Category Archives: Active

Rockin’ Bod

 

Who doesn’t want a rockin’ bod? We see pictures on a daily basis of the ideal female body.For me, it has always been Oxygen magazine’s muscular fitness models’. To stick to a goal and finish strong. To use my body for what it was meant to do, work! While I don’t plan on gracing the covers of Oxygen anytime soon, I have made a major change to further my health and fitness goals.

As usual with these sorts of endeavors, I jumped in with both feet and became a Beachbody coach. Beachbody is the founder of programs like P90x, T25, and Insanity. It also has an amazing meal replacement shake called Shakeology. Being a coach is scary for someone like me who has a long way to go in her fitness journey, but it’s a great motivator to have a few more pairs of eyes keeping me accountable. That’s why I’m sharing this with you! I want you to follow me on my journey to a healthier me.

Sharing something so personal is scary. I have failed at this before. I have made a 360 degree change just to turn right back around. I have lost weight and found even more. I am at the heaviest weight of my life, and that’s why I knew it was time for a change. Not just a temporary diet, but a new way of thinking. It was time to take small steps toward a goal important to me.

So, I started slowly this time. I am drinking a gallon of water a day and drinking my Shakeology every morning. I will make time to get in an at home workout everyday. I will eat more meals at home. This won’t be perfect. I will make mistakes and miss workouts. The difference this time is that I won’t allow my past to interfere. My past doesn’t control my future, I do.

As terrifying as this is…I wanted to share my “before” picture with you. I want you to see where I’m starting. See that making a change is scary and hard but if I can do it so can you! Here it is:

Please send me a little support and encouragement as I work to make this BIG change! leave a comment and make sure to follow our blog to find out how my journey progresses!

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Travel : Breckenridge, CO

Breck

Being sick can really throw you off your game! I don’t get sick much, but when I do I guess I like to make up for lost time – thus this late post! I love to travel, and being sick wasn’t going to stop me this time. This year Bryce and I were able to take a long weekend and go to Colorado with some friends. I was excited and nervous at the same time, because it was the first time we would be leaving our baby (I have tears just thinking about it). It was hard, but I’m so glad we took the trip. We loaded up the 4-Runner and headed to Breckenridge, CO.

Despite the fact that I caught some respiratory bug, and possibly was affected by altitude sickness, I still enjoyed the mountain air and was able to get out and about. Bryce has never gotten to snowboard in the mountains, so I was excited to see his reaction when he saw how huge they are, and how much REAL snow can make a difference in your riding experience! He’s so good at boarding already, he adapted very well. I, on the other hand, still struggle with snowboarding – but I’m getting better and better the more we go!

Breckenridge is a very popular place to ski/snowboard, especially in the high season of January-March. There were a ton of people out, but the lift systems and trails that they have in place still make it nice for everyone. They have something for all sorts of winter sportsters  – greens for the newbies, double blacks for the experienced, and “bowls” for the insane. I stayed comfortable on the blues and greens. When you’re tired, just take a break at one of their many lodges! The food is a bit expensive, but you get a large amount and it is delicious.  I didn’t know before, but they also have childcare! We might just have to take baby girl back real soon…

While our group of 12 got the most of the fantastic riding conditions, I had to stay at the condo most of our second day. I did however get out to see some of Breckenridge’s cute little downtown. It’s adorable, colorful, bustling – and a shoppers paradise! A friend (who also took the day off) and I walked around, ate crepes, and strolled in and out of shops.

Here are a few of my finds:

Artisan Necklace – B for Bryce, O for Olivia, and “blessed” because I am!

Artisan Carved Candle
Colorado Onesie 

Organic Tea for the sisters

Crepes – made the only way I want them, by a hipster with a handlebar mustache. My buddy Meng was working on his social media game while we watched the crepes being made. The hipster was working too fast for me to get a good shot, you’ll just have to believe me about the handlebar mustache.

There are SO many places to eat here too. We wanted to try them all but just didn’t have enough time. I would suggest going more than 3 days if you can, to get the most of your trip! Although we didn’t get to use it, our lift tickets included a day at Vail or Keystone which are other nearby ski resorts. Hopefully we can explore those next time.

All in all, I say this is an excellent place to visit. Be prepared though, to spend some major cash, because skiing/boarding can be expensive! If you love the outdoors as much as we do, it is totally worth it. We saved money by driving (instead of flying), bringing along groceries, and splitting the cost of a condo with the rest of our group. We were also able to get a discount on our lift tickets by purchasing them early. I can’t wait to go back next year!

Where have you been lately ? Comment about your travels!!

