Wedding Series Vlog: 12 Weeks!

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I am very excited about this post. Lots to cover and I am still on cloud nine from this past weekend. I got to talk about the fun planning details with two of MK’s sisters. Decor is going to look AWESOME! We are going with a rustic type of theme. So, without further ado… here is the Wedding Series Vlog. Or you can skip on over it if you don’t want to watch the vid and just want to read the blog.

To summarize the vlog, I have a lot of the little things picked out for the wedding and have started a Pinterest board titled May 9, 2015. If that’s your thang (like me.. what did we ever do without Pinterest?!) you can click here to be taken straight to the board.

I also have the DJ picked out and MK is already working on his “must play” list. If I haven’t mentioned it before, MK is a musician so obviously there are songs he definitely wants to be played on the big day. My list would consist of Michael Jackson songs (Man in the Mirror, anyone?) and Motown hits. “Sugar pie honey bunch…. you know that I love you…. Can’t help myself…” Hell yeah!

In the vlog, I mentioned that I would show some pics of my favorite meals this past week. I am a simple eater so keep that in mind. Mainly because I am a simple cook. But, we all know I love simple things so it works!

Meals 2.16.14

For breakfast, I love a protein pancake with sunflower butter on top. I use Perfect Fit protein and they have a recipe for their protein pancake on the package. It’s delish and a breakfast that I look forward to over and over (especially when I work from home).

For lunch, I often have leftovers. My favorite leftover from this past week was Applewood smoked chicken. MK got a smoker less than a year ago so we are taking advantage of it when the weather is nice. The weather went back down to poo today, but it was beautiful last week.

For supper, I vary it up. I try to cook most nights and then leave weekend nights for eating out. I love Harvest Vegetable Chowder soup and never get sick of it. It’s a crockpot recipe that my mom gave me and has been my favorite soup since I was in high school. I like a good crunch so eat it with my current favorite crackers, Melba toast.

Most days I have at least one snack and this snack is usually a piece of fruit, nut mix, or yogurt. I am not a perfect eater by any means so please do not look at the above and think, “Holy cow, I need to eat less or eat more or eat better.” No judgment is allowed here! I always use the term “most days” because I have my days where I eat on a weird schedule, eat a little more or less, savor treats, etc. I show some of my simple meals to hopefully give ideas for the typical busy person!

The number 4 above is my favorite meal… it was my Valentine’s lunch. If I don’t eat a protein pancake with sunflower butter for breakfast I may eat a sunflower toast with honey for lunch. And one thing you will know about me if you do not know already is that I FREAKIN LOVE SWEET POTATOES!!!!!!! So, yes, I do eat those regularly.

I said I would give a couple favorite moves for working the sides of the abs or muffin top area. You will LOVE pretzel! You’re welcome. Let’s all challenge ourselves to do pretzel at least 3 times this week? Sound good?

There are so many variations but the above video will help get you started if you have never been to a Pure Barre (or other barre) class. My other favorite?? Side planks. I know you know how to do these. Get into those side planks and dip the hips a few inches & then come back up. Agghhhh I love it.

We covered a lot in this post, but the most important thing I have to say is…. HAVE A FABULOUS WEEK dear friends!!!!

Something New: Kettlebell Training

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Every once in awhile, you’ve got to try something new. Am I right?! It just keeps the motivational juices flowing whether it comes to nutrition, fitness, fun, rest, crafts, or anything else you can think of. So recently I have added in a new workout to my fitness mix… kettlebell training.

Have you tried doing a workout with kettlebells? I love it! I am instantly hooked. My first kettlebell workout was from Tone It Up and has moves that I continue adding in myself. The video is below for quick viewing if you need some fresh moves…. and if not, just skip on ova…

I am looking for other workouts with kettlebells too so if you know of any, shoot those ideas my way dear friend!

So what else is new? Well, with nutrition I am trying new ways to eat less sugar. I have a sweet tooth and am really trying to reduce my sugar intake. I have a feeling the sugar has been contributing to headaches and has intensified my stress lately so I’m going N’SYNC on those sweets… BYE BYE BYE! My dessert replacement is this sunball snack that I make at home. If you click on that, you will be taken to the delicious recipe from SimpleVeda.

With blogging, I am trying to video blog more in 2015. It’s not as easy at it looks! I did my first yesterday… and of course am now having all these doubts about video blogging, but I do think if done right they can be effective, fun, and simple! Just like I like it! We’ll get there at some point…

What is new with you? Have you tried anything new lately? Join the Fit Dish link up with Jessica Joy and Jill Conyers.

Stay well, friends!

WTEW: Sunflower Butter

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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!

