Saturday, December 8, 2012

Looking AND Feeling Like My Badass Self

For the last several months, I have mainly been running. I fell out of my groove with doing cross training and strength work on the days I wasn't running. As a matter of fact, with summer being so busy with fun things, my running even took a small hit. All those margaritas and wine by the pool were finally starting to show.

Since school has been in session at the end of August, my running buddy and I have been back at it pretty consistently but even though we tried different things like adding sprints to our runs and improving our pace, I just didn't see the changes in my body I wanted to see. I have to accept the fact I'm getting older and my metabolism is slowing, and I won't give up my love of food. But still, I get up at 5 a.m. to run and while that in itself makes me feel kind of badass, I want to actually look badass too.

So even though over the last couple years I have consistently lamented my lack of time, and the challenges I face having two small children and a husband who's not home most nights, I stopped the whining. I am now making use of the YMCA membership that I previously used only sparingly, mainly to take advantage of discounts on my son's activities. I am adding one more day a week of strength or cross training depending on what my running buddy and I feel we are lacking at the end of the week. Sometimes we do a boot camp class, other times it's yoga. I love both. I wish I could work out seven days a week. But for now, it's 4-5. I think I am okay with that for right now. Boot camp is surely more strength-training oriented, since there are some weights involved, and I also like how running/sprinting is incorporated into it too. Yoga can be very helpful to me for stretching, strengthening and toning but I find it is awesome for clearing my mind as well.
I have also tried something that is really hard, but I really enjoy it. Have you heard of The Dailey Method? There is no cardio, it is a barre/pilates/core class and I love it. I leave sore, and spent, and see results in areas that I want to see results. My arms are toned, my abs are showing more definition and I feel as though my muscles are getting stronger and lengthened.  There are several targeted, intense movements that are so small that it's insane that you feel it the way you do. I previously was only able to manage one class a week but they have just added more classes so I think I'll be able to fit in one more! I will keep you posted on further results! It's only been a few weeks so far.

So, the holidays are coming, but I'm armed and dangerous.

--Stay fit and fabulous, my friends!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Super Easy Sweet Potato Casserole

Photo from
Have you been invited to someone's home for Thanksgiving this year and you don't know what to bring? Are you looking for something to jazz up your own Thanksgiving dinner? I made this very simple dish based on this sweet potato casserole recipe  in under an hour and was pleased with the results.

It is very tasty, if you love sweet potatoes. Even if you like pecans, especially candied pecans. This casserole is pretty sweet, and can honestly pass as a dessert. I have included a less-sweet variation below. Secondly, it's pretty easy to make and difficult to screw up. I put this together for a luncheon at work, baking the potatoes the night before.

Before you start, preheat your oven to 400. Poke holes in your potatoes and wrap them in foil. When the oven is heated, bake the potatoes for an hour or until tender. In a pinch, you can boil or microwave them, but the baking really brings out the flavor of the sweet potatoes.

For the filling, you will need:

Those pecans totally photobombed. They are for the topping.
3 cups mashed sweet potatoes. I used one large yam and one large sweet potato.
1 cup brown sugar
2 eggs lightly beaten
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 cup melted butter (1 stick)
1/2 cup milk

For the topping, you will need:
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup flour - I used whole wheat
1/3 cup butter (yes, more butter)
1 cup chopped pecans

Lower your oven to 325*.
Combine the ingredients for the filling together. I had to get over the amount of butter, and pretend I didn't see it. Put contents of the filling in a buttered 2 qt. casserole dish. I used Smart Balance applied lightly with a paper towel to a dark glass dish and it worked out well - no sticking.

Combine the ingredients for the topping, and sprinkle evenly over the top so that all the sweet potatoes are covered. Bake for 30-40 minutes, until heated through and the pecans are browned.

Healthier variation:
I remade this the next day, with a couple minor tweaks.
Instead of using a whole stick of regular butter in the filling, I instead used a 1/2 cup melted Smart Balance. For a casserole that is less sweet, you can easily get away with using a lot less brown sugar. I cut it down to a half cup and I still found it to be delicious, since you could really taste the sweet potatoes more. I'm sure you could substitute and reduce the butter in the topping as well. That will be something I will try next time! I will definitely make this again!

