What to Eat Wednesday: Tomatoes

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Let’s talk tomatoes. Do you like them? Do you love them? Do you.. (shhhhh).. hate them? No shame, friend. I used to hate them. In fact, I still take them off my hamburgers at times. I have to be in the mood for tomatoes. That’s a fact!

But, my significant other LOVES tomatoes. We always have them at our house, especially the small ones like the picture above. Having them around on our kitchen counter regularly motivated me to re-aquaint myself with these juicy reds. I can honestly say I like tomatoes now. I have a secret though. My secret to liking them is dipping them in a little guacamole. Who doesn’t love guacamole? Oh and a fresh tomato from the garden doesn’t hurt either.. if you ever try a garden fresh tomato versus a tomato from, let’s say, Target.. you WILL be able to taste the difference!

So, what is so good about tomatoes? Glad you asked! Have you ever heard of lycopene? It is an antioxidant and has been shown to reduce your risk for cancer, heart disease, and age-related eye disorders. But lycopene isn’t the only thing tomatoes are good for. Tomatoes also have vitamin C and potassium. Hello, nutrients!

You do not have to eat a raw tomato to get lycopene. Some studies even suggest that lycopene content is more readily available in tomato paste and tomato sauces. If you are a spaghetti lover, eat up! And try using spaghetti squash as your noodles. Trust me, you will not regret it. It is so fetch. Valley girl talk right there. Anyway, it REALLY is delicious and you can so many recipes on Pinterest. Yum!

What is your favorite way to eat a tomato?

I got a massage!

And I want to gift you a massage too. But, we’ll get there. 

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First things first, I went to Massage Envy near my house yesterday and had such a relaxing massage. I needed it! I always tell myself to get massages more regularly and then fail to do so. I end up just getting one 2-4 times per year. Ideally, though, I would get a massage twice per month. Am I alone on that?! Didn’t think so.

Massage therapy is an essential part of wellness. Many of us think of massage therapy as a luxury, but it actually is extremely beneficial for the body. Especially if we are regular exercisers.. which we ALL are. Right?!?! 😉 Massage therapy helps us reduce muscle tension, pain, and most importantly STRESS. The world is one big stressed out cookie so we can all use more tools to help us relax. So next time your husband or wife tells you that it isn’t in your budget to get a massage, just tell him or her that you need this for your wellness program. It sounds official and hey, who can argue with a wellness program?!

I like deep tissue massages so my massage therapist went deep. My shoulders get so tense and sore from working out, while my neck often gets tense from sitting at a computer for my day job.  I felt instantly better when I walked out that door.

If you are like my mom, you may be uncomfortable with the thought of getting undressed for a massage. But, you only have to undress to your comfort level and no one is in the room while you are changing. You literally undress and get under the covers. Very professional and even if you are modest, it is nothing to be worried about. Trust me, after your first massage you will feel like a pro.

With massage therapy, I think it is important to like your massage therapist and to communicate your needs/expectations before the massage. For instance, if you want lighter pressure or you have an area you do not want touched (like feet.. some people are ticklish), do tell your massage therapist ahead of time. And if you decide you want firmer pressure when he or she gets to your back, just tell them right then. They won’t bite! It is your massage so you should enjoy every moment of it!

While I was at Massage Envy yesterday, I noticed an AWESOME event coming up. Massage Envy Spa DFW and the Arthritis Foundation have joined forces to host the 4th annual Healing Hands for Arthritis, a one-day national event to build awareness and raise funds to fight arthritis. On September 17th, $10 from every one hour massage or facial will be donated to the Arthritis Foundation.

Okay, so now to the giveaway. I am giving away one gift card for a 50 minute massage (valid at DFW Massage Envy Spa locations only). To sign up for the giveaway, you must “like” Massage Envy DFW on facebook and comment below why you need a massage. The winner will be announced on Thursday at 3pm.

I was not compensated for this review, but I was provided a free massage. All opinions are my own.