My Top Healthy Living Tools

The Fit Dish link ups on Tuesday are quickly becoming a favorite of mine. I link up with The Fit Switch and The Fit Pepper every Tuesday for a fun fitness topic. Today’s topic is healthy living tools. I will share with you some of my top tools…

But first, ARE YOU READY?!?!? (to be said like this guy…)

My top tools, in no particular order, include:

  1. Fitbit Flex. I used to have a Fitbit zip and raved about that before, but I have recently upgraded to the flex and love it. It helps me stay active throughout the day. I have a desk job so it is essential that I move throughout the day even if I had a morning workout. I love the app that comes with it as well. I can add friends and we can compete if we want. I can also track my sleep. I don’t use the nutrition part of it, but you can track your food intake if you want.
  2. Favorite fitness DVDs. It is important to have a library of 3-5 fitness DVDs that you just love. There are plenty of days that I do not want to go anywhere to get my workout on. I love being able to get a good workout in at home. My DVDs of choice are Insanity, PiYo, and TurboFire.
  3. Yoga with Adriene on YouTube. I love yoga, but do not live too close to a yoga studio. I have fallen in love with the youtube series, Yoga with Adriene. She is a phenomenal yoga teacher and if I teach yoga someday, I hope that I do it with as much love, grace, and authenticity as Adriene does. Oh and the healthy humor she has is great too. Love it!
  4. Tone It Up on YouTube. I clearly like to mix up my workouts. When I need a quick workout, I will sometime tune in to a Tone It Up workout on YouTube. My favorite is the Love your body with HIIT.
  5. Keeping nutrition essentials on hand. So the top 4 tools are for fitness, but nutrition is just as important. I keep my kitchen stocked with essentials. I always have fresh fruit and vegetables in my fridge that are easy to grab. I love apples and carrots for that reason. One of the previous Fit Dish topics was about healthy foods I wouldn’t want to live without. I listed 10 of my favorite essentials!
  6. Awesome smelling candles or essential oils. These help me with stress management. I love a good scent and quite frankly, I believe in the power of aromatherapy! I am still learning about essential oils, but currently love the smell of Eucalyptus.

Those are my current top tools. I know I am probably forgetting something, but 6 ain’t bad. What about you? What is your top healthy living tool?

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What will you do for Active Nation Day?

Active Nation Day is on September 28th. That is THIS Sunday! What will you do for Active Nation Day? I am going to commit to running a 5K.

Have you heard about Active Nation Day? If not, you may want to watch the video below… it is brought to us by Lorna Jane. The inspirational sportswear brand that I am so in love with these days. I would own a ton of their tops if I had all the money in the world. They serve more than one purpose… yes, they are easy to “move” in for an actual workout, but they also inspire me to believe in myself or go the extra mile. You can see the inspirational tanks I am talking about by clicking here.

I know, I am going all lovey-dovey on Lorna Jane with this post, but I really do love all that this brand stands for. The brand really does GET it. Lorna Jane promotes a Move, Nourish, and Believe lifestyle. You may see people refer to this as “MNB”. So now you know what that stands for if you see it!

As a wellness professional, I too strongly believe in these three elements to healthy living. Most of the time, I nourish my body with wholesome and healthy foods. I choose foods that help me prevent diseases, keep me feeling and looking good, and have the least amount of ingredients possible. The ingredients list is huge for me. Now, don’t get me wrong, I do make room for treats too. I make time to move my body in some form or fashion every day. I don’t subscribe to one form of exercise. I crave variety and truly enjoy mixing up my physical activity. I currently enjoy running, walking, HIIT workouts, pure barre, body weight strength moves, yoga, PiYo, and dance. I believe in myself. I thrive off of loving myself just as I am. Strong self esteem and a positive outlook are VERY important to keeping a healthy mind and body. In fact, my favorite quote is this by Jack Kerouac… “Be in love with your life. Every minute of it.”

If you are app savvy and like apps that keep you moving, Lorna Jane did just come out with their very own app. You can view the Itunes version by clicking here. As I mentioned above, I love inspirational words so my favorite part of the app is the “Believe” part.  You can hit refresh and view a new inspirational quote anytime you need one.

Lorna Jane herself.

That’s the creator (Lorna Jane Clarkson herself) in the pic above. Isn’t she beautiful?! Anyway, all that to say… I love the brand Lorna Jane and I hope you find as much inspiration from the brand as I do. Most importantly, I hope that you will do something fun and full of movement this Sunday in celebration of Active Nation Day. YOU ARE AWESOME!!!!

What is your favorite way to move?

10 Healthy Foods…

10 healthy foods

I am linking up today for Dish the Fit. Today’s theme is 5-10 healthy foods I could not live without. Being a healthy food nut, this was super easy for me. Others came close to hitting this list, but for me I chose foods I consider staples in my house. I am rarely without these food items in my house and to be honest, most I consume daily.

So, here we go… my 10 foods I would not want to live without and why… (in no particular order).

