Friday, August 29, 2014

Friday Five

Alright, I made it through my first full week with students. Settling into my role has been interesting this week but overall I am enjoying it. My commute has been cut down to 15 minutes and I can make pit stops at Sheetz whenever I am having a rough morning. It’s a little easier on my wallet than Starbucks. They offer fair trade coffee and a variety of healthy options for snacks including fresh fruit and vegetable packs.

{One} Drinking. I am still loving Trader Joe’s Sparkling Water. (I shared my new find Monday.) Looking forward to trying all their flavors!

{Two} Munching On. The chicken and sausage casserole I tried this week for dinner was a hit. I eliminated mushrooms from the recipe and added broccoli. It ended up tasting a lot like a broccoli, chicken and cheese casserole. I am glad I put my fears of casseroles aside and gave the recipe a try.


{Three} Wishlist Worthy. Suede Tassel Booties. I have resisted purchasing booties for years now because I thought it was a trend. But it looks like this style is here to stay for a while. Also, I am in dire need of new shoes since mine are 3+ years old and walking on concrete floors daily has worn the soles out.  A bonus is the tassel embellishment on these shoes. Love em.

{Four}Currently Loving. I found this adorable print yesterday while reading la petite fashionista's blog. It has me singing "These are a few of my favorite things.."

{Five} Coming Up. Hip hip horay! Bring on the three day weekend. I am headed to Wilmington to help out with sorority recruitment.  I was a Delta Zeta at UNCW. My husband and I actually met through Greek life. A lot has changed since I went through recruitment (ahem, social media). However, I still enjoyed a laugh from this post- Akward situations that happen at rush every year. Now that I am a mentor I completely see it through completely new eyes.

Linking up with Lauren ElizabethClareKarli & Amanda

Hope y'all have a wonderful weekend!

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Thursday, August 28, 2014

Race Update

I realized that I have been talking about my running but never shared what I am training for. Whoops.  I am training with a small group at Fleet Feet this fall to push my pace. Since finishing my first marathon this spring I really wanted to work on my speed. I am planning on running two half-marathons this fall. Hey, two halves equal a full right? In October, I will be running the Bull City Half-Marathon. The race features a food truck rally afterwards with  a ton of local NC food trucks.

In November, I will be running the City of Oaks half.  Raleigh’s nickname is the City of Oaks. I have talked to many runners and they all have said that the City of Oaks is their favorite course. The course starts at NC State University and then takes you all around historic downtown. You finish the last mile on Hillsborough Street.

My goal for this training season is to push my pace and learn to run faster. Ultimately, I want to run a sub 2 hour half. I think with good training this fall that I could do it in the spring. For these races I want to have fun and stay under a 2:10 for my finish time. Honestly, I am ready for some redemption after my miserable Marathon race this spring and hope that shorter distances and cooler weather is the key.

Do you enjoy running races? What pushes you to beat a goal?

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Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Weighing In Wednesday

Happy hump day y’all. Every Wednesday picture the camel from the Geico commercial yelling “Hump Day!” either you hate it or you love it and I love it. I'm not the only one :)

As I mentioned in my post yesterday, I have been really sticking to my diet this past week. I think it was in part to having healthy options readily available in my fridge and also to the Pact I took to track my food. I blogged about the Pact app a few weeks ago and then decided to give it a try for myself. You create the goal of how many days you want to track your meals on My Fitness Pal. If you skip a day there is a $5 penalty and if you meet your goal there is a small reward.  I realize that tracking calories is not for everyone and that’s perfectly okay. For me, tracking my meals help me realize when I am eating too much or too little. I have found that when I am eating too few calories that I will indulge and overcompensate with unhealthy choices.

I have been watching my carbohydrate intake this week along with my calories. A low carb diet has been found to force your body to use your fat for fuel instead of carbohydrates.  I also think that it is important to switch up your diet every once in a while to avoid boredom. The majority of my diet this week has been protein and vegetables. Honestly, I have not been hungry thanks to all the protein I have been eating. The main thing I am missing is being able to enjoy more than one piece of fruit.  I will eat higher carbs the night before a long run to avoid bonking out due to lack of energy.  My weight this morning was 124 which makes for another two pounds down!