~Happy Holiday Eating, Friends!~

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Amy's Awareness Run - #runnersafety

On October 26, my virtual running buddy Sandra and her good friend Amy Wayne went on their usual 4 mile morning run before sunrise. Both women were equipped with lights and were obeying all traffic/pedestrian laws. Suddenly, Amy, who was running a short distance behind Sandra, was struck by a car and killed nearly on impact.

My running mom friends and I are putting together a virtual run in honor of Amy, and also to raise awareness of runner safety. Until this accident happened, I ran early in the morning on a regular basis without a light or reflective gear. This was truly a wake up call for me. Not only is it important to be more aware as runners, but as drivers, at any and all times of the day.

Please help us support Amy's family, her husband Travis and toddler daughter Adalee. It's easy to enter - Here are some details:
  • The run will need to be ran between November 26th - December 2, 2012.
  • You have the choice of running/walking 1 miles, 4 miles, or 5+ miles and the fees (donations) are different for each option.
  • If you don't want to run, you have an option of making a donation.
  • Memorial race bibs will be provided to all participants.
Click here to sign up: Amy's Awareness Run, put in your info, and choose your distance. Then go to Paypal and complete your donation by sending it to
If you have any questions, please comment below or contact me at
Please share this run with everyone you know and let's show Travis and Adalee that runners take care of their own!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

My Husband Is On A Diet - Sort Of

I know that I have read that men lose weight more easily than women. It has something to do with their bodies being comprised of more muscle and less fat and also a higher metabolism. Recently my husband was complaining about weight gain. He had a physical for work, the report had all of his numbers for cholesterol, blood pressure, weight, etc. from last year down one column and all the new stats lined up right next to them. So, my husband has put on a lot of weight in the last year due to a job change. It crept on slowly and I don't think I really noticed it that much. Looking at the report, however, numbers can't lie. I want to make it clear that I am not one of those superficial women that insists her husband looks a certain way or ever criticizes people - even those unrelated to me - for being fat. I understand some people have a harder time than others. But he had gained over 20 lbs, and I am being conservative. I am guiding him to manage what he eats and its totally working! As a matter of fact, I'm a tad jealous.

But, my husband works out all the time. It's part of his job actually. We know to some extent his weird schedule and crazy hours can contribute to the way he metabolizes his food. But mainly to blame is the food he is actually eating. Fact. Chip's problem is that he goes for long periods of time without eating because he is so busy and then by the time he is able to eat, he will eat wherever "the guys" are eating and order something bad (read: Southern Smokehouse Burger from Chili's and fries) and eat it all. Sorry if it sounds mean, but he has admitted to this. For years I have been telling him how bad soda is (he drinks regular Coke) and have been baffled by his sweet tooth. He is a big guy in general (over 6 feet and 200+ lbs) and it does take a lot to fuel him. But he just got off track and fueled himself with the wrong things.

A small start, but a start nonetheless, is instead of having full gallons of ice cream in the house that is supposedly "for the kids" I broke down and bought many single serving containers of ice cream that you can buy for $1.00. They are so much easier to fit in the freezer. And Chip is less likely to open the carton when he gets home at 1:00 am when he's jonesing if the carton isn't already open. But at least if he does, it's a small serving. I felt it necessary to have something sweet, because deprivation makes us all crazy. We do know that.

Previously he was good about taking his lunch, and he would always be following some type of diet plan (think Paleo, not Scarsdale) and make his own food. That was when his hours were predictable and steady. I didn't realize he had stopped doing this as much til a few months ago. Once we got the physical results back, I decided to pitch in and help. I told him I would buy all the food for his lunches and make them for him.

He does really well with diets that involve many small meals throughout the day. So I have basically provided him with lunches and snacks that are low in calories and easy to eat. He usually works 10 hours or more so has a lot to choose from in his cooler, and whatever he doesn't want he can just bring home. He has cut out the soda and lost 10 lbs in one week just from taking his lunch to work!

This is more or less what he takes to work with him:

We get peach, vanilla and strawberry/blueberry

Yoplait 100 Calorie Greek Yogurt
Small container of raw almonds or trail mix
Fruit, such as a peach, apple, or some berries
Pre-made salad, that vary in ingredients.

These salads are a lifesaver!

