My Life Right Now In (Borrowed) Pictures.

Hey everybody!  I am super stressed out and busy but I love to bloggity blog, because it is so therapeutic.    As I am stressed (getting married in 9 days …9 …omg) I feel I can best express my current state of anxiety through the medium of the photo.  So here it is, my friends.  Prepare to be blown away.  Or kill like 25 seconds of your life that you absolutely cannot get back.  You were warned

My current mental state:

 

Why do I feel this way?

 

How I’m coping…

 

…And how’s that’s working out for me?

 

So, my dress is kinda tight right now…

 

What am I doing about this?

 

Instead of…

Or…

 

…I’ll just pull out a few tricks.

 

 

Whatever, I’m gonna walk up to my fiance all like this…

 

Because, I know he thinks I’m perfect.  Just as I am.

 

Thanks for letting me vent, you guys!

 

What would your life right now be like in pictures?  I know, I’m ridiculous.

xoxo

Hold The Potato, Bring On the Cheesy Cauliflower Mashed

So, it’s Tuesday, and that means it’s time to  #DishTheFit with Jessica Joy and Jill Conyers!  This week’s link-up is all about making healthier dishes for the upcoming Thanksgiving feast we’re all facing here in America!

Most people LOVE mashed potatoes, right?  They are a total comfort food and they are a blank food canvas; you can add garlic, cheese, spices, or whatever you fancy, really!  Did you know that cauliflower can be just as delicious and yield less calories and carbohydrates?  You know what you can eat with all those extra calories and carbs available?  Pie!  OR another glass of wine (or two) if you’re idea of spending the day with family is less than awesome.  I hope that’s not the case, but that’s why there’s wine, right?  :)

Here’s a side-by-side comparison of the potato vs. the cauliflower!
 photo potvcauli_zps467da75c.jpg

Recipe checklist:

  • 1 large head cauliflower, finely chopped (about 2 pounds)
  • 1 cup reduced sodium chicken stock
  • 2 tablespoons roasted garlic
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup 1 % milk
  • 1 cup reduced fat shredded sharp Cheddar
  • 1/4 cup reduced fat sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons chopped chives
  • 3 Cloves of garlic, minced

Directions:

Add the cauliflower to a medium-sized saucepan along with the chicken stock.  Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat and cook until tender, about 8 to 10 minutes.  Add the  garlic and season with salt and pepper, to taste.  Stir in the milk and puree with an immersion blender until smooth.  Mix in the cheese and taste for seasoning. Transfer the mixture to a serving bowl and garnish with sour cream and chives.  Yum!

If you’re not brave enough to go the full cauliflower route, you could add in a couple of potatoes to mix it up.  You’ll still be cutting calories, but getting in a little of that spud love!

What healthy side (or main) dishes do you make for Thanksgiving?

xoxo

Move It Monday #2 : One Week Shred, One Week Later

Happy Monday!  It’s snowing and I’m freaking out, but as long as the weather is nice this Friday in Glasgow, Dublin, and Boston, I don’t care what it does here at the moment!

I am SUPER busy this week, but I am still going to make sure that I take the time to exercise  though!  I am lucky, because I am an instructor, so if I do get too caught up, I still have to exercise at some point!  This morning, I am going to squeeze in this workout, which has always been a no-fail for getting sweaty and reving up the ‘ol metabolism!

Plyometric Workout

One Week Shred Review

…and?

So it’s one week later, and I completed Jillian Michael’s One Week Shred.  So, everybody loves the claim that you could “lose up to 7 pounds in 7 days”, right?  Here’s my thoughts on this edition of Jills workout library:

 

Pros:

  • Challenging workout.
  • You’ll definitely sweat.
  • Variety of moves, fast pace.
  • You will get some results.
  • SUPER affordable!

