much money – so I definitely picked up some helpful tips and tricks. The overall messages were things I was aware of, for example, “Keep everything Consistent” or the idea that you have to match your voice to the types of Affiliates you want to work with – you can’t be cussing and wearing a Dominatrix outfit in all your posts, then wonder why a brand like American Eagle Outfitters won’t work with you – but hearing it come from the Bloguettes gave me more confidence to really believe in the things I had been thinking all along. It was nice to have confirmation that my head is in the right place, now I need to match my actions to it!
The Social Media and Photography lectures were extremely helpful. I learned so many things about the different Social Medias – did you know there are best days & times to post on Pinterest/Instagram, etc?! I can’t give away all the secrets, but I found these lectures taught me the most. I really have no Photography or photo editing skills so the Photography lecture coupled with the Photoshop tutorials was incredible! Yes, I know you can look on YouTube for PS tutorials, but I still had no basic knowledge so it all seemed like gibberish. Also, I thought PS was just for making women look more conventionally beautiful in advertisements, I had no idea how many other really cool things you can create! I’ve been trying to figure out how to make some prints with my favorite quotes on them, but I didn’t know how I was going to go about it – hello Photoshop! I’ve been downloading different fonts like crazy!

One suggestion I would make to improve the Workshop would be to re-assign seating on Day 2. Day 1 we found our seats based on where our name tag was. The next day was free seating & we all sat with the same group – which was lovely! BUT, for Networking purposes it might have been wiser to force our hand a bit and make us sit with different people. The concept is a little juvenile, but sometimes people don’t think about things like that or just need to be forced out of their comfort zone.

The bottom line: At this point, I’m a little overwhelmed. I need to sort through all my notes and figure out the exact direction I want my blog to go. I don’t necessarily care about making a living through blogging, although that would obviously be a nice bonus. My main goal is to use this blog as a way to present my skills in a way that will be pleasing to a potential employer in Public Relations, Event Planning, Social Media Management, and related fields. My thoughts right now are to invest in a Sony QX 100 and purchase Photoshop to help my blog LOOK more professional. I will also be making a more conscious effort to brand my blog with specific fonts and color choices. In the past I have picked those things at random because I didn’t think people were paying attention, but through the Bloguettes I’ve learned that even those seemingly small choices create your brand and represent your voice. I also need to focus on creating a Media Kit to send to other bloggers or companies. I have a lot more confidence in my blog after working with the Bloguettes because now I know the steps to take that will create a more consistent, cohesive image, which will ultimately appeal to those I want to collaborate with.

Are you interested in being part of the Bloguettes next Branding Workshop? Check their Calendar to see if they’re coming to an area near you! I traveled to Phoenix from NorCal for the Event because I was in the area visiting friends & family. I would recommend going to a Branding Workshop in a location you feel comfortable traveling to often specifically because of the networking opportunities. I met a lot of great new friends…but we’re in different states so it’s going to be somewhat challenging for us to collaborate because of the distance, so that’s something to keep in mind. Also, please be aware, this is definitely something I consider an investment purchase – it’s pretty pricey. However, they offer a student discount, so be sure to inquire about that! Also, I’ve seen them offer a “Free Seat” Giveaway on their Instagram – so follow them and keep tabs of the giveaway in your area.

To get a better idea of the types of creative minds that bonded during the 2 Day Branding Workshop, here is info on some of the lovely ladies I had the pleasure of getting to know, please check out their stores/blogs/Social Media etc – show them some love!

