Workout Wednesday : Simple HIIT Treadmill Workout

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I don’t mind cardio but in the winter, when I can’t be bothered to go outside (especially right now with two feet of snow in Maryland…), I need a little bit of a push to get the workout done.

That’s where this HIIT workout comes in.

This is a great place to start. Personally, I really struggle with balance so going even at the fastest rate on this is difficult for me, but at the same time I need that challenge so I don’t get bored and give up on the treadmill.

I also lift at least four days a week, and try to get to the barre as well! I will definitely post some workouts like those in the future. But for now… with the snow, this helps me get my butt out of the house and DO something.

 

Fit & Healthy

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After this past week of reading my fellow Hot & Healthy Habits Girls first fitness images/idols/and motivations (all the fitspo wrapped up into one thing). I decided to write about my own … and how I got here. I have such a hard time talking about stuff like this, but it is my hope that sharing will help you feel connected as reading about all these wonderful ladies has helped ME in turn feel connected to them.

This was me, (I’m the tiny blonde in white shirt/blue shorts in the first picture, and in the veil/flower boa thing in the second picture) at my bachelorette weekend. All these beautiful women with me are some of my closest friends who were in my wedding party.

How did I get to this place?

Well, it all started in the swimming pool. When I was growing up, I had a brother who was an amazing competitive swimmer and my mother had been a swimmer all her life as well. They were both tall and thin and it seemed like they could eat whatever they wanted because of how many calories swimming burns. I was a lifeguard at that time, and so the last thing I wanted to do after a shift guarding the pool – was get in it and swim!

Flash forward to college. I was still a lifeguard, and after my first semester in the dorms I had ballooned up to that stereotypical ‘Freshman 15’ and all I wanted was to go back to normal! So, I started swimming. I would work early mornings, swim, shower, and walk to class from the pool. I would always find time to lift a little bit during the day as well, and I would run on the days I couldn’t get in the pool.

Post college, I was walking everywhere or biking. I would drive up to the gym in the morning before work, walk/run on my lunch break, and then lift and bike or run in the evenings. All this work, I thought I might as well start trying triathlons.

So I signed up with a triathlon team. And this is probably where I really met the person I wanted to emulate. She was my coach, a Timex triathlete who had won the Kona Ironman and a personal trainer.

I just wanted to look like her – be fast and win big! And I loved how endurance sports made me feel, but I never figured out how to eat enough to actually complete an Ironman without bonking at some point on the race … But I was stubborn, I just wanted to try.

It was at this point that I met my husband, it took years, but through his love and encouragement I gradually got to a point where working out wasn’t the be all end all of my life and I wouldn’t feel guilty or get anxious if I didn’t do a serious endurance feat that day.

I’m also learning how to eat better. I was always healthy but I never figured out that I could eat quite a bit of good healthy food and not blow up like a balloon… because after my Freshman year I was convinced that food made you fat.

Your body is your life, your story. It won’t be perfect, but it is yours! It took me a long time of being misrable to realize I can’t judge myself against others, or a scale. I am who I am and who I am making myself to be. Own your own image and try to love it!!

I am learning how to be strong – physically and mentally. How to enrich my life through my relationships (especially with other women! sometimes it is so hard being away from those amazing ladies in the picture above).

I am so grateful for the lessons I have learned – especially this year, from my friends in the fitness world, from Ander Wilson and Amanda Adams Rowland and I am thrilled to be part of the #omgneverdietagain movement. I know that this will just keep helping me grow and become the women who can teach other women about being healthy. Precisely what I have always wanted!

I would love to hear your story as well – Where did your first images of fitness come from or who did you look up to as a fitness idol?

 

Gear for Winter Running

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As a transplant to Baltimore City over a year ago I have been trying to figure out this new space and climate for running. Having come from Atlanta, where I spent my time running 2 to 5 miles every other day most weeks, and running at minimum a 5k race a month – Baltimore is brand new territory and the WINTER – winter here calls for a whole new kind of outfit.

Some of my very favorite gear is ubiquitous in Baltimore – Lululemon and Under Armour. Of course, one must add a little bit of Nike for balance.

