Monthly Archives

April 2017

Healthy eating, Motivation Monday, Weight loss

Motivation Monday #6

Hello! It’s Monday again and time for another roundup of healthy motivations to get you through this week! I was just recalling that it’s been about 2 years since I started posting some blog posts and almost exactly 2 years since I signed up for my first Iron Girl! It’s crazy to see how this journey has taken shape over the last couple of years with all the little bumps in the road. I’m pretty sure I’m going to be doing the race again this year though I haven’t signed up yet. My sister and I are still planning on running the Chicago Half Marathon as our first half at the end of September so that’s the money priority at the moment.

In other news, the Summer Corn Chowder is back at Panera! This is the first thing I ever tried at a Panera after going on a date with my mom to see Mamma Mia back in high school. 

Panera Summer Corn Chowder is Back!

Meal Inspirations

I’m currently working on cleaning out my recipe book and reorganizing it into a more useful resource because at the moment, I’m rarely using it and so many of my printed recipes are just hanging around. I follow a good collection of food blogs and I often find some recipes there that I can use or modify to fit my needs. Pinterest is another tool I use a ton but if I’m looking for something a tad more specific, Google search is a great recipe finder. Here are some of the recipes I’ve curated this week!

Smashed Chickpea Avocado SandwichFeasting at Home

DIY Mason Jar Home Salad Bar – PopSugar

Authentic Polish Pierogi with Potatoes and CheeseInnocent Delight

I made these pierogies last week and my kitchen was a gorgeous mess by the time I was done. I left out the cheese and they tasted great but I definitely need some more practice making them and maybe a little bit more help to get it done quicker.

Simple Vegetarian “Meatloaf”Nutrition Stripped

This looks amazing and I can’t wait to try it!

Overnight Oats 3 WaysFive Heart Home

This has been on my list of things to try for a while now but I kept forgetting to make it the night before. I finally made some last night for my hubby and I and we both really liked it! I’m going to share my recipe this week but for now here are a few I think look delish!



Zumba is still one of my favorite at home cardio workouts and I’ve loved doing it for the last couple of years but variation is good and so is free. Whenever I find a good workout routine, I throw it into a YouTube playlist so I can find them quickly. I tried this Cardio Kickboxing routine the other day and it kicked my butt. Cardio Kick was one of my fitness classes in college so doing this routine was kind of a throwback for me. I like the PopSugar collection because there’s a wide variety of workouts and there’s a timer in the corner so you know exactly how much longer you have in your sweat sesh.

How Beginner Runners can Transition Away From Walking BreaksWomen’s Running

I’m a slow runner and running doesn’t come as naturally to me as it does to someone like my husband so it takes a while to build up endurance. If you’re just starting out for the first time (or the second, or third) I found this to be a pretty useful reference.

Mastering PushupsPopSugar

If you struggle with doing regular pushups, here are a couple of really great modifications to get you ready for the real thing!

The “Everything One Minute Upper Body Workout” PB Fingers

6 Stretches For Anyone With Tight Hamstrings PopSugar


Inspirational Quotes

You saved to Inspiration | If you're looking for health inspiration, funny quotes, and great fitness tips, Get Healthy U is the place for you!:

Your health is an investment not an expense. Although it will become an expense if you don't take time to invest in it.:

Eating "close to the source" is clean eating that eliminates most cans, boxes, and packages. Learning to create health through the foods you eat is life transforming. Learning about herbs is beneficial for both cooking and medicine making! Take control of your health! #quote:


What’s motivating you this week? Any big goals you’re working towards?

What are some of your favorite workouts?

Do you find running comes naturally to you?


Biking, Exercise, Life, Week in Pictures, Weight loss

Crepes at Cafe Mezcla, bike rides, and hammocking

It’s been a beautiful week around here as all the flowering trees are fully in bloom and the landscape is greening up. Last week was Brady’s birthday and we were able to do a lot of outdoor adventuring to celebrate. I had been planning a weekend backpacking trip to Shenandoah National Park for the weekend but we didn’t end up going because the weather forecasts were looking potentially stormy and I was also dealing with a strained muscle in the hip flexor area. Sad. We’re still hoping to go this summer and we may try doing a shorter and close to home backpacking trip this weekend.

Since Brady worked late on his actual birthday, we went out on Wednesday evening to Brookeside Gardens to see the tulips before meeting up with his family at Cheesecake Factory for dinner.

Brookeside Gardens tulips in spring

Brookeside Gardens tulips in spring

Brookeside Gardens tulips in spring

The whole happy birthday to you song isn’t his favorite thing but it’s only once a year so he can deal with it. 

