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Sunday, December 21, 2014

Weekly Workout Recap

Can you believe Christmas is THIS WEEK? I am so excited for the holiday to finally be here and to celebrate with my whole family. We have been enjoying our time together since my brother, Jim, came home Thursday night and are looking forward to getting the house ready for our entire family to come over and celebrate Christmas. We spent yesterday baking for the holidays (so. much. chocolate.) and then headed out to celebrate Zac's birthday at the Fenton Fire Hall. It was a fun night and the food was so good! I had shrimp tacos and they were absolutely amazing.

Today I am heading out to church in a bit with the family then its time to tackle the last minute Christmas shopping. I have one more gift to finish up and am hoping to find something this afternoon. Other than that, I'll be getting our house ready for all the family to come over on Thursday to celebrate Christmas. So excited!
Weekly Workout Recap
Monday (12/15) AM- 6.0 mile run, TIU Beach Yoga
Tuesday (12/16) AM- Spring into Summer Cardio (2.8 miles), Lift & Tone Booty routine, Holiday Hottie routine
Thursday (12/18) AM- 3.1 mile run, Sleek & Slender Abs, Barre3 Sizzler
Friday (12/19) AM- Tone It Up Bikini Body 1, Bikini Body 2
Saturday (12/20) AM- 4.3 mile run
Sunday (12/21) AM- Yoga for Strength & Focus | PM- Solstice Sprint Virtual 5K

I was on a workout kick this week and felt great with all of my workouts. I haven't been feeling like running all that much, but made sure to make the runs that I did complete worth it. I have been doing a lot of indoor HIIT workouts and I can really tell that the workouts are helping me with strength and keeping my heart rate up. I have a feeling once it starts snowing (I can't believe it hasn't yet!) I'll be doing a whole lot more HIIT workouts too.

That's all for now! I'll be sharing our creations from yesterday's baking day on here tomorrow. Time for me to get ready for church and head on out.

My Puritan's Pride December smoothie package giveaway ends TOMORROW! Make sure all of your entries are in!

Friday, December 19, 2014

{Friday Favorites} 12/19

Good morning and happy Friday! I hope you are starting off your weekend soon, or maybe even your holiday break soon! I am finishing up my first week of winter break and absolutely loving it. My brother, Zac, and I picked up our older brother, Jim, from the airport last night and brought him back home after being away for school since August. It is so nice to have the whole family together for the holidays! Tonight we are heading to a young adult's church group Christmas party which I am really excited to attend. Tomorrow is our annual baking day and I am so excited to get our baking on! I'll be sure to share a bunch of pictures of our creations.

In the meantime, let's move right onto this week's favorites! I am completely in the holiday mood and enjoying every second of winter break and the complete sigh of relief that all of my grades have come back good. Time to celebrate!
Linking up with HeatherKatieClare, & Jennifer!

I have been wanting to organize my Pinterest page for a while now and figured now that I am on winter break now was the time to do it. I revamped my Pinterest page and organized it to make pins easier to find. I used to only have one food board, but now I have multiple making it easier to find the recipe I am looking for. As I was organizing all the boards and moving things around I saw my earlier pins and found it so amusing to see some of the recipes and workouts I used to pin. I probably delelted 90% of the pins I pinned in my first year of Pinterest and it was definitely a good call. My Pinterest page is looking a whole lot better now!
As I've mentioned before, I am not a fan of coconut water at all. The taste, the smell, none of it is appealing to me... unless I add it into a drink or smoothie. I bought this coconut water with mango peach from Target and added it into my strawberry banana coconut water and into a green smoothie I made the other day. It was so delicious and I couldn't even taste the coconut water. It added a lot of electrolytes and nutrients into my post-workout drinks!
I have been spending a majority of my winter break cozied up by the Christmas tree. Between blogging, reading, and watching TV, it is so nice to have the Christmas tree right by me and to enjoy the holiday season. It definitely beats sitting at my desk I was glued to during finals week!

