No French Fry Bars

The bad news is when you play all weekend, there is a lot of work to do on Monday.  And I don’t mean work, work because it is still the weekend (for me), but house work!  I would have loved to have spent Monday on my couch, cuddled with Cooper, and catching up on Scandal.  Instead, I woke up and immediately started creating laundry piles. 


Saturday morning, the BOY and I woke up to snow.  Not a lot of it, but more than anyone wants to see in April!


The BOY and I went to the gym for our training sessions and then quickly packed up before driving downtown.  My sister in law has been wanting to try Soul Cycle and I was more than  happy to accompany here to the Old Rihanna vs. New Rihanna class.


We had a lot of fun working up a sweat.  Then the guys met us for lunch and beer at Corridor.  The weather was odd, alternating between hail and sunshine, but we managed to walk around and shop before making our way back to their house.  We had a little bit of down time before getting ready for our family friend’s wedding.  My mom, SIL, and I drank bubbles while we got our hair done at the dry bar, and then everyone got all dressed up for the wedding.


We danced the night away and had a great time together!  Sunday was another fun family day, but this time the weather was gorgeous!


We walked all over the city, racking up close to 7 miles.  Along the way, we discovered an amazing little bakery and fueled up with cupcakes (and a not pictured cookie sandwich that was consumed during the walk)!


The BOY and I didn’t get home until late Sunday night, and we stopped and picked up Thai for dinner on our way home.  I was feeling exhilarated with the excitement of the weekend and crashed for a good 10 hours Sunday night.  Which brings me back to this morning.  After getting a few loads of laundry going, I grabbed leftovers for breakfast and debated if I wanted to go to the 9:30am yoga class.  A run would have been ideal, but after yesterday’s 60 degree weather, this morning was chilly.


So off to yoga I went!  And then came back home to get myself organized for the day while sipping on a Peanut Butter and Banana Protein Smoothie.  I made my grocery list and our meal plan. 


With the cold weather, chili was top on my list…Mmm!


So I had the opportunity to bump into an old coworker of the BOY’s last week.  She mentioned that she saw him eating one of the protein balls I had made.  When she asked him what was with the healthy fare, he said that I made them so that he doesn’t eat French Fries (LOL!).  I actually make them so that we have healthy snack options throughout the day, but the French Fry comment had me cracking up.

IMG_20160404_161054707_HDR IMG_20160404_161155276

IMG_20160404_161234284_HDR IMG_20160404_161338913_HDR

On that note, I made another batch of bars this week and we can just call them ‘No French Fry’ bars!


These are actually a Luna bar knock off and absolutely delicious!


You’ll have to make a batch and let me know if they keep you away from the drive through : )


What is your favorite mid afternoon snack?


Meal Planning 4/04/16

Monday: Chili

Tuesday: Sesame Honey Chicken

Wednesday: Burgers and Veggies

Thursday: TBD


(Homemade) Peanut Butter

Chocolate Chip Luna Bars

From Lauren’s Latest


  • 2/3 cup dry roasted unsalted peanuts
  • 24 oz. pitted dates
  • 1/4 cup chocolate chips
  • pinch sea salt


  1. Place peanuts into the bowl of a food processor. Pulse to chop into fine pieces without turning into a paste. Add in dates, chocolate chips and salt. Continue pulsing until one large mass comes together in the bowl. Line a 9×9 baking dish with parchment paper or plastic wrap and press date mixture evenly into the dish. Dip your fingers into water to prevent sticking. Place into freezer or fridge for 30 minutes.
  2. Remove completely from pan using excess plastic wrap as help and cut into 10 even pieces. Wrap each bar individually in plastic wrap and store in refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

Random Ramblings {Tennis, Spin, and Everything in Between}

The BOY and I had our second to last tennis lesson last night.  At the end, we got an evaluation.  We are both around the same point with different areas of strength.  I will definitely be sad when our Adult Beginner lessons are over.  It’s been really challenging and fun.  Although we could continue and do another round of lessons, instead we are going to try to make time on our own to practice.  This is always really tough!  The best thing about our lessons was that once a week, Mondays at 6pm, we had set aside for tennis.  I’d like to keep Mondays as a tennis day, but until the snow starts melting off the outdoor courts, we will have to spend some money to play indoors.  I know that if I don’t keep practicing, I won’t get any better, and I don’t want to waste the lessons we took.  And…I’m not quite to a place where you’d want to play with me yet : )