Turkey or chicken or ham sandwich with 1 slice of cheese, lettuce and mustard on 100 cal sandwich thin

Oops upside down, but you get it
 I am in love with this new brand of deli meat I have discovered at my store called Applegate. These are healthy meat products without all the scary ingredients. I read about them on their website, and feel that I can totally related to how they feel about meat, and their mission. So yep, that is what goes in hubby's sandwich:

Tastes so good! And I don't feel guilty giving it to my kids!
Since he starts work in the afternoon and gets off around midnight, he does eat a small breakfast at home first, but essentially this is what he eats all day. There is some variety in the yogurt flavors as well as the salads to keep things from being too monotonous. I am proud of him and wish him continued success!  I would love to lose 10lbs!

Friday, September 28, 2012

Avokaspi Green Smoothie Recipe

Yup, I drank this. So did my family!
Avokaspi has a nice little ring to it. But basically, it's avocado, kale and spinach condensed into one cute little word. I made this smoothie and thought it was pretty tasty. My husband couldn't quite pin the flavor on anything, until I told him what was in it. It's a fun little game we like to play in the morning. This smoothie had a nice thickness to it, which somedays I prefer especially if I had a good run beforehand and need a little substance. You know I love green smoothies, and as I have said many times it's pretty hard to mess them up! In any case, here's the recipe. Hope you enjoy!

1 c. chopped kale (ribs removed)
1 c. spinach
1/4 avocado
1/4 c. greek yogurt, plain-nonfat
1/4 c. blueberries
1/2 banana
1 tbsp. local honey
2 dashes cinnamon
1 stevia packet
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 c. water
1 c. crushed ice (optional)

Kale blends better if its chopped up beforehand. Don't forget to remove the tough ribs. Water is essential in getting your blender/magic bullet moving. Many times, I add coconut milk to my smoothies but did not this time since I added Greek yogurt. You can choose to sweeten to taste with maple syrup, ripe banana or other sweetener if you don't have any honey or stevia on hand.

Have a great day!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

How I'm Fitting in Running Now That School's Back in Session

So hard to wake them up when they are sleeping so soundly!

 Yeah, so I'm a little late on the "back to school" post, but I would wager that most of us are still getting back in the swing of things. I have to admit, its nice having a routine again. But sometimes this routine is a little grueling. I can't wait for Thanksgiving, just to get the long weekend (even though we just had one for Labor Day) because I am going to be burned out by then!

So, in my school district, the kids start at 7:45 am, which seems insanely early to me. I don't know who is in charge of making up these hours, but to wake up my 6 year old Monkey at 6:15 am every day is hard sometimes even for ME! He's my grumpier child in the morning, and very difficult to get out of bed and get going. Maybe because I live in a small-ish town, everybody goes to bed early because there is not a lot going on at night, the school board must figure we all pop right out of bed before the rooster says cock-a-doodle-doo. Fortunately the Buddha's preschool doesn't start til 8:30. In my younger days, I never would have believed I would be grateful for an 8:30 start.

Me and Scrappy Mama on the move! Blair Witch looking!

I still have to get my runs in.  And now, its not just in the morning before I have to leave for work, its got to be done before I even wake Monkey up. I have got to really hand it to my running buddy, Scrappy Mama. She does the 10-minute drive to my house to arrive by 5:30 am so we can crank out 4+ miles before I have to get back and get the kids morning routine started. If I had to physically get up and leave my house and be at her house by 5:30 am I think I'd fail miserably. There are so many non-running days that my alarm goes off at 5 am and I decide I am too tired and turn it off. I wish it were different, but I'd truly be lost without my running buddy. She is pretty reliable, and there are times when we have to flake for various reasons but we always have running on the brain. If we have to cancel today, can we make it work tomorrow? We both want to be healthy and fit, for ourselves and our families. We meet up at least 3 mornings a week. On Saturday we typically do a longer run (as our childrens' sports schedules permit) and don't have to get up at so ungodly of an hour. 2 other days out of the week I do yoga or another cross-training type DVD, plus have my YMCA membership for Sunday morning TRX.

 It's all good!


Monday, August 27, 2012

Running (From?) With the Kids: Family Fitness

I want to raise active kids, not just for physical fitness but for mental fitness as well. I'm not one to over-schedule my boys with lessons and activities during their "free" time, but I think it's good for them to have things to do. It is really obvious when they are bored because they get grumpy, misbehave and fight with each other. What's interesting is that when this happens, it's because I'm too busy with laundry, doing bills, etc. and they are left to occupy themselves.

