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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Finding a Workout Split That Matches Your Goals

Okay, so now we get to the fun part: the gym! There is no one way to do fitness, I hope through all this you remember that. What one person does in the gym, or what one person eats doesn’t mean it will work for you, even if you think you have a similar body type. Finding a workout split that fits your lifestyle should also fit the goals you decided on in the last post. Can you commit to going to the gym everyday, three times a week, do you have gym access, do you work crazy hours and going to the gym seems like the thing that will break the camel’s back? All these things determine what your workout routine could look like.

Here I have written out some different plans that could fit into people with different schedules and different goals. For individual movements that correlate with the body part I suggest using the free resource of If you want me to write a post about my favorite movements, let me know!

Scroll through to find which split best works for you, remember it may not be perfect and you have the freedom to adjust things!

This is the split for you if you have 5 days to commit to the gym, your goal is not to build muscle as fast as possible (muscle still takes a long time to build but this is a slower method).Weekly Workout Split-3

The “bro split” targets 1-2 muscle groups a day so therefore that muscle group is targeted less frequently over the course of the week. This split is not the best if your goal is to gain muscle, as your muscle needs to be targeted more frequently for the most optimized growth. For muscle growth you want volume and time under tension. Your muscle still needs rest in between, but not necessarily this long. Now, if you just want to start being active, you only have 5 days to go the gym, or really want to focus on certain body parts so you can get individual pumps, this may be for you.

This is the split for you if you have 6 days a week to commit to the gym, you want to target specific muscle groups more frequently, and grow muscle/”tone”.

Weekly Workout Split-2

This is the split I do! It allows me to target upper body and lower body parts multiple times throughout the week. This is called a push/pull split because chest and tricep are all pushing motions and those muscle support each other in the related movements. For example, bench pressing mainly targets the chest, though your triceps are also activated and assist in your bench press performance. Same thing for the pull day: Back and Biceps.  In a bent over row which targets your back, your biceps are activated.  My goals are focused on my upper body right now, which is why I have three days that involve my upper body. This can be adjusted for your individual goals, as long as you give your body adequate rest in between.

This is the split for you if you are a beginner, you can only commit 3 days a week to the gym, you are incorporating other athletic goals with this schedule (training for a marathon/5k/etc). 

Weekly Workout Split

This 3-day a week split calls 3-full body workouts a week. The idea for this is that you would do a full body circuit every other day. Now this may fit into your life, schedule wise, but it is important to allow your body adequate rest. Depending on the intensity of your first workout of the week you may not feel rested to train those same muscles again two days later. I suggest focusing movements that target the lower or upper body while incorporating a few movements that target the other. This will allow your body more rest time. In addition, think about incorporating or alternating with bodyweight circuits.

Okay, peeps those are just three examples of workout splits that may fit into your lifestyle. Nothing here is the “right” way to do it. There are ways that may fit your goals better, but that is all. Everything here is a standard suggestion, feel free to move days around, just remember to leave adequate rest in between. For example, I do yoga every Tuesday and Thursday so the day before I train legs in order to make sure my upper body is not sore and tired on the day of yoga. That is an example of adjusting a schedule to fit your lifestyle. So much of fitness is figuring out what works for you, but you have to start somewhere.

I really hope this has been helpful for someone who is just getting in the gym and doesn’t necessarily know how to move past the treadmill. I promise lifting weights will do wonders for your body! If you have questions please feel free to leave them in the comment section below, or contact me HERE.


xoxoxoxo (y’all deserve a little extra love today),


Lysse on Fitness: Matching your Goals to your Method

Hey there, welcome back! If you haven’t already read the intro to this fitness series, check it out here. Yes, we could just jump right into info on workout routines, and nutrition tips, but I think it is important to identify your goals beforehand, because your goals should match the method you take to get there.

If you were prepping for a bodybuilding competition your method would be different than if you were trying to just lose a couple pounds, or if you are trying to increase muscle definition, or if you just wanted to increase over health. Does that make sense?

Weekly Workout Split-5

Anyone can daydream about reaching their goals, but I have found that without a plan, it is easy to let those goals fall to the wayside. Be realistic with yourself, and embrace whatever limitations you think could provide some set backs. Instead, try to find how it can work to your advantage. Everything is good when life is easy, but how are you going to bounce back when you have a bad day, when you miss the gym for a week, when you regret that extra piece of cake? Thats what matters.