The “Unplanned” Roadtrip

RoadtripA while back, one of my facebook friends posted this really cool game that she and her friend started doing. I guess you could call it a game … it’s more like an adventure-creator! I am so in love with this idea – I couldn’t help but share it!

Road trips are always fun (in my opinion). Road trips with one of your best buddies – even better! Part of the fun of road trips is getting to your destination. You get to see lots of places, eat lots of junk food, and make memories with your friends. This type of road trip is even more exciting, because you have no idea where you’ll end up! [Allison recently told me that not knowing where you end up sounds terrifyingly annoying to her… I disagree!]

There are lots of fun aspects to this “unplanned road trip”. The girls made some fun rules to follow, and the directions are all part of chance. Here are their road trip rules:

  1. Every hour, roll the dice to find our way
  2. At every bathroom stop, pick a card
  3. At every intersection, we roll the dice
  4. Every time we get gas, pick a card
  5. Any site, park, museum (etc.) that we find interesting we must stop to check it out
  6. When all road trip buddies decide it’s time to get off the road, we roll the dice and go 30 minutes more

When you roll the dice (re-roll if it doesn’t work):

  1. Go North
  2. Go South
  3. Go East
  4. Go West
  5. Turn Right
  6. Turn Left
  7. Take the interstate
  8. Take the county road
  9. Take the state highway
  10. Make a pit stop
  11. Pick a card
  12. Pick 2 cards

What’s on the cards? The road trippers wrote things like “take a road trip selfie”, “buy something local”,  and “stop for a road side snack”. Making up your own fun card to-do’s would be so fun! It’s really up to you, what you decide to put on the cards. Any task, however silly, I’m sure would make the trip very memorable!

What I like about this adventure is that it’s very laid back and flexible. If the rules don’t exactly work where you’re at, then bend them a little! Roll the dice again, or pick another card. Stacey (the road-tripper), told me the first time they went out, they had to change some rules because it kept them roaming around the same roads for an hour. After the change they ended up in Indianapolis! The second trip – Memphis. Depending on how much time you have, you could pretty much end up anywhere!

Some tips from the road trippers: Make sure you have snacks and water, bring a camera and the charger, and pack for the season (they go in the summer).

So what do you think? You ready to road trip?! Share with us!

 

Monthly Exercise Goals

phonto
I like to buy things. I don’t like to exercise. I feel like my life would be less complicated if those were switched and I didn’t buy much but exercised a lot. My husband would also like me to not buy much. I wouldn’t say I’m the biggest spender – but darn those Target endcaps! I tend to feel guilty about spending money on myself when I don’t feel like I’ve “earned” it. So – this is kind of what this post is about.

I like to think I’ve always been somewhat athletic, and I do like a competition… but there’s just something about exercising [for the health of it] that kind of makes me squirm now. There doesn’t seem to be any tangible rewards for getting your sweat on, at least not the immediately gratifying rewards I like so much. What is more terrible is that I am a healthcare provider – and I’m constantly reminded of how important exercise is.

So, I thought I’d try something new this year. Instead of going for that perfect bod image, I’m going to try smaller (and more tangible) rewards for exercise. For each month, I’ve picked an exercise challenge and with it a reward for completing it! Don’t get me wrong – this is not me saying that material things are important and that’s the only way I’ll stay motivated. If I don’t complete the challenge, I’m not going to die. This is just me trying something new, trying to stay healthy, and having fun doing so.

ExerciseChallenges

Links to:

If you like this idea, why don’t you join me? Holler back, and tell me your monthly challenges/rewards.

Cooking Challenge

To finish this month out, we thought we would share with you one of our “healthy choices” challenges. We all know that we could use a few extra greens on our plate, and a few less processed cheeses (sorry, velveeta). One of the hardest things about cooking, is decided WHAT to eat. Second to that – is actually cooking whatever you finally choose. If you’re anything like me… by the time I decide what to eat I’m too lazy to cook it so we go for take-out instead. Disaster.

In order to start making better choices, we decided to try and cook one breakfast, one lunch, and one dinner using new recipes we had found online. By sharing them on the web, it’s keeping us accountable to try new things and strive for healthy choices.

Here are the recipes and our honest opinions. Enjoy!

Adriene chose: protein pancakes, chipotle corn chowder, creamy spinach and sausage pasta.

