Yoga and Autumn Soup Do a Soul Good

Can you tell from my post title that I’m just a bit stressed out at the moment?  I have had a really, really trying week so far; hope your week has been better than mine!  As I’ve been really stressed, I’ve actually taken the advice of everyone around me and decided to start doing yoga.  It really is good stuff!  I am admittedly NOT flexible at all.  In fact, when I was a youngster (yikes – old) taking gymnastics, my coaches used to make me spend 20 minutes minimum a day with my toes pointed under the sofa base whilst stretching my hip flexors and hamstrings.   I realized that while I was doing this that it was actually helping – so I guess it really makes sense for me to start emphasizing a stretching regimen.

I haven’t taken a yoga class in literal years.  I have to say, and as a fitness instructor I really shouldn’t, I think I much prefer doing yoga in the comfort of my home.  A friend of mine recommended Erin Motz’s 30 Day Yoga Challenge.

Howdy Erin!

Welcome to the DoYouYoga 30-Day Yoga Challenge with Erin Motz!

You’ve successfully joined over 50.000 yogis on an amazing and fun journey! We will be sending you one video yoga class every day for the next 30 days. So let’s dive right into it.

Click below to start day 1…

I’ve only done a couple days so far, but I love it – Erin is super cute and explains things wonderfully!  As a fellow Erin, this awesomeness is understandable  - just kidding, I’m not that full of myself.  Actually, right now I am full of coffee.  Anyhoo.

If you’re like me, you’ve probably made excuses about yoga and listed off reasons why you won’t make it a priority.  Yoga is really good for your mind, body, and soul – here’s some of the wonderful things yoga can do for you!

  1. Flexibility – better flexibility = more energy and less stiffness.
  2. Improved muscle tone and strength – for example, the downward dog works the shoulders, arms, core, hip flexors, and calves.  Also awesome, by lowering the head below the heart, this move helps to boost metabolism and fight fatigue.
  3. Better posture – when you’re stronger and more flexible, your posture automatically improves.
  4. Breathing techniques – learning how to breathe for relaxation.
  5. Less stress through practiced meditation.
  6. Heart health – yoga helps to reduce blood pressure by slowing the heart rate.  This is especially beneficial to individuals suffering with high blood pressure.

I encourage you to also register for the 30 Day Yoga Challenge and see what a little bit of stretching and spirituality can do for you!  Also, it’s FREE.  Who doesn’t love something free?

Autumn Soups

It’s autumn or fall or however you wanna call –(hey, that rhymes!)  Actually, I think technically in ‘merica it’s only autumn if it’s the autumn equinox, but whatevs.  I love all four seasons for each of their beauty and greatness, but I have to say I absolutely LOVE fall!  I love to bust out my boots, sweaters, cute jackets, and mostly I LOVE AUTUMN SOUPS!  Pumpkins and squashes of ALL kinds make wonderful soups, that are bound to please a wide variety of folks.  I love a traditional, simple, and super healthy butternut squash soup, myself.  I made some the other day and I am probably going to make a boatload of it for the freezer, it’s that good!  This soup recipe is so simple, really, especially if you can find cubed butternut squash (or dare I say it – even frozen) at your local grocery store.  What I absolutely love about this recipe is you can take this soup any direction you want.  Like garlic?  Add more.  Like coconut?  Add it.  Like curry?  Throw it in.

I like to roast my squash with Highland Farms Garlic Maple Pepper (this stuff = the bomb, btw!)  So all you need to make this soup is right here:

1 large butternut squash (cut into cubes, you can also do frozen – but fresh is best!)

1 medium yellow onion

2 cloves of garlic

24 ounces of chicken or vegetable stock

1 TBSP olive oil

Salt & Pepper

Any spices you like – I suggest seasoning your squash with it for the roasting portion of prep and a little extra in each bowl you serve.

Butternut squash can be a thorn in some people’s sides.  I get it, they are tough to cut, then there’s the whole scooping the guts out and dealing with the seeds.  However, Miss Nigela Lawson taught me that you can roast your squash whole and then cut the insides out.  This works really well.  I will roast a squash for about 60 minutes at 425 F (ovens vary as do sizes of squash) and then scoop out the remaining squash and roast an additional 10 minutes in salt, pepper, and whatever spices I’m going with.  It’s much less complicated this way, and you’re getting a fresh squash out of the deal!