One of his birthday presents as a part of the backpacking package was getting a double hammock so we tested it out on Friday evening with a Subway picnic.

Hammock in Centennial Park, Maryland

Hammock in Centennial Park, Maryland

Hammock in Centennial Park, Maryland

Sunset at Centennial Park, Maryland

Sunday morning we went out to Cafe Mezcla for some crepes – yummm. I’ve loved this place since it opened a few years ago but it was always super slow service. I guess they’ve heard the cries because we actually got our food pretty quick yesterday. I always get the same savory crepe that’s stuffed with tomatoes, spinach, eggs, and aioli because it’s so so good. Brady got a banana foster crepe and we shared a nutella frapp. If you live near Columbia, Maryland, you should really try out Cafe Mezcla!

We went for a ride at the end of the day out to Lake Elkhorn and back which is about 12 miles round trip. I love that we get to ride around 2 of the recreational lakes on this ride.

bike ride around Lake Elkhorn, Columbia, Maryland
bike ride around Lake Elkhorn, Columbia, Maryland

I’ll end with a couple quick shots from Centennial Park this morning. I tend to really only go in the evenings but this morning reminded me that I should get up here more often in the mornings! It was lovely weather and it’s kinda nice to see it in a different light. 

Healthy eating, Motivation Monday, Weight loss

Motivation Monday #5

Happy Boston Marathon Monday! Hope you all had a lovely weekend and a great Easter with your family yesterday.

I spent some time being frustrated because it seems as though the Boston Marathon organizers have sold out and the only way to view the marathon is by logging into NBC Sports with a cable package account. Thanks for making the decision to choose money over everything else that this race is supposed to stand for. 

I’m not bitter.

Anywho. This last week I’ve been dealing with a few aches and pains that have prohibited me from running and even held back my step count for a couple days. I broke a 14-day streak of 10K+ steps per day. I strained a muscle in my hip flexor and though I’m not 100% positive, I’m pretty sure it happened while I was doing yoga. Serves me right for trying to stretch out my stiff body. I’m hoping that I’ll be able to start running again in the next few days as the pain keeps subsiding. 

If you’re currently dealing with an injury and something else that’s keeping you from running, here are a few ideas to keep you fit and going. Do what you can but don’t hurt yourself even more!

I’ve been trying to get more veggies into my diet because not only are they full of essential vitamins and minerals, they’re low calorie and very filling. If you could use some healthy eating inspiration, check out this list of ways you can eat more veggies.

da mo 1721 Daily motivation (25 photos)

For a gallant spirit there can never be defeat.:

Finally, here are a few links to inspire you for the week whether you’re trying to lose weight, keep active, or are just looking for something to inspire you. Happy Monday!

Workout motivation Healthy 4 Life Fitness Training:



Food, Friday Faves, Life, Review, Vacation

Friday Faves #4

Hello Again! I’ve been loving this gorgeous spring weather, haven’t you? Everything’s in bloom and I couldn’t be happier.

The last few weeks have been busy with some traveling, making travel plans, birthdays and other exciting things and I’ve managed to fall behind, but I wanted to make sure I shared some of the things I’ve been loving lately starting with a couple food things!

Talenti Sicilian Pistachio Gelato

I have been obsessed with this Sicilian Pistachio Gelato and it’s bad because it’s one of the only ice creams I can sit down and eat the whole pint in one sitting. It’s bad and I try not to bring it home too often for this reason. I’m a bit of an ice cream snob and I’d often much rather spend my money on a small amount of amazing ice cream then get eh ice cream for less. This stuff is super creamy and flavorful and there’s enough pistachios to have some in every bite. I tried a cheaper brand of pistachio ice cream lately and I could barely eat it so… yeah this stuff is the best.

Forager Project Organic Cashewgurt in Lemon

I really loved this stuff. If I had been blind taste testing, I would have thought that this was the real stuff. The consistency was on point, the lemon adds the sourness that traditional yogurt has but that’s not to say that it’s sour because it definitely is not. I saw it at Whole Foods and decided it was something I needed to try because I’m trying to back away from dairy since it messes with my digestive system. It’s hard to find worthy vegan substitutes for some of my favorite things and I’ve wanted to try some cashew alternatives but haven’t gotten around to it until now. I’d definitely recommend checking this out!

Forager Project Lemon Cashewgurt

So Delicious Non-Dairy Cashew Creamy Chocolate “Ice Cream”

It’s funny to place two dairy free food items after some real ice cream but I want to share about the things I’m testing and loving! I guess I can’t say I fully love this ice cream alternative but it’s pretty good for a substitute. It’s a bit sweet for me so I think that’s the biggest thing holding me back. It’s definitely creamy and isn’t grainy like some non-dairy ice creams can be though it is a bit stiffer and more dense than regular ice cream. I don’t like the coconut alternatives at all so this was a great creamy alternative to the real stuff.

