Thursday, March 31, 2011

March Wrap-Up

Hey Chickas!

This is my Friday, peeps! I'm heading to Iowa (again!) for my cousin Whitney's wedding tomorrow morning. This one will be a blast! I am her personal attendant and am also reading in the wedding (I told her no big words!). My family is so awesome, so I'm really excited to spend the weekend celebrating Whitney and Mike's marriage!

I was in Wichita yesterday for another convention and whenever my husband or I go to a city, we like to pick up something to eat that we don't usually get in our small town. So tonight, we had SUSHI!

Mine is on the left: I tried sashimi for the first time today, and it was good! Sashimi (from what I know about it) is actual raw fish  on top of an oval ball of rice. Usually what my husband and I have is not actually sushi, but some kind of California roll (avocados, carrots, cucs in rice), so I wanted to be adventerous! I would definitely have that again:)

Because today is the last day of March, I want to do a March recap of the month. Here are some of my love's from the month:

Allergy Medicine!

This is what I look like every March! I'm a sneezy, itchy nose, watery eye, dreary MESS! I first got allergies when I was in college in Iowa, and every March since, they have come back (darn it!). I've never been able to find a medicine that fends them off actually. My mom swears by the Neti pot-but I'm kind of grossed out by it! I tried Allegra-D for the first time and it's been really helpful! Doesn't zap my symptoms 100%, but pretty dang close! The Neti pot is a last resort for me! (BTW: I think a gravy boat could do the same thing???)

My Family
Me, my cousin Jen and my dad

My family is extremely important to me, not just my immediate family, but extended! Especially since my grandma died, I think it's doubly important to stay in touch and keep family traditions alive!

My cousin Jen (again!;), my cousin Amy, me (check out that HAIR!) and my mom at a wine tasting

What I hate from March:
We've had a few of these bad boys in Kansas since Spring started, and I'm not caring for them too much! I'm definitely a warm weather gal, and when Spring starts, I'm itching to get some shorts and tanks on!

What are your likes and dislikes from March? Have you tried a Neti pot? What is your verdict on them?

Desserted Tip of the Day: On Sunday evening, try to plan out your workout schedule for the week. Statistics show that you are more apt to follow it then slack off!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Tunes for Groovin'!

Hello Friends!

It's a dreary day in Kansas:( It's been raining and misting all day, and the past few days we've had flurries every night! It's supposed to be March here, Mother Nature! Spring has arrived! Let us enjoy it! *Hmph*

Today I was in a nearby "city" for a seminar and we got done a little early, so I stopped at my favorite health food store and picked up a couple things I've never tried:

Nutritional Yeast and Liquid Aminos

To be honest with you, I'm not 100% about the health benefits of these. I do know that the yeast, sprinkled on food, tastes like cheese. And the aminos taste like soy sauce with NO sodium! I'll look more into these and try them out and let you know my thoughts;)

I also got a great workout in after I drove home in the rain: my Interval Extreme class!

Sweaty beast with racoon eyes!


Today, I'm hoping to freshen up your iTunes or music library with some new workouts tunes! All of these songs I list here are tried and true tunes that I have personally grooved to to get me going! They are all within a few years old. I hope you enjoy!

Lip Gloss by Lil Mama
If you know me personally at all, then you know I'm addicted to lip gloss! I love the stuff! So it natural that I navigated to this song;) Lil Mama kinda had a one hit wonder with this song, but it was aMAZin'! It's super catchy with a hard clap/drum beat-perfect for jump roping or running!

Crown on the Ground by Sleigh Bells
For about a year now, Sleigh Bells have been the new kids on the alternative music scene. They jumped on the scene at last year's SXSW in Austin, TX and people have been nuts about them ever since! Sleigh Bells is like nothing you've ever heard before-promise! While most songs/bands have a heavy bass line, Sleigh Bells have a heavy treble line-I call it noise pop! I crank this song up (and many of their other songs from their album "Treats") and my heart races and my head bobs-it just has to;)

Solange is Beyonce's little sister for those who don't know! You can definitely tell a similarity in their voices and looks, but Solange's style is kind of old-school motown, which is really hip! Even my husabnd will crank this song up when he hears it and belts it out! It's just a groovy tune! Check out the video by clicking the link above!

