A Change of Pace

change

I ran with my brother on Friday morning before work. It was a change of pace for me.. in two ways.  First, I rarely work out with others unless I go to an exercise class. I prefer working out solo for the most part, simply so that I can fit it in anywhere and anytime. I am not the best with strict schedules and rigid rules. Second, his actual running pace is faster than mine. He challenged me.

Change was good. Change is good. I try to welcome change with open arms, even when it can seem a bit scary. Granted, with fitness, change is rarely scary and a little easier to accept.

My heart rate was pumping and towards the end of our 3rd and final mile my brother told me he wanted to sprint. Sprint?! What?! Actually, that is what was in my head, but I did it anyway  because I have a slight competitive side. Okay, maybe way more than slight. I wanted to go just as fast as he was going. There was no way I was going to just run the rest if he was going to sprint.

So we sprinted. And it felt great. I felt like I had just crossed a finish line. And we both clapped hands to congratulate one another. It was awesome. A splendid moment in the middle of a regular ‘ol work week.

You know what else I enjoyed? The company. Since I rarely run with another, I usually listen to my tunes. My brother and I got to exercise AND catch up. Best of both worlds! Plus, I made him breakfast when we got back and we finished our convo over oatmeal and chai tea. I love my brother with all of my heart and we didn’t always get along growing up (do any siblings when they are young?!), but now we have such a strong bond that I treasure.

I hope to run with him again soon. We said that next time we would go for a “trail run” near his house. I can’t wait!

Do you enjoy working out with others or do you prefer solo?

The Fit Pepper

Sunday Social: Favorites

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Howdy, y’all! I think I have Big Tex on the brain. Only a couple more weeks until the Texas State Fair and of course, we are getting closer to Fall too. I love Fall. The weather in Dallas this weekend was more fall-esque than summer. It was in the 70’s and heavenly. Please stay awhile, weather!  Anyway, it is Sunday so time for Sunday Social. This one is all about a few favorites…

  1. Favorite Scent: Currently, I will have to go with Vanilla Chai. I bought a Vanilla Chai candle from Bath & Body Works and I absolutely love it. When I am having a somewhat stressful day with work to do’s, I light this while working. It really does take at least a little of the stress away. I think of Fall, cooler weather, warm blankets, cozy fireplaces, and hot tea. A few of my favorite things… simple delights if you will.
  2. Favorite Food: Can I be 100% honest with you? My all-time favorite meal is one that I have at least 4 times per week and sometimes every single day. I LOVE it. It never gets old. This will be my go-to meal for life. I just know it. Anyway, drum roll please… my favorite food is peanut butter toast. I prefer freshly baked sourdough bread or Ezekial brand pita with chunky, natural peanut butter, topped with cinnamon, a drizzle of honey, and either raisins or sliced banana. Yum, yum, yum!!!!
  3. Favorite Sound: Any water sounds. I like the sound of rain hitting the window. I also like the sound of waves hitting the shore. Me love H2O!
  4. Favorite Picture currently on your phone: Me loving on my cat, Cali. She is my baby. And I don’t care if you call me the cat lady. I am one proud cat mama. Pets ROCK!IMG_3640
  5. Best memory of the year so far: I love all of my memories from this year so far, but I would say the best was visiting Hawaii. I am a beach girl at heart, even when living in concrete city. I loved being by the beach and, of course, spending time with my cousin-in-law and her son. Making memories in an awesome place with loved ones is perfection in my book.

What is your best memory of the year so far?

Love Forever

heart

The Beatles had it right… “All you need is love.”

I was listening to a different song in the car the other day. As most songs are, this one was about love. I was listening to it at just the right time. Does that ever happen to you? You hear a song and BAM you learn some type of lesson, remember some type of really cool memory, or an emotion just hits you like a ton of bricks.

That happened. I had that emotional moment. I could not stop the overwhelming sense of gratefulness that came over me.

You see, love is a gift. In fact, I think it is one of the greatest gift anyone can give you. I know I am not alone in this, but it is so easy for me to take loved ones for granted. It is so easy to forget that a heart is fragile and words, actions, and negativity can hurt another’s heart. The very heart that you hold a piece of.

And this isn’t all romance either I am talking about. I am talking about the raw, truthful love in ALL relationships. The hearts who have been there for you through thick and thin. The hearts that would be broken if anything were to happen to you. The hearts that never stop beating for you. The hearts that are intertwined with yours. Everlasting love.

I was so overwhelmed with gratefulness that day (and still am). In fact, I can’t stop thinking about love and how important it is in my life. It’s been on my mind nonstop ever since. And it should be. Because, I want every heart I hold a piece of to know just how lucky I am to know it. To love it. And to cherish it.

So, if you are one of the many hearts in my life, thank you. Thank you for letting me hold a piece of your heart. I am grateful for the opportunity to receive love from you and I hope that you accept my gift of love to you in return.

