Weekend Recap February 19 2018

It's been awhile since I last did a weekend recap, so I thought that I'd share one today. I always like reading them on other blogs and getting a sneak peak into someone else's life.

Friday

New Fila Shoes

I had bought these Fila shoes on Zulily at the end of January, and they finally arrived. I can't remember where I first read about Zulily, but I'm so glad I did. While they don't have stuff that I'm interested in most of the time, every once in awhile I find a great deal on something that I've had my eye on for awhile. I managed to get these shoes for half the price that they usually are. Can't go wrong saving some money.

Beer Glass

Friday night was date night, so I headed over to my boyfriend's place. We ended up ordering Chinese food on Skip the Dishes, drinking a beer or two, and watching The Burbs on Netflix. It was my first time trying lemon chicken and it was so good! I can't believe it's taken me 35 years to give it a try. I thought this glass of his was pretty cool. It's made from an old beer bottle. How cool is that? Although I know The Burbs is a silly movie, it makes me laugh every single time I watch it. It's probably my favorite Tom Hanks movie. He looks so young in it!

Saturday

Speaking of Netflix, they recently added Gossip Girl, at least here in Canada. I used to watch it sporadically when it was on TV. I'm looking forward to watching it from the beginning. It's one of those shows that doesn't take a lot of brain power to watch, but still holds your attention. Plus it's fun to see all the pretty fashion. And for the record, the phones that they show (in the first season at least) all seem so old, yet it was only back in 2012. It's crazy to think how quickly technology changes.

Saturday also included getting some laundry done and some behind the scenes blogging stuff. If I didn't have a blog of my own, I never would have thought that it was as much work as it actually is.

Sunday

Sunday morning I reached a pretty big milestone – I've now meditated 500 minutes since I've started using the Headspace app. The vast majority of that has been since January 1 2018. Back when I first started meditating for 5 minutes seemed like forever and I'd always get distracted thinking about literally anything. I've grown a lot though, and I'm now regularly doing 15 minutes at a time. That probably still doesn't seem very long for people who are meditation pro's, but for me it's a huge accomplishment. If you've been thinking about giving meditation a try, I highly recommend trying out Headspace.

I also spend some time doing some deep cleaning. Let's just say that you don't realize how disgustingly dusty your house is until you start moving furniture. While it was definitely a lot of work, it feels so good to know that the place is cleaner now.

Leave a comment below with the highlight of your weekend. 

Friday Favorites February 16 2018

Welcome to another edition of Friday Favorites! As usual, I'll be sharing some of my favorites from the past week.

Friday Favorites

A Secret Kept

A Secret Kept Book

On Sunday morning I finished reading A Secret Kept (affiliate link) by Tatiana de Rosnay. It's been a while since I last read a book this good. It only took me a couple days to finish it, including one very late night because I just couldn't put it down. It centers on a brother and his family, and his journey to finding out the circumstances surrounding his mother's death when he was a child. While it might sound a bit dark, it's more about the family dynamics and about how each family member dealt the the loss of the family matriarch. If you liked Sarah's Key, also by Tatiana de Rosnay, I think you'll like this one too even though it's not historical fiction. A Secret Kept is also set in France and it almost felt like the different locations featured in the book were additional characters because they were featured so heavily. If you have any other book recommendations, let me know! I'm always looking for more suggestions to read.

Chicken skillet recipe

I've made this chicken skillet recipe a few times now, and it's delicious each time. Although I wasn't able to find the exact same recipe online to share with you, this one is very similar. I've served it over both brown rice and egg noodles, and brown rice is my favorite by far. It's pretty easy to make (if you buy sliced mushrooms it cuts down on some prep work), and the ingredients are super easy to find at the grocery store. I love that it includes the mushrooms and broccoli in it, so I don't have to make veggies as a side. This is one of those dishes that gets better the day after as leftovers, so it's perfect for lunch the next day.

Origins Night-A-Mins Renewal Cream

I got this in a Sephora sleep favorites box, and this is definitely one of my top three items from it. Origins Night-A-Mins Renewal Cream (affiliate link) smells amazing on top of keeping my dry trouble spots on my face feeling soft and moisturized. The skin on my chin is stubbornly dry, so the fact that this can keep that in check is awesome. I will definitely be buying another one of these once I finish up this tube.

