Tone It Up!

tone it up motivation


In an effort to make some more white space in my life, I’ve decided to get back on the fitness train. Sometime last fall, I started putting work before taking care of myself, and I’ve been on a slow downward spiral ever since.

I had been in a routine of working out 3-5 times per week for at least two years up until that point, but it’s not like I quit exercising cold turkey. My 5 times a week slid to 3, then to 1 on a good week. This wasn’t solely due to work, but also because I was juggling a decent amount of stress in my personal life thanks to a drawn-out legal issue with our apartment situation. (That’s a story for another day!)

Eventually, I decided to put my ClassPass membership on hold because I wasn’t utilizing it, then ultimately cancelled when they jacked up their prices. Ever since I quit ClassPass in April I’ve been basically not working out at all, and it’s had a huge effect on pretty much every aspect of my life. I haven’t been sleeping as well and I’ve been more stressed and anxious. I’ve felt icky and bloated and depressed and in a brain fog. I went back to eating foods that made me feel bad. I was getting no “release” for the stress and energy I had pent up in my body and I finally got to a breaking point. I’d gained back about 10 lbs from my original weight loss of about 40 from my heaviest weight, and I was feeling scared that I would just continue backsliding until I felt absolutely miserable.

I knew I had to make a change — I had to find something that worked for me and my crazy schedule, something that would fit between all the other things I was juggling. 

I’d been following Karena + Katrina from Tone It Up for at least a year and I was always intrigued by their program. I’d done a workout here or there from their YouTube channel and was always SUPER sore the day after, so I knew it was legit. So when a friend of mine confessed she’d signed up for their program and was loving it, I thought now was a great time to give it a try. I signed up last week and started Monday’s Bikini Series program.


Body goals, amiright?

They’ve got a comprehensive meal plan and workout schedule that is sure to totally kick my ass over the next eight weeks, but I’m up for the challenge. The weekly meal plans are helpful guides, but I don’t plan to follow them too rigorously. There are lots of interesting recipes that I hope to try out along the way, and the Nutrition Plan has also made me realize the importance of eating smaller meals more frequently throughout my day to boost metabolism. I’d really gotten into the habit of only eating breakfast and dinner and I’ve seen the effect it’s had on my belly…

I’ve never been great about doing at-home workouts or DVDs, but Tone It Up is a community as well as a fitness program. I’ve since joined a TIU Facebook group for members in NYC and created a TIU specific Instagram account to share my daily check-ins. I’m hoping that accountability, measurement, and consistency will not only help my progress, but also keep me on track.

The community aspect really drew me in, and I love checking out other TIU-ers on Instagram by following the many hashtags used by the ladies who are taking part in the program. It’s inspiring to see the progress that other gals have made, and also helps to keep me from beating myself if I have an “off day” or if I’m feeling down for not eating as lean / clean / green as I should. I’m thinking it’s going to be a great tool for keeping myself motivated and accountable along the way.

For me, consistency really is key, because I’m looking for more than just a slimmer waistline. At the end of the day, sure — I want to look good in a bathing suit, but my motivation for taking on this challenge is much bigger than that. I’ve come to realize that working out isn’t just about looking good / losing weight, it’s a mental thing, too. I need this release to clear my mind, help me sleep better, and reduce my stress levels. If I get my tush back in shape in the process that’s a happy byproduct in my opinion.

I’m excited to see how this goes! If you want to follow along with my daily checkins and other TIU inspiration you can follow me @TIUJessNYC. Get ready to see lots of unflattering, sweaty selfies and pictures of my food! 😉 I’ll be sure to check in here after the eight weeks is over to share my progress… that’s motivation enough to stick with it!!

Making room for white space.

new york city

So. It’s been a HOT MINUTE since I’ve posted on this blog. I had such great intentions before I moved to NYC of documenting this crazy stage in our lives… but as you can imagine, life happened. New York moves fast, and time has truly flown by. I can’t believe we’ve lived here over 3 years already… it seriously blows my mind.

I’ve been thinking quite a bit about this space and how I wish I was taking more advantage of it. My life consists of so much more than weddings these days, and while I still absolutely love what I do at The Budget Savvy Bride, I can’t help but feel the need to explore other avenues as a creative outlet. I always intended this blog to be a space to share the other stuff I’m doing, learning and discovering, but it fell to the wayside as I focused more and more on work. I’m finally getting to a point where I am feeling so overworked and overcommitted in my professional life, that I’ve come to the decision that I have to give myself some mandatory white space in order to get some of my sanity back.

