Be Fearless: Do What Makes YOU Happy

Be Fearless: Do What Makes YOU Happy

Have you ever thought about an idea or seen an opportunity and thought, “nah” and never went with it? I have more then ever this past year. No regrets or anything, but its like these ideas happen but no action has happened yet…and that’s OK. I find when the same idea or opportunity comes up more then once then that’s a sign there could be more to it AND worth going for it.

One thing in particular idea I’ve thought about the past couple months is becoming a PE teacher since the start of my Special Olympics teaching internship. I go back to this again (see last post) and say how happy and rewarding it makes me feel. The same feelings are associated with both completing two marathons (and other races), donating blood (need to get back that–a volunteer opportunity and goal I like to keep up with), my personal training business, and working towards my masters degree. Among Harrison, friends, family, running, this blog, the list goes on…all of which are rewarding and makes me feel like a million bucks.

There are also some experiences in my life that make me feel like the complete opposite and makes the job way less appealing. I’ve had experiences within the past few months that I feel I’ve out-grown (won’t say specifics) and just need to move on to bigger and better things. Unfortunately, these specific experiences make me feel unfulfilled and under appreciated. I’ve learned that YOU need to do YOU and if what you’re not doing is not cutting the cookies, you have the power to change that. It took me a good bit to realize this, and I have a lot more work to do in this area, but I know and realize this change which is HUGE!

Right now, seeing myself as a PE teacher in a high school setting is what I’m thinking. If someone had told me this is what I am thinking as a career, I would have laughed in their face. When I mentioned this idea to a few people, I didn’t get a lot of support right away. I was told to “go into corporate” but the same unappealing feeling from my current experiences hit home for me. Same thing when people said, “nutrition or physical therapy is where the big bucks are.” *Cue eye roll* Yes, all the above makes sense and I can see the benefits of doing all of the above, but none really seemed interesting or rewarding to me. That word, rewarding, kept replaying in my head. I associated it with my internship and that’s when I felt that teaching PE could be a good fit for me. I’m not in it for the money, but for the simple fact that these Special Olympics kids really make my experience teaching health education worth it. Doing this would allow me share my passion for an active lifestyle. Now, anytime I mention this idea to others, I get “you would be so good at that!” ;P

I am beyond HAPPY and feel so incredibly rewarded and appreciated when I go to my internship it’s like a breath of fresh air. Real life. Learning this feeling has been so important. It’s like the s*** experiences really pay off in the long run…kind of? I think so!

Right now, I’m challenging these same good vibes only feelings into other parts of my life and saying good-bye to them and other things that don’t give me the same feelings in return.

Whether it be a new workout, a step up in a current job, a volunteer opportunity, or a new recipe, don’t be afraid to take risks! You don’t know where it can lead or how much happiness it can bring to your life!

YOUR TURN:

1.) What was an experience that challenged you recently?

2.) How did you change something you didn’t like? Did you move on completely? Or do it differently?

3.) What was an “AH-HA!” moment for you recently?

 

Beet, Yellow Tomato, and Feta Salad with Citrus Dressing

Beet, Yellow Tomato, and Feta Salad with Citrus Dressing

Happy Friday!

You know what I love about summer? All the fresh produce in the stores! So many types of fruit and veggies come out of hiding (or at least I just notice them) and I feel so creative on what I can do with them.

This was one of the “AHA!” moments where I was digging through my pantry and looking for anything to use up in my fridge. I kept seeing my yellow tomato on my counter all week and went back and forth in my head: 1.) why did I buy it and 2.) what I could do with it besides just put in a sandwich or salad.

I had seen a recipe somewhere about a citrus dressing and the minimal ingredients it called for and once I put two and two together, I knew I had to just go with it and see what happened!

BOOM! This salad was born!

I feel this is the perfect way to welcome summer. Nothing says summer like fresh produce tossed together in a light, refreshing dressing on a hot summer day. Who want’s to be standing over a stove or in a hot kitchen this time of year anyways? If you’re like me, want something quick, fresh, and healthy so you can get back outside! Another reason this salad is great. It’s travels well so it’s great for picnics and BBQs too.

I used reduced fat feta cheese to watch the calorie intake and jarred beets since they’re packed in a tangy vinaigrette that enhances the flavor of the salad. Use what you have though. This is an easy salad that would sure to please anyone no matter what you put in it!

This makes one serving, so double up if you’re bringing for a crowd.

