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Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Home Sweet Home

Good morning from Clarkston! I am back home for Thanksgiving break and extremely happy to have woken up in my bedroom for the first time in months. Waking up to my home and having my family around is so nice. And no class today makes it even better :).

I had originally planned on sharing yesterday's eats {What I Ate Wednesday} style, but my camera card broke and my iPhone is out of photo storage so there's that. My eats weren't all to exciting except for a delicious dinner my mom had ready for me when I walked in the door. Greek-style meatballs with tomato sauce over lemon rice with zucchini and onions on the side, as well as a side salad, and beer bread. Oh, how I have missed my mom's cooking!
This morning I woke up and completed two rounds of Tone It Up's Hump Day HIIT as well as the Beautiful Booty workout and am now eating breakfast while catching up with you. It feels good to have no class or work today and to have time to spend with my family. On the agenda for the rest of the day is to head to downtown Clarkston to take pictures for a class project that I am working on and heading to the mall later with my mom. Home in time for dinner, we will probably just relax and lay low the rest of the evening. I am gearing up for my first 8 mile run tomorrow so I want to get a good night of sleep in tonight and be well rested to tackle my run in the morning.
Breakfast today is oatmeal with Trader Joe's frozen fruit medley and peanut butter along with a piece of beer bread and a banana, Coffee, of course, too! I am relaxing with my mom before she heads out to work and I head out to work on my project. I am looking forward to tomorrow afternoon with my whole family together for dinner and Black Friday shopping on Friday. Saturday we are going to have a small family dinner and set up the Christmas tree to get ready for the holiday season ahead. I am looking forward to taking this long weekend off of school work, besides my class project. With finals week coming at me when I get back to school, this break is much needed!
What are your Thanksgiving weekend plans?

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Winter Weather Running Gear

After last week's post for new runners, I received a few questions regarding running in the winter months. Since winter has already made its presence here in Michigan, I figured now would be the perfect time to share my winter weather running gear with you. And since this weekend will be full of great deals (ahem, Black Friday + Cyber Monday), you can make your list now and shop this weekend. Sound good? Alright, let's go!

I tried to pick a few of each from different shopping budgets to satisfy however much you feel comfortable spending. I love a good deal (Target), but if it is something I know that I will get a ton of use out of (like running clothes), I don't mind spending the extra money here and there for good quality that I know will last and keep me warm. I already know that many of these stores will have huge discounts for the upcoming holiday season, and many of them have already started great deals already- like Old Navy! It was so hard not purchasing all my picks while compiling this post ;).
{via Old Navy}

Thermal Jacket/ Hoodie
A quality hoodie is key for running outdoors in the winter. In my experiences, don't wear anything too heavy since your body does heat up as you run. I make sure to buy jackets/ hoodies that are made for outdoor running since they will deliver the best material to soak up sweat while still keeping me warm on my run.
My picks: Old NavyAthleta, Target
{via Under Armour}
Fitted Tights/ Leggings
It's funny for me to think about the first winter I got back into running and the fact that I made it through an entire Michigan winter running in yoga pants. I have no idea how I did it, but now that I have invested in fitted tights and compression leggings, you will never see me running in yoga pants again. Target's fitted leggings are my go-to since they are extremely warm inside, but still don't make me sweat a ton.
My picks: Under Armour, Target, JCPenney
{via Forever 21}
Long Sleeve Top
For super cold days that I go out for a run, I will layer up and wear a long sleeve top plus a hoodie over it to keep myself warm. But once the days get warmer out, I can ditch the hoodie and just run in a long sleeve top. The first day after a long run that I am able to do that is always so liberating-- I feel so much lighter not wearing a hoodie! Again, make sure to find athletic wear long sleeve tops that are sweat wicking, trust me.
My picks: Reebok, Forever 21, Lucy
{via Athleta}
Ear warmer headband/ Beanie
I have no idea what I would no without my beloved ear warmer headband. Not only does it keep my ears warm, but it also holds back any hair that comes out of my hairtie and it keeps my headphones in while I run, even when it is windy outside. The past few weeks I've also become obsessed with beanies, so I definitely plan on picking one up on Black Friday so I can switch between both throughout the winter.
My picks: Athleta, The North Face, Target