Belle from “Dara & Belle” – Fashion/Lifestyle Blog
Instagram: @daraandbelle
Facebook

Frances Vintage – Modern Boutique with Vintage Charm, open 7 days a week in the heart of midtown Phoenix
Shop the Store!
Blog

Kylie Rowe – Assistant Director @OzmenCenter | External Vice President @NevadaGSA | Team Member @TEDxUofNevada | #BiggestLittleCity Real Estate Investor | MBA Student @BizUNR | Hat Expert
Looking to launch a lifestyle blog & start a hat company!
Twitter:  @KyRoBiz
Instagram:  @kylie_rowe

Sage Hardy from “Farm Fresh Fancy” – AZ lifestyle blogger sharing everyday moments, fresh ideas, and simple, pretty things from the little farm we call home
Facebook
Pinterest
Instagram: @sagehardy

Marisol Avila from “All The Prettys
Facebook
Instagram: @alltheprettys

Maggie McGrath – Founder of Pineapple Triangle – We create a local give-back market in which attendees get to shop an array of local artists while giving back to the community at the same time.  Our Markets are called “AZ Share That You Care”.
Facebook
Instagram: @pineappletriangle

Marina Cay from “PoshFoxx” – Online clothing store launching this Spring/Summer featuring a mix of Swimwear and Street Clothing with a distinct style.
Marina is a current business student at Arizona State University, graduating this May. She hopes to attend FIDM in Los Angeles this Fall to study Apparel Industry Management. She designs Fashion Illustrations, Graphic Designs, and loves all mediums of art.
Instagram: @marinaxfarro (Personal) @poshfoxx (Business)

Erica Kartak, Creator of Luv in the Bubble, a fashion and lifestyle blog. I believe in splurging on jewelry and handbags and hunting for a sale on everything else. Balancing a love of cheeseburgers with healthy eating and activity keeps me sane.
Facebook
Pinterest
Twitter
Instagram: @ericakartak

So there you have it! My thoughts, plus some great new entrepreneurs to look into! Will you be signing up for the next Bloguettes Branding Workshop? Have you ever taken a Workshop like this before? Please let me know in the comments below! Make sure to follow me here & on my Social Media to stay up to date with everything I’ve got going on. Thanks for reading!

Contouring

Week 3! Mid Week Update! The “Lowe” Down: Get Fit with Kylee Lowe!

Hello all!
I hope this post finds you all well! Today I’ll be posting my results & recapping my experience of Week 2 (Days 8 – 15) & giving a mid week update on my progress through Week 3 (Days 16 – 21) of the “Lowe” Down: Get Fit with Kylee Lowe! If you’ve been keeping up with the blog (click the FOLLOW button on the top right of this page to get email notifications whenever I post) you’ll remember the “Lowe” Down is a Health/Fitness Plan created for me by my friend and Fitness Guru, Miss Kylee Lowe. Check out her Instagram: @loveleeloe for fitness tips, yummy healthy recipes, and other fun goodies. Screen Shot 2015-02-18 at 7.52.02 PM

WEEK 3 RESULTS
Week 2 Weight: ~ 5lbs                 > Week 3: About the same
Week 2 Measurements                > Week 3 Measurements
Biceps: (L) – 12”, (R) – 12.5”        Biceps: (L) – 11″, (R) – 11.5″
Chest/Bust: 42″                            Chest: 43″
Waist: 34”                                     Waist: 33″
Hips: 45.5”                                    Hips: 46″
Thighs: (L) – 26”, (R) – 25.75”      Thighs: (L) – 26.75″, (R) – 26″
I would be lying if I said these were the results I’m looking for, but I know this can be a slow process. I wish I was losing more weight, but I’m keeping in mind that numbers on the scale can be misleading and measurements and how I feel are more important. With that being said, although I’ve gained some inches back in my Chest/Hips/Thighs, I think that makes sense based on the Weight Lifting plan I’m on. I’m still losing in my waist, so that’s keeping me motivated. Also, I can feel my body changing – I know it hasn’t been that long – but I feel leaner and lighter. Other people have even commented that I look taller, I’m obviously not – haha!, but I think that’s due to my muscles changing which is causing my posture to change.

