Thursday, April 27, 2017

Health & Fitness: What's working for me

Health and fitness are funny things, aren't they? I've come to this space quite often to share what challenge I'm doing or what routine I'm following and nothing has seemed to be the right fit for me.

There's so much information out there about both topics that it has stressed me out to the point of throwing my hands up and saying 'I don't care'. Even though I do care, I really truly care.

I want to be healthy and fit for my future so I can freely continue to move around as I get older and not have to worry about regulating blood pressure or cholesterol (not that I do now), joint pains, or not even being able to bend over to tie my shoes.

I've talked with a lot of people about what they do to stay healthy. I've met with personal trainers and nutritionists about how I can become healthier and more fit, and you know what I've found out? There's no one right way to live a healthy and fit lifestyle.

From intuitive eating, to counting macros, to just limiting carbs.

Cutting cardio to just one to two days a week and a lot of resistance/weight training, to cardio three to five days with just a couple days of resistance/weight training.

When I broke up with my trainer because he didn't want me drinking anymore, ever, I said I wanted to try things my way for a while and see what happens. He gave me some advice as far as my workouts should look, and I've taken those in to consideration since the last trainer I saw had me doing cardio just once a week and that didn't jive for me.

Leading up to the TIU Bikini Challenge, I started to track my food so I could see every day where my carbs are coming from, how much protein I'm getting, and is the reason my rings don't fit in the morning because I slept funny and I can't feel my hands, or am I eating just that much sodium?

I've adjusted my macros to 1,400-1,700 calories a day; 20% carbs, 40% fat, 40% protein and ya know what? It's been working for me.

This includes sitting around a bon fire with wine and putting down a couple ciders while putting the decking on the dock on a warm sunny Spring day.

This includes pasta with garlic hamburger buns for dinner and a Chinese feast for Administrative Professionals Day with my team at work.

For me and the life I want to live, it's all about balance.

To find balance and lessen my stress, I've found that grocery shopping and food prepping are two very important pieces of my puzzle.

My plan includes eating more throughout the day, making smaller meals for dinner and limiting carbs as the day goes on. A week and a half in and this has proven successful so far for me.

Breakfast: Sprouted bread with salty crunchy peanut butter with flax and chia seeds (both from TJ's), and a side of fruit

Mid-Morning Snack: Prosciutto and cantaloupe or half cup of cottage cheese.

Lunch: Turkey chili with cauliflower (just dump that frozen riced cauliflower in there and you won't even know you're getting some extra veggies). Or when time and money are really tight, canned soup.

Afternoon Snack: Carrot sticks with garlic hummus and a couple slices of deli turkey.

I absolutely love this hummus
Dinner: Turkey taco salad, chicken caesar salad, baked chicken and veggies, etc.

Bedtime Treat: Godiva dark chocolate with sea salt.

When it comes to the fitness side of things, I'm even more committed and consistent with going to the gym than I was when I was seeing a trainer three times a week. Mentally, I thought that's all I needed, three thirty minute sessions and I'd hit my goals. Not so much.

Just two days a week are cardio free where I follow the TIU plan and just do their daily workout. Every other day I aim to get in a solid 60 minute session in a spin class or on the treadmill, whether that be jogging to stay in my fat burning heart rate zones or walking at an incline.

I've learned to be happy and comfortable in the body that I am in, but if I can make that body even better by fueling it with smart, healthy foods, lots of water and good sweat sessions, then all the better ☺

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Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Weekend Under The Sun

I don't know about where you live, but here in Minnesota, once the snow melts and the temps stay above freezing for a couple of days, every piece of asphalt or concrete becomes covered in orange cones. Yup, Winter is officially over, there is no Spring, there is no Summer, it's just Construction season until the next snow fall.

Due to Construction season affecting almost every major interstate or highway in the metro area (gotta get those roads nice and purdy for the Super Bowl!), I left early on Friday to avoid delaying my weekend at the cabin.

Not long after I arrived, some friends came over to pick me and the parents up to go to dinner. We ventured to Webb Lake to go to the Lumberjack Saloon and Eatery. The restaurant is right on Big Bear Lake and the views were spectacular.

