Friday Roundup: 10/31

Happy Halloween! How are you celebrating this holiday? I already had one costume party last weekend and have another tonight – plenty of chances to show off my costume! I need to take some great pictures while I’m all dressed up tonight and I’ll share those in the next few days.

I’m taking a slightly different approach with this week’s roundup. Since I’ve been traveling this week and haven’t had a chance to post, I thought I’d take the opportunity to write up a recap of the past week, highlighting some of the fun things going on in my life!

Last weekend, I spent Saturday evening at a Halloween party hosted by my dear friend Stephanie and her husband Matt. Stephanie is the creative mind behind Sandpaper & Glue, and I don’t know anyone who loves Halloween as much as she does!

I had a minor costume malfunction halfway through the evening, but I figured all would be well – a DIY queen’s home is the perfect place to be when you need to fix something! Unfortunately, Steph and I had both been active participants in the champagne flip cup earlier that evening, and we went a little overboard with the spray glue…

Let this be a lesson to you all: Don't attempt to DIY after an hour of champagne flip cup.

Let this be a lesson to you all: Don’t attempt to DIY after an hour of champagne flip cup.

I spent Sunday at a baby shower for my friend Jenn. The party was lovely, and Jenn looked amazing! She’s going to be a great mama when Baby Zoey arrives in a few months, and I can’t wait to meet her. Jenn’s shower gave me an excuse to break out my hot rollers again – aka my new style obsession. I’ve always had super straight hair and usually wore it in a bob, so now as I’m growing it out I’m experimenting for the first time with other styles. I am 29 years old and I honestly never knew my hair could look like this. MAGIC.

It took me 29 years to discover that my hair could look like this. In my defense, my mom gave me some truly terrible haircuts over the first ten years of my life, but that's an issue for me to tackle with my therapist.

It took me 29 years to discover that my hair could look like this. In my defense, my mom gave me some truly terrible haircuts over the first ten years of my life, but that’s an issue for me to tackle with my therapist.

Unfortunately I couldn’t linger at the shower, as I had to make my Amtrak train to New York City that afternoon for a few days of training. I had to spend my days cooped up in an office building working through meetings, but that left my evenings free and clear! I went to college in NYC and love any opportunity to be back in my favorite home away from home, and this trip was no different.

flywheel collage

Monday night, I took my first Flywheel class at their Chelsea location. Flywheel Sports is a national chain that offers a unique spinning experience. Every bike is outfitted with a small monitor to help you measure your resistance (or “torq”), your RPMs, and your overall effort/output. You can also opt into the class’s “torq board,” which shows how your effort compares to others in the class. I am super competitive so I loved this feature, and I was pretty pumped to come in fourth place among females, especially after a very tiring workday! Best of all, the class was taught by a friend of mine, and he definitely helped to push me harder – he even called me out at one point! If you’re in the city, be sure to check out Matt R.’s classes – he’s a great guy and a great instructor! I don’t know how often I’ll be able to make it to the Flywheel Boston location (in the Prudential), but I definitely want to go back again at some point in the future, and it’s great to know that this is a chain I enjoy for when I’m traveling to cities with franchise locations.

I could fib and tell you that Flywheel was indicative of my overall wellness on this trip… but actually, it was an effort to offset some less-than-healthy choices. I left Monday’s class and proceeded to meet a friend at a bar, where we indulged in 20 cent wings and delicious fall beers while watching Monday Night Football. Balance is super important for overall wellness, and my mental health definitely benefitted from this night out.

The rest of the trip was pretty uneventful. Most of my time was spent on work, and I didn’t get to fit in a run along the Hoboken waterfront as I had hoped. I stayed in the W Hoboken, and there were some beautiful running paths with views of the NYC skyline – I’ll definitely keep this in mind for my next visit and will make sure to pack my sneakers and GPS watch.

