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Friday, February 27, 2015

{Friday Favorites} 2/27

Hello, hello! Sorry for the delay in getting today's post up, but I had a midterm this morning worth 50% of my grade, so that took precedence this morning. I spent the last few days glued to my desk studying for my economics midterm so I am so relieved it is behind me and I can enjoy the weekend! The sun is even shining!  This weekend is my last weekend before spring break and I have a lot of fun planned ahead. Tonight my roommate and I are going to have a dinner and movie night since we have both been so busy this past week we've barely seen each other so we are looking forward to catching up and relaxing after a stressful week. Tomorrow I don't have much planned besides a morning run, errands to run, and some homework to start on. Sunday I'll be going to Church in the morning then a Zumbathon in the afternoon! I am so excited to participate in this Zumbathon and raise money for domestic violence and meet up with some local Tone It Up girls and follow it up with dinner. After going to Zumba last week and loving how fun it was, I am looking forward to this event and participating with the Lansing community.

Since I am getting this post up later than usual, let's move right along to this week's favorites and what I have been loving. Share your favorites from the week in the comments below!

Linking up today's favorites with HeatherKatieJill, and Clare!
Flourless Pumpkin Cookies
I made these flourless pumpkin cookies from Lauren Gleisberg's blog and have been loving them as a sweet treat to end my day this week. They were extremely easy to make and taste so good! I have had a can of pumpkin in my cupboard since the fall and have been wanting to make something with it, so when I saw this recipe and saw that I had everything (besides the chocolate chips) to make it, I immediately went to the kitchen to make them. I plan on making another batch this weekend to enjoy for another week. They are less cookie consistency and more of a doughnut (at least that's how mine turned out) and I pop one in the microwave for a few seconds to warm it up and eat it while ending the night.
Dress Coding
I love, love this post from LaurenConrad.com. It can be difficult to decide what type of dress to wear when invited to certain events and how to decipher what the dress code is from the invite. This post hit the mark with all the right information. I have it pinned so next time I need help deciding what to wear I can easily look it up and find the perfect dress. And now I really want to get all dressed up for something fancy!
Between battling a cold, the weather, and long days of studying, tea has been my go-to this week. When I need an afternoon caffeine boost, I have been enjoying a cup of green tea, before I go to bed I have been enjoying herbal tea (Mandarin Orange is so good!) and it has been my warm-me-up after walking around campus in this cold weather. I go between drinking tea non-stop like this week and to not having it much at all, but I am hoping at least the evening herbal tea sticks since I always enjoy having some before bed, along with a flourless pumpkin cookie too :).
BB Cream
My face has been so dry with the winter weather and is always in need of some extra moisture along with a tint to keep me from looking wintery pale. I have recently fallen in  love with BB cream since it is so quick and easy to apply in the morning and keeps my face looking fresh all day. I have been using this CoverGirl brand BB cream and love that it helps hide some of my acne scars and is not oily at all, since that is always a major problem with creams like that for me. Plus it has SPF sunscreen in it too, which I have been trying to get better at applying during the winter.
The Weekend
Yes, I am so excited it is finally the weekend that it is being included as a favorite. I am ridiculously happy that I don't have work on the schedule and can relax and catch up on life. I missed Scandal last night because of a review session for my exam and it is killing me! I need to watch it ASAP. Please no spoilers until I watch it!

That's it for now. I have to head out to my field placement for my education class (I was totally hoping for a cold day!) and get some other work finished up before enjoying my roomie date tonight! See you Sunday for my weekly workout recap!

Any fun plans for this weekend? What are you up to?

Enjoy the last weekend of February!

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Thursday Tangents

It's that point in the semester where professors are trying to cram everything in before spring break begins. With a pile of studying to do, books to read, and papers to write, my mind doesn't have much else room to do anything else, so today we are going on a few tangents? It might be random, it might be productive, we'll see where it goes. Sound good? On the bright side, a week from today I'll be done with my midterms and all that will be left for me is class Friday morning and my field placement Friday afternoon then I'll be free on spring break!

Thanks for letting me think out loud today, Amanda!

