Sunday, October 24, 2010

One Step At a Time

For the last several months, I've felt as though I've had complete writers block. The reality is, I was making excuses for things that haven't gone very smoothly for a VERY LONG time. Just like everyone, I've been dealt some very painful experiences the last couple of years and have used these experiences to keep myself from fully focusing on myself, my goals, and my own life expectations.

I've felt that working out on a daily basis for the last 2 years has been the one thing I have had complete and utter control over. I gave myself the opportunity to change myself physically, not just for my own health, but because more importantly I wanted to. Making changes in my appearance over time has kept me sane. Knowing I have control to keep my outer being in check has given me a sense of accomplishment.

The truth is, I've felt like this has been my only sense of accomplishment in the last several years. What I have to keep reminding myself is we're all given difficult times in life to appreciate the good that follows later on. I have to continue to look at the small things in life to keep myself going and motivated.

Look to each day as one new step. Another opportunity to put one foot in front of the other. It's important to look ahead and know that life is about taking one step at a time....

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Success Tips: Nutrition for Your Eyes

Staying healthy goes beyond having a steady workout regimen, the kitchen is an important step to maintaining a healthy body. When you're cooking and preparing a meal, do you ever think about the nutritional value you're not only giving your body, but to your eyes as well?

How many of you think about getting routine eye exams at least every two years? I'm guessing not many. Working for an eye doctor as my regular day job, I'm learning more about eyes that I've ever wanted to know or thought I would know. One of my friends posted a blog today about foods that are healthy for your eyes and I thought the information was interesting and I did a little research and digging myself. Here are some healthy foods to help keep your eyes healthy:

1. Spinach - it's filled with carotenoids (red, yellow, and orange fat soluble pigments found in many plants that are powerful antioxidants and related to Vitamin A) which help boost your vision, who knew!

2. Fish - By eating just 1 serving a week, helps reduce the inflammation of blood vessels in your eyes.

3. Eggs - Yolk contains lutein that is also a carotenoid.

4. Sardines (Yuck!'s because they have 3 different types of omega fats).

5. Nuts - By eating 1 to 2 servings of nuts per week this helps reduce the risk of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) which is the leading cause of blindness by people over the age of 60 by up to 35%.

Pretty cool right? So now after reading these tips how many of your are going to step up your game and eat these foods a little more often to keep your eyes healthy?

"The eyes are the mirror to the soul." – Unknown

Facts provided by

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Success Tips: Everyday Exercise

I've been asked in the past how I make time to hit the gym six days a week. My answer is that I put exercise into my everyday routine, I make it a part of my schedule. However, I realize not everyone has all the time in the world to hit the gym. So, how you can you incorporate exercise into your schedule?

Here's some quick tips:

If you take the bus to work or school, why not ride your bike if it's not extremely far from your home.

Walk to the grocery store. If you know you don't have a ton of groceries to pick up you'll get in a great cardio workout. Not to mention when you leave the store you'll have a little extra weight to carry.

If you live in an apartment complex (such as myself), take the stairs vs. the elevator. The same goes for work.

Even if you're in the middle of cooking dinner grab some soup cans and do some weight lifting. It may sound silly at first, but trust me all of these things can help get you to a healthier you.

Heck, I've even used my cat for extra weight to do some weight lifting. Yes my cat looked at me like I was nuts and didn't understand what I was doing, but she didn't mind it after awhile.

Look for alternative methods and everyday objects to get into shape and remember to eat in moderation, I guarantee your body will thank you.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Make No Apologies

The last couple of weeks I've been slacking and not being very productive, especially in the gym. I dealt with the loss of my grandmother last week and took some time for myself. I shut everyone out which may not be the healthiest of ways to handle my loss, but sometimes it's important to let yourself regroup on your own terms.

My grandmother was a big part of my life from day one. She taught me a lot about being strong and independent. She watched me graduate from high school. She sat with me when I was sick or recovering from surgery. She took part in some of my physical therapy lessons. She always kept encouraging me, telling me I could pull through any difficult situation I was given and that I was a "tough cookie."

