Friday Five

Five random things on this Friday afternoon! Enjoy…

One. I am without a car for a few days. The last time I did not have a car was my freshman year in college at Texas State University… (eat ’em up cats!). I have to say though, I actually loved not having a car in San Marcos. I could walk anywhere and if you know me, you know I love to walk everywhere that I can.

But, I don’t like it much this time around and it is only for a few short days. I will get over it, don’t worry, I know this is #selfishgirlproblems, but I live in the ‘burbs of DFW. The only place I can really walk to that is even remotely exciting is the library and perhaps a Target.  Can’t wait to get my car back!

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Two. I turn 30 in less than a month. I have one word that describes how I am feeling about it and yes, it should be said in Joey Lawrence’s voice…. Whoa!!! I am not afraid of turning 30 and in fact, I know my 30’s are going to be kick ass. I just don’t feel like I am a day over 25. The calendar moves faster than the mind, body, and soul ages. But, no matter what my age, I will always remember this quote…

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Three. Do you ever read something at the exact moment you feel you were meant to? It’s almost like someone read your mind and said… HERE, READ THIS. I read a blog post like that today. It was awesome! And my mind and spirit have a renewed outlook on love and faith. I needed that.

Four. Is Orange the New Black? I don’t know, but the show sure is good. We are catching up on season one with two episodes left. I found out this week that the next season comes out on June 6th. Yay for Netflix shows.. I am impressed! House of Cards and Orange and Black are VERY well done.

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Five. “Be yourself. Everyone else is already taken.” -Oscar Wilde. I have heard two people say this quote this week. It’s pretty spot on. I leave that quote with you for the weekend. Be yourself. Be authentic. And have a thrilling weekend, dear friends!

WTEW: More Plant-based foods!

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Eat more plant-based foods. Is this a given for you? Would you be surprised if I told you that even health-conscious folks have a hard time eating more fruits and vegetables at times? In our go, go, go, and then go some more society we crave things fast. We need things fast.  Including our meals. So, sometimes even the peeps who despise McDonald’s and won’t touch fried foods with a ten foot pole skip out on nature’s treats. Instead, opting for protein bars, cheese sticks, and almonds… with maybe an apple thrown in there.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying these foods are bad. In fact, I won’t ever say a food is bad, because that is plain silly. Bad and good are behavioral and the last time I checked, food can’t cuss or smile at you.

However, I will say that we could all use more plant-based foods in our life. Am I right or am I right? I had an argument about the protein content of certain foods with my older brother, a recent vegetarian, the other day. Without going into much detail, the statement we could both agree on was the fact that everyone could use more plant-based foods. Period. No matter how you eat or what moral food code you follow.

I also saw Forks over Knives this past weekend, a food documentary. I got the same message from it: eat more plant-based foods. Of course, there were cast members talking highly of a vegan diet (no eggs, dairy, or animal products). I do not have any distaste for a vegan way of life. Nor will I say it is the only way to go. I care a whole lot about animals and the more I read about how they are treated or see a video on the subject, I get horrified. It’s a food moral code battle going on in my mind at the moment and at some point, I very well may live a vegan lifestyle. For now though, I can only make the case for the one statement that EVERYONE agrees on… Eat more plant-based foods. You can’t go wrong with that, my friends.

An easy way to keep nature’s treats at the fore-front of your mind is to aim for one vegetable at each meal. That’s at least 3 per day. Spinach or kale is great in a smoothie or an omelette for breakfast. Carrots or celery are easy to pack for lunch (and yes, even dipping them into guacamole or ranch dip is better than not eating them at all). The sky is the limit for dinner- salad, eggplant, squash, green beans, asparagus, and broccoli to name several. Eat ’em up! Fruit is usually easier for people to eat, but if you also have a hard time remembering to eat fruit, choose at least 2 to eat for a snack when the munchies arrive. Apples, oranges, bananas, plums, nectarines, and pears are easy to grab. Go for it!

Eat well,

Toned Up-date Tuesday: Week 5

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Yeah, yeah.. so I have missed a couple weeks of these updates. Not on purpose though. I had a good excuse. I was enjoying the beach and ocean breeze. In fact, the past couple weeks I have also been less active on facebook, twitter, instagram, and my phone in general. It’s been glorious I must say. My priorities have changed… in a good way. And that’s just what I needed. So to any of you who are stressing out a bit too much or feel like you can’t ever keep up, take a vacation. Live the island life for a week. It will remind you that life is not about the to do list and staying connected 24/7. It’s about letting go and enjoying all that life has to offer. All that nature has to offer. The little moments. The simple delights if you will (wink!).

Wow, so I went on a tangent there. But, I hope you enjoyed it. Now to the tone it up challenge stuff. It is week 5. How am I doing?