Did I mention I'm going to Alaska for spring break this year? ;) I think it has come up multiple times, especially recently since it is coming up so soon and I am so excited to take part in this trip. We had a group conference call and since I don't know anyone else that is going, it was really good to be able to talk to everyone (11 other college students from the US) and learn more about the trip. It is going to be an amazing experience and I am beyond excited. (Which doesn't help my need to be studying...) It is also funny that every time I have looked at the weather over the past week it has been warmer in Alaska than it has been in Michigan. Seriously Michigan?
And as soon as I get back from my trip I will be going right into half-marathon training! I am using Hal Higdon's Novice 2 training program and will be starting at week 4 since that will put me up to the date of my race. I researched a lot into finding the right program for me within the time restraints I need and Hal's plan is what looked best for me. My first long run will be 7 miles, which is the average of what I do when I do go out for long runs, so I think I will smoothly ride right into the program and adjust just fine to it.
I am running low on my current jar of peanut butter and I don't have a back up. It is a rarity that I don't have an extra jar of peanut butter in my cupboard and it's kind of stressing me out. Luckily, I have a lot of reinforcements of almond butter. I really need to stop eating peanut butter by the spoonful. (But let's be real, that won't happen).

Spring semester is almost halfway over. Whoa! I can't believe how quickly this semester is flying by. Although I am excited for summer, I do love the school year environment (just not the constant stress) and this semester has been a good one so far so I don't want it to come to an end too quickly. I also sign up for classes for next year when I get back from spring break and somehow I am going to be entering my senior year of college. When the heck did that happen? Talking with my friends who are currently seniors and hearing how sad they are to be leaving life at Michigan State in a few months really puts everything into perspective. I feel like just yesterday I was moving into my freshman year dorm and now I am scheduling for my final year of my undergrad. Craziness.

Searching for a summer job is turning into a job itself. Resumes, interviews, applications, stress, ugh.

I need spring... now. I want to be able to walk outside without putting my hat, gloves, puffy jacket, and scarf on every single time. Only to take it all off during class and put it back on when class is over. And I am so ready to consistently run outdoors. I usually only run outdoors on the weekends and I forgot what it's like to be able to run outdoors more than once or twice a week.
The current state of my workout corner of my room. Since I switch on and off which days I go to the gym or workout at my apartment, I am constantly throwing shoes inside and outside of bags, taking stuff, leaving stuff. It always gets cleaned up and organized on the weekends, but during the week it's a mad dash at 5:45 in the morning to get workout-ready. I feel like this is the state of my brain right now too.

Any upcoming trips on the schedule for you?

Are you ready for spring, like me?

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Clean Monday Meals

As I mentioned on Monday, Lent has officially started for me and is well underway. I love this time of year because not only does it give me a challenge in more than just what I "give up" for lent, but in that time that I would spend eating those things I am refraining from or doing those things I am trying to do less of, I can spend more of that time with God. I thought I would share with you a full round up of my meals from Monday, which was the start of the Lenten season for me as well as all other Eastern Orthodox Christians. The first day of Lent for us is called Clean Monday as a way to start the fasting season off and leave behind those attitudes and foods we strive to rid ourselves us from during Lent.

Not only was Monday the first day of Lent, but it is also my busiest day of the school week. I really start the week off with a bang by being out of my apartment for at least 12 hours on every given Monday. It is always a long and exhausting day between class, work, and studying, but by the time I get back to my apartment on Monday night, I always feel good with everything that I accomplished that day.

Ready for a roundup of my Clean Monday meals? Let's go!
My day starts off bright and early with a trip to the gym (a 10 minute walk there and back) where I completed day 1 of Fit For Life week 2. Day 1 was focused on chest, triceps, and abs. I am still sore from it, so I can tell I did something right! I followed it up with a one mile run on the treadmill since that was all I had time left for.

Once I got back to my apartment I quickly got ready for the day, packed my bags, then sat down for breakfast. I made a batch of whole grain waffles over the weekend so I put one in the toaster, then topped it with peanut butter and chia seeds, then had a banana and a cup of coffee on the side. Just the breakfast I needed after my morning workout!
 Once I was done with my first class for the day I worked for a bit on some homework then ate lunch before my afternoon class got underway. I always make sure I am fueled for that class since it is a 3 hour education class and I don't want my stomach grumbling during it! I had packed a salad topped with chickpeas, almonds, dried cranberries, a mandarin orange, and a Greek vinaigrette dressing. I was too lazy to chop up the carrots so I ate those on the side along with an apple.
We have a break about halfway through class so I always pack a light snack to tide me over. I had snacked on a handful of almonds for today's class.
 Once I finish with my education class, I head over to work and get ready then I have time to eat before my shift starts. Luckily, I am able to eat the school cafeteria for free before or after my work shift, so I always take advantage of that! There are limited options available when I go there to eat so I had yet another salad (a common occurrence for me during Lent) as well as a bowl of Kashi Go Lean Crunch with soy milk. Weird combo, I know, but I could eat Kashi Go Lean every single day and not be mad about it. That cereal is addicting!