Ingredients:

  • 1 Tbsp of reduced fat feta cheese
  • 1 small yellow/heirloom tomato
  • 1/2 c baby carrots, chopped
  • 1/4 c jarred beets (I used Trader Joe’s)
  • 2 medium celery branches, chopped
  • 1/4 c chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp honey
  • Salt and Pepper

Method

  • Mix carrots, celery, tomato, beets, chickpeas, and feta together in a bowl.
  • In a separate bowl, combine olive oil, apple cider vinegar, honey, and salt and pepper
  • Pour dressing over veggie mixture and toss together

Grab a fork and enjoy!

Your Turn:

What is your go-to summer side dish?

What are some healthy pantry staples you like to keep on hand?

What is your favorite thing you love about summer?

 

Four Tips For A Successful Grocery Trip

Four Tips For A Successful Grocery Trip

Happy Friday!!

These past two weeks have been pretty crazy. A one semester class in three days (yes that is possible for my graduate program), my new class at Viking Fitnesss, getting to know and training new clients, keeping up with everyday tasks, running and training, and being social–wow sounds exhausting!!

In reality though, I did have to step back after that three day class a week or so ago. I was invited to three fun events I was planning on attending once my class was over. I ended up not attending any of them and sleeping in, catching up on things at home, and organizing my life before the spring semester starting that next Tuesday. I hate saying no, but being social seemed like a lot of work when all I wanted to do was rest my brain! (sounds terrible I know). I’m really glad I took the hint and listened to my body!

In terms of marathon training, my training is basically at a close. No more hard training runs, minimal leg days (sobs), and instead shorter runs that act more as a shake out for my legs. The past couple weeks I added more stretching, foam rolling, and just overall rest. I tried to get my steps in every day, but that was about it. I snuck in a few walks and an upper body training session. Weird to take it all down a notch. But I like it. I shows me that I really work hard and put my body through a lot. The tapering is actually kind of relaxing for me and is a good time to get psyched and excited for the race ahead!!

Basic recap on my life lately done! ^^^

In the meantime, I’ve meal prepped lasagna and healthy carb options these two weeks as well. Still plenty of fruits and veggies, lean protein, and water. These two days before the race though, I stocked up on healthy carb options. I always like to have these around in training or not, but I did find that I was low in some of my favorites, so I made a trip to Publix!

Aside from just the carb and healthy fat options I picked up, I have a method I use to get through the grocery store as efficiently and productive as possible on a daily basis. Here are three tips I live by when tackling the grocery store:

  • Enter with a list. I sound like a broken record, but it’s true. You stick to the list you bring then just wandering aimlessly around the store ( <— time killer). Make sure you have the ingredients you need for whatever you’re prepping, your basic staples, a treat or two (your discretion on this one), and one new product. Some of these, like the treat or new item is something you see as you shop. I know I always buy fresh veggies as snacks, enough greens for a salad, carbs (one to cook fresh another ready to go), a protein (one to cook fresh and one ready to go), dairy, fruit for snacking or breakfast, and a healthy fat or two (mines BOGO peanut butter is at publix most of time).
  • Shop the perimeter of the store first. Again, another broken record, but THIS is very key if you tend to go straight to the aisles. The perimeter of the store has the meat, produce, frozen, and sometimes dairy items. The basics for healthy shopping! The inside aisles have the processed items. You can find quality brown rice in the aisles, but you can also find oreos. 😉 Be weary and keep your list nearby when in these aisles!
  • It’s OK to ask for repackaging. The repackaging applies more so to meat and produce. You can ask the butcher to cut the portion in half, trim the meat, and weigh it out for you. I don’t do this a lot, but my mom does for certain things. It’s a smart way to cut costs and keep lean protein in mind. You can also apply this to produce when it is sold in open bags. Grapes are the norm for this. I’ve weighed mine out and got exactly how much I need without wasting the rest and paying more then I needed to.
  • Read labels. Sounds time consuming. It can be, but I focus instead on skimming instead of reading every last nutrient and ingredient. I check out five things on the label: calories, carbs, fat, fiber, protein. Making sure the item is low in sugar too is also key! Checking out the first five ingredients on the list is also important!

YOUR TURN:

– Do you like grocery shopping?

-What is your typical routine when you shop?

-What have you had to say no to lately but are glad you did?

