May Inspo

Here's what I'm loving this May!

This rubber tree plant is making all my plant dreams come alive... I am on the hunt for one (hit me up if you know of a good spot in Nashville that sells them)

These stairs!  And terra-cotta floors are my absolute FAVORITE!

This cut and color!!  Right now I'm loving my long locks but one day I'm going short and blonde!

Geo Nails!


Natural light entryways, wood floors, white walls and that ficus. 


This shirt...I'm currently trying to track it down, it's a must have! 



My Favorite Workouts

I never thought I would be that person who loves working out, or for that matter would work out consistently.  I dreamt of being her but didn't know how to get there. I would feel discouraged at my lack of strength or stamina after a workout instead of feeling encouraged so I never stuck with anything.  Because of my lack of knowledge when I first started I thought I'd  share some thoughts about the discipline of working out, as well as some of my favorite workout regimes.  I still consider myself a fitness newbie with only two years of working out under my belt, and little did I know that the key to seeing results is patience and discipline.  Two things I previously had never been very good at.  Nowadays it's impossible for me not to work out at least two to four times a week, it's become a habit and one i'm hoping sticks around for the rest of my life!

  Here are the workouts I LOVE and the ones I currently do:

Kayla Istine's Beach Bikini Guide (BBG)


It's only fitting that I start with the workout that changed my life and changed the way I thought about my body!  This workout made me feel strong and helped me transform the shape of my body from boyish to curvy, just what I was looking for.  Tracking my progress each week with my best friend kept me motivated and drove me to continue even when burpees were on the agenda. For the record I still hate burpees, and I still check in with my best friend who lives across the country to stay motivated after two years.

 With 6.7 million Instagram followers this Aussie fitness instructor knows what she is talking about.  Her Sweat with Kayla workouts are designed for those who only want to work out 30 minutes a day three times a week.  They consist of HIIT training (High Intestity Interval Training) that you do at home or at the gym.  You can find her workouts and meal plan on her Sweat With Kayla app, which runs at $20 a month, that's cheaper than a gym membership!

Here is an example of a workout in week one. You complete each circuit within seven minutes and do the entire workout twice, or as many times as you can within 30 minutes.  

 I recently started this program again and since i'm further along in my training i now do these with either a weighted vest or ankle weights. It's been fun to see how far I've come from the very first time as I struggled to get everything finished in the 30 minute time frame!  Plus, there is something so satisfying knowing you'll be finished in 30 minutes, I pop on a Netflix show and go.

Here is a photo of my first round of BBG. In the before photo I would sporadically go to the gym and do mainly cardio.  The after is 41 weeks of BBG,  3 to 4 times a week, without following a meal plan. I was ecstatic at my results!  

41 Weeks of BBG 

41 Weeks of BBG 

Class Pass

After nine months of high intensity workouts at home i was feeling burned out on strength training alone. I was feeling tired and unmotivated, plus my body was telling me it was a little worn out.  My coworker and I decided to sign up for Class Pass, with payment plans for 3, 5 or 10 classes a month I could pick and choose what types of workouts I wanted to do and when.  It was so fun, I would try boxing one week, then Hot Yoga the next, I fell in love with a trampoline class and TRX but continued to mainly do HIIT workouts. I hit my one year milestone of consistent workouts in September and noticed my adrenals were feeling a little worn down. I decided to take out two of my HIIT days to incorporate either a Pilates class or a trampoline class (think small indoor trampolines from the 80s) into my workout.  Both were easy on my joints and my adrenals.  And that's when it happened, I fell in LOVE with Pilates!


Pilates (Reformer)

Pilates was one of those workouts for me that I'd tried off and on over the years and honestly didn't understand why people loved it so much.  In my mind nothing was happening, you weren't breaking enough of a sweat to burn calories and I felt a little awkward with my feet in straps. I was wrong!!!! Pilates is pure gold, it feels like this secret weapon that i suddenly have access too.  It has taught me how to go slow, how to listen to my body, how to correct poor form and how to protect myself from injury.

 More conventional or traditional workouts are weight bearing and tend to build short, bulky muscles - the type most prone to injury. Pilates elongates and strengthens, improving muscle elasticity and joint mobility. A body with balanced strength and flexibility is less likely to be injured.

 I also realized that when i left my classes i felt longer, stretched and energized instead of depleted.  For me it will always be apart of my workout routine for the rest of my life, I even have dreams of one day becoming a teacher.

