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

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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

This Valentine’s Day, It’s All About The Girls

The month of love is here, and while I think it’s important to spread a little love every day, there’s something really special about this time of year when we really get to thinking of the special people in our lives. Valentine’s Day tends to get a bad rep sometimes, especially for people who are single, because they feel left out of the concept of the holiday, think it’s stupid, hate on love, etc etc. I’ve definitely been there, but romance or no romance, I’ve learned that it’s a time to celebrate love in all dimensions of my life, and that’s what has made it so special.

I am lucky to be so in love with my guy for over 4 years, and while I love celebrating with him and spending time reflecting on our relationship, {usually we do a fancy dinner since we’re such foodies- heading to The Charleston this year!} I have found so many ways to celebrate love this time of year. When I’m hard on myself, or having a bad bout of body image issues, it’s about looking within to celebrate what I love about myself, and to be thankful for the life it has given me. So many people forget that self-love is SO important-so if you’re one of those people, maybe it’s time to celebrate YOU this Valentine’s Day! And of course, there’s our girlfriends. God we love ’em. We can’t live without ’em. They are our ride or dies, our secret keepers, the ones we connect with, laugh with, cry with, and share some of the sweetest memories with. What better people to celebrate?!

I was a part of an AMAZING Galentine’s Day photoshoot a few weeks ago with some insanely talented boss ladies & fellow Baltimore bloggers & I am SO excited to share it with you! We spent the day pampering, adorning ourselves in jewels and tulle, selfie-ing, giggling, playing with balloons and cotton candy & eating the most delicious chocolate-covered strawberries- what perfect inspiration for your Galentine celebrations!

A HUGE shoutout to this dream team that made this fun & frilly shoot possible!

Stylist: @shoptini

Photography: @aprilbly

Venue: @theassemblyroom

Hair & Makeup: @silverimmersion

Tulle Skirts: @2live2lovebrand

Footwear: @laurenlorrianeshoes

Jewelry: @rachelmulherin

Event Rentals: @thesentimentalfools

Floral Stylist: @ikamcreate

Gourmet Strawberries: @berriesbyquicha

Custom Foil Designs: @llucyscreations

Cotton Candy: @bmorefluff

Blogger: @ks_kamo

Blogger: @coffeestainedlace

Blogger: @cravingcurrently

Blogger: @shae_li

Here’s to loving our girlfriends & celebrating Galentine’s Day in a big way! We’re kind of a big deal after all ❤️

How are you & your ladies celebrating?!

Xxx,

Sydney Paige

2018: This Is Our Year

Hello babes! And happy new year!! I can hardly believe the holidays are over & we are well into the new year! The craziness of “December” and all that comes with it brought me a lot of stress & anxiety, as much as it brings me so much joy. It’s a trying time of year, work-wise, mentally, and emotionally for me, and it can be draining.  But with that, it made me that much more excited to look at what I can do to take better care of me in this new year, and how I can propel myself even further, physically, mentally,  emotionally, creatively and professionally. And I hope with some of my goals, maybe I will inspire some of you to look at some aspects of your life that may be ready for positive change. 

So here we go- 2018. A clean slate & a space for me to be my best self- equally the Sydney Paige, the CSL, the Speech-Language Pathologist, the woman, the girlfriend, the puppy mommy, the sister, the daughter & the being that I try to shape & evolve every day :