This place is apparently known for having great homemade spaghetti so a few folks ordered that, mean while I went for the fried chicken and baked potato

It was fun to try a new to me restaurant Up North.

Saturday morning started with breakfast of eggs, bacon and LaMarca. Is there any better way to start a warm sunny day on the lake? I don't think so!

Since the ice heaves did some damage to our yard and boat lift, mom and dad had been up working on getting things back to the way they were. Half of the beach was flat again, and most of the dock was in the water.

As the dock pieces became secured in their places for the Summer I brought out the decking. It sounds easy when you think of it, but these are wooden 4'x4' heavy pieces of decking. No easy way to carry them and the gusts of wind didn't help much either. My arms are bruised, my wrists and fingers are sore, but it's worth it.

In between putting the decking on, I took a lovely nap under the sun with my little side kick. It was one of the most glorious naps I've had in quite some time, and it allowed me to get some color besides just the purple bruises.

When we woke up on Sunday morning it was cloudy, cold and sleeting. I didn't waste much time before packing up and heading back to the cities. The closer to home I drove, the nicer it became. I did some grocery stops along the way, prepped my food for the week, then felt extremely guilty I wasn't embracing the beautiful day and instead just watched some Hallmark movies. Eh, it's all about balance right?

Monday was the first day of the TIU Bikini Series and so far I've smashed it! I finally got into a spin class that I've been wanting to try ever since I signed up for my gym and I'm so glad I did. These classes usually fill up a week in advance. The guy that does the #AMP classes in my gym is the instructor who is training it out nationally, so you know it's going to be a great class.

I've taken other group classes at my gym, but something about the people in this class was so different than anything I've experienced before. From the two guys who helped me find my bike and cheerfully introduced themselves, to the two girls on either side of me giving me encouragement that it's a tough class, but super fun, to the instructor who calls out the new kids in class (in a good way), and has a big welcome introduction to the group! It was an incredibly welcoming and supportive group of people, all in for a good time and a sweaty ride. Looking forward to my next class!

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Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Play Ball!

This past weekend was just what I needed to relax and recharge.

Saturday started with breakfast of eggs and bacon. I forgot to defrost the bacon so I had to make a whole pound. Simple hack if you too have forgotten to take out your bacon the night before. Throw the whole brick in a pan on low and cover, flip every so often and peel the pieces away as they start to defrost. Easy peasy.

After breakfast I headed to the gym for some cardio, then quickly showered, dropped off my bag at my car and walked over to Target Field. My main reason for going to the game was to get their giveaway, I got one of the last three hats at my gate. #winning

Not only did I receive one of the hats, the storms that lingered around all morning cleared up and it turned out to be a beautiful afternoon to watch the Twins win 6-0.

I purchased the Ball Park Access package which allows you access to the stadium for all home games in April and May, you just don't have a seat. Since I'm going to these games solo, I don't mind not having a designated seat since it allows me to walk around and check out the game from different views. So far my favorite place to grab a drink and find a spot at the rail is at the Barrio Bar down the third base line. It stays sunny and you get a great view of the field.

When I got home from the game I took a nap! I can't tell you the last time I purposely took a nap. It felt great! A couple friends came over just as the storms rolled back in and we had a relaxing night of take out and movies.

Sunday I finished off the bacon I didn't devour the day before and I took my time getting ready to meet family for Easter lunch.

This year Easter had two 11 month old girls! It's fun to get together with family and their little ones, especially since so many little ladies were born in the last year. My niece and her second cousin are just one week and one day apart and it's fun to watch them interact with each other, especially now that they are 'talking' and more on the move.

After lunch I decided I would sneak in the last half of the Twins game so I ordered an Uber and arrived during the bottom of the 4th. I grabbed a beer and headed to my spot at the Barrio Bar just in time to see Dozier take the plate and hit an infield home run!

Unfortunately the Twins lost in the 9th inning. They started out the season strong so hopefully we can keep the momentum.

I know Monday's aren't a part of the weekend, but they really should be. My girlfriends and I do a Girls Dinner once a month and this month we went to Blackbird Cafe in South Minneapolis. It was really cute inside and they had some interesting to me menu options.

