WTEW: Your FAVORITE Holiday Treat

Season'sGreetings!

First things first, MERRY CHRISTMAS EVE! Are you spending time with family and friends tonight? My family usually does a big celebration on Christmas Eve and then my boyfriend’s family celebrates Christmas Day. It works out. However, this year my parents are in Colorado. We will be flying out Christmas night to see them so my regular Christmas Eve routine will be different this year.

I will still celebrate Christmas Eve in my own way. ‘Tis the season, right? I am hoping to go to a local church service in the evening, watch a Christmas movie or show at some point, and savor one of my favorite holiday treats.

You know what my favorite holiday treat is???

Hot cocoa! I have been saving some tasty hot cocoa packets for tonight to go with my Christmas movie or show. No, I don’t get crafty and make my own. Although, I should. It may even taste better. But, I do use hot milk with my cocoa and oh my goodness is it good.

Another favorite holiday treat of mine is ginger snaps. I don’t see any in my near future so I am sticking with the hot cocoa today. But man, have you ever tasted homemade ginger snaps?? To. Die. For. Maybe next year I will be more in the baking mood.

For those of you who think treats are off limits or the diet starts January 1st or you must run off the treat you eat, please think again. I know I say this a lot, but being restrictive can lead to very negative behaviors. Love your body and treat it well. Enjoy the holidays, even the treats.

Let’s make this fun. Name your FAVORITE holiday treat in the comments below.

Merry Christmas, friends!

Dear Body, Thank You For…

TAILOR MADE

I love love love the topic for The FitDish linkup this week. What a great week to share gratitude in any form or fashion. And today I am sharing gratitude for my health. Feel free to join in too.. Jessica Joy and Jill Conyers are the hosts of this linkup.

Dear Body, Thank You For…

Allowing me to move on a daily basis. I know I have said this before, but I REALLY am thankful for my feet. I get to do a lot of kick-butt things because of those bad boys.

Letting me get enough sleep each night. I feel refreshed after a good night’s sleep! I know there will be times where sleep is more of a luxury instead of a necessity, but thank you for allowing me to enjoy sleep NOW and recognize its benefits.

Taking care of my hunger and fullness cues. I don’t always listen to them, but when I do I can tell it makes you happy. No diet is needed when the hunger and fullness cues are followed.. that is fo sho!

Connecting with my mind when it needs to shut the f**k up! I love how a workout can change your mood instantly. Feel good hormones?! They’re real. And a good move session can also quiet the mind. There often are moments during a workout where I have to focus on what I am doing presently instead of what I “should” be doing later. I love that.

Being unique. All bodies are different and have their own unique beauty. Instead of body bashing and wanting to change certain things, I choose to love mine. I hope others do too because the world is cruel enough. Every “body” deserves love from its owner.

Giving others hugs and showing love. I love my family, friends, and pets… cue Buddy the Elf. 🙂

Showing me when you need some attention. Talk about honesty. You let me know when I am so sore that I need to use the foam roller or get a massage. You let me know when you are feeling kinda woozy and an illness might be coming on. You also let me know when you have had enough and all you want is the bed and a good movie. My mind sometimes fights you on that one, but you usually win.

Kicking ass. This needs no explanation.

How about you, dear friends.. what do you thank your body for TODAY?

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Coping with the loss of a grandma

My grandma and grandpa. Aren't they so cute?!?

My grandma and grandpa. Aren’t they so cute?!?

I woke up yesterday morning like any other morning. Make a glass of hot water with lemon, do a little yoga with Cali, and then make breakfast with MK. Only, on my way to the kitchen yesterday morning I noticed a missed call from my dad and a text that simply said, “Hi Bri, please call me when you have a moment.”

I shudder. Tears start rolling down my eyes as I look at MK and tell him that my dad does not send text messages like this. This has to be serious news. But then I calm myself down and tell myself that he is probably just needing me to check on his house for a bill or something (he and my mom are out of town).