Please don't tell me this one came as a surprise to you. Gloves are a must-have during winter runs! I have a pair that are tech-friendly, but they don't keep my fingers warm enough for being outdoors in the winter. I make sure to purchase a nice pair of gloves to last me through the winter (bonus points if I don't lose them by the end of the season). Once it starts getting a little bit warmer out I still continue to wear gloves to warm up and take them off during my run. I have walked to class without gloves one too many times to ever not wear them on a winter run.
My picks: The North FaceUnder Armour, Gloves

What are your winter weather running must-haves?
What are your favorite running gear brands?

Monday, November 24, 2014

I'm finally doing it

Over the past few weeks I have been thinking more and more about the possibility of running a half-marathon. It has been a goal of mine for a while to do one, but the distance seemed so high that I thought it would take me a while to get to a point where I felt confident that I could complete the whole race. Just this summer I posted My Running Story and had written that my ultimate goal was to run a half marathon, something I thought was years away from now. After the past few months, I have been feeling extremely confident with my runs and week by week I have been adding on a few miles to my runs and my body has been adjusting well. I have realized that I have a passion for running and want to participate in something that will leave me feeling accomplished. Of course, I feel accomplished after every run I do, but my body has been itching for something more.

I started looking into half marathons in Michigan and found so many that were in awesome locations or just sounded fun (yes, running is fun). I found a few for 2015 that I decided I would take some time to think about and once registrations opened I would make a decision. It didn't take me more than a few days to decide that I was ready to take on a half marathon next year. If I was in this mindset over the summer, I definitely would have signed up for one this fall, but there is no way I could have trained for a half marathon in a matter of weeks. This past Friday night I was researching running shoes since I am in dire need of a new pair and decided to see when registration opened for a half marathon in May was that I wanted to do. I looked on the website and saw that registration had already opened. And if I wanted to save a few dollars, I had to be of the first 250 half marathoners to sign up. Looking at the comments of people who had already signed up, I realized that there were a ton of people already signed up and I really wanted that discount (it was only a $5 discount, haha). I decided to take the night to think about it and call my parents in the morning to make sure there wasn't anything scheduled for that day.

I woke up Saturday morning and called my mom to check the date with her. It was good to go, so I decided to go for it.
I signed up for my first half marathon.

I still have six months until it actually happens, but I am beyond excited and nervous at the same time. I feel confident that I will train well the weeks leading up to it, but I will always be nervous since this is something I have never done before.
Sunday, November 17th I will be running in the Stony Creek "Back to the Beach" half marathon! I have looked a lot into the race and it includes a variety of running surfaces- asphalt, trails, dirt roads, boardwalks, and city streets. The race is a single loop that begins and ends at Eastwood Beach and for the most part runs through Stony Creek Metro Park. I'll have to train on different surfaces so my legs don't go in freak out mode during the race, and I also hope to get in at least one long training run on the course itself. There is a large hill at mile 8 and since East Lansing (where I currently run) has absolutely no hills at all, I think it will be good to get used to what I will feel during the race.

I have been researching training plans, but haven't yet found one that I love. I want to complete an 8 week training plan for this race, so I am going to keep looking out for one that I like. If you know of one, please let me know! I will be keeping you all updated of my progress through training for this race throughout my entire training time and I am so excited to check in with all of you throughout!

Well, this post ended up being a lot longer than I expected, but I just had to share my news with you...and I guess all my ramblings too. I am a mix of excitement and nervousness right now, and probably will be until I get to the start line, but I am ready!

Have you ever run a half marathon?
If yes, give me all the advice you know!

Linking today's post up with Erin and Katie today!

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Weekly Workout Recap

Can we just begin with how excited I am with this week ahead? I have a busy day ahead between church, Global Festival, and work, followed by an early work shift tomorrow and projects and class. Then a full day of class on Tuesday then I am HOMEBOUND! I am so excited to spend an extra long weekend with my family, and so excited that Thanksgiving is Thursday. Lots of home cooked meals are on the agenda for me and I am looking forward to a few days off of class before coming back to the madness of the end of the semester.