Sometimes my running buddy is not available to do our early morning runs on the weekend. That means I have to run during the day because I'm too afraid to run at dawn alone. Since my kids are awake,  they want to join me when they see me in my running gear.  That is my "me" time usually, but who can say no to two adorable little boys (especially 3 year-old Buddha who says, "I want to run Mama")? I have to admit Chip is a good sport about it. He tries to avoid running because both of his knees are pretty shot, but he accompanies us on these adventures. The reason being, my kids can only run a very short distance. I want to encourage them, so I bring them along. But once they tucker out, I can leave them behind with Chip and take off and "really" run. I actually get the best of both worlds: family time and me time. Even better, family fitness and burning a few hundred calories. Score!

This past summer I kept the boys fairly occupied with various camps, and I could definitely see a difference in them when they were not in an activity. There were only a couple weeks where they had absolutely nothing going on, but I can definitely say next summer that number will be zero if I can help it. They are happier when they have structure, somewhere to go and something to look forward to. I can't blame them, I was the same way when I was younger, I would get annoyed when I was bored. Of course, with working full-time and parenting two young boys that rarely happens anymore! But I totally get it still. And, there's nothing like getting the kids tired out so that they get a good night's sleep. They are growing boys after all!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Goodbye Summer!

Describes my summer perfectly
 Back to school! Our family enjoyed a fabulous summer. We used our pool a lot, had friends and family over to barbecue, and accomplished small projects around the house. As I mentioned before, it was very busy, which unfortunately seemed to make it fly by. But realistically, it seems these days summers just keep getting shorter! With the kids starting school in mid-August, summer is only 2 months long. It's not like when I was a kid and summer seemed to go on forever, and school didn't start til after Labor Day. Buddha's preschool doesn't start until then, and I am glad although it will be nice when both boys are at the same school and are on the same schedule.

Monkey turned 6 this summer, and we had a small birthday party at Chuck E. Cheese with a few of his school and baseball friends. Buddha really enjoyed the birthday party, I think Chuck E. Cheese is his favorite place to go! Even though our kids really love it there,  Chip and I hate it. The things we do for our kids!
Kick-ass Ninjago cake!
 Our summer highlight - besides my sister's wedding -  was a week of camping. First, a few days on our annual group trip to Lake Don Pedro. It was close to 100*, but we managed to stay cool by boating, jet-skiing and floating in the lake. We stayed on the water as long as possible, since once we were off it was back to the baking camp site. Fortunately we have a trailer, and even better, a generator, so we were able to run our A/C. But in order to hang out with all our friends who could not fit in our trailer, we had to be out in the heat. Really roughing it, I know. It was a wonderful time!
Buddha driving the boat
Monkey getting hauled in a tube. He loved that!
We finished out the rest of the week by taking our first family trip to Yosemite National Park. It was absolutely amazing and we cannot wait to go back! From the enormous trees to the gorgeous waterfalls, there is nothing not to like (unless you have an aversion to dirt). We had a huge camp site there, with plenty of room to run around for the boys. Tons of kids were all over the place riding their bikes. It was like a huge family summer camp. SO FUN. We went on an open air bus tour around the park to see all the sights, went horseback riding, did small walks/hikes, and played in a wide river that bordered our camp. The boys walked across huge logs that had fallen over the river, skipped rocks (their favorite), played hide-and-seek,  got very filthy, and just had good ol' fashioned boy-fun.
Loving his first horseback ride!

The boys played here every afternoon!
S'more please!
Hope to see you soon Yosemite!
We also spent two weekends at different beaches. One weekend we went to Capitola where we met up with friends who also were there for the weekend. We spent time on the beach, had some cocktails and delicious dinners. The kids enjoyed each other's company just as much as the adults. The other weekend we at Sunset State Beach which was absolutely gorgeous. We were all very relaxed and things went smoothly. Our kids LOVE the beach, truly, and they could - and did - stay all day! We ate some great meals, and played Go Fish with our competitive 6 year old card shark each night.

Breathtaking, right?

So while it is so sad that our summer has come to an end, we can honestly say we made the most of it.

