“our girlfriends are our soulmates”; bridesmaids gift picks from Smyth Jewelers!

Well we are just THREE days away from the big day and I am truly just in shock.

It doesn’t feel real at all. We have been planning this amazing celebration nonstop for months & while we have put our blood sweat & tears into it, it still doesn’t feel like it’s happening. Check in with me Saturday morning- we will see how I’m feeling by then.

More than anything, the best part of this process has been working with our friends and family to make this day come to life, and having our loved ones surround us to give us support & endless love during this special time. I could not and would not be standing here today without them- my bridal party in particular. They truly are my rock; they all make me my best self in such different, beautiful ways. I could celebrate them every day and it’s still not enough. I truly do have endless love for them.

When thinking about ways to show them how much they mean to me on our wedding day, I wanted to search for gifts that were meaningful and really tied into our wedding day. I am so excited to share some ideas that I found with Smyth Jewelers! I loved finding treasure pieces that would be great gifts for the special girls in my life- and in yours. Our girlfriends are always there for us, no matter what. I believe they are our soulmates, truly. They are there for us, without fail, and love us unconditionally, just as my future husband does. They deserve as much love as anyone else on our wedding day. I hope you like some of my favorite picks, and that they may inspire you when choosing something special for the special ladies in your ladies in your life.

A picture is worth a thousand words- and then some. I fell in love with this simple silver frame for a picture of you and your bridesmaids altogether {or individual pictures with a handwritten note to make it even more sentimental!} to remember the best day ever. It could be a favorite picture you have with your I Do crew, or even a recent picture from your bachelorette to remember your special trip! The frame pairs perfectly with this monogram jewelry dish- perfect for your married gals to put their ring at night, or the single ladies to put their trendy pieces when getting ready to go out. Would also pair so well with a monogrammed piece of jewelry to make it more personal!

For me, little presentation details are everything- I’m sure you’ll be able to tell once I share my wedding photos! These macaron jewelry boxes are the cutest little way to take your gift giving moment to the next level- like how cute are they. Makes the moment that much more aesthetically pleasing and “instagrammable”, so to speak.

I love the idea of gifting coordinated jewelry {or mix and match, whichever fits your wedding aesthetic better!} Kendra Scott is a pretty & popular go-to with so many options, whether you are keeping things simple with a black pendant and matching earrings, or you want a little sparkle to make a look pop with a silver or rose gold druzy necklace & matching earrings. You decide or have them pick their favorite to feel more involved. Another great customizable piece that I found at Smyth was these stackable bracelets from e Newton. I love how many options they have- whether you have gold lovers, silver lovers, or a friend who loves a mixed metal look. These bracelets transition really well from daytime to nighttime as well!

Of course, one way we all love to celebrate together is with wine & champagne. These Corksicle wine tumblers are a favorite item of mine, and Smyth can even personalize them so you can have each bridesmaid’s initial on them! Paired with a monogrammed wine stopper, it’s a perfect pair, and a great item to use on the wedding day for sipping mimosas while you get ready.

I hope you enjoyed my roundup of gift ideas for bridesmaids {or any other special women in your life} for the big day! They deserve love and appreciation on your wedding day too- after all, they have been by your side in all phases of your life, they will stand by your side on the most important day of your life, and they will continue to be there each day after that. Girlfriends are our soulmates- never forget that.

Cheers to the final countdown! I cannot wait to see what this weekend brings {aside from a lot of tissues & waterproof mascara} and to finally be my man’s wife! I am over the moon excited for this adventure- and each adventure together that follows, for the rest of our lives.

Xx

Sydney Paige

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V-Day Lust List: My Top Picks From Smyth Jewelers

Can you guys believe Valentine’s Day is less than a week away?! Work life and wedding planning have been pretty crazy the past few weeks that I don’t think I even realized we were in the month of February… anyone else???

But anywho- I’m SO excited to show you guys some of my favorite jewelry picks from Smyth Jewelers for Valentine’s Day! If you haven’t been to Smyth yet, let me tell you- it’s a beautiful place to be with sparkle as far as the eye can see. It’s kind of like a little paradise for me. Like I left wanting to bring Michael back {for selfish purposes, mostly- but they also have the best collection of men’s watches so I think he would enjoy, too!} To be honest, I went into this thinking, what better way to highlight some items than to scope out pieces that I would simply die over if I myself opened them up? *wink wink, Michael 😉 I tend to have varying styles depending on the day, so I figured I would categorize these according to different kind of jewelry lovers!

The one who likes delicate layers :

So we’ve all seen a big trend lately in layering fine, dainty necklaces, and I immediately jumped on board. It’s a fun way to mix and match pieces without looking too over the top. I immediately spotted the Kendra Scott corner when I walked into Smyth, and spent forever contemplating which necklace I loved the most! Their bar necklaces are simple and delicate, but still have a little sparkle. Also adore this elephant pendant from Anna Beck, for the ladies who see it as their spirit animal and love the symbolism behind these beautiful creatures.

The one who loves a good trend:

A big thing I’ve seen lately in jewelry fashion is mismatched stones in the same color family. I’ve been a huge fan from day one. I fell in love with these Freida Rothman hoop earrings, with an assortment of blue stones throughout. Such a good statement earring without being too obnoxious. They paired perfectly with her stack rings, another staple for every trendy gal.