 

Cons:

  • Workout comes with a rigid food plan (which I did not follow to a T since I don’t like a lot of what she had on it).
  • Some moves are definitely not suitable for beginners (even the modifications).
  • For best results you’re encouraged to do the workouts as an  AM/PM circuit, which isn’t realistic for busy people.
  • Some moves could definitely cause injury if not done properly

My thoughts on OWS

So, as I stated in the “cons” list, I did not follow Jillian’s food plan exactly.  I won’t say I went crazy overeating, as I eat a balanced and reasonable diet, but I definitely didn’t follow it exactly.  You can see the OWS eating plan here.   I actually didn’t really find the workout super challenging as far as my being able to keep up or do all the moves properly, but I am in good shape.  However, the moves of this workout did leave me sweating.  In fact, I loved the resistance training workout, and will probably use it intermittently  with my resistance training routine.  I did start getting bored about day 4, but I think that’s totally normal when you’re doing the SAME two routines every day, which you cannot do in the long run, because you will have major adaption and overuse issues.  Mix it up, peeps; variety is truly the spice of fitness!

My results on OWS

I didn’t lose any weight.  Not a pound.  However, you don’t want to get me started on my “stop using scales as success” speech, it’s far too earlayyy for that!   I will say this though, please, do NOT use your scale as the mark of your success.  I think they are somewhat pointless in most cases.  But I digress, I did lose about an inch off my lower abdomen and a 1/4 inch on each arm, which isn’t bad for a week’s worth of working it. Please also keep in mind I teach classes all week as well, so this was NOT my only exercise for the past week.

Also, please  (please, please!) excuse my “Day one/Day 7″ photos; they are terrible … in every way.  My room is a mess and I’m a mess, but you get the idea of what I’m showing ya’ll!

 photo Day1_zpsca72eebd.jpg
 photo Day7_zps617895df.jpg
Again, these are, like, the worst fitness selfies ever, but I would definitely say there was a little bit of change.  So the verdict is, depending on your starting point, you may be able to make a jump start on changing your body.  I think that following the food plan exactly, will probably help, but I would say as long as you’re eating a balanced diet and avoiding alcohol you will probably get the same results.

However, if you’re not trying to do it as a quick fix before a wedding, reunion, or other special event; I would just start out eating well and getting at least 30-45 minutes of resistance training and cardio excercise 5 days a week and you’ll likely see similar results.

I give One Week Shred a 3 out of 5.

Well, I gotta hit the road, but I hope you’re having a great Monday and you get up and “move it” too.

If you have done the One Week Shred – I would love to know your thoughts on it and whether or not you had success.  Did you like it?  Hate it?  LOVE it?  I wanna know!

Have a great day!

xoxo

Healthy Living Blogs Friday Feature : Beets Per Minute

I want to thank the Healthy Living Blogs community for selecting me for their Friday Feature.  It really made my day!  If you’re a healthy living blogger you should join the community as well.  I have discovered so many great blogs through their network and look forward to being a member in the days to come!

Brought to you by, #ShamelessSelfPromotion.

Toodles xoxo

Links I Like Friday

Happy Friday!

TGI Fizzle, Peeps!

Did you wake up to snow and slippery roads like yours truly?  I teach a 6:15 am class on Fridays, in hindsight, hitting snooze three times wasn’t a good idea after having to warm-up my car, clean it off, and drive like Mr. Magoo to the gym.  #NotReady

Hope you’ve been having a great week and have some exciting things to do with your time this coming weekend.  As per, I will be prepping for my upcoming nuptials and preparing for my gorgeous fiance, Luke, to arrive NEXT FRIDAY!  I’m one lucky chick, seriously!
 photo 1293_zpsc444d645.jpg

Links I Like

Bagels to Broccoli

Okay, so, I’ve decided I am really loving blog link-ups, like a lot, and love the idea Jen at Bagels to Broccoli created called “Links I Like”.  Every Friday bloggers can participate by sharing links that they’ve enjoyed over the week about fitness, recipes/food, and general discussions about healthy living!  So without futher ado…

 

Food

  1. Energizing Zucchini Bread Breakfasts Cookies via The Athletic Avocado.  Zucchini bread made into cookies …this is a no-brainer!
  2. Broccoli and Cheese Tots via Skinnytaste (my go-to site for all things healthy and delicious!)  I love broccoli.  I love cheese.  I LOVE tots.  Triple whammy!
  3. Butternut Black Bean Burgers via Peas & Crayons.  So many of Jenn’s recipes looks so delicious and good for you!

