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Changed by CHAARG: Courage is Choosing Happiness, Merve Addemir

I have always been the person to have a smile on my face + ask the people around me how their day is. I can confidently say I’m known for my positivity + happiness. People forget that that does not mean I haven’t had challenges of my own. My life isn’t all yellow + ukuleles.

In the fall of 2018, I summoned up the courage to speak for a court case I feel very strongly about. This court case was centered around an unfortunate experience I had with sexual assault when I was eleven years old. Terrified with the thought of coming forward, I decided I had been affected enough. The truth needed to come out, + I would be the one to expose it after eight years. My unfortunate case led me to become very self aware of my weight as young age. Calorie counting seemed like my never ending game + burning calories where little victories. I lost a lot of muscle + was miserable as school got harder + my brain//body no longer worked together, but against each other.

I thought that by speaking up for this case I was being brave + therefore, I had done my part.  I thought a huge burden would be lifted from my shoulders + I would be proud of who I am and the people I was speaking up for. Instead, I felt as though I had become weak + powerless, as though I was failing everything. Staying kind + supportive to those around me, I didn’t want others to recognize my struggles. I was always there to tell those around me to smile + that things will carry on. But to me, my life felt stunted. All the courage I had in me felt swept away.

In the first week of my spring semester, I had two friends pass away, + having never dealt with loss close to me, I didn’t know what to do. I didn’t want to leave my room, + I didn’t want to go to classes anymore. Class was too difficult, it felt like I couldn’t do it. Eating became especially more difficult because I would simply forget. Things felt overwhelming, how was I supposed to do all of this and stay positive? However, I thought to myself, there are many people before you that have done the same things as you, why are you any different than them?

At that moment I realized that if I wanted to have happiness in me + not just give it to the people around me, I had to choose happiness for myself. I had to have the courage to actively do something to make things better. I had to choose happiness.

I decided to join my university’s CHAARG chapter, to actively work on making a change. This may sound silly, but I never had thought about how fitness + wellness go together. CHAARG really spoke to me about strength and empowerment. At first, CHAARG was a tool to keep me on schedule/a routine. Feeling weak + physically being at such a weak point, CHAARG also helped me engage in more strength exercises than weight loss exercises. I have had plenty of ups + downs in the gym, but I decided, I will face these challenges in the acknowledgment that it is for my happiness + strongest self. The weakness I had once felt was now strength that radiated into my everyday self.

I began meal prepping dinners so that I had something to look forward to when I went home at the end of the day. I could base the meals around things I wanted to eat + I could cook for my roommates + encourage myself to eat with them. I felt like I was giving my body the things it needed to be the best self it could be.

The strength I felt growing in my muscles began to radiate through me. My happiness could not only be seen from across a room, but it can be felt from across a room as well, + that is what I am most proud of. I had grown into the strong girl I wanted to be. The strong girl people saw me as. The amazing CHAARG community that has constantly encouraged + supported me has helped me develop a habit of walking with my head held high + my shoulders back, always a smile on my face. Happy to be happy.

You deserve happiness within you as much as the people you give it to around you. Courage means you look at something + decide, things will get better — because I will make it so. You have every strength within you to be happy, so have the courage to be happy for you.

— Merve Addemir, @merve_inchaarg

Spice Up Your Running Routine With These New Challenges

Have you ever wanted to become a runner + actually enjoy it? One of the biggest problems we see girls face when it comes to running is the lack of knowledge with different running routines. Without knowing about different types of running routines, “just going for a run” can quickly become boring + make our workouts feel stagnant ++ unenjoyable.

Trying out new types of workouts [running routines, in this case] is something that is always motivating for me. It’s exciting + fresh ++ keeps my body waiting for what’s next. As I’ve always been in either track or cross country my entire childhood, I sometimes get sick of “just going for a run,” so I am constantly trying to mix things up.

Below are a few different running variations to help spice up any boring running routine!

Mileage + Hill // Sprint Challenge

As one of the more basic running routines, this routine entails choosing a mileage amount to run for + after the run ++ sprinting up a hill for double the amount of miles ran. It’s best to find a hill that is somewhat challenging in steepness or length in order to push ourselves after that run + explode with all the energy we have left. The run before can be anything we’d like it to be. Mainly when I do this workout, the hills I run up afterward are always by trails, so I always do a trail run before, but it can be anything. For example, if we did a 3 mile run, then we would have to sprint up a hill 6 times.

It is the goal to sprint up the hill after the run, but if a fast jog or running speed is preferred or our ability level, then it’s still a good workout! If we don’t have access to a hill, doing straight sprints is also an option. Just find a good distance [around 100-200 meters // ¼ to ½ a track’s length] to sprint + do however many reps that equals double the running mileage.