Days 8 – 14:
Week 2 had some interesting highs and lows. Around Day 10 I started feeling sick after some of the more vegetable heavy meals, such as the Green Juice and the Veggies/Hummus snack. I guess maybe that was my body getting used to the changes, but I’d been eating the same food all week with no negative reaction – I’m not sure what changed. I tried to stick to the meal plan as best as I could, but as soon as my stomach started to feel queasy, I stopped eating. I didn’t binge on other foods, which is obviously a plus, but I’m sure it’s not great that I wasn’t finishing all the meals. I’m happy to be going to the gym on a regular basis. I do enjoy working out, believe it or not. I’m just not sure I’m doing the right stuff or that my form is correct – one of the negatives of having your trainer live in a different state! 😦 I might look into working with a Personal Trainer from my gym just for a session on proper form. I’ve also signed up for a month long pass at a Dance Studio that offers Hot Hula, Zumba, Yoga, Pilates, etc, and I’m really excited to start that in March.

The “Lowe” Down – Week 3!

Days 15 – 21:
Not much to report this week. Week 3 is the same meal plan as Week 2. Fitness is almost the same – add another day of weight training. I was hoping to get some new recipes because I have enjoyed learning about proper portion size and different healthy recipes, but I guess if it’s not broke – don’t fix it!

Have you been following along with my posts about The “Lowe” Down? What are your thoughts at this point? I can’t wait to see the end results of all this after Week 4! Keep checking back to follow my progress and contact Kylee on Instagram: @loveleeloe if you’re interested in working with her on a Get Fit plan of your own! Thanks for reading, until next time…

Week 2! The “Lowe” Down: Get Fit with Kylee Lowe!

Hello again!
Today I’m going to be posting the results of Week 1 of The “Lowe” Down and the plan for Week 2. If you haven’t been following along, click here to read last week’s post about a new Collaboration I’m working on with my friend and Fitness Guru, Kylee Lowe. Follow her Instagram: @loveleeloe to get great fitness tips and contact her about getting The “Lowe” Down for yourself. Click the FOLLOW button on the top right of this page to subscribe to my blog and you’ll be notified when I post new updates! Also, Follow my Instagram: @missal_leigh to get sneak peeks of the plan in action!

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WEEK 1 RESULTS
Starting Weight: ~ 170 (like 173/174) > Week 2: ~ 5lbs
Starting Measurements                       > Week 2
Biceps: (L) – 13.25”, (R) – 13.5”            Biceps: (L) – 12″, (R) – 12.5″
Chest/Bust: 43”/36-38 DDD                 Chest: 42″
Waist: 36”                                             Waist: 34″
Hips: 45.5”                                            Hips: 45.5″
Thighs: (L) – 26.25”, (R) – 26.5”           Thighs: (L) – 26″, (R) – 25.75″
YAY, making progress! I feel much lighter and have more energy. Although I will say, I have a co-conspirator doing this with me, who wishes to remain anonymous, and she lost 12 pounds and 12 inches (!!!!) this week. I’m really proud of her for sticking with this, but I’m also a little jealous – haha!

Days 5 – 7:
The rest of Week 1 went really well! Again, maybe TMI for some, but you’ll be okay…I have NEVER gone pee this much in my life! The wonders of drinking water – haha! I’m not a huge water drinker, I mostly stick to juice, so drinking just water has been one of the biggest changes in my diet. It was a bit challenging to complete the Fitness portion because it’s been raining here, but I still got it done! Check my Instagram for some silly pictures of Bella after getting caught in the rain on our walk! I’ll be switching over to the gym from here on out, but I’d like to get Bella on a more consistent walking schedule because I think she enjoyed being out and about. As I mentioned in my Mid Week Update the food for days 4 – 7 was delicious. The menu has been changed up a bit for Week 2 & I have to say I’m sad to see my peanut butter and rice cake snack go, but it’s okay! I was somewhat surprised to see the Juices make a return, but I like the idea of learning how to incorporate Juicing into a Clean Diet.

                                                             The “Lowe” Down – Week 2!
Days 8 – 14:
Fitness: Running 6 of the 7 days for 30-45 minutes! Weight training 3 times.
*Before you eat/drink anything, drink a glass of lemon water after your morning run!
– Green Juice 8oz, 2 whole eggs cooked in coconut oil
– Green Smoothie
– Energy Juice, Mixed Raw Veggies, Hummus
– Lean Ground Turkey, Baby Spinach, Avocado, Fat Free dressing or Hot Sauce  & Tea
– Protein Shake
– Chicken, Brown Rice or Sweet Potatoes, Veggies
*Just before bed, drink hot tea or hot water & add lemon & cayenne pepper

So there ya have it! We’ve made it to Week 2! What do you think so far? Please leave me any of your comments/questions/concerns in the comments and be sure to contact Kylee through her Instagram: @loveleeloe to get the full details of the plan.