Since I hadn’t worked out, I wanted to be mindful of my eating choices for the rest of the trip. I expected this to be nearly impossible on Wednesday as we were returning to Boston. The last time I took Amtrak, several years ago, there were pretty limited options in Penn Station – and yes, there are still a ton of fast food places. I’d be lying if a crunch wrap supreme didn’t dance through my head when I saw the Taco Bell sign! However, I was super excited to find a takeout place called Chickpea. I was able to get a hummus bowl with grilled chicken, an assortment of fresh chopped veggies, some feta and tzatziki. It was filling and delicious – I may need to recreate this meal idea at home! I love that healthy options are becoming easier to find when traveling.

photo 2

I also keep healthy snacks on hand when I’m away from home. These almonds saved my life before class on Monday night! I like to have access to nuts, healthy bars (like Larabar), and fruit, so that I’m not tempted by the hotel minibar or the candy for sale on the train. Whenever I fly, or head out for long road trips, I always make sure I have my bag of snacks handy! I also keep a water bottle handy so that I stay hydrated. When you’re on the road, it’s easy to neglect your hydration, which wreaks havoc on your skin and on how you feel. I find that bringing my own reusable bottle helps me to remember to keep drinking water throughout the day, instead of continually refilling the free coffee on hand during meetings.

What tips or tricks do you have to stay healthy while traveling?

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Friday Roundup: 10/24

I have to say, these Friday Roundups might just be my favorite part of the week! All week long I mentally save things to put in this post. This has been a trying week (more family health drama!) but looking forward to writing this post has helped me to keep a positive mindset.

I’m going to be traveling through Wednesday of next week for work, so posts will be sparse for a few days. I will try to sneak something in while I’m gone, but I make no promises! Apologies in advance – I promise to be a better blogger in November. Now, on to the good stuff!

Kitchen Excitement: New Lasagna Pan & Cookbook

photo 1

I have to say, surprise presents are definitely the best presents. A box showed up on my door yesterday containing this gorgeous All Clad lasagna pan and Marcella Hazan’s Essentials of Classic Italian CookingConfession time: I adore Italian food. It’s my favorite food to eat, yes, but it’s also my favorite cuisine to cook as well! Americanized Italian food (think chicken parmesan, with fried chicken cutlets drenched in melted cheese) is definitely not even remotely healthy, but true Italian food can actually fit really neatly into a clean eating meal plan, as long as you seek out high quality ingredients and are careful to keep your macros balanced. Marcella Hazan is credited with introducing classic Italian methods and cuisine to America, and I’m really excited to dive into this cookbook. Nerd confession time: my favorite cookbooks aren’t filled with glossy photos perfected by food stylists. They’re books like this one, light on imagery but heavy on history. This cookbook is filled with explanations of where recipes originated and detailed information on various ingredients – it aims to teach so much more than just the recipes. I’m also pretty giddy about this pan. It’s branded as a lasagna pan, but it’s a perfect size for roasting vegetables and smaller cuts of meat – I’m thrilled to not have to break out my gigantic turkey roaster whenever I want to roast something. So thank you, Uncle Richard – one of my most loyal blog followers from day one – for this wonderful, thoughtful gift. I promise that a proper written thank you note is on its way, but I also just had to share my excitement here on the blog, and I can’t wait to share some recipes!

Fitness Steal: Les Mills Pump On Sale!

pump edited

Before I joined Studio Poise, I had a membership with Boston Sports Club. I wasn’t the best at sticking to a workout schedule, but the one class I attended regularly was Les Mills’ Body Pump. I absolutely loved the workout, and I have to say that while I love everything about my SP classes, I do miss Body Pump. So I was totally pumped (I couldn’t help it…) to see that the at-home DVD and barbell set was on sale for 40% off, and contemplated the set for all of 30 seconds before placing an order. The photo above shows everything that came in the basic set – the DVDs, a nutrition guide and a program guide, plus the barbell and weights (two 10 lb plates and two 5 lb plates; I also added two 2.5 lb plates to my order). I’m psyched to add this into my ever-changing rotation of at home routines!

New Music: Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness

1-2-3 honesty, I’ve typed and deleted and retyped a paragraph about this album more times than I can count. I’ve been a fan of Andrew McMahon’s music for a long, long time – from his first band, Something Corporate, through his time headlining Jack’s Mannequin, and now am so excited to see his work as a solo artist. I could gush on and on about his music and completely embarrass myself, but instead I’ll just say this: trust me when I say that you need to give this album a listen. If you want to download the MP3s, you can order the album through Amazon, but it’s also available to stream through Spotify. 