 

 

Four Feel-Good & Indulgent Dishes To Enjoy This Season At Piquant in Hyde Park Village

Four Feel-Good & Indulgent Dishes To Enjoy This Season At Piquant in Hyde Park Village

I’m making my way back to my little space on the interwebs! It’s been a busy month with school and work and as well as feeling burnt out on a few things to be honest. I have a couple blog posts I’m hoping to share before the end of the year. Even though I don’t have any NEW topics to share that I’ve created, I am still active in blogging group I’m part of, the Tampa Bay Bloggers! 

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Cheering to a great night of tasting with a Strawberry Mimosa

On another note, indulgent. The other name besides the most wonderful time of the year! I love the special holiday recipes my mom and I make every year or new recipes I like to try on my own to share with family, friends, neighbors, and Harrison’s parents. It is the season of giving! And for me that means baking up a storm (as much as I can when I’m not studying for finals) and sharing with others! At the same time, I’m training for a marathon so I want to know that what I’m eating out makes me feel good while benefiting my training. I feel confident about indulging in good quality food this holiday season at Piquant.

Anyways, let’s get on with this food talk!

A couple weeks ago I was able to attend a tasting at Piquant with some of some other local bloggers at Piquant in Hyde Park Village. If you’ve been, you KNOW they’re amazing and have a beautiful menu and I no longer need to explain. If you haven’t yet been, it’s a causal yet quaint french inspired restaurant in Hyde Park Village. I would say they have feel good dishes as well as other options if you’re feeling indulgent. All made with quality ingredients, some locally produced, such as in their Vertical Salad, which I mention later as a favorite of mine if you like a simple salad. Although it is french inspired, they put an american spin on classics. For example–their Croissant Turkey Club…UMMM. Enough said. I’ll leave it as genius.

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Croissant Turkey Club…YUMO

If you’re feeling meh about another night out of eating, a evening of entertaining, or are taking out friends for a lunch or dinner, Piquant is a great option. Their fall menu was a good mix of healthy and feel-good options combined with indulgent. Quality, delicious food for whatever mood you’re in. Here are some of my favorites for when I’m feeling indulgent or when I’d want something more light and refreshing:

For an indulgent option, hands down it’s going to brunch category. This dish blew my mind. Get ready for it: Pork Belly Benedict. Not a fan off the bat of benedict or pork belly but I was oddly excited about this combo at the same time. Served on a lemon-thyme scone, with avocado hollandaise sauce, a beef stake tomato, and poached egg. I was like WOW. I would order this again!!

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As a feel-good option, this one comes to your plate in a way you can feel good about too!  Vertical [Uriah’s Farm] Salad. Vertical comes from the locally grown tomatoes used here. Hence, Uriah’s Farm. Red and golden beets, a mixture of greens, goat cheese, toasted almonds, and a passion fruit vinaigrette. A feel good way to enjoy local produce while enjoying fresh ingredients and flavors.

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As an indulgent option, you can’t forget DESSERT! O.M.G. I’ve never felt so indulgent after trying all three of these amazing dishes…we had three to try. All amazing in their own way, I have one favorite that sticks out the most. Chocolate Cherry Croissant Bread Pudding. Bread pudding is so traditional and decadent, and I feel is served during this time of year the most. It’s served warm, is fairly simple to put together, and involves bread. What’s not to love? Again, not a favorite of mine off the bat because I find it on the mushy side (sorry mom), but this was prepared like a small cake that as soon as the fork went through it, it melted into the plate and over the vanilla ice cream. OMG. I’m practically drooling.

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A feel-good option with a ton of lean protein: Salmon Napoleon. Complete with hollandaise, dill, and Ratatouille. Not heavy, full of fresh flavor yet completely satisfying. A favorite fish of mine, I really enjoyed how it was seared and packed with flavor.

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So does this make you wanna have a lunch or dinner date yet?! I’m dreaming about the options I’ve described and makes me want one of each really bad!! I’d say after this tasting, Piquant has made it to the top three of my favorite places to eat in Tampa. I can’t wait to come back and try these dishes at some point this season.

YOUR TURN:

-What is a favorite recipe you look forward to indulging in during the holiday season?

-OOPS! How do you get back on track after a too-indulgent meal?

-What are some traditions you do this time of year?

 

 

Three Ways To Improve Balance

Three Ways To Improve Balance

I’ve been learning A LOT of different things at my internship since starting it three weeks ago! It’s very hands-on and I’m definitely being challenging to think outside the box. That’s the whole point of an internship, right? One of the key components that is used a lot with the clients I work with at my internship is balance.

Not the balance like life balance…lol, although that IS a work in progress too, I talking coordination, agility, posture, body awareness, etc. It’s all important. For a while, I was working on it diligently with myself and my clients. Then I kinda forgot about it…oops. It can be one of those things that can easily be forgotten if you’re not actively working on it.