The Forest Feast Gatherings by Erin Gleeson

My sister happened upon this book as we were browsing through Anthro last month and it is seriously like the most beautiful cookbook you will ever see. I love the illustrations, the recipes, the layout, it’s all gorgeous! The book is organized into different food themed parties such as the “Iced Tea Party”, the “Fall Feast”, “Brunch”, and “Party Buffets”.  There are so many different party options that would even be great to mix and match as each section features a different drink, mix of entrees, and a dessert. I bought it off of Amazon since it was $15 cheaper and I’ve already tried one of the recipes which was the Orzo-Black Bean Salad which was delish. Some of the top recipes I want to try are the Heirloom Tomato Tart, the Zucchini Frittata Loaf, the Squash Lasagna, and the Sesame Farro Salad.

Target summer shoes and sandals

I’ve been wanting to get these sneakers for a while now but hadn’t done it because I was waiting for a good sale. I had these same shoes a few years back and I wore them until the sole wore though and my foot was literally touching the ground. I’d like to get them in another color because I do like them a lot. I also picked up these brown sandals which are extremely similar to the mint colored ones I got 2 years ago. I’m actually really tempted to get them in red and white as well. This Saturday (4/14) is the last day to get the BOGO 50% off deal on all shoes.

Target Lunea Sneakers in Navy

The Great British Baking Show

Brady and I started watching this a couple of weeks ago and it’s my current fave on Netflix. I’ve never been to England but based on most of what I’ve seen from TV (a reliable source), they seem like a much more polite group of people. Either way the show is a huge contrast from most American reality styled shows in my opinion. Watching this show has also really made me want to go to the British restaurant in Epcot when we’re there next month so we can try out some of the stuff! Have you ever been to the Rose and Crown? Is it any good?

Monopoly and Ticket to Ride for the iPad

My iPad died last summer and it’s been sad because I can’t get Monopoly for my phone and I feel like Ticket to Ride would be too small to play on my phone. Turns out, my iPad wasn’t dead, the cord was. It’s a pretty old iPad now so it’s pretty slow in processing between apps but the games still work great and I’m so happy to be able to play a couple of my favorite games again. I don’t like TTR as much as I used to because one of the updates rearranged things so it’s not as great, but I still love to play. It’s fun to play a game in 10 minutes instead of 40-60 with other people. And Monopoly is great because you don’t have to worry about ruining relationships! LOL!

Disney Planning

I thought I’d throw this in because it made me that much more excited for our vacation! Wednesday was the last day of waking up early to reserve Fastpass+ reservations for Disney World; however, the system was down and I had no idea when it was going to come back. Pretty rough when you have a short window to snap up the exact times you’re hoping for. For example, our first day at Disney, we’re going to Epcot in the evening and I was trying to get one of the last 3 time slots for Frozen Ever After. It was the first one I reserved and by 7:01 (one minute after the reservation window opens) they were completely gone. Well anyways, things ended up working out fine but through a little Twitter conversing I got a few personal responses including a Disney countdown! 🙂

We’re so close to going and I’m so excited! Quick question while we’re on the subject, what are the best beaches/areas to visit in northeast Florida? I’m currently looking at St. Augustine and Daytona but if you have any recommendations, I’m all ears!


That’s all folks!

^ Comment below if you get the reference! ^


Best beaches in NE Fl?

Have any awesome vacations planned for this summer?

What have you been loving lately?


Linking with Amanda.

Anniversary, Life

7 years of happiness

It’s been 7 years since we started dating! We met almost 12 years ago now and we’ve been dating more of that time than we haven’t which is crazy to think! Our getting together story is actually pretty long with lots of high school drama, but today’s the day we celebrate the beginning of our dating relationship. Who knew that these high school besties would be where we are today. I thought I do a throwback to the beginning and share some of my favorite pics with you!

We met officially in 2005 but didn’t really start to get to know each other until he came to my school freshman year of high school in 2006. We got closer with each passing year and by the start of our senior year, we were each other’s best friend.

Junior Year

Junior year spring “banquet” was Disney themed and though we didn’t go together, we were part of a group that dressed up as the High School Musical characters. Can you guess who we are?

At the end of the year we had a class bbq at a classmate’s home and he threw me in the pool… like the gentleman that he is. Since I’m in a confessing mood, I’d really love to have that body again. Is it fair to want it back?

Senior Year!

Webcam photos in class.