The one who is on the go:

I’ll be honest, I didn’t start wearing watches until I started graduate school- and now I rarely leave the house without throwing one on. Not only are they aesthetically stunning and a nice addition to my usual dainty arm candy, but they are practical af. I can’t tell you how often I lose track of time, or literally have to set timers for myself. My brain needs to know what time it so I can keep my day on track. Michele has always been my favorite brand- their watches are sleek, timeless and yet have a modern twist. I’ve been eyeing up this Sidney watch for about a year now, & am patiently waiting for the day when it’s sitting on my wrist- it’s a stunner!

The one who loves a good statement earring:

Im the first to admit that I’m a sucker for big, statement posts that are big & sparkly- they’re my go-to for dressing up a look. I instantly fell in love with these Kendra Scott earrings- I could see myself wearing them with a black body suit and a slick pony in the winter, or a frilly white dress in the summertime.

For the one who adores gold:

Anyone who knows me well knows I solely wear gold / rose gold- silver just doesn’t work for my skin-tone. I love a good, bold gold look- and Julie Voss always delivers here. Her pieces are timeless and chic, have a great pop of gold and are the perfect addition to any simple look. I’m obsessed with her bangles specifically {this one with the black accents is my absolute favorite}, but these little bee posts were so cute, too!

The one who loves all things classic:

I just mentioned that I don’t really wear silver- but if I were to wear it, these Tacori pieces would be the first thing on my list! I love how simple they are, and how the black stones really pop! I love a good contrast. A perfect, contrast piece that will be a forever classic.

So there’s my roundup! Whether you’re getting something for a special someone, or treating yourself because sometimes self-love is the best love, I hope you enjoy some of my favorite finds at Smyth!

*The best part? Now through Valentine’s Day, if you mention CSL at any of the Smyth jeweler locations, you will get $50 off your purchase of $100 or more! A perfect time to add to your jewelry collection! I have another surprise coming in a few days as well, so keep your eyes peeled on IG!

Love to you this Valentine’s Day- & thank you for your constant love & support, always!

Xx,

Sydney Paige

My Bridesmaid Proposal!

This weekend marks 6 months til “I Do”- I seriously cannot believe it! I have to say, even though our timeline was much much shorter than I had anticipated, I am feeling great about having so many things checked off our list & have yet to feel stressed- sure, I’m busy, but this planning process has honestly been SO fun for me, & a way for me to let my creativity flourish- after all, I’ve been dreaming and scheming about what this day would look like since I was about 6 years old- it’s finally time to make it all come together!

One element I was really excited to work on and get creative with was my ‘Bridesmaid Proposal’, which has become such a fun way to celebrate the special women that brides want to be a part of their big day. It’s our way of getting to “pop the question” in a way, & I knew that I wanted to create something that my bridesmaids & Maid of Honor would really love!

I’ve seen a lot of great proposal boxes, but one thing I always have noticed is how they never seem super personalized- it’s usually an assortment of cute little accessories, the wedding colors somehow incorporated {maybe with a nail polish, or hair ties} a baby bottle of champs & a punny card of some sort. These are all great ideas- super cute & sweet and a perfect gesture. I just knew I wanted to create something a bit more personal, that still speaks to my wedding day inspo, and something that they can have forever to remind them of the memories we will get to share during this exciting time!

Cue my proposal box lightbulb moment:

I immediately called my friend Meghan of House of Catherine, who is nothing short of amazing & is creating our invites and signage for our big day- and boy am I DYING to show you all of the beautiful things we have in the works! I decided after putting a lot of thought into it, that a glass jewelry/display box of some sort would be perfect, so that it’s not just disposable but something my bridesmaids can use over and over again in their own way! I sought Meghan’s help by having her hand write each girl’s name on the top to personalize {plus her calligraphy is to die for}. It turned out incredible! Added a few sprigs of baby’s breath at the bottom to really make the lettering pop.

Holy gorgeous.

I wanted the box to be filled with a few things that were a way to connect us all in some way and tied in with the new jewelry boxes. I suddenly remembered 2 adorable Etsy shops that I had been following for quite some time- The Painted Press, who makes these adorable jewelry dishes that can be personalized in any way you’d like- and Made By Mary, who creates the daintiest fine jewelry pieces, perfect for any girl who likes a simple piece, or likes to layer delicate necklaces like crazy {aka me}

I thought it would be a perfect addition to the boxes! I personalized the dishes with their name and a heart, & the necklaces I chose all had a tiny little heart stamped on it to match the dish- I also ordered myself a necklace, so we could all wear them together at special bridal events and such- a way to connect with my favorite girls.

The final touch was a little card that Meghan also created for me- simple & sweet. I wrote little notes to each of the girls telling them just how special it would be if they stood by my side on the biggest day of my life.

I am so happy with how they turned out! More than anything, my bridesmaids & MOH have shaped my life in the most beautiful way, & I wanted them to know just how lucky I am to have them, yesterday, today & every day that follows, even as our lives change and evolve in different ways.

I hope you love these just as much as I do! So many exciting things in the next few months and I am SO grateful for my loving, caring, & supportive girl gang who has been there for me every step of the way. The absolute luckiest.

Xx,

Sydney Paige

Our Engagement Photos are HERE!

As if I haven’t shared enough across social media- I figured, it’s time to show you the whole damn thing. Here it is- our engagement session in Philadelphia.

I will be honest- the only thing I am worried about after getting these photos, is how can our wedding day POSSIBLY top these photos?!? I knew I wanted to work with MLE Pictures to capture engagement photos and our big day for a long time- i have worked with wife + husband team Emily and Claude several times, and not only is their work absolutely incredible, but they are a total joy to work with. Michael & I were nervous going into our e-session, but as soon as we left- we were both beaming & could not WAIT to get them back- and when we did- we were both simply over the moon.