I recently read this article on HuffPost about how Lin-Manuel Miranda got the idea for Hamilton while on a vacation. He says that taking some time off from working tirelessly on his previous project gave him the mental clarity to be creative and discover something new.

“The moment my brain got a moment’s rest, ‘Hamilton’ walked into it.”


If I’m being honest, I don’t really remember the last time I gave my brain a rest. The last actual vacation I took was over 2 years ago. I’ve been spreading myself thin among several different projects, and it’s taking a toll on my creative process. I don’t have the time to “play” anymore, and it’s having an effect on my work. I need some more white space in my life to keep my head clear, to allow myself to be more creative, and give myself the time to explore new things. I feel like simplifying will help me in so many aspects of my life.


When I’m not actively working on paid projects, I’m busy devouring the latest articles on SEO and online marketing, or listening to podcasts about passive income, or reading self-help and motivational books. I’m on this constant mission to learn ALL THE THINGS and continually striving to improve myself all the time. I feel like I always have to be up-to-date on the newest things coming down the pipeline for the sake of my business and my future in this unknown landscape of being a fulltime online business owner.

I’ve been on this solopreneur hustle / hamster wheel for the last 3 years, and it’s been pretty exhausting. Don’t get me wrong — it’s also been absolutely amazing in many ways, and I wouldn’t trade it for the world. Unfortunately, it’s only sustainable for so long, and I’ve definitely been struggling with a bit of burnout as of late. I’d love to give myself some more free time, more room to be creative, and to create for the sake of creating. That means saying no to things, and saying no to certain things is really hard, especially when there are other people depending on you. I’m going to have to make some tough decisions in the coming weeks about what I’m willing to say no to so I can say yes to things that are better for me.

That’s what I want this space to be for me, a place where I can come to take advantage of my white space. I’d like to start writing more frequently here, but without any sort of compulsory deadlines or pressure. I just want this to be a place where I can share the good, the bad, and the ugly when necessary, but also the things that I’m loving, hating or obsessing over. My personal space. I’ve felt like I’ve been missing that aspect of blogging so much since I made the switch from personal blogging to operating as a resource and a business. I miss getting all my thoughts and feelings out on paper (or on screen). I’d always been a journaler and I miss the self-reflection and lessons it used to teach me. So I’m going to attempt to revive this space, without deadlines or agenda.

And if no one reads this? All the better. Having an audience is what tends to build the pressure, and I’ve got enough of that in my life as of late. That said, if you do happen to read my ramblings here, I’d love it if you’d leave me a little note saying so. Surely I can’t be the only one dealing with these feelings of being overworked, spread thin, and completely scatterbrained, right?

I promise, my posts won’t regularly be this emo. 😉 Now, I’m off to research vacations for the hubs and I to take this fall…

LOVE: Alex and Ani Stackable Bangles

I’ve recently learned about Alex and Ani stackable bangles and just as soon as I learned about them, I became OBSESSED. These stackable bracelets allow you to create a custom arm stack that expresses your unique personality and tells your personal story. I made my dream Alex and Ani arm stack wish list below… gonna start asking for them for birthdays and Christmas gifts. Hint, hint to anyone who’s listening…


Click here to view their entire bangle collection and find your faves!

What bangles would you put in your stack?

Follow on Bloglovin

**Follow my blog with Bloglovin**

Little glimpses from around our apartment

Well, it feels like we’re finally starting to get settled in our place after what seems like forever, so I thought I’d share some quick pics here…

our bedroom target threshold cabinet ikea sofa bed ikea hemnes entertainment center pub dining table my home officeOur apartment is still a work in progress but here are a few photos from around our little place 🙂 I love nesting! We’ve managed to fit quite a lot of stuff into our 650 square feet!! Probably more than we should. I’m still working on purging unnecessary items but for now I’m really loving what we’ve got going! A mixture of old and new and lots of budget savvy finds!


One Year in New York

rachel berry new york city quote


It just hit me that we’ve been in NY for an entire year. What a difference a year can make!

Even though this winter has been and will continue to be BRUTAL… I’m so thankful to live here and have this experience. It’s been a wild one but I wouldn’t trade it for anything!!

Thought this quote from my favorite Rachel Berry was appropriate for my feelings about this magical city…

“Being in New York is like falling in love over and over again, every minute.”

– Rachel Berry, Glee

Can’t wait to see what else this city has in store for us!!