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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!***

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Advice for New Runners

You guys are seriously the best. I share an accomplishment either here or Instagram and you are all so encouraging and every comment makes me smile. After accomplishing my furthest run yet (accidentally!) on Sunday and sharing it on Instagram I received so many nice comments and it made my whole day. Along with sweet comments from all of you on my runs, I have also been asked for advice from those of you trying to get into running and I thought I would dedicate today's post to answering some common questions I've received and share my advice. Remember that everyone is different, so what works for me, may not always work for you, so please be mindful of your own body when running.
Before starting any new diet and exercise program please check with your doctor and clear any exercise and/or diet changes with them before beginning. I am not a doctor or registered dietitian. I do not claim to cure any cause, condition or disease. I do not provide medical aid or nutrition for the purpose of health or disease and claim to be a doctor or dietitian.

Does running ever get easier?
Yes it does. It may seem like running will never be enjoyable at first, but once your body gets used to pounding the pavement, you will start to crave it. As I began to love running, I began looking at it differently than just another workout. It has become a major stress reliever for me and a time for me to simply think. It may take a few weeks for your body to get used to running, but once it does, runs will become easier.

How far should I run?

This is totally a personal preference. I started off with low mileage when I first got back into running. Focusing on going out for two miles and slowly built from there. Some people can go out and run 4 miles after not running for years, while others struggle to get through 1 mile. It all depends on you and listening to your body. If you can only run a 1/2 mile on your first run, that is completely okay. Be happy with what you just did!

What should I eat before I run?
I usually run first thing in the morning so I don't eat anything. If I do wake up hungry, I'll snack on half of a banana before I head out. If I run later in the day I will make sure to eat a serving of complex carbs about an hour before I head out. Great complex carbs include whole wheat bread, oatmeal, sweet potatoes, and brown rice. This gives your body some energy to burn off during your run. 

What should I eat after I run?

I always love coming back home after a run to breakfast. I make sure my breakfast contains protein to repair my muscles, but I also make sure it also a well-rounded meal. My go-tos are oatmeal with a piece of fruit, a protein pancake, overnight oats, egg scrambles with whole wheat toast. If I run later in the day I make sure to eat a well rounded lunch/ dinner containing protein, vegetables, and a complex carb. Grilled chicken, a vegetable, and a sweet potato makes for a great post-run dinner!

Do you run every day?
No! This was a mistake I made when I first started running. I thought to improve I would have to run every day with one rest day every week. I did not learn the importance of cross-training until just recently and I really wish I knew how important it was when I first started running. Cross-training includes activities that still move your legs and work your body, but don't put the pressure on your legs the same way that running does. Think the elliptical, spinning, swimming, hiking, and the rowing machine. I have cut my running down to 4-5 times per week and focus on making those runs quality miles rather than running 7 times per week and wearing out my legs. 

What tools should I invest in?
-First and foremost, a quality pair of running shoes. I cannot stress having a good pair of running shoes enough. I recommend going to a running store where you can get specially fit to ensure that you get a pair of running shoes catered to you. Everyone runs differently, so it is important that you get a pair that will best suit the way in which you run. Running stores will have a large selection of different brands, different styles, and will have options for whatever issues you may have during a run, like overpronation or arch support.

-A foam roller is a great investment to invest in at the beginning of your running journey. I didn't purchase one until last winter, but I do think it would have helped having it earlier in my journey. Anytime your legs are feeling tight or sore from a run, foam roll it out. Yes, it hurts, but you will feel so much better once you are done rolling it all out.

-Proper clothing for whatever weather conditions you live in is definitely important. Make the investment in quality running tops and bottoms and your runs will be much more comfortable. Running leggings are a must to make it through the winter, while running shorts are a must in the summer heat. Look for brands that cater towards athletes so you are sure to be purchasing the right material. Yes, I have run in yoga pants, and no I would not reccomend it. Go for a pair of athletic leggings and you will feel so much more comfortable on your runs. My favorite brands include Target (C9 brand), Lorna Jane, Old Navy, Nike, Reebok, and Under Armour. Although they may be a little pricy, they are definitely worth it in my opinion if you plan on continuing on with your running journey. Many pieces I have had since my running journey and show no signs of slowing down. 

What do you carry with you on your runs?

I carry the least amount I can. I'll carry my phone on an arm band so I don't have to carry it. I also carry my key to my apartment which I usually put in a pocket in my pants or top or I will just carry it

How the heck do you run that many miles?

I've built up from nothing. During my freshman year of college I decided to get back into running and during my first run I barely made it a mile before having to stop and walk. Day after day, I kept building up to the point where I could run a mile without stopping, then two miles, then three, and it has just taken off from there.

How do you stay motivated to run week after week?

Once you get in the habit of running almost daily, it becomes almost second nature. Of course, there are days I simply don't want to run, but more often than not I wake up and look forward to heading out on my run. My best advice is to just keep running.