He started liking me at the beginning of the school year and although I figured it our pretty quick, it took me a few months to feel the same way. We started taking romantically in February (that’s actually a little weird to say considering we were both 17 at the time) and there were some ups and downs until we went on a mission trip at the end of March and basically became inseparable. 

I’m such a weirdo.

This moment (^^^) was the day before we started dating. Since we were caught up in an experience I’ve always called “the mission trip high” I wanted to wait til we got back home to start dating. This walk was what changed my mind. While we were on an afternoon walk during our last evening in the Dominican, I distinctly remember feeling so content and happy and thinking, I could spend the rest of my life with this guy and I don’t want to mess it up.

Here’s the last picture we took together before we started dating and the photo that was my Facebook profile picture for just about forever.

He asked me out on the plane on the way back home and we’ve been together ever since.

Incidentally, we were the romantic leads of the musical that year and our performances began 3 weeks after returning from that trip. We were performing Meet Me in St. Louis which in hindsight was a pretty boring play to watch but it was still fun to perform.

It’s hard to believe how much time has passed and how many amazing experiences we’ve had, but it’s been an awesome 7 years. Each day spent with him is my favorite day because he really is my best friend. <3


How long have you known your significant other? How did you get together?

Back Pain, Exercise, Goals, Motivation Monday, Weight loss, Women

April Goals 2017

March has come and gone and another birthday month is in the books. It’s kind of crazy how fast this year has been flying by because I feel like I only just wrote my goals for the whole year and we’re already 1/4 through it! It’s time to move on and share my April goals, but first, a quick March health and fitness recap:

  • Eat vegetable centered meals for lunches and dinners
  • Start weight training
  • Strengthening my back and core
  • Posture awareness
  • Keep track of my steps and water intake for this month: I’d really like to try and be getting my 10,000 daily steps in at least 5 days a week. I’m obviously in favor of 7, but if I can get 5/7 each week this month, I’m going to be pretty happy.
  • Run

April Goals

I’d say that for most of my goals, they were moderately accomplished and I’m improving in each category. Considering that I was sick for most of the month of March, I’m really happy with what got done.  

I’ve only started running in the last week because I felt like I really needed to just be walking. Even now, I’m taking up running slowly because of some issues with my knees. You can see a general workout recap below.

March Workout Recap - April Goals

The biggest accomplishment for the month was getting in my daily 10,000 steps! I really had to work for this one because if I wasn’t being proactive or dedicated to the goal, I would have come way under on most days. The crazy thing is, I’ve started to notice changes in my body due to the step taking and I wasn’t expecting much of it to happen at all. Over the last month I’ve realized that –

  • I’m getting more workouts and walks in. I’m not spending days just sitting around and I’m making less excuses
  • My back still has the same triggers but overall I’m in a better place
  • I don’t think I’ve really lost much weight, but I feel that my body is toning and looking a little slimmer.

Sure, some of this could be because I’ve also been working out as well, but I will definitely attribute most of my success this month to taking my 10,000 steps. It’s like having this goal as a central goal is keeping everything else in line.

I didn’t start until March 2nd so for the purpose of making better calculations, March is going to be 30 days long 😉

  • 22/30 days with 10,000+ steps
  • 296,129 steps total
  • Average of 9,871 steps per day
  • Most steps in a day: 16,187 steps

March Steps and April Goals

Part of the step counting motivation has been to prepare for our Disney World trip next month. We’re going to be in the parks for 5 days and if you’ve ever been, you know that there’s usually a ton of walking. The last 2 times I’ve gone, I’ve ended up in a wheelchair for part/most of the trip. I’d really like to be able to handle all the walking and not have too much pain so I’m trying to prep myself to be ready.

Here are my April Goals:

  • Again I’m going with trying to get in at least 10,000 steps in for every day in April. I didn’t get a full 7-day streak in last month so I’m attempting to get a really long one this month – maybe even 30 days! 😉
  • Running 3 times a week.
  • Getting in a proper stretch after each run and workout — I really need to start doing this because I keep forgetting and I’m paying for it. I need to do more yoga.
  • Strength training. I have horrible muscular endurance and I’d like to do at least 3 20+ minutes sessions a week with some random throughout the day exercises thrown in to help build up strength
  • Mindful eating. I’ve been realizing more and more how much of my life is focused on food. I love to eat good food and sometimes I just love to eat which leads to overeating. I’d really like to focus on eating slower, enjoying my food, and not stuffing myself.


Do you count steps?

In terms of overall health, is there any one thing you can point to that keeps you on track to accomplish your goals?

What are your April Goals?


linking with Amanda for this post