WTEW: Farmers Market Pasta Salad

pasta salad

I went to La Madeleine last week for a work lunch and let me just tell ya, the pasta salad there looks delicious!

I can’t say if it tastes delicious or not though, because of course I opted for this trio meal with french onion soup. I am a sucker for the french onion soup. Anyways, the pasta salad popped back into my head when I was trying to find a recipe over the weekend that would last awhile. I’m talking more than 3 or 4 days. During the week, I like to grab and eat for MANY of my meals. Guess I am no Martha Stewart after all. 😉

I also wanted a recipe that would incorporate lots of yummy vegetables I had in the house already.

So I did what many of us do on a daily basis.. or multiple times a day. I consulted with google. Have you ever thought about that? Most people probably “talk” to google more than humans throughout the day. Of course, our talk with google is through typing, but still. Crazy to think about!

So back to the subject, I looked up pasta salad recipes and found my winner. The winner was Farmers’ Market Pasta Salad. With my own twist, of course. I rarely follow a recipe exactly as is.

The best part? I have eaten 4 or 5 meals off of it and it is still holding up. The recipe is supposed to make 6 servings, but it will last me way more than 6 meals. Either I made way more than I thought or I just eat smaller portions than the recipe creator.

If you are interested in the recipe, click on the link above (or just click here.) I altered a few things…

  • I used feta cheese instead of goat cheese because, well, even the word goat cheese makes me want to gag.. sorry goat cheese lovers!
  • I added 1 lb chopped, cooked chicken breast. I like a little extra protein for my main meals.
  • The vegetables I chose in the “mixed vegetables” part of the recipe included asparagus, yellow squash, and cherry tomatoes.
  • I used whole wheat pasta (Simply Balanced brand from Target). Gotta love that extra fiber!

So now tell me, how do you make your favorite pasta salad?

The Frisky Fall Challenge Starts Today

Frisky Fall Goals

A new Tone It Up challenge starts TODAY! It’s the Frisky Fall challenge.

If you have been reading my blog for awhile, you know I love the Tone It Up girls. I like their approach to fitness, nutrition, motivation, and a healthy lifestyle in general. They are not in your face nor do they preach strict diet and exercise. They keep things light and fun, which is totally my style too. Because, let’s face it… who really enjoys anything strict and rigid? Nah.. ain’t got time for that! Especially if you can be healthy with less rigid habits and have fun at the same time.

So if you are interested, take on the challenge too. Heck, it’s FREE. Did I mention that yet?! And if you get lost or aren’t sure where to find all the details once you get to their site, hit me up. I will help. Consider me extra support!

I did my workout this morning to start my day off right. I knew I had some busy stuff to get to at work. And boy, was it nice! I went for a 20 minute run and then followed it up with the challenge workouts for today.

The PM challenge for today is to write down 3-5 goals. I came up with my own above. These are simple goals, but they are important to me. I have not been drinking much water lately and can feel it. So, I need to bump up my water intake. I also find myself reaching for fruit a lot more than vegetables. No biggie, but I think it’d be fun to increase my vegetable intake over the course of the challenge, especially the green good stuff! Trying a new recipe each week will motivate me to cook more. I love trying new things! And then the 10K and teaching Piyo are also goals I have, but really for Fall AND Winter so I am shooting for the end of the challenge, but will extend my deadline if these are not done. I don’t know why but the Hot Chocolate 10K sounds enticing! I may have to find one near me…

What about you? What would your Frisky Fall goals be?

Sunday Social: 5 things

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Last week was the first time in a LONG time that I missed Sunday Social, but I am back at it today. We are all about “5 things” today. Ready to jump in? Let’s go!

  1. 5 things you want us to know about you. I am going to keep these pretty random- 1) I love animals… oftentimes more than humans. They don’t gossip, call people names, or make relationships confusing… they just love. 2) I’ve lived in all 3 big metro areas of Texas (Houston, DFW, & Austin area). 3) My strongest sense is smell. Different scents remind me of certain things from my past and I love the heck out of candles. 4) I still send snail mail. My grandma is my pen pal and it rocks. 5) I love airports. In fact, I like to have around an hour to roam around before my flight. A cup of tea and the Ipod makes me smile the whole time I roam too.
  2. 5 favorite things about blogging. I love a lot about blogging so this will be easy. 1) Networking with other bloggers and friends from all over. 2) Blogging reminds me to take more pictures of simple things. 3) Blogging led me to Instagram, which is definitely my favorite social media platform. 4) I get to write a lot and I really do like writing. 5) Most importantly, I hope that through blogging I am inspiring others to live or maintain a healthy, happy life.
  3. 5 things you are doing before the year is over. 1) Going to Colorado for a White Christmas. 2) Attending a Rangers game. 3) Seeing a comedy tour (pumped about Louis C.K.). 4) Decorating the house for Halloween better than last year.. heck, I may even dress up for the trick-or-treaters this year. 5) Helping my best friend move back to Texas. Okay, that one isn’t for sure yet but I am REALLY hoping it happens. 😉
  4. 5 favorite fall fashion staples. I am not a fashionable person by nature, but I do know what I like so will give this a shot. 1) Scarves.. hello, they scream fall. 2) Boots and I don’t discriminate, I like all types. 3) Skinny jeans. I used to hate jeans until I met my favorite pair of skinny jeans. 4) Simple jackets. They allow you to wear any of your t-shirts and tanks underneath so you don’t have to go buy every sweater known to man. 5) Hoodies. I love a good hoodie, especially whenever I am at home lounging around. My favorite ones are from Victoria’s Secret because they are unbelievably comfortable.hoodie
  5. 5 favorite beauty products. 1)My top has to be the Unblemish line of Rodan + Fields. It has changed my life for the better. Thank you, Mindee, for introducing me to this. 2) Bare Minerals. Until someone introduces me to a different (and better) make up line, I will stick to the powder foundation and eye shadow from Bare Minerals. 3) Black eyeliner and mascara. I don’t really care what brand it is, but I always have some on hand. 4) Bronzer. My current one is from Chanel and I like it. 5) Eos chapstick. A girl can never leave home without chapstick. Am I right?!