Things have started to slow down at school in preparation for Thanksgiving break and finals as my final papers and exams before Thanksgiving have already been turned in. I have a few more projects to work on tomorrow so I don't have to stress out about them over break, but other than that I am just coasting through until Tuesday night when I head home.

Even though I will be enjoying a relaxing long break from school, I will definitely be keeping up with my workouts! My running shoes are always the first item on my packing list as well as my foam roller, yoga mat, and weights. Maybe someday I'll be able to buy two of everything and not have to always lug it all around wherever I go... I have my 8 mile run planned for Turkey day and will get some more workouts in between the other days.

Here's a recap of last week's workouts:
With the unexpected snow this week, I completely forgot that it takes time to adjust to running in the snow. Let's just hope there isn't too much snow on Thursday morning!
Weekly Workout Recap
Monday (11/17) Off
Tuesday (11/18) AM- 3.1 mile run, Summer Sizzle routine, Under the Sea workout | PM- Sunset Stretch (Beach Babe 2 DVD)
Wednesday (11/19) AM- 5.5 mile run, Stretch & Release routine, foam rolling
Friday (11/21) AM- Insane Cardio (4.0 miles) | PM- Lululemon Yoga Practice
Saturday (11/22) AM- KettleToning
Sunday (11/23) AM- 6.7 mile run, foam rolling

I've been following through on incorporating more yoga into my routine and it has been feeling wonderful. Along with adding more mileage to my runs, I've learned that it is vital for me to keep practicing yoga and a whole lot of foam rolling. I also finally made it to the workout room for Insane Cardio, which is a Tone It Up treadmill routine. I have been slacking on treadmill workouts, even though I feel absolutely amazing after I complete them, so I made sure to write it in my schedule for Friday and I followed through. I love to hate that workout so much ;).

What workouts do you plan on doing over Thanksgiving?
Any Turkey Trot runs planned?

Friday, November 21, 2014

{Friday Favorites} 11/21

Good morning and happy Friday! Can you believe we are less than one week out from Thanksgiving? I am so excited for the upcoming holiday and to spend time with my family. I am also looking forward to one week from today-- Black Friday! I am excited to head out on an early morning shopping adventure with my mom and brother and hopefully pick up some great deals! As for this weekend, I am working all weekend, working on school projects, and am going to do my best to stay warm. I cannot believe the amount of snow we have already here in Michigan! It is only November! I am Greek dancing at MSU's Global Festival on Sunday, so between that, church, and work on Sunday, I have a pretty busy weekend ahead. I am hoping to get some projects done today after work and tomorrow before work so that hopefully I can relax as well. Luckily, I only have two days of classes next week!

Anywho... let's move onto this week's favorites!
Linking up with HeatherKatieClare, & Jennifer for my favorites from the week!
I finally pulled out my absolute favorite holiday tea for the year- Sugar Cookie Sleigh Ride from Celestial Seasonings! I am actually surprised I held out on enjoying a cup of it until this long, but I finally did this week. This is the perfect tea to get in the holiday spirit and sprinkled with a little bit of stevia is absolutely delish. I have seen quite a few other flavors from Celestial Seasonings that I want to give a try this year and am planning on picking up a few next time I go grocery shopping.

Oh, and drinking tea while watching Scandal is absolute perfection.
This is my latest obsession. Carly wrote a post on this podcast called Serial and after downloading it yesterday, I am hooked just like her. Serial is a podcast that unfolds an nonfiction story throughout one season. Every episode goes further into the story and the season goes as long as it takes to uncover the story. In season one, the story is about a 1999 murder and the investigation that is continuing. I am only on the second episode and I am already hooked! I have been listening to it as I walk to class and it is really nice to listen to something besides the same playlist I've been listening to day after day. I am getting more into the investigation and find myself predicting what might be revealed next whenever I'm not listening to it. If you haven't checked it out yet... do it!!