Balance was the one thing that I think got stale for me which is a reason it fell off my fitness routines. I’ve now been reintroducted to it and the various ways you can challenge it with equipment, eyes open vs. closed, kneeling vs. standing, and no equipment vs. foam padding or a bosu. The possibilities are endless. I’ve taken time to add it to my workouts and in my HEAT class through plyometric moves such as lateral bounds, lunges + single leg skips, or simply balancing one leg for as long as possible.

Unfortunately, we don’t know the level of our balance skills until its gone, like when we fall, for example. Just like working out heart for cardio and increasing strength with resistance training, we can lose balance too. Particularly as we age, it is another aspect of fitness that is lost after the age of twenty five.

So besides the fact that balance is forgotten, I figured I’d share a post on how to ADD it back into your routine to gain the benefits of improving balance. What’s so great about balance is that it doesn’t have to involve being sweaty. Weird saying I know. It doesn’t necessarily involve a high heart either. I like adding it into the end of a workout to calm the mind and ease into a cool-down. Before bed or part of a weekend fitness routine works too. I like to think that balance works body-awareness, also known as proprioception. You train your mind and body at the same time. If you participate in yoga regularly, balance poses are more then likely incorporated into the practice. Adding tree pose or pigeon pose counts when not on the mat counts too!

Do these three exercises without shoes. It gives you a sense of awareness and less support as soon as you step out of your shoes…what you want! I do two sets each side with five to eight reps each. Work up to three sets of ten or more reps or until you can easily add a challenge. Of course, try not to hold to anything! Having something or someone nearby if you do need the extra support is okay. Soon you’ll learn to not need it. 😉

Try these three balance exercises you can do anywhere and without equipment to work your balance:

  1. Tightrope walkStepping heal to toe forward and repeating backward. 
    1. Easy: Walk two steps forward and two steps backward
    2. Medium: Walk three-five steps forward and backward
    3. Hard: Walk three-fives steps forward and backward with eyes closed
  2. Three Point Star
    1. Easy: Tap your toe to the ground in the front, side, and back of you.
    2. Medium: Release toe from ground and repeat the three points
    3. Hard: Keep toe off the ground and repeat the three points with eyes closed
  3. Finger GlanceSupporting yourself on one leg, extend opposite leg out in front. Bend elbows at the ninety degrees and hold out in front of you. Raise one finger on each hand. The higher you lift your leg out in front, the harder it is. 
    1. Easy: One leg is supporting. Toe of opposite foot is on ground in front. Glance back and forth at fingers.
    2. Medium: One leg is supporting. Toe of opposite foot is off ground a half inch to inch off ground. Glance back and forth at fingers.
    3. Hard: One leg is supporting. Toe of opposite foot is off ground one to two inches. Glance back and forth at fingers.

Adding these exercises to your fitness routine regularly will over time help enhance your balance. Realizing this can also help my running, is one reason I’ve been incorporating it into my program. Although this can help train your mind, this is great neurologically and muscularly too. Just because we’re not “old” doesn’t mean we have to fall and hurt ourselves to realize balance training NOW is important. With these simple exercises you can improve sooner then later.

YOUR TURN:

-What is one part of fitness you know you can improve on?

-Anything you’ve been working on diligently that you’ve seen improvement in? What’s worked and what hasn’t?

-What does your weekend fitness routine look like?

What I’m Loving Lately: Trader Joe’s Cocoa Nibs & Three-Layer Hummus

What I’m Loving Lately: Trader Joe’s Cocoa Nibs & Three-Layer Hummus

*I’m not affiliated with Trader Joe’s and have not been sponsored for this post, I just love sharing my recent items with all of you!*

I’ve always loved shopping at Trader Joe’s! Or what I like to call TJ’s 😉 I love it there because of the wide variety and creative products they sell as well as the quality of their produce, meats, coffee, etc. Basically TJ’s knows what’s up. I actually like it better in some ways over Publix. Although Publix is great for quick, essential items, I feel most creative with my grocery list when I go to TJ’s. It’s like they promote being creative! Which I like. Don’t get me wrong, Publix has a place (namely their pub subs), but my go-to for big grocery trips will be at TJ’s.