I really put a lot of thought and planning into our engagement session, as I wanted to capture us and our favorite spots perfectly, as well as closely mirror what our wedding day will look like. Since Michael proposed in Rittenhouse Square, I really wanted to do some photos there to relive what was the best day ever (until our wedding on July 27, 2019!)

We had to highlight Parc, hands down one of our favorite restaurants in the city, and we had to get some La Colombe to represent our must-have coffee (event though we aren’t currently in Philly we still order endless amounts for our french press at home!)- it helped keep us warm that day too!

Our wedding day will fully be in Old City, which happens to be my favorite area of the city, so I wanted to capture moments there as well to bring both worlds of our engagement and wedding planning journey together!

Being a fashion blogger, I of course LOVED styling our looks (multiple looks were extra, but necessary!) and I really wanted them to emulate what our big day will look and feel like. Michael and I have both been envisioning and describing our wedding day as urban elegant- a romantic, luxurious, modern yet timeless city wedding, with a minimal yet contrasting color palette, to allow the elements of us and our ceremony and reception venues to truly shine on their own (not revealing that publicly but trust me- these spaces alone are striking in their own unique way and do not need much to bring out their beauty!) The wardrobe was so perfect for giving just a little sneak peek of what our wedding day will look like- and if you think these photos are glamorous, just you WAIT to see the actual wedding day!

I am SO excited and overjoyed to share all of our favorites with you! I hope you love them as much as we do- this day will forever hold such a special memory in our hearts.

Cannot wait to marry this handsome man. Boy am I the luckiest.

To love.

Xx

Engagement ring: Lauren Priori

Outfit details:

Grey dress with velvet bow: Donna Mizani for Revolve ; Black pumps: Sam Edelman; Bow statement earrings: For Love and Lemons for The Geisha House

Cream lace skirt: Citrine Grey; Black bodysuit: Rachel Pally for The Geisha House; Cream pumps: Zara

Copper dress: Fame and Partners for Nordstrom; statement earrings: Zara

Christmas Snuck Up On Us- But It Doesn’t Have to Look That Way.

Hey guys!

Well the last few months have been a total whirlwind – from a busy work schedule, to some exciting events, to wedding planning{!}, we have had our hands pretty full. To say that Christmas snuck up on me {is it really only a WEEK away?!} is the understatement of the year- nonetheless, I’m excited for it!

The downside of being caught off guard with the holiday season is the last minute shopping that’s {currently} taking place for me! If you’re anything like me, and tend to put off shopping til the last minute, either because you’ve had too many holiday parties, or you hit the eggnog too hard- I have just the thing for you..

I’ve put together a quick list of some of my favorite small businesses + my “must-have” items that you can get your hands on last minute {with final shipping dates and even some promo codes!}. So let’s get to it, there’s no time to waste!

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The Little Apple {Philadelphia, PA}

Located in Manayunk, this sweet little boutique has been known for years as the best little gift shop on Main Street! Their website has everything organized by category for whoever is on your Nice {or Naughty} list: for your drinking buddy, newlyweds, “Philly Jawn” {personal fave}, you can find anything for that special person in your life! Shop online or in store if you’re in/near the city! and tell Brandy and her adorable pup + styling babe I sent ya! 😉

*Last day for standard mail: TOMORROW Dec. 19! or Thursday, Dec. 20 for Priority Shipping

Perfect stocking stuffer: Love Your Melon beanie {the coziest hat with an even better cause}

Trim their tree: Unicorn coffee ornament {we all need one, let’s be honest}

For the weekend adventurer: Forestbound ESCAPE Canvas Utility Bag {THE perfect overnight / weekend bag for a little getaway – pack it with their favorite things and map out a surprise road trip!}

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Sunday Forever {online, NYC based}

My favorite shop for life’s luxurious nice things with good vibes only.

*25% OFF ORDERS + FREE SHIPPING THROUGH Thursday 12/20 {by 1pm!} – use code “RIGHTONTIME” at checkout!

Good luck vibes: Evil Eye Tassel Bracelet {I have several of these- and may be adding to my collection tonight…}

Best candle ever ever award: Rich candle {defined as ‘cashmere + smoke and boy is that spot on}

Smell like coconuts: Coconuts perfume with rose quartz rollerball {you WILL smell like heaven and people WILL ask you what you’re wearing- carry this with me at all times}

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Rachel Mulherin {Baltimore babe, currently NYC, online}

My favorite boss babe makes the prettiest jewels perfect for that special someone. Too many favorites to list .. I’m loving adding to my necklace stack currently.

*Orders must be placed by Thursday 12/20 for shipping! Also available for pickup in Baltimore this weekend! Sign up for emails & save 15%!

Drool-worthy arm candy: Petite Lulu bracelet {if there’s one piece she needs, it’s this. Perfect for getting dolled up or dressing up your weekend denim}

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That’s what I have for now!!! So don’t waste any time, the countdown is officially on- but not too late to get that special something for that special someone 😉

Any questions at all about my fave products/ shops, DM me, text me, FaceTime me, whatever you need!!! And remember to shop small this holiday season- or means the world to each & every one.

Happy happy holidays to you + yours!!!

Xx,

Sydney Paige

{photo credit: Jade Nikkole}

Engaged{!} in the City of Brotherly Love

It blows my mind that I’m actually sitting here, writing this post about being ENGAGED. I’m that girl that has genuinely dreamt of getting married since I was about five, I sob at a good, real love story, & I really, truly know that I have found my forever- and have known for a very long time. I’ve been living my fairy tale with the love of my life for the past 4 and a half years – it just got that much better two weeks ago.