I ordered the market burger which was a beef patty with chorizo aioli, black radish, spring greens, roasted red peppers and cheese (but now I can't remember if it was goat or feta) with their delicious fries.

I think it's safe to say that everyone left dinner fully satisfied. Including me, the girl who would normally ask for no peppers, radishes, or chorizo. 👍👍
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Thursday, April 13, 2017

Breaking up with your trainer

Breakups are never easy, whether it's a boyfriend or a trainer, it's someone you've given your time to and have opened up to.

I have to break up with my trainer.

I was given an ultimatum to stop drinking all together, or he would not be able to work with me any more.

Now, this sounds like I'm a raging alcoholic and showing up to the gym slurring my words and smelling of alcohol. Not the case at all (I'm also getting my sessions in over my lunch breaks from work).

On average, I'd say I drink 2-3 nights a week. A glass of wine or two while I'm cooking dinner and watching a show before I go to bed at 9:00 PM. And then going out and being social with my friends on the weekends, trying out new breweries, distilleries and restaurants.

As much as I would love to lose 40 pounds and have abs of steel in a snap, I'm not in a place in my life where I'm willing to give up having fun and enjoying social situations by being the girl drinking club soda with a lime.

To me, life is all about finding balance. I want to live a healthy life, but I want to live my life and that life includes wine at dinner and vodka lemonades on the lake.

Our sessions will end just as the TIU Bikini Series kicks off. Those girls know balance and allow a glass of wine here and there throughout the week because they know life's realities. I'm going to do my best to follow along. The series also ends just as I'll be heading off to Seattle for a wedding. Could this be any more perfect?

I've been successful in the past losing weight and enjoying my cocktails, it's finding the balance in other ways. Like that stress I've been talking about. Now that it's Spring I'll be spending more time outdoors which is a huge stress reliever. The winter blues are real! Getting to the gym more than just when I have a training session and really getting in that cardio (the last trainer I saw said I did too much and only needed to do it 1-2 times a week). Not eating cheese curds three times a week (oops!).

I'm breaking up with my trainer and I'm going to give this a shot on my own.

I've broken up with boyfriends and have made it on my own.

I can do this too.

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Tuesday, April 11, 2017

April showers bring April snow

Holy moly what a weekend! The sun was shining, the birds were chirping, and the jackets were left behind. Of course this is Minnesota we are talking about so everything is currently covered in a blanket of snow and my open toed shoes are back in the closet.

Friday evening my friend Amelia and I took her dog for a walk to a nearby park before meeting Kari and Jason for dinner at the Bulldog Northeast. We were all pretty hungry and went HAM on appetizers and burgers before moving on with our night.

Our second stop took us to Tattersall, a local distillery. It was my first time there so I was excited to try a few of their cocktails. All were very delicious and I would definitely go back to try a few more.

Our final stop of the night was the 1029 Bar. One of my favorite places to grab a cold drink, pull up a stool and watch people karaoke.

I took advantage of having a quiet house and slept in on Saturday morning. After a lazy afternoon I decided to check out what the evening Saturday night Uber crowd would be like. I filled up my car, turned on the app and the requests kept coming.

I officially had that no-good-unsettling-pit-in-stomach passenger. Do you have a minute, cause this could get a tad long.

I was in the Western burbs and just dropped off a lovely gentlemen who was going to his buddies for a BBQ and some cards. My next request came in to pick up a guy at a bar near by. When I pulled up there were two guys outside. One of them was stumbling around trying to light a cigarette, the other guy was watching over him. I had a hunch that they were my pickup but after a few failed calls and texts I assumed the person who requested the Uber had left. There's a countdown in the app and after 5 minutes of waiting, drivers are allowed to cancel rides.

Just as I put my car in drive, one of the guys walked over to my car and that's when I realized he wasn't my passenger, but security for the bar. He said the guy I was waiting for wandered across the parking lot so I drove over to find a young twenty-something hunched over with his fingers in his mouth, falling over and trying to get a cigarette.

Seeing this is the sole reason I stayed away from driving at night, but then again, this was only 6:45 PM, so you don't typically see people this blasted.