Once you have decided how you’re going to prep your butternut squash you can move forward.  If you’re baking whole, follow the directions above.  If you’re gonna be a hero and chop and seed the squash yourself you’re going to roast it at 425 F for about 40 minutes on a cookie sheet (turn over bits about half way through.)

Directions:

Once your squash is nearly cooked,  in a dutch oven, or pot of your choice, turn to medium heat and add in the olive oil.  Place the chopped onion in the pot and saute until translucent.  Add in the chopped cloves of garlic and saute another 3 minutes.  Add in three cups of stock and simmer for 5 minutes.  Add in your roasted butternut squash and let the soup simmer on low for about 8 minutes.  Grab your immersion blender (or food processor) and blend until smooth.  Season to taste and add a couple of tablespoons of milk if you desire.  Get your eat on!

 

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What’s your favorite autumn soup?

xoxo

Cellulite: Fat or Fiction?

Okay, I never defend a single person in the Kardashian-Jenner clan, but this morning I stumbled upon a tabloid magazine cover blasting Kendall Jenner  for being “too fat” for runway modeling, and it really got under my skin – sorry for the pun.

rude.

rude.

There is a huge misconception about cellulite.  Most people connect it to being overweight or fat, but the truth is — I don’t know one woman who doesn’t have cellulite somewhere on her body– this is a fact!  I know women of all shapes, sizes, ages, heights, and races and regardless of how fit they are, they still have cellulite somewhere.  Do you want to know why?  Cellulite happens to everyone and here’s what I wish every single person could know and remember about this topic! What is cellulite? Cellulite is nothing more than normal fat beneath the skin. The fat appears bumpy because it pushes against connective tissue, causing the skin above it to appear lumpy.  However, having cellulite does not mean you’re fat! What causes cellulite?

First off, as with pretty much everything, cellulite is more common among women than men.  Boo! Here are some key factors that influence how much cellulite you have and how visible it is:

  • Genetics (if your Mama’s got it, chances are you do too…)
  • Poor diet (processed foods, excessive alcohol, and even smoking can exacerbate existing cellulite)
  • Slow metabolism (again, this can be genetic, but you can work on it – see below)
  • Lack of physical activity (be sure to get a minimum of 150 minutes of exercise a week)
  • Hormone changes (pregnancy, menopause, life, ugh)
  • Dehydration (aim to drink 80% of your body weight in ounces;  ex. 120 lbs would require 96 ounces (or 12 8 oz servings)
  • Total body fat (even a “thin” person can have higher body fat than a noticeably heavier individual – which is precisely my point!)
  • Thickness and color of your skin (lighter skin shows, darker skin conceals – sunless tan, anyone?)

Is there really a way to get rid of cellulite?

In short, no, however, there’s no lack of products and procedures out there promising you the moon.  Here’s the lowdown on the most popular methods out there claiming to reduce cellulite.

Cellulite creams.  The claim? Cellulite creams help to reduce cellulite under the skin over time by absorbing in the skin and changing its elasticity and texture.  The truth? Cellulite creams are really a waste of your money.  Most creams contain sometimes dangerous stimulants that only work to reduce the appearance of cellulite but not treat it – nothing that a good exfoliating sponge and some sunless tanner can’t do.

Liposuction.  The claim?  Liposuction is a surgical procedure designed to remove fat deposits from the body.  The truth? Liposuction only removes deep fat, not cellulite, and actually the American Academy of Dermatology warns that liposuction can actually enhance the appearance of cellulite by creating more depressions on the skin.

Mesotherapy.  The claim?  Mesotherapy is a therapy originally developed to relieve the pain of inflammatory skin conditions. It involves injecting substances such as vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and enzymes into the tissue just beneath the skin. The truth? Mesotherapy may break down fat and bring a slight improvement in the appearance of cellulite, however, it also can also cause swelling, infection, and irregular contours.

Massage and spa treatments.  The claim?  Massage and spa treatments may have a temporary effect on the dimpling appearance of skin.  The truth?  Any effect is short-lived and probably due to the removal of excess fluid.

What can you really do about cellulite? In short? Not much.  As I mentioned earlier, most women have it, even if they are a size 2 and work out five days a week (Kendall Jenner is proof of this).   I’m not saying that if you are carrying extra weight that this isn’t contributing to the appearance of your cellulite, because it certainly is, but you need to remember that once the weight goes, the cellulite will still be there in one form or another.  Adopting an exercise regimen that includes both cardio and resitance training accompanied by a balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, fiber, protein, and healthy fats is your best bet for helping you lose weight or maintain a healthy body weight.