Do you enjoy trying new diets?

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Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Greek Cheesecake

This past week my diet has been on point. This is huge. There was no big splurge on drinks or dessert over the weekend. Honestly, that never happens.  It’s no secret I have a major sweet tooth and like to indulge a bit too frequently. But hey, those “few” weekend splurges turned into over 20 pounds of extra weight.
I stumbled across a recipe for Greek yogurt “cheesecake” on Pinterest. I think this little delicious dessert has been the secret key to my diet this week. This treat is not much for the eyes but is oh so tasty. It is oh simple and a great weeknight treat! How simple? There is only two ingredients:  Greek yogurt and sugar free pudding mix.

Pardon the iphone photo. I was in a hurry to enjoy.  

The recipe is just a simple mix together a large box of sugar free pistachio jello with 32oz of nonfat Greek Yogurt.  Having this sweet treat on hand to enjoy while watching Netflix or the Emmys is a perfect way to indulge without derailing my diet.

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Monday, August 25, 2014

Weekend Happenings

This Monday starts off with a bang for sure. It’s my schools first day with students. New district, new school and new students should make for a fun and interesting week! (Here’s to hoping- more fun & less stress.) We spent a relaxing weekend at home which was filled with lots of sunshine during the day and Netflix at night. 
My thoughts for this school year. {via}

Friday we headed out to an early bird dinner at Longhorn. We originally had plans for 18 Seaboard but I am eating a low carb diet and did not want to be tempted. So we stuck to steaks and salads which ended up being mouthwatering. I rarely eat steak so enjoying a 6oz sirloin was a treat! Anyone else enjoy early bird dinners? I love avoiding the lines and then having time to go for drinks or dessert at another restaurant afterwards.

Saturday morning, I tackled a long run in the heat and humidity with my training group. There are no words for this humidity.  Thankfully, I was able to cool off by the pool with my friends afterwards. It was scattered clouds all day which made for a much cooler day. I appreciated the clouds since it kept the sun’s rays away.  My friend Christina shared her Trader Joe’s sparking water which was delicious. I have never tried it before and it is a steal under $1 for a liter!

After church Sunday Joe and I headed to the Tobacco Trail for a long walk with Charlie. The shaded trail kept us cool for the majority of the walk. We made it 2.75 miles which was impressive for Charlie’s little legs. He loves walking the trails and greeting every person that walks by.

Sunday night was spent catching up on chores and completing the draft for our Fantasy Football team. This is the first time I have participated in a Fantasy Football team so it’s a learning experience. Thankful we are doing a couples league otherwise I would be lost!

This Week's Menu
Monday: Chicken & Sausage Casserole with Salads 

Wednesday: Leftovers

Friday: Date Night

How was your weekend?

Linking up with Biana and Leann for today's post.
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Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Weighing In Wednesday

Last night, I attended my first weekday training run with my run group. It was 90 degrees at 6pm with high humidity. We did an out and back run with negative split. We headed out at a 10:30 pace for 2 miles and then turned around and completed the return at a 10:00 pace. The heat made it feel like the run was a lot harder than it should have been.
Felt like I was running here.

 I absolutely hate running in the heat. Actually, I just hate being uncomfortable. I know that's why I have struggled with losing these last few pounds this year because sticking to a diet and missing out can be uncomfortable. Who honestly wants to miss out on drinks with the girls and birthday cupcakes? These slip-ups have a way of compounding and then losing all motivation. I had the realization this week that I have not gotten uncomfortable with my diet and allow for too many splurge days. Getting uncomfortable is the only way to make a big change!

This morning I am down one pound to 126lbs. I splurged a lot over the weekend enjoying a delicious dinner and several rounds of drinks. This week my goal is to stick to a clean diet and be comfortable with getting uncomfortable. Talking about uncomfortable, I want to share a few weight loss that I have believed over the years. I hope these help you as well!