Tempo // Fartlek // Interval Runs

Tempo, Fartlek, and Interval running routines are all quite similar to explain. The main premise is that these runs contain different running speeds throughout them. There is a blend between walking, jogging, running, + sprinting. Of course, based on personal running abilities + goals, these types of runs can be easily modified to any type of running goals ++ skill sets.

As these types of runs can be modified in any way, they are easy to make up our own or find different ones online to try out. Some have intervals that change every 30 seconds, every minute, every 5//10//15 minutes, every mile. It all depends on the goal + the overall distance.

When I was in cross country, we did these types of runs frequently. One variation we did often consisted of the first half mile being ran at a warm-up jog pace, the next mile would be around our own personal race pace, the second mile would be a comfort running pace, third mile race pace again, + so on until we completed our distance ++ ending on the last half mile being a cool down, jog-like pace again.

Out + Back Run

Now, there are plenty of runners out there that enjoy running based off overall time rather than mileage. This routine would be a perfect challenge! For this routine, running on a treadmill wouldn’t be ideal as it would be necessary to look at the mileage to gauge part of the run. So I recommend finding a trail or neighborhood route to complete these types of runs.

For an Out + Back Run, the name is quite self-explanatory. We simply run out down our set path for a specific amount of time + then run back in a shorter amount of time. So the challenge comes in by how much we decrease the amount of time we need to run back by. It can be any variation we want: 20 minutes out + 18 minutes back, 30 minutes out + 15 minutes back.

The main challenge is being able to run whatever distance covered in the first amount of time in the shorter amount of time on the way back!

Music Queue Challenge

Lately, this running routine has been my personal favorite. These runs have no expectations on distance or time ran. It simply is running based off our music queues. All we have to do is fill our music queue with whatever songs we’re in the mood for that day, that push us when we run, have beats that are similar to our own running rhythms, etc. Then we run until our queue runs out of songs!

It’s important to remember a few things though! Remember that the challenge is to run until the queue runs out, so don’t make it incredibly short or incredibly long [unless that’s the workout intended]. Also, a few pointers on music selection based on personal experience. Avoid adding slow songs as that unconsciously slows down our running pace + try to add songs that either fit our running speed closely or that are even a little faster.

Personally, I enjoy trying to focus on running to a beat, especially if it matches my pace or pushes me to run faster. This running routine is my favorite because it’s a nice break from worrying about going a certain distance or running for a specific time. Plus, we pick the music so there’s no worries about having to constantly change the songs. It makes running more enjoyable + by focusing more on the songs it allows us to forget about the pain that sometimes comes with cardio ++ time seems to fly. Before we know it, we’ve run 4+ miles ++ still feel fantastic!

If You’re Looking For a Sign to Start a Gratitude Journal, This is it

Gratitude journaling is the perfect fit for any CHAARG girl! We all have experience being overwhelmed + stressed by life where all the negativity prevents us from fully appreciating every day ++ finding the positivity in every moment. Simply put: a gratitude journal allows us to write down what we’re thankful for.

I have been writing in gratitude journals for the past four years + it has become my favorite type of journaling that I recommend to anyone I know to try out! Personally, I design my journals in a format that matches my preference, so I write in it every day before I go to bed + keep a number list basically. Each day I write the date + underline it, then start with whatever number I’m on next, + answer the simple but important question: What am I thankful for today? Every entry starts the same + I’ve created a fill-in-the-blank type format.

For example, under the date I would start “1. Thankful for…” while filling in whatever I was grateful for, happy about, moved by, etc that day + being as detailed or simple as I feel for that entry. But I never start the number list over — each day continues with whatever the next number is from the day before. It’s a cool way to track my progress + adds to the flow of the journal.

Over time my gratitude journal has become something I’m proud incredibly proud of. Since I’ve stuck with it for so long, it’s empowering + motivating to look back through the 5730+ entries of what I’ve been thankful for through the past four years. It has become a part of my daily routine + helps me end every day on a high note.

Gratitude journaling is a completely unique experience for each of us + if you or a friend or family member hasn’t tried it yet, please try it out ++ make it your own! This type of journaling has been extremely beneficial to my mental health, overall optimism + thinking more positively.

REASONS TO START A GRATITUDE JOURNAL


1] Easy + Low-Maintenance

This type of journaling is only as challenging + demanding as we make it. We could write in it 5 to 10 minutes a day in a diary-like format. We could make a simple list each day of what we were grateful for that day. We could mix it up every time. It doesn’t even have to be a daily journal — it can be weekly or monthly too! Whatever fits our lifestyles will work for this journal. There are no set expectations or limits for a gratitude journal!