However, and you might not want to hear it, the best way to deal with cellulite is to accept that it is there, and be honest with yourself about it.  As you can clearly see from what I’ve stated above, not much can be done about the cellulite you already have; most of the “soloutions” out there offer nothing more than a way to reduce the appearance of cellulite  The bottom line is, the people out there judging you for your body are unhappy with their own, and that’s their problem, not yours.  Be confident about your body no matter what, because no cream or treatment can deliver better results than loving the skin you’re in!

Have you ever tried a cellulite “remedy”?

xoxo

Meanwhile, Back in the States…

“Back in Ameeeeeeeerica…”  Not sure what I’m talking aboot? (Sorry, I’m practicing my Scottish brogue?)

Remember this gem of cinematastic greatness? :)

So, I’m back home after a nice, but much too short, visit to Scotland. It was a very eventful trip; in case you missed it, I’M ENGAGED!

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Okay, so there’s approximately 24 hours of absolutely over-the-moon excitement after you are proposed to; then immediately after the “omg-I-have-to-fit-in-a-wedding-dress” reality kicks in.  Eek!  However, I realize this poses an opportunity for me to help design a plan for brides (and anybody wanting to look their best) that will help them look great for their big day.

Believe it or not, I am getting married in just over two months.  Am I crazy? Probably.  However, when you’re in the situation I am in (fiance on another continent and madly in love) you have to be a bit crazy.  I actually think it’s all very romantic and Luke feels the same.  Hooray for mutual love sickness!

Being that I have about 9 weeks until my big day, I have a LOT to do and I plan to share my workouts and nutritional advice along the way, and of course, answer any pressing questions you may have.  Mainly, I hope that I don’t totally stress out and hit the baked goods, because I can totally see why women gain weight before their wedding; it’s STRESSFUL.  I must stay focused and set a good example for others.

yes.

I’m still experiencing jet lag (#FirstWorldProblems) and have lot of prepping to do before my new class schedule starts next week — so I’ve gotta run, but stay tuned for greatness!

xoxo

Preparing for ZUMBA!

Hey everybody!  Hope your week is going snag-free and fantastic so far!  I’m still enjoying my visit to Scotland and trying very hard not to think about it ending, but nothing got my head out of the clouds faster than realizing I have to start teaching ZUMBA very soon!  I’ve been practicing my moves all morning, and other than the fact that the people downstairs probably hate me right now, I’m feeling a lot more confident about starting.  It isn’t easy to stand in front of a room full of people and get them to move and be enthusiastic, but I’m hoping I will be successful.

Believe it or not, I sort of turned my nose up at Zumba for a while.  I think many people look at it and think that it’s not a good workout or that it’s not challenging enough, but this is really not the case.  Besides the fact that Zumba is actually really fun, it does burn shedloads of calories and work your entire body.  I’ve been doing it for about two hours this morning and I’m a sweaty mess!

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gonna make you sweat til you bleed. jk. holla c & c music factory.

I also am really looking forward to leading Zumba classes, because the very nature of it creates a workout environment where people are genuinely enjoying what they are doing, and as an instructor, nothing is more rewarding.  In addition to knowing your steps and picking out your playlist, it is important to keep in mind the functional fitness component of a group exercise class.  Having functional fitness elements ensures that all participants in your group can get in a safe and effective workout.  For example, adding a jump in for those who want to increase their range of motion, but keeping the jump out for those who are working hard right where they are.   The bottom line is; I have to be sure that I design a class that is rewarding and fun for beginners and experts.  Fun stuff!

In an attempt to really nail some of the moves I’ve been watching instructional tools from my ZIN network and spent most of the morning feeling like I look like this:

Zumba-Dance

 

When I actually look like this:

So, as you can see, I have some stuff to work on!  And, actually, for the record, I think that Napoleon Dynamite has some pretty sexy moves.   I think there should be a D-QWONS Dance Moves class.  Maybe I’ll start one with my friend Aspen - who by the way, is an awesome Zumba instructor and you should totally check out her classes if you live in Warshington (yes, I know it’s Washington, but it’s much more fun to say Warshington.)

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Well, I’d love to stay and blog some more, but I’ve got a date with my iPod and hips to get back to.