Let's Talk Recovery

Since I'm currently working out 4 times a week to prepare for our family beach vacation with a balance of two HIIT days and two Pilates days I focus a ton on recovery.  After dealing with a few minor injuries I realized how important recovery truly is. If one group of muscles is overworked or tired others will kick in and try to over compensate for their weak counterparts, and that's when injury can happen.  Here's what I swear by to stay on top of your game:

  • Foam Roll - I know it's not enjoyable but it's worth it!  Here's a great article if you'd like to learn more about self-myofascial release.
  • Epsom Salt Baths - The holy grail for sore muscles! 
  • MSM Powder - MSM is an organic form of sulfur. 
    • Sulfur is vital to the creation and regeneration of the body's tissues.  It is found in every cell in the body.  Approximately half of the sulfur in your body is concentrated in the muscles, skin and bones.  When rigid fibrous tissue cells swell and become inflamed, pressure and pain result.  MSM restores the flexibility and permeability of cell walls allowing fluids to pass through the tissues with ease.  This means that the cells can quickly get rid of garbage that is constantly being created inside the cell, and the cell can also absorb nutrients more easily.  MSM is a powerful detoxifier that allows harmful substances such as lactic acid and toxins to flow out of cells in the joints and muscles, thereby equalizing the pressure and eliminating the cause of pain.  This prevents the pressure buildup in cells that causes inflammation and reduces muscle soreness and cramps.
  • Rest days - Getting enough rest is vital to restoring overworked muscles, you need to give your body time to recharge.
  • Water, water, water and more water.

Where I Work Out In Nashville

Thanks to Class Pass I have fallen in love with a few studios and teachers.  Below is who I'm currently learning from!

  • Springtime Fitness - Trampoline and Pilates - owner Lisa Madden is very nice and her brain is an encyclopedia of knowledge on the human body.
  • Swell Studio - Moderate to advanced Pilates reformer class - April Tate and Stephanie Johnson are the two teachers I work out with the most, April is a licensed physical therapist!
  • Marathon Pilates - Tamara Tweedy, Emily Barbee and Lyndsey Rae are my favorite teachers here.  If you've had a rough week or are feeling stressed take Tamara's class, it's like getting a long hug from your mom/aunt/best friend, she's the best....and she taught in Paris, how cool! 
    • FYI- Marathon is holding free mat classes every Thursday night in April at the Whole Foods in Green Hills at 6pm! 
  • Pilates Garage - Take Amanda Brinsko's class, you won't regret it.

I hope this post has encouraged you to find a workout routine that you enjoy.  Maybe you love running or hiking, swimming or yoga, then do that!  It should always be about having fun.  We don't work out to look like people on the cover of magazines, we work out to feel strong and to thank our bodies for being incredible.  I work out now for what I want in the future. One day I would like a family and I want to be able to roll around on the floor with my kids.  That's my motivation, the joy of feeling good in my body is just a perk.  Not to mention it's really FUN, if it's not fun then chances are you're not going to stick with it. Half the time I choose to workout with friends, there is nothing better than leaning over in the middle of a tough class to laugh together.  Find what's right for your body, have fun and believe in yourself, you'll be amazed at how good you'll feel!




Traveling on a Budget

Where do I start when describing my friend Ziza Bauer?  She is one of the most fashionable, adventurous and kind ladies i know, she's cool without trying to be cool.  A confidant who holds your secrets close and encourages you to jump out of your comfort zone, to think bigger, to stretch and to grow.  She's also trustworthy, I trusted her so much I let her set me up on a blind double date last year ...(like i said...she stretches you ...).

She's a lover and a student of life, she teaches me so much about history, travel, love and the human heart.  She's the type of friend who INSPIRES others!  We share a common love of adventure, not trying to hard (how often does one really need to wash their hair) and authencity.  We long to see girls be themselves and to impact the world for good, plus we both have a heart for adoption. And she's has BIG beautiful dreams that are on their way to being fulfilled.

 I'm thankful I have a front row seat called friendship to watch them unfold. Girl, I'll be cheering you on with a roundtrip ticket to Italy in my hand! 

Photo: me

Photo: me

Where did you grow up?

I was born in San Francisco, but raised in Baltimore, MD and Columbus, OH.

What do you do?

I’m the Director of Digital Content at Darling Magazine, overseeing all of the articles, ads and features that are produced for I’m also a freelance writer -- I love writing about food and travel, and I also provide copywriting for different brands.

Do you remember how we first met?