So, to run in the winter and stay comfortable, it’s all about that #base. Base layer, that is. So to start, I would layer up with my trusty Under Armour ColdGear Women’s Leggings  and on top I would wear Lululemon’s Swiftly Tech Long Sleeve Crew for warmth as well as because it is the most comfortable shirt I have EVER worn. That’s saying a lot, since I don’t usually like to spend that much on a shirt I will wear a million times. For a run where I don’t plan to be wet, I would have Under Armour’s No Show Socks, which come with a moisture transport system fabric to wick away any sweat and keep you both cooler and drier for longer. Otherwise, I am a loyal fan of Smart Wool socks but I always prefer to wear no show socks even in this fabric.

Shoes – of course, will be the Nike Flyknit. I don’t wear Nike right now, personally, but I would if it was possible to try them on in the store before I bought them! I love these though and I want to replace my old Merrells with them one day.

And if it’s snowing – because snow is so wet and cold in Baltimore, I wouldn’t venture out without a heavy layer I can take off and tie when needed. Like this Nike Tech Fleece Jacket. Old Navy has a much cheaper version out now, that I own and would try for November Project at the first sight of snow.

Now that I finally have enough hair for a ponytail, I would put Lululemon’s Run and Done Earwarmer on with the ponytail window.

And if I’m NOT getting out there, nohow, I will throw all this stuff in Under Armour’s Storm Watch Me Duffel to run to the gym and get on that treadmill (#sacriledge) … or to get there anyway and get my lifting done.

If I AM on the treadmill though, I will probably wear shorties instead of leggings to keep cooler. These Boogie Shorts from Lululemon work hard both on the treadmill, in the class, or in a hot yoga room where the heat is definitely not going to work with those leggings (they’re my favorite because they come in the animal swirl deep coal print).

So, if you should see me in the gym – say hi and if you should see me out pounding pavement around the city, join me for a bit. I cannot wait to get to know more about my new home. #BMoreLove

Gift Guide for Husband

My husband is one of those men who is infinitely difficult to shop for. If he wants it, chances are he’s already bought it for himself and a duplicate for me. So… I get to shop for those things that are less than fun, replacement clothing, shoes, and a few other gadgets to make life easier.

Husband Gift

From top left to right:

Men’s Cloud Layer Pro Full-Zip Fleece Jacket – First, I linked the jacket in my husband’s very favorite color, green. He already has a blue one that he wears almost daily. We’ve had that one for about two years now and it is both too small, and beginning to show wear. So I highly recommend this jacket. (Bonus, has the perfect chest pocket with zipper for hearing aid storage).

Men’s Tall L.L.Bean Pathfinder Cargo Pants– My husband is 6’6 and wears pants that are a 34 inch inseam. It is a difficult inseam length to find. His best and longest wearing pants are from LL Bean and Eddie Bauer. These are great for both dressing up or down.

Eddie Bauer Tall Traditional Fit Jeans – I prefer the look of straight fit jeans on my husband, but these are the only ones currently in a straight cut and long enough for him. He definitely could use a few new jeans!

UP3 by Jawbone – If your husband is not the least bit fitness inclined (like mine) something like the UP3 is a good gift because it’s a fun tech toy. My husband loves using his to look at how far he has walked and how well he slept. Sometimes I can even make it into a competition… But not often!

Tactical Desert Boots (size 15) – Being 6’6 means my husband also has pretty big feet! He goes through about one pair of boots a year and his absolute favorite are army type desert tactical boots. They’re nearly impossible to find though!

Doohikey Multi-Use Tool – This neat little toy is something I saw featured on Putting Me Together’s blog post. My husband had a really neat bottle opener on his old key chain but we can’t get it to fit on the new one so … we have been looking for a replacement. This one has a Box Cutter, Bottle Opener, Wrench, Ruler, and Flat Head Screw Driver. Fun!

Hydro Flask Insulated Water Bottle – I actually ordered one of these for me. If your partner is anything like mine… you might see if this helps motivate him to drink enough water. I always worry that with all the coffee and the coke, he will end up dehydrated!