My grandmother was born in 1911 and went through many historical events that my generation and younger only have heard about in text books. She was supporting two children on her own during The Great Depression, she watched WWI and WWII unfold and remembered when JFK was shot, just to name a few. She didn't complain about anything she had to do to get by in this world. She worked hard and found enjoyment by working with horses and bowling. She made no apologies for who she was or how she lived her life. People loved her for her.

She taught me many, many life lessons throughout my growing up. So make no apologies for being you. Have your beliefs, live your life the way you want and don't listen when people tell you you can't do something.

I'll carry the memories in my heart and continue to remember life lessons that she taught me when situations come up during my life. I'll never forget the time 3 years ago when she told me I drove like an old lady driving her to my parents house for dinner and was actually going the speed limit. :)

Forever and always in my heart....

Thursday, April 15, 2010

True Beauty

When I look in the mirror first thing in the morning, I see someone who has gained confidence over the years. I see someone who has continued to train hard in the gym and have been able to have the opportunity to change myself physically as well as mentally into a stronger person. I have recently taken a mental break from personal matters and focused just on staying physically active and the changes I’ve made have made me pleasantly surprised.

When we look at someone, the first thing we notice is someone’s physical appearance. There is something within that person that we’re attracted to physically such as someone’s eyes or smile, but true beauty goes beyond the physical aspect.

True beauty really starts with personality. How a person treats others and how we respect others and ourselves. Taking the time to take care of yourself, just by eating healthier or doing some sort of physical activity is a beautiful thing. Striving for goals and pushing to make your dreams happen is admiral. Treating others with respect, kindness and generosity and acknowledging others for their accomplishments are truly beautiful traits.

My advice to others and myself is this: Don’t forget to congratulate others for their accomplishments and keep climbing to reach your goals as well. When you reach your goals or an accomplishment, those very people that you took the time to encourage and acknowledge will return the favor. It’s ok to give yourself a pat on the back from time to time when you reach a personal goal too.

I’m giving a shout out to all of my Fitness Model International family and congratulating everyone on their accomplishments so far. I’m also congratulating everyone that has taken the time to strive for a goal. Goals are what keep us all going and striving for success and that is a BEAUTIFUL thing.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Success Tips: Cardio

Summer is just around the corner and everyone wants to hit the gym to look good for the summer. I’ve heard complaints from friends and various people getting frustrated because despite the fact that they do ridiculous amounts of crunches, they still can’t get that flat toned stomach. In the past few months I’ve had people at the gym and from friends ask me for advice. My answer? CARDIO!

Everyone thinks that crunches all it takes to get a flat stomach and that is completely false. It’s still important to do crunches, but cardio is the key. No matter what kind of cardio you take on, be consistent and keep up with it 2-3 times a week.

Cardio raise your heart rate and CAN increase you metabolism for up to 24 hours if you have a great workout. Cardio exercises burn fat and the exercises allows your body to burn calories throughout your body, which is what you need to burn that stubborn belly fat.

Aside from cardio, crunches, and staying consistent with a good workout routine, don’t for get to eat healthy. By healthy I mean having foods low on salt and sugar and replacing those choices with protein, veggies, and fruits. The process of getting in shape may be a pain some days, but once you see the results you were looking for its well worth it!

Stay happy and healthy

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Least Favorite Exercise

I love working out, but I always have those days where I’d rather forget about hitting the gym and would like to sit down on the couch with a huge piece of chocolate cake and watch TV. However, I’ve taken pride in looking and feeling my best over the last year and I always seem to find motivation to keep heading to the gym. BUT, I still have exercises that I absolutely would love to forget about and NEVER do.

I strongly dislike running. I LOVE cardio, but I’d rather hit the elliptical for a good 30 minutes or go hiking rather than run 5 miles. Although, once I get into the habit, running isn’t so bad. The other exercise I hate doing the most is stretching my hamstrings. This exercise to me is a little extra painful.