Have a great Sunday, friends!

A Break from the Rat Race

The Rat Race

 

I am having a really hard time this week. I am back in the rat race. I am generally a very positive person, but I have my down days just like everyone else. And this week has been rough.

Granted, I always know things can be worse and holy cow there are crazy things going on in the world today. I realize I am not wondering when my next meal is nor am I captured by some extremist. My problems are small in comparison. And I am grateful for that. Honestly.

My problems come from the rat race. Running in my hamster wheel just like everyone else, trying to keep everything together and keep up with the next one. I keep wondering why we do this. Why is money one of the most important prizes we all seek to gain? Why is being the next big thing important? Why are we so excited to see a celebrity, but barely have a reaction when we see the normal Joe walking down the street? He may have saved a life the other day.

I took a break from the rat race and it was GOOD. Too good, in fact. I love vacations and usually am fine adjusting back to my regular life afterwards. I even promote taking vacations as part of wellness. But, this past weekend I went to Colorado to visit my parents. And I didn’t want to leave. My heart was heavy. And still is.

I find myself questioning a lot of different things. I don’t think questioning is bad. In fact, I think discomfort is the catalyst for change, and perhaps all of this means that some type of change needs to happen and will happen for me. I am not afraid of feeling this way nor am I afraid of change. I can feel these negative emotions and still realize that they do not define me. They do not make me who I am. And that is so key. Many of us feel negative emotions and turn to something else for comfort. But that comfort is temporary. It is important to feel your feelings and work through them.

So here’s to working through feelings instead of avoiding them. 

Do you ever find yourself questioning the rat race?

WTEW: Guilt Free Snacks

I was on a plane and in an airport twice over this past weekend so had plenty of time to catch up on magazines I had piling up. One of the magazines, Everyday with Rachel Ray, had this awesome book of “guilt-free snacks.” I liked several of them, but will share 5 of my favorites with you today. They are ALL super easy to prepare!

  1. Cinnamon maple seed clusters. Here’s a little health tip: when buying maple syrup, look for 100% pure maple syrup as the only ingredient. No additives needed. I also tend to look for ones made in Vermont or somewhere near there. They know how to do maple syrup!clusters
  2. Gauc Cup. Avocados have loads of healthy fats and did you know that they are good for the skin? Eat up! This snack includes a handful of tortilla chips, but you could also substitute the chips for carrots, pita chips, or anything else you like to dip!guac
  3. Moroccan Nut Mix. Nuts are by far my favorite snack and have been for awhile. I love the heck out of nuts and I don’t discriminate. I like ’em all! This is a great way to mix it up a bit though and add in a spice or two. Spices have health benefits too, ya know.nut mix
  4. Pear Pizzettes. I know I am not the majority here, but I am not the biggest fan of cheese. I do, however, love certain cheeses and blue cheese is one of them. I think I like it because a little goes a long way. I just need a crumble or two to taste the flavor. And pears? Oh, yum! Always a fan. Remember, when choosing an English muffin, look for 100% whole grain or 100% whole wheat. I actually look for Ezekial brand in the freezer or go for a freshly baked sourdough at a local market. pear
  5. Sweet & Spicy Popcorn. My mom told me she always craved popcorn when she was pregnant with me. I blame her for my popcorn love affair. I don’t ever get sick of popcorn so love finding ways to create a popcorn masterpiece out of plain popcorn. I typically stay away from microwave popcorn, because most have added ingredients I don’t think I need. I do, however, love some bagged varieties like Boom chicka pop. Next time I go to the store, I will buy plain and try this little potion with coconut palm sugar in place of brown sugar.popcorn

Which snack looks the most delicious to you? Happy snacking!