The number one question I’ve gotten since Michael popped the question is “we’re you completely surprised?!” and I honestly have to say- mostly…. but there were a few sparkly flags that caught my attention. But at the end of the day, when it came to the moments leading up to it, I was truly in shock- to the point that I blacked out when it all happened {yes, true story- more details to follow.}

Michael & I had planned a weekend in Philly to run the Broad Street Run as well as spend some time with our friends. Even though we didn’t get in with the lottery system, Michael suggested we run it anyway & make a weekend out of it {flag one- usually I’m the one dragging Michael to the start line, not the other way around!} I am never one to turn down a trip to my favorite place so I agreed willingly! We got in Friday night, checked in to the Ritz Carlton, had some late night cocktails at Harp & Crown, and headed to bed- little did I know the next day would be the best day of my life to date.

The next day, Saturday May 5th {yes, I know what you’re thinking – ‘Cinco De Mayo!’ – it wasn’t intentional on Michael’s behalf!} I had a blogger brunch in the morning & then did some boutique shopping at The Geisha House {gotta prep for my Italy trip coming up!} and then we were planning to meet our friends in Rittenhouse for dinner & drinks. Michael & I walked over to Rittenhouse, where he lead me on a detour to the park before we met up with everyone. At this point, it seemed a little odd that he wanted to stroll around {again- I’m always the one leading the way with park strolling & wandering around the city!} but I just went with it!

As we walked through Rittenhouse Park & I meandered around, I noticed at one point that Michael wasn’t by my side {pretty sure I was looking at florals that a vendor was selling- how typical of me.} As I turned around, I noticed Michael was pulling something out of his pocket- “what are you doing?!” was my response- and that’s when I knew that IT was happening. I only remember him saying “Sydney, you know that I really love you”- and then I blacked out. Like I just don’t remember what happened, what was said- and neither does he!!! But he pulled out the most beautiful ring, dropped to one knee, and asked me to marry him. As I came up for air & realized what had just happened, the whole park erupted into applause and cheer- WE WERE ENGAGED!

Minutes later, Michael told me that a photographer, Alison Dunn, was secretly catching all of this on camera- and he got some MAJOR points for coordinating that! I am a lover of photos and being able to relive special days over and over again- and I will forever love reliving these beautiful moments thanks to her gorgeous photos!

I took few minutes to catch my breath & actually get a look at my GORGEOUS ring designed by Lauren Priori– which is really, truly, everything I had dreamt of. I had mentioned {somewhat aggressively} that I wanted Lauren to create my ring, as she is an amazing designer, a huge lover of oval solitaires like myself, as well as a great friend that I had met through doing some styled shoots in the city. Michael gave Lauren a call, & while I had given him lots of ideas, she told Michael that she knew exactly what I wanted- which took a little bit of pressure off of him! Together they created the most stunning ring I have ever seen- I could not be more in love with it, & they truly brought my vision to life!

Alison captured some photos of Michael & I post-engagement, and after we parted ways, Michael reassured me that we were, indeed, still meeting a few of our friends for dinner. When we arrived at Audrey Claire a few blocks away, I was completely FLOORED when about 20 of our closest friends and family were waiting there to surprise me! I was just in total shock. Not only that- I was so blown away by Michael’s pure thoughtfulness & the love that was poured into this day. He made it everything I had ever dreamed of- and more.

I have a great love for this city of brotherly love, and an even greater love for my now fiancé {AH!} – but this special day made me realize just how lucky and blessed I am to have a love this great. This is the stuff people dream of. I am so excited to keep loving this man and living this life.

MANY thanks to the beautiful people in my life who made this special day so perfect! And to my love, my best friend, my confidant, my rock, my person- I love you, to the moon & back, for forever.

The road to wedding planning begins now- & BOY am I excited for the ride! While we are anticipating a long engagement, I am SO excited to be inspired and work with some amazing creatives to bring our wedding day visions to life. Stay tuned to see how our journey unfolds, I can’t wait to share it with you!

Xx,

Sydney Paige

Photos: Alison Dunn Photography

Engagement Ring: Lauren Priori

Jewelry: Rachel Mulherin {bracelet}, Mignonne Gavigan {earrings}

Dress: Dress the Population

Shoes: Steve Madden

CSL Workout Guide is here!

Hi all!!! I am SO excited to share my ‘CSL Workout Guide’ with you all!!! By no means am I claiming to be an expert in any way- but I have has great success with all of these moves, tips and ‘lessons learned’ over the years- so I am hoping some of you will benefit from it in some way, whether you are new to hitting the gym and need somewhere to start or you’re looking for a variety of workouts to up your game and change things up. Before I get into the “good stuff”- my workout routines-ish, {I say ‘ish’ because routines just don’t always work perfectly in our lives- and that is OKAY} I want to share a few thoughts that have come up as I’ve put this guide together. These thoughts come from a place of trying to promote a healthy, mindful, and body-positive approach to working out that has changed my life for the better:

1. *This is important: You know your body- and your MIND- more than anyone else.

I say body because each body has its own physical limitations-whether it be due to injuries, your ability level, or different factors that may be personal to you. More importantly, I say you know your mind more than anyone else, because our mind often tries to run the show when we set goals for our fitness, our health, our workouts, our aesthetic and our goals, and sometimes, it can end up being our own worst enemy when it tries to be too controlling. Our mind can manipulate us more than anything, and while I think goal setting is SO important, I think it is even more important to keep our mind in check, to make sure we are achieving success in a healthy, balanced, organic, and mindful way. It has taken me a long time to accept and admit this to myself, and I might have taken the long way to figure it out, but above all else, it was the best discovery I have ever made- and I honestly feel it has benefitted my physical and mental health more than anything else. And I have truly never been happier. Stay aware, be mindful, and listen to your mind & body. You know that quote that goes “Take care of your body, it’s the only place you have to live?” Well, it’s kind of full of shit. You live inside your mind more than your body- we need to take care of that, too.