Catch you on the flip side!

Do you like Zumba?

xoxo

 

Weekend Highlands (Scottish Highlands, that is!)

Monday, Monday… I don’t know the words to that song, actually, but happy Monday nonetheless.   I hope you all had a great weekend!  My weekend was super eventful. I ate some nice food, traveled up to the Scottish Highlands, and oh yeah, said yes after my boyfriend asked me to marry him!

 

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Exciting stuff, huh?  Yeppers.  We spent the weekend at my future parent-in-laws’ house near Loch Ness, and it was really a wonderful time – you know, after the initial anxiety wore off.  Oh, yeah, did I mention it was our first time meeting?  Nerves.  However, the weekend was wonderful, and as it turns out the nicest man in the World also has the nicest folks; who knew?

Friday we left in the afternoon from Glasgow and couldn’t have asked for a more beautiful drive.  In some ways Scotland looks much like New England, but then you see the terrain and the hills and you can see how it’s very different.  I had to laugh, because I always take the beautiful parts of my neck of the woods for granted, and my fiance, Luke, feels the same about growing up in the Highlands of Scotland.  #Soulmates . We stopped at famous roadside attraction called The Green Welly Stop (so cute) for a toastie and a Cadbury hot chocolate.  Yumz!

PA180151

www.beetsperminute.com

deliciousness

Saturday and Sunday we spent most of our time on long walks along Loch Ness in Fort Augustus as well as a trip to Inverness.   Northern Scotland is absolutely beautiful.  It is such a peaceful and mystical place – staring at Loch Ness almost places you in a trance.

loch ness

no local magicians were trying to blow ‘nessie’ out of the water.

Of course there was more eating…

Chips Ahoy! Cadbury

it’s cookie DOUGH inside, btw…

 

So, naturally, after a weekend of eating and touristy, romantic strolls I was happy to be able to fit in a run this morning.  Glasgow is a really lovely city; it’s full of culture and art and it has amazing parks.  We are located by Pollok Country Park, which literally feels like a C.S. Lewis story every time you enter it.  I’m not kidding, you go from city streets into fields with Highland Cattle, horses, beautiful flowers, and waterfalls.  I enjoyed a nice run this morning while taking in the amazingness of this magical city park.

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Pollok Country Park

so cute.

Pollok Country Park

...and a sky full of balloons.

…and a sky full of balloons.

Hope your weekend was great and that your Monday is treating you kindly (and going by fast.)

xoxo

Top 5 Beauty Game Changers – GossMakeupArtist

Hi guys!  I am still experiencing quite a bit of time zone trauma, like it’s  nearly 4 am US time and I’ve been up for several hours.  One thing that helps me survive international travelling is definitely MAKEUP.   It’s amazing stuff, that makeup, it can literally transform your face and body.  I love contouring,  I love a smokey eye.  I love fake lashes.  I love it all!  I constantly say I feel like a totally different person when I wear makeup.  Not that I think people need makeup, because I don’t believe you have to slap it on thick to look your best, but believe when I say, when it comes to makeup, knowledge is power.  When you have the tools to enhance your natural beauty it’s an amazing thing.  Trust me, there has been many a time when I walk out of the bathroom after my hair and makeup is did and I get this exact reaction: I am totally not exaggerating on that reaction, by the way. So, if you want people to look like a deer in headlights the next time you make a grand entrance, keep reading…

Today, I have decided to share a selection of makeup tutorials from, my absolutely FAVE beauty guru at the moment, Wayne Goss, the one and only GossMakeupArtist.   Goss’s tips have literally changed my life.  I have listed them in no particular order, because when it comes to this fella, everything he speaks is gospel to me – I can’t possibly decide which tutorial I love best!  YouTube is fantastic; I’m working on getting myself on it.  Seriously, what did we all do before the Internet?

is-life-without-internet-possible

So without further ado, here are five of my favorite GossMakeupArtist tutorials!

Wow, I know that’s a lot to take in and it seems more complicated than it actually is. Goss is very talented and makes things look effortless, but with a bit practice you’ll be a pro in no time!  I love that he is sure you can master it as well, and that he shares these amazing tips day after day.   It almost seems like a crime, doesn’t it?Again, this guy has changed my life, only second to Eve Pearl, who is my hands-down favorite makeup artist of all time.  Eve’s book, Plastic Surgery Without the Surgery, is STILL a book I loan out on the regular.  In fact, I can’t remember who has it at the moment. You know who you are …precious.

omg greatness!

eve pearl & wayne goss:  omg greatness!