Hope these things help you have a Happy Holiday if your partner is like mine and difficult to shop for! <3

Clean Recipe: Cilantro Lime Chicken

cilantro-lime-chicken-5I love cilantro lime chicken, cilantro lime rice… cilantro lime anything. I have been working on recipes to try and come up with something even remotely like the cilantro lime chicken salad that we have had at a local restaurant. Here’s my creation.

Cilantro Lime Chicken

Ingredients:
1.5 lbs. chicken breasts
Juice from 2 limes
1 bunch fresh cilantro, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 white onion, chopped
1 tsp. cumin
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:
Place all ingredients in a freezer bag, mix well, freeze until ready.
Write on bag:
Remove from freezer and thaw in fridge for 24 hours.
Cook in the crockpot on low for 8 hours or high for 4 hours.
*Serve with tortillas and toppings such as with sour cream, guacamole, salsa, and cheese.

Thanksgiving Veggies: Clean Dill Dip

Dill Dip

Ingredients
1/3 cup mayonnaise
1 cup greek yogurt
1 teaspoon dill weed
1 teaspoon celery seed
1 Tablespoon onion flakes
1 Tablespoon parsley

Directions
measure and mix all ingredients in glass or plastic bowl.
refrigerate dip for about two hours until it thickens.
serve with raw veggies for dipping.

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Happy Anniversary!

It has been 9 YEARS since I started blogging on wordpress. Wow. Does that make me feel old or what?

Some big things have happened in that time. I am just going to post a photo collage of life and write it out.

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First, I worked in Colorado for a nonprofit legal aid firm. Later I worked for a government contractor.

In 2010, I met my husband-to-be. He cheered me on as I did a 50 mile walk fundraiser for MS (the purple shirts in the upper left). In 2011, we got married. The second top picture is from my bachelorette hike party in Golden, Colorado near Red Rocks Amphitheater.

2013 in December, we took pictures with Nones and Holes for our Christmas card. We celebrated New Year’s Eve in a friend’s apartment off of Piedmont Park in Midtown Atlanta. In January of 2014, I started training to be a personal trainer – First at Body Design Atlanta, then through ACE.

In February of 2014, my parents came for a visit. My dad was working nearby and got stuck in his hotel for most of that week due to the latest bout of the Snowpoclypse.

I discovered Pure Barre.  This is from a run with the Pure Barre Run Club at Virginia Highlands.

We got a new truck… and Wes finally fulfilled his lifelong dream of owning an Airstream.

We took a long road trip. During that trip, we spent two weeks in Colorado where I went with my mom to quilt my first King size quilt on a long arm quilting machine.

Wes accepted a new job in Baltimore, so we went there for two weeks. He worked while I looked for a new place for us to live.

While we were in Baltimore, I tried to nail down my situation as a barre instructor. First, I took Soul Body Barre instructor training in White Marsh.

That was not my favorite brand of barre, so after trying for a long time to learn their choreography, I found and fell in love with the yoga method of barre at the local M*Power Yoga Studio.

I went on my first ever trip alone – with Nones. I went to LA in June for the IDEA World Fitness Conference.

I took the Behold the Barre Teacher Training at M*Power. And after that, me and my classmates all started working on teaching and perfecting our skills over the summer.

I had been running with the local chapter of the November Project – but this is from when I made it out to PR Day in September.

The next week, my brother came out to visit us in Baltimore for the first time.

Finally, a picture from a weekend class I attended in the early spring. This is where I met my good friend, Lauren, and we have stayed in touch ever since!

Thanksgiving Veggie: Roasted Brussels Sprouts

Last week my husband and I were in Frederick, MD for the evening. We asked a friend for a restaurant recommendation while we were so far away and we got it! She told us about a greek/mediterranean place called Ayse/Meze Lounge. She said the brussels sprouts there were to die for.

Well, she was right! We loved them! (And to think we almost didn’t get them. Because a) I have never had brussels sprouts and I was a bit afraid of them and b) my husband dislikes all green things that are not avocado).

That was the end of that. We came home and I resolved myself to figuring out how to make something taste as good as those brussels sprouts. Here’s my recipe. (Keep in mind, this is for a big group on Thanksgiving. You can easily half it!)