Active Living Challenge has Ended

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The active living challenge on twitter and Instagram has ended. I am kinda sad. It helped me savor different moments through pictures and really think about how important active living really is to me and why.

My last few pictures were super fun so I am going to share them on the blog. The first picture above was in answer to my “favorite part of active living.” I love that through active living you can meet so many like-minded people. I work with ladies that love to workout so we literally exercise together during our lunch breaks when we are all in the office. I have also connected through the blogosphere with other fitness/health bloggers. And of course, even walk and talks with family and friends are kick butt. I connect with someone so much better on a walk than I do in front of a buffet line. Seriously!

Below is my 2nd pic of a motivational quote. I am totally digging it right now! We always have room to learn and grow.

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My third pic is in answer to the question, “How do you get more out of each day.” I press pause and savor each moment that I am in. I think less and live more. It’s so important to remember this, because it can be so easy to get caught up in the rat race and focus on less important things.

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My fourth picture is my career goal. The bubble in the picture says it all. I know one of my career purposes is to help others get and stay healthy.

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My fifth picture is something I am looking forward to in the near future. I am literally looking forward to giving these two a hug in Colorado. They have been there since June and I miss them like crazy! I am also looking forward to some hiking adventures with them while I am there visiting.

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My sixth picture is a picture of my short term goal. I kept it SMART! 😉 I have been saving up this year to get yoga certified and hope to make the dream a reality sometime next year. I am already Piyo certified and teach Pure Barre, but I have always wanted to get yoga certified. It is more intense (and therefore also more expensive), but I am really excited about it.

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My seventh picture is one of my favorite snacks these days. I like to eat Plain Greek yogurt with cacao powder, a tad of dark chocolate chips and chopped walnuts, plus 1/2 a sliced banana. Yum!

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My last picture is one of my favorite pieces from Lorna Jane. I am in love with almost all of Lorna Jane’s inspirational tanks, but lately I have loved seeing this jacket. Anything that reminds me of the beach is good in my book. The palm trees make me smile!

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Lorna Jane promotes active living. I love what the brand stands for. I did not get paid for this post nor was it mandatory for me to write this post. I just wanted to provide a weekly update on the Active Living Challenge. To find out more about active living through Lorna Jane, visit MoveNourishBelieve or LornaJane.

Sunday Social: Fall

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Happy Sunday, friends! Matt and I are about to head out to the country to ride motorcycles. Well, I ride.. he drives. I never thought I would enjoy riding on the back of one, but oh my goodness are they fun. Especially in the country!

I hope whatever you have planned today is delightful to you!

Before I leave, I wanted to participate in Sunday Social. You know I love it! And this one has a question about Fall. I don’t know one female that does not look forward to Fall when it comes.

  1. What are you most looking forward to about Fall? The scents and pumpkins. My favorite candle scents are Fall flavors for sure. Pumpkin spice, anyone?pumpkin
  2. What is your favorite sports team? I am not the girl that fancy’s watching sports on TV. So, with that fact.. can I really be a full fledged fan?! Probably not. But if we are choosing favorite teams, I will go with the Texas Rangers. I have enjoyed going to the stadium(s) since I was a little girl.
  3. If you could go back to college is there one thing you would change? I wish I would have started in Nutrition all those years ago instead of fully going back to school for it. I graduated with a business degree the first time. Although, I can’t say I regret it. But, I do wish I would have at least minored in Nutrition or explored it more the first go-round. Oh and I do always say that I wish I stuck with the dance team. I quit after a year and half.
  4. What was your first class you ever took? We had to take this class called University Seminar to get you fully ready for college. I enjoyed it. I laughed at the teacher quite often… he was a retired clown and sure looked (and acted) the part. I could almost see his clown shoes and painted smile every time I looked at him. Once a clown always a clown?!
  5. Reach into your purse and name the first thing you grab. Sticky socks. I always have a pair in my purse. I never know when I am going to want to take or teach a Pure Barre class. Or any other class that requires sticky socks. It seems like a lot do these days.pb

Achieving Piyo Live! Instructor Status

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This past Sunday I got certified to teach Piyo Live! 