2] Personalize It

Similar to the reason above, everyone has a unique gratitude journal because the contents + layout are all designed by personal preference. Some people thrive off thoroughly writing things out while others can maintain a journal better when it’s in a shorter [+ less demanding] format like listing. There’s no specific type of journal for this either; It could be a lined notebook, blank drawing journals, loose-leaf paper, hardback journals, or even a guided journal… whatever speaks to us can be used!

3] A Need For New Perspective

If we are finding ourselves in a rough patch, frequently stressed out or overwhelmed, starting a gratitude journal is a healthy outlet that can help us find the positivity + good energy in our lives again. This type of journaling helps us focus on everything that makes us grateful during the day + can reduce the overwhelming stress ++ negativity we tend to give too much focus on the rest of the day. With time, our perspective on life begins to become more appreciative + positive as we begin to approach everything in a headspace of “What am I thankful for today?”

One aspect of this that has been most influential to my journaling experience is having the numbers for each entry because on days where I’m struggling I can look back [or just look at the number itself] + find comfort that there is so much good in my life that I have experienced ++ that is still in my life.

TAKEAWAYS FROM GRATITUDE JOURNALING


1] Appreciation for the Small Things 

By journaling about what makes us feel grateful every day, week, + month we slowly begin to appreciate the little things in our lives that were easily disregarded before. It could be really hot one day + we realize how thankful we are to have air conditioning. We recognize the impact of small acts of kindness others have on us + we can notice what becomes important in our lives as well as what we can start to focus our energy on.

2] Recognize Happiness

During moments in our lives where we are completely consumed in work, school, stress, drama, depression, anxiety, or whatever difficulties we may be facing, we will always be able to come back to this journal + spend time trying to find the good in every day. It acts as a constant little beacon of light during the dark times where we feel there may not be any good left.

After awhile of keeping a gratitude journal, it becomes apparent what is important to us based off what we incessantly find ourselves writing down or similarities in entries. There is something or someone every day that makes us smile, laugh, forget the negativity that clouds our minds. It’s important for us to be reminded of those rays of sunshine on days where we think we might not be grateful for anything.

3] Opportunities for Self-Reflection

With any kind of journaling, self-reflection is a given. But through keeping a gratitude journal, I personally have seen the most growth in myself + change in my worldview than from any other type of journal I have kept. It’s fun to compare specific days over the years, especially birthdays or annual events + seeing how those days are remembered, what little things were appreciated that day ++ what the differences were. Gratitude journaling is also a great indicator if we notice we need more self-care + can be helpful to evaluate our mental health.

4] End Up With a Journal Full of Memories

Aside from gaining a more optimistic outlook on life, my favorite aspect of keeping a gratitude journal has to be how it becomes filled with all the good memories [big + small]. I can flip to any day + find hidden treasures of small moments I may have forgotten but made my day back then. It’s an interesting experience as this journal enables me to look back on every day + multitudes of memories from the past four years of my life.

Do you have a way to remind yourself what your grateful for? Let us know in the comment section below!

4 Dorm-Friendly Breakfast Recipes for a CHAARG Girl on the Go

Most people can agree that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but studies show that only 44% of Americans actually take time to eat it every morning. Developing the habit of skipping breakfast has been linked to a higher risk of heart disease + Type 2 Diabetes, as well as hindering workout performance.

We all know that breakfast is important, but for college students, it can seem like an impossible feat on most days. Many people on the go turn to easy solutions like granola bars or a quick bowl of cereal, but these are often packed with unnecessary sugar + sodium, causing you to crash later in the day. Getting in a good, healthy breakfast each morning may sound difficult to accomplish, but it can be really easy + so worth it!

QUICK TIPS

1] Wake up earlier — set your alarm 10-15 minutes earlier than you normally would so that you have more time to prepare + eat a healthy breakfast. Just don’t hit snooze! Check out more of our morning routine tips here!

2] Prep the night before — If you don’t think you’ll have enough time to make a nice, healthy breakfast in the morning, prepare as much as you can the night before, or try something that requires little to no prep in the morning [like the overnight oats recipe below]!

3] Stay hydrated — Start drinking water as soon as you wake up to rehydrate your body after sleep. You may not feel thirsty, but you just went about 8 hours with no water, so it is important to catch up! This may also aid in digestion + help your appetite in the morning. Learn more about the importance of hydration here!

