Weekend Highlights: Relaxing Yoga + Brunch

It’s hard to believe that Monday morning is already here. My weekend was a pretty good one – it was a mix of relaxing and getting things done.

I started off my weekend with an ice cream cone with my dad. He was craving some ice cream so we both decided to indulge. I have to admit that it was pretty tasty. I haven’t had a chocolate dipped cone in a long time.

I spent Friday night at home. It was a beautiful night (actually the whole weekend was gorgeous weather wise), so I did some reading outside in the backyard.

It felt so good to unwind from the week and just relax while reading about one of my favorite things.

Saturday morning I was up bright and early to go to my usual Saturday morning yoga class. It was exactly the thing I needed to start off my day on a positive note.

The second half of the class flew by and it was over before I knew it. We focused on the hips which is perfect for me because my hips are almost always tight.

Sunday morning I went to the gym to get in a cardio workout. I got there just as the gym opened which meant that it was nice and quiet for my workout. It’s the best to have some room and not have to wait for equipment.

I spent 25 minutes on the elliptical doing steady state cardio and 5 minutes on the track for my cool down. It wasn’t a very long workout thanks to my knee, but it felt really good to be active and get sweaty.

After I got home and showered I went out for brunch with my dad and brother. We decided to do brunch which is always a delicious choice in my book. I can’t even remember the last time that I went out for breakfast.

I went with two eggs sunny side up, a couple pieces of bacon, fruit, multi grain toast, and some potatoes. I finished everything on my plate minus the potatoes – apparently I was hungry after my gym session.

I got some blogging work done when I got home from the restaurant. I received some photos back from a photo shoot I had a few weeks ago, so I’m working on updating some of the photos on the blog with them.

By the time Sunday afternoon rolled around it was time to head out to outdoor yoga in Baker Park. The weather was perfect for outdoor yoga, despite a few raindrops for a minute or two. The breeze kept the sun from getting too hot.

Sunday night was another quiet one for me since I had to be at the yoga studio early this morning. I decided to end my weekend how it started and I was reading in the backyard again. This time I made a dent in The Banker’s Wife (affiliate link). It’s a thriller that I’ve been sucked into – it’s been hard to put down.

What was the highlight of your weekend? Tell me about it in the comments below.

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Weekly Workouts + Meals

It’s Saturday so that means that I’m recapping my workouts and meals from the past week. As you’ll read below I wasn’t feeling 100% this week, so I took it really easy with my workouts. In terms of food I was all about the easy meals and leftovers. Read on the find out all the details.

Workouts

Sunday

My back wasn’t feeling 100% when I woke up on Sunday. I was definitely bummed out by it, but I knew from experience that completely cutting out all activity typically makes me feel worse when my back is acting up.

So I opted for a super easy 20 minute cardio session on the elliptical. I had absolutely no goals in terms of pace or tension, so I just took it incredibly easy.

Thankfully my back wasn’t feeling any worse after my workout, but it also wasn’t feeling any better. I had planned to help out with outdoor yoga, but I ended up not going cause I didn’t want to risk making my back any worse. I would have been doing a ton of modifications, and it would have defeated the purpose of going to demo the poses for the class.

Monday

My back was feeling better on Monday (though still not 100%) so I went to a yin yoga class in the evening. I took lots of modifications and make sure to listen to my back throughout class.

We had a sub and while it was different from the usual Monday night classes that I like so much, it was still a great class. I left feeling really relaxed which was perfect.

Tuesday

I continued to take it easy on Tuesday and opted for another quick cardio workout on the elliptical.

I had downloaded a couple episodes of a new podcast (Spectacular Failures in case you’re curious) so I listened to an episode of that while I was on the elliptical and my workout flew by.

Tuesday night I went to Yoga in Bowness for a restorative nidra yoga class. It’s quickly become a favorite class of mine because the teacher is so great. I once again left class feeling so relaxed and ready to fall asleep when I got home.

Wednesday

I took a rest day on Wednesday.

Thursday

I headed back to the gym after my rest day to get in another cardio workout. I spent 25 minutes on the elliptical before cooling down on the track for 5 minutes

Thursday night I took a yin and restore yoga class. I was clearly all about embracing a week of moving slower and more mindfully thanks to my back.

Friday

I did my last cardio workout of the week on Friday. I once again did 25 minutes of steady state cardio on the elliptical followed by a 5 minute cool down on the track.

I couldn’t get my wireless earbuds to work, so I wasn’t able to listen to a workout playlist or a podcast while I was working out. At first I was really annoyed, but I actually ended up kind of enjoying it. It was nice to not have to listen to anything other than the sounds of the gym.

