Blog Archives

Pedometer: Week 1.

I need to walk more.

About a month ago, the HR department at my job told us they’d be switching our healthcare provider. So when I enrolled, I saw that our new provider, United Healthcare, had a “Motion” program that involved getting a pedometer, setting fitness goals, and earning money toward our care. Sweet!

I have never really tracked my steps. I have been on diets before where I counted calories, and also tracked how much I worked out, but that’s about it. Several years ago, I wore a cheap pedometer as an experiment for an article I was writing. I remember being surprised at how tough it was to get steps and I’d be marching around my apartment at the end of the night (while brushing my teeth) trying to up my tally for the day.

Well, I guess I’ve learned no lesson, because after week 1 with my fancy pedometer, I’ve determined I must just be the laziest person ever.

Let me back up. After signing up for the Motion program, I got a credit of $55 that I could put toward a pedometer. I picked the one that was $55 – the cheapest option. It was black, tracked steps, and said it had an app you could sync with to see the stats on your phone. Works for me!

Another coworker signed up for the Motion program, too, and we got our pedometers in the mail just a few days later. I was told I would get a $40 “Swift Start” bonus if I put the pedometer on right away, so I did – I put it on last Monday around 5:30pm when I got it out of my mailbox and then I headed to my usual Monday night routine: two 1-hour dance classes back-to-back.

Week 1.

That Monday evening I got 2,954 steps.

The days following weren’t much different – I admittedly don’t really move once I get to work, which I have heard is WORSE than smoking cigarettes. I’ve heard repeatedly that we’re supposed to get 10,000 steps per day, and I barely got that in seven days. I know. I’m half ashamed.

However, I decided week one should just be an honest look at my life, and then now we make a change. Right? But I’ll admit that each day, only getting 2 or 3,000 steps, I was getting frustrated and I wondered how people got 14,000 steps each day?

I consulted other pedometer-wearers and they all said that getting steps is a challenge. You really have to set yourself up to get steps – whether it’s parking further away, or setting an alarm every hour to walk a few hundred steps.

A friend of mine tracks her steps and when we went to Vegas last year she would tell me when we’d hit 10K – and I remember thinking, “Wow, we’ve walked a TON,” and I felt very sore.

Hmmm. During week 1, I took a few less dance classes than normal, but I also rode a workout bike for 6 miles, and still only got 2,883 steps for the whole day. My best day was Saturday, where I took a 1-hour cardio class and then a 3-hour nap. Go figure.

So, this week – my goal is to walk more while I’m at work, even if that means simply taking a lap around the office every hour. It still may not get me to 10K, but it will be more than what I got last week… right?

If you track your steps, is there a trick that helps? Walk every hour? I’d love to know how you’re getting your steps in!

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An update on my fatigue…

Who needs sleep? THIS GIRL.

It’s been a few weeks since I told the world (yes, that’s the power of this blog) about my case of extreme fatigue – read all about it here – and I figured it’d be a good time for an update.

Just a few days after the post, I decided to spend that weekend getting some relaxing in. Naturally, it was the same weekend that Daylight Saving time happened, so that was dumb, but whatever. I read, spent lots of time on my couch, and caught up on TV.

The thing is, my fatigue could be a result of many things, including: lack of sleep, allergy medication, increased workouts, lack of protein, or stress. So, I vowed to tackle two of those things for at least one entire week, to see if my energy improved.

In order to get more protein into my diet, I did a lot of research to find out how much protein I need each day (46 grams) and I shopped accordingly. I made “egg muffins” with spinach and cheese for breakfast, and I had grilled chicken breast for lunch. Protein? CHECK.

I also bought a fuckton of bananas to try the latest craze from Dr. Oz: Banana “tea”. Here’s the scoop on naner tea from the Dr. Oz website:

Did you know bananas are a sleeping pill in a peel? If you find yourself waking up in the middle of the night, try this banana-infused tea as a bedtime snack. Studies have shown that magnesium can be helpful in preventing you from pulling yourself out of sleep, and the potassium and magnesium help your blood vessels and muscles relax.

You make the tea by simply cutting off the ends of one banana, and boiling it (peel and all) in a pot of water for 10 minutes. Pour water into a mug, and I added cinnamon, because, why not? I also ate the banana, because a warm banana is the closest thing I’ve had to dessert in awhile.

I’ve heard the sleep that comes post-tea, is the deepest sleep ever. So, I gave it the ole college try and I drank this tea every night before bed, for 7 nights in a row. While I cannot say I had the best sleep of my life… it was better sleep than I’ve had in probably two years. The downside of the tea is the time it takes to make it, then wait for it to cool, then drink it all – I had to really plan for it, and by the time I drank the tea, I was so bored I could have probably fallen asleep without it.

But when I slept Friday and Saturday night sans-tea, I slept like SHIT. I woke up, tossed and turned, laid awake for hours. Fuck that.

The real question is, did the protein and tea help me feel more awake during the day? Yes. I wasn’t wired, but I definitely didn’t feel like I was about to pass out at my desk. So, that’s promising.