  • Taking care of my physical being; this includes going to a doctor & a dentist, both of which I’ve avoided seeing for years {it just isn’t my thing- but I’m working on it!!} Fitness has also been a priority in my life, and I hope to only grow stronger & smarter with the way that I train my body- in the gym, on on the streets running, and during races. Hoping this is the year I can be ready for a full marathon- but I am prepared to listen to my body if the timing is not right {even if it’s not the easiest thing!} Also trying to get back into a routine with yoga, which always helps stretch and calm my body. 
  • Looking deeper at my emotional and mental well-being; while it is never an easy topic of discussion, mental health has always been something that I struggle with being comfortable with, and only recently have I realized how important it is to take care of. Working to accept myself, my body, & my needs, and be okay with talking about it. The more we do, the more comfortable and confident we can grow to be around this ‘taboo’ topic. 
  • Redefine & redesign Coffee-Stained Lace; recently I’ve been working hard to really look at my blog, my viewers, my brand and what motivates me to post, write and interact with all of the amazing people I have met throughout this journey {that is only just beginning!} The one thing that continuously draws me to be a part of this wonderful blogging world is getting to know my community, what they are interested in seeing and hearing about, and through that, getting to know myself, my style, and the simple joys that get me through the day  better than I had known them before. Hoping to grow even closer with my followers and curate & create content that you will love. I genuinely LOVE getting feedback from you all & hope you’ll share more of what you’d like to see in 2018!
  • Grow professionally in areas that speak to me; I’m in my 4th year as a Speech- Language Pathologist {which is just crazy to me!} and I finally feel like I’m at a point where I’m becoming more knowledgeable about the needs of my clientele, and the areas of my realm that I’m either not as educated on, or have a budding interest to learn more about. Research has always been something that sparks my interest, and I am hoping to become involved in more work involving Autism and brain injury this year, both through my own research as well as potentially some programs that may help strengthen my knowledge.
  • Self care daily; I’ve been more aware that self care is not selfish over the years, and I  want to continue practicing self-care every day, in ways that will help my overall being. No, this does not always mean a face mask or bubble bath with a glass of wine {although sometimes it might look like this!}- sometimes it’s something as simple as saying ‘no’ when you’re I’m too overloaded at work; or it could be taking five minutes to journal when my brain is full and needs to be unloaded. 
  • Finding balance; I sometimes forget that I put a lot on myself, and expect a lot {sometimes too much} of myself. It often drives me to exhaustion, fatigue, and a melt-down or two. I’m working to find balance for the things I need, the things I love, the things I need to do and the things that can wait until tomorrow. Hoping to find a fine balance in all of the joys and commitments in my life, and to continue being passionate about each one of them without burning out. I’m 26- I am still growing, still learning, still evolving, and I need to come to terms with that- and appreciate the place I am in.  I am so very thankful for a brand new year and the opportunity to be my best self. I have such a great feeling about this year and I feel ready to conquer it- and I hope we can all conquer our hopes, our fears, our dreams, our weaknesses and our greatest ambitions together. There is no better time better than the present to embrace positive change- and I sure am ready for it. The only person standing in your way is yourself- don’t ever forget that.

This is our year, babes! Cheers!


Xxx,

Sydney Paige 

Small Business Lovin’

 Hello all! I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving with your loved ones. Yesterday was the start of my favorite season of the year, & I can’t wait to celebrate all of the simple joys that this time of year brings.

While I genuinely love the art shopping, no matter what, I have never been a huge “Black Friday” addict. That being said, I have always been a lover of supporting small businesses, and have a great admiration for the boss babes that work tirelessly behind the scenes to make their business thrive. This weekend is huge for them, with Black Friday, Small Business Saturday & Cyber Monday all in a row! I’ve rounded up my favorite shops to go to for some great savings this weekend  with their links & promo codes attached – but be sure to hurry! Some of these only last a few more hours!! 

SUNDAY FOREVER {online} : 

25% off with code “OMG17” til midnight on Black Friday!

WHAT TO BUY: the coziest kimono robe or a perfect candle for wine night with the fireplace lit.

ELYSE BY NICOLE {online} :

30% off with code “SHOPSMALL” on Black Friday!

WHAT TO BUY: the perfect statement earring or necklace to make a simple outfit pop.

PUNCH {Baltimore, MD} :

Small business Saturday: surprise discount wall with coupons ranging from 20-50% off! Plus spiked lattes + new arrivals

WHAT TO BUY: fall to winter transition pieces, the sweetest home decor & all of the decorations your tree needs this year.

BRIGHTSIDE BOUTIQUE {Baltimore, MD- 3 locations}

20% off all clothing on Small Business Saturday at all locations

WHAT TO BUY: shop their very own Brightside the Label gear with the wittiest holiday shirts & mugs.