4] Eat something yummy that you can look forward to — You’ll be less likely to skip out on breakfast if you’re excited to eat it! Treat yourself to something healthy that you know you’ll love + your body will thank you.

RECIPES — dorm friendly + perfect to take on the go!

Each recipe calls for “fruit of choice” which can be any fruit, but we love using berries + bananas!

1] Yogurt Parfait — this classic takes about 5 minutes to make + is so yummy ++ filling!

Ingredients:
— ½ cup Yogurt of choice
— ¼ cup Granola
— 2 tbsp Chia Seeds
— Fruit of choice

Directions:
1] Spoon about ½ cup of your yogurt into a bowl
2] Add chia seeds + mix
3] Fold in granola [add more if you want — up to you!] 4] Top with fruit of choice
5] Enjoy!

2] Overnight Oats — make this in a mason jar to take on the go!

Ingredients:
— ¼ cup Rolled Oats
— ¼ cup Milk of choice
— 2 tbsp Yogurt of choice
— Fruit of choice
— Honey [optional] — Chia seeds [optional]

Directions:
1] Add oats, milk, + yogurt to your container + mix until there are no lumps.
2] Add chia seeds + honey if desired + mix until combined.
3] Cover + place in the fridge for at least 2 hours or overnight.
4] Take out of the fridge, add fruit of choice, + enjoy!

3] Breakfast Quinoa — this warm breakfast dish is perfect for chilly fall mornings!

Ingredients:
— ½ cup Quinoa, rinsed
— 1 cup Water
— Cinnamon
— Honey
— Fruit of choice
— Yogurt of choice [optional]

Directions:
1] Add quinoa + water into a microwave safe bowl. Cover + microwave for 5 minutes. Remove, stir, + microwave for an additional 5 minutes. Let rest, covered, for about 10 minutes.
2] Add in cinnamon + honey to taste, then top with yogurt + fruit of choice.
3] Enjoy!

Want more yummy breakfast recipes? Check out the CHAARG Blog Breakfast Archives.

Julia Shaughnessy: Eternally Grateful

While many girls join CHAARG for similar reason [find the fun in fitness, learn a workout routine, develop healthier habits, + become a part of a community], their journey stories are all unique + empowering.

This Q + A post features Julia’s #ChangedByCHAARG story + more about her journey!

Meet Julia, @jshaun_inchaarg

University:

University of Massachusetts Amherst — join #UMASSCHAARG here!

Major:

Neuroscience major [career wise, I am a hopeful future physician assistant, but currently I am a certified nursing assistant!]

One Word To Describe You:

Inquisitive

Reason You Joined CHAARG:

To bring an inclusive, encouraging, life changing community to my campus! [+ because I feel my best when I fuel my body well + keep my body moving]

Favorite CHAARG Memory:

CHAARG CLC Retreat in Chicago last April — it was the first time I got to hang out with CHAARG girls from other universities in person + it was my first time in Chicago! I got to try Solidcore, Barry’s Bootcamp, go bowling [which was so fun], hang out at CHAARG HQ + I made so many friends that I love working with + getting to see during CLC Group Chats every month : )

#inCHAARG Instagram Crush:

@healthyhappyhannah

Philosophy On Wellness:

The wellness of your brain needs to be a priority so that the wellness of your body can follow.

Favorite Self-Care Practice:

Getting crafty — I love painting, doodling + adult coloring books : ) Taking that time to do something I enjoy that I don’t get to do very often makes me feel really in-tune with myself.

2019 Intention:

To try my best + give myself grace when things don’t go the way I wanted them to

Ideal Morning Routine:

Getting in an early outdoor run, taking a hot shower, + making a big smoothie bowl

[or a veggie omelet]

for breakfast! Those things might be basic, but taking the time to get my body moving, feeling fresh + clean ++ actually taking the time to make breakfast [which my college self needs to improve] make a huge difference.

Book Every CHAARG Girl Should Read:

You Are A Badass: How To Stop Doubting Your Greatness And Start Living an Awesome Life.

Greatest Lesson On College:

The only thing you can change about your past is how you feel about it.  Whether a past action becomes a regret or a lesson is totally up to you.

Advice To Your Freshman Self:

Don’t shy away from going out of your comfort zone! Seriously, do all of the things that are going to make you happy + make that scary transition to college less lonely.

Being #inCHAARG To Me Means:

Identifying what makes me feel my happiest + healthiest self ++ striving to implement these into my every day! [+ surrounding myself with those who will help me get there + cheer me on every step of the way]

How have you been Changed By CHAARG?

My CHAARG journey has *truly* sculpted my college experience + the person that I am today + aspire to be.