Compromising your mental health for your physical well-being is never worth it.
{ Okay- now that I’ve had my rant- onto the rest! }
2. Fuel your body. Make sure you are fueling yourself for workouts- your body, your muscles and your mind need nutrients when they are being put to work. It’s not fair to them if you don’t take care of them! {and they will tell you that over time if you don’t nourish them.} Muscle tissue that you want to grow stronger can break down, and your energy level will sink. I try to stick to simple carbs before a workout {give yourself time to digest!} & protein afterward.

3. Start slow. Make your own goals based on where you are. Not your friends, not magazines, not your Instagram feed- solely based on Y O U. To start, what you see in people around you, the world of social media and the unrealistic “Beauty Standards” of our world {aka: BS- what a fitting acronym} is never what it seems, and you never know the ways in which people get to their end goals {and if it seems too good to be true- someone losing an absurd amount of weight in an absurdly short period of time, restricting or overworking your body in some way, using some “magical formula” to help you get the “best results”- usually it’s not good for you, your body, your mind or your being.} You cannot go 0 to 100 in a day, expect change and keep your own sanity. Look at your ability level with honesty, and DO WHAT YOU CAN. Then build on it. Little victories are the BEST victories- and should always be celebrated! Especially when you are trying new moves, it is best to master the movement with small weights, not do it improperly, add weight and only induce self-injury. Small, steady strides. The best way to make healthy progress is by making realistic goals for yourself, doing it authentically and finding some consistency that works for you and your day to day life!

4. DITCH ALL NUMBERS. Weight. Pounds. Inches. Calories. Sizes. Ditch em. Our world is number obsessed, but you do not have to be. You are more than numbers. What is important for your journey is how you feel. Again- took me too long to figure that one out, but since I have let go of the scale, nutrition labels and a size ‘defining’ me and ruling my life, I have experienced the best form of freedom that has allowed me to track my progress through how my body, my strength, and my energy are perceived by me- and that truly feels amazing.

5. Love yourself. Love your body. Find what will make your confidence boost- and go for it.

Before you set any goals for yourself, take a look in the mirror. Tell your body that you love it, unconditionally. Tell it you will not take it for granted. Tell yourself that above all else, you will take care of your mind and your body in a healthy and conscious way. Make goals for you and you alone- and go for it. The only person standing in your way is yourself, so once you commit to making positive change that suits your life, you will be ready to live your best life.

Now let’s get to work, babes !

-I have found working on isolated body parts to be most beneficial. It allows me to focus solely on one muscle group at a time (or a few in one area) which allows that specific area to get the attention and work it needs. So typically I will rotate days with one muscle group at a time- arms, shoulders, back, chest and legs- sometimes, if I’m running around and have a busy week ahead, I will add in arms to a shoulder/chest day)

-Generally I stick to 3 sets of 10 for most moves. If I am coming back to the gym after a break, or am more sore than usual, I may reduce the amount of weight I use, but do sets of 12.

-No, I don’t do every single move I have listed for my workout- I will usually incorporate 4-6 moves per workout/muscle group. If you don’t like a move, or it bothers you in some way, don’t do it! Find what works for you and feels like it’s working for your body, and stick to it.

-I try to do core every day, {hence my #absaday challenge} even when it’s the last thing I want to do. Do I get to it every single day of my life? No- life happens. But I really do my best to get to my mat each day! Even if you do five minutes, it’s better than nothing! Strengthening your core will help with working all of the other muscle groups.

-I try to do cardio every other day- for me, I like running, biking and the arc trainer the most. I also like to incorporate yoga into my workout here and there, whether it be a class or doing rounds of sun salutations at home. Find what works for you! {When I’m training for a race, cardio looks different for me and is more frequent, so my day to day workouts will look much different.}

-Stretch, stretch, stretch! Before & after you workout! You will get the most out of your workout when you do, trust me.

Here are the main exercises I do for each “day”, give or take a few depending on what kind of day I’m having. Like I said, start slow & build! Master your form. Watch videos and tutorials. If you are just starting to incorporate exercise into your lifestyle, start off trying to get to the gym 1 or 2 days a week- once you master that, commit to adding on days as you are able! Do one or two sets. Gradually build your weight {I still use 5 pound weights for some exercises that are more difficult for me!} Do what you can. And you will get there!
ARMS:

-rope pulls (slight angle in your stance with feet a bit further back; be sure start position is @ chest, pull down toward body and bring rope outward as it hits your waist area)

-hammers with free weights (alternating sides, 10 with each side)

-16’s with free weights (set at waist with weights in fist, palms up; 4 on left side bringing weight from shoulder down to hip, reset at waist; switch to 4 on right side, reset at waist, repeat once– hence ’16’ counts all at once.)

-one arm tricep extensions (you can use 2 arms but I think 1 arm isolates the tri muscle better)- free weight in one hand starting behind your head and slightly above, bring the weight down as the elbow bends and bring up, fully extending your arm straight; 10 for each side)

-tricep bench press (lay on bench with feet planted on ground; hold free weights on sides close to chest; push straight up into air until fully extended, bring back slowly to chest)

-skull crushes with bar (lay on bench with head at top of bench; hold bar with hands close together in the middle, either touching or an inch apart; keeping elbows in, bring bar to the forehead, then extend forward into the air, still keeping elbow in and straight)
-bicep curls with bar (hands about 4 inches apart on bar, palms up; lift from upper thigh to shoulder)

-pushups- always try to end with pushups, as many as I can get up to. I’ve gotten comfortable at 10 and will do 1-3 sets depending on the day, making sure I start/stay in the plank position, elbows are staying in, and keeping a flat back/not dipping my lower back. Also great for shoulders/core!