Happy Hump Day Friends! Hope your transition "back to school" is a smooth one!

Monday, August 6, 2012

Product Review: Cheribundi Tart Cherry Juice

When I received a pack of Cheribundi Tart Cherry Juice to review, I was pretty excited. I received a packet of information that boasted some pretty impressive things. For starters, Cheribundi was featured on the Dr. Oz show last year. Health benefits shared on the show included faster pain relief caused by sports and every day activities, encouraging natural melatonin production to aid sleep, and fighting triglycerides which are often the cause for heart disease. Wow. This juice, chock full of antioxidants, sounded really effective.

I like cherries and cherry pie but had never had cherry juice before. I was a little unsure if I'd like the taste, but when I realized I had four different flavors to try I figured I had to like one of them! The first one I tried was the Skinny Cherry, which I was drawn to for the lower sugar content. At only 17 (still high to me) grams of sugar, it was much lower than the other flavors which were between 28- 32g. It was very tart - no surprise here - and I found myself wishing it was a little sweeter. However, always looking for solutions, I decided that I didn't have to drink it on its own and I used it to flavor one of my morning spinach-protein-banana smoothies. Good stuff! The next one I tried was the Ginger Cherry which was actually really good and I enjoyed that over ice. Tru Cherry was much sweeter than the Skinny, at 28 grams of sugar that was no shocker. I did enjoy the flavor but found myself making a blueberry-banana-spinach smoothie with this blend. The Cacao Cherry was a little tough for me but this is not typically a flavor combination I like anyway.

Cheribundi juice is the antioxidant leader among other cherry juices, acai, mango, orange, noni juices -  as well as other well known antioxidant-rich fruits such as grapes, pomegranates and blueberries. Within 4 days of adding this juice to your diet, you can battle free-radicals and repair cell damage inside of your body with a high dose of anthocyanins. Antho-what? These are a specific class of antioxidants which have a high concentration in Cheribundi.

Cheribundi is sold in stores, but I have been given a sample 4 pack which I will send out to one lucky reader to try for free. Comment below if you have ever tried Cherry juice and what area you need help with (pain, sleep or heart disease). Winner will be chosen randomly on Friday, August 10, 2012.

Cheers to Cheribundi!

*giveaway open to US readers only.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Pillsbury Baguette Chips are CRACK!

Have you ever heard of these Baguette Chips by Pillsbury? Either had I until I heard about this Spark from My Blog Spark. They sounded tasty, and healthier than regular chips. After all, at 130 calories per serving, which is approximately 21 baguette chips, they have 50% less fat than regular chips! And in my continued quest for healthier snack options - because, I gotta snack ya know - I was dying to try them. Before I knew it, General Mills had sent me a very generous sample pack through My Blog Spark.
When they arrived, the first thing I did was tear one of the bags open take 2 bags of each flavor, Italian Cheese and Herb and Cheddar and Sundried Tomato to my office. I've mentioned before my office is full of snackers and I'm no exception. I put them out on the table in my office and had a steady stream of visitors for the day-and-a-half it took for my co-workers to devour them. I heard everything from , "Man, these are addicting!" to "I hate you for bringing these in" because no one could resist coming back for more. I'll admit, I nibbled on them continuously myself! They were great plain and so flavorful they really did not require any additional dips in my opinion. However, at home one evening when I wanted a snack I spread a little cream cheese on them. Another time I scooped up Greek yogurt with them. Another day I took a salad to work for lunch and added them for a bit of crunch. There are a lot of possibilities for this versatile and tasty snack!

Today I am offering my readers a $.75 off coupon so you can run out and try them yourself today! 

Also, one lucky reader will win a gift pack. Just leave a comment below, telling me how you will eat your Pillsbury Baguette Chips and one reader will be chosen at random this Monday, August 3, 2012.

Disclosure: The product, gift pack, information and additional sample have been provided by General Mills through My Blog Spark.

Happy snacking my friends!

Friday, July 20, 2012

When You Meet Online Friends In Real Life

It finally happened! As you may have read in my "About Me", I mentioned that I had hoped this year would be the year to meet some of my blogging friends in person. In all honesty, when I wrote that I had thought maybe this would occur at a regional blogger meet up of some sort. However, it turned out that my first meeting of online friends IRL (in real life) occurred at an event that was completely natural to me: an organized run!