I had a 15 minute break during my shift at work so I snacked on an apple to tide me through the rest of my shift.
Once I was done with work (and everything else) for the day, I made it back to my apartment and had the best intentions of getting some school work done, but ended up answering e-mails and getting other to-do list tasks done instead. I snacked on a flourless pumpkin cookie (so tasty) along with a cup of Mandarin Orange spice tea. Once I wrapped everything up for the day I headed into bed and spent some time reading the Bible before calling it a night. By the time I turned my light off in my room, I was out!

That wraps up  my Clean Monday eats! It was a busy day, but I managed to keep my eats Lenten-friendly and healthy too. Time for me to head out for class then a whole lot of studying for economics until work this afternoon. I am so ready for spring break... 10 days and counting...

What is your busiest day of the week? How do you prepare for it?

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Learning to Love the Dreadmill

Okay, maybe love isn't the best word, but it raised your eyebrows didn't it? For years I have avoided the dreadmill at all costs and even ran in some dangerous weather just to avoid it. Over the past year, I have learned that the dreadmill (let's just call it the treadmill now) has its benefits and it is actually possible to look forward to running on the treadmill... somewhat. The treadmill will never replace outdoor running for me, but living in Michigan, I definitely get some good use out of it. For the past few weeks, weather conditions have not been in my favor so instead of giving up on running, which is just not an option for my sanity, I have taken to the treadmill to escape the winter madness. I have to say, it may not be ideal, but it has its advantages.

So why do I suddenly love the treadmill? No, time still goes by slower than a microwave minute, but because I have learned to love it and have reaped the benefits of using it consistently (especially since the start of this year).
-Catch up on TV
During the week I barely have anytime to sit down and watch TV when my favorite shows are actually on, so running on the treadmill is the perfect excuse to put on your favorite show and watch it while you run. I love watching the news in the morning, so whenever I have my apartment complex gym to myself (pretty often at 6am!) I like to put on Good Morning America and watch it while I workout. Sometimes I get caught up in a discussion that time seems to go by a lot quicker by the time I look back down at it. Want to watch that guilty pleasure show? Go for it.

-Speed Work
Treadmills are a great way to incorporate speed work into your routine. Whether you just do intervals or an actual plan, treadmills are the perfect way to match your running to your desired pace. I noticed that once I consistently did interval training on the treadmill, even my slow, long runs were getting faster than my usual pace.

I am a huge proponent of high intensity interval training (HIIT) not only for the benefits of speed work, but because HIIT is proven to burn a ton more calories than a steady run and it keeps your metabolism burning so that even after your workout, you are still burning calories and fat. HIIT workouts can be challenging and tough to get through, but that post-HIIT workout high is like no other, I promise! HIIT is especially good for people who want to get the best workout in in the shortest amount of time. A 20 minute treadmill HIIT session can really workout your whole body fast and efficiently.

-Imaginary Runs
This one might just be me, but when I run on the treadmill I like to imagine I am somewhere else (preferably somewhere warmer) and experiencing different scenery. When I increase the incline, I like to imagine I am running Heartbreak Hill in Boston, even though I know no incline could really account for that! It is fun to challenge yourself and stimulate a race setting. Some fancy treadmills even allow you to choose a path to run from anywhere throughout the world, I need to try one of those out!

Treadmills are a great way to work on your running pace. Set the treadmill speed to the desired pace you want and just run. I have a really hard time pacing myself on the treadmill as I usually get bored and end up sprinting, then walking, then running, and repeat, but it is a really great option if you want to get in steady paced run within a certain amount of time.

-Anytime, Any day
This one might depend upon your access to a treadmill, but for me, I have access to a treadmill 24/7, which is pretty awesome. When I look at the weather forecast and see a constant stream of icy days on the forecast, I don't freak out that I can't run, I just plan to hit the treadmill those days to still get in some mileage.

Running safety is huge for me and I won't risk going out for a run when it is not safe to do so (in the dark of the night, during a heatwave, in an unfamiliar location), so the treadmill is a huge lifesaver in those situations. When I wake up in the morning during the week, it is too dark to run outdoors and see safely, so I hop on the treadmill to get in a run without risking falling or tripping over anything. Treadmills are great for people who workout early morning or late at night or live in unsafe places to run. I like to zone out when I run, so running on the treadmill is a great way to do so and leave me free from hazards.

