Wonderful people who make this blog worth updating

Thursday, July 16, 2015

New Blog! (still not giving up on this one though)

I was looking through my old posts on this blog and getting nostalgic. Does anyone else remember how much fun we used to have blogging and commenting? I enjoy other social media, but I miss the thought process that goes into blogging vs. the immediate sharing on Facebook or Instagram.

I just wanted to let you guys know that I started a new health and fitness focused blog. I'm setting it up mostly for my Challenge groups that I run on Facebook to give them information about workouts, meal plans, and my own recipes. I'd love you to visit me there, but stay tuned on this page for more frequent updates!

AlluringBody Nostril Pin

As I get older, I find that I care more about the quality of my jewelry. In the last few months I've gotten some nice older jewelry that belonged to my grandmother and great-grandmother, which made me think about the fact that I don't own any jewelry of value other than my wedding rings. I've had my nostril pierced for quite a few years now, and I'd been thinking about switching from a nostril screw to a nose bone or pin. The downside I've heard about these is that they can be difficult to remove because the ball at the end is a slightly larger gauge than the body of the pin. My old nostril screw was just a generic CZ in an 18 gauge stainless steel setting. It was ok, but I didn't like how high the bezel setting stuck up on my nose.

I had some other screws that were sterling silver, but I didn't like how quickly the metal became tarnished and was afraid that it would cause staining on my skin. I'm also completing a teaching degree this year and want to have something that looks professional and is of high quality and practical for basically all occasions. I decided that I was looking for a 20 gauge nostril pin in 14k white gold with a diamond setting, and came across Alluring Body. They have a lot of different gemstones and several sizes of colorless diamonds. The smallest is a 1.2mm "tiny diamond." I opted against this one because I have some large pores in my nose that are probably close to a 1.2 mm! The next size up is the 1.6mm "perfect diamond," which I think was a great choice for my situation. Granted, $85 is a lot to spend on a small piece of jewelry, but I love the idea that I can basically leave this in and not buy another for the foreseeable future. To be honest though, I'll probably be buying an emerald or a bigger diamond at some point.

Alluring Body is a small business, and I was really happy with the quick shipping. The packaging was also just beautiful.

As you can see, the nostril screw was HUGE compared to the pin. I was glad that I had an 18gauge in, the pin slipped right in, but now that it has sat for a couple of days, the pin is tight enough that there's no way it would fall out. I love the difference in feeling, I don't notice the pin at all, but sometimes the nostril screw would bother me because it took up so much space inside my nose!

Here's the final effect. I'm really happy with the size, its small, but sparkles enough that you can still notice it. The workmanship is what makes it worth the money in my opinion too. It has a prong setting, but I haven't had a cotton ball or towel get stuck to it, unlike my cheap prong settings from Claire's!

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Creating a Fitness Habit

I've tried and failed so many times in life to create and maintain a habit or commitment to my health and fitness. I've had the best and most consistent results in the last 3 years or so, even during my last pregnancy. So, what worked for me?

There are so many different ways that you can accomplish this. One that I've liked is to be a part of a Challenge Group. It is so helpful to keep company with like-minded people, or people who have similar goals. On those days you don't feel like working out, you know that someone from your group will notice your absence, or that your coach might give you a call or text to check in! If you are having problems or feel like you're failing, let your coach or partners know, that's why you're a group!

Many programs also come with a Workout Calendar, or you can create your own. I love having a physical calendar where I can cross out my workout for the day and see those X's adding up over the course of the weeks! When I consider skipping, my obsessive personality is bothered by the fact that the day will have a blank.

Combine Fitness with Nutrition:
 This one is HUGE for me! When my workouts are in line, I am less likely to fill my body with things that aren't going to fuel me for my workouts and specific goals. I'm not talking about deprivation, but making sure that you're choosing wisely. I've always felt that I eat healthy, but realized that I often come up short on vegetable and protein portions when tracking them for my workout goals. I have also been using Shakeology for several months now, and have noticed a huge energy boost and reduction in cravings for junk!
Solomon and I enjoying our Greenberry
Create and Use Incentives:
One of my favorite incentives is to choose the workout that I will accomplish next and buy it for myself as a reward.

My reward for finishing Insanity Max 30 this Friday is 21 Day Fix Extreme.

People often choose to buy a specific piece of clothing that they are hoping to fit into by the end of a particular workout program.

Another incentive that works well for me is to have workout outfits that I enjoy wearing. Rather than throwing on those old running shorts from the bottom of the drawer, choose something new to go with a new workout, or reward yourself with a new pair when you've stayed on track for a set amount of time.

It is hardest in the beginning to develop a new habit. When I started Insanity Max 30, I decided to switch my workouts from evening to morning. I am most definitely NOT a natural morning person, but I love the feeling of accomplishment when I've finished something of worth so early in the day.
It was extremely hard to make myself do my workouts when I felt so lethargic, but now my dependence on caffeine is gone, and I feel strange if I have a schedule issue that makes it impossible to work out in the morning. Creating consistency takes the most work for the first few weeks, but with the other steps, you will have a habit that becomes as normal as making that morning coffee!

