Mornings Called…They Want Their Workouts Back

I go through phases with my AM wake up call.  Sometimes, I am a snooze monster staying in bed until the last possible minute.  And then other times, I get myself into the groove of early bed times and early morning workouts.  I struggle to get into the routine but once I am there, I feel good and I like it!  Last week was transition week, and this week was GO week.  Since I spent Sunday morning at the salt cave, I didn’t get in a workout.  I was eager to get in some exercise Monday morning before my doctor’s appointment, and I’ve been craving a yoga class.  Especially since kids yoga begins this upcoming weekend!

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I was already dressed and ready to go when I realized that the weather people were actually right, and we got some serious snow.  It was still snowing on my sloppy drive to the yoga studio, but I was rewarded with a fabulous wall yoga class.   The most exciting part was attempting this variation of side plank with our bottom foot on the wall.  I am not sure what I looked like (although I am confident it was not as graceful as this), but I LOVED the unique and awesome challenge!

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Source

Wall yoga is always a special treat, and my muscles were shaking by the time I relaxed into ‘feet up the wall’ pose.  Post yoga, I sipped on bubbly coconut water.  They were sampling it at Costco this past weekend, and I am a sucker for samples.

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The rest of the morning was a snow filled mess!  But the highlight was a lunch date with my BFF.

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Tuesday morning, I was reunited with the gym…specifically the indoor track.  I have been holding onto my gym membership because it has an indoor pool and track, both of which are necessary for tri training, but really spending more time (and money) at the yoga studio.  I told myself if I don’t go to the gym, I will have to give up my membership.  So off I went for a short run (see below) and a few minutes of ab work.

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30 Minute Speed Workout

5 minute warm up

30 second sprint/ 90 second recovery

Repeat 10 times

5 minute cool down

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Wednesday it was back to the yoga studio.  My schedule has changed a bit for the next two months.  Because I am working Saturdays (aka teaching kids yoga), I get to go in later a few mornings (this means 9am instead of 7am).  Which really means…Wednesday pre work hot yoga!  Then Thursday…it was back to the gym to try out one of their 6am strength classes.  

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The truth is that I love the Tues/Thurs am strength class (and the people) at the yoga studio but if I am going to keep my gym membership, then I have to use it.  I am always skeptical of park district classes, but was pleasantly surprised with the efficient and challenging class and the friendly instructor.  With all of these super early workouts, you know I’ve been crashing in bed early…often with this guy!

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After this week, Friday morning is all about sleeping in. I tried to convince the BOY to go swim sit in the hot tub with me after work, but he wasn’t so interested.  We both ended up working late tonight, so dinner was Portillo’s, wine, and basketball.  We had a surprise guest.  My future SIL stopped by and had a glass of wine with us which was fun!  Yes…that is the mint chocolate cake shake in the picture below.  If you haven’t tried it, I HIGHLY recommend it!

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We stayed up WAY to late watching basketball and although my abs are a bit sore when I move, laugh, or breathe, overall it was a GREAT week.  I am not planning to maintain this schedule, but was happy to 1) get back into the routine of early morning wake ups and workouts. and 2) try out a few new classes.  Both of which will help with tri training in the weeks to come!

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Are you a morning or afternoon exerciser?

Tell me your thoughts on the chocolate cake shake!

Salty and Sweet

Everyone needs a little pampering now and again! Right?!

This weekend I scheduled a post test spring facial on Saturday (plus tea with my mom).

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And then Sunday morning, I met two friends from work for brunch before we cashed in our Groupons at the Salt Spa.  I’ve never been to a salt cave before, but I thought it would be fun to try.  We got a tour of the spa which has some interesting saunas and float pods.  Intrigued?  You can read all about the benefits of sitting/floating in salt HERE

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Then, we entered the salt cave for 45 minutes of quiet meditation.  Luckily, we knew in advance that were going to have to be quiet, which is why we scheduled brunch beforehand.

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There are a few different types of salt in the room plus the salt you inhale through the air.  The room is a bit chilly and as your blood pressure drops, your body gets cold.  I laid back in my chair and cuddled up with a blanket. I didn’t know what to expect of the quiet room, so I took some deep yoga breathes and tried to relax.  It was surprisingly easy and our 45 minutes flew by.  Afterwards, we had tea and chatted about food, supplements, and exercise.  I’m guessing that the spa is relatively new, and we were the only people there. The staff was friendly and it sounds like they have plans to make this an incredible and holistic wellness center.