What's My Name by Rihanna
This song is getting overkill on the radio right now, but I can't help it, I love it! I could really go without Drake though. He's kind of a buzz kill in my book, so if you buy this on iTunes, I would recommend buying the verion WITHOUT Drake! Although the versus are a tad slow, the chorus more than makes up for it! For some reason I just want to roll my hips like Rihanna does!

My new obsession right now is Matt & Kim! This song in particular has a heavy tuba line (love that!) and some crazy bells! I'm in love with interesting instruments in pop songs! This song is almost undescribable-you must listen;) Check out the link above for the music video!

Whip My Hair by Willow Smith
Uh, can you say adorable???? As soon as I saw this girl, I was in love! Her style is beyond unique and she actually has a great voice without autotune which is a miracle these days! And if you listen to the words of this song, it has a really positive message about being yourself, and I'd like to think Willow is a huge advocate of being who you are and celebrating that! Here's to strong little ladies;)

Wolf Like Me by TV on the Radio
This song makes me want to jump up down, head shaking, fist pumping and yelling out the lyrics! I love the monotone voice of TV on the Radio, yet, you can still hear his emotion in this song. The drum beat and electric guitar makes you keep going well after you are tired. Unfortunately, there is a small part in the song that gets really slow-a breakdown if you will. Listen to the song, and take it for what it is. If you like it-shout out at me!

Those are my suggestions for freshening up your iPod or MP3 player to get you jacked for your workout! Please let me know what your fav current workout songs are and if you like any of these that I mentioned above. I'd love to hear your input!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

It's a Foodie Day!

Hello Bloggie Friends!

I hope you had a terrific Sunday! B didn't get home until noon today and then the KU game was on so I got a lot of cleaning done and put away all the garage sale stuff that didn't sell. I also got a great workout in and the laundry is done-so ya for being productive!!!

Since I've been gone a lot lately, I haven't been able to cook much, hence the lack of recipes on my blog! But, I had lots of time today and have some great reviews of other blogger's recipes and some twists of my own:)

This is a recipe from Anne at FANNEtastic Food. She made this gluten free by using spelt flour, but I just used half whole wheat and half all-purpose. I also used pecans instead of walnuts. This was really delicious and easy to make! They aren't too sweet, and have a perfect apple-y and nut crunch to them! I think your whole family will like this recipe!

Next up: LUNCH! This is a tride-and-true meal that I've posted about before.

Taco Salad

Romaine lettuce, soy meat crumbles with salsa and taco seasoning, yellow cherry tomatoes, fat free shredded cheese, fat free sour cream and Guiltless Gourmet tortilla chips crumbled on top. YUM!

For dinner, I tried out a new recipe from Smitten Kitchen.

I added shrimp to ours to add a little protein in it. This was DYMO-MITE! Very healthy, filling and delicious. Plus it's a light pasta that doesn't make you feel bogged down. This clocked in at around 520 calories according to my Bodybugg (with shrimp).

And last but not least, BANANA ICE CREAM!

This delish lil' bowl has some Peanut Butter & Co Dark Chocolate and mini chocolate chips! So good!

Please click on the links above to find all of the recipes and try them out for yourself! I love finding healthy, yummer recipes to try out!

What did you do on your Sunday? Would you rather spend a lazy Sunday watching movies and relaxing, or spending it cleaning and getting things done around the house?

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Vaca Goals!

Hello Lovelies!

I hope your Saturday has been going great! We ended our garage sale this morning and we made some bank! That will be going straight to our savings account to save up for our super fun vaca this summer!

We've narrowed the options down to a few:

An all-inclusive resort in Cancun.


A Mexican cruise!

I've never done either-so I'm pumped for both options! I've always wanted to go on a cruise though, and some other people in our group haven't been on a cruise either, so we're all pushing for that one!