Holiday Fun: Halloween Adventures

I’ll be honest, Halloween has never been my favorite holiday, but I can’t help but get excited when I see how seriously some of my friends take the holiday. (Don’t believe me? Check out Sandpaper & Glue – I would never show up to her Halloween party without a costume!) I hemmed and hawed over what to dress up as this year, because I refuse to buy a costume. For one thing, store bought costumes tend to be insanely expensive for a flimsy bit of cheap polyester; but more importantly, they all seem to be made for women who are significantly smaller than I am. No thank you! I did, however, find a costume online that inspired me, and I decided to dress up as a minion. I already own a denim dress that is reminiscent of the minions’ overalls, and I’ll wear it over a yellow long-sleeved shirt and yellow tights. Add in some craft store projects for the accessories and I’m pretty psyched about my homemade costume! I will share pictures after my Halloween parties over the next week or so, but if you follow me on Instagram you might get a sneak peek. And yes, I absolutely will be wandering around those parties speaking only in Minion-ese.

What’s your favorite cuisine to prepare – any healthy twists on favorite classics?
What are you dressing up as for Halloween?
Let me know in the comments!

Friday Roundup 10/10

The Real World is doing everything in its power to make me the Worst Blogger Ever. At the very least, I’m winning the Worst Blogger for October 2014 award. I promise there’s a lot going on behind the scenes – I’m working on some things with Pinterest, I’ve got a few recipes to share, and a few other posts are in early draft form. There just aren’t enough hours in the day to be a productive human in all the many areas of my life, and this past week, my real job that actually pays my salary had to be my top priority.

However, Friday Roundups are one of the easiest and most fun posts for me to write, so I have no excuse not to get this up here for you guys! Here are some of the things that I’m loving these days.

New Gadget: Garmin Forerunner 10

I recently treated myself to a Garmin Forerunner 10, a GPS-enabled watch to use when running. I had always relied on apps to track my runs, but I run with my phone zipped in a pocket, and I found myself really wanting to know my stats on distance and pace at a glance. I’m waiting until after my first race (next weekend’s 10K) to share an official review, but so far, so good! I am loving having my basic stats on my wrist, and tonight I plan to test the watch’s run/walk timing feature.

New Music: New Found Glory’s Resurrection

Will you guys still love me after I admit that my taste in music hasn’t really evolved since my high school days? New Found Glory is one of those nostalgic bands that I still really enjoy even now, more than 10 years after I first started listening to them. They released a new album earlier this week, and I am totally loving it. I can’t wait to hear some of the new material next week when NFG plays the House of Blues here in Boston! You can give the album a listen on Spotify, and if you love it as much as I do, then I highly recommend purchasing the MP3 album from Amazon. I pay $10/month so that I can stream Spotify from my phone and iPad, but when an artist I care about releases a new album, I always try to buy the album, even if it’s available for streaming. Streaming music services are great for consumers but not so much for artists, so if you want to support the musicians you enjoy, and you can afford to do so, I definitely recommend continuing to purchase music. (And now I’ll get off my soapbox, thanks for putting up with that little tangent!)

Something Silly…

This was shared on the “I F#@king Love Science” Facebook page earlier this week. I’m not sure if you guys have figured this out yet or not, but I’m kind of a super-nerd. This cracked me up – I actually sat at my desk laughing out loud for a minute after I first saw it, and I just had to pass it along.

Winter Treat: Stratton Season Pass

This is definitely my favorite thing about this week. As you might recall from earlier posts, I only started skiing a few years ago, and I am super excited for another season on the slopes. Earlier this week I got a promotional email from Stratton Mountain advertising their season pass rates, and I made the mistake of actually clicking through to check out the prices. Turns out there’s a pass – the Strattitude pass – that’s only available for skiers between the ages of 18-29. It’s only $299, and it’s good every day the mountain’s open – no blackout dates! A comparable pass jumps to $949 when you turn 30, so I took this as a sign from the universe that I need to spend the last winter of my 20s skiing at my favorite east coast mountain as much as possible.