This week, I’m still eating protein: cottage cheese for breakfast and baked chicken for lunch. And, I’m taking a natural sleep aid at night. I’m going to test this for a solid week and see which works better for me – and of course I can always switch it up.

On the one hand, yes, I feel hopeful that I just need to keep up with my diet and a good sleeping schedule and I may feel back to normal without something seriously being wrong with me. But, on the other hand, I may have to always be really serious about what I eat and the amount of sleep I get. And while I know it’s petty – it’s a problem lots of people would love to have – it’s difficult for me (even just in this last week) to turn off the lights hours before I actually want to; to skip reading into the late night; to have random TV marathons… it means giving up a lot of fun things just so I can function at work.

But, we’ll see! My self-science experiment isn’t over, and hey, getting solid sleep is kinda nice… zzzz…

Hello, vegan food.

Plant-based and delishhh.

Plant-based and delishhh.

Okay, so I’m not going totally vegan, but I’ve been incorporating much more vegan meals into my life than ever before. I’ve been eating on a pretty strict diet for the last five weeks, plus prancing around the dance studio nearly every day, and I’m finally starting to see some results.

I didn’t make a conscious choice to start eating vegan, but rather, I found a ton of delicious-looking recipes to try and they have been actually REALLY delish. I started pretty simple, with the homemade brown rice veggie sushi, and graduated to the red pepper Buddah bowl. I’m not a fan of anything too complicated, or any of the cashew-based “cheese” products.

Despite all of the restrictions of eating vegan, I’ve managed to find a lot of recipes that are easy, and affordable (and tasty). I thought I’d post them for you, because you just never know…

Vegan Chocolate Pudding – I saw this posted by Whole Foods as a quick video, which made me see how easy it was to make. It’s just dates, vanilla, banana, avocado, and unsweetened cocoa powder, blended and chilled… and it’s legit. It is very fudgy and cures my sweet tooth. I have been enjoying it with unsweetended coconut sprinkled on top. I bought ingredients to make a second batch, and I think I will blend in some PB2 powder for a peanut buttery taste. Yum! Get the full recipe here.

Vegan Roasted Brussels Sprout and CousCous Salad – Since I liked the Buddah bowl so much, I was looking for recipes that would be similar, but with new flavors. I saw this bowl stuffed with greens, avocado, couscous, and topped with hummus and was SOLD. I like eating these things for dinner for two reasons: 1. I’m usually starving because it’s after dance rehearsal and this is very filling, and 2. since it’s a mix of cold and hot ingredients, it gets too complicated to pack for lunch. Get the entire recipe here.

Vegan Lentil Mushroom Tacos with Mango Salsa – I love tacos and have always loved finding ways to make them healthier. I’ve replaced the ground beef with ground turkey or chicken… but this?! This recipe uses lentils and chopped mushrooms as the “meat” portion, and tops it with sweet and spicy mango salsa. I honestly didn’t even notice the fact that there was no cheese. I served it with another batch of my favorite thing: Chrissy Teigen’s coconut rice. Omigod. These tacos were honestly better than any meat taco I’ve had. I will for sure be making these again. Get the full recipe here.

I’ve also saved several additional vegan recipes I’m looking forward to trying (all of which you can find on my Pinterest board) including Balsamic Garlic Grilled Mushrooms, Quinoa and Kale Protein Power Salad, and Eggplant Parmesan.

Now, I know I said I’m not going full vegan, but I have been reducing my meat intake greatly, and when it just takes a small tweak to go vegan, I’ll do it. Why? Because there are SO many health benefits to eating vegan. Some of the health benefits are (but not limited to) reduced saturated fats, reduced chance of getting colon cancer, a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, a lower body mass index, healthy hair and nails, longer life, and allergy relief – among many others!

If you’ve got any good vegan, or even vegetarian recipes you’d like to share, feel free to put them in the comments – I’m always looking for new foods to keep the variety going!

Things I’ve tried on Pinterest.

It’s been around a month since I resurrected my Pinterest account. I started back on this social channel for several reasons: 1. because I’m really trying to tighten up my diet and I wanted a place to keep track of all the cool recipes I come across and want to try (outside of my several binders on my pantry shelf), 2. I always have ideas swirling around for the blog or for crafts I want to make, and Pinterest helps me organize them.

In the last month, I’ve tried only a small portion of the recipes I’ve saved. I have purchased items to make a few essential oil roll-ons, but that’s as far as I’ve gotten with anything other than food. But the food items I’ve tried have really excited me, as I started with the Veggie Brown Rice Sushi from the Minimalist Baker, which was easy and so freaking YUMMY.

Orange Chicken – This recipe was part of an article listing out easy ways to use your crockpot. It listed this orange chicken recipe that was four ingredients, and looked totally yummy. How healthy was it? It probably wouldn’t be approved by any nutritionists, but I paired it with steamed rice, edamame, and steamed Asian veggies to help even things out. It was so good, and very easy.

Cherry Almond Granola – I’m not a huge granola lover, but when I find a good one that’s decently healthy, I love eating it with yogurt. This one looked easy to make, and actually pretty healthy. So I whipped it right up on Saturday night (aren’t I so cool) while listening to podcasts. I ate some the next morning with almond milk and it was yummy. I also bought some plain greek yogurt that I might eat it with. To boot, making this granola made my house smell awesome.