Fitness

  1. Popsugar Best Dumbbell Arm Exercises via Popsugar – I love this arm workout, I have actually been doing it for weeks – it’s  great circuit!
  2. Slim Legs  and Shapely Shoulder Workout Video via Flavalicous Fitness.  If you haven’t been to Flavia Del Monte’s blog, you should.  She has some fantastic free workouts and loads of nutrition information for a lean and strong bod!
  3. What’s Your Workout Personality Quiz via Fitness Magazine.  I got “biker babe” – what’s your workout personality?  These things are so fun to do.  …I know, I’m a geek!

Discussion Worthy

  1. Are you too scared to exercise? via The Fat Girls’ Guide to Running.  This site is fabulous.  Honestly, I got very caught up in Julie Creffield’s amazing website and posts, literal hours had flown by before I noticed I had to actually get off my own butt and do something!  Her blog is really wonderful for anybody out there who refuses to feel like they have to fit a certain mold to be fit or enjoy fitness!  I say A-MEN.
  2. People Who Don’t Know They Are My Friends via RunEatRepeat.  I had such a chuckle reading this post, because I feel the exact same way when I run into people all the time during workouts!   Do you have people you see at the gym or while you’re working out that you consider an acquaintance …even if they don’t know you do? I totally do!

So there you have it, the links I’ve been spending time this week enjoying and enriching my life with.  I encourage you to do the same.  Join the link-up with Jen at Bagels to Broccoli!  It’s fun to share!

What are some of your favorite links?

xoxo

Chili Without Beans. Cake Without Eggs. #WIAW

Happy Wednesday!  Time for another edition of (drum roll, please…)

 

This week has been so mental.  I mean really, even for me.  Trying to repaint the living room, construction on the house outside, classes to teach, wedding decorations to make …HELP!

cray cray, mmmkay?

OM.  Okay, I’m fine.  Luckily, I have been making some easy and tasty food to get me through the nutsoness of this week.  Here’s a couple of the things I’ve been chowing down on so far…

 

Skinnytaste’s No Bean Turkey and Sweet Potato Chili

I am a huge fan of Gina Homolka and have been for a few years now.  She is the creator of Skinnytaste, a wonderful website full of (practically) every type of recipe under the sun!  I have several absolute go-to faves of hers, but this week I made a big batch of her No Bean Turkey and Sweet Potato Chili.  Obviously, if you’re a vegetarian, this probably won’t appeal to you, but I totally think it would be delicious with a meat substitute as well.  This recipe is incredibly simple and so good!  It’s also loaded with sweet potato-ey goodness and has a kick to it, which is really nice on these colder nights we’re getting in New England (and most of the country right now!)  Check out the link above for the recipe and try it out.  Here’s my really sad food photography of it.  Sorry, it was so sexy it steamed up my camera, kids!

IMG_20141109_184819

“3-2-1 -15″ Cake

I’ll be honest with you, this cake actually should only take a minute to cook, but if you’re like me and have a “microwave-free” home,  you’ll have to rub sticks together over a pit in your yard OR use your oven.  I know, how lame am I?

I found the recipe idea for this simple cake snack from Brooke: Not on a Diet as she is a Weight Watchers coach and this is a WW’s approved treat!

All you need to make this 3-2-1 cake, as it’s aptly named, is one box of angel food cake mix, any other boxed cake mix of your choice, and water.  Using a container, combine the two mixes together thoroughly and keep on hand for whenever you need a cake fix! That’s it, seriously!

I’m a sucker for red velvet cupcakes, so I went with that as my secondary mix choice.  I also, sorta got cray on it, and added in some white chocolate chips.  Don’t judge, I’m really stressed.  Also, it looked super festive.

Why’s it called “3-2-1 Cake”?  Because it takes six seconds to eat!  No, that’s not why.  It actually takes three seconds to eat.  But I digress, it is called “3-2-1″ because this cake yields:

3 Tablespoons of cake mix

2 Tablespoons of water

1 minute in the microwave

You mix it all together, throw it in a mug, and zap it for one minute.

Or, if you’re like me in the dark ages, it’s “3-2-15″ cake because you’ll need to stick that mix in a mini pan at 350F for 15 minutes.