Weekend Festivities: Cadillac Ranch

What’s Cadillac Ranch, you ask? Why, IT IS THE PLACE WHERE DREAMS COME TRUE. Caddy Ranch calls itself “New England’s Premiere Country Line Dancing Destination,” and my friends, they aren’t overselling it. It’s a country-themed bar in Connecticut that features line dancing and a mechanical bull, and it is easily one of my favorite places in the entire world. I try to go with my friends a few times a year, and we’re heading out there this weekend for some drinking and dancing. The photo above was taken on my birthday two years ago; they have sadly since gotten rid of Big Buck Hunter, but luckily I’ve gotten better at the line dances, so I can keep up with the regulars.

What are your plans for the weekend? Any fun finds from this week that you’d like to share?
Let me know in the comments!

Friday Roundup: I’m BAAAACK!

It has been an inexcusably long time since I last posted, and I sincerely apologize. I took a hiatus from blogging while I was on vacation last week, and while I had the best of intentions to get back to things earlier this week, real life had other plans. I’ve been dealing with some health-related matters with my family, and while things are back on track now, it’s definitely been a difficult few days.

I will be back to regular posting next week, and I wanted to make sure to get a quick Friday Roundup post up before the weekend. Here are some of the things I’ve stumbled across this week that I’m excited to share with you guys!

Weekend Recipe Adventure

Two-Ingredient Apple Almond Butter, courtesy of Wine & Dine to the Finish Line

I began following Cassy earlier this year and definitely recommend checking out her blog – I love the variety of content on her site! Earlier this week she posted a super simple recipe for apple almond butter. The apple butter comes together in the crock pot, and you then blend it with homemade almond butter. YUM. I am probably going to expand on the two ingredient list for my version, as I love the flavor of traditional fall spices like nutmeg and cinnamon, but I appreciate that Cassy’s recipe relies on apples for their natural sweetness and avoids adding extra sugar or artificial flavorings. I borrowed the image above from her blog – click it to follow through to her original post, which includes the recipe.

Gotta-Have-It Fashion Purchase: New Puffer Vests

My office apparently has not gotten the memo that fall has officially arrived in New England. I’ve officially reintroduced boyfriend sweatpants, tights & boots, and puffy vests back into my closet. That last item is a necessity for surviving my cubicle, so my current challenge is finding vests that are functional enough to keep me warm without turning me into the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man. Luckily, vests are all over the place this fall! I’ve pulled together a few of my favorites, below – click on any of the individual thumbnails for information on purchasing. I can’t wait to get my hands on a few of these – the camo and the poka dot ones are even on sale right now!

Fall 2014 Vests

Grocery Store Find: Unsweetened Starbucks Iced Coffee

Starbucks Unsweetened Iced Coffee

I know, I know… I said I had given up iced coffee. And that’s still sort of true. The Dunkin Donuts drive through was a standard stop on my morning commute, but I’ve since kicked that habit. However, work has been pretty intense lately, and I found myself really missing an iced coffee to sip during stressful meetings. Enter this beverage, my new grocery store best friend. For $4.99, you get 48 ounces of Starbucks brewed iced coffee. I find that this lasts me a full week at work, so it’s still a significant savings over my daily Dunks habit. It’s also unsweetened, so having it over ice with a splash of skim milk (or almond or coconut milk, whatever floats your boat) isn’t much of an indulgence, calorie-wise. I will also say that I love having this on hand to blend with my morning Shakeology – much easier than having to remember to brew coffee the night before!

New Fitness Routine to Try: P90


P90 90-Day Body Transformation for Everyone

There’s a new P90 routine available through Beachbody. I have heard a lot about the P90 series of fitness routines; they promise a total body transformation in 90 days. I’ve seen some other bloggers with incredible results, but I have also heard that some of the routines can be pretty intense, so I wasn’t sure there was a routine that would be the right fit for me, as I still find myself pretty heavily modifying on my T25 workouts.