A few weeks ago I had received an invitation on Facebook to an event put on my Road Runner Sports, a super awesome running store. "Run Like a Girl" sounded right up my alley: shopping, discounts, giveaways, wine, cheese, fruit and OH YEAH, running! This event, just for women, had a few different groups, with pacers for each of them. It began at their retail store, where there was a chiropractor offering adjustments, shoe fittings, and sports bra fittings. I had expressed interest in it right as soon as I received the invitation but forgot about it.

Then, a couple of my Twitter friends @theaumsmama and @themommytsunami were discussing it the day prior. I wrangled a sitter and it was ON. I wasn't disappointed. @theaumsmama was just as I expected, totally sweet and laid-back. We both went to the same college in a slow Northern California beach town, where she still lives. I knew I would like her! @themommytsunami is focused and intense. She kicked our butts on the 5 mile run we did! With 4 kids each, these women are truly an inspiration to me and my quest for fitness! They were such cool girls, and I know that this meet up will not be our last. I am looking forward to seeing them again soon!

Have you ever met any of your online friends in real life before? Were they what you expected?
Have a fit and fabulous Friday!!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Summer is in FULL Swing!

It is officially summer, and after what seemed like an eternal winter, I am finally in the summer groove! I feel like I have been severely neglecting this blog over the last few months. Sometimes, I feel bad about it and then other times I wonder if anyone has noticed?! I do blog for myself, but of course hope I am entertaining someone in the process. Anyone?
A great baseball season, all done!
So what have I been up to? Honestly, 3 months ago I started a new job as you may have read about HERE. And I have to say I absolutely L-O-V-E it. Probably more than any job I've ever had, besides the time I was lifeguarding at a waterside park in high school and basically flirted with cute boys all day. Since I spend my entire day social media networking, and believe it or not - still do a bit of m own personal social media networking, I have been a little burned out on blogging when I get home. Understandably!
Kat Deluna is such a sweetheart!
At this new company, I have had the pleasure of meeting some talented people. I had never heard of Kat Deluna before, but now that I have met her and heard her beautiful voice, I am grateful I have been in the company of such talent. can I forget Ralph Johnson from Earth, Wind and Fire? I need not say anything more about how amazing he is.

Ralph Johnson - Truly a nice guy!
Ashanti Floyd of Symphony Crack Orchestra going off on the violin!
Most recently, I have been in the company of DJ Jazzy Jeff, Kat Deluna again, and a cool band called Symphony Crack Orchestra.  

The kids have been BUSY this summer. Let's see, outpatient surgery, Lego Camp, swimming lessons, play dates. They have been tired out and sleeping in. And so have I - I think I have slacked a bit on my morning workouts because I have struggled with getting out of bed super early, but I have recently regained my mojo.
Wig fun! Or torture?
In the last few weeks, I hosted my sister's bachelorette party, went on a whirlwind trip to New York to work (and play), my sister got married (I was the matron of honor), both boys had a weird tummy bug, and we went to Santa Cruz for the weekend. I am just starting to feel like I am back to normal. Just in time for Monkey's 6th birthday and a week long camping trip with friends.What is normal anyway? Normal = crazy for me. Happy summer my friends!
18 passenger Hummer! FTW!
Me and DJ Jazzy Jeff!
One of the last of the zillion pix I posed for that day! Whew!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

$15 for $34 Toward a 6-Month Meal Planning Membership

Healthy, well-balanced meal
Meal planning sound fun sometimes, we all love looking at pictures of food and taking note of all the great recipes we'd like to cook for our family. But let's face it, when it comes down to a busy week with the kids and/or work, who really has time to do all that it takes? Searching for recipes, making lists, shopping for ingredients...all this before you even get home and have to cook it all!

No More To Go can take all the work out of this for you. As a member, you will receive an email each Friday with a weekly menu, grocery list, and clickable links to daily recipes.    
This gets you completely ready for one week, with a menu of 5 complete meals (a main dish and two sides) and a recipe for the weekend. 

Fabulous, healthy recipes that appeal to the whole family, all at your fingertips with all the guesswork removed. Take advantage of this deal from Plum District and pay only $15 toward $34 toward a 6-month meal planning membership.  