Mid Week Update! Get the “Lowe” Down: Get Fit with Kylee Lowe!

Hi all! Keep reading to see what happened during Days 2 & 3 of the Juicing Phase of The “Lowe” Down, a Diet/Fitness plan created by my friend & fitness guru Kylee Lowe! Go follow her on Instagram: @loveleeloe and contact her to get a plan of your own! Follow me on Instagram/Twitter: @missal_leigh for more updates and pics! Click here to see what happened on Day 1 and the full Week 1 plan!

IMG_3028First off, just in case anyone is curious, here are my Starting Measurements. I would like to lose at least 10 inches from my Chest/Waist/Hips, but obviously, I expect that will take some time.
Biceps: (L) – 13.25”, (R) – 13.5”
Chest/Bust: 43”/36-38 DDD
Waist: 36”
Hips: 45.5”
Thighs: (L) – 26.25”, (R) – 26.5”

Day 2 & 3:
As expected Days 2 & 3 went much better than Day 1. I did not find Juicing, or at least Kylee’s version of it, to be as difficult as people say it is. I think that’s because my diet problems don’t stem from eating too much, too often, they stem from not eating often enough and then binging on unhealthy items. For example, when I was in school (in December lol), I would have a somewhat healthy breakfast, then eat maybe one or two granola/protein bars throughout the day. After being in class all day – trust me when I say ALL day, my last semester at Chapman I took 22 units/7 classes – I would go out with friends and have appetizers, dinner, dessert, and most likely a few drinks. Basically all my food was being eaten with no calorie count in mind, after 7pm or later, which is when you’re supposed to STOP eating! With that in mind, drinking/eating every 2 hours was challenging because I would still be somewhat full from the meal before. There was definitely an adjustment/learning period and it almost felt like once I was really starting to get the hang of the routine – we moved on to Day 4. I’m happy to eat “real food”, but I also feel like I could’ve Juiced a little longer. Overall, my biggest complaint was that I had no personal taste for some of the menu items. The Green Juice and Butternut Squash soup were just not tasty to me. I knew from the get-go that they probably wouldn’t be as I’m not a huge fan of the ingredients of the Green Juice or Butternut Squash. Despite that, I wanted to stick to the exact plan Kylee laid out for me. The Energy and Antioxidant Juice were amazing! I’ll drink those all day, everyday! If I Juice again, I know I will have to suffer through the Green Juice because of all the vegetables it has in it, but I will try to find another soup that’s just as healthy but has a flavor I enjoy more.

Day 4:
Today has been really awesome! I feel great! Tons of energy, even now at 10pm. I don’t know if I feel more energized because the effects of the Juicing are taking over or because I got to eat some more substantial meals – haha! Like I said, the Juicing was good, but chicken and rice is better, even when you can only eat 4 oz. and 1/2 a cup of it! Now I understand why you have to start exercising on Day 4.  With all this energy running through me, I NEEDED to get out of the house and go move around. I took Bella for a walk to start out, but will most likely progress to running at the gym. The menu items for Day 4 – 7 are all really tasty and I’m excited about them. Never thought I’d be excited about vegetables! I was much better about drinking water today. It was hard to drink water with the Juices because I wasn’t thirsty and I felt kind of overwhelmed by all the liquids…and constantly having to pee. Sorry, TMI! Moving on…I feel confident about sticking to the diet for the next few days. I’m excited to see what Kylee comes up for Week 2, which will be posted on Sunday, February 8th! Check back in then & keep checking Instagram: @missal_leigh for special updates and @loveleeloe to get in contact with Kylee to get The “Lowe” Down for yourself!

What do you think? Please send me some love/advice/questions/concerns, in the comment box below – thanks for reading!