SLYNCH KNITWEAR {online} :

20% off purchase with code “SLK20” on Small Business Saturday!

WHAT TO BUY: a perfect pom hat for the upcoming chilly mornings.

NEW LAUNDRY {Scranton, PA} :

Scratch off sale {up to 50%} on small business Saturday!

WHAT TO BUY: a chic ensemble for that work party you’re gearing up for.

THE GEISHA HOUSE {Philadelphia, PA}:

25% off with code “SHOPSMALL25” Black Friday + small business Saturday

WHAT TO BUY: a dressy jumpsuit or dress to impress at the hottest NYE event. 

SKIRT {Philadelphia, PA} :

BOGO racks in store all weekend! 

WHAT TO BUY: holiday photo outfit & a perfect pair of denim.

TESORO COLLECTIVE {online} :

20% off purchase with code “save20” Black Friday through Cyber Monday!  

WHAT TO BUY: cozy-knit sweaters and the trendiest pieces of 2017 c/o Lilliana Vasquez. 

THE ATELIER {online} :

Choose to receive 20% off purchase with code “HAPPY20” OR enter code “DONATE10” to donate 10% of your purchase to Malala Fund, as well as receive 10% off your purchase 

WHAT TO BUY: Parisian-inspired accessories & their classic leather tote, perfect for all daytime activities.

RACHEL MULHERIN {online} :
20% off your purchase with code “friendsgiving” Black Friday through Cyber Monday

WHAT TO BUY: glam jewels perfect for dressing up any holiday look.

PICKETT PRETTY {online} :

20% off ALWAYS with code “CSL20”! 
WHAT TO BUY: that perfect outfit for a Christmas party with your girlfriends.  
Happy shopping babes! Can’t wait to see all the steals you find! Make sure you shop small this holiday season, it means the world to those who work every day to make their business thrive! 

Xxx,

Sydney Paige 

Outstanding in the Field: The Dining Experience That Tingles All of the Senses 

Last week I finally got to see what the whole “West Coast, Best Coast” is all about. 

And it looks like it’s pretty damn true. 

My best friend Grace, her boyfriend Chris, my Michael and I all ventured to California for a few days to explore Sonoma / Napa, and then we headed to San Fransisco to explore the city a bit before we left. We mapped out this trip around our newly adopted tradition of attending an Outstanding in the Field event- and if you haven’t heard of it before now, you’re going to want to pay close attention to this blog piece. Because it’s LITERALLY the most outstanding experience you’ll ever have.

Chris introduced us to OITF last year after he had attended one with his parents in Maryland. We had just moved to Baltimore, and he suggested the 4 of us attend one in Pennsylvania to see what it’s all about. Outstanding is a series of open-air dining events all across the US {and newly internationally as well!} where guests are invited to dine amongst other curious strangers in celebration of local farms & farmers, local chefs, and the great outdoors, the land we love. There are more than 90 event locations to choose from, and what was once a small organization that only several dozen guests attended, has now grown to over 12,000 people attending these darling dining events since 1999. The founder, Jim Denevan, has a strong desire to connect diners to the land, and to help us understand where our food is derived from, and to teach us how we can genuinely appreciate those who are truly dedicated to cultivating and preparing it for us. 

Each event is set at a long, winding table, set for a few hundred attendees, in different environments ranging from rural farms to mountain tops, on beaches and in urban gardens. Talk about an Instagrammable experience- this one tops all the rest.

Like I mentioned before, last year was our first OITF experience in Perkasie, PA where we dined on Blooming Glen’s farm after a difficult harvesting season. This year, we did our first destination Outstanding event in Jenner, CA {about an hour outside of Sonoma,} just weeks after a terrible fire broke out & deeply affected this beautiful area, known for their vineyards & wineries. As devastating as the fire was, and as much as it negatively impacted the community, each person we met, both on our travels in Sonoma as well as at the dining event, wanted us to know how thankful they were that we were there to support their community, and that are overcoming this destruction and they are okay and stronger because of it. There was such a genuine outpouring of love and gratefulness witnessed at this Outstanding, and better yet, the proceeds from our event went directly to those affected by the Northern California fires. It was humbling to see how deeply connected these people are to helping those who depend on the land for so much. 

