Twenty-Two: The Perfect Graduation Gift for Her

About a month ago, the kind people at Elle communications sent me the book: Twenty-Two: Letters to a Young Woman Searching for Meaningby Allison Trowbridge. As a 22 year old, I was excited to read this but was honestly a little concerned that it would be cliche, and just another “Chicken Soup for a College Grad.” Thankfully, it ended up being the complete opposite.

I love learning about the lives of the authors and various content creators I engage with. It gives me insight into their words and allows for me to connect with who they are, and their work, in a deeper way. Allison, is a entrepreneur and now published author (#girlboss) who works in advocacy against human trafficking and modern day slavery. She graduated from Westmont College in Santa Barbara, CA and is currently working on her MBA at the University of Oxford. Check out her website here!

Like many books, this one included quotes of praises from notable people. As someone who had never heard of Allison Trowbridge, it was cool to see some of my favorite organizations and authors like Christian author Bob Goff, Caitlin Crosby Benward founder of the Giving Keys, and Sarah Dubbeldam editor-in-chief of Darling Magazine, affirm the greatness of this book.

Twenty-Two is an genuine collection of stories about friendship, decision making, transitions, beauty, self-worth, and Jesus. Every other page I found myself reaching for a pen to underline all the nuggets of truth. Throughout the book, Allison uses her own experiences to share advice and talk about how she navigated the world of growing up and becoming a “real adult.” This is the perfect gift for the college graduate in your life, it’s practical, its a fun read, and the cover is gorgeous!

I already have two friends on the list to read it, let me know if you want to be next!

**I received this book for free. All opinions are my own**


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5 Tips To Help You Pick The Perfect Outfit for Graduation Pictures

Hey! Did y’all know i’m graduating in like 3 week?! Yup, it’s happening and this week’s graduation shoot really sealed the deal for me. As cliche as it sounds, high school graduation seems like it was just yesterday and now I am about to don another cap and gown. Crazy.

Like a said, on Tuesday I took graduation pictures and in the two hours beforehand I was #freakingout over not having my outfits prepared. Included in my ” photography package” was two different outfits, so I had to decide what they were gonna be, fast. Did I want a dressy option and a casual? Both dressy? Are jeans okay? Heels? In addition to all these questions I decided to take my pictures with three of my closets friends so that took additional coordination.

While running around I actually looked on Pinterest to see what other people wear to these things. It wasn’t really helpful because people just had dresses on, or school shirts and jeans and honestly it didn’t inspire. I went back to my closet for the hundredth time and finally decided on two outfits: a floral sundress, and a striped dress with a navy skirt on top. In the end I really love what I went with and I think my thought process was really helpful in getting there:

  1. Wear something that is you. Easy, right? It is a well known fact that I am obsessed with stripes so I felt that it was necessary to wear some (also why I decided to wear cowboy boots #Texas). But I didn’t want to just slip on my favorite casual t-shirt dress and call it a day, so I layered my favorite navy J.Crew skirts on top.
  2. Don’t wear something trendy. Naturally I tend to wear classic shapes, prints, and styles, but I was tempted to wear the very trendy one-shoulder blouse that I just purchased. While I think it’s cute, these are pictures I am going to have for a long time so I wanted to keep that longevity in mind.
  3. Bring multiple shoe options. I brought three different pairs of shoes, and took some pictures in all three. It is a subtle change that gives you more options when selecting pictures that you like in the end.
  4. Wear something that will “pop” under your gown. If you’re taking pictures with your graduation gown think about colors and prints that will “pop” underneath!
  5. Think about the location. Are you running through fields of lavender? Walking along side the train tracks? Think about your location and how your outfit will go with your surroundings.

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I obviously have to give a shout out to our amazing photography, Jontell Vanessa. If you’re a long time Lysse On Life reader you may remember her. Last year, she wrote a guest post about her photography business! She clearly does incredible work, and after the session I was joking with her about shooting my wedding in the future (hehe). Yay for working with more girl boss photographers!
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Lysse On Fitness: Sustainable Nutrition

Hey y’all! I’m back to the Lysse on Fitness series to talk about nutrition! If you’re behind on the series make sure to check out the intro post, the post about matching your method to your goal, and the most recent post about creating a workout schedule that fits your lifestyle.

I never paid attention to my nutrition until I stopped rowing in my second year of college. I grew up in a home where every homemade meal had a vegetable, I never ate white loaf bread, my mom bought a lot of organic products, and there were certain sugary cereals I was never allowed to have. Though I probably had fast food 1-2 times a week (thanks to late sport practices), Pop-tarts (Wildberry) are my favorite, and Oreos we apart of my nightly dessert. I had balance.

I also had a obnoxiously active lifestyle and a fast metabolism, so I was able to continue this lifestyle up until I stopped rowing. Then I had to comes to terms with the fact that you can’t always eat whatever you want, both for weight reasons and health reasons.