One positive is that I am trialing a new gym for the end of February and rest of March.  This gym is also a park district from the next town over.  It has A LOT more amenities, but also costs significantly more than my current membership.  I’ve had a gym membership since I was in high school.  Some of have been fancier than others, but I really do LOVE a big, shiny, gym with lots to offer.  It’s not something I’ve had since moving in with the BOY a few years ago.  So…when I stepped in the door of this gym last weekend to play tennis with the BOY, I was smitten from the start.  They have a 25 bike spin studio (my current gym has about 9-10), tennis courts, two pools, well lit clean locker rooms, fit people, a rock climbing wall, a triathlon club, and a lot of classes early in the morning.  Can’t you see the appeal?!




I’ve always been a bit of a gym snot and I just felt right at home here.  It reminded me how much I am missing at our current park district.   Another bonus is that it will allow the BOY and I access to tennis courts until we can play outdoors.  AND, it’s not on the way but not out of the way to my newer job.  Worth a shot in my mind.




This morning, I tried out the new gym.  I went to the 6am spin class.  I loved that the gym was busy but not overly crowded.  The people were friendly and you could tell they were a consistent crew.  I felt way more at home.  The locker rooms were clean and easy to get ready for work.  It was so different from my old days at the big commercial gym.  I even took a few minutes to sit and watch the news while enjoying my breakfast before drying my hair.  It’s the little things that make me happy!




And the spin class was one tough workout (and an awesome way to start the day)!

The problem is that I don’t want to spread myself too thin or out in too many directions.  I love my yoga studio and it’s where I am doing training and a strength class each one time a week.  Currently tennis is at a third park district, but that will be over this weekend.  And I have my current membership at the park district 1 mile from our house for the next few weeks that I can renew for cheap at the end of March.  Decisions…Decisions!

Obviously, I have to weigh out all my pros and cons and check my financials, but I will definitely spend the next few weeks figuring it all out.

Thanks for listening!!!


So my questions after this random post…

How do you choose your gym?

Does anyone else fall for the high end amenities?

Can I keep running, strength training, yogaing, and add tennis?

How will I ever get better at tennis if I don’t practice? (Ok that one doesn’t need an answer!)

Who wants to meet for a tennis date?

Gym Rat

It’s been a long time since I’ve called myself a gym rat.  Even though I have a park district membership, I use it mostly for the indoor track in the winter and the pool in the summer and haven’t taken many classes there.  Yet this week, I was at the yoga studio twice and at the gym twice.  I’m starting to feel like a gym rat again!




This morning, I was excited to get back to a spin class.  I had a wonderful breakfast of Justin’s Overnight Oats in a Jar!  So yummy!!!




I was hungry when I woke up and devoured my breakfast quickly.  Then drove the 3 minutes over to the park district.  In order to get a bike in the 9am class, you need to get there early.  I arrived around 8:30am and got the second to last bike.  While I waited, I caught a 15 minute ab class.  It’s been fun getting back into the gym, and I hope that I am able to fit more classes and strength training into my new schedule.




After the class, I went downstairs to the park district office to sign the BOY and I up for an indoor Beginner Tennis class.  Yes…after like 2 years of claiming that I was going to learn a new skill, I have finally taken the leap.  The BOY and I both have Monday evenings open, so I took this chance to sign us up for tennis lessons.  We are hoping to then find a second day each week to practice.




Remember these days?

It’s been a long time since we’ve attempted a tennis match (I say attempt because I’m pretty awful!).  The beginner class starts in January and I’m making it my goal to move up to the advanced beginner class after this session.  I’ll keep you posted on how it goes.  Tomorrow will be a gym free day since my Mom and I are volunteering all day at the St. Jude Fashion Show.

Indoor BRICK

With the launch of running season behind me and a Shamrock Shuffle 8k PR in my pocket, it is time to dive into some more serious training.  Ok, so probably not super serious, but definitely more time consuming!  I took the time to schedule out my workouts leading up to the half marathon on May 5th and sprint triathlon on June 16.  I am behind a bit in long runs, but have a weather dependent 10 miler scheduled for tomorrow with a friend.  On the calendar for today, my first BRICK of the year!


Unfortunately, I had a conference call this AM and missed my new spin class and the weather was not conducive to busting out my bike.  Total bummer because it’s almost May and my bike is still hanging up in the garage.  Since I am new to joining the park district, I sometimes forget about the resources I have access to for training.  When I arrived this morning, I asked if I could use the spin room for my workout.  They said that’d be fine but since the room was locked, it didn’t work out.  They mentioned that there are spin bikes, with clips in the gym that were currently empty.