So- how does it work? Outstanding dinners last about 5 hours- each event starts out with a cocktail hour {ours this year, of course, featured wine from 2 local vineyards} and passed appetizers. From there, Jim will come up to speak about Outstanding, how far they have come, what it stands for, and will introduce the farmers/ cultivators to come and speak. They sometimes will give a tour of the land or the farm to show where the real production happens behind the scenes. And then- it’s dinner time! Everyone heads to the beautifully set table with an incredible view to pick a seat. They have a tradition in which each guest is able to bring their own plate to the dinner, creating a colorful & unique table setting. Each course is brought out family style, for a table to share, with wine pairings for each, and boy is the food good. You leave with not only a full stomach, but a heart full of a new appreciation for the land we live on and the food that nourishes us. It is an experience I would recommend to everyone who is a lover of food, who desires to know a little more about how we are connected to our environment & who loves to meet fresh new faces coming from different walks of life. And it doesn’t hurt if you are looking for a stunning photo opp! Here are some of my favorite moments from our Outstanding experience last Thursday:

 
I hope you enjoyed a little behind the scenes look at my Outstanding in the Field experience! I can’t wait to see where this beautiful new tradition takes us next year. 

Xxx,

Sydney Paige 

School Savvy Style: Trendy Fall Looks from PUNCH!

It’s here it’s here! The most wonderful time of the year is finally here! If there’s anything y’all should know about me, it’s my deep love for autumn & all that comes with it- especially the wardrobe! 

As the school year starts back up, I begin packing away my mini-dresses, wedges, silky tops & flirty rompers and trade them in for obnoxious bell sleeves, darkwash denim, chunky knits, booties of every kind & suede everything. I seriously can’t get enough of fall fashion trends, both old and upcoming. 

I am SO excited to share a few different pieces that are clear winners for this season from my favorite local boutique, Punch! With the fresh start of another school year & the weather slowly but surely starting to cool off, { I’ve been committing to fall clothes and boycotting the summer clothes, even if it means sweating all day and keeping my fan close by- all for the cause!! } it is officially time    to look closely at some pieces that you will definitely need to add to your closet- and your tote bag- this season.

No need to say goodbye to the off-the-shoulder!

This khaki trench coat/dress is simply to die for. As soon as I saw it, I knew it would be a perfect addition to my closet and perfect for a breezy morning coffee & croissant. Paired with booties or a chunky suede heel, and topped off with a simple silk scarf, this look transports me straight from my busy day at school to the streets of Paris {hey, a girl can dream, right?} If I wanted to wear it as a jacket, it’s perfect for over an off the shoulder dress or top with denim and a stiletto! Can’t wait to keep styling this one- and trust me, you’ll need to grab one fast, it’s already a shop favorite!


Take note, ladies.

And if you’re anything like me, being a planner and school-bound professional, I am glued to my Erin Condren planner & all of the school accessories I can get my hands on. Luckily, Punch just stocked their shelves with tons of planners, notebooks & school necessities, including pieces from Kate Spade! You’ll immediately need one of everything, my wish list keeps growing!
 

Let’s get back to the basics {and I’m not referring to PSLs &  pumpkin picking..}

We all need to remember to come back to some basic, clutch pieces that come in handy no matter what and can be worn a million different ways. That being said, this modernized take on a maxi skirt is perfect for dressing up to head to dinner with your girlfriends, or dressing down to head to class or the apple orchard on the weekend- you take your pick 😉


With the fun ruffle detail, it’s easy to keep the look simple with a plain tee or chambray top & statement earrings, or you can pick a statement top with fun bell sleeves and a fall floral pattern to mix things up. Oh, the endless possibilities…

I’m so excited to continue finding some favorite fall pieces & styling them! Head to Punch to find some of these {& more!} must-have items. I can’t wait to see how you wear them!

Cheers to all the autumn things!

