Fitness Friday Leg Days

Happy Friday! It’s supposed to be 70+ and sunny today. Can’t wait to sit out on our deck tonight. Especially since this amazing weather will be short lived, it’s back to reality by Sunday with temps only in the low 50’s. With the fabulous weather we’ve had this week I’ve taken advantage of it and spent some time outside and took the dogs on a few long walks.

 

Sunday: Cardio and weights

Monday: Off but a walk with the dogs and a few move from the Lorna Jane Challenge

Tuesday: Yoga Sculpt

Wednesday: Fitness Blender Leg Workout and Walk with the dogs

Thursday: Yoga Sculpt

Friday: Off! My legs are sore today.

Saturday: Planning on spin class and a Lift Weights Faster 2 workout

 

A great week of workouts and I feel amazing because of it! Increased energy (minus the insomnia) and that great sore feeling in my legs, especially my quads and hamstrings. I’m doing a 4 week booty boot camp program. Lot’s of legs! Mixing that in with Lift Weights Faster and Yoga Sculpt and I know I am going to be feeling it. I can’t recommend their workouts enough! Especially if you are short on time and want to get in your workout at home. They are real people who provide great workouts for free (or a low price for a program like this). The lower body weight video I did Wednesday was brutal. So many variations of squats and deadlifts. My 30lb kettlebell came in handy to make sure I was lifting enough weight.

 

 

We had a heavy leg day yesterday in yoga sculpt with lots of lunges and squats. I knew when I went to bed last night I would be sore today. And I was correct! Right before bed I even took ZMA to help with soreness. I was sent a sample and have been taking it all week. Look for updates later this month on how I feel it worked. A combination of zinc, magnesium, B6 and theanine. All are supposed to help with muscle recovery and sleep. Fingers crossed!

 

Product Image for Zma With Theanine

 

I’ve been doing the Lorna Jane challenge moves too (almost done) and if you ever think that body weight exercises don’t work. Wrong! These move kick my butt every single time.

Thirsty Thursday Two Lands Wine

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Thirsty Thursday. That was a term we used in college! I’ve had a crazy week and didn’t have a chance to post for Wine Wednesday but wanted to talk about Two Lands wine. I attended a virtual tasting last week with these great wines.

 

It’s a collaboration between  Ehren Jordan and Bernard Hickin, mixing California and Australia into an affordable, easy drinking wine. We tuned into a webinar and got to see the wine makers, ask questions and learn all about their joint effort.

 

All the wines are $13.99 and we tasted Cab, Shiraz, Pinot Grigio and Chardonnay. The shiraz and pinot grigio were my favorite by far. If you are looking for something a little more unique check out Two Lands. It should be in most liquor stores, since it was launched in March.

 

The shiraz had notes of blackberry, plum and dried fruit and the pinot grigio had pear and apple with just a hint of acidity. Wine is such a personal thing, one person may like a wine while cant stand it. Our neighbors and Bridget and Ben were over and we all had thoughts on each wine. That’s what I love about tastings!

 

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Drink Your Water

We all know we need to drink water, and lots of it. But drinking plain water all day every day can get a bit boring. I don’t drink juice on a regular basis and try to limit soda to just a few a week. So what are you to do? Sparkling water is an option (probably the thing we use our soda stream for the most), infuse with things like lemon and cucumber, or a natural drop like Sweet Leaf.

 

At work my desk is at the far end of the building, the opposite side from the lunch room where I need to get water. It’s an excuse to get extra steps but hard to fill up my bottle when I am short on time between meetings. My goal is at least 48 ounces at work (2 of my bottles) and another 2 at home. It can be hard to get in!

 

I’ve been using my infusion bottle at home (I have ones like these)

 

 

I’m a big fan of lemon, frozen berries, slices of cucumber, even orange and grapefruit. Anything to add more flavor! I’ve also been using Sweet Leaf drops for a hint of sweetness, they are all natural and the lemon lime is so good.