I had a pretty awful + extremely lonely freshman year, + the UMass Rec Center was my happy place where I was surrounded by people who shared the same drive for fitness + wellness [but I couldn’t consider them my friends when we didn’t even know each other!]

Founding CHAARG at the University of Massachusetts gave me a purpose- one that I needed desperately. The best part is that it was a purpose that allowed me to be  a passionate individual + spread nothing but positivity in my campus community.

I have learned more than I ever imagined I would from being involved in CHAARG. I have learned about health, fitness, wellness, myself, my leadership style [+where I can improve my leadership skills + the resources to do so], my “love language”, + the “love languages” of those around me. It has fine-tuned my skills in working with a team, + has allowed me to practice communication with peers + professionals. It has challenged me, but has left me stronger + with far more perseverance + preparation for the future.

Most importantly, it created a *real* community that fills me with more pride than anything else. CHAARG has not only turned my college experience around, but has encouraged hundreds at my university to try new things, learn about wellness, + make supportive friendships that are there to make you smile regardless of the hurdles that college + life throw your way. + that’s when I remember that I have made friends in New York + California + Wisconsin +Chicago + Pennsylvania who all feel the way that I do. I feel best when I sweat, when I smile, + when I succeed. Being a part of CHAARG + being a leader of this movement has been the best decision I could have ever made to be my happiest + healthiest + to help others do same. All because of those 6 letters + one bolt, I have undeniably been changed by CHAARG for the better.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0c0tEDPKcIk&feature=youtu.be

Learn more about your CHAARG Chapter here + grab your membership here! <3

9 Empowering Quotes from famous virgos

Fall is not only the season that falls in September, but it is Virgo season as well! Fun fact: Virgo season begins on August 23 + ends on September 22. Whether you relate to your sign or not, Virgos are characterized as hardworking + perfectionists. Likewise, here are some inspirational quotes from famous women who have dedicated their hard work to get to where they are today.

Want a little more inspo? Check out more quotes here! We hope that these 9 quotes have shed some light, positivity, + inspiration as you conquer these next 9 months back in school!

Pumpkin Pie Power Smoothie

Pumpkin season should be all year round… anyone else in favor?! If you love pumpkin as much as we do, this smoothie should be a staple! You can get creative with the toppings — maybe even top with one of these Pumpkin Spice Oatmeal Cookies? ; )

Ingredients

— 1/2 cup Pumpkin Purée
— 1 Banana
— 1/2 cup Old Fashioned Oats
— 1 tbsp Almond Butter
— 1 cup Almond Milk
— 1 scoop Chocolate//Vanilla Protein Powder
— 1/2 tsp Cinnamon
— 1/4 tsp Nutmeg
— Top with alllll the things [we used pecans, apple slices, pumpkin pie spice, + chia seeds]

Directions

1] Add all ingredients [besides the toppings] in a blender
2] Blend until smooth
3] Add toppings or take on the go!

Leadership Retreat 2019 Recap

This June, we held our fourth annual CHAARG Leadership Retreat! It was our first *urban retreat* held in Chicago + it was so incredible to host this event right at home! The attendees even had the chance to see CHAARG HQ <3. This retreat is is put on exclusively for the leaders of CHAARG + is filled with empowering workshops, opportunities to network with other leaders, + get introduced to health + wellness brands that we love!

Women from across the country came together to connect, collaborate, + of course, sweat [shoutout to The Barre Code + Yoga 2.0] for the weekend. Overall, we had 72 representatives from our 69 CHAARG Chapters attend + the weekend was led by our team of 10 Chapter Leadership Consultants + 4 Regional Chapter Leads.

Our Retreat Mission:

1] Inspiration. We want everyone who attends our Leadership Retreat to leave with more inspiration than they came with — feeling motivated + inspired by the CHAARG mission of empowering every woman to live her happiest + healthiest life.

2] Connections. One of our biggest goals of this weekend is for women to not only network with one another, but also form lifelong connections. 

3] Learn! Of course, this is a “Leadership Retreat” + we wanted to help everyone who attended learn new skills that they can take back to their universities for the upcoming year. Women’s empowerment is so important to us + we are so grateful to be working alongside the next generation of women leaders!

A few highlights:

1] It wouldn’t be a CHAARG event without a little bit of sweat! We had so much fun during our *Sweat Crawl* in downtown Chicago at Yoga 2.0 + The Barre Code. Shoutout to Victoria Sport for these tanks!

2] #CHAARGEATS… we fueled our weekend with the most delicious meals + treats from Dos Toros, Beatrix, Pret a Manger, Sweetgreen, + Kodiak Cakes!