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From Salty—>Sweet!  Can you tell what I made today?

After my girls morning out, I came home for lunch and grocery shopping with the BOY.  It’s been a long time since I’ve ‘baked’ dessert.  The BOY requested pumpkin pie with a crust from scratch.  Ummm No! 

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He settled for peanut butter magic cookie bars, which are similar to the original with a little PB mixed into the milk.

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My bars cooked while I did a little meal planning and spring cleaning around the house (while watching basketball of course).  What’s interesting is that I am extremely thirsty and every time I breath through my nose, it feels like I spent my morning at the ocean.  Except that it is super cold here (like we might get snow tonight), so it’s an odd feeling…a bit of a brain/body conundrum if you will.

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Other than that I chalk the salt cave up to a fun way to relax and enjoy some quiet time and even better when you do it with friends followed by tea in the meditation room : )

Have a SWEET night!

 

Meal Planning 3/22/15

Sunday: Slow Cooker Island Pulled Chicken

Monday: Apple Cinnamon Pork

Tuesday: Burger Night

Wednesday: Baked Teriyaki Chicken

Thursday: Ribs from Costco

Have you been to a salt spa?  Do you think you could do the floatation pod?

 

Peanut Butter Magic Cookie Bars

Adapted from Renee’s Kitchen Adventures

Ingredients

  • 2 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup smooth peanut butter
  • 1-14oz. can of sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup peanut butter flavored chips
  • 1/2 cup sweetened, flaked coconut
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts
  • 2 oz. milk chocolate, melted, (optional)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 9×13” glass baking dish with cooking spray.
  2. In a small bowl, combine the graham crackers and melted butter. Pour into the prepared baking dish and press down firmly.
  3. In the same bowl you used to mix the base, combine the sweetened condensed milk with the peanut butter.  Pour evenly over the crust.
  4. Sprinkle the chocolate chips, peanut butter chips, coconut and chopped nuts over the milk/peanut butter layer.
  5. Bake at 350 degrees F for 30 minutes or until set. Remove from oven and cool completely. Drizzle with melted chocolate, if desired.  Place in refrigerator for a couple of hours to chill to help with cutting. Once chilled, remove from refrigerator and cut into bars.  Store in air tight container or freezer.

Not into peanut butter…the original Magic Cookie Bars are still and always will be amazing!

Run It…Run It…

Test Over…Training Begins!

Well kind of : )  End of May is my first race of the year…the annual Soldier Field 10 Miler.  One of my favorite races because I usually run it just for fun, we finish in the awesome Bears stadium, and it is the kick of summer weekend!  After that, I am hoping to get myself signed up for a summer triathlon.  I was not able to do a tri last year, and so I came into this year with the thought that once the test was over, my next goals would be signing up for a tri and starting to train.  My bike needs a little work before the ‘season’, but my running shoes are good to go.

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The weather is starting to warm and so Tuesday morning, I hit the path for a short 30 minute pre work run.  It was windy, but I was thrilled to be outside running for the first time in…who knows how long!

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Then I was off to work in more green gear for St. Patty’s Day.  I had plans to get in another good cardio workout Thursday morning.  But, I stayed up WAY too late finishing off season 1 of the Blacklist to get up and workout.  Should I be embarrassed to admit that?!  If you watch the show, you would totally understand and not judge me : )  Thursday night was all about March Madness (as was Friday night + some wine).  But, this morning I had a running date with my friend that was totally worth dragging myself out of bed for.

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What better way to celebrate spring?!  We had much to catch up on and a triathlon to plan for!

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Confession: After my run I had a chunk of time before my facial, so I ate a snack in my car and listened to Serial.  I know I’m the last to the Serial party, but I am diving right in.

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At noon, I had the most amazing facial with my favorite esthetician.  My mom was scheduled after me again so the three of us had tea and cookies in between our appointments.

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When I got home, it was family nap time. 

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On a totally different (and random) note, did you see Cooper’s look alike in the Lowes Glow in the Dark Cat Hat TV commercial?

It makes me laugh every time. Is it possible that March Madness has better commercials than the Superbowl?

We have an exciting Saturday night at home planned (most likely with more wine and basketball) and now that we have worked out some of the triathlon details, real training will begin REAL SOON!

 

How is your Saturday going?

Are you watching March Madness?

