Location: New York City
First and foremost, let us just say that your Instagram is so dope! Does your background in graphic design play a role in your blog & social media aesthetic?
Absolutely. It took me a long time to get into fitness and I think one of the reasons was that design and aesthetics are very important to me, and I could never really see myself in that world.
Thankfully, there are many brands today that are layering fitness with things like minimalist design and music in a way that I think makes exercising and working out more accessible to a wider range of people.
Clearly social media has played a huge role in this; one of the reasons I love Instagram so much is the access to new inspiration, but also the way that it acts as a creative space for blending personal passions.
How did you first get into fitness and healthy eating?
I think it was the combination of meeting my partner, who grew up in a very fit & healthy household, and discovering that I had a number of food intolerances. Before this, I used to take my tiny frame for granted and ate terribly, I mean terribly. Think pizza, pasta, curries, hot dogs and burgers, almost every meal, every day. So when we moved to New York in 2014 I decided to change things for good.
It wasn’t easy and it took a few attempts, but eventually, I cultivated new habits, as well as new taste preferences. Some were surprising, like oats and peanut butter with banana.
As anyone who follows my Snapchat (@saaareee) knows, I still cheat here and there. I love to eat out and we’ll go dinner once a week where I let myself order whatever I want, but it’s definitely the exception now rather than the norm like it was before!
Your food photos – specifically the waffles and pancakes – have got us feeling some type of way! What are your top 3 favorite recipes and why?
1. Banana popsicles with cacao and peanut butter
What these three recipes have in common is that they all taste unhealthy, but are comparably good for you in moderation and as part of a balanced diet. They are treats without the guilt, which allow you to indulge without putting crap into your body.
Any favorite spots in your NYC neighborhood for healthy eating?
Okonomi is a great weekend brunch spot. They serve a traditional Japanese set breakfast with steamed rice and grilled fish, which is great if you want to catch up with a friend in a fun, cozy environment without eating naughtily.
Ootoya is somewhere I go to if I’ve been working late and don’t feel like waiting until I’ve got home to eat. It’s Japanese, again, so they serve lots of fish and rice dishes.
What’s a typical day like for you?
I begin most mornings with the same ritual: a glass of water, half a banana and a scroll through IG, as if it were my daily newspaper. I then meditate using Headspace before going down to the gym in my building around 7/7.30am, where I do circuits for around 35 minutes.
Most days (unless I’ve forgotten to prepare it), I’ll eat overnight oats with raisins, banana and pecans. Sometimes I’ll also have a protein shake depending on what type of workout I’ve just done.
Along with many other Brooklynites, I battle the L train into work, which I combat with a daily dose of one of my favorite podcasts. On current rotation are: Radiolab, Invisibilia, TED Radio Hour, This American Life, Modern Love, 99% Invisible & Bon Appetit.
I work in Union Square so three mornings a week I’m greeted by the farmers market, which I’m convinced makes me twice as happy by the time I get to my desk. My work tends to vary but I’m often in the office/studio until around 7pm. I then train it home, where my darling boyfriend often cooks something with protein and rice and/or veggies.
Before I go to bed I might pop down to the gym to walk on the treadmill to digest or do some yoga. I’ll then watch an episode or two of something light-hearted with my boyfriend (this month it’s been Arrested Development), while drinking sleep tea to set me up for a solid 7 hours (if I’m lucky).
How do you make time for fitness, especially when your schedule gets crazy?
You make it a priority, it’s as simple as that. As I’ve matured I’ve come to realize that you make time for things that you want to make time for. I found it difficult at first; cultivating some of these habits took quite a change, but now that they exist, I’d never go back. It just makes me feel positive and overall happier in life. I now always try and get a workout in. Even if I’m really busy with work, I’ll make sure I don’t go more than two or three days without working out.
Favorite workout gear and why?
I’ve found that Nike seem to master the combination of style and function. All their workout gear tends to be simple and excellent quality. I also own too many of their kicks to count.
Tell us about #MySweatLifeLISSfromhell… Your Spotify mix is dope!
It’s a 30% incline workout at 2mph created by @mysweatlife. When I first began doing these workouts I found myself gravitating towards slow hip hop beats with deep bass. That led me to create the playlist and I’ve since created a few others for different types of workouts. They’re just what I need to push through a hard session.
Any tips for our readers who want to get active but need a bit of a jump start?
You’ve got to want it. Because no one else is going to get you up in the morning. I don’t have a personal trainer but I’ve been very grateful to Kayla Itsines and her BBG program. I also spend a decent about of time stalking other girls who have made the same type of positive transformation in their lives. That’s partly why I begin everyday on Instagram to get my inspiration fix.
If I had one piece of advice it would be to just bombard yourself with the types of people you would like to emulate. I’m a big believer in that, in terms of social media, you are what you consume.
Best advice you’ve ever been given?
Sh*t could be worse. There are days when I wake up feeling sh*t and I know I there will be plenty more. I try to be thankful whatever situation I’m in. I think it’s really important to make sure you have perspective. They say comparison is the thief of joy, but it can also be a blessing when you take the time to appreciate what you do have.
What’s next for you?
Since I launched my blog I’ve been fortunate to have a lot of people get in touch with me, mostly younger girls looking to embrace a healthier lifestyle. I make it a priority to respond to all of them because I really enjoy helping people out.
One of my skills as a graphic designer is that I am pretty good at doing research on new topics and at distilling things down into what really matters. I would love to get to the point where I own my own business and can spend all of my time and energy helping people through good design and communication.
What does MISSBISH mean to you?
What makes MISSBISH so great – and something that really resonates with me – is that not only does it inspire women, but it also positions women as enablers and as strong leaders.
In a world where women still battle daily prejudices, whether in the media, business, politics or popular culture, the more brands can do to combat gender stereotypes and empower women the better.
Photos by: Carmen Chan