B turns 30 the end of July, so we're planning on that time to go on a vacation! That means four months to save money and get in shape to be beach ready! Here are my vacation goals:

1. Save over $100 each month by cutting back a little (especially "socializing") to go towards the vacation.

2. That also means to NOT take out of our debt snowball to pay for the vacation. We are currently paying over twice as much on my car to get it paid by July. I really don't want to push that back if possible. Plus, a vacation in July would be the perfect celebration for paying off my car;)

3. Workout at least 5 times a week up until the vaca. This is my all-time goal anyway, but I also want to be more diligent about getting a stretching/flexible workout in, like yoga, once a week. I workout a lot, so a stretching and lengthening workout once a week would really do my body good! My patience is what I need to work on when it comes to these slow and steady workouts!

4. Be more in control of what I eat. This means to stop caving to temptations and limit my alcohol consumption. After my grandma's funeral with a non-stop food buffet for 3 days and then 7 days away from home with only restaurant food to eat, my eating habits have gone by the wayside! I definitely need to get back on track and start watching what I eat more! I'm allowing myself a small cheat Friday and/or Saturday nights; whether that means eating out with the hubby or drinking at the bar, I don't want to deprive myself which will lead up to a "I-don't-care-binge" (I know myself....).

5. One weekend a month I will not drink AT ALL! That was this weekend for me! Although we had people over last night to watch the KU basketball game, I had Diet Sprite! B and I are definitely socializers and we are getting together with friends every weekend, which usually means having some beer! I know drinking is horrible for my overall fitness goals, but instead of cutting it completely out (which doesn't work with my lifestyle-I've tried!) I have started drinking Bud 55 but I will also go one weekend a month giving my body a break of alcohol.

So those are my vaca goals through July! I want you to hold me to them!! March has really been challenging for me and I can tell in my body and stress level! So I'm hoping with these set goals in mind, I can have a clear vision of me in a bathing suit sitting on a tropical beach somewhere-looking HOT;)

Do you have any current goals you are working towards?


After the garage sale today, B headed back to his hometown to hang out with some friends, so I decided to go shopping!! I was on the hunt for a new dress for my cousin's wedding next weekend where I'm the personal attendant and also a reader during the wedding. I saw a maxi dress that caught my eye right away, but I never thought I was the maxi dress type. It's funny, because I had a conversation about maxi dresses at the garage sale with my mother-in-law and a friend and I said "I'm sure maxi dresses wouldn't look good on me." But it was so gorgeous so I decided to try it on-SURPRISE-it was beautiful! And I actually had to buy a small (I'm usually a medium or large) because the only place it "fits" is in the bust, and I'm definitely a small up there;)

I bought the cardi at Target. You'll be able to see it ON me once I post pics from the wedding next weekend because I don't think the picture does it justice. And after I bought it, I remembered her colors are purple, ivory and green! Perfect! Now I can't wait to wear it;)

I also bought some new peanut butter I've heard about from other bloggers, but have never been able to find...until now (Wal-Mart)!

Peanut Butter & Co is all natural PB but it comes in really fun flavors, like the two I bought: Dark Chocolate Dreams and White Chocolate Wonderful. This PB is the no-stir type (no heavy oil that sits on top) and is super creamy and easy to spread. I dug into it as soon as I got home and it was HEAVEN! Oh YUMMM!! And for this having chocolate in it, the stats are really impressive! I compared PB & Co with some regular PB I had at home and it has 20 less calories (170 vs. 190), 2 less fat grams (13 vs. 15) and most impressively 95 less sodium mg (35 vs 130)! You must try this! It's way to good to pass up!! PS: Dark Chocolate was my favorite!

I'm off to color my hair (trying to get back to my natural medium brown so I don't have to color it so often!) and maybe watching a movie with my PB while B is away! I hope you all have a great Saturday evening! Talk with you tomorrow!

Desserted Tip of the Day: Did you know that having something to look forward to (like a vacation!) can give you happy endorphines and make you MORE productive at work? Just knowing you will be vacationing soon can you give a little pep in your step because you know you are working towards something.
What's on your calendar that you are looking forward to? Which vacation listed above would you choose? Have you done either of them and can you give me advice? Have you tried PB & Co peanut butter and what's your verdict?

Thursday, March 24, 2011

National Nutrition Month Quiz!