How often do you replace your running shoes?

Okay, this one is embarrassing. I have had the same pair of running shoes for over a year now and they have wayyyy over the recommended amount of miles on them. My number one item on my Black Friday shopping list is a pair of running shoes, since I know that mine are worn out. Most runners will recommend switching to a new pair of running shoes every 300-500 miles (Runner's World). Some runners may go through shoes quicker or slower than others depending on how they run, so definitely pay attention to how you feel when running. It is also recommended to rotate running shoes and always have a few pairs on hand to run in so you don't go through them as quickly.

Is it okay for me to walk during my runs?
Yes! Walking is how I built up my mileage. As I mentioned before, I could barely make it through a mile without walking for a little bit before picking it back up. I would definitely recommend walking over simply stopping so that you keep your legs going and it is easier to pick up your run.

What's the deal with compression socks?

I love compression socks! I have written two posts on them that provide more information about what they are and their benefits. You can read them here and here.

I am sooo sore the day after I run, what can I do to avoid that?

I still get sore after days I do an interval workout or run a longer distance than I usually do. To be honest, I actually don't mind feeling sore when I know I got in a great run. The best things to do are either foam roll or a yoga stretching routine.

What are some good resources to look into?
Runner's World has a great wealth of pages for beginner runners here
Active.com has 10 tips for beginner runners here
Fitness Magazine also has a beginner's guide to running here

Linking up with Tuesdays on the Run! Check out other great blog posts on running by checking out the link up!

What questions do you have about running?

P.S.: Have you entered my Puritan's Pride Seasonal Smoothie Giveaway yet? Enter here!

Monday, November 17, 2014

Fall Roasted Vegetables

Can you believe Thanksgiving is already next week? This month has flown by already, yet I am so excited for Thanksgiving this year. I haven't spent a weekend at home at all this semester, so I am looking forward to spending five days at home with my family. I always love Thanksgiving day since my family and I spend the morning going through the Black Friday making our shopping lists then head over to my aunt's house in the afternoon and spend the rest of the day with my whole family. And good food.

I was talking to my mom this weekend about how excited I was to come home for break and how I was looking forward to cooking for the family. She was so happy to hear that I was offering to do some cooking over the long weekend. If there is only one thing I make this upcoming break, it will be these fall roasted vegetables. I made them last week and was instantly in love. Luckily, I cook for myself only and was able to have leftovers all week long. It was absolutely glorious. A bunch of fall vegetables roasted together in oil and seasonings makes for the perfect Thanksgiving side that won't leave you bloated and stuffed by the end of the night.

I won't keep you waiting any longer...
Fall Roasted Vegetables
5 servings
1 Zucchini
2 Carrots
1-2 handfuls Fresh Green Beans
1 Yellow Squash
1 Onion
1 Red Bell Pepper
3 tbsp. Olive Oil
Pink Himalayan Sea Salt, to taste
Pepper, to taste
Basil, to taste
Oregano, to taste
Preheat oven to 400 degrees
Spray baking dish with nonstick spray
Cut up all vegetables into similar size pieces (to ensure even roasting)
Place all chopped vegetables into a mixing bowl and top with olive oil, salt, pepper, bail, and oregano
Toss, making sure all vegetables are evenly coated
Place in baking dish and bake for 25-30 minutes
If you are on the look out for a healthier dish to add to your Thanksgiving menu this year, this one is it! It is simple to pull together and tastes delicious. As the vegetables were roasting in the oven, my apartment smelled amazing. My roommate even asked what I was cooking to make the apartment smell so good. Aren't those dishes the best?

Let me know if you add this dish to your Thanksgiving dinner this year! You know I will be!

Linking up with The Fit Dish to healthify this Thanksgiving. Thanks for hosting Jessica and Jill!
Also linking up with Real Food Recipe RoundupMeatless Monday, Weekend Snapshots, Lean Lena's Tasty TuesdayTasty Tuesday, Vicky's Tasty Tuesdays, #RecipeFriday, and Real Food Friday

What is your favorite Thanksgiving dish?