We got our TJ’s here in Tampa a couple years ago and we have one in the Tampa area. Best part is that it’s not far from me either! However, if you have been to TJ’s then you know the parking is TERRIBLE but well worth it every time. Over time I’ve learned to accept it the distrastrous parking and go when it’s less busy during the morning or in the evenings. I found a pattern when I went into the TJ’s in Delray Beach (where I’m from) and in Portland, OR when I went for the first time and BOTH places also had small parking lots. Hmmm…anyways, they may not have the parking situation down at their locations, but they sure do have the food part down!

When I go into grocery shop, I keep in mind the grocery shopping rule: stick to the perimeter first. If you haven’t heard of this “rule” basically it means all the healthy, quality type foods (produce, meat, dairy, etc)  are around the outside and the “less quality”(processed snacks, bread, chips, soda, etc) for lack of better words because its all good in moderation 😛 is in the middle isles. I find this consistent in all grocery stores, and believe quality still exists in the middle to an extent. Nut butters, whole grains, canned beans, nuts, dried fruit, etc. are also there! You just have to pass the various types of cookie butter to get to them in some cases. *begins drooling*

So according to the topic of today’s post, I did have to pass through the middle isles a bit to explore a couple new items that I’m really excited to share! The first item being cocoa nibs. OMG. I love love love chocolate and when I saw these little morsals, I thought of a few things they would go SO well with beyond just keeping them as a sweet. If you haven’t seen them before, they kinda look like the nerds candy. They’re crunchy and delicious and satisfy that sweet crunch. Even without putting them in or on top of anything, I’ve poured some straight into my hand and throwing them into my mouth as is! Simply delicious.

When I’m not just eating out of the pouch, I’ve put them on top of plain yogurt mixed with peanut butter for a little indulgent snack, put some in trail mix for a salty sweet taste, or on a mug cake! (blog post still TBA on this one, can’t quite get it yet). The list goes on, but this is basically what I’ve enjoyed the most using them for! Putting them on oatmeal, baking with them, smoothie bowl toppings, ice cream, etc. A decent amount in a pouch too and not too expensive either. A good buy to make whatever you eat a little more indulgent without going overboard.

The other item is three-layer hummus. Now this wasn’t in the middle isle because of refrigeration (of course) but the idea of three flavors in ONE container got me. I really enjoy their beet hummus as well, but hummus can be flavored so many ways, I figured I’d give this one a go. IT WAS AMAZING! To be honest, I’m more of a traditional hummus fan. However, I love garlic flavored anything too. Garlic though was NOT a flavor of the three. From bottom to top: spicy, cilantro jalapeño, and traditional on top. No so much into spicy, but it was tolerable and something I did get used to! Cilantro Jalapeño also spicy, yet tangy, and somewhat savory at the same time. Lastly, traditional because it’s just my favorite and also a winner.

Perfect for dipping carrots, tomatoes, cucumber, peppers, celery, etc or dipping tortilla chips or veggie sticks are some of my favorite things to dip into! Using hummus as a spread in place of mayo or replacing the yolk in a hard-boiled egg are some of my favorite combinations. One of my favorite breakfast go-tos is to use hummus on toast with an egg on top! A feel-good easy breakfast idea.

So many variations for both items, each to pair with something different! Enjoy!

YOUR TURN:

-Do you have two new grocery items you’ve been loving?

-What are some items you’ve been pleasantly surprised with or have been ultimate disasters?

 

Roasted Broccoli & Red Onions With Garlic & Thyme

Roasted Broccoli & Red Onions With Garlic & Thyme

Hey Hey! It’s FriYAY and I’m excited to share with you this yummy weeknight vegetable side to use with basically anything all week long. So when I started to come up with my meal prep and veggie ideas last week, I wasn’t quite sure what I wanted to do. So I just walked around the produce section at Trader Joe’s until I found something remotely appealing to me. Sometimes that’s how I shop, FYI. Not all the time because I do go into the store with some kind of game plan, but I took the opportunity for the veggies to find me, so to speak, lol.

Broccoli spoke to me that day! It was also a good price, which helped. Then I remembered that I had a red onion I could put with it and saw the colors of the two of them together and knew that was it. I’m all about throwing whatever into a bowl and calling it a meal anyways, so I figured roasting could work the same way. I ended up roasting the two together with olive oil, thyme, garlic, salt, and pepper and called it a day!

Best vegetable side in a while if you ask me! Super easy too since the oven did all the work for me. I just cut up the onion and broccoli then lined the baking sheet with foil and took care of the cleanup too. Ultimate WIN. The whole process took me about twenty minutes with prep and clean-up. If you ask me, THATS how you meal prep. Or as I like to call it, minimal meal-prep. 😉

Since this is pretty versatile, I found myself throwing this onto a salad or having as a side. You can also eat this warm or at room temperature. Anything goes with this if you ask me!