Hey Peeps-

This week has flown by!! Can you believe it's almost Friday? I sure can't! But I'm not complaining:) Tomorrow my in-laws, my husband and I, and another couple are putting on a family garage sale. It's a HUGE chore, but well worth when we get our loot which will be going towards a fun vacation this summer with some other couples! We've never really took a big vacation with friends, so I'm really looking forward to it!

Any suggestions on where to go? Have you ever taken a big vacation with friends?

Anyway, did you know March is National Nutrition Month? Me neither, well, I bet Rae did! Although March is almost over, I try to practice good nutrition on most days and meals. Lots of green and orange veggies (mostly in the version of romaine lettuce and carrots), around 2-3 servings of fruit a day (banana, apples, grapes, unsweetened applesauce), whole wheat carbs (bread, pitas, tortillas), lean protein (chicken, fish) and limited fat and sugar. It's not tooo hard to eat right if you give it a little bit of thought, aren't scared to try new things, and plan your meals.

I thought it would be fun to do a little nutrition quiz to get your brain jumping!

1. How many servings of fruit are recommended in a day?
2 to 3 is optimum! I cut up bananas to put in my cereal. Making a smoothie is also an easy way to get multiple fruit servings in!
What is your favorite food and how do you get 2-3 servings in each day?

2. How many servings of dairy are recommended in a day?
3 cups of low fat or fat free dairy products is recommended. I usually have fat free yogurt (with fruit!), low fat milk and cheese also. If you are lactose intolerant, try to take a calcium supplement to get these nutrients.

3. Whole grains are just as healthy as enriched grains. T or F?
FALSE! Enriched grains are refined grains (fiber, iron and Vitamin B removed) where certain B vitamins and iron are added in, but not the fiber. If you want to make sure you are getting the most out of your grains, stick with whole grain.
Try this delicious banana molasses bread made with whole wheat flour!

4. Are beans part of the protein group?
Yes, they are! And more surprisingly, peas are part of the protein group and both peas and beans are part of the vegetable group as well! Usually, vegetarians count these at protein, and those that eat meat on a regular basis would count them as vegetables.
Check out this easy Coconut Black Bean soup that uses both peas and beans!

5. A few plants can contain cholesterol, like coconut oil and palm kernel. T or F?
FALSE! NO plants contain cholesterol actually! Coconut oil and palm kernel are high in saturated fat, while most other plants are low in saturated fat.
Most women need 5 to 6 teaspoons of oil a day. But most people receive it in normal foods they eat everyday.

I hope you give some special thought to what is on your plate for the rest of the month. Check out USDA'a to get some really neat tips and ideas on how to get your daily recommended food in!

I'm off to bed! Happy Friday everyone;)

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Health Food Reviews!

Hello Blog Friends!

Since I was gone all last week for work, it's been insane trying to catch up! Add in my HORRIBLE allergies acting up, and I've been a little miserable lately! The days go by fast though;)

As promised, I have health food reviews to give you!! A few weeks ago (before the funeral and week long training away from home) I received a FREE box of health products from Swanson Health Products! All I did was e-mail them! These are the goods I received:

Very generous! Thanks Swanson! First up are the Natural, Unblanched Almonds! I've been snacking on these little morsels for a few days now, and honestly, they are delicious! I never thought of getting plain, unblanched almonds to snack on before-they sound a little boring and blah! But have you really tasted a natural nut without all the salt and added ingredients? They are GOOD! Almonds have a slightly sweet taste with a smooth, milky interior and a crunchy exterior that make them a unique treat!

A few things to know about Swanson almonds:

-160 calories per 3 T serving (a big handful, which is filling!)
-Almonds have more dietery fiber and calcium than any other nut
-Almonds are an excellent source fo Vitamin E and magnesium
-Easily digestable!


Next up is the Chocolate Cocoa Bean Whey Protein powder. I've talked in posts past that I'm a huge advocate of protein powder! I have a hard time getting in enough protein since I'm not a huge meat eater, so I love whipping up a delicious smoothie and throwing in some protein powder to get my daily intake of protein!