Cinnamon Sugar Protein Donuts – I got a donut pan for Christmas and I cannot get enough recipes to make all kinds of donuts. I had success with regular, powdered-sugar donuts, so I tried my hand at “Protein” donuts… and not only was this a massive fail, as in, it didn’t really bake or look like a donut, but it just tasted like shit. Yuck. If you’ve had a successful try with protein donuts, let me know!

Vegan Buddah Bowl – From what I understand, a Buddah Bowl is anything that you can just eat a giant helping of so your belly resembles a Buddah’s. I’m trying to avoid that altogether, but what I love about food this healthy is that you can eat a good portion and not feel guilty. I whipped up all of the ingredients for this bowl on Sunday and am eating them for dinner this week – it’s full of new flavors for me and is filling and so yummy.

BBQ Chicken Chopped SaladThis pin was advertised as a copycat from a salad at California Pizza Kitchen, and I used to live within a block of a CPK, so I totally get the obsession (hello, mango margaritaaass). I made 7 lunch-sized versions of these salads and have been packing them in my lunchbox and they are very filling and tasty.

Weight Watchers Cookies – This came up on my feed as a suggestion, and I’m always down to make something that’s going to taste decadent but not make me feel guilty. These seemed a little too good to be true – as the recipe contained two tubs of Cool Whip – but I made them and the batter was amazing… but they were just flat and rubbery-like. No thanks. #FAIL

What are some things you’ve tried on Pinterest that worked, or hey, even ones that didn’t. I’m always looking for new ideas!

Hopping back into it!

Hello healthy life!

Hello healthy life!

Whew! It has been MONTHS full of stress, budgeting, cutting corners, adulting, working on the weekends, and all sorts of other non-fun things, and I’m happy to say that it’s finally, pretty much over. CELEBRATE!

I paid off my taxes, got my driver’s license and Texas plates, and even took Blanche to the vet for a checkup, and then I went on a much-needed beach vacation where I ate fried foods and drank lots of beer. It was incredible, and although I’m not thrilled to be back at work, I am happy to be back to a life I like: one with a friendlier budget.

My tight budget unfortunately involved eating more processed foods, and in return, I wasn’t feeling great. So, I’m happy to say that I’m back to organic, fresh foods, and it’s happening at the perfect time! The dance studio where I regularly go is having it’s showcase in six weeks, where I will be perforning a stiletto routine.

And so – this six weeks I’m hitting the dance studio hard, and I’m also eating as healthy as possible in order to hit the stage in November feeling confident and well.

Truthfully, I enjoy eating healthy. I think healthy foods are delicious, and I’m often too cheap to eat out. Plus, I enjoy cooking. My true weakness? The snacks at work. There are always chips, cookies, muffins, and other indulgences in the office that I don’t keep at home.

To combat this, I stocked my pantry with healthy snacks I enjoy such as almonds, individual packs of dried fruit and nuts, and organic popcorn. I’m making it a priority to pack these types of things in my lunch box so I can crunch on them instead of greasy chips or sweets. I know it’s still going to be a challenge, but once I get started, I think I’ll be okay.

I was also worried about the fact that I JUST discovered a vietnamese restaurant across the street from my apartment – it’s delicious and inexpensive. However, I looked up the nutritional value for my normal order: a vermicelli noodle bowl with grilled shrimp, and a side of egg rolls.

According to My Fitness Pal, as long as I swap the side of egg rolls for spring rolls (which aren’t fried), I’ll actually be eating something pretty healthy. If you’re not aware, one of these bowls is simply rice noodles with raw veggies and a choice of meat. There’s a small side cup of oil, but I mainly just use sriracha as a “dressing”. If you can get your chopsticks on one of these things, you will thank me. I swear.

The other side of this, is alcohol. I pretty much stopped drinking during my budget crisis for two reasons: 1. I couldn’t afford it, and 2. it was doing nothing for my depression. I’m not going to sit here and say I won’t enjoy a glass of wine on a Saturday night, but I won’t be doing any drinking during the week, or excessively at all. I’m in it to win it, folks – a rejuvenation of the mind, body, and soul.

Of course, I’ll be documenting my journey along the way, and if you’ve got any tips for me, I’d love to hear them!

It’s week 3 of Cheerobics…

Living the cheerleading dream... well, kinda.

Living the cheerleading dream… well, kinda.

That’s right, I’ve been taking Cheerobics. It’s a class offered at the dance studio I’ve been with for six months – they have tons of different types of classes including ballet, jazz, modern, and funk, but I mostly take the hip-hop classes. However, I kept seeing the tail-end of the Cheerobics class as I waited for the following course to open.

It looked fun; they were dancing with pom-poms! Considering that’s all I did for five years of being a teenager – count me in. So, I finally went, and holy shit, it was the most difficult workout I’ve had in months.

Given that I’ll be on the beach in one month, I decided I needed to make this class a habit. So, I’m there every Thursday night. The class consists of a warm-up routine, stretching, and then you perform six full-length routines with pom-poms (and a smile), before completing a strength circuit, and a cool down.