You met my husband, Seth, first! I remember you met him at Kitchen 24 in Hollywood with our mutual friends Paris and Greg, but I oddly can’t remember when I finally met you in person... I’ll just say it was over a dreamy tea setting with heart-to-heart conversation somewhere in Los Angeles, because that’s what makes me think of you anyway :)

VC- I believe our first meeting was coffee at a little restaurant in Larchmont Village

Have you always had a love for travel?

Yes, I think so! I’ve always had a love of storytelling and daydreaming, so I think travel naturally evolved through that desire for wonder.

How many countries have you visited?

13, if you count Vatican City.

Photo: Ziza Bauer

Photo: Ziza Bauer

As a seasoned traveler what are some common mistakes you see when approaching a trip abroad?

Needing to go/see/do everything in one trip and cramming 5-6 countries into two weeks. You’ll exhaust yourself and most likely miss out on some treasures that are only uncovered through going a pace slower than everyone else.

What are your favorite sites to use when booking a flight?

I’ll research prices on Skyscanner, Momondo or Trip Advisor first, then either book directly through an airline’s website or third-party sites like Priceline or Expedia. There are a lot of other “budget” ticket sites out there, but especially for over-ocean flights, I don’t like to chance my reservation. If I can be flexible on when I travel, then I’ve found it easy enough to find a flight that gets me where I need to be and also offers miles in return. (I’m loyal to United and Delta, which both have great crossover with sister airline miles.)

Photo: Ziza Bauer

Photo: Ziza Bauer

Do you have any advice for those who want to travel while on a budget?

Plan in advance! I always travel on a budget and categorize my planning and my spending at the same time, in three ways.

First is flights. I’ll wait until have the money saved up in full before buying my flight, that way I can put the flight on a credit card and get points, but I’ll have the cash to pay it off right away. Once the flights are booked, that ensures I’ll actually take the trip ;) and I can reserve my lodging.

I primarily use AirBnb and, and tend to prefer because I can reserve a room ahead of time at no cost (sometimes this means I’ll pay a little more upon check-in, but that “free cancellation” feature is too good to pass up). I like planning in advance where I stay, prioritizing places with a kitchen or kitchenette to cook meals in, and let’s me reserve several places so I can fine tune exactly where I’ll be staying closer to my arrival date. I always make sure to Google-map an address first to see how close/far it is from the main train station or bus stop, too. also lets me know how much money I need to set aside for lodging, if I still need to save up for that between the time I book and the time I go. AirBnB is great too, if I want more of a local perspective, but since you often have to pay up front, this locks me in more in advance than I typically prefer.

Lastly, is my per diem. I like to give myself (and my husband, since he’s usually with me) a daily budget for food, local transportation, treats, etc. Depending on where I’m going and how long I’m traveling for, I have been as strict as 70 euro a day up to 200 euro/day. I’ll multiply how much I want to spend daily by the number of days I’m traveling and adjust until I get an amount that I feel comfortable saving.

There is always grace for this process, the end, travel will cost you money that is money you could have saved, but always having a trip in the works actually helps me spend less overall, and prioritize the experiences of my life over the “stuff” in it.


Photo: Ziza Bauer

Photo: Ziza Bauer


What are your top 5 must haves while traveling?

  1. An eye mask for sleep -- both on the plane and to ensure good rest in whatever place I’m staying.

  2. Essential oils. I’m ironically a terrible flier, so I like having lavender or an anti-stress roller with me. (This one from Tata Harper is great.)

  3. A travel wallet to hold cash, cards, receipts, passports and boarding tickets all in one place. I have this one from Leatherology and love how it can also double as a clutch, if need be.

  4. Books downloaded on my Kindle.

  5. A journal -- photos are great, but I like to manually write down my thoughts and each day’s events while traveling to reflect back on later.

What has been your favorite trip to date?

Almost impossible to say! But probably the month spent backpacking all over Italy with my husband. Italy has my heart, always.

What place are you dreaming of visiting next?

Scotland and Ukraine, if not Italy first ;)

Where can people find you?

All over! Between Nashville and LA mostly, otherwise @zizavita on Instagram or my website,


Photo: Ziza Bauer

Photo: Ziza Bauer


Favorite city to visit: Rome

Favorite food: Freshly baked bread with roasted tomatoes, olive oil, and bufala mozzerella. So pizza, basically.

Favorite way to spend your weekend? Slowly -- sleeping in with hot coffee and a book in bed, then playing outside with our dogs, cooking dinner and sipping wine in the evening while a record plays.

Dog or Cat? Dogs

What makes you feel loved? Unexpected thoughtfulness.


I hope this post leaves you as inspired and ready to travel as it does me!  

Pull out your calendar, find a date and back your bags....