SHOULDERS:
-side raises (2 free weights, start position arms by your side, slight bend in elbow; raise arms to about your shoulder, lifting should be lead by your elbow-not the arm- so its slightly more rounded)

-front raises (2 free weights, same start position as side raises, raise one arm at a time around to the front to eye level and back down, same thing with the other side)

-shoulder press (2 free weights, sit straight on bench, starting with weights at shoulder level; push weights straight up til elbows lock, come straight down)

-shoulder press machine (sit facing machine, arms straight in front on bars; pull outward toward your back, squeezing your shoulder blades together)

-shoulder flys (stand with legs bent, shoulders bent forward, hands with weights together at front; while bent over, separate arms and bring backward, bringing shoulder blades together, bringing arms back to start)

CHEST:

-dumbell bench press (lay flat on bench with dumbells held above you; 90 degree angle, thumbs facing each other, start with weights at bra-line, push straight up in the air til elbows are about straight; keep core tucked in and feet planted flat on the ground for back support)

-incline dumbbell press (2 free weights, palms facing up, on incline bench, push straight up)

-incline dumbbell flys (2 free weights, start with palms facing each other, elbows rounded, bring back weights toward the ground, bring back to midline with palms still facing each other- I call these ‘tree hugs’, once you give it a try you’ll see why)

-seated chest fly (handles should be at chest height; start with arms back, bring them forward to about a shoulder length apart, bring back slowly)

BACK:

-lat pull downs (use a flat bar; lean back slightly on the bench; bring bar down to bra line, slowly bring back up)

-bent over barbell rows (slightly bent knees, bent over, pulling bar up over thighs, arms 90 degree angle with elbows facing ceiling)

-seated cable rows (V bar, pull inward to bellybutton, release slowly)

-T bar rows (bent over, slight bend in the knee, pull bar and weight up to chest keeping knees slightly bent)

-pull-ups (use pull up machine with weight added that feels comfortable, pull up as close to your chin as possible, pull from the arms- don’t rely on the weight pushing you up!)

LEGS:

-leg press (start with legs bent, 90 degree angle, push with weight until legs almost straight, slowly bring weight back toward your chest)

-hack squat (feel should be under your shoulders, when squatting keep knees over your toes)

-barbell squats (hold bar behind neck by your shoulders, start with legs slightly bent, squat keeping your core tucked in until legs break 90 degree angle, then slowly bring back up)

-leg (hamstring) curls (keep knees a few inches apart, start with legs straight, curl upward until at about 90 degrees, slowly release)

-leg (quad) extension (start with bar in front of calf above the ankle; push up until leg is straight)

-wall sits (sit against wall in chair position, legs bent at 90 degree, hold position as long as you can!)

CORE:

*I tend to do 1-2 sets of these when I work out, and try to rotate the different ones each day/when I get around to doing them! Try to get at least 3-5 different moves in- but do what you can!!! Even 5 minutes a day can start initiating core strengthening J

-standard crunches (feet flat, curl up to knees as close as you can- take your time coming back down!)

-crunches with legs crossed and elevated, touch elbows to your knees

-russian twists (use weight or hold hands together as you twist, side to side with legs slightly elevated and crossed)

-bicycles (elbow to opposite knee twisting as you rotate)

-plank (keep core in, don’t dip your lower back and keep back as flat as you can! Hold position several inches from the ground for as long as you can)

-dead bugs with alternate arm/leg) (*may be best to watch video for this one! Lay on back with arms straight up, legs up and at 90 degree angle; alternate leg and opposite arm, moving both away from midline at the same time, keeping the rest of your body still; switch sides doing the same; be sure to keep core close to the floor as you’re doing it! Draw bellybutton into the floor)

-reverse crunches

-side plank

-sit up with legs out and twist to the side

-toe taps (crunch position with feet bent and flat, tap heel one at a time with twist movement)

-mountain climbers

-incline push ups (do the push ups on a block, or up against a wall so your body is slanted but aligned, don’t dip your back)

That is A LOT to take in, but try one thing at a time and see how you like it, and if you feel it working for your body, too! Once you find a solid group of moves that work for you, build your routine gradually, be consistent with doing them with your isolated body parts, rotate your days and find cardio/other outlets that work for you! If you love spin, yoga, barre, or fitness classes then go for it- you have to be comfortable doing it to end up liking (or even loving!) it.
I would LOVE any feedback you have, so please feel free to let me know!!! And for anyone interested, I am planning to set up a private Facebook group AND email list (since the breakdown was almost 50/50 when I asked!) to do follow-ups for clarification, Q & As, body-posi words of encouragement, share stories and celebrate all of the little victories we accomplish along the way on our journey- because we really deserve to celebrate starting somewhere! Really hoping to build a community of women (and men!) who find a love of fitness in their own way. Be good to your body-and your mind- and it will be good to you.


Cheers to a healthy, mindful, and body-positive fitness journey.

Xx,

Sydney Paige

7 Goals for 27

Hi all!!