Are you a treadmill lover or hater, or somewhere in between?
I am somewhere in between, though  I definitely appreciate all of the benefits of it, especially given Michigan winters!

Linking up today's post with the Fit Dish & Tuesdays on the Run!

Monday, February 23, 2015

Weekend Snapshots

My weekend was a mixture of working, studying, cooking, relaxing, and running. The perfect way to spend a weekend after a busy, busy week in my opinion. I was able to get a lot of stuff accomplished and cross off a lot of to-dos from to-do list so that always puts a smile on my face. I snapped a few pictures here and there throughout my weekend so I thought what better way to share my weekend than in picture form?

And linking up with Erin and Katie!

Here are some snapshots and highlights from my weekend:
 Half Marathon training schedule is in print! I officially start once I get back from spring break and I am a mixture of excited and nervous. I keep reminding myself to just look at it day-by-day rather than being overwhelmed by the long runs on the schedule.
Outdoor run on Saturday morning! Everything felt just right and my body loved being able to go outside and run instead of being stuck on the treadmill. 
 I swear all I do is read for my classes. At least it is all in topics that interest me and that I have a passion for.
First go at making oat flour was a success. I was shocked at how easy it was to make (put old fashioned oats in a food processor and chop until it turns into a flour consistency) and just how versatile it will be for my cooking.
 Made Lauren Gleisberg's Flourless Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Cookies, minus the chocolate chips, using the oat flour made above. These are going to be the perfect evening treat for when the sweet tooth attacks!
 I had to do some baking for a Church fundraiser and once I finished I was on cooking high so I went with it and meal prepped breakfasts for the week (waffles), made oat flour, made cookies, and dinner. Sometimes I get on a roll in the kitchen so I just go with it and experiment with new recipes and cook up my favorites. The part I dread... doing the dishes after.
Sunday morning yoga session before Church. I had planned on going for another run, but my cold had gotten worse so staying inside and practicing yoga felt like the better option. It felt so good to get in a total body yoga flow with Adrienne.

Non-snapshot weekend highlights:
Done working weekends until after spring break!
Catching up with family on Sunday afternoon
Dinner out with a friend and didn't get charged extra for guacamole (<---- highlight of the week)

I had a wonderful weekend and even though I am still battling my cold, it is definitely on the mend. With a busy week ahead of me, the last thing I want is for this cold to stick around any longer! Today is the start of Great Lent for me and a spiritual journey that will take me through to Easter. I know that most people started Lent last Wednesday (Ash Wednesday), but being Eastern Orthodox, my Easter often falls on a different Sunday than it does for Western Christians, so my lent starts on a different day as a result. Lent is always a challenging, yet exciting, time of the year for me and a spiritual experience. I may not talk about it much on the blog, but religion is a very huge part of my life so I just wanted to share why my Lenten journey is beginning today (Clean Monday) and why I may mention a different date for Easter than many are familiar with. I'll be celebrating a week later! It is a joke throughout many Eastern Orthodox Christians that we are able to buy all our Easter candy half off when our Easter is later than others, so I guess there's a win in that aspect ;).

What was a highlight of your weekend?

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Weekly Workout Recap

I am going to skip right along to the highlight of my week fitness-wise... I ran OUTSIDE yesterday! I have been confined to the treadmill over the past few weeks and yesterday was finally the day to get back out there and run outdoors. It really hasn't been that long since my last run outdoors, I think my last one was the beginning of February, but when I don't have the option to run outdoors for more than a few days, it bites at me. So yesterday morning, since it was Saturday, I was able to sleep in later than I usually do during the week which meant it was light out, and although there was some snow on the ground there was no ice and it was a whopping 20 degrees out, so I went for it. Even though Friday was leg day and I have been battling a cold, being outside and running felt glorious! I made sure not to push myself too hard because of both reasons. I just ran throughout campus (since the sidewalks are always much safer there) and went for almost 6 miles. I did not want to do anything more than that so I was completely satisfied. Oh, and my phone decided to shut off because of the cold at mile 3 which meant no music and no RunKeeper, but for some reason, it did not bother me that much.