Purchase offer available until June 21. Expires December 16, 2012.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Review: Mini-Flexball Workout by Stott Pilates and Foam Roller/DVD Challenge Giveaway!!

I don't know what it is about stability ball workouts, but for some reason I always go into them thinking they are going to be easy. Once I do them I'm surprised at how challenged I was; this time was no exception. The folks at Stott Pilates, a premier brand of Merrithew Health & Fitness, sent me this Mini-Flexball Workout DVD, a mini stability ball and mat for review.  I was pleased with the items sent over. The cloth mat is soft, in a neutral green tone and a non-skid surface bottom. The mini ball was easy to blow up with the plastic tube provided.

 While getting the workout queued up to go, I was impressed with how much information is included on the DVD in addition to just the 41 minute workout. Many DVD's just include an introduction, the work out and maybe a bonus workout option but this DVD provided much more. 5 Principles of Pilates - breathing, pelvic placement, rib cage placement scapular movement & stabilization, and head & cervical placement were each covered separately and in a decent amount of detail. This is information typically covered only in a live class or within the body of a DVD and I found it very useful that these principles were demonstrated individually and separate from the workout. There was also a bonus workout - the next level - a "meet the Master Instructor" section, information on Pilates education, equipment and other DVD's available.

 Led by Moira Merrithew and demonstrated by a pupil, the instruction was given very thoroughly with a lot of explanation. Throughout each exercise (26 in all) she offered modifiers, and explained what body area each exercise was working and how I should be feeling. I really liked this because I can think of many classes I have been in where I am wondering if I'm even doing it right or what the purpose of the exercise is. I also liked that the workout did not get monotonous. With 26 exercises in 41 minutes, I was constantly moving on to the next thing before I had a chance to get bored. 

Being a runner, this type of workout is a great compliment to my weekly mileage. I always welcome ways to improve my core strength. Utilizing the mini ball adds just a bit more challenge to maintaining balance during the exercises. My lats, back, glutes and hamstrings all felt the work during this DVD. The instructor recommends at the end of the workout to do this DVD about 3 times a week. With the stretching in the beginning and the moves to combat the hunching-over I do all week at my desk, I feel that this workout is a great benefit for me personally. According to the package the Mini-Flexball workout is a "2 out of 5" in intensity. While nearly all of the workout was doable for me, there was one exercise I simply could not do without modification. The move required going from a position laying on your back with bent knees and rolling the ball from your thighs to your knees and over to your shins essentially bringing you to a full upright seated position. This DVD was pretty much a wake up call that my ab strength needs some improvement. I look forward to working toward successfully completing this exercise!

Giveaway! Stott Pilates has provided me with a Foam Roller Challenge DVD and an accompanying Foam Roller to give away to one lucky person! Complete the entry information below. Winner will be announced next Saturday June 9, 2012. Must be in the U.S. to win.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Rebounding from Illness

Welcome to my world!
I hate being sick. Honestly, no one really likes being under the weather but some of us may handle it better than others. My problem is, I am generally in good health so when I get sick - usually a cold - it's a pretty bad one! Not only that, I think that illness tends to sideline me more than it may other people. Not that I'm special, I just have a lot going on in general and strive to be pretty active. Working out, social life, working full time and of course the non-stop action that is required to be a Mother. Seriously. Just THE busiest job of all.

What is the best way to recover from illness? Everyone probably has their own method. Since I am starting to feel among the living again, there are things I'm not just going to run out and do. Like what, you ask? Well, exercise for one. I know some of my fellow running mamas that run while they are sick and if they do take some time off, put their running shoes on before their nose is even dry. Me? No can do. I've still got a little congestion going and I'm not going to prolong anything by hitting the trails too soon.

What else? Cocktails with the girls. Or even a drink after work. I haven't had any alcoholic drinks in exactly one week. Why bother? My tastebuds are still not fully back, so why waste the calories? I'm still not feeling 100%, so believe it or not a little "buzz" doesn't even sound remotely appealing. That is how you know I MUST be sick.

Until further notice I'm going to get up, go to work, spend time with my family, and feed and bathe my children and go to bed early. I truly hope this doesn't last long because I will probably start to go stir crazy. I would imagine by next weekend I will be back in the saddle again. My sister's wedding is in 30 days and I plan to kick my workouts and eating plan into high gear!