I mentioned this book on Tuesday's post, but now that I have gotten more into it, I can say I love this book. Running for My Life is written by Lopez Lomong who at 6 years old was taken in Sudan to be a child soldier but escaped to a refugee camp. The book chronicles his journey that will lead him to the Olympic games. I have really enjoyed reading it (next to the Christmas tree, of course) so far and getting a vivid account of the situation in Africa. It is a perfect mix of running and my interest in international relations and just a compelling story. His faith in God is so inspiring and I continue to be inspired by his story.
So, I just started watching State of Affairs and I am hooked. I saw commercials for it a few months ago and made a mental note to watch it during winter break. I have been doing just that and it is so good! I guess my interest in international relations is really showing... ha! It is addicting and as soon as the episode is over, I have to watch the next. I really hope this show continues because I am absolutely loving it. Katherine Heigl is doing an amazing job playing her role as a CIA analyst.

That wraps up this week's favorites! Share your favorites in the comments below! I am off to spend some family time with my brothers and enjoy a relaxing day before we head out to our Christmas party tonight and a whole lot of baking tomorrow. Can you tell I'm excited? ;)

Are you doing any holiday baking this year? If so, what are you baking?!
What are you up to this weekend? Last minute holiday shopping, relaxing, Christmas parties?

Don't forget to enter my Puritan's Pride giveaway! You will love all the goodies inside!

Thursday, December 18, 2014

6 things I wish I knew as a new runner

Throughout my childhood I dabbled in and out of running, but once I started college and realized how great a run can make me feel, I was hooked. When I first hit the pavement during those early days, I really knew nothing about running. Even though I had run on the track team in middle school and early high school. I really did not have the knowledge that I have now. Over the first few months I started researching more and more about the science of running and learned a ton. There are a lot of things that I wish I knew about running before I even stepped out on my first run because I know that that would have made many of my runs a whole lot less painful. Since a lot of you are getting into running (and I love hearing all of your stories!!) I thought I would think out loud and share a few things that I wish I had known when I first started running in the hopes that you can make your journey in running enjoyable and healthy.
1. Not to just run
This was something I heard a lot before, but never took it too seriously until this year. Going out every single day for a run is going to lead to injury and burnout. Two things you definitely don't want. Switch up your workouts with a balance between running and cross-training. Add in some spin classes, elliptical workouts, HIIT routines, and walks to give your legs some time to recover from your runs while still working them. I thought I could only be a runner if I ran every day with a rest day once a week, but now I have realized how very wrong I was. Making sure to listen to my body and supplement runs with other routines is vital.

2. Invest in a foam roller
I have had my foam roller for a year now and can not imagine my life without it. No matter how far your runs are right now, invest in a foam roller. Even after a mile long run, it is always a good idea to foam roll, especially if you are feeling tight or pain in your legs, the foam roller will do wonders. Yes, it hurts to foam roll, but it helps your legs recover so much and helps you to become a better runner in the process too. There is a foam roller comparison chart on this amazon page that is a great way to find the right foam roller for you. I have a basic one and I love it! I am also loving this Gaiam Pressure Point Massager  I just recently bought too.

3. Don't add mileage too quickly
I definitely learned this lesson the hard way. I was so excited when I bumped up my usual mileage by a little bit that I kept adding and adding without properly doing so. Going from a 2 mile run to a 2.5 mile run, to a 3 mile run within days is not safe and it led me to get shin splints. According to many (like this Runner's World article), the safest way to add mileage is to never increase your weekly mileage by more than 10 percent over the previous week. Adding to many miles too quickly leads to overuse and injury. Following the 10 percent rule also allows your body to get fitter and stronger since you are giving your body the proper time to recover without pounding your legs too much. Once I learned more about this, I began tracking my workouts and weekly mileage (thus, my weekly workout recaps) and it has helped me to see how much I should run week from week without leading to an injury or burn out.