The routines are fun, and the songs are of course, up-beat, as it’s supposed to be similar to a routine you’d see on a professional football field (and yes, there’s lots of clapping).

The music is fun, but the pom-poms really make the class for me. When I showed up for the first class, I wasn’t expecting much. However, I quickly realized that because you’re gripping the pom-pom’s handle for a solid 30 minutes, your arms get a workout FAST.

While I know it’s nowhere near as intense as the workout or practice for a professional cheerleader or dancer, it is really fun to get a little taste of what that life is like. I’ve wanted to be a Laker Girl ever since I can remember; and now that I’m too old for anything like that; I spend a lot of time daydreaming about it, and then binge-watching Dance Squad: LA Clippers.

The cheerobics class also brings back a lot of great memories for me as a halftime dancer in high school. Our practice schedule was busy, but they always served as great bonding experiences and were stress relievers for me. I was always so, SO nervous before performing, but thrilled for the applause at the end.

I noticed some of the other women in my cheerobics class have their own pom-poms, which at first, I thought seemed a little excessive. But, now I want a pair of my own, so I’ve been scoping them out. I think I’ve settled on a set of black and gold metallic ones, simply because I like those colors. I don’t want to commit to my high school or college colors (even though they match The Lakers’); I just want a pair that looks cute!

Since I started at the studio, I’ve been taking a class called “Sexy Stiletto”, which involves optional high heels. I skipped on the heels until just three weeks ago – in another attempt to amp up my workout. And wow, dancing for an hour in heels (especially turns) makes for a great core and leg workout. I haven’t fallen yet; but here’s to hoping I didn’t just jinx myself.

Pic of the Week.

Since moving, I’ve been anxious to get back on some sort of plan to tone up, and per usual, it hasn’t been easy. I joined a dance studio and have gotten into a pretty good routine of going to classes four times each week.

And although that’s good (plus it’s a really fun way to break a sweat), I know it’s only half the battle — diet being the other half. I usually do a pretty good job of eating healthy, because, well, I like healthy foods. And sometimes when you get into the meal prep… things get obsessive and frankly, I get really sick of eating chicken.

So, I’ve been eyeing a weight loss plan developed around protein shakes for awhile now, and I was just waiting for the right time for it to go one sale. Black Friday was my day, so I ordered Protein World‘s Weight Loss kit, which includes enough protein for 30 shakes, a shaker, a bottle of multi-vitamins, and a bottle of their “Slender Bend,” which is known to burn fat and speed metabolism.

I’ve been on the sauce for about a week now, and although I’m not much into weighing myself, I can tell you a few perks of the products that I’ve noticed so far.

For starters, the shakes are delish (and non-GMO)! I bought the vanilla to try, although they have lots of different flavors to choose from (I think I’ll try chocolate next). I mix mine with unsweetened vanilla almond milk, and it’s definitely better than just mixing it with water.

The shakes are only 150 calories each, and contain 31 grams of protein (BAM), with just TWO carbs. How awesome is that?

For the weight loss plan, you’re supposed to drink two shakes a day in replacement of meals, eat one regular meal, and have healthy snacks, plus your Slender Bend pills and multi-vitamins.

What I really love about Protein World, is that, aside from it being a pretty affordable protein option, they regularly feature recipes on their blog — whether it’s ways to spice up your protein shake, or recipes for healthy meals and snacks. They also feature lots of celebs and models on their SnapChat, showing you how to make their favorite meals.

I’ll admit, I’m still being pretty lazy about cooking lately, so aside from my two shakes a day, I’ve been eating a hearty salad from Trader Joe’s, and snacking on grapes, nuts, and a protein bar, if needed. I usually do the shake for breakfast and dinner, while eating my normal meal for lunch (I find it helps to eat that before my dance class). But, tomorrow, I have a dinner party, so I’ll have my shakes for breakfast and lunch — it’s all about being versatile, folks!

Now that I’m sold on Protein World, here’s a few more of their products I’m hoping to try:

  • Hunger Buster Capsules
  • Teatox Capsules
  • Extra-Virgin Coconut Oil

I’ll keep you posted on other Protein World products I love — any diet-friendly items you’re loving lately?

Dreaming of (becoming) Britney.

The Queen.

The Queen.

A few weeks ago, a coworker headed to Vegas for the weekend to see Britney Spears at Planet Hollywood. I was SO jealous…and couldn’t wait to hear all about it come Monday.

Since Britney debuted with “Baby One More Time,” I’ve been a huge fan. When she took over MTV in her school girl uniform, I was in high school, and on the dance team — I wanted nothing more than to dance like her.

I went as her for Halloween, I attempted to get my hair cut like hers, I was inspired by her fashion sense, and I even did 500 sit ups every day, because… well, that’s what she did. And you can’t argue with her body; she looks fantastic!

I think all Britney fans can agree, that we’ll forgive her for that whole Kevin Federline f*ck up, and we kind of get the meltdown thing. Shit happens.

What’s important is that now she’s completely back, and living large in Vegas. My coworker’s trip got me thinking — how awesome does Britney have it?