Since I've used lots of whey protein before, I was afraid I wouldn't have much to say about this particular brand, however, I was shocked! Most of the protein powder I consume is overly sweet with a grainy texture, even when mixed! This brand was silky smooth and had a DEEP chocolate taste, almost like dark chocolate. I added some PB2, almond milk and a banana and YUMMERS! What an awesome lunch I had today! This protein powder definitely outweighs the cheapy stuff I get at Wal-Mart!

On the package I learned:

-Lactose free
-No artifical sweeteners or flavors (probably why it's not overly sweet like others)
-Low in fat (less than 1 gram!)
-Assists in decreasing the breakdown of muscle if consumed after a workout

And the last product review on this post is Tom's of Maine toothpaste, peppermint flavor. When I saw the word "natural" in my toothpaste, I was a little skeptical. I thought grainy, bad tasting, and frankly, I thought of my grandparent's toothpaste! Yuck! I reluctantly tried it and was pleasantly surprised! It's a "naturally foaming fluoride toothpaste" so it didn't foam as much as regular toothpaste, but enough that you knew it was working. And the taste was super good (for toothpaste;) This toothpaste is made without sodium lauryl sulfate, which can cause mouth and gum irritation for some people. I don't have this problem, but if you have mouth sensitivities, I would really recommend this toothpaste!

Although all of the products were given to me of no charge, I gave honest reviews on all of the above products! I sincerely hope you check their site out and maybe try a new health product! I will be giving a review on all of the vitamins as soon as I've taken them long enough to give an accurate review.

Are you interested in getting some free Swanson Health Products goodies to review on your own blog? Then check out the Swanson Health Blog for all the details.


In other news, we got new windows in the front of our house today!!!







Pretty cool, huh?!?! I think it makes a huge difference to the front of our house! As soon as it warms up a bit, we'll be painting our doorway. And eventually new siding will really spruce it up-but this is a good start!

What's a new food find that you'd like to share? Do you have a favorite protein powder you always use? What's your favorite nut?

Monday, March 21, 2011

My St. Patty's Day!

Hello Beauties!

I've missed you all so much!!! Ever since Thursday, it's been run, run, run! So I finally found some time to connect with you all! Since I haven't been posting in awhile, I thought I would update you on the past few days.

St. Patrick's Day

After training all day, B came to town (he was on Spring Break) and we met up with one of his good high school friends that just moved to town! He showed us an interesting little steak house, North Star!

Pulling up this place looked a little sketchy! We drove on a dirt road on the outskirts of Topeka to get to this "dive!" No windows and a barred front door made it look a little like a brothel! B and I were wondering what we got ourselves into!

The place was wood paneling floor to ceiling with swag carpet and deep privacy booths-very classy! Each booth had it's on juke box-but just for show! Marc is posing with ours-Terrific!

I unfortunately forgot to take pics of my food, but I had a cajun grilled catfish, and no joke, it was the best fish EVER! And all of the fries and/or hashbrowns come family-style with a big cup of gravy for dipping! Comfort food at it's best! Very good place, but I would never be able to find it again without Marc!

We then headed to The Office, the piano bar I spoke about in my last post. They actually had the dueling pianos this time though! I LLLUUURRVEEE dueling piano bars! This was definitely the smallest piano joint with the smallest crowd, but it was still super fun!
Marc and I with our first green beers of the day!

I snuck in some pics with the piano players:)

Saturday, I instructed a Zumba class for Guthrie Center, Iowa, where most of my relatives live. This was a first time for many of them and they all did excellent and sweated away with me;)
These are all my relatives that did Zumba and they ROCK;) Thanks for coming guys!!
I've received some exciting new products in the mail from Swanson Health Foods! So I'll be doing some product reviews this week! I can't wait to share some new finds with you! Until then......HAVE A GREAT WEEK!
What did you do for St. Patrick's Day? Did you wear green? Do you like green beer?

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Drive-In Burgers!!!

Hey Cuties!

Aloha from Topeka, Kansas! Not the same ring as from Hawaii, huh? I've still been having fun, even though I'm in the heart of the Midwest:)

Even though I commented that I would be getting up Tuesday morning to do a leg workout from P90X, I slept in:) THIS morning though, I got my lazy butt out of bed to do my workout, except my phone died in the middle of the night and I woke up a half hour late-oops! I still got a decent leg/ab workout in:

For lunch, we went to the famous Bobo's of Topeka, a drive-in burger joint that was featured on Diners, Drive-In and Dives.