Enter P90. Tony Horton took his existing P90 model, with its proven results, and modified it so that it could be used by people who are looking to increase their fitness level while avoiding anything too extreme. I’ll let the Beachbody product description help me out with describing the specifics:

P90 works because of a game-changing technique called Sectional Progression. Tony eases you into a variety of cardio, strength, and stability moves that work the back, shoulders, chest, biceps, triceps, and legs—and every move helps strengthen and flatten the abs. These routines don’t get harder until you’re ready for the next challenge. Then, just when you’ve mastered those moves, he ups the ante a little more.

The all-new P90 workouts are arranged in 3 Progressive Phases designed to gradually ease your body past its old limits. So after 30 days of P90, you’re leaner and more solid; after 60 days, you’re seeing muscles you’ve never noticed before; and by Day 90 you can finally have that lean, strong body you could once only dream about.

P90 is currently on sale as part of a challenge pack for only $160, which includes the full P90 DVD set (regularly $79.90) and a month of Shakeology (regularly $130). I’m super excited to place my order and give this program a try – let me know if you want to try it alongside me!

 

Friday Roundup

T-G-I-mother-effing-F, guys. It has been a week. But Friday is finally here, and that means the weekend, and that means…

For the record, my 29-year-old self considers the following to be a successful, kick-ass weekend: getting off the wait list for Sunday morning piloxing, fitting in time for a pedicure, spending time on food prep for the coming week, and making it to the farmer’s market on Saturday morning before everything is already picked over. I know, I know. Try to contain your excitement, my life is beyond thrilling.

It’s been a completely insane week, so I was a little nervous that this roundup might be on the sparse side, but luckily my ADD internet habits paid off despite wall-to-wall meetings and personal commitments. What can I say? I’m a giver.

Book rec: Take the Lead: Motivate, Inspire, and Bring Out the Best in Yourself and Everyone Around You

Betsy Myers spoke at my office about a month ago, and I finally got around to purchasing her book this week. She served as the chief operations officer for Obama’s 2008 campaign, worked in the Clinton administration, spent several years at the Kennedy School, and currently serves as the founding director of Bentley University’s Center for Women and Business. Much of her insight rings true to me as a female in a management role, but it also resonates with my personal interest and investment in leadership and helping others to find their inner leaders. She organizes her book around seven basic tenets: authenticity, connection, respect, clarity, collaboration, learning, and courage. I highly recommend checking out this book – I’m loving it and it’s definitely helping me to improve my business skills.

Sunday Funday – The Quest for Healthier Football Snacks

Fall is here, and that means the triumphant return of Sunday Funday. I live for fantasy football, red zone, and spending my Sundays on the couch or at a bar watching the Patriots. Let’s be real for a minute here – it’s really freaking difficult to feel like I’m indulging in a relaxing Sunday Funday without totally undoing my healthy living efforts for the previous week. That means just saying no to the nachos and pitchers of beer, but I have been spending more time combing Pinterest for healthy twists on some of my favorite football snacks. I created a Sunday Funday Pinterest board to help keep track of my finds, and I’m very excited to try this Baked Buffalo Cauliflower Dip this weekend. I’ll be subbing low fat cream cheese and reduced fat shredded cheese, and may also incorporate some shredded chicken for a protein boost.  (Yes, I know that gif has absolutely nothing to do with healthy football snacks, but I will never ever ever skip the opportunity to share the #buttfumble. Sorry, not sorry.)

New Fitness DVDs to Try! The Firm Zip Trainer Medicine Ball Kit

I was at book club last night and mentioned offhand that I wanted to try a bosu ball style workout as one of my next adventures. One thing led to another, and I ended up leaving book club outfitted with this DVD set! Our super generous book club host (who happens to be my former AP English teacher and a kickass educational blogger – check out her stuff at Scholastic, the Center for Teaching Quality, and HuffPost.) offered up this set; she had tried it and it didn’t really click with her preferred workout style, so she passed it along to me to try out. I can’t wait to tackle this over the weekend and will definitely report back on my experiences!

