Friday Favorites November 3rd 2017

It’s been one of those weeks. Between taking a family member to doctor’s appointments and the big dump of snow we’ve gotten this week (resulting in terrible driving conditions), it’s been a long week. There’s always something good though, so I’m kind of glad that I write these Friday Favorites posts each week. It’s easy to focus on the tough stuff and completely bypass the good things.

Friday Favorites

Online shopping that arrives early.

 Philosophy Skincare Set

Yesterday the doorbell rang and I was pretty excited to see a box from Haute Look (affiliate link) left at the front door. I ordered a couple products from Philosophy – a 3 piece skincare set. It includes Hope In A Jar, which I’ll be trying for the first time. I’ve heard lots of good things about it, so I’m hoping it lives up to the hype.

All the veggies. 

I’ve been craving veggies like crazy over the last few days. I don’t know what it is, but I just can’t get enough of them. I ended up buying a huge spinach salad while I was at the grocery store on Wednesday. It was jam packed with bell peppers, mushrooms, tomatoes, and carrots. It was so good. The fridge is currently stocked with a ton of veggies as well, so I’m looking forward to them.

A much needed haircut. 

This afternoon I’m going to get my hair cut – the first time in over a year! I know I’ve let it go for far too long, so I’m really looking forward to it. The plan is to get at least a few inches off of the bottom. I’m looking forward to having a haircut that’s easier and quicker to blow dry and style in the morning.

I actually go to the best stylist. She’s always so positive and in such a great mood. She always asks me lots of questions about what I want done so always get the haircut that I want (which hasn’t always been the case at other salons).

Share a favorite of yours from the last week in the comments. 

November 2017 Goals

November 2017 Goals


Before I talk about my November goals, I’ll recap how my October goals went.

Log food in MyFitnessPal 5 days per week.

Although I only hat 5 days one week, I tracked 4 days the other 3 weeks, so I’m okay with that. I find that tracking my food regularly keeps me on track and within my calorie budget. It’s easy to let it get away from me, so entering food into MyFitnessPal helps to keep me accountable.

Attend 2 group fitness classes per week. 

I think I went to 2 or 3 the entire month, so I’m going to call this goal a massive fail. It was honestly a combination of a lack of motivation and an unpredictable work schedule. The motivation was there for workouts that I did on my own, but just not for the group fitness classes, which is weird, because it’s usually the opposite.

And now for my November goals (which I’ll hopefully be a bit more successful at).

7 hours of sleep 5 nights per week.

I’ve been struggling a lot with my sleep lately. Either I have a great night and get 8 hours, or I have a hard time falling asleep, wake up throughout the night, and can’t get back to sleep. It’s actually kind of nice to have my FitBit confirm that fact on mornings when I wake up and don’t feel very rested. I have some family stuff going on right now, so I know that the stress is contributing to my poor sleep.

My plan is to continue to do my nightly routine before going to bed (reading, meditation, etc.) and hopefully get a bit more consistent with it.

Practice self-care every single day. 

Like I mentioned above, my stress level is pretty high at the moment. I’m hoping that we’ll get a few more answers this week and then have a plan. I’m hoping that the plan will help to take away some of the stress. It’s so easy to go through entire days where I don’t do much for myself. But my goal for this month is to do some form of self-care each day. That might be taking the time to watch a favorite movie or going for a walk in my favorite park.

What are you goals for November? Leave a comment below telling me about one.

My Favorite Pieces of Gym Equipment

Today I’m sharing my favorite pieces of gym equipment. Going to the gym can be intimidating, not to mention knowing how to use the equipment there. I’m hoping this post will help! 

My Favorite Pieces of Gym Equipment

In today’s posts I’m sharing the things that I use on a regular basis at the gym that I don’t have access to at home. Even though I can still get in a great workout at home, there’s still some things that I just don’t have access to at home that I like to use in my workouts.

Cable pulley machine 

First off, these machines are super versatile. You can use them for everything from rows to bicep curls. There’s so many ways to use them. Since you can change the height of the pulleys, depending on the exercise you want to do. You can also switch out the attachments (bars,ropes, handles, etc.). These are just clipped on, so it’s quick and easy to switch things up. In addition, you can also use the cable pulley machine for upper or lower body exercises. One thing to keep in mind is that if the cable pulley machine at your gym has two cables coming out of the weight stack (most of them that I’ve seen are this way), you have to double the amount of weight that’s on the weight stack. For instance, if you put the pin in the 30 pound hole, you’re actually lifting 60 pounds.

Free weights (dumbbells and barbells)

I typically like to pick these over using machines that you have to sit down in (of course there are exceptions for injuries or other issues such as balance). Free weights are also very versatile, just like the cable pulley machine. There’s almost an unlimited number of exercises you can do with dumbbells and barbells. I like free weights because you’re working more than just the one isolated muscle. For instance, your core will also be engaged when doing exercises with free weights, which most likely won’t be the case with machines.

There’s also an increased risk of injury if you’re not focused on form. Because you need to stabilize yourself instead of letting the machine do it for you, it’s extremely important to make sure that your form in on point. That means not lifting too much weight and not getting too tired that you can’t maintain proper form.

Squat racks

Although they can get busy at gyms if you go during peak times, squat racks are another favorite piece of gym equipment. Although squats focus on the lower body, they also work the core and back, which makes it a great full body exercise. Deadlifts are another exercise you can do on the platform, and they also work more than just the lower body.