Answer these questions, reflect on them, and get ready for the next post detailing different workout routines to match your schedule and your lifestyle!





In a World Full of Girl Bosses

I don’t know if you are anything like me, but sometimes it is imtimdating being surrounded by so many girl bosses. You know, like the woman who are killing the career game, the family game, and overall life game. You see them at your job, at church, your friend circle, and all over social media. Some days I’m inspired by them and it makes me want to work harder, but some days it just reminds me of all my shortcomings, how far away I am from my goals and it just leaves me feeling jealous.

Maybe for you you’re comparing yourself to a woman with a killer bod and you’ve been working out and eating right for a while now, but the results just aren’t there. Maybe you’re looking at all your friends graduate and accept job offers from big name companies, and you still don’t have everything figured out yet. For me, its my blog. I’ve had it for two years and I feel like I am ready to “move to the next level.” A.K.A purchase my own domain, self-host, post content more often, and have stellar images. All of this is good and gravy, but in this day and age where everyone seems to have a blog, it can be overwhelming trying to figure out how to stand out. It is so easy to get caught up in admiring other people’s success, and trying to figure out how they got there, that you end up looking just like them. I don’t want to do something just because everyone else is, I want people to look at everything I do and think “yep, that’s definitely Alysse.” So I have to ask myself, am I doing this and pressuring myself about it because I want to, or because I everyone else is doing it? Honestly, in a world full of girl bosses, sometimes I feel like a fraud.

So now what? Do I stop thinking of fun content to write? Do I stop paying attention to the aesthetic appeal of my instagram feed? Do you stop working hard in the gym? Or whatever aspect of life it is for you?

No. I’m not going to stop putting work toward my blog, and you shouldn’t stop trying to reach your goals just because you haven’t reached them yet. If you are truly enjoying what you are doing, then don’t stop! We are all a work in progress. The quote: “comparison is the thief of joy” is incredibly true. You do you, as authentically as you can, and success will find you. And hopefully  it will be a genuine reflection of you, instead of a carbon copy of someone else.

This also relates the the theory of Shine Theory that I talk about so often here. If there are impressive women around me then instead of looking at them as competition, I should see them as an ally, as someone who makes me look good for simply being in the same community as them.



Intro to Lysse on Fitness

I always want my blog to be a reflection of who I am. I never want it to feel fake, or like I’m trying to be someone I’m not. While thinking about new content, I realized how big fitness (outside of organized sports) has been to my life, specifically over the past year.

After leaving organized sports I was left to face the gym alone, without a direction, and without a goal. After a few months of messing around and trying different workout styles, I found what works for me, and what I can stick to. With that, I thought I would share not only my routine, but also the steps I took to get there in case you may be on this journey as well.

Here are some topics I’ll discuss in the series:

  1. Identifying your goals
  2. How to select workout splits that fit your lifestyle
  3. Nutrition, flexible dieting, and  macros

This fitness series will be focused around health and balance, not weightloss, though I’m sure I will mention it here and there. It is no secret that I go to McDonalds weekly/bi-weekly and in my eyes that is okay, because in between I know i’m eating a lot of lean meats, and veggies. Balance is key. Balance is sustainable.

Let me also preface that I’m talking about things I’ve done and things that have worked for me. Everyone is different. I am not a doctor, a personal trainer, or a nutritionist, so don’t take my words as gold, ya know!

Alright, now that you know the deal, stay tuned for what is next!



Saving the World, One Fork at a Time

A few weeks ago I participated in a protest against the current administrations denial of
climate change, and in support of all of those fighting for #NODAPL. The environment and climate change are not topics I am well versed in, and aside from normal recycling I don’t do much to limit my personal footprint.

Recipe for chili HERE

In early January, I was thinking about my
potential New Year Resolutions and came across the idea of not using plastic utensils for an entire year. At first I completely wrote it off as unrealistic and inconvenient, but that is the exact reason why I eventually decided to do it. If I planned accordingly this could work, and by challenging myself I could work toward minimizing my footprint here on Earth.