For an artist like her, meaning one who had a ton of hits but isn’t producing new material currently, she’s got a pretty awesome setup. She’s got a contract in Vegas, puts on a one-hour show nearly every night, lives in the Planet Hollywood hotel, and gets a fat paycheck.

I was reading an article a few months ago about her workout regimen (on top of her regular performances), and she mentioned that she loves eating sushi regularly — which I’m sure is delivered right to her hotel door from Koi.

So freaking jealous.

On top of all this awesomeness, let’s face facts, Britney Spears could date any guy she wanted. And that is most certainly a power I want to have. I realize that’s an incredibly superficial wish and there’s probably a few guys out there that aren’t interested in her… or are there?

Now that her contract is extended, I’ve got more of a chance to get to Vegas and see her show (I saw her a few times in concert when I was in high school), but I’m sure it’s nothing quite like the Vegas show.

Anyone been to the show? I’d love to hear the details!

Single Girl Recipe: Noodles!

A yummy twist on takeout.

There’s no doubt about it, noodles and other forms of pasta are definitely a few of my favorite things! When I’m really trying to eat healthy, ridding my apartment of grains is one of the first things I do.

And yes, I know, everything in moderation. But the truth is, when it comes to pasta, I really just want to eat the WHOLE box.

Over the last few years, I’ve found ways to treat myself to some of my favorite things, all without completely ruining my healthy streak. One of those recipes is below — a healthier twist on takeout — and there’s plenty of ways you can switch it up to fit your takeout “replacement.”

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 1-pound piece boneless, skinless salmon
  • 1/4 cup + 3 tablespoons of teriyaki sauce
  • 3/4 pound of lo mein noodles*
  • 3 tablespoons oil (I used olive oil, coconut works too)
  • 2 tablespoons of fresh lime juice
  • Kosher salt + black pepper
  • 1 pound of baby bok choy, sliced
  • 2 scallions, sliced
  • 1 red chili (like Fresno), chopped
  • 1/4 cup of fresh mint, torn or sliced

*While lo mein noodles — along with the fact that you’re making this entire thing at home — make this takeout twist a healthier option, feel free to replace the noodles with another kind of your choice. Seaweed noodles are incredibly healthy (and tasty); use a Veggetti to make squash noodles; or go for Soba (buckwheat) noodles, which are high in fiber and offer 6-8 grams of protein per serving.

DIRECTIONS

Heat the over to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil. Combine the salmon and 1/4 cup of the teriyaki sauce in a bowl. Toss to coat. Let marinate for 20 minutes. Transfer the salmon to the prepared baking sheet. Discard the extra marinade. Roast until opaque throughout, about 12-14 minutes. Flake into large pieces.

Meanwhile, cook the noodles according to the package directions. Whisk together the oil, lime juice, the remaining 3 tablespoons of teriyaki sauce, and 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Add the bok choy, scallions, chili, and mint, and toss to combine. Serve the noodles topped with the salmon, slaw, and any remaining dressing.

As I mentioned before, you can change this up several different ways in order to fit your “takeout” needs — add shelled edamame for extra protein, switch the salmon for shrimp, chicken, or beef; sprinkle on some chopped peanuts for a little crunch; or dunk the whole dish in some broth for a cozy soup! If you’re really feeling fun, serve it up in a takeout box with some chopsticks — then you’ll really feel like you’re cheating on the diet, and you’re NOT! #Winning

And just because: remember this Dane Cook sketch on “The Nothing Fight”? He mentions the “Oodles of Noodles” (7:49 mark) and just about every time I eat noodles, I think about it, so now you can, too! Enjoy, y’all — tomorrow’s Friday!

Things I’m loving right now.

Summer is right around the corner, and although it’s about to get nice and hot here in Baton Rouge, there’s a few things I’m appreciating lately — the little things that make me smile each day. So, here’s my list of current obsessions:

Eyebright Soothing Eye Lotion by Liz Earle — I got a sample of this in my Birchbox (another thing I’m loving) last month. When I saw it, I wasn’t that excited… until I tried it. According to the bottle, “Naturally active ingredients include eyebright, witch hazel, aloe vera and cornflower to help tone, cool and refresh tired, puffy eyes.” This stuff wakes up my eyes like nothing I’ve ever tried! I even use it when my contacts are in and have never had any issues. Although the sample bottle is pretty big (you only need a few drops each day), I will probably have to purchase this when I run out.

I love a mud mask.

I love a mud mask.

Pores Be Pure Skin-Clarifying Mud Mask by Formula 10.0.6 — I bought a sample pack of all sorts of different products by Formula 10.0.6 from Ulta and I’m impressed. Their products are affordable (no more expensive than other drugstore brands), and they always seem to work great. My sample pack had a bottle of the Skin-Clarifying Mud Mask with strawberry and yarrow, and it leaves my skin feeling nice and smooth. Win!

Lemon water — Since it’s getting hotter out, I’ve been trying to make an effort to drink more water; like, a lot of water. I bought myself a new water container that I take everywhere (I even tuck it into bed with me). But the truth is, I’ve never really liked drinking water, so I need ways to spice it up. And lately, just adding a squeeze of lemon has helped me down a few containers each day.