What was a favorite of yours from the past week? Share it in the comments below.

This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting my blog, I appreciate it! 

Valentine’s Day Circuit Workout

Today I'm sharing a Valentine's Day Circuit workout. It's the perfect thing to get you sweaty when you're in need of some inspiration at the gym.

Happy Valentine's Day!

Before I get into today's workout, does anyone have any plans for today with their special someone? My boyfriend and I got together on Friday night and he got little red velvet heart cakes for us to enjoy from Sunterra for dessert after dinner. They even had strawberry jam in the middle. They were so good! I usually like to keep Valentine's Day pretty low key (there's way too much unneeded pressure otherwise), so it was a perfect way to celebrate together.

And now onto the workout! This Valentine's Day themed circuit workout contains three circuits, each of which have three strength exercises (upper body, lower body, and core) which are done for 12 reps followed by one minute of cardio. Do the first four exercises, rest as needed, and then go onto the next circuit. Complete all three circuits 4 to 5 times for a full workout. This full body workout will work all your major muscle groups in less than an hour.

If you're going to do this workout at home and are in need of some dumbbells for the squats, side shoulder raises, and overhead presses, I like these ones (affiliate link) that are available from Amazon. They're available in different sizes so you have some choice when it comes to what weight you use for different exercises. For example, I typically use a higher weight for squats and a lower one for upper body exercises. To find more of my favorite fitness equipment, click here.

Below you'll find a graphic with the workout on it that you can pin on Pinterest or save to your phone so you can reference it at the gym. I've also described all the exercises just in case there's one or two that you're unfamiliar with.

Valentine's Day Workout

Push ups

Starting on your toes and hands, make sure your body is a straight line from your heels to your knees, hips, shoulders, and neck. Your hands should be a bit wider than your shoulders. Slowly bend at the elbows, lowering yourself to the ground. Try to get at low as possible, and then push yourself back up, all the while maintaining that straight line. An easier modification is instead of being on your toes, lower to your knees.

Dumbbell squats

With feet hip width apart and dumbells in your hands at your sides, use the glutes to lower your hips back and down while bending at the knees and ankles. Once you’ve reached the lowest position you can without leaning forward too much or letting the knees collapse in, return to a standing position, again using your glutes to propel yourself.

Bicycle crunches

Lay on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. With your hands behind your head and elbows out to the side, bring your feet off the floor so that your shins are parallel to the floor and your knees are bent at a 90 degree angle. Bring your shoulder blades off the floor and alternate bringing your left elbow towards your right knee, and your right elbow towards your left knee. Your feet should look like they’re pedaling a bike.

Butt kicks

Stand with your feet hip width apart and your arms bent comfortably at the elbow. Bend your left knee and bring the heel of your left foot behind you so that it touches your butt. Lower your left foot back down to the ground and repeat with your right foot.

Side shoulder raises

With your arms down at your sides with a dumbbell in each hand, slowly raise your hands away from your body to the side, keeping your arm straight at the elbow. Once your hands reach shoulder level, slowly lower them back down to your sides.

Curtsy lunges

Similar to alternating lunges, instead of stepping straight back with your left leg, you place your left foot behind you and to the right, so that it crosses behind you and return to standing. Repeat with your right foot stepping back and to the left.

Side plank

To perform a side plank, lay on your side with your elbow beneath your shoulder and your forearm on the ground. With your top foot stacked on top of your bottom foot, lift your hips off the floor so that your shoulders, hips, knees, and feet are in a straight line. Hold and then repeat on the other side.

Jumping jacks

Stand with feet together and arms at your sides. Jump both feet apart from each other while raising your hands above your head with straight arms. Jump your feet back together and lower your arms to the starting position.

Overhead press

Stand with your feet hip width apart with a dumbbell in each hand. With your upper arms in a 90 degree angle to your torso and your hands directly above your elbows, lift your hands straight up so that your arms are straight above your head. Slowly lower your hands back down to the starting position.

Step ups

Find something that when you put your foot on it, your knee is at a 90 degree angle. This could be a chair or bench. Step up with your left foot, and pushing off that heel step your right foot off the floor and onto the bench. Immediately step back down with your left foot, followed by your right foot.