  • 66 miles achieved so far towards my goal of 150 miles by summer (June 21st). I walked a lot on my trip, but did not “workout” much. I took my fitbit and just aimed for 10,000 steps per day. Let me tell you, friends, this little device has been awesome to use. On days I do not have time to workout, I just get up more and take breaks throughout the day to reach 10,000 steps. I don’t have to stress about not getting an actual workout in AND I am still active. Win-win!
  • The HIIT workout is still one of my faves. I go to this whenever I need a good 20 minute workout in the morning before breakfast. Honestly, some days I look forward to it instead of going for a run or doing some other cardio. I count 20 minutes as 2 miles towards my 150 by summer.
  • My biggest goal was to eat more vegetables. Boy, am I doing that. And loving every minute of it. Guess what I had today? Beets! I know, call me crazy.. you would think this health nut eats all sorts of vegetables, but not always. Even I have to think about it and make an effort to increase my consumption. Favorite new vegetable over the past 5 weeks? I’d go with spaghetti squash or fennel. Have you tried those?

Living a healthy lifestyle is about simple and fun choices. It is not about a strict diet, workouts that break your back, or stressing out over this and that. A number on a scale does not define you, but finding everyday joy in your life does. I cannot stress that enough. And that is why I love simple challenges like these. They work for me. They are fun for me. They bring me joy.

And with that, I feel like saying namaste. So, namaste, dear friends.

WTEW: Farm Fresh Omelette

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Are you an omelette fan? I am a renewed omelette fan and I will tell you why.

First things first, I’m BAAAAAACKKKK!! Hawaii was absolutely stunning and of course, I loved every minute of my trip. My cousin and her son frequent the Farmers Market in her cute little town Kailua so we went on Sunday. Holy kale, I loved it! I think I may add a summer to-do, “Find the best Farmers Market in DFW area.”

We went around 9ish so had breakfast there. I chose a Farm Fresh Omelette from one of the local Hawaiian farms. They used eggs, kale, and heirloom tomatoes. All from.. you guessed it, their farm. It was delicious! And as a bonus, I always enjoy knowing exactly where my food came from and supporting a local farm.

Have you ever seen farm fresh eggs? They are not all white or even all brown. They come in different colors and are different shapes and sizes. I may have to get my hands on some farm fresh eggs here in Dallas.

The kale and tomatoes were a tasty AND nutritious combination. I don’t normally think about putting kale in anything besides a green smoothie, but I will definitely add these to an at-home omelette in the future. And don’t get me started on the tomatoes. Whoa! If you have never tasted the difference of a locally grown tomato versus a supermarket tomato, you are missing out. I could eat these all day long!

Having an omelette is a great way to get in some veggies early on in the day. Most of us only eat veggies for dinner and maybe lunch. Try one this weekend and make it farm fresh if you can!

If you could have a farm fresh omelette right now, what would you add to yours? Please share!

What to Eat Wednesday: Edamame Goji Blend

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I am on vacation this week and I was at the airport Monday with a long day of traveling. It got me thinking… what are some of the easiest, healthy snacks to bring on plane rides?! Of course, nuts and wholesome trail mixes are always good, but I wanted something new. When I was at Market Street this past Saturday, I found a GREAT fit… the Seapoint Farms Goji Blend.

I know I am not the only one who LOVES to order edamame as an appetizer at sushi restaurants. Am I right or am I right? To be honest, I could care less about the sushi as long as I get my edamame. And this snack is dry roasted edamame mixed with dried goji berries. Hello, antioxidants!

Are you a soy hater? Then don’t buy this. I am not a soy hater, but I wouldn’t call myself a soy lover either. I think a serving of soy is just fine for you each day, every other day, weekly, or whatever. However, if you are soy everything, then you are probably overdoing it. Many vegetarians turn to soy for protein, but soy tends to mimic the activity of estrogen in your body so you really don’t want to have soy at every single meal. And soy is in MANY food products so read labels if you are unsure!

What I love about this Goji Blend:

  • Offers 11 grams of protein in 1 serving. This means you will be fuller longer so that all the muffins, cookies, candy bars, and chips staring at you from the airport convenient store don’t even appeal to you.
  • Offers 10% daily value of iron. Many women do not get enough iron, especially when Aunt Flow is in town (if you know what I mean).
  • Full of antioxidants. This will keep your immune system strong as you walk around the airport taking in a trillion germs!
  • Soy has been shown to help with PMS symptoms. To you lucky SOB’s who do not get PMS and men, you can skip this point (and pin a rose on your nose). For those of us that do, including dry roasted edamame or some serving of soy at least a week before your time of the month can help ease symptoms.
  • Is only 120 calories per serving. With 120 calories and 11 grams of protein, it is an excellent, wholesome snack choice. Your waistline will not be ashamed.
  • Is non-GMO. Soy is one of the products that you really want to be on the lookout for GMO vs non-GMO. I wrote about this very thing not too long ago. Glad to know that Seapoint farms is non-GMO.