Roasted Broccoli & Red Onions with Garlic and Thyme

  • 1 head broccoli
  • 1 medium red onion
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • Sprinkle of thyme (fresh or dried)
  • Sprinkle of garlic powder (or fresh)
  • Salt and Pepper

Preheat oven to 375 degrees and line a cookie sheet with foil. Chop broccoli into pieces leaving it in bite size chunks. Cut red onion into chunks. Spread onto cookie sheet. Drizzle olive oil over veggies and toss to combine. Shake thyme, garlic powder, salt, and pepper and toss again. Put into oven for 15 minutes until broccoli and onions are slightly browned. Enjoy warm or at room temperature! (Note: coconut oil would be a good option too!)

JOIN THE CONVERSATION!

-What are your favorite summertime vegetables?

-What are your favorite toppings for a salad?

 

 

Five Ways to Boost Motivation

Five Ways to Boost Motivation

Happy Friday! Lately I’ve been feeling a little meh about my workouts. I have less motivation to eat clean, and yummy indulgent food sound REALLY good lately. I’ve still kept up with my three times a week strength training and running, but food-wise I’ve been so-so on my portions and choices. School and being kinda homesick/wanting change up the scenery too have been a recent stressor which leaves food choices to be what goes amiss for me.

Despite my less then optimal food choices, I’ve learned to write out my thoughts on why I feel stressed or overwhelmed. I have found over time writing out my thoughts exactly has helped immensely towards working towards a clearer head.

So I took out a large pad of paper and wrote out my concerns, feelings toward them, why I feel the way I do, and how to fix them. After a couple minutes of jotting thoughts down, I felt 100x better! In terms of school, I wrote down steps in order to accomplish assignments and ways I can improve myself either through new study methods or going to my professor. I can say I DID already see my professor and can say it was a big step in the right direction, so YAY for creating solutions!

Homesick-wise, my parents visited me last weekend since I can’t leave because of my school schedule, whoomp whoomp. That helped more then I thought knowing I was able to kinda get away from home and enjoy a few fun things with them. A small stressor, was the interest in my boyfriend meeting my parents…*cue shaking.* All went well and he passed so YAY for that! That’s always a little nerve wracking and a little early into our relationship, but the opportunity arose and I said YOLO so it worked out and am happy it went well. 🙂

Onto some motivation though. Since motivation and stress have been a constant thing for me lately, so I figured I’d share a post on ways to boost your motivation game whether its fitness, blogging, food-choices, or your schedule to keep you feeling fresh.

  1. Start by writing EVERYTHING down. Yep, it all goes on the paper. Break it down if you need to. If you feel meh about your running routine (something I feel rather stale in to be honest), focus on the why. Have you been running the same route or distance for a bit, been in “pace lock” or seem to not be improving? Maybe the weather has something to do with it? Here in Florida the weather is terribly hot so running outside in the summer can be downright OPPRESSIVE. Florida runners you know what I’m talking about. Then write out feelings associated with this decrease in motivation, good and bad, and go from there. Next write out solutions.
  2. Reach out to a friend or family member… Or anyone you feel comfortable with. Sometimes I feel like I have everything under control and don’t want to accept I want to share my feelings. Sometimes actually being open can share and help more then you think. I hate sharing when feel lost, weak, or nervous…who does?! But I know if I don’t talk through my thoughts they will continually be bottled up waiting to explode. I did this with a couple friends and hearing each of their perspectives helped immensely. If texting doesn’t do it for you, call them. I find calling allows me to speak my mind more then a text ever could.
  3. It’s OK to say NO. I recently had to say this to an opportunity for networking for my business. I’m always looking to expand my personal training clients. I love helping people and the more people I can help, the more experience I get, the busier I become. I like that. But I’m in school and want that A in my class. I also have to juggle my current clients, classes I teach, workouts, and MY social life and other responsibilities. Let’s add a boyfriend to the mix too, and marathon training this fall. I say BRING IT with the best attitude possible, but some things may have to go to the back-burner. After I talked about it with my mom, I realized my goals on taking this opportunity wasn’t the best timing for me at that moment.  So that’s when I wrote an email early in the week saying I could no longer participate. It killed me, but its for the best. I say there will be other times!
  4. Something fresh, shiny, and new! Now I know this is different for everyone, but adding something new to your wardrobe, a switch in your schedule, a re-creation of a favorite dish, or taking advantage of a fun opportunity might be just what you need. This can occur at some costs, so minimizing that is key. I know for myself I need new running shoes. I’ve been running in the same pair I ran my MARATHON in back in January. I know, shame on me. All runners know to replace shoes every couple months and I’ve FAR exceeded that. I just didn’t buy another pair simply because mine still felt good. Now I’m seeing this as a reason why this could help boost motivation and eliminate my “staleness” for running at the moment. New music too. Both which I know have helped a lot before. If it’s not a fitness related motivational boost, maybe its a new way of re-creating a favorite dish. Experience-wise, meet a friend for lunch on a day you would normally stay home and get stuff done and enjoy a good conversation instead. Nothing beats a good conversation and food with a friend!
  5. Taking a break. What if you’ve already tried some of what I mentioned and you’re still blah? That could be a sign to temporarily use it as a break for a bit. Focusing on other parts of your life that may be taking priority and returning to whatever it is later will allow you to comeback stronger then before. Having a new perspective on whatever it is can be the missing piece you might not think of.