Saturday

Today I’ll be going to a yin yoga class. It’s the same teacher that teaches the Monday night classes that I like to go to, and she’ll be back teaching today, so I’m happy about that!

Meals

I’ve been taking advantage of the nice weather lately and have been doing a lot of barbecuing. First off the food always tastes better when it’s barbecued rather than on the stove, and secondly, it means less clean up afterwards since I don’t have to clean an Pan. I’m all about extra flavor and less work!

I had accidentally picked up a box of turkey burgers, thinking that they were chicken burgers. I have to admit that I was disappointed when I got home and started unpacking the groceries and saw my mistake. I was pleasantly surprised though that they were better than I was expecting.

I decided to go bunless for the burger – mostly because we didn’t have any buns even though I thought that we did. I paired the turkey burger patty with half a blueberry muffin and a spinach salad with feta cheese and a balsamic vinaigrette.

I went out with my dad to eat one day this week. We ended up at a pub that we both like. I went with the chicken, brie, and apple sandwich. I swapped out the bun for lettuce and got a side salad to go with the sandwich.

The pink sauce was a raspberry mayo that was amazing! For some reason I thought that it was going to be really sweet, but I liked it a lot more than I thought I would.

I’ve been on a big tuna kick lately. I used to eat tons of it, and then I I sick of it and went a year or two without eating it at all. Apparently tuna tastes good to me again and I’m eating it again.

I mixed some mayo and a spoonful of relish into the tuna and eat it on some crackers. I had a spinach salad for my veggies.

When I went grocery shopping this week I made sure to double check the box when I bought the chicken burgers to make sure that they weren’t turkey burgers.

I grilled up a couple of the chicken burgers (and had the rest of them as leftovers over the next few days). I paired it with a spinach salad with thousand island dressing, some blueberries, beef jerky, and a chunk of cheddar cheese. This was probably my favorite meal of the week.

I also cooked up a batch of hard boiled eggs. I’ve been trying to eat more protein lately, and it’s nothing easier than grabbing an egg or two for a snack.

When I first started to make protein a priority I thought it would be pretty easy, but it’s actually been a bit tougher than I was expecting. I’ve found that what works best for me is to start with a protein (or two) and build my meal around that.

What’s your favorite protein friendly snack?

Friday Favorites: Jeans + Succulents Edition

Another weekend is just about here! This week was a busy one for me getting some business stuff done on top of the usual work, blogging, workouts, and yoga, but it was busy in all the right ways. I have a very full heart right now.

Since it’s Friday that means that I’ll be sharing some of my favorite things from the past week. Read on to find out what made the list this time around.

Unfold

I read about the Unfold app somewhere on social media and I thought I’d download it and give it a try. It’s essentially an app that lets you create stories for Instagram. It’s super easy to use, and only took 10 or 15 minutes of playing with it to figure out how to use it. I love that it gives you so many more options than the Instagram app to really make your stories pop. It’s a free app, but they do offer additional collections of templates and fonts for a small fee (just a few dollars).

I mentioned using Planoly last week and I was so happy with it that I upgraded to the paid version over the weekend. It’s super affordable ($9 USD per month) and you can upload and schedule as many Instagram posts and stories as you want. Planoly can only autosend posts, but if you schedule stories you’ll get a push notification to post the stories which I’ve found super helpful. I just wanted to make sure I gave you an update in case you’re on the fence about trying Planoly.

White skinny jeans

I have to admit that it’s taken me a really long time (we’re talking years) to get on the skinny jean trend. I know that they’ve been around for a long time now, but I’m just now starting to like them. I bought my first pair of them a few months ago.

I’ve been on the hunt for a pair of white skinny jeans for the summer and fall. I thought I had found some great ones from Gap (affiliate link), but I bought them online and when I tried them on at home they were a size too big. I took them to the closest store to try to exchange them, but they only have them in three sizes smaller, which wasn’t going to fit. I ended up returning them and continuing my search for the perfect pair of white skinny jeans.

I finally decided to check out Reitman’s, a store that I used to shop at a lot when I was in university. It’s been years and years since I had last been in a store, but I thought that it was worth it to see if they had what I was looking for.

I was super excited when I walked up to the store and saw a 40% off sign in the window. Who doesn’t like saving some money? I took a couple pairs of white skinny jeans into the fitting room with me and the first pair fit great! I tried on the other two pairs of jeans, but I still liked the first one the best out of all three.

I decided to buy them, and they were $5 less than the ones from the Gap that I had to return. It ended up working out pretty good! I would share a link to them, but because Reitman’s is a Canadian brand, they’re not available in the US. These ones (affiliate link) from Gap that I originally ordered online were super close though.