Happy Thursday Hungripeeps!

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Come Clean With Cottonelle {Sponsored}

Summer is almost here! Which means for my family, time to stock up on Cottonelle flushable wipes. Summer is fun, but it can also be very messy. We never leave home without wipes! They come in handy in all sorts of situations.
  • Have you avoided a sticky situation by wiping hands and faces when the ice cream cone starts to melt? Or that dreaded cotton candy at the amusement park that isn't so cotton-like anymore?
  • Ever eat bbq ribs at a party or street festival and a napkin just won't do?
  • We've all used a public restroom and realized the toilet paper is out...bummer!
  • ...and more.
In the last several years, flushable wipes have saved our butts (no pun intended)! When my Monkey was potty training a few years ago, even if he had an accident, we sat him on the potty and cleaned him up with wipes. He wasn't a baby anymore and it just was awkward to lay him on his back and wipe him up. Now that he's a kindergartner and doing his whole potty routine on his own, he uses wipes to get really clean. We all know that toilet paper just doesn't do the trick as well or as quickly and you can end up wasting a ton of it to get the same results. I can only imagine what it would be like for Monkey trying wipe himself on his own without Cottonelle flushable wipes! No bueno! My husband and I use them and shudder to think what our bathroom routine was like before. Now that they are available at our warehouse store, we always have them in stock!

My BabyBuddha who is now three is in the throes of potty training. He loves using the restroom when we are out and about, but he climbs up on the toilet and touches everything. Yuck. Fortunately because we have our wipes with us the first thing I do upon entering the stall is wipe the entire toilet seat down before putting down a seat cover. I am confident I am doing the best I can to avoid bathroom germs!

Join the fun and check out the Name Generator on Cottonelle's Facebook pageThe Name Generator on Cottonelle Brand’s Facebook Page will allow users to get a name in three fun ways:
  1. The Randomizer: Simply click to get a name instantly
  2. The Personalizer: Answer a few questions for a personalized name
  3. The Customizer: Create a name to add to our Book of Names and enter for a chance to win a year’s supply of Cottonelle products. 

  4. To qualify for the year’s supply of Cottonelle Ultra Comfort Care and Cottonelle Fresh Care, entrants must create a name through The Customizer on Cottonelle Brand’s Facebook Page between June 12, 2012, and February 28, 2013. Winners will be selected in a random drawing on a weekly basis. There is a limit of one prize per person. See full terms and conditions on Cottonelle Brand’s Facebook Page or 

Get a name for your Fresh Care routine and yours may be added to their Book of Names. Visit the page to vote weekly in the poll for your favorite names.  Join the conversation on Twitter using the hashtag #NameIt. Have you tried Cottonelle flushable wipes? You should!

I was compensated for this post. My story and opinions are my own.

Monday, May 14, 2012

$29 for 12 months of eMeals Meal Planning - $58 Value

Are groceries busting your budget? Are you too busy to meal plan? Have too much going on to make lists and grocery shop? No time to cook? I feel you. For a very low price, eMeals can take care of all of this for you so you can spend your time doing the other things you need to do. eMeals creates 7 days worth of family-friendly dinner meals, with very easy to follow recipes. The meal plan creates menus based on grocery store sales, seasonal discounts and diet preferences. What more could you ask for? Check out this great deal on Plum District, where you can try out eMeals for 50% off the regular price for only $29!

Click here to Take advantage of this offer today!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

What I Won't Eat Wednesday

Just a quick post to share these sinful goodies that were brought into the office today. I won't eat them. I just won't, no matter how tempted I am. However, I will take photos! I've been having fun with a new app called picfx. These photos were stylized with Space/Stellar.

These are strawberry Hostess cupcakes, with cookies in the background
I am planning to stick to my guns and actually eat the salad that I brought for lunch today. I am totally serious. Oh and folks, that's not all. Have you ever seen these Twinkies before? I am relieved they are put away in a basket, inside a white plastic bag, so they are not staring me down like the cupcakes.

Twinkies, filled with chocolate. I am running the other way. 
I am actually getting a lot better about dealing with office food. The majority of our snacks are fairly healthy as far as snacks go. I'll try sticking to these today!

Variety of goodies from Walmart. Stylized with Nebula.
Happy Hump Day!