Lucky me, I already owned a reusable plastic utensil set. So now I carry it in my backpack and am able to whip it out no matter where I go. I recently bought another set that I plan to keep in my car. If I have my set with me, it is incredibly easy and it makes me feel good about my small contribution to saving the environment.

In thinking about the many ways I personally use disposable plastic I started wondering where else I could cut out waste; in the shower. Yup, my next idea was to stop using body wash that comes in a plastic bottle. Upon writing this I realized I could look for liquid soap that comes in a glass bottle, but for now, I am strictly using bar soap ( I haven’t figured out the whole shampoo & conditioner thing yet). Honestly, finding new bar soap to try is a lot of fun and it is cost effective. I recently discovered a loofa at Bed Bath & Beyond that allows you to insert your bar soap inside so when it gets wet, suds begin to form on its own. It is a great way to use the bar soap efficiently and allows for it to last longer.

So folks, those are the two things I am doing in attempts to take an active interest in the sustainability of this Earth. Do you have other things I could be doing? How are you saving the world today?



Blog Swap: It’s Really Life or Death

Hey there fabulous Lysse on Life readers!

My name is Kaitlin and I’m a 20-
something who’s been graduated and working in the “real world” for like five months now. Alysse graciously agreed to do a blog swap with me and I quite literally could not be more excited to have the chance to connect with her AND all of y’all. One of my favorite things about blogging is having the opportunity to build relationships with different people all across the world, so this definitely furthers that.

I have been wanting to write this post for quite a while, but just haven’t gotten around to writing it for my own blog. Alysse and I decided to do a blog swap, so I thought chatting with y’all would be the right place!

Living as an “adult” for the past several months has really made me value my mental health, and one of the ways I do that is through my mantra! I know the idea of a “mantra” sounds low-key lame and super cliche, but it’s literally one of the best things I could have done for myself!

I don’t know if your parents are like mine, but growing up I would get really upset or annoyed about something and my mom would always say something along the lines of, “Kaitlin, just let it go. It’s not life or death.” If your parents didn’t use that phrase, it basically means whatever you’re upset about isn’t the end of the world, so just keep on trucking.

But as I’ve gotten older, I’ve learned everything quite literally is life or death and it’s not a bad thing.

Sometimes you may be put in a bad situation, but you’re still alive and you’re going to get through it. I have read many a blog that tell readers to ask themselves if whatever the hold up is going to be important five years down the line. They’re thinking along the same line as I am.

Your boyfriend broke up with you. Are you going to care in five years? You had to ask your mom for money to pay your electricity this month. Are you going to care in five years? You and your best friend got in a fight? Are you going to care in five years?

If you’re like me, it’s very likely the answer to all of those is overwhelmingly no. We like to get all hyped up about certain situations, whatever they may be, when in the long run they’re really not going to matter.

Want to know why?

Everything is quite literally life or death.

Every time I explain it to someone they saw it as low-key morbid, but I’ll let you be the judge. No matter what bad situation you’ve gotten yourself into, you’re still alive and will keep on chugging. You’re basically the Little Engine That Could. That, and the ability to learn new things about yourself and the world, is beautiful in and of itself. Life is the great experience and everything, even struggles, give you the opportunity to learn more about yourself and get closer to becoming the person you want to be.

On the flip side, if you’re dead, you won’t know! Or you’ll get to be a ghost or in Heaven or whatever it is you believe in, so those are pretty awesome alternatives.

Thinking of life like that changed so many things for me. I used to be negative and up in arms about everything if it didn’t work out my way, but now I have the opportunity to be ecstatic about everything that happens to me because it makes me more of who I’m supposed to be.

My boyfriend broke up with me, but it helped teach me what I wanted in a man. Someone that I thought was a friend didn’t help me get away from the creepy guy at the bar, but I learned in a low-stakes environment that maybe that friend doesn’t have my best interest at heart. I ran out of gas while on the way to work, but I learned just how far I can push my car until I run out of gas.

Everything is a learning situation and learning helps you get better in the future. I know, gag me, right? I thought that at first, but looking at my life in this way, where everything, no matter good or bad, is an opportunity to learn about myself and get better for the future has honestly improved my quality of life and has led to a whole lot less stress.

Do you have a mantra?

Thanks for letting me hang out in your blog space, and feel free to follow my blog (! I write about my life, my job, my style and other stuff I just randomly run into.