I have to tell you folks, I can't remember the last time I had a burger and fries! I'm fairly healthy when I go out to eat, but I thought if I'm gonna do a drive-in burger joint, I better do it right! I unfortunately didn't watch the above video until after I ate there, but if I watched it, I would have ordered onion rings instead of french fries and some apple pie!

I got a Spanish burger with fries-let me tell you, it didn't disappoint!!!! The burger was definitely homemade, it came out fast, the joint was super cute, and the staff was friendly!

My lunch partners: Nichole, me, Margaret and Joe

Guy Fieri signed this light bulb when he was here-cool!

For dinner, we went to eat at The Office in downtown Topeka, across from the capitol. This is a dueling piano bar, which I'm TOTALLY IN LOVE WITH, but unforunately they don't have music playing except for Friday and Saturday. They DO have live dueling pianos tomorrow for St. Patrick's Day so we'll be sure to hit that up! Right next door is the Celtric Fox-an Irish pub! Score for bar hoping that is close!!!

When we got back to the hotel, Joe didn't have any green to wear tomorrow, and we saw a table with green beads in the basement of the hotel. We ventured down and apparently there was a KS democratic social going on in an inclusive bar. Joe is a pretty charismatic guy and walked right up to a representative and said, "Hi, I'm Joe from _____ County, Kansas." And we got right in, with free GREEN beer!!! A day early at that! So we mingled with the democratic party and got free beer-you can't beat that;)

It was a pretty fun day;) B is actually coming up tomorrow and we'll be celebrating St. Patrick's Day together! I LOVEEEE St. Patty's Day! I usually take the day off from work but since I can't get out of this training, I'm trying to make the best of it! The problem is, my big test to continue my job is Friday morning at 8 am. So I have to try to behave Thursday night;) We'll see.....

What are your plans for St. Patrick's Day? What's your favorite holiday (besides Christmas)? What do you usually do for St. Patty's Day? Do you like green beer? What would you order at a drive-in burger joint if you had the chance?

Monday, March 14, 2011

Discovering New Moves!

Hey Peeps!

Monday is almost done-YEAH! After blogging to you yesterday, I headed off to Topeka. And it snowed, and snowed and snowed-all the way to Topeka! We went 20 mph on the Interstate! It took 4 hours for a 2 1/2 hour trip-painful! But we go here in one piece, which we were all thankful for;) And it's all melted by now-weird Spring snows!

The first day of our training went fine. We got to eat at Panera for lunch (my fav!) But I snarfed it down before I could take a picture! It was a Thai Chicken Salad and black bean soup-super good!

For dinner, we stopped at Jeremiah Bullfrog's Sports Bar. I was a little scared to go into the joint. It was all blacked out and it advertised a women's dance party-uhhhhh..... But we walked in, and it was super cool!

TV's everywhere, lights and very colorful! And for a bar, the food was really good with a great selection!

I had a queso chicken wrap with side salad.


An hour after dinner, I decided to try a nearby Zumba class (I was a little full from dinner still....). I've never tried another Zumba class outside of my small town, so I was a little nervous, but excited to try some new songs and get some pointers from another instructor.

The class I went to was Donneisha's Zumba class a couple blocks away from my hotel. I emailed her a few weeks ago and she remembered me and even had me do a couple of songs! She has an infectious smile and can really move! I loved doing a class with her!!

After class all sweaty!

And the class was great too! They really embraced the two songs I did and gave it their all!

Thanks, class! Even her three little kids (front, right) danced along and they rocked!

Donneisha did a lot of fun salsa's which I tend to shy away from. But I really loved them and I think I want to try some! We're spreading the Zumba love!!!!

I brought my yoga mat and plan to get up and do some P90X leg and ab moves. I'm not good at getting up in the morning cause I LOVE to sleep;) But if I do it in the morning, I can go shopping in the evening;)

I hope you all have a fab week! I'll catch up with you soon:)

When you travel, what type of workout do you do? Where and what do you love to eat when you are away from home?