Punches

Stand with your feet hip width apart with your left foot slightly forward. Lift your arms up so that your hands are in front of your face with your left hand slightly forward. Punch one hand at a time in front of you, repeating as quickly as possible while maintaining good form.

This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting my blog, I appreciate it!

As always, talk to your doctor before beginning to workout. Honor your body and modify this workout as needed.

Are you doing anything fun tonight for Valentine's Day? Let me know in the comments.

How To Eat Healthy When You’re Busy

How to Eat Healthy When you're Busy

It can be really easy to use the excuse of being too busy to make healthy choices. Between school or work, family commitments, and trying to squeeze in a social life, it can sometimes feel like it's impossible to make healthy food choices.

I've found a few things have helped me to stay on track with healthy eating even when it feels like I have next to no time. Below I'm sharing 7 tips that have made eating healthy even when I'm busier a lot easier for me.

Commit to making healthier choices

Make a mental shift to committing to making healthier choices. It doesn't have to be a ton of big changes all at once – it's actually better if you make a few smaller changes, and once you have those down, move onto other small tweaks. Trying to change everything all at once can get overwhelming fast. You'll end up losing momentum and feeling bad about not being successful.

Identify your “why” behind wanting to be healthy. Is is because you want to lose some weight? You want to feel better? You want to decrease your 10K or half marathon time? Having a concrete reason why you want to be healthier will serve as some great motivation when you're not wanting to put in the effort.

Avoid bringing junk food into the house at all. If it's not available, you don't have to worry about being tempted. That's not to say that you can't have a treat every now and again. Instead of getting a jumbo bag of chips, get a small one. Instead of buying a package of 4 candy bars, just get one.

Plan ahead – meal plan

First off, meal planning and meal prepping are two different things. Meal planning is planning ahead of time what you'll be eating throughout the week. Meal prepping is preparing all or the majority of your food at once, so that you only have to heat it up when it comes time to eat. While a lot of people love meal prepping, it's not for everyone.

I usually meal plan for three lunches/dinners each week and I wing the breakfasts, since they're typically toast and a smoothie or granola and yogurt. Because I'm only cooking for myself, those three meals that I made for lunches and dinners will typically last me for the entire week with one or two meals out with friends or with my boyfriend.

Once I've picked the three recipes I'll be making I'll start making a grocery list on my phone. I'll go through the ingredients that I'll need, check what I already have in the pantry and fridge, and then put anything that I don't have on my list. I like making a list on my phone better than actually writing it down, so that I can delete items as I put them in my cart. I know I'm done shopping when there's nothing left on my list and I don't accidentally miss anything.

Use shortcuts

There's absolutely no shame in using pre-washed, pre-cut fruit and vegetables. They may cost a bit more, but it if means that you'll actually eat them instead of letting them go bad in your fridge because they're “too much work” to prepare, it's worth the extra money. I love salad mixes because a lot of the time they'll come with carrots or cabbage in addition to the greens and some even come with croutons, cheese, and dressing too.

The slow cooker is another great time saver that I like to use. It's easy to put a meal in there on Sunday morning, and by the time dinner rolls around, I have dinner for that night and lunches for the rest of the week too.

Reuse recipes

Keep your favorite recipes somewhere where you have easy access to them when you're meal planning (either online or in a binder). I find that choosing a few recipes for the week takes time, but it's so much easier to flip through recipes that I know are delicious and I know how to make. There's no point to reinventing the wheel if you know you have recipes that you like. I typically reuse recipes every few months. That's enough time between when I make them so that I don't get tired of them.

Do all your grocery shopping at once

Making multiple trips to the grocery store each week really adds up time wise, even if it's only to get a few things. Double check your recipes, pantry/fridge, and your grocery list before you head out to the grocery store to make sure that everything that you need is on your list.

Avoid having to go into the grocery store at all and save extra time. Try using grocery delivery or curbside pick up if it's offered at grocery stores near you. Go grocery shopping when it's quiet rather than heading there where it's busy. I usually find that mornings are less busy, while between 5 pm and 6 pm during the week are busier with people stopping at the grocery store after work to pick something up for dinner.