Try the regular dry roasted edamame if you cannot find the Goji blend. This was the first time I had ever seen the Goji blend, but both are great! Give it a try and let me know if you like it as much as I do.

Eat well,

Sunday Social

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Happy Sunday! Time to get a little social… we are kickin’ it old school today and I LOVE IT!

This week’s Sunday Social questions are:

What was your favorite TGIF show? If I said anything but Full House I would be called out for lying by about 10,000 friends and family members. I was in LOVE with that show growing up. I still, from time to time, remember certain episodes or funny sayings from it and I definitely had to see the houses in San Francisco when I went a few years ago. So many great lessons learned from that show.. oh, nostalgia!

What was your favorite Saturday morning TV show? I have never been a huge cartoon fan, but my brothers always were. The one show that I remember most is Tom and Jerry. My younger brother LOVED it so I always watched with him. Not sure if it was a Saturday morning specific show or not, but it’ll do.

Mickey Mouse Club or Kids Incorporated.? Mickey Mouse club for sure, although I never really watched it. I just remember hearing about how most of my favorite celebs came from there.

Zack Morris or AC Slater?  AC Slater, baby. I know, I know, EVERYONE says Zach, but I have always liked AC. Those muscles and that smile of his won me over for sure!

Which show would you love to see remade? I thought Full House was going to do some type of reunion show, but I highly doubt it since they all do their own thing. How about a show with Uncle Jessie and Aunt Becky?!?! Aww I loved them!!

You got it Dude!

What to Eat Wednesday: Endangered Species Chocolate

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Indulge in a cause. I love that. That is the tag line for Endangered Species Chocolate. You can enjoy the pleasure of the chocolate AND the fact that 10% of the net profits from this company go to help endangered species.

I know you all like chocolate. Who doesn’t?! Or if you REALLY don’t, you know someone who does. So next time you are purchasing chocolate for yourself or a friend, consider purchasing this specific brand. I got two bars from Kroger yesterday for $2.99 total. It was buy one get one free. And, to not “over” indulge, I usually eat about 3 squares per day so these two bars will cover me for about 12 days. I think Dave Ramsey would give me a high five for that!

Okay, and since I do talk nutrition, I will tell you my tips for finding the BEST chocolate for your waistline…

  • Avoid buying brands with sugar as the very first ingredient. Chocolate should be the first ingredient since it is what you are wanting to buy (and is where the antioxidants are).
  • Aim for 70% cacao or above (FYI, cacao and cocoa or often used interchangeably). Obviously the higher the percentage, the better. But, not everyone can stand the taste of 90% cacao.
  • If you are not good with portion control, consider brands that have squares portioned out in individual packages.
  • If you are that person who swears by milk chocolate and just can’t imagine dark chocolate, consider eating it with a few almonds. That might be the key to helping you switch over. Your taste buds may just need that little help with the transition.
  • Savor each bite. Don’t rush through it. Enjoy the rich flavor of chocolate and you may find you just need a small amount to take away any sugar craving that comes your way.

I love plain dark chocolate, but often need to switch it up. This time I bought mint and one with cranberries and almonds. What is your favorite flavor of chocolate?

Toned Up-date Tuesday

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It’s toned up-date Tuesday! How about that?! Last week I told you about the Bikini Series challenge, but I don’t want to leave it there. I want to give you an update every Tuesday (next week might be an exception since I will be out of town, but we’ll see). I think updates are important, especially since most people who start a fitness or nutrition plan end it within a month of starting it.

I have told you before that I LOVE working out and eating healthy. I will make it through the 8 weeks with golden stars. But what I have not told you is the reason behind this. I enjoy these things because I make it work with my lifestyle. I have found a way to make living healthy work for me. That’s key because EVERYONE is different.

Another secret of mine: Make progress without seeking perfection.

That wake up call was HUGE for me. I used to be this type of girl: “I started out eating so healthy this week. Mon, Tues, and Wed were such great days for me. I worked out and I ate lots of salads. But then today I had such a bad day. My friend yelled at me so I felt bad. I went to the nearest grocery store and ate a box of cookies. Well now I am just going to blow it and start again tomorrow. Off to McDonalds I go for a happy meal. Maybe that will make me happy.”

Woe is me, right? But see, I wasn’t the problem. I am emotional. I will ALWAYS be emotional.  The problem was my outlook. I was thinking of living healthy as a diet and exercise program. I was also thinking of it as black and white. I was seeking perfection.