4. What you eat prior to a run is oh, so important
Nutrition is so important for runners and it is very important to pay attention to what you eat before you run. Eat the wrong thing before you head out for a run and it will be the most uncomfortable run of your life. To avoid this, try out different foods and amounts of food to see what works for your body. If I workout in the morning, I usually don't eat anything, but if I do eat, my body works best with half of a banana. Some people drink a cup of coffee, other people eat a slice of toast with almond butter, some eat a bowl of oatmeal. Find what works for you (not what works for others) and stick to that. But realize the importance of pre-run fuel.

5. Success takes patience
Don't expect to go out on your first run and conquer 4 miles at a speedy pace. As amazing as that would be if it was true. it just doesn't. Success is going to take patience and hard work. If you stick to your running, you will reach your goals (read below) and be successful. Don't give up after one tough run because those are the runs that will make you stronger. Stick to it, be patient, and know that you will reach your goals in a matter of time.

6. Set a goal
Speaking of goals, setting a goal is a great way for me to push myself with running. I have set goals to increase my distance (running 6 miles at the end of TIU's Love Your Body series, running 8 miles on Thanksgiving, etc.) and to fit more runs into my schedule (run 4 times a week, etc.). Set an attainable goal for an attainable amount of time and if you put your mind to the goal, you can accomplish a lot in your running journey. Sign up for a race that will happen in the next few months to give yourself a goal that you will have to stick to! This Runner's World post is a great guide to goal setting.

...Now get running! ;)

Newbie runners: What running questions do you have?

Experienced runners: What do you wish you had known as a new runner?

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

{WIAW} Home for Winter Break

Good morning! I hope your Wednesday is off to a great start so far. I am home on winter break, so not much to complain about here! I definitely miss the routine and scheduled days I have while at school, but I am definitely enjoying the time off right now. I have a feeling once the holiday festivities are over I'll be itching to get back to school. Today I am sharing my eats from Monday and linking up with Jenn to join in on the What I Ate Wednesday party. Monday was my first week day of break, but my whole family ended up being home for most of the day so it definitely didn't feel like an average work day during the week, but enjoyable nonetheless!
I started off the day with a 6 mile run, which I had originally planned on doing Sunday, but the day got away from me. Once I got back I went through Tone It Up's Beach Yoga routine and it felt great to stretch out and fit in a yoga routine. Once I finished up, I whipped up a protein pancake and topped it with NuNaturals cocoa syrup (so delish!) and hemp hearts. I am obsessed with this syrup and have been topping it on all of my protein pancakes lately! I enjoyed a fresh cup of coffee on the side with a splash of almond milk.
I worked away on the blog and got some organizing done around the house up until lunch. I took a lunch break to watch The Chew and ate a turkey, hummus, and lettuce sandwich on sprouted whole grain bread along with a clementine on the side. 
 My brother also whipped up a batch of my homemade salsa so I dug into that as well. So tasty!
 A little while I brought out my blender and blended up a green smoothie. Since my blender had been broken, I haven't been able to have to many smoothies lately, so as soon I got a new one and bought all the essentials for a green smoothie this weekend I could not wait to have a green smoothie. I added spinach, frozen banana, frozen mango, frozen pineapple, and almond milk into the blender and blended until smooth. I don't care how cold it gets outside, I will always be game for a green smoothie! It was a refreshing afternoon treat.
 Once dinner time rolled around, my brother and I made turkey taco salads for the family along with corn on the cob. I absolutely love turkey tacos and with the addition of the homemade salsa, it was a delicious dinner! Some chips and salsa definitely made their appearance as well.
I had a sweet tooth after dinner so I snacked on a pack of these cookie thins that are so good. I love how thin and light they are, yet they cure my sweet tooth every time!
Once dinner was all cleaned up, we headed to Home Goods for some Christmas decoration shopping and I could not get out of the food department. There were so many unique foods that I just wanted to fill my shopping cart with just about everything! I didn't buy anything, but I think I will definitely be making a trip back out there before I head back to school.
I swear, it's not a night at home with my family without Skinny Pop. Our family is addicted to this stuff! I enjoyed a bowl and crashed while watching TV. I think finals week finally caught up with me because I ended up getting 10+ hours of sleep that night! I woke up so refreshed and finally feeling back to myself after a tough finals week.