Protein Pancakes – I’m always looking for a way to integrate more protein in my diet. I love breakfast, and pancakes are sort of a weakness! I have to be honest, I wasn’t into this recipe much. The taste wasn’t bad, but the I think the protein made the batter a bit too gritty. I also just don’t really like plain greek yogurt so I think next time I would use vanilla. On the plus side, the pancakes were nice and fluffy, and cooked quickly and easily! I put a couple in the freezer, to see how well they would do. I’ll update after I try them!

Chipotle Corn Chowder – This was an excellent recipe! I’m so glad I decided to try it because it was a nice hearty soup that is much different than what I usually eat. It’s a nice alternative to chili on a cold winter day. What is great about this recipe is that it made a LOT of soup, so it could feed a lot of people. I think this could also be frozen and thawed for a later meal. I didn’t get to try that this time because we ate it ALL. A+ in my book! I added it to my Pinterest board of “recipes worth keeping”.

Creamy Spinach and Sausage Pasta – This was also a good choice for me! I love the one-pot deal and although it took a bit longer to cook than I’d like it to, it was delicious. I’m not sure I’d fix this every week (mostly because we don’t eat a lot of sausage), but it would be a great pot-luck or family gathering dish. This also was added to the board!

Allison chose: crockpot chicken tikka masala, turkey lasagna roll ups, and pumpkin Cranberry protein muffins

Let me start by saying that I NEVER cook. This was an intimidating challenge to me for that reason. I wanted to try things that were way out of my comfort zone and, considering my comfort zone consists of frozen pizza and boxed mac and cheese, it didn’t take much. After telling my sister of my night of cooking she exclaimed, “Who ARE you?!” You’ll see that that my challenge was a great success and to say I’m proud of myself is an understatement.

Chicken Tikka Masala– This is my all time favorite food. I drive two hours to Columbia to eat it at India House as often as I can. I can say this dish was a success! It was fairly simple to put together and after you’ve done all the prep work the crockpot does the rest. The drawback to this recipe is the sheer amount of spices necessary to provide the traditional Indian flavors this dish boasts; it makes for an expensive grocery bill if you don’t already have the spices. I consider the investment in spices to be well worth it.

Lasagna Roll Ups– Roll ups were a stretch for my culinary prowess. The ingredients were straight forward, but apparently the process of cooking the noodles was too difficult! By the time I was finished cooking there were broken noodles galore. So, due to my lack of patience, I simply resorted to making a traditional lasagna. It was great! This will be something I try again so I can master the rolling of the noodles for a fancier dish.

Pumpkin Cranberry Protein Muffins– Breakfast is something that has to be quick and easy because I eat it in my car. Making things ahead of time guarantees that I will leave the house with food and avoid the McDonald’s line. I had to substitute the oat flour for whole wheat simply because I refused to make an additional trip to a different store in order to find it. Despite the substitution and a few set backs during cook time, this recipe was a success. They are moist and tasty. The only thing I might change is adding some additional pumpkin pie spice to kick up the batter’s flavor.

Christmas Fruit Kabobs

Fruit Kabobs

Quick and Easy Christmas Fruit Kabobs

Trying to stay trim during the holidays is rough. Turkey. Ham. Mashed potatoes. Gravy. Green bean casserole. Pumpkin pie. Cookies. Hot chocolate.  It’s difficult to not go for seconds and thirds, especially when all of that goodness is just sitting in front of you. I find that I rarely go for anything remotely healthy when I’m asked to bring a side or a dessert to a gathering. So, it got me thinking… maybe I should at least try something semi-healthy. It’s going to have to be easy peasy lemon squeezy too because this mom [of a 5 week old] has limited hands-free time. I decided fruit kabobs are the way to go. Adult and kid friendly, these are sure to please!

Ingredients:

  • green grapes (or any green fruit)
  • strawberries and raspberries (or any red fruit)
  • white bakers chocolate or almond bark
  • bamboo skewers

Fruit Kabob Ingredients

Recipe:

  1. Prepare and rinse fruit, then set aside.
  2. Melt chocolate. I just use the microwave, but you can use whatever method you want!
  3. Alternate green and red fruits on wooden skewers. You can use kitchen shears to make the skewers smaller like I did, and you may want to snip the ends of the skewers before you serve them.
  4. Drizzle melted chocolate over kabobs. I like to pour the melted chocolate into a sandwich bag and cut a tiny bit of the corner off – it helps me control the drizzle!
  5. Serve immediately or place in refrigerator for later use.

Thanks so much for visiting, I hope you enjoy this recipe! Leave a comment below to let us know if you did!

 

Shredd

It’s this time of year people really begin thinking of losing weight and getting in shape. This process began a little earlier for me, late summer last year. I had been considering joining a gym or finding some sort of physical activity outside of my home to join, but my attempts had been unsuccessful.