This summer, I started getting more interested in nutrition when I started learning about macronutrients: protein, carb, and fat and flexible dieting. Flexible dieting or “If it Fits Your Macros” (IIFYM) is a “diet” that allows you to eat what you want as long as it fits into the number of macros you have for that day. So, instead of counting calories, you count the individual macros from protein, carb, and fat. For example, you could choose to eat a donut, but it is going to take up more carb and fat macros than eating vegetables would so in return you have less macros for the rest of the day. It does make your diet more flexible in comparison to completely cutting out certain types of food. There are not good and bad foods, just foods that may or may not fit into your macros at the time.
There are many calculators out that can help you calculate your macros and therefore help you reach your individual goals of gaining weight, losing weight, or maintaining weight. Try this one from and this one from Katy Hearn Fitness. I recommend using both calculators and averaging the results out or take the results that you think you can adhere to the best.  Please remember that this is a calculator and you are a human with a lot of variability. In order to get the best set of macros you need to be working with a coach who can attend to the individual differences we all have. The calculator is not a bad place to start though. I recommend sticking to one plan for 2-3 weeks before adjusting your numbers. After a while you will start to learn your body and understand if your body reacts to higher carbs, higher fats, etc.

Alright, so you have your macros how do you track them?! Well,  say hello to the app My Fitness Pal. It has a database of almost everything you would want to eat and it allows you to input the food you are eating. In order to get the most accurate log, you might thinking about buying a food scale and weighing out your food. I promise you this will teach you a lot about portion sizes! For some time I was weighing out everything, the grams of apple I was eating, checking if my cereal was actually 1/2 a cup instead of just pouring into the bowl and it was really eye opening. Before you are able to visual what 4oz of meat really looks like, or 45g of grapes, weighing your food is important if you want to hit your macros most accurately.

I know that sounds like a lot of work but information is power and you don’t have to do it forever. I spent all of winter break trying to adhere to my set of macros and weighing my food. It took time but in return I learned a lot about my body. Now, I don’t weigh my food everyday and instead, I eat “intuitively.”

Intuitively eating is talked about a lot in the fitness community, but basically I listen to my body and eat when I am hungry. Simple enough, huh? Though because I do have the experience of knowing my macros, and knowing what a portion size looks like, I am able to pay attention to these things without calculating or weighing them. For example, I know it is important to eat a high protein diet, especially for muscle growth so I focus on eating eggs, egg whites, lean meats, beans, etc particularly for breakfast and after I workout. I also know that in my day to day life I am not naturally attracted to high fat food (unless its fast food) so I normally don’t have to think about it too much. On the other hand, I do love me some carbs. So I do an unstructured version of carb cycling. I’ll have two days that I’ll eat high carb, then the third I’ll focus on eating more protein than normal and upping my fat a little bit. My body responds well to this and it is obvious in my physique after the third day.









Intuitive eating is sustainable, though I took a lot of steps (macro counting) to get to this point. Here are my tips for living the intuitive eating lifestyle:

  • Stick to choosing good nutrient dense foods when you are alone, so you can feel good about “splurging” when with friends.
  • Don’t beat yourself up if you think you over did it one day. Drink a lot of water, but don’t limit your access to food, just move on.
  • Eat a high protein breakfast.
  • If you are craving something, eat it in moderation.
  • Eat when you notice real hunger signals (not when you’re bored), stop when you are full.
  • Pay attention to your emotions and the what sources encourage you to eat/over eat. Learn to attend to those emotions differently.
  • Focus on health and bettering your body

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Community Over Competition

The Rising Tide Society is “a network of creative entrepreneurs who believe in community over competition.” Such a simple and beautiful thing, huh? After I wrote the post In A World Full of Girl Bosses, I have been thinking a lot about the blogging/creative industry. For one, it has definitely fired me up again about my blog, and I have been spending a lot of time thinking of creative content, ways to improve my image quality, and trying to be as real and personable with y’all as possible. When I’m looking at a new blog or even an instagram account I only follow them if I feel like I can “get to know them.” If they are inviting me into their life, I want in. But if they are just posting outfit picture after outfit picture with nothing personal, I’m not as inclined to want to engage with them.

I want to invite y’all into my life, and I also want to welcome other bloggers, photographers, graphic designers,  etc on Lysse on Life. In thinking about being in this world with some many people already killing the game, the start can be the hardest part. I’m still starting and truly getting my feet wet in this community and I want to do all I can to work with others in order to make this a win win situation. 










This past week I had the opportunity to shoot with Emma, a friend of mine from school. I met Emma this year through Athletes in Action Christian Ministry and specifically through our Rowing Bible Study. From the beginning I could tell what a heart Emma has for the Lord and the people around her, but only later did I find out that she had such an eye for photography!

Taking pictures is awkward, okay? Especially in the middle of downtown, but Emma and Kate, our Creative Director (lol) made it so much fun. All laughs were genuine, thanks to Kate.  We ran through the streets playing Madonna, stopping at cool brick walls or points in the street with good lighting. We turned a basic Tuesday afternoon into an adventurous spring day (especially because we had free Ben & Jerry’s afterwards).

If you live in the Charlottesville area and want to work with Emma, contact her at and while you’re at it follow her on instragram at Emma Grace Photography!







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