So I call my dad back. His news wasn’t pleasant, but he was so calm. He was so strong as he told me that his mother had passed away in her sleep that morning. My beautiful dad… I just wanted to hug him right then and there. He told me not to be sad and that we should celebrate her life. And we definitely should celebrate her life, with that I agree. But, that doesn’t take away the fact that I want to hug my dad and he wants to hug his dad. We want to be support and love for one another as each other copes. Nothing can make the pain of losing a loved one go away, but being in the arms of another loved one who genuinely understands and empathizes takes a little bit of the pain away if even for a little while.

I don’t have the luxury of being with my parents just yet, but that will come on Thursday. I found other ways to cope yesterday with the news. I was able to have moments of happiness and moments of sadness all in the same day, even the same hour. How does that saying go…. sometimes we get rain to enjoy the rainbow?! Somehow, it fits.

I am an emotional person. I cried yesterday at the thought of never seeing my grandma again on Earth. But on the flip side, I also smiled at the the thought of her not being in physical pain anymore or on any medications. I smiled thinking about how she was probably telling stories in Heaven. She really had a lot of stories… that woman was energy and personality! So many people knew her and loved her presence.

I choose to focus on the memories. They still bring up tears, but they also bring up laughter. I went on a walk yesterday for fresh air and literally had a “laugh cry”. I laughed when I remembered her bringing home funny Christmas gifts and then I cried realizing we won’t have her this Christmas. Then I laughed again remembering how she introduced me to her priest at her church, proclaiming that I was a saint who would never drink, smoke, or have sex. He then asked if I wanted to be a nun. I was, of course, mortified. And in college so I am not sure why or how she came up with those proclamations. I then cried realizing her birthday is today and she almost made it to her 84th birthday. But, maybe that is the irony… maybe God wanted her to be with Him on her birthday. Maybe birthdays aren’t that important after all. I dunno, I like to have reasons for things that don’t have certainties.

Anyway, all that to say, thank you for letting me cope a little more through words. Writing really is therapy for me at times. And before I sign off, I want to have a moment of open script.. a letter to her, if you will…

Dear grandma, 

I love you with all my heart and soul. I have been blessed to call you grandma for 30 years now and I will never forget the memories that I have with you. You made life fun and have pizzazz. You have touched so many lives with your presence and energy. Thank you for the Peterson clan, “Mom Pete”. You and grandpa built a strong, tight-nit family that I am so proud to be a part of. I can’t help but think you are having a blast in Heaven, perhaps sharing stories with others. I hope you are giving your mother a hug right now because I know she meant so much to you. I hope that you are watching over grandpa and letting him know that he will be okay. And I pray that your love shines through each of us daily. Our memories will never fade. Thank you, dear grandma, for being you. Thank you for never being afraid to be yourself. Thank you for showing me that no one has to be a stranger. You could talk to anyone (or anything for that matter) and that is a beautiful gift that is not given to everyone. Thank you for being silly and allowing your grandchildren to make hilarious memories with you in them. I love you, grandma. I will miss you every day of my life, but when I miss you I will smile at your angelic presence and say a prayer for you. A prayer that you are blissful and joyful up in Heaven. 

Love, Bri

If you are coping with a loss this time of year, my thoughts and prayers are with you. It is always tough losing a loved one, but especially around the holidays when things are also joyful. It’s a mixture of emotions, but it’s okay to let yourself be happy in some moments and sad in others. We all cope in our own ways. My heart is with yours!

Take Your Pick: Health Challenges

challenges

I know I have said this before, but I LOVE health challenges. I love them because they are a fun and simple way to create new habits or delete the old. Challenges give you stepping stones to reach a new goal… we are told to love the journey, right?

So, if you are like me… perhaps you are looking for a new health challenge to embark upon. I am thrilled to the nines for a January yoga challenge I just found out about. And I will mention it here, but since yoga isn’t currently everyone’s thang I have a list of five different health challenges you can do after the holidays.

I do not recommend doing all 5 at once unless you really do want to pull your hair out. Pick a couple and enjoy every moment!

This is not a “best of” list… just one that I put together after hearing of a few random challenges coming up. If you know of any more, please let me know. I particularly LOVE instagram photo challenges and have not seen one lately.