Groupon was the catalyst that set me in motion. It offered an affordable personal training package for a small gym in downtown Lee’s Summit, named SHREDD.  Ryan personal trainer and the owner; Billie is his counterpart and the other personal trainer. She was the bubbly energetic face I met when I nervously walked through the doors. She made me feel right at home and I became excited for what lay ahead.

SHREDD isn’t your typical gym; everything is simplified. You can attend one of the boot camp classes or stick to the one on one training, but each and every workout is tailored to you. The new year doesn’t mean your typical flood of resolution makers crowding the gym. You’ll always have the personal attention of your trainer and an open gym to move around in.

The lack of equipment was initially very intimidating. There are two machines, an elliptical and treadmill, and lots of free weights. I didn’t know how to workout in a new environment so different from my norm. Luckily, Ryan and Billie do the difficult part, thinking. It’s wonderful to walk in and begin your workout without any planning!

My journey with SHREDD has still just begun, but I look forward to continuing down an even better path with the help of Billie and Ryan. Maybe, just maybe, I’ll figure out how to be successful with the food part of their advice and make them proud!

ryan

“Just trust the process.”
Photo by: Steven Smith

amy

Amy is proof the process works!
Photo by: Steven Smith

Easy Corn Salsa Recipe

Favorite. Salsa. Ever.

Salsa2

I eat it with chips, with veggies, on salads, on salmon, on steak, on eggs, on steak and eggs… It’s seriously good stuff! I  modified this recipe from one that was shared with me during nursing school. It’s super easy to make (hence the “easy” part), and a quick appetizer to whip up if your short on time.

This is a perfect recipe to add to your fall dining repertoire! Have a LARGE bowl of this and some chips out before your Thanksgiving meal and no one will be complaining “is dinner ready yet!?” It might even give you that extra five minutes to cookie-cutter those little pastry leaves to put on your pumpkin pie (so it will have that Martha Stewart look). It’s also great for tailgates, birthdays, and well… every day! Maybe I should have named it EVERY DAY SALSA. It’s that good. Ok.. stop wasting time reading this – go make some!!!

Salsa1

Ingredients:

  • 1 can sweet corn
  • 1 can black beans
  • 1 can Rotel (I use mild – use whatever you can handle!)
  • 1-2 bunches chopped cilantro
  • 1-2 garlic cloves
  • the juice from 1 lemon or 1 lime
  • salt and pepper to taste

Drain corn and beans into a large mixing bowl. Add can of Rotel (I often drain this too). Finely mince garlic and add. Chop cilantro and add. Incorporate lemon/lime juice and salt and pepper to taste. Can be served at room temperature or chilled.

I make this salsa a LOT and I think it’s great because it’s so versatile. I feel that it’s a relatively healthy salsa and inexpensive too. Try and make it your own by adding onion, avocado, or whatever  you like!

Salsa3

Nutritional Values (Courtesy http://caloriecount.about.com)

  • 135 calories per 1 cup serving
  • Total Fat 0.7 g
  • Zero cholesterol
  • 5.7 g dietary fiber
  • 7.9 g protein
  • High in magnesium, potassium, and thiamine
  • 241 mg Sodium (beware!)

CHANGE

Think about why you started quotes quote fitness workout motivation exercise motivate workout motivation exercise motivation fitness quote fitness quotes workout quote workout quotes exercise quotes

Why workout? Why eat foods that fuel your body? Why say no to those comfort foods that we’ve come to love and maybe even rely on? My answer to all these questions is simple: because I’m worth it! I wanted a change in my self-esteem, my body, and my life.

My journey towards healthy living began roughly about 2 months ago with the help of a trainer. Living Social deals CAN be good for something; a deal got me into SHREDD (the gym) with Billie. She is a fun, energetic woman who knows how to balance the right amount of drive and cheerfulness to help me succeed at each workout. She has made working out easier just by her approach.

Billie started me out with core and stability building excercises that would prepare me to safely work towards my fitness goals. Working out had never been so motivating or frustrating. I was used to more difficult moves at a quicker pace than my body was allowing for, and it was humilitating. I wanted to go back in time to previous years and use THAT body. We all know that isn’t possible, but it doesn’t stop us from wishing. I had to learn to push through each day making the most of the body I’ve got.

One road block I continue to struggle with is nutrition. I have never, even in my more fit days, eaten healthily. My meals are fatty and thoughtless, and changing that is a daily struggle. Putting time, effort, and thought into each meal of each day is exhausting. Fast food is simple and easy. Healthy food requires shopping, planning, cooking, and so much more. It isn’t easy.