It’s been a while, and while not much has changed- my age has! I just celebrated my 27th birthday this Saturday, and while embracing aging is always challenging in some form, it’s also SO exciting for me to create some new goals and challenges to overcome in a new year of life. I’m a lover of to-do lists, goal-work and clean skates, so in that sense, I’ll take it!

As I prepared for my 26th year to come to an end, I realized that while as a whole, I didn’t have any major, standout moments, I had a whole bunch of special little moments that really added up for me to make this year a memorable one. I’ve had a lot of great opportunities open up for me in the blogging world, I’ve met a lot of great friends through the blogging and small business communities in both Baltimore and Philly, I’ve gone on some amazing trips and have been planning my biggest yet {Italy this summer, for those who haven’t heard yet!!} I have been able to grow professionally in my job and have been able to grow with my babies by having consistency in my job for the first time since starting my career. I’ve also just grown a lot more comfortable and confident in my body- despite day to day challenges, as a whole I feel strong and happy, and I’m really seeing myself in a good light. I’ve also spent a ton of time cuddling my dogs {DUH}, loving my man & sipping cocktails with my girlfriends. So all in all, it’s been a pretty solid year for me.

Fortunately and unfortunately for me, “pretty solid” doesn’t cut it for me. I’m always looking for what’s next, how can I be better, that was good, but what would be great–it’s essentially a blessing and a curse all at once. But I’ll focus on the goodness for now- I live for self improvement!! So- the big question I’ve been asking myself is, what will 27 look like?

I’ve come up with 7 things I want to do for myself this year. Things that will challenge me, but in a healthy way to push myself to where I truly want to be. My energy feels strong, positive & ready for 27!

1. Remember why you’re here. This whole blogging experience has been amazing yet challenging in a lot of ways- it started as a way for me to connect with others and a creative outlet, but as I got more into it, it became frustrating at times seeing my work not being appreciated, whether that was equated through numbers, analytics or feedback, and I sometimes questioned why my growth was slower than others, while also working to stay authentic and grow organically. Lately I’ve been focusing on the way this community and creative outlet makes me feel, and I need to continue to focus my energy there. It has been amazing to see the growth happening solely from that!! I’ve decided that part of my “work” each week needs to be reminding myself why I got into this in the first place- and truly focus on creating fun, fashionable content because I love it and I love the amazing people I’ve met through doing so!

2. Get rid of shit. This one is pretty straightforward. I hold onto stuff {particularly clothes- shocking I know} and even though I do better when my life isn’t so cluttered, I still make excuses as to why I need to keep things around. Working to let go of things I don’t need and declutter in all areas of my life- especially the closet!

3. Up the skincare routine. I’ve been really interested in reading about beauty routines and skincare products lately, and I’ve loved making it more of a routine at morning and at night. I used to be sooo lazy about it. Now I wake up feeling excited to care for myself, and it helps me reset and unwind before bed. Continuing to research and learn more about how to take care of my skin in the year {s/o to Lauryn Evarts Bosstick of The Skinny Confidential for the major inspo!!} and I’ll be sure to share as I go!!

4. Early to bed, early to rise. I don’t know how this hasn’t been a staple for me yet, because I always always feel better when I get to bed early, wake up early and get my workout in before starting my day! I think a lot of this has to do with my creative energy coming out at night, and also needing to stay up late doing work most nights! Reallyyyy going to try to shift my day to make this happen, at least several days a week {although I really just want to do the thing 100%- we’ll see how it goes!}

5. Chase what you’re after, & learn to say no. I am slowly but surely learning that I can’t do everything, and I need to be picky about what I choose to do- both for my own sanity, as well as to stay authentic to what my passions are. I also need to fight for the things I want- the worst thing that can happen is that I put myself out there and hear “no”, or “next time”, and I’ll have experience in growing patient for the things I am have a strong desire for.

6. Try new fitness experiences. While I love trying new classes, workouts and exercises, I am often rushing to the gym, trying to get it over and done with, so I stick to what I know. I am working on mapping out my week and looking ahead at what I can try so I am expanding my horizons, working new muscles and finding what works for me and my body! Open to any suggestions anyone may have!!

7. Embrace change and challenges. The good, the bad and the ugly. Whether it be new age, new experiences, new friendships, rekindling old ones, trying again, learning when I’m on overload and saying no, waiting for change and being patient in the meantime… I’m going to accept it as best I can, and look at it in a positive light. I often jump the gun about how to feel when something comes my way, and I need to just slow myself and my thoughts down, give things a chance and embrace the twists and turns of my life. I have a REALLY good feeling about 27, and I am going to do my best to embrace ALL that comes with it!!!

Here is to a year of positive growth and loving each moment of my life.

Xx

Sydney Paige

Favorite Beauty Go-Tos of 2018 {so far!}

Hello all!

We successfully made it to the weekend & we all deserve a pat on the back for that one. Unfortunately for me, I’ve been sick with what feels like the start of the flu since last night 😦 Of course, it comes with the territory for me, working with the kiddos all day- and while I’m so not loving feeling this way, I’m so glad to have a 3-day weekend with no plans to recover. This weekend will consist of lots of rest, binge-watching some Netflix {any recommendations welcome!} and an abundance of self-care.

Speaking of self-care, I want to take some time to focus on some of my most-loved beauty products that I’ve discovered so far in 2018. One of my goals for the new year was to find new products that work well for my beauty routine, particularly in the skincare department, and while it’s only February, I’ve found a few new products and brands that I just can’t get enough of. I’ve been using them consistently for almost 2 months and let me tell you- for not being a huge “routine” kinda gal, it feels amazing being able to see positive changes in my face & my overall being, and it’s to the point that I’m excited to get to bed each night so I can complete my routine!