 

 

With how much I workout I know I need to keep my water intake up. Pretty much everyone knows you need to keep me hydrated or I get crabby.  One of my other major side effects is horrible headaches. All the more reason to drink more water.

 

Any tips for adding flavor to your water?

 

 

Sleep… Or Lack Of It

Let’s talk sleep. I hope everyone else is actually sleeping. At least better than I do! I tend to go in cycles of sleeping decently and then hardly at all. Right now it’s the hardly at all cycle.

 

 

6 is about my average and usually I get 1-2 hours of sound sleep. Not enough! In an effort to try to turn that in a better direction I am focusing on a few things:

 

  1. In bed by 9 (I get up at 5 most days during the week)
  2. Keeping a cool room
  3. Closing the curtains to make the room as dark as possible
  4. Socks. It’s crazy but I do think it’s helped and I had stopped doing this for a while.
  5. Lavender oil. I’m not one of those crazy essential oils will cure everything kind of people, I buy mine at Whole Foods and put it on my feet and a few drops on the pillow.
  6. Making a to-do list the night before. No need to be up at 2am thinking about everything that needs to be done later that day.

 

If I make small changes I am hoping I can get back to a slightly better routine and increase the number of hours. 7 would be wonderful, 8 would be downright euphoric.

 

Fingers crossed!

Fitness Friday Favorites and Sore Muscles

It’s almost the middle of April and we had snow flakes flying last night! We woke up to frost and fog this morning as well but the weather is supposed to be spring like this weekend with temperatures in the 60’s. I will take those warm temps any day. Break out a maxi dress, do some grilling and get to some of those outdoor projects that have been on the list for quite a while (ahem, window cleaning. Ick.)

 

With the colder than average weather this past week I have been loving the nice hot room in yoga sculpt. Nothing like 100+ degrees to sweat in. You leave feeling so much better (and warmer). It’s also felt great to be back to my routine, this will be the 3rd week in a row of 5 workouts. My body is thanking me :)

 

Sunday: Cardio and a Lift Weights Faster 2 workout as soon as we got home from Wisconsin

Monday: Off

Tuesday: Yoga Sculpt

Wednesday: Fitness Blender Cardio Kickboxing and 21 Day Fix Extreme Pilates

Thursday: Yoga Sculpt

Friday: Off (I am so sore)

Saturday: Planning on cardio and a Lift Weights Faster 2 workout

 

I pushed myself pretty hard this week and am really feeling it. It’s a good sore (yes, I do believe that being sore can feel good) but I am still pretty sore. Between the LWF2 workouts, pushing myself in yoga sculpt and doing cardio kickboxing it hurts to move my arms or twist my torso. Even though I work out regularly I can still end up sore from doing different  types of movements, hello cross and jab and all the new moves from LWF2.

 

So what do I do about that soreness?

  1. Foam Roll
  2. Tiger  Tail Roller
  3. Hot Showers
  4. Muscle Rub (such as BioFreeze or Rock Sauce)
  5. Stretching

 

 

I’ve been using all of those this week! We actually keep the Tiger Tail roller in our bookshelf in the living room. As I am watching TV I can roll out any stiffness. Enough about my sore arms, let’s talk a few new favorites. I scored 2 new Lululemon pieces for 50% off at my yoga studio. It’s pretty much the only time I buy it! This Just Breathe Long Sleeve shirt. So cute, incredibly soft and comfortable.

 

 

And these Run Inspire Crops. LOVE them.

 

Run: Inspire Crop II BLK/Q600/FFSB 6

 

 

New shoes to wear to/from the gym or for casual clothes. I have 2 other pairs of Vionic shoes and they offer the best support. These Ailie Walkers are adorable and I love how easy they are on slip on and off. (Thanks to Vionic for sending these to me!)

 

 

New shoes #2 are the Sketchers Go Walk. Famous Footwear had these on sale and I needed a new pair of black colored casual sneakers after a pair of Puma’s that I had since 2010 finally ripped. These are slip on as well and the inside feels like a yoga mat. So comfortable! They were on sale for $50 and that’s more than I usually pay for casual shoes like this but I have been living in them on the weekends.