To lose weight, you have to have a low daily calorie limit and stick with it until you meet your goal weight.
FALSE.  There is a base calorie intake that your body needs to keep up with typical functioning. That number is different for everyone.  Typically, the larger the individual the individual and the more muscle the more calories needed to fuel their basal metabolic rate. The number of calories needed for weight loss varies due to many factors including current weight, height and activity level. Also, of you get you calories too low your body will start to go into survival mode because it is not getting enough nutrients and not shed a pound.  The best way to figure out a guestimate of what your body needs is to check out a calorie calculator.

Skipping breakfast is a smart way to cut calories especially after an indulgent dinner. 
FALSE. This is one I still struggle with because I am typically not hungry in the morning.  However, research has shown that people who ate breakfast every day were less likely to become obese or develop type 2 diabetes than those who didn't. So don’t take my word trust the research. Also, I find if I make a smart choice for breakfast I am more likely to make good choices the rest of the day.

Eating small meals throughout the day is best  for weight loss. 
DEPENDS.  This is one diet tip that does not work for me personally. Eating six meals a day can work for someone who has a lot of discipline when it comes to food. However, that is just not me right now. I stick to three meals and two snacks as needed. There's little evidence to support the idea that eating smaller, more-frequent meals will improve weight loss results.

What are some weight loss myths you have de-bunked?
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Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Work it out

Now that I am back at work, my gym time is a bit more limited. I like to get my workouts completed in the morning before work. I think it helps with starting the day on the right foot and helps promote healthy choices the rest of the day. I try to be efficient as possible with my workouts and keep my gym time to an hour. These are three of my go-tos for workout inspiration.

When I am limited in time but want to get in a quick workout my go to is fitness videos. I use the Pretty Fit app which organizes  fitness and diet videos from YouTube and puts them into searchable categories. For example, you can search by workout length or body type.

When I want a quick 30 minutes or less workout at home my go to is the Beach Babe DVD by Tone it Up. The DVD includes 9 different toning workouts. My favorites are the HIIT the Beach and the Beach Barre. Both workouts that can be done in your living room with a pair of dumbbells.

When I need a little extra push at the gym I turn to Pinterest to change up my cardio routine. Cardio intervals have been proven to be the best way to increase fat burn. This is one of my favorite full body workouts that incorporates cardio intervals by Courtney at Sweet Tooth Sweet Life
Fitness board on Pinterest 

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Monday, August 18, 2014

Weekend Rewind

Oh how I wish I could re-wind this weekend. It was the perfect mix of on the go and rest. I'm a busy bee at heart which is the opposite of Joe so we balance each other out quite well. We started the weekend early Friday with a late lunch and drinks at a local restaurant in Morrisville- Page Road Grill. It was nice to enjoy refreshing cocktails on the patio out of the heat of the day. 
Saturday morning began with my first run with the training group at Try Sports. I will be running with them while I train for a half marathon this fall. I'm excited to push my pace and get faster this race season. I'll be sharing more on my training this week. After my run, Joe and I headed out to Umstead State Park. We completed a short 2.5 mile loop through the park. The trail was shaded and surprisingly cooler for the middle of the day. 

We wrapped the day up with dinner at Relish in Raleigh. This was our second time trying Relish out and it did not disappoint. They feature southern inspired entrees and sandwiches. I enjoyed the vegetable plate which had fried green tomatoes, broccoli salad, fresh corn and a side salad. Joe had the chili cheeseburger with house fries. Somehow we saved room for dessert  including chocolate chess pie and banana pudding which was just like homemade. 

Sunday I took Charlie on an early morning walk around our neighborhood. Then we spent the day catching up on work and watching the race (Of course!). 

That afternoon we headed out to a Durham Bulls game. I enjoy watching sports a lot more in person. 

I'm sad to see the weekend go especially since I start back to work tomorrow. It makes it better knowing we have great things planned for this week. I'm excited to start another year with the Junior League of Raleigh. We are also going to enjoying Restaurant Week downtown Friday night. 