It’s really quite tasty and very easy (even with an oven) to make when you want something sweet, but don’t want an entire cake lingering in front of your face.

no really, it's cake.

no really, it’s cake.

Well, my first coat of paint is dry, so it’s time for me to bounce! I hope you’re all having a great week so far,  eating well, and have a big smile on your faces!

What are you eating this week?

xoxo

I Get My Best Ideas …While I’m Sweaty: Fit Dish Link-up

Is that too much info? Sorry, but I’ve decided today to participate in #DishTheFit hosted by Jessica Joy of The Fit Switch and Jill Conyers of Jill Conyers.com and their topic this week is “Does Your Mind Wander? Thoughts While Running or Working Out.”

As I stated in my post title, I get my best ideas while I’m sweaty and no, I don’t mean while I’m sitting around just being sweaty, I mean when I’m working out.

I used to say I got my best ideas while I was drunk, but really, they weren’t my best ideas. Obviously.

Image and video hosting by HilariousGIFs.com

That gif right there just about sums up the entirety of my so-called “best ideas”, circa 2000-2010, based on general risk, scale, and stupidity.

SO glad I turned over a new leaf several years back…

But seriously, when I am out on a run or even leading a class I feel like I am able to organize my thoughts so much better than when I sit around actually thinking about how I should approach a task.   For me, I think that these positive and good ideas come not only from the feel-good endorphins running through my veins, but also, because like attracts like, and doing something positive can only lead more positivity.

What do I think about while I’m working out?

Any number of things can go on in my crazy noggin while I’m in a sweat session.   Lately, I’ve been thinking about my wedding plans and about seeing my fiance soon.  Keeping it clean, people, just generally being happy about seeing him since it’s been nearly two months!  However, over the years, I have had many positive and wonderful ideas during runs.  I’ve come up with (but not limited to) the following:

  • Fun hashtags.  I came up with #ForTheHellaFit and I should probably use it, and so should you, because it’s really fun.  Seriously, why has this not caught on?
  • Recipes.  If you want to come up with a healthier version of a food, shout it out to me before I go lead a spin class, and I will come back with pure gold.  Okay, maybe not always, but sometimes, and that’s saying something.
  • Money management.  Things like “OMG Netflix has totally been charging me for the last three months and I stopped using it” or “I need to set up auto pay on my credit card bill” run through my mind and help to keep me on track.  My credit report would indicate otherwise, but those things are negative and designed to make us all feel just a little worse about ourselves.
  • …and that brings me to the biggest (and most productive) thought I have during a workout:  “I like me, flaws and all, and if you don’t?  Too bad!”  Some days I struggle with this, and hey, we all do.  However, the empowerment of a workout can do wonders for our confidence and the way we see ourselves.  That’s really what taking care of yourself is all about, isn’t it?  How we feel and how we see ourselves.  After all, living and being the very best version of you is tantamount to your overall success.

There’s no getting around it; exercise has improved my life in every single way.  I don’t think I would have made it through the last several years as well as I have without the power of working out.  All the hours spent with just me, in my own head, taking on this crazy world don’t even seem possible anymore without my dearest friend, fitness.  Even if I feel more like Rocky in those moments and slowly slip back into my insecurities, or less awesome ideas, a little of that fighter is still in me each and every day; and you want to know what I think of that?  It’s f’n fantastic!

Does your mind wander during exercise? Or in general?  Join the conversation at www.thefitswitch.org or www.jillconyers.com for the “Fit Dish” Linkup! #DishTheFit

xoxo

Move It Monday & Jillian Michael’s One Week Shred

Happy Monday! How was the weekend? Yours truly spent most of the weekend cleaning cupboards. Party animal right here!

this was in the cupboard.

Okay, okay.   No, my cupboards did not open an Alice in Wonderland-like experience for me, though, I am certain if I got into any of my cupboards, I would hallucinate.  So, yes,  I really lived life to the fullest this past weekend.