I hope you feel inspired and beautiful today.  Later, gators!

What are your favorite YouTube makeup tutorials?

xoxo

NASM Encounters of the Random Kind

Hello from Scotland, and happy Labor Day, ‘merica!  So random, yet relevant fact about my flight;  I sat next to a young guy with a NASM textbook, I know,  it’s a perfect time to study, right? Of course! So upon seeing this, I instantly had to be nosy and ask if he was studying or brushing up on information, and as it turned out, he told me he would be taking his exam in October.  I always like to meet people preparing for the exam, because it was so stressful and nerve-racking for me, I feel like I can totally relate. Without my asking him first, he asked me questions about what to expect regarding the exam based on my experience. While I obviously couldn’t cover this information in great detail, I told him to check my blog out in a few days for a more in-depth review of what to expect!  Instant blog post idea! If you’ve taken the exam or are currently preparing for it, you know you also want to pick an alumni members brain for the information.

Does the exam really cover everything?

In the general sense, yes. In the literal sense, no. I think learning the key concepts of each chapter is important, but no, you will not have to know “everything” for testing purposes.  However, really understanding the information is what will make you an excellent trainer and professional – so don’t just learn it for the test, it’s going to be your way to greatness!

There’s SO much anatomy in the text. What should I focus on in that respect?

There is a LOT of anatomy in the textbook and it does seem really overwhelming.   I would definitely say paying close attention to the vocabulary and concepts of chapters 2, 3, 5 and 7 will be in your best interest.

Other areas to pay attention to:

Muscles as movers (agonist , synergistic, stabilizers, antagonists) as well as the Isolated function of muscles – check the appendix section, they are broken down there.

Planes of motion and which exercises involve which plane (sagittal, frontal, and transverse)

Flexibility continuum

Concentric Acceleration and Eccentric Deceleration movements (muscles used/planes of motion)

Reciprocal Inhibition, Altered Reciprocal Inhibition, Synergistic Dominance – Golgi Tendon, FITTE 

Support mechanisms of blood (Chapter 3)

Blood Pressure

BIG ONE:  Overhead squat assessment chart! This includes information on postural distortions (pronation distortion, upper cross syndrome, lower cross syndrome, and altered joint mechanics.) There’s a HUGE number of questions pertaining to this chart. Spend the time learning it. Try it on yourself. Try it on a friend. To quote Judge Reinhold in Fast Times At Ridgemont High, “learn it, know it, live it.”

 

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"Learn it.  Know it.  Live it."

“Learn it. Know it. Live it.”


What types of program design questions were asked?

I would say if you understand the OPT Model (chapter 14) well enough, you will have a very good foundation for designing programs for various components (core, balance,  plyometrics, speed, agility and quickness, and resistance training) It’s a formula, my friends, and NASM developed it to make program design safe and effective.  For assessment information – view chapter 6

Exercise progression and regression. – listed in the appendix!

Training zones – heart rate, reps, sets.

PAR-Q

Straight percentage

Progression Continuum (easy to difficult; stable to unstable)

Various fitness assessment types and how to perform them; YMCA, Rockport Walk Test, etc.

Static Postural Assessment (Anterior View, Lateral View, and Posterior View)

Performance assessments; (Davies, Shark Skills, Upper Extremity, Lower Extremity, Overhead squat assessment, Push-pull assessment- again, see chart in previous section and KNOW it.)

Circuit training

SAID:  Specific Adaptions to Imposed Demands (Principle of Specificity)

Warm-ups, stretching types (following OPT.)

Training with special populations; Hypertensive, Pregnant, Elderly, Cancer, and Obese clients (chapter 16)

Which topics about energy and metabolism do you need to know?

Definitely be familiar with chapters 4, 17, and 18 regarding metabolism, energy, and nutrition. Definitely have a good understanding about the three metabolic pathways; ATP-PC, Glycolosis, and Oxidative. Also, these will be essential for your career and particularly when working with special populations.

EPOC – ( I LOVE this stuff)

Daily requirements for carbohydrates, fats, and proteins.

Calories in Fat, Protein, and Carbohydrates – (which specific consideration to athletes)

Hydration and dehydration.

Basic nutrition needs and information about calcium.