One of my hobbies is to teach exercise. I love helping others get and stay fit. I have been teaching Pure Barre for 4 years now and I still plan to teach, but feel ready to add a different class to the mix. Before Pure Barre, I used to teach boot camp style classes, interval training, and Zumba. I am used to mixing things up. My brain craves variety!

So, where will I be teaching and when will I start? Well, I don’t know yet to be honest. I am hoping to teach closer to where I live. I also want to offer classes at a very affordable price (like $3-$5 per class). I don’t want people to have to get a membership to take my class so that means gyms are out of the running. Although, this is me in dream land.. I may end up having to start at a gym, which is fine. Just not ideal! I want anyone to be able to take my class. If only my house had an exercise room.. 😉

Have you heard of Piyo yet? If not, let me give you a really good description of what it is. Piyo is inspired by Pilates and Yoga, but it isn’t a combination of the two. In fact, it incorporates elements of the two, in addition to sports conditioning, dance, core conditioning, athletic training, and plyometrics. I love it because you have to engage the powerhouse (aka core) in ALL that you do. I can feel a difference in my core already from doing the videos with Chalene!

 I can’t wait to teach! I am an exercise nerd and have already been writing down different cues I can say during class. The difference between an average instructor and a FABULOUS one is personality and appropriate cueing. People have to be able to follow what you are leading. I want to be a FABULOUS instructor so I am bringing it on!!!

Have you tried Piyo yet?

WTEW: Teacher Series- Caroline B

Pure Barre teachers

This is our last week of the Pure Barre Dallas Teacher Series for What to Eat Wednesday. It has been so fun doing this series and I hope you have enjoyed it as well. If you missed Katherine last week, you can click here to learn all about her. This week, we will get to know Caroline. She has been teaching at Pure Barre Dallas for over 4 years and is a Registered Nurse.

 

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  1. What is your favorite fruit?  Blueberries.
  2. What is your favorite vegetable? Okra, Brussels sprouts, and edamame.
  3. What is your favorite pre or post workout snack or beverage? A protein bar/smoothie/shake, Greek yogurt, and coffee before and after. 🙂
  4. What is your top eating healthy tip or trick? Definitely don’t starve yourself… smaller, more frequent meals help keep my blood sugar stable so I don’t get starving and can make healthy decisions. But I am also a big advocate for listening to my sweet tooth… a little dark chocolate is good for the soul!
  5. Tell me a random/fun fact about you. I played college soccer and haven’t touched a soccer ball since I graduated.
  6. If you had a motto or a quote you like to live by, what would it be?  I learn to embrace the uncomfortable (whether in life or working out) because that is where we grow and see change.
  7. How long have you been teaching Pure Barre? I have been teaching since we opened in June 2010 and love being able to encourage women and walk alongside them wherever they are in their fitness journeys. It’s the most amazing feeling to see someone work so hard consistently over time and then get to see firsthand the fruit of their effort and commitment.
  8. Favorite Pure Barre move?  Seat work because it forces me to mentally engage, but I will always love the burn of a good thigh sprint!
Even though this was our last week of the Teacher series, I hope to do this again in the future. If you have any questions you want answered by our teachers, be sure to comment on the blog or send me an email at britexas@gmail.com. Thanks for stopping by!

Spotlight on Apple Cider Vinegar

I drink a morning cocktail every morning. No lie. 

But, I am no alcoholic. You see, my morning cocktail is 1/2 cup freshly squeezed pineapple orange juice mixed with 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar. And, of course, ice. I like my morning cocktail on the rocks!