Life Updates

In case you’re keeping track, or not for that matter, I am getting married in 17 days.  O. M. G.  Am I ready for this?  Errr, no.  I mean I am absolutely ready to become married to my wonderful fiance, but there’s still a LOT to do.  One of the things I have to buckle down on is making sure my dress fits!   I have not done the best the past couple of weeks with my diet or workout schedule.  I have, however, managed to help my mother lose 12 pounds.  Awesome, right?  So I have committed to two things over the next two weeks:

  1. To become a  Move It Monday ambassador
  2. Complete, my homegirl, Jillian Micheal’s One Week Shred (yeah, just the name hurts…)

 

Move It Monday

Move It Monday is an international campaign which encourages people of all fitness levels to get moving each week starting on Mondays.  They offer fitness routines, tips, and inspiration to help individuals, worksites, schools, and communities incorporate exercise into their weekly routines.

I have already expressed how motivating I find Mondays to be ; they are great.  Monday is your clean slate, new beginning, etc.  So, what would be better to do on a Monday than to make a pledge that you will start your week off right by exercising?  Not much, my friends!  You don’t have to start training for a triathlon; exercise can be a walk, taking the stairs all day instead of the elevator, trying a fitness class (um, ZUMBA is really fun, ahem), or anything that gets you moving.  Check out Move It Monday’s website and become an ambassador yourself to inspire and help others get healthy.  C’mon y’all, it’s the month of giving!

 

One Week Shred

 

If you’re like me, you have a love/hate relationship with Jillian Michaels.   I mostly love her though.  I think that she’s effective, motivating, and an overall genuine health and fitness professional.  With that being said …as Jillian would say, her “shred” series is off the chain!  I don’t know if you have ever tried her 30 Day Shred, Shred It With Weights, or Shed and Shred, but if you haven’t, homegirl works you out!

wowsa!

I, for one, am delighted that Jills put out her latest torture dvd:  One Week Shred.  This latest video is two (approximately) 30 minute workouts to be done each day, for 7 days.  Jillian claims if you follow her meal plan and the workout schedule and give it your all (whatever that might be) you can lose up to 7 pounds in 7 days.  It ain’t a cake walk.  Mmmm I’m going to talk about cake this week, but as far as this workout goes;  it is challenging!

The 30 minute workouts are comprised of a morning session of resistance training, where you will need weights between 5-10 pounds and a mat, and an evening session of cardio where you will be dripping with sweat for sure.  I just completed my morning resistance training session and I felt it.  Boy, did I ever!  I am going to stick with it through next week and see if Jillian can really deliver what she claims she can!

If you would like to take the challenge along with me, you can rent the One Week Shred for 7 days here via Amazon instant for $3.99.  I’m a trainer, and I can tell you, that is a PHENOMENAL rate for a week’s worth of sessions!

Whatever your goals are, be it a wedding (ahem), reunion, holiday party, improved strength and confidence, or because you want to jump start your weight loss journey; you can take the initiative to put this into action each and every day.  Monday is great place to start!

Here’s to you and your Monday!!!

How did you “move it” this Monday?

xoxo

Baked Breaded Panko Pickles #WIAW

 

Happy Hump Day!

I don’t know about you, but I’m looking forward to a nice break from the political ads.  I do realize it will be short lived, but still, I really think all that nastiness didn’t do much for my spirits.

One thing that totally lifts my spirits, however, is appetizers!  I have been known to order appetizers as meals many a time.  One of my most recent obsessions has become the deep fried pickle.  I love pickles – they are one of my absolutely favorite things.  Like, ever.  However, as much as I love pickles and fried food (I’m not going to lie — I love fried food) I totally don’t dig how fattening and calorie rich a deep fried pickle can be.   So, what’s the obvious solution?  Baked Panko Pickle Chips, of course!

delish.

delish.

What is panko?

The panko style of  breadcrumb is coarsely ground into airy, large flakes that give foods a light, crunchy coating. The flakes tend to stay crispier longer than standard breadcrumbs because they don’t absorb as much grease.  There are many varieties available now, and it is simple to even make your own.  Here’s an example from How Sweet Eats on how to make your own whole wheat panko breadcrumbs.

For my lightened up version of pickle chips, I opted to use Ian’s  gluten free version of panko, but you certainly do not have to; they are awesome either way.

Pickle choice.

For my pickle chips, I used a bread and butter pickle, but you  could really use any kind.  Some people prefer dill and some prefer sweet, again, it’s all a preference.  I like to dip my chips in a honey dijon mustard, so personally I think that the bread and butter variety goes really well with that particular dip choice!