  1. Sweet potatoes. I have loved sweet potatoes since college. In fact, I have been nicknamed “yam” a time or two. My best friend swears that I am going to have twins someday because I eat them so much. I think it’s an old wives’ tale, but would welcome twins whether it is true or not.
  2. Peanut Butter. I have spoken of my love affair with peanut butter. I have it on the regular, usually as part of my morning meal. I prefer the natural variety and the chunkier the better. My favorite brands are the Central Market and Whole Foods store brands (price check that, homey!).
  3. Greek yogurt. I could become a vegetarian and am very open to it (my struggle with whether or not to is for another blog post. I seriously have arguments for both sides personally). I, however, have no desire to practice a vegan way of eating, because I highly value Greek yogurt. I would not want to give this up. Nor do I feel like I need to. So, Greek yogurt, you have officially made your way into my heart and are here to stay!
  4. Apples. This is the one fruit that never leaves my side. I definitely go through phases on which variety I like, but I rarely do not have apples in the fridge. My current fave is Golden Delicious, but I have went through the Gala, Red Delicious, Fuji, and Honeycrisp stages in the recent past. Yum times ten to all varieties!
  5. Honey. Who needs alternative sweeteners or even sugar when you have honey? Bees know what they are doing. Thank you, bees! Honor their work by keeping local honey in your house. A little goes a long way and I particularly love honey on my peanut butter toast and in my chai tea lattes or weekly cup of coffee. Yes, I said weekly. I am no coffee connoisseur but do enjoy a cup on the weekends with my honey (squared). See what I did there?
  6. Larabars. These are my favorite food items to grab and go. They are so easy to keep in my purse for whenever I will be away from the house for awhile or in my car for a super long time. Current favorite flavors include: Peanut butter chocolate chip, Chocolate chip brownie, and the Uber Dark chocolate peanut. Okay, can you tell I love chocolate?!
  7. Bananas. I once wrote a rhyme about bananas. I love them that much. I would share it with you, but it was on my old blog that I no longer own. It got deleted. Anyway, not important. I like sliced bananas on my peanut butter toast. I like 1/2 a banana in my green smoothie. I like 1/2 a banana mashed in my protein pancake. I like sliced bananas in my Greek yogurt parfait. Bananas are apparently just the IT food for me. I guess like a monkey?!? But, I do keep it to one banana max per day.
  8. Carrots. And no baby ones for me. I like the full carrots that I have to shave to eat with a peeler. I like a carrot in my morning juice that I make sometimes or to dip into my next must-have…
  9. Guacamole packs. These things rock! Thank you, wholly guacamole, for making these. They are easy to grab and go, plus they taste better than any guacamole I have ever tried to make myself. The ingredients are wholesome.. nothing I can’t pronounce. And you know I like that!
  10. Cinnamon. Technically not a food, but I had to add it in. It spices up my life on the regular! It’s on my peanut butter toast, sometimes in my Greek yogurt, often on my sweet potato, and definitely in any oatmeal. I love love love cinnamon!

Well, that was fun! I like talking food, especially healthy food. There are so many good foods out there and I particularly love that some can even fight off diseases. Prevention is key.. and the way we eat is shaping our future. So why not eat more fruits and vegetables? Okay, off my soap box.

What would you add to the list?

The Fit Pepper

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?

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.

I like berries, yes I do…

I like berries, how ’bout you?

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I’ve got berries on the brain today… so ya know what?! I am going to share with you 8 FUN ways I like to incorporate berries into my lifestyle. Maybe one will strike your fancy. Or maybe you already have a fun way that you incorporate berries and would like to share. You can always comment, you know.  I would give you a gold star.

You ready… let the countdown begin:

  1. Mix frozen berries into a smoothie. This is a given and any berry will do. It takes a ho hum smoothie to ho yum! Just don’t go overboard… you don’t want your smoothie to be ALL fruit. Throw in that spinach too!
  2. Make trail mix with goji berries. I love trail mix, but most store bought trail mixes have a ton of added sugars or candies. I love to buy mixed nuts and throw in a few dark chocolate chips, along with a pinch of dried goji berries. A bag of goji berries can be a bit pricey, but honestly one bag lasts me at least 3 months. Dried cranberries work well too!
  3. Top oatmeal with fresh berries. Do you make your own oatmeal? It can be a bit boring completely plain, right? Throw in a little honey and mixed berries, plus a few sliced almonds or walnuts. Spice it up with cinnamon too. Hello, delish dish!
  4. Let frozen strawberries thaw a tad and pour a bit of plain kefir over it. It’s like a berry delight! I haven’t done this in awhile, but I used to do this in place of dessert and it satisfied my sweet craving. I am a huge cinnamon fan so of course used cinnamon too.
  5. Freshen up water. We all know we need to drink more water, but we don’t always want water. Well, fresh berry water will change your mind a bit. You WILL want water with some fresh blackberries, raspberries, or strawberries mixed in. Plus, it adds pretty color to your water.
  6. Add blueberries to your pancake mix. I like to make a protein pancake every once in awhile (I use a recipe from Tone It Up) and add whole blueberries to the mix when I want a bit of berry goodness. You could add them to any pancake mix I bet. That, or use them as a topping!
  7. Eat them plain. I had to add this. All berries taste so good, even on their own. Wash, slice, and take a bite! Repeat.
  8. Add to your summer time salad. I love berries in a good salad, especially during the summer. One of my favorites is a simple salad with fresh sliced strawberries, sliced almonds, spinach leaves, and freshly grated Parmesan cheese. Use your favorite dressing. Mine is a dressing by the same name (Brianna’s)… imagine that!

Are you in the mood for some berries yet? Eat ’em up!