The best part? Most of these products are available on my Amazon Affiliate page {*which I’ll be linking below for your reference!!} so they are easy to find & shop for.

Let’s get started, babes!

Glossier

*This is the one brand I’m featuring that is not available on Amazon, but it’s a small but mighty online company that has been killing it over the past few years. I love supporting small businesses & finding simple products that just work, like Glossier! You can find them at glossier.com

I recently started using their exfoliating skin perfector Solution as my toner and I. AM. OBSESSED. Leaves my skin so bright and tight I can’t wait to keep using!!

Other go-to faves:

  • Boy brow {for flawless brows}
  • Cloud paint {lasts forever- perfect cheek tint!}
  • Haloscope {perfect subtle dewy highlight}

Onto my Amazon page faves!

French Girl Organics

So this may be my favorite new brand to date. These French-inspired products are made in the US, and each product is made from organic, sustainable ingredients. Not only that, but I have been seeing great results from all of the items I use. Top it off with the cutest packaging & subtle yet heavenly scents, I would recommend this product to any beauty lovers in a heartbeat.

My favorites:

  • Rose lip polish {leaves your lips feeling smooth & plump}
  • Lumière bronzing oil {perfect for leaving a little glow- smells amazing}
  • Sea polish {I use the menthe/romarin one- the perfect body scrub with a minty tingly touch}
  • Crème Lumière facial moisturizer {it has made its way into my routine as my go-to moisturizer- leaves skin nice and bright- need I say more?}

Mario Badescu

Started using some of their products last year and am now continuously adding more to my cart.

Go-tos:

  • Facial spray with Rosewater {mist this all over my face and neck after my facial routine or if I need a refresh after the gym- I’ve heard the Green Tea one is great too!}
  • Drying lotion {literally JUST ordered this week after eyeing it up for forever and BOY does this work- great for acne}

Vital Proteins

I finally understand what all the hype is about. I started using the collagen peptides about a month and a half ago, and while I was initially skeptical, I have seen apparent changes in my hair, skin and nails, and I’m never looking back. My hair has been growing so fast, when usually my hair grows super slow unless it’s the middle of the summer. It’s also been a lot fuller! My skin has been noticeably smoother, and I’ve seen some of my fine lines fading as well. And my manicures have been lasting so much longer than usual since they don’t break as easily and have been growing out so nicely. It’s so easy to incorporate into your day {I add a scoop to my coffee every a.m.} and the benefits are definitely there after about a week or two of using consistently!

My favorites:

  • Grass fed, pasture raised peptides unflavored {*I bought the 20 oz container as well as the to-go packets- great for being on the go!}

Can’t wait to try something new from them – eyeing up the beauty water packets next!

Jade rolling

Okay, this one I’m newly getting into, but after reading up on it a ton, I am fully expecting to see some long-term results after using for a bit. It’s supposed to smooth & even out your skin, reduce fine lines and help circulation in your skin! So far I’ve learned its best to keep it in the freezer {allows blood to circulate more easily} and it’s really beneficial to use right after you use your toner/oils/moisturizer, as it helps the products to really seep into your skin. I can definitely see some changes as I use it- but like I said, I want to see how it changes my skin overtime.

*I linked the roller I purchased on my Amazon page {comes in a 2 pack!} I may eventually upgrade to a nicer one, but for now I’m sticking to this guy- it does the job!

Murad Nutrient Charged Water Gel

I originally received this product through Influenster as a product to trial- and WOW it’s worth the money. This is oil free & perfect for locking in moisture, leaving skin super plump, tight and smooth. It’s a bit on the higher side with pricing, but it lasts so long & honestly, I feel it’s completely worth it. Make sure to use on your neck & chest too for hydration all around!

No7 Youthful Vitamin C Fresh Radiance Essence

Last one guys – this vitamin C based oil is super great for refreshing and brightening up your skin- it’s supposed to be used for 2 weeks at a time- and my favorite part about it is that you activate the product at home by dispensing the vitamin C into the oil when you’re ready to use. It’s fresh and definitely refreshes your skin so it has a healthy looking glow!

*note: this product is listed on my Amazon page but is currently unavailable- however you can find it at Target with the rest of the No7 products!!

**You can find ALL of theseproducts on my Amazon affiliate page linked here!

https://www.amazon.com/shop/coffeestainedlace

So that is my beauty roundup of my favorite products of 2018 so far- I can’t wait to keep finding more things to incorporate into my routine! Feeling well on the outside often leads to positivity radiating inside- and that’s why I’m making it a point to find products that agree with me & make me feel like my best self.

Can’t wait to share more!! If you have any questions about my products PLEASE feel free to reach out- or if you want to share your thoughts on an item, or recommend something new PLEASE DO! Always looking to improve myself and my being in various ways.

Here’s to a long weekend of self-care!

Xx,

Sydney Paige

Love & LAGOS

We are just a few short hours away from Valentine’s Day, and I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to share some love-inspired jewelry that is just perfect for this time of year. LAGOS is a brand that is all about celebrating love in all sorts of ways with its unique & timeless jewelry. I’m SO excited to share a few pieces with you that are a perfect gift- whether it’s for yourself or for sharing with a loved one!

All of these mixed metal pieces are perfect for any occasion, & are modern but still timeless in their design. You can easily dress them up or down, but either way, they scream L O V E out loud.

Thank you LAGOS for letting me style these gorgeous pieces! Be sure to check them out for more inspiration & to see what this brand is all about! And let me know if you end up gifting a piece- or giving yourself a little something special 😉

Xxx,

Sydney Paige