Squat racks are perfect when you’re working out on your own and you don’t have a spotter (though never be afraid to ask someone you don’t know for a spot – more often than not they’re more than happy t help you out). When squats go wrong, they tend to go wrong quickly. You don’t have time to adjust or make a change. Lifting in a squat rack helps to keep you safe. And it goes without saying, take the time before you start lifting to adjust the squat rack. It’s so worth the extra two minutes it takes to set it up for your height/exercise to make sure that you stay safe.

Cardio machines

I’m very lucky to have a treadmill at home, but I think the majority of people have to go to a gym to get access to cardio equipment like treadmills, bikes, and ellipticals. Out of the three, the elliptical is definitely my favorite. Make sure you switch up what kind of cardio equipment you use. Even if you’re training for a specific event (10k run or a bike race), cross training is something you want to make sure that you’re doing.

If you live somewhere cold and snowy 6 months out of the year like I do, you’ll know that running and biking outdoors isn’t always an option. Having the option to do both of those activities indoors is huge. If being gentle to your joints is a concern, both the elliptical and bike are low impact cardio activities. You can get your heart pumping without worrying about being hard on your joints.

For more posts like this, check out my fitness page.

What are your favorite pieces of cardio equipment at the gym? 

Friday Favorites October 20 2017

I’m seriously glad that it’s Friday. Work was a bit crazy this week, so I looking forward to a few days where I don’t have to think about it. On the bright side, because work was so busy, it felt like the week flew by.


Friday Favorites


Low key date nights // I think some of my favorite date nights have been ones where my boyfriend and I have stayed in. Sometimes it’s just nice to cook dinner together and watch a movie on the couch while eating.

Stranger Things Season 2 // The next season of Stranger Things is released on October 27th. Ever since I finished the first season, I’ve been looking forward to more Stranger Things. I’m most excited about seeing more of Dustin. I can’t get enough of his curls. Tell me I’m not the only one who feels like I’ve been waiting forever. One more week!

The Body Kindness Podcast // I can’t remember how I discovered this podcast, but I’ve listened to two episodes so far, and I’m hooked. The Body Kindness Podcast is hosted by Rebecca Scritchfield who is a Registered Dietitian who interviews someone on each episode. If you’re at all interested in body image and acceptance, be sure to check out The Body Kindness Podcast.

Thoughts of Dog twitter account // If you’re on Twitter you need to be following Thoughts of Dog. I first discovered it a few months ago, and it’s quickly become a favorite of mine. I don’t even think you need to be a dog lover to appreciate it. I always seem to see a tweet from him when I need a smile.

Fall fashion // Is anyone else loving the fashion this season? While I’m on a tight budget right now, that doesn’t stop me from window shopping online. I love the deep, saturated colors, the layers, and the cute boots.

32 Minute Bodyweight Workout

Today I’m sharing a 32 minute bodyweight workout that doesn’t require any special equipment. It’s perfect for when you can’t get to the gym or you’re traveling. 

This workout is pretty straight forward. Perform each of the exercises listed below for 30 seconds before moving onto the next one. Once you’ve completed each exercise one, rest for 2 minutes. (If you need rest before that, of course rest as needed. It’s more important to rest and use correct form that plow through with bad form and potentially get injured.) Repeat 4 times total for a total of 32 minutes.

32 Minute Bodyweight Workout

Below you’ll find a description of each exercise in case you’re unfamiliar with any of them.

Pushups // 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.

Lunges // Stand with feet hip width apart. Step forward with one foot so that the forward leg’s thigh is parallel to the ground, and the back leg’s shin is parallel to the ground. The back knee shouldn’t touch the floor. Use your quads and glutes to step the front foot back towards your back foot and end by standing straight up with feet hip width apart again. For the second lunge step forward with the other foot.

Crunches // Lie on your back with your knees bent and feel flat on the floor. Place your hands behind your head. Slowly lift your shoulder blades off the floor. Make sure your neck stays in a neutral position. The upper back should be moving, not the neck. Slowly lay back down on the floor.

Burpees // From a standing position crouch down with your hands in front of your feet on the floor. Jump your feet back behind you so you’re in a plank position. Jump your feet back in towards your hands and then jump up while clapping your hands above your head.

Supermans // Lie flat on the floor face down with your arms outstretched and above your head. Simultaneously lift your arms, chest, and legs off the floor and hold for two seconds. Slowly lower your arms and legs back to the floor with control.

Donkey kicks // Get on all fours with your hands under your shoulders and your knees under your hips. Keeping your knee bent, lift your left leg so that your knee is parallel to the floor and the bottom of your foot is parallel to the ceiling. Lower you leg back down and repeat wit the right leg.

Planks // The plank is very similar to the starting position of a pushup. Your hands are slightly wider than shoulder width, and your body is a straight line from your head, through your shoulders, hips, and knees, to your heels. Just like with the pushup, if you need an easier modification, use your knees instead of your toes.

Skaters // With your knees slightly bent, jump to the right and land on your right leg with your left leg bent behind you with your foot just off the ground. Keep your left foot off the ground. Pushing off with your right foot, jump to the left and land on your left foot, keeping your right leg bent and right foot off the ground behind you.

Tricep dips // Using a chair or bench, place hands on the edge with fingers pointing towards the back while stepping out your feet so that they’re hip width apart and your hips are above the floor. Slowly bend at the elbows to lower yourself and then use your triceps to move yourself back up to the starting position. Your knees can be bent (easier) or left straight (harder).

Squats // With feet hip width apart and hands in front of you to help with balance, 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, 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.

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.

For more workouts, check out my workouts page.

As always, check with your doctor before working out. Honor your body and modify this workout for your injuries and limitations.