 

Women's Skechers GOwalk 2 - Hypo

 

I have a slight obsession with 1/4 zip pullovers. I have way too many but I am always wearing them. To/From the gym and yoga, around the house, heck I even sleep in them sometimes if I am too cold. And now that warmer weather is coming (I really hope so) I use them as sun protection too. If you are looking for a good brand I highly recommend Coolibar. They sent me this 1/4 zip and I love that it has UPF 50+. Great for this pale blonde.

 

 

Fabletics. I know I’ve sang the praises before but I really do love them. I skip the outfits most months (which you can do with no penalty) but I saw this and had to have it. The Aruba top and Fold Over Capri’s. The top is pretty open so I wear a fuller coverage sports bra under it. And a bonus is that you can dress this up for everyday wear too. Their sizing tends to run a bit small, I order an XS in tops and bottoms.

 

 

Wine Wednesday Villa Sandi Prosecco

Villa Sandi Prosecco (1 of 1)

Ah bubbles. One of my favorite things! Especially prosecco, I actually might prefer it to real champagne. I love the feeling of bubbles and I especially love a semi dry prosecco. You can drink it out of a beautiful flute or as a mimosa with either orange juice or grapefruit juice.

 

Maybe on a Sunday Funday at brunch! Or sitting outside on that first beautiful evening like I did with this Villa Sandi Prosecco. It was a great sample and perfect for spring. Perfect bubbles!

 

Villa Sandi Prosecco (1 of 1)

 

 

Different

On being different. I’ve never been one to follow the crowd, heck my kindergarten teacher told me Mom that when I was 5.  It’s one of those hindsight things, I should have embraced it from that moment on. But I had the typical childhood & teenage angst and chalked it up to that. I did my own thing but would never broadcast it. Again, I should have just embraced being me. Fast forward to college and I started taking steps to being more of me instead of following the crowd. Baby steps. But it was progress. 30 hit and I knew that I was done being like everyone else. It had been a hard year and I kept seeing everyone around me living their life. Jealousy and a desire for normalcy hit. But that was wrong, and I knew it. I am not your average 30 something, heck I am not your average woman. I know that and live it.

 

 

I don’t (and won’t ever) have kids. I don’t live in the tan house, in the tan suburb. I don’t go on vacation to Mexico or Jamaica every year. Or go to church on Sunday’s. If that’s your thing, great. But it’s not mine. Instead I live in a very unique house on a few acres, have 2 dogs and a pet pig, travel the world, I’m an atheist (not something I have ever shared on the blog), I’m terrified of spiders, love great food and wine. That list could go on and on with all the reasons I am me.

 

Over the past year I have drastically changed my circle of friends, I am even closer to a select few and I’ve branched out to meet people who share my passions. I have done the same with family. While it hurts to say it; I’ve lowered my expectations. I will never had the super supportive family who “gets” me. That’s ok! They are still my family and I love them. Just because they don’t see things the same way as I do, doesn’t have to change how I feel. What it has changed is the type of conversations I have with them. It’s more high level than deep into details and feelings.

 

 

As I settle into my mid 30’s I am choosing to embrace my different. I am focusing on a career that I love, on my husband and animals, on seeing the world, on my set of beliefs. I am not one to follow the crowd but I am going to start deviating even more from it. I have the confidence to embrace that difference and I choose to not be like others. This is my creative outlet and I will continue to use it as such. But I am not going to start creating recipes or posts just to be like others. I’m going to write what makes ME happy.

 

Thanks for reading and support my decision to be different and not follow the blogging (or any) crowd.

Secret Recipe Club Spinach Egg Bake

Spinach Egg Bites (1 of 2)

It has been a crazy week, between training for work, spending a few days in Wisconsin and trying to rearrange our living room for a new couch that is coming next week (side note, it’s really hard to work with a long narrow room and find furniture).