New! Get the “Lowe” Down: Get Fit with Kylee Lowe

Hey y’all! I have a very exciting announcement to make – I’m entering into a fitness/blogging collaboration with Fitness Guru, fellow Blogger, and life-long friend, Miss Kylee Lowe! Kylee is extremely passionate about fitness and way more knowledgable about the ins and outs of creating a healthy body than I am – check out her Instagram: @loveleeloe for proof! Keep reading to get the “Lowe” down & see the Get Fit plan Kylee created for me!

IMG_3017Backstory: I will make no excuses…okay, I will make some excuses. I know I should exercise more and eat better, but I’m naturally a “bigger” girl, and I’m fine with that. I’m Greek and Portuguese, I come from a family of big women, I’m barely 5 foot but was somehow gifted with 34DD’s – I have been big/curvy/fat/chubby/thick etc, my entire life. Even at my thinnest, 120 lbs, I still had big boobs and a big butt. I have never been, nor do I ever expect to be, THIN. I’m more Kim Kardashian than Nicole Richie – just to name 2 short celebrities with polar opposite body types. I’m very lucky and thankful to have been blessed with family, friends, boyfriends, and an inner goddess that have always focused on my inner beauty and growth, more than what I look like on the outside. Due to that inner focus, I have felt confident for the majority of my post-pubescent years, despite my weight fluctuations and what popular culture might say. If my current weight was healthy for me, I wouldn’t change a thing. While this level of confidence is great for my inner goddess, it’s not great for my health because it lulls me into a false sense of security that I’m fine just the way I am. The truth is – I’m not. I currently hit the scale at about *gulp* 170 lbs, which is not the heaviest I’ve ever been, but I need to make some changes.

In 2011 I lost a significant amount of weight on my own (40 lbs), and have continued to yo-yo since then. Enlisting the help of a friend who is trained in health and fitness lets me know I’m going about this in a healthy manner and makes me accountable. I don’t want to put all this personal information on the internet and have Kylee take time out of her busy schedule to help me  – and then not follow through.

Kylee has graciously created a 4 week plan that I will follow for the month of February. Please click the FOLLOW button on the top right of my blog to get email updates when I post the next step of the plan or my weekly results! If you’re interested in working with Kylee on a plan of your own, please contact her through her blog – link to come soon! – or Instagram: @loveleeloe

The “Lowe” Down
This is the general steps for Week 1. I will update here and Instagram: @missal_leigh as I see fit plus include a weekly report on Day 8.

Days 1 – 3:
– Green Juice & Tea
– Energy Juice
– Cauliflower Soup & Tea
– Antioxidant Juice
– Green Juice
– Butternut Squash Soup & Tea

Days 4 – 7:
30 to 40 minutes of walking or running each day
– Green Smoothie
– Veggies, Rice Cake w/All Natural Peanut Butter
– Chicken or Fish & Spinach w/1 tbsp Fat Free Dressing
– Protein Shake
– Chicken, Brown Rice, Veggies
– Cauliflower Soup & Tea

Day 1: I’m off to a shaky start. I didn’t realize I would be better off with a Juicer, rather than a blender, so I was unprepared to begin. After doing some research and setting off to the store to buy a Juicer, among other errands, I finally started MUCH later in the day, which has thrown off the entire schedule. I’m a very dedicated “trainee” and am willing to push myself, thanks to growing up a competitive cheerleader, so while I am not a fan of the Green Juice ingredients, or taste, or aftertaste, I will continue to drink it as scheduled. Kylee has told me to play around with the ingredients and measurements, so I’m sure I will be able to create something more tolerable. The amount of liquids I drank today definitely kept me feeling full, but somewhat unsatisfied as I do not totally enjoy the Green Juice – yet! I did notice a significant dip in energy around 7 pm, but I am attributing that to not being on the correct schedule and not really having anything in my system until pretty late in the day. Now that I have all the correct ingredients and appliances, I am 100% confident that tomorrow will be more successful.

What do you think?! Are you interested in working with Kylee on your own plan? Please reach out to her and leave me some comments of support or any advice you might have!