Why do I like apple cider vinegar? I love it for its health benefits. Apple cider vinegar is great for blood sugar control, digestion, and overall metabolism. Granted, there is little research in losing weight with apple cider vinegar, but like with everything… there is not one cure all. Eating healthier, moving more, and stressing less work together for proper weight management. And tips and tools like apple cider vinegar can be a little icing on the cake.

Apple cider vinegar is extremely strong and acidic. You do not want to drink this by itself. It can hurt your tooth enamel and esophagus if you do that so I repeat, PLEASE do not drink it by itself. Try mixing it with something like I do and if it is still too strong, drop to 2 teaspoons instead of 1 tablespoon.

I prefer the Bragg’s brand of Apple Cider Vinegar and you can purchase it just about anywhere. I have bought it at Target and Central Market. It is raw, unfiltered, and you can see the lovely floaties (fact: these floaties are known as the “mother”… weird, I know). The mother is full of probiotics. Again, GREAT for digestion! And you do not need to refrigerate apple cider vinegar, just fyi.

I did a quick tip Tuesday video on this too so you can see what Apple Cider Vinegar looks like. See it below.

Sunday Social: Splurge

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Let’s dig in to a little Sunday Social. I am naming this one splurge, because it just sounds fun! Grab your coffee or tea and let’s get to it. Comment your answer to one of the questions too.. don’t be shy!

Questions of the week are:

    1. One item you wish you could splurge on right now. A blog makeover. I like my design and all, but feel ready for something fresh and new. Now that I have been in the blogging world for almost a year, I have taken notes on what specifics I want and don’t want. But, paying someone to design my blog is expensive so I am holding off for now. For the bloggers, how often do you change up your blog look (if at all)?
    2. If you had an entire weekend with no plans what would you do? I would finally go kayaking with my younger brother and get my brothers and friends together for sand volleyball. I have not played enough sand volleyball this summer. Must.Play.Soon.
    3. Next place you are visiting outside your current city. Silverthorne, Colorado. I am thrilled! Going at the end of this month for Labor day weekend to see my parents, enjoy nature, and get away for a long weekend.

      My parent's place in the winter.

      My parent’s place in the winter.

    4. Are you a neat freak or a clutter bug? This is a funny question and I actually fall somewhere in between. I am no neat freak, but I also hate clutter. I will let clutter pile up for a very limited amount of time so probably de-clutter each area once or twice per week. Does that qualify me as a neat freak? Most neat freaks I know de-clutter daily or multiple times per day. Not me.
    5. Favorite summer purchase. Plane tickets. My favorite purchases have and always will be on travel. Memories are best made on trips!

Motivation to Move

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I am still participating in the Active Living Challenge on Instagram and Twitter. This challenge has reminded me of what motivates me to move. Motivation is key when it comes to active living!

What motivates me? Many things. But most of the time, I still need a little help to get moving. However, when I see the sun shining, 60 to 80 degree temps, and a chance to connect with nature… I jump head in! It’s a natural motivator for me. I love the way a good walk or run feels outside.

I live in Texas so realistically it is not always between 60 and 80 degrees. What do I do when I do not have my natural motivator? I give myself 20 minutes. I can do anything for 20 minutes.. can’t you?! I tell myself I am going to do this workout DVD or roll out the mat for yoga for 20 minutes and THEN decide if I want to keep going. Most of the time I do. Wanna know why? Because movement makes us feel good. It makes us feel bad ass. And that, keeps me motivated to move even more. I love that feeling!

In addition to sharing a little motivation to move, I want to also share the other pics I posted for the Active Living Challenge this past week.. this first one is my favorite place to relax. It happens to be my office. I call it my “zen” room because I can transform it easily by dimming the lights, rolling out the mat, lighting a candle, and playing some tunes.

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My second pic is a post-workout selfie. I am in love with Piyo these days and am actually getting certified this Sunday. This was after doing Piyo. It’s a tad blurry.. I hate taking selfies and am quite frankly not good at it! They didn’t teach me that in grade school. 😉

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My third pic is of my favorite way to workout with others. I grew up skiing and it is my favorite workout to do with friends and family. My day-to-day workouts are usually solo (I prefer it that way), but there is something about skiing with others. You all get to take in the scenery together and have an adventure! I love it.