Hoping these five tips help you as they do for me! Sitting with a cup or tea or coffee, sometimes wine but then I remember I need to think clearly, also helps while making myself SIT DOWN and RELAX which is usually at an all-time low during these times of stress. Knowing there is always an answer and believing everything will work out for the best is what keeps me grounded and sane!

YOUR TURN:

-What has helped you in times of stress?

-What is your favorite dessert? (stressed spelled backwards is dessert! LOL!)

-Any weekend plans?

Get Your Greek On: Three Greek Inspired Snack Ideas

Get Your Greek On: Three Greek Inspired Snack Ideas

*Disclaimer: Thanks to affiliations with the Tampa Bay Bloggers and Louis Pappas, I was able to attend an intimate, complementary tasting of Greek food for this post and social media love. All opinions are my own.*

Hey All! Happy Forth of July weekend! To say I’m excited for this three day weekend is an understatement. I’m see a few friends from UT over for a BBQ in St. Pete and I’m pumped! I’m bring a patriotic fruit salad, think raspberries, blueberries, and strawberries. Someone has be bring a healthy side dish right? Leave that one to me hahah. I’m always the one to bring one of those. No shame! 😉

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Baklava & Rice Pudding

A few weeks ago, I was able to attend an intimate tasting with the Tampa Bay Bloggers at this cute Greek cafe in South Tampa called Louis Pappas Greek Cafe. It’s so cute inside and very authentic! They had a great spread for us to try too. I mean REALLY good. A few options from each off their menu. I planned on basically having dinner there since there was so much and it was all so good! They didn’t fail to disappoint.

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Cinnamon Sugar Pitas with Plain Greek Yogurt & Bread Pudding

I’m not so much of a huge Greek fan. I don’t crave it as much as I do pizza or Chipotle. Those two are my favorite cheat eats ;P but this place is definitely a good place to grab a quick, healthy bite for a mid-week break from the usual. Although everything about it was delicious, my favorite was the greek salad. I’m a sucker for a good salad, and THIS was amazing. It was all so evenly chopped with such good flavor. The cool part about this salad was that it had a scoop of potato salad at the bottom. Yeah. Potato salad. Who would have thought right?? I asked what that was all about and the owner said that was a staple for when they first started to make it filling. The potatoes add that extra filling component that was surprisingly good. YEAH. They offer it without as well, but the potato salad was what they called “traditional.”A family recipe they called it. I said I would eat that for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

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Stuffed Grape Leaves & Spinach Pies

So, onward to the snackage. Namely the hummus with homemade pita, stuffed grape leaves, and delicious Baklava. I’ve come up with some inspired greek inspired snacks you can make in your own kitchen! No special ingredients needed. I went to Trader Joe’s or Publix and found them there. Enjoy these snacks at home and if you’re in the South Tampa area, be sure to check out Louis Pappas!

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Front Salad: Traditional Greek Salad with Potato Salad and Non-Traditional without Potato Salad
  1. Hummus with veggies and pita bread.
  2. Plain Greek yogurt with peanut butter or honey
  3. Chopped Greek Pasta Salad by dishingouthealth !
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Definitely making it back here in the near future!