I walked over to the bikes and discovered this high-tech spin bike.




Have you seen anything like this?

Since It’s been over a year since I had a gym membership, I have not.  I flipped through some of the programs and got started with an endurance ride.  However, the ride was pretty boring and so 10 minutes in, I switched to intervals.  It was much more engaging to have the instructor in the video pushing me along, but the music was pretty lame.  He claimed it was to help me ‘relax my upper body’.  Personally, I prefer something a little more upbeat, so I plugged into my ipod while following the directions written on the screen.  After 45 minute, I was sweating and pleased with my ride.  Not as exiting as a spin class but definitely better than pedaling away alone on a stationary bike!




I changed my shoes, wiped down the bike, and found my way to the track for a 15 minute run.  Ahh…now I remember why this workout is called a BRICK.  It took me about 8 minutes to get into my groove, but the last half of the run left me feeling strong!  It was definitely a solid workout considering I had to stay indoors.  Here’s to hoping the rest of this year’s BRICKS can take place outside!  We had late lunch plans, so I came home to shower and have a quick snack.  I was craving a banana and almond butter, but my banana was super mushy…yuck!  So I mashed it up, stirred in the almond butter and a dash of cinnamon.




I know it probably doesn’t look appetizing, but I dug in with a spoon and it tasted awesome!  The perfect carb/protein combo to tide me over until lunch.



What was your workout today?

Any random post workout snacks that you like?

Dusting off the Cobwebs

I love to spin!

I took my first class 10 years ago and have loved it ever since.  I was actually spinning every week years before the thought of purchasing an outdoor bike even crossed my mind.  I’ve taken spin classes in almost every city that I’ve lived since college, and I’ve had the opportunity to ride with some incredible teachers!


Why am I telling you all of this?

Well, because it crossed my mind as I was getting ready to go to spin this morning that you don’t know this about me because it’s been close to two years since I’ve been to a spin class.  I’m not exactly sure how I let that happen, but it definitely has something to do with the fact that when I moved in with the BOY a few years ago, I didn’t like the spin instructors at my new gym (like I said, I’ve been spoiled with some unique and motivating instructors) and then a year ago I quit the gym.  I have missed spinning ever since and get jealous when I read about the fun cycling studios on the east and west coasts.


I woke up this morning hoping to be able to attend the spin class at our park district (where I have been swimming and running along the track).  I made a spinach egg in a half pita for breakfast.




And then walked upstairs to drag the BOY out of bed.  Last night, he was all talk about going to the gym this morning, so I provided some extra encouragement to get him moving.  Meanwhile, I had to dig my spin shoes out of the garage and literally dust off the cobwebs before throwing them into my bag.




The spin class only has 10 bikes, so I was happy to see there was one available for me.  The BOY headed down to the gym to shoot some hoops while I adjusted my bike, clipped in, and warmed up my legs.  I had absolutely NO idea what to expect for the class, but I was hoping for that 600 calorie burn feeling that I’ve come to expect from a spin class.




It took me about 20 minutes to get into my groove on the bike before adrenaline started pumping and I got lost in the music as we climbed up three challenging hills.  At the end of class, I was covered in sweat and basking in that post bike ride glow.  It wasn’t the toughest class I’ve ever taken, but definitely good for the local park district.




What was fun about the bikes is that they showed rpm and distance which helped push me throughout the class.  After 60 minutes of continuous movement, I rode 23 miles which are the first biking miles to add to my Ironman March goal.  The BOY was waiting for me after we stretched, also sweating with red cheeks.  I forgot how exhausting biking is and was happy to have a few Coconut Balls left at home to snack on before lunch and Saturday errands.


So here’s the deal…I am eyeing a mid-June triathlon.

Last year, I let work and life stress get the best of me.  At the start of 2013, I vowed not to let this happen again.  One of my strategies for this year is to find some races and get training because as I described in this post, for me training leads to healthy lifestyle decisions and feeling good.  Plus, I just love setting a new goal and working to achieve it.  If I want to achieve a June triathlon (less than 3 months away) with this uncooperative weather (more snow expected tomorrow), I NEED to get to work!  This week of swimming and spinning is really the perfect start!  I haven’t been feeling much like a triathlete lately, but I got a glimpse of that back today.  And that has me feeling REAL GOOD!