Xxx,

Sydney Paige  

Embroidered Metallics & Mustard Yellow Magic: 2 Wedding Looks Featuring Hueb Diamonds 

Hi all! And happy {almost! } autumn! Hard to believe today is “technically” the last day of summer {even though it’s currently 87 degrees outside….} I don’t know about you, but I’m getting ready to trade in my skin baring dresses for cozy cardigans & dark-washed denim. Definitely love the dog days of summer, but this chick is a total autumn gal.

With summer wrapping up more quickly than I had anticipated & the start of school following right behind, the blog took the back burner for a few weeks {I apologize!} Today I am lucky enough to have a day off, so I am finally playing catch up, organizing my blog calendar and revisiting some of my favorite end-of-summer looks to talk about. 

A few weeks ago I attended wedding 3 out of 4 for this year- and boy was it the best one yet! Our friends Rachel & Dave had the most beautiful day at Minerals Resort & Spa in Vernon, NJ over Labor Day Weekend. It was the perfect opportunity for us to relax a bit, sit by the pools, and watch two of our best friends start forever together. It was honestly the most perfect day for the most perfect couple – and I keep reliving the day over and over in my head!

Seeing as the weather has been quite tricky recently, I was nervous that my outfit picks for the rehearsal dinner & wedding would be a flop- but I could not be more happy with the outcome, and I was lucky enough to work with Hueb again to help complete my looks with some shimmering, sparkling, breathtaking pieces!

For the rehearsal dinner, I found this gorgeous dress on Gilt by Dress the Population  months ago- I knew as soon as I found it that it would be the perfect dress for this event! It embodies so many of my favorite style elements: florals, embroidery, metallics & a plunging yet sophisticated neckline. {Literally my spirit animal, in a dress.} I completed my looks with  strappy rose gold heels from Steve Madden, a classic LV clutch & 2 bangles from Hueb- one rose gold & one yellow gold- and a 3 tiered ring to match with rose & yellow gold and silver. It really played nicely with the metallics in the dress embroidery! If you asked me 2 years ago if I would mix and match my metals I would say absolutely not, but I could not love the look more these days. 


Cannot wait to wear this dress again, might be one of my favorites I’ve ever worn!

So now for the real deal- the wedding.

If y’all have been following me for some time, you know my true love for anything yellow. In fact, recently I’ve decided that I may end up being one of those older women who solely wears & owns everything yellow- and to be perfectly honest, I’m pretty okay with that. 

I was perusing through one of my favorite Baltimore boutiques a few months ago- Brightside Boutique– and as soon as this mustard gown caught my eye, I knew I had to purchase it. It screams Sydney Paige, like nothing else ever has before. Mustard is, by far, my favorite shade of yellow to wear. It just suits me. Tip number one in my book: when you find a color/ palette that works for you, stick to it, and don’t think that you’ll own too many pieces in that scheme. You probably will- but you’ll look killer in all of them so who cares?

So a few weeks after purchasing the dress, I was trying it on in my closet {because that’s what I frequently do when I can’t decide where to wear certain pieces.} It dawned on me that the color would be the perfect “initial stages of the  autumn transition” piece- and what better time to do so than LDW?!

I paired the floor length, low cut dress with my new python LV to give it a little edge {okay a LOT of edge because, well, python,} and the diamond pieces that Hueb sent me could not be more perfect to compliment the look. The diamond floral choker, hoop earrings & matching cocktail ring were sparkly as anything, to glam up the look, but simple enough to not take away from the bold yellow. I wish I could wear this ensemble every day! Yet another favorite look of mine- I will never say no to golden yellows and shimmering in diamonds. Never. {My arm candy was pretty cute, too!} 

The most perfect wedding, weekend & wardrobe. Thank you to Hueb for once again adorning me in the most perfect pieces to make my wedding date looks something to remember. 

Which one was your favorite?! Love to hear any feedback or questions you may have about my looks! 

Cheers to the end of an amazing summer filled with love- and onto autumn adventures {and one more wedding!}

Xxx

Sydney Paige