{Challenge #1} If you are like me and want to do a yoga challenge in January, I highly recommend the 30 days of yoga with Yoga With Adriene. You can click here to sign up for the challenge and find out more details. It is absolutely FREE!

{Challenge #2} If you are wanting to follow the next fad diet as your new year’s resolution, I highly recommend you don’t and instead break up with diets. My blogger friend and fellow dietitian has a free 21 day break up with diets forever challenge on her website. You can click here to sign up for the challenge. You will see the sign up at the top and side bar. Feel good in that body of yourS!

{Challenge #3} Have you EVER done a Tone It Up series? They NEVER disappoint and my favorite series is coming up in January, the Love Your Body Series. Tone It Up has not announced the series on their website yet, but it is usually announced the last few days of December. You can click here to visit their website and check back around December 29th. Or you can always check back on my blog. I will be participating in this again this year so will likely post about it.

{Challenge #4} Many of us have the nutrition and fitness down, but need help with stress management. Is that you? If so, try this free meditation challenge through One Mind Live. It’s only one week long and starts on December 24th, ending on January 1st. Just enough time to get you started on a meditation routine! You can click here to sign up.

{Challenge #5} Are you as in love with beachbody programs as I am? I have Turbofire, Insanity, and PIYO. I love them all, but am currently only doing PIYO. I haven’t done a beachbody challenge in awhile, but if you are wanting some extra support during your beachbody workouts I highly suggest hooking up with a beachbody coach for a challenge. Every coach and challenge is different, but the only investment is usually shakeology (which is very tasty!). I know some great coaches if you need recommendations and you can click on their name to be taken to their Facebook page: Johanna Hatcliff, Marisa Owen, and Laura O’Melia. You get hands on support during these challenges and can meet new peeps!

Alright, dear friends.. how is that to end the year and start anew in 2015? Wishing you well!

Fit, Fab, & Fuel Holiday Swap

I participated in the fit, fab, & fuel holiday swap this year. I had so much fun with it! I will definitely be participating again next year. Thanks to Running with SD Mom and Naturally Fit Sisters for hosting!

How it worked is that I was partnered up with another blogger. We then swapped a fab ornament and some winter FITness FUEL. I was partnered with Farrah over at Fairyburger. We had to send our packages by December 8th so that we would get all of our treats in time for Christmas and the link up today.

My top 3 delights from this fit, fab, & fuel holiday swap include:

  1. Getting to pick out the goods for Farrah. I was so excited to put together the FITness FUEL. I had so many ideas and products that I wanted to put into her care package, but the box would not have been big enough. So, I had to scale back a bit, but I settled on some of my faves. And ornaments are always fun to shop for too, I must say.
  2. Getting to know a fellow fitness blogger. I loved getting to connect with Farrah and I love her blog. I am really excited to follow along from here on out. As part of the swap, I am also supposed to mention 5 random (and awesome!) things about my partner. My partner…
    1. Is currently in medical school.
    2. Has been in a power lifting competition before.
    3. Plays the piano.
    4. Is named after Farrah Fawcett.
    5. Has a really cute cat named Ninja.
  3. Receiving my FITness FUEL in the mail. It made my day! I loved getting all my goods- thank you Farrah! We both clearly have a love for hot beverages. I can’t wait to try all of my tea and hot cocoa.

And now for the pictures…

fit, fab, & fuel swap

All of my new goods from the Fit, Fab, & Fuel Swap!

 

ornament

My new ornament. Haven’t decided what pictures to put into it yet.

 

tea

An assortment of tea. I am THE biggest tea fan! How did she know!?! 🙂

 

skinny girl

I have never tried these before so am excited to try them out.

 

plantains

These are absolutely delicious! I think I like these better than chips.

 

hot cocoa

I always hear how tasty hot cocoa is from Starbucks. I surprisingly haven’t had it yet. MK and I will be having a tasty cup of cocoa to a Christmas movie ASAP!

WTEW: Sunflower Butter

sunbutter

I have been learning more and more about Ayurveda these days. I love digging into Eastern medicine, culture, and traditions. Western medicine is not the only way to go. A mixture of the two is best in my book. And did you know that Ayurveda is actually the sister science to yoga? I didn’t until a few weeks ago. Very cool!