Amino Acids (Essential/Non-Essential)

Vitamins (Fat-Soluble, Water-Soluble)

Which information about communication is most important to remember?

Chapters  19 & 20 explain in great detail the components of communication and skills that are important for every personal trainer to know.

READ (Rapport, Empathy, Assessment, Developing)

Stages of Change – very important to know (Pre-contemplation, Contemplation, Preparation, Action, and Maintenance)

Effective Communication Skills (Verbal/Non-Verbal Communication, Active Listening, Reflecting, Summarizing, Affirmations)

SMART Goals (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Timely)

Exercise Imagery & Positive Self-Talk

Okay, yeah, it’s a lot.  I am not going to lie to you, the exam is not easy, but if you read the book, apply the principles and concepts to real life workouts, and really buckle down and study several hours a day in the months beforehand, you will pass. It’s more than passing though, it’s a desire to want to learn this information.  If you want to be a fitness professional or have a die-hard interest in fitness then this textbook is your bible.

greatest fitness story ever told.

greatest fitness story ever told.

Hopefully this helped you, Ryan (my friendly neighbor in row 23) – please let me know how things are going!

If you have any questions about the information in this post, please feel free to contact me or leave a comment below.  Remember, the main objective is to prepare for this and really learn it all.  There are some resources online that I used as well to help me prepare, including NASM’S study guide (which is highly recommended and available through your eLearning center – as well as another excellent guide here.) Additional noteworthy sources of information I utilized were:

Bodybuilding Forums

The Healthy Gamer

Some fun quiz sites to help test you (in addition to the NASM practice test, which I highly recommend utilizing as well)

www.studystack.com for NASM

www.quizlet.com for NASM

Good luck studying – and let me know if you have any questions!

xoxo

 

Twice Baked (Me and My Sweet Potato) & Hilah Cooking

T-minus 2 days until my visit to Scotland!  It’s so lame that I get stressed out about traveling, but I do.  One would think by now it wouldn’t be a big deal, seeing as I have done this trip so many times, but it always still seems to stress me nonetheless!  As it turns out, I have been working my butt off for the past couple of weeks, so I decided to reward myself with a few hours at the lake, and besides kids confessing to peeing in the lake within earshot of me (cringe) it was a great decision.  I often complain about where I live right now, because it’s not the most exciting of places, but there has to be something said for having a beautiful view like this just 10 minutes from your doorstep!

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The day turned out to be beautiful.  I had perfect weather; mid-eighties, light breeze, and of course the warm sun.  I did put on my SPF, but I still managed to end up looking like an overgrown version of the “Coppertone Girl”!

coppertone

Okay, maybe not, but it’s been a while since I had tan lines like this.  When I looked at myself in the mirror the next day, I first got annoyed, then laughed, and ended up singing Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines” but replaced the words with “tanned lines” – it’s okay, though, because I still got to shout out, “you the hottest b**tch in this place!”  Of course, by hot, I mean the actual heat emanating off my ridiculous looking ass! #hotmess

So how does one top a day of sand, sun, and self-serenades?  Make a delish dinner, that’s how!  If you read my blog, thank you, you should know by now that the sweet potato is one of my favorite foods.  I have done many a thing with a sweet pot, but I have never twice baked one.  I will be honest, I have claimed to “twice bake” a potato before, but all I did was burn it and claim it was twice baked.  I mean, technically, it was baked for twice as long, but literally, it was just burned.  Anyhoo.  I watched a YouTube video by Hilah Cooking all about twice baked potatoes.  Omg, I was really a fool – I didn’t know the first thing about it, but Ms. Hilah cleared that all up.  I think it’s because she sang it at me.  Seriously, she sings a song bout twice baking a potato and I was singing it the whole night. She’s adorable and you need to subscribe to her, like right this minute.

Again, I used a sweet potato instead of a regular one, but that’s okay! As I was feeling baked – from the sun, ahem – I chose to make one infused with Frank’s RedHot Buffalo Wings Sauce and topped with Cabot Pepper Jack Cheddar Cheese.  Mm mm.  So good.  I love the combination of a little bit of heat with the sweetness of the sweet potato.  I’ve been known to bake a sweet potato with blue cheese and buffalo sauce, but I have to say, the twice baked with pepper jack is my new fave!  Highly recommend it, and it’s totes a nice dish for vegetarians when people make (or order in) buffalo wings.