Having cerebral palsy, I’ve always had extremely tight hamstrings, more than the average person. When I was younger and going through physical therapy 2 to 3 times a week, my therapist would put a mini marshmallow in the “cup” of my ankle. (I had to turn my ankle in and make the tiny indent in my ankle). When I was able to make the indent my therapist would put the marshmallow in the indent of my ankle and I had to lean forward to get the marshmallow, which gave me no choice, but to stretch my hamstrings. As much as the exercise hurt, there was no way I was going to turn down that marshmallow! Ah, I kind of miss those days. I wish I had that kind of reward now when I hit the gym. J

What’s your least favorite exercise?

Sarah Laursen

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Where does your motivation come from?

I have days where I want to quit and give up on things just like everyone else. I get frustrated, down, and I can't seem to see the positive sometimes. When I have days like these, I look to my close friends to help me out. Other times I like to sit by myself and zone out to music that I can connect with for an hour.

What keeps me going and uplifts me goes beyond getting sound advice from my family and friends. I look to my friends and at their ambitions and goals. I look to my Fitness International Model family and to people who have left me inspired in some way or another.

What blows me away about my friends, the ones that have their goals laid out in front of them and are working towards them, is they always seem to find a way to be joyful about what it is they're doing. They take up side hobbies, painting, quilting, anything that makes life a little more uplifting for them. They find the humor in their jobs.

I look at my Fitness International Family and I have the opportunity and pleasure to watch everyone succeed in their fitness goals and working hard within the creative entertainment industry. I find joy in seeing their successes, because I know when I have success I receive the same kind of encouragement from them as well. I love that I can feel challenged in a healthy way by my FMI family. When I see everyone making huge strides, I want to do the same. I love that we can all support each other and network with one another. I'm blessed to have so many amazing people in my life near and far away.

Where does your motivation come from?

Who can you trust?

I wanted to share an experience I had today. For those of you looking for a career in the entertainment industry, I'm advising all of you to be careful with who you trust.

Normally, I don't like to refer to craigslist a lot for casting calls, but there are some great potential jobs out there, you just really have to pay attention. I found a casting call on craigslist the other day wanting models for a sports ad. The information wasn't specified so I asked for the person who posted the ad to please provide me with more information. When I received an email back, the casting was through Emerald City Talent in Washington. I had heard good and bad things in the past about this agency. I thought the worst thing I could do was check it out.

I went into the "casting" filled out a piece of paper with my name, contact info, stats, height etc. When I went into the "interview" they said they wanted to take some shots, but disregarded my mention about the ad when they asked how I had found out about them. Half way through the photo session of typical head shots, I knew this was a scam. The photographer took ten shots than told me to change into the next wardrobe change.

I let the photographer know I had a family emergency and had to leave. The photographer told me I needed to put down a deposit on the photos he just took. I couldn't believe it. I told him that money was tight and I couldn't make the payment. He told me I needed to make the deposit. I was getting nervous and paid the deposit to get out of the so called casting.

So the lesson is this, not only for those reading, but for myself once again: DO NOT EVER pay an agency to work with you. If you have to pay money to work with an agency than it not only is a waste of time, but a scam! Don't worry, I'll have a small update about the deposit issue on Monday.

Especially for women out there, please be care. When I first started modeling I took my mom with me to EVERY shoot I did. Not that the photographers I worked with weren't professional, but I wanted my body guard and makeup artist near by just in case. Now that I've gotten older, I'm more aware of my surroundings and have learned how to take care of myself.

Stay strong and happy :)

Success Tips: Nutrition

I always love when I find out facts about nutrition. Many of my friends and family have seen the physical transformation I've made since becoming a huge fitness enthusiast a little over a year ago. Choosing to become physically fit and has become one of the BEST decisions I've made for myself. I feel better about myself and I have more energy than I know what to do with some days.

However, getting a great body didn't happen overnight. I had to study a lot about the human body, learn new exercises, and retrain myself with my eating habits. I've never been the type of person to go for the sugar. When I was younger, if my mom offered me ice cream for dessert, I would often turn her down and ask for a piece of fruit. As I've gotten older, I'll admit I've developed more of sweet tooth, but after working as hard as I have to gain a healthy physique, reaching for the sweets doesn't happen often.

Exercise is important for staying healthy, but 90% of reaching for your fitness goals and staying in great shape comes from eating clean. It's a little fact I picked up from reading Oxygen Magazine.

Have a healthy day! :)