Without going into too much detail of Ayurveda, there are three dosha’s (vata, kapha, pitta). Each person has a dominate dosha, but is generally a mixture of the 3 in some way. If you are interested in learning more, you can find out more about ayurveda and the dosha’s by clicking HERE.

Sunflower seeds are excellent for ALL the dosha’s. Peanuts, on the other hand, are not. So I have recently made the switch to sunflower butter. And even if you do not have any interest in Ayurveda whatsoever, let me just tell you…

YOU WILL LOVE SUNFLOWER BUTTER!

Where has it been all my life? My head has been in a peanut butter cloud for over 25 years. If you are like me, sunflower butter has never crossed the mind. I hear all the time about almond butter (I am not a fan) and hazelnut butter (Nutella), but never hear about sunflower butter. But, I am a changed woman. I now eat sunflower butter atop my protein pancake (pictured below) or Ezekial toast. I always sprinkle honey on top too.

Protein pancake with sunflower butter and honey!

Protein pancake with sunflower butter and honey!

Another way to use sunflower butter if toast or pancakes isn’t your thang is to make sunballs. I make these on the regular. They are my homemade replacement for Larabars, but I am now preferring them so have not bought a package of my beloved Larabars for awhile now. Sorry Lara! 😉 The recipe can be found HERE.

If you know any peeps with a peanut allergy, this is a GREAT replacement! Most sunflower butter brands I have seen are made in a peanut-free location. My favorite brand is the Sunbutter brand, but it is the only one I have tried. It came highly recommended to me and I was hooked right away. I found it at Natural Grocer’s, but I bet Whole Foods, Central Market, Sprouts, etc. probably have it too. It’s more expensive than peanut butter, but oh so worth it!

Eat well, friends!

Hilarious Fitness Experiences

HILARIOUS

I am laughing right now while I type this. I am thinking about some of my hilarious fitness experiences. I have many (as well as hilarious dating experiences, but maybe another blog post?!). Today, I am sharing two that hopefully will give you a little giggle or a smile.

Before I get started, this is a fun topic through the Fit Dish link up with Jessica Joy and Jill Conyers. #FitFam all the way!

{HILARIOUS FITNESS EXPERIENCE #1}

As I have mentioned on the blog before, I teach group exercise classes. I have for about 7 years now give or take. I currently teach Pure Barre only, but started out creating my own classes in a bootcamp, interval type of style. And my first hilarious fitness experience that I am going to mention on the blog starts with this class.

Let me set the mood...

It’s April 1st (April Fool’s Day) and a weekday. I was going in to teach my regular interval class. I had rockstar participants that always showed up. It was a gym that belonged to a subdivision so all of the participants lived in the same housing area. They were all fitness buds so I knew I could do something silly for April Fool’s Day.

I was really close to two of the participants so I told them beforehand my plan. I wanted at least two people to go along with my scheme so that it seemed real, ya know. So I start the class… we are doing the warm up… and if you teach group exercise at all you know that people do WHATEVER YOU DO during class. If I wave to someone outside, a participant is likely to think that is part of the exercise move. Not sure why, but it happens every time. Knowing this, I knew I could do something funny that would be repeated by all just out of habit.

So, my next move was…. the bend and snap! I had a serious face when I said it and all I have to say is, it was AMAZING! We all got an extra abdominal workout with all the laughing. 🙂 …. works every time (to be said in THAT voice).

{HILARIOUS FITNESS EXPERIENCE #2}

Do you remember whenever I mentioned my favorite fitness accomplishments about 2 weeks ago? Well, this story has to do with the MS 150.

One of my best friends (I’ll call her M) and I trained for the MS 150, a two-day bike ride from Houston to Austin. You stay the night somewhere half way, but I forget the town now. We worked for Shell at the time and they were sponsoring a tent for all of us Shell participants. They also transferred our sleeping bags and such for us.