Living healthy is now my lifestyle and progress is what I seek. Just like life, it has its ups and downs and I ride it like the wind. With that in mind, here are a few toned up-dates from this past week of the Bikini Series challenge with Tone It Up:

  1. I love the toning workouts. Each day the girls have a toning workout for us to do whenever we can fit it in. I usually fit it in during my lunch break or right after work. They are quick and mostly body weight moves, plus a few with free weights. Sometimes I even do them while watching TV at night. Again, just “fitting it in” is what counts… even if you look silly to your significant other.
  2. I have been better with my snacking at night. I mentioned that one nutrition goal I have during this challenge is to change up my snacking at night. We watch a lot of nightly TV in our home so I was getting into the habit of grabbing the not-so-healthy snacks or even just an overload on any type of snack (healthy or not). Eating in front of the TV is so mindless and can often lead to overeating so my goal was to snack on a serving of frozen fruit. I have been successful for at least 3 or 4 days this past week. Botta-bing-botta-bang! Better than before.
  3. Insanity is still my go-to cardio and I have been successful at doing it right when I wake up, except for a couple of days. I am thinking about changing this up a bit though… just not sure what yet.
  4. I go on vacation next week. Vacations always add a bit of change, but I welcome the change. I think it is SO good for our bodies (and minds for that matter) to get change every so often. I will not have any strict rules for my vacation, but I know that I will naturally be active. I am going to see my cousin and her son in Hawaii. I mean, there will be so much beauty outside that I am sure I will be walking quite a bit. Not much toning, but if I get an itch to do some toning before bed I will just bust out some Pure Barre moves.

And there ya have it… a little toned up-date from me. Have a wonderful Tuesday, dear friends! 

Sunday Social

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Happy Sunday, friends! Time to get social with the Sunday Social link up. Feel free to join in or comment one or two of your answers!

Sunday Social Questions:

Who do you call when you need to vent? My options are endless. Sometimes I will call my mom or brother. Sometimes I will call my best friends. Or if it is work-related, I will call my superb friend-workers (aka co-workers that double as my friends).

Where do you go when you need alone time? If I need to “get away”, Colorado all the way. My parent’s have a place there so it is like a second home to me. And talk about serenity, nature, spiritual connection, etc… it is all that I need sometimes! But, if I need alone time and am not able to “get away”, I go somewhere to walk. I can walk around the neighborhood or walk around the outdoor mall not to far from here. A Target run is some good alone time too (except for the fact that my money can somehow disappear when I do that too often).

What is your favorite alone time activity? I am sure you guessed it from my answer above.. walk. Or hike if in Colorado. Man, all this thinking about Colorado has me itching to go there now.

What is something we should all stop and read right now? I am feeling pressure with this question. I don’t think everyone has the same taste in books, magazines, etc. But, I tell you what.. I am reading a book by Darya Rose with Summer Tomato. I would definitely recommend her blog and/or book.

Who do you wish would read your blog that doesn’t already? Family? Celeb? I would probably say Chris Freytag. I have followed her for years in the fitness spotlight and not that I want to BE her, but I have always looked up to her as a career role model. I think it would be kick ass to get a comment from her one day. I have to admit, I did get excited when she replied to one of my tweets. Haha!

Five on Friday

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ONE: My letter to grandma this week. My grandma and I still write back and forth. She lives in Webster City, Iowa, so it is a great way to keep in touch. She doesn’t do email or facebook or any of the social media stuff. I don’t blame her either.. and thank goodness, because if she did I wouldn’t get to enjoy snail mail. It seriously rocks and makes me sad that it is slowly going away.

This week I surprised her with a couple of goodies I couldn’t resist. Wishing her a happy (grand)mother’s day next Sunday!

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TWO: Usher and Michael Jackson pics on the IHeartRadio Music Awards last night. Did anyone else see that? It freakin’ rocked!

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THREE: I cannot get enough Insanity these days. Is anyone else in love with the workout DVD’s? I am so over running for now and am on the Insanity bandwagon. I literally feel like I could kick someone’s butt afterwards. I hope my love affair with this workout sticks for awhile!

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FOUR: I got a fitbit for $4 (had an Amazon gift card for the rest of it). So far, I am loving it. Have only used it for 3 days so have been observing my “steps”. Don’t think because you are into fitness and workout regularly that you get a lot of steps in. Holy cow! I only got about 6,000 steps the first day. Not that I am going to become obsessive, but I will try to shoot for 10,000 per day. Even people that workout can benefit from NEAT.. Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis (or my simplified explanation- daily activities where you are on your feet). So, here’s to more NEAT!

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FIVE: My Dill Dip! I cannot get enough of this stuff. If you do not know what I am talking about, read my What to Eat Wednesday post. I cannot believe how much I love it and how much I have been looking forward to it this week. I do try not to go overboard, but man is this good. I think I am officially over my “white food aversion.” Score!!!

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