Turns out, lemon water has some great benefits: aids in digestion, reduces cravings, helps to flush toxins from the body, is great for the skin, and boosts the immune system, among other things. Check out this water bottle that aids in adding ANY fruit or other foods to your water!

The Nike Studio Wrap has changed my workouts!

The Nike Studio Wrap has changed my workouts!

Studio Wrap Shoes by Nike — I’ve had these on my wish list for awhile now, and a few months ago I found a pair at TJ Maxx. They were my size, and a great bargain, and I’ve been wearing them for my workouts ever since. For the longest time, I completed my boxing/kickboxing workouts barefoot. Until my gym switched from a mat to a harder flooring. I needed more support on my feet, but my tennis shoes were getting in the way, and sliding on the floor (not good for plank position). The wrap shoes grip the floor while providing support for the balls of my feet. They are great for yoga, too!

Not Your Mother’s Beach Babe Texturizing Sea Salt Spray — I have been wanting beach hair for months and was delighted to discover that it’s possible for a small $8. This stuff gives my hair a nice texture, smells great, and isn’t too sticky like previous beach sprays I’ve tried. I spray it on when my hair is damp (after letting it air dry), give it a little scrunch, and I’m out the door. Want more beach hair tips? Check out my previous blog post on this tricky hair style.

Flavored coffee — I get up every morning (every single morning) at 6am. Coffee comes first. I set my coffee pot the night before so all I have to do is pour a cup when I shuffle the 20 steps from my bed to my kitchen. I’ve always enjoyed my coffee black. No sugar, no creams, no syrups. So, there’s not much room for variety unless you get a flavored coffee. Voila! Right now I’m drinking a red velvet coffee, and I recently bough a bag of coconut coffee that I’m excited to try. It just has a subtle flavor that makes me happy as I start my day.

So, what are your favorite things right now?

Single Girl Recipe: Eggs.

Cute colored eggs!

Cute colored eggs!

I know everyone’s got different opinions about eggs; and the health benefits of them are always in question. Is it the good cholesterol or not? What about the fat content?

Well, I’m of the school of thought that eggs are a great source of protein (did you know one egg has 12g of protein and just 1 carb?!) and they are inexpensive. Sounds like a perfect combo to me!

YUM.

YUM.

I go on kicks where I love eggs in various forms, and sometimes I’m just not feeling them. But lately, I’ve been seeing these beautiful pictures of soft boiled eggs on Instagram (I’m talking to you, Crunchy Radish, and BarbellsNBeauties) and they look delicious!

So, I had to figure out how to make the perfect soft boiled egg. Enter: Google. I found several different sets of instructions, and really, it all depends on how “soft” you actually want your egg. I wanted a hard egg white, and a soft yolk.

Usually, when I hard boil an egg, I put it in the pot, cover with cold water, and turn the burner on high. I let the water reach a boil, then turn off the heat and let the egg sit in the water until it reaches room temperature.

For my soft boiled eggs, I put a pot of water on the stove and let it reach a simmer (small bubbles). Then, I put my eggs in, and left them in for 6-ish minutes. I got them out of the water, and let them cool so I could peel them.

It was my first try, but they were nearly perfect! It was a little softer than I wanted, but I peeled them, and put them in my dish (red quinoa and mushrooms) and popped it all in the microwave for 30 seconds and that did the trick!

While a soft boiled egg is a great addition to a salad, you can devour it with just about anything. Below are some recipes that include this new favorite of mine:

What are some of your favorite ways to eat eggs?

Pic of the Week.

My new obsession — crave blocking shakes!

My new obsession — crave blocking shakes!

In exactly 37 days, I’ll be on the beach! So, I have really started to amp up my workout routine, make sure my diet is clean, and that I’ve got the portions under control.

Lately, I’ve been only wanting to eat snacks. I’m a firm believer in eating whatever your body is telling you to eat (within moderation, of course), so I’m still snacking. Of course, I’m going for healthy snacks: raw veggies, hummus, fruit, peanut butter, edamame, Greek yogurt, and protein bars (you should see my pantry).

Need more healthy snack ideas? Check out my previous blog post on the matter. 

Anyway, I recently purchased a bag of Melaleuca’s Attain shakes, which contain 10 grams of protein per shake, and are said to contain “crave blockers” and fiber to keep the body feeling full and avoid any temptation to eat junk food. Um, give me that!

I’ve had two shakes now and they taste delish (I mix it with 8 ounces of unsweetened almond milk)! It is filling, and I’ve noticed when I do eat, I eat less. WIN.

From the website, “Attain with revolutionary, all-natural CraveBlocker®
helps stop cravings at both critical sources, putting you back in control. You can manage your weight without feeling hungry all the time. Without getting irritable. Without depriving your body of the nutrition it needs. Controlling cravings is an essential part of losing weight—and keeping it off for good.”

It comes in vanilla, strawberry, blueberry, and chocolate… of course I got the chocolate. However, I’m totally getting the strawberry and am going to mix it with the chocolate. BAM.

Just an FYI, I’m a preferred member of Melaleuca, so I get my products for way less dough. If you’re interested in signing up to be a preferred member, shoot me a message and I’ll be happy to set it up!