Dinner Menu
Monday- Junior League Dinner @ Cantina 18

Wednesday- Chicken Fried Rice 

Thursday- Grilled Pork Chop and Peaches Salad

Friday- Date night @ 18 Seaboard 

Linking up with Biana and Leann for today's post. 
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Friday, August 15, 2014

Friday Four

Keeping it short and sweet today. I am itching to get outside and enjoy this cooler weather. So  without delay here are four things that I have been loving this week.

{One} Watching. This week, I finished watching all four seasons of Scandal. I am really loving this show! The relationships are so complex and there is always a twist in every episode. Looking forward for it come back in the fall. Any other Scandal lovers out there?

{Two} Drinking. Jillian Michaels Detox Water. I am a big fan of Jillian Michaels and loved watching her on The Biggest Loser. I have quite a collection of her DVDs including 30 day shred which is my go to workout when I son't feel like getting to the gym. The water helps promote loss of water weight and rids toxins from your body. I have been drinking 60oz daily.

{Three} Wishlist Worthy. Lilly Pulitzer After Party Sale Just a little PSA for any Lilly lovers out there that have not heard the news that Lilly will be holding their semi-annual sale Monday and Tuesday. It starts Monday at 8am. You have to be very patient and quick to catch some deals. Be forewarned, I have seen the website crash for hours once the sale gets started.

{Four} Coming Up. Work starts back Monday so I am planning to take full advantage of my last summer weekend. I'm looking forward to spending some time at the pool. We also have plans for a easy hike around Umstead Park.

Linking up with Lauren ElizabethClareKarli & Amanda

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Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Weighing In Wednesday

Let's talk weight. First things first, I realize that I am not overweight. I have felt uncomfortable in my skin for quite some time and want to get to a "happy weight" where I feel confident. This morning when I stepped on the scale I weighed 127 lbs (I'm 5'2). My highest weight over the past year was 135 lbs. My "happy weight" is around 115 lbs. Being only 5'2  extra weight is very noticeable on my frame. Any change of 2-3 pounds and my pants start fitting a little snug.  Here is a recent gym picture to keep me accountable.

Alright, let's talk motivation. Sometimes a little extra motivation goes a long way when trying to lose weight. When I feel like I'm getting into a funk or need an extra push, I try to find a new to me fitness app or workout plan to change up my gym routine. These are two of my favorites.

Diet Bet is an online game in which for a small bet you can win money for losing weight. I like that the game promotes healthy weight loss with a goal of 4% of your weight in 4 weeks. You can join a popular game or set up your own game with friends. Whoever meets their 4% goal splits the pot!

Pact is an app which tracks your gym attendance, food tracking as well as veggie intake. The rewards are based on the number of days committed to complete the pact- you get money for each day you complete. On the flip side, when you don't meet your goals you have to pay a small fee as well.

Have you tried these apps? What do you think?

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Tuesday, August 12, 2014

S'mores Layer Bars

Today I have an amazing recipe to share with y’all. While hanging out with my friends recently someone reminded me of a favorite recipe from high school called Seven Layer Bars. I decided to revive the recipe and add a new twist. Viola, S’mores Layer Bars!

1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs (about one package)
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 (14 oz.) can Sweetened Condensed Milk
1 cup (6 oz.) dark chocolate chips
1 cup (6 oz.) semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 ½ cup mini marshmallows
½  cup toffee chips

1. Preheat oven to 350F. Line 9x13 inch square baking pan with parchment paper.
2. Stir together graham cracker crumbs and melted butter. Mixture will be crumbly. Press onto the bottom of the prepared dish. Crust will be thin.
3. Layer chocolate chips, marshmallows and toffee chips into crust. Top with sweetened condensed milk.
4. Bake for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and cover with aluminum foil. This will prevent the marshmallows from getting too brown. Place back into the oven and bake for 20 more minutes. Allow to cool completely before removing the bars out of the pan and cutting into 24 squares.
 Inspired by: 7 Layer Bars

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