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They could have been “prettier” but what really matters is that they were delicious, because really, it’s all going one place in the end – my belly.  Okay, now I’m imitating Fat Bastard whilst typing, so on that note, goodnight friends!

xoxo

Easy Like Thursday Morning

It’s Thursday.  I’ts 4:15 am.  Do you know where your inner kick-ass is?  Well, I know where it should be …getting your cardio on!  I’m encouraging you, because someone felt the need to encourage me this morning.

creepy yet sweet.

creepy yet sweet.

I am NOT a morning person, as I have totally confessed to before.  I am not even a mid-morning person.  However, despite my lack of ease for the earlier-than-sunrise workout variety, I still do it.  Do you want to know why?  I will tell you why, because nothing empowers you, motivates you, and regulates you better than a good early morning workout.

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Since I’m practically as short as Yoda, I must be nearly as wise.  Therefore, I am going to impart what early riser exercisers can benefit from!

yoda1

  1. You are more likely to have a consistent workout first thing in the morning.  Mainly due to the fact that there are way less chances for your workout to be derailed.  You haven’t been to work yet, you haven’t made a bad food choice yet, and you haven’t let anybody talk you into “happy hour” yet.   ‘Nuff said.
  2. Extra cardio benefits.  How so?  Well, your body naturally wakes up by increasing levels of hormones like adrenaline, which causes the heart to beat faster.  Caution:  If you have a known heart condition, please speak to your physician before pursuing early workouts.
  3. Did you know that opting to workout in the morning actually boosts cognitive ability?  Well it does, in fact for up to ten hours post-workout.  Burning fat all day? Check.  Boosted energy all day? Check.  Excellent acuity all day?  Check.  Win!
  4. Added exercise/nutrition synergy.  When you work out in the morning, not only do you statistically make better food choices, but you also burn significantly more calories throughout the day.  What a great combo!
  5. Boosted mood and boosted immunity.  When you’re happier, you’re healthier.  When you’re healthier, you’re happier.  When you’re both?  You’re all set to have a glorious, gracious, and productive day!

There you have it!  Five solid reasons to stop hitting snooze and start hitting the fitness first thing in the morning.  Of course, exercise at any hour is beneficial, but if you’ve got the opportunity, I highly recommend setting up your day right, starting tomorrow.  Cockadoodledoo, ya’ll!

Do you find morning workouts benefit you?

xoxo

Oh Avocado, I Love You #WIAW

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As you can tell from my blog title, I love avocado! I don’t know how one can NOT love the avocado. It’s so delicious, versatile, and healthy. That’s literally everything that a food should be.

hey there, good lookin'!

hey there, good lookin’!

One of the other fantastic things about eating avocados is they have a terrific satiety factor; this is due to their healthy fat and fiber content.  I could actually go on to list many, many more benefits from the wonderful lil’ fruit (yes, fruit) but I will move on to What I Ate Wednesday!  As avocados are great for satiety, I have been enjoying mine for breakfast recently.   I am a big fan of eating a fair bit of fiber early in the day to help give me energy and keep me from mindlessly snacking.  I find that a FlatOut Bread covered with 1/4 cup of mashed avocado makes a lovely way to start the day!  In fact, it’s got way less fat and way more nutrition than grabbing a bagel and cream cheese – not to mention – it has more fiber and less impact on your blood sugar.  Win!

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take that, bagel and schmear!

Since last week avocados were 4 for $3.00 at the produce market in town, I pretty much stockpiled them #ExtremeAvocadoing. Hey, if you buy that many you have to eat them every meal, right?  Tell me I am right.  Thanks! Since we’re in agreement that I am right, I should say that I also decided to add avocado to my lunch; a turkey burger on salad with Marie’s Yogurt Blue Cheese Dressing.  Yummmm-y.  Have you tried the Marie’s Yogurt Dressing line?  If not, please do, they are very delicious and have less fat and calories!

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I am trying to really watch what I eat this week, as I am GOING TO SCOTLAND Saturday!  About three months ago I made the comparison that going to the UK is like visiting Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory for yours truly.  Oh my Cadbury Crunchie, the British know how to make a chocolate bar!  I will try to control myself, but it may be really difficult.  I mean, if a Crunchie could eat itself, it probably would.  Just saying.

you look so good. -omg, so do you.

you look so good.
-omg, so do you.

Okay!  I think I need to sign off now!

Happy eating – join the #WIAW movement by clicking on the button below!
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