Besides that, I finished week 1 of phase 1 of Lauren Gleisberg's Fit For Life program. I am already working on a full recap of the program that I will share once I make more progress throughout the program. But, to recap, I absolutely love it so far! After the first two days I realized that if I really wanted to see results I was going to have to hit up my apartment complex gym for heavier weights than what I have at my apartment (5 lbs and 8 lbs). So Thursday and Friday I made the trek out there and could instantly tell a difference. I woke up the each day after sore and could tell that I was really improving! I am ready to get going on week 2 tomorrow! I have been cooking up a few of her recipes from her Eat Your Way Lean and have been loving them so far!

Here's a look at my workouts from this week:
Weekly Workout Recap
Sunday (2/15) AM- 3.1 mile treadmill run, Tone It Up Inner & Outer Thighs routine
Monday (2/16) AM- Fit For Life Phase 1, Week 1 Chest, Triceps, + Abs, FitnessBlender Wake Up + Go HIIT workout
Tuesday (2/17) AM- Core Integrated Cardio. Fit For Life Phase 1 Back + Biceps | PM- Zumba
Wednesday (2/18) AM- Fit For Life Phase 1 Cardio, Hula Booty (Beach Babe 2 DVD)
Thursday (2/19) AM- 3.8 mile treadmill run, Fit For Life Phase 1 Shoulders, Abs, + Cardio
Friday (2/20) AM- Fit For Life Phase 1 Legs, 3.7 mile treadmill run
Saturday (2/21) AM- 5.8 mile run, Foam Rolling + Stretching

Runners, have you been stuck on the treadmill or enjoying the outdoors this week?

Enjoy the rest of your weekend and talk to you tomorrow! 

Friday, February 20, 2015

{Friday Favorites} 2/20

Wow, this week sure flew by! I think I have just been so busy throughout the past few days that the days all seemed to fly by and here we are at Friday. Though, I am not complaining at all. This weekend is much needed! I feel like the past few weeks have been go-go-go between friends visiting, travelling, and visiting home, that I am looking forward to having a laid-back weekend and practicing some self love. I have work tomorrow and Sunday, but other than that I just need to catch up on life. E-mails, organizing, blogging, school work, you feel me?

Before I get to any of that, let's move onto my favorite way to start Fridays... Friday Favorites! Every Friday I link up with HeatherKatieJill, and Clare to share some of my favorite things from the week and to hear from you, what you've been loving too! Feel free to share in the comments below!
Ghiradelli Minis
You guys know I love my chocolate! When my brother's girlfriend bought us a variety box of Ghiradelli chocolates for Christmas I knew I had to try them out. These minis are the perfect petite treat and the cookie bits- SO good! I definitely need to get my hands on more of them... or maybe it's better if I don't ;).
Infinity Scarf
It has been so cold here in Michigan this week (like negative wind chills!) and I have been bundling up every time I have to walk outside. Most of my classes are about a 20 minute walk from my apartment so I really have to make sure I do a good job keeping warm or my walk will be unbearable. I have been wearing this scarf non-stop, even when I am not walking outside. I like to keep it on while in class because some classrooms can be chilly so this ensures I will stay warm during class. I received this scarf as a gift so I am not sure where it is from, but with this weather, the bigger the scarf the better, in my opinion- so this one fits the bill!
Core Integrated Cardio 
So I paired Fit For Life day 2 (Back + Biceps) with this new routine from Lauren Gleisberg and oh my goodness, it was a good one!! I definitely worked up a sweat and felt so good after. I could feel it in my abs while doing core moves and it put me in such a good mood for the rest of my day. I love these at-home routines that can be done quick, but still work up a good sweat. This one definitely did it!
Lorna Jane Quotes
I love getting inspired by quotes from Lorna Jane before starting my day or getting the motivation to workout. I always save them to my phone to look at whenever I need a mood boost. This quote is one I always see on Pinterest and Instagram and it is the truth. It may be tough getting up early, but to have more time to do everything you want to in the day, it is worth it!
I didn't plan on this being a favorite this week, but it has definitely come in handy the past few days. Wednesday afternoon I could sense that I was developing a sore throat and after my workout Thursday morning I could tell I caught a cold. Runny nose, sore throat, exhausted. I have been loading up on the Emergen-C to help kick this cold fast and I have to admit, this flavor is actually tasty! I have tried other immune system supplements and hated the flavor, but I love the blueberry acai flavor and the little bit of fizz it adds. But, I am just hoping I don't have to take this for too much longer!

What have you been loving this week? Share in the comments below!