That wraps up my eats from Monday! I have to head out to a doctor's appointment in a few, so it's time for me to hit publish and get ready to go. Check out other blogger's eats on Jenn's blog and add yours too! I love getting so many meal ideas from other bloggers :)

What is your favorite evening snack?
You can't go wrong with popcorn or banana nice-cream with me!

*Don't forget to enter my Puritan's Pride giveaway!*

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Coffee Talk

It's been a while since our last coffee talk, so why not spend this morning catching up on life? Grab a cup of coffee, tea, or whatever is your morning drink of choice, and let's chat!
If we were having coffee together, I'd tell you how extremely happy I am that this semester is behind me. It was a tough one and I felt like I was always stressed with a class assignment. I had a ton of fun and memories throughout this semester, but it was definitely a tough one. I did my best and am looking forward to a hopefully calmer semester. Fingers crossed.

If we were having coffee together, I'd tell you winter break is off to a great start. I arrived home Friday evening and have been enjoying my time at home ever since. It feels good to be home for an extended amount of time with no homework or studying for exams. I have been able to fully relax and enjoy my time off. I am planning on doing a lot of reading by the Christmas tea, blogging (lots of fun posts are coming!), and enjoying time with my family.

If we were having coffee together, I'd tell you I just can not stop listening to the Michael Buble Christmas album. As I am typing this I have it on shuffle and repeat! It is just too good to want to listen to anything else this time of year. Think I'll get bored of it by Christmas day? I'm thinking no ;).

If we were having coffee together, I'd tell you smoothies are my jam right now. My Magic Bullet broke and I exchanged it for a new one over Thanksgiving break, but then left it at home for the two weeks I was back at school. Whomp whomp. So, now that I am home and reunited with my blender, I have been enjoying smoothies. What are your go-to smoothie recipes? I'd love to try out some new recipes! (Don't forget to enter my Puritan's Pride Smoothie giveaway!)

If we were having coffee together, I'd tell you I am almost done with my Christmas shopping done. I got a majority of it done over Thanksgiving weekend and more done on Amazon while I was back at school. I have a few more people to buy for and I will be done! Then to get to wrapping...

If we were having coffee together, I'd tell you it's December 16th and I still have yet to watch Elf. I definitely need to get on that! Elf is definitely my favorite Christmas movie of all, but I also love A Christmas Story, The Polar Express, and How the Grinch Stole Christmas. So many movies to watch over this break!
If we were having coffee together, I'd tell you I finally finished Ultramarathon Man ! I was speeding through reading it every night through November, but once finals hit I had no time to read it. I had about 15 pages left and I really wanted to read it, but just could not find the time to. I took some time the other day to finish it and it was so good! Dean is such an inspiration for any runner and it was a really enjoyable read. Next up on my reading list is Running for My Life. Just started it this weekend and I love it so far! What's on your reading list?

Fill up your cup of coffee and tell me...
What's your favorite Christmas movie?
Have you finished your Christmas shopping yet?

Monday, December 15, 2014

Peppermint Protein Smoothie + Puritan's Pride Giveaway

This post is sponsored by Puritan's Pride; opinions expressed are my own. These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
Over the past few months, I have been sharing my adventures in smoothie-making with the support from Puritan's Pride and nutritionist Brooke Alpert (author of The Sugar Detox ). Smoothies are often a meal replacement or post-workout replenishment, but they can also be a part of your upcoming holiday celebrations! Whip up this peppermint protein smoothie for a festive and nutritious holiday brunch that will leave you feeling satisfied and in the holiday spirit.