 10K Training Update

As you may recall from last week’s Friday roundup, I signed up for my first 10K! I’ll be running the Firefighters’ Memorial 10K on October 19, 2014. I’m fundraising for College Bound Middle School in Dorchester, MA – click here to donate! – and have just about 5 weeks to get myself into decent enough running shape that I won’t be totally mortified by my time. On a friend’s recommendation, I decided to check out Jeff Galloway’s training program. Naturally his 10K training is set up for 13 weeks… so I’m a little behind the curve… but I’m willing to try anything! I tried Couch to 5K when I ran my first race last December and the program really didn’t work for me – I just wasn’t a fan. I’m excited to try Galloway’s system of alternating run/walk intervals to help improve my time and build up my endurance. Galloway is also the go-to training system for the RunDisney events, and as I’m hoping for my first half marathon to be the 2015 Wine and Dine half with Dheerja, I figured now is as good a time as any to try out the system. Updates to follow!

What were your highlights for the past week? Any tips for me as I approach my first 10K?

Friday Roundup

I stumble across a lot of great finds over the course of the week. I often share these as quick tweets (follow me on Twitter so you don’t miss out!) but I also decided to make a regular weekly round up feature here on the blog. This round up will be a mish mash of content – from recipes that I want to try, to cool products I’ve discovered, to fashion and entertainment suggestions.

With0ut further ado, let’s get to this week’s round up!

Yumbox Lunch Boxes

yumbox

FitSugar recommended the four compartment Panino Yumbox in their September Must-Have review feature, but I am an even bigger fan of the six compartment version for $28. This version provides five 0.5 cup portions, plus a 1 oz section for dips or treats. I tend to graze through the day on snacks – things like berries, jerky, nuts, etc – and this would be a great way to  control portion size. Best of all, the interior compartment is dishwasher safe and you can buy extra compartments to use with the outside container!

Healthy Slow Cooker Recipes

I love my slow cooker! I have a full Pinterest board dedicated to slow cooker recipes. Not only are slow cookers super convenient, they also make it easier to keep your dinners healthy – no frying here! This week, the My Fitness Pal blog shared 14 slow cooker dinner ideas that all sound delicious and healthy. The list has something for everyone; they hit on a variety of protein sources, including vegetarian options! Best of all? Every dish comes in at 400 calories or less, perfect for a healthy dinner. I can’t wait to come home to some of these after a long day at work; having a slow cooker is almost like having a personal chef, with dinner waiting for me at night!

The Atlantic: My Week on the All-Emoji Diet

Over at The Atlantic, Kelsey Rexroat published an article that had me chuckling at my desk – she ate only the food items that appear in emoji form for seven full days. I’ve definitely never thought that deeply about whether I can represent my diet with tiny cartoon images, but her article is a great diversion and I definitely recommend giving it a read.

Fall Sweater Season Approaches!

jcrew sweater

It is currently 90 degrees and humid in Boston, so it’s hard to imagine that fall sweaters will ever be necessary, but the shops are full of cozy knits and I am loving it. It’s actually been a challenge for me to figure out appropriate sweater strategy as I’ve lost weight. I used to default to oversized sweaters to hide behind, and now that I’m in a place where I’m happy with how my body looks, I have to figure out how to still wear the chunky sweaters I love without adding imaginary pounds to my frame. I was super excited to try on this sweater from J. Crew. It’s cozy and will be perfect for my always-freezing office, but the cut is very flattering. It’s cut shorter in front but drapes nicely in back – I will be able to wear it with tailored dress pants to work and toss it on over leggings for trips to the studio on the weekend. It fits true to size, and don’t be tempted to size up – the XL was way too big on me, but the large looks just right. Best of all, it’s currently on sale for 25% off with the promotional code SHOPTIME – hop to it!

And finally…drumroll please…

I registered for my first 10K! 

I’ll be running in the Firefighters’ Memorial 10K on October 19, 2014. I honestly wasn’t planning on getting around to my goal of running a 10K this fall. There’s a million other things going on in my life, and I wasn’t sure I had the time to commit to training for this. As it is, I’m not positive that this is a great idea… but I have some very persuasive friends. I’ll be helping to raise money for Dorchester’s College Bound Middle School. Funds raised will go toward school supplies for students to help them achieve their goals – it’s a great cause and one I’m proud to support, even if there’s an excellent chance I’ll be crawling across the finish line next month. Stay tuned for more information on how to donate!