M and I took advantage of that. Or so we planned. We borrowed our friends’ blow up mattress. It was the king of blow up mattresses at the time… I’m talking at least 3 feet tall, plush, and comfortable. It was either a double or a queen size so we knew we could both sleep on it. And after 7 hours of riding on a bicycle, you look forward to luxury zzzz’s (especially if you have to be in a tent outdoors).

So, we get started on our first day of riding. This is our first huge ride like this mind you. I received weird stares from the start because of my mountain bike. I put road tires on the darn thing, but apparently riding a road race on a mountain bike is laughable to “experts”. But, I wasn’t swapping out my mountain bike for a road bike. No way! I love it AND the Ipod docking station fit perfectly on my handlebars. We had read somewhere that you weren’t supposed to bring radios, but are you kidding me? I love music and let me tell you, music really can MOVE you! So can GU. I learned about GU from a fellow co-worker (and expert road racer.. he was done in 4 hours the first day that took us 7.. show off!).

About 2 hours into the race I look at M and am thinking, I really need a boost. She agreed so we tried some GU. Holy cow! It was either my silly mind or the GU, but I became the Roadrunner being chased by Wile E Coyote. Seriously, I was moving my legs so fast and giggling at the same time… other peeps probably thought I just committed a crime or  needed to be sent to a psychiatric ward. And then I turn up the tunes and of course it is one of my favorite Michael Jackson songs (The Way You Make Me Feel). Game over.. definitely being sent to the ward. I was delirious!

Not too long after that I also sang “I Shot The Sheriff” to the cops working the race. I don’t think they heard me… thank goodness. That’s probably like yelling “bomb” in an airport.

We get done with the first day. Woo hoo! And decide we are hungry. We eat some veggie burgers at the first tent and then we go for a little walk to see all of the other tents. We see a tent with a “pancake breakfast” sign. We light up and look at each other like kids in a candy store and decide at that moment that two dinners is justified after a long race. Pancakes WILL be ours! Our 2nd dinner did not disappoint.

When it was time to roll out our bed, we blew up the mattress and drew a bit of a crowd. Our coworkers laughed at us a bit as they had cots with sleeping bags. We looked a little showy, but we didn’t care. We were sleeping GOOD tonight! Until we both woke up in the middle of the night in the shape of a V. Our asses were hitting the rocks below, while our heads and legs were elevated. We had forgotten to plug up the air mattress all the way. Most of the air had let out. The next 4 or 5 hours of sleep was a bit rough with the rocks digging into butt tissue, but luckily we laughed it off. Well, except for the moment we found a spider on our bed.. then we screamed, but the rest was full of laughs.

The MS 150 was full of memories I won’t ever forget. You really do get silly with too much exercise, too little sleep, and way too much GU!

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What is your most hilarious fitness experience of all time? 

WTEW: The Good Bean

Thegoodbean

I am always looking for food products that stand out at the grocery store. I was shopping at Target the other day and The Good Bean caught my eye. I know these are not new, but I believe they are new for Target because I am at Target at least once per week. Only mildly obsessed with that store!

There were at least 5 different flavors, but I went with the Sweet Cinnamon. Big surprise! If you said tofu had cinnamon on it, I would probably try it. And hope to like it because I have never liked any tofu I have tried. But, that’s another story and another day.

You guysssssssssss (to be said like my Midwestern cousins)… if you like crunchy and munchy things, you will like these. They are roasted chickpeas of all things. Good for most people with allergies too as they are gluten free, nut free, soy free, and vegan. I had these plain, but the package says to sprinkle onto yogurt, which I think is a fabulous idea. I will have to try that the next time I am ready to snack on my Dreaming Cow yogurt.

These were inexpensive- I think around $2 if I am not mistaken. But, if you are really saving pennies, I am certain you could roast chickpeas yourself and spice them up however you like. If this sounds like you, check this recipe out: Crispy Roasted Chickpeas.

Since I am big on ingredients in packaged foods, I am sharing with you the nutrition facts label. These babies have less about 8 ingredients, but I can pronounce them all and know what each of them are. Check it out…

The Good Bean nutrition facts

The Good Bean nutrition facts

Have you tried anything from The Good Bean yet?