Have snacks ready to eat

It's easy for hunger to creep up on you, so having some healthy, ready to eat snacks makes it easy to avoid an unhealthy choice. Some of my favorite quick and easy snacks are pre-washed and chopped veggies and hummus, cheese and crackers, and trail mix made up of seeds and nuts.

I also like to make sure that they're packaged in containers so that they're easy to grab from the fridge and take with me if I'm on the go. That way it's just as easy to grab a healthy snack as it is to take something unhealthy with me. I'll usually pick the healthier option if both options are just as easy to eat.

Drink mostly water

First off, it's so important to stay hydrated. I think we all know that, so I won't go into the details of why. I tend to get headaches if I'm dehydrated, so I always try drinking a glass of water to see if that helps when my head hurts.

While it can be easy to drink coffee, soda or soft drinks, and alcohol, I find that I feel my best when I'm drinking mostly water. That's not to say that I never have soda or a beer on date night though. I like to make sure that the majority of my choices are healthy, so I don't stress when I indulge. When I was in school I liked to keep a water bottle with me so that I could have something to drink during classes when I got thirsty. I find that I drink more water when it's easy to do, so having easy access to it is key to staying hydrated.

I was definitely a soda drinker when I was in university 15 years ago. I decided to give it up 10 years ago, and I honestly don't miss it at all. Was it hard at first? Definitely, but looking back now I can say that it was definitely worth it.

What's one tip you have for eating healthy when you're busy? Leave a comment below telling me about it. 

Nuun Electrolyte Tablets Review

Today I'm sharing my review of Nuun Electrolyte Tablets. I use them for cardio workouts when I know I'll be sweating a ton.

Nuun Electrolyte Tablet Review

I had heard of Nuun (affiliate link) on Twitter and Instagram for years before I had actually tried it. I'm not quite sure why it took me so long to try, but I'm so glad that I did. In short I found that it helped with headaches I would get after longer cardio workouts because I was dehydrated. I've been using them for a few months now so I've used all the flavors I have at least a few times so I can give an honest review on what I thought of them.

The Basics

Each tube of Nuun has 10 tablets. You simply drop one tablet into a water bottle – 500 ml (or 16 oz for my American readers). They're vegan and gluten free. Nuun doesn't contain any preservatives and they only contain 10 calories and only one gram of sugar. In term of electrolytes they contain 360 mg of sodium, 100 mg of potassium, 25 mg of magnesium, and 13 mg of calcium. As always, if you have any questions about if Nuun is right for you, you should speak to your doctor. They come in 13 flavors – water melon, wild berry, and cherry limeade are going to be my next purchases.

Nuun Electrolyte Tablet Review

The Positives

I bought the Juice Box flavor pack (affiliate link) on Amazon, which contains four flavors in strawberry lemonade, fruit punch, tropical, and grape. My favorite flavor is definitely strawberry lemonade, though all of them taste good. I liked the fact that I could get a few flavors to try since I had no idea which ones I would like.

I like that the tubes of Nuun and small and easy to fit into my gym bag. I think space is at a premium for everyone when it comes to their gym bag, so the fact the packages are so small is great. In addition, Nuun also doesn't require anything to mix it in with your water like a spoon. You just drop it into your water and you're good to go.

Lastly, the tubes can be recycled once you're done with them as long as you peel off the sticker. I love that Nuun is looking out for our planet.

Nuun Electrolyte Tablet Review

The Negatives

The only think that I could think of as a negative was that I was a bit surprised by the fact that the Nuun tablets are effervescent. It was a bit of a shock to take that first sip. To be honest I'm not sure why I didn't realize it before, because it says it right on the package. Apparently I didn't read it very closely. But now that I'm used to the bubbles I don't mind them and actually like them.

Final Thoughts

As I think my review shows, I'm a fan of Nuun (affiliate link). For more info on Nuun and to check out all the flavors that they have available, check out nuunlife.com.

Before I end I have one more thing to add. Tomorrow I'm sending out an email to the people on my newsletter. If you're interested in getting emails from me, click here. I only send emails out twice a month so I won't be overwhelming your inbox.

Have you tried Nuun before? What's your favorite flavor?

This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting my blog, I appreciate it!