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My fourth picture is something (or someone in my case) that I am grateful for. I am grateful for my mother. She is a remarkable human being and I am blessed to know her. I really miss her right now too. She is in Colorado for an extended period of time.. and really, I can’t blame her. I would be there too if I could.

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My fifth picture is a picture of my favorite super food. You may have seen this picture already on my Monday post. I got really excited about berries after taking this picture that I felt compelled to write more. What can I say, I love berries!

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My sixth picture is the first time I tried coconut water straight from a coconut. All I can say is, I learned of my love for coconuts in St. Lucia. And the love grew even deeper in Hawaii. Bring on the coconuts!!!

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My last picture is a two for one. It symbolizes the way I make active living a daily thing. I roll out my mat, lace up my running shoes for a run, or put on my cross trainers for a workout dvd or walk. The second part of the pic is the fact I chose to create an F. This F stands for fun, fitness, fuel, and FEEL GOOD! My requirements for movement. Movement should be fun (at least to some degree), help me increase my fitness, provide me fuel for my day (in addition to healthy foods), and help me feel good.

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Lorna Jane promotes active living. I love what the brand stands for. I did not get paid for this post nor was it mandatory for me to write this post. I just wanted to provide a weekly update on the Active Living Challenge. To find out more about active living through Lorna Jane, visit MoveNourishBelieve or LornaJane.

WTEW: Teacher Series- Katherine

Pure Barre teachers

We are almost done with our Pure Barre Dallas Teacher Series for What to Eat Wednesday. It is week 11. If you missed Marissa last week, you can click here to learn all about her. This week, we will get to know our newest teacher, Katherine. She is a science teacher and comes to us from Jackson, Mississippi.Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

 

  1. What is your favorite fruit?  Green apples and Nutella (the apples balance it out, right?).
  2. What is your favorite vegetable? My go to vegetable is a red bell pepper. However, recently I have become obsessed with Brussels sprouts!
  3. What is your favorite pre or post workout snack or beverage? Pre: red bull or coffee. Post: red bull or coffee!? I will be the first to admit that I love me some caffeine.
  4. What is your top eating healthy tip or trick? I am a big believer in not restricting yourself. Be mindful about what you put into your body, but on the rare occasions when you just need french fries or pizza– enjoy! Life is too short not to partake in cheesy goodness! Also, try cutting out meat, or at least red meat, from your diet (even if only for one day a week). I stopped eating meat almost 2 years ago and trust me, your body will thank you.
  5. Tell me a random/fun fact about you. I am VERY grossed out and afraid when people walk around while brushing their teeth (I know, crazy!). It’s just not normal to foam at the mouth like that. Stand in front of the sink and brush those teeth. No need to walk around. Brush and be done with it! Also, I am a neurotic cleaner. Sweeping leads to mopping… and two hours later I have scrubbed the house from top to bottom.
  6. If you had a motto or a quote you like to live by, what would it be?  Enjoy! Enjoy life and everything you have. Give yourself (and those around you) a break. Enjoy your friends, family, pets, pizza, and life a little more! Try smiling more and complaining less. Happiness is contagious- pass it on!
  7. How long have you been teaching Pure Barre? I have been teaching for over two years. I love how wonderful (and always challenging) the workouts are. I love that I can get a fantastic full body workout done in an hour and crave more the next day! I am a Pure Barre and caffeine addict.
  8. Favorite Pure Barre move?  Thighs is my favorite section… I don’t know if I have a favorite move, but I do have favorite combos! Knee dancing, chair, and waterski?! Yes, please! Make it shake and hurt all over!
Wow, that is one killer combo! It will definitely get those thighs shaking. Thanks for stopping by and stay tuned for next week’s Q&A sesh with Caroline B. It is the final Q&A in this series.