Ingredients

  • 3 lb fresh brussels sprouts
  • 9 Tbsp olive oil
  • 9 Tbsp honey
  • 3 tsp garlic salt
  • Black pepper to taste
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 cup Parmesan cheese

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degree F.
  2. Cut the ends of brussels sprouts and then cut in half. (Or quarters if you have a lot of little ones to feed).
  3. Whisk olive oil, honey, garlic salt and black pepper in a bowl and then toss with brussels sprouts.
  4. Spread on a baking sheet and sprinkle with dried cranberries and Parmesan cheese.
  5. Bake for 15-20 minutes until golden brown.

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Clean Banana Protein Pancakes

This recipe makes a batch for meal prep, and while the banana adds calories — personally they MAKE the flavor of these pancakes and save them from being dry and chewy.

A very simple recipe. Depending on how you like your bananas, in chunks in the pancakes or in little bits all throughout. I used an immersion blender to get my banana well – distributed and to help with the moisture level of this pancake.

Ingredients

3 scoops of Jamie Eason Vanilla Whey Protein Isolate

1 and 1/4 cups egg whites

3 tablespoons almond milk

3 teaspoons baking powder

3 bananas, chopped or blended

Directions

Put protein powder and baking soda in a bowl and mix well. Then add eggs, almond milk, and banana and mix or blend. For cooking them, put a skillet over low heat (I have a gas stove, and I put it on 2, alternating between 2 and all the way down to cook). Spray the skillet with a little coconut oil spray, and pour 1/4 cup of batter into the pan. Wait for the bubbles on top of the pancake to burst, and the sides to start looking solid, and then flip. Cook on the other side for 1 minute at most… and then store for meals throughout the week!

Quantity: Makes 10 Good Size Pancakes

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Designing a Home Office

So in preparation for a whirlwind of fall activities, our new home has been slowly accumulating things. Most of these are things that we needed to replace because the new house has even LESS functional storage than our house in Atlanta did.

For instance, we got a bed with pull out storage drawers under it. Two big bookshelves with drawers as well. We got a sofa with a pull out bed in it for the office. And we have a TV stand with drawers for all the video game paraphernalia.

The bedroom layout is mostly settled. We just have to build the bed and find a nightstand and a cute dog crate. Currently our mattress is on the floor, and has been for nearly a year.

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Layout One: This is the current office layout.

This is how the office will be set up once the sofa we bought (hooray IKEA), is put together up on the third floor. Or it is, if we leave the desk where Wes would like to leave it. (I am not a fan of having most of the available floor space used by the desk, but he is not a fan of having his back to the doorway. There are two shelves along the walls, but they can only be moved across to the other wall with the alcove because of the slant of the ceiling up on the third floor. The funny looking thing by the window is our window A/C unit. That thing is the only reason our house is livable right now (literally, our A/C stopped working this morning).

Below are some other ideas that I would like to use for layouts.

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Old Office Layout

This is the last office edition. If we were to put the sofa behind the desk, there wouldn’t be much room for my husband to sit. I still like this layout because I really don’t like the idea of putting the desk in the middle of the room.

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Office Layout 1

This is probably the best option to keep ME happy. But again, would have my husband sitting facing away from the door. I just feel like it works better to not have the desk smack in the middle of the room.

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Office Layout 2

This layout is also one where we would have to give up some functionality. Those bookshelves both have drawers in the bottom. Putting a desk against them would probably make it difficult to pull them out.

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Office Layout 3

Here we leave it the way my husband has it set currently, and put the sofa in the alcove right in front of the door. It is likely that this will block the door when the sofa is pulled out, however.

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Office Layout 4

This is the other option where we leave the office as currently situated, but place the sofa facing the room as opposed to facing the wall.

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Office Layout 5

When I started this project, I didn’t realize how many possibilities there were to put the office together. This may be my favorite one though. My husband dislikes that the desk blocks the door — but personally I would rather that and have a little more useful floor space for cutting out quilts in!

Which space do you think makes the most sense for us?