70 Degrees and Chili

I started this morning with a fantastic 10 minute cuddle with Cooper after the BOY left for work. Cooper has been feeling a bit neglected lately!  So have a lot of things…including our house  : )  Before I met with my trainer, I did a bunch of cleaning, organizing, and laundry this morning.  Then headed off to the gym.

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I warned my trainer that it’s been a long two weeks without exercise and some extra carbs, so it was good to get my muscles burning again.  On the way home, I did a Costco and grocery store run.  It was a HUGE success!

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It was the warmest day we’ve had all year!  Oddly enough the BOY wanted chili for dinner tonight, which worked for me because I had just enough time to throw dinner in the crockpot, shower, and switch around laundry before I met my mom for an afternoon of shopping.

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That was also a HUGE success!  I walked in the door moments before the BOY and we both dug right into the delicious chili!

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It was a gorgeous 70 degree day today and spring is in the air!  Woo Hoo!

 

What do you like to do when the weather gets warm?

Do you eat chili in the spring/summer?

 

Meal Planning 3/16/15

Monday: Turkey Chili (with Fritos and avocado)

Tuesday: Spaghetti/Zoodles and Sausage

Wednesday: Tilapia and Veggies

Thursday: Indian

 

 

Slow Cooker Turkey Chili

From Natasha’s Kitchen (adapted slightly from original)

Ingredients

  • 1 lb lean ground turkey
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 tsp Cumin powder
  • ½ tsp Chili Powder
  • ½ tsp Garlic Powder
  • ½ tsp Dried Oregano
  • Dash of red pepper flakes
  • 15 oz can Black beans, drained and lightly rinsed (or cook your own beans like we do)
  • 15 oz can red kidney beans with juice
  • 6 oz jar of diced green chilis
  • 1 can diced tomatoes (seasoned or plain)
  • 28oz of tomato sauce

Directions

In a large skillet over medium/high heat, add 1 Tbsp olive oil and sautee 1 lb ground turkey until cooked through.

Add 1 medium finely diced onion along with 1 tsp cumin powder, ½ tsp chili powder, ½ tsp garlic powder, ½ tsp oregano, 1 tsp salt and ¼ tsp pepper (I added more seasoning). Saute until onions are softened and meat is lightly browned then transfer to a standard-sized crock pot, sprayed with cooking spray.

Add drained black beans, pinto beans with juice, diced green peppers, and diced tomatoes.

Add tomato sauce and stir to combine. Set on low for about 5 hours until piping hot. Taste and adjust for seasoning just before finished cooking.

Back to Life…

This past week’s motto was ‘Living on Dreams and Caffeine’ and it was one nutty week!

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But now that studying is behind me, it’s time to get Back to Life!!!

What I’m Looking Forward To…

Day Drinking and Thai

That about sums up Saturday.

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Exercise & Yoga

Kids yoga starts back soon.

 

A Little Pampering

I have a morning at the salt spa and a facial scheduled next weekend.

 

Serial

You know how you go from never hearing about something to having 3 people talk about it in 2 days?  That’s what happened with Serial.  I just needed a little help learning how to download podcasts.

 

Shopping & Returns

Super excited to use my 25% Athleta Friends and Family

 

Reading

Anything but a textbook!

 

Celebrations

Surprise! We had a wonderful belated party for my parents’ birthdays this morning.

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Binge watch Scandal

I’m so behind…

 

OMG!  Wedding!

Need I say more?! There is much to do!

 

Green Beer and Soda Bread

Well actually just a Shamrock Shake : )

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Spring

Hooray for sunny skies and melting snow!

 

March Madness

Indiana with a 10 spot. Woo hoo!

 

Catching Up with Cooper

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It will feel amazing to wake up tomorrow and get back to my ‘normal’ routine!

What are you looking forward to this spring?

Five for Friday XXXI

1. It’s a full moon, and you know that means a whole lot of crazy!

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2. The BOY finished most of these bars and they were so awesome that he is still talking about them. I love a recipe that is surprisingly simple and gets this much attention.

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3. Cooper has been everywhere this week…

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And getting into everything.  The last picture was just after he nibbled on my knee because I kicked him off my note cards while I was studying.  You can see why I know the people at my local Starbucks by name!

 

4. I get so annoyed…but then I see him all cuddled up napping with his toy and all is forgiven. Who knew I was such a softie?!

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5.  Don’t judge me because I don’t know Roman Numerals and please don’t judge me because this is how I spent my Friday night!

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Can you tell when it’s a full moon?

How was your Friday night?  Wine and studying anyone?