 

Meal Prep: How You Can Fit It In & Not Be Overwhelmed

Meal Prep: How You Can Fit It In & Not Be Overwhelmed

Happy Friday! Meal prep seems to be a common thread everyone seems to be battling with at one point or another. It also can be intimidating AF because where do you start?? I’ve had a few thoughts, which have turned into excuses:

  1. I don’t meal prep AT ALL and I end up paying for my laziness by eating out and choosing less then healthy options
  2. I’m not sure what I’m in the mood to cook
  3. I’m not in the mood to prepare it
  4. There’s other things I’d rather be doing and meal-prepping isn’t one of them

Have you had these thoughts? I have, but have limited them and have changed them for the better. Once I meal-prep, I can officially consider myself set up for success. I spend less money, feel the need to not waste food, and having it prepared for me gives me ZERO excuses for eating healthy. Three killer reasons why I make these reasons alone the reason I *try* and do this every week.

On the other hand, life happens and this doesn’t always get done. And guess what? Does the world end that I didn’t meal prep? NO! Does that mean I’m not gonna be set up for success and therefore fail with my meal choices? NO! It just means I have free reign…both good and bad 😛

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Roasted sweet potato with salt, pepper, olive oil, and cinnamon; hard-boiled eggs

So the question is, how do you fit it in?

I start by figuring out what I’m in the mood for that week. Sometimes I know instantly what I want. Other times I look through my Meals on The Run cookbook from Runner’s World, use Instagram for inspiration (check out #bgbcommunity on Instagram–you’ll be drooling over your phone in no time HA!), or tbh–the grocery store itself, although I try not to do that too often. I find flavors or ingredients that interest me or I look at factors of a recipe like time and servings to decide.

For me, I prep on Sundays. It’s a slower day for me usually so I grocery shop then come back and whip up whatever I’m making so its fresh and ready to use. I like one-pot meals a lot or one-bowl type dishes like salad since they’re both something you heat up or assemble in as little as a half hour and it’s ready to eat! I don’t have time to stand in front of a stove and cook fresh every. single. night. and I’m sure you don’t (or want to) either. So why make it tougher then it should be? Meal prep for the week ahead and you’ll have a fresh, healthy meal at your finger tips!

There are weeks I don’t have time to make a full blown meal with all the fixings on a Sunday, or I simply just don’t want to. But instead of not doing nothing at all, I pick one or two items that are quick cooking so I have at least some kind of snack, vegetable, or carb ready to be thrown in to something during the week. Recently, I love cooking hard-boiled eggs, which take about fifteen minutes, and sweet potatoes which take about twenty. Both go at the same time and you don’t really need to watch either too closely! Between the two, both are done in about an hour or less. Seriously, NO EXCUSES! And even though it isn’t “meal prep” it’s more like “meal prep-prep” it’s still setting you up for success in one form or another right? Isn’t that the whole point??

Another thing that doesn’t always come with the actual prep, but something to keep in mind, is how much food you’re really getting out of the food you’re making. I cook for me, so I pick dishes that have about four servings in them. That number works for me because I get bored of eating it as the week goes on–for real though and once I get bored of it, I tend to waste it which doesn’t do my wallet any good. Any dishes six to eight servings, I tend to not look too closely at just because it feeds too many for just me! Looking at how many you’re cooking for and who you’re cooking for (hungry husbands, a family, someone who always traveling/on-the-go) is one factor I feel is most important when it comes to meal prep.

Now the type of person you’re feeding is another whole topic in itself since you want to please whoever you’re feeding too. Getting the kids, husband, whoever involved will make meal-prep an easier thing to tackle. If it just you, like it is just me, make whatever you want!! #perksoflivingalone

The funnest part of the whole meal-prep idea is the CLEAN UP! lol…just kidding. It’s my least favorite part of the whole thing to be real, but it’s gotta happen. You can make it easier by using foil or parchment paper to make clean-up easy too. Here’s a tip: DON’T use Parchment paper to broil hahaha. I made that mistake and I created a small fire in my kitchen one night making mini english muffin pizzas. All is good!! I put it out but instead of Parchment paper, use foil instead *face palm*–no flames to worry about with that. Anyways, clean-up is cut in half and makes the whole meal-prep process that much smoother.

Hoping this post leaves you feeling more inspired to try meal-prepping! Taking it step by step and not feeling intimidated is key. See it as a learning experience! Either you’ll enjoy learning to cook new things or you won’t…and in the latter case you know you at least made an attempt!

Good Luck and Happy Meal-Prepping!

YOUR TURN:

-What are you favorite go to snacks or dishes to meal-prep?

-What is one thing you want to work on or try with meal-prepping?

-Any fails with meal-prep or kitchen disasters? LOL