You can get really schooled on all things pickle at I Love Pickles.

Random pickle fact:  Many people believed that sour pickles help balance the acid-alkaline content of the body and destroy bacteria in the digestive tract.  I think Dr. Oz recently said this too, so it must be true, right?  Uh, right.

Let’s do this.

So to make your pickle chips you will need (per dozen chips) only two things:

  • 1/4 cup of panko breadcrumbs (gluten free or regular)
  • 12 decent sized pickle chips

Directions

Preheat your oven to 400 F.  Pour your panko crumbs into a bowl and press each side of the pickle into the crumbs until they are covered, and place onto a greased cookie sheet.  Cook for 12-15 minutes depending on your oven.  Let cool for 10 minutes (pickles can be the DEVIL when they get hot inside!)  Serve along with your favorite dip or eat plain.  They are totally awesome either way.

 

Nutritional comparison.

Traditional deep fried pickle chips can run you anywhere from 180-240 calories per 7 chips (or one spear) and up to 10 grams of fat.  My panko version is just 180 calories for 12 and 1 gram of fat, plus there’s no grease involved so they are delicious and light.  A nice alternative for your next DIY “happy hour” or get together for all you pickle fans out there!

What’s your favorite appetizer?  Do you put a healthy spin on any of your faves?

xoxo

Dove Oxygen Moisture Product Review

**This post contains a  review of products sent to me by Dove, however, I have not been paid to promote their products and all opinions are my own based on my experience using these products.

Hello, hello!  Have you voted yet today?  Stop reading and go.  Then come back, of course, and finish reading.  Thanks.

So, over the weekend I received a free gift from Dove and I gladly accepted this gift.  I received bottles of their new Oxygen Moisture shampoo and conditioner from their Advanced Hair Series line.

good stuff.

good stuff.

I’m a beauty addict, this is something I cannot deny.  Though, since I no longer work in an office, I am pretty lazy about my hair and makeup these days.  It had been about a month and a half since I had given myself a blow out.  I LOVE big hair.  I love it, love it, LOVE IT.  I think it’s sexy, stylish, and gorgeous.  So, naturally, any product that aims to help people with fine hair, like yours truly, is right up my alley!

All about the goods.

Oxygen Moisture Shampoo is made with Oxyfusion Technology, a new generation of moisture. With lightweight, oxygen-fused conditioning ingredients, the formula rapidly disperses on your hair. It gently cleanses and moisturizes, breathing life into fine, flat hair.  Simply stated, it won’t weigh your hair down.  Weightlessness is a good thing!

I love the scent of this shampoo, it is beautiful.  I also love the way it felt after I rinsed my hair.  My hair felt soft and I could actually get my fingers through it before using conditioner!  Many times when I choose a shampoo formulated for fine or thin hair, they tend to leave my hair feeling coarse and fragile; if you have ever used a product promising volume and fullness, you know what I mean by this.

Oxygen Moisture Conditioner is pretty awesome as well.  It is a super light and sweet smelling as well.  As my hair was already pretty manageable after shampooing, I only needed a small amount of conditioner on my ends and it did the trick.

After light towel drying I was able to comb through my wet hair quickly and painlessly.  This also had me sold, because as I stated, I had not dried my hair for literal weeks.  When I don’t do this my normal pre-blow out routine begins something like this.

word.

The Verdict?

Overall, I am very impressed with these products for my hair type.  It made my hair softer, full, and more manageable – which is what it claimed it would do.  Good stuff!

I will definitely purchase the shampoo and conditioner going forward, but I did not try any of their styling products, which you can also get reviews on by clicking here.  I am not sure what your hair care budget runs you, but I have been known to drop up to $25 on a product if it promises me something.  I know, I am a marketing executive’s wet dream, but that’s just something I’ll have to live with.  However, a bottle of this shampoo and conditioner will only set you back about $10 in one go.  For the cost, value, and results; I was sold.

girl, look at the body.

girl, look at the body.

What’s your favorite beauty product?

**This post contains a  review of products sent to me by Dove, however, I have not been paid to promote their products and all opinions are my own based on my experience using these products.