 

March seemed to fly by and felt like a blur. All of a sudden it’s April and hopefully spring weather will be stick around. My pick for the Secret Recipe Club this month was a spinach egg bake. I had breakfast for the week and it was packed with veggies. Thanks to Sawsan from Chef In Disguise for this great recipe. I spent so much time on her blog and really want to make some of her Middle Eastern recipes, she has a soup that I have all the ingredients for and will be making as soon as I have some free time on a weekend.

 

This egg bake is perfect for busy mornings. I portioned them out into containers and had breakfast all week. I grabbed my container in the morning and with a quick minute or two in the microwave I had a delicious, filing breakfast. Spinach, onion and peppers for veggies and protein from the eggs, it was great to get extra servings in the morning too.

 

Spinach Egg Bites (1 of 2)

 

Spinach Egg Bites (2 of 2)

 

 

 

Secret Recipe Club Spinach Egg Bake
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • 1 medium onion chopped
  • 6 cups fresh spinach
  • 1 bell pepper, finely diced
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese
  • ½ cup milk
  • 8 eggs
  • Salt/Pepper
  • ½ teaspoon dried basil
  • ¼ cup shredded cheese
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 325.
  2. Spray a mini muffin pan with olive oil or cooking spray.
  3. In the blender or food processor add the eggs, ricotta cheese, milk, basil, salt and blend. Fold in the red peppers and onion.
  4. Pour the egg mixture into the mini muffin pan.
  5. Sprinkle the shredded cheese on top.
  6. Bake for 20-30 minutes or until the tops are browned and the center is set.

 

Wine Wednesday Roustabout Meritage

Roustabout Meritage (1 of 1)

Oh Paso Robles, you make some of my favorite wine from the U.S. That deep red where you can almost taste the age of the vines and the area around it. It sounds so cliche but gosh darn it I love pretty much every single wine from Paso Robles.

 

Especially this under $10 pick from Trader Joe’s. I wax on and on about the wines there but they have unique wines at an incredible valley.

 

And I can guarantee I am usually a fan of any meritage (read red blend).

 

Roustabout Meritage (1 of 1)

Spring Soup with Spinach and Beans

Spring Soup with Spinach and Beans (1 of 3)

Making a big pot of soup is such a comfort for me, have a bowl for dinner and then knowing I get to look forward to the leftovers for lunch for the next day. This is a lighter soup packed with veggies, beans and a hint of flavor that you just can’t put your finger on (that’s the Herbs de Provence and white wine vinegar). This can come together in 30 minutes but I love letting it simmer a bit longer on the stove to really deepen in flavor.

 

Another trick to this soup is pieces of the rind from Parmesan cheese, when we finish a block of any hard cheese I cut the rind off the end and throw it in a bag in the freezer. It ads such great flavor and you only need a few small pieces to really impact the soup.

 

This is delicious with some crusty bread and butter. I thoroughly enjoyed this meal!

 

Spring Soup with Spinach and Beans (1 of 3)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Spring Soup with Spinach and Beans (3 of 3)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Spring Soup with Spinach and Beans
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: Serves 4
Ingredients
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely diced
  • 5 garlic cloves, minced
  • 6 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 teaspoon Herbs de Provence
  • 2 (15-ounce) cans Great Northern beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 1 2 to 3 inch piece cheese rind
  • 1 bag baby spinach (about 6 cups)
  • 3 large carrots, diced
  • ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • Salt/Pepper
  • 1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
  • Grated Parmesan cheese for serving
Instructions
  1. Heat a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add oil to pan.
  2. Add onion, and sauté for 4 minutes, stirring frequently. Add garlic, and sauté for 30 seconds.
  3. Add vegetable broth and the next 5 ingredients (through cheese rind); bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 10 minutes. (If you want a richer flavor let simmer 30 minutes
  4. Add carrot cover and simmer for 15 minutes or until carrot is tender. Stir in spinach red pepper, salt, black pepper, and vinegar. Cook until spinach is wilted (about 5 minutes)
  5. Remove and discard rind; sprinkle soup with shaved cheese.