Hairspray can be pretty hit or miss with me. Some brands make my hair feel crunchy, some make my hair look greasy, some just don't work, but I found one that I really like. I received a sample of L'Oreal Elnett Hairspray in a beauty box and have used it a few times this week. It keeps my hair in place and makes my hair feel soft and it makes my hair smell great too! I haven't been putting too much effort into my hair lately (walking to class in the wind, rain, & snow...), but when I do, this hairspray has been working like a charm!
By now I am sure you are well aware of my obsession with Scandal, right? This Buzzfeed article had me laughing the whole entire time. If Olivia Pope had an Instagram... the captions and hashtags are absolutely hilarious and match the picture perfectly. It makes me wish there really was an Olivia Pope out there with an Instagram!
I will always be a Jonas Brothers fan girl. So naturally I am in love with this gospel version of Nick Jonas's song Jealous, so catchy!

Well, that wraps up this week's favorites! I hope you all keep warm this weekend and have a great weekend at that! I'll be back Sunday with a workout recap from the week, talk to you then!

Thursday, November 20, 2014

{Thirsty Thursday} Strawberry- Banana Coconut Water

Confession time: I do not like coconut water. I have tried it a handful of times and every time I go to drink it I hope that this will be the time that I like it. And every time I take the first sip I just want to spit it out. It makes me sad since coconut water has a ton of amazing benefits to it, but I just can't like the taste of it. After receiving a free sample from Perfect Fit of their coconut water hydration mix for a purchase that I made from Tone It Up, I knew that I had to find a way to like it. (P.S. Perfect Fit no longer sells their coconut water mix anymore- not sure why! Any other coconut water brand will work fine in the recipe below!) It's weird since I love coconut milk, coconut milk yogurt, coconut milk ice cream (the best!), and cooking with coconut oil. But I just can't seem to love the water. So, I thought about how I could hide the taste of the coconut water yet still get the great benefits out of it.

Well, I came up with a strawberry-banana coconut water drink that is almost like a slushie minus all the sugar. I was a little nervous taking the first sip since I wasn't sure if I would still taste the coconut water, but I just tasted the strawberries and bananas. Perfect! So, if you aren't a fan of coconut water, or you just want to add a boost of flavor to your coconut water this is for you!

I drank this after completing the Tone It Up KettleToning routine and it was absolutely perfect for recovery. I've talked a few times about coconut water benefits now, but I haven't told you what they are, have I? Well... coconut water boosts hydration (Happy Thirsty Thursday!), reduces blood pressure, is full of electrolytes (perfect for post-workout!), and has a ton of potassium.

Now, I bet you want the recipe, right?

It is very simple and easy to pull together post-workout!
Strawberry- Banana Coconut Water
Makes 1 serving

12 oz. Coconut Water
1/2 cup Frozen Strawberries
1/2 cup Frozen Blueberries
1/2 tbsp. Ground Flaxseed
Combine all ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth
It's just that simple! And I didn't even taste the coconut water at all. It was refreshing to drink after Katrina kicked my booty in the KettleToning routine! Even though there is snow on the ground outside right now (ugh), this is still perfect for when I am done working out and need something cold and refreshing. This is it.

Coconut water fan- yay or nay? 

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

A Day in the Life #1

I've had a few requests from some of my college readers for a Day in the Life post to share how I fit everything into my days and I thought it was a great idea. I finally got around to capturing my whole day and writing down times last Wednesday, so I thought I would share my whole day for today's {What I Ate Wednesday}. Wednesdays are an odd day for me since I don't have class until three in the afternoon. I still like to get up early so I can get my day going and get stuff done before going off to class so I did have a full day. Now that I have started running a longer than usual run on Wednesdays and since that takes longer than other workouts, I make sure to get up at a good time to get it in and still have a whole day ahead of me. Let me know if you like posts like these and I will try to do them more! I'd like to do another one this semester for days that I am on campus all day, instead of in front of my desk.
Wednesday, November 12, 2014

7:00 am: Alarm goes off. Morning already? Lie in bed for a few extra minutes before finally getting up and ready for my run.
7:20 am: Off on my run. 6 miles planned!