Eat well, friends!

Looking Ahead: Goals for 2015

5 goals

Yikes! I can’t believe I am already thinking about 2015. But, it’s good to be a goal setter so I’m going to do it. Especially since it is the subject of today’s Fit Dish link up with Jessica Joy and Jill Conyers. My #fitfam is keeping me in line!

So, looking ahead, here are 5 of my goals for 2015…

{ONE} Get yoga certified. I have actually been saving up for this so I think 2015 is my year to get yoga certified. I love love love yoga and want to dive into it even more. Yoga certifications are both lengthy and pricey so it wasn’t one of those certifications I could get whenever. I am guessing it is because you learn quite a bit and are required to do so many hours (200 I think). I am keeping my eye out on the best places to get certified in Dallas. If you know of any, please let me know.

{TWO} Learn to swing dance. I love learning about dance and learning new dances so swing dancing is on my radar. My boyfriend and I actually found a good place to learn and practice on Wednesdays, but we have not been yet. December has sure been a busy month so I am pushing it to January or February for when we start learning. It’s going to be a blast!

{THREE} Travel abroad. I really have my heart set on New Zealand or an African safari. Or heck, if I have enough PTO we’ll do both!

{FOUR} Attend a blogging  conference. I have so many great ideas for the blog, but putting pen to paper is so hard to do with a full time job at times. I would love to hear how other people balance a career, family, and a blog. I have heard so many great things about conferences too, but I will need to save up since many are out of state.

{FIVE} Get educated in real estate. I am not going to quit my beloved career to become a real estate agent, but I do have an interest in real estate. I think the later part of 2015 will be a good time to go through a real estate course.

I really am excited for 2015 and hope you are too.I have a feeling that when January comes along a couple of these may change  slightly, but I will for sure do another vision board around that time. I love doing vision boards!

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Monday Ramblings

mondayramblings

I am a mess. Is anyone else out there a mess right now? That’s why I just need a little dose of Monday ramblings. A little time to get a few things off my chest. Taking pen to paper for a vent sesh. Hell yes!

And I don’t judge.. if you need to do the same, please do. I am a good listener.

So first up, I am OVER sweets. Ergh! My tummy is agreeing with me. I had 3 holiday parties this weekend and while they were SO MUCH FUN and I am glad I went, I ate a little too many of the chocolates, cake things, and cookies (and more). My digestive system is saying, “WHOA there buddy… let’s use this week to reboot.”

So I listen. I started the morning with a warm bowl of oatmeal and dinner is brewing in the crockpot as we speak. And this morning I did restorative yoga. In fact, it was “Yoga for Headaches” since I did wake up with a headache today. Can you get hangover from too much sugar? If so, I can officially say I have a sugar hangover. And it may be worse than an alcohol hangover. Seriously! But, the yoga sesh helped BIG TIME and I am almost sugar hangover headache free.

Secondly, I am so overwhelmed with work right now. What is up with the loads of work this time of year?! Actually, I know.. I just don’t want to admit it. I work for a benefits type of company so many of our clients start new programs January 1st. So, that means December is the catch up, prepare, plan, and get everything done month. EEK! I love the holiday season and want to savor every bit of it, but some days I can’t help but wish for the weekend.

The bright side is that the “busy”ness should just be another week or so (I keep telling myself). And I WILL do my holiday fun things like look at Christmas lights, listen to Christmas music, watch a few favorite movies, see some type of Christmas show (like a musical or play), see snow, and give lots of love and time to family and friends. Oh I really do love this time of year!

Third up is a question… need your opinion. I am obsessed with workout DVD’s and noticed that Shaun T just came out with Insanity Max 30. Do I get it now or do I wait? I have been doing Piyo lately and love it, but want need a little more cardio in my life too (you know, for the endorphins) so am looking to change up my workout routine a bit. I have been spending a lot (haven’t we all) so am trying to decide if I buy it for myself now.. it’s $119.85 or if I wait until after the new year. What would you do?

Thank you for letting me ramble today! Have a wonderful Monday, dear friends.