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Weekly Workout Recap

Remember how I set a goal to run 8 miles on Thanksgiving morning? Well I got pretty close to accomplishing that goal today! Luckily I came in at 7.8 miles, so I have still have .2 miles to add onto that to make that my longest run to date. I was only planning on running between 7 and 7.5 miles, but my legs felt good and I was actually kind of enjoying the snow. Kind of. Thanksgiving is coming up soon, but I know that when I set out to accomplish my longest run to date, I can definitely get it done. Plus, I'll be coming home to a homemade breakfast with my family. So excited.
Moving right along, this weekend was wonderful and although it is coming to an end, I am looking forward to the week ahead. Friday evening I headed to Ann Arbor for a Greek night and had an amazing time! It was so much fun to see friends I haven't seen in months and to be able to Greek dance all night long. I was tired all day Saturday and didn't get back until the late afternoon, but once I did I worked on a little bit of homework then relaxed in bed the rest of the evening. I haven't done that in ages and it felt great. I woke up refreshed and ready to head out on my run this morning. Once I got back, I spent some time foam rolling and quickly got ready for church. I just arrived back home from church and once I get this post published I will be heading over to the library to get to work on a project. It's going to be a chilly walk over to the library! Brrr!!
Weekly Workout Recap
Monday (11/10) Off
Tuesday (11/11) AM- 3.2 mile run, Love Your Arms & Abs x2, Frisky Fall foam rolling routine
Wednesday (11/12) AM- 6.1 mile run, foam rolling
Thursday (11/13) AM- Bikini Body 1, Bikini Body 2
Friday (11/14) AM- 3.2 mile run, Fine Toning (Beach Babe 2 DVD)
Saturday (11/15) Off
Sunday (11/16) AM- 7.8 mile run, foam rolling

Lots of running and lots of toning was on the schedule for this week and I am definitely feeling it. My arms have been sore all weekend from the toning routines, but it feels great at the same time to be making progress. Looking forward to another full week of workouts, but I definitely need to sneak more yoga into my routine.

What was the highlight of your weekend?

Friday, November 14, 2014

{Friday Favorites} 11/14

Happy Friday! I am so happy the weekend is already here, especially this weekend since I have been looking forward to it for quite a while! After I get out of work this afternoon I am heading to Ann Arbor for a Greek night with all of my friends from school and back at home. I went this past March and it was a blast! My friends and I had so much fun seeing everyone and being able to catch up. I haven't seen many of my friends from back home in a while so I am looking forward to spending tonight with them and getting all dressed up for a night out. It's going to be a cold one, but I am excited nonetheless! I'll be back in East Lansing on Saturday and hope to get some school work done as well as relaxing since I know I will probably be pretty tired from tonight. With the end of the semester coming to an end (yikes!), it is the final push for my classes before Thanksgiving break so I have a lot to get done before heading home for break.

With that said, let's move right along to this week's favorites...

Linking up with HeatherKatieClare, & Jennifer for today's post! Thanks for hosting!
Last week I mentioned that the rest of my Lorna Jane purchase was on its way and it came on Tuesday. Of course, right when I got to my first class I got an email saying it had been delivered. So, I had to wait all day through my classes to get back to my apartment to finally see the journal. I ordered the Move Nourish Believe 2015 Diary and I am completely in love! I am going to use it as my planner for next year as well as for tracking my workouts. Right now I have a separate journal that I have been using to track my workouts, but to keep things more organized, I am going to keep them together. This diary is absolutely amazing, it is filled with workouts, recipes, tips, and quotes from Lorna Jane herself. It has gotten me to start thinking about my goals for next year and I am so excited to get organized for the year ahead.

I have been using BareMinerals foundation for years and I absolutely love it, but lately I've been wanting to switch it up. I wanted a pressed powder foundation that I could use along side with BareMinerals as well. I picked up Covergirl truBLEND last week and after using it this week, I have to say, I really like it! I have suffered through acne for years and although it is a lot better than it has been in years, I still have some scarring. This foundation has done a fantastic job at covering up the scarring and I am loving it! I bought the translucent medium tone and it matches my skin tone perfectly, which I was worried about when I was at the store. It is always so difficult to judge! But this one is definitely a keeper!
This article was shared on my Twitter feed a few days ago and since we are heading into the weekend I thought it is the best time to share. 12 Weekend Habits of Highly Successful People shares the habits of people like Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, and Oprah. I agree with all of them and although I already practice many of the habits already, there are still some that I can work to incorporate into my weekends to keep me productive, but still enjoy the weekend. Give it a read!
Random favorite, I know, but frozen bananas have become a staple in my freezer. I always make sure to keep at least a few in my freezer at all times because they have become a staple in my meals and snacks. Between smoothies and "nice cream," I have been going through them quickly so now whenever I go to the grocery store I buy a few extra and put them right in the freezer. That way I can always have some on hand for whatever I am craving. I learned this lesson the hard way, so I am going to share it with any frozen banana-newbies out there... take the banana peel off before placing it in the freezer. Trust me on this one!
This is so true for me! When I get out of my evening class at 7:20 and it is already pitch black it totally messes up my evening. It makes me feel like I should be heading to bed right when I get back, when I really have quite a few hours left in the day! The only positive side is it is lighter out for my morning runs, but I have a feeling that won't be lasting much longer anymore...

That wraps up this week's favorites! Share yours in the comments below, I always love reading what you are all up to! :) 

Don't forget to enter my Puritan's Pride Superfood Smoothie pack giveaway! Vegan protein powder, kale powder, Emergen-C, and Psyllium Husk Seed is all in the package for one lucky reader!

What's on your agenda for this chilly weekend?