3] What’s your word? We asked our leaders to select a word that best describes what type of leader they want to be. This activity turned into an indescribable, vulnerable, + beautiful sharing experience.

Thank you to our retreat sponsors!

We absolutely loved fueling our weekend with these brands!

Manitoba Harvest | Tonic CBD | Rosebud CBD | Simple Mills | Aura Cacia | Unico Protein | Kodiak Cakes | Mother Dirt

Watch the retreat recap!

Thank you to our team, sponsors, + leaders for an incredible weekend! 

Growing, Growing, Growing… Part 2 Of My 28th Year Reflections

Last week, I shared part one of “28 Ways I’ve Grown In My 28 Year.” Continuing on…

#15] Started seeing a new spiritual director, Al — I loved Bridget [her son is the clairvoyant who does virtual readings + is incredible… email me if you want his contact info!], but she’s an hour away + Al’s been my teacher before + I can see him in Chicago. I’ve been loving working with him so far — he taught me this journaling practice that I’ve been using every day for over two months.

#16] Took a food sensitivity test — Learned about the MRT test from Jenny on the podcast [epsiode #80] + it was fascinating! I was shocked that I had no “highly reactive foods” — however, a lot of the foods I ate constantly [coffee, raspberries, lemon, cinnamon, OATS, quinoa] I’m moderately reactive to. RIP. I’m going to try to do my best to eliminate all of my moderately reactive foods, + slowly introduce them to see how much body responds. Stay tuned!

#17] Finally got into foam rolling — This is still a work in progress, BUT I’m counting it as growth! I did a little experiment with myself of foam rolling for 20 minutes for 20 days… + I only missed a handful of days ; ). I am committed to prioritizing recovery!

#18] Moved… again! This time, with a little bit of an upgrade — I can walk to work, AND the apartment has a garbage disposal! #TheLittleThings

#19] The pain in my back shoulder is almost totally gone — This is absolutely crazy to me. I share more about my shoulder on the podcast [episode #61]… while I’ve certainly worked on it physically through chiropractics, massage + foam rolling, I truly believe that it was moreso an energetic shift. The body/spirit connection fascinates me… if you’re into it too, you’d love Anatomy Of The Spirit.

#20] Went to my first expo representing CHAARG — Okay, this was so much fun + I really felt in my element at the expo [event though I was totally wiped after]. I went to Expo West with SJ + Outdoor Retailer solo. The intention was to discover + chat with brands who might be a good fit for collaborating with CHAARG. I can’t wait for more opportunities like this!

#21] Used the finance app, Mint — I used Mint for a few months + loved it. Not gonna lie though, I became a little too anal on hitting my budgets [you can ask Isaac about that…], that I had to stop for a few months + intuitively budget [which worked]. Finance gurus, please share with me your favorite app for budgeting!

#22] Survived my closet experiment — Will do a blog post on this, but oh my gosh, I loved this experiment. Long story short: I had to wear everything in my closet before repeating anything. As a byproduct, I donated quite a few clothes. Stay tuned for more!

#23] Saw a Chinese Medicine Doctor — For those of you in Chicago, her name is Giselle + she’s amazing. She’s helped me with the tension in my jaw, + currently working on getting my iron up! Also, she was on the podcast [episode #75]. She inspired me to start reading Between Heaven + Earth: A Guide To Chinese Medicine.

#24] Connected with my family in a deeper way — I’ve always been close to my family, but after our trip to Greece this summer, something shifted. I think part of it has to do with the fact that all my siblings are now “adults” [my youngest sister is 10 years younger than me… 18!]. I’m so grateful for all my siblings + parents, love them so much! We also do Bible Study together, which is the cutest thing ever, I know : ).

#25] Had my first successful “workaway” — As you know, I love traveling. I’m super intrigued with the idea of “workaways,” aka working in a different city for an extended time, be it 5 days or 3 months. I’m lucky that our coworking space, Industrious, has tons of locations in the USA. Isaac + I did a trip to Denver + Boulder [both cities had an Industrious office!] for 10 days in October + it felt very aligned. We spent time in the office, + our nights exploring. I would love to take more workaways + experience different parts of the country [+ world!].

#26] My attitude towards my body + working out has changed — This one is hard to articulate, but I’m a lot gentler with my body + it feels really freaking good. This deserves a longer post… stay tuned!

#27] Became obsessed with creating “city guides” — Read on:

#28] Let go of a ton of ish — The life-changing magic of tidying up lives on! It’s never over! I’m really into not buying things, + instead seeing how much I can give away… not joking. I have little experiments with myself — “I need to get rid of 20 items in 1 hour!” + I make it happen… even if “one” item is a piece of paper… it counts! I still have a long way to go before I’m a minimalist + can proudly say: everything in my home is used + beautiful, BUT I’m on the path.