The security guard helped get the kid in my car. He sat in the front seat and I requested that he put his seat belt on. It took about five minutes of him trying and trying again before he was able to successfully clasp the seat belt. When I started the ride, I saw that the destination was Hazelden Betty Ford Clinic. Well shit.

On our five mile drive to the clinic the kid was passed out hard core. Luckily since I insisted he put his seat belt on, that kept him in his seat. Had he not had the belt on, he would have slid out of the seat in no time, or over on to me.

When I pulled up to the clinic, I could not get the kid to wake up so I shut off my car, took my valuables and tried to get some help. There was no one at the front desk and all the doors were locked. I pressed an after hours button and finally had a response. Trying to explain my situation went a little something like this.

"Yes, I'm an Uber driver and I have a passed out guy in my car. I don't know his name or if he's supposed to be here, but he was kicked out of a bar and this is the address that I was supposed to bring him to."

Someone came to the door and I again explained my situation before he went for backup. A couple minutes later two men came to assess the situation and found out that there was one more person waiting to be admitted that day and that person was passed out in the front seat of my car.

About 5-10 minutes passed while one of the gentlemen from the clinic tried to wake up my passenger and then all of a sudden he woke up, insisted on getting out of the car and was stumbling around with absolutely zero idea of who he was or where he was.

A nurse was called and eventually so was 911.

I feel like I did a good deed by not leaving this kid in a parking lot, but man, if you could have seen the look on his face, smelled the beer and vomit on him, you would have wanted to drive away too.

I continued to drive until midnight and the rest of my passengers were much more put together. I think I would continue to drive on Friday or Saturday nights, the fares rack up a lot faster and people are usually just out for a good time.

Sunday morning was much more productive than Saturday. I got up feeling fresh and ready for the day ahead of me. I went to the gym to work with my trainer who murdered my arms. Have you ever gone so hard on an arm workout that your arms won't hang right and you look like a gorilla when you walk. That's me.

After my training session I dropped my car off at home and walked to Cycle Bar in Uptown. I was participating in a spin class for RivALZ, previously Blondes vs. Brunettes. It was such a gorgeous day, perfect for a pre-spin walk in the sunshine.

I'm no rookie when it comes to spin classes, but this instructor was all over the place and didn't give the best instructions. He was very entertaining to watch though. Cycle Bar as a whole was pretty cool. When you walk in they have a wall of spin shoes to choose from. I had never taken a spin class with actual spinning shoes and if I get back into it, I think it would be a great investment. They also offered different temperature water on tap which was pretty neat☺

After class a couple of us went to a bar across the street to soak up some sunshine on the rooftop and reward ourselves with a couple beers.

When the clouds started to roll in we all walked to our respective homes and called it a day.

I completed a puzzle I'd been working on since Christmas break (finally) and then made my second Home Chef meal. The thyme and rosemary pork tenderloin and mashed broccoli was very simple to make and tasted quite delicious too.

I think Monday's should be mandatory weekend recovery days.
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Friday, April 7, 2017

Home Chef Cooking

Hey, hey, hey! Happy Friday!

The last thing I shared with you was all the stress I have been carrying around with me. One of the ways I thought I could relieve a little stress was to take out the planning and shopping for my dinners. Grocery shopping is usually something I love to do. I would rather wander around a Trader Joe's or Kowalski's than shop at a mall or Target. I just haven't had the motivation to come up with new meals to cook so I've either been eating out (a lot) or I'll just throw in something frozen and binge on ice cream. No bueno!

I came across a ridiculous deal for $35 off my first order of Home Chef so I jumped in and signed up. This is not a sponsored post, just an amazing deal I found and a way for me to make my life a little easier.

My first box was delivered this week with two meals, Parisian Bistro Chicken and Thyme and Rosemary Roasted Pork Tenderloin. All for just $14.80!

When I opened the box, everything was clearly labeled and bundled up according to which meal it belonged to. You also receive an ingredient/recipe card that is three hole punched that you can keep and put in your Home Chef binder that your box comes with.

