Exploration…

It’s been a little while since I decided I wanted to teach kids yoga…and since then I’ve had the 200 hour teacher training on my bucket list.  It seems surreal that the weekend it all begins is here!

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I have been thinking about this a lot as the date approaches and not just because I am obsessing over my Anatomy PowerPoints.  My main reason for wanting to take the class was to enhance my understanding and skill to make me a better kids yoga teacher.  But, I also realize that this is such  a unique gift that I can give myself as I explore my own yoga practice.  On top of that….teaching adult yoga may be a fun way to make a few extra dollars when we move to the city.  So those three reasons led me to Yoga Teacher Training (YTT) this morning at 8am!

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I was super excited (and also totally nervous)!  I knew that this journey would change my yoga practice and perhaps even change me!  I just had to figure out what to wear on my first day : ) We started with some get to know you stuff and it’s fun to see everyone’s background and what led them to this moment.

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Then we did our first yoga practice together.  Afterwards, we practiced talking through poses and then continued to get to know each other over lunch, which a few of us enjoyed outside.  After lunch, we dug deep with a timeline of our lives and the option to share some defining moments.  I was comfortable sharing, especially since one of my most recent defining moments was marrying my best friend last fall.  This moment shaped my new identity as a wife as I shed my independent self and became part of a new family.  After discussions about intention setting and affirmations, we ended a bit early, which meant I was home by 4pm.

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With the sun blazing, I decided to take a spin on my bike!  It was an absolutely gorgeous day!  And it wasn’t until I was half way through my 10 mile ride that I realized my drive to ride most likely came from the fact that this is my first Memorial Day Sunday in, I dunno, 6 years not doing Bike the Drive.  Not surprisingly, I was all signed up for the ride but passed my entry along to my brother when I decided to do yoga teacher training.

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When I got back home from my ride, the BOY was home after spending the day with his dad.  I showered and made myself a wine spritzer and we sat out back listening to music.

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The BOY made us a delicious seared tuna with broccoli while he chatted baseball with the neighborhood boys.

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We came inside early (based on the neighborhood standards) because I actually have a few patients tomorrow morning and then day 2 of YTT tomorrow night.  The day was a great Memorial Day kick off to summer but also an exciting start to this next chapter in my yoga journey!

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Namaste!

Return of the Grill {And the Bike}

Spring has sprung!!!

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We have an entire week of warmth and sunshine which concluded with an absolutely spectacular 70 degree weekend!  It definitely feels like June, and I am loving it!

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Started Saturday morning with a strength sesh followed by a protein smoothie.  Then headed into Chicago for my sister in law’s bachelorette party, which was a ton of fun!

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I arrived back home around noon today, after dropping off my SIL and of course taking some time to play with her tiny little kitties.  The BOY had plans to get his grill cleaned off.  I told him stories of the evening while laying in the sun as he drank a beer and scrubbed off his grill.  When all was done, I took a quick nap on the couch while the BOY grilled the first meal of the year for lunch.  After lunch, we did our grocery store run (along with everyone else) and watched the sad end to the Hawks game.

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I am working tomorrow, so it was a productive Sunday.  Dinner went into the crockpot, laundry was washed and folded, and bags of veggies were prepped for the week ahead.  In an attempt to bribe the BOY to take his lunch to work, I also portioned out fruit and snacks for him for the entire week so all he has to do is make his sandwich.  With most of my ‘chores’ complete, I decided it was time to get out a bit and exercise.

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I dusted off my bike and filled the tires and then literally rode into the sunset.  Our path is a bit flooded, but I was able to ride about 12 miles out and back.

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My bike was a bit neglected last summer, and I am planning to do a lot more riding this year!  I’m even hoping to do some bike commuting around town if I can.

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My first time out was fantastic!  When I got back home, the BOY was already working on the meat for tonight’s dinner.  I love grill season!  And bike season!

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For desert we are attempting to make S’mores ice cream.  I’ll keep you posted how it goes : )  An hour of riding wore me out (or it was last night’s 5 hours of sleep…ha ha)!  Either way, I’m calling it an early one!

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How are you celebrating the start of spring?

Meal Planning 4/17/16

Monday: Serf and Turf

Tuesday: Crockpot 2 Ingredient Pulled Pork

Wednesday: Shrimp Surprise (I forgot to buy the Stirfry veggies so not sure what I will do with my shrimp)

Thursday: TBD

Friday: Happy Passover!

Welcome Spring!!!

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I finally got around to making these protein balls last week, but never got around to sharing the awesome recipe. 

Note: You will want to make a double batch of this recipe because it is awesome but the servings are NOT plentiful enough!

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Saturday morning, I was up again early and at the gym.  I had another kick butt workout, making it my 5th of the week (way to go on that March goal!).  Then it was a quick change and off to my last yoga class of the session.  The kids were really energetic and fun and dove right into all of the partner work and poses.

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I stayed a little after to fill in our life size bracket hanging on the wall in the gym.  From there, it was back home where the BOY scooped me up for lunch and shopping.  Believe me when I say that I was MORE surprised when the BOY wanted to go to the mall for updated work clothes than I was last weekend when he wanted to clean : )

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We had a successful trip to Nordstrom and arrived back home minutes after the Indiana/Kentucky game started.  We watched on the edge of our seats as Indiana pulled away to make it to the Sweet Sixteen.  Saturday night, we had dinner with my bestie, her hubs, and two amazing kids!  I dove right into the play dough while the BOY initiated a pre-bed time sword fight.

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Sunday morning was a unique treat!  We set no alarm and I didn’t have anything on my schedule until 2:30pm!!  I woke up around 8:30am feeling refreshed.  I ate a bite of breakfast (with my espresso) and drove off in the sunshine to the yoga studio for a hot flow class. 

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On the way, I realized I forgot my water bottle.  Luckily, there is a Walgreens in the parking lot of the studio, so I was able to quickly grab a Smartwater.  When I arrived, the room was PACKED!  I was able to find a small piece of real estate in the front row (not my favorite).  It occurred to me as I transitioned to my mat that this was a PERFECT example of finding peace in the present moment.  The front row is tough because it is up against the wall. I find it harder to balance that close to the wall, and I am more self conscious about my movement with other bodies close by.

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But the benefit of being that close to the wall is easily transitioning from standing splits to handstand with the support and confidence boost of the wall, which is exactly what I did a few times this morning.  Slowly working off the wall as I practiced my strength and balance on two hands.  Our teacher continued to remind us to embrace the awakening of spring as we moved through tough transitions in the hot room.  The morning class was a sweaty one and no one (including me) moved quickly out of savasana, like we usually do, taking the time to cool down before arising from our mats and refilling our water bottles.

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I changed out of my wet clothes for a lunch time trip to Whole Foods.  The BOY requested a sandwich and I ended up with a Whole Foods Hodge Podge (basically what happens at the whole foods salad bar when you are starving after hot yoga!).  I had big plans to glue my side view mirror on, but realized that it was going to take an hour, which I didn’t have.  Instead, I drove my car into the city, carefully merging at all times, to hang out with a friend/old coworker of mine.  We walked throughout the city, making a special stop at the Family Matters house, which she just discovered was in her neighborhood (and I just learned was in Chicago).

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We had coffee and walked some more, swinging by Athleta to scope our the scale items.  On our walk, we caught up on life while appreciating the sunshine on this first day of spring!  I left the city a little before 6pm with plans to swing by the grocery store to pick up my dinner (which I forgot that morning at WF) since the BOY had dinner plans with a friend.  I was also hoping to be home before dark since along with a busted mirror, I also seem to have a head light out on my car.  Ugh!  I will definitely be doing some car maintenance tomorrow!

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I made salmon and brussel sprouts for dinner with a glass of crisp white wine, while watching tonight’s March Madness games.  I was feeling torn between cheering on the Big Ten (out of support for the conference) and Xavier, out of support for my ailing bracket and loved all the close games and over times!

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And that’s a wrap for my weekend (and start to spring), which means that I really should tell you more about these protein balls.  The original recipe calls for cranberries, so feel free to go that route.  I actually had cherries in the house, so decided to use those along with a scoop of protein powder for some added flavor and muscle building goodness.

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Like I mentioned way back at the start of this post, these energy balls are fantastic and well worth doubling the recipe.  They make the perfect afternoon pick me up and even the BOY has enjoyed taking these energy balls as a snack to the office.

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How did you start spring?

Any famous TV landmarks in your town?

 

Cherry Vanilla Protein Bites

Adapted From Recipe Runner (makes 9 large energy balls***)

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup raw cashews
  • 1/2 cup raw almonds
  • 1/2 cup dried cherries
  • 1/2 cup chopped medjool dates, about 6-7 dates
  • 2 tbsp vanilla protein powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Pinch of salt (optional)

***I would recommend doubling if you have the room in your food processor!

Directions

  1. In a high speed blender or food processor add the cashews and almonds and pulse until they are finely ground, careful not to turn them into nut butter.
  2. Add in the remaining ingredients and blend or pulse until everything starts to come together.
  3. Scrape down the sides several times and add up to 2 tablespoons of water.
  4. Form into balls, rolling between your hands.
  5. Store the energy bites in an airtight container in the refrigerator or freezer.

OMG…It’s June 1st!

So…I had a LOT of returns to make today!  I mentioned yesterday that after ordering every adorable shirt, tank, and dress that I could get my hands on online, I ended up wearing jeans, an old white shirt, and an even older jacket (that I’ve had since before I met the BOY) for our engagement photos.

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I didn’t sleep well last night, which is most likely due to late night pizza and beer.  I got a bunch done this morning before meeting my trainer at 10am.  I haven’t seen him in 3-4 weeks because I was sick and then it was Memorial day.  I was feeling a little bit soft and was psyched to get my muscles pumping.

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Afterwards, I picked up the most delicious lunch at Protein Bar and then began making multiple returns.  I arrived back home with groceries for the week ahead…lots of greens to support my clean eating goal.

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I threw tomorrow’s dinner into the crockpot and then got a spring cleaning bug and attacked the pantry.  And then the office and a few other drawers and shelves.  My tuperware cabinet looks AWESOME!

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Check out Cooper trying to help with the cleaning…

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Either that or he’s looking for treats : )  I spent the afternoon working through my to do list while the BOY grilled up a mouth watering slab or ribs.

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After dinner, I made bags of pre cut veggies and fruit cups and a big pot of quinoa.  And then, per usual, I crashed on the couch to watch a few Castle reruns. I have a feeling it will be an early night for me!  It’s crazy that it’s already June…I am looking forward to all of the fun to come this summer and feel so much better now that I got a bunch of cleaning and chores done.

 

How was your June 1st?  Do you spring clean?

 

Meal Planning 6/01/15

Monday: BBQ Ribs and Mushrooms

Tuesday: Crockpot Green Curry

Wednesday: Turkey Meatballs

Thursday: Leftovers

What Do May Flowers Bring?

In some ways, May was a bit of a wash. I was sick for over two weeks and didn’t get my usual energy and zest back.  I didn’t do much exercise, cooking, or blogging and overall felt a little (not a lot, just a little) bit blah. 

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But, in other ways, May was super fun and exciting!  I finished up a successful spring yoga session, I got out on my bike and then biked 30 miles on Lake Shore Drive, the BOY and I have been playing way more tennis, we did a weekend escape to Wisconsin, and on the last day of the month, we are scheduled to take our engagement pictures.

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May is also an exciting month because it is clear that after the long, hard winter, summer is truly on it’s way. And with summer comes green veggies at farmer’s markets, outdoor BBQs, trips to Wisconsin and Michigan, and tons of fun and excitement!

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May Goals

Get into a tri training routine– Although I was initially stressed about the decision, I feel much better having decided not to do a tri this year.  I also appreciate everyone’s support and encouragement about the decision!

Eat whole foods (and lots of greens)-I have cleaned up my diet and will continue to work on this.  Unfortunately, when I don’t feel well, greens are the last thing on my mind.  I’m hoping to hit up more markets and incorporate more greens into each meal this next month.

Get outside…play tennis, go hiking!-We have played a lot more tennis.  The BOY is excited to get more active and we have enjoyed exercising together.

Keep up with my 10 minute daily mind break-Other than one or two times when my foot was its worst, I have been taking my walk breaks (even just 5 minutes in the parking lot when I have to).  It is my way to get in my Vitamin N(ature) and take a little mental break from my work day.

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June Goals

Eat Clean, Train Dirtythis means whole foods, extra greens, lots of exercise, bike rides, and strength training.

Cook and Bake

Drink More Wateryou might be surprised to hear me say this because I drink a lot of water.  But I also drink a lot of black (caffeinated) tea and have not been drinking enough water during my work day, where it is tough sometimes to steal sips from my water bottle.

Slow Down and Enjoy Every Moment!

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What are your June/Summer goals?

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?

Heeello Spring!

We have missed you!  The arrival of above freezing temperatures happens to coincide perfectly with my newly refreshed and enthusiastic approach towards a healthy lifestyle!  I finally have a workout schedule figured out, went running outside, and have accepted the fact that I will be participating in a modified race schedule this year.  Meal planning is working well and I am adding in more protein and greens which has me craving way less junk.  Things are looking BRIGHT!

 

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Since I was so late on my February/March goals, I figured I could get started on the April goals a wee bit early!

 

March was a great month!

It started with snow and birthday celebrations

 

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And ended with rain (read melted snow) and an awesome weekend catching up with friends (and finally watching frozen)!

 

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I made some awesome meals!  Mostly in the crockpot, but still, there were some non crockpot highlights…

Chicken Tamale Pie

Marbled Banana Bread

Sweet Potato and Quinoa Chili

Parmesan Brussel Sprouts

 

And let’s not forget that we can’t have a March without Irish Soda Bread and St. Patrick’s Day Shenanigans!

 

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Of course, Cooper was adorable and he continues to grow as he nears his 1st birthday.  He also continues to love the dishwasher, bath tub, and sink, where I caught him hiding one night this past week.  He thinks if he ducks down low, I won’t find him : )

 

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I have finally gotten my workout schedule organized and made time for a spin class, yoga seminar, and tennis.  Needless to say, I am counting down the days until warm enough weather to bust out my bike.

 

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I am ending the month feel strong, energized, and focused on what lies ahead!

 

 

February/March Goals

1. Decrease Sugar Intake

-This had been up and down, but the past 2 weeks I have definitely gotten my sugar consumption in check and am feeling really good and energized.

 

2. Build Strength

My muscle mass has increased (according to my trainer), so I am definitely on my way!

 

3. Play Tennis

-The BOY and I have been playing at least once a week.  I think we are getting better and are at least at a place where we can play a match and have fun with it.  Although my serve has a long way to go…

 

4. Sign up for Races

So after much thought and research, I have decided to wait until the fall for races.  The main reason is that this spring is very busy and I will not have the time to train that I need.

 

 

April Goals

1. Strength Train 2xweek

2. Do Yoga 1xweek (and do a workshop)

3. Unplug and Unwind

4. Drink More Water and Eat More Greens

5. Cook from your Cookbooks!

 

 

What are you most looking forward to this spring?

What are you April goals?