Peppermint always puts me in the holiday mood, so when I was coming up with a recipe for this month's challenge, I knew peppermint had to be included. I decided a simple and clean smoothie would be perfect for the holiday season, since we are all running around to holiday gatherings and last minute shopping trips. I am sure many of you already have all of these ingredients on hand, so easily whip up this smoothie for a delicious holiday treat!
Peppermint Protein Smoothie
Makes 1 serving

1 cup Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Milk
1 scoop Vanilla Protein Powder (I used Puritan's Pride Whey Protein For Her Vanilla Bean)
1 drop Peppermint Flavor Extract
1 Candy Cane, to garnish (optional)

Combine almond milk. protein powder, and peppermint extract into a blender and blend until smoothie.
Top with a chopped candy cane for an extra boost of peppermint
With a cool and refreshing taste, this smoothie is the perfect addition to a holiday celebration or an afternoon snack to get you in the Christmas spirit. Push play on Michael Buble's Christmas album and sip away!

Trust me on this one, do not overdo the peppermint extract. It may seem like one drop of peppermint extract won't be enough to actually taste it in the smoothie, but a little bit of peppermint extract goes a looooong way!
If you've read my past posts with Puritan's Pride, you'll know that with every recipe comes a giveaway for you to win some products from Puritan's Pride to experiment with smoothie making. This recipe is no different! Enter via the Rafflecopter below for your chance to win Puritan's Pride Whey Protein For Her Vanilla Protein, Lehi Valley Natural Ginger, Dynamic Health Pomegranate Juice Concentrate, Vanns Peppermint Flavor Extract, and Puritan's Pride Vitamin C Crystals.
a Rafflecopter giveaway Good luck!

Check out my other smoothies from my adventures with Puritan's Pride:
Pumpkin Pie Smoothie
Blueberry- Acai Superfood Smoothie
A HUGE thank you to Puritan's Pride for three months of fun smoothie-making challenges! I have definitely been on a smoothie kick these last few months and even though the weather is getting colder by the day, I still love sipping away on a smoothie!

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Weekly Workout Recap

Good morning! I hope you enjoying the start to your Sunday and are staying warm. I was planning on going for a run before church, but woke up to it being pitch black out. I guess I am used to having more street lights at my apartment, rather than none in my neighborhood. I am planning on going out for a run later on and to do some foam rolling too.

Now that I am home for winter break, it has been wonderful to be spending time relaxing and enjoying time with family. Yesterday we celebrated my brother's birthday and got a lot of work done around the house. Basically, I moved all of my boxes up to my room and that's the most unpacking I will probably get done this break. Today we heading to Church in a few hours then a Trader Joe's trip along with some others errand to get ready for the week. I'll probably get a run in during then too, hopefully I can get it in before it gets dark out- which is like at 6pm lately. Ugh!
Weekly Workout Recap
Monday (12/8) AM- 30 minute Total Body Blast, Love Your Body with Yoga
Tuesday (12/9) PM- 60 minute Group Spin class (25.4 miles)
Wednesday (12/10) PM- 60 minute Group Conditioning with Weights
Thursday (12/11) AM- 3.0 mile run, Frisky Fall Arms & Abs routine
Friday (12/12) AM- Off
Saturday (12/13) AM- Holiday Hunny HIIT x2
Sunday (12/14) TBD

Not too much running this week, but that is completely okay with me. I have definitely needed to cut back on running so I don't burn myself out, plus I was taking advantage of a few free workout classes too. On Friday, I mentioned Wednesday's group conditioning with weights class that is essentially a BodyPump class and I am completely in love. There is a gym nearby that offers BodyPump classes near me while I am home for winter break that I am looking into possibly going to, I just need to see if they have a drop-in class price. I went to spin on Tuesday evening and absolutely loved it (as usual). It was a huge stress reliever since I had just came off of a difficult exam and it felt great to just spin it out.

Now that I am on winter break I have a lot more time to workout and am looking forward to a full week of minimal commitments to get in a lot of great workouts. I have a feeling it will be another low mileage week since I have really been enjoying HIIT and at-home workouts that don't involve me going outside, but I definitely have days where I just have to get outside for a run. So, we'll see! Make sure to follow me on Instagram to see my daily check-ins throughout the week!

Come back tomorrow morning for another giveaway!