I seem to be on a protein-kick, and as pathetic as it sounds, I’ve got a little wish list going of protein I want to try. I’ve been eyeing Slender Bend by Protein World. Heard of it? Tried it?

According to the Protein World website, “This low calorie, high protein meal replacement shake will boost your metabolism, help you to feel fuller for longer and support the development of lean and toned muscle as you slim down. Protein is highly satisfying and helps build strong hair, skin and nails. We’ve also added a unique blend of green tea extract, raspberry ketones and multi vitamins to the mix, to curb those cravings and help you to become slimmer and healthier.*

Used as a meal replacement once or twice daily, the shakes help you to control your calorie intake enabling you to lose weight, healthily.”

I WANT.

What are some of your favorite healthy snacks, proteins, or meal replacements?

Pic of the Week.

Yummy, healthy Shanti Bars.

Yummy, healthy Shanti Bars.

Lately, I have been basically living off protein bars. Seriously. I take them to work and eat one when I don’t have time to break for an entire meal, or just pack them in my lunchbox so that when I do sit down to eat, I can get protein without the use of a fridge or a microwave.

Of course, there are some protein bars that are healthier than others, and I’m always trying to find healthy ones that taste great, without breaking the bank, of course.

Recently, I discovered Shanti Bars, which are the first EVER paleo-friendly bars I’ve seen! Not only are they paleo, but they’re also 100% organic, raw, vegan, gluten-free, and plant-based. They are handcrafted in sunny Miami, Florida, and made with non-GMO ingredients and NO preservatives — this is really, really amazing for a protein bar.

I got the variety pack, which included one bar of each flavor: coconut, goji, spirulina, goldenberry, cacao, mulberry, and turmeric.

I haven’t had ALL of the bars yet, but so far, Goldenberry and Coconut are my faves. Here’s why I’m loving the Goldenberry:

A zesty nut-free blend of super seeds mixed with a refreshing splash of lemon.

Each bite of the Shanti Goldenberry Protein bar is packed with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and other life-giving properties that heal, energize and rejuvenate the body and the mind. With 17 grams of plant based protein, this bar is perfect as a meal replacement or post workout recovery. Shanti Goldnberry Protein bar is jam packed with nutrient rich ingredients such as goldenberries, chia seeds and hemp seeds ready to boost your immunity and strength. To make it even more filling and fueling we added a bit of organic rice protein.

And the Coconut:

A satisfying combination of creamy coconut and sweet almonds.

Shanti Coconut Energy bar is packed with nutrients, bursting with flavor and life-giving ingredients like coconut and maca. It has all that you need to give you the burst of energy and all the health benefits your body needs. This energy bar provides 7g of plant-based protein. Coconut is not only delicious and creamy, it is also known as a fat burning agent. Think of coconut as your ally in energy. Delicious, nutritious and fat burning.

Yum! I love the chewy texture of the bars, plus the fresh taste. Very delicious! A perfect, guilt-free snack or even a meal replacement. Finally, a healthy option for someone on-the-go!

Single Girl Recipe: Snack edition!

Pre-workout avocado toast.

Pre-workout avocado toast.

For the last month, I’ve been trying to get back into a somewhat healthy routine. When I worked Monday-Friday, 9-5, it was pretty easy for me to meal plan, pack my lunch, and hit the gym every day at 5:15.

But my schedule is so different everyday now, and slowly, I’m finding ways to make it to the gym, but more importantly, eat food that’s good for me, and food that I can eat when I’m at work (where there is no break room, no fridge, and no microwave). I do have a nice lunchbox/cooler, so I can at least pack fresh things, but it’s often not a “meal” — I do better if I just leave it up to healthy snacks all day.

Here’s some of the snacks I’ve tried, and enjoyed, and hopefully it will help you stock your fridge and pantry with some healthier, and easy snack options.

Southwestern Corn & Black Bean Salad 

  • 1 can sweet corn kernels, drained
  • 1 can black beans, rinsed & drained
  • 1 tb fresh cilantro, minced
  • 2 tb chopped red onion
  • 1 Roma tomato, diced
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp hot sauce
  • Juice of 1 lime

Combine all ingredients and chill before serving. Easy, right? I like to eat this with Beanitos chips, or on top of a grilled chicken breast. You could also mix it in with some quinoa. It’s good to double the recipe so you’ll have plenty. If you’re feeling spicy, chop 1 jalapeno and mix it in.

Fresh Blueberry Chicken Salad With Almonds 

  • 2 whole chicken breasts, cooked
  • 1/2 c chopped red onion
  • 1 tb rice vinegar
  • 1/2 c minced green onion
  • 1/4 c chopped flat leaf parsley
  • 1/2 c dried cranberries
  • 1 c fresh blueberries
  • 1/2 c plain Greek yogurt
  • 2 tb low-fat mayonnaise
  • 1/4 c sweet mustard
  • 1/4 c toasted almonds

Dice chicken breasts and place in a bowl. Sprinkle red onion with rice vinegar and toss into bowl. Add the green onion, parsley, cranberries, and blueberries; fold into the mix. In a separate bowl, mix the mayo, yogurt, and mustard. Fold into chicken mix. Garnish with toasted almonds. This is delicious on its own, or in a wrap. Be careful eating with crackers — don’t want to overdo it!