I can only make decisions that help me down the path to improvement. I cannot dwell on mistakes or days I consider failures. Focusing on overall improvement and foward movement keeps me motivated better than focusing one certain aspect of the journey. I am changing my life, and it feels great!

Just remember:

It’s your journey; only compare you to you.

Set backs will happen, but they don’t define you.

You’re worth it!

{Travel} Tarpon Springs, Florida

I love to travel. And when I say love, I mean usually I can’t go three months without transporting myself somewhere different. It was probably instilled in me as a child – my parents did a very good job of finding culture and submersing the family in it. I haven’t been able to visit everywhere I want – I think it’s because my list just keeps getting bigger! Thankfully, my husband embraces travel as much as I do.

Our latest trip was quite spontaneous. Although we had been saving vacation days at work, we just hadn’t figured out where we wanted to visit that wouldn’t break the bank. It was going to be our 3rd Anniversary trip, so I  had been searching for weeks. I was pretty discouraged since I couldn’t find anything AND I had the travel itch. Feeling defeated, I handed the task over to my husband (this also happens with our taxes EVERY year). Within 12 hours he had plane tickets, a hotel, and our bags packed! He didn’t even tell me where we were going so I didn’t know until we arrived at the gate (which was tons of fun for me because I love surprises!)

“Now boarding for…. Tampa, Florida”

(Although we sometimes feel that this is an over-vacationed area, we were so ready to get somewhere it didn’t matter anymore!)

Visit Tarpon Springs, Florida!

Visit Tarpon Springs, Florida!

Close to the beautiful Clearwater Beach, we arrived at our destination – Tarpon Springs. It kind of seemed a little homely, with few touristy boardwalks and such. All that changed when we hit the coast. For a gulf town, it was awesome!

Some of our favorites:

Howard Park Beach – This fun little area was the perfect place to chill out. The park is actually on a small island connected by a man-made causeway. There was great scenery and lots of swimming spots to behold. It had plenty of parking and even an area for food trucks. There was only one food truck out the day we visited, so we tried their sno-cones. The treat was a bit tart – but very friendly staff.

Howard Beach Park

Howard Park Beach

Slushie!

Slushie!

Sunset Beach – A bit smaller and less touristic, this small island was supposedly the best place to see the sunset… hence it’s name.  It did not disappoint! We also were entertained by a few kitesurfers that were trying to enjoy the last bits of daylight. I might try that one day.

Sunset Beach, Tarpon Springs FL

Sunset Beach, Tarpon Springs FL

Rick’s Pizza – This place was without a doubt our favorite eatery we visited while in Tarpon Springs.  Not only was the food delicious, the staff was amazing! The moment we entered we felt like we were home. The waitress was so friendly and inviting. Little did we know we were dining in the presence of a celebrity! Our waitress, Ashly Galante, is a pro-bowler! Her family is obviously proud (and should be – she is very accomplished), because we noticed her bowling pictures as soon as we came in the door. Ashly talked to us like we were neighbors, and we even got to meet her brother who makes the pizza in the family restaurant. I also got to sample a bit of her mother’s Seven-Layer Cookies. YUM! I wish I could have taken some home with me. IF YOU GO TO TARPON SPRINGS YOU MUST TRY THESE.  So glad we stopped in.

Ashley Galante

Ashly Galante

Check out Ashly and her bowling skills here: Ashly Galante Fan Page

The Sponge Docks – Known for its famous sponge-diver community, The Sponge Docks have a lot to offer. There are a bazillion Greek Restaurants next to a bazillion sponge shops. Ok, maybe I’m overestimating. It’s a LOT of sponges though! Apparently, this place is responsible for a large percentage of commercial sponge production. It’s one of the only places sponges can grow naturally (besides Greece… where most of the community shares it’s heritage). It was pretty cool. We took a boat ride and saw a 4th generation sponge diver actually dive and bring up a live sponge (EW those things are slimy! … the sponges that is, the diver was very human).  They also do a ton of festivals there, and we just so happened upon a hippie/vintage Voltswagon Bug event the day we went.

Sponge Shop, Tarpon Springs FL

Sponge Shop, Tarpon Springs FL

Sponge Shop, Tarpon Springs FL

Sponge Shop, Tarpon Springs FL

Sponge Diver

Sponge Diver

Albeit a short trip, Tarpon Springs provided just enough relaxation and fun for us. Hopefully this post gives you a little bit of “get out there and see the world!” I’m already searching for our next trip location. There’s no time like the present!