ALRIGHT! There you have it!

Want to give me a birthday present? Leave a review on iTunes for The CHAARG Podcast… it would mean so, so much!

Rooting for you always,

Christina Bordenet: I Joined CHAARG + It’s Been All Uphill From There

While many girls join CHAARG for similar reason [find the fun in fitness, learn a workout routine, develop healthier habits, + become a part of a community], their journey stories are all unique + empowering.

This Q + A post features Christina’s #ChangedByCHAARG story + more about her journey!

Meet Christina, @cbordenet_inchaarg

University:

University of Iowa — join #IOWACHAARG here!

Major:

Nursing + Global Health Studies Minor

One Word To Describe You:

Passionate

Favorite CHAARG Memory:

Planning retreat with the rest of the Iowa CHAARG exec team + watching it all come together!

#inCHAARG Instagram Crush:

@cgarcia_inchaarg, @merve_inchaarg, @sgonwa_inchaarg, @cflemming.inchaarg

Philosophy On Wellness:

As a nursing student, I’ve learned that wellness is more than your physical wellbeing – it surrounds your entire person. Mental, physical, + emotional wellness are crucial to be your happiest ++ healthiest self!

Favorite Self-Care Practice:

Taking time to be by myself + reflect!

2019 Intention:

Remembering that I am capable, powerful, + strong!

Ideal Morning Routine:

Waking up, eating breakfast [eggs + toast is my JAM], and being able to relax + prepare for a long day of classes!

Book Every CHAARG Girl Should Read:

Sisters in Law by Linda Hirshmann — not a quick read, but a very rewarding one!

Greatest Lesson On College:

Your college experience is what you make of it – it takes more work to maintain relationships, but all of that is worth it!

Advice To Your Freshman Self:

Don’t doubt yourself — if you spend too much time worrying about the future, you’ll miss out on some pretty cool experiences! There will be times where you wonder if you made the wrong choice, but trust in yourself and it will all be ok!

Being #inCHAARG To Me Means:

Being a strong, capable woman who is confident in herself + her abilities + is healthy mentally, physically, + emotionally!

How have you been Changed By CHAARG?

CHAARG has helped me grow into someone I never thought I could be — I have become more confident in myself, more outspoken in situations where I would usually sit back, more assertive, + proven that I am capable of incredible things. I will be forever grateful to CHAARG for all that the organization has done for me!

https://youtu.be/Jzm2mlN_SYk

Learn more about your CHAARG Chapter here + grab your membership here! <3

28 Ways I’ve Grown In My 28th Year

Another year around the sun [almost — August 31 ; )]. Surprise, surprise — I’m reflecting!

One of my favorite cliche quotes is: “Most people overestimate what they can do in a day, + underestimate what they can do in a year.” It’s so true! My favorite practice that has helped me with this is my “daily + yearly journal process.” Let me know if you have any questions on my process! This is my third year of filling a daily + yearly journal, + I still find so much joy in it.

Okay! 28 ways I’ve grown…

#1] Finally stopped picking my face… for the most part ; ). THANK YOU TARA! I’m going to write a post on this — so stay tuned. Major things that have helped clear up my skin [aka I have nothing on my face to pick!]:

#2] Took my longest instagram break ever — It started with 1 day… then: 7, 10, 15, + 20! Read about why I needed an instagram break instagram here. I plan on continuing to experiment with “breaks.”

#3] Prioritized travel [again!] — My heart aches to travel the world, + I’m so grateful I’ve experienced so many places: Portland, Denver, Boulder,India, Punta Cana, Ecuador, California, Hawaii, Kripalu, Ojai, Copenhagen, Greece, + Bend… next up: Jackson’s Hole!

#4] Started working with a trainer — Robbie from ENRGI in Chicago if you’re wondering [message me if you want his info!]. Isaac has been seeing him for a year + a half, + his constant raving about him finally made me cave. I’m seeing him for mobility, glute strength + backbends. He has the strongest Ashtanga practice I know [besides my teacher], which is inspiring as heeckkkk.

#5] SURVIVED VIPASANNA — Aka 100 hours of meditating in 10 days. Curious? Grab some tea + read on.