Protein Bars 

Protein Bars are a must-have in my pantry. They are easy to bring to work, filling, and they often satisfy my sweet cravings. However, it’s tough to find good ones if you’re not paying attention. Plus, they can be expensive. I always look for sales (my grocery store often has them on sale for $1 each).

Feel free to make your own — check out this recipe — or, you can purchase them, just be sure to check the labels. Here are some of my favorites:

I also have a go-to protein powder: ChocoRite. It’s less than $15 for a bag, tastes great as a shake (I like to buy a bag of the Peanut Butter and one bag of the Fudge Brownie and mix them), plus it has 24g of protein in one shake .

Other snack ideas:

  • Apple with peanut or almond butter
  • Hummus and veggies (carrots, bell pepper, cucumber)
  • Cottage cheese and tomato (or fruit if you’ve got a sweet tooth)
  • Rice cake with nut butter, unsweetened coconut, and dried fruit
  • Hard-boiled eggs
  • Low-fat string cheese
  • Berries
  • Dried edamame
  • Soy nuts

What are some of your favorite healthy snacks?

Workout playlist.

Fit-speration.

Fit-speration.

If you had a New Year’s resolution to workout more, get fit, lose weight, etc., now’s probably the time you’re losing a little steam on the motivation front, right? Because of my career-change, my schedule changed with it, and I took a solid month (okay, more like five weeks) off in order to adjust.

But, for the last month, I’ve been back at it, hitting the gym 3-4 times a week. Most of the time, I’m able to take a kickboxing class, but sometimes I just have to snag a bike or a treadmill and get some movement in.

A lot of people tell me they wish they were as motivated as I am. I’ll tell you this: I don’t think I’m more motivated than the next. I still have to convince myself to go to the gym. But you know what? The gym only takes an hour or so out of my day (3-4 hours out of my whole week), and it helps me perform better in other areas of my life — I can actually stand on my feet for an 8-hour shift at work, and I sleep better when I’m on a regular workout regimen. And working out helps me make healthier food choices: I don’t want to ruin the hours I put in at the gym just for a greasy meal.

On the days when I’ve got to come up with my own workout, I can say that music helps me push through it when I don’t have a trainer motivating me. I pick songs that make me want to dance, and sometimes, dancing in my living room IS my workout! I really like to get into the singing part, too, so sorry neighbors. Here are some songs I’ve been burning calories to lately, and who knows, maybe they’ll help you, too! Got any good songs I should add to my list? Let me know!

Confident by Justin Bieber

Don’t hate! Everyone knows I’ve got a super crush on The Biebs, and just about ANY one of his songs gets my blood pumpin’, but this one has a fantastic beat. If I could properly pop-n-lock, I would. Instead I just pedal really fast.

Crazy by Kat Dahlia 

This is the first I’ve heard from Kat Dahlia, and I’m loving it! This song has great lyrics (“Is it crazy that I keep your shirt right here, just to smell your cologne?”), and a mix of hip-hop and pop. I love her raspy voice, too!

High Society by Betty Who

This one’s a little slower, so it might be good for a cool-down, however it’s still hella fun! It reminds me of an 80’s song — and I love 80’s dance music. If you like this song, check out her entire collection; it’s all fantastic!

2 On by Tinashe

This one never gets old. I’ve pretty much got no idea what it means (something drug related), but I love the beat and how it changes up throughout the song. It makes me want to wear red lipstick — while I’m working out!

This is How We Do by Katy Perry 

This one’s a tad cheesy, but it reminds me of being in college, and in college… I danced a lot at Fred’s (NO shame!). Which means, I’ve got no problem getting my dance on to this one!

Love More by Chris Brown, feat. Nicki Manaj

Chris Brown — my guilty pleasure! I know he’s a bad boy, but I just love his music — dance worthy, for sure. This one also has an awesome breakdown with Nicki, and once you see the video, you won’t be able to get these dance moves out of your head.

Lip Are Movin by Meghan Trainor 

Everyone dogs on Meghan Trainor, but her songs are fun, flirty, and they get stuck in my head. I definitely love the beat of this one; perfect for dancing in the kitchen and/or running on the treadmill.

A Milli by Lil Wayne 

An oldie but a goodie! This is one of my favorite Weezy songs (Go DJ is my favorite) because I love the cocky lyrics, plus it has a fantastic beat with heavy bass that I love cranking up in my car (CATCH me at a red light when this is on). It’s a good one to listen to pre-workout — there’s just no way you can sit still to this one.

Work Bitch by Britney Spears 

Is there a workout playlist that DOESN’T feature Britney? Okay, probably, but she’s fun, plus, listening to this gets me thinking about the killer shape she’s in… and I want abs like Britney has!

Beautiful by Mali Music

This is definitely a slower song, but I am obsessed! I love sweet songs, and this one is like a love ballad put to a beat. I heard this one at work about a month ago, and I always get so amped when it comes on. Get a few vinyasas in with this one!

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