Succulents

One night last week I was trying to fumble around in the dark to turn on the lamp next to my bed so I could get up. I don’t know what I was doing because I ended up knocking my African Violets off the night stand that I had right next to the lamp. Once I finally got the light on I saw that the pot of flowers had landed upside down on the floor and the part above ground had completely broke off from the roots.

Thankfully it was pretty quick and easy to clean up, but I now had an extra pot to fill. I thought I’d add another succulent to the little collection I had started, so I headed off to find one.

It turned out that I had to try a few stores before I found some. The first store didn’t have any succulents, the second store only had a few sad looking ones that had been eaten by bugs and hadn’t been watered in awhile. Finally I found a good variety at the third store I stopped by and I picked one out. I got the smaller two white pots (affiliate link) in the front from Amazon.

What’s something that you’re loving this week? Tell me about it in the comments below.

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

Neutrogena Oil Free Lotion + L’Oreal Infallible Lip Gloss Reviews

Today I’m sharing my thoughts on two different beauty products – Neutrogena Oil Free Lotion and L’Oreal Infallible Lip Gloss.

Neutrogena Oil Free Lotion

I picked up this facial moisturizer at the grocery store a few months ago. I’ve had good luck with Neutrogena products not causing reactions to my sensitive skin, so I thought it was worth a try. I’m glad I decided to go with it because I really liked it.

The formula wasn’t too thick or heavy – perfect for the spring. summer, and fall months. I tend to get dry spots on my face during the winter, so I think I’d need something a bit more moisturizing during the winter. I’ve had moisturizers make me skin breakout before, but that wasn’t an issue for me with this one.

I liked that it had a pump top too. I typically don’t like to buy products that require me to scoop creams out of a jar because I’m paranoid about getting it dirty and germy.

Since I bought it at the grocery store, Neutrogena Oil Free Lotion (affiliate link), it was budget friendly. I paid between $10 and $15 for it.

L’Oreal Infallible Lip Gloss

I really like the applicator of the L’Oreal Infallible Lip Gloss. It has a bit of a thicker applicator so it goes on really well and only requires one or two swipes of the applicator on my lips to get good coverage.

The only thing that I didn’t like about this lip gloss (and it’s a pretty minor thing) is that it had a bit of a sticky texture to it. On the other hand though I think that that stickiness helps to keep it in place because I’ve found it to be long lasting.

Since the formula is a bit thicker it’s not “drippy” when you take the applicator out of the lip gloss tube. Nothing is worse than getting lip gloss all over your shirt when you’re trying to put it on.

L’Oreal Infallible Lip Gloss (affiliate link) adds color to my lips without being too over the top. It also adds a bit of sparkle and shine. It’s perfect for an everyday look. They have quite a few colors to choose from, so you’ll probably be able to find one that you like.

More reviews

Interested in reading about more beauty and skincare products that I’ve reviewed? Check out my beauty page. I have all of the posts that I’ve written about all things makeup and beauty.

What’s your favorite facial moisturizer? Lip gloss? Tell me about them in the comments below.

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

Full Body Workout

Today I’m sharing a brand new full body workout. It’s one you can do at the gym when you don’t have another workout planned. It happens to all of us at some point.

If you’re looking for a different kind of workout, make sure that you check out my workout page. I have all the workouts I’ve shared on GFF categorized so it’s easy to find exactly what you’re looking for.

Workout basics

You’ll need a gym for this workout as you’ll need to use a row machine, bench, and dumbbells. You’ll notice that I haven’t added specific weights to use. This is because it’s such a personal thing. Use a weight that you can do each rep perfectly with correct form – from the first set to the very last one.

You’ll do 12 reps x 4 sets of each exercise, resting for 2 minutes between sets. I know that the rest time will add significant time to your workout, but the rest periods are so important, so don’t skip them, no matter how tempting it may be. Once you’ve completed all reps and sets of the dumbbell squats, move onto the next one.

Exercise descriptions

Dumbbell squat

With feet hip width apart and dumbbells 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.

Dumbbell deadlift

With a dumbbell in each hand. Stand with your feet shoulder width apart. Slowly bend forward at the hips, letting your arms hang down and keeping your back straight. Using your glutes, lift your torso back up to the starting standing position. 

Dumbbell chest press

With a pair of dumbbells, lay back on a bench with your feet on the floor and your hips, shoulders, and back of your head pressing into the bench. Lift the dumbbells straight up so there’s only a micro bend at the elbow. Slowly lower the dumbbells towards your chest before pushing them back up again. The dumbbells should come down to your chest, not your shoulders.

Alternating 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. Continue alternating legs.

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. 

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