#6] Gave up coffee, reintroduced coffee, weaning off coffee again — Oh the dilemma! It started with the “No Coffee November” experiment + lasted until the end of May… when I went to Copenhagen [Guide To Copenhagen!] + was blessed with unlimited oatley cappuccinos. Then, summer happened + my love affair with iced lattes started. I will say: I make my own iced latte [I used to always buy coffee out]. But, I’m totally addicted again, so I’m slowly weaning off. Currently struggling with one cup a day! Stay tuned.

#7] Became obsessed with Peloton last winter — I’m totally late to the party, I know. My apartment complex, which has a tiny, barely any equipment gym got ONE Peloton… + the crowd went wild [seriously, they use a sign up sheet for it, aha]. My first class was with Ally Love, + I never took another Peloton instructor’s class. She’s amazing.

#8] Took a 3 day workshop with my favorite meditation teacher, Tara Brach — If you meditate + don’t know Tara Brach, you need to give her a listen. Seeing her in person at Kripalu was incredible [SHE GLOWS] + further inspired me commit to my meditation practice. “One of the best decisions you can make is to believe the world is a friendly place.”

#9] Met new friends through The CHAARG Podcast — Looking at you, Russo + Jenny + Ariel. It’s hard to meet friends post-college, so I’m thankful for this platform for connecting me to so many incredible humans.

#10] Invested in nice bedsheets — Oh, the little things. Obsessed with Parachute. The next thing I decided I’m going to invest in: a wooden bed frame! Let me know if you have recs.

#11] Learned about my birth chart + human design + aura — Thanks to Lauren [The Modern Astrologer] ++ Cindy [Revealing Soul]. So facisinating. They do virtual readings, too! ++ they were both on the podcast:

#12] Created CHAARG’s largest post grad event ever — The CHAARG DAYTREAT! This was so fun + a new challenge. Check out the video recap of the event! I’m excited about more experiences for both college women + post-grads. See CHAARG at Wanderlust + grab your ticket for SWEAT FEST! : )

#13] Became Reiki 1 certified — I’m glad I got certified [so interesting!], but I must say… I haven’t practiced it all. Taking what resonates with me at the moment, + leaving the rest — allowing myself to pick it back up if I want to explore it further. If you’re interested in learning more on Reiki, I had Molly [my teacher] on the podcast.

#14] Hired CHAARG’s fourth employee, Tori! Most of you reading know Tori, but if you don’t — listen to her on the podcast! She’s amazing, + it’s so fun to have four! Wonder who the fifth employee will be…

Let’s see if I can think of 14 more ways I’ve grown… aha. Stay tuned for part two!

Rooting for you always,

Superfood Spotlight: Berries

Fresh fruits + veggies are a staple in any CHAARG girl’s diet ++ we are loving all of the ripe berries in-season this summer! Blackberries, blueberries, strawberries — they’re all delicious to snack on or to sweeten up your favorite smoothie, but did you know that berries are considered a superfood? Nutrient-dense + packed with flavor, here are some health benefits + unique recipes for our favorite summer fruit!

WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS?

1] Full of antioxidants 

Antioxidants are important for fighting free radicals in the body. Free radicals damage cells + are thought to be involved in cancer + heart disease risk, so the antioxidants found in berries can help with the prevention of these diseases, anti-aging, + inflammatory conditions.

2] High in Vitamin C

Did you know that one serving of blackberries contains 35% of an individual’s daily recommended levels of Vitamin C? Other types of berries are also packed with high levels of this essential nutrient, as well! Vitamin C cannot be naturally synthesized by the body + is necessary for protein synthesis, collagen production, + immune system function.

3] High in Fiber

Berries contain high levels of both soluble + insoluble fiber that, maintaining regular blood sugar levels + promoting healthy digestion.

HOW TO PICK THE BEST BERRIES

While picking up a package of berries at your local supermarket offers the most convenience, it might not offer the best flavor. Try to support your local farmers at the farmer’s market or by heading directly to the source + picking them fresh off the bush yourself! Not only will this yield in better berries + support for your local community, but you’ll have more fun doing it, too! When picking your berries, look for ones that are firm + are deep in color. Many peak in June + July, but they should be ripe, fresh, + in-season until mid-September!

OUR FAVORITE BERRY RECIPES

It wouldn’t be summer without sharing our favorite berry recipes! If you’re looking for a refreshing option post-workout or out by the pool, check out these four fruit infused water recipes utilizing berries! More of a smoothie gal? Pack in plenty of essential nutrients with this superfood smoothie! Summer is also the time for barbeques + get-togethers with friends, so try out these strawberry cheesecake bites for your next gathering. : ) Need more inspo? Check out the *eat* category of the CHAARG Blog for more!

What’s your favorite way to use seasonal berries? Share with us in the comments below or on Instagram using #CHAARGeats!