7:30 am: Legs feel tired, keep on pushing through. I'll definitely have to foam roll when I get back to my apartment.

7:45 am: Finally feeling warmed up and good to keep on going!
8:20 am: Back to my apartment. 6.1 miles completed! Pull out the foam roller and spend some quality time rolling. This Tone It Up foam roller routine has become my go-to. Refueling with Vega Sport Electrolyte Hydrator- love this stuff!

8:40 am: Publish blog post and link up with What I Ate Wednesday.
8:45 am: Feeling hungry after my run, head into the kitchen to cook breakfast. Eggs, spinach, and mushrooms it is along with two pieces of whole wheat toast topped with red raspberry preserves and a side of coffee. Was supposed to add avocado, but completely forgot until I was done eating. Whomp, whomp.
9:00 am: Eat breakfast, share blog post, read blogs, and watch Live with Kelly and Micheal.

9:50 am: Time to get moving! Shower and get ready for the day.
10:30 am: Sit down at my desk and read through the Skimm.
10:35 am: Open up my laptop and get to work on my research paper. Oh the joy!

1:00 pm: Break time! Decide to cook up a yummy lunch since I know I won't be eating dinner until late. Cook a packet of brown rice/ quinoa combo. Once it's done cooking, I add in a packet of tuna, 1/4 of an avocado, lemon juice, basil, and oregano. Random mix-ins, but it turned out absolutely delicious! Snack on some pretzels and peanut butter after. Pretzels + pb are my weakness!
1:30 pm: Back to the books. Start working on readings for tomorrow's political philosophy class.
2:20 pm: Leave my apartment. Stop at the bank to drop off a check, then head off to class. As nice as it is not having class until 3, I actually prefer having all of my classes in the morning and getting them done with for the day.
3:00 pm: Class begins. Child development time!

4:15 pm: Out of class 5 minutes early! Woo! Head over to the library to work on readings before my next class.
4:25 pm: At the library, quiet section of course. Get to work on tomorrow's readings and snack on a larabar to hold me over until dinner.

5:45 pm: Head over to my next class. Michigan History- my favorite class this semester!
6:00 pm: Class begins, lecture on the Great Depression.

7:20 pm: Done with class. Head back to my apartment to cook dinner. Darn, it's really dark outside.
7:35 pm: Get back to my apartment. Cook dinner. Veggie burger, fall roasted vegetables, and a sweet potato.
7:55 pm: Late dinner is ready. I was too impatient to wait for the sweet potato to finish baking so I dove right into the rest of my dinner while it was still baking. Eat dinner and watch the Middle.

8:30 pm: Back to the books.

10:00 pm: Get ready for bed. PJs on, makeup off, a happy Brie!

10:10 pm: Respond to today's blog post comments.

10:20 pm: Ugh, one more reading for tomorrow. It always takes me so long to prepare for my Tuesday/ Thursday classes.
10:30 pm: Remember that I got an email that a company was coming to replace the closets in my apartment and everything has to be taken out of them for tomorrow. Take everything out and lay it all over my bedroom. My bedroom looks like a disaster zone.

10:40 pm: Make sure tomorrow's blog post is ready to go.
10:45 pm: In bed. Alarm set for 6:45 am tomorrow. Time to read! Still working on Ultramarathon Man (love this book!).

11:05 pm: Eyes start to close. Finish up the page I'm reading, turn off my Kindle and crash as soon as my head hits the pillow. Good night!

Although this really isn't a typical day for me, I feel like I never have a typical day during the school year. There are always random events to keep me busy throughout the whole week. This particular Wednesday I did not have any meetings or other commitments, so it was nice to stick to the grind and crank out a lot of work. Mondays and Tuesdays are typically busy between work, classes, and meetings, that once Wednesday rolls around, it's nice to come back to my apartment after class.

Do you have a "typical day"? Or are your days as random as mine?

***Tomorrow is your last day to enter my Puritan's Pride Seasonal Smoothie Giveaway! Enter here!***