I made the Parisian Bistro Chicken and was very happy with the outcome. I had never heard of dauphinoise potatoes, but if you know me and my love for all things potatoes, you'll know that I loved the creamy sauce and crunchy cheesy topping. I'll definitely make them again when I want to treat myself to something a little indulgent.

The directions were very easy to follow, and maybe it was me being on the edge of hangry, but it used one too many pots for my liking. I like to stick to two pots or pans per meal. My kitchen also has horrible ventilation so I was battling the smoke detectors that would not let me cook in peace. Arg!

The key to any successful meal is reading the recipe all the way through so you can be prepared, especially when cooking multiple components at a time. The prep instructions and timing in the directions was spot on. Considering you are first boiling the potatoes to soften them before cooking them in the oven, then cooking chicken on the stove, partially in a sauce, and making the carrots. Everything came out of the oven and off the stove at the right time to leave me with a delicious and hot meal.

I'm looking forward to making the pork tenderloin and broccoli mash this weekend☺

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Tuesday, April 4, 2017


A word that's been popping up quite frequently in my life lately has been stress. I used to say that stress is the last word people would use to describe me. Turns out, it's probably one of the top five words I would use to describe myself.

I've been seeing a personal trainer for a couple of months now and he always asks how I'm doing, how's my stress level. I would reply that everything was good, until one day when I almost broke down in the middle of the gym because there's so much going on behind the scenes that's been stressing me to the point where my cup is overflowing.

If you see me out and about, you wouldn't know about the stresses I carry along with me unless I tell you.

Why do guys you like vanish when you tell them you like them...what's wrong with me?

I want to travel/ I need an escape...where will I get the money?

My lease is up in a couple months...where will I live? How will I afford something in the neighborhood I want? I need living room furniture, I only have bedroom furniture!

Oh cool, someone stole my pictures and made fake dating do I get these removed?

I'm working my ass off in the gym...seeing a trainer three times a week...why does the scale only go up? (hint: stress)

Why won't my co-worker mind her own business...she can't even manage her own load of work, butt out of my work!

Can someone just run the dishwasher when it's full and empty it when it's done?

How will I ever save for a house when so much has to go towards rent?

My trainer and I discussed different ways to relieve stress, especially when your stress comes from areas in your life that you can't change, such as work.

Tip 1: Breathing. Breath in two seconds through the nose and out four seconds through the mouth. Focusing on your breathing will help to calm you down and take your mind off of what's stressing you out and instead concentrate on your breathing.

Tip 2: Meditation

Tip 3: Do something for you that makes you happy. The cabin 😊

Tip 4: Do social activities. Get together with friends and go for a walk, a spin class, or a sporting event. Don't just get together and eat and drink.

Tip 5: Go for a run

I'm going to do my best to add in some of these tips throughout my days because stress, man it's not fun.
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Monday, April 3, 2017

Spring Has Sprung

Even though the first official day of Spring was two weeks ago, I feel like the season is finally in the air! Twins home opener is today, the loons were out on the lake, and I got my first sun burn. Yes indeed, Spring has sprung!

With the top ten weather forecast for Friday and Saturday I rushed home from work, packed a bag and hit the interstate to go North. Luckily there was absolutely zero traffic and I pulled up to the cabin while it was still light out.

Saturday was just beautiful, a t-shirt and jeans kind of day. We had a lazy morning and then dad and I went to Jed's for burgers while mom continued on with the staining of the trim. When we got back from lunch I grabbed my sunglasses and parked it over at the neighbors for the rest of the day.

There are officially two docks in the water, the dogs were swimming, people were kayaking, fishing boats puttered by and some kids down the way even ran in to the water. I may have grown up going swimming at my grandparents on Lake Superior, but the water is still a tad cold for me to want to jump in just yet.

Sunday morning I was up and out the door early enough to make my 11 AM training session at the gym. The more I sweat, the more I could smell bon fire. Good thing the gym was empty! After the gym I ran a few errands to get myself ready for the week ahead. When I got home I made some turkey cauliflower chili for my lunches then plopped myself on the couch for some Lifetime movies.

I mentioned to one of my roommates that we have to take advantage of our lazy Sunday's before we get real responsibilities, like yard work and babies. So that's exactly what I did.

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