Friday, May 10, 2013

instagram/blogger spotlight: brianna_sky.

Time for another Instagram/Blogger feature! Meet Brianna. She is another one of my favorite people to follow for a number of reasons.  As you can see from this post and following her through social media, this is one awesome chick.  Brianna reminds me a lot of Chelsea as they both have a passion for working out, eating clean, staying healthy, and inspiring others.  Not only does Brianna motivate me, we also share a love for animals, fashion, beauty products, love itself, and family.  Below I'll include our interview and some fun pictures for you to get to know her.  Enjoy!

 1.       Can you remember a moment when you decided to focus more on fitness and clean eating?  Was it a gradual progression or something specific that motivated you?
There was a moment when I wanted to change my life. I had just left an abusive relationship, during which I had put on forty pounds through emotional eating and drinking in the bars with friends as a way to deal. After the breakup, I realized I had lost myself. It was a scary realization. At that moment, I decided I wanted to find me again. I needed to find my strength again. I put myself first, and a big part of that was my health. I dedicated my time to working out, cooking healthy foods, and reading inspirational books. I gradually lost the weight, and gained self-love.

2.       What is your favorite gym routine?
I love arm day. I jump right out of bed when I know I'm headed to the weight room. There is something about lifting heaving weights that makes me feel empowered and strong. Any routine that works out my arms is my favorite, but I especially love free weights and the cable tower.

3.       How often do you work out? 
I work out six days a week, with one rest day. I believe in rest days wholeheartedly, but I also believe in working hard. There is a proper balance for everyone, and this happens to be mine. I think my enthusiasm towards the gym makes it easy to go those six days. I sometimes have to tell myself, "It's your rest day. You deserve this. Don't go to the gym." 

4.       Favorite places to shop?
I love shopping at Urban Outfitters and Victoria's Secret PINK. I also love online shopping at Nasty Gal and Brandy Melville. 

5.       Favorite Starbucks beverage?
I gave up drinking Starbucks seven months ago. I think their drinks are loaded with sugar and empty calories. While I could order black coffee, it just tastes like dirt to me. The only way I enjoy my coffee is with sugar and heavy cream, so I said goodbye. I suffered from withdrawals and had these awful headaches for two weeks. It felt like getting off a drug (not that I know how that feels, but I could guess that's how it is). It just didn't feel like that was healthy. I stick to unsweetened tea now. 

6.       Favorite drugstore cosmetic product?
BB Cream by Garnier. It's so light, but gives my skin just enough coverage and a subtle glow.
7.       Favorite high end cosmetics?
I love lipsticks by MAC. They stay on and come in so many different shades. I love the blush, Orgasm, by NARS. It's the perfect color and has just a hint of sparkle. I love Bad Gal mascara by Benefit. The brush is big and fluffy, and makes my lashes lush and full.
8.       Favorite meals/snacks/bars/protein powders/supplements?
One of my favorite meals is over overnight oats. They are so easy, tasty, and leave me feeling full for hours. Who knew eating oatmeal cold could be so tasty? My favorite snack is almonds and dried cranberries. It's a great combination of nutty and sweet. My favorite protein powders are Ultra Plan and Total Lean 25. I take the pre-workout supplement, Neurocore, on my more intense training days. I have the Fruit Punch flavor, and it tastes great. It also doesn't give me the jitters or that awful itchy feeling.
9.       Who are your inspirations?
I love Jillian Michaels. Who doesn't? While she has an amazing physique, she also has an amazing way of motivating people. I just received her workout DVD's as a gift from my boyfriend, and I love them. I've followed her on The Biggest Loser and Losing it with Jillian Michaels. I just started reading her books as well. Something about her just really pushes me to work hard and live the best life I can.
10.   What motivates you today?
I'm honestly self-motivated. I think so many women compare themselves to others and fall into this vicious competition, when the real competition should be with yourself. I just want to be the best version of myself and in the best shape that my body is capable of. I have a great support system through my fit family in social media, but it never feels like a competition. We just empower each other, share tips, and keep each other on track. That's what it's all about. Your biggest motivation should be within yourself.

11.   Favorite hair products? Styling tools?
I just bought Moroccan Oil heat protectant spray from my hair stylist. I love it! It keeps my hair soft and safe from styling tools. I love my Chi, but I try not to use it too much. I like the natural wave my hair has, but I sometimes have to touch them up a bit. 
12.   Hobbies outside of the gym?
I love cooking! I'm always in the kitchen creating dishes. I'm working on my first ebook right now, and it will be full of recipes. I also love writing. I have a blog called Shine or Set. It's my baby. I love reading and painting too. I'm also currently working on opening an Etsy shop for headbands. I've always been in love with the idea of creating things, whatever the material may be. I definitely stay busy, but it keeps my mind sharp and my heart full when I do the things I love.
13.   Favorite websites?
I love Pinterest. It's addicting. I also love RealFoodology. My friend, Courtney (who is the sweetest thing ever) is all for healthy and clean foods. I love finding new recipes or learning important information about what's in food. Knowledge is power. Check her out!
14.   Favorite books?
The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath is my all time favorite. Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk is a close second. I also love books that uplift me and help me live a better life: Spirit Junkie, The Happiness Project, The Four Agreements, and Eat, Pray, Love. 

15.   Career goals?
I'm currently a preschool teacher, which I love. I also aspire to be a writer (cookbooks, children's books, and novels) and a small business entrepreneur (accessories). I want it all. I believe in being ambitious, following passions, and making dreams happen.
16.   Top beauty tips?
Never sleep with makeup on. Let your skin breathe. Moisturize, moisturize, moisturize.
17.   What has made the biggest impact on your body transformation?
Clean eating. I swear by it. Once I started putting clean foods into my body, I lost weight, my muscles popped, and I felt better than ever. It's funny how much diet can impact our bodies and our health. It's nature's medicine and proper diet.
18.   Favorite music/bands?
I love a little bit of everything. Top played on my iPod would be: Taylor Swift, Tegan and Sara, blessthefall (my boyfriend's band), The Summer Set, Brand New, Rihanna, City and Colour, Band of Horses. It's a big range, but it's fun and always keeps my ears guessing.
19.   Are you a student? If you have graduated, what did you major in? Are you glad you did or wish you had studied anything else?  What is the “dream job/s?”
I actually just graduated yesterday (May 8th) with my Master's in Early Childhood Education. I studied English for my undergrad. I'm happy with my choices! 
20.   What does a typical day look like for you? Weekends?
Typical day is waking up at 6 AM, working out, going to work, coming home, writing my ebook and making headbands, spending time with my boyfriend and our dogs. Weekends are the same without the work part. Friday night is usually date night. 
21.   Favorite movies/tv shows?
Favorite movies: Fight Club, The Town, Anchorman, Clueless. I love dark movies, but I also love comedy. I'm probably leaving out a bunch. As for TV, I love anything on HGTV and The Food Network.
22.   Favorite alcoholic beverage?
Skinny margarita!
23.   Biggest weakness/challenge?
My biggest challenge are my legs. They've always been a trouble area for me, and they're the hardest for me to workout. I just lack motivation when it comes to toning them up. They have leaned out a lot, though, which I'm proud of. It was a mixture of running and squats that worked for me! 
24.   Favorite quote?
"I am in competition with no one. I run my own race. I have no desire to play the game of being better than anyone, in any way, shape, or form. I just aim to improve, to be better than I was before. That's me and I'm free."
25.   What are you most proud of?
The person I am. Everything in my life has taught me to become who I am today, and I couldn't be more proud of who that person is. It took heartbreak, failure, unhealthiness, broken friendships to get here, and I don't regret one thing. Sometimes you just have to change. It's scary, but it's necessary.

26.   Future aspirations?
A successful career. By successful, I mean being proud of what I do and making a difference in other's lives. Salary isn't important to me. Affecting others in a positive way is what is important to me.
28.   What are your top tips and tricks for anyone who wants to lose weight, get into shape, and maintain a healthy lifestyle? Did you have any “Ah ha” moments where the light switch went on and you noticed a drastic change because of something you learned along the way or something someone taught you?
Like I said, clean eating is what I swear by. It isn't a quick fix or a diet, it's a lifestyle. That's the trick, and it really isn't even a trick. Haha.
29.   Favorite vacation spots?
I've been all over the world. I'm truly blessed. I think my favorite place is Italy. The buildings, the language, the people, the food. It's all so beautiful. 
30.   If you could live anywhere?
I would live exactly where I am. I've lived in Arizona my whole life. It's what I know and it's what I love. I've built a life here. I've created a home here. I do love to travel, and plan to do so a lot in the future, but this will always be my home.
31.   Do you prefer to work out in the morning, afternoon, or evening? 
I prefer early morning workouts. It wakes me up for the day and puts me in a great mood. It also leaves less excuses for why you can't do it later in the day. 

32.   What do you do if you are lacking energy/motivation and still need to get a workout in?
I just put my workout clothes and running shoes on, and get out the door. The more I think about it, the more excuses I will come up with. I push myself to do it, especially when I know I will be proud afterwards.
33.   Guilty pleasure?
Pizza and Mexican food. I love them both so much. Rather than deprive myself of them, I am come up with healthy alternatives so I can get my fix. 
34.   What does a perfect day look like to you?
A workout, cooking in the kitchen, reading, and snuggling on the couch with my boyfriend and our dogs. It's the little things that count.
35.   Something you want the readers to know about you?
I am just a girl with big dreams. I aim to inspire and impact others in a positive way. Life is such a beautiful thing, and it would be a shame to waste
 36.   Favorite animal? Pets?
My favorite animal is a giraffe. I also love bunnies. I have two dogs. A jack russell named Charlie, and a corgi named Nugget. They are the cutest pair.

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