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

My Favorite Workouts

When I found out I was pregnant for the first time, post-baby changes were one of the more minor things on my mind. After my daughter was born, I started walking any day that it was above 30 degrees and doing some yoga when she was a few weeks old.

My first introduction to intense at-home workouts was Jillian Michaels’ 30 Day Shred, which I completed in summer of 2008.

I was very happy with the results from this workout series. Most workouts marketed to women weren't nearly intense enough, and I wanted to get good results!

I stuck with Jillian after this, and have done her Ripped in 30, 6 Week Six-Pack, No More Trouble Zones, and Yoga Meltdown. Yoga Meltdown and Ripped in 30 are my favorites of everything she's created.

 I still do some of Jillian's workouts occasionally, but I've found some new workouts that I love even more. A friend of mine had gotten some awesome results doing Turbofire and invited me to join one of her Clean Eating Challenge groups on Facebook. I needed some accountability to get eating healthy again after having my son in 2013, so I joined. She was recovering from a knee injury at the time and couldn't do workouts with any jumping, so she posted about a new Beachbody workout called PiYo. Its a Pilates/Yoga hybrid strength workout with Chalene Johnson, and let me tell you, its my favorite workout series ever! It includes the same kind of strength/yoga combinations as some of Jillian's programs, but Chalene is such a fun trainer! The program also includes so many more workouts that Jillan's program, so its a lot harder to get tired of it!

I still felt like I needed to make some gains in the muscle department, so when another friend started posting about Insanity Max 30, I decided to do something crazy and order the Challenge Pack with Shakeology. I'm finishing the 60 days this Friday, and the results have been amazing so far! I can do pushups and burpees like nobody's business!

What's my favorite overall? I'd have to say that PiYo has been the most fun, its the workout I most genuinely look forward to doing, and my flexibility has improved tremendously too! I was also inspired to sign up as a Beachbody Coach, so that I can inspire others in their journeys toward wellness and a full life.

What are your favorite workouts? Are there any challenges to your health that you would like to improve through better fitness and nutrition?

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Monthly Meals Week 2

These are actually a bit out of order since I haven't posted in awhile, but these are the meals that I will make starting on Friday. 
Maybe you'll find some new favorites!  

Mon: Alfredo Pasta with Sausage
Wed: Salmon Burgers (from Costco)
Thurs: Beef Hot Dogs and Mac & Cheese (from Costco)
Fri: Creamy seafood pasta or pesto pasta
Sun: leftovers

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Insanity Max 30-Day 2

I started this workout yesterday and maxed out at only 4 minutes in. . . and I thought I was in pretty good shape!
After doing a lot of Jillian Michaels' workouts in the past, I get the whole concept of HIIT (High-Intensity Interval Training), and I'm totally sold on it as the best way to get fit quickly. Knowing that won't get you through these workouts though!
I love the combinations of moves Shaun-T includes in the workout, and I absolutely love his demeanor as a trainer, he's much less annoying than Jillian!
There were a few things in the second workout that I had to modify, mostly the pushup sequences since I broke my elbow as a kid and have a hard time keeping proper form. I also got interrupted several times by the littles, which is also to be expected!

I'll let you guys know how everything goes as a continue, I'm loving it as the moment and hope that the newness doesn't wear off anytime too soon. 


Monday, January 5, 2015

Monthly Meals: Week 1

I've always prided myself on being able to cook and plan meals on the fly and use up the last of my ingredients in an economical way. As I'm getting closer to student teaching and eventually working, though I've realized that this way won't always work for us!

I thought it would be great to do one of those once-a-month cooking type ideas, but quickly realized that most of the meals aren't the sort of thing we actually like.

Our family isn't picky, but most crockpot meals that include vegetables turn out too soggy for us, and I wanted to be able to reuse side dishes for multiple meals. Cooking meals and freezing them also isn't appealing since they have to be frozen in bags, microwaved, and re-served.

We are also Eastern Orthodox, and so have a lot of fasting days through out the year, including every Wednesday and Friday. The traditional fast is vegan, but we have a blessing from our spiritual father to gradually ease into fasting more fully. That said, we probably include more vegetarian days that your typical American family, so I'm working on getting more new recipes in my repertoire.

Here's our first week of dinners, which started on Friday:

Mon: Crockpot Chicken Tikka Masala with leftover Somali Rice
Tues: White Chicken Chili with chips and Salsa
Wed: Cheese Quesadillas and guacamole
Fri: Chicken Gyros with pita and tzatziki sauce
Sat: Tacos (at a friend's house)

I also keep a running shopping list in Google Docs so that I can